Town finds renewed confidence

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
February 2022

Support schemes and technology resources are helping to ensure that Gainsborough can look ahead to a successful 2022. Melanie Burton finds out about new business developments in the town as the pandemic restrictions continue to ease.

Places like the historic town of Gainsborough will benefit from a number of schemes aimed at restoring confidence in the high street and getting business back on track.

One initiative, Local Rewards, is a collaboration between West Lindsey District Council and social media specialists Maybe* Tech, which aims to help businesses across the area recover from the impact of

Covid-19, by harnessing digital technology and giving them the support they need to reach more customers and make more sales.

The programme will feature 4,400 businesses from across the West Lindsey district and will offer free training and tools to companies looking to take part.

Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Councillor Owen Bierley said: “The impact of Covid-19 changed the way businesses operate and following discussions with local businesses we recognised that we needed to offer additional support.

“Maybe* Tech has proved to be successful in other areas and we want our businesses to benefit too.”

Local Rewards allows businesses to communicate with, and reward shoppers when they hit the high streets and has been created with the intention of ‘levelling the playing field’ through enhanced digital skills, enabling small businesses to have access to the same level of tools and know-how as big businesses with bigger budgets.

Businesses can also cross-promote and support their high street neighbours to create an online network of connected traders.

Data within the technology shows that in West Lindsey around 900 high street businesses use social media. Of those retailers on social media around 286 (31%) are active, posting most days.

Maybe* Tech insights suggest that the national average within a centre for regular posting stands at around 25 per cent, making West Lindsey businesses among the most active on social media in the country.

Additional research conducted by Maybe* Tech suggests around 66% of consumers spend three hours per day using social media.

The technology enables shoppers to see businesses near them, view and engage with their social media content and shop with them via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

In addition, for every pound a shopper spends “in store” with a participating business they earn a point which can be used to claim rewards offered by local businesses across the county.

Every business that signs up to manage their listing on the Local Rewards High Street Guide will also have access to an extensive range of social media tools and training provided by Maybe* Tech.

CEO of Maybe* Tech, Polly Barnfield said: “Around two-thirds of shoppers regularly look online for inspiration and the Local Rewards programme groups all social media content by location to encourage people to browse their local high street and then rewards them for their local spend.

“High streets need infrastructure that until now has only been available for online businesses and this programme will help local businesses level the playing field.

“They need to communicate with shoppers in real time and be able to showcase what’s available. In order to compete, high street businesses need to up their digital game, promote their physical stores and collaborate.

“Our platforms help them collectively to do that.”

The platform has been developed to provide high street businesses across all sectors, with access to social media, the tools and training to increase their customer base and drive sales.

It also provides practical suggestions and easy-to-use tools allowing organisations to connect with their audience, improve their return on investment and understand how to stay ahead of their competition
In addition, West Lindsey District Council’s new Economic Recovery Plan has been improved.

The plan will drive economic revival and inclusive growth that will benefit residents, businesses and communities, providing a clear, renewed sustainable focus for the district.

Encouraging investment, supporting businesses, developing growth and employment opportunities and harnessing the potential of green recovery are the underpinning principles of the recovery strategy.
Councillor Owen Bierley, chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at the council supported the plan.

He said: “Covid is still with us and we will have to learn to live with it for the foreseeable future. The pandemic has changed the way we live our lives and the way businesses operate.

“West Lindsey District Council provided a comprehensive package of support including distributing £32 million in government grants and supported businesses as they navigated their way through the pandemic.

“This plan wants to build on what we have learnt and achieved over the last 18 months and seize new opportunities that can create a more resilient and sustainable economic environment.”

Assistant director for Planning and Regeneration, Sally Grindrod-Smith, explained that the Economic Recovery Plan was a key strategic document, which is complementary to other council strategies policies and plans, closely aligned with the West Lindsey Corporate Plan and it will set the foundations for the next council’s Economic Growth Strategy.

She said: “It sets out a road map to rebuild and stabilise the economy from the impact of the pandemic.

“As a council, despite the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 and the national lockdowns, we have continued to deliver high quality services to our residents and business community.

“Now we need to look forward and this plan will inform our way towards long-term recovery and economic growth centred around inclusiveness, sustainability and resilience.”

In addition Lincolnshire companies have been benefitting from a range of grants and funding provided by Lincolnshire County Council during the Covid recovery.

The council’s Digital Voucher Fund was aimed at helping small businesses embrace new technology and digital commerce, whilst the Rural Grant Fund has provided funding to projects in more remote areas of the county, to support them and their local economy.

These two grant schemes together have provided more than £3m to help local businesses as they recover from the most difficult of economic conditions.

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Councillor for Economic Development at the County Council, said: “As well as providing support for the here and now, the grants have encouraged businesses in Lincolnshire to look to the future, be innovative and build back stronger.

“It is so important we support our economy to grow and thrive, so I’m pleased to see how the money we made available has made a difference to more small businesses with big horizons!”

The council’s digital voucher scheme provided small businesses with the opportunity to invest in new digital infrastructure, hardware, software or e-commerce solutions.

Businesses used the funding for a range of projects, such as developing new websites, implementing remote working or introducing online payments.

The rural grant scheme offered Lincolnshire companies the opportunity to claim 75 per cent of the cost of a project or equipment which would help them to adapt their business or develop new income streams.

Hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses in Gainsborough and the surrounding area also have the opportunity to apply for grant funding to help with the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With coronavirus cases rising nationally, the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant will provide extra support to businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sector who are registered with business rates.

Councillor Tracey Coulson, vice chair of the Prosperous Communities Committee said: “We know how hard businesses in our district have been hit by the continuing pressures of Covid-19, pressures which have now been there for nearly two years.

“The moment this funding was announced by Central government, we made sure it would be available for eligible business owners as soon as possible.

“In West Lindsey, our local businesses in the hospitality and leisure industry remain fundamental to the local economy as well as to local jobs – and we as a council will look to help and support this sector as much as we can.

The grants are part of a £1 billion fund announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP on 21st December 2021.

Eligible businesses in the sector can apply for a one-off grant of between £2,000 and £6,000 to help support their business.

The scheme will close for applications on 28th February 2022 with all payments being made by 31st March 2022.

Paul Fox, North Lincolnshire’s leading family run estate agents, expanded last year and opened a brand new branch at Marshall’s Yard in Gainsborough in July.

Established in 1990 by Scunthorpe businessman, Paul Fox, the company already had four branches in North Lincolnshire: Scunthorpe, Brigg, Barton and Epworth. Services also include a skilled lettings team and an RICS qualified survey department.

The company continues to build on its strong family values and excellent local knowledge of the region’s housing market. All branches are staffed by strong and experienced teams with a desire to deliver the best customer service to their clients.

The branch in Gainsborough is in a key location at Marshall’s Yard in the former Carphone Warehouse unit.

After a store refit, the Paul Fox Gainsborough branch opened its doors with a team of experienced sales negotiators, Chloe Hill and Suzannah Dunbar and regional valuers Ryan Fox and Richard Golland.

Charlotte Toplass, Marshall’s Yard tenant liaison executive, said: “We were delighted to welcome another great local business to Marshall’s Yard.

“Paul Fox’s expansion into the town is testament to Gainsborough’s standing in the region as a great place to work and to live.”

Paul Fox said: “Gainsborough is proving a great location for us and we are delighted to have joined the line-up at Marshall’s Yard with this new branch. We are a family owned and run company; we believe this is the cornerstone of our approach to customer service and it has been great to be working with new customers in the town.”

To find out more about Paul Fox, the family estate agents, visit the website at or call 01427 339200.

As dedicated, highly qualified professionals, the team at Blyton Dental offer the best possible care to patients in day-to-day dentistry, as well as specific treatments such as dental implants, cosmetic dentistry and teeth straightening.

Having opened their spacious Scunthorpe branch (featuring four ground floor surgeries) as an extension of the existing surgery in Blyton in September, patients can now choose between the two locations, depending on preference and appointment availability.

“Like in Blyton, all the facilities in Scunthorpe are state-of-the-art, including CBCT scanners, digital 3D impression scanners, digital X-rays, intra-oral cameras and self-check-in machines, while our surgeries are both equipped with negative pressure ventilation systems to enhance the quality of air,” explains owner and dentist Dr Arun Thomas, who is a member of the Faculty of Dental Surgeons with a special interest in Cosmetic & Advanced Restorative Dentistry.

Located at Queensway Court Business Park, the Scunthorpe branch is easily accessible with plenty of free parking with easy disabled access.

“We have a team of seven dentists and three hygienists who work between the practices providing high quality patient care, which includes general and family dentistry, dental implant treatments (including full arch implant rehabilitation/‘all on four’/same day teeth), smile makeovers, root canal treatments, cosmetic crowns and bridges, ultrathin veneers, composite bondings, Invisalign/teeth straightening, as well as facial aesthetics.

“Our aim has always been to provide high quality dentistry at affordable prices. Our dental membership which costs £9.99 per month provides annual dental visits and six monthly hygienist visits. We genuinely believe that’s all it takes for someone to maintain good oral health.

“Our team members are also highly experienced in dealing with nervous patients and will try their best to help patients overcome their dental phobia.

“Lots of people have been neglecting their oral health due to fear of dentists or previous bad experiences, but over the past 13 years, we have been able to get hundreds of patients out of that fear and bring them back to regular dentistry.

“We like to think it’s a ‘happy place’, with lots of laughter. The architects and designers have done a fantastic job in making our Scunthorpe branch look smart, welcoming and less clinical.

“We believe dental/oral health is a reflection of our general health and I can’t think of a better investment than taking care of your teeth and improving your smile!”

For more information tel: 01427 628999, email or get in touch through Facebook or Instagram to register or book your appointments.

LEAP housing, based at the HATS Community Hub in the heart of the South-West Ward of Gainsborough, delivers housing and support services to individuals and families.

With a mission to improve housing standards and reduce absent and rogue landlords, LEAP now manages 20 properties in the area.

Believing that everyone deserves a decent standard of living, LEAP’s houses are a breath of fresh air – homely, welcoming, warm and comfortably furnished.

In addition to the accommodation, the charity has been involved in much community work in the area.

The painting of the telecom boxes has brightened up several streets and local people are invited to follow the trail. At Christmas they helped organise the Christmas Fair at Ashcroft Road Park. And much more is scheduled for 2022.

If you are in need of housing with support or would like more details on what LEAP has to offer, visit the website or call 01427 677505.

The first two weeks of January saw Grosvenor House Care Home welcome over 200 visitors, with family members spending time with their loved ones, all whilst remaining Covid secure.

“We understand the importance of families maintaining precious connections with their loved ones and we will continue to go the extra mile to ensure we support visiting in all forms.

“We look forward to what is to come in 2022 with our activity calendar already bursting at the seams with live entertainment, armchair travel and sharing all of this with our families.”

Families are sure to enjoy a first class experience using the facilities at Grosvenor House. For further information contact 01427 616950 or

Walters Opticians is a family run business which opened its doors in the heart of Gainsborough 24 years ago, followed by their North Hykeham, Lincoln practice a few years later.

“The last year or two has been tough for all but we are proud to say we have managed to still provide excellent eye care throughout these difficult times, taking extra precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our patients as this is our absolute priority.

“Operating a locked door policy and appointment basis only ensures we can have the time allocated to thoroughly sanitise after every patient.”

Keeping up with regular eye exam is extremely important and Walters offers many services including:
• Private and NHS eye examinations
• Contact lens clinics with access to the best contact lenses currently available which suit all individual lives and budgets
• Tear clinics specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye
• Colorimetry/Visual stress tests
• A huge selection of many well-known designer brands such as Gucci, Tom Ford, Jimmy Choo and Dior.

“In our Gainsborough practice we have invested in a Heidelberg OCT retinal scanning machine, which is used during all our eye examinations. The machine takes detailed scans of the back of the eye.

“We also use the machine for private extended scans for a more in-depth investigation.

“As an independent optician, we make sure that we offer the very top-quality lenses on the market. We proudly offer Essilor lenses, the world leading brand for varifocals. Varilux are bespoke lenses made uniquely for you, with precise measurements taken on the Visioffice, which is availble to use in our practices.”

34-36 Market Place, Gainsborough DN21 2BY. Tel: 01427 616505.

Every year Bransby Horses welcomes thousands of visitors to meet our four-legged residents and explore miles of wheel and pushchair friendly walkways in the heart of the Lincolnshire countryside.

We are FREE to visit and open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-4pm, open seven days a week during school holidays. Each month there is a new family activity and from 2-27 February the exploration trail has a Valentine’s theme – visitors can discover more about the love our horses, ponies and donkeys have for each other and their humans, whilst also finding their perfect match with a Sponsorship Star to win a prize. Tickets are £3.50 per child.

• No need to book (only for Afternoon Tea)
• Free parking/entry
• Dog-friendly
• Play park
• Gift Shop
• Donated Goods Shop
• Café

For more information, visit LN1 2PH, search ‘Bransby Horses’ online or call 01427 788464.

Queen Elizabeth’s High School actively promotes the core values of Tradition, Achievement and Opportunity to ensure all students are well cared for, academically challenged and afforded access to a broad range of fulfilling and enriching co-curricular activities. By Mr Eastham, Headteacher.

As a result, students at QEHS feel safe, flourish within an environment of academic rigour, and develop interests and skills which will go on to serve them well throughout their lives.

On a day-to-day basis we promote these values by applying our QEHS Learner Standards:

Behaviour for learning standard 
At QEHS, students are expected to behave in a manner which allows everyone to learn and fulfil their potential, as this is fundamental to securing success and building confidence.

Learning to learn standard 
At QEHS, students are actively encouraged to grow as reflective learners whilst working in partnership with highly skilled and committed staff within a curriculum designed to stretch and challenge.

Leadership for learning standard 
QEHS is unique in just how integrated students from and between different year groups are. This is thanks to the numerous student leadership opportunities on offer through the school’s wonderful House system, through subject ambassadorship and our highly valued peer-to-peer mentoring and student-led coaching approaches.

Without doubt, ‘Queenies’ is a special place in which to learn and grow. There is a real sense of purpose and a high degree of collegiality amongst students and staff in this school. Consequently, QEHS continues to thrive and blossom as we look to the future with confidence, a true sense of purpose and a determination to succeed at the highest levels.

I would encourage you to visit the school to see for yourself just how vibrant and purposeful our learning environment really is. Tours conducted by Sixth Form students during the normal operation of a school day demonstrate just how proud we are of the QEHS offer, so please do make an appointment to come and see us in action. I am confident you will not be disappointed.

Photographs: Mick Fox

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