A CHOLMONDELEY-based company has called for an urgent roadmap to get children back into outdoor education as soon as possible.

Since March 2020, more than 30,000 children from across Cheshire have missed out on vital emotional, social and physical experiences that are imperative to building confidence, developing resilience and encouraging team players and team leaders.

On the sector front, 350 professionals from across Cheshire have lost their jobs in outdoor education, with a record number of providers having to permanently close due the ongoing pressures and restrictions caused by Covid-19.

The Bushcraft Company, which operates school trips in the grounds of Cholmondeley Castle, is calling for urgent action and a roadmap to get this vital element of the education sector moving again.

Nigel Miller, chief executive officer of Bushcraft parent company Active Learning Group, believes that the mental health of young people has been so severely affected by the three lockdowns of the last 12 months, that it's now time to kick start the sector again.

He said: "While in reality we know that the industry can't begin to re-start again until primary schools open up, we can at least begin talking and planning the weeks and months ahead as we move closer to the spring.

"While there has been so much emphasis on school children missing out on academic classroom learning, we equally believe in the value of out of classroom experiences that deliver vital character, wellbeing and skills for our young people.

"As such, we are ready to go the second current restrictions are lifted and can then begin the reset and the essential rebuild of our young people's physical and mental wellbeing that will help them to navigate the 'ups and downs' of life in later years.

"Companies like ours can play a much bigger part supporting our schools and families, but we urgently need to come together to ensure a robust and trustworthy roadmap is put in place in the coming weeks to ensure we can deliver exactly what they need as quickly as possible.

"While safety is the number one priority for any service-provider that involves looking after young people and, while Covid-19 has presented its challenges, it has also presented opportunities for us all to think more creatively and holistically about the services we can provide to help improve health, well-being and overall outcomes, and we are more than ready to step up and play our part in the essential all-round development of our young people."