FORMER Staylittle staff have started a company to ensure children and young people don’t lose out on outdoor education in Mid Wales.

Brenin Adventures was established by Matt Jones, Staylittle Outdoor Education Centre’s former manager, and opened at the beginning of May – a month after the centre officially closed.

“I did it because local schools had nowhere for outdoor education,” said managing-director Matt.

“Everybody felt a loss when Staylittle closed. Outdoor education activities shouldn’t stop for children in the area and now Powys children don’t lose out,” he added.

The not-for-profit organisation is based at Broneirion near Llandinam, a property owned by Girlguiding Cymru where groups can stay overnight.

Around 12 members of staff which include a mix of former Staylittle staff, some of whom were made redundant by Powys County Council (PCC), and new employees have returned to help out with the new venture. Since opening for business in May, Matt says bookings for Brenin Adventures have been good and they’ve taken bookings for 2019 from schools in Powys and as far as Cardiff and Telford.

“We run the same activities as we did at Staylittle – sailing, canoeing, gorge walking, abseiling, mountain biking and much more. We use the same sites but we’re based in a different building. Broneirion and Clywedog Sailing Club have been a massive help and without them we wouldn’t be able to run it.”

Staylittle Outdoor Education Centre’s closure was announced in 2017, despite a campaign involving a petition of more than 5,000 signatures objecting to plans to close it down. It was PCC’s last outdoor education centre, but the Freedom Leisure-run centre closed to make annual savings of £130,000 after attempts to find an alternative operator failed.

Matt, who was made redundant by the closure, said he had made an offer to take over Staylittle but it wasn’t accepted. Campaigners say there had been at least one offer to run the centre.

The purpose-built centre situated near Llyn Clywedog remains empty.