In August 2001, Chris Allen and Michael Smith formed Universal Smart Cards. They had previously worked together at G4S and Gemalto, the largest smart card manufacturer in the world. Universal Smart Cards’ regional base is in Rawtenstall but it’s a business that many people in The Valley may not have heard of.
Chris and Michael believe they had the ideal mix between them to form a company specialising in all different types of smart cards and associated products. And so they did!
Over the last 20 years, Universal Smart Cards has grown from a small office in Chris’ home, to now operating from 5 locations around the globe including the UK, USA and China.
One of Universal Smart Cards’ unique approaches is having a quality control team based in China (through their sister company, Cardzgroup). This means they inspect all goods manufactured for their customers before they leave China.
They also have a specialist Technical Centre in the UK where they manufacture and develop software for coding the full range of chips, including using DESfire and Java.
Their technical team have decades of experience in the smart card field and works with specialist equipment which means they can offer product personalisation above and beyond the norm.
The company can boast of shipping over 150 million smart products globally and its operation in Rawtenstall is central to the organisation’s global empire!
A PAIN expert will be sharing his knowledge and experience with patients and doctors in two free online webinars about headaches.
In July this year, Dr Madgy Aglan opened Pain Consultants Ltd, a private clinic at Link 665 in Carrs Industrial Estate in Haslingden.
He said: “The most common complaint that patients have for more than three months is a headache. It can be really underestimated the effect this can have on the patient. More importantly, it is under-diagnosed and because it is not properly diagnosed, it is not properly treated and people suffer for years.”
Severe headaches not only cause pain, but anxiety and depression, lack of sleep, relationship problems and they impact on the patient’s ability to work and often lead to them presenting to their GPs or turning up at A&E. Migraines occur in 15 per cent of the UK adult population and more than 100,000 people are absent from work and school through headaches.
Dr Aglan has worked in the NHS for more than 32 years and continues to also work as a consultant. He has produced a self-help headache video on his Facebook page Pain Consultants Ltd. In it he outlines a 10-point plan to relieve and help to diagnose headaches. Firstly keep hydrated by drinking lots of water; stop or reduce alcohol; try to get good sleep; avoid stress; ensure computer monitors are at eye level; reduce mobile phone screen time; record what you eat and drink and record what painkillers you take.
Female patients should note down if there is any correlation between headaches and their periods; all patients should keep a headache diary noting times and dates, severity and how long the pain lasts.
Dr Aglan will be delivering the first webinar – titled Understanding and Managing Your Headache Pain – on Monday, October 19, at 7pm. There will be a presentation and then he will respond to questions from patients who will be invited to post them on chat.
Since opening his private clinic, he has had patients travelling from London, Scotland, Leeds and all over the North West for treatment.
He said: “Depending what the pain problem is, we are able to see the patient, diagnose and treat the problem all in the same visit. Once we diagnose a problem we work out a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment, which provides the patient with quicker and better results.”
He will be running a second free webinar on headaches this time for doctors and medical professionals a few weeks later.
Dr Aglan said: “I will be holding a similar free webinar on back pain and am also considering writing a book. Medication is not the cure-all, it may improve the pain so the patient can cope, but if you can find something to treat it, then it can go away for good.
“I have a patient who had been taking painkillers for 20 years and after coming to see me and having treatment, for the first time in decades they had days when they were pain free; they said they had got their life back – that makes me happy. Our vision is would like to reduce suffering in people wherever we can.”
STRAIGHT talking Simon Bolton will share his years of experience driving innovation within international businesses to show Rossendale companies the way forward.
Even in the midst of Covid-19, the Professor from Edge Hill University has been assisting small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to make changes by hosting free webinar crisis recovery sessions.
He said: “I have a successful track record of helping SMEs to achieve 20 per cent profitable growth through effective repositioning and business process improvements. My commercial experience of working with global brands helps me to unlock performance issues quickly within SME businesses; this enables me to work with the SMEs to help prioritise their actions.”
Simon is the guest speaker at ‘Moving Forward Together’ – the third Rossendale Council Invest in Rossendale business meeting, which this year will be held virtually on Zoom on Wednesday September 2 from 6.30pm.
Rossendale Council Leader Councillor Alyson Barnes said: “We are delighted to have a first-class innovator in Simon addressing this very important meeting; he is passionate about helping businesses maximise their potential. As a council, we want to support our local companies to recover from the crisis and come back stronger.”
The event is organised in partnership with East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Valley at Work, which connects local businesses.
Simon, who lives in Ramsbottom, said: “Businesses fail because they don’t ask the right questions. We help create awareness of the issues affecting a business, support them, understand how these can be addressed, ensure there is the knowledge to accept change and help build their confidence to make the necessary changes.
“Helping businesses to understand their uncomfortable truths encourages them to be more focused. This typically leads to more effective planning and them becoming more resilient and ready for growth. As soon as they have clarity and focus, they look at their businesses in a completely different way.”
At Proctor and Gamble, Simon was a global thought leader and focused on ‘disruptive insight driven innovation’ which helped the company unlock opportunities in European and Asian Markets. He also has more than 20 years’ experience of helping worldwide organisations and brands including: the BBC, BSkyB, Hyundai and Nokia.
Simon’s Business Plus principles have been used to set up the £1m funded Productivity and Innovation Centre at Edge Hill University, which supports more than 100 SME growth companies a year. His ‘Innovation Sprint Process’ has helped participants achieve between 20 – 40 per cent growth, launch new successful products and services and employ new staff.
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Miranda Barker said: “I’m looking forward to mixing with some of Rossendale’s most innovative and vibrant businesses, working together for the economic success of the area.”
Valley at Work Chair Rob Carder said: “It is so important that everyone in Rossendale moves forward together. It is about how we are responding to coronavirus and encouraging people to talk to each other and work together where possible.”
The meeting will be held on the council’s Zoom room – contact Economic Development Officer Megan Eastwood at RBC to book a place, email MeganEastwood@rossendalebc.gov.uk
A FIVE-year-old local girl
with an incurable brain tumour will benefit from hundreds of pounds raised at a
recent baby and toddler signing training session to help her wish list come
When TalkFirst baby and toddler signing tutor Susan Broxton organised a professional session for childminders last month, she offered to use it to raise money for charity because the father of one of the participants, Lauren Ashworth, had been diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer.
Susan, from Weir, said: “The original
plan was for 10 people to be trained at Julie’s Childcare, in Rawtenstall,
where Lauren is an assistant. However, it became training for 20 people
offering extra places for local nurseries to raise money. We then
needed a larger space and Bright
School at Alder Grange came to the rescue. Lauren
was using the training as part of her Level 3 qualifications, but
sadly her father Barry (Baz) passed away just two days before the training and
so she was unable to attend.”
Local businesses generously donated prizes to make the event a success and so far £850 has been raised. However, ‘Big Dexter’, a giant version of TalkFirst’s colourful jester character that leads the signing sessions, was unable to make an appearance because Susan’s husband Andrew got his head stuck in the costume.
She said: “We had promised that Big
Dexter would be there for photographs, but because he couldn’t be, we organised
a further event on Tuesday March 31st at The Hill – home of Ski Rossendale,
where I hold baby and toddler signing classes.
“We then looked for a local glioblastoma cause for some of the money to go to and I came across Chloe’s Angels. Chloe is five and, like Baz, has the same cancer. She has a wish list of things she wants to do. We contacted the family and got approval to raise money for her.
“We have now set up Dexter’s FUNdraising and we will be making it an annual event. Money raised will also go to Parkinson’s UK in memory of my late father Mel Howey and The Brain Tumour Charity in memory of Barry Ashworth.”
TalkFirst uses local company JSA Printing for their T-shirts and marketing materials, owned by brothers Joe and Sam Aston. Sam is also Coronation Street’s Chesney and his character has just had quads, one of whom is deaf and the current storyline sees them learning baby sign language. TalkFirst baby signing has been developed to help ALL babies and toddlers to promote speech and language skills. When Susan asked for T-shirts for the
event, and explained where the funds were going, she discovered the brothers’
sister Kate, who also works in the firm, is Chloe’s auntie.
Susan said: “The coincidences have been never ending. We will be asking for donations if you’d like to have a photo taken with Dexter, we also hope to have someVIP guests on the day. After the event at The Hill, Dexter will also be at Bright Futures Nursery School in the afternoon, provided Andrew manages to get his head out of the costume properly this time!”
A YEAR after opening a bioresonance therapy clinic in
Rawtenstall, it has proved so popular a second treatment room has opened.
Although the therapy is widely used in Europe, the scientific approach to treating ailments by retuning the body is still relatively new in the UK. Friends Lisa Lomas, from Weir, who runs Biores UK, and Samantha Snowdon, from Padiham, who runs her own business SS Bioresonance, have a clinic on the first floor above Simply Vegetarian on Kay Street.
Lisa and Sam are both Jehovah’s Witnesses and became friends after they learnt sign language so when at meetings they were able to communicate with all attendees.
It was Sam who suggested Lisa try bioresonance for her husband Garry, a tree surgeon, after he found his tears were burning his skin. The machine
identified a bacteria in leaf mould was causing the problem and was able to
solve it. The complete sceptic now swears by the treatment.
Lisa and Sam trained in the therapy in Southern Ireland and then completed an intensive course in Germany. Lisa said: “We initially had one therapy room, but we were getting busier and sometimes found ourselves double booked. Now, one year on, we have opened up a second room so we can both treat patients at the same time.”
One of the clinic’s success stories is four-year-old Emma Bhunjun whose mum Jana comes originally from the Czech Republic. She said: “Emma has sleep apnoea, which meant she had a runny nose, would be snoring and often on a night she would wake herself up. Doctors wanted to remove her adenoids and her tonsils but I did not want her to have an operation. I knew about bioresonance because it is popular in Europe and they have clinics in every city, but I never knew there were any were here in the UK.
“Then I met Lisa and Sam at a Mums In Business Association meeting. I live in Manchester but I would rather come here to be treated. After the treatment, I took Emma back to the Czech Republic and they said her condition had improved. Unless the problem comes back, Emma does not need surgery and I hope she never will. She is also now wearing a magnetic bracelet and the combination of both has made a huge difference to her.”
Lisa has clients in Lancashire, London,
Lincoln and Scotland
and has held several ‘pop-up’ shops in London
and attended shows.
“Bioresonance is something that is not that well known here and for the first
few months after opening it was quiet, but in the last three months it has
really taken off which is why we have opened a second treatment room.”
MEAT from rare breeds reared in Helmshore is served in
fine dining restaurants and on cruise ships and is now available locally to
It was five years ago
that Tim Vines, his son Josh and daughter-in-law Kayley decided to try their
hand at farming having had a handful of cattle on their 15-acres of land.
Tim and his wife Debbie invested in 150 acres at neighbouring Kiln Clough Farm, in Helmshore Road, which had been used for rearing sheep. Now it is home to 93 rare breed and native cattle including Belted Galloway, Riggit and Blue Grey, and 150-200 rare breed and native pigs including Oxford Sandy and Black, Tamworth and Middle White.
In response to a BBC documentary on environmental issues stemming from intensive beef farming ‘Meat: a threat to our planet’, Tim said: “Here we have sustainable grazing livestock and they convert naturally growing grass into high quality protein. Grazing livestock acts as a natural fertiliser for the soil and it stores carbon to maintain the habitat and look after the land. Our meat is no threat to the planet.”
The family owns Northern Whisper Brewery in Cloughfold and for the last four years a hugely popular beer festival has been held on the farm over four days in August. Half the animals’ feed comes from spent grain from the brewery as sustainability is very important to the family.
Josh, 27, said: “We set up the Larder Drop for two reasons, firstly to diversify the farm’s business activities and secure our future in this time of uncertainty in the UK. Secondly, we had received a lot of messages through our beer festival page over the last few years from people wanting to buy our meat.”
Animals are supplied to a high-end wholesaler, but in response to the local demand the family has set up an online company Larder Drop and now ‘buys back’ cuts for customers. All meat sold through Larder Drop comes in as little plastic and non-recyclable packaging as possible.
Josh said: “We are promoting as many rare and different breeds because we want to do our bit to support traditional British breeds and they each provide different cuts of meat. We allow our animals to mature at their own rate and that is what gives their meat its superior texture and flavour. Our meat has 30 per cent less saturated fat and is rich in Omega 3.”
During the week Tim
and farmhands run the farm while Josh runs Northern Whisper where Kayley works.
Josh and other family members still run Response Footwear in Cloughfold, which
Tim, 62, added: “I
didn’t want to think about retiring, gardening and growing old.”
To visit Larder Drop log on to the Facebook page Kiln Clough Farm or visit www.larderdrop.co.uk. Local deliveries are made free of charge.
AN ELEVEN-year-old boy’s battle to control his emotions has been captured in a child-friendly book to help other children struggling with everyday life.
Heather Rose, 41, from Haslingden, set up her business Mindset and Me a year ago when she realised the techniques she had used to help her son Isaac Sharples, cope with his ADHD and autism could also help others.
She said: “When he left nursery and started pre-school, there were signs. Our life was complicated and there had been a number of deaths in the family, but Isaac’s reactions were extreme and he showed violent behaviour. At school they labelled him as a ‘naughty boy’ and it took us five years to finally find out what was wrong, including paying for a private diagnosis.”
Through her business, Heather created a series of products to help other children including affirmation cards, worksheets and journals. On social media, she charted the progress Isaac had made since introducing the techniques and he starred in his own video when he recounted his journey. It has been viewed more than 8,000 times.
Now it has been turned into a children’s book – ‘Isaac the Master of Emotions’ which tells the story of a shy and struggling Isaac, who can’t cope with everyday experiences and how, with help from his toy Dragon, he finds a new path. Isaac, who attends Belmont School in Rawtenstall, said: “It is about how I learnt to manage my feelings, how I learnt to deal with the daily battles when I am angry or sad and how I learnt to keep control of my emotions.
“I find it difficult to make friends and sometimes I get very shy. If I went to a park I would struggle to go and make friends with children who were playing if I didn’t know them. Now in a morning my mum and I shout positive affirmations. ‘I am brave’, ‘I am strong’, ‘I am ready’ and it makes me feel happy and it changes the way I feel about the day.
“When things get on
top of me I used not to be able to control myself and I would get into trouble.
Now I just count to 10 and I take deep breaths and I remove myself and most of
the time it works.”
Emma Pearsall, an emotional support teacher at Ashley High School and Sixth Form in Widnes – a specialist school for students with autism and social communication difficulties – has followed Isaac’s story on social media. She bought the book
and read it to students and a delighted Isaac received 10 personally addressed
He said: “They wrote
to say how much they had enjoyed the book; that made me feel happy.”
Although Heather knew she wanted to turn Isaac’s journey into a book, it took six months before she found writer Emma Bowyer, who lives in New Zealand. Heather and Emma are both members of the international
networking group Mums In Business Association (MIBA) and the book has been
written in collaboration with Isaac and Heather.
Heather, who co-ordinates Lancashire and North Manchester MIBA and is also head co-ordinator for UK and Europe, said: “I have always wanted to bring out a book and wanted to Isaac’s story to inspire others. We want to get the book to as many children as possible so it can help them to be able to control their emotions and cope with daily life situations.
“I want to change
strategies for mental health for future generations.”
Many items that can’t be recycled in the blue bin,
including felt tip pens, crisp packets and ink cartridges, can now be left at
Nicola Bailey’s cleaning franchise shop on Bank Street, Rawtenstall.
Nicola said: “We had a customer call in who explained that he had been taking recyclables to a lady in Bury. He was pleased to find out he now has somewhere local to go, so much so he came back in to take more flyers for Helmshore Recycling and said he would be distributing them among his friends.”
This month is a special one for Nicola as Bright &
Beautiful Rossendale is celebrating eight years in business.
She said: “When I took on the franchise, I initially worked from home in Rawtenstall and I was on my own. It was hard. Now I employ 14 people and own a shop; I never thought I would be where I am now.”
Last year the business won the Service Business trophy at
Rossendale Business Awards, organised by Valley at Work.
In January, Nicola took the plunge and opened in the former photo shop, and has never looked back. She said: “I had very specific requirements. The shop
needed to have storage for the cleaning teams’ equipment, a front of house, room
for the washers and dryers and office space, so I had to find the right place.
“Since opening we are bursting at the seams; there was a
real need for a laundry service and dry cleaners in the town centre.”
As well as offering a collection point for Helmshore
Recycling, run by Samantha Woodend and her daughter Caitlin, Nicola has also
slashed her company’s use of single-use plastics by buying products in bulk
containers and decanting into reusable spray bottles.
She said: “Our products have always been eco-friendly, now
we use them in as environmentally friendly way as possible.”
As part of the company’s eighth birthday celebrations, Bright & Beautiful will be opening a base in Bolton.
Nicola said: “At the moment teams have to collect equipment and products from Rawtenstall when cleaning for Bolton customers, but it is more environmentally friendly to have a base nearer the clients. We are actively marketing in that area and I will be looking to take on another team of three when we have built up the client base.”
TENTH anniversary celebrations for a virtual business
could see the company opening a town centre premises.
Digital marketing agency GrowTraffic has bases in Lancashire and South Yorkshire and bizarrely owes its origins, in part, to a website on rat breeding launched in 2000 by founder Simon Dalley.
Simon, who lives in Bacup, said: “I was at university when
I first created a website, which attracted attention from all over the world
and taught me a lot about marketing, onsite search engine optimisation (SEO)
and selling online.”
Albeit the subject matter was rather odd, the knowledge Simon acquired from those first ventures into the virtual world, coupled with a career in marketing management, led to the founding of GrowTraffic in 2009.
Simon said: “I realised that while businesses had websites, but they didn’t necessarily work for them or generate an income. GrowTraffic was set up to help companies’ boost their online presence by creating content to drive up customer numbers, but initially it was just a side line to my full-time marketing role with a view to building a client base I could fall back on in the future.
“After a few false starts, false dawns and wrong paths
over the last 10 years, the business really took flight after my wife Rachel
Weinhold began working on the business full time in 2014.”
Rachel has a degenerative back condition and was medically retired from her job in the NHS; at one stage she was bed-bound. She had always worked so, when she was well enough, she began
working with GrowTraffic’s clients as a copywriter and retrained to understand
the often misunderstood world of SEO, which is the core of GrowTraffic’s
Rachel said: “Things really took off when I went to a
Valley at Work meeting, a local group set up to help and support Rossendale
businesses. I explained what we do and we began picking up local clients.”
As a result of attending that meeting, the client base switched from national to local and the company began to soar, but the volume of new work was in danger of swamping Rachel. At the same time her sister Hannah, who lives in
Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was facing
redundancy from her position as Service Operations Manager at a tech company,
following that business’s acquisition.
She joined the GrowTraffic team as Commercial Director and began to put in place the kind of processes and systems to facilitate further growth. Simon said: “This also gave GrowTraffic access to new
contacts and a Rotherham location, and we now have a number of significant
clients throughout Yorkshire and the East Midlands.”
As a largely virtual business with employees in Rossendale and Rotherham, GrowTraffic is seeking to open a visible presence, firstly in Bacup, and is currently at an early stage in negotiations. With the trio at its helm, the company tripled its turnover
and last year won the small Business of the Year category at Rossendale
Business Awards; in January the company was a finalist in the Red
Rose Awards Digital Business category.
For the third year, GrowTraffic is ‘giving back’ by sponsoring the Creative Business category in the Rossendale Business Awards, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary. Rachel said: “The awards had a much bigger impact than I was expecting and people from all over Lancashire heard about our success.”
QUIZZERS put their
knowledge to the test to help raise £837 for the Cancer Research UK Bacup
At the Rose ‘n’ Bowl in Stacksteads, 144 attendees enjoyed tackling a host of questions from history to TV show photos, dingbats to music. The committee is currently raising money to fund research into an into ‘early warning’ blood test which can detect if melanoma will return, being carries out by a team led by Prof Richard Marais at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.
fundraising event will be a curry and quiz at the Ashoka in Rawtenstall on
Thursday October 17, 6.30pm for 7pm cost £15 per person.
December 7 a Christmas Fayre will be held at Central Methodist Church from
10am-noon admission adults £1 and children 50p.