The power of friendships, old and new

When living and working in the Rylands you become very aware of the long-established families and friendships within the community. What’s less obvious are the new relationships and friendships being formed through social groups such as Friday Club (the weekly social dining club for the over 60’s). Here’s the story of two Friday Club regulars Peggy and Freda, and what their friendship means to them.

Around two years after her husband’s death, Peggy was only going out to do her shopping and was struggling with her grief and feeling lonely. She was told about Friday club through a friend in the Rylands. She went the first time with a friend and started to look forward to going. Freda joined the group a little later and in Peggy’s words their “friendship just exploded from there, it was so easy to be friends with her they just clicked straight away.”

The first adventure was to Bardills garden centre and they started walking together locally once or twice a week. They attended Janet’s 24-hour danceathon in October 2019 where
they danced and laughed the night away till 4 am.

Their birthdays are two weeks (plus ten years) apart and they started a tradition of having fish and chips on Queens Road to celebrate. Social distancing wasn’t going to deter their
friendship this year as they sheltered on opposite ends of the bus shelter to enjoy their feast.

Peggy shared that if she didn’t have Freda she might have not gone out as much over lockdown and have “locked myself away again – I am really pleased about being friends, we
can just laugh and be at ease.”

Following the death of her husband Bob, Freda moved to Beeston to be nearer her daughter. Freda knew no one else, and would just go walking. Like Peggy, Friday Club was
recommended to her, and a regular called Frances met Freda at the car park so she didn’t have to go in on her own. At her first meeting, she sat between the regulars Peggy and
Sheila where there was a space. Peggy, Sheila and Freda just got chatting, and after a while, she started joining them on little trips to places like the film club at the heritage centre.

Sadly Sheila passed away, and Peggy and Freda’s relationship just developed. Freda explained that they go walking and have little adventures, “It’s just nice – and it’s a laugh. We
speak every day on the phone. She came to my birthday party last year and my 70th this year so she knows all the family – they think Peggy is lovely and they’re amazed at how I’ve
opened up. When I have bad days – sometimes she senses it – it’s weird.”

Peggy explained that another Friday club member has christened them the “lively birds” – “lets face it, we all know each other at Friday club, before Friday club when my husband was still alive I would see people around the Rylands and say hello, but life was so busy I never really knew them. Friday Club brings people closer together, we all have grief in common, friendship is important. I don’t laugh with anyone else as much as Freda.”

Friday Club is open to all residents over 60. Meetings are every Friday between 1.30 and 3.30 pm for food, friendship and fun. Since the latest COVID-19 restrictions it’s changed to
phone calls, Zoom meetings and food deliveries, but Friday club will be back as soon we can meet safely again.

JB and NR

Beestonians through lockdown: Suzanna Plimmer, secondary school teacher

How volunteering for a foodbank opened a Beestonian’s eyes…

We were told by my school that we’d be off for two weeks, so leave everything on our desks and we’d be back in a fortnight. That night, Boris told us we’d be having the full shutdown. I’ve got three kids away at different unis, so I called them home – get back quickly. One of them, studying in Liverpool, thought it was all a fuss about nothing. I didn’t get to see her for six months.

I had a couple of weeks just doing my Joe Wicks and whatever, but I felt in limbo. I was sewing scrubs and that was something, but I felt I needed to do more.  I went to my local Co-op and said: “If you want me to help stock the shelves then I’m happy to help”. Remember, back then it was hard to get anything, and I thought volunteering to help might make it easier for them, and for my community. They said yes, and I got to work.

One night, the manager told me he was sending a load of food down to the Haven food bank in Stapleford. I was curious, so found out more, and ended up asking a bloke working there, Richard (Macrae, Stapleford Community Group Director and local councillor) if I could volunteer more. I started by going to the food bank twice a week at the food bank picking the food. There’d be people with short term needs, people with long term needs, people with mental health issues: we’d serve them all. I was shocked at how many people needed help.

I moved on to deliveries, and what shook me was how there were people I knew, who never in my mind did I imagine they were needing help. I visited one set of flats, a building close to me which I had somehow not really noticed before. I gave the woman living there some nappies. She burst into tears: her baby hadn’t worn nappies for two days. That moment did something to me. I thought how the evening before I’d opened my fridge and thrown away all the crap I hadn’t yet eaten that week. I was struck by what a waste it all was: I could afford to throw food away while this poor woman couldn’t afford nappies.

Since then, I only buy exactly what I need, nothing else. It’s morally corrupt to throw stuff away. I will never do so again and will encourage others to do so. I take my lunches to work, and every scrap of leftovers is eaten. Until I worked at the food bank I didn’t know the extent to which this was all happening. We’re a rich nation, yet people have to rely on these silent heroes to help them. The last few months have given me the opportunity to have some clarity. Life before was a hamster wheel, working long hours and not having time to think about much outside work. I’ve seen what is important and what isn’t important.

Broxtowe Community Projects

Ever wondered what has happened to the old Carphone Warehouse shop on Queens Road? It is now occupied by Broxtowe Community Projects, who have been in there since the start of November last year.

The project is a self-referral foodbank covering all of the Broxtowe Borough Council area, which was originally set up in the Labour office on the High Road. ‘Self-referral’ means that anyone in need can go and request help, rather than having to be referred by social services or other agencies.

As well as collections, volunteers deliver food parcels throughout the borough. The service is open on Mondays from 10am to 1pm and delivers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This covers all of the borough, across to Stapleford all the way up to Kimberley and Eastwood.

The project runs on donations from the public, as well as supermarkets. As well as food parcels, those in need can also be provided with toiletries, nappies, formula milk etc.

Anyone wanting to donate can take items during opening hours. If that isn’t possible then there is a collection point outside. What is working really well is neighbourhood collections that can be taken to the project in one go during opening hours.

Donations that are most useful are pretty much anything that has a shelf life – tins, packets and jars. Especially breakfast cereals and porridge oats, tins of soup, tinned meals such as chilli con carne or Bolognese sauce, rice, pasta, spaghetti. Also toiletries, nappies etc.

As well as serving those in need, each Saturday from 10.30am to 12.30pm the project is open to anyone who wants to come and take surplus food in exchange for a donation. As well as raising much-needed funds, this also eliminates a lot of food waste.

The project is always on the lookout for volunteers, so if you have time to spare then get in touch and see how you can help – 07434 664 174 or email broxtowe.cp@gmail.com

To keep up to date with what is happening at the project, follow them on Facebook here. 

JC

#Beeston2020Vision a glimpse at the future

Since January last year an independent group of individuals, inspired by the past and passionate about the future, has been encouraging an online conversation about the future of Beeston. They did so in anticipation of a special #Beeston2020Vision event planned at the Pearson Centre – initially intended for May 2020, but now postponed twice by the pandemic until some safe point in 2021.

This simple step of seeking creative ideas to help shape our town over the next decade continues, with each delay drawing more contributors from a broad spectrum of the Beeston community from the Mayor down.  Their responses show how tapping the imagination and insight of Beestonians can contribute to a depth of understanding when creating a diverse, independent and vibrant future.

We can use this information to begin to unpick why Beeston is special, what makes the town centre tick, what becoming an exemplar carbon-neutral community might mean and much else besides. There are exciting project ideas, thoughts on lockdown and much more.

The #Beeston2020Vision project stems from ‘The Story of Beeston’ written by local historian David Hallam and commissioned by CP Walker and Son to mark their 120th anniversary, and from an earlier Vision for Beeston event sponsored by the Beeston and District Civic Society in 2017.

Why is Beeston special?

We are special because of a rare mix of good fortune. As a diverse community, we share a riverside location with a world-class nature reserve, close to the City and to the University. Grace Li, (Youth Mayor Broxtowe, 2019-2020) describes with pride her experience of growing up in a lively, creative, multi-generational and multi-cultural Beeston, well connected to a wider world.

Others refer to a welcoming, tolerant and resourceful place, where community action is shaping our lives. Volunteering is at the heart of the success of the Attenborough Nature Reserve, the recent Canalside venture, station improvements and other initiatives – channelled through strong local institutions such as the Middle Street Resource Centre, Beeston Library and the Pearson Centre.

Jeanie Barton, notes just how many creative people live in Beeston, including musicians of all genres, plus poets, writers, film makers, graphic designers, photographers, dancers, actors, presenters, painters and so on. She describes it like Camden without the physical vibrancy, leading Jeanie to start the Beeston Street Art project to reflect and encourage the abundant creativity of our town.  Attractions and events help the retail experience and cultural vibrancy is attractive to residents too.  She believes that creativity is a unique selling point for Beeston that will continue to bring in visitors from far and wide.

David Hallam sees Beeston is a resilient community that has successively and successfully reinvented itself over the past 120 years to meet changing needs.  Public initiatives will play an important part in future change, but input from all who care about our future – that should include all of us – is essential and can make a difference by developing ideas and driving them forward.

Managing a changing town centre

David Hallam also notes that towns are judged by their centres, now increasingly under threat by out-of-town shopping and on-line buying. Encouraging places where people can relax with a coffee and more has worked well in Beeston, but Covid and increasing on-line shopping has accelerated this threat to retail. He suggests encouraging a sustainable number of demand-led retail outlets, returning empty units to residential use.  This could be transformational especially if coupled with more green space.  An agreed strategy to protect and manage the High Road area might protect us from the worst of market forces and help to achieve longer-term objectives.

Nelson Blackley suggests that the future of Beeston town centre depends on flexibility and resilience; localness, connectivity and greening. He notes that pre-pandemic Beeston had a retail vacancy rate of 5%: lower than the national average of around 12%, while above-average numbers of hair, beauty and nail salons, barbers and estate agents reflect the relative health of the personal care and property markets in our local economy. At the same time, Beeston had only around 5% of its total shop units occupied by local and national charities, that is below the national average of 8% for towns of similar size.  Beeston could do with a marketplace or public square where people can gather, as Beeston Square is too off-centre on the main retail axis of Chilwell Road and High Road to fulfil that function.

Peter Swann, praises Beeston as a good local retail centre, with many excellent shops, cafes and restaurants and with much of the High Road pedestrianised, yet Beeston does not achieve especially good ratings in the league tables produced by various consultancy companies.  These rankings are designed for high streets and retail parks that have many of the big brand chain stores, and that sort of measure does not do justice to the things that Beeston does well.  Peter would like to see a new sort of location ranking emerge, which is not so preoccupied with big brands but tries to measure how well a retail location serves the diverse needs of a local population. Such an index would go beyond existing measures of retail quality to consider rankings for retail diversity, sustainability and a healthy independent sector, doing justice to things that make Beeston special.

Beeston as an exemplar sustainable community?

On broader issues, Gary Smerdon-White believes that a sustainable carbon-neutral policy will be central to every aspect of future town development, design and construction over the next decade.  Embedding sustainability into all activities, developments and programmes will help climate change, enhance air quality and improve our health and well-being.  Gary would like to see Beeston and Broxtowe working with the City to become a medium-sized town exemplar in sustainability.  He develops this theme in the contexts of the built environment, transport and travel, suggesting Beeston as a working hub for green technology.  Considering the extent of detailed individual adjustments necessary to make this happen, he asks whether we are ready for this challenge?

Creating a green corridor and other proposals

Giving Beeston a bio-friendly makeover need not cost the earth and we could create a lush green environment as part of that process.  Robert Howard proposes an imaginative green canopied corridor from the Square via the High Road and Broadgate to the University’s West Entrance to restore a sense of vibrancy and difference. A continuous canopied run on both sides of the High Road, with well-placed wind breaks, could be achieved in stages over time as resources permit. This practical idea is the incremental extension through enterprise and partnership of our present green pedestrian area. As the climate warms, so trees, shade and breezes become ever more important.

Inevitably there are many other possible projects.  Based on experiences elsewhere Ian Culshaw would like to see locally run cafes in the town’s parks to encourage safer use.  He would also like to see less plastic, fewer pubs, more clubs and more focus on younger people. There is an idea for a bee based town trail and app, stimulated by the Beekeeper. Opening up more of the town centre to pedestrians and a performance and exhibition space like Lakeside are other suggestions.

Lesson from Beeston in lockdown

There are thoughts on lockdown. Working from home can be empowering for some – avoiding commuting makes the day longer, healthier and our world more sustainable. We are getting to know our neighbourhoods and our neighbours more intimately by exercising on foot, while more individuals, families and communities are volunteering. Lockdown highlights Beeston as a place of gathering that satisfies a real need, but social media is no substitute for face to face contact. Proximity, rubbing shoulders, handshakes, hugs, are all things that we have come to miss.

That said suburban settings like Beeston are well placed to meet the needs of a more home-centred world.  Our town is big enough to support supermarkets and small enough to be conveniently accessible on foot or bike, which makes it healthy for us and good for the planet.

Our past suggests that meeting changing needs is a tested survival strategy. If we want Beeston to continue as a shopping and services centre we must plan to meet needs that cannot be met easily online and as individuals and as businesses we must use our local services if they are to survive. Council-led initiatives have a role in supplying a policy framework with clear objectives.

What can you contribute to the diversity, independence and vibrance of Beeston?

Rex Walker defines modern-day Beeston by its diversity, independence and vibrancy.  We are not a homogeneous community. It is the interactions and combinations that make Beeston a special place. Traditional town centres will continue to face overwhelming pressures over the next decade, but building our way out of trouble should be much more than a numbers game.

Developing pride of place starts with accepting and celebrating the town’s individual character.  In ten years time, each of us might look back and ask “how did I contribute to the diversity, independence and vibrancy of Beeston in the 2020s?” What will your answer be?

There is no shortage of ideas, but we would like to encourage more. Check out the Beeston Vision corner of the C P Walker website for yourself and the Facebook page, or contact us directly by email at beeston2020vision@gmail.com

PR

Survive and thrive: Why community matters part 2

As once again we find ourselves in a second lockdown, with Christmas approaching it feels appropriate to capture the mood and reflect on what we have found during our community work in the Rylands.

For many there is an expectation to maintain a stiff upper lip and plough through these unprecedented times, when in reality there is a need to allow ourselves to mourn our seasonal traditions and get-togethers that we’ll be missing this year.  This year, the picturesque ideology that we often feel pressure to achieve seems more out of grasp than ever. So we’re starting a conversation to say that it is okay to admit that it’s not OK. Feel free to say that this is rubbish! It’s okay to verbalise that this is hard, and difficult and dismal at best, that we miss our loved ones and friends. It’s okay for our Friday Club Clubbers to be unhappy that their weekly get together is on hold, and to not want to embrace Zoom calls or elbow rubs or face masks or social distanced walks in the torrential British weather.  It’s okay for our young people to miss youth club, and it’s okay for volunteers to be tired and ask for support.

There is a trendy slogan doing the rounds on social media stating “We are all in the same storm but we are not in the same boat”. While this in many ways is true, we can offer lifeboats to those who might be taking in water, we can recognise that some boats may be weathered or weary and giving out distress calls. This does not mean the boat and its crew are doomed it simply signals that its community needs to help slow the leak and support that struggling ship to navigate itself back to safe shores.

This Christmas for many of us is about weathering the storm and remembering that behind every dark cloud is blue sky. We all have different ways of coping, whether it’s go for a run by the river with your permitted one companion, going for a walk with your family and picking up a takeaway coffee on the way, or staying home keeping safe and warm until the storm passes. It’s likely that Christmas will be different this year for most of us, so let’s be kind to ourselves and one another. Let’s enjoy the simple pleasures of the season and remember there is hope around the corner in the shape of vaccines, our caring community, and the thought of the arrival of a brand new year.

Beeston Rylands Community Association update

Beeston Rylands Community Association (BRCA) continue to provide lunch deliveries and support to elderly residents. All the while the team keep adapting their work to comply with the changing COVID-19 restrictions. When we emerged out of full lockdown, we reintroduced Friday Club (our social dining club for the over 60’s), and therefore reduced the food deliveries.

We instead introduced a food voucher scheme, where all those previously receiving a food delivery could go to the Boat House Cafe and get some hot or cold food twice a week.

Since the tightening of restrictions, we’ve reintroduced twice-weekly lunch pack deliveries for the most isolated in our community. This work made possible thanks to Sarah, Sandie and Tony of the Boat House Cafe, our team of volunteers, and our funders: Broxtowe Borough Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, NET Coronavirus Appeal Programme, Martin Lewis Emergency Fund, and individual donors. If you need help, please contact Janet Barnes, Development Officer / Volunteer: 07904 067160, janetmbarnes@ntlworld.com.

JB

Where to get a copy

Due to the current situation, lots of our usual outlets are either closed or unable to stock issues.

However, we will still be available in two of Beeston’s stalwart independents that can
continue trading through lockdowns – The Cycle Inn and Fred Hallams.

Even easier is having a copy delivered directly to your door. Simply visit our Ko-fi page, make a donation and give us your address.

Minimum donation is:
£1 per issue if you live in NG9/Lenton Abbey
£2 per issue everywhere else in the UK
£5 per issue internationally

You can actually donate as much as you like!

More funds mean we can make The Beestonian bigger and better whilst being able to print more regularly.

Pet Shop Boys (and Girls)

Back in October, the Beeston Street Art Group launched a competition through the Beestonian and Beeston Updated Facebook pages, to produce a picture of your pet. Here is an updated version of that article, as there has been a couple of amendments.

The renowned and much-missed pet store Pet Mart are looking to return to Beeston in 2021 with help from Beeston Street Art. Sadly not as a physical store though, but its spirit and love of all things animal, as the Beeston Street Art group would like to invite children of all ages to paint a life-sized pet. The artworks will then be placed around Beeston in the new year for a pet hunt.

Once the street art group find a suitable wall, this will be transformed into a mural of the famous shop by Nottingham based top street artist Anna Wheelhouse, whose work can be seen at the Hocus Pocus soft play centre in Beeston and on the totem poles at Attenborough Nature Reserve. All the pictures will be judged and the best ones will be reproduced as part of this mural.

So get those paints and brushes out and get creating. The closing date has been extended to January the 4th next year, so you have more time to produce a picture of your pet, or friends’ pet if you don’t have one. The emphasis is on pets, so animals like elephants, dolphins and penguins aren’t really allowed unless you own a zoo, or it was possibly sold by Pet Mart.

If you are able, you can scan or take a mobile phone photo of your picture and email it to beestonstreetart@gmail.com. Or if you’d prefer, you can send or deliver it to Pet Mart Art, c/o 108 Denison Street, Beeston NG9 1DQ.

CF

Survive and thrive: why community matters

Only now we are emerging out of full lockdown can we fully comprehend the extent that all our lives have been affected over the last six months. The aftershock for many has been as traumatic as the immediate impact of the pandemic.

As part of Beeston Rylands Community Association, we pulled together a fantastic band of volunteers who helped deliver food and friendship to the most in need within our community. We discovered the significance of continuity and consistency of twice-weekly food prep, activities, and letters and while at times monotonous, it was the only real source of certainty for us and the recipients. As a result, we made new connections and friendships with people we previously wouldn’t have crossed paths with and found that existing friendships were not only invaluable but strengthened as we navigated our way through difficult times.

One of those friendships has been our own. Thrown together through our work, we found courage and support in each other over the last few months. So as we emerged out of lockdown, we decided we needed to embark on a Thelma and Louise style adventure (without the bad bits). We ventured out of our beloved Beeston and drove up the M1 to do The North East Skinny Dip 2020 in aid of the mental health charity MIND.

For us and many other people mental health and its journey can sometimes be an uphill battle, it ebbs and flows and has an irritating ability to disarm us unexpectedly.

Jumping into the freezing cold sea was about letting go… of our clothes, yes, but most importantly of the past and all the things that can’t be undone. It was about connecting with a friend and pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones.

Before we ran into and out of the cold North sea together, we agreed now is the time to shake off the past, and focus on the ‘what next’. To use this experience of running into the unknown as a catalyst for evolution into new community projects, our “survive and thrive” plan.

“Survive and Thrive” is about investing in activities, connectivity, and opportunities for our community. This includes first-rate new social facilities, delivering new classes and courses, and developing a community transport scheme.

Our column is about optimism and moving forward as a collective whole. We’ll update you on community matters, whilst trying to uncover the unexpected, the quirky and the brave aspects of Beeston life. It won’t always be full of laughs, but it will use real-life case studies to demonstrate what’s possible. We recognize now more than ever that we can’t be sedentary when it comes to community and inclusion. The time is now.

JB & NR

Thinkin’ Inkin’: How one woman took a gamble on changing the tattoo industry

I opened Jurassic Tattoo Company on Wollaton Road in August as a safe, comfortable space to be tattooed. It’s not going to be like other tattoo studios and I’m striving to be very radically different in the way I treat artists and customers.

I was originally a psychology researcher who started my PhD and quit due to a huge mental health breakdown. After many suicide attempts and little clinical help, I worked my way into the tattoo industry to find that the mistreatment and hazing of newcomers was harmful to my recovery. I was shocked at the awful way customers were often treated. I made it my mission to create something different.

Being tattooed is an extremely personal and vulnerable experience. During the tattoo process, a customer fully trusts their artist with a permanent change to their body, as well as letting them physically handle them for a stretch of time. They are in pain and experience a rollercoaster of endorphins and neurotransmitters that can induce intense feelings. I believe that this neurochemical rush, mixed with the prolonged close contact and the fact that they may be getting the tattoo for a meaningful reason, means the tattoo process has the potential to be either psychologically therapeutic OR psychologically damaging to the person. Which one it is depends on the professionalism of the artist and the atmosphere in the studio.

Unfortunately, in the industry, there are often less than ideal atmospheres in studios which intimidate or shame clients, rather than make their tattoo a safe and positive experience. From subtle things like having intimidating decor (“do not enter unless you’re a goth”) vibes! to shaming a customer for only wanting a small tattoo… to the small handful of artists who use their position to sexually harass clients.

“After working in psychological support in both the NHS and private sectors, I can honestly say that more therapy can be done on the tattoo chair than can be done in 6 sessions of CBT.”

I want to change this industry, or at the very least, provide a homely safe space for all clients to come, have a lovely chat and feel valued. After working in psychological support in both the NHS and private sectors, I can honestly say that more therapy can be done on the tattoo chair than can be done in 6 sessions of CBT. People naturally open up as they are already vulnerable and emotional. I believe this should be handled with the most respect and care possible.

Like many others, my business and personal finances have taken a huge beating throughout lockdown. I have scraped through only due to the huge amount of support I’ve had from my customers who have been booking on to my waiting list, buying my artwork or taking part in my tattoo raffles. I am hugely grateful to all of them and have been really surprised and touched by the amount of interest I have received!

It has been going overwhelmingly well since we opened, with my books being full until January 2021, and we’re all working incredibly hard to try and prepare for the possibility of another lockdown. Knowing that I may not be able to work for months with zero financial support from the government is a huge pressure, but I hope I can weather the storm if it does happen.

Jurassic Tattoo can be found at 76b Wollaton Road: Insta: @jurassictattoo; FB: @jurassictattoocompany

SC

Talking loud and clear

Despite the ongoing problems caused by the global lurgy, one Beeston lad has been determined to continue with his dream of interviewing people for his podcast company: ‘The Backboard Podcast’.

So the tables were turned when I sent Jamie Martin a list of questions about himself and his podcast idea. Firstly I asked Jamie a bit about himself and his background.

“I’m 15 and have lived in Beeston all of my life. I’ve always had an interest in helping others and gaining knowledge from them. Also seeing their perspectives on life, and opinions on certain subjects. I’ve been quite lucky to have a family so supportive, as I’m sure they are sick of me asking questions and rambling on about things. I have siblings, but they don’t have an interest in podcasting – my younger brother is definitely a football man. So am I actually, but just not as passionate as him. My mum is the MD of the Victoria Hotel in Beeston and my dad is a painter and decorator.

“This year I was meant to be going to Cambodia to help build a school, but sadly it was cancelled due to the pandemic. So for me, setting goals and achieving them is one of my main characteristics, and going to Cambodia was one of them, and next year I will achieve that goal. Talking of goals, I enjoy playing as a defender for my football team, The Attenborough Colts on a Saturday. I’ve been there since 2012.

“I started the podcasts because I was feeling a bit anxious about lockdown and realised that so many millions of others felt the same, and so I wanted to bring them some positivity and try to share my opinions and knowledge”.

Jamie’s first podcast was done on the 27th March and featured Beeston’s own Kingdom Rapper, aka Benjamin Whiteman. In the 25 minute interview, Benjamin talks about his life, music and religious beliefs.

“I see Kingdom Rapper as a great influence for the young in Beeston, as he has had bad experiences with drugs etc during his younger years, and he now spreads awareness through music. He is also a great friend and is definitely a local celebrity with an inspiring story”.

“He was doubted and criticised by his heroes, but he produced positives out of the negatives and is going to change our planet”.

I wanted to find out about Jamie’s interest in business and whether he has any business heroes, despite his young age.

“I’ve always had an interest in business. My late grandad was Neil Kelso, who was the owner of the Victoria Hotel. He introduced me into the business world and seeing him work as hard as he could and be rewarded for his hard work motivated me to do the same. As for me, it would be Elon Musk of Tesla cars fame. He was the child of divorced parents in South Africa and started coding. He sold his first game for $500 and went on to create PayPal and sell it for $1bn.

“He was criticised for his failure in the early years of SpaceX of which many of his first launches failed, but after many tries, he succeeded. This taught me the valuable lesson that I should never give up and that I should always stay humble, but ambitious. He was doubted and criticised by his heroes, but he produced positives out of the negatives and is going to change our planet”.

Being an interviewer, I wondered if Jamie had an interviewer that he admired or followed.

Well, for sure, it would be Louis Theroux. He’s an extremely intelligent man, who is always asking questions and developing his knowledge on subjects further and further and sharing what he has seen and questioned with the public. So he might not be necessarily a radio interviewer, but he asks many questions and interviews interesting people”.

Finally, I wondered if there was anyone in Beeston that Jamie would love to interview.

“Basically, everyone. For me, Beeston can’t be put into a specific person that I’d like to interview. The community is so inviting and the businesses in the heart of Beeston, are mostly family-run. They all hold their own unique touch. Hence that’s why I love Beeston. So the short answer is no because simply, I want to interview everyone!”.

Recently Jamie invested in some new recording equipment and has created his own studio, rather than using his bedroom. It’s in an old office formerly used by Castle Rock at the Victoria Hotel. 

“It’s been unused for over a decade, and I’ve completely renovated it.”

Being a web-based platform, I asked about viewing figures, and whether Jamie knew how many the broadcasts get.

“I do. We are close to 700 people to have listened to our podcasts. 27% of them live abroad, from New Guinea to Bangladesh and the USA to Peru. We have viewers in every continent except Africa for some reason, but I’m sure we will the more episodes I make. I’ve just created a tee-shirt, just to see if anyone would be interested in one. Not necessarily to make a profit, just to test the waters. So far I’ve sold 15”.

If you want to listen to the podcasts that Jamie has produced then visit his Facebook page or through the Internet platform anchor.fm.

CDF

  • 1
  • 2
  • 4