Borough Business May 23

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FUTURE OF WORK SUMMIT JOIN US! LEARN NETWORK BE INSPIRED JUNE 16, 2023 KINGSTON BUSINESS SCHOOL, KT2 7JB REGISTER TODAY The inaugural Future of Work Summit is dedicated to providing educational insights, roundtable discussions, networking, supportive and inspiring business seminars. Join us and be a part of this unique and enjoyable event. SUPPORTED BY The Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce HEADLINE SPONSORS BOROUGH BUSINESS The voice of Kingston’s business community Issue 28: Spring 2023 Inside • Patron News p8 • The Big Interview with Keith Smith, CEO of the newly formed HRUC, and Gavin Hughes, Principal of Richmond upon Thames College p14 • Profile p21 • Business Awards p22 • Environment p28 • 5 Minutes with… p34
Professional training and development programmes to meet your business needs. At Kingston College we are committed to working in partnership to support your organisation’s skills, employment, Apprenticeship and training strategies. For a FREE skills assessment or for more information please contact: 020 8546 2151. Part
of the South Thames Colleges Group

Guildhall, High Street

Kingston upon Thames. KT1 1EU. 020 8541 4441



Chief Executive: Forbes Low

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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. © 2023. 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.

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Patron Members


The Kingston Chamber of Commerce magazine for all Businesses in Kingston

Business has always been, and always will be, about people. It is a journey that many of us have started but we did not know where it would lead, or what we would experience along the way.

Running a business should come with a health warning, yet it can also make you feel very alive and connected to people around you. It gives us that belief that what we do can make a difference to the world we live in.

On March 23rd, the Chamber proudly hosted the Kingston Borough Business Awards 2023 at All Saints Church. It was a special and enjoyable evening celebrating the fantastic business community we have in the borough. The finalists and winners all came from diverse backgrounds and different journeys, but they share are a modesty about the value of their work, humble and unassuming about their beneficial impact to their clients or the community. To all, very well deserved, and keep raising that bar of excellence.

I would like to thank our headline sponsor, Kingston University, our

Gold sponsors, Kingston College and Kingston Council, and our category sponsors, for their genuine belief in value of the KBBA and our local businesses.

The Chamber does not like to stand still as there are so many challenges ahead. We need to provide effective and beneficial events to support businesses. With this in mind, we are excited to launch our new Future of Work Summit on Friday June 16th at Kingston Business School. This will be dedicated to providing educational insights, networking and supportive and inspiring business seminars.

Free to attend, you are welcome to join our range of engaging seminars and roundtables. These will bring together experienced leaders and practitioners from different areas of business, who will share a deeper dive into specific topics or challenges. The Summit will also provide a comprehensive agenda of bite-size seminars, offering top tips and relevant and practical advice. There are many opportunities to network so sign up to attend.

There are many other dates and events to look out for but two I would like to put in your diary are the

Kingston Chamber Annual General Meeting on May 31st which will be held at TownHouse, Kingston University. Free to attend, this is an important meeting where you can hear how the chamber has performed and our vision for the year ahead. The second date is May 20th for the Kingston Efficient Homes Show which is a new sustainable event provided by Kingston Council and supported by the Chamber. This will provide advice on more comfortable, energy efficient homes and teach about sustainable skills and job opportunities.

Finally, one ingredient for business success is to surround yourself with talented, generous and skilled collaborators. For the Chamber, this is very true and we are fortunate to have such rewarding partnerships with our membership, Patrons and partners.

Forbes Low CEO Kingston Chamber of Commerce

3 The
Chamber of Commerce BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community contents Welcome to New Members 6 Chamber News 7 Patron News 8-10 Richard Burge LCCI 12-13 The Big Interview 14-15 Factoids 17 Future of Work Summit 18-19 Profile 21 Kingston Borough Business Awards 2023 Winners 22-23 News 24-25 Skills 27 Environment 28 Health and Wellbeing 31 Arts & Culture 33 5 Minutes with 34 Editorial and General Enquiries
Royal Borough of Kingston
21 34 14 27
Annie Armitage
We elevate your message to help you reach the people who matter with a memorable message We help businesses craft compelling films to communicate their strategies, plans, business offerings and much more. Our clients range from multinational giants to tiny start-ups. We’re based in Kingston, and are extending our offer to the local business community. Get in touch for a free chat about telling your business story better. Tell your business story on film INFORMATIONAL STORYTELLING Curious? LET'S TALK

Porter the Sorter

Ask our resident HR expert, Sandra Porter of The HR Dept for advice on your workplace worries.

Help! Our bookkeeper is paying herself twice!

When we recruit new employees we are often placing trust in them –either to protect our clients, our reputation or our finances. When you have suspicions that this trust is being abused, what should you do?

• Check your disciplinary procedures. Every company needs to have a disciplinary procedure that is given to each new recruit on day one. This sets out what happens when there are any suspicions of misconduct. Ensure that you know what it says before you jump in!

• Try your best not to make any judgements or assumptions. There is often more to an issue than initially meets the eye. Innocent until proven otherwise.

• Arrange for an investigation to collate the facts. While you may not feel the need to become the next Columbo, Inspector Morse or Miss Marple it is important that you find the facts before the decision is taking as to whether a disciplinary hearing is appropriate. At times this might include checking emails, auditing files, checking CCTV, conducting interviews.

• Arrange a disciplinary hearing…..correctly. Where the investigation suggests that there has been misconduct you will need to arrange a disciplinary hearing. The employee has the right to 48 hrs notice of the meeting, to be accompanied by a work colleague or TU rep, to see all evidence beforehand and the opportunity to put forward their ‘defence’.

• Make a decision. Only after a hearing has been concluded and all evidence reviewed can a decision be made.

All too often we hear ‘…but we know it was her so I asked her to leave.’ No! Even if you catch someone with the matches to your burning office, you still have to follow the correct procedures.

If you don’t follow the correct procedures then you are very likely to lose an unfair dismissal case, regardless of the guilt or otherwise of the employee. So, even where you are attempting to protect your company from harm, rushing into judgements or decisions can be just as costly to your clients, reputation and finances!

The HR Dept are an outsourced HR services provider supporting local SMEs with their people issues and strategy. For advice on conduct and disciplinaries, or for a free HR audit please call 0345 208 1290.

Always seek employment law advice regarding management of your people issues to ensure that you and your business are well protected from potential litigation risks.

Collaboration helps people learn from each other

learn more about the incredible work of Citizen Zoo and how we can lend a hand in supporting endangered species like the Large Marsh Grasshopper and Water Voles, which have both made a comeback at the Hogsmill after previously going extinct.

The night will be filled with fun and entertainment, too! We’ll have scrumptious canapés, tasty refreshments, and a unique Gin Experience that you won’t want to miss. Plus, you’ll also get the chance to dive into the exciting world of virtual reality!

Of course, it wouldn’t be a charity event without an auction and raffle, so come prepared to join in and help raise money for the amazing cause of Citizen Zoo.

I have to say, I’ve genuinely enjoyed supporting Forbes during these tough times and I’m so impressed by his ability to come up with fresh ideas to improve events and the overall experience for our members. On this note, I can’t wait for the upcoming Future of Work event at the Business School on Friday June 16th—it’s going to be great!

I’m also super excited about our joint President’s charity event with my predecessor, the fantastic Martha Mador. Be sure to save the date: May 31st, 6 PM, at the top floor of Kingston University Town House. The evening will be a blast, as we

So, let’s come together to celebrate, learn and support this awesome initiative! It’s going to be an unforgettable evening with good vibes, good company, and a great purpose. Can’t wait to see you all there!

5 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community hr dept The
Royal Borough
Kingston Chamber
Firstly, I am truly honoured to have served as possibly the longest-running president in our chamber’s history. You might even joke that we’ve had a dictatorship on our hands, with me sticking around since the COVID-19 pandemic began!


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I have found the Booster + modules and the associated presentations interesting and relevant. The once weekly meetings are time well spent without impacting on time running my business, which is important to me. Easy to digest and great meeting other business owners in a professional environment. The initial business audit was particularly useful. Highly recommended.


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Advocacy for businesses to Kingston Council, strategic partners and MPs in the borough Business learning

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professional and supportive environment
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Summit and Chessington Business Expo Regular networking events and business webinars Local supply chain opportunities and excellent links to the wider local community
Find out how to join and learn how others are benefiting from their membership. 1
of the Kingston Borough Business Awards, celebrating and promoting the positive impact of local businesses in the Borough
Reasons to join...
your business.
of Kingston Chamber of Commerce brings a wealth of immediate benefits to
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6 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

Keeping wellbeing simple

Last year, Kingston Chamber began Netwalking on the first Friday of each month and we are delighted to have initiated this. We may not be the most imaginative wordsmiths but the best conversations are had during the walks. And we are often joined by our four legged doggie friends.

Many studies now show that even a brief walk outside can rejuvenate or freshen the mind. People who take a break from work-related activities and walk outside have been found to have improved concentration, better focus, and are re-energized. Breathing in the fresh air and getting more blood to the brain during physical activity are more likely responsible for the enhanced rejuvenation of the brain.

Walking outdoors also increases the flow of creative juices. When you are sitting at your desk, and you come up against a mental problem you just can’t tackle, it is time to take a walk. This physical activity can help you clear your mind and trigger new ideas. Combine this with networking with friends or new acquaintances, netwalking is an enjoyable and relaxing end to a week.

To find out when the next netwalking morning is, just go to the Event page at

7 The Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community 7
chamber news
If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s the importance of wellbeing and our job’s role in maintaining our happiness and a healthier physical and mental wellbeing. Recent studies show the mental health benefits of walking outside in nature, and that these benefits may follow you for decades.
Many studies now show that even a brief walk outside can rejuvenate or freshen the mind.

Recognising the brightest and the best

As a Patron of Kingston Chamber of Commerce and sponsor of one of the categories at the recent Kingston Borough Business Awards, I spent an enjoyable evening at the Gala Dinner where Kingston’s brightest and best were recognised and feted!

There are many reasons why these awards are so important to all of us and are a superb demonstration of what can be achieved with a vision and willing participation.

In 2021, when the Chamber Board first talked about taking the awards in-house, we were apprehensive. But we were hopeful that we could create something that was inclusive, collaborative, and truly represented what is unique about the Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

The awards have brought together in common cause, Kingston Council, Kingston University, Kingston College (and the whole of the South Thames Group), Kingston First, The Chamber of Commerce, Local businesses large and small and our thriving local charities.

And what a stroke of genius to hold the awards dinner in the Kingston Parish Church at the very heart of our community. The award winners were from all sectors of commerce and charity and from all parts of our vibrant and diverse Borough. Long established familiar names rubbed shoulders with start-ups from Hong Kong, all were here demonstrating excellence in their endeavours.

I end this short article with a request and a thank you. A request that any businesses that did not enter the awards this year think about doing so next year and celebrate what makes Kingston great. A thank you to Forbes, Ilona and all the sponsors that make the awards such a remarkable success.

Big congratulations and a big welcome

With the Kingston Borough Business Awards having just passed, we just want to say a big congratulations to all the Winners at the event and all the Finalists who made it as well. None of this would have been possible without the Kingston Chamber of Commerce and the countless sponsors of the awards show, thank you once again! We ourselves were finalists in two categories: Young Professional of The Year Award and Developing Employees Award. With high hopes, we can’t wait for what next year has to hold.

In other news, IQ in IT recently employed a new Business Development Manager, Andrew Black.  Having joined the team in March, he will be helping us grow and develop as a business internally and externally. With his career as an IT manager for small, medium and enterprise sized companies over the past 20 years, specializing in IT Support and Operations, his vast knowledge will bring further insightful ideas on how we can evolve as a business.

“I’m really excited to have joined IQ in IT.  Firstly, there’s the colleagues, a lovely mix of vibrant youth and technical experience. The company has a really exciting future, as we have a solid platform to grow

and expand our services, especially considering the present pace of technological advancement. Secondly the location in Kingston is great, a lovely town with some great businesses of all shapes and sizes. Hopefully I’ll be able to meet some of our fellow members at events and virtually over the next few months.” – Andrew Black

Like Andrew, we are very excited for the future of IQ in IT with him now having been onboarded.

For more information on IQinIT, please contact Andy at:

A great start to the year

Here at Summers-Inman the year has been shaping up well so far; we’ve recently seen some of our longer standing projects complete, including work for one of our regular clients, Islington Council. On these residential projects we’ve been acting as Employer’s Agent, Quantity Surveyor, Principal Designer, and Clerk of Works to provide a mixed tenure of high quality private and affordable homes across a range of accommodation sizes.

On these residential projects we’ve also recently completed a project at Basildon Hospital in Essex. This was an interesting and challenging project as it involved the craning in of modular sections and an MRI machine via a 70 metres span over a live operational hospital. The project successfully achieved its objectives by optimising the existing disused area, and providing new facilities which permitted the hospital to deliver high quality patient care.

Towards the end of March, we attended the Kingston Borough Business Awards, where we were thrilled to receive the award for Best Professional Services. We are always looking to improve our professional standards at Summers-Inman, and lately it’s very much been a priority for the business, so it was rewarding to have our efforts recognised.  The event itself was beautifully executed in the AllSaints Church, and we very much enjoyed chatting with other nominees, meeting new people, and experiencing the strong sense of community which is always present within the borough of Kingston.

As 2023 continues we are looking forward to completing more of our current projects, as well as

exploring the new and exciting opportunities we’ve got coming up in the pipeline. We’ll also be looking to maintain and build on our relationship with Kingston University, where we’ve previously provided support and guidance for local students.

news 8 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
Chris Hirsch, Managing Partner, Holland Hahn & Wills (far right) with Lynn and Chris James, Visiting Angels North Surrey, winners of Excellence in Customer Service image by Time & Leisure

Are You Thinking of Moving?

the property ladder. Mortgage rates are now much higher than many home owners have been used too, but there is a sense that things are calming down and now that Spring is here, you may be thinking of making that move that you have been considering.

Do you know, for example, if you buy a leasehold flat, you are buying a term of years? You will not own the land on which your property stands. Someone else, the freeholder will own the land. Traditionally, you would pay ground rent to the freeholder.

We certainly live in interesting and challenging times, and you would be forgiven for wondering what we will be hit with next. From the cost of living crisis to public sector strikes, every day brings fresh challenges for us all as we navigate a path through the obstacles life puts in our way. We all know how hard it is for first time buyers to save that deposit which will allow them to get on

Sustainability and Green Conference

South Thames Colleges Group (STCG) recently held a Sustainability and Green Conference which provided an opportunity to join employers, key stakeholders, higher education and training providers to break down barriers and collaborate on solutions to address skills shortages in the sector.

Our expert panel of external speakers included Chris Darling, Architect of the state-of-theart Unilever buildings in Kingston – Darling

Get your property looking its best and marketed by one of the leading agents in your area. Good local estate agents know their patch and how to market your property to its fullest advantage. Then find the property of your dreams. Is it in the right catchment area for your child’s next school? Does it have that home office you need now that we are hybrid working or fully working from home? Is the garden large enough? Where will you park your car? There are many aspects to consider to get your move right. Do the thinking now to avoid costly mistakes later. Then select your conveyancers. Remember, you have a choice. You do not need to go with the conveyancer your estate agent is promoting. That conveyancer may be paying the estate agent a referral fee. You have the right to independent legal advice. Afterall, it is likely to be one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime.

Associates; Dave Weller, MD of Randy Cow – Fashion Designers; Kevin McCann, Head of Distributed Generation – Solar Energy UK; and Ioanna Rossi, Green Economic Recovery Lead, Regeneration & Economic Recovery, Kingston Council.

Stella Raphael-Reeves, Vice Principal, STCG commented: “Bringing together industry specialists to share their expertise and knowledge is paramount to developing the Green Skills agenda for all. The climate crisis is no longer a problem for the future, and we urgently need the skills to tackle it. We realise the importance of the environment and sustainability in the modern world and introducing several green skills training courses will help to provide the right people with the right skills for the future of the economy.”

Similarly, with the cladding scandal following the Grenfell disaster of 2017 where unfortunately so many leaseholders found themselves facing huge remediation costs and properties they could not sell. Problems can also arise if you buy a freehold property. Did know if you buy a new build house, the developer may impose estate rent charges (a type of service charge) in order to collect contributions from the residents to pay for the maintenance of the communal areas and grounds?

We are here to help, advise and facilitate your move, so that making that move will be as straightforward and as stress free as possible. Ask us if you are worried about any part of the home buying/home moving process.

The team are ready to assist you with your move, contact ua at and we will be happy to discuss your move.

Digital currency updates

The proposed central bank digital currency - in this case, the digital pound or ‘Britcoin’ as it is being dubbed may not seem to offer much in the way of immediate benefits, but it’s important to remember that as a wholly digital solution, it is the tip of the iceberg and it could provide a foundation on which to access increasingly sophisticated digital payment functionality in the future.

While a digital pound may seem superfluous now, it’s important to remember that the UK payments system is not immune to financial crises, and when it comes down to moving money quickly, having a wholly digital currency

may offer advantages in terms of speed and resilience.

From a tax and accounting point of view, advisors are already seeing the benefits of increased digitisation in terms of compliance and reporting, and digital transactions will mean more trackable data, which can translate into better financial insight across the board. Like any new technology, advisors will have to work to communicate the benefits to their clients, and to ensure they have the technology workflows in place to integrate digital currencies into every facet of cashflow and compliance reporting.

patron news 9 The Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community 9
Neil Parsons

patron news

Looking ahead by Canadian Portland

A Journey through space with Kingston Council

If businesses think of the Council, the first thought might be ‘business rates’ (spoiler: councils don’t set your rates - but we do collect them, with 30% being retained to support local services). One area that is less prominent is space to do business - a prerequisite for many businesses and essential for a thriving local economy and community, and Kingston Council has a key role in this. While our emerging ‘Local Plan’ policy will help ensure the longer-term supply of space, in the shorter term, the Council’s Regeneration and Economy team is working with leading workspace provider Town Square to create much-needed new flexible workspace on Kingston Riverside, converting a disused restaurant and nightclub. The first part of this will be open this autumn but in coming weeks there will be opportunities to engage with Town Square’s business support offer and be part of their new business community. If you’d like to find out more, email us at

just ‘in’ it, has rarely been so important. You may have an opportunity to grow that you have simply not taken advantage of, while for many, the costs of doing business are bringing pressures that may seem insurmountable. If this sounds at all like you, now is the best time to address this thanks to a range of free and subsidised expert input:

• Booster+ : to help early-established businesses grow. email

• Stronger Business Programme - free support to address challenges like cost.

• Kingston Business School’s 90% subsidised Help to Grow Management course.

Writing this at the beginning of this year, and reflecting on 2022, the challenges are well and truly out there for many.

Lat year started off well as we emerged from the challenges Covid presented and people were desperate to get out and enjoy themselves and partake in those things we’d been restricted of. That sentiment didn’t last long primarily due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which exacerbated the cost of living crisis. While it took a while for people to realise the implications of this crisis, that sentiment was ended abruptly by the disastrous mini-budget.

My property has businesses from three hard hit sectors: offices, retail and food and beverage. All of these sectors have been impacted greatly by Covid and cost of living crises.

Office occupiers still struggle with hybrid working and how to encourage staff back to the office. Retailers struggle with the rise of online and inflation and lower disposable incomes.

Finally, food and beverage businesses suffer from the twin dangers of astronomical energy prices and the shortages in the labour market primarily as a result of Brexit.

These are issues that are seen across the UK and are damaging the economy terribly and they look set to be with us this year and for the next few years. The current government seems to be impotent in the face of all this. What might an alternative government do to help families and businesses?

Aside from workspace, the notion of finding the headspace to work ‘on’ your business, rather than

For more business-related guidance and info see

Not My Beautiful House wins Independent Retailer Award

Community led pop-up shop, gallery, exhibition and event space Not My Beautiful House has been named Best Independent Retailer at the Kingston Borough Business Awards - capping a fruitful period of supporting the creative endeavours of students, artists and the local community across Kingston Upon Thames.

Not My Beautiful House is an initiative led by the Union of Kingston Students with support from Studio KT1 and Kingston University. Originally launched in 2021, and taking its name from the Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime, the pop-up shop moved in to its current location in the town centre’s Ancient Market House in May last year.

Not My Beautiful House was named alongside Banquet Records, Salon No13 and the Cheeky Pea in a strong shortlist for this year’s best independent retailer. After collecting the award, Not My Beautiful House shop manager Hannah Price, who is the Union of Kingston Students’ commercial coordinator, said it was an acknowledgment of how the pop-up had been embraced as a retail destination by the town.

“It’s wonderful to know there are so many people in Kingston who are as passionate as we are about the creative arts,” she said. “Not My Beautiful House brings a lot to the borough. With a lot of retail businesses shifting to an online model, we are a space where the public can come and speak to us about the art and to the artists themselves, with staff who are all really invested in our mission.”

“Since the project’s inception, with a pop-up in Fife Road in 2021, it has sold work from more than 250

local creatives, supported local businesses and hosted more than 100 events and exhibitions while increasing footfall to the area, Grace Richards, Interim Deputy CEO of the Union of Kingston Students, said. The pop up offers young creatives an opportunity to gain business experience while they are studying, giving them skills in retailing, pricing marketing and the valuable ability to cost their work to clients.

The unique retail experience offered by Not My Beautiful House was key to its appeal, Claire Selby, Kingston University’s Innovation Partnerships Manager, added. “Everything on sale is made locally and not sold anywhere else. We have built up an amazing community of sellers, many of whom have become allies of the project.”

10 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
Daniel Rosier, General Manager at DoubleTree by Hilton Kingston, with Hannah Price and Maya Griffiths of Not My Beautiful House (image Time & Leisure).


BUSINESS RATE CUTS AND INNOVATIVE LEGAL DRAFTING: A brighter picture for retail tenants on London’s leading shopping streets

TOP TIPS for dealing with HMRC

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), commonly referred to as ‘furlough’ was introduced by the UK Government in March 2020. While relatively unheard of prior to the pandemic we have, since March 2020, been consistently hearing or using this word.

In this article Sheetul Sowdagar from Russell-Cooke gives some top tips to wrap your head around furlough fraud and dealing with enquiries.

You may or may not know that the Oxford English Dictionary defines furlough as “to give somebody permission to leave their duties for a period of time”.

Retail tenants on Central London’s prime retail streets are set to see £96 million slashed from their business rate bills signalling a huge boost for the sector. The new rates are set to come into force on 1st April 2023 following the announcement of the £13.6 billion government support package in last years’ Autumn statement. This move is seen as a welcome relief for struggling retail tenants.

the furlough scheme to help retain their employees during the pandemic may receive queries from HMRC. These could even be in cases where only legitimate furlough claims had been made.

In the press, we have seen increasing mention of ‘furlough fraud.’ It has recently been estimated that the UK Government is likely to write off £4.3 billion pounds in furlough fraud.

What is furlough fraud?

Examples of furlough fraud could include:

• Furloughed staff being asked to continue to work;

• Claiming furlough pay for staff who did not qualify for the scheme;

Business rates are charged on all non-exempt, non-domestic properties such as shops, offices, and warehouses. The standard position in leases is that the tenant is responsible for the payment of such rates. Rates are based on the underlying value of the property and can be a significant burden for retailers. The current business rates are based on values from April 2015 and therefore do not reflect the current values in the retail sector. The high street has faced significant challenges in recent years, with the rise of online shopping and changing consumer habits leading to a decline in footfall and sales. This coupled with the pandemic has resulted in retail values plummeting. The government has committed to three yearly revaluations from 2023, a move that will help business rates reflect actual market conditions and be relevant.

Help – I’ve had a query from HMRC

• Claiming furlough pay for ‘made up’ staff;

• Over-claiming furlough pay;

• Not passing the full amount of furlough pay to the furloughed employees;

Below are some practical tips to help you respond to any queries received.

Tip 1: Do not panic!

show your intention of being cooperative, but will also help address any issues, without the need for escalation.

According to CBRE, operators are starting to trade well and make money again on Oxford Street, which is fuelling other retailers’ appetite to get a piece of the action. This coupled with a cut in business rates leads to a bright outlook for one of London’s most desirable shopping haunts. Whilst business rates have been crippling for retailers in recent years, they have also been barriers for international brands. The cut in rates could be the catalyst required to see an international brands setting up shop or to existing brands extending their portfolios.

Tip 3: Make sure you review your records and keep copies. This will allow you to refresh your memory and more importantly have all your documents ready to disclose to HMRC if needed.

Whilst crippling to tenants, landlords’ have also felt the pain of business rates. With more and more shop closures and limited windows for relief, landlords have looked for ways to limit their exposure. Methods include short term lets and leases to charities who take on responsibility for rates. On occasions where such occupiers cannot be sourced, the cuts will alleviate the burden.

Understand that HMRC may be following up leads or simply asking questions to ensure that all claims made were done so properly.

Tip 2: Do not bury your head in the sand.

According to research from Knight Frank, retailers with shops on Bond Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Kensington High Street, King’s Road, Knightsbridge and in Covent Garden are set to see the biggest cuts of 30%, paying an estimated £222 million in business rates in the financial year to April 2024.

Tip 4: Be transparent.

In the event you realise that a mistake has been made, or any overpayments have occurred, make sure you promptly inform HMRC.

The benefits for retail tenants are not confined to tax cuts. Having ridden the wave of re-gears during the pandemic acquisitions are back on back on the horizon. The legal world is seeing the emergence of more and more innovative ways of structuring incentives and rent frees to protect ever important cash flow. Turnover rents, either as a ‘top up’ with a reduced base rent or in place of a base rent are also a much more common feature of retail leases; sharing the risk and reward of success (or failure) of a tenant’s business. Furthermore, average lease terms are currently a fraction of what they were and break rights are common. These mechanisms can be utilised to structure a lease so as to minimise tenant exposure to fluctuating market conditions.

Tip 5: Keep records for a minimum of six years. Even if you were successful in addressing any queries and the matter was subsequently resolved, do keep your records for a minimum of six years to assist you with any potential future queries.

• Deliberately providing false information to receive furlough pay from HMRC.

While it is easy to get distracted in keeping the business running, it is important to understand that this is not going to go away. If you cannot find time yourself to engage with HMRC, then make sure you instruct an adviser who can do so on your behalf.

Oxford Street in particular will welcome the relief following the loss of a number of high profile tenants such as Debenhams, House of Fraser and Top Shop that once attracted mass numbers of shoppers. The reduction in business rates will make it easier for retailers to stay afloat and reinvest in their businesses, attracting more customers to the high street, a boost in sales and economic growth.

While it is understood that only a very small minority intended to defraud HMRC, it is known that HMRC have started ramping up their investigations and actively following up on tip-offs received. Many business owners in the UK who had accessed

Store driven retailers have been forced to change by rapidly changing, and at times hostile, market conditions in recent years. The upcoming business rate cuts together with considered legal drafting can hopefully support the re-emergence of our high streets.

It is often too easy to say that we ‘will deal with this later’ and soon enough a month or more has gone by. It is always better to be proactive and start engaging with HMRC as soon as possible. This will not only

We can help

It goes without saying that if any actions are being taken against you by HMRC, please seek independent legal advice urgently. Contact our senior associate Sheetul Sowdagar in our professional regulation team, for help.

If you would like to discuss any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Katie Cooper in the Russell-Cooke real estate team.

legal +44 (0)20 8789 9111 Sheetul Sowdagar Direct: +44 (0)20 7440 4806 Email:
Katie Cooper Direct: Phone +44 (020) 8394 6558 Email:

Inspiring visit to Ukraine

Richard Burge has recently returned from an inspiring visit to Ukraine. Here he talks about what the visit meant to him and how new links with the country can mutually support business communities both in London and in Ukraine.

“There were two reasons for going. The first was to show solidarity with the business community of Ukraine through their Chambers of Commerce and the governance of the cities of Kyiv and Lviv. You can say a lot of nice things by Zoom but sometimes, you have to get on a plane, give people a hug, sit down with a vodka and talk.

“It’s not brave going to Ukraine; it’s more dangerous probably travelling around London.

“The second reason is Ukraine traded with Moscow in Russia and we want them to trade with London. It is the start of a campaign for London – with its glorious diversity - as the global city of choice for the business sector of Ukraine as they switch their focus from Russia to the West.”

“It’s a very determined country,” said Richard.

“I have worked a lot in war zones – Afghanistan, Lebanon, territories in Africa – and what struck me about Ukraine is how much business is going on. They are simply getting on with it.

Richard went to Ukraine with Andrew Marsden, City of London sheriff, Tom Sleigh, director of corporate affairs at the Bank of London, and Igor Bartkiv, Ukraine project officer at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

12 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community LCCI

With no direct flights to Ukraine at present, the group travelled by train from the Polish border – a “sleeper train from Kyiv to Lviv is an adventure!”

The group spent eight days in the country and met the trade minister in Ukraine, other Government officials, the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the chair of the Women in Business group in Ukraine, and local business owners including IT and manufacturing.

“There are a lot of SMEs,” continued Richard.

“It is a very advanced country – technology, a lot of skills. They have certainly taken a leaf out of London’s gin-making book, vodka is seeing a resurgence. It’s a very encouraging industry.

“I am very encouraged by their determination and their way of getting on with it. Lviv Opera House continues to run four performances a week, which really takes your breath away.”

The MOU with the Ukraine Chamber of Commerce has been signed.

“This commits us to holding two significant trade events every year, one in the UK and one in Ukraine or Poland,” he said.

The trip was very successful, he added, and achievements included the continued development of the Liverpool/London business event to coincide with the Eurovision Song Contest; links between London and Lviv/ Kyiv in the IT and digital sector, women in business and energy generation and trading; the commitment of the Barbican Centre to look for ways of promoting Ukrainian music and performance; and Ukrainian participation in the next Lord Mayor’s Show, which is sponsored by the City of London Corporation.

Initial steps have also been made to provide support and fundraising for the Unbroken project in Lviv for prosthetic limbs and post-trauma care. The Unbroken National Rehabilitation Centre provides care for adults and children affected by the war in Ukraine.

13 The Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community 13
There were two reasons for going. The first was to show solidarity with the business community of Ukraine through their Chambers of Commerce and the governance of the cities of Kyiv and Lviv. You can say a lot of nice things by Zoom but sometimes, you have to get on a plane, give people a hug, sit down with a vodka and talk.

New college group’s drive for success

Comprising three colleges – Harrow, Richmond upon Thames and Uxbridge – the Group’s merger has been two years in the planning. It joins HCUC (comprising Harrow and Uxbridge) with Richmond to form the new HRUC.

“We want to not only be the premier college in London but the best in the country,” said Keith Smith, CEO of the new HRUC.

“HCUC had built up an approachable way of working and did a lot with local businesses. HCUC wanted to expand its reach and gain new partners. Richmond was a college with massive potential in a part of London which really needed excellent skills provision. Its track record was average in recent years, and it needed a partner and the resources to really make it blossom. HCUC felt Richmond would be a really good partner and shared our ambitions for the future. We wanted to bring Richmond into the family and improve and develop it.”

There has been significant investment in

Richmond upon Thames College including a new £40m-£45m college building and a new £20m STEM building and sports hall, which is due to open in September 2024.

Gavin Hughes, who was Assistant Principal at Uxbridge College and is the new Principal at Richmond upon Thames College, said: “For me personally, it’s a fantastic opportunity. Richmond is a wonderful college, it has a brilliant new building, which opened two years ago, and a new STEM building opening in September 2024. We offer A Levels as well as a vocational provision including engineering, creative arts, and TV and media production, some great courses that you can’t get elsewhere. Plus, as the new HRUC Group, we are the largest provider of Apprenticeships in west and south-west London and are working with a number of small, medium and large businesses to help them with their workforce develop and to recruit well-trained staff.”

Keith added: “The nature of FEs (Further Education colleges) can be a bit complex and competitive; this is about collaboration.

“We want HRUC to be part of the infrastructure. If you want to go somewhere, you use the roads; if you want to go somewhere in your career, we’re the infrastructure to get you there.”

HRUC plans to expand its family partnership with its schools and by collaborating with other colleges, and are busy working behind the scenes on their new strategic plan due to be published in July.

“This is about the community,” said Keith. “The GLA has been outstanding in their support. This wouldn’t be possible without it.

“We want to really invest in the student experience. It’s all about quality, quality, quality. We have invested in new buildings, but we are also investing in the student experience, it matters as much as the bricks and mortar. We are working hard to bring in new teachers, new people from industry, and want to build partnerships with schools. The community will be seeing something special happening in Richmond.”

14 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
Providing the best possible education provision, serving the local community and building partnerships with local businesses are all high on the agenda at the HRUC Group, which was formed on January 4th.
the big interview
The newest college group in London was formed at the start of 2023. Keith Smith, CEO of the newly formed HRUC, and Gavin Hughes, Principal of Richmond upon Thames College, tell us more about the merger and their future plans.
Keith Smith, CEO HRUC Gavin Hughes, Principal of Richmond upon Thames College

The Group has been working with Richmond upon Thames School, which is on the same site as Richmond upon Thames College.

“The headteacher [Kelly Dooley] is absolutely brilliant and super supportive,” added Keith. “We want to do the best by her and the local community, as well as supporting other local schools.”

HCUC was inspected by Ofsted in February 2022 and was rated ‘Good’ overall with several ‘Outstanding’ features.

“Teaching and the quality of education was one of the sections rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted,” said Gavin.

“We have brought that quality of education with us and putting it into Richmond along with new facilities. We have a new senior level

management team at Richmond who bring with them a wealth of experience.” Forming part of the Group’s new strategic plan is its drive to be Net Zero by 2030.

“The new buildings have heat pumps, sealed windows, solar panels, everything they need to be more energy efficient,” added Gavin.

“Because they’re new, we can build them as Net Zero and we are looking at retrofitting the other buildings too.”

Keith added: “As well as being a key part of our strategic plan, becoming Net Zero by 2030 is also part of our new mission and values, which we are working on with our staff and students. We are a real business doing important things for the planet, which we can show to students so they can learn in a realworld way. I hope, in fact I am sure, that one

day we will have some of our former students inventing new technology.”

The Group is keen to share its new mission and values with the community once they are finalised but so far, they include becoming Net Zero and standing up for diversity.

“We are super excited about the future,” added Keith. “We have some more exciting announcements to make soon, and we are looking forward to sharing our new strategic plan in the summer too.”

15 The
of Kingston
of Commerce BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community 15
Royal Borough
We want to really invest in the student experience. It’s all about quality, quality, quality. We have invested in new buildings, but we are also investing in the student experience, it matters as much as the bricks and mortar.
javier trueba on unsplash
Get started today 01895 853780 Apprenticeship provider in west London with Harrow, Richmond & Uxbridge Colleges 55 years of experience in offering employer-led education Regular & Blended Learning Apprenticeships Technical Higher Education by West London IoT T Level Qualifications Work Experience & Traineeships Training & Courses Create a Stronger Business Future Together

The Brain Myth

The human brain is amazing and often mysterious. While researchers are still uncovering the secrets of how the brain works, they have discovered plenty of information about what does goes on. We briefly look at the brain myths that have been circulating for years and have almost become known as facts.

Left or right?

Have you ever heard someone describe themselves as either leftbrained or right-brained?

This stems from the popular notion that people are either dominated by their right or left brain hemispheres. According to this idea, people who are “right-brained” tend to be more creative and expressive, while those who are “left-brained” tend to be more analytical and logical.

While experts do recognise that certain types of tasks and thinking tend to be more associated with a particular region of the brain, no one is right-brained or left-brained.

In fact, we tend to do better at tasks when the entire brain is utilized, even for things that are typically associated with a certain area of the brain.

10% usage only

We use only 10% of our brains. This one sounds so compelling - a precise number, repeated in pop culture for a century, implying that we have huge reserves of untapped mental powers.

But the supposedly unused 90% of the brain is not some appendix. Brains are expensive - it takes a lot of energy to build brains during fetal and childhood development and maintain them in adults. Evolutionarily, it would make no sense to carry around surplus brain tissue.

Experiments using PET or MRI scans show that much of the brain is engaged even during simple tasks, and injury to even a small bit of brain can have profound consequences for language, sensory perception, movement or emotion.

It is true that we have some brain reserves. Autopsy studies show that many people have physical signs of Alzheimer’s disease in their brains even though they were not impaired. Apparently we can lose some brain tissue and still function pretty well. And people score higher on IQ tests if they’re highly motivated, suggesting that we don’t always exercise our minds at 100% capacity.

Howling at the moon

We all know a full moon is supposed to bring werewolves and vampires out into the open or drive us mere mortals a little mad. Such notions even gave rise to the word lunacy.

Speak to police officers or staff in hospital emergency departments, and some will insist there are more accidents, violent incidents and psychiatric admissions when the Moon is full. In 2007, the police force in the British seaside resort of Brighton even went as far as to employ extra officers during full moons.

For every study that revealed more problems when the Moon was full, another showed there were fewer. So why are so many people convinced it’s a real phenomenon?

It could be an example of the confirmation bias, where people are more likely to notice

and remember information which fits in with what they already believe. Police or medical staff look up one night, notice how bright it is, and see the full moon. They then make a connection between this and the busy night they’re having. They just forget all the other evenings when the moon isn’t full!

Puzzles keep you young

Crosswords are fun and may improve your ability to find words, but they don’t help your brain’s overall cognition or memory.

Many people believe that a crossword puzzle a day will help stave off dementia or Alzheimer’s but there is no evidence to support that claim. That’s because crossword puzzles only flex one part of your brain, which is word finding (also called fluency.)

Online “brain-training” games have little benefit for brain health and memory, and people should concentrate on socialising and learning new skills, such as a language, according to recommendations from Age UK and the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH).

This is despite the widespread belief that they are an effective way to stave off dementia. GCBH says older people should not assume a decline in their memory is inevitable and that writing lists and taking time to observe surroundings can help, as “a lot of what people attribute to poor memory is not paying close attention”.

Sources:,, and

17 The Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community 17 factoids



JUNE 16, 2023


Kingston Chamber of Commerce is delighted to launch the inaugural Future of Work Summit, hosted by the Kingston Business School. This Summit is dedicated to providing educational insights, networking, supportive and inspiring business seminars.

We welcome you to join our range of engaging seminars and roundtables. These will bring together experienced leaders and practitioners from different areas of business, who will share a deeper dive into specific topics or challenges.

The Summit will also provide you an opportunity to interactively partcipate in a mini-hackathon on the Future of Work issues. Run by Kingston University, this will be an enjoyable feature to the event.



There are many opportunities to network during the day. Pick up a coffee, or a bite to eat, and catch up with and chat with other attendees in the Atrium area or join the speed networking.

The spirit of Future of Work Summit is rooted in our local, dynamic business community and it’s our mission to foster productive learning and connections. We look forward to seeing you there.

Tickets: The event is free to Chamber members. For visitors, book your Early Bird Offer £10.00 (plus booking fee).

Expires May 26th 2023

18 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
The Royal Borough
Kingston Chamber of Commerce


Roundtable Discussions

Technology and Innovation

Innovation for the future; how tech is changing our outlook

The release of ChatGPT and the developments of AI have opened fresh dialogue about the threat that ‘robots’ will take all our jobs. From marketing to handling employee holiday requests, what are some of the challenges and innovations ahead?

Recruiting, Future Skills and Diversity

Employee development and how to ensure it delivers for everyone

Not all recruiting is equal so how do we ensure that we deliver the right opportunities for every employee and optimise work experience opportunities and apprenticeships? What attributes and future skills do businesses desire from their employees? There are many socially-minded businesses who might be interested in supporting those with additional barriers too but how can this be encouraged?

Culture and Values

Why values should drive decision-making

Values shape a strong culture, and a unified workforce defines who you are as a business. A strong company culture delivers a multitude of benefits and can also be a force for good within the community. With some businesses exploring four day weeks, culture and values play a crucial element in attracting and retaining staff, but can it still be productive?

Business Bite Size Seminars

Seminar 1

The power of 3 – building a valuable pipeline of growth opportunities

Richard Padum

Sales Geek

Seminar 2

How to be an authentic leader in your business

Pippa Dunford

The PiPP Consultancy

Seminar 3

Marketing opportunities and challenges with social media

Sonia Kampshoff

More Perfect Digital

Seminar 4

Developing personal resilience for business success

Giselle Monbiot

19 19 The Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
With our magnifique spring menu Find us at 6 Riverside Walk, Kingston upon Thames Book online at
la Saison

Working at Côte Brasserie Kingston

Overlooking the Thames, Côte Brasserie Kingston

place to enjoy dinner and

Izabella Hajnal started her career at Côte Brasserie, Kingston as a waitress six years ago. She always knew she wanted to run the popular restaurant overlooking the Thames one day and the New Year made her dreams come true.

“The Spring menu includes a Tomato Goats Cheese tart, which can be perfect for sunshine served as a starter or a main with our famous frites and salad on the side. Not to forget our Moules Frites, perfect with a cold glass of Picpoul on our terrace.”

“We try to reduce food miles where we can, but it depends on the ingredients. Our rope-grown mussels come from a farm on the Shetland Islands in Scotland and our cornfed chicken comes from France, but our beef comes from England.”

Like every business in the hospitality sector, Côte was no exception to the difficulties faced during the Covid pandemic.

“It was blooming before the pandemic,” added Izabella.

The restaurant is adding a new, revamped Terrace to further improve the guest experience, something Izabella and her team are very excited about ahead of the summer.

“We want guests to have whatever they need,” she said. “We want to make sure they have the best - the best food, the best service, the best experience - because we all deserve it. We are very proud of our team to deliver fantastic experience to our guests. We love seeing our regular guests who are coming from the very beginning and of course, we love to see new faces as well.

“Our regular food and wine tastings with the team enables us to create great guest experience and this is what stands out to be a dining experience in Kingston.”

Kingston has been Izabella’s home since she moved to England from Hungary eight years ago to visit her brother and sister and take on a summer job.

“That three-month job led to six years in Côte, and my more to come,” says Izabella, who adds that she has heard all the jokes about being from Hungary and working in a restaurant. “Now I’m married, and England is my home.” Previously working as assistant manager at the modern French restaurant for two years, she took up her general manager role on 2nd January and her dedication to her guests and passion for Côte seasonal menus are clear to see.

“The menu changes seasonally so we have the freshest ingredients; we have moved on to our Spring menu now with a fantastic Roasted Lamb Rump or Asparagus Choron, although our Confit Pork Belly is a favourite so that is always on the menu,” she said.

“It was one of the busiest of Côte’s 86 restaurants. I’m thankful for the company who ensured we kept our jobs. Our restaurant was the second one to reopen. Our core team has stayed here, that’s something I’m proud of, and our head chef, Patryk has just celebrated his 15th anniversary working here with us.”

The restaurant’s stunning location is key to its success and whenever colleagues from other restaurants visit, they always comment on the views.

“At night, it looks very pretty with the fairy lights; it’s a beautiful location,” she said.

It is also only a couple of minutes’ walk away from Rose Theatre and guests will often enjoy a three-course meal from the theatre set menu before a show. The restaurant has teamed up with the theatre to offer every guest who buys a ticket for a show a complimentary glass of Cremant De Bourgogne sparkling wine.

21 The Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce 21 profile
BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
is a beautiful
drinks. New general manager Izabella Hajnal tells us why it is a beautiful place to work too.
The restaurant’s stunning location is key to its success and whenever colleagues from other restaurants visit, they always comment on the views.



The winners of the Kingston Borough Business Awards (KBBA) were announced at a much-anticipated celebration evening at the historic All Saints Kingston on 23rd March 2023. The event brought together finalists, sponsors and VIPs from throughout the borough to celebrate the accomplishments of the local business community.

We would like to thank our Headline Sponsor, Kingston University, Gold Sponsors, Kingston College and Kingston Council, and the Category sponsors who have supported our Kingston business community with their faith in the KBBA.


SPONSOR: LeBoo Media

WINNER: Time & Leisure Media




SPONSOR: Kingston First

WINNER: The Wych Elm


SPONSOR: Pearson Hards Solicitors

WINNER: Robyn Harper Photography


HEADLINE SPONSOR: Kingston University

WINNER: Kingston Beats C.I.C.


GOLD SPONSOR: Kingston Council

WINNER: AuLaw Organic Farm UK C.I.C.

Martin Booth (left), Director of LeBoo Media, with Lucy Kane, Mike Reed, Tina Lofthouse, Melanie Burgess, all of Time & Leisure Media Ian Lipscombe, Partner at Pearson Hards, with Robyn Harper, Robyn Harper Photography Matthew Essex (left), Executive Director of Place, Kingston Council, with Ed Gossage, Nicola Fish, Missy Clements and Sam Page of 7DOTS Ian Roberts (left), Head of Kingston Business School at Kingston University with Agnes Yung, Mike Li, Richard Cheung, Betty Wong, Kingston Beats C.I.C. Kirsten Henly (right), Chief Executive of Kingston First, with Charlotte Salaman and Michael Person, the Wych Elm Kingston Councillor John Sweeney, Portfolio Holder for Business, Recycling & Customer Care, with Yu Wing Wong, AuLaw Organic Farm UK C.I.C.


SPONSOR: DoubleTree by Hilton, Kingston

WINNER: Not My Beautiful House


SPONSOR: Holland Hahn & Wills

WINNER: Visiting Angels North Surrey


SPONSOR: Russell-Cooke Solicitors

WINNER: Summers-Inman


SPONSOR: Rotary Club

WINNER: Momentum Children’s Charity


SPONSOR: Wolters Kluwer

WINNER: Jade Quirke of Russell-Cooke Solicitors




All photographs: Time & Leisure


GOLD SPONSOR: Kingston College

WINNER: TG Consulting Ltd


SPONSOR: Unilever UK and Ireland

WINNER: Comfort Care At Home


WINNER: West9 Design Ltd

Daniel Rosier, General Manager at DoubleTree by Hilton Kingston, with Hannah Price and Maya Griffiths of Not My Beautiful House Chris Hirsch, Managing Partner, Holland Hahn & Wills, with Lynn and Chris James, Visiting Angels North Surrey Rachel Stewart, Partner at Russell-Cooke Solicitors with Lee Orchard, Director, Summers-Inman David Twaite, Rotary Club, with Victoria Futcher, Momentum Children’s Charity Tonia Galati, TG Consulting with Clive Lissaman, Head of Employability, Kingston College Matt Barnes (left), Wolters Kluwer’s Sales Director, with Jade Quirke, Russell-Cooke Solicitors Richard Sharpe, Head of Unilever UK, with Shamsah Lalji, Comfort Care At Home Blake Edwards from IQ in IT (centre) with Steph Edwick and Dean Carran (right), JNDC Forbes Low of the Kingston Chamber with Claire Harrison, West9 Design

Going Green

Electric vehicles (EVs) were the focus of @Work:sustainability, the latest business breakfast event held at Barwell Business Park.

Part of Kingston Chamber’s regular new programme of peer-to-peer, sector networking, the 28 March event took place at Unit 50.

Guest speaker was David Symons, cofounder of Joltify, local multi award winning solar, EV chargepoint and battery installer. There are more than one million EVs on the UK’s roads today and forecasters predict that electric car and vans will outsell petrol or diesel engines by 2025 – yet there are presently only 40,000 public charge points to service them.

David said: “Now is a great time to think about getting a chargepoint either for your home where you can benefit from cheap off-peak electricity or perhaps at your work place where you may be eligible for a £350 Workplace Charging Scheme grant from the government.”

The lifetime emissions of an electric car are three times lower than modern petrol vehicles and while more expensive to buy, they are much lower to run - depending on factors such as battery size and model, an EV full charge can cost as little as £7

Electric cars are also cheaper to maintain than internal combustion cars as they are designed to be as efficient as possible, with generally around three components powering the vehicle. They are also exempt from the London Ultra Low Emission Zone.

When it comes to solar power, the opportunity for savings is potentially limitless, but depends on a variety of factors from roof direction to pitch, and size of the system installed.

David said: “It is also worth noting that due to the high price of energy, solar power is becoming a far more popular and attractive option than ever before with both domestic and commercial premises benefitting with much earlier returns on investment. This is especially true if your premises consume much of its energy during the day. Currently, 7 per cent of energy generated within the UK is from solar.”

For more information on EV charging, contact David at Joltify LTD at

Investment in the borough’s public spaces continues

Kingston Council and Kingston First are continuing their partnership to transform two spaces across Kingston town centre into places where everyone can unwind, enjoy and connect with nature.

The first of these is Eagle Brewery Wharf, where landscape architects Farrer Huxley have now been appointed to take the project forward, bringing the feedback received from previous engagement activities to life, through design options that will be ready later this month. The project team will be showcasing these design ideas at the site on 20th May and seeking further feedback on ways to transform the space. Further

information on the upcoming events and how people can get involved will be available shortly at:

The second partnership site at Memorial Gardens has also seen progress, with the brief inviting landscape architects to pitch for the work receiving an exciting level of interest. It is anticipated that a practice will be appointed to start further design work in the coming weeks. This initiative is part of Kingston town’s public realm strategy; Reimagining Kingston Town Centre’s Streets and Spaces which was completed in collaboration with Kingston First,

Kingston Council, Kingston University and the GLA. The strategy sets out a blueprint for how public spaces could be invested in to improve the experience of Kingston, encourage more people to move around all parts of the town and ensure that the town’s culture, heritage and riverside assets continue to be developed.

Both the Eagle Brewery Wharf and Memorial Gardens projects are part of the council’s ‘Transform Kingston’ and High Street Regeneration programmes, which look to reinvigorate and reshape the town centre to make it even better for residents, local businesses, students and visitors.

24 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community news

New Home For Russell-Cooke In Kingston

30 January 2023: Law firm RussellCooke has completed the relocation of its team in Kingston-Upon-Thames to Riverview House, a modern selfcontained office building on the banks of the river.

The move is part of the firm’s long-term commitment to its Surrey clients and delivers the accommodation and flexibility to support the ongoing growth of its Kingston team.

The new premises is directly adjacent to Kingston Bridge on the bank of the Thames, and provides over 9,000 square feet of premium office space including areas for hosting clients as well as industry and community events.

Russell-Cooke established its Kingston-uponThames office in 1985 and since then has become a leading legal services provider for local residents and the surrounding communities in wider Surrey.

The Kingston team’s expertise ranges across key practice areas including private client, family law, children and education law, residential conveyancing and real estate. It’s also an

access point for clients to the wider legal services provided by the firm, from corporate and commercial to charity law.

The Kingston office officially opened on 30th January and is home to approximately 50 members of staff, including 9 partners. The firm is a proud champion of arts and culture in Kingston including as principal sponsor of the Cobham Rugby Club, supporting the Rose Theatre since its inception and many other community events and causes. It is also an active member of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce and the Surrey Law Society

The new address for Russell-Cooke LLP in Kingston: Riverview House, 20 Old Bridge Street, Kingston, KT1 4BU John Gould, Senior Partner at Russell-Cooke, commented:

“Although we are only moving the length of Kingston Bridge, the new location will make us even more accessible to clients in North Surrey who want the services of a large London firm. It represents a real step forward.

Revised leisure centre plans to be presented to council

A new roadmap to the delivery of Kingston’s new community leisure facility will be presented at the council’s Place Committee on 20th June 2023.

On the site of the former Kingfisher Leisure Centre, the new built-to-last swimming and leisure centre, which will be accessible to all residents, will offer a range of facilities.

Kingston Council is “committed to building a new swimming and leisure centre on the same site as the old, unsafe Kingfisher building, in Kingston town centre”. The council made the “difficult decision” not to proceed with a construction partner at almost double the cost of the allocated budget and has been revising the proposals.

The new outline business case, proposed timescales for the

programme, as well as options of the revised facility mix, will be presented as part of a report to the committee in June.

Leader of the council, Cllr Andreas Kirsch, said: “As we have said all along, we are 100% committed to delivering a high quality, accessible and sustainable swimming and leisure centre on the existing site in Kingston, and this is the next decision point in making that happen. “We are of course disappointed along with residents that the leisure facility cannot be delivered more quickly, however, spending almost double our budget was definitely not the right thing to do.

“We are now on track to deliver comprehensive updates on the programme in June, and look forward to providing more detail in due course.”

“Our Kingston team has earned an unmatched reputation for providing first class legal services to individuals, families and their businesses in Surrey and beyond. Our new offices are a fitting reflection of this. The upgraded premises give us a superb base from which to continue delivering for our clients into the future and provide a high quality, collaborative workplace and environment for our people, with the modern, versatile space providing the flexibility to support our agile working approach and future growth.

“We look forward to welcoming our team, clients and friends in the community to Riverview House.”

25 The Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of
business community news
01737 243 328 020 7935 4499
The move is part of the firm’s long-term commitment to its Surrey clients and delivers the accommodation and flexibility to support the ongoing growth of its Kingston team.

Go Green with South Thames Colleges Group

South Thames Colleges Group (STCG) is delivering green accredited and non-accredited courses to support the Regional and National green skills gap and agenda, providing a critical skills boost that will benefit employers, individuals, and the wider economy. Whether you already have some experience in the green industry or are starting from fresh we have courses for you to excel in your Career and make a difference to the world we live in.

Check out our range of Green Skills courses below which are all FREE subject to eligibility* – see our website for more information and how to register your interest or email

Sustainable Fashion

Electrification of Cars

Solar Skills

A two-week programme designed specifically for adults who wish to upskill, start their own business, or embark on a career change. The programme will introduce and navigate the rapidly changing retail and fashion industry and the technologies and challenges that they must overcome to become environmentally friendly.

• An introduction to Green Skills, Employability and Customer Service Award.

• Working in the Fashion Industry.

• Green Skills and how they apply to fashion.

• The changing face of fashion.

• Environment and the clothing industry.

• Fast Fashion and it’s damage to the planet.

• Recyclable materials – Recycling, Upcycling, Ethical Issues.

• Fashion Brands and Designers.

• Plus, a visit to Battersea Power Station and opportunities to link with local and regional retail employers.

This bespoke two-week course is designed specifically for adults who wish to upskill or change career. The course includes:

• The impact of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles on the environment.

• Introduction to EVs and electricity.

• Car batteries and charger types.

• Health and Safety of electricity, chargers and regulations.

• Installing EV chargers at home.

• Commercial installation of EV chargers.

• The challenge of creating EV charge point infrastructures.

• EV, charge points and the race to Net Zero.

Green Climate Change and Environmental Awareness

NCFE Level 2 in Understanding Climate Change and Environmental Awareness (Online flexible learning)

This course covers:

• Climate change, sustainability and environmental protection.

• The role of industry in protecting the environment.

• Resource efficiency and waste management.

• How to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

• Water efficiency.

The Solar Skills Bootcamp is a six-week part time programme Monday to Wednesday. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to apply for Apprenticeships and entry level roles, supported by STCG, and in some cases, guaranteed interviews with London-based solar employers.

• Detailed information on the clean energy economy and the solar industry.

• The fundamentals of electricity generation and how solar technology works.

• Solar installation and maintenance.

• Health and Safety.

• Workplace skills.

• The roles and career prospects available in the solar industry.

Waste Management

This Waste Management course will enable learners to acquire generic employability-based skills and knowledge. Green topics are covered in optional units to provide awareness of green and environmental issues to support recruitment into this sector. There are four qualification components:

• Certificate in Personal Development (OCN)

• Entry 3 and Level 1 Award in Practical Cleaning Skills (C&G)

• Level 1 Award in Introduction to the Facilities Industry (C&G)

• Multiply – this element is designed to improve numeracy skills to unlock job opportunities, lead to higher wages or prepare learners for further study.

skills 27 The Royal
of Kingston
BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
*Eligible learners must be aged 19 or over, legally allowed to work in the UK and have lived in the UK or EU for the last three years.

Kingston’s Efficient Homes Showbuilding a greener future, together!

Kingston Council and the Kingston Green Business Community have teamed up with local organisations to create the borough’s first ever Efficient Homes Show, taking place at Hollyfield School in Surbiton on Saturday 20 May.

All are welcome at this FREE event where you can discover a wide range of services, technology and products to help to improve your home while reducing your energy bills and protecting the planet.

Exhibitors will be showcasing the latest in

insulation, solar panels, low carbon heating, EV charging, and much more!

You’ll have the chance to talk with experts who can help you make informed decisions about which solutions will work best for your home and budget.

Professionals will also have the chance to network with those in the retrofit sector, share ideas, and connect with like-minded people. Whether you’re looking to improve your home, cut your bills, expand your business, gain new skills, or find new products, the Efficient Homes Show is the place to be.

environment Book your FREE tickets online at Eventbrite: 28 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

Sherwood Grange care home, Kingston Vale

Typical signs of ageing or dementia? Recognising and responding to the symptoms

Wednesday 31st May 2023

2pm - 4pm

At our next free event, we will give an overview of normal ageing and how symptoms differ from dementia. We will also explore the signs of dementia, and the differences between the 3 most common types of dementia.

Trusted to care.

To attend please call 020 3603 1937 or email

Join us for our next event
Trust us to arrange a wonderful welcome Read David’s story West Hall luxury care home O� Parvis Road, West By�eet, Surrey, KT14 6EY Call 01932 911 927 | Visit 9.9 West Hall Review score 2023** *T&C’s apply. Please see website for details. ** scores are based on independent reviews with a maximum score of 10. Rating correct as at 24/04/2023. Rated June 2019 3 weeks for 2 on respite care*

health and wellbeing

Health and Wellbeing at Work

We spend a large chunk of our week at work, so it is even more important to look after both our physical and mental health. Health and wellbeing is often placed in the “free time” box, but does that make sense if we spend most of our time at work? How can we boost our health and wellbeing at work?

There are a number of steps we can take to build physical exercise into the working day. We could change our commute – can we walk to work or at least, park the car a little further away?

We can pack our gym kits in our work bags and pop to the gym straight from work. What if we’re stuck on a train or the Tube? Although, you can’t participate in physical exercise, you can take a break and spend your train commute nurturing your mental health and wellbeing. You could listen to an inspiring podcast or calming music, read a book or simply look out of the window and watch the world go by.

Employers are looking more and more at how to boost the mental health of their employees.

Advantages of Looking After Staff’s Wellbeing:

• Helps prevent stress.

• Creates positive working environments where both individuals and organisations can thrive.

• Helps people realise their potential.

• Supports a feeling of belonging and contentment.

• Increases employee engagement.

• Boosts organisational performance.

• Boosts resilience.

• Reduces sickness absence.

• Higher performance and activity.

CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) has identified seven interrelated domains of employee wellbeing:

1. Health – physical health, physical safety, mental health.

2. Good work – working environment, good line management, work demands, autonomy, change management, pay and reward.

3. Values/principles – leadership, ethical standards, inclusion and diversity.

4. Collective/social – employee voice, positive relationships.

5. Personal growth – career development, emotional, lifelong learning, creativity.

6. Good lifestyle choices – physical activity, healthy eating.

7. Financial wellbeing ¬– fair pay and benefit policies, retirement planning, employee financial support.

There are several ways businesses can support their team’s health and wellbeing. These include:

• Having a holistic framework in place to support people’s physical health and safety, and mental health.

• Offering sources of help e.g. counselling, employee assistance programme, occupational health services.

• Discouraging ‘presenteeism’ (people working when unwell).

• Encouraging a better work/life balance.

• Boosting morale and engagement through praise and rewards.

• Having a staff wellbeing team comprising members of all levels to meet regularly to discuss any staff concerns and ways to boost staff wellbeing.

• Discounts for local gyms.

• Walking clubs.

• Lunchtime yoga or pilates.

• Recipe clubs to swap healthy meal ideas.

• Healthy food options in the canteen.

• Social events e.g. meals out, bowling, hikes, day trips.

• Open door policy for management and/ or agreed drop-in times and training line managers to have difficult conversations.

• Having trained mental health first aiders.

• Holding Wellbeing Wednesdays to provide little treats for staff.

31 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community The Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce
Jordan Brierley @

Bowie and Beyond exhibition opens at Kingston Museum

arts and culture

The iconic life and music of David Bowie is being showcased in a new exhibition called Bowie and Beyond: Ziggy Stardust & Kingston’s Music Heritage, at Kingston Museum.

The free exhibition starts with Bowie’s launch of his Ziggy Stardust persona at Tolworth’s Toby Jug in February 1972 and explores how he later returned for a gig at Kingston Polytechnic (now Kingston University) in May 1972.

As Ziggy, Bowie captured the shifting trends of Kingston’s art,

Competition to design public space in New Malden launched

A new competition to design a “gateway to New Malden” has been launched.

The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has partnered with Kingston Council to launch the competition to support New Malden’s high street recovery.

The competition is asking for designs that will create an inclusive and attractive public space in the heart of the town centre, including the relandscaping of the roundabout and neighbouring green space. Design considerations will also need to address the damaged fountain and could suggest opportunities for a new monument, which will signal a gateway into the town, whilst also

“celebrating the character, culture and heritage of the area”.

Cllr Lesley Heap, New and Old Malden neighbourhood chair, said: “New Malden is a unique place with a vibrant community, and this is a great opportunity for us to continue to celebrate the pride we feel in our town.

“Making our town centres more attractive is a key part of our work to regenerate our borough and support the local economy. Exciting plans like this one help us to improve our community spaces and bring life into the town centre.

“I look forward to seeing the

music and pop fashion scene at the time.

The exhibition is a story told through music and memorabilia sourced from local people, with original artworks from, and interviews with, those who were inspired by Bowie and have influenced national and international music and arts trends since.

The exhibition runs until 16th September 2023, Thursday/ Friday/Saturday 10am to 5pm, at Kingston Museum on Wheatfield Way.

For more information, visit:

proposals that come out of this design process, and working with local representatives on bringing forward a successful scheme that we can all benefit from.”

Rosa Rogina, director of the London Festival of Architecture, said: “We’re so pleased to be working with the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames on this exciting competition in the vibrant town of New Malden. At LFA we’re keen to test ways of improving London’s public realm and green spaces – such as those around Fountain Roundabout.

“We can’t wait to see how applicants take a community led approach, making the site more people-focused, through their design proposals.”

Six shortlisted teams will be announced, and their entries will be displayed as part of an exhibition in New Malden. The local community will be able to view the exhibition and provide feedback, which will feed into the final judging stage, with a panel comprising members of the local community, council and industry representatives.

Community Resilience Fund launched to support cultural groups

A new £720,000 Community Resilience Fund has been launched by Kingston Council to support community, voluntary and cultural groups through the financial crisis. Launched on 18th April, it will run for one year, and applications for the first round of funding can be made between 24th April and

31st May. Cllr Andreas Kirsch, Leader of Kingston Council, said: “Kingston’s community, voluntary and cultural organisations

are invaluable in supporting communities across the borough. We all need to ensure these organisations can survive and navigate the cost-of-living crisis, so they can continue the vital work they do to support

and enrich the lives of people throughout the borough.”

More information on eligibility and applications is available at communityresiliencefund

- The voice of Kingston’s business community

The Royal Borough of Kingston Chamber of Commerce

5 minutes with... Kathryn Hughes

Q1-Who are you?

Kathryn Hughes , I run Kayak PR, an independent PR company in Kingston which I set up 15 years ago. We are a team of experienced PR consultants who have all worked in agencies and in house with clients. We work with all kinds of businesses – from start ups to leading brands as well as charities and not for profit organisations.

Q2-What’s your business all about?

We help businesses grow by raising their profile in the media and telling their story in a compelling way that helps them to stand out from the crowd, disrupt the status quo and to engage and influence their prospects.

We work with businesses at all stages of their communications journey. We can help if they are starting out and want to launch a product or service in the media or help them establish themselves as industry experts through dedicated thought leadership campaigns.

Q3-Three words to describe yourself?

Positive, curious and people-focused.

Q4-Ideal customer?

I don’t have an ideal. I love working with all

kinds of companies, as it’s always interesting to learn about a business. Strangely I have worked on lots of ships! I have promoted the Cutty Sark and handled the media around the fire crisis, as well as HMS Belfast and more recently The Golden Hinde – it’s becoming a niche! At the end of the day, PR is all about relationships, so the more engaged people are, the better the results tend to be.

Q5-Biggest achievement?

I have had lots of different achievements, depending on clients. For example, I was thrilled last month when a project I was doing to promote the 50th anniversary of the Golden Hinde Ship in London resulted in ITN coming down and doing a day of filming that was then broadcast on the evening news. This success doesn’t happen every day, but when it does it is so exciting.

Q6-Biggest gripe?

Rudeness – people being abrupt or not taking time to listen to others.

Q7-Your inspiration?

My mother who ran her own business and was so dedicated and full of energy and yet also managed to raise three children and give us all the time we needed.

Q8-Philosophy in business?

To work with people I like, on projects I believe in and enjoy. I don’t give up!

Q9-Sporting hero?

The entire England Women’s football team –watching them win the World Cup last summer was awe inspiring!

Q10-Biggest tip for success?

To be open to new opportunities. I believe in getting involved, going out and meeting people. It’s the best way to learn about new businesses and to be inspired.

34 BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community 5 minutes
tel: 07801 823839