Lodge Hill, the outdoor experience centre for young people, has started to bounce back from lockdown by opening some of its facilities for small groups and families from the same household. The centre, a registered charity based in Watersfield, near Pulborough, had to close following the lockdown. With no income generated since March this could have led to the charity closing for good.
However Chair of Trustees Matthew Wykes, CEO Lisa May, and the Board of Trustees were determined to keep the charity afloat, knowing there would be an even greater demand for its activity-led programmes once the pandemic had died down.
With nearly all the staff furloughed, thankfully Lodge Hill succeeded in obtaining funding through generous donations from individuals, Foundations and Trusts, for which it is very grateful. This has helped fund basic running costs, and a core team has been maintained to oversee essential maintenance, provide site security, and prepare for safe operations to resume.
The funding obtained only covered the initial 12 weeks of lockdown, and whatever social distancing advice is issued, it is unlikely that Lodge Hill can return to full capacity for some time. There will undoubtedly be a serious impact on Lodge Hill’s ability to generate the income needed to cover the winter months. The Trust would therefore gratefully receive any further donations, which can of course be gift-aided.
On a positive note, the Centre is now taking small bookings for children and families who need a safe place to exercise. This will remain limited due to safeguarding requirements and until social distancing measures are relaxed.
On offer from 4th July is a campsite, two woodland lodges and cottage; all set within 32 acres of woodland. Prices and numbers are dictated by social distancing and the size of group, so prices are currently being calculated on an individual basis. Current outdoor activities which can be run are sno tubing, shelter building, low ropes, forest arts and crafts and orienteering.
These will be expanded as restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so and are being planned in conjunction with summer visitor groups. The priority must be for safe visits to the site, whilst still allowing young people to enjoy the benefits of outdoor activities and have fun in the Trust’s 32 acres of woodland.
Lodge Hill is determined to survive Covid-19 and continue with its outdoor activities, which have proved so important in the development of young people. The Trust therefore appeals to any company, organisation or individual who can help fund its core costs during the transition period to make contact.
To enquire about family or group bookings and an update on available activities, or for donations or to enquire about the amazing facilities at Lodge Hill, call 01798 831411 or email email@example.com.
The centre’s website is www.lodgehill.org.uk