Tag Archive | aa editorial services

Da Paolo’s Eatalian

May 2015 In my AA Editorial Services capacity I’ve recently been working with another client of Outset Swindon on web copy, press releases and marketing letters. My client’s business is called High Street Hero, the thrust of which is to give a superpower, or same-day delivery service, to independent retailers allowing them to offer a service that sets them apart on the high street.  When the client and I were working on the web copy we talked a lot about the whole shop local initiative and how it fits in with what he is trying to achieve.

Everyone wants a vibrant high street that is a place for socialising as well as shopping. But that doesn’t happen by magic. We all have the choice between using independent retailers and food outlets or the national and global ‘big -boys’. Sometimes one has to go to the ‘big-boys’ – but if we always do that then we’ve only ourselves to blame for high streets full of pound stores and charity shops.

And of course, in shopping locally you are supporting British entrepreneurs in all manner of ways. As this article in The Guardian says: ‘Artisan markets help foster the talents of the next generation of British designers and retailers. “[They] are hotbeds of innovation,” says Mike Cooksedge, founder of SeeMyLocalMarket. “There is a constant turnover of new products, and sellers listen to customers’ demands. If a certain pie filling is popular, for example, a pie company will respond to that and quickly supply more of them – and you can suggest things too, so you can even have a bit of influence over the products on sale.”

So of late I’ve been trying to shop locally myself where ever possible and use Swindon’s many independent coffee shops every chance I get. In recent months I’ve bought gifts from Catherine Jay and Pink & Green – two start-up artisan businesses that I’ve met via Outset Swindon and even, to get to the main focus of this blog post – Da Paolo’s Eatalian delicatessen on Commercial Road in Swindon.

As well as being a lovely deli from where I purchase luscious olives and tasty cheeses among other things, they also serve the most delicious coffee and at a fantastic price – I visit quite a lot for that alone! I have mentioned the place before in an overview post of Swindon’s coffee scene but doing the research on shopping locally prompted me to put this post together as Da Paolo’s is an embodiment of many of the espoused benefits of supporting independents. You get specialist knowledge of their goods and you get personal service and a relaxed shopping experience. And you can even have a coffee while you do it. This past Christmas I decided to purchase a hamper of Italian goodies as a gift for a friend. So, with delicious coffee in hand, together with Debbie (partner of Paolo) I selected an assortment of goodies to fit my budget. Then, shortly before Christmas, I collected my hamper all beautifully arranged and packaged with red ribbon. Now THAT’S what I call shopping.

“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.”  ― Erma Bombeck

One of the many benefits of shopping locally is that our custom enables the businesses that we patronise to support the community in which they are based in various ways. Darkroom Espresso, one of Swindon’s fabulous independent coffee shops for example, supports local artists by holding exhibitions of their work. Da Paolo’s does what it can for charity. Its current charity of choice is Brighter Futures: http://www.gwh.nhs.uk/support-us/about-brighter-futures/ which which supports the staff, patients and families of Great Western Hospital and community health services across Wiltshire.  So if the fab coffee and the delicious Italian groceries are not good enough reasons in themselves to hot foot it to Da Paolo’s then this surely is?


Are you walking insane?

May 2015

Julie Nicholls – Body-Mind coaching

Most if not all of the posts in this Swindon in business section have so come via other Outset Swindon clients. But this one is by way of a change. Julie Nicholls is someone who I’ve met via the women’s networking group Women Mean Biz that I attend in my AA Editorial Services capacity – and I figured there was no reason why I couldn’t open up this section of Born again Swindonian to other members of the group.

So before we get to the nitty-gritty of Julie’s post here’s some information about her:

Julie trained as a nurse in Belgium and then came to England to do here training in remedial massage. Julie moved to Swindon in 1993 and set up her practice she has helped hundreds of people with all manner of problems from headaches to back pain, RSI and even ME. Julie is passionate about treating people then teaching them how to look after themselves rather than have to rely on drugs having seen first hand the devastating side effects of allopathic medicine. For this reason she continued training in other therapies such as Trager and EMDR so that she could deal with the root causes of a problem rather than just the symptoms.

Should you have any questions Julie is more than happy for you telephone her. She’ll even offer a free thirty-minute taster session so you can be sure her treatment is right for you before you embark on a course of sessions. Because, in her own words: ‘what I do is unlike anything else you might have experienced.’

Julie Nicholls  Body~Mind Coach RGN, LCSP(Phys), CNHC

Treat the body, ease the mind, free the person, for health and happiness naturally!

Tel: 01793 495551

Address: Natural Therapy Centre, 5 Bibury Road, Swindon, Wilts  SN3 1DD

Visit my health coaching website

Read my well being blog

Watch my YouTube channel

Join me on Facebook, Linkedin

Natural Therapy Centre’s website

Products website


Bare Feet walking on grass

Feet – walking

 ‘According to Albert Einstein, the definition of  insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

 Yes it’s crazy, yet it’s much more common than you think. So many people would like to feel better but continue to do the things that are causing the problem.  Why? Often because they’ve just accepted that it’s age or that nothing can be done simply because the doctor has told them so.  Even if one side hurts and the other doesn’t and both sides are obviously the same age. 

Knee pain:

In some ways, it’s easier to accept that nothing can be done rather than face the fact that we could be doing something that is creating the problem and therefore can do something to help it.  Also, when people do feel something could be done then they have no idea how to go about changing it or think that it would take too much time and energy.

 In my experience this not the case – subtle and simple changes can make a huge difference especially when I teach clients how to walk differently. Putting their heel down first rather than their toes, allowing them to bend their knees or push off with their toes are small changes which can ease lower back, knee, ankle and foot pain and tension. 

Walking – treatment for painful hips: 

These are simple but knowing how to ease discomfort without the side effects of medication can change someone’s life.  Why such a big effect? Well, walking is not simply the act of getting from A to B: it also mirrors our state of mind.  You never see someone who is depressed walking with head held high or someone happy who is dragging their feet with round shoulders and their head low. 

As I walk around town I notice so many people whose way of walking could easily be having a detrimental effect upon their health – this saddens when I know it could be different for them.

For this reason I have set up a talk and demonstration on the 8th June and a workshop on the 20th June about feet, balance and walking so that more people can make some changes to their walking and improve their health and wellbeing without the time and cost of having private sessions.

 So next time you walk to your car or go and make a drink, notice how free and comfortable it feels and, as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it but if you are not getting a feeling you really like then it’s time to change or carry on being insane!

If you are ready to change and you want to find out more about these events, all the details are listed on my events page: http://body-mind-coaching.co.uk/events/

Junior Chamber International

21st May 2015

a logo for JCI Swindon

JCI logo

As a change from a post about an actual business this post is about a business networking group.  I attend various business networking groups myself in my AA Editorial Services hat and am a member of Women mean Biz. This group though is aimed at the younger entrepreneur and business owner: JCI Swindon.

A new network for Young professionals and entrepreneurs was launched earlier this year and is now in its fifth month. Swindon Junior Chamber, which is part of a broader network Junior Chamber International (JCI), was launched with the support of Business West Swindon. The chamber also has the support of local organisations such as Thamesdown Speakers.

Swindon Junior Chamber, or JCI Swindon, is a group for professionals and entrepreneurs in their 20s and 30s who want to:

1) Build their leadership, business and presentation skills;

2) Raise their profile in Swindon and Internationally;

3) Create positive change in their community

4) Network professionally with like-minded individuals.

As a group they champion Swindon and its Businesses and Communities. They aim to create a special partnership with  local organisations in order to create a more positive Swindon. Since beginning they’ve had workshops in leadership skills, an interactive negotiation skills workshop, project meetings, and a presence at the local Business Show.

Opportunities are present nationally and internationally too. JCI UK has a number of flagship workshops in Leadership, Marketing and Public Speaking. With JCI’s strong links with the major organisations such as the United Nations and the International Chamber of Commerce, members can attend high-profile events at the United Nations in New York or the European Union in Brussels.

So, what are the forthcoming opportunities to potential members in Swindon? On top of gaining knowledge through workshops, JCI offers the opportunities for its members to develop essential leadership and business skills. Through organising events, members develop their project management, team building, leadership and negotiation skills. Members also build relationships with other individuals from other organisations, and hence develop long-lasting professional relationships with other professionals and entrepreneurs. We are currently planning some high profile projects, which will be around cultural and business partnership. If you or your business or community want to get involved, then we want to hear from you.

 If you are a professional or entrepreneur in your 20s or 30s, or you represent your business or communities, or even a coach, we want to hear from you. We meet at Jury’s Inn at 7pm on the 1st Thursday of each month. Feel free to come to our events and meetings. Otherwise, contact us on jciswindon@gmail.com to find out more on our events and projects.

Find JCI on the web: http://www.jciuk.org.uk/swindon/

Find JCI on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JCISwindon/info?tab=page_info

Find JCI on Twitter: @JCISwindon

Richard Jefferies Refreshed

Friday 1st May 2015

I’ve written about Richard Jefferies and the museum dedicated to his life and works on this blog before. Last summer the museum starting putting on cream teas in the garden and the Mulberry tea room so I put out a post about that. More recently, together with a friend, I went out on an EXPOTITION following a Richard Jefferies trail around Old Town. I’ve so far only got round to publishing Part 1 of that adventure  as life and my AA Editorial Services business have rather got in the way. But I will get to it soon.

So I was really pleased, earlier this week, to attend a lunch event to celebrate the re-launch of the museum. Lunch and launch in one event. Fabulous! Over the winter the Richard Jefferies society and the museum trust comprising such wonderful people as Mike Pringle and Hilda Sheehan have worked hard on new display boards in the museum, the Mulberry Tea Room and the gardens. Below are a few photographs from the event – yet again I’m stalking Madame Mayor! 🙂

If you haven’t been to the museum you really should go. It’s another of Swindon’s hidden gems being tucked away at the back of Coate. On a sunny day the garden is an absolute delightful place to be and is much bigger than you might at first think. Earlier I mentioned cream teas – well the jam for the teas is often made with the fruit from the mulberry tree in the garden about which Jefferies wrote a poem. How wonderful is that? If you are interested in reading any of Jefferies’ works you can find them all in Swindon Central library. I even have one of his childrens’ books ‘Bevis’ on my E-reader.

In his day Jefferies was a celebrated author. He was something of a big-shot in his day. Indeed his childrens’ books were illustrated by none other then E H Sheperd, the man responsible for the delightful illustrations that we know and love from the Winnie the Pooh stories.

The man and his work: “(John) Richard Jefferies (6 November 1848 – 14 August 1887) is best known for his writings about nature and the countryside. His birthplace and home at Coate, now on the out-skirts of Swindon, provide the background to all his major works of fiction and for many of his essays.”

Wikipedia: “His childhood on a small Wiltshire farm had a great influence on him and provides the background to all his major works of fiction. For all that, these show a remarkable diversity, including Bevis (1882), a classic children’s book, and After London (1885), an early work of science fiction. “

Bunny Pumpkin Boutique and The Emporium of Loveliness

Sunday 26th April 2015

Last Saturday, together with my good friend Sam (aka Little Miss Cakemaker) I attended the official opening of this delightful little shop. I rather fear that Madame Mayor and Miss Wiltshire will be feeling stalked by the pair of us as we were at another event (the official opening of Pappadams) also attended by them later in the week. It does rather seem that wherever they go we are sure to follow!

Anyway, back to business – in every sense of the word. This latest post in the Swindon in Business section of this blog is about the eponymous shop now open for business in unit 40, in the tented market in Swindon town centre – yet another business facilitated, along with my own AA Editorial Services and many others, into life by the wondrous Outset Swindon.

And isn’t that just the most fabulous name for a store? And indeed not only is it a lovely name it’s a lovely shop full of lovely things set up with a lovely aim: 20 percent of the takings from the Emporium of Loveliness will be donated to a charity called Empower the Gambia (Reg Charity: 1161200) to support their training and sourcing projects for the benefit of women and children in rural Gambia. The people behind this gorgeous shop hope they’ll be able to support more projects in the Gambia in the future. You can keep up with their news on:



Jo Heaven who set up the shop and the charity had been running pop up fashion events for the last three years at different venues across Swindon including The Spot, The Core and Harris + Hoole. More recently she teamed up with Jen Burton of Bunny Pumpkin Boutique to run a market stall at Oxford before realising a permanent shop was needed.

Bunny Pumpkin Boutique and The Emporium of Loveliness opened for trading on the 13 April and was officially opened by The Mayor Teresa Page and Miss Wiltshire Nicole Analise Cox on Saturday 18 April 2015. With beautiful new and cherished designer and unusual fashions and home ware our loyal supporters have been joined by lots of new fans of our fabulous stock. From evening wear, pretty dresses, outfits for the office and casual wear; hats, jewellery, hosiery and shoes;  retro furnishings and beautiful gifts; beauty products and make up – there is something for everybody. Children and men are also catered for and women’s sizes range from 6 to 26.
So not only can you browse and buy some fabulous things you can support a worthwhile venture into the bargain – and that has to be a bargain wouldn’t you say? From a personal viewpoint the location of the emporium is simply perfect being that it’s in the market, home of Eggelicious – one of my favourite eateries and only a hop across the road from the Italian deli , Da Paulo EatItalian, at the bottom of Commercial Road where the coffee is really quite lovely – and great value for money.
Find me – Angela Atkinson – AA Editorial services and Born again Swindonian:

Carry on camping with 4 Points Leisure

21st April 2015 Hello listeners, not for the first time we have a post about a business that has had life breathed into it by those fabulous facilitators of new business ventures – Outset Swindon. I was fortunate enough to be commissioned by Jo – one half of 4 Points Leisure – in my AA Editorial Services hat to write some copy and product descriptions for the Glamping section of their website. Now the closest I get to roughing it is a Travel Lodge so I’d never go camping in a million years but I had great fun writing about the funky products they sell that range from practical to frivolous –  but all of them interesting and attractive. Jo and Richard Rigden –  together are 4 Points Leisure.  Richard does the IT, building of display stands, and grounded advice,  while Jo does the rest!

Find and connect with them: www.4pointsleisure.co.uk

Twitter – @4pointsleisure

Google + – https://plus.google.com/110759865096643281665

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/4pointsleisure

So now, in order to find out more about Jo and Richard and their business 4Points Leisure and how it all began, we need to do a bit of wobbly wobbly timey wimey stuff…. It all started long, long ago…. Well in October 2013 actually.

Jo Rigden - one half of 4Points Leisure

Jo Rigden – one half of 4Points Leisure

Jo and Richard began with a dream to bring Glamping and camping together and add some festival accessories with it. Back in 2005, Jo left Zurich Financial services to join Brownhills Motorhomes in their aftersales service department: with a camper-van of their own it was ideal. Jo got to know the customers, camper-vans and tents together with what customers wanted from the whole camping experience. Which was a relaxing, chilled time away, with family and or friends but at the same time they wanted to be surrounded by quality, multi-tasking products which were compact and affordable. Anyone beginning to want the camper-van to look special had to make do with some bumper stickers! Or a few old fashioned cushions. Then life – as it does – jumped in and they started their family, carried on camping and adventuring over Europe but, come 2013, the idea of a glamping and camping business wouldn’t budge. Having done business plans for a couple of ideas, Christmas Jumpers anyone!? Jo and Richard kept coming back to their main love: camping in all its forms. Looking at existing camping equipment suppliers they couldn’t see the bunting, tealights or niceties and fripperies that they wanted to take with them in the camper van – thus a business gem was formed. But where to go next? Jo had started seeing Outset mentioned online, and then happened to meet Jane Pearce and Janet Theobald at the Stratton Winter Extravaganza.  Taking this as a sign, Jo signed up to their Business Start Up course and then the adventure really began. As Jo says: “Outset has helped us formulate our business from a woolly idea to a solid proposition, and have continued to support us to this day with our fantastic mentor, Geof Thornton. One great aspect of involvement with Outset has been the connections and support with and from other businesses – AA Editorial Services being one.  Angela wrote our copy for the Glamping section of the website, effectively getting these products to page 1 of Google Search Engine.

4 points leisure logo

4 points leisure logo

4 Points Leisure was born in June 2014 when we went live with our website, and we have grown slowly but surely since. However, it’s never been about just selling products, that’s definitely nice, but…the business has always been about information, meeting people, connecting, finding new places to go, alongside innovative products or ideas. Our website has a blog, Glamping places to go page, together with guides on Travelling in Europe, Getting Ready for Spring and EHIC Cards. The one page we are very proud of is the Festival Calendar, with over 270 events, for all genres of music – check it out and let me know if we’re missing an event. Our most innovative products to date are the Luci Inflatable Solar Powered lantern and the Feetz Pocket Wellies but we’re continually on the lookout for other ideas and concepts we can bring to the business. A selection of 4 Points leisure products:

With the summer looming, our next big step is getting the gazebo out and attending country shows and fairs. So far we are booked for Old Berks Countryside Day, Wanborough Show and Uffington White Horse Show and have more in the pipeline, getting out in the sun, (we hope), and meeting and chatting to anyone and everyone!” Come and visit us, get in touch and let us know what you’d like to see www.4pointsleisure.co.uk                   Twitter – @4pointsleisure Google + – https://plus.google.com/110759865096643281665 Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/4pointsleisure

Tune up for Swindon Community Choir

As my regular listeners know, the guest blog posts on Born again Swindonian often occur as a result of interactions on social media. This post though is the exception that proves the rule as I met Mandy, it’s author, via Outset Swindon both of us having been through their programme. Me of course for the setting up of my business, AA Editorial Services. 

In the course of conversation with Mandy and her husband I discovered their involvement with a community choir and felt it was something that should be shared on here. And I absolutely can’t sing – I only wish I could. My daughter once offered to buy me singing lessons suggesting I look at it as a service to the community. Harrumph!

Anyway, here now is Mandy’s post about the community choir and teaching Swindon, if not the world, to sing:

” ‘I can’t sing’ – the most common reaction received when I suggest singing to people who want fun, more social life and to raise their happiness quotient!

My name’s Mandy.  I have always loved singing with other people – I am a willing and enthusiastic enjoyer of the shared results.   In an interesting twist of fate, my first awareness that a community choir existed in Swindon occurred in 2002.  Lots of wonderful, new things started that year….  At the time, my husband Pete and I were keeping an African Drumming Group ticking along in Wroughton.  On the particular week in discussion, I happened to be away.

 After the session, Pete (who had always laughed at me because I can hardly hear a song without adding a harmony) said that I would have loved the events of that Wednesday evening.  A young Polish man, doing some “WWOOFing” (Working Weekends on Organic Farms) at Lower Shaw Farm, had joined in for the evening, asking at the end of it if the group would like to learn a harmony song.  Being the agreeable types, they did exactly that.  I was very glad that the following week, Pawol turned up again, drummed a smile onto his face and went on to share a song with us.  ‘You like harmony sing?’ he asked. Oh boy, did I.  “You know there is a choir at Lower Shaw Farm?”   How on earth did I not know that?  It’s on my doorstep.  I love the farm.  Yet, this young man came all the way from Poland to an African drumming group to tell us that a local lady called Linda and her husband, Martin, not finding the desired choir, started one up themselves.  Funny how it works, sometimes, isn’t it?  The group has grown and grown, moving from place to larger place and branching out to a Tuesday afternoon group at Lower Shaw Farm as well, singing eclectic songs old and new and from the world over.

Well, we are still there with the group – and extending the reach of the joy of A’cappella (voices-only) singing.  Linda and Martin have shown us the ropes of leading groups and we love it.  Repeatedly, we see people come in, looking for an outlet for their voice – and often wondering if they will be ‘good enough’ (everyone is; this is for fun, fun, fun!) and going away smiling. They are invigorated and usually more energetic than when they arrived.  There is a crazy idea around that a ‘singer’ is already publicly renowned or has to be good enough to be so.  One idea suitably scuppered, then!

Swindon Community Choir has over forty smiley singers turning up on a term-time Monday night.  (www.singtastic.co.uk).  We meet at the Central Community hall, in Emlyn Square, in the famous Railway Village.  The free car park is very well-used and the art of triple-parking has become the group’s knack!  The bus stops just at the corner. We have had singers as young as 9 and well into their 90s.  Let’s have some centenarians!

Singtastic website

Singtastic website

I love meeting people and discovering their loves, their ambitions and drives – and the amazing richness of past experiences.  The Monday morning drop-in, facilitated by our Community Engagement Worker, Kati Wood, is a great place to indulge that love.  In discussing my own, people asked us about what we do (‘we’ being Pete and I).  “Can you run a choir here, for us?”   Well, all things are possible if you really want them to be….

Singtastic on YouTube: https://youtu.be/sDqATbWnxl4


Kati stepped in quickly and told us about the ‘New Shoots” grant that’s available for local group activities.  Our local Swindon Councillors waved the magic wand.  Today, I am glad to announce that in April, on Thursdays 23rd and 30th, there are opportunities to experience this for oneself, free of charge, between 10am and 12pm.

As we are holding this in the Haydon Wick Parish Council offices, adjacent to the Haydon Centre, there will also be disabled facilities and outside, free parking.  (Just in case you might consider that I meant inside…)   If a song stirs you to join in at times, why not come along and experience the fun of group singing, too?  If you need more information about it, you can contact me on 07736 314912 or by email; info@theflowzone.co.uk.” 

Mandy (Parsons)


Pink & Green

14th February 2015

Hello listeners and welcome to the latest post in this Swindon in Business section of Born again Swindonian. As is my wont, since entering the world of self-employment with my own business AA Editorial Services: http://www.aaedits.co.uk via the support of Outset Swindon, I like to give a shout-out to some of the businesses I’ve come across via Outset Swindon. So this post then is about Carol Alpin – the founder and owner of Pink & Green – creator and purveyor of delicious organic skin care for women. If reading this makes you want to know more about Carol’s lovely products you can do so in these ways:

The Pink & Green website: http://www.pinkandgreenorganicskincare.co.uk


Twitter: @AplinCarol

Pink & Green: affordable, ethical, natural

Pink & Green products

Pink & Green products

Pink & Green came into being in April 2014 when holistic therapist Carol Aplin, from Swindon in Wiltshire, UK, decided to create a range of natural, organic oil-based skin care products.

Carol had been an holistic therapist for seven years when she identified that many of her clients were becoming increasingly stress. A stress which led to a physical effect on their skin. Some years earlier she’d learned how to formulate skin care products when she completed a course on using natural ingredients for the skin and body. At that time she toyed with the idea of creating her own skin care brand but didn’t take it any further at that stage.

At the beginning of 2014 she began running workshops showing people how to enjoy the benefits of essential oils and carrier oils. She identified the fact that many people simply didn’t know plants had benefits for the skin – something Carol had known and taken for granted throughout her life.

Carol also realised that people didn’t understand that oils can be used to clean your face nor that there are lots of chemicals and alcohols in facial cleansing which strips the skin and can actually lead to more skin problems. Natural oils cleanse the skin and provide balance. So, in 2014, she came up with the idea of providing high quality, ethical, natural and organic skin care products by post. Overnight the idea for Pink & Green came into being. Pink was chosen to represent women and green for the environment.

Carol then conducted extensive market research including surveying women, creating focus groups and sending out samples for people to try the products and test the look and feel of the brand Pink & Green. It was officially launched in November 2014.

Today, the products on offer include a range of five facial oils suitable for most skin types, a rose floral water for toning and refreshing the skin and the hair, and a peach kernel oil cleanser. Currently Carol is researching and preparing new body elixirs and bath oils for launch in March 2015. Later in the year she will be launching an eye serum and hand and foot oils.

Listen to Carol talking about her products:

The current best seller is the peach kernel oil cleanser. Many customers have found that this oil quickly makes their skin feel smoother, more plumped and radiant. It removes the tightness which can occur when using chemicals on a daily basis.

The raw ingredients for Pink & Green’s product range come from UK-based wholesalers certified by the Soil Association as being organic in their practices. The ethics of the supply chain is important to this brand – suppliers must care about the environment, their people and their products.

Behind the business today are Carol Aplin and her partner Steve Wells. Carol is the creator and founder of the business concentrating on the marketing and development of the products. Steve manages the day-to-day production and IT support.


Carol has recently collaborated with another Outset Swindon client, Catherine Attewell who is the power behind the Catherine Jay brand of artisanal jewellery – and there will be a blog post about her business soon. They’ve been working together to increase awareness of their brands locally and to support each other as budding entrepreneurs. They currently have a display of some of their products in The Works hair salon at Redhouse in Swindon.

I’m currently trying Carol’s products and can happily vouch for them. And I’m the proud owner of a fab pair of bespoke earrings designed and made by Catherine that I totally love and wear loads.

Catherine Jay: http://www.catherinejay.co.uk





Swindon 105.5: Radio by the community for the community

Swindon 105.5

Swindon 105.5

Shortly before Christmas 2014 I paid a visit to  the studios of Swindon 105.5 for a couple of reasons. One was to talk to Shirley Ludford, the station manager, about the money-raising initiative the station was running in December whereby local businesses could, for a very small fee, have a song of their choice played and talk about their business. I was delighted to kick the initiative off on the 1st of December with a chat over the phone about my own business, AA Editorial Services: http://www.aaedits.co.uk I also had a few minutes on the actual radio talking about this here blog.

Aside from those two bits of excitement I certainly learnt quite a lot. Prior to this visit my perception of local radio was of stations whose programming is peppered with advertising for and by local companies and services – and I’d assumed Swindon 105.5 to be the same. I confess I hadn’t listened to it – but then I don’t listen to anything very much. I’m not one of these people that can work with noise in the background. If I’m doing anything requiring any concentration then silence is golden as far I’m concerned. But now, having met Shirley at the station and having done a bit of research on community radio as opposed to local radio, I’m somewhat enlightened.

Ofcom defines community radio as being radio stations that typically cover a small geographic area and that must be run on a not-for-profit basis. The idea for this form of broadcasting was conceived and piloted in 2002 by the then Radio Authority. In 2004, the Radio Authority’s successor, Ofcom issued a consultation on the creation of Community Radio.

While some community stations can carry advertising and sponsorship a small number – where they overlap with small commercial services – may not. And Swindon 105.5 comes into that group. As they say on their website: ‘SWINDON 105.5 is one of only 18 Station in the UK NOT permitted to support itself in any way commercially on air.  The Station Manager successfully invited Minister Ed Vaizey to visit the Station in December 2012 and in July 2014, with support from MP Robert Buckland she was invited to the House of Commons to put the case for a relaxing of the regulations for this Station and the other 17 to ensure more fairness.’ FurthermoreSWINDON 105.5 is a non-commercial radio service in Swindon, by Swindon, for Swindon. Licensed by OFCOM as a Not For Profit community broadcasting organisation, with a specific brief and funded by grants, donations, corporate support, fund-raising events and support in-kind. It’s the only locally-based station that’s broadcasting 24 hours a day and they take no sustaining external service, unlike all other radio services in the region.

Now while I had no real understanding of Swindon 105.5’s status I was vaguely aware, though ignorant of specifics, of the community activities of the station. And as this blog is all about celebrating the positives of the Swindon community here we have this post – cos surely this radio station is a positive for Swindon?

Between them, Shirley Ludford, the station manager, trainer and fund-raiser, and her team have reaped a cornucopia of well-deserved accolades and awards for themselves and the station. You can read more about all of that here: http://www.swindon1055.com/about/index.php but two particular highlights of 2014 were the award to Shirley of the High Sheriff’s award for long service to the community and a visit to the station from HRH the Duke of Kent – 1st cousin to The Queen.

The station prides itself on giving a completely accessible and inclusive service to the town while providing training and volunteering opportunities.

And that’s Shirley something to celebrate? What say you? 🙂 😉

Mosaics at Number 9

Not for the first time on this blog have I had cause to write about the wealth of artistic talent, of all kinds, here in Swindon. From the ‘big boys’ of Ken White and David Bent to everything in between from the Old Town Garden’s art group to Artsite and the Postmodern. There’s just so, so much art of all kinds – it really is incredible and wonderful.

Anyway listeners, this post is by way of a shout out for Lynette Thomas and Artkore mosaics. Here’s a link to her website: http://www.artkoremosaics.co.uk/?p=385

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Lynette operates from, and is involved with, Artsite and the Postmodern and Number Nine in Theatre Square. I love that place and have bought several pieces there – including one of Lynette’s at it happens.

Through December Lynette is running mosaic workshops so if you fancy having a go at this art form now’s your chance:


Learn to cut, glue and grout a mosaic…. using found objects, jewellery, mirror and coloured glass to either work on your own projects or make presents for Christmas. All materials are provided.

If you would like to come along to a workshop there are still some spaces left on a Tuesday evening 7.30 – 9 pm. £10 per session. It is held at Number Nine in Theatre Square which is opposite The Post Modern Gallery.

To book a place email Lynette at: akmosaicsuk@yahoo.co.uk’

And here is Lynette’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/artkoremosaics?ref=br_tf

As it happens Lynette’s is another business, along with my own AA Editorial Services, that is a product of Outset Swindon’s start-up business courses.

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