Regrettably we have had to cancel the 2021 camping season. This is Sarah’s message to Camp Leaders,
At our last committee meeting on 22nd January, we decided to set up a working group to consider whether we could safely open for camps this summer.
Based on present knowledge, and with very heavy hearts, we have come to the decision that Woodlarks must remain shut for this season.
We know many of you and your campers will be disappointed, as indeed we are, so we would like to invite Camp Leaders to a Zoom meeting on the 19th February. During this discussion, we can answer questions and collaborate our ideas so that when we do decide to open again we do so safely and with your thoughts in mind.
Please let me know if you want to be included and what time you are available. If we get too many requests to attend we may have to do it over more than one meeting.
Our brief report is appended below. This will explain the thinking behind our decision.
We hope you are all well and staying safe.
Sarah and Nick
Woodlarks Season 2021
The working group (Nick, Sarah, Adam, Amy, Lynne and Malcolm) appointed to consider the possibility of opening the site met by Zoom on Friday 5th February.
Given the uncertainty about the future and the vulnerability of our campers we think it would be unwise to open this year. We do not take this decision lightly, we are very aware of the hopes, but also the implications to many of our users.
If the situation eases we will consider having small working parties as we did in Autumn 2020.
We feel that the Trust should hold meetings with Camp Leaders to explain our decision.
Nick and Malcolm will review the maintenance of the site, ensuring that safety critical work is done as usual.
We think it will take about 8 weeks to get the site ready for camps, and there is no sign of it being safe to start this work until March at the earliest.
Some of the preparatory work such as PAT testing would be hard to do with social distancing. Social distancing is more difficult in the early part of the year when cold weather forces us indoors.
Although the vaccination programme is proceeding very quickly it’s unlikely that many of our younger helpers will be protected before the end of the season.
We don’t know how effective the vaccination programme will be and how it will cope with mutations of the virus.
We must consider how we might handle an outbreak at camp. We couldn’t send vulnerable people back to their care homes, we might have to care for them on site for some weeks. How would we do this without endangering volunteers? Who would fund the care?
If we had an outbreak we would probably have to cancel subsequent camps.
We have a duty of care to Nick and Sarah, we should not expose them to hundreds of visitors.
We don’t want to raise false hopes and put Camp Leaders to the trouble of organising camps which might well be cancelled.
We think we must show that we’re working hard on the site. We should use all means possible (Zoom, Facebook, year book, website) to show off our enhancements such as the bathrooms in Bradbury Croft.
The Trustees are personally liable for any negligence on the Trust’s behalf. They might be exposed to considerable claims for any consequences of opening too soon.
If we were to open there could be considerable costs for deep cleaning between camps, both in cash terms and time.