LAST week, Borland Lodge felt like “a sinking ship” but the generosity of one community group has provided a much-needed boost, a trust chairman says.
Winton Lions Club president Allan Wilson met with Borland Lodge representatives yesterday to hand over a $6000 cheque in an effort to keep the lodge alive.
A fortnight ago, lodge trustees announced a decline in revenue during the Covid-19 lockdown. With ongoing costs, this created a precarious future for the education and adventure destination, with the threat of closure becoming a real risk.
Borland Lodge Trust chairman Grant Hubber said the donation from the club had been “really big” for the site and would help with standing costs while there was no revenue coming in.
“One of the biggest costs is insurance, being in the location it is.
“Covid-19 has also meant we were closed for our busy season so we had no income to cover those costs.”
Mr Wilson said the club had been a big supporter of the lodge for decades and did not want to see it close.
“We’ve had a massive involvement since the lodge’s inception.
“A few members suggested paying the insurance for a couple of months to help with the standing costs, so that’s what we did.”
Mr Hubber said the lockdown had been disheartening for the lodge after multiple bookings for school trips, weddings and work retreats had to be cancelled during the past three months.
“It’s a community-based site owned by Southland. We originally set it up as an education trust for schools but there’s a lot more local people coming to have a look.
“Everyone has some form of connection to the lodge, whether you went there 30 years ago or your kids or grandkids have been there.”
Borland Lodge ex-president Juon Schoen said the lodge gave Southlanders access to one of the most beautiful places in the world right on their doorstep.
“You can just lose yourself in there, you’re right out in the wilderness has so much to offer.”
Mr Schoen said trustees had been overwhelmed by the generosity of community members who had rung up to see what they could do to help, and donated through the Givealittle page online.
As of noon yesterday, the page had received more than $8000 in donations.
Mr Hubber said some money had even been gifted from ex-pats from as far as Uruguay.
“It’s really humbling to see how many people care about the lodge as much as we [trustees] do.”
While the donations had been an enormous help, there was a lot more money needed to ensure the survival of the lodge for future generations, he said.
“We really want other organisations and clubs to get on board and donate and offer their support too.
“The Borland Lodge is incredibly important for the Southland community.”