Institute for Outdoor Learning

Update – NCS Trust and Invasion Camp Group

Our friends from IOL, AHOEC and BAPA have kindly provided the following update from meetings with NCS Trust.

Update for outdoor providers contracted by Invasion Camp Group(ICG) following meetings with NCS Trust.

Andy Robinson (IOL), Ben Wire (BAPA) & Jim Whittaker (AHOEC) met with Amanda Best, Caroline Hunter-White & Victoria Olsen of the NCS Trust on Thursday 9th April and Wednesday 15th April and have had subsequent correspondence resulting in the following points of clarification on the current approach to ‘re-purposing’ the contracted summer 2020 NCS provision.

The relaying of key points below from this recent dialogue between the NCS Trust and sector representatives of the sector are in the context of a) the Trust being pressed by DCMS to make the NCS ‘different, better and more far reaching for 2021’ and b) NCS not being included in the current PPM following a Cabinet Office instruction to DCMS.

  1. On behalf of the NCS Trust, ICG are expecting to consider in the following days what is possible regarding an improvement to the newly proposed terms and conditions and following the conversations with Phase 1 providers, rather than resort to the FM clause in the contract which is in nobody’s interest. The NCS Trust does not expect DCMS to allow any great movement, if at all.
  2. NCS Trust want to move as quickly as possible to provide reassurance and secure bookings for 2021.  To achieve this there is likely to be a change in approach and requests for increased flexibility from providers.  The challenges and risks associated with this have been acknowledged and we await further information on the specifics of those potential changes and flexibilities.
  3. On the question of sunk costs associated with preparation for summer 2020 contracted delivery, Invasion will engage in sunk costs discussions with each venue, though no capital expenditure can be viewed as a sunk cost. We await clarification on the metrics of differentiation between sunk costs and capital expenditure. NCS Trust will nevertheless require proof, for their audit trail, that the costs being presented are 100% related to NCS.  They will then review them as a whole and make decisions based on the funding constraints the Trust is operating within.
  4. On the issue of why NCS procurement is being excluded from the Procurement Policy Note 02/20 : Supplier relief due to COVID19, designed to ensure service continuity during and after the outbreak.  The Trust are following their DCMS leadership so we are approaching MP’s to help provide an explanation.
  5. Finally, to assist in full understanding of the nature of procurement management between NCS Trust, Invasion Camp Group and outdoor providers the Trust have confirmed that Invasion Camp Group do not have any funds and are not holding any funds destined for providers. The Trust has provided us with a detailed breakdown of the payment and authorisation process which is summarised below:
  • Activity and accommodation providers invoice Invasion group
  • Invasion finance team review against the contracts and invoices the Trust, with a copy of the invoice from the Activity and Accommodation provider
  • 4 layers of due diligence are applied at increasing levels of seniority, each requiring sign-off.
  • Payment is made to invasion group for the exact amount that the invoices total
  • Invasion pay activity and accommodation providers and provide the Trust with proof of payment to each provider, they hold no money from the Trust for any length of time as they pay it out within 24hours of it hitting their account- usually within a matter of hours



Andrew Gardiner

Chairman’s Message, Autumn 2014

You need to login to view this content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

The Bendrigg Trust – AIM Member Profile

The Bendrigg Trust is a charitable trust offering residential and non-residential activity courses for groups of disabled and disadvantaged people of any age or ability. Originally founded in 1977 as the Northern Association for Community Care, the Trust operates from a 40-bed centre in Kendal, Cumbria and a Bunkhouse in the Yorkshire Dales. Courses provided range from day visits and residential courses to more adventurous expeditions away from the main centre, in the UK and abroad.

The Centre operates throughout the year and is open 7 days per week to welcome a wide variety of disabled and disadvantaged user groups including special needs schools , colleges and disability organisations from all over the UK. Around 80% of the guests have a physical, learning or sensory disability and up to 10% of the guests can be wheelchair users. The Trust aims to promote integration, encourage independence and build self-confidence through the use of residential experience and the safe provision of adventurous activities.

Outstanding Adventure Activities for Disabled People

The Centre offers outstanding adventure activities for disabled visitors both within their 15-acre woodland site and at nearby off-site locations. Activities include Abseiling, Archery, Canoeing, Caving, Climbing, Fell Walking, Gorge Walking, Low Robes and Zip Wire. Facilities and equipment are specially adapted such as wheelchairs that can be used for abseiling or caving and specially rafted canoes that provide a stable introduction to watersports. The purpose-built indoor climbing facility is very highly regarded and described as one of the finest climbing facilities for disabled people in the UK.

The Trust deliver their programmes with a team of full-time Tutors who are selected just as much for their soft people skills as their NGB qualifications. 10 full-time Tutors are led by a Senior Tutor and assisted by dedicated volunteers who provide additional non-technical support. Up to 150 volunteers work at the Centre throughout each year with many using the experience as part of their Duke of Edinburgh or John Muir award scheme. Staff:pupil ratios are typically double what you would expect to see at an Activity Centre.

Head of Centre, Trevor Clarke, has been with Bendrigg since 1983 following earlier roles in Outdoor Education and he is proud of the unique experiences that his team offer their visitors:

“Key outcomes can include improvements in self esteem, confidence and independence as they experience a sense of achievement through adventure.”

The Trust is often asked to share the vast experience it has gained from over 35 years of working with disabled people in outdoor education and recreation. Bendrigg provide consultancy services to other independent centres and local authorities on access, equipment and inclusivity.

Funding Challenges

The capital cost of the original centre building was funded by a donation from the Mary Kinross Charitable Trust. As an independent charity, The Bendrigg Trust has always been completely dependent on course fees and fundraising to cover its operating costs. In recent they have faced an increasing challenge as some of their regular visiting groups have struggled to fund their annual trip to Bendrigg.

Further building projects and improvements have only been possible through donations and grants provided over the years. Projects have included a dining room extension, the rebuilding of bedrooms to make better accommodation for wheelchair users and, more recently, an indoor activity centre. Head of Centre, Trevor Clarke, is currently seeking to raise £1m to build a new purpose-designed accommodation block within the grounds. He says that he has found more and more of his time has to be dedicated to fundraising activities in recent years.

Why AIM?

Bendrigg has been using the services of Activities Industry Mutual since its foundation and Trevor describes the AIM service as a “refreshing change” from his previous experiences with commercial insurers. Bendrigg value the service and the level of support provided as much as the cost-effective advantage that the mutual approach has brought to the industry.

The Bendrigg Trust is inspected on a biennial basis by the Adventure Activities Licencing Service and the Trust was one of the first centres in the UK to be awarded the AHOEC Gold Standard badge (which includes “Learning outside the Classroom” and “Adventuremark” accreditation).

More info: