Family activity holiday in England, Shropshire

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01273 823 700

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Family activity holiday in England, Shropshire

Environment

As a company we would like to make our family activity holiday sustainable years to come. We understand that our product has an impact on the environment and on the local community.

Firstly we aim to limit our impact on the site where the family activity holiday takes place; a historical Grade I listed estate. Our objective is to preserve the historic heritage and to protect the fragile ecosystems, flora and fauna that flourish within the estate's grounds.

The mansion is 35 840 square feet with ancillary buildings extending to 108 000 square feet sitting in an estate of around 88 acres. With such a great building comes great responsibility to manage its upkeep. We have to ensure that we are conscious of what alterations or repairs can be made and where they are to ensure they do not contravene any listed sanctions.

Within the mansion itself we ensure that we obtain the correct advice before completing any work and simple repairs such as replacing broken windows are completed using the required materials and undertaken by skilled local traders who are specialist in repair and restoring historical buildings.
We work with contractors and teams of professionals who clearly understand the particular care needed when working on projects of this nature. Specialist contractors are able to undertake the most intricate and complex projects with great confidence. There are no standard solutions to repair some problems. Each project is individually assessed and individuals selected for their particular skills and expertise. Most of our projects involve English Heritage and local conservation officers in order to preserve a historic gem years to come. Significant funds are put aside each year to be available for the upkeep of the buildings and grounds.

Reducing Carbon Emission
In parallel of maintaining our building and heritage our aim is to modernise at the same time. Hence, as an when older light bulbs fail we replace them with low energy alternatives. In the ancillary accommodation buildings we are completing window replacement scheme to improve heat retention and energy loss and all new windows are replaced like for like.
We have installed a voltage optimiser which is an energy saving technology that is installed in series with the main electricity supply to systematically optimise, regulate and clean the incoming power supply to bring the voltage supplied into a building in line with what is required. We are expecting savings not only in terms of the cost of the electricity but in the reduction of energy required.
In terms of our gas heating we have installed controllers across the sites buildings to be able to better control the timing and temperature of heating to be more efficient.
We educate our staff and visiting guests in simple and effective ways they can help us save energy and they are reminded by helpful signs (eg. recycling) at the entrances of their accommodation areas.

Protecting the estate’s flora & fauna
Visiting families can participate in various eco sessions such as environmental explorers aimed at increasing their awareness of the natural environment. We also run week long courses where children work on the John Muir award, this award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration. We have future plans to construct a wildlife lake in an area of farmland behind the Cound Brook, to help encourage a larger variety of flora and fauna as well as provide an educational experience for the children.

We have had several ecologist reports on the estate and work with these experts to ensure we are doing our best in terms of the conservation of the estate’s wildlife and most recently we have installed several bat boxes across the grounds. Working with our ecologists we have been able to identify and know our wildlife. Records of species include Common pipistrelle bats, Otters, great crested newts , Brown long-eared bats and a small maternity roost of common pipistrelle bats in or around the grounds of the Hall. An active badger sett was also been identified in the grounds and a soprano pipistrelle roost has also been identified on the site. There is a wide range of birds including woodpecker, tits, nuthatch, Herons and Buzzards. All of our young guests have an induction and tour of the centre and are encouraged to be aware of the countryside code when travelling through our grounds.

The historical Landscape plan sets out proposals to accommodate changes arising from our use of the estate by enhancing the existing gardens and parklands. The proposals provide a short and long term programme of hard and soft landscaping work to enhance the gardens and parkland areas which lie either side of the Cound Brook. One example project within this plan is to cut vistas within the treeline alongside the brook to re-establish views out to the parkland together with new tree planting, also for the conservation of the Basition Garden House structure and associated walls and steps.
Working alongside our Estate company we are making great progress with the plan and will be looking at conducting a phase 2 plan towards the end of 2015.

The site is covered by a TPO, which requires all the trees on the estate to be recorded and risk assessed. If we find dangerous, diseased or dying trees we have an obligation to replace them. We are allocating new trees to our visiting schools who will have their tree labelled and can review progress on future trips. The new trees will be species such as Beech, Oak, Holly and other natives.

Community

Throughout the years our staff at the Hall have enjoyed working with local charities as well as helping out in the local community.
Two charity organisations that we provided activity days for are the Chernobyl Child Life Line and Hope House Children’s Hospice. Children from both organisations come to the Hall for the day to experience something that they had never experienced before.

Chernobyl Child Life Line provides essential support for 9 to 12 year old children of Belarus and the Ukraine who are badly affected by radioactive contamination. We decided to lend a helping hand by running a thrilling activity day for a group of these disadvantaged children, which included taking part in the High Ropes activities as well as all of our exciting indoor activities.

Hope House Children’s Hospice provide specialist nursing care and support to life-limited children, young people and young adults. They too came to the Hall to enjoy a fun-filled day of activities. The smiles and delight that shone from the faces of both groups of children at the end of the day were enough to melt anyone’s heart!

Early in the season the staff paints kennels at Moorlands Rescue, a rescue centre for dogs which is situated on the outskirts of Condover village. Some of the staff enjoyed their time there so much that they returned regularly in their free time to walk the dogs. This was much appreciated by the kennel staff as they themselves are extremely busy caring for these animals.

Duvets that are no longer used at the Hall were donated to Moorlands Rescue and also to Hilbrae Kennels, RSPCA Gonsal Farm and Primchurch Kennels, three other local rescue centres, to provide sleeping materials for the animals. In fact, Gemma Roadknight, the deputy housekeeping manager, contributed some of her own time to making dogs beds out of old duvets and duvet covers!

In addition, the Hall has donated mattresses to Maninplace, a not-for-profit community enterprise set up to provide accommodation for people who are forced to sleep rough or are homeless in the borough of Telford & Wrekin.

Closer to home, in the local village of Condover, the staff have donated their time to litter-picking, including one full day doing an entire litter-pick throughout the village and cleaning the road signs.

The Hall’s latest act of charity was getting involved in Operation Christmas Child, in which some members of staff collected items such as toys and stationery which were packed into shoe-boxes wrapped in Christmas paper and donated to the Samaritans, to be delivered to disadvantaged children in war-torn or impoverished countries.

We now look forward to the future, when we can spread some more happiness and offer helping hands to those in need.

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