More than 30 independent business owners in Eastwood are trying to stop the town from “dying out” by creating a new magazine.
Eastwood and Beyond will be a one-off brochure with maps and information to help people find businesses, activities, health facilities and car parking in the area.
The magazine will be for both residents and visitors to the area and a variety of businesses have already signed up to be in it – including a craft shop, a stationery shop, a hairdressers, a solicitors, cafés and the DH Lawrence Museum Gift Shop.
Carol Marks-Smith, who owns the Not Just Crafty shop in the DH Courtyard and a workshop on Nottingham Road, came up with the idea to “provide a service to the community and beyond”.
She said: “I feel passionate because I don’t want Eastwood to die – I want this town to survive.
“If you walk through Eastwood there are a lot of empty shops and I’m saddened and I’m irritated that nobody seems to have the power to do anything about it.
“But there are also some really good existing shops that have been going for more than 20 years, which still provide a great service.
“And it’s all about providing this service to the community and visitors because they don’t want to see empty shops either.
“People around here are proud to be part of Eastwood and it’s about standing up and saying we’ve got a lot of heritage here and a lot of beautiful things to see, so come and visit us.
“Don’t just look at the negatives, look at the positive things we’ve got in Eastwood, because we can grow.
“People do pull together in times of hardship and that’s why we need to produce the brochure. It’s for everybody.”
Carol came up with the idea for the brochure as part of her business plan when she first launched Not Just Crafty three years ago.
When she first started, she also released a trial magazine, Hidden Gems of Eastwood.
Carol said: “We need to help ourselves in Eastwood because we’re not getting the support we would like.
“I know we should make the magazine to help each other because everybody is striving to run their own business – and we should be spreading the footfall out.”
Some of the other businesses involved are Love Stationery, Firetop Mountain toy shop, Phoenix Cue Sports, Glints hair salon, The White Peacock Coffee Shop, Charles Newton & Co Solicitors and the DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum.
There will also be various other groups involved, such as the Eastwood Neighbourhood Watch, Breathe Easy and Age Concern.
Carol, who lives in the Giltbrook area, said she hopes the magazine will be “informative” to readers and not just about the business side of things.
So she has made sure to include car parking facilities in the area, doctors’ locations and any other services based in the area.
She also wanted to add other places to visit into the mixture, such as heritage centres, parks to see and buildings to visit.
She said: “There’s more to Eastwood than meets the eye, we are right in the hub of somewhere very beautiful -–and people need to be aware of this.
“We have people who have lived in Eastwood for 30 years who don’t even know some of these places existed.
“Eastwood needs to grow, but as a voice on your own, nobody hears you. As a collective, they do.
“And this brochure is about being the voice.
“Stand up and speak, because nobody will speak up for you.”
Sarah Taylor, who owns Phoenix Cue Sports and Firetop Mountain toy shop, both on Mansfield Road, is excited to be part of the project.
She has been part of different community projects over the years and also used to work at what is now Hall Park Academy School.
She said: “The town needs this magazine.
“I’ve been part of various community groups and we have never succeeded in bringing all this information together because it’s a hard task.
“Small businesses need to realise how important it’s for them to be part of the community.
“I also think it’s equally important for the residents of Eastwood to actually shop locally to support these activities and businesses.
“Especially with the closure of DH Lawrence heritage – that was a major resource for us that has now gone.”
Julie Keeble, owner of Glints hair salon, thinks the idea for the magazine is great.
She said: “I have been here 21 years and have seen many businesses come and go.
“I just hope it’s going to bring more life into Eastwood, because we all need it.
“I think it’s great that we are aiming to put it in the information centre in Nottingham city centre as well. It’s going to bring a lot more visitors into the town.
“We need positive thinking from people.”
Paul Betts, owner of the White Peacock Coffee Shop, said he cannot wait to see the finished product.
He said: “It should be good for the town and it’s great to keep all the businesses together.
“It also gives us all a unity together in the town centre, rather than us all going in different directions.
“And a lot of people who come in my café say they didn’t realise this was here.
“People who read the magazine will also be able to make their own minds up about where to go and what to do when they are here.”
Councillor Keith Longdon, Eastwood mayor, was also impressed with the “brilliant” idea for the magazine when he first heard about it at a town centre meeting.
He said: “I really think we need to push things because when we go to these meetings, sometimes they are lacking something.
“We need people to push Eastwood forward – and I think this magazine will help do that.”
The magazine is expected to be released within the next month – and the editor is currently putting together the bits of information from each business.
It is a one-off magazine and 5,000 copies will be produced to start off with.
It will be free to pick up and will be placed in various areas in the community, such as Eastwood Hall, as well as in the Nottingham Information Centre.
Carol and the team are still encouraging people to come forward and get involved with the magazine.
For more information, or to get involved, get in touch with Carol by calling her on 07944543739.
Alternatively, email Carol at email@example.com.