The evolution of ACF Teambuilding & Events. From farm to family fun days....
Where to start!! The Bristol events company ACF Teambuilding & Events has had many strings to its bow with a mixture of success and tragedy changing the business over the decades. Today, it is renowned for putting on fantastic corporate events and all things team building, and it all began in 1984 when event quotes were still written on typewriters.
The very first event was held in 1984 when Chris Watts of Aldwick Court Farm took the plunge to set up a Clay Pigeon Shooting business. Aldwick Court Farm was predominantly a pig farm at that time, but Chris had a vision to turn the farm into a base for top notch corporate days out, and a combination of Clay Shooting and Quad Biking quickly became popular!
Chris, with his sister Sandy were determined to offer what the clients wanted, so while it wasn’t feasible to purchase all the equipment to begin with, they would start off early in the morning and pick up the quad bikes they had hired from local farmers in the area. Over time more activities such as Archery and Laser Clays were added to the mix, more equipment was purchased and the company became known as ACF Hospitality. In the mid 90’s one of the barns at the farm was also converted and the business took off as a top destination to do outdoor activities in Bristol.
In the 2000’s ACF purchased its famous Military Vehicles and was now able to add fantastic Military Driving experiences to its portfolio which are still as popular today. Inflatables for the wacky event ‘It’s a Knockout’ were also purchased, and the company began to offer events abroad too. The Forest Rally stage near Bristol Airport was in full swing with Rally Driving Days, and Stag and Hen groups were often seen taking part in activities weekends.
In 2006 Mark Fanning joined the ACF and grew the business further in it’s team building areas, offering new and exciting team building activities to clients. ACF began working more and more with venues in the area and now have long standing relationships with a number of hotel groups. In 2008 the business diversified further and planted the first vineyard, whilst at the same time another barn was being converted into a modern function space for conferences and weddings.
2011 was a big year of change. Chris Watts tragically died in a helicopter crash, and the remainder of the year was naturally an extremely sad and a tough time for his family and colleagues. Some difficult decisions were made but ultimately the company divided into 2 parts which are now known as ‘Aldwick Estate’ headed by Sandy Luck, and ‘ACF Teambuilding and Events’ ran by Mark Fanning. Aldwick Estate now produces its own wine label and offer wine tours, weddings and conference facilities. It also has an equestrian centre and land used for sheep farming.
ACF Teambuilding has continued to grow its event services focusing on the development of new and exciting team building activities based upon popular TV Shows and Film. Such as The Crystal Maze, The Apprentice, Have I Got News for You and Mission Impossible (to name a few!) They are also experts in producing corporate family fun days for thousands of attendees with a large amount of investment going into funfair stalls, more inflatables and games for all ages.
Their Military theme is also still prominent with Airsoft Games and Military style Missions being part of many of their team building events. One of their newest events ‘The Hunted’ see’s guests escaping Mr X as he hunts delegates down at their chosen venue while they complete a combination of code breaking and hands on team challenges.
Over the last few years the company has grown even further, with key personnel being appointed. Gary Braim (ex Marine Commando) was made Director for the Devon and Cornwall area, and Christina Cooke was appointed as a Director. 2019 will see more even more development, growth and new ideas. Watch this space for a Game of Thrones style event coming soon!
If you would like to look into holding a bespoke team building event or company fun day, contact ACF at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01934 862305
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