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BUSINESS The voice of Kingston’s business community

Issue 9: Summer 2018

Development large and small boosts borough - p16 The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

Patron Membership - p21

Inspirational Leader - p24

The 2018 Kingston Business Expo - p8

Professional training and development programmes to meet your business needs. New for 2018

Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship Popular in 2018 Apprenticeships in HR and HR Consultant/Partner See for further details. 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. Visit us on Stand A2 at the Kingston Expo 2018. South Thames Colleges Group Business Centre


BOROUGH BUSINESS The Kingston Chamber of Commerce magazine for all Businesses in Kingston

Welcome to this Summer edition of Borough Business which is crammed full of articles which highlight, inform and address some of the key issues which are relevant to doing business, not only in Kingston, but across the South London area. In Spring’s edition of the magazine I mentioned my concerns about the increasing level of distress being evidenced within the retail and leisure sectors, both nationally and locally and recent press announcements and business closures have only heightened this concern. Times are definitely changing and as the demand for retail and hospitality services evolves, the way in which businesses function using advanced ICT enabling them to operate within flexible workspace environments advances, Kingston

Patron Members

will need to consider carefully how it will manage its future development to successfully satisfy these new demands. The borough has some great local knowledge and experience within its strategic partnerships and there are some good examples of positive change management in other areas of London that can be drawn on. Kingston has a new council that, I believe, understands the importance of protecting and developing business communities across the Royal Borough to drive job creation that will ensure future prosperity. Understanding the vision and planning for change is one thing but, ultimately, it is commitment and action that drives it and makes things happen. Kingston’s commitment to remain a great place to live, work and be creative has never been in doubt but now is the time for everybody to work together to deliver positive action to ensure it succeeds. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that we are now promoting our membership of London Local Chambers (a network of 18 independent Chambers in the capital), which we have been part of since 2012. With a new Chair of the Forum being appointed this year, members have met and agreed that we should work together more closely on initiatives like joint events which offer wider networking opportunities. Also, where appropriate, LLC, as a combined network, will be able to speak as one voice for all its members when lobbying regional government on key business issues.


In January we launched our Patron Membership Scheme and I am delighted to report that we now have four of our existing members who have upgraded to this exclusive membership package (See article P.21). In addition, I have also had positive discussions with several other key organisations in the borough and am confident they will also join the scheme in the near future. Finally, just a quick reminder about two of our key business events. The first is the Kingston Business Expo which this year has a focus on “Access to Funding”, which frequently can be the stumbling block for businesses looking to grow from Start-Up (see P.8 for more information). The second event is the Business Excellence Awards, which has successfully showcased all that is great about doing business in Kingston since 2012. The closing date for entries is now looming and, whether small or large, new or established, if you want the chance to promote your business at the prestigious Gala Awards evening on 11th October, do please complete your entries without delay. Jerry Irving

CEO Kingston Chamber of Commerce



Welcome to New Members Chamber News Economy Focus on Finance Kingston Business Expo Skills Chamber Events Cover Feature - Construction Patron Membership Ask the Expert Inspirational Leader Health & Wellbeing Top Tips News Starting Up

4 5 6 7 8-10 11-14 15 16-19 21 23 24-26 29 32 33 34

Editorial and General Enquiries Guildhall, High Street Kingston upon Thames. KT1 1EU. 020 8541 4441 Email: Web: Chief Executive: Jerry Irving 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: Web: Published Summer 2018 © Benham Publishing and Kingston Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email:

Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Media No. 1627 Disclaimer

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The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

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. © 2018. 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.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business


join us The Royal Borough of



to our new members

Chamber of Commerce

Addiction Support and Care Agency Ranjit Dhillon

Steve thought his new hypnosis skills might help his networking

Fly, Don't Walk Coaching Sharon Baker Ltd Jeremy Boorer

Greenwoods Residential Sales and Lettings Peter Greenwood

Hutson Executive Coach Nora Hutson

KnowThyBrand Giulia Iannucci

All our members have several things in common; a desire to expand their local network, meet like-minded people, and most importantly to have fun while they are doing it. Come and join us and see for yourself

Rowena Bass BSc FCA Rowena Bass

Shiro Bara Performance Studio Neil Froggatt

Smart Local Marketing Ltd

Nick Rink

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

SureCare (Richmond & Kingston)

Kingston Chamber of Commerce T: 020 8541 4441 E: Connect with us on



Ahmed Meriden

The Over 50s Love Specialist Kingston CoC

Sue Plumtree

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

chamber news New Directors voted on to Chamber board Martin Booth

The Kingston Chamber of Commerce AGM on 23rd May, saw four new directors voted onto the Chamber board

The four new Directors appointed are Mark Attwater from local printers Direct Colour, Martin Booth, content director at LeBoo Media, Chris Hirsch from Wealth Management advisors Holland Hahn & Wills and Sue Towner, director at local accountants Jackson-Scott Associates Ltd. Martin Booth, whose company offers copywriting services to businesses in Kingston and beyond, became a member of the chamber just over a year ago. Martin said: “Joining the Chamber is one of the best business decisions I’ve made in the last year. “It’s not just about the networking events, though they are excellent and

I’ve made loads of contacts and friendships through them. It’s the sheer weight of business expertise and experience it embraces and embodies - and the generosity with which that is shared - that makes the Chamber so valuable to its members. “I’m genuinely proud to be asked to join the board and look forward to helping the Chamber go from strength to strength in any way I can.” Sue Towner also took on the role of FD for the Chamber, but Sue is not just interested in the numbers, she also has a way with words. Sue, who is will know for her verse at Chamber events, shared her latest poem with us:

Forbes Low “Starting in business is a test So you have to give it your best. But if at first you don’t succeed Here’s some advice you need to heed. Don’t feel it’s a failure, keep your nerve, It’s just a blip on the learning curve. Try something new, you must be brave To obtain the success that we all crave. Stay with Chambers, we’re all friends Monitoring business and fiscal trends. You can do it, believe that’s true And business success will come to you”

Is your business a winner? The judges of the Kingston Business Excellence Awards are about to find out, as they are on standby, ready to review the first round of entries in 2018. The Awards, held in association with Willmott Dixon, are organised in partnership with the Royal Borough of Kingston, Kingston Chamber of Commerce and Kingston First and aim to celebrate the successes and achievements of the Royal Borough’s vibrant businesses. Nearly 100 entries have been registered across the 12 different categories and are awaiting the first round of scrutiny which will enable the judges to draw up a shortlist of

finalists. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a further judging day, where they get the opportunity to present their case in a greater detail, and the winners announced a grand Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on October 11th. The awards are sponsored by Willmott Dixon (Headline Sponsor), The Royal Borough of Kingston, Kingston Chamber of Commerce, Kingston First, CNM Estates, Kingston College, McDonalds,

and Warren House. They are also supported by Kingston Burrowes. Companies interested in finding out more about the awards, who wish to book a place at the networking Gala Dinner should contact or call us on 020 8726 7968. More information is available at

Thank you to Mayor Julie Pickering It’s been an amazing year having the Mayor working with us to promote Love Kingston and support the need for a foundation fund in the Borough. Julie has been a fantastic Mayor, full of energy, always smiling and helpful, and forever reaching out to people. We are privileged to have Julie personally commit to working with Love Kingston going

forward and very grateful that she has helped raise around £50K in her Mayoral year. Thank you! Tessa Kind, Love Kingston

Mayor Julie Pickering and Kingston Chamber of Commerce’s CEO, Jerry Irving, at the Mayor’s Charity Ball in aid of Love Kingston

Let's continue to support each other! The Kingston Chamber of Commerce is a fabulous organisation and I am pleased to say we will be exhibiting again at the EXPO this year. We’re very grateful to the business community who help Love Kingston in a variety of ways, supporting our fundraising events, offering services, venues, volunteering and promotion The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

If your business or organisation would like to collaborate, host an event or participate in fundraising activities near you, please contact You may sign up to our e-newsletter on our website at

Serving the business community It is a considerable honour to be appointed the new Chamber President for 2018/19. I am looking forward to serving the business community and I am grateful for the warm support from Chamber members. As a small business owner for 20 years, I have seen the ups and downs of business life. Whether we need a shoulder to lean on or want to celebrate a new client, the Kingston Chamber is a business community there for you. The dedicated team led by Jerry, Wanda, Amanda and Natalie, is focused on delivering the best platform for businesses to start, grow and enjoy their membership. The Chamber is a genuine home for businesses and I encourage any non-members to come on board and share the benefits. One of the perks of being a President is the opportunity to support a charity. It has been a particularly tough time for charities, with media scrutiny, giving fatigue and severe financial cut backs. Yet, within many organisations, there is a selfless desire to help people worse off than ourselves. My chosen charity is ASCA. They are a small organisation supporting people and families who suffer the consequences of addiction issues. I have known Ranjit Dhillion, the CEO, for a number of years and admire her team’s tenacity to provide a better path forward for people in quite desperate situations. With ASCA’s support, opening the door and talking provides the first steps to recovery. Over the year, you will hear me banging the drum to support ASCA; any support you can provide will be appreciated. I look forward to meeting new faces over this next year and also continue enjoying the company of friends from the Chamber. There will be plenty to learn, to challenge and to inspire but if we can work together and encourage, who knows what can be achieved for our businesses! Forbes Low

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


economy Borough Views into Westminster Rt Hon Sir Edward Davey MP (Kingston and Surbiton, Liberal Democrat) A vision for Kingston – urgently needed I’m not the first person in the Borough to say, we need a vision for Kingston’s future. We all know any realistic future will involve change – and include more housing, transport investment, new schools. But without a clear vision, guiding that change, the danger is we see a set of unconnected one-off initiatives driven by expediency and private developers’ profit ambitions, and not by our community with a sense of our own direction. Any sustainable vision for Kingston has to spell out the place of business and enterprise. With Kingston’s high street retail in stiff competition with online and doorstep delivery, I think the need for this new vision is urgent. With the Government continuing to insist on huge business rate increases and with the uncertainty of Brexit hitting investment and demand, these are tough times and we can’t sit around and wait. Creative Kingston?

by graduates of Kingston Polytechnic and now University to Kingston First, as Britain’s first Business Improvement District, there are so many examples of savvy strategic decisions that have made Kingston the wonderful place it is today. And when I survey the Kingston scene today I see so many strengths – not yet fully exploited. We have a business eco-system packed full of self-employed people and small businesses raring to grow. We have Kingston College which has transformed its performance within the last 5 years and able to complement our excellent schools. We have a thriving arts and leisure industry – from the Rose Theatre to the amazing International Youth Arts Festival, not to mention the night-time economy, new hotels and a lively riverfront. And we have greater diversity in our population than ever in our history – to Europe’s largest Korean population to other amazing communities that trace their families back to all corners of the globe.

Any “vision” must speak to Kingston’s history and current strengths.

And the challenges we face aren’t just the changes in retail, the cut backs in the public sector, Brexit and the rest. There’s also the need for more affordable housing, to tackle air pollution and climate change and to provide better health and social care for an ageing population.

From the construction of Kingston’s first bridge to our place in building airplanes, from the many businesses built

So I’d like to kick start an urgent debate about the vision that can wrap all this up – from a Kingston perspective.

So if we need a vision urgently – what might that vision be, and how do we reach agreement on that vision?


And here’s my starter for ten.

Frankly, they’ve got to.

Creative Kingston.

Kingston Council’s finances are in a total mess, especially the education budget.

Now, I know I’m not the first person to have proposed that. The amazing Robin Hutchinson was the first person I heard voice the concept. I like it because it talks to Kingston’s business strengths, to our education prowess, to our developing arts – and to what a future sustainable economy and society will have to be. But what do you think? Marketing waffle or practical action When politicians talk of visions, some people inevitably head for the door, clutching their wallets. And there’s always a danger of engaging in marketing woffle – that never results in anything. But if we can agree a vision fast – and one grounded in practical insight – with specific, realisable actions – this could actually save time and money. We now have a new council administration in the Guildhall – with the largest majority for decades and brimming with new people and fresh talent. I know Liz Green and her colleagues are up for thinking big – and acting fast.

To escape the current pathway to bankruptcy, the new Council will have to act fast. They will have to work with every stakeholder around – from the Chamber to the University, from the Hospital to every resident in the Royal Borough. And if the Council reaches out – and if we were to go for “Creative Kingston”, the questions then are: what will you do to help make that vision happen? What will you create – who will you create with? In other words, I think we have to think creatively – and do things differently. We have to involve our biggest asset in this endeavour: our people. The Council, the Chamber and frankly all the usual suspects and the great and the good have got to embrace the unusual suspects, those who haven’t felt enabled to play a part in the past. Take this article as a call to arms for a vision for Kingston – and an action plan. Whether that’s Creative Kingston – or your vision.

And be creative today. Email me your thoughts. Subject line: Creative Kingston? To: Thank you.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


Winding-up petitions:

Sustainability Barclays Corporate Banking has launched a new loan product designed to help companies pursue sustainable activities.

the end of your business?

Douglas Pinteau

What is a winding-up petition? A winding-up petition is a legal action normally instituted by a creditor who requisitions the court that a debtor company be wound-up. It is a costly process for a creditor to initiate and is often seen as ‘nuclear’ option for enforcing a debt. If a winding up order is subsequently made, the company will be immediately closed, all employees will be made redundant, and a government agent called the Official Receiver (“OR”) is appointed as liquidator to realise assets and investigate the directors. Procedure: A winding-up petition can only validly be issued if a debt of £750 or more is indisputably owed, normally demonstrable by way of an unsatisfied statutory demand. Once issued, the court lists a date for hearing the petition, and the petition is served on the company. The petition is then advertised in the London Gazette in advance of the court hearing.

The move to create the Green Trade Loans follows the bank’s decision late last year to develop more products aimed at boosting investment in green projects. Bank officials say that the Barclays Green Trade Loan will provide support from procurement through to the final sale of goods, allowing companies to better manage their cashflow. The type of goods, services and activities that will qualify for the Barclays Green Trade Loan include working capital funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable waste management projects. Barclays is also working with UKEF, the UK’s export credit agency, to help exporters access the finance that they need to sell their green products and services overseas. Baihas Baghdadi, Global Head of Trade and Working

Capital at Barclays, said: “Late last year, we launched a range of products to encourage more environmentally conscious activity from our clients, but knew that developing a dedicated proposition to meet working capital needs and targeted at increasing sustainable trade was also required to support UK businesses’ aspirations. “We’re proud that the Barclays Green Trade Loan is now available to facilitate more green trade and hope that it will play a big part in building momentum in support of the transition to a low-carbon future.” The new product is the latest example of Barclays’ commitment to unlock access to green finance being driven by its Green Banking Council. Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas, Chair of the Barclays Green Banking Council, said: “The Barclays Green Trade Loan adds to our growing green corporate

banking proposition and furthers our ambition to bring green finance into the mainstream for all our customers and clients.” Goods, services and activities that qualify for Green Trade Loans include: • Projects focused on energy efficiency • Renewable energy • Green transport • Sustainable food, agriculture and forestry • Waste management • Sustainable water The latest launch fits in with the bank’s commitment to sustainability; Barclays was the first UK bank to issue a green bond backed by UK assets and also recently launched the Barclays Green Home Mortgage, giving UK homeowners access to preferential rates for energy efficient properties.

Consequences: Once the petition is advertised in the Gazette, the company’s bank account will be frozen, making it very difficult for the company to continue to trade regardless of whether a winding-up order is subsequently made. If a winding-up order is made, any payment made by the company since the presentation of the petition, or any other disposition of the company’s property is, unless the court otherwise orders, automatically void. If the company believes it will survive, the directors may apply to court for a validation order to allow various classes of transactions to be paid out of the company’s bank account notwithstanding the above provisions. If the company is wound-up by the court the OR will be appointed liquidator. The directors of the company will be called in for interview by the OR to determine the causes for the company’s failure. The OR will also seek to investigate the conduct of the directors, which could ultimately result in one or more of the directors being disqualified from acting as a director or in the promotion, formation or management of a company for a period of up to 15 years. Alternatives If the company is viable then options could include proposing a company voluntary arrangement to bind its unsecured creditors and continue to trade. If the company is not viable then the directors and shareholders can pro-actively place the company into liquidation voluntarily through a creditors’ voluntary liquidation (“CVL”), which usually gives them a greater level of control and avoids the involvement of the court and the OR. Advice Having a winding-up petition issued against your company is among the most serious matters that you can be faced with and it requires immediate attention. If the debt is disputed, you want to try and save your business, or you want to avoid the involvement of the court, then you should seek specialist advice from a licensed insolvency practitioner.

If you wish to learn more, visit our website

More details on how Barclays Corporate Banking is supporting green ambitions can be found at The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


expo 2018

Expo 2018 Knowledge is power The 2018 Kingston Business Expo focuses on bringing knowledge to the business community. The phrase ‘Knowledge is Power’ is often attributed to Francis Bacon way back in 1597, yet even today the skill set needed to run a business is so varied that the phrase seems more relevant than ever. 8

A small business owner has to be the receptionist, HR manager, IT expert, bookkeeper and marketing manager all rolled into one, so how do you learn and keep up to date with all these skills? Well, it was this challenge that led Kingston Chamber to re-design this year’s expo to incorporate such a huge range of impressive free seminars and advice zone.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

One of the more unusual additions to this year’s event is the introduction of the silent speed learning stage. Amanda McLoughlin, organiser of the expo said; “We wanted to keep everything as close to the exhibition floor as possible so that people could easily find the seminars they wanted to attend or could just drop into a session that sounded interesting.

expo 2018 But, to incorporate so many seminars as well as an advisor zone into the event presented a challenge in terms of layout. We wanted the seminars to truly feel like part of the exhibition so hit on the idea of positioning a stage right in the middle of the expo. We realised that this would present an issue with noise, potentially being distracting for exhibitors and difficult for the audience to focus on the speaker, so we have employed silent disco technology, allowing the audience to simply pick up a pair of headphones and tune into the speaker.” All the seminars on the silent speed learning stage are just 15mins long, allowing visitors

to experience a huge range of ‘bite-sized’ topics and take away key actions. On the main stage and workshops rooms there are also longer more in-depth seminars on Marketing, Funding, Health & Wellbeing at Work and IT Security. The introduction of an Advisor Zone has also proved popular, with a range of advisors offering free 30min business advice sessions on a one to one basis. Throw in 40+ exhibitors and a bit of networking and it’s a pretty packed day! One important subject being discussed at this year’s business expo is how you can fund your start-up idea or expanding SME.

“We wanted to keep everything as close to the exhibition floor as possible so that people could easily find the seminars they wanted to attend or could just drop into a session that sounded interesting. But, to incorporate so many seminars as well as an advisor zone into the event presented a challenge in terms of layout. “

Are you a local business?


EXPO2018 the ultimate

Join us!

South London Business Expo

Wednesday 4th July 2018 • FREE to attend Kingston University Business School Register online now or call 020 8541 4441 Follow us on twitter



ORGANISED BY: The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


expo 2018

“The high street bank is usually the most obvious option considered and if you are a profitable established business with a good banking relationship this may be the simplest and most cost effective way to move forward. However, getting a business loan is a lot tougher than a personal loan for a car or home improvement.”

Funding the growth of your business Funding is a vital part of business growth, but what is the right type of funding for your business and how do you access it? Identifying the best route to finance can depend heavily on what stage your business is at, the options available to a start-up looking for an initial investment may be very different to an established business looking to expand, purchase a property or simply get a shortterm bridging loan. The high street bank is usually the most obvious option considered and if you are a profitable established business with a good banking relationship this may be the simplest and most cost effective way to move forward. However, getting a business loan is a lot tougher than a personal loan for a car or home improvement. Banks have some tough criteria that you will need to satisfy and you will be required to submit supporting documentation and security for the loan. As a start


up, bank loans are more difficult to secure and if the numbers don’t add up then no matter how good the idea is, you are unlikely to succeed. If it is proving difficult to get the funding you need from a bank then an independent commercial broker might be a good option. Essentially they can offer immediate access to alternative lenders and Private Banks who all have funds available to lend and are keen to support the right proposition. They can advise you on what a financier looks for and will often help you tailor the application to ensure it appeals to the right investors. They can often offer additional services, if required, such as property valuations, insurances and the legal support necessary to complete the transaction. Interest rates may be higher on this type of lending but can often offer access to funding quickly. Similarly, Funding circle, the UK’s no.1 platform for small

business loans, connects creditworthy businesses looking for finance with people and organisations with money to lend. Loans are funded by a community of thousands of investors, including individuals, local government and other institutions. Funding Circle offers businesses a quick and easy online application process and a decision within 24 hours. A less traditional yet increasingly popular funding option, especially for start-ups is crowd funding. The concept is fairly simple, a business can use an online platform to take a large number of small investments to reach a target amount. Individuals or organisations who invest in (or donate to) crowdfunding projects usually get a share in the business or a specific reward in return for investment. The reason this is

such a popular and effective method of fundraising is that there is a smaller risk for investors (because they usually invest small amounts) and it rewards unique and interesting business ideas and propositions. One local entrepreneur who successfully used crowdfunding to help them launch a business was Filippo Selini from local café, Canbury Secret. The project regenerated a derelict toilet block in the picturesque Canbury Gardens into a successful seasonal café. Filippo will be joining the panel discussion at this year’s expo alongside: Peter Baker, Global Trade and Receivables Finance Manager at HSBC; Tom Eilon, Head of Commercial for Funding Circle; and Bruce Burrowes, an independent Commercial Finance broker.

For the full seminar programme and exhibitor list for this year’s Kingston Business Expo, please visit

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


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Through that exposure I developed a deep passion for cultures that resulted in an academic thesis and speaking platform (including funny stories about how “not” to do it!). Professionally, I’ve been a senior advisor and coach in corporate environments for the last 12 years leading global transformations in businesses across more than 70 countries. The rich experience gained through both personal and professional transformation has led to a deep passion for partnering with others in their own journey of change, in business and in life. Through speaking engagements, facilitating workshops, coaching or consulting, I customise an approach with clients focused on developing courage for change, authenticity and getting back to what matters most. If this sounds like what you’re seeking for yourself or your business, let’s start a conversation to see how we can tailor the right solution.

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BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


skills It’s all change, or is it? Vocational, Technical or Professional Education – what name shall we use? David Hillier, Assistant Principal Apprenticeships and HE at Kingston College Despite the ongoing distractions of BREXIT negotiations (both within the UK political parties and with the EU) the government continues its seemingly never ending tinkering with the education system – more grammar schools, additional places for pupils at high performing schools, the launch of T levels in 2020/2021, the major review of post-18 education resulting from the electoral impacts of high tuition fees and, of course, as has been written about in a number of previous Borough Business articles, the Apprenticeship Levy. Then there is the question of what we call training and education that is designed to create our skilled employees and workers of the future – is it still called “vocational education”, or the newer “T” word – “technical education” or that more old fashioned word “professional education and training”? The Apprenticeship Levy and the introduction of the new apprenticeship standards are moving forward more slowly than the government may have hoped – BBC News reported on 19 April 2018 that “One year since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, the latest figures show there has been a 24% fall in the number of people starting in-work training. The scheme was supposed to create 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. Instead it is causing "confusion and frustration" among employers, according to the British Chambers of Commerce. The Department for Education (DfE) said the scheme was increasing the number of quality and higher level placements and that employers were embracing new higher standards for apprenticeships, ranging from butchers to solicitors”. This article will focus on the education and training available to employers, their staff and those aspiring to a new career that endure, and whilst subject to yet another government review (the succinctly named Level 4/5 Review), remain popular and respected routes to successful careers and for employers provide recognisable and proven forms of education and training.


Higher National Certificates and Diplomas (HNC/Ds) vocational qualifications with a focus on “learning by doing”. Generally “exam free”, with practical and industrial sector contextualised assessment, and offered part time at Further Education Colleges (in 2016 approx. 15,000 student were studying for HNC/Ds) these qualifications are well recognised by employers and valued by the students (employees) studying them. At Kingston College more than 100 part time students study HNC/Ds in a range of engineering subjects. The opportunity to “subsequently top up” to a full Honours Degree is one of the many attractions of these enduring qualifications. Foundation Degrees – In February 2017 the consumer magazine, “Which University”, published an article explaining that “you may not have heard of foundation degrees, but they are worth investigating if you’re looking for a flexible qualification that combines academic study with work-based learning”. The article continued, “A foundation degree (Fd) is equivalent to two-thirds of a bachelor’s degree and is worth 240 credits. It’s great if you like learning on-the-job, but also want to gain a recognised qualification for your CV. It gives you a unique opportunity to develop knowledge and skills that relate directly to the workplace, and you can even top it up to gain a bachelor’s degree at the end.” Whilst “Which University” focussed on the attraction for the student in terms of their career development many employers support and fund their employees to study part time for a Foundation Degree alongside work as part of their training and development. At Kingston College more than 300 students study at the College for a range of Foundation Degrees offered in collaboration with university partners including Kingston University, University of West London

and the University of Chichester. Foundation Degrees in Business, Early Years (Education), Leadership and Management (in Early Years Education), Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Practice, and Health and Social Care all provide part time education and training (over just 2 years) which offer both career routes for the employee and training and upskilling for the employer in specialist, and in the case of Business, a very wide range of sectors. Introduced in 2001, more than 12,000 people were studying for these degrees in colleges in 2017 (an increase of 75% on the number in 2007). Honours degrees studied over 3 or more years are often considered as qualifications studied by those leaving school and college, before they commence their careers. However, more than 6,000 students were studying part time at a further education college for an honours degree in 2017 mostly alongside work (some “topping up” their foundation degree or HND). At Kingston College the 10 year collaboration with Middlesex University has provided the opportunity for part time study of the BA (Hons) Integrative Relational Counselling empowering more than 200 graduates over that time to launch and develop new careers. Professional qualifications way back in the late 1970s, in an earlier career, the author of this article completed his Associateship of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB) at Kingston College. Whilst the range of such courses of offer has reduced there are still important professional qualifications available for those wishing to specialise in their career and for those employers and situations where a formal qualification is required. During weekday evenings students at Kingston College study for these industry acclaimed qualifications (some as part of an apprenticeship);

• The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) remains “The professional body for HR and people development” with more than 145,000 members around the world. • The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is the “professional association for 20,000 Chartered Legal Executive lawyers, paralegals and other legal practitioners in England and Wales. Offering access to a flexible career in law CILEx is recognised as one of the three core approved regulators of the legal profession alongside barristers and solicitors”. Often the opportunity for such professional accreditation is provided as part of another programme; • The BA (Hons) Integrative Relational Counselling, mentioned above, is an accredited course of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). • The College’s recently launched Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship provides the opportunity to also gain a Level 5 Management and Leadership qualification from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Whilst these education and training qualifications remain robust and respected some of the hype of the government’s apprenticeship drive and the challenges of a working world which has become ever more frenzied has meant that the light has perhaps not shone on these excellent opportunities as much as someone as the author of this article, who himself benefited from such training, and who witnesses each year hundreds of young, and not so young people who are either employees or aspiring employees also benefit, would wish. A chance for you to hear more about such opportunities takes place at The Chamber’s 4 July 2018 Kingston Expo’s silent speed learning stage.

Kingston College is hosting an Apprenticeship Breakfast on Thursday 5 July 2018 (8.00-10.00am – arrive by 8.10am to gain maximum benefit). Register to attend at

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

skills Hillcroft College –

seven months on from merger Little-known educational institute Hillcroft College, formerly known as the Residential College for Working Women, has been situated on Southbank, just up the hill from Surbiton Station, since 1926.

Hillcroft offers opportunities for women to access education, including access and qualification courses, or simple employability skills. As a residential College, it enables women to stay on site (bringing children with them if they need to) focusing solely on study for up to three days at a time – often throughout an entire year.

To achieve its mission, the College benefits from a rare governmental funding designation, the Special Designate Institute. This means that for most learners, residential educational opportunities can be provided for free. In October 2017, Hillcroft College merged with Richmond Adult Community College to create Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College. Changes have included a push to deliver more leisure courses at Hillcroft (non-residential courses which are not women-only), for example philosophy, art and languages. Standard classrooms have been converted into an Art Studio and a Teaching Kitchen, enabling a wider range of subjects to be taught. Greater use is being made of spare classroom space at Hillcroft as meeting rooms for external hire, and more bespoke business training is being delivered in the Kingston-Surbiton area. For further information visit:

Warrens Bakery has announced that Kingston upon Thames is the next home for its award-winning traditional bakes.

The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

You have to make decisions that you often feel horribly ill-equipped to make. And, of course, you need to develop your team. An amazing, close knit, high performing team. And it’s not only new managers that find it hard. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been in the role a while and you’re still struggling. You’re not alone! Here are a couple of things to remember 1. Small changes can make a huge difference You don’t have to implement everything you read in leadership books. Be realistic and start with one or two small things. But do take action. And be consistent. This bit is key! Don’t give up as soon as it feels hard.

You don’t have to be an extrovert or a ‘people person’. You just need to be self-aware enough to understand the impact you have on others, and why others impact you in the way they do. Take some time to think about personalities around you and let that drive how you work with them. Trust me, this is the secret sauce to management!

brings taste of the South West to Kingston Upon Thames

Louise Moye, Head of Marketing at Provenance Brands which includes Warrens Bakery, said: “We are delighted to be opening our fifth store in the Capital, in Kingston upon Thames, in partnership with local residents Faisal and Nazma Jamal. We’re looking forward to sharing the best of British craft baking with Kingston upon Thames’ residents and are eager to open the store’s doors and welcome our first customers.” Faisal and Nazma Jamal are thrilled to bring a traditional British craft bakery to their

From day one, you’re expected to know how to delegate, give feedback and coach underperforming team members.

2. Anyone can be a good manager (if they want to be)

Artisan Craft Bakery

The new bakery is located on Fife Road opposite the train station and creates ten jobs for local residents. Opening in partnership with local husband and wife team, Faisal and Nazma Jamal, the store will showcase the artisan bakery’s famous range of pasties, sweet and savoury treats, tasty breakfast goods and freshly-made sandwiches and breads. Established in 1860, Warrens Bakery is the oldest bakery in Cornwall and recognised as the world’s oldest Cornish pasty maker.

Managing people is hard!

home in Kingston upon Thames. At Warrens Bakery they use recipes and hand crafted skills that have been passed down from generation to generation. With more than 150 years of baking experience, Warrens Bakery’s hard work and dedication has seen them acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading craft bakeries. Most recently they were finalists in the prestigious Craft Business Award in the Baking Industry Awards 2015 and 2017 and also won a haul of awards at the 2016 British Pie Awards and World Pasty Championships.

I coach new to mid-level managers to help them thrive in their role. I also work with small business owners who need to develop an amazing team to make their big dream a reality. We start with that secret sauce and then work through the challenges that are causing pain. If you want to feel more confident as a manager and develop techniques to make this whole management thing easier, then contact me for a chat to see how I can help.

Debbie Yarwood

07946 478042

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


Quality adult education resource on your doorstep! Kingston Adult Education have been delivering quality courses for over 50 years. Our courses are taught by highly skilled practitioners who are experts in their field. We deliver over 600 courses per year and have 150 experienced staff. We have been awarded a Grade 2 "Good" by Ofsted and are an accredited examination centre for CIty & Guilds, NCFE, Pearson, CACHE, Edexcel and OCN. We want to use our skills and expertise to benefit Kingston's employers. Investing in training for staff makes staff feel valued, increases retention, improves mental health and creates a culture of learning and developing.

Training helps staff to implement new ideas, deal with change, introduce more efficient ways of working and create healthy staff relationships. Kingston Adult Education can help you develop your training strategy and programme so that your workforce has the skills and drive to meet the demands of an ever competitive and changing economy. You have the benefit of our quality adult education resource on your doorstep - why not take advantage? We can deliver training to build skills and/or obtain professional qualifications. The qualifications we deliver include: Interpreting, IT,

English (for both native speakers and those whose English is not their first language), Mathematics, Health & Social Care, Childcare, Teaching Assistants, Computerised Accounts and Book Keeping. In addition to qualifications we can deliver training in Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, Social Media, Arts and Crafts, Photography, Reducing Stress, Meditation, Health and Fitness, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish! We can also offer dyslexia support for any staff who would like tips and techniques on how to manage dyslexia and we can support you

with staffing restructures by supporting staff being made redundant with CV development and Interview Skills. Having many years experience, we can also deliver training in developing and delivering presentations for staff with client facing roles. Kingston Adult Education can work with you to provide the training to meet your needs contact us for all your one to one or group training needs and see the difference it brings to your workforce.

Bespoke Training for Employees We have 100s of skilled tutors with a range of expertise ready to upskill your workforce!

Chris Cox

Tel: 020 8547 6721

Is your company going through a lot of change?

Do you have clients, offices or colleagues abroad?

Do you want a strong and resilient workforce? We deliver training in staff wellbeing to provide staff/management with the tools for resilience and practical ideas for coping with everyday stresses and changes.

Would you like to strengthen IT skills across the company?

Would you like to improve English skills within your business?

We deliver training in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. Learn anything from common phrases or an introduction to the language through to fluent speaking, reading and writing. We deliver training in Computerised Accounts, Excel, Word, Access, PowerPoint, Twitter, Facebook and other online platforms. We can tailor the training to you for any length of time from 1 or 2 days up to regular weekly sessions.

Looking for team building activities?

We have a fantastic pottery / ceramics / sculpture studio and an art studio with highly qualified tutors who can tailor make activities to ensure that your day is a success. We deliver training in spoken or written English from first words through to fluency. Do staff need to read safety signs? Important notices? Speak with colleagues? We can tailor our resources to your industry.

We can deliver training on your premises or at our centres on a 1-1 basis or to a group of staff.

Just give us a call to find out more!

020 8547 6700 14

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

chamber events Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge

Wych Networking (Formerly Canbury Coffee) Wednesday 11th July The Wych Elm 93 Elm Road, Kingston upon Thames KT2 6HT A new venue for our well established networking morning for freelancers, home based start-ups, and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Kingston area. Get out of the house and tell people about your business, swap expertise, experiences, advice and contacts with other local talent.

Sunday 22nd July Canbury Gardens, Kingston upon Thames The annual Dragon Boat Challenge organised by the Rotary Club of Kingston has become a highlight of the summer activities on the river. In this year’s festival over 60 teams will be competing to win the Dragon Boat Challenge Cup, whilst raising over £50,000 for charity. Kingston is now the largest dragon boat event of this kind in the whole country. In addition, there will be stalls and bouncy castles to make it a great family day out.

Local Chambers Networking Thursday 16th August Warren House A rare opportunity to network with our neighbouring businesses. This is a joint event between Kingston and Merton Chambers of Commerce. Enjoy drinks and canapes in this beautiful venue, surrounded by four acres of beautiful ornamental gardens.

July Networking Breakfast

September Networking Breakfast

Wednesday 18th July Glenmore House

Thursday 13th September Venue TBc

August Networking Breakfast Thursday 9th August On board with Turk Launches.

Wych Networking Wednesday 19th September The Wych Elm 93 Elm Road, Kingston upon Thames KT2 6HT

For further details go to The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


cover feature

Curzon Cinemas to anchor ÂŁ20m leisure offering at The Bentall Centre The Curzon Cinemas will open at The Bentall Centre in Kingston next Autumn, adding to the rapidly increasing leisure and dining offering at the complex. 16

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

cover feature The Cinema has agreed a 25-year lease for 14,731 sq ft of space, across three floors, for a four-screen boutique cinema, seating more than 200 film-goers, with a rooftop terrace bar, restaurant and views across the town and beyond. With construction due to commence in Summer 2018, the new cinema is expected to open in Autumn 2019. The Bentall Centre currently employs more than 2,000 staff, which will increase significantly with the creation of temporary construction and permanent retail jobs. Sam Eastwood, Centre Director, said: “The Bentall Centre has been the prominent shopping destination in Kingston for the past 25 years. It has played a central role in the local community and is committed to engaging and collaborating with the people it serves.

NYX, The Entertainer, with Mango next on the cards. Sam Eastwood said: “The redevelopment project includes a host of new stores and restaurants being introduced, along with the general enhancement and modernisation of the centre. We are focusing heavily on enhancing our customer experience; this includes a significant training programme and the introduction of a concierge desk.” The Bentall Centre opened in 1992 in the heart of Kingston and today is a prime retail destination for the town with an annual footfall of more than 13.4 million shoppers (or 258,000 weekly). The centre comprises of more than 80 units arranged over four trading levels and 640,000 sq.ft. It is anchored by a 365,000 (33,910 sq.m.) Bentall Department Store (part of the Fenwick Group). Other tenants include And Other Stories, New Look, Zara Home, Apple, WH Smith, Hollister, Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, COS and Dune. Development large and small boosts borough

“Over this time, we have successfully evolved the centre by enhancing our retail offering and providing new facilities to meet the ever increasing needs of our customers.

Although it can be the bigger, often high-rise or commercial, developments that grab the headlines in Kingston, smaller ones can make a big impact as well.

“This £20m development demonstrates our confidence in Kingston and the opportunity to support the future growth of the town.

For example, vacant commercial units on Bonner Hill Road are being replaced with 20 new homes.

“We are delighted to welcome Curzon Cinemas to the centre, they will bring an unrivalled cinema experience for our customers, adding a new dimension to our combined offering with our retail brand line-up!” The centre is home to 75 leading retail and leisure brands, including Zara, H&M, Hugo Boss, Superdry, Yo!Sushi and the Fenwick-operated Bentalls Department Store. Curzon is the latest in a series of high profile brands to take space, or expand their existing space, at The Bentall Centre with new arrivals over the past six months including West Elm, The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

Richmond Housing Partnership says all properties on the site will be available for local people at affordable rents and Kingston Council’s Development Committee approved the plans having heard that the existing buildings were not equipped for modern business use and were located in a quiet, residential neighbourhood unlikely to attract employers. They were previously used by Fine Foods International as offices and ancillary warehouse space, although the company relocated in March 2017 due to the commercial constraints of the site and its surroundings, together with the age and inefficient layout of the buildings.

Artists impression of Bentalls interior The committee approved the plan for the development, which will have an appearance in keeping with the surrounding area, including nearby Grade II listed Kingston Cemetery. Construction companies are also hard at work improving the area’s cycling network. For instance, a 1.2 km cycling and walking path along the railway line linking New Malden to Raynes Park in Merton has been given the go-ahead. The route is being created as part of the Royal Borough of Kingston’s Go Cycle programme, which is driving sustainable transport improvements in the borough. The application was submitted by Sustrans, the national sustainable transport charity, on behalf of the council. It aims to deliver a direct and quiet traffic-free route between Kingston and Merton, (New Malden railway station and Raynes Park Recreation Ground) which specifically overcomes difficulties for pedestrians and cyclists caused by the A3.

New Malden High Street and the 3km Kingston to New Malden route, from Cambridge Road to Fountain Roundabout, to improve safety and connectivity for cyclists and walkers on this key route. Construction is also under way on the Go Cycle route to extend the two-way Portsmouth Road cycle route towards the town centre. The works are part of the £30 million Mayoral investment in the Kingston Go Cycle programme. The new cycle lane and improvements to public space will be constructed on the High Street between the junction with South Lane and the north side of the Kingston Hall Road/High Street roundabout. Construction work on the Kingston High Street scheme continues through the summer.

The path is on land owned by Thames Water, running parallel to the railway line and passing under the A3 Kingston bypass. As well as providing a new transport link, the proposed path also opens up access to flora and fauna along the corridor. It also involves the installation of a new ramped access path that connects the new path with the existing footbridge. The project complements existing work taking place under Go Cycle, including traffic calming and space-making on

Artists impression of New Malden Go Cycle

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


cover feature

Encouragement amid challenging times Recent surveys have offered some encouragement to the construction sector. in London, although constraints on funding and the lack of sufficiently skilled workers remains an obstacle for many businesses, particularly with regard to professional services such as quantity surveying. Despite the constraints that firms have been facing recently, surveyors remain relatively upbeat; 46% of respondents expect workloads and employment levels, respectively, to continue to rise over the coming 12 months. Another new survey suggests that there is a growing divide in the commercial property market between the performance of retail property and the industrial sector.

According to the results of the Q1 2018 RICS Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey, workloads remained resilient despite bad weather and a weaker short-term economic outlook in the first quarter of 2018. The report, seen as a barometer for the construction industry, said that in Q1 2018, 23% more chartered surveyors reported that their workloads had risen as opposed to fallen. While 63% of respondents noted bad weather conditions as a limiting factor, it was not enough to slow the pace of growth. The RICS quarterly series has now indicated moderate but steady growth for the past four quarters, something supported by the positive expectations


expressed by surveyors in their forecasts a year ago. In the early part of 2018, workloads increased across all subsectors, with both new work and repair and maintenance activity rising steadily. Private housing reported the strongest rise in workloads with 36% more respondents citing an increase - the most positive since the beginning of 2016. This contrasted with the public sector where the pace of workloads slowed. In infrastructure, 21% more contributors reported a rise rather than a fall in activity, and nationally, respondents expect the rail and energy categories to post the most significant increases over the coming 12 months. Workloads are now reported to be increasing across all geographic regions, including

According to the Q1 2018 RICS UK Commercial Property Market Survey, tenant demand is declining in the retail sector whereas industrial demand is still solid and there has been a marginal improvement in the office sector. While overall occupier demand was unchanged in Q1, the sector breakdown shows demand for industrial space still rising, with 31% of respondents noting an increase.

This contrasts sharply with retail, in which demand not only declined further but at an accelerating rate; 43% of respondents saw a fall in demand for retail property, which is the weakest reading since 2009. In the investment market, enquiries rose for a seventh successive report, with demand increasing strongly for industrial assets, marginally for offices, but falling in the retail segment. Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said: “It has been hard to escape the grim news from the high street in recent months with a whole host of well-known names either closing down or looking to scale back their footprint. The results from our latest survey of chartered surveyors suggests that this challenging environment is unlikely to let up anytime soon.” The year ahead picture does look more positive, however, with 17% of estate agents who contributed to the survey anticipating an increase in sales over the next year at the national level.

“It has been hard to escape the grim news from the high street in recent months with a whole host of well-known names either closing down or looking to scale back their footprint. The results from our latest survey of chartered surveyors suggests that this challenging environment is unlikely to let up anytime soon.”

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

cover feature ‘Time to help the smaller builders’ says federation A key housebuilders’ organisation has called for more to be done to help smaller building companies take advantage of the planned increase in new housebuilding, including in London.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) was responding to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after he announced a green paper, entitled ‘Housing for the Many’, setting out the Labour Party’s strategy to fix the housing crisis. Centred on social housing, the paper aims to deliver one million genuinely affordable homes over ten years, the majority of which will be earmarked for social rent. The Conservative Government has also committed to more housebuilding but, according to the National Federation of Builders, greater involvement of smaller companies is required if such initiatives are to succeed. It says that in 1970, when Britain built more than 350,000 homes a year, strong partnerships between the private and public sector played a crucial role and local builders, typically SMEs, delivered many of the homes. Since 1970, an estimated 66% of SMEs have gone out of business, taking away councils’ The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

capacity to stimulate affordable housing, says the federation.

Burgess Glass, offering glass products and glazing services to every project We are a family run business and have been operating in and around Kingston for over 40 years. Started in 1974 and moved into our current premise in 1986. We have intimate relationships with many small businesses and tradesman past and present and many of Kingston’s local residents.

We’re always delighted to help trade or residential customers with their enquiries, whether they already have a detailed specification or just want to chat to someone about their initial ideas.

Whether you need a bespoke shower screen, a glass balustrade, a customised splashback, a replacement window panel, an entire glass roof or a mirror designed to fit a specific piece of furniture, or any other glass or glazing service, we’re here to help.

All our products are supplied to the very highest of specifications and meet all applicable regulations and safety legislation requirements.

Based on the outskirts of Kingston upon Thames, we work alongside architects, engineers, interior designers and developers of exceptional homes and commercial spaces across London and the South East of England.

We’re genuinely passionate about our business and about delivering exceptional products and customer service. Please call us or visit our website and see what we can do for you.

Our professional team has more than 100 years combined experience in the glass and glazing trade and we utilise the very latest cutting-edge technologies to bring our clients the very best solutions in glass and glazing.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram for updates of our work. Thank you from everyone at Burgess glass and we hope to hear from you soon.

The federation says that, although local authorities are now key to stimulating that recovery, far too many remain wedded to volume development and over-regulation of the planning process. With housing associations, community land trusts and self-builders also hindered by these barriers, it is important that politicians do more to understand how and why homes get built, says the NFB. Richard Beresford, chief executive, said: “Construction SMEs train and retain two-thirds of apprentices and employ within fifteen miles of their head offices. “In 1970, SMEs were seen as imperative partners but, in 2018, their expertise is not being utilised to full potential to increase housing delivery. With planning devolved to local authorities, the NFB encourages decision makers to better understand the development and plan-making process. This is the only way to truly build housing for the many.”

Bespoke Glass Products and Glazing Services to Suit Every Domestic and Commercial Project Whether you are looking for a bespoke shower screen, glass balustrade, customised splashback, replacement window panel, entire glass roof, mirror designed to fit a specific piece of furniture or any other glass or glazing service, we can help.

Telephone: 020 8546 2551 Website: Email:

Burgess Glass, 63 Alfred Road, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey. KT1 2TZ

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


Find the hidden costs in your business By Christopher Gruen, SigmaSurge CEO It’s a busy life when you run your business. Sales targets need to be hit, customers and internal stakeholders all have requirements, support teams need your help…and, oh, our operational and maintenance costs targets need to be stretched. With multiple priorities fighting for attention in what little time there is available, no wonder many organisations have adapted the automation of work processes and welcomed digital tools into their lives. That´s great for the obvious key processes such as managing a sale or making a delivery. We are expected to operate a range of systems and if lucky, some form of MI application (if not that mega spreadsheet from our Finance guru) will eventually tell us if we did well.

However, many processes are still not measured which makes it impossible to identify a problem and to eventually convert it into a true improvement opportunity. The result being: managers only react to past events. Often, this reaction happens too late and you end up constantly firefighting. Also, with the absence of the right data we are not even aware of unnecessary cost occurrences which impact our financials. What if help is available to show your business how to save a bit more money without doing much? Won’t these extra savings help your bottom line and the business to hit the financial goals, but more so give way to extra funds which can be used for expansion? There are many ways on how we can help you to drive efficiency into your operation. And today, I’m here to tell you where you can find some extra savings the EASY way by managing the energy you use. It’s about Energy Intelligence being part of your business. Similar to operating a household, there should be an awareness of how we use energy and where. Are we paying too much for electricity – not just because of the rates but also, because we never really took time to think about our


energy use? Do you know which equipment is very electricity hungry or kept on unnecessarily? Is your staff mindful enough to conserve energy and do they even have time to do this? How can my maintenance team keep visibility across multiple sites? It takes the combination of technology and behavioral change to experience real sustainable energy efficiencies. SigmaSurge is a UK technology start-up that aims to be your

partner in finding efficiencies and savings for your operations. We work with companies – large and small – to find real benefits starting with an in-depth audit that provides real, actionable recommendations for your business. So, shall we help you to take the first step? Follow Chris Gruen on LinkedIn and find out more about SigmaSurge at


BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

In the last issue of Borough Business we announced the launch of our new Patron membership, with its unique opportunities to raise company profile and engage at a higher level. The Chamber is delighted to confirm that two further companies have become Patron supporters: SAIPEM – a world leader in the oil and gas industry

FORBES DESIGN – a graphic design company,

with their British HQ in Kingston. SAIPEM provides engineering, project management and construction services for both on and off shore projects.

with a focus on trade associations, not-for-profit, medical technology and charitable organisations. They specialise in branding, event marketing and identity design.

But what does patronage actually mean to the businesses who choose to support the Chamber in this way and how do they benefit? We asked Patron Member, Mike Smith, Owner and Director of McDonald’s Restaurants in The Royal Borough of Kingston. “As an experienced businessman I was excited when presented with the opportunity to take on the challenge of four McDonalds Restaurants in the Royal Borough of Kingston. Three years on I am delighted to be a Patron of The Kingston Chamber of Commerce. I operate restaurants in six different London Boroughs and can honestly say the Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber is one of the most

Mike Smith with former Mayor, Councillor Julie Pickering

supportive, interactive and forward thinking I have had the pleasure of working with. It was a privilege to welcome the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and other members of the local community to our Grand Reopening of my Bentalls Centre Restaurant recently. We have invested heavily in upgrading our restaurants to provide a fantastic experience for our customers. We were able to show off the new Alphabet design scheme in the dining area (which now even includes table service!!!) as well as the innovative changes made to the kitchen and staff areas. This is a very unique part of London and being a Patron of the Chamber of Commerce has given me some wonderful insights into the Borough. However, as with any business, the challenges are a continuous cycle of improvements. Therefore, I am grateful and privileged to work alongside the Kingston Chamber, The Mayor’s Office and other local institutions to help make a positive impact on our local community.

Remember..... “If you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours”!! (Ray Kroc)”

Mike Smith, with McDonalds team at the official relaunch in Bentalls Centre Restaurant

Being a Patron member means different things to different businesses, the benefits are as unique as the organisations themselves, so we tailor these on a bespoke basis for each of our Patron members. Large companies are often keen to take an influential and prominent role in the local business community, but smaller businesses also have much to gain from high profile networking and the Chamber’s connections and influence. Forbes Low, Founder and Director of Forbes Design says: “I am a firm believer in all that the Chamber represents and the ambitions they have to support Borough businesses, large or small.

The high-level opportunities to gain increased visibility and promotion is always worthwhile, particularly for a small business. Yet, of greater importance, is that it gives us the chance to genuinely contribute to the community, to say how much we believe in the Chamber and, in turn, create a healthier business environment for all.” You may have noticed we’ve updated our website and communications to recognise our Patron supporters. Patron Members enjoy an extensive range of benefits, including Patron only events to allow for high level and strategic introductions and networking.

If you would like to find out more about this opportunity, please get in touch with Natalie Crew on 020 8541 4441 or email More information is available on our website

+ forbesdesign The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community



BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

ask the expert Could Acupuncture Be Right for You? For thousands of years, acupuncture has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to restore and maintain the health of countless individuals. In the traditional approach to acupuncture offered at Irrefutable Health, we focus on relieving blockages of your Qi, or energy, that circulates in the body. What to Expect

Dr Gul Rukh Acupuncturist and Member of the British Medical Acupuncture Society

Irrefutable Health

The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

Each treatment is personalised to the individual, not the illness. We look at the interconnected nature of the body, starting with a full medical history and utilising several different diagnostic methods for a complete picture of your health. We then devise a customised treatment plan targeting certain acupuncture points as appropriate to your diagnosis. Extremely fine needles are inserted into the skin. Most people don’t feel a thing when they go in, but the power they have in stimulating the nerves under your skin and muscles is highly impactful. Natural chemicals including pain-relieving endorphins are released, relieving a broad range of conditions. How acupuncture works

Western science suggests there are three main reasons for the healing effects of acupuncture:

● Several types of the body’s own opioids may be released into the central nervous system during acupuncture treatment, thereby reducing pain. ● Acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by releasing neurotransmitters and neurohormones, and has been documented to affect the parts of the central nervous system related to the regulation of blood pressure, blood flow and body temperature. ● The circulation of blood can be altered by acupuncture, resulting in the removal of pain-causing chemicals and restoring normal function to the area being treated. Many of our clients feel a relieving sensation after just one treatment, but it usually takes several sessions to achieve a longer-lasting result.

Benefits of acupuncture

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the UK recommends considering acupuncture as a treatment option for chronic tension-type headaches and migraines. Acupuncture is also commonly used to treat other musculoskeletal and pain conditions including chronic, joint, dental and postoperative pain. Many clients have acupuncture to relieve stress, improve sleep or aid weight loss and for smoking cessation. Acupuncture can be used as a preventative form of healthcare in maintaining good health and wellbeing, as well as complementing conventional and alternative options such as chiropractic care without the side effects that can be associated with pain medication.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


inspirational leader

Kingston theatre celebrates tenth anniversary in style The Rose Theatre Kingston is celebrating its tenth anniversary - no mean feat for a playhouse which has to compete with everything from the West End to Netflix. 24

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

inspirational leader Having first opened its doors in 2008 under the leadership of founding Artistic Director Sir Peter Hall, the theatre has been celebrating the anniversary with a season of work including the world première of Nick Dear’s double-bill Hogarth’s Progress: The Art of Success and The Taste of the Town, and Much Ado About Nothing led by Mel Giedroyc and John Hopkins. For Chief Executive Robert O’Dowd, the continuing success of the theatre is down to an abiding belief in the power of high quality drama to attract audiences, something which Sir Peter himself passionately championed. Robert, who is also ViceChairman of Kingston First and a recent Executive member of the Chamber of Commerce, said: “In just ten years, the Rose has gone from strength to strength and changed the theatrical landscape of South West London. “I think one of our strengths is that, as a producing house, we are continually seeking out strong drama. “A lot of the West End theatres tend to rely on musicals but we do not stage musicals and that differentiates us from them. “We are very much casting-led and we know that plays featuring people like Judy

Dench will attract the audiences. Our motto is world class theatre on your doorstep.” That doorstep includes Kingston, Richmond and Wimbledon as well as into Surrey and the theatre has also been starting plays at 8pm on Fridays so that people working in central London can get there in time. Robert said: “We know that, if you are working in central London, you might not get out of work until past six and may find it easier to walk along to a central London theatre so we do what we can to help them catch our show. “By starting a show at 8pm, we give them that extra half hour to get to the theatre rather than stay in London.” The determination to stage theatre in Kingston was also what drove Sir Peter Hall. Sir Peter, who died last year, was seen by many as the most

pioneering and influential directors and producers of the post-war era in a career that spanned more than half a century. He founded the Royal Shakespeare Company and, during his tenure as Director of the National Theatre, oversaw the move from the Old Vic and established the company in its new home on the South Bank. Having directed the first English language production of Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot, Peter Hall became a champion of new writing with world premieres of works by Harold Pinter (The Homecoming, No Man’s Land and Betrayal) and Peter Shaffer (Amadeus) among others. Under his leadership as Artistic Director, Rose Theatre Kingston emerged as a leading producing theatre in the UK and the largest producing theatre in south west London. Notable productions since opening include Peter Hall’s memorable staging of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring Judi Dench, an extraordinary revival of the legendary Peter Hall and John Barton 1963 adaptation of The Wars of the Roses directed by Trevor Nunn, Zach Helm’s Good Canary directed by John Malkovich and, most recently, the first stage adaptation and world premiere of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend directed by Melly Still.

Sir Peter Hall For Robert O’Dowd, such productions have to be high quality because the Rose is not just competing with other theatres in its area and the West End but also with the rapid advance of digital technology. He said: “I think that our main competition is Netflix, where you can turn on and watch high quality Shakespeare being performed by the likes of Eddie Redmayne and all without leaving your living room. “The theatre world has not yet worked out how we deal with digital. There is a real danger that we will lose the under-35s to theatre because they live on their electronic devices. “We have used the likes of video and hologram in our productions and we need to be constantly alive to what is happening in the world of technology.”

“Not only have we worked with the most exciting performers and creatives the country has to offer, making world-class theatre in Kingston, the West End and touring throughout the country and abroad, but we’ve established a strong partnership with Kingston University and the Royal Borough of Kingston to create a successful education and participation programme for the local community which is at the heart of what we do.” The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


inspirational leader A riotous way to celebrate theatre’s anniversary One of the features of the theatre’s programme down the years has been its capacity to stage special events, one of which happens between September 13 and October 21 when it hosts the world premiere of Hogarth's Progress, a double bill by Nick Dear, directed by Anthony Banks. Other ways in which the Rose reaches out to younger audiences include its education programmes and the way it tailors shows to students. Robert said: “Not only have we worked with the most exciting performers and creatives the country has to offer, making world-class theatre in Kingston, the West End and touring throughout the country and abroad, but we’ve established a strong partnership with Kingston University and the Royal Borough of Kingston to create a successful education and participation programme for the local community which is at the heart of what we do. “Our youth theatre has grown over the years from thirty young people to more than 900 and a lot of parents see drama as a way of giving their children useful life skills. “We also try to stage shows that are part of the GCSE or A Level curriculums or fit in with university courses. “Peter was passionate about broadening the appeal of


theatre and obsessive about engaging young people and we have continued that work. “One frustration for us that there has not been the crossover of young people attending shows on our children’s programme and our main programme, something on which we are working. Sir Peter also had a keen eye for young talent in all areas of the theatre and was known for his generous support of emerging artists forging their own careers. In honour of his service to theatre, and to recognise his role as Rose Theatre Kingston’s Founding Artistic Director and his time as Chancellor of Kingston University, the Rose plans to launch The Peter Hall Emerging Artists Fellowship (PHEAF) in October 2018. The new initiative will support a theatre artist with a tailor-made

residency. Over a number of years, the PHEAF will provide artists with opportunities to work on Rose Theatre Productions and receive mentoring from world-class professionals and ultimately stage their own production in the Rose Theatre’s Studio with the full support of the Rose team. The inaugural year of the PHEAF will support one professional director but the aim is that over the years the programme will expand to include a number of talented theatre makers. For Robert O’Dowd, it is an example of how the legacy of Sir Peter Hall looms large over the life of the Rose. Robert said: “Peter was the father of modern theatre and he had a vision of drama being produced in Kingston and we will continue with the work he started.”

You can find out more about the theatre’s programme at

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

Hogarth’s Progress is a riotous double bill of plays following one of Britain’s most celebrated artists on two spectacularly wild days and nights – one at the beginning of his career and one at the end. The double bill begins with the first major revival of Olivier Award nominated comedy, The Art of Success, first performed by the RSC in 1986 before transferring to the Barbican and New York. Compressing the artist’s ascent to fame into a single, action-filled night, Dear follows a larger-than-life Hogarth as he mingles with famous playwrights and artists, royalty and prostitutes, prime ministers and murderesses creating an exceedingly imaginative, thoroughly scurrilous, but nonetheless highly entertaining portrait of a world on the brink of transformation. The second play, The Taste of the Town, catches up with Hogarth 30 years later, finding him now hugely successful, yet still at odds with the world and with himself. Old and tired he may be, but there’s always time for one more fight. BAFTA winning writer Nick Dear's previous work includes his smash hit adaptation of Frankenstein (National Theatre/NT Live) directed by Danny Boyle and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller. Anthony Banks was an Associate Director at the National Theatre for a decade. Each play can be seen as a single performance or enjoyed together, either over different days or as an all-day theatrical experience.

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hr dept In sickness and in health?

With the holiday season fast approaching, small businesses often feel the pain of a reduced workforce. This can be tricky, but a least you can plan for it, and you know when employees are due to come back. But what about when managing sickness absence? It’s not quite so straight forward and often far more disruptive. Managing sickness absence in the workplace can be a very sensitive, awkward and confrontational matter. There is often a natural tension between an employee calling in sick and the employer. Employers have the difficulty of sometimes being suspicious as to whether the sickness is genuine, the inconvenience of the absence but also a duty of care to protect the welfare of the employee. Obviously, everyone is going to take a genuine period of sickness now and again, including the employer. However, there are also definitely some questionable reasons for sick days taken including, ‘Employee ate cat food instead of tuna and was deathly ill’, ‘Employee was bitten by a duck’ and my absolute favourite ‘Employee said he had better things to do.” (HR Grapevine Magazine). Laughing aside, I once managed a case in my earlier career where an employee was off quite frequently

with what seemed to be unrelated health concerns. We had asked for a report from his Doctor which had been unhelpful and so we asked for the employee to go to an Occupational Health Consultant. After an examination it transpired that the employee had a brain tumour and that his absences had been symptoms of this potentially fatal condition. Thankfully, he then received the correct treatment. The impact of sickness at work is costly. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development research shows that the current average number of days taken by an employee in a year is 6.3 days, costing an average of £522. I think this is hugely underestimated. The cost of a days’ pay is one thing, but the cost for finding cover, missed sales opportunities, lost Clients etc. is much more significant.

Here are my 5

Top Tips to help to minimise the

impact of sickness absence on your workplace, while also fulfilling your duty of care as an employer. 1) Know your sickness policy better than your employees do. How should they notify you, by when and advise you of what? What are they paid and for how long? 2) Record all periods of absence on a HR system if possible but on a spreadsheet if not, so that you can see where there may be issues that need to be addressed. 3) Hold return to work meetings with employees after each period of sickness absence. It only takes 5 minutes and can make all the difference. 4) If the absences become frequent, mark them out on a calendar, when you are next meeting with them. This will help to identify if there are any patterns in the absences. 5) Speak with a HR Consultant to help support you with managing frequent short-term absences or for longer term absences and how these affect contracts of employment.

We work with many local businesses to identify and plan how best to resolve their people issues and to create a productive workplace environment for a better business. Keeping businesses compliant is a must but unlocking the human potential in a business can be transformational. Call Sandra Porter, Managing Director at The HR Dept on 07387 101637 for a chat about your business, in sickness and in health! Happy Holidays!


BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

health and wellbeing

Here are a few tips to head of health problems before they occur 3 Carry out health checks Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death of working age people in the UK and costs the economy £3.1 billion a year due to days lost to death, illness and the care of people with the disease. Check with your local surgery or hospital about health checks which can be carried out to reduce the risk to your staff.

Promoting health in the workplace Health in the workplace has never been afforded a higher priority than today with more and more managers recognising that a healthy workplace means a healthy workforce and that a healthy workforce is happier and more productive. According to organisations like the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the NHS, poor management of workplace health can lead to work-related ill health and high levels of sickness absence. This has to be a concern for managers because of the costs involved, the impact on service delivery and the consequences for staff. According to the HSE, managers must strive to: • create workplaces where health, safety and wellbeing is protected and promoted • ensure that staff have access to occupational health advice and support • improve access to preventative care and treatment for common health problems • enable people to remain in work while health problems are investigated and treated and support staff on return-to-work issues. This approach is high on the Government’s agenda with officials working with a range of public and private sector The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

organisations to encourage good management of occupational health. They acknowledge that this may seem like a difficult challenge but argue that companies can achieve success by: • The lead given by managers at the top level. Without it, an organisation will not be motivated to take action • Good occupational health programmes • Support for those who are absent due to sickness, which can have a major impact on an individual’s motivation to get back to work

According to health experts, prevention is better than cure and it is far better if the problem is prevented from occurring in the first place. Work-related ill-health accounts for 28 million working days lost a year in Great Britain but, increasingly, there is support available for employees requiring time off work for medical consultations or treatment of complaints like back problems and minor operations. Kingston is well supplied with private facilities which can offer help for individuals and provide corporate packages for companies running health schemes.

3 Lose weight It’s all too easy to put on weight with a hectic modern life but you can change things. By making simple swaps, you can lose weight without giving up the things you love. For example, you can swap your high calorie coffee drinks like whole-milk lattes and frappe for drinks made with skimmed milk. Swap your high sugar or fat snacks biscuits and crisps for a healthier food like fruit. 3 Be physically active Being active is good for your mind and body. Employees who are physically active take 27% less days of sick.

You don’t have to join a gym or set up a rigid exercise programme. Walking and cycling to work are good low-cost ways to increase your physical activity and can be fitted into you daily routine. Many companies encourage their staff to walk and cycle to work. At work, you can swap the lift for the stairs and rather than eating at your desk get up and move about. However, a visit to the gym is a good idea as well and some enlightened companies provide gym membership as part of employment packages for their staff, recognising that healthy workforces benefit everyone.

3 Eat well Poor nutrition can affect your energy levels, concentration and health and make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. With almost two thirds of adults overweight or obese in England it is important to ensure that you eat a range of food and cut down on foods high in salt, sugar and fat.

3 Stop smoking If you are a smoker, stopping is probably the single biggest thing you can do to improve your health. Smokers tend to take more days off in sickness absence than nonsmokers. Stopping smoking will improve your health and fitness.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


Bank Chambers | 64 High Street Epsom | Surrey | KT19 8AJ

01372 730000

Barwell Business Park Over the last 30 years Barwell Business Park has evolved from humble beginnings to become the leading Business Park in the region offering a range of business space from 900 to 40,000 sq.ft Barwell Business Park is owned by Aviva Investors who are allocating considerable resources to ensure that Barwell remains the premier business park in the South West Quadrant of the M25, meeting the requirements of today’s occupiers but set up to continue to deliver in the future. The block refurbishment of Units A – F (to complete July 2018) is testament to this, offering high specification warehouse / production space from 2,355 14,130 sq.ft. An early pre-let of Unit D has demonstrated strong local demand for this size and quality of product. Similarly, the pre-let of Unit 43 (11,633 sq ft) prior to refurbishment works commencing and Unit 35, recently placed under offer prior to vacant possession being obtained, have shown that Barwell remains a firm favourite for local, regional and national businesses alike. The great attraction for companies considering Barwell (apart from the landscaped working environment and 24hr security) is that you can start small and expand without leaving Barwell. Several occupiers have started life in as little as 1,000 sq.ft and moved

up in stages to a 20,000 sq.ft HQ Warehouse/Production Unit. Similarly, the terraced configuration across the ten main blocks have allowed the individual units to grow and contract to suit specific occupier requirements. The Estate’s origins (according to a source at Barwell) date to around 1937 when the land was acquired by local builders Ransom & Luck from The Chessington Hall Estate After the War the site was left with a variety of low rise government offices and brick factory/storage structures. These were steadily demolished and replaced with new units you see today. These are constantly being upgraded by Aviva to meet the demands of the modern business space occupier.

Barwell Business Park has unrivalled amenities including: • 24-hour on-site security. • Mature landscaped grounds. • On-site Manager. • CCTV and vehicle plate recognition. • On site coffee shop. Over the last 30 years the location and superb facilities has attracted a range of high

profile companies including Callaway Golf and Specialized Bikes as well as a wealth of business space occupiers both large and small. Barwell Business Park is located off Leatherhead Road (A243) providing excellent access to the South West London via the A3 and the national motorway network via junction 9/10 of the M25. Chessington South Station (adjacent) and provides a fast and frequent service to London Waterloo. There are frequent bus services to Kingston.

The Park offers a diverse range of business units (including warehouses/production space and offices) from 896 sq ft (83 sq m) to 40,000 sq ft (2,445 sq m). Full details as to availability can be found at or by phoning the retained agents Altus Group 01737 243328 or Bridger Bell Commercial 01372-730000 The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


top tips Why using an energy broker makes sense By Voixenergy Awais Shahid – Director Voixenergy

We are one of the leading energy brokers based in London.

We provide an independent service helping thousands of sites across the UK to secure the best prices for electricity and gas contracts and offer an extensive range of business energy solutions to help manage costs effectively. We instantly compare all suppliers with more than 156 tariffs on current bespoke rates and offer you the best possible price in the industry. With that in mind, we have five reasons to use a business energy broker. What are energy brokers? Not to be confused with an energy supplier, brokers are independent organisations that will arrange utility contracts on behalf of their customers, often at better prices and with a complete service to manage all energy related matters. Utilities consultants, or brokers, assist customers in finding the best contract out of a range of suppliers. A business energy consultant provides B2B services that allow you to keep your focus on more important things in your organisation, whilst knowing that your utility supplies are well taken care of. Often referred to as Third Party Intermediaries (TPIs), energy consultants will review your company portfolio, analyse your consumption habits and compare a range of supplier tariffs best suited to you. 1 - Why energy brokers? So why use an energy broker? First and foremost, a broker could save you money! Good consultants like us will search the market to find the


most suitable product for your business needs; this will likely be at a lower price than your renewal quote. As well as a more competitive contract, many brokers, such as Voixenergy, offer energy reduction strategies that will help you to decrease your energy usage, therefore reducing your utility costs even further. Another reason suppliers give brokers better pricing is because the larger brokers are placing many customers with suppliers. When a customer goes directly to a supplier, the customer's one contract may come up for renewal only once every year or two. Compare this to brokers giving them the opportunity to bid on dozens of customers per month…who do you think is more likely to get a better price? 2 - Time and hassle. Possibly the most obvious reason to use a broker is to save you time. How much time do you want to spend analysing your usage, searching for analysing your usage, searching for multiple quotes and being called by multiple quotes and being called by suppliers? We understand that keeping your business running can take up a lot of time and hassle. Much like money, the time saved on looking for a good utility deal can be focused somewhere else in your

company, making sure productivity isn’t affected. Going through a consultant means you’ll receive quotes quickly; you can even have multiple sites quoted at the same time and have them all put into contract for an aligned date, completely hassle-free. You won’t have to actively oversee any contract switching, as your broker will do all the work for you. Some consultants might also offer multi-level services. Here at Voixenergy we offer gas, electricity, water, telecoms and broadband services, too. . 3 - Good relationships A worthwhile business energy consultant has to maintain relationships with, firstly, the suppliers, and secondly, the businesses that require its services. These relationships are built on trust and loyalty, through a consultant obtaining the best contracts for its clients and suppliers. Consultancies speak to utilities suppliers every day, so it’s obvious that they build strong relationships with them. These relationships allow for a better level of service passed on to you as a customer. 4 - Market knowledge Energy brokers are specialists, so they have expert knowledge about the energy industry. By using a consultant, you can open up your

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

business to a world of benefits, as there can be a lot more to purchasing a utility contract than you might think. Price is, of course, a factor, but a good energy consultant will find the right type of tariff for your business – your work might be seasonal or depend on a certain time of day, and your broker should find a tariff to ensure the best price for your periods of highest demand. It’s not just who you buy energy from, it’s also important to know the best time to buy, and brokers know wholesale market trends so can advise whether it’s best to lock into a contract soon or whether it would be best to wait for prices to fall. 5 - Complete service When you go through a broker, you’re not just getting a new utility contract – you’re getting a comprehensive, end-to-end service with complete account management. Here at Voixenergy, we offer renewal reminders with pre-emptive quotes and submit termination on your behalf within the correct time period in order to stop you from being rolled over on to a more expensive tariff. We also offer energy reduction strategies including efficiency audits, supplying more efficient equipment and introducing sources of generation.


news Accolade for company Business Clan became the national winner of the FSB Employer of the Year at the Celebrating Small Business Awards on May 3. The judges commented that they have ‘a strong ethos of playing to everyone’s strengths and collective expertise’. The business’s success is built on investing in, developing and retaining a flexible-working team of ‘women-returners’ led by founder and MD Delia Porter and Business Development Director Nicolle Anderson. A one-stop-shop for business consultancy and professional services, Business Clan helps

businesses grow by providing knowledge, expertise and implementation services all under one roof. They deliver all the essential services larger organisations take for granted and small businesses struggle to find, including strategy, business planning, marketing, web design, SEO, IT consultancy, HR services, accountancy and bookkeeping, commercial support and training. In four years, their team has grown to 19 and their client

list has reached more than 100. At Business Clan everyone works flexibly, whether from home, part-time, or term-time only. Their premises in Raynes Park, south-west London, present the opportunity, but no obligation, to work from the office. Central to their success has been the sense of team they have created. They meet regularly as an entire company for knowledge sharing, training, project updates or strategy and planning.

Love Kingston gives grants to 8 groups Love Kingston is thrilled to announce it has awarded 8 charitable groups with grants to fund projects around the theme ‘from isolation to integration’ in 2018. This year the Love Kingston grants were awarded to local groups Kingston Carers Network (Young Carers), Learn English at Home (LEAH) The Vintage Banquet, The CornerHOUSE, Knowledge Advocacy Guidance (KAG), CREst, MAN&BOY and Mencap. One of the grantees, LEAH, works with vulnerable ethnic minority adults who are isolated because of their low levels of English. Kate Brown, Director of LEAH responded: "LEAH's work is at the heart of the community and so we are

thrilled to enrich our offer with the support of Love Kingston." Chair of Trustees of the Douglas Centre Trust, Jeremy Thorn, on receiving the news of funding for The CornerHOUSE said: "We are delighted that Love Kingston has given us this chance to build on the diversity of our performers and audiences." Love Kingston grantee MAN&BOY supports boys aged 9-12 years who are struggling with life, and an adult, male mentor from within the family, to develop a bond that will last for the long term. Sarah Roberts

who administrates the project said: “Many thanks to Love Kingston for their great support for the MAN&BOY programme.” Community Fundraising Manager for Love Kingston, Tessa Kind added: "I am delighted that so many local projects have been supported this year, more than any other year. There is certainly a huge amount of work going on in the Borough to help residents feel more engaged and less isolated, yet more is needed. I look forward to working with these groups in the community and helping where I can."

The Kingston Burrowes Community Fund To celebrate 10 years in business, Bruce Burrowes decided it was time to give something back to the local community that has helped him grow from a sole trader to where he is today, an independent accountancy firm with staff across three branches in Kingston, Surbiton and Wimbledon. This year Bruce will launch a new Kingston Burrowes community fund. From July 2018 local community groups will be able to apply for a share of the fund, grants of up to £250 will be available to 4 projects in total, two being awarded to projects in Merton and two in Kingston. Applications are invited from registered charities, not for profit organisations (including small clubs and societies) or individuals engaged in a specific funding appeal that meets the criteria below. Ideally projects should be focused on work supporting activities with clear benefit to the community, working with young people / children, schools, special educational needs, those with disabilities or the elderly. Projects that benefit the local environment such as enhancing the appearance or accessibility of community areas, including events or artistic installations are also considered. The grants are aimed at specific projects where an amount of up to £250 will either fund the entire cost of, or make a significant contribution to the total required (e.g. an individual piece of equipment or event / activity cost), not general running costs or continuation of existing and ongoing work. Projects must be located in, and for the benefit of, the boroughs of Merton or Kingston upon Thames only. Applications will open on 1st July 2018 and close at midnight on 17th September 2018. Successful grants will be announced on 28th September 2018. Please contact: for an application form.

Dyno Drains

Expertly removing blockages (and stress) across Kingston Call 01932 765 555 or email for your local expert.

The Royal Borough of

Kingston Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


starting up Making a positive difference Julie Leach Julie Leach Associates – HR, Learning & Development, Coaching & Mentoring 07789 260126 Q1 Tell us a bit about your business? My business supports small to medium sized businesses across a wide range of HR areas. These can include ensuring clients have good quality contracts of employment in place, an effective employee handbook and the right policies and procedures in place, through to creating performance management frameworks, helping them to recruit and retain the right people and rewarding them in the right way. I also run training workshops that focus on areas such as giving managers the skills to manage their teams well, delivering high quality customer service, managing difficult conversations and how to recruit effectively.

Q2 What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? I think it’s the fact that I truly want to make a positive difference to any business or individual that I work with. For me, it’s not about the length of my client list or how high profile those clients might be, it’s about delivering something to them that really helps them, improves their business or their employees.

Q3 What motivated you to set up the business? It’s always been something I aspired to as I wanted the challenge of seeing whether I could make it work or not and so far so good! In addition, and apologies for it not being very original, I wanted more flexibility and a better work life

balance. My husband and I have two young children and I wanted to be around for them more than I was when I was employed by my previous company.

Q4 What do you like most about working for a start-up? I love that it’s all down to me! I love making all the decisions about what to do and how to do it. In previous roles my responsibilities had just been for delivering HR or the Learning & Development function but now I’m responsible for much more such as the finances of my business, my social media strategy and my marketing strategy. I’m also my own IT help desk so have had to learn a lot more about technology. Also, and whilst I didn’t know this before I started, there is an amazing network of people in the borough who can and will help you. In the short time I’ve been doing this, I’ve met some fabulous people who are supportive, knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. Everyone is in a similar situation and there is a real desire for everyone to succeed.

Q5 What has been your greatest business success to date? I’ve had two so far…one client asked me to deliver a workshop on how to present effectively which I did and got amazing feedback on. A few weeks later they called and asked if I would design a 6 month

training programme for their ‘Emerging Talent’. I was delighted! I wrote a 5 module programme covering key skills such as understanding leadership and management, how to manage difficult conversations, how to create and be part of a high performing team, how to manage time effectively and how to work with different personality types. I also built in some 1:1 coaching and mentoring sessions with the delegates so we could discuss the content of the workshops, what it meant to them and how they were using what they’d learnt to develop. The second one was being offered a retainer by a client after working with them on their HR policies and procedures for just a few weeks. I love their business, feel proud of their successes and having worked with them for 9 months feel a key part of the management team.

Q6 What has been your lowest moment? Well, there are those days when the phone doesn’t ring as much as I would hope and my inbox is quieter than I would like but they pass quickly. I attend lots of networking events and use LinkedIn so hear and see a lot of what other people are doing. It’s easy to think that everyone else has all the answers and is 100% sorted out and that I’m falling behind because I haven’t hired a social media strategist, copy writer or small business coach! I’ve learnt to stay calm, revisit my business strategy

and ask myself “what do I really want to achieve” and “how am I going to get there”. If there are things I think I need to do or do differently, I make a list and tackle them one at a time.

Q7 In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next five years? I would like a stable portfolio of clients who see me as their ‘go to’ person for their HR and Learning & Development support. I’d be very happy to hear that people are saying “you need to speak to Julie about that….!”.

Q8 What would be your top tips to someone thinking of starting up their own business? Without being too reckless and I would say do it! Seriously though, think of the risks associated with it. Most people have a mortgage to pay or rent to find so don’t take a risk that could leave you in significant financial trouble, but, if you think the numbers can work for you then try. There’s a great sense of achievement when something goes well, a pitch generates a new client or you get some great feedback on what you have done. Also, believe in yourself, believe in what you do, retain a sense of humour and smile!

Julie Leach Associates Helping people and businesses develop and grow

We work with individuals and businesses to design and deliver bespoke, people-based HR solutions that help them develop and grow. Can we help?

07789 260126 • H R • Le a r ning & D e v e lopm e nt • C oa c hing & M e nt or ing •


BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

Rest, Relax & Refuel THE WHITE HART HOTEL Relax in our large patio garden and enjoy the summer sun with the start of our, Spring & Summer Menu Starting on 1st April. There is a 20% discount off the bill for Chamber of Commerce Members. The White Hart has been a hotel since 2003 and has become a key must stay for locals and visitors to Kingston and the surrounding area. If you would like to stay in one of our Beautiful Bedrooms they are voted number 1 by Tripadvisor guests 2017 and awarded a certificate of excellence.

20% Discount for Chamber of Commerce Members


The White Hart Hotel 1 High Street Hampton Wick Kingston-Upon-Thames Surrey KT1 4DA

Tel: 020 8977 1786 Email:



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Borough Business July 2018  

Kingston Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Management, Business Tra...

Borough Business July 2018  

Kingston Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Management, Business Tra...

Profile for benham