We’ve never failed to be amazed by the power of the ‘mums’ network’, or to be more politically correct, the ‘parents’ network’.
Firstly, when it comes to recommendations for businesses or services, a face-to-face, personal endorsement at the school gates is often worth a thousand online reviews.
You can spend hours trawling the internet for local tradespeople, deciding which company or individual looks the most professional; or you can simply step into the playground and ask for recommendations. It’s amazing how quickly you get a response from this good old fashioned method of communication– and these referrals are usually the best you can get (as well as quickly finding out which companies to avoid!). Of course, it’s always wise to double check that the tradesperson in question has the right credentials and some decent customer reviews yourself, but in our experience, the company who’s been personally recommended usually gets the job.
Secondly, when it comes to supporting each other – the ‘school gates network’ is a powerful one again. When we’re helping a family move to the area, we always try and reach out to local families who have gone through a similar journey, to share experiences and help them settle in better. If we don’t know of a suitable contact personally, we’ve always managed to find a referral to a warm, friendly family who are only too pleased to help!