Pioneering Haven Banks wins national award

Award sponsor Charlotte Bosworth hands over the £5,000 prize cheque to Ben Hedden at the top of the climbing tower.

Posted on: 23 March 2016

Devon County Council and Exeter College have been recognised nationally for the pioneering and innovative Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre.

The partnership has been recognised with an Association of Colleges Beacon Award for Innovation in Further Education.

The college has been working in partnership with Devon County Council to develop Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre with the aim of encouraging more young people and adults to get involved in outdoor activities.

The success of the project has been demonstrated by the recruitment of more than 200 full time students using the facility over the past two years, including students studying BTEC and Foundation Degree Courses in Outdoor Adventure.

The centre runs a wide range of community activities and events including school holiday activities, open days, an inclusive outdoor club and also works with schools and youth groups across the region.

The Beacon Award was celebrated at a recent showcase at Haven Banks in Exeter.

The event was attended by members of the local community, groups who use the centre, school representatives, charities and a range of other organisations.

One of the highlights of the event was a daredevil handing over of a £5,000 cheque at the top of the centre’s 22–metre high abseiling tower from award sponsor Charlotte Bosworth, Director of Skills and Employment at awarding body OCR, to Ben Hedden, the centre manager of Haven Banks.

The centre will be reinvesting the award back into outdoor education and training programmes for local schools. The £5,000 award will provide a series of match funded grants to develop new, progressive courses or programmes delivered through Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre.

Exeter College Principal Designate, John Laramy said: “The college’s partnership with Devon County Council to manage the Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre is a pioneering innovation and perfect example of collaboration between two organisations for the benefit of the county, the city and our local community.

“This project has created an outstanding teaching and learning environment, as well as providing excellent facilities for outdoor education training for schools, community groups, local businesses and families.

“I am delighted that Haven Banks has been awarded an Association of Colleges Beacon Award, which is well deserved recognition of this exemplary, innovative partnership work.”

The leader of Devon County Council, John Hart, attended the event and said: “This was a multi-million pound investment in facilities for Exeter and Devon by the county council and I am delighted that our innovative partnership with Exeter College has been recognised nationally.

“The college’s management of these facilities has been very successful and thousands of people have enjoyed the activities at the centre.

“We look forward to more successful collaborations with Exeter College in the future.”

Dame Pat Bacon, Chair of the Beacon Awards, said: “It is a privilege to oversee these awards which allow us to celebrate the exemplary and innovative work colleges are developing to support their students, staff, employers and local communities, as well as helping to support our recovering economy.”

The Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre is the South West’s premiere outdoor education and training facility. Based in the heart of Exeter on the historic canal and quayside, the facility offers an unrivalled purpose built outdoor activity and training centre.

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