As we arrive at our second birthday as East Fife holiday homes (1st August 2021), I find myself reflecting on the past 2 years. We’ve acquired Elie Letting, The East Fife Letting Company and Fife Holiday Homes, and we’re regularly adding new properties to our growing portfolio. We’ve moved premises to accommodate our increasing team, and we’ve expanded into laundry and linen-hire services to assist our holiday home owners. What next? Our own housekeeping teams, perhaps?

Who knew we’d open on 1st August 2019, and then Covid-19 would strike all of us on 23rd March 2020, with the first period of lockdown imposing cancellations and rescheduled bookings . Furlough is now a word we’re all familiar with, and holiday homes lay empty. Our East Coast villages were like ghost towns.

Under tight restrictions, we re-commenced bookings on 4th July 2020. We were busy with single household guests, however this meant the majority of larger properties, which attract households sharing, had to accept single households at reduced rents, or leave their properties unoccupied. Uncertainty prevailed, until the second lockdown from 26th December 2020 to 26th April 2021.

With more relaxed restrictions, bookings have gone through the roof since 26th April 2021, with guests desperate to get a break and enjoy our fabulous beaches, golf courses and sporting facilities, to name but a few. It’s lovely to see the villages busy again, and children building sandcastles on the beach. The weather has been very much on our side so far, too. It’s not lovely to see rubbish and broken bottles being left on our lovely beaches by some thoughtless visitors, however.

Covid-19 has certainly taken it’s toll, though. Not only on the people who have suffered and lost loved ones as a result of this terrible virus, but on the East Neuk workforce. Sadly, some businesses have not survived, and those that have (particularly housekeeping companies who undertake change-overs between bookings) are doing the very best they can with depleted staff numbers, self-isolation, and longer delays for stock, materials, and more specifically in holiday homes, the repair and replacement of windows, boilers, and especially integrated white goods.

Fife Council has certainly not been on our side with refuse collections and recycling stations. With Landfill collections every fortnight, and recycling collections every 4 weeks, when the majority of holiday home bookings are for 1 week, we have no option but to collect and dispose of guest refuse ourselves. A maximum of 3 Recycling Centre appointments of 10 minutes each week is permitted for 1 car, and as the Recycling Centre’s are only open 5 days a week, we have to store the refuse ourselves, until it can be transported to the Recycling Centre and be disposed of. Not ideal in anyone’s book!

Debbie Rummens – Director

12th August 2021

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