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Visitor Centre Update
Who said life was easy?!
On many times over the last 12 months when I have felt like giving in my 9 year old son has kept me going by reminding me that “anything worth doing doesn’t come easy” and that can definitely be said about our journey to our new visitor centre.
After being hit by one disaster after another we are finally almost there. We need one final push to get the visitor centre open before the busy summer season and with your help we will get there.
We are are therefore offering a range of opportunities and rewards for our customers who have followed Notes of Northumberland Journey and would like to be part of our future.
The Story So Far..
We first looked at the property back 2021. We were desperate for more space due to the sheer demand for our products and workshops. We had looked for a suitable property for a factory and visitor for a long time so couldn't believe our luck. We finally agreed heads of terms in November 2021 and were hoping to be open for Easter 2022 when disaster struck. Storm Arwen devastated the North East of England and ripped the entire roof off our visitor centre. So much for the area was affected that trades have been in extreme demand and we needed roofers, builders, joiners, plumbers, electricians, decorators etc which we accepted wasn't going to be a quick job. We battled through 2022 in our existing space while working hard to progress the work at the visitor centre but with global issues such as the war in Ukraine and other issues like brexit this was very difficult due to shortages of materials and labour. Thankfully our customer base has been amazing and it is with your support that we managed to keep going. Things were finally back on track as we approached our busy Christmas season when disaster struck. We use Royal Mail for our deliveries. We sent out hundreds of parcels in the lead up to Christmas that were either lost or seriously delayed during the strike action. Unfortunately all of these items had to be refunded or replaced at a cost of over £16,000. We had hoped that this would be covered but apparently there is a teeny tiny clause in the small print that says they won't cover losses caused by strike action. The effects of the strike two fold, as all of the courier networks were having problems due to excessive demand so we were not receiving deliveries of raw materials. This lead to a number of empty shelves in our shop and the shop turnover was down over 40%. Despite a number of our customers being disappointed they have in the main rallied around and been so supportive and we have managed to get back on track again. We had handed in our notice on our shop but as our visitor centre was not ready we have had to scale back our business and go back to basics, which I think we needed to do. We now need one more push to get our visitor centre open and hope our amazing customers are going to get involved and support us to get past this final stage and open ahead of the busy summer season.