RESIDENTIAL sites which have seen generations of school children experience outdoor life are facing closure due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) has launched a review of its two sites at Bewerley Park and East Barnby following major financial losses meaning the current service has become unviable.

Following the onset of the pandemic, the Outdoor Learning Service was forced to close to school residential trips and other groups in March 2020, in line with Department for Education guidance.

The Government guidance remains in place and visits to Bewerley Park in Nidderdale and East Barnby near Whitby are still unable to take place. It has resulted in the service losing the majority of its £2.25m annual income.

Amanda Newbold, Assistant Director of Children and Young People’s Services said: “We know that many generations in North Yorkshire have fond memories of visiting Bewerley Park and East Barnby during their school years.

"Many thousands of students has passed through the doors of these centres over the last few decades to take part in outdoor adventures and it has a special place in many people’s hearts. "

Ms Newbold said the buildings were in urgent need of updating and modernising with the service forecast a deficit of £984,000 by the end of the financial year for 2020-21.

“We need to launch a full review of outdoor learning services and potentially come up with a more sustainable model of delivering the service," she added.

Antony Outhwaite, Chief Trustee of the Cranedale Centre, based at Kirby Grindalythe, said: "We are saddened to hear about the potential closure of two North Yorkshire based outdoor centres.

"Our plan is to welcome the safe return of students to us, once the guidelines permit this on a viable basis. In the meantime we are continuing to provide day/non residential courses to local schools and looking at other avenues to raise money, though any additional targeted 'sector specific' government support would be welcome."