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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the December 2016 issue

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Business is very much booming in the historic market town of Newark on Trent thanks to its easy access location, good road and rail links and innovative business acumen.

With a wide range of small independent retailers together with high street names and well known supermarkets, the town has lots to offer residents and local visitors alike. It also has much to offer businesses in terms of meeting venues, office space and conferencing facilities.

Andrea Green, sales and marketing manager at the Aura Business Centre in Manners Road, said Newark has a lot going for it.

“I go to a lot of networking events in Newark and it is seen as a very vibrant and busy area,” she said.

“Certainly in terms of the economy, unemployment is very low and sales are on the up.

“We have some fantastic individual independent retailers here and we have some very creative and innovative people who have opened some really interesting businesses, so we are well placed for going forward next year.

“Car parking is the only thing that could be improved.”

The Aura Business Centre has been under new ownership since October 2015 and this was the first year of trading for the new company.

It is part of the Fiducia group, which is a financial services company specialising in pensions and mortgages, wealth management and commercial solutions for businesses in terms of loans.

Several of the Fiducia branches are tenants at the centre.

“We have everything from one person starting up to businesses with six or seven employees,” said Andrea.

“There is quite a wide range of clients and they all complement each other and support each other.”

Staff at the centre offer businesses a fully-staffed reception where clients are greeted and they deal with telephone calls for them as well.

“There are meeting facilities, a dry cleaning company that collects and delivers every week and we also have virtual offices ranging from a postal address to telephone answering,” said Andrea.

“We have meeting and conference rooms here as well catering for one-to-one interviews right up to sixty people theatre style.”

Andrea says there is increasing competition in the area from other people setting up office space.

“But from our point of view, looking at the number of regular customers a year ago to now, we are looking at a 25 to 30 per cent increase in new business,” she said.

“We feel that is really positive and is by no means the end of our story but the beginning of our potential.

“We still have one or two vacancies because clients have moved to bigger offices but thankfully have had a couple of new clients, which is also good.

“There is increasing competition with people opening up meeting space, so it is more important that our marketing strategy for next year is strong.”

New jobs and news of investment all help to create a feelgood factor in Newark so is there any wonder that a new survey has revealed that people in the district are the happiest in England and the third happiest in the UK?

The survey, from the Office for National Statistics, reflects the high quality of life here and the emphasis Newark and Sherwood Council has put on a shared prosperity for its residents.

Very low rates of unemployment and increasing levels of investment – with the council taking a leading role – have helped improve the economic well-being of the district and reduced people’s anxieties, as the survey sets out.

In the last eighteen months alone the council has opened the new £6 million National Civil War Centre – a major new cultural and historical attraction – and the £9m Newark Sports and Fitness Centre, both of which have brought major benefits to local people and the local economy in terms of jobs, apprenticeships and trade.

The council has also established a Visitor Gateway in Newark to cater for and encourage tourism in the district and it is also currently building new offices close to the centre of Newark, bringing economic benefits both during and beyond construction.

The council has also worked with major local employers to support jobs and help encourage economic growth.There are 1.3 per cent of the district’s potential total workforce claiming out of work benefits, compared to 1.5 per cent for the East Midlands and 1.8 per cent nationally.

Almost 250 new affordable homes have been built since 2013 – 57 built by the district council – and many more are planned in the next five years under a £30m house-building programme.

The survey looked at life satisfaction, the degree to which people feel worthwhile, their happiness and levels of anxiety.

Councillor Roger Blaney, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “This survey confirms what we’ve known all along – that Newark and Sherwood is a fantastic place to live. As a council we work very hard to help improve people’s lives and where we can, to increase levels of prosperity and help reduce levels of anxiety by removing some of the uncertainties in people’s lives.

“Unemployment is at a very low level and our economy is doing well but we are not complacent going forward, and will continue to work hard for all our residents.”

The creation of new jobs is always a welcome boost to the economy and a good sign of confidence in the area.

Newark and Sherwood District Council’s multi-million pound investment in new public sector office accommodation has done just that as has the town’s newest engineering factory which opened in the summer.

Thirty sub-contractors and design team members are being employed by main contractors RG Carter for the council’s new offices – 25 of which are based within a 45-mile radius of the Great North Road construction site.

Three apprentices are part of the team working on the project and RG Carter is actively engaged with its sub-contractors to provide employment for a number of local people and to keep at least 75 per cent of its contract spend within a 45-mile radius of Newark, as part of its own local sustainability guidelines. At present the company is over-performing at 83 per cent.

Staff recruited by the firm include a forklift operator, gateman, and an apprentice site manager/technician – all of whom are local to Newark. The apprentice site agent/technician was appointed after visiting the Newark Jobs Fair which RG Carter was involved as part of its previous appointment to build the Newark Sports and Fitness Centre.

Ashley Else, project manager for RG Carter, said: “We have brought in these people because we feel they have a genuine future in the business and in construction, so we’ve got to try to give them a platform where their skills can be fully be realised.

Their employment is obviously as a direct result of Newark and Sherwood’s investment in this scheme. We recognise and appreciate that.”

Council leader Councillor Roger Blaney said: “The project is not only forward-looking in terms of providing modern and purpose-built accommodation for the council and its public sector partners, it is providing wider benefits for employment and the economy of the district.”

Newark’s latest factory, perimeter security specialist Ultimation Direct, which was officially opened in August by Councillor David Lloyd, deputy leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, also took on staff from the local area.

The new purpose-built factory gives the growing company ample space for further expansion in the manufacture of large-scale security gates and other access-control products such as turnstiles and barriers.

“Ultimation Direct has been growing at the rate of 30 per cent per year and they have made a substantial commitment in purchasing and developing this site,” said Councillor Lloyd, who is also chairman of the council’s Economic Development Committee.

“The vast majority of the people working here live within Newark and Sherwood, and Ultimation Direct is committed to providing training to support their team and to recruit apprentices where possible.”

Five new staff, including two apprentices, have been taken on since the new Newark factory opened, bringing total staff numbers to twenty-two. The extra capacity of the new premises was also encouraging further expansion.

NEWARK CIVIL WAR MUSEUM
One of Newark’s latest visitor attractions continues to fly the flag for the town all over the country and it is attracting tourists to the area in their droves. Since the UK’s first National Civil War Centre opened in Appleton Gate just over eighteen months ago, 50,000 people have passed through its doors helping to boost the local economy and put Newark firmly on the tourist map.

Its exhibitions have enticed visitors to come not only from Newark and the surrounding area but also from far and wide, and its latest offering is no exception.

Though Lincolnshire is a long way from the Middle East, an unlikely character once biked along its country lanes hoping to escape the notoriety of an extraordinary past.

TE Lawrence – or Lawrence of Arabia – is one of the twentieth century’s most iconic figures. Now his incredible story is being revisited in a UK first exhibition hosted by the National Civil War Centre.

Lawrence was a low-ranking British military intelligence officer who played a key role in the Great Arab Revolt (1916-18) against the Turkish Ottoman Empire, before being discovered by an American reporter and famously photographed in Arab robes.

News of his dashing exploits was flashed across the world and he was feted by royalty and eventually immortalised in David Lean’s classic 1962 film.

But the mental scars of his wartime experiences tortured him for the rest of his life. He assumed a new name and lived as far as possible from the spotlight.

In 1925 he was posted to RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire and explored the county on his Brough motorbike. He rode to Newark every week to play snooker and also worked on Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his book about the desert revolt.

Since his untimely death in 1935, historians have struggled to separate the man from the myth. Some critics have even described him as a fantasist and charlatan.

But the new exhibition bolsters his reputation, based on the findings of archaeologists who have toiled in the Jordanian desert for ten years, following in Lawrence’s footsteps.

The exhibition opened at the end of October and runs until March 2017.

Michael Constantine, manager of the National Civil War Centre, said the museum was thrilled to host the exhibition: “Although we primarily tell the story of the seventeenth-century clash between King and Parliament, we also step outside our time period to stage world class exhibitions,” he explained.

“Previously we have hosted Magnum Agency photographs of civil wars in the twentieth century in places like Yemen, Somalia and Syria, which links to the aftermath of the Great Arab Revolt. Of course, the story of Lawrence is also truly spell-binding.”

Mr Constantine said the museum had become a great visitor venue for Newark: “Since opening in May 2015, 50,000 visitors have passed through the doors and we have listened to their feedback and added lots of things to make the museum a great visitor function for the town,” he said.

“We have also combined with the Palace Theatre next door. We have knocked through into the theatre foyer and in doing that we have created an all-day café bar on site, as well as a new box office and shop space.”

It also meant the museum could offer conferencing and meeting facilities for large and small businesses in the area.

“We can provide conferencing for anything up to 300 people and we already have bookings for 2017 with more in the pipeline,” said Michael.

“It is a great venue for meetings for up to a dozen people or a conference attended by hundreds. We continue to fly the flag for Newark at shows around the country.”

The £5.4m attraction by Newark and Sherwood District Council is housed in the transformed Grade II* Old Magnus Building and highlights the important part Newark played in the British Civil war.

THE BRAMBLE TREE
The Bramble Tree are Newark based manufacturers and retailers of bespoke, solid wood kitchens.

We know one size does not fit all and that a bespoke kitchen works perfectly in your home. Our clients are looking for traditionally built, handcrafted kitchen furniture and we work closely in consultation with them from the initial stages of design, keeping them up to date throughout the production process.

A wide range of styles, finishes and options are available to suit individual taste and our craftsmen will work with you to create a kitchen that will be a talking point in your home.

Whether you are looking for a Shaker style kitchen painted in a Farrow & Ball paint colour with brass fittings, or a fully beaded kitchen in one of the Little Greene Paint Company options with chrome fittings, we have a wealth of choice for you.

To complement our handmade cabinets, we also offer a range of kitchen islands, cabinet hardware and a choice of solid wood worktops which include Prime oak and pine.

We can transform your ideas into a beautiful and practical kitchen and our design service is free of charge.

WELCOME TO THE LORD NELSON AT WINTHORPE
The Lord Nelson at Winthorpe is a beautiful traditional English country pub, serving excellent food and a range of traditional ales, beer and cider.

Set in the picturesque village of Winthorpe near Newark on the Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire border, and taken over last summer by a new team, the pub is establishing a firm reputation. The bar has the feel of an old country house with squashy sofas, roaring fires, wooden floors and low beams.

Originally built in the 1800s, the pub is a Grade II listed building, bordered by a beck and set in idyllic countryside. The Nelson has a large walled beer-garden, outdoor BBQ, two snugs, a large bar and a newly refurbished restaurant with doors opening out on to our garden. For business events, celebrations and functions, our opulent Private Dining room seats up to 14.

We cook with fresh, seasonal produce and support local farmers and suppliers. Our menus change monthly with daily specials. Whether it’s a beer and a burger in the bar, a delicious Sunday lunch, chilling on a leather sofa in our snug with a glass of wine, or a special dinner celebration, we are delighted to serve you.

CHRISTMAS IN NEWARK
I’ll be honest and say from the outset that I love the Christmas holidays. Whether it is getting together with friends and family or giving and receiving gifts, there has always been something very special about this time of year. Newark is the perfect place to spend time in the lead-up to the Christmas festivities. Newark has always been well known for its wide range of quality establishments to eat and drink, with a mix of established favourites and new offerings this year. These provide the perfect destination for all tastes and budgets, whether it be for an evening out with friends or lunch whilst enjoying the many shops.

Talking of shopping, Newark continues to offer a variety of local independent shops which provide unique Christmas gifts whilst still attracting many national retailers usually only found in the large cities. This mix means Newark continues to be a vibrant place to visit, shop and do business any time of the year. Add to this the now traditional Christmas lights switch-on entertainment and fireworks and Newark is certainly the place to be this Christmas. Wishing all readers a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year – Simon Shaw, director, Duncan & Toplis.

Simon can be contacted on 01636 640321 or email simon.shaw@duntop.co.uk, duntop.co.uk

CLARK & ENGLISH
Newark is home to several independent retailers whose family names have become synonymous with the fields in which they operate. Clark & English interior designers of Castlegate is one such family.

Now led by Sarah Clark, they are a small team of creative professionals with a love of furnishing and design.

“The focus of our business is on craftsmanship, which is why we make up our work on the premises using traditional hand finished methods,” she said.

“We specialise in being able to meet the demands of interior designers, whether the demands are in the design, the complexity or the size of the job – but whichever, always in respect of the quality of the finished work.”

Born into a respected interior design and furnishing family with a long heritage in the industry, Sarah has grown up working for major interior designers from across the country on projects ranging from Middle Eastern palaces and English country houses to small city flats and pied-à-terre and producing work which hangs in the homes of many well-known clients.

Despite Clark & English’s renowned reputation and high-standing within the fabric industry, its professional expertise is also available to the public.

It offers a complete interior service to help with anything from one window to the decoration of an entire house and the good news is that they are having a January sale, offering up to 20% off all fabrics and wallpapers making it the ideal time to give your home a little bit of TLC.

CHEMEX
Peter Cussans took over the Lincoln and Boston franchises for Chemex International in September following the retirement of Laurence Hinde.

Peter says: “Laurence has built a great business with a fantastic customer base. By continuing to provide excellent service and superb products, I aim to build the business by offering the Chemex service to more local businesses. All our customers seem to have something in common, they are all passionate about giving their customers the best possible experience.”

“The Chemex service gives you the full package; whether it’s making sure your healthcare business is Regulation 12 compliant, your food business gets five stars or simple things like making sure all your people are trained to use products safely and efficiently you can trust Chemex.”

“We’ve been innovating market-leading cleaning and hygiene chemicals for 30 years. Whether it’s food-grade BSEN 1276 surface sanitisers, high-level infection control, ware wash, laundry or cutting-edge biological cleaners that use nature’s technology, we’ve got the lot.”

OSCAR’S INN
Oscar’s Inn is a ‘country pub’ in town serving an impressive range of real ales, craft lagers and traditional ciders. The ambience is relaxed and ideally given to socialising in small groups, whilst trying a tasty offering from our constantly evolving menu and comparing notes on the impressive range of brews.

Oscar’s has two bars, each boasting a separate personality, with the Wilde Bar being the perfect place to sit, relax and read or even share one of our signature sixteen-inch pizzas, and the Peterson bar is suited to sharing a bottle of wine in a relaxing environment.

The Peterson bar hosts live music, often with a jazz theme, several times a week and the warm decor, brown leather Chesterfields and comfortable seating areas make it the ideal place to kick back and unwind. The music and beer lineups are posted frequently on our Facebook page.

Our new early bird menu runs from 5pm-7pm, Monday-Thursday. Sunday lunch is served 12noon-8pm, and booking is highly advisable.

Free wifi is available in both bars and the pub prides itself on being both family and dog friendly.

NEWARK SHOWGROUND
Newark town centre has much to offer shoppers, visitors and residents alike with its large selection of independent retailers, supermarkets and high street stores offering an eclectic mix of goods and services.

But it also has many venues both in the town and on the periphery which help to attract not only footfall to the area but businesses from all over the country as well.

One such place is Newark Showground, on the site of the former RAF Winthorpe airfield, which was purchased in 1964 by the Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society.

Paul Sparks, sales and marketing manager at the Showground, said because of its central location and ease of access, the site was becoming increasingly popular as a meeting place for national organisations, regional agencies and county businesses.

“Last year was undoubtedly one of the most successful years at the Showground for a number of years in terms of events,” he said.

“The number has gone up over the last two years from 500 on average to 700 a year. Because of the reputation we have and the work we have put in, our weekends are very busy. But the opportunity for us in 2017 is to capitalise on our ‘in the week business’.

“Our focus is going to be on building our weekday business to business meetings.”

The Showground has eleven purpose-built halls and pavilions ideal for meetings for up to a dozen people or conferences with up to 1,000 attendees.

“It is already going very well, with big name clients coming here. People come from all over the county because we are slap bang in the middle of the area and we have great access and we also get national companies coming for the same reason,” said Paul.

Newark is the halfway point for a lot of companies with countrywide branches and the Showground is easily accessible from the A1, the A46, the A17, and also has good rail links to London and the north.

The springboard for the Showground to be able to attract ‘in the week’ business is its Lady Eastwood Pavilion. It has just undergone a complete rebuild and re-opened in May 2016 with many new features.

The self-contained event centre, ideal for exhibitions, conferences, product launches, dinners and other major functions now benefits from the addition of three brand new meeting rooms for up to 180 people in total.

“We now have a new state-of-the-art hall. It gives us that purpose-built hall which is slightly up from the banqueting room. Then we have the George Stephenson exhibition hall, which is the biggest purpose-built conference hall in Nottinghamshire,” said Paul.

“We can do meetings from small ones with ten people right the way up the whole range to 20, 50, 200, 400, 700, 1,000 or even 3,000 delegates.

“There is a lot of flexible space and meeting rooms with good facilities for different business to host events. It is going down very well with users and it is going to be one of the platforms we are going to use to build our ‘in the week’ business meetings.”

Mr Sparks explained the Showground was the trading arm of the Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society, which was a charity.

“We are a not for profit trading company, so investment goes back into the site through the surplus. That is how we improve the site.

“But this place not only generates its own business it also does its bit to support the local hotels and businesses as well. People come here to the Showground for meetings, events or conferences and go into Newark itself and stay in the hotels, so it feeds into the local economy and we know that is valuable.”

NEWARK CYCLES
Our passion for cycling led to us form Newark Cycles Ltd. We aim to provide the best possible service to all our customers.

Our friendly Cytech technicians boast an efficient quality repair service that has your bike returned to you within 48 hours. Our service repertoire also covers trikes and tandems and we welcome any challenge you might choose to throw at us.

Our sales team will make sure you have a new bike that fits you and is exactly suited for your intended use. Our basic bike-fit will solve any comfort issues you may have with your current bike.

We prefer to use British suppliers where possible; we are currently dealers for Raleigh, Diamondback, Forme and Cuda covering the complete range of adults and children’s road, hybrid, classic shopper, mountain and electric bikes. We have an extensive range of parts and accessories as well as a wide range of gifts for the cyclist in your family for Christmas and beyond.

We are the small shop with the big heart. Whether it is advice you need on anything cycling related, or you just want to pop in to browse, you will always be guaranteed a warm welcome by our friendly team.

MEANDER AND MOOCH
Meander and Mooch offer an eclectic mix of contemporary art, glass, bronze, ceramics and silver jewellery, with just a hint of vintage magic.

We avoid mass produced prints, offering instead original art at realistic prices, hand made ceramics, all original unique pieces sourced from the best artists in the UK.

Located at 35 Cartergate, within the historic Flowertime building, Meander and Mooch have a diverse range of unique gifts to suit most tastes and budgets.

Prices from just £6 to several hundred. Interest free installment payments and gift cards available.

www.meanderandmooch.co.uk, Tel: 07576 847804.

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