Pictured: Stephen Hammon (left) from Heart of England Conference and Events Centre with Paul Montague from Priory Coaches UK Limited
Two local companies are driving forward together to bring thousands of schoolchildren and conference delegates to England’s most central beach.
The Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Meriden Road has teamed up with another Fillongley business, Priory Coaches UK Limited, to start operating a coach to bring youngsters and business guests to Heart Park and Beach.
The 53-seater coach has been decked out with Heart Park and Beach’s bright colours along with its contact details and will be operated by Priory Coaches UK Limited.
Stephen Hammon, managing director of Heart of England Conference and Events Centre, said 3,970 children visited the beach in 2011 which underlined its popularity.
“Our bookings for schoolchildren to visit this year are already double last year’s total which is incredible considering the sunny weather has only recently arrived,” he said.
“I think there are a number of reasons why the beach is popular – the fact it is only a short distance away from hundreds of Midlands schools instead of youngsters spending hours travelling to the seaside and that for disabled children the terrain is flat and there is no problem with access.
“It is also reasonably priced which is important these days as we all want every pound to count in the economic recession and it means children whose parents may otherwise not be able to afford a trip to a seaside resort can enjoy a great day out.
“As well as playing on the beach, there is a learning aspect because we have put together a fun education programme which fits in with the curriculum focusing on wildlife in our 65 acres of woodland.
“Since this is a booming side of our business we have invested in a 53-seater coach to bring schoolchildren to and from their schools across the Midlands to the beach which is one less hassle for teachers to have to book a coach.
“We are also going to use it to transport delegates attending conferences since the beach is a unique selling point for visitors to enjoy post-meeting cocktails or team building activities.”
Paul Montague, the owner of Priory Coaches UK Limited, said this was an idea which was a win-win situation.
“I have known Stephen for a number of years and the decision came after a chat because I said we could provide a coach as well as the drivers,” he said.
“I love the look of the coach. It certainly stands out on the roads and we have had many favourable comments.
“I think the beach is an amazing place particularly since it gives children a chance to play in the sand and lake who would perhaps otherwise not get a chance.
“I am sure the coach will prove to be a great investment and it will be great for our drivers to see so many happy, smiling faces going to and from the beach.”