Killer, Karaoke and Kayaking at Center Parcs

The Covid pandemic meant RRA, just like almost all companies in the UK – and across the world – could not have a 2020 Christmas Party. So, when MD, Mark Powles, suggested a RRA company trip to Center Parcs in 2021 to make up for missing our much loved Christmas ‘do’, we jumped at the chance.

The moon shining down on the first night of the RRA 2021 trip to Center Parcs, Longleat, Warminster.
The moon shining down on the first night of the RRA 2021 trip to Center Parcs, Longleat, Warminster.

It was a challenge to find dates that everyone could make and when Center Parcs had five lodges together available. Then, when the second lockdown scuppered our plans to go in May, we had the challenge of re-organising it again for September.

The trip was a huge success with the already close-knit team bonding even more, we’ll let them say it below in their own words along with a little selection of photos to enjoy:

So most of us drove the 70 or so miles to get to Longleat, but Jack and Nic thought it would be 'fun' to cycle all the way. Then when they arrived they still had energy so they went swimming - wow, just wow
So most of us drove the 70 or so miles to get to Longleat, but Jack and Nic thought it would be ‘fun’ to cycle all the way. Then when they arrived they still had energy so they went swimming – wow, just wow

 

Sarah-Jane Bonner and Steffany Hancock did a fantastic job of entertaining everyone with their Awards Ceremony and Prizes.
Sarah-Jane Bonner and Steffany Hancock did a fantastic job of entertaining everyone with their Awards Ceremony and Prizes.

Just one of our team couldn’t make it, RRA Associate Oliver Smith, who had the rather wonderful reason of a brand new baby boy who kept him away – but next time we hope Oliver and all his family will join us.
Sadly Oliver has missed the previous two company events also, leading him to win the Hermit Award.

It was fun to video call Oliver during our ‘September Secret Santa’ so he could be there for a little bit of the weekend with us. Little did he know Steffany had organised a secret gift to be delivered to Olivers Wife so we could surprise him at the same time.

 

No RRA Christmas party would be complete without Secret Santa - in this case Secret September Santa 🎅🏼
No RRA Christmas party would be complete without Secret Santa – in this case Secret September Santa 🎅🏼

 

Natalies Secret Santa gift was a Karyoke microphone - you can imagine what happened next. We did discover Caitlin really can sing - unlike the rest of us 🎶
Natalies Secret Santa gift was a Karyoke microphone – you can imagine what happened next.
We did discover Caitlin really can sing – unlike the rest of us 🎶

 

“I really loved having everyone together, it was a chance to get to know people who I don’t work so closely with and meeting people’s partners and children. It was such a lovely group of people without exception, I felt really lucky to be part of it. I particularly enjoyed the Awards presented by Sarah-Jane and Steffany, they were hilarious and so well thought out (I won Best Mime Award for being the most likely to not realise I’m on mute in a teams/zoom meeting). Also, the board games which were so much fun, even if they did get a bit heated at times!”
Rachel Palmer

 

Our Christmas in September was even attended by a lovely, friendly robin.
Our Christmas in September was even attended by a lovely, friendly robin.

 

RRA Directors Mark Powles and Rachel Palmer up bright and early on Saturday morning.
RRA Directors Mark Powles and Rachel Palmer up bright and early on Saturday morning.

 

“It was a privilege to be able to take the team and their families away to reward them for all their hard work and commitment over the last 18 months. I can honestly say it was worth all the time, effort and every penny, knowing that this reward was appreciated. The time together strengthened bonds in the already close team and I fully believe that a happy team is a productive one.
It also helped that Oliver, husband to our fabulous Business Manager, Jane, is a professional (and exceptional) chef. So we ate like kings and queens as Oliver produced 5 star food for all 26 people.”
Mark Powles

The absolutely gorgeous and perfectly behaved youngest attendee generously shared her breakfast with her three fluffy friends.
The absolutely gorgeous and perfectly behaved youngest attendee generously shared her breakfast with her three fluffy friends.

 

I cannot thank the RRA Team enough for such a fantastic weekend. Myself and my partner brought our little two-year old along and everybody made her feel so welcome and included her in activities and our secret Santa. She had an absolutely lovely time and keeps telling people how she went on holiday with “mummy’s work friends”. After such a tough year, what a lovely way to unwind and have fun with such a lovely group of people. I feel very lucky to be apart of such a wonderful team.
Steffany Hancock

It's always fun to catch a lift on the land train.
It’s always fun to catch a lift on the land train.

 

Despite a few sore heads the RRA team was up early on Saturday and making the most of the sports facilities.
Despite a few sore heads the RRA team was up early on Saturday and making the most of the sports facilities.

 

“The Centre Parks trip was a fantastic opportunity for me to get to know our extended family of people at RRA Architects. As a new employee I welcomed the trip as a chance to get to know the team better and introduce myself to others. Centre Parks was a great place to do this, and from arriving here we were able to relax together and enjoy the environment. Rachel and Mark are incredibly generous, and I am so grateful for being invited into this community we have at RRA Architects.”
Dan Rowley

Enjoying breakfast at the Pancake House
Enjoying brunch at the Pancake House

 

Centre Parcs is not just about activity and fun, it is really worth spending some quiet time outside to see the wildlife.
Centre Parcs is not just about activity and fun, it is really worth spending some quiet time outside to see the wildlife.
One of the Center Parcs resident squirrel making provision for the impending Winter months.
One of the Center Parcs resident squirrel making provision for the impending Winter months.
Who knew the boys would cheat so much at Articulate when the girls were winning. For the record the girls won both the game and the rematch.
Who knew the boys would cheat so much at Articulate when the girls were winning. For the record the girls won both the game and the rematch.

 

“Going to Centre Parcs has been great for the team to all come together but also was a lovely change of scene, especially after working from home at times through the year. My favourite part was playing board games and exposing everyone’s competitive nature which was really funny. I was pleasantly surprised at how well we all got on as a group in a different setting and it definitely brought us all closer as a team.”
Caitlin Elliott

It was a very serious matter once the team started playing Killer. There were some tense moments around the pool table.
It was a very serious matter once the team started playing Killer. There were some tense moments around the pool table.

I’d never been to Centre Parcs before and it was a great setting for everybody to let off some steam after a busy last 18 months. It was good to get everybody together rather than as faces on a screen and to get to know some of the newer members of the team properly. A really enjoyable weekend but some fairly questionable pool skills!
Tom Froggatt

The weather was fabulous and even the evenings were warm enough to play Ball Pong outside.
The weather was fabulous and the evenings were even warm enough to play Ball Pong  outside.

 

Photographic proof that the boys had their feet up while the girls were pedalling.
Photographic proof that the boys had their feet up while the girls were pedalling.

 

Anyone for tennis? RRA Associate, Tom Froggatt and his wife Louisa, joined us fresh from their honeymoon after having been married only two weeks before.
Anyone for tennis? RRA Associate, Tom Froggatt and his wife Louisa, joined us fresh from their honeymoon after having been married only two weeks before.

 

It was great fun to play Mr & Mrs and see which couples really did know each other well.
It was great fun to play Mr & Mrs and see which couples really did know each other well.

 

The tense tie breaker between two couples going head-to-head for the coveted title of 'Mr & Mrs RRA Center Parcs 2021.'
The tense tie breaker between two couples going head-to-head for the coveted title of ‘Mr & Mrs RRA Center Parcs 2021.’

 

Mark Powles and Ryan Birch trying their hand at the arcade games.
Mark Powles and Ryan Birch trying their hand at the arcade games.


“It was lovely to see everyone enjoying themselves away from work and having a good time! The trip felt much more like a family holiday than a work event, which is a credit to how close the team are.”

Ryan Birch

The air hockey was quite competitive when Ryan Birch and James Lovering teamed up.
The air hockey was quite competitive when Ryan Birch and James Lovering teamed up.
“Had a lovely weekend away with the RRA team and our families/partners, we are such a close knit team so it was so nice to get away all together! We ended up playing a lot games, drinking maybe a little too much, and all getting very competitive!”
Sam Veale

 

A huge thank you to Oliver Cooke and his team, Jane, Evie and Lewis, who did a truely amazing job of creating a 5 start banquet out of one Center Parcs Lodge kitchen. Real skill.
A huge thank you to Oliver Cooke and his team, Jane, Evie and Lewis, who did a truely amazing job of creating a 5 start banquet out of one Center Parcs Lodge kitchen. Real skill.

 

“Having never been to CP previously, I was not quite sure what to expect, but the facilities and lodges were great and being able to get the whole team and their partners together was so very special and after the past 18 months a chance for a thank you and an opportunity to actually stop and relax for a few days, although there were quite a few sore heads each morning! . It was a huge undertaking but so very worthwhile and I can’t wait for the next team getaway wherever that might take us!”

Jane Cooke

We were even lucky enough to have our Business Manager, Jane's, dog, Monty join us on the Sunday for a few hours.
We were even lucky enough to have our Business Manager, Jane’s, dog, Monty join us on the Sunday for a few hours.

 

“As I am based in the Gloucester office, it was nice to see the rest of the team from the Hereford office as well as having the opportunity to bond and get to know everyone as I am fairly new to RRA. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had not been to a centre parcs before but loved the different activities. Thank you to all for a great team getaway.”
Dan Herbert

We had a great time bowling on Sunday.
We had a great time bowling on Sunday.

 

Even Steff's gorgeous daughter had a go (and she wasn't the only one using the ramps).
Even Steff’s gorgeous daughter had a go (and she wasn’t the only one using the ramps).

 

We can't all be good at bowling.
We can’t all be good at bowling.

 

“The team getaway was a great chance to get to know everyone and their partners that bit more… As well as seeing everyone’s competitive sides during the several tournaments across the weekend.  It’s safe to say that I won’t be winning at Bowling any time soon!!
Huge thanks to the Directors for such a fun weekend, I feel very lucky to be a part of such a close knit team.”
Sarah-Jane Bonner

Thank you to everyone who joined us at Center Parcs - you made the weekend fabulous.
Thank you to everyone who joined us at Center Parcs – you made the weekend fabulous.

Thank you to all the RRA Team, their partners and children who joined us – without you it would have been very dull. You made it the fabulous, enjoyable time it was.

We are looking forward to the next one already.