Borough Business October 2021

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BOROUGH

BUSINESS The voice of Kingston’s business community

Issue 22: Autumn 2021

WEDNESDAY 27 OCTOBER

g interview

WELCOME BACK!

THE INSIDE STORY: Andy Horn

The Big Interview Favourite food?

You can’t go wrong with a classic steak dinner. Always feels like a treat!

Technology can change lives IntraLAN CEO Andy Horn P26-27 Favourite tipple?

JOIN US AT CHESSINGTON SCHOOL FOR THIS SPECIAL, IN-PERSON, BUSINESS EXPO FREE TO ATTEND

I’m partial to a good red wine.

Favourite holiday?

I’m not very good at sitting still so I enjoy a holiday with activities over a book by the beach.

Describe your family life?

I’ve got a really strong bond with my sons and I often spend my free time with them doing stuff such as mountain biking or sailing.

How do you spend your downtime?

We have to KEEP GOING If I’m not spending time with my boys, I try my best to stay active.

Chanelle Smith and Sir Tom Moore’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore at a recent event P31 What are your key strengths as a manager?

My strengths include leadership and the ability to pull others along for the ride, which lends itself to building a strong company culture.

And your limitations?

I could improve on how I tell it like it is. Some people appreciate a straight-talking nature, some don’t.

HEADLINE SPONSORS

Best thing about doing business in the borough? There’s such a depth and breadth of businesses in the area; it’s full of amazing companies and people.

Famous person you’d most like to spend dinner with? Billy Connolly, a fellow Scotsman who would have endless funny stories to tell.

Most interesting fact about yourself? I was very nearly a stuntman. I was only one TV advert away from getting my Equity car.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce


Professional training and development programmes to meet your business needs. At Kingston College we are committed to working in partnership to support your organisation’s skills, employment, Apprenticeship and training strategies. For a FREE skills assessment or for more information please contact: 020 8546 2151.

stcg.ac.uk Part of the South Thames Colleges Group


contents Welcome to New Members 4 Patron News 7-9 Richard Burge LCCI 10 Skills 13-15 Cover Feature -Chessington Expo 17-19 Ask the Expert 21 Chamber News 22 Kingston Borough Business Awards 23 Top Tips 25 The Big Interview 26-27 News 29-31 Health & Wellbeing 33 Starting Up 34 Editorial and General Enquiries Guildhall, High Street Kingston upon Thames. KT1 1EU. 020 8541 4441 Email: office@kingstonchamber.co.uk Web: www.kingstonchamber.co.uk Chief Executive: Forbes Low Publisher: Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com Published Autumn 21 © Benham Publishing and Kingston Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: karen@benhampublishing.com Production Manager Peter Wilkinson Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: peter@benhampublishing.com Media No. 1823 Disclaimer

Borough Business is published for Kingston Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Borough Business are not necessarily those of Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2021. 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.

Patron Members

WELCOME TO

BOROUGH BUSINESS The Kingston Chamber of Commerce magazine for all Businesses in Kingston Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? This is what is known as the Butterfly Effect and a simple term to understand a complex theory. It implies that a small event, at the right time and place could, in theory, trigger a set of events that will ultimately culminate in the formation of a far greater one on the other side of the world. This theory came to mind after listening to the news regarding transport and CO2 shortages and their repercussions. I am not sure many of us could foresee the significant impact when we first heard this story. I am sure that these particular situations will be resolved but it made me realise how our daily lives can be buffeted by unexpected circumstances and how prepared we can be. It is an understatement to say that the Chamber team has been busy! In person networking events have restarted and it is a pleasure to meet new businesses and old friends outside of the computer screen. The noise of conversations is a treat to hear. The Kingston Borough Business Awards (KBBA) are now open (deadline for entries is November 5th) and we have received wonderful

support from category sponsors who clearly have faith in Kingston businesses. It is free to enter, and we believe there is a category for everyone so I would encourage you to be proud of what you do and enter the awards. Do not think you are too small or different. There are some great business stories of resilience, generosity and achievement out there so tell your story. The Chessington Business Expo will be hosted at Chessington School on October 27th, and we are delighted to bring together many businesses under one roof. There is an appetite to meet new contacts, to promote your organisation, and to network. We have finalised a diverse and engaging programme with speed networking, seminars on LinkedIn, public presentation skills, Kingston University’s Kingston’s Innovation Network and guest speaker, Mark Shayler. See page 18 for more details. It is a special day to enjoy and give your business a real boost.

will be Net Zero Hero so look out for that and join the discussions. We had a successful launch of the New Malden Business Forum in September. This forum will bring businesses together, to network, to share resources, and provide updates on a range of local issues. Most importantly, it is to give them a voice; to be heard. I am delighted to welcome a new Patron member, Wolters Kluwer, and you can read more about their work on page 7. I attended an evening at their office space in Kingston back in 2019 and was inspired by their team spirit and culture. We have endured so many changes this year. It has been hard to keep the stamina going and to keep adapting to these changes. Most of the time, we manage to get through it but if we cannot, we should take a breather and not be hard on ourselves. The Chamber business community is collaborative so, in the difficult times as well as the good, I encourage you to use these networks. There are many Kingston people who are willing to give you support.

We have hosted several green webinars with Kingston Council and Thank you and take care have created a new THINK GREEN programme. These bite size webinars will take topics such as decarbonising transport, and discuss them from the Forbes Low CEO business perspective, with business Kingston Chamber of Commerce specialists. The next THINK GREEN will be on November 4th andbig the subject the interview forbes@kingstonchamber.co.uk THE INSIDE STORY: Andy Horn Favourite food? You can’t go wrong with a classic steak dinner. Always feels like a treat!

Favourite tipple? I’m partial to a good red wine.

Favourite holiday? I’m not very good at sitting still so I enjoy a holiday with activities over a book by the beach.

Describe your family life?

15

18 26

I’ve got a really strong bond with my sons and I often spend my free time with them doing stuff such as mountain biking or sailing.

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How do you spend your downtime? If I’m not spending time with my boys, I try my best to stay active.

What are your key strengths as a manager? My strengths include leadership and the ability to pull others along for the ride, which lends itself to building a strong company culture.

And your limitations? I could improve on how I tell it like it is. Some people appreciate a straight-talking nature, some don’t.

Best thing about doing business in the borough? There’s such a depth and breadth of businesses in the area; it’s full of amazing companies and people.

Famous person you’d most like to spend dinner with? Billy Connolly, a fellow Scotsman who would have endless funny stories to tell.

Most interesting fact about yourself? I was very nearly a stuntman. I was only one TV advert away from getting my Equity car.

The Royal Borough of

Kingston

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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Chamber of Commerce BB Andy Horn.indd 3

The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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join us The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce Sam hasn’t found the cure for colds yet But has found the formula to great local networking!

Why do we enjoy organising influential business events and offering valuable connections to businesses in all areas of the Borough through our extensive networking events? Because we believe they work but do not take our word for it.

“ I feel very proud telling new members what a constant Kingston Chamber of Commerce has been in my four years and how I hope it goes from strength to strength.” Alex Hughes

Auxilium Business Consulting Ltd

For more information or to discuss how we can help you, please contact us at:

Kingston Chamber of Commerce T: 020 8541 4441 E: info@kingstonchamber.co.uk W: www.kingstonchamber.co.uk Connect with us on

@KingstonCOC

Kingston CoC

Welcome to our new members Bentalls Kingston www.fenwick.co.uk/stores/kingston DDUK Sabrina Wong www.dd-uk.co.uk GFM Consultancy Ltd Rizwan Shahad www.gfmcons.com/en-gb/home

Oilcanfinish Landscaping Jason Schellenberg www.oilcanfinish.com Pilgrim Mortgages and Protection Kellye Pilgrim www.pilgrimmortgages.co.uk Scotscape Group Ltd Angus Cunningham www.scotscape.co.uk

Glow Social Emma Carter www.glowsocial.co.uk

Simplicity Digital Marketing Nigel Stickland www.simplicitydigitalmarketing.co.uk

Harrison Jacks Jessica O’Neill www.harrisonjacks.co.uk

The Happy Mind Tribe Jo-Ann Spronk www.thehappymindtribe.com

Kingston Hospital Charity Tracey Shaw www.khc.org.uk

The Vedere Partnership Ltd Alison Whybrow www.alisonwhybrow.com

Monty’s Restaurant Kishor Shrestha www.montyskingston.co.uk

YesBut Sam Ball www.yesbut.digital

Reasons to join... Membership of Kingston Chamber of Commerce brings a wealth of immediate benefits to your business.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Welcoming, professional and supportive environment Two successful business Expos; Kingston and Chessington Regular networking events and business webinars Local supply chain opportunities and excellent links to the wider local community Advocacy for businesses to Kingston Council, strategic partners and MPs in the borough Learning opportunities and affordable training on all business-related matters Creative social events and meet ups

Find out how to join and learn how others are benefiting from their membership.

www.kingstonchamber.co.uk 4

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


hr dept

Sustainability is key for a better future

Porter the Sorter Ask our resident HR expert, Sandra Porter of The HR Dept for advice on your workplace worries. Have you got a spare £185,000? You might need it! Many of us will have read with trepidation of the Kingston Estate Agent that has been sued by a former employee for £185,000. The case brought by Alice Thompson against her former employer claimed indirect sex discrimination after her application for flexible working was rejected.

I am proud to be the President of a Chamber which really cares about local businesses. to work on our sustainability issues together for a better future.

It is easy to think at times that disputes like this ‘will never happen to us’. However, tribunals are soaring with a huge proportion against small businesses. So, what can you do to protect your business and fulfil your statutory obligations to your employees when it comes to flexible working? • Be aware that flexible working is not a post pandemic trend, it is a legal right afforded to all employees with 26 weeks or more service. • This employment right is not just in regard to child care provision, this is a statutory right for all eligible employees. • The request can include a preference to reduce working hours, change start / finish times, compress hours, change place of work or to job share. Once a flexible request has been made by an employee there are a number of obligations that must be fulfilled by the employer, including: 1. You must make a decision within 3 months from the date of the request 2. You should meet with the employee to discuss their request asap 3. The employee can be accompanied by a work colleague at the meeting 4. You must consider the request fully and fairly consider the pros and cons to the business 5. Your decision has to be based on one of eight reasons as outlined by legislation 6. The decision must be confirmed in writing to the employee

I am proud to be the President of a Chamber which really cares about local businesses. We have all experienced tough times since the beginning of the pandemic, and I am delighted by how well the Chamber team has coped and the amount of information and services they tirelessly delivered. I am extremely pleased to see the green agenda firmly in place in association with the Council. I look forward to engaging with local businesses

I have been an advocate for nature for as long as I can remember as a child. So, when it came to choosing a cause to support as the Chamber President, Citizen Zoo felt very close to my heart. Working with Citizen Zoo on rewilding, we had the opportunity to do some volunteering at the New Malden Triangle improving the natural amenity of the area, it was great to see so many Chamber members getting involved – Read more on page 22. I am also extremely excited about their upcoming Get Involed water vole project to bring them back to Hogsmill. It is incredibly rewarding to get involved and do something good and give back to our community and nature. Together we can achieve sustainability and make the change for carbon neutrality and circular economy. Katerina Damcova Chamber President

7. The employee can only make one flexible working request within any 12 month period I am concerned that the sudden changes to working practices prompted by the pandemic, might lead to the statutory right to request flexible working and the process that must follow, to be overlooked. Ensure that you seek appropriate advice before making any decisions regarding working flexibly, even if it hasn’t been labelled as such, otherwise you could find your business in the headlines too. If you have questions for Porter the Sorter, email hrhelp@hrdept.co.uk for consideration for future editions. The HR Dept are an outsourced HR services provider supporting local SMEs across Kingston with their people issues and strategy. For advice or support call us on 0345 208 1290. Always seek employment law advice regarding management of your people issues to ensure that you and your business are well protected from potential litigation risks. The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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patron news

Chamber welcomes Wolters Kluwer I’m delighted that Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK has been welcomed as a recent addition to the community of Patron members of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce. If you’re unfamiliar with what we do, we provide software solutions and services which help tax, accounting and audit professionals to comply with legislation, manage their businesses and provide advisory services to their clients with speed, accuracy and efficiency. Our customers and our people are at the centre of everything we do. Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK has always had a strong business culture which recognises excellence and champions the belief that everyone in the business is a leader, regardless of role. Our employees have the freedom to engage in healthy challenges, share data-rich feedback, take

risks without fear of reprisal, and effect long-term personal and workplace change. As business leaders, I feel we must ensure our people have access to robust learning and development opportunities. With these freely available, our employees are engendering our culture by demonstrating their appetite for action, desire to innovate and enthusiasm for making colleague and customer relationships a priority. We look forward to sharing more of our story with you very soon.

Matt Crook, Managing Director, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK

Deputy Mayor of London Officially Launches South Thames Colleges Group’s New University Centre Title South Thames Colleges Group (STCG) hosted an opening ceremony to celebrate the new University Centre title granted by the Department of Education. The ceremony was marked with the unveiling of a plaque by Deputy Mayor of London, Jules Pipe, in the Undergraduate Centre at Kingston College. As one of the largest providers of collegebased higher education in London, STCG has a successful history of delivering first class University level courses in collaboration with its University partners. STCG works hard to ensure it is current with both the market and employers to ensure its curriculum is employer led. At the event Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, said: “I’d like to congratulate the South Thames Colleges Group on being awarded University Centre Status - it is a real testament to all the hard work and dedication shown by the team. This University Centre plays a vital role in supporting Londoners and giving students the tools they need to develop successful careers, businesses and lives.”

The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

100th episode of the Inside Kingston Podcast! Holland Hahn & Wills want to congratulate Amyr Rocha-Lima on reaching the 100th episode of the Inside Kingston Podcast! Amyr’s podcast showcases local businesses in the Kingston area, from river cruises to restaurants, from flowers to fitness. The episodes are inspiring and interesting, and it is great to discover the talent on our doorstep. All the episodes can be found in the media section of our website www.hhw-uk.com. The team at HHW are excited to be back into our newly restored office, a listed building by Kingston Bridge. We are supporting Financial Planning Week, an annual, nationwide campaign organised by the not-for profit professional body the CISI. This year it runs from 11-17th October. The aim is to help people build financial confidence, combat anxiety and stress about money and deal with life’s challenges around day-to-day financial decisions. Holland Hahn & Wills is encouraging everyone to think about how they feel about their finances, whether they are prepared for retirement, or have a good grasp of their own financial situation. By appointment, we would be delighted to discuss your current situation, or offer a second opinion. There is no charge for an initial consultation, and it could be extremely beneficial to help you achieve the life and retirement you want to live. Give us a call on 020 8943 9229 or drop us an email at enquiry@hhw-uk.com to find out how we could help you.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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patron news

Village Voice – No fault divorce At Pearson Hards, our family solicitors are members of Resolution, meaning they strive to handle matters in a constructive and nonacrimonious way.

A new system for divorce on a no fault basis is to be introduced in England and Wales in April 2022. This means that couples can get divorced without one person being required to blame the other. Under the new law, the concept of fault or blame is removed from the divorce procedure and instead a divorce application will solely rely on the basis that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. There will no longer a need to rely on one of the

five previous reasons; adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years’ separation with consent of the other party or five years’ separation without that consent. The no fault divorce system will also mean that both parties can apply for the divorce jointly. Divorce or separation is inevitably a daunting and exhausting experience for everyone involved. A no fault divorce eases some of the stress and emotions which couples already experience during the separation, as there is no obligation to hold either party accountable.

It is worth obtaining tailored legal advice about whether an application for a divorce is more suitable now or whether waiting for the new nofault divorce would be more suitable. Emma Rothstein who is a Partner and Head of the Family Law Department, is an Accredited Resolution Specialist in financial matters. A fixed fee no-obligation appointment is offered at Pearson Hards at a cost of £160 plus VAT, whereby clients can explore their options and receive answers to their questions in relation to their family matter. For further enquiries, please call 020 8949 9500.

Helping the fight against the climate issue By now I assume most, if not all, of us have seen the M25 protestors. Whilst I agree with their message, I have difficulty with their methods. It is true we need to act now without hesitation in our fight against the climate issue but using methods that only harm the average working person on their daily commute is not the way to go. The best way to tackle this problem is for every person to make regular, small changes. Now, not everyone will want to cut down their meat intake or change from running a car to riding a bike, but there are other ways to get involved. At IQinIT over the past weeks and months we have taken part in two initiatives to do our part to combat the climate crisis. Firstly, we have taken part in the re-wilding scheme run by Citizen Zoo. In this scheme we cared for and raised Large Marsh Grasshoppers, until they were ready to be returned to their natural habitat. We really enjoyed having these crazy critters in our office and if you want to learn more about this great scheme, we at IQinIT have a YouTube video featuring them.

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Secondly, we took part in an initiative to replant trees. This will be crucial for improving the local air quality and we were so pleased we could play our role. On top of our company actions, I also recently have written to the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands to speak out about their horrific killing of dolphins. My hope in writing this is that I have given some of you inspiration into how we can play our role in combating this cross-generational issue. In turn I look forward to seeing all the creative ideas others in our community come up with to fight the climate crisis and make the change for sustainable green business. I can’t wait to be inspired even further by you all!

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


patron news

Lee Orchard gets on his bike for charity Lee Orchard, a Director at Summers Inman, has been supporting The Catering, Hospitality & Education Foundation (C.H.E.F) and to raise money, he took part in the London to Brighton Cycle Ride and managed to complete the 55 mile journey all in one piece! C.H.E.F had been set up by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law to help prevent and reduce both poverty and financial hardship of those living in Lesotho. Between 2013 and 2016, Tessa and Wayne were fortunate to live and work in Lesotho where they designed, built and managed a catering school and conference centre to help generate profits to support social development programmes. In 2016,

they moved back to the UK to start a family, but left a little piece of their hearts out there and over the years have continued to keep in contact with many locals in Lesotho. With first hand experience of living and working in Lesotho, they were able to see just how beautiful this little African landlocked county is, and just how hardworking and eager the Basotho people are to work and better themselves. Unfortunately, due to multiple factors, 1 in 4 people are living in poverty and many of those that are not classified as living in poverty still suffer from financial hardship due to low income. To date, the charity has raised £8,912 For more information and donate, please visit; https://chef.gives

JAB IN A LORRY Kingston University and borough GPs launch pop-up ‘Jab in a Lorry’ Covid-19 vaccination clinics to help students settle safely into campus life. Kingston University’s Lab in a Lorry mobile education centre has been transformed into a Jab in a Lorry vaccination clinic to offer students a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine as they arrive on campus for the start of the academic year. Based at the Penrhyn Road campus, the Lab in a Lorry – usually used by academics and outreach officers to open up the world of science to school children across the capital – has been temporarily converted into a pop-up vaccination centre. It has been opening its doors to new and returning students, with several clinics staged since the start of term. As part of an ongoing partnership with the Kingston Primary Care Network, the pop-up centre has been providing space for healthcare workers from Fairhill Medical Practice, Kingston Health Centre and St Alban’s Medical Centre to The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

vaccinate students who haven’t yet received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Co-Clinical Director of the Kingston Primary Care Network Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, a GP at the University’s partner Fairhill Medical Practice, said getting vaccinated would help support students to get as fully involved as possible in campus life, both academically and socially, during the coming year, while reducing the risk to themselves and those around them. “Continuing our partnership with the University through pop-up vaccination clinics for students is another important way we can work together to support the health and wellbeing of the whole Kingston community,” he said.

Interim University Registrar Professor Sue Reece said offering the pop-up vaccination service was part of the University’s commitment to prioritising the health and wellbeing of its students and staff, along with the wider community. “Our students have made an outstanding contribution throughout the pandemic, supporting the community through volunteering, working on the frontline and looking out for each another,” she said. “The vaccination clinics are just one of the many measures we have put in place to help ensure our campuses remain a safe and welcoming environment in which students can thrive and get the most out of their studies this semester.”

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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LCCI

LCCI expands international reach Richard Burge, CEO of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), explains how the organisation is forging links between Kingston firms and businesses overseas… Now, though, Richard’s focus is on the future – and in particular, on forging new connections with Chambers of Commerce and their members in overseas cities. He says: “Since I took on my current role, we’ve worked hard to ensure that there are really good Chambers at a borough level in London, organisations that provide good granular services to local businesses. In many cases this has worked very well. “Now we’re aiming to expand and grow our international operations. LCCI International has been approved by our board and the aim is to build relationships with up to 35 cities across the world. Some of these cities will be in Europe; others will be further afield. “We’ll focus on networking with the relevant Chamber within these cities and subsequently build links with their members. We’ve already started discussions with Chambers in five cities, including Hamburg and Berlin, and we’ll be launching LCCI International at the Dubai Expo later this year.

It has been more than 18 months since Richard Burge assumed his current role as CEO of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). In that time, he has had many challenges to overcome, notably helping businesses to navigate through the worst global health pandemic in living memory.

“The idea is to have a three-year agreement with each city. Businesses that are members of Chambers in these cities will benefit from the services that we provide at LCCI.” If anyone can make this project work, Richard can. He has a wealth of experience in international trade and global affairs, particularly in relation to social impact investment and the use of innovative technology. An independent advisor on

international affairs, he has had a varied career that has seen him lead four multi-million-pound organisations including a famous charity, a UK government agency, a private company and a membership body over a total of 18 years. Richard has also been on the board and a non-executive director of five multi-million-pound operations and has worked in more than 55 countries, principally in emerging economies, specialising in Africa, the wider Commonwealth and post-conflict situations. He says: “We want to reflect London’s status as a global city. It’s far more than just a subset of the UK. “London is not only a gateway to the rest of the UK, it’s a gateway to businesses all over the world. The city is recognised as a global hub for business, particularly in international financial services. It’s also home to a growing number of small, indigenous businesses that are driven by innovative entrepreneurs. “One of the key strengths of London is the diversity of its people; this is recognised internationally. It’s also benefiting from growth sectors such as biomedical and financial and professional services. In addition, we’re starting to see the entertainment sector adopt disruptive technology-led business models. “This is a highly competitive world and London has a major role to play in it. We have the power and influence to forge relationships with cities and businesses all over Europe and beyond.”

Since I took on my current role, we’ve worked hard to ensure that there are really good Chambers at a borough level in London, organisations that provide good granular services to local businesses. In many cases this has worked very well. 10

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


legal

Can employers force their employees to have the vaccine?

As most adults in the UK have now received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, employees are starting to return to the workplace. In the US, employers such as Google and Netflix have suggested that they will be obliging their employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office. This decision reflects the view of many managers and employers here who, in a survey earlier this year, indicated a preference for a mandatory vaccination policy. Some employees, however, consider that this would be an infringement of their human rights and that they should be free to choose whether to have the vaccine or not. How can litigation best be avoided in these circumstances? The Government has to date only legislated for the vaccine to be compulsory for workers in registered care homes in England. If employers outside of this sector were to introduce a blanket policy requiring employees to be vaccinated before coming into the office, without making any exceptions, a number of legal issues could arise.

A duty of care Employers are responsible for health and safety management in the workplace. They must protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and the people that they come into contact with, such as customers or service users. Clearly, minimising the risk of exposure to COVID-19 falls within that remit. Many employers may see these duties as justifying the imposition of a mandatory vaccine policy. However, requiring all employees to be vaccinated before coming in to work, and disciplining those that refuse, may in some circumstances breach the implied duty of trust and confidence or constitute discrimination. Despite the apparent success of the vaccine in reducing the number of The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

serious cases of COVID-19, some employees may be at greater risk if they have the vaccine and may have been advised by their doctor not to get vaccinated. Requiring such employees to be vaccinated as a condition of returning to work could lead to an unfair dismissal claim if the employee has more than two years’ service. Pregnant women may also have protection under discrimination law. Current Government advice is that pregnant women should be vaccinated. However, previously, the advice was that pregnant women should not be vaccinated. The change in advice and the fact that other drugs have affected foetal development in the past may lead to some pregnant employees not wanting to be vaccinated. Most employers are likely to be reluctant to force them to do so. Generally, employers should also take into account any relevant religious or other protected beliefs, as introducing a policy which is harder for one group to comply with could amount to indirect discrimination on one of these grounds.

safety of their employees and to take reasonable steps to provide a safe workplace and system of work. They may also wish to support their staff by offering paid time off to attend vaccination appointments and for absences if the vaccine makes them unwell. Acas and Public Health England also recommend sharing information about the vaccine to counter any inaccurate claims about its effectiveness and safety, as well as letting staff know where they can get the vaccine in their local area.

The carrot or the stick? An employer could argue that a vaccination directive amounts to a reasonable management instruction on the basis that it is intended to protect health and safety. Ordinarily failure to follow an employer’s reasonable instructions can lead to disciplinary sanctions, including dismissal. However, whether a vaccination requirement would amount to a

reasonable management instruction for these purposes would depend on a range of factors including the nature of the employee’s role and the employer’s business, how effectively the employee could work from home, the employee’s reasons for not wanting to have the vaccine, and how closely employees were required to work together within the organisation in question. Some employers may seek to amend existing employment contracts to require vaccination. Generally employment contracts cannot be changed without employees’ consent and simply imposing the change could result in claims of constructive dismissal and discrimination. Given the risks involved, it seems likely that many employers will shy away from imposing blanket requirements or changing contracts, and will instead elect to introduce a vaccination policy which encourages as many employees as possible to have the vaccine, but which also takes into account legitimate individual concerns and objections.

Uncharted territory Most of the legal issues which could arise from the introduction of vaccination policies have not yet been tested in the Employment Tribunals. However, in the meantime, employers can minimise the risk of such claims by explaining their reasoning to staff and taking proper account of any legitimate objections that are raised. Employers should therefore inform staff of the available information on the potential advantages and disadvantages of vaccination, to assist them in making an informed decision. They should explain that they are acting in accordance with their duty to take reasonable care of the health and

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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in conversation with... “These wellbeing courses help companies keep their staff motivated, productive and happy, which helps with staff retention. People have been more socially isolated in the pandemic so it’s been hard to build resilience and relationships with others. “According to our data, 61% of people who presented with clinically significant anxiety and depression no longer had clinically significant anxiety and depression by the end of our wellbeing courses. This shows that these courses work effectively.” Kingston Adult Education also offers learning programmes in other key areas, such as creative skills and the green economy. Sam, who has been at the organisation since 2014, says: “Promoting the green economy is important and we’re offering courses to help people and companies repurpose or reuse products. During this academic year we’ll also be working in partnership with the Wildlife Aid Foundation with iDot, to give all learners the opportunity to get involved in activities to help wildlife and protect the environment.

Skills for life

“We provide digital skills courses because it’s so important that businesses in every sector improve their digital footprint. A lot of business is done globally across borders so we’ve also introduced tailored courses that help companies develop a bi-lingual culture. If companies are hiring people from abroad, we have courses for people whose first language isn’t English.

Upskilling and retraining the workforce has never been more important as companies adapt to a fast-evolving corporate world.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed working habits so we, too, have adapted by offering learning programmes online or in a hybrid form, where some of the learning is online and some is face-to-face on site.

The digital revolution and the COVID-19 pandemic have required us all to learn new skills and ways of working. Increasingly, businesses are working with the education sector to ensure their staff have the skills they need to be able to fulfil their roles, both now and in the future.

“The pandemic has highlighted the need for people to retrain so they can move into different industries and jobs if they’ve been made redundant. We help people by giving them the skills and attributes to find meaningful employment and get on in their career.

Kingston Adult Education is playing a vital role in this respect, helping companies to fulfil their training requirements and supporting jobseekers with employability courses so they can find employment and succeed in the workplace. Its mission is simple: to offer high-quality learning

and training opportunities to meet the needs of individuals and employers in Kingston and surrounding areas and to work alongside community partners to achieve this. Sam Burgess, Principal of Kingston Adult Education, says: “We’re constantly evolving our services to meet the changing needs of businesses so they can remain competitive. We have a wide range of wellbeing courses that are designed specifically to help employees maintain good mental health, successfully overcome difficulties and achieve their goals in life.

“I’m encouraged that the government has put adult education high on the political agenda. It’s part of the plan to level up UK regions and ensure everyone gets a fair chance to learn new skills and have a successful career.”

T: 020 8547 6742 Email: sam.burgess@kingston.gov.uk

Browse & book online:

www.kingston.gov.uk/adults-education The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

13


skills

Kickstart Scheme Ending Soon! The Government Kickstart Scheme was announced back in September 2020 to help young people, aged 16-24 years old and on Universal Credit, to gain valuable work experience and employability skills. For employers, the scheme’s grant funding covers 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) plus associated employer National Insurance and pensions contributions for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months. Gaining them valuable additional staff members to help them grow their business while helping the young people gain experience and skills to increase their employability for future employment.

Frankie has been impressed with the scheme; “The quality of candidates surpassed anything we quite imagined” The Park Brewery employed Matthew Peters back in April 2021, “I thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on approach to the day-to-day role. From the start, I was able to help out, voice opinions and influence decisions, ultimately becoming a key part of the team. The working atmosphere has been warm and welcoming from the offset and I’ve learnt so much about brewery life and the beer making process. This kick start opportunity has offered me unrivalled direction and life-long friends.” Frankie agreed and said “We can’t thank this scheme enough for helping our team expand and for delivering an employee who has become an integral part of our business. We hope he’ll stick around for years to come!”

Kingston Chamber of Commerce are proud to be an approved Gateway Organisation helping local employers access the scheme.

Local IT service provider IQ in IT have also employed 3 Kickstart employees and are looking for a fourth to join them before the end of the year.

The Park Brewery, a local micro-brewery in Kingston has now recruited 3 young people on the Kickstart scheme. Frankie & Josh Kearns the husband and wife team behind the brewery said the scheme came at a great time for them, covid lockdown meant that they had to close their tap room and focus more on growing their online sales and delivery. Adjusting to changes so quickly really stretched their resources however the Kickstart scheme has been a great way to increase their team as well as introducing some keen young people to the world of brewing!

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One of the key areas they have used the Kickstart scheme to support is the sales & marketing side of the business. The Kickstart campaign was therefore a successful initiative for IQ in IT to bring a marketing executive in to revise and standardise social media, email campaigns and messaging. Katerina Damcova, MD of IQ in IT said: “Without the Kickstart campaign, we would simply lack this resource and we would either have to outsource these tasks or forego them”. Their Kickstart employees, Liam and Charles both graduated from university in the midst of the Covid pandemic into a difficult job market with a high volume of competition for graduate roles. Like many others, they did not lack the ambition or qualifications to find a job, however found

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

themselves un-employed months after graduating and ended up applying for universal credit where they came across the kickstart scheme. Liam, employed as a Sales & Marketing Assistant said: “I was immediately surprised at the ‘quality’ of the roles available. These were not just any roles, they were exciting roles, in interesting sectors. Immediately I had gone from searching for jobs I really did not want, to looking for a job I really wanted to do! In terms of my experience in marketing I had absolutely zero, nor did I have experience in the IT sector but I had transferable skills such as content making from university and partner liaison skills from my time as a travel agent. I have been given real responsibility allowing me to truly gain and grow my skills and given me a taste for several different areas of business, developed my understanding of how small businesses work. Giving me an amazing quantity of varied experience within the workplace.” Charles, employed as an assistant IT engineer agreed that the scheme was a lifeline to getting back into employment. “The pandemic completely messed up the job market for graduates. I was seeking for a graduate scheme and even after many submitted applications to firms, I would not hear back from them half of the time. The introduction to this scheme is helping me build experience and vital skills. This opportunity also allows me to experience what an IT environment is like and see if this is an area of interest to pursue in my career path. I have been working on projects which involve automating processes to increase productivity and look forward to challenging myself and learning even more”.

Currently the scheme is due to end on 31st March 2022, therefore any employers interested in participating in the scheme do not have much time left to apply. Get in touch if you would like more information on office@kingstonchamber.co.uk or call 020 8541 4441


Construction of Kingston College State of the Art Facility Underway • 1957-60: Pupils from a local girls’ school attended Ballroom dancing classes on a Wednesday afternoon. • 1962 – Kingston Technical College divided into Kingston College of Further Education (KCFE) and Kingston College of Technology (now Kingston University). • Construction began on the Kingston College building that currently stands on the Kingston Hall Road site in 1972. • In 2015 the £10 million Creative Industries Centre opened at Richmond Road housing a TV studio and music suite.

Visitors to Kingston town centre may have noticed that amongst all the construction work taking place that the College is currently having a makeover of its own. The first stage of which is a re-modelling of the front entrance to bring it into the 21st century. The conceptual thinking for this started way back in 1996 when the College wanted to move the then Library on the 5th Floor down to the ground floor and it has taken 25 years for this vision to eventually materialise. The detailed work started in 2014 and has encountered a number of false starts and stoppages along the way but the vision is now well and truly underway! The library or Learning Resource Centre (LRC) as it is now known will wrap around the mezzanine of the new entrance which also features revolving doors, student services and admissions, making key student support areas easily accessible for all learners as they enter the building. Mike Tweedale , Principal of Kingston College said: “The College delivers excellent teaching and outcomes for its students despite its Kingston Hall Road Centre being long overdue for a makeover, it will be wonderful for staff and students to now enjoy contemporary facilities which will further enhance the learning that takes place here. “ The new entrance is due to open in late spring of 2022 with further development works in the pipeline in the years to come. As many readers will have an

The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

association with Kingston College and may now be feeling nostalgic for their student days, we thought we would share with you some of our history: • Kingston Technical College was formed in 1849 out of “Whiskey Money”, a higher spirit tax used to help promote “scientific and technical instruction” • In 1893 the cost of a course was 6d. • 1914-18: The First World War saw special classes in Ambulance, Nursing and Invalid Cookery being taught. Munitions workers were trained in the Mechanical Engineering workshop. Aero-engineering, Aeroplace Design, Economy of Food and Gardening in Wartime classes proved popular.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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cover feature - chessington expo

JOIN US

WEDNESDAY 27 OCTOBER 2021 CHESSINGTON SCHOOL, KT9 2JS

Exhibitors • Speed networking • Seminars

9.30-3.30pm

FREE

TO ATTEND

HEADLINE SPONSORS

HOSTED BY

The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce


Innovation can lead an economic recovery The Chessington Expo is back for 2021 as an in-person event. re-build our local businesses community post Covid 19. Focused on bringing local businesses together and offering visitors the opportunity to network and build relationships while benefitting from a programme of valuable seminars and business support.

embed innovation in every level of a business to increase productivity.

All businesses are welcome, including large corporations, SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs.

For me, though, this was the wrong tack. The company should have been looking to generate 20% more profit. Only 16% of a deodorant spray goes onto the body on average, so by optimising the design of the nozzle more of the spray can go onto the body. By doing this, you make the product more efficient. You can put less spray in the can for the same benefit so therefore you can generate more profit.

Keynote speaker One of the keynote speakers at this year’s event is Mark Shayler, a visionary, public speaker, author and writer who runs an innovation and environmental consultancy Ape. He is the author of Do Disrupt: Change the Status Quo Or Become It and founding partner of the Do Lectures. He speaks on why it is not sufficient to do things better, we need to do better things. And why both the planet and the bottom line will thank you.

Kingston Chamber of Commerce celebrates the return to the in person business Expo. With the momentum gained by last year’s innovative virtual Expo, they have pulled together a diverse programme of speakers and seminars (and animals!) to make this day a success. We are all needing a business boost and this Expo has been carefully planned to give all sizes of organisations that boost of energy and opportunities to extend their networks. The event is sponsored by Kingston University and Kingston Council. Their generous support has enabled the Chamber to offer exhibitors subsidised stand rates as part of their commitment to business recovery and growth in the borough. The Chamber are delighted to be back at Chessington School who have been a great partner for the event and continue to raise the educational bar in the community through the work of the headmaster, Ash Ali and the dedicated teaching staff. The aim of the Expo is to shine a light on the south of the borough, celebrate build and

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Ape, champions sustainable innovation, purposeful disruption and start up thinking to help companies to develop new business models, products and services. The company says it has saved its clients an estimated £125 million-plus and helped them to increase sales by more than 6,000% and retail footfall by 300%. Mark is keen to highlight the importance of enterprise and the need to innovate to get the local economy back on its feet again in a postCOVID world.

“To give an example, I was working with one company that makes deodorants. They were looking to raise their sales by 20%.

“We are nowhere near as efficient as we can be as a nation. We need to do things differently if we are to increase the productivity of our local businesses.

In Kingston, there’s a strong expertise in IT so you have a skills base that understands technology. This is going to be important as we move out of the pandemic. Businesses that find new applications for technology will succeed. “Kingston is a relatively diverse area with a lot of potential. We should celebrate our achievements more.”

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

“Enterprise can solve real-world problems, such as the fight against climate change and the quest to build a more sustainable world. If you look at the way farming works, by increasing the amount of carbon that’s diverted back into the soil, this can really have a strong impact on the fight against climate change.

Forbes Low, Chief Executive of Kingston Chamber of Commerce said “I’m really looking forward to hearing Mark speak at the Expo. He has a unique ability to connect with an audience through funny stories and 80’s pop music! We have recently been initiating a series of Think Green! Seminars, encouraging organisations to look at building sustainability into their business models. Building companies that care for more than just profit is fast becoming normal. I think Mark can inspire businesses of all sizes to see sustainability as a stimulus for innovation rather than a barrier.”

“At the Expo I’ll also be talking about the need to innovate in a different way. We need to

See Mark speak as part of the Chessington Business Expo at 10.30am on 27th October.

He says: “Geographically this is an interesting part of the world. Kingston is a pocket of innovation. There’s a huge opportunity to grow small businesses and celebrate the people that sit within these businesses.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


cover feature - chessington expo

Chessington BUSINESS EXPO 27th October 2021 8.00am

Networking Breakfast The day will commence with a networking breakfast, this will be an informal breakfast allowing you to get a head start on the day’s networking, meet exhibitors and make valuable contacts while enjoying a delicious hot breakfast! Attendance must be booked in advance

10.30am

Keynote Speaker - Mark Shayler Mark is a visionary, public speaker, author, and writer who runs an innovation and environmental consultancy Ape. He is the author of Do Disrupt: Change the Status Quo Or Become It and founding partner of the Do Lectures. He speaks on why it is not sufficient to do things better, we need to do better things. And why both the planet and the bottom line will thank you.

Zoo. Get your camera ready for a selfie, chat to the keepers and find out more about the animals they look after.

12.00pm

Kingston Innovation Network - Innovating and adapting for business growth The Kingston Innovation Network is a network for businesses and organisations in the Kingston area with the aim of encouraging business growth through innovation and collaboration. It offers opportunities for networking, learning from other businesses and regular talks on today’s hot topics such as digital adaptation, agile working, financial support, and business growth. The network also helps businesses understand and access programmes of support and funding offered by local partners including Kingston University, Kingston Council and South London Partnership. www.kingston.ac.uk/kingston-innovation-network

2.15pm

12 Tips For Great Public Speaking with John Deery John Deery started and runs www. thepublicspeakingcourse.com to help individuals, companies and organisations break through their fear of speaking in public and communicate in an effective and clear way to get their messages across. He has worked with people from all professions, backgrounds, walks of life and from all over the world; from graduates just starting out, to CEOs, business owners, entrepreneurs and PR consultants; from doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, to politicians (known and unknown), psychiatrists, psychotherapists and counsellors – yes, even they need outside help! – to so-called “ordinary” people, not that there is such a thing as an “ordinary” person. So, whoever you are and whatever you do, if you have a fear of standing up and speaking in front of people, now is the time to deal with it – not tomorrow – now!

11.30am & 1.45pm 1.30pm 11.30am

A visit from the animals! We are delighted that Chessington World of Adventures Resort will be joining us again and bringing along some friendly VIP guests from the

The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

LinkedIn Masterclass: What works on LinkedIn Right Now with Celia Rizothanasi - Queen Bee of LinkedIn LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet. You know LinkedIn has a lot to offer but you are not sure how to get the best from it, join Celia to reignite your presence on LinkedIn and ultimately…. Get More Clients.

Speed Networking

Run by John Gower of Omni Local Business Networking. Register on the day to participate.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

19



ask the expert

How should SMEs source finance?

Alex Lynford, director of Flare Path Financial Services

There are more finance options for SMEs from both mainstream and alternative lenders today than ever before. With the benefit of this greater competition, business owners should shop around and not just decide on funding because they’ve always held an account with a particular bank or because they’ve just received a smart mailshot from a shiny new alternative lender. Shopping around means researching not only interest rates and fees, but terms and conditions, the costs and ease of exiting and whether the lender has a good reputation for dealing with bumps in the road. Otherwise, businesses might use a finance broker like Flare Path Financial Services to do the heavy lifting. Brokers are generally cost-neutral or better to the borrower because they’re mostly paid by the lender and only on successful completion of a deal. They should save money as well as time since they know where the best deals are at any given time. Do, however, ensure that your broker is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is a member of the industry’s trade body, the NACFB.

Alternative finance is usually more convenient and speedier but it’s invariably more expensive. If you have the time, it’s often worth braving the lengthier processes that you have to go through when dealing with mainstream lenders. Sometimes business owners think they have no choice but to use alternative finance because they were turned down by their mainstream bank. But it could just mean that the credit appetite for that business sector at that bank at that moment was weak. Just along the high street, they could be welcomed with open arms. Brokers are good value here because they keep in close touch with banks. They’ll know which banks are hungry for what.

A common reason for borrowing proposals being rejected in the first place is a poorly put-together business plan. This is perfectly understandable because an SME will be an expert in its field but not necessarily in financial presentations. I established Flare Path after a career as a business banking lender so helping put together proposals in a format and language that a bank understands and needs is all in a day’s work and part of the free service. If a business is determined to go it alone, I’d offer best wishes and a few golden principles. Don’t assume that the reader understands your business. (Your own bank manager might but perhaps not the credit committee that also reads about it.) So, explain precisely what you do, how you generate revenue and where you’re positioned in the marketplace. Don’t be fluffy or verbose. Numbers are more important than words to a banker, so lead with clearly presented financial information and use words to supplement them. Be honest about significant problems and don’t wait for them to be discovered by the bank. Explaining how the finance will be deployed, and very methodically how it will improve the profitability needed to repay the borrowing, will warm up your lender and will also be a worthwhile exercise for you.

Alex Lynford is a director of Flare Path Financial Services, an FCA-authorised firm which sources commercial finance and provides consultancy services to trading and real estate businesses. Flare Path prides itself on both in-house experience and a wide network of industry contacts to achieve quick and effective outcomes for clients.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS FINANCE just call Alex on 07950 787690 or email al@flarepath.co.uk The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

21


chamber news

Working together for conservation of the borough Chamber President Katerina Damcova has chosen to support Citizen Zoo for her 2020/21 tenure. Citizen Zoo is a local social enterprise committed to rewilding & conservation. Covid meant that the Chamber has been unable to support with group activities for some time however on 17th September 2021 we were able to run our first conservation volunteering session. The location for this was a small area of woodland in New Malden just off Coombe Lane West. The area did not have an official name but because of its shape and location, we are now calling it Coombe Lane West Triangle Woods. The area was spotted by Chamber member and local resident Andrew Sherville who spoke with founder of Citizen Zoo and RBK Biodiversity Officer Elliot Newton and ward councillor Rowena Bass about the possibility of doing some conservation work. Katerina and Kingston Chamber were keen to support a local initiative and help gather volunteers. Cllr Bass was able to support the costs of the day with Coombe Hill councillors’ ward funding. Chamber volunteers came out to support the day which involved mainly woodland management and rubbish clearance. It was amazing how much rubbish was picked from a relatively small woodland area, it included quite a few bits of a car which had obviously crashed into it at some point, an old safe and even a bag full of costume jewellery! There was also a huge amount of plastic chicken trays that had obviously been brought into the area by local foxes. The team also felled some of the non-native sycamore trees to allow more light into the area and cleared a path through the site so people can actually walk through it and appreciate the woodland. All of this was achieved in just 4 hours work. It just shows what can be done to improve local green spaces with a few willing volunteers!

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The next stage is to lay some wood chip along the path to help maintain it. Kingston Chamber and Citizen Zoo hope to work together to identify and conserve other areas around the borough in a similar way; improving our local areas, getting people out into the great outdoors and engaging our local communities to take action. If you or your business would like to get involved with future projects, do let us know.

If you want to know more about Citizen Zoo, visit their website https://www.citizenzoo.org/


KINGSTON BOROUGH

BUSINESS

AWARDS 2021

FREE TO ENTER

Enter now!

Deadline for applications November 5th 2021

These NEW awards celebrate the positive impact of local businesses across the Borough of Kingston. No matter your shape or size of business, there are categories to match you. We know there are impressive stories of resilience, heart and adaptation from the business community. It is easy to submit an entry so tell your story of how your work has made a difference.

www.kbba.co.uk HEADLINE SPONSOR

GOLD SPONSORS

CATEGORY SPONSORS

MEDIA SPONSOR

HOSTED BY The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

23


Major heritage-led regeneration programme set to transform Kingston

Kingston Council’s plans to breathe new life into Kingston town centre are moving forward as an exciting heritage-led regeneration project begins to take shape on the site of the Kingfisher Leisure Centre.

Once again, heritage will be central to this regeneration project and the Council is fully committed to conserving the historic listed Guildhall building on the site.

A brand-new state-of-the-art leisure centre opening in 2024 is set to replace the Kingfisher, but the project is much more than that. It forms the centrepiece of the Council’s Transform Kingston plans to reimagine the borough. The new development will make better use of the location – connecting the new leisure centre more effectively with historic neighbouring buildings. Councillor John Sweeney, Portfolio Holder for Business and Leisure said: “We’ll make sure the new leisure centre connects much better with the beautiful Carnegie buildings – the library and the museum – which it sits alongside.

“We want the new quarter, which will be a leisure quarter, to be a celebration of the borough’s history and heritage.” By putting Kingston’s unique history and heritage at the heart of the development, the Council is playing its part in revitalising the borough’s economic and social future – making

the town centre a prime place to visit for culture, entertainment and leisure as well as shopping.

No decisions have yet been taken on plans for the complex, but one option the Council has been looking at is the possibility of allowing the listed building to become a boutique hotel. Alongside a hotel, the Council wants to see far more community use provided in this precious local landmark – everything from fitness classes to bars and restaurants. However there will be lots of different views out there, and the Council is keen to welcome a HEADLINE SPONSORS debate on the alternatives.

Attracting more visitors will boost business and job opportunities in the town centre and that’s why the Council is also beginning to consider the possibilities for the nearby Guildhall complex.

Keep an eye on kingstonletstalk.co.uk/transform-kingston for opportunities to get involved.

FR

TO ATT


top tips

You have found your photographer, booked your headshot session, but what happens next? Ideally, you will have a pre-shoot Zoom call to meet the photographer and answer any questions you might have. They should also send you a “How to prepare for your photoshoot” guide. Preparing and dressing for your headshot or personal branding session is quite simple. When it comes to deciding what to wear, the goal is to make you stand out in the portrait, not the clothing or surroundings.

gentlemen, you may think a little stubble won’t be seen on camera, but it totally shows in close-ups, so spend the extra time to shave and put on your “handsome”!

Here are some “top tips” that I give my clients:

1

Solids colours are best. Busy, loud patterns or logos will tend to draw too much attention to the clothes in your photos, so solids are always a safe bet! Especially, avoid clothes with fine, repetitive lines typically found on men’s shirts.

2

IRON your wardrobe! Every detail will show up in your portraits, so be sure to iron out any wrinkles.

3

Dress in the way you would if meeting a client. Think too about how you might introduce your brand identity or logo colours into your outfit. If you intend visiting your hair stylist, make sure your appointment is approximately 10 days before the shoot to give the cut time to settle down and look natural. Bring a mirror and a brush or comb with you to the shoot so you can regularly check how you look.

4

Men – Be clean-shaven or have beards and moustaches trimmed. For clean-shaven

5

Lay your choices out on a bed and stand back. This is a great way to see if there are any distracting colours or patterns. For personal branding shoots it is good to have harmony going through the colour palette in the changes of clothes.

And last but not least – RELAX! The more relaxed you are, the better the results will be. Based in Kingston-upon-Thames, Annie Armitage is an award-winning professional photographer who has specialised in family, portrait, and personal branding photography since setting up her business in 2007. In March 2021, Annie won Silver in the Women Who Work With Families category of the Best Business Women Awards 2020. She was listed in the f:Entrepreneur Top 100 women 2020 and has been a keynote speaker at several photographic events.

m: 07711 391919 | e: annie@anniearmitage.com w: www.anniearmitage.com The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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the big interview

Technology can change lives

When IntraLAN appointed new CEO Andy Horn in 2019 to drive the continued growth of the business in key markets, the company knew it was getting someone with a good track record in the IT industry.

A

ndy brought to the role more than 20 years’ experience of strong sales-focused leadership across all areas of the industry, including telecoms, data centres, hosted and managed services, security, cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS). On the surface, it was a good fit. IntraLAN had built a track record of empowering UK SMEs with the best enterprise-level digital transformation technologies. Andy, meanwhile, had experience of working with SME ownermanagers to help them deliver greater value for their businesses. He’d also been successful in starting, building, growing and improving the profitability, performance and value of technology firms across Europe. Two-and-a-half years on, the move appears to have reaped major dividends. Andy has led IntraLAN’s recent growth, which has been due in part to a renewed focus on the sales and marketing side of the business. Andy says: “When I first joined IntraLAN, its focus was more on customer service than sales and marketing. Whilst the staff were very capable in what they did, there was little leadership or sales methodology within the business. I knew things had to change but I wanted to ensure that everyone was on board. I took the time to speak with staff at the company on a one-to-one basis. I didn’t want to come in and dictate everything from the top down because that would seem arrogant. Fortunately, the vast majority of the staff were receptive to the changes.” Whilst IntraLAN has managed to grow its customer base and expand its geographical reach in the last two-and-a-half years, there have been many challenges apart from initiating a step change in the company’s culture. One of those challenges was to navigate a path through the COVID-19 pandemic – a task that Andy and his team have come through with flying colours.

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He says: “We had actually planned for a disaster recovery scenario prior to the pandemic, so we were reasonably wellequipped to move to remote working. There were teething issues initially, though, in terms of ensuring that everyone had the right set-up to work from home. For the first few weeks of the pandemic, our helpdesk calls went through the roof because our staff were ringing up with queries and so were our customers. “Generally, a lot of companies had difficulties in shifting to a remote working model. If you’re used to working in the office, your internet at home is designed to be used one or two hours a day. Suddenly you want to use it for eight hours a day and the situation is compounded if you have other household members in the same boat. Another important consideration when working from home is security. In many cases, security may not be as robust as it would if staff were working in the office. “If the security of company data is breached while staff are working from home, that’s the responsibility of the employer. We installed a separate router for staff with several levels of security to protect ourselves against cybercrime, which is a key issue for businesses of all sizes. You can’t feel or see cybercrime so some SMEs might not place that much importance on it. They might not even realise they’re being attacked.”

We had actually planned for a disaster recovery scenario prior to the pandemic, so we were reasonably well-equipped to move to remote working. There were teething issues initially, though, in terms of ensuring that everyone had the right set-up to work from home.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

As well as helping companies to tighten up their security, IntraLAN also took steps to look after its customers, particularly those hardest hit by the pandemic. “We have clients in the hospitality sector so we gave them a reduced rate on the rent for a few months,” says Andy. “They paid it back once they were back on their feet again.” Born in Alnwick, Andy moved up to Scotland to finish his schooling before studying nautical science at college. That paved the way for a five-and-a-half-year stint in the navy as a navigating officer before he moved into IT. He became vice president of CBRE DCS and held leadership positions at COLT, Telecity, Easynet and Exodus. It was a busy time, as Andy recalls: “At one point I was looking after sales for a global company in 17 countries. I was expected to be in every country once a month – it was crazy! I was doing an MBA in business administration at the time so it was unfeasible.” Having moved to London several years earlier, Andy joined IntraLAN in 2019 and is already plotting the next stage of the company’s growth. “We’re looking at acquisitions,” he says. “Some IT firms have done well in the pandemic so there might be opportunities. We’re also looking to grow organically. “We also benefit from being part of an established global brand; IntraLAN is part of the US-headquartered Global Growth of independent entrepreneurial businesses. That gives us access to markets all over the world. “We’ve launched two new services that offer low-cost security options and we’re looking at emerging technologies to see what businesses might need in the future. Providing tech-led solutions for these businesses is just part of the opportunity, though; we’re seeking ways of leveraging technology so it has a real impact on people’s lives. As business leaders, we need to get together and see how we can use technology to solve real-world problems that will benefit entire communities.”


the big interview

THE INSIDE STORY: Andy Horn Favourite food? You can’t go wrong with a classic steak dinner. Always feels like a treat!

Favourite tipple? I’m partial to a good red wine.

Favourite holiday? I’m not very good at sitting still so I enjoy a holiday with activities over a book by the beach.

Describe your family life? I’ve got a really strong bond with my sons and I often spend my free time with them doing stuff such as mountain biking or sailing.

How do you spend your downtime? If I’m not spending time with my boys, I try my best to stay active.

What are your key strengths as a manager? My strengths include leadership and the ability to pull others along for the ride, which lends itself to building a strong company culture.

And your limitations? I could improve on how I tell it like it is. Some people appreciate a straight-talking nature, some don’t.

Best thing about doing business in the borough? There’s such a depth and breadth of businesses in the area; it’s full of amazing companies and people.

Famous person you’d most like to spend dinner with? Billy Connolly, a fellow Scotsman who would have endless funny stories to tell.

Most interesting fact about yourself? I was very nearly a stuntman. I was only one TV advert away from getting my Equity car.

The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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news

COP26 provides opportunity to tackle climate change London Assembly’s Environment Committee has highlighted the opportunities presented by the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). More than 190 world leaders will meet to discuss global action against climate change at the 26th COP26, which takes place in Glasgow in November. The London Assembly Environment Committee has been hearing how London should engage with COP26. As a result of the committee’s meeting, the chair has written to Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to ensure London proactively seizes the range of opportunities presented by this historic meeting. The letter asks for key information, including: • How the mayor will engage with government for appropriate measures to address emissions and resolve the health risks facing London

• How the mayor will use the opportunities that COP26 presents and his convening powers to get all Londoners involved in the move to net zero and decarbonisation • Regular updates on the additional work the mayor will be doing in the lead up to COP26 and during the event itself Chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee, Zack Polanski AM, said: “COP26 in Glasgow presents an historic opportunity for London to really show the world how serious it is about weighing into the climate change discussion. “London is a fantastic city that leads on so many fronts but there is more to be done here when it comes to tackling climate change. There is room for everyone to step up to the mark. “COP26 is a prime platform for the mayor to encourage different parts of London’s economy to make even bolder commitments. It’s also a good time to continue to up the ante on lobbying central government for even more powers to meet London’s environmental targets.”

Kingston Council launches new Air Quality Action Plan Kingston Council has unveiled an ambitious action plan to improve the borough’s air quality. The ambitious plan sets out how the council will work with residents, businesses and partners over the next five years to address this key issue. The Air Quality Action Plan has been produced as part of the council’s duty to local air quality management and has been shaped, in part, by Kingston residents who took part in the council’s Citizens’ Assembly on air quality. The council’s key air quality priorities for the coming five years are: • Enforcing the Non-Road Mobile Machinery (such as excavators, forklift trucks and bulldozers) Low Emission Zone • Installing Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) infrastructure such as electric vehicle chargers • Promoting and delivering energy efficiency retrofitting projects in workplaces and homes • Promoting and enforcing smoke control zones • Supporting alerts services such as Airtext, and promoting the Mayor of London’s air pollution forecasts • Reducing pollution in and around schools and extending school audits to other schools in polluted areas The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

• Improving walking and cycling infrastructure • Meeting the expectations of the Citizens’ Assembly • Regular car-free days/ temporary road closures in high footfall areas

Kingston’s winning riverside design unveiled The winner of a local design competition to revitalise Kingston’s riverside has been revealed. In Autumn 2020, a partnership of Kingston Council, Kingston University, Kingston First and the charity Creative Youth obtained £200,000 from The Mayor of London’s Getting Building Fund specifically for these public realm improvements. Weston Rengifo Architectural Practice (WR-AP) and Kingston Academy’s entry has created a vibrant scene at the riverside around John Lewis and Kingston Bridge. Sean Weston, director of WRAP, said: “We’re delighted to be assisting with the rejuvenation of this prime riverside area. Our submission brought together the ideas of our practice and students from the Kingston Academy to envisage a new public space that is vibrant, welcoming and safe. “Focused around stimulating the senses of visitors, the proposals look

to improve the area’s biodiversity, connectivity and usage with a number of interventions. We look forward to working alongside the project stakeholders in developing the concepts into reality.” Cllr John Sweeney, portfolio holder for business and leisure, said: “There were so many fantastic entries, and we are really pleased with WR-AP’s winning design idea. The design depicts an exciting transformation of the riverside, fitting the brief of celebrating the heritage of the area. “As these plans come to fruition, they will breathe new life into the area, creating an attractive and engaging space for our communities to enjoy. This is such an exciting project and I can’t wait to see the designs take shape.” As the project starts, there will be opportunities for the public, businesses and residents to engage and feed into its design. More information is available at https://kingstonletstalk.co.uk/

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Councillor Stephanie Archer, portfolio holder for environment and sustainable transport, said: “The council cannot solve the problem of air pollution on its own, which is why we invited our Citizens’ Assembly to formulate a number of the actions in our new Air Quality Action Plan.

14,136 sq ft

“Almost every resident, worker or visitor is both a victim of and a contributor to local air pollution and we all have a part to play in improving the situation as individuals.”

For more information on air quality in Kingston, visit https://www.kingston.gov.uk/air-quality

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“Our actions set out how we intend to work with external partners and, where we have less direct control, lobby other organisations to do what they can to improve the quality of our air.

The Air Quality Action Plan is available to read at https://www. kingston.gov.uk/downloads/ download/365/air-quality-actionplan-2021---2026

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news Mayor urges office workers to enjoy London’s hospitality The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has urged the city’s office workers and businesses to embrace post-pandemic hybrid working and make the most of London’s hospitality offering. The idea is that if staff return to offices for one or more days a week, this will increase the prospect of after-work socialising and give London’s hospitality sector a muchneeded boost. ‘After Work Social’ roundels have been installed in three central London Tube stations as part of TfL’s Welcome Back London campaign to encourage people to safely return to the public transport network. Although working from home is likely to become the norm for many workers, there are some who want to return to the office. A recent survey by Workspace found that younger people especially are excited by the prospect of a return to the office to meet with colleagues face-to-face, have lunch with them, build working relationships and engage in after-work socialising. It is not only office workers that the mayor is keen to see return to enjoy the city. Sadiq Khan has invested £7m in his Let’s Do London campaign – the largest domestic tourism campaign the capital has ever seen, bringing together London’s top hospitality, culture and retail organisations to help attract people back to central London. The Let’s Do London Lates season includes a wide range of exciting activities for Londoners and visitors to experience at night, and encourages visitors to sample the city’s world-leading cultural experiences.

Recruitment firm wins Queen’s Award Kingston-based recruitment company Interfacio has been presented with a Queens Award for Enterprise for International Trade. The Queen’s Awards are recognised as the most prestigious and highest official UK awards for British businesses and the award for international trade represents a period of significant and sustained growth in the company’s international business. Presented at Rose Theatre in Kingston-Upon-Thames, the award recognises six years of strong and uninterrupted growth, during which the company’s non-UK business grew almost tenfold. Accepting the award, the company recognised and paid tribute to its staff, suppliers, candidates and several of its major clients. At the same time,

the firm acknowledged the significant changes and advances in recruitment in the last 20 years, during which it has been finding and placing people into business and technical roles around the world. Rose Theatre CEO, Robert O’Dowd introduced the event which was also attended by Forbes Low, CEO of Kingston Chamber and Katerina Damcova, Chamber President, with a keynote address about the Rose’s history, its place at the heart of the borough’s culture and arts community and how the theatre has managed through the pandemic. Isabelle Wear, European business director and principal coach at Interfacio, commented: “We are uniquely experienced and equipped to manage the whole recruitment process and are now also delivering additional individual and team

business coaching services. This award would not be possible without our team of talented recruiters, resources and coordinators.” Richard Wear, founder and managing director of Interfacio, added: “Receiving this Queen’s Award is extremely exciting and something that we’re all immensely proud of. We’re very much a people company that works tirelessly to provide the best quality service for our clients and candidates. Having real conversations with candidates about careers, motivations and goals and speaking with them about the challenges their businesses find themselves facing, including on the topic of recruitment, is central to what we do. For our work to be recognised in this way is quite humbling and we continue to be hugely grateful to our clients and candidates for putting their trust in us.

Trusted to care Award winning care homes Our dementia specialists take a gentle yet proactive approach to care, supporting each resident to be as independent as possible. We champion innovation through our partnership with the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester. We’re here to help you and your family at every step of the journey.

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BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


news

WE HAVE TO

KEEP GOING Captain Sir Tom Moore won the nation’s hearts with his extraordinary fundraising efforts for National Health Service charities. The retired Army officer, when he was 99, he was catapulted into the global spotlight with his attempt to raise an initial £1,000 for charity. Early in April 2020, with the aid of his walking frame and a steely determination, he vowed to complete 100 laps of his patio before his 100th birthday at the end of that month. On the morning of Moore’s hundredth birthday, the total raised by his walk passed £30 million, and by the time the campaign closed at the end of that day had increased to over £32.79 million

The Royal Borough of

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

(worth almost £39 million with expected tax rebates). Chanelle Smith (far right, with Hannah Ingram-Moore), the daughter of Mike Smith, one of the Chamber’s Patrons, spent many months highlighting the wonderful work of the NHS staff during the pandemic on social media and practically helping junior doctors in her medical student 5th year, with essential tasks. Chanelle was delighted and honoured to join Sir Tom Moore’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, at the celebration of his achievements and how it supports

local communities. The book highlights the many unsung heroes in the health service, inspires to give hope and a positive mindset and to continues to recognise a national institute that benefits all of us. Chanelle encourages people to support the NHS & Sir Tom’s legacy and buy the book!

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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Master’s student makes remarkable recovery after life changing accident Seán’s Story In 2019 Seán was 25 and studying for a Master’s degree at Imperial College London when tragedy struck and he was involved in a serious accident that left him needing several life-saving surgeries. Seán survived, but the accident left him in a coma and after a couple of months he was diagnosed with a Persistent Disorder of Consciousness and was transferred to the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability (RHN) in Putney. Six months later Seán started to show signs of improvement. He started to communicate using eye movements, then began to move his fingers and thumb and was able to use a small beeper switch to communicate. Soon he started

to make a huge improvement and was able to communicate with a whiteboard and pen. He was also able to drink fluids again, and eat small amounts of pureed food. Due to his remarkable progress, Seán started a programme of intensive rehabilitation at the RHN. Progressing with his swallowing and mobility, he moved on to moist food and started using a selfpropelling wheelchair. Fifteen months later, Seán began to talk. With so much already to contend with for Seán and his family, the COVID-19 pandemic created a dramatic backdrop to his recovery. During his time spent at the RHN, Jenny, Seán’s mother, said,

“This is an amazing place. It’s a fantastic, vibrant environment for young people. When I wasn’t there I always felt that he was really well looked after and felt confident leaving him. The team always put on an enriching programme of activities for the residents there, including lots of games and concerts.” Seán continued to improve and enjoyed visiting the hospital’s computer room to catch up with friends and family. When Seán was ready to leave, the staff threw a party for him, and put together a scrap book, as a reminder of his stay and the amazing progress that he made. Seán is continuing his rehabilitation closer to home in Dublin, and is looking forward to moving back home to live with his family soon.

About the RHN

The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) was established in 1854 to help people with brain injury and neurological conditions. In today’s world our role in addressing unmet needs is a crucial as ever. We are a specialist provider of care and rehabilitation for adults, like Seán living with the devastating effects of brain injury or illness. The reasons people arrive at the RHN are manifold and can include traffic accidents, sporting injuries, assaults, or medical emergencies such as stroke, heart attack or asthma attacks. We also care for people living with neurological conditions such as Huntington’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease. We are a charity and not part of the NHS. This means that we fundraise to pay for additional therapies, services and equipment like music therapy, therapeutic art and our leisure and family services. We also use charitable donations to pay for communication aids, specialist wheelchairs, bespoke beds and ward improvements. These extras allow us to improve quality of life for patients at the RHN, whatever their ability.

Find out how you can support people like Seán living with life changing brain injury 32

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

www.rhn.org.uk corporate@rhn.org.uk 020 8780 4560 Registered charity no. 205907


New Victoria Hospital To Hold Free Patient Webinars Online New Victoria Hospital will launch a series of dedicated patient webinars on Zoom where specialist Consultants will answer questions and give personalised medical advice on symptoms and treatments during the online event. The first five sessions will focus on joint pain management, including hip, knee, shoulder, foot & ankle and hand & wrist conditions and ailments. Patients can submit their anonymous questions alongside their registration to the event. During this time, many people struggle to get access to healthcare for consultations and diagnostic examinations. With these upcoming Patient Webinars, New Victoria Hospital would like to give the local community the opportunity to discuss their health concerns with specialist doctors as an initial step towards accurate diagnosis and treatment and ultimately a better quality of life.

New Victoria Hospital’s patient webinars on Zoom All Patient Webinars will be held on Zoom on weekdays at 7pm, with a duration of 45 minutes. During the online session, the Consultant will reply to the questions submitted by the attendees during the registration process.

How to access New Victoria Hospital’s Patient Webinars To access the Patient Webinars, you need to register for each event you are interested in on Eventbrite https://newvictoriahospital.eventbrite.co.uk Select the event you would like to join and follow the instructions: · Click on the Register button · Complete the registration form with your details · At the end of the form, you will have an opportunity to ask any questions that the Consultant will answer during the webinar · Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with a Zoom link to the webinar At the time of the event, click on the link provided in the confirmation email. You will automatically join the online event from the comfort of your home.

ORTHOPAEDIC WEBINARS DATES 11th October 2021 – Hip pain with Mr Ashwin Unnithan Mr Ashwin Unnithan https://www.newvictoria.co.uk/ consultants/mr-ashwin-unnithan/, Consultant Specialist Hip Surgeon, will advise on how to manage hip pain, what treatments are available and how to improve the quality of your life if your hip is injured or painful. Hip conditions that can be discussed during the webinar include: · Hip arthritis · Hip dysplasia · Hip pain · Hip bursitis · Reduced hip mobility 19th October 2021 – Knee pain with Mr John Dabis

Kingston

Chamber of Commerce

Mr Tim Sinnett https://www.newvictoria.co.uk/ consultants/mr-tim-sinnett/, Consultant Specialist Foot & Ankle Surgeon, will advise on foot and ankle symptoms to pay attention to, common injuries, prevention and available treatments. Foot & Ankle conditions that can be discussed during the webinar include: · Achilles tendonitis

Mr John Dabis https://www.newvictoria.co.uk/ consultants/mr-john-dabis/, Consultant Specialist Knee Surgeon, will talk about knee injuries and conditions as well as treatment options, including sport injury risks and age-related niggles.

· Plantar fasciitis

Knee conditions that can be discussed during the webinar include:

15th November 2021 – Hand & Wrist pain with Mr Nashat Siddiqui

· Knee arthritis

Mr Nashat Siddiqui https://www.newvictoria.co.uk/ consultants/nashat-siddiqui/, Consultant Specialist Upper Limb Surgeon, will be available to answer your questions on hand and wrist pain, treatments for common ailments and when you should see a specialist.

· Sprained ligaments or muscles · Torn cartilage · Meniscus injuries · Tendon inflammation 1st November 2021 – Shoulder pain with Prof Mo Imam Prof Mo Imam https://www.newvictoria.co.uk/ consultants/mr-mo-imam/, Consultant Specialist Shoulder Surgeon, will be online to discuss shoulder mobility ailments, injuries and tissue inflammation and will offer his expertise to advise on symptoms and treatment options. Shoulder conditions that can be discussed during the webinar include: · Bursitis · Shoulder impingement · Frozen shoulder · Subluxation · Tendon tear

The Royal Borough of

9th November 2021 – Foot & Ankle pain with Mr Tim Sinnett

· Bunions · Ankle sprains · Pain at the ball of your foot

Hand & Wrist conditions that can be discussed during the webinar include: · Carpal tunnel · Arthritis · Numbness in your hand or fingers · Inability to hold objects · Loss of strength, swelling or stiffness If you suffer from joint pain, this is an excellent opportunity to receive free medical advice from our highly specialised Orthopaedic Consultants. Should you have any questions, please call 020 8949 9090 or email New Victoria Hospital at selfpay@newvictoria.co.uk To register for the Patient Webinars visit New Victoria Hospital’s Eventbrite page www.newvictoriahospital.eventbrite.co.uk

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

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Kellye Pilgrim Pilgrim Mortgages & Protection www.pilgrimmortgages.co.uk

my whole career. Now, I take my children to school each morning and pick them up each afternoon. If I want to go for a coffee morning or take an afternoon walk with a friend, I can. I am free.

What has been your greatest business success to date? I left a successful career and retrained in an entirely new field. I left a comfortable and steady income where I was miserable and took a huge risk. I wish I had done it sooner. My greatest business success is watching my business go from strength to strength. I am well established doing standard residential and Buy-To-Let mortgages and I have just gained the qualification that will allow me to do Equity Release.

What has been your lowest moment? There were moments in the beginning of self-doubt. I definitely had imposter syndrome, especially as this is a male dominated industry. I think anyone who makes a major career change goes through this and worries that they won’t be taken seriously or worries about justifying themselves. Also, with this freedom comes fear. If work slows down, there is no safety net.

Tell us a bit about your business?

What motivated you to set up in business?

I run a small boutique Mortgage Brokerage based near Kingston called Pilgrim Mortgages & Protection.

I left a larger company and set up my own business in the middle of lockdown. I was working alone and bringing in my own clients with very little outside support. This independence gave me the confidence to take the leap and set up my own firm.

What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? I have a really personal approach. I speak individually to every one of my clients see them through from start to finish. I don’t hand them off to an admin team. I am there for them every step of the way. Providing 5 star customer service is what drives me and sets me apart from some of the bigger mortgage brokerages.

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What do you like most about working for a start-up? I love my independence! I am free to build and grow my business any way I want to. I am totally flexible. I am a working Mum and I have pushed back against restrictive work schedules and rules

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next year 5 years? I intend to continue to learn and grow both as a person and a business. I would like to continue working with lovely people looking to buy their first homes or extend or move or save money or release equity from their home. It is important to me to maintain my personal approach and do my job with diligence, consideration and care.

What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? Be brave. Put yourself out there. Even if you are mortified at speaking to strangers or in front of people or feel like an imposter… just be brave.


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Do you have joint pain? Get free medical advice from our expert Orthopaedic Surgeons Free Online Patient Webinars Hip, Knee, Shoulder, Foot & Ankle, Hand & Wrist

Register now

www.newvictoriahospital.eventbrite.co.uk

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