As the month slows down for people to start celebrating the festive period and planning ahead for the new year, here at Hautbois we have been looking back at 2017 in awe. The site has been extremely busy, and we wanted to share with you some of our achievements this year and what you can look forward to in 2018.
Website & Online booking
This year saw the launch of our brand-new website! Our previous site was harder to managed and meant that it was often difficult to find what you were looking for when visiting. Using the same address, we have now changed to a website with easy navigation, up to date Hautbois branding and even an events calendar so you are now able to see what we have coming up!
In addition to our new and improved website, the last week has seen the launch of our online booking portal. This is an excellent tool and now means our event visitors no longer have to wait for the office to be open to book onto our ever popular events! The site will be having more events added to it throughout the year but with the majority already there, please take a look around: https://hautbois.cinolla.com/hautbois/ – we hope you love it just as much as we do!
New Shower Block
In July, the Limepits campsite had a new addition – our wonderful shower block! The new shower block means that the groups camping on Limepits can shower without having to cross the road.
The shower block was built by Wintech Modular Buildings at their site and was delivered to us complete before being craned into place. The shower block was funded from a legacy from Rene Dilnott-Smith and has proved an excellent and very popular addition to the site.
We are really proud of the wildlife we attract to the estate and have been aware for some time of a pair of buzzards that we think are nesting somewhere on Limepits campsite. Sadly, some children staying on-site saw one of them literally drop out of a tree near the Discovery Zone on Sunday 8th October 2017. Two of the instructors brought it into the office and it was obvious that it was really very poorly. We contacted the Raptor Trust who came to collect it later that day. They diagnosed lead poisoning and for a few days it was touch and go whether the female bird would survive. Fortunately, she was otherwise in very good condition and made a rapid recovery. Claire from the Raptor Trust returned it to Hautbois on Monday 16th October where it was ringed and released. It was really amazing to see such a beautiful bird so close to. Many thanks to the Raptor Trust for their amazing help and assistance.
We are always looking for more ways to help encourage the wildlife and ensure we provide the best environment for them. This year we have added bird boxes, hedgehog houses, butterfly homes, built a bug hotel and planted over 105 trees around the site. We have also set up two cameras in the hedgehog box and a bird box and we hope to be able to put the live feed on our website in the new year so we can share with you the wonderful images we have seen in the office.
Every two years, we welcome an inspector from the Council of Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) to visit our site to assess whether we continue to be a suitable venue for the award. The LOtC Quality Badge is awarded to nationally recognised organisations who are trusted to give children an opportunity to have a wider educational experience. We are pleased to announce that down to the hard work of Abbie and the rest of the activities team, we have been awarded the LOtC Quality Badge for another year!
Alongside LOtC, we have also been awarded our 5* Food Hygiene certificate. The catering team pride themselves on providing fresh, home-cooked meals for all catered for groups during their visits. Being awarded 5* is testament to their hard work, so we hope you join us in congratulating Lesley, Henry and Daryl on their success!
The Activities team have been very busy. They have built a new Initiative Tests course and are grouping these activities in one dedicated area on Glebe camp site. Nightline and Obstacle Course have both had a revamp which have been received very well by the groups who have already had a chance to take part. The team have also refurbished the climbing tower, hung new archery nets and improved the archery area with plans for a new shelter to be erected in the new year. A new canoe shelter has been built to protect the canoes and the katakanus and another new canoe has been bought to increase our overall capacity on the water.
On another note, we have recently announced our new activity for 2018 – Stand Up Paddleboards! We are very excited to be able to provide an additional water activity on our cut to the River Bure as they are always so popular with our groups. SUPs are the fastest growing water sport in the world and are good for beginners. We are one of the first activity centres to provide this activity in our area.
This year saw the Hautbois team expand with three new apprentices join us. In October, we recruited a hospitality apprentice, Jacob F, who has become a great support to the housekeeping, catering and admin teams. Jacob has already settled into the team and we look forward to having his support in the summer season.
Aron and Henry W have joined the activities team. They will be completing their Level 2 Activity Leadership apprenticeships. Both of them joined us for the summer as seasonal instructors and we are looking forward to seeing them both progress in their careers with us.
We recruited our first apprentice activities instructor in 2016, Jacob D. Jacob has really grown during his year with us and has become an asset to the activities team. So much so that he will be staying for a further 18 months to do a Level 3 apprenticeship.
2018 – The year ahead
The upcoming year looks to be just as busy for us at Hautbois. We already have so many bookings in place for returning groups and well-known faces but we are looking forward to welcoming brand-new visitors as well. The exciting news is that 2018 sees us celebrating our 30th Birthday – we are hoping for lots of cake!