Prudhoe Business Magazine

This last week was very nostalgic and an eye-opening shoot
with Alan Sawyers from AS Design based in Prudhoe. I was born and raised in Prudhoe
and have spent 15 years away and I have gone back to nearly nearly Prudhoe.

My Dad still lives there and so I am there nearly every day,
but the shoot that I did with Alan for the brand new Prudhoe Business Magazine
really hit home with how things have changed but also how it doesn’t.  It also highlighted how working together, as
I always bang on about, is the right way to go forward in business and to see
some of the business owners, some I have actually known for years, from
different contexts and new ones. They all had that hunger to work together in
the local community and drive the area forward as a whole and there was no real
ulterior motive to try and be, “I have to make money out of my local area.” It
wasn’t that, it was just to be supportive, to be there as a group of
businesses. To see that on a local level was fantastic and in my background in
community development work I saw a lot of this in Hexham back in the early
2010s and it was great seeing businesses coming together. But at the time, my
business was not as fully established as it is now and I have that on an online
basis – Mint Business Club provides a lot of that, we are all in it together
and all the support, but obviously that’s online so the geographical thing, the
‘tie it together around Front Street’ thing, is something that really kind of
resonated with me.

Some of the businesses we went in to see, I’ve known Pete Surridge
for years again through Mint Business actually, and to just be in his office
and the old library where I remember getting books out as a school kid and
getting my dinner outside there as a Nineties kid, that was strange and then
we called into Horizon NLG Learning in the old Finnegans Building – though it
wasn’t Finnegans then it was Hammeright and now it’s something different and
just seeing that transition was great. Being welcomed to the building by
someone I went to school with and I felt really bad that I didn’t instantly
recognise them because I am usually quite good with faces, but you know it’s 24
years since I left Prudhoe High School so yeah obviously everybody changes in
those sort of time scales so it didn’t instantly hit me who it was. But it was
fantastic to say hello and not that we got the chance to catch up really but I
am sure that will happen.

We went to see Gordon Stuart who is a local councillor and
for me, that was like coming a bit full circle. When I was in Hexham, Gordon was
working to support the communities all across the Tyne Valley and now he covers
a massive chunk of the town I was born in as a councillor and to hear his
passion and his knowledge of the local area and hear him say, “Oh have you
talked to this business or this business?” and just knowing everybody on the
street, that was really good to see and it was good to kind of bring me back to
a time when I knew he did that in the local communities around the Tyne Valley
but now he’s doing it as somebody who has influence and stature and is able to
make a direct change to people’s lives in the local council – it’s been great.

This is where the tinges of nostalgia kind of sneak in. I
saw many places, like the snooker hall that I went into as a 16 or 17-year-old every week to go play snooker, there was no other place we could get into
and yes I have been to Prudhoe so regularly. Every week I drive through but to
be on the streets, yes it was with my camera which was obviously a little bit
of a novelty cos I haven’t done that much photography in the town centre and
seeing the town centre from a slightly different perspective looking at the top
of the [???] Centre
which is still the library to me, looking down Front Street, it’s just great to
be part of. The shoots that we did are going to look great in the magazine and
I am really looking forward to being able to put one on my Dad’s table and go,
“There you go – have a look at that.” He has a bit of a thing about Prudhoe and
it’s all my pictures in there, it really does resonate.

Are you part of your local business community?
Is there something around you that really you can engage with and try and make
a difference in how local businesses are working, and how we can all work
together as much as it’s always good to get work coming in from here,
there and everywhere, it’s also very good to get work that you can do on a
local level?  I mean this was two minutes
down the road from my house and it was great to be working that locally.

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