South Tyneside-based West Boldon Lodge is celebrating 21 years of delivering environmental education to the region.
West Boldon Lodge is part of the National Grid Environmental Education Centre Network and is managed by Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle. The Lodge is a purpose-built environmental education centre which offers education programmes for schools, adults and families, as well as community events, room hire and support to a range of volunteers.
The achievements to date, through the 21-year partnership between Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle and National Grid, include the creation of a 13-hectare wildlife haven, the construction of the Erlund House log cabin classrooms and the development of education programmes.
In addition, West Boldon Lodge has delivered environmental education to more than 55,000 school children, offered community and family events to 30,000 individuals and enabled more than 8,500 days of volunteering.
To commemorate the occasion, a celebratory event was held at the venue on Thursday 27th September 2018. The event featured a range of keynote speakers including Andrew Watts, CEO of Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle; Steven Thompson, environmental sustainability manager at National Grid; and Tom Mower, education programme lead at Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle, who discussed the achievements to date and the plans to further increase volunteering opportunities and develop more programmes to educate more school children and the wider community in the field of environment and sustainability.
Michael Johnston of Keelman’s Way School, which has used the education centre for more than 15 years, also spoke of the value and impact of the programmes; and the ceremony concluded with a speech from South Tyneside Mayor Cllr Ken Stephenson, who praised the centre’s accomplishments.
Andrew Watts, chief executive at Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle, said: “At Groundwork our ethos is to change places and change lives and West Boldon Lodge embodies this. Its educational programmes and community events not only encourage people to experience and conserve the natural environment, but also provide invaluable life skills.
“It is through the ongoing partnerships we have with National Grid, the local authority and schools, that we are able to celebrate this occasion. I would like to thank all of our partners, volunteers and visitors for helping us reach this momentous milestone – I am confident we will only continue to grow and develop our offering over the years to come.”
Tom Mower said: “At West Boldon Lodge, we aim to inspire, educate and connect people with nature to enhance and improve their lives, as well as the local environment. I am therefore thrilled that we can celebrate 21 years of delivering environmental education from West Boldon Lodge, and the incredible impact this has on our visitors, volunteers, environment and ultimately the local area.”
Steven Thompson, environmental sustainability manager at National Grid, said: “Celebrating the twenty-first anniversary of the collaboration between Groundwork and National Grid is in itself a tremendous milestone.
“It is motivating to hear all the amazing work that Groundwork does at West Boldon Lodge and how this has been made possible through the rich partnership that has developed over the years. The land and funding provided by National Grid, has enabled Groundwork to welcome a range of groups to learn about nature and the environment on National Grid’s non-operational land.
“West Boldon Lodge is a valuable asset to the local community and I am looking forward to supporting it going forward, as a partner with the education centre.”
West Boldon Lodge is the only centre of its kind in South Tyneside as it combines a diverse nature site with experienced staff to offer visitors an unforgettable experience.
For more information visit www.groundwork.org.uk/stan