News Bulletin - May 2020
This note is to keep you informed about the Westminster Boating Base in the Covid19 era.
You will be aware the Base was closed on 23 March in line with government directives. It took a few hectic days by the staff and volunteers to get all the boats out of the water and stored safely. In fact we have so many that they fill the workshop and yard, the pontoon and even the bridge.
The closure has meant that we are no longer able to hire out our facilities through our helpful contractor Retro nor can we run paid for courses. Collectively these activities support the core costs of the base. Without them we have no income to pay the fixed costs or the staff. With regret we have had to put Rod, Adam and Pippa on furlough. In their absence the day to day administration, finance and care is being done by the Trustees, Board and volunteers.
We need to raise money to pay for our fixed costs and, when we re-open, for staff, administration, cleaning and operational costs. We are doing this by several means including by the “Save the Base” Crowdfunder. This has been very successful and having reached its target of £10k we have extended the activity by a further week to 21May and raised the bar to £16k. Thanks to the addition of match funding we have now exceeded this too. We are fortunate to have so many individual donors and especial thanks to those that did personal sponsored activities. Several of our supporters additionally undertook the London Marathon inspired 2.6 challenges and gave their donations to the Base. Brilliant.
We will not be asking people to take up or renew membership subscriptions this year as we cannot promise a service. When we do re-open we will have a pay as you go arrangement.
Behind the scenes there is a lot of work going on to raise funds. We are applying to Westminster City Council, the local wards, government emergency funds, the National Lottery and many traditional philanthropic organisations such as John Lyons and Garfield Weston. We have also had personal donations of £5,000 from two local people. We plan a leafletted appeal to the local area to encourage similar generosity. So far, we have promises of about £45k. Our objective is to raise £200k which will fully support us to the end of the financial year by when we should be back in full operational mode.
The current government rules make it very difficult for us to hold parties, use our showers and changing rooms and provide practical support for sailors and kayakers on the pontoon and on the water. We will re-open as soon as the social distancing criteria can be met and government regulations allow. We can’t wait to see you all again. Stay safe and keep in touch.