Centres urged to work together

AN INNOVATIVE scheme aims to unite groups and encourage the sharing of community premises and services across Rossendale.

It is hoped a pilot project can be set up to link the voluntary, community and faith sectors from Haslingden to Bacup and all towns and communities in between.

So far two discussion meetings have been held to discuss ‘more than medicine’ to look at how groups with community premises can work together to ensure the sustainability of the individual facilities.

REAL – Rossendale Enterprise Anchor Limited – is an organisation which has supported the community of Rossendale since 2008.

It encourages the sharing of skills and called together different groups to explain how the scheme could work.

Chair of REAL Hazel Harding said: “Organisations across Rossendale should be working more closely together, to increase their income, share some services and maximise the offer across the Valley.

“Although REAL has put forward this idea, it will be a collective of community groups that will lead it and take the idea forward.

“It’s about working together to meet need, to enable Rossendale and its people to flourish. By putting forward a combined offer, we hope to be able to attract significant funding to ensure the viability of all these centres.”

Already Haslingden Community Link, Veterans In Communities, Crawshawbooth Community Centre and Whitewell Bottom Community Centre have formed links.

Six ‘more than medicine’ events were held in Haslingden when patients with conditions including diabetes, COPD and anxiety and depression got to meet in an informal setting to discuss with experienced professionals and learn from each other.

Hazel said: “This was a huge success, and was like a mass consultation. It could be easily be replicated in another community centre to tackle issues that are prevalent to the local area.”

It is hoped that other groups that have their own facilities including the Doals Centre, the A, B and D Centre and the churches in Rawtenstall will also link up.

Hazel explained: “If three centres are running the same activity then they dilute the number of attendees, but if they work together then the courses will be well attended and more sustainable.

“There is community transport available to make different venues accessible for all and this is a way of ensuring the future viability of all the centres, which our towns and villages need.”

The next meeting is on Thursday February 28 at Haslingden Community Link at 4pm and voluntary groups interested are welcome to attend.

Once a partnership has been formed, the intention is to bid for funding for a Rossendale-wide pilot project.

If successful, larger funding will be sought to sustain the scheme and the Rossendale model could be then used as a template for other areas across Lancashire.

To find out more email realadmin@realtd.co.uk

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 nicola@brightandbeautifulhome.com 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 www.rossendaleholidaycottages.co.uk, email stay@rossendaleholidaycottages.co.uk or call 01706 534364.

by Catherine Smyth Media