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Forthcoming Events 2014 Chamber Focus is an Altrincham & Sale Chamber publication

Looking forward with confidence

Editorial and General Enquiries Altrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce 17 Regent Road, Altrincham WA14 1RY T: 0161 941 3250

Sue Aldridge President

Publisher Benham Publishing 3tc House, 16 Crosby Rd, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY T: 0151 236 4141 F: 0151 236 0440 E: W:

he past year has flown, and it doesn’t seem like 12 months since we were reviewing the events of 2012.

Published January 2014 © Benham Publishing

Revisiting the events of 2013 brought my attention to the issues

Advertising and Features Karen Hall T: 07801 788880 E:


we have all faced and the challenges of constant change.

The economy is recovering much faster than anticipated, so we can be cautiously optimistic. GDP growth of 1.5% is forecast for

Production Manager Fern Badman T: 0151 236 4141 E: Media No. 1380 Event Editorial Algy Cole, Colewrite Copywriting Event Photography Martin Hambleton Disclaimer Chamber Focus is published for Altrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Altrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Chamber Focus are not necessarily those of Altrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2013. Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication.

Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.


We have seen significant changes to the way we work with our members and tackling the issues which impact on our businesses locally. The Chamber board has worked hard to create a new programme for our members and to retain our status as one of the few independent Chambers in England. Our board members participate in local action groups in Altrincham

16 January 8.30 am to 10.00 am Cresta Court Hotel Members £5 Non members £10 Win a meal for 2 in the business card draw at each event!

NEW YEAR LUNCH 7 February The Bowdon Rooms Speaker: Graham Brady MP Members £25 Non members £30

BREAKFAST MATTERS 6 March 8.30 am to 10.00 am Cresta Court Hotel Members £5 Non members £10 Win a meal for 2 in the business card draw at each event! Prices include VAT unless otherwise stated BOOK EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT

and Sale representing our members and their views and protecting their interests.

Going forward in 2014, we will launch the Business Academy; this will be available to members who want to learn new business skills. My ambition is that we continue what we have

In this issue... 4

Chamber News


Member News


Ask the Expert



started in 2013 and build on our success. We need a wider


Breakfast Matters

range of communication channels to let people know exactly



what we are about and prove the value of being a member of


60 Seconds

our Chamber.


Cover Feature


Getting Started


Big Interview


24 hours with...


Member News


Members Loyalty


Last Word


New members

We have a full calendar of events already published on our website and my aim is to expand the business education offered by the Chamber.

May I thank you all for your support and wish you all a successful 2014.


Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content.

2013 and forecast UK growth of 2.7% for 2014, a very welcome




The future is looking bright for Altrincham ltrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce joined forces with Networking in the City and invited the leader of the Trafford Council, Matt Colledge to give an update on Altrincham at a lunch held at Dee Thai. The event was sponsored by the Web Studio. Here, Councillor Colledge outlines the latest developments.


Two years ago, the Chamber asked me to speak at a lunch about what could have been encapsulated as ‘What to do with a problem called Altrincham’ as we were still reeling from national headlines proclaiming us one of the worst ‘Ghost Towns’ in Britain in terms of empty units and town centre decline.


Fast forward two years and the Chamber has again asked me to say a few words about Altrincham but the title has changed from ‘What to do with a problem called Altrincham’ to ‘What are we doing with Altrincham’ and I drop the word problem.


Back in 2011 I talked about a new engine of change for our town called Altrincham Forward. Back then it was little more than an idea but now it is a reality backed by financial and human resources and, critically, led by a group of people passionate about our town who range from your own Chamber of Commerce in

the form of Tony Collier and Jackie Campbell, representatives from businesses both local and of regional significance, voluntary groups such as the Civic Society and statutory organisations such as TfGM, Trafford Council and Trafford College. I have the privilege of chairing this group and the dedication and focus of the team is superb. The whole ethos of what we seek to achieve is to re-establish a town centre as an easy to use, vibrant place where small independent businesses can thrive alongside major chains, where the mix of retail, leisure, culture, residential and business meets the day to day needs of local people and visitors. And, crucially, somewhere where the market is at the heart of the town. Since its inception we have conducted an extensive review of the town’s conditions, published an annual action plan which

set out key workstreams to deal with each deficiency in the towns, developed an innovative public realm or streetscape plan and actively engaged in bringing about the conditions which at long last are starting to deliver change in our town. Although not directly an Altrincham Forward initiative the Council and stakeholders have worked hard to ensure that Stamford New Road and Railway Street resemble building sites in parts, with construction well under way for a brand new £19m transport interchange due to open before summer next year and a £13m modern hospital set to be operational in March 2014. Altrincham Forward itself has engineered the £2m relocation of the library from outside the interchange to a new building, complete with exhibition space, to be located next to the market on part of the old hospital site that will bring 11,000 visitors a month into the heart of


the town. In the Old Library we will be opening a Fab Lab which allows fledgling business and creative individuals to design and build prototype products. We have looked again at how our town works in terms of our roads and accessways. We have proposals already under way with the refurbishment of the lower market area, to radically change the traffic dominated conditions in our town, not strangling the town with traffic regulations but by the opposite: decluttering it, ripping out traffic lights at the Downs,Regent Road and Moss Lane, taking out yellow lines and bollards, rebalancing the relationship between cars and pedestrians. Altrincham Forward sees the Market as the hub of the town and as such we are looking to relinquish control from the Council to a local company that seeks to set Altrincham’s market as the destination in the Northwest and indeed the country as a market destination. Visitors to the new Sunday and twilight markets will see an immediate difference with new and interesting stallholders

selling items and produce of distinction and individuality. We want that to become a normal feature of an everyday market and the new operator has plans for more than 100 stall holders of every type. Altair, a scheme that for years had originally promised to be the town’s saviour rapidly, in its old form, looked set to hasten its demise by dragging the centre further away from its true heart. Now though, working with Nikal, we have a scheme based on leisure that will strengthen the town. Driving up the daytime and evening economy is subject to a number of work streams such as events programmes like food festivals and beer and ale trails, work to boost the restaurant and bar offer, creating spaces to allow café and culture to work seamlessly in the towns heart and opening up pedestrianised roads in the evenings to bring life and people to our streets. And key to all this is supporting businesses. The Chamber ensure, and I support it, that Altrincham Forward retains a strong focus on business. Whatever we

do it has to have a commercial basis to ensure firms can grow and prosper in Altrincham. That’s why we established forums for Retailers and Landlords to come together. The latter now work together to pass information about lettings to each other rather than directing enquiries out of town if a suitable property can’t be found in the town. We have set up a £10,000 interest free loan scheme for businesses taking on empty units and those landlords who have let their empty properties fall into disrepair have been put on notice. The biggest question I get asked is about business rates. I dearly wish Trafford Council had the power to set rates, for if we did we would end the crazy inbalance between rates and rent. Until that day, we are determined that businesses are supported to make the best case to appeal their rates. We are now seeing the signs of improvement. Far more independent retail businesses are opening than closing now, we had 34 open in the last year or so. The number of vacant units is falling. Car parking numbers, with our 10p charge has almost doubled in some car parks, meaning visitors to our town is up. Earlier this year I found for the first time that the bosses of Booths and Waitrose as well as existing tenants such as House of Fraser and Marks and Spencer were prepared to at least consider Altrincham in their future plans to a far greater extent than before. But whilst the winds of change are blowing there still remains much to do. You can’t reverse the decline that set in almost 20 years ago when our town seemed to be prospering but was actually underneath faltering, in a few short years.

L-R: Carol Longley, Networking in the City; Matt Colledge, leader of Trafford and Sue Aldridge, President of the Chamber

We have made a strong start but it is merely that, a start, the big work remains ahead of us.


In the next 12 months we will see a transformation in the market. We are working on strengthening the conditions to encourage independent shop traders. This time next year we will see the streetscape transformed to make our town a joy to visit and not a places to pass through. Altair will be under way, the interchange open and the hospital nearing completion.






Change is in the air ocal developer Nikal has shared its L regeneration vision for Altrincham with Chamber members. In November, Nikal hosted a breakfast seminar, in partnership with the Altrincham and Sale Chamber of Commerce, to outline its plans for the £75 million Altair scheme. Altair is situated on the 4.5 acre site located between Tesco and Altrincham Leisure Centre, adjacent to the interchange, and will be a mixed use leisure development. Trafford Council has granted planning permission for a new leisure centre; a range of leisure-based retail outlets, restaurants, coffee shops and cafes; a tenpin bowling alley; 150 apartments, as well as high quality office space and a car park.

Nick Payne and Sue Aldridge

Nick Payne, managing director of Nikal, said: “It was fantastic to outline our vision for Altair with the local Altrincham business community. Altair is going to play a key role in attracting new investment and customers back into Altrincham. It will help revitalise the whole area.” Altair is being designed by renowned architect Ian Simpson, who said: “We’ve planned Altair so it will provide much needed linkages between the different areas of Altrincham, helping to enhance trade and dwell time for residents and visitors.” Nick Payne added: “Altair is being built by Altrincham people, for Altrincham people. I’m proud to be part of something which is going to create a lasting positive impact for the area. It will enhance what Altrincham already has to offer and provide a new, safe and vibrant location for local people and families to enjoy and relax in and create new opportunities for Altrincham businesses.”

Company's rapid growth continues

Images courtesy of The Web Studio

Smart Financial reaches five year milestone and targets continued growth

aragon is one of the fastest growing P independent training providers across the North West, Midlands and the South of

financial planning firm, which recently celebrated its fifth ACheshire anniversary, is on track to break through the £1million turnover threshold.

England, working closely with local employers to help build the skills needed for current and future business demands.

Altrincham-based Smart Financial was established in 2008 by Managing Director Steve Martin and his wife Michelle.

Their track record speaks for itself; Paragon is celebrating its first year anniversary since opening the doors at their Sale office in Manchester. The team have gone from strength to strength with over 20 members of staff working out of the local office delivering apprenticeships in business administration, customer service, childcare, health & social care, hospitality, retail, team leading and management.

Steve started the business driven by a belief that the financial sector had to change due to public loss of faith through crises such as bank collapses and product mis-selling. The approach is working; the business has grown year on year, going from £25 million assets under management and 65 clients at the end of the first year of operation to £70million and 300 clients by the end of the fifth. Steve said: “This year has seen quite a major change for us as we have taken the concept of the personal financial approach into the business sector and introduced a new initiative, business exit strategy consultancy.

For further information please visit

“We now offer an integrated service to SME owner managers, combining their

“I am delighted with the way the firm has developed during the first five years. Initially it started out as a lifestyle business but that very quickly changed off the back of our early success. “I continue to have ambitious plans, with a target to grow turnover to around £2.5£3 million over the next five years, alongside developing a range of initiatives which will ensure we engage with our clients and prospects more effectively. “I have a strong team in place and an excellent portfolio of services which puts us in a great position to achieve our goals.”


Nick McHugh, Business Development Manager for Paragon added: “It has been a record year for Paragon. With our expansion into the North West and our access to both national and local government grants, employers can still claim over £2,000 per Apprentice. Paragon also has the added benefit of a dedicated recruitment team who can assist with both the training and recruitment process.”

business financial planning with their personal plans. We help them understand the value and sellability of their business, which is more often than not their most valuable asset, and work with them to ensure that it delivers what they require for their future lifestyle.



Ask the Expert Ged Murray Insure Risk

Do I need Commercial Insurance?


For most businesses, there are certain statutory insurances that may need to be arranged – Employers’ Liability, Motor and Engineering Inspections. From a commercial viewpoint, there are some other business risks where the arrangement of an insurance policy cover to safeguard assets and provide protection from potential liabilities is recommended. The main policy covers that may be required are Employers’ Liability, Public & Products Liability, Property Insurance (buildings/contents/stock/plant & equipment), Business Interruption, Money, Professional Indemnity (where appropriate) and Motor.

When am I legally required to have Employers’ Liability Insurance?


You are not required by law to arrange Employers’ Liability Insurance, if you are a sole trader or a limited company (where you are the only Director) and employ only direct close members of your family (husband/wife/sons/daughters). However where this is the situation it may still be prudent to arrange Employers’ Liability Insurance.


Public Liability Insurance covers loss, injury or damage caused to third party persons (i.e. non employees) or their property caused by the company’s negligence. The extent of the cover provided will be subject to the policy’s terms and conditions. Product Liability Insurance provides cover where a product has been sold and supplied and due to a defect with the product causes injury or damage. Repair or replacement of the product supplied is not insured.

Are all insurance policies the same?


UK insurers each issue their own bespoke policy wording dependent upon the business risk activities. No two policies are identical. Individual insurers will include within their policy wording their own terms and conditions. It is important that when purchasing the insurance that these are fully understood, as otherwise, policy cover could be affected in the event of a claim. Never buy an insurance policy solely on price. The insurance cover provided is always the most important consideration.

If you are a limited company with more than one Director or have any employees (either direct, agency, temporary or on a casual basis), you are required by law to arrange Employers’ Liability Insurance.


What is the difference between Employers’ Liability and Public & Products Liability Insurance?

Whatever type of insurance you’re looking for, arranging your cover through an independent local insurance broker – rather than a do-it-yourself price comparison site – is your best bet when it comes to finding the right level of cover at the right price.



Employers’ Liability Insurance covers injury or illness suffered by anyone employed by the company during the course of their occupation, where the company is legally responsible.

Do I need an Insurance Broker?

On the face of it, online or price comparison sites offer great deals, especially when cost is the main consideration. But dig a bit deeper, and there are lots of reasons why using a local broker can prove a very wise choice. The main benefits include: • you’ll get truly independent advice from an insurance professional • we will work hard on your behalf and shop around to get you the best deal • experienced staff with specialist knowledge of their chosen insurance sector • a broker knows the insurance market and recognises when you’re getting value for money and can negotiate on your behalf • you get personal advice and support, and have an insurance expert “in your corner” with your best interests in mind • you can ask questions, air concerns and get advice and recommendations – but still have the final say • you learn about the pros and cons of each option in a way you can understand • unlike an agent, an insurance broker deals with many companies, not just one, so we can find you the best value • in-house claims support is available if the worst happens.

The personal touch


There’s nothing quite like dealing with someone who takes the time to get to know you and your circumstances. Independent insurance brokers provide that personal touch. At the same time, customers can still benefit from competitive rates and some great deals that the broker can negotiate because of their established relationships with the UK’s leading insurers.


Christmas Party Time! he Mercure Bowdon Hotel played host to the Chamber’s Christmas party time event on 6 December, sponsored by Milner Boardman.


The president of the Chamber Sue Aldridge welcomed our patron the mayor of Trafford and Chamber guest Gordon Burns. And in welcoming the local businesses attending the president stated that “Local communities in the North West are being encouraged to support Small Business Saturday at the weekend after figures revealed 1.2 million people are employed by small firms in the region – the highest number outside of London and the South East. As the first Small Business Saturday held in the UK approaches (7 December), the Government has underlined the importance of small businesses to the country.

Local communities in the North West are being encouraged to support Small Business Saturday at the weekend after figures revealed 1.2 million people are employed by small firms in the region – the highest number outside of London and the South East.

L-R: Gordon Burns; Tony Collier, Chairman; Sue Aldridge, President; Linda Wright; Cllr Dylan Butt, Mayor of Trafford

Firms with fewer than 50 employees play a critical role in the UK economy, representing 52 per cent of private sector employment in the North West – with a total of 476,600 small businesses in the region. Small Business Saturday is a chance for everyone to get behind the local traders that play such an important role in the UK economy”.

Chris Stout presents the story time quiz

The president presented the mayor with a cheque from the proceeds of the raffle for his charity fund – the provision of defibrillators throughout Trafford.

New Members L-R: Stuart Webster; Sue Aldridge, President; Natalie Dewhurst and Corrine Christou


Town planner and raconteur, Linda Wright delighted everyone with stories of her comparison of the planning system and Internet dating – bizarre but true! You will have to read it to believe it as Linda is currently writing two books; one on planning “ABC of Planning for Property Investors” and the second “Internet Dating as a Lady of a Certain Age”. No doubt Linda will let us know when they are published in 2014.




We can help make 2014 your year for Coaching and Training t may have been planned, it may have been coincidence. But every speaker at the “Breakfast Matters” networking event on 3 October offered training or coaching.


Once again, it was busy. Over forty local business people gathered at the Cresta Court Hotel for tasty bacon barms, hot coffee and catch-up. Several new members said how friendly our Chamber was. Sue Aldridge, the Chamber’s President opened the event and introduced the two speakers: Richard Whitehurst of Tutor Doctor and David Bellin of Software Assistance, an old friend. Tutor Doctor provides tutors for 1 to 1 home coaching. We saw how useful this would be in Trafford, with its selective schools. Yes, said Richard, it is an excellent fit here. But Tutor Doctor covers all ages, subjects and levels – not just the 11+ (as I call it). Richard had some absorbing stories. Firstly a carpenter whose injury meant he had to retrain; so Tutor Doctor coached his English and Maths to get him into college. A university student whose confidence left him just before his dissertation; Tutor Doctor coached him to successful completion.


And English children returning from years in Spain, who needed accelerated English training. Tutor Doctor’s clear message was yes, they coach for 11+. But they do much more as well.


Before we got too misty-eyed with schoolday memories, David Bellin brought us back to 2013. Clients are always asking Software Assistance: “how do I get my website to the top of Google searches?”. So they now offer an hourlong training course for doing just that. David and his team work with you and your website, looking at your industry, your competition and the right search terms. And following David’s great quotation (“Content is King, Traffic is Queen”), he gave some great tips. Finally, David offered to answer Members’ basic Google and search questions for free – just give him a call. Sue’s closing remarks continued the training theme. From early 2014, the Chamber will be offering 30 minute coaching sessions – a sort of BiteSize Business. Keep an eye on the website.


Seeking out the darker side of life he Wizards Tearoom on Halloween night served as the perfect location for the book launch of The Cheshire Sect by Dan Frazer, which is set in and around Alderley Edge.


A comedy thriller which also has scenes in Hale, the novel has been penned by Dan Smith and Frazer Fearnhead, writing under a single name.

Sue Aldridge (left) & Nicola Stevenson

Lastly, the business card draw. The Dinner for two at the Cresta’s Dettori’s Restaurant was won by Nicola Stevenson, DAC Beachcroft. She only came to have a look – I think she’ll join now...

It was inspired by the fact that Alderley Edge is said to have more millionaires per square mile than anywhere else in the country. Cheshire residents Dan and Frazer wanted to explore the idea of a darker side to the area.

L-R Richard Whitehurst, Sue Aldridge & David Bellin

For more information, visit


The Cheshire Sect is published by Charles Stuart Publishing ISBN: 9781492824770, Pb, RRP £7.99 and available in all good bookshops.



IT’S WHAT WE’LL PROBABLY NEED IN 2014 – HELP FOR GROWTH n a very windy morning in Altrincham, the Chamber’s last “Breakfast Matters” before Christmas met at the Cresta Court. Once again, the hot coffee and bacon butties gave it a great start.


New members L-R: Stephen Iacovou, Zee Hussain, Trevor Holt, Tony Collier (Chairman), Bob Williams & Steve Kettle

Tony Collier, our Chairman, welcomed everyone and started by introducing Paul Armstrong, Altrincham’s Town Centre Manager. This was already Paul’s second event of the day, and he had many more before it was over. It’s because Altrincham is having the busiest Christmas run-up for several years –


great news for the town (and for


Paul’s diary). Growth was the core of the next speaker’s theme. Tom Wilde leads Trafford Council’s Economic Growth Unit. In simple terms, it tells businesses how

L-R: Tony Collier, Zee Hussain and Tom Wilde


they can get hold of money – you could have heard a pin drop. It soon became clear just how much support they offer us. Here’s a flavour: start-ups, mentoring, training, financial advice, export support, innovation support, sources of funding, workforce development, land and property information – and so on and so on. It’s all on Tom’s closing message was very simple: whatever your business, come and talk. And afterwards, many people did just that. Next on was Zee Hussain of Colemansctts. He and Deana Bates were there to describe their HR service, created for businesses just like ours. It blends Coleman’s employment law experience with the Oracle HR system. The service covers day-to-day HR procedures, from recruitment to retirement, for an annual fixed fee. Zee and his team will do an initial health-check on your current procedures to recommend the best services for you. And it’s all backed by a powerful web portal, with guidance, checklists and template documents. Even more, there’s a 20% discount for Chamber members. Again, people wanted to talk afterwards.

2013 is about to close and 2014 to start. The first Breakfast Matters of the New Year will be 16 January at the Cresta Court who will carry on looking after us so well.


Before we returned to our networking and catch-up, there was the Business Card Draw for dinner for two at the Cresta Court. The winner this time was Hayley Atack of the Priory Hospital. She’ll have a great time.

Tony Collier and Hayley Atack




“Breakfast Matters” gives advice for those in work – and for those about to start t was cold outside, but there was a warm welcome in the Cresta Court for November’s “Breakfast IMatters”. The room quickly filled with local business people, talking over coffee and bacon butties. Breakfast Matters is known for good networking and a catch-up on Altrincham happenings. Paul Mirage, the Chamber’s Membership & Development Manager, welcomed more than 30 existing and prospective members, especially seven Trafford College students who came to see what happens. Angela Grace updated us on the Cresta Court renovation. The new Reception is attracting greater footfall; new bedrooms are underway and the beauty spa and mini-gym will open soon (with discounts for Chamber members). Both will be useful and the Chamber discount will be an added bonus. Then Stephen Iacovou of Pia Financial Solutions talked about insurance protection. His message was that people either live too long, die too early or stop work early from illness (the students clearly weren’t expecting to hear this). But there are insurances to protect you and your families for these situations and Stephen urged us to take the time to review what we have in place. He reinforced that message with a couple of real-life examples. And pretty sobering they were too.

Ed Maden and students from Trafford College


Corrine Christou of WPA continued this theme of protection. She talked about health insurance for the self-employed, who don’t have a company plan. She made a telling point about your customers: if you can’t work for a long time, who is going to look after them? Where will they take their business? That was sobering, too.


Ed Maden of Trafford College then introduced the students, who by now definitely needed cheering up. They were from the College’s elite Career Academy, which helps finds mentors, internships and business experience. The students are keen to learn, have fresh ideas and are not cynical. They wanted to ask us about business life and judging from the number of business cards they took away, they were successful. Finally, the draw for dinner in Dettori’s Restaurant. It was won by Sue Weighell of Delta Solutions who can look forward to a great night out. L-R: Ed Maden, Stephen Iacovou, Paul Mirage and Corrine Christou

It was then back to networking – and those bacon butties.


Financing ambition and inspiring entrepreneurs s the largest fund of its type in the UK, The A North West Fund has been set up to create a lasting legacy for businesses in the region.

Name: Company: website:

The £155 million investment fund is now nearly three years old and has already built up a strong portfolio of growing businesses. To date, it has invested more than £68million in more than 220 businesses, creating and safeguarding a significant number of jobs, as well as providing finance and support to create more than forty new businesses. The fund, which is financed jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank, supports SMEs with investments of between £50,000 and £2million. Whether you are just starting up or seeking to take your business to the next level, investment from The North West Fund could be what you need to help your business flourish. You can find out more at

New challenge for Peter he Best Western Cresta Court Hotel in Altrincham has T appointed Peter Haselden as reservations manager in a bid to capitalise on the success of a million refurbishment programme being undertaken this year. Peter previously held the role of deputy manager at the Adagio Liverpool Centre Aparthotel with responsibility for the group’s first site in the UK during both pre-opening and opening periods.

General manager Paul Hindley said: “The Cresta Court has never looked better, and now is the time to ensure we capitalise on all opportunities resulting from this. “Peter has a great track record, most recently in Liverpool, and we are looking forward to seeing him develop this role at the hotel at such an exciting time in its history.”

Q - In five words or less, what do you do? A - Social Media Training & Management. Q - How long have you been a Chamber member? A - Six months. Q - Why did you join? A – Curiousity - I’ve been in business for a few years and knew many members before I joined. Q - What services do you use? A – For ourselves it’s about face-to-face contact so the Breakfast Meetings and Mixers are good to put faces to Twitter names. Q - What’s the best business/benefit you have won through the Chamber? A – Altrincham HQ recently won the Small Business Of The Year Award at the Chambers Awards. Great highlight. Q - Are there any additional services or information you’d be particularly interested in? A – Ten minute 1-2-1s are always a great way to round off a networking meeting - more 1-2-1 time with chamber members alongside informal networking is always a huge benefit. Q - If you were telling another business person about the Chamber, what’s the first thing you would say? A – If you looking to mix with larger businesses in the professional sectors the Chamber is the group for you. Q - Where do you read your copy of this magazine? A – With toast and a cuppa in the dining room.


His new role will involve day to day management of the reservations team, as well as heading up revenue management strategy for the hotel, and maximising opportunities coming out of the recent refurbishment of the Hotel’s event and conference facilities and upgraded bedrooms.

Alex McCann Altrincham HQ



BEST WESTERN Cresta Court Celebrates 40th Anniversary Year 973 saw the UK enter the EEC, gave us disco flares and the 1 platform heel, heralded the birth of northern comic Peter Kay and witnessed the introduction of VAT, but in Altrincham, the year was marked by something very different; the opening of the brand new Best Western Cresta Court hotel. which has created an open plan feel to the space, and bedrooms adopting a refreshing, classic-contemporary design which is proving a real hit with guests. New facilities have also been introduced such as a charging point for electric cars and the Oasis beauty salon which offers a range of Babor facials, massage, pedicure and manicure with OPI products and Shellac, Sienna X spray tan, and detoxifying and relaxing body treatments such as body scrub and wraps. Bliss!

40 years on, the Hotel has seen off more than one recession and undergone a wealth of changes, but none more impressive than its recent refurbishment and upgrade. The Hotel has always been a focal point in the centre of Altrincham for the many parties, meetings and celebrations it has hosted, playing an important role in the both the local business and social community. In 2013, under the new ownership of Longrose Buccleuch Hotels (LBML), it embarked on a £1 million refurbishment programme that is bringing the hotel up to a new exciting standard. General manager Paul Hindley comments: “The Hotel has always benefitted from exceptional business potential with its easy access to Manchester City Centre, and of course Old Trafford, making it a great choice for commercial travellers and leisure visitors to both Manchester and Cheshire. The refurbishment in 2013 has brought us up to a new level, making our proposition even more relevant to modern travellers and local guests.” Most of the refurbishment is now complete with a fully renovated Townfields bar, lounge and reception area

Paul adds: “The salon is something we had been considering for a while to complement our wedding, banqueting and leisure services, but also to attract more local people to try the Hotel. Combined with the new lounge, we are already attracting more local residents and businesspeople to the Hotel. They seem to making full use of the free parking and free Wi Fi to relax over a coffee, hold an informal meeting or enjoy a quick lunch from the improved bar menu. It’s wonderful to see.” There has also been improvement made to soundproofing on bedroom floors, investment in exterior signage and the addition of a business centre, which is soon to be followed by refurbishment of corridors, outside areas and redecoration of the 11 conference and three banqueting suites to give a more contemporary feel and make the most of the natural daylight. For more details on the refurbishment visit the Hotel at “Our meeting and event rooms are popular because of their flexibility and capacity up to 300 for a meeting, so it has been important to include them in the refurbishment project.”

For those delegates and guests looking to work off the stresses of the day, or

The BEST WESTERN Cresta Court has always been at the heart of Altrincham, which you can expect to continue during its 40th year with a series of events that celebrate the completion of its refurbishment, contributions to improving the community made by iconic local business, social and community leaders, and highlighting the role played by the town’s everyday unsung heroes. For more details on the Hotel’s forthcoming anniversary events visit The Hotel is working to support grass roots community projects with Forever Manchester, has already helped Sale based charity, Stockdales, and will continue to support events and fundraising campaigns with St Ann’s Hospice and their Hospice@Home scheme in Trafford. As part of their special anniversary programme of events, there is a community day, business and wedding events and a special gallery of photographs depicting key events from the last 40 years in the planning. Paul comments “After 40 years the Cresta Court Hotel is still a leading part of Altrincham’s social and business scene and supportive voice behind Altrincham’s regeneration vision. Our Hotel improvements without a doubt mean that we can impress our business and leisure guests even further, and we still host the best parties in town. We have much more planned for the next 40 years, so watch this space!” BEST WESTERN Cresta Court, Church Street, Altrincham, WA14 4DP. Call: 0161 927 7272 or click:


“We are in an ideal location for both local company meetings and events, but also the proximity to the airport and motorway links means we are a perfect venue for delegates travelling into the area. The addition of the refurbishment means that we are now attracting companies from further afield to use us, which can only be good news for Altrincham as a whole” adds Paul.

stretch out those muscles after a long conference, the Hotel has plans to add a fitness suite in 2014.



Chamber business awards a success he Chamber’s 2nd annual business awards were T held at the Cresta Court hotel, Altrincham on 17 October. After the success of last year’s event, we were keen to ensure that this year was equally as good if not better. Lots of preparation behind the scenes and by the team at the Cresta Court and the Chamber team, ensured that the 145 guests and nominees were treated to an extra special night. We were fortunate to have the fantastic Gordon Burns to host the event for the second year, giving the event the prestige it deserves. The Business Awards recognise the huge talent pool we have locally but also gives other businesses the opportunity to support each other by sponsoring individual awards, and is a great example of how the Chamber can bring together the business community. It was good to see lots of business cards were being exchanged between guests, supporting the ethos of the new Chamber.

orking in the City Year won by Netw nt, Business of the ide es pr s, Chamber L-R: Gordon Burn Kettle, Networking in the City, e ev Sue Aldridge, St Colledge rd Council, Matt Leader of Traffo

I would also like to thank our sponsors, United Airlines for the superb prize of 2 return tickets to New York - this made one guest a very happy lady on the night!

Winners of the Business Awards


Runners Up


Graham Brady MP, Sue Aldridge and Cllr Dylan Butt, Mayor of Trafford

ar am of the Ye Property Te Winner: Nikaly Citybranch Sponsored b


DATE FOR YOUR DIARY: Business Awards 16 October 2014 The Cresta Court Hotel Start thinking about YOUR nominations! s of the Year Small Businesham HQ nc Winner: Altri Slater Heelis Sponsored by

Young Apprentice of the Yea r Winner: Max Whiteley, Milner Boa Sponsored by Trafford College rdman

RUNNERS UP Small Business of the Year Otone Audio Ltd Sponsored by Slater Heelis Start Up Business of the Year Village Toy Company Sponsored by Sale & Altrincham Messenger Retailer of the Year Randalls Sponsored by Faddies Dry Cleaning Property Team of the Year The Window Company Sponsored by Citybranch

ss of the Year Start Up Busine away ssenger Winner: Voice Take le & Altrincham Me Sponsored by Sa

Professional Services Winner: Slater Heelis ions Sponsored by Premium Collect

Young Apprentice of the Year Erin Harcourt, TIP Trailer Services and Holly Ryan, Trafford Council Sponsored by Trafford College Professional Services Leavitt Walmersley & Associates Sponsored by Premium Collections Leisure & Tourism Art With a Heart Sponsored by Nikal Charity of the Year Stockdales Sponsored by Myerson

Retailer of the Year Winner: Betty & Belle Sponsored by Faddies Dry Cleaning

Employee of the Year Jonathan Egerton, Costa Coffee, Sale Sponsored by Colemans ctts Business of the Year Bridging Finance Sponsored by Trafford Council

Employee of the Year Winner: Karen Halfpenn y, The Bowdon Rooms Sponsored by Colemans ctts

New York Winner of the 2 return tickets to – ey Beel Jane s, Burn L-R: Gordon n Wroe United Airlines and winner Kare


Charity of the Year Winner: CAFT (collected by Tony Collier) Sponsored by Myerson

Leisure & Tourism Winner: The Bowdon Rooms Sponsored by Nikal



Knowledge, Transfer, Partnerships he University of Salford is an established provider of relevant, quality services to private, public and T third sector organisations. We pride ourselves on our ability to apply successfully the expertise of our academics to a practical context and to establish mutually beneficial relationships with our clients.


University, enabling you to access skills and expertise to help your company develop. The Partnership recruits one or more suitably qualified graduates (KTP Associates) to facilitate this transfer of skills and expertise. The Associate works in your company on a project central to your needs and is jointly supervised by you and the academic partner.


Businesses often have innovative ideas but often lack the internal expertise or funding to make it happen. One of the University’s most successful ways of working with industry is through the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP).

Part-funded by a Government grant; a small to medium sized enterprise (SME) would be expected to contribute about a third of the costs involved in the project; the average annual contribution for an SME would be just over £20,000. A large company should expect to pay around £30,000 per project per year.

KTP involves forming a partnership between your company and the

The latest information shows that, on average, the business benefits that can be

expected from a single KTP project are: • An increase of over £220,000 in annual profits before tax • The creation of three genuine new jobs • An increase in the skills of existing staff The University of Salford has 30 years experience and involvement in the KTP scheme, supporting companies and organisations in their strategic development. We aim to assist many more. Could yours be one of them?

Email: Web: Tel: 0161 295 2902


Getting Started Mike Banks Kensington Wedding Cars Ltd 0161 973 128

5: What has been your greatest business success to date?


The buzz of the original set up has been our biggest single achievement to date. Having started the process during the cold dark days in November 2012, we took possession of an empty unit on the Manway Business Park, Timperley in mid-January and spent long hours converting it into a showroom and a customer lounge, whilst at the same time sourcing vehicles and putting together a complete marketing strategy.

achievements, where Qdo6: Inyoutermswantoftobusiness be within the next 5 years?

Our future business plan is based on quality, not quantity. We do not want to be the biggest wedding car company but we do want to be amongst the best.

Kensington Wedding Cars is a new company based on years of experience in providing a range of chauffeur driven wedding cars. Although the basics of providing a wedding car service has hardly changed over the years, the type of cars requested by today’s bride and groom has. Vintage style cars are currently the most popular choice therefore we launched Kensington Wedding Cars with a mixture of 1930s style Beaufords and Brandfords alongside Mercedes and Bentleys for those who still prefer the classic touch.

Q2: What gives your business ‘the x-factor’?

Using my considerable operational and customer service experience Kensington Wedding Cars has been established with a 100% focus on providing a friendly, relaxed and professional service. Our aim is to help make that special day a truly memorable occasion therefore we don’t apply mileage charges, time limitations or any other restrictions.

3: What motivated you to set up the Qbusiness?


My advice to anyone starting a new business is extensively research your chosen activity thoroughly no matter what experience you have. Put together a realistic and sound business plan and sales strategy and make sure you have sufficient funding. But above all have enthusiasm, be honest in your advertising and listen to your customers, keeping abreast of changing fashions and trends.

We are always willing to work with other trade partners and we are happy to offer discounts to other Chamber members and their employees.

Q1: Tell us a bit about your business?

7: What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business?

During the 1970s, I operated a very successful taxi, private hire, minibus and wedding car business in Wilmslow and Cheadle before selling out and joining a Manchester Airport-based national transport company as Sales and Administration Director. Retirement was optional but after 30 years with the same company I felt it was time to stand down and let the young blood come through. Doing nothing was not an option so I decided to invest some of my pension fund in Kensington Wedding Cars.

After working in a corporate structure for many years I love the freedom of getting back to basics. Along with my two fellow directors we all have diverse skills including marketing, finance, IT, fleet operation and maintenance and the common aim of providing a customer-focused service.


4: What do you like most about working for a Qstart-up?





Seeking the moment key for Martin Martin Hambleton has wanted to be a photographer for as long as he can remember but the decision to follow his dream and turn his hobby into a business took the best part of twenty years to take.


ow a successful self-employed professional photographer in Altrincham, whose portfolio includes weddings, portraits, public relations and Chamber of Commerce events, he actually began his working life as a teacher.


Martin, now in his mid-forties, said: “I had always been interested in taking pictures, right back as far as my school days, but things never quite work out how you expect in life.

That is certainly true when he does business events, many of them for the Chamber, for whom he does all the pictures, something that began two years after he became a member.

“I was bright and was encouraged into going to university then I trained as a teacher. I worked as an English teacher for 12 years, at secondary schools in Bolton and Stockport, and enjoyed being in the classroom but I always had this idea of being a photographer.

He said: “How you approach an event depends on what time you arrive - there might be less happening if the event has just started - but always the first thing is to tune into the event, walk round and get a feel for it.

“Then I had one of those moments. I was given the opportunity for further promotion at the school where I worked and asked myself ‘is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?”

“Again, you are looking for portraits of people but you have to make sure that, although you are right in the middle of things, you are not being intrusive.

“I had been toying with the idea of being self-employed for some time, I had always liked the idea of being my own boss, and I was drawn to the idea of being a professional photographer.

“It took me two years to take the decision, though. It did not just affect me. I was married with kids and I had to consider my family but in the end I set up my own business as a professional photographer ten years ago.”

You are always looking for the moment to capture and need to be ready when it happens. It‘s the same with a number of types of photography.

He did so at a time when photography was undergoing some of the most dramatic changes in its history, moving from film to a digital world as the technology advanced at a bewildering rate.

“ “I tend to do the official pictures, the ones with the likes of the Mayor, first then look for those moments to capture.”

“Like many people, I had learned my photography working on film but when I started my business, we were right on the cusp of digital.

Martin is increasingly taking his expertise into the business world, doing portrait work for companies who he believes recognise the value of professional images.

“I dipped my foot into the waters and soon realised that I had to go digital because of the pace at which its use was accelerating. I‘ve been completely digital for a number of years now.”

He said: “Anyone can take a picture, that has always been the case, but I think that companies who are updating their Linkedin or Twitter profiles realise that the picture has to look professional.

A big part of his business then and now has been weddings. He said: “I had grown up as a portrait photographer and, although wedding photography and portraits are different in some ways, there is still some overlap.

“Cheap looks cheap and getting it done cheaply can be a false economy when you are trying to present a professional image.”

“You are always looking for the moment to capture and need to be ready when it happens. It‘s the same with a number of types of photography.”

Martin’s wedding portfolio is located at, and his commercial work at http://www.commercialphotographyno

Martin Hambleton Professional Photographer


Martin said: “It was an interesting time to start my business because photography was changing so rapidly.



24 Hours with... Muriel Lismonde Le Vin La Table

ines that provide a link between Cheshire and France


How Muriel Lismonde’s day pans out depends on whether or not she is in England or in her native France, where the wine sold in her Cheshire shop is produced. Muriel runs the Le Vin La Table shop and wine and cookery school, in Broomfield Lane, Hale, having teamed up with chef Jason Palin to launch the business. The shop sells wines produced by Tour de Belfort, Muriel’s family vineyard in France and she said: “I go back to France at least three times a year. “I spend the summer there and also go back for the grape harvest in October as well as for the blending in January. “But I look to spend most of my year in the UK because I have three children and I like to fit round them. “If I am in the UK, my working day begins at 8.30 with checking, and replying to, my emails, and doing other administration work, including placing food orders for our cookery classes and fulfilling any wine orders we may have received. ”Then I prepare the wine displays before we open the shop at 11am. I like to be in the shop all day, until we close at 5, unless I need to attend a wine tasting event where I want people to find out about our wine. I do travel quite a lot for the business.”


The main idea behind the venture is to give people the chance to taste the family’s award-winning Tour De Belfort wine at the same time as learning about the cuisine that comes from the region where it is grown.


The wine and cookery school can accommodate groups of 8-14 people and sessions can be booked either as a lunchtime gettogether with friends, or as a more sophisticated dinner session where an evening meal can be prepared under Jason’s expert guidance. Wine tastings at Le Vin La Table have also become popular and Muriel offers Le Vin La Table customers the opportunity to gain a WSET Foundation certificate in wine tasting. Muriel said: “I work quite a few evenings because of the events that the cookery school runs so, even when the shop has closed

at five, there is a lot more work to do, getting ready for the evening events, whether it be cookery classes or wine tasting events. “I do work a lot of hours, including a lot of evenings and on Saturdays, and I love what I do. I love introducing people to good wine and good cookery. However, I do try to keep my Sundays to myself!”


Agency supports rebrand for The Army Reserve ale-based service advertising agency frank virtual is being tasked with assisting in rebranding the Territorial Army as the Army Reserve in the North West region.


Law firm launches Generation Gap mediation service


anchester full service law firm Slater Heelis LLP Solicitors has launched a new Generation Gap mediation service, designed to meet the needs of an increasing number of divorcing couples whose parents or family members have a financial interest in their marriage. The parents of couples who got married during the current recession are much more likely to have a financial interest in their children’s divorce proceedings, most often linked to money used to buy the marital home. During a divorce, the involvement of inlaws can cause real acrimony and create delays and additional costs for all parties by interfering in the divorce settlement as a third party to the proceedings.

Richard Forman on exercise with the Territorial Army

The North West of England and the Isle of Man Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (NW RFCA), which is commissioning frank virtual, is among the first of the larger regional bodies in the UK to promote the change. The name change will push the learn new skills and earn money message aimed at driving recruitment to meet the target of 30,000 trained men and women, 30% of the British Army, by 2020. frank virtual’s work will initially feature a series of posters to attract recruits to the diverse roles on offer, including infantry, IT communications, logistics and engineering roles. It will cover all Army Reserve Centres in the North West. The Territorial Army was formed in 1908. It played a significant role in both world wars, both in frontline and support roles. Lt Col Ian Sawers, Deputy Chief Executive of NW RFCA said: “The Army Reserve will aim to develop a range of valuable and in-demand skills that can be transferred to the civilian workplace such as leadership and management.”


frank virtual will be helping to building awareness of the opportunities we can offer recruits, as well as the renaming.”


Richard Forman, MD of frank virtual, said: “We have significant experience of working with the reserve forces to deliver marketing that has purpose and will generate results. Our association goes back 15 years as we have always met the challenges given.” frank virtual has worked with the Volunteer Estate, which comprises some 270 properties including the Army Cadet Force and the Air Training Corps detachments and the Naval Regional Headquarters.

The highest divorce rate in the UK comes between four and eight years of marriage according to statistics published by the Office of National Statistics earlier this year. The under-30s is the most likely age group to split up and at this stage of a marriage the couple may not have had an opportunity to repay family loans, leading to a much more complicated divorce process as the financial interests of the in-laws compete with those of the couple themselves.

mortgage and we have seen an increasing number of couples relying on parents and family members to help them get on the property ladder. When relationships break down the inlaws are then stuck in the middle as the couple divide their assets. The understandable instinct of most parents is to take sides with their own child and get their investment back so what our Generation Gap service does is to listen to everyone involved in the case, to get a clear picture of the family assets and to get them to work together to find a practical solution that works for everyone. For more information about how mediation can help in a divorce or separation visit

According to Slater Heelis LLP family lawyer Helen Miller the parents of divorcing couples are increasingly becoming involved in their children’s divorce proceedings, to the detriment of both the process and the people involved. Helen said: “For the past ten years, it has been harder than ever for people to get a

Helen Miller

Solicitors mark third anniversary as business triples in size


level of academic legal expertise with a wealth of ‘real world’ experience.

Set up by Emma Nawaz in 2010, along with a secretary, the business has grown and now has a team of six and is constantly looking for high calibre staff.

“We are thrilled to have moved to this new location which allows us the opportunity to expand further. The whole team are very proud of our success and passionate about winning cases for our clients.”

ale-based Cheshire Blackstone Solicitors have celebrated their third anniversary.

Blackstone Solicitors is a law firm specialising in dispute resolution, and since the launch in 2010, turnover has doubled each year. Predictions show that within three years the business, which recently held a celebration party at its new Cecil Road offices, will hit a £1million turnover. Managing Director Emma Nawaz said at the recent anniversary event attended by more than 100 guests: “Our philosophy is to work hard, deliver results and provide excellent customer service. Our tenacious approach combines an extremely high

Left to right Shelley Barnes, Daniel Thomas, Charlotte Turner, Sarah Townsend, Emma Nawaz and Sophie Freelove


United Airlines - serving trans-Atlantic business


very year millions of people fly between the UK and E North America – many are travelling on business, demonstrating the importance of the United States to the UK economy. The ‘special relationship’ that Winston Churchill so famously talked about is more than a political label, it represents a longstanding economic bond between people and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. Airlines play a crucial part in this relationship by enabling business people to travel conveniently between these two nations. United has successfully served New York/Newark from Manchester for nearly 20 years, with a non-stop daily service. The airline also offers a five-times-weekly ManchesterWashington/Dulles non-stop service. In addition to providing the North West region with a link to two key U.S. business centres, United Airlines offers onward connections to over 300 destinations throughout the Americas. However, in a highly competitive market, trans-Atlantic carriers cannot rely solely on the destinations they serve and the frequency of their flights. United understands how important it is for business travellers to arrive at their destinations well-rested, and is committed to making the travel experience more convenient and comfortable through premium products and services.

“With investment in industry-leading premium cabin services and non-stop flights to two of the United States’ leading business centres and beyond, we are confident that we will continue to meet the needs of business travellers in the North West,” said Bob Schumacher, Managing Director Sales, UK & Ireland at United. United’s business class service, United BusinessFirst, is an excellent example of how airlines have worked to secure the loyalty of their business travel customers. Available on all aircraft flying from the UK, BusinessFirst offers a superior service with a seat that reclines 180 degrees into a lie-flat bed, and features a personal on-demand entertainment system with a 15.4-inch/39cm touch-screen monitor, noise-reduction headsets, laptop power and USB ports. Business travellers can enjoy a multicourse meal from a wide menu, accompanied by an extensive wine list.


Jeff Atkins has successfully helped the University of Warwick upgrade facilities for the Centre for Education Studies and Centre for Professional Education as part of its investment to enhance the student experience. The original building was built over 50 years ago by the local Council and it no longer provided the modern, rich and diverse learning environment necessary for a top ten institution like Warwick. The University had a number of objectives that included: • Improve use and quality of spaces by improved zoning of activities. • Improve quality of teaching accommodation, placing it in a more convenient location with good access. • Provision of a lift and improvements in the circulation to aid navigation and orientation. • Optimise position of study spaces and optimize usage. • Improve accessibility for disabled users. • Enhance IT provision. • Support management change initiatives to improve business functionality and service. • Improve staff satisfaction in their working environment. Students and staff at the University now have access to a remodelled building accommodating staff offices, student hub and teaching rooms which provides a more dynamic and creative space for learning.

To keep customers feeling refreshed, United amenity kits feature Philosophy-brand skin-care products and duvet-style blankets. t: 07825 755689 e: Jeff Atkins BA Hons BArch RIBA Chartered Architect Project Manager


As the airline continues improving the inflight experience for business customers, it is introducing a satellite-based Wi-Fi service to enable them to better serve customers. Business travellers want to be able to access their emails and download content inflight via their personal devices, and United is committed to providing this service, with United’s mainline fleet expected to be outfitted with Wi-Fi by the end of 2014.



Funding growth for UK farmers Agricultural Relationship Manager at Farmland Finance, discusses why now is the time LforauratheMorgan, agricultural community to utilise their farms and land for future growth. Areas of diversification

It’s been a tough few years for the farming community, the prolonged winters, unseasonal spring snow, flooding and the horsemeat scandal have hit stocks and crops hard. Further strain has been created by the big lenders tightening their belts, with some, such as Yorkshire Bank and ING, exiting the market completely. These mounting pressures are impacting profit margins and cash flow; a recent survey showed access to finance as a cause for concern has risen from 17 to 23 per cent for farmers over the past 18 months.* However, the rising value of farmland across the UK provides farmers with an opportunity. Figures from the Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors (RICS) show the price of agricultural land has more than trebled in less than a decade. According to RICS, farmland in August 2013 cost an average of £7,440 an acre, compared to £2,400 an acre in 2004. The North West of England is now the most expensive place to farm in the UK; land prices rose by 35 per cent in the first six months of 2013.

Reaping rewards from the land The agricultural sector often rely on their professional legal and financial advisers to source funding for them, and following such introductions to Farmland Finance, we’ve been working with a growing number of innovative farmers and landowners who are capitalising on high land values and raising funds against existing land to inject capital into their business.


So how does Farmland Finance work? We specialise in assisting the rural community direct, or through their professional advisers, with all aspects of short term lending secured against agricultural property or land.


We provide fast and flexible short term bridging funding, usually up to 12 months, to your farming clients looking to expand or buy land as well as for those looking to diversify. Farmland Finance will lend against most types of agricultural property and land; including equestrian, country homes with agricultural restrictions, working and non-working farms, farm shops and all general types of rural properties.

Lots of the farmers we talk to want to buy more acreage, diversify into farm shops, utilise disused farm buildings for conversion or even develop renewable energy schemes. This means funds are needed for a variety of purposes, that’s why we don’t have any restrictions on what the funds are being raised for. We will also lend for investments such as new machinery, livestock or building work. Recently we worked with a farmer in Crewe who wanted to raise funds from his estate, the total value of his land was £1.2 million and we were able to provide £60,000 for him to re-invest which was secured against the value of his land.

Top tips for farmers using bridging finance So what steps should your farming clients take to utilise the value of their land? Farmland Finance has prepared some top tips… 1 Research Before your clients commit to any type of finance, they should consider all options and not rule anything out before they find out all the facts. If they need to act quickly on a deal, bridging finance could be an option to give them time to get the right long-term funding in place. 2

Pick the right short term lender If your client decides to use bridging finance, compare the rates on offer. It’s tempting to snap up the first offer you come across but always take time to compare rates and check out the reputation of the firm you’re considering suggesting that they use. It’s a good idea to speak to existing farming clients of the provider to check their credibility and level of service. 3

A reputable lender will be transparent Always choose a lender which is clear about the interest rate your farming clients will be paying on the loan. Don’t be wooed by

headline rates that change once the loan is secured. Ask if any other charges apply – such as administration fees or upfront costs, so you know exactly what they’ll be paying. 4 Ask about timeframes Bridging finance is often used by famers so they can quickly capitalise on an opportunity. However, the speed at which a bridging finance company can release funds will differ from business to business. Before committing, don’t make an assumption about when the funds will be in place; ask about the timeframes the company is working to. 5 Understand the terms of the loan Normally bridging finance lenders provide a three, six or 12 month facility. If your farming clients go over your agreed term there could be a renewal fee or they may have to re-negotiate new terms. Being clear on the terms of the loan and how and when they are going to pay it of means they won’t incur any unplanned fees. For more information, or to speak to an agricultural relationship manager at Farmland Finance, visit:

About Farmland Finance Farmland Finance has many years of experience in financing farmland deals and its understanding of the market means it is often better placed to make finance available where traditional banks and loan companies may refuse. * Forum of Private Business


Myerson expands Family Law department ltrincham commercial law firm Myerson has further expanded its private client service by the appointment of Family Solicitor Nichola Morris, who will assist Jane Tenquist in the Family Team.


Nichola will help Myerson build on its increasing profile in complex high value family cases and contested children matters, which often involve an international element. Jane said: “I am delighted to welcome Nichola to Myerson. The Family Team has moved from strength to strength over the last year and is now listed in the Legal 500 as a leading firm in the North West. We provide excellent client care service at competitive rates. “Nichola is known as a first rate advocate and negotiator. She understands the family dynamic very well, but manages to keep a cool head, which is very important for our clients.”

Slater Heelis and Chamber stage showcase aw firm teamed up with the Altrincham & L Sale Chamber of Commerce to host a significant event at their offices in Sale to show businesses the potential and implications of the Airport City development at Manchester Airport. The breakfast seminar took place at the Slater Heelis offices in Sale Moor, with speakers including David Roberts, Property Development Director for Airport City from Manchester Airports Group (MAG); Graham Brady MP for Altrincham and Sale West; Sue Aldridge, President of the Altrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce and was chaired by Mike Fox, Managing Partner at Slater Heelis LLP. More than 60 businesses from south Manchester and Cheshire attended the event, which included a presentation from MAG outlining the scope and timescale of the £650m Airport City development. The 160 acre site will feature 1million square feet of offices, 2400 new hotel rooms and 1.4million square feet of world class logistics and hopes to attract a raft of international businesses that could contribute an additional 16,000 jobs in the North West. The presentation was followed by an opportunity for the audience to put questions to the panel. Will Henson, Partner and Head of Commerical Property Conveyancing at Slater Heelis, said: “Businesses in this area will undoubtedly feel the impact of the Airport City development – whether that is as a result of new people moving into the area to live or the prospect of collaborating with incoming businesses. It is so important that we work together to make the very most of what is a fantastic period of regeneration and development for south Manchester and we’re very

grateful to MAG for giving us the opportunity to find out more about what will be happening over the coming months and years.” Sue Aldridge, President of the Altrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce, said: “This event is particularly important for this area because it will help us all to understand the impact the Airport City development may have on the business communities surrounding the development for years to come. A lot of hard work has been invested into the regeneration of Altrincham and Sale and it is important that the MAG project compliments this and supports the revitalisation of our town centres.”

LtoR Mike Fox, Slater Heelis; Mayor of Trafford Councillor Dylan Butt; Graham Brady MP, Sue Aldridge; David Roberts, MAG

Team helps with investment ltrincham commercial law firm Myerson has advised Michael Groves and A Jason Watkin in connection with Lomond Capital’s investment in Thornley Groves Estate Agents Limited.


* Karen Parry has joined the firm as a Solicitor in its Commercial Property department.


Karen joins from Brabners, Manchester, and specialises in the sale and purchase of business premises, commercial leases (acting for both landlord and tenant) and property finance. Karen’s appointment takes the Commercial Property team at Myerson to seven.

Thornley Groves has grown from a single branch in Altrincham, established in 1991, into a market leading estate agency and lettings business with eight branches across Central and South Manchester, selling £250m of property a year, handling over 3,000 lets and managing more than 1,600 properties. Myerson has provided legal advice to Thornley Groves throughout this period, from the lease of the first Thornley Groves branch to the investment by Lomond Capital.

The investment will enable Thornley Groves to embark on a period of expansion. It aims to achieve this by acquiring smaller local agencies with a focus on residential lettings and management. The team from Myerson was led by Andrew Brown (Corporate/Commercial) with assistance from Philip Ball and Catherine Simons. Property and employment aspects of the transaction were dealt with by Andrew Chapman (Property) and Helen Corbett (Employment) respectively.


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25% off your first meeting room booking. 10% thereafter. Two month’s rent free when taking a 12 month term on a virtual office. One month free when taking a minimum three month term on a serviced office. Membership fee waived for our day office card. Video conferencing from £99 per hour up to six attendees. T: 0161 233 7877 Meeting room prices range from £20 per hour for up to 4 people to £150 per hour for 120 people. Cost savings on virtual office space will be either £100 for mail only or £200 for full virtual by signing for 12 months with the rent free. Savings for day office card membership is around £69. Prices exclude VAT.


“Impartial business and consumer data experts” 15% off all standard UK and EU B2B data orders – an exclusive offer to Chamber members. Free data audit – your existing client data is vital for your business and you need to know that it’s accurate. Our free data audit will provide you will a detailed report on the accuracy of your client data and what steps can be taken to correct any errors. Savings could be as much as £100 per 1000 records. Contact Gareth Perry T: 0161 941 5700 Mob: 07538 811 017 E: W: DELTA SOLUTIONS Delta Solutions can offer you a day costing £495 plus vat for only £250 plus vat for a Financial Health Check. Your business finances and processes will be investigated and analysed. A written report detailing the recommendations to improve your business financial strength will be provided including benchmarking against similar businesses. Tel: 0845 164 5015 Mob: 07796 176817 E:

FADDIES DRY CLEANING 10% Discount off dry cleaning, laundry, shirt valet; leathers & soft furnishings. On your first visit have a suit dry cleaned for free T: 0161 928 7660

CITATION PLC Free initial consultation on Citations Queen’s Award winning Health & Safety and Employment Law services. Substantial discounts available on all services to Chamber members. Areas covered include employee handbooks, health & safety policies, risk assessments, 24/7 legal advice, contracts of employment and employment tribunals amongst others. All advice guaranteed. Contact Nigel Lea on 01625 415557 or for more details Saving around £150 on consultation. Savings on packages depend on length of contract could be up to £750

50% Discount on initial letting fee for any new properties instructed on our Gold + full property management service. T: 0161 448 0808

COLEWRITE COPYWRITING 50% discount to write a 60 second “elevator pitch” for use at networking events and other occasions. Cost is £25 (normally £50) Contact Algy Cole, Cole Copywriting 07912 374220 or

Free production of your first commercial saving £300 + VAT T: 016 476 7349 E:

GRESHAM WEALTH MANGEMENT LLP Free initial consultation from a Chartered Financial Planner to all members. T: 0161 973 9150 (Saving of £500) HOMES4U

MERE COURT HOTEL 20% off our Du Jour Menu in the Arboreum Restaurant (3 course menu is £19.95) T: 01565 831000 THE MERE GOLF RESORT & SPA 1 X 4 Ball for price of 3 ball £225 (should be £300) Twilight golf £35 pp; Early Bird £35 pp T: 01565 830155 Saving £75 on a 4 ball betterball MILNER BOARDMAN 15% Discount of the first year’s fees for a new client. T: 0161 927 2727 Fees £2,000 to £2,500 so saving £300 to £375 MINUTEMAN PRESS Digitally produced matt laminate double sided business cards on 350g silk 500 £49 + vat saving £16; 1000 £69 + vat saving £28 Litho produced matt laminate double sided business cards on 400g silk 500 £59 + vat saving £20; 1000 £79 + vat saving £26 Contact Ed or Alison on 0161 928 8826 NUTRITIONSOS 25% Off initial one-to-one consultation saving of £15 and 15% off corporate nutrition services saving of between £15 and £37.50. Contact Sian Dixon on 07791 599449 or Email PREMIUM COLLECTIONS One free credit report on a UK limited company of your choice - your own company, an existing client or a prospective client. Simply tell us the name of the company for report and provide your full contact details for our reply. Usual charge for debt collection is 15% but will reduce to 10% for Chamber members. If you are interested in the difference Premium Collections Limited can make to your cash flow. Please contact Paul Daine on 0161 929 3955 or email us at Saving of £50 + on credit report on UK limited company.

IMAGINE FM SAFETYNET IT Free IT system health check saving of £66 + VAT T: 0845 869 8451


Stephen Jones Simpson Millar Family Dept, Manchester Solicitor


SALE & ALTRINCHAM MESSENGER ‘Market Your Business’ - Up to a 15% discount on your first advertisement in the Sale and Altrincham Messenger including the Business Page – saving from £30 off a front page or £53 off a Business Profile and £55 off a full page. For this offer and more long term campaigns contact Tel 0161 908 3413. SEND OUT CARDS Offer all Chamber members one free card as a gift to send to a recipient of your choice. Please contact Natalie at For enquiries telephone Natalie on 07834 76647. SPIRE MANCHESTER CLINIC HALE Non-surgical cosmetic treatment offer with Spire Manchester Clinic Hale - Altrincham Chamber members can receive £25 off any non-surgical cosmetic treatments when they spend up to £150 and £50 off if you spend over £150. This offer is exclusively for Altrincham Chamber members and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. For further information, terms and conditions or to book please call 0161 232 2303 (quote AC1001). Varicose or prominent veins - Altrincham Chamber members can receive a scan and consultation with Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Mr Ferdinand Serracino Inglott at our Clinic in Hale for prominent or varicose veins for £150 (usual price £200). This offer is exclusively for Altrincham Chamber members and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. For further information, terms and conditions or to book please call 0161 232 2303 (quote AC1002). TOLL OPTICIANS 15% Discount and a free second pair of spectacles to Chamber members. Contact: Sarah Haughian T: 0161 928 0566 E: TRAFFORD SURVEYORS 10% off all home improvement packs and domestic energy performance certificates. 15% off all surveys, valuations and commercial energy performance certificates. T: 0161 929 8257

THE ZIPYARD 15% off all alterations and repairs at The Zipyard, 14 Lloyd Street, Altrincham WA14 2DE T: 0161 929 4848 Alterations and repairs start from £10 up £100+

THE FUELCARD PEOPLE Members will receive: • Typical savings of up to 5p per litre on national average pump prices, with fixed weekly pricing • Savings of up to 10p per litre on motorway refuelling • Free credit for up to two weeks – and the same price, wherever you refuel • Just one weekly invoice, paid by direct debit, to cover all transactions for all your vehicles • Easy reclaiming of VAT • Own named, dedicated account manager to answer any queries • Easy access, 24/7/365, to your account information – including transactions not yet invoiced • Access to major brand diesel or petrol from over 7000 sites nationwide • Leading-edge security features • Each fuel card, linked to a vehicle or driver, is useless to anyone else if lost or stolen Tel: 0844 870 6938 Email: Website:

To take advantage of these many savings, please state that you are a member of Altrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce when you contact the supplier

tephen qualified as a solicitor in S 2002 and since that time has specialised in all aspects of family, matrimonial and children law. He graduated from the University of Central Lancashire and moved to Alfred Newton & Co Solicitors in Stockport, dealing solely with family law. In 2004 he moved to Whittles Solicitors to continue their development of a family department. Stephen joined Simpson Millar LLP in August 2011 to provide family law advice from the Manchester office. What was your first job and what was the pay Q packet? I started as a trainee solicitor in North Wales on a salary of just over £10,000. Believe it or not for the 6 months before, whilst looking for a training contract, I worked behind a bar on hourly rate and also as a labourer fitting windows for £200 per week. What do you always carry with you to work? Q Lunch. You can’t litigate on an empty stomach. What is the biggest challenge facing your Q business? Family Law has already had to cope with the restriction of the availability of Legal Aid. The biggest challenge is now to ensure that everyone, whatever their means, can still have access to legal advice. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing Q would you change to help business? Improve infrastructure. What can you see from your office window? Q Tescos, but beyond that Lancashire County Cricket Ground. If you could do another job what would it be? Q Anything that didn’t involve another minute sitting on the M62. As a business person, what are your three Q main qualities? I’m stubborn but honest and empathetic.

Please note: Offers are made by the individual organisations and the Chamber cannot be held responsible for any changes/amendments or withdrawal of these offers.

What was your biggest mistake in business? Q Giving up the bar job! But seriously, mistakes are the opportunity to learn and realise what you require to work more effectively and efficiently in the future. Don’t hide from them, learn from them. What advice would you give to aspiring Q entrepreneurs? Learn from mistakes. Who do you most admire in business? Q The Boss (seriously how else am I supposed to answer that).


THE WINDOW COMPANY 20% off our full range of products, windows, doors and conservatories saving between £100 and £3000. Contact Wayne Shaw T: 0161 962 8570 Email:

AA AFFINITY SCHEME Members/staff discounts off AA Breakdown Cover. Get the AA’s best prices at enrolment plus 10% at renewal – on average 10% cheaper than the To get a quote and join, please call 0800 048 0075 and quote reference ‘F0706’.



We Welcome New Members Aminah Tandoori Takeaway/Catering Mr Ali T: 0161 941 1234 E: W: Indian Takeaway and Event Catering

Knutsford Software Ltd Pamela Whittaker T: 01565 653673 E: W: Web Development

Business Connect Publishing Ltd Paul Mirage T: 0161 969 8632 E: W: Business Magazine Publisher

Otone Audio Ltd Gareth Thomas T: 0161 924 2269 E: W: Audio Pixel Air Ltd

Dynamic HR Ltd Alyx Gerrards T: 07769 975994 E: W: HR Consultancy

Alex Peterson T: 0161 929 1191 E: W: Web Design

Frank Virtual Ltd Richard Forman T: 07803 796422 E: W: Adverting & Marketing Agency

Trafford Community Leisure Trust Simon Blair T: 0161 826 3960 E: W: Leisure

G-Force Paul Huxley T: 0161 980 2879 E: W: Charity

WPA T: 01270 762296 E: W: Heath Insurances

On the Move….


Holt Business Solutions has moved to 25 Stamford Park Road, Altrincham WA15 9EL. Tel: 0161 928 7111

The new contact at McHale & Co Solicitors is Philippa Wright. Tel: 0161 928 3848

Sale & Altrincham Messenger has moved to Alexander House, 94 Talbot Road, Stretford, Manchester M16 0PG. Tel: 0161 908 3380

Sarah Lynch at Plantas UK has a new email address and website address


Not yet a Chamber Member?


Join today – Possibly the best investment you can make this year! Contact Paul Mirage Tel: 07708 987518 Email:

Chamber Focus  

The business magazine of Altrincham & Sale Chamber of Commerce Winter 2013/14