COVID-19 and ATE – latest updates
Thursday 25 February 2021: Summer Superweeks
Ever since the Prime Minister announced on Monday that all restrictions could be lifted by 21st June, we’ve had lots of calls and emails asking whether we’re planning to run Superweeks this year.
Of course, there are plenty of things that need to fall into place, but I’m happy to say that if we can run a programme of holidays that will be safe and high-quality, we will. There is a lot we don’t yet know, and a lot which could still change, but we think children need opportunities to play, socialise, and enjoy some carefree childhood.
The Provisional Programme
We have put together a provisional programme of four Superweeks, which are scheduled to take place between 8th and 23rd August. The details below are all subject to fine tuning so that we can respond to demand. We won’t change the dates, but we could add Superweeks if necessary. We may also have to remove or combine holidays if we don’t receive enough bookings to make sure the holidays will be fun for our Superweekers.
|Sun 8th –
Sun 15th Aug
|Mon 16th – Mon 23rd Aug||Moor Park||8-14|
Booking, prices, and guarantees
We won’t be in a position to handle much administration of Superweek bookings, nor will we be asking for any money, until we are more certain that we will actually be able to run the holidays. You can reserve a place now, using the reservation form on our website. If you would like to book a place then please do make a reservation, both to avoid disappointment and so that we can best gauge demand for Superweek places. Unlike in recent years, we’ll be asking for an indication of any flexibility you have in your plans, but don’t worry; we will do everything we can to make sure that everyone gets their first choice Superweek.
Prices will be the same as in 2020: £469 for any week. Stayovers between two Superweeks will still be charged at £45. It is possible that there will be unforeseen costs involved in running Superweeks in 2021. If our costs increase by less than 10%, we will not pass that increase onto our customers. However, if increases are higher (which seems unlikely), we may need to ask for a contribution towards those costs at the point we begin taking payments. We would only do this in exceptional circumstances.
We will guarantee full refunds to all customers if we are unable to run our Superweeks, or if a child is unable to attend because they are self-isolating for any reason. If we have to change the conditions of booking or any of the logistics of a Superweek and you no longer want to book as a result, we will also guarantee full refunds. If you decide to cancel your booking for any other reason, we will honour the refund policy as set out in our terms and conditions (which can be found on the payment and reservations page of our website).
A health warning and next steps
There is so much we don’t yet know and a lot which could still change, and we will need to decide at the end of Spring whether we can go ahead with Superweeks after all. We are entirely committed to the wellbeing of the children and staff who come away on our Superweeks, and we will not take any risks when it comes to their health.
We will have a much clearer picture of what August will look like as we get nearer to the summer. We will be paying close attention to anything coming out of Government about the roadmap and changes to restrictions. The reviews of large events and social distancing will be particularly important in informing our decisions. We will continue working closely with our centres and our colleagues in boarding schools to understand best practice as it evolves.
We will be as transparent and honest with you as we can as we move closer to the summer. We will keep everything crossed that we will be able to run some Superweeks this year, and we promise to keep you in the loop.
Tuesday 9 June 2020: Summer Superweeks
Last Sunday, 7th June, ATE’s trustees completed a review of the viability of running Superweeks in 2020. They decided unanimously that we cannot responsibly run holidays this summer and as such, we have decided to cancel all of our summer Superweeks.
We are bitterly disappointed that we won’t be able to run our Superweeks this year but it would be impossible to guarantee the quality and safety of our holidays. given the current public health situation.
We have written to all of our customers to offer them a full refund, which we will be processing in July. Our office will remain closed until July, and we will be operating with reduced opening hours from July onward.
Like many other small charities, ATE does not have large reserves to fall back on, and this decision means we will end the year having made no income. If you are in a position to make a donation to ATE, it would be massively beneficial to the organisation and put us in a significantly stronger position to be around and delivering Superweeks in 2021. Please visit our Donations Page if you wish to contribute.
Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Tuesday 14 April 2020: Temporary closure
Last week ATE’s Board of Trustees decided that we should temporarily shut our office in order to help cushion us against the disruption caused by the coronavirus. All three members of our office staff will be placed on furlough from tomorrow (Wednesday 15th April) for an initial period of six weeks. This decision will be kept under frequent review by Trustees.
We are not planning to cancel any of our summer provision at this stage, though we are keeping a close eye on events as they develop. We will continue to take our lead from Government guidance, and the safety of children will always be at the fore in our decision making.
We hope to return to our normal service very soon. In the meantime, volunteers will be collecting post, checking email inboxes, and checking answerphone messages weekly. It may not be possible to respond to every communication. Responses to emails and bookings will unavoidably be slower than normal, but any urgent enquiries will be dealt with as efficiently as the circumstances allow.
Goodbye for now, from Rachel, Charlie, and me. We hope to be back in touch soon.
Tuesday 24 March 2020: Office closure
As of yesterday (Monday 23 March), ATE’s office staff will be working from home until further notice. This is in order to keep them healthy and to protect the wider community. Our staff are doing everything they can to ensure business will continue as usual, but there will be some unavoidable changes.
You should still be able to reach us on our office phone number (01684 562 400). Calls to this number are now being automatically forwarded to a mobile phone which will be switched on between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Should you be unable to reach us, please try calling 07926 389 376 or email email@example.com.
Outgoing phone calls will most likely come from 07926 389 376.
We will aim to check incoming post once a week. We would encourage anyone contacting us by post to consider sending an email if possible. All of our paper forms are available online – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unable to find a form you need to complete.
We will also be reducing the amount of outgoing mail we send wherever possible by sending files electronically instead.
Emails should be completely unaffected, but please bear with the team during any unexpected difficulties as they adjust to their new offices.
Saturday 21 March 2020: Easter Superweek and Monitor Training Course
This week, we took the difficult decision to cancel our upcoming Easter Egg-Stravaganza Superweek and Monitor Training Course, both due to run in early April. ATE’s Board of Trustees, Training and Delivery Directors, and Lead Instructors monitored events closely as they unfolded, and all worked with the Operations Director to inform this decision. We were also informed by the latest scientific advice. Everyone affected has been contacted by post and email, and offered the choice of a refund or a place on a future Superweek.
This was not an easy decision, but everyone involved felt it was the only responsible path to take given the gravity of the situation facing the country.
We are still hoping to run all eight of the Superweeks in our summer 2020 programme as normal. We will continue to monitor the situation and maintain contact with our centres, and will update all customers affected by any changes to this plan. We want to reassure customers, volunteers, and stakeholders that our decisions will always be driven by the safety of children and our staff.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for bearing with us through this unusual period, and for understanding the difficulties ATE, as a small charity, is facing. All of us at HQ are particularly grateful to everyone who has been in touch to wish us well and to offer help and support in recent weeks. It really makes the world of difference.
The situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-changing. We will update this page with any news or changes as regularly as we can.