February 2024


Studley offers businesses a true welcome

"The mission is to connect and grow their business community and make sure that Studley stays firmly ‘on the map."

‘Welcome to Studley,’ the sign says, and while many towns and villages around the country boast similar messages to arriving visitors, none ‘walks the walk’ more than Studley.

Warwickshire’s most westerly village, tucked beside the border with Worcestershire, has a history of hospitality. It has long-offered that warm welcome to visitors and customers of its array of small businesses. And not least, to new businesses looking to settle in Studley. Jason Gumbley can vouch for that.

Jason created Gumbley’s Music School in 2016 and ran it from home until its growth demanded a move to its own headquarters. Along with business partner John Board, Jason identified a prime two-storey building in High Street, Studley, as the perfect base. The business moved in last year and, supported by a Small Capital Grant from Warwickshire County Council, Jason set about refurbishing the part-derelict building.

In its first six months in Studley the business has grown so quickly, now totalling over 100 students, that Jason is looking to recruit three more tutors. A ukelele group has just been added to the guitar, bass, drum, piano and vocal lessons already delivered to students aged from three to 88, in facilities which include a new room soundproofed to ensure no noise nuisance for neighbours.

The business offers musicians scope to practice, learn and perform. It has brought a new dimension to the town and its success owes much to the hard work and expertise of Jason and his team, but also something to that warm welcome from Studley.

“Everyone has been so welcoming and that’s great because I really wanted our business to be part of the village,” he said. “I was a little bit nervous about that but was very quickly reassured. The people and other businesses in the town have been brilliant.

“They have been really interested and friendly and also supported us practically. We had an open day in September and Bruno’s Bakery did the catering brilliantly. We were absolutely packed and it was a fantastic day.

“We are growing and a big reason that we are able to do that is the soundproofed room which we built with the support of a Small Capital Grant from Warwickshire County Council. That was such a big help. I think people quite like having a creative business on the High Street and we certainly love being here.

“Hopefully we will only become more integrated with the community as we the refurbishment includes three rooms upstairs which are rented out to small businesses.”

Gumbley’s Music School is just one of the array of independent businesses which add to Studley’s appeal. The needle and fish-hook makers which once underpinned the town’s economy may have scaled down in size but today Studley is home to a diverse range of businesses from sole traders and SMEs to large international companies spanning many sectors from retail and finance to IT, design and hospitality.

In 2015, a group of those local businesses came together to form a networking group known as Studley in Business. This not for profit, pro-active membership organisation meets monthly at local venues to network and share ideas. The mission is to connect and grow their business community and make sure that Studley stays firmly ‘on the map.’

In 2019, Studley in Business led a crowdfunding campaign, supported by the Warwickshire County Council’s Placemaking Fund. The project, named ‘Studley on the Map,’ saw the community raise over £35,000 which established a new branding and a place narrative – Enjoyably Studley. This is now reflected in local street information and wayfinding signage, and a community website to promote local events, places of interest, community groups and businesses.

The signage and website tell the story of Studley as a large Warwickshire village with a rich industrial heritage, a small yet diverse High Street and beautiful countryside walks.

Siân Smith, a member of Studley in Business, now runs the Enjoyably Studley website which began as a volunteer-run website but has recently undergone a transformation into an income-generating, not for profit enterprise. It lifts the profile of local businesses and showcases the many passionate groups and organisations that form the beating heart of the Studley community. The website gives a real taste of the area and its independent shops, run by local people.

Siân said: “Studley sits directly on the busy A435 and it has always pained me that so many cars drive through our village without stopping to explore all that it has to offer. We formed the Enjoyably Studley brand and website to create an invitation that will inspire more people to spend time and shop here.

“The website is now in its fifth year, and we are excited to relaunch it as a hub of information for our community and visitors alike.

“We want to shine a light on the many clubs, and groups who work tirelessly to make our village such a wonderful place to be. From Studley in Bloom, who decorate our public places with beautiful floral displays, to the Studley Christmas Lights who light up the village every year and bring the whole community together with a festive lights switch on.

“The Enjoyably Studley website is a free tool where every group and business in the village can receive a free listing, and if they wish, can pay to enhance their presence with additional advertising. The advertising revenue is then invested back into the site to keep it running and improving as a resource for all.

“There is a What’s On calendar listing local events, from exercise groups and live music, through to our annual Wheelbarrow Race! You can also find local walks, and a timeline of our Needle Industry roots. It’s a hive of information and an asset to our community.”

To learn more about Studley and all it has to offer, please visit https://enjoyablystudley.co.uk. Local businesses can request information on the website by emailing info@enjoyablystudley.co.uk or visiting https://enjoyablystudley.co.uk/advertise-with-us/


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