‘Angel investor’ wanted to help struggling Dales outdoor centre

The house at Low Mill which is for sale.

A charitable investor is wanted to buy a Wensleydale house and help an outdoor centre struggling due to Covid-19.

A house belonging to Low Mill Outdoor Centre, in Askrigg, has been put up for sale.

The charity which runs the centre is hoping it will be bought by an investor who will then rent it back to the centre for use by staff.

Due the pandemic, Low Mill has been unable to take in school groups since the Spring, meaning its income has been drastically reduced.

Centre manager Terry Hailwood said: “As the effects of the Covid pandemic continue to bite at Low Mill, with no clear date for a resumption of residential visits, the trustees are considering all options to raise necessary capital and improve cash flow to ensure the long-term survival of Low Mill.

“A unique opportunity has arisen out of necessity.

“The trustees have now taken the difficult decision to dispose of the Low Mill cottage.

“In the first instance we seek interested parties who would be prepared to invest in the cottage as a charitable venture.

“Under this initiative, ownership of the property would transfer to the interested parties, whilst Low Mill would retain use of the cottage.

“We anticipate that investors would receive a monthly rental income and also participate in any capital growth in the value of the property.

“This is an opportunity to own a piece of Low Mill and help secure the future of the charity post-Covid.”

The four-bedroom property is on the market for offers around £275,000.

The property is being marketed by Dales estate agents JR Hoppers,

Brian Carlisle, from JR Hoppers, said: “The investors will own the property but the centre will maintain the property as they currently do

“The investors will receive a modest return on their capital above the current bank rates. Current suggested rental is £700 per month (3% yield).”

He added: “They will own an increasing asset.

“There will be an option for the centre to buy back at an agreed reasonable rate (linked to house price inflation) at future break points, when their situation improves.

“There will also be a clause requiring the investors to offer the property back to the Centre first, if they wished to sell.

“In the event that the centre ceased to require the property for rental, the investors would be a liberty to sell on the open market.”

This week, the outdoor centre took part in a campaign to Save Outdoor Education, which is being threatened by the pandemic.

A banner being used by the campaign’s organisers, representative body UK Outdoors, was brought to the Yorkshire Dales National Park this week where Low Mill staff took it down a cave.

Terry said: “Low Mill has been open for 44 years — just imagine how many thousands of young people we have given that experience to in that time, we have shown them things that only other people could imagine.

“Now multiply that by all the outdoor centres across the country.

“All these experiences could be lost to future generations as the whole residential outdoor education sector faces unprecedented challenges.”

UK Outdoors is lobbying for sector-wide financial support, without which many centres like Low Mill might not survive to see Easter.

To sign their petition, visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552754

For more details on the property, click here.