A bit of a summary of the last term at Trewern for you: lots to catch up on, mega busy and plenty of changes to talk about!
First of all, we’re very pleased to say that things at Trewern are now pretty much back to normal -we’re back up to full capacity, and all activities and venues are back on the table. We’re obviously going to keep an eye on the ongoing Covid situation, and will again react as we need to to keep everyone safe, but as it stands we have no restrictions, it’s back to being mindful of our hygiene and giving each other space as much as we can.
The past term and a bit has gone by in a flash, as we’ve got to grips with having the centre full of people again. It’s been lovely to have young people filling the place, playing in the grounds and having space to be kids again, and we’ve really seen them benefit from being able to have this residential experience. They’ve reacted so well, and in some cases so quickly, to having more independence, as well as time with others, building connections and developing life skills. We’ve seen young people go away from their time at Trewern with increased confidence and capacity to care for others, we’ve helped them build fantastic teams and develop leadership, and more than anything they’ve had a chance to have lots of fun. We feel really privileged to be able to give them this opportunity and to see the difference it makes.
This spring we’ve had groups from across the Borough stay with us, others more local and some from different parts of the country altogether, and if anything a greater spread in age ranges than usual, as we’ve welcomed more secondary groups back to the centre, offering the Trewern experience to some of the children that might otherwise have missed out. We’ve welcomed back Eastbrook and Barking Abbey, schools that hadn’t been to the centre for a number of years, and completely new schools, such as Franksbridge and Crowdys Hill, making for a really interesting and diverse term.
This term has also seen a number of staffing changes -check out the new entries on the Staff page.
Firstly, in the New Year we welcomed Dave Barber back to the centre as Deputy Head, after a few years away in schools and a University as well as freelancing with other local centres. It’s great to have his passion and experience back at the centre, bringing new ideas and perspective to how we do things.
We’ve also recently welcomed Clare Thomas to the team. Clare also brings a great deal of experience to the team, having started as a trainee at another centre like Trewern around 17 years ago. She’s worked around the UK and in France in diverse settings and brings the average age of teachers at the centre right down!
We’ve also had a couple of departures, as Jenny Cusick, teacher at the centre for nearly 4 years, has moved on to manage YHA Brecon Beacons -a fantastic opportunity and a chance to use her knowledge and experience to take the Hostel from strength to strength.
June Jones has also moved on. After years of sterling service at the centre as a domestic engineer she has decided it is time to retire. June has been a force of nature, keeping going until her 80s, she has helped keep the centre clean and tidy, effectively running the place in all the ways that matter. We gave her a lovely send off at Easter time and hope she will pop in to visit often.
Of course you already know about the updates to the rooms (painting in both girls and boys dorms), dining room (moved the door) and staff room (room with a view beyond the lounge), but we haven’t stopped there!
The lodge is now up and running, and we have a Pod next door to give us flexibility with groups booking that space. In conjunction with the yurts, which will be moved shortly so that they are next door, that gives us a new range of options for accommodation, which can be separate from the main house with capacity of around 25 beds. These can be booked all together or individually depending on your needs and the needs of the group. We also have space for camping (as we always have), and there are now electric hook up points and hard standing around the lodge for guests to bring camper vans, and/or caravans. These would be used in conjunction with the outdoor toilet facilities built in 2018, and we have plans to add an outside covered area for washing up/cooking. It doesn’t affect our guests in the same way it does us, but we’ve also moved a few of the stores around to make things more efficient, biggest of which is the BMXs are now in a new container, as is the fieldstudies equipment. Trewern teachers have also now got a new changing room, much warmer and drier, with better lighting!
Still in the pipeline for the next few months (fingers crossed completed by the end of the year): the drying room is going to be moved and upgraded, which will allow us to increase the number of showers in the main house, some of which may be multi-use. At the end of all that, the only thing that will be looking for a new home will be the tuck shop!
We also never stand still with our activities, and there are a couple of additions that are interesting. We now have some Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) which we’re looking forward to introducing more groups to soon. We also have developed foot golf and photo orienteering as options for first afternoons and other periods where we might want something a little extra. The giant skis have had an update, as has the muddy puddle (back in full swing now!), and we’ve now had a few goes at rubber chicken rounders. As we’ve got used to the new low ropes course we’re also looking at different ways that can be used, so watch this space! In fieldstudies, we developed new ways to prep for Geography A-level NEA investigations, with a packed day in Porthcawl for physical studies and a day in Cardiff Bay that used Survey123 extensively for those interested in human projects.
Finally, the website has had a few tweaks (more to come), but there’s a new accommodation page, and our self catering offering has a new section, plus we’ve had a lovely new video made by Shooting Reels, which is now on the front page, and which also means we now have our own YouTube channel. Who knows, we might get a taste for this and make some more videos!
Anyway, onwards and upwards! Only 4 more weeks till the end of term -where did the time go?!