Arethusa Venture Centre Rochester
Lower Upnor, Rochester, Kent, ME2 4XB
MONTHS OPENJanuary, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Listed under: Day Trip Destinations | Curriculum Subject / Activity Type | Climbing Centres | Water Sports | Team Building | Personal Development-Mentoring | Outdoor Pursuits | Outdoor Education | Environment Centres | Climbing, High Ropes & Zipwires | Bushcraft | Adventure Playgrounds | PSHE | PE (Physical Education/Sport) | Geography | Citizenship | Adventure Activity Centre
What we offer on a school trip
History of Arethusa
The Arethusa Venture Centre (AVC) is part of Shaftesbury Young People, established as Shaftesbury Homes and Arethusa in 1843. It was the brainchild of William Williams, a solicitor's clerk, who witnessed some ruffians on a train, all manacled together, en route to deportation via Plymouth. He spoke to the young people and was so shocked by their stories that he decided to do something to break the cycle of deprivation and poverty among street children from London.
Working with Lord Shaftesbury, they worked together to offer boys the opportunity to learn a trade or be trained for the Royal Navy or Merchant service aboard a disused ship which Lord Shaftesbury purloined from the Navy. HMS Chichester, the first ship, was moored on the River Thames at Greenhithe. The Chichester was followed by HMS Arethusa, famous for being the last Royal Navy warship to go into battle under sail, the figurehead from which can still be seen today at the AVC.
The ship was replaced in 1933 by the Peking (which was renamed the Arethusa) moored at Lower Upnor on the River Medway. Sport was also important and swimming was a core part of the curriculum, and when the ship moved to Upnor a purpose built swimming pool was built so boys no longer risked picking up diseases from polluted water. To this day swimming is regarded as important and AVC provides a modern heated swimming pool for all residential groups.
In 1974 the Arethusa, the third training ship, was sold to the South Street Seaport Museum in the USA and reverted to the name Peking. The shore based facilities at Lower Upnor, still owned by Shaftesbury Homes and Arethusa, were refurbished and the Arethusa Venture Centre set up for groups of inner city children to get out of London and enjoy the outdoors. The Centre has grown over the years and today works with 7,000 children every year, many coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Arethusa is an established provider with 35 years experience running school journeys and adventurous activities.
Making new friends, outdoor learning and having fun are the key focuses at Arethusa where young people are encouraged to attempt things they have not done before, whether it is a river trip in a canoe or simply taking an active role in a teambuilding game.
For many KS2 children a visit to the Arethusa will be the highlight of their primary years.
For KS3/KS4 and teacher training, Arethusa provides an excellent team building package offering leadership, trust and communication skills through an exciting choice of activities. Programmes available for those at risk of exclusion,alternative currriculum projects etc.
Arethusa caters for children across the special needs spectrum and provides accommodation for those wirh disabilities.