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January Round Up

By Lisa Harrison – LJH Copywriting

Let’s get things started. Newark Business Club (NBC) members showed up to this month’s meeting full of new year energy and enthusiasm. 

Welcoming us back after the festivities and preparing us for a packed agenda, Chairman, Kerri McGarrigle kicked things off by introducing the first presentation.


Calm your chattering mind

Meeting sponsor, Ann Russell from Our Minds at Work had the whole room enter a mellow state of mind. 

Ann’s business focusses on helping individuals to become more mindful at work and in life. 

So, what is mindfulness? Ann says it’s about, “noticing what’s going on in your head without a knee jerk reaction or getting caught up in the drama.” We took part in a relaxing activity to prove how breathing through stressful situations can help to control, not only the mind but the body too. 

Society is stressed out. We’re juggling more responsibilities, we’re bombarded with pressures from social media, and the world is currently a bit chaotic. It’ll be no surprise to you that prescriptions for anti-depressants have doubled in ten years.  

The evidence to suggest that mindfulness can make us healthier, less stressed and improve wellbeing, is all there. Ann sees first-hand the positive impact it has on people. By attending her workshops people are reducing their blood pressure, anxiety, impatience, and workaholism. Business leaders are improving their managerial methods by becoming calmer and learning how to be more compassionate and resilient. 

It’s now the year 2020. We need to find new ways to manage our health and wellbeing. We need to control 21st century daily stressors and the impact they’re having on our lives. If you’re interested in reducing your levels of stress and anxiety, then Our Minds at Work run a range of mindfulness courses and retreats. Visit www.ourmindsatwork.co.uk



And the winners are…

Ann Russell stayed on stage and drew this month’s business card prize draw. The winning newcomer, who wins an advert in the Newark Advertiser, was Buttercross Estates, while the winning established member was BeanBlock café.

Parents and carers know only too well the twinge of anxiety that rears its head when you’re faced with having to eat out with young children. Will they behave? How will I entertain them? Oh, the guilt, not the iPad again! Opening in Spring 2020 at 24 St Marks Place, BeanBlock – a not-for-profit café is opening its doors for the first time. Families will be able to enjoy fresh and healthy cooked food, in a stylish but relaxed environment.

Founders and parents, Cate Martin and Aliki Allen are passionate about the well-being of local families. They recognise the need for a town centre eatery where parents and carers can relax whilst their children have an opportunity to play. Any profit that the business makes will be invested back into the local community. BeanBlock isn’t just a café. It will be a social hub putting on exciting events like cookery courses. 

Local organisations such as Newark College, The Round Table, Paul Andrew at Brand Newark, Nettl & Redlime and Farr Financial Planning know that by partnering and sponsoring the initiative, they can grow their businesses whilst giving back to the local area. If you’re interested in doing the same or have any creative ideas in how you can get involved, then Cate and Aliki would love to hear from you. You can get in touch by emailing cate@beanblock.co.uk or aliki@beanblock.co.uk



Fighting our corner

Up next, James Fountain from the NBC Action Group. James gave us a quick update on all of the work the group’s been involved in to improve the local business environment, including:

  • Newark Castle rail service improvements
  • Town centre management improvements
  • Local rail fare changes
  • Free parking over the Christmas period
  • Improvements to the attractiveness of Newark marketplace
  • Controlling the scale of the ASDA build and the adjacent bus station
  • Influencing the decision to dual the A46

James continued to say that the group’s main focus for this year will be to work on attracting businesses to Newark. As part of this, along with the Newark and Sherwood District Council, they’ll be involved in strategically planning how the town’s £25million government funding will be spent. James said that it will almost certainly be invested in infrastructure, our economy, and the environment. I’m sure we’ll be receiving regular updates on these decisions as we progress into the year. 

Commenting on the past few months, James talked about the changing retail landscape in Newark. The loss of Marks & Spencer last year and most recently, Superdrug, is very disappointing. But he reminded us it’s not all doom and gloom. There have also been lots of new businesses flourishing in Newark. Let’s hope this is the trend that continues.


Building strong foundations

Being asked to stand in at the last minute to be our guest speaker didn’t stop Steff Wright, CEO of Gusto Group Ltd, from delivering an impressive presentation.

His company is responsible for new pioneering eco-homes in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

He started his slot by reminding us of the environmental devastation that’s happening in Australia and South America. Both are burning at an alarming rate. Australia is one of the sunniest places in the world and it seems their government has no desire to embrace solar power. Countries in South America are annihilating rainforest to farm cattle for 2.5 billion meat-eaters. Steff said, “We’re destroying our existence.”

So, how do we make change happen? Steff suggested three ways:

  1. Change your lifestyle to create more demand for sustainable products. As a human race, we can thrive on eating more plant-based food. We’re capable of controlling our energy consumption and the number of plastics we use.
  2. Campaign to change people’s mindset. Ah, the campaigners. The ones who start a revolution. The ones who represent a trend. Which brings us nicely on to:
  3. Innovate within your business. Supply products and services that the markets of the future want. Don’t be short-sighted, look for the opportunities. Innovate. Listen to the campaigners. Start the trend. 


Steff has done just that. In 1999 he built his first show home before venturing into the sustainable housing market. 20 years on from building energy-efficient housing in Collingham, Gusto are back with their latest development - The Future. This will be the largest housing development in the UK to be heated using geothermal energy and the homes are among the most efficient houses ever built thanks to their hi-spec build quality and the smart technology that’s used throughout.  

Not only is he building housing of the future he’s also educating the tradesmen of tomorrow. By partnering with Lincoln College, they’ve created the ECOnstruction Centre of Excellence to train people on how to install sustainable housing technology.

The Gusto Group of companies, including their new venture – Global Grad, are dedicated to growth, the creation of sustainable jobs for local people, and support for local communities. To find out more about Global Grad and Gusto Homes, visit www.globalgrad.com and www.gustohomes.co.uk.  


Perhaps we can all take a leaf out of the Gusto book and do our bit for the planet?


Charity of the Quarter

The NBC is passionate about helping the incredible charities in our local area. NBC donate £250 each quarter and this is generously matched by the Newark Round Table. The Children’s Bereavement Centre was our charity of choice for the last quarter and they were presented with £500, just before Christmas.  

A new year means a new charity. Our members nominated 15 charities in total. Having to narrow it down to three to make the shortlist is the difficult part. For this reason, Simon Gabbitas asked delegates to choose using the tried and tested method of drawing names from a hat.  

Drum roll, please…

The three charities pitching to us next month to be the Charity of the Quarter are: 

  1. Newark Youth Trust - www.newarkyouthtrust.co.uk
  2. The Wolfit Endowment Fund - www.wolfitendowmentfund.org.uk
  3. EDAN Lincs – www.edanlincs.org.uk


We wish them the best of luck.


And then it was over. If you’re looking to grow your network throughout 2020 then come along to the next meeting which takes place on Friday 7 February at The Everyday Champions Centre, Brunel Drive. There are over 100 businesses at our monthly breakfast meeting and we’re all passionate about helping each other succeed. Pop along, we’d love to see you there.


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