Adopted Autumn 2019
“To provide, maintain & support Northwood House & Park for the public benefit of the people of Cowes as well as the wider community of the Isle of Wight”
We are entrusted with looking after the long term future of the estate and have adopted a new strategy in which to achieve this. The strategy has to meet some significant challenges to the estate and also meet our four key objectives which are:
- The provision, maintenance and support of a public pleasure garden or park (including the provision of facilities for playing games, sports and other recreational or leisure facilities and amenities) in the area of benefit.
- The provision, maintenance and support of public amenities for such charitable purposes as the Trustee from time to time thinks fit (including provision of public car parks).
- The restoration, conservation and maintenance of the property of the Charity which are of historic or architectural merit or importance.
- If and in so far as income is not required for the above purposes, for any charitable purpose for the benefit of the inhabitants of the area of benefit.
Why we need a strategy…
Parts of Northwood House and Park are over 300 years old and maintenance to the property has often been very limited over its long history causing extensive decay and degradation to the building’s structure and appearance. Outbuildings, community facilities and pathways in the surrounding parkland have lacked investment and are in need of upgrading or replacement.
Even though we are working hard to carry out as much necessary maintenance as we can to fix some of the problems, much larger scale major restoration is needed to save the buildings long term. As a Grade II* listed building restoration projects are complicated, costly and must be undertaken extremely carefully. There are significant challenges ahead with the properties roof, rendering and derelict areas which have to be addressed over the next ten years.
Income from our commercial activities such as room hire, events, car parks and office space rental is increasing, but it is only just keeping pace with the cost of reactionary maintenance, insurance, health & safety costs and other increasing legislative costs. This does not allow us to tackle the large scale restoration projects that are budgeted to cost many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Grant funding has been pursued for specific restoration projects with some success, but there is much more to do. Further grant funding cannot however be guaranteed and thus we need a pro-active strategy to make sure we can meet the liabilities we are likely to face in the short to medium term.
But there are also unique opportunities…
We have a premier location in Cowes, in a fabulous setting with good transport links. The Isle of Wight is a tourist destination attracting over 2.25 million visitors a year with their leisure spend. Cowes itself has a rich history but limited tourist attractions. These provide the charity with opportunities to increase our revenues which can help us become more sustainable in the future. It is therefore prudent to explore these opportunities and factor them in to our strategy.
Our strategy gives us three key objectives for the next decade…
1. Maintain, protect and enhance the House, Buildings and Park
- Develop a new Conservation Management Plan to fully evaluate our restoration liabilities and prioritise how we tackle them.
- Undertake the restoration to bring neglected areas back in to use and improve décor and event facilities [to aid commercial return].
- Maintain and enhance or parkland, addressing the scenic appeal, access points, bio-diversity, recreation facilities, signage and safety.
2. Increase our Community Engagement
- Raise awareness of the charity’s facilities, activities and contribution.
- Build a bigger membership and genuinely engaged in activities on the estate.
- Increase community use of the outdoor facilities, community hall and park.
- Provide enhanced volunteering, training and employment opportunities.
- Engage with local businesses to provide commercial opportunities and community support.
3. Ensure our Financial Sustainability
- Evaluate opportunities that will make significant financial contribution to the estate including the creation of a visitor related activities (destination creation).
- Vigorously pursue grant opportunities to fund restoration.
- Create a five-to-ten year business plan to focus on profitability, core business development and strategic investment.
The Northwood House Charitable Trust Co. Ltd Board of Directors and the management team are continuing to work on key elements of the strategy in 2020 and more information will appear here as soon as we are able to publish them.
If you would like to get involved in assisting the charity, why not consider joining our volunteers’ group, taking out a membership subscription or making a one off donation or bequest to help with bigger restoration challenges? Please get in touch with Darren Cool, General Manager of Northwood House Charitable Trust Co. Ltd to help us make a difference.