COVID-19 UPDATE as at November 2020

The Trustees continue to meet regularly and we thought we would update you on our thinking and plans for the future.

Our first meeting this year was on 14 January 2020 when we were able to confirm we were able to stick to our plan from July 2019 which was to increase our funds to around 50% of our target – i.e. £300,000 by 31 July 2020); once we got to the 50% milestone, we believed other major funders would step in to enable us to complete the project.

And then we, like almost everyone else, were somewhat taken by surprise by the onset and virulence of COVID19. In January 2020 we had three or four really hopeful money streams which would have enabled us to meet our July 2020 target but most of those avenues have been closed – for now anyway.

But the point we emphasise is that this project is not only to re build the old Scout Hut as an innovative and long lasting Activity Centre but also as a desperately needed day centre for the thriving Exeter based disability activity charity CEDA (Charity no 1096528). Fortunately CEDA’s services and finances have held up well during this Pandemic and they, like many other successful charities, have to plan for the long term. CEDA are relieved that this Project is “ready to go” in that we have Planning Permission, Detailed Plans and Costings, so they will be prepared to wait for as long as it takes for the money to be raised and the Centre to be built.

The Project is definitely one that will remain attractive to funders/grant making trusts. It is just that we realise that, for the foreseeable future, charity and government funding is likely to be directed mostly towards emergency and other funding for those that have suffered in so many ways from this terrible virus. We recognise that the South West and Topsham have not suffered badly as a result of COVID19 and therefore won’t be in line for the sort of funding that will be available in the next year or so.

We also believe that if we put a hold on re starting fundraising activities until say Early September 2021 (with the aim of achieving 50 % funding by mid 2022), we will be able to take full advantage of all the funding that we believe should become available as part of the Government’s stated plans to foster an era of “Build,build,build”. We are very hopeful that Topsham Adventure Centre , as a joint venture between a longstanding and growing local Scout Group and a thriving Disability Charity- CEDA- will tick all the boxes for funders. The delay has the added advantage in that by the time construction starts, building material supply lines will have recovered thereby enabling the construction work to proceed with minimal delays.

Rest assured that the Trustees are continuing to meet six times per year when we will review and hopefully take advantage of funding streams not governed by COVID. We just ask you all to keep the faith. Another two years or so to get the project underway does not seem that long bearing in mind the history. The Scouts resumed their activities, in a socially distanced way as from September 2020.