17 Degrees Mag


Falkirk Business Hub, Falkirk, FK1 1LL

Featured Stories

Making it Count Awards

We were so excited to launch our first ever Annual Charity Gala in 2020 to raise funds for local charities such as Strathcarron Hospice. Continued restrictions led to us postponing the Gala until next year but we are still announcing our three ‘Making It Count’ recipients in our latest issue.

We featured Stenhousemuir couple, Asiyah and Jawad Javed in our Local Heroes issue for everything they do to help not only the community but people across the world! Many people brought their story forward to us and that is why they are one of the recipients of our ‘Making It Count Awards’.

Asiyah and Jawad Javed have owned and operated Day-Today Express in Stenhousemuir for three years and the couple have always helped not only their customers but also the wider community.

They received global press pubilcity for their COVID-19 kits for their elderly customers but this isn’t the first time they’ve  helped the vulnerable. In 2018, during the “Beast from the East” they personally delivered milk and bread to their elderly customers.

They were aware of the  stockpiling during that crisis and as soon as COVID-19 became a threat they knew it was time to help again. They bought as many supplies as possible before the lockdown so that they could supply those in need. Asiyah explains she knew that there would be stockpiling again, and it was the elderly who would lose out. The couple began handing out free COVID-19 kits consisting of face masks, hand sanitiser and cleaning wipes. These were made available to the vulnerable in the shop and they also personally delivered them. They handed out over 1,000 of these.

Their mission was that no one would go without during this difficult time. They have given out over 900 baby milks and baby food to families in need. Not only are did they give away essentials, but they made Fake-Away McDonalds for children, and handed out hundreds of Easter eggs to children over the Easter weekend. They also made sure the health and care services don’t go without. They delivered over 10,000 PPE masks to health care workers. The couple spent over £10,000 of their personal money on these community projects.

Asiyah and Jawed have personally changed thousands and thousands of lives during this crisis. They simply wouldn’t have a person go without. It’s important for us all to support small businesses like theirs. Asiyah and Jawed have cared for their neighbours, their community, and anyone that needed them.

Thank you for Making It Count!

Featured Stories

Croft and Creel – In with the new

When Alex Leask bought over Pierre’s Restaurant in 2005, he wanted to keep the name and traditions that went with it. As the years have passed, Alex has added his own personal touches to the menu, which now focuses on traditional Scottish cuisine.

Pierre’s had been around in Falkirk since 1979, the same year that Alex was born, so it has been an established restaurant for all of Alex’s life.

When Alex purchased the restaurant, it was known best for French cuisine, and initially it was Alex’s wife, Giovanni, who translated all the menus – luckily she’s half Italian and speaks French as well as English and Italian. The couple came to the Stirlingshire area in 2002 for Giovanna to attend university. It was Alex’s dream to own a restaurant of his own and they began looking for the right establishment across the Central Belt.  Alex’s chef mentality is to produce simple, good food that isn’t too complex, or too fancy. He ensures good sized portions with a guarantee that his guests will never leave hungry.

In the beginning, he was happy to stick to Pierre’s French traditions, but over time Alex was keen to put his own personality into the menu. They moved away from French cuisine and now focus on traditional Scottish foods with a twist. In June 2020, Alex received a call offering him the larger premises above the original Pierre’s Restaurant. The couple quickly made a life-changing decision to move the restaurant upstairs and change its name to suit its new cuisine and style. The Croft and Creel was then born! Alex got a joinery friend to help him and within three weeks the restaurant was taking shape just in time for reopening after lockdown. It now has a modern, Scottish, feel.

The Croft and Creel in Giovanna’s words is “a metaphorical way of saying Surf and Turf, or steak and seafood” It also has ties to Orkney.

She says: “Changing the name puts everything into our own identity, and the food we do.” Alex sources a lot of produce from all over Scotland and makes everything from scratch. Alex leads a small team in the kitchen, and the restaurant employs a team of staff, who they have retained over the years and through lockdown so they try to maintain a good work-life balance. “Hospitality is an intense industry,” says Alex, “and when you’re running a restaurant it is vital to make sure you and your staff don’t get worn out.” Alex says he would never send anything out of his kitchen that is not to his standard of perfection. He also takes requests in advance if a customer would like him to prepare a certain dish and often orders in speciality items for their customers.

The Croft and Creel menu is more or less the same as it was prior to lockdown when they were called Pierre’s. It is Scottish themed with some of the most popular dishes being their Chauteubriand, Scallops and the Scotch Eggs! They are passionate about fresh produce and use a lot of freshly foraged vegetables. Fresh crab and langoustines are delivered throughout the week straight from a fishing boat. And they also do lobster evenings among other themed evenings.

They are delighted they have retained their large customer base but also grown it as many people now realise that they are no longer a French restaurant but a contemporary Scottish restaurant in the heart of Falkirk. They also do a large selection of house cocktails with some of the most popular being the Passionfruit Martini and the French Martini.

The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and open for lunch Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday and for dinners Wednesday – Saturday.

Featured Stories

Through the Kitchen Window and Straight into the Nation’s Heart

Caroline and I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Mila Sneddon, a 4-year-old from Stenhousemuir who you may recognise from your television screens or local media channels. After trying to find an alternative solution, the family took the difficult decision to isolate in different households during lockdown to protect Mila. At this point, she was only four months into her chemotherapy journey for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Mila’s mum Lynda explained to her that this was to keep the germs away and she took it in her stride. Mila seems to always have an adorable grin on her face, no matter what is going on in her world. When we were walking towards her house for this interview, we heard her from over the fence, “it’s me, over here!” She was so excited to meet us, and we were just as excited to meet her, from a safe distance.

The Image that Captured the Nation

Mila’s story had been brought to our attention during lockdown when Caroline and I called each other with tears in our eyes after watching Mila on the news, smiling and blowing kisses to her dad through her kitchen window. Lynda elaborates, “As Mila’s dad, Scott, had to continue to work and her big sister, Jodi, had to attend school, we could not risk the possibility of infection being brought home – so they would visit every day at the window.” Lynda had originally shared the image of Mila and her dad on her Facebook page to bring to light the importance of social distancing. The majority of us were able to remain in our homes with our whole families so it was a strong message to share of the sacrifices their family were making for their beautiful little girl. This image went viral and the tear-jerking story was quickly heard all across the U.K. Seven weeks later and after being furloughed from his job, Scott was reunited with Mila and the video of their reunion also went viral. Mila was over the moon to be able to hug her dad. Lynda says, “Looking back, I’m so proud of my daughter and how far she has come – the level of resilience Mila has shown during this unprecedented time is truly remarkable.”

The image of Mila and her Dad not only went viral but was chosen as one of the 100 featured images in the Hold Still 2020 campaign. The campaign, which is spearheaded by The Duchess of Cambridge, is a community project which was launched in May 2020 to create a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown. Over 31,000 submissions were received from across the country, with entrants ranging from 4 to 75 years old. From these, a panel of judges selected 100 portraits, assessing the images on the emotions and experiences they conveyed. Mila said to us that she thinks she will meet the Queen, and we really hope that she does.

Mila has now started primary school and is loving getting to spend time with peers her own age. She is full of life and laughter and we think we could all take a leaf out of Mila’s book.