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Newark and Sherwood District Council's support puts Walesby Forest activity centre back on track



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An internationally acclaimed outdoor activity centre has bounced back thanks to the widespread support it received throughout the pandemic.

The 250-acre Walesby Forest activity centre, located in the heart of Sherwood Forest, was hard hit by pandemic restrictions.

It experienced a 90% drop in revenue in 2020 but since gradually reopening from May 2021 it has gone from strength to strength.

From left: Mark Spencer MP, Alistair Bow, Tim Wildgust, Ben Bradley MP, John Cottee and Guy Laurie. (57628138)
From left: Mark Spencer MP, Alistair Bow, Tim Wildgust, Ben Bradley MP, John Cottee and Guy Laurie. (57628138)

30,000 children have taken part in 90,000 school nights this year, with 37,500 members of the public setting up camp and visiting the forest.

It also experienced a bumper Platinum Jubilee weekend.

Guy Laurie, chief executive at Walesby Forest, said: “We are delighted to say we are back in business and have survived the last two very difficult years. We want to thank our staff, the local community and of course our wonderful visitors, many of whom have remained loyal to us and have been very patient as we have got back on our feet.”

Guy explained that the charity recognised the financial support it had received from Newark and Sherwood District Council, the government’s Bounce Back loan scheme and the furlough scheme which subsidised employees’ wages.

He also praised the backing of Mark Spencer, the MP for Sherwood and leader of the House of Commons, and Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield and the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, who both recently visited the centre.

Guy added: “They were really keen to hear about our future plans and were particularly interested in our aim to develop a fully adapted disability space, dependent on funding ­— it was great to have their support.

“We also had fantastic backing from Newark and Sherwood District Council during the whole experience. It was really quick to get grant money out to local businesses and was very proactive and in constant contact. That has really helped us to deliver more community work with schools and disability groups.”

The outdoor activity centre and campsite, in Walesby, organises a range of educational and adventure activity programmes and summer camps across the year. Since reopening, the site has set up and hosts a youth group for Ollerton, run with Active Notts, the Sherwood Forest Education Partnership and the district council.

Alistair Bow, chairman at Walesby Forest, said: “It is wonderful to have our customers returning here to enjoy the many activities available and we are very grateful for the widespread support we have received to make that possible.

“We have the same customer base as pre-covid and have seen a big rebound from Scouting and Guiding groups as well as schools, corporate guests, and members of the public. We have some exciting plans in the pipeline ­— including the refurbishment of the lake and outdoor climbing wall, so we are looking forward to a very successful summer.



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