Brad Burton, founder of 4NetworkingThe charismatic founder and MD of the UK's largest business network was in Marlborough this week to help the local 4Networking chapter celebrate its fifth anniversary.
Brad Burton's jeans and t-shirt approach to networking was grasped as an antidote to the regimented approaches of associations like the BNI, while his Meet, Know, Like, Trust philosophy to networking and referrals has struck a chord with so many small businesses that the organisation now boasts 50,000 members across 300 groups
The Marlborough branch was established by Brad and Karen Thurley, of RED Virtual Office, in 2007 at the Ogbourne Downs Golf Club, which has been the home of the 4Networking branch for five years
Every other Tuesday around 20 small business owners meet for a 40-second introduction to talk about their own business, three ten minute one-to-one appointments with other members, and to listen to an industry expert give a '4sight' talk.
And Tuesday's meeting attracted almost 30 members, from as far afield as Oxford, Newbury and Bristol.
“One of the great things about 4Networking,” explained group leader Gail Lummis “is that you join the entire network, not just your local group. You could spend five mornings a week networking if you wanted to.”
Guests celebrate the 10th anniversary of 4Networking MarlboroughThe proximity of the golf club from the M4 makes the club attractive to members from Swindon and further afield. Gail works from Calne, while Karen – who still attends Marlborough meetings – is based in Highworth.
“You meet so many great contacts at 4Networking,” said Gail. “And the relaxed atmosphere makes it easier for some people to get into the networking habit. It really gives you confidence.”
Wiltshire Councillor Jon HubbardDemocracy in Tory-controlled Wiltshire is only available to the rich and the retired, the council’s Lib-Dem opposition leader Jon Hubbard claimed today (Thursday).
He declared that the unitary authority needs to reform how and when they hold their meetings to make them more accessible to “real people with real jobs”.
The council holds most of its meetings during the day making it hard for people with full time jobs to find the time to fulfil the role. This is why Wiltshire Council is dependant on employers giving councillors time of for civic duties.
The council has passed new rules which would effect make it impossible for an employee of Wiltshire Council to have enough time off to do the job.
"Wiltshire's democracy is only available to the rich or retired,” protested Councillor Jon Hubbard. "I understand that our own employees are not eligible to stand for the council, but I think it is telling that as an organisation we are not prepared to set an example of what we expect of other organisations.”
"Of course the argument is that in these difficult financial times it is not viable to allow staff so much time off during the day. Well what's different between Wiltshire Council and all of the other employers in the county.”
"Wiltshire Council needs to reform to allow all members of our society to fully participate in the democratic process."
Local Liberal Democrats have called on the council to hold more meetings in the evenings, allowing more accessibility of Wiltshire council to the general public.
Councillor Hubbard also attacked the shock move by the council’s Scrutiny Management Committee to effectively strip 39 of Wiltshire's Councillors from being able to object to bad decisions made by members of the Cabinet.
At present a group of any three of these councillors can “call in” a decision if they have enough evidence to believe the decisions were inappropriate.
After this week not even such evidence will be enough to hold the council to account, as only those councillors on the main Scrutiny Management Committee will be able to call in bad decisions.
"This is the Conservative commitment to democracy in Wiltshire, trying to stifle criticism of bad decision-making,” said Councillor Hubbard.
“Wiltshire Council pays £13,000 per year to councillors, but has removed their power to hold the Cabinet to account for what they are doing. What do they expect these councillors to do now?”
Councillor Hubbard is currently seeking legal opinion on whether the move is lawful.
All the Liberal Democrat councillors asked that their objection to the plan be recorded, including committee chair Trevor Carbin, but the anti-democratic plan was forced through by the Conservative majority.
Marlborough’s former mayor Nicholas Fogg, who is one of the town’s two Wiltshire councillors, told Marlborough News Online: “I have great sympathy with what Jon Hubbard is proposing.”
“Ways should be examined of making the democratic processes more available to more people. In fairness, the current council leader Jane Scott has maintained a commitment to the Planning Committees meeting in the evenings to give more people access. This should be regarded as a precedent rather than a ‘one-off’.”
He added: “I would regard accountability as benefiting most those who are held responsible. Would the current economic crisis have occurred if bankers had been more accountable to shareholders and the public-at-large?”
“Accountability can save people from the worst consequences of their own actions. Every councillor has been given a duty of care over those he/she represents. How can this care be exercised fully if the right to hold decision-makers responsible is denied?”
Jane Scott, the leader of Wiltshire Council, will be among speakers at the meeting of the Marlborough Area Board being held in the Town Hall on Tuesday, September 25. The meeting will concentrate on volunteering and will showcase many of the area’s voluntary groups.
Wiltshire Council have announced they are forming a ‘legacy’ group to support towns planning community events like those surrounding the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics. According to Council estimates, those events in Wiltshire attracted 225,000 people and provided a considerable boost to local economies.
The new group will bring together experts from sports groups, NHS Wiltshire, arts and heritage organisations and community organisations. It will be pro-active in searching out events which it could support. Wiltshire Council spent £290,000 helping this summer’s events.
At the meeting, Councillor Scott will be looking back at the summer’s events and their lessons, and looking forward to show how the legacy of the those events can be carried on into 2013 and beyond.
The Area Board meeting will include a ‘market place’ with a number of small stands at the Town Hall for local groups to show the work they do and advertise their needs. The ‘market place’ will be open from 6 p.m. and the meeting itself will start at 7.00 p.m. Among those who have already booked space at the ‘market place’ are:
• Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service
• GROW - providing support for the voluntary sector
• Home-Start Kennet – training volunteers to help vulnerable families in their homes
• Wiltshire Global Education Group (a partner of the Marlborough Brandt Group)
• The Friends of The Ridgeway
• Marlborough & District Embroiderers’ Guild
• Marlborough and District Dyslexia Association
• The Jubilee Centre
• Richmond Fellowship - offering help to people with mental health issues to find voluntary work, training and employment
• IT Can Help - providing free computer help for disabled people in their own homes
• Charities Information Bureau
• We Love Marlborough
• Ramsbury & Aldbourne Bowls Club
• Marlborough Brandt Group
• Marlborough: Our Community Matters Blogsite - new community area-wide blogsites for the community run by Wiltshire Council
• Victim Support Wiltshire
• Spice Time Credits – a new way of rewarding volunteers.
Joining Councillor Jane Scott at the meeting will be Councillor Stuart Wheeler, cabinet member for campus development and culture (a brief which includes leisure, sport and libraries) – on the value of volunteering within the library Service.
Sandie Lewis, head of Wiltshire Council’s Voluntary and Community Services Support Unit, and Simone Lord of the Wiltshire Volunteer Centre – will tell the meeting about the supports available to the county’s voluntary sector.
Elly Townsend of the organisation Spice will explain ‘Time Credits: a new way of rewarding volunteers’.
Sarah Cosentino of On-line Wiltshire will speak about the scheme for digital literacy champions.
Emma Cooper of Community Partnerships will speak about the Wiltshire Community Bank and credit unions.
And Andrew Jack, the Community Area Manager for the Marlborough area, will explain the ins and outs of the community area grants scheme.
Good causes and charities will do battle in Marlborough later this month for a slice of a £6,000 jackpot.
The nine community organisations won a place in the final of the Budgens of Marlborough Community Giveaway after their supporters voted for them in a contest run on Facebook.
Nineteen groups faced each other in three categories – Education and Young People, Health, Wellbeing and Social, and Community & The Arts.
Now the finalists will find themselves in the spotlight as representatives from each community group are invited to pitch their ideas to a voting audience at The Theatre on the Hill, St John's School, Marlborough on Thursday, September 27 from 7pm.
The community group from each category that receives the most votes on the night will walk away with £1,000.
And all of the nine finalists will get a share of another £1,000 over the first three months of the new forecourt opening.
Customers will be given a token each time they shop, to vote for one of three organisations per month. Each of these three organisations will get a share of £1,000, proportional to the amount of tokens they receive in-store.
Anyone can apply for a ticket, which will give them a vote to support their favourite community organisation. Tickets, which are free, can be booked through the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BudgensMarlborough or at www.budgensmarlborough.eventbrite.com
The Community Giveaway is being staged by Budgens of Marlborough, which is opening a petrol station, convenience store and Subway outlet at Marlborough Business Park in October. Work on the £2 million development, which will create 50 new jobs, started in July.
The finalists, and their projects, are:
Education and Young People:
St John's School
Having completed the new school building without the help of any national government funding, and moved in late 2009, the school is now working hard to raise the money needed to complete the external sports facilities at the new school. The All-Weather Pitch will not only benefit the students, but will also be available for evening, weekend and school holiday use by the wider local community.
Marlborough Brandt Group
To enable six students studying for the international baccalaureate from St John's School in Marlborough to travel on a study visit to The Gambia with a teacher and an education worker from MBG, to enhance their learning about development in an African community.
Savernake Forest Scout Group
Savernake Forest Scout Group requires new lightweight tents so that the 60 young members of the scout troop can go on camping adventures and develop key life skills through adventurous physical activity.
Health, Wellbeing and Social:
Wiltshire Air Ambulance
To support the running costs of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, the only emergency helicopter in the UK to fly with a pilot, paramedic and police observer at all times. Each day the Wiltshire Air Ambulance is called out an average of three times. Since 2009 the Wiltshire Air Ambulance has attended 41 emergency incidents in Marlborough and Pewsey alone. It costs almost £2,000 per day to keep the Wiltshire Air Ambulance flying and saving lives.
Splitz - KidzPace
Working with children aged 11-17 who have witnessed or been exposed to domestic abuse in Marlborough and Pewsey. Splitz provides a mix of one to one support and group work to build children's confidence and self-esteem.
Carer Support Wiltshire
To support the work of the Wiltshire-wide charity that gives free and confidential emotional support, information, advice and breaks to unpaid carers living in the county.
Community & The Arts:
Phoenix Brass Band
To purchase two tenor horns to enlarge the horn section of the training band, which exists to introduce any person, young or old, to the joys of music and brass banding.
Marlborough Communities Market
To support the ongoing success of the monthly Marlborough Communities Market, a not-for-profit enterprise working in collaboration with Transition Marlborough and Marlborough Town Council and incorporating a farmers' market and local crafts and produce.
We Love Marlborough
To bring Christmas cheer to Marlborough families, We Love Marlborough would like Father Christmas to be free to visit in the town hall this year, and have an free top-quality artist-led Christmas crafts-making session culminating in a procession at the lights switch on at 7pm. The Christmas Lights Switch On Activities will take place on 29 November 2012.
Click on pics to enlarge
David Hemery with Edwina and torchAbout six hundred people were at Barbury Racecourse on Monday evening (June 4) to see the former Olympic hurdle star David Hemery light Marlborough’s Jubilee Beacon. David Hemery brought with him the Olympic torch he had carried through Royal Wootton Bassett and signed many autographs.
The rain held off and, as the beacon began to burn, the clouds parted to give a wonderful view of the full moon.
The event was organised by the Marlborough Brandt Group with the help of the Barbury Estate and of Chris Musgrave and his team who built a huge bonfire which blazed into the night sky – helped by some very large bales of old linseed straw.
After the hog roast, pay bar and fish and chips and a charity auction of Coronation and Jubilee memorabilia, many people took the steep, torch-lit route up to the beacon – some very young and less young were taken up by tractor and trailer.
Several families took advantage of the wonderful site with its views across the downs, to camp overnight – while the beacon blazed away above them.
David Hemery lights the BeaconThe only disappointment was that the young rowers from Marlborough, New Zealand who had rowed in the previous day’s Thames Pageant, never made it down to Marlborough, Wiltshire. They were held up in London to attend an unscheduled presentation and to fix some problems in getting their boat shipped back to New Zealand.
Mayor Edwina Fogg was very disappointed as not only were they to have been honoured guests at the beacon celebration, but were also to be presented at the Town Hall on Tuesday (June 5.)
One young person at the Beacon was especially saddened that the lads from Marlborough, New Zealand didn’t make it - her cousin was one of the rowers and she was looking forward to meeting him for the first time.
“It was a most wonderful occasion and the culmination of months of planning and organisation by a large number of people,” Brandt Group founder Nick Maurice told Marlborough News Online.
“At least 30 people were involved in one way or another and almost exclusively in a voluntary capacity.
“The beacon was built over three days by the staff of the Barbury Estate who were quite magnificent in everything they did to make sure the lighting of the beacon went smoothly.
“It was such a privilege to have an Olympic Gold Medallist in David Hemery to light the beacon in the London Olympic year in front of 600 residents of Marlborough -- and to have Edwina Fogg our Mayor to encourage us all to raise our glasses to Her Majesty The Queen.”
And he added: “Then two special moments occurred when the blaze was at its height, huge sparks were rising into the heavens and the clouds cleared and the full moon appeared.
“My mobile rang and it was friends in Marlborough's link community of Gunjur in The Gambia announcing that they had just lit their beacon and were wishing Her Majesty long life and happiness!”
Below are more photos of the Marlborough Beacon event - including a shot showing the full moon and a 'morning after' shot of the pile of still burning ashes:
Reuben & Lucas Arkwright and Courtney Goodwin with David Hemery's Olympic torch Mayor Edwina Fogg with loudhailer addressing the crowdDavid Hemery with lit Beacon
The morning after..... BEACON-MOON.800pxCrowd wind their way up to the beacon