Cotton Court Business Centre

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How to Attract Large Customer Base for Your Small Business

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Attracting new customers is an essential part of your business growth. If you are running a small company as an entrepreneur then it becomes indispensable for small and medium enterprises to gain a considerable market share based on their target audience. As a small business, you won’t have unlimited access to financial resources to spend on an advertising campaign on multiple platforms.

 

In this post, we will share how to gain a larger customer base with your one-man band.

Have a Marketing Strategy with Day to Day Campaign Activity

Small business owners have a tough time managing their business support and their tactical day-to-day activities. During all these operations, it’s hard for businesses to focus on a lucrative and inexpensive marketing strategy. The only solution to the problem is to take some time out each month and plan your marketing strategy.

 

Start with online marketing, target special holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Fathers, Day, Christmas, Easter and many other events. Target these family events to market your business on social media. Plan giveaways on weekdays and weekends. 

Tell a Story

One of the best marketing tactics that small business owners can employ to promote their company is to tell a story. In simple words, tell your target audience what your brand is all about, what were the reasons that made you think of starting this particular business. When you share your journey to success with your audience, it convinces them of your dedication to the new business.

Invest in a Mobile Friendly Website

The website is the most important aspect of your business; it’s the first thing that a customer witnesses about your company. But to truly be successful you will need to have a mobile-friendly website. Most of your clients are using their phones and other handheld electronic devices so it’s natural that they will scroll through your website on their mobile phones or tablets. Your website must be altered to work flawlessly on a smaller screen.

Registered Address of Your Business

When your small business has a registered commercial address located right in the city centre, it makes a big impact on your customer base. A registered business address makes it easier for your customers to get in touch with you. Moreover, it’s important to save up and invest in a professional business phone number with call handling and call forwarding services. You will need to invest in a dedicated telephone number and call/text handling services to cater to all your business communication needs. For any new business owner installing a powerful and efficient call answering system should be a priority.

There are several benefits of getting a registered company address at a central location such as:

  1. Giving the impression that you run a large business
  2. Improve your business networking circle
  3. Periodical business sustenance events
  4. A chance to keep your business and personal emails separate
  5. A dedicated telephone line

Benefits of Entering Start-up Competitions

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As an entrepreneur when you are in the process of developing your company, startup competitions encourage you to innovate and aim for the funding you might get if you win.

Many start-ups competitions are far beyond traditional techniques and methods. If you have a good idea, someone will want to listen to you. Consequently, many small business owners participate in these competitions to get funding and guidance from industry experts.

Start-up competitions come with great benefits in terms of providing access to business growth tactics and experts from different perspectives.

In addition, young companies gain the ability to create their own brands for their target audience. Here are some benefits of entering business Competitions.

Increase Your Brand Value

Small business competitions are usually leading companies in their respective fields. The brand values of these established companies have already been established in the eyes of target groups.

These well-known brands aim for the big price, the ultimate winning award will take your small company to new heights. One of the biggest benefits of participating in competitions is that you get a chance to create synergy with a major brand.

This allows your target audience and investors to better understand the purpose of your professional initiative. By strengthening your reputation, you become an attractive investment option.

 

Reaching Out To Marketing Experts

As an entrepreneur, you have many duties that you need to consider as the business owner. You have to determine the marketing strategy for your products or services. Being a part of business competition allows you to meet marketing experts in your relevant field.

Talk to them about your business and ask them for suggestions on how to improve your marketing strategies to attract a larger target market. 

Make sure that the business competitions keep you on the right track and not to miss the milestones that you have set for yourself and your business support. These competitions enable you to reach

 

Establish New Connections

Any entrepreneur you meet will tell you that the road to success is through coincidences and useful links at meetings.

In a startup contest, you can get in touch with a big company to collaborate not only in the near future but also in your entire business life.

Participating in competitions is a great way to meet senior leaders and opinion front-runners to help you expand your professional and personal network worldwide. Developing such relationships enables start-ups to increase the number of staff, improve your platform, and expand the marketing and sales channels.

 

Meet New Entrepreneurs with Challenges

In addition to enabling you to connect with international executives and business experts, professional competitions also give you the chance to meet new entrepreneurs who are struggling with many challenges.

The challenges they face in their business will help you broaden your horizon and learn about doing business in different countries and cultures. These competitions allow you to see the big picture and grow your new business with marketing, communications and mutual interaction.

How To Make Your Home Based Business Look Like a Major Corporation and Enjoy the National Bed Month

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Being an entrepreneur means, you have to start everything that a company needs from scratch. Many mothers find it easier to start a home-based business because it allows them to be flexible with their work and household duties. Opening a small home based startup was never this easy. You have plenty of options on your hands if you’re a budding business owner don’t wait to make a professional first impression on your clients. We’re sharing some simple ways that can make your small setup look professional.

Get a Professional Business Address

Trust and credibility are the main aspects of your small business growth. To get the credibility that your target market demands you need to invest in a professional business address. Getting a business address has several benefits, the first one is you can work from anywhere even your own bed! A professional business address will add another layer of privacy to your small home-based business. Use it until you can invest in an office building. Business address will make your business appear corporate with a physical mailing and communication address.

Get a Business Phone Number

A dedicated business phone number is what sets you apart from your rivals. If you’re a new business owner, it’s essential to invest in a professional phone number that’s dedicated to your business. Availing such services will allow your business to look professional and with years of experience in conducting business. Professional greetings, receiving and dialling calls, emails, texts everything is covered by a professional phone service provider. Gone are the days when you needed to hire people to call answering and call back, now the task is made easier by professional telephone services. Apart from handling calls, they can provide you with a text portal to interact with your clients and suppliers through your business phone number.

Choose a Perfect Domain Name and Website

As we are celebrating, the National Bed Month to commemorate working from home when you want it’s essential to talk about how to make your business look professional. Your small business should have the right domain name, some services offer you a free domain name but usually, that’s not something you should go for. A standard free URL is hard to remember and tedious to search over the internet. The best alternative is to get a premium domain name, it will cost you some money but you will have a professional website with a company name.

Hiring a professional web designer will help your official website stand out from the rest. Get a website with a corporate theme and keep the design subtle yet attractive. The website should be easy to navigate for every visitor, buy a premium domain and server since they load faster and offer server security. A business phone, registered address, and website will offer the much-needed business support that your home-based business needs. They will make it easier for you to work from anywhere in the world including your bed without worrying about missing meetings and deadlines.

Popular Event Returns to Lancashire

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As a society we place a lot of focus on other people’s successes and achievements, but not so much on learning from their mistakes. This is even more pronounced in the business world, where we look at and admire successful business people; often overlooking the countless setbacks and attempts it’s taken them to achieve their goals.

Support & mentor schemes such as Boost Lancashire’s Growth Mentoring programme are an excellent way to access and learn from the experiences of veteran business people, but they aren’t for everyone and they’re often oversubscribed; victims of their own success.

Towards the end of 2017 we launched a series of events in conjunction with Kennedy Ross Consulting to provide a complimentary offering to the businesspeople of Lancashire.

The idea was to bring successful people who have actually experienced the highs and lows of business to share their knowledge with members of the Lancashire business community.

Kennedy Ross Managing Director Alistaire Jama.

Our ‘Cracking On’ events were a great success, providing free training, seminars and workshops to business owners, managers and entrepreneurs; giving solutions to the key problems and main questions they’re likely to face.

After a short break and by popular demand, we’re re-launching this popular series of events alongside our partners Kennedy Ross in January 2019. Partnering with us this year is Cotton Court residents Invoke Media, having recently moved from their Manchester city centre base to the second floor of the business centre.

The series will be progressive with each session complimenting the next, but will also be suitable for those who want to ‘dip in and out’ or join the series at a later stage.

The focus of the workshops is to ensure that business owners and operators walk away having had fun, enthused and with a new set of skills that they can apply to their business straight away.

Session 1 will be held on the 9th of January at Cotton Court Business Centre, and will focus on one of the main issues many businesses face…..finding, targeting and winning new customers.

Invoke Media Director Jack Barron presents.

Invoke Media will lead the interactive workshop, demonstrating the process they use to understand and communicate with their customers, before attendees apply their new found knowledge to a real world business situation.

Attendees can expect to walk away from the session with a clear understanding of how to identify and target new customers, and will be provided with the presentation slides and worksheets they can use for their own business success.

Tickets are free on a first come, first served basis. To claim yours or find out more information, click HERE to visit the Eventbrite page.

Spotlight On Success: Diecut Global

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Diecut Global have announced another amazing milestone in the growth of their company.

The international supplier and manufacturer of corrugated, packaging, print and print finishing machinery have announced the installation of the largest Goldline Evolution in the world.

Installed at one of the UK’s largest print and communication companies, the machine will allow the business to significantly increase its diecutting capabilities and output, complimenting a Goldline they had previously purchased.

The original Goldline was introduced by Diecut Global 8 years ago as an alternative to the traditional hand fed platen.

Steve Waterhouse, Managing Director of Diecut Global, said,

“As a responsible machine manufacturer and someone who had sold hundreds of hand fed platens all over the world in the last 25 years, I knew the dangers of the original clamshell press. This was confirmed in recent history when people who simply operated them paid the highest price, on machines my old company had sold back when I was the sales director and co-owner of Crosland. I thought if I cannot bring to market a machine that not only does the same job but does it in a safe way, a way that jobs can be set up faster, it was easy for the operator to use and bring it to market at a comparable price to the old technology, then I was not doing my job.”

The milestone installation comes at a time of significant growth for the company, going from strength to strength with a series of high profile client wins and expansion.

The company operates numerous production sites internationally, with an administrative & management presence at its Cotton Court Business Centre headquarters.

Read more here…

Christmas Toy Appeal Launch

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Friday the 9th November saw the Cotton Court Christmas party, and launch of our annual appeal in aid of Barnardo’s.

The event was a great success, with customers, friends and members of the Lancashire business community coming together to celebrate and donate to a great cause.

In its eighth year, the appeal aims to collect gifts for the 400+ disadvantaged children & young people that Barnardo’s supports across Lancashire; many of whom would otherwise be without a gift to open on Christmas day.

 

With the appeal now launched and in full swing, we’re reaching out to the kind people of Lancashire to ask for their help in bringing a smile to face of a young person in Lancashire this festive season.

Debbie Nolan-Plunkett, Assistant Director for Barnardo’s in Lancashire said:

“The Christmas gift appeal, which is always so generously supported by individuals and businesses across Lancashire, is such a heart-warming initiative. We cannot convey how excited and thankful the children and young people are to receive the thoughtful gifts that people purchase for them.”

Cotton Court has once again teamed up with popular media outlet Blog Preston to run this years appeal, after a successful partnership in 2017 that saw record levels of toys being donated.

You can help by donating an unwrapped gift for a child or young person between the ages of 0 – 25, with donations being received at Cotton Court Business Centre reception. Whilst all donations are welcome, there is a particular focus this year on gifts for teenagers and young adults, as it is those who we have historically had difficulty collecting for.

The appeal will close on Monday 10th December at 17.00 in order to allow the distribution of gifts in time for Christmas.

Drop Off Location

Cotton Court Business Centre (08.00 – 17.00)

Cotton Court

Church Street

Preston

PR1 3BY

 

If you’d like to know more or have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01772 507 767 or email info@cottoncourt.co.uk

Managing Small Business Stress

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Stress is something that all of us have to deal with at various parts of our lives. Some of us are more susceptible than others, and everyone deals with it in different ways.

Stress is your body’s way of responding to dangers, threats and demands. The chemicals released prepare your body to react, and kick your body into its fight, flight or freeze response. At one point it helped our ancestors deal with ongoing threats like sabre-tooth tigers and competitor tribes. 

Whilst some stress can be good, and indeed some people thrive from having small amounts of stress in their lives, in larger doses or over a prolonged period of time it can have serious consequences on your mental and physical wellbeing, and there are even significant links between stress and serious diseases such as cancer.

This Monday saw the launch of International Stress Awareness week. A week organised by the International Stress Management Association to raise awareness of the condition, as well as promote stress prevention and wellbeing.

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you will be no stranger to regular bouts of stress. Like me, you’ve no doubt at some point been sat on the floor with your head in your hands wondering what the hell you’re doing in business or how you’re going to get out of whatever pickle you’re in.

Every part of your business has the potential to increase your stress levels and give you sleepless nights. Whether it’s a lack of new customers, HR issues, competitors or one of the many other working parts of your operation, your mind will constantly be ticking over.

The bottom line is, owning or operating a business is stressful. The sooner you learn to manage that stress or even make it work to your advantage the better. Because it’s always going to come back!

I spin many plates across my personal and professional life. I have days that feel like everything is getting on top of me and I want to go into ‘shutdown mode’, days where I feel like everything is going the best it can be and I’m unstoppable, and days where I feel like the stress is a good thing, something that pushes me to do my best work.

I’ve put together my top tips for managing stress in small business. I try to follow these rules as much as possible, but like everyone else, sometimes fail at my own game and let the big S word get the better of me.

Keep your eye on the prize

Begin with the end in mind, and have a clear understanding of what it is you are working towards; be it the small milestone or the massive end-goal. Visualising the prize at the end helps motivate us and cut through the white noise of stress and anxiety.

Break down the tasks for the day, write a list and strike them off as you achieve each milestone. It will help you see that you’re actually making headway and that you’re getting on top of the stress that’s trying to stand in your way.

One of my main motivators is keeping a promise to my parents that I’d buy them a villa in Menorca to spend their retirement in. Whilst I know it isn’t the exact property I’m going to get them, I keep a picture of the type of villa I’d like them to have, and from time-to-time look at it to remind me of what I’m working towards.

Maybe you’ve got a new addition to the family on the way? Maybe you’re looking to buy your first home with your partner? Visualising these things can help you cut through the stress and get your head back in the game.

Take a nap

There’s very few people that work in Cotton Court that haven’t walked in on me taking a cap-nap in a conference room, or found me having a snooze in a reclined car seat on the car park (there’s videos to prove it). But that isn’t because I’m lazy! It’s because I’m being proactive in managing my productivity and stress (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). 

When it all gets too much and I feel like the stress is getting on top of me, I go into ‘shutdown mode’. I can be staring at my screen for 15 minutes with no work being done, desperately trying to squeeze out some productivity. Tight temples, pounding heart and a cluttered mind all work against me, with the frustration of not completing any work adding to my stress levels and completing the vicious circle of work related stress.

When I get to this stage I ‘reset’ my mind and body with a quick 20-30 minute nap. Sometimes I use guided hypnosis videos from YouTube (check out Michael Sealey) to help me declutter my mind, reset my stress levels and get me back in the productive zone.

Why not longer? Have you ever woken up from a nap and felt worse for it? It’s likely because you’ve had too long of a sleep. When you sleep hormones (such as Melatonin amongst others) are released to regulate your sleep cycle, send you into a deep slumber and immobilise your body.

Once you’ve gone into this deep sleep cycle, being woken from it can feel like the morning after a particularly heavy drinking session. Getting just the right amount of sleep is essential to napping. Too much and you will feel worse, too little and you won’t feel the benefits. Experts recommend napping for between 20 – 45 minutes maximum to destress and increase productivity.

Go for a walk

If napping isn’t your style, or you’ve just woken up and need some extra help de-stressing; a walk may be the answer.

It’s important to take regular breaks away from your workspace to rest your mind, refocus your thoughts and declutter your brain. Whilst it works away 24 hours a day, the brain is just like any other part of your body. It needs time to recover from activities and process thoughts.

Just like your computer needs to be reset or shut down from time-to-time, your brain needs sleep, or even just to take a short break from strenuous or taxing activities in order to run at optimal levels.

Go for a walk around the block, to the local park or just pace around the car park to get some fresh air and think about something different than the tasks at hand. It’s absolutely amazing for lowering your stress levels and returning you to a happy and productive place.

You might want to go one step further and factor in breaks as a pre-emptive measure. Last year I had a particularly heavy workload one week, and researched different ways I could manage my stress and productivity in order to ensure I completed the projects on time.

I came across a technique called Pomodoro. It encourages people to work for short timed periods (usually 25 minutes) before taking enforced short breaks. It has a devout following, and has been validated by science as an effective time management technique. Whilst I found it wasn’t something I’d like to do every day of the week, it did help me complete the work at hand and managed my stress levels considerably. I still use it when the workload gets particularly hectic! Look it up and give it a try.

Eat right, drink right

This is a simple one and doesn’t need much explaining. The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ has much truth in it. Ensuring you eat a varied and healthy diet has obvious physiological benefits, but what does it have to do with stress? The link between physical and mental wellbeing has been proven time and time again, but still doesn’t seem to get the recognition within mainstream society. A healthy body will support a healthy mind, and visa versa.

Think of food as the fuel you put into your car. If you don’t put enough in, it runs out and won’t move. If you put the wrong fuel in, it doesn’t work.

The same can be said for water and staying hydrated. Your brain needs water to function, as does the rest of your body. Try to work towards drinking 2 litres of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep your brain working at optimal levels.

I keep a big 2.2 litre sports bottle on my desk and aim to drink a full one each day. I’ve found my reliance on things like caffeine lowers, I feel more relaxed and at ease, and I’m more focused.

In short, eat & drink what your body needs in enough quantity with the right quality and it will have a direct benefit in reducing your stress levels.

Work it out

Aside from helping you get buff, increasing your confidence and giving you a good routine, working out releases endorphins and other chemicals that fight stress and increase happiness.

Work out regularly to prevent the onset of stress before it even happens, or to tackle existing stress.

I aim to train every morning before coming into the office, and I find that my first few hours produce some of my best work. I can sometimes do a full days worth of work before lunchtime and I feel absolutely great about it. It helps keep the stress at bay, and even if there are external factors that throw some stress into the mix, I’ve been known to go down to the gym and trash it out on a treadmill or give the heavy bag a good work out (imagining someone else’s face is optional)

Exercise is great for preventing or fighting stress. Give yourself a good workout and I promise it will help those stress levels dwindle.

Finally…

Everyone will have their own way of preventing or dealing with stress. The important thing to note is that you’re going to experience it at some point, whether you’re in business or not, it’s how you handle it that will determine how much it affects you, your business and family.

Establish what works for you, include as part of your daily routine or even just use it as an ‘in case of emergency break glass’ kit for when everything gets too much.

These techniques will certainly help you if applied correctly, but there’s never a true fool-proof way to defeat what nature gave us. If they don’t work, don’t get disheartened. Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and remember that regardless what’s causing you stress in the first place, you’ve always got the gift of free will, your health, people to support you and remember that even if you can’t see them right now, you’ve always got alternative options.

If you’ve got any ways to deal with stress that we’ve not mentioned here, or want to add to my existing list then please get in touch and let me know! Email me HERE, I’d love to hear from you.

 

Jack Barron

Marketing Director

The benefits of coworking space over a home Office

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Shared office space has a wide range of benefits which can make your working life easier. Whether you are out in the field most of the time and just need a desk or meeting room occasionally, or you want somewhere quiet to work from for your start-up business, a hot desk environment is the perfect solution.

Professional Image
Renting space in a shared office gives your business a more professional image. You get a business address to use, where mail can be received even when you are not on the premises, and your workplace looks like an office, not a portion of your home. Meeting clients at a home office can also feel like an invasion of your family’s privacy. Serviced offices are cleaned regularly, and maintenance is taken care of too. Better still, you don’t have to worry about hiding away rogue LEGO bricks before a client meeting!

Boundaries
Working from home may sound idyllic but it can be challenging, particularly if you have family members or flatmates around during your preferred working hours. Whether it’s the doorbell ringing in the middle of an important phone call or finding your toddler has rearranged your paperwork – distractions are inevitable when you work from home. Using a shared office space means you can avoid the interruptions of home life and focus all your attention on your work. It can also help you to keep your working hours under control and separate your work life from your home life. When you use a home office it is much easier for the lines to blur and you can find work encroaching on your family time.

Economical
With a hot desk, you get to use professional office space far more economically than a full office lease. You can select the hours and days to rent a hot desk so you only pay for what you need. Choose office space close to your home and you can save on the commute too.

Additional Facilities
A shared office space usually has additional facilities which you don’t have at home, such as conference rooms. These can be used for meetings, training sessions or just for making conference calls.

Networking Opportunities
Using a home office can sometimes leave you feeling isolated. A hot desk in a coworking space gives you the opportunity to meet other professionals who are also using the office. You may discover potential clients, partners or suppliers when you use a hot desk service. Or you may simply find it helpful to bounce ideas off other people and get their advice on aspects of your business.

 

Cotton Court has 2 floors dedicated to coworking, that form an integral part of our business community.

Why don’t you contact our reception team to book to come and see what all the fuss is about?

Give us a call on 01772 507 767 or read more here: http://cottoncourt.co.uk/desk-space/

Update: Christmas Toy Appeal 2018

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At this time of year the Cotton Court team turns its thoughts towards a very special cause close to our hearts. For 8 years we’ve run our annual Christmas Toy Appeal in aid of Barnardo’s.

The appeal gives the local business community an opportunity to help one of the 400 vulnerable young people that Barnardo’s supports across Lancashire, by providing a gift for them to open on Christmas Day.

Last year was the first year that Cotton Court teamed up with media partner Blog Preston, and the response was amazing, being our best year to date. We’re looking to build on that success this year by continuing that partnership and teaming up with other local businesses to spread the word and enable this great campaign.

Gifts can be donated at Cotton Court Business Centre reception, just off Church Street in Preston City Centre between 9am and 5pm, and are best left unwrapped.

We can also announce that we’ve teamed up with The Hospital Inn on Brindle Road in Bamber Bridge to provide an additional out of hours drop-off point for those wanting to donate.

However we need more partners to help us spread the word or act as drop-off points for gifts. Can you help? If so, please email us and let us know.

We’re launching the campaign with our Christmas Party on 7th November at Glovers Bar in Preston, with free tickets available HERE.


In order to get the gifts to Barnardo’s in time for Christmas Day we have to close our appeal on Monday 10th December at 5pm.


If like us, the thought of a child or young person being without a gift on Christmas Day morning is heart wrenching, then please consider helping us this year.


If you’ve got any questions, want to find out more or are able to help with the appeal, please email us at info@cottoncourt.co.uk or call us on 01772 507 767.


The Cotton Court Team

Drop-Off Locations:

Cotton Court Business Centre

Cotton Court

Church Street

Preston

PR1 3BY

The Hospital Inn

Brindle Road

Bamber Bridge

PR5 6YP

https://www.thehospitalinn.com/

Barnardo’s Xmas Toy Appeal 2018

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Cotton Court Business Centre are inviting members of the Lancashire business community to join them for their 8th annual Christmas party on the 9th November.

The party will signify the launch of the Christmas toy appeal in aid of Barnardo’s. The Cotton Court coordinated campaign collects and distributes gifts to young people in need across the county.

Members of the local business community are invited to join Cotton Court, Blog Preston and an array of local businesses & organisations from across Lancashire for the event at Glovers Bar in Preston, at 7pm on Friday 9th November until late.

There will be a complimentary bar, food and live music; with the opportunity to network and most importantly, support a great cause ahead of the festive season.

The event is free, with guests being asked to bring a gift suitable for a young person between the ages of 0 – 25. It is requested that presents remain unwrapped, and there is a particular need for gifts for teenagers.

 

 

 

Cotton Court Marketing Director Jack Barron says:

“This is the sixth year we’ve held this appeal and the response we receive from the local business community is outstanding. Our goal this year is to provide at least one present to each of the 400 young people that Barnardo’s support across the county.”

He continues…

“Traditionally we’ve struggled to provide for the older end of the age spectrum, the teenagers and above, so this year we’re giving that an extra push.

This party is a great opportunity for members of the local business community to get together, but most importantly to support a great cause at a time of year that can be quite distressing for some of these young people being supported by Barnardo’s.”

Tickets are free with no restrictions on how many each business can claim, but capacity at the venue is limited so you are advised to claim them at the earliest opportunity from Eventbrite: https://cotton-court-2018-xmas-toy-appeal.eventbrite.co.uk