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

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Cotton Court welcomes Create Theatre Academy!

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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. 

 

Digital Touch – Lockdown Reconnecting us With Our Photographic Histories

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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.

Cotton Court Residents Pull Together to Deliver First Ever Online Preston Caribbean Carnival

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Cotton Court residents UK Media and Events and Fusion Software Consulting are helping the Caribbean Carnival organisers deliver the first ever online Caribbean Carnival!

The popular event returns in 2020, despite the current COVID-19 pandemic. The usual music, dancing and atmosphere of the Carnival will be missing from the streets of Preston for the first time in 46 years.

But the organisational committee, UK Media and Events and Fusion Software Consulting have been working hard behind the scenes to hold the festival’s first ever online Carnival instead.

In the inclusive nature of the Carnival they want everyone to take part and it couldn’t be easier to get involved!

1) Visit www.prestoncarnival.co.uk

2) Upload videos, photos or a message to the website that you’d like to be included as part of the online event. Remember, the image or video the organisers feel best represents the spirit of carnival will win an iPad.

3) Put your party clothes & headdress on, fire up the barbecue, make your cocktails and enjoy the Carnival online music and videos with your favourite tipple.

One of the Carnival organisers, Tracey Harris, says “This is definitely a carnival like no other, but it is important to maintain the continuity and have a different type of event that the community can still get involved with, we aim to bring the feel of Carnival into people’s homes and garden”

Sponsor, Bradley Lincoln from FYC said “As we prepare to launch our new hair care range, we felt that being part of one of the oldest cultural events in the UK was the place to start”

Danny Bee, Director of UK Media and Events said “We were excited to be selected to produce this project; it’s the first of a kind for us but it will definitely not be the last in this new normal”

 

Water Babies are getting back in the pool!

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Following the most recent Government announcement, here in England, Water Babies will be back into pools on the 25th of July! This is fantastic news, they’ve  been working so hard behind the scenes to get ready for a safe return for their customers.

The safety of customers, as well as colleagues and teachers, is and always will be, Water Babies number one priority. In compliance with government guidance, there will be several changes to the classes to ensure that the classes are a safe place to be.

They have completely redefined their safety procedures to provide the utmost level of care and consideration for all swimmers.

Water Babies believe that learning to swim is a right that every child should have, not just for the physical, emotional and cognitive benefits it offers but also for the essential lifesaving skill that it provides. They are elated to be able to begin teaching the youngest generation to be able to swim again and can’t wait to see you back in the pool. Water Babies would like to express gratitude for the patience and enduring support of their customers during this time.

The national governing bodies for swimming have released recommended guidelines for how swimming pools can start to re-open, following closures around COVID-19 earlier this year.

Water Babies have been busy working behind the scenes to ensure they can start lessons again as soon as they can, with the safety of your family and their staff as the highest priority.

On their website, they also offer practice at home techniques, and a regularly updated FAQs section. If you want any information, contact Holly and the team on 01772 921523

 

 

Barnardo’s Leyland Centre Visit

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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

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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

Cotton Court take part in the Big PNE Sleepout!

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 On Friday 15th November the Cotton Court team along with hundreds of people will be sleeping out at Preston Deepdale Stadium to raise funds for the Foxton Centre. The Foxton Centre is a Preston based charity who are committed to helping adults and young people within the local community

Helping the city’s homeless, the sleep out aims to raise £50,000 to buy a house for Preston’s rough sleepers under the charity’s Housing First initiative. You can donate to our page here 

 

Here at Cotton Court we are entering a team of around 15 people, made up of staff and customers, to sleep out and hope to raise more than £1,000 between us!

Rochelle, said: “We are very proud to be able to be a part of the Big PNE Sleepout. Homelessness is a major issue in Preston and if we can contribute to raising awareness and money to support this cause then why not be involved.”

To make a donation towards this fantastic cause please visit Cotton Court group’s fundraising page here

 

Lancashire County Council chooses Cotton Court client to deliver its £11.25m Rosebud Fund

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A support fund available for businesses in Lancashire has a new team in charge of handing out loans designed to spark growth and jobs.

Lancashire County Council has chosen investment specialist GC Business Finance (GCBF) to deliver its £11.25m Rosebud business finance fund.

The team, based at Cotton Court, will oversee Rosebud loans from £10,000 to £300,000 for growing businesses over the next five years and will work alongside Lancashire County Developments.

It delivers more than £60m in finance to over 5,000 small and medium-sized enterprises each year. This includes managing the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund’s ‘microfinance’ funds, providing loans of between £25,000 and £100,000 to businesses across the powerhouse area.

Rosebud aims to create around 150 new jobs per year and will focus on sectors such as aerospace; advanced manufacturing; digital and creative; energy and environment; health innovation; and financial and professional services.

County councillor Michael Green, a cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “Over the last 30 years Rosebud has helped thousands of businesses across Lancashire to expand by tapping into finance to create new jobs, move premises and invest in technology. We’re incredibly pleased to be able to allocate a further £11.25m pounds to support growing Lancashire businesses to achieve their growth aspirations.”

Andy Walker, head of business growth and innovation at Lancashire County Council, said: “GC Business Finance already works closely with the Access 2 Finance service in Lancashire and has strong relationships with local businesses and the professional services community.

“It will help provide a seamless transition for the delivery of Rosebud finance, helping businesses create employment opportunities, especially the graduate-level jobs that can help us retain talent in Lancashire.”

 

Paul Breen, director of GC Business Finance, said: “Lancashire is a strong and vibrant economy and home to a vast number of successful businesses. However, some companies struggle to access funding through traditional means which is where Rosebud can play a vital role.”

Businesses interested in applying for Rosebud finance can do so through the county council website or Boost Business Lancashire. Applications for finance will be considered from businesses based in the administrative area of the council.

“Alongside GC Business Finance, the Growth Company is heading up a new initiative that has been launched across Lancashire to boost business productivity. Skills Support for the Workforce is a fully-funded programme designed to help employers bridge skills gaps in their organisation through bespoke training. Businesses can access a range of accredited and non-accredited programmes to help them upskill their staff – helping employees to progress in their careers. Skills Support for the Workforce aims to enhance staff productivity, increase morale and improve staff retention in organisations across the county”.

If you’d like more information on Skills Support for the Workforce in Lancashire and to see if your business is eligible, call 01772 920 750 or email WorkforceLancs@gcskills-support.uk.

HLS Construction Training and Health and Safety Consultation

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We are pleased to be holding the HLS #SMSTS Refresher and #SSSTS course here at Cotton Court on the 23rd-24th and the 30th-31st October 2019!

HLS are specialists in Construction Training and Health and Safety Consultation across the UK and are delighted to announce the launch of their new Preston Venue!

The team of multidisciplinary Health and Safety Instructors can provide you with both Training and Consultancy services on request. They are highly qualified and motivated to provide a top-class service.  Having a North West base in Preston’s beautiful Cotton Court is fantastic as it’s so close to all amenities and travel is made so much easier.  HLS will be launching the CITB Site Safety Plus courses in October 2019 including Site Managers Training Scheme (SMSTS) and Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) and more.

Book your place now! https://www.health-life-safety.co.uk/open-courses/

Why not check them out on Facebook or Twitter for additional courses and special offers Or call Michelle on 07961 588 881

National Baby Swimming Week With Water Babies!

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To celebrate National Baby Swimming Week which is 13th – 19th October 2019 we turn our attention to our second-floor residents Water Babies. In May last year, Holly Unsworth was the youngest ever owner of a Water Babies swimming business and has had an office at Cotton Court from day 1! 

Who are they?

25-year old Bolton-born Holly Unsworth runs the Lancashire and Bolton Water Babies, the world’s largest baby and toddler swimming franchise business.

The team, based at Cotton Court employs 15 people, including Jess (office manager), and admin assistants Gemma, VJ and Leo. 

What do they do?

The Lancashire and Bolton Water Babies franchise teaches around 900 babies a week. The sessions focus on teaching parents how to teach their babies to swim so that they can support them as they learn an important skill and develops confidence. As the world’s largest professional baby and toddler swimming programme, Water Babies teach around 47,000 children at over 560 pools every week.

What makes Water Babies great?

Baby swimming with Water Babies is an exciting, enriching experience for both parent and child. Not only does it teach vital life skills, but it also enhances the way babies and toddlers learn other skills, too. Holly and the team, work hard to make sure they have exceptionally high standards of professionalism, and no one else works harder to make sure the babies feel happy and safe. Holly said 

“ We always incorporate lots of bonding, fun and socialising, so you can be sure that a Water Baby is a happy baby!”

Find out more about what they do here… WaterBabies

The journey so far…

Holly was first inspired to dip her toe in the water as a Water Babies baby swimming teacher when she used to help out as a pool attendant as a teenager. She would watch the classes and be completely in awe of the incredible bond the teachers had with the babies. She always loved children, and she knew then that she wanted to be a part of this special time in their lives.

Holly gained several years’ teaching experience from working for a neighbouring Water Babies office, where she had the chance to run her own classes locally and jumped at it. 

What does Holly like best about having her own business?

She enjoys watching the little ones as they progress each week, and knowing that not only has she helped them in their swimming journey but have also watched them grow up, is a real privilege.

She enjoys the freedom that being her own boss gives her, she has a great team and loves being able to help her team develop and progress in their own careers. 

When asked what she thought made them successful, Franchisee Holly said “Everyone is so professional and willing to help. We’ll do as much as we can for each other and the customers and we’re all the best at what we do.” 

How can you find them?

You can get in touch with WaterBabies Lancashire by email at: digiswim@waterbabies.co.uk

Visit their website at: https://www.waterbabies.co.uk/lp/baby-swimming/lancashire

Follow them on Facebook: Water Babies (Lancashire)

Or call them on: 01772 921523