Hampshire leisure bosses have agreed a £250,000 funding deal for an ourdoor centre in Wales.

More children wil lnow  be able to enjoy gorge walking, caving, rock climbing and kayaking, thanks to a partnership between Hampshire County Council and one of London’s oldest educational charities; Sir John Cass’s Foundation.

Hampshire country council recreation boss Councillor Keith Chapman approved a joint venture with Sir John Cass’s Foundation to provide funding for Hampshire’s Mountain Centre in the Brecon Beacons, in Wales.

Sir John Cass’s Foundation has been awarded a grant of £250,000 over a five year period, to what will now be called Hampshire County Council Cass Foundation Mountain Centre.

It will provide opportunities for children in London, as well as to students that were already catered for from across Hampshire and the rest of the country.

This annual grant of £50,000 is the equivalent to about 50% of the running costs of the centre, which will in turn reduce the subsidy required from the County Council.

Students from Sir John Cass’s Foundation Secondary School and other secondary schools in London as well as trainee teachers from the Sir John Cass School of education and Communities at the University of East London have already visited the Centre and will benefit from this new funding.

The Hampshire Mountain Centre occupies two sites, situated in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park among mountains, waterfalls and caves.

It offers children the chance to enjoy a range of outdoor activities, which they wouldn’t have access to in more built-up areas.

Groups can take advantage of the many curriculum based, learning activities and also participate in outdoor sports which include walking expeditions, canoeing, climbing, gorge walking and mountain biking.

Educational trips feature field study projects as well as historic buildings, museums and nature reserves to visit.

Every year an average of four and a half thousand children travel from Hampshire to stay at the two sites, which together can accommodate 64 young people at a time.

Councillor Chapman said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring Hampshire’s Mountain Centre and its excellent facilities to a wider audience. This partnership with Sir John Cass’s Foundation means that more young people in London will have the opportunity to experience a variety of outdoor activities in the beautiful setting of the Welsh mountains.”

Kevin Everett, the Treasurer and Chairman of Sir John Cass’s Foundation said “ The Foundation is delighted to have entered into this strategic partnership with Hampshire County Council and to be providing opportunities for students from London, many of whom who have never left the Capital let alone experienced and benefited from high quality outdoor education.

“The Foundation welcomes the chance to work with a Council which values the importance of outdoor education and looks forward to strengthening this strategic partnership in the years to come”