New £500,000 Goodwood Education Centre opens

Rt. Hon Nick Gibb Minister of State (Minister for School Standards) has officially opened the new Goodwood Education Centre by Seeley Copse in Chichester, West Sussex on 10th September 2021.

Inspiring future generations

The brand new, purpose-built ecological hub and education centre was officially opened today by Rt. Hon Nick Gibb Minister of State. The VIP opening was held after a 10-month £750,000 community rebuild and celebrated the contribution of more than 35 local partners and contractors who joined forces at the height of Pandemic. Aligned with our values, the inspiring project was delivered by us at Thakeham for The Goodwood Trust that will inspire environmental understanding amongst young people in the South East (and beyond) for generations to come.

The Duke of Richmond, said:

More than 40 years ago, my father set out to inspire a love and understanding of the natural world amongst young people. Today, this new building will ensure that his vision to empower future generations to become guardians of the great outdoors will continue.

Valuable partnerships

The combined effort and support that we received from local partners and contractors, alongside ourselves at Thakeham has valued the environmental hub at over £500,000. Thanks to the community effort, over 3,000 children and young people will be able to use the facilities every year.

Rob Boughton, Thakeham Group CEO, said:

It’s rare, but every so often a community development project comes along which ignites all those involved. Seeley Copse is one of those projects. It represented an important opportunity to use our skills and the wider Thakeham family to drive transformation in a rural area and establish a leading centre for ecological learning.

The support we enjoyed from our partners throughout the South East is a wonderful endorsement of our shared vision for a better environmental future for the planet.

Providing valuable life experiences

Seeley Copse has already been a popular destination for learning about nature for more than 40 years, providing valuable life experiences for children who would not have had the chance to visit the countryside. It offers a valuable life experience and opportunity for youngsters to learn about the countryside, nature and where their food comes from. However, when the aged facilities became too small to meet local demand, we offered to support The Goodwood Education Trust to create a new shared vision for the facility.

The new centre will offer increased capacity and longer opening hours, providing young people with plentiful opportunities to learn about the ecology around them. To help them along the way, there will be brand new research equipment for them to use, including webcams and digital microscopes. In addition, the Internet connectivity has been boosted and the pre-established Nature Trail has been restored. Visitors from schools, colleges, community groups and charities will enjoy cooking activities, woodland management and rural arts and crafts.

Rt. Hon Nick Gibb, said:

“Whilst our schools are already rising to the challenge of making sure that every child is taught the knowledge they need; private organisations and the wider community can play their part too. The new Seeley Copse Education Centre is a wonderful example of just what can be achieved when an inspiring vision meets community action. The environmental education experience now available here at Goodwood will offer a valuable regional resource to enhance our extensive knowledge-rich curriculum.”

To read about our own educational programme, Eddie & Ellie, that we developed to equip local children with the knowledge and enjoyment of the nature and ecology around them, please click here.


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