Business Matters September 2019

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BusinessMatters The business magazine of West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Autumn 2019

The Big Interview JAMIE CHRISTON

Chief Operating Officer Chester Zoo


Business Matters

Welcome to the Autumn edition of our Business Matters magazine. As we move towards the end of Summer, here, at the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, we continue to keep our members at the forefront of everything we do. Our networking events are going from strength to strength, our international trade team are the busiest they’ve been, our communications department continues to help spread the word about our members and the Chamber is continuing to help West Cheshire & North Wales firms prepare for Brexit. I have been heavily involved in representing members as part of my roles in the Home Office National Advisory Group for Future Immigration and the Expert Implementation Panel for Wales. If you would like to pass on your views as part of these ongoing engagements, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team in the office.


Chief Executive Officer, West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Contact Matthew Hodgson Churchill House, Queen’s Park Campus, Queen’s Park Road, Chester CH4 7AD t: 01244 669988 e: w: Publisher Benham Publishing Limited Suite 5 & 6, Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ t: 0151 236 4141 f: 0151 236 0440 e: w: Published September 2019 © Benham Publishing Media no. 1694 Advertising and Features Karen Hall t: 0151 236 4141 e: Design Peter Wilkinson t: 0151 236 4141 e:

We held our first Summer Garden Party at the beginning of July and it was great to see so many guests enjoy the relaxed and informal evening. We also supported a great local charity – Book at Bedtime – so thank you to those that donated prizes and took part in the tombola.

At the Summer Garden Party, we officially opened entries for this year’s Chamber Annual Recognition Awards. With just one week left until nominations close, there is still time to enter! We have nine award categories for you to nominate your organisation for (and you can enter as many as you like!) with the deadline for submissions on 20th September. So, if your business has shown growth over the last few years, or if as a Start-Up you have demonstrated passion and a vision for the future, or your company has excelled on the international stage, why not showcase the success of your business and enter our awards! The finalists will be announced on 30th September with the winners revealed at our prestigious Annual Ball & Recognition Awards on 15th November. You can find further information and enter here: https:// I wish you all the best for the quarter ahead.








GETTING STARTED Craig Brown, Rage Fitness Company

YOUNG CHAMBER Latest news and events

THE BIG INTERVIEW Jamie Christon, Chester Zoo Disclaimer Business Matters is mailed without charge to all Chamber members

and distributed to businesses in the region. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in publication are not necessarily those of West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission of the Editor. © 2019. 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.



24 HOURS WITH Richard Williams Lindop Toyota @ChamberWCNW West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce /wcnwchamber WCNWChamber



Chamber welcomes new Chairman and Deputy Chair

n New Chairman, Phill Jones, and new Deputy Chair, Helen Nellist

The West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the appointment of one of the region’s leading businessmen as its Chairman.

Helen has been heavily involved with the Chamber for a number of years and was appointed as a Board Director in 2016. Helen will now be working closely with Phill as the new Deputy Chair.

Phill Jones, Managing Director of NextStep Business Support Solutions and Joint Managing Director (Operations) of Insignia Resourcing, has over 20 years’ experience in the technical recruitment sector covering a number of areas which include: Pharmaceutical, Oil & Gas and Nuclear. Prior to his career in recruitment, Phill served in the British Armed Forces for a number of years.

“I am delighted to have been elected to the role of Deputy Chair of the Chamber. This is an incredibly exciting time, with fantastic developments happening across the vast array of industries and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

Phill has been a member of the Chamber for over five years and has been heavily engaged since day one. After being a constant figurehead at Chamber events, Phill was soon invited to Chair the Member Focus Group and later joined the Chamber’s Board and Executive Director Group. Phill was appointed Deputy Chairman in 2017 and now moves into the role of Chairman where he will use his skills and experience to guide the Chamber on a strategic level.

“I am absolutely delighted to be appointed Chairman for West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce. I have been actively involved with the Chamber since 2014 and have found the Chamber to be a great asset to businesses across the region. I look forward to working with the great team within the Chamber, the CEO and the Board of Directors” said Phill on his appointment. The Chamber’s Board of Directors have also appointed Helen Nellist, Deputy Principal & Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Cheshire College – South & West, as the new Deputy Chair of the Chamber. From a background in Marketing, Helen’s career has seen her work for a number of high-profile companies including Sony and IBM. After 18 years in managerial roles in Further Education, Helen led West Cheshire College to a successful merger with South Cheshire College, and now has the role of Deputy Principal and Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Cheshire College - South & West.

I look forward to using my insight to bring to the board the voice of the public sector, helping to inform strategic decisions, which will communicate and build on the wealth and opportunities available to everyone who lives and works within the West Cheshire and North Wales area, to ensure a prosperous and vibrant future.” Said Helen on her appointment. Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, was thrilled with the appointments of Phill and Helen saying “I have known both Phill and Helen for a long time and I am so pleased to welcome them in their new roles. I’m very much looking forward to working closely with them as we work towards our Vision 2021.”

Three New Directors Strengthen Chamber’s Board n L to R - Sarah Bailey, Becky Stark, Phill Jones and Paul Cooney Sarah Bailey, Relationship Manager at NatWest Business Banking; Paul Cooney, Managing Director at Zodeq, and Becky Stark, Director at Stark Export Focus, have joined the now 14 strong Board of Directors.

n Creating enhanced Infrastructure & Connectivity for our region.

The new Board members will be supporting the Chamber on a strategic level as it works towards its Vision 2021 that focuses on;

n Promoting International Trade and stimulating regional Business Ambition.

n Ensuring the Chamber is the Authentic Voice of business that can deliver locally.


The West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the appointment of three new Board Directors.

n Bridging the Skills gap across West Cheshire & North Wales.

Phill Jones, Chairman of the West Cheshire North Wales Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the news saying “We are delighted to welcome Sarah, Paul and Becky onto the Board. The Chamber’s

centenary year in 2021 is quickly approaching and this is a very exciting time to join the Board of Directors. The new Directors’ vast experience across different sectors will undoubtedly help guide the Chamber on a strategic level – which will, in turn, be highly beneficial for Chamber members. I very much look forward to engaging with the new Board members during my tenure as Chairman”.


Still time to enter the Chamber’s Annual Recognition Awards! With less than a week to go until the deadline on 20th September, there is still time to enter your business into the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Recognition Awards 2019 – Sponsored by Protos Networks. The Chamber awards have been designed to ensure that you, our members, receive the recognition that you deserve for your hard work over the previous year. With nine categories available for entry, there are plenty of options available for all types of business. Members can enter as many of the awards as they like and we’ve made the process simple and easy to complete.

n Debbie Bryce (R), CEO of West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, opens the Heathrow Business Summit in Cardiff

On 4th July, the Chief Executive Officer of the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, Debbie Bryce, opened the Heathrow Business Summit in Cardiff. The event provided a unique opportunity for SMEs to connect and trade face to face with Heathrow’s supply chain.

Finalists will be revealed on 30th September with the winners announced at our prestigious Annual Dinner & Recognition Awards ceremony on 15th November. So why not share your business’s story and have a chance to receive the regional recognition you deserve?

The awards open for entry are:

Business Growth Award – Sponsored by NatWest Business Banking Made a Difference Award – Sponsored by Cimteq Young Chamber Award – Sponsored by Whittingham Ridell Customer Excellence – Sponsored by Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Protos Networks Award for Digital Innovation – Sponsored by Protos Networks Business of the Year Award – Sponsored by Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers Start-Up Business of the Year Award – Sponsored by Zodeq Ltd Young Person/Apprentice of the Year Award – Sponsored by Altimex Ltd and MJ Lighting Ltd Export & International Trade Award – Sponsored by Ashton Consulting

Chamber CEO opens Heathrow Business Summit in Cardiff Heathrow offers great opportunities for businesses in our region to become part of the supply chain. The announcement that Tata Steel Deeside has been shortlisted as a potential regional Logistic Hub to help deliver the expansion project, could also create enormous opportunities for West Cheshire & North Wales. “The future success of the UK’s economic strategy, and meeting the challenges and opportunities presented by Brexit, will be heavily reliant on enhancing global connections across the UK” said Debbie in her opening remarks. Debbie continued, emphasising the importance of linking our regional airports

into the expansion of Heathrow so that our region can benefit from increased global connectivity, saying “There are clear economic benefits of linking the expansion of Heathrow with regional airports, such as; improving productivity, increasing employment, facilitating growth in international visitors, and supporting inward investment, all through closer proximity with international markets.” To find out more about the opportunities presented by the expansion of Heathrow, please visit https://www.








BCC: Cost and administrative burden of employment continues to climb Business is calling on the Prime Minister to reduce the unsustainable cost of employing people in the UK. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of firms report the cost burden of employment has increased compared to five years ago, according to new research by the British Chambers of Commerce. New research by BCC, based on the responses of over 900 firms from across the country, found a third (33%) say the cost burden of employment has increased significantly. Firms support, in principle, policies such as pensions auto-enrolment, National Living Wage, national insurance contributions, and the Apprenticeship Levy, but they have a cumulative effect of creating a cost burden that is difficult for many to cope with. Higher costs impact on the business’ bottom line and reduce the resources available to invest in the business and its people. Asked what’s preventing their company from investing more in employee training, over a fifth (22%) blamed other business costs.

Respondents to the survey report they are struggling to absorb the cumulative costs, which are impacting their margins and ability to invest and scale up. Coupled with the scale of other upfront costs, such as business rates, it causes many firms to implement cost reduction measures and impacts firms’ ability to invest, hire and grow. Against a backdrop of historically high labour shortages, sluggish economic growth and ongoing Brexit uncertainty, the escalation in employment costs are unsustainable for many firms. Business communities are calling for urgent action from the new Prime Minister to tackle the scale of upfront costs which are hindering competitiveness. Jane Gratton Head of People Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The cumulative cost of employment has become unsustainable and the government cannot expect businesses to carry on shouldering this ever-increasing burden. Firms are creaking under the combined strain of wage increases, employment taxes,

skills levies and a myriad of administrative and reporting responsibilities, and the costs have not been offset elsewhere. “At a time of significant change and uncertainty in the economy, firms should be supported to invest in people development and innovation. Instead, this rising cost burden is damaging competitiveness and we risk pricing people out of jobs and driving firms out of business. Many businesses feel there is no recognition from government of the difficulty of juggling all these obligations while trying to operate and make a profit. “Rising employment costs are just part of the upfront burden on business. Business rates, insurance premium tax and other expenses undermine the competitiveness of the UK as a place to do business. The new government must commit to preventing any additional costs and take immediate action to reduce the burdens crushing our business communities.”

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Joins Forces With European Network

one to visit due to the high proportion of Hungarian population in the area. Debbie Bryce met with Krisztina Kátai-Nagy, Consul General of Hungary in Manchester, and representatives from the Budapest Chambers of Commerce; Péter Keszthelyi, VicePresident, and Áron dr. Littvay-Kovács, Head of the International Relations Office.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe (COBCOE) have joined forces to welcome an additional 24 British Chambers across Europe into BCC’s Global Business Network.

“It was a great pleasure to welcome Krisztina and to meet Péter and Áron for the first time. We continued discussions about collaboration between businesses in West Cheshire & North Wales and Hungary. With the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU still unknown, it is imperative that we continue to build the connections with overseas countries that are so important for our members and businesses in the region,” said Debbie.

With the UK’s future relationship with the EU still uncertain, West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber has been a huge supporter of the strategic decision to bring the two networks together. This new initiative will ensure that local firms have a front door not just in every region and nation of the UK, but now into major

capitals and commercial centres across the European continent as well. Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, said: “The expansion of the BCC’s Global Business Network means that our members can now connect with firms from all across the world. From Bangor to Bucharest, from Chester to Copenhagen, and Llandudno to Luxembourg City. The British Chamber network will be best-placed to help firms trading across borders in Europe and beyond.”

West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce has been echoing the work of n L to R Krisztina Kátai-Nagy, Péter Keszthelyi, BCC in building international relations over the Debbie Bryce and Áron dr. Littvay-Kovács past couple of years. This has seen business trips to The Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce and, more recently, welcoming representatives from Hungary to the region. The Consul General of Hungary had identified West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber as

Krisztina found the meeting exceedingly productive commenting “Budapest Chamber of Commerce’s visit to Chester is part of a wider strategy to develop commercial ties with North England and North Wales. We aim to organise field trips, B2B meetings and workshops for the Chambers’ members in the near future and hope to host West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce in Budapest in the autumn at a meeting with our Hungarian and British partners”.



Digital Revolution from NatWest Business Banking of open banking, banks across the UK have been trying to make day to day banking quicker, simpler and easier for customers using digital technology. NatWest was one of the first high street banks to embrace technological innovation for SMEs with the development and launch of a range of digital products. They include:

In the last two years, the digital revolution has continued to gain momentum in the finance industry. With the implementation

n NatWest Rapid Cash which is a line of credit linked directly to an accounting package and based on outstanding customer invoices. Combining the simplicity of an overdraft with the flexibility of invoice finance, Rapid Cash is the funding solution that gives our customers freedom. Rapid Cash is a cheap and flexible overdraft alternative for our B2B customers, unlocked through their unpaid invoices.

n NatWest Tyl is a new innovative approach to merchant acquiring that will enhance the way we support our SME customers. Alongside straightforward customer on-boarding, simple pricing and next working day settlement, Tyl will provide smart dataled insights to help customers make informed business decisions. n NatWest MentorLive is our interactive online employee management system which is accessed through a secure area on our website. When logged into MentorLive you will find a range of HR and Health & Safety management tools which will help you streamline employee admin and stay on top of your Health & Safety management. There is also a wealth of useful information on Employment Law, HR and Health & Safety. This is a complimentary service for all business customers. If you want to join the digital revolution alongside a strong force of local Business Growth Enablers and Relationship Managers please get in touch with Nathan Johnson -

LJLA awarded the UK’s only 5 star airport rating for flight punctuality Liverpool John Lennon Airport understands that time is precious for everyone, whether travelling on business or for leisure and as a new Strategic Chamber of Commerce member, the Airport is pleased to share the recent good news with other members that it has just been awarded the UK’s only five star airport rating by the world’s leading air travel intelligence company, OAG, for flight punctuality, confirming its status as the UK’s faster, easier, friendlier airport. With an on-time performance of 84.6% of flights running on time, the five-star ranking represents excellent performance over a rolling 12-month period.


passenger numbers over the past 12 months, Liverpool has continued to maintain the highest standards of operational performance and the Airport experience for passengers remains one of the UK’s best. In addition to this latest accolade, the airport has continued to focus on other aspects of the passenger journey with queue times to go through Airport security remaining low throughout 2018, with 97% of passengers taking 10 minutes or less to pass through security and over 80% taking less than 5 minutes.

Out of 18 UK airports, Liverpool is the only one to receive a five-star rating and one of only 6 in Western Europe to achieve this highest award. Globally, Liverpool is listed in the top 10% of Airports.

This is great news for the growing numbers of passengers who choose to fly from Liverpool, reassured to know that whilst the Airport has become busier it remains one of the UK’s faster, easier, friendlier airport experiences with queues at a minimum and flights operating on time.

The Airport has developed an excellent reputation for operational efficiency in recent years. Whilst continuing to grow

To find out more about flights to over 70 destinations from Liverpool John Lennon Airport visit


Introducing Nigel Allman of Ashton Consulting Nigel set up Ashton Consulting to enable him to work with talented business owners in Cheshire and North Wales to develop their business. Nigel has significant Board experience having spent 25 years in corporate life helping businesses, such as the Insurer Vitality, develop into one of the leading entrepreneurial firms in the UK. Nigel has a flexible approach to supporting business owners born out of his time in corporate life where he recognised the need to be adaptable and, whilst he holds a specialism in risk and compliance, he has a breadth of experience across finance, marketing and operations, as well as with UK Regulators.

Local leader Nigel is committed to Cheshire and North Wales having moved to the Region in 1997 and lives in the thriving community of Ashton Hayes, which gained fame through its desire to become carbon neutral. As a Strategic Member, Nigel recognises the positive impact the Chamber has on its membership and the wider social and economic influence it can have on West Cheshire and North Wales. Nigel is looking forward to working with fellow Strategic Members and the Chamber in the coming years.

n Nigel Allman, Director at Ashton Consulting

Sales Director appointed at Protos Networks… Local cyber security company, Protos Networks, has announced the appointment of Damien Sansom as Sales Director. Damien brings a wealth of experience to the role, having been responsible for growing multiple sales operations in previous roles. When asked about his new role Damien said “I am excited for this new challenge and to be part of the growing success of Protos Networks. Cyber security is an extremely complex and sensitive issue and I am impressed with the success that Protos has already achieved in assisting organisations with their security concerns. The professionalism of the team is a testament to this, and I look forward to joining them in my new role”. Protos Networks has experienced significant growth in recent years and the appointment of a Sales Director will take the company in a new and exciting direction. By harnessing Protos’ close relationship with a

technology leader, Cisco, Damien will be responsible for growing and developing the portfolio of products and services that Protos offers. Speaking of Damien’s appointment, Managing Director at Protos Networks, Joe Joinson, said: “This is a very exciting time for Protos, we are all delighted that Damien will be joining the team.” As Strategic Partners of the Chamber, Protos Networks will this year be presenting the Protos Networks Award for Digital Innovation at the Annual Recognition Awards 2019, of which we are proudly the Headline Sponsor. The awards will take place at Chester Racecourse on Friday 15th November and organisations that believe they meet the criteria can apply via the Chamber website. To find out more about Protos Networks you can visit their website or call them on 0333 370 1353.

n Damien Sansom, Sales Director at Protos Networks



6 key points you may not know about having your own bespoke software At Overbyte, we are usually found evangelising about the incredible benefits that bespoke software will bring to your business and we’re currently seeing a significant upsurge in businesses becoming much more tech inclusive. Directors and management want to embrace the efficiencies that CRM Software can bring but they are hesitant because it’s still a largely unfamiliar activity and few really know what they need. However, business owners will often choose the pre-designed route first, more often because there is still much confusion around software. So, here are six important considerations to look at this as a longer-term option:

Bespoke means:


Your software will be created collaboratively, you’ll engage in the process to truly understand the software so that you can maximise its benefits and grow it in line with your business goals.


You will benefit from a close and supportive relationship and you will have access to software consultants who you can go to for advice.


Very little training is required as you get to test all functions every 2 – 4 weeks and it will be designed on your current processes, alongside you and any members of your team.


Your investment will become an asset in your business. You will own the software so that the control stays with you. You get to decide the shape it takes.


You gain up to 65% back in R&D tax relief on our costs which you could then use to fund further work.


It gives your business a point of differentiation, especially if you resolve known difficulties within your industry.

You can talk to Lou Crane about any thoughts on software for your business on 07970 189047, email or visit

15 years in Business, a look at the evolution of Surveillance Technology NW Security Group is celebrating 15 years in business, with a proud record in the market of IP Surveillance Systems; the group was in fact started in 2004 by Kevin Bowyer and Frank Crouwel, after noticing an opportunity in the then young market of IP Video Technology. IP Technology has seen a great and fast development during the last 20 years. Kevin and Frank recognised the potential of this technology since the very beginning, and approached the installation of IP CCTV Surveillance Systems with this very potential in mind, understanding that the possibilities weren’t just stopping at surveillance but were indeed endless. This philosophy also led to the birth of two of the company brands: Streamdays, a managed live stream hosting service with free technical support, and RemoteManager, a turnkey web-based camera system providing real-time images, high-quality image archival and time-lapse movie creation.


Over the years, IP technology has grown and changed rapidly. The initial push to these changes and improvements was an increase in camera technology, towards the video part of the technology, then the focus has been moved to analytics, detection technologies and methodologies. More recently, changes have seen the technology being heavily utilised for operational purposes with software that can help businesses process a huge amount of video data in a more efficient way, which makes the operations of a security team using video much easier and faster. IP-based surveillance systems can not only improve the level of business security, but also become a useful management tool to assist businesses health and safety, productivity, management and marketing. If you want to find out more, just get in touch: 0151 633 2111 n L to R Frank Crouwel, Managing Director, and Kevin Bowyer, Technical Director at NW Security


01745 585025


THE FACTS on flexible working What to do if an Employee submits a Flexible Working Request Flexible working requests are often not dealt with properly by employers who are unaware of the statutory framework that governs the flexible working process. The benefits of flexible working are to promote a happier, dedicated and more productive workforce and therefore has advantages for both employees and employers alike. It is now commonly seen as a benefit that shows an employer is progressive and listens to the needs of its staff. However, as with anything, there are also some potentially negative aspects in allowing your employees to work flexibly. For example, there could be bitterness amongst staff who have had their requests denied, whilst others have been accepted. Also, a lack of contact with colleagues at the workplace could limit the cohesiveness of teams and may ultimately lead to breakdowns in communication.

Who can apply to work flexibly? All employees who have worked continuously for their employer for at least 26 weeks may apply to work flexibly – however they can only request to do so once in any 12-month period. An employee’s application must: n Be in writing n Be dated n State that it is an application made under the statutory procedure n Specify the change that the employee is seeking and when they wish the change to take effect n Explain what effect, if any, the employee thinks the change would have on the employer and how any such effect could be dealt with. n State whether the employee has previously made an application to the employer and, if so, when.

What should you do with the request? You should deal with an employee’s flexible working request in a timely


manner and within 3 months from receiving the initial request. You should also assess any advantages or disadvantages of such applications and arrange a meeting with the individual to discuss the request in more detail – making sure you allow the employee to be accompanied during this meeting. You should also give the employee the right to appeal any decision. Again the initial decision and the appeal must be dealt with during the 3 months unless an extension has been agreed. As an employer, if you wish to approve a request then you should simply write to the individual outlining all agreed changes and when they are due to take effect. However, there is a fair amount of scope to reject a request for flexible working, in instances where one or more of the following 8 business reasons apply: n The burden of any additional costs is unacceptable to the business; n An inability to reorganise work among existing staff; n Inability to recruit additional staff; n The employer considers the change will have a detrimental impact on quality of work; n The employer considers the change would have a detrimental effect on the business’ ability to meet customer demand; n Detrimental impact on performance; n There is insufficient work during the periods the employee proposes to work; and n Planned structural changes, for example, where the employer intends to reorganise or change the business and considers the flexible working changes may not fit with these plans. In discussing the employee’s request, the employer should ensure that the employee is fully aware of the impact of the change on their terms of employment, in particular if the change might result in a reduction in salary, bonus or pension entitlement.

If the changes would have an impact on the employee’s benefits (such as their pension) it may be appropriate to suggest that the employee seeks advice on the impact of the changes from the appropriate benefit provider. The employer should also take account of operational and day-to-day issues. For example, if an employee is going to work from home, will their manager need them to attend the office for meetings? It may be appropriate to include new contractual provisions to address these issues and avoid future confusion, for example by incorporating a right to request attendance at the employer’s premises on reasonable notice.

Final Points to Consider If there are genuine business reasons why flexible working is not feasible, make sure these are properly evidenced and documented and not just based on the personal preference of managers. Note that an argument that ‘we already have too many people who work parttime/from home’ etc. is not one of the permitted grounds for refusing a request. Consider whether a trial period could be offered to settle any concerns about the requested working pattern. Even if you can’t offer the exact changes requested, think creatively and see if you can suggest a compromise. Bear in mind the risk of discrimination at all stages of the process and properly consider all of the employee’s circumstances - as their request could amount to a reasonable adjustment in relation to a disability. It is always recommended that you obtain advice at an early stage in relation to flexible working requests to avoid any costly pitfalls.

For further advice on flexible working requests contact Charlie Wood in SAS Daniels’ Employment Law and HR team on 01244 305 900 or email

n Louisa Lawrence; Marketing Manager at Anglesey Sea Zoo

THE DAILY GRIND Faced with the undeniable effects of the disastrous tide of plastic pollution, Anglesey Sea Zoo has recently received a donation from Summit Systems of a new Plastics Granulator. Anglesey Sea Zoo has collaborated with a leader in recycling equipment, Summit Systems, who supply specialist machinery for recycling to the UK plastics industry, they are also advising us on the best course of action to take with regards to capturing and collecting waste plastic on and around Anglesey. The granulation unit will size reduce redundant waste plastic into flakes, allowing the material to enter the recycling system for reuse rather than landfill or incineration and Anglesey Sea Zoo will be putting it into action over the summer.

Anglesey Sea Zoo has drawn up new plans to phase-out single-use plastics. Our mission is to capture and collect waste plastic materials, size reduce them and send the flakes to UK manufacturers to add to their material input to achieve a circular economy whilst keeping it out of the ocean. We have introduced more recycled plastic in our packaging by working with suppliers. Let’s get Schools involved and encourage our Community to get involved in Green activities through Beach Cleans, Plastic Granulation and Separation as well as Environmental Talks. Frankie Hobro, Owner and Director of Anglesey Sea Zoo states “Anglesey Sea Zoo has continued to push environmental boundaries by introducing sustainable initiatives that will change our own habits and those of others. We have been leading community beach cleans for 12 years, helping to raise awareness of the increasing problem of plastics, so the next step is to take action on the use of the plastics. We have a pivotal role in investing in our environmental values within our business model and as such we are currently implementing changes to completely drop all single-use plastics on site, something which we have already started to action on a significant scale. We hope our visitors and other businesses will follow our example”

MEMBERS NEWS Sarah Meakin, Aquarium Manager adds “Marine litter is a global issue, but we shouldn’t let that discourage us from doing our bit. Everyone can make small changes such as using reusable bags and refillable cups which, although they may seem insignificant on the individual level, when added together will make a massive difference. As a professional in the marine environment it is our duty to educate our children on what to do and how they can help towards a sustainable future.” Anglesey Sea Zoo believes in leading by example, and communities have always been encouraged to get involved in green activities through our regular community beach cleans. Louisa Lawrence, Marketing and Communications Manager at Anglesey Sea Zoo: “We may not be the largest attraction in North Wales, but we have an impact so it’s important that we keep collaborating with experts and keep pushing together to make the biggest difference possible. It’s a big task and a big ask but we can all do our bit to help. We will continue to work with other significant Ambassadors, Green Key, SAS and Keep Wales Tidy on our journey by sharing facts, posting key data and busting the media myths.

Twenty-twenty vision – my career progression, by Justine Watkinson If you had asked me 20 years ago when I joined Hillyer McKeown (HM) how my career could develop, I would not have predicted that I’d become one of the new engagement directors responsible for making sure we continually deliver unrivalled client service.

moving premises to expand, and evolving a firmer strategy looking to 2023 and beyond.

I began as a litigation lawyer in 1999 and progressed to become a Partner and the Head of the Employment Law team. It’s true to say HM runs through my veins. I have always wanted to see our teams succeed. I am also privileged to have been an integral part of HM’s journey; developing genuine friendships with colleagues, clients and referrers.

Of course, strategy is one thing – people make it work. I have always championed ‘soft skills’ (before that even became a thing) promoting work-life balance and employee engagement. Some may say that my mix of interpersonal skills, legal knowledge and experience is unusual. I like to think of this as my unique selling point! I am grateful to my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to use these skills to further benefit HM.

Work-life balance

The amount of change has been astonishing. I have been married for 23 years and have two beautiful daughters; during which time people have come and gone at HM, as is the case in many businesses. I believe that HM is ahead of the curve as over a decade ago, we began shifting toward becoming more client-centric, commercial, and focussing on making this a brilliant place to work. Innovation still drives the business forward. Recent initiatives include rebranding,

My new role fits in with this vision to ensure HM continues on its journey and is here for the long haul.

clients to think me as their ‘go-to’ person, and HM as their trusted adviser helping them to plan for, and take action, to achieve long term success - whatever that looks like to them. Here’s to another 20 years! Justine Watkinson:

n Justine Watkinson, Partner and the Head of the Employment Law at Hillyer McKeown

Many businesses are experiencing uncertainty right now. For owners of small and medium sized businesses, my new role means that I can invest more time listening to them, developing ways to make their lives easier, and help them to achieve their goals.

Stronger framework for success

I’m currently going back to basics, building a stronger framework between myself, colleagues and clients. Ultimately, I would like



Chamber guests had a delicious Rodizio Experience at Picanha Grill Picanha Grill Chester and the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce joined forces to host a Lunch Networking Event on July 16th, attended by over 50 people. Guests started arriving at 12pm as they were eager to enjoy the full experience that Picanha Grill has to offer.

cultural food such as: cured meats, continental cheeses, chorizo, stewed black beans and an extensive salad selection.

“It was a great event to start with as it is my first Chamber networking event, there was a really nice atmosphere and everyone was very welcoming.” said Matthew Pyke, Founder and Managing Director of Fly High Media.

Once all guests were welcomed into the South American style restaurant, they had an opportunity for some general networking until 1pm, creating new connections and catching up with familiar faces.

Jenny Davidson, Events & Young Chamber Manager at the Chamber, then introduced Robin Tudor, Head of PR & Communications at Liverpool Airport, who spoke to guests about the airport’s recent successes and their plans for the future.

There was a quick introduction from Tomás Maunier, Managing Director of the Fazenda Group and Picanha, who briefly talked about the history behind Picanha and the Argentinian and Brazilian inspiration for the restaurant and how the unique dining format works. In Brazil, Picanha is the very best cut of meat, famed for its succulent texture and exceptional flavour. Guests then got stuck in and firstly went up to the gourmet salad bar where there was a great selection of both South American

Lamb Chump, Chicken Thighs, Pork Collar, Gammon & Pineapple, Chicken Hearts, Pork Sausage, Rump and there was a selection of vegetarian dishes and Brazilian sweet treats for dessert.

Staff from the restaurant then brought out the selection of meats and the food experience began with; Picanha rump,

Jenny Davidson commented: “The food at Picanha was great as expected, a big thank you to the whole team whose customer service was excellent in catering for all the guests. Also, thank you also to Robin for being our guest speaker and to the members in attendance, your support is always much appreciated!”

Rocky gives a knockout performance at Chamber Networking On 27th June, Rocky – the detection dog rather than the boxer – stunned guests with his sensory skills at a West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Networking Lunch at Mercure Chester Abbots Well Hotel. The glorious Summer’s day saw over 50 guests attend who seized the opportunity to network in the sunshine on arrival. Guests then took their seats for a delicious twocourse lunch, served by the excellent hosts at Mercure Chester Abbots Well. It was then time for Aran Clyne, Dog Trainer at Wagtail UK Ltd, and Rocky, a fully trained Conservation Detection Dog, to take centre stage. Aran gave an excellent insight into the work that Wagtail UK Ltd does training dogs to detect a vast range of illegal items, people, explosives and Rocky’s speciality, bat carcasses. Rocky has been trained to detect bats carcasses in order to monitor deaths due to wind turbines. Aran gave


some amazing examples of the different dogs’ skills which included; finding hidden passengers in buses crossing the Channel, illicit cigarettes that were stored with regular cigarettes and even underground hideouts of vast amounts of cash! After taking questions from the audience, Aran then gave a display of Rocky’s skills on the lawn outside. Bat carcasses were hidden amongst the grass and within a matter of seconds Rocky was able to identify them by lying down beside them, a truly amazing thing to see.

event and I was very impressed.” Said Carolyn Moston, Events Office Manager at Rowton Hall Hotel & Spa. Jenny Davidson, Events & Young Chamber Manager at West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, added “The work that Wagtail UK Ltd does is amazing and we are so thankful for Aran taking the time to talk to us today, and for bringing along Rocky! The Mercure Chester Abbots Well made fantastic hosts and the food was outstanding!”.

“I had a lovely Networking Lunch at the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber event at Mercure Chester Abbots Well. The food was delicious and the sun was shining! We had an amazing talk and demonstration by Aran about Rocky and other Conservation Dogs and the important work they do to help protect species such as bats and newts. It was a highly enjoyable n Aran Clyne, Dog Trainer at Wagtail UK Ltd, and Rocky


Sun shines on an evening of fun and games at the Summer Garden Party The West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce held its first Summer Garden Party on 12th July in the beautiful surroundings of Mercure Chester Abbots Well Hotel. With a “typical British Summer” threatening to spoil the party, the sun made an appearance just in time for over 80 guests to arrive at the venue in Christleton, Chester. Guests were treated to a glass of Pimm’s on arrival as they headed to the garden where a wide variety of lawn games were on hand to keep them entertained. This included; Giant Jenga, Connect Four, Croquet and, the ever popular, Space Hoppers (and even a “Space Unicorn”!). “Thank you for a great evening at the Summer Garden Party. Thankfully the rain held off and it was great to catch up with everyone and enjoy the outdoor and indoor entertainment” said Dawn Koffler, Managing Director at Redbows Ltd. After Space Hopper races and several rounds of Connect Four, guests headed inside to hear from Phill Jones, Chairman of West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, who welcomed guests to the event. Phill highlighted that the event was raising money

for local charity Book at Bedtime through a tombola and book donation. Book at Bedtime aims to provide as many book cases and books as possible to domestic violence refuges across the UK, providing women and children with a sense of escapism during their time of struggle, an extremely worthwhile cause. Phill then announced that this year’s Annual Recognition Awards are now open for entries! The awards are designed to ensure that our members receive the recognition that they deserve for their hard work over the previous year. There are nine categories to enter and you can view more information on the Chamber’s website. The barbeque was then fired up and guests enjoyed burgers, ribs, skewers, king prawns, chips and more! Those feeling lucky, and looking to support Book at Bedtime, then took a chance on the tombola which managed to raise an incredible £320 for the charity. A surprise auction from Keith Anglesea, of laps in his Porsche race car won by Davinder Lotay, then took the grand total raised for Book at Bedtime to an amazing £490.

“We had a great night on Friday and we were overwhelmed by the support for Book at Bedtime. We nearly managed to fill a whole bookcase with book donations and the money raised will fully support one women’s refuge and go towards supporting two-thirds of another. Thank you to everyone for your support!” said Peta Pendlebury, Founder and Trustee at Book at Bedtime. Keeping everyone entertained throughout the evening was DJ Gary Carr. Gary has been a regular favourite at Chamber events over the last few years and kept the party going long into the night. “It was great to see so many faces at our Summer Garden Party, there was a great atmosphere and the barbeque definitely went down a treat! Thank you to the Mercure Chester Abbots Well Hotel, your hospitality was amazing. Thanks also goes to the companies that donated books on the day and items for the tombola. Your support for Book at Bedtime is greatly appreciated” said Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce.

n Guests enjoyed a fun filled evening at the Summer Garden Party

A perfect ‘Venue in the Park’ for Chamber Networking August’s West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce Lunch Networking event was held at Venue in the Park.

The lunch events allow business people to network whilst enjoying meals at some of the best venues in the region.

Venue in the Park, which has been recently acquired by Groundwork North Wales, is set in the beautiful surroundings of Alyn Waters Country Park. The purpose-built venue benefits from beautiful views into the park from a large fully equipped conference room, with free wi-fi, which accommodated over 40 Business people.

On this occasion, an amazing buffet was available to guests who were able to enjoy chicken and bacon Caesar salad, accompanied by chargrilled veg and balsamic dressing, savoury pastries, crudités, dips and fresh bread. There were also two quiche options and the deserts were either a delicious homemade strawberry cheesecake or fruit salad.

Helen Pullin, Membership Support Officer at the Chamber, welcomed guests to the event and then handed over to Hanna Clarke, Marketing & Events Manager at Groundwork North Wales, who talked about the upcoming projects at both Groundwork North Wales and Venue in the Park. The aim of Chamber networking events is to help firms make those vital local connections that enable business in the region to flourish.

Graham Boyd, owner of Absolutely Design, then gave a talk on his life journey from graduating in Product Design to becoming the Managing Director at Evoke Creative Ltd, to setting up his own company – Absolutely Design. Graham has since helped a number of businesses in the region differentiate themselves by creating amazing murals on their premises. These murals help firms stand out from competition and help to put a smile on the faces of employees.

Julie Blakely, Commercial & Corporate Account Executive at Daulby Read said: “I thought the Venue in The Park was lovely. The sun was shining which meant parents, kids and dog walkers were enjoying the fantastic scenery. I really enjoyed meeting up with everyone at the Chamber Networking Lunch and I am surprised more people were not aware of the park, café and venue. I think many will be coming back to share the excellent environment and all it has to offer. I had a wonderful few hours out of the office today and thank you to the Chamber of Commerce for arranging this event!” Helen Pullin, added: “Today’s networking event was well attended and I could see that everyone really enjoyed themselves! Thank you to Graham for being our guest speaker, it was incredibly interesting to hear about your career journey, and thank you to Hanna and Venue in the Park for hosting a great networking event”.



Let’s Talk Business Cheshire West and Chester n Richard Beacham, Councillor for Newton and Hoole Following the local elections in May 2019, a new portfolio holder for Cheshire West and Chester Council has been appointed for Economic Growth. Councillor Richard Beacham, who represents Newton and Hoole in Chester, will be responsible for a portfolio which includes housing, regeneration and growth. Richard says: “My new portfolio is basically about having somewhere to call home, with places nearby to spend time with friends and family, and a decent job to pay for it all. That’s why I am really excited about working with residents, businesses and other organisations to develop ambitious plans for the city, towns and villages in our borough. “The renewal of the Business Improvement Districts in Chester and Northwich, alongside the announcement of the successful Future High Streets bid for Winsford, Chester’s Northgate and the plans for the One Public Estate in Ellesmere Port town centre, will help residents to see exciting changes in key areas in our Borough. For local business, the council has an important role to play in helping create a skilled workforce and supporting the growth

of key local sectors like energy, advanced manufacturing, finance, retail and tourism.” Recent research undertaken on behalf of the council by economic development specialist ‘Metro Dynamics’ has revealed that whilst the Borough has a relatively successful economy, there are a number of challenges we need to address. Richard continued: “When we think about future growth, we need to think about making a local economy that can benefit everyone. By working together on a strong local industrial strategy, we can use this opportunity to address the imbalance of high levels of part time work, low wages, limited access to affordable housing and improve our local transport connectivity too.” Cheshire West and Chester’s local industrial strategy will provide the basis for future policies and interventions in the local economy. The Council will be developing a set of measure to support the inclusive growth agenda which will include improving basic skills, in-work progression and connecting residents to opportunities created by the major regeneration schemes in the borough. Richard concluded: “For Cheshire to thrive, we must ensure that all residents and businesses enjoy the benefits of growing our local economy. It’s an exciting challenge!”

Council invests in new workspaces to help local businesses thrive Cheshire West and Chester Council continues to support the local business community by opening another site of highquality workspaces. The BREEAM Excellent workspace units at the new Dee View Business Park have been opened by Councillor Richard Beacham and Chris Matheson MP in Bumpers Lane in Chester. They are available to the advanced manufacturing, technology and energy sectors for let. The Council has opened similar units in Winsford and Northwich in the last six months as part of its Support and Workspace project. Moments Candles Co. occupies one of the units. Its founder, Helen McCue, said: “We


needed to move to a unit we were going to grow into and we found this and it is amazing. The support from the Council has really helped us. The low running costs of the unit, with the solar panels, have given us an advantage and it has meant that we have been able to employ more people.” The Support and Workspace project has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, together with the Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Property Reinvestment Programme. For enquiries regarding available premises please call 01606 271537 or 01244 977176 or visit propertytolet

You are invited to become a Workplace Blood Pressure Champion High blood pressure is a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Did you know, in West Cheshire… n Approximately 38,000 people are living with high blood pressure and don’t know it. n Heart disease and stroke are still one of the leading causes of death. Would you like to become a workplace blood pressure champion and help your colleagues be as familiar with their blood pressure number as they are with their pin number? In collaboration with the British Heart Foundation, Cheshire West & Chester Council are running training sessions and providing blood pressure testing machines to train workplace blood pressure champions. As a workplace blood pressure champion, you will: n Attend a three-hour training session explaining how to use a blood pressure monitor and understand what a blood pressure reading means n Be given access to a blood pressure monitor to use in your workplace n Join a local network of blood pressure champions These sessions will be held across West Cheshire, if you or your organisation are interested or would like to find out more, please contact publichealth@


Rising stars celebrated at annual awards ceremony! Cheshire College – South & West hosted two annual Learners Awards at its Crewe and Ellesmere Port Campuses, to celebrate the end of another academic year. The awards are an opportunity to celebrate learner success. The awards recognise those who have made a real impression on staff, contributed to College life and achieved academically. This year, 80 individual awards were presented, to learners studying a wide range of courses. James Saunders, Computing and IT learner, from Bebbington, won the Award for Outstanding Contribution to College

Life, sponsored by Fly High Media. James has continuously supported his peers throughout his time at College and has shown great commitment to his course.

Dhesi, Principal and CEO at Cheshire College – South & West, said: “It’s hard to believe that we are already coming to the end of the College year.

James commented: “I was completely shocked when I found out I was receiving the award. It’s a real privilege to have even been nominated.

“This is a very special evening for Cheshire College – South & West. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to recognise the outstanding achievements of learners, in front of the families, friends and tutors who supported them along the way.

“I have loved my time at College. We have always had exciting projects and have been exposed to new opportunities. I enjoy working alongside others who are passionate about the same subject areas as me, it’s great being able to collaborate and challenge my existing skills. “I will be leaving College, excited for what the future holds!” The learners were praised for their excellent academic achievements and for the impressive ambition, determination and enthusiasm they demonstrated which helped them reach their goals. Award winners and their guests arrived at the ceremony to be greeted by Hospitality and Catering Learners serving a selection of delicious non-alcoholic mocktails and canapés, that they had made themselves. Guest speakers for the evening were successful entrepreneurs, Sid Madge, Founder of Mad Hen and the Meee Programme and Matthew Pyke, former learner and Managing Director of Fly High Media.

n Sid Madge presenting Joanna Duraj, Bentley Apprentice, with the Higher Education Learner of the Year Award. Joanna was nominated after she showed determination, motivation, amazing progress and achieved excellent grades across all modules.

“Part of our commitment is to ensure that when learners leave us and progress into employment or University, that they do so, not only with excellent qualifications, but also with skills that will help them to succeed in their chosen careers and throughout their life.”

Proud to be a Digital School House Partner! The Digital School House Programme, powered by PlayStation, uniquely combines computing, fun, creativity, innovation and industry expertise, bridging the gap between industry and education. The immersive experience delivers computing and careers education with a difference and we are proud to announce that we have been selected as a provider. Starting in September, we will be visiting pupils and teachers in local schools (typically primary), with the aim of delivering inspiring STEAM-related workshops.

Part-time course starting in September! Our courses are designed to be relevant in the workplace and to help you update your knowledge and enhance your skills. Many of our qualifications could be partfunded or even free, depending on your circumstances and existing qualifications. Your course could also be FREE* if you are in employment and earn less than £16,009.50 per year (£1334.12 per month). Call us on 01270 654654 or 01244 656555 to see if you qualify for free or reduced fees.

Jonathan Finchett, recently completed his Level 2 Fitness Instructor and Level 3 Personal Trainer course here at College. Jonathan said: ‘’I was extremely impressed with the delivery of the course and the knowledge that the tutors have. Both the theory and practical elements of the course were fun, interesting and engaging. ‘’I now work for a community interest company called Healthbox, who deliver

strength and balance exercise classes across Cheshire West and Wirral and I am working towards increasing the services we deliver. ‘’Completing the course has ensured I have the necessary knowledge, understanding and experience to perform in my role and help my clients reach their full potential. Healthbox work in close partnership with the College, so it is great for me to stay in touch and hopefully inspire other learners.’’



MWL Systems acquired by Elite Group One of our region’s best known and longest standing IT companies, MWL Systems, has been successfully acquired by top-performing technology and communications company, Elite Group. MWL Systems has been supporting businesses throughout North Wales and further afield for 35 years. The firm has doubled in size and gone from strength to strength in recent years and was ready for this exciting, organisational step. Having identified synergies between the two organisations, talks with Elite began some months ago, and following successful discussions, the acquisition was officially announced on 18th June 2019. It’s business as usual for the team at MWL Systems and the company will continue to operate under the MWL Systems name, as part of Elite Group. Customers will still receive the top levels of IT support they have come to expect from MWL, with clients continuing to work alongside their current contacts within the business and customer service continuing to be the firms’ top priority. Managing Director at MWL Systems, Matt Kingsley-Williams, has taken on a new role as Group Director of IT Operations, taking pride of place within Elite’s Senior Directors team, whilst also continuing his responsibilities in the day to day running and management of MWL Systems. The acquisition of MWL Systems, marks Elite’s 17th since 2008, with their IT services division growing rapidly over the past two years. MWL Systems was specifically chosen by Elite as a direct result of its team of highly skilled and qualified IT experts, as well as its proven track record for providing a quality service that supports its clients in their quest for business efficiency and growth. Specialists in IT, telecoms and unified communications for businesses, Elite Group’s client base spans an astounding 7,500 companies, operating throughout the UK. With offices in Chorley, Newcastle-Under-Lyme and Madrid, the Group boasts 180 staff and a turnover in excess of £57 million.


Speaking of the acquisition, MD Matt Kingsley-Williams said: “Having celebrated the business’ 35th anniversary this year, our acquisition by Elite Group represents a fantastic milestone for MWL Systems, and the next, logical step for us as a successful, expanding business. “The whole team are looking forward to the next coming weeks, months and years, continuing to set the trend in terms of IT provision and passing on the benefits to our customers. Working with Elite presents us all with fantastic opportunities, sharing our knowledge and skills; as well as introducing our customers to the wider Group along with what they can offer in terms of new products and services. It’s an exciting time for our team. Being part of the Elite Group will open up new opportunities for all of us, and we’re looking forward to this new chapter.” Rob Sims, CEO of Elite, said: “This successful acquisition is such a positive step for both MWL Systems and the Elite Group. We

had been searching a very long time for a company to complement our IT offering, with the right IT skills and credentials. “We are delighted to be joining forces with MWL Systems in this acquisition and it signifies the beginning of a long and successful future. Together we are stronger and the benefits we will now be able to bring to our clients are tremendous.”


Sprinkler systems fitted at high rise blocks in Chester Sanctuary Housing is currently overseeing a major installation programme of sprinkler systems across all of its nine high rise blocks of flats in Chester. Around £5.7 million is being invested retrofitting sprinklers in the properties as well as installing new fire alarms and replacing emergency lighting. This significant upgrade is being supported by the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, who have also made a financial contribution to the project. Sanctuary is also replacing fire doors at 33 low rise blocks of flats in the city during the current financial year along with the upgrade of emergency lighting in the communal areas of 48 blocks. The work is in addition to a major

Nest boxes prove vital

maintenance programme in Sanctuary’s properties across the region. Hundreds of houses and flats will be extensively refurbished to ensure residents have homes they can be proud to live in.

It is anticipated that the work will generate an annual energy saving of £200 per property and improve the EPC rating from E to C on some homes. Fire doors are also being upgraded at Leyfield Court in Lache and Craddock eight one-bedroom apartments on the site of the former Highfield pub, off Western Avenue, in Blacon.

“Two of the reasons this has happened is because of a decline in flying insects, their primary food source, and the redevelopment of homes where they nest. Six one-bedroom apartments and four onebedroom apartments have also been built at a former garage site in Saughall.

Helping to keep Kingsway tidy Sanctuary Housing has joined forces with Cheshire West Voluntary Action and Minerva Arts to promote an anti-littering campaign in the city.

A Love Kingsway Day was also held during July on Lime Wood Fields which saw residents gather for fun activities. These included a biodiversity bug hunt, art sessions, music, games and a litter pick.

Taking place in the Kingsway area, the aim is to encourage people to be proud of where they live and not to drop litter on the streets.

Ria Burns, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, said: “It’s been really inspiring to see so many people get involved

A Sanctuary-funded project called Love Kingsway saw a host of local organisations take part in litter picks, arrange recycling drives and turn their collected litter into an eye-catching piece of artwork, spelling out ‘Love Kingsway’ in six-foot high lettering.

Danielle Wrigley, Sanctuary’s Senior Development Manager, said: “These boxes are an important addition to our developments in Chester and will provide somewhere permanent for the swifts to nest.” Roger Nutter, a volunteer with the RSPB Chester Group, added: “We are trying to reverse the big decline in nesting swifts over the last 20 years.

Sanctuary is working with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Chester Group to install nesting boxes for swifts at its new developments across Chester.

Sanctuary has delivered six three-bedroom houses, five two-bedroom houses and

In addition, Sanctuary’s maintenance team will also be installing new bathrooms and kitchens, carrying out electrical rewiring work and replacing external doors, porches and guttering throughout general needs properties in Chester.

Around £750,000 is being spent installing external wall insulation at 80 flats and bungalows within housing for older people schemes in Newtown and Blacon, both improving the look of the properties and increasing their energy efficiency.

addition for swifts The wooden boxes, which have been made by staff and volunteers at Blacon Adventure Playground, will be fitted to new homes in Blacon and apartments in nearby Saughall.

Court in Malpas, which are both housing for older people’s schemes, as well as new ceilings, lighting, fire detection and door entry systems.

“Putting in artificial nest sites has proven to work – either by including a swift ‘brick’ in the property or putting a box up.”

in the Love Kingsway campaign. “The results speak for themselves and it has been great to work with local partners to deliver a project that has made a real positive difference.” John Buchanan, of Cheshire West Voluntary Action, added: “The creative approach has helped us raise awareness of littering and inspired residents to take pride in keeping their neighbourhoods tidy. “As well as physically addressing the issue of local littering and spreading important messages about reusing and recycling, Love Kingsway has also fostered new partnerships and brought groups together for the benefit of the wider community.”



Glyndŵr Innovations Win National Technology Award Glyndŵr Innovations has won a national award in The Wales Technology Awards.

fire prevention, agricultural monitoring, search and rescue and disaster monitoring.

The team at OpTIC in St Asaph were shortlisted in the Innovative Product Award category and at last night’s awards were delighted to see their ultra-lightweight telescope for ground imaging applications scoop top prize.

“HAPS platform requirements are extreme in their size, weight and power requirements, so without the development of this telescope its capabilities would be limited. Glyndŵr’s telescope gives operators unique ground imaging capability not available elsewhere.”

The telescope has been designed and built to meet the operational requirements of newly emerging HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo Satellites) platforms, which provide an uninterrupted view of a chosen area for months at a time. Richard Hazelwood, Sales Engineer at OpTIC said: “The ultra-lightweight telescope will provide HAPS platforms with high resolution imaging capability to deliver new services, such as increasing the ability to monitor areas satellites and aircraft cannot. Areas that will benefit from this technology include

OpTIC Centre Site Director Caroline Gray added “We joined some fantastic technology firms from across Wales – and were delighted to win Innovative Product of the Year. It is great to have the team’s hard work recognised by this prestigious award and we’d like to thank ESTNET for a wonderful evening.”

The Welsh technology community celebrated excellence and innovation at the industry’s biggest night of the year on June 20, at City Hall Cardiff. Bringing together hundreds of the most influential names in technology, professional services, investment and the wider business community, the Wales Technology Awards champion the outstanding achievements and innovations made by Wales’ 3,000 technology companies.

n The team at Glyndŵr Innovations receiving their award

Welsh businesses take on economic uncertainty with digital fitness With economic uncertainty meaning flexibility is more important than ever, staying digitally fit can help you strengthen your business for the future. So, it is perhaps unsurprising that last year saw more Welsh SMEs turn to technology in a move to sustain and grow their businesses while questions over Brexit continue. Which technologies companies embrace, and how these allow them to be resilient, is becoming ever more apparent if you follow Cardiff Business School Welsh Economy Research Unit’s Digital Maturity Survey. The project has run for the last three years and retrospectively looks at what is going on across the Welsh digital landscape year on year, and Cardiff University has just revealed the 2018 findings. The report illustrates how digital helps with the heavy lifting for business owners and staff alike by streamlining resources so firms can focus on growth. Increasingly, the results are positive. Welsh businesses are more able to hire people, with twice as many SMEs reporting higher employment in 2018 than the previous year, and more than half of business using superfast broadband specifically to increase their profits. At a time when superfast broadband has become mainstream and Welsh firms are beginning to embed online tools at the heart of their business, it is fitting that Cardiff University hosted an event for experts, policymakers and businesses to explore how


digital technology is being used in Wales, which included one of Superfast Business Wales’ success stories, Hazelwood Carpentry. How digitally fit are you? More Welsh SMEs than ever are using digital to sustain and grow their business, as firms from all sectors are seeing increasing evidence that moving online is beneficial. Digital fitness in Wales is driven from the North and the South East inwards to the Mid and West, where almost half of businesses now employ in-house specialists to help get them in shape. This reach goes beyond regions and into sectors, where there is a rise across the board in SMEs using online tools to manage specific parts of their business. For example, Allen & Partners, a veterinary practice in Carmarthenshire, has already saved huge amounts of time for staff by installing a practice management system designed specifically for vets. Traditional sectors in Wales are now embracing digital to better manage their business, with construction SMEs showing the highest increase in digital adoption in 2018. Construction firms in Wales have ramped up their use of digital in the last year, with the number of businesses using websites, social media and specialist systems (such as accounting and project management software) all increasing. Construction firms have also discovered how to use digital to

drive sales, with more than half selling online last year, 64% more than in 2017. NB: If you want to embed digital into your dayto-day processes, choosing the right software for your business is vital. Our Software Essentials directory can help you find business software you can rely on, whatever you need it for. Four-in-five Welsh SMEs recognise the importance of digital in meeting customer requirements, with one-in-five already reaping the productivity benefits of CRM systems. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems give you the ability to convert ‘possible interest’ into repeat business through a managed sales cycle. By keeping track of customers, you can identify who to target and help grow your business. 20% of Welsh SMEs are already doing this, meaning there is a huge opportunity to get ahead of your competitors by turning your customer relationships digital. We run CRM workshops across Wales to help you make the most of a CRM system and keep your customers’ data safe. By Superfast Business Wales superfastbusinesswales/


Butcher & Barlow solicitors shortlisted for prestigious legal awards Leading North West Law Firm, Butcher & Barlow, has been shortlisted for the Law Society’s prestigious Excellence Awards 2019, the highest accolade for law firms in England and Wales. Butcher & Barlow has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Business Development category. The Firm, which has 10 offices across the North West, opened a dedicated commercial and agricultural office in 2014 to adapt to the changing needs of their commercial clients. Clients which may previously have had to be referred to a city centre practice are able to be serviced by Butcher & Barlow at a lower cost and with a more personal approach. Jonathan Aldersley, Partner at the Firm’s dedicated commercial and agricultural office on Gadbrook Park, Cheshire said; ‘We are delighted to be nominated in the category of Excellence in Business Development. We opened our dedicated commercial office in 2014 to both consolidate and expand the

Firm’s commercial services and enable collaborative working between the commercial departments. Over the past 5 years, we have worked hard to create a commercial function which matches those of city practices, whilst maintaining the personable and approachable attitude the firm has been known for since its beginnings in Bury, Lancashire in 1887. We are pleased that our commitment to adapt and change in line with our clients’ needs has been recognised in this shortlisting.’

Law Society president Simon Davis said: “There are more than 140,000 solicitors in

Work has started on a major new scheme to upgrade and modernise parts of the Nightingale House Hospice building in Wrexham.

new Grove Road entrance to the ward. The expanded Day Service Centre will be operational in Autumn this year.

Due to be completed by Spring 2020 the scheme will increase capacity so that more patients and their families can be supported in the future.

Once phase one is complete, work will start on phase two which includes the redevelopment of the current Day Services area into a muchexpanded Rehabilitation Centre; enclosing what is now an outdoor courtyard to add more floor space to the building as part of the creation of a new atrium.

Great care has been taken to ensure all patient services are maintained during the work and any disruption on site will be kept to an absolute minimum. There will be no impact on the Inpatient services. Brymbo firm, Read Construction has been awarded the contract and has started preparatory work for the first phase of the project – the new Day Services wing. This phase will also include reception, the current Day Services conservatory which will be converted into a new space named Noddfa, the spiritual garden room, and the

“The firms and solicitors shortlisted should be commended for going above and beyond to support their clients, often navigating tricky and sometimes contentious areas of the law. “With the justice system so under strain, we should take this opportunity to celebrate the incredible work solicitors do day-in and day-out – and to recognise the immense contribution they make to our society.” Winners are announced at the Law Society’s Excellence Awards ceremony in London on 23 October 2019.

More recently, the firm has begun to further invest in technology to allow solicitors across the practice to share knowledge, precedents and expertise and to support each other and their clients regardless of their location. The collaborative working model means that the firm has the resources to continue to act for commercial clients as they grow, ensuring that clients have peace of mind that their legal needs are in safe hands.

Hospice Modernisation Underway ahead of 25th Anniversary

The scheme involves relocating and restructuring the current day and rehabilitation centres into a more modern area so that all outpatient services are sited together.

England and Wales – to be shortlisted for an Excellence Award is to be recognised as among the very best of the profession.

Hospice Head of Clinical Services Jane Mcgrath said: “The modernisation plan will not only allow us to deliver high standards of care to our current patients and those close to them, but to enhance our capacity and support more people. We aim to modernise our building but also to modernise our services. I would like to see people referred to us earlier on in their illness so that they receive maximum benefit from the services we provide. Eluned Griffiths, Chair of the Hospice Board of Trustees added:

n The Commercial Property Team at Butcher & Barlow

can deliver our services more effectively to suit the changing and future needs of our patients and increase the number of patients and their families who can access our care. We are fortunate to have the support of the Bradbury Foundation which has contributed a substantial donation towards the modernisation project. Nightingale House will therefore be in a better position to deliver the palliative care that will be needed during the next 25 years, both in the hospice and in other places in our community.” Hospice Chief Executive Steve Parry said: “The facilities at Nightingale House were built in 1995, 24 years ago, and provided a generalist palliative care service. At the time they were a first-class provision that met the needs of the patients and their families. Over the years our services have changed and the hospice is now unique in delivering outpatient services for specialist palliative care in our catchment area. Without our continued and developing services these patient needs cannot be met. With an increasing demand for our services, and the current limitations of the existing facilities, we are modernising the premises which will enable us to care for more patients in the best possible environment.”

“This year we have studied ways of improving the hospice building so that we

n L to R: Lee Bell - Site Manager, Eluned Griffiths - Chair of the Board of Trustees, Alex Read - Director, Steve Parry - Chief Executive of Nightingale House and Billy McCormack - Contract Manager at Read Construction



An insight into Cimteq Ltd today’s factory environment, but to build resilience in the factory of tomorrow.

Wrexham-based Cimteq Ltd is a leading worldwide provider of software solutions specific to the cable and wire manufacturing industry. The company’s chief executive, Ali Shehab, established Cimteq in 1998 and is the brains behind CableBuilder and CableMES. CableBuilder manages the complete cycle of cable design and manufacture, through Design, Customer Quotation, Ordering, Production, Quality Assurance and ERP system. It enables accurate costings, reduces waste and allows the automation of labour-intensive work. CableMES is an innovative custom-built manufacturing execution system (MES) which facilitates the maximisation of plant production, improves reporting and data collection, and enables ERP and CableBuilder integration. Cimteq is focused on an ambitious five-year programme of growth. Most recently, the company has launched its new online resource learning centre, the Cimteq Academy. The aim of the academy is to support skills growth in digital transformation across the cable and wire industry - not only to improve


The academy includes a wealth of learning material from White Papers offering thought leadership from Cimteq and its partners on industry trends such as Industry 4.0, through to case studies describing how Cimteq products have been successfully implemented across the globe. The academy also includes an FAQ on Cimteq, CableBuilder and CableMES, outlining functionality and best practice in software implementation. The company recognises that everyone’s learning style is different, so the Cimteq Academy also includes videos, e-learning courses – including a quiz on assessing digital transformation readiness – and webinars on subjects that matter most in the cable and wire industry that can be accessed at the viewer’s convenience. Katy Harrison, Cimteq’s Marketing Manager, explains: “Our objectives at Cimteq are to support cable and wire manufacturers in improving their processes and to enjoy the benefits that they bring – namely cost and scrap reduction, an upskilled workforce and more resilience to compete globally. Cimteq software is the enabler to make this happen, but it is a step-change that cannot be achieved in isolation. Just as important is the transformation in skills and mindsets.” In addition to the launch of the Cimteq Academy, the company is also further developing its team with two new additions – Frederik Becker and Pippa Bindin. This follows the appointments of Cimteq’s new Financial Director, Development Manager, Project Manager and Office Administrator earlier this year.

Frederik has been appointed as Regional Sales Manager and will be responsible for new business sales of CableBuilder and CableMES across EMEA. Frederik has previously worked at a managerial level at the highly-regarded measurement instrument manufacturers Sikora and Beta LaserMike (NDC Technologies). Meanwhile, Pippa is Cimteq’s new Marketing Assistant and will support the development of marketing campaigns and strategies. Having recently graduated from Leeds Beckett University with a degree in International Tourism Management, Pippa seeks to put her interest in a global audience to good use by bolstering Cimteq’s presence on the world stage, through exhibitions and social media and website content. Cimteq is not only focused on its own growth plans, it is also keen to make a difference locally by joining other businesses and Chamber members across the region to support North Walesbased charity, Book at Bedtime. The charity provides bookcases and books to women’s refuges across the UK, giving residents and their children a sense of escapism during their time of struggle. Katy Harrison said, “This wonderful charity is doing incredible helping domestic abuse victims. Books can make life-changing differences to families in this challenging situation and we are so pleased to be assisting Book at Bedtime in its efforts.” To learn more about how Cimteq, please visit the website or email Katy Harrison, Marketing Manager, Cimteq,


Getting started with Craig Brown, CEO of Rage Fitness Company n Craig Brown, CEO Rage Fitness Company To begin, tell us a little about yourself and your background. My name is Craig Brown and I’m the proud owner of Rage Fitness Company. I am 29 years old and was raised in Anfield, Liverpool. My background is largely senior management positions in fitness & sales. As an ex-royal marine, fitness and a strong mindset has always been at the forefront of everything I do. I love to support people to live a healthier lifestyle. What made you set up the business? I identified there was an opportunity to support people from a deprived area using fitness as the main enabler to deliver a healthier and happier lifestyle. I believe people can benefit in so many ways by being healthier and more active so I set about my mission to make fitness classes available and affordable. How and when did the idea come about? I visited the adventure playground in Blacon with my stepdaughter in September 2018 and noticed a huge activity hall barely being used. I also saw some unhealthy habits and decided to support all ages within the local community. This sports centre is now the epicentre of our business where we deliver a large range of services to local people. Who are your target audience and what is the main aim of the organisation? Our vision is entirely built around using fitness as an enabler to tackle social issues and promote health & wellbeing. Rage Fitness Company has no target audience. We are designed to be as inclusive as possible. Regardless of clients’ ability or

experience in fitness, everyone can do something to be healthier. We challenge people to be the best that they can be in terms of their physical, emotional and mental health. We have programmes that challenge behaviour, career aspirations and mindset. Depending on how you wish to improve we have something for everyone. What have been your main achievements and difficulties? Rage Fitness started with two fitness classes and three clients. Now we have more than 1200 clients and over 20 partners. In addition to the fitness and personal training, we also have a variety of programmes within the North West to support Local Authorities, Schools, Police, Youth Justice System and the NHS. We are proud also to educate and employee local community residents via our education programme. To view our unique and invaluable services please visit https://www.ragefitnesscompany. com/rage-together/, we have come a long way since our first fitness class. What attracted you to entrepreneurship? Why was this? I have a strong passion and determination to deliver my vision, I believed that hard work and dedication would get me there. So, I took a leap of faith and put my heart and soul into creating a platform to build from. I get a strong sense of achievement when I make a difference, so every day since that first fitness class I instructed with three clients to now, I have been completely satisfied I am on the right path.

What are your career aims and aspirations? My goals/aspirations. . . My goal is to help as many people within the North West/the UK to live a healthier, happier lifestyle. Whether that be by looking/feeling great or enabling people to have the correct mindset to deal with life’s challenging moments. We hope to give children coping mechanisms to help them also deal with daily challenges and grow in confidence. It is important to introduce exercise as a way of life; aiming for a healthier, educated generation around fitness and wellbeing. We are just launching our first Rage Fitness Gym and this will be a hub for all of our wellness programmes. Our plan is to expand all services across the North West, then … the UK. What message would you give to fellow entrepreneurs or people looking to get involved in setting up their own business or organisation? Commitment to your vision/goal will drive you forward to succeed. Stay focused and don’t let setbacks bog you down. Learn from mistakes and build on them to do things better. We all make them! Celebrate progress, each small success quietly builds into bigger achievements, you also need that reminder that you are actually doing OK! I have built a new team from current clients and people from the local area, this really is a feel-good achievement. Invest in people and they will invest in you.



Local school learns

about the importance of conservation Young Chamber Sponsors, Chester Zoo, recently gave a talk to Archers Brook School students on the important topic of conservation. Year seven students at Archers Brook School heard from Charlie Day, Community Engagement Officer at the Zoo, who highlighted the important role the Zoo plays in conservation all over the world. The Zoo represents some of the planet’s most biodiverse and highly threatened ecosystems in Latin America, Africa, South East Asia, Madagascar and more. Charlie then focused on Chester Zoo’s work here in the UK and explained the impact that roads, invasive species and new houses are having on the country’s different native species including birds, bees, toads and Scottish wild cats.

The students responded to Charlie’s presentation by revealing the School’s activities to help wildlife, including Beehives and bird boxes that have been created as part of their conservation efforts. Pupils also had the opportunity to ask Charlie about her job, work experience at the Zoo and for more information on the conservation work it carries out.

about the zoo’s conservation efforts all over the world.” Thank you to Chester Zoo for supporting this Young Chamber event. n Charlie Day, Community Engagement Officer at Chester Zoo

“It was wonderful to hear about all of the actions that the children are taking to make their school grounds a better place for wildlife,” said Charlie on the experience. Dan Ward, Membership Executive at West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, added “We’re so thankful to Charlie for coming to speak to the pupils. It was a very informative presentation and the students found it amazing to hear

Young Chamber Sponsors support career event at Bryn Tirion Hall School On 19th June, Sponsors of the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce’s Young Chamber programme supported a “What’s my line” career event at Bryn Tirion Hall School in Wrexham. Alessandra Atria, Marketing Lead at NW Security Group, Ian Girling, Independent Consultant at Arbonne and Beth Morris and Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy from the University of Chester, all took part in the event where they responded to questions from groups of students with a Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. The purpose of this exercise was for the students to establish the job roles of the sponsors and identify the main skills needed to do their job. Questions n Students hear from the Young Chamber Sponsors

included “do you work shifts?” and “does your role involve working outside?”. After the students had asked their questions, the Sponsors were given a tour of the school, which supports pupils that have a range of additional learning needs from social and emotional to ADHD and ASD, whilst the students decided which job they thought each sponsor did from a list of possible options. The big reveal then took place with each Sponsor telling the students about their role and explaining the three most important skills needed to do it effectively. Students then had time to ask further questions and even had the chance to operate an AXIS Network Camera, kindly brought along by NW Security. The camera connects to a laptop and is able to emit sounds, such as a barking dog, to ward off potential intruders. “I really can’t stress enough the enormous value which your visiting employers add to our school provision. The opportunity to be inspired by professionals from a wide range of backgrounds is one which we especially value for our students and its impact is immeasurable but clear to see. I have already had some amazing


feedback from everyone, especially the students who now seem to have a real appetite for meeting more employers!” said Joyce Youds, Employability & Careers at Bryn Tirion Hall School. Beth Morris added “I found the event to be a truly inspiring morning. It was an absolute pleasure to meet the students, who worked so hard in the activity. They were a credit to themselves and the school. I can imagine that for some, meeting and speaking with new people is a real obstacle and they did brilliantly. The feeling of warmth, mutual respect and community within the school really struck me.” Thank you to our Young Chamber Sponsors that took part in this event: n Arbonne n NW Security Group n University of Chester For more information about Young Chamber and to find out how you can get involved, please go to https:// or email youngchamber@


Young Chamber Supports Christleton High School Careers and Interview Day Over 20 Young Chamber Sponsors supported a two-day Careers event at Christleton High School on 3rd and 4th July. The event, which saw 120 students from year 12 attend, was split into two days, the first of which focused on career talks from a variety of local businesses. Students had the chance to hear from local business people about their career paths and the opportunities available in their business sectors, which included; manufacturing, recruitment, housing, accountancy, retail and consultancy. Students were then allowed to pick the brains of the speakers by asking how they got into their roles and if they had any advice on how they could enter their sector. “Attending the careers day at Christleton reminded me of the excitement and apprehension you feel as you move in adult life. It was a pleasure to share my personal experience and I emphasised that it was OK not to know what you want to do but rather to explore opportunities” said Nigel Allman, Director at Ashton Consulting and Business Doctors. The following day, students and Sponsors returned for a day of mock interviews. In preparation for the event, students selected which “fake job” they wanted to apply for (ranging from Biomedical Scientist to Educational Youth Worker) and were asked to prepare two CVs, a generic one and another specific to the role they were applying for.

The Young Chamber Sponsors then interviewed the students for 20 minutes in the manner they would for a real-life job. The Sponsors then gave invaluable feedback to the students on ways that they could improve their interview techniques including; dressing smartly, keeping eye contact and tips for improving their CVs. “We are passionate about trying to help younger people with the direction they take in their career and what options are available to them in industry. I hope that we were able to help and give some good advice to the pupils we interviewed” said James Taylor, Director at Delve Recruitment. The career events formed part of the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce’s Young Chamber programme that aims to develop the skills and experience of students in the region, whilst also showcasing some of the career opportunities available to them right on their doorstep. “Once again the Sponsors of the Young Chamber stepped up and helped deliver two fantastic careers events at Christleton High School. Not only is it amazing for our students to encounter such animated, enthusiastic and driven professionals, but the Sponsors make these experiences real and visceral for our students. The sense of excitement and interest amongst the students was palpable and the mock interview day has to rank amongst the best things we offer as a Sixth Form. A huge thank you, therefore, to all those who took part, gave advice, imparted some wisdom and made these events such as success.

Our careers week, with the support of the Young Chamber, really does bring our school motto of “Bringing aspirations to life” into reality” said Mike Cosstick, Assistant Head Teacher and Head of Sixth Form at Christleton High School. “Events like these are the foundation of our Young Chamber programme as it gives pupils the chance to learn about exciting local businesses, whilst giving them valuable experience of a job interview. The level of support from our Young Chamber Sponsors for this event has been outstanding and I can’t thank them enough for the time and effort they have put in” said Jenny Davidson, Events & Young Chamber Manager at West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to the Sponsors that supported this event: n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n

Altimex Ltd & MJ Lighting Ltd Ashton Consulting Broughton Shopping Butcher & Barlow Delve Recruitment Ltd Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers Hillyer McKeown Hybrid Search Ltd Insignia Resourcing Limited K & A Motorsport Overbyte Interactive Ltd Protos Networks Sanctuary Housing SAS Daniels LLP Seneca Bridge Umbrella Marketing Team University of Chester

n James Taylor, from Delve Recruitment, interviewing a pupil



Jamie Christon Chief Operating Officer Chester Zoo

WCNW: To begin, tell us a little about yourself and your background. I have had a career which was dominated in its early part in high street food and fashion retail. I worked initially for Somerfield Stores then House of Fraser and Greggs. I then spent a number of years with Manchester Airport Group, before managing my own airport in the south of England. More latterly, I worked for Stena Line looking after routes across the Irish Sea and then in a group role. I joined Chester Zoo in 2013 and have been here for the last six years. I live in Hoole with my dog Patch. WCNW: What attracted you to the company? I could see that Chester Zoo had a clear master plan and wanted to step change with its ambitious plans and groundbreaking new South East Asian habitats, called Islands. We started digging the ground four weeks after I joined the charity. Chester Zoo’s reputation has grown immensely over the last few years and I wanted to help this develop. We want to be the best zoo in the world and our work in conservation is amazing. We are also a major visitor attraction and have developed our commerciality massively, helping to fund that conservation mission.


WCNW: What are your main responsibilities? I am responsible for business operations at the zoo. This includes overseeing the work of our finance team, HR, commercial and site operations, marketing, PR, sales, events, fundraising and capital development. I also do a lot of stakeholder engagement work in the local and regional community. WCNW: What does a typical day involve? It tends to be made up of a series of meetings with the directors and department heads around many of the projects the zoo is involved with. These tend at the moment to be capital builds. As part of our Strategic plan which sees the development of the zoo over the next 10 years, we are hard at work creating new habitats for our animal and plant collections. My meetings could be anything from managing capital spend to dealing with forward planning for our people to understanding a marketing campaign, which may be twelve months ahead. I try and get out into the zoo as much as possible but this takes great discipline and a really well-organised diary.

WCNW: Who are your target audience and what is the main aim of the organisation? Our target audience is everyone. The great British public. As a major visitor attraction with nearly 2 million visits last year, making sure people have a great day out is fundamental. Crucially, we are also a conservation charity, delivering our mission of Preventing Extinction. Not only do we deliver 80 projects in 30 countries around the world, but we aim to be able to educate our visitors and 125,000 members on the importance of conservation and what is happening in the world’s most biodiverse habitats. WCNW: What projects are you currently working on? Our overarching build plan is known as the Strategic Development Plan (SDP). This sets out our vision for how the zoo will look and currently runs until 2032. It is split into three, five-year pillars and we are currently well through the first of those. The main schemes we are working up and building at the moment include: a new habitat for Asiatic lions, as well as a large off-show facility which allows us to move species into specially built habitats while we redevelop the core zoo. We are also developing a

THE BIG INTERVIEW scheme called Grasslands, recreating an African savannah habitat here in Chester, which is a huge reorganisation of the western side of the zoo. This may also include aspects of overnight accommodation. Following the devastating fire in our Monsoon Forest habitat in December of last year, we are also working to rebuild that area to its former glory. WCNW: How have things gone so far? Our projects are in general running on time and on budget. They are vastly complex and involve input from many departments in the zoo as well as outside experts. Each one is unique. We’re building state-of-theart habitats to maximise animal welfare and visitor experience, so it requires an incredible team effort. WCNW: Any difficulties? If so how did you overcome them? The weather can sometimes be a challenge as we develop the zoo. A wet summer or a very cold winter can slow some of our habitat creation projects down. We try and do a lot of work outside the main summer season to avoid impact on visitors, but this isn’t without its challenges. Our peak visitation seasons have expanded right through to December, so sometimes visitors may find the work we are doing to improve the zoo means they can’t see everything in one visit. Luckily, we’re a 125-acre site with 27,000 animals so there’s always plenty for people to experience. We also design a build programme that can take some slack. WCNW: Did you ever think ‘I’ve taken on too big a risk’? If so, how did you overcome it? The zoo’s legendary founder, George Mottershead, coined the motto “always building” to sum up the remarkable growth of the zoo ever since it was first established. We live that same ethos today; never standing still. This growth always has risk attached to it. There is a difference between a risk and a managed risk and we adopt the latter. We plan what the risks could be and then how to mitigate each one.

WCNW: Looking ahead, what are your main aims for the organisation and how would you like it to develop? We aim to continue to grow sustainably. The environment is a hot topic and people have realised the damage humans are doing to the planet. We are proud to be an organisation which is seen as a champion of these causes; it’s part of our purpose as a conservation charity. This will continue to be at the forefront of our minds as the zoo grows. WCNW: How have businesses and individuals responded to what you’re offering? With great success. We have grown our membership to over 125,000 and our visitor numbers are ever-increasing. We are supported by more and more local and regional businesses. The Secret Life of the Zoo, the popular Channel 4 programme, has allowed us to cast our reach even further, spreading our conservation message to an even wider audience. WCNW: Are there any particular people, business leaders or others you look up to? What have you learned from them? I have for a long-time seen Sir Winston Churchill as a great role model. Not that I am anything like him, but I see how he responded and acted in periods of hostility and when there were difficult hurdles to overcome. I also enjoy his humour and he was an amazing orator. I have sometimes tried to use some of his phrases in the workplace and failed miserably. WCNW: What are your career aims and aspirations? Is there anything else in particular you’d like to achieve in your lifetime? I would like to continue to be part of Chester Zoo’s growth and leave a legacy both physically but also culturally here at the zoo. WCNW: What message would you give to other people in business? Get to know your people and have a strong team of specialists around you who help you deliver the vision with you. Don’t try and do it all yourself.

“The zoo’s legendary founder, George Mottershead, coined the motto “always building” to sum up the remarkable growth of the zoo ever since it was first established. We live that same ethos today; never standing still.” 27


Business Confidence at three-year high shows Chamber Survey The latest Quarterly Economic Survey from the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce has indicated that business confidence is strong in the region, with figures the highest they’ve been for nearly three years. The results of the latest survey, which took place between 20th May and 10th June and saw just under 80 businesses take part, were revealed by ex-Bank of England Agent Neil Ashbridge at a breakfast event at Abode Chester on 24th July. Just under 30 guests listened to the results of the latest survey which also revealed investment intentions in both plant/

machinery and training recovered after a dip in the first quarter of 2019. This could reflect the opinion that businesses are no longer prepared to delay investment plans in the run-up to Brexit. The region’s exporters reported an increase in orders for the third consecutive quarter, whilst sales dipped slightly after the spike seen in the previous survey. This was potentially due to stockpiling ahead of the original Brexit deadline. However, domestic sales eased returning to levels seen one year ago and the number of businesses reporting recruitment difficulties has also increased.

Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, also spoke to the room about the national economic picture and explained that there were several elements other than just Brexit that were having an effect on the UK economy, including the rise in the cost of doing business and a global economic slowdown. Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, commented on the results of the survey saying: “These results indicate that businesses in West Cheshire & North Wales are remaining resilient despite ongoing political uncertainty. To boost and incentivise investment, the business community is looking for a bold growth agenda here at home. The new government must hit the ground running and introduce measures to reduce the upfront cost of doing business, deliver major infrastructure projects, and unblock the arteries of Britain’s skills and immigration systems.”

IN FOCUS with Textlocal Quite simply, consumer demand across all industries to deliver mobile-friendly services has never been higher. We have adapted with the evolving market, providing our customers with access to additional products and new channels. The new innovations and services we now offer have allowed us to continue to grow our customer base. As a result, our business revenue has grown by 11.5% year-on-year over the last three months.

n Chloe Dignam, SMB Sales Manager at Textlocal Textlocal offers a premium, feature-rich solution for SMS messaging. Their clients can instantly trigger cost-effective bulk SMS campaigns to hundreds or thousands of customers. Chloe Dignam, SMB Sales Manager, gives us an insight into her response to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey; You’ve indicated that sales and orders have increased over the last three months and you are confident that turnover will increase going forward. Is there a specific reason behind this?


You are also expecting to recruit more staff over the next three months. Could you explain the reasons behind this? Our growing range of products means that to continue offering the latest technologies to our customers we must expand across several teams and two separate locations to make sure we can support our customers and growth. This includes developers and IT professionals as well as customer-facing staff and account managers specialising in specific business size and sectors. You are looking to increase both plant/ machinery and training investment. What are your reasons behind this? We firmly believe in investing in the team training at customer-facing level; across

customer services and sales specialists. By doing so we’re giving our most valued asset, our staff, the tools to continuously deliver convenient and comprehensive support and develop their skills on a personal level. What would you say is the biggest challenge facing businesses in your industry at the moment? Communication is a saturated market. There is a growing expectation from consumers to engage with businesses through different messaging channels; this means that new communication channels are being developed constantly, and with this more competitors arise. We have had to grow and adapt with the market to move into offering Facebook Messenger, Email, WhatsApp, SMS and Live Chat through a single interface for efficiency of use but also to stand out from our competitors. The breadth of our new solutions ensures we can support micro-businesses at the start of their messaging journey, right through to big brands in migrating their existing strategy into one solution.


Market Selection – IT’S A BIG WORLD n Veronica Dawson, International Trade Advisor at DIT

There are 196 countries in the world – how do you decide which market is the best suited to your exports?

covering a range of topics, one of which was market selection and wanted to share with you.


Language and Culture – do you have any language skills within the company? Whilst not always essential, it obviously is a big plus if you are able to harness these skills and promote your products or services overseas where English is not widely spoken.


Ease of doing business/getting paid - there are a number of websites which provide this information – e.g. rankings. This site shows the statistics for 190 countries – New Zealand tops the list with Somalia at the bottom (UK is ranked 9th). This provides useful information that can be considered as part of an export strategy.


Competition – learn about local and global competitors. If your

For new and experienced exporters, the considerations are the same, and the effort both in terms of research and budget need to justify the end result – which translates as export sales. I recently worked with the Growth Company in Manchester to provide a series of ‘Five Top Tips’ for exporters,

competitors are active in the market does this show an opportunity for you or will it mean you choose to avoid?


Logistics – this does not just mean getting your goods overseas. You will need to visit the market maybe several times – do you have the resources and budget to allow this? Also, think about global time differences – do you need to be able to speak to your potential customers during normal UK working hours?


Speak to the Department of International Trade who will appoint a Trade Adviser to work with you and create an export strategy, which will include the points above as well as all other considerations. They can signpost you training to help you better understand your limitations whilst maximising the opportunities that Exporting can bring to your business.

New training courses to help firms trade internationally The West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce has released new dates for its International Trade training courses that are designed to give firms the necessary knowledge to export and import their products and services. The courses, accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), cover the full exporting journey - from an introduction, to documentation, methods of payment and routes to market - and have seen numerous businesses in the region successfully take part previously. “I’ve been exporting around the world in various jobs for many years, but the Chamber of Commerce course gave me a much better understanding of the terms and how critical they are,” said Jo Windeler, Customer Service Team Leader at Tate & Lyle.

n The team from Tate & Lyle with their certificates By taking part in six of the training courses, participants gain a Foundation Award in International Trade, certified by the BCC, which is equivalent to an NVQ 2 qualification. Taking part in seven of the courses also entitles delegates to a 10% discount. “The training courses that we provide are a great way for firms that trade internationally to upskill employees and give them in-depth knowledge of how to export efficiently and compliantly,”

said Hayley Gray, Export Documentations Manager at the Chamber. “With uncertainty remaining around the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU, our courses are kept up to date with the latest developments and allow firms to prepare for potential changes in procedures”. To view upcoming course dates, including a new online Customs Declaration Training course, go to https://portal.wcnwchamber.


Paper-based packaging is now a USP. 75% of shoppers now prefer paper-based packaging over plastic*. Talk to us about how we can help your brand. Find out more at

PA P E R | PA C K A G I N G | S O L U T I O N S L S E : S KG

*Studies were performed for a well-known brand on 1200 consumers across Europe.


What I am Passionate About… At Smurfit Kappa we are very passionate about our sustainability credentials and have launched our Global Initiative called Better Planet Packaging. Late last year Smurfit Kappa, a world-leading manufacturer of paper-based packaging, launched its ‘Better Planet Packaging’ initiative - which seeks to reduce packaging waste and address the challenges caused by plastic ending up in oceans and landfills. Better Planet Packaging is a multifaceted initiative comprising of futuristic product design, extensive research & development and collaboration with existing and new partners. Our company has been built from a strong sustainability ethos. As a user of trees for our raw material, we have always understood the importance of protecting the environment and the resources that we have. We have a closed-loop business model -with our own forests, paper mills, box-making plants, and recycling facilities. All of this means that we not only have control over our outputs, but that we are able to focus on streamlining our processes across the business - ensuring that we are aligned with all sustainability targets and working together to achieve them.

We see the damage that plastic pollution has on our planet and know that we are in a unique position to make positive changes to help counteract this. We have a wealth of talented designers within the business who are all working hard to create innovative designs which centre on plastic­reduction. For many of our customers, we have either reduced or completely removed their need for plastic through our packaging solutions. For one of our projects, we switched 225 million non-recyclable polystyrene pizza discs into corrugated-the equivalent of filling 231 double-decker buses each year. We harness our expertise and experience for projects Iike this in order to create tangible solutions which help to make a real difference. To tackle the level of waste that ends up in our oceans and landfill, we are continuing to improve how we design for and collect packaging waste through our recycling facilities. It is important to think about packaging collection right at the beginning of the design process, with our designers constantly thinking of ways to create

packaging that can be recycled effectively. Eddie Fellows, CEO of Smurfit Kappa UK commented: “We work closely with our customers to ensure that they get packaging that not only adds functionality, but value too. Through improving design, and technical development of new sustainable alternatives, we can help to cut waste.” Better Planet Packaging is intended to go beyond what we’re doing as a company and use our industry expertise to engage a range of partners and facilitate broader, meaningful discussions and action about how we can all be more sustainable in our design and use of packaging. Our key goal through this initiative is to help make packaging waste extinct. If there’s a project you think we can help you with, then please visit smurfitkappa. com today to arrange a free design session with our experts and learn about the business building power of packaging. For further information visit



VAT CHANGES DUE TO AFFECT THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY The CSDRC applies only to services that are made to a contractor: it does not apply to an “end-user” customer. However, there may be situations when this rule may be relaxed where both parties agree. Further guidance is due to be published by HMRC in the coming months on this point. Both contractors and suppliers will need to be clear about the impact of the CSDRC on their business and ensure they have the appropriate systems in place to deal with the new rules. Subcontractors may suffer a cash flow disadvantage as they will no longer benefit from the potential delay between being paid the Vat on their invoices and accounting for that VAT on their VAT return. On 1 October 2019 there will be a significant change in the way contractors and sub-contractors in the construction industry will account for VAT. From that date the Construction Services Domestic Reverse Charge (“CSDRC”) is introduced. Paul Brown, Tax Partner at Whittingham Riddell Chartered Accountants based in Wrexham explains: “Under the CSDRC, a person supplying certain construction industry services to a VAT-registered customer will no longer be required to account for VAT on those services. Instead the customer will account for VAT under a “reverse charge” arrangement – in effect the customer will account for VAT as if they had made the supply to themselves. They would then recover input tax in the same way as for any other supply. The CSDRC applies only to supplies which would otherwise be subject to VAT at the standard or reduced rate. Supplies by non-VAT registered traders or zero rated supplies will not be affected. The list of services that the CSDRC applies to is the same as those who fall under the Income Tax Construction Industry Scheme (“CIS”). They therefore include not only construction but also alteration or repair of buildings, some types of electrical and plumbing work, site clearance etc. The CSDRC also extends to any goods or materials supplied in conjunction with “construction services”.


There may be a cash flow advantage for Contractors who will no longer suffer a delay between paying VAT and recovering it, since both will now be dealt with on the same VAT return. The onus will now be on the contractor to determine the correct VAT rate to be used for the reverse charge. Before agreeing not to charge VAT on a taxable supply, a supplier of “construction services” will need to be satisfied that the supply falls within the CSDRC (and in particular that the customer is a VATregistered contractor and not an end-user). The CSDRC applies to “construction services”. The supplies which will be covered include: n Construction, extension, demolition,

alteration or repair of buildings or of any works forming part of the land

n Installation in any building (whether

or not in the course of construction) of a heating, lighting, air conditioning, power, water, drainage etc system

n Internal cleaning of buildings (so far as

carried out in the course of construction, extension, etc)

n Painting or decorating the internal or

external surfaces of any building

It also applies to those services which form an integral part of any of the services described above or are preparatory to them or for rendering them complete. Supplies which are excluded from the definition of construction services where supplied on their own include: n Manufacture of components

for systems of heating, lighting, air conditioning, ventilation, power supply, drainage, sanitation, water supply or fire protection

n Professional services of architects or

surveyors, building consultants etc

n Installation of seating, blinds and shutters n Installation of security systems such as

burglar alarms, closed circuit television and public-address systems

In the first six months following implementation, HMRC will apply a light touch in dealing with errors, where businesses are genuinely trying to comply with the new legislation. However, where businesses knowingly fail to account for the reverse charge when it should have been due, penalties may be due. We can work with you to determine how the CSDRC may apply to your business and, where applicable, to determine the changes which may be required to your systems to comply with the new rules. “ Please contact us if you are affected and would like to discuss how the rules will apply to your business. Call Whittingham Riddell’s Wrexham office 01978 261579 or E:

Lothbury UK Ltd is an independently owned Lloyd’s Commercial Insurance Broker with access to a wide range of insurance markets and this coupled with the expertise of our team, ensures that we can cater for the most complex requirements for your business.

With offices in Chester, North Wales and City of London, we are uniquely positioned to support customers’ development through our expert knowledge of commercial risks and the markets, providing the breadth of insurance covers required for your business. Lothbury UK are one of only 250 Lloyd’s Insurance Brokers within the UK and are well placed to access a range of markets on your behalf. We believe the success to all parties towards upholding the best of clients standards.

Our services include: n Broking Service / Risk Profiling n Claims Management n Fleet Management n Health & Safety Management System Audit n Risk Management Review n Business Management Systems n Sub-Contractor Reviews n Contractual Reviews/Collateral Warranties Lothbury UK, as an independently owned Lloyd’s Insurance Broker, specialise in Bank House, 18 White Friars, Chester CH1delivering 1PW complex | Tel: +44 (0) insurance 1244 322and 456 commercial risk management strategies to a number of Gyrn Business Centre, Gyrn, Llanasa, Holywell CH8 9BG | Tel: +44 (0) 1745 404 002 large established construction companies.

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With offices in the City of London and Chester, we are uniquely positioned to support our customers’ development through our expert knowledge of Broker at construction risk and the markets, providing the breadth of insurance covers required for this complex industry. |

WHAT’S KEEPING SME OWNERS AWAKE AT NIGHT? Wesleyan Bank’s Annual SME Trends report has uncovered a growing lack of business confidence amongst UK SME owners, but why? Of the 1000 SME owners surveyed, one of the main concerns and causes of uncertainty was the lack of trust they have in banks. Could it be that they have experienced a lack of support first-hand through the economic recession and other political uncertainties? Perhaps the newfound information era and step towards digital banking services is unappealing in comparison to the personal customer experience they once knew? Take a read for yourself and decide. Visit At Wesleyan Bank we are all about you.

For more information, call us on 0800 980 9348 between Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:30pm.

Wesleyan Bank acts both as a broker and a lender Depending on the circumstances and where required by law, loans will be regulated by Financial Conduct Authority and the Consumer Credit Act. Written quotations are available on request from Wesleyan Bank Ltd. Credit facilities are subject to status and only available to UK residents over the age of 18. Wesleyan Bank Ltd reserves the right to decline any application. Wesleyan Bank Ltd (Registered in England and Wales No.02839202) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No.165116). Registered office: PO Box 3420, Colmore Circus, Birmingham, B4 6AE. Tel: 0800 358 1122. Telephone calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes. SME-AD- 08/19








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C H 1 4 LT



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PHASE 3 - NEW BUILD TO SUIT UP TO 20,000 SQ FT Mark Diaper 07734 711409

Stephen Wade 07779 656799 A development by


Your partners in business In business as in life, the quality, source and speed of the advice you receive makes all the difference. Whether it is an edge to help close the deal, or a pragmatic view on a complex situation, we are ready to respond when you need us. Every time.

Freddie Storrar

Geoff Cogan

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Emma Pierce-Kemp

Solicitor and Head of Corporate & Commercial

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Senior Solicitor


Supporting Cheshire businesses since 1983 For more information, please contact us:

01244 400567 India House 16 White Friars Chester CH1 1NZ


Our results SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES It includes members of the Royal family, political parties and some of the World’s most famous film, entertainment and sporting stars, brands and organisations. Mark is Managing Director of media and commercial litigation specialists Manleys Solicitors in Chester. Mark’s vision when he founded the business in 2012 was to build a specialist litigation practice, dedicated to first class service, building a strong rapport with clients and being highly results focused. The vision has very much been achieved in only 7 years. Today the firm is recognised by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners independent legal directories for their areas of specialism.

Mark Manley and his team at Manleys have something of a unique position at the boutique law firm he has established in Chester. The client list is quite remarkable.

From a standing start, Manleys has made its mark on a national level. The firm’s client list reads like a who’s who and some of the results in the High Court and even the Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) are very impressive. But Manley is keen to point out it’s not all about the rich and famous. The firm is proudly represents many Directors and shareholders in disputes and local small businesses and business owners.

In the results business... Mark is proud of the high standards his firm achieves. “We believe in ‘going the extra mile’ for our clients. This might involve working unsociable hours, obtaining an urgent injunction or more conventional negotiation, mediation, litigation or deal making. Whichever it is - we help our clients to secure the best result possible. “We advise on any legal issue that has caused, or has the potential to cause, reputational, commercial or financial harm; from libel, slander and copyright infringement through to all forms of commercial and contractual disputes.” “The service we received from Manley’s, in particular Mark and Katie was exemplary. The advice, guidance and support was excellent, well communicated and expertly executed. Everything was handled with extreme confidentiality and discretion and I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking for legal advice or support.” Michael Owen, Former Professional Footballer.


Skills shortages are costing Welsh organisations £155 million and 74% said they have had difficulties in the last 12 months recruiting for a role due to candidates lacking the necessary skills. The Open University’s 2019 Business Barometer

Develop a team with the right mix of business skills and technical expertise to drive your business forward with our Applied Software Engineering Degree Apprenticeship. The apprenticeship is fully funded by The Welsh Government through The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. Places are available for February 2020 starts. Apply now.

The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302). The Open University is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. © 2019 The Open University.

Mae prinder sgiliau yn costio £155 miliwn i sefydliadau Cymru a dywedodd 74% eu bod wedi cael trafferth recriwtio dros y 12 mis diwethaf oherwydd nad oes gan ymgeiswyr y sgiliau angenrheidiol. Baromedr Busnes 2019 y Brifysgol Agored

Datblygwch dîm sydd â’r cyfuniad gorau o sgiliau busnes ac arbenigedd technegol i roi hwb i’ch busnes gyda’n Gradd Brentisiaeth Peirianneg Meddalwedd Gymhwysol. Mae’r brentisiaeth wedi ei hariannu’n llawn gan Lywodraeth Cymru drwy Gyngor Cyllido Addysg Uwch Cymru. Mae llefydd ar gael ar gyfer cychwyn ym mis Chwefror 2020. Gwnewch gais nawr.

Mae’r Brifysgol Agored yn gorfforedig drwy Siarter Frenhinol (RC 000391), yn elusen eithriedig yng Nghymru a Lloegr ac yn elusen gofrestredig yn yr Alban (SC 038302). Awdurdodir a rheoleiddir y Brifysgol Agored gan yr Awdurdod Ymddygiad Ariannol. © Y Brifysgol Agored 2019.


USING HYDROGEN TO REDUCE CO2 Heat generation, mainly produced by burning natural gas, is the greatest source of CO2 in the UK, according to a government report from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. AC Chemical Systems Ltd, an SME based in Chester, has joined the EcoInnovation Cheshire and Warrington project to research how it can tackle this problem. Using excess wind and solar power to generate hydrogen, AC Chemical Systems is developing a reversible electrolyser with the aim of reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere. The reversible electrolyser works as energy storage. In this case, it stores excess electricity in the form of hydrogen, and the hydrogen can be introduced to the gas network to help decarbonise heat generation. According to HyDeploy, a hydrogen energy project aiming to reduce UK carbon dioxide CO2 emissions, up to 20% of natural gas can be replaced by hydrogen produced from renewable resources, without any change to appliances. Natural gas can be replaced completely by hydrogen and used by current appliances by changing burners. Andy Creeth, Managing Director of AC Chemical Systems Ltd, says the reason he joined Eco-Innovation, and relocated to Thornton Science Park, is because of the equipment, location and environment. “With access to the Energy Centre and the lab equipment, everything was in place for our project. It’s a combination of many things which made us want to be based here,

including the fact that the North West has the Hydrogen Network. “Eco-Innovation is giving AC Chemicals the opportunity to use skill sets and knowledge, combined with the equipment on site, to improve the performance of one of the components of the electrolyser.” The team at AC Chemical Systems Ltd has been joined by Master by Research (MRes) student Michael Hales, who will use his skills in synthesis to design, make and test a number of options for the component. Michael studied a joint honours at the University of Nottingham in Biochemistry and Chemistry. This led him to complete an MPhil in the

synthesis of teichoic acids. These are a component of the surface of bacteria, known to play a role in providing the bacteria with resistance to antibiotics. Through his time at Thornton Science Park with AC Chemical Systems, Michael hopes to gain experience in Materials Chemistry and is looking forward to seeing how a polymer (which is a large molecule), behaves and reacts. He added: “My aim is for my research to be published in a paper, or at least be such that another colleague would be able to expand from it. Although my MRes is only a year long, I am hopeful that this project work will really make a difference.”

To find out more, get in touch with our Business Development team Rhian at the University of Chester: / 01244 567370 Stephen at Lancaster University: 01524 510745 / 07779965574 / This project is part-funded by



GROWTH OF THE GREEN ROOF Turf management is a growing industry and affects us all. Not only do professional sports pitches such as football, golf and tennis turf need to be high quality and well-maintained but there is also an expectation for parks and public spaces to be appealing and available throughout the year and in all weathers. All Turf Ltd supplies a range of specialist turf to domestic and commercial markets, from homeowners and councils to golf courses and football pitches. Being an inherently sustainable business, All Turf uses solar panels, boreholes and natural fertilisers when growing their products at their site in Yorkshire. A key and innovative product which is growing in popularity is the All Turf’s Green Roof. This product is being continually improved and offers many benefits to customers. Green roofs are visually appealing and showcase a company’s commitment to sustainability, they have insulating qualities and therefore reduce the need for heating and cooling within a property, they reduce noise and air

pollution, and they offer benefits to nearby eco-systems by providing a natural habitat for wildlife. Lancaster University’s Centre for Global Eco-Innovation has supported All Turf’s development and promotion of their green roof product by providing a fullyfunded student internship. This project helped to highlight the environmental and social benefits of green roofs and identified appropriate target markets and routes of entry to help increase future sales of this product. Luke Taylor of All Turf Ltd says, “We have identified green roofs as the primary focus of the business for the coming 12 months and the area which is expected to grow the most. Our internship with the Centre provided a fantastic resource to help drive market understanding and campaigns to push this innovation forward. This internship lead us to the further belief that this was such an important area for us we wanted to recognise this and give it a primary focus by creating

a new company dedicated to green roofs called Wiilder Limited.” To find out more about Wiilder’s green roofs you can contact the team on 01565 723 128 or email For all information about All Turf’s turf, wildflower and hybrid ranges visit or email If you’re an SME looking for support to a develop low carbon product or service please get in touch with Stephen at the Centre for Global EcoInnovation on 01524 510745 or email This project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

To find out more, get in touch with our Business Development team Rhian at the University of Chester: / 01244 567370 Stephen at Lancaster University: 01524 510745 / 07779965574 / This project is part-funded by



Sparking lightbulb moments in ENERGY INNOVATION


eading earth scientists designed two world-class observatories to explain how the underground could help to solve our biggest environmental problems. Cheshire councillors have agreed for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the British Geological Survey (BGS) to locate one in the north of the county. Business Matters finds out what solutions lie below to keeping the lights on without pumping more carbon into the atmosphere. It was an ordinary planning meeting, in an ordinary public building, on an ordinary working day. However, the proposal before the committee was quite unlike any Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWACC) councillor had been asked to consider before. The BGS was seeking consent for an 18-month drilling programme across 12sqkm of Cheshire landscape to sink fifty boreholes equipped with 1800 sensors capable of detecting earth tremors on the other side of the planet and watching fluid flow through the mass of rock. The mission? To generate millions of terabytes of data to underpin efforts to tackle global warming.

faults in geological strata impede its flow in this area.” The observatory proposed for Cheshire would be a groundbreaking data gathering exercise to improve this understanding: providing knowledge critical to dealing with big environmental challenges.

One community member voiced fears that the investment would pave the way for the fossil fuel industry in the area. However, committee members were reassured that the boreholes could not be repurposed for fracking and that the observatories were not being funded by oil and gas operators.

BGS observatories manager Dr Geoff Baxter explained: “The observatories will make robust evidence available about the environment and how we decarbonise. The data will be openly

Councillor Gill Houlbrook said: “Many people are concerned that allowing a company to drill holes in the ground for one purpose will mean that another company can come

accessible. This is from the people who put evidence into the heart of good decision-making. It’s a critical step in the green revolution, part of the local enterprise partnership growth strategy and aligned with the Cheshire Energy Hub’s efforts to transform the local energy system.”

along and drill holes in the ground for another purpose. There is no case for saying that it sets a precedent. Every application we receive is determined on its own merits.”

It was a big leap of faith for councillors more accustomed to plans for conservatories, industrial units, hospital wings, and fracking operations. With the council’s climate emergency declaration front of mind as the committee convened in a market town defined by the geology below it, members listened carefully to the arguments for and against a neverdone-before sensor experiment on the geological environment. Speaking in favour, shadow cabinet member for the environment Councillor John Leather argued that the subsurface was not an unspoilt environment as many people believe: “What happens in the subsurface has been modified by man using water, digging wells, dredging, rerouting rivers, extracting minerals, sand and gravel, spilling industrial waste over several centuries and adding nitrates and phosphates from farming over the past century. We only have a hazy idea of what happens then. How biological material is broken down and how it affects the groundwater. How


“Personally I’m rather reassured. I do note that one of the expert witnesses


n 250-million-year-old sandstone bedrock, as seen on Hilbre Island, lies below much of north-west England and forms the characteristic ridges of Cheshire’s hills. Scientists are testing the ability of the rock to store the excess carbon in the atmosphere.

at that [IGas] hearing actually appears to be quite happy with this application. I’m pretty sure that if there were any danger of fracking at this site, my fellow councillor would be here jumping up and down and protesting about this application.” Others argued that the public debate on fracking had strengthened the case for better evidence and information. Cllr Charles Fifield said: “Their [BGS] work elsewhere is what definitely put the link between the earthquake in Blackpool and the fracking bit that had gone on there. I went along a couple of years ago to a Frack Free meeting to hear what people had said. One of the things that I came away from that was that people didn’t have enough information. This is about getting information and evidence about the substructure. And we don’t know enough about that.” Some were supportive of the drive to spark lightbulb moments in energy innovation. Councillor Myles Hogg said: “I’m excited that it may lead to

energy storage and carbon storage facilities sometime in the future. Personally, I’m very, very much in support of this project.”

conclude unanimously that the public needed and deserved better data, information and evidence on the environment beneath their feet.

Councillor Bryan Jones said: “The knowledge we get from this particular site will help the UK and perhaps the world and I don’t see any reason why it should not be given permission.”

Their decision enables the BGS and NERC to begin drilling in spring 2020. Executive chief scientist for decarbonisation and resource management at the BGS, Professor Mike Stephenson said: “Cheshire councillors have recognised that the level of debate surrounding geoenergy demonstrates the importance of sound, impartial information being available to the public. They have taken an extraordinary decision for the UK. The observatories will improve our understanding of the world beneath our feet as never before. Their decision has enabled us to launch an online resource that will open up data to members of the community, decisionmaking bodies, regulators, academia and industry.”

Cllr Fifield added: “If we have got a climate emergency, which is what this council declared, we need as much information as possible. Notwithstanding the concerns that the community has, which I hope can be reassured by the fact that the evidence and information produced is going to be publically available and that this array could be of benefit not just to this county, to this country but to this entire planet, I personally think this is something we need to be getting on with.” So high above the 160 miles of rock salt mining tunnels and caverns of Winsford, 10 councillors took just 47 minutes to

Find out more at


Trains every 15 minutes between Chester and Liverpool The most frequent service with trains every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm Monday – Saturday* From platform 7b at Chester station


Spencer’s Friends Cerys Millington

allows me to monitor how the child’s feet are developing over time meaning I can recommend the right shoes and ensure they are always fitted well. Think about it as similar to the relationship your child has with a dentist. I’m a big believer that foot health is hugely important for young children in their early years of development.

Was a role like this always what you aspired to?

An overview of yourself and your current role? I am happily married with a wonderful 8-year-old boy called Spencer and we have lived in Wirral for 12 years now. Spencer was my inspiration for Spencer’s Friends, which I founded in summer 2017.

What are your aims for the business? I’m passionate about transforming the buying experience for children’s shoes. Quality shoes fitted well is my strapline but I want to deliver the Spencer’s Friends experience at a time and location convenient for the customer and in an environment the child is comfortable in, such as in your own home. My aim is to develop long term customer relationships with parent/carer and child, ensuring shoes are fitted well throughout the early years as their little feet grow. In time and through hard work and dedication, my ambition is to share the Spencer’s Friends experience with a bigger, national and potentially international audience.

I always wanted to set up my own business from scratch but it was put on the back burner when I became a mum. It was during Spencer’s early years that I witnessed for myself the poor-quality experience when buying kids shoes at the usual retail shops. As well as poor or non-existent fitting, which still staggers me today, the whole experience was chaotic and stressful for both parent/carer and child. This lack of care inspired me to enrol for a professional shoe fitting course in Northampton for which I am now fully accredited and a full member of the Society of Shoe Fitters.

Do you have any memorable clients or jobs that you have carried out? There have been many memorable experiences since founding the business. But one area that stands out is when I work closely with children with learning difficulties or at SEN (special educational needs) schools. I am blessed through the service I offer to build relationships with my customers and I now understand how traumatic an experience shoe shopping can be for a child with these challenges. Seeing how Spencer’s Friends transforms this experience gives me huge personal pride. It’s a great example of what I wanted to achieve when founding Spencer’s Friends, changing a stressful experience into a pleasurable one and ensuring children have great foot health through the important early years of growth.

Tell us a bit about what you do outside of work to relax? Spencer’s Friends has taken a lot of my time in the last couple of years as you would expect, but for something completely left field! I am also a co-founder of a women’s touch rugby team at my local club on the Wirral. We started with six players and now have 30-40 regulars who meet each week for training and matches. All ages from early teens to 50 and overs. It’s a real family affair as my husband coaches and my son plays mini age-grade rugby. It’s a great way to blow off steam and keep some sort of fitness. Of course, to counter that, I also like nice holidays with my family and a little retail therapy every now again!

In an ideal world, what else would you like to be? My dream is to one day become CEO of Spencer’s Friends International, overseeing a successful global brand that transforms the shoe buying experience for both parent/carer and child all around the world. Quality shoes fitted well, but on your terms to ensure a great overall experience.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out? If you are pursuing a new business idea that you are passionate about, a couple of things that have been key for me include the importance of research. I spent roughly two years researching and building the business case for Spencer’s Friends. Also, the power of the personal network shouldn’t be underestimated. Build up your contacts and leverage them as needed. I am a big believer in business mentoring but also exploring ways whereby small businesses can help each other. Finally, I would say, if in doubt always go with your gut instinct and don’t forget to have fun!

What do you enjoy most about your job? Seeing what a difference the Spencer’s Friends experience makes to parent/carer and child and receiving great feedback on the convenience and the quality of the shoe fitting as well as the product itself. Whether that’s more formal highquality school shoes or more casual shoes, trainers and sandals. I’m very fortunate that once they have used Spencer’s Friends, my customers come back again and again. This is really important as it



Welcome to WCNW Chamber of Commerce

Advatek UK Ltd Karl Stapleton 11 Wilkinson Business Park Clywedog Road South Wrexham Wrexham County Borough LL13 9AE 01978 808605

Caroline Louise Marketing Caroline Roberts 07833 448145

BA Commercial Fraser Crewe 2 Friarsgate Grosvernor Street Chester, Cheshire CH1 1XG 01244 351212

Cytec Engineered Materials Ltd Bethan James Unit 2-4 Abenbury Way Wrexham Industrial Estate Wrexham Wrexham County Borough LL13 9UZ 01978 665200

Chester Homeshare Caroline Pattinson 07855 792741

E2E Technologies Business Doctors Cheshire Nigel Allman Claire Philliskirk Unit 4 Arrowe Commercial Park 01244 987803 Arrowe Brook Road Wirral, Merseyside CH49 1AB C&C Insurance Brokers 01512 032040 Paul Trafford Chester Office Regus House, Herons Way Chester Business Park Fly High Media Chester Matthew Pyke Cheshire Oakland Business Park CH4 9QR Hooton Road 01244 735367 Hooton, Cheshire, CH66 7NZ 01515 289502 Careers and Employability (University of Chester) Grosvenor Insurance Sally Harding Andy Piggott Careers and Employability Grosvenor House University of Chester 3 York Street Parkgate Road Chester, Cheshire Chester CH1 3LR Cheshire 01244 324891 CH1 4BJ 01244 513066 Insurance (Wrexham) employability Tracey Maddocks 1st Floor, 36 High Street Carl Kammerling International Wrexham Helen Halpin Wrexham County Borough Glan y Don Industrial Estate LL13 8HY Pwllheli, Gwynedd 01978 896871 LL53 5LH 01758 701070


K & A Motorsport Keith Anglesea Love Chester Magazine Maxine Williams 07882 703139 Maria Davison Business and Skills Consultant Maria Davison Neave Creative Philip Neave Sandymount, Whitchurch Road Spurstow, Tarporley Cheshire, CW6 9TD 01606 566202 Net World Sports Ltd Sophie Turner Bryn Lane Wrexham Industrial Estate, Wrexham Wrexham County Borough LL13 9UT 01691 683807 Oakmere Wealth Management Ltd Penny Williams 14 Warrington Road Cuddington Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 2LJ 01606 530530 Oriel Hotel Jane Denton Oriel Hotel Upper Denbigh Road St Asaph, Denbighshire, LL17 0LW 01745 582716 Pale Hall Hotel and Restaurant Samantha Cleal Pale Estate, Llandderfel Bala, Gwynedd, LL23 7PS 01678 530285

Welcome to WCNW Chamber of Commerce

Phillips & Co Chartered Certified Accountants Terence Phillips Obsidian Offices, Chantry Court Chester, Cheshire, CH1 4QN 01244 220062

Swayne Johnson Solicitors Helen Thompson 2 Hall Square Denbigh Denbighshire LL16 3PA 01745 812835

Puzzleduck Swayne Johnson Solicitors Mal Blackburne Helen Thompson 07545 818493 17 Trinity Square Llandudno Conwy County Borough Safestance Ltd LL30 2RN Mat Kutub 01492 876271 01606 252831 Swayne Johnson Solicitors Helen Thompson Search Zombie Limited Chris Grice First Floor Old Bank Building 07838 187889 Uxbridge Square Menai Bridge Isle of Anglesey LL59 5WY SHEQ Health and Safety 01248 663800 Consultants Limited Paul Hughes The Foundary 15 Yorke Street, Wrexham Swayne Johnson Solicitors Wrexham County Borough Helen Thompson LL13 8LW Llanrhydd Manor 07703 791461 Llanrhydd Street Ruthin, Denbighshire LL15 1PP 01824 703833 Skipton Building Society Christopher Kearns 14 Leicester Street Swayne Johnson Solicitors Northwich Helen Thompson Cheshire, CW9 5LA Church House 01606 351286 High Street, St Asaph Denbighshire, LL17 0RD 01745 582535 Spencer’s Friends Kids Mobile Shoe Fitting Cerys Millington Swayne Johnson Solicitors 07864 877172 Helen Thompson Mercury House High Street Tattenhall SQMAS Ltd Chester, Cheshire Toni Bailey CH3 9PX 07960 534016 01829 700333


Tenovus Cancer Care Debbie Rowley 07800 790353 The Joshua Tree Helen Ritchie 1 Old Hall Venables Road Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5RF 01606 331858 Thoughts Become Things Coaching and Consulting Limited Susan Jones 01492 550401 Tim Whitham Coach Tim Whitham 07484 321010 True Bearing Ltd Michael Hawthorne 2 Buckshaw Court East Terrace Business Park Euxton Lane, Euxton Chorley Lancashire, PR7 6TB 01257 260011 Venue in the Park Debbie Cleverley Alyn Waters Country Park Mold Road, Wrexham Wrexham County Borough LL11 4AG 01978 269564 uk/about/venue-in-the-park Yellow Goose Leadership Associates Wendy Dick 07511 818573



24 hours with...

Richard Williams

n Richard Williams, Business Centre Manager Lindop Toyota

Business Centre Manager at Lindop Toyota

My name is Richard Williams and I am the Business Centre Manager at Lindop Toyota.

Wales to let them know about the Benefit in Kind (BIK) available to them on each car, what Toyota can offer as a brand and to set up affiliate schemes.

Lindop Toyota is a family run business, which has been established in Queensferry since 1969 when Toyota increased its number of dealerships in the UK. In 1980, we purchased land on Llay New Road in Wrexham, building a bespoke unit to accommodate the Toyota brand in the town. In 2017, the business acquired Premier Toyota in Llandudno Junction, to expand our presence along the North Wales coast, towards Anglesey.

A typcial day will begin with checking through my emails and making calls accordingly. Our sales enquiries can come in by telephone, email or via social media. The majority of businesses prefer to have several finance options, so I promptly generate quotations.

All three sites follow Toyota operating standards, with our goal of being the Best Retailer In Town. We have the full range of new Toyota cars in our showrooms, with preowned makes and models displayed in our used car areas. We provide a comprehensive range of Accident Repair solutions, from small dents and scratches to full Bodyshop repairs. Our team includes fully accredited, Toyota Motor Technicians for service work, a parts department and Toyota trained Sales and Service Advisors. Our customers can experience comfortable seating areas; with free newspapers, complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits, with free Wi-Fi. Our hosts will be on hand to introduce you to the right person and have a friendly chat. My role is to provide key information to local businesses so that they can make informed decisions on the best way to purchase or lease their motor vehicles. Using a telematics device on test drives enables me to show customers how efficient our cars are on the road. I connect with local businesses in North


Can you tell us a short overview of an average day at work?

I also participate in sales meetings, providing feedback on referrals, answering any questions about new products and arranging test drives for the week ahead. These appointments will often be at our customers’ premises, where I promote the Toyota range of self-charging hybrid cars and answer any questions. Another part of my role is to monitor the FCA compliance side of the business, to ensure that we treat customers fairly and adhere to the standards required of us.

How has the company grown in recent years? Our business has continued to grow over the last couple of years, with the acquisition of Premier Toyota in Llandudno Junction, a well-known car brand in North Wales. We are always in talks with other car dealerships, about the opportunity to grow. Have you faced any particular challenges recently? This year, Toyota has relaunched the British built, all new Toyota Corolla, with the engines manufactured locally in Deeside and the all new Toyota RAV4, which is built in Japan. Both models have been extremely popular, resulting in lead times from three to six months, which is something new to our business. What are your plans for the future? We will continue our long-standing relationship with Toyota, in North Wales and North West England. Lindop Toyota will build upon local business platforms and increase Toyota market share for new car registrations.

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Business is about decisions. Let’s make them informed decisions.

With our specialist legal knowledge and a gift for simplifying tricky situations and finding solutions, we can help you avoid the pitfalls and enjoy the benefits of being in business. For a refreshingly clear perspective, contact SAS Daniels today. | 01244 305 900 SAS Daniels LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC333138. A list of members is available at our registered office, 30 Greek Street, Stockport, Cheshire, SK3 8AD. SAS Daniels LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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