Schools & Groups

We welcome children (9 min) and adults from schools, colleges, universities and all recognised groups – uniformed and non-uniformed youth groups, church, clubs, associations etc.  We can tailor a session or series of sessions to suit your group in any of the activities we offer.


The success of your visit depends on a partnership between you and the centre.  This information is to promote that process and to help you plan your visit.  Group leaders who have been to the Phoenix Outdoor Centre before will be familiar with most of it.  However, please read it!  It includes important health and safety information.  Please make sure other visiting staff and adult helpers have seen it too.

All activities are lead and supervised by British Canoeing, Royal Yachting Association or British Orienteering qualified coaches / instructors.  The purpose of the session is generally to provide a fun but safe introduction to the activity but with the addition of a range of benefits including self-development, teamwork and learning new skills as a shared experience. We can also link it to your classes curriculum to support other subjects.


When you arrive at the Centre, the Centre Organiser and coaches will need to see the Parent Permission forms and group list to check for swimming ability and health information. We will then welcome the group to the club and provide a safety induction and introduce the coaches.  The group is then shown to the Changing Rooms to change into activity clothing. You will be responsible for supervising the children getting changed and looking after valuables, if required. We will then kit them out with buoyancy aids and if the weather or activity dictates, helmets, cagoules (wind proof jackets) and wetsuits.

The groups are then given a demonstration on how to use the equipment and after some practice be briefed on capsize procedures and the correct method of carrying the equipment.  After a warm-up session, the group will carry the equipment to the slipway and get onto the water in small groups with their coach.  The group will be supervised by the coach / instructor at all times on the water and he/she will outline the area of water they will be using.  If using the Bell Boat, this will already be moored on the water.

Group leaders are welcome to join the group on the water, but will be counted as part of the student to coach ratio.  An adult must be available on land to supervise any members not taking part in the water activities.

Depending on the groups programme, the session will consist of some training to suit their ability and usually some fun and games as well.  We base our sessions on a two hour period which is an ideal time for an introductory session.  Longer sessions are available at extra cost.

At the end of the session, the group will carry the equipment back to the stores and replace the buoyancy aids and cagoules on their hangers.

The group can then go and get changed ready to be escorted back to your school, group headquarters / home.


Depending on the timing of your visit, you are welcome to eat your packed meal at the centre, inside or outside.  However, you are responsible for supervising your group during the food break.  Please ensure the group have washed their hands with soap and water or alcohol gel before handling their food or drink.


The sessions are mostly run at the Welsh Harp Reservoir, operating in and around the centre’s harbour area.  For progressing kayak groups, we may organise a day trip to the canal at Harefield, Hertford or for more advanced groups, a weekend trip to the River Wye near Hereford.


Group leaders and other adults coming with the group are welcome to arrange a pre-visit, as are other staff who may wish to know what goes on at the Phoenix Outdoor Centre.  Just telephone or send an e-mail to arrange a convenient time.


Payments for the group are paid in advance with the booking form.  Payments for extra group members can be paid on the day, but group sizes are limited by coaching ratios, so please check with the Centre Organiser before arrival. Cheques and BACS transfers are payable to “Phoenix Canoe Club Limited”


If travelling by car or minibus, you can access the club from Cool Oak Lane, NW9 7ND – minibuses beware, there is an overhead height restriction barrier at the car park entrance.  We can leave this open for you if requested. You can park in the car park, or if the white barrier next to the Football club house is open, drive down the track to the Phoenix Outdoor Centre.  Drivers should take extreme care on the track and in the car park and be aware that there may be children around, especially when reversing.  If you are arriving by coach the driver will need to let the group off onto the pavement in Cool Oak Lane at the entrance to the car park and find somewhere suitable nearby to park.

You can use public transport and the following buses stop nearby:

Edgware Road, West Hendon Broadway, NW9:

142, 183, 32, 632, 642, 653, 683, 83, N16, N5

Hendon Rail Station, Park Road, NW9

183, 653, 683, 83, N5

Queensbury Road, Kingsbury, NW9

302, 83, N98

Blackbird Hill, Brent, NW9

182, 245, 297, 302, N98


Children and adults taking part in water activities should bring suitable clothes to use on the water.  See leaflet “Clothing for Watersports” for more details.  Participants are likely to get wet, so it is important that they have a complete change of dry clothes and shoes to travel home in.  If it is sunny, ensure your group have hats and suntan lotion.  Buoyancy Aids will be provided and must be worn at all times on or near the water. Cagoules and in extreme circumstances, wet suits can be provided for the group.  All water users must wear old trainers or neoprene shoes in the boat to protect their feet from sharp objects in the event of a capsize – do not wear Crocs, wellies or slide on shoes.


Good behaviour is obviously essential so that your group is safe and gets the most out of their visit.  It is your responsibility to see that your group is adequately supervised outside of the coaching sessions.  We insist on at least one responsible adult for 12 children including the teacher or group leader.  You should also follow your own school, group or LEA guidelines.  Please make sure that all supervising adults are aware of the purpose of the day, and of their role – e.g. in helping and supervising a particular group.

All of our coaches are very experienced working with groups and children and are responsible for everyone on the water.  The activity coach reserves the right to exclude any members that, in their opinion, do not follow instructions or disrupt the group.


By the nature of the work we do, there are hazards.  We do what is reasonable to reduce the risks and start by giving a safety briefing, teaching capsize drill and good manual handling techniques for carrying the craft.  We encourage all adults and children to be “safety conscious” throughout.  You are welcome to have a copy of our risk assessments relevant to groups and to see our Health & Safety Policy – just ask.  In the summer, hay fever may be a problem for children or adults.  Please ensure that if applicable, sufferers have their inhalers or other medication.


The coach with your group will be a qualified first aider (with a current 8 hour certificate minimum) and will carry a first aid kit and mobile phone in their boat, when appropriate.

If there is an accident or “near miss”, it is to be recorded in the Accident / Incident Book.  In that event, please give the Centre Organiser any information you have.

There is a First Aid box located on the wall in the club house kitchen and expedition First Aid kits are taken on river journeys.

Fire: the procedure is explained in the safety talk.  Centre staff will take charge, but please prepare a list of children and adults and take a roll-call at the designated assembly point.


We ask group leaders to complete a simple evaluation form before they leave.  This is very helpful both in improving our service, and (hopefully) in being able to demonstrate, where necessary, that the service we provide is worthwhile.

Please remember to bring with you:

  • Parent Permission forms for all children
  • Group Register
  • A complete change of clothes & shoes for all participants

Download a Phoenix Outdoor Centre – Schools & Groups Prices – 2018 or to discuss your requirements and options, contact:

Centre Activities Manager – Mark Underwood – 07854 655968 /

Centre Organiser – Phil Atkinson – 07837 585798 /

Feedback form our schools and groups:

The children enjoyed the kayaking immensely and would like to return again soon!  TTTS Primary

Thanks so much for this morning.  The girls absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop talking about it in the afternoon!  Menorah Primary School

Many thanks for sorting out the river trip – they all had a good a great time. 11th Finchley Scouts

Thanks so much for the brilliant kayaking session. The kids really enjoyed it. Also thanks very much for the brilliant pics from Nick.  Kids Company

I am just writing to thank you for the amazing morning that my class and I had with you. Everything was so smooth and we all enjoyed it so much.  Menorah High School for Girls

Just to say a big thank you for laying on the whitewater experience last weekend. They all had a fantastic time and I have had some very positive feedback from parents. 11th Finchley Scouts



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Phoenix Canoe Club and Outdoor Centre

Phoenix Canoe Club Limited is a registered charity no. 1148787 and a company limited by guarantee, registration no. 8002910. Phoenix Canoe Club and Phoenix Outdoor Centre are trading names of Phoenix Canoe Club Limited.


Website by Ian Tokelove at Canoe London