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BUSINESS The voice of Kingston’s business community

Issue 19: Winter 2020/21

Creativity counts

in times of crisis p19

The Big Interview with Kingston Grammar School and The Kingston Academy p14-15

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

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

contents Welcome to New Members 4 News 7 Patron News 8-10 Skills 12-13 The Big Interview 14-15 Economy 17 Cover Feature - Creative Thinking 19-22 Starting Up 23 Chamber Events 24-25 Health & Wellbeing 26 Ask the Expert 28 Profile 30 News 32 Top Tips 34 Editorial and General Enquiries Guildhall, High Street Kingston upon Thames. KT1 1EU. 020 8541 4441 Email: office@kingstonchamber.co.uk Web: www.kingstonchamber.co.uk Chief Executive: Forbes Low Publisher: Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com Published Winter 20/21 © Benham Publishing and Kingston Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: karen@benhampublishing.com Production Manager Peter Wilkinson Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: peter@benhampublishing.com Media No. 1764 Disclaimer

Borough Business is published for Kingston Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Borough Business are not necessarily those of Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2020. Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

Patron Members

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Chamber of Commerce


BOROUGH BUSINESS The Kingston Chamber of Commerce magazine for all Businesses in Kingston As we head towards the end of the year, each of us will have many words that describe 2020, some of which I am sure are expletives. This year has given us many lessons but surely a painful one is that we just do not know what is around the corner. As the boxer Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” Yet from this very difficult year, there are strengths we can build upon for 2021. We have seen resilience, a togetherness, an appreciation of what we truly value in our lives and a respect for those who have given so much in the health services and care homes in particular. We have responded to the emotional, physical and financial challenges the best we can and shown a determination to just keep going, even when the days have often blurred into a mix of monotony and worry. It has opened conversations to greater honesty and candour which can only be for the better for our wellbeing.


Businesses have been stress-tested in ways that we could have imagined. I doubt if there is any business book which we could have read that could have helped us with this situation. The uniqueness of this year will stay long in our memories. We have all had to learn new skills; adjusting to home working, repeating tenfold budget plans, remembering to switch of the mute button on zoom, getting too familiar with lounge wear and accepting that bad days will happen and then pass.

I have said this before but I want to thank you for all your support and engagement with the Chamber. It has meant so much to the team here and it has provided strength to many businesses. You have shared many uplifting stories, with good humour and we appreciate that. I would like to thank the wonderful Chamber team, our Board of directors, who have supported me through some difficult days, and to all our Chamber friends across Kingston.

In my conversations with our members, our partners and friends at Kingston Council, Kingston First, Kingston University and College, DWP/Job Centre and the voluntary sector, there is a genuine unity of purpose to rebuild from this year. There is a commitment and drive to serve the whole Borough and to use the many business strengths which we have in Kingston. There are many challenges ahead in 2021 so the hard work will continue.

I wish you all the very best for 2021 and to borrow a phrase, onwards and upwards!


Thank you and take care

Forbes Low CEO Kingston Chamber of Commerce forbes@kingstonchamber.co.uk


BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


join us Welcome to our new members Buyabrand Ltd Chris Trodden www.buyabrand.co.uk

Front Foot Drive Limited Tim Richards www.front-foot.co.uk

DK Coaching Delphine Koall

Giselle Monbiot Giselle Monbiot www.gisellemonbiot.com

DR ME ClaireWillsher www.doctor-me.co.uk

Quenched Drinks Ltd Michael Bate www.quencheddrinks.co.uk

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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

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

Find out how to join and learn how others are benefiting from their membership. www.kingstonchamber.co.uk 4

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

hr dept

Porter the Sorter

Positive outlook for the local economy

Ask our resident HR expert, Sandra Porter of The HR Dept for advice on your workplace worries for some top tips. Well, we were expecting a quieter December without the normal drama attached with Christmas parties!! However, it has been crazier than ever. We have been dealing with cases of sexual harassment, bullying, breaches of postemployment restrictions, restructures, disciplinaries for poor Zooming behaviour and lots of poor performance issues. Tribunal applications are soaring and are set to continue during 2021. As I am sure that you are all busy writing your Christmas lists for Father Christmas, having been very good employers this year, here are some presents that you might want to add if you want to protect your business and employees for a successful 2021. The Employers List for Father Christmas

At the time of writing the UK is just out of another national lockdown. The second lockdown was devastating news for many businesses struggling to get back on their feet. We know that some businesses have been particularly affected, hospitality and retail have once again closed their doors. The impact will have been far reaching across the entire business community who provide services to these sectors. No business is untouched, and I know you have endured some of the biggest hardships of your working and personal lives.

“Dear Father Christmas,

the time of writing there is still no clear plan for what happens when transition ends, and this will no doubt cause more challenges.

As I have been an excellent Employer this year please can I have: 1) A people strategy to help us perform at our best in 2021 2) People policies that reflect our new ways of working and pre-empt issues 3) Effective training for line managers so that they can manage confidently 4) Contracts of employment that are compliant and protect our business 5) Employee benefits that are affordable and meaningful for our team 6) A recruitment toolkit to help us recruit effectively 7) Wellbeing strategy to help protect our employees physical and mental wellbeing 8) HR software that holds our employee data and tracks holidays and sickness 9) Performance management to help our team be at their best 10) Some Ferrero Rocher chocolates…..because they are a must (in my opinion) Thank you and please enjoy the mince pies, whiskey and carrots (for your reindeer).” It has been the most surreal year. We have all been under so much pressure to understand and adapt to our new circumstances. As you reflect on the year and plan for 2021, my best advice would be to undertake a review of what you have and what you need to help you be able to compete and thrive in 2021. Whether that means connecting with your Accountant, Marketing Consultant, Business Coach or HR expert ensure that Father Christmas brings you great advice and peace of mind for 2021. Happy Christmas. If you have questions for Porter the Sorter, email hrhelp@hrdept.co.uk for consideration for future editions. The HR Dept are an outsourced HR services provider supporting local SMEs with their people issues and strategy. For advice on Disciplinary and Grievance Policies and anything else people related 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.

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Chamber of Commerce

Despite these incredible challenges, local businesses have continued to generously support those hardest hit by the pandemic. Companies are embracing flexible working and digital transformation that will have a lasting positive impact on employee wellbeing and the environment. Bigger businesses and residents are switching to local, independent suppliers. These can only be good things for our local economy as we look ahead. The new year traditionally brings new starts, with many of us making positive changes in our lives. In some ways this year will be no different, but as well as looking at our physical and mental health, the health of the economy will be on everyone’s minds. There is the small matter of the end of Brexit transition to contend with. At

Despite last year’s extraordinary difficulties, there is much to look forward to in Kingston. We’re seeing investment in businesses large and small, and new start-ups are emerging. Businesses are looking at how they can be sustainable in the longterm, not just economically but also environmentally. I’d like to see the environment and sustainability at the heart of our local economic recovery. We have all enjoyed spending more time in nature since the start of the pandemic. The benefits of nature for mental health and work productivity are well known. Citizen Zoo, my chosen charity, is making fantastic headway with their mission to rewild the local area. Thank you to everyone who is supporting them. It’s no doubt 2020 will be remembered for its challenges, but let’s look ahead to a happy and healthy 2021 where we can all be more sustainable in every aspect of our lives.

Katerina Damcova Chamber President

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community



Vacant retail units get colourful makeover An initiative has been launched to inject colourful and vibrant imagery into Kingston town centre’s vacant retail units.

Riverside Timeline and Ellice Thatcher’s Kingston Calling on Eden Street and the most prominent yet, Izzi Toovey’s All About Kingston on the exClas Ohlsen unit in the Market Place.

While footfall in Kingston has increased steadily, with the town often performing better than Greater London, vacancy units around the country have continued to rise and empty units are a problem faced by all town centres.

Kirsten Henly, chief executive of Kingston First, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Kingston School of Art – one of the best art and design schools in the world – to bring these fantastic pieces of artwork to the town centre in high-profile locations to brighten our streets and showcase local artistic talent.”

To tackle this and make use of these spaces in the town centre, local business improvement district (BID) Kingston First teamed up with Kingston School of Art to launch the Kingston Canvas project. The organisations have commissioned students to design artwork for the units on the theme of Kingston: Past, Present and Future, with the aim of celebrating the town’s rich history, beautiful riverside and green areas, and diverse and thriving population.

Claire Selby, commercial projects manager at Studio KT1 – Kingston School of Art’s creative agency – said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Kingston First and for our students to be given such a public showcase. Kingston Canvas will transform vacant shop fronts; instead of blank spaces, shoppers and visitors will be taking in works made by up-and-coming creatives.

Three Kingston Canvas designs by students Natálie Barešová, Josephine Miller and Zsófia Mayer were installed on Clarence Street. They were followed by three more: Catarina Moura’s

“This project is a great demonstration of our commitment to developing sought-after students and providing them with public platforms to display their talent, especially in such challenging times.”

Unilever plans could bring jobs boost to Kingston Consumer goods giant Unilever has announced plans to build on its presence in Kingston and establish a new campus in the town. The plan for the new Eden Campus would bring more than 2,000 jobs and is a significant boost to the local economy at a time of huge uncertainty as a result of COVID-19. The development plans include offices, car parking designed for electric vehicles and a new residential building. Should the scheme be granted planning permission, Unilever hopes to move into the facility in the winter of 2023-2024. Unilever’s announcement comes on the back of Lidl’s decision to locate its new headquarters

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in Tolworth, employing 800 people. Kingston University recently opened its new landmark Town House building designed to welcome the local community and students. As a local business, Unilever is a member of the Kingston Economic Recovery Task Force, created in July 2020 in response to COVID-19 and the resulting economic challenges the borough faces both now and in the future. A partnership between Kingston Council, public sector organisations and businesses, the taskforce is guiding and coordinating Kingston’s economic recovery with the aim of creating a fairer and greener economy by being more resilient, productive, sustainable and inclusive. Kingston Council leader Caroline Kerr has welcomed Unilever’s plans to relocate its UK headquarters to Kingston. She said: “The announcement by Unilever is a fantastic endorsement of Kingston as a great place to live and work. It’s testament to all involved that an organisation with the international profile of Unilever is planning to expand its presence in the borough. “This is especially welcome news at this critical time in the COVID-19 pandemic and brings huge opportunities for local employment, with more than 2,000 jobs at the new town centre headquarters. This is a fantastic boost for our economy; it is a clear signal that Kingston is very much open for business and welcomes new employers to the town.”

Bounceback or Bust By Adam Nakar, Licensed Insolvency Practitioner at WSM Marks Bloom LLP

Since its introduction in May 2020, the government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme (‘BBLS’) has seen nearly 1.4 million small businesses obtain loans totalling over £42bn to help them survive the effects of the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns. These loans, of up to £50,000 depending on the business’ turnover, are fully guaranteed by the government, interest free for the first 12 months, and repayable over a maximum of 10 years. Many recipients have used a lot if not all of their loans to pay suppliers, rent, Crown debts, returning employees and utilities, all of which may have fallen into arrears as a result of lockdowns and ongoing restrictions. Inevitably, many are reaching the end of their loans (and other reserves) without trade having improved, and we are starting to see directors worried about the implications of having a company with a bounce back loan outstanding that it does not believe it will ever be able to repay. It is important to remember that funds from the BBLS are loans, not grants. They are debts to be repaid; if a Company will never be able to repay it, even if it has no other debts, it must be liquidated. A liquidator will investigate the affairs of the Company and will review how the BBLS has been obtained and used. The scheme was designed to help businesses that had been adversely affected by the coronavirus with their cash flow; if it appears a loan has been obtained fraudulently or using false information, or if it has been used to pay the director’s remuneration or personal expenditure in preference to other creditors, the liquidator has powers to seek recovery of the funds, as well as report this conduct to the Insolvency Service for further investigation into the fitness of that person to be a company director. In many cases, the loan will have been obtained and used honestly, to pay creditors and expenses to try to keep the Company going. In these cases, it is unlikely to result in any action being taken by a liquidator against the directors. If you are worried about the future of your Company, at WSM we have a team of experts ready to offer FREE advice. In view of current restrictions on office working, please email insolvency@wsm.co.uk in the first instance.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


patron news

New Malden solicitors strengthens its team Pearson Hards are pleased to announce a new arrival to Fountain House, to strengthen the Private Client department in the firm. Paul Denza comes to the department with a wealth of experience in dealing with wills, probate and trust matters and related issues. His long experience enables him to deal with the most complex of issues with

clarity and sensitivity. At a time when emotions are high following the loss of a loved one, Paul’s skills enable him to calm the situation and give confidence to all. Paul has a detailed knowledge of tax rules that enables him to give solid advice to a range of clients from those just starting their careers and building up their resources, to those with larger estates or involved with complex trusts. Proper advice given at the right time can help to keep the tax burden on an estate to a minimum. Paul is able to advise on these matters and work

IQ in IT Celebrates! 11 years in business

working at the GLA. Their mutual passion for IT and security sparked a desire to bring their extensive commercial expertise to SME’s. In 2009 they escaped the corporate world to set up on their own, with a mission to deliver intelligent IT support to smaller local businesses in the community they called home, Kingston. Birthday celebrations have been postponed for now, but IQ in IT would like to thank all their loyal customers and partners over the last 11 years of business.

and helps disabled people fulfil their potential in a work environment.

Managing Director, Kat Damcova says: “I’d encourage other employers to join the scheme and embrace the diversity that a disabled employee can bring to your business. It’s helped us understand more about hidden disabilities. We are pleased to be recognised as an equal opportunity employer. “

Disability Confident Employer It’s 11 years since IQ in IT opened their doors for the first time. The award-winning IT support company was founded by Katerina Damcova and Luke Whitelock after they met at a company event when both were

IQ in IT has been certified as a disability confident employer. This Government scheme helps employers make the most of diverse talent and the benefits employing a disabled person can bring to your business. It challenges attitudes, removes barriers,

with a range of other professionals to ensure that the best outcome possible is achieved for the client. When not at work Paul has a range of sporting, theatrical and musical interests. In his time, Paul has played tennis to a high standard and has been involved with many amateur dramatic performances, both of musicals and stage plays. He is a keen singer and organist and looks forward to the time when restrictions are lifted and normal services can be resumed.

than 5 employees, to make good IT affordable to even the newest, smallest companies and freelancers. As a micro or start up business, it’s just as important to have good IT support as if you were a big business, but it is also a juggle to balance books and keep overheads low. IQ in IT Founder and Technical Director Luke Whitelock says: “I left a big corporate background to set up my own business myself, so I understand how hard it is to lose the infrastructure and support of an in-house team when you start out. Being small doesn’t mean you should compromise on IT security or performance, so we’re happy to be able to offer corporate level of service on a scaled and affordable level to micro businesses. This is an exciting addition to the support packages we offer larger businesses.”

New support for small businesses IQ in IT have launched a new small business support package exclusively for businesses with less

Find out more here: https://iqinit.uk/micro-business-support-2/ and book an appointment here: https://iqi.click/iq


BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

patron news

Start 2021with a clear financial plan To further support the campaign to help independent businesses, we are delighted to offer a free financial consultation via phone of up to 30 minutes for anyone who is concerned about retirement, redundancy, or just a cashflow opinion. It could be a second opinion, or just some general advice – great to start 2021 with a clear financial plan. In other news, the building work at

HHW is nearing completion, looking fantastic and we are excited about the original features and pops of colour! This Christmas, we are supporting local children’s cancer charity, Momentum, who help poorly children and their families, offering practical and emotional help to them during a time of unimaginable strain. To donate, head to their website:


Kingston College

Launches New Website Kingston College is delighted to announce the launch of a newly designed website alongside a fresh, new brand. The website allows visitors to search for courses and information not only at Kingston College, but across the South Thames Colleges Group and clearly articulates the offer across the group.

Suna Marfe, Head of Marketing at Kingston College, commented: “We are excited to announce the launch of our new website and re-brand of Kingston College. We hope the new platform will allow our partners and students to engage with Kingston College and search for courses locally, but also across our group of Colleges in South West London. We feel our new brand reflects the strength and unity of our Group and the value that further education brings to our communities. “Kingston College has been a valued education provider for over 100 years. Being part of the South Thames Colleges Group has opened up a wider range of partnership opportunities and we are excited to share those with you.”

For information on a range of business courses and community initiatives visit stcg.ac.uk/employers. The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

Discover Your Direction


BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


patron news

John Lewis Partnership’s Prospects

Kingston University students now have an opportunity to receive a free, rapid Covid-19 test on campus so they can help keep families, friends and the wider community as safe as possible when they travel home for the festive period. The University has set up a testing hub on its Penhryn Road campus as part of a pilot programme being run in partnership with public health officials from Kingston Council, with students and staff able to book slots at the centre online. The test is only available to Kingston University students and staff who do not have Covid-19 symptoms, as part of a process known as asymptomatic testing. Participation is voluntary, with the programme aiming to help give those students who wish to take a test some reassurance before they start their journeys home.

Our Building Surveying team have been working alongside Royal Borough of Kingston-uponThames to review and implement an exciting new use for the existing John Lewis Partnership’s space. Summers-Inman’s Building Surveying team and Quantity Surveying team were employed to produce a cost plan, CAD Drawings and a 3D digital Model.

Based on advice from the government and its borough public health partners, the University initially prioritised students who lived in halls of residence and private accommodation for the tests. Following the success of the programme launch, tests are now being made available to other students and staff. Results will be available within the hour and sent directly to students by text shortly afterwards. Lateral flow tests can process results onsite without the need for laboratory equipment. Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier said the health and wellbeing of students and staff was of paramount importance to the University, as was its responsibility in helping to protect the wider community. “We have worked in close partnership with public health officials from the Royal Borough of Kingston since the start of the

Our Local Director James Milton led this project, and was supported by our experienced Building Surveyor Calum Maynard, who completed site visits, existing infrastructure assessments and liaised with Peter Lee, a Senior Quantity Surveyor, on the completion of a cost plan. The programme was planned and managed by SummersInman, with Surbiton-based Edward Pearse Construction Engineers LLP as Mechanical & Electrical subcontractors, to provide expert advice on specialisms.


BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

pandemic. Playing a key role in the launch of the Council’s pilot testing programme is another way in which we can proactively support measures to safeguard our local community,” he said. Kingston Council’s Director of Public Health, Iona Lidington, said the University was one of the first organisations to partner with the Council to offer asymptomatic testing as part of a pilot programme being rolled out in the borough. “We’re really pleased to be working with Kingston University to help students access asymptomatic coronavirus testing before they travel home to see their friends and families for the festive break,” she said. “These rapid-turnaround lateral flow tests are a vital tool in helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19. A negative test result lets students know they are likely to be negative for coronavirus at the point of the test and, if they have been following the prevention measures of hands, face and space for the three days ahead of this, then they will have greater peace of mind about how safe it is to travel back to their families during the government’s designated student travel window.”

Frontier Worker Permits and cross-border working post-Brexit Many businesses have employees who work for their company in the UK but who are primarily resident in another EU country. Once the Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020, EU free movement laws that have facilitated these sorts of crossborder working arrangements will come to an end and a new UK skillsbased immigration system will come into effect. For businesses that wish to continue to engage EU employees to work in the UK some or all of the time after 31 December, the new Frontier Worker Permit could be the answer. Who is a frontier worker? For these purposes, a frontier worker is: • an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen; • who is employed or self-employed in the UK but who lives elsewhere; and • who began working in the UK before 31 December 2020. For example, a Belgian employee from your office in Brussels who works in the UK one week per month but who is well established in Belgium, whose role is based in Brussels, and whose family and friends are also in Belgium. Please note that Irish citizens will not need to do anything in order to continue to work in the UK from 1 January 2021 and will not, therefore, need to apply for a Frontier Worker Permit. What is a Frontier Worker Permit? A Frontier Worker Permit will allow the holder to enter the UK in order to work. It will be valid for five years for workers and two years for people who are selfemployed and can be renewed. Application and key dates The new scheme is due to launch imminently on 10 December 2020 The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

and frontier workers will be able to apply online from inside or outside the UK. Applications will be free, employers will not need to have a sponsorship licence, and there will not be any qualifying criteria relating to skills or salary. There is no deadline for making an application but frontier workers will need a valid permit in order to enter the UK for work from 1 July 2021 onwards. As noted above, only individuals who were engaged to work in the UK before 31 December 2020 will qualify for the new frontier worker permit. What about EU workers recruited after 31 December 2020? From 1 January 2021, the current system of recruiting non-EU nationals will be extended to include EU nationals. If businesses wish to employ EU workers from abroad to work for their organisation in the UK, they will need to sponsor them (unless the EU worker has already secured status under the EU Settlement Scheme). In order to sponsor EU workers, a business must first obtain a sponsor licence, if they do not have one already. What is a sponsor licence? A sponsor licence gives a business permission to employ workers from abroad to work in the UK. Subsequently, it allows migrant workers to apply for a work visa to facilitate employment in the UK. Once a business is granted a sponsor licence they will be listed under the Register of Sponsors. The number of licenced sponsors has significantly increased in the last five years as more businesses have discovered the invaluable benefits. A sponsor licence allows businesses to gain access to a global pool of talent and have the ability to find the best talent to fit their business.

Bhavneeta Limbachia Immigration solicitor, Russell-Cooke

When applying for a sponsor licence, a business will need to specify which tier or tiers they are applying for: I. Skilled Worker The Skilled Workers route was previously known as the Tier 2 (General) route. It allows businesses to recruit migrants from abroad to fill a skilled vacancy in the UK. II. Intra-Company The Intra-Company route was previously known as the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route. It allows established workers of multinational companies, to be transferred by their overseas company, to work in a skilled role for a linked entity in the UK. Is this the new system? The new work visa system became effective from 1 December 2020 in preparation for the new post-Brexit immigration system which will take effect in full from 1 January 2021. Some of the key changes that businesses should expect include: • Reduction in the skill threshold for the skilled workers route. This has been reduced from RQF level 6 (bachelor’s level) to RQF level 3 (A-level).

• Abolition of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) which was the process of advertising a job for a period of 28 days to settled workers before the job could be offered to a migrant. • The salary threshold has been reduced from £30,000 to £25,600 or the going rate for the skilled occupation. • Removal of the cap for Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship which means there are no restrictions on the number of migrant workers a business can employ from abroad. In order to prepare for the new immigration changes, employers should review their recruitment plans to assess whether the above routes would be relevant for their employees. The expert team at Russell-Cooke can help guide you through the complex post-Brexit period to ensure you and your business continue to thrive.

For answers to immigration queries please contact the author Bhavneeta Limbachia in our immigration team.

+44 (0)20 8394 6561 or email Bhavneeta.Limbachia@russell-cooke.co.uk 11


Developing Skills for Business Growth London First research shows that 75% of London employers are currently struggling to find the right skills. Global economic changes and technological advancements are leading to fewer jobs with low or no qualifications. South Thames Colleges Group (STCG) has a key role to play in ensuring that Londoners have the skills employers need which are also essential for fairness and inclusion, as well as economic prosperity. With the added complexity of Brexit restricting European workers into the UK which normally supplies 15% of the workforce in Finance, 30% in Construction and 40% in Hospitality; without sufficient home-grown skills available employers are likely to be left with a serious shortfall. Add to that the challenges arising from the COVID-19 crisis, the effect of Furlough ending, widespread unemployment and the unsettled economy - the next few years will be challenging for employers and employees alike. At STCG we are focusing on developing and strengthening the relationships between our Colleges and local, regional, national, and international businesses. We are a quality provider of work based and employer faced training meeting employer needs in an efficient and economical way, adapting our offer to support employers and individuals in these unprecedented times. We are responding to these challenges by offering a portfolio of qualifications for young people from 16 plus, adults and employers alike in order to support changes in conditions of employment and upskilling, we also have a plethora of courses for those who wish to change their career at whatever age. We are offering both short free online courses to upskill and classroom-based courses from Entry Level to Degree programmes. We are developing Centres of Excellence based upon our exceptional provision across the Colleges Group and have support and finance options available for all. We have and are constantly listening to our stakeholders in sector skilled employer focus groups which we run here the Colleges Group. Kingston College has a number of packages that are being utilised extensively by organisations, which can be adapted to employers’ requirements, including; • Training and support for adults being made redundant – we offer online and face-to-face training and support to people to support them back into the workforce


BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

• Training for staff in the workplace – we offer courses specifically designed to upskill current staff, so they have the skills required to work during this pandemic • Training support for managers who need further skills in running their business or areas of operation

• STCG is a Kickstart gateway and training provider, the new Government initiative which provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24-year olds on Universal Credit (see image for more details). We are also working closely with the Department of Work and Pensions and Job Centre Plus to support individuals into new job opportunities that

New for 2021! Monthly sector specific online breakfast events, to keep you up to date with the latest developments in your industry. See our website stcg.ac.uk/employer for more details. Monday 25 January - Customer Service Promoting Customer Service Apprenticeship to employers

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desperately require filling now. London has more skills shortages than any other region in the UK: an estimated 30,000 unfilled vacancies as a direct result of people not having the right skills. To find out more about our services and how we can support your organisation, please contact Stella Raphael-Reeves, Assistant Principal HE and Business at stella.raphael@stcg.ac.uk

National Apprenticeship week (8-14 February 2021): • Monday 8 February - Construction and Engineering Apprenticeships • Tuesday 9 February - Health care and Life Sciences including Dental Nursing Apprenticeships • Wednesday 17 February - Professional Apprenticeships Thursday 18 March - Employer Open Day Thursday 22 April - Public Sector Employer Event Partnership working offer to public sector employers Thursday 24 June - Employer Open Day Looking ahead to the 2021/22 academic year

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


the big interview

New scheme builds skills for the future

Part of this challenge is to ensure young people have access to suitable advice and guidance so they can make informed choices about their future careers and find a job that suits their skillset. Despite the publication of the Gatsby good career guidance benchmarks in 2014 and the subsequent introduction of the Baker Clause, which stipulates that schools must grant FE providers access to year 8-13 pupils to provide information about nonacademic routes available to them, there’s still a recognition that good-quality careers advice is not readily available to all students across the board. This sentiment is felt by the students themselves; many young people reported only limited careers support from their schools and colleges in a major study published last year. Entitled Disconnected: Career Aspirations and Jobs in the UK, the study revealed a worrying disconnect between young people’s career aspirations and UK jobs. It said five times as many young people wanted to work in art, culture, entertainment and sport as there were jobs available, and over half of these respondents did not report interest in any other sector. Against this backdrop, The Kingston Academy and Kingston Grammar School have teamed up to form Futures, a cross-sector partnership to provide high-quality, inspirational university and careers education events to students in schools across the Royal Borough of Kingston. The principal aim of the venture is to enable students to make aspirational career choices whilst being made aware of the various opportunities available to them. Stephen Lehec, headmaster of Kingston Grammar School, says: “Young people will be our future workforce so it’s vital that they get the best possible careers advice. Today it’s not enough to focus solely on a pupil’s exam results. We want to explore what they’re good at, whether the university route or an apprenticeship will be most appropriate for them, and whether they have a natural interest in emerging industries such as digital media and green energy.

Equipping tomorrow’s workforce with the skills that employers need is one of the key challenges facing the education sector. With the business world changing at a rate of knots – the digital and green energy revolutions, the inexorable move towards online purchasing, the advent of new technologies and healthcare innovations – the pressure is on to find workers with the skills and attributes that can propel these industries forward. 14

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

the big interview “Young people will be our future workforce so it’s vital that they get the best possible careers advice. Today it’s not enough to focus solely on a pupil’s exam results.” “The Futures project that we’ve developed with The Kingston Academy is an attempt to look at the situation holistically, to get students excited about careers they had perhaps not thought of previously. In a few years’ time, for example, the use of artificial intelligence will become more prevalent in the workplace. We need to make sure that students are ready to seize these opportunities. We also have to give them the chance to gain key transferable skills in areas such as critical thinking and problem-solving; this can be done via the academic route or by providing vocational career opportunities such as apprenticeships.” Sophie Cavanagh, headteacher at The Kingston Academy, stressed the important role that quality careers education can play in breaking down barriers and long-held misconceptions.

few opportunities, they need to understand that competition will be fierce. They might have to re-evaluate their options and consider a career in other areas where demand for jobs is lower.

She says: “There are many instances of young people who have launched a successful career by going through the vocational route rather than the academic route. One student I know started his career as an apprentice at Virgin and progressed into a senior management role at the company.

“Talking to industry professionals and universities can help students to understand this. Several years ago, good careers advice amounted to speaking with one career advisor and looking through a prospectus. Now this approach will not work; the world is changing rapidly and careers advice also has to evolve. Our Futures project will help in this respect.”

“We have to educate pupils and their parents that there are many possible routes to a successful career. This process has to start early; if we wait until pupils are in sixth form, quite often it’s too late.”

Although the COVID crisis means that Futures events are being delivered online for the time being, Sophie believes that this doesn’t detract from the quality of careers advice on offer.

The Futures programme delivers twice termly events (currently on a virtual platform due to COVID-19) that can be accessed by anyone in the local community, not just students at The Kingston Academy and Kingston Grammar School. Students are offered up-to-date careers advice as well as advice, guidance and mentoring from alumni, universities and employers. Many of the events are based around a theme or industry sector, such as entrepreneurship or medicine – giving students exposure to different subject areas to explore. “Effective careers support can bridge that gap between aspiration and availability of certain jobs,” says Stephen. “If someone wants a career in a sector in which there are relatively The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

“I see this as an opportunity,” she says. “The way in which we connect with each other via Zoom and other technologies means that young people can have access to experts across the world. Our careers advice doesn’t have to be defined by who turns up to a meeting in Kingston on a particular day. “Every child must have access to the highest standard of careers advice and this is made possible if they can connect with people all over the globe. In today’s evolving environment, many people will change their jobs numerous times in their career so they need to be adaptable and perhaps have a wider skillset than someone twenty years ago. “We are delighted to be collaborating with Kingston Grammar School on this Futures initiative. Pooling our resources and sharing our knowledge can only be a good thing for all of our students, giving them access to a broader range of qualified professionals and enhanced opportunities for discovering the options available to them.”

“Every child must have access to the highest standard of careers advice and this is made possible if they can connect with people all over the globe.”

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


The Kingston Academy and Kingston Grammar School have recently joined forces in a crosssector partnership that is focused on providing high quality and inspirational university and careers education events to students in local schools. The aim is to enable young people to make aspirational choices whilst being clear about the opportunities available to them, accessing the latest developments and advice from academics and students at universities and those directly employed in the market.

OXBRIDGE: Myth versus Reality

Are you a year 10 or 11 student interested in knowing a little more about being a student at either Oxford or Cambridge University? Or are you a Year 11 students who thinking of applying. The event will hopefully debunk some common myths about Oxbridge and will aim to raise awareness of what skills and attributes might make a good candidate. We hope to have a representative from each University to address students and we want to involve some former Kingston Grammar School students who are currently studying at both Oxford and Cambridge to talk about the myths and realities of being a student.

6.00 – 7.00 pm Tuesday 9th February 2021 This is a FREE event open to any student living in the Kingston area.

More information is available at www.kingstonfutures.info where you can register an interest for this event. Further information is available from help@kingstonfutures.info


Survey points to brighter job prospects The pace of deterioration in UK job prospects is starting to slow due to modest improvements in planned recruitment activity and a slight decrease in employers’ redundancy intentions. This is the key finding of the latest quarterly CIPD/the Adecco Group Labour Market Outlook (LMO) survey, which canvassed the opinions of more than 1,000 employers and covered all sectors of the economy. The survey found that the net employment intentions figure, which measures the difference between the proportion of employers who expect to increase staff levels and those who expect to decrease staff levels, has risen to –1 from a record low of –8 in the last quarter (JulySeptember 2020). The relative improvement is marked in the private sector where the negative balance is -5, up from -13 in the summer. Recruitment intentions, while lagging well below pre-pandemic levels, have edged up for the second consecutive quarter. More than half (53%) of employers plan to recruit in the three

The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

months to December 2020, which is up four percentage points on the summer (49%) but down 16 percentage points on the same quarter last year (69%). In the private sector, recruitment intentions have improved from 44% to 49% since the last quarter. The survey also found that three in ten (30%) employers plan to make redundancies this quarter – a marginal shift from 33% in the summer. Despite this modest fall, there continues to be a large amount of uncertainty around redundancy intentions, with almost one in five employers (17%) reporting that they couldn’t say whether they would be making redundancies in the next three months. Weaker employment growth over the past six months has also led to a noticeable increase in

the number of applicants for vacancies across all skill levels. This is most apparent for low-skilled jobs, with employers reporting an average (median) of 25 candidates applying for each vacancy advertised compared with 20 applicants in the summer. During the same period, medium-skilled roles have seen an increase from 10 to 15 applicants, while high-skilled roles have seen an increase from 7 to 10 applicants. Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser for the CIPD – the professional body for HR and people development – said: “When it comes to the immediate jobs outlook, the best that can be said is that the situation is getting worse more slowly. Employment looks set to keep falling and the relatively weak demand for labour means that it is going to be a long and hard winter, affecting young jobseekers in particular.

“When it comes to the immediate jobs outlook, the best that can be said is that the situation is getting worse more slowly.” “The survey evidence shows that while recruitment freezes, pay restraint or cuts in hours of work via government schemes have helped save many jobs that might otherwise have been lost, holding onto staff when order books are far from healthy eats into company profits. Despite the furlough scheme recently being extended, more employers might look to reassess staffing levels early in the new year as they plan for what their workforce will look like medium to long-term.”

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community



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cover feature - creative thinking

Creativity counts in times of crisis It has been widely acknowledged that creativity is one of the key ingredients for business success. It’s also a particularly useful attribute to possess when running a company in the worst health pandemic in living memory.

The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


COVID-19 has forced all of us to re-evaluate the way we do things, particularly when it comes to working practices. It has called into question the viability of the physical office, with thousands of staff across the borough of Kingston spending the last few months working from the confines of their own home.

in a formal meeting; some of the best ideas come from that chance encounter with a work colleague over a cup of coffee in the common room. Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, has studied the impact of COVID-19 on the way people work in the UK, and considers

In truth, remote and flexible working had become more common by the time COVID-19 hit UK shores, with technology allowing more people to work from home or on the move. The virus has merely reinforced the message that, in many cases, it’s possible for people to carry out their day jobs remotely. However, this is not necessarily a good thing; several reports have highlighted workers’ increased anxiety and isolation due to being away from the office environment. Other studies have reported an erosion in the divide between work and home life, with some workers feeling unable to switch off from work to enjoy time with their families. Another important consequence of COVID-19 has been its impact on the creativity of the workforce. Even before the pandemic happened, a survey of 1,000 UK employees by Paragon Customer Communications revealed that 58% of staff thought their performance was stifled as they didn’t have adequate access to business support services when working remotely. With more staff working from home due to COVID, that figure is likely to have risen further in recent months. Creativity can help companies solve problems for their clients, stand out from the crowd and win new business. It’s therefore a vital ingredient for any successful business. Individuals can be creative on their own, but many studies have shown that a culture of creativity is best fostered in a shared environment, where bright minds can work together to tackle everyday issues. This doesn’t necessarily need to happen

what this might mean for people’s creativity and wellbeing, as well as the health of the economy. His analysis considers a range of issues, including the effects of home-working on productivity and output, creativity and relationships, wellbeing and happiness. The conclusions of the report are striking. It found that, in general, home-working has led to increased workplace happiness and a greater sense of workplace empowerment, although there has been no discernible rise in workplace productivity and output. However, the isolation of being away from the office appears to have resulted in a loss of creativity that tends to be gained from those chance, fiveminute conversations or informal meets in the workplace.

alludes to in the report: “COVID has re-shaped our working lives, our economic contributions and our well-being, certainly in the shortterm but probably in the longer term too. Whether this change is for the better is one of the key questions of our time, as workers, businesses, policymakers and citizens.

The home-working trend, which has been fast-tracked by COVID, therefore seems to be a doubleedged sword, as Andy Haldane

“The evidence so far on these issues cannot at this stage be more than illustrative. There is a balance to be struck between events which distract

and events which fire the imagination. For me, the 0-5 model of homeworking strikes this balance in the wrong place, as with hindsight did my pre-pandemic 5-0 model [of working full-time in the office].” Regardless of the working practices that companies and individuals choose to adopt, the key is to ensure that productivity and creativity levels among the workforce remain high. Mark Simmonds has been working in the creativity and innovation field for

“COVID has re-shaped our working lives, our economic contributions and our wellbeing, certainly in the short-term but probably in the longer term too. Whether this change is for the better is one of the key questions of our time, as workers, businesses, policymakers and citizens.” 20

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

cover feature - creative thinking

“I’m in my home office between 9am and 11am, just after lunch and between 4pm and 6pm, and I’ve made this space my paradise rather my prison. I’m in Starbucks – or our kitchen – midmorning and midafternoon for a coffee and chat” The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

more than 20 years and says there are several things that workers could do to boost their creativity, even if they’re working alone. He says: “I establish a rigorous timetable for every working day of the week. This includes a careful balance of work and play, punctuated with little treats and luxuries to reward myself every few hours. I also migrate throughout the house at different times of the day to maintain energy levels. I’m in my home office between 9am and 11am, just after lunch and between 4pm and 6pm, and I’ve made this space my paradise rather my prison. I’m in Starbucks – or our kitchen – mid-morning and midafternoon for a coffee and chat, I have a 30-minute nap at 3pm on the sofa and I take regular forays outside to breathe in the fresh air deeply.”

Working in isolation has also forced Mark to re-evaluate his business model, to search for new ways of meeting his clients’ needs. He’s also embracing the virtual space to keep in touch with clients and other business contacts via Zoom and other platforms. He says: “Some of these measures I’ve adopted have enabled me to maintain my productivity and preserve my sanity. In turn, this helps me to be more creative, which benefits both my business and my clients’ businesses.” After an early career in brand management at Unilever, Mark co-founded major global training and development provider Brand Learning in 2000 and Creative Creatures in 2008. He’s currently the founder of GENIUS YOU,

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


cover feature - creative thinking a company that helps teams develop winning ideas and strengthen their creative muscles. He is also the author of Breakdown and Repair, a new book that offers an honest account of his struggles with mental health. Mark’s creativity is helping him through the crisis and others are finding that this attribute can also improve their company’s bottom line. Several firms have saved thousands of pounds by ditching their expensive town or city centre office and moving to a more cost-effective working model, which includes co-working and flexible renting of office space. The traditional 9-5 working model appears to be dead in the water. Since March, companies have discovered that they don’t need to be located in large, expensive offices, where they are saddled with a long-term lease and their staff may have a long daily commute. While home-working has benefited many people, others miss the camaraderie and interaction with colleagues on a personal and professional level. They crave for some level of interaction now and then. This is why more companies may be tempted to take up the option of flexible co-working space, which would allow people to meet on an ad-hoc basis for client meetings or to share ideas with colleagues. Forbes Low, chief executive of Kingston Chamber of Commerce, says: “In this pandemic, the sharing of ideas and collaborative problemsolving has really been diminished; all of the conversations I’ve had with local businesses indicate that regular Zoom meetings and the isolation of working at home are not conducive to generating fresh ideas. It’s therefore important that owner-managers recognise this and perhaps put in place provisions that allow staff to meet in person, at least from time to time, in accordance with current COVID guidelines. “That said, some businesses have been creative in the way they’ve adapted to the current situation. Some companies have modified their product or service offering, others


“In this pandemic, the sharing of ideas and collaborative problem-solving has really been diminished; all of the conversations I’ve had with local businesses indicate that regular Zoom meetings and the isolation of working at home are not conducive to generating fresh ideas.” have introduced new income streams to their business or reduced their cost base by coming up with new, more efficient ways of working.

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“This kind of creative thinking has enabled these firms to survive and will put them in a great position to capitalise on a future economic recovery.


“The next few months will undoubtedly be challenging but if we can get through the winter months, with a COVID-19 vaccine on the way, I hope that 2021 will be a much better year for Kingston businesses.”


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BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

within the week we branded the company, designed a menu, bought an extra fridge and packaging, did a shoot, and launched to the local area. Q4 What do you like most about working for a start-up? Kaylie has been a freelancer for a while now, balancing home and work life but for me this is something new. Like most chefs, I didn’t really get more than 1 day a week at home with family and most of that was spent sleeping. I am now getting to spend more time with our children alongside running our own business. Whilst the hours are still long, I do have more flexibility to work around my home life. We both like that ultimately decisions start and stop with us. We have very different skill sets that don’t overlap so we have quite a lot of freedom in our roles. Q5 What has been your greatest business success to date? [Richard] Most recently, the need to buy a second XL Big Green Egg! We have been hitting capacity each week as we are rotating the main menu and off menu larger joints alongside bespoke orders. Plus, some of our meats need to be on the Eggs for up to 16hrs so space on the grill has been an issue. Getting the new Egg was like getting a new family member and now we can double our output.

Q1 Tell us a bit about your business? We are a Surbiton based husband [chef] & wife [photographer] team and Boxed Local is our lock down start up. Boxed Local delivers low & slow BBQ meats & veggies cooked on our Big Green Eggs with flavour packed sides and extras of smokey mayos & tangy relishes. BBQ’d, boxed and delivered to your door. We also cater for events (when allowed) and bespoke private catering. Q2 What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? [Richard] The food! It is a labour of love as the meats can take up to 16hrs on the Big Green Eggs so there have been a few 4am finishes. The time spent on the BBQ gives the meat that unique deep smokey flavour. We also do not skimp with our seasonal sides and seriously good extras. [Richard] I love what I do, and I think that shows

through the food and menus. I have been fortunate to be able to continue with cooking throughout lockdown and this is my chance to bring what I do to our great local neighbourhood. The combination of my 14years of cheffing experience and Kaylie’s creative eye is also a great combo in getting the BL story delivered and out there. Q3 What motivated you to set up in business? [Richard] Even though I was planning on opening my own place eventually - BL was born out of necessity. After not qualifying for furlough and being made redundant Kaylie and I put our heads together and decided to do what we do best. We literally sat down and pooled our skills & options available to us to find a solution. Kaylie is a photographer, and I am a chef, and we were lucky enough to have a Big Green Egg already set up. So,

“I am now getting to spend more time with our children alongside running our own business. Whilst the hours are still long, I do have more flexibility to work around my home life. We both like that ultimately decisions start and stop with us.” The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

Q6 What has been your lowest moment? [Kaylie] The lowest moment was really the driving force behind launching BL. This was at the start of lockdown when Richard was made redundant and did not qualify for furlough and my freelance work went quiet. There was also no support [at that point] for the self-employed. This was a stressful position to be in which is what drove us to find a solution, quickly. Q7 In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? [Kaylie] Projecting that things will go back to normal, ideally in 5 years we would love to have a more prominent location for BL to live and thrive from, so we can build on our offering and grow our Big Green Egg family! We would love to stay local as we really enjoy building something in our own community and meeting so many great customers. I think lockdown has been key to many people wanting to invest back into their local area and businesses that serve it. Q8 What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? [Kaylie] Spend time building your network and sales routes, try and bed this in even before you launch. A good route to market is key as ultimately whatever you are trying to sell or service, you need to find where the demand actually lies. If you are starting out on your own, do try and build a network of like-minded people around you as there will be days you will just need that extra support from people who understand. Finally, make sure you take some time off each week, it is better to work smart and allow yourself some time to recharge.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


chamber events

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It is now even easier to find and book chamber events and keep in touch with us. The new Chamber App is available to download, it features all our chamber events, membership info and you can even read recent editions of BUSINESS Borough Business while on the go. BORO UGH

The voic e of King ston’s bus iness com munity

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Events in 2020 looked a lot like this!

Little did we know it but our last face to face networking took place at Kingston College in March 2020, after which we quickly had to adapt our offering to an online format and embrace zoomland! We had anticipated that we might be back to face to face by July, in time for the Kingston Expo, but soon came to the grim realisation that this was not going to be an option. There seemed to be surge of large events, from expos and awards to conferences all being cancelled and postponed. Instead of cancelling the Kingston expo we found a way to move it online and we were delighted that it was such a success and so well attended. We forged onward with anticipation of getting back to ‘normal’ in September and running the Chessington Expo as a face to face event in November……. Well, this too was held online, as were all our events for the remainder of 2020. We have learnt that online and hybrid can be a viable alternative to in-person events. Eventbrite, a global ticketing platform and the booking system used by the Chamber, reported that they saw a shift back to in-person events after the UK’s first lockdown, but a sizeable share of events remained online. PreCovid, these numbers were in the single-digit range. This might indicate a sustainably increased demand for virtual events – even for a time when in-person events will finally return to normal.

So, it is certainly going to be difficult to plan our events diary for 2021 but, with a whole wealth of new skills, experience, and technology at hand, Kingston Chamber will deliver great events no matter what the restrictions may be. Our events will continue online for the first quarter at least with the hope that we can get back to meeting up in person in spring/summer 2021.

Online Networking

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Friday 8th Jan Speed Networking Thursday 14th Jan Chamber Networking Tuesday 26th Jan Chamber Networking Friday 5th Feb Speed Networking Thurs 11th Feb Chamber Networking Tues 23rd Feb Chamber Networking Friday 5th March

Speed Networking

Thurs 11th March Chamber Networking Tues 23rd March

Chamber Networking

For the latest details of chamber events and to book, please download the app or visit www.kingstonchamber.co.uk/events


BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

chamber events

Supporting our Hospitality Industry. Join us for some Invisible Chips. Overnight, Lockdown put millions of people working in hospitality at risk of redundancy and poverty. Hospitality venues are an intrinsic part of the events industry and indeed the fabric of our lives. Hospitality Action has launched a fundraising campaign asking the public to help achieve something rather wonderful – by buying a portion of nothing. They are asking

people to purchase a portion of Invisible Chips, either in person at participating outlets or online, to support people working in hospitality whose livelihoods are disappearing. Endorsed by the likes of hospitality stalwarts Fred Sirieix and Heston Blumenthal, the campaign aims to raise money to help support families of those in the hospitality industry who face financial difficulty.

Why chips? Everyone loves chips – admit it, you love chips. Our Invisible Chips are 0% fat and 100% charity; they’re simple to prepare; they don’t take up freezer space ... and they’ll never go past their sell-by date. So next time you eat out or order a take away why not ‘chip in’ and buy a portion of Invisible Chips on the side. https://invisiblechips.org.uk/

What does the Kingston Chamber membership mean? Each month, I get to welcome and meet business owners at our New Members meeting. It is an enjoyable discussion as we get to know new business personalities and how the Chamber can be of value. One of the most common questions is ‘How do I get the most out of my Chamber membership?’. The value The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

and purpose of the Chamber does vary for each member but there are three key areas that I believe answer the question.

are no guarantees but one thing I do know, the Kingston membership is very collaborative and encourages sharing business skills.

The purpose of any business networking is to enhance your opportunities of gaining work. New business does not happen overnight (as much as we dearly wish it could). It needs effort, consistency and demonstrating what your business can offer. Networking makes a big difference as people get to meet you, build a relationship and develop trust. Getting involved in Chamber activities builds that familiarity and that, we hope, may then develop into new work opportunities. As any networking organisation will say, there

Getting involved in the Chamber can offer local suppliers who can support you in business, or in your domestic life. I often say that if a problem is resolved at home, such as plumbing or boiler services, it can free you up to concentrate on your business. Using the Chamber network of advisors and experts is very rewarding. There is considerable business talent in the Borough. By extending your network, it also encourages you to form new friendships. Business can be quite

solitary so finding a home of likeminded business owners can give you a sense of solidarity and support. By being a part of the Chamber membership, you can learn and understand what really goes on in your local business areas. This sense of community engagement is a message I am hearing more often. If there is anything positive to come from this tough year, it is the appreciation and valuing of our local community; what it offers, how it has pulled people together and created a sense of purpose. The Chamber encourages new members to embrace these three points to get the most out of their membership. It does take time, but this journey can be enjoyable and rewarding. The Chamber is a business community. As we face difficult circumstances and are encouraged to be more isolated, the Chamber is determined to keep everyone engaged, together and welcomed. As the poet John Donne said: ‘No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.’ Forbes Low CEO, Kingston Chamber of Commerce

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


health & wellbeing

Poor mental health fuels


Mental ill-health accounted for more than half of working days lost in Britain in 2019-20, according to new research by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

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In total, 38.8 million working days were lost due to work-related illness (32.5 million) and workplace injury (6.3 million). Stress, depression or anxiety accounted for the majority (17.9 million) of days lost due to work-related ill-health, with a further 8.9 million workers absent due to musculoskeletal disorders. On average, each person took around 17.6 days off work, although this figure rose to 21.6 days for those suffering with stress, depression or anxiety. The HSE’s annual report includes statistics for work-related ill-health, workplace injuries, working days lost, enforcement action taken and the associated costs to Britain. It said the emergence of COVID-19 did not appear to be the major driver of changes seen in the 2019-20 data, although it could have been a contributory factor in workplace absence.

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Compiled from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and other sources, the statistics show that workplace absence cost Britain’s economy a staggering £16.2 billion in 2019-20. In response to the report, HSE chair Sarah Newton said: “The COVID pandemic has focused attention on the health and safety issues people

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

face in the workplace. HSE remains committed to taking action where workers are not protected to ensure the guidance and assistance that we provide for employers in managing risks is the best available, based on the latest evidence and science. “Although Britain continues to be up there with the safest places in the world to work, these figures highlight the scale of the challenge HSE currently faces in making Britain an even healthier and safer place to work. This includes our role in the response to the pandemic to ensure workplaces are COVID-secure. “We must continue to drive home the importance of managing risk and promoting behaviours to ensure employers work right so that workers are able to go home healthy and safe at the end of each day.” HSE has been instrumental in promoting good workplace health and wellbeing and helping companies to get their workplaces COVID-secure. The organisation has continued to support the government’s wider health response to the pandemic by working closely with national public health bodies, local authorities and local health teams.

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Quality care to suit your lifestyle

• Caregivers backed by a business that really cares about them.

Too often care workers are under appreciated, but at Visiting Angels we put carers at the centre of our business to make sure that they can deliver a truly person - centred service to our clients.


The way a daughter cares for her mum or a wife cares for her husband, with love, is a special thing. Whilst we can never replace a family bond, we do ensure that our carers approach care as if it’s personal. We both have mums in their 80’s and we want to feel safe in the knowledge that any caregivers we introduce to our clients would be good enough for them.

Caring for our caregivers


To find out more about how a Visiting Angel can help call 0203 143 4007 or 07923 157 010 www.visiting-angels.co.uk/northsurrey I northsurrey@visiting-angels.co.uk 259x160mm VA Do you need an Angel Ad Surrey Comet.indd 1

The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

02/12/2020 15:46

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


ask the expert

How do you check your own marketing material effectively? Suzanne Arnold, copy-editor and proofreader You know that feeling when you’re about to publish new web text? You’ve looked at it so many times that you’re not really ‘seeing’ it any more and you don’t think you’d notice even if your own name were mistyped.

How can you protect yourself?

Danger points

Ideally, have the text proofread by someone who hasn’t seen it before. They’re more likely to spot mistakes because they’re not familiar with the text. That’s why it’s so difficult to proofread your own work – because you know what it should say, so that’s what you ‘see’.

• Watch out for narrow letters – it’s much harder to notice if they’re missing or duplicated (for example, look twice at words such as ‘liability’ for the correct number of ‘i’s and ‘l’s).

Why does that feel so scary?

Top tips for proofreading

Because a mistake could be more than just embarrassing – it could affect your reputation.

But we don’t live in an ideal world. Sometimes you just don’t have the time or budget to have someone else check the text. If you have to proofread it yourself, take it slowly and watch out for danger points. You could try one of these tips to help you see the text as though for the first time.

Don’t give people reason to doubt your expertise We’ve all seen websites littered with errors that caused us to wonder whether a company was reliable – or genuine. If we judge others that way, we may ourselves be judged, too. Spelling and grammar probably aren’t relevant to your area of expertise, but potential customers will judge you on them anyway. Suppose someone’s choosing between you and your main rival. You’re both competent and affordable. Don’t let typos that make you look cheap be the reason they choose your rival.

Even if you didn’t write the text yourself, you’ve probably looked at it several times – and you certainly should look again and give it your best shot. But if possible, have someone else look, too.

Seeing the text anew • Leave it overnight and revisit it with fresh eyes the next day. • Start at the end and read backwards word by word, so that you focus on spelling and possible typos rather than meaning. • Or use a ruler or a sheet of paper to cover the page and read one line at a time. • Or read the text aloud.

• Watch out for consistency of bulleted lists – for example, whether they all start with upper or lower case, or whether all or none end with punctuation. • Double- and triple-check all contact details. (If it’s digital text, rather than a print-out – a blog post, say – copy and paste the email address and send yourself a test email to make sure it’s typed correctly. Test web addresses, too.) Suzanne Arnold is an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading. She trained in book and magazine publishing, and has also edited for City firms. She thrives on the details that many people hate – spelling, grammar and consistency. Blog posts, web text, brochures, reports, thought leadership… she can provide that fresh pair of eyes for a final quality check before you publish.

Find out more at www.suzannearnold.com

I watch out for the embarrassing mistakes

so that you don’t have to Suzanne Arnold

Freelance copy-editor and proofreader

www.suzannearnold.com | suzanne@suzannearnold.com 28

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

BOO K Y O UR S A F E 1 -2 -1 A P POIN T M EN T

DESIGNED WITH YOU IN MIND EWELL’S NEWEST INDEPENDENT LIVING COMMUNITY FOR THE OVER 65S With so much on offer at our Nonsuch Abbeyfield development, there has never been a better time to move on. Here you will find our homes offer comfortable yet stylish living areas. And outside your own front door, luxuries include a restaurant, club room, cinema, spa and hair salon, convenience store and more. Plus, there are a wealth of activities to enjoy, with care as and when you need it. But don’t just take our word for it; it’s something our happy customers are enjoying right now: “What’s not to like, there is everything in place we could possibly wish for. We should have done this earlier.” Plus, with the Stamp Duty holiday until 31st March 2021,* now really is the time to make Nonsuch Abbeyfield home.

1 and 2 bedroom homes available from £290,000 *

Up to the value of £500,000, expires March 2021. Terms and conditions apply. Prices and details correct at time of going to press.

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Visit: nonsuchabbeyfield.org


Nonsuch Abbeyfield, Old Schools Lane, Ewell, KT17 1FL

CALL: 020 8215 8840


Care home supports staff and residents in lockdown As the owner’s of a highly efficient care home, Rahim & Salima Nurmohamed’s primary concern is to keep people safe in the current pandemic. They took over the running of New Malden-based The White House Nursing Home in 2013 and along with many care home owners have been doing everything possible to protect staff and residents from the potentially devastating impact of COVID-19. He says: “We locked down early and were well prepared. We saw what was happening in other countries – Italy in particular – and knew that we had to take steps to minimise the chance of infection in our home.

their families remotely. We invested heavily in a digital care planning system which enabled relatives to access the ‘relatives gateway’ so they could see care given throughout the day and check what their loved ones are doing at any point.

“We stockpiled PPE so there was no shortage – in fact, we ended up sending some PPE to other institutions that needed it – and we isolated floor space at the home so residents and staff couldn’t mix freely with each other. We built an outside marquee to accommodate outdoor visits and organised Zoom calls and Facebook and WhatsApp groups so that residents could stay in touch with

“Our staff have also been well looked after in this pandemic. We bought food parcels for them so they didn’t have to spend time queuing in supermarkets at the end of their shift. We also cooked additional hot meals for them, and organised COVID training and regular discussion groups around the subject of COVID-19 and mental health.


BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

“It was a big effort by the management team but it was worth it and well appreciated by staff, residents and their families. To date we have had only one instance of COVID-19 in our home.” Going the extra mile has helped Rahim and Salima to build a positive reputation for The White House Nursing Home. Providing personalised standards of around-theclock care, the 30-bed home specialises in nursing, palliative and specialist short-term care such as respite or convalescence. It has a host of individually and beautifully decorated rooms equipped with a range of facilities that include ceiling hoists, 24-hour call-bell systems, digital TV and WiFi. Rahim, who originally joined the business as an administrator in 2001, says: “Our philosophy is to create a secure, happy and homely atmosphere for our valued residents and staff. We provide exceptional, personalised standards of care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are passionate about the care we provide.” It is this exceptional level of service that has enabled the nursing home to gain widespread recognition for its efforts. In September 2016, it was the proud recipient of a Quality Hallmark Award from the National Gold Standards Framework (GSF) Centre, the UK’s largest provider of training in end-of-life care. Two years later, the home was rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission in recognition of its personalised care standards, particularly its excellence in the areas of being responsive and well-led. The care home has also won numerous awards at the recent Kingston Business Excellence Awards in 2018 and 2019.

Private healthcare at Kingston Hospital At Kingston Hospital we offer a wide range of private services for those who wish to use their health insurance* or who want to pay independently.  Private fertility clinics supported by Kingston Hospital’s Assisted Conception Unit  Consultant-led maternity packages, which include one-to-one midwifery care throughout delivery and postnatal stay  Competitive package prices across a number of specialties including general surgery, gynaecology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics and urology  A wide-range of cosmetic and dermatological procedures All profits are reinvested into Kingston Hospital’s NHS services. Please contact us for further information or visit our website for more information about the services we offer: T:

020 8546 6677

W: E:

KingstonPrivateHealth.co.uk KPHEnquiries@nhs.net @KPHKingston KingstonPrivateHealth

* Kingston Private Health is recognised by leading UK and international medical insurers


Vigilance needed in fight against COVID-19 A message from Ian Thomas CBE, chief executive of Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames As you will be aware, rates of COVID are going up in the majority of boroughs across London and in the over-60s. We are seeing rates in Kingston rising across all areas of the borough with a sharp increase in the 0-15 years age group – and, as the government has announced, in some of the London boroughs with highest rates there is mass testing in secondary schools. We are working hard to reinforce the core messaging around social distancing,

sticking to mixing in bubbles and good hygiene – wearing masks and washing hands. We are using all opportunities to reiterate the messages by targeted activity to reach different groups of people as well as broadcast messages via different channels. We are working with health and community colleagues and sharing ideas across London to find different ways of making an impact with communications.

Anything that you can do to help spread the messages via your social networks – digital or otherwise – would be much appreciated. Shopping and social distancing Kingston First is increasing the social distancing signage in the town centre and retailers are working hard to improve safe queuing. Many shops are extending their opening hours well into the evening, and we will be working with Kingston First to

encourage shoppers to stagger their shopping times in Kingston town centre. While many retailers are seeing levels of spend and footfall growing, cafes, restaurants and bars are reporting that they are still struggling so we are looking at ways of supporting them by promoting messages about eating out safely.

New RBK website

COVID Community Campaign

Kingston Libraries virtual job club

We are supporting the COVID Community Campaign – fighting hunger this winter, ending hunger forever. The campaign has been launched by Dame Louise Casey and London councils with the Mayor of London and an ever-growing coalition of businesses and voluntary, faith and community organisations. We are united in our belief that no child should go hungry, no parent should go hungry to feed their child, and no one should be left struggling and without anywhere to turn. For more information visit covidcommunitycampaign.co.uk

Work Match is a free programme to help unemployed residents in Kingston secure new jobs, apprenticeships and training roles. Free for residents and businesses, the service provides individuals with necessary skills and support whilst engaging with employers across the borough.

Council announces new employment support service Kingston Council has launched a new initiative to help businesses get access to job-ready, skilled workers. 32

The Work Match team supports candidates through the application process – including help with creating CVs and interview skills – to give them the best chance of success. They will also help local people find any pre-job training and get ready for the workplace. The service works closely with JobCentre Plus, community organisations, local colleges and schools to provide a joined-up support network. The council is purchasing this service from Wandsworth Council, which operates a successful job brokerage scheme that has helped more than 1,500 local people find employment. Cllr John Sweeney, portfolio holder for business and leisure at Kingston Council, said: “We’ve all felt the impact

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

After 26 events, talking to over 2,000 residents and six weeks of beta testing, the new look kingston.gov.uk is now live. The launch of the new site is just the start of a series of improvements that are planned throughout 2021 to make it easier for residents to stay informed and connected with council services.

Our virtual job club will be held on Tuesdays from 11am-12pm for free employability advice and support. The club provides expert advice on CVs, interview techniques, local volunteering and job opportunities, training and education courses, and advice on how to apply for Universal Credit. Thank you again for your continued support. Kind Regards, Ian Thomas

of COVID-19. Kingston Council, along with partners and community and voluntary groups across Kingston, are working hard to provide support for our residents and businesses. “According to the council’s recent COVID-19 impact survey, completed by almost 900 residents during August and September, more than half said they were concerned about employment opportunities. “Whether they have been negatively affected financially by the pandemic, have become unemployed, had their hours reduced because of COVID-19, or are worried about that happening in the future, we want to make sure that all of our residents can get the support they need during this difficult and uncertain time.” In addition to providing support for residents, Work Match offers local businesses a free, professional and tailored recruitment service, matching them with local candidates. For more information, visit www.kingstonworkmatch.org

COVID-19 grants for Kingston Businesses Kingston Council is providing a range of support grants to eligible businesses across the borough, with funding available for: • Businesses required to close during the national lockdown period or the current Tier 3 restrictions. You can apply for up to £1500 for each 14 day period of closure. If your main business is closed but you have adapted to provide a click and collect or take away service, you can still apply for this grant.

If you’ve previously applied for a Tier 2 impact grant, you don’t need to apply again for the Tier 3 impact grant - you will receive your payment automatically. Please read the full guidance carefully before applying here: kingston.gov.uk/covid-19-local-restrictions-grants.

• Hospitality and leisure businesses and their supply chain businesses that pay business rates and are not required to close, but are severely impacted by the Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions can apply for up to £1050 for each 14 day period affected. • Grants of £1000 are also available for pubs that derive less than half of their profit from food sales.

Further grants covering more businesses will be announced soon and will be available in early January. To hear more sign up for the business e-newsletter by visiting: kingston.gov.uk/stayingincontact.

Kingston Council calls on local businesses to support young people into employment The National Government Kickstart Scheme is helping young people (aged 16-24) at risk of long term unemployment get into the job market by providing funding for employers to create brand new six-month job placements. This is great for the young person, while also helping boost the capacity of the employer, over and above their normal staffing level. Funding also provides for recruitment, essential support and training to help boost the young person’s employability longer term.kickstart.campaign.gov.uk. Councillor John Sweeney, Portfolio Holder for Business and Leisure at Kingston Council: “There are 1,080 young people under 24 claiming out of work benefits in our borough, and the level of young people claiming Universal Credit nationally has more than doubled this year. “That’s why we urge all organisations in the borough to think about joining Kickstart - employers of all sizes can apply for funding. The response in Kingston has been fantastic so far, with hundreds of potential new roles emerging in the borough already. We hope that the scheme will prove a catalyst to revitalize employability and support young people in the borough, offering new meaningful local placements and development opportunities.”

The Royal Borough of


Chamber of Commerce

Local businesses seeking fewer than 30 new roles need to work through a ‘gateway’ organisation, who will submit a bid to DWP for their roles, alongside others, and support the scheme administration with you. Kingston Chamber of Commerce is one of your local gateway organisations.

Find out more by visiting: kickstart.campaign.gov.uk.

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community


top tips

Five Ideas to help someone you know through separation/divorce The ending of a couple relationship can be like a bereavement, where partners experience the stages of loss: shock/denial, anger; guilt/bargaining; depression and, eventually with time and good support, hope for the future. If someone you know is going through divorce or separation and you want to help them, here are five ideas to consider. 1. Listen, without judgement. In over 20 years as a divorce and separation mediator, I can safely say that no two couple relationships are ever the same. Rather than assuming you know what’s going on, you might ask where things are at or how they are feeling. Encourage your friend (or relative or colleague) to tell you about the impact on them personally of all that’s going on. Enquire what they need - in general, or from you - to help things to move in a constructive direction. 2. Invite their children for a day out. Challenging during COVID times but children need to know that life can still be full of happy things,

that outings and playdates happen, no matter the changes in their family. Children have just the same feelings as adults and can be going through a ‘Loss Cycle’ of their own so being there for them is a good way to help. And your friend could likely make good use of this extra child-free time too. 3. Send stuff. Flowers, a regular or surprise take-away, books, comedy, an up-tempo playlist, or a letter – be as creative as you like. Sending ‘care packages’ needn’t be expensive and it brings with it the message that you care and that you’re there to help them. 4. Help with financial things. This is not just about sending money, although I’ve known many good friends, family members – and even on or two employers - pay for someone they know to have a triage session with a local mediator to help figure out all the options and the best next steps. Financial help can also include encouraging your friend to find out about benefits, including Child Benefit which so many have needlessly stopped claiming. Financial help can mean spending an afternoon looking at a budget, perhaps helping check they’re saving all they can on utilities, insurances and the like. If they’ve separated, ask if they have claimed the 25% single person reduction in council tax, for example. Financial help can also mean helping to check whether a workplace Employee Assistance

KRAJEWSKI MEDIATION Financial Settlements. Parenting Plans. Saving on the financial and emotional costs of divorce and separation



krajewskimediation.com 34

BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community

Programme or Union Membership can provide some free counselling, free legal advice or free mediation. 5. Direct to further help. This is not the same as giving advice as there’s often enough of that. Directing to further help demonstrates to your friend that they are not alone and there is so much relevant, practical (and emotional) support out there. Mediation, which is a force for good in the divorce and separation journey, is just one of many forms of help that your friend should know about and be able to access. A good place to start, is looking at the SPIP Handbook. The final pages at the back of this free book contain lots of support (and not just for parents). Click on the last item, ‘SPIP Handbook’, in the Green Box on the righthand side of this page https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/ grown-ups/parents-and-carers/divorceand-separation/separated-parentsinformation-programme/ With more than 20 years’ experience in helping families in the UK and abroad, Gillian Krajewski is a family and divorce mediator at Krajewski Mediation, with offices in New Malden and on Zoom. Offering support, direction and resolution, Gillian is a safe pair of hands helping families to separate constructively and affordably. Call 07939 047441 for a free chat, email gillian@krajewskimediation.com or visit krajewskimediation.com

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Profile for Benham Publishing Limited

Borough Business January 2021  

Kingston upon Thames Chamber of Commerce business magazine

Borough Business January 2021  

Kingston upon Thames Chamber of Commerce business magazine

Profile for benham