Branding/Marketing

How to Select Packaging, Brand and Label for Your Product

My good friend Sid is the owner of a large packaging company in Cheshire (Stampbourne Packaging and Boxes). They have a huge warehouse and manufacture many designs. Over the years, Sid has come across many good and bad design ideas, and understands that getting the packaging and branding right is key. I asked him and his team to put together a quick article to give some information! Enjoy!

die cut boxes packaging idea

Some amazing packaging and branding using die-cut boxes to really make a bold statement to your customer

Branding Process

A vital process for businesses is branding. It is important that your brand really stands out from the rest, so investing money and time into researching as well as planning is important for its development. Begin discussing any ideas you may have with your business partner, contacts in the industry and even family and friends.

Money can be very short for a start up business so employing a branding agency may not be possible. That being said, one of the most effective ways of creating a brand that stands out and works is by using an outside consultant to help you develop your brand.

In this article we’ll review a few different startups and what they did. The first is the beer brand BrewDog, which was founded by James Watt and he emphasises how important it is to “invest in your brand as it is the most powerful and valuable aspect of any business”. Branding is the outside face of your business so it is of equal importance as it is to invest in a good IT system.

It will probably be more convenient to hire a local agency as opposed to a large agency, it will also allow for meetings to discuss the product face to face and it is more cost effective. It is invaluable to the development of your brand to have this personal communication with an outside consultant, it is also important to clearly communicate your exact goals and objectives.

It is also important that from the beginning you are clear on what you do not want, this avoids having to change things around later. Cheaper deals may be offered by local agencies and may even initially be persuaded to work for a smaller payment hoping that larger payments may be secured are a later date or when the business is up and running.

The jam company, SuperJam was founded by Fraser Doherty, who was able to persuade a design agency that was local to work with him when starting out for a small fee. He stated that this is something they agreed to as it was their belief that SuperJam would be quite successful, therefore further down the line they would benefit from repeat business, this was obviously a smart choice.

Make sure that before you decide on one, you really shop around and check out a few agencies, this will guarantee that you find the most suitable consultant for your business for the best value. Look for someone with a clear understanding or background in your industry, their expertise will prove to be a valuable asset.

Die-cut boxes, Packaging and more!

It can be quite complicated to package, it requires a lot of planning and thought. Make sure that you always allow yourself enough time to properly package your products. Magic Whiteboard was set up by Neil Westwood and he recalls that they had to redesign their packaging more than once before they settled on a final choice.

Who are your target retailers? How will they be displaying your product? Keep in mind that they will want to use as little space possible in their locale. Shape and size are paramount, so is where you position the labels and handle. Neil suggests that before ordering any boxes, get some of them mocked up os you can properly asses the packaging. You can also show these mockups to buyers who may provide you with feedback on what works well and what should be changed.

Investing in hiring an outside consultant or a product development director is an investment that Grace Foder believes is worthwhile. It is crucial to get the brand and packaging perfect as it is the tool that generates the highest amount of sales, after all it is the first thing that is seen by potential customers.

The labels and packaging can be created by local printing businesses and probably at a lower price than a larger printing company would, keep in mind however that depending on the size of your order, if you only want a few prototypes, bulk buying discounts may not be available. It may also be worth looking into a small design agency who may be able to help as they may have quite a few connections in the field.

 

This video may be a bit dated, but still has some great advice on packaging and branding.

Labelling

When deciding what labels to use for your product, basic market research is the best option. Look at other products on the market as well as your competitors and try to determine what really works and what doesn’t. The significance of labelling as well as how it can affect sales is often underestimated by businesses, so make sure that the one you choose is the one that will really work the best for your product.

The co-founder of Bulldog Natural Grooming, Simon Duffy views the supermarket shelf as if it was his billboard. It is where you are going to show off your product, by creating labels that are original and imaginative, you can really make the most out of this opportunity.

Your brand and its proposition must be reflected by the label. A label that is clear and simple will help your product to really stand out when on the shelf, after all this is the main aim, keep in mind that many times shoppers do not have time to browse. We sell loads of mug boxes but if the products aren’t properly labelled then nobody knows what is in them or the specifications like colour, size, etc.

Jemma Kidd Makeup School´s Grace Foder warns of how dangerous it can be if a label becomes too convoluted. She explains that is must be simple, clean and to the point. That being said, although labels should not be complicated, make sure that you do not miss any of the wording, correcting this can be very burdensome and expensive.

There are also many legal requirements to consider, for example including ingredients for cosmetic products or food items also the time after opening date in which it must be user or a use-by date. Keep in mind that you should also leave space for a barcode and a Euro hook may want to be included if you are planning on selling out of Europe.

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Telephony

The Difference Between Hosted Telephony And Cloud Phone Systems

Office upgrades to my office have been painful over the years. My wife just had a large telephony upgrade at her location a few weeks ago, which didn’t go well. However, the great news is that the phone system is all cloud-based now and runs much more smoothly! I’m a big fan of Hosted Telephony, so here is a quick article on that and Cloud Phone Systems.

Purchasing a Voice over IP (VoIP) is quite a challenging task. There is one important decision to be made in this regard. You should determine which is better for your business: A hosted telephony system or a cloud phone system? Both these phone systems operate via the internet. But the former is a premises-based solution where the hardware appliance is kept in your server closet. The latter connects through your internet connection to a service provider that maintains the equipment at a cloud data center on the net. This article highlights important differences between a hosted telephony and cloud phone system.

The first thing is to differentiate between the features offered by these two systems. Most of the hosted PBX service providers do not offer important features similar to a cloud phone system. If critical business features such as conferencing, IVRs and queues cost extra or missing, the business owner will not benefit with such a phone system. The majority of the cloud phone systems come with all the aforementioned important features. This is why business owners prefer such a system for the future of their business.

Telecoms company Brighter Bills says that “Cloud-based phone systems come with a low upfront cost”. This system typically charges the user a monthly fee based on their usage. Using hosted telephony systems have a higher upfront cost for the on-site server and other equipment involved in it. But they don’t have a recurring monthly fee. These systems tend to be more attractive for businesses that have a lesser number of employees. But larger businesses with over 100 or more employees prefer to go with a cloud-based phone system due to the numerous benefits of the system. It is best that you speak with an experienced VoIP Specialist before choosing the best system for your business.

The next important factor to consider is the total cost of ownership (TCO). A cloud-based phone system comes with a much lower total cost of ownership. This is because of the saving in the IT department due to the hosted provider taking care of maintenance and server configuration. This can be quite an advantage for your business depending on the size and structure of your business.

You also need to consider the growth of your business in the coming years. If you plan for a rapid growth in your business during the coming years, it is best that you go for a cloud-based phone system instead of a hosted telephony system. If you go for a premises-based solution, you may have to upgrade/replace the appliances once your business grows. When you choose a cloud-based system, you have nothing to worry about upgrading or replacing the server configurations. This is why so many large businesses go for a cloud based phone system these days.

In summary, the right phone system is very important for the success of your business. You need to choose the correct system with utmost care. The aforementioned article highlights important factors to consider in this regard. This has been a small summary of VoIP systmes, but if you want to go more in-depth, I highly recommend this video with over an hour of explanation:

 

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Finance

Getting A Car Loan With Bad Credit

As a former banker, I know a little bit about dealing with bad credit situations – it is very common. Hardly anyone has a ‘perfect’ score nowadays. Read the below tips I have adapted from a USA based website – they all apply equally well to us in the UK with bad or poor credit!

You can get loan for a new car loan even if you suffer from bad credit. There are a number of dealers and lenders that are willing to finance a car for individuals with troubled credit history. Here are a few tips to help you secure finance for your new car when you have bad credit.

Getting Pre-approved

One of the first things you need to do is to try to get pre-approved for car loan. There are a number of dealerships where you can apply online on their website to get pre-approved. Most of the times, the credit application form is on the front page of the website.

It is also important that you get pre-approved from multiple lenders to ensure that you have the choice to go with a lender with the best financing terms.

Check with Your Bank or Credit Union

You may also check with your credit union or your own bank for loan as you already have a history with them. There are also some specialist lenders that deal with sub-prime loans. You should also check with those lenders.

There is a common myth that one should not make too many applications as that may further damage the credit score. However, that is not the truth.

Lenders know that people fill out multiple loan applications to search for best interest rate. The trick is to apply for loans within a 14 day window as all the applications made during that window count as just one enquiry on the credit report.

Look for local

Local finance firms can sometimes offer better deals and advice than the National suppliers. If you live in Leeds for example, a quick search in Google for ‘Car finance Leeds‘ can offer some great local companies. When I used to live in Stockport I used this car finance Stockport firm.

Be Ready

It is important that you start planning for the loan well in advance. The first thing to do is to get your credit report at least three months before you plan to buy the car. This will provide you enough time to take action on any outstanding items on your credit report.

In addition to the credit report, you should also get other documents ready. For instance, a dealership will need your recent pay stub, a utility bill, a driver license as well as personal references.

Buy What You Can Afford

It is important that you buy a car that you can easily afford. There is no benefit of spending extra money on a car when you already have tight credit. So, even if you get approved for a £22000 car, it is not necessary for you to buy it. Instead, look for a £16,000 car that serves your purpose.

Get a Co-signer

In case you are unable to get approved for an auto loan, getting a cosigner might help. However, it is important to keep in mind that a cosigner is legally responsible for repaying the debt in case the borrower defaults on the loan.

Shop around

You suffer from bad credit but it does not mean that you are at the mercy of dealerships or lenders. You should still shop around for the best price you can get. Also, shop around for lower interest rates.

Car dealerships do not make too much money on sale of new cars as there is a lot of competition. Instead, they want to develop have a long-term relationship so that the buyers can recommend them to their family members and they can sell more cars.

These are some of the tips you need to keep in mind to get approved for an auto loan when you have bad credit.

 

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Uncategorized

Even Plumbers Are Using YouTube Now!!

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who owns a plumbing business in Cheshire. He has been growing well over the last few years and has become very successful. I asked him what it was down to, and was quite surprised at his response!

Apparently, he doesn’t attribute his growth to just being reliable, and well priced. Although, of course, that is an important aspect! He has, however, focussed on the fact that he targets new customers and prevents them going to his competition! Once they are his, he ensures they sign up to his service and gives them such good treatment that they want to stay with him in case of any other times they need a plumber!

How does he get customers to go to him instead of his competition? He is using the internet! He has been developing a range of short YouTube videos for each area, as well as a website for each area in the North-West. Apparently a lot of people even use Google to look for plumbers now, so he is well ahead of a lot of his profession, who still rely on Yellow Pages and other outdated marketing methods. By doing this, he gets a lot of new customers each month, especially emergency plumbing jobs!

Here’s an example of one of his new videos:

You can find it on YouTube here. Apparently many areas like this one, don’t have any other plumbers videos, so anyone using youtube will only find his! Excellent!

I wish him all the best, and I am very impressed he had the brains to go for this (I didn’t think he was very internet savvy at all). How wrong was I?

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Uncategorized

Cudis CPN Nominated for ‘Made in Bury’ Business Awards Event

A good friend of mine works at Bury-based electrical equipment suppliers Cudis CPN. The firm is quite big and well known worldwide, for its range of electrical equipment. This year they have been nominated for the ‘Best in Class Award – Technology’ category at the ‘Made in Bury’ business awards, which is a well-deserved achievement. Their sister company (Rowe Hankins), have also been nominated, for two awards no less, in the ‘Best in Class – Family Business’ category, and the ‘Best in Class – Manufacturing & Engineering’ category. So quite a year for the Manchester firm!!

The awards event will be held on the 20th November, with  celebration dinner held at the Drill Hall in Bury – personally, I think the location looks fantastic judging by the image below, and cannot wait to attend. It is a black tie dress code, with ball gowns for the Ladies, and will run from 7pm until 1am, with plenty of live entertainment and good food! Tickets are £60+ VAT and available here if you’re interested. They are also promising ‘surprises’ during the night, so I would guess that means a celebrity appearance or perhaps some prizes to be won on the night.

To be in with a chance to win, organisations have had to be nominated in writing by another company or member of the public. There is then a committee that decides which companies are short-listed, to proceed to the event dinner on the 20th.  The short-listed organisations will also be invited to a ‘meet and greet’ on the 17th ctober to present to the judges and display more information abut why they feel their company should win.

My friend Michael (from Cudis), believes they have a good chance to win. Cudis are known for their consumer unit products and items such as the ‘3 phase distribution board‘. Over the last few years, they have been taking a great approach to innovating what might seem ‘standard’ electrical products. The innovation that has got them short-listed for this award is called the ‘Lumo illuminated consumer unit’. A consumer unit is a very common piece of electrical equipment, used in most houses and work premises. It is basically the fuse board as most of us know it! See this video to recognise what we’re talking about:

Now compare that old looking one, to this from Cudis:

Lumo consumer Unit by Cudis

The Lumo illuminated consumer unit is very clever though. We have all been in that situation at least once, where the fuse trips. You then have to stumble around in the dark looking for the fuse board, and if you’re lucky, you get to use the light from your mobile phone. (Because if you’re like me, you have no idea where the torch is, even when the lights are on!) Cudis have looked at this issue, and come up with a very simple, yet brilliant fix. They have added in-built LED lights to the panel, powered by a small battery, so even in the dark it is easy to see what you are doing, and you can have two hands available. Obviously this is ideal for everyone, but especially the elderly, or those who have their panels in dark, inaccessible places, such as under the stairs!

The Lumo has proved very popular so far and was centre-stage at the recent ‘Elex’ event that Cudis attended. It was also ‘highly commended’ at the 2013 Electrical Industry Awards, which is a great achievement in itself. Cudis CPN’s Managing Director Jason Hallam (great guy), said this at the 2013 Electrical Industry Awards:

“The Lumo illuminated consumer unit is an innovative and unique product solution which is why it will take centre stage on CPN’s Elex stand this year. The response from contractors and wholesalers is that there is an obvious requirement for Lumo and that it brings clear benefits for users in certain sectors, especially where the elderly or visually impaired may be required to reset a circuit breaker – we’re looking forward to getting in front of customers and telling them about the solid added value proposition the Lumo offers to those wanting to improve system maintenance.”

The Lumo is available in 3 different sizes, and up to 22 different configurations, which apparently makes it suitable for the majority of needs. I’m really pleased that Michael and Cudis are getting the recognition they deserve as they have been very diligent in their approach to research and development, something a lot of companies miss. Innovations like the Lumo prove that even though a product is taken for granted and seen as at it’s peak, an improvement can always be made – and more often than not, it is a simple tweak with enormous benefits.

You only have to look at the world’s top companies to realise R&D  can play a major role is success and growth – take Apple as an example. Their R&D budget is huge, and they openly admit they no qualms about spending as much as is required, because the end result fully justifies itself.

Cudis are up against these other Bury based companies:

  • Computer Troubleshooters (Manchester) Ltd
  • Fluid Digital
  • Lex Business Equipment Ltd
  • Lone Worker Solutions Ltd
  • PC Edutech Ltd

Whilst I wish them all good luck, I really do hope Cudis win as I feel they deserve it to cap off an extraordinary year! I hope to see you at the event too!

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Economy, Law

An Interview with John Peterham of Personal Injury Solicitors Bolton

I attended a Charity Gala event in Bolton a few weeks ago, in support of the ‘Clic Sargent’ charity. A great event, and I met a fine chap called John Peterham – who owns a firm in Bolton that match injury claim solicitors with the right client for them. We got chatting and I mentioned this blog, and suggested we do an interview about John, the business and a few other random bits!!

Chief Writer (CW): John thanks for doing this. To start off, please tell our readers more about PersonalInjurySolicitorsBoltonArea.co.uk (PISBA)?

John Peterham (JP): Well firstly, thanks for having me, I’m really pleased to be here doing this! PISBA is my company, and what we do is a bit different to other personal injury firms. We are specialists in matching our client, and their specific injury, with the right solicitor for them. CW: A bit like a broker for solicitors then? In a way yes, but we tend to work with the bigger nationwide companies more as they have more solicitors and a wider range of skills for us to choose from. It’s about getting the best person for the client at the end of the day.

CW: What types of injuries/accidents do you cater for?

JP: Anything really – the most common ones we see are road traffic accidents, trips and falls whilst out of the house, and workplace accidents. However we also get sports related injuries, and ones from people on holiday. They can be quite surprised they can still claim even though they were out of the UK at the time, but if for example, you were on a rock climbing excursion booked through the tour operator, the tour operator can be liable if the right insurance or equipment wasn’t in use. I’d always advise people to give us a call and just ask – if there is no chance we’ll tell you, but why not take 15-20 minutes to find out if you have a claim, and put your mind at ease!

CW: Is it ‘No Win No Fee’? And what is that exactly?

JP: No Win No Fee is an American term, but it’s become very popular here because it’s one of those easy to remember terms. The technical term is a Conditional Fee Agreement or Arrangement (CFA). It basically means that a solicitor will examine your case, and if they believe it has a good chance, agree to take it on with a CFA. The CFA will protect the client from paying fee’s if the case is lost, so it can be great as people on low incomes can still get the legal aid they need and deserve. If you do win the case, quite often the fee has a portion paid by the losing party, and you cover th rest from your damages. So it’s a great thing for people to do. CW: Could the fee ever be more than the damages reward though? JP: Good question, but no. The CFA is only allowed by UK Law to be as a percentage which is no greater than 100% of the normal solicitor’s hourly fee. Personal Injury Solicitors Bolton do offer No Win No Fee on most of our cases on average, but it does depend on circumstances. Give us a call, and we’ll be able to tell you quite quickly if it’s something we could arrange.

CW: How long is a case usually and what can be involved?

JP: Well, it really depends, each case is different to the last even if it’s the same injury. Generally though, it can be a couple of months at least. What we tend to do is talk to you on the phone, assess your claim and see if we have a case. The a solicitor will be assigned and will come to visit you to get the full details on the case and collect any evidence needed. After that, a claim will be filed in the legal system and your solicitor will represent you at every stage to ensure it is progressing and the right things are done. A bit vague probably, but like I say, every case can be different but our solicitors will always advise you at every stage what is next and what to expect!

CW: John, where do you come from? What’s your background?

JP: Ooh not sure that’ll be too interesting! I grew up in Cheshire, and moved to Bolton in my twenties. I was working at various legal firms doing bits of marketing or trying to attract new business – I have no legal training personally. I then spotted a gap in the market with this business, and once it’s grown a bit and become successful, I’ll be taking it to other areas in the UK as well.

CW: Any advice for other small business owners, or people thinking of starting their own business?

JP: I guess it’s just giving it a go if you’re thinking about it. You’ll never know otherwise and it’s pointless trying to work out every problem before hand, sometimes you just have to jump in and do it! If you are a small business owner, just stick to it. What I also do is set every Friday aside every week. I answer no client calls, and do no client work that day. My sole purpose is to work on my business. What improvements can I make? What is and isn’t working? Most small business owners get swept up in working for their client, and not enough on their business – I think that can be a big divider between average and successful!

CW: What interests do you have outside of work?

JP: Reading. I love reading a decent novel, with no noise in the background. When I get chance, we also go walking in the Lakes (I have a wife and 2 daughters!). My family keep me pretty busy, but I love my life and wouldn’t change a thing. I think it’s important to have that balance, and whilst working for yourself can sometmes tip it, if you work it right it should be in your control.

CW: Thanks John for this, some great and interesting comments I’m sure our readers will enjoy! All the best for your business, and whilst I wish you the best, I hope I don;t have to use you!

JP: Ha! Yes, unfortunately it is a business that wouldn’t exist in an ideal world. Thanks for having me, I’ve really enjoyed it.

John Peterham is the owner of PersonalInjurySolicitorsBoltonArea.co.uk

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Economy, Jobs

Ensuring the future of our economy is developing

My Nephew has just gone to University for his third year. His parents (My Sister and Brother-in-law) are terrified for him! Poor lad! But it got me thinking about how we just see this as normal, when really these young people are the driving force of our UK economy in the years to come. At RBS we offered a lot of students the chance to join when they graduated, and many of them were fantastically well prepared by our Universities. So this article is for any student – or any parent who wants to help them with jobs in or after University.

Jobs after UniSpeak with your pals and acquaintances from Uni to see if you can leverage off of your contact list to discover a job. You will be surprised just how far the branch extends with individuals that you know to all of the companies that are in your chosen career area. When you are making an application for a role, see to it that you discover one that is in your sector and builds on your studies in University. This is necessary as each task that you take helps to construct your resume for the type of work you will be performing in the future. For that reason, you will certainly want to do something that you concentrate in.

When you graduate, put the pedal to the metal and apply for jobs as quickly as you can. It is extremely tempting to sit back and wait a couple of months or years prior to you get yourself going. Taking the initiative instantly will put you ahead of everybody who is relaxing and not doing anything.

If you are in Uni, see to it that you go do as many internships as you can during the summertimes. This is essential as it will not just assist to bolster your CV/resume, but will certainly get you utilised to the daily life of somebody who is working hard at a full-time pace. When you are making an application, see to it that you have a list of 3 dependable references prepared for potential employers. Do not include pals or relatives to the list because they could not be aware of your work ethic. Great references include former supervisors, co-workers and your high-school classmates.

Call your local institution of higher learning and inquire about exactly what sort of (totally!) free job support they provide. They could have a job board listing local opportunities, resume composing aid or perhaps positions within the college they have to fill. They’ll frequently have a variety of services for the advantage of students which they’ll share with you.

Cut out anything that will sidetrack you or take a lot of time up during summertime or out of term. Finding a place for student storage can be a real pain and time-consuming. Use inexpensive services for moving your items, or get loved ones to assist you. Guarantee you have a safe storage place for everything you have, then you aren’t worrying about it – you can enjoy your time off and concentrate on task hunting and improving your abilities and CV! My Nephew was after student storage Liverpool and found a company with great rates called Chaffinch. They took care of everything and he didn’t have to overload his tiny Fiesta!

Make sure your references know they are your references. Do not use a teacher from 10 years earlier on a whim. When business contact your references, your references need to know to expect those calls and emails so they are watching out for them. Not just that, but would not you likewise appreciate a heads up that someone might call you?

Visit your school’s profession center. You might be able to get some help from your Uni, who might have listings that other locations do not, and you may be able to get individual assistance from a professor or lecturer in that area. This can be an excellent way to obtain you a position that you could not have actually considered.

As specified in the beginning of this post, the current job economy environment is not good at all. This does not, nevertheless, indicate that you are doomed. By informing yourself, carefully studying the info in this post and applying all that you have learned you can find great success. Stay positive, and never ever quit!

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Finance, Global News

What is a 403b Retirement Plan?

European leaders are calling for better retirement plans for Public Sector workers in the UK. Some proposals are suggesting a ‘403b style’ plan, which they have in America. I’m not convinced, but make your own decision here. I have put together an article detailing exactly what they do with them in the USA. My opinion is we are covered, but there are interesting parts of it we could adopt…

While employees working in a private limited company usually turn towards a 401k retirement plan, there’s a valid option available for employees of public schools, churches and hospitals. This comes in the form of a 403 b retirement plan which offers additional support to recipients in terms of a financially stable retirement option. It is tax deferred and is originally developed for employees who work for public schools, universities, colleges etc. The retirement plan is a suitable option for tax exempt non-profit organizations as well like churches, charity houses and a few hospitals. So what is a 403b retirement plan? The plan is originally known as tax sheltered or tax deferred annuity.

What is a 403b Retirement Plan?

Having similar benefits to a 401k plan, the 403b tax deferred annuity is acceptable for recipients who serve offices part of scientific, educational, public testing safety, charitable purposes. There are a lot of benefits you can obtain from this plan. It allows the recipient to place a portion of their salary into an employer sponsored plan that is later converted to retirement funds. The recipient doesn’t pay taxes on contribution or earnings until the money is withdrawn. This generally occurs once the individual has retired or has a lowered tax bracket. The sooner you start the better it is to build fundamentally strong retirement savings.

Benefits of 403b Retirement Plan

1.The contributions made to a 403b retirement plan are deductible when it comes to federal income tax purposes. The money is placed inside the plan without paying for taxes. This tax reduction is very valuable since it reduces income tax that is paid at the recipient’s least tax bracket. In fact you don’t have to pay taxes on the dividends hence can balance the financial custodies related.

2.If the traditional contribution is made, the tax is then paid in distributions during retirement. But considering people retire when their tax bracket is highly reduced, the expenses during retirement are generally lowered.

3.403b retirement plans offer Roth contributions that aren’t eligible for tax deduction. This means that when money is withdrawn from the Roth part of the retirement plan, such withdrawals aren’t taxable. Roth contributions are generally preferred since they offer tax savings on a long term.

4.One of the best benefits of the 403b proposal is that you can take a loan out of the retirement plan. If you’re just about to buy a home or pay mortgage, then this plan is very apt. However the requirements for the loan are crucial and you cannot miss a single payment on the loan. The employer can also offer matching contributions however this can be done on a pre-tax basis.

5.The contribution limits are higher as compared to IRAs which means the more money you save for the retirement the better equipped you will remain. For example as an employee you can place $16,500 into this plan around 2010 and when you turn 50 years or older, recipients can easily make $5,500 catch up contribution in 2010.

403b Retirement Plans – Withdrawal Effects

An important thing to understand about the 403b retirement plan is that there are strict penalties if money is withdrawn early. Since these plans are made to help recipients save for retirement the kind of penalties you face are –

1.10% penalty if the recipient is younger than 59 1/2 years

2.Income taxes are charged on the total withdrawal

3.20% federal income tax withholding

Technically 403b accounts are subjected to collective or universal availability which means that employees should be legitimate to perform salary-suspended contributions. One of the ideal benefits you can gain from using this retirement plan is that it isn’t costly to administer annual reporting necessities in the form 5500 of the IRS. There is also the option to rollover 403b to IRA, but this can be a little more complex than this article can cover.

It is important to seek professional advice from an expert who understands every asset of the 403b retirement plan. You can easily invest in variable, fixed annuities or mutual funds though you should check with your advisor first. An expert in investment plans will help address all your needs. Retirement objectives can easily be accomplished without facing a single loss once you’ve understood the 403b retirement plan.

Conclusion

Since investments always involve market value risks, you should choose a plan that offers a safer return. This is where the 403b retirement plan is beneficial since it allows the recipient to invest in a fair amount of money that later builds into retirement savings. The bottom line is that if you want to save more on your earnings, you should contribute frequently and early. If you are looking to rollover your 403b to ira while still employed, then you should seek professional advice.

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Childrens Clothing

Getting A Deal on the High Street for Kids Clothing

One of the most  common noises heard in clothing stores these days is the sighing of parents. These parents are sighing at the prices of everything in the store, or the fact their child does not appreciate the effort they are making. It’s hard to take a child onto the high street today and come away with clothes that they actually want. Society has a new implication – that we all must have the latest trendy gear, and we must have it all today. Whatever happened to finding a bargain on the high street?

Thankfully, younger kids are not quite such a puzzle to find good clothing for. The high street might be losing the war at present versus the convenience of online, but you can find many independent clothing stores that can help you out in this regard. High streets all up and down the country and full of clothes shops that offer ethically made and fairly priced clothing articles for your kids.

Trying to give you good brands to look for would be impossible as every high street has its own stores and brands, but here are some general tips to help you avoid the stores that aren’t going to be worth your time;

Don’t Ask – Don’t Get

One of the most common sights abroad is to see British holiday goers bartering with every shop owner in sight, trying to get the price. So why back home do we take every price and claim at face value?

There is no law to say that the ticketed price has to be the price of the item, so working your ticket can get you money off. Whether the item is “damaged” or you just fancy your chances, haggling the price down isn’t just for marketplaces – it’s still more than welcome on the High Streets in the 21st Century. It’s been shown that even in big stores like TESCO and John Lewis, you have a fair chance of doing a little bit of haggling. These companies take billions every year – if you are offering a smaller amount for a sale, they might just see that as yet another few pounds towards the target. Some online stores build a discount into their RRP, such as this store selling Baby Joules.

 

Get Value Online

You might be heading into the High Street on foot, but there’s plenty of value to be found online beforehand. Checking sites like Groupon and MoneySupermarket could be an excellent way to get a nice % off whatever you go into buy. Online vouchers and money off is so common today to try and match competition, a bit of looking around can pay off big time for you. Great brands, such as Little Joules, are available at discounted rates.

Go To The Top

When you walk into any high street store, you will be greeted by service staff. They can be useful, of course, but make sure that any actual work that you look to get done in the store in terms of purchases is dealt with by an assistant manager or a manager themselves. This gives you more scope to ask tougher questions and maybe talk yourself into a few discounts!

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The Conclusive and Concise Small Business SEO Checklist

Search Engine Tips

SEO over the years has proved to be very important especially for small businesses as it helps to boost visibility of the business or entity, helping to enhance online marketing efforts in media outreach, social media, ratings & reviews. This simultaneously assists in getting new clients as well as business. Below you will find a comprehensive checklist that you can use for your reference to optimize your business website. 

Google Analytics Implementation

Before you even start thinking about small business SEO tactics and tips, you should ensure that everything that happens on your website is being tracked. There are a variety of website analytics tools at your disposal allowing you to pick the one that works best. This will give you information of what your visitors are doing on the site. Google Analytics so far is the best tool that small businesses should utilize. It is pretty simply to use and is available free of charge. All you have to do is sign up or sign into your Google Account, search for Google Analytics, sign up here using the name of your site, category, time zone and URL and click on the “get tracking ID” to finish signing up. You will get a track code that should be placed on all the pages on the site. From here you can check the analytics accounts every week.

Google Webmaster Tools Implementation

It helps to utilize Google webmaster tools before you can start optimizing your website. This is another example of a free tool that offers business owners data about the visibility on Google. This comes in handy for small business SEO as it provides details such as impression & clicks, errors and page load speed. Cheshire based firm Cheshire SEO recommend using Google Webmaster for every site you have.

Optimizing Title Tag

For your small business SEO campaign, it is vital to make sure that your title tag is optimized in the proper way. Have in mind that this is more important than the page URL thus needs to be handled with a lot of seriousness. The title tag gives you the chance to inform the search engines what the website is all about. Remember to keep the characters less than 70 and include the state and city, business name as well as one or two keywords. Title tag should always be placed under the “head” section of the HTML code ideally at the home page. Once you are done with this, you can move to other landing pages on the business website.

Optimize H1 Tag

Another important small business SEO element is the header also known as H1 tag. This also gives you the chance to inform the search engine as well as your users what the page deals with. If necessary, the H1 tag can be longer than the title tag. Here you can include the full name of the blog post or page that they are describing. Remember to always include keywords in the tag to make it more effective.

Create a Meta Description Tag

Optimizing the meta description tag is also vital when looking for what works for small business SEO techniques. The meta description can be described as the small snippet of information that is found under the search results a person gets on either Bing or Google. Although it does not affect organic rankings, it entices users to see what the link is all about. This means that you have to come up with one that strongly calls for action. If you are not enticing potential clients to purchase your products, call the business or get something that will draw people to the website to ensure that you do not miss out on any clicks.

Placing internal links

An internal link can be described as a hyperlink that is placed within your content that guides both users and search engine spiders throughout your site. These are very important for small business SEO efforts as they help users to locate relevant content on the site. At the same time, it also lets Google associate keywords be found within the landing pages. When this is done in the proper way, it won’t be long before you start seeing positive results. A good example of how to do this is in this Cheshire SEO company blog.

Build an SEO footer

Local businesses also need to be on Google + Local. This is simply because without being locally optimized, there is no way the business will rank on Google’s front page. This is something you need to think deeply for successful small business SEO. Once your business has been ranked on all the best directories the next step is to put your name, phone number and address in the footer of all the pages on the website. This needs to be marked using Schema code as it helps Google, Bing and Yahoo to understand your business name, phone number and address that help to identify the business.

Get more phone calls from the site

One of the mistakes that business owners make with small business SEO campaign is to leave out their phone number while optimizing the site. Since you are working hard to get loads of traffic, it is important that you use this traffic that comes your way in a highly efficient manner. Clients will not have a way a means of calling you if you don’t provide a telephone number they can reach you on. Place the phone number in a prominent place on the site so that clients can see the number within 10 seconds of browsing. The number can be added to the header, footer or sidebar. This is one of the ways to convert visitors to customers.

Get more Emails from the Site

As you work on getting more phone calls to your business, getting more emails should also be incorporated in your small business SEO campaign. You can add a contact form that makes it easier for all the potential clients to talk to you. This should be done in a simple way that visitors can follow without any problem.

With great Seo power...Always remember that great SEO power normally comes with immense responsibility therefore it has to be done in a proper manner so that it can yield the best results without any problems. If you need any help, contacting a professional small business SEO Cheshire based firm such as CheshireSEO.org, can really help.

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Brighton Travel Information & Tourist Guide

Brighton Travel Information & Tourist Guide

The City of Brighton as well as Hove is a contemporary, dynamic, multicultural “City by the Sea”, situated in between the stunning South Downs and also the Sussex Coast about 60 miles due south of the UK funding, London.

Brighton has actually long been among the UK’s greatest and also most trendy seaside communities as well as is a preferred visitor hotel with several hotels, restaurants and also home entertainment facilities together with a significant company seminar sector.

Originally known as the moderate angling town of Brighthelmstone, this city has solid links with the past with its regency design, Victorian Sea Life Centre, Brighton Pier, and of course The Royal Pavilion. By 1825 after Dr Richard Russell proclaimed the qualities of showering in as well as drinking salt water, Brighton was born as a classy seaside hotel.

Currently it is a contemporary city, with diverse buying from Churchill Square and also Western Roadway, to The Lanes and bohemian North Lanes, London Roadway and also St James Road, Church Road and George Road in Hove. There is a brand-new state of the art Library, dining establishments, bars and also clubs to match every preference, theatres, movie theaters, 10-pin bowling as well as casinos. In addition there are 2 colleges, and also a wide array of showing off activities, including effective cricket, and also football groups, or even a racecourse as well as greyhound stadium.

Another one-of-a-kind and also historic tourist attraction is Volks Railway, the oldest operating electric train worldwide. Created in 1883 by Magnus Volk, this 1 1/4 mile track links the Fish tank and also Pier with Brighton Marina, with a half way stop near the children’s play area.

This year Brighton & Hove have been granted its first ever Blue Flag honor for its beaches at Hove Lawns and West Street. These assure that they are clutter cost-free and also have clean swimming water. There is also a very discreet naturist beach at Dukes Mound near Brighton Marina.

After a browse through to Brighton Pier what better method to continue than with a walk along the beachfront and down to the boardwalk. Here you could find the artists’ quarter and also fishing gallery. There is a conventional carrousel and numerous bars, clubs as well as dining establishments under these historic arcs. Even more along the seafront you will certainly find a kids’s play area, paddling swimming pool as well as volley ball court.

Away you come face to face with the continuing to be accident of the West Pier. This was initially built in 1866, has been existing run-down because 1975, as well as was damaged by arson strikes in 2002. Although specific pieces from this Grade I detailed building were removed and have been kept in storage.

Nonetheless, the exciting information is that work is because of begin at the end of July on this site for the groundbreaking Brighton Eye. To be gained at the shore end of the trashed pier, the i360 (as it is also recognized) will have a 172 meter high needle tower, with a rising and descending circular watching system with an ability for 125 people. It will be Britain’s highest monitoring tower with breathtaking views along the shore, throughout the South Downs as well as throughout the Network. Completion of this amazing and ingenious building is set up for 2009.

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Volunteers transform community garden into ‘beautiful’ site + MORE

A COMMUNITY garden on Padgate Lane is on the way to becoming a site residents ‘can be proud of’ after it was transformed by a team of volunteers.

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A FRESH approach to healthy eating has provided Dallam Community Primary School pupils with the key ingredients to make better nutrition choices.

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Man arrrested over threats to kill

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A MAN has been arrested for assault, affray and threats to kill.

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Police make several arrests for assault

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Warrington Police have made several arrests overnight.

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'Cheerful' teacher scoops top award

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HER pupils say she cheers them up makes you feel happy when something has upset them you and makes everybody smile.

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IN PICTURES: Sun shines on Pagdate and Woolston Walking Day 2016 + MORE

THERE are reports of heavy traffic on the M6 between junction 20 for Lymm and junction 21 for Woolston and Padgate.

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DO you recognise any of these men working in Richmond’s in the mid-1920s.

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WITH the 25th annual Disability Awareness Day just two weeks away a whole host of activities are planned leading up to the big event.

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A WARRINGTON Hospital midwife threw himself out of a plane at 15,000ft in order to raise more than £1,000 to battle cancer in pregnancies.

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SCHOOLCHILDREN from across Padgate and Woolston proudly joined their teachers to walk up Padgate Lane for Padgate and Woolston Walking Day on Saturday.

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Organisers of DogFest at Arley Hall apologise after hundreds of complaints from visitors + MORE

THE search has been launched to find the next set of Home-Start Warrington volunteers who can help change lives of people in the community.

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MANY readers will have fond memories of The Wheatsheaf pub on Orford Lane and the family who owned it are now part of an exhibition about the history of the town.

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ORGANISERS of DogFest at Arley Hall have apologised after visitors slammed its ‘shambolic organisation’ as hundreds were stranded in their vehicles trying to get to the event.

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FEARNHEAD residents have expressed concerns over an abandoned house that is attracting rats and squatters and has been described as an ‘eyesore’.

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The WESTBROOK-based laboratory used to carry out DNA testing for the Jeremy Kyle show is set to offer in-house testing to find out the paternity of baby before they are born.

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Firefighters celebrate safety week by reading to youngsters + MORE

GIVE-WAY markings at a junction off Winwick Road will be repainted ‘as soon as possible’ after safety concerns were raised from a motorist.

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RESIDENTS are being asked to wear purple to take a stand against elder abuse this week.

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CAN you identify some of Warrington’s most iconic landmarks?

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DERELICT farmland that was used a sex barn before being gutted by fire has been picked up at a bargain price at auction.

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FIREFIGHTERS teamed up with young bookworms at a shop in the town centre to chat about the ‘People Who Help Us’ last week.

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Firefighters tackle woodland fire + MORE

THE swing bridge in Stockton Heath has broken down causing traffic chaos in the surrounding areas.

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UNANNOUNCED checks were enforced at custody suites and in police cells across Cheshire to mark National Volunteers week.

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Firefighters tackle woodland fire

– thisischeshire.co.uk

FIRE crews tackled a small fire in woods off Lythgoes Lane this morning.

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A WOMAN has been pushed to the floor and had her handbag stolen this afternoon.

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GREEN Party chiefs are calling on the council to use its ‘influence’ to ‘secure a transformation in the uptake of bus usage’ in Warrington after the town was shamed for breaching air pollution safety levels.

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Four arrests after pub fight + MORE

A NEW scheme to attract businesses to Cheshire launched at Birchwood Science Park on May 24 and could bring £100 million worth of investment to the area.

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SCHOOLGIRL Beau Dermott wowed the audience with her performance tonight on the Britain’s Got Talent final.

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A DAD-of-two who organised a surprise photoshoot for his baby daughter was left out of pocket after the photography studio suddenly went into liquidation earlier this year.

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Four arrests after pub fight

– thisischeshire.co.uk

FOUR people have been arrested following a ‘disturbance’ at a pub in Bewsey last night.

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THIS cuddly companion may appear to be the cutest member of the Warrington police force but springer Rufus has proved life on the team certainly isn’t a dog’s life.

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THE scene is set. A respectable garden party is thrown to celebrate Lord Cava’s retirement and the handing over of his sparkling wine empire to his nephew, Charles Standen-Delliver.

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Hospital nurse taking on gruelling challenges in memory of 10-year-old + MORE

LONGFORD’S Jesse Lingard scored the winning goal for Manchester United in today’s FA Cup Final.

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A MUM-of-two is setting up her own Slimming World group after her own weight loss journey was inspired by her daughter asking if she was pregnant.

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A NURSE at Warrington Hospital is taking on three gruelling challenges inspired by a 10-year-old boy who died after battling a rare cancer.

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WARRINGTON has featured on a proposed map of a Liverpool Underground that a technician has spent three years devising.

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14 per cent drop in benefit claimants

– thisischeshire.co.uk

THE NUMBER of benefit claimants in Warrington has dropped 14 per cent according to new statistics.

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Cheshire Fire cadets clean up Pretty Muddy runners + MORE

CHESHIRE Fire Cadets cleaned up competitors at the Pretty Muddy 5k race on Saturday, May 7, by hosing off mud for a small donation.

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WARRINGTON Collegiate has been told to improve its finances after a government commissioner visiting last year said the college had overestimated its income, was overspending on staff and had failed to recruit as many students as they hoped.

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PENKETH High School has been ordered to clean up its finances by the Education Funding Agency after receiving additional financial support from the government.

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A 62-YEAR-old priest is set to cycle 300 miles in order to raise money for the Warrington and Halton Hospitals Charity.

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POLICE have removed needles which were found on children’s play equipment at a park yesterday afternoon.

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GREASE is the word for Centenary Theatre Company next week.

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Six-year-old makes mum dress as a minion for the day to raise hundreds for charity + MORE

Man arrested after cannabis fire

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CANNABIS has been discovered at a house in Warrington after the property caught fire.

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AFTER three years of meticulous research and tireless examination of evidence, senior case officer Nicola Brook from Great Sankey could not have done more in the fight for justice on behalf of the 96 Hillsborough disaster victims.

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ARRESTS have been made following a police operation at a Warrington town centre bar.

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A SIX-year-old made his mum dress as a minion for the day and also donated money he was given by the Tooth Fairy in aid of Oxfam.

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THE legacy of Viola Beach and their manager Craig Tarry lives on as family, friends and even strangers rally together to raise funds for the memorial fund set up following their tragic deaths.

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Pre-school praised for 'happy and welcoming environment' by Ofsted + MORE

A NEW father whose baby son was saved by doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital will hike 75 miles with his best friend to fundraise so that other children can receive life-saving care.

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AN ORFORD nursery is celebrating after being rated good by Ofsted inspectors.

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A TOWN centre reveller has warned punters to be vigilant after he was hospitalised hours after his drink was spiked.

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A WOMAN who had never ridden a bicycle in her life celebrated her 88th birthday in style with a ride around town in a motorbike sidecar, raising hundreds of pounds for St Rocco’s Hospice.

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CREWS were called to Norman Street last night, Friday, after a car engine caught fire.

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37 famous people we've said goodbye to in 2016 + MORE

MORE than a thousand people have taken part in Warrington Borough Council’s dog fouling survey, which closes on May 1.

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THE FIRST tenant of a new development at Daresbury enterprise zone has been announced.

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POLICE officers are appealing for information after boxing equipment was stolen from a vehicle parked at the Odeon in Westbrook.

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IT is a decade since the closure of the last major wire manufacturer in Warrington.

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Celebrity deaths come in threes? Not in 2016, where the year’s off to an even sadder start with a slew of departed musicians, actors and entertainers.

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Couple put best foot forward to thank St Rocco's + MORE

A ‘CHARMING’ donkey has visited Padgate House to help patients on their road to recovery.

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A HUSBAND and wife who run a plumbing business together and have never fundraised before are running from Cumbria to Warrington to thank St Rocco’s Hospice.

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Fire shuts Hume Street

– thisischeshire.co.uk

EMERGENCY services were called to Fairfield on Saturday night after a large fire at a house.

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A PADGATE hairdresser who worked at the Miss World competition marks 50 years in the trade this year and says she is still passionate about her work.

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Warrington's favourite gardening song

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A STUDY to celebrate National Gardening Week has revealed Warrington’s favourite songs to listening to while getting green fingers.

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Office design team raise £10k for St Rocco's + MORE

CALLANDS Primary School has been awarded top marks after an education watchdog graded the school as outstanding.

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A SCHOOLGIRL with an extraordinary operatic voice is on the road to stardom after wowing judges on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent this evening.

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A CARE home for young adults with learning difficulties has received a rating of good after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

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BRAVE employees from a Birchwood business have raised £10,000 for St Rocco’s Hospice after taking on a year of fundraising challenges.

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Emergency services called to M62 crash + MORE

THE family of missing teenager Jade Lynch have issued a heartfelt plea for her return.

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AN investigation has been launched following a suspected arson attack in the town centre.

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A LOVEABLE Bulldog who enjoys socialising with other dogs and even likes cats is looking for a new home.

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Nursery boost for growing centre

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EMPLOYEES at St James Business Centre near the Southern Gateway will be able to spend a lot more time with their children thanks to the centre’s latest letting.

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Emergency services called to M62 crash

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THREE cars and a lorry were involved a crash on the M62 east this morning.

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Happy Easter from the Bishop of Warrington + MORE

A TEN-year old Culcheth pupil who is the only girl on her school’s rugby team is showing people that gender does not matter when it comes to school sports.

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FIRE crews attended reports of two bins on fire in Great Sankey in the early hours of this morning.

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AN Easter message from the Bishop of Warrington, Rt Rev Richard Blackburn.

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PARAMEDICS were called to Winwick Road yesterday, Friday, following a crash involved a van and a motorcycle.

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20 Easter callouts for air ambulance

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THE NORTH west air ambulance attended a total of 20 incidents across the Easter weekend last year.

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Youth commission launched in Cheshire + MORE

Youth commission launched in Cheshire

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Cheshire’s new Youth Commission on Police and Crime was launched on Saturday during its first meeting.

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A PET shop is asking people to think carefully before buying an Easter bunny instead of chocolate eggs this spring.

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NEARLY 500 less people are claiming benefits in Warrington compared to this time last year.

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PLANS have been submitted to turn a former beauty salon into a café and sandwich shop.

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A TOWN centre nightclub was ordered to close by police this morning after officers raided the drinking hotspot as part of a crackdown on drugs supply in Warrington.

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Woman speaks of ovarian cancer battle after 'shock' diagnosis + MORE

A WOMAN has shared her battle with ovarian cancer as she hopes to raise awareness of the disease.

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WARRINGTON Borough Council is pleading with residents to donate unwanted clothes to charity shops after figures show that the average household has more than £1,000 worth of clothes that have not been worn in the past year.

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WARRINGTON Wolves prop forward Mitchell Dodds suffered a double leg break in this evening’s 30-20 win against Catalans Dragons in France.

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USERS of a Warrington Borough Council care service have said it helps them to be independent in a Care Quality Commission report.

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A NURSE has been personally awarded her MBE by the Queen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

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CODYS’ Cats had the cream of Warrington’s talent.

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RICHARD Fleeshman plays a notorious gambler and a man who can never turn down a bet in the classic musical, Guys and Dolls.

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Man to take on marathon with Soccer Saturday's Jeff Stelling in memory of dad + MORE

A LATCHFORD man will walk a marathon with Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling in memory of his dad who died of prostate cancer.

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THREE intrepid men from Croft will walk 66 miles around the Isle of Wight to raise money for an incubator for neonatal babies.

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CORONATION Street’s David Neilson clearly remembers the moment he looked in the mirror and no longer saw Roy Cropper.

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WE know Warrington has some of the best mums in the world.

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A WOMAN quit her job in the finance industry to open up a yoga studio in Latchford.

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THE M56 has been reopened at Stretton after a serious crash.

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