Award Winning Business Opens Shop in Rawtenstall

Nicola Bailey outside the new premises of Bright & Beautiful Rossendale – based in Barlow Street, just off Bank Street, Rawtenstall.

BUSINESS owner Nicola Bailey has come a long way in seven years from working out of her garage to opening her own town centre shop.

She runs Bright & Beautiful Rossendale and last November picked up the Service Business trophy at Rossendale Business Awards. Nicola took on the franchise in October 2011 after researching different cleaning companies to find one whose ethos fitted her own.

Her home in Rawtenstall became the business base and for the first month she worked on her own with her first task being to clean a tricky stone kitchen floor with a scrubbing brush and toothbrush.

Nicola, 53, said: “It wasn’t easy. After about a month I took on my first team of cleaners and the franchise company helped with recruitment. I wanted to run my own company, and not just be self-employed, because I wanted to have the back up and support of an established business model.”

Her new premises, in Barlow Street, just off Bank Street, is well known to all as the former ‘photo shop’ but the striking new pink livery makes it impossible to miss. Moving into the shop has meant she can widen the scope of the service the company provides.

Franchisee Nicola Bailey with her R-Award trophy.

She said: “We have always offered a laundry and ironing service as part of our housekeeping package when a team goes into someone’s house, now we can have customers bringing laundry into the shop. These premises were ideal because I have space for a shop and also a separate room for the operational part of the business.”

Nicola originally trained as an electrical and electronic engineer and was one of only three girls out of 100 students at Loughborough.

Until she took redundancy in 2001, she worked for a major electronics company latterly a commercial accounts manager.

From there she retrained in accountancy and ran her own bookkeeping service in 2007 before looking for a franchise to take on.

She said: “I knew that there was flexibility in cleaning services and it allows members of my teams to be able to work around their other commitments. We now have 65 clients and work throughout Rossendale, Ramsbottom, Bury and parts of Bolton. I have three teams with three members in each and when they go out to do a job they always go as a team, this ensures efficiency, the quality of work and safety of the team.

“There are cornerstones to the franchise: the trusted team – who are all ethically employed on a salary with benefit entitlements so not self-employed and all our products are eco-friendly. Our service is holistic so not just cleaning but we will sort bedding if required and wash and iron to a hotel standard. We say it is like the fairies have been in and all our team wears smart pink uniforms.

“Our clients come from a range of different backgrounds, many work long hours and they appreciate knowing that when they get back to their house it is a bright and beautiful home and they can have family time instead of cleaning time.”

To find out more call into she shop, round the corner from Reeds Rains, email or call 01706 396668.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Fabulous Fossils go on Show

Fossil Expert Arthur Baldwin with a 300 million year old fossil found in Sharneyford, Bacup.

FANTASTIC fossils dating back 450 million years will be available for visitors to examine.

The Fossil Fest at Bacup’s Natural History Museum on Sunday February 3 will launch a series of 2019 celebrations for the 140th anniversary of the society.

Bacup Nat Secretary Wendy Watters said: “We have an amazing collection of fossils at the Nat and many that people will have never seen.

“Our fossil expert Arthur Baldwin will be bringing in items from his own personal collection that will amaze the visitors. We are also asking children to bring in their own items for Arthur to identify and examine.

“They will be able to view them using the microscope and if parents bring their smart phones they can also take pictures. We will be having a special dinosaur guest and the children will be asked to name the dinosaur to win a fossil hunting kit.”

The event will be open from 10.30am to 3pm and all children under 12 will receive a small specimen freebie and a goodie bag.

Some of the many fossils at Bacup’s Natural History Society Museum

The Nat started life in a terraced cottage in 1878 on Rochdale Road and in 1947 it relocated to the former Hare and Hounds public house on Yorkshire Street, where it has been based ever since.

Wendy successfully secured a further Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Grant for £10,000 to cover a series of events. She said: “Inside the Nat there will be a timeline display explaining the history of the society and the town over each of the decades. There will be a lot of information about things that happened in Bacup that visitors may not even be aware of.

“We have ordered a special bench which will be unveiled at Newgate Garden on Easter Saturday. It is being made by David Ogilvie Engineering in Kilmarnock, Scotland, and has an intricate design on the back featuring all the armed forces, a war horse, ambulance and poppies. The company is also going to be making a silent soldier statue, which shows a soldier in mourning and that is going to be a permanent fixture in the garden.”

Events will cuminate in the 100th anniversary of the Peace Procession, which was the forerunner of the town’s carnival.

She said: “We are working with Bacup and Stacksteads Carnival to celebrate the centenary by encouraging youth groups and schools to recreate parade entries from the 1919 procession and also shop window displays. We are providing a small grant for those groups we work with if they take part in the carnival procession on Sunday June 30 to celebrate the Peace Procession anniversary.”

The Nat is open every Thursday from 7.30pm to about 10pm and the third Saturday of every month from 10.30am to 1pm.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Former pit transformed into stunning holiday accommodation

Mayor Councillor Ann Kenyon with Rossendale Holiday Cottages director Rachel Wilson in the latest cottage to be opened at the Water site.

A FORMER colliery site has been transformed into a stunning collection of holiday cottages and glamping pods attracting hundreds of people into Rossendale.

Jonny and Rachel Wilson, from Summerseat, bought the 20 acre-site on Dean Lane, Water, in 2010 on a speculative basis. With a background in marketing promotion for prestigious hotels, Jonny has travelled the world and used that knowledge to develop Rossendale Holiday Cottages.

The first three cottages opened in 2014 and now eight have been developed with the latest two Bluebell and Buttercup being officially opened by the Mayor of Rossendale Councillor Ann Kenyon.

Councillor Kenyon said: “It is fantastic and a big asset to the Valley because we are short of holiday accommodation for families visiting their relatives. I had heard about the development but visiting it has exceeded all my expectations; I would come here for a break.”

Jonny said: “We have a unique place here in a great location, the best facilities, staff and places for people to visit in Rossendale.”

Glamping pods were added from 2016 and permission has been granted for subterranean accommodation, which will be built into the hillside with a grass roof.

Jonny said: “We will be building eight luxury guest bedrooms, a swimming pool and health spa. We will be able to offer treatments and there will also be a small bar and bistro. We will still be encouraging visitors to explore the local area and we provide all our guests with a book of places to go to and where to eat.

“All of our accommodation has been built and developed by local tradesmen to a very high specification and wherever possible we source from local businesses.”

The company currently employs 10 people but that will expand to around 18 when the next development opens in 2020.

Jules Grady from Ramsbottom has previously stayed at Rossendale Holiday Cottages on a yoga retreat. She said: “It is an idyllic location and you almost feel like you are in a part of rural England, Scotland or Wales. I would never have thought to come to Rossendale on a retreat but it really works as a venue.”

In the Spring, a children’s play area will be opening with a fort, zip wire and play equipment. Already 4,000 native deciduous trees have been planted and Rachel said they were looking to add evergreen trees and shrubs to provide all year round greenery.

As well as the popular yoga and cycling themed weekends, Jonny said the location lends itself to corporate retreats for business professionals or team building activities.

For more information visit, email or call 01706 534364.

by Catherine Smyth Media

Independent Small Businesses Make Our Town Centres Unique

There is retail retreat happening everywhere, as larger businesses and chains desert our town centres (with many ceasing trading altogether or locating to out of town retail parks) under intense competitive pressure from online retail. One thing is becoming abundantly clear, they will never be able to come back…

This may, on the surface, look like a bad thing, but it is also a major opportunity. A preponderance of chains led to identikit town centres, their absence may leave empty shops and poor footfall, but the small independent businesses that remain can give each town centre a unique character and the possibility of a unique selling proposition to local residents and visitors alike.

To make the most of this opportunity, we need to bring the independent small businesses together, so that they can help each other identify and promote that unique selling proposition – what makes shopping in a particular town centre different (and better) that anywhere else. These businesses perhaps feel too small, too isolated and too dispirited to believe that collectively they can make a difference. We must find a way to help them come together an participate in something positive, to rekindle self-belief and inspire further collective action.

We are seeing this happen in Rawtenstall, Haslingden and Crawshawbooth, how can we make it so everywhere?

What do you think?

Rob Carder, Chair Valley at Work

Anita Finds Natural Way to a Healthy Life

AS A teenager Anita Graham-Bateson struggled with her health, but it was not until her 40s that she realised it was her own body that was not in balance. After a series of serious health issues, doctors said she would be on medication for life. Anita said: “I was not prepared to accept that and was walking past a shop and saw a poster advertising The Nutritional Healing Foundation and it just talked to me. I immediately picked up the phone.”

This led to a meeting with a naturopathic doctor. For the first time in her life, Anita found someone who was able to understand her. “Instead of trying to resolve issues with medication,” she said, “this doctor was able to get to the root cause of my problems. It turned out I was sensitive to chemicals and electro-magnetic frequencies.”

It took years for Anita to begin feeling ‘normal’ again and a complete change of lifestyle. With hard work and determination she was able to regain energy and feel healthier than she had done in decades. She said: “I began to understand how the body heals, in what order and to not overload, how to step back and, yes, in my case I changed my way of life to be in tune with my body. I knew I got sick if I overdid things and so I promised my body, mind and soul that I would be clean in my eating, rest and learn to love myself.”

Anita, now 50, embraced those changes by learning more and studied at the Nutritional Healing Foundation College in Liverpool on an intensive three-year course in anatomy and physiology and nutritional healing, therapy and science. While having treatment she learnt about NES health – a technology driven healing system that scans the electrical field of the body and pinpoints areas of imbalance. Ever the student, after her advanced diploma she also trained to become an NES health practitioner and two years ago she set up her own therapeutic business Well-NES and Nutrition.

She said: “I looked for premises in Rossendale, but was unable to find anywhere so we constructed a purpose-built therapy room at our Haslingden home. As the New Year often leads to resolutions, especially around health and wellbeing, I want people to know that, if they are willing to make the changes necessary, I can help them to improve their lives.”

Testimonials on her website recount how Anita’s help has made a difference to the lives of people with a multitude of different health and wellbeing complaints. She said: “I can show you how to listen to your amazing, beautiful, unique you. To heal, be healthy and be happy. I use naturopathic healing. The NES scan identifies imbalances and I carry out a comprehensive assessment of a person’s lifestyle and genetic history to be able to evaluate the whole person. I then create a bespoke healing plan to help them adapt to improve their own health.”

For more information visit or call 078555 24273 or email

Story by Catherine Smyth Media

Dansworks Pupil Dotty’s TV Fame

CREATIVE Dotty Davies has become a star in her favourite band’s new video after the storyboard she designed won a national competition. Dotty, 10, from Cowpe, is a huge New Hope Club fan and an avid viewer of the children’s TV programme Blue Peter. When it was announced that the group was looking for children to design storyboard for a video to accompany their Christmas single, she had to enter. As part of the competition, she also had to write about her favourite engineer and she chose Dorotheé Pullinger – who started a college for women engineers and redesigned the car to be more suitable for women

She had previously written a music video for her school Waterfoot Primary, which earned her class an amazing trip to Majorca. Dotty, a dancer Dansworks Dance Academy of Performing Arts in Bacup, said: “My inspiration for the storyboard came from seeing Joe Suggs dancing to A-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ on Strictly Come Dancing. I enjoyed it so much I watched the original video. My storyboard started with a girl in a shabby cramped room, drawing a colourful picture of Christmas with her favourite band. As the video progresses she finds herself in the picture.”

Dotty was at her grandparents’ caravan when she got a call from CBBC to say that she had won the competition. She said: “I was jumping up and down, but I could only tell a few people that I had won and that was hard keeping it quiet.”

Dotty was invited down to the show at Salford Quays, where she met the cast of Nativity Rocks who were doing a pre-recording and then she met presenters Radzi Chinyanganya and Lindsey Russell. She said: “Radzi gave me some good tips on presenting. It was quite exciting but really tiring. We went down for 9am and didn’t finish until 7pm.

Dotty got to be first assistant director at the shoot in Shoreditch, London, when her storyboard became a real video for ‘All I Want For Christmas’. The producers liked her ideas so much they also cast Dotty in the video. At one stage she has to spin round 15 times and she said it took 21 takes before producers were happy with everyone’s performance and that the lighting was right. Dotty was born with talipes, more commonly known as club foot, which left her with a weak ankle; she also has hearing problems. Since the age of three she has been attending Dansworks and that has strengthened her ankle obviating the need for any operations. Attending the classes has also boosted her confidence.

Her mum Sarah said: “She has private lessons with Principal Karen Roe and she has instilled in Dotty that she can do anything that she wants to do. She loves the family atmosphere and that everyone is given the chance to succeed. Dansworks has helped her to overcome a range of different life challenges and given her life skills like tenacity, patience, memory skills, teamwork and concentration as well as physical fitness.”

She also won inventors’ kit from the Institute of Engineering and Technology and an orange Blue Peter badge. Dotty, who saw New Hope Club at Manchester Arena, will next be seen on the programme on December 20 when group’s Christmas single is launched.

Story by Catherine Smyth Media

Responders Relocate To Police Station

VOLUNTEER first responders now have a new base that is being used to train personnel from across the North West. For around 13 years, Rossendale Community First Responders was based at Fearns Community Sports College, Stacksteads. The trained team responds to emergency incidents often arriving ahead of the ambulance crews.

Team Leader Dawn Taylor said: “Rossendale is one of the largest and busiest Community First Responder teams and we are the only team in the North West that had a proper home that we could use free of charge and we were always made welcome at Fearns. We were delighted with the facilities that we had at Fearns and when the school relocated the library into the main complex we were given the whole building to use so we developed it to provide a meeting room, separate training room and kitchen.”

The team has now relocated to the Police Station in Waterfoot because it is a more central location on the main Bacup Road. Dawn said: “We now have a training room, a conference room, dining area with kitchen and a store room, which is only for our use. We are now on the main road and the ambulance service is currently in discussions about possibly relocating to this facility.”

The new base has already been used to offer training sessions for the whole of the North West Ambulance Service. Inspector Dave Clarke said: “We have had officers that have attended the responders’ training sessions. This station is our divisional training centre and is used to train officers from Burnley, Blackburn, Ribble Valley, Pendle, Rossendale and Hyndburn. The facilities we have here are excellent. Officers are here 24/7 and as the First Responders have training sessions at the weekend and in the evenings there is always someone here. We appreciate the work of the Community First Responders because we often go to the same incidents.”

Headteacher of Fearns Helen Stead said: “We were pleased to support the Community First Responders while they were based here at Fearns, they do a great job and we are always keen to support our local community.  As a more convenient and central place became available in Waterfoot, they took the decision to move. Although we were sorry to see them go, we fully understand their reasons. The Community First Responders were based at Fearns for more than 10 years and we would be happy to host them again, should the need arise.”

There are 22 members of Rossendale Community First Responders with two more being trained in the New Year. The team is looking for volunteers in Weir, Bacup, Stacksteads, Edenfield and Whitworth.

To apply visit

Story by Catherine Smyth Media

Commuter Rail Link Between Rossendale and Manchester?

A COMMUTER rail link between Rossendale and Manchester could be on track after a study found the route was ‘feasible and cost effective’. Rossendale Council leader Councillor Alyson Barnes and officers, along with MPs and business leaders from across the rail route, met with Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry in London to update him on the findings of the early strategic case for rail investment. They also lobbied Transport for the North (TfN) to get the link included in its forthcoming Investment Programme as a ‘high priority’.

Rossendale is the only borough in Lancashire without a national rail link and struggles with severe congestion on the A56 and M66 at peak times. The report found that 14,000 Rossendale residents travel daily to work with 9,000 going into the Greater Manchester area. Five options were examined and evaluated, but Coun Barnes stressed she wanted to see a commuter route working in conjunction with the existing heritage East Lancashire Railway.

The report describes a ‘promising option’ as a peak period shuttle service between Rawtenstall and Bury using the East Lancashire Railway and a new heavy rail link from a disused platform at Bury Bolton Street Station to Castleton. Passengers would then have access to Manchester, Rochdale and West Yorkshire.

The report concludes: “Overall, we believe this work indicates that feasible options exist for investment which could deliver significant economic benefits, reduce congestion, and meet environmental targets in a way which will not harm the valuable operations of the East Lancashire Railway, and may even be to their benefit.”

Coun Barnes said: “The East Lancashire Railway is an incredible success story bringing visitors and tourism into the Rossendale economy and we do not want to lose it. However the current commuter network between Rossendale and Manchester is not. At peak periods both car drivers and bus passengers find themselves in nose to tail traffic on the A56, M66 and in the city centre and there is no potential to ease that situation. We want to see the rail link treated as a high priority scheme in the forthcoming TfN Investment Programme 2020-50.”

Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry described reconnecting Rossendale and Manchester as ‘crucial’. He said: “I regard this link as crucial not just for Rossendale but to the whole development of the Northern Powerhouse.”

He said progress on the link had previously failed because it had not been a top priority for Lancashire County Council – but now it was. Transport for the North is also officially considering the plans and Mr Berry said: “This is the value of having the study done. The next big challenge is about getting Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to prioritise it and realise the significant growth it could bring to Manchester. Look at the economic growth in Rossendale since 2011, unemployment has been halved and more businesses than ever are setting up. My concern is that unless we solve many of the transport problems facing the Valley, it is going to stop further economic growth. This is not just about people going to Manchester to work from Rossendale but about Rossendale being able to access the skills of people from Manchester.”

Eden Councillor Janice Johnson is a member of the East Lancashire Railway Trust Board and said the transport situation is ‘desperate’. She said: “A commuter rail link would be marvellous. We need public transport upgrading, not just for now but for future generations and we have to think outside the box. I remember my son-in-law coming home to Rossendale from work in Wythenshawe and he had seen eight accidents that day en route, as a result he moved out of Rossendale for work.”

Irwell Vale resident Margaret Barker, 92, used to get on the railway at Ewood Bridge in her younger days to travel to Blackpool to go dancing. She now uses the heritage line to go shopping in Ramsbottom and Bury and said: “If it was to go further afield then I would go wherever it went.”

Rossendale commuter Simon Dalley, whose award winning business GrowTraffic is based in Bacup and South Yorkshire, said: “When I worked in Manchester I tried every means to get to work, car, train, bus; everything apart from walking. I used the X43 from Rawtenstall leaving at 6.55am to get into the city centre about 7.45am.”

He gave up driving to work because of cost, both in terms of fuel, parking and traffic. He abandoned the train because of the unreliability of the service from Todmorden and the hilly route from home to the station. Simon said: “The X43 is just as packed as the train was so I think a commuter rail link from Rawtenstall would be a way forward. It would be a really positive thing for Rossendale in general. It is crazy that such a big population centre does not have access to a rail link.”

Lancashire County Council Executive Director of growth, environment, transport and community service Stephen Young said: “The County Council is committed to transforming transportation links particularly in Rossendale which is the only district in Lancashire without a station on the national rail network. We see this as essential in further driving our collective economic aspirations and are fully supportive of this proposal and study.”

The plans have also been supported by East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Chief Executive Miranda Barker said: “Transport is always top of the list in terms of problems that businesses in East Lancashire mention. We are really good at manufacturing in this area, but then when it comes to transportation it is expensive and slow. We are also short of qualified engineers and while we are working with colleges, they often want to live in the city.”

She supported a heavy rail link, rather than a tram, because she said it would provide skilled workers with the means of travel to Rossendale while also providing potential to assist the movement of goods both in and out.

The original Rawtenstall railway station closed in 1972 and the East Lancashire Railway extended its heritage line from Bury to Rawtenstall when it opened a new station in 1991.

The report was commissioned by Rossendale Council in partnership with Lancashire County Council and was carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

Story by Catherine Smyth Media

Noah’s Ark Sponsors Tigers

JUNIOR footballers Rossendale Valley Tigers hope to be roaring to success in their new kit. The young squad of six and seven year olds has just been sponsored by children’s hair salon Noah’s Ark, based on the upper deck at Antony & Patricia in Bank Street, Rawtenstall. They play friendly matches in the Accrington and District League against teams from Rossendale, Hyndburn, Burnley and Blackburn at Blackburn Soccerdome. Since the Tigers U7s team was launched in January, the players have been wearing a hand-me-down kit.

Coach Michael Eddisford said: “We have a squad of nine and we play 5-a-side matches. They are all very happy with their new kit, being the Tigers and being sponsored by Noah’s Ark is very appropriate. It can be difficult to get a sponsor for a kit for such a young team. The Tigers have been playing fantastic football all season. Our former kit has not gone to waste either and has been handed down to another team.”

The squad trains at Marl Pits in the winter months and at St Peter’s Avenue in Haslingden in the summer.

Director of Noah’s Ark Tony Winder said: “When we were asked to sponsor the kit for the Tigers it was a natural fit with the children’s salon being called Noah’s Ark. The ark logo, complete with animals, looks perfect on the bright yellow kit.”

Story by Catherine Smyth Media

Citizens’ Advice Tackles Fuel Poverty

A SCHEME to tackle fuel poverty will see Citizens Advice Rossendale and Hyndburn helping customers to get the best energy deal. Funding has been approved for a scheme entitled – Energy Best Deal Extra, EBDx.

Manager of CARH Rachel Whippy said: “The money has been funded by national Citizens’ Advice and it will last until March so we will be able to offer support and help through the most expensive time of year for energy bills. It is targeted to help vulnerable customers, those who are struggling to pay their bills and who have not got the best deal for their household energy supply. We can offer guidance and payment options, information on how to access the best deals and how to go about switching and we can also check that they are in receipt of all the benefits they are entitled to. We can also help customers who are on pre-payment meters and help with debts. In 2017-18 across Rossendale and Hyndburn we were able to boost people’s income by more than £1.8million by making sure they were in receipt of all the benefits they were entitled to and we helped to write off debts worth more than £2.1million.”

CARH will also be able to advise on the Warm Home Discount Scheme where those eligible can claim £140 towards the cost of heating their homes over the coldest months.

Rachel said: “We will advise people on available grants that will make their homes more energy efficient as well as helping people with budgeting.”

To find out more about the scheme fill in a form on the CARH website or contact the advice line on 0300 456 2552.

Appointments will be arranged either at the main offices or outreach locations.

Story by Catherine Smyth Media