#EatOutToHelpOut Ends But…
The #EatOutToHelpOut scheme officially comes to an end on Bank Holiday Monday 31 August and I sincerely hope it has been a great boost to our local businesses and economies. Not all of us have been able to take advantage of course as we’ve experienced some serious income deficits during the lockdown period. However, ‘every little helps’ so let’s hope that the Lincolnshire restaurateurs have been able to recoup enough income for them to feel confident to spend more of their money locally.
We’ve heard the stories about the recession and possible price rises over the coming months but there are also stories about ‘green shoots’ in the economy and the resilience of the British people to get on with their businesses to make money and pull the economy forward. There’s much speculation with stories of ‘doom and gloom’ but I think it’s important to remember that many of the stories are literally just ‘stories’ written by journalists (trained or untrained) who may have an agenda unbeknown to us. With that in mind, my cup is definitely half full. Focusing on the bright side and being determined to make business work is what I do. I truly believe that we (that’s you and I) are capable of making our businesses successful regardless of the circumstances surrounding us. Do we need help? Do we need to collaborate? Do we need to focus on the good things? Absolutely! I’m prepared to accept help and advice all day long and I believe it’s one of the keys to success. Knowing when you’re out of your depth and needing help is crucial as is knowing when to employ an expert to do a job properly. When we work together we can often achieve much more so let’s Keep working and talking to each other.
Use the hashtag to promote your business, charity gift idea or event this Christmas
After a pretty dreadful summer I believe we need to look forward to a bright Lincolnshire Christmas. We don’t know what the future will bring with Covid-19 but we do know that Christmas is coming! Whether you like it or not, celebrate it or not, or even believe in it or not, the fact remains that it will be here on 25 December and we need to be prepared for it. We may not be out partying as we have in previous years but we are resilient enough and creative enough to make it a good celebration.
#LincsConnectChristmas starts on 7 September to coincide with the new #LincsArtCraftHour. Combining the two will give us the opportunity to see what our local talented and creative people have to offer. We’ll have the opportunity to shop early and safely by avoiding the usual Christmas rush because, well, let’s face it, we really don’t know yet if there will be movement and shopping restrictions in place to avoid another Covid-19 wave of destruction.
A Christmas Hamper
In previous years we’ve had a virtual Christmas hamper where we’ve been able to add items of our own or recommend items from other traders. The idea seemed to work well so I think it’ll be a good idea to do it again.
It’s time to start filling the Christmas Hamper…
The hashtag works on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so let’s start thinking about filling it up with lots of local goodies. Perhaps an example here might be useful. How about these messages:
“I think the #LincsConnectChristmas hamper needs some speciality chocolates. I highly recommend @BonBonLincoln who produce exquisite designer chocolates”
“No #LincsConnectChristmas hamper will be complete without some bespoke Christmas cards by @CardsOfGrimsby”
Adding a picture with each message will soon get the attention of local shoppers and will make the #LincsConnectChristmas hashtag the place to look for local independent Christmas shopping. With your help we can get this hashtag noticed and talked about around Lincolnshire and beyond to turn it into the ‘shop window’ for everyone to see.
A Christmas Meal
With no #EatOutToHelpOut scheme in place hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars will want to advertise their special meals and party events so the #LincsConnectChristmas hashtag is going to be ‘the’ place for them to advertise and I’m sure they’ll appreciate our support.
Let’s Work Together
I’m sure we can make Christmas a huge success but I do think that we will have to work together to achieve it. Am I confident? Absolutely!
Put It In Your Diary
The #LincsConnectChristmas and #LincsArtCraftHour both start on Monday 7 September at noon. Use the hashtags, search the hashtags and tell your friends about the hashtags. They’re here for ‘you’.
Mandarin Therapies & Mandarin Mothers provide bespoke mobile complementary therapies in the comfort of your own home, hotel or nursing home across the whole of Lincolnshire and beyond. Gift vouchers are available for that special person too.
To find out more about the #LincsArtCraftHour follow this link to the previous blog:
A message from Supt Paul Timmins of Lincolnshire Police following some sad and tragic deaths on Lincolnshire roads recently:
Click on this picture to open the video in Twitter
Click on this picture to open the video on Facebook
We see far too many road deaths in Lincolnshire so please always ‘be aware’ and don’t become a statistic. We love you just the way you are…. ‘alive’!
Domestic abuse doesn’t have age limits. If you know someone who is suffering call the police today. You’ll find some useful numbers here but if there is an immediate threat of harm call 999.
A Helpful App
Visit your App Store to download this free App to your device
Let’s pretend you’re out walking or have gone for a drive when you come across an accident. You dial 999 to contact the emergency services for help but then you don’t know exactly where you are. You know you’re in the middle of a field or on a country road but you couldn’t direct the emergency services to the incident. I imagine you might feel completely helpless!
I saw a post on Twitter asking the public to download the App What3Words so obviously I did. I didn’t expect to ever have to use it but thought it would be a good ‘insurance policy’ should the unexpected ever happen. I have actually used it though. I was able to give the three words that were displayed on my iPhone screen to the control room who directed the fire service to the field fire that I had discovered on my way home last winter. That’s it! It really is that easy. All you have to do is open the App and you’re immediately given 3 unique words that identify your exact location.
When opening the App you’re given the option to share the 3 words via social media or email or send it directly to one of your contacts so it’s a great way to pass on your location to friends if you are meeting them in town. Typing the three words into the search bar your friends are able to navigate directly to you using the App so as well as being the all important navigation tool in emergencies it’s also a brilliant tool for finding your friends.
Perhaps you could try out your new What3Words App with your friends. If you’re on your travels why not pop in to Louth Museum? It’s open to the public again and there is no need to book. The museum is over two floors (stair lift available for those who may need it) and you’ll be respectfully requested to wait outside if the museum is full when you arrive. Covid-19 regulations are in place of course so don’t forget your mask. I’ve had a look at the website www.louthmuseum.org.uk and discovered a virtual tour as well as Ruth’s Blog page. I thought you might find this interesting; It’s a factual account of the Lincolnshire floods in Louth on 29 May 1920. Imagine seeing a 2m wall of water heading into town…
Click on the picture to read the blog
Just imagine how useful What3Words would have been in this situation if it had been available then. Technology has certainly moved on at a remarkable pace!
That’s the blog done for now but if you have something that you would like me to include or would like to advertise please get in touch. Have a lovely Bank Holiday everyone. Look after yourself and look out for your neighbours.
Click on the picture to discover the Easton Walled Garden (EWG) ‘Whats On’ page and don’t forget to add Sunday 6 September into your calendar for the Autumn Country Market. You’ll be pleasantly surprised I’m sure and you can even sign up to the EWG newsletter too.
The #LoveCultureWeek was from 17 – 23 August but in reality we have so much to see and celebrate in Lincolnshire and our boarders that it simply isn’t possible to fit everything into a single blog. In fact, if I did list everything in one week you couldn’t get around all the fantastic locations in a short time frame anyway! With that in mind, I’ve decided to ‘drip feed’ the blogs for you so that you can plan your adventures for this month, next month or even next year!
Easton Walled Garden
Driving out of the County from Ancaster towards the A1 you’ll see a brown sign directing you to Easton Walled Garden. It’s one of those hidden gems that you really need to make the effort to see. It’s so close to the A1 (Colsterworth) that you might be forgiven for thinking that its probably just a small garden hidden away next to a busy road that will just take an hour or so to glance around and move on. If that’s what you’ve been thinking, you really need to read this and have a rethink.
The gardens are open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays until 27 September. However, with the weather set to change (it’s a dull Autumnal feeling day as I write this on 28 August) over the weekend with Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday forecast to be quite pleasant. It’s a good job then that Easton Walled Garden is also open on Bank Holiday Monday. Make sure that you make plenty of time to wander though as the grounds cover a full 12 acres of gardens. You’ll be able to discover new plantings and the latest additions while exploring the 80m long borders. I’m reliably informed that the plantings have been designed to peak ‘now’ for your delight.
It’s been 400 years in the making (and growing) and has the River Witham flowing through its grounds. The cafe is open for takeaway hot and cold drinks along with the all important ‘cakes’ to keep you sustained during your ventures around the grounds. The shop (both physical and online) is the place to be for your seeds and lovely gifts and there are even holiday cottages for those of you who want to stay for your next local break. I’m sure there is quite a bit that I’ve missed off here so I recommend you visit the Easton Walled Garden website to make your own discoveries. There is no need to book as the grounds are extensive but you will obviously need to adhere to the normal social distancing rules. The gardens are posting on social media of course so for a quick update follow @EWGardens on Twitter.
Woolsthorpe Lock is just West of Grantham and is a great area to visit to see the current engineering work that’s going on to restore the Grantham Canal.
The boat trips may be cancelled due to the Covid-19 restrictions but the @GranthamCanal (find them on twitter) is still worth a visit. I thoroughly recommend you take your camera with you and be prepared to be amazed! The lottery funded work is really impressive and the volunteers deserve all the praise they can get. You’ll be able to see what they’ve been doing if you search for them on Facebook too. To make life easier I’ve included a link here: Grantham Canal Society If you like what you see you can join the team as a volunteer and/or make financial donations to help the project along. For more information about this project and more canal walks and adventures have a look at the www.canalrivertrust.org.uk website. You’ll find lots of information here including free guides for days out, maps, walking and cycling routes plus much more.
National Garden Scheme
While you’re in the Belvoir/Rutland area you might like to take a visit to some of the lovely gardens in the Rutland area. Redhill Lodge is open on Sunday 30 August for a small charge of £5.00 but you’ll need to follow this link to book your visit: Redhill Lodge
The Lincoln branch of the National Garden Scheme are great supporters of #LincsConnect and are often advertising gardens to visit. Click on the picture to find them on Twitter
I was going to write about the National Garden Scheme to explain what it is and how it works but, to be honest, I can’t put it any better than the words on the official website so here’s what the site has to say:
“Thanks to the generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors we have donated a total of £55 million to nursing and health charities, and made a record annual donation of £3.1 million in 2018. Our beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute.
By opening your garden, you’re not only giving people a great day out – you’re also raising money to help those in need. What’s more, you are joining a community of thousands of other like minded garden owners, all passionate about great gardens and raising money for great causes.”
Why not organise a visit to a garden in Louth? The Secret Garden of Louth is taking bookings and visits cost £2.50. Click on the picture for more details
Mere House, Sturton by Stow is another garden to visit. Admission is £6.00 (children free). Clicking on the picture will take you to the website where you can book your visit.
Here are a few links to earlier blogs which I hope you find interesting. There’s lots going on at #LincsConnect and there is even more planned so please keep an eye to for new features and events.
Christmas Is Coming…
Don’t forget that the #LincsConnectChristmas hashtag along with the #LincsArtCraftHour hashtag goes live on Monday 7 September. ‘Now’ is the time to start your preparations so look out for the hashtags and shop early & safely for Christmas.
Bank Holiday Pharmacy services in Lincolnshire. Click on the picture for details of pharmacies that will be open near you and follow @ULHT_News for your health updates.
NE Lincs virtual mental health support – just a Zoom away… If you’re in need of mental health support in the evening get in touch with @NAVIGOCARE by clicking on this picture to go straight to their website.
Stay safe everyone. Hand washing and social distancing is still the key to our continued success so keep up the good work. Have a lovely Bank Holiday and don’t forget to put your rubbish in the bin or take your litter home with you.
Click on this picture to go straight to the Facebook events page for this exhibition
7 September 2020 – A Very Important Date
Monday 7 September is a very important date for several reasons. The new #LincsArtCraftHour stars at 12.00pm and all Lincolnshire artists, crafters, sculptors, jewellery makers….. are invited to post their promotional messages using ‘two’ hashtags. I’ll explain more a little later but for now, let’s focus on the date. 7 September also sees the launch of the ‘Mel Langton Solo Art Exhibition’ at the Gallery of St. Martin’s in Lincoln ‘and’ it’s the launch of #LincsConnectChristmas too. Yes, I know, you’re probably thinking ‘it’s too early for Christmas’ but the reality is that NOW is the time to start planning and advertising Christmas to raise brand awareness in time for the Christmas season!
The #LincsArtCraftHour will be on Twitter from 12.00pm – 1.00pm every Monday lunchtime from 7 September. The idea behind it is to highlight the talent that we have in the County and to allow you to view what’s on offer. You’ll find everything from cards to jewellery and paintings to sculptures with everything ‘arty’ in between. While many of us are still either reluctant or unable to go shopping on the High Street this weekly hour will give you the opportunity to see what’s on offer. Those posting will be able to include links to their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, websites and online shops while at the same time showing off their huge talents. ‘Christmas’ is coming but don’t just see this as a virtual shop window for your Christmas shopping. A gift for yourself, a ‘thank you’ card, a birthday gift or even a Mothers Day gift for next year are all possibilities.
Rather than running through all of the information again I’ll let you have a look for yourselves by following this link to the relevant blog: lincsconnect.co.uk/blogs/artcrafthour You’ll also find some info on the Lincs Connect Facebook page too so please have a look to see what you think. I’m still looking for interest in other specialist hours so if you see anything on the LincsArtCraft blog that takes your fancy please let me know. I’ll also be interested to hear if you have any other ideas of course.
Click on the picture to go to the #LincsArtCraftHour blog
How It Works
If you’re posting messages on the #LincsArtCraftHour slot follow these simple steps:
Be sure to have your tweets ready to post (in real time or scheduled) by 12.00pm on Monday 7 September
Include a picture (or two) to show what you are advertising
Include a link to your website, Facebook, Instagram or online shop for people to follow
Include the two hashtags #LincsConnect and #LincsArtCraftHour in your tweet
Search the #LincsArtCraftHour hashtag to retweet and support others and to do your own free networking either live on the day or later in the week. You can search the hashtag at any time 24/7.
Don’t ‘dump’ a load of tweets on the hashtag in the first couple of minutes (even if they are scheduled tweets) as it won’t look good on you. Make sure your tweets are spread out over the hour.
How To Search The Hashtag
Searching the hashtag may be easier than you think. Simply go to your search bar, type in #LincsArtCraftHour, click search (or enter – depending on what device you are using) then go to ‘Latest’. That’s it! It really is that easy so make sure that we make the hour a success by supporting each other. Finally, don’t forget to let your contacts know too. Obviously the more people we have using, searching and talking about the #LincsArtCraftHour the more likely you are to increase your following and make more sales.
Click on the picture to follow Fiona on Twitter or click on this link to find her on Facebook: @fidunkart
I know I’ve posted this before but it’s worth another mention. I think these painted old maps are an excellent idea. If there was ever a way to bring a map to life, this is it! Why not give Fiona a follow on Twitter or Facebook to see what other delights she has in her portfolio?
Mandarin Therapies provides ‘the’ stress buster you’ve been looking for. Bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home with full Covid-19 safety certification. Gift vouchers available. Call 07966 174878 to book your appointment. Click the start button to watch the video.
Christmas Is Coming…
Like it or not, love it or hate it, celebrate it or ignore it… It’s still coming and we need to start preparing for it. Consider this scenario: You wan’t to get the spare bedroom plastered and decorated before the relatives come to stay – too late! Many of the tradespeople are already fully booked until after Christmas! That’s just one example but there must be plenty more. Unless you’ve been living on a different planet you can’t have escaped the devastation that Covid-19 has wreaked on local and national businesses. Many are suffering with lost sales since March so if you are going to recoup anything from this shocking year ‘now’ is the time to start planning it. Christmas markets are cancelled across the country and town centres may still be in restricted shopping mode for our safety. NOW is the time to plan your advertising for Christmas. If you don’t, someone else will. If you want to salvage some of your lost selling opportunities, NOW is the time to do it. From 7 September I’ll be starting the #LincsConnectChristmas hashtag so lets all get on board with it and start to plan. After all, its just 124 days to go as I type this blog.
Visit the Louth Age UK website for more information about their charity shop. Your safety is in mind and fundraising for those in need is at heart. Click on the logo for details
Are you a ‘vintage’ fan? If you are I think you’ll like this room in the Louth Age UK Shop. It’s your chance to grab a bargain while supporting a local charity at the same time
Click on the YMCA logo to find out how they serve our community and discover why they need our financial support
YMCA Pop Up furniture and Brik-a-brac shop, The showroom, Tritton Rd, Lincoln. The next dates are 26-29 Aug from 10.00am to 3.00pm. Click on the picture to find them on Twitter
Mandarin Therapies & Mandarin Mothers provide a bespoke mobile service throughout the whole of Lincolnshire and beyond. Call 07966 174878 to book your Covid-19 safe appointment or click on the picture to go to the Mandarin Therapies Facebook page for more info.
Mel has a solo art exhibition in Lincoln starting on 7 Sep at the Gallery At St Martin’s, Lincoln with lots of new original artwork. Entry is FREE and there is no need to book but please be aware that the usual Covid-19 safety rules will apply so don’t forget your mask. The art will be on sale of course and the gallery is happy to take card or cash sales. Click on the picture to find the link for more information
That’s about all for now but please don’t forget to make a note in your diary for the #LincsArtCraftHour on Monday 7 Sep from 12.00pm. Tell your friends too
Stay safe everyone
On The Plus Side…
Covid-19 has wreaked devastation across the world with many lives lost while others have become (and remain) seriously ill as a result of this deadly virus. ‘Normal’ has changed over the last few months with travel, work and personal restrictions causing much disruption and heartache. Finances have been seriously challenged for all of us be that directly or indirectly but we have also shown remarkable resilience and a desire to keep going. Some industries have carried on as normal while others have had to significantly increase working practices to cope with demand. Others, on the other hand, have suffered greatly with many paying the ultimate price of permanent closure.
On a positive note though, many of us have adapted our working practices to keep going which has in turn resulted in a significant reduction in pollution, fossil fuel emissions and litter. On a personal note I have significantly reduced my vehicle use by taking my work online. The knock on effect of that has been that my clients have been able to manage injuries, carry on with their rehabilitation programme under personal instruction, maintain their strength and monitor fitness levels as my training programmes have been adapted for home exercise. Those training at home have also had reduced car usage of course so the reduction in the burning of fossil fuels has been reduced even further.
While I’m used to visiting clients in their home, the lockdown has made me re-evaluate my working practices. The home exercise sessions really do seem to be the way forward and I will definitely keep them going. I had been looking for ways to become more environmentally friendly with my working practices so this is definitely a step in the right direction.
I’m Not Alone
Since many people have turned to working online through Zoom, WhatsApp Messenger or FaceTime video sessions my thoughts have turned to those who have been doing it for some time. I do wonder why it’s taken me so long to catch up of course but having been forced into a new practice I wonder how many others will continue with the online working practice too. It’s not until I start to apply the ‘grey matter’ that I realise how many businesses have already been working successfully online. How many can you think of? I’m aware that authors have been selling online for some time as we have become accustomed to buying books for our e-readers. Many courses and tutorials have been firmly embedded into the online platforms too while shopping online has become the norm.
Lincolnshire Libraries (@lincslibraries on twitter and Lincolnshire Libraries on Facebook) are set to reopen on 13 July with a phased reopening of their larger premises first and hubs/mobile libraries opening later in the season. However, although there is a real joy (well, there is for me anyway)! to be had when browsing through the physical books on the shelves it has to be said that our libraries have really stepped up their online services to keep us all happy. Perhaps you’ve been enjoying some of their audio books, e-books or music from their ‘Freegal Music’ selection? It’s all online and free with your Library card so if you haven’t already experienced it perhaps now is the time. Not only will you be accessing the library from your home or mobile device but you’ll be helping to save the planet too by reducing your travel requirements.
If it’s a good read that you’re looking for and are a regular browser of the amazon or Apple libraries youo may have a favourite local author who has been keeping your reading habits and imagination alive. Some of them have been mentioned in previous blogs of course from the very imaginative books by local Grimsby author Lynette Creswell who sells her books on Amazon (find her on Facebook ‘Lynette Creswell Author’ or via her website www.lynettecreswell.wordpress.com ) and has a new book of short stories ‘The Cat Thief’
Lynette Creswell – A local author based in Grimsby with quite a collection of published books now has a new book ‘The Cat Thief’ – click on the picture for more information.
to factual eBooks about growing vegetables in straw bales. Simon Gibbins has produced both an e-Book and a DVD which can both be purchased through his website www.strawbaleveg.co.uk
Simon Gibbins is based in Waddington, Lincoln but his e-Book and DVD are both available from his website. Click on the picture for more information
Home fruit and vegetable growing has certainly seen an upsurge during the lockdown so with fresh food readily available in our own garden perhaps shopping habits are set to change again as even more people discover the joy and convenience of home grown produce. If you fancy giving it a go you can contact Simon through his website or on twitter @strawbaleukman where he also has information about his seed sales as @SeedsSimon
While many of us have utilised the lockdown to learn new skills (it’s been blogging for me) it’s worth remembering that many local businesses have been providing their services online for quite some time before the virus hit us. Rosemary from Inavanti Learning has been providing language courses on an individual basis with online learning to compliment her sessions but during the lockdown she has moved exclusively to online sessions. It can’t have escaped your notice that Lincolnshire is a large County so for a business based in Grantham it’s important to be able to reach customers both near and far. ‘Online’ is most definitely the way forward, not just for reach and accessibility but for reducing traffic and helping to look after our planet. Schools have had to embrace the technology to keep in touch with students but as the schools gradually return to building based lessons it’s important to know that personalised online learning is very much available for you. ‘Thank you’ to the dedication and hard work of private tutors like Rosemary.
Inavanti Learning – click on the picture to go straight to the website. This could be the start of your next journey…
Inavanti Learning – Click on the picture to watch the Inavanti video and get a feel for your next learning experience.
Music is part of the online and download revolution with lots of platforms available to artists of any genre. I often search YouTube to listen to local artists so, as I’m writing about ‘online’ I thought it would be a good time to share some local bands here:
Trak3 Official is a Grimsby based band singing rap. I’ve chosen ‘Caught Up’ as a featured track here but please keep in mind that other tracks of theirs do contain swearing. Click on the picture to hear the YouTube track and don’t forget to give them a follow on Twitter @TRAK3_Official
If you fancy something different this very young band from Cleethorpes definitely deserves a listen. This group of youngsters really have been doing some good things and have been getting their name around the music scene quite successfully too. Have a listen to ‘Bullet’ and don’t forget to see what else they have on their Youtube channel:
Revivalry – A band of youngsters from Cleethorpes doing some great things. Click on this picture to hear the track and don’t forget to give them a follow on Twitter too @revivalryband
Another great Lincolnshire band destined for great things is Shout Inferno. They’ve appeared on my tweets and blogs before as one of my featured local bands of the week so it’s no surprise to see them here again:
Shout Inferno – Live at The Sweet Factory. Click on the picture to go to their youTube channel and hear another great song from their library. You can also follow them on Twitter @ShoutInferno
The Saboteurs have also featured as one of my ‘Local Bands of the week’ and I’m sure you won’t mind if I feature them here too:
Saboteurs – Click the picture to hear ‘Coraline’ – it’s the latest single from the band and it really is a good one. @sabsbanduk were also a recent addition to my local band of the week feature on twitter and when you hear this track you’ll understand why. I think this band from Sleaford are destined for big things.
Follow The Leader
If you like local music you need to follow Dave @laamb4 on twitter or visit the website for lots more music and arts information. As usual, you can click on the picture to go straight to the website:
Laamb – Click on the picture to go to the website. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
A Word From The Sponsor
If you would like to sponsor the next blog please do get in touch. I hope you like what you see and can see the value in it for local businesses, charities and organisations. Until next time though, I’ll leave you with a short video by @MandarinMothers who provide bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home:
Mandarin Therapies and Mandarin Mothers provide bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home. Why not surprise someone special with a gift voucher today? Visit www.mandatintherapies.co.uk for more info. Click on the picture to view the video
If you have any suggestions for future blogs please do let me know.
Sponsored by Mandarin Therapies. Bespoke complementary therapies from the comfort of your own home.
Hashtags – Do They Work?
The simple answer here is ‘yes’ and ‘no’! How many times have you seen posts on social media with the hashtag #ShopLocal on it? As crazy as it may sound, the hashtag really isn’t much use if you’re using it to help people find you. It’s fine as a statement of fact on your post but when you search for it you’ll find that the posts are anything but local. In fact, the posts you’ll find there are for all around the world so if you’re expecting people to find your cheese that you produced in Sleaford I strongly suggest you think again! When I set up Lincs Connect in 2012 I experimented with several hashtags and names before settling on #LincsConnect. Other examples of my trial hashtags included #ShopLocal (ironically I created this hashtag in January 2011 for use on my @MANDARINLEISURE account but scrapped it because it went global) #SupportLincolnshire #SupportLincolnshireBusiness #SupportLocal #SupportLocalBusiness with the latter being shortened to #SLBiz. However, my early research made me realise that the ‘Support…’ hashtags were just too long and people refused to use them because of the amount of space they took up on the posts. Another reason for scrapping them was because they start with the word ‘Support’. When searching social media for relevant hashtags to do with Lincolnshire you’ll find that typing the letters ‘Linc’ into the search bar will give you LincsConnect on twitter and Lincs Connect on Facebook in the top three names to visit. Compare that to typing in ‘Support’ which will give you all sorts of connotations from TwitterSupport to a whole host of other national and international business support sites. It makes sense then that the hashtag to use on your tweets needs to be #LincsConnect as it is at the top of your searches and is truly local to Lincolnshire.
How To Use A Hashtag
If you’re happily adding hashtags to your post but never searching them you’ve truly missed s trick! Here’s what to do: Type in #LincsConnect in your search bar then press enter. Don’t click on the account @LincsConnect as that’ll take you to the account only which means you’ll miss all the good information. Once your device takes you to the messages on the #LincsConnect timeline you need to look for the ‘Latest’ tab at the top of the Twitter page. If you type #LincsConnect into the search bar on Facebook you’ll need to look for the ‘Posts’ tab at the top of the page (this’ll also show you related Instagram posts). Once you’ve discovered these pages you’ll realise that there is a huge amount of information, business posts, personal posts, charity posts and requests for help etc etc that are all related to our local area. Try it now to see what you can find. It’s a fantastic way to network and find out what’s going on locally.
How do you support local? Is it as easy as going to the local shops and picking something from the shelves? In case you hadn’t considered it before, let me share some of my ideas about shopping and supporting locals:
- Shop locally – supporting local traders by buying their produce in local shops, garden centres, farm shops and markets
- Online – Many local traders have online shops. A more cost effective way of selling may be via platforms like Etsy shops or even selling directly via social media
- Don’t forget the local charity shops. Dropping off your unwanted items is absolutely crucial but don’t forget they are there to help raise funds for the many worthy causes that otherwise would’t survive without our support. Buying from the shops is absolutely essential if the charities are to survive.
- Social media – In the 10 years that I’ve been running #LincsConnect I’ve noticed some big changes in how people use the various platforms. I’ve noticed a big rise in the professionally run accounts (some companies run several accounts for different clients) and I’ve also noticed the reluctance of many accounts to share anyone else messages or support others. I’ll talk more about these two subjects later.
Obviously there are many other ways to support local businesses, charities and organisation but I’ll focus on my main observations first if that’s OK?
This concept certainly isn’t new. However, during the Covid19 pandemic it has become much more important and (thankfully) much more prolific. We know how important our local CoOp, Post office, newsagent and Spar shops are. Many of them are in walking distance (for those who are able) and stock locally produced products. Perhaps, with the use of ‘people power’ they might be able to stock more local local produce to help the local economy even further. A polite request from customers or local traders may be all it takes. It’s worth a try! In addition to helping to support local traders (including the shop owners and staff) it must have also come to your attention that during the lockdown there have been less emissions, less fossil fuel burned and less litter. All of these positives are good for the planet so let’s see if we can maintain our recent good practices.
This isn’t something that I have ever considered for my own businesses before Covid19 but it is something that I have been doing during the lockdown. FaceTime and WhatsApp video calling has been a fantastic way to maintain contact with my clients while reducing my fuel usage in my truck. It’s definitely a practice that I intend to maintain. During the lockdown I’ve been busy writing blogs and searching for companies who sell online. Some are using Etsy, some use Facebook and others use Twitter. I’m sure there are other platforms that are equally as good or even better but I haven’t come across them yet. The obvious choice and probably the most popular is direct selling from websites. Many people have their own eCommerce shop on their website which is easily maintained by the trader and convenient for the customer. If, like me, you are a bit of a technophobe you’ll be able to find website designers who will be able to build a site for you or help you with your existing site. If you would like to get in touch with any designers please feel free to ask me for some suggestions. After all, that is what Lincs ‘Connect’ is for!
I often include charities in my blogs because I feel they need all the help they can get. I’ve focused on very small charities through to the very big charities and the one thing that they all have in common is their use of social media. The posts may not raise funds directly but their constant presence certainly helps to raise your awareness of them
Share The Love
Looking at the various accounts on social media I often make up my mind whether I should support them or not simply by looking at their posts. The ones who never share anyone else posts, have conversations or try in any way to support anyone else is a big red flag for me. I find myself asking the question ‘why should I support them when they don’t support others and are very unlikely to support me?’ I’m a big believer in helping others so when I find someone who shows no interest other than to post their own tweets I tend to move on to find someone who is more sociable and supportive.
Buying And Selling
I’ve noticed Fiona @OrigArtPrints on Twitter while searching the #LincsConnect hashtag and really like what she has been painting on old maps. Her main sales come from Craft Shows but obviously they haven’t been open over the last few months so, being creative she turned her attention to Facebook and Twitter for her sales. Facebook has been successful but Twitter less so. However, her Twitter account is a good platform for showcasing what she does and for directing people to her Facebook account. It is important to use more than one platform on social media if you want to increase your client base. It’ll be interesting to see if future sales turn more towards social media and less towards the craft fairs. Only time will tell. I think these paintings on old maps are fabulous. You have to admit, they do bring the map to life. Here is another example:
If you would like more information about Fionas art just click on the picture for a link to her Facebook page. I’m sure she will be happy to see you there and you’ll be Able to see selections of her cards and key rings too.
Websites, Social Media And YouTube
I’m no expert of course but it does appear to me that one of the best ways to find a website (given that you probably didn’t know the sites name or even that you wanted to make a purchase) is through social media. I’ll say that bit again just to clarify, “through ‘social’ media”. Why the emphasis on ‘social’? Well, I’ve noticed far too often that many people are using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to show off their products and gain new customers but quite often don’t realise that they need to talk to their followers to get continued engagement and (hopefully) new sales. Put it this way, if you don’t talk to me on social media I’m not likely to notice you. On the other hand, if you do talk to me but I don’t talk back you’ll soon stop talking to me. Either way, I would be the loser so that’s why it’s always best to be ‘social’ on social media! While being pre-occupied with social media I almost forgot about YouTube. Surely I can’t be the only person who searches YouTube on a very regular basis for music and information? I do think it’s a great platform for showing your products (you’ll have seen some of my YouTube videos if you’ve been reading my other blogs), courses and skills. While the social media could drive potential customers to your website the same driving force could apply to YouTube. I feature a local band of the week each day on twitter and invariably I find the bands on Twitter or Facebook first then either follow a link to their YouTube channel or take a few seconds to search for them in the YouTube search bar. This band (Saboteurs) from Sleaford have really got my attention this week. You can follow them on Twitter @sabsbanduk for regular music posts and updates about upcoming gigs when Covid19 restrictions allow. Alternatively you can go straight to their website www.saboteursband.co.uk for lots more info and a chance to purchase their new album.
The Saboteurs YouTube channel – just click on the picture to go straight there. It’s as easy as that and if you like good Indie music I think you’ll like this too
See You Soon…
I hope you like my brief blog about using social media for selling and finding new customers. Please feel free to leave a comment below and share the post with your friends and contacts. Hopefully I’ll see you when I search the #LincsConnect hashtag again soon.
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When The Sun Goes Down…
Are you a lunchtime or evening meal sort of person? Whether you prefer to call it dinner or tea it makes no difference but I’m guessing the majority of people reading this will have their main meal in the evening. Perhaps the ‘lockdown’ has helped to change your eating habits? I do know that initially (way back in March) we were all suddenly thinking about food and toilet rolls. However, the initial rush and panic seems to be over now and our shopping habits are starting to return to something close to normal. Have you been missing your normal foods though? Many of them have been in short supply and we have been discouraged from nipping out to our favourite restaurants to eat with friends. However, some Lincolnshire companies have come up with some ingenious ways of surviving the lockdown so I thought I would share with you some of the establishments that I know of who are still trading and supplying take-away food and drink for us all to enjoy.
We don’t have to wait for the sun to go down to enjoy our dinner (or is it tea)? but it does pay to plan ahead. If you’re looking for something for lunch, dinner or an evening feast let’s see if we can share some ideas. I’ll list some of the Lincolnshire establishments that I know of but it certainly won’t be exhaustive so if you know someone that I’ve missed out please let me know in the comments below:
Caythorpe Water Mill are providing takeaway pizzas and burgers so if you’re in the area why not pre-book yours today? Just click on the picture to place your order or telephone 01507 451366
Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese provide delivery throughout the UK as well as pre-arranged sales direct from the farm. Click on the logo to go straight to their website www.lincolnshirepoachercheese.com or follow them on twitter @Poachercheese
Mail order Poacher Cheese delivered straight to your door. Click on the picture to go to the Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese Twitter page
Apley Lamb (Near Wragby) offers a free local delivery of freshly boxed lamb cut to order. Click on the logo to go straight to their facebook page or follow on Twitter @ApleyLamb
Post Covid-19 – Are We Ready?
Without doubt things have changed. The way we have lived our lives, the way we have thought, the way we have communicated, the way we have shopped….. A huge proportion of what we’ve done over the last few months has changed compared to what we were doing in February. I never would have thought that I would have managed without my car but since the Covid-19 outbreak my car has been on the drive and hasn’t moved other than to roll it forwards or backwards a few inches to prevent flat spots on the tyres. There will be a time in the not too distant future when I’ll be using it again of course. Being a mobile masseur and Personal Trainer I’ll need to be thinking of ways to see my clients again while keeping them (and myself) safe. We do of course, have the threat of re-infection looming over us so now is the time to make adjustments to help prevent that from happening.
Social media has been a lifeline for many of us as it’s allowed us to maintain contact with friends and followers throughout the lockdown. I’ve used it to collate lots of information and keep in touch with all sorts of people. It’s reminded me just how resilient we are and how well we can adapt. However, we are entering a new era at the moment where some of our old rules and precautions need to be revised. Shops are starting to open again which really is positive news but I wonder how many shop owners and local businesses have really thought through the precautions required for safely re-opening or increasing the staff levels in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19? Social (or should that be ‘physical’) distancing is at the top of our agenda at the moment of course. Those of us who have used the supermarkets recently have become used to it very quickly and the small businesses (butchers, bakers, local food stores) have become adept at restricting the numbers of people allowed in the shop at once.
Recent conversations on social media with Alex of The Specialist Safety Group have made me realise that many of us may not be as ready as we thought we were for the ‘grand re-opening’ of our businesses. Yes, we all know about distancing and restricted entry to our businesses but have we considered other Health & Safety at Work issues too? We don’t want, or anticipate having a fire at work but we have to plan for it. How would fire evacuation change with the new distancing precautions? Perhaps we have a dedicated first responder at work should someone be taken ill. Have rules change with the distancing precautions? Perhaps insurance companies may require us to have new documentation/risk assessments post lockdown? What about cleaning? Will our ‘normal’ cleaning practices need to change? I know my cleaning practices will have to change. My massage couch and exercise equipment will need to be cleaned with different solutions from now on.
If you have any concerns about starting up again and returning to ‘business as normal’ you might like to chat to Alex at the Specialist Safety Group Ltd. He has a dedicated ‘Return To Work Safely’ package that normally costs around £339.00 but by quoting this LincsConnect blog you’ll be able to receive a 10% discount. I’m sure this offer won’t last forever though so contact Alex on 07870 760 145 to confirm your discount. You can also email him at email@example.com or click on the logo above to go straight to the website
Stourton Estates is delivering Venison around the County and orders over £25.00 can enjoy FREE delivery within 20 miles of LN9 5PB
Mountain Abbey Parks Farm Shop selling fresh and cooked meats, chutneys, plumb bread….. You’ll need to click on the picture to follow the link to their Facebook page for a full list!
Fully online and sold locally around the County you can easily get your hands on some of these award winning botanical chocolates. simply click on the logo to go straight to Fionas’ website to learn more or click this link Sciolti Chocks to follow on Facebook
Sandhams Wine Merchant in Caistor offer both in store (social distance rules apply) and mail order options with a huge range of wines and easy to navigate price list. Click on this link to go to their Facebook page or click on their logo to go straight to the website
Docks Beers is more than just ‘beer’ but you’ll need to visit their shop to discover their full range – and it’s all delivered too! If you fancy a gin, they’ve got that covered too. click on the logo to go straight to their website/shop.
For more information about Docks Beers click on the photo to go to their facebook page or follow them on twitter @DocksBeers
Message In A Bottle deliver a huge range of drinks across Cleethorpes & Grimsby. From local to international beers, gins, rums…. You need to check their website for a full list. You can find them on Facebook by clicking on their logo or or on Twitter @miabcleethorpes
This picture says it all so just click on it to go straight to the order page. Enjoy
Let’s Get Back to Doing What We Do Best
I don’t know about you but I’m really ‘chomping at the bit’ to get cracking again. I love helping people and making them feel better whether that’s through exercise, massage, injury rehabilitation or injury prevention. Many people will have been suffering with stress related problems since the lockdown and my diary is already starting to fill with new clients who are suffering with neck, shoulder, back and sleep issues as a result of the lockdown. If you are in need of help please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or pay a visit to my website www.mandarintherapies.com or www.mandarinfitness.com where you’ll get a better idea of what I have to offer. I’m also on facebook of course Mandarin Therapies & Mandarin Fitness so feel free to follow me there too.
CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO PLAY THE FULL VIDEO
When I say I have a website; if you visit it you’ll quickly notice that it’s a very old site. I do have a new one but I would much rather be doing my fitness and therapies than ‘wasting time’ on the website stuff! Am I alone? Does anyone else put off doing admin ‘stuff’ in favour of getting on with the real work?
As a sole trader I really value my time with clients and would much rather be doing what I do best than shuffling paper and files! Needless to say, much of my admin work gets put off to the last minute before getting actioned. I know I shouldn’t but…!
Perhaps I should consider the services of a Virtual Assistant (VA)? I’ve been chatting to Nikki from www.Time4U-VA.co.uk who certainly seems to have the admin sorted! My muddled, dyslexic brain is reflected on my muddled and (seemingly) disorganised desk. Unlike Nikki who is adept at multi tasking with a clear desk. Is there such a thing as desk envy?
Perhaps it’s time to re-think my working practices? I know that I’m going to have to work very long hours (and probably 7 days a week) to catch up with the backlog of work over the months between now and Christmas. I’m guessing that my experience will be mirrored across many industries and not least by the food & drink industries. Let’s face it, Lincolnshire has some fine artisan food and drink producers as well as some fantastic restaurants and bars. Preparing and serving or delivering these fantastic products is a passion for most but I wonder how many really have the time for updating menus and completing the admin? Don’t get me started on book keeping! Thankfully I don’t have payroll issues being a sole trader but I can imagine they will be a necessary evil for many businesses. Perhaps ‘now’ is the time to consider how we are going to tackle the admin while staying on top of our game with our work. Perhaps Nikki can help you?
Click on the logo to go straight to the website
Fully Online – You can order your No 12 Chocolatier handmade chocolates online now and receive them in the post. That’s an offer you can hardly refuse! Follow @No12Chocolatier on Twitter and just click on the picture to go straight to the online shop.
Uncle Henrys Farm Shop is providing a home delivery service within a range of 10 miles but don’t let the Gainsborough address fool you as it’s situated on the A15 and the delivery range is quite extensive. Click on the picture to follow them on Facebook or follow them on twitter from here: @unclehenryslinc
Brakes Food Hub in Grantham provides the full call & collection service for all of your food shopping from fresh to frozen to cake to…. you’ll need to click on the picture to go to their website to see more. Offering a call and collect service 7 days a week. Tel 0344 800 4900 (option 4) place your order. Follow @John_Nicky on twitter too for more updates.
Gelston Lamb deliver in the Grantham/Sleaford areas. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter for more updates @GelstonLamb
Teaspoon Tea Company have a free local delivery service and a full mail order selection including tea, coffee, gift packs, gift vouchers, birthday cards, chocolate by @No12Chocolatier honey by @ArtisanHoneyCo and quite a bit more. Click on the picture to go to their website. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised
Anderson’s Family Butchers are providing a ‘text and collect’ system in Heighington. Simply text our order then collect when it’s ready. 07983003435 or 07880745083 – click on the picture to follow on Facebook
The Inn On The Green, Ingham (on the outskirts of Lincoln) are providing a local takeaway service of food and drinks. Click on the photo to go straight to the order form and you can follow them on Facebook The Inn On The Green Ingham
The Bowl Full Tapas restaurant will be providing pre-paid take away meals from 15 May. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page or follow them on twitter @BowlFullTapas
Browns Pie Shop – Orders are cooked and delivered cold for re-heating at home. Orders can be delivered or collected. Click on this picture for more info or call 07809 477126 to pace an order
Cafe Portico are now providing take away pizza for your delight. Orders taken from your car (or on foot if you’re walking there), cooked to order and delivered fresh to you when it’s ready. All made possible with mobile contactless payments. Click on the logo to visit their Facebook page or go to their website for the latest menu www.cafeportico.co.uk You can also follow them on twitter @CaffePortico
Grow Your Own
Isn’t it fantastic that we have all of these lovely local Lincolnshire restaurants, cafes and takeaways who’re working hard to serve us during the lockdown and beyond. They really have been up against it and are a testament to the resilience that has been so evident during the lockdown. Being in Lincolnshire we’re lucky to have such wide open spaces with lots of farmers producing some superb crops for us and for the local restaurants. Wouldn’t it be nice though if we could produce some of the fruit and vegetables for ourselves? Not all of us are able to enjoy a large garden so perhaps a vegetable patch isn’t a high priority when we need to consider making our space into a multi purpose area for children to play and for us to relax. However, having chatted to Simon (you may remember him from previous blogs) I think he’s found the perfect solution. If you have space for a straw bale in your garden or yard it appears that you have space for a vegetable patch!
Having looked around Simon’s website I’m at a loss as to what to include here. Not only does he run StrawbaleVeg growing courses from your own home (corporate events too) but he sells own brand seeds at realistic prices. I was very impressed to learn that while some others had increased prices significantly during the lockdown Simon kept his prices static. Well done Sir, I’m very impressed. It’s little things like this that catch my attention and impress me the most. I digress – who would have thought that you could grow your vegetables in a concrete yard or in such a small space? Obviously Simon did and I think it’s a fantastic idea. I was going to include pictures of the vegetable seeds that he supplies but there are far to many to list here. If you click on the picture above you’ll be taken straight to the www.strawbaleveg.co.uk website where you’ll be able to make your won selection and have them delivered.
Click on this picture to purchase The Strawbale Gardeners Handbook Vol 1
Would you believe that Simon has also produced an eBook which can be downloaded by clicking on the picture above ‘and’ a DVD that can be purchased from the website www.strawbaleveg.co.uk – you have been busy Simon!
Curry Jacks provides a mobile service around the Lincoln area on a Pre-Order basis. Take a look at their Facebook page for regular updates by clicking on the logo or follow on Twitter @CurryJackscaf
Damons, Doddington Road, Lincoln will be offering a drive through service from Thursday 21 May 20. Call ahead with your order (01522) 887722 or click on the menu to visit their website
Doddington Hall Farm Shop are still open for your shopping but please obey the social distancing rules. Follow them on Twitter @DoddingtonHall or click on the logo to find them on facebook.
FAB Craft Beer from Fiskerton are busy delivering boxed beer as well as bottled beers around the Lincoln area so why not click on the picture to follow them on Facebook or perhaps follow them on Twitter too @FABcraftbeer
The Garden Tea Room in North Hykeham is providing a Lincoln and surrounding area home delivery service for a modest £2.00 and they also have cakes, cheesecakes and lots more goodies to choose from. Click on this picture to follow them on Facebook and take a look at their menu below:
Burton Waters is the home to The Greek House who are now providing takeaway meals. Have a look at their menu and pre-order on 01522 542758. Click on the menu to follow them on Facebook
Imperial Teas of Lincoln are providing FREE DELIVERY on their mail order teas and coffees right now. That’s a great offer that can’t last forever so be sure to get your order in quickly. You can follow Imperial Teas Lincoln on facebook or on Twitter @Imperial_Teas Click on the logo to go straight to website to make your order – If you like your coffee strong I can personally recommend the Voodoo Comet.
Lincolnshire Brewing Company – delivering a selection of beers to suite every taste or collect directly from Langworth. Click on the picture to find them on facebook or follow them on Twitter @LincsBrewCo
MaCH Indian Restaurant (Wragby Road) are now offering a takeaway service. Click on the logo to find them on Facebook or go straight to their website to place your order www.machrestaurant.co.uk
Ole Ole Tapas Bar offer a delivery and (social distancing) collection service for their meals. Click on the logo to go to their Facebook page and click on the link here to go straight to their menu/order form www.oleolelincoln.co.uk or call them on 01522 534222
Lincoln & Gainsborough – Redhill Farm Shop offer a delivery and contactless collection service with safe in-store shopping too. Click on the picture to go straight to their website or follow them on Twitter @RedhillFarmPork
Sammys Chinese takeaway is set to open again on 20 May with social distancing rules in place (of course). Click on the picture to go to the ‘Lincoln food To Go’ Facebook group page. You can find Sammy’s Kitchen at Unit 11 Lambeth House, Woodhall Drive and you can call to make your order on 01522 567333
Cafe Shanti Vegan restaurant are now doing take away hot and frozen food (including breakfasts and curries) so why not order yours today? you can call them on 07735161481 or find them on twitter @Cafe_Shanti and Facebook by clicking on the picture
Veg Out Lincoln provides a delivery service in the Lincoln area including a vegan inspired recipe box and plant powered food plan. Gemma will have her new online booking site and new website ready very soon but in the mean time you can contact her through twitter @vegoutincoln or click on the picture for a link to her book
Beaumon’t Deli on Bridge Street in Louth are open to take your orders. You can follow them on Facebook Beaumont’s Deli or call 01507 355927
Takeaway Weekends. Call 01778346952 to order or click on this picture to go to the website
Cote Hill Cheese delivers cheese and milk locally. Click on the picture to go to their Facebook page
Minting (near Wragby) Farm Shop has a collection service with your safety in mind. Give them a call today to place your order. Click on the logo to go straight to their website
Lymn Bank Farm handmade cheese. FREE delivery on orders over £20.00. You can follow them on Twitter @lymnbankfarm or click on this logo to go straight to their Facebook page
FREE DELIVERY. Go too www.postacheese.com for details and your order form or click on this picture to take you straight there.
A Little Luxury Distillery is still taking orders for Gin & Rum which will be delivered direct to your home. Click on the picture to go to the shop or follow on Facebook A Little Luxury and Twitter @ALittleLuxuryLt
A real pub providing real beer. Buy a bottle and bring it back to get a refill – what an excellent idea. Click on the picture to find them on Facebook for an up-to-date- list of times and ales
Takeaway Afternoon Tea from @TheElm_Tree just outside Spilsby. Click on the picture to find them on Facebook and don’t forget, you can buy gift vouchers too!
Woodhall Spa Bakery & Delicatessen provides fresh bread, cakes meats and much more. A gem in the Woodhall Spa crown offering Safe Distancing shopping. Click the picture to go to their Facebook page
The India Village restaurant and takeaway are providing takeaway meals during the lockdown. If you would like to order your meal click on the logo to go to the website or follow them on Facebook India Village. Alternatively you can give them a call on 01526 354657 or 01526 352223
The Tea House In The Woods is providing a range of foods from Afternoon Tea to Roast Meals and they’re all Take Away too with strict social distancing rules. click on the picture to go to their website or give them a ring on 01526 354455. You can also find them on Facebook at Tea House In The Woods
All this talk of food has made me quite hungry! This list is going to be added to but I’m going to get myself something to eat now. Bon appetite everyone and please don’t forget to let me know if there are any takeaway/safe shopping food outlets that need to be on here as I can add them later.
Mandarin Therapies provides a bespoke mobile complementary therapies service from the comfort of your own home. Gift vouchers are available now then book your massage for later in the year. Mandarin Therapies “Feel the difference”