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News

General News 07 February 2024

Lagoon Activities Opportunity

The Helix Park Lagoon is perfect for family-friendly water-based activities. There is an opportunity for a suitably qualified and experienced operator to offer activities at the lagoon from 29 March 2024. This will not only provide our visitors with a wider range of fun things to do but also help us attract more people to our magnificent park.

About Us

The Helix Park welcomed over 850,000 people this past year and is the place to be, having been voted "Best Day Out" at the 2023 VisitScotland National Thistle Awards.  In addition, in April 2024, we are delighted to be celebrating a marvellous 10 years since our grand opening.

We have a Visitor Centre with an exhibition space, café and gift shop; we also run tours of The Kelpies from here.  Within the Park we have our dog-friendly Plaza Café, Adventure Play Area and Splash Play along with an events space (the Great Lawn), a lagoon, nuttery, small areas of woodland and wildflower meadows. With our excellent customer service and dedication to sustainability, we are looking for like-minded individuals or small businesses to join us on an exciting journey.

The Opportunity

The Helix Park Lagoon is perfect for family-friendly water-based activities. There is an opportunity for a suitably qualified and experienced operator to offer activities at the lagoon from 29 March 2024. This will not only provide our visitors with a wider range of fun things to do but also help us attract more people to our magnificent park.

Freshwater lagoon with jetty:

  • Lagoon is approximately 180m diameter and up to 2m deep.
  • Jetty – adjacent to Plaza café building and toilets.
  • Water quality has consistently met minimum EU bathing standards and UK Triathlon Guidelines.

Activities Ideas

The lagoon is suitable for pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, rowing boats, etc and may offer potential for stand-up paddleboarding.

The suggested activities are just the tip of the iceberg! We're open to other interactive water-based activities with the key point being that they should encourage visitors to explore and enjoy all that the park has to offer.

We will provide the water-activities operator with monthly water test results to help you choose which activities you wish to offer members of the public.  You must complete a risk assessment for each activity you plan to offer. You should be aware that whilst we carry out monthly water testing, blue-green algae is a natural and unpreventable event that could happen at the lagoon.  This may result in the need for restrictions on certain activities in the lagoon or a shutdown of water-based activities that Falkirk Council cannot be held liable for.

Our Hours of Operation

As an operator, you'll have the freedom to choose your hours of operation, which can be any time between 8 am and 10 pm, seven days a week, from April to October. We'll also consider days and hours of operation outside of peak season.

In the peak season (April to October), we are open as follows:

  • Plaza café: 11am – 3pm, though the building will remain open as an unstaffed sheltered picnic area from 9am till 4pm (there may be an opportunity to extend the opening times if you are able to staff this building in the evenings).
  • Toilets: 9am to 8pm.
  • Car park: 8am – 10pm.
  • Visitor Centre: 9am to 5pm.

Our Expectations

We expect all operators at The Helix to provide a 5-star customer experience for every visitor and meet the following minimum standards:

  • Exceeding Customer Expectations
    • Our reputation for delivering excellent customer service is vital for us retaining our 5-star visitor attraction status, and for encouraging returning visitors. We therefore expect all operators on site to deliver 5-star customer experience for every visitor.
    • All staff on site, including 3rd party operators are expected to wear name badges and uniforms, and be professional, courteous, and friendly at all times.
  • Value for Money
    • We expect all activities on site to offer our visitors with an experience that is good value for money. You should therefore speak to us before you begin operating to agree your suggested prices. You must also display your fees and charges and receipts must be available.
  • Being Sustainable
    • Our green credentials are important to us, and we are looking for activities that tie in with our Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme and our Green Flag for the park. We also have a diverse range of habitats on site, and any activity you provide should be carefully considered and managed to minimize any potential impact on the wildlife and our visitors' enjoyment of the park.
    • At The Helix, we're committed to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. That's why we're looking for self-propelled, battery-powered/electric or wind-powered activities only. No motorized activities, unless they're electric or battery-powered, will be permitted.

What can we offer?

  • A great location in an award-winning park.
  • There are staff on site from 8am until 10pm during the peak season (April to October).

Restrictions

  • No motorised activities (except electric or battery-powered) - as part of our commitment to sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of site operations no generators should be used at any of the social enterprise business opportunity locations.
  • Vehicle access by agreement with the Helix Management Team.
  • There may be times (for example, during events and event set-up/take-down) where activity will be restricted and/or cannot be operated. The Helix team will give operators as much notice of these organised events as possible.
  • There may be times that, due to water quality test results, the operator may wish to limit the activities offered to the public, or temporarily suspend water-based activities. Falkirk Council will not be held liable for any loss of income to the operator for closures taken on the grounds of health and safety.

Income

The Helix Park is a thriving tourist attraction, and we're offering a unique opportunity for social enterprises or small businesses to become part of our success story. With over 850,000 visitors in 2023/24, there's great potential for income. We expect to receive a minimum of 20% of total income generated by activity operators in Year 1, which is subject to review and negotiation beyond Year 1.

So, if you're passionate about creating unforgettable experiences for visitors and committed to sustainability, then The Helix Park is the perfect place for you. Let's work together to make this a summer to remember!

How will we choose activity operators for The Helix?

Your submission will go through a 2-stage process.  The first stage is for you to submit a proposal in writing to community@thehelix.co.uk by 12pm on Monday 26th February 2024.  As part of this, please tell us in as much detail as you can:

  • What activity(s) you intend to provide and where.
  • When you expect to operate (months, days and times).
  • How your activity will be delivered.
  • How will you ensure a high quality customer experience.
  • How you will ensure your activity is delivered sustainably.
  • What site preparation is required, who will be responsible for carrying this out, and how you will ensure all works are done safely and to an acceptable standard.
  • What site reinstatement you will carry out at the end of the agreement and how you will ensure all works are done safely and to an acceptable standard.
  • Your communication strategy – please provide details of your proposed communication methods, frequency of contact with Helix management and staff teams.
    1. With Falkirk Council – how will you communicate with the Helix management team and Helix Park staff members.
    2. With Helix Park visitors.
    3. With prospective visitors.
  • Details of any complaints procedures and how you will deal with issues that might arise during operation at The Helix.
  • Expected income for Falkirk Council.
  • Provide evidence of Public Liability Insurance showing a minimum of £10M cover.
  • Provide a risk assessment for each of your activities.

Your proposal will be assessed and scored against a set of criteria, please email us and we can provide this criteria.

Those operators with proposals that meet our criteria will be invited for interview with members of Helix Management Team.

A final decision about which operators can set up activities at Helix Park will be made following the interview process.

Only submissions providing completed up-to-date Risk Assessments and proof of adequate Public Liability Insurance cover will be considered.

Any questions must be made in writing to community@thehelix.co.uk by 5pm on 22 February 2024.

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