East of England Tourism Awards 2021-2022: Resilience and Innovation Award winner announced

The team from Potters Resorts in Hopton-on-Sea, Norfolk, winner of the Resilience and Innovation Award

Left to right: Richard Turner (sponsor), Nathan Moore , Mike Scott, Jo Nicholls (sponsor), Marc Jones, John Potter - Credit: Matt Brasnett, I Do Photography

Potters Resorts has been named the winner of the Resilience and Innovation Award, sponsored by Howes Percival, at the East of England Tourism Awards 2021-2022.

Potters Resorts in Hopton-on-Sea, Norfolk was set to celebrate its centenary when the pandemic arrived. The business quickly sprang into action building new kitchens and opening 50 Covid-safe ‘restaurant suites’ with balconies overlooking a new South Terrace and outdoor theatre stage.

A second entertainment venue was also constructed during lockdown so the resort could re-open with enough socially distanced guests to sustain its 500-plus team.

Investment in new technology allowed Potters to continue entertaining guests remotely and stay connected with its 150,000 Facebook fans. This also enabled the business to hold an online concert for the NHS and Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS) which raised £25,000 in total.

The judges highly commended the charitable work carried out and support shown for the local community through the Potters Friends Foundation. 

They were also impressed by the innovation shown by Potters in constantly adapting to the ever-changing restrictions.

John Potter, managing director of Potters Resorts, said: “Winning this award means everything, but also it’s a great credit to the team. 

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“It’s been a very challenging time in lockdown, we’ve been scratching our heads about how we will get through. Without the team, I’m not sure we would have made it, so to win this for the team is amazing.”

About the sponsor

Howes Percival is a leading commercial law firm offering a wide range of legal expertise – from corporate, employment, litigation and property to estate planning and family law. Clients range from international corporations to family-owned businesses, working across the full spectrum of the leisure and tourism sector.

The team at Howes Percival has a wealth of experience advising clients in the leisure and tourism industry. In a sector that is greatly influenced by economic change, the team understands the business challenges and the need to respond quickly to opportunities in the industry. 

The finalists

Audley End Miniature Railway – Highly Commended

Located in north Essex, Audley End Miniature Railway is an outdoor visitor attraction comprising a miniature railway, enchanted fairy and elf woodland, adventure play area, woodland café, and gift shop. The diversification into initiatives such as the Nature Corner and adult experiences such as its Halloween event impressed the judges. 

Richardson’s Leisure – Highly Commended

Richardson’s Leisure offers a range of boating holidays on the Norfolk Broads and family getaways at its holiday park in Hemsby. The judges praised the innovation shown by Richardson’s during lockdown, in particular the series of short videos it created on boating safety. 

Chestnut

Chestnut is a collection of 12 pubs, inns and restaurants in East Anglia. During the pandemic, it offered new services to customers and launched its charitable initiative, The Giving Tree. The judges commended the business for providing valuable assistance to the local community. 

Wroxham Barns

The judges praised the “great resilience and braveness” shown by Wroxham Barns shopping and leisure complex in Norfolk when it combined its junior farm and fun park into one ticket at the height of the pandemic – a move which proved transformational for the business.