SURREY: “The Night That I Struck Gold at SDA17” by DadBlogUK

John Adams of Dadbloguk talks us through the moment he won the top award for Best Blog at the Surrey Digital Awards 2017 and what receiving the accolade means for him, both professionally and personally.

“I can clearly remember the moment Dadbloguk was read out as Gold Blog Award winner at last year’s Surrey Digital Awards. The Bronze and Silver awards had been handed out.

“I thought the Gold award was completely beyond my grasp. With the previous awards winners having returned to their seats, I turned to my friend Andy and said: ‘Well that’s it, I’m not going to win.’

“Only thing is, I was greatly mistaken. There were some amazing blogs on the shortlist and more to the point, some incredibly well-established Surry businesses. I didn’t think I stood a chance against them but I went home with Gold.

“So what does this mean for me? First of all, it enabled me to put a stake in the ground as a Surrey-based business. The truth of the matter is, I operate a web-based business so my clients are all over the world: China, Italy, Germany, Australia, the United States and so on.

“I didn’t have a particularly strong reputation locally. Winning the Surrey Digital Award was a great way for me to wave my hands in the air and say: ‘I may operate internationally, but I am a Surrey-based business’

“The other great thing about the Digital Awards is that they celebrate business. A lot of blogging awards are about recognising strong content, design and social media presence. These are exceedingly important aspects of running a blog.

“The Digital Awards, however, celebrates business acumen. When I collected my award, I was asked on stage if it was possible to make a profit running a blog. You have to be dedicated and passionate about blogging, but let me make clear that yes, you can make a living through blogging. Winning this award enabled to make that point loudly and publicly.

“I have also noticed that people take me a lot more seriously knowing that I write an “award winning blog”. I never really thought it would make that much of a difference to me, but it does have an impact on how people perceive the quality of your work.

“As you can see, winning Gold meant a lot to me. I am really looking forward to the 2018 Surrey Digital Awards and the Digital Championships. If you are thinking of entering, don’t dawdle. Go ahead and do it. It’s free and you have nothing to lose but much to potentially gain.”

Entry for the Surrey Digital Awards 2018 is now open.

SURREY: Sonin Celebrate Gold at SDA17

Following the third annual Surrey Digital Awards on 9 March, we spoke to Paul Jarrett, Managing Director at Sonin App Development, who won Gold for ‘Mobile App’ for their work for Forfeit Football.

Could you tell us a little about your organisation?
At Sonin we specialise in helping businesses and entrepreneurs in Surrey and beyond to utilise mobile apps and the latest technology to reach their customers, improve their businesses and create the most engaging mobile experiences. We’ve worked with a range of clients, from large enterprises, to SMEs, to independent start-ups.

What made you get involved in the SDAs?
As The Surrey Digital Awards is a platform to reward both innovation and forward thinking, we wanted to showcase to all businesses how effective mobile technology can be to achieve their goals, and see real results. Getting involved also gave us the chance to see fantastic examples of how other businesses are leveraging digital technology in new and innovative ways!

What does winning gold at the SDAs mean to your organisation?
Winning gold is a huge achievement not only for us, but also for our clients. In such a competitive market where first impressions are vital to the success of an app, it’s important that we give our clients that competitive edge to help them stand out from the crowd.

Where will you be putting your award?
In our reception area right next to our bronze award from 2016! We want everyone who walks through our doors to know that we only create award winning apps for all of our clients.

What was your most memorable moment from the SDA presentation evening?
Hearing that we won gold is naturally the most memorable moment for us. However, the energy in the room was fantastic and it was great to see so many businesses passionate about creating immersive digital experiences for themselves and their clients. Innovation is key, and this was certainly on show!

What’s the best thing about the Surrey business community?
The Surrey business community is a friendly and supportive network, who not only celebrate businesses who are embracing new technology, but encourage others during a time where digital is vital for all businesses.

You can find out more about Sonin at their website right here.

SURREY: Plug And Play Pick Up Two Awards at SDA17

Following the third annual Surrey Digital Awards on 9 March, we spoke to Gabrielle Richardson, Operations Manager at Plug and Play, who won Gold for ‘Website: Lifestyle & Culture’ for their work for Somlo, as well as silver in ‘Website: Sports & Entertainment’ for The Jockey Club Live.

Could you tell us a little about your organisation?
We are a full service digital agency offering web design and digital marketing services to a wide range of clients. We started out in a spare bedroom in 2006 and now have a team of 15 and offices in Surrey and London. Our clients are a mix of small businesses, startups and large corporates each looking to improve their online presence, which is where we come in.

What made you get involved in the SDAs?
We love working with our clients in Surrey- it’s where we started out and we’ve always had a strong presence in the area. We’re really proud of the work we’ve done recently and jumped at the chance to showcase it.

What does winning gold at the SDAs mean to your organisation?
Being recognised for our hard work with our nomination was really exciting, so winning was just the icing on the cake. Somlo was a real passion project for us so we’re thrilled that it’s been so well received.

Where will you be putting your award?
We’re leaving our office in Godalming to move to a base in Guildford over the next few months, so we are looking forward to our award taking pride of place in our new home!

What was your most memorable moment from the SDA presentation evening?
Sadly we weren’t able to make it to the night itself! We were really disappointed not to be able to pick up our award or meet any of the other nominees on the night, but will definitely be there next year.

What’s the best thing about the Surrey business community?
The variety of different businesses in Surrey is really interesting. We work with clients based in both London and Surrey and our Surrey clients are certainly as much fun as the London ones!

You can find a lovely post by the company themselves on their website target=”_blank”>right here.

SURREY: DadBlogUK Discuss Winning Gold at SDA17

Following the third annual Surrey Digital Awards on 9 March, we spoke to John Adams, founder of DadBlogUK, who won Gold in our ‘Blog’ category.

Could you tell us a little about your organisation?
I originally set my company up as a PR company. It was something I did on the side while blogging about parenting and fatherhood was a hobby. Over time, however, I realised I could make money as a blogger and turned the business on its head with the focus on blogging and writing with PR becoming a sideline. The fact remains, however, that I am the main carer for my children. I fit my blogging activities around family life: the school run, after school clubs, homework etc.

What made you get involved in the SDAs?
The Internet is without borders and operates internationally. This is how I have always approached my blogging. Although I have an International focus, I thought it was about time to cement my reputation as a Surrey-based blogger. I entered the awards in the hope it may increase my profile. I certainly didn’t expect to win a Gold award.

What does winning gold at the SDAs mean to your organisation?
Winning the Gold award is superb recognition of what I do. It increases my profile and further demonstrates that us bloggers are now a part of the mainstream media scene and have influence.

Where will you be putting your award?
I will be putting up some picture hooks and hanging it on the wall in my office.

What was your most memorable moment from the SDA presentation evening?
The most memorable moment was when Robin started reading out the description of the Blog award Gold winner. I was convinced Informed Choice was going to win but he started describing a parenting blog. As I was the only parenting blog in the finals it was clear I had won the award. I then had a minor panic as I knew I’d have to get on stage and say a few words when I hadn’t prepared anything! I was sat next to Catherine from Deco Baby who won the Silver Online retailer award. She had turned to me beforehand and said she thought I was going to win. They were very kind words but I was totally unconvinced until the big reveal.

What’s the best thing about the Surrey business community?
I have always found the Surrey business community to be very friendly and approachable. Being so close to London, I think the community is influenced by the city and very dynamic. I am glad to be a part of it.

You can target=”_blank”>find out more about DadBlogUK by clicking here.

SURREY: SDA17 Winners Revealed

THE online achievements of businesses, charities and schools across Surrey have been celebrated at the third annual Digital Awards.

Honours across 15 categories including “Website”, “Blog”, “Mobile App” and “Use of Social Media for Business” were presented to progressive organisations at the HG Wells Conference and Events Centre in Woking, on March 9.

Hosting SDA17 was former BBC presenter Robin Bailey who handed Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes to a host of worthy winners.

Special guests included Mark Pearson, from Headline Sponsor, Surrey County Council, Cllr Saj Hussain from Woking Works, Louise Punter from Surrey Chambers of Commerce, Steve Coburn of projectfive and Neil Langston of Nero Blanco, all of whom presented awards.

The Surrey Digital Awards was set up in 2015 solely to showcase online work from across the county.

Leading the way on stage with double gold were Farnham-based design agency and IT firm Ansell & Clarke who picked up the top prize in “Online Retailer” and “Website: Small Business” for their work on behalf of designer swimwear retailer Coco Bay.

Clinching gold in the flagship “Website” classification was Dorking vineyard and venue Denbies Wine Estate.

TG Media Group, in Guildford, landed on top of the podium in “Use of Social Media for Business” for their Guide To Surrey digital accounts.

Father and online writer, John Adams, won gold in the “Blog” category for and the top “Mobile App” gong went to Forfeit Football by Sonin App Development, based in Reigate.

The independent SDA judges chose Guildford designer and app developer Kyan as the gold winner in “Responsive Website” and Content Creatures for their Happy Socks project in the “Use of Video for Business”.

Shippo by WATB Creative, in Nutfield, came out on top in the “Website: B2B” area and Somlo by Plug and Play in “Website: Lifestyle & Culture”.

Posy Brewer – The VoiceOver Voice took the plaudits in “Website: Marketing and Creative” and Lumen Learning Trust Academy in “Website: School, Education or Charity”.

Also winning gold awards were Anthony Philipson by Thunderbolt Digital, in Farnham, for “Website: Sports and Entertainment” and Dorking web designer OH Creative for Spanish catering firm Paella Fella.

For the first time in Digital Awards history, a People’s Choice Award – voted by the public for finalists in all website categories – was won by disabled children’s charity Challengers.

The “Spirit of Surrey” award, which is given to one organisation chosen for “attracting significantly positive exposure and investment into the county” was presented to the 5G Innovation Centre, University of Surrey, which is the world’s leading research centre for next generation mobile and wireless connectivity.

The Surrey Digital Awards 2017 was sponsored and supported by Surrey County Council Woking Works Surrey Chambers of Commerce projectfive Nero Blanco Natwest Something Big Arcom IT Hamlyns Clare Reeves Voiceovers Tandridge District Council Surrey Mirror Capricorn Media

Surrey Digital Awards 2017 – The Winners

Blog – In association with Woking Works

SILVER – Enjoy the Adventure
BRONZE – Expert Home Tips by Veneficus

Mobile App

GOLD – Forfeit Football by Sonin App Development
SILVER – SaidSo Wealth Dashboard for Chapters Financial by Kyan
BRONZE – Perchang

Online Retailer

GOLD – Coco Bay by Ansell & Clarke
SILVER – Deco Baby
BRONZE – Pomegranate Living

Responsive Website

GOLD – Kyan
SILVER – Chaddesley Sanford
BRONZE – Anthony Philipson by Thunderbolt Digital

Use of Social Media for Business – in association Surrey Mirror

GOLD – The Guide 2 Surrey by TG Media Group
SILVER – Nicky Kriel Social Media Coach, Trainer and Consultant
BRONZE – Guildford Business Hub

Use of Video for Business

GOLD – Happy Socks by Content Creatures
SILVER – Counselling Directory by Memiah
BRONZE – Baggage Solutions by Drum Studios

Website – in associate with Surrey County Council

GOLD – Denbies Wine Estate
SILVER- Knights Property by go6 Media
BRONZE – WS Planning & Architecture

Website: B2B – in association with projectfive

GOLD – Shippo by WATB Creative
SILVER – Updata Infrastructure by NXT Digital Solutions
BRONZE – The FSE Group by Ansell & Clarke

Website: Lifestyle & Culture

GOLD – Somlo by Plug and Play
SILVER – Red Hot Yoga
BRONZE – Brooklands Museum

Website: Marketing & Creative

GOLD – Posy Brewer – The VoiceOver Voice
SILVER – Faze One Media
BRONZE – WATB Creative

Website: School, Education or Charity

GOLD – Lumen Learning Trust Academy
SILVER – Step by Step
BRONZE – Redwing by Kyan

Website: Small Business – in association with Nero Blanco

GOLD – Coco Bay by Ansell & Clarke
SILVER – Your Art 2 Canvas
BRONZE – La Residence Interiors

Website: Sports & Entertainment

GOLD – Anthony Philipson by Thunderbolt Digital
SILVER – The Jockey Club Live by Plug and Play
BRONZE – Film My Show by The Big Yellow Feet Production Company

Website: Tourism & Hospitality

GOLD – Paella Fella by OH Creative
SILVER – Denbies Wine Estate
BRONZE- Foxhills Club & Resort

People’s Choice Award

GOLD – Challengers

Spirit of Surrey Award – in association with Surrey Chambers of Commerce

GOLD – 5G Innovation Centre, University of Surrey

SURREY: Nero Blanco Sponsors SDAs For Second Year

A firm that specialises in helping companies improve their email communications has signed up to sponsor the Surrey Digital Awards for the second year running.

Nero Blanco – based in Banstead – will sponsor the “Website: Small Business” category and present the awards at HG Wells Conference and Events Centre, Woking, on March 9.

Nero Blanco has provided IT expertise to many organisations including JP Morgan Chase, Birmingham City Council and HSBC.

Its core services include helping companies migrate or roll-out new software programs including Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Azure, Active Directory and Lotus Notes.

As well as supporting the SDAs, Nero Blanco also gave its backing to the Kent Digital Awards last year and the Digital Awards Champions in February.

Conrad Murray, Senior Messaging Architect at Nero Blanco, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting the Surrey Digital Awards once again and look forward to meeting the finalists at the event.

“Surrey is a very progressive county with a thriving businesses community and we are proud to play our part in supporting it and in celebrating the many success stories that are part of the Digital Awards.”

The SDA17 Presentation Evening will be the biggest event yet and will see presentation of the People’s Choice Award for websites for the first time.

Mr Murray added “Digital is at the heart of our business as we are here to support companies in launching, migrating and successfully managing their email communications systems.”

The Nero Blanco team boasts a combined total of more than 50 years’ experience amongst them in the messaging arena.

The Surrey Digital Awards is the first and only scheme exclusively to recognise the online achievements of businesses, schools an charities from across the county.

Robin Bailey, Chairman of the independent SDA Judging panel revealed he is “delighted” to welcome back Nero Blanco for the second year.

He said: “Nero Blanco work with companies to migrate or roll-out new software programs including Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Azure, Active Directory and Lotus Notes and they are masters of their field.

“To have them back at the Surrey Digital Awards is wonderful news and just another indication of the growing success of the Awards in this great county.”

To find out more about Nero Blanco and their services click here or call 0330 088 9630 or email [email protected]

CHAMPIONS: DAC17 Winners Announced

The public has spoken and the first ever Digital Awards Champions were announced at a reception in London this week.

Winner across 15 categories were unveiled at the BFI Southbank, on February 9.

The Digital Awards Champions – sponsored by FSE Online, Nero Blanco and Nimbus Hosting – was a public-voted contest between all Gold winners from the Digital Awards schemes across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Milton Keynes and Surrey in 2016.

Almost 20,000 people casted votes over six weeks.

Keynote speaker at the event was Jordan J Lloyd, from Dynamichrome and co-author of The Paper Time Machine, who explored the phenominum of historic photographic restoration techniques using digital technology

Host of the event, Robin Bailey, said: “The Digital Awards Champions has showcased so many fantastic examples of the superb digital talent across the region.

“So many great success stories brought together and and many brilliant winners chosen by the people, what an outstanding accolade!”

Digital Awards Champions 2017 – The Winners

Website: School Education or Charity
Demelza Hospice Care for Children (Kent)

Website: Small Business
Bombinate Web Design (Milton Keynes)

Blog: Entertainment
Milton Keynes Kids (Milton Keynes)

Blog: Business
Deep Phat Digital (Hertfordshire)

Website: Sports & Entertainment
1,000 Mile Sportswear by The Creative Clinic (Hertfordshire)

Website: Lifestyle & Culture
Dhaniya Authentic Indian Cooking by Aubergine (Milton Keynes)

Mobile App
Pocket Sergeant (Cambridgeshire)

Responsive Website
Countryside (Essex)

Website: Tourism & Hospitality
Visit Essex (Essex)

Website: Marketing & Creative
TEDx Royal Tunbridge Wells by ifour (Kent)

Website: B2B
Lumina Energy by ifour (Kent)

Use of Social Media for Business
Fluid Studios (Hertfordshire)

Online Retailer
Barker Shoes by Visual Identity Creative (Milton Keynes)

Use of Video for Business
Milton Keynes Museum by Wise Guys (Milton Keynes)

Countryside (Essex)

SURREY: IT Support Firm projectfive Sponsors SDA17

A “people-first” IT support company in Camberley is to sponsor a category at the Surrey Digital Awards 2017.

projectfive has signed up as sponsor of the “Website: B2B” award at SDA17 which takes place at HG Wells Conference & Events Centre in Woking on March 9.

While projectfive is there to support office PCs, Macs, servers, networks and telephone systems – among other things – they claim that working effectively for people is at the heart of their business. This success of this ethos was proved when they won the UK’s Best IT Reseller at the CRN awards last year (the Oscars of the IT world!).

Living by the motto “be helpful, make friends and stand out”, projectfive offers system and technology support to businesses of all sizes from one to 500+ people, across Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire.

Speaking to the SDA team, projectfive Managing Director, Steve Coburn, explained why they chose to get involved.

“SDA17 is all about celebrating what’s best about Surrey’s businesses.  It’s a thriving business community with some shining examples of how to get the most from being online.  We’re really keen to support our local economy, so being able to support SDA17 helps us to give something back, and recognise those businesses who are really making a difference.”

The 30-strong team at projectfive offer a range of services, including help desk support, cloud computing, networks, connectivity, server monitoring, back-up solutions and cyber security.


Steve added: “We’re very proud of the recognition we receive at projectfive – lots of people know who we are and why we’re good at what we do.  We have very strong relationships with our customers and that’s why over 250 local businesses choose to outsource their IT to us.”

Robin Bailey, Chairman of the SDA17 Judging Panel, revealed he was delighted to welcome projectfive into the fray.

He said: “It is great that projectfive are to sponsor the ‘Website: B2B’ category at the Surrey Digital Awards 2017, a very competitive area.

“They are a highly respected IT company and it is fantastic to have them onboard.”

Their service is very simple and covers three core aspects: they install – which means they do project work (to install new PCs, software or Infrastructure to meet a specific new business need, or upgrade your existing IT).

They maintain – by making sure you receive the best solutions to fit your budget and business needs and carry out preventative maintenance and monitoring to ensure that your core systems are working properly.

And last but not least, they fix things when they break (because, unfortunately, that does happen where technology is concerned!).

To find out how projectfive can help you, call 01276 455466, or email [email protected].


There is just one week left to enter the Surrey Digital Awards 2017.

Submissions for SDA17 – the first and only scheme to recognise the online achievements of businesses, charities and schools from across the county – will close on January 13 at 5pm.

The complete list of open categories for entry is:-

Responsive Website
Mobile App
Website: School, Education or Charity
Website: Lifestyle & Culture
Website: Marketing & Creative
Website: Sports & Entertainment
Website: Tourism & Hospitality
Use of Social Media for Business
Use of Video for Business
Website: B2B
Online Retailer
Website: Small Business
Blog: Business
Blog: Entertainment

The SDA17 Presentation Evening will take place at HG Wells Conference & Events Centre, Woking on March 9.

SDA17 is supported by Surrey County Council, Woking Works, Surrey Chambers of Commerce, projectfive, Surrey Mirror, Tandridge District Council and Capricorn Media.

Entry is free and can be made on this website.

SURREY: Woking Works Becomes Associate Sponsor of SDA17

Woking Works has signed up as the Associate Sponsor of the Surrey Digital Awards 2017, and will be presenting the Blog:Business award on the night as this category’s sponsor.

It is the second year running that the Woking Works partnership has put its name to the Awards. The presentation evening, which this year will take place on March 9, will be held at the HG Wells Conference and Events Centre in Woking.

The Surrey Digital Awards (SDA) is the first and only scheme solely dedicated to recognising the online achievements of businesses, charities and schools from across the county.

Earlier this year, Woking Works revealed it had entered a partnership with IT support company Arcom, Barlow Robbins solicitors, Hamlyns Chartered Accountants, NatWest and communications agency Something Big.

Chris Shrubb, of Hamlyns Chartered Accountants, explained why Woking Works chose to back the Surrey Digital Awards 2017: “The Surrey Digital Awards are a great platform for our partnership, as they directly engage with so many businesses. The high numbers of entries show that investing in the Awards gives us good exposure to the business community we want to work with and represent, and the networking opportunities at the presentation are also very worthwhile.”

Robin Bailey, Chair of the SDA Independent Judging Panel, said he was delighted to have Working Works on board once again: “This is great news, as Woking Works is there to support the business community, including start-ups and SMEs, and the work that they are doing to help and promote this sector is extremely positive.”

The Woking Works scheme – a collaboration between Woking Borough Council and five prominent members of its business community – was set-up in 2012 to encourage start-ups, inform and assist existing businesses and encourage relocation to the Borough. It offers a range of services that are open to all businesses, from sole traders to multi-national corporations.

Each partner is collaborating to help Woking Works deliver support services to companies, through such services as the Start Up Woking Clinic: a free business support one-stop-shop for ambitious entrepreneurs and growing businesses.

The three-step process includes an individual session with a business advisor, follow up telephone support and, if recommended, specialist legal or financial advice.

Woking Works can offer help for businesses looking to relocate into the Borough, and offers access to a range of properties including the Connect 2 Innovation Incubator in Export House, Woking, which is an entrepreneurial environment offering high quality offices and co-working space, with advisory support and services tailored to growth-focused businesses for up to three years. offers a number of resources for new and established businesses with sections covering starting-up, tax and accountancy, sales and marketing, exporting, legal advice, and human resources matters.

The website also has information about applying for funding and grants, training and skills provision, business networks and conference facilities. In addition, the site has links to a range of other business support services, such as the Enterprise M3Local Economic Partnership, Start Up Britain, Surrey County Council and membership organisations like Woking Chamber of Commerce, Surrey Chambers of Commerce and The Federation of Small Businesses.

To find out more about Woking Works, visit or register to receive their free e-newsletter at

You can also follow Woking Works on Twitter or LinkedIn