Community Centre Means the World | Newton-le-Willows

Community Centre Means the World | Newton-le-Willows

This might be an actual local blog for local people (10 points if you caught the League of Gentlemen reference) but I honestly had to write a post today about my local Community Centre….

Newton Family & Community Centre is based in my local area and is the most amazing resources for local residents. When I moved to Newton in 2014 it was struggling and in fact put an SOS as they had to raise £10,000 to stop the centre from closing. Well thanks to a lot of hard work and kind donations, the money (and then some) was raised and the centre was saved.

Due to the this success, the centre then put in for and crucially WON, a huge Big Lottery bid for enough money to keep the centre going for 3 years. Brilliant eh… So when I was asked by the chair of the management committee to get involved, I couldn’t really say no.

So I am proud to say that I am now on the management committee of the centre and I can’t wait to get stuck in!

The centre recently had it’s yearly review and celebration and as part of their Big Lottery funding report, they decided that instead of not only writing down their achievements, they would commission a film to show people what they did too.. I love this, take a look:

So keep an eye out for the odd articles in the future as I can’t wait to show you what we get up to.

If you love your community, it will love you right back.

G x

Stressful 4 month ¦ Life Update

Stressful 4 month ¦ Life Update

OK, little re-cap. Until the end of February 2019 I worked for The Prince’s Trust, but after my commute had got ridiculous, I decided to leave for my local NHS Trust, which was 10 minutes away.

8 weeks into the new job, I quickly realised, that it wasn’t for me, and when I say 8 weeks, I mean 2, but I gave it another 6 just to make sure. So I started to look for another and I was lucky enough to find one at Addaction, which is a national addiction and mental health charity. Thrilled!!!

I handed my notice in at the NHS and they told me that despite me only working there for 8 weeks, I would have to work 8 weeks notice. You can imagine my face.

The sad thing is, I think it made me a bit depressed, not clinically maybe, but certainly very very fed up. It’s been soul destroying spending 8 hours, 5 days a week in a job that I seriously haven’t enjoyed. Also, the project I was employed to support hasn’t stopped, so I haven’t had a “quiet” 8 weeks, I’ve still had to attend meetings and deliver training with the same enthusiasm and pace, which to be honest, was much harder than it looked.

It’s been exhausting and I’ve suffered because of it. I’ve become a bit withdrawn from and in social engagements as I have used all my energy during the week pretending to be interested in my job.

Also, in my penultimate week, I found out that if I had stayed, I would have been TUPE’d over to the very NHS trust that I have hated working with. The whole thing has been a massive cluster f*ck.

The sad thing is, is that more recently I have been working solely within my lovely team and if it had been like that at the beginning, then I might not have even looked elsewhere. But I DO have a fab job to go to and have keep in communication during that 8 weeks and I can’t wait to start working for them.

But first, M and I are having a couple of days away in York to fully rest and relax. I can’t wait for that either!

Hope you’ve had a better 8 weeks than me.

Gill x

Dogfest 2019 | Pupdate

Dogfest 2019 | Pupdate

I have never been to a festival, Glastonbury and the like has never appealed to me, all the mud and grubby portaloos. No thanks. However, add in 1,000s of dogs, then YES PLEASE!!

Today we have been to DogFest which is basically a festival for dogs! Also, NO, I’m not kidding! There are 3 a year, with one of them being in the North West of England at Tatton Park here:

I bought tickets a while ago and this morning when we rocked up about 20 minutes before the gates opened, there were probably already 50-100 people queing to get in! The gates opened at 9:30am and by that time there were another 50 people waiting and when I said “people” I mean dog owners and their dogs. Every single person that we saw had a dog with them and it was GLORIOUS!

There was lots going on and even appearances by TV presenter Claire Balding and Noel “Super Vet” Fitzpatrick at various points during the day.

There were hundreds of stalls selling most things you could want for a canine friend as well as A Big Top, Flyball, Dog Agility, Hay bale races, Puppy training, Main Stage and a Show Ring.

People were walking round with the biggest smiles on their faces just marvelling at the wide variety of dogs shapes, sizes and breeds with hardly a growl between them.

Tatton is a HUGE park, so even though it was very busy, it never felt too cramped or claustrophobic. M and I have been to both Crufts and The Good Food Show at the NEC a few years ago but after a couple of hours both events felt much too crammed and stuffy. Not this event though, being outside definitely helped.

All the stall holders were in great moods and we even said hello to Reach Sled Dogs who appear in my Newton Town Show Video from 2016!

Daisy herself can sometimes get a bit timid in new situations and she is definitely not great in crowds where she is too “closed in”. She tends to jump up to me when she’s not feeling to comfortable, so I give he a little cuddle to reassure her everything is ok. Bless her.

Another cool thing we did was say hello to the lovely people at Cheshire Dogs Home (where we adopted Daisy from) who had a stall there and Daisy got a lovely cuddle from one of the Volunteers. She bent down, tickled Daisy’s head and said “You’ve fallen on your feet” and then looked at us and said “I’m talking to you guys”!! So right 😍

We finished our day by revisiting one of the first stalls we saw when we arrived as we got Daisy some well deserved treats. What an AWESOME day. Very well organised, lots of interesting things to see and do and SOOO many dogs to cuddle and look at. M said he would have liked slightly more variety in the stalls (we saw a million stalls selling leads and collars) but otherwise I would give it 9/10. Fantastic day out.

Gx

p.s. we timed our visit perfectly as 10 minutes after we left, the heavens opened! Phew.

p.p.s Daisy has been inspecting the inside of her eyelids in her new collar ever since we got home!

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There is more that binds us together than keeps us apart | Dear Diary

There is more that binds us together than keeps us apart | Dear Diary

Thank you, next | Life Update

Thank you, next | Life Update

A while ago, M and I were going through some important stuff and were finding it hard to make decisions about things. I can’t now remember where I saw it, but a quote said:

No Big Decision is ever a final decision

Unknown

This really struck a chord with me as often I struggled to make decisions, having the mentality, “Once I’ve decided, that’s it! No going back”, which I now realise really isn’t true.

At the end of February 2019, I left The Prince’s Trust after 6 very happy years, it was a bittersweet parting, but the commute had got ridiculous and so I took a job at my local NHS Trust, which is just 10 minutes away. Commuter HELL to Commuting Dream!

But the fact of the matter is, is that it just hasn’t worked out. I have ended up working between two teams that don’t get on and have been forced to work with some of the least supportive people I have ever encountered. 😣

Life is too short to be surround by the “not my job” type of people, so I am moving on after 4 short months. From July I will be working for AddAction and I can’t wait.

I have met them a few times and I loved them, right from the point of interview. I can only hope for the best and please do wish me luck.

New chapter for the second time this year… 😜😜😜

G x

1st timers guide to The Lake District

1st timers guide to The Lake District

The Lake District is my favourite place in the world to visit and I love it so much that we even went there on Honeymoon. So when my friend told me she was visiting for the 1st time, I put together a list for her to tell her all of our favourite places. So thought I would share this with you.

Eating and Drinking 

There are LOADS of different places to go so I can’t really recommend anything. The only one I would say is get fish & chips from The Old Keswickian Chippy in Keswick. Lush. 

https://goo.gl/maps/8GJDaxuPGXVe8fVy8

Grasmere Gingerbread  – I can highly recommend visiting the gingerbread shop in Grasmere. It’s the tiniest little shop with a constant queue. The gingerbread is immense though and worth queuing. 

https://goo.gl/maps/qKjD8ziNC2G7eFvr9

Supermarkets 

The main Supermarket in The Lake District is  Booths, which I think are in Keswick and Ambleside, bit pricey but loads to choose from. https://www.booths.co.uk/ 

Towns To Visit 

  • Keswick
  • Ambleside
  • Bowness
  • Windermere
  • Kendal (not like the above, just an average/normal town – but good if you need Boots or other high street stuff). 

Good Walks

Tarn Hows – https://goo.gl/maps/tkt4M99uvsdYZcqHA ( beautiful walk round a tarn, visitors car park and loos)

Stock Ghyll Force – https://goo.gl/maps/bfb5o6JTgovHHV5V7 The start of this walk starts up a path by the side The Salutation Hotel in Ambleside. Beautiful waterfall at the end. 

Cat Bells (DerwentWater) – I have never done this as it’s a good few miles, but I believe it’s stunning once you get to the top – https://www.keswick.org/what-to-do/walking-routes/catbellswalkingroute 

Keswick Railway Path Walk – https://www.keswick.org/what-to-do/walking-routes/keswick-to-threlkeld-railway-path 

Grizedale Forest – visitors centre, walks, loos and bike hire. https://www.forestryengland.uk/grizedale

Whinlatter Forest – Cafe, big visitors centre, lots of walks, loos and bike hire. Lots of parking. https://www.forestryengland.uk/whinlatter 

Dodd Wood. – Not much parking, people mostly park in the various little lay-bys. https://www.forestryengland.uk/dodd-wood

Give it a try 

A good way to leave your car behind and still see lots of places is to use the ferries that go across the various bodies of water. Our favourites is: 

Windermere Ferry – Get the Mountain Goat (small bus service but actually named Mountain Goat!) to Hawkshead – but you can also access Beatrix Potter’s house using this service too. https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/highways-pavements/windermereferry.asp

Go-Ape – Aerial Assault Course.  So much fun and there is one at Grizedale and Whinlatter Forest. https://goape.co.uk/days-out/north/grizedale

For A Treat 

If you wanted to treat yourself to a lovely afternoon tea or just a VERY nice meal or spa, we have been to all of these places and they were AMAZING! 

Armathwaite Hall – Huge country house hotel, right on the edge of Derwentwater. A little more faded than it once was, but the views and general feel of the hotel are lovely. They do a FAB afternoon tea. https://www.armathwaite-hall.com/dining/afternoon-tea/

Gilpin Lodge – Another good place for afternoon tea – highly recommend https://thegilpin.co.uk/

Also Holbeck Ghyll is pretty nice too…. afternoon tea (are you spotting a theme?!) https://www.holbeckghyll.com/

Those are my recommendations for a good rounded trip of the Lakes, but to be honest this is the tip of the iceberg as there is SOOO much more to do. I would love to hear what you love if you have visited.

G x

10 Tips on how to produce good social media content

10 Tips on how to produce good social media content

I see a lot of social media, some good and some bad, so I have put together a top 10 of things you can do to improve your social media content. These tips works for both business and personal accounts, but I am mainly going to focus on how to edit engaging content.

Tip 1 – Grammar

Social Media is your “shop window” and can often be the first engagement someone has with you or your business. It’s important therefore that every single thing you post has good grammar and spelling. Not only does it look better, it’s distracting if it’s wrong.

Tip 2 – Font

Did you know that some fonts are easier to read than others. In particular if someone has Dyslexia then Serif fonts are much more difficult to tackle than Sans Serif fonts.

Tip 3 – Make it Catchy

People often make the mistake of putting in too much information when advertising something in their social media. Here’s my rule for getting the balance right.

No more than 4 pieces of information in a single post and provide a link or click through for further information.

(C) gilliblogs 2019

I use this rule as most people visit an image for literally 2-3 seconds before they click off. Also, most people can remember just 4 pieces of information quickly and so it’s paramount that the 4 you post are the important ones.

e.g. Event Title, Event Date, Event Time, Event Location.

There is bound to be more information that’s important, but that is what the click through is for.

Great example on Twitter, the picture is the click-through

Tip 4 – Photos of People

My top tip for taking photos of people is that the best ones are the ones where people are engaged in activity. Your subjects don’t always have to be looking at the camera, but they need to be doing something. My lovely ex-colleague and general social media GURU @jessalbone is fab at this and you only have to look at the Merlin Annual Pass Socials to see what I mean!

Pro Tip – If you are publishing photos of people, always make sure you have permission first.

Tip 5 – Accessibility

Newsflash, people with disabilities use social media too!

There are a few things you can do on social media to help people with disabilities engage with you or your business. Firstly, you can use Tip 1 and make sure things are spelled correctly and of course make sense. Did you know that if someone uses British Sign Language, then THIS is their first language and not English. Good spelling and clear English is therefore really important when getting a message across.

Also, there are options on most social media platforms for you to add “Alternative Text” to a photo. This is an option that you can turn on which will allow you to add a description to a photo so that when people with visual impairments have screen reading software on their devices, it will tell them what the photo depicts.

Tip 6 – Make it Move

OK, so this tip can really help make your content much more engaging, as when I say “Make it Move” I mean use short videos or Boomerangs. There are features in Instagram, Facebook and Twitter which will allow you to create short and fun videos for free with lots of fun options.

However, you could just keep it simple by showing a quick 10 second highlight or short video of an event to give people an idea of what you do or just what happened. A good example of this was the campaign used around the recent BBC series, Line of Duty.

Tip 7 – Get your profile right

One thing that drives me a bit mad is when I see an account on social media of a business that sounds cool, only for me to check their profile and it tells me nothing.

Pro tip – People always want to know the basics about your business e.g. what you do, where you are, when are you open.

Without the basics, your “shop front” becomes static and your engagements will be massively reduced.

Great example of a well set up social profile. https://twitter.com/Vigourkitchen

Tip 8 – Engage with your followers

Very often, people treat their social media as a one way street. They post regular content, but don’t often engage with their followers. What do I mean by engagement?

  • Answer all questions honestly and factually. Be polite at all times, everything is public and not easily removed.
  • Make sure you thank people for Reposting things, they have given you a free advert!
  • Ask questions to promote engagement. For example…

Tip 9 – Remain positive

We all know the internet can be as horrible as it can be fun, and people are not always polite but that shouldn’t mean that you have to be anything other than positive.

Even if someone is being horrible to you on your socials, remain calm and block if you need to. Remember that social media is your shop window and no-one needs to see you having a row about a delayed order or a cold lunch.

via GIPHY

Tip 10 – Enjoy yourself

This is a classic, but very true thing, if you enjoy your engagement with social media, this will come across and people will return daily to see what you post. Post often and positively and people will actively search you out.

Well that’s it! Hope that’s helped and please do leave a comment below or on any of my socials 💗

G x

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