By David Sykes - Carrington Communications
Accurately described by one member as a cross between stand-up comedy and speed-dating, this month’s Newark Business Club saw more than a hundred members share their news and enjoy some light-hearted networking.
Club Chair, Kerri Saxby began the meeting to congratulate the finalists and winners of the Newark Business Awards, followed by several rounds of applause for the winners.
Moving on to other news, Kerri told members that the Newark Half Marathon on 11th August is in need of volunteers to tend to the water stations and assist along the route. Meanwhile Radio Newark is encouraging people and businesses across the area to support their Quids 4 Kids campaign, which is raising money for Newark’s Children’s Bereavement Centre this Friday.
Also, this Friday is the start of Newark Book Festival, a three-day celebration of literature which many members are sponsoring. You can find out more about this family-friendly event across Newark at www.newarkbookfestival.org.uk.
Later in the month, PR, marketing and digital agency Shooting Star has teamed up with Google to offer a free Digital Garage workshop on Friday 12th July. Across three sessions, you can learn the basics of social media management, digital marketing and search engine optimisation to help your business stand out on this important platforms.
Middlebeck is the name of a new development that’s being built on the southern edge of Newark.
The new suburb includes 3,150 homes, a primary school, 31 ha of employment space, 2,900m² of community facilities, 7ha of sports facilities and 178 acres of green space - it’s a whopper! Taking to the stage, and sponsoring the meeting, was Johanne Thomas from Urban & Civic, which is behind the project.
Urban & Civic is a London based company which acquired developer, Catesby Estates in 2015 along with the 694 acre site between Hawton and Balderton. The company specialises in large scale projects and they describe themselves as “master developers”, meaning that they do just about everything, except for building the homes.
Johanne explained that construction is going well on the first phase of the development where 600 homes are being built. The primary school is scheduled to open in 2021 and a new cafe and office unit should open later this year.
A crucial part of their plan for the rest of the project however, is the construction of the Southern Link Road which will join the A46 and the A1. This was the focus of most questions from members, who asked how it would connect with the A1 and whether the road should be built as a dual, rather than single, carriageway. Johanne explained that the decision to make this a single-lane carriageway was made by Nottinghamshire County Council and not by the developer.
Johanne showed members a selection of imagery and fly-over footage which was certainly impressive, although it appears Urban & Civic may have some more convincing to do if they’re to satisfy some of the more critical club members in attendance.
As event sponsor, Johanne had the honour of drawing two business cards from the pack to determine who would win an advert in Newark Advertiser and who would win a mention in this newsletter.
The winner of the advert was Janice Rose Lingerie, and the winner of the write-up was Clare Stainton from Canine Campervans, which provides everything you need for a dog-friendly camping holiday.
As experienced dog owners, Clare and the team know how hard it can be to travel safely with your four-legged friends and how difficult it is to leave them behind. Luckily, Canine Campervans have a solution; they offer custom built campervans that are specifically designed for the comfort and safety of you and your dogs.
Located in Newark, they have three campers available for hire from £85 per day - that’s cheaper than a hotel, and how many hotels can you drive around the country with your dog? None!
Find out more about Canine Campervans on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/CanineCamperVanHire
Celebrating great businesses
Our second guest was Mike Watkinson from the Federation of Small Businesses. The FSB offers support to small businesses and it lobbies government on their behalf. The organisation has 6,000 members across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and 162,000 members across the UK.
Recently, the FSB has campaigned for the high streets, Making Tax Digital and against late payment of invoices. The organisation surveys its members each quarter to assess business confidence and other measurements and its most recent survey showed business confidence had dropped from 18% to just 6% as a result of Brexit uncertainty.
On a less contentious note, the FSB also has an awards event, with entries for 2019’s awards open for entries between September and October. Good luck to everyone who enters!
You can tell it’s awards season when we have two speakers back-to-back telling us about their events, and once Mike had finished, it was the turn of Jon Rogers from MADE Magazine to tell us about the MADE Food & Drink Awards.
Almost two years ago, MADE Magazine was launched. Billed as North Nottinghamshire’s premium lifestyle magazine, MADE is available across Newark and Sherwood, Mansfield and Ashfield and has a wide range of interesting articles. This year, they’re organising their first ever MADE Food & Drink Awards which is now open for entries. There are 18 categories to enter, with the winners being announced at a gala at Worksop’s Great Hall. Fancy!
The final speaker was Deputy Leader of Newark & Sherwood District Council, David Lloyd. Cllr Lloyd gave members an update on the council’s plans for the newly reopened Buttermarket, which needs an extra £120,000 of repairs, and explained that the bid for improvements to the A46 has gone through to the next stage, with the government expected to make a decision in 2020.
In welcome news, David explained that the construction on the site of the Robin Hood Hotel is to begin this month, with hoardings due to appear very soon and with very few road closures planned. Regarding the Southern Link Road mentioned by Urban & Civic, he explained that funding has been made available to make this happen. Meanwhile, the new Town Centre Manager has started work to help make more residential space available above shops and business units and the council is bidding to receive £25m to improve the area. David also explained that the community’s recent day of street cleaning went well, although they were encouraged to find that there wasn’t as much rubbish to clear as they’d anticipated.
While these were obviously interesting points, the main point that Cllr Lloyd wanted to raise was to tell us about the European Juggle Convention. Yes, from the 3rd to the 10th of August, Newark will be taken over for a full week of juggling.
While this might sound like a niche event, David explained that this is a major event with around 2,500 performers from across the continent. Of particular interest is a Big Day Out and a procession that’s to go through the town to Newark Market Place. This will involve thousands of jugglers, a fire show on the riverside and a group of acrobats who’ll be doing an aerial performance on the town hall itself. It sounds incredible, but an important point for businesses, particularly retailers, is that this event will be taking place on Sunday 4th August, so David asks that every shop ensures that they are open and ready for an influx of customers on the day.
That’s it for July’s meeting. Next month, we’ll be meeting at Newark’s Everyday Champions Centre at 7am on Friday 2nd August - and new members can come for free, so bring along someone you know!
See you next month!