Sussex outdoor activity centre in fight for survival

A Sussex outdoor activity centre has said it is ‘determined to survive’ after losing 12 weeks of income.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 2:46 pm

Lodge Hill, in Watersfield, had to stop its activities which help develop young people due to lockdown restrictions.

But despite the risk of closure 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.

A spokesman said: “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.

Lodge Hill offers a range of activities. Photo: Graham Franks Photography

“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, he added.

The spokesman said: “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.”

But this will remain a trickle due to safeguarding requirements and until social distancing measures are relaxed.

He added: “With the recent easing of restrictions, Lodge Hill is concentrating on the resumption of Covid secure outdoor activities, 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.”

For donations or to enquire about the facilities at Lodge Hill, call 01798 831411 or email [email protected]

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