Woodland near Dover is being used to reduce unemployment by delivering education and training to young people. Woodpecker Court, near Eythorne, comprises a therapy hut, two classrooms, two outdoor cooking sites, three workshops, a rifle range, a craft shed and several other “team-building areas”.
It runs activities for all ages, but principal Dominic Meehan is concerned about its ability to continue offering training to unemployed young people over the age of 16. Mr Meehan says that Government will not fund places for students without an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) – even though many other young people would benefit from courses.
I visited the site – and have urged government ministers to pick up the funding. This facility allows people of all ages to access our beautiful woodland and learn important skills at the same time. It’s exactly the sort of alternative provision that is so useful inspiring young people outside of the traditional classroom.
We need to ensure places like this get the support they need, so that young people get the education they need. I have asked ministers to look into this urgently.