Cotswold Woollen Weavers now re-opened in Filkins and Witney

Cotswold Woollen Weavers in Filkins has been re-opened for a couple of months and visitor numbers are improving steadily but, of course, no Americans. A great loss to the visitor trade this year.

Witney Blanket Hall has also now re-opened and both companies – Cotswold Woollen Weavers and Witney Blanket Hall – are open all day on Wednesday-Saturday. It’s good to be back, even if swathed in masks and drenched in sanitiser!

Actually, the rules are that you have to wear a mask in both shops, but not in the Coffee Shop in Filkins or the Pie Shop in Witney! We love this sort of splendid eccentricity – it reminds us that we are British!

Our production is also getting back into gear, and about 3,000 new woollen throws will hit the shelves in about two to three weeks – so plenty going on.

We have a new website for the Blanket Hall at, which is currently a ‘descriptive site’, but will soon be a selling one. Comments welcome!

Anyway, do drop in at either place. We always like to see fellow members of FLBClub and compare notes about the best way of dealing with the issues that arise during this strange time.

Contact Richard Martin: 0771 3636 415,

Cotswold Woollen Weavers, Filkins  Witney Blanket Hall, Witney

PCH Business Support celebrates four years

PCH Business Support celebrated four years in business last month. The first three were a learning curve and, the last 12 months, including the lockdown, have been a period of incredible growth, with a huge demand for help, from start-ups right through to £multi-million organisations.

PCH is currently part of the team running the Growth Hub support services in Oxfordshire and, for all Oxfordshire based companies, there are new rounds of free support and guidance available! New support funding for SMEs is also on the way.

Work also continues with Gloucestershire Growth Hubs and equally new SME support grants are being rolled out shortly.

Happy to help any FLBC business FREE OF CHARGE for an hour Zoom support if you would like help with your business!

Contact Paul Holmes: 07715 008521, Visit:

Incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice

Apprenticeships will be more important than ever in helping businesses to recruit the right people and develop the skills they need to recover and grow – both now and in the long term.


Due to the economic impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, the Government has introduced incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice to help organisations offer new apprenticeships.

Incentives such as up to £2k for a new apprentice plus an additional £1k kick-start payment for trainees with work experience training. Businesses can use this £3k in any way they want – towards apprentices’ wages, accommodation etc.

Employers who hire a new apprentice between 1st August 2020 and 31st January 2021 can apply for:

  • £2,000 for each new apprentice aged 16-24
  • £1,500 for each new apprentice aged 25 and over.

You can apply for the payment from 1st September 2020, after you add new apprentices to your apprenticeship service account. The first payments will be made from January 2021 and will be paid directly into employers’ bank accounts.

For more information, visit:

For information on kick-start, visit:

Levy and Non-Levy paying companies

The levy is a tax all companies with a pay bill of more than £3m are required to pay. However, they can use this tax to take on apprentices, rather than just lose the money to tax.

Previously only levy paying companies could benefit from it, but now non-levy paying companies can also take advantage of it. A non-levy paying company is required to pay 5% of the apprenticeship cost and the Government will pay the remaining 95%. Limited pot of money available.

More details:

Raise Funds for your community project

Would you like to help a Charity, Sports Club or School PTA raise funds?

Partners in Travel – run by us, enables groups to raise funds, purely by promoting using us for holiday/travel arrangements.

Every booking completed, through a Partner, will raise funds – it’s that simple.

Recommend me to your chosen group, ask them to accept a call from me & I’ll set them up to raise funds.

Just remember to let me know who to contact!

Details from  07425 370400  Facebook: @DougTannerNJT

Ripples partners call time on a fantastic experience

After 11 years of publishing Ripples Community Magazine, Adrian Young and Graham Fry have decided the time has come to retire from the business.

They are now looking for a buyer who recognises the community and commercial value of the magazine and the potential for its further development on print and digital platforms.

They anticipate interest from community-based publishers as well as established commercial publishers. They are aiming for a handover at the end of this year.

They created Ripples in 2009 when the economy was still reeling from the Global Financial Crisis of 2007- 2008. It was immediately welcomed in Fairford, Lechlade and surrounding villages and has been ever since.

Following the coronavirus emergency, Adrian and Graham have been heartened by the ongoing support of readers and advertisers, underpinned by renewed enthusiasm for sustaining the local community and business.

To get a confidential prospectus, go to In the form, please fill in the details about yourself and who you are representing. If publishing, community and local business are in your DNA, Adrian and Graham would like to hear from you.

New Treehouse Classroom at Hatherop Castle

The return to school this September is going to be extra special for the children at Hatherop Castle Prep as a new adventure area has been built for all to explore and enjoy.

The school’s PA have been tirelessly fundraising to enable this wonderful Treehouse Classroom to be built for the whole school to enjoy.  It will be used throughout playtimes by all the children but will also be a new environment where children will be able to take some of their learning outside.

Teachers are already planning numerous fun and engaging lessons to be taught there and we are certain this fabulous new Treehouse will be enjoyed for many years to come.

As always, the adventure of childhood continues at Hatherop.

For information about the school, contact Janine White: 01285 750206, or visit:

Purple Plumbing

Now is the perfect time to make a list of all those annoying plumbing niggles – dripping taps, leaky toilets, noisy radiators etc.

  • Fix that dripping overflow
    When an overflow pipe is dripping or running with water, one of the most common causes is an issue with a float valve in a toilet cistern, cold water tank, central heating feed or expansion tanks that allows the tank to keep filling up.
  • Install a warm outside tap
    Warm water disperses dirt quicker than cold water so a warm outside tap is ideal for washing your car, your windows and even your pet! And think of the money you could save on a professional window cleaner or paying to have your car washed?
  • Check water temperature
    Cylinder thermostats should be set between 55 and 65 degrees. This is hot enough to kill harmful bacteria in the water, but could also be hot enough to scald. For extra safety, consider installing a thermostatic mixing valve which will automatically ensure that hot water is at a safe temperature.
  • Repair leaking tap
    Did you know a tap that dripped once a second ever day all day would only take four and a half hours to reach one gallon? Every day you would waste 5 gallons of water or 2,082 gallons per year! That is 10% of the average water used by a standard toilet on a daily basis.
  • Fix noisy radiator
    The most common cause of a noisy radiator when the heating comes on is trapped air inside your system. A good way to check for trapped air is to feel the radiator. If it feels cold at the top, but not at the bottom, then it is likely that there is trapped air inside.
  • Install a water softener
    If you live in a hard water area, you may want to consider installing a water softener to reduce the damaging effects of limescale in your home. As limescale deposits build up, they slowly restrict the flow of water in pipes, taps, showerheads, toilets and kitchen appliances such as dishwashers.

Give us a call for a free consultation: 01367 252807.

Age UK Gloucestershire

With retail outlets and businesses opening up again, Age UK Gloucestershire really want those over 50 to stay as independent, connected to communities and economically active as possible. As part of their focus on making the communities of Gloucestershire ‘Age Friendly’, they have recently worked with older people to find out how they can help them return to the High Street with confidence. They have, therefore, produced an informative poster.

To find out more about Age UK Gloucestershire, contact 01452 422660,