A family-run company which has grown from a vision to enrich youngsters’ lives with a mix of outdoor adventures and educational experiences now has a double reason to celebrate.
While working as a teacher, Martin Read identified that school children needed opportunities to learn outside of the classroom and along with his wife Sue came up with a plan to create Hilltop Outdoor Centre (Hilltop).
Now 27 years later, Hilltop has been shortlisted for Eastern Daily Press’ Business Customer Care category following its most successful year ever with a 5% rise in customer bookings and is investing £100k on new builds.
It now has plans to build a £40k extension to the Woodland Lodge building at Hilltop to house an indoor games rooms and lounge facilities for groups visiting along with extending the main reception area.
In addition to this Hilltop is investing a further £80k in a new office building for the operational staff. This will enhance internal communications whilst ensuring team members are more easily available for visiting groups.
Primary schools from as far away as Kent and Leicestershire return year after year to experience the wide range of activities at the centre, which is set in 26 acres of private woodland overlooking the seaside town of Sheringham.
Visitors to Hilltop have the opportunity to jump off a 16 metre (52ft) tower – Hilltop’s latest £35,000 attraction – the Air Jump – the first of its kind in England.
Children can also challenge themselves with a variety of other activities including abseiling down the climbing wall, Scaling the heights of the Tree Top Trail, exploring the grounds on a mountain bike or building a crate castle tower to ring a bell high in the trees.
The centre supports classroom curriculum teaching with field studies around the local area – pupils can study rock pools, coastal erosion and other aspects of the natural environment as well as learning bushcraft and survival skills.
Hilltop’s educational offering has been awarded a quality badge from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.
The popularity of the centre has led to further expansion and the chance for schools to book shorter weekend breaks so that more young people can experience what Hilltop has to offer.
Director Martin Read is pleased that what he set out to achieve with Hilltop is continuing to be popular with school groups.
“Our ethos at Hilltop is Challenge by Choice and I wanted to create a centre where we could support learning through activity, enjoyment, achievement, discovery and reflection. I am proud to see our talented team support children tochallenge themselves and build their confidence through a wide range of activities,”said Mr Read.
Marketing and sales director Helen Read has recently employed an apprentice to join her team and is pleased that the company’s attention to customer care and actively responding to schools’ feedback has also been acknowledged by the EDP business awards team.
“We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Customer Care category. We have always prided ourselves on our 90% retention rate with our school groups return year after year. We have had excellent feedback on the range of facilities we offer and are looking forward to building on this success.”
Hilltop Outdoor Centre also provides many other activities including |Team Development courses, Business Reward Days, Family adventure days and Children’s adventure birthday parties.