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Cranleigh Arts

Cranleigh Arts Centre

May 9, 2024

Cranleigh Arts is a vibrant, cultural hub located in Cranleigh, Surrey, serving as a focal point for the community and offering a diverse range of artistic and cultural experiences to residents and visitors alike.

We chatted with Penny Bramsden from Cranleigh Arts to find out more about what they do. 

Tell us a bit about Cranleigh Arts…

Cranleigh Arts is a vibrant, cultural hub located in Cranleigh, Surrey, serving as a focal point for the community and offering a diverse range of artistic and cultural experiences to residents and visitors alike.

The venue hosts a variety of events including live performances, film screenings, art exhibitions, workshops, and classes with a diverse programme across theatre, music, dance, visual arts and literature and catering to a wide range of interests and ages.

We play an integral role in supporting local artists and performers, providing them with a platform to showcase their talents and connect with audiences as well as collaborating with regional and national arts organisations to bring high-quality productions and events to the area.

We also offer educational opportunities through workshops and classes, allowing community members to explore their creativity and develop new skills in the arts.


Can you tell us a little about its history?

Formerly the local village school (1847 – 1966), our building is steeped in history and something of a landmark on Cranleigh’s high street.

The organisation was founded in 1978 when a number of local community groups – including The Photographic Society, The Film Society, The Arts Society, Cranleigh Players, Adult Education and a local pottery group – came together to lease the disused Victorian school building from Waverley Borough Council. Their founding principle “to enrich, entertain and inspire” remains our mission today.

Under the Chairmanship of Jack Wagg, plans were drawn up to develop and extend the premises. This was expedited by Catherine Pike in the 1990s, culminating in major work in 1997/8 with the aid of Lottery money and other grants. Our multi-purpose auditorium was added to the premises and the rest of the building stylishly refurbished. Over the last twenty years, we have continued to enhance the facilities for our visitors and maintain our heritage building for the community.

We are grateful to many of our well-known patrons who have supported us over the years, with Harry Secombe becoming the first patron in 1988, Paul Jones in 2007, Julie Walters in 1918 and our most recent patron Rich Miller, who many years ago was our resident potter and is now a judge on ‘The Great Pottery Throwdown’.


What are some of the things people can expect to see and do at Cranleigh Arts?

There’s always something exciting happening, including:

Live Performances – an eclectic mix of theatre productions, music concerts, dance performances, comedy shows and more. From local talent to touring acts, there’s something for everyone’s tastes.

Film Screenings – catch the latest independent films, cult classics and blockbuster hits on our big cinematic screen. We also host event screenings such as National Theatre Live, Royal Opera House and Exhibition on Screen.

Art Exhibitions – explore thought-provoking art exhibitions in our Gallery, featuring works from local artists. From paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media, there’s always something inspiring on display.

Workshops and Classes – engage your creativity and learn new skills, from painting and pottery to sound baths and yoga, with opportunities for both beginners and experienced, catering for all ages.

Community events – get involved in various community events such as our recent Cranleigh Literary Festival. 

Children’s activities – keep the little ones entertained with a range of children’s activities including storytelling sessions, art and craft workshops, puppet shows and interactive performances designed specifically for young audiences.

Café, bar and social space – relax and unwind in our café. Meet up with friends for a coffee and a slice of cake or grab a drink from our bar before or after a show.

Overall we offer a dynamic and inclusive space to come together, explore your creativity and celebrate the arts in all its forms.


It’s become a popular destination for event cinema - can you tell us about that?

Certainly! Event cinema has become increasingly popular at Cranleigh Arts, offering audiences a unique and immersive cinematic experience beyond traditional film screenings. Event cinema typically involves broadcasting live or pre-recorded performances such as opera, ballet, theatre, concerts and special events onto our big screen.

Screenings here often include live theatre broadcasts from renowned theatres such as the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and West End productions. Popular plays have included ‘Prima Facie’, ‘Fleabag’, ‘The Motive and the Cue’, ‘Nye’ and ‘Dear England’…we could go on!!

We also broadcast opera and ballet from prestigious opera houses and dance companies, including the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet. Whether it’s a classic opera by Verdi or a breathtaking ballet by Tchaikovsky, audiences can enjoy the beauty and grandeur of these art forms on the big screen.

From classical concerts to contemporary music performances, we offer event cinema screenings featuring a wide range of musical genres and artists. Andre Rieu has been a big hit over the years with another concert screening planned for September.

We also screen special events and documentaries about art and artists through Exhibition on Screen broadcasts. Recent highlights include ‘John Singer Sargent’ and ‘Tokyo Stories’, with ‘My National Gallery’ coming up next month.


What are the main challenges with running this kind of venue?

Running a venue like Cranleigh Arts comes with its own set of challenges, despite its importance and popularity within the community. We very much rely on the goodwill and hard work for our team of over 100 fabulous volunteers.

We also, like many arts organisation, face financial challenges from time to time, in terms of securing funding, generating revenue and managing expenses. Reliance on ticket sales, grants, donations and sponsorships requires careful budgeting and fundraising efforts to ensure the venue’s financial stability.

Curating a diverse and engaging programme that appeals to a wide range of audiences can be challenging and balancing popular, commercially viable events with more niche or experimental offerings requires careful planning and understanding of audience preferences.

We are fortunate to have an attractive building on the busy high street in Cranleigh and this needs maintaining and upgrading in order to meet the needs of performers, artists and audiences. Technical equipment must be up to date, providing comfortable seating and amenities is essential and we strive to address any maintenance or accessibility issues as they occur. Regulatory compliance is also key, ensuring that we adhere to health and safety standards, licensing laws and copyright regulations.

We work hard to build and sustain community engagement, fostering relationships with local artists, organisations, schools and businesses as well as encouraging community participation through volunteer opportunities and collaborative projects.

Finally external factors such as economic downturns, changes in government funding and global events (like pandemics) can and have impacted the operations of Cranleigh Arts. Flexibility and adaptability are key to navigating these and the team certainly rallied during the Covid pandemic. With careful planning, strategic management and support from the community we have continued to thrive.


Give us a flavour of what is coming up this year

We have some fantastic live tribute acts coming up including Blondied, The Carole King & James Taylor Story, The Alter Eagles and ABBA Forever. We also have rock/blues band Brave Rival playing here soon.

The Queen’s Six are back too – the concert last year was spectacular so don’t miss it. Also we welcome rising stars of the British Opera Company back by popular demand to bring beloved stories from the world of opera and musical theatre to life through memorable scenes from Cinderella, the Marriage of Figaro, the Magic Flute, Showboat and other popular favourites.

For theatre lovers, The Freshwater Five, a story of five fishermen who were convicted of importing £53 millions of cocaine in 2011 will grab your attention – great for fans of true crime too.

We have Rob Beckett performing his sell-out comedy show as well as LDN Wrestling taking the stage in a family friendly American style wrestling show. For something a little more chilled, try a Sound Bath with gongs, singing bowls and gentle percussion.

This is just a taster, for the most accurate and up to date information visit our website www.cranleigharts.org, check our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram and X) or contact our Box Office directly – 01483 278000. We have a full calendar of events planned throughout the year, offering something for everyone to enjoy.


Any local partnerships?

We work with many local schools – too many to mention here, but including Cranleigh CofE Primary, St Josephs Specialist School, Cranleigh School, Hurtwood House, Park Mead Primary, St Catherine’s School and Yehudi Menuhin School.

We also collaborate with charities including Meath Epilepsy, Artventure, The Arts Society Cranleigh, Cranleigh and District Lions Club, Cranleigh Choral Society, Cranleigh Village District Guides, The Jigsaw Trust, and U3a Cranleigh and District area.

And in terms of local theatre groups, we are involved with Surrey Youth Theatre, Showdown Theatre and In2Drama.

And finally and most importantly our delicious cakes are supplied by Viviana from Vivi’s Kitchen and are to die for, but don’t take our word for it, experience them first hand and come and discover for yourself!!


Finally, can you share with us some of your favourite businesses in Cranleigh.

We love Celebration Cakes, a family-run bakery who’ve been in the village for many years now and have helped us with a few corporate events.

We’re also fans of One Forty, a boutique department store with a cafe, selling lovely clothes, gifts, jewellery, and home furnishings.

With The Three Horseshoes pub over the road, we are well and truly sorted for a light lunch and a pint!!

Find out more about Cranleigh Arts by visiting their website here.

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Grantley Sales & Lettings Supports Young Local Talent With Sponsorship Of The Guildford Saints Under 12 Tigers

Guildford Saints - Team Photo

May 9, 2024

Grantley Sales & Lettings Supports Young Local Talent With Sponsorship Of The Guildford Saints Under 12 Tigers

Grantley Sales & Lettings, one of the leading country house sales, lettings and management companies operating across Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire, is proud to announce its sponsorship of The Guildford Saints Under 12 Tigers football team. 

Formed in 1983, The Guildford Saints Football Club has been a cornerstone of the town’s sports scene for 40 years, providing opportunities for young athletes to develop their skills and foster a sense of belonging. 

The club, which won Surrey FA Grassroots Football Club of the Year in 2022, aims to provide an opportunity for every player to be ‘the best that they can be’ with the belief that everyone has the potential to be talented when provided with a positive learning environment, delivered by passionate, forward-thinking professional coaches.

“It's not just about the game; it's about instilling values of teamwork, discipline and camaraderie that last a lifetime.”

The Under 12 Tigers have had an incredible start to the season and have their eyes set on promotion to the Premiership, having risen to Championship level from the bottom tier of the Surrey Primary League. 

This sponsorship will provide support for training equipment and kit but the partnership is about far more than a logo emblazed on a football shirt. For Grantley, whose roots in Guildford go back almost 20 years, choosing partnerships that align with its own core values is fundamental to the business. These include community support and engagement; commitment to excellence; and encouragement of personal growth, development and aspirations. 

“Guildford Saints is a fantastic football club that draws in children from all ages and abilities, and we are delighted to support the crucial role it plays within grassroots sports,” comments David Williams, Director at The Grantley Sales & Lettings. 

“With our business also deeply rooted in Guildford, we recognize the significance of investing in the community that we serve, and this partnership reinforces our commitment and dedication to nurturing the personal growth and development of young people within the town. We can’t wait to see how the Under 12 Tigers develop through the rest of the season.” 

To learn more about The Guildford Saints Football Club and their commitment to youth development, visit their website at guildfordsaints.org.

 

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Steve Maher – Award-winning professional coach and psychotherapis

Steve Maher Confidence

May 9, 2024

Steve Maher is an award-winning professional coach and psychotherapist

Steve Maher is an award-winning professional coach and psychotherapist, who has over two decades’ experience helping people improve their lives. Originally from Manchester, Steve moved to Guildford, where he met his wife, 20 years ago and they now have three children together. Here he talks about his journey to become a life coach and offers some tips on how to stop anxiety from preventing you to achieve what you want to achieve in 2024. 

Why did you become a life coach? 

I wasn’t always a life coach. My first career was spent in project management implementing large IT systems primarily in large Tier 1 banks. Towards the end of my first career, I worked at Barclays and ended up as Senior Director at world-leading software company FICO, managing large portfolios of projects worth £50m and leading large teams of project managers. My career path changed when one day one of my senior leaders said to me that ‘You’re more like a coach than a manager (which I was rather taken aback by but took as a compliment).  This got me interested in coaching so I started to read up about it, what it is and how it can help people

Tell us more about your journey to become a life coach…

I studied for a professional executive coaching qualification at Henley Business School and found it fascinating. I realized that what I learnt would not just help me in my current job but might be something I’d like to do full-time in the future. I began doing coaching sessions as a sideline in evenings and at weekends on top of my day job.  Working with people made me realise I needed to understand better how our brains and minds work, so I then went on to study psychology and became a qualified and registered psychotherapist. By then, it had become a real passion and I made a pact that I would set up my own business and work for myself by the age of 50 as a coach. I set up my full-time private coaching practice when I was 50 years and six months, so I almost hit the deadline! In addition to my private practice I now also work as a consultant and an associate for some of the world's leading executive coaching companies.

What does life coaching involve? 

The first thing to note is that people are incredibly diverse and complex.  No two clients are the same.  However most people have a narrative or story in their head about themselves andwho they are that might not necessarily be true. So, it's asking people to tell their story and then asking questions to work out how that story might be limiting and holding them back from achieving their true potential. In addition, I’ve learnt through my training and through helping hundreds of clients that the brain has certain traits or characteristics that are like a double-edged sword.  These traits can be hugely beneficial to us but they come with a significant downside.  An example of this is anxiety, which I spend a lot of time helping clients with. Anxiety is only really seen as something bad but from an evolutionary perspective having anxiety is actually pretty useful.  It just comes with baggage that we really don’t like. Helping people to understand that and accept that anxiety is actually okay and is trying to be helpful, rather than something to be fought against, is a common feature of what I do.  

Who is your typical client and what problems do they come to you with? 

My typical clients are men and women between 35 and 60. I think there's something that happens in our middle age – people often call it a midlife crisis – it’s not really a crisis but we do tend to start to think differently during this phase of our lives. Something changes. We start to become a lot more reflective and ask certain questions, which challenge us, such as ‘what am I here for?’ and ‘what’s my purpose in life?’ So, my typical client is usually feeling a bit lost or overwhelmed. The typical manifestation is that they want to change jobs but really, if you're getting into your 40s and maybe 50s and you're not sure about your career, there might be something else you’re not happy with. 

What are the biggest misconceptions about coaching? 

That you go to a coach to get ‘fixed’. I don't think that people need fixing as such, I mean, you might have a serious psychological condition like schizophrenia or bipolar but those clients need help from a psychiatrist rather than a coach. People aren't inherently broken, theytend to have either lost their way, forgotten who they really are or they are living someone else’s story. So, the coach doesn't fix you, they help you think and look at things from a different perspective. The coach doesn’t have a magic wand though, it’s about forming a close working team between the client and the coach to make changes and move in a better direction

What are your top tips for managing anxiety? 

Anxiety is the biggest issue that most people struggle with. The best approach to help people with anxiety is to understand how our minds work and learn to calm it. If you can do that, it will have a profound impact on your wellbeing. So, I would start with learning to understand our threat response. My second step is to learn how to manage it better. This can be best achieved by learning to breathe and breathe in a certain way. If you breathe out for longer than you breathe in, you will automatically calm down. And third is to have comfort in the fact that anxiety is there for a reason, it's there to help you and sometimes, if you can sit with it for a bit, it can help you figure out what to do about the situation.   

What is your initiative Let’s Talk Men about? 

Men are not the greatest at talking about their problems. As children, boys are generally taught not to express weakness or vulnerability and that feeds up into adulthood. When guys go out together, there's a lot of bravado and talk about sport, because that’s a safe topic. They don’t tend to talk about the things that are really troubling them. Around three quarters of suicides in the UK are male and I think a lot of that is because men don’t talk about things that are bothering them and then it gets too much. I think men in general are confused about their role in society; they're often told that they're either useless or that they are the problem and I think men are withdrawing and backing away from things because they don’t feel they are able to talk about their concerns. This initiative is about making it easier for men to talk about their feelings and open up more.

What do you like most about your job? 

When you start to work with someone, they tend to come to you with something that isn’t actually the real problem. But as you work with them and they begin to trust you more, you start to unpack what that deeper problem is – it’s usually something that has been bothering them for a long time and has really held them back. Sometimes you have to become a bit of a detective to try and work out exactly what it is but it’s a real privilege to go on that journey with them and help them overcome it. 

About Steve

From the sports field to the school classroom to the boardroom, Steve has helped hundreds of clients with life’s challenges.  He is a certified Senior Coaching Practitioner with the EMCC, a member of the Association of Coaching and works with some of the world’s leading coaching companies.  He qualified as an executive coach through the world leading Henley Business School and as a psychotherapist through the Human Givens Institute.  

TO FIND OUT MORE: 

Need more clarity in your life? Visit www.stevemahercoaching.com or connect with Steve on LinkedIn @Steve-Maher-Coaching.

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Lettings Unpacked – Countdown to MEES Compliance

May 9, 2024

Lettings Unpacked: Countdown to Compliance – MEES

Our Head of Lettings, Mark Blakeway discusses the new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES) which are set to come into force in April 2025 and what they mean for rental properties. He also outlines how landlords can get ahead of the game to ensure they are not caught out by the new legislation.

From 1st April 2025, all newly rented properties must have an EPC (energy performance certificate) rating of Band C or above, under the new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES). Fortunately for existing tenancies these changes won’t apply until 2028. The changes to the EPC centre around the Government’s net zero emission target and are focusing on creating more energy efficient homes. Previous research suggested 60% of UK properties predicted to have an EPC or lower, so it’s expected many properties will need upgrading to comply with MEES.

Although these changes aren’t coming into force until 2025, it’s worth being ahead of the game. This is not only beneficial in terms of assessing what may need to be changed within a property, but also securing a contractor to undertake the work. If we look back to the changes to EICR back in 2020, labour costs increased massively in the lead up to enforcement as landlords rushed to ensure their properties complied. Ultimately, undertaking work sooner rather than later is more cost-effective.

As with previous property reforms, the cost of upgrades is an initial outlay, but rental properties should be look at as a long-term investment. Modifications to achieve a Band C or above rating may include upgrading to LED lighting, proper insulation for roof and walls, and double or even triple glazing. There are certainly long-term financial benefits to MEES too. Energy efficient properties are more beneficial in the way they require less energy to heat and power them, incurring lower energy bills which is more attractive to potential tenants.

It is important to note that if the upgrades aren’t undertaken in time and the property does not receive a rating of Band C or above, it cannot legally be rented out. And, in the worst scenario, landlords could face severe penalties if they continue to rent out the property via a new tenancy. 

Ultimately, landlords have an obligation to comply, but with just under two years until the changes come into effect, there is still plenty of time to make the provisions and ensure properties are upgraded to conform to MEES.

Key points

  • 1st April 2025 for new tenancies, or 2028 for existing tenancies
  • 60% of UK properties have an EPC rating of D or lower 
  • Landlords could face loss of rental income or fines

Find out more:

If you have any further questions around lettings, please contact Mark Blakeway for more information on mark.blakeway@grantleygroup.co.uk

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Jo Deal

Jo Deal

May 9, 2024

Jo Deal

Jo Deal is a dog behaviourist and trainer based in Chilworth. Following a career as a Royal Marine and stints in private security in Iraq, Africa and London, Jo returned to his home county of Surrey to launch Jo Deal Canine Behaviourist, a service which provides tailored support to dog owners on how to manage problem canine behaviour. From puppy socialisation through to tackling excessive barking and disobedience, we had a chat with Jo to find out how he’s supporting dog owners in Surrey and beyond with some of the common challenges of dog ownership…

Why did you launch your behaviour training?

I initially adopted my Rottweiler’s George and Dottie over 20 years, and noticed after adopting my most recent Rottweiler, Beau - dog training had changed significantly in the past two decades. With a previous focus on dominance and aggression, it’s now all about understanding how a dog is feeling and identifying why they are behaving in a certain way by reinforcing positive behaviours to counteract unwanted behaviours.

Fast forward a couple of years and having undergone rigorous training with the Institute of Modern Dog Training and an accreditation from the British College of Canine Studies, I officially launched in January.

Dog ownership has increased by 3.2 million since the pandemic, do you think this had any bearing on puppy behaviour?

Yes, for sure. Due to lockdowns, dogs missed out on prime socialisation opportunities whether that was through a trainer or frequently socialising with other dogs. Puppies who have never experienced being alone are now facing owners returning to the office, and this has naturally led to an increase in behavioural issues.

In addition, owners didn’t have the usual puppy network to learn their part in the relationship, whether that was meeting fellow dog walkers or attending puppy classes.

What type of training can you offer?

I work with dog owners across Surrey and beyond and can even host sessions via Zoom. I specialise in positive reinforcement methods providing owners with practical skills and guidance to tackle problematic canine behaviour. Whether that’s a training course over a period of time where I’ll work with a dog one-on-one offering tailored support or puppy socialisation classes.

I also host a monthly workshop in West Horsley which aims to provide owners with the skills and confidence to tackle certain behavioural issues. As well as tips and techniques on establishing boundaries and identifying triggers of bad behaviour.

Are there any common misconceptions around puppy training?

There is a misunderstanding that puppies can’t socialise until 12 weeks due to infection risk, however the prime socialisation period for exposure to other people, horses, cars etc. is actually between eight and 12 weeks. My courses run during this initial period and are in a fully sanitised environment, enabling dog owners to rest assured their puppies are training in a safe environment.

Are there any success stories which you’re particularly proud of?

I started working with a black Labrador who was scared of people, particularly men and would bark and lunge forward when out for walks as well as not like having people come into their home. After one-to-one training, which involved ignoring the negative behaviours and replacing it with positive reinforcement, the lab is now calmer and no longer pulling on the lead and barking at others.

Do you have any advice for owners struggling with canine behaviour issues?

I’d advise anyone who is experiencing canine behaviours that they’re worried about or ones that are affecting their relationship with their companion dog to seek support. There is no reason why a dog can’t be the perfect companion as long as their owners are offered the right information and
guidance.

As part of the training, I focus heavily on positive affirmations and encourage owners to ignore bad behaviour. But while the key focus is the dog, sometimes it’s just as important to work in collaboration with the owner and give them the confidence to be consistent to ensure results.

Finally, is there a local business you particularly admire?

Silent Pool is a great local business. I took one of my dogs-in-training to the coffee shop recently to help expose her to public spaces. What’s more, their story is pretty huge, and the gin is fantastic too.

Find out more:

Visit the website: jodeal.co.uk or email info@jodeal.co.uk

Follow Jo on Instagram: @jo.deal or on Facebook: @jo.deal.58

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Haslemere Hall

May 9, 2024

Haslemere Hall

Haslemere Hall is an independently run Arts Venue in Haslemere town centre that hosts musical theatre and live music performances, plus cinema screenings. We chatted with Haslemere Hall’s General Manager, Howard Bicknell, to find out more about what goes on there and a glimpse into its colourful history.

Tell us a bit about Haslemere Hall

Haslemere Hall is a fully equipped theatre seating approximately 340 in the main auditorium with an upper balcony. There are regular cinema showings of current films and live streamed events, plus a popular annual panto. It is also used for lectures, meetings and events. Not to mention a licensed bar!

What are some of the things we can expect to see at Haslemere Hall?

For several years now, Haslemere Hall has been able to stream events via satellite from a wide variety of venues and production companies from the UK and worldwide, including the UK’s very own National Theatre, so that visitors can see the performance live, in real time.

This allows them to literally have the best seat in the house. It also means, of course that the audience can see a big show from their local area at a fraction of the West End prices. We also have a packed schedule of music from live bands to tribute acts, plus orchestral and choral concerts.

And it’s become a popular destination for watching the latest cinema releases?

Yes. When the Rex cinema in Haslemere closed its doors, the Trustees decided to introduce film shows in conjunction with Southern Cinema Services. All the latest releases are shown on several days each month and the Hall has also branched out to include specialist screenings and started to show more independent films and documentaries as well as foreign films that are subtitled. We’re committed to showing films that don’t necessarily have big backers and budgets but have a great story with an important message.

It’s quite a multipurpose space, isn’t it?

Yes, the Hall also provides the home for many local societies, clubs, charities and theatre schools. It offers them a place to meet, rehearse, listen to guest speakers, dance and host parties and award ceremonies.

 

Can you tell us a little about its history?

The Hall was founded in 1912 by local benefactor Barclay Lewis Day. He decided to build a Hall with his own money and invited well-known architects to submit their plans in a competition for the best design. The winning design was by Annesley Brownrigg F.R.I.B.A. The early 1900s saw the tail end of the Arts and Crafts Movement in England, and the design reflects this influence, such as a particularly fine curved stone staircase leading to the upper Rotunda sitting out area and balcony.

The Hall was officially opened in January 1914. The opening coincided with the outbreak of World War I and for the first four years of its life, the Hall was requisitioned by the War Office and used as drill hall for the troops.

How did your involvement with the Hall come about?

I was born and brought up in Haslemere and when I moved back in 2010 I found myself drawn back to Haslemere Hall, which for me had been a bit of a home from home in my teenage and early twenties. I had enjoyed both rehearsals and performing on the stage with the Haslemere Players, and with the Haslemere Thespians in musicals, plays and pantomimes.

Coming on board as Manager has been both amazing and challenging. We have a great team here and work with some brilliant volunteers too. Since updating and upgrading the facilities and also rebranding, I feel like we are now rising like a Phoenix after Covid - working and developing our knowledge of our customers and what they would like to see. It’s a fantastic place to work and every day is different.

 

What are the main challenges with running this kind of venue?

A building that is over 100 years old constantly requires attention in the form of repairs and renewals. Improvements and modernisation work are undertaken as funds permit. The ‘Friends of Haslemere Hall’ was set up as a way for local people to contribute to its upkeep and hopefully a flourishing future.

Give us a flavour of what is coming up at Haslemere Hall this year?

There will be live screenings from the National Theatre, opera from the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare, ballet, drama, thrillers and all-time family favourites. Plus, we’ll be welcoming live bands alongside choral concerts and showing a mix of all the latest cinema releases. There really is something for everyone.

 

Finally, can you share with us some of your favourite businesses in Haslemere

I’m a big fan of Charter Walk Kitchen Living – such a great team of people who provide an excellent service and product. They take the time to learn who you are and they’re specialists in all they do. You can count on Oliver’s Coffee Shop & Wine Bar for friendly, quick service and first-rate food. They’re also a caring, inspiring business, involved with the community. Finally, Couchman Hanson Solicitors – approachable, knowledgeable and always willing to give helpful advice.

Find out more:

Haslemere Hall, Bridge Road, Haslemere, Surrey GU27 2AS

Find out what’s on at https://www.haslemerehall.co.uk

 

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Godalming Delights

Godalming Delights

May 9, 2024

Godalming Delights

Godalming Delights lives up to its name as one of our favourite neighbours on Church Street and always a total delight to visit. With its mix of retro sweeties and confectionery, ice cream, milkshakes, Barista coffee and all kinds of other indulgent sweet treats, it’s a world of pure imagination. We had a chat to Company Director Ewen Macnair to find out more about this sweetest of local shops...

How and when did Godalming Delights come about?

Godalming Delights is a family run business. My sister, Gillian Akroyd, opened our original shop, Shere Delights, 10 years ago. Gillian had worked in banking before and this was a way to find a more work/life balance. The shop turned out to be more successful than she’d ever anticipated. I’d been working overseas and, looking to return, she invited me to step into the business with a view to seeing if it had ‘legs and arms’ to grow. It did! We started looking at locations to complement Shere and we settled on Godalming. Five years later, our family business is thriving!

What is it you loved about Godalming?

There’s a sense of community in Godalming and running a business here during the pandemic really showed it. As well as the local small and independent business community pulling together, we were able to provide a bit of a lifeline by putting our Truly Scrumptious Delights online with delivery both locally and throughout the UK. Especially helpful for lockdown gifting when people were unable to see loved ones in person. Our gift boxes and other gift options were a sweet hug, well received.

Of course, Godalming is a beautiful town too with a historic feel. Our 2 Church Street premises pretty much perfectly fits our idea of customer experience. It’s a Georgian listed building that sits on the curve of the road in what used to be a tiny pub called The Skinners Arms. People tell us they come to Godalming just visit to our shop, which is lovely!

Godalming Delights - Smoothies

Who is your typical customer?

We have a total mix of customers. Some come as an occasional treat, some pop in daily, others even more than that! We offer something for everyone – young and old alike – and it’s the ideal place for a family outing with retro sweeties for kids and an extra special coffee or ice cream for grown-ups.

Godalming Delights

What are you particularly known for?

We have four main product offers: An amazing chocolate selection; hot drinks; retro sweeties and ice cream. Everything we sell is top quality with natural provenance and nothing but the best ingredients. We focus on ethical sourcing and brand heritage. Although we’re not a coffee shop, I still say we serve the best coffee in Godalming – Illy – with the best barista equipment and skills training to ensure a perfect cup. And our Hot Chocolate is not to be missed – It’s made with French 33% cacao.

Our Ice cream is made for us by a pair of Argentinian / Italian brothers who have their own Ice cream Parlour, and, we’re in good company because they also supply to one of the most prestigious stores in London. Our flavours feature the finest ingredients – our best-selling chocolate Ice cream is made from single source cacao from the Congo with proceeds going to help protect the last remaining Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga Park. Our Honeycomb Ice cream is made using honey from the City bee hives of the London Honey Company located on London rooftops.

And tell us more about the sweets…

We sell over 100 varieties of retro sweeties, all presented in glass jars. Everything we sell is handpicked to be the very best tasting you can buy – but even if someone pops in with just £1 or even less to spend, we’ll make sure they find something to suit their budget. We’ve a fantastic choice from classics like Jelly Babies to ever populars like Giant Strawberries and, my personal favourite? Anything covered in chocolate!

You’re known for your visual displays at Halloween and Christmas. How do you come up with the ideas for those?

We have our very own Brand Manager – Estelle of est. Creative who designed our brand concept and guides our overall look. Each shop comes up with its own displays and we use a wonderful local window artist @agaskiba.art twice a year to paint our windows freehand.

Godalming Delights - Sweets

What are your favourite things about being in Godalming?

Music in the Park is a summer season of live music at the bandstand in the Phillips Memorial Park. With all kinds of amateur and professional bands and performers to choose from, the free concerts run at the weekends all the way from the end of May until September. There are also some fantastic community events run by Godalming Town Council, culminating in the annual Town Christmas Lights switch on. Apparently, the original lights were bought with the proceeds from Godalming’s use as a location in the filming of the movie 'The Holiday'.

Can you share some of your other favourite businesses in Godalming town centre

We’ve teamed up with West Stanton for some great joint ventures, including this year for Halloween. It’s a destination lifestyle store, big on style and conscience, selling independent toys, books, clothes, gifts, blankets… Lots of nice to have and essentials for life with kids. To be honest, all the Church Street businesses work hard at what they do – Wattle & Daub, The Salon, which champions sustainable, biodynamic haircare, and then there’s The Star, which is a proper traditional pub – my favourite in Godalming!

Find out more:

Godalming Delights, 2 Church Street, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1EH

Visit their website: godalmingdelights.co.uk
Follow them on Instagram @godalmingdelights and Facebook @Godalming Delights.

 

Posted on

Hampton Estate

May 9, 2024

Hampton Estate

Hampton Estate comprises 2000 acres of historic parkland, grazing meadows, arable fields, heathland, hop gardens, award winning woodlands and traditional farm property in between Seale and Puttenham, near Farnham. Hampton Estate produces Pasture for life beef, wild roe venison, timber and hops. The team hosts a range of events throughout the year, from Open Farm Sunday to monthly meat collection days. The Estate also has a restored dairy farm which can be rented out for events and has recently opened a campsite. We chatted to CEO & Estate Manager Bill Biddell to find out more ...

Bill, tell us about Hampton Estate

Hampton Estate is a third generation, family-run, rural business. Over 600 acres of the Estate is open to the public via footpaths and we actively manage these areas for everyone to enjoy. The ethos of everything we do is to support the local community whilst also enhancing the environment and sharing Hampton’s natural beauty. We are incredibly proud of our surroundings and we focus on regenerative and restorative land management in order to preserve and enhance it. We have a huge commitment to the stewardship of the land and the part it plays in enabling thriving local communities.

Hampton Estate is known for its rich and diverse habitats. Give us a taste of what kind of wildlife and vegetation we could expect to see.

All of the Estate sits within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it has a variety of biodiverse habitats. Key habitat types include chalk downland, acidic grasslands, heathland and ancient semi-natural woodlands. We are about to embark on a big restoration project for our valuable heathland, which hopes to increase biodiversity and encourage new wildlife.

We’re also home to a wide range of wildlife with bird species including nightjar, nightingale, woodlark, red kites and buzzards. There is a wonderful diversity of plant species on the estate – some of our favourites are Shepherd’s Cress, Squirrel Tail Fescue, Hounds Tongue and Smooth Cat’s Ear. Our fungi have brilliant names too – Turquoise Elfcup, The Flirt, Stinky Knight and Chicken of The Wood.

You were awarded the Duke of Cornwall’s Award for the best multipurpose woodland in the UK – what makes the woodland so special?

We have a range of different types of woodland, from productive coniferous woods which we actively manage, felling the timber when the trees are fully grown, and then selling the timber to saw mills across the UK. We are constantly replanting woodlands, and planting trees in new places too. We have beautiful semi ancient broadleaf woodlands, and sell fire wood from coppicing. One of our woods is also home to a local Forest School, which is great!

Environmental stewardship is clearly important at Hampton Estate, can you tell us a bit more about that?

Hampton has a long tradition of opting into environmental schemes. 90% of our agricultural land and woodland is in Countryside Stewardship, which recognises our low input, conservation-based land management. We are also active members of the West Surrey Greensands Cluster group and the Estate is in a woodland bird assemblage, a designation of national importance. We are really excited to be part of several nature-based finance and restoration pilot schemes with several other stakeholders across Surrey, including the Surrey Wildlife Trust.

We believe that Hampton Estate has been used as a filming location for some big film and TV productions. Can you tell us more about that?

Yes, over the years, the Estate has been used as a location for films starring the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Kate Winslet and Colin Firth. Possibly the biggest project was the Ridley Scott production of Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe. It took place over almost two years and they constructed a whole village on the Estate. We welcome these opportunities, but make sure film crews are aware of the long-term cultural and environmental value of the land – we make sure everything is put back just so after the filming!

Your hop gardens in Puttenham are the last remaining commercial hop gardens in Surrey.

Yes, that’s right, hops have been grown in the estate’s hop gardens on the southern slopes of the Hogs Back overlooking Puttenham for hundreds of years. We grow just one variety - Fuggles hops, which are revered by brewers and renowned for their distinctive, well-rounded ale flavour. As well as supplying the hops locally to The Hog’s Back Brewery, they also go further afield to Adnams, Timothy Taylor, Harvey’s of Lewes and plenty of other UK hop merchants.

As well as many events throughout the year, your beef days are particularly popular.

We breed pedigree 100% Pasture Fed Sussex beef cattle and sell the meat direct from the Estate. We are all about producing the best beef – not just delicious but also naturally reared in a way that enriches the environment our cows live in. We operate a mob-grazing system – in effect the cows are our four-legged lawnmowers! We sell the beef directly from the Estate at our monthly beef collection days. As well as fresh Hampton prime beef, wild roe venison, handmade steak pies and sausages of all varieties are available to order.

You even have a campsite – tell us about that.

Yes, we set up Waggoners Campsite during lockdown as a way of encouraging people to access nature and the outdoors. The first year went really well and we’ve extended the season from April through to October so more people can enjoy it. It’s super environmentally friendly and it’s completely off grid. All the structures we’ve built at Waggoners were constructed by our forestry team, using our own wood. We have compostable loos and the woodland showers repurpose our old hop tractor tarpaulins.

What else can we expect to find on the Estate?

There is Manor Farm Craft Centre, which is housed in traditional farm buildings next to the church in the centre of Seale. It’s home to Manor Farm Tea Room, Pip of Manor Farm Wine Shop, Seale Craft Shop, and Seale Natural Health. Our award-winning rural offices at Shoelands Farm provide a state-of-the-art space for working, with renewable heating, unlimited broadband, spacious parking and beautiful views of the Surrey Hills.

Find out more:

Hampton Estate Office, Elstead Road, Seale, Farnham, Surrey GU10 1JE

⁠Tel: 01483 810465 | email: enquiries@hamptonestate.co.uk

Find out more at https://www.hamptonestate.co.uk
Follow Hampton Estate on social media at @hampton_estate.

 

Posted on

MB Cyclery, Haslemere

MB Cyclery, Haslemere

May 9, 2024

MB Cyclery, Haslemere

MB Cyclery is an independent, rider owned cycle shop in Haslemere run by self-confessed
bike-aholics Mike Smith and Ben Marks. As well as selling mountain, road, electric, gravel, commuting & leisure bikes, it also runs a servicing, repair and custom build workshop.

We spoke to co-founder Mike to find out what he’s learnt from his own time out on the road and trails and to get his insider tips on the best bike routes in the area.

How and when did MB Cyclery come about?

Ben and I had been working, racing and playing with bikes of all kinds for many years - since we were boys. For me, growing up, cycling was always what I was into – it was my escape and they say you should do something you love. In 2017, we had the opportunity to buy Cycleworks, the business we worked at and set up as our own independent shop under our own name.

How would you describe the shop?

We wanted to create the kind of bike shop you’d find in Morzine. A bit like a surf shop, it just has a cool atmosphere – a place with likeminded people where you want to hang out. We have an incredible crew working with us and we all get on really well, it’s like a family. Everyone works hard and is super knowledgeable.

What are the most popular kind of bikes you sell?

High-end mountain bikes are our biggest seller, but electric bikes are also massive now – they’ve taken off in a big way. The attraction of them is that if you have limited time or you’re not quite as fit as you’d like to be, you can still get out and enjoy everything that cycling has to offer. They’ve opened up a whole new world of cycling to people.

 

MB Cyclery

Has the market for custom build bikes increased?

Custom building bikes is a service we’ve always offered and we can accommodate anything from small modifications to a fully bespoke bike. The secret is listening to what customers really want, I think we do that well and because of that, we’re known as a brand rather than just a shop.

You’ve clearly got to know the local cyclists of Hampshire, Surrey and beyond very well. Who is your typical customer?

We cater for everyone from entry level right up to those competing at a high level professionally. We certainly have lots of customers who are hardcore enthusiasts, passionate about the sport.

We’re very blessed to have many incredible bike routes in Surrey. What makes it such a good area for cyclists?

Surrey is a mecca for cyclists. It’s got plenty of off-road routes, common land, a mix of terrains, great hills – everything you could ask for, really.

Did lockdown tempt a whole new legion of cycling fans to take to their saddles?

Big time. When we first heard about lockdown, we thought we would have to close the business but quite the opposite – because we were one of the few outdoor activities allowed, it opened up a whole new customer base for us. As the days went on, we got busier and busier and everyone seemed to be getting into cycling. Then of course the industry became sold out due to factories being closed but even so, we had our best year ever.

What would an ideal ride look like to you?

I’d be out on my favourite local, home trails. It would be a sunny day, I’d be with friends and it would be perfect dirt. I’d also be on my favourite ride – a Pivot Firebird, which is the best of the best. Made from carbon, it’s fitted with every kind of bike bling you can imagine.

What are your top cycle routes in and around Haslemere?

Many of my best rides don’t follow a particular route but if I had to choose, I’d say the Devil’s Punch Bowl at Hindhead. It’s not too extreme and the scenery is stunning. Plus, there’s a great National Trust café there. Queen Elizabeth Park is also a good shout for any kind of level from families and novices to more advanced cyclists.

And where would be your favourite places for a bit of post-ride refreshment?

Either The Rising Sun in Milland – a classic country pub with great food, drinks and atmosphere – it has a heated ski lodge marquee and with huge gardens and terraces, - it’s a pub for all seasons and all occasions. Guido’s in Liphook is another favourite for a post ride meal. It is an authentic family run, craft pizza and wine restaurant serving the best pizza ever. Or I’d stop for a coffee at Hemingways on Haslemere High Street, sit outside and watch the world go by.

Find out more:

Find MB Cyclery at 19-21 West Street, Haslemere, Surrey GU27 2AB.

Visit the website: www.mbcyclery.co.uk

Follow them on social @mbcyclery.

 

Posted on

Kings Head, Holmbury St Mary

Kings Head, Holmbury St Mary

May 9, 2024

Kings Head, Holmbury St Mary

Nestled at the foot of Holmbury Hill in the beautiful Surrey Hills, The Kings Head in Holmbury St Mary is a popular spot in this picturesque village. Its local owners have turned this newly refurbished freehold country pub into a hidden gem.

You can relax and explore the menu inspired by seasonal, local and fresh ingredients in one of its cosy sofa nooks or sample a selection of real ales from local breweries at the traditional standing bar. We spoke to manager Katy Bowker to find out more…

Tell us about The Kings Head

The historic building dates from the 17th century, and rumour has it that smugglers travelled through the area on their way from the coast to London with their contraband. We don't know a great deal more about it – but if only the walls could talk!

The current owners took it on around three years ago and set about refurbishing it, which took around two years. They're local and wanted to put something back into the community and create a place where people could gather and enjoy good food, a sociable atmosphere and a warm welcome..

What can anyone expect when they visit The Kings Head?

We pride ourselves on offering an exceptional fine dining experience as well as a beautiful, landscaped country garden, a private function room and accommodation so you can stay overnight. Everything has a luxury feel - the refurbishment was completed to a high standard, but at its heart, there's a friendly feel and our bar has a traditional rustic English country pub feel with many original features.

Who is your typical customer?

For the most part, it's still locals. We're a bit of a community hub and a place where people are enjoying coming back together. Word of mouth is spreading though, as well as walkers and cyclists stopping on their journeys, it's becoming a destination and people are travelling to find us.

Sofa Nook

Tell us a bit about your background Katy and how you came to The Kings Head.

I started out as a chef and began my career at another King's Head – in nearby Cuckfield. That gave me the passion for a great career in the industry, which has enabled me to travel extensively, cooking in Switzerland, France and Canada.

I worked at South Lodge when Tony Tobin was Head Chef, then I got a taste for the pub industry and discovered a love for front-of-house. After that, I had various other adventures before finding myself here with an opportunity I couldn't refuse. I didn't think I'd find myself back in the pub trade, but here I am again – privileged to be heading up such an exciting project with a great team of people.

Tell us about the menu.

Seasonal, local and fresh ingredients inspire all our food. The owners have a kitchen garden and so much of our produce, such as leaves and vegetables, comes from there. Our Head Chef, Ryan Cain, is really enthusiastic about the local area and what he can create from what's on the doorstep. So the menu is forever changing depending on new discoveries, what's in season and what the gardeners bring down to the kitchen.

Local food and drink are clearly an important objective. How did you go about sourcing the various suppliers?

Yes, making sure everything is as local as possible was an important objective for us. We went to local artisan markets, food fairs and farm shops to see exactly what was available. It's so important to look after local producers, and we're lucky to have so much quality and variety surrounding us.

What are some of your favourites?

Surrey Hills Coffee Roastery simply allows us to make the best cup of coffee, and it couldn't be more local – there's even a Holmbury Hill espresso blend. They're so knowledgeable and they seek perfection in every cup. They'll only send us new coffee when our stocks run out as they're so scrupulous about making sure it's all freshly ground.

Firebird Brewing Company over in Rudgwick is another fantastic local business that provide us with some of our local ales. The beer's great, it's a friendly service, and the company has a real community feel about it. There are so many others, but Taurus Wines also allow us to serve up a fantastic wine list. Again, they have amazing knowledge and provide an excellent service.

Tell us about the shop at The Kings Head.

Its run by Anastasia, who comes from Ukraine and is 100 per cent passionate about coffee. Anastasia trained as a Barista and knows everything about how to choose the right bean and grind to make the perfect cup. So as well as serving up consistently good coffee, we also stock a hand-picked selection of local produce and essential groceries from our artisan producers, such as bakery items, beer, cheese or just a pint of milk.

Find out more:

The Kings Head, Pitland Street, Holmbury St Mary, RH5 6NP.
To book a table online, go to https://thekingsheadhsm.com