Media experts help form Switch on to Swindon communication strategy
Local media representatives, journalists and online bloggers (like Born again Swindonian) helped shape the aims and objectives of a special network, striving to improve perceptions of Swindon. In January 2020 came together to help form a Switch on to Swindon Communication strategy.
The SOTS network, which has grown to over 850 ambassadors, came into being to harness the positive attitude of the local community. The Switch on to Swindon brand is now synonymous with local civic pride. Swindon has a strong and varied business cluster and the ambassadors work together to talk up the town.
Ambassador numbers are now over 850, yet there’s an even greater need for the business community to pull together and promote Swindon’s strengths to the outside world. So this was the right time to reflect on what has worked well and the challenges and opportunities ahead.
The media and online bloggers workshop proved insightful. It strengthened our resolve to challenge perceptions and promote some of the fantastic qualities of Swindon. Qualities that have attracted companies and people from all over the world.
The Borough, like anywhere else, has its challenges, yet Swindon’s resilience and community spirit is one of its greatest assets and we look forward to working together for another year.
The next piece of work is to refresh the marketing collateral and develop content under the themes, so we will be reaching out to ambassadors again to help us.”
The ‘Tomorrow’ festival is the brainchild of Science Swindon. This collaboration between local company, New Elements, and STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway, brings together the latest scientific discoveries and cutting-edge technologies in this two-day event.
The festival features a range of ticketed science shows, talks and panel debates with government and industry. There’ll also be a free-to-enter interactive zone. In the interactive zone visitors can meet real scientists and engineers working at the cutting edge of research and try out some of the latest technologies for themselves.
Set against the backdrop of Brunel’s railway engineering legacy, the event will explore:
The future of health & medicine
Energy & environment
Gaming & VR
Space & astronomy and the future of travel.
Space shows and workshops from the Science Museum
Recognising Swindon as home of the UK Space Agency, London’s Science Museum is sending their popular space shows and workshops to run on both days of the festival.
The action-packed show, called Out of this World, will take visitors to the festival, at STEAM museum in February, on a journey into space. Led by the nationally recognised Science Museum outreach team, they’ll discover what it takes to become an astronaut, launch a rocket, explore the Solar System and look for alien life. The show promises explosions, super-cool liquid nitrogen, eye-popping vacuums and even wee drinking!
This festival is shaping up to be a fantastic celebration of the innovation in Swindon and the region,” said Ian Larrard, Director of the Business West Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative. ‘Swindon is at the forefront of tackling our greatest challenges and opportunities, from climate change and vehicles of the future. Encouraging young people in Swindon to enjoy STEM subjects is critical to Swindon’s future.’
We’ve had a great response to the festival idea. We’re delighted that Business West have decided to support the event,” said Rod Hebden, from Science Swindon.
Science Swindon is a collaboration between New Elements and STEAM museum, in Swindon, who are running the festival.
‘We’ve got an incredible line-up of events and activities. I urge people to follow Science Swindon on social media, book tickets to the talks as soon as possible, and come along to the festival next month.’
TechSwindon is a Switch on To Swindon (SOTS) branded project. It will work with organisations and business groups to run a series of meet-up events for start-ups, micros, SMES and larger companies. These companies either provide digi-tech products and services or are reliant on it to do business.
The year-long campaign will culminate in a two-day summit in spring 2020. The summit will have high-profile speakers from Swindon and around the world. In venues across the town it will welcome up to 1,000 visitors a day.
The aim of the campaign is twofold:
To work with partners to enhance Swindon’s digi-tech cluster
To showcase its impressive capability to attract inward investment and a pipeline of additional skilled staff to allow business growth.
DigiTech is a strong and growing industry. Swindon boasts the UK’s 3rdmost productive tech sector with over 2,800 companies. In Swindon and Wiltshire there are over 25,000 companies delivering digi-tech products and services. And over 25,000 companies reliant on digi-tech to operate.
Jenny Groves, Chair of Switch on To Swindon said “We use the Switch On brand to promote Swindon as the destination of choice to live, work and do business.
Our 600 plus passionate ambassadors provide their time and support to share these positive messages. Both local businesses and new investors are set to benefit from the TechSwindon focus on attracting and developing additional talent. This alongside the timely recent announcement of Institute of Technology funding for Swindon College and partners”.
After the last SOTS event, local design company Bravedog won a competition to develop a Big Idea. They have worked in partnership with Ambassadors and Swindon Borough Council to create the concept of TechSwindon.
A number of businesses have already signed up to support the campaign, and lots more opportunities for business engagement and promotion will be announced over the coming weeks.
Switch On To Swindon is proud to unveil Nationwide Building Society as its first TechSwindon sponsor. Last night, Nationwide confirmed its support and sponsorship of the year-long campaign to build and promote Swindon’s tech capability.
Also at the Switch On To Swindon event, over 400 delegates heard Nationwide Building Society’s latest news and a business in the community round up from Shirley Ludford of Swindon 105.5.
They were wowed too by demonstrations from some of Swindon’s digi-tech community.
Councillor Oliver Donachie, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy and Place, said: “Advances in digi-tech are essential to Swindon’s industrial growth in all of its key sectors, particularly advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, business finance and professional services and logistics.
“I am delighted we have launched the TechSwindon campaign, which will keep Swindon at the forefront of this dynamic sector.”
Well listeners, you can hardly have failed to notice that this summer saw the publication of my first book, Secret Swindon. So now it’s onto the next project: Swindon in 50 Buildings. To that end I’ve compiled a list of suggested buildings for the edification of the publisher, Amberley Books.
The buildings I’ve selected for my next project aren’t necessarily there because they’re fabulous architecture, or old or listed – though sometimes that’s part of it – but because they have a part in Swindon’s story. Many, many buildings do that of course – and far more than fifty of them too.
‘ … The catalyst for bringing the name of Deacon to Swindon was undoubtedly the arrival of the Great Western Railway. As an ambitious 26 year old George Deacon, having moved from his home town of Westbury, realised the need for time-keeping in a fast growing town of the industrial revolution. The business was able to expand, winning one of the timing contracts for the Great Western Railway on the line between Paddington and Swansea from the early 1850s until 1893 …
…The Regulator clock which stands to this day in the jewellery, clock and watch department was made by Deacon & Son Ltd around 1865 when the company held one of the timing contracts for the Great Western Railway on the line between Paddington and Swansea. Before radio and the telephone gave universally available timing, accurate time keeping had to be maintained locally and this was usually done by the means of the regulator clock.
The dead beat escapement in this movement causes less friction and dampens vibration, giving greater accuracy. The self regulating mercury pendulum, which changes volume equally with the changes in temperature, keeps the clock on a constant steady beat giving better time keeping. This clock was used extensively in our workshops for clock timing and regulation for many years, until its retirement in the 1960s. In 2011 the same task is performed by radio controlled timing from the nuclear caesium clock at the National Physics Laboratory at Rugby.’
Of course, Deacon’s is not the only long-standing, family-owned business in Old Town. I’m really rather fond of Blaylock’s – the shoe shop on the corner of Bath Road and Devizes Rd.
Blaylock’s is what I call a ‘proper’ shoe shop – though you’d need to be of a certain again to even know what I mean by that. And what I mean by that, is that the shoes are stacked in boxes on shelves in the shop itself. There’s no going out the back somewhere with an iPad and a headset on. Pfft. It’s friendly service and I love it. Not quite as old as Deacon’s they’ve been around for somewhere in the region of 100 years. Still, to my knowledge, this is a family-run business and an independent shoe shop. Fabulous.
Having bought your super comfy carpet slippers in Blaylocks – where better for your actual carpet than Gilbert’s on Newport Street, Gilbert’s have been in Old Town since 1866 so must have furnished a few Swindon homes in the intervening 152 years. What an astonishing thought.
If you’ve been paying attention at all listeners, you’ll have noticed that, over the last few months I’ve shared stories from friends and clients that I felt fitted with the notion of Switch on to Swindon. I had every intention of doling a round-up at the back end of last year but never got round to it. So, seeing this article from the Swindon Advertiser on social media kicked me into action. Just about a whole year has gone by since the SOT campaign launched. Yikes! Happy anniversary SOT! Pop the corks!
2017 has been a busy old year for me. With personal, blogging and business stuff via AA Editorial Services. The high point for me came late in the year with a contact, via this blog, from a Glocs based publishing house. The upshot of all that being I now have a commission to write a book about Swindon. Double yikes!
Anyway, simply so they’re all in one place, and starting with my own (and why not?!) are some SOT stories. Some of them, like myself, are SOT ambassadors. But all of them have positive things to say about our fabulous town.
And finally a couple from the Switch on to Swindon website. David Bent – because he’s a friend and I can. But also because I like what he says. Below is the strapline from his SOT story. I like that because it is. Swindon IS surprising and has so much going on. He’s not wrong!
A Community Library Launches at the Swindon Hindu Temple
To be fair, ‘A community library LUNCHES at the Swindon Hindu Temple’would have been an appropriate heading being as how this event was celebrated with a food festival. Oh such scrummyness. Sadly for me, I’m getting over a virus and my normal appetite for Indian food – well food in general – is not, at the moment, up to scratch,
But that’s all a digression. I’ve been to the temple before so though it was about time it got a mention on this here blog. Because y’know, the overall vibe at the temple is never anything but welcoming and inclusive. It’s just lovely.
The temple came on to my horizon via Carole Bent – the photographs below are hers. Thanks Carole. I do try with photographs but they never come out right. Harrumph!
I had no idea, until Pradeep spoke at the event, that the community library that the temple has set up is part of the town’s library network. I though it was cool anyway. But when I heard that I thought it was even cooler! It was super fab to see Liam with the book bike there reading to the children!
Some pictures from yesterday’s library launch and food festival:
Pradeep, Swindon Hindu temple chairman
Library Liam with the book bike
Gujarti books in the library
Smiling, happy ladies serving food
You have to take your hat off to Pradeep Bhardwaj, chaiman of Swindon’s Hindu temple trust, and his associates. What they’ve achieved with a run-down industrial unit on the Cheney Manor estate can be described as miraculous. And a testament to what can be achieved with will and passion.
At this point I feel I should give mention also to SAPAC – another Asian organisation/group that Swindon is blessed to have in its midst. They too open their doors, their activities to anyone that is interested regardless of culture.
There’s lessons for us all from both these groups I feel.