Africa Update and Baby Stevie

Mikael has spent the last few months cultivating his groundnut farm otherwise known as peanuts.   Just before the start of the rains, usually around June, Mikael like all other farmers in The Gambia, will clear their fields using what’s called the ‘slash and burn’ method, afterwards they brush their fields, hopefully in time for the first rainfall.  As soon as the rains start the land is ploughed and the seed-nuts are sown.

The rainy season is coming to an end and during this time Mikael will be harvesting his crop. The plants  are uprooted and laid on raised platforms to dry out. Once dried out the plant is thrashed to release the nuts. They are then sorted through a  spinning colander which has rotating cylinders with holes in or meshed panniers. The nuts are then weighed, graded and transported to various collection points around The Gambia.

The local name for peanuts is gerte. Swadou, Mikael’s wife will take the groundnuts to the food market where they are sold wholesale in little bags. The nuts are offered in a variety of styles, including roasted, salted, sugar-coated, and sometimes boiled. They are also sold in small tomato pot sizes for about 5.00 dalasi per pot. The shells from Mikael’s groundnuts are used as fertilizer on his farm.

Baby Stevie is doing really well and growing so fast, he will go to market with Swadou wrapped in a ‘Khanga’ which is a shortish piece of cloth tied around the torso, so the baby sits low on the back.  Being carried this way is quite safe and for much of his young life this is how he will be carried.


Baby Steve

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Mellor Country House – Ladies Evening

Calling all you lovely ladies! Do you fancy an evening in a lovely setting where you can bring your own drinks and have some fun with your girlfriends? Then look no further than on Tuesday 24th October 2017 at 7pm, Mellor Country House invite you to a Ladies Supper in aid of the charity.

On arrival, you will be given a warm welcome and a complimentary glass of wine. During the evening there will be a demonstration from the Clarins ladies of John Lewis, Cheadle. You can place an order or purchase on the night from the beautiful array of creams, lotions and potions and make up on display.

Afterwards enjoy a supper of chilli and rice, vegetarians too, followed by dessert which will be a surprise. There will also be a quiz with small prizes and all the while you can drink your own drinks which you have brought with you whatever they may be. A raffle will be held with fabulous gifts from Clarins and other good prizes, everything you could wish for from an evening, is not to be missed.

Contact Mags at Mellor Country House, 299 Longhurst Ln, Mellor, Stockport SK6 5PP. Tel: 0161 427 1893



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Christening for Baby Steve

Mikael and  Swadou held the christening for their new baby boy two weeks after he was born.  Guess what they called him, Steve after our very own!  The whole village get involved with the preparation of the christening, Swadou’s family prepare the vegetables and food and Mikael made a red sauce called Benachin which is eaten with rice.  He also provided the whole village with a lamb which is stewed in a cooking pot over hot coals.  After the christening it is tradition that everyone from the village gets to hold the baby.  Its also customary to have a drink called ‘Attaya’ ingredients of which are; water, loose gunpowder green tea leaves and sugar.  It is boiled in a pot over charcoal and once it is ready the tea is poured into a small drinking glass from a height of about half a meter. This creates the desired foam and is repeated for about 10 minutes until a good foam head forms in the glasses. Then, it’s back into the kettle and back onto the coals to heat up once again.

IMG-20170511-WA0001    IMG-20170511-WA0006

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Charity of the Year 2017-2018

We are pleased to announce that our ‘Charity of the Year’ 2017/2018 is Mellor Country House.

Built in 1907,set in three acres of garden and woodland located in the pretty village of Mellor, situated on the border between Greater Manchester and the High Peak . The charity is dedicated to providing respite breaks for groups, families, carers and individuals primarily from the nearby urban areas who could not, otherwise, have a break at all.

The Charity’s aim is to provide a safe, secure, relaxing and uplifting environment for the financially and socially disadvantaged. For many of the people who stay at the house, this break from the hardships of their day-to-day existence can, literally, be a life-saver.

Accommodation for up to 24 guests is provided in 11 bedrooms on a self-catering basis with a well equipped kitchen, dining room, restful lounges and children’s playroom. Outside, the grounds include a secure play area for toddlers, a bike track for the older children, a paved patio with barbeque, a private lawn area with benches and seating for quiet reflection.

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Congratulations to our Friends in Africa

Mikael and Swadou have had a boy, weighing in at 7lbs 4 oz and guess what, he’s been named after our very own Steve!!  More news to follow…

Baby Steven

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A great day out supporting our local team Stockport County F.C.

Print Approved sponsored the match ball for the home game on 25th March.  With a slow start to the first half and coming out one nil down in the second half, it was all to play for. There must have been some serious team talk at half time as a totally different team appeared for the second half to secure a 2-1 win.  Simon Dawson, our host for the day, provided us with a first class service, the food and guest speakers were fantastic.  If anyone is looking for a really cost-effective hospitality day, I strongly recommend contacting Simon.

Match Ball

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When is VAT applicable for printed items?

VAT is paid on a wide range of everyday products however, the why and when its due is not very clear. There are three main categories for calculating; the standard at 20%, which is levied on most business related items and non essential items which are classed as luxury goods. A reduced rate of  5% is usually found on healthcare items and energy saving products such as home insulation, solar power etc. Zero Rated where it is not applicable, this includes a whole raft of items including some printed materials.

Zero Rated Items

Refers to items that do not require VAT as per ‘VAT Notice 701/10: zero-rating of books and other forms of printed matter’. This notice includes the following:

Pamphlets, Folded Leaflets, leaflets, flyers, newsletters, newspapers, brochures, booklets, books, magazines, catalogues, directories, manuals, sheet music, maps and timetables.

For more information click on the link  VAT Notice 701-10

20% VAT Rated Items

These are the items that require VAT to be paid at 20%. Generally speaking these are items that will be kept, displayed in public or used as a business amenity. This section includes the following items:

Stationery such as letterheads, compliment slips, business cards. As well as envelopes, invoices, labels, appointment cards, tickets, stickers, folders, forms, posters, postcards, invitations, certificates, calendars and coupons or vouchers.

The Exception That Makes The Rule

There are exceptions to most rules and in the printing world there are a few. If you want to order posters you will need to pay standard VAT at 20% due to them being displayed in public or being kept as a souvenir. However, if you are ordering a leaflet that is being distributed by hand, then they are zero-rated. So, what stops a leaflet being a poster or a poster being a leaflet? It is usually defined by the following: a significant amount of text on one side of the leaflet to ensure it is for hand-held reading purposes and not for mounting on walls. Also a printed leaflet size must be no larger than A4 to be classified as a leaflet.

You may be told your printing requires 20% VAT on sight of the artwork, this is in circumstances where it’s not clear. For example, if a brochure which has a form or notes pages within the design, ordinarily a brochure does not require VAT, but if it contains pages inside which are meant to be written onto and these are more than 25% of the pages, then VAT should be charged.

To make this more clear, an eight page brochure which had a single page as a form or notes page would not need vat, if two pages are forms then this would equal 25% so it would need VAT.



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Proud to work with a 133 year brand

County F.C. (640x482)When we were approached by Stockport County FC to produce their printing requirements, how could we say no!  Every lad in Stockport at one time in their lives must have been to Edgeley Park.  In my day I loved watching 6′ 7″ Kevin Francis, incredibly he net 117 goals in only 198 games.

Sure they have had their ups and downs and are the butt of many a joke, they even appear in the Guinness Book of Records for the smallest crowd ever to attend a football league game of 8… and that included a dog!  Also the longest game ever in the football league was County v Doncaster in 1946, that went on for 203 minutes!

My favourite story was when a fire in 1935 burnt down the then, wooden main stand. After everything was under control the fire chief asked one of Stockport County’s staff if the fire had damaged any of their cups…”no”, was the reply, “fortunately  it didn’t reach the canteen”!

With all the ribbing the club has received, they must be doing something right, after 133 years the County Brand continues and is still going strong. There can’t be many other U.K., owned companies who have such a long heritage.

 It’s an honour and a privilege to be a supplier, and all the team at Print Approved wish the club a successful ’15-’16 season!

Article by Steve Bate
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Update From Africa

It’s very close to the rainy season in Gambia and Mikael has gone back to his village and help clear the family peanut farm before the rain arrives.  He is also making plans to marry again.  We are so pleased that he has found happiness again after the dreadful past 12 months saw his wife and child taken from him so cruelly.  Before marriage, Mikael will visit his future wife’s parents with his uncles, brothers and close relatives to inform them he is interested in marrying their daughter.  At this time Mikael will present the girls parent with Kola Nuts.  These nuts are a show of respect for the parents and play an important role in the Gambian culture and traditional social life. The nuts are chewed and are valued for it’s pharmacological effects and euphoriant qualities as a stimulant, aphrodisiac, hunger suppressant, and healing properties.

In other African news, Mikael’s Mother has fully recovered from her eye operation, although unsteady on her legs, she now has more freedom to go about daily life now that her eyesignt has improved.

Recently Mikael’s family and villagers celebrated Tobaski Day.  This day is a public holiday and traditional dress is worn. Tobaski Day is when families throughout Gambia ritually slaughter sheep in a ritual sacrifice.

Mikael and Brothers

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Charity of The Year 2016/2017 – The Humane Education Society

Humane Blue background

The Society was established in Manchester in 1927. A move to Wilmslow in the late sixties enabled the creation of the Society’s own Animal Sanctuary.

The founding members were passionate about helping people, especially the young and disadvantaged, develop  a compassionate character by a deeper understanding and compassion for animals, which would in turn benefit the whole of society.

The Early Days

In the early days the Society rescued pit ponies from the mines of Lancashire but today the Society pursues its original aim by providing care for many different animals. Those that come to the Sanctuary are unwanted, abandoned, or homeless. Cats, rabbits, pigs, hens, horses, ponies, donkeys and other animals find peace and security with us. Many, particularly cats and rabbits, are found new homes but some become permanent residents and for them the Sanctuary will be their home for the rest of their lives. Our small team of staff who look after the animals are helped by volunteers who give their time to help us.

Future Plans

The Sanctuary requires constant work to comply with increasing animal welfare and visitor safety standards. The Society has plans in place for the future and with sufficient finance will be helping animals and promoting humane principles for many years to come.


The Society has worked with a large number of educational organisations in the Manchester and Cheshire areas over the years, most recently, a project with Castle Hill High School, Stockport.

Wilmslow Animal Sancturary


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