BGL Team Newsletter

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Burhill Team News November / December 2021

Colin Mayes Chief Executive Dear Colleague, As we enter the last trading month of the year, I am delighted to report that overall, the company is in great health, which frankly when we started the year, I am surprised we have all managed the whole Pandemic in such a positive way. The 3 months of closure that our golf business suffered from January to March seems a distant memory now, but, as I I’m sure you will agree, the whole experience in those dark winter months was a pretty scary situation not really knowing when our business would re-open and how we would find trading conditions / business levels when we did. Many will also recall that our indoor Adventure Leisure business didn’t reopen until the middle of May, a closure period of nearly 5 months. All of this was a huge hit on the business and together with poor results in 2020 meant that our shareholders really had to support the business. Thankfully the whole business responded very positively along with all the great teams of people we managed to retain. The summer has been very buoyant for all aspect of our business, and we have managed to trade well since we re-opened, assisted by a very unusual situation that very few people were able to leave the country due the travel restriction which gave the UK hospitality

& leisure sector a really bumper trading period. In the last few months, we have seen business starting to get back to more normalised trading. November has been pretty much close to our original budget plans helped by the very mild weather, albeit food and beverage business is still slower than usual, particularly due to the lack of functions and parties. December is also going to follow a similar trend with food and beverage trading well below what we would normally expect. We are finding that many of our larger function clients are not holding their normal team Christmas parties this year, which is understandable given the current Covid infection rates that seem to be stubbornly high albeit mainly affecting youngsters of school age. We expect December to be down on our budget but overall, we are hoping that the total company result for 2021 will be in line with our original expectations when we resumed trading back in March which is good news for us all and will allow us to continue to invest and develop further. Despite all the Covid issues throughout the year I am delighted that we have still managed to grow our company. We have developed a new business that further expands our family centred activities with two new Ninja Warrior sites in Sheffield and Southampton, both of which have exceeded

CEO Update our expectations since opening. Due to this we have also formed a trading partnership with one of the country’s largest TV production companies ITV. We are also currently onsite developing our next site Ninja Warrior UK venue in Milton Keynes which is due to open at the beginning of March 2022. Equally we are very busy on trying to conclude another new Ninja Warrior UK venue in Swansea near to our existing Bunkers site. You will probably notice a similarity in these locations i.e., where possible I like to consolidate in an area and have several businesses reasonably close to one another. That way we quickly take the existing learning from the area that helps in all sorts of ways I.e., maximising marketing activity, recruitment of great people/talent and helping us negotiate improved pricing of goods into the businesses. Moreover, we can gather competitor & market information and knowledge of the area. In Milton Keynes, one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, we will now have 3 major businesses all contributing significantly to the local community and employing in excess of 110 people. Something all of us should be very proud of.

This month we see the opening of our new “Sidcup on Ice”, the brainchild of our Sidcup General Manager and her team which we have been delighted to support. Already bookings for the ice skating and Santa’s Grotto are ahead of our forecast and we are expecting the whole project to go very well indeed. This is a completely new venture for us and as the old saying goes nothing ventured nothing gained…. Our team at Sidcup led by Niki has put a huge amount of work into the project supported by Andy, Victor & the marketing team and they are all to be congratulated for their combined efforts. I am sure it will be a great success and then something we may well be able to replicate elsewhere throughout the group hopefully next Christmas. Our golf division has had a very strong autumn trading period assisted by the unseasonably mild

weather and although December will be difficult with party and function levels being below 2019 levels, the whole division will end the year with a very positive result compared to where we thought we might be at after suffering the 1st quarter trading losses. Within this newsletter we have tried to get some local stories from around the company which I hope you enjoy reading about. Many of our people have been putting time and energy into developing themselves with our support and I am delighted with the success many of them have achieved. I am a huge supporter of people who want to find a way to improve themselves, many of you know that apart from business, I am a big sports fan and still love competing at national and international levels with Master’s Swimming and Triathlons. To do this one needs an attitude that you can always grow and improve, in my book you are never too old to learn new tricks or skills. However, it takes commitment, hard work and resilience to do this along with keeping a business going, making sure home life is not suffering and that senior management (Kirstie, my wife) is happy, probably the most important bit of the equation!!! Within BGL, the process of continuous learning is something the board of directors and all the senior management team support and encourage, we will help as many people as possible who have the desire to better themselves, be it education, involvement in local social projects etc but we do expect you to take the lead and commit to your chosen endeavour. You have to be prepared to put the energy and time in, we cannot do it for you. If you have ideas that you think will help develop yourself and help us as a business grow, make sure you discuss this with your General Manager, and they will help you develop a Personal Development Plan (PDP) to support you along the way. But be clear the lead must come from you, as it will only be your desire to succeed that will push you along the path to success, we can help and support and give the necessary guidance. But just like sport, there is only one person who can do the hard work to succeed i.e., YOU. The people stories that you will find in this edition will hopefully inspire more of our people to consider

CEO Update how they can all reach their true potential, and it is for this reason why we wanted to appoint a new senior manager, Claire Boulden, to be responsible for our people and development and the culture within our business. I know we can and should do better on this front and this investment in this position shows our desire to do just that. The subject of continuous learning or Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is something you will hear more about as we enter 2022.

I am determined to grow our company back bigger and stronger as we fight back to normality from the Covid Pandemic which has made a huge impact on our economy and way of life. BGL is about people and making sure we have the talent within the company to is a major business focus for us as we start to develop our company for the next decade. For those of you that want to develop a longer term a career within the hospitality and leisure industry, this is great news for you all. We look to you to show initiative and desire to go above and beyond when at work and emphasise to your General Manager/ Line Manager as somebody who has the desire and ambition to go further within the company. We have a great record of promoting from within whenever possible. As I have been visiting our various businesses this month I have also been asking for feedback on this newsletter from our colleagues and if there is anything specific you would like to hear about, do please let me know via Heather my PA ( or Claire ( We will do our best to include them in the months ahead. Finally, as we bring 2021 to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and commitment in what has been one of our most difficult trading years of my entire career. As a business we have weathered the Covid storm together and we are well on track of getting the company back to our pre Covid

performance and then importantly growing to new heights in 2022 and beyond. It’s been a great team effort and my thanks go out to you all for the part you have played no matter how small. 2022 will bring new challenges but you can rest assured as a group we will be in a strong position to face and overcome them, thereby creating greater success for everybody in the years to come.

Have a great Christmas and may 2022 be a happy and healthy one for us all and please remember to spread some kindness in December and next year to help make a better world for us all. Warmest regards


Spilling The ‘Tee’... My name is Iona Sharma, and I am a personal trainer at the Gym at Hoebridge. Two years ago, I decided to start learning how to play golf- having been inspired by my job at the golf centre. I was fortunate enough to discover an incredible coach in Jonny White and, to my surprise and delight, he is now my boyfriend (this wasn’t the reason I started, but it was a bonus haha!). The reason I decided to learn how to play golf was because I wanted to a take up a sporting challenge that would encourage me to step out of my comfort zone. I have always been an athletic person, having participated in sporting teams throughout School, College and University. Therefore, when I finished my higher education, I felt that I needed to try something new. It was also important to me that I pursued a sport that I could play with my dadsince watching football has never been my thing! At first, I was unsure whether golf would be my cup of tea. My main worry was that I would embarrass myself and feel I was not good enough to play on any course. However, after my first few lessons, I was hooked! Initially, I remember being taken aback by how complex golf truly was, compared to what I originally presumed. Nevertheless, I took it as a positive and the challenge ahead really motivated me. Due to COVID-19, my training took a pause for quite some time. As a result, I couldn’t adopt a consistent routine to begin with- which is vital to progress! I learned this the hard way on my first lesson back, when I thought I was a pro and almost took Jonny out with my club (oops). As life has slowly got back to normality over the past 7 months, I wanted to restart and really stick at it! I booked in weekly lessons, practiced in in my spare time and here is how my journey has gone so far and what I have learnt in the process.

My first ever swing: I mean, my face says it all…. Here, I wasn’t getting any body transfer through the shot. I was told to stand back on the right side (which a lot of people do, according to Jonny). Therefore, our focus was to improve my downward swing. I was told that once a better strike was achieved through practice, I could move on to more technical aspects. I must admit, I am VERY competitive with myself. Therefore, this characteristic enabled me and only drove me to do better! Fast forward two weeks and I had this position: My face is slightly happier… My next step was sorting out my back swing as it was very upright. I had been rotating too heavily, which had caused my leading knee to collapse inward. I was taught how to go around myself more and utilize my chest and hips more than my arms. After a lot of patience, movement, work without the club or ball and endless upper body and rotational days in the gym, I mastered it! Next, I knew I needed to focus on ensuring my body got used to the same motion.

Spilling The ‘Tee’... This took me nearly a month, so when I say patience, I mean it! Below you can see the transformation.

Here is my current back swing:

1st Week:

2nd Week:

3rd Week:

Finally, over the last few weeks, I have worked on the top of my swing. This involved ensuring my forearm angles matched my shoulder. This made my connection with the ball much better! Moving forward, my aim is to work on my wrist hinge at the top of my swing. After I do this, I will finally be able to start working on my distance and speed- well in the knowledge that I have mastered the basics (if I do say so myself!).


Sales Success “For me, I have found that the best way to expand my knowledge was to get involved with my colleagues in Greenkeeping, F&B and the Pro-Shop as those were the individuals who could teach me the missing knowledge and allow me to grow in this business.”

Holly Laird has recently progressed into Sales Manager Role at Aldwickbury Park Golf CLub. She shares her experiences and drivers for her career with us: I started with BGL in July of 2017 when I relocated to the area after graduating from university and although having already worked within the hospitality sector as a Wedding and Event Coordinator for 3 years, I had never worked in a golf club.

“I soon realised that in order to be a Sales Manager within the company I would have to quickly expand my knowledge of golf.” This was evident when someone phoned in to report that they had left their sandwich (sand wedge) on the golf course, which I thought was strange until I cottoned on!

Not everyone can say so, but the pandemic was beneficial for me on this front as at Aldwickbury I was one of the first team members to return from furlough and so I had to be confident in driving both the functions and golf sections of the business. The other element I have always found important is demonstrating I would be a good candidate for the sales manager position, when it became available, was to forward think into the skills I would need and aim to develop them. Team leadership is obviously a key part of any managerial role and so I asked if I could recruit both a university work experience placement and then a junior role. Through doing this I was able to show my abilities within recruitment, training and leadership, which I feel was key in assuring my General Manager that I would be both suitable and successful in the role.

A massive congratulations to Holly in progressing as Sales Manager. We cannot wait to see what amazing growth she will bring to the role and Aldwickbury Park.

Customer Excellence Throughout the course you were required to look into your own customer service skills, identifying what you needed to improve on alongside where your strengths allow you to excel. I have learned a lot about how to deal with customers who have complex needs and also how to deal with different types of customers. This has helped me a lot in relation to my career at Burhill as we see so many different customers walking through the door each day, who all need to be spoken to and looked after in a different way to help meet their needs.

Jessica Rosser has recently completed her Level 3 Customer Service Course. Here is what she had to say about her experience: The Level 3 Customer Service course has taken me 2 years to complete due to COVID-19. The course itself covered 12 different models; ranging from dealing with complaints and complex customers to looking at my own customer service performance and how to use to my personal skills to solve different situations. I was required to write a review document about each unit relating it back to my own job role, I had meetings with my trainer every 6 weeks to show him my reports and submit them onto an online learning portal so they could be assessed to make sure I was on the right track. The course itself was in-depth and required a lot of note taking and writing lengthy progress documents, however, it has been a rewarding experience which has taught me invaluable knowledge about customer service.

“I decided to start this course because I was progressing from Reception to the Events Team and I felt that this qualification would really help me improve my customer service skills.” I felt that it was important for me to do this customer service course as I would be able to build my confidence in speaking to new customers and dealing with more challenging situations. BGL and Burhill, my club, have been very supportive in helping me complete this course; providing me all the time and space that I needed to complete it and helping me with queries such as our companies values and mission statement. This course is the perfect qualification for anyone looking to improve their customer service skills but also anyone looking to build their confidence with talking to customers.

World Kindness Day 13th November 2021

“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world”

How will you be kind EVERY day?

Whistleblowing - what is it and what does it really mean? Claire Boulden, Group Head of People & Culture Whistleblowing is used to describe a process that we are all actually very familiar with – reporting something that isn’t right. It is covered by The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) and it is there to ensure that employees are not scared or worried about coming forward and reporting any wrongdoing or dangers in their workplace.

• Failure to comply with legal obligations, or likelihood of failure to comply with legal obligations • Breaches of legislation, for example the General Data Protection Act 2018 • Payments in exchange for awarding contracts • Risks to the environment

The PIDA was passed in law following several official enquiries including the Zeebrugge ferry disaster of 1997 and the British Royal Infirmary heart operations scandal in the 1990s. It was deemed that these and other significant events could and should have been avoided if the employees working for the relevant companies at the time, had not been afraid to come forward and report the wrongdoing or dangers they knew existed in the workplace.

It’s important to note: • Whistleblowing must be based on fact and have sufficient and relevant detail – an opinion or observation is unlikely to meet the criteria. • The majority of whistleblowing is reported by individuals trying to protect others, e.g., members of the public. • Whistleblowing does not only cover concerns about what the employer may be responsible for, it provides for disclosure over other employees, clients/customers or third parties. • Not everything in the workplace can be addressed through whistleblowing, e.g., issues surrounding one’s own employment contract falls under the Company Grievance Procedure, not the PIDA. • Our Whistleblowing policy can be found on p.36 of the Employee Handbook, and if you would like to read more detail on the subject generally, please go to: whistleblowing

You will have heard of the recent shenanigans in Parliament and the perceived lack of action over an MP and his conduct, other more recent examples are the MPs expenses scandal and the failings of various NHS Trusts. As a company we have a policy specifically for whistleblowing. In the past we have been informed of issues which have allowed us to act promptly to ensure the business is protected along with the relevant parties concerned and these examples do include employees and members. We are committed to our ‘safe’ environment where ANYONE can come to us if they feel something isn’t quite right – when used correctly whistleblowing is a positive tool. Examples that could legitimately be raised by a whistle-blower include: • Criminal offences or activities • Exposing fraud • Financial mismanagement or corruption • Health and safety issues concerning the workplace that puts the safety of workers or visitors at risk • Failure to investigate allegations of sexual assault by one employee against another

Finally, we all have a responsibility to uphold the highest professional standards to ensure we maintain our integrity as a business – if you attempt to report something to your line manager and you don’t feel it has been addressed correctly, please direct your concerns to their line manager. If your line management are responsible for or involved with your concern or worry, come to me directly and I will ensure you are heard in a timely manner following the correct procedures. You can reach out to Claire via email:

Latest News World Kindness Day Saturday 13th November To celebrate & to spread awareness of Kindness Day our Mr Mulligans Bunkers & Ninja Leisure venues, asked their customers to nominate a special someone to win free game passes as a special act of kindness on their facebook pages. It was a great success with huge engagement and we received a high level of heart warming comments. Well done to everyone involved & we can’t wait to welcome our winners. Don’t forget kindness is year round! What can you do today as a random act of kindness?


Introducing: Concur

The BGL team is growing!

Burhill has recently launched a new paperless out-of-pocket expenses system called Concur where expenses can be processed entirely using an App on your phone.

A massive congratulations to Redbourn Sales Manager Hannah Morris, and her partner Chris as they welcome their first baby. Their son, Oakley was born on 21st October. Mother and baby are both doing well.

Concur puts employees in control of their expenses through the ability to track authorisations from submission through to payment, and zero paper is generated in the preparation, submission and payment of expense claims. The introduction of Concur is an important step in ensuring that the business continues to invest in system improvements that deliver practical yet sustainable benefits. For more information on how to get your own account for Concur, please speak to your General Manager.

Treats not Tricks It was all tricks not treats in Calverton this Halloween until the team members at Ramsdale Park stepped in with some treats to turn the tide! A boy in the village had his pumpkin that he had lovingly carved stolen overnight. His mum posted about the incident on the Calverton Facebook page about how distraught he was. So, to cheer him up and give him a special surprise the team invited them up to walk around our ghostly Adventure Golf trail. Their Head Chef was recruited to carve the exact same pumpkin design as his stolen one.

So, so sorry! I came to visit my pumpkin friends on the Pirate Island to play while you were asleep and gorgot my way home! I have been very sad, then Mr Mulligan said you were coming for a visit! So I have been waiting for you to come and fetch me and bring me home!

His words were ‘It’s a bit on the wonk... Can’t believe a 3 year old can carve better than me!’ Aprille wrote a note to say that he came to play with pumpkin friends and lost his way home. We presented the pumpkin to him on the Adventure Golf course and the little boy was so happy he started crying! The team at Ramsdale then shared the story on Facebook to spread a little positivity and have received lots of lovely positive messages from readers and followers!

Ramsdale Charity A massive well done to the team and members at Ramsdale Park Golf Club for raising an incredible £15,000 for Maggie’s Cancer Care Chairty! The club held some spectacular charity golf events, including hole sponsors, raffles & auctions. Further to this some wonderful evening events and Driving Range competitions (not forgetting the starter charges for everyone who lands in the bunker on the first tee!) were held to help the club reach this incredible total.

Have you been doing some amazing work for charity? Let us know!

You Can ‘Ac’count On Me Being part of a worldwide professional body was certain to give me a wide range of options in the future. The qualification involved passing exams whilst also working at BGL. I would often come straight home from work, and instead of putting on the TV or going out with friends, I would head to my bedroom and open up my books. One of the hardest things to do when you come straight out of University or College is to say goodbye to your social life, but sometimes you have to do this in order to get where you want to be.

Ashley Watts, Support Office, recently completed his ACCA qualification. Now a fully chartered accountant, here’s what Ashley had to say about his experience. I started my ACCA journey back at university. The overall journey was from 2014 – 2021 (7 years) This included a 4 year course (1 year was a placement year), and then 3 years studying after University. I have completed a total of 13 exams – 9 at University and 4 of which I have done since University. I always knew that my aim was to become a qualified chartered Accountant, so I made sure during my time at University I picked the specific modules to ensure maximum exemptions from the ACCA qualification afterwards.

“I have always had a passion for numbers, and speaking to my family, knew that if I could gain a professional qualification alongside my degree it would put me in a great position towards my career goals.”

BGL has always encouraged me to progress with my qualification. From the very moment I joined, after speaking with both Alistair and Jim it was clear that they wanted me to not only just excel in my job role, but also with my studies too. BGL helped me with evening lectures, where I would leave work and head straight into an online lecture, all the way leading up to the exam date. Like any qualification, hard work and perseverance is what gets you through. There were times when I never thought I would finish it, but with the support of family and colleagues you get the strength to keep going. The ACCA qualification did not come easy, there were downs as well as ups, but the satisfaction and recognition you get once you have passed the final exam makes it all worth it!

It’s Puzzling... Let’s get quizzical with a BGL themed wordsearch! Print off this page and see if you can fin all 30 BGL related words!

Burhill Golf & Leisure LTD Burhill Golf Club, Burwood Road, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, KT12 4BX | 01932 220815 |


Congratulations We’d like to say a huge congratulations & thank you to our amazing BGL team members who are celebrating 5+ years with us this November / December! It wouldn’t be the same without you. Vivien Gardner, Redbourn GC, 28 years Joanne Gritton, Ramsdale GC, 26 years Samantha Davis, Abbey Hill GC, 17 years Daniel Breen, Hoebridge GC, 16 years Thomas Wilson, Ramsdale GC, 15 years Jim Conlan, Support Office, 15 years Anthony Perez-Gonzalez, Developments, 12 years Linda Clayton, Shropshire GC, 12 years John Law, Birchwood Park H&F, 11 years Kevin Jones, Abbey Hill GC, 10 years Jill Marie Preece, Shropshire GC, 10 years Andrew Scholey, Support Office, 8 years Timothy Good, Thornbury GC, 6 years Nicola Dodds, Burhill GC, 6 years

Abdelkrim Rezki, Aldwickbury FC, 6 years Ashleigh Barrett, Birchwood Park H&F, 6 years Christine Sparks, Mr Mulligans MK, 6 years Steven Ferris, Birchwood Park GC, 6 years Shannon White, Wycombe Heights GC, 5 years Katie Burgess, The Shropshire, 5 years Bradley Meager, Bitchwood Park GC, 5 years Rachel Mitchell, Support Office, 5 years Jordan Williams, Hoebridge GC, 5 years Elaine Williams, Birchwood Park H&F, 5 years Rachel Brame, Birchwood Park GC, 5 years Claire Andrews, Hoebridge GC, 5 years Dubravka Griffiths, Burhill GC, 5 years