Anderton Centre in Rivington rivals facilities in Lake District

Top times at the Anderton Centre
Top times at the Anderton Centre
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A new leisure boss is making a real splash 
at the charity-run multi-activity Anderton Centre in Rivington.

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Caroline Scholz has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of the Anderton Centre

Caroline Scholz has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of the Anderton Centre

Caroline Scholz has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of the outdoor activity centre, which has been running residential educational programmes along with fun, safe learning experiences for more than 20 years.

Set in woodland off New Lane, the centre, built on land of the former 19th-century Anderton Hall, is run by Lancashire Outdoor Activities Initiative (LOAI) and caters for multi-activity breaks for school children and young people to corporate and community organisations.

The site was formerly run as a training and conference centre for United Utilities, with the charity taking over the reins in 2009.

Caroline, who has many years experience in the charity sector and is a volunteer trustee for another charity says: “Everyone thinks you need to go to the Lake District for outdoor activity days and residentials, particularly the water-based activities – but we have the most beautiful landscape and wonderful facilities, including our very own 2km reservoir which we have exclusive use of here in Rivington.

Mark Collinson chief instructor at Anderton Centre

Mark Collinson chief instructor at Anderton Centre

“I want to make sure everyone interested in our outdoor activities gets the opportunity to take part, enjoy the location and amazing activities we have to offer.

“Our instructors are so enthusiastic and skilled, it’s easy to see the possibilities for expanding both the types of activities and the way we engage with clients.”

The LOAI had been responsible for the running of land-based activities and sailing/water activities under the ownership of United Utilities.

The takeover allowed the charity to expand its offering from day trips to fully catered residentials.

Mark Collinson, chief instructor at Anderton Centre, in Rivington

Mark Collinson, chief instructor at Anderton Centre, in Rivington

The site is hailed as the ‘mini Lake District’, nestled at the foot of the West Pennines with exclusive access to Lower Rivington reservoir.

Activities on offer for adventure-hungry visitors range from canoeing to kayaking, abseiling, and climbing, to low ropes course, tree climb, abseil, leap of faith, archery, orienteering, and problem solving games.

Mark Collinson, 28, is the chief instructor and has more than a decade’s experience in the leisure industry.

His particular passion is for paddle sports and he thrives off delivering sessions to engage young people into sport.

Caroline says: “Mark ensures our sessions are delivered to the highest quality, discovers opportunities for new activities and is always looking at how we can improve as a centre.”

There is a team of 15 permanent staff, with activities through the year delivered by a further 60 outdoor professional qualified freelance instructors and a board of eight trustees.

The centre also provides a range of work experience opportunities. Savannah Mason, 18, is currently undergoing a 12-month trainee instructor programme. Living on site during her traineeship, she is successfully completing her qualifications in outdoor activities.

She is working towards her British Canoeing UKCC Level 1 coach and has already completed her outdoor first aid qualification, RYA Level 2 Powerboat and Safety Boat Training and is an Archery GB Instructor.

She says she particularly enjoys the variety of outdoor activities on offer along with the vibrancy of the centre and working with primary school residential groups.

On completion of her traineeship, Savannah will continue to work at The Anderton Centre as a freelance instructor.

Caroline adds: “The team at the centre have been so welcoming that it doesn’t feel like I have only been here a couple of weeks, I feel like I have already been accepted as part of the family, I am very excited for the future of The Anderton Centre.”

The Anderton Centre was officially reopened in July 1999 after the residential accommodation was built.

The history of the manor goes back to the 1800s.

Prior to being demolished, the stately home was known to have links with Lord Levenshulme.