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We need to send you our biggest ever thank you!
We’ve all been hit by the COVID pandemic in some way or another, especially all the fantastic key workers, and none more so than all those who have lost loved ones. Here at Barracudas our struggle wasn’t life threatening, but we did find it tough (very tough!) for most of 2020 and the early months of 2021. Of course the challenges haven’t disappeared completely, but the light at the end of the tunnel is now burning much, much brighter.
Organising activity day camps is in our DNA, and operating the UK’s favourite and most celebrated kids camps is what we’ve done for 30 years. Two major seasons, Easter and summer, with more than 30,000 children in attendance each year.
Our team work year round to prepare, equip, staff, market and then operate those camps. For us it’s not just a job, it’s a way of life! More than half of us in the Barracudas 'nuclear' family have been involved for more than 10 years, and several for more than 20. Some of us attended Barracudas when we were kids, and many of us worked on camp in our younger days.
But from August 2019 until Easter 2021 all of that was on hold. Everything we normally do stopped, and we had no revenue for 20 months. As we said, it was a tough and worrying time. We were seriously under threat, with no certainty that we could get through the storm without having to lose some of the team – friends, colleagues and genuine experts in what they do.
Maybe also the potential loss of some of our host schools as we tried to navigate our way through the storm, effectively losing the very things that make Barracudas the best in the business!
It’s difficult to watch the thing you’ve given your working life to struggle for survival; to watch people who have made their careers out of delivering the very best out of school childcare have those very careers and livelihoods under threat.
Ultimately though we fought off the threat. We’ve made it to April 2021 with all of our permanent team still on board. All those years of experience still on tap to deliver the most amazing camps for your children.
We’ve also just operated the biggest Easter camp in our 30 year history! More children than even the busiest pre-COVID year! Not just back, but back bigger and better than ever before. Together, we did it, but how?
We did it with the most humbling and touching support from you – the wider Barracudas family. That’s why we need to thank you!
So, and in no particular order, thank you to...
The 30% of our 2020 early bookers who were told 13 months ago that camps were cancelled. They were all offered a refund, but instead they chose to leave their money with us to support us through what was bound to be a tough time.
The incredible 20% of customers (1 in 5!) who not only left their deposit with us, but paid the balance on their 2020 booking that they knew wouldn’t happen, just to help us through to 2021!
Your support blew us away! It was touching, humbling and beyond any words that we can find. It was critical to keeping our team in place to do what we love for future generations of Barracudas’ children, and that’s why it’s something we will always treasure.
Our host schools, that although beset with issues of their own, knew that home-schooling parents, and especially key workers, needed our services more than ever. They worked around every complication, and all but a small few found the resources and wherewith all to accommodate our 2021 Easter camps. We are so very grateful.
Our seasonal staff. Some of the exceptional ones have been with us for as long as 20 years, and many for at least 5 years or so as they grow into the role of childcare professionals. As most are teachers, they were themselves stretched throughout the pandemic experience. With 20 months apart we were fearful we would lose them. Not a chance! We saw again that blood is thicker than water, as our brilliant staff returned to join the 'family'! Once again, we thank you.
Our suppliers, some of whom were less badly hit by the pandemic than we were, and were keen to help us weather the storm. Deferred payments, preferential terms and generally all the kind of things that a good person would do for a friend in need. Words are powerless to express our thanks!
The Government – no party politics here, but thank you for the furlough scheme that meant our team could be retained, and the wholesale provision of Lateral Flow Tests. That allowed us to pilot our COVID safe programme in February, and then roll out our biggest ever Easter with added confidence.
That confidence was bolstered further by the huge amount of work done by our senior teams on developing and refining COVID protocols in all areas of our operation. Painstaking, diligent and innovative work to develop safe systems, that were tested, reviewed and re-tested. That is the thoroughness our standards and the situation demanded, delivering the reassurance you expect and deserve for your children.
It’s been a challenging and rollercoaster journey. It’s been difficult to comprehend at times, but we have somehow come out of it stronger than ever. We couldn’t have done it without you, and that is something we will never forget!
We now look forward to the summer with an incredible sense of gratitude, optimism and excitement, knowing that our 'family' is bigger, stronger and tighter than we could have ever hoped for, so once again, and finally to one and all, we thank you!