WBG CIC sign up with Social Business Wales

Really pleased to announce that Wrexham Business Group CIC have now signed up with Jacqui Cross, the local adviser from Social Business Wales, to receive FREE help, advice and support. Both to grow and develop our activities, and to make sure we do everything in the correct and legal manner. She is a lovely lady and we are lucky this service is available. Wish we had known about it sooner!

Click here to find out more.

Great service this, really do wish we had known about it earlier, would have been SO useful.

Annual General Meeting

  1. Present

Ruth Rees – Chair, Martin Rees Jewellers

Daphne Roberts – Director, Abode Above

Wayne Price – Director, AMP Accountants

Matt McHale – Director, La Baguette

Adam Howarth, Love Wrexham Magazine

Ian Stockdale, Ian Stockdale Architects

Stefan Paudler, Love Wrexham Magazine

Peter Humphreys, No 22, Yellow and Blue

Julia Chaplin, Ellis Chaplin

Gwyn Ingman, Try Thai

Jacqui Blore, Piccolos

Nigel Lewis, Wrexham Savers

  1. Welcome

Ruth Rees welcomed members to the meeting and thanked them for attending. Ruth gave a quick recap of the previous year. One of the key goals has been building relationships and connections that will enhance our businesses and enable the group to achieve more together than we can individually – some good successes achieved on that.

  1. Accounts

Wayne Price presented the Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account to the group, detailing the income and expenditure. The accounts were agreed by all those present.

  1. Membership Subscriptions

The existing fees are £5 per annum for businesses with 1-2 employees and £25 per annum for 3+ employees. New businesses are exempt in their first year. Options to maintain, increase, decrease or suspend fees were discussed and it was decided to keep fees the same for the coming year.

  1. Directors

Wayne and Daphne have decided to step down as directors due to other commitments Ruth thanked them both for their hard work and gave special mention to Wayne for doing not only the accounts but many other tasks over last two years.

Two members have been nominated to be directors, Ian Stockdale and Peter Humphreys.

Ian Stockdale introduced himself, hailing from Cumbria Ian has lived in Wrexham since 1980, had his own architect practice since 1984 and worked on many developments in the county including the replacements for the Hightown Flats and Crosville Depot. Ian is also an ardent Wrexham FC supporter. Wayne proposed and Jacqui seconded.

Peter Humphreys – runs family business No 22 at Tŷ Pawb and not for profit organisation Yellow and Blue. Peter is big advocate for shopping locally and supporting people. Adam Proposed and Julia seconded

All attendees supported the appointment of the two new directors and for Ruth Rees and Matt McHale to continue as directors of Wrexham Business Group CIC.

  1. Website

The web site has been renewed for the year thanks to Josh Green at JDG Creative giving a near cost price quote to help the group at this difficult time. We hope to add members’ details to the site soon, to make it easier to support each other, and it currently hosts the page about the new Accessible Wrexham project, which will shortly be getting off the ground again, after a delay due to Covid-19 issues keeping those involved fully committed elsewhere! 

  1. Assets of the CIC

TWIG are better placed to use the “building art” supplies and pressure washer, so will keep them on a long term loan, they already store these items for us. We also have gazebos, mini sound system and bits of cleaning equipment. It is possible that AVOW could use them in conjunction with the Make A Difference scheme. Wayne commented that we can give away assets but only to organisation stated in our documentation (currently AVOW).

  1. TWIG – The Wrexham Independent Gallery

It looked like TWIG was closing back in March due to funding issues. Keith Evans, Bobbi Cockcroft, Jacqui and Wayne worked out how to keep it going for at least the next 12 months, and this will give them time to plan a way forward supporting the community as well as the arts. Jacqui commented that TWIG’s strapline is “Bringing art to the community” and they are delighted to have Wayne saving TWIG.

  1. Any other business

Gwyn asked how members are getting on with re-opening – being a food outlet Try Thai didn’t close at all. Ruth has now re-opened Martin Rees Jewellers albeit limited hours and is gradually introducing more services. It has been particularly challenging and there are many things to put in place and comply with. Ruth’s customers have been brilliant. Gwyn would like to encourage more people to wear masks, especially in the shop.  No 22 has been doing community meals throughout the period, Tŷ Pawb is now open but not the same as it was, there are many restrictions and it is very quiet. The group discussed masks, with a desire from some for the Government to issue guidance regarding wearing masks. Jacqui commented about the poor social distancing in some places and she chooses to wear a mask. Top tip from Ruth about shaving foam to stop glasses steam up.

Ian spoke about working from home, how Covid is going to affect us for a few years not just months. He made good use of Facebook during lockdown to build up useful contacts for new projects. As an architect he is thinking that office space will be incorporated in houses more than ever before. Ian gave an example of a company in London employing 7,000 people that is encouraging 20% of staff to work from home, 1,000 more are to be laid off, and therefore there is a drastic reduction of office space.

Daphne hasn’t reopened Abode Above shop yet. Paint sales have increased dramatically and Daphne has made full use of social media to spread the word, gaining circa 500 new customers, working from home.

Wayne commented that visitors are going into town, but they have a mission and are not browsing the shops they hadn’t planned on going to. He stated that we should be looking at getting other types of businesses into town, such as health centres, and we should be lobbying for change.

Wrexham has great potential and many businesses are coming out of this stronger than ever, though we regret the loss of some who are not so lucky.

Ruth thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.

  1. Date of next meeting

To be confirmed.

Revitalising Wrexham’s town centre

We aim to take the work of revitalising Wrexham’s town centre to a new, exciting level. The next Street Festivals, clean up days, and other initiatives will be bigger and better than ever!  Up to now, all these things have been done by a relatively small, informal group of volunteers. All of us are members of the Wrexham Business Group and the Town Centre Forum.

We now realise that to really move things forward effectively, we need a new, more formally constituted body which can apply for funding from various sources.  It will have other advantages too;  it will protect members from personal liability in the case, say, of some kind of accident happening during one of our events, and it should carry more weight when interacting with local and national government.

We’ve been investigating setting up a Community Interest Company for some months now. These CICs are a relatively new idea; they are real limited liability companies, registered with Companies House, but they are run for the benefit of the community rather than to make a profit, and their directors are normally unpaid.  Quite a few towns now have a CIC involved in some way; one nearby example is Church Stretton, and there’s also Chalk CIC in Oswestry.

At first we thought that we could use the Town Centre Forum Steering Group as the basis for our CIC. But many who sit on that are either Council officers or Councillors, and none of them are able to serve on a CIC. So we have come up with the idea of using the existing Wrexham Business Group, which is already central to so many town centre activities.  We’re currently sorting out all the necessary paperwork – we are very grateful to John Gallanders of AVOW for his invaluable help with this. Also we are making sure that all of our members are happy for us to go ahead with the idea.  Members, Please do get in touch with Ruth or Matt if you have any questions or feedback on this or any other issue!

If all goes well we may be able to have the new CIC up and running before the next Street Festival on Saturday September 26th.  That’s going to be a fantastic day, everyone is coming up with so many ideas for making it more special than ever, and hopefully beneficial to businesses in a larger area of town, including the indoor markets.  Don’t miss it!

Wrexham Makes a Splash With Wales’ First Street Waterslide

After months of planning and hype yesterday a street in Wrexham Town Centre was temporarily turned into a giant, blue waterslide.

For one day only Yorke Street in Wrexham Town Centre was transformed into a giant waterslide – attracting hundreds of enthusiastic participants to the event.

The 260ft Waterslide, which was held in aid of Nightingale House Hospice was the first of its kind to take place in Wales – with over 500 people taking part in the event. It is hoped that the event will have raised over £5,000 for the hospice.

First to take on the slide was local campaigner Andrew Atkinson – who was shortly followed by a team of people in onesies, dinosaur fancy dress and even Mario and Luigi took part!

The event itself saw two slides which spanned from outside the Wynnstay on Yorke Street and down to just outside Wrexham.com’s HQ – The Foundry. Members of the crowd were given inflatable balls to throw on the slide when participants came sliding down – which some took as a chance to throw things at their loved ones faces.

Participants were given lilos, rubber rings and the like at the start of the event – before pushing themselves down the slide and being soaked with water! While the slide seemed to be enjoyed by many, there have been a few comments online since saying a slightly slipperier surface may have prevented people from getting stuck in the middle!

Along with the waterslide the High Street also played host to a number of activities including fairground rides, a bouncy castle, trampolines, hook-a-duck and much more! Local business Moneypenny were also on hand to inform people about their upcoming recruitment process.

A few local businesses took advantage of the waterslide and increase in footfall and opened on the Sunday – with Chatwins having a fair few people inside when we walked past.

Speaking about the success of the Waterslide, Nightingale House have since posted online: “Well who knew you could attract 500 people (plus their 2500 spectators) to Wrexham town centre on a Sunday to throw them down a 260ft urban man made waterslide. I think it is safe to say that Yorke Street has never seen anything like it before!

“Thank you so much to everyone for taking part – you all seemed to have fun and the fancy dress outfits were fantastic!! We really want to thank Ben Shepherd from Capital FM who compered the event and his street stars who were taking pictures and entertaining everyone (check out their twitter!).

“To Dee Valley Water for playing the crucial role of supplying the hoses and water and to all our sponsors who made it possible including Amberon Traffic Management, Eagles Meadow, Moneypenny, Avox and 9 Bar.” Wrexham Waterslide 8 Pictured below are some of the Waterslide pics sent to us throughout the day!

Town Centre Clean Up Plan Kicks Off

Ambitious plans to bring the heart and soul back into Wrexham Town Centre were kick-started yesterday, with hopes to attract shoppers back to the town.

Members of the newly energised Wrexham Town Centre Forum yesterday announced plans to ‘regenerate the town’, with two people standing for the Wrexham seat in the forthcoming General Election using cleaning materials and holding brooms to help out.

Plans will see forum members will work with the landlords of shops to tidy them up and to try and bring vacant properties back into use via a range of initiatives.

The Forum brings together representatives from the Council, businesses, the voluntary sector, the education sector and the police. The aim of Forum members is to improve Wrexham town centre, initially through the regeneration of Regent Street, Hope Street and the corners of High Street.

Working in conjunction with Keep Wales Tidy the aim is to create a ‘clean, vibrant street environment where more quality and varied businesses will wish to set up’.

Nigel Lewis, Chair of the Wrexham Town Centre Forum said: “We have recognised that as well as attracting visitors, Wrexham needs to focus on its core offering which is a convenient community based town, whose primary audience is the people who live in and around Wrexham. I am pleased that this initiative is being jointly developed by the private sector, voluntary sector and Wrexham County Borough Council.

“It’s a chicken and egg situation – people want more shops, shops want more people before they invest. That is why we need to implement initiatives designed to encourage people to come into the town more often and stay longer, and we hope that in turn will lead to more businesses investing which will help improve Wrexham.”

Early stages of the town centre clean-up started over the weekend, with Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Andrew Atkinson tidying up several signs in the area.

Mr Atkinson said: “There are loads of volunteers working on plans big and small to improve our town and one of the things we are planning is a Community Clean up Day on May 10th.

“In advance of this I’ve been out cleaning the signs to make town look a bit brighter. Some of these signs can’t be missed when you’re driving or are the first thing you see when you’re paying to park up, these little steps all help with creating the right first impressions for Wrexham.”

Mr Atkinson added: “No matter what we do to improve the town we have to get the basics right and a town clean up is a great place to start, I’ll be carrying on with the signs for sometime so if you see any really bad ones just let me know and I’ll see if I can add them to the list.”

Councillor Phill Wynn was also pictured (central broom holder in above picture) taking part in the clean up activities. Mr Wynn has recently declared himself as a parliamentary candidate via this post on the Wrexham.com Forums.

David A Bithell, Wrexham Council’s Lead Member for the Environment (pictured far left, not believed to be standing for office!) stated: “This is an excellent initiative which the Council is supporting. Working together will lead to improved pride in the town to make Wrexham a greener and cleaner place to live and work. We are fortunate to have so many people with a passion for our town with many years of experience in the private and public sector.”

The Forum is organising a community street clean and tidy up day on Sunday 10 May, the weekend before the Nightingale House Food and Drink Festival which will attract thousands of local people and visitors to the town centre. The following weekend, the Town Centre Forum is planning a community event in the town centre.

Co-op Food; Co-op Funeralcare; Boots; Marks and Spencer and Santander, the local Wrexham Healthy High Streets’ team have committed their support to the community street clean and tidy up day and they will be supplying volunteers to help and refreshments.