29 JUNE 2020

We have been running weekly Zoom meetings for everyone connected with Horizons and I can understand that they are not very well attended now as it’s difficult to find new things to talk about as we have been prevented from carrying out the activity that drew us all together in the first place.

However, this leaves us with a bit of a vacuum and I want to make sure that you know that Horizons Plymouth is still alive and will be back in operation when the time is right. So this is an update to let you know what we have been doing to make sure that this will happen, one day.

Our priority has been to ensure the security of our assets; afloat, ashore and the finances. All the boats (apart from Friendship) are ashore and the office is secure. We have been able to benefit from the Government Job Retention Scheme and also successfully applied for the Small Business Grant. So Simon, Annette and Lois have had an enforced holiday. This has been tough for them, but we talk regularly.

The Government has allowed some water-based activities to open up and we have closely followed the RYA interpretation of what is possible within the rules. Whatever people may decide to do individually with their own boats, Horizons Plymouth has to comply fully with the regulations and recognise our duty of care to both Staff and Volunteers.

We have looked at it from all angles and the only sailing activity that we could envisage at present would be a group of 5 Picos with one Instructor in a Safety Boat. The logistics of launch, recovery and sanitisation (possibly with the assistance of family members) would be a lengthy business, requiring careful scheduling and management. This would reduce the time available for sailing, as well as compromise our approach to Safety.

Our relationship with the Schools we work with is very important for us. I wrote to them all some weeks ago to explain the situation and have followed this up with another update to enquire about whether they would want to resume some activities with us in September when their constraints may have relaxed. If we were offering some group sailing opportunities again at the start of term it might just be another headache for them. On the other hand, an activity which has the potential to promote wellbeing may be just what the children need as they get back to their studies.

We have to face the possibility that we can’t resume our normal sailing programme until next year – but I hope will be able to run our Winter Project as usual. We are also going to need some serious fund-raising. We really missed our regular boost from success in the Eddystone Pursuit this year.

I hope this update has been useful and I welcome your ideas or opinions. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Stay safe. See you on the other side.

Andrew Eccleston

Mob: 07774 179976