A POPULAR outdoor education centre is the latest publicly-funded facility under threat as part of budget cuts.

South Cerney's Outdoor Education Centre (SCOEC) is situated within the Cotswold Water Park and owned by Gloucestershire County Council, which has confirmed that the centre's future is under review as part of the authority's bid to make £108million of savings over the next four years. Those savings will include a £3.6m reduction of the youth services budget.

Linda Uren, director of children's services, said the review into SCOEC was part of a wider consultation on the council's youth service provision.

She said: "The council is moving away from providing a general service to all young people, instead focusing on working with young people who are at risk of getting into difficulties.

"We are proposing to no longer provide the outdoor and environmental education services."

Simon Holloway, operations manager at SCOEC, would not comment on the situation.

Although just four percent of schools in Gloucestershire use the centre, it is popular with schools from Swindon and Wiltshire.

Special schools use the centre because of its disabled facilities and it is also popular with youth groups such as guide packs and scout troops.

Fun activities at SCOEC include sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and snorkling. The centre also runs a number of courses for adults.

Emily Hallett runs South Cerney's youth project and said it would be a "great loss" if the centre closed its doors.

"’Every summer for the past three years we take the youths there for a day out," she said.

"It is a really useful venue for us and a fantastic facility. If it disappeared, we would struggle to find somewhere suitable for the children."

Mike Stuart, chairman of the South Cerney Parish Council, said the centre was one of the best in the country and it would be a great shame for the whole of Gloucestershire if it shut.

To make a representation go to gloucestershire.gov.uk