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Archive for September, 2013

Chartered Marketer – after all these years I did it!!

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

I am delighted to announce I have been made a Chartered Marketer by the Chartered Institute of Marketing; one of only a few in Cumbria non the less!

Since being granted the authority to award Chartered Marketer status by The Queen’s Privy Council in 1998, The Chartered Institute of Marketing has been recognising professional excellence by awarding Chartered status. Chartered Marketer status is the mark of an up-to-date, experienced and qualified marketing professional.

To become a Chartered Marketer I had to complete 35 hours of continued professional development over the past two years; this has included attending conferences and seminars, undertaking private study, mentoring students, volunteering as a board member of AgeUK Carlisle and Eden and making a contribution to the local community.

I was previously a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM), but by demonstrating hard work and dedication to my continuing professional development I have been recognised by the Institute and am now allowed to use the title, as well as being listed as one of only a handful of Chartered Marketers in Cumbria in recognition of my ongoing commitment to the industry.

I am thrilled to have been able to achieve Chartered Marketer status with the Chartered Institute of Marketing.  I have worked extremely hard over the past two years, not only to build up my business, but to ensure that the work I do and the advice I give is the most up to date, relevant and valuable it can be.  I believe it is important to keep on top of developments in the industry so I can ensure my clients have access to the expert knowledge they need.

As you can probablly tell from my blog and website I have worked with many fantastic clients over the past two and a half years –  over 40 in fact!  I have been particularly involved with the Penrith Chamber of Trade and Commerce, the Pride in Penrith Lottery, Country Puddings, Penrith Building Society, Dorothy Wightman Interiors and Enterprise Answers amongst others, but my biggest projects to date have been community projects; putting somrhting back intot he town I love – including the Stars of Business Awards, Penrith Winter Festival and the Winter Droving event, which I created with Eden Arts and am currently working on again for 2013!

My morning with Val Armstrong on BBC Radio Cumbria

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

This weekend I was invited along to BBC Radio Cumbria to discuss the Sunday Papers with Val Armstrong.  I have done it once before, but I was actually a bit nervous before this one, I’m not sure why because as soon as you walk into the studio Val makes you feel so welcome.

Initially you are presented with the days papers and have to scour them quite quickly for some topics, which you find interesting that you can discuss with the guests, but that are also going to be interesting to the listener.
I think I had a good bunch of subjects this time round…

1 – The first subject was regarding an article about students, who pay around £9,000 a year for university courses, but are not satisfied with them.  After surveys were undertaken they say that they feel they are badly taught, the lecturers are disengaged or not interested in the subject and they don’t feel like they’re learning what they should.  This is so disappointing to hear.  I was once a student and took on the burden of student debt, however I graduated 11 years ago and the fees are a lot higher now.  I would be so disappointed to spend thousands of pounds a year to not get good value for money or to not be taught what I was expecting.

There seems to be lots of regulations for GCSEs and A-Levels and we hear lots about results and standards in the press, but there doesn’t seem to be the same level of regulation for degrees?  If you took a service off someone and didn’t get good value or what you were paying for you would certainly complain and I think this should be the same for students.

I was lucky to get on a great course and learnt so much; I was also an eager student keen to learn and made the most out of my time at University.  Let’s hope that after students spend all these thousands of pounds on education that they feel they have learnt what they should and leave equipped with the skills and knowledge to excel in their chosen field – god help us if they don’t and they are let loose on the working environment!

2 – My next subject was the age old subject of shopping around for a good deal, but this time to do with mortgages.  We might always take the easy option of sticking with a lender for years or walking straight into our banks and taking the first mortgage that is given to us, but the next article I read encouraged people to shop around.  Lots of the high street lenders dazzle people with low rates and too good to be true deals, but when you dig down there are many high fees or advanced payments in the small print.

The message was to look closer to home or on the internet.  I have recently purchased a house with my partner and we did just that.  Staying local was particularly important for me.  Being self employed it can often be harder to get a mortgage when you don’t have traditional pay slips and P60s.  However, we approached the Penrith Building Society who was able to help us and allowed us to buy our dream home.  It was great to have someone direct to talk to, know you could pop into branch and get straight through on the phone rather than to a call centre in another country.  It was such an easy process and the customer service was great – with no hidden extras.

I would always encourage people to use local businesses as the experience can really help save you pounds.

3 – At this point my head was hurting – well it was early on a Sunday morning, so I decided to talk about Downtown Abbey.  You may think it seems the easy option to talk about TV, but it was particularly topical as it was coming back onto our TV screens that night and had also been nominated for several Emmys.  Val and I were very excited indeed to see it back on the TV after a nine month break and a whopping cliff hanger.

It seems from the papers as well that Downton Abbey has taken the USA by storm with celebrities falling over themselves to make guest appearances or film parody’s of the drama – there are even a Simpsons and Sesame Street spin offs!  It seems that the quintessentially British drama not only captures the heart of our nation, but the hearts of our overseas friends as well.  There is just something different about Downton Abbey, great storylines, gossips, scandal and sex as well as a bit of fun and it is great to see how the characters develop over time.  I am certainly looking forward to this series.

We also spoke about Steven Hawkin copying the workings of a brain onto CD to help eternal life, the murder conspiracies over the death of Princess Diana and the issues of mental health and how TV star Martine McCutcheon has overcome these over the past seven years.

Winter Droving team invite the community to join in!

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

With the welcome news that the Winter Droving event is going to take place in Penrith again on 30th November, organisers Eden Arts are once more looking for the local community to get involved and make the event an even greater spectacle.

The inaugural Winter Droving in Penrith in 2012 saw thousands of people come into town to witness and take part in a magical fire, lantern and mask procession celebrating Eden’s community, businesses and agricultural heritage.  Eden Arts want to make this year’s event even bigger and better but need the support of local community groups, schools, businesses and individuals. There are loads of ways people can get involved, from taking part in the procession, running a stall or activity or sponsoring the event.

Eden Arts want as many children as possible to represent droving sheep in the procession by carrying lanterns and wearing sheep masks. If any community groups or schools are interested in having a ‘flock’ of sheep in the procession Eden Arts can also offer them a lantern or mask making workshop in preparation.

“thanks so much @WinterDroving WHAT A FANTASTIC EVENT! Felt very honoured to be part of an iconic celebration for Penrith – many more to come…”

The 2013 Winter Droving will see Penrith’s town centre closed to traffic for the whole day in order to allow organisers to create a food and drink market throughout and animate the town with entertainment, music and traditional games. The Winter Droving 2013 will be a day for all the family – a special Cumbrian celebration of fun and food and games – followed by the magical procession.

“….this is the beginning of a 1000 year tradition!!!” Rory Stewart MP

Eden Arts were overwhelmed at the success of last year’s event and feedback received has been fantastic.  They hope that more people will want to be involved in 2013, not only from penrith, but the surrounding area.
Adrian Lochhead, Director of Eden Arts comments,

“The Winter Droving is not just an event which Eden Arts produces; it is an event for the community – the whole community to get involved in.  It is our opportunity to collectively say ‘come to Penrith, see what a fantastic place we live in and what we can do!  We want to hear from anyone who wants to get involved, businesses, charities, community groups, individuals.  The idea of the Winter Droving is to celebrate our town, our heritage and our traditions in a new and fun way and we invite everyone to come and join us!”

Eden Arts want to hear from Sport clubs or gyms who may want to battle against each other in Tug of War or hay bale racing, community groups and schools who want to carry lanterns in the procession or run a rural game or activity, Musicians who might want to provide music entertainment in the day or businesses who could sell masks, dress up or who might want to sponsor a lantern or the event as a whole.

A new Winter Festival and Droving website will be launched in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, to find out more information about the Winter Droving and how to get involved please visit or call Eden Arts on 01768 899444.  The Winter Droving has received support and vital funding from the Pride in Penrith Lottery, Business Improvement District, Eden District Council and the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald.