Cotton Court Business Centre

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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

Barnardo’s Christmas Gift Appeal 2019

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Cotton Court Business Centre is once again inviting members of the local business community to come to the aid of disadvantaged young people in the county.

Each year the business hub launches its Christmas Gift Appeal in aid of Barnardo’s, and the 400+ disadvantaged young people it supports across Lancashire.

The appeal asks businesses and members of the public alike to spare a thought for disadvantaged young people in their area this Christmas, by donating a gift that can be opened on Christmas Day.

The appeal has gone from strength to strength and is now in its seventh year, but unfortunately, as momentum for the cause grows, so too has demand. Cotton Court is pushing the campaign especially hard this year, to make sure that no Barnardo’s supported young person is left without a present to open on Christmas Day.

Cotton Court Managing Director Robert Binns said:

“Every year we’re blown away by the support that members of the local community show the appeal. It’s a great way for everyone to come together at a special time of year and show the young people that Barnardo’s supports that we care.

When we started the appeal we set out to make sure that no young person that Barnardo’s supports be left without a gift on Christmas Day, and it was magical to achieve that for the last few years. However, the demand for Barnardo’s services increases each and every year, and we’re in danger of not meeting that target this Christmas unless the good people of Central Lancashire can come together and do something magical this festive season, and put a smile on a young persons face.”

The Barnardo’s appeal in 2018 was a great success,

Jenny Ashcroft, Children’s Services Manager at Barnardo’s Lancashire said:

“Once again we are extremely grateful for the support from Cotton Court to Barnardo’s services in Lancashire to enable the children and young people we work with to be gifted with a present this Christmas. 

As a charity we work with children and young people across Lancashire in a range of services, we would be very grateful for gifts for all age groups – particularly older children, teenagers and young adults.

The support from individuals and businesses to this appeal is amazing, we cannot thank you enough for the opportunity for our staff to pass on the Christmas gifts to those they work with and how excited and thankful our children and young people are to receive the thoughtful gifts bought for them.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved with the Christmas Gift Appeal, no matter how big or small your donation it will go a long way to making a difference this Christmas to the child or young person that receives it.”

There is a particular focus on gifts for older children, teenagers and young adults. Many people think that Barnardo’s supports just very young children, but this isn’t the case. The service supports people into their teenage years and young adulthood, and it’s often the upper age category that struggles for gift donations. 

As it can be difficult to choose suitable gifts for the older age category, this year the business centre has compiled a list of recommended items to assist kind supporters of the appeal if they so wish. That can be viewed HERE.

You can help the appeal achieve its target by donating an unwrapped gift for a child, teenager or young adult, with donations being received at Cotton Court Business Centre reception between 08.00 and 17.00 Mon to Fri.

While the business centre would prefer donations to be dropped off in person, so that a personal thanks can be given, they understand the demands of business and personal life. Therefore, this year will be accepting gifts directly shipped from Amazon (details provided below), and donations via a JustGiving page which can be viewed HERE. The funds raised via this page will be used to buy gifts or gift vouchers for the appeal.

The appeal launches on Friday 15th November and closes on Monday 16th December. 

Drop Off (Preferred) 

Cotton Court Business Centre (08.00 – 17.00)

Cotton Court

Church Street

Preston

PR1 3BY

Amazon

Order your gifts on Amazon.co.uk and ship directly to the below address. Please include your full name and email address in the shipping notes or email us with the order number so we can confirm upon receipt.

Christmas Gift Appeal

Cotton Court Business Centre

Cotton Court

Church Street

Preston

PR1 3BY

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

Natwest Events 26th November 2019

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We are excited to be hosting the Back Her Business workshop on Tuesday 26th November in partnership with NatWest and Crowdfunder. The event will teach entrepreneurs all about how crowdfunding works, and how crowdfunding in general and Back Her Business, in particular, can be an effective way to get your new business up and running.

These events are a must-attend for an idea or early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs that are serious about growth!

By joining the session you’ll learn about:

  • The importance of female entrepreneurship to society
  • The Rose Review
  • Back Her Business: how people can access it and the Bank’s role
  • What crowdfunding is, and all about Crowdfunder
  • Benefits of crowdfunding, including Back Her Business match funding
  • How to crowdfund

The event is free to attend, but registration is essential:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/back-her-business-preston-turning-ideas-into-businesses-free-event-tickets-74804100077

Hope to see you there!

National Stress Awareness Day with Yolo Wellbeing!

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Last week, to mark National Stress Awareness Day, we invited Cheryle from YOLO Wellbeing down to Cotton Court.

The aim was to provide our staff and clients with the YOLO Wellbeing Experience. 

 Cheryle’s mobile unit is geared up to provide a relaxing 15 minutes out of the office with tranquil mood lighting and a short video of either water, sunset or mountains to really help you relax whilst she gives you a neck, back and shoulder massage to relieve any tension that we may get as a  result of feeling stressed.

Mental health and stress is one of the most common reasons for absence in the workplace. The 2018 Wellbeing Survey from Cigna 360 reports that 87% of employees in the UK feel stressed, yet just one in 10 work somewhere that offers them a wellbeing programme.

It was really important for us to be able to highlight Stress Awareness Day and to be able to promote wellbeing in the workplace. Not only does it improve staff morale, it also increases productivity levels and greater engagement between staff and clients.

Cotton Court Director, Robert Binns, said “YOLO Wellbeing offered a completely unique way to improve workplace wellbeing and demonstrate our investment in our peoples welfare. The feedback from our clients and the staff at Cotton Court has far exceeded my expectations and I look forward to booking additional dates.”

Cotton Court client, VJ Brand from Waterbabies Lancashire said ‘ I loved the head massage and the meditation side of things where I could just relax, close my eyes, enjoy the treatment and open my mind as well. I’m ready to go, so thank you YOLO Wellbeing for a lovely massage and hopefully, you’ll be back at Cotton Court soon!’

It was a great opportunity to be able to offer this service to our clients and staff and definitely something that we would recommend to other businesses. 

If you would like your staff or your workplace to benefit from the YOLO Wellbeing Experience then visit https://yolowellbeing.co.uk/

Suggested Gifts for Teenagers and Young Adults

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Struggling for what to buy one of the Barnardo’s supported teenagers and young adults? Please see some of the suggested gifts below.

 

 

  • Cooking Utensils
  • Toiletries
  • Gift Cards
  • Portable Speakers
  • Clothing Accessories
  • Make-up
  • Perfume
  • Aftershave
  • Diaries
  • Stationery
  • Adult Colouring Books
  • DVD’s
  • Books
  • Cinema Vouchers
  • Vouchers for Restaurants (Pizza Hut etc.)
  • Pictures / Posters for Walls
  • Mugs
  • Caps
  • Hats
  • Dressing Gown
  • P.J’s
  • Slipper Socks
  • Chocolates and Sweets
  • Bluetooth Speakers
  • Wallet / Purse
  • Diary
  • Photo Frame
  • Earphones / Headphones
  • DAB Radio
  • Beard Cream / Oil
  • Experience Day Out
  • Gift Cards

We hope those suggestions have given you some inspiration and we would once again like to thank you for supporting this great cause. Have a merry Christmas.

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.

International Cultural Awareness master class with BDC Moore!

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Join BDC Moore on Thursday 14th November 2019 here at Cotton Court for their International Cultural Awareness master class!

For whom is this Master Class?

  • Business owners
  • Team members dealing with international clients and/or suppliers
  • Team members attending international Trade Shows & Exhibitions
  • Marketing Professionals
  • Graphic Designers and Web Designers
  • HR professionals

Why should you attend this Master Class?

  • Learn how to avoid cultural pitfalls, which can be costly
  • Learn how to stay safe on international business trips
  • Learn how to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships
  • Learn how cultural awareness has a direct impact on your bottom line

What will be covered in this Master Class?

  • Meaning and impact of words, colours and symbols in different cultures
  • Legal and financial differences
  • How to stay politically correct
  • Impact of positive and negative stereotypes
  • How to use humour wisely

Limited number of spaces! Book your place now! 

Refreshments, lunch, workbook and free parking are included.

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