The organisation was founded over 80 years ago in 1924 by Joseph Allnatt, a visionary and entrepreneur. He bought a dis-used aerodrome in St Mary's Bay, Kent and converted it into a Residential Centre for Schools during the summer and ran it as a Turkey farm during the winter!
The Camp was huge, accommodating over a thousand children per week engaged in a vast programme of outdoor activities in the extensive grounds, and visits into the surrounding countryside. A highlight of the week was the Campfire and Sing Song attended on occasions by the Duke of York. Later Royalty included the Princess Royal and the Crown Prince of Norway, who with heavy bodyguard presence, managed to complete a Geography Field Trip each!
Now operating as allnatt venues we provide an innovative and complementary service during school holidays and during weekends. Our venues offer a perfect setting for wedding concert and special events. At East Dene we have dedicated three summer holiday weeks to Freedom Families, families who are living with autism and related behaviours.
However the education of children remains our core business in all our programmes we teach a healthy respect for the outdoors, not a fear of it, and encourage all our guests to get outside into the environment and feel the benefits of fresh sea air and physical exercise. The Chatsworth Centre is in such an inspirational setting with a great diversity of habitats to explore. We encourage everyone to stretch themselves out of their comfort zone in a supportive and encouraging group situation, through physical and mental challenges. We stimulate everyone to think about the environment and to take simple steps towards sustainability.
Our Field Studies Department continues to thrive and is being developed to meet the ever changing curriculum requirements. We are this year aiming to complement this by offering more outdoor adventure programmes. We are very fortunate to have our centres in fantastic locations and hope to make the most of that even more over the coming years.
In short, we are going to educate more, inspire more and play more!
Finally, but not least, we recognise that not only does every child matter but so do adults! We aim to make your stay as comfortable and inspirational as we can by providing a genuinely friendly and professional service, improved facilities and new ideas annually.