‘Jewel in the crown’ Storey Arms extends welcome to Ukrainian refugee teenagers

Cardiff Council’s Storey Arms outdoor education centre in the Brecon Beacons played host to a group of Ukrainian refugees from around South Wales as part of a programme designed to give youngsters leadership skills.

The centre, which runs residential and day courses for young people throughout the year, has helped generations of children discover the wonders of the rugged Welsh countryside since it was established more than 50 years ago.

In August, during the school holidays, it ran three week-long courses for Rotary Clubs across South Wales. Around 70 youngsters, aged between 16 and 17 and sponsored through the Clubs’ Youth Leadership programme, took part in activities including climbing Pen-y-Fan, caving, gorge-walking, canoeing and building their own boats to paddle along the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal.

While most of the teenagers were from South Wales, some came from England and five were Ukrainian refugees, living in Wales with their sponsoring families.

Rotary District Governor Wayne Morgan said the courses had been a huge success. “It was a pleasure and a privilege to have been allowed to join the staff and students on two of the three courses,” he said. “As a result, I have seen at first hand the directing staff at work, instructing, managing, encouraging and parenting both in the field on the activities and in the evening at rest and play. From a Rotary perspective, the centre is the jewel in the crown for our leadership activities.”

Andy Meek, the Head of Storey Arms, said the three courses had been a great success. “Everyone got on brilliantly and loved the activities. All the accommodation, meals and equipment were provided and there was no cost at all for the young people who came along – they were all sponsored by the Rotary Clubs, who do amazing work.”

Cllr Sarah Merry, Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Even though it is located on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, Storey Arms has long been an important part of the city’s education landscape. Generations of schoolchildren have had their first real taste of the great outdoors through the adventures provided by the staff here.

“With important changes to the curriculum in Wales coming up, it’s clear the centre will continue to play a key part in our pupils’ education.”

Notes for Editors

Owned by the council, Storey Arms has been in operation as an outdoor education centre since 1971. It employs 10 staff and has links with more than 40 schools in Cardiff, including those catering for additional learning needs, who between them send around 4,000 pupils a year there on a variety of outward bound courses. It is funded through the income it generates from the courses it delivers to organisations including education authorities across the UK, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and other charity groups.