Successful year for Alternative Venues generates income for the RFCA Estate

Chesterfield Sofas and new carpets and new lighting in empty officer's mess at Coldhams lane

New clients and an invigorated business model have resulted in a successful year for Alternative Venues, which re-invests revenue from the hiring of our sites back into the Reserves and Cadet estate. 

A selection of the Army Reserve Centres and Cadet buildings we own and manage on behalf of the Ministry of Defence are available to hire under the Alternative Venues East Anglia brand. All the income from this hiring activity supports the further betterment of the Reserves and Cadets Estate in East Anglia. 

With the announcement of the first national lockdown in March 2020, the majority of private hiring activity across our estate ceased with immediate effect.

Fortunately, a number of income-generating activities were able to continue, as they were unaffected by social distancing restrictions. Wider Market Initiatives, such as vehicle storage and private housing rentals, as well as businesses still able to operate in line with Government guidelines, were still present on our Estate.

As restrictions eased, we slowly welcomed other groups back to sites; primarily other uniformed services. With very strict Covid-19 risk assessments and protocols in place, several Army Reserve Centres were in a position to allow smaller training groups to use the drill halls and classrooms.

During 2020, the business model for Wider Market Initiatives switched focus from exploring the renewable energies market to forming working relationships with other Government departments and blue lighted services. Our real estate can accommodate other Services that are currently very restricted in terms of their own training and conferencing facilities.

Our new partners include:

Logos for Border Force Home office essex police national crime agency ministry of justice and bedfordshire police

These new partnerships have been welcomed by the units, as the activity does not interfere with reservist training and the clients have the same working practices and ethos in terms of being security conscious and respectful of Government property.

Against a revenue forecast of £211K, we are projected to exceed revenue by over £30K. A truly outstanding performance given the current climate.

The pause in site activity has also given the Alternative Venues team time to focus on essential housekeeping tasks, with hiring contracts and agreements being updated to reflect current legislation. In terms of marketing, a new Alternative Venues website is set to launch in May, functioning as both a shop front and central booking system.

The full footprint of the Reserves and Cadet Estate in East Anglia is shown on this map

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