On behalf of the NFWI Board of Trustees, it is with great sadness that we announce that Denman College has closed permanently.
For a number of years, Denman has been operating without unrestricted reserves and operating a cash-flow model reliant on future bookings. This has always made Denman vulnerable to any economic changes and particularly so during this period of complete lockdown.
Throughout lockdown, the NFWI Board of Trustees were carefully examining the financial position of Denman and considering all possible options. As the proposed reopening date of 1 July approached, it became clear that Denman would be unable to open and operate its full range of services, and that participants and visitors were uncomfortable visiting, which meant the scheduled courses were no longer viable.
This has been an extremely difficult decision and has not been taken lightly. Significant work has been undertaken over the last 18 months to address Denman’s financial challenges and rebuild its reserves position, including the introduction of a new business plan in June 2019 which opened up the opportunity to develop non-educational activities on-site as a way of increasing income. This was incredibly positive and we saw a significant reduction in deficit in the last financial year. Denman was also been helped enormously by the money received from the Saving Denman Appeal and Love Denman, as well as other donations and legacies that we have received over the years. However, Denman’s lack of unrestricted reserves and the cash-flow position meant that the College was left in an incredibly vulnerable position when faced with a minimum 3-month closure during the lockdown period.
We would like to thank all members and other supporters for their support of Denman over the years, including their enthusiasm and support for the recently established ‘Denman at Home’ courses. We are absolutely delighted that this programme has proved so popular, and in the short term, it is our intention to continue to deliver and grow this offer to ensure that members can continue to access the high-quality Denman activities that we have always prided ourselves in. You can sign up to these courses via the Denman website here.
Note for WI members: The initial announcement and accompanying FAQs were sent to WIs via federations on 21 July. A follow-up email confirming the end of the consultation period was sent on 4 September. If you did not receive this information via your WI, you can find the FAQs on My WI.