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Annual Conference & Trade Show 2018

in Annual Conference, Events tagged
Past Event – Tuesday 30th January – Thursday 1st February 2018

The International Centre, Telford TF3 4JH

The biggest event in the Farm Attractions calendar.

Telford International Centre photo

NFAN Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition

This year’s conference and Trade Exhibition was a sell-out with 70 exhibitors and over 200 owners and senior managers from UK farm attractions attending.

If you attended the Conference, Annual Dinner and Awards we hope you got a lot out of it. The pages below will be updated with the speaker presentations (login as a member) and photos shortly.

Venue – The International Centre, Telford TF3 4JH. The International Centre is a large conference and exhibition venue centrally located with excellent motorway links. The Trade Show will be held in Hall 1, the conference and annual dinner will be held across the foyer in the Ludlow Suite. The International Centre has two hotels on site, with other accommodations options nearby (see Accommodation details below).

Tuesday night informal dinner venue. In a change from previous years, the Tuesday night informal dinner & accommodation was not be at the Conference hotel, but at a hotel near to Wednesday’s open day venue. The Lion Quays Hotel in Oswestry  being conveniently located for Park Hall The Countryside Experience the next morning (see Accommodation details below).

Hear what Delegates and Exhibitors have to say about the Annual Conference and Trade Show – watch the video above.

Exhibitor Stand Bookings

Exhibitor bookings for NFAN trade members click here for details

The Programme

Tuesday 30th January

Optional Afternoon Visits
12pm – 4pmOptional visit to The Hoo Farm, Telford TF6 6DJ

Join the Dorrell family for a tour of the farm park and wildlife centre. Arrive at a time to suit you. The 1hr tours departed at regular intervals, last tour at 3pm. Refreshments included.

2pm – 5pmOptional visit to The British Ironworks Centre, Owsestry SY11 4JH (approx 1 hr drive from The Hoo Farm)

A unique visitor destination, quirky indoor showroom, animal sculpture trail, blacksmith and silversmith demonstrations and more. Refreshments served at 4pm, presentation from the owners at 4.30pm.

Informal Evening Dinner – Lion Quays Hotel, Oswestry SY11 3EN
7:30pmInformal networking dinner at The Lion Quays hotel, Oswestry.

Wednesday 31st January

Pre-Conference Open Day at Park Hall The Countryside Experience, SY11 4AS
10.00am- 3.00pmPark Hall The Countryside Experience is a multi award-winning farm park which offers a wide range of attractions. As well as the usual farm animals, indoor and outdoor play areas and rides, Park Hall is a favourite with schools and offers a Victorian School Room, unique WWI Trenches experience, Forest School and more.

The day included welcome refreshments from 9.15am, a talk from the owners, extensive tour, presentations, Q&A session and networking lunch.  Open Days are always popular and over 170 people attended this event.

As the Tuesday night hotel is local to Park Hall, Delegates travelled in own cars.

Drinks Reception in the Trade Exhibition, Telford
6.00pmAll conference delegates and exhibitors are invited to the Drinks Reception held in the Trade Exhibition on Wednesday evening prior to the Awards Dinner. This is an ideal opportunity to visit the trade stands and meet with exhibitors in a relaxed atmosphere.
Annual Dinner & Awards
8.00pmYou don’t have to be involved in the awards to enjoy this sparkling social occasion. Each year the NFAN Annual Dinner has grown and this year was a night to remember with comedian Tony Vino involving the audience in a dramatic and comic retelling of the Lion King! There is a seating plan for the dinner. If there are two or three people from the same company we will endeavor to seat you on the same table (unless you prefer to be split). If there are four or more we will split the group to promote networking. If you would rather your large group is seated together please let us know. There is no specific dress code but most would go for smart but not formal.

Thursday 1st February

Main Conference & Trade Exhibition Day

Be inspired by a first class range of guest speakers with presentations on the theme of Adding Value to your attraction. See Speaker & Presentations Section for copies of presentations (you must be logged in as a member to see the presentations).

8:30amRegistration: Coffee/tea, pastries. A chance to visit the Trade Exhibition
9:30amWelcome, introduction & update on the Industry Code of Practice – NFAN Chairman, Colin Evans
09.50amUpdate on Business Rates – Barry Davies, Davies & Co.
10:00amNine key elements of high performing teams – lessons from elite sports.
Tim Thurston, Team Kai.
10.25amTheme Parks and Attractions, a wider industry perspective – Paul Kelly, BALPPA
10:45amBreak: Coffee/tea and an opportunity to visit the Trade Exhibition
11:40amCost Effective Ideas to add value – Andrew Wolfe

Adding value through accommodation – Tom Honeyman Brown, Tapnell Farm Park

My added value wins – Doug Douglas, Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park

12.30pmQ&A from lunchtime session
12:40pmNFAN AGM
12:50pmNetworking lunch and chance to visit the Trade Exhibition
2.50pm – Trade Exhibition closes
2:50pmAdding value through theatre – Toni Lilley Farm Park/Scream Park Entertainments
3:10pmHosting a festival on your farm – Beth Heath, Shropshire Festivals
3:30pmThe Experience Business
James Sinclair, The Entrepreneurs Network and Marsh Farm
3:50pmClosing remarks – NFAN Chairman, Colin Evans

Introducing our sponsors

For every event, NFAN are always extremely grateful to sponsors, who help keep delegate prices down.

Main Gold Conference Sponsors
S. GregoryDaviesLogo
Open Day Sponsors RupertOliverLogo       regencypg_logo
Informal Dinner Wine Sponsor 
Awards Dinner Main Sponsor LappsetCreative_logo_horisontal_low
Awards Dinner Wine Sponsor  timberplaylimited_logo
Drinks Reception Sponsors innovative Leisure Logo DigiTickets logo
Awards Sponsors
booker-wholesale_logo David Taylor Logo marsh_logo playscheme logo   

We are grateful to Funfear for providing all the Audio Visual equipment and services for the Conference and Awards Dinner.

See prices below – these are member only rates.

Non-members are welcome. Prices are detailed on the booking form. You can download a booking form here.

NFAN Member (Ex VAT)
30th Jan – Visit to The Hoo Farm (refreshments included)£10.00pp
30th Jan – Visit to the British Ironworks Centre (refreshments included)£10.00pp
30th Jan – Informal Dinner – Lion Quays Hotel – Oswestry FULLY BOOKED£28.00pp
31st Jan – Pre Conference Open Day (price per person – includes lunch & refreshments during the day)NFAN Member (Ex VAT)
1 person£45.00pp
2 people£40.00pp
3+ people£35.00pp
31st Jan – Annual Dinner & Awards FULLY BOOKED£39.95pp
1st Feb – NFAN Conference delegate priceNFAN Member (Ex VAT)Non-Member (Ex VAT)
1 person£105.00£145.00
2 people£99.50pp£145.00pp

Only members can book online. Members can also book by completing the booking form and returning to the NFAN office with payment. Details of how to pay are on the booking form, Download here.

Online booking is only available to NFAN Members. You must be logged in to access the booking form. If you have lost your login details or if you are not a NFAN member please contact the NFAN office.

Tom Robinson (NFAN) & Kathryn Clemens (Kiwa)

Presentation Summary: NFAN Approved Animal Attraction certification scheme

Tom Robinson

The Industry Code of Practice (COP) was published shortly after the Griffin Report became available in 2010, with a further revision in 2015. The advice contained in the COP has always been very practical and easy to understand. However, it has been a constant source of worry for the NFAN Committee that guidelines in the COP are not being properly adhered to on all farms. In simple terms, NFAN are very keen that the lessons learned from the 2009 outbreak are not forgotten and that COP guidelines are maintained and implemented on all open farms and visitor attractions with animal displays. With this background in mind, NFAN have been working on a certification audit scheme to help operators improve standards on their farms. This was launched at the NFAN Conference on 1 Feb 2018.

Download powerpoint presentation pdf – available to NFAN members only. The link will appear below when you are logged in.

Barry Davies – Davies & Co.

Presentation Summary: Business Rates Update.

Barry Davies

• Farm Attractions 2010 and 2017 Rateable Values – statisics
• 2017 ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal‘ (CCA)
• Top Tips for appealing your Rateable Value, how it is assessed, information needed to challenge
• Exemptions and Reliefs
• Beware of pitfalls – 2010 and 2017 Rateable Value: increase in assessments ‘or’ Material Change in Circumstances (MCC) – VOA Inspections
• The power of NFAN as a Co-operative Consortium
o Independent National Co-operative for Farm Attractions
o Sharing knowledge of “Truly” comparable evidence to give weight in reducing the Rateable Value
o Raising the profile through Central Government and other organisations; Access to Farms, ATF

Presentation to follow


A Chartered Rural Surveyor specialising in advising farm attraction businesses on Business Rates assessments and appeals. Securing planning permission and providing valuation advice for securing funding. Barry is a member of the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV) and Rating Surveyors’ Association (RSA).
Email:  Tel: 01536 524808

Tim Thurston- TeamKAI

Presentation Summary: Nine key elements of high performing teams – lessons from elite sports.
Tim Thurston

Tim Thurston

TeamKAI is a training company launched by professional rugby player Kai Horstmann and successful businessman from the South West.
The company’s keynote philosophy “Nine key elements of high performing teams – lessons from elite sports”, highlights how elite sports teams achieve success through optimising teamwork.
This adds real value to your business and improves efficiency.
Tim Thurston, director of TeamKAI, will illustrate these elements with sporting examples and explain how they can transcend into your business.
The aim of the session is to get you to think about:
• How you work in your team
• How you can improve your contribution
• How effectively your team performs
• How you can improve the performance of your team

Download powerpoint presentation pdf – available to NFAN members only. The link will appear below when you are logged in.


Tim Thurston is a director of TeamKAI and also a director of the business consultancy Thurston Cooper Associates.
He has had over 20 years of senior management experience, having been managing director of four publishing businesses including Archant’s county magazines, Autotrader and several regional newspapers based in the South West.
Having benefited from Henley and Cranfield training, he has developed teams to achieve success and managed several change programmes. He now works with businesses, helping them to develop their teams and provides consultancy on business strategy, sales and marketing.
Email:  Tel: 07793 264611

Paul Kelly – BALPPA

Presentation Summary: Theme Parks and Attractions, a wider industry perspective.

Review of current trends in theme parks and attractions, followed by an overview of the ADIPS inspection scheme for amusement devices.

Download powerpoint presentation pdf – available to NFAN members only. The link will appear below when you are logged in.

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly


Paul started work at Thorpe Park in 1986 as a ride operator. Over the next 13 years he worked in every operating department in the Park gaining valuable operational management experience. He opened the London Eye in 1999 and after the Merlin acquisition worked in business development. Paul left Merlin in 2010 and worked on a number of wheel projects around the world. He has been CEO of BALPPA since 2012.

Email: Tel: 0207 403 4455

Andrew Wolfe

Presentation Summary: Effective Ideas to add value.
Andrew Wolfe

Andrew Wolfe

Andrew will talk about how the team can enhance your customers experience thus adding value.

Download powerpoint presentation pdf – available to NFAN members only. The link will appear below when you are logged in.


Andrew over 20 years developed a number of businesses by diversifying a 1500 acre estate near to St Albans, initially as a tenant Farmer. In late 2017 he stepped down as CEO of Willows Activity Farm remaining as a shareholder and director. Andrew provides mentoring services on a retained basis to over 15 diversified farm businesses including a number of Farm Parks. He is Chairman of Governors of a Land based college, a committee member of LEAF and still shears his own sheep!!! By far his best achievement is to have remained married for over 31 years!!

Email:  Tel: 07702 554787

Tom Honeyman Brown – Tapnell Farm Park

Presentation Summary: Adding value through accommodation

Tom Honeyman Brown

The tourism offering at Tapnell started with on-site accommodation and most of what they have done since has been about creating a better experience for those guests staying on-site. The talk will give a whistle stop tour of the Tapnell story so far with a more focused look at the accommodation, showing how and why it is so important to their offering on the Isle of Wight.


Having moved from London in 2010 to run The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight, Tom came back to the family farm at Tapnell in 2015 to join his brother in law (also Tom!) who had already kick-started the leisure enterprise at the farm with the creation of the award-winning glamping offering, Tom’s Eco Lodge. As the dairy business on the Isle of Wight wound down, the tourism elements grew, with the introduction of an on-site restaurant in 2015 and the creation of Tapnell Farm Park a year later. As well as tourism the farm focus on renewables and continue to grow arable crops to feed the AD plant.

Email: Tel: 01983 758723

Doug Douglas – Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park

Presentation Summary: My added value wins
Doug Douglas

Doug Douglas

After taking the park over and stopping all print marketing we moved to only Face Book marketing; due to this we had to look to find ways to be valued more than other local attractions. We did this in a number or way, some of these will be talked about briefly.


Doug studied technology and business management at Oxford Brooke’s University then served for 12 year in the 2nd Bn Royal Welsh Regiment completing a tour or Iraq and two in Afghanistan. In 2012 he moved to serve as a Military advisory to the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces then left the army in 2014 to take over Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park. Taking the park from 75k visitors to 200k visitors in the last 3 years.

Email:  Tel: 01179 864929‪

Toni Lilley, Scream Park and Farm Park Entertainments

Presentation Summary: Adding value through theatre

Toni Lilley

Children love stories, adventures and magic. So do grown ups. What is the story of your Farm Park? What adventures could your guests embark upon? How do you make it magical?
Whether you want your guests to scream with laughter or fear, from toddlers to old timers and everyone in between, there are ways to get them all to dance to your tune, but how?
Farm Park & Scream Park Entertainments will try to answer these questions… with a twist

Toni’s presentation was delivered as a theatrical show with a cast of actors and puppets –  there is no powerpoint available.


Toni Lilley is co-director of Scream Park and Farm Park Entertainments Ltd. Previously an actor and writer, she has performed and written for theatres, touring companies and site-specific venues across the UK and Europe. She is also known for her interactive character performance, street theatre and improvisation, including work with Alton Towers, and in Horrible Histories at Warwick Castle. Writing credits include bespoke shows, plays and concepts for theatres, schools and alternative theatre venues such as libraries, museums and holiday and theme parks. For Scream Park/Farm Park Ents, she takes a hands-on approach and continues to write and perform alongside a talented team of actors, writers, musicians and other creatives to create unique theatrical experiences for Farm Parks and Theme Parks across the UK.

Email: Tel: 01342 420 041

Beth Heath, Shropshire Festivals

Presentation Summary: Hosting a festival on your farm

Beth Heath

It’s all about fun. It’s about giving people a good time, making people happy and putting a smile on their faces. It’s about bringing out the best in people, making an event realise its potential and ensuring the crowds want to come back for more. Hosting a festival on a green field site can be lucrative but it doesn’t come without its risks – don’t even embark on the journey if you’re not a gambler.

Presentation to follow.


Beth Heath is the owner of Shropshire Festivals and Director of Fun. She has over 17 years organising events in castles, farms and green field sites. She ran Ludlow Food Festival for 12 years taking it to the success it is today and has assisted Tulleys Farm in the past with their Halloween attractions. She now manages a host of events including, Shrewsbury Food Festival, Shrewsbury Christmas, Shropshire Kids Festival, Shropshire Oktoberfest attracting over 60 000 visitors. She also has a consultancy business which has helped launch Towcester Food festival, Cosford Food Festival and several others across the country.
Email:  Tel: 01952 432175

James Sinclair, The Entrepreneurs Network and Marsh Farm

Presentation Summary: The Experience Business
James Sinclair

James Sinclair

How is it that some companies seem to be able to charge sky-high prices and ‘get away with it’ while their competitors struggle to get customers at any price and often end up discounting their way out of profitability and business? The answer lies in The Experience Business.
* The Key Differences between experience businesses and price-led businesses
* Why businesses need a set of rules to consistently deliver Great Customer Experiences
* How to craft a set of experience rules to drive your own Business Growth And Profit
* The Secret Weapon of every profitable experience business
* How to shortcut the traditional customer journey from Prospect Into Raving Fan

James’ presentation was delivered with the use of flipcharts and other visual aids, there is no powerpoint available.


Having started his business as a self-employed children’s entertainer straight out of school at age 15, James Sinclair has gone on to build a business empire spanning industries including entertainment, leisure, recruitment and business training. 17 years later, that same start-up has transformed into the Partyman Group, one of the largest entertainments businesses in the UK, with over 350 staff and £10million turnover across 7 businesses and over 20 sites in the UK including Marsh Farm, a 30 acre park attraction in South Woodham Ferrers. Having achieved success at a young age, James soon found himself in demand as business speaker, with dozens of requests for help from business owners keen to understand how James had transformed himself from teenage party entertainer into hugely respected business owner. James has gone on to write 2 business books, and co-found Entrepreneurs Network, a membership based organisation offering affordable business coaching to entrepreneurs to help them to improve their businesses.

Email: Tel: 0121 272 1212

Trade Exhibition

NFAN Trade ExhibitionWith over 70 exhibitors the Trade Exhibition is very much part of the Conference. It is only accessible to delegates who have paid the appropriate conference fee. The Trade Exhibition was open on Wed 31st from 6pm – 8pm as part of the drinks reception, and on Thurs 1st from 08.30am – 2.50pm.

You can see the latest products from play and entertainment providers, find out about the latest online ticketing and web innovations, as well as have an opportunity to discuss your requirements with specialist industry experts from the marketing, planning and insurance professions.

We are pleased to welcome a number of first time exhibitors including: Aardman Animations, Air Bouncers, Bridle Insurance, DHX Brands, Miniportworld, Scream Park Entertainments, Script Media, Techmat 2000, Teddy Mountain, The Plastic Company, TouchWood Play & Wicksteed.

You can also meet this year’s sponsors Davies & Co, Marsh and Company and S Gregory & Co.

Find the exhibitors you want to talk to, download a pdf of the Trade Exhibition floorplan here

Companies exhibiting at the Trade Exhibition:

Activity World
Agility Marketing
Air Bouncers
Amazing Interactives
Ark Toys
Bridle Insurance
Colour Heroes
David Taylor Design
Davies & Co.
DHX Brands
Flamingo Marketing
Formula K
Fun Fear
Gateway Ticketing
Grass Sledge
Haven Systems
Huck Nets
Infinite Playgrounds
Innovative Leisure
Jumping Pillows
Jupiter Play
KC Solutions
Kids Play Childcare
Lappset Creative
Marsh & Co.
Marshfield Farm Ice Cream
NGF Play
Nicco Parks & Resorts
Outdoor Play People
Partners Leisure
Preseli Gifts and Souvenirs
Rainbow Productions
Regency Purchasing
Robbie Toys
Rupert Oliver’s Ideas Factory
Russell Play
S. Gregory & Co.
Scream Park Entertainments
Script Media
Soft Brick Co.
Stephen Candy Photography
Techmat 2000
Teddy Mountain
Teddy Tastic
The Plastic Company
The Play Inspection Co.
Tornado International Ltd.
Touch Wood Play
Tractor Ted
Tyg Tickets
Unique Catering
Vimto Out of Home
Vision XS
World of Rides

For the 2018 Trade Show Exhibitor booking information click here

Welcome to NFAN

With over 200 farm members, The National Farm Attractions Network (NFAN) unites the farm and rural attraction industry.

Encouraging best practice and knowledge sharing, we proactively update members on the latest HSE advice, represent the farm attraction industry at government meetings, run events and provide ongoing support and guidance.

Find out more about the role of NFAN.


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