We are getting used to unusual years now.
2020 stopped everyone in their tracks but we were hoping that 2021 would be the year that things went back to normal.
But 2021 started with a lockdown and many restrictions still in place.
QE2 Activity Centre responded by providing an online service to our day service users before we had people returning in late spring.
As the year progressed we had more and more day service users and towards the end of the year our activity groups returned.
We continue to be committed to providing activity opportunities, which are challenging, enjoyable, safe and to people with additional needs.
Despite the challenges of 2021 we feel that QE2 Activity Centre is in a strong position facing the future.
QE2 Activity Centre is nothing without its hardworking staff team. As with 2020, this year has been a year of having to adapt. QE2 staff have responded admirably and ensured that our day service users and activity visitors have had positive experiences during their sessions.
The current staff team is
Phil Oates (manager), Kerry Lees (senior instructor), Marie Poore (day service manager),
Caroline Southgate and Tracy Puttock (Bubble Chiefs),
Jackie Swann, Mira El Khaddamova, Iveta Burien, Shay Havenhold and Michelle Horne (day service co-workers),
Rob Stokes and Jay Sinfield (activity instructors),
Jen Pearce (secretary) and Simon Rex (cleaner).
Full details are provided in our Report and Financial Statement for the Year end 31 March 2021
Incoming resources 183,264
Grants & donations 86,523
Investment income 493
CJRS (furlough) grants 71,596
Cost of providing charitable activities 82,304
Governance costs 3,297
2020 ended with QE2 Activity Centre providing a day service to over 40 people, a hundred places a week, more than before the pandemic. As well as new people joining our merry band, existing team members increased the number of days they spent with us, valuing being back together in light airy buildings or, better still, outdoors.
We were looking forward to the New Year, and putting 2020 behind us, when the country went into another lockdown. Despite being open during the last quarter of 2020, we had to close during January, February and March.
Day service staff provided a wide range of Zoom sessions for our users, up to four sessions a day. Some of these were one to one sessions, others were for small groups, most for all comers. They included keep fit sessions every day, plus cookery, craft, quizzes, “Out & About with Kerry & Rob” and a weekly open house ‘chinwag’. Whilst these were popular I don’t think any of our staff were sad to see the back of them and return to face to face working!
From April onwards we welcomed back our day service users, including more new faces. Our three bubble system has worked well, enabling people to return in small groups to meet
with others, to carry out meaningful activities.
New projects include Greenhouse Goodies, selling goods, like jams and chutneys, pot pourri and garden items made by our team. Also we are working on turning fleece into wooly jumpers!
Through the year we grew our numbers by 15% and we have capacity for a small increase.
While our Day Service was working at full strength for most of the year the same can’t be said of our provision of activity sessions for outside groups.
During 2019 QE2 Activity Centre provided around eight thousand adventure activity experiences for visitors with additional needs and their carers. Sadly, that wasn’t the case in 2021. Our numbers were well down. One of the main problems for visiting groups has been transport; the difficulty in bringing more than a few people to QE2 Activity Centre in a minibus or car. We have quite a number of bookings from individuals, rather than groups, and these bookings did pick up.
Towards the end of 2021 we were operating at between a third and a half of our prepandemic levels. A marketing campaign has been instigated aiming to reclaim old business and attract new. Early signs are that people are overcoming their reluctance to get out and that 2022 should see a return to a full timetable.
Plans for 2022 include rebuilding our ropes course. This was dismantled when Ash trees in the country park had to be felled because of ash die-back. We now have an opportunity to create a great new facility.
We launched our new Boat Appeal at the end of last year and our Community rallied round raising the funds for it in double quick time. The boat went on the water in the autumn and has already proved very popular. Amongst those who helped to raise funds were our family of day service users who, collectively, walked the distance from QE2 to Timbuktu during Lockdown!
Along with donations from Hamble Valley Rotary Club, grant making trusts Micklem, Bernard Sunley, Worshipful Order of Shipwrights and Bruce Wake Foundation, we had donations in memory of QE2 Activity Centre stalwarts, Godfrey Olson, Helga Baker, Caroline Oates and Peter Gardiner. The boat is to be named in memory of Peter and there will be a naming ceremony in the new year.
Lockdowns and other restrictions limited our ability to offer Community Days to local organisations but we did have visits from HSBC and Sparsholt College. Thanks guys for all your help!
We were approached by Enable Ability in Portsmouth to take part in a pilot project producing virtual guides to help people with additional needs access venues. They produced an excellent virtual tour for us which is now on our website.
The restrictions meant that a lot of other groups and organisations were not able to continue their activities in the usual way. Utilizing the space around the Centre we were able to provide a venue for a dog training group, a Subbuteo Club and Southampton Ukulele Jam.
QE2 Activity Centre
QE2 Activity Centre, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), provides activity opportunities for people with additional needs in the interests of social welfare with the object of improving conditions of life.
QE2 Activity Centre CIO was established in April 2018 but the Centre was founded (as Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Activities Centre) in 1978. Over
the course of forty years the Centre has established itself as one of the leading providers of activity opportunities for people with additional needs QE2 Activity Centre
River Hamble Country Park
Pylands Lane Hedge End
Registered charity no 1165893 Telephone 023 8040 4844
thanks to all the staff who work so hard to make every day special; to all the volunteers and committee members who give their time, effort and energy; to Hampshire County Council, Southampton City Council and Eastleigh Borough Council for their continued help and support; for the funders and grant making trusts who have made grants and donations, thanks to all the parents, carers and care workers who support our visitors; most of all, thanks to everyone who has visited QE2 Activity Centre this year to take part in activities and day services.