Midhurst Youth Centre in bid to save Stedham campsite

Camping at Stedham before the site closed
Camping at Stedham before the site closed

THE Midhurst Youth Centre Trust has made a ‘community right to buy’ bid for the West Sussex County Council (WSCC) owned Stedham campsite.

The campsite, which has a £300,000 price tag on it, has played host to some 5,000 young people a year, from schools, scouts and guides and Duke of Edinburgh award groups, but last year it was closed by the county council as part of financial cuts.

The campsite, next to the former St Cuthman’s school, was then put up for sale.

But now chairman of the Midhurst Youth Trust Colin Hughes is hoping to save the campsite and reopen it.

“The trust has been given a substantial sum of money by a charitable trust fund,” said Mr Hughes, “and it is our intention to reinstate the campsite to its former use.

“We are very excited that we have been able to play a part in saving this well-used and much-loved campsite.”

It is envisaged the youth trust would take over the running of the campsite at Stedham from its Lambert Lane base. “It has local school and youth organisation connections as well as the expertise to make this a viable task,” said Mr Hughes.

He said it was considered a great loss when West Sussex County Council was forced to close the site due to lack of funds.

“The trust hopes it can continue to offer what the county council made possible in the first place, and that WSCC will view the offer of the Midhurst Youth Trust a generous one in these circumstances and will choose to accept it.”

Mr Hughes said the Midhurst Youth Trust offered youth activities to many young people in the Rother Valley and youth groups across West Sussex supported its bid to save the facilities.

The youth trust planned to work with the National Trust and the National Park to maximise the use of the campsite and the range of activities and rural crafts it offered.

“The charitable trust supporting us has generously allowed an additional sum to make fit for purpose the current facilities,” Mr Hughes told the Observer.

This included improved toilets and renovation of classroom and workshop areas

“We have the support of other local organisations, including one other charitable trust.”