Located on Bishopstoke Road, Eastleigh the Youth Options Outdoor Learning Centre is a dedicated outdoor space to deliver a variety of programmes that engage young people with nature as a tool to develop their social and emotional capabilities, engage with learning and make positive decisions.

Work began in October 2020 to develop the once disused garden centre into a 3.16 acre site with it opening fully in July 2021. Sessions are now run from this site, and our four forest school sites at Itchen Valley Country Park throughout the week. 

If you would like to support our Outdoor Learning Centre you can donate here. There are also opportunities to volunteer at the site. Find out more about volunteering here.

Why is it Needed?
  • It is widely reported that children and young people are spending more and more time indoors. As time spent outside decreases, children and young people are experiencing increasingly poor levels of mental health and wellbeing.
  • There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that positive engagement with nature and the natural environment can lead to a reduction in stress, anxiety and depression which are all factors that affect mental and physical well-being.
  • The pandemic has seen an increase in the demand for our current outdoor learning services. This is for two reasons; a preference for outdoor activity due to infection control, and an increase in the number of young people experiencing issues as a result of the pandemic.
What Does it Offer?

Youth Options Outdoor Learning Centre provides a dedicated space for children and young people to be outside, engage with nature, and participate in outdoor learning. It will consist of:

  • a re-purposed classroom
  • a wooded area
  • forest school sites
  • meadow
  • orchard
  • polytunnel
  • habitat sites
  • toilets and a car park
  • office area for staff managing the centre

The Centre offers a range of services that appeal to children, young people and families including targeted intervention projects, holiday activity camps and site hire. This includes:

  • Targeted programmes for children and young people
  • Services for schools
  • Holiday clubs
  • Forest School 
  • Conservation skills
  • Accreditations such as the John Muir Award 

Our staff will support children and young people to learn about the natural world, encourage personal development, learn new skills, improve levels of mental health and wellbeing, engage with learning and develop their social and emotional capabilities.

Supported by

Allegra's Ambition         BSCF