While we’ve been pushing frantically to get our BELIEVE website up and running there has been a significant amount of background work taking place in readiness to launch the Aroha retreat project; situated in and amongst glorious olive trees.
We have selected our two biggest suppliers: the tent supplier from South Africa and the furniture supplier from the USA. These guys and girls have been instrumental in helping us understand what’s required from a supply chain perspective; offering immeasurable support and advise to understanding both costs and logistics of setting us up. We can’t wait to give them a shout out on our website; our first Aroha pay-it-forward in action.
We’ve also already met with a number of key people in Greece. These early BELIEVE angels found their way to us in the most synchronistic way! They’ve been part of our journey and have been instrumental in guiding us through what can only be described as a challenging list of regulations. We’ve registered with a local estate agent. We’ve met with a lawyer and have lodged power of attorney. We’ve met with a civils engineer, forestry engineer and an architect; along with Greek locals who obviously know best about what’s required to secure planning.
We are working with Lyberis [lawyer] to finalise ownership & topographical studies of the site. In Greece this can be quite complicated as land is generally divided between the spouse, who maintains 50% of the land, and the balance divided equally between the children. Often creating many smaller pieces of land across the country; this all has to be investigated to validate ownership.
Our architect, Nikolas, is currently helping us develop an agri-tourism business plan in order to move to the next step; a detailed feasibility study. Once the feasibility study is complete, we will need to submit the plan, along with the study, to the NGTO [National Greek Tourism Organisation] for approval. This then goes to the local planning office in order to obtain a license of construction.
While the funding website is up and running – the founders of BELIEVE are not sitting idle – we continue to investigate a number of European funding options. Agri-tourism, small scale olive farming and biodiversity are keen areas of interest in Europe and there may be some opportunity of support to help get our community project up and running.
But we believe the most exciting news we have to share by far is that we’ve already found – after three visits to the island and many many site viewings including cuts, scratches, head-butting goats and a large number of wasps – the absolute dream location and land for the retreat. To give you just a glimpse of this piece of heaven we’ve decided to share a couple of pics ….