Thursday, 28 February 2013


It’s official. Mitchells Renault in Lowestoft has been recognised by Renault UK for being the best of the best when it comes to its continued commitment to outstanding customer service.

Renault UK carries out continuous assessment and mystery shops to ensure that the dealership network’s customer service meets their stringent standards.

Throughout 2012, Mitchells scored more highly for customer satisfaction than any other Renault dealership in the country. The customer surveys are carried out by an independent team who call customers who have recently taken delivery of their new Renault cars and vans to see how they rated the sales process.

Matthew Huke-Jenner, dealer principal and owner of the Long Road dealership, was given the award at the recent national Renault sales conference in Luton.

He said: “It was a complete surprise. We always strive to do our best to ensure that our customer service is second-to-none but it’s always great to get an official endorsement from Renault.

“It’s a fitting reward for our sales team who work tirelessly to ensure our customers get the very best out of their new Renault cars, be it private customers buying a Megané or a business client purchasing a fleet of electric Kangoo vans.

“We didn’t even know we’d won it and it was a wonderful surprise when I was invited up onto the stage to receive the award from Renault UK’s head of franchising Bob O’Reilly.”

For more information, click onto or visit the dealership on Long Road, Lowestoft (01502 500950).



Matthew Huke-Jenner from Mitchells Renault pictured receiving the award from Renault UK’s head of franchising Bob O’Reilly.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Meeting Ginette could not have come at a better time for me having just set up on my own recently. I wrote this profile piece for her and highly recommend her if you're looking for an efficient, yet affordable accountant. I hope to be calling on her services very soon!

Many small business owners panic when it comes to all things financial.
However, chartered management accountant Ginette Higgs can help demystify accounting and assist with taking the fear out of the numbers.
Ginette started Lynchpin Accounting in 2010 after more than 25 years in global accountancy as she wanted to help small and medium local businesses.
She offers help on everything from tax to payroll and gives affordable, practical advice on how accounting can actually work to your advantage.
She says: “As a small business myself, I understand that finances can be daunting but, if done correctly, they can actually make a positive contribution to understanding your business and setting goals.
“I build personal relationships with my clients and get involved as I understand every business is different and has different needs.”
Ginette is offering a free one-hour consultation to anyone who wants to talk through their business and see how she can help.
For more information or to take Ginette up on her free business health check, call 07533 256256 or email


Saturday, 23 February 2013


Newbury Wellbeing Centre is taking part in national Acupuncture Awareness Week by offering taster sessions in aid of Amnesty International on Thursday, 28th February.

Acupuncture Awareness Week takes place from 25 February to 3 March and the Pound Street based centre is aiming to help increase people’s knowledge and understanding of the benefits of acupuncture with half-hour sessions run by practitioner Eileen Bose.

Acupuncture, which originated in ancient China, uses tiny needles, no thicker than a human hair, which are inserted into special acupuncture points in the skin. Stimulating these points is believed to help correct chemical imbalances in the body, and it has been shown to help a wide range of conditions. Today acupuncture has become one of the leading alternative complementary therapies that are practiced in the UK, and each year around 2.3 million treatments are carried out.

Wellbeing Centre owner Claire Bushell said: “Traditional acupuncture is known to be enormously beneficial for helping in a variety of conditions. As I have a fear of needles, I decided to try it myself and can reassure anyone who is hesitant that they needn’t be and that acupuncture is extremely relaxing.

“In order to show the real benefits that acupuncture can bring to sleep and other problems, we’re setting up a multi-bed session on Thursday 28th February with donations going to Amnesty International.”

To book a half hour acupuncture session, call the Wellbeing Centre on 0800 0430713 or for more information, visit



Friday, 22 February 2013


Staff at a Port Isaac fudge retailer have found a sweet way of raising £1,000 for the Cornwall Air Ambulance.

Mike Meakins, who works at the Buttermilk Shop, presented the charity cheque to Susie Smith from the Cornwall Air Ambulance this week after hitting upon a novel way of raising money.

Enterprising Mike noticed that the shop on Church Hill had started to become a tourist destination in its own right. By day, the shop specialises in selling Cornish fudge, but it also doubles for Doc Martin’s pharmacy when the ever-popular ITV series uses it for filming.

After visiting the shop, two Australian journalists wrote about it in TV Week magazine and sent a copy to Mike, who occasionally appears as an extra in the series. The piece was framed and put up in the shop. But with so many customers asking for a copy Mike contacted his son-in-law Ben Broadhurst of Concorde Copiers to help.

The pair make A3 copies of the article and sell them in the shop priced at £2. So far, 1,000 have sold, raising £2,000. A £1,000 cheque was presented to the RNLI in November with a further £1,000 being handed over to the Cornwall Air Ambulance this week.

Mike added: “Many tourists come in to buy some fudge as a result of seeing the shop in Doc Martin. The article has proved to be a real talking point so we thought it would be worth seeing if they’d sell as people are constantly asking if they can buy one. We’re putting them on sale much earlier this year, and the crew of Doc Martin are returning to film the latest series soon, so logically, we should be able to raise even more for these two very worthy charities.

“We chose the RNLI and the Cornwall Air Ambulance as they are very dear to the hearts of local people and all the staff who work in the Buttermilk Shop. We’d like to thank everyone who has supported the initiative and helped raise money for these two great causes.”

Tracy McDonnell, owner of the Buttermilk Shop, added: “We have a fantastic team in the shop and we’re so grateful to Mike for leading this terrific plan to raise money for charity. We are particularly touched by his efforts as our baby son was airlifted by the Cornwall Air Ambulance last year so we know first-hand what a superb service they provide which is essential for our rural community.”

Susie Smith, fundraising manager at Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, said: “We love it when our fundraisers come up with novel ways of supporting Cornwall Air Ambulance, and the Buttermilk Shop have really proved themselves to be the cream of the crop! With no direct government or National Lottery funding, we rely on the generosity of the people and businesses of Cornwall to fly around 1,000 emergency missions every year, keeping this service free at the point of need for anyone who needs it: young or old, visitor or local.”

Words: 500

Monday, 18 February 2013


A Beenham-based independent tour operator offering personalised trips to India is raising cash to help women in rural communities become self-sufficient by supporting an educational charity called Barefoot College.

Jane Points, who runs Points South Travel, has joined forces with the charity which is based near Ajmer in Rajasthan, India.

Barefoot College was formed in the early 1970s and promotes rural living by training women in rural communities in self-sufficiency and sustainability. It focuses on training the elderly women in villages and teaches them how to deliver solar electrification, clean water, education and livelihood development.

Jane, who has extensively travelled within India, will be donating £5 to the charity for every holiday booked through her. Travellers can even ask Jane to include a day visiting the college to see its work as part of their bespoke itinerary.

Jane said: “Ever since I spent six months travelling around India in 1980, I’ve been passionate about the country and encouraging people to visit.

“India offers something for every kind of traveller and every trip I’ve organised is different, reflecting the interests and budget of the customer.

“My focus is offering a truly personal service so I’ve visited India regularly since I set up Points South Travel in 2009 to ensure that all the hotels I recommend are suitable for my customers. While visiting, I heard about the Barefoot College and as a businesswoman myself, I was drawn to this charity as it teaches environmentalism and empowers women as the conduits of change.

“I have been aware for some time that though Points Travel tries as hard as possible to be green, the flights to get there do create carbon emissions and I wanted to do something about offsetting this. Since Barefoot’s aims are environmental, I decided that this would be a way of trying to mitigate our carbon emissions while benefitting the people who need it most directly.”

Because Jane has got to know the people at Barefoot, Points South offer travellers the opportunity to visit them for a day and see the work they do.

“We strongly believe that you need to talk to someone who has got underneath the skin of the country and its people to hear about things you might not otherwise see,” says Jane.

“The Barefoot College is a good example of that as travellers will be able to talk first-hand to some of the people who are leading the way in improving rural life and helping communities to function using sustainable forms of energy,” she added.

Jane will be visiting the charity herself later this year and handing over personally all money raised through this season’s holiday bookings.

For more information, visit and

Notes to editor:

Barefoot College is an educational organisation aimed at helping people living in rural India.

For more information on Barefoot College:

Points South Travel is an independent bespoke travel operator offering personalised trips to India. It’s run by Jane Points who has extensive experience of travelling in India and a passion for sharing her knowledge with others. As she only offers trips to India rather than other world destinations, she can apply her own knowledge to make every trip unique and prices competitive.

Points South is based in Beenham, between Newbury and Reading.

For more information on Points South:


“We told Jane Points that we didn't do organised travel. She very cleverly organised everything without us feeling herded about.

“She interviewed us on the telephone for 20 minutes or so on three occasions, thought long and carefully about what she would show us, booked the most splendid and memorable places to stay and gave us a brilliant driver and car to get there.
“We saw the unusual, the sublime, the theatrical, the hysterical, the colourful, the noisy, the vibrant, the welcoming, the breathtaking, the different, we saw South India in a way that captivated and enchanted us. This we were NOT expecting.
“We would never have done or seen half the things Jane kindly sorted out for us. Ten out of ten, well done”.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Clare Sheffield of S&T Design

I met Clare last week and wrote the piece below for a profile piece that the paper is doing on businesswomen. Not only was I wowed by her interior style and taste, but I also got to hear about her prestigious design work:

Clare Sheffield of S and T Design

Clare Sheffield is a multi-award winning designer who set up S&T Design in 2009, bringing her intelligent and creative design to Newbury.
Not only is she passionate about design, but she is an expert in brand identity and creating a cost-effective brand essence across everything from packaging to print, press ads, web design, banner ads, across to carrier bags and window displays.
Her 15 years of experience has seen her work with a huge range of clients including small companies to instantly-recognisable global brands such as Crabtree & Evelyn and she’s now keen to work with West Berkshire-based businesses.
After leaving Norwich School of Art and Design where she trained in graphic design, she spent 11 years working at a London-based agency. Her work has won many awards and she has appeared several times in the prestigious D&AD book of design.
“I give West Berkshire clients the London experience without the price tag and would love to hear from anyone who needs a fresh eye on their project whether it’s a complete brand identity or a new logo, packaging, or stationery.”


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Newbury Speakers

Public speaking ranks as one of the greatest fears among people - and though I'm not "afraid" of it as such, I do know that it is something I need to improve.

I am confident in the written word but feel my public speaking should be better to reflect this. So I was thrilled (and terrified) to be invited to the local Toastmasters group which is called Newbury Speakers.

First off, it's nothing to do with making toast. ANother thing I am not good at.

It's about providing a gentle environment in which to practise public speaking.

I have a way to go, but after my meeting, I can see how encouragement and support has really made a difference to its members and I thoroughly recommend it as a way of practising.

We were invited to speak spontaneously for two minutes on a given topic. As it was Shrove Tuesday - mine was Easter eggs. Are they getting smaller and if so, is that a good thing. Not a subject I had been able to prepare in advance!

The Newbury group meets every second and fourth Tuesday evening at the rugby club - more details at

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Mrs B's home cooking

I love writing press releases and I love meeting people and hearing about what they do. You always learn something completely astonishing.

If I'm writing a press release or profile, it's always useful to meet the person at their office or home rather than another faceless corporate coffee shop. And how could I turn down an invitation from a chef when she asked me to come to her home to talk about a profile she wanted me to write for the Newbury Weekly News business feature.

So, over a bowl of delicious soup, I wrote the piece below which MrsB amended slightly. It now completely reflects her enthusiasm and personality:

Mrs B believes the food served at a business lunch reflects the standards of your firm - and how better to demonstrate that than by giving potential clients something delicious and freshly prepared! A slickly presented lunch shows your attention to detail and could even help you win their business says Emma Benson who started Mrs B’s Home Cooking ten years ago.

Offering everything from working lunches to smart ‘directors’ lunches, Emma wants to ‘shake-up’ the typically tawdry ‘sandwich and crisps’ currently on offer at most meetings!

A passionate and inventive self-taught cook, she makes everything from scratch using the finest local ingredients. “Not all business lunches have to be sandwiches, but if we make one we want it to be the best sandwich your clients have eaten anywhere!”
Mrs B and her team also cater for events, dinner parties and team building cookery classes.

For more details, click onto or call her on 01635 866 404 or 07789 326 191. Email her at

Monday, 11 February 2013



With dull weather and wintry days, are you in need of some Va Va Voom?

Mitchells Renault in Lowestoft has the cure for those in need of some driving fun as the latest version of the ever-popular Clio is now on sale at the dealership.

The Clio has long been a favourite of the British driving public. With enticing and memorable adverts (Nicole and Papa; Helene from Size Matters and Thierry Henry), as well as practicality, affordability and good looks, the Clio has sold more than one million models in the UK. Now the latest incarnation is set to appear on the UK roads and as seen in the new television adverts that recently premiered, it showcases Renault’s new design cues and combines sensual looks, the latest technology and state-of-the-art engines, all from just £10,595. The incredible price is enhanced by the fuel savings that its range of smaller engines will offer. The New Clio gives a fuel consumption saving of up to a fifth over its predecessors.

The New Clio is offered with five doors and in four trim levels, Expression, Expression+, Dynamique MediaNav and Dynamique S MediaNav. And for fans of Renault’s performance Clio, a Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo is to be launched in the summer.

Renault is famed for its safety and this Clio has achieved a top five-star Euro NCAP rating and reached the best score in the small car class segment in three of four categories. The brand is also well-known for its wealth of standard equipment and the Clio will not disappoint as it comes with driver/passenger/side and curtain airbags, Bass Reflex speaker system, electric front windows and door mirrors, Bluetooth radio with USB port and jack socket, ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and ETC (Electronic Traction Control), folding front passenger seat, Hill Start Assist, keyless entry and ignition. Dynamique MediaNav and Dynamique S MediaNav also include a 7” touchscreen MediaNav infotainment system with integrated navigation.

Matthew Huke-Jenner, managing director and owner of Mitchells Renault, said: “The New Clio is breathtakingly beautiful and offers an ingenious fully-integrated R-Link system which appears in Renault models for the first time. “It is a 7-inch colour touchscreen that features a wealth of clever touches including voice recognition, email access and eco tip driving software to make life easier and more enjoyable. “All in all, the New Clio is a delight to drive and really looks the part. With lower emissions and lower fuel costs, it’s a compelling model and we invite any local motorists to come and test drive it for themselves.” .

Ends 432

Crufts 2013!


Renault Retail Group is proving yet again that it is “best in breed” by partnering the world’s largest and most famous dog show.
Crufts 2013 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham from 7th to 10th March and offers the very best of canine competition under one roof.
Renault Retail is the event’s official motor partner and will be showcasing its range of dog friendly vehicles at two large stands within the event.

Though Renault Retail Group sells one in four of the UK’s Renault cars and vans, through its network of 20 dealerships across the UK, it also offers the Nissan range at six of these sites.

Staff from the nationwide dealership group will be on hand to show dog lovers the New Clio, the Nissan Juke and the Dacia Duster, all of which offer ample space for everything that your furry friends need.

The latest incarnation of the ever-popular Clio has been launched this month and has already won an international “‘Golden Steering Wheel’ award.

As well as displaying these vehicles, Renault Retail staff will be able to offer guidance on the new “shockingly affordable” Dacia Sandero, priced from just £5,995, making it the UK’s most affordable car.

As well as new car sales from the largest towns and cities in the UK, Renault Retail can give peace of mind so that you have more time to spend with your four-legged friends. The group prides itself on exceptional customer service and offers everything from advice on financing your vehicle, right through to aftersales, maintenance, and servicing.
For more information, click onto and


Words: 268