Anne Jeffers first visited Low Bank Ground in 1998.
Since then she has been a further 18 times, and this week is back at the centre again with Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School from Hindley in Wigan. What makes this trip extra special is the family connection – Anne is being accompanied by her daughter, Karen, who is a teaching assistant in the school, and her granddaughter, Charlotte, who is a year 5 pupil in the school. Anne ‘retired’ in 2000, but hasn’t missed a trip since.
For Anne, being with the children and seeing their reaction as they do new things is always special. She says, “I love it here. It reminds me of my childhood – playing out in the fields. I love the outdoors and it’s always different when you come, whatever the time of year.”
Karen, who has visited the Centre five times herself as a Teaching Assistant at the school, adds that bringing 36 children away for a week leaves everyone shattered but also relaxed, something that both Anne and Karen attribute to the atmosphere at the Centre and the peace and quiet that goes with the stunning scenery. “It’s a treat”, she says, “even though you are working”.
And for many children, the highlight of their school career is often their visit to the Wigan centres. Charlotte has already been twice, once with her family and now with school. Will she be returning? “Definitely!” she says with a grin.
Low Bank Ground Outdoor Education Centre, was opened in 1984. Along with Hinning House, it is owned by Wigan Council and managed on their behalf by Brathay Trust. Over 70,000 young people and adults have visited the centres over the past 30 years, sharing inspirational residential experiences that make the most of the stunning Lake District environment.