I am writing to ask you to make a gift to our Centres Appeal, helping us to invest in and preserve the vital ministry at Alltnacriche, Gowanbank and Lendrick Muir. Just over £45,000 has already been given, which is a wonderful start, which is already starting to have an impact with staff and ministry.
This year has been a difficult time for so many people, and the impact of lockdown on SU Scotland ministry has been severe – children, young people, staff and volunteers alike. Colleagues at our centres have been saddened to see residential ministry decimated; huge losses of income and empty centres led to nearly all staff being furloughed. - Paul Bayton, SU Scotland Director of Centres.
...encouraging over 7,500 young people every year as they engage in new activities, explore the Bible, grow in leadership and enjoy fantastic outdoor experiences. These facilities need to be maintained and ready for ministry opportunities as Scottish Government guidance permits.
Although we don’t anticipate residential events returning until mid-2021, recovery has begun! We have adjusted to each new set of restrictions and our centres are now COVID-secure. SU Holidays Day Camps started in October, school and other groups are booking non-residential visits and our teams are taking outdoor ministry into local schools.
Over the past three decades, supporter giving has transformed our centres into incredible resources. Our teams are a critical part of the experience for young people who visit our centres. Your donations will help to sustain our reduced staff levels and make careful investment to re-orientate our facilities and activities.
Our centres face significant challenges. Staff who left have not been replaced, fixed term contracts have not been renewed, remaining team members are on reduced hours under the new Job Support Scheme and non-essential costs have been cut. Retaining our centres could cost up to £400,000 and, in 2021, the centres’ teams will be 40% smaller.
Can I ask you to give generously to this appeal so that we are able to navigate this crisis and preserve our centres for future ministry with the children and young people of Scotland?
Thank you for your partnership with us,
Director of Centres
This year has been such a difficult time for so many people, as we all adapt to massive challenges. The impact of lockdown on SU Scotland ministry has been critical – children, young people, supporters, volunteers and staff have all suffered. Colleagues at our three centres have borne the brunt of these hardships – their residential ministries have been decimated, there have been huge losses of income, empty centres and months of uncertainty, which have placed an enormous strain on staff, nearly all of whom were furloughed.
While this appeal involves them, their chief worry is for the 7,500 young people will be missing out on the residential use of Alltnacriche, Gowanbank and Lendrick Muir, missing out on crucial opportunities for outdoor learning with their schools and missing out on crucial opportunities for building friendships, exploring the bible and responding to the significance of Jesus.
The whole sector has been hit hard but, while we are still in the woods, generous and dedicated financial and prayerful support of people like you has helped our centres remain viable while others are mothballed.
With the Government's furlough scheme closing and other funding proving illusive or unsuitable, we need to readdress ministry at our centres, proactively restoring opportunities for young people, retaining staff and building ministry to address a looming £400,000 shortfall in 2021.
The future risk of closing our centres is real, however we have faith in a great God, a spirit-filled plan, time to react and a sure hope for the future.
With the help of you, those you know and the wider SU Scotland family, we are hoping to raise a minimum of £100,000.
Investing £40,000 in our Teams
We are asking you to support core staff costs (wages etc.), allowing us to retain the core capacity of our skilled teams.
Your support will enable external qualifications to be gained, new COVID-secure activities to be developed and staff retrained to be able to deliver them at the centres, at schools and in local communities.
It will also allow us to purchase equipment which can't be shared (harnesses, bushcraft kits and other equipment).
"The strongest aspect of the residential was the consistency and quality of leadership of the instructors... fair, calm, spoke quietly which, in turn, calmed the children and provided a better focus" - Milne's Primary School
Investing £60,000 in Centres
You giving will allow us to allocate staff time to complete work on facilities.
Temporary measures, such as one-way-systems, hand sanitiser points and increasing the use of outdoor eating, have meant we can work safely with small groups.
But with more investment, we will be able to increase the day visit numbers by purchasing mobile 'outdoor classrooms' (well ventilated, covered outdoor spaces for meeting and eating), managing handwashing outdoors, distributing equipment more easily and increasing access to toilet facilities.
"At camps I found out what it is to know Jesus... SU Scotland engage and excite young people about the Word, truly caring and taking time to help children understand God's love for them" - Senior Pupil, SU Holidays
Giving is a very personal decision and at SU Scotland we deeply appreciate each and every gift that is made, regardless of size, motivation or method.
For some, a single gift is the best way of contributing to this cause, for others a regular gift of a smaller amount over the course of six months, or until we are operating sustainably again is the wisest choice. You are able to do both on this page.
Another method of giving is fundraising. If you have an idea for how you could raise money with your church, family or friends, please let us know. There are also plenty of ideas here.
How much to give is also up to you. The figures above will not cover all of what we need, even though the amounts may seem huge. This appeal will be a team effort and if you and others like you give appropriately, we will be in a strong position for ministry in 2021!
Check back here to see the developments of the appeal as time goes on or look here for some of our appeal videos.