Aspen Waite Group News • Summer 2021
The Sky’s The Limit: Helping Your Business Reach The Stars.
In this issue
All Roads Lead to Aspen Waite Decarbonisation - Why Doing Nothing is Not an Option for SMEs Why Your Business Should Enter Awards The Forest of Gleeb
Advise • Educate • Innovate
Don’t wait for the stars to align. Reach up, rearrange them the way you want them to be. Create your own constellation... - Pharrell Williams
04 Welcome from Paul Waite 08 All Roads Lead to Aspen Waite 10 Inspect What You Expect 12 Employee Engagement and the Art of Listening 16 Decarbonisation – Why Doing Nothing is Not an Option for SMEs 20 Covid-19 Vaccination Rollout: UK Progress and International Outlook 24 Upside Down Management and the High Street After the Pandemic 28 Why Your Business Should Enter Awards 34 Commercialisation of the Marketing Offer 38 Creating The Home of Work/Life Balance 40 Working with Aspen Waite South West 42 The Forest of Gleeb 46 The Joys of Outdoor Swimming 50 The Making of The Magazine 52 Grumpy Bear’s Cookery Corner
Follow Me and I‘ll Follow You. By Paul Waite FCA FCCA - Chief Executive, Aspen Waite Group The world is so much better when the sun is shining. I have enjoyed the light early in the morning and the good sunshine we have had recently. The gym is open again and I have enjoyed going back after more than a year’s absence. Despite another year gone, my performance has improved and I have even reached “athlete” status when checking out.
The Waite family world is dominated by baby Evelyn who is our pride and joy. I enjoy the banter with someone of my own mental age. (Lisa says Evelyn is more advanced.)
Evelyn and Paul
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It’s been some journey in Aspen Waite land with so much that is noteworthy:
I have written an article on the benefits of entering awards which you can find on pages 30-36 and will be a chapter of my next book which currently has no title.
Winning the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Somerset Business Awards.
Presenting and hosting the Thames Valley and South West Business Awards.
I thoroughly enjoyed presenting the awards with Natalie Gayle and, as a minimum, now have the National Awards to look forward to later in the year.
My new radio shows and our new radio schedule.
The launch of our new business “Sustain”.
The arrival of Richard Hill and Randall Edwards, two industry heavyweights.
Commercialising our wonderful Marketing offering.
And, of course, the return to new normal. I did quite enjoy the quiet roads so it’s challenging coming to terms with all the extra traffic. Winning the Award was a sweet moment and quite an emotional one. We have undoubtedly helped many businesses through our Friend Programme but being recognised publicly is wonderful.
It is no secret that I like to talk and I have found my vocation after all this time. Richard Hill is a leading Tax Professional and we were very fortunate to get him on board. Totally professional, calm and a master of his craft. Randall Edwards was formerly a partner with PwC where he headed up the Corporate Finance department in Wales. Since leaving PwC, he has been involved in Environmental Consultancy. It would have been difficult to create our new business, Sustain, without him. Corporate Finance is an essential part of our future and Randall is already making a difference. I am utterly resolved that we should be involved in Corporate Recovery & Insolvency but more from a palliative care point of view. There are a lot of businesses hurting out there and they may need cash, some restructuring or advice.
On 1st May we went DAB across South Wales. This was a big step and required further significant investment and a lot of courage.
Over the last year or so we have proved we can run a quality Radio Station that plays great music. The next step was to make our offering more relevant to our core business. So we have introduced a range of business and current affairs type programmes. I applaud my colleagues David, Gary, Richard, Johno and Randall for agreeing to have their own weekly programme. I have every confidence in each one of them. A man I am very proud of, and possibly the best father ever, is my son, Calum. Evelyn is going to find it difficult to get a boyfriend though! Calum has really added something to my weekend breakfast shows, especially the interaction in “On this week in History”.
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He was keen to have his own shows, so a few weeks ago “The Dark Dell” (Saturday at 10pm) and “The Forest of Gleeb” (Sunday at 6pm) were born. If one had to categorise them, the former is a rock & metal show and the latter essentially folk.
From this edition on there will be a regular feature on the Forest. I think this will be the programme that wins us an award.
I am a great believer in not following convention and, as I do not come from a conventional radio programme background, I tend to just do what I think people would like.
We are keen to give our valued customers and friends the same tools we have, whether it be a website, brand design, social media, use of our recording studio, filming, podcasts or maybe even their own magazine.
I have proven that I am not afraid to back my instinct and when Calum wanted to name his shows as he has, I was all for it. I am particularly behind the Forest of Gleeb and it is without doubt our most original programme. I admire Calum and Drew for their characterisation in the Wizard Meeb and Shleeb and being so authentic. For those of you who listen to the programme, I am the Overlord of the Realm and I am also the originator of Rusty the Hare. When listening to the Forest of Gleeb, it is so different from anything else that I tend to think this is either madness or genius. Then the music starts and I listen to the lads talking and it is just a wonderful experience. I am all in so expect merchandise, books and all things Gleeb.
Our Marketing Team have been on fire for some time now and are amazingly talented.
Marketing is arguably the single most important aspect in a business and the best way to differentiate yourself. Our daily rate is only £600, well below the prices offered by marketing agencies. Contact Clare Wiltshire and Natalie Gayle to start your journey with us today. There seems to be a new air of optimism and maybe even joy in the world. Life will never be the same again but it is what you make it. Remember, we are true friends, we are always here to help. We all need a friend sometime. Enjoy our wonderful magazine and let me know what you think. Until next time...
Please support me and listen to my daily breakfast show from Monday to Thursday 7.30am to 10am - Paul
All Roads Lead to Aspen Waite… Richard Hill
The route to my current role has been a somewhat strange one. Looking back I don’t know if it was tremendously unlikely, or inevitable.
I have also taken up running during the pandemic – apparently it becomes enjoyable at some point, and I will let you know if this ever happens.
Today I specialise in Innovation Tax Reliefs, advising particularly on R&D tax relief and Patent Box. I do dabble in other areas of tax, but keep returning to these old favourites. After all, it is nice to have a job where clients smile when they see you coming, and who doesn’t like getting money out of HMRC?
When sport is not an option, I am an avid reader across all genres. I also have a passion for games and competition of all kinds. I have what could be described (wrongly) as too many shelves of board games, including rulebooks for games I do not own and may never play.
Before the career stuff, a little about me. I am father to two young boys, who take up much of my time outside of work. When I can, I head down to the squash club to play in the local leagues, get out on my paddleboard, and (if time allows) pick up my sabre and do a bit of recreational fencing. I would dearly like to do more skiing than I do, but the realities of small children make this a rare treat.
In the world of work, I am a Chartered Accountant, and have been working in the field of Innovation tax relief for around ten years. I ended up coming at accountancy from an oblique angle. After various jobs including running clubs, bar work and the like, I went to university to study Mathematics (I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up, and it sounded impressive on paper). My transition to the world of
work proper started by dabbling in teaching, followed by ski instructing, and then a few years of engineering. After this, becoming a Chartered Accountant seemed like the logical next step, so I joined the graduate scheme at Grant Thornton and effectively restarted my career. I quickly got sucked into R&D relief, given my engineering experience and interest in science and technology. By the time I was chartered, I had moved to a permanent role in what was then the R&D team. In the fullness of time this team became the Innovation Group, which I would eventually lead out of the Thames Valley and Southampton, supporting all of the south, and sometimes as far north as Scotland. It was in this role that I learned my trade, and also developed a passion for people management and coaching. At the end of the day, everything we do is about people.
Whether it is the businesses we support or the teams we work in, getting things done needs people you can trust and rely on. I take real pleasure in supporting people to achieve their goals, and it is a privilege to be able to help someone realise they are capable of far more than they may have believed.
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I later moved on to a more general tax role with another firm, where I helped restructure the team and processes, leaving behind a tax offering that was confident to face the new world emerging from the global pandemic. I was glad to expand my skillset in this role but when I met Paul Waite and he offered me the opportunity
to join his fantastic team at Aspen Waite, I jumped at the chance. Now I am working to combine my experience from around the industry with the fantastic work Aspen Waite does in the R&D sector, to build a world beating service that remains a core part of Aspen Waite’s growth.
To get in touch with Richard to learn more about our Tax and R&D services, please email Richard.Hill@aspen-waite.co.uk
Inspect what You Expect. Johno Harris
What is the most important factor for success?
Speak to the “experts” and everyone tells a different story and has a different idea about what is essential for success. Some people focus on systems and processes, others would say without sales there is nothing, and yet others would advocate the importance of strong marketing and branding. Personally, I feel all the above are important, and every business will require an input from each of these areas to some degree, but the essence of success in any business will be how the people who work there are treated and cared for. Happy people are industrious and ingenious. Happy people look for solutions and are always innovating. Some people feel it is important to be able to measure happiness, but should happiness really be measured like other business KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)? Happiness could be seen because of how KPIs are achieved.
Happy people will generally know what their KPIs are and will focus on these because through achievement they are spreading the happiness within the team.
What makes people happy then? Feeling an integral part of a team usually makes people happy. Involving your team in discussions and decisions can be a really good way of ensuring your people are involved and valued. When we plan a company promotion or perhaps a summer promotional BBQ to invite clients and client prospects, we all get involved and its great fun.
Extend the happiness. Once you have a happy and productive team then apply all the same criteria to your clients and see how it goes. If you have clients who do nothing but complain, then take some time out and assess the complaints as a team, perhaps ask those team members who are not involved to act as “Devils Advocates” and critically look at your performance in relation to said complaints. If they are justified, then it is time to make changes to your client servicing system. If unjustified, time to make changes to your client base.
If you are in management then why not ask advice from those who report to you? People generally love to help others.
In summary, people love to be valued and involved. Get this right and everything else should become much easier.
Create informal discussions from time to time if your business model allows for it. If not, then arrange after work get togethers to find out what makes your colleagues tick and to let them know what makes you tick when not at work. Who knows what you may find in common? One of my colleagues ended up giving me a juicer he was getting rid of and it is probably the most used piece of equipment in our kitchen, now we always exchange juicing recipes!
Essential tip before you go:
“Always Inspect what You Expect”. When involving others in plans and actions, never assume things will happen just because people are enthusiastic, always follow-up on promises yourself, that way you have more to celebrate.
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Employee Engagement and the Art of Listening Darren Talbot
The key assets of any company are its people, particularly the client facing ones. It is their ideas that lead to innovation which will, in turn, enhance and grow your business. Aspen Waite is a firm of advisors which prides itself on disrupting the accountancy market through innovation and to do this it is their inspirational leader Paul Waite, his staff and the clients that are at the heart of everything they do. People make your business work and keeping them engaged has become a key priority for organisations around the world. Many organisations have developed annual surveys and appraisals to gauge and measure engagement. In recent months, within the Aspen Waite in Wales team we have spent a considerable amount of
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time working with Rob Lester of Moral Training and Development, creating a new engagement program for staff called “Real Conversations.” The driver for this is that, as an employer, we do not spend enough time investing in our key asset, our staff. The traditional method of measuring performance of employees through annual appraisals is too rigid and does not really give the employees a platform to engage. Recently, I have read a fascinating book called “You’re Not Listening” by Kate Murphy and would recommend anyone in life or business reads it, it’s a game changer. Below is an extract of the introduction and I hope this inspires you to order your copy.
When was the last time you listened to someone?Really listened, without thinking about what you wanted to say next, glancing down at your phone, or jumping in to offer your opinion? And when was the last time someone really listened to you? Was so attentive to what you were saying and whose response was so spot- on that you felt truly understood? In modern life, we are encouraged to listen to our hearts, listen to our inner voices, and listen to our guts, but rarely are we encouraged to listen carefully and with intent to other people. Instead, we are engaged in a dialogue of the deaf, often talking over one another at cocktail parties, work meetings, and even family dinners; groomed as we are to lead the conversation rather than follow it. Online and in person, it’s all about defining yourself, shaping the narrative, and staying on message. Value is placed on what you project, not what you absorb.
It was reading this book that inspired me further to take the Real Conversations process developed with Rob Lester to full implementation across the division. Over many years of working in the corporate world, both Rob and I were tasked to deliver KPIs, not always fully understanding the reason behind that target or the effect we were having on delivering that target. Poorly engaged or brainwashed into believing we were just doing the right thing for customers, when maybe we were doing the right thing for shareholders or investors. There must be a balance of course, however, our beliefs are firmly placed in empowering our people to be the best they can be through supporting, coaching, developing, and communicating with them, as well as listening to their input and acknowledging their skills. Working with the team in Wales has been a very interesting project as we have been dealing with a team going through a fast development trajectory with new
members and a mix of youth and experience. Turning what can be seen as a daunting prospect “The Appraisal” into a “Real Conversation” takes subtlety and skill, as well as large elements of trust. Beginning with some very simple discovery conversations allowed us to form pictures of where the team was in terms of their journey and how best to support them with a framework moving forward. Aspen Waite is a progressive business and has some amazing ideas and projects. Taking this into account, we have worked on a “freedom within a framework” culture during this process. Meaning we set up a framework but gave everyone freedom within that to explore possibilities, opening the team’s eyes to possibilities instead of closing them to tasks. At every stage, we have reviewed the conversations had and what was learned by ourselves and the way we had conducted conversations each day. The team now have a Personal Development Plan (PDP) they have designed
in consultation with their line manager which means they buy into the ownership of the plan, as they manage their own destiny. Allowing them space to have a personal objective in their PDP shows how the business is understanding the different times we all live in and have lived in through the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows them to concentrate on something that they enjoy outside of work and maybe bring that skill to the workplace for others to share and experience. To underline all of this and to future proof the business in Wales, we have invested in a development program for the team to allow them to develop their skillsets as future leaders and custodians of the Aspen Waite Way for generations to come. As we speak, the team are two workshops into a six workshop program and they are relishing the chance to expand their skills and build a stronger team for the future. There feels like a tangible shift in their purpose, as well as their effectiveness as a team, and this is what pleases us the most.
Value is placed on what you project, not what you absorb...
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Decarbonisation – Why Doing Nothing is Not an Option for SMEs Randall Edwards
I’ve spent the last ten years helping businesses transition to a zero-carbon world. This experience has given me an invaluable insight into the challenges, risks and opportunities that climate change creates for businesses of all sizes across all sectors. In this article I’ve tried to summarise the who, why, what and when of climate change with particular focus on the SME sector.
What is climate change?
What are greenhouse gas emissions?
Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing the world today. Rising global temperatures are bringing changes in weather patterns, rising sea levels and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather. The effects are being felt in the UK and internationally. Climate change is caused by the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The key greenhouse gas emissions are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride. Each gas has a different capacity to cause global warming. Carbon dioxide is expected to be responsible for about two thirds of the anticipated future warming.
What causes greenhouse gas emissions? Human activities release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere – using electricity generated from fossil fuel power stations, burning gas for heating or driving a car. Within the UK it is estimated that business activities account for about half of all emissions.
What is being done globally about climate change? The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties, including the UK, US and China, in Paris on 12th December 2015 and entered into force on 4th November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century. The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
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What is the UK doing about climate change? The Prime Minister recently announced a new ambitious target to reduce the UK’s emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Recognising the urgency to go further to tackle climate change, the UK’s new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement – is among the highest in the world and commits the UK to cutting emissions at the fastest rate of any major economy so far. Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than
any similar developed country and was the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050.
What is The Greenhouse Gas Protocol? The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP) arose out of the need to help countries and companies account for, report, mitigate emissions and provides accounting and reporting standards, sector guidance, calculation tools and training for businesses and local and national governments. It has created a comprehensive, global, standardised framework for measuring and managing emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains,
products, cities and policies to enable greenhouse gas reductions across the board. The GHGP categorizes emissions into three scopes; scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources: scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company; scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain. Most companies that report greenhouse gas emissions, report in accordance with the GHGP which requires the reporting of scope 1 and scope 2 emissions and encourages the reporting of scope 3 emissions.
What is the framework for reporting greenhouse gas emissions in the UK? The Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013 introduced the mandatory reporting of annual greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1 and scope 2 only) by quoted companies and from April 2019 this reporting requirement was extended to large unquoted companies and limited liability partnerships by The Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018. There is currently no requirement for SMEs to report greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.
What about SMEs? The SME sector comprises c.60% of the workforce and c.50% of the turnover of UK plc and as such is a major emitter of greenhouse gas yet it is completely “flying under the radar” when it comes to reporting and tackling its carbon footprint. My experience thus far is that most SMEs have given very little consideration to their carbon footprints. In terms of overall emissions, most have focused their efforts on air quality and waste and water management, areas that tend to be in the sights of environmental health officers or health and safety executives. Broader sustainability concepts, including carbon reduction, are given less priority.
It appears that many SME owners are focussed on the day-to-day challenges of running a business and simply lack awareness of what is at stake and how it applies to them. Others may not have the in-house sustainability expertise, time or resources to tackle their carbon footprint. While many carbon-reduction programs can generate cost savings in a relatively short timeframe, upfront investments are required. It’s not surprising that a lack of time and money was the number one barrier for SMEs responding to a survey by the UK’s Carbon Trust. And then, of course, there is the impact of COVID-19 - for many SMEs, the sole focus now more than ever is on winning work and delivering contracts. Despite these many obstacles for SMEs, the fact is that quite literally, they cannot afford to do nothing about climate change and trying to avoid its impact is like trying to squeeze a balloon in your hand – no matter how hard you try, it’s going to pop out somewhere! The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, their position in the supply chain of larger companies that have to set carbon reduction targets and who are in more and more cases starting to report indirect emissions (scope 3) due to increased pressure and scrutiny from their stakeholders, means that their suppliers, SMEs, will need to be able to report their carbon footprint and be seen to be actively managing it down. Secondly, there are already plenty of signs that suggest the global financial markets are starting to shift away from “carbon heavy” businesses and this will
quickly filter down to SMEs, making access to funds more difficult and more expensive to those that have no “green credentials” and making them less attractive to investors and potential acquirers when it’s time to exit. Mark Carney (former Governor of the Bank of England and currently UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance) spoke recently about the need for businesses to transition to a zero-carbon world. He did not pull his punches “There will be industries, sectors and firms that do very well during this process because they will be part of the solution,” he said. “But there will also be ones that lag behind and they will be punished.”. He went on to say that “Companies that don’t adapt will go bankrupt without question.”
“Sustain” is the answer. Aspen Waite is pleased to announce the launch of “Sustain”. Sustain is effectively an out-sourced multidisciplinary sustainability team for SMEs that has all the technical, commercial, marketing and finance skills needed to help your business successfully and profitably transition to a zero-carbon world.
If you want to know more then please email email@example.com
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Covid-19 Vaccination Rollout: UK Progress and International Outlook Dr. Oksana Artyomenko MD FRSM
With Covid restrictions now being gradually eased, we all feel like there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. It is fair to say that the UK vaccine rollout is already an outstanding achievement, which puts us far ahead of many countries in terms of number of people vaccinated. As of May 7th, 76.7 vaccine doses per 100 people have been given in the UK, with a total of over 51.2 million doses. And there are already promising signs the vaccines are reducing hospital admissions and deaths, as well as community transmission. Of note, an Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine remains the most widely used in the world (Figure 1). It therefore has the most real-world data collected from its use, giving additional confidence in its safety and effectiveness profile.
Covaxin (Bharat Biotech)
Figure 1: Only includes locations where data on doses administered is available Source: Our World in Data, 11.30 BST on 7 May
However, things are not looking the same in the rest of the world. Publicly available data shows that 45% of all vaccine doses administered so far have gone to
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just 16% of the world’s population in what the World Bank considers high-income countries. The picture below shows examples of that.
Tanzania Nigeria Ghana India 30,000
Brazil Canada Serbia
Figure 2. Vaccine doses administered per 100,000 residents. Circles sized by population, vaccine data as of May 6. Countries with population less than 1 million are not shown. A team at Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Centre recently found that high-income countries locked up 53% of near-term vaccine supply. They estimate that the world’s poorest 92 countries will not be able to reach a vaccination rate of 60 percent of their populations until 2023 or later. For the world to be back to normal, allowing us to travel freely for work, social and holiday purposes, not one, but all countries need to reach a certain level of Covid-19 immunity. So, what is being done to tackle such existing inequality? An international effort, known as the Covax scheme, was set up last year to try to ensure fair access to vaccines among rich and poor nations.
More than 49 million vaccine doses have been delivered through Covax so far. However there have been issues with its deployment, starting from it not being rolled out quickly enough. Also, initial targets were missed and problems with deliveries are likely to be exacerbated by the deteriorating situation in India. Officials there have restricted exports to protect their own population amid record-breaking number of cases and deaths. On Friday 7th May, the WHO approved for emergency use a COVID-19 vaccine from China’s state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm, bolstering Beijing’s push for a bigger role in inoculating the world. The vaccine, one of two main Chinese coronavirus vaccines that have been given to hundreds of millions of people in China and elsewhere, is the first developed by a non-Western country to win WHO backing.
It is also the first time the WHO has given emergency use approval to a Chinese vaccine for any infectious disease. Earlier this week, separate WHO experts had expressed concern about the quality of data the company provided on side effects, and additional data has been requested from the manufacturer. This approval allows the vaccine to be included in the COVAX scheme, hopefully adding more doses to countries which need it most. As some countries do not have enough vaccine doses, many people remain hesitant about getting the shot, and the virus constantly mutating, Covid-19 will stay with us for the foreseeable future. In such circumstances, a vaccination programme alone is not enough. Drug developers and public health experts say what is needed now is an easyto-take treatment for COVID-19, which could prevent people with symptoms from getting worse and ending up in the hospital – a convenient pill to be used at the first symptoms of the disease.
A pharma giant Pfizer is investigating a potential oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection, without requiring that patients are hospitalized or in critical care. They are also trialling an intravenous antiviral candidate as a potential novel treatment option for hospitalized patients. If both are successful, “there is a potential to create an end-to-end treatment paradigm that complements vaccination in cases where disease still occurs” – said Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD., Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical of Pfizer. The potential pill is a protease inhibitor, which binds to a viral enzyme (called a protease), preventing the virus from replicating in the cell. Protease inhibitors have been effective at treating other viral pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C virus, both alone and in combination with other antivirals. Currently marketed therapeutics that target viral proteases are not generally associated with toxicity and as such, this class of molecules may potentially provide well-tolerated treatments against COVID-19.
There are ongoing discussions at the WTO regarding the proposal to waive the patents on vaccinations and other Covid-related items, supposedly allowing production of more doses. This proposal was backed by the US last week, however it may not fully address the issue and is raising more concerns related to manufacturing, supply chain and quality. The EU and UK are more in favour of supply chain improvements, creating partnerships leading to voluntary licensing, such as collaborations between the Serum Institute of India and Oxford-AstraZeneca. Right now, the time to a full resolution of the epidemiological situation worldwide remains unclear. Undoubtedly, there will be further costs to the worldwide economy. While the UK vaccine rollout is expected to contribute to a boost of the UK economy in the near and medium term, and we hope to start moving towards the national recovery, it is important to keep in mind the global outlook and strengthen our international partnerships.
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The Aspen Waite team is working tirelessly to create new international collaborations. We are confident that our unique position would create significant synergies in healthcare, manufacturing, and other areas in the EU and beyond. References: 1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/ interactive/2021/coronavirus-vaccine-inequalityglobal/ 2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-56237778 3. https://fortune.com/2021/05/07/covidtreatment-at-home-pills-tamiflu-coronavirus/ 4. https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/ press-release-detail/pfizer-initiates-phase-1-studynovel-oral-antiviral 5. https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/ who-gives-emergency-approval-sinopharm-firstchinese-covid-19-vaccine-2021-05-07/
Upside Down Management and the High Street After the Pandemic David Scheeres
There is no doubt that the Covid-19 Pandemic or at least the lockdowns or quarantines enforced globally by central governments has accelerated a change in consumer habits that was rapidly happening anyway. I have a lot of time for Sir John Timpson, the owner of the shoe repair firm Timpson’s because he is both a traditionalist and yet disruptive. His success has been brought about by recognising change but amalgamating them with great customer service, staff ownership of values and an appreciation of their customers who keep them employed. His foresight in acknowledging the demise of the high street led him to a path in which he “piggy backed” traffic into his shops by launching a new campaign to follow the new location of his customers. Where was that? At the
supermarkets of course! The supermarkets provide a “one stop shop” for many things and the demise of the high street was largely brought about by supermarkets with easy parking, fuel stations and loss leading products to attract consumers. Coupled with an advance in the accessibility and choice of online shopping, the high street began to lose its appeal. Sir John recognised this and opened forty branches at supermarkets and expanded services to include dry cleaning, tailoring operations and other repairs.
Management” that I would recommend.
We’ll move on later to the future of the High Street but first I will review Timpson’s philosophy and fundamental business model. The business model is called upside down management, coined by Sir John many years ago. In fact, he wrote a book called “Upside Down
Timpson carries out no marketing, advertising or public relations, hires no management consultants and has no budgets and yet has a turnover and profitability that is the envy of many, and make no mistake, Timpson understands that turnover is vanity and profit is sanity!
What drove Timpson to Upside Down Management was the realisation that the only means to successfully compete with a well-capitalised competitor in a shrinking market was superior customer service. To get there, he theorised that he had to “give branch managers authority and trust them to get on with it.” In essence, customers come first, staff second and management last!
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Upside Down Management is based on the following basic principles:
All colleagues have the freedom to do their jobs the way they choose
Every bosses job is to help his or her team
No KPIs, no boxes to tick
Bosses don’t issue orders
Head Office is a helpline – it does not run the dayto-day business
Timpson’s Philosophies are based on respect and kindness and are that;
• They believe in employee empowerment.
• When you loosen the reins,
the good people stand out.
• Bail out early, if you make a mistake.
• They always have a pipeline
of potential recruits. They send monthly newsletters to these people to keep them warm.
• They give every member of staff their birthday off.
have many employee • They recruit on personality using • They benefits, such as a wedding a basic Mr. Men style scoring sheet. Graphic images. Simple, yet effective.
car the staff can use, a hardship fund which people can draw from, holiday homes for staff and a dream come true fund.
• All employees in the retail
chain participate in profit share. The basic calculation was calculated by adding up the wages of people in the shop that week and multiplying it by 4.5. After that figure is achieved, then all staff get 15% bonus of the over-achievement.
• Any employee can give up
to £500 compensation to any customer on the spot, in the interest of customer service.
What’s evident is that the Timpson business model is a big success for them. Their small stores, low cost, profit share business models rely on a huge amount of employee trust. They reward that trust with some fantastic employee benefits, a list that very few businesses could compete with. In essence, the role model is kindness and mutual respect which falls nicely into the camp of the “Aspen Waite Way”. Sir John Timpson chaired the 2018 High Street report and warned that UK retail would not return to the high streets that existed ten or twenty years previously. On the other hand, the report made the call for money to be granted to local authorities to rejuvenate their town centres and in the October budget initially announced a £675 million Future High Streets Fund launched on Boxing Day the same year. At the same time, the government said that funds would be used by local councils across the UK to transform the high streets into community hubs, aiming to reduce the reliance on retail following a year in which high street receipts fell again and after a challenging year. Of course, at this stage there was no thought of a pandemic and the demise of so many retailers that relied on face-toface contact with their customers. At the time Sir John said “By helping our towns create their own individual community hub, I believe we will have vibrant town centres to provide a much-needed place for face-toface contact in the digital age”.
In 2019, the High Streets Task Force – chaired by Timpson – was formed to support local leaders in revitalising high streets. It comprised of experts who provided tailored guidance and advice to local authorities seeking to breathe new life into their local town centres. By the end of the year, the government announced the first fourteen high streets that would receive £1 billion to help improve the UK’s retail sector. The fourteen locations would each receive up to £25 million worth of training, face-to-face support and access to research to give small business owners an edge.
Where does this leave the high street as retailers have to innovate to cope with a paradigm culture shift?
High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP described the task force as a way for the UK’s high streets to “evolve successfully” and “meet the needs of their local community”.
All looked promising until the UK declared a lockdown on 23rd March to control the pandemic, and while it seems to have helped the public health crisis, it took a huge toll on the economy. In the retail sector alone, it has been reported that at least 24,348 jobs were lost in the first half of the year, according to the Centre for Retail Research. We have seen the closure of many retail “household names” and others struggling to survive as ecommerce accelerated its significance in a market in which the consumer still wanted to consume but was unable to do this as easily in a conventional manner because non-essential shops were closed.
I believe in the resilience of trade and also community. Upside down management advocates kindness, respect and service. The fundamental tenant of good service is respect, communication and understanding people’s needs. I believe that the high street will evolve to become the social hub of the community as hypothesised by Sir John and there will always be a space for specialist and artisan retailing.
This is simple to answer and is possibly one of the reasons for the huge emerging coffee shop culture. Who traditionally spends most time shopping and is the most important consumer in society? Women. Before you accuse me of sexism, the logic of the argument is severalfold. It is a myth that women spend more than men, in actual fact there is more or less financial parity, but women usually buy for their children, dictate fashion, choose what their partners wear and eat, and usually perform multi tasks between employment and running a home. They are also far more communicative than most men and interact socially in a more gregarious manner and this has helped to kick start the café culture. I won’t drift into disposable fashion and life cycle analysis which does influence buying as that is an environmental issue for another day.
According to several studies, women buy twice as much as men and therein lays the need for choice. It would be stereotypical to say that men shop to buy and women buy to shop and the male focus is on parking and expediency unless of course the object of purchase is driven by luxury such as a hobby or immediate necessity. What I would say though is that shopping and the need to engage with others is more social than can be provided by an online experience. I suspect we will see smaller high streets with more residential use serviced by smaller specialist shops and a café culture fuelled by the simple human desire to engage. Much like Johnson’s coffee shops in the 18th Century where people congregated to debate the issues of the day, the need for face-to-face communication and shared experiences will ultimately drive the crowds to the high street. There will always be a percentage of goods that are chosen by the physical senses and choice can be influenced by advice which artificial intelligence is a long way away from replicating. Can a website or review say “you don’t look good in that”, I doubt it. I believe the emerging café culture will engender the growth of satellite retailers. In 1997, I established possibly the first internet art gallery called the Network Gallery. A mentor was Michael Noakes who was a world-renowned portrait painter who had painted more Prime Ministers, Royalty and personages of note than any other living
artist at the time. Michael was a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, president of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and a director of the Federation of British Artists. Michael had the most fantastic sense of humour and despite being a traditionalist, injected humour and innovation into many of his paintings, such as multiple limbs to denote movement! The art world model is that galleries feature artists who are paid when the work is sold with the bulk of the sale proceeds normally retained by the gallery to pay for overheads, the main one being property. The size of an exhibition and the number of works exhibited is limited by the physical space of the gallery. My premise was that an Internet Gallery could exhibit hundreds of artists as there was no limitation of physical space and as overheads were low, it could pay the artists larger commissions and “corner the market”. Michael Noakes and other prominent artists agreed and the business was launched with my new 1.75 MP digital camera and dial up Internet! Despite the illustrious patronage, the venture failed dismally as it was too radical and premature. A survey of art buyers was undertaken including some who had bought from the gallery artists previously and the consensus of opinion was that there was a distrust of buying something of significant value that could not be physically touched and were the images true to life and was there really only
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one example of the work extant? Broadband speeds, digital photography and perception has changed remarkably over the past two decades. In December 2020, Statista stated that online art sales will reach 9.32 billion US dollars by 2024 and the current value is estimated at 4.5 billion US Dollars yet comparably the global art market is valued at 64 billion dollars. These statistics were prepared during a global lockdown when the impact of online retailing was fully appreciated, so what does this mean if online sales are estimated to be less than 10% of the global market? I would hypothesise that there is more to consumer demand than simply need or want and that we are social animals who like advice and approbation, and the act of acquisition also serves social purposes. To revisit the Timpson philosophy, customers come first, be kind, respectful and attend to their needs and they will come back. In essence, this is the Aspen Waite Way and why we launched the “Friends Programme” at the beginning of lockdown last year. There is more to living than money.
Why Your Business Should Enter Awards Paul Waite
Awards come in many forms: by industry, by region, by size and so on.
My attitude to being a runner up has become far more positive since that first year.
Aspen Waite is in its 28th year and we have won a number of awards. These all look good on things like e-mail signatures and websites.
Being a runner up in a national award is hardly a bad thing. It underlines our excellence, raises our credibility and makes it harder not to be taken seriously.
The ones that really matter are the National Accountancy Age awards. On four occasions we have been runner up. On the first occasion in 2015, we attended the very expensive ceremony in London, extremely well hosted by Rufus Hound. Over £2,000 for eight tickets, I went with great expectation but, alas, we did not win.
I have been involved with the GB Expos Business Awards since their inception in 2018 and was proud to host the 2021 awards.
This came only a few weeks after Aspen Waite won the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Somerset Business Awards. This was a wonderful experience and right up there in my lifetime achievements. So I have a broad experience of awards from every conceivable angle and viewpoint. Why do they exist and why should businesses enter awards? My views on this are contained below and go across several different aspects of a business.
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1 They are Excellent for Benchmarking and Creating a Greater Business Focus. Most awards have a number of different categories, so it is important to target the awards themselves and then which categories are relevant to your business. In our case, at the moment I am focused on the following types of awards: National Accountancy Age Tolley’s Tax A Radio Award A Design Award Somerset (Head Office) South Wales (Our Hot Spot)
Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. I like to think of a business like fish swimming in the sea. There are big fish and little fish, the predators and the hunted, fish that swim near the surface and those that swim at the bottom. For most of the 27 years, we have swam in the middle of the ocean. This makes us vulnerable to fish swimming above and below us. So for instance we might represent a client who thinks that they have reached a size that requires them to move to a Top 30 firm, for instance. More likely the Top 30 firm(s) would target a higher growth business and try to convince them that a move to them was the thing to do.
There is little point entering an award that is either meaningless, not relevant or that one has no chance of winning.
Conversely, the fish swimming at the bottom of the sea might target an Aspen Waite client and tell them that price is the key issue.
In Aspen Waite’s case, I believe we offer world class advice, customer service, marketing and our Radio Station is second to none.
I know firms that won’t charge less than £1,000 for anything including a self-assessment tax return.
So I find it really helpful to have to consider what we do especially well, whether one can get others to agree (the Judges) and how best to represent this.
The local bookkeeper (masquerading as an accountant) might be happy to do a tax return for £50. So really think about your business and its strengths. Are you good enough yet to enter an award?
There are two main issues when it comes to entering an award: Do you have any strengths that compare well with your competitors?
Can you put this over in such a way that it impresses the Judges?
We entered several awards in the Somerset Business Awards and my Marketing Team produced a first draft for the Outstanding Achievement category. This was centred around the launch of Aspen Waite Radio which, of course, was an outstanding achievement. However, it was clear to me that our real achievement was in our offering the Friend Programme. We put together an amazing presentation and, when we presented to the Judges at the shortlist stage, we literally nearly had them in tears.
Stronger Positioning Against Competitors
Strong Indication of Trustworthiness
Raises Awareness of your Business
Assuming one is, at worst, shortlisted, success in awards allows the applicant business to adopt a strong position against its competitors.
Success in awards gives your business credibility. It tells potential customers and other interested parties a lot about you, what sort of people you are.
Success in an award automatically raises awareness of your business
In my case, this is not done in a direct manner and we never trash or put down our “competitors”. The truth is I don’t consider we really have any competitors. Why? Our market position is distinct, our range of services is unique and our approach, which we call “The Aspen Waite Way” is based on egalitarian principles, a love of business, desire to help people, to help others and benefit the community. I prefer to let the market decide which the better firm is.
It implies quality and, if you win, that you are successful.
4 When we won recently, I received scores of messages within minutes. Then people like banks, customers, suppliers, etc. added their congratulations. There was a lot of publicity through Social Media and then the Press. My right to be taken seriously by you, the reader, is undoubtedly helped by Aspen Waite’s own success.
5 PR Opportunities and Exposure To some extent, I have already covered this but it is a powerful point worthy of being reinforced.
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Again, this is covered in earlier comments but nonetheless it is a powerful point. The return on investment, if successful, is exponential.
How many business are actually building a brand or even recognise that they have a brand? I have consciously been building the Aspen Waite brand for over 20 years. Award success is excellent for brand building, brand positioning and brand awareness. When I presented the GB Expos awards, I saw scores of brand designs on the screen. I was genuinely interested in all of them and some were quirky, I didn’t like all the names, but most were thought provoking and a few were excellent.
Success in awards gives your business credibility. It tells people a lot about you, what sort of people you are
Greater Competitive Edge Against Larger Businesses
If you win an award, it is more difficult for, say, a Top 10 accountancy firm to put Aspen Waite down. The extra credibility, third party recognition, etc. all point to quality. As we all know, size is not everything.
It would be possible for just one person in a business to singlehandedly go about all the required tasks to enter an award. I would not recommend it. I worked with a small number of my marketing colleagues and, when we presented to the Judges when we got to the shortlist stage, I asked Alec Jones-Hall to join us. He is a big friend of Aspen Waite and we collaborate closely and to great effect. Alec was able to inject some third party objectivity. In order for us to get to be shortlisted in the first place, we had to come together as a team. Together we really did achieve more. The presentation we did was the finest I have been involved in ever. We came together with amazing empathy and almost a sixth sense in terms of each of us knowing when to speak and when to let someone else speak.
We were amazing and it created a bond between us. A sense of pride and maybe even vindication. When I realised we had won, an even greater sense of pride. I also realised quickly after the announcement that a number of people really cared and were especially pleased for me. The award celebrated the excellence of Aspen Waite as a whole, no doubt, but I would be lying if I didn’t feel that it also was a triumph for my team.
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Morale Boost for Employees and Enhanced Ability to Attract Talent It is good to win, it can become a habit. I, for instance, am absolutely certain that we will go on to win even more awards. We all want that feeling again, and we found out how to win.
Everyone wants to play in a winning team, it goes without saying.
So if you have a good business, aspire to have an even greater one.
Look at Man City; they can now attract some of the best players in the world.
Entering awards must be part of the journey.
Don’t you want to have a business that the cream of the crop wants to join?
I now have an extra spring in my step and more self-belief.
I hope this article inspires you, the reader, to experience all of the wonderful emotions and feelings I have referred to.
Commercialisation of the Marketing Offer Charlotte Richardson
At Aspen Waite, we don’t dream of a better future. We help create it. Over the past few months, the Marketing Team has been busy working on a whole host of pioneering internal and external projects. Amongst them is the exciting pivoting of our team’s skills to create an attractive service that adds value to our already wide-ranging Aspen Waite toolbox. Marketing is both a science and an art. Harnessed properly, marketing can explore, create, communicate and deliver value that satisfies the needs of customers, clients, partners, and the community at large. The enhancements made to the Aspen Waite brand in recent months exemplify how the pursuit of exceptional marketing never ends. To stay relevant and progress, businesses need to keep up with trends in the world around them and marketing is key to unlocking
potential, as well as amplifying image, assets, awareness, reach and income generation. Do all businesses and business people understand the importance of marketing? Perhaps not to the extent they should. Covid 19 has made businesses of all sizes re-evaluate their offer, output and delivery. When times are harder, it’s easy to think marketing should take a back seat or a budget hit. But is that short-sighted? We know for a raft of reasons – resource, time, prioritisation - to name but a few, that some of our clients and friends have let their marketing slip. In doing so they may have lost an element of their strategic focus, as a marketing strategy is a business strategy too. That’s where Aspen Waite’s marketing services come in. It’s where we’ve identified a space to help by linking marketing with thinking around business growth and consolidation, reputation, competition and delivery.
Over the past year, our Marketing Team has grown, so we are now in the position to offer yet another first-class service to our clients. A service that ranges from design and branding to social media strategy, and from hosting to website creation and search engine optimisation. We believe marketing is a blend of the scientific and artistic. Our hands-on, practical approach combined with the creative and artistic capacity we have in the team means no matter how large or small the brief, our clients will be given the advice, expertise and support they need. Aspen Waite can help business owners who simply don’t have the time to dedicate to the marketing they need to do. We can help a business in need of a boost and assist any client trying to utilise marketing platforms at their disposal. So, let’s explain in more detail the services we have fine-tuned into a commercial offer...
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Planning This is at the core of our work. Our systematic process enables us to explore, create and deliver a highly effective marketing strategy for our clients. We can help give focus, measurable aims and achievable outcomes.
In Depth Research
Strategy An effective marketing strategy means the best use of time, money and energy. We are with our clients every step of the way to advise, innovate and deliver in a multitude of ways…
Design and Branding We offer a range of bespoke and innovative creative materials. Whether that’s a show-stopping new website, impressive presentation or signage to brighten up a return to the office and create a new buzz…we cover the full range of brand and design services.
• External Review • Target Segmentation • Communications Planning • Marketing Collateral
Website creation, hosting and Search Engine Optimisation Trickier technical elements such as hosting, SEO and website-responsiveness can be daunting. Our services deliver value so, when going online, our clients have the tools in place to impress, inform and convert customers.
Quite possibly the most exciting part of our development over the past year, Aspen Waite Media offers clients and friends direct access to skilled media production professionals who specialise in communicating the story of businesses, products and services. This can be done through podcast, video, business webinar production and much, much more. Keep your eyes peeled www.aspenwaitemedia.com for news coming soon.
Then we put the thinking into action. Our team of passionate, creative and friendly professionals are on hand to work closely with clients and deliver the best solutions.
Social Media Digital platforms are so integral for business growth. Having social media can sometimes be treated as an easily run tick-box exercise, when in fact it should be treated with far more respect and sophistication. From strategy to management, staff training to content marketing, Aspen Waite can spark ideas into a formulated plan of action. Action that gets results!
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Our talent, expertise and experience are there for all to see as we embark upon a new phase of our own journey. We hope you’ll hold on tight and join us for the ride … If you’d like to find out more about our marketing services, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.
Creating The Home of Work/Life Balance Ben Eltham
In the early hours of 1st May, Aspen Waite Radio launched on DAB across Cardiff, South Wales, Bristol, and Somerset. With a catchment area of 2.5 million, we welcomed thousands of new listeners overnight, and now sit alongside some of the biggest radio brands in the world. Real Business and Real Music is the tagline to best describe our content offering, a phrase which we hope will become well known across our broadcast area. Our new schedule launched on the same day, bringing that perfect mix of music and business to life. From Monday to Friday, we will broadcast our inspiring business and educational offering, with Monday to Thursday starting with our CEO Paul Waite on The Breakfast Show. Last summer, we recruited one of the most talented young presenters in the country, and Hope Ellen will now present our flagship business show 12 noon-2pm each day ‘The Aspen Waite Daily’. Leading the way in business growth and support, we are committed to ensuring our radio offering matches our reputation, and this daily dose of business will be enough to keep you up to date with all the latest developments from across the UK.
Part of Aspen Waite’s unique offering is our expertise in business, and we are delighted to announce five new shows that will broadcast from 4pm6pm Monday to Friday, which will utilise that talent. Randall Edwards, Gary White, David Scheeres, Richard Hill and Johno Harris all debut from the first week in June and will bring more high-level business content to the station. We also introduce Charlotte Richardson, Head of Marketing at Aspen Waite, who will present the Friday Breakfast Show. Charlotte brings a wealth of media and presenting experience and again shows the depth of talent at our disposal. Whenever you tune in during the week, we’ll bring you a mix of well-known songs and business content. We purposefully built our schedule with mornings and afternoons including ‘more music’ with a subtle hint of bitesize business along the way. Imagine being in the kitchen cooking your favourite dish and adding a dash of your secret herbs and spices. Your kitchen is our station, and after we’ve played you ELO and David Bowie, we’ll add a pinch of an insightful interview before we play you The Beatles.
At the weekend, we take you as far away from work as we can with an eclectic mix of shows from Folk to Dance, and everything in between. Another of our tag lines is ‘the home of work life balance’ and radio is at its best when it allows you to be part of another world. I am excited to start that journey, with the weekend breakfast show, which acts as the pivot between the working and social week. From Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder and George Benson to Jamiroquai, Run DMC and Sophie Ellis-Bexter, there’s something for everyone, very much the Aspen Waite Way. One of the things I am most proud of the station for is continuing the legacy of the business, ensuring it is accessible to all, and giving a voice to businesses that would ordinarily be overlooked by other media outlets. I would encourage you to get in touch and let us tell your story, whatever that might be. We have a brilliant team of talented presenters, editors and producers waiting to welcome and guide you through your broadcasting experience.
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Working with Aspen Waite South West Sami Glover
Veyseys has been established in the quiet Devon town of Cullompton for over 130 years after it opened its doors in 1890. After staying a family business until 2009, Roger and John Veysey decided it was time to hand the reins to a new dynamic duo who have brought the shop firmly into the 21st Century and digital age. Their well-built and well stocked website really showcases the top-quality produce available either in person or at the click of a button. Mike and Phil are now at the helm of this fantastic local business, providing quality meat and accompaniments to the surrounding community, expertly supported by their better halves Maria and Ria respectively. Many of the residents of Cullompton and the surrounding areas have fond memories of the Veysey family and are just as keen to support the new owners in seeing the business survive through some of the most difficult times it has seen.
Covid-19 Response Since 1890, Veyseys has not had to ‘close its doors’ to customers – staying open even through World War One and World War Two – but due to government COVID-19 restrictions, this momentous achievement was drawn to a close and the shop had to close its doors to customers. However, nothing was going to keep the team down, and overnight a whole new business structure of 100% home delivery was brought to fruition. Adaptations to the business had to be made quickly in order to cope with the new demands of not having a ‘shop’ open to the public. Ria recollected how they had up to 250 orders being placed PER DAY for the first two months of lockdown – which meant working 70-80 hour working weeks, hiring new staff and buying a new refrigerated van to mention but a few things. But Veyseys has been the heart and constant of Cullompton High Street, so it was hardly surprising that the public jumped feet first in to help Veyseys survive. From ordering as much as they could, to offering to help deliver orders for them, to baking them goods to say
thank-you for providing a service which was saving the lives of many people who were shielding. The residents of Cullompton and surrounding areas really stepped up to save an important part of the town’s history. Local Suppliers Veyseys prides itself on using as many local suppliers as it can, sourcing all of its beef, pork, lamb and game within an astounding twenty mile radius of Cullompton. Not only does this aim to reduce their carbon footprint, but it provides invaluable support for local farmers, businesses and creates local jobs. The suppliers they use are proudly displayed both on the board outside of the shop and on their website – providing complete traceability for all their produce. Their ethos can be easily summed up by their catchy little tagline: “Farm Gate to Plate” Maybe this is why Veyseys has such a magnetic appeal, not only do customers value quality and taste of Veysey’s products, but the ‘buy local’ ethic behind the business really resonates with them.
Many customers throughout the local towns and villages are noted as saying that they would not buy their meat from anywhere else now – and with this wonderful business offering quality produce and free local delivery, why would you? The pandemic has had the positive effect of introducing a brand new cohort of customers to local businesses such as Veyseys. Those who have only ever used supermarkets and have never ‘bought local’ have had their eyes opened to the quality and availability of local produce. As an extra bonus – Veyseys can deliver to anywhere in the UK on a next day delivery – so there is no excuse for this exquisite quality meat not to be shared with family and friends throughout the country. Working with Aspen Waite Veyseys Butchers have a longstanding history of working with Aspen Waite (SW) LLP (formerly Apsleys) in Tiverton. The Tiverton office have not only looked after the accounts and other business affairs for the butchers since Mike and Phil took it over but also acted for the previous owners. Speaking about the relationship that they have with Aspen Waite, Veseys said:
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“For many years Aspen Waite have been such a huge support to Veyseys Butchers, especially over the past year when we have had to use their services much more than ever before. All the staff at Aspen Waite have truly stepped up on many occasions to help with unanswered questions and have gone above and beyond to help our company grow and develop. We can honestly say in all the years we have been dealing with Aspen Waite, we have always found every single staff member an absolute joy to work with. No question is too big or too small. For people like us with hardly any accounts knowledge or little understanding of all the legalities. Phil, Duncan and the whole team have personally helped us through, in a stepby-step fashion to help make it more understandable and helped us negotiate how to drive our small business forward in a time of crisis. We would highly recommend Aspen Waite. THANK YOU FOR BEING OUR ROCK!!!” A lot of the local farms and businesses that supply Veyseys are also clients of Aspen Waite (SW) LLP and have been for many years – and Aspen Waite are immensely proud to provide support and
assistance to local businesses and local people. You only have to look on the Veyseys website to see how proud they are of their local connections as they have created a page dedicated to the farmers that supply them – the epitome of honest and transparent local working relationships. Awards Veyseys Butchers success seems to snowball year on year – and have been either shortlisted or have won the following awards over the last few years: Taste of the West (South West England) Champion 2020 - WINNER
Retailer of the Year 2020/21 (Food Drink Devon) - WINNER
Shortlisted for Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2021 in partnership with The Grocer - Awaiting Announcement on winner!
Countryside Alliance Awards – South West Finalist 2021 – Awaiting Announcement on winner!
If you want to find out more about Veyseys, then please check out their website and social media accounts: veyseysbutchers_devon
Order online: veyseysbutchers.co.uk | Email: email@example.com | Telephone: 01884 33442
The Forest of Gleeb Calum Waite
It is a quiet evening; I walk alone through the trees as the birds sing their last tunes of the day. All of the birds from places far and wide have either travelled back to their distant homes or settled down for the night. Rusty the Enchanted Battlemage Hare stumbles down into his burrow after a day of archery, spellcasting, tomfoolery and chiefly mead drinking with his friends the courier raccoons and the magic squirrels. The mysterious and solitary yet ultimately benevolent Gnomes
are starting to stir, awakening from their hiding places ready to stand vigil in the night against any possible threat that could muster on our borders. Never… cross… a gnome. The wizard Schleeb is at the centre of the forest, busy in his shaman’s hut brewing up all manner of potions and concoctions as I finally make it to the edge of the Forest of Gleeb and sit.
I wistfully stare into the horizon as the sun departs slowly into the west past the Plains of Anathor. No harm can befall me for I am sheathed in the carapace of protection spells that are woven seamlessly into the very fabric of these lands. I contemplate my existence, who am I? Ah yes, I am Meeb of course, wizard of the mystic arts and guardian of the Forest and all of its kin. But where did it all begin? I have vague memories of a time not long ago when I was but a
regular man in a strange far away land… but then one day I awoke. I floated through the realms of Aetherius, I was somehow everywhere and nowhere at the same time and I travelled for what seemed like both an eternity and the blink of an eye simultaneously, but then, I stopped. In the cold dark chasm of what I believe was space I heard a voice call out to me yet what he called me I cannot remember? Was it Meeb? Was it Calum?
Or was it Eldridge Oddbod (denizen and one of the supreme rulers of The Dark Dell)? Maybe it was a strange amalgamation of all of them, but for the sake of this text I will stick with the aforementioned title, “Meeb… Meeb! I have work for you...” said the voice. I looked around yet could see nothing. “Who are you? Where are you? Did you bring me to this place?” I retorted. The voice replied “I understand that you have many questions Meeb, all you need know is that
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I am your father and it is indeed I who both created this universe and brought you here, it is up to you however to create your own world in this realm, be warned, for it will not be without peril, the clay that will be moulded into your world consists of both light and dark and you must balance it as such, as do all things in existence… Look within and you’ll know what to do. You will not be the only one I am laying this task upon, other worlds will be created in this realm by travellers such as yourself and what they do with their lands is up to them”.
The voice went silent and I shut my eyes, for a moment all was still and I wondered if I had fallen unto a deep slumber, until, suddenly I heard it, the gentle and harmonious sound of birds chirping around me, I wiggled my toes and felt the cool grass beneath me. I took a few steps forward and slowly opened my eyes to look around, there it was, The Forest of Gleeb, I was home. While I could remember just moments before conversing with the indeterminable voice that had beckoned me across time and space I also felt like I had been here in this forest forever. I knew the names of all the creatures under the treetops, I knew that my brother Schleeb was here and that we had grown up in these lands together but that he too had travelled through places unseen from a former life to be here in this avatar, I knew the names of all of these lands under the stars, from the warm Plains of Anathor in the west to the cold Mountains of Iridil in the east.
Of immediate significance to me was The Dark Dell that lies on the northeast border between the forest and the mountains and I am greatly aware that me and Schleeb have a strange and symbiotic relationship with the lords that live within who are known as Eldritch Oddbod and Captain Longbottom and that despite what seems on the surface like a rigid dichotomy between us our fates are surely entwined and run adjacent to one another. They are the yang to our ying perhaps? The fire to our water? Regardless I know what my purpose was and is, to guard and oversee the magical safe-haven that is The Forest of Gleeb and bring forth the finest bards that have ever lived every Sunday from 6-8pm for the enjoyment of all the kindred spirits across the lands. Eldritch Oddbod and Captain Longbottom have got all of the more grotesque listeners covered in their Dark Dell
every Saturday night from 10pm-12am playing you the finest rock, prog, metal and grunge gods the realms have ever known! They are the dark and we are the light, together we bring balance as was foretold. Well, I’m afraid that’s it for now, story time is over, the sun has finally succumbed to the night and fallen into the west and I need to make my way back to the wizard’s cabin from the edge of the forest, the path before me is lit by the moonlight above piercing through the leaves of the trees and the faint glow of fireflies. All of the animals are asleep now and the gnomes can take over until the morning. I’d like to just say one final thing before I go, we’re only just getting started on our magical adventure here in our enchanted lands and I’m very much looking forward to welcoming you to our next show in… The Forest of Gleeb!
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A poem of Gleeb from me to thee:
I am The Wizard Meeb Of the enchanted Forest of Gleeb, My mission statement be, To set ye olde bards free,
A poem of Gleeb To give their tales safe haven,
from me to thee:
Under watch of owl and raven, I am The Wizard Meeb
Of folk, the enchanted Forest of Gleeb, To protect our kindred
M y mission statement be, Under carapace of staff and cloak, To set ye olde bards free, To give their tales safe haven, To welcome spirits into our lands, Under watch of owl and raven, That want to dance and our hands, Tohold protect our kindred folk, Under carapace of staff and cloak, That want to sing around our fire at night, To welcome spirits into our lands, Thatand want dance and hold our hands, Blessed by the forest alltoit’s might, That want to sing around our fire at night, And if you’re down or in a rut, Blessed by the forest and all it’s might, And if you’re down or in a rut, Just wander over to Schleeb’s shamen hut, Just wander over to Schleeb’s shamen hut, In there you’ll find manner potion, Inall there you’lloffind all manner of potion, Fromtoforaged brew’s to massage lotion, From foraged brew’s massage lotion, Or take a dip in our enchanted lake, Or take a dip inThen our enchanted go off withlake, rusty for some carrot cake, We bring you the finest bards of all time, Then go off with rusty for some carrot cake, To imbue you with their word and rhyme, We bring you the finest bardsyou of all time, To make feel the magic near, While you frolic along chasing our deer, To imbue you with their word and rhyme, For I am M eeb and he is Schleeb, And this my friends To make you feel the magic near, is the Forest of Gleeb. While you frolic along chasing our deer, For I am Meeb and he is Schleeb, And this my friends is the Forest of Gleeb.
The Joys of Outdoor Swimming Rachael Wood
Open Water Swimming? The media have been all over the benefits of it. With swimming pools being closed for much of the last twelve months coupled with the ‘national call’ to spend more time in nature and the heightened awareness of the perceived benefits of cold-water immersion to participants’ health and wellbeing, it is no surprise that there has been a massive uptake in Open Water swimming since the pandemic. A recent report by Outdoor Swimmer Magazine (published Feb 2021) states that the volume of Open Water Swimmers within the UK in 2020 was as much as 1.5-3 times greater than in 2019, resulting in at least one million people participating in the activity.
As many as 30% of these new swimmers reported to have been considering it for a while, though it was the pandemic that prompted them to make that vision a reality. I too fall into that category. I was introduced to outdoor swimming “in skins” (i.e. no neoprene, just costume & swim hat) in May 2020 by a good friend who is a very experienced open water swimmer. It was a beautiful morning in Henley-on-Thames and after one swim I was hooked, and quite literally have swam every week since. Swimming through the winter months in just skins? People often refer to us being crazy, though as one of my great swim buddies always says to anyone who suggests she’s mad, “perhaps it’s the cold-water swimming that stops us going crazy”.
People often ask WHY do we do it? It is extremely well documented that people do it for their overall general health and wellbeing. For me it is the time out in nature, the friendships and camaraderie within our group of swimming buddies, being immersed (literally) in the great outdoors and the pure joy that brings, not forgetting the challenge and sense of achievement when reaching any given swim goal. It gave my Lockdown Life a sense of purpose, and given I live alone with no ‘support bubble’ nearby, it brought a much-appreciated source of social interaction and some great new friends too. Achieving my swim goals thanks to a couple of Cold-Water Swimming Challenges over the winter months (more on that another time) also provided a great sense of achievement. After a morning swim, I always have a greater clarity of mind and feel more motivated having already achieved my swim target for the day. I find it inspiring to consider what can be achieved when you really put your mind to it, aligning rather nicely with one of my favourite quotes “What the mind can conceive it can achieve” -Napoleon Hill.
Simon Griffiths, founder and publisher of Outdoor Swimmer Magazine.
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Whilst I’ve always enjoyed swimming, pre–Lockdown Life I didn’t seem to have the time to be more than an occasional/holiday swimmer. Of course, the pandemic changed all of that. Whilst I am relatively fit, at the start of this journey I was one of the slowest swimmers within our group, which was always amplified by the fact I was in skins and most of them in more streamlined attire in form of neoprene wetsuits. However, the fastest swimmers within our group effectively took me under their experienced swimwings and gave me some great tips to increase my efficiency and technique. On occasion and on days when we had different swimming distance targets, we would take it in turns to swim, with the other one of us ‘spotting’ whilst running along the bank, cheering the other along, taking photos and video footage to help gain that all important feedback on swim technique. Without a doubt this teamwork played a big part in enabling me to reach my distance goal of 50,000m in skins over winter AND improve my technique, for which I am forever grateful. Having swam through winter in skins, now that the water temperatures are warming up (River Thames is currently circa 12°C), I’ve found myself putting on a wetsuit. It seems rather counterintuitive, I know, though IF you want to swim longer distances (which I do), a wetsuit is advised, and I’m delighted to say it’s already significantly improved my swim pace. To put this into context, Swim England state a wetsuit is compulsory for their outdoor swimming events when water temperature is between 16-18 degrees and anything below 16 degrees is too cold to swim! According to a report published by the American Journal of Human Genetics, 20% of the world’s population have a genetic mutation that provides 'superior resilience' to colder temperatures. The actinin-3 protein, found in 'fast-twitch fibres', is absent in 1 in 5 people. In an experiment whereby volunteers sat in ‘cold’ 14°C water while scientists examined their muscles, 70% of those without the protein could hold their temperature in the cold, compared to only 30% of those that had the same protein.
Perhaps it’s due to this genetic mutation that some are comfortable cold-water swimming for longer ‘in skins’ and others prefer to wear a wetsuit. According to the Outdoor Swimmer survey, only 44% of women & 64% of men chose to wear a wetsuit in winter, and in summer 31% & 50% respectively. The stats speak for themselves in terms of gender resilience to the cold and yes, of course body fat % also plays a part! Whatever the science behind swimming says, it is very clear that swimmers perceive there are multiple health and wellbeing benefits associated with the activity. Whilst some may argue the uptake in open water/wild swimming has increased the pressure on an already fragile natural environment with higher volumes of visitors to beauty/ swim spots, perhaps that is counterbalanced by the increased awareness of campaigning to keep our waterways clean. I must confess, prior to this new pastime, litter picking whilst swimming in the River Thames would not have been on the list of “things to do at weekend” activities!
The pandemic has highlighted the good and the bad in all aspects of life and I am sure everyone agrees that one of the best things to have come from it is the increased awareness of the importance of looking after one’s own physical and mental well-being. Whether you are a dipper, dunker, bobber, swoosher or seasoned swimmer; heads up breaststroke, head down freestyle front crawl OR somewhere in between, and if you haven’t already tried it and would like to, the warmer summer months are the best time to get started. I started late May 2020 and haven’t looked back since. I was lucky enough to have a good friend who is a very experienced river swimmer who very kindly gave me an open water induction, covering all the necessary water safety tips. I appreciate not everyone has this luxury, so IF you are keen to try open water though not sure where to start, I highly recommend an open water swim induction at an open water venue (i.e. a lifeguarded lake rather than unsupervised river). A full list of venues is listed on outdoorswimmer.com
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At the weekend I swam at a newly opened Love Open Water Venue at Dinton Pastures, Berkshire. As the site is in its infancy and the construction of the Dinton Pastures Activity Centre is still underway, the operations set up was basic. However, what it lacked in facilities, it made up for in great customer service. I was greeted with a warm welcome by the team, with opening questions that would put any newbie to the activity at ease. I will confess weather conditions weren’t ideal and the high winds resulted in enough chop to make the swim feel adventurous! The choppy water and fact there was a safety kayak paddling alongside me (a short distance away) I genuinely felt as if I was in training for a Channel crossing! What’s more, thanks to Nowca’s RFID safety wristbands which every Nowca swimmer wears to track their swim; clocking them in and out of the water, within an hour of completing my swim, I received an email thanking me for my visit & providing the all-important swim statistics; distance covered, time, water temperature and weather conditions. I look forward to improving on all these stats on my next visit. Finally, if you do venture into open water, please always remember the SAFE swimmer code:
SPOT the dangers! ADVICE – follow safety advice and read signs. FRIEND – always swim with others. EMERGENCY – call for help, recognise the signs of someone in trouble. Stay Safe and Enjoy! Any questions or if you fancy a chat about any of the above, feel free to contact me: Rachael.Wood@aspen-waite.co.uk
The Making of the Magazine Lara Honeybul
From designing magnificent magazine covers to putting together content pages that pack a punch, designing a magazine is so much more than thought-provoking text and inspirational imagery, it’s a scientific art. Desigining a magazine is a designer’s dream, but creativity is just the beginning…Magazine anatomy and architecture is a real thing, opening spreads are billboards, enticing readers to tuck into the story to follow. Subsequent pages however must keep the momentum going – offering the reader visual interest and intruige, interlectual stimulation and entertainement. They must advise, educate and innovate. Each spread has a set of rules and styling that designers must follow to ensure the reader’s eye follows a specific path and journey. With that in mind, here are just a few of the fundamental principles I follow when designing our fantastic magazine: Cover Design An attention grabbing cover is a must supported or inspired by a powerful, bold statement. You may have noticed we ensure all of our covers relate to a specific goal or aspiration relatable to Aspen Waite and our clients. Purpose What is the purpose of the spread/article? Is it image-based, story based? Is it formal or funny? The images and layouts created must relate to the article itself and visually represent each one truthfully.
Balance Make sure the content is evenly distributed over the spread. Don’t put too much text or imagery in one part of the spread as unbalanced layouts will feel uncomfortable on the eye and lose the readers interest. Think about where the eye naturally follows across the page and ensure the journey is smooth and satisfying. Hierarchy Do the important pieces of information stand out? Thoroughly digest each article and establish what are the most/least important pieces of information for a reader and present those levels of priority visually. Readability Is the text easy to read? Colour choice is also crucial in making sure that there is enough contrast between the copy and the background. Mix your Media Don’t simply rely on big, glossy photos to sell your stories like most magazines do. Explore various artistic mediums from photography, fine art and illustration to digitally manipulated montages and artwork. If you can’t find the right image to support an article, why not create it? I like to call it digital collaging - by editing pre-existing images/photographs with other images or illustrative vectors to create new images and artwork.
Make Facts Fun Use infographics, interesting typography and iconography to visually repesent key facts and figures, making them much more interactive and engaging when there are a lot of facts to digest. Create Consistency There’s a reason our covers use the same framed template but with a new image each time. No we’re not being lazy, we’re consciously building a collectable and consistent library of literature that we’re proud of, instantly recognisable as Aspen Waite. A well-designed magazine will have elements of consistency which are shared across the whole design, from cover to cover. This thematic design is the hallmark of a professional and carefully considered magazine. Key elements of the cover should be continued within from colour palette and typography to shapes and graphics. Treat it like a story This is where our fantastic marketing works their magic. Ensure that despite conveying different themes and stories, each article flows into the next with overarching themes and a well thought out hierarchy. Similarly make sure we are visually storytelling, visually taking our readers on an enjoyable journey from cover to the very last page.
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If you love the design of our magazine, why not get in touch to discover the many creative ways we can bring your brand and marketing material to life? Contact Marketing@aspen-waite.co.uk
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Thai-style Prawn Kebabs John Porteous
I absolutely love this dish; you must try it. If you’re not into prawns though, try the marinade with chicken, it works just as well.
4 tbsp oil 2 tbsp ginger wine
16 raw tiger prawns, peeled but with
red chilli, finely chopped
tails left on
Juice of ½ a lime
1 kaffir lime leave, bruised (optional) 1 stick lemongrass, bruised 1/2
tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed Black pepper
Put all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Add the prawns, stir to ensure they are covered and leave to marinate for as long as possible (up to 24 hours), basting occasionally.
Get your barbie up to speed (or set your grill to a high temperature). Squeeze lime juice over the prawns and stir. Thread four prawns on to each skewer. Cook for about three minutes on each side, basting with the marinade as necessary.
When the prawns are cooked, serve immediately, garnished with fresh coriander and lime wedges.
Blue Cheese Burgers John Porteous
Not really a burger, more a meatball filled with blue cheese. These really are scrummy. You can play around with this recipe. For example, you could add mushroom duxelles to the mixture.
Ingredients 85g/3oz Cambozola 85g/3oz Stilton 450g/1lb very lean minced beef 30g/1oz flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 floury baps, warmed Oil for frying
In a small bowl, mash the Cambozola with a fork until creamy. Crumble in the Stilton and mix the cheeses together. Divide into four portions and chill in the fridge.
Put the minced beef, parsley and beaten egg into a large bowl and season well with the salt and pepper. Mix together thoroughly.
Divide the beef mixture into four equal portions and roll each into a ball. Using your thumb, make a deep well in the centre of each of them and push a portion of the cheese mixture inside.
Cover with the meat to seal completely and flatten the burgers slightly with the palm of your hand. Chill for 20 minutes.
Grill for three to four minutes on each side, then serve in a warm bap with whatever accompaniments you wish – tomatoes, lettuce, etc. You can also fry the burgers in a heavy based frying pan – sear them on both sides on a high heat, then reduce the heat and cook for a further three to four minutes on each side.
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Marvellous Marinades John Porteous
There are a million different marinade recipes out there. I quite like these two for preparing meat ready for a good grilling. The first is best with chicken or turkey, the second with beef or venison – or even ostrich!
Chicken Marinade 4 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp sesame oil Juice of 1 lime
10g fresh ginger, finely chopped 2 Chillies chopped with seeds removed
1 bunch coriander, chopped 2 tbsp runny honey 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp light soy sauce
You can marinade whatever and however you like, e.g. whole, skinless chicken breasts or have the meat pre-cut into bite-sized pieces.
Beef Marinade 2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar 5 tbsp dark soy sauce 1 tbsp runny honey 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp chilli flakes 1 tsp ground cumin Ground black pepper (optional)
Again, use whatever meat and cut you like. I’m partial to a bit of top sirloin myself. Also, you can marinate a whole steak or cut it up into nice little portions
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Dedicated representation in Ireland and Scotland and trusted partners and associates nationwide.
Paul Waite, Editor in Chief Lara Honeybul, Branding and Design Charlotte Richardson, Editor Ross Curry, Print and Digital Support Kim Stanton, Production Manager Michelle Perkins, Proof Reading John Porteous, Proof Reading Sami Glover, Proof Reading Thanks to all our content contributors.