parents page

Parents information

We appreciate that a visit to Fairthorne Manor may be the first time your child has been away from home, but we will work with your child’s group leaders to make their visit a comfortable, enjoyable and memorable one!

To help you prepare them for the visit, to put their mind at ease and to satisfy many of the questions you may have we have put together some useful pre-visit information below.  From the type of food served and what does the accommodation look like, to are the activities safe and how qualified are the staff, we think it’s all covered in the tabs below.

If you have any further concerns or would like to speak to one of our staff, please contact us on 01489 785228.


Our team of dedicated staff are our greatest resource:

  • friendly, flexible and approachable
  • DBS checked to the enhanced level
  • First Aid trained (appointed person)
  • trained in child protection, child/youth engagement skills and child behaviour management

We have a core of permanent, high quality delivery staff for our residential school and group trips which is enhanced each year with the addition of enthusiastic overseas and UK volunteers and apprentices.  YMCA Fairthorne Manor has a comprehensive Safeguarding Policy and as part of this, all staff are DBS checked.


We offer over 25 activities for group visits providing a wide range of options to develop:

  • team building
  • communication
  • problem solving
  • decision making
  • confidence
  • leadership & planning
  • personal challenge

All activities are located on our 111 acre site where we have our own lake and access to the River Hamble, enabling us to make the most of the time your child’s group has with us.  Our activity groups are based on a maximum of 12 children per group – our staff deliver the activity sessions and we ask your group to provide an adult to accompany each activity group.

For images of our activities, please see our gallery.  We only offer water activities between April and October inclusive.

To ensure we maximise the availability of our activities and staff and offer opportunities to as many groups as possible, we use the following activity times with all sessions running for 90 minutes:

Session Winter Summer
(1 Jan – 4 April & 3 Nov – 24 Dec) (5 April – 2 November)
1 0900-1030 0930-1100
2 1045-1215 1115-1245
3 1315-1445 1345-1515
4 1500-1630 1530-1700

Evening activities

For those residential school and groups staying between Monday and Friday, we offer free evening activities of wide games, sports night, YMCA led campfire and disco.  Evening activities are also available at weekends, but are pre-booked in advance by your groups’ leader.

We work hard to ensure the health, safety and welfare of both individuals and groups visiting our site. We pay particular attention to the needs of children and young people by ensuring that government health and safety guidelines and legislation are adhered to and monitored by designated personnel (Health and Safety Policy Statement).


Where an activity falls within the scope of a national governing body, all instruction is carried out within the guidelines of that organisation, including staff ratios and staff qualifications. Where an activity is considered to be high risk and is outside the scope of a governing body, staff training is carried out ‘ in house’ and our instructors are assessed by a qualified external assessor.

Some of our activities are covered by the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority (AALA); licence details can be confirmed by contacting The Licensing Service on 029 2075 5715; alternatively visit the AALA website and enter “Fairthorne” in the “centre/provider” box.  For written confirmation of our general cover, see our risk assessment and insurance document.

The physical infrastructure of our high ropes activities is inspected annually by an accredited external assessor to ensure they are safe and fit for purpose; activities are then inspected in-house on a regular basis. Our equipment, including harnesses and helmets, is regularly checked and held within permitted life spans.


YMCA Fairthorne Manor has public liability insurance cover for up to £10 million.

Fire safety

In accordance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 all of our buildings, including accommodation, have been risk assessed for fire safety.  To ensure that groups are aware of what to do in the event of a fire, a practice fire drill is held on the day of arrival based on the fire list that group leaders have returned to us.

Site risk assessment

Group leaders carrying out their own risk assessments for their visit to Fairthorne Manor must consider the following hazards: tidal river, lake and streams, woodland areas, play park and driveways and buildings.


YMCA Fairthorne Manor is a Hampshire County Council approved outdoor activity centre with the following accreditation:

Our instructors are in-house trained for various activities and externally assessed by the relevant bodies. e.g by British Canoe Union assessors to deliver kayaking, canoeing and bell boating.

With over 60 years experience of running adventure programmes for children,  Fairthorne Manor is able to provide extra support and assistance for children and young people with additional needs.

Non-physical Support & Additional Needs

None of our activities are off limits for children with non-physical additional needs. Patience, understanding and experience are the main tools for assisting these children.

Physical Support and Additional Needs

Depending on the severity of an individual’s disability, a range of our activities can be adapted for children with additional needs.

The following activities all have special equipment to help less physically able children and young people take part in the them:

  • Aerial Runway
  • Tree Abseiling
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Archery

If your child has specific additional needs, please talk to your group leader who will liaise with our staff team on how best to support your child’s needs.


We provide accommodation for up to 450 people in total utilising our two indoor blocks and pre-erected tents.  For images of the accommodation, please visit our gallery:

Ben’s House – 84 beds

  • 18 x 4 bedded bunk rooms with sinks (see floor plan)
  • 6 x twin leaders rooms with en-suite facilities
  • 3 x leaders lounges with comfortable sofas, sink, tea/coffee facilities, fridge, lockable medicine fridge and safe
  • 3 x wing, single storey, secure building enabling flexibility of use for several groups
  • disabled bathroom facilities, including a wet room
  • 3 x outside covered briefing areas
  • landscaping includes child friendly and disabled access paths

Heald House – 90 beds

  • accommodation over 3 floors, enabling flexibility of use for different groups
  • 90 x beds in a combination of 2, 3, 4 and 6 bunk bedded rooms (see floor plan)
  • an en-suite leaders room on the middle and top floors
  • fridge and tea/coffee making facilities on each floor
  • secure entry to each floor
  • briefing area on each floor with seating

 Camping – up to 250 people

  • pre-erected 6 or 8 person tents with wooden floors for children and young people
  • separate tents for leaders with camp beds
  • 5 dedicated tent villages
  • communal group marquee for each tent site with lighting, fridge, chairs and power
  • access to two separate toilet and shower blocks

All of our accommodation heating and hot water is supplied by an environmentally friendly district heating scheme, powered by a wood chip fuelled biomass boiler.


The majority of meals are served in the Daffodil Room, a purpose built dining room built in 2009 for up to 215 people.   Pictures of the dining room are available in our gallery.

Family Dining

Our aim is to create a social dining environment, where we move away from seeing meal times as an opportunity to simply ‘re-fuel’ and instead promote the social aspect of groups sharing meals together.  To achieve this we offer a family service dining experience rather a canteen style servery, where groups serve and share food amongst themselves.

Sample menus are available, but please note that menus are subject to change.  From the end of the autumn half term to the end of March, groups are invited to dine in the Daffodil room each lunchtime; between Easter and October half terms, a packed lunch is offered which is collected from the dining hall and eaten within the grounds.  From Tuesday to Friday, visitors select their lunch requirements from a number of options.  Sunday lunch is always a roast.

We can cater for the vast majority of dietary needs and are more than willing to discuss any concerns you may have in advance of your residential school and group trip.  Your child’s group leader is asked to provide us with a list of dietary requirements a number of weeks in advance of their visit.

Our meal times are as follows:

Winter Summer
(1 Jan – 4 April & 3 Nov – 24 Dec) (5 April – 2 November)
Breakfast 0800 0730 & 0830
Lunch 1215 1245
Dinner 1730 1730 & 1830

During the busy summer term, meal times may be adjusted as we often need to run sittings.  Meal times are confirmed on your arrival.

Kit List

YMCA Fairthorne Manor is an inspiring and memorable place to visit for children and young people.  The vast majority of our activities are outside, so please ensure you send your child with clothing appropriate for all weathers.

Residential visits

To make your child’s visit as comfortable as possible we have put together a residential kit list – our best advice is to send your child with old clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and muddy and to label everything!

Day trips

For day trips, we recommend the following depending on any additional arrangements you may have made with your group leader:

  • Packed lunch and a drink (refillable bottle as we have plenty of water points around site)
  • Warm clothing (jacket, jumpers, t-shirts)
  • Shoes that can/will get wet
  • Towel (warm showers and changing facilities are available)
  • Spare clothes (a complete set including pants!)
  • Spare shoes to travel home in
  • Plastic bag (to put wet clothes in)

Please do not send your child with flip flops or crocs, mobile phones, electronic equipment or other items of value as we cannot be held responsible for them.