Thursday, 3 February 2011

Welsh Harp Environmental Education Centre - A History of Struggle

Previous demonstration in support of the Welsh Harp Environmental Education Centre (1980s?)
Willesden and Brent Times reporter Kate Ferguson managed to dig this photograph out of the archives after I mentioned there had been school pupil demonstrations in support the the Welsh Harp Environmental Education Centre in the past.  Along with the Gordon Brown Outdoor Education Centre, Brent's Hampshire residential field centre, it is non-statutory and is therefore threatened whenever cuts are needed.  Non-statutory does not of course mean 'not valuable' and Brent primary headteachers, governors and pupils have rushed to defend the Welsh Harp, deluging councillors with letters and e-mails.

Latest intelligence is that negotiations are going on with a private company that might fund the centre to some extent as a method of showing its green credentials and commitment to the community.  However, rather than just relying on this the campaign continues.

Viv Stein of Brent Friends of the Earth and Brent Campaign against Climate Change said, “Closing the Welsh Harp education centre will deprive Brent’s children of the unique opportunity to learn about our natural environment that this vital facility offers.  Teaching children about ecology and respecting nature is an invaluable life lesson that we all need to learn to protect our declining wildlife and precious natural habitats.

“This damaging decision is somewhat at odds with Brent’s responsibility to take a lead in improving green space projects and sustainability in schools, as part of the Council’s Climate Change Strategy.  It raises further questions about the credibility of the Labour administration’s supposedly “green” charter, and comes barely a year after cross-party groups successfully fought off a planning application that would have devastated the Welsh Harp nature reserve.”

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