All posts by Clare Todd

February at Cleobury Country

I write this on a day when the sun is shining and there’s no rain….for the moment!  We seem to have had nothing but rain for months now!  Nothing like a bright crisp morning to cheer us up!

The centre has remained quite busy considering its been January and February and we have run two rammed courses, Emergency First Aid and Food Hygiene Level 2, it shows that there’s still a need even if we have been running these two courses for ten years now!!  The next courses we have scheduled are a Fire Marshall course on 22nd and then March sees us with another Emergency First Aid, a 3 day First Aid and a Portable Appliance Testing course.  Numbers for all three are looking good so far.

In taking over the running of the Library we are now responsible for the things that goes on in it!  Vicki has been setting her artistic talents alight with developing the notice boards in the children’s area so that for the moment they can read all about St. Valentine.  She been busy wrapping up books for a “Blind date a book” special which ran over Valentine’s and people could choose a book simply by a three-line description!!! Bit of fun but a few books did go out!  We hope to keep changing this around depending on the events nationally that are coming up!  Watch this space!  There was always a Rhythm Time event that ran once a month but the lady that ran that sadly finished due to family commitments, but I’m pleased to say, that we will be re-launching the Rhythm time with the help of the Ever After Nursery, who will come along on the first Wednesday in the month and have a sing-a-long for all the local kiddies and their parents/carers from 10.30 – 11am, thanks Sarita and Lorna!

We now have Lauraine West safely ensconced in our 5th office in the centre and she is trading under the name of Tilia Creative offering business and payroll outsourcing solutions.  Good luck Lauraine!

The Farmers Market in January wans’t too bad considering how cold it was…..the church never seems to get warm!!  Thankfully, the Friends of St Marys were on hand, as they are every month, with teas and coffees to warm us all up!  Outside the church with their quirky little van, is Andiamo Caffe who offer more specialist coffees, but all very welcome on cold winters mornings!

The Networking meeting this month was well attended and it seemed that most took rather a lot away with them as the topic was “Peter’s 3 top tips for attending networking meetings”.  Nice to see the familiar faces but still we encourage new faces, and of course everyone is welcome.

See you all next month

September at Cleobury Country

September is always a busy month for us as the return to school seems to encourage everyone to get back to normal somewhat after the summer holidays!  We have been running quite a few courses this month, Emergency First Aid, Food Hygiene, Manual Handling and Sage all fully subscribed!

We welcomed the Public Speakers Association at the beginning of the month for one of their quarterly Boot Camp’s which, as normal, was a noisy affair!

The Food and Ale Trail had a good day weather wise for this bi-annual event and a huge turnout of walkers strolled around the Neen Sollars area, ending up at Hobsons for a final pint and some tunes!

Sue Brown has re-ignited her Back Class, after the summer hols, so those creaky backs are getting used to a bit of a work out!

The Public Consultation plan is under way in the Library to assess the opinion of the public to some changes within our library.  You can submit your views online, if you can’t get to the library yourself, at www.shropshire.gov.uk/get-involved. There are two options:-

Option 1 – the day to day running of Cleobury Mortimer library will transfer to Cleobury Country Ltd, who will run the service under a 3 year Service Level Agreement.  The library will remain in its existing location in the Cleobury Country Centre and Cleobury Country Ltd will run the same range of library services currently available to users of the library.  Some alterations to the Cleobury Country building will be made to give confidential telephone access to Shropshire Council services.

Option 2 – Cleobury Mortimer Library will continue to be run by the Shropshire Council’s library service with the hours that the library is staffed reduced from the current 23.5 hours per week to 19 hours per week.  Self-service access would be available outside these hours when the Centre is open.  There will be no internal changes to the building.

There is more information on-line about opening hours etc. so take time to get your opinion registered.

This month’s Business Networking meeting was low on numbers but we had several “sorry we can’t come” from folk taking advantage of the schools being back and going on holiday!!! However, Nicholas Lee from Financial Life Plans gave us a very interesting talk on Auto Enrolment to pensions and how it will affect our businesses.  Please read his article later in this bulletin!

The Cleobury Country Farmers Market was held in glorious sunshine at St Marys Church as usual this month!  I got quite sunburnt stood in my usual spot in the doorway counting visitors in!  We saw 170 visitors, exactly the same and last September!  We had three new traders to add to our total of 17 for the day:- Serenity Cup Cakes, Magpie Hill Soap and Comfy Cushions!  We hope you all enjoyed the morning and had a successful time!

Mappie Hill Soap Serendipty cup cakes

August at Cleobury Country

I’ve been out of action for the majority of August so my report this month will be sketchy!  However, “the Girls” have been fantastic in my absence, especially Vicki, who has covered for me and Sam, who needed to go on holiday for some of that time!

I have kept my ear to the ground and I know that the centre has trundled along quite nicely and it was still standing when I returned on Monday….so all good!

We approach September now and look forward to staging quite a few courses (busy time for us now until December!)  Emergency First Aid at Work, Food Hygiene, Manual Handling and Sage all ready to roll for September and all virtually full!

The Girls, had to manage the Cleobury Country Farmers Market this month themselves and a great job they did!  There were 185 visitors compared with 197 last year, so pretty average in terms of visitors and 18 traders attended compared with only 11 last year!  We saw the lovely return of Victorian Farm Butter (Mary!) this month.  She is a real crowd puller and entertains everyone superbly!  Another returner was the Shropshire Honey lady who has the most delightful local honey, hopefully she’ll return next month as I missed buying a jar!

And a warm welcome was given to Ella’s Creations, who came along for the first time and will hopefully become a regular!  Lots of ideas for Christmas!

Again in my absence, Sam looked after the Business Networking meeting, which this month was “jolly month”, so we visited Cleobury Mortimer Golf Club and sampled some cider and chips!  Graham was his usual brilliant host and with Peter along to steer the evening, a great time was had by all!  Back to the centre next month as we all knuckle down to a few months of proper work after the ease of the last two because of school holidays!

Cheers

Clare

July at The Cleobury Country Centre

CC update – July 2015

 

Blimey, half way through July already, where does the time go!

We bid farewell to Sue at the end of June and we took her for a lovely meal at the Talbot at Newnham Bridge. Superb pub/restaurant, with great food and far too many choices of wine!! We must also thank Claire Carter, from whom we purchased a fab print of a photo she took looking out from Cleobury towards Abberley – Sue’s home view!! So good luck Sue with your new venture!

As companies and schools gear down for the end of term, we have avoided putting on courses for this and next month but have found that we have been asked by quite a few businesses to put on a course at their own venue. We have found this to be quite popular over the last 2 months and long may it continue! Get in touch if this might be something for you!

We had a great Farmers market in June – we had 18 traders and 200 visitors to the market. Our aim is to get to 200 visitors each month so we were very pleased with the turnout. We have a very steady core of about 15 traders now with another 4/5 coming and going when it suits them, and this is providing a great selection of traders for customers to buy from but also provides regularity of traders, which again, pleases the customers. After quite a lot of rain this week the forecast for the July Farmers Market is good and we are hopeful of some sunshine, no rain, plenty of visitors and have 19 traders confirmed! All good!

Networking this month was on the subject of “How to get along with everyone”. Considering it was a sunny day in July we had a reasonable turnout of 10 and Peter Roper guided us to consider that we should be letting other businesses know what we want as well as trying to please others. After considering everyone’s needs we put our minds to seeing how we could help and I must say, that suggestions of help was available to everyone from all the businesses present. We will follow this up next month and find out who came good on their promises – so no pressure everyone!

Next month’s meeting, due to public demand, will be at Cleobury Mortimer Golf Club, where we can have chips and a pint! More info will come out during the month but book early to avoid disappointment!!

That’s all from me but have a good summer if you’re on your hols!

June at The Cleobury Country Centre

At last the weather has picked up and June is looking more like it should.

The centre has been “steady” this month with 5 courses staged. There’s been Emergency First Aid at Work, Food Hygiene Level 2, Manual Handling, Fire Marshall and Google Analytics. All have been full or very close to it, so good for everyone! We’ve also staged 3 off site courses, which is great, as this is an area that we’ve not pushed really. These off-site courses have been in Fire Marshall, Emergency First Aid at Work and Basic Life Support. We can provide training at companies own venues in a range of courses, just ask!!

The end of this month’s sees Sue Davis leave our employ. Sue has been with us since the company moved to the Cleobury Country Centre in May 2010 and has been pivotal in keeping all our local businesses informed and up to date on all courses and events happening at the centre. She’s worked tirelessly on the Cleobury Country Trade Card for the last two years and it shows it the content displayed. We’ll miss her greatly and wish her all the best with her new venture!

The Cleobury Country Networking Group met as usual but with Peter Roper, who inconsiderately decided to go on holiday that week!! William Withers kindly hosted the evening in Peter’s absence and a great job he did too! We were a small group this month, and we do find that this happens in the summer months, but nevertheless, we had a very interesting meeting with two speakers sharing their knowledge with us. First up was Tony Wood from BCRS Business Loans, and you can see from his article further on in the newsletter that he’s a useful bloke to know! Second up was Sue Brown from Cleobury Chiropractic, as she explained the rules and regs surrounding Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessments for businesses. It was very informative and the practical assessment of how our workstations should be laid out was very useful!

The Cleobury Country Farmers Market this month looks set fair weather wise and we have 19 traders booked in, so we are very hopeful of a great Saturday!

As the school holiday’s loom we are cramming everything in so that August can be nice and relaxed!!

See you all next month!

 

 

 

May at the Cleobury Country Centre

Funny old month at the Centre this month! Two bank holidays really affect our planning of courses as businesses and schools aren’t keen on staff attending training courses when it’s a four day week! On the other hand, it’s nice to have a couple of extra days off!!!

As a result of the bank holidays, there’s been no courses in May but we look forward to June with plenty going on! The Emergency First Aid at Work course running on 2nd June is full already, with Food Hygiene, Fire Marshall and Manual Handling filling up nicely. William’s (from Crystal Thought), new, Google Analytical half day course, is also virtually full, so we are expecting a good month next month.

It’s been useful being quiet, because you can look at the business in a way that you can’t normally when things are hectic! We have been focussing on our customers and checking that we still hold the correct contact information for them, contacting those that we haven’t heard from for a while and chasing those whose certifications have expired! A very worthwhile job, because in these days of emails, we forget that people change their jobs and therefore your contact into that business has gone. We’ve rekindled acquaintances with companies we’ve not heard from in ages and taken bookings as a result!!

The Cleobury Country Farmers Market was great this month! We saw 195 visitors through the door and had 18 traders plying their wares! All the old fav’s like, Good Game, Augerniks, Country Markets WI, Headway Cards, The Pie Creator and of course Hobsons where with us , and we had another new trader: Bennett & Dunn, who sell cold pressed rapeseed oil. Last month’s newbies: The Veg Box and Lickhill Meats are establishing themselves nicely and we hope they continue with us. Thankfully the sun shone although the flags were put under severe pressure from the wind which whistled around the church all morning!

We launched a newsletter for the Farmers Market, this month, which can be accessed via the website http://www.cleoburycountryfarmersmarket.co.uk/Newsletter and you can also register on this page to receive future editions. There are hard copies available at the Centre and the Market Hall and the new one will always be available at the market each month. We hope to issue them out monthly, time will tell! If you register your email address with us we can remind you of each market a few days beforehand and that way you won’t be cross that you’ve missed your monthly treats!

 

April at the Cleobury Country Centre

With Easter giving us 2 weeks of school holidays during the last month, the centre has been quite quiet! We tend to steer clear of courses during holiday times, for obvious reasons, and therefore the footfall in and out of the centre is reduced. However, it does give us time to collect ourselves and review our systems, sort out our filing and get all those jobs done that we have been putting off for a while! So no time wasted here!

So on Monday the kids went back to school and normal service was resumed and on Wednesday we staged a Health & Safety Level 2 course, which was well attended and everyone left happy!

We’re squeezing in a Principles in COSHH course before the next bank holiday, on Wednesday 29th April, and then we have a Health & Safety Level 3 course on 11,12,13 May. More banks holidays is may mean not so many courses but plenty lined up for June.

We welcomed Phillip Dunne MP to our networking meeting this week and along with Bill White of Bill White Nurseries, we all shared our good news items from each business. It was interesting having Phillip in our circle and it gave the discussions a different slant, which was very informative. The turnout was good, about 18 of us all, and we had to force them all home at the end!!Attendees with Phillip Dunne

February at the Cleobury Country Centre

Can’t believe it’s nearly the end of Feb already!!

Our Business Networking Group met during half term, which meant we were thin on the ground, in fact I was the only girl there!!! However, it was a very rewarding session, with everyone sitting around, relaxed, chatting about how to make our businesses “fatter”! We shared our experiences of what was working well to improve our businesses, not just in sales figures but by making us more efficient. A really good meeting!

The centre has had a good February! We have been booking people into courses in their droves, with the Emergency First Aid at Work course scheduled for 12th March already sold out, and this without advertising it! But do not fear, an extra course has been booked for 21st April, so no-one will have to wait too long. PAT testing, scheduled for 10th March is also full, so we must be doing something right!! We still have places on the First Aid at Work and Paediatric First Aid, which are both towards the end of March along with a couple of places still available on the Food Hygiene course in early March.

We hosted a workshop on cloud computing for WIRE via Shropshire Council’s Broadband Team at the beginning of February, which was very well attended and we hope that they enjoyed their day, took plenty of tips home from the course and were impressed with our venue. Shropshire Housing Group have been using the centre to deliver information on the new air source heat pumps that are being installed in some of its properties within Cleobury Mortimer, and those areas have been invited to various sessions here at the centre to let them know how these changes will affect their homes.

Next up, is Peter Roper and his Public Speaking Association, that’ll be a noisy old day!!! The Trade Card has been delivered and has been received very well, thank goodness! It’s always difficult to please so many businesses but, I think we’ve done OK this time, and hopefully the 1500 homes will keep it very close to their phones for easy reference!

The website has also been well received, and although its only been live a matter of weeks we have already received two course bookings from it and a couple of enquiries from businesses wanting to get a listing on the directory. We do encourage those with businesses locally, to get in touch if we haven’t listed you and also local groups and societies that we might have missed off, please contact us to get your groups information uploaded.

Our apprentice, Vicki, reaches the end of her apprenticeship at the end of February and we are pleased to say that we have offered her a contract going forward. It has been very rewarding bringing on someone that has been keen to learn and we look forward to it continuing.

So all in all, not a bad month! February at the Cleobury Country Centre.

Clare Todd

Cleobury Country update for January 2015

I’m not sure that we feel like we even had two weeks off for Christmas! It seems that we are straight back into full on work!

January is a difficult month to arrange courses in as the weather can really mess things up so we tend to air on the side of caution and not schedule in too many. Having said that, we staged another very successful Food Labelling course at the beginning of January. Following implementation of new regulations in December, all food outlets have to list any additives present in their food stuffs! This is a nightmare for small businesses, so we have been running several cheap informative sessions to update these businesses on their responsibilities. We also staged a 3 day Food Hygiene Course and have an Emergency First Aid at Work course scheduled for the end of the month, which we could have filled twice over!

The Cleobury Country Trade Card has made us sweat this year!!! But we have finally got to the draft stage and William is tweaking as we speak and all being well the Cleobury Mortimer Explorers will be delivering out at the beginning of February. The Cards will also be available at the Cleobury Country Centre for free!

Biggest news of all……….we have our new website up and running!!!

I hope that you find it better than the old one, it should be easier to navigate and more concise in its provision of information. We hope to have included all the local businesses on the Business Directory, but if yours isn’t there, please get in touch and we will do our best to rectify it. Similarly, if you’d like the words or pictures changing – call/email us.

The Farmer Market was held on the 17th and whilst the sun shone, it was freezing cold and there’d been a sprinkling of snow the night before so our visitor numbers where down on last year but we have the same number of traders and all left happy with their mornings trading. There was a very social feel to the market and I think the Friends of St Marys probably took the most money is tea and coffee as everyone wanted warming up!! The next market is on 21st February.

 

Cleobury Country Business Networking Meeting

Cleobury Country Networking meeting this month is Wednesday 18th February, 6pm-8pm

This months topic is: What’s the “fat-nav” to increasing your business.
Last month we thought about slimming your business so this month lets talk about fattening and increasing your business!

As always there will be chips! Please let us know in advance if you are going to be attending so we can get enough!