Cobra Club Covid Support for businesses in Swindon and beyond to get them through the current pandemic crisis and out the other side.
There’s a new online club helping business owners weather pandemic by helping them to: a. Navigate the lockdown b. come out the other side with stronger enterprises
The brainchild of Andrew Hatcher, founder of Swindon Consultants, this online club helping businesses weather the pandemic is his response to it.
Operating on a subscription basis, the Cobra Club is online and offers a place to meet and network. It also offers access free support and advice from the other members.
Keeping people connected and business flowing
“The Cobra Club is my answer to helping everyone keep connected and keep business flowing during the pandemic crisis,” said Andrew. “I wanted to create an online community where people can access new opportunities in the digital world, learn new skills and support each other.”
The Cobra Club hosts daily events, including expert slots and workshops covering everything from HR and PR, to social media and wellbeing.
Andrew himself hosts a daily business strategy hour, and Ed Williamson, from the Federation of Small Businesses, is also on hand to give support. Members can meet for one-to-ones, host their own digital events and refer business opportunities to each other. They can drop in and out at any time on weekdays, from 10am to 5pm.
The Cobra Club gives all its members access to advice from specialists across a range of sectors,” added Andrew. “The members benefit from peer support and can take part in live business and social events. The club also offers a safe networking space and a way of combating isolation. I’m delighted to say that business is already taking place, with people referring opportunities to each other. It is proof that everything doesn’t have to stop just because we can’t currently meet face-to-face.”
What it costs to join Andrew’s online Cobra Club Covid Support
Subscription for the Cobra Club is £10 per month, with a seven day free trial.
Members are joining from Swindon, Royal Wootton Bassett and beyond, including Gloucestershire, Salisbury. Even as far afield as Hertfordshire.
Swindon life coach and master hypnotherapist Linda Clarke is offering a series of webinars to help people build mental resilience during Covid19.
Her first event takes place online tomorrow (Wednesday April 22) between 10am and 11.30 am and is fully booked.
Said Linda: “During lockdown, stress and anxiety can become overwhelming for some people. This does not mean they are suffering from mental ill health. It simply means that this period of restriction on our normal freedoms can cause them to become stuck or very low.
Series of webinars planned
“I intend to hold a series of webinars – the first one is free of charge – to help people cope in the most unusual of times.
There are practical strategies that anyone can use to reduce and manage stress. Thus they can promote physical and mental wellbeing, and build resilience.
Linda has been working from her clinic in Bath Road, Old Town, Swindon for the last two years. And now she’s supporting people online.
Linda is a master hypnotherapist, qualified in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and in holistic massage. She specialises in stress, anxiety and also in helping couples experiencing infertility.
NB: Do not confuse clinical hypnotherapy with what you see on stage.
Life experiences leave Linda well-placed
Linda’s life story explains why she is so well-placed to support others through her work to build their resilience and provide coping strategies.
Three years ago, Linda and her husband, Graham, returned to the UK after living in South Africa for 34 years and have struggled to build a new life.
n 1983 they had emigrated along with their two small children following Graham’s redundancy. They worked hard and both built successful businesses.
Linda said: “Life was a dream. We had a five-bedroomed home with a swimming pool; a holiday home; help to tend the garden and clean the house. We were able to afford private education for our children, and we enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle in a beautiful country with a warm sunny climate.
My practice was booming and, after experiencing an abusive upbringing myself, it seemed we’d found our own paradise.”
Paradise clouds over
Over the decades though things began to change. Due to an escalation in crime and violent behaviour their dream home became a place where they no longer felt safe. It wasn’t until a visit to Wiltshire for a holiday that they realised quite how much fear was an everyday part of their lives.
Whilst walking around on the holiday, it occurred to them how liberating it was to feel safe and free to go where they wanted at any time. They decided they would soon move back.
Eighteen months later an event involving their family forced their hand. Gun men hijacked the car carrying their daughter-in-law and two of their young grandchildren, in an upmarket suburb during the day.
Linda and Graham put their house on the market at once.
Back to the UK and a rude awakening
Back in the UK, reality kicked in and they realised they had no home, no friends, and no income. At the ages of 65 and 68, Linda and Graham had to completely build their businesses from scratch. Finding employment was impossible due to their ages.
Selling their house in South Africa was also far harder than expected. Indeed they wondered if they would be able to sell it at all, or even get any money from the sale. The state of the South Africa’s declining economy meant that they lost eighty per cent of their wealth overnight.
“We have to rent our property, which is very small and we will have to work for the rest of our lives, “ Linda said.
“All these factors could have led me to spiral into depression. Yet, thanks to my professional skills, I’ve adapted and kept well mentally. It helps that both of us love what we do.
But the point is this: we’ve experienced a massive change in our circumstances. So the feelings around lockdown are familiar to us and to me in particular. And if I can offer support to others then that’s the right thing to do.”
Linda’s first webinar is fully booked. She will though run a series of low-cost webinars ‘Resilience during Covid 19’ over the lockdown period.
Swindon-Based 3D Printing Business, SED Developments gets involved in printing faceshields for the NHS.
SED Developments Shielding NHS Staff: Responding to a nationwide call for help from people with 3D printers, Swindon-based small business, SED Developments is using some of its printing capacity to make face shields.
They’re part of the 3D Crowd UK group who are delivering 39,000+ Face Shields to 90 NHS Trusts this Easter weekend from their Sheffield distribution centre.
The 3D crowd need 500,000 face shields – they’ve already despatched 39,000.
Says Jo: ‘I’m not the only one in Swindon, there are at least 4 others in my regional Slack group.’
This whole thing is a huge joint effort between many people in the 3D printing community to support the NHS during this Covid19 crisis.
We’re thankful we can help, in our own small way, this amazing initiative.
Jo goes on to say: ‘We print in PETG because it’s stronger.
It takes around 5 hours for one shield to print. We’re printing 12 hour days – but I know others are going around the clock. Sadly we can’t do that as we sleep next door to one of our printers. We did that one New Year’s Eve to finish a remote control snowmobile and it was blooming painful!
We’re instructed to print in a clean area, wear gloves and a face shield to move the parts around. We then bag them, label them with the date packaged. Now they’ve learnt that the virus lives for 3 days they need the date so as to know not to open it for 3 days.
Once we’ve printed over 20, we’ll post them to either Frome or Sheffield – depending on where they’re needed.
Swindon’s own ‘gadget man’ launches drawing app to keep children entertained during lockdown
Introducing tech entrepreneur Joe Morgan
Swindon Gadget Man Draws Appy: Maths and physics whizz Joe Morgan has brought forward the release of his new free app: BAM The Drawing App. The aim? To entertain children locked down during Covid19.
The 39-year-old, who lives in Swindon, has launched his new tech product ahead of its original scheduled summer launch.
“Over the last two weeks, I’ve worked hard to get the app launched. I know it will be interesting and useful to young people at home during this period. Or indeed anyone who wants to draw and create original digital artwork.
In normal life Joe, 39, is a private maths and physics tutor. In his own time, he’s worked on his app for months getting it ready for launch later this year.
“I’ve always been a builder of ‘things’,” Joe said. “Since childhood I’ve been able to build models, treehouses, rafts and robots. And, about 13 years ago I learned computer programming and can now build computer apps online.
“I developed this app in the first instance to create an environment where maths and physics diagrams were easy to create. Many apps are too limited or too slow. As I built the app, I soon realised this is the fastest diagram and drawing app I’ve ever seen.”
Currently only available via the Windows app store, Joe created BAM the Drawing App, to deal with other issues he found with alternative apps.
“The first thing I wanted to address ensuring editing was quick and easy. Many apps take ages to edit when you want to squiggle and then change that squiggle. And that’s always frustrated me. With my app if you make an edit, the image changes with the edit and the ‘shape’ you’ve created moves with it in a logical manner. It doesn’t need making many, many small edits when you simply wanted to make one single change.”
The app also addresses these issues:
*If creating a segmented image around a single point eg. a triangle with a point at the top and strips of colour across the shape – if you move that single point, the drawing moves naturally with it.
*When you fill a shapewith colour, known as ‘Colour Splash’, changing that shape in any way makes the colour autofill the new shape.
*All buttons and functions come with a simple explainer video within the app. Thus, if you don’t understand what something does, you don’t have to come out of the app and search the internet for an explanation. You can simple click on the button and swipe right for the video to appear. This is called ‘Swelp’.
*An ability to send an original drawing to friends and family via email actually within the app itself.
*The ability to upload original work to a personal or public gallery – subject to some copyright disclaimers.
*The ability to send your artwork to trusted app partners to have the image printed on a mug or a t-shirt if desired (using affiliate links).
Joe said: “I see this app as not only being user friendly with the ability to share your original artwork if you wish. I also see it as a celebration of original work. You cannot import photographs or artwork from elsewhere into this app. It’s the canvas and it’s up to you if you want to create your artwork for your own satisfaction, share with family and friends or even use it to create your own merchandise!”
The app is now live and available via the app store in Windows 10. You’ll find it on the Apple app store in the near future.
Spring clean your online shop, website expert urges businesses
Now is the time to do an online shop spring clean, says Martin Jarvis, MD of DMJ computer Services.
NB: DMJ computer Services is a Swindon-based web design and hosting company.
With premises closing due to Corona virus and organisations relying more than ever on having an effective online presence now is the time to brush the virtual cobwebs away.
As Martin says, now is the moment for businesses to carry out simple maintenance on their websites to make them more visible. And to enhance their effectiveness.
“With the best will in the world, it’s rare we have the thought, time, or inclination to make little tweaks, tidy-ups and other incremental updates to our websites,” said Martin. And he should know – he specialises in creating and hosting WordPress websites.
Martin said simple changes, such as adding content, expanding service pages and posting regular blogs, would all help to increase traffic to a site.
He added: “Regular maintenance and housekeeping keeps a site looking good, as well as helping with search engine optimisation. It can also prevent bigger and more costly problems further down the line.”
Martin’s Top Tips
Refreshing old blog posts (which can be quicker and as effective as creating new ones)
Fixing any broken internal or outbound hyperlinks
Making sure any contact forms work, so enquiries get through
Ensuring plugins are up-to-date, deleting any that are no longer needed and ensuring fast loading of the site
Martin said: “Regular, reliable, and available backups of a website are an absolute must. With no physical presence (due to lockdown), having a website offline for any period of time could have disastrous consequences.”
Bluebird Care Swindon launch recruitment drive. It comes in a bid to encourage more people to join the care sector in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The company, with carers at the frontline in supporting vulnerable people during the Coronavirus pandemic, has joined Bluebird Care’s ‘It’s Time to Care’ campaign. The campaign is urging people to consider various care roles. That way they can help more vulnerable people stay well and independent at home.
“Our services enable customers to remain in their own homes surrounded by the things that matter to them most,” said Ben Curtis, Managing Director of Bluebird Care Swindon. “Despite these challenging times, we need to ensure that we can continue to do this. Now more than ever, we need everyone to come together and lend a helping hand.”
The hardworking team at Bluebird Care Swindon are continuing to support their customers to stay safe at home during the lockdown period. Initiatives include doing their shopping, and collecting and delivering medicines.
Ben added: “At Bluebird Care, we can offer a range of rewarding roles, which provide stability and safety. Whatever your skills, we want to hear from you. We’ll provide full training.