Eight visitors from The Ripple Project, a charity from Edinburgh, chose Winton Castle for their summer away day in Winton’s Walled Garden. They wanted to have a strategy reset day and a team reunion to reflect on the challenges they’d faced over the last eighteen months, to take stock away from the office and plan for the future.

This article is based on an interview with Rachel Green, a Director of The Ripple. Based in north-east Edinburgh, The Ripple is a charity that provides opportunities for people to get involved in their communities. The charity’s purpose is: ‘To tackle poverty and inequality by responding to local priorities, circumstances and needs in a sustainable way by helping the people of Restalrig, Lochend and Craigentinny to help themselves’.

“We had to step up during the Pandemic, shopping and helping feed people, other statutory services normally provided were less available very quickly,” says Rachel Green. “The team at The Ripple has had to grow over the last 18 months to deal with all our community’s needs. We were used to doing more group work, facilitating people to help themselves. But now we had to do a lot more for them ourselves.

“So, we’ve been asking a lot of our staff over the last 18 months and many of us were burned out. We had to acknowledge that we had been doing more difficult work. Our team needed to just stop and take stock, to see what we should do and where we needed to go to next.

“We asked ourselves: ‘where are we now?’ ‘Where do we want to go?’ We wanted to get all our staff together and breathe out in nature – we didn’t want to go to some impersonal space inside . Sometimes you have to go away to do that – it needs to be a neutral environment.

“I wanted to acknowledge the difficulties we have all faced as a team so we all just needed to get together, and we did deal with some challenging issues during the day.”

What was the feedback from guests about the BBQ, meeting facilities, Walled Garden and Potting Shed?

Rachel Green from The Ripple continues: “The feedback was really, really positive. The environment was very good.

“We had loads of coffee whenever we wanted it, and the barbecue was really nice. The marquee was lovely, really flexible, and the Potting Shed was just the right size and had a good vibe. The games in the garden added some entertainment.

“The team felt safe all the time. The proper rules were in place but not imposed in a way that interfered with the day. Covid rules are there for a reason and Winton’s approach was relaxed, within the guidelines.”

See more on Winton’s Special Summer Package for company away days, team-building and reunions.   

How would you describe Winton ambience?

“The biggest word is ‘relaxed’; others are ‘beautiful’ and ‘steeped in nature’.

“The open-sided marquee and hay bales with rugs make a great outdoor space – very *hygge. It was great to be able to move between different spaces, from the open-sided marquee to the Potting Shed. *[A Danish and Norwegian word pronounced ‘hoo-gah’ that means ‘a feeling of cosy contentment’].

“Work teams can come to Winton to breathe. Even GPs are now prescribing ‘nature walks’ for restoring wellbeing. As I say, ‘working hard doesn’t need to be hard work’.

“The Winton events staff were really helpful. They were great. The day felt very personalised. And the event was good value for money.”

Winton Team for Ripple Garden Party