Event: Team building
Group size: 12
Agency: Outside Adventure
Date: 23-24 April 2009
Venue: Eastnor Castle
The brief: In December 2008, Outside Adventure had arranged team building at Eastnor Castle for Cadbury's new UK manufacturing director so he could see how his team worked together.
One of those taking part was Phil Thurston, head of manufacturing manager of blocks (chocolate). After moving to a new role, he proposed a return trip with his new team.
Challenges: "As Phil had been involved in the first event, we were keen not to repeat any of the activities from before," explains Outside Adventure manager Kester Wilkinson.
This could be a problem - given the amount the team had packed in over their 36-hour stay. The danger of repetition and a reduced budget also meant staying in the castle or hosting dinner in its lavish dining rooms were out for the second trip.
Solution: Eastnor Castle's vast estate in the Malvern Hills covers 5,500 acres, so Outside simply organised different activities and accommodation available within its grounds - which also suited the smaller budget Cadbury had on this occasion.
Execution: The second event was based at Bronsil House, Outside's conference centre on the Eastnor estate overlooking the ruins of Bronsil Castle.
Here, attendees underwent some psychometric assessments before embarking on a series of activities in the afternoon. This culminated in an exhilarating zip-wire ride from the top of the castle turret over the lake.
The highlight of the trip, however, was the accommodation in three colourful Mongolian Ger tents, complete with hand-painted beds and a wood-burning stove. "We also gave them a wilderness cooking programme, so they spent a couple of hours baking bread and so on," explains Outside's Wilkinson. "It was wonderful."
The next morning, the team returned to Bronsil for breakfast and a planning session with Thurston, before departing at lunchtime.
Verdict: Wilkinson can't praise the attention to detail and quality of service provided by the Eastnor team enough: "They're unbelievable, they don't drop a thing," he says. "We've been here a while and they're very accommodating of the things we do."
Cadbury's Thurston was pleased with the outcome of the event. "The Ger Tents make the course a different experience, not to mention inexpensive. Colleagues are still talking about what they learned from the event."