Cotton Court Business Centre

Lancashire

Cotton Court Features in Lancashire Business View

By Comments Off on Cotton Court Features in Lancashire Business View

If you haven’t already picked up a copy, check out the latest edition of Lancashire Business View . Robert takes centre stage, discussing all things entrepreneurship in The Big Interview.

Amy also talks about the importance of a good first impression for a start-up business, and how this has changed in the new ‘online world’.

Plus we spotted plenty of other familiar faces in the magazine, discussing everything from funding to the future of workplaces!

The magazine is available to read online
https://www.lancashirebusinessview.co.uk/read-lbv94-online

Cotton Court welcomes Create Theatre Academy!

By Comments Off on Cotton Court welcomes Create Theatre Academy!

We are looking forward to hosting Create Theatre Academy as they welcome back their students!

Who are Create Theatre?

Create Theatre Academy offers a unique training experience of the highest quality taught by industry professionals. Their mission at Create Theatre is to nurture talent and enhance performance skills with innovation and imagination. 

Create aim to build a strong foundation for their students so that they can succeed in reaching their full potential. They take pride in building student confidence, encouraging growth and creating a safe space for students to develop their skills in Musical Theatre and Acting. Create Theatre Academy are a triple threat school focussing on allthree disciplines, Acting, Singing and Dance, ensuring they bring to their students a wide range of knowledge in all areas of the industry.

Founded by Rebecca Eastham, Wesley Bromley and Alex May Roberts, who as a team of all working actors and creatives in the industry can provide a fresh and contemporary approach to our training, They pride themselves on being an inclusive and engaging place for individuals to embrace their own unique talents and skills.

Email : createtheatreacademy@gmail.com

Meet the team :

Wesley Bromley –

Wesley graduated from The Urdang Academy London with a distinction in Professional Musical Theatre and Dance. Wesley is currently working as a senior rehearsal director/ choreographer for talent artistic group/ tui sensatori international. 

 

 

Rebecca Eastham- 

Rebecca trained at the prestigious Mountview Academy of Theatre London in Musical Theatre (BA Hons) as well as working as a professional actress. Rebecca has taught drama and musical theatre ( including lamda exams) in various schools across the North West.

 

 

Alex May Roberts –

Alex May Robertr trained at the University of Central Lancashire and graduated with a degree in Musical Theatre (BA Hons). She is currently working as a drama tutor and is a highly skilled vocal coach. Alex is a professional musical theatre performer and is represented by a top London agent. 

 

Small Business Tips for Surviving the Pandemic (by Laura Jeffers)

By Comments Off on Small Business Tips for Surviving the Pandemic (by Laura Jeffers)

We caught up with Start-Up Competition finalist and client, Laura Jeffers who shared some of her tips for small business survival during the pandemic.

It has been a crazy year to say the least! With well established businesses shutting down all around us it’s hard to stay hopeful. If you’ve made it this far, I guess you can say you’re one of the blessed ones! 

Honestly, there isn’t yet a fool proof guide to surviving a pandemic, but here are some tips that have helped me stay afloat in business during this crazy season. 

1. Adapt your services I’m a seamstress by trade, I make garments, it’s what I love to do. Although that’s the main focus of my business, I also sell smaller accessories, African print headwraps and Bow Ties that attract other customers. Someone proposed the idea of making Masks in African print fabrics. At the time I thought it was a bad idea, I wasn’t too crazy about it, but my options were limited so I gave it a try. Initially I created a DIY mask tutorial for my YouTube channel but to my surprise, instead of generating more video views, I had hundreds more sales. Now with masks being a compulsory item in the UK, it was one of the best decisions I made for my business.

2. Keep expenses to a minimum – Last year I actually launched a second clothing brand – Stay Lit Apparel. Initially I was printing the garments locally and shipping from my studio. Although it kept costs low, I found it took a while for the garments to reach the customers, especially when the printing service was delayed or unreliable. At this point I considered buying in bulk but as it wasn’t feasible for my business at the time I researched other methods of t-shirt printing. I came across a local drop shipping company. They print the garments according to my specifications and ship them directly to the customer which also means I don’t have to hold stock. During this pandemic that has been a blessing as I haven’t had major overheads or stacks of apparel stock to shift. This has been one of the ways I’ve been able to keep business costs low and keep my brand going.

3.Tap into support where possible – The government have been offering grants for eligible small businesses. I do realise however that not everyone qualifies for this support. On doing some research I have seen that there are other initiatives being put in place to help small businesses thrive and stay afloat during lock down. It’s wise to do your research, find out what is available to you and be willing and ready to accept the support if you need it. 

4.Utilise free advertising and social media networking groups – Don’t underestimate the power of social media. My masks wouldn’t have reached as many people as they did if those who initially purchased had not shared their masks with others. It’s free for your friends, family and existing customers to share something about your brand on social media. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews and feedback. In addition to this, there are also many groups on platforms like Facebook, that you can join, to network with other small businesses in a similar situation to you. These groups provide great support and that much needed community spirit.

5.Use your time wisely – They say time is money, so make sure you use yours wisely. Why not pick up a new skill, develop in an area that can either aid your business or even develop into another one. Invest in yourself! Do something you’ve never had the time to do, spend more time with your family, try to enjoy this season even though it’s hard. 

6.Create a new normal – Try not to dwell on the past and focus on what you have lost. Instead take time to plan the future, what that might look like and how you can move forward. 

7.Don’t give up, ask for help – Last but not least don’t give up! There is always support out there to help you create the future you dream of. Life is too short sit back and do nothing. If you need help and support, get in touch with business organisations that can offer that support to you. Cotton court are on hand to help small businesses like yours thrive and grow. Take advantage of their knowledge and services. You have come so far; you owe it to yourself to not give up! 

I hope these business tips have been helpful. What have been the pros and cons of this pandemic for your business? Let us know in the comments below.

This blog post was written by Laura Jeffers a fashion designer from Preston. She currently runs two businesses, Asikara (,a African clothing and accessories fashion label) and Stay Lit Apparel (,a Christian clothing brand). If you would like to find out more about her you can follow her via the links below.

Asikara by Laura Jane – African Fashion, Headwraps & Accessories  

Www.asikarabylaurajane.co.uk

Www.instagram.com/asikarabylaurajane

Www.facebook.com/asikarabylaurajane

Stay Lit Apparel – Christian Clothing Brand

Www.staylitapparel.co.uk

Www.instagram.com/staylitapprel.co

Www.facebook.com/Staylitapparel.co

 

Continue reading

Eat Out to Help Out

By Comments Off on Eat Out to Help Out

People in Preston  will be able to make the most of a 50% discount at some of the City’s favourite restaurants with the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

The scheme, which will run between Monday 3rd August and Monday 31st August, offers 50% off your bill, up to a total value of £10 per person. You can benefit from the scheme by eating at participating venues every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday,

More information about the scheme can be found here 

Here is a list of some of the participating venues across Preston. It’s the perfect time to visit all your favourite places to eat and drink in Preston, or try somewhere new:

ICEBURG – Miller Arcade, PR1 2QY

Olive Tree Brasserie – Miller Arcade, Church Street, PR1 2QY

Heavenly Desserts – Miller Arcade, PR1 2QY

Smashed – Miller Arcade , Lancaster Road, PR1 2QY

Rise – Miller Arcade, PR1 2QY

The Stanley Arms – 24 Lancaster Road, PR1 1DA

Subway –  Miller Arcade, PR1 2QY

Baluga, Miller Arcade, Lancashire, PR1 2QY

Level – Lancaster Road, PR1 1HT

Cafune 35 Market Place, PR1 2AR

Stratos – 7 Avenham Street, PR1 3BN

McDonald’s – 174 Friargate, PR1 2EJ

EastZEast – 19 Church Street, PR1 3BQ

Subway – 10 Friargate, PR1 2AUA

Ravenous – 12 Cannon Street, PR1 3NR

Paluca’s – Guildhall Street, PR1 3NU

Wings and Beer Co – 37-38, Cannon Street, PR1 3NT

We Dont Give a Fork – 20 Guildhall Street, PR1 3NU

Raffles Coffee House – 29 Friargate Walk St. Georges Shopping Centre, PR1 2NQ

Brew and Bake – New Market, Earl Street, PR1 2JA

Cherry Pie Coffee & Co  – Market Hall, Earl Street , PR1 2JA

Thai Orchid – 33 Cannon Street, PR1 3NS

King Dumpling – 87 Lancaster Road, PR1 2QJ

Taste of Turkey 22-24, Manchester Road, PR1 3YH

Kimji Korean – 12 Winckley Street, PR1 2AA

The Cafe Bar – 11b Winckley Street, PR1 2AA

Tino’s – Hill Street, PR1 2BB

German Doner Kebab –7 Fleet Street, PR1 2UT

Azuma – 125-126 Friargate, PR1 2EE

Theatre Street Bar & Grill – 3b Theatre Street, PR1 8BQ

Moka cafe bar and restaurant –  Fishergate, PR1 2NJ

Grillaz – 121-122 Friargate, PR1 2EE

Bistrot Pierre – 83b, Fishergate, PR1 2NJ

Town House Coffee and Brew Bar – 62 Friargate, PR1 2AT

Plau – 115 Friargate, PR1 2EE

Shahzaad Tandoori Restaurant – 64 Friargate, PR1 2AT

McDonald’s – Fishergate Centre, PR1 8HJ

MOKA on the Balcony – Fishergate Centre, PR1 8HJ

The New York Pizza Co –  40-60 Walker Street, PR1 2RQ

Street Food Preston Ltd – 40-60, Walker Street, PR1 2RQ

Baba’s Biryani – 40-60, Walker Street, PR1 2RQ

Chicos – 133 Manchester Road, PR1 4HL

Starbucks – Fishergate Shopping Centre, PR1 8HL

Cool Panda – 90-91, Friargate, PR1 2ED

Fiza Foods Ltd – Unit 3C, Osbourne Street, PR1 6PZ

Traian Ltd/ Steakhouse Saloon – 100 New Hall Lane, Lancashire, PR1 4DT

Subway – 73 Fylde Road, Lancashire, PR1 2XQ

Manjaros – 79 London Road, PR1 4BA

Flipout Preston- Mercer Street, PR1 4LQ

The Destination – 1a Fishwick Park, Mercer Street, PR1 4LQ

The Continental – South Meadow Lane, PR1 8JP

Mastersons – 32 Garstang Road, PR1 1NA

House of Gelato – 32 Garstang Road, PR1 1NA

Tang – 241 Fylde Road, Ashton-on-Ribble, PR2 2NH

Top Cafe – 248 Ribbleton Lane, PR1 5EB

RK Dining – 75-77 Plungington Road, PR1 7EN

Gusto Italia – 6-8, Watery Lane, Ashton-on-Ribble, PR2 2NN

Rosemary on the Park – Moor Avenue, PR1 6AU

McDonald’s – Capitol Centre, Walton-le-Dale, PR5 4AW

Starbucks – Unit 8, Capitol Centre, PR5 4AW

The Yew Tree – 100 Victoria Road, Walton le Dale, Lancashire, PR5 4AU

Goffys – Deepdale Retail Park, Blackpool Road, PR1 6QY

McDonald’s – Deepdale Retail Park, Blackpool Road, PR1 6QY

KFC – Deepdale Park Blackpool Road, Lancashire, PR1 6QY

Pinocchios- 34 Chorley Road, Walton-le-Dale, PR5 4JA

Marinos – 156 Watling Street Road, Fulwood, PR2 8AH

No 15 Cafe – 15 Priory Lane, Penwortham, PR1 0AR

Plungington Hotel – 67 Lytham Road, Fulwood, PR2 3AR

The Hunters – Hennel Lane, Lostock Hall, PR5 5UL

Lime Bar Lounge – 42a Liverpool Road, Penwortham, PR1 0DQ

Ristorante Salvatore’s – 61-63 Liverpool Road, Penwortham, PR1 9XD

Tap and Vine – 69 Liverpool Road, Penwortham, PR1 9XD

The Cow Shed – 85 Liverpool Road, Penwortham, PR1 0QB

Preston Golf Club – Fulwood Hall Lane, Fulwood, PR2 4DD

McDonald’s – Pedders Way, Ashton-on-Ribble, PR2 2TX

Booths – Millbrook Way, Penwortham, Lancashire, PR1 0XW

The Sir Tom Finney – Central Drive, Penwortham, PR1 0NL

The Beam and Brycg – 2 Station Road, Bamber Bridge, PR5 6QL

Walton Arms – St. Aidans Road, Bamber Bridge, PR5 6GD

KFC – 456-458 Leyland Road, Lostock Hall, PR5 5RY

McDonald’s – Asda Supermarket, Pittman Way, Fulwood, PR2 9NP

Booths Cafe –  260 Sharoe Green Lane, Fulwood, PR2 9HD

The Ginger Bistro – 333 Garstang Road, Fulwood, PR2 9UP

Withy Arms – 122 Station Road, Bamber Bridge, PR5 6QP

Lyn’s Lunch Box – 14 Birkdale Drive, Ashton-on-Ribble, PR2 1UL

Subway Tickled Trout Services – Riverside Filling Station, Preston New Road, PR5 0UJ

Lillybetts – 784 Blackpool Road, Lea, PR2 1XL

Tiny TeaCups Play Cafe Ltd – Unit 4, Cotton Mill Road, Bamber Bridge, PR5 6LF

The Mill Cafe –  St Catherines Park, Lostock Lane, PR5 5XU

Subway – Unit 4, Fulwood Central, Olivers Place, Fulwood, PR2 9BQ

Clip n Climb – 1b Wyder Court, Ribbleton, PR2 5BW

WA Bar and Bistro – 2-4, Spinners Square, Bamber Bridge, PR5 6EQ

Preston Grasshoppers RFC – Lightfoot Green Lane, Fulwood, PR4 0AP

Ashton & Lea Golf Club –  Tudor Avenue, Lea, PR4 0XA

New Hall Tavern – Cuerdale Lane , Lancashire , PR5 0XA

Stickyweeds Coffee Shop – 328 Chapel Lane, New Longton, PR4 4AB

Dobbies Garden Centre – Blackpool Road, Clifton, PR4 0XL

 

Digital Touch – Lockdown Reconnecting us With Our Photographic Histories

By Comments Off on Digital Touch – Lockdown Reconnecting us With Our Photographic Histories

We caught up with Jilly Jackson of Digital Touch and she discussed how their photo editing and retouching services have seen a surge in popularity as people are reconnecting with their photographic histories, during the lock down. 

Many people have used the period to remind themselves what is really important in their lives, and photographs are one of the best conduits we have to the past. Digital Touch feel that this is due to nostalgic social media photo challenges, the gaining popularity of sorting through old photo albums, and people reminding themselves that what’s gone before will come again. 

Read their blog about it here.

Reimagining the Future of Workspaces – Flexibility Takes Centre Stage

By Comments Off on Reimagining the Future of Workspaces – Flexibility Takes Centre Stage

As the world evolves, so must workspaces. Technological advancements have revolutionised the business landscape at an unprecedented rate; from e-commerce to automation. In the workplace, this translates to increased flexibility and mobility in the way we work.

To improve workplace productivity and motivate employees, businesses must adopt office practices that complement the ongoing trend in the labor market; flexibility and mobility.

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

Winston Churchill,

A growing number of organisations are realising the importance of flexible workspaces. Startups, SMEs, and Fortune 500 companies are embracing the changing tides in the industry. But what are the benefits of flexible workspaces? What do businesses stand to gain from flexible serviced offices.

What Exactly is a Flexible Workspace?

A flexible workspace is basically a fully-serviced office that requires little-to-no set-up costs, and minimal time to set up. It offers the features of a conventional office, but without the hassle of designing, set up, and long term leases.

The idea of flexible workspaces is rooted in the concept of co-working. Co-working spaces offer a centralised shared area, surrounded by small or large private offices. The shared area typically houses various amenities, lounges, and conference rooms. This gives employees flexibility and mobility throughout the day.

What are the Benefits of a Flexible/Collaborative Workspace?

Regardless of your company size, flexible workspaces offer value to both the employees and the business.

  1. Agility

Market expectations and consumer habits are constantly evolving. As priorities shift, organisations must align their workforce to correspond to the changes. This fast-moving world demands a certain level of agility; which is offered by flexible workspaces.

One of the main benefits of a serviced office is the flexibility offered with contracts and leases. Businesses no longer need to be tied to a fixed lease,meaning they can enjoy greater flexibility as market conditions change. For example, a company can deployer a project team closer to a target market for a short period and relocate immediately after finishing the project.

  1. Cost-Saving

Flexible workspaces significantly improve the bottom line by allowing businesses to cut costs. Businesses only pay for what they need now, on a month-by-month basis, rather than what they may need two years down the line.

For example, if you’re setting up a regional office and you have around 10 employees, renting a long-term full-floor office would result in unnecessary costs and wasted space. But if those employees were placed in a flexible workspace, they would still enjoy the perks of dedicated office space, minus the costs of a traditional model.

  1. Foster Connection and Interaction

In an increasingly virtual world, characterised by improved connectivity and remote working; does working from an office still offer benefits? Or is working from home the new normal?

The truth of the matter is that people who thought working from home would be great are now recognising that the office plays an important role. An article appearing in the Harvard Business Review notes that “face-to-face interactions are by far the most important activity in an office.”

Employers also have to consider the needs and preferences of employees

  1. Employees Comfort and Motivation

Flexible workspaces are designed for activity-based working that aligns to the employees’ working style. This gives employees greater flexibility over how and where they work thereby increasing their productivity, work quality, and satisfaction. According to a study by Herman Miller, worker comfort affects operational efficiency by increasing job satisfaction, retention, productivity, and well-being.

  1. Improved Scalability

Looking to expand your business? Planning to build a team in a test market before entry? Serviced offices allow you to scale, regardless of your company size. Setting up an office is fast and moving in is easy, especially since operational tasks are catered for.

Takeaway

Flexible offices offer a ton of benefits that can improve the bottom line, while fostering employee satisfaction. Businesses no longer need the kind of real estate they once did, and can therefore reduce costs.

In other words, flexible workspaces are the future! In an increasingly dynamic and fast-paced world, businesses need to adopt practices, policies, and office designs that align with the changing times.

Home……and Away

By Comments Off on Home……and Away

Over the last few months the way everyone is working has changed. As people are starting to take steps back towards normality, we want to help people and businesses look at new ways in which they can keep both their team safe and productivity high.We’ve been looking into some of the challenges and also the benefits that the lockdown has presented to people in business, right across the spectrum from freelancers to large organisations of many descriptions.

People have gone from being in the office full time, or nearly full time, to spending an entire working week at home and have adapted quickly. However, for some people it isn’t without new struggles; whether it is a lack of focus at home due to other distractions, concerns about client confidentiality and privacy on phone calls, maintaining team cohesion and direction on collaborative projects, or simply just desperate for a change of scene and want to separate home and work life a bit more. Not to mention the aches and pains that come with sitting on a kitchen chair for 8 hours a day, hunched over a laptop.

Businesses day to day operations have had to shift, the plans for the future may look considerably different, and they are looking at new ways in which they can maintain collaboration, productivity and focus, whilst prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of the employees and their families.

One of the priorities for businesses of all sizes now is increased flexibility, and we want to support customers and the business community to be able to work whichever way best suits their needs.

So maybe you’re an entrepreneur who only needs to use professional services such as meeting rooms, admin services or printing for a week at a time. Maybe you’re working for a large company and your office is operating at reduced capacity so you want somewhere else to work from. Or maybe you have a small team who are happy working from home but sometimes want a change of scene or need to work collaboratively. We have introduced some new service options to help customers take flexibility to the next level.

Our new services include
Remote Working Bespoke Package – We understand that every remote working team has different needs and challenges, so our new offering enables you to build a custom, remote working package for your business and your team. You can choose as few or as many of the services you need, whether its occasional office use, printing services or a business phone number.

Socially Distanced Workspace – We are also offering offices on flexible terms, even if you just need to work from somewhere for a day, maybe you have children at home and you could benefit from a few days of quiet focus each week in our new socially distanced workspaces. We have large offices set up too, so it’s ideal if you need to get your team together.

Pay As You Go Desk Space – On demand access to a professional working environment. No contracts, so it’s ideal if people want a change of scene now and again.

Digital Training Centre – Coming Soon! Training professionals and speakers that are switching to online or blended training can come into our new digital training space, fully equipped with filming equipment and access to video communications software to deliver their courses.

CompTIA Opens free IT-Ready Boot Camp At Cotton Court

By Comments Off on CompTIA Opens free IT-Ready Boot Camp At Cotton Court

We are looking forward to hosting CompTIA and it’s tech workforce charity, Creating IT Futures eight-week information technology (IT) boot camp which is the first of its kind in the UK.  Funded in partnership with the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership as part of the DCMS Digital Skills Innovation fund, IT-Ready will offer free technical support training to help adults launch their careers in IT.

“With more than 140,000 IT jobs open in the UK and the average IT salary being 56 percent higher than the national wage, employers need more tech workers and more workers need more opportunities,” said Charles Eaton, CEO, Creating IT Futures and vice president, social innovation, CompTIA. “With IT-Ready, we help more adults get the training they need to fill tech jobs, gain an upwardly mobile career, and earn family-sustaining wages.”

 “We are delighted to be working in partnership with DCMS to support the roll-out of the IT-Ready programme in Lancashire,” said Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, director of the Lancashire Skills Hub, Lancashire LEP.  

“The initiative, which is fully aligned with needs of local business, offers Lancashire residents a fantastic opportunity to develop their digital skills and improve their employment prospects,” Lawty-Jones added. “It’s also another great example of how the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, which is part of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, is raising the skills of our digital workforce to boost productivity while also driving inclusive growth across the county.”

Interested adults can visit www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire by 23rd January to enrol in the full-time, classroom-based IT-Ready boot camp classes that begin on 10th February 2020. IT – ready primarily serves:

  • Lower-income adults due to unemployment or underemployment
  • Displaced workers whose skill sets are no longer in high demand
  • Groups under-represented in the ranks of IT workers, such as women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

 

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, a UK citizen or permanent resident and have 4 GCSEs (including Maths and English) or equivalent. No prior experience in tech is necessary, but a love of technology, a strong level of commitment and a drive to succeed are extremely important. 

IT-Ready students receive free tuition, learning materials, tech and soft skills training, and certification vouchers. They learn technical skills to help them successfully pass both parts of the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Plus, students receive professional development training to refine highly sought-after business skills including communication techniques, conflict management, teamworking, critical thinking and problem-solving. Graduates are prepared to apply both technical and professional skills starting day one of their first tech job. 

Creating IT Futures developed IT-Ready in 2012, and CompTIA UK Ltd staff will work with local employers to hire IT-Ready graduates in Lancashire. Within four months of graduating, 85 percent of IT-Ready students typically are working in a paid IT role with local area companies, earning £16,000 – £18,000 annually. Graduates move into help desk tech roles, building and maintaining a business’s IT environment and assisting its internal and external customers.  

Applicants should apply by 23rd January at www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire

About Creating IT Futures
Creating IT Futures is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at www.creatingITfutures.org.  

About CompTIA

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem; and the more than 50 million industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for advancing the tech industry and its workforce. Visit www.comptia.org to learn more.

 

Barnardo’s Leyland Centre Visit

By Comments Off on Barnardo’s Leyland Centre Visit

Since 1870, Barnardo’s have been helping disadvantaged children and young people. Today they support hundreds of thousands of individuals across the UK and beyond, and approximately 520 children and young people in Lancashire. Last year, Cotton Court’s Christmas toy appeal was able to benefit over 400 of these people. 

In the lead up to this year’s appeal, I (Rochelle) was keen to meet with Jenny, manager at the Barnardo’s centre in Leyland, to find out even more about the charity. The centre is home to young people aged 16 to 21, and after hearing about the organisation and the individuals that Jenny and her team support, I was eager to see it for myself.

You may have some preconceived ideas of what a centre for 16 to 21 year olds from troubled backgrounds will be like. But even on first impressions, these unfounded assumptions will vanish. Despite the start to life that these young people have had, the emotional struggles and trust issues that they have faced and the unconventional living situations that they have endured, they are given the opportunity to feel safe at Barnardo’s – and this is an opportunity they grasp with both hands. The centre has a homey feel with a comfortable front room and a lovely garden decorated with quotes from past and present residents about their time at the centre and how it has impacted their lives. 

The residents have rules that they must abide by and are responsible for paying their own rent and food shopping etc. Barnardo’s gives them the structure that they desperately want and need. Some of the young people come from care homes that they have lived in since the age of ten, some have come from families where both parents have struggled with addiction, and others have come from families where they have witnessed severe domestic violence. Many arrive at the centre with only a carrier bag of belongings. Regardless of their situation, each and every new resident is welcomed with open arms, and the team source items they are in need of, from clothes to materials and supplies for college.

Amy and Rochelle visiting Barnardo's centre in Leyland

The centre not only offers them a safe and secure living environment, it also offers them the emotional and educational support that they need to be able to live independently as an adult. Jenny described what she and her team do as nurturing their residents until their wings are strong enough for them to fly on their own, and that is exactly what they do. For example, three people from this centre started university this year despite initially believing that it was an achievement that someone like them wouldn’t be able to reach.

Due to certain circumstances, a lot of these young people have no one at Christmas – no family to open presents or enjoy Christmas Dinner with. Thankfully, the centre is staffed 24/7, and this includes the whole Christmas period. The team at the home make Christmas Dinner and spend the day playing games and watching films with the residents. However, the one thing that they aren’t able to do is buy presents for them (as much as they would love to be able to). This is why this appeal means so much.

The donations raised truly make a difference to these people, some of whom haven’t had a Christmas present for years. To be able to wake up on Christmas Day and receive an unexpected and heartfelt gift is a small gesture that means a great deal. No child or young person should feel alone, unloved, uncared for or underprivileged at any time, but especially at Christmas. One gift or a small donation goes a long way, and hopefully we can make this the biggest and best toy appeal to date. 

As well as benefiting residents at the Leyland centre, the appeal also benefits families across Lancashire that Barnardo’s work closely with. Whether it’s a young carer aged from just five years old whose family struggles every year to afford presents, or a parent who is battling addiction, the appeal will make a positive difference to their Christmas. Here are some comments we received about last year’s appeal:

Thank you so much for all the presents for Ad and his siblings, they really are amazing – I can’t believe they are from such nice people who don’t know my family. It proves there really are caring people out there, the kids have never had Christmas crackers before!”

“I really wasn’t expecting any presents, Christmas is really hard but you have made it that bit better, thank you so much!”

I cannot stress enough how much the appeal means – not only to the families, young people and children it benefits, but also to the staff who genuinely care for them. Giving is not just about making a donation, it’s about making a difference. The appeal is a simple concept that makes a huge difference to so many children and young people across Lancashire. If there is any way – big or small – that you are able to get involved, we would greatly appreciate it. Find out how to get involved HERE

The Big PNE Sleepout

By Comments Off on The Big PNE Sleepout

Friday 15th November saw a team of us from Cotton Court take part in the Big PNE Sleepout. The event was organised by Preston North End in the Community, Blog Preston and BIFFA who have joined with The Foxton Centre – a Preston based charity celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019.

Whilst we had time to prepare for this challenge, it wasn’t what we had expected and was much tougher than we initially thought.

We joined around 300 others who were also taking part, in the concourse at the stadium where we were handed a piece of cardboard that would act as our ‘bed’ for the night.

 

At first, it seems almost exciting to be able to take part in something that you wouldn’t usually find yourself doing. However, as the night goes on this challenge becomes exactly that and it is a hard one. The home comforts that we regularly take for granted like a comfy pillow and a nice mattress are missed. You may feel tired but to find that position that you are comfortable enough to sleep in without the luxuries that we are accustomed to is very difficult. The neck aches and back aches begin and it makes it somewhat impossible to sleep. On top of that you are battling with the cold!

 

When you do finally manage to drift off to sleep you are constantly tossing and turning meaning that you aren’t actually getting the sleep required in order to be able to feel satisfied.

This really highlighted for us what those that are homeless have to endure and on a much tougher scale. This helped us all stick it out despite some of us wanting to leave at points, because we knew that these people don’t have that choice.

It was a real eye opener being able to experience the sleepout and we are so very grateful to all of the organisers and everyone who supported us and donated. We were aiming as a team to raise £1000 and to date we have raised £1193 so a huge thank you to all of you. We sincerely hope that this money can contribute to making a difference in Preston where homelessness is a major issue.

The Sleep Out had a target of £50,000 to raise for The Foxton Centre’s Housing First scheme and has already exceeded this in online donations. 

You can have a look at our photos from the event here:

https://bit.ly/2O4PdVs