All-action Cornish business scales new heights
A Cornish business expects to double its turnover to nearly
£200,000 this year since being taken over by a Nottingham
couple in 2002.
The Manor House Activity and Development Centre, at St Issey,
near Padstow, is scaling new heights and breaking into fresh
markets with the help of Business Link Devon and Cornwall.
The Grade Two listed Georgian manor house was converted 20
years ago as a base for groups of children on activity holidays
and was acquired four years ago by Steve and Lesley Kirk.
Lesley was a trained nurse and hospital manager who worked
in business finance while Steve was chief executive of a technology
company and is an experienced climber and paddler who took
part in many other sports.
"We'd had enough of the traditional rat
race and were looking for a fresh challenge," recalled
Lesley. "The Manor House aims to provide a wealth
of new experiences and educational activities, helping to
build self-confidence and encourage achievement. Professional
qualified instructors provide the framework for youngsters
and adults alike to develop skills and gain new experiences
in the safest possible conditions. But because we were so
close to the company we needed someone else to stand back
and take an aerial view," she added. "So
we called in Clare Whitney, Business Link Devon and Cornwall
personal business adviser, to take a look at where we were
Clare introduced the couple to a new bank manager who offered
a complete refinancing, freeing up resources to buy new equipment
and improve the décor. She also linked them with a
good local accountancy firm which completes their annual accounts
statement and also helped develop Lesley's skills in
management accountancy through Business Link's Pace
workforce development programme.
Steve and Lesley initially sought to consolidate the core
school business and extend the season from February to October
but they also recognised they needed to diversify and broaden
the client base and fill the gaps at weekends and during school
holidays. The outdated marketing literature was inadequate
to attract new target groups such as families, groups and
corporate clients so Business Link supported the company to
re-design it and employ a design and PR agency.
As well as new literature and branding, the agency achieved
coverage for the Manor House as a potential venue for hen
parties and the company, which employs six, was inundated
"Hen parties are now a regular weekend feature,"
said Lesley. "We offer a range of activities such
as surfing, climbing, kayaking, sailing and cycling as well
as beauty treatments including massages and facials. Business
Link gave us great support which took the business to its
next step forward. As a small company we cannot know everything
and we need specialists to help us grow. The support and the
professional input have been instrumental in us growing our
turnover and targeting new markets."
With continued help from Business Link the company is now
embarking on a project to improve its website and increase
tourist bookings. "We intend to invest further to
enhance the services available to a whole range of clients
from schools and adult and corporate groups, and we look forward
to continuing our close relationship with Business Link as
we see them very much as part of the team," added
For further information please contact Carolyn Daw of the
Marketing PR Company on 01566 771863 or email: email@example.com.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link through the
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European
Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
Business Link provides a free information
and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web
and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and
those considering starting a business. Additionally, it provides
impartial business advice and support through a network of
partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register
of independent business practitioners.
Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national
Business Link service to the region under contract from the
South West of England Regional Development Agency, which was
established by government in 1999 to promote the long-term
economic success of the region. It does this by working with
others to give people the skills they need, encourage enterprise,
improve infrastructure, help communities with regeneration
and promote the strengths of the region. Business Link has
received Objective One investment (European Regional Development
Fund and EAGGF) to help companies improve performance and
The Learning and Skills Council exists to
make England better skilled and more competitive. It is responsible
for planning and funding high-quality vocational education
and training for everyone. It has a single goal: to improve
the skills of England's young people and adults to world-class
standards. Its vision is that by 2010, young people and adults
in England have the knowledge and skills matching the best
in the world and are part of a truly competitive workforce.
Established in 2001 the LSC works nationally, regionally and
locally from a network of offices across the country.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439