Category: News from our Area

Weetabix Delivers a Big Cheque to Cransley Hospice

Weetabix delivers a big cheque for £10,000 along with hampers, goody bags and product to the hard-working nurses and staff at Cransley Hospice.Weetabix donates to Cransley Hospice

To fundraise the incredible £10,000 over the past year, the staff at Weetabix held baking competitions, flash mobs, treasure hunts, bingo evenings and even a summer fundraising event with a giant Weetabix. Representatives from Cransley Hospice Trust also joined in with some of the events, including judging the baking competition.

The money raised by the staff was matched with £5,000 from Weetabix Food Company to bring the total to just over £10,000, making Weetabix one of Cransley Hospices most successful Charity of the Year Partnerships.

Stuart Branch, Group People and IT Director at Weetabix, said, “Giving back to the local Northamptonshire community is an important part of our charity ethos here at Weetabix and we’re very proud to have worked with Cransley Hospice. The staff have had a lot of fun raising the money, especially throwing wet sponges at each other during the Summer Fundraising Day and we are delighted to be able to donate £10,000 to Cransley, alongside hampers and goody bags for the staff at the hospice.”

Weetabix donates to Cransley Hospice Cransley Hospice has continued to provide specialist palliative care for patients with complex needs throughout the nationwide lockdown as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. It would be most welcome if there are more companies like Weetabix who could reach out and offer their support, especially as the fundraising events have been unable to continue, leaving the charity short by around £500k from income that would usually come from the community, the events, the retail and coffee shop.

Louise Preedy, Community Fundraising Manager at Cransley Hospice, said, “We are incredibly grateful to Weetabix and all the staff involved for choosing to support Cransley as their charity of the year.  We know too well the hard work and effort that goes into raising money and would like to thank everyone that has been involved. The money raised is more important than ever right now as it costs around £1.4M a year to run the hospice and during the lockdown many of our usual fundraising activities and events have had to stop.”


Nene Local Speaks to Wani Olatunde Photography

Wani Olatunde Photography is doing an interview with Nene Local Magazine who is seeing how local businesses and charities have been fairing during the pandemic ….

We spoke to Wani and  the owner and head photographer at the photography boutique Wani Olatunde Photography based in Milton Keynes.

Nene Local – Tell us more about what you doWani Olatunde Photography | nene local

I’m a wedding and portrait photographer but I like to say I photograph women. Wani Olatunde Photography is all about celebrating women and everything that is important to them.

This can range from offering authentic and modern headshots to help promote your business to beauty shoots that help our clients build their self-confidence and fall in love with themselves all over again. And of course, as hopeless romantics, weddings are just one big celebration of love, family and beautiful memories.


Nene Local – Has your business survived the pandemic?


It’s been pretty tough. As you can imagine, as a wedding and event photographer – a whole chunk of the business for the year was wiped out which was incredibly frustrating. Luckily, we’ve had the portraits end to fall back on and with things opening back up slowly – we’ve started booking clients in the studio again and that’s been reassuring.


Nene Local – Have you changed what you do – tell us how?


The business in essence hasn’t changed – we just have more safety precautions in place in line with the government guidelines. I think the main change for us has been around creating more online content. I was forced to move out of my comfort zone and think about how I could serve my clients without being able to actually photograph them. It’s certainly been an interesting period.


Nene Local – Have you learned any new skills during lockdown?


One thing I’m really proud of is the Headshots Challenge we ran over the lockdown period. Everyone was focused on improving their online presence during lockdown and a lot of people needed to update their pictures too. Although I couldn’t photograph them myself – I really wanted to find a way to support my community. We ran a 5 day headshot challenge which basically deconstructed the perfect headshot.

Every day we had a different expert in to talk about a different aspect of the headshot. We chatted about everything from what to wear, the right hair and makeup looks to posing tips and standing out on LinkedIn.

At the end of the challenge, all our attendees had to submit their best headshot using all our tips and there was a grand prize to be won. It was a really fun and informative challenge and we got lots of great feedback from our audience. I had never done a Facebook Live prior to lockdown, so it definitely took me out of my comfort zone but I was really glad we did it.


Nene Local – Are these going to benefit your business?


Most definitely. I’m learning to move out of my comfort zone and that video isn’t really so bad.  I’ll be doing a lot more Facebook and Instagram lives to help connect with my audience going forward. #watchthisspace


Nene Local – Have you learned any personal lessons in lockdown?


I think the most important thing lockdown has taught me is how to slow down. At the beginning of the year, I had a giant to do list that I just had to get through and when that didn’t happen thanks to the lockdown, I admit I had a bit of a freak out at the beginning. However, I’ve learnt the importance of being flexible and that self-imposed deadlines aren’t set in stone. I’ve also learned the importance of self-care and taking breaks to recharge.  I am grateful for that.


Nene Local – What changes (if any?) will you be making to your life or business as things get back to normal?


I’ll definitely be stuffing my day less and leaving more breathing room to take breaks. I’m also a lot more flexible about my deadlines, which feels a lot less overwhelming. I’ll be challenging myself more to think out of the box and be more solution focused. Resilience and adaptability will certainly be key to moving forward in our “new normal”.


For more information




Headshot challenge videos can be found in the “Videos” section on the Facebook page.

deos can be found in the “Videos” section on the Facebook page.

Central England Co-op Outlines Plans on Face Coverings for Colleagues and Customers

Central England Co-op has outlined its plans for in-store face coverings in its food and funeral businesses, as the retailer continues to lead the way on safety measures during these uncertain times.

The retailer, which has over 400 food stores and funeral homes across 16 counties, is asking customers to follow Government guidance and wear a face covering when visiting one of its businesses.Central England Co-op has outlined its plans for the roll-out of mandatory face coverings

All colleagues will wear a face covering or visor while at work to ensure everyone plays their part in staying safe and healthy.

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive, said: “Nothing is more important to us all at Central England Cooperative than the health and safety of our colleagues and customers.

“Ahead of the official start date of the 24 July for customers to wear face coverings in shops, we will be asking colleagues to do so from today (Monday 20). This is to ensure the message is as clear and consistent as possible for everyone.

“Our colleagues have all been supplied with face masks for when they are working and will be playing their part in helping our communities to stay safe. We want our colleagues to feel comfortable wearing a face covering for up to eight hours at a time, and so are also ensuring more comfortable face visors are available to those who prefer to wear one.

Central England Co-op has outlined its plans for the roll-out of mandatory face coverings

Central England Co-op has outlined its plans for the roll-out of mandatory face coverings

“Some customers are rightly exempt from this request, for health or religious reasons. We have made these exemptions very clear on our website and all team members will be reminded of these important exemptions.  Priority access for NHS team members is still in place, to allow these front-line workers to be in our and out of store as quickly as possible.

“So we now ask all of our customers to wear a face covering so we know together we’re co-operating in our efforts to be safe.”

The new measures on wearing face coverings will sit alongside a range of others already in place at Central England Co-op sites, which have been very well received by customers.

These include:


On entering the shop:

    • Prominent markings installed outside stores so customers queuing to enter maintain safe distances of two-metres, as well as messages asking those customers who may have symptoms of Covid-19 not to enter the store.
    • Permanent hand sanitiser stations at the front of all stores and a one-way system in place permanently


Whilst shopping:

    • Specialist cleaning products are used to regularly wipe down the countertops and chip and pin machines, ATMs, baskets and trolleys
    • Clear markings installed throughout stores to communicate two-metre spacing. Customers are asked to maintain these distances while shopping and this is repeated frequently via in-store radio messaging


At point of payment:

    • Special markings installed to showcase two-metre safe distances while queueing
    • Team members are using every other till point or checkout to keep both customers and colleagues a safe distance apart
    • Special markings installed in front of till points and checkouts of at least one metre. If a customer needs to enter this area to place down a basket or use the keypad, colleagues move backwards to maintain a safe distance
    • Customers are asked to pay with card or contactless if possible
    • Over 1,000 plastic screens at till points and 7,000 face visors issued to staff.


People can keep up to date with what is happening in their local community by visiting a dedicated online hub at

Lockdown Sees New Business Launch in Northamptonshire

A Northamptonshire businesswoman has used the COVID-19 lockdown to rethink, reshape and launch a new business.


Tamara Holland, based in Mawsley, Northamptonshire, has officially launched her new marketing business Dot & Stripe last month.

Dot & Stripe - Tamara Holland

Dot & Stripe – Tamara Holland

Tamara said: “I had been doing some freelance marketing work for a leading children’s franchise for some time, which I could easily fit around the family. But I knew that I needed to take my knowledge and passion for helping small businesses with their marketing further.


“I did ask myself ‘Who sets up a business in a global pandemic and lockdown?’ But being based at home has allowed me the time to focus on getting my business set up. Online networking has allowed me to easily connect with other businesses and this has inspired me to be creative and launch my company.”


Tamara, who has juggled her lockdown start-up with family life, added: “Now more than ever, small businesses need to filter what marketing will bring them the most value, and most of the time they just need to understand the basic but essential aspects to help grow their business and that’s where I can help.”


Dot & Stripe provides straightforward and jargon-free marketing support to start-ups and small businesses, through online (and eventually face to face) workshops on several marketing topics such as content marketing such as blogging and social media and marketing tools like Canva, email marketing, and social media scheduling.


Tamara has also joined fellow Northamptonshire company Pilkington Communications, which specialises in PR and social media.


Jessica Pilkington, Director of Pilkington Communications, said: “Tamara’s creative and dedicated approach is a perfect fit with all we do – supporting and promoting businesses, not just during the coronavirus crisis but also as we move forward, post lockdown, to enable  businesses throughout the UK to strive to survive, expand and thrive. We are delighted to welcome her on board and also wish her well with her own business launch.”