BALANCING ACTS

BALANCING ACTS

WHITECLIFF BAY BEACH, AWAY HOLIDAYS –When project planning, Away Resorts always take into consideration environmentally and eco-friendly impact.

Environmentally-friendly tourism is in safe hands, as Emily Martin reports...

The holiday park industry is big business. In a 2019 study, carried out by Frontline Consultants on behalf of the UK Caravan and Camping Alliance (UKCCA), it was found that in the UK alone, campsites and holiday parks generate £9.3bn in visitor spending and support 171,448 full-time employees. That accounts for 8% of the UK tourism industry overall and is a colossal figure everyone involved is surely keen to protect. But, as any big business does, it can come with a great big dirty footprint and, for business owners, it’s striking the balance between what makes their accountants happy, but also what’s environmentally something to be proud of that poses a perpetual challenge. Happily, the custodians of the gorgeous pockets of the UK, known as holiday parks, are proving they are more than up to the challenge.

GREEN TOURISM

It is impossible to go any further without mentioning the David Bellamy Awards which takes place every year and is one of the longest-running green tourism awards in the UK. It is truly seen as the benchmark for holiday parks who pride themselves on their green credentials. The late Mr Bellamy himself, who sadly died in 2019, remarked when he piloted the scheme in 1996, that his dream was to: “Upgrade all caravan parks to some sort of conservation status so that they can educate the visiting public and help them respect and care for the countryside.” A romantic notion indeed, but sometimes being ‘green’ has to be lower down the priorities list for a business ultimately focussed on making a profit, or does it? In 2007 there was a major revision of the judging criteria for award winners, done to acknowledge the increasing importance of energy saving and sustainability issues. With businesses cottoning on to the fact that caring about the environment is well worth it in order to preserve their incomes for the future, it’s been embraced by the industry in a myriad of ways. Rufus Bellamy, environmental adviser to the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, and David’s son, is now charged with continuing his father’s work. He says, “Many parks in Britain are blessed with abundantwildlife, and their owners are generally mindful of the need to manage their natural surroundings with sensitivity.” And Jon Boston of the BHPA says: “Holiday parks are commercial operations - they need to make a profit to stay in existence and keep their staff employed. “But these days, and especially during the pandemic, people want to get out into the countryside and discover places where they can get the benefits of fresh air and rural surroundings, so it’s actually a commercial investment to ensure parks are environmental oases.”

UTOPIAN PARKS

This all sounds lovely in theory. Idealistic, utopian holiday parks teaming with squirrels, fluttering with butterflies and leafy trees filled with birds is what we’d all hope for, but when going green costs money, how does it all work in reality? How much do holiday parks actually prioritise sustainability, and crucially how much of their budget will get allocated to overcoming the challenges? Kaz Mortimer is Group General Manager of Shorefield Holidays, a family owned business with eight parks across the south coast, and proud recipient of a Gold David Bellamy Award this year. Kay says: “Good green credentials are very important to our business.We have started the implementation of electric vehicles in our company fleet, as well as installing LED lighting to reduce light pollution and power consumption. “Our indoor swimming pool at Shorefield Country Park, is heated and runs on bio fuel and, where essential tree works are carried out, we re-use the chippings on our gardens.” FraserWatts, Operations Manager at Away Resorts comments: “Any but there is a commercial benefit when you invest in your micro-ecology environment and it’s something which parks are very keen to do, basically because customers like it and it encourages more customers.”

KEY FACTOR

Zoe House of family owned Ladram Bay Holiday Park agrees: “Our family tries to make sustainability a key factor in all of our business decisions. “The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme incorporates many of our values, and we have been closely involved with it from the outset,” Zoe continues. “Perhaps one of its most vital roles is to demonstrate that parks such as ours can play a major part in protecting and enhancing the natural world, and at the same time create a more exciting and enjoyable place for people to visit. “One very successful recent project was to retrieve one ton of plastic waste washed up on our private beach. We showed the growing total on a rising column of sand on a special display board near the beach path, and children especially showed great enthusiasm to help us reach our target! “Other initiatives involve substantially greater cost, such as our decision to reduce by 33% Ladram Bay’s carbon footprint,” she continues. “This has included a £300,000 investment in a solar energy system which will prevent a massive 171 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually from entering the atmosphere.We have also expanded our fleet of all-electric vehicles, and plan to introduce car charging points for customers. “We don’t, of course, expect to gain commercially from such actions – but they all fit into the wider objective of providing the park with a sustainable future. This policy isn’t something we especially boast about to guests, but it’s amazing how many do take a genuine interest in our environmental work and are keen to hear about our plans. We have always felt privileged to be able to live and work in such a project we undertake, always has considerations for being environmentally and eco-friendly." added Zoe.

Without financial return on investment, is the appeal for businesses purely a desire to just…do something good? Jon Boston again: “David Bellamy himself was very keen on holiday parks publicising what they were doing to encourage people to go there, because that in turn would encourage the park to spend more on its environmental initiatives. “It’s not done for commercial reasons, it's a beautiful part of Devon, and putting something back into the region is its own reward.” Ladram Bay are not alone. This feeling that being green is simply the right thing to do, regardless of the investment it takes, is echoed widely. Henry Wild of Skelwith Fold caravan park comments:“Businesses, including holiday parks such as ours, will evaluate most new projects in terms of their cost and the likely payback period. “But this doesn’t work when weighing up investments intended to produce environmental benefits. They may, in the long term, make the park a more attractive or appealing proposition for holiday guests, but you would be hard pressed to see this reflected in the balance sheets.

 

SWEET SCENTS

Skelwith Fold go the extra mile with environmentally measures such as treating wastewater naturally by channelling it through specially cultivated beds of iris plants. Maintaining these beds is a costly year-round commitment, and it could be argued that simply using chemicals to make the water safe would be far cheaper. Henry says: “To my mind, sweet- scented irises provide a much more attractive outlook than an industrial treatment plant, and the system is more ecologically sound. “In a similar vein, our visitors greatly enjoy spotting the red squirrels and roe deer in our grounds. “But these animal numbers would probably be far fewer if we didn’t implement a labour-intensive winter- feeding programme, or spend time and money on creating the conditions and habitats which enable such species to flourish. “We choose to take such initiatives not for any financial gain, but so that we can have pride in a business which is impacting positively on the environment.” It’s certainly impressive and extremely heartening to find that the more you dig into the complex workings of holiday parks, the more intricate the environmental duty of care being practised really is. From tiny bee hotels to huge solar installations, it seems that the UK’s most celebrated and beautiful places are in very safe hands. HenryWild sums it up nicely: “I really don’t believe that business decisions should be entirely profit focussed. If this year has taught us anything, it is that quality of life is all about how we feel and our sense of wellbeing. “Connecting with nature benefits both, and if our park can play a small part in nudging this along, I’ll be perfectly happy!”

Family Values

Family Values

ABOVE: A vast choice of accommodation available through Shorefield Holidays includes hot tubs lodges.

Visitors to Shorefield Holidays are spoilt for choice…

With an estimated £31 million impact in the local community and over £4.4 million spent annually with local business and suppliers, Shorefield Holidays is influential family-run business within the Dorset and New Forest areas where its eight parks are situated. “As a company we have a huge focus on sourcing locally, whether it be for fresh local produce to use in our restaurants or even our luxury holiday homes,” says Simon Pollock, Chairman and Managing Director. “One of our key suppliers for the ownership side of our business is Regal Holiday Homes, based in Wareham, Dorset,” Simon explains. “We do also make sure we are always up to date with a range of different suppliers and manufacturers, to ensure we’re choosing the very best for our guests and owners.” Shorefield Holidays was founded in 1958 when Dr Robert Pollock, the company’s founder, was unable to find an available pitch for his touring caravan.

EVERYTHING COVERED

He loved the area and regularly holidayed on the south coast with his family, however after finding that there was nowhere to stay, he bought a small caravan park next to a worked-out gravel pit…and so the company roots were formed! To this day, Shorefield Holidays is proud to still be family-run, with family remaining at the core of everything they do. Shorefield Holidays now boasts eight beautifully landscaped parks in Dorset and the New Forest, each with their own unique selling points and charm. Whether you’re looking for somewhere filled with entertainment and family fun, or a luxury retreat in peaceful surroundings, our parks cover everything. The sites offer a wide range of amenities but their proximity to both the picturesque New Forest and stunning local beaches offer a unique location from which to explore the very best of the south coast. Within minutes of leaving the park, you have some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes and idyllic walks just waiting to be discovered. This, coupled with our family values and warm welcome, is what keeps our guests returning year after year. You’re spoilt for choice on accommodation types and facilities across our parks, meaning there’s sure to be something to suit everyone. Families enjoy a range of caravan options, which we are constantly updating. This means that much of our caravan accommodation is no more than a few years old – something that really stands out to our guests and helps us to ensure we’re offering the best experience. Simon comments: “For something a little more special, our hot tub retreats are the ideal choice. Whether it’s an idyllic hot tub lodge our guests are looking for or a luxury house for the whole family, we have it all. “What could be better than returning to your accommodation after a day of exploring to enjoy a relaxing soak in the warm, bubbling hot tub? And when our largest house sleeps up to 14 guests, there really is room for everyone! Shorefield Country Park is at the heart of the holiday operator’s story and where the company began. It is also the largest, spanning over 100 acres, and has a range of fantastic facilities on site for all members the family to enjoy. “Our aim is to provide unforgettable family moments and memories that our guests will cherish for a lifetime, whilst minimising our environmental impact when doing so,” says Lesley. “We have implemented a range of CSR initiatives across all our parks - from joining the World Community Grid, enabling our idle computers to help power supercomputers research the likes of cancer cures, to regular beach clean initiatives. “We’ve even won multiple David Bellamy Conservation Awards in the process, something we’re extremely proud to be doing.”

ABOVE: The regular timetable of offerings inclue Go Active Activities at the company’s Oakdene Forest Park resort.

STAFF TEAM

Currently, the three family directors working alongside Simon include Sara Bertin as Finance Director and Lesley Lawrence as Marketing Director while Andy Bowden and Paula Curtis fill the roles of ICT Director and Company Accountant and Director respectively. The company recognises that its outstanding staff team are a huge factor behind its success, which is why they invest significantly in training, development and even awards nights to show our appreciation to our outstanding teams across all our parks. “Our stand out feature would have to be our highly skilled staff who regularly go the extra mile for our guests,” says Lesley. “We’re proud to say that many of our fantastic employees have been with us for more than 10 years and without them we would not be anywhere near as successful as we are today

KEY CHALLENGE

ABOVE: Shorefield Holidays are set on the stunning south coast with great beaches nearby.

A key challenge is ensuring a new guest experience and keeping guest retention high. As a business we are always looking for ways to refresh our offering for repeat holidaymakers, who are often our most loyal guests. Each year we invest significantly in new accommodation, ensuring we have the very best to offer our guests, in addition to introducing a range of new facilities and entertainment. We have some exciting plans in the pipeline for the coming year, which form just part of this strategy. Shorefield Holidays are extremely excited to be introducing luxury treehouse accommodation to our Milford-on-Sea park in 2020. Says Simon: “This investment encompasses our aim to continually grow and develop our guest experience.” He continues: “The stunning three-bedroom properties, situated in a secluded woodland area of the park, will offer a truly unique experience and even have their own private hot tub. “We are also looking to expand our portfolio in the coming years through the acquisition of new holiday parks along the South Coast.”

Shorefield Holidays
Tel. 01590 648 300
www.shorefield.co.uk

Diamond Celebration

Diamond Celebration

diamond celebration

When it comes to holiday parks, Shorefield Holidays may be one of the UK’s best-kept secrets. For 60 years, the family-run company has been offering stunning gateways to some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Eight parks in two counties offer five different ways to stay (luxe holiday lodges, beautiful family houses, premium caravans, and camping or touring pitches), all set amongst some of the best countryside the British Isles has to offer, from the beautiful New Forest National Park to the heritage Jurassic coastline. Each park has its own individual character and different facilities, which variously include indoor and outdoor swimming pools and aqua fun, imaginative children’s play areas, gyms, vibrant restaurants and bars, great entertainment and a spa offering a range of treatments.

EASY DRIVE

Parks are an easy drive from either the beach or the unique New Forest National Park with its ancient, wild landscape and famous roaming ponies. Cycle the trails of the New Forest and the Isle of Purbeck, walk down hidden pathways to the south coast, or use your time to get fit or learn a new activity and then come home to your own lodge or holiday home. All parks are pet friendly, so there’s no reason to leave anyone behind. Ever since company founder, Dr Robert Pollock, bought a workedout gravel pit on the south coast in 1958 because he couldn’t find anywhere to park his caravan, the directors have never lost sight of why people choose to spend their precious downtime at a Shorefield Holiday park and continue to invest in new ways to deliver happy family holidays. The gravel pit was transformed into Shorefield Country Park and, since then, the company has grown to offer a portfolio of seven premium, award-winning parks across Hampshire and Dorset. The acquisition of Wilksworth Caravan Park at the start of 2018 became Shorefield’s eighth park and an ongoing investment in quality accommodation saw 80 brand new caravan holiday homes installed at Oakdene Forest Park in Dorset ensuring no caravan on the park is more than a few years old.A community of 12 luxury boutique lodges launched this year at the New Forest Diamond Celebration 2Lodge Retreat, on the edge of both the New Forest National Park and the beach at Milford-on-Sea. Lavender House, set in stunning private grounds close to Shorefield Country Park, has been completely refurbished and sleeps up to 14 people in six en suite rooms. In addition to this Rose Cottage, a historical property at Wilksworth, will soon be available to holidaymakers. Shorefield Holidays’ chairman and Managing Director Simon Pollock says: “2018 is a really exciting year for Shorefield Holidays, as well as our holidaymakers and home owners. “Not only are we celebrating six decades delivering happy holidays, we’re also investing in some significant improvements and introductions which we hope our customers will love.” “We are so proud of what Shorefield Holidays has achieved over the last 60 years. We wanted to show our appreciation to all our staff for the dedication they have shown to our company, whose family values are as strong today as they were when my father opened our first park in 1958. “Every member of staff is valued and encouraged to understand how they can make a difference to the success of our business,” he continues.

FORWARD THINKING

“In the last 60 years, we have seen significant growth - both for holidays and holiday home ownership,” adds Simon. “With more and more post-Brexit vote Britons opting to holiday at home instead of travelling abroad, we are anticipating this growth will continue and lead to even more exciting developments for the future. “As a forward-thinking business, we spend millions of pounds across all eight of our parks to keep us at the forefront of the family holiday market, and are continually looking for more opportunity for growth. We have exciting times ahead of us!” Shorefield Holidays is a major local employer in Hampshire and Dorset, employing just under 250 full-time employees. Some 95per cent of employees come from within a 10-mile radius of each park. Senior employees in the business are experts in the hospitality industry; many have worked for several decades in the sector and held positions in key industry associations and governing bodies. A number of the senior management team have been with the business for more than 20 years and have progressed from general roles in the business up through to senior manager level. The team has expanded to include new members, all highly experienced in their fields of responsibility, leading to numerous business awards for the team and the company’s Financial Director, Sara Bertin. The business stands out as a first-class employer because of its strong family culture. Shorefield Holidays is a proud member of the local community, and sponsors a range of local events, including Bournemouth Air Festival with Wave 105.

Shorefield Holidays Limited
01590 648300
www.shorefield.co.uk

Sixtieth Anniversary Park Acquisitions

Pictured (left to right) are: Richard Hoyle, Relationship Director at HSBC; Andrew Bowden, Shorefield Director; Sara Bertin, Shorefield Finance Director; Lesley Lawrence, Shorefield Marketing Director; Cllr Barry Dunning, Town Mayor of Lymington and Pennington Town Council; Simon Pollock, Shorefield Chairman and Managing Director; Paula Curtis, Shorefield Director; Sarah Heard, Associate Relationship Director, HSBC; Hannah Finch, architect, Morgan Building Design.

Sixtieth Anniversary Park Acquisitions

Shorefield Holidays, one of the UK’s leading family-run holiday park businesses, has started its milestone 60th birthday year by adding two major, strategic investments to its portfolio with support from HSBC.

The first of its two acquisitions was officially opened by Cllr Barry Dunning, the Town Mayor of Lymington and Pennington Town Council.

New Forest Lodge Retreat, Shorefield Holidays’ seventh park on the edge of the New Forest, was acquired last year and has been turned into an exclusive, gated community of 12 luxury boutique holiday ownership lodges. Homeowners will have access to luxury facilities including an exclusive health and fitness club with heated indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, steam room and spa bath.

Shorefield acquired its eighth and latest park at the beginning of this year. Wilksworth Caravan Park is in Dorset and offers both holiday ownership as well as award-winning camping and touring facilities.

Holiday Snaps from Sara Bertin

Holiday Snaps from Sara Bertin

Shorefield Holidays - Finance Director
Working for the family-run company Shorefield Holidays since 1980, Sarah is the daughter of Dr Robert Pollock, who founded the first park in 1958.

Sara Bertin - Shorefield Holidays

Sara Bertin - Shorefield Holidays

What was your career path into the industry?
I trained to be a chartered accountant with Grant Thornton in Oxford, before going on to work as an audit manager in their Bedford and Bury St Edmunds offices. I joined Shorefield in 1980.

How has the market changed during your time in the industry and how do you predict things will change in the next five to ten years?
The season has lengthened from about ten weeks to all year round, but holidays are shorter. This is the age of the short break and worklife balance. Many of our customers work while they are away, so a good WiFi connection is critical. I think things will have to change soon because it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit staff. My vision is that we will be using technology more to solve this problem.

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
My father always told us siblings to always do our homework – by which he meant to always check our facts and never take anything for granted. I like motivational sayings, and my current favourite is: every day’s a school day. I heard someone say it on a gardening programme – I like to learn new things all the time. I always tell my team it is important to look at what the customer sees and experiences.

What do you most like to listen to on the radio on your way to and from work?
I always listen to Radio 4 in the car. I like the science and technology programmes best. I like thought-provoking ideas and there’s always something new and innovative to think about.

What do you enjoy most out of working hours?
I’m a workaholic but when I’m not working I’m in my garden. I grow a lot of vegetables. I read and keep fit, and I enjoy classical music

Who would like most like to sit down to dinner with and why?
The Queen. For any working woman, she is the ultimate role model with her work ethic. I work in a family business and she heads a family business which is in full view of all of us. The Queen’s dignity is an inspiration to all of us. Bill Bryson, because of his storytelling and his humour. I think he and the Queen would have lots to say about all the interesting places there are to visit in this beautiful country of ours. Richard Dawkins would be my third guest. He is fascinating on the subject of evolution, and I think a conversation with the Queen about the church would be well worth listening to.

Do you have any claims to fame?
I was the first female articled clerk at Grant Thornton, and last year I was the winner of the Board Level and Senior Executive Women in Business 2017 Award.

Where do you prefer to take your holidays?
When I holiday in the UK, I usually head to the north coast of Cornwall to Mawgan Porth. I love the beaches. I aways try and visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan. There is a lovely atmosphere there and I feel at home in the kitchen garden. If I am travelling abroad, I like to visit new places. I have been to every continent except Antarctica. I still haven’t been to South Africa, and I would like to go to Zanzibar. There are several places I would visit again – Easter Island, Venice, Hawaii, Biarritz, New Zealand and the Whitsunday Islands.

Sara Scoops Prestigious Business Award

Sara Scoops Prestigious Business Award

Sara Scoops PrestigiousSara Bertin, Finance Director at Shorefield Holidays, has been named Board Level and Senior Executive of the Year at the prestigious Women in Business Awards. Now in its fourth year, The Business Magazine’s 2017 WiB Awards aim to celebrate, encourage and inspire successful and aspiring business women in the south.

Simon Pollock, Chairman and Managing Director of Dorset and Hampshire-based Shorefield Holidays, says: “We are delighted that Sara’s commitment and dedication have been recognised with this award. “Two-thirds of our management team and half of our whole team are women, and learning and development are encouraged at all levels throughout the business.”

Sara joined the family-run company specialising in holiday homes and holidays on the south coast in 1980, after qualifying as a chartered accountant with Grant Thornton, and is the daughter of Dr Robert Pollock, who founded the park in 1958. At that time, Shorefield owned one park and over the years this has grown to seven parks.

Recruitment Drive

A major regional recruitment drive has been launched by Shorefield Holidays, a leading tourism business with holiday parks in Hampshire and Dorset.

A major regional recruitment drive has been launched by Shorefield Holidays, a leading tourism business with holiday parks in Hampshire and Dorset.

Recruitment Drive

Shorefield Holidays has launched a major regional recruitment drive to enable further growth of the holiday business. Shorefield, which runs six holiday parks across Hampshire and Dorset, employs more than 250 full-time staff and contributes more than £27m every year to the local economy.

In recent years Shorefield has seen significant growth across its parks, both for holidays and holiday home ownership. Managing Director Simon Pollock explained that with the impact of the staycation trend, and the increased cost of holidaying abroad following Brexit, they are anticipating this growth will continue.

“We are proud of our staff training and development programmes, and especially of our team, many of whom come from the local area. We are an Investor in People and especially want to foster local talent,” said Simon.