Secrets of Business Growth

Devon-based TDA business is launching a new  ‘Knowledge Network’ as part of its business support portfolio.  And boy is it needed!  The Torbay area’s draft Economic Development Strategy makes for pretty tough reading, making the task of encouraging business growth something of a Himalayan trek.

Torbay’s GVA is 38.5% lower than the UK average and, using the UK Competitiveness Index, it is 22.2% less competitive than the UK average.  But there is some hope on the horizon as there are 4010 active businesses in the area and the draft economic strategy describes some promising increases in start-ups and entrepreneurial activity.

Any published ‘secrets of business growth’ will refer to many factors including profile raising (perhaps by becoming an industry thought leader), access to growth finance and clear vision and strategy. All such lists will also refer to hiring the right people and investing in those people.

The new TDA Knowledge Network launches in 2018 with two top speakers that will focus firmly on engaging and supporting people, helping them to reach for those Himalayan peaks; achieving personal excellent and working together to reach goals.

Andy Cope will present a workshop on his very successful ‘art of brilliance’ programme on the 22nd February and Nigel Risner will focus on workplace communications using his unique model in June. Both events take place at the Palace Theatre in Paignton and are offered at very reasonable prices. Judging by the feedback that both speakers receive, it should be money very well spent!

BOOK HERE Andy Cope 22nd February 2018

BOOK HERE Nigel Risner 15th June 2018

Torbay Economic Strategy (draft) Evidence Base Feb 2017 available here.




‘Let’s run a theatre…’

Doorstep Arts performance ‘The Woods’ Oct 17

Not something you hear every day in the office but a colleague and I are indeed setting up a new Community Interest Company which is anticipating signing the lease on the Palace Theatre in Paignton, Devon in 2018.

In these cash-strapped times and with many other priorities to juggle, the theatre’s owners and operators, Torbay Council, are no longer able to continue and so the challenge is falling into the world of the private sector, or more accurately the not-for-profit sector.

It’s a wonderful theatre with 380 seats, recently refurbished and with an exciting programme of drama, music, opera and dance and an amazing backbone of community and am-dram groups keeping it very busy through the year.

The plans are evolving but please do take a look at the theatre’s website and sign up for news of future events. Looking forward to curtain-up on this new venture!


Torbay Culture Hosts

Hosts gather at Torre Abbey to find out more about volunteering. With James Tyson, International Agatha Christie Festival Director.

I am pleased to be working with the Torbay Culture Board, recruiting and training a new army of CULTURE HOSTS for Torbay. Partners across the Bay are working with Torbay Culture Board to transform cultural provision and engagement in the region.  With support from Arts Council England and a recent grant of £1.2m from the new Great Place Scheme, Torbay is investing heavily in its cultural infrastructure and heritage assets; in skills development and in effective, ongoing audience development.  ‘We want to be on the map as a great cultural centre, brilliantly communicated; to grow our reputation for innovative, community-driven arts and heritage in unusual spaces and to help our cultural venues to thrive, however they are governed.  We also seek to celebrate unique cultural assets, such as our UNESCO-endorsed Geopark and Agatha Christie heritage.’

THE TALE is an exciting new event for explorers of all ages, guiding visitors on a journey of discovery from the streets of Torquay, through hidden coves and historic harbours, to the quarry of Berry Head. New artworks and performances will be revealed during three weekends in September.

The INTERNATIONAL  AGATHA CHRISTIE FESTIVAL  running from 13-17 September, has expanded into a major platform for new works with guest writers, artists, song, stories, dance and extraordinary objects celebrating the extraordinary life and legacies of Dame Agatha Christie Mallowan.

To enable these events to run, a new pool of volunteer Culture Hosts is being recruited by the Torbay Culture Board and its many partners across the Bay.  As a Host you could in fact be helping out in one of many roles; everything from stewarding and guiding visitors to shifting props and telling stories.  And we want everyone to get involved; any age, any background and any ability.

Find out more here on

POST SCRIPT Oct 2017… 99 culture volunteers signed up, 71 of them active during these events and together now forming a core team supporting arts events in Torbay into the future.


WordPress WSOD

Thanks for clicking on my blog and so sorry that it is quite so out of date! When I set up this site using WordPress I was warned about the dreaded WSOD – White Screen of Death – basically a problem where the site admin page goes blank and you can’t edit the site – at all!

An entirely avoidable problem. One that could have been avoided by ensuring that themes and plugins were regularly updated. Well I’m no web developer but with patience, lots of coffee and some excellent forum and video advice (thanks particularly to The Theme Foundry for the excellent video on setting up an FTP client) the problem was resolved.

Thanks for visiting.

Here’s the link to Theme Foundry’s article and video.