Archery is one of the favourite activities at The Château and provides all participants with the opportunity to learn new skills and progress quickly under the coaching of our animateurs. The site-specific training which is carried out by one of our Senior team who holds the Archery GB Instructors Award, covers all relevant aspects of target archery and requires animateurs to have a thorough knowledge of equipment, range security, coaching skills and techniques to ensure safety and success for all participants. In addition, we have recently invested in new and improved equipment.
Making use of our superb natural environment at The Château, Canoeing/Kayaking takes place on very sheltered inland water on the small lake within the Château grounds. The children all wear buoyancy aids and helmets for this activity and after a short safety briefing are soon afloat under the close guidance and instruction of our suitably trained staff. Ian Wood, who holds both French and British Canoeing qualifications, trains all the staff on the FFCK (Fédération Française Canoë-Kayak) award scheme. The animateurs hold the “Pagaie Blanche” award and have been trained to “Pagaie Jaune” level.
Taking place on our purpose built climbing tower, this activity is supervised by animateurs who have all received site-specific training, which covers all aspects of climbing including the use of safety equipment, personal protective equipment, belaying set ups and techniques, rope work and guest-to-guest belaying. Chris Taylor of 4th Dimension Ltd oversees the assessment and training of the staff.
One of the oldest sports and often described as a game of physical chess played at lighting speed, fencing at The Château takes place under the supervision of animateurs who have all been trained and assessed by Janet Huggins and hold the British Fencing Association (BFA) Teachers Award. This nationally recognised qualification is designed to provide all involved in the teaching of this Olympic sport with the knowledge and understanding to ensure safety at all times and the coaching techniques and games that allow participants to acquire key fencing skills quickly and in an enjoyable way.
Taking place within the superb Château grounds, we have 5 orienteering courses that the participants can complete. This activity is supervised by animateurs who have been trained and assessed by Hilary and John Palmer and hold the British Orienteering Federation (BOF) Award.
All other activities at The Château, such as team building and problem solving exercises, assault course, aeroball and raft building have all been reassessed and improved for 2009. For these activities, all animateurs have completed an extensive in house training and assessment programme and follow clear operational procedures and session plans that ensure all participants are aware of all relevant safety aspects, acquire and develop physical and language skills and, most importantly, have fun.
All our equipment is subject to safety checks before, during and after each activity and undergoes a rigorous inspection every 6 weeks that is fully recorded and logged. In addition, the Centre Manager or an external assessor carries out an intensive inspection every three months. All equipment checks and logbooks are available for inspection by Party Leaders at The Château.
New site specific operational procedures and session plans have been developed and implemented for all activities, and to ensure the safety and well being of guests and staff, are followed at all times. These operational procedures include details of staff qualifications and staff to participant ratios and are closely linked to risk assessments and staff training.
Risk assessments are an important element in ensuring the safety of all our visitors, guests and staff. To that end, comprehensive activity and site-specific risk assessments have been completed for all operations and activities along with all safety, accident, emergency, fire and general centre procedures and policies. It is The Château policy that all staff are fully conversant with them and receive appropriate training. Risk assessments are reviewed on a regular and ongoing basis and are available for all party leaders as part of their pre-visit organisation and checks.
At The Château we are committed to ensuring the ongoing training and development of our staff and the safety of our guests. To achieve this all staff are monitored, assessed and given feedback on a regular and recorded basis by members of the Senior Team. We believe this process is vital in ensuring continued and progressively improving standards at all levels.
We have in place comprehensive procedures for use in the event of an emergency situation or fire. The Château has detailed fire evacuation plans and all guests are made aware, as soon as they arrive, of the procedures to follow. In addition, various staff from all departments have completed a course in dealing with fire and the use of fire extinguishers and hoses.