Monday, 13 May 2019

Working Women of Burton project

After I joined Stretton Parish Council in summer of 2018 I had the opportunity and pleasure to help fellow parish council member, local historian Malcolm Goode, with an event to mark the centenary of the end of World War One.

We helped to mobilise local crafters to create a display of more than 2,000 crocheted and knitted poppies beside the village war memorial.

Stretton Poppies November 2018. Pictures by Joanne Cooper 

Now, Malcolm, and a team of volunteers headed by the parish council, are embarking on another important project to research and record the progress of women entering the workforce of Burton between the years 1914 and 1946.

The project is being supported by Burton Library and the National Brewery Centre.

We need more volunteers to help us tell the stories of how the women on Burton Upon Trent and South Derbyshire played a vital role in helping our country win two world wars and also progressed into local businesses and industries.

A drop-in meeting is being held on Saturday, May 18, at Burton Library, between 10am and 2.30pm. If you would like to help the project in any way - researching, recording interviews with family members, creating videos and more - please call in to chat with Malcolm.

The final results of the project will be archived as a permanent record housed at both the library and the brewery centre for future generations. If you, or any of your friends or family, are interested in helping - perhaps the project would be a useful volunteer experience to add to a CV - you can also contact Malcolm on 01283 567903.

Malcolm also wants to hear from anyone who had female relatives working in Burton and South Derbyshire's breweries, factories or were part of the Women's Land Army or served in the forces.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

A taste of Spanish sunshine in Stretton

The WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) group that I co-lead in Burton-on-Trent is supporting the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity throughout 2019.

This vital charity saves lives by saving time. It funds and operates three air ambulances, serving six counties in the Midlands. They are effectively intensive care units in the air and since 1991 they have flown more than 52,200 missions - and that total rises every week.

A powerful video shared by MAAC volunteer Sally McMahon at our January meeting really brought it home to us the fact that any of us could need the air ambulance to save our loved ones. Members have organised events as diverse as product parties in their homes, adult cookery classes and donating a percentage of profits from sales.

I'm organising a Spanish night on Thursday, June 20 at one of my favourite local restaurants, Sloans Kitchen on Craythorne Road between the villages of Stretton and Rolleston-on-Dove in East Staffordshire.

Tickets will be £32 each with a donation from each sale going directly to the charity. We'll also be holding a raffle on the night with all the money going to the MAAC. Prizes donated so far include: Afternoon tea for two at Sloans Kitchen; a voucher for Silver Sentiments jewellery; a large hamper of toiletries and cosmetics; a small hamper of pampering goodies and wine.

Sloans Kitchen is in a beautiful rural setting, perfect for a summer night out. Places are strictly limited and need to be booked through me. Email me here.

To whet your appetite, here is the lovely menu.


Guests will arrive from 7pm with food served from 7.30pm. This is an opportunity to sip Sangria in the evening sunshine (hopefully) and raise money for a fantastic charity that receives no Government funding.


Wednesday, 6 March 2019

How to create quality content and relationships on LinkedIn

Success on LinkedIn, in my experience, comes through behaving the way we would like others to behave when we network in the real world.

This means:

  • We don't SELL, SELL, SELL (not shouting by over-using capital letters is good too)
  • We do spend twice as long listening as we do talking
  • We build relationships and show support for our own suppliers and customers
  • We invest time and thought in creating useful and interesting content.
The difference between LinkedIn and your average business networking event in the real world is that LinkedIn is a global platform and gives you the opportunity to connect with people you may never meet face-to-face but who will follow and support you if you give them content they value. The result of this type of organic growth is that you gain visibility, credibility and ultimately grow your business.

After a year away from running workshops and courses, during which time I've been busy ghostwriting content including LinkedIn articles for busy business owners, I ran a half-day course in Staffordshire in February. Feedback from the delegates was so positive that I've been encouraged to re-run it at the same venue, Heath House Conference Centre, Uttoxeter, on Thursday morning, April 4, 2019.

Heath House Conference Centre, Uttoxeter

As a writer my focus is on the content you create and share on LinkedIn. So I will help people to understand WHO it is they want to 'talk' to through LinkedIn and WHAT this 'target audience' wants from them.

What your potential customers need to hear is not always the same as the message you may be in the habit of pushing out.

I'll spend some time during the morning of April 4 helping the delegates get up to speed on the features, functionality and privacy settings on LinkedIn so that we are all on a fairly level playing field when we move on to look at creating a bespoke marketing strategy and action plan for using LinkedIn. The joy is every strategy will be different, because every business is different and every business owner has a different journey, a different story, a different 'Why?'

I don't believe that the effective use of LinkedIn is about building a huge database of tens of thousands of connections and firing out sales messages and hoping that a few of them stick. Most SMEs I have worked with over the past nine years have had better results through building a quality network that wants to hear from them. The opportunity to create articles on LinkedIn allows you to become a thought leader and is a powerful way of building the credibility that I mentioned earlier.

There are only seven places available on the April 4 course and you can find out more and book by contacting me.

Thanks to Richard Scott of Invictus IFA for the testimonial he gave me after attending the course in February. He said: "The training was so different to what I had experienced before. Elaine got us to focus on our own needs and objectives and understand the mechanics behind the scenes, including how it could work for us and how we could add value to the relationships we build on the platform. 

"What we were trying to achieve as a business was much more important than it being 'just a numbers game', Putting together quality content and building a strong online presence were key parts of the training event that I took away and have decided to work on to improve my own experience long term. Training is always great when you drive away knowing that it was time well spent."