Though a year sounds like a long time, it’s absolutely flown by! Your committee has been busy in that time, investing over 600 hours into the project thus far. So what has been accomplished?
- Met with more than 20 key stakeholders, including landowners, potential funders, public development bodies, trail builders, sport governing bodies, local government and local interest groups
- Created a 50-page business plan setting out how the project can be made to work
- Brought our group into existence as a legal entity, as an incorporated, registered charity (SC046136)
- Opened bank accounts, PayPal accounts, waded through the bureaucratic jungle that is HMRC
- Launched our website and formal Facebook page
- Started amassing letters of support from relevant organisations and interested individuals
We’ve met with great enthusiasm for the project. There is a gap affecting this area in the provision of high quality trail centres that has been on the radar of mountain biking development bodies for some time.. It’s just been a case waiting for the right moment to make it happen.
Latterly we have been focusing on getting an in depth feasibility study done on our behalf by an impartial and respected third party. While the business plan that we have written describes in detail why this trail centre is needed, how it can be brought to being, and how it can be run successfully, it is obviously coming from a biased party.
The purpose of the feasibility study is to lend credibility to the plans that we have laid out in our business plan. A respected third party, comprising a team of professionals in the fields of trail centre design, construction, quantity surveying and tourism, would deliver a report that would examine the viability of our project.
This is a vital stage for us. After the feasibility study we will be looking to start securing grants towards the £1.5M or so required to build the facility. Backing up our business plan with a credible feasibility study is essential if we are going to convince people that this is a viable project to invest large amounts of money in.
The feasibility study is also necessary to help us choose the best venue. From a long list of some 30 locations the NETCO committee have narrowed the field to 4 possible sites. We have opened discussions with landowners at each location. The feasibility study will examine conditions on the ground and, with a professional trail builder and designer on board, produce notional trail designs, to help us select the best possible site.
Over the past few months the committee have completed a formal tendering process to find the most suitable party for the job and to confirm a cost for the study. Investigations of this scale are necessarily costly, but it is money well spent if we are to stand the best chance of making the project a success.
We are now working hard to raise the funding required for the feasibility study through grant applications and through donations from our supporters.
Direct donations are more valuable to us than you may think. Every donation made, even if it is just £1, is a vote of support for the project. Nearly every grant funds looks for evidence of public support before committing their funds, and there is no better measure of how much support your project has than how many people are willing to put their hand in their pocket and chip in some of their hard earned cash! Sometimes in a literal sense, every pound that our supporters donate may lead to £1, £2, £3 more from grant funding.
Add to that that we are now GiftAid registered, so every £1 you donate actually gives us £1.20 at no extra cost to you!
I can’t emphasise this point about showing support enough; the biggest boost that we’ve had, the thing that has opened more doors and won us the most respect from those that matter, is the sheer scale of the 2,000 responses and 500 comments received for last year’s survey. We’re looking to build on that show of force now with this donation drive.
We’ve opened a donation page with MyDonate (same idea as JustGiving). It only takes a minute to sling us a few pounds, so please do so, and pressgang your friends and family into helping out too!
Donation Page now Virgin Money: Visit now!
As our core supporters, you guys are the first to hear about this donation drive. We’ll be opening it up to the masses in the next few days with appeals on Facebook and press releases wherever we can get a mention.
There will be more news coming from us in the next few weeks so make sure that you have followed our new Facebook page and had a look at www.netcomtb.co.uk.
In the meantime, happy riding, enjoy the sunshine while it lasts, and keep dreaming of having a quality trail centre to enjoy!
The NETCO Team.