High Sheriff of West Sussex David Tupper cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony of two new ‘eco-lodges’ at the Lodge Hill Centre near Pulborough, used by youth groups across the Midhurst and Petworth area.
The new lodges will offer self-catering, cost-effective accommodation and disabled facilities for an extra 24 young people.
They will be available to all young voluntary and educational groups and the centre says interest has already been shown by disabled groups, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and the Prince’s Trust.
Those staying at the lodges will have the use of more than 20 outdoor team-building activities in the 32 acres of woodland.
Last week the official opening ceremony started with a welcome to patrons, donors, friends and trustees as well as staff, by chairman of the Lodge Hill Centre Trust, Richard Evea.
He thanked all donors for the part they had played in building the eco-lodges, and gave a brief resume of the work of Lodge Hill and how important it was to have such a centre for the development and education of young people today.
Trust president Penny Hardwick invited David Tupper, and Dennis Minns, UK representative of the Bradbury Foundation, the main donor, to jointly cut the ribbon.
Mr Tupper told guests he believed the new lodges would ‘inspire many young people to learn more about the environment and the impact of the eco changes our world is facing in the future’.
He said: “I would also like to thank the Bradbury Foundation for all their support for this project.
“The younger generation of West Sussex, whatever their ability, are very fortunate to have such an inspirational facility as Lodge Hill, where they can learn to be valuable members of society.
“We all have a responsibility for our community and the next generation especially so, and now they will be able to use the eco-lodges’ and be inspired by all that they offer.
“In today’s unsettled times I feel very confident our county’s youngsters will come to value and boast open minds – forget the trainers and the plasma TVs, and give wisdom a chance.”
Guests were then invited to tour the new lodges, and a barbecue was served by scouts and guides.
Among the eco-friendly features of the new lodges are roof tiles made from recycled plastic, recycled rainwater which is used for toilet flushing and energy-efficient insulation and heating.
They are built with materials that blend into the landscape and each sleep up to 14 people.