New era for Bourne!

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
August 2016

The historic market town is rapidly growing thanks to an expanding population and an active business community that works hard to make the town a vibrant place to visit.
Despite being situated on the main A15 traffic route from Lincolnshire to neighbouring Cambridgeshire and beyond, which brings with it a lot of through traffic, Bourne has plenty on offer to encourage those travellers to stop off for a while.

Bourne has a proactive Business Chamber which is a not for profit organisation formed in early 2009 from an amalgamation of the previous Bourne Chamber of Trade & Commerce and the Bourne Business Club.

It is run by its members for the benefit and improvement of its members, the town of Bourne and its surrounding area, and the Bourne area community as a whole.

Vice chairman of Bourne Business Chamber, Taff Lovesey says it is more than just a business networking group.

“Obviously while the business aspect is very much to the fore, an equally major objective of the group is to provide support to the Bourne community as a whole to make it a better place to live, work and play,” he said.

“Of course the business and time constraints will vary member by member and this will direct how active they are within the group, but all have a common view in that Bourne Business Chamber is as much about providing support to Bourne as a whole, as growing personal networks and business opportunities.

“It is no accident that the first bullet on our objectives statement is to bring business and Bourne together to make the Bourne area a great place to live, work, shop, visit and enjoy.”

Chairman Paul Ross, who is a Wealth Management Consultant with Landmark IFA Ltd, said the Chamber has about sixty members from a range of businesses and services.

As an independent financial adviser, he says the Brexit vote has caused a lot of concern in relation to how people’s investments are going to be affected.

“But at Landmark, we believe it is going to cause short-term volatility but things will get back to normal quickly. After all, nothing is going to happen for at least two years,” he said.

“Businesswise, I have taken on more staff within my operation as business is booming and there is no sign of a recession here.

“Retirement planning is the most topical area people want advice on and investment planning is also extremely popular, as people want to explore other avenues away from cash, as returns have been dire for such a long time.”

Landmark IFA was formed in 2004 and its team of financial advisers have a wealth of knowledge in all areas of financial planning.

Paul has twenty-six years’ experience in the industry and provides whole of market advice utilising the latest technology platforms to provide a cost-effective and tax-efficient investment solution. He also has extensive experience in retirement planning, divorce, ethical investing and investment income solution need areas.

One example of recent success for a Bourne-based company is luxury hamper firm Hay Hampers Ltd. It has seen business take off since it moved into a 6,300 sq ft warehouse at The Taste House, Roman Bank in Bourne a year ago, from smaller premises in Corby Glen near Grantham.

The thirty-year-old family run company has taken on extra staff, rebranded and opened up new markets overseas.

Hays Hampers was started in 1984. It is made up of three divisions and sells luxury hampers, fine wines and Italian foods sourced directly from Italy.

Hay Hampers is the gift division supplying food and wine gifts to private and corporate customers. Vintners is the wine division and stocks more than 300 wines that are sold through their dedicated website and restaurants.

Italy2Eat is their Italian produces division. The owners’ Italian roots helps the company import premium Italian products from small, artisan producers that they also sell through the website and to restaurants and delis.

Hay Hampers managing director Gabriele Da Re said: “Our new bigger premises in Bourne with a lot more storage space has given us the opportunity to grow.

“Since the move, the business has been going very well, increasing twenty per cent per year. Also, being in a booming Bourne helps us find a number of skilled figures in the area as we are always recruiting new people.”

Hay Hampers prides itself on offering the widest range of gifts containing fresh food such as cheese, cured meats and smoked fish. It carefully sources its delicacies from award-winning producers in Britain and around the world, particularly France and Italy.

Most of its products are not available on an everyday basis as they are exclusive to Hay Hampers in the UK. But for the company personal service is as important as the quality of the products.

For more than thirty years, it has offered a first class customer service and attention to small detail. This is one of the main reasons why Hay Hampers is considered one of the ten best hamper companies in the UK.

Like the products for the hampers, the wines in its Vintners Selection have been carefully selected for the UK market and provide the best quality wines at the fairest price. Most of the wines are sourced directly from the growers, including artisan and independent estates.

The company prides itself on being the sole distributor in the UK of premium French, Italian and Spanish labels and for more than thirty years it has been engaged with wine and promoted learning and enjoyment of wine to private customers and restaurants, bars and hotels.

The Italy2Eat division is an e-store for genuine top class Italian food in the UK. The company selects 100 per cent seasonal Italian food produced in Italy with Italian ingredients in order to have excellent quality.

Thanks to long-standing direct relationships with small Italian producers, the company can offer fresh and handmade products allowing clients to taste something really different and support small producers at the same time.

Bourne hosts a twice weekly market next to the popular Corn Exchange – the venue for many events and meetings in the town. The market, held on Thursdays and Saturdays, offers a variety of stalls, maintaining the traditional values of the town.

The Corn Exchange dates back to 1870 and was built on the site of the old post office on Abbey Road. The original building was designed as a public hall and corn exchange which was held in the large main hall with a stage and retiring rooms.

Today the Corn Exchange has received a completely new facelift. The new South Kesteven Community Access Point was opened at the Corn Exchange in 2013 bringing all town, district and county council services under one roof together with the public library from South Street and the Registry Office from West Street.

The main hall continues to be used as a major venue for social occasions ranging from dinner dances to meetings of local community groups, regular productions by the local amateur dramatic societies, pop concerts and other stage entertainment and is now licensed as a venue for marriages and civil partnerships.

If you are a bride-to-be looking for that extra special wedding venue, then the South Lincolnshire village of Morton near Bourne may have just the place for you.

Tucked away from the village’s busy high street in the beautiful grounds of The Grange is a former threshing barn dating back to the eighteenth century which has been tastefully converted into the perfect place to host your big day.

Overlooking the meadow with plenty of car parking and room for a marquee to be erected, the Grange Barn has a modern kitchen complete with fridges, dishwasher and oven, electric heating and a wood burning stove in the large reception area. It also has beamed ceilings and tastefully decorated walls.

Owner of the barn Janet Mary Richardson has been hiring the barn out for the past five years and the venue is highly popular.

“It is fully booked up this year but there is availability next year as we only have three bookings so far,” she said.

The Grange itself is an old farmhouse in the main street of the village and is now a Grade II listed building. It is one of the oldest properties in the village dating back to the late seventeenth century.

It can be a daunting prospect if you, a relative or a neighbour has the need for care services but advice is at hand in the Bourne area thanks to a company called Age Care Advice.

Established in 2011, it works closely with vulnerable adults (over 18s) to co-ordinate their care. Its specialism is dementia and it was set up because people wanted an option to the local authority route and process. It has about twenty Bourne clients at any one time.

Senior social work consultant Simon Jessop has been working with older people and adults and their carers for more than thirty-six years throughout the UK within social services and NHS teams.

“We were told a service was required where there were no waiting lists, where a worker does not close down your case and which offered seven-day access to the worker,” he said.

“A large number of Bourne residents are self-funding retired people who have no idea, when the time comes, how to navigate and get the best from a complex care system.

“We support vulnerable adults who are self-funders in Bourne and the surrounding villages who need care at home or are considering moving into a care home.

“We do not deliver the care but find the best local care providers for the person, monitor the care and adapt to the person’s needs as their illness or disability changes.”

Bourne is a rapidly growing town with a diverse range of businesses, services and facilities as well as plenty of opportunities for individuals to shine.

One prime example of this is town physiotherapist Alan Crane’s recent journey into the world of writing and publishing.He took pen to paper and was inspired to write after seeing a photograph of a woodpecker sitting on the back of a weasel, last summer.

Under the pen name Serenity Crane, his first book The Weasel and The Woodpecker was published and printed in January but now he has twelve books to his name all with equally fanciful titles such as the Iguana and the Ichthyosaurus and the Yak and the Yellow-Backed Arctic Fox and all forming an A-Z series of books.

Alan even set up his own publishing company, British Breaktime Books, to produce both his own work and that of other writers.

“The books are aimed at ten year olds and above but they are also good family entertainment,” said Alan.

“They have a strong educational element with three quizzes at the back of each book – a wordsearch, a multi-choice questionnaire and a comprehension questionnaire of ten questions. Each book contains the first chapter of the next book and consists of 12,000 words in ten chapters.

“My ambition is to become a writer with an income, so I have put information and videos, along with poems and songs on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

“It is my intention to continue with the A-Z series of books and then write a book of poems and songs, followed by a book containing all the quizzes which appear in the back of the books.

“The final book will be an autobiography and after reaching this goal I should know what it means to be a writer.”

In real life, Alan runs the Twenty Acre Spa, a small rural facility between Bourne and Spalding, which he set up with his wife Jackie eleven years ago. It has around seventy members, a gym, swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi.

“We offer a variety of therapies including physiotherapy and acupuncture, Indian head massage, foot fantasia and others,” said Alan.

“The gym doubles as a medical rehabilitation facility and I do hydrotherapy in the pool. We have a temple with an infra-red sauna which is a place to relax.”

Though a physiotherapist now, Alan has had a somewhat diverse career.

Expelled from school at the age of fifteen, he joined the Army in 1966 in the Royal Signals. He was later transferred to the Army Physical Training Corps and became a Warrant Officer during which time he qualified as a physiotherapist.

In 1980 he commissioned into the Royal Army Educational Corps as a University of London teacher.

Having been promoted through ten ranks in fifteen years and serving twenty-five years in the Army, Jackie and Alan started their own multi-activity company, Challenger 10 and taught canoeing, climbing, windsurfing, scuba-diving, climbing and many other outdoor pursuits.

“Jackie and I have taught scuba diving and have done 5,000 dives all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, Cuba and Fiji. We have been to the Red Sea in Egypt more than fifty times and ran ten dive schools at one time.”

Crown Jewellers is a local family jeweller on North Street in Bourne. We have the area’s only on-site goldsmith specialising in bespoke handmade jewellery using the finest certificated diamonds and exquisite coloured gemstones from around the world.

Matt Powell, our goldsmith, has a unique approach to making shaped-to-fit wedding rings, which blend perfectly to the contours of an engagement ring. We source beautifully cut coloured gemstones from the world’s leading award-winning gem cutter, John Dyer, to create one-off pieces for our discerning clientele. Not only do we create beautiful pieces, the team can repair your broken items too. Our workshop team is expanding with the addition of an apprentice goldsmith.

Our sales team is headed by Catherine Powell (owner) who is a member of the Institute of Registered Valuers and can value your jewellery and watches on the premises. We have a wealth of trade knowledge and talent with Fleur Phillips and Annabelle Jukes able to answer any questions. Dawn Hodson and Charlotte Wilde have an abundance of customer service skills to make your visit truly exceptional. The whole team is supported by Russ Powell our administrator making Crown Jewellers a family orientated experience.

The Larkfleet Group of Companies is one of Bourne’s largest businesses. The group includes housebuilders Larkfleet Homes and Allison Homes; renewable energy company Lark Energy; builders’ merchant Deepings Building and Plumbing Supplies; and Kestrel Timber Frame which
makes the frames for new houses. All of these businesses are based in and around Bourne.

The group also includes a number of smaller businesses based in other parts of the country.

All of the group companies have a focus on ‘sustainability’ – something that Larkfleet sees as being a wider issue than just environmental protection. The group aims to make a positive contribution to social, economic and community issues while remaining profitable and growing the business.

It therefore provides local employment, supports training for young people and helps to solve the problem of providing affordable, high-quality homes. It also supports local community groups, schools, sports clubs and charities with ‘help in kind’, sponsorship and cash donations.

On the environmental aspect of sustainability, the group aims to drive down energy use by managing its own activities and helping customers to do the same, by building energy-efficient homes and by helping to generate renewable power.

At the same time, it is actively pursuing environmental gains for the construction industry and society as a whole through a programme of research and development.

For example, it is helping to tackle climate change by developing a solar power system to generate carbon-free electricity, developing low-cost energy-efficient housing, and experimenting with homes built on platforms that can rise above flood waters. It is also investing in innovative waste-to-energy plants in Derbyshire and Scotland.

Chief executive Karl Hick says: “Businesses have a responsibility to help create a sustainable future for the next generation and beyond. We need to create communities that are socially and economically viable and which are efficient in their use of scarce natural resources.

“We are delighted to be playing our part in supporting the local community in Bourne.”

Lovingly restored from an original stone farmhouse, Toft House Hotel and Golf Club retains original features including stone walls and beams whilst meeting modern needs through the dedication and hard work of its current owners.

The bar area, with its original features including an open fire, leads through to a refurbished lounge. The hotel has twenty en suite bedrooms, with ground floor rooms leading through to a courtyard.

Views from the golf club show off the best of the south Lincolnshire Wolds.

Toft House Hotel and Golf Club was taken over by Robert and Julia Reid and daughter and son-in-law Isobel and Adam Dowsett seven years ago.

“It needed some ‘tender loving care’ because it was still ‘in the 70s’ when we took it over,” said Julia. “But we are getting there and every one of the rooms has been refurbished and we have had new doors and new windows.

“The golf course has had money spent on it but we have doubled membership since, in a declining golf membership society. It is a beautiful course with views all over the south Wolds.”

Robert is a fellow member of the Institute of Hospitality and his years of experience in the hotel trade means Toft House Hotel & Golf Club is already renowned for its quality and excellence of freshly, locally sourced cuisine.

“My husband has been in the hotel industry for more than forty years,” explained Julia. “We used to do all the public and private catering for Burghley House for seven years and Robert used to own Barnsdale Lodge at Rutland Waters. He is very well known and a named hotelier of some repute, having been in catering all his life.”

The golf club is always looking to welcome new members and offers a range of breaks as well as special offers and is particularly keen to see more golf societies make use of its 6,368 yard course.

“We have lovely staff and a friendly golf club, which always has offers on for new members and welcomes golf societies and golf days,” added Julia.

The site also has a seven-pitch Caravan Club CL site set in a beautiful seven acres of grounds and gardens.

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