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|Update from the ACCF Director|
To all friends and supporters of the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundations,
I hope you and your families are safe and well during these ongoing, challenging times. Following my communication earlier in the pandemic, back in March, I would like to provide you with a further update on how we, the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation, are managing the situation. My last communication acknowledged that whilst the COVID-19 pandemic was going to have a significant impact on our charity, it was one we were well-placed to cope with. I also stated we were keen to remember that there were individuals, communities and businesses who were facing, and would continue to face, more significant challenges than us. Well, nearly three months on, I stand by both statements.
On taking over from the great Johnny Barclay at the beginning of the year, with the brilliant Annie Atkinson also retiring, it goes without saying it is certainly not the first year I envisaged! What was always going to be a period of transition took an unexpected turn just when the fun was about to start! My primary sadness relates to the vast numbers of London based children not being able to visit us to experience our education-rich provision.
However, whilst the logistical challenges posed by school trips and residential stays have suspended much of the initial planned programme activities, we have acted with creativity and agility in providing an alternative range of programmes to meet our charitable objects.
Responding to the various stages of “lockdown”, we have developed the following:
Lockdown stage: Household only outdoors activity
Lockdown stage: Small group (max 6) outdoors activity
We will continue to act quickly, in a compliant way, to get young people, particularly those needing it most, back outdoors running around and interacting. We also remain hopeful that our London based school and community groups will be able to visit us later in the year, and we have extended our “opening hours” until the end of October with this in mind.
We have also taken the opportunity to “future proof” our Charity. Taking advantage of our strong balance sheet, we are continuing with our long-term strategic planning, undertaking broad consultation in the process, seeking to enhance the quality, range, and impact of our programmes. We have also partnered with Pleece & Co to embark on a programme to enhance our stakeholder communication processes and systems, including a new CRM system and website, and associated social media activity. To pursue this particular objective, Lorraine Squire joined the team as a Marketing and Fundraising Executive at the end of April.
In terms of fundraising, we have postponed or cancelled the majority of our fundraising events. Furthermore, we have and will continue, to hold back from pursuing fundraising activity given our financial position and out of sensitivity to other charities with more urgent requirements than us. Having said that, in view of our desire to expand and enrich our range of charitable activities, we do envisage a stiffer financial challenge next year and in subsequent years. With that in mind, we are seeking to broaden our supporter base and to generate more transparent and longer-term revenue streams, including through alignment to new programmes brought forward.
I refer above to the development of a new strategy, which is currently within a consultation stage. There are various ideas on the table both in terms of themes and new activities. On the former, the recurring themes include having a better understanding of our impact, evidencing it, and working more in partnership. In terms of new charitable activities, suggestions include paying more attention to unmet local need (as opposed to an almost exclusive London based focus); developing more activity "beyond the boundary" focussing on the educational and mental health benefits of nature and outdoor recreation; there is also a thought to creating some provision for older people.
I should add that the notion of connecting inner London youngsters to our rural, seaside, education-rich setting remains of high importance to many of our supporters and we will be refining rather than reducing our efforts in this area. Furthermore, community cohesion remains high on the national agenda and we can play a big part in bringing communities together here at Arundel.
If anyone would like to contribute to the strategic thinking, this would be very welcome. Drop me an email on [email protected] by July 10th.
Whilst it is of course a year no-one could have envisaged, I remain as positive about the future here as I did when I came into the organisation five months ago, determined to create positive and highly effective experiences for vast numbers of individuals and communities for many years to come.