Oh how grateful am I for my wonderful friends of the Skills exchange and beyond! Yesterday I arrived back from a brilliant but tiring 2 days totally locally- Townstock conference in Halifax. After having said goodbye to my newly made friends in Halifax, Lesley and Stephen from Brighouse gave me a lift to the station. I hopped on the train (which was waiting for me) and a few minutes later we were off. The ticket master told me that I had missed the train I supposed to have taken which would result in arriving an hour later in Nottingham. No matter, what will be will be. On arrival in Leeds I noticed though on the board that the Ticket Master in Halifax had overlooked the fact that there was actually a direct train to Nottingham (unlike the cross country one he suggested) about to leave. A last minute sprint and managed to catch the train that would still get me on time in Nottingham. The person opposite in the train, Toby, pointed out that I still had my conference badge on and asked what the conference was all about. I told him and within minutes he was checking his #townstock tweets. As the conference had been so inspirational it seem to have rubbed off on me so when I told him about Pam from Todmorden a note was made to send this idea to his mum on the Isle of Wight. I told him about Joe from Stockport (as it happened Toby knew the town well) so he was really excited to hear what young Joe is doing there with the Teenage market. I had to tell the stories of Totally locally Brighouse and Leek, so notes were made on how to down load the kit so that Coalville (where he lives now) could have a close look at how Totally locally could give a framework for their town. Toby had been to a training conference in Leeds. He seems to be a wizz in technology and is very keen to use the pop up shop ideas to link with youth and technology, he doesn't know how yet, but he seems to think along the same ideas. Now I have to confess something.... during the conference Jane kept on reminding us of using #Townstock. being a bit slow at learning about twitter and facebook, I did not know really what it meant. So what better person to get a private Twitter lesson than Toby who spent the following 20 minutes patiently explaining how it all works. The time flew and before I knew it we had arrived at Nottingham station. Once out of the station I called Mark Thompson to see if he was still OK to pick me up and take me home. Within minutes his car appeared and I was dropped off at my house. He handed me a little bag with a delicious vegetarian bruchetta with sun driend tomatoes, cheeses and pesto and a bowl of tasty wholesome homemade soup. I hope this shows that the skills exchange is not just in West Brigford and can be applied wherever we are. Find eachother's strengths, get together, share and exchange and together we can make our life fun, exciting and fulfilling Please note: No funding was needed during all this exchanging, just interest in eachother and a caring spirit. I flopped in front of the television watched The Paradise and got a summing up of what has been (what I think) the main message: Collaboration is the way forward for independent retailers. If you are an independent businesses, can you think of ways to collaborate with other locals to provide an exciting, innovative, fun offer to attract customers and increase footfall?

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