The end of the dormitory? Broads study centre looks to reshape for post-Covid comeback

How Hill is keen to get back to doing what it does best - helping children to learn and have fun on

How Hill is keen to get back to doing what it does best - helping children to learn and have fun on The Broads - and is planning for a post-Covid future which is likely to see things done differently Picture: How Hill - Credit: Archant

For generations of Norfolk school children dorm-living - if only for a few days - was part and parcel of a stay at a Broads’ study centre.

The environmental study centre at How Hill has been welcoming children for residential trips since t

The environmental study centre at How Hill has been welcoming children for residential trips since the 1960s but may have to do things differently in the post-Covid era, including changing the dormitories Picture: How Hill - Credit: Archant

The fight for a bunk, sleeping with snoring, chatting classmates, and emerging totally sleep-deprived for the whole of the first day was the norm for a dorm.

However, all that could change as How Hill, at Ludham, looks to reshape its offer for the post-Covid era.

Chairman Nick Price said the centre had lost much of its main income from schools during the lockdown and that it would have “to do things differently”.

He said: “How Hill has a proud history and a big place in the hearts, and minds, of Norfolk people.

Although it has been a tough year Nick Price, chaiman at How Hill, is optimistic and planning for th

Although it has been a tough year Nick Price, chaiman at How Hill, is optimistic and planning for the future Picture: How Hill - Credit: Archant


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“It has given many of them, as visiting schoolchildren, a life-long knowledge and love of the Broads countryside and nature.

“We are determined to ensure it has a vibrant future too – despite all the challenges Covid has thrown at us, and other charities.

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“Thanks to good housekeeping by the board and staff, plus some generous donations from the public, our finances are reasonably sound, and are helping us through these months of lost core income.

“The furloughed staff are loyal and remain committed to our work.

“They are keen to return when we get the green light, but we will most likely have to do things differently.

“A recent board meeting looked at ways of re-shaping How Hill for the post Covid era.

“Decisions have yet to be made, but they could include altering facilities in the building, such as dormitory bedrooms, and making more of our popular tea rooms, which are enjoyed by walkers, and boaters moored at the nearby staithe.”

If residential stays remained an issue after lockdown lifted, extra day visits – for children and adults – were also an option.

Educational work stopped back in March and may not happen again until next spring.

How Hill, originally built as a holiday home, was run by the county council from 1967 until it was taken over by the trust in 1984.

Currently the only regular income is donations from people enjoying the gardens.

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