Monday 25 July 2022

Time to renew efforts to safeguard the future of the Welsh Harp Environmental Education Centre


 The children in the 2013 Brent Council video above are teenagers now. Teenagers facing the prospect of a future wrecked by the impact of accelerating climate change. 

Since 2013 the environment has become a major political issue and Brent Council itself has declared a climate emergency. However just two years after the video was made, Harry Mackie retired and Brent decided it could no longer fund the Welsh Harp Environmental Education Centre. 

After campaigns, including on this blog, the charity Thames21 took it over and continued courses and tried to find other sources of revenue. However, despite full bookings the charity eventually decided it was not financially viable to continue and signalled their desire to end the arrangement.

Since then the Centre has limped on with Thames21 providing a skeleton service, while Brent Council sought a solution.  I was a little worried about the Centre's future when I saw surveyors on the site recently. The structural condition of the classrooms has deteriorated since 2013.

Unfortunately a report going to Wednesday's Welsh Harp Consultative Committee devotes only a few sentences to the Centre and appears to be a repeat of the previous report with no indication of real progress LINK :

Welsh Harp Environmental Education Centre:

Discussions have continued between Brent Council and external partner organisations who have or may have an interest in creating a viable environmental education centre. Thames 21 have agreed to provide some services for another year while discussions continue for a longer-term solution for the future of the Centre

I hope that some of our newly elected councillors who have a good record on the environment will try and put some pressure on the council to renew its efforts.

The video speaks for itself and I can assure readers that the new generation is equally involved and excited by visits to the Centre.  I hear their excited chatter as they walk past my allotment on Birchen Grove and I sometimes stop to talk to groups of pupils as their teachers marshall them at the end of the sessions.

Let's secure its future once and for all.

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