The PR & Marketing Committee have suggested that we issue a regular update on progress on BCWAC, so here goes!!
It is worth looking back on the six or so months since we formally opened in June. Quite honestly, it has been a time of considerable growth and activity as more and more organisations have taken advantage of the new facility. We expected 6 groups to be active at this stage…we have 18!! WOW!!!
This has created one of the best problems to have!!!! How to cater for everyone? To this end, the purchase and erection of boat racking has happened, and plans have been approved, changed, approved, changed, and approved yet again for the fitting out of the buildings which it is expected to be completed by the late spring of this year.
Additionally, the problem of the access road, (yes the increasing depth of the potholes and volume of rain that has fallen over the last few months creating a great environment for ducks), will be resolved very soon thanks to a fantastic bit of wheeling and dealing by Philip Walters which has led to ABP, Aberthaw Cement, Grabit and ourselves coming to a mutually advantageous solution. Whilst the work is carried out, access may be restricted for a day or so, but we will let you know in plenty of time.
However, all has not been plain sailing, as we lost out on our application for a Big Lottery grant in October. In a subsequent meeting, the main reason given was we could not demonstrate sufficient community support. We found this a little hard to swallow, as, with all you guys using the Centre, we thought it was obvious! Big mistake, what is required is evidence of such support, in the form of letters, emails, and any other means you can think of.
So we will be drafting a model letter for you in the coming weeks, all you will need to do is personalise it, add your name and address, and return it to us, electronically or otherwise, so that when we re-apply later this year, we can say ‘Look, we have 2 thousand people who feel strongly enough about having somewhere for their activities that they can take the time and effort to write’.
Please please please make the effort to complete it, on an individual basis, and don’t leave it for others. Without these letters (the evidence!) we will struggle with our future bids.
On the more positive side, we are part way through completing the paperwork for a Lottery grant to install an access ramp, and disabled toilet and shower, which should release £5000 towards the cost. It has been awarded in principle, but there is a lot more to do before the money arrives.
We will be amending parts of the design of the new permanent building to reflect the numbers now wanting to use it, including teaching/function rooms and a cafe. (For some reason, cafes seem to be very important to the Lottery to indicate support!!). So if you want something specific in the building, please let us know by the end of February latest, so that the final design can be modified if possible.
Several large events are planned for the Centre in 2016, taking place over weekends, so if you want anything yourselves, please BOOK EARLY!!! Whilst we can accommodate several activities running in parallel, it may be that on one or two weekends, over 200 adults/children will be on site, so you may find it better to avoid these days. To reiterate…..first come, first served….
To assist in booking, the pros and cons of booking via the website are being investigated, so it may be in place by the start of ‘the season’ at Easter.
Also planned soon, Paul Haley is organising a formal dinner to help raise awareness of our activities. Details are yet to be finalised but expect invitations. Not too posh, and with a guest speaker, it promises to be a really good opportunity to get together and promote what we do. It would be great if every group was at least represented by 12 people, but as a couple of organisations only have twice that number of members, that may be a little optimistic.
Another date for the diary will be in the summer, when we get together for our AGM. Again, date and time to be arranged.
So that’s about all for now, feedback on any project or activity is always welcome, if you can’t talk to anyone on site, let me or Philip Walters know, preferably by email, and we will try and do whatever we can.