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.

Nene Local Speaks to New Business – Digby Dog Days

Nene Local Magazine asked Charley Digby about opening her new business during the pandemic.

She says “I would like to introduce you to my new and exciting business “Digby Dog Days”.

Digby Dog Days | Nene Local

My name is Charley Digby, Digby dog days offers Individual and group walks in and around the Northamptonshire/Cambridgeshire countryside.

I also offer secure walks in our grass paddock based in the village of Thurning where we live on our farm.

I will provide not only walks but home visits/pop ins, allocated puppy socialisation walks, I’ll begin basic training commands with your puppy (sit,stay,heal) and can even offer fun beach trips!

I am fully insured and DSB checked. Transport is provided in my fully air conditioned van with secure dog cages.

Digby Dog Days started because of my genuine passion for dogs from a very young age. I have been brought up around dogs and they have always been part of our family, so I have a huge understanding on how strong that bond can be.

Our pets mean so much to us always bringing such joy and happiness to our lives. Working within a veterinary environment has also expanded my knowledge and allowed me to care for animals when they’re at their most vulnerable which has only created an even stronger passion.

I understand that sometimes life commitments take over and we cannot always be with our precious family “dog” member, this is where my idea for “Digby Dog Days” was born.  I can offer the love and affection, plus exercise and fulfill all the dogs needs that you would be normally be doing yourself.

I am able to provide professional and friendly care for your dog(s) for those times you are unable to be there. My true aim is to create a service that is completely safe and full of happy carefree dog days as I know just how special they are to us all.


Digby Dog Days | Nene Local

For More Information

Charley Digby

Telephone: 07926 295882



100 Nature Activities for Families Launched in Time for Summer

After months of Covid-19 lockdown, followed by the arrival of the summer holidays, you might be feeling like you are running out of ideas for how to keep your family entertained. To help you out, the environmental charity PECT has launched more than 100 downloadable nature activities and resources to entertain, inspire and educate children.

 100 nature activities for families launched in time for summer

“We wanted to help support families during this unprecedented time by offering free activities that can be done at home, using only simple everyday household or recycled items,” explains PECT’s Operations Director Stuart Dawks. “Our Nature’s School resources aim to bring families together to enjoy, appreciate and protect their time together, while discovering more about the natural environment.”


Families can pick and choose the activities they want to take part in. The idea is that if children learn more about the natural wonders of the world we live in, then they will develop a desire to help protect and preserve it too. Our local environment is sometimes an unexplored resource, often overlooked for its wealth of possibilities, and not always appreciated or looked after as it should be.

100 nature activities for families launched in time for summer

The 100 activities and resources, which are available online, include everything from nature identification sheets, instructions for creating a Bee Hotel, tips on how to grow from food waste, a guide to creating a Leaf Lantern, and many more!


Nature’s School is not just for families – schools, charities and other organisations can also benefit from these resources and use them to create new ways of delivering the curriculum and learning objectives.

100 nature activities for families launched in time for summer

PECT has a vision for creating sustainable places, where the natural environment is protected, communities are involved in their area, health and wellbeing is improved, and resource use doesn’t compromise the needs of others, now and into the future.


To access the resources, simply visit or find PECT on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter by searching for ‘Sustainable PECT’.



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

Stanwick Community Gardens Planting for Cransley

Stanwick Community Garden is a small, green oasis developed by a group of individuals with varying levels of horticultural knowledge and experience, working together since it was a bare piece of land approximately 5 years ago.

Stanwick Community Garden

Stanwick Community Garden

The community is self-funding and would usually hold an annual Open Day and Plant Sale to raise the funds to improve the garden and access for all.


The impact of Covid-19 this year has meant that they have had to scale back their plant growing this year and members of the team volunteered to take some of the seedlings home to nurture them in their gardens during the lockdown.


Unable to hold their usual Open Day Plant and Cake Sale the group decided to offer the plants up for a donation to charity instead. They wanted to give back to the community having successfully secured some grant funding last year. Once the seedlings had become small plants, the plants were offered for sale or a donation to support the local charity Cransley Hospice whose fundraising events have had to be put on hold due to the coronavirus.


This proved very popular with the members of the group who gave generously and raised an amazing £200 for Cransley Hospice, even more than they had raised the previous year, with cakes and savouries!


The group continues to look after the gardens, socially distanced of course, and look forward to welcoming visitors again and raising even more money at next year’s Open Day.


Talking with BeautyFit Training

BeautyFit Training is doing an interview sent to us by Helen at Nene Local Magazine who is seeing how local businesses and charities have been fairing during the pandemic ….


I’m Lizzie Coleman and I’m a freelance trainer and educator for the beauty industry.  My business is BeautyFit Training.

lizzie coleman BeautyFit Trainin

Lizzie Coleman – BeautyFit Trainin


Nene Local – What do you do Lizzie?

I help beauty therapists and salon owners to reach their true potential through training, skills and knowledge.  I run training courses to FIT your beauty business needs.

I also offer bespoke consultation service, for any business owner or individual who has a vision for their business and needs a help in the right direction.


Nene Local – Has your business survived the pandemic?

Only just!!  I had lots of training booked in for the first part of this year, which then all got cancelled.  Now businesses are beginning to reopen I’m hoping that they’ll start to rebook or notice gaps in their service/treatment menus and will want training.


Nene Local – Have you changed what you do?

Yes.  I have adapted my courses so that people can learn the theory part at home supported by as many Zoom calls as they like, from me.  Once it is safe to do so, they will then be able to book on to a practical workshop to gain the practical skills and accreditation.


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

I’ve certainly had to embrace technology.  Although I did ok before I’ve really had to get to grips with it, Zoom, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin, it’s all been a fast learning curve!!


Nene Local – Are these going to benefit your business?

Most definitely.  I signed up to Samantha Cameron’s Keep Social Simple course, which was brilliant as it gave me the confidence to post things on social media and has helped me embrace it more, so I will definitely be using Social Media a lot more now.


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

I’ve learnt that it’s ok to have time for and to yourself and not to worry what other people are doing.


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

During lockdown I started going for daily walks (when the weather is good) and I did a bit of meditation and yoga every morning.  These certainly put my mind in a positive frame and I found that it helped me deal with things much better, so I will try to continue this


Tell us how to contact you

FB:  BeautyFit Training UK / @beautyfittuk

Instagram:  beautyfittraining



Talking with The Henry Allen Trust

The Henry Allen Trust are doing an interview sent to us by Helen at Nene Local Magazine who is seeing how local businesses and charities have been fairing during the pandemic ….

Nene Local – So tell us what you do at the Henry Allen Trust?

The Henry Allen Trust is a registered charity who provide support to children and families battling childhood cancer. Henry was just 2 when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk MYCN amplified Neuroblastoma. Henry’s last wish was to help other children and their families battling childhood cancer. Team Henry support children and their families battling childhood cancer by providing information and advice, emotional and financial support and granting treats and wishes, creating magical memories. Team Henry support hospitals and hospices by providing care packs and support along with working alongside hospitals to improve their policies and procedures in paediatric oncology.

the henry allen trust

Dawn Allen and Deborah Stockwell-Riddy out delivering isolation packages plus the BWN Christmas networking event.

Nene Local – Has your charity survived the pandemic?

Team Henry and our supporters have been amazing throughout the pandemic, ensuring The Henry Allen Trust survives and can continue our vital work.

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

Due to the Pandemic, Team Henry have had to cancel fundraising events, including our biggest annual event, THAT Family Fun Day. We have an amazing team of runners, who have had their races cancelled and because of this, sponsorship has also declined. We have had to find new ways to fundraise and have taken our fundraising virtually. We have set up virtual challenges, including Just Do It June, to celebrate Henry’s 11th birthday we asked our supporters to complete a different challenge every day or if they were feeling adventurous, Run, Walk or cycle 111 miles throughout June. They could do this to spread awareness or for sponsorship. The uptake was amazing, and we loved seeing everyone’s videos and pictures of them completing the challenges. There has also been a virtual quiz night held for us and a virtual combatathon too. Both events raised much needed funds for the trust with the Quiz raising almost £800 and the combatathon raising over £715.

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

Throughout the pandemic we have taken all our meetings online, mostly via Zoom which has been a new learning experience for us, like many others have too. Team Henry have also had to alter the way we deliver to hospitals and all our families ensuring we are following and adhering to all government guidance.

Nene local – Are these going to benefit your charity?

Learning new skills is always a benefit and we can use these skills to help improve our working practices going forward.

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

That no matter what challenges we face, we can adapt and continue supporting families, hospitals and hospices.

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

Anything that will ensure Henry’s legacy continues and Team Henry can continue supporting families and children battling childhood cancer as well as the hospitals and hospices.

For more information

Visit our website –

Email us –

Call us – 01908 631377

Follow us for updates and details of future events –




Check You’re Registered to Vote

East Northants residents urged to check they are registered to vote

Residents across East Northamptonshire are being warned not to lose their voice on decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are correct.


The annual canvass ensures that East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered to vote and encouraging them to register, so they can have their say in future elections, including those taking place in May 2021.


Having been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, elections for the new North Northamptonshire Council, Police, Crime and Fire Commissioner and local town/parish elections, will now take place in May 2021. The annual canvass is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can use their democratic right to vote on these upcoming elections.


Cllr Steven North, Leader of East Northamptonshire Council said:


“It’s important that residents keep an eye out for messages from East Northamptonshire Council, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for you and your household.


“We are required by law to complete the annual canvass, regardless of the wider situation, and ask that the public help us by providing the necessary information when it is needed. This will avoid the need for a canvasser to visit your home, which will be more difficult given the current circumstances.


“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in the messages we send and you may be unable to vote in any upcoming elections. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at


Any residents who have any questions about the annual canvass can contact ENC’s Elections team by emailing or by visiting

Carol Hill at Setfords Law – How has your Business Survived the Pandemic

Today’s interview is with Carol Hill – she is an independent family lawyer working with Setfords Solicitors.

I asked Carol to tell us more about what she does – As a family lawyer I deal with married and unmarried families advising and assisting on separation, divorce, financial matters and children issues.  I also prepare living together agreements and Pre-nuptial Agreements for those who want take care of their fina

Carol Hill at Setfords Law

Carol Hill at Setfords Law

ncial affairs before they enter into a relationship.

When asked did your business change during the lockdown? Carol said – My business has survived the pandemic.  I work from home, so things did not change for me workwise.  I had a lot of existing work which has continued and there have been some cases where court action has been required due to covid-19 issues and contact with children.

I have always offered telephone calls or Facetime or Whatsapp meetings with clients so just because I have been unable to meet up face to face, it has not prevented me from being in touch with people.

I have learnt how to use Zoom during the pandemic and will be able to use it with my clients to meet up in the future if they wish.

I try to embrace new technology as it will always benefit my business in some way and zoom is just another thing that I can do.  I am not sure if anyone will want to zoom once we can all meet up face to face as I think we are all getting “zoomed out” now.

I asked Carol what she had learned about herself during this time – I have learned that I must stop and take breaks during the day.  There are no holidays where I have been able to take time off or long weekends away which my husband and I used to enjoy so it is important that I take time each week to re-charge the batteries.

Finally I asked what the plans for the future were – I am really looking forward to life going back to normal and to be able to meet my clients over a coffee or tea to talk about their problems.  I like face to face meetings and miss them.  There is nothing like being able to speak to someone about your own matter and getting personalised advice.  You can learn a lot over the internet but its never tailored to your specific circumstances.

You can contact Carol Hill on her mobile 07977 125451 or email  You can leave her a message on Facebook Carol Hill at Setfords Law and she will get back to you as soon as possible.  Carol offers a free initial appointment during which you can discuss your situation and explore options.

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.”