Eight Interactive: Custom-made Animated Video, E-Learning & Software Demo Solutions

Eight Interactive: Custom-made Animated Video, E-Learning & Software Demo Solutions

Eight Interactive: Custom-made Animated Video, E-Learning & Software Demo Solutions

There’s definitely a place in your business communications for the written word. Engaging content, well-written, spelt properly, grammatically correct and SEO optimised to make Google love it. And when that need arises in your business please do remember that, with AA Editorial Services, your words are my work. 

That said, vlogging (video blogging), infographics and animations have an important role to play. Human beings are visual creatures. As this article points out, 65 percent of us are visual learners. It’s easy to see then why engaging visuals are superheroes when it comes to transferring knowledge and skills. This blog from Eight Interactive, using both videos and words, explains the key benefits that e-learning  brings to both the learner and the business providing them with the learning. 

Based in Swindon but serving the UK via the wonders of technology, Eight Interactive are UK leaders in e-learning video production and animated videos for businesses. 

Eight Interactive elearning and animated video

You don’t need elearning courses or software demos?

No problem! How about an animated video celebrating your personal and business highlights? One like this: https://youtu.be/1VVgw-QO9PA

Well, not one exactly like that #obvs. But something similar. And if you want words to go with it you know who to call huh? 

Find out more about getting a 2108 highlights animated video from Eight Interactive here.

Festive offer from Eight Interactive

Normally a video like this costs £150 + VAT.

Our festive offer for this video is £99 + VAT

So there’s something to rock your stocking.

Find Eight Interactive on social media

Students & Sanctuary Seekers highlight the importance of Safety & Welcome in Swindon

Students & Sanctuary Seekers highlight the importance of Safety & Welcome in Swindon

December 2018

Students & Sanctuary Seekers highlight the importance of Safety & Welcome in Swindon

swindon city of sanctuary

On Tuesday 11th December, 4:00pm-5:00pm, at Drove Primary School, teachers from Drove Primary School and artists Rachel Pryor and Nicky-Ann Walker will discuss  the inspiration for the new mural, The Journey to Safety and Welcome, now hanging in the entrance of the school. They’ll also explain how it came about as the result of a unique collaboration between children at the school and members of The Harbour Project Art Group.

Safety and welcome in Swindon mural

Begun during Refugee Week earlier this year, the work is part of an ongoing collaboration between Drove Primary School and Swindon City of Sanctuary through its Schools of Sanctuary work.

Schools of Sanctuary began in Yorkshire and there are now Schools of Sanctuary in Wales, Ireland and many English cities and towns. Here in Swindon, eight schools are working towards this nationally recognised award.

A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to being a safe and welcoming place for all, especially those seeking sanctuary. This could be people whose lives were in danger in their own country, who have troubles at home or are just looking for a space of safety.

Artist Rachel Pryor said her work at The Harbour Project made her very mindful of just how important safety and welcome is:

“In our art group, people often talk about home. They come to the UK with no network of friends or family and can wait a long time for a decision on their asylum claim. It’s unbelievably tough. Art can help express some of those feelings of loss, which are often better expressed in a visual language. “

She added:

“I was so impressed how the children helping had thought carefully about the things and people they would miss if they became refugees. Developing empathy and compassion is such an important part of our human development whatever age we are.”

It is a sentiment with which Cristina Bennett, volunteer Schools of Sanctuary lead, agrees:

“Schools of Sanctuary is all about embedding a culture of welcome and inclusion for everyone in the school – teachers and teaching assistants, non-teaching staff, pupils and parents. That’s why this mural is so special. It features the work of every single year group, from nursery through to Year 6, as well as the work of our Harbour Project friends. We hope it will inspire all who see it to think more deeply about what welcome means, to reflect on how we cannot take any of our freedoms for granted and, to think about our actions in welcoming people who are new to our communities.”

This event will also give teaching colleagues and friends the chance to share, informally, their own School of Sanctuary work since the launch on 17th January 2018.


About Swindon City of Sanctuary

Swindon City of Sanctuary fosters a culture of welcome, inclusion and support for everyone in Swindon, with a focus on those seeking sanctuary.

In practical terms, we do this by bringing people and organisations together, providing support through projects, running community events, raising awareness and campaigning for social justice, thereby contributing to the wider, national movement that is City of Sanctuary.

Social Media

The Harbour Project: https://www.facebook.com/TheHarbourProject/

Swindon City of Sanctuary: https://www.facebook.com/SwindonCOS/


Photo credit

1. Mural of The Journey to Safety and Welcome – created by Rachel Pryor and Nicky- Ann Walker in collaboration with Drove Primary School and The Harbour Project Art Group.

The Benefits of Outsourcing your HR Functions

The Benefits of Outsourcing your HR Functions

The Benefits of Outsourcing your HR Functions

The moment you take on people as employees and create that contractual relationship – even if only one employee – you have HR responsibilities.  Add employees and the dynamics begin. From ensuring you pay them accurately and on time – perhaps the most important thing you should be doing – to the variety of representations of your duty of care to employees.  Whether mental health, diversity, office relationships, banter, disputes etc, they are all aspects that can detract from your core business and that you may not want to deal with yourself.

That’s a lot of HR issues for a small business to handle. But there’s more to think about than that – as if all that weren’t enough. As this article from Forbes about the benefits of HR outsourcing points out, ‘With today’s emphasis on company culture and loyalty, the role of human resources management and the types of benefits a company offers has become increasingly important for a business’s future.’

But what if you’re a small or medium-sized business? How on earth can you be competitive in these areas? That’s a big ask. As a small company it’s not likely you’ll have the budget to have the requisite personnel on your own payroll. And, even if you do, HR issues are often a minefield. Minefields, as we know, are things fraught with danger. They need experts to traverse them without causing an epic explosion. And anyway, having your own in-house HR department might not be the best use of company funds. Wouldn’t you be better off investing the cost of a HR department on your businesses core activities? An investment that will, over time, fuel your business success.

As for the HR – Outsourcing is your saviour

Human Resources

According to the CIPD, the main HR function that businesses outsource is payroll. Hot on payroll’s heels is the provision of complex advice, including case management.

The CIPD cite the benefits of outsourcing as including increased efficiency and access to expertise. To return to Forbes: ‘some mistakes in HR management will not only hurt employee loyalty, but can lead to fines.’  It’s not sound business sense to trust HR responsibilities to an employee who either:

  • Deals with these issues on a part-time basis only
  • And/or has not had enough training in HR matters

Any mistakes made could turn out to be expensive indeed, and in more ways than one.

Better by far to bolster areas of weakness with an outsourced HR solution that is both cost-effective and expertise-effective.

Note that the CIPD voice a note of caution about HR outsourcing. They say ‘it can also present challenges, such as loss of local knowledge and processes and fragmentation of the service provided.’

That’s a fair point. But you can address it by finding, where it’s possible, your HR outsourcing support in your locality.

Should you be a Swindon or Wiltshire business in need of experienced HR outsourcing support then look no further than Paul Himple, who is Go-Legal HR.

About Go-Legal HR

Go Legal HR offer a comprehensive service focusing on all aspects of the legal compliance that goes hand-in-hand with employing people. 

Bringing 32 years of experience to the job in hand, Paul works with small to medium sized businesses providing with their HR solutions. These are businesses that employ staff but neither have nor need a full-time, in-house HR advisor or manager. He also supports internal HR personnel lacking the necessary expertise in employment law.

The Go-Legal expert advice and hands-on help covers four key areas:

  1. Employment contracts, and policies and procedures
  2. Employee relations including dispute resolution and mediation
  3. Employment tribunal preparation and support
  4. Recruitment and selection

Go-Legal on Social Media

Go-Legal social media

Why not check him out on social media and give him a call for your all your HR solutions?

T K Turns – wood turning

T K Turns – wood turning

T K Turns - wood turning

Made in Wiltshire

This post is the first in a series I’m going to run on this blog about Wiltshire craftspeople. Some of them will be hobbyists – others will be professionals earning a living from what they produce. But all of them will be people offering gorgeous things.

I don’t want to use the word ‘artisan’ – it’s overused and, as often as not, it’s incorrectly used. I get that the word ‘craft’ connotes knitting/crochet and felting – not that there’s nothing with that I hasten to add! – So I’ve gone with calling the section ‘Made in Wiltshire’.  This is largely a Swindon-centred blog but I’ve called it ‘Made in Wiltshire’ to allow for stretching a little beyond the boundaries of our beloved Swindon Borough Council.

If you’d like your creations featured here get in touch to discuss terms – they’re modest and vary – depending on whether you’re a pro or a talented hobbyist.

Getting the first turn – appropriately enough – is hobbyist Toby Kinton who is TK Turns. Below he writes in his own words how he got in to wood turning. It’s a nice story actually.

 I love the bowl with the resin inlay -I think that’s beautiful. I rather like the wine goblets too. #obvs

T K Turns – wood turning

I started wood turning by accident.  I had been to a medieval re-enactment and couldn’t understand why hand turned bowls were so expensive compared to the mass produced, machine made items that you can pick up in any supermarket.

One Saturday, when I had nothing else to do, I searched YouTube for ‘how to’ videos to try to work it out.  Eight hours later, I was still sitting there, watching artists from around the world make bowls and goblets magically appear from gnarly lumps of timber.  There is something hypnotic about the process – in the same way that one can get lost in the shape of a log fire, watching a form develop under the tools. I was hooked!  But unfortunately our 2 up/2 down in the centre of Swindon just didn’t have anywhere that I could put a lathe without serious detriment to my marriage. I was doomed to be a spectator. Or so I thought …

Around 18 months later, we had outgrown our little house and were on the hunt for a new property, my wife looking for a nice area, good access, well planned layout and all of the sensible attributes of a house, but all I was interested in was a garden big enough for a shed or even better, a garage!

The move came about and I finally had my man cave.  As is the nature of home moves, this hallowed space quickly became where stuff was put ‘until we could find a home for it’ and was essentially a dumping ground for clutter.  This wasn’t how I had planned my dream workshop.

On a Friday in April 2016, I got fed up with the situation and made myself a deal.  If I could make enough space in the garage by 3 o’clock, I would order a lathe.  By 1 o’clock the garage was clear and I was online, ordering lathe and tools.  The following morning at 7.45 my very surprised wife answered the door to a delivery driver and had to kick me out of bed to help unload a 100kg pallet into the garage.

Around four hours later, after a lot of swearing, head scratching and coffee breaks, the lathe was assembled, the tools were to hand and I was ready to start.  Of course, the one thing I had forgotten was wood.  After a frantic search of the house and garden, I found the ‘Sold’ sign from the house, lurking in a corner of the garage. I sawed it up into sections and started trying all of the techniques that I had leaned from YouTube. My first attempts were not successful, with my garden dibbers being likened to marital aids! Ann Summers eat your heat out. But I keep at it and slowly I worked out how the tools reacted to the grain of the wood, how to select the right speed on the lathe to get a clean cut and how to move my body rather than my hands to maintain a consistent finish.

Two and a half years on, it is still a hobby but my skills have developed, with my main output being bowls.  I have found a specialist woodturning shop in Didcot, The Toolpost, where I buy most of my wood.  Although it can be found cheaper online, in a real shop you can hold and feel the wood before you buy it and Peter and his team are always there for feedback, advice and occasional banter.

Most of my work is commissions from family and friends, bowls with custom pyrography or pens from a ‘special’ piece of wood. But I nurture hopes of saying goodbye to the rat race and becoming a full-time turner.  I know that I will never make my fortune from wood, but the joy I get from turning more than makes up for that.

Here’s a few images of my work:

Further selections of my work are available to view on my website TK-Turns.co.uk and my Instagram feed (TKTurns) I use for work in progress pictures. If you want to know more you can contact me via me web form here.

You can also find me on Twitter here and Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/TKTurns/



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When I’m not being Born again Swindonian and writing Swindon-related books I offer proofreading, editing and writing services as AA Editorial Services.

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Blaylock’s Shoe Shop – Old Town

Blaylock’s Shoe Shop – Old Town

Blaylock's Shoe Shop

Old Town - Swindon

It’s a mildly curious thing that Swindon’s Old Town has, within a few yards of one another, three long-established family businesses. On Wood Street there’s Deacon’s Jewellers,  founded in 1848 and now in its sixth generation as a family business. Then there’s Gilbert’s furniture store on Newport Street. I’ll cover that one in another post, so for now suffice to say that. this business was established in 1886, becoming a fixture on its present location from the early 1870s.

Then there’s the subject of this blog post: Blaylock’s shoe shop on the corner of Bath Road. This business is a youngster compared to the other two, being started in 1920 when the senior Blaylock – Robert – opened a shoe repair business in Swindon’s Gorse Hill. This brilliant business remains one of the south of England’s leading independent shoe businesses, with a wide range of brands for adults and children.

I lOVE this shop and I do buy most of my footwear from it. It’s what I call a proper shoe shop – with shelves in the shop itself stacked with boxes and boxes of shoes. Going in there is a great nostalgia trip – with some good old fashioned service.

The business is now directed by Robert’s grandson David, and managed by David’s son Mark. In this 2014 feature in the Wiltshire Business Online News, David said:

‘In terms of how we run the business, we have tried to maintain the same principles. We believe people come to us because of our stock, our staff and the service we offer.

We still endeavour to give personal service and carry a range of stock you wouldn’t find in a normal High Street store.”

NB: When Robert Blaylock’s business moved to Old Town in 1928, it was first situated in what is now Pizza Express in Bath Road before it later moved to where it stands today.

Now – with a nod to Mark Childs, author of The Swindon Book from where (well – actually The Swindon Book Companion) I sourced this material – though it’s in my own words – is a potted history of this wonderful Swindon business:

Established by Robert Blaylock (1896-1955 – from Bowness, on Windermere in Westmoreland), this Old Town shoe store is four generations old.

When a youngster, young Blaylock contracted rheumatic fever. The condition left him with heart problems and medical warnings that he should do nothing manual. Warnings that he appeared not to heed given that the age of 15 saw him apprenticed to a local boot and shoe repairer.

WWI brought Robert to Swindon and a billet at the Chiseldon Camp where he repaired army boots. Come the end of the war, he remained in Swindon and opened a boot repair workshop at 254 Cricklade Road. In his spare time Robert was an active lay preacher at Florence Street Mission Hall. There he met Lilian Skinner, whose father, Daniel Skinner, ran the mission. The couple wed in 1921, moved into 158 Cricklade Road and produced seven children. One wonders if they were the worst shod …. ?

By 1928 Robert moved his business to No 5 Bath Road, Old Town where, at the rear of the premises, the operated a shoe repair business.

The landlord of No 5 refused to give Robert Blaylock a lease, though Randolph Pollard, gent’s outfitter next door at No 3, had a long lease. When No 5’s landlord decided to sell, Pollard bought it, moved his business in and transferred his lease at No 3 to Robert Blaylock.

By 1949, Robert Blaylock had failing health and not one son willing to take on the business. Yet, his son Robert Arthur resigned from his position in the National Provincial Bank to take it on. Shades of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ there methinks!

Thus, when the property came up for sale, Robert Arthur bought it and the adjacent property on the corner of Devizes Road, along with a little lock-up called the Corner Cabinet which sold antique glassware. In so doing, he expanded the business.

Robert Arthur’s son, David John Blaylock, was also not inclined to follow in his father’s footsteps. Yet, like his father, he too relinquished his clerical work with Swindon council to keep the business going. (More George Bailey heroism!) He ran it from 1988, and in 1997 his son, Mark Adam Blaylock joined him.

As well as shoes, Blaylock’s also sells handbags, polishes, shoe trees and laces.

Phone: 01793 534271

See also: https://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8790518.Muriel_retires_from_shoe_shop_after_50_years/





Latest Swindon Ramblings

I’m always looking for new and interesting angles to share when out and about in Swindon.

A word about our sponsors

When I’m not being Born again Swindonian and writing Swindon-related books I offer proofreading, editing and writing services as AA Editorial Services.

Blog Categories

Wise Bookkeeping Swindon

Wise Bookkeeping Swindon