Care watchdog commends Swindon care at home company as ‘outstanding’

Big well done to our client, Bluebird Care Swindon, for achieving ‘outstanding’ in their care delivery. Here’s our press release

Leading Swindon care at home company Bluebird Care Swindon has received a top accolade for the level of care its team delivers.

An inspection report from the sector’s watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, gave Bluebird Care Swindon the maximum endorsement of ‘outstanding’ for providing a caring service.

The team, who deliver care at home to elderly and vulnerable adults in the Swindon area, were also categorised as ‘good’ – the next level down from ‘outstanding’ – in all the other inspection areas. These include being safe, responsive and well-led.

Bluebird Care Swindon managing director Ben Curtis, who set up the company in 2011, said he was thrilled at the report, whose results were based on a snap inspection, which was made in December.

“This is a really fantastic result, and it is entirely thanks to our great team of care professionals who are so passionate about delivering quality care, and always go above and beyond the call of duty,” he said. “To receive ‘outstanding’ for care is a real accolade, particularly as the result is largely based on feedback from our customers, families and staff. We know we do a great job but to have their ringing endorsement is the icing on the cake.”

The report says: “The feedback received from people and their relatives reflected the staff were very compassionate, kind and established positive and meaningful caring relationships. People referred to staff as ‘angels’ and told us that staff were ‘like friends’.

“Staff exceeded in recognising what was important to people and that even the little things made a huge difference to people. There was evidence the staff often went ‘the extra mile’ to meet people’s needs and improve their lives. This caring approach was also visible within the team with the staff being very caring to one another and toward the local community.

“All people and relatives, without an exception said they would definitely recommend this service to family and friends.”

Katrina Simms, Bluebird Care Swindon’s operations director, added: “Our last inspection was in April 2016, where we were rated ‘good’ overall, which we were very happy with. To have exceeded this, with an ‘outstanding’ in care is wonderful news, and a great morale boost for our team. We are always looking for new people, who have the right attitude, to join our caring team and welcome applications.”

Bluebird Care Swindon offers a realistic alternative to residential care by allowing people to stay in their own homes with care and support. The support can involve one or more short visits a day, extending to overnight help.

New business group will provide support to entrepreneurial parents

New group for entrepreneurial parents will be a boost for Cirencester and provided a great PR opportunity for the Growth Hub:

A free monthly support group to help mums and dads who are juggling parenting and running a business is being launched this month at Cirencester Growth Hub.

A Mum and Dad Preneur group was piloted last year at the Growth Hub – a business support centre, located next to the Royal Agricultural University – and is now set to become a monthly fixture, with the first group meeting on January 22.

The free event is open to all parents who are juggling work with childcare, and runs from 10 to 11.30am, so during school hours and avoiding the school run.

Author and entrepreneur Angela De Souza, who set up the Women’s Business Club, will be talking at the first meeting, about starting a business while bringing up a family, based on a chapter from her book ‘I did it in my pyjamas’.

Yesim Nicholson, Growth Hub Centre manager, said: “The Mum and Dad Preneur meetings are a chance for business people to come along and meet others in a similar position to themselves, to chat and share ideas, frustrations and resources whilst enjoying a cuppa and a pastry.”

The Growth Hub, in the newly-built Alliston Centre next to the RAU, is part of a wider Gloucestershire Growth Hub network. It offers business support to Gloucestershire businesses, providing an environment where they can collaborate, network and exchange ideas. Growing Gloucestershire businesses can tap into a range of fully funded business support services, including one-to-one business support, workshops and events.

Other events in January include a workshop on ‘How to get more done in less time’ on January 16; an ‘Inspire Me’ session from Adam Starkey, who is founder and CEO of Green Gourmet, an award-winning food company based in Gloucestershire, on January 23; and on January 30 an ‘Introduction to business insurance’.

For more information about Cirencester Growth Hub, visit https://www.thegrowthhub.biz/cirencester-growth-hub, email the team at cirencester@thegrowthhub.biz or call 01285 889890.

Free event will help businesses and their owners get fit for 2019

Great way to kick start business networking in 2019:

Getting fit for 2019, in personal and business life, will be the focus of a free event to kick off the New Year for breakfast networking group Swindon Business Village.

The joint presentation – ‘Fit for business: achieving personal wellbeing is key to your business success’ – will be delivered by coaches Ian Locke and Shirley Hensher, on Thursday January 10.

Ian is a personal trainer and nutrition coach, who runs Thrive Personal Training, helping people move, eat and live in ways which improve their health and wellbeing. Shirley, under her business banner The Change Agent, enables corporate professionals and business owners to shape working lives which fit with their values and aspirations.

Shirley said: “The presentation is aimed at helping business owners who want to manage their health and fitness with the same level of energy and focus with which they manage their business. In other words, business owners who need motivation or support to create the opportunities for more ‘me time’ in their working week.”

Ian added: “For many of us, we are the most valuable asset our business has but we often ignore our own wellbeing in favour of the needs of the business. At the heart of our presentation is the question, your business needs you, but are you fit for business?”

The event, on Thursday January 10, is the first after the group’s Christmas break, and is free to anyone wanting to attend, as well as Business Village regulars.

It runs from 7.30-9am at The Campanile, West Swindon, and includes networking, one-minute introductions and breakfast. The usual charge for each weekly, Thursday meeting is £10 for booking online in advance (£9 early bird) or £12 on the door. The group charges no membership fee.

For more information and to book for the presentation, and other events on the Swindon Business Village calendar, visit https://businessvillage.org/.

In their separate businesses, Ian and Shirley both work with corporate executives and business owners seeking personal transformation. For more information about The Change Agent visit https://www.thechangeagent.me/ and for Thrive Personal Training visit https://thrivepersonaltraining.co.uk/.

Why not reboot your blog writing for 2019?

Hands up who enjoys blog writing. We do and probably quite a lot of you do too.

OK, this one’s a bit harder to answer: hands up who enjoys blogging regularly. That’s a bit trickier. Because to keep up a blog, on a regular basis, takes time, commitment, inspiration, and dedication – and, heaven knows, we all fall short of at least one of those from time to time.

So, now we’re into 2019 (who else feels it’s been January for ages already?) why not take the opportunity to turn over a new leaf, and reboot your blog; and don’t just reboot it, make a plan to write at least one blog a month for the next year. That’s 12 – shouldn’t be too difficult should it?

12 tips for blog writing for 2019

If you write your own blog, here are some tips on how to get it right, and – importantly – how to keep the momentum up for the year and beyond.

  1. Go through the calendar of events for the year, looking for inspirational topics. There’s so much to choose from; coming up we have Shrove Tuesday and (dare we mention it) Brexit. Then there’s Easter, school summer holidays, the Budget in November, then Christmas; and there are many more, which could be relevant to your sector. For example, Dementia Action Week in May, British Food Fortnight and our personal favourite, Talk Like a Pirate Day. You can find more at this awareness days website.
  2. Think about your target market. Who are they? What interests them? Then direct your copy towards them. Blogs with information giveaways – hints, tips, dos and don’ts – that demonstrate your expertise are likely to prove popular.
  3. Draw up a plan for each topic, and have a back-up idea in case you struggle with your first.
  4. Try to theme the blogs, so they fit in with your marketing plans and campaigns. You might try linking two or three together in a series, to pique your readers’ interest so they will come back for more.
  5. Put a blog writing day or half-day in your diary, at least two weeks before you plan to post it. Treat it as you would any other deadline – in other words, take it seriously and stick to it.
  6. When you do sit down and put finger to keyboard, don’t worry about writing reams. Try to aim for at least 300 words (the Google bots like this for ranking purposes) but short and sweet it always better than long and rambling.
  7. If you are in full flow, don’t stop to go back and correct typos etc, or you’ll interrupt your stream of thought. Do that at the end.
  8. If you have a blank, or writer’s block, stop for a while and do something else. Then go back to your blog and try again – but don’t give up. Remember your plan and the deadlines.
  9. Have an eye-catching headline, cracking intro and use sub-headings and bullet points. This makes reading on screen easier. Don’t forget your key words, for SEO purposes.
  10. Include hyperlinks. These should be a mix of internal links to other pages on your site, and also external links. Google approves of these.
  11. Have a call to action, so the reader knows what to do next. That might be to visit another page on your site, look at your services, give you a call or drop you an email.
  12. Have a cooling off period of a day or two before you post it, and read it with a fresh pair of eyes before it goes live. This way, you are more likely to spot those pesky typos.

Here at Word Worker we blog for ourselves, and we love to blog even more for our clients – it saves them the time and hassle of writing. We work together to come up with the ideas, we write the copy, they tweak it and sign it off, and we post it – while they get on with running their own businesses.

If you’d like help with your blogging, on a regular or occasional basis, please get in touch with Word Worker for a no obligation chat.

Use Christmas break to take a look at taxes

Advice and tips make great subject matter for a press release, and here are some suggestions on how to spend the Christmas break:

People should use the Christmas break to get up to date with their tax and finances, say the team at Optimum Professional Services.

With the self-assessment deadline on the horizon, Mandy Gibson, tax supervisor at the West Swindon-based accountancy and law firm, said the Christmas lull should give people a chance to do some financial housekeeping.

“The deadline for online tax returns to be filed, for the tax year 2017/18, is midnight on January 31st and it’s already too late to file a paper version,” said Mandy. “Any submitted later incur an automatic £100 penalty, even if there is no tax to pay or any tax due has been paid. And there are additional penalties the longer the delay.”

Mandy added that the festive break could also be an opportunity to look at how to make the most of tax-free allowances.

The annual ISA savings allowance is £20,000, and this must be topped up by the end of the financial year in April.

Tax relief available for pensions for 2018/19 is £40,000, and the deadline for topping this up to the maximum is also the end of the financial year. More can potentially be paid in tax free, by carrying forward unused allowance from up to three previous years.

Mandy added: “Making as much use as possible of the tax allowances available really does make sense. Careful tax planning can help reduce people’s tax burden leaving more in their savings or pension pots and less going to HMRC.”

Optimum Professional Services offers accountancy and legal services under one roof. As well as tax planning, the accountancy team offer business development, bookkeeping and payroll. The legal team specialise in conveyancing, wills and probate.

New Cirencester business centre almost full in five months

Great news that the new Cirencester Growth Hub has almost filled its office spaces – but loads of room left for co-working (we’re often there):

A new business centre in Cirencester, which provides a range of services to enterprises in Gloucestershire, has almost filled its rental office space within five months of opening.

There is just one office available, and a growing waiting list of companies wanting to base themselves at the Growth Hub, which only opened in July. But there is plenty of capacity for business people wanting to use the extensive co-working space and meeting rooms.

The Growth Hub, next to the Royal Agricultural University, offers business support to growing Gloucestershire businesses, providing an environment where they can collaborate, network and exchange ideas. Part of the wider Gloucestershire Growth Hub network, Cirencester offers a range of fully funded business support services, including one-to-one business support, workshops and events.

Cirencester Growth Hub Manager Yesim Nicholson said she was delighted that the offices had been let so easily, as it shows there are a lot of vibrant businesses in the local area, but stressed there was still plenty of capacity for co-working, with business people being able to take up membership or use the space on a pay-as-you-go basis.

“When we opened in July, we very quickly rented the three offices we have downstairs in the building,” said Yesim. “Now there is just one office available upstairs, and we are building up a waiting list.

“I think the facilities in the new building, free parking, lots of free events and networking opportunities, plus a really great working atmosphere are what’s attracted the businesses to us.

“Our co-working space is extensive, and we are quickly growing our membership among those who want to come regularly to use the facilities, as well as those who want to use it on a  pay-as-you-go basis.”

Colin Reid, managing director of sales training firm Sandler Gloucestershire, who rents one of the offices, said: “My office is ideally placed in the Hub, surrounded by co-sharing businesses, whilst being closely linked to a selection of varying size meeting rooms for my weekly training and monthly seminars. Feedback from clients and prospects who meet me in the Hub love the space and the relaxed atmosphere – always a great start when setting the scene to gain new clients.”

December events include a mindfulness taster session on December 11 and a ‘Beat your competitors online’ workshop on December 14.

For more information about Cirencester Growth Hub, visit https://www.thegrowthhub.biz/cirencester-growth-hub, email the team at cirencester@thegrowthhub.biz or call 01285 889890.