1st October 2020

Statement from Plas y Brenin National Outdoor Centre on the local lockdown restrictions in Conwy

Written by Jack Nicholl

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On Tuesday 29 September, Welsh Government announced that local lockdown restrictions are to be introduced in Conwy County Borough. This local lockdown includes Capel Curig, where Plas y Brenin is based and will come into effect at 18:00 on Thursday 1st October.

As a local outdoor education provider who places safety, health and wellbeing at the heart of everything we do, we have already made significant adjustments to our operations to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect public health, both in the local area and for customers travelling from other areas. This has been done in full compliance with the relevant legislation and government guidance.

Having reviewed the latest guidance relating to the local lockdown taking place in Conwy County Borough, we can confirm that we are continuing to provide our residential and non-residential programme of organised educational training courses as scheduled. We will make any and all operational adjustments necessary to comply with legislation. Details of our current operational procedures to protect public health can be accessed via our website, and these will be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect any subsequent changes in legislation.

Plas y Brenin remains closed to members of the public who are not scheduled to join us for organised training courses or undertaking work commitments on site. The tightly regulated and self-contained nature of our centre operations serves to minimise any risks to our customers, staff and members of the local community. Since we reopened following the national lockdown, we have operated a pre-arrival screening process to minimise the risk of coronavirus being brought on-site by students.

Our programme of educational training courses has been designed to meet a number of needs; from those of individuals looking to improve their skills, safety and competence in the outdoors, to volunteers and professionals who work in a variety of outdoor environments providing a range of services. The training we provide has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of those we teach, and others they interact with through their work, volunteering or personal connections.

Mike Rosser, the British Mountaineering Council-nominated Director of Mountain Training Trust, the educational charity that runs Plas y Brenin said “The team at the centre are to be commended for the way they have risen to the challenge of COVID-19. In doing so, they continue their great work preparing coaches, leaders and instructors for volunteer and professional life, while also enabling hill walkers, climbers, mountaineers, paddlers and mountain bikers to improve their skills for the safe access, enjoyment and health benefits of the great outdoors. Plas y Brenin and other training providers have spent a significant amount of time testing and developing mitigation measures to enable them to operate safely during the pandemic.”

Robin Millar, Member of Parliament for Aberconwy, said: “We are all learning to live with COVID-19, and local restrictions are a part of that. It is very important that this includes safe and effective operations for charities, businesses and other organisations.

I remember going to Plas y Brenin as a child with school. They have been an international leader and national centre of excellence in outdoor teaching and education for more than half a century.

I have been impressed with how they are planning for the future and – just as importantly – how they have approached the challenges posed by this pandemic. Their preparations like many I have seen around the constituency, have been thorough, professional and motivated by the safety of staff, students, and the Capel Curig community they are proud to be part of.”

Research has shown that the risks of coronavirus transmission are extremely low in outdoor settings and getting plenty of exercise is recommended by the NHS to help individuals stay healthy and well. As the National Outdoor Centre, we believe that getting active in the outdoors is beneficial to all, and a responsible choice to help protect others. We continue to provide training, support and advice to enjoy the outdoors in safety for all those who seek to do so.

 

FInd out more about how we're keeping our students, staff and the local community COVID-safe