Sleaford means business
The thriving south Lincolnshire market town is preparing to put itself firmly on the economic map.
After the success of the first-ever Made in Sleaford festival last year, which attracted more than 4,000 visitors to the town, the event is back with a bang for 2016.
Based at the National Centre for Craft & Design (NCCD) and Navigation Wharf – the area at the heart of Sleaford’s industrial history – this event will provide a unique opportunity for local businesses and local people to connect and find out more about each other.
The show, on 7th and 8th October, is designed to celebrate the quality and diversity of all things manufactured, produced or designed in the town. It will give businesses based in Sleaford the chance to show residents and visitors what they’re really made of.
The focus on the first day will be on schools – although the event is still open to the public – with up to 500 youngsters from Sleaford schools taking part in specially designed STEM activities with a range of local businesses including SHD Composites, Sleaford Quality Foods and Moy Park.
Businesses will have the chance to network in the evening and on the Saturday the exhibition is, again, open to the general public – with the emphasis on participation and demonstrations. A wide range of activities are planned for the whole family.
Organising body North Kesteven District Council hopes to build on the success of last year’s event.
Council Leader Councillor Marion Brighton OBE said: “Sleaford boasts some fantastic manufacturing businesses, many of them with hard-earned global reputations for products, quality and service.
“We hope that Made in Sleaford gives businesses a platform to show what they are all about, not only to people who live in the town but also to those who are already in business here or looking to do business here.”
Made in Sleaford is just one of the initiatives being launched to help the town’s businesses and traders.
Another is Partnership NK’s Pop Up Shop initiative, which received the green light after a number of expressions of interest were received from various parties.
Vintage59 will be the first business to test the waters when it opens its doors at Unit 6, Navigation Yard, Sleaford to trade for twelve weeks.
The business currently trades online and at events, and the Pop Up Shop is the ideal way to see if moving into high street trade would work for them.
Vintage59 offers homewares with a sprinkling of retro, specialising in vintage, shabby chic and make-do and mend for the home.
The store is ideally located, in the heart of Sleaford at Navigation Yard, amongst a diverse range of businesses including a hairdresser, a charity shop and a heritage organisation.
It gives people the chance to test their business for a short period of time, with support available to them throughout the process.
Chairman of Partnership NK, Herman Kok, said: “We are very excited Vintage59 is taking advantage of the first twelve weeks in the shop. It is a great location, and a great opportunity for any business wanting to test the waters. We wish them the best of luck in getting this off the ground.”
To help increase visitor numbers and footfall into the town, a low-cost 100-space car park is to open on the south side of Sleaford, making it ideal for shoppers, workers and commuters.
Located at the town centre end of Grantham Road, it provides hassle-free, easy-access, low-cost parking without the need to drive around the one-way system or risk delays caused by the closure of the level crossing.
All-day parking costs only £2 per day Monday to Saturday, and is free on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
While parking remains remarkably low-cost across Sleaford, North Kesteven District Council has created this facility to help expand parking provision at the town centre perimeter and reduce the number of cars parked on nearby residential streets.
It creates secure off-road barrier-controlled parking to help reduce congestion which is a key priority for residents and also supports the vibrancy of town centre shops and businesses.
This is the initial realisation of the Sleaford Car Parking Strategy, represents significant progress on the Sleaford Masterplan and dovetails neatly with a range of initiatives planned and underway to support the economic regeneration locally.
It comes at a time when shop unit vacancies are low, many new businesses are starting up and interest from would-be developers to bring new retailers is soaring.
Mrs Brighton said: “Growth is something we all support for Sleaford, economically as well as in its vibrancy and range of vital facilities. Delivery of much-needed car parking such as this will support the future of the town.
“It is integral to the jigsaw of initiatives which form the regeneration vision for Sleaford and to now be seeing delivery of such vision, in real concrete terms on the ground, is most welcome and gives developers more confidence that this is a town which means business.”
More visitors than ever are already discovering the delights of the district, supporting more jobs and having a bigger-than-ever impact on North Kesteven’s economy.
Latest figures show that, yet again, more people are visiting NK and getting out and about, spending more money in towns like Sleaford and helping to keep more people in work.
Continuing an upward trend of recent years, the number of visitors making a trip into North Kesteven increased by 3.2 per cent in 2015, up to 2.3 million.
Most were day visitors, contributing to a total of 2.8m days spent within North Kesteven (an increase of 3.3 per cent on the year before), collectively having an economic impact worth £120m, which was up a further four per cent on the previous surge.
Across the year, this supported 1,879 full-time equivalent jobs, which was an increase of 1.4 per cent.
A North Kesteven District Council spokesman said: “This highlights the value of tourism to North Kesteven and vindicates the District Council’s continued emphasis on supporting continued growth within the sector.
“This continued growth was achieved despite the cancellation in 2015 of the RAF Waddington International Airshow, which was credited as generating around £12m for the local economy from a visitor influx of around 100,000.
“With an increasing number of the 2,230,000 visitors staying longer than a day, they are clearly discovering the district’s many delights – which include historic houses, mile upon mile of open countryside rich in wildlife and criss-crossed with way-marked footpaths and cycleways, Roman relics, a myriad of distinctive medieval churches, picturesque villages and world-class arts and leisure facilities.
“This underlines the council’s determination to entice them to linger longer by increasing the amount of accommodation.”
Sleaford is a traditional market town and has many fine buildings which all help to bring in visitors from far and wide, adding a much-needed boost to the local economy.
As well as the splendid thirteenth-century church, St Denys’ – renowned for its wonderful stained glass and traceried windows – there is the National Centre for Craft & Design, which is the UK’s largest centre of its kind. It is located in a refurbished warehouse on the banks of the River Slea.
The centre started life at The Pearoom in Heckington, which was built in 1870 by the Great Northern Railway Company and shortly afterwards leased to the internationally renowned seed firm of Charles Sharpe of Sleaford.
The Pearoom established itself as a contemporary craft centre, displaying a range of exhibitions through two gallery spaces and delivering a short course programme and unique shop.
Artist workshops and a café also attracted some 30,000 visitors each year. When the lease expired on the building, The Pearoom moved to its new home in Sleaford, where the opportunity to develop and build the Centre and resource was realised through one of thirteen major projects completed as part of a seven-year Sleaford Pride Regeneration programme.
The development of The Hub was a £2.4 million refurbishment of the old Hubbards and Philips Seed Warehouse in Navigation Yard, Sleaford. Across Navigation Yard is Navigation House, a refurbished original canal company office built in 1838.
This Grade II listed building is thought to be the only one of its kind still in existence and has a heritage theme covering the early development of the new River Slea and portrays the story of the Navigation and its significant impact on Sleaford’s history.
You can also follow the picturesque walk along the River Slea to Cogglesford Mill, a fully restored and working eighteenth-century watermill where milling has taken place for more than 1,000 years.
Milling still takes place on the second Sunday of the month, enabling visitors to experience the waterwheel rumble into action and see the cogs turn as the machinery works to grind grain, making flour using traditional methods.
You can also learn more about Sleaford by visiting Sleaford Museum, which has recently opened on Southgate.
Significant progress on improving historic shopfronts in Sleaford is anticipated during September, making a visible difference to the appearance of a key cluster of shops and creating a much more attractive street scene for customers to enjoy.
Under the first project of its kind part-funded through a new partnership scheme for improving the central Conservation Area of Sleaford, shops in the so-called ‘Tudor Building’ within the Market Place are having historic features renovated, restored and replaced.
North Kesteven District Council and Sleaford Town Council are co-funding with Historic England, a grant fund of £300,000 into which owners of shops can bid for help in restoring historically distinct and elegant features – such as window surrounds, canopies and decorative details.
Following on from more low-key work to the roofs of the Market Place buildings, work is scheduled to start in the autumn on more high-impact improvements following the approval of supportive grants.
This will include reinstatement and repair of blind boxes and mechanisms, bronze features and decoration.
Enquiries from businesses interested in the grant scheme are welcomed by NKDC Conservation Officer Marianna Porter on 01529 308256.
A MAGNET FOR LOVERS OF JEWELLERY AND WATCHES
Whether you can’t resist sporting the latest wristwatch or are an avid collector of traditional or contemporary jewellery – you’ll find it impossible to take a look in the windows of one of Sleaford’s best-known businesses.
Moore & Scrupps in Southgate has been a magnet for lovers of personal accessories for about twenty years and there’s little wonder, because it not only offers the most tempting ranges, but plenty of expertise too.
Director John Moore said: “We offer something for everyone, from people who love diamond necklaces and rings and other pieces incorporating precious stones to fans of contemporary jewellery.
“Popular brands include Links of London, Clogau and Ti Sento. These ranges offer people the opportunity to buy single pieces or perhaps several complementary items within a collection. They make good special occasion gifts too.”
When it comes to choosing a watch, Moore & Scrupps stocks well-established traditional brands, including Rotary and Michel Herblin, to newer ranges such as the British-made Henry watches, which are both stylishly traditional and affordable.
Fashionistas of all ages, should not pass the shop without popping in to check out the ever-popular Radley and Fossil watches.
But Moore & Scrupps does more than simply sell jewellery and watches: it offers a comprehensive repair service for watches, with work carried out on-site wherever possible. Other services include engraving and ear piercing.
“People also visit us when they need insurance valuations for pieces of jewellery, watches or special gifts. This formal documentation is provided with photographic evidence,” said Mr Moore.
Finally, if you want to treat someone to a special gift, but are unsure what they would really like, Moore & Scrupps offers gift vouchers, from £5.
Moore & Scrupps also has branches in Newark and Bourne, and trades as Faze Four in Lincoln.
Smith Leading Lawns have been providing artificial grass for both domestic and commercial properties, nurseries and schools for over four years. However, operating as a division within Smith Construction; a local based contractor specialising in the design, construction and maintenance of artificial and natural sports surfaces throughout the UK.
Smith Leading Lawns prides itself on providing exceptionally high quality products and construction methods, which are built to last. Like everything, “you get what you pay for”, and there is such a variety in the quality of the artificial products and the construction methods from various contractors. The best artificial grasses are hard to identify from real grass at a distance and these are generally the most expensive. Our products all look natural, taking into account the varying colour within natural lawns and vary from around £17 per sqm to £30 per sqm.
We offer free, no obligation site surveys, where we would visit, measure the area and discuss the various installation options and our products.
Please visit our website for more information and to view our latest projects and products; www.smithleadinglawns.co.uk
WHITE & SENTANCE – PIANO SPECIALIST
White and Sentance is among the oldest piano specialists in the country, with the first shop being opened in Grantham in 1867 by William White and described in an early advert as ‘A pianoforte and harmonium warehouse’. George Sentance joined White in the 1880s and other branches soon opened, including the Sleaford shop in the 1890s. Many changes occurred during the following decades and eventually the Sleaford shop was the last to remain, run by George Sentance’s nephew, Geoffrey. Chris Winter was Geoff’s last apprentice and took over the firm in the 1980s, and his son Luke is now learning the trade too.
Our showroom has a wide selection of new and used upright and grand pianos for sale, with some also available to rent on monthly terms – a scheme very popular with parents whose children want to play. We restore and carefully prepare our stock in our well equipped workshop, where we also carry out restoration of customers much-loved family heirlooms. Our extensive tuning round covers most locations within an hour’s drive of Sleaford, and we tune for domestic, concert and educational customers.
We are proud to remain a proper old-fashioned family business, trading with the same values that have served Lincolnshire’s pianists well for almost 150 years.
RELAXATION AT GRANGE SPA
We are a young couple, Matt and Emma, who started out with an idea for a great little spa; we wanted to create a custom-built retreat for both visitors near and far.
Using the finest product ranges, a great selection of heat experiences and a skilled enthusiastic team, we provide a perfect little hit of relaxation. Everything we do at TGS is shaped by this idea. We provide stress relief in beautiful surroundings with fabulous therapists to look after you.
We pride ourselves on our professional and personable approach and welcome a maximum of 20 guests at any time to ensure you have a relaxing experience.
www.thegrangespa.co.uk, T: 01778 440511.
TRADITIONAL FAMILY VALUES
J Jenkins Electrical is an established family Sleaford business. We have traded within the town for over thirty-eight years, providing a No 1 service to the local community. During this time we have seen many changes and have moved with the times, allowing customers to order online as well as in store. This year we have invested into making our website easier by offering a ‘click and buy’ service. To see the full range available visit www.jjenkinssleaford.co.uk
Being members of the Euronics group means the latest popular brands, offering more product choice, the best prices and longer guarantees on products.
We take great pride in personal customer service, our fully trained staff are happy to help, with friendly sales and after sales service. Our qualified experienced engineers aim to deliver on the same day, on any stock items in store. We also offer a callout repair service on all domestic appliances, endeavouring to come out the same day wherever possible. We provide expert Aerial/Satellite installation and repairs.
Service at J Jenkins does not stop at the point of sale, our friendly staff provide expert after sales support when required.
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