The ongoing measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 are having wide-ranging and significant implications on all organisations and we understand the pressures being faced by teachers, parents and students at this time.
At Share Discovery Village, we rely on a busy spring season with school residentials as the core of our annual operation. This helps support our charitable aims working with a wide range of vulnerable, disadvantaged, disabled and able-bodied people and those with learning difficulties and other needs to access outdoor education.
We are as disappointed as your students will be that we aren’t welcoming you to Share this term. The impact of COVID-19 and the decision to close schools on our business is huge and we are currently consolidating our position to ensure we are here in 2021 and beyond and able to celebrate our 40th year in operation. We are yet to fully understand the financial and social implications of all this, but we cannot rule out job losses at this time.
Prior to the confirmation of closures this week, schools and youth groups that had postponed or cancelled their residential were content for us to retain the deposit from the booking and to hold it for a future date. This goes above and beyond our stated policy, where we reserve the right to retain deposits in the event of cancellation, but given the circumstances and the good relations with our many repeat customers, we are happy to do this.
Since the announcement that schools are to ‘close until further notice’, with suggestions that they may not return until September 2020, we have received requests for deposits to be refunded as it became clear that the current cohort of children would no longer be able to enjoy a residential at Share.
As of today, we can commit to carrying the balance of the deposit for another booking from your school until 31st December 2021. This may allow the school to immediately refund parents knowing you have a credit with Share for next year.
However, until we have further clarity on support measures and compensation being provided in relation to the disruption that COVID-19 and school closures have had on our charity we are not in a position to offer full cash refunds as we have to stand over our immediate payroll and moral obligations at this time. I hope to be able to update this advice as soon as possible and hope for a more positive outcome.
Thank you for your patience at this difficult time for us all,
Peter McEvoy, CEO of Share Discovery Village.