On the blog over the next few weeks, we’re going to be taking a deeper look at our national winners, and what it is that makes them so special. Each week two different winners’ profiles will be posted, so keep checking back for more rural business success stories!
The winner of 2018-19’s Founders’ Award is Adventure Parc Snowdonia. At regional level, they won the Best Rural Recreational or Outdoor Pursuits Business Award for Wales and Northern Ireland, and did even better at national level, being recognised as the runner up in the Recreational category on top of their Founders’ Award-win!
The Founders’ Award is unique among the categories at the RBAs. It only exists at National level, and rather than being judged by our panel of rural and business experts, the winner is chosen by Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, the founders of the Rural Business Awards. The founders look holistically at all the national finalists, looking for innovative businesses who have a significant impact on their communities, environments, and the rural way of life. In these areas, Adventure Parc Snowdonia proved to be exceptional.
“When choosing the recipient of the Founders’ Award, we looked for businesses who were incredibly successful in their own fields, but who also went above and beyond running the business to make a profit, to make a difference in their local areas.
“All the businesses participating in the national final were great contenders, which made the decision really difficult, but we hope you agree that our ultimate choice, Adventure Parc Snowdonia, is a worthy winner.” – Anna Price and Jemma Clifford
Opened in the summer of 2015, Adventure Parc Snowdonia centres around a world-first inland surf lagoon, offering the longest ever man-generated waves. The waves roll at 90-second intervals, and there are dedicated sections for beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers. It also offers an aquatic obstacle course, indoor soft play, glamping pods, and a bar and restaurant. Adventure Parc Snowdonia is now one of Wales’ most popular visitor attractions – since opening, the attraction has received more than 400,000 visitors.
The ground-breaking surf lagoon was developed from a brownfield site – a derelict former aluminium works. Adventure Parc Snowdonia partnered with Natural Resources Wales to convert the site in an environmentally responsible manner. For example, they crushed and reused 25,000 cubic metres of onsite material, and recycled 400 tonnes of steel, cast iron and copper. In fact, over 85% of the stone used in the construction of the park was recycled.
Adventure Parc Snowdonia’s environmental credentials don’t end at its construction, though. The lagoon is filled entirely by rainwater, which travels down from Snowdonia’s mountain reservoirs, powers a hydroelectric plant, helping to provide clean energy for tens of thousands of homes, before being UV-filtered and disinfected. They have also created various habitats in the areas around the lagoon, helping to increase the local wildlife populations.
Accessibility is at the core of the business’s ethos. The lagoon’s innovative technology means that many different kinds of surfers can practise the sport. From complete beginners trying the sport for the very first time, to experienced surfers who want to enjoy guaranteed waves. Inland surfing is much safer than in the ocean, which makes it much easier to adapt the sport for disabled surfers.
While Adventure Parc Snowdonia is currently an immensely successful business, it also has a lot of potential for growth. During 2019, a £16 million pound investment will vastly expand the Adventure Parc’s offering, creating a Hilton Hotel, “Adrenaline Indoors” and an adventure concierge, increasing tourism throughout the region. This will mean that the park can operate all year round, and will generate 120 new jobs.
Justin Everley, Commercial Director of Adventure Parc Snowdonia, said “We are honoured to have been given The Founders’ Award, alongside recognition in the Best Rural Recreational or Outdoor Pursuits Business category. We are so pleased that the founders of the RBAs saw something unique in Adventure Parc Snowdonia. Our innovative inland surf lagoon brings thousands of visitors each year to this remote part of Wales, and are passionate about introducing people to the thrill of surfing, no matter their age or ability.
We are proud of the work we have undertaken to make our rural part of Wales accessible for all, while also transforming a former industrial site with the greatest care for the environment. We are excited to be expanding our business in the coming year, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
To learn more about Adventure Parc Snowdonia, head to their website: https://www.surfsnowdonia.com/
To see all the blogs in this series on the winners of the 2018/19 National Rural Business Awards, click here.