Bright future for Braeside as new owners prepare to take up the reins

Young people will continue to enjoy the challenges and fun of outdoor education provision at Braeside as a new provider takes up the reins early next year.

Following successful negotiations, Conservative led Wiltshire Council has exchanged contracts with new providers Classes Abroad and are working towards an official handover of the site on 31 January 2020.

The popular site has continued to offer schools and groups a range of activities including high level ropes, science, canoeing, abseiling and zipwire as well as Able, Gifted and Talented enrichment sessions.

Conservative Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: "I am delighted we are now at a stage where we can hand over Braeside to new owners who will continue to keep the spirit of fun and adventure in outdoor pursuits alive for young people.

"We have worked hard to reach this point and throughout the discussions this was about handing over the future provision to others to provide the most sustainable long-term provision.

"This has now been achieved and I am pleased the current permanent employees will be transferring to the new owners. Braeside will continue to offer a range of activities for schools and groups and provide an exciting offer for young people."

Rupert Tabley, Director of Classes Abroad said:  "We are so pleased that we are now at the stage of taking on Braeside. We are aware how dearly Braeside is held in the local community and we recognise that intrinsic value to the community and we'd like to recognise the good work that staff have done in making this so. We are committed to running Braeside in its current format and keeping as much of the activities and culture as we can but of course we want to add to it but all these additions will be an enhancement to the local community. We have worked with a number of special needs groups who will be benefitting from this centre next year. There are other groups this centre will become available to through our endeavours."

The exchange of contracts with Classes Abroad follows the success of Community First taking over Oxenwood earlier this year, offering a range of activities including abseiling, kayaking and bushcraft survival skills. The changes followed a successful business and land transfer from Wiltshire Council.

In the meantime Braeside is open for bookings for activities. People interested can call 01380 722637 or visit the website

A decision for Wiltshire Council to cease its provision of outdoor education at the two sites was made in March 2018. The successful agreements mean outdoor education can be sustained and potentially improved in the county at no cost to the council.