Tuesday, 21 May 2013


The “shockingly affordable” Dacia range is now available at Mitchells in Great Yarmouth.

The dealership on Suffolk Road is now offering the value-for-money brand which has recently been in the news thanks to its jaw-dropping prices.

Mitchells has long been known for supplying local drivers with Renault cars and vans, so the staff can also offer their expertise to guide motorists through everything Dacia has to offer. As Dacia is part of the Renault group, buyers can be assured that safety and affordability are paramount.

Incredibly, you can drive away a brand new Dacia for £6,000. For that, you’ll get a Dacia Sandero with £5 change. The model cannot be beaten when it comes to price, space and equipment and despite only being launched in the UK this year, the Dacia Sandero has already won awards from the motoring press for quality and affordability.

The Dacia Sandero supermini offers room for five adults, fantastic fuel economy and low emissions. There are three versions of the Dacia Sandero to choose from, starting with the entry-level Access. It has the safety features you’d expect from a car from the Renault stable; ABS with Emergency Brake Assist, ASR traction control, ESC (Electronic Stability Control), driver, passenger and front side airbags and ISOFIX points in both outer rear seats.

Meanwhile, you can drive away Top Gear magazine’s “bargain of the year”, the Dacia Duster from just £8,995. Combining form with function, the handsome Dacia Duster offers air-conditioning as standard, a six-speed gearbox and much more besides. Despite having only been on sale in the UK for a few months, the Dacia Duster has already amassed plaudits from motorists who love it for its quality, practicality and driveability.

The launch of the new dealership comes just in time for the Dacia Sandero Stepway which arrives in showrooms shortly.

The Dacia Stepway is reinforcing the brand’s reputation for great prices as it has been labelled the “UK’s most affordable supermini crossover” with prices start at just under £8,000.

It goes on sale in June and the Stepway’s SUV-style and jaw-dropping prices have already proved a winning combination. The new model has 40mm extra ground clearance, making it more capable of tackling trickier terrains. It also boasts a boot capable of swallowing 320 litres with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats in place. When the seats are down, there’s a family-friendly 1,200 litres of space available.

At just £600 more than the same version of Sandero, the Stepway has a capable off-road look thanks to its satin chrome roof bars, front and rear scuff plates and black wheelarch extenders, as well as 16” alloy-look wheels, body-coloured bumpers and door mirrors.

The standard equipment also includes electric front windows, front fog lights and roof bars.

However, frugal-minded buyers may be most excited by the innovative “ECO mode” button. With fuel prices seemingly constantly on the rise, the ECO mode button will limit engine torque and help improve fuel consumption by up to 10%.

Matthew Huke-Jenner, managing director and owner of Mitchells, said: “Everyone is keeping an eye on their finances at the moment so there’s no better time to open the doors to our Dacia showroom.

“Such is the appeal of the Dacia brand and all that it offers that many of our cars have been purchased by people who haven’t even seen the car. However, we’d welcome local motorists to come and see us and book a test drive in one of the Dacia models.

“Feedback so far has been immense with local drivers enjoying Dacia’s reliability and incredible pricing, and we’re delighted to be investing our resources into launching the brand here in Great Yarmouth.”

For more information, visit Mitchells Dacia on Suffolk Road, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth or call 0844 249 5793. Alternatively, click onto www.mitchellsdacia.co.uk


What's on at the Athena Network West Berkshire- speakers in June

West Berkshire businesswomen always have a wealth of inspirational talks at The Athena Network and June’s line-up is no different with presentations on public speaking, teamwork, successful websites and digital marketing.

Diane Wilkinson from Younique will be discussing how to "be seen, be heard; how to make memorable speeches" at the Newbury North group at the Donnington Valley Hotel on Wednesday, 12th June.

At the Hungerford meeting at The Bear Hotel on Friday, June 14th Emily Turberville–Tully of Inspiration Inc will be discussing ‘Digital Marketing for your Business’. She will also be the speaker at the Newbury South group at The Newbury on Bartholomew Street on Wednesday, June 19th where she will show how to design a successful website.

Kate Mulcahy from Change Unlimited will be talking on creating effective, cohesive teams at the Thatcham meeting on Tuesday, June 18th at the Regency Park Hotel.

Each meeting takes place from 12pm to 2pm and visitors are always welcome. For more information, contact Debbie Miles on 07891 503225 or Debbie.miles@theathenanetwork.com.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

The Athena Network Hungerford celebrates its second anniversary

Hungerford businesswomen celebrated two years of successful networking this week when the Athena Network marked its second anniversary.

Members of the Hungerford group meet at The Bear on the second Friday of each month for lunch and networking. This month’s meeting included a bottle of champagne for the group’s most prolific networker and a talk on decluttering.

Debbie Miles, regional director for the West Berkshire branch of the Athena Network, said: “The two years have flown by thanks to a group of innovative, energetic women who have grown their businesses and made alliances.”

For more information, contact Debbie Miles on Debbie.miles@theathenanetwork.com for more details or to visit the next meeting on Friday, 14th June from 12pm to 2pm.


Businesswomen at the second anniversary of the Athena Network’s Hungerford group. Picture by Vikki Champion from Vie Photography.

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Athena Network's INSPIRE conference

I have had a completely productive day today and I have the Athena Network to thank for that after attending their motivational INSPIRE conference on Friday.

As well as rubbing shoulders with hundreds of successful businesswomen, we were treated to excellent speakers who were educational and informative.

First of all, we met the lovely Jacqueline Rogers who is just so much more wonderful in real life than I'd realised.

Here's a picture by photographer Dianna Bonner here:

Pictured from left: Freelance writer and PR Margaret McDonnell (looking terrible here!), Lorna Smith of TopMarks Health Insurance (WPA); Carolyn Whitehouse from Fifth Avenue Jewellery; Jacqueline Rogers founder of The Athena Network; Lis Allen motivational speaker; Claire Plumridge from Olio Photography; Claire Stevens from Keeps Printing and Debbie Miles regional director for West Berkshire.

Onto the speakers, and the first was my favourite and made me have a good think about my sales skills (of lack thereof).

Lara Morgan built and sold 99% of Pacific Direct, a luxury toiletries company for £20 million!

Here are some of her words of wisdom:

“Don’t leave boring voicemail messages – who is going to call those back? Be energetic!”

“Build memorable relationships and do your fact-finding before you start selling”.

“When you deliver a successful pitch, write down what it was that you did so you can keep improving”.

“Strive with pride to be the best. You know you’re doing well when you have sweaty knickers”!!!

“Choose your life, plan it and make it happen.”

Miranda Ballard talked about grace and femininity in business and shared the story of how she and her husband started Muddy Boots Real Foods Ltd in December 2008. Although I'm a vegetarian, I shall be hunting down their products in Waitrose for MrM who would move to the countryside to be a farmer himself given half a chance.

Hattie Hasan started Stopcocks Plumbing (!)and talked about her rise from plumber to international businesswoman. I'm reading her book at the moment and it's particularly useful for me in my business career at the moment. What's more, some of the proceeds from her book support a water charity in Kenya.

So great to see the metamorphosis from a worker to someone who has franchised their business and had honest things to say about the low moments and about wanting to give up sometimes!

Kimberly Davis who appeared in the Apprentice a few years ago talked on Marketing and gave these reasons why your marketing is not working for you:

- "Businesses don't have a blueprint for your business. You wouldn’t get into your car to drive without knowing where you’re going.”

- "You're trying to do everything in the business. Focus on what you're good at and delegate the rest".

Miti Ampoma is an award-winning business communication specialist, and talked about putting the soul back into businesses communications.

“Customers like their businesses to do three things; act ethically, treat customers and employees properly and contribute to the community.”

“Don’t repeat gossip – be a rock!”

“Develop relationships through shared interests outside work.”

Thank you Jacqueline Rogers, the founder of the Athena Network for letting me be a part of it!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

How Newbury Rugby Club changed their form thanks to a motivational firewalk!

Fresh from celebrating their recent success and staying up when threatened with relegation, staff Newbury Rugby Club have revealed that motivational workshops and a walk over hot coals played a part in the club’s change in fortunes.

The club’s coach and team manager have praised a West Berkshire-based coaching business for the part they played in saving the club from their fifth successive relegation.

Bigger Brighter Bolder, based in Newbury and run by Tracey Miller and George Swift, stepped in to help in January when the team seemed to be sliding towards another defeat and possible relegation.

After four successive demotions, the struggling Newbury side brought in Bigger Brighter Bolder in January to help turn around their fortunes with workshops, team talks and even a fire walk.

After the fire walk, the team beat Swindon by 32-6 in a victory that’s now known as the “hot coal win”. They then ended the season in ninth place, having been on course to slip down to the next division again.

George said: “With a four-year losing streak and a highly-demoralised team, we had a real challenge to turn things around in just four months to avoid their fifth consecutive relegation.

“We kicked things off by getting the first team and coaches to participate in a fire walk workshop.

“This was the catalyst for change but from there, it was important for us to keep the momentum going to the end of the season and to get everyone pulling together as a team.
“We held weekly BBB Success Group sessions and really worked on creating self-belief, uniting the team and raising standards with each team member being accountable to all of the players.

“When you get a group of people buying into a common goal and they are 100% committed as individuals and as a team, you have the basis of an unstoppable force. That’s what Tracey and I do; we help people unlock their potential.”

Bob Ward, Newbury Rugby Club team manager added: “Right from the firewalk, I knew something had changed. BBB was the only factor that was different before and after Christmas. The team got its head around the fact that they could win. They collectively bought into George’s ‘fight harder’ philosophy and everyone raised their standards.

George Swift (left) from Bigger Brighter Bolder with Bob Ward, team manager at Newbury Rugby Club.

“We started with a four-year losing mentality, a completely demoralised team and 50 supporters. We ended the season with crowds in their hundreds and Newbury playing really exciting rugby! George Swift is a legend!”

The success isn’t just for sportsmen and women though – BBB support people who are determined to reach their goals.
Bigger Brighter Bolder started BBB Success Groups in April last year and the groups comprise of local businesspeople – they have just completed their first year.

The groups meet twice-monthly so that BBB can deliver mindset mentoring workshops and the members can spur each other on. The groups have seen its members re-evaluate their business and life goals and some have even changed career. Although finance isn’t the only measure of success, one member has quadrupled her income, and others are publishing books or setting up their own businesses.

George added: “BBB Success Groups are where you go when you want success and you want to be around other people that are happy to support you and celebrate with you.

“The concept is simple enough; it’s just the stuff we generally don’t do on our own, but the power is in the group which gives accountability to take action.”

The groups meet twice a month, but prospective members are invited to try a two-month foundation course before committing. If you are interested in attending a briefing, or want more information, contact Tracey at tracey@biggerbrighterbolder.co.uk or alternatively, click onto www.biggerbrighterbolder.co.uk