Business Connexions December 2021

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Official Magazine for Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce | Issue 16 | Dec 2021

Inside • The Big Interview EMMA RATHBONE general manager at Battersea Place Retirement Village Page 14

• Richard Burge Dubai congress puts London in the spotlight Page 7

• 5 Minutes with... GEORGE ION CEO of G&G IT Consulting Page 34

BEVERLEY TAKES THE REINS at Wandsworth Chamber Page 18

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Welcome to the latest Edition of the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce Magazine WELCOME to the December 2021 edition of Business ConneXions, as you receive this issue, Christmas is just around the corner and so we take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy and Healthy Christmas and a very Prosperous New Year. This will be my last welcome message in this magazine and it is also my farewell to all. Many of you will already know that Anne and I relocated to Devon in May of this year with a view to retiring soon. Over the past 12 months, the chamber board, and I have been searching for the right person to take over as CEO and we were very pleased and excited to announce earlier this month, that, Beverley Corson would be my successor. Beverley has a very ambitious and comprehensive plan for her first year in office and to enable Beverley to take on this strategic approach Anne and I will continue, for the time being, working in the background, keeping the chamber running and helping to deliver on a program of chamber activities. Look out for regular updates and

news from Beverley and please continue to give her the support that you have given to me and Anne over the years. I have had the most amazing time being a member of and then working for the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce over the past 16+ years and it is with great sadness that I relinquish my role and presence in Wandsworth. The highlight has been meeting so many wonderful people and the businesses they run. Helping businesses along the way and working with so many of Wandsworth’s key stakeholders. If I have any regrets it is that with only so many hours in a day we were only able to get involved with some and not all of the vast numbers of wonderful projects happening in the borough. We are hugely indebted to our Members, our Patron Supporters, the Leadership team at Wandsworth Council, the many key stakeholders we have worked with and of course to the Wandsworth Chamber board. We thank you all, for the support, appreciation of our efforts, and for the help over the years. Without this backing, it would have been impossible to

Inside Dec 2021 4-5 7 10 11

grow the chamber and become so involved in seeking opportunities for local businesses in so many of the developments and projects throughout the borough. I conclude by wishing Beverley every success in her new role and I look forward to a graceful handover period when we will be working together. Merry Christmas, health and happiness to all. Steve Pinto Outgoing Chief Executive Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce



14-15 Big Interview 17 Economy

Skills Environment News Health & Wellbeing News

Published December 2021 © Benham Publishing

Anne and I will spend most of our days walking Harry, Rosie and Tegan on beautiful sandy beaches and always thinking of our Chamber friends very fondly.

Technology Chamber Events New Members

18 Focus on new CEO 21-23 24 27 29 30

Publisher Benham Publishing Limited, Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ t: 0151 236 4141 e: w:

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31 32 33

Hospitality Richard Burge News Legal

Enquiries Studio F8 (Le Bureau) Battersea Studios 80 Silverthorne Road London SW8 3HE t: 020 3633 6575 e: w:

Starting Up 34


5 Minutes with...

Scan the QR code with your phone camera to see our events and get them in your calendar app.

Advertising and Features Karen Hall e: t: 0151 236 4141 Studio Mark Etherington e: Media No.1812 Disclaimer Business Connexions is mailed without charge to all Chamber members and distributed to businesses in the Borough. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in publication are not necessarily those of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission of the Editor. © 2021. 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.

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Business Connexions | 3


In-person events bring cheer to hospitality firms A year ago, the country was preparing to enter yet another lockdown as coronavirus cases soared. A COVID vaccine had not yet been found and many businesses were closed, with no certainty on when they’d be allowed to open again. 44 || Business Business Connexions Connexions


ow, however, the picture has changed. Despite rising numbers of cases, a COVID vaccine has proved effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths. Lockdowns, hopefully, are a thing of the past, businesses are open once more and people can meet others faceto-face again. That has been a real boost to the events and hospitality industries, which were hit harder than most during the pandemic.


Roles in short supply in the hospitality industry include chefs, front of house staff, baristas, managers, housekeepers and kitchen staff. Work Match events have been held at various locations across the borough and to date the scheme has helped more than 1,800 Wandsworth residents into local jobs across a wide range of sectors. Cllr Rhodri Morgan, Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for economic development, skills & employment said: “Work Match has helped hundreds of Wandsworth residents into work and helps to ensure that local people are first in line for the vacancies opening up as new businesses come to the area. “Why not go along and have a chat with one of the Work Match team? They can tell you about current job opportunities, as well as give you more general advice on how they can help you find employment. “Work Match is a council-run, free service that places local residents with local businesses. The service is free for jobseekers and employers. Work Match also offers support and training to help those looking for a job to be better equipped for securing a position.” For more information on Work Match, visit Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce has strong links with the local hospitality industry and has previously hosted several events to showcase this important sector.

As society starts to reopen again, events that were held online last year are now being hosted in-person. It has been encouraging recently to see so many business leaders – many of whom are making a huge positive difference to the economy of Wandsworth – gather at local events to network with each other, explore new trading opportunities and celebrate each other’s achievements. Music concerts, weddings and informal greets in bars and restaurants have all been held in recent weeks as society begins to return to some sort of normality again. This is particularly encouraging for the hospitality industry, which has faced a unique set of challenges in the pandemic – notably, a chronic shortage of staff.

This shortage is highlighted more starkly at this time of year, with the festive season traditionally the busiest time for bars and restaurants. Local companies in this important sector have been addressing this problem with Wandsworth Council through the council’s Work Match scheme, which helps people get a job, traineeship or apprenticeship with local firms. Roles in short supply in the hospitality industry include chefs, front of house staff, baristas, managers, housekeepers and kitchen staff. Work Match events have been held at various locations across the borough and to date the s cheme has helped more than 1,800 Wandsworth residents into local jobs across a wide range of sectors.

Beverley Corsen, the incoming chief executive officer at Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, says: “It has been so encouraging to see businesses come together to meet face-to-face after so long. In the past 18 months, we’ve all had to adjust to working virtually and while this has had its benefits, most people would acknowledge that in-person events can bring additional benefits – a shake of the hand and a welcoming smile can go such a long way to forging and cementing strong relationships. “Wandsworth’s business community has responded brilliantly to the pandemic, regularly going above and beyond over the past 18 months. Companies have achieved so much during this period despite all of the challenges that the pandemic has brought to their door. “This resilience and adaptability will hold them in good stead as they plot the next stage of their growth. I’m confident that 2022 will be a much brighter and more successful year for our companies.” Business Connexions | 5


Sixth open letter to chamber members, from me, Martin Pocock

Dear Chamber Members,

Congratulations as of today I have had very little contact from Chambers members. Either my advertising campaign has not worked or as I hope your business has survived the Covid pandemic. I hope the latter is the case. Please be aware it does not cost you anything to call me on 07801178848. Hopefully, your business is now up and running and that you will not need to contact me. Insolvencies are currently at a record low due mainly to government support by way of Furloughing employees, CBil and Bounce Back loans. A special thanks needs to go to Wandsworth Council for all their help they have given business and the efficient way they distributed the Government grant money. Those who attended the online seminars would have learnt a lot from them about the available grants. Again a special thanks should go to Steve Pinto who organised these weekly seminars. I hope Steve will enjoy his retirement and his successor I believe has a hard act to follow and I wish er well.

The Way Forward

Most business I believe will be able to trade out of the damage caused by the pandemic by carefully managing their cashflow. The key to cashflow management is making sure you get paid for what you do. Do not overextend credit to your customers. Business will take advantage of people who do not chase up payments.

Potential Pitfalls

Whilst insolvencies are at a low, we are now getting more contacts from businesses in financial trouble. I do not want to see you on the list of creditors. The only way you will avoid this is by knowing your customers and making sure that they pay you for the services you have provided. I am a great believer in that there is an optimal time when you will be paid. That is when the customer needs you. If you miss this opportunity you may go to the bottom of a queue. I am guilty of failing to follow the above rule. I am now going to repeat what I have said in previous letters as it is still relevant. The message has not changed. My aim is to save your money.

My background

For those of you who do not already know me from the regular chamber meetings, I have spent the last 30 plus years doing this king of work. I qualified as a chartered accountant with PWC and then worked in Australia for several years. I then chose to specialise in distressed situations and am very aware of the pitfalls

The most important thing when running a business Make sure the business is paying you and you are not pumping personal funds into the business to keep it afloat. When you are paying money into the business it means you are not being paid by the business. Often money paid into a business short term is from expensive funding i.e. credit cards. If you have to pump short term funds into the business, make sure it will be able to repay within a reasonable time period. Do a cashflow to make sure this will happen. I have come across directors who have not taken a salary for a business for over 1 year. By the time they consult me the money is effectively gone and often they have run up large personal liabilities. This money would have been better spent on a new business or protecting the family home. Hopefully for you, you will not need my services but if you are in any doubt pick up the phone and call me on 07801 178 848.

Liabilities Hopefully either you have been able to trade through lockdown or if not are in a position to re-open without have run up too many liabilities. Many businesses will be viable but have run up large liabilities over the lock-down periods meaning that the owner/shareholders will not be able to draw a salary or pay dividends for a long period of time. All you will be doing is paying historic liabilities and potentially running up personal liabilities in order to maintain your family’s standard of living. I want you to know that you can liquidate your business and start again if you need or wish to. I want to warn you against funding a

and challenges which do not occur in the normal course of business. This is a specialised area with very few true specialists! It is akin to sailing along a rocky coastline at night in a storm compared to crossing an ocean. I know where the rocks are and how to steer you round them.

business from your and your family’s personal assets. This is common and once the pattern is set, a chain of events and circumstances can ensue until the business collapses and brings you and your family down with it. It should be obvious if your income from the business is not covering your family’s outgoings, but this is very easy to ignore. The key factors to look for are: -

• Extending a loan on a credit card or getting an additional one

• Accepting some parental support to ease your personal cashflow • Not repairing the car

• Not spending some money on the leaky house roof

• Your partner has to find additional work

• Trimming or cancelling the family holiday • Difficulty in paying school fees

You should check that your new business will be viable and provide an income for you and your family. If a business does not provide for the standard of living you and your family desire, then you must surely ask yourself why you are doing it. It is easy to believe there are no other options. There are always options. For example, many people go to work for someone else after liquidating their business and find it a welcome relief! It is entirely normal and legal to place a company into a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation, at any time and then start or do something new. If you, and your board do not understand this option and would like to explore this, then please get in touch. My aim here is to protect you, your personal assets and your income going forward. At this early stage I do not charge. Give me a call. Stay safe and keep well.

I have plenty of testimonials which I can share with you and former clients who you can call should you wish to. I do not think its right to note them here in this very public setting. So, give me a call or catch me on the weekly chamber meeting calls.

In formal language, I specialise in all aspects of corporate finance and insolvency including • Liquidations • Administrations • Creditors Voluntary Liquidations • Company Voluntary Arrangements • • High court winding up petitions • HMRC Time To Pay agreements •


Call: 07801 178 848

Pococks Chartered Accountants and Insolvency Advisors


Dubai congress puts London in the spotlight Recently Richard Burge was busy attending the 12th World Chambers Congress in Dubai, a high-profile, three-day event that brought together Chamber and business heads, as well as representatives from international organisations and governments.

In convening the globe’s most prominent leaders and brightest minds, the congress aimed to spur change through dialogue and cooperation to create a more meaningful and prosperous future for individuals and businesses. More than 1,200 delegates from over 100 countries attended to connect with Chambers and business leaders, promote trade and investment opportunities, and gain insights into some of today’s most significant global issues. On the face of it, the congress was the ideal forum for Richard to promote London as a marquee international destination – a key part of his role as CEO of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). Through a new initiative, LCCI International, he aims to forge new connections with Chambers of Commerce and their members in overseas cities. Richards says: “We’ve already identified around 30 major cities across the world. We’d like to build relationships with the relevant Chamber in those cities and connect their members with members of London Chambers. “We have a process in place whereby we’ll agree memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with each Chamber and then embark on a three-year engagement plan with each of these cities. Ideally, we want 30 MOUs in place within the next 18 months, although that depends on certain political and economic factors outside of our control. “We’re looking to engage with cities that not only play a role within the economy in their own country, but also play a role in

other countries’ economies. We’re looking for partners who have a global outlook and think outside the dynamics of their own locality.” Richard says that his job is made easier by the fact that London already holds a strong appeal to many individuals and businesses across the globe. This is evidenced, for example, by London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s recent appointment as the global chair of C40 cities. C40 cities is a global network of almost 100 megacities committed to addressing climate change. Collectively, the network represents more than 700 million people and covers a quarter of the global economy. “Despite the economic problems of recent years, London’s influence is still strong,” says Richard. “London was the founding city of C40 and has always been a vital member of the network. Sadiq’s appointment gives him a more apolitical platform for promoting

We’re looking to engage with cities that not only play a role within the economy in their own country, but also play a role in other countries’ economies. We’re looking for partners who have a global outlook and think outside the dynamics of their own locality.

London as an international destination, one that champions a green and sustainable recovery from the pandemic.” Although London is held in high regard by many, there are still several challenges to negotiate as the world gradually emerges from the pandemic. Richards says: “We’re already seeing the long-term impact of Brexit and it’s uncertain how this will play out. Trade barriers will need to be overcome and there will be a lot of future negotiations between Britain and other countries. We’re also suffering from a lack of skills in certain industries – a problem that has been exacerbated by foreign workers leaving London and returning to their home countries.” Undoubtedly Chambers of Commerce have role to play in building international relationships in a post-COVID world. “The strength of our local Chambers comes from their membership,” says Richard. “It’s up to the London Chambers to promote the skills, strengths and abilities of their members to Chambers locally and in overseas countries. “It’s important to build relationships for the long run. Trade relationships seem to have become very transactional, with each party looking to get more out of the partnership than the others. This is not the right way to go about it. In my experience, long-term relationships work much more productively for everyone involved.”

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‘Tis the Season to Celebrate! Southside is celebrating its 50th birthday this year and to celebrate we’ll be granting 50 of our customers Christmas wishes. Planning a visit to Southside this festive season? Well you’re in for a treat! Visit the large Christmas display in front of Waitrose and pick up a wish card. Whilst you’re out shopping at Southside and see something you’d love to have on your Christmas list from one of our stores, write it down and pop it into the wish mailbox (located in front of Waitrose). Your wish may just come true! Wishes will be granted everyday leading up to Christmas with the last wish being granted on Christmas Eve. Please make sure you fill out all details on the wish form so we can easily contact you. Terms and conditions Wish cards will be selected at random and only 50 wishes can be granted. Wish cards must only include items available at Southside stores, where prizes are not in stock, the winner will be asked to select an alternative prize of the same value.



Southside Shopping Centre


How do you view the retail landscape in Wandsworth now as we navigate the Coronavirus pandemic? It is challenging. The coronavirus pandemic threw Britain’s High Streets into crisis, Wandsworth and Southside included. We witnessed a fair few in store closures and saw footfall come to a complete halt during the worst of it. However, it is not all doom and gloom, Southside became a place of refuge for many charities and foodbanks who utilised our empty shop units to store donations and prepare food parcels. Stores like Waitrose, Poundland and Specsavers opened every day and provided essential services to the community. It has been a challenge getting the pre pandemic footfall numbers back through the door, but the centre has been thriving since the summer months and we are seeing positive monthly growth. At the start of the lockdown easing a lot of customers were still sceptical about public places but we’re happy to see customers are out and about and that they see Southside as a safe place to shop. None of which would have been possible without our retailers coming back stronger than ever. We are seeing some real positive performers out there and it seems to directly correlate with good Store Managers and stores who are able to deliver great customer service. People were locked up in their homes for a long time, they want to be out, and they want quality human interaction and experiences wherever they go.


How have Southside retailers adapted and survived in this challenging environment?

They have adapted their focus. The pandemic saw everyone at home and shopping online mostly. We saw retailers lacking an omnichannel presence close their physical stores and unable to reopen. It is clear that retailers cannot only rely on Physical stores or online stores, it must be comprehensive approach across channels including Ship from Store and Click & Collect services. These extra digital activities are vital and allows retailers to optimise labour. To enhance this offering, we are currently looking at ways to incorporate a click and collect hub at Southside. Giving customers somewhere local to collect their parcels and an extra reason to visit us. Once we get the customers through the doors, the goal, remains as before, to thrill customers by delivering the best possible brand experience and service and one is currently doing that better that Gravity Active Entertainment.


Tell us about Gravity Active Entertainment

Gravity Active Entertainment opened their doors to the public on Saturday 14th August. By day, the venue, which is set over four floors covering over 80,000sq, is the perfect experience for the family or a great place to host a party. By night they dim the lights, speed up the E-karts, ramp up the music and let the adults take over. It is a perfect place to meet friends or host a corporate event. There really is no need to leave. Gravity and partners Landsec and Invesco invested a lot into the space - a pilot space that will hopefully come to shape other Gravity openings in London in coming years. On the venue’s opening weekend, Gravity welcomed over 15,000 guests into the space! As well as filling a huge void space on our High Street with an immersive active space, Gravity has provided 200 full and part-time jobs - with more than 300 workers, contractors and companies involved ahead of its launch. We are very excited for Gravity and will continue to support them as they establish the brand in London and bring unique entertainment back onto our high streets.


With a global focus to tackle climate change, it is clear that every industry has a part to play in making sure they are running sustainable operations. How does Southside play its part? We work hard to embed sustainability in everything we do, through our solar panels and rainwater harvesting system we have made tremendous improvements to how we are using natural resources. We are not only minimising our impact on the environment, but we are also improving our resilience as a business and lowering our operational costs. A major waste and recycling campaign led by Centre Manager Pieter Strombeck, unveiled a raft of new measures to boost recycling and cut waste. With our large number of retailers and food and leisure outlets, making the necessary changes was operationally challenging. However, with the help of industry specialist Grundon Waste Management our retailers have made a concerted effort to make this work and we are proud to say we are currently at a recycling rate of 65%.

Keep up to date with all our sustainable work on our website

It is clear that retailers cannot only rely on Physical stores or online stores, it must be comprehensive approach across channels including Ship from Store and Click & Collect services. Business Connexions | 9




Sign of the Times in post-COVID revival

By Antonia Johnstone founder of Sign of the Times based in Chelsea and a studio in Battersea. Like many businesses through COVID, we were forced to shut our doors, make efficiencies and re-think processes.

Whether you are part of a large organisation or work from an office at home, there are many good reasons for joining the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. As the business hub of Wandsworth, your Chamber is influential in helping to create the right business environment for local companies to flourish. Through membership you have the ability to use our “business voice”, the opportunity to meet key stakeholders, network and do business with many other local businesses that you won’t find anywhere else. So, do it now, online, and start enjoying the many benefits on offer. For more information or to discuss how we can help you, please contact us at: Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce

020 3633 6575

“During the pandemic, people were stuck in their homes looking at “a lot of stuff” and since March they have had the opportunity to start afresh and form new shopping habits that are more sustainable and well thought through. This has naturally been further compounded by Cop26.

“I wanted to share a little post Covid recovery story for Business Connexions. “I am the founder of, a luxury second hand designer resale marketplace with a store

“At Sign of the Times, we have been blown away by the support of so many people and businesses in this post-COVID age. From celebrities such as Lucy Williams journalists such as Bay Garnett and businesses such as The Ivy Club, everyone

“This alongside our phenomenal community of Signers and the local government support in the form of grants and kickstarters has meant that we have flourished coming out of a lockdown and we are experiencing exciting growth numbers for this time of year.” Instagram: follow us Shop:

Students’ climate change gardens plan wins eco-award Students in Wandsworth have won a £10,000 cash prize that will be used to create climate change gardens and help improve air quality at two sites in Tooting and Wandsworth. Pupils attending the Francis Barber referral unit were awarded the money after being named as one of only five winning entries from schools and colleges across the capital in the Mayor of London’s Climate Kick Start competition, supported by Bloomberg. The initiative is designed to help secondary schools pioneer eco-projects that engage young Londoners in climate action and raise awareness of environmental issues. The Francis Barber students will now create the green spaces at their two sites to help boost air quality, provide welcoming natural spaces and create a vegetable garden as part of the school’s independent living and creative curriculum. Some of the cash will also be used to develop a bike maintenance and repair programme to support sustainable transport.


BOOGIE NIGHTS “We will boogie till we can’t boogie no more.”

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has had a fresher and more collaborative approach to doing business.

Headteacher Jackie Addison said: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted that our school has been chosen as one of only five winners of this highprofile London-wide competition and I’m so proud of our pupils for having drawn up and developed such exciting and inspirational plans. They should all be really proud of themselves too.” The competition winners were announced at a star-studded ceremony at the Barbican, hosted by the Mayor and TV presenter, Paralympian  and climate activist, Ade Adepitan MBE. Ade Adepitan said: “I’ve seen the devastating impact of climate change happening all over the world right now, but I’ve also felt the impacts right here in London – from air pollution to flooding and overheating. Now’s the time to do our bit. “I’m delighted to have been able to reward the young people and schools taking action to tackle these environmental issues first-hand, and I hope they are an inspiration for all Londoners to get involved.”

Come and release your energies and keep fit throughout the year. Join the Disco Dance Club

for the 40+ to dance to disco music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

To register and book please visit

Falling out with a supplier: avoiding catastrophe


For small and medium sized businesses, a dispute with a supplier can range from minor inconvenience to existential threat. Trivial matters may escalate quickly, reliable suppliers may unexpectedly refuse to fulfil their contract or a long-standing pattern of unreasonable behaviour might eventually reach a point where our client has to act. So what should your business do to protect itself from the worst consequences of supplier disputes?

Assessing the importance of the dispute Minor supplier disputes are unlikely to ever be fully rectified and may arise almost daily. However, some disputes can result in such a significant financial loss that they have the potential to jeopardise the future of the business. Therefore, the financial impact should be the first thing considered when assessing a dispute as failure to deliver goods might have an immediate impact on cash flow. If timescales are extended, the mid to longer term consequences for your cash position need to be assessed and this may be more difficult. Are there future payments or deliveries you are expected to make or to receive and how will an absence of these funds or goods impact your relationships? The severity of the impact may not correlate with the amount of money in dispute. Businesses can often ride out significant cash disruptions at certain times of year, but not others. The financial importance must be therefore judged on its current impact and not underestimated because of the quantum of the sum in dispute. Pursuing a claim will require management time to be diverted from day-to-day activities. If a claim is pursued, there will be deadlines for response at regular intervals that are not within your control. It might also be necessary to seek support in the form of a paid expert. A cost benefit analysis will be required to determine if the dispute is sufficiently important to both divert staff away from their more productive activities and expend money in order to resolve it. You will need to consider how reliant you are on the particular supplier and their advantages over alternatives. This will likely impact the best course of action as,

Ed Patton

if the relationship has little value, time would be best spent extracting yourself from the situation as quickly and cheaply as possible, knowing that there is no requirement to use the supplier again.

Understanding your leverage Important documents and first-hand accounts will need to be obtained to determine your best course of action, differentiating between internal and external information. While internal information can be assembled relatively painlessly, it will be a slower process if you are reliant on external entities. It is best to secure this information as early as possible as written accounts of what happened and the chronology of the dispute are going to be the first thing that any external advisor (such as a lawyer) will want. Having obtained the information, this is also a good time to consider what has been learnt from the gathering process. How much time and resource has this process taken? Does the dispute still seem worth pursuing in light of this? If you have sought legal advice, you should have a greater understanding of the parties’ obligations under any contract. This will include payment terms, timescales, termination provisions and any dispute resolution mechanisms which will need to be followed. If both parties understand their legal obligations, then it should be possible to reach a commercial resolution. There may also be commercial pressures that can be applied at this point and the threat of legal proceedings can force the supplier to the negotiating table. Although it is preferable to resolve a dispute agreeably, this may be less of a consideration if you are not very reliant on the supplier.

Associate Direct: +44 (0)20 8394 6514 Email:

Making your decisions If steps can be taken which will mean part-performance of the supplier’s obligations, then this will reduce the value of the dispute and the pressures on your business. However, such action will need to reserve your rights to ensure that any compromise is treated as an interim measure and not a variation to the original contract. If this ‘holding position’ can be reached, then the parties can consider their approach and their options. The first option is to leave the dispute unresolved. This is more likely if the dispute is low value and will only be possible if both parties are happy to accept some loss. If you later change your mind, any claim will still need to be brought within legal limitation dates. Accepting on the terms available is also likely to include an element of mutual loss. However, definitively resolving the matter is desirable for both parties, enabling them to draw a line under the matter. The final option is further escalation. If this means issuing proceedings, then this is a question of whether the potential improvement (beyond the current position) justifies the expense and risk of taking the matter forwards. A resolution will either be reached between the parties or externally imposed on them. In either event, there will be a period of dialogue, followed by a period of negotiation. If this is unsuccessful then the matter may proceed to a third party determination, such as court.

The bigger picture The steps described in this article should not be thought of as stages in a lineal process. You should constantly assess the financial and commercial impact on your business and protect your position. The Russell-Cooke dispute resolution team can help you to avoid the pitfalls. +44 (0)20 8789 9111

Business Connexions | 11



removed from risk register

Battersea Power Station has been removed from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. The news comes as Historic England publishes its annual Heritage at Risk Register for 2021. The register is the yearly health-check of England’s most valued historic places and those most at risk of being lost forever as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development. Over the last year, 32 historic buildings and sites in London have been removed from the register. One of these is the iconic Grade II* listed Battersea Power Station which, after 30 years on the register and an extraordinary effort by many partners, is in a position to be removed from it – ahead of opening its doors to the public next year. Simon Murphy, Chief Executive Officer at Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC), said: “Following several years of careful and complex restoration, we are delighted that the Power Station has been removed from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register. Working with a Grade II* listed building is not without its challenges; however, as custodians of the Power Station, our shareholders and all of the team are extremely proud to have brought one of the capital’s greatest icons back to life and futureproofing it for generations to come.”

Of the £2.81 million in grants given to historic places in London throughout the past year, £450,000 were lifeline grants from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund. These emergency grants have kickstarted essential repairs and maintenance at many precious historic sites during the pandemic and helped protect the livelihoods of the skilled craft workers who keep our cherished historic places alive. A total of 18 sites in London have been added to the register because of concerns about their condition. They are at risk of

being lost forever as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development. Emily Gee, regional director at Historic England, said: “Our heritage is an anchor for us all in testing times. Despite the challenges we have all faced recently, this year’s Heritage at Risk Register demonstrates that looking after and investing in our historic places can contribute to the country’s economic recovery, bring communities together and help tackle climate change.”

“A total of 18 sites in London have been added to the register because of concerns about their condition. They are at risk of being lost forever as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.”

Across the capital, dedicated charities, owners, local councils and communities have worked together with Historic England to see historic places restored, re-used and brought back to life, despite the challenges wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 18 months.

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Picture credit Charlie Round-Turner

Business Connexions | 13


Hospitality with a heart Emma Rathbone only recently assumed the role of general manager at Battersea Place Retirement Village but already she has been struck by the sense of community spirit there. “The staff and residents make my job so worthwhile”, she says. “Prior to coming here, I worked in tourism and hospitality and I have to say that at Battersea Place we’re offering hospitality with a heart. In our retirement village we have a swimming pool, gym, hairdressing salon and all of the facilities you’d associate with a five-star hotel. “We also run a variety of social events, there is a cinema on site and we have a live stream with the Royal Opera House. Essentially, our aim is to help people over the age of 65 to enjoy an independent lifestyle and ensure they have a great quality of life.”

14 | Business Connexions

Battersea Place is one of three UK-based retirement villages within the LifeCare Residences group, an internationally renowned operator with more than 30 years’ experience of running high-quality retirement communities, first in New Zealand and then in the UK. Battersea offers one, two and threebedroom apartments in a secure, social setting with an array of five-star facilities including a chef-led restaurant, concierge, chauffeur service, pool and cinema. It’s conveniently located opposite Battersea Park’s 200 acres of tranquil parkland, with Chelsea a short stroll over the bridge and the cultural landmarks

of South Kensington just minutes away by car. Domiciliary care is offered for people in their own homes, as well as emergency, round-the-clock care for those who need it. Emma oversees the work of 100 staff at Battersea Place, a challenge that she relishes. “I have a good management team that works with me – and a great head chef,” she says. “Every day is different, which is why I enjoy working here. Some of the residents have some fantastic stories to tell about their lives, which I really enjoy listening to.”


Every day is different, which is why I enjoy working here. Some of the residents have some fantastic stories to tell about their lives, which I really enjoy listening to.

Emma Rathbone the inside story: Favourite food? Blue cheese! Favourite tipple? Gin and slimline tonic with fresh lime. Favourite holiday? A walking holiday in the mountains of New Zealand. “We try to help our residents in different ways. They benefit from a fixed service charge that never goes up during the duration of their stay. This gives them security and peace of mind that they won’t face unexpected price increases” Originally from Cheshire, Emma, grew up there and studied tourism and hospitality at college before completing a tourism management degree in Edinburgh. After graduating she soon landed a job as a hotel manager in Edinburgh and “loved it”. In 2005 she got the chance to move to London and worked in several hotels, including a stint as assistant food and beverage manager at Marriott International in Melbourne, Australia. That trip down under gave her the travelling bug so she took time out from her career to “fulfil a lifelong dream”, sampling the cultures of New Zealand, India, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In 2011 she returned to London to resume her career in tourism and hospitality and was eventually handpicked for a top-level role at the prestigious Grosvenor Hotel in Victoria. “I enjoyed my time there but I live in Wandsworth and wanted to find something closer to home,” she says.

“The job at Battersea Place came up so it was ideal for me, both on a personal and professional front.” Emma’s primary aim is to keep residents happy and continue offering the five-star service for which Battersea Place is now renowned. “We want to keep things fresh and up-to-date,” she says. “For example, we may introduce new food menus and activities, and bring in experts who can chat to residents on a range of interesting subjects. We’re constantly seeking feedback from residents to find out what they want. “We’re also keen to forge more connections with businesses in Wandsworth. We already use local suppliers and we’re happy to support the local community wherever possible. “There’s a big demand for communities like ours; we’re nearly at full capacity at the moment. This demand is likely to increase as the population gets older and people live longer. It’s important that they enjoy their later years and I’d like to think we can play a part in helping them to achieve this.” For further details visit

Describe your family life? I have lots of nieces and nephews, a puppy that’s yet to be named, two sisters (I am a twin) and a brother. How do you spend your downtime? Enjoying the food scene in London, walking the rolling hills of Cheshire and exploring all of the hidden gems that Wandsworth has to offer. What are your key strengths as a manager? I’m a good communicator and lead from the front. I’m also very hands on and good under pressure. And your limitations? I find that there’s never enough time in a day. Best thing about doing business in the borough? Supporting the local community. We use local suppliers for facilities support, newspapers, food and much more. Famous person you’d most like to spend dinner with? Sean Connery – I mean, who wouldn’t! Most interesting fact about yourself? I held a joint world record for the longest netball match ever played with my former netball team. Business Connexions | 15

One thing that has become apparent in 2021 is that the shortage of workers in some industries can quickly have an immediate impact on all of our lives, I’m thinking particularly about the fuel shortage problems earlier in the year. It is also clear that in many industries, skilled and experienced employees and workers are in shorter supply than has been the case before. We do appear to be ending 2021 facing further uncertainty about a coronavirus variant that has caused concern and prompted the re-introduction of face masks on public transport and some international travel restrictions. Further restrictions may be required, so that flexibility in the employer’s activities, workforce and staff policies will be essential going into 2022. All this reminds us that a company or organisation’s staff, the employees, and workers, are a valuable and precious resource.

So, how does an employer recruit the best individuals, create effective teams, and secure lasting relationships with staff?

Taking timely action and within the scope of policy can significantly reduce the risk of an employer acting unfairly or unlawfully.

Hanne & Co’s employment lawyer James Collier provides three tips below as important starting points:

3 Pay particular attention to equality & diversity

1 Focus on staff health and safety

Particularly with regards to equality and diversity issues in recruitment, pay, training and retention of staff. Attracting the widest possible pool of applicants, and treating all staff fairly and respectfully once recruited, inevitably leads to the most varied team composition, with staff more likely to remain with an employer when treated well.

The health and safety of employees and workers must be a priority for any employer. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 [Regulation 3(3)], require that an employer take reasonable steps to protect staff health and safety at work. When circumstances change – such as a new variant of the coronavirus – it is required that all employers update the health and safety risk assessment and take appropriate action to reduce any risks identified by the assessment. It is always advisable to communicate the risk assessment and actions taken to reduce risks to staff, consultation with staff will increase engagement with any actions required to reduce risks in the workplace.

2 Develop a tailored staff handbook This should include a range of policies and procedures that are applied fairly and consistently throughout the organisation – an employer can develop a positive culture and discourage negative behaviours by consulting on and applying policies appropriately.

Please see our recent articles on gender pay gap reporting and the possibility of an employer voluntarily reporting that data, and our article on sexual harassment at work and the importance of the employer having a specific sexual harassment policy on our website.

How can Hanne&Co help? Our team of experienced lawyers can assist employers with understanding their health and safety obligations to employees and workers, with developing employer policies and procedures in a complete tailored staff handbook, or if preferred by providing bespoke one-off policies such as Menopause Policy, Flexible Working, Family / Parental Leave policies, Sexual Harassment Policy and Whistleblowing policy. We can also provide tailored contracts of employment for employees and workers, or a consultant agreement for a self-employed contractor.

Don’t miss out

on a FREE HALF HOUR TELEPHONE CALL to discuss your employment law or HR matters. We can help you to identify the issues and provide you with a fixed fee quote for our work.

T: +44 (0) 207 326 9440 E:

James Collier


BCC responds to Chancellor’s Budget

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has unveiled the contents of his Budget in the House of Commons. As well as pledging a significant increase in public spending, Mr Sunak announced tax cuts for businesses and a reduction in air duties for flights within the UK. The planned increase in fuel duty is to be scrapped, while retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will benefit from a temporary 50% business rates discount of up to a maximum of £110,000. Meanwhile, the £1 million Annual Investment Allowance has been extended. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has given its reaction… Shevaun Haviland, director general of the BCC, said: “There’s much to welcome in this Budget for business communities across the UK. The Chancellor has listened to Chambers’ long-standing calls for changes to the business rates system and this will be good news for many firms. This will provide much-needed relief for businesses across the country, giving many firms renewed confidence to invest and grow. However, these changes must be the start, rather than the end point of the reforms to this broken system. “Additional investment in skills, infrastructure and better access to finance will be key drivers for our economic recovery and provide longer-term benefits and opportunities for businesses across the country. “While investments announced in the Budget will take time to bed in, government should consider other action that will relieve immediate pressures, particularly on smaller businesses, such as urgent review of the shortage occupation list to allow for short-term visas in key sectors, and an SME energy price cap. “If firms face unexpected bumps in the road, the Chancellor must be prepared to take further action to get the economy firing on all cylinders again.” Commenting on the announcement on business rates reforms, Suren Thiru, head of economics at the BCC, said: “We’re pleased that the chancellor has listened to our call to deliver more frequent revaluations. Moving to a three-year-cycle will help to reduce the huge changes in rates bills that clobber firms and enable them to plan their growth strategies with greater confidence. “However, a system that responds more frequently to changing economic conditions must be made easier for firms to navigate.

The current system already generates a significant number of appeals, and if it’s not made simpler, more frequent valuations would exacerbate this problem.”

a welcome boost toward that goal and will be vital in achieving our net zero targets by funding more efficient, reliable and greener public transport.”

Commenting on freezing the business rates multiplier and a new temporary relief for retail, hospitality and leisure properties, Suren Thiru said: “We’re pleased that the Chancellor listened to BCC’s call to blunt firms’ business rates bills amid soaring inflation. The freeze in the business rates multiplier and support for retail, hospitality and leisure will provide businesses with more financial headroom to repair business cashflow diminished by the pandemic and rising cost pressures, and to invest more in growth plans to power the recovery.”

Commenting on research and development funding, Hannah Essex, co-executive director at the BCC, said: “Greater funding will encourage investment in R&D, which should boost the UK economy at a time when productivity growth remains weak.

Commenting on the Annual Investment Allowance extension, Suren Thiru said: “This should provide a major incentive for firms to crowd in investment, with firms continuing to report that this is a crucial tool which gives them the confidence to push ahead with their plans.” Commenting on funding for childcare, Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the BCC, said: “Additional funding for childcare providers will help parents access high-quality, affordable childcare and remain in work, ensuring employers retain skills and people progress in their careers.” Commenting on infrastructure investment, Jane Gratton said: “It’s great to see the Chancellor recognise the importance of local infrastructure in driving our economy forward and levelling up communities across the country. This investment will be

“However, to ensure that UK firms remain competitive on the global stage, it’s vital that greater investment in R&D is supported by retention of our intellectual property.”

“Additional investment in skills, infrastructure and better access to finance will be key drivers for our economic recovery and provide longerterm benefits and opportunities for businesses across the country.” Business Connexions | 17


Beverley takes the reins at Wandsworth Chamber There’s a saying in business that nothing ever stays the same. Staff come and go, contracts are won and lost, and business leaders make way for the next generation of talent.


he latter is true at Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, where CEO Steve Pinto is stepping down and passing the baton to Beverley Corson, owner of business coaching, consulting and training company Next Level Business and stalwart Chamber member for the past 12 years.

Beverley says: “Wandsworth Chamber is considered to be one of the most dynamic and friendly chambers in London and I feel honoured to have been asked to take on this position from Steve, who has done such an outstanding job in building this business community. I am from Leeds originally but moved to Earlsfield when I was nine years old, I went to Primary school at St Anne’s, and the University at Roehampton, which are both based in the Wandsworth borough. I’ve lived in five of the borough’s town centres and I met my partner Tony – a local – in Tooting Leisure Centre 16 years ago. So, it’s my absolute pleasure to accept this role and I look forward to leading this great organisation in an area I consider home. Wish me luck!” It’s questionable whether she’ll need luck, given her forensic knowledge of the area and impressive industry track record. Prior to starting her own Business in 2009, she spent 11 years working for world-class learning and development providers, predominantly in sales and people development roles. This included client management, consultancy and training work for a leadership development company with

18 | Business Connexions


clients such as Abbey National, Network

a national peer-to-peer networking

businesses in the borough to capitalise

Rail, British Waterways and ADSA,

scheme for SME leaders who want to

on commercial opportunities in this

and new business development and

grow and develop their organisation for

growing industry. For example,

account management for one of the top

future success. It went really well; we

if Tesco were to pledge to cut their

recruitment training providers in the UK.

tendered for it this year as well and won

carbon footprint by half; can Wandsworth

a further contract to run 4 more cohorts.

firms in the supply chain help Tesco

By the time all of these programmes

to achieve this?”

In 2009 she decided to take the plunge and launch her own venture with the aim

are completed, we’ll have assisted 66 businesses.”

“Undoubtedly there will be opportunities

business and life ambitions. Since then,

Beverley’s focus on helping businesses

COVID era. A combination of Brexit,

she has developed several successful

to grow aligns well with the goals of

the technology revolution, COVID

initiatives, including the Next Level

Wandsworth Chamber.

and the green agenda has created

of providing effective growth support for business leaders so they could fulfil their

and challenges as we move into a post

much uncertainty and change – but

Business Club which serves business owners from a wide range of sectors

“My business helps other people to

Wandsworth firms have demonstrated

who typically achieve 20-200% growth

grow and that’s the whole point of the

their resilience and an ability to adapt

year on-year. One programme within

Chamber, too,” she says. “Steve and

to fast-moving circumstances in the

the Next Level Business Club is the

I both have bags of energy so I’m sure to

last couple of years.”

Next Level Accelerator programme to

follow in his footsteps in that way too.”

fast-track the growth of small firms.

“We have some fantastic, capable “We have a 12-month plan in place

businesses in this borough,” says

She says: “The Next Level Accelerator

and there’s so much to do! We want to

Beverley. “There are also some exciting

is for established SME business owners

maintain relations with members and

developments in the pipeline. Battersea

with 5-25 employees, who are frustrated

other key stakeholders and build up the

Power Station is opening next year,

with their progress and are not getting

membership base. We also have a desire

which will create jobs and opportunities

what they want out of their business.

to get events up and running, including

for people here. Apple is also establishing

Their aim is to overcome their

the business awards.”

a base here, which will attract even

challenges and limitations and break through to the next level – whatever

“I want to get a grasp of what businesses

more tech innovation than there already is to the Borough.”

that means for them.”

want as we move into a post-COVID world. Recruitment is an issue; many

“My entire career has revolved around

“We help them to maximise productivity,

companies will require help to resource

developing people. That’s why I want

increase profitability and accelerate

and upskill their teams. It’s also important

to build a team at the Chamber so we

forward towards achieving their goals.

for us to keep abreast of local and

can increase our level of support to

Our clients typically achieve up to 200%

national government support and how

local businesses. Eventually, I’d like to

year-on-year turnover growth and 400%

businesses can access this.”

create an initiative that offers training

course of the 12-month programme.”

“The green agenda is another important

for business leaders and their teams.”

“During COVID last year we also won

always been innovative and forward

Clearly there is much to do but if anyone

a contract to run two cohorts of the

thinking on various issues and this will

can make all of this happen, you get the

government’s Peer Network programme,

be no different. Where possible, we’ll help

feeling that Beverley can.

year-on-year profit growth over the

consideration. As a Chamber, we’ve

opportunities, coaching and mentoring

We have a 12-month plan in place and there’s so much to do! We want to maintain relations with members and other key stakeholders and build up the membership base. We also have a desire to get events up and running, including the business awards. Business Connexions | 19


20 | Business Connexions




Fighting for equality in the workplace:

BeyondAutism’s employability toolkit

BeyondAutism Post-19 student working at the StreetCube in Southside Shopping Centre, Wandsworth

By EMILY ROSS, specialist vocational advisor, BeyondAutism

BeyondAutism Sixth Form student helping out at a local Church café in Wandsworth

“Our toolkit provides detailed information about autism, behaviour, communication and sensory needs whilst giving key tips and ideas for how to support an individual’s needs in the workplace.”

Everyone deserves the opportunity to access meaningful employment. Yet for people with a disability, finding jobs can be challenging.

the workplace. The resource also includes a personalised vocational profile and assessments to help employers support their employees’ development.

In 2020, the Office for National Statistics stated that just “52.1% of disabled people aged 16 to 64 years were employed”. For autistic adults that number drops to 21.7%. Once someone with autism gets a job, they face more challenges to stay in work. This is unacceptable and we need to see it change.

The toolkit was written by experts in the fields of autism and employment, with input from speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, behaviour analysists and vocational specialists. We also worked with our learners and interns, creating solutions which work for them. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that the full needs of individuals are covered.

At BeyondAutism we’re passionate about increasing employability. We want to see more autistic people with the skills and confidence to enter the workplace. At the same time, we want employers to feel confident in supporting people with autism at work. When we talk about employment we mean it in the broadest sense of the word, including work placements, internships, volunteering and meaningful activity. In September, we launched a free employability toolkit as part of a wider employability project started in 2020 thanks to a grant from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.The toolkit is designed to help employers feel confident in supporting autistic employees throughout the application process and in the work environment. It includes a range of resources for autistic people, from support on applying for jobs to tools to help their performance in the workplace. Low employment numbers for autistic people are in part down to a lack of understanding from employers. Our toolkit provides detailed information about autism, behaviour, communication and sensory needs whilst giving key tips and ideas for how to support an individual’s needs in

It’s time for society to become more inclusive. Diversity in a workplace cannot truly exist unless the environment is inclusive. Embracing inclusivity can bring benefits to an employer far beyond simply a match of skills to need. According to the charity Mencap, employing those with a disability or additional needs can help to increase staff morale, positively contributing to the work output of an organisation. Getting more people into paid employment is a boost for the economy – something we need to consider even more as we start the journey of recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. Our toolkit aims to equalize the employment experience for everyone by promoting inclusivity and positive attitudes towards autistic people in the workplace. Every step taken is helping to break the stigma and stereotype of disability, and break the cycle of prejudice experienced by so many. Will you take your first step today and download our toolkit to share within your organisation and your wider network? Why not also enrol in our free employability training: all about autism and how to create an inclusive working environment?

Download the toolkit at: Business Connexions | 21

WORKFORCE TRAINING South Thames College works with local employers to support them with training and development needs. Apprenticeships • We’ll identify how and where an apprentice can benefit your business • We’ll help you recruit the right candidate • We’ll assist you to access appropriate funding and grants

Workforce Skills We can help you identify skills gaps, recommend training and professional development for your staff, and help access funding where appropriate We can design Government funded pre-employment courses to help you fill vacancies and support your recruitment

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Free Online Professional Development Training for Your Staff Find out more at workforce-training-development

Part of the South Thames Colleges Group

How can our Business Partnership Team support your Business? These are exciting times for the Business Partnership Team here at South Thames Colleges Group (STCG) with so many projects underway with our community partners.


ver the last year we have been building upon existing relationships and we are working with a large number of new partners in the region to support skills and employment across South West London. We have applied for and won a number of grants from the Greater London Authority and Department for Education to support collaboration, education, training, and employability, including funding to support digital skills in the region. We also recently won a bid to support Higher Technical qualifications in Construction and are working with construction companies in the area to promote these two qualifications in The Built Environment and Site Management. STCG is a key partner in “Constructing London”, the Mayor’s Construction Academy in South West London for Construction and we also work with “Building Heroes”, a charity which provides skills training for military veterans by providing a Construction multi-skills course. The team are working closely with the All-England Lawn Tennis Club to support them in recruiting and training 1500 adults to work at the two-week Wimbledon Championships in a variety of roles in July 2022. In line with their guidance,

we are aiming to recruit locally which is such a wonderful opportunity for adults across South West London. Along with the many organisational partners we work with the local DWPs, Work Match, the local council, and Chamber of Commerce on a range of opportunities and are currently focusing on supporting training and recruitment for the hospitality industry across the borough, including the Battersea Power Station development and are holding Job Fairs across South Thames Colleges Groups’ campuses to support local and regional employers. Finally, but not least we provide training for the Kickstart programmes at our South Thames College site, as well as having a number of Apprenticeships across the Group.

“We have applied for and won a number of grants from the Greater London Authority and Department for Education to support collaboration, education, training, and employability, including funding to support digital skills in the region.”

Please contact us at: if you are interested in finding out how the Business Partnerships Team can work with you and your business. Business Connexions | 23 Business Connexions | 23


Business and Governments must unite to hit net zero targets A new survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has revealed how challenging net zero targets will be difficult to hit unless governments work with businesses across the globe on making the transition. Politicians, for their part, must find ways to help businesses help themselves, especially smaller firms concerned about extra costs and red tape if they want to adopt green technology and practices.

24 | Business Connexions

More than 1,000 businesses, including some from the BCC’s International British Chamber Network, took part in the survey to understand what steps they are already taking to reach net zero and what support would encourage them to further reduce their carbon footprint. It found most businesses were either unaware of or were not taking steps to get involved in key net zero strategies. These included the impact of changes to food supply chains (93%), a ‘Just Transition’ to net zero (93%), or the use of ‘nature-based solutions’ (89%). The survey also highlighted how businesses want to see capital grants and tax allowances to support them to make the transition. A previous BCC survey, from July, found that although most firms were taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, only one in 10 currently measure their carbon footprint, falling to just one in 20 for microbusinesses.


What we are still lacking is much of the detail. There needs to be both carrot and stick for firms to make the change. We need to know how businesses will be supported to switch from gas boilers, when electric vehicle charging points will become commonplace, how our freight systems will be decarbonised and our energy sources diversified and stabilised.

OCTOBER SURVEY FINDINGS The latest data also highlight the divide between larger and smaller businesses, with only 5% of firms with fewer than ten employees carrying out an assessment on potential net zero changes to food supply chains, compared with 10% of firms with more than 50 staff. Firms of all sectors and sizes overwhelmingly said that either capital grants or tax allowances would do most to support them to reduce their carbon consumption in the long-term, with 61% citing either of those options as the single most effective type of support. Businesses based outside the UK were also most likely to cite tax allowances as their preferred type of support. The latest data survey also gave an indication of which of the UK’s ten key priorities for a green industrial revolution were most important to them. It found that 39% recommend prioritising ‘protecting our natural environment’, while 34% favoured

‘greener buildings’, 33% ‘delivering new and advanced nuclear power’, 33% ‘advancing offshore wind’, and 32% ‘driving the growth of low carbon hydrogen’. Reacting to the findings, Shevaun Haviland, director general of the BCC, said: “Everyone is aware that the target of reaching net zero by 2050 is extremely challenging and of historic importance. But there is a real danger that smaller businesses will get left behind unless politicians and business leaders come together to galvanise action. “The steps a High Street hairdresser must take to get to net zero will be very different to those needed for a farmer or those of a component manufacturer. “Larger firms need to help smaller businesses within their supply chains to adapt and adjust. The BCC has developed a Net Zero hub, in partnership with O2, to provide businesses with a one-stop shop on everything they need to know about setting net zero targets. “Chambers are also working with their members to help them

develop their plans to become carbon neutral. “Politicians, for their part, must find ways to help businesses help themselves, especially smaller firms concerned about extra costs and red tape if they want to adopt green technology and practices. “What we are still lacking is much of the detail. There needs to be both carrot and stick for firms to make the change. We need to know how businesses will be supported to switch from gas boilers, when electric vehicle charging points will become commonplace, how our freight systems will be decarbonised and our energy sources diversified and stabilised. “Inevitably, how we pay for all of this is a big question. The ambitious transition to a carbon-neutral economy will put a huge strain on public sector finances in the years to come. “The pandemic means that many firms are still struggling to get themselves back on a sustainable footing and cannot currently bear additional tax rises that will further squeeze their cashflow.”

Business Connexions | 25

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How businesses can save money on resolving workplace disputes

Workplace conflict costs UK employers nearly £30 billion every year, with half a million workers resigning over disputes – that’s according to recent research published by ACAS. Experts are warning workplace tensions are expected to increase even further now that organisations shift back from remote to on-site work. Nearly 10 million people in the UK experience conflict at work each year. Wandsworth Mediation Service, a London non-profit mediation provider, has seen a trifold increase in enquiries about workplace mediation since the pandemic started. During lockdown, the charity carried on supporting businesses by conducting all of its mediations online. If left unchecked, even minor misunderstandings in the workplace can escalate beyond control, creating stress and impacting productivity of all team members. Zoom mediation has proven to be an effective way of resolving workplace disagreements, as it is quicker to organise and is much cheaper than formal action. During a mediation session, an accredited mediator meets with the parties in dispute and

acts as an unbiased intermediary, facilitating the discussion and assisting the participants in finding a mutually acceptable resolution. The process is completely confidential. Wandsworth Mediation Service is an established non-profit mediation provider resolving commercial and workplace disputes across the UK since 2004. In 2020, the charity was appointed to mediate the dispute between the Post Office and its postmasters over the Horizon computer system. All generated income through commercial work funds the charity’s free community service, providing free mediation and conflict resolution training to Wandsworth residents. For more information email or visit

Engage in some wishful thinking to get ahead We are rapidly heading towards the time of year where people make resolutions. Most people do it every year but find it hard to make them stick. COVID aside, was 2021 largely a good year for you or was it full of struggles and strife? If you had a ‘bad year’, what is it that went wrong? Were you a victim of circumstance or was the calamity something that you could have avoided? Do you need to make a small shift or take a completely new direction to feel good going into 2022? In this magazine there are lots of articles designed to help you make the most of what you’ve got and gain success, but often the issue is that we’re stuck in our own heads. We make decisions about our business and then we stick doggedly with them, even when situations change. The idea of doing something different can seem scary to the point of being overwhelming. In my therapy room, I regularly invite clients to close their eyes and imagine what their life is like if everything is exactly as they’d like it to be. What will they see and hear if a miracle happened and their problems had magically gone? This technique allows the person to go straight to the solution; rather than getting caught up in

why something won’t work, it invites a sense of possibility into the conversation. Instead of making a resolution for 2022, why not try this yourself. What’s your perfect scenario or situation? Where would you be and what would you be doing? Allow yourself time to sit quietly and carry out this exercise and trust the process. It’s all too easy to find excuses for why none of it would be possible: ‘I’m no good at...’, ‘I couldn’t....’ ‘I’m too old’. We believe these thoughts and let ourselves get stuck in that place. Once you know where you want to go, the first step to getting there is letting go of unhelpful beliefs that keep you stationary. Challenge yourself to start moving towards your dream and use each step to build up motivation and confidence. If you want to make some changes in your life but have a habit of self-sabotaging or staying stuck, you might benefit from some sessions with a therapist who can support you to shift those patterns. Abbey Robb

Senia Dedic


Enterprise Club Women of Wandsworth community organisation, started our WoW Enterprise Club in 2010 to help local parents get selfemployed and work from home to solve their catch twenty-two problem, having to choose to take care of their children or go back to work. Several of our WoW Mums became entrepreneurs and were finalists or won Business Awards from Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. Members of WoW Enterprise Club, who run a small business or who would like to become an Entrepreneur, attended Edge of The Box business training at the Chelsea Football Club VIP section, organised by Chelsea Foundation. We continued our training with Google Garage, learning how to get our business more visible on Google. Presence on Google Search and Maps can help customers find our business more easily. We learnt how to create an online listing for our business on Google Maps to optimise our online profile. Please join our club if you would like help with writing your Business Plan or any other constitutional documents for your new enterprise. Business Connexions | 27


Positive mindset

can lead to a happy life Reeta Minhas-Judd, founder of RMJ Training Services, highlights the importance of wellbeing in a post-COVID world… Since COVID-19 has been present, many have struggled mentally and physically at the hands of this uncontrollable and unknown virus. We now seem to be heading towards a ray of light, with the introduction and successful roll-out of the vaccination programme. Now, though, more so than before, people are suffering with anxiety and other forms of distress at the thought of moving on with their lives, whilst still living with the existence of COVID-19.

who are struggling. This can help to re-build their confidence and outlook to a more positive state.

COVID-19 has caused those who were previously confident to run and hide through uncertainty and fear. So, what can they do to begin their journey in this “new normal” world we’ve now found ourselves in?

If I had a pound for every person who told me they’d book a session with me, I’d be a millionaire! This is the first step which not everybody is ready to take but, once they do, life will never be the same again.

run and hide through

This is where I can help. Over the coming months, I’ll be offering hints, tips and information that can offer useful coping mechanisms for those

Through life therapy I can help clients re-visit unhappy areas of their lives which they may have suppressed for several years. Once they’ve re-

in this “new normal”

This journey doesn’t have to be a perilous one, but one of growth and positivity. Acceptance is imperative when looking to reach a positive state. People who don’t accept that they need support and guidance will continue in a state of denial and not want to seek any form of assistance. They’ll continue to associate their lives with negativity and this in turn will give rise to a lack of confidence.

visited these areas, they’ll start to have acceptance, and this in turn will help them to make peace with things that have been suppressed within them. Only at this point will they be ready to move on with a more positive mindset, because until then every action and decision they make will be associated with a negative past.

“COVID-19 has caused those who were previously confident to uncertainty and fear. So, what can they do to begin their journey world we’ve now found ourselves in?”

Reeta Minhas-Judd is a life therapist and has run her wellbeing company, RMJ Training Services, for the past three years. Her focus is primarily on the positive health and wellbeing of her clients, with the ultimate goal of helping them to enjoy a happy existence.

For more information visit Business Connexions | 29


Wandsworth Council in pilot scheme to make planning system more accessible Wandsworth Council has been chosen to take part in a government trial scheme designed to make the planning system more accessible and informative. Wandsworth is one of 13 councils in England – including only three in London – to have been selected by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to pilot new digital initiatives to make the planning process more open and accessible and boost public engagement.

World’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone expands to cover inner London

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has expanded the area covered by the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) from central London up to, but not including, the North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) Roads. The new zone is 18 times the size of the central London zone and now covers 3.8 million people. Measuring 380km2, it covers one quarter of London and is the largest zone of its kind in Europe. It is intended to bring the health benefits of cleaner air to millions more Londoners, both inside and outside the newly expanded zone. The scheme will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year except Christmas Day.

March, are expected to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from road transport by 30 per cent across London in 2021.

The ULEZ expansion, alongside tighter London-wide Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards for heavy vehicles introduced in

A major awareness campaign has been underway over the past three years to ensure drivers and businesses are

Wandsworth’s allocation of £30,000 will fund initiatives to improve the clarity, communication and accessibility of the borough’s Local Plan and local planning policy. Unveiling the scheme, housing minister Christopher Pincher said: “We want to use digital technology to make the planning system fit for the 21st century and empower people from all backgrounds to get involved in decisions that impact their communities.” The PropTech Engagement Fund was launched in August 2021. Planning authorities were invited to submit bids to run pilots to boost engagement in Local Plan consultations, better publicise proposed developments, or to analyse consultation responses.

Sadiq Khan said: “This is a landmark day for our city. I pledged to be the greenest Mayor London’s ever had and I am incredibly proud that expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone today will clean up London’s toxic air pollution and help tackle the global climate emergency by reducing emissions.”

Santander Cycles hits new milestone

The pilots, which will run until March 2022, will “inform the government’s work to modernise the planning system, establish best practice and identify where further digital guidance and innovations are needed”. The department says the initiatives “are also aimed at encouraging groups typically underrepresented in planning decisions – like renters, young people and those from black and ethnic minority communities – to make their voices heard on planning issues”.

The ULEZ is also a crucial step towards the mayor’s ambitions to tackle the climate emergency and put London on the path to be a net zero carbon city by 2030. It is also an issue of social justice with the poorest Londoners, and Londoners from ethnic minority backgrounds least likely to own a car but also worst affected by toxic air.

ready for the ULEZ expansion, with Transport for London’s (TfL) online vehicle checker being used more than 20 million times since 2018. Over a million letters have been sent to owners of non-compliant vehicles seen inside the zone.

Santander Cycles has enjoyed its best September ever as hires reached the highest level since the pandemic started. More than one million hires were made in September, with an average of 40,660 per day – a new record for the month. Transport for London (TfL’s) flagship cycle hire scheme is continuing to go from strength for strength with its highest September hires in its 11-year history, as increasing numbers of Londoners returned to the office. There were 1,219,804 hires during the month, an average of 40,660 daily hires – well above the 37,917 average daily hires in September last year and the 32,323 average daily hires in the three Septembers prior to the pandemic.

Office workers returning after the summer holidays helped to contribute to the record September. During the month, TfL saw the highest volume of Santander Cycles commuter hires since March 2020, with an average 7,573 daily hires made between 07.00 and 10.00 on weekdays. Santander Cycles can be hired from as little as £2 a day for an unlimited number of 30-minute journeys. The scheme recently reached its latest milestone of 10 million hires via the Santander Cycles app. The free app is available on Apple and Android App Stores, by searching for Santander Cycles. Using the app lets customers skip past

the terminal and get release codes sent directly to their phone, so they can hire their cycle more quickly and easily.   David Eddington, TfL’s head of cycle hire, said: “We’re pleased to see Santander Cycles play a vital role in enabling people to return to work and it’s fantastic to reach yet another big milestone with 10 million hires made through the app.” Dan Sherwood, director of marketing at Santander UK, said: “Bringing innovation to the cycle hire scheme has been a key focus during our partnership with TfL so it’s fantastic that we’ve reached such a greatmilestone in the number of hires made through the app since its creation together.”

Rotary Christmas Day project supports elderly who are alone on Christmas Rotary International is a business organisation with its own Foundation formed in 1905, with over 1.2 million members from all around the world. London District has sixty clubs of with 3 are in Wandsworth.

for elderly who are alone on Christmas.

Rotary is renowned for their business and humanitarian actions, eradicating Polio around the world, but they also support local community through small clubs. Rotary Club of Battersea Park formed in 1955 and shortly after started their flagship project Rotary Christmas Day Lunch

It is an annual joyous occasion in Battersea Park Evolution Hall with over four hundred older people over sixty-five who live in Wandsworth and with up to three hundred volunteers from all around the world, helping us serve three course Christmas Lunch with all the trimmings.

30 | Business Connexions

Free transport is organised for elderly guests, as well as entertainment and goody bags at the end of the evening. Other projects support all people around the world, and Rotary International has helped orphans in Kathmandu, hospital in Mumbai, villages in Kerala and medical centres in Calcutta, as well as a school in South Africa.


UK agrees to end tax on US tech giants Britain is set to phase out its Digital Services Tax (DST) on US tech giants such as Google and Facebook, averting the threat of retaliatory tariffs from the US.


he move heralds the UK’s transition away from the DST towards a new global tax system that will ensure multinationals pay their fair share in the countries where they do business.

The deal struck by the UK, US, Austria, France, Italy and Spain outlines a DSTcredit system that will bridge the gap between the UK’s DST and the start of the new system, which is due to be implemented in 2023. OECD-led discussions resulted in 136 countries agreeing a plan for a new system where multinationals pay their fair share of tax in the countries in which they do business (known as Pillar One), whilst countries operate a minimum 15% corporation tax rate (known as Pillar Two). The treasury said the deal meant that the US would not levy tariffs in response to the UK’s DST, which was first introduced in April 2020. The DST charges 2% of the gross revenues that large digital companies accumulate in the UK. Many of these companies are headquartered in the US, which has a strong focus on technology and innovation. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “Following this landmark deal, I am delighted we have agreed a way forward on how we transition from our Digital Services Tax

to the newly agreed global tax system. This agreement means that our Digital Services Tax is protected as we move to 2023, so its revenue can continue to fund vital public services.” The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has welcomed the DST deal, claiming it will bring “great relief” to UK exporters.

“The announcement

William Bain, head of trade policy at the BCC, said: “The announcement of a deal between the US, the UK, France, Austria, Italy and Spain on digital services taxes, and transitioning unilateral measures taken beforehand, will be strongly welcomed by business in the UK.

the US, the UK,

“UK exporters were facing punitive tariffs on many consumer products going to the US in just six weeks’ time. It will be a great relief that this has now been removed completely until at least the end of December 2023 or when the relevant part of the global deal on DSTs comes into effect. “The BCC engaged with the US Embassy and the UK government over this. UK exporters will now be able to look forward to a bumper Christmas season selling their goods to US customers.”

of a deal between France, Austria, Italy and Spain on digital services taxes, and transitioning unilateral measures taken beforehand, will be strongly welcomed by business in the UK.”

The UK is set to continue discussions with other countries over the coming months as the implementation of the new global tax system draws nearer.

Business Connexions | 31


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Wandsworth Business Forum Connect with Wandsworth Council and Experts for Regular Business Recovery Updates 1st WEDNESDAY OF EVERY MONTH 11AM to 12.30PM Venue: ONLINE Registration Link:

Wandsworth Chamber is returning with a schedule of events for next year as well as our regular online Business Forum. Please visit the events page of our website regularly to see what’s on and why not join us as we network through 2022.

For further details go to 32 | Business Connexions

WELCOME to new members


DOWNS WRITING SERVICES LTD David Downs Wandsworth SW18 07599 122 093



Nizar Muhamadhu Enovate London 163 Mitcham Road London SW17 9PG 07459 274 491 u G&G IT CONSULTING George Ion Flat 502 34 Lombard Road Battersea SW11 3RF 07984 209 721 u SCREENGOLD Katherine O’Mahony 45 Mandrake Road Tooting Bec London SW17 7PZ 07808 725 053

Whether you are part of a large organisation or work from an office at home, there are many good reasons for joining the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce. As the business hub of Wandsworth, your Chamber is influential in helping to create the right business environment for local companies to flourish. Through membership you have the ability to use our “business voice”, the opportunity to meet key stakeholders, network and do business with many other local businesses that you won’t find anywhere else. So, do it now, online, and start enjoying the many benefits on offer. For more information or to discuss how we can help you, please contact us at: Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce

020 3633 6575

Starting Up...


Ian Barrington

Bad Alex Productions Ltd Q1 In no more than 50 words tell us a bit about your business? Bad Alex is an independent studio for creative film and image, sound, and design production, specialising in cinematic experiences delivering projects from concept to design and filming to post production for all online client facing and internal media platforms.

Q2 What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? I think that would be our creativity and vision. I’ve a solid background in fine art so I love to play with new media and concepts, and over the years Alex has developed an insatiable appetite for learning more about new communities and cultures both at home and away, Being focused for creative industries provides a level of comfort for our clients knowing we want to help push the boat out with them to develop a great narrative and experience for their audiences.

Q3 What motivated you to set up in business? The birth of Bad Alex was a culmination of benchmarks in my career, having established a partnership with an exciting creative NGO based in India in 2014, and working on a number of projects including by the BBC, Warner Bros, Disney and YouTube. My research into political landscapes during my Masters degree and studying in Poland, provided the inception for penning an underworld espionage novel Droga do Polska (The Road To Poland) - Bad Alex was created as a production studio to develop and produce the novel to its intended audience on screen, it was a natural evolution to open its arms to other creative minds and projects.

Q4 What do you like most about working for start-ups? I love that no two days are the same, giving me the opportunity to utilise all this partitioned grey matter of data in my head. That and being at the ideas end of a business, making the decisions that forge the identity, development and culture of something people want to be part of. Being lost among the numbers often has greater career security, but at the cost of real ownership - often following a long established tried and tested series of processes and routines. Being independent and at the forefront of change seems to be hardwired to my identity, I love the challenge of building something that lasts and become the model for other emerging leaders.

Q5 What has been your greatest business success to date? We have recently taken a consultation contract of a private studios complex which has helped inject some capital back into the company. This has itself opened the doors further to both mentor and work with some exciting new entrepreneurs and build on our design studio thanks to a new contract overseeing the planning and direction of a new events platform.

Q6 What has been your lowest moment? A case of unfortunate timing saw both the pandemic and formation of Bad Alex meet face to face. The lockdowns and changing government policies had me constantly reviewing over the business plan in desperation to find ways to keep the doors open. In addition, film production relies on being in front of some of the most competitive and fast moving tech sectors, some of which is already out of date before being opened from the boxes, and has required replacing without the projected cashflow to offset the much desired purchases and upgrades.

Q7 In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? I would like to see the commercial operations arm of the company Podbox Media become independent; together with Bad Alex as a leading centre, servicing clients from concept to design to post production and studio operations. It seems a long way off, but we have already made some exciting initial headway toward potential options learning how we could sustainably develop.

Q8 What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? First and foremost, love what you do! This is your baby and it needs 24-7 passion and nurturing to grow. But don’t get too lost in the passion and remember the fundamentals of operating a business, Communication, Strategy, Finance, Operations and Marketing. A lack of direction; over, and under investment as well as skipping on a thorough understanding of the culture, supply chain and environment the budding entrepreneur bought themselves into often sees new businesses close before taking hold. Creating a well thought out and structured business plan really is your guiding light and bible for daily operations, the darkest of times and best - most cashflow rich success!

Business Connexions | 33


minutes with ...

George Ion

CEO G&G IT Consulting

Q Who are you?

Q Biggest achievement?

My name is George Ion, 30 years old, a Cyber Security Graduate from Coventry University, living in Battersea.

Q What’s your business all about? G&G IT Consulting is about future. From basic IT support, to IT Business Solutions, Information Security and Cyber Security.

Q Three words to describe yourself? Passionate about my work, Professional and Reliable.

Q Ideal Customer?

All SME’s ready to embrace the future.

Q Biggest gripe?

I put to much trust in people.

Being part of the Ventilator Challenge UK project, during the first lockdown and helping delivering over 14.000 ventilators for the NHS.

Q Your inspiration?

Montly bills :) and Elon Musk

Q Philosophy in Business? Always adapt to the market. Old school mentality is not helpfull all the times.

Q Sporting Hero? Gheorghe Hagi

Q Biggest tip for success? Work smart, not hard.

G&G IT CONSULTING Our vision is to continually grow as a specialised IT Business Solution company and uncover innovation opportunities, new revenue streams with smart products and processes for our clients, as well as ensuring the security of your business in the online environment.

Call 07984 209 721 34 | Business Connexions






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