The owners of one of our favourite Milton Keynes venues has been recognised as a world-class employer in this year’s Best Companies awards.
Milton Keynes pub company Peach has officially been named one of best companies to work for in the country and been singled out as a top employer in its industry in this year’s Best Companies to Work for awards, announced on Friday 21st May 2021. Peach raced up to number 24 in the league of the nation’s best companies, and received a Three Star Accreditation, highlighting it as world-class.
The independent business, which runs The Black Horse in Woburn and The Swan at Salford came away from Friday’s virtual awards ceremony with four fantastic wins under its belt.
As well as officially being one of the UK’s 100 Best Large Companies to Work For, Peach came sixth in the UK’s Top 20 Leisure & Hospitality Companies to Work For and was named the 9th best employer in the East of England, the 13th in the Midlands and the 20th in the South East where it was also the best in hospitality.
Earning a place on a list as one of the UK’s Best Companies to Work For is an accolade like no other. It recognises a business’ commitment to its employees and shows that it sees workplace engagement as a vital part of its success. Participation is partly by a team-wide survey that asks for honest feedback on areas an employer is strong in and those it needs to improve on, such as leadership, commitment to personal growth through training and development, well-being and giving something back.
Peach scored at the top of its class by proving its commitment to its people and how it supported its teams particularly during the pandemic and focussed on the mental wellbeing of its chefs, front of house and support teams who were furloughed. Peach launched Yourhub.pub1, a social enterprise that enabled its furloughed teams to keep busy cooking and delivering food to the NHS and a total of 50 charities and keep connected to their pubs’ communities.
At the same time, it looked after the team, creating new personal development plans for individual and personal development for every team member. It also launched a Peach Hardship Support Fund for those facing financial difficulty and worked with industry charity Hospitality Action to ensure no-one in the team was left behind.
It’s the fifth year running that Peach has won a Best Company to Work For award, and a record year for the company, whose aim is to be the best gastropub company on the planet, as Peach Managing Director Hamish Stoddart explains.
“It’s our vision, we Make Life Peachy. Ever since we started Peach twenty years ago, we’ve genuinely put our people first. We’ve always believed they are the heart of a pub and utterly central to our success. Shared ownership and the longevity of our team prove this. This last year, during the pandemic, we knew it was more important than ever to take good care of the team especially when the pubs were closed and the team furloughed. It was the perfect opportunity to prove it, and we did.
“We worked incredibly hard to look after the physical and mental well-being of our people especially during lockdown. We took the opportunity to reaffirm our support to our team, both financially and through keeping in close contact and volunteering together to support the towns we’re proud to be at the heart of. We have come through together, staying true to our vision of being a great place to work, learn and grow. We are delighted to be recognised as a Three Star, world-class employer,” he said.
Peach took the opportunity to toast this year’s Best Companies success with its teams and guests in the pubs, which are now open for eating and drinking again inside, by raising a glass in celebration after the results were revealed on Friday.
Peach is aiming to grow by three or four pubs in the next year and is hiring right now. Please go to https://careers.makinglifepeachy.com/ to find out more.
Wicksteed Park’s Garden Wheel Shortlisted for Best new Ride Award
Wicksteed Park’s Garden Wheel has been shortlisted for the Best New Ride at the UK Theme Park Awards.
The Northamptonshire attraction’s historic Water Chute was also nominated for the Best Water Ride and the Park received a third nomination as the Best Theme Park with Animals.
Now in its fourth year, the awards give the British public the chance to vote for their favourite theme parks in national awards recognising the best new rides and attractions, shows and events. Voting will open on 22nd July at ukthemeparkawards.com.
“We’re delighted to have been nominated in three different categories and it’s obviously particularly exciting to be shortlisted with the Garden Wheel for the best new ride,” said Wicksteed Park’s Carly Redington.
“We are up against some stiff competition with the likes of Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park but it’s great to get recognition for our ongoing investment programme in the park alongside one of our heritage rides,” she added.
Opened in May, the 25-metre-tall Garden Wheel features 18 gondolas and provides stunning views out across the Kettering attraction and the surrounding countryside. The Ferris wheel, which can accommodate up to 72 passengers, is situated at the top end of the park and is included in the price of a wristband.
Alongside Wicksteed Park other major contenders for the awards include Alton Towers and Drayton Manor in Staffordshire, Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Lancashire, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey, LEGOLAND Windsor in Berkshire and Paultons Park in Hampshire.
There are 22 categories this year, including Theme Park of the Year, Best New Attraction, Best Customer Service and Best Value. New categories include Best Reimagined Attraction, Best Theme Park with Animals and Best Themed Coaster.
In advance of the public vote, a shortlist has been compiled using public nominations and with the help of a panel of expert judges including Paul Kelly (Chief Executive of the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions) and Andy Hine MBE (Chairman – Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain).
More than 25,000 nominations were received, with a total of 35 theme parks nominated for awards in 2023.
The Garden Wheel is part of an ongoing programme of investment in the Park which has included the launch of the new Galaxy Invaders ride, Meerkat Manor, Wicky Bear’s Theatre and Wicky’s Farmyard over the past two years.
Wicksteed Park provides a great value day out for all the family. Entry to the park is free. Ride and attraction tickets can either be purchased individually at £3 per person or alternatively day wristbands are available at £22 for unlimited access to all rides and attractions (with the exception of Wicky’s Play Factory).
Milton Keynes welcomes first al fresco rooftop venue Unity Sky Lounge
September 2023 will see the eagerly awaited opening of Unity Place – a multi-purpose destination in Milton Keynes bringing together community, business and leisure, championing social connectedness and environmental consciousness.
The new vibrant visitor attraction will be home to Unity Sky Lounge, an expansive rooftop bar and restaurant. Boasting an al fresco terrace nestled amongst the greenery and beautiful views of the city, the menu will feature the finest dishes and a selection of signature drinks, including seasonal cocktails and English wine.
Unity Sky Lounge is a sophisticated evening venue with a menu of small plates designed for sharing, allowing diners to enjoy the fun yet relaxed ambience, making it the perfect place to catch up and unwind with friends, or celebrate late into the night for a special occasion.
Drawing inspiration from British flavours, the menu showcases expertly crafted plates using only the finest ingredients, providing a dining experience that is in equal parts adventurous and comforting. With an array of vegetarian, meat and fish dishes, highlights from the menu include Devon hand-picked crab salad with apple and cucumber; Isle of Wight tomatoes with olive oil, sourdough and salt; Braised Berkshire pork with tomatoes, red wine and honey and Cured duck ham with asparagus and rapeseed emulsion.
For those with a sweet tooth, Unity Sky Lounge will offer a selection of mouth-watering desserts including Lemon posset with vanilla shortbread; Torched peach with mango and tarragon and Chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream, roasted white chocolate and honeycomb.
Turning to the cocktails, guests can indulge in the classics, all reimagined with a modern twist, or, try something new with signature creations unique to Unity Sky Lounge. From ‘Sky High,‘ made with Pinkster gin, Cointreau grenadine, egg white waste from kitchen and lime juice to ‘Thyme For Gin,‘ with local gin, lemon and thyme syrup from the kitchen waste, lemon juice and soda – the whole menu prides itself on lowering waste without compromising on flavour.
The non-alcoholic cocktails are not to be missed with a host of options from zesty citrus blends to botanical infusions such as ‘Cloudy Sky’ with Seedlip Grove 42, orange juice, grenadine, egg white waste from kitchen and lime juice, and ‘Country Garden Spritz’ with Seedlip Garden, pea syrup made from kitchen waste and Mediterranean tonic.
The addition of Unity Sky Lounge to Milton Keynes’ upcoming vibrant social scene promises to be the city’s most sought-after destination for discerning locals and visitors alike.
A brand new Bingo Brunch experience is coming to Watford’s Barrio
On 5th November, the newly opened Barrio venue will launch its bingo brunch concept, La Isla Bonita 80s Brunch, in Watford. Translating to ‘The beautiful island’, La Isla Bonita Brunch aims to recreate that perfect tropical holiday feeling, with food and cocktails galore, bingo mayhem and 80s music all afternoon-long.
Already a popular party experience at Barrio Shoreditch, the 80s themed musical brunch is scheduled to run every Saturday from 12pm, and will include a two-course brunch, welcome cocktail and a variety of bottomless drinks (prosecco, spiced rum sangria and Sol beer).
Once guests have finished tucking into a menu of delicious burgers, including Queso Libre as a vegetarian option and Saint and Sinner as the vegan burger plus Barrio Churros, the musical bingo commences, brought to life by a captivating host and nostalgic 80s tunes by Barrio’s best DJs. Brunch goers can expect witty bingo calls, group singalongs and impromptu tableside performances. Prizes for winning the brunch also include a very tasty £100 bar tab.
For £35 per person, over-21s can enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless drinks and then eat, bingo and party until 5pm.
Those interested can book the first La Isla Bonita 80s Brunch at Barrio Watford for a special launch price of £25 (valid for 5th and 12th Nov brunch dates).
More about Barrio Watford
On 20th October 2022, Barrio Familia opened its first out-of-London venue in Watford, bringing Latin-inspired cocktails, authentic Mexican eats, a killer happy hour offering, live entertainment and DJs, plus an immersive 80s Bingo Bottomless Brunch.
Following the announcement of the group’s flagship site, and world’s largest tequila bar, in Covent Garden which is set to launch in early November, Barrio Familia has opened Watford’s first Tequila bar this month.
Bringing the spirit of the Latin Quarter into Watford, the new venue will have space for up to 200 guests to enjoy a brand new, freshly crafted cocktail menu, delicious Mexican inspired food creations, including their signature tacos, and famous Latino party vibes.
The outside terrace is also being turned into Barrio’s popular tropical yard, offering the perfect space for another 80 guests to gather with like-minded ‘amigos’ and sip cocktails, enjoy a meal and experience a fiesta like never before.
Barrio Familia was acquired by Nightcap in November 2021 and has since gone from strength to strength. New venues; Barrio Watford and Barrio Covent Garden will add to their growing portfolio of sites in Shoreditch, Soho, Angel, and Brixton. After opening the first Barrio site in 2007, the group’s vision was to have a Barrio in every big party neighborhood in the UK and Watford will play a huge role in that exciting expansion.
Each of the Barrio Bars sites offer a full-colour, full-flavour experience, and of course, plenty of Tequila. The group plans to open seven days a week and be the perfect new spot in Watford for all occasions, from lunches and daytime drinks to brunches and late night partying.
Jim Robertson, Managing Director of Barrio Familia, commented:
“We are incredibly excited to be taking our Latino party outside of London for the first time. This is a fantastic venue and we can’t wait to welcome the residents of Watford into the Barrio familia and bring the party! I believe Barrio will be a fantastic addition to Watford High Street that will suit all types of occasions and bring a feel good bar that welcomes everyone. We have some amazing things planned for Barrio Watford, so watch this space and get ready for the biggest fiesta in town!”