During this years Annual General Meeting the group had chance to take stock and celebrate the achievements during the year in addition to looking forward to the exciting developments in the future.
Matt, the site manager gave a round up of both the successes and what plans for the future on the site.
It’s been such a positive year for Danemead. We have continued to grow as a crew. We have continued to grow in customers and we have continued to grow with our partners.
Year two has continued with improving the site facilities. The first three bunkrooms have been totally refurbished and brought up to modern day standards.
Each room has been newly insulated, plastered, freshly painted in three different colours and carpeted. To finish each room off we have added new radiators ready for the central heating system I hope to have fitted over the winter months. Each room also has brand new lighting and charging points for electrical items and brand new wooden bunk beds and mattresses. I hope to have the remaining three bunkrooms completed by next year. Funds permitting.
As well as improving Uncle Toms Cabin the crew have erected our brand new oak entrance signs. These are our first step into making a professional and inviting front entrance.
We now have a brand new website up and running. This has been months and months of hard work and I would personally like to thank Steve Brownless for the hours and hours he has spent on the website and on the phone to me getting it just right. I am definitely a fussy customer! As well as the website Steve has been working on an integrated communication network for the crew, a brand new booking system as well as a new accounts system! Finally bringing everything together so we can run a professional booking and invoicing system.
This year has also involved a lot of meetings! However they have all been worth it. This year we have made three brand new partnerships and through these partnerships I hope Danemead will start to thrive. Our first new partner is Capel Manor College. They have agreed to carry out most of the tree work on site for the next five years. As a managed woodland it is our responsibility to make sure the wood is managed and sustained in the best possible way. This will mean a lot of trees being cut down. However, we do not plan on turning the site into a field rest assured. Everything will be done modestly so hopefully most people wont even notice a lot of the tree work.
Over the winter I also approached Bushscouts asking if they would like to use Danemead as their base camp for most of their training weekends. I’m so happy to report that this was agreed as well as the Danemead Crew and Bushscouts working together to run an annual survival camp every year.
Finally we were approached by Twiggles-explorers in regards to running a forest school at the site during the week. This is for children aged 2 to 5 and is basically an outdoor nursery school promoting outdoor play. This is so exciting. Part of my business plan was to get the site used more during the weekdays by our local community. A deal is being finalised. However, with any luck we will have our first class starting in November.
What’s the plan for 2019?
As always improving the site will be a priority. As mentioned earlier. We hope to have the next three bunkrooms refurbished by the end of 2019 along with the hallway. I also hope to get started on transforming our old manky container into a fresh new tuck shop and office. Something I’ve not informed the crew of yet. Sorry guys, more work!
However 2019 will be more about getting three annual events up and running. Boosting the site income. Mud Run will be the first event of the year. This will be a cross-country style course with some obstacles thrown in. Our second, which is still in its drafting stage, will be a challenge event. Finally, Survival Camp hosted by our good friends Bushschouts.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has supported us this year. It is so hard to comprehend that just two years ago we was a small insignificant campsite possibly on the brink of being sold off. Now we are finally getting everything in place to start competing with the bigger campsites and get our name known.
My amazing crew of volunteers and the Danemead Management Committee has only made this possible. Their passion for the site is the only reason it has become so successful.