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Health & Wellbeing in the Workplace - page 23 Also Inside: • International Trade • Spotlight on Shepway • Big Interview with Directline Structures • The Economy & US • Chamber Events





You don’t need me to tell you about the current problems with the existing crossing and the need for extra capacity, I think that is apparent to us all. I would urge you all to take the time to read about the options put forward and then respond to the Consultation. If the government are going to significantly invest in a new crossing, then they need to hear from business. Individually we need to be telling them why we need it, what it will mean to the future of your business and what is your preferred option of the routes puts forward.



You don’t need to wade through pages or trawl the internet to update yourself, just visit There you can find all the information you need to enable you to respond to the Consultation.


Simplifying things for business is so important The second article I would like to draw your attention to is on page 5, the proposed new Lower Thames Crossing.

Welcome to the Feb/March edition of Thinking Business which is packed with information about what is happening in your County and useful information to support your business. There are two main areas I would like to draw your attention to in this edition. The first is on page 4, the Kent & Medway Growth Hub. Having held many events on behalf of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to identify some of the key needs for business, it was apparent that simplification of what public support is on offer was top of the agenda. Nationally, funded through government, there are Growth Hubs, which are the single point of contact for access to local, county and national business support programmes and services and a point of reference for business enquiries. Your Chamber successfully tendered for, and won, the contract to deliver the Kent & Medway Growth Hub. Please do have a look at the website to find out the support that is there should you need it. If you don’t find what you are looking for you can call the dedicated helpline on 0300 456 3565.

We know we need it, but we need to ensure that individually we respond to the consultation so the government has a clear message from business. If we are to grow our business we need the infrastructure to support our growth. Enjoy this edition.

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Members Corner Chamber News Members News Focus on Finance Members News International Trade Spotlight On.... 24 hours with... Members News Cover Feature Health and Wellbeing Industry Comment

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Editorial and General Enquiries Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687 Email: Web: Chief Executive: Jo James Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Road North, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: Web: Published February 2016 © Benham Publishing Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email:

Big Interview The Economy Business News Ask the Expert Getting Started Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions Members News New Members Movers & Shakers The Last Word

Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Media No. 1429 Disclaimer Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2016 Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. 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. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Members Corner from

Linda Marsh Director of Membership Services

A recent visit to Viridor, the Medway site, really opened my eyes to the great work that recycling plants do. The technology was amazing, sifters, sorters and squashers, this site had it all. We are hoping to arrange a member’s visit for the better weather, so if you are interested in seeing this site, contact me. Thanks to Jayne Shawcross for showing me around. This year promises to be another great year for networking opportunities. Our plans are to continue to find new and interesting venues for you all to meet up. If you have any ideas do let me know. As part of a British Chamber of Commerce initiative, Kent Invicta Chamber will be working with schools and colleges to enrich the younger generation on their future careers. We will be inviting businesses into schools to take part in this project. The project comes with a national profile and lots of PR for companies who get involved. If you would like to add some value to this project by coming along to some schools and talking about your business, or just exhibiting, then I would love to hear from you. Young people really need our help in showing them what their future could look like, what’s out there in the world of work and how they can make their journey to get there. I am always keen to come along to your business and find out what great things you are up to, let me know, I will come along with my camera! Lastly, our Business Awards for 2016, what better way to shout about the great work you are doing in your company, share your business successes and get the recognition you deserve by entering. If you would like to find out more about the categories and application process it’s on our website, or contact me, always happy to help! The Awards evening is on 17th March 2016 where the finalists and winners will be announced. So remember, you have to be in it to win it!

If you want more information about any of our events, contact us or check out the website:


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

Growth Hub launches new business support for Kent and Medway Local companies, whether new start-ups or long-established can now navigate their way easier through the local and national business support that’s available following the launch of the Kent and Medway Growth Hub. The new online and helpline service, delivered by the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and contracted through Kent County Council, is designed to raise countywide awareness of local and national business support. Tudor Price, Head of Business Development at Kent Invicta Chamber, pictured here, said: “There is now a single access point for local businesses to provide a diagnostic and signposting service to kick-start the first, or next, phase of their growth. “As well as the detailed information on the website, local firms have the opportunity to talk to one of the business navigators.” The Kent and Medway Growth Hub forms part of the South East Business Hub, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s overarching business support programme, which also supports local hubs in East Sussex and Essex, Southend and Thurrock.

Geoff Miles, Kent Chair of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Business has told us it wanted a single source of business advice and information, and thanks to the funding it is now possible to

deliver a tailored service for local firms. “Projects like the Growth Hub directly show that the Local Enterprise Partnership is business focused and looking to drive economic growth.”

The Growth Hub can be accessed via or the dedicated helpline 0300 456 3565.

As well as the detailed information on the website, local firms have the opportunity to talk to one of the business navigators.


New tunnel proposed for In My Opinion Lower Thames Crossing

Proposals for a new multi-billion pound road link across the River Thames between Essex and Kent have been announced.

Jamie Bourne Solicitor Corporate & Commercial With Christmas now a distant memory and everybody’s New Year’s resolutions (hopefully) still intact, the shelf space cleared during the January sales is now taken up by scented candles, pillow hearts and teddy bears as the build-up to Valentine’s Day gets underway in shops across Kent.

The new road will unlock massive economic benefits for the region and the whole country, relieve congestion at the existing Dartford Crossing and improve the resilience of the road network by providing a new alternative link across the Thames. In 2013, two locations were shortlisted for a new bridge or tunnel across the river: one near the existing Dartford Crossing (known as Option A) and the other linking the M2 with the M25 via the A13 (known as Option C), with a possible further link to the M20 (Option C Variant). Since then, Highways England has been carrying out detailed work with a wide range of stakeholders to assess the shortlisted options and develop possible routes at each location. This evaluation is now complete, and Highways England is recommending a new road crossing at location C through a bored tunnel.

The proposed scheme would run from the end of the M2, crossing the river just east of Gravesend and Tilbury and joining the M25 between junctions 29 and 30. It will be the first new crossing of the Thames east of London since the Queen Elizabeth II bridge opened at Dartford 25 years ago. A Highways England consultation seeking public views on the proposals starts today and runs until Thursday 24 March. Roads Minister Andrew Jones said: “The Government is committed to delivering a Lower Thames Crossing which will increase capacity and provide better, faster journeys across the Thames. Once complete it could add over £7 billion to the economy by increasing investment and business opportunities, and create over 5,000 new jobs nationally.”

Highways England senior project manager, Martin Potts said: “Deciding where the new crossing should go is a vitally important decision and we’ve been working hard to identify solutions that strike the best balance between improving journeys, getting value for money and managing environmental impact. “There are important choices to be made. As well as inviting comments from the public about our recommendations, we have identified three routes for the new road to the north of the river and two routes south of the river. We welcome views on them all.” There will be 24 public exhibitions, held at venues across Kent and Essex. All responses will be taken into consideration before a final decision is made by the Government later this year.

The proposed scheme would run from the end of the M2, crossing the river just east of Gravesend and Tilbury and joining the M25 between junctions 29 and 30.

Although last year Valentine’s Day was overtaken by Halloween as the third biggest “event” for retailers behind Christmas and Easter, year-on-year spending by consumers on Valentine’s Day has increased since 2012 from £880m in that year to £978m in 2013 and £1.3bn in 2014 and it is estimated that 25 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent in the UK each year. However, what sets Valentine’s Day apart from all other so-called retail events is the way in which gifts are purchased. In an economy which has become heavily technology-focused with increasing numbers of consumers embracing the convenience of online shopping, two thirds of Valentine’s Day gifts are bought on the high street. Valentine’s Day shoppers prefer to choose gifts carefully for their loved ones and it seems this desire to locate the perfect gift is bringing shoppers back onto the high street. This provides retailers with a fantastic opportunity to capture the attention of increased numbers coming through the shop door and not only provide the perfect gift but also showcase additional product ranges to turn one-off browsers into returning customers. In my opinion, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day a few weeks later, is particularly crucial for smaller businesses and boutique shops that have a smaller online presence. It gives them the opportunity to take advantage of an increase in the number of shoppers on the high street searching for the perfect gift and, like many of those shoppers, embrace the spirit of Valentine’s Day and improve relationships with their customers.

Jamie Bourne can be contacted on 01233 664711

For further information and to respond to the consultation visit: February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Planning permission for new six screen cinema and hotel in Elwick Road, Ashford, Kent

Discount offer for Chamber members

Transport Planning Associates proudly formed part of the wider team that delivered Stanhope’s successful planning application for Elwick Place: a leisure-led scheme comprising a boutique cinema, restaurant space and a separate 60 bedroom family hotel development in the heart of Ashford town centre.

I am Len Sales aka Rick Joyce and having been a published author and technical author since 2003 I thought it was time to provide a unique service for individuals and businesses. Firstly I am passionate about helping individuals become published or at the very least to get their own or a family members story written and published in book form for their family and friends to read. Secondly for businesses, my role as a technical author requires me to extract information from subject matter experts to produce documents such as procedures, work instructions, health and safety manuals, operation and maintenance manuals to name but a few types of documents. For individuals who have a story to tell whether it is fiction or non-fiction, my one-day workshops provide all of the information required to get that book started and finished. Topics include, introduction to creative writing, formatting, book structure, preparation for submission to publishers, creating a memorable book cover, getting published and book signings/PR. For businesses that are required to work to documented policies, procedures and specific work instructions, I can provide training for identified employees who have technical or procedural knowledge about the business to keep documents up-to-date or to create new documents. Training identified employees in technical authoring is an asset; alternatively I can update or provide new documents for you. Training can be on a one-to-one basis with follow-up support. I am available to discuss your business or individual needs. Chambers members receive a 15% discount.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

In December 2015 the Ashford Borough Council planning committee approved Stanhope’s plans for the scheme which also provides a new town centre car park of 282 spaces which is shared with the new leisure and hotel facilities. The former ring road was redeveloped in 2007 as a shared space with reduced street furniture, road markings and traffic lights, and the speed limit decreased to 20 mph.

The planning application was delivered by a multi-disciplinary team of Guy Holloway Architects, Gillespies, Savills, Waterman, Alinea, Cudd Bentley and Transport Planning Associates, who provided a Transport Assessment and Travel Plan in support of the proposals, working closely with officers at Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council. Key challenges included the mitigation of transport impacts with the local

highway authority, while integrating the design of new transport facilities with the existing shared space design of Elwick Square and new landscaping areas within the development, all of which were successfully resolved through the plan development process. A second phase comprising residential apartments, is due to be considered by the planning committee in February 2016.


Self-Assessment: Will the January deadline be given back? Paul Nixon Partner 01233 629255 (Ashford)

The Autumn Statement 2015 held little in the way of surprises, but one of the key highlights from the Chancellor’s speech was the implementation of a new “digital” HMRC. As part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to clamp down on tax evasion, HMRC is facing an 18% budget cut of its own with the intention that £800m of this saving will be re-invested to help fight tax evasion. In July 2015, the National Audit Office published new figures in relation to tax avoidance and evasion and in the 2012/2013 tax year the shortfall of tax had risen to £34bn. This amount includes £14bn in uncollected income tax, national insurance payments and capital gains tax, as well as £12.4 bn in VAT. Personal avoidance is one of the main issues involved in tax evasion, so it comes as little surprise that the Chancellor is honing in on Self-Assessment. He announced a crackdown in his Budget in March 2015 with new penalties to target tax evasion and avoidance that are hoped to net an extra £3.1bn to the Treasury over the next five years. The Chancellor then followed up these plans in the Autumn Statement in November and the result was the Online Digital Tax Accounts. These have been designed for use by small companies and individuals and it will be paid for using the funds from HMRC’s £800m budget cuts. Whilst the new digital accounts have been designed to combat loopholes in tax avoidance, it is also hoped that they will provide a simpler, more personalised and secure way of storing information,

so that accessing and updating tax affairs can be made much easier. Gone are the days when tax offices were filled with reams of paper, the Government’s new, digitally advanced dashboard will be the 21st century’s answer to filing tax returns the traditional way. What’s more, for businesses that see themselves struggling or encountering problems, the new systems will be a faster, more effective and useful way to make HMRC aware of those issues and how those small businesses and individuals involved are managing any cash flow issues. It can also be a way for HMRC to offer a solution which is much more flexible to the circumstances of those needs and can act as a way of stopping any build-up of tax due by applying a “Pay as you Go” option in relation to paying taxes if necessary. It may all seem a little “Big Brother”, as HMRC will have direct access to all your personal finances and affairs. So there is nowhere to hide for the potential avoider and it really is a system that is tightening up any potential loopholes in the tax system. But, what does this mean for the traditional January deadline? Up until now, Self-Assessors are used to filing returns online by the end of January, but with the arrival of these new Online Digital Accounts and their streamlined efficiencies, it could also mean that Self-Assessment tax returns deadlines are soon to be a thing of the past.

The Chancellor’s new plans will also see the implementation of more regular tax returns - up to four times throughout the year. At the time of writing this, there is currently a live petition to scrap the plans to force self-employed and small businesses to submit quarterly tax returns as it will be more burdensome and increases chances of being subjected to fines for late payments. The petition contains more than 106,000 signatures. What is also interesting is the number of tax returns that are already submitted directly to HMRC without the use of an accountant. 85.5% of Returns were made online on 31st January this year but it would be interesting to know how many of those were filed direct or via an accountant. I suspect that a majority of these involved the services of an accountant, in which case, the result will either be more of a burden to businesses or more work for the accountant. Two million businesses are already using the new system, but the Government’s aim is to implement the Online Digital Tax Accounts to all businesses that are affected by 2020. By early 2016 the proposals are likely to affect more than five million small businesses and ten million individuals, so if you need any help or advice for getting your tax affairs in order, or you would like further information on how the new Online Digital Tax Accounts will affect you, then why not give one of the tax team at Wilkins Kennedy a call today.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Celebrating young talent The Young Startup Talent initiative has launched its third year in East Kent where guests celebrated the beginning of a new year scouting out entrepreneurial flair across the region.

Conferences with a difference Dreamland this month launches their Day Delegates Packages - a perfect way for companies to hold a range of business meetings, team days and conferences with a difference! Dreamland Margate’s Art Deco Grade 2* listed Ballroom can host up to 450 guests for U-Shape, Cabaret, and Theatre style meetings. Breakout spaces can also be discussed. Day Delegates packages include room hire from 8am till 5pm, furniture, unlimited water and a working lunch. We offer a vintage theme in a beautiful, unique setting with a seaside experience, easily accessible by public transport (the train station is nearby), a stage, wifi, event manager and staff, a chef, technician and cloakroom. Use of rides and arcades can be arranged for an additional fee. For further details please contact


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

One of Europe’s leading science and technology venues, Discovery Park, played host to the launch which saw sponsors, supporters and past entrepreneurs gather. The room heard from an array of speakers, who looked back over their time involved in YST and touched on the effects the initiative has had on both its entrepreneurs and the companies involved. Speakers included Pete Kenyon from Cripps, Keith Cane of Town and Country and Dara Chauhan representing NatWest along with founding partners Lorraine Nugent and Matt Turner. Pete Kenyon said that he was ‘impressed by the young entrepreneur’s ability to listen, change and respond.’

He said “They’ve listened throughout the journey and adjusted their business plan but known when to stick with what they believe.” This notion was reiterated by Keith Cane of Town and Country who said: “We believe this is a life changing initiative. The journey itself is just as important if not more important than the end result.” Dara Chahan expressed how the initiative has given him “an opportunity to make a difference.” He said: “As a company, NatWest are extremely proud to be involved.” Attendees were also given the opportunity to hear from the previous winner and finalists Sabrina Pearson, Illuminame, Hayley Heath, Pixie-Pots and Kiran Reardon of AdKick. With updates of their progress since their time with the initiative, sponsors were

able to see where their support and mentoring has made a real difference. Sabrina said: “I come from a background with no real knowledge of business. Thankfully, I learnt a lot throughout the process. I’m really proud to be on the way to creating my business.” Hayley said: “The more you put in, the more you get out and you really have to want it.” She ended with: “This competition has changed me.” While Kiran provided a great deal of entertainment reflecting on his time working with YST judge Ben Towers his ultimate message was ‘I’m really looking forward to the future and trying different things’. To find out more please visit

We believe this is a life changing initiative. The journey itself is just as important if not more important than the end result.


Colour Thirst’s Marketing Stream - the breakthrough you’ve been looking for? Save Time, Money & Generate More Income Whether the choice is to use collaterals, emails, point of sale, adverts, direct marketing or stationery, they all need to be released at the right time. They also need to be highly relevant to the market they are aimed at in order to maximisethe promotion and selling of the product. Colour Thirst’s Marketing Stream keeps your marketing materials relevant by providing an easy to use, 24/7 online efficient and secure portal.

What is Colour Thirst’s Marketing Stream? An online marketing and print solution for sales people, branches, dealers, franchises, fund raisers or anyone else who needs to produce marketing materials. Users create, adapt, approve, print, receive and budget the cost of their marketing materials online and from their desktop inside a secure portal. It offers a simple one stop for all.

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Solving the Stack problem

Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent, said that the Chancellor’s recent announcement of £250m towards a solution for Operation Stack, is vital if the county is to continue to attract investment.

He said: “One of our strongest selling points when it comes to promoting Kent and Medway to potential investors, particularly those from overseas looking to trade with Europe, is the county’s ease of

access via both road and rail through harmed that message, but the allocation of a substantial amount the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel. of Government funding towards a “The disruption caused by the solution will go a long way to repeated implementation of reaffirming Kent and Medway’s Operation Stack can only have credentials in that area.”

This year truly is the Year of Mobile Every year, we hear it's the 'year of mobile'. Perhaps a better phrase would be one coined at WSJDLive, the global technology conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal: 'mobile is eating the world'. Mobile now dominates and if your website isn't responsive, it most certainly should be given the vast number of people who predominantly access sites and emails via their mobile device. Last year (May 2015), Google reported that more searches were taking place on mobile devices than on desktops in 10 countries including the US and Japan. This doesn't mean however, that you should sit back and presume you've done enough. Mobile is now the internet and you need to consider it before anything else. How does your site look to the discerning mobile visitor? Have you considered the experience for them? If you consider that for many, they are only mobile - it should shift your thinking. Couple that with the stat that half a billion people access Facebook solely from mobile and you get the picture. Few insights to convince you: • If mobile is priority, how do you want to steer your desktop strategy? • Mobile commerce is set to grow to $31bn in 2017 (up by $3bn from 2010) • Atom Bank launches in the UK as a mobile-only bank • Messaging apps now have the same user numbers as social networks and dominate mobile • LinkedIn messaging development gives an indication of how big mobile messaging will become for B2B. You can't afford to ignore mobile particularly if you recall the Google update last year (aptly named 'Mobilegeddon'). With mobile forever on the Google radar, what do you need to be doing in SEO for mobile? Think page load speed; don't block CSS, JavaScript or images and forget the old 'above the fold' advice... we all scroll endlessly. Crucially, if your business has a local element, remember to optimise for local searches. Google Developers offers some great advice on mobile friendly websites and is well worth a read. Sarah Pooley Digital Marketing Consultant 01474-704400

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



ThinkingBusiness August - September


Ashford firm celebrates four newly qualified staff Four members of staff at top-20 UK accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy’s Ashford office are celebrating their exam success.

Amy-Grace Hammond, Eddie Taylor, Reece Wootten and Ronnie Yau have all achieved their ACA qualification – recognised as one of the most prestigious professional qualifications in the UK. They join fellow ACA qualifier,

Rosie Turner who passed her exams back in September and will now become fully qualified team members looking to develop the next stage of their careers. Rob Reynolds, Partner at WK Ashford said: “Well done to all

the newly qualified members of staff who have worked extremely hard to pass their exams and develop their careers with us over recent years. They are already great assets to the team here at Ashford and I look forward to a successful future with them.” The newly qualified members of staff also received a personal visit from Managing Partner at Wilkins Kennedy, Dave Fenn, who congratulated them with a bottle of champagne each. Dave said: “Wilkins Kennedy has a great track record in the recruitment and training of Chartered Accountants and it is wonderful that the Ashford team have reached this fantastic milestone. I wish them all the very best for their future careers with us.”

DCB (Kent) Limited wins 2015 Medway Business of the Year The team at builders DCB (Kent) Limited was crowned overall winner at the Medway Business Awards. Based in Hartlip, they provide professional, high quality building, refurbishment, disabled adaptations and maintenance services across the South East. Customers include housing associations, local authorities and education providers. Unlike many other construction companies they directly employ their workforce and now have more than 100 people, many of whom are highly skilled tradespeople. This was the first time they’d entered any award and it proved a great opportunity to shout about all the things they do. This includes raising money for charity including £50,000 for children’s hospice Demelza from their scrap recycling scheme. This charitable spirit was evident on the night as the Directors immediately donated the £1,000 prize to the four good causes supported by the Mayor of Medway. MD Chris Webster said: “It was a bit surreal. We came to the awards event not really expecting anything. I’m stunned but so happy. I’m really proud of my team.”

Buckmore Park upgrades for 2016 Buckmore Park Karting is undertaking a major circuit upgrade for 2016 with the installation of new purpose built Champion Products foam barriers and extended tarmac run-off areas and improved drainage. Along with upgrades to the timing system, track lighting, on-track cameras, video screens and track maintenance equipment, Buckmore Park has appointed new caterers, the Pit Stop Catering Company, to supply an improved first rate service to corporate clients, racers and visitors alike. As well as improving safety at the track, the objective is to improve the overall image and racing experience at the famous venue. Last July, a fleet of new Sodi rental karts was introduced to improve the customers’ driving experience. Major events at Buckmore for 2016 include Super One and Formula Kart Stars - both of which are televised. In addition, the Buckmore Park Kart Club

holds eleven regular monthly meetings along with events from the Kent Championship, MSA Subaru, MSA Bambino, NKRA, Rotax Regional, Southern TKM and F100. This is in addition to the very large corporate programme and noted charity events. John Surtees said: “Buckmore Park is a very special circuit and we wanted to retain all its good characteristics and improve on them with some modern upgrades. The improvements to the run-off areas and circuit surround, coupled with the new barriers, will improve safety and make a tremendous visual improvement. This is the first stage of the Buckmore Park developments”.

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February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



BitesizeNews Antipodean Action Ltd ‘Attitude determines altitude’

With more than 17 years of business coaching experience in New Zealand, the USA and the UK, Pete and Janelle O’Keefe’s ’s vision is: To change the financial, economic and social footprint of businesses in our community by coaching and mentoring the business owner to: • reduce the number of hours worked weekly, by having proper processes driving the business • make a decent profit by knowing and working on the important numbers in the business • ensure the team dynamics of staff are aligned with the owners vision and mission Pete has worked internationally as a banker, and Janelle internationally as a teacher, teaching; chemistry, maths and physics. Allied to banking and teaching they have run 3 very successful businesses themselves and therefor understand the difficulties that face business owners. One of their passions is helping business owners grow their business and they love seeing a business go from good to great. Pete and Janelle bring a wealth of experience toward helping business owners align their business so it works for them, not because of them.

Twenty23 Marketing - here to help raise your profile Have you already tried some marketing without great results? Perhaps marketing keeps slipping to the bottom of your ‘to do’ list? Or maybe you need extra resources to support rapid growth? Don’t worry. By focusing on your business goals, we can help you plan your marketing strategy and the right activity to grow your business and achieve your goals. Twenty23 Marketing is a boutique, Maidstone-based marketing consultancy providing businesses with expert marketing advice and a wide range of marketing communications services. There is no ‘one size fits all’ or secret marketing formula so our services are tailored to the needs of each client. Whether you need support to shape your overall strategy or help with specialist projects like email marketing, an event or a PR campaign, we’ll help you stand out and get the attention you deserve. Our approach is always open, honest and flexible, and we’re totally committed to all our customers, no matter how large or small.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

World executive airways reports surge in cargo business A Kent air charter company is reporting a major increase in demand for its cargo services, with aircraft movements up 45% in the past year.

World Executive Airways (WEA), based at London Ashford Airport in Lydd, has seen enquiries and business soar as customers seek faster alternatives to rail and ferry services to transport urgent freight across the UK and Continental Europe. While WEA, a division of Lyddair, can take most types of cargo, including dangerous goods, the biggest growth in demand has come from the automotive industry says the company’s Managing Director, Jonathan Gordon. He said: “We’re getting increasing requests to deliver urgently-needed car parts to production lines, with customers including BMW Mini, Honda and Porsche. “We’re also seeing rising demand from airlines, such as Air France and British Airways, which have an immediate requirement for aircraft spares in order to service aircraft that are grounded and awaiting these critical spares - known as AOG (Aircraft on Ground).” Jonathan says WEA’s highly competitive charter rates and its

ability to respond at very short notice have been key to the growth in cargo operations. He said: “We can offer almost immediate departure. Within reason, we can be in most parts of the UK or near-Europe within two hours of a phone call. Our fleet, which includes jet, turboprop and piston-type aircraft seating up to nine passengers, also have wide access doors and can be quickly reconfigured to take small packages or medium-sized freight shipments.” That speed and flexibility has never been more evident than it was last summer when WEA saw a sharp rise in demand for its charter services as a result of Operation Stack - a trafficmanagement measure in which up to 5,000 lorries are parked (or ‘stacked’) on the M20 in Kent during disruption to Eurotunnel services from Folkestone or ferries from Dover. June and July saw unprecedented use of the tactic, with the coastbound side of the M20 closed for

24 out of 40 days because of disruption caused by striking French ferry workers and thousands of migrants attempting to get into Britain via Eurotunnel. Jonathan said: “With rail and ferry services paralysed for long periods, it was a logistical nightmare for hauliers. WEA was extremely busy during that period as customers sought alternatives.” “We were collecting cargo from across the UK, France and Belgium and delivering to airports in Toulouse, Venice, Milan, Erfurt and Leipzig as well as Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Oxford, Birmingham and Manchester. At times we were flying throughout the night to meet demand. “On top of that we helped a myriad of stranded holidaymakers, business executives and air and boat crew as well as a Channel 4 film crew which needed to get across the Channel to cover the chaos in Calais.”


Ashford now in top 10% recycling councils in the country

Ashford’s proud rise up the recycling league tables continues, as Ashford Borough Council has been named as the 34th best recycling local authority in England – meaning Ashford is in the top 10% recycling councils in the country, according to the Defra league tables released this week. The council, once referred to as ‘England’s worst recycler’, posted a recycling rate of 55.3% in 2014/15, an improvement of 13.4% on the 2013/14 rate. This was second largest improvement nationally, following on from last year where Ashford was the most improved local authority in the country, showing what an amazing journey the borough has gone on over the past few years. As well as being the highest recycler in Kent, Ashford was also the best in the county at producing the least waste per household. A delighted Cllr Clair Bell, portfolio holder for waste, recycling and street cleansing, said: “Ashford has been on a real journey in a short period of time. Our rise up the recycling league tables is down to the hard work of council officers and members, our contractor Biffa, partners in the Mid-Kent Waste Partnership and - most importantly - our residents, who have embraced the new collections so well. “We have been delighted with how enthusiastic our residents have been about recycling since the new service and wheeled bins were introduced. To see figures continuing to climb after the initial excitement has died down is wonderful news f or our borough. “As well as being the highest recycler in Kent, Ashford was also the best in the county at producing the least waste per household. This shows that not only are residents reducing the amount of waste being produced in the first place, but they are also trying to recycle as much as they possibly can too. “We couldn’t have achieved such a dramatic change without their continued support, so the whole borough should be very proud of what we’ve achieved.” For the full results and information visit:

Students show skills to national audience An East Kent College student is celebrating after being recognised as one of the best young painters and decorators in the UK.

Jamie Oliver, 23, demonstrating his painting and decorating skills at the WorldSkills UK competition finals

Jamie Oliver, 23, from Ashford, who studies at the Folkestone campus, was one of 12 Painting and Decorating students selected to compete at the WorldSkills UK Skills Competition finals where he gained a Highly Commended. Jamie was one of nine East Kent College students competing at the national competition, held at the NEC, across a number of

disciplines. They had all fought through earlier regional finals to compete over three days in front of more than 75,000 people at The Skills Show. Graham Razey, Principal of East Kent College, said: “Competing at a national level and reaching the UK finals was a tremendous achievement for our students. I am extremely proud of the

students and staff who demonstrated a high level of passion, enthusiasm and endeavor throughout the competition. “Although we didn’t win any medals this time around, we have learnt many lessons and will come back even stronger next year, hopefully able to compete on an international platform as well as national.” More than 4,000 people registered to take part in this year’s competition, designed to showcase and raise the value of technical training. The other eight students competing were: Drew Sweetingham, 17, from Ramsgate, studying Beauty Therapy; Jolanta Bateikina, 27, from Margate, studying Hairdressing; Matthew Hamblin, 17, from Deal, Ryan Richards, 17, from Margate, Jordan Rolfe, 17, from Margate and Samuel White, 17, from Whitstable, studying Interactive Media; Eden Allsworth, 17, from Canterbury, studying Catering and; Dan Munford, 19, from Ashford, studying Carpentry & Joinery.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



UKTI to be at the centre of a new approach to boosting British exports, and overseeing and co-ordinating export performance A new whole-of-government approach to boosting British exports delivered through a transformed, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), focused on priority markets and sectors, has been announced by Trade Minister Lord Maude.

UKTI will be at the centre of this new approach, overseeing and co-ordinating export performance on behalf of the cross-government Exports Implementation Taskforce, led by Business Secretary Sajid Javid. Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “To improve the UK’s export performance we need to get the whole of government mobilised and working towards the same goal. By putting a refocused UKTI at the centre of a co-ordinated cross-government approach relevant departments will share expertise to get UK businesses exporting.” Trade Minister Lord Maude said: “To move the needle on exports and meet our commitments we need to do things differently. We want to make the UK the easiest country in the world to do trade with by making it easier, faster and simpler for more UK businesses to start exporting, generating a more vibrant export support marketplace, and giving more financial support to exporters. The use of new, lower-cost, digital technologies will help us do more for businesses, more efficiently.” We will co-ordinate the energies of the whole of government on boosting exports, sharing responsibility across departments, harnessing their deep sector knowledge, focusing on priority targets, and monitoring progress


closely. UKTI will be at the heart of this work, as well as retaining its remit to attract and support investment to the UK, but we are bringing together all of government to play a role. To increase the value of exports, UKTI will concentrate resources on those markets and sectors in which the UK is or can be a strong competitor. It will also bring together the best of public and private sector experience to develop targeted export campaigns connecting international demand to UK supply. As part of this process, UKTI will locate sector experts in other mainstream government departments during early 2016, including the creation of a Great British Food Unit based in DEFRA. This will better leverage specialist knowledge and existing relationships with business, and join up policy and operational delivery. With sector ministers accountable for the export performance of industries, sector-led campaigns will become increasingly joined up with domestic policy and the deep expertise our customers are seeking, maximising the chances of export success. Departmental ministers responsible for wider policies for their industry sector will oversee the development and delivery of sector export plans. A redesigned UKTI HQ will serve as a strategic hub supporting this activity, allocating resources against priorities,

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and monitoring and evaluating progress against plans. Performance will be focused on measuring the volume and value of exports delivered. To increase the number of exporters, UKTI is focusing on transforming its digital service, using new technology to meet the needs of more businesses and increase cost efficiencies. The 5-year Exporting is GREAT marketing campaign launched in November 2015 to drive up the number of new exporters is one part of this work, and has already generated more than 4,750 applications for export opportunities. In addition, having consulted UK businesses to find out what they need to help boost their exports, UKTI is now developing a single digital platform to help businesses find the export information, support, and advice they need, be it from government or private sector providers. New Practical and Financial Support for Businesses: UKTI will develop a suite of new practical and direct support products and services, based on best practice and learning from competitor countries’ export promotion agencies. Over the coming months, UKTI will pilot these services and products to ensure they adequately reflect businesses’ needs. Where export services can be provided by the private sector, with no or little value provided by government’s involvement, the government ultimately intends to exit that market and will focus instead on fostering an invigorated private sector export support marketplace. UKTI will continue to provide a range of cross-sector support including enhanced support for trade missions and fairs, GREAT marketing and events, and access to on-demand export opportunities. Work by the FCO and other departments that support exports will continue, including working within the European Union to encourage the negotiation and implementation of Free Trade Agreements. UKTI will continue to lead

government efforts to attract £1.5 trillion in foreign direct investment. The focus on trade as a government priority has also been reinforced by the Prime Minister’s decision to announce a number of new Trade Envoys. The Trade Envoy programme supports the government’s overall strategy to drive economic growth and Envoys are appointed by the Prime Minister to act on behalf of government and to carry his personal mandate. Envoys are carefully selected for their experience, skills and knowledge of particular sectors or markets, or their knowledge of business. This means they can work closely with the government to promote the UK’s excellence globally and champion trade and investment priorities. There are now 24 Trade Envoys covering 50 high-growth and emerging markets. The newly appointed Trade Envoys are: • Angola - The Rt. Hon. Baroness Northover • Burma, Brunei, Thailand - Mark Garnier MP • Canada - Andrew Percy MP • DRC, Mozambique - Richard Benyon MP • Ethiopia - Jeremy Lefroy MP • Ghana - Adam Afriyie MP • Iran - The Rt. Hon. Lord Lamont of Lerwick • Morocco, Tunisia - Andrew Murrison MP • Nigeria - John Howell MP • Philippines, Malaysia - Richard Graham MP (extending his existing envoy role in Indonesia, ASEAN Economic Community)

• Taiwan - Lord Faulkner of Worcester • Uganda, Rwanda - Lord Popat


Barclays announces new commitment to exports in industry leading UKTI partnership

Bank pledges to help 15,000 businesses export in the next five years, to support HM Government’s export drive. Barclays has joined forces with UK Trade & Investment as a lead partner to broaden, deepen and sharpen efforts to help further develop international trade and inward investment for UK businesses. The two organisations have agreed key priorities and targets across UK trade and investment which they will work together to deliver in seven focus areas. John Winter, CEO of Barclays Corporate banking said: “Supporting UK enterprise and helping businesses of all sizes to

expand and grow is something we are passionate about. We provide expert help to UK businesses in accessing new markets, expanding overseas, and achieving their growth objectives around the globe. Providing our clients with the tools, guidance and finance to encourage and stimulate their exporting ambitions in turn supports the wider UK economy.” Lord Maude of Horsham, Minister for Trade & Investment, said: “Government and private sector co-operation is at the heart of our approach to increasing UK exports.

The seven key areas of focus for joint working between Barclays & UKTI are: 1. Development of Digital Products and capability - through digital transformation of systems, staff training and development of digital products to support businesses exporting. 2. Increase the number of first time exporters - a pledge to support 15,000 businesses exporting for the first time or those returning to exports by 2020. 3. Increase exports by Medium Sized and High Growth Businesses - through trade missions, export summits and at UKTI Export Week. A UKTI MSB adviser will be available to Barclays clients for support, while Barclays and UKTI also pledge to support high growth businesses by exploring propositions to help their specific trade ambitions. 4. Winning of overseas High Value Opportunities and sector development - Barclays and UKTI sector and project finance teams will exchange information and collaboratively support networking between UK Medium Sized Businesses (MSB) and

Working together we can create a more vibrant export support marketplace to help small and medium sized businesses to flourish and grow.” Dr Catherine Raines, Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment, said: “I am delighted we will be working together with Barclays, which will lead to 15,000 more companies working abroad in 2020. Pooling our professional advice for companies is a powerful offer and will increase the amount of support for exporters available.”

Prime Contractors to aid the formation of UK supply chains for High Value Opportunities overseas, in addition to improvements in the response to HVOs, to increase UK export success. 5. Increase trade with Africa - identifying opportunities with targeted trade programmes. Barclays has identified a £3.6bn export opportunity for UK businesses by 2020, up from £1.2bn currently for the five African Sleeping Giant countries. Total consumer spending in Sub-Saharan African countries is expected o grow by 4-5% over the next 5-10 years. 6. Encourage inward investment from priority overseas markets - Raise awareness of UK as an investment destination through Barclays global reach and UKTI networks 7. Drive exports through marketing, initiatives & events - UKTI and Barclays will work closely to promote the Exporting is Great campaign.

UK Overseas Trade Statistics November 2015 (EU) EU Exports for November 2015 are £11.4 billion. This is a decrease of £0.4 billion (3.7 per cent) compared with last month, and a fall of £0.6 billion (4.7 per cent) compared with November 2014. EU Imports for November 2015 are £19.2 billion. This is a decrease of £0.3 billion (1.4 per cent) compared with last month, and a rise of £0.5 billion (2.5 per cent) compared with November 2014. In EU trade the UK is a net importer this month, with imports exceeding exports by £7.9 billion. The proportion of total exports to the EU is 45 per cent in November

Figure 4: UK exports to top 5 countries, November 2015 2015. Over the past 18 months, this has ranged from 41 per cent to 49 per cent. The proportion of total imports from the EU is 55 per cent

in November 2015. Over the same period, this has ranged between 49 per cent and 55 per cent.

Exporters Quarterly Networking Lunch 11th March 2016

The Chamber supports over a thousand Kent based exporters to ship their goods and service across the world. Every three months we invite our Customers to join us for an informal buffet lunch and networking event where we share updates on the latest developments in international trade as well as offering some specific insights into popular new markets. This quarter we are looking at one of the current hot topics of political conversation, the EU market. We’ll have speakers from both service and product based businesses, who will share their thoughts, experiences and possibly their forecasts of EU trade. If you would like to join us, please visit our international events pages on our website and book online.

International Festival of Business 13 June - 1 July 2016 EXHIBITION CENTRE LIVERPOOL On 16th June 2016 ‘Meet your Global Network’, an International Trade conference and dinner will bring IFB delegates back together with contacts from over 50 countries. Fostering trade, sharing best practice and building relationships, this event provides practical support and introductions for businesses which are thinking of trading abroad for the first time or growing their presence in existing markets. An international audience of over 400 delegates will convene at the conference and then break into practical workshops and 1 to 1 sessions that will deliver a real return on investment for delegates. We also have an interesting and exciting addition to the programme this time round; British Chambers of Commerce are bringing their International trade academy to Liverpool on 15 June (the day before the global network event). The 52 accredited UK chambers and participate in the academy, which will give delegates the chance to network and explore opportunities nationally as well as with their overseas counterparts. You can prepare for this opportunity now, we are putting together a series of ‘Get fit for IFB’ webinars with overseas chambers that will be facilitated by the British Chamber of Commerce from January to May 2016, all UK chamber members can participate wherever they are in the UK. Finally many of the delegates are staying in the city for cultural activities to kick off the start of the weekend, on Friday 17 June there will be opportunities for delegates to participate in golf and football tournaments or enjoy attending the Liverpool International Tennis tournament - all exciting ways to spend quality time and strengthen the relationships across the global chamber network.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS




works for business

Excellent communications, a supportive business environment and a growing creative digital media sector are helping Folkestone to turn the tide on its economic fortunes. When the Folkestone Harbour Arm opened to local acclaim during summer weekends in 2015, it brought renewed energy to the town and a real sense of optimism and hope for the future. It also gave a tantalising taste of things to come for Folkestone’s seafront - heralding the start of ambitious plans to continue the transformation of this part of the town. The plans, led by the Folkestone Harbour Company, include new homes, public spaces and leisure facilities which will make a major contribution to the attractiveness of Folkestone as a place for entrepreneurs to live, work and bring up their children. Detailed preparations are continuing ahead of work to develop the site, which are to begin this year. These include measures to improve the infrastructure and an application for a Harbour Revision Order that will formally recognise changes to the way the harbour is now used. The scheme will bring to the town more leisure and recreational activities as epitomised by the opening of the harbour arm and a new indoor skate park.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

Folkestone is already Shepway’s growth hub for business, particularly for creative and digital media - one of the UK’s fastest-growing sectors. The Creative Quarter in Folkestone’s Old Town is home to a thriving collection of artists’ studios, digital and creative business and is a lively and ever-growing community. The permanent opening of the Harbour Arm, this spring will bring a new dimension to the exciting dynamic of this increasingly vibrant town.

Council’s growth agenda Interest from businesses new to the district, as well as increased demand for space from growing local firms, is stimulating investment in many of the district’s key employment sites. These are now starting to come forward as investors recognise the investment opportunities across the district. New quality business accommodation, such as at The Workshop in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter, the Folkestone Business Hub in Aspen House and the Romney Resource Centre in New Romney, are meeting local needs, while other out of town schemes, such as that coming forward at Hawkinge West, are going to be important for attracting new inward investment to the district. This economic growth is being carefully nurtured by the District Council which has ambitions for growth across the district. New employers looking to relocate into the area are welcomed by Shepway District Council through a flexible planning regime and funding packages. A new website - has recently


Interest from businesses new to the district, as well as increased demand for space from growing local firms, is stimulating investment in many of the district’s key employment sites.

been launched to demonstrate what the district has to offer in Folkestone, Hythe, Romney Marsh and the North Downs. It provides information to local businesses looking to grow and what support is on offer from Shepway for inward investors. Shepway is one of the few local authorities to offer direct financial incentives to support business growth.

That’s a relief One example of this is the Shepway discretionary business rates relief scheme which offers businesses in priority sectors and key employment areas up to 100% relief (up to £40,000 a year) to support job creation. And even businesses outside priority sectors or key employment areas may be eligible for some

relief if they can demonstrate substantial job growth. James Avery, Manager of The Workshop and Factory Floor in Folkestone, said the rate relief discount has been enormously helpful. “We have been able to reduce the rent price that a small business would pay, by way of passing on the savings made through business rates. This has, in turn, encouraged individuals to 'come out of the bedroom' and set up their business in a suitable premises that encourages networking and gives access to a variety of support mechanisms. “The Discretionary Rate Relief scheme has gone a long way in helping The Factory Floor with some of our success stories and without this support, it’s fair to say these businesses may not have survived or indeed have even been conceived.”

Apprenticeships are working The Council also supports local businesses through its Shepway Apprenticeship Grants Programme and is about to fund its 300th

apprentice since it was launched in 2012. It offers grants of up to £1,500 to companies that take on local people and also helps find the right placement for the right business.

One successful apprentice is 20year-old Daniel Hawkins from Lydd, who works at Gasworks Heating Specialists in New Romney. Daniel is one of only six apprentices out of 1,000 from across the UK to secure a place on new one-year national training scheme programme run by Worcester Bosch, market leaders in the manufacture of boilers and heating products. He was nominated by Gasworks Heating Director, Simon Banks.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Excellent Communications As well as having great road and rail links Folkestone now also has Superfast Broadband which is accessible to all businesses in key employment sites in and around the town, thanks to the Council’s investment in a 1 GB Superfast link. A hard link between the Custodian Data Centre in Maidstone and the Civic Centre in Folkestone gives local businesses one of the fastest broadband services in the country and has resulted in significant growth in the creative and digital media sector. A further roll out of the service to all parts of the district is planned in the near future.

A supportive business community The business community of Shepway has been gaining a renewed identity over recent years too, coming together in the increasingly popular business forum - the Shepway Business Advisory Board which is chaired by local resident and businessman Geoff Miles. This offers businesses mutual support and networking opportunities and a business voice to policy makers on local and national matters.

An important issue that Shepway faced last summer was Operation Stack which has cost the country millions of pounds. Now, though, with the pledge of £250m in last autumn’s Spending Review and Highways England charged

Kent charity is flying for life in Liberia The Folkestone-based aviation charity MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) has launched operations in Liberia to serve some of the country’s remotest communities in the wake of Ebola. For four years MAF had carefully planned operations in Liberia with the support of NGOs and aviation authorities, only for plans to be delayed by the Ebola crisis that claimed over 4,800 lives there. The country was finally declared Ebola-free this January. There is a consistent need for a humanitarian flight service in Liberia due to the fact that many remote communities can only be reached by boggy paths or poor roads. Journeys overland can take several days but when it rains the routes can be cut off completely making much emergency healthcare and development work impossible. MAF Head of Fundraising and Marketing Mike Fagg said “in the infancy of MAF’s new Liberia programme we’re looking to


do all kinds of fundraising so that we can ensure it continues to be a reliable source of life-saving support for the Liberian people, particularly in the remote areas where healthcare is sometimes extremely difficult to access.” Currently there are only ten airstrips in Liberia where a plane can safely land. So, as the only humanitarian flight operator in the country, as part of establishing operations rural airstrip rehabilitation is a top priority. Get in touch to see how your organisation can partner with MAF in fundraising, and get hold of our Frying for Life and Bake Off to Take Off fundraising packs via our website

ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

with finding a suitable site, a solution is at hand. This will reaffirm Folkestone’s place on the national and international map, as an unrivalled location at the country’s pivotal transport hub between Britain and continental Europe.


Flexibility the key to helping people reach their potential

No two days are the same for Clara Gibson. Given the nature of her work as a life coach, it would be remarkable if they were.

Clara Gibson

I love what I do. There is nothing more thrilling for me than setting people free and seeing them become happier, confident, energized, present, relaxed, healthier.

Ramsgate-based Clara runs a business which offers one-off sessions, blocks of coaching, residential coaching breaks by the sea in Ramsgate, online coaching, nutritional support to a range of clients, webinars and public speaking. She has extensive experience in working with professionals, individuals and families as a community and specialist health visitor in the NHS for 18 years. As a qualified life, health and wellbeing coach, NLP master practitioner and Theta Healer, she works with clients to improve their selfconfidence, relationships, stress management, health and pain management and to achieve the results they want in their personal or business lives. Theta Healing works with the Theta brain waves to achieve belief change. Clara said: “I tend to wake up at about seven in the morning and attend to my emails or messages on my Facebook pages first. “Sometimes I will have had messages from clients which I need to attend do and I like to do that before anything else. “After that, it really depends on my diary as to how my day works out. Typically, I tend to have appointments with one or two clients a day, either seeing them face to face or on the phone or Skype, and meetings with

potential clients or speaking engagements. “I have client notes to write up and research into client health problems or for articles and updates that I publish.” “I keep a diary for my appointments and meetings but I also try to keep things flexible. If people are paying you for a service they expect you to be able to respond to their needs. “Certainly, no two days are the same. In fact, if you become too regimented that can itself cause stress.” That flexible approach means that Clara is able to take on a variety of work, including working in secondary schools with adolescents who are struggling with their motivation and life direction, and teachers who benefit from dealing with managing their own stress to improve their management of a variety of teaching situations. She has business and personal clients in London, the UK and abroad and is an accredited coach with the International Coaches Federation. She works nutritionally with clients, too; some choose just to have nutritional support.

Clara works with USANA Health Sciences –the most highly rated nutritional supplements in the world and clients who use the products typically get amazing results in improved energy, clearer thinking, better mood management and improved sleep. Her expertise includes dealing with work-related stress, supporting people through times of severe crisis, everything from bereavement and the death of a child, to disability, depression, health issues, financial problems and relationship difficulties. She has also worked as a registered nurse and a community and specialist health visitor, supporting families with social services involvement and with children with significant disability or life limiting illness. Clara said: “I love what I do. There is nothing more thrilling for me than setting people free and seeing them become happier, confident, energized, present, relaxed, healthier. “I think that a lot of people do not realise the potential that they have. They think that they have reached the limit of their potential and my job is to help them take it further.”

If you would like to find out how coaching with Clara could benefit you, book a FREE trial consultation at If you would like to take the awarded FREE Health Assessment of USANA Health Sciences and receive your personalised lifestyle report and recommendation go

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Corporate Support Ward & Partners donated £8000 towards a new hydrotherapy bath for the Dragon’s Retreat short break unit at Parents Consortium, a local charity that supports disabled children and their families.

Caroline Brinkman, Fundraising Manager said, “This is a vital piece of equipment for our Dragon’s Retreat. It’s really important to give each child a bath before bedtime as it calms and relaxes them and helps aid sleep. We are grateful to Ward and Partners for their support” Companies feel compelled to give to charity but few have figured out how to do it well. Ward & Partners is the exception to this. They are a part of Arun Estates who are the largest independent estate agency in the South East of England. The company ethos is all about helping their customers and at the same time giving something back to the local community. In the last 5 years Ward & Partners have donated 16% of its profit to support charitable work. Managing Director Aldo Sotgiu said, “Our philosophy for success has always been to put people first,

believing that estate agency is a 'people' business where quality of service makes all the difference”. This philosophy is carried through to the company’s corporate giving with a real belief in supporting charities focusing on disabled children. Caroline Brinkman, Fundraising Manager for Parents Consortium said “If only other businesses were so driven and focused”. Corporate fundraising forms a huge part of a charity’s strategic plan towards financial security. It can be great for employees moral, teambuilding, as well as enhancing a company’s image. Not all companies give to charities but some are just realising that successful companies do not function in isolation to society. If you would like to know more about how you could help a local charity please call 01322 668501x5.

Our philosophy for success has always been to put people first, believing that estate agency is a 'people' business where quality of service makes all the difference.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016


The signs are good for company

Team SEC have been really busy over the last six weeks and leading into the New Year.

Sell out event at Canterbury Festival

The Festival is the largest in the region with 14 days of 200 performances in and around Canterbury from choral music to cabaret and visual arts. As a firm that is well-established in Kent, Wilkins Kennedy has been historically involved with Canterbury Festival for the past 12 years – but none were quite like this!

Wilkins Kennedy Ashford sponsored the MozART Group - a Polish string quartet who were marking their 30th anniversary with something “a little bit different”. Turning classical music on its head, these virtuosic musicians use their instruments to create a hilarious comedy show with a few unexpected surprises along the way, seeing hits by Michael Jackson thrown in to the mix.

We’ve also had a healthy mixture of signage and display work ranging from shop fascia signs such as this project for Colebrook Sturrock & Co. in Saltwood near Hythe, window graphics for the likes of Rooks Butchers, a part wrapped vintage bus for Routemaster Hire and a vinyl wrapped bedroom wall featuring a Tornado jet aircraft. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our wonderful customers for the amazing work they have given to us, especially during the last 12 months and of course to all of our business acquaintances & suppliers for recommending and referring us to others and we look forward to seeing you again in a happy and healthy 2016. Please remember you can find details of all our services at or by visiting our Facebook page

There were 750 attendees to this event alone with the group playing to a sell-out crowd and the feedback from the attendees was very complimentary. Wilkins Kennedy Ashford Partner, Hugh Summerfield, who was in attendance at the festival, said: “The cultural events in East Kent are very much supplemented by the Canterbury Festival. At Wilkins Kennedy, we were keen to continue our relationship with the event, as it is one of the main highlights of the social cal endar and we are always keen to support key local initiatives such as these.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our wonderful customers for the amazing work they have given to us, especially during the last 12 months.

Amanda McKean, Development Manager at Canterbury Festival said: “The Festival has been delighted with it’s partnership with Wilkins Kennedy and through the years Wilkins Kennedy have supported a range of events from the fabulous violinist, Nicola Benedetti in Canterbury Cathedral, Van Morrison in the Marl owe Theatre and this year the MozART Group in the Shirley Hall. Wilkins Kennedy understand the value of Canterbury Festival to the community of East Kent and are great advocates of the Festival’s work helping introduce new audiences to the Festival two weeks”

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Keeping your business healthy What you can do to mitigate the loss of a key employee due to ill-health

The Hospital offers a wide range of treatments and services and is firmly established as a Centre of Excellence and a leading regional provider for cataract surgery, hip and knee replacements and the treatment of varicose veins, all delivered by specialist consultants.

How healthy are your key staff? Every company wants their staff to be happy and healthy –and an enthused and energetic workforce is also one of the most important success factors for any organisation. If you run your own business then your health and wellbeing is also crucial. This is why it is worth considering Benenden personal healthcare for both you and your employees. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that UK employers lost 131 million days’ work to sickness absence in 2013, which equates to 4.4 days on average for each worker, at an annual cost of £609 per employee. The cost may indeed be higher when disruption is taken into account, caused by a critical staff member being absent. Prevention is better than cure An early diagnosis of any medical problem can often lead to a quicker resolution. So regular health checks and access to diagnostic facilities are an important part of keeping key staff in good health, or nipping any problems in the bud. When the problem is urgent or critical, then the NHS is normally the best option, but for health issues that aren’t

life threatening, private treatment may well be the best alternative. Such conditions can still be very debilitating and can affect the individual’s performance at work, or their ability to attend work. Conditions such as hip or knee and other joint problems, whether brought on through accident or injury, or as a result of a chronic condition, affect mobility and cause severe pain or discomfort and can develop into serious and long-term problems. For example, the same ONS report suggests that the main cause for working days lost in 2013 was musculoskeletal conditions (such as back and neck pain), leading to 31 million days lost. The next common cause was minor illnesses such as coughs and colds (27 million days lost), followed by stress, anxiety or depression, at 15 million days lost. Treatment options The NHS is generally brilliant at dealing with medical emergencies, but as nonlife-threatening conditions are currently unlikely to be a priority within the NHS, due to the funding burden that every government struggles to solve, there’s often a need to partner with private facilities, or for patients to go direct via medical insurance or self-funding.

Private treatment is, therefore, a growing option that businesses consider, in order to reduce the potential financial impact of any such situation affecting key individuals. Businesses and organisations can often find that private healthcare is prohibitively expensive. However, Benenden offers a high quality, affordable alternative which helps address the key causes of workplace absence, including: musculoskeletal conditions; mental health and wellbeing; and enabling your staff access to a GP via a 24/7 health line. To date Benenden provides corporate healthcare services to over 350 businesses, charities and schools across the UK including Dover Council, LGC and Parcelforce Worldwide. State-of-the-art facilities Benenden’s flagship facility for delivering diagnostics, treatment and services is Benenden Hospital, based here in the heart of Kent. The Hospital offers a wide range of treatments and services and is firmly established as a Centre of Excellence and a leading regional provider for cataract surgery, hip and knee replacements and the treatment of varicose veins, all delivered by specialist consultants.

The Hospital is currently undergoing a £45 million redevelopment with many new and upgraded facilities. Phase One is due to open early this year, providing new theatres, en-suite patient rooms and endoscopy suite. Phase Two includes a glass-roofed atrium, spacious waiting areas, a new pharmacy, free car parking, consulting rooms and outpatient suite together with a £2 million investment in diagnostic imaging facilities. The redevelopment will result in a state-of-the art healthcare facility poised to meet future healthcare needs. As well as Benenden corporate members the Hospital welcomes individual members of Benenden, private and medically insured patients as well as NHS patients referred via the NHS e-referral system. To find out more about Benenden’s corporate healthcare solutions visit: or call 0800 414 8185 or to find out about the breadth of treatment and services delivered by Benenden Hospital visit:

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Why tackling workplace health issues is vital Never has health and well-being in the workplace enjoyed a higher profile than today with many of the country’s employers realising the importance of keeping their staff happy and healthy.

The WHO says that ignoring the risks could be disastrous for a company, pointing out that workrelated health problems result in an economic loss.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), workers spend on average one third of their time at the workplace so good working conditions are vital because they can provide benefits for companies and employees alike. The WHO says that ignoring the risks could be disastrous for a company, pointing out that work-related health problems result in an economic loss of 4-6% of GDP for most countries.


However, get it right and the benefits are there for everyone to see and the WHO says that simple initiatives help reduce sick leave absenteeism by up to 27% and health-care costs for companies by up to 26%. According to the Health and Safety Executive, companies should: • create workplaces where health, safety and well-being is promoted and taken seriously

ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

• ensure staff have access to occupational health advice and support • improve access to preventative care and treatment for common health problems • enable people to remain in work while health problems are investigated and treated A thriving sector has sprung up to help companies and individuals to do just that and implement the

kind of initiatives needed to improve workplace health and well-being, everything from encouraging exercise and good diets to introducing ways to reduce stress. From private hospitals and clinics to on-site consultants the sector is having a dramatic effect on the nation’s workers, driven by the knowledge that healthy and wellmotivated workers are much better positioned to deliver high-quality services.


Seated massage in The morning after from two perspectives your workplace By Nick D AA East Kent Employment Liaison Officer

So why do I do this? I have just woken at 3am in the morning my head is spinning, not the room thank God, not this time. I am tossing and turning and I am covered in sweat, I have that meeting at 10am and I need to present to the board but if I cannot sleep I won’t be able to function. I wonder what time he will turn up to work this morning? It’s 8am and I am already in the office clearing emails. If past performance is anything to go by it won’t be until 9.30, poorly shaved no tie and his McDonald’s breakfast in his hand. Why did I do It? I said to myself yesterday morning that I would not drink today, I promised my wife I would not drink again. The night before I came home late and well in my cups, not a pretty sight. I had just completed on the purchase of the new HQ building so I took a few of the team out for a meal, well I say meal, it was more of a night down the pub with some food to soak up the drink. I came back well over the limit, I really should have left the company car and got a taxi, but it would have meant getting up early to pick up the car before going to work, so easier to drive. Thank God I didn’t get stopped! Anyway the day rolls on its like swimming through wet concrete with the hangover I have. Thank God the deal is done and I can do some “filing” for most of the afternoon with the office door shut. Well, ok, he has made it into the board meeting but he is not focusing and that presentation had no supporting material, he must have thought up the script this morning driving into to work. Thinking about it he was out all last night celebrating the HQ purchase and was still at the beer last night when I left at 9pm And to think I pay this guy!! I’ll try one

more time to talk to him about his behaviour and if it doesn’t improve, I will have to get HR involved. Just as I’m leaving the office half an hour early, the owner of the company calls me into the office. How dare he, what does he mean that my moods are up and down all the time? Doesn’t he realise that’s just the way I am made, and with the pressure I am under its fully understandable that I get down at times and find it hard to lift myself out of it? What does he mean I am unreliable and that my expenses are out of control? Why do I get the impression every time I talk to him that he has taken nothing in! There is always one more reason one more excuse as to why he is special and different….. I wonder if he has a real problem with alcohol. At least he has promised to stop now, I’ll give him one more chance to get straight … if not then I really will need to consider involving HR God that was a stressful day wonder what’s got into everyone? God I could use a drink….. Damn I have sworn off. Well, just one won’t hurt! If you have been involved on either side of this conversation, Alcoholics Anonymous can help. Whether you are an employer who would like to understand better how AA can be of service to alcoholics in your employment or if you think you have a drink problem please call AA on either 01227 455 557 locally or 0800 9177 650 nationally or write to Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

Calm Spirit can help your company to reduce its sickness absence figures by bringing massage into the workplace.

Many companies are now implementing health and wellbeing strategies in order to reduce sickness absence, to improve morale and to retain staff. Can you afford not to? Calm Spirit therapies massage can bring relief to muscular skeletal problems and can lift anxiety and reduce stress levels. Massage helps to: • Relieve muscular tension • Enable mental clarity and wellbeing • Encourage endorphin release and a sense of happiness • Remove toxins and stress hormones • Encourage immunity responses • Lower blood pressure Additionally, Calm Spirit life coaching services provide workshops to empower employees to mindfully manage stress more effectively.

Staff can be enabled to sleep more soundly at night and be more alert during the day. Employees can be guided to better manage their overall health and wellbeing. Workshops are for small groups of 10 or more. The massage can be provided for staff either using a portable massage chair or alternatively seated at their desk. Staff will be fully clothed and no oils will be used, to enable a swift return to work. Sessions can last from 10 to 20 minutes. (Alternatively a 30 minute session using oils and a massage couch, is available). Pricing is £120 for a 2 hour session (max. 12 people), or £150 for 3 hours (max. 18 people). Regular sessions are priced at £100 for 2 hours or £130 for 3 hours. The cost of a workshop is £200 per hour.

To discuss your business needs, contact, or by telephone on 0796 709 1458

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS


Whose business is health at work? HEALTH&WELLBEING

Public Health, the NHS and partners have teamed up with businesses to tackle health at work.

131 million working days were lost in 2013 due to sickness and stress costs the UK £3.7 billion annually. Our workforce is our greatest asset, and as employers we all have a duty of care towards our employees. Investing in good people and getting the best out of them

can make a difference between excelling in business and not surviving.

It’s not just about productivity; it’s about retaining talent in an ageing workforce. With direct and indirect costs of replacing a leaver averaging £6000 it’s a cost any

business would want to avoid. We are living longer, working to a greater age, but are we fit enough? Lifestyles continue to put us at risk of diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and dementia that can impact on our daily lives.

Did You Know? • Physically Active staff are estimated to take 27% fewer sick days compared with non-active staff. • Smokers are 2.3 times more likely to take sick leave compared with non-smokers.

Diabetes checks in BT

BT carried out a Fit for Work campaign, testing staff using an on line risk assessment. Of the 5200 people who took part 2003 were at medium risk, and 341 at high risk of developing diabetes in the next 10 years. In fact Diabetes UK predicts that by 2025 4 million people in the UK will have diabetes.

What can you do as an employer to support staff and grow your business?

Ergro hosts free health check day for local businesses

The Kent County Council Healthy Business Awards, and the Medway Council Healthy Workplaces programme can provide a framework and support you and your staff to improve health. Already working with 170 businesses across the county, you achieve accreditation under the National Workplace Wellbeing Charter to show evidence your are working

towards being a ‘healthy workplace’. The framework ensures businesses have the right basics and policies in place.

In addition the schemes can support businesses around getting staff more active, helping staff to stop smoking, and manage stress.

Kent Workplace Health Checks - a vital service for your team

NHS Health Checks are designed to spot early warning signs of heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

The free of charge checks are for anyone aged 40 to 74 without a pre-existing condition that they are taking medication for (such as high blood pressure or diabetes). Checks take around 30 minutes and include blood pressure, cholesterol levels, healthy weight, alcohol use, physical activity and family health history.

The check identifies the risk of developing a serious long-term condition. It also provides a personal assessment which will encourage staff to make changes to their lifestyle to ensure a longer, healthier life.

Most people are invited to have their Health Check by their GP, but many people don’t want to take

time off work. Help is at hand, however, with the workplace Health Checks scheme delivered by the Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust. The service can provide on-the-spot checks for any of your eligible employees, plus health MOTs for anyone who isn’t eligible for a full check*. All you need to find is room!

For more information or to book a session for your team, call: Kim 07957 474068 / Mark 07904 111834 or our central team on 0300 123 1240. For more information on NHS Health Checks visit

Contact us today to find out more about the scheme in your area, without any obligation: Kent:


As part of the ongoing health campaign, Kent based Contractor, Ergro, offered staff and other neighbouring businesses an opportunity to receive a free health check and get tips on workplace health and lifestyle improvement advice. Over 60 people enjoyed taking part, including Ergro Service Administrator, Alex Wilson, who said afterwards “Today was a great idea. I am really glad that I had my health check and it has inspired me to make some changes to improve my health. From now on I will be cutting down on coffee, exercising more and trying to eat more healthily.” Lesley Quinn, Ergro QSHE Director said, “If our incentives can identify early symptoms and assist even just one person’s health improvements, then today has been worthwhile.”

*The Workplace Health Check is available in the Kent County Council area. For details of Health Check arrangements in Medway please contact the Medway scheme using the contact details above.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016


Highest level of practice at new state of the art private hospital

As you know we constantly have our ear to the ground, working hard to keep members informed of new developments in the area, which may be of benefit to you.

With the closure of Spire St.Saviour’s in Hythe creating a lack of Private Healthcare capacity, we are delighted to announce that One Healthcare will be opening in Ashford this month. It is a £30 million state of the art private hospital situated adjacent to the William Harvey Hospital just a minute from Junction 10 of the M20. The One Ashford Hospital is modelled on innovative surgery and diagnostic centres in the US and Australasia, that have transformed the provision of quality assured, outcome measured and cost effective medical and surgical care. The One Ashford hospital incorporates technology and design features, aimed at specifically enhancing the patients’ experience and perception of the hospital.

The Hospital is recognised by all of the Private Healthcare Insurance companies, and is also offering local companies and Chamber Members Free Healthscreens and Flu Jabs (for Preferred Supplier status). In addition to this, Chamber members will receive a 5% discount from Self Pay Procedures. One Ashford is working in collaboration with leading specialist Consultants in the area, to ensure access to the very best treatment, and actively engages with all Private Medical Insurance companies, and the St.Saviours Medical Charity. One Ashford Hospital provides treatment and care for a wide range of conditions. Full details are available on the website

If you have ever attempted to book an appointment to see a specialist consultant in a hospital and found it difficult, you will be pleasantly surprised. You are able to book your consultation with a specialist (or Physiotherapist) instantly online and it takes less than 2 minutes! For patients who want to see a leading specialist consultant on a self pay basis, you can do this directly on the website – without the need to see your GP. An appointment, really is just a “click” away.

Open Day Event

Free Healthscreen* On the 18th February, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce is arranging an open day event at the new hospital and it will give members an opportunity to be first to view the state of the art facility, sample the food and meet the team. Having seen the proposed design features (including a Japanese Water Garden on the roof) it is fair to say that East Kent will finally get a modern and purpose built private hospital that the Insured and Self Pay clients deserve. *Health screen subject to availability

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Understanding the implications of substance misuse in the workplace Galahad SMS Ltd have been delivering substance misuse training and education for the last 15 years.

We deliver education on drugs and alcohol that is factual and based on research. When you mention drug or alcohol education to people, they think of school and of an ex user or alcoholic explaining how bad their lives were until they saw the light and turned their lives around. That is NOT education! As a company or organisation, the health and wellbeing of your staff is important. Healthy staff that are fit and motivated will achieve more, be more productive and will be able to handle

stress more effectively. However, there are employees that will use drugs, and many more that will use alcohol to handle stress or just to have a good time. Galahad SMS Ltd delivers facts about drug and alcohol use, the kind of information you wish you had known when you were at school but were never told. Alcohol use results in an estimated 17 million working days lost per year. Even when employees make it into work, hangovers and fatigue from

Benefiting from healthy cover and flexible premiums

Insurance can be opaque and obtuse, and price is all too often considered the ‘be-all and end-all’. But service standards, transparency and flexibility can be just as important considerations, especially with medical insurance - because when you are ill or in pain you need to be certain that your insurer is going to be there when you need it most. Not-for-profit insurer WPA is particularly notable for being driven by service and value rather than by price and for placing a huge emphasis on transparency. It is unique in publishing its complaints data online and in heavily promoting the freedom for patients to choose when and where they are treated, based on the philosophy that medical decisions are more important than commercial ones. Its ‘all-singing all-dancing’ Elite cover and its flexible enhanced Premier cover are so flexible and transparent that they are sometimes described as being products where the consumer chooses the price. Customers can choose exactly what they are getting and work out their price online.


“Elite basically offers unlimited inpatient and outpatient cover and even includes £450 of dental and £200 optical cover. If you claim your full £650 optical and dental allowance each year this can in some cases offset your entire premium.” WPA, which has never made any bones about its disdain for some cost-saving methods used by other insurers such as no-claims discounts, keeps costs affordable on both plans by asking customers to accept an element of ‘Shared Responsibility’. “WPA”, continues Robert Coleman and Michele Cole, based in Kent, “feel that No Claims Discounts are not best suited to private health insurance as we are not able to affect our health in the short term and do not want policyholders to face large increases in premiums because they unfortunately have to claim”.

ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

drinking can lead to productivity losses and mistakes made due to poor concentration. A YouGov survey of 2014 found that 22% of employees admitted to making mistakes at work because they were hungover. Those mistakes cost money. Alcohol is a great way to bond teams and create a good group cohesion within an organisation, however, care must be taken to ensure that staff understand the consequences of over indulging. At Galahad we have found that by educating and training staff about the way alcohol works, and how it affects the body, in a way that is easy to understand (and doesn't insist that everyone must give up drinking) is highly effective. By dispelling the myths that surround alcohol, people will change their habits. The end result is more productivity and fewer mistakes by staff that may, in the past, have come to work with hangovers. The other great temptation of all generations is drugs.

Many people do not understand what the impact of drug use is on the brain and the body. If you are concerned about drug use by employees, either out of work or in the workplace, Galahad can offer training and education as well as workplace mapping. Workplace mapping involves swabbing the workplace to determine if there are any traces of drugs, for example - on keyboards, in the tea making areas etc. This will give you an idea of whether you may need some education or training given to your staff. For more information on this and any other of our services, please do not hesitate to contact us on the details below: Telephone: 01883 712401 Fax: 01883 723315 Email: Galahad SMS Ltd, Brook House, Brook Hill, Oxted, Surrey RH8 9LR


How does facilities management impact workplace productivity? There is overwhelming evidence to support the idea that health, wellbeing and productivity of staff is significantly affected by workplace design. Asbestos Risks in the Workplace Qube Construction Management PLC’s Asbestos Division has developed a robust approach to help clients plan, create and operate better and safer working environments more costeffectively. Responsibility for asbestos management rests with the duty holder - the duty holder will be the employer and this will generally be the commercial tenant, health trust, local authority, school governors or academy trust.

In particular, the role that Facilities Management (FM) organisations play in designing and maintaining the workplace is gaining attention from companies in a variety of sectors. The British Institute of Facilities Management defines FM as: ‘The processes that maintain and develop an organisation’s services to support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities.’ Key areas include cleaning, health & safety, heating & ventilation as well as general office management. Covering such a wide variety of processes means that effective FM is vital to the overall success of any business. It is facilities managers who are at the helm of ensuring that organisations have the most suitable working environment for employees and their activities. Together, Qube Construction Management PLC and group company, KM Facilities Management Group PLC have assembled a specialist team of surveyors and FM contracts managers and operatives who are qualified to work with asbestos and all elements of FM, and collectively, have over 30 years’ experience in the field. From the safe management of works around asbestos in situ, environmental assessments, drafting anti-bacterial strategies, to writing proactive risk management policies for customers after full site inspection and assessment right through to the safe removal and disposal of any asbestos containing materials.

FM and productivity There has been a great deal of research exploring the relationship between FM and productivity. A survey by Sodexo and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors revealed that 61% of respondents felt that improvements to workplace facilities had positively impacted their wellbeing at work. Taking a closer look at how FM links with productivity, there are many littleknown aspects that contribute to the productive office. For example, when deciding on the position of equipment such as printers and copiers in the office, it is up to FM managers to assess whether a specific location would hinder ease of access or become a noise disturbance to nearby staff. Even factors such as the temperature of a workplace can seriously affect productivity rates. During one study by Cornell University, it was discovered that raising the temperature of an office from 20°C to 25°C resulted in employees making 44% less typing errors - a staggering impact. It is clear that facilities managers have an important part to play in improving productivity, including deciding on the best products and solutions to introduce into the office environment. As part of their critical decision making role, seeking out products and solutions intended to boost employee productivity is key.

The requirements of the duty holder are to: • take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in your premises, and if so, its amount, where it is and what condition it is • make, and keep up-to-date, a record of the location and condition of the asbestos containing materials • assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified • prepare a detailed plan how the risks from these materials will be managed • take necessary steps to put the plan into action • periodically review and monitor the plan to act on it so that it remains relevant and up-to-date • provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them. What can Qube do for you? Keeping you safe and legal. Qube understand that the safety of your staff is of paramount importance. We will work with you to provide solutions that give you peace of mind and provide: • a safe & compliant environment that remains operational • regular news & training on legal obligations

• a ‘Premises Healthcheck’ which gives you a clear picture of the degree to which your premises are safe and compliant • up-to-date asbestos register identifying potential risks & hazards • clearly defined ‘Action Plan’ on how to best manage those risks • technical support when planning future building fabric upgrades • removal & remediation of any asbestos contaminated areas Qube excels in assisting clients in determining and developing the right strategy, plans and processes for the management and development of premises to meet their needs. We offer the following asbestos services: • Asbestos Survey - Management Survey, Refurbishment & Demolition Survey • Asbestos Removal • Asbestos Encapsulation • Asbestos Waste Carrier • Asbestos Awareness Training All of their asbestos surveys are carried out to the highest standards and in accordance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, L143, L127, HSG264 - The Asbestos Surveyors Guide. They are accredited by ARCA and are fully licensed by the Health & Safety Executive to remove asbestos containing materials. Qube Construction Management PLC have worked with a number of commercial tenants, health trusts, local authorities, school governors and academy trusts, and have the know-how and infrastructure to cater for projects of all sizes, giving clients confidence that their asbestos is being disposed of carefully and in accordance to regulations.

For an informal discussion around solutions to minimise risk of exposure call 0800 468 1700

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS





ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

The way ahead for design and construction Directline Structures ( has been providing clients with a specialist design and build service for nearly 30 years. Now the award-winning company has welcomed the next generation of the family to the business as it gears up for further growth…

In the trendy world of HR business-speak it’s called ‘succession planning’. But for Directline Structures the process of identifying and developing a potential future leader for one of the region’s most successful and highly regarded design and build specialists began - and ended very close to home. Company owners Duncan and Jenny Murray know the future

of their business is in good hands with the arrival of architect daughter Katy. The 26-year-old graduate took up a position as a designer nearly 18 months ago but, under her father’s expert guidance, she has developed her skills as a dynamic and forwardthinking project and site manager. For managing director Duncan the emergence of his daughter as his long-term successor gives him

great pride. “We are the best in the business at what we do and Katy has proved that she has got what it takes to ensure that the values that we hold dear will continue to shape our future direction and growth. “Her arrival certainly doesn’t herald my imminent departure and I will continue to be closely involved. With my experience of design and construction and Katy’s architectural talents it’s a perfect


combination of skills which we are confident will herald an exciting new era for us,” he adds. Katy says: “I’ve never wanted to do anything else. From an early age I remember sitting around the kitchen table with my parents, listening to them discussing projects. I found it fascinating and, as I got older, they encouraged me to give them feedback on their designs.” So was it inevitable that Katy would follow in their footsteps into the family business? Certainly not, she replies before pointing out that joining the firm hasn’t been an easy option. “The easy thing would have been to go and work as an architectural assistant in an architect’s office where I would be one of many in a team with very little responsibility or input but it would satisfy my professional qualification. Some of my friends from Part 2 have gone to work for large practices, where they have been choosing floor finishes for months. “The experience I’m gaining here is far more broad and challenging than most of my peers will be gaining in an architect’s office. It’s also a lot more responsibility. I’m pushing the company in a new direction. I’m not just going into the family business because it was lined up for me and the easy thing to do. Far from it!” Katy is also aware that, as a young, ambitious, professional female, she may encounter old fashioned and out-of-date views that the construction business is a man’s world. “It doesn’t stop me doing my job. It’s a challenge which I’m more than capable of facing head-on,” is Katy’s answer. She describes herself as one of a new generation of ‘collaborative’ architects: “Architects shouldn’t view themselves as head of the construction process - the so-called ‘star-chitects’ - but a part of it. That’s why I’ve chosen to work here, where the emphasis is on the client, and teamwork between a trusted group of specialists.” Having studied design and technology, as well as art, physics and maths at school, Katy spent four years at the University of Bath where she gained a BSc (Hons) in

St Anthony's School sports hall, Thanet

Architecture. She later gained a Graduate Diploma in Architecture at Kingston University. Katy is now undertaking RIBA Part 3 and sits her final exams this Spring. She enjoyed work experience at three Kent architect firms but it was at her dad’s company that she found her inspiration. “There’s a world of difference between theory and putting a design into practice. My first year at Bath included a focus on civil engineering so I approach projects with the practical mind of an engineer as well as the creativity and design flair of an architect. We specialise in one-stop design and build projects and provide the whole package to clients, from conception right through to completion. That means I have the satisfaction of being involved in all aspects of the construction process and seeing a project that started as a concept sketch come to fruition.” Katy has joined a firm which is widely admired and respected. Its approach to sustainable design and construction has won major awards, including the Constructing Excellence Awards and at the Kent Environment Awards. It operates in many markets, including education, care homes, retail units, recreational and leisure, warehousing and industrial buildings. Recent projects include a new school sports hall in Margate, a warehouse and

offices on the Canterbury Business Park, the Langton Green sports pavilion, a factory extension in Ashford and a manufacturing facility in Hawkhurst. Katy has been at the heart of the Margate project. Designed and built in partnership with Kent County Council, the sports hall at St Anthony’s School was completed well within budget and on time to allow pupils to begin using it in September 2015. The hall is the size of three badminton courts and is suitable for basketball, 5-a-side football and hockey. There’s also an equipment store, changing rooms and offices. This is the latest of 16 school halls by the firm. So what are the challenges ahead? Katy is quick to identify a shortage of skills. “A lot of experienced people are retiring and there are few left to take their places. Youngsters are being

drawn to IT and other professions. More needs to be done by schools to steer young people into the profession, to skilled jobs like plumbing and carpentry and into design and management. “We’ve not suffered as much as others in the industry because my father has always been loyal to our teams of sub-contractors and they are loyal to us. But infrastructure projects like the Paramount Park will soak up experienced workers and lead to shortages elsewhere.” A final word from Duncan: “Katy has always been passionate about the business and I was delighted when she chose to join us. She’s been involved in a number of highly successful projects and her fresh ideas, drive and business acumen means that the future of Directline Structures is in very good hands.”

I’ve never wanted to do anything else. From an early age I remember sitting around the kitchen table with my parents, listening to them discussing projects. I found it fascinating and, as I got older, they encouraged me to give them feedback on their designs.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



The Economy & Us:

Cost of Labour rising by 40% Statutory Minimum Labour Cost per hour 2015 - 2020 (exc NIC) ie New Minimum “Living Wage” + Pension Contributions by Employer £9.50 £9.00 £8.50

New Minimum “Living Wage” (NMLW)


Total: NMLW + Employers minimum Pension Contribution

£7.50 £7.00 £6.50 £6.00 2015






In imposing the New Minimum “Living Wage” (NMLW) from 1st April 2016 the government is on course to alter not just our economy but Britain’s social structure, too. The NMLW will turn Pensions Auto-enrolment, already challenging small and medium enterprises, into a sideshow. A year ago the Minimum Wage was £6.50 per hour. From October the government put it up to £6.70, a 3% rise. By law, from this April every employee over 25 must be paid at least £7.20 per hour, a further 7.5% rise. By 2020 the NMLW is to be “at Least” £9.00 per hour, a rise averaging 5.7% in the intervening years. This equates to a minimum pay rise from 2015 to 2020 of 38.5%. That’s not all: many employees are now auto-enrolled into workplace pension schemes. The chart above shows the resulting add-on cost of labour. It is conservatively based on an average working week of 32 hours to earn only £1000 a month (gross) in 2016/17, and assumes the latest workplace pension start date. For most employers the impact will be worse. On these conservative assumptions, the statutory NMLW + pension provision means a big hike in minimum labour costs from 2015 to 2020 of 40.6%. With inflation near zero, if nothing else changes the output of 10 employees @ £6.50 in 2015 must be achieved by 7 in 2020. Middle-earning staff, meanwhile, will want to maintain their differentials. They, like the 1.5 million on NMLW, will become a threatened species. Such a big cost hike will drive other changes, too.

If you’re an employer, you will face pressure to raise output per employee by upskilling and cutting employee hours, by automation and/or outsourcing. Some outsourcing contractors will be super-efficient specialists: one-man/woman bands, collectives, partnerships, close-knit family teams often give good value. Others, however, may struggle to compete; and many, perhaps, will operate outside the lawful economy. Inevitably we shall see less hiring, by fewer SMEs; more intensive competition for the (fewer) lower- and middle-paid jobs; more unregulated micro-collective jobbing. A wider rich-poor divide, that shuts the growing class of selfemployed out of the statutory ‘system’ … and more need than ever to take good care of yourself, and those whom you love. Meanwhile, Mr Osborne may claim to have stolen Labour’s clothes as champion of the working poor. Not only is he raising wage rates, he is maintaining the take-home pay of staff who would otherwise suffer a cash cut as a consequence of their own auto-enrolled pension contributions. And, at the same time as compelling employers to raise wage rates by 40% in 5 years, the Exchequer will confiscate (via PAYE + Employers’ as well as Employees’ NIC) over £4 in every £10 from each employee’s pay hike. Hmm…

Nick Rowell Director of Policy Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Direct line: 01622 753568 Email:

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Young Maidstone talent key to influencing software developer’s growth ERA and FLYBE:

A fast growing IT consultancy is creating jobs for young people in Maidstone after working with Locate in Kent to find a new base for its software development team in the County Town.

Finalists at Awards

Together with their client Flybe, Expense Reduction Analysts were finalists for the ‘Sourcing & Procurement’ category at the European Supply Chain Awards. The awards are designed to recognise projects which directly improve the supply chain. ERA’s Client Partner Ken Rogers worked with Procurement Director Richard Young at Flybe to achieve significant annual savings, far in excess of initial forecasts. The work reduced average international supply chain delivery times by five days and reduced Aircraft-on-the-Ground parts movement by almost a third. It was a hugely complicated but hugely satisfactory project with both significant financial benefits and tangible process improvements for Flybe. Percentage savings were well into double digits and compliance improved both internally and externally. Richard Young, said “Ken and his team have stood firm in the face of a huge undertaking. This was a large and significant project for us and the contribution made by ERA cannot simply be measured in pounds and pence. Whilst they delivered for us financially, their contribution to re-engineering our processes and procedures is what will remain with us for the long term.”


Influential Software, which also has offices in the heart of the City of London and Glasgow, already operated from Maidstone but needed more space to accommodate its growing team. It is tapping into the emerging talent pool in the town, having taken on four interns from the University of Kent and four apprentices from local schools or colleges at its new offices at Maidstone House, King Street, earlier this year. In addition to software development, SAP Business Objects, IBM Cognos and Microsoft full stack consultancy, the 50 strong Maidstone team handles Mobile App and website development, along

ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

with support and training for clients that include FTSE listed companies such as Bloomsbury, John Lewis, Centrica and Capita. Explaining why the company chose to stay in Maidstone when it could have moved elsewhere, John Simpson, a Director of Influential Software who runs the Maidstone office, said after having to move to bigger premises twice since 2008, they were looking for a base for the development team with room for them to grow into and that was more appropriate for clients to visit. He said: “The transport links around Maidstone are phenomenal,” he said.

“It’s right on the M20 and there are high speed train services to London from Maidstone West Station. “Equally important for us are the schools, colleges and universities in the area. There are good schools, Mid Kent College is growing and investing £23 million in its campus and there are close links with the University of Kent. All of which means the local talent will be coming through to support our continued growth.” Locate in Kent, the county’s investment promotion agency, helped Influential Software identify the offices at Maidstone House as a suitable location.

It is tapping into the emerging talent pool in the town, having taken on four interns from the University of Kent and four apprentices from local schools or colleges


The Panorama is open for business as global giant Regus moves in Businesses will soon be able to rent modern and affordable, town centre office space after global workplace provider Regus agreed a deal to move into The Panorama, Ashford.

The long-term lease sees Regus take on more than 12,000 sq ft of commercial space in the town’s newly-refurbished landmark building, located at the heart of Ashford’s business community. Work to fit out the business units - split between The Panorama’s north

and west wing ground floors - began in early September. Businesses and delegates will soon have the opportunity to book a range of business spaces and sizes - from day offices to meeting rooms, business lounges and flexible hot-desk facilities -

and take advantage of the free superspeed Wi Fi connection on offer. Regus expects to welcome its first occupants from April. David O’Neil, Development Director at The Panorama, said: “We are delighted to have agreed such a major deal with Regus, whose services will be of great benefit to our residents as well as the wider Ashford and Kent business communities. “We’ve already begun to receive enquiries from businesses looking to find out more about office availability and so I’m sure that with The Panorama’s central location and proximity to Ashford International, there will be no shortage of requests for the 12,368 sq ft of flexible office space that will soon be available to rent.” The Panorama, formerly known as Charter House, comprises 232 highquality homes with a mix of one and two

bedroom apartments spread across nine floors, and 14 luxury penthouses and a further eight outstanding duplex penthouses on levels eight and nine. The ground floor is dedicated to commercial use. • A new, open-all-hours, health and fitness club has announced it will open at The Panorama. Anytime Fitness, a global provider of 24/7 gymnasiums, has begun fitting out a 4,600 sq ft commercial unit at the newly-refurbished, town centre building. The new gym will be located in The Panorama’s east wing. There will be 24 hour security at the complex and gym-goers can take advantage of facilities including cardio and strength equipment, gym classes and wellness programmes. There will also be on site showers and car parking available to clients.

Bridge Media celebrates awards success

Sevenoaks-based creative print solutions company Bridge Media is celebrating a haul of top industry awards recognising the highly innovative approach to packaging which has brought it business from some of the world’s top companies. In the Solutions Awards, run by specialist magazines Print Solutions and Packaging Solutions, Bridge Media gained not only the Innovation Award for the eyecatching Evil Within packaging, but also a Special Award, recognising Bridge Media’s high level of achievement in leading the industry forward. Bridge Media Managing Director Phil Mayne said: “Bridge Media Group is a creative print solutions company, combining many different processes from a wide range of specialist suppliers. “We have the time and freedom to be creative, as we aren’t bogged down with running physical factories. We are not tied to promoting only the processes

we have in-house, unlike many of our competitors. This gives us a massive edge when design, creativity and innovation are the drivers behind a packaging project. “We’re very proud that what we’re doing has been recognised with some of the industry’s top awards.” Bridge Media was also nominated as a finalist in the UK Packaging Awards, for a different project, the limited edition Elite Dangerous collector’s box. In the Luxury Packaging Awards, Bridge Media were Highly Commended in the Special Edition Pack category, also for their work on Elite Dangerous.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Coastal communities secure funding

How resilient is your business?

Kent’s coastal communities are set to benefit from part of a £3m Government pledge that will help secure a number of local heritage sites for generations to come.

“While CEO’s hope they will never have to implement one, a crisis management plan is essential for all businesses,” Richard Branson How resilient is your business?

Is your business’ emergency planning benchmarked to British and International Standards? Who in your business is responsible in the event of a crisis? Business Resilience, promoted by national and local government, is at the forefront of emergency planning. Business Resilience means that a business: • recognises the risks to the business BEFORE they happen: Risk Assessment & Management; • can manage a crisis in real time: Crisis Management and; • can continue to operate the business during a crisis and into the future; Business Continuity. “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail,” Alan Lakein Let CMS give a free no obligation review of your emergency plans benchmarked to latest British standards. E-mail :


The Coastal Revival Fund will support the preservation of former military fortifications and historic buildings, as well as theatres, piers, lidos and lighthouses around the country. Each successful project will receive funding of up to £50,000 to kick-start restoration work, and will attract £30 million in private and public investment and support up to 1,500 jobs. The funding has been welcomed by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP), the businessled, public-private body established to drive economic growth across Kent, East Sussex, Essex, Medway, Southend and Thurrock Geoff Miles, the Kent Chairman of SE LEP, said: “Around our coastal communities there are many fabulous and long-loved buildings that are falling into a state of disrepair. “This funding, when combined with the longstanding commitment and

ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

support of the local communities, will help continue the process of bringing them back to their former glory.” In Kent, the projects to have secured funding, include:  Fort Burgoyne - Dover's Hidden History: £48,400 towards the restoration, conservation and development of Fort Burgoyne in Dover. Work will include plans make the fort safe and open to the public, secure and protect it, and create a new heritage attraction so visitors can learn about the building’ place in Dover’s history.

 Sandwich Parks Project: £6,000 to support the conservation of the medieval town walls and associated earth works in the UK’s most complete medieval town.  The Maison Dieu – A Place in Time, Dover: £39,000 to support the restoration of the town’s Grade II* Listed Town Hall, which dates

back to 1203. It will improve access to and revive the community and economic use of this iconic town centre building.

 Ramsgate regeneration project: £50,000 towards making the town’s rundown industrial Harbour Street an attractive thoroughfare linking the town and historic Royal Harbour. The harbour’s Clock House marking Ramsgate Mean Time and Smeaton Dry Dock (both Grade II*) will be repaired and restored.  Conserving Gravesham’s Historic Defences: £45,000 to undertake condition surveys and conservation management plans for two of Gravesham’s coastal heritage assets - New Tavern Fort and the remains of the Henry VIII Blockhouse - to support it becoming a visitor destination.


Kent gets in the zone

The prospect of 9,900 new jobs in Kent and Medway is now much closer after the North Kent Innovation Zone was granted Enterprise Zone status by the Government. The announcement in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement, sees North Kent Innovation Zone (NKIZ) become one of 26 new and extended Enterprise Zones across the country. The NKIZ links proposals for new commercial development in Ebbsfleet Garden City, Kent Medical Campus at Maidstone, and Rochester Airport Technology Park in Medway. The three elements of the NKIZ will deliver around 230,000m2 of high quality business premises by 2027, boosting the local economy and employment and training opportunities in Kent and Medway. The North Kent bid was endorsed and submitted to Government on behalf of the partners, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Maidstone Borough Council, Medway Council and other stakeholders, by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP) and Thames Gateway Kent Partnership. George Kieffer, Interim Chairman for SE LEP, said: “North Kent Innovation Zone, when combined with the existing enterprise zone at Discovery Park, which has already proved to be hugely successful, means that we now have an excellent opportunity to promote the area to high-growth businesses and compete with the best in the country, including Oxford and Cambridge. The team behind the bid deserves our congratulations.”

The announcement will be a huge boost for Kent Medical Campus, the 30 acre site located at Junction 7 of the M20. Once complete Kent Medical Campus will create more than 2,000 new jobs and provide 98,000m2 of flexible accommodation for medical and lifescience companies, specialist residential and rehabilitation care, as well as higher education training facilities for the medical and healthcare professions. It will be the County’s first Academic, Health and Science Centre (AHSC), the first phase of which is the recentlyopened Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery (KIMS), the 92 bed independent hospital. Kent Medical Campus has already attracted interest from biotech and medtech start-up businesses, as well as major healthcare investors, and the next phase of development is being finalised. TGKP’s Chairman Rob Bennett said: “The announcement that North Kent Innovation Zone is getting Enterprise Zone status is excellent news for Thames Gateway Kent. The opportunities at Rochester Airport and Ebbsfleet Garden City will further boost our offer as an ideal location for companies wishing to invest and grow. The Innovation Zone will build on the area’s considerable strengths in innovatory technologies, advanced manufacturing and engineering.

“I also particularly welcome our partnership with Maidstone Borough Council that brings the Kent Medical Campus into the Innovation Zone. This will help further expansion of sector expertise and innovation in life sciences and medical technologies in Kent and Medway, and is yet another demonstration of the value of crossboundary collaboration to support economic growth and regeneration.”

The three elements of the North Kent Innovation Zone can now attract companies by being able to offer business rate discounts for new occupiers. The Government will support business rate discounts of up to £55,000 per year for five years for businesses that locate within an Enterprise Zone by 31 March 2022.

Daniel secures top training place A 20-year-old from Lydd is one of only six apprentices out of 1,000 from across the UK to secure a place on new national training scheme. Daniel Hawkins, who works at Gasworks Heating Specialists in New Romney, is the only apprentice from the South East to be accepted on a new yearlong programme run by Worcester Bosch, market leaders n the manufacture of boilers and heating products. He was nominated by Gasworks Heating Director, Simon Banks. Daniel has been employed at the business for two and a half years and is working towards his NVQ Level 3 in Plumbing and Heating. He will attend training with Worcester Bosch at their head office and training facility in Worcester while continuing to get day-to-day experience under the watchful eye of Simon and his supervising engineer John McCarton.Daniel, who lives at Oakham Drive, Lydd, has passion for the heating trade that goes back to

when he was 10 years old.He said: “I have always liked fixing things. I knew Simon and really liked him because he was fun and always cheerful and I was always pestering him to let me work for him.” He had to wait until he did his work experience through his school, The Marsh Academy, before he got his first taste of life at Gasworks Heating Specialists and after completing his final school exams, went back to ask Simon for a job. Daniel’s apprenticeship is part-funded through Shepway Apprenticeships, set up to encourage local companies to take on local people - and he is the company’s fifth apprentice. Simon said: “The funding helps but I don’t take apprentices on for the money. It’s about valuing them as members of your team. I invest in them

and in return they help to contribute to the future growth of the company. I’d like to think Daniel could be director here one day.” It’s not only Simon who recognises Daniel’s potential. While he was studying at Ashford College as part of his apprenticeship, he was named Best Student for two years running. He has now his transferred his studies to Canterbury College where he continues to shine. Shaun Mansbridge, Customer Services Director at Worcester Bosch, said the aim of the new programme was to enhance the competencies of future heating engineers. Gasworks Heating Specialists will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in May.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS


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Corporate Pensions Personal Pensions Investments Life Protection Inheritance Planning Later Life advice Tax Saving Strategies

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Are you serious about significantly reducing your energy overheads?

If you are serious about significantly reducing your energy overheads, radically reducing your carbon footprint and meeting your green agenda targets, we should be working together by installing a rooftop solar system to generate your own clean green energy.

10kWp Solar Installation at Medash Signs, Ashford. “Dear John Just to let you know our FIT registration is confirmed. I would like to thank you for all your hard work with regard to getting this completed exactly to the schedule you provided, the process was as easy as you said it would be and I was very impressed with the professionalism of PV Energy Ltd throughout the whole process. Many Thanks, Donna.” Donna Fryer at Medash Signs.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

A Commercial PV Solar Installation is eligible for Feed-in-Tariff and will benefit your business in 3 ways • Generation Tariff: Your energy supplier will pay you for every unit of electricity (kWh) that you are generating regardless of whether you are using it in your building or not. • Export Tariff: There is an additional payment for the electricity that you export. For systems under 30kWp you are paid an export tariff for 50% of everything you generate regardless of whether you have used it.

• Energy bill Savings: The generated energy from the PV will be used firstly in your building to supply power to any pieces of equipment that are running. Solar PV is ideal for commercial clients who want to future-proof their business against rising energy prices, who have a large amount of roof or land space and want to invest or who need to achieve carbon reduction targets and want a technology with fast payback and on-going guaranteed savings. Contact us now for a free consultation as to whether a PV Solar installation is right for you.

PV Energy Ltd. Office at Saffron Cottage, 3 Sunnyside Cottages, Wallcrouch, East Sussex, TN5 7JL Tel : 01580 200034 Mobile : 07701 028339 Email : Web :


Ask the Expert Q

Why bother entering business awards?

Philip Jones Director Tunbridge Wells PR and marketing agency Maxim

If you’ve not entered this year’s Kent Invicta Business Awards (deadline 5 February), put a note in your diary to do so in 2017. Business awards are an often overlooked way to raise your profile and gain an edge on your competitors. They highlight your achievements, make you stand out from the rest and can also be a nice morale boost for staff. There are schemes for all types of businesses, irrespective of size or market sector and many are free to enter, so all you need is a bit of preparation. The forms can take a bit of time to complete, so it’s a good idea to prioritise the awards you want to enter - although once you have done two or three much of the text can be used as a starting point for more. This makes entering future awards less timeconsuming and can also be a good opportunity to review your business practices. For instance, when revisiting that first award entry a year or two later you may realise just how much your

business has evolved, or you could be reminded of a past achievement that’s worth re-visiting. Another tip when writing an award entry is to not write the entry. Get someone else to do it. In our experience of writing nominations, while the MD or owner of the business may have the best knowledge of working practices and achievements they can also be too close to their subject. Asking an outsider to do the drafting for you will ensure the most award-worthy elements - rather than your favourites - are highlighted. Before you get to the writing stage, it’s important you do your research. Find out what awards are available and look at the types of organisations that have won them. There’s probably not a lot of point entering a glitzy national award scheme if the previous winners have all been household names. These types of events will also have a hefty registration fee. However, whether you are a manufacturer, a new business, a charity, an exporter or a marketing

agency, there will always be a couple of options appropriate to your circumstances. Even from a purely local perspective, in addition to Invicta Chamber’s awards, the possibilities include Swale Business Awards, Taste of Kent Awards, Medway Business Awards, Kent Excellence in Business Awards, Kent Women in Business Awards, Institute of Directors Awards, Dartford & Gravesham Business Awards, Kent Design & Development Awards, Heart of the Community Awards in several areas, Kent Food and Drink Awards, Kent Charity Awards and Pride in Medway Awards There are also the Kent Press & Broadcast Awards, which are organised by Maxim. Although not suitable for most types of business to enter, there are categories that would suit local publishers and often sponsoring an award can also offer a good return, but that’s an article for another day.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS


Meet at the Campanile

Having recently moved to Dartford, Eddy Brosse proudly invites you to discover the comfort of the Campanile Hotel in Dartford, near the Thames in Crossways Business Park.

The 24-hour reception welcomes you to one of their 125 rooms, with all the essentials to make your stay both comfortable and practical. There is ample free parking on site and free Wi-Fi internet when you book direct. Do you need to organise a meeting? Apart from free informal meetings in the bar, you may choose between their two meeting rooms, ready to accommodate up to 50 people with plenty of natural daylight and all the equipment you’ll need for your presentation (both video and audio). Then when the time feels right for you, the bistro serves a variety of choice from breakfast to dinner, with popular daily specials complementing the menu throughout the day.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

Last but not least, the location: the Campanile hotel is located ideally • By the M25 exit A1. • 3.8 miles to Dartford town centre. • 2.8 miles from Bluewater, the famous shopping centre. • 0.8 miles from Stone Crossing train station. • 4.6 miles from Ebbsfleet international: High-speed trains to London St Pancras and the Eurostar. • 22 miles from Central London. • 36 miles from GATWICK Airport. Eddy and the Campanile “Gang” will be welcoming you and cater for your needs. And before you reach these shores, you may contact them directly Campanile Dartford 01322 278 925 @CDartford and @eddybrosse @CDartford

Book directly for a good value hotel to call your pad and enjoy FREE WiFi, FREE parking in a warm environment in a well-connected location

Call: 01322 278 925


Getting Started

Name: Olivia JC Merlin Company Name: MWPRS Start up Date: May 2015 Website:

My passion is for the Real Estate world and my willingness to help people invest and be worry free.

Q1: Tell us a bit about your business? I have worked for many years in the Estate Business, either in France or in the USA (where I hold a Real Estate Licence since 1994), and in the United Kingdom. I have extensive knowledge and expertise in all aspects of the real estate business and have been involved in many activities related to the Estate Business, including being a: • Buyers Agent ; • Sellers Agent ; • Property Manager ; • Investment Consultant ; • Organiser of Real Estate Conventions. Still belonging to some International Associations of Real Estate Professionals, I can find the right Agent to work on behalf of either residential or commercial properties investors. MWPRS (Merlin Worldwide Property Research Specialists) specialises in sourcing Residential and/or Commercial Properties in Northern America, Europe, the Middle East and Far East Asia (China & Japan). Should a prospect need to acquire a property elsewhere in the world,

Q4: What do you like most about working for a start-up? The fact that I can work my own way and take my own decisions. It is also allows me the satisfaction of seeing this business grow in the direction I want it to.

MWPRS will do always its utmost to find the right professional to help the said prospect achieve his/her dream. The role of MWPRS is to act as a Consultancy on behalf of investors for them to achieve their goals harassment-free. Q2: What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? I am a good listener and am able to advise investors on the best • Area ; • Type of investment ; • Legal structure and am able to make suggestion. I am able to supervise the work of other real estate professionals to be certain that they really work according to the criteria, time frame and budget of the prospect investor. I also use, if needs be, the other business I manage and run, Merlin Translation Services, to provide to a prospect translation of documents should the investor not speak the language of the country in which he / she wants to purchase a property. Q3: What motivated you to set up the business? My passion for the Real Estate world and my willingness to help people invest and be worry free.

Q5: What has been your greatest business success to date? To have been able to keep excellent relationships with Real Estate professionals I worked in the past with, and who have answered positively to my offer of collaboration even after some years of silence. They know that they can trust me. Q6: What has been your lowest moment? Having lost in the past when I was much younger a good customer by committing a huge mistake on one of his files. Believe me, I have learned from it. Q7: In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? I want to be considered as a key player in my field. I wish that my name will be a symbol of quality and trustworthiness. The optimum would be that when hearing my name people will automatically associate me with MWPRS.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Chamber Events, Seminars & Workshops Networking Business Lunch Wednesday 2nd March This lunchtime event slots neatly into the business day Oakwood House Oakwood Park, Maidstone, ME16 8AE

Business Breakfast Details (unless otherwise stated): Time: 8:00am - 9:30am Non-Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £15.00 + VAT An opportunity to put your business in the spotlight to highlight its products/services and how these can help other businesses. You will make new contacts and generate business leads, whilst sharing ideas, and experiences with like-minded business people. Join us for a delicious full English breakfast and lots of networking. Thursday 18 February

The Spitfire Ground The St Lawrence Ground, Old Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3NZ Thursday 3 March Hollywood Bowl Rochester, Medway Valley Park, Chariot Way, Rochester, ME2 2SS Thursday 3 March The Burlington Hotel Castlewood Hotels, 3-5 Earls Avenue, Folkestone, CT20 2HB Thursday 10 March Holiday Inn Ashford North A20 Maidstone Road, Hothfield, Ashford, TN26 1AR Thursday 7 April AMF Bowling Ashford 43 - 79 Station Road, Ashford, TN23 1PP Guest Speaker: Peter Davey from Maidstone Riverside Rotary Club


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

and provides the ideal opportunity for you to meet fellow professionals, grow the profile of your brand and to build new business relationships.

Time: 12:00pm - 2:00pm Non Members: £25.00 + VAT

Join us for a delicious two course lunch, PLUS lots of networking. Members: £20.00 + VAT

Afternoon Tea Networking Friday 19 February 2016 Hythe Imperial Hotel Prince's Parade, Hythe, Kent, CT21 6AE

Tuesday 22 March 2016 Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa Brands Hatch Road, Fawkham, Brands Hatch, DA3 8NQ

During the afternoon, we will serve you a selection of sandwiches, cakes and a scone with clotted cream and jam to go with your tea or coffee. Time: 1:30pm - 3:00pm Non Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £15.00 + VAT

After Hours Time: 6.00pm - 7.30pm

The After Hours Club is a popular and highly successful 'casual' networking event. Tuesday 9 February The Farm House 97-99 High Street, West Malling, Maidstone, ME19 6NA ••• Tuesday 9 February Hythe Imperial Hotel Prince's Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE ••• Wednesday 10 February Royal Wells Hotel 59 Mount Ephraim, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BE ••• Thursday 11 February Best Western Coniston Hotel & Restaurant 70 London Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 1NT ••• Tuesday 23 February Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE

The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat to fellow business people. Come and join us for an evening of networking. Complimentary Tea and Coffee will be served. A Cash Bar is also available. No booking required. Just turn up!

Tuesday 23 February Dover Marina Hotel Dover Waterfront, Dover, CT17 9BP ••• Tuesday 1 March Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre Brunel Way, Dartford, DA1 5GA ••• Tuesday 1 March The Conningbrook Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, TN24 9QR ••• Tuesday 8 March Hythe Imperial Hotel Prince's Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE ••• Wednesday 16 March Metro Bank Plc 2-4 Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2TB

Tuesday 29 March Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE ••• Tuesday 5 April Nucleus Business & Innovation Centre Brunel Way, Dartford, DA1 5GA ••• Tuesday 5 April The Conningbrook Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, TN24 9QR •••

FREE to members and non-members


Muesli Mafia Breakfast The Aims of Muesli Mafia To provide an informal business 2 business networking breakfast in a congenial and relaxed “The Meeting of two personalities atmosphere where local business is like the contact of two chemical people can get together, enjoy substances. If there is any reaction, mutual fellowship, share their good both are transformed.” news, views and discuss topics of mutual interest. Carl Gustav Jung 25 February 2016 10 March 2016 17 March 2016 The Royal Wells The Mercure The Warren Hotel Maidstone Great Croydon Road, 59 Mount Ephraim, Danes Hotel Bromley, Tunbridge Wells, Hollingbourne, BR2 7AL Kent, TN4 8BE Maidstone, ME17 1RE

Time: 07:30am - 09:30am Non Members: £20.00 + VAT Members: £20.00 + VAT


With cybercrime alone estimated to cost the UK Economy £27 billion a year (Source - The cost of Cyber How to Protect your Business Crime Report, The Cabinet Office and your Employees and Detica) and the continued risk to local businesses we have 23 February 2016 arranged with the sponsors of this Time: 7.30am - 10.30am event, NatWest and Wilkins Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Kennedy, to run a special “Fraud Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Awareness Event”. Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH This will help businesses be more FREE to attend aware of and reduce the prevailing The details to be presented and discussed threats they face including malware, phishing, vishing and invoice • Cyber Crime (computer and internet re-direction fraud. security) • Invoice Fraud This event is free to attend, but you • Insider Fraud must book to reserve your place. We are expecting around 200 • Cheque Fraud attendees for this major event. • Emerging Trends

New Customs Procedures 23 February 2016 Time: 8.30am - 12.30pm Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH

Non Members: £90.00 + VAT Members: £75.00 + VAT Join us for an in depth three hour workshop on New Customs Procedures.

The seminar highlights the company’s and the individual’s legal responsibilities when declaring cargo to HM Revenue and Customs and explains complicated procedures, which may save companies time and money when exporting/importing cargo. By the end of the course you will be able to have an understanding of : • the role of HMRC, rules of origin and Intra EC Trade • customs procedures and the UK trade tariff • the different duties payable and how to calculate them

Rising Stars

Calling those in the Professional Services

25 February 2016 Time: 8.30am - 10.30am Non Members: £20.00 + VAT Thistle Hotel Brands Hatch Brands Hatch, Fawkham, Dartford, DA3 8PE Members: £15.00 + VAT "Rising Stars" is the new networking support forum for rising stars in professional services within the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Come and hear from Guest Speaker Deborah Turner from YOU Image Consultancy doing a short presentation on 'The importance of First Impressions & Personal Branding'. You will come away with an understanding of: • The Power of first impressions • How to introduce your personal brand • The key steps to personal appearance • The impact personal image has

Rising Stars is aimed at non business owners and directors in the professions such as accountants, bankers, financial advisors, insolvency practitioners, solicitors and surveyors. This forum aims to help those destined for future leadership roles to develop their management and interpersonal skills, expertise and contacts so that they have the skills and peer group when they break through that glass ceiling!

Chamber Business Awards 2016 17 March 2016

Share your successes and get

Time: 7.00pm - 11.00pm Canterbury Cathedral Lodge The Precincts, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 2EH

the recognition you deserve by entering the Kent Invicta Chamber’s 2016 Awards.

The Winners of the Chamber Awards 2016 will be announced at a Gala Dinner to be held at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge on the 17 March 2016, in the precincts of the historic Canterbury Cathedral. The Chamber Awards are open to Members and Non-Members* of the Chamber, FREE of charge. Closing date for entries: 5 February 2016 * For non-members, where applicable, who would like their entries to go through to enter the Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA) there is no charge. Non-members completing Achievement in International Business and Young Person in Business who would like their application to go through to enter BCC Regional Awards, there is a charge.

Surviving a Customs Audit 22 March 2016 Time: 8.30am - 12.30pm Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH

Non Members: £90.00 + VAT Members: £75.00 + VAT

Join us for an in depth three hour workshop on surviving a customs audit.

An official letter lands on your desk from HMRC telling you that they will visit you shortly and carry out a detailed audit of specific aspects of your Import and Export operations. How do you react? Most people PANIC! You don’t need to - attend this half day seminar and learn how to survive and hopefully ensure such visits are rare events.

To book either visit or email or call 01233 503838 February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Golding Homes celebrates 1,000 new homes

Golding Homes has completed 1,000 new homes since 2004.

Bareska Creative Films now in the UK

Most things from Germany are synonymous with quality, reliability and style and Bareska Creative is no exception. British creative director Stuart Campbell founded the business in Hamburg and his team have been providing international businesses with film and video content there since 2003. Now the company has opened a base in Kent, Stuart is really excited to be back home and working with local and national brands helping them with their marketing strategies by designing and delivering seriously high quality video content for a variety of different platforms. With their background in UK network TV the team at Bareska provide tailor made films and video with a very popular Cosmopolitan flair to British TV standards. Stuart said 'our specialty is in going the extra mile to understand our customer's business and goals and adding a twist of contemporary European style to the end product’. ‘We set ourselves seriously high standards in delivering top-notch content that tells a story, is visually stunning and achieves the aim and more'. 'Our content mirrors high end documentary TV, which is where we cut our teeth’. ‘We apply the techniques, talent and look of great documentary to everything we do but for a commercial and corporate market, which in turn really sets a businesses' video content and brand apart from their competitors'. National and local businesses are quickly realising the increasing importance of having video content online but as Stuart advises, ‘few realise that having bad or cheap looking video can be more damaging than having none'. Bareska have opened from offices in the Historic Dockyard in Chatham and are looking to expand rapidly and steadily, drawing on a pool of local talent with a side aim of building and developing the creative pool in Kent, meaning businesses don't always have to look to East London or Soho for video services. If you'd like help in developing your brand or telling your story with high quality film and video content visit


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

The Kent-based housing association celebrated the milestone with residents Katy Dingwall and Richard Tompsett and their young family at their new home in the Wallis Fields development in Park Wood, Maidstone. They were delighted to move in and get settled in time for Christmas and New Year. Katy said “It’s so lovely to know it’s our home, and no one will

suddenly take it away from us. When we were living in temporary accommodation it never felt like our home. We can really settle now”. Chief Executive Peter Stringer said “We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone and made a real different to so many people’s lives along the way. Each and every one of these 1,000 new homes provides a home in communities where people want to live.

“We are committed to providing high quality affordable housing. We know these homes are desperately needed and hope to step up our development aspirations and deliver a further 150 homes every year”. The 1,000th home completed is in Park Wood Walk, Maidstone, part of Golding Homes’ £34m Park Wood regeneration scheme. New residents Richard and Katy had been living in temporary accommodation with their young children after their previous landlord evicted them to sell the property. Golding Homes has completed new homes in Maidstone, Tunbridge & Malling, Ashford, Tunbridge Wells and Medway. The new homes include major regeneration schemes in the Park Wood and Coombe Farm areas of Maidstone, specialist housing for older people and teenage parents, with a mix of property types including apartments, houses and bungalows.

HMRC’s move on R&D tax benefits welcomed by Kent tax experts Kent’s innovators and entrepreneurs have been given a helping hand by the tax man following news that HMRC is implementing a two-year plan to increase the take-up of research and development (R&D) tax relief. Small companies with a turnover under £2 million and fewer than 50 employees, can seek advance assurance on R&D tax relief from HMRC direct or via their tax advisers, news which has been welcomed by tax experts at Crowe Clark Whitehill. Once the potential R&D tax relief claim has been discussed with HMRC, the claim will not be enquired into for a three-year period, providing the company adheres to the scheme’s guidance. The plan announced by the Treasury is designed to making it

easier for small businesses investing in research and development to apply, and at the same time raise awareness of the relief amongst small businesses. Simon Warne, Tax Partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill, the national audit, tax and advisory firm with offices in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, believes HMRC’s move will encourage companies to invest in costly new product development by reducing the amount of corporation tax payable on profits. He said: “With an estimated 90 per cent of all Kent businesses

being classified as small this is good news for the county. “Throughout Kent there are many companies striving to bring new products and innovation to the market, whether in new technologies or life sciences. This move will be a welcome boost for many businesses, many of which might be unaware of the scale of the tax savings on offer. “Local companies will now have greater certainty over what they can claim for and this will enable them to plan their finances effectively.”


Want to be a more effective Manager? Go remote! By Tracy Shahab, RM Solutions Ltd

With the ever increasing demands on businesses to be competent in their chosen field, have access to multiple elements of company data and effectively manage both time, resources and staff, the Business/Office managers’ role is one that is now very diverse. Add to the mix the increasing demand for flexible working patterns and the ever encroaching virtual world into daily business

life, it is necessary for all businesses to adapt the approach they use. Increasingly, remote companies are helping to lighten the load, they employ a number of staff with multiple skills to cover all areas a business may need and can offer their services on a minute by minute, or hour by hour basis, often with little or no tie-in. You can increase or decrease

the number of hours you use to suit your company, so it can be totally tailored to cover you when you need it most. The hours can also be used flexibly across the week (which would be impossible with contracted staff), just by a phone call or email. Your company benefits by having fully trained staff working for you, for as many hours per week as required, with no ‘downtime’ for recruiting, training, leave or sickness. Here, at RM Solutions, we are providing this exact service to a number of clients, effectively providing full support for each business on an individual basis. The work covered ranges from data entry, payroll and auditing, right through to providing company analysis, business plans and exit strategies. What have you got to lose by trying a remote service, the costs of advertising a vacancy, shortlisting and training a new member of staff could be better spent utilising a remote service who would have trained staff working for you, at full capacity, from day one!

Bedfont’s life saving success leads to NOxBOX Limited

Bedfont Scientific Limited has created a subsidiary as part of its long term development and expansion plans. The new company NOxBOX Limited will concentrate on its hugely successful range of Inhaled Nitric Oxide monitoring systems. Bedfont Scientific Limited, established in 1976 in Harrietsham, Kent, specialises in exhaled breath and gas monitors which are used in the medical industry. The NOxBOX range was introduced by Bedfont in 1992 and is used to deliver and monitor inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) therapy. iNO therapy is mainly used in intensive care units (ICU) to aid in the therapeutic care of premature babies and patients under severe

respiratory distress. Using iNO therapy allows the blood supply to pick up oxygen from the lungs more readily by dilating the pulmonary arteries, making it the ideal method of treatment for pulmonary hypertension and other conditions that can lead to severe breathing difficulties. It is also the only iNO therapy monitor that can be used during transport, making it ideal for ambulances. The new subsidiary company will focus on increasing awareness of the NOxBOX product and associated healthcare benefits to improve market share in the UK, Europe and further develop its customer base

across the global market, while its parent company Bedfont Scientific will concentrate on developing new products and increasing use of its wide range of existing breath and gas monitoring systems. Jason Smith, Bedfont Scientific’s General Manager, said: “The success of the NOxBOX range has led us to what we feel is a natural progression that will further ensure the continued high levels of quality and service for our customers. “Our aim for NOxBOX Limited is to grow the customer base globally, continuing to save lives, one breath at a time.”

Furley Page further strengthens marketleading dispute resolution team Furley Page has appointed one of its most talented newly qualified solicitors to its Dispute Resolution Team, which is regarded as one of the best in the business and is ranked alongside some of the biggest law firms in the South East. Lucy Waldron, aged 25, has excelled during her two years spent training with the firm, which is recognised by independent legal guides Chambers UK and The Legal 500. She now specialises in dealing with a range of commercial disputes including contract, company and partnership disputes, intellectual property and construction. Lucy also deals with matters concerning disputed Wills, Trusts and Probate. Chambers UK recently described Furley Page’s Dispute Resolution Team as “highly respected” and “a regional firm that really punches above its weight”. It is now ranked among the top national and regional heavyweights in the South East, covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Peter Hawkes, Senior Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution, who is personally ranked by Chambers UK, is praised by clients as “very thorough, knowledgeable and practical”. The team’s George Crofton-Martin is described as “really thorough and a pleasure to work with”. Peter says the decision to appoint Lucy reflects Furley Page’s commitment to retaining promising young talent. He said: “Lucy is an exceptional young lawyer and is already proving to be an invaluable asset to the team. “The dispute resolution team is one of the top teams at Furley Page. It has developed an enviable reputation for the depth of expertise held by our highly experienced specialists, and with the addition of talented new lawyers like Lucy I’m confident it will continue to go from strength to strength.” Lucy completed her GCSE and A levels at Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar in Canterbury before studying for her LLB Law degree at Essex University in 2009, graduating with First Class Honours. Lucy then studied the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in Guildford, attaining a Distinction, before commencing her training contract at Furley Page in September 2013. Lucy, who lives in Canterbury, is a member of the Kent Law Society General Purposes Committee and volunteers with her local Contact the Elderly group. She enjoys running challenges, particularly in aid of local charity events, and netball.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS



Welcome to new members Al Frank Monk Photography Rochester 01634 400901 Photographer

DCB (Kent) Limited Sittingbourne 0845 4500515 Building and Refurbishment Contractor

Bareska Creative Chatham 01634 816092 Video Production, Film Production, Branding, Advertising, Corporate Film Production

Doswell Law Ashford 01233 722942 Employment Law Advice & Workplace Mediation

Batcheller Monkhouse Tunbridge Wells 01892 509280 Rural Surveyors / Estate Agents

0208 123 5263

Blazer Financial Solution Partners Ltd Tunbridge Wells 01892 506891 Business & Personal Finance BNI - Folkestone Folkestone 01303 221188 Membership Group Bradleys Accountants Ltd Welling 020 8303 1287 Accountants Bridge Media Group Sevenoaks 020 3283 8466 Print, Packaging and Branded Merchandise CAS Training Solutions - CIC Gravesend 01474 324158 Employment Support, Training, Financial Literacy CICS Ltd London 0333 323 0006 Commercial Industrial Cleaning Solutions


Elstan HR Ltd Hythe HR Consultancy

Francis Knight Ltd Maidstone 07956 437242 Public Art Consultants Goldhawk Associates Ltd Maidstone 01622 697750 Financial Recruitment Specialists IPS International Strood 01634 298800 Apprenticeship Schemes Marcus James Office Solutions Ltd Ashford 01233 733267 Photocopier Sales & Service Medic Healthcare Limited Ashford 01233 714069 Independent Insurance Brokers MJ Design & Display Tonbridge 01892 732157 Exhibition Services, Exhibition Stand Design and Fabrication, Project Management Motorline Nissan Maidstone 01622 538538 EV Car Sales & Promotions

ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

Munro Communications Deal 07720 448197 Social Media Management & Strategic Communications Consultancy

Sunways Travel Longfield Travel Agency

Nims Fruit Crisps Sittingbourne 01795 424238 Air Dried Fruit Crisp Manufacturing

The Kent Kitchen Company Ltd Ashford 01233 756401 Kitchen Design, Supply & Installation

Nixon Farrow Ltd Sittingbourne 01622 743603 Facilities Management and Air Conditioning Orgev Laboratories Ltd Sandwich 01304 806039 Cosmetics, Nutraceutical, Medical Devices Plumber Quick Maidstone 01622 410247 Plumbing, Heating, Drainage Remote Management Solutions Orpington 0333 9398 333 Virtual Office - Management Services including Bookkeeping, Employment Law, Strategic Development S. Deriche Language Services Dartford 07539 020697 French Translation, Interpreting & Corporate Tuition

01474 704186

Transport Planning Associates Tonbridge 07747 561849 Transport Planning, Infrastructure Warners Solicitors Tonbridge Tonbridge 01732 770660 Legal Services Warwick & Warwick Properties Ltd Ramsgate 01304 205653 Property Maintenance and Roofing WMC Training - Southborough Southborough 02920 647610 Work Based Training

Smart Support Hythe 07816 257042 Business Marketing Advice

WriteOn Chatham 01634 890117 Book Writing & Publishing Workshop, Technical Authoring, Corporate Manuals, Ghost Writer

Stonely Training & Consultancy Ltd Maidstone 01622 693659 Trading Standards Law Training & Consultancy

You Can East Malling 01732 844874 Charity (Youth Cancer Support)


MHA MacIntyre Hudson welcome Hayley Kingsnorth to the Kent team Hayley Kingsnorth joins MHA MacIntyre Hudson as a Senior Manager from DSH. Hayley has over 14 years of experience of working with small and medium sized businesses as their client manager. In addition to expertise with accounting

and tax for companies, partnerships and sole traders, Hayley also brings with her considerable experience in dealing with accounts and tax issues within a Trust and valuable experience of developing

and managing teams of accountants (trainee and qualified). Hayley is a key hire in terms of partner succession and as MHA MacIntyre Hudson continues to expand in Kent.

Family lawyer Naomi promoted to associate by Furley Page A talented lawyer who joined leading Kent law firm Furley Page as a trainee has been promoted to Associate. Naomi Hayward, a member of the firm’s Family Team since qualifying as a solicitor in 2010, has wide experience in all aspects of divorce and family law matters. She advises clients on resolving disputes relating to separating and divorcing, the breakdown of civil partnerships, cohabiting couples, financial matters and matters relating to children. Since 2014 she has been a Collaborative Lawyer, enabling her to offer clients an alternative means of resolving family disputes rather than

the traditional method of solicitors’ correspondence and court proceedings. “I find it very rewarding to be able to assist and advise people through family and relationship breakdown and help them reach out-of-court agreements and settlements wherever possible,” said Naomi, who was shortlisted for the recent Kent Law Society Junior Lawyer of the Year award. James Muir-Little, Partner and Head of Family Law, said: “Naomi understands that, for many couples and their children, the process of separation is often a difficult and stressful time. “She provides a sympathetic yet practical approach when assisting her

clients and does so in the most costeffective way possible. Her promotion is in recognition of her achievements and commitment and is well deserved.” Naomi is a member of Resolution, a national organisation committed to the constructive, non-confrontational resolution of family disputes and encouraging solutions that consider the needs of the whole family - particularly the best interests of children. She is also chairperson of the Young Resolution Committee in Kent. Naomi is part of Furley Page’s fivestrong team of family law specialists who have gained an enviable reputation for their expertise and

experience in all aspects of family law and divorce, including mediation and collaborative law.

New partner joins Cripps healthcare team Leading regional law firm Cripps has announced the appointment of Justin Cumberlege as a partner in its healthcare team. Tunbridge Wells resident Justin joins from City-based Carter Lemon Camerons LLP, where he led the social housing and healthcare team. He takes up his new position on 4 January 2016 and is the second key hire into the Cripps healthcare team in the last eight months, following Sarah Hillebron’s appointment in May.

Justin said: “Joining Cripps is an exciting opportunity to expand the offering I am able to give clients in an increasingly dynamic healthcare market. I look forward to introducing clients to a firm with a depth and breadth of knowledge of the primary healthcare market few can challenge.” With nearly 25 years’ legal experience, Justin’s key areas of expertise complement those of the existing Cripps team and include advising NHS trusts, GP partnerships, GP-owned companies and federated groups of GPs.

Nick Austen, partner and head of healthcare at Cripps, said: “I’m delighted Justin is joining the team. There is a connection and synergy between GPs, their federations and many of our existing pharmaceutical and dental clients, as they are operating in a similar environment.” Justin’s appointment means the growing healthcare practice at Cripps will have a seven-strong team in the new year. The recently published Chambers Guide for 2016 already ranks the practice nationally.

Basketball player and golfer notches up ten years at Red Eagle Ten years ago, Will Cotter started as a branch manager with Red Eagle, a new start-up recruitment company providing blue-collar workers to Kent-based operations. In that time, he has helped the company grow from a £1.5m turnover in their first year to £15m in 2015. Now age 42, Will was promoted to Operations Director five years ago and now holds the position of Group Operations Director. Will celebrated his 10 years’ service with a night out in the city and a new handmade suit

from a well-known tailor to the stars. Managing Director Wayne Hodgson says, “Will is a real asset and has been a major contributor to the growth of the company helping shape the organisation, structure and direction of the business.” Will, together with his team are ultimately responsible for more than 1,300 temps on a daily basis, looking after day-to-day operations as well as payroll. Outside work Will enjoys playing

basketball for his local team Folkestone Saints, he is also their club secretary. Golf and a work out at the gym takes up the rest of his spare time. Will said he was proud of being part of Red Eagle’s growth that he puts down to dedication, commitment and passion by the whole team. He said: “I can be called by clients at 4am and work through to 9pm at night. It’s about going the extra mile, adding the personal touch and being there in their time of need.”

Will Cotter (left) being presented with his ten years service certificate by Wayne Hodgson Managing Director at Red Eagle.

February - March 2016 ThinkingBUSINESS




The Last Word

Name: Tracy Shahab Company: Remote Management Solutions Ltd Job title: Managing Director

I have been working in management for over 20 years in many different organisations from the giant that is the NHS right through to the sole trader. Married to a small business owner, and with five children, I saw first-hand the impact of trying to be all things to a business. Many of the business owners I meet are busy trying to keep ‘all the plates spinning’ which invariably takes their focus or resources away from the product or service they provide. Q What was your first job and what was the pay packet? A I had a Saturday job in Curtess Shoes shop aged 14. I can’t remember how much I earnt but it was probably not very much. All the same I remember feeling delighted with the freedom that came from earning my own money. Q What do you always carry with you to work? A My phone. Q What is the biggest challenge facing your business? A Getting people to understand the value and art of delegation. Often business owners wrongly see delegation as giving up control whereas actually the reverse is true. Q If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? A I’d make childcare tax deductible. I have met lots of inspiring people whose entrepreneurial aspirations are hindered greatly by the costs associated with the provision of childcare. Q What can you see from your office window? A Beautiful Kent countryside and the London skyline. Unfortunately I can also see a hideous caravan that my husband has been ‘working on’ to convert it into a play den for our children. Two years on, apart from some green camouflage paint it looks much the same!! Q If you could do another job what would it be? A Minister for education. I have real issues with the reforms made in current curriculum and believe it’s a sad step back 60 years in many ways. Q As a business person, what are your three main qualities? A I’m an Independent thinker and always have been. This combined with good listening skills and vision has really made me the person I am today. Q What was your biggest mistake in business? A Not having listened to my teenagers to develop an awareness of the utilisation and power of social media. Q What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? A If you really believe in it ‘Go for it’. A great idea needn’t take much financial investment to get going. You do however have to be prepared to put in a lot of time, commitment and leg work though. Q Who do you most admire in business? A I really admire resilience and humility in people. Walt Disney was a great man but wasn’t without his challenges in business (he was bankrupted several times before Disneyland). His clarity and belief in his vision won the day.


ThinkingBUSINESS February - March 2016

Legal trio open new kind of practice Three legal eagles have opened their first practice in a former public library with a pledge to be different.

Litigation lawyers Jay Sahota, John Newcomb and Gareth Scott recently set up Sahota Newcomb Scott (SNS Law Group LLP) in The Old Library, Maidstone’s former library converted into a business centre.

Each of the trio has experience with top-flight London practices, but they all live in Kent and despite a lot of competition decided the time was right to set up a new kind of legal practice in the heart of the county.

Jay, Gravesend-born managing partner, said: “Clients are rightly more demanding, and expect to be able to contact their solicitor when it suits them. We are happy to do that. We like to be a little more laid back than many law firms and we’re easy to talk to.” Gareth added. “We want our clients to know us personally and trust us to do a good job. We ensure that all our work is done by qualified solicitors.” John, a father-of-three from Eynsford, said: “Some firms take their clients for granted,” We never do. We hope people will feel free to come in for advice. If we can’t help, we will point them in the right direction.” Jay lives in Meopham with his wife and two children. Gareth, a rugby coach. lives in Ashford with his wife and two young daughters.

Peter takes on new challenge

C & A Landscapes has welcomed Peter Appleyard to its Management Team, taking responsibility for Operations within the company. C & A Landscapes specialises in landscape grounds maintenance throughout the South East, working for various Housing Associations, Property Management Companies, Government Bodies, Hotels and private clients. Peter’s role will help maintain positive relationships with existing clients and offer C & A Landscapes Ltd workforce, guidance and training as the company continues to grow and meet new challenges within the landscaping sector. Peter has worked in this industry for more than 10 years, specialising in work for blue chip companies in the commercial sector. Further to this, Peter has project managed,

installed & maintained landscaping projects which were awarded by recognised Associations such as BALI & the Royal Horticultural Society. Project Managing landscape construction schemes of up to £100k, working with architects and main contractor staff formed a part of Peter’s role for over 8 years, plus managing the aftercare and maintenance schedules carried out to complete the defects period. Now trained by IOSH to Managing Safely & using his experience in the industry, C & A Landscapes looks to move forward and expand with Peter in 2016. Peter is now managing the 24 hour Automated Winter Gritting

& Snow Clearance Service. He would like to take this opportunity & offer chamber members a FREE gritting or landscape survey of your business premises and grounds.

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