I couldn’t write this without mentioning the pandemic we have been in since March 2020 and the affect it has had on all of us, both in and out of the business, so a quick summary of the impact
2020 saw us:
- Close our doors for several months with no activity
- unable to offer any beginner training due to social distancing restrictions
- no sailing in double handed boats altogether
- Instructor courses restricted to a single handed 3-day option
- No residential available
- Unable to open any of our centres in France
- Very understanding customers, willing to move courses
2021 improved considerably but we were still not able to operate as we have done in the past, still impacted by the Government restrictions until mid July for the majority of our customers
2021 saw us:
- Beginner training was back on
- Double handed sailing available again
- Dinghy Instructor courses have now returned to 5 days including double handed sailing
- Very restricted residential offer but only on a B&B basis
- Still unable to open our centres in France
- School activity trips extremely restricted
New Centre for 2021
Amongst all of the issues of covid, the big news for 2021 however was the opening of a new centre, (Buddens) in the heart of the Purbecks. From May 17th we have been fully open and operating at near full capacity every week. This is a 200-bed centre set up for school & group activity trips for their residential activity trips. What has been incredible is welcoming back the young people to enjoy the adventurous activities and to see them flourish away from home in 96 acres of space, enjoying the outdoors.
Likewise, this summer has seen an unprecedented demand for our courses at Rockley Point. In my 18 years in the business, this has probably been our busiest summer ever, with the most amount of people learning to sail on record, a huge positive to come out of everyone staying in the UK this summer.
In other news our 1st cohort of apprentices graduated earlier this year and are now employed in the business as senior / Lead Instructors. Our new intake of Outdoor Activity apprentices have just started and during their employment with us will be trained to instructor level both on the water and on the land based activities.
Looking ahead to 2022
We are hoping that things will hopefully be starting to get back to normal (we can but hope) and with that hopefully we will be able to offer our full range of courses again.
Our newest centre at Buddens will have further work and expansion done over the winter to increase our capacity and offering with new toilet / washroom facilities, further activity provision and more accommodation options.
Our education programmes grow from strength to strength with a new traineeship programme being added to our ever-popular level 3 extended diploma, level 2 diploma courses and Apprenticeship programme.
Over in France, having been closed for the past two years, we have everything crossed for a normal season once more at our 3 centres for our School & Group Activity trips.
Unfortunately, we have made the extremely tough decision to not offer our family holiday product in France for 2022. We hope this will only be one year out and will return for 2023.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
As ever our wonderful staff team have been incredible, I am extremely grateful for all their hard work through this tough time and beyond proud to be running this business
Thank you for your continued support throughout the past couple of years, we are extremely excited about 2022 and continuing to grow the business.