Business Connexions January 2023

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Official Magazine for Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce | Issue 20 | Jan 2023 Inside • PATRON FOCUS Rob Kelly, CEO of Displayways explains how the company has evolved. Page 8 • ASK THE EXPERT Adapting to the changing face of the economy. Page 13 • BIG INTERVIEW David Fenton iSmart. Page 18 • HEALTH & WELLBEING New Year New Goals. Page 24 Wandsworth Business Awards 2023 A Grand Night Out in Clapham Page 4
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Welcome to the latest Edition of the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce Magazine

year for us to celebrate and be very proud of. We are looking forward to continuing this growth over the coming months and working with all members, new and old.

Welcome to the January edition of the Business Connexions magazine, our first for 2023. Happy New Year!

2022 was a significant year for Wandsworth Chamber, rebuilding was key as we emerged from the pandemic and, to add a further challenge I took on my role as CEO but what an exciting and at times a rollercoaster of a year it was!

We welcomed back many past members and are grateful for their continued support, but in very difficult times we also had 41 totally new members join us, so all in all a

There was a slow start to our events in 2022 due to restrictions and caution, but we managed to run 37 of them including special standout events with our Patron Sponsors, South Thames College, Battersea Power Station and AFC Wimbledon, and 4 Big Breakfasts at the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel to name just a few. There are already a number of exciting events planned for 2023 so we are set to continue providing as many opportunities as we can for local businesses to engage, support and open doors for each other.

We continued to work with and build relationships with many of our valued key stakeholders including our Patron Sponsors, the Council and wider business community, and will continue with this work, looking for opportunities to collaborate and open possibilities for our members.

Last year Wandsworth Chamber website received an upgrade, this has enabled us more ways to add value to chamber membership and we will be rolling out webinars to help with making the most of this as we move forward.

Finally, we are happy to say that we have set a date and plan to bring back the Wandsworth Business Awards this year, so put the 20th June 2023 in your calendars now, it is an event that you will not want to miss. You can find out more about this exciting event and how to be part of it on pages 4-6 of this magazine.

Despite the uncertain and challenging times we are all facing, we firmly believe that as business continues, it is each and every one of our responsibilities to maintain faith and belief that we can succeed, to be proactive and relentless in pursuing ways to make that happen, and generous in our support of each other. We hope that you continue to see Wandsworth Chamber as a support channel and look to your local community for opportunities to enable you to thrive.

“The New Year stands before us like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.” Melody Beattie Wishing you success in 2023.

Enquiries

Studio F8 (Le Bureau)

Battersea Studios 80 Silverthorne Road London SW8 3HE t: 020 3633 6575

e: enquiries@wandsworthchamber.org w: www.wandsworthchamber.org

Publisher

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

e: admin@benhampublishing.com w: www.benhampublishing.com

Published January 2023 © Benham Publishing

Editor David Burrows e: David@benhampublishing.com

Advertising and Features Karen Hall e: karen@benhampublishing.com t: 0151 236 4141

Studio Mark Etherington e: studio@benhampublishing.com

Media No.1873

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. © 2023.

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.

Business Connexions | 3
WELCOME & CONTENTS Inside: Jan 2023 Scan the QR code with your phone camera to see our events and get them in your calendar app.
The Team behind the business 18 4-6 Business Awards 10 News 11 Legal 12 Battersea 13 Ask the Expert 16-17 Economy – Richard Burge The Big Interview 21 Life Skills 22-23 Skills 24-25 Health & Wellbeing 8 Patron Focus 31 27-28 Environment 29 Chamber Events 32 New Members 33 Starting Up 34 5 Minutes with…

Wandsworth

4 | Business Connexions BUSINESS AWARDS
Business
2023 A Grand Night Out
Clapham Image: Pixabay
Awards
in

he awards will be held in the historic Clapham Grand Theatre on 20 June and will include powerful and uplifting live opera classics.

These awards will be the first since the pandemic so are significant for businesses to celebrate resilience, achievement and success across the borough. The evening will be vibrant, entertaining, with something for everyone, and will focus on bringing businesses together to share experiences in this unique and glamorous setting.

Beverley Corson, CEO of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce takes up the story. “We wanted to encourage people to come to the event even if they had not entered or been shortlisted for an award. Business leaders have been on an emotional rollercoaster, first Covid and then more recent economic problems.”

Beverley adds: “Opera is a great way to touch people’s emotions and it can be hugely powerful and uplifting.”

We are delighted that Bronwen StephensHarding and her team at Rogue Opera, a company set up to bring opera to new audiences and unconventional spaces has agreed to perform at our awards ceremony. Performing Arts were some of the last businesses to open up after lockdown so they really encapsulate the theme of resilience that these awards are all about.”

Rogue Opera will perform well known songs from classic operas and has promised to bring the show to a conclusion with a rousing rendition of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma with the final words meaning “I will be Victorious”. Additional to Opera the evening will feature networking, food and a disco so it will certainly offer a memorable opportunity for all.

TBusiness Connexions | 5 BLACK HEROES® BUSINESSFOUNDATION AWARDS
Award Categories • Apprentice of the Year • Business Owner/Entrepreneur of the Year • Diversity and Inclusivity Champion • Retailer or hospitality venue of the Year • Best Customer Service • Best Start Up Business • Innovation • Wandsworth Community Hero • Environmental/ Sustainability Champion • Best SME Business • Best Large Business • Health and Wellbeing Award Enter or nominate at www.wandsworthchamber.org/ business-awards-How-To-Enter ❛❛ ❜❜ Business leaders have been on an emotional rollercoaster, first Covid and then more recent economic problems. This event is the chance for all businesses in the Borough, even if they have not entered or been shortlisted for an award, to celebrate business resilience and be inspired to keep pushing forward. Beverley Corson, CEO of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce After a gap of three years the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce Business Awards are back - and this time with a difference!

❜❜

RECOGNITION AND AWARENESS

What is the key motivation for those entering the awards and what benefits are to be had?

“I think it is about choosing to be seen and also questioning your business in a way that maybe you haven’t done before. It is not just about ‘winning’ a company might discover what they need to do differently to achieve ‘award status’,” Beverley explains.

“It is a great PR opportunity not just for the winners in each category but for those who have been named finalists. With so many companies competing, being shortlisted is a great achievement and is certainly something to promote.”

These prestigious events of course rely on the support of sponsors. And in challenging economic times like these it can often be hard to attract funding.

Beverley explains that the event has a proud history of association with backers from both large and smaller companies and she is confident that will continue now and in future years.

Sponsors benefit from being seen to support businesses in the borough –a very positive message.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

Talking of businesses in the borough, what do firms that have been singled out by judges in previous years think of the experience?

Julia Pittman head of sales at Beaver Pest Control, insists winning a business award was very important to the company.

“It’s a celebration of all the things we do well. Winning awards makes our staff feel good, and we always make sure that we have staff as well as directors celebrating at the awards. There are many great businesses in Wandsworth so winning an award is an amazing feeling”.

As to why the company was singled out Julia explains: “We have a multitude of recognition and bonus schemes and invest heavily into training. I think the way we look after our people and run the business stands out and we have a great culture within the business which is driven by the directors and management teams”.

In terms of brand awareness, Julia believes the awards are hugely beneficial. “I think people are focused on celebrating with their own businesses rather than actively networking, however from a branding point of view it is good.

Everyone in the room is aware of the shortlisted companies and winners.

Jaysal Pattni, Sales & Marketing Manager at Minar Jewellers in Tooting explains that winning three awards in 2019 for Best Independent Retailer, Best Customer Service and Best Business, opened up many opportunities to a new client base.

Jaysal explains why Minar was picked out. “Many of the judges remarked how impressed they were that a small jeweller in Tooting was able to successfully sell online to so many countries around the world - at our last count more than 28 countries”.

Jaysal believes the awards are ideal forum to showcase the best the Wandsworth business community has to offer.

“There are many talented and niche businesses in Tooting and the Wandsworth Borough, when you attend the awards you realise that we are one of the most diverse vibrant business communities in London.

“It was only in the finals we saw how much talent there was. Each and every finalist was close to becoming the best business, that is why we felt extremely proud of this accolade”.

6 | Business Connexions
BUSINESS AWARDS
❛❛
There are many talented and niche businesses in Tooting, when you attend the awards you realise that we are one of the most diverse vibrant business communities in London.
121_MagAd_210x270_Dec22.indd
Past Award winners

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Business Connexions | 7
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online
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quality goods and services at the
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Membership
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information
preview our warehouses
or scan the QR code.
to spend online at www.costco.co.uk. New members only.
required to preview in the form of business evidence or company payslip ID. Accepting Mastercard, American
at fuel station. Fuel stations not available at all locations. JN33019
T:
253 4124 E: marketing121@costco.co.uk www.costco.co.uk
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† Sign up for membership with this advert at our Croydon warehouse and receive a £10 voucher
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Express and Visa credit cards as well as cash, debit card or cheque. No cash or cheque
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quality and value
our products,
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PATRON FOCUS 8 |

When was the company set up – how has it grown over the years in terms of staff and offices?

The company was established in 1990 as a graphics and signage consultancy with a small amount of large format print production and vinyl cutting.

Over the years the company has grown and now has three factoriestwo in Earlsfield and one in Guildford, employing around 70 staff in all.

Displayways is now considered one of the UK’s leading graphics, display and signage production companies

We have recently completed signage and graphics projects locally for Battersea Power Station, the V&A, Land Securities, Selfridges and Adobe.

Further afield we have completed a Museum in Denmark, a visitor centre in Nigeria and are currently working on a very large signage project in Cairo.

In what way has your background – helped you in your role?

My background is in design and photography but after my early career in both I moved into professional photographic and print businesses running studios, print and other aspects of those type of businesses.

I bought Displayways, along with my business partner Peter Sheldrick, 10 years ago.

How importantly does your business value sustainability?

We have been offering a sustainable range of print materials and approaches for more than 10 years, the markets and clients we serve demand we have these

solutions in place and in many cases we would not win the contracts we have without these solutions in place. So the answer is extremely important for our survival.

What is your view of the Chamber in terms of support to local businesses?

So far I’d say it was excellent with a clear ambition to improve and add value locally.

What do you see as the key challenges ahead for local firms (and the Chamber)?

Everyone knows how Brexit, Covid and the subsequent cost and supply issues have affected all businesses but on top of this we have unstable Government, changing legislation, increased bureaucracy and higher taxes.

It seems that business is made more difficult every year rather than supported. Additionally, a recession is here or on its way. All these factors make business more difficult and make the job of the Chamber more challenging to attract new membership and hence pay for the initiatives to help local business. The challenge is to adapt to this new business landscape and plan a way through it to better times. The bad time never last forever.

On a positive note, I suppose most surviving businesses have reviewed their operations top to bottom due to Covid, restructured, improved processes and services, looked at new markets and hopefully are now well positioned for the future.

The past few years have made us stronger and more resilient so a recession can be dealt with. The aim for all businesses is to get through and then benefit from improved market conditions.

Business Connexions | 9 PATRON FOCUS
FINE DISPLAY!
PUTTING ON A
❛❛ ❜❜ We have been offering a sustainable range of print materials and approaches for more than 10 years, the markets and clients we serve demand we have these solutions in place and in many cases we would not win the contracts we have without these solutions in place.
Rob Kelly, CEO and owner of South-West London based Displayways explains how the company has evolved and its relationship with the Chamber.

Help to get work

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.

www.wandsworthchamber.org

For more information or to discuss how we can help you, please contact us at: Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce 020 3633 6575 enquiries@wandsworthchamber.org

Access personal advice and guidance from our Talent Managers and Business Engagement teams exclusively available to Wandsworth residents.

If you would like to re-skill or take advantage of training and development, you can get access to courses including CVs, interview techniques and confidence building.

If you’re looking for a chance to work in retail or hospitality, the retail and hospitality programme will prepare you for a career in the industry including a four day preemployment course followed by a chance to meet local employers.

Work Match is working with employers at the newly opened Battersea Power Station who are looking for local people to fill hundreds of roles. There are opportunities in all sectors including cafes, bars, hotel and hospitality, facilities, cinema, retail and management.

Find out more at www.wandsworthworkmatch.org

DIGITAL SWITCH improves property buying process

As part of an improvement in digital services, the council has been working with HM Land Registry to transfer the borough’s Local Land Charges (LLC) service to their national online register.

As of November 2022, the LLC Register will allow purchasers and their solicitors to access the information they need online in an instant, enabling buying decisions to be made earlier in the conveyancing process.

To allow the transfer of information to be made to the national online register the council will cease accepting Local Land Charges searches from November 9 2022.

Local land charges show if there are restrictions, covenants or prohibitions on the use of property or land, such as planning permissions or listed building

status. A search of the national register will reveal whether a property is subject to a financial or other local land charge, enabling the buyer to make an informed decision about their intended purchase at the outset.

The transfer of this digital service is designed to make property transactions quicker, simpler and cheaper. Anyone can access the register’s Search for local land charges service. Business customers can also access it through their portal account or Business Gateway.

People can download a personal search of the national register free of charge or buy an official search for £15. This will allow unlimited repeat searches for six months. All information is delivered in a standard easy-to-read format, with geospatial maps.

For more information visit GOV.UK.

10 | Business Connexions NEWS
Sign up to Work Match for support to access a huge range of exciting and varied jobs with lots of local companies looking for their next star.
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Image: Pixabay

What is a shareholders’ agreement?

You might hear different names (joint venture agreement, investment agreement, shareholders’ agreement) but they all essentially mean an agreement for a business with more than one shareholder which sets out how you will work together, how key decisions about the business will be made, and what you can and can’t do with your shares.

What will be covered in this sort of agreement?

Each agreement will be bespoke to the particular business, but this type of agreement will likely cover:

- how directors are appointed to the board;

- what happens if a new shareholder wants to join;

- how big decisions are made (such as changing the business of the company, taking on new lending, or making big purchases);

- what happens if a shareholder wants to sell up and move on;

- how you can stop a departing shareholder from competing with your business; and

- what happens if a shareholder doesn’t do what they’re supposed to.

Obviously all of the shareholders will need to be happy with an agreement before you sign it, and if new shareholders join later they can also sign a simple short document which will make them a party to an existing agreement (you shouldn’t have to keep redoing it, unless something really material changes).

Why should we have one?

With any luck, you’ll go to the trouble (and, unavoidably, some expense) of having a shareholders’ agreement prepared, only to file it away and never look at it again. Hopefully the venture will have gone well and you’re all working together well and concentrating on running a successful business.

The real value of a shareholders’ agreement often becomes clear when the picture isn’t so rosy and something has gone wrong, perhaps because the founders have fallen out, something dramatic has happened in terms of a shareholder’s personal circumstances, or the business just hasn’t been as successful as everyone had hoped. When this happens, a good shareholders’ agreement will lay out the process for how to move on from this (such as the remaining founders buying out the one who wants to leave).

Even if you don’t end up in this ‘worst case scenario’, a shareholders’ agreement is still really useful as a planning exercise and for focusing minds at the outset, or when scaling up, about your expectations of each other.

If this is something you think would be suitable for your business, please contact Rachael Taylor in the Russell-Cooke corporate and commercial team.

Business Connexions | 11
russell-cooke.co.uk +44 (0)20 8789 9111 LEGAL Rachael Taylor Direct: Phone +44 020 8394 6525 Email: RachaelTaylor@russell-cooke.co.uk WHAT IS A SHAREHOLDERS’ AGREEMENT and should I have one for my business?

ART’OTEL LONDON BATTERSEA POWER STATION announces official launch date

BATTERSEA POWER STATION’S highly anticipated Chimney Lift experience ‘LIFT

NOW OPEN

109’

The Grade II* listed landmark’s unique chimney lift experience, Lift 109, welcomed its first guests on 15th November 2022.

Lift 109 is set to become one of the most unique experiences in London, treating guests to a one-of-a-kind glass elevator ascent 109m up to the top of one of the landmark’s iconic chimneys where they will take in a spectacular 360-degree view of the city’s skyline.

Tickets are now on sale and to discover more about Lift 109, visit lift109.co.uk

art’otel London Battersea Power Station, the capital’s hottest new hotel opening, will open on 12th December 2022 for first stays.

Guests visiting in December will also be able to dine at TOZI Grand Café, a new Italian restaurant inspired by the classic elegance of Europe’s Grand Cafés. This will be followed by the official launch of the hotel, spa and skyline restaurant JOIA by Michelin starred chef, Henrique Sá Pessoa, on 21st February 2023.

The first UK opening for the art’otel brand, the launch is set to bring a bold new energy to the ground-breaking Battersea Power Station neighbourhood, offering a one-of-a-kind hotel experience that fuses art, design and hospitality with never-before-seen views.

To keep up with the latest news and events at Battersea Power Station visit www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk

12 | Business Connexions
BATTERSEA

Adapting to the changing face of the economy

Over the past few years the business community has had a very tough time with the after effects of Brexit, Covid, the Russia/Ukraine war etc; now we are facing as a result of these ‘situations’; high inflation, increasing unemployment, high fuel costs, lowering productivity and now low economic growth. Some say it’s the perfect storm for a full-on recession; so, what can we do about it?

It is doubtful we can expect any support from the Government, not with public sector debt at 94.8% of GDP as of Jan 2022. With an upcoming mini budget expecting tax increases and massive public spending cuts. I’m afraid if we are to survive the next 18/24 months it’s up to us; local businesses, entrepreneurs alike to prove to the Government that despite recent events. The business community can and will survive. So here’s what we can do……

Firstly, there’s the lost art of budgeting and cashflow management. This is something I carry out in both my professional and personal life and I must say it does make a huge difference.

By planning expenditure in advance and monitoring those expenses over a prolonged period, I can see whether those costs decrease/increase and if the change in cost is too great; make appropriate changes such as changing supplier or cutting out the item altogether.

Another area to consider is to collaborate with other businesses, by sharing ideas and experiences, you may gain valuable insights into other markets you may not have tapped into before.

Another idea is to take advantage of all the perks offered by different trade associations/ bodies. For example, the Federation of Independent Retailers (FED) offer a range of services which can be highly useful to independent retailer such as Booker vouchers as one example.

I would also encourage everyone to attend networking events; trade shows to attempt to gain new customers.

Commercial Mortgages | Business Funding

In addition, it is always worth remaining in contact with past clients and even unconverted leads. A dear friend and past colleague of mine Mr Michael Fairweather has demonstrated the importance of the follow up with unconverted leads. His research suggests only 2.4% of companies follow up with their prospective leads at first contact. Wow! We are sitting on a potential customer goldmine. What a difference could be made if we were to change this by adopting a good follow up system; and be able to extract that lovely gold?

In terms of financial products, I would look at invoice, asset and trade finance as areas to consider; as although these are just umbrella terms used to describe much more specific products. These are products designed to improve cashflow, liquidity and the supply chain; and when used together can increase productivity and help achieve your business objectives whilst easing the financial burden.

I strongly recommend any business to consider these products; certainly as a way of lowering risk to outside and unexpected events but also as a secondary line of defence against late client payments, equipment breakdowns etc.

Moving on from this, and this is probably the most important recommendation I can make; Don’t be afraid to consult with others.

In my area of expertise I regularly advise my clients to consult with their accountant and solicitor. Why don’t you? Why don’t other business professionals consult with other expert professionals on specific matters?

By being a member of a chamber of commerce I often meet people from various different professions and different skill sets etc; and the knowledge, experience shared is critical to my success. It has also boosted my mental health; by improving my confidence, by talking ideas through with other business people. I strongly recommend; particularly for sole traders and start up businesses who don’t always have the support of colleagues to work with to consider this point.

Another area is to think about education. There are plenty of free courses provided by trade associations, banks, and colleges on specific areas. Others of course are paid courses; but why not update your skill set. I cannot think of any disadvantage to this. Even if one member of your business partakes in a free or paid course, that staff member can share their knowledge and skills with the rest of the team.

In conclusion, that despite the difficulties we will all face, there are plenty of options available to us. It’s just a matter of prioritisation and adapting to the changing economic environment. This can only be done if we, as a business community work together.

For more information on matter on commercial finance products mentioned or on any other matter, please feel welcome to email me at sjohnston@kingstonfinanceltd.com

Business Connexions | 13 ASK THE EXPERT
www.kingstonfinanceltd.com

HIRE AN APPRENTICE with Croydon College

The college ensures that students leave education not only with top qualifications, but work-ready and equipped with the skills employers really want.

The college works closely with local, regional and national businesses to gather valuable expert advice to inform the teaching and curriculum, and to provide students with the opportunity to interact with some of the best employers in the country. This keeps staff and managers up to date with employer requirements and industry standards, and allows local businesses to advise on curriculum and courses.

Employers are regularly invited by the college to participate in “Learning walks”, giving them the opportunity to experience – first-hand – the skills, techniques and workplace-readiness that are prioritised in the learning offered to students. College managers and staff take part in “Employment walks” on local business’ sites to refresh skills and upgrade their commercial awareness and expertise.

A cornerstone of the employability offer at Croydon College is the large number of apprenticeships on offer, including opportunities in the following professions and industries:-

• Accountancy

• Building and construction

• Carpentry and joinery

• Digital marketing

• Engineering

• Hospitality

• HR

• IT

• Plumbing and heating

• Project management

• Property maintenance

• Teaching

Apprenticeships are offered at Intermediate, Advanced and Higher (degree) levels, depending on the applicant’s existing qualifications and experience. There are no tuition fees due by the student, since training costs are funded by the government and employer.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) acknowledged Croydon College’s focus on employability in their review of the provision and stated, “There is strong evidence of the development of employability skills.” At its most recent inspection, Ofsted noted, “Initiatives introduced by the college to develop students’ employability skills have been successful in exposing students to the world of work in a number of different ways, including through imaginative projects and live briefs.”

Croydon College continually works to maintain and improve its relationships with employers to ensure students leave with the skills they need, and employers want.

If you are interested in working in partnership with Croydon College, please contact apprenticeships@croydon.ac.uk or telephone 020 8686 5700.

HIRE AN APPRENTICE

Expand your workforce Upskill your team Tailor talent to your needs

14 | Business Connexions SKILLS
find out more, email
Data from apprenticeships.gov.uk Smaller employers are eligible for government funding which will pay between 95% and 100% of the apprentice training costs. Larger employers can use the levy to pay for training.
To
apprenticeships@croydon.ac.uk
Hiring an apprentice or upskilling an existing member of staff helps build a stronger workforce that is motivated, skilled and appropriately qualified to meet the needs of your business. Apprentices come with all levels of experience: from school leavers to university graduates, from career changers to self-improvers. Hiring an apprentice is a cost-effective and exciting way to offer on-the-job training, enjoy higher staff retention, and build a culture of learning and development.
92% of companies that have taken on apprentices believe this leads to a more motivated and satisfied workforce
Croydon College is one of South London’s leading providers of apprenticeships, with a growing reputation for its focus on the employability of students.

020 3409 4733

www.londonwaterdelivery.co.uk info@londonwaterdelivery.co.uk We

www.londonwaterdelivery.co.uk info@londonwaterdelivery.co.uk We

Business Connexions | 15
deliver Water
and
packs
Coolers, Bottled Water
Water
to homes, offices and warehouses 020 3409 4733
deliver Water
Water and Water packs to
Coolers, Bottled
homes, offices and warehouses

TOUGH TIMES AHEAD but at least the grown-ups are in charge

Last time we interviewed Richard Burge, the UK had just seen its ‘latest Prime Minister’ installed in Number

10.

In a matter of weeks, Liz Truss’s whirlwind Premiership had come and gone. So now that the dust has settled somewhat, is there reason for the country and businesses in general to be positive?

“You have two captain sensibles in charge of the two main parties – and this is how a grown-up country runs its government. I would say I am relieved rather than optimistic or positive,” Richard says.

As for the ‘B’ word Brexit and news coverage indicating that the impact of being outside the EU is now being felt, Richard believes that more pain and confusion could lie ahead.

“Brexit impact is starting to come through but the EU has still paused some changes that will be brought in – for instance regarding Solvency II ( a Directive in European Union law that codifies and harmonises the EU insurance regulation)”.

Richard also namechecks the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark which has been pushed back two years.

UKCA is the new UK product mark that will be required for certain products being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most products that previously required the CE mark.

The UKCA mark will not be recognised outside of Great Britain and products will still need to bear a CE mark to be sold in the EU.

“The UK could choose not to do it – it would equally be a sign of a sovereign nation - but it is probably unlikely.”

Thawing of UK and EU relations?

Returning to the idea of ‘grown ups’ being in charge, Richard points out that while Rishi Sunak supported ‘Leave’ it was from a standpoint of believing the UK would be better outside the EU – rather than an ingrained hatred and suspicion of the EUlike some of the zealots within his party.

So far there has been no sign of the provocative language used by Brexit hardliners.

“Rishi Sunak doesn’t have the same baggage as others. It is true that French President Macron is of the view that the UK must feel it has lost something from leaving the European Union. But there is also the feeling that dialogue in general is improving on all sides.”

Richard adds: “With Northern Ireland for instance, language is starting to emerge that you have two incompatible international treaties – the Good Friday Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol. You get a sense now that both sides realise a solution has to be found.”

This is important as it could help build UK’s tarnished reputation not only in Europe but around the world.

“Boris Johnson negotiated the NI Protocol and then said; ‘we don’t have to obey it’. This was really damaging to our reputation and the importance now is to make it clear that we are a nation that does not bend the rules”.

Overseas trading opportunities

A potential thawing of relations with the EU and a focus on pragmatism - rather than the abrasive rhetoric from both sides of the English Channel – is no doubt encouraging. Especially as the frequently touted major trade deal with the US looks no closer now than it has ever been.

“Democrats are not by instinct in favour of free-trade, so there is little reason to expect US-UK trade deals to suddenly open up.”

Richard adds: “You are never going to get a US-wide trade deal as so much is done at a state level. Agreement with individual states in the US is the way forward,” Richard argues.

Other items on his wish list include a review of IR35 (off-payroll working rules) and a root and branch reform of business rates. “We need a major review of how the government taxes business but that is Royal Commission territory so that will not happen quickly.”

16 | Business Connexions
RICHARD BURGE

Backing small business

More support for SMEs is something that Richard would particularly like to see.

“We still haven’t cracked the problem of opening up capital equity markets to SMEs. The mechanisms aren’t there to enable SMEs to tap into this market.

The UK government needs to make it easier for SMEs to access capital rather than most of the money going to bigger businesses.”

He concedes that fledgling high-tech businesses might attract capital from investors without too much difficulty since there is the opportunity for stellar growth followed by relatively swift merger or acquisition. However, for most companies attracting financial support is a hard slog.

“If your business is in plumbing or retail, your reward comes from the return of your investment rather than the sale of your business.”

And finance from other sources might not only be difficult to secure but the other downside is there is there is little in the way of a buy-in to the venture. For instance, banks will only lend, they won’t invest – the only risk they take is on a default.

For high-tech businesses that may find it easier to access capital, Richard has concerns that while the concept might offer enormous potential, a lack of business acumen could prove a stumbling block.

“You have a tech business run by a group of 25-year olds, they have no HR skills – why would they at that age? They often lack soft skills - how to engage with people which is essential in running a successful business. It is something that should be taught in schools but isn’t. Teachers have a lot on their plate as it is, but we need to look at equipping young people better in this area.”

❛❛

We still haven’t cracked the problem of opening

up capital equity markets to SMEs. The mechanisms aren’t there to enable SMEs to tap into this market. The UK government needs to make it easier for SMEs to access capital rather than most of the money going to bigger businesses.

❜❜

RICHARD BURGE

iSmart provides a breath of fresh air

When I asked David Fenton for a bit of background on himself and his interests, I didn’t expect him to tell me that he was once ranked 8th in the world at Karate - and competed for the Great Britain team!

Now retired, at his prime he competed all over the world and looks back with great pride on these years.

Thankfully, given his martial arts expertise, David is assuredly courteous as he is engaging when we speak.

Nowadays, David is CEO of a company he set up himself, iSmart Business Solutions, based in Wandsworth.

I am at first quite puzzled at just how broad his iSmart business is. The company provides air purification, bespoke office furniture and solar power solutions.

I can’t quite see what the connection is and why iSmart would not focus on just one area?

David politely enlightens me. “All these areas are linked to health and safety in the workplace. When you consider that we breathe in 11,000 litres of oxygen a day, we could be in an office for 9 hours a day breathing poor quality air.”

He continues: “And what if in this office you have a poorly set up workstation that means you develop or worsen a back problem?”

“Then there is the energy inefficiency – the office might have an old heating system which added to the heat generated by

computers, photocopiers and printers, makes the workplace an unpleasant (and unhealthy) place to be.”

Tight budgets

David accepts that in the current economic climate companies might be reluctant to find money in the budget to improve air quality, workstations and invest in clean energy.

However, he insists it is a significant false economy if they do so. He also believes that, increasingly, companies are seeing the benefits to the business of taking workplace conditions seriously.

“On average, a company with around 50 staff will lose around £40k a year in productivity due to sickness in the office. If there is no air purification, you are breathing in the same air; which means bugs and colds are passed on very easily.”

❛❛

18 | Business Connexions BIG INTERVIEW
❜❜
On average, a company with around 50 staff will lose around £40k a year in productivity due to sickness in the office. If there is no air purification, you are breathing in the same air; which means bugs and colds are passed on very easily.

Rather than ‘selling’ customers products, iSmart acts more as a consultant – visiting a company and providing an on-site assessment which can clearly demonstrate any health risks and suggest a tailored solution.

According to David, there is still a large degree of misunderstanding on what constitutes a poor workplace. In worst-case scenarios, there are asbestos issues and widespread mould that have been largely overlooked.

“I think of our office assessments as an MOT for the workplace. I think some companies are totally unaware of the risks involved – and I have sometimes heard the response ‘can’t we just open a window’ – not taking on board the quality of the air they are then letting in.”

Are you seated comfortably

Moving swiftly from breathing to posture, iSmart provides office furniture that allows employees to work at the right level – in some instances this means a stand-up or sit-stand workstation.

There are also innovative and ergonomic designs for E-sports (gaming; school classrooms/labs and workstations for disabled users.)

Localised heating also comes into the equation. The iHeat desk works on the premise that heating through the wrists is the most efficient way to warm the body. Traditional heaters and radiators heat the room from the top down and are expensive to run, an iHeat desk has an integrated heating element panel in the desktop that heats both the underside and surface of the desk.

The i-Heat uses a fraction of the energy and power consumption experienced with conventional radiators and heaters.

All the ergonomic furniture that iSmart supplies is made in the UK.

While heated desks might lower power usage, a solar power solution would enable the source to be significantly cleaner. David explains that once again,

❛❛ ❜❜

the emphasis here is on visiting a potential customer and provide an assessment on how far they can generate their own power via a solar option.

It may be that a company sees merit in all three areas – air purification, ergonomic office furniture and solar power. The role iSmart has, is to outline what is feasible and also demonstrate that it will save the company money. Essentially, the benefits should be there for both employer and employee.

Currently iSmart’s customers are predominantly UK-based though it hopes to expand and build up a strong overseas client base in the next few years.

In terms of promoting and improving the business in recent years, David namechecks the Chamber as playing a key role here.

“The Chamber has been hugely helpful in offering great networking opportunities. We tender for local government contracts and they have been really helpful here, putting us in touch with key contacts.

He concludes: “The Chamber also offers great courses – such as ‘how to run your business more efficiently’. My experience of the Chamber is that they are both supportive and resourceful.”

Business Connexions | 19 BIG INTERVIEW
The role iSmart has, is to
outline what is feasible and also demonstrate that it will save the company money. Essentially, the benefits should be there for both employer and employee.

Common pitfalls to avoid and how to prepare for potential disputes

What do you advise your clients when they are considering bringing a claim?

Especially in what are currently trying economic times, it is wise to carry out the above searches prior to commencing proceedings. You may have a strong case on paper, but if the Defendants have no assets, or income against which you can enforce a judgment, you will have no means by which to recover the sums owed, making a claim commercially unattractive to pursue.

By instructing a solicitor at the outset of a dispute, we can guide you through the process. Our job is to competently provide you with both commercial and legal advice as to the merits in bringing a claim, together with the prospects of recovery.

Wherever possible, we want to try and minimise the time and costs spent in litigating. If it transpires that a Defendant does not have the means to pay any judgment sum, we would advise you to consider carefully whether to pursue a claim, considering the inherent risks in doing so.

Conversely, what would you advise your clients when defending a claim?

As is the case with a Claimant, a pre litigation search of documents that will either support, or undermine your claim is prudent. If these searches reveal that you have little evidence to support any defence you may raise, then the chances are it will be in your best interests to settle the matter quickly.

Perhaps the most common, recurring issue is the failure of parties to record their agreement in a written contract. Under English and Welsh Law, whilst a binding contract can be made orally, proving the existence and terms of the same can be incredibly difficult. Indeed, in lieu of written details, the very existence of the contract is contingent on the parties’ personal recollection of it. With the passage of time, recollections of the terms agreed will no doubt differ, leading to a higher chance of dispute arising.

How would you advise are the best ways to avoid these issues?

Whenever you enter into a contract, it should be recorded in writing and agreed by both parties. That way, both parties have a clear understanding of their respective obligations and rights. With this clarity comes a reduced risk of a dispute arising. In the event of a dispute, there are clear contractual terms on which to rely on and from which the contractual standing of both parties can be ascertained.

Before bringing a claim, it is prudent to conduct a thorough search of paper and electronic documents for evidence that will support, or undermine your claim. If the documentary evidence is lacking, or the majority of it undermines your claim, an early view needs to be taken as to whether it would be sensible to issue a claim.

It is inherently risky to issue a claim with little to no evidence in support. If the matter were to proceed to trial and the Defendant succeeds in defending the claim, depending on which track or court the matter is allocated to, you would likely be liable for a large proportion of the Defendant’s legal costs, in addition to your own.

Pre-litigation searches are also a must. As part of these searches, you are trying to establish the financial health of the defendant. This could involve checking the Land Registry, to see if the Defendant owns any property, or Companies House to review company accounts. Beyond these searches, it is often prudent to instruct specialist asset tracing agents to delve into all the assets and income a potential Defendant may have. This is particularly so where a significant amount of money is at stake.

If the litigation progresses notwithstanding the weak prospects of your defence, if the Claimant is successful, you could be liable not only for the damages awarded to the Claimant, but also the Claimant’s legal costs and your legal costs. Dependant on the value of the claim and the court in which the claim is brought, legal costs could be in the tens of thousands at the very least.

To summarise, it is wise to get solicitors on board early, in order to advise you on both non-contentious and contentious matters. Whilst there is the temptation to minimise outgoings by holding off from instructing solicitors until it is absolutely necessary, having a solicitor instructed from the outset is a worthwhile investment and one that could save you money in the long term.

Abeer is an Associate Solicitor in our Property Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department specialising in Commercial Dispute Resolution. Jack is a Solicitor in our Property Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department. Jack accepts instructions on a wide range of Property and Commercial disputes.

What are common, recurring issues you come across when initially instructed by clients in commercial disputes?
Contact us today www.hanne.co.uk T: +44 (0) 207 326 9440 E: enquiries@hanne.co.uk
COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS:
Abeer Sharma Jack Glover

THE FANTASTIC [NEURO] PLASTIC BRAIN

By Imo Enang Intl Best Selling Author

Research has shown that the brain is in constant change throughout an entire lifetime. So, whenever you stimulate your brain with positive [or negative], consistent and repetitive stimulus, the brain will respond.

NEURO-PLASTICITY

Neuro-plasticity, is a term that refers to the biological, chemical and physical capacity of the brain to change and adapt by reorganizing its structure and function. This incredible ability occurs due to the experience of learning, memory formation, or as a result of damage to the brain.

FORMS OF NEURO-PLASTICITY

As humans, we possess ~86Bn neurons with the remarkable capacity to reorganize pathways, create new connections, and, in some cases, even create new neurons. Neuro-plasticity comprises two forms:

• Functional plasticity which would enable our brains divert functions from damaged to undamaged zones within the brain. This could mean recovery from strokes and other traumatic brain injuries

• Structural plasticity features could lead to physical structural changes based on learning, experiences, or memories. Here, we see the impact in learning new things like new languages and enhanced cognitive capabilities

Sources / Further reading

Vemuri, P., Lesnick T., Przybelski S., (2014). “https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.963”

Association of lifetime intellectual enrichment with cognitive decline in the older population. JAMA Neurol ;71(8):1017-24. doi:10.1001/ jamaneurol.2014.963

Li, W., Ma, L., Yang, G., Gan, W., (2017). “https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.4479” REM sleep selectively prunes and maintains new synapses in development and learning.

HOW BRAIN PLASTICITY WORKS

During infancy, a child experiences accelerated brain growth with every neuron in the cerebral cortex having an estimated 2,500 synapses at birth. This number gets to 6X at 15,000 synapses per neuron by the time the child is three years old.

Conversely the average adult, has about 50% the total number of synapses compared to the child due to the fact that overtime, the adult gains new experiences thereby strengthening connections but eliminating others from nonuse: a process called synaptic pruning.

HOW TO LEVERAGE NEURO-PLASTICITY

So how are we able to leverage this capability of the brain to constantly adapt and change?

We need to constantly allow our brains to:

** #Explore new things

This occurs when we Trigger the things of art like discovering new places, trying to learn a new language or seeking to acquire new knowledge etc. Environments that set the stage for focused attention, novelty, and challenge have been shown to stimulate positive changes in the brain.

Things you can try include:

• Learning a new language

• Learning how to play an instrument

• Traveling and exploring new places

• Creating art and other creative pursuits

• Reading

Nat Neurosci ;20(3):427-437. doi:10.1038/nn.4479

Liu, P. & Nusslock, R. (2018).

“https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00052”

Exercise-mediated neurogenesis in the hippocampus via BDNF. Front Neurosci;12:52. doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00052

Voss, P., Thomas, M., Cisneros-Franco, J., Villers-Sidani, É., (2017) “https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01657”

Dynamic brains and the changing rules of

** #Engage in physical activity

To beef up dopamine levels, we need to reduce cortisol [stress hormone] levels and foster production of serotonins [feel good chemicals]. This also supports our hippocampus [a part of the temporal lobe] responsible for memory functions.

Regular physical activity has been shown to have a number of brain benefits. Some research suggests that exercise might help prevent neuron losses in key areas of the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory and other functions.

** #Embrace the right amount of sleep

I know it’s a tough one… I personally have to force out those 7 hrs.…but it’s worth every effort as poor sleep causes our neurons to get overworked leading to less thinking power and productivity …especially at work and school

Research has shown that sleep plays an important role in dendritic growth in the brain. Dendrites are the growths at the end of neurons that help transmit information from one neuron to the next. By strengthening these connections, you may be able to encourage greater brain plasticity.

As we embark on our daily lives let’s try out some new things … and build more plasticity into our brains …

neuroplasticity: implications for learning and recovery. Front Psychol; 8:1657.

Doidge N. (2007) The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science. New York: Viking Hockenbury, S., Nolan, S., Hockenbury, D., (2016). Discovering Psychology. 7th ed. New York, NY: Worth Publishers

Hoiland, E. (2006). Brain plasticity: What is it? Learning and Memory.

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

Neuroscience for Kids – Brain Plasticity.

https://faculty.washington.edu/chulder/plast.html

Chudler, E. (2018) Brain Lab for Kids, Beverly (MA): Quarto Publishing Group.

Kolb, B. & Gibb, R. (2011)

“https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/ PMC3222570/ ”Brain plasticity and behaviour in the developing brain. Clarke M, Ghali L, eds. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ;20(4):265-276.

Business Connexions | 21 LIFE SKILLS
How would you #improve your #neuroplasticity???
Think about how you learnt to speak your second language? Have you considered how cab drivers learn their routes (without using google maps!). Or even in music - especially with the way music conductors are able to separate adjacent sounds sources better than other musicians or non-musicians?

BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP UNIT

Be One Step Ahead

Unlock your workforce potential

Our free Business Partnership service is here to help support you and your business with:

• ACCESSING FUNDING and making the most of new government initiatives

• APPRENTICESHIPS from Level 2 to Level 6 (GCSE to Degree Level)

• EMPLOYEE TRAINING – upskilling and retraining of your employees using our extensive online and training packages

• LEVY SUPPORT and guidance. You can place your trust in our exceptionally talented team, to build a bespoke plan that meets the specific needs of your business.

LET’S TALK business@stcg.ac.uk stcg.ac.uk/employers

EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS AND

EXPERIENCE: creating employees of the future

The College is delighted to work so closely with employers and organisations and is always keen to discuss opportunities with contacts looking for support or to raise the profile of their business by meeting our students or hosting them for work experience.

At South Thames College we run biannual Employability Weeks when students can attend talks from a vast range of employers as well as workshops on improving CV skills and mock interviews.

We most recently held an employability week where students enjoyed talks from Seahorse Nursery, AFC Wimbledon & Thames Water & Lidl amongst others.

Employability focus weeks really help to develop the employability skills of our students, improving their communication and teamwork skills.

There are many benefits to embarking on a relationship with South Thames College including:

• Extra Resource – Work experience students can help to support current staff in tasks

• New Expertise – Our students can provide your company with up-to-date expertise. For example, you may be going through a company re-brand and need a graphic designer

• Recruitment Opportunity – Hosting work experience students allows you to trial potential future employers

• Community Reputation – Students share good experiences with friends and family which could enhance your reputation as a business in the local community

• Staff Development – Encouraging current staff to mentor or supervise work experience students can contribute to employee’s continuous professional development and help them into line management

• New Ideas – Young people often bring fresh ideas and approaches and may help revitalise your organisation

When organising a work experience placement for you we will carefully work with you to select the most appropriate candidate for your business needs. We can provide students for placements with a variety of key skills to contribute to specific business departments.

You can offer student placements from as little as one week or up to 45 days for those students studying T Levels. The length of the time is dependent on the sector you are in, what the student is studying and the skills you will find useful. If you are not sure where to start, contact our work experience team. We can help you decide what you need and introduce you to suitable candidates.

South Thames College Level 2 Multi-Skills students recently enjoyed work experience at Rose Community Centre in Battersea, helping with a refurb. The students thoroughly enjoyed their time working with the team to complete the redecorating, they all gained valuable experience working with all different trades, giving them a better understanding of the wider project and tasks involved.

Business Connexions | 23 Business Connexions | 23
For students studying at South Thames College employability skills development and work experience is a compulsory and incredibly valuable element of their study providing them with the real progression opportunities that they crave in an ever more competitive employment market. Get in touch today to enquire about work experience opportunities: Chris.Dodd@stcg.ac.uk
WORK
Students take part in work experience helping with a refrurb at the Rose Community Centre in Battersea Students enjoyed a talk from AFC Wimbledon during employability week at South Thames College

New Year, New Goals

After the hype of the festive season, being around family and loved ones for long periods of time, some people’s mood can drop with the imminent new year on the horizon. This has been known to be called the “January Blues and Blue Monday”. This negative outlook is attributed because of bad/ cold weather, shorter hours of daylight, the start of another year, carrying your troubles into a new year and not knowing what lies ahead can be daunting.

So how can we help to change our mindset to a more positive state for this time of the year and to ensure it has continuity. Rather than looking at it as a time of negativity, it should be focused upon as a time for a new start, new change and new beginnings. This can be achieved by setting realistic goals rather than new year resolutions and making them ones that are achievable. For example, losing weight, rather than set goals to lose unrealistic amounts of weight in a short period of time, start the goal with the loss of weight, being small and increase

the weight loss gradually. This way you are more likely to stick to the goal and have a better realistic chance of achieving it. Whereas if you set your sights too high, you’re less likely to achieve them and this will contribute to your low mood and make the goals inconsequential. This will also feed into your negative mood and can make you feel justified that the goal setting exercise was never going to work in the first place.

The importance of setting goals is imperative in having a positive mindset. This is because when

you set a realistic goal it gives you something to focus and aim towards, also when you achieve it, the motivation and confidence within builds and inspires you to continue and set further goals.

We all deserve to have something to look forward to because that incentivises us to know we have something planned in the future which we are aiming towards. This can be a short break, meeting up with friends, attending a spa day/retreat. All these motivate you to look forward rather than focusing on the past.

Enjoy some quality ‘ME’ time with a bespoke one-day wellbeing retreat

Achieving a work-life balance is challenging, especially if running your own business.

Switching off mentally for just 15 minutes a day and enjoying your own company has a multitude of physical and mental benefits.

To further enhance your wellbeing why not have a dedicated pamper day just for you with a Bespoke One Day Wellbeing Retreat.

The day retreat includes: Two spa treatments, a one-to-one yoga session, a one-to-one physical fitness session, a one-to-one Life Therapy Session. Two mini group talks focusing on topics including positive thinking and healthy eating.

Lunch is provided plus a goody bag to take away with you! There is also a fun quiz for everyone to enjoy and the winner gets an extra goody bag!

Retreats are available to book throughout the year, as they run bimonthly with the first one schedule for Saturday 21st January 2023.

To find out more information or book your retreat contact: Reeta Minhas-Judd Master NLP Life Therapist & Company Director Email: reeta@rmjwellbeing.com Website: rmjwellbeing.com

24 | Business Connexions
HEALTH & WELLBEING
It has always been known that the onset of negative moods for some can be felt more greatly at the start of the year, normally around January.
Image: Pixabay

Supporting menopausal workers is a win-win

The menopause affects all women at some point in their lives.

According to NHS figures, women in the UK typically reach the menopause, at around 51 years of age. The severity of symptoms and the length of time they last can vary from person to person.

Healthcare group, Bupa points out that 3.5 million of the UK’s female workforce are aged 50 or over.Menopausal women are also the fastest growing demographic in the workplace. If companies have for too long failed to listen or support these employees, they can no longer do so.

Common symptoms of the menopause include loss of confidence, poor memory, difficulty sleeping and fatigue. All these factors can negatively affect work performance.

The menopause is not in itself classed as a disability and there are currently no direct menopause discrimination laws protecting workers in the UK.

Although it’s not directly a disability, the Employment Tribunal has acknowledged that symptoms of the menopause can amount to a disability, and a claim for discrimination may succeed on a case-by-case basis. The perceived lack of clarity here has inevitably come in for criticism.

There have been calls from many quarters for clearer definition regarding menopause in the workplace and employers’ responsibilities.

The Women and Equalities committee set up an inquiry into menopause in the workplace and the extent to which women with menopausal symptoms suffer discrimination at work.

The committee’s report was published at the end of July 2022 and the Government’s response is expected soon. This could potentially lead to changes to the Equality Act 2010.

Even if there are no specific legislation changes related to menopause in the workplace, employers should make sure they have steps, procedures and support in place to help staff affected.

Supportive employers

Having regular conversations with staff and listening to their concerns might help resolve issues early on. This could mean an employee avoiding long, unwanted absences, not feeling isolated and encouraged by a support network in place.

A proactive approach could also prevent any potential legal action, demonstrating that the employer has not been negligent in any way.

Rather than seeing support as an unwelcome obligation, employers are being encouraged to identify the tangible benefits provided to both employer and employee. Notably, retaining high quality staff central to the success of the operation.

A 2019 survey conducted by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that three in five menopausal

women- usually aged between 45 and 55- were negatively affected at work and that almost 900,000 women in the U.K. left their jobs over an undefined period of time because of menopausal symptoms.

The implication here is that women are leaving businesses at the peak of their experience which will inevitably impact productivity.

Women in this age group are likely to be eligible for senior management roles, and so their exit can lessen diversity at executive levels. It can also contribute to the gender pay-gap and feed into a disparity in pensions. There is clearly good reason for companies to act positively.

Business Connexions | 25 HEALTH AND WELLBEING
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The menopause is not in itself classed as a disability and there are currently no direct menopause discrimination laws protecting workers in the UK.
Image: Pixabay

THE ONE-STOP GATEWAY for business support in Wandsworth

The online platform consists of up-to-date business support events, programmes, 1-1 advice, blogs, local stories, directories and more; all aimed at inspiring local entrepreneurs to realise their ambitions and achieve their goals.

We have partnered with a range of local, regional, and national organisations, as well as expert advisers, to help deliver a variety of free initiatives for small businesses in the borough. Our partners include Wayfinder a free 1-1 business advice service from dedicated experts, and Digital Boost who help entrepreneurs optimise their online business.

We are aware that businesses may be struggling due to the cost-of-living crisis, which is why we have partnered with CREW Energy and Better Futures to deliver a number of webinars centred around reducing your energy consumption and the costs of your commercial energy bills.

This partnership will also deliver ongoing support which will include 1-1 advice; some site visits as well as financial modelling reports, according to the size and needs of the business.

The Wandsworth Enterprise Hub also has a cost of doing business page dedicated to providing Wandsworth businesses with practical resources and support aimed at helping your business navigate rising costs.

In the new year we will be introducing a Workspace Directory which outlines the available offices, co-working spaces, workshops, meeting rooms and commercial kitchens in Wandsworth so that business owners can find the right place to place to start, run and grow their business.

So whether you’re looking to start a business, or already have one established, visit www.wandsworthenterprisehub.com or scan the QR code.

To stay up to date with the latest business news, support and upcoming initiatives, subscribe to the Council’s monthly Open4Business newsletter. Search ‘Open4Business Wandsworth’ or scan the QR code.

26 | Business Connexions
Established by Wandsworth Council’s Economic Development Office (EDO), the Wandsworth Enterprise Hub is the one-stop gateway dedicated to supporting aspiring and established entrepreneurs in Wandsworth.
ADVERTISING FEATURE

Top grade for Wandsworth’s work to tackle Climate Change

Wandsworth the only inner-London borough, to receive an A grade for CLIMATE ACTION from CDP in 2022

Wandsworth Council was recently recognised as one of just 123 towns and cities worldwide, and the only inner London borough, to receive a top grade for taking bold leadership on environmental action.

Environmental impact non-profit CDP bases its A-rating on actions including: being transparent about the climate change response, completing climate risk and vulnerability assessments, publishing a climate action plan and setting sciencebased climate targets.

The news comes as new borough-wide proposals set out how the Wandsworth community will work together to reduce carbon emissions and improve the borough’s air quality.

In response to calls from local people to take urgent action, the council has

• Agreed the target to be a net-zero borough by 2043

• Successfully bid for £3.5 from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to make improvements to council buildings. Measures including LED lighting, building fabric upgrades and solar PV will be installed in five leisure centres, five children’s centres and six schools.

• Improved energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions in council homes. It is investing in communal heating in new buildings and working with residents to reduce energy consumption and bills. It is also bidding for funds from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund for measures such as insulation, double glazing, thermostatic controls and other steps to increase energy efficiency.

• Worked closely with schools. Energy audits have been carried out at all schools to assess energy-efficiency. The council will work with schools to make building improvements and has set up a Climate Change Network to provide further support.

• Listened to the community. The Wandsworth Sustainability Partnership, due to be launched later this month, will bring together the public and private sectors, voluntary organisations and

community groups, to share best practice and work together to tackle the climate crisis. Communications and engagement programmes also will be stepped up to reach more people – including work to help people manage the Cost of Living crisis by reducing fuel consumption.

• Decarbonised the council pension fund. Up to £80m will be invested in renewable funds.

Cabinet member for the environment Judi Gasser said it was important to set ambitious but achievable targets based on science and alighted with national and global ambitions.

“We are delighted to receive the A-rating from CDP, but it’s importance not to be complacent. Now is the time for us all to step up and play our part. It’s imperative that we all work together as a borough to meet these goals.

“There is no doubting the scale of the emergency and we need to pick up the pace and stay focused. We will take every possible measure at the council to put our house in order and we will take a leadership role to bring the rest of the community together in a real partnership that results in shared goals and actions to achieve net zero by 2043.”

Business Connexions | 27 ENVIRONMENT
Image: Pixabay

Recent forecasts from Cornwall Insights suggest that electricity prices could spike to 56p /kWh and gas to 14.5p /kWh in April and hold around those levels for the rest of the year.

With further Government support likely to be limited, it really is time to start considering how you can reduce demand and invest in energy saving equipment.

Tips to Survive the Energy Crisis

While the Government’s energy price cap has given businesses some relief from the worst of the crisis, this is due to end in March.

Here are our five tips to save money and cut carbon.

1 Change staff behaviours.

● Leaving a computer on active mode costs £186 p.a. Standby by comparison costs £9.50. Invest in cheap remote control off switches like http://www.dewenwils.com/

● Leaving 20 strip lights on for 12 hours overnights cost £5.87

● Fix drafts rather than reach for a fan heater which currently costs £3.36 to run per day.

2 Switch to LEDs and reduce lighting bills by 60-90%. With electricity prices set to rise to the forecasted 56p payback could be less than one year for lighting that will last for 30,000 hours.

3 Invest in smart heating controls and cut heating demand by 25%. Do you need to heat your whole space the whole time? Probably not, so big savings to be made.

4 There has never been a better time to invest in solar panels with the Government’s 130% Super Deduction capital allowances driving down payback periods to 4-5 years for many mid- size businesses.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/super-deduction

5 Wandsworth & Richmond Councils are offering some funding support to Crew Energy/ Better Futures+ to provide a limited number of free energy audits, one-to-one video calls and financial modelling for local businesses across the two boroughs. For further details and to express an interest, please contact info@crewenergy.com

28 | Business Connexions ENVIRONMENT
Business Connexions | 29 WANDSWORTH CHAMBER EVENTS SCAN THE QR CODE (Caltrics.com) with your phone camera to see our events and get them in your calendar app. Connect with Wandsworth Council and Experts for REGULAR BUSINESS RECOVERY UPDATES 1st Wednesday of Every Month 9.30am -11am Venue: ONLINE Registration Link: https://cutt.ly/ZyNAqnQ Wandsworth BUSINESS FORUM SAVE the date Please visit the events page of our website regularly to see what’s on and why not join us as we network through 2023. For further details go to www.wandsworthchamber.org/events Business Awards Mix & Mingle • 17th January 2023 6-8pm Tooting - Tooting Market • 23rd January 2023 6-8pm Putney - The Coppa Club • 25th January 2023 6-8pm Clapham Junction - The Plough • 6th February 2023 6-8pm Earlsfield - The Earlsfield PH • 9th February 2023 6-8pm Wandsworth - Homework Workspace Rams Quarter • 11th January 2023 6-9pm Wandsworth Chamber networking in Earlsfield • 1st February 2023 9.30-11am Wandsworth Business Forum, Online • 8th February 2023 6-9pm Wandsworth Chamber networking in Clapham Junction The Hannah • 1st March 2023 9.30-11am Wandsworth Business Forum • 1st March 2023 6-9pm Wandsworth Chamber and South Thames College • 8th March 2023 8-9pm Wandsworth Chamber networking in Earlsfield • 22nd March 2023 8-10.30am Wandsworth Chamber’s Big BreakfastPestana Hotel, Chelsea Bridge

All employers, whether a sole trader or Corporate, have a legal duty to ensure employees receive immediate attention if injured or taken ill at work. This legislation is laid out in Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 –updated 2015.

All employees must receive appropriate attention. Please remember that you will have to wait for an ambulance so it is vital to know how to give immediate and appropriate first aid.

The HSE reported that the cost of workplace injury and ill health in 2018/19 was a staggering £16.2 Billion.

Duty of employer to make provision for first aid

Every employer has a duty of care to provide or ensure that there are provided adequate and appropriate facilities and equipment to cater for his employees if they are injured or become ill at work.

An employer should assess first aid needs appropriate to the circumstances (hazards and risks) of each workplace. Employers should ensure first aiders have undertaken suitable

training, have an appropriate first-aid qualification and remain competent to perform their role. Typically, first aiders will hold a valid certificate of competence in either first aid at work (FAW) or emergency first aid at work (EFAW).

First-aid provision for non-employees

These Regulations do not require employers to provide first aid for anyone other than employees. However, there is a duty of care to the general public too.

First Aid for Life www.firstaidforlife.org.uk specialises in First Aid at Work and tailoring the training to the needs of the work situation; including staff and clients / customers / pupils / contractors

RIDDOR

All employers, self-employed people, and people in control of work premises have duties under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). They must report certain work-related injuries, cases of ill health and dangerous occurrences. HSE will pass details to the relevant enforcing authority. RIDDOR applies to all work activities but not all incidents are reportable.

It is also advised that people have an accident report book in which they record all incidents, this must be stored in line with the Data Protection Act.

First aid equipment and facilities

Businesses must ensure that appropriate first-aid equipment, suitably marked and easily accessible, is available in all places where working conditions require it.

Additional training needs

When arranging FAW or EFAW or other equivalent training, employers should let the training organisation know of any particular hazards at their workplace so training can be tailored to meet those needs.

HSE strongly recommends that first-aiders undertake annual refresher training during any three-year FAW/EFAW certification period.

Employers should also encourage first aiders to regularly review their course manual and any other instructional materials and allocate them time to do this. It will further help to maintain their first-aid skills.

First Aid for Life produce regular updates and have a variety of free materials and online courses to enable staff to easily and conveniently keep their knowledge up to date.

30 | Business Connexions  Regular Check ups  Emergency Appointments  Hygiene Cleans  Smile Makeovers (Free Consult)  Teeth Whitening (Free Consult)  Dental Implants  Ceramic Crowns  Composite Bonding (Free Consult)  Invisalign (Free Consult)  Facial Aesthetics (Free Consult)  0% Finance Payment Plans info@yorkroaddentalpractice.co.uk www.facebook.com/yorkroaddentalpractice 020 8874 5946
WE OFFER AN EXTENSIVE MENU OF DENTAL TREATMENTS FIRST AID AT WORK Your
requirements
HAMMETT from FIRST AID FOR LIFE outlines the legal requirements surrounding first aid provision in the workplace.
info@yorkroaddentalpractice.co.uk 372 Old York Road Wandsworth SW18 1SP www.yorkroaddentalpractice.co.uk www.instagram.com/yorkroaddentalpractice
legal
EMMA
HEALTH & WELLBEING

Service with a gleaming smile

When Dr Mital Patel took over the York Road Dental Practice in Wandsworth back in 2016, he was taking on something of a challenge.

He takes up the story. “I took the practice over from a dentist who was moving back to Singapore. We had to really focus on building up the patient base. We have steadily grown since then and we have the potential to grow further.”

The practice’s York Road building certainly provides expansion opportunities. As Mital explains there is space to develop an additional surgery and reception area on the lower floor of the property and it is certainly something that is being considered.

Whether this expansion happens sooner or later, one of the challenges the practice faces on an ongoing basis is recruitment.

“Recruitment is very difficult,” he says. “So many people left during Covid and have not returned. A large number of dental nurses left as a consequence of Brexit too. There is really no immediate solution to this, there just aren’t the numbers available.”

Mital has a wealth of experience in dentistry. He graduated from the University of Manchester in 2002 with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree.

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The eight-strong team at York Road Dental practice, are located just a short walk from Wandsworth Town railway station. As Mital explains the York Road surgery is one of the few occupants on the high street with a long-term presence.

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He has since worked in general practice and has focused his post graduate studies on Minimally Invasive Dentistry with an emphasis on cosmetically driven treatments and orthodontics.

The eight-strong team at York Road Dental practice, are located just a short walk from Wandsworth Town railway station. As Mital explains the York Road surgery is one of the few occupants on the high street with a long-term presence. “So many businesses struggle to sustain their presence on the main streets near us. We have seen local businesses from Greek delicatessens to furniture stores set up their operation but not remain for very long.”

But in terms of providing a high-quality service to local people, the York Road practice is in a different position to neighbouring retailers. They have grown organically via word of mouth with a nice patient base and they provide dental treatment with a fun and friendly approach.

Dental treatment is more insulated from a cost-of-living crisis than non-essential retailers. And while Mital would like to increase his patient numbers a little more, he is hugely encouraged by how the practice has developed so far and is positive on its future potential.

Business Connexions | 31 THE TEAM BEHIND THE BUSINESS
32 | Business Connexions NEW MEMBERS u Brasserie Vonne Yvonne Cheng 16 Boulevard, Balham, London SW17 7BW 020 8001 6156 u Clear Chain Aidan Grace 91 Gideon Road London SW11 5UU 020 3830 0411 u Displayways Rob Kelly 16 Groton Road London SW18 4EP 020 8877 6702 u Holistic Training and Therapies Lucinda Peyton-Jones The Mews House Dingwall Road London SW8 3HE 0776 7685315 u HomeWork Workspace Ltd Claire Tucker 192 Upper Richmond Road London SW15 2SH u Kidz4 Lauren Weston Studio F8 (Le Bureau) Battersea Studios 80 Silvert London SW8 3HE 07719 732492 u Kingston Finance Ltd Stuart Johnston 22 The Maltings, 1 Beaumont Drive London KT4 8FA 07774 995234 u Off Piste Wealth David Gregory 53A Klea Avenue London SW4 9HY 020 3633 6575 u Peter F Selley & Co Peter Selley 84 Belleville Road Battersea London SW11 6PP 020 7228 2636 u Solar Sphere Ltd Helen Taylor 21 Culverlands Close Stanmore HA7 3AG 07391 715000 WELCOME to new members 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. www.wandsworthchamber.org For more information or to discuss how we can help you, please contact us at: Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce 020 3633 6575 enquiries@wandsworthchamber.org Find us on the Chamber Directory: https://www.wandsworthchamber.org/directory

Starting UP

Company: Brasserie Vonne Balham

Website: www.brasserievonne.co.uk

Q1 In no more than 50 words tell us a bit about your business?

Embracing the best of European cafe culture, Brasserie Vonne offers a space to experience live music, arts and crafts events, Belgian inspired cuisine, Belgian beers, handcrafted gins and Belgian style hot chocolate, in an art deco themed space.

Brasserie Vonne is also the perfect place for corporate networking events or to celebrate that special occasion.

Q2 What gives your business ‘the x-factor’?

At Brasserie Vonne we believe in creating a unique, authentic, quality experience for our customers. We may not have the world’s biggest artists on our stage, but we believe in supporting and championing talent from emerging artists through to our gin producers.

Q3 What motivated you to set up in business?

I love live music, arts, traveling and meeting people from all walks of life.

A frequent traveler across Europe, I am inspired by the European cafe culture where artists meet and exchange ideas and for like-minded people to enjoy a shared passion for the arts.

It has been my dream to run a business with things I am passionate about and these elements are woven into the DNA of Brasserie Vonne and our sister venue Belgian Brasserie.

Q4 What do you like most about working for start-up?

Creativity and possibility.

Working in a large organization very often limits the room for new initiatives and how things work is very confined by rules, hierarchy and systems.

I enjoy the space for creativity and new ideas in my own business and collaborating with others who share the same values and visions. The possibility of how to achieve my goals is endless.

Q5 What has been your greatest business success to date?

Establish the second restaurant and venue in the first five years of my business.

Over the last five years, our sister venue Belgian Brasserie in South Wimbledon has flourished, providing a place for people to enjoy jazz and different types of live music, arts workshops, and to celebrate special occasions including birthdays, baby showers, engagements and weddings. We needed a bigger space, better facilities and location for our growth.

Brasserie Vonne is the next destination in our journey. Sticking with the same DNA of our sister venue, but offering a wider choice of food and beverages and events.

Q6 What has been your lowest moment?

Uncertainty is the biggest difficulty I find in running a business.

When lockdown happened at the beginning of 2020, we faced extreme uncertainty as to whether the business could survive, where it was going and how we could cope with the ever-changing regulations. It was the lowest moment since I picked up my business.

I am really glad that we managed to adjust our business model, coped and survived. But I will always remember the lessons I have learnt in this process as they serve as great reminders regardless of the situation.

Q7 In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next year 5 years?

During lock down I have set up another business - Chimney Bells Events - we did a lot of virtual events with optional food delivery which proved to be popular and we had audiences from other cities in Europe and even south America.

Now we have two regular restaurants and venues, an experienced kitchen team with proper facilities, I hope to take my events business further and begin to deliver offsite events and catering service in 2023.

Q8 What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business?

Follow your heart and what you are passionate about. Your success will go from there.

Running a business is probably one of the toughest jobs in the world. We work seven days a week throughout the year. We rarely (if at all) take breaks or holidays, and we are surrounded by different challenges every day. But it makes a world of difference if you have found that one thing you are passionate about and use your business as a platform to share it with like-minded people.

It makes the hard work enjoyable and trust me, your customers can feel your passion in the business.

Business Connexions | 33 STARTING UP
It has been my dream to run a business with things I am passionate about and these elements are woven into the DNA of Brasserie Vonne and our sister venue Belgian Brasserie.
Name: Yvonne Cheng

minutes with ...

Q1 Who are you?

I am Paul Ahearn, one of the Director’s at Samuel Estates. Originally born in Zimbabwe, I came over to the UK in 2003. My primary role is overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company, covering lettings, sales and property management. Q2

What’s your business all about?

Our business is all about property and people. As an estate agent, our job is to help people move. Whether it is letting, selling or property management, we are on hand to offer advice and guidance to our clients to ensure that they get the most out of what is probably their biggest asset.

ESTATES

Q6 Biggest gripe?

It has to be the Government and the ever-increasing introduction of legalisation in the rental market. There is far too much tinkering and changing of documents, for example, the “How to Rent Guide” that the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities introduced in 2015, has been updated or changed 8 times in 7 years.

Q7 Your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from my father. He worked hard and partied harder, but he always made time for me and my sister. He showed me that success comes from hard work, and that if you believe in yourself, the sky’s the limit.

Q8 Philosophy in Business?

At Samuel Estates, we are a group of driven, like-minded individuals coming together as a family. Our team shares a passion for property, who work hard and go that the extra mile to provide our clients with exceptional service.

Our ideal customer would be landlord with a large portfolio of properties but saying that, anyone with a property to sell or rent out would be an ideal client.

Q5 Biggest achievement?

That is a tough one, but I think that winning the HSBC Best Business for Customer Service in South London in 2011 was right up there. Estate agents generally have a bad reputation and to win the award when we were up against a strong field of other businesses was incredible.

Q9

Sporting Hero?

It has to be the All-Black Rugby team, who over my lifetime, have been at the top of their game. They have a culture of success which is a result of always finding a way to improve, to get better, even when they are at their best.

Q10 Biggest tip for success?

Be committed, believe in yourself, work hard, and have fun along the way.

34 | Business Connexions 5 MINUTES WITH ...
Q3 Three words to describe yourself? Loyal, Determined & Ambitious Q4 Ideal Customer?
Flexible workspace 800 – 12,000 sq.ft. SW8 3NS 0207 344 6650 0207 924 4476