CEO – Summer Club/New Term

Nature at it’s best

CEO – Summer Clubs / New Term                                  


Hello again.  I hope you are all as well as you can be in this time of challenges: heat, Covid, end of term, summer holiday etc……you name it!

The Summer Club is on us, we made it!  12 days of play, activities and fun for the children and young people.  We have, in the circumstances, had a tremendous response from parents, carers, staff, children and young people.  Thank you from me on behalf of the Hollow Lane Club, our Staff and our Trustees for your patience and perseverance.

We are looking forward to seeing nearly 100 children and young people during the 12 days over the next three weeks.  We hope that everyone has a great time and as much fun as possible.  I will be around and hope to meet as many of you as I can.

In September, as the recent Newsletter announced, we will be running a full programme of Clubs and social activities (providing prevailing conditions allow with bubbles etc…) to include After School Clubs, Social Club, Siblings Club and Saturday Club at our three locations at Ellen Tinkham School, Ellen Tinkham College and Bidwell Brook School.

Thank you for all your support in these challenging times.  We are here to support you as much as possible.

Regards, Steve                                                 

July 2021 Update

Exeter & Dartington 

The Hollow Lane Club Logo


The Hollow Lane Club is a Registered Charity dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and young people with special needs and their families. 

We provide fun activities for children and their siblings, after school, at weekends and in the school holidays. 

Contact details: 

The Hollow Lane Club 

c/o Ellen Tinkham School 

Hollow Lane 


EX1 3RW 

Tel: (01392) 463823 


Administrator:  Deb Ward 

General Manager:  Mary Roche 

This Newsletter is to introduce you to The Hollow Lane Club and to let you know about the wide range of activities that the Club has to offer.   

We run a series of inclusive out of school hours clubs for children and young people with special needs and their siblings at Ellen Tinkham School, Ellen Tinkham FE College and Bidwell Brook School. 

The focus of The Hollow Lane Club is for the children and young people who attend to have fun, be creative and learn new things.  We hope that they will connect with friends, have new experiences that broaden their horizons and give them memories.   

All the Clubs are Ofsted registered and all relevant policies are in place and available to read, should anyone wish to do so.  We keep our own Accident, Incident and Child Protection Books. 

Hollow Lane Club Updates – July 2021 

Due to current restrictions and keeping within bubbles, we are unable to run our Siblings Groups at the moment but are hoping to do this in the very near future.  However, we have a waiting list for when we do reopen, so if you would like a space, please do let us know. 

Children under 8 years 

As you are probably aware, The Hollow Lane Club recently became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation with a new charity number.  This has meant that we have had to go through a process of re-registration with Ofsted.  As yet our new registration has not been approved.   

We are doing everything we can to expedite the process and Devon County Council are assisting us with this.   

We will keep everyone updated with progress and as soon as the registration is complete, we will be able to confirm your child’s place at the relevant Club. 

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The Saturday Club is held once a month from 10am until 4pm.  We enjoy a variety of activities including outings, sports activities and workshops to include drama, music, art and craft.  The Club is extremely popular and we provide places for up to 30 young people at our Exeter site.   

The Saturday Club is based at:  Ellen Tinkham School & Bidwell Brook School   

Cost:  £43.00 per session 

The After School Club sessions start straight after school at 3.30pm until 6pm (3.20pm until 5.50pm at Bidwell Brook Special School).  The cost of the session includes a light tea and we enjoy having a picnic outside when the weather allows.  We go to the park, play games, paint and chill out after a day a school.   

The After School Club is based at:   

Ellen Tinkham School  

Ellen Tinkham FE College  

Bidwell Brook School 

Cost:  £20.50 per session 

The Social Club is for our young people over 16 years of age and is held once a month from 10am until 4pm.  We enjoy trips to the zoo, ten pin bowling and the cinema together with activities such as cooking, craft and music.   

The Social Club is based at:  Ellen Tinkham FE College   

Cost:  £43.00 per session 

The Siblings Group recognises that the children and young people have a real need for time to themselves, where they can spend time creating, having fun and making friends with other children from similar situations.   

The group, which meets monthly on a Saturday, also aims to provide a safe environment where they can express some of the feelings and thoughts they keep hidden and the impact having a disabled brother or sister can have on their lives. 

The Siblings Group is based at:  Ellen Tinkham School & Bidwell Brook School 

Cost:  £23.50 per session 

The main event in our diary is the Summer Club.   The Summer Club runs for 12 days over the summer holidays in July/August and offers a full timetable of activities (swimming, splash zone, animal encounters, art and craft) and outings to Lindfield Farm, the Donkey Sanctuary, bell boating and canoeing at Haven Banks, Quad World, Paignton Zoo, to name but a few.   

The Summer Club is based at:  Ellen Tinkham School & Bidwell Brook School 

Cost:  £43.00 per session 

Introducing our CEO – Steve Offord

Q. Who are you?

A. I have worked for a variety of commercial and charitable organisations. I am also a trustee at Splitz and Devon Mind and a bereavement support volunteer at Cruse. I have lived in the southwest since 2012 and live with my wife and 2 dogs. I have three daughters who have left home now.

Q. How did I get into this type of work?

A. I started charity work in the Community at the age of 14, working with families and children who needed respite, support and enablement.

Q. Tell me more?

A. I have a deep routed and fundamental interest in people, who and what they are, how they function, how they behave and feel and what keeps them going, but also what derails them. This was apparent to me in my teenage years by the things that I got involved with and events that happened to me.

Q. Who are you?

A. I am down to earth, humane, pragmatic and like keeping it simple. I have a strong sense of integrity and I really care about what I do and making a success of it – that is what drives me. Life is for living so fun is mandatory as well.

Q. Why the Hollow Lane club?

A. I believe children and young people face a challenge in this modern world and those with complex disabilities even more so. Trying to provide a level playing field is important to me, so providing opportunities for socialisation and engaging in fun and recreational activities critical.

The quote on our website made my heart waken:

“This club is making such a positive difference to family life. The activities that are provided for young people are quality activities with clear objectives rather than just being childcare or childminding. Each club day adds great quality of life experiences to the young people that attend.”


Come and join the dynamic and passionate team running the Hollow Lane Club. We provide rich and exciting club experiences to children and young people with complex disabilities and have been going for 20 years now. We want to strengthen our Board of Trustees by recruiting a new Treasurer and other Trustees who can bring business and other skills and have an interest in supporting our work in the voluntary sector. We are also keen to invite Trustees with experience of working with charities to support us in continuing to provide this essential service to families of and children and young people with complex disabilities in Exeter and surrounding areas and South Devon. The Hollow Lane Club has been providing After School, Saturday and Summer Clubs for twenty years now. In the last 3 years we extended the Club to another setting, increasing the number of children we look after. The Hollow Lane Club works in partnership with the schools, that most of our children and young people attend and whose buildings we use, for the Clubs. We have a range of funders, including the National Lottery and Children in Need. All places at The Hollow Lane Club are heavily subsidised by grant funding to ensure that services can be offered to all and that cost is not a barrier to access. The day to day running of the charity is done by an employed team, including the CEO, General Manager, Finance Manager, Administrator and HR Manager. In November 2020 we moved to CIO Status with the Charity Commission. We have a team of experienced and dedicated workers, who are incredibly passionate about the club that we run. We are registered with OFSTED, have glowing references from families and the children and young people love to come to our Club. The Treasurer’s role will ensure good governance for our finances and we look to all Trustees to be our critical friends and bring their experience and expertise to the table. The Treasurer needs experience in financial management, business skills or knowledge of the voluntary and community sector or social enterprise: an accountancy qualification / knowledge of Charity SORP / budgetary and cash flow management. We will consider part qualified or trainee accountants looking for their first Charity role as long as they can provide us with the financial stewardship required. We need you to support us out of the COVID pandemic and ensure we are still here in another 20 years. As a volunteer for our Charity, you will benefit from the protection provided by our recent move to CIO Status. We are looking for Trustees with previous charity experience at board level and a willingness to continue to learn within the charity sector. Trustees need to have a good standard of literacy and numeracy, be able to work with a range of people and have good communication skills.

Club Update

We are hoping to find a way forward to reopen Clubs which will include our Summer Club.  If we are able to do this we thought that it would be useful to let you know that the Summer Club dates will be as follows:

Week 1 – Tuesday 27, Wednesday 28, Thursday 29 and Friday 30 July 2021

Week 2 – Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4, Thursday 5 August 2021

Week 3 – Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 August 2021

Please note week 1 runs Tuesday to Friday, weeks 2 and 3 runs Monday to Thursday.

It’s Panto Season (oh yes it is)

The Hollow Lane Club are very pleased to offer you the opportunity to watch Peter Duncan’s fully professional production of Jack and the Beanstalk. The panto lasts for approximately 1.5 hours and the link has been emailed to our members for you to view at your leisure (as many times as you want). It is available until 10 January 2021.

Charity Update

With effect from 1 November 2020 The Hollow Lane Club transferred to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.  This means we have a new charity number which is 1186520 and a new bank account, details of which have been circulated to parents/carers and funders.

Trustee Update

Gary and Sarah Woolfries have now resigned at Trustees and we would like to thank them for their hard work and commitment to The Hollow Lane Club.

This means we obviously need to recruit new Trustees to ensure the Club can continue.  We are especially looking for a Trustee with Treasurer/accounts experience.

The team are continuing to work behind the scenes and a supportive Board of Trustees is vital to this work.  If you are interested, please contact .

Trustee Update

There have been some changes to our Board of Trustees:
In February Jacqui Warne stood down as a Trustee, Jacqui has been involved with the Hollow Lane Club since it began 20 years ago. We are sad to see her go and thank her for the huge amount of work she has done for the Club.
At the AGM last week Gary Woolfries stood down as Chair and this role will now be carried out jointly by Daisy Binnie and Nikki Burroughs. Gary has also worked extremely hard in the role of Chair and we thank him for this. He will remain as Treasurer and Sarah Woolfries will continue to be the Secretary. We were pleased to welcome Simon Winward to the Board of Trustees.
Gary and Sarah indicated that they plan to step down as Trustees by the next AGM and so the Club will need to recruit some new Trustees, particularly someone with a financial background for the Treasurer role. We feel it’s really important to have some parental/carer input and so would welcome any expressions of interest from this group. If you would like any further information on the role of a Trustee please contact us via . Also please spread the word amongst family, friends and colleagues.

Summer Club 2020 – Letter from the Trustees


c/o Ellen Tinkham School

Hollow Lane, Exeter   EX1 3RW

Tel: 01392 463823



Dear Hollow Lane Club Parents and Carers,

It was a very difficult decision for us as Trustees and Managers of the Club to decide not to run face-to-face groups this summer. We know how important the Club is to our families and for 20 years now we have provided fun and engaging activities for our young people through thick and thin.

This year we have been hit with a challenge that none of us have experienced before. Keeping young people and staff safe from the transmission of the COVD-19 virus has to be our priority.

We went through many options as a team and looked at all the implications of each one. Sadly, we could not work out a way to run our Clubs safely with the number of staff and the resources we have available to us.

Our plan is to provide fun and engaging on-line activities that will give some routine for your week and entertainment for the whole family. Expect to see some familiar faces and fun activities.

There is no charge being made for this and any funds that you have already paid into us for the Summer Club will be refunded to you as mentioned in the letter from our General Manager, Mary Roche.

With best regards,

Hollow Lane Club Trustees