Is it possible to build a brand-new net adventure in the United Kingdom, during Brexit and COVID-19 lockdowns? We asked Stuart Langmead, owner and director of the Rustington Golf Centre, and Out of Bounds recreation center in West Sussex, United Kingdom. Stuart and Kees-Jan met in March 2020 and their story turned out to be truly inspiring.
Stuart opened the Rustington Golf Centre when he was still young. “When I bought the land, it had been operating as a family farm. Initially, I developed the golf course, which I opened on my 21st birthday. After that, I expanded the facility by opening a gym, a golf store and later on, Out of Bounds was built. Everything here is designed and built by me.”
Closed with no income
Today, the location provides activities for both young and old, making it a widely popular place to visit for the English. “But then the COVID lockdowns started. During the first lockdown, we had to close our doors for 11 months, leaving us with no income. That was a terrible time, but we bounced back well. Given the fact that we have a big property, I started to think about COVID-proof outdoor activities. I had heard about net adventures before, so I searched online and came across Funcha!.”
Starting a new business venture during a pandemic can be tricky, for both vendor and customer. “After I first shared a few ideas with the Funcha! team, Kees-Jan stepped in and took over,” Stuart says jokingly. “We just clicked. There was instant mutual trust, we knew we would both stick to our agreements. Endless calls, discussions, and schedule changes followed to ensure that everything would work during the lockdowns. In the end, Kees-Jan and I made it work. I knew I picked the right person to get the job done.”
Cooking for the team
Eventually, Stuart and the Funcha! team managed to create a concept for an outdoor net adventure. “On the first day of construction, all the lorries and equipment arrived. After only four days, the complete steel frame was erected. It was impressive to watch.” The Funcha! team managed to set up the complete adventure in a mere six weeks – during the second lockdown in England. “The team stayed at a local hotel but since all restaurants in the country were closed, I decided to cook for the team myself. I brought the food over in pans, still warm, so we could have dinner outside at the picnic table. Luckily, the weather was fantastic!”
Working with Funcha!
“It was such an amazing project to complete together. There was so much uncertainty at the time, with both Brexit and COVID happening. However, we still managed to create our outdoor experience.” There is now a wonderful outdoor net adventure on the Out of Bounds site, that can fit up to 120 people. “We opened the net adventure to the public in May 2021, right when the lockdown ended. It has been popular ever since.”
Stuart researched some other vendors in the United Kingdom, but they were nowhere as unique as Funcha!. “Nothing appealed more to me than the colorful and engaging website of Funcha!. I would definitely recommend anyone to work with them!”
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