Parents, teachers and volunteers have urged the public to get behind a campaign to save an influential children’s camp from closure.

Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) is in the process of discussing the future of Cuffley Camp, an outdoor centre for young people.

Based in Carbone Hill, it is used by schools and youth groups from across the county and many residents have fond memories of their time there.

With the centre facing closure due to a lack of funding, a petition has been launched to try and persuade the council to keep it open.

Felicity Mckinnon, who supports the campaign, wrote: “My children and their friends have visited many times and have benefited hugely from the experience.

“It has given them confidence, developed their sense for adventure, taught them to respect the natural environment and have learned first-hand about wildlife and how important it is to keep a sense of balance to life.”

Her words were echoed by Andy Borrows, who has been volunteering at Cuffley for the past four years.

He noted how, with the unstoppable rise of technology in the 21st century, the camp acts as a vital haven for both teachers and pupils.

“Some of the old teaching staff very much enjoy coming back. They know what camping is all about – going out into the woods, cooking with a gas stove fire,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of work done on the benefits of children getting closer to nature and there’s quite a bit of interest in that.

“They spend more and more time indoors in front of computers and things change because of that. It’s changed their whole understanding of the world.

“So it’s not just a throwback to a ‘bygone age’, but it’s actually more relevant than ever before.

“But this will never appear on a balance sheet so it won’t mean much to the council.”

HCC, which holds a lease on the property at Cuffley, has, according to the site’s landlord, “not maintained [it] to an acceptable standard”.

It has also not complied with year on year investment as stipulated in the terms of the lease.

Peter Hosier, head of service at YC Hertfordshire, explained how it owes just shy of £3,000 following 11 years of non-payment. He confessed that, due to these circumstances, the matter boils down to finance.

Cllr John Graham said: “We are where we are. My three children went to Cuffley Camp but it’s moved on since then. We have a decision to make, as much as I regret it.”

Cllr Tim Hutchings agreed, noting how “we have all made decisions that we don’t want to make” and that the council has to “cut its cloth accordingly”.

But Anthony Rowlands argued that HCC was not thinking about the bigger picture, citing comments from a number of concerned and disappointed parents.

He said: “It has the potential to be a fantastic site, it’s an oasis. But it has been undermanaged – it’s simply been ignored.”

To sign the petiton, click here