Previous Meetings

Below are some details of previous meetings to keep you up to date with what you may have missed.

Minutes of the FBWN meeting held on Thursday 24th Novemeber, 2016.

In Julie-Ann's absence, the meeting was chaired jointly by Maggie and Cecile.

Cecile began by welcoming everyone, then posed the question of the month - 'What would you like for Christmas?' As ever, there was a varied range of answers - new range cooker; horse box; new house; trip to Bruges; pamper day; a small house with a mooring on the River Avon; a hobbit house; an interior designer to work their magic on a house; a horse.

We then moved on to the main topic for this month, members' ten-minute slots.

Caroline Jones - representing the Orchard Trust.

A former charity of the year, the Orchard Trust has a range of projects, both completed and planned for the future. She explained her role as a fundraiser and showed us photos of some of the projects that have been completed successfully.

Lyn Hodgkinson - Rustic Romance.

Lyn told us about her professional career working with children with additional needs. She is now a casework officer, trying to provide the best provision within budgetary constraints. She also developed her second love, floristry, into a business eight years ago. She provides arrangements for local hotels, weddings, Speech House and many other venues. She enjoys both aspects of her working life, and is happy to continue with them.

Hayley Badman - Children's Opportunity Centre

Hayley explained that the centre provides a service for children up to the age of seven. It was originally established as there was no pre-school facility for children with additional needs, and was providing help for five families. Now, there are two hundred and twenty families on the books, and the centre endeavours to provide support in whichever way it is needed, either at the premises, or in the home. Inclusion is a key factor in all of their planning.

Maggie Mortimer -

Maggie gave a brief outline of her life pre-engineering, including a photo of herself with a chimpanzee. She explained that the website came about as there was nothing like it at the time, and it has grown considerably since it started; now being available in six languages, with more developments planned.


Members were reminded about the Christmas lunch, and the rules of Secret Santa were explained.

In addition, Coffee and catch up will now go back to the last Friday of the month, at Speech House

New calendars are available, with meeting dates for the whole of 2017.

Minutes of the FBWN meeting held on Thursday 20th October, 2016.

In Julie-Ann's absence the meeting was chaired by Wendy, who began by welcoming everyone.

Question of the month.

This month's question was 'What do you hope to happen by Christmas' with the emphasis on philanthropic answers. These were wide-ranging, and included Donald Trump failing in his bid for the USA Presidency; a large petting barn for the Orchard Trust, and one for the Children's Opportunity Centre as well; to be organised in personal life; day off and someone else cooking Christmas dinner; more work locally; world peace; an end to the camp at Calais and the children reunited with their families; no more migrant drownings; to make a difference by befriending an elderly person; to help a young South African woman who has no means of support.

Wendy then introduced our speaker, Lisa Cox, Garden Designer

Lisa told us how she changed careers, from working in the City as a HR professional, to training and working as a garden designer. She emphasised that she is NOT a gardener - she designs and others implement.

After training, one of Lisa's first projects was at a residential school, and that taught her that she didn't want to do corporate work, she much preferred working for individuals.

Some of the lessons Lisa passed on to us are:

  • Charge a fair price for your work, don't undervalue it
  • Consider using a business coach and a marketing expert to help grow your business
  • Decide whether you want to work with others, or be a sole trader
  • If it's causing you problems, it's OK to 'dismiss' clients
  • Blogs do work!
  • Identify your target market


Jackie Beard will be running a Christmas wreath making session at John Kyrle on 8th December, from 6-8pm. Contact her for more details

Minutes of the FBWN meeting held on Thursday 15th September, 2016.

Julie-Ann welcomed everyone, including Charlotte Greenman, our guest speaker.

Question of the month

The question of the month was: Who was the most influential person in your life? Unusually, the answers were, possibly predictably, very similar. Almost everyone nominated one or both of their parents, or their husband/partner. The only exceptions were a biology teacher and head teacher.

Guest Speaker

Julie-Ann then introduced our guest speaker, Charlotte Greenman of Accredited Marketing, to tell us about social media.

Charlotte explained the social media is a collection of websites, applications and platforms, enabling us to create and share things, a valuable tool for promoting our businesses and generating leads/creating clients. She took us through various options, such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, and Pinterest. All of these platforms can be managed using software such as Hootsuite or Buffer, which can reduce the amount of time needed to spend on coordinating the sites.


Julie-Ann reminded everyone about our planned Christmas lunch, and asked them to book with us as soon as possible. Until we have an idea of numbers, we can't book the table!

We were also all reminded about our quiz night, combined with a cheese/wine evening. Again, we need numbers as soon as possible, so that we can plan the catering.

Next Meeting

This will be on Thursday, 20th October, from 9 am, at the Pavilion, Forest Holidays, as usual.

Minutes of the FBWN meeting held on Thursday 18th August, 2016.

Julie-Ann began by welcoming us all, then suggested that, as the numbers were low owing to the holiday period, we have an informal meeting.

The question of the month was 'If you had a superpower, what would you like it to be?'

Answers included invisibility/the ability to teleport; Time travel; mind reading plus the power to destroy; to be a fast as Flash/ ability to talk to the animals; Ability to vaporise things such as dust and cobwebs; to be able to heal body and mind; Karma; ability to build and go forward.

There was then a problem-solving session, and a discussion about future events.

Members are looking forward to the plate painting session at Mary-Rose Young's studio.

Christmas lunch

It seems that we need to find a venue for our Christmas lunch as, apparently, La Dolce Vita has suffered a drop in standards.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, 15th September, when Charlotte Greenman will be gently introducing us to social media.

Minutes of the FBWN meeting held on Thursday 19th May, 2016.

Julie-Ann began by welcoming everyone to the meeting.


The Garden Party will be in July, the date has yet to be confirmed by the Garden Café.

The Facebook group will now be public, to raise our profile.

Question of the month - 'What three things would you take to a desert island?'

As ever, there was a wide variety of answers, including champagne, sunscreen, a Kindle, a library van, manicurist, a boy to collect the coconuts(!), moisturiser, water, an evening gown from a French couture house, i-pad, set of crochet hooks, yarn a cutlass, a large bottle of rum, mind, imagination, flip-flops, sunglasses, barbecue, a horse to ride along the beach, Tink, an alpaca, and a sheep. Phew!

Julie Ann then introduced our guest speaker - Hayley, joint manager of the Children's Opportunity Centre

Hayley began by thanking the group for choosing the Children's Opportunity Centre as its charity of the year.

She told us that the centre was set up in 1982 as there was nothing available for children with additional needs at that time. They now support 200 families from the Centre, which is purpose-built and provides fully-integrated pre-school services. It costs £200,000 per year to run, and receives no statutory funding.

When a child is referred to the Centre, one of the managers will visit to see what help is needed. If they cannot provide it themselves, they can direct parents to other services. The aim is to enable every child to reach its full potential, and a high percentage progress to mainstream education.

The Centre offers playgroups, messy play, support groups, and also offers an outreach service taking toys, equipment and so on to children who cannot come to the centre, perhaps because they are at risk from catching an infection. Staff can also help families deal with the mountain of paperwork they may face.

The Centre is pro-active in trying to obtain funding, and has a large charity shop in Coleford, as well as a Facebook page. A very recent venture has been the introduction of a dress agency on the top floor of the charity shop, where good quality items can be sold on a 50/50 basis.

Member announcements

Forest Authors Festival - this will take place in Coleford, and authors are needed to participate. There will be adult activities, a book reading and, possibly, a play will be performed.

Dean Writing Circle - there will be a competition held for the best story of between 50 and 500 words. There are three age categories: 5-10, 10-18, and adult. The entry fee is £2 and the winners will be featured at the Authors Festival.

The Orchard Trust will be holding its Summer Fair on Saturday, 10th July. Admission will be £1.

Felicity is offering a free hypnosis session, with back-up acupuncture to members who can give up two items of food for 30 days.

Next meeting

Thursday, 16th June, with the ceramicist Mary-Rose Young as the guest speaker.

Minutes of the FBWN meeting held on Thursday 21st April, 2016.

Sarah began by welcoming everyone and explained the procedure of the AGM.

Report from the Chair

Sarah said that she had completed her term as Chair of the FBWN, but had been a member for many years before, and that it is the only group to which she has remained faithful. She loves what the group stands for, in that we're all very supportive of each other. Perhaps that's why we have survived for so long? The major event, for us, of 2016 was the move from Speech House to the Pavilion at Forest Holidays, our lovely new venue. She ended by thanking the committee for all of its hard work and support during her term of office.

Treasurer's report

Cecile distributed the accounts so that members could read the spreadsheet. She stressed the need for more members, and asked everyone to do as much as they could to bring guests along, so they could see what we do. Whilst our funds have been depleted, we now have new membership packs, and have been spending more on advertising.

We have given our charity of the year, Great Oaks Hospice, over £200, as well as several bags of high quality clothing, which will raise considerably more money in their shops.

Election of officers

Julie-Ann has agreed to take over as Chair of the group. Nominated: Sarah, 2nd: Teresa. The proposals for the rest of the committee were considered en bloc: Vice-Chair - Wendy; Treasurer - Cecile; committee members - Felicity and Caroline. Proposed: Sarah, 2nd: Teresa. All were elected unanimously.

Julie-Ann then took over to chair the rest of the meeting.

She explained that, as Secretary, Maggie did not have to stand for election this year as, in line with the constitution, the Secretary and Chair stand down in alternate years, to ensure some continuity on the committee.

Charity of the year

A vote was taken, and this will be the Children's Opportunity Centre. A representative will come to the May meeting to tell us about it.

Petunia pig was introduced to the group. This is our penny pot, into which members are invited to put any small change they may have. They will also add their fines for their mobile phones ringing during the meeting!

Julie-Ann the thanked Sarah, and gave her a pen as a memento of her time as Chair, and presented Alison, our retiring committee member, with a bouquet (prepared by Jacky, of Jessabel Flowers), as a thank you for all of her work on the committee over the many years in which she has been a member.

This ended the AGM and we proceeded to the rest of the meeting.


Instead of our usual 30 second slots, members were paired up, each one was then given 5 minutes to probe their partner, and then they swapped. At the end of the time, members then introduced their partners to the rest of us.

This proved an interesting exercise, and we all learnt something different about our fellow members.

Question of the month

This month's question was 'What were you like when you were ten?'

Answers included being horse/pony mad and getting their first horse: making stuff and pretending to be a Blue Peter presenter; athletic; loving sewing/knitting/crochet/ gardening; pressing flowers and making own 'perfume'; Evil Knievel; music, including mixing at night whilst parents slept; always in trouble at school; ballet; reading a lot; independent and self-assured; an absolute angel; adorable!

The meeting ended, and the next meeting will be on Thursday, 19th May at 9am, at the Pavilion, Forest Holidays. The speaker will be a representative from the Children's Opportunity Centre, our new charity of the year.

Minutes of the FBWN meeting, 17th March, 2016.

Sarah began by welcoming everyone.

Question of the Month

This month's question was 'Which TV programme do you watch as a guilty pleasure?'

Answers included Judge Judy, Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Hotel Inspector, Stargate Universe, Ex on the beach, The Clangers, Silent Witness, Made in Chelsea, Homes under the hammer, Project Runway and Magic Roundabout. Films were also mentioned - Speed Racer, Harry Potter, disaster movies and sci-fi all featured.

Sarah then introduced our guest,Aunt Martha of Aunt Martha's Victorian Tea Rooms (aka Nadine Carr)

Aunt Martha arrived in full Victorian costume, just as we'd hoped she would. She told us that she's now been running the Victorian Tea Rooms for eight years, and the business continues to grow, so much that new premises are being considered.

She began work in a bank, then became a riding instructor, but the falls made her give up! Public speaking followed, as did a stint as a canine behaviourist, ended by an allergy to dog hairs. Next, she and her husband began a company called 'History People' and went around schools bringing history to life. Sadly, increasing amounts of red tape meant that she stopped enjoying it.

This lead on to a business with her son, who has always enjoyed cooking. They started taking their food to street markets, as a way of testing the market before trying to launch the tea rooms. Initially, planning consent was refused, then limited consent was granted. Now, they are able to open more often, and for longer hours.

Aunt Martha told us that, for her, the biggest lesson learnt was not to be afraid to have a go, and to be flexible. An idea might be excellent, just the timing that is wrong, so bear that in mind. Now, the tea rooms are a training establishment, taking on four apprentices a year; they hold a themed soirée every few months featuring seasonal, local produce; and the production of celebration cakes is a growing aspect of the business. All of this is produced in an authentically Victorian kitchen.


The next coffee and catch up will be on the last Friday of the month(Good Friday) and take place at the Bakery, Longhope.

Next Meeting

Thursday, 21st April, and will be our AGM.

Minutes of the FBWN meeting, 18th February, 2016.

Alison welcomed everyone, including our four guests.

Question of the month

This month's question was 'If a film of your life was made, who would you like to play you?' Answers included Catherine Zeta Jones, Julie Walters, Judie Dench, Honeysuckle Weeks, Meryl Streep Dudley Moore, Liz Taylor and Madonna

Ten minute slots

Instead of a guest speaker, this meeting was given over to some of our members telling us how they got where they are now.

Cecile Hunt - Guiding businesses to success.

Cecile told us how she started her working life as a shop assistant and studied in her spare time. Through a variety of jobs, including delivery driver, garden ornament maker, receptionist and secretary, as well as several redundancies, she eventually qualified in accountancy and began her business in 2005. She now helps local businesspeople to understand what they need to do and, on occasion, act as their agony aunt!

Cath Brearley - Cath's Respite Care

Cath is quite new to running her own business, having started at Christmas, 2015. Previously, she was a veterinary nurse for twenty three years, and has moved around the country quite a lot. She came to the Forest of Dean as property is affordable here, and she couldn't afford London prices, so their loss is our gain!

On arrival in the Forest of Dean, Cath went to work at the Orchard Trust for a few years, something she greatly enjoyed. A chance request to look after an elderly lady to give her carers a break gave her the idea of offering this as a service, and her new venture was born.

Felicity Edwards - Forest Therapies

Felicity grew up in a mountain oasis in Kenya, approximately four hours from the nearest town. She feels that this somewhat strange environment gave her an accepting attitude in life. Because of her father's work she moved around a great deal, finally arriving in England to train as a physiotherapist. She then continued her education, gaining a BA in Psychology and Sociology. Further topics studied included criminology, the philosophy and psychology of religion, and hypnotherapy. Felicity told us that 90% of our mind is in our subconscious, and she believes that hypnotherapy can help most people learn to change their attitudes to what they do - changing inside helps to change the outside.

Caroline Jones - Fashion Revived

Caroline told us how she wears many hats; we know her as a dressmaker but she is also a director of the Hereford and Worcester Canal Trust, a journeyman costume maker for the Waterways Craft Guild and has a MA in Archive Administration. She developed her dressmaking business on being made redundant from her post as Senior Archivist when her post was moved to the Wirral, and she chose to stay in the Forest of Dean.

Her other great love is historic transport, and she is the proud owner of a military ambulance converted to a camper van; a motor bike, and a Land Rover, as well as her beloved narrow boat.

Pamela Dewick - Mary Kay Cosmetics

Pamela went to East Dean Grammar school, but family circumstances meant that studying for a degree was out of the question, so she began her working life. She has worked as a telegraphist, on the checkout at Asda, in administration, and as the organist at the crematorium. Although she is past retirement age, she still works full time.

Pamela has also been selling Mary Kay cosmetics for eighteen years, and loves it. Whilst her professional life is unsatisfactory, as her boss doesn't 'get' her, she finds great satisfaction in helping people make the best of themselves with Mary Kay. Apart from this, her other great passion is music - she plays the organ and conducts a choir.


Cecile reminded everyone that renewal invoices would be going out at the end of March. The new fees will be £80 per year, or £9 per meeting for guests.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, 17th March, when the speaker will be Nadine Carr (Aunt Martha!).

Meeting 21st January 2016

Sarah began by welcoming everyone to our new venue, the Pavilion at Forest Holidays.

Question of the month

This month's question was 'What do you hope to achieve in 2016?' The wide ranging answers included getting organised; 'selling my house and finding another'; develop my business; blogging; slowing down; building a tree house; getting on top of a project; becoming a team leader, getting to grips with social media; losing weight; running two businesses successfully together; painting a boat (the real thing, not a picture!); destashing; and finding a man!

Julie-Ann Amos then led a workshop around what we wanted to achieve in 2016

Julie-Ann emphasised how important the subconscious mind is in setting and achieving goals.

The link to the text used by Julie-Ann can be found in our Facebook group, so visit that to find out more


We will need three new committee members at the AGM, so volunteers will be most welcome. It's also time to think about our charity for next year, so nominations are needed, please.


Caroline Jones reminded us all that the latest issue of the Forest Bee is now available.

Wendy Guilfoyle has a special offer for February - have three hours of any treatment in February, and pay for just two.

Caroline is running Dressmaking Workshops at the Pludds Village Hall, fortnightly on Thursday afternoons from 1-4 pm. £15 per session, just bring along your projects and your sewing machine.

She is also running a crochet workshop at Maggie's home on Thursday, March 3rd. £25, bring or borrow your own hook, and be prepared to be loved by dogs!

Meeting 17th December

Sarah welcomed everyone, then posed the question of the month: What do you hope to find under the Christmas tree? As you would expect, there was a huge variety of answers, ranging from a rug-tufting gun, a chain saw, crochet hook with a light, a pony, and a Foden steam wagon, to less likely items such as world peace, and a male voice choir!

The main event of the morning was a Christmas quiz, set by Alison. Twenty five fiendish questions saw a magnificent victory by Maggie and Julie-Ann, who won a bottle of Cava!

Next month's meeting will be led by Julie-Ann, and will cover planning for 2016, what we need to do, and how to set about it. As ever, guests will be very welcome. The date is Thursday, 21st January and the time, as usual, will be 9.30 am.

Sarah reminded us all that the next meeting will take place in the Pavilion at Forest Holidays, not Speech House. It is a lovely venue, to find out more, here is the link The address is Bracelands Dr, Christchurch, Coleford GL16 7NN. For those of you who remember Cubs and Brownie camps at Bracelands, it has changed!

Meeting 15th October

In Sarah's absence, Alison began by welcoming everyone.


Members were given details of the 19th November meeting, which will be extended to 12 am, and provide an opportunity for members to showcase their wares, particularly those in the beauty and complementary therapy sectors. Stalls are free for members, £5 for non-members, and need to be booked with Maggie as soon as possible.

The 17th December meeting will take the form of Christmas quiz, and on the evening of 18th we're planning a Wine and Cheese evening. Tickets will cost around £15 and will need to be purchased in advance. Contact Maggie for more details.

Guest speaker - Pauline Nash of Calico Interiors

Pauline gave us a brief history of her business, and how it has grown over the years, largely as a result of her taking some quite courageous business decisions at times.

Starting as a home dressmaker when she had small children, she rapidly moved on to making curtains as, unlike some of her clients, window sizes don't fluctuate. Once her children were at school, she opened a showroom in Sling, and the business gradually grew.

Progressing to a shop in Coleford, Pauline experienced a really difficult time when a client went bankrupt owing her money, but she persevered and decided to rebrand as Calico Interiors in 1991. Further training in interior design followed, and the company continued to grow. They now take on large projects, Calcott Manor being a recent addition, as well as making curtains for stores such as John Lewis, Harrods and Leekes, whilst mentoring the sales teams in these companies. Pauline now employs twenty seven people, is still growing her company, and paid tribute to her staff. Her 'brilliant team' is involved in all aspects of the business - fitting, sewing, design and administration.

Finally, Pauline shared her belief in putting something back into the community. To this end, Calico Interiors supports local charities, including Great Oaks Hospice, the Orchard Trust, and the Opportunity Centre.

Pauline's business tips.

  • Progress slowly, go with the flow.
  • Sometimes, you have to take risks.
  • If you love what you do, stick with it.
  • You can't get it right all the time, it's how you deal with mistakes that matters.


Wendy is offering Christmas vouchers with 20% discount for FBWN members. A great present for someone who already has everything! Revamped website now live.

Great Oaks Hospice Christmas Bazaar, 7th November 10am - 4pm. Arts and crafts for sale, tables still available.

Next meeting

Thursday, 19th November, 9.30 at the Pavilion, Speech House, and will be the extended Christmas event previously mentioned.

Meeting 17th September 2015

Sarah began by welcoming everyone.

The question of the month was Apart from the business/job you're doing now, what profession do you think you'd be good at?' Answers included auctioneer, HR manager, barrister, teacher, social worker, and archivist, quite serious responses in a departure from our usual frivolity!


Sarah gave details of the planned cheese and wine evening/Christmas quiz which will be our Christmas event this year. More information will follow.

Guest speaker - Steve Whiddett

Members had asked for a session on personality types, and Steve led this. As it was participative, the report is not as detailed as usual!

One thing that Steve emphasised is the need for a variety of interests, as focussing on one thing to the exclusion of others isn't healthy. He pointed out that a key aspect of personality rests in the individual's difference, and that we all have specific preferences.

Steve carried out a series of exercises based around the Myers-Briggs type indicators, a Jungian psychotherapeutic model devised, appropriately for us, by a mother and daughter. It offers a simple, attractive model designed to start people talking and thinking about themselves, their perceptions, and what they need from other people.

As Steve took us through the various models there was much debate about which categories we fitted into, and we gradually discovered that it just wasn't cut and dried, and we needed a combination of attributes for a business to function effectively.


There will be a Craft Fair at Lydney Town Hall on 24th October. Contact Felicity for more information 07985 710224

Jo told us about the Mind, Body, Spirit Show at Chepstow Racecourse on Saturday, 3rd October. Phone 0750 2375714 for more details.

Next meeting

Thursday, 15th October, 9.30 at the Pavilion, Speech House. The speaker will be Pauline Nash, of Calico Interiors.

Meeting 21st August, 2015

Sarah began by welcoming everyone., particularly our guests.

The question of the month was 'What is the one food you would find really, really difficult to give up?' Answers included chocolate, lemon curd, boiled eggs, cheese, lobster, fruit, water, bread, red wine, creamy stuff (!), cake, honey and Greek yoghurt. Cheese was the overwhelming winner.


Sarah reminded everyone that we need their photos for the website.

Sharing of ideas

In keeping with the usual informal August meeting, this year we held some informal small group sessions, based around improving FBWN and interesting facts about members.

The overwhelming number one request was for a cheese and wine evening!

Secondly, Pamela's idea of members having 1 to 1 sessions was popular. This is something that could be arranged informally, between members. Just pick up the phone and ask someone you would like to know more about.

Social media training came high on the list, and there was quite a demand for more social events, including a trip to the races, and more frequent coffee mornings. Only one group referred to being too busy for these.

There were comments about our website needing to be updated, and made more interactive, and several interesting ideas about ways we could raise funds for our charity of the year. Pamper day/evenings seemed quite popular, as did the idea of Open Houses, and 'Come Dine With Me' evenings.

These are the main ideas and suggestions, but I will list them all so that we have something we can refer to.


There will be a Craft Fair at Lydney Town Hall on 24th October. Contact Felicity for more information 07985 710224

Sally suggested that we arrange a coffee morning at Great Oaks Hospice, which we hope to do in the near future.

Sarah will be having a sale of Friendtex clothes ( ) on 15th and 16th September. Contact her for details 01600 860967/07918 672121.

Jo told us about the Mind, Body, Spirit Show at Chepstow Racecourse on Saturday, 3rd October. Phone 0750 2375714 for more details.

Jo also mentioned a Health and Wellness event, using Energy Medicine. There will be an evening talk, followed by a workshop the next day. £5 and £55. For more information, e-mail her

Meeting 16th July 2015

Sarah began by welcoming everyone. The question of the month was 'If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you'd rescue, after your family and pets?' Answers included photos, phones, laptops, crystal ball, spinning wheel, research material, boat keys, jewellery, passports, money, car keys, piano and a musical cake slice!


Sarah told the meeting that The Garden Party had been a fun afternoon. She'd enjoyed it so much that she'd forgotten to take the photos!

FBWN had taken a stand at the Dene Magna fete. It was disappointing that no members wanted to take advantage of the display space on offer.

Guest speaker - Paula Burns, PAB Events

Sarah then introduced our speaker, Paula Burns, to talk about displaying goods effectively.

Paula told us that she had a corporate background but, ten years ago, wanted a change of focus, so set up her business. Her main focus is creating weddings, and she emphasised the need for support from other businesses, particularly if you are a sole trader. She also highly recommended Ali Brown, an online mentor

Paula began by selling retro gifts, and was constantly looking for places where she could sell them. Eventually, she set up Fantastic Shopping in conjunction with Tesco. She realised that a new, flagship store had a large foyer, which would be ideal for stalls. Her contact was with the community champion, as all of the fees paid go to the charity supported by Tesco. Paula has seen the full spectrum of sellers, from the very successful to those who are much less so. This served to emphasise the need to analyse what works and what doesn't.

In Paula's opinion, the key thing every stallholder needs to sell is irresistibility i.e. something that shoppers might not need, but just have to have.

There are five main components to running a successful stall:

  1. Know who you're selling to, identify your ideal customer, don't rely on random buyers.
  2. Display - always have different levels, show how items can be used, e.g. mirrors for jewellery and scarves. Dress the stall beautifully; eBay is a good place to pick up useful items.
  3. Signage - this is very important as it lends authenticity. Have leaflets and, as a minimum, a sign on the front of the stall. Services can focus on the benefits they offer.
  4. Yourself! How you look, interact, smile, be observant and helpful without being pushy.
  5. Shiny object - something that has the wow! factor, so attracts customers to your stall.


Pamela has suggested that a five minute slot for new members isn't enough so, from September, it will be increased to 10 minutes. Let us know what you think, please.

Again, from September, we will be introducing a 'Member of the month.' See the heading in the newsletter for more information.

We have a new supply of Date cards for future meetings, please take some and distribute to people who may be interested.

We're trying to liven up the website, so we need testimonials and your photos, please. Send to Maggie or Meave.

As part of our efforts to raise our profile we're looking for any awards or competitions we can enter. If anyone knows of any, please send details to Maggie.

Next Meeting

Thursday, 20th August, 9.30 at the Pavilion, Speech House.

Meeting 18th June 2015

Stand in chairlady, Cecile Hunt, opened the meeting, which was held in the Verderer's Court due to another event taking place in the Pavilion at The Speech House.

Cecile ran through the agenda for the meeting, which included her workshop, two, five minute slots from new members. She also briefly mentioned details of the Garden Party and requested raffle prizes; the funds from which will be donated to Great Oaks Hospice.

An FBWN table will also be available for members to exhibit at Dene Magna Fete on the 12th July from 12-5pm if anyone would like space.

Finally, Cecile reminded the attendees about Coffee & Catch Up on the 26th June in the Orangery at 10am and started the 40 seconds round.

Cecile's Workshop - How do we get new customers?

Cecile asked how we obtained our 1st customers. The responses were:-

  • Joined networks
  • Researched the local area
  • Recommendations
  • Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Flyers/Leaflets

She then asked the businesses present what incentives they provided to existing customers, which were:-

  • Loyalty cards
  • Thank you gifts/flowers
  • Ring cushions
  • Discounts for networking groups
  • Discount for introducing new customers

Cecile suggested that a refresh of a business's image could help to obtain new customers and that other ways of attracting new custom might be to:-

  • Talking to people to explain in more detail what you do
  • Find out people's perspective of what you do to see if you are giving the right message
  • Have flyers published
  • Check our rivals image/prices/competition etc
  • Get in the news - editorials/advertorials

We might check how our marketing is working by:-

  • The number of bums on seats
  • Checking where customers heard about us

We may have a target market, but the internet is making it too easy for people to find out information themselves, when they would otherwise approached a business and paid for that item or service. It's sometimes best to specialise in a certain area than try and target everyone. Cheap isn't always best so we need to work smarter, not harder.

We may need to revisit where we started to find out where our initial customers came from. However, things may have moved on and previous successful marketing strategies may no longer work. It takes time to build a business.


  • Does it work for everyone?
  • Provides a support network for isolated businesses/one-woman bands
  • Needs to be a suitable arena for that business type

Cecile asked if the businesses in the room set a budget for advertising, business cards etc. It was generally established that word of mouth recommendation is best.

New Members 5 minute slots

Pamela Dewick - Mary Kay Cosmetics

Pamela provided some background information about Mary Kay, which began almost 50 years ago and is now one of the largest direct sales businesses of skincare and colour cosmetics. Mary Kay's sales worldwide total $3 billion, products sold in more than 35 markets worldwide and an independent sales force exceeding 3 million.

Pamela started up a business using Mary Kay to boost her income and likes the concept of ladies being able to try before they buy, with a full money back guarantee. She believes that, by teaching people how to apply make-up properly, that this boosts their self-confidence by making them feel good.

Pamela handed round a wonderfully fragrant, rich hand cream for us all to sample, together with bags containing raffle tickets, invitations and leaflets before finishing with a prize draw for a Mary Kay product.

Sheila Farman Wealth Management

Sheila explained that she is a partner practice of St James Place Wealth Management, based in Hereford with 25 years' experience in High Street banks as an Independent Financial Adviser.

Sheila offers face-to-face wealth management advice, which is tailored to meet client's own specific needs. She went on to describe what wealth management means and confirmed that St James Place don't charge for their services and guarantee the advice she provides.

Sheila provided an example of what happens if you're off work ill and briefly explained pensions and investments and how she can help customers reach their pensions magic number. She confirmed that St James Place have £55bn of client investment funds under management so they're a well trusted organisation to take care of your savings.

Members' announcements

Julie-Anne mentioned her Forest Between the Covers book club, to be held at her home on the 7th July. Wine and refreshments will be served.

Julie-Anne also mentioned her plans to stream music on Facebook once a week from her recording studio.

Great Oaks Fete to be held on the Saturday, 20th June from 2-4pm.

Proms in the Park at The Speech House also on Saturday, 20th June.

FBWN Garden Party on Sunday, 5th July at the Lydbrook Garden Café from 2.30pm. Cost - £15.

Dene Magna Fete at the school on 12th July from 12-5pm.

Meeting, 21st May, 2015

Sarah began by welcoming everyone. The question of the month was 'If you came into a significant amount of money, what would you do with it?' Answers ranged from buying a horse, camera equipment and travelling, through setting up an animal sanctuary, to buying a yacht at Monte Carlo!


Sarah told the meeting that organising the Crafts Fair had just become too complicated and expensive, as we had to consider issues such as Public Liability Insurance, First Aid and the provision of loos. This means that we are back to the original idea of a Garden Party which will take place on Sunday, 5th July, from 2.30, at the Garden Café, Lower Lydbrook.

Great Oaks Hospice

Sarah then introduced our speaker, Irene Hardisty from Great Oaks Hospice, our Charity of the Year

Irene began by thanking us for choosing Great Oaks. She told us that the service they offer is free at the point of care, so they are constantly looking for fund raising ideas. There are currently six shops run by the charity, one at Mitcheldean being the latest addition.

Great Oaks offers services to a wide range of people, not just those who are dying, as well as families and carers. Hospice at home nurses and health care assistants are all experienced, and can offer night time help so that carers can get a good night's sleep.

Outreach Team

This operates on a psycho-social model, offering support in the home. If Great Oaks is unable to help, they are likely to know someone who can.

Day Hospice

Sometimes people just need to get out for a day, or their carers need a break, and the Day Hospice offers this. Advanced care planning can help patients think about the need to make a will, memory boxes and funeral planning. The Day Hospice also offers a wide range of complementary therapies, and has several groups which patients or their carers can join.

Compassionate communities

This is a new development, and harks back to the idea of care in the community. The initial project is with schoolchildren, who will be asked to draw a picture representing what they think care is. There will be 12 chosen to go in the 2016 calendar.


As mentioned, the Garden Party will take place on Sunday, 5th July.

Great Oaks Hospice fete takes place on Saturday, 20th June.

The next meeting will take place on 18th June. It will be chaired by Cecile, who will also run a workshop around getting (and keeping) customers.

April 2015 Meeting including the AGM

Sarah began by welcoming everyone and then launched into the AGM

Chairman's Report

Many of you may remember Sally Taylor (Sally Phillips as was) - our Chair for many years. She often used to start the meetings by saying what an honour and privilege it is to be the Chair of the FBWN. I've been in this position for a year now and I want to echo her words - it has been and honour and a privilege. I've belonged to many networks - including a few women only networks - and this is the one that I have been a member of for the longest. I love the ethos of the group, its friendly nature and the support that I've received from many of you in the past - support for my business and for me personally. So, I want to conclude my year as Chair and hopefully start my new term with a big 'thank you' to everyone.

In particular I'd like to thank the committee - without whom this network would not survive.

Maggie - our secretary - has been tireless in her enthusiastic writing of notes, battling with MailChimp and promoting FBWN at every opportunity. A self confessed 'technophobe' Maggie has been doing a sterling job of keeping all of you informed of what happens in our meetings.

Meave - our web guru in the background as she's working away most Thursdays - Meave keeps our website up to date and is also a woman of action, often sorting things out at our committee meetings there and then.

Alison - our printing expert has designed most of the printed FBWN material. Our logo, our date cards, our flyers and posters. We are very lucky to have such a talented person on the team, without her FBWN's image wouldn't look half as professional.

Cecile - our long suffering treasurer. She tried to get out of it when CJ Mitchel took over, but she's just too good at it for us to even attempt to take it on. Cecile is the perfect person to hold on to the financial reins - keen to spend money on the right things, challenging us when we perhaps get a bit over enthusiastic (though Maggie and I still think money spent on tiaras for the Open Evening would have been money well spent!).

Teresa - last but not least, our Vice Chair. Teresa is stepping down this year and I want to say a huge 'thank you' on behalf of the committee and the members for her many years on the Committee. Teresa is a fantastic voice of reason on the committee, she comes up with ideas, she's run some really good meetings and we are going to sorely miss her on the committee. I hope she remains a member and we still see her at meetings.

Report on Last Year

I'm not going to run through all the meetings we had last year I just want to highlight some key moments:

Open Evening - February. This was a great success in terms of footfall. Feedback was positive on the whole. It was a good collaboration between FBWN and FSB. The committee put in a lot of work to make this event a success and many of you contributed through attendance, stalls, ideas and so on. We would have liked to have had more members as a result but we feel it was good at raising our profile.

Coffee and Catch-up - each month. This was a new initiative to provide a place for people to catch up socially and give members an opportunity to meet up if they aren't able to make the meeting. It's held on the last Friday of every month. We've had mixed attendance - sometimes one or two, sometimes quite a few! We'll keep this going for the moment.

Christmas Social - we try to organise something each year around Christmas time to get together over a meal and celebrate. It also provides those of us (most of us!) who don't work in an office to have an 'office' Christmas 'do. Again, we'll keep this going as an annual event.

Garden Party - this has become a firm favourite, not least for the competitions that Maggie dreams up each year. Last year's was shoes, won by Cecile! We are going to grow this event this summer, more of which later.

Clothes Swap - support of Glad Rags. We feel that the Clothes Swap has had its day for the time being so we won't be organising one this year. However, we are still very grateful for all donations of clothes towards this worth cause.

Charity of the Year - this was the first year we've supported a charity and I think you'll agree it's been really worthwhile. Orchard Trust has been a fantastic partner and we've enjoyed working alongside them.

Message from Tina - "The Orchard Trust has been very fortunate to have been FBWN chosen charity for the last year. We have had such a wide variety of support since our links with the group and have been touched by this. The Orchard Trust is a charity that supports the Involvement, independence and development of adults with learning disabilities and FBWN have not only raised money for our charity but also helped with promoting our events and helping us with our campaigns to collect used ink cartridges and stamps. In addition to this we have also have a regular volunteer from the group, Caroline Jones who helps the Trust through giving her time and through using her sewing and knitting skills to produce amazing crafts for us to sell and raffle off. Finally we have also had the chance to make links with business women in the forest that have been able to help the Trust through their business and skills. On behalf of everyone at The Orchard Trust I would like to thank FBWN for all that you have done for us this year."

Treasurer's report

This was circulated at the meeting. Key aspects included the fact that we raised £312 for the Orchard Trust over the year, that membership is increasing again, and that we have a healthy balance.

It has also now been decided that guests will be asked to pay £9.00 per meeting, rather than the first one being free. Cecile reminded us that FBWN belongs to us all and, if it is to grow and succeed, we need to promote it as much as possible.

Election of Officers

Sarah paid tribute to Teresa, who is stepping down from both the committee and her role as Vice-Chair. She is a long standing member, and her contributions to the committee will be greatly missed. Fortunately, she will still be coming to FBWN meetings (with her camera!), so we will still have her input into the group.

As all other members were willing to stand, they were re-elected. Julie-Ann Amos was then elected to the vacancy on the committee.


Sarah announced that the charity we will support for this year is Great Oaks Hospice.


Normal meeting

The rest of the meeting continued with brief introductions. The question this month was 'Tell us one thing you'd like to see the new government next month do as a priority for business.'

As you would expect, there were lots of suggestions, including better internet access; more support for small businesses, including start-ups; they should employ knowledgeable staff who can help when contacted; lifting of red tape; learn that there is life outside London; and many more.


Teresa had brought her camera to take head shots of members for the FBWN website. She also offered to provide them for use elsewhere, in exchange for a donation to Great Oaks Hospice.

Sarah announced that there won't be a Garden Party this year. Instead, on 28th June we will be running and open air networking event, at Beechenhurst. There will be stalls (£10-15 for members, £15-20 non-members), and it is hoped that families will come along, as there is a picnic area, and there will be food available. The event will run from 12-5 pm.

Guest speaker: Cecile Hunt - Things not to do in business!

  1. Dont avoid other businesses, it can lead to interesting opportunities, and can be useful.
  2. It's easy to put off planning your business structure. You should have a plan, review it regularly, analyse what is working, and don't be afraid to change course if it isn't working
  3. Don't mix up your private and business bank accounts.
  4. Don't spend too much on outward show, leaving nothing for the substance of the business
  5. Don't expect instant results from promoting your business. Give any campaign time to produce work.
  6. Don't think you can do it all yourself, learn to delegate.
  7. Once you've set up your business, and it's working for you, don't think you can sit back and relax! Make sure that you keep up to date by attending one day courses, seminars and so on.
  8. 'Givers gain.' Share your skills with the community. As well as helping others, it raises your profile.
  9. Don't wear yourself out, save some 'me' time.
  10. Don't be put off by ambitious targets. Break it into smaller steps and you can achieve your aim.
  11. Don't economise on equipment, make sure that you buy the right tools for the job.
  12. Don't keep flogging a dead horse. If it isn't working, ditch it!
  13. Don't take the first deal offered, shop around for the best prices.
  14. Don't let your attention wander. If you're working alone, it's easy to be distracted.
  15. Don't get caught out. Write down, in clear steps, what you do so that, in an emergency, someone could step in to help.

Questions - it was pointed out that we all need to have a dream as well, something at which we can aim.


There will be a Summer Fete at Lydney Town Hall on June 6th, from 11 am - 4 pm. Stalls are £5 each, contact Felicity for more information

There is a new book club in the Forest. It will meet at Julie-Ann's on 11th May, at 7pm. The next book is 'The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August' by Claire North.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will take place, as usual, in the Pavilion at Speech House on Thursday, 21st May, from 9 am. The question of the month is 'If you came into a significant amount of money, what is the first fun thing you'd buy?'

March 2015 Meeting


The question this month was 'What is your favourite form of relaxation?' Predictably, answers included gardening, being outside, horses, dogs and reading, but there were some less usual ones as well, including circle dancing, power boats and hot yoga.

Guest speaker - Hilary Green, UKTI.

Hilary began by telling us that she was passionate about women entrepreneurs. She pointed out that, whilst we might think that language was a barrier for some of us, the UK exports more to Ireland than it does to Russia or Brazil!

Hilary emphasised that export isn't just about products, it can also cover services. We should think about the packages we can offer, as the internet has made the world accessible to so many people now. A huge amount of money (£50 million) has been made available for putting business into China, but there is also up to £35 million available for micro-businesses. How many small businesses could start trading outside the UK?

The UKTI can help with SEO (search engine optimisation), websites, and Intellectual Property Rights. It also now has digital experts who can help with advice.

Hilary suggested that we should think about our marketplace, what people buy now, and how that could be put into an online package. It helps to put together a picture of our ideal customer and what social media they use. We should then plan how to shape our offering so that people overseas will want it. She gave numerous examples, including hypnotherapy sessions using Skype, and putting together complete 'how to' packages that can be sold online.

Research has shown that companies who do reach out to other countries tend to manage their cash flow and risks better.

During the week commencing 8th May there will be 60 different business experts available, in Bristol, to discuss possible options. Appointments, on a first-come, first-served basis, are free.

For more information, visit the UKTI website or you can e-mail Hilary

5-minute slots

Two of our new members were given five minute slots in which to tell us about themselves and their businesses.

Jo Cooper - Cash 4 Clothes, Neal's Yard Remedies, energy medicine

Jo told us how our energy can fluctuate throughout the day, and took us through some simple exercises to revive us. She also provided us with a handout, which you can access here

Carol Evans - Utilities Warehouse

Carol told us how, on returning from West Africa to live in the UK, she went to a presentation and decided to join Utilities Warehouse. She can save people money on their annual bills, and covers 5 different services, such as electricity, phone and gas. They also provide a cashback card, so the savings can be substantial. Carol is hoping to build up her own team, so contact her for more information.

Final announcements

Sarah reminded everyone that the AGM takes place in April. The whole committee will then be up for election. Sadly, Teresa has decided to step down from the committee, after many years' of promoting FBWN. Julie-Ann Amos has put herself forward for election, and the rest of the committee is willing to stand, but more candidates would be welcome.

Also in April, we will be selecting the next Charity of the Year, so please let us have your nominations. The chosen charity will receive free membership for a year, we give them the proceeds of any events we run, and offer practical help if possible. In exchange, it is expected that a representative of the charity will come to most of our meetings.

Dementia Awareness week will take place from 17th - 21st May. Felicity needs buttons, please, for her Twiddle Muffs.

Christine Waygood invited everyone to the opening of her new workshop, on 19th April, 2-5pm, at Kent Cottage, Blakeney Hill. There will be cake!

Caroline Jones will be running ten week dressmaking courses Thursday afternoons will begin on 16th April, from 1-3pm at Zig-Zags, Wednesday evenings start on 22nd April, from 7-9pm at the Pludds Village Hall. The cost for each course is £200, with a £50 deposit needed to secure your place.

Finally, Caroline would like donations of double knitting wool for the blanket she is making for the Orchard Trust to raffle, please. Contact Caroline for more details

April Meeting

The April meeting will take place on Thursday, 16th April, at the Pavilion, Speech House, from 9 -11 am. After the AGM, which usually only takes ten minutes, Cecile Hunt will lead a session on '10 things not to do in business.'

The question of the month is 'Tell us one thing you'd like to see the new government next month do as a priority for business.'

February 2015 Meeting


Sarah began by welcoming everyone. The question this month was 'What is your favourite part of the Forest of Dean, and why?' The area was well covered with its answers, including one person who wouldn't tell us, so we couldn't go there!

5 minute slots

Two of our new members were given five minute slots in which to tell us about themselves and their businesses.

Felicity Edwards - Forest Therapies

Felicity offers a range of complementary therapies, including acupuncture, Vega testing and weight management. She is also a Clinical Hypnotherapist and can offer Past Life Regression Therapy. Felicity offers a variety of programmes to help people. To find out more, visit her website

Kathy Kilbey - Forever Living

Like Felicity, Kathy wears a variety of hats. She is a Marine Surveyor, something she has done for many years, but is now looking to develop a business with Forever Living, a company which sells aloe vera based products. She has been impressed with the training and support offered by the company, so is aiming to build up a team of salespeople. To find out more, her website is

Guest speaker - Caroline Anderson, Chair, Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association

Caroline began by reminding us that tourism brings in millions of pounds of business to the area every year, both directly and indirectly. The group that she now chairs ( consisted of just a few members when she joined, received no help from the District Council, and was battling the problem that no one had heard of the Forest of Dean!

After the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in 2001 some Government money became available, the existing association was set up, and the District Council decided to hire a Tourism Officer. This lead to brochures being produced and a dedicated website. More members joined, and the whole thing began to snowball. Gradually, shops and restaurants began to get involved, and the Association now has over 300 members, and is a not-for-profit company.

Although Caroline is preparing to retire, she is confident that the group has a very healthy future, and will continue to grow and prosper.

Final announcements

Sarah reminded everyone that the AGM takes place in April. The whole committee will then be up for election. Sadly, Teresa has decided to step down from the committee, after many years' of promoting FBWN. Julie-Ann Amos has put herself forward for election, and the rest of the committee is willing to stand, but more candidates would be welcome.

Also in April, we will be selecting the next Charity of the Year, so please let us have your nominations. The chosen charity will receive free membership for a year, we give them the proceeds of any events we run, and offer practical help if possible. In exchange, it is expected that a representative of the charity will come to most of our meetings.

Caroline Jones (Fashion Revived) is considering setting up a sewing group. If anyone is interested, please contact her on

Karin Whittaker (Karosa Jewellery) has produced a heart pendant necklace in aid of her daughter's trip to Romania, as a volunteer, at the end of March. The cost is £10, £5 of which goes to the fund. Contact Karin for more details

March meeting

The March meeting will take place on Thursday, 19th March, at the Pavilion, Speech House, from 9 -11 am. The speaker will be Hilary Green of the UKTI (UK Trade and Industry) talking about help that the organisation can offer to small businesses.

December 2014 Meeting


Sarah began by welcoming everyone to the meeting.

She gave details of a First Aid course to be run by Dave Beddis, in conjunction with FBWN. The proposed date is 26th February and it will take place at Lydney Rugby Club, between from 9.00 - 4.30. Participants will receive a certificate at the end of the day. There needs to be at least 12 participants for the course to run, the cost will be £45, bring your own lunch. Contact Sarah for details.

The question of the month was 'What do you hope to find in your stocking?' Answers were, as you would expect, varied, but 'peace and quiet' was the winner by far. Other suggestions ranged from the winning lottery ticket, to getting rid of a stepson!

We then had the Christmas Quiz, which was won by Cecile and Alison.

Details of the Open Evening were given, and some of the invitations were distributed.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, 15th January. The speaker will be Mark Whittle of the Federation of Small Businesses, co-hosts of the Open Evening.

November 2014 Meeting


Sarah welcomed people to the meeting, and told everyone about the new badges, which denote committee members.

She reported on the recent Enterprise Fair, and said that we would like to hear of more events of this sort, as we are trying to grow the group. All ideas are welcome.

She then introduced our guest speaker, Cecile Hunt, who gave us ideas on how to plan our businesses for 2015.


She told us that all business is a journey and, if our car develops a problem, we deal with it, and should do the same with our businesses. There are 2 main ways to increase turnover and/or income:

  • Increase prices
  • Monitor expenditure

She also suggested that, when we get new clients, we should ask how they heard of us.

In analysing our business, we should consider:

  • Type of customer, such as their disposable income
  • Is your client group too wide?
  • Is it cost effective to do everything yourself?

We should regularly evaluate our business plans - revise, evaluate and develop them.

FBWN Website

We don't have information on all members on the members' page. Can you let me, Maggie Mortimer, have your up to date information, please? A photo would be excellent, as well!


Some of us are thinking of going to the races again. Anyone who is interested can contact Maggie

Last call for anyone interested in Christmas lunch, on 19th December, contact Maggie, as above.

Coffee mornings will be held at the Learning Centre, Orchard Trust on 5th and 12th of December, from 10.30 to 12. Santa will be in his grotto on 14th December. £5 per child, and there will be lots of arts and crafts to keep them busy. Contact Tina for more information

Christine Waygood will be exhibiting at the Christmas Market at Taurus Crafts, to be held on 13th and 14th December, admission is free.

October 2014 Meeting


Sarah welcomed everyone to the meeting. She said that CJ has resigned as Treasurer, as she is now in full time employment, so Cecile has been 'persuaded' back into her old role. She offered some office supplies that she no longer needs, available for just a donation to FBWN. Members are encouraged to add to this. Larger items can be sold, and a donation made to FBWN. We can't store these things, so they must be taken away afterwards.

As part of our plan to expand, Sarah asked members to inform the committee of any events where FBWN could take a stand, to publicise the group.


This month's theme was improving presentation skills, and Teresa lead a Room 101 style workshop to help us with this. Members were divided into small groups, everyone had to give a brief presentation on why their nominated subject should go into Room 101, then we voted on the best presentations. Topics ranged from the serious (ebola, puppy farms) to the frivolous (tattoos, men and loo seats). Much fun was had, and Teresa reminded us of the serious message behind it, that we should endeavour to present ourselves and our products with passion.


Sarah asked members to promote FBWN, and reminded them of the incentives offered if someone they have introduced joins the group. A £10 voucher will be given, which can be used towards membership, or an event.

The Orchard Trust is looking for volunteers to pack Christmas cards. They are also collecting used postage stamps and printer cartridges. Finally, don't forget to use when shopping online.

Wendy Guilfoyle is offering members a 10% discount, just quote FBWN when booking.

Christine Waygood is running a slipper making workshop on 24th November. £60 including all materials and lunch.

Karin will host an Open Studio on 28/29th November. There will be demonstrations, mulled wine and German Christmas bakery fare.

The next 'Coffee and catch up' will be on Friday, 31st October, in the Orangery at Speech House. Bring your knitting, patchwork or anything else you like to do with your hands, or just come to chat and relax!

After the meeting ended, there was a Clothes Swap, held in support of the Orchard Trust, with surplus clothing going to Glad Rags.

September 2014 Meeting


Sarah opened the meeting with a welcome to all and to this month's speaker, Dave Beddis. She also outlined the agenda and reminded everyone to complete the slips for any announcements. Sarah introduced the new FBWN Programme of Meeting Dates and thanked Alison Morgan for arranging the design and print for these. She confirmed that the Fly Your Flag slots will begin again next month.

The 40 second introductions then took place.

Sarah highlighted the point of the network i.e. support and sharing knowledge, as well as business referrals.

This Month's Speaker

Sarah then introduced Dave Beddis, MD of Dean Fire Ltd, which sells and services fire extinguishers and fire equipment. Dave is also a retained fire fighter and a co-responder at Lydney Fire Station. Dave's presentation centred around the importance of first aid and the ability to be able to administer assistance, particularly in the event of cardiac arrest. He demonstrated CPR on a dummy using a defibrillator. Defibrillators are available at various locations throughout the Forest for public use. Dave recommended logging on to, which shows other first aid scenarios we may be interested in. Finally, Dave answered questions from the floor.

Meeting Close

There was then a period of open networking before Sarah read out the announcements.

Next month's meeting, on the 16th October, 2014, will consist of a workshop followed by a Clothes Swap. The workshop will be run by Vice Chair, Teresa Owen of Three Counties Mortgages and the purpose is to enable you to practice your presentation, influential and persuasive skills in a fun and supportive setting, focusing on communication techniques such as choosing positive language, being passionate and enthusiastic about your case, and showing 'benefits' to others of coming to your way of thinking.

Finally, Sarah wished Susan Pearson well as she leaves the Network to study History at University. Susan has been a regular, supportive member of FBWN for a number of years and we wish her well.

August 2014 Meeting


Sarah began by welcoming everyone, then told us that the question of the month was 'Where is one of the best places you've ever been on holiday?' Answers varied from the predictable (Spain, France, Italy, USA) to the odd (Stoke on Trent) as well as the exotic (Bali).

Sarah read out a letter from Gill Hurley, thanking everyone for the clothes from the Clothes Swap, as well as Alison for some leaflets, Julie-Ann for the toiletries, and Karin for donating a voucher for a photography session. Gill also sent some photos so we could see the outcome of the session.

Guest speaker

As there were so few members present, it was decided to hold an informal meeting, and Teresa will run her workshop when everyone is back from their holidays.

Those of you who were unable to come missed out on discussions around naked waiters, high class prostitutes, lessons in a Parisian brothel and, on a more serious note, genetics, and the impact of World War One!

Fly your flag

CJ was unable to make her presentation, so Wendy had the floor. Her theme was 'Happiness is a state of mind' and was taken from an article she read recently. The premise is that we are all born happy, then life puts a block on it, and Wendy suggested various ways this could happen, such as physical pain, stress, negative thought patterns and several others. Part of her role as a complementary therapist is to look at why people become ill, and Wendy is convinced that reflexology and allergy testing can help overcome their symptoms.

Book recommendation

It was thought that it could be useful to have a book/article of the month, possibly to then be discussed at 'Coffee and catch-up' on the last Friday of the month, 10 am in the Orangery at Speech House. One suggestions was 'Women who run with the wolves', a book about powerful women and empowerment. Whilst we realise that not everyone will have the time to read the complete book, here's a link to some quotes from it

Final announcements

The Orchard Trust will be holding its Silver Jubilee Fayre on Saturday, 13th September, at Upper Stowfield, Lydbrook, between 2 pm and 4.30.There will be music, cakes, and lots of entertainment for the whole family. Raffle tickets are also now available to buy, or even to sell, with a first prize of £100.

You can also help the Trust by using when shopping online.

The next Clothes Swap will be on Thursday, 16th October, in the Pavilion at Speech House. The format will be the same as before - it will follow our monthly meeting, and a light lunch will be served.

September meeting

The September meeting will take place on Thursday, 18th September, at the Pavilion, Speech House, from 9 am to 11 am. The speaker will be David Beddis, talking about First Aid. To book your place, please contact Teresa, who has kindly agreed to cover for me whilst I am away, by Tuesday, 16th September.

July 2014 Meeting


Chairlady, Sarah Whiddett, opened the meeting and outlined the agenda.

Since the last meeting, we held the Clothes Swap, which worked very well as an extension of the normal monthly meeting. Sarah read a letter of sincere thanks from Gill Hurley, to whom we donated the clothes not swapped. Gill was also thankful for the offers of additional help offered for the charity.

The Garden Party was also held last week and Sarah thanked everyone who came and Maggie Mortimer for organising the event. We all had a 'smashing' time, despite the weather. A 'best shoes' competition was won by Cecile Hunt for her tartan courts.

Over the two events, the Network raised £134 for The Orchard Trust and Tina, a volunteer co-ordinator for the Trust, was presented with a cheque for the proceeds.

Sarah mentioned our FBWN 'Coffee & Catch-Up' meeting; the first of which was held on the 30th May in The Orangery of The Speech House and will be held on the last Friday of every month for anyone wanting to meet up for coffee and some informal networking.

The FBWN Committee have introduced an incentive for current members to introduce new people to the Network. Any members who subsequently introduce guests who subsequently become members will be paid £10 in the form of a voucher, which can be used towards future events, to reduce membership fees or to pay for a future guest.

The Committee is also in the process of arranging a standing order process, whereby existing and new members will be allowed to pay on a monthly basis at £7.50 per month. This is a little more expensive than paying annually to cover the administration of setting up and monitoring the standing orders.

Certain members have enquired whether the Committee could provide, say, bacon rolls rather than pastries at the meetings. We have investigated this with the hotel but, unfortunately, it would not be economic for us to provide something more substantial due to the additional cost.

The 40 second intros then took place.

This Month's Speaker

Sarah then introduced today's speaker, Andy Pope, speaker, coach, trainer & author. Andy gave some wonderful tips on how to speak with confidence, combat nerves and how to get our valuable message across. He recommended the use of 'you' and 'your' in presentations and to remember the adage 'talk to one; address all' although, when making an important point, it's a good idea to pick out one person to address. Andy told us not to forget the power of the pause and to say nothing for 5-6 seconds.

Andy gave some pointers on how to give dynamic 40 second introductions. He suggested we avoid 'the laundry list' which can turn listeners off and to make the intro about what you can offer them. 10 words or less should be used to state what you do 'I help people who.....' and to use the logical and emotional benefits of your product or service. Andy urged us to 'show; don't tell' what we can do for our prospective clients, don't try and please everyone and, if possible, identify our ideal client.

Finally, Andy recommended that businesses allow people to buy from them, that we listen to them and let them tell us and offer a solution.

Fly Your Flag

Susan Pearson of Beta Telecoms busted some telecoms myths and how different time zones affect the usage of broadband. Cheap packages can restrict the amount people can download as the usage is often shared and capped. Caps exceeded could be subject to an additional charge. Susan recommended us to check those of use with 'unlimited' broadband contracts to see if this is truly unlimited or subject to an internet cap.

Cecile Hunt of Guiding Businesses to Success can ease the trials of tribulations of those setting up or those already in businesses by assisting with processes and organising systems. For businesses who handle lots of stock, purchase orders need to be raised for accounting and stock taking purposes. Cecile helps owners work on their business rather than in their business and also tutors in accountancy and sage etc.

Meeting Close

Sarah asked members to take some FBWN business cards to distribute to individuals, shops and businesses to try and encourage new people to the group.

Sarah also issued a reminder re the showcase table and encouraged members to put their name on the list if they want space on the table to display their goods and services. This should be booked, preferably in advance of the meeting, with Caroline Jones.

Next month's Fly Your Flag was drawn and Maggie Mortimer of Mortimer PR Services and Sarah Whiddett of Sarah's Place will present at the July meeting.

A number of announcements were made before Sarah closed the meeting at 11.15 am.

March 2014

Cecile began by welcoming everyone, then reminded us that the next meeting will be on 10th April, having been brought forward because of Easter. This will be the AGM, so see the election of the new committee, as well as the proposed adoption of the new constitution. She asked for any nominations or volunteers for any of the posts on the committee.

Cecile also reminded members to make nominations for the charity we will support during the year.

May Meeting

This will be the Clothes Swap. During the meeting Gill Hurley will talk to is about the work done by the charity, Glad Rags. There will then be a short break, whilst we set things up, then the swap will begin at 12. Friends/visitors will be most welcome. There will also be a raffle held during proceedings, so any donations of prizes will be gratefully received. Leftover clothing will go to Glad Rags, whilst money raised from the raffle will go to our nominated charity of the year.

Garden Party

The date of 8th June was suggested, but a show of hands gave little support to this event.

Annual Membership Fees

These are due on, or before, the April meeting.

Guest Speaker

This month's guest was Yvette Farrell, of Hart's Barn Cookery School.

Her theme was 'failure' which, she said, very few people mentioned. However, she believes in the yin/yang principle, and that every failure has a silver lining, which can lead to a positive outcome.

Yvette told us about her early years, and the path which lead her to the Cookery School. The ethos behind the school is 'Cooking for all', and she has tried to implement this by keeping her charges as low as possible, as well as offering courses to appeal to a wide range of customers, including children's parties and hen parties. This philosophy seems to have worked, as the school has weathered the recession, sales are now increasing, and will have been operating for three years in June.

Fly Your Flag

Kris Ventris-Field told us about her business - KVF etc - which is an educational training consultancy specialising in working with people with dyslexia, and their employers, as well as in workplace learning advocacy.

Caroline Jones told us about her business - Fashion Revived. She now makes a lot of 'occasion' wear, such as wedding dresses and bridal wear. She also enjoys 'upcycling', and brought along some examples of such items, including a skirt made from ties, and jeans made into a skirt.

Susan Pearson told us about Beta Telecomms, which offers a full range of telecommunications products. They shop around for the best possible prices, and are there to trouble shoot if any problems arise.


Caroline thanked Susan Pearson for her recent help over telephone bills.

Cecile thanked Wendy Guilfoyle for a recent, relaxing session.


There will be a rally at Lydney Yacht Club on 28th June, and Susan Pearson is looking for stallholders.

Wendy Guilfoyle is about to celebrate her 20th anniversary as a reflexologist, so has a special offer - if you book 3 sessions, quoting 'anniversary' you get a fourth one free.

February 2014

Cecile began by welcoming everyone to the meeting

She reminded us that nominations are still needed for the charity to be supported during the coming year. Please send these to Sarah. Cecile then told us that, owing to lack of support, the Awards Night has been cancelled.

In view of both of the above, she asked members to try to be more proactive, and to let the committee know what they wanted from the group.

'Table' exercise

Instead of a speaker, members were seated at tables of five or six, and asked to tell the others what they did, and something about theirselves which wasn't already known.

This exercise lead to some very animated discussions, as well as much hilarity. It was clear that the group is used for much more than straightforward networking, and that the support it provides is most welcome. It was also apparent that we had a wide range of talents and unknown skills, as well as some skeletons in various closets!

Fly Your Flag

Monique Davis, of Chrystal UK told us about her cleaning business, and warned of the possible pitfalls of not using an agency.

Julie-Ann Amos, told us about Granny's Memoirs, her business where she converts memories, usually of older people, into books for them. She told us some fascinating anecdotes about some of her clients.

Andrea Hope, talked about her business as a travel agent, where she offers individually designed holidays, for those who want to get away from package deals. She also offers her services as an artist specialising in pet portraits.


Cecile suggested that members review what they have entered on the FBWN website, and make sure the information is current.

Meeting Details

  • Details of other networking, social and business events of interest
  • 'Good News Slot' - please provide ON ARRIVAL for submission at the end of the meeting
  • Networking exercises, facilitated networking or guest speaker
  • New members get a 5 minute slot to introduce themselves and describe their business
  • Opportunities for open networking
  • Water, tea, coffee & pastries are provided
  • If you are not a member then you will be charged £9.00 per meeting you attend.
  • Each member/guest is invited to give a 40 second introduction of the products and services they offer
  • Bring plenty of business cards
  • We meet at The Pavilion, Forest Holidays Forest of Dean, Bracelands Dr, Christchurch, Coleford, Gloucestershire GL16 7NN, on the third Thursday of every month. 9.00 a.m. for 9.30 a.m. start, 11.00 a.m. finish