All you want to know about Groby- and more - This month's site: www.grobydirectory.co. uk.
Regular readers may have wondered why www. grobydirectory.co.uk has never featured in 'Groby Online'.
The answer is that anyone who wants to know anything about Groby and has access to the internet must surely be very familiar with this site.
It's the Rolls Royce of village websites. Slick and full of surprises it has so much information that it is quite impossible to deal with it in any depth, so what follows will be the briefest of overviews. Turning the key and opening the cover of the directory Home Page takes you to the main content headings.
Newcomers to the village will find the details of public use buildings useful, as there is information about local schools, churches, the library, post office, the village hall, the community centre on Forest Rise, as well as health facilities such as the doctor and chemist. Where possible opening hours have been included and the village hall section includes hire rates and a helpful floor plan.
Many clubs and societies are featured including cultural groups such as the Groby Heritage Group and the Village Society. Information is also available on the Thomas Herbert Smith Trust Fund, a charity established for the general benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish. The trustees can give assistance to the needy, and examples are included of help given in the past, together with contact details for further information.
There's lots of information about past times in Groby, with features on the Grey family, the Old Hall, the church, the railway, and local books. You'll also find a page on the origins of local street names and a piece about Dowry Furlong, a large cultivated open field which was part of Grobys' common field system. Shops, businesses and licensed premises are featured and if you are interested in local walks you'll like the link from the maps section to Leicestershire County Councils' Parish Walks website. You can request a copy of a leaflet as well as being able to read the text of the leaflet online.
There's lots more including small ads and a chance read a text only version of the Spotlight, which is useful if you just want to read an article again. (For the full magazine including photographs and advertisements visit the official Groby Spotlight website at www.grobyspotlight.co.uk).
The Photo Gallery is worth a visit. It has aerial views of the village, photographs of buildings, the pool and local countryside, photos of old Groby and more. You can also choose one of two local views for your desktop wallpaper.
And when you've had your fill of the serious stuff there's a puzzles and fun section to round off your visit to this lively and innovative site.
Groby is very fortunate in having a superb website which provides masses of information about the village, As well as being a valuable resource for people living in the area, the website also promotes the village to a world wide audience, and attracts complimentary comments from far and wide, Creator of this award winning site, Mike Pratt, explains how – and why – he set out on this labour of love.
In 1999 I set about designing my first ever web site for my pottery business. With no training it was not an easy task, but I enjoyed the challenge so much that I wanted to try another site. Having lived in Groby for over 20 years, I set about designing the village site. In those early days of the internet revolution all village names had been snapped-up up by the design companies. So I decided upon the name 'Groby Directory' and thus the site was born. Whilst I always had the vision of making an enjoyable site to visit, I had no idea of the time and thoughts that it would occupy.
There is a big problem with designing any site; it is never finished. With constant additions and alterations etc, it is an on-going job with no end in sight! And even when you think you can't design it any better you find yourself starting all over again a year or so later. The constantly changing technology is also a problem. A couple of years ago, the majority of visitors used small monitors with 800 x 600 resolution and slow dial-up connections. Now this has swung the other way, with the majority using larger screens with 1024 x 768 resolutions and faster broadband connections. The site must, therefore, and has, continued to adapt to the changing times. Whilst you can't possibly hope to satisfy all computer users (and particularly old computers), the site has tried to address the various problems over the last 4 years.
Originality it the one thing that has got the site noticed. In fact, there is no village site quite like it and has really put Groby on the internet map! Now with over 50,000 visitors, the site was voted runner-up village site in 2002 (at UK Villages Online), and given a Doors Award by the Sunday Times in the same year for the most outstanding community site. Since then, of course, the site has been re-designed, but still it continues to grow and attract visitors from all around the world.
The relatively new version has a improved layout with now a large collection of photographs showing Groby at its best. You will also find Maps, History, Calendar, Small Ads, Businesses R Community Groups, Parish Council minutes, Guest Book and Fun pages. The Fun section contains a vast collection of original designs, including paint pictures, jigsaw puzzles, quiz etc, and not forgetting the annual Xmas card (the latest of which has now been posted to the site). A few new designs have been added to the fun section over the last year, and a new extension to the 'fun room' has just been completed.
If you've not paid a visit to the site within the last 6 months, then it's time you had another look. There must a limit to what one person can do to a village site; I'm not there yet, but one day I might have to confess that I've done as much as I can.