It’s this time of year that we get around to writing our thankyou letters (or maybe emails) This Blog post is, in some way, a big thankyou letter to so many people who have been involved with the Outdoor Learning Centre Project during 2015. We have still a way to go in raising the funds we want but the start has been encouraging, thanks to so many people.
Raising the money for a project such as the Outdoor Learning Centre requires a full ‘toolbox’ of resources to be successful. We, during 2015, have begun to fill that ‘toolbox’.
A new website – An online presence these days is extremely important and we wanted a new look website to refresh the look of the Charity Trust. Thanks to the generous support of our Patrons Mark and Cynthia Wilkinson this has been achieved along with a video to allow the children to give their ‘voice‘ to the project. Both have had generous and positive feedback.
A new look logo – In doing the website the need for a new look logo became obvious too. Thanks to Zoe Barnes, the daughter of Maggie Moore one of our Trustees, a new design was produced.
A Business Plan – This was produced a while ago however since that time a few additional thoughts as to how to deliver the project were explored. During the year Cost Consultants were employed along with our Architect to review the costings and consider the option of a two phased build. This involved the restoration of the old kennels as one phase and the new building works after. Interestingly the splitting up of the build had the effect of increasing prohibitively the total cost. However, it was identified that there would be some benefits in building the access roadway sooner rather than later to increase and improve the use of the site in advance of the works.
Planning Permission – Planning Permission and Listed Building consent has been obtained.
Fundraising Plan- Our plan includes a range of funding options to get us to our target. Initial investigations with Lottery programmes did not bear fruit. Though the kennels are within the curtilage of the listed school building they are not themselves listed. There are other programmes available to us but not for a capital building project. One programme we did go for was an Awards for All grant for a yurt to use as a roaming classroom and we were successful with this.
Other opportunities for grants therefore were researched and we are now working our way through a list of Grant Giving Trust prospects. Each requires different levels of information and documentation. Each too has various different timescales for considering grant requests.
Already we have contacted over a hundred prospects. Many have been unable to help but already we have received generous pledges of support for which we are extremely grateful. These plus amounts already raised and received total some 25% of our target.
Additional to grant applications we are hopeful of other organisations giving their support. We are very happy to visit to present our case as we have already done. One young advocate for the Centre is Jamie the star of our video. He has set himself a target to raise.
One special mention should go to the Swindon Branch of the Wooden Spoon Trust who have a target of £50k to raise for us. They were instrumental in helping us win a grant of £15K from the Landfill Communities Fund and are busy raising the rest. We joined them during the summer at a Fundraising Golf day.
Volunteering – Much of what goes on around school activities would not happen without the input of impressive amounts of volunteer time. Staff, Governors, Friends, local groups, individuals as well as the Rowdeford Trustees all put in immense time and commitment that is often not recognised. The past and present successes at Rowdeford is a testament to the work of all these people. For this review it would be relevant to pull out at least one example from 2015.
Building the roadway – Volunteering in a fundraising campaign is normally about paperwork and advocacy. On this occasion we were able to save hundreds on a contactors bill by completing a lot of preparation work for our new roadway with volunteers. Trustees, School staff, School pupils, Lloyds Bank staff, Royal Wootton Bassett School pupils, individuals all came together and did a host of tasks.
A new year resolution? – To reach our target and build our Centre !