Updated: Sep 25, 2019
Skern Lodge is busy as ever and the staff team are enjoying a great 2018 season welcoming guests and working with locals and suppliers (and enjoying the sunny weather).
This week, we joined in partnership with a company called Inspiring Learning, and we are looking forward together to enhancing the learning experience on outdoor residentials for even more participants.
Inspiring Learning were attracted to Skern Lodge by the success of the business as it is today. As such there are no plans to change the name, re-brand, change any courses, services or staff – in fact, they saw all of the qualities our customers and staff so kindly recognise at Skern, and we easily agreed that the plan will be for Skern Lodge to continue just the same, with additional support and investment from the parent company as we recognise what will enhance the centre and services further.
You’ll see the same staff team looking after the same wide range of courses, the same food, the same admin support – it’s simply business as usual. John and Glyn continue to run the Centre and support the staff team, with Andy moving from his current two days per week to a consultancy role.
There is a change in the ownership, but not the operations. In the past four months, we have spent some time ensuring Skern Lodge - which means so much to many of our guests, staff and ourselves personally - is in good hands with ourselves still running the centre, and support and investment from the new management team at our new parent company, Inspiring Learning. We are delighted to be working with Tim Gibson, CEO at Inspiring Learning, who was appointed to his role for his experience and beliefs in supporting a staff team to deliver outstanding outcomes for customers – we found a great match with values and vision for the future.
Firstly, we’re assuring everyone that Skern Lodge will be continuing exactly as it is. Then, we’ve been looking at investment in the Centre’s facilities and activities, and we plan to introduce these in the coming years, making a Skern Lodge experience even better.
A fuller explanation is provided below.
It has been a shared decision from Andy, Glyn and John and we are confident this is in the interests of the Skern Lodge business. In the one day available post-completion, we are sorry not to have been able to speak with everyone personally with this exciting news, but we would welcome any calls or messages to discuss anything at all.
Thank you for your part in the success of Skern Lodge over the years to this point – we look forward to welcoming you back again for the same quality experience, and for this new chapter in Skern Lodge going from strength to strength.
John, Glyn, Andy
and the Skern team
Skern Lodge | Inspiring Learning
NEWS – 12th July 2018
Skern Lodge has a new Investor
We are delighted to announce an agreement between Skern Lodge and Inspiring Learning, with effect from now, July 2018.
With over 40 years’ experience aiming to provide excellence in courses and services, Skern Lodge has become known as one of the UK’s leading residential centres providing activity and development training programmes for a wide variety of customers. We are proud of the number of friends and clients who return for courses at Skern Lodge year after year, and their kind words recognising the values, teamwork and results achieved with the whole Skern staff team.
With an equally long track record in outdoor education and adventure, Inspiring Learning’s purpose is to enhance the lives of young people through experiences that inspire. There are nine Kingswood centres across the UK, and a chateau in France, which provide educationally-rich residential activity breaks for schools and groups and welcome over 165,000 guests each season. In addition, Camp Beaumont is the UK’s most experienced day camp provider, offering safe and memorable school holiday camps across London.
What’s the deal?
Inspiring Learning is looking to the future and was attracted to Skern Lodge by the success it has already become in the eyes of its customers, staff and its national reputation. Skern is a little different to the Kingswood centres – particularly with more off-site activities, a higher percentage of adult learning and development programmes, and its own organisational structure – and the plan is to build on all that Skern Lodge currently offers and delivers.
In operational terms, it’s a partnership between Skern Lodge and Inspiring Learning to bring the very best residential experiences to our customers – two businesses with similar aims and now with the benefit of additional resources. Skern Lodge will continue to operate very much as it is and in collaboration with Inspiring Learning will build a plan for further improvements going forward.
2018 is an exciting year for Inspiring Learning too. This is the first full year of a new management team which is particularly emphasising values and quality of service to staff and customers – a great match for what we try to provide at Skern.
What does it mean practically?
Skern Lodge will continue to provide all that it does now, with the same quality and the same staff team delivering courses and services. Business as usual.
For many years, staff and customers have known John, Glyn and Andy as owner-managers. There’s been a gradual handing over to the younger partners over the last few years and this will continue. Andy is in his second year having dropped to two days a week at work, and he is now retained as a consultant for 12 months. John continues as Centre Manager and will work with the Inspiring Learning management team to ensure we keep all the best of Skern, whilst adding the benefits and advantages of being a member of the group. Glyn continues in his Chief Instructor role, whilst increasing his involvement in all areas of the Centre.
No other staff changes. The current Skern team continues – customers and suppliers will see all the familiar faces, and they’ll be supported to deliver high quality courses and services for all clients in the same way they always have been. Skern Lodge will continue under the Inspiring Learning umbrella, there are no plans to rebrand the business Kingswood. Same friendly faces, same waves to surf, rocks to climb, same learning and development, same food at the end of the day!
We’re planning some investment to improve Skern Lodge further. We’re looking together at improving existing facilities, adding to the activities, and then some more beds – probably in 2020. For many weeks of the year we are already at peak capacity – we’d like to ensure the quality stays high, whilst giving more guests the opportunity of the Skern experience. Each time we’ve developed the Centre so far - by building the Orchard accommodation, the Farmhouse extension and the three new rooms in the Courtyard - we’ve worked hard to ensure it gives visiting groups flexibility and the feeling of being in their own space and having their own course programme. It’s important for us to keep the special experience every guest has at Skern.
For customers and suppliers, enquiries, bookings, programmes, invoicing and payment details remain the same. In time, we’ll identify what works best and we’d like to keep, and where we can make anything easier, simpler or better for customers and staff.
A word from Tim Gibson, Inspiring Learning
“We are incredibly excited to be welcoming Skern Lodge to the Inspiring Learning family. Inspiring people to develop lifelong skills in confidence, independence, teamwork and more sits at the heart of both businesses and the opportunities that exist by combining the skills of both organisations is tremendous. We all look forward to the future with great excitement and anticipation”.
A word from John Watson, Skern Lodge
“We are delighted to be joining the Inspiring Learning family and working with a business which has a vision so closely aligned with ours. The goals and beliefs of Inspiring Learning are the same we hold at Skern Lodge and in partnership, we will continue to enhance the experience we are so proud of. The staff teams will share their experience, and together we shall enhance the residential experience for all participants and reach more communities and organisations”.
Want to know more?
Give us a call or drop us a line. Any of the team will be happy to help. We may not always have a detailed answer to every question – but we can assure you Skern Lodge is alive, thriving and looking forward to the next stage of its success in partnership with Inspiring Learning.
Tim Gibson John Watson
Inspiring Learning Skern Lodge
Skern Lodge, Appledore, Bideford, North Devon EX39 1NG 01237 475992 firstname.lastname@example.org