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How to find services you can trust when moving to a new area

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:00 09 February 2017

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Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Finding trades people and services you can trust often follows moving to a new area – Tamsin Machin may well have the answer

Turn on the television most evenings and you’re likely to stumble across a programme extolling the virtues of a new life in the country. And while the likes of Kirstie and Phil might be able to help with finding the right property for would-be country dwellers, it’s once you’ve taken the plunge and moved to the area that it’s useful to have some advice on how to settle in.

With West Berkshire high on the target list for city slickers, Upper Basildon mother-of-three Tamsin Machin set up www.countyknowledge.co.uk to help new arrivals find their feet and get local information on the services everyone needs when they move, and help existing people living in the countryside to find fantastic businesses they never knew existed.

Newcomers can rely on the knowledge and recommendations of people in the know plus a ‘county contact’ in categories ranging from tradesmen to pubs and restaurants to babysitters and even for assistance in finding the best schools.

Tamsin describes the site as a cross between Trip Advisor and Rated People. However, people do not post comments directly onto the site. Businesses must be recommended and endorsed by two separate people before appearing; they cannot buy their way in.

Rob McGill from The Royal Oak Pub in Yattendon says: “County Knowledge is an amazing concept and has simply sorted my life on many occasions. Why rely on a random internet search and never know what the product is like, when you can hit the jackpot every time?”

Tamsin cites an example from her own experience as the catalyst for the website. She explains: “We moved from London and didn’t know anyone. One day, we needed to find a plumber when our pipes burst and didn’t know where to turn. I wanted to find someone trusted by people I knew, or people they knew, as I needed to leave the person in my house while I did the school run. It occurred to me that it would be useful to be able to consult a website that guarantees people are good at what they do – there’s nothing more powerful than word-of-mouth. Having spoken to local estate agents and found that this site did not exist, with their encouragement we launched County Knowledge.

“I think we are changing the way people search for local businesses. People’s recommendations are the currency we’re dealing in, and they’re really special. Once they’ve been recommended, we then give them the opportunity to upgrade, which means we will meet them in person, get to understand their business, write a profile and promote them.

“Everyone has a story to tell and good businesses need to be shouted about. How we differ from other directories is that we take the personal approach. When someone moves to the countryside, they generally have no idea where to go or who to ask. County Knowledge saves them time and worry as we do all the leg work, and guarantee our businesses are the best locally. We are lucky to be given local people’s top recommendations - schools, hotels, plumbers, everything. We can help you find anyone from a builder to a cake maker.” 


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