nene local | helen dawson


Category: Alex Lloyd Interviews

Davis Opticians in Thrapston – Reviewed by Alex Lloyd

Davis Optometrist – how much a friendly environment can benefit you

davis optician

Often when you go to chain or national healthcare service you can feel quite stressed and rushed.  In my experience of using a chain of opticians in a busy shopping centre I often felt like I was just being pushed into a sale because of a certain target that the staff needed to hit for that day. Sometimes I was bombarded with the benefits of contact lenses, not because I needed them but because the shop needed to sell them.  I felt under pressure to get any random frame that wouldn’t suit me because the assistant needed to deal with another customer.

So I spoke to local optiometrist, Jonathan Pedley to see what a private firm can provide for its customers.

Jonathan first got the idea of becoming an optician during his A-level years after a friend of his also had an interest. This, paired with his grandmother’s poor vision influenced him to start helping people with one of the most important components of physical health. After a three year university degree, a one year placement for ‘learn on the job’ training and then final exams, Jonathan qualified to become an optician. Continuous training is needed to ensure that he and all the other staff are kept up to date with the latest procedures, technology and rules.

Davis Opticians provides a friendly and personal service that is centred on the patient’s needs and not sales targets or quotas. With being a private practise comes the freedom to help with whatever a patient might need, providing more time and continuity to help as much as is needed. The offices are modern and open, providing a feeling of comfort that is absent in the small cubicles found in corporate companies.davis optician

They provide a variety of services, ranging from standard eye tests for the prescription of glasses or contact lenses to tests to spot other health problems that can indicate diabetes, brain tumours or haemorrhages. They treat anyone from babies to elderly people, as the earlier a problem is spotted the easier it is to treat.

For more information, visit in store at 6 High Street, Northamptonshire NN14 4JH

or call: 01832 733415



2Motiv8: Social Media Support

2Motiv8: Social Media Support

When running a business, it is important to get your brand out into the world. People need to know who you are, what you do and why they should use your services. And with 20% of the modern market now being online, it’s amazing to see who many small businesses do not use social media to their full advantage. Samantha Cameron, owner of 2Motiv8, runs social media training for those who have little or no idea on how to grow their business virtually and Nene Local had the chance to talk to her about what she does.


Starting Off

Sam started her business after spending 25 years in the corporate industry and banking, as well as 4 years of running a different business that operated almost exclusively online. After needing bed rest due to a chronic illness, she decided she needed another purpose for her to literally ‘get out of bed’, and thought that seeing as she loved training people and had the relevant experience she would set up her own business.

2motiv8 | nene local

2Motiv8 provides management, training and scheduling for all platforms of social media. Running a promotional offer at the moment where a special annual fee of just £19.99 ensures anyone who runs their own business can have access to 2motiv8’s scheduler, a service that provides a variety of resources for use on a social media page. It includes the ability to schedule at least a week’s worth of work on all social media sites in just one hour, as well as giving access to a library of 25,000 images, ranging from royalty free stock photos to motivational quotes. You can also use the image creator to make your own flyers, business cards or logos. It provides suggested messages as to what to post if you’re stuck on ideas and a research function that allows you to find out what is trending on that exact day.

Sam plans to expand her business over the next few years. Monthly training days, videos and training manuals are all in the works, and she is hoping to take on an apprentice to work with her on the marketing, branding and managing websites.

“Don’t be afraid of social media”

In order to have a successful business you have to have a strong social media presence. Sam says – Don’t be afraid to use social media, as nothing bad will come from it, only good things. Never rush into things, as business strategies will always change. The internet is an amazing and free tool to have, so make sure to use it to the best you can.

If you have a small business and wish to learn about how to grow it via social media, contact:


Samantha Cameron

Golden Years: Maintaining Friendships in Retirement

Golden Years: Maintaining friendships in retirement

golden years | nene local

Loneliness is a huge problem affecting the elderly population. The death of a spouse, the necessity of care, or the lack of friends can really affect a person’s mental health, and this in turn, if not identified and worked on early, can have a detrimental effect on physical health as well. This is where Golden Years can help.  With a group in Wellingborough and one soon to open in Northampton, this group is a lifeline to many older people.

Golden Years is a social friendship group dedicated to making sure elderly people get the opportunity to meet with friends and try out new activities that they may have never even considered before.  Devised and run by Megan Neilan, plus volunteers such as her parents and Mel and Sue, it strives to prove that age is nothing but a number, and that anyone can do whatever they put their mind to. Megan says “If you can promote independent living and maintain a social life, the brain will stay stronger for longer.”

Golden Years has been proven to work. One of it’s members was discharged from the care system because of the new purpose they found within themselves to go out and do something new and exciting improved their mental health. Another recently had to give up her driving license, but instead of a sad occasion, Golden Years has managed to organise a Ferrari driving experience for her to make her last drive a memorable one!

Early Stages

Megan set up Golden Years after training to be a nurse. She was heartbroken to see the state of the care system, with all its cuts to funding and lack of staff. The long hours prevented her from doing her job as a nurse in the best way she wanted too and also prevented her from looking after her own grandmother, with whom she has a close relationship. Megan decided to do something different and set up her friendship group on the 8th of July 2017 with the idea of getting a few people to find new friends and enjoy some activities. the first meeting was a month later on the 8th of August, and the project has gone leaps and bounds since.

“The biggest risk was their teeth falling out from smiling too much”

The group has gained publicity from local news outlets, because of the impact it had on the elderly community and the fun activities. They’ve gone indoor skydiving and ice skating, destroying the stereotypes that old people can’t really do anything for themselves.  There is never any danger, with multiple policies and procedures in place to prevent accidents from happening, and insurance as a back up should the unlikely happen. The members were sceptical of these activities at first but having done them everyone was proud of what they have achieved and have found new confidence in what they can do.

When they decided to try indoor sky diving the risk assessment required nothing to be able to fall from the person.  Everyone had a chuckle when they were told they either needed to remove any false teeth or not open their mouth so nothing fell out!

golden years | nene local

A few upcoming events include drifting at Rockingham Speedway and lorry driving. There is an ambition to have a road trip from one end of the country to the other (Lands End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland). The group is aimed at over 65’s but is open to younger volunteers who’d like to help. There is a small membership fee but is a lot cheaper than the NHS care and hospice system.

Megan would love to hear from any local businesses who might like to get involved.

For more information, contact:

Megan Neilan

07376 732084


Airsoft – Nene Local Visits the Local Supplier

Nene Local learns about what AK Combat can provide for the cadet and Airsoft community.

airsoft | ak combat | nene local

For many cadets, the most daunting task is to get your uniform in top condition. I have been through this myself, and I can say from experience that your first kit inspection is terrifying. Which is why finding a good and consistent supplier is a very smart idea. AK Combat sells boots and uniform in all shapes and sizes, so it is very easy to find what you came for.airsoft | ak combat | nene local

Alan Houghton, new owner, bought the shop after being a customer.   He went in to buy his son some birthday presents. He was looking to change from carpentry, and so when the old Home Guard shop closed down he bought the shop and set up his own business.airsoft | ak combat | nene local

The shop sees cadets come from all over the local area and beyond, from the local ones to detachments and squadrons as far as Godmanchester. The shop sells uniforms accepted by the Air, Sea and Army Cadets, and all the ‘gear’ is excellent quality.

It’s not just cadets that AK Combat helps though, as it also a retailer of Airsoft weapons, gear and pellets. It is licenced by the UKARA (United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association), so all weapons meet the requirements of law.

airsoft | ak combat | nene local

A customer trying on accessories

What is Airsoft?

Airsoft is basically paintball but with a lot less mess and more in line with military simulation. It is a lot cheaper to its more famous counterpart and has a dedicated community to it. It is open to people under the age of 18 as well, however their weapons must be 50% coloured in a bright shade for younger players. Over 18s are allowed to have real imitation firearms, which look like real life weapons used by various militaries around the world.airsoft | ak combat | nene local

How do you get into Airsoft?

In order to buy and own your own weapon, you need to apply for your UKARA number. Then once you have that, you must prove you are a player by regularly attending airsoft events over a period of three months. This then permits you to have a weapon for yourself, although it means that you are only allowed to fire it at licensed events. However, it is often better to hire a gun to start with to see if you would really like to carry on with it. It is a very good hobby to take up, ideal for youngsters as the teamwork orientated objectives have been shown to develop good life skills as well as even helping conditions like Autism and Asperger’s.

For more information, contact:

01832 734630