Grenville House was built in 1863 founded by the 'British Seaman's Boys' Home' charity as an orphanage. Social changes saw the need for Grenville House diminish, leading to its temporary closure in 1988. Two years later it re-opened as the Nautical Venture Centre continuing its work with young people, particularly local schools. In 1995 the name finally became established as Grenville House Outdoor Education Centre. Since then continued growth and an increasing reputation both regionally and nationally has seen expansion in all aspects of the operation. Major ongoing investment in the buildings, the facilities and the development of Outdoor activities has led to Grenville House building a core base of schools, Colleges and Youth and Community groups coming to use the Centre annually. Initially the Centre developed as an associate member of the Devon Discovery group of outdoor centres forming close links with both Devon County Council Education Department and Plymouth City Council. Whilst still acknowledged by them, Torbay Council, which now has unitary status actively promotes Grenville House in the Torbay area. Consequently the majority of schools coming to the Centre are from within the county boundary of Devon.
Since 2006 Devon and Torbay Councils have recognised Grenville House as a leading provider of outdoor education in Devon and consequently we are one of only a handful of establishments holding Category 'A' status.
The Grenville House Approach
Our main purpose is to uphold the remit of the charity which seeks to enhance the social and personal development of young people. This is achieved by capitalising on the Centre's superb location, its excellent facilities and through sensitive use of the local outdoor environment. Residential groups have sole use of the Centre during their stay and are free to use the facilities as they wish. All that is required is that Grenville House is handed back in the condition that it was received. In order to help groups achieve this the centre's own general guidelines are established upon arrival. Leaders are free to supplement these with any others specific to their group.
The aim of the residential experience which provides the opportunity to appreciate ownership, mutual respect and teamwork is further aided by the groups' involvement in the day to day domestic care of the Centre. Rotas are set up by visiting group leaders to ensure that everybody contributes to the daily routine of cleaning, washing dishes, setting tables for meals, keeping dormitories tidy etc. Many groups return to Grenville House annually and they help to maintain the high standards provided through their care of the Centre and its facilities during their stay. Our professional and dedicated staff aim to provide a warm, relaxed and friendly atmosphere in comfortable surroundings. We endeavour to be as flexible and adaptable as possible using all available resources to ensure that the visit goes according to plan. There is no such thing as an 'off the shelf' programme as each group has specific needs, therefore whatever options are required it can be tailor-made to suit.
The Facilities and Catering
Resident groups have exclusive use of the main Centre throughout their stay, although groups who wish to do so may share by mutual agreement. Access is controlled via coded locks on all doors into the building ensuring that all visitors to the Centre are secure.
There is plenty of space available both inside and outside for up to 81 residents. Nominally this would comprise 60 children i.e. 10 activity groups, plus 21 staff. Whatever the size of your group the Centre provides a comfortable base for the programme of your choice.
Gas central heating, full double-glazing and hot showers ensure a warm welcome throughout the year.
Centre Floor Plan
The dining room and lounge are also suitable for activities requiring a large working area such as Arts, crafts or drama workshops. A state of the Art Smart TV and & Home Cinema system (Including Blu-Ray player) in the lounge is available to show images and videos of the days activities, access the internet or play music through the docking station.
The Chapel/Old schoolhouse is now a multi-purpose hall, which is often used for concerts, and plays by Music and Drama based groups.
Our mother and daughter housekeeping team create a homely feeling providing wholesome meals in our state of the art modern kitchen which includes an Oven & Grill, Food Warmer, Microwave, fridges and freezer plus hot water boiler for instant hot drinks. Energy levels are kept topped up with many asking for seconds, thirds and sometimes more with the traditional Roast Dinner and Kay's Apple Crumble perennial favourites. Menus are set using healthy ingredients with no deep fat fryer to be seen. All dietary needs can be catered for and with prior arrangement personalised menus can be set.
There are separate changing rooms and hot showers for both groups and leaders for those taking part in outdoor activities.
For those wishing to eat 'Al Fresco' there is a BBQ area with picnic tables looking out over the Marina towards Paignton and Torquay. For those with steam left over they can blow it off in an enclosed playground suitable for team games e.g. 5-aside football situated at the rear of the Centre.
A payphone is available for those residents who need to contact the outside world - 01803 855077.
Visitors are requested to bring as few vehicles as possible as on site parking is available but limited. However in the event that they are needed there are two municipal Car Parks a short walk from the Centre.