Secret World unveils its £500k education centre
PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 December 2015
A SOMERSET animal charity has said it plans to use its new purpose-built learning centre to 'inspire and educate' younger generations about British wildlife.
Secret World Wildlife Rescue, which is based in East Huntspill, began work on its education and learning centre back in 2012 after it received a grant worth more than £500,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Although the building will not fully open until spring 2016, the keys to the building were handed to the charity last month and it has already begun hosting training sessions and workshops at the centre.
The single-level building includes a meeting room and conference room, and will also host an art space and kitchen once installation works are completed during the next few months.
Secret World’s learning and outreach manager Sophie Hampson said the centre would play an important part in teaching children about the importance of nature.
She said: “We are not trying to recreate a classroom. It is about giving children a educational experience which is something a bit special and different.
“We are in a position where there is quite a high level of socio-economic deprivation. With Bristol, Exeter and Bath you have got a lot of city kids. Some of the responses we had back from our work with schools was that some of the kids had never seen a hedgehog, did not know what an oak tree was and very rarely had access to wild spaces.
“A lot of the schools we work with do not have playing fields anymore so they have lost their outdoor space, which makes it even more important to have a space like this which allows that reconnection.”
The charity’s founder, Pauline Kidner, said the centre would give the charity the vital opportunity to do more work during winter months.
She said: “I think it is a very important educational facility – the best thing we do is helping to teach and inspire children about wildlife.
“It gives us more space so we can extend the things we do with people and it allows us to do more during the winter months.”