EASY MONEY FOR OLDER PEOPLE
Many people around Norwich are very grateful to me, James Heggerson, and my wife Maxine, for sharing a few acres of our neighbours spare land with the general public.
However, as much as we enjoy mixing with other people, our purpose in converting part of this property into picnic grounds was not entirely an altruistic one: we had to find some way of making additional profits for our coming old age.
A few rows of trees and a lovely little stream, which ran along the local ‘A’ road, provided the inspiration for a project which has proved to be very profitable for us.
It took considerable time to provide the necessary facilities and equipment, but I did a great deal of the work myself.
One entire summer was spent in cheaply gravelling a suitable access road; bringing in electricity; providing water for
drinking and toilet facilities (where the local Portakabin branch were of great assistance); and I spent many long hours in
the construction of barbecue pits.
Some of the trees had to be removed to make way for picnic tables and benches, which we built ourselves.
Rubbish bins had to be provided (it’s amazing what so-called professional bins cost when metal dustbins are so cheaply
available!), and I chopped/bought an initial supply of firewood and charcoal.
Maxine and I decided to provide activities which would require a minimum investment in equipment.
Arrangements for archery were made simple by piling bales of hay in the back of some inexpensively constructed targets.
Horseshoe throwing, quoits and badminton courts were also provided for without too much difficulty, and an open field
nearby furnished ample space for amateur football games.
As it turned out, the sport which our visitors, young and old, enjoyed most was wading in the cool water of the pool on a hot summer’s day or just resting and chatting together under the trees, while the children enjoyed a sense of freedom.
Maxine takes the money at the gate – a flat rate of admission to the grounds which includes the use of a picnic table and
There was an extra charge for firewood when it was needed.
The first year paid off so well that we decided to invest some of the profits in building a swimming pool, utilizing the water from the brook, and forming a Limited Company, to protect ourselves in case of any unexpected downturn in business.
We charge for the use of the pool and the small showers, and this has brought in additional income.
Next summer, we are probably going to have a small horse riding ring.
Many days in winter we can turn a local small hill into a family sledging resort – you’d be amazed at how many adults join in!
I keep some fires going in the barbecues where the participants can warm hands and feet, and where there is always a hot cup of coffee ready!
A small admission charge brings considerable revenue during the winter months.
There is bound to be some spare land within about 25 miles of you where you could do the same, probably starting off very small.
The landowner would only require a little money (after all, it’s all profit to him!), payable only after you’re received
admission charges, of course.