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BusinessMatters The business magazine of West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Autumn 2018

The Big Interview

MARK WILLIAMS, Managing Director DRB Group

Cyflymu Cymru i Fusnesau Superfast Business Wales

Jo Rudkin, The Traditional Patchwork Food Company



“Yn ogystal â thawelwch meddwl, rhoddodd arweiniad Cyflymu Cymru i Fusnesau dactegau ychwanegol i ni i’w gweithredu er mwyn gwneud y gorau o’n hymdrechion.

“The guidance from Superfast Business Wales not only gave us peace of mind, it provided additional tactics we could employ to maximise our efforts.

“Er enghraifft, cawsom adroddiad cynhwysfawr ar ein gwefan ynghyd ag argymhellion, ac yn y flwyddyn ddiwethaf gwelwyd cynnydd o 200% yn nifer yr ymwelwyr â’r wefan a 120% yn fwy o werthiannau.”

“For example, we received a comprehensive website report with recommendations, and in the last year we had a 200% increase in visitors and a 120% growth in sales.”

Dysgwch sut i dyfu eich busnes chi, chwiliwch: Cyflymu Cymru i Fusnesau #Cyflymubusnesau

03000 6 03000

Find out how to grow your business, search: Superfast Business Wales #Superfastbiz

Business Matters A


Chief Executive Officer West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Contact Melissa Kermode 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 2018 © Benham Publishing Media no. 1624 Advertising and Features Karen Hall t: 0151 236 4141 e: Design Chris Moran t: 0151 236 4141 e:

very warm welcome to our latest edition of Business Matters. As we head towards the end of a long hot summer, we can reflect on the progress made by the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber. Since our last magazine, we have been working hard to ensure every one of our members is gaining the maximum benefit from their membership, through our suite of products and services designed to help businesses grow. We have maintained our fantastic range of networks and events, which facilitate opportunities for members to engage. We have also enhanced our International Trade services, creating an increased ambition among our great region’s SME community to do business overseas, and adjusted our offer to members to ensure their needs are met. We have grown our Young Chamber initiative significantly, with over 75 Young Chamber sponsors now working with local schools to help bridge the gap between business and education. The success of Young Chamber would not have been possible without the dedication of our Deputy CEO, Debbie Bryce,


WELCOME but also the enthusiasm and social responsibility shown by those members who have played a part in the scheme to date. I would like to pass on my thanks to all concerned and look forward to maintaining the growth of Young Chamber into 2019 and beyond. Of course, our overall Vision remains the same, with our focus namely on membership operations and a strategic focus on the key pillars of our economy, which our members tell us we need to lobby – l Infrastructure and Connectivity l Skills and Young People – Bridging the Gap l International Trade l Ensuring that the Voice of Business is heard The input of our members has never been so important and there has never been a better time to be a member of West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce. May I take this chance to wish you well, to wish you every success for the remainder of 2018 and to encourage you all to play your part in the work we do by getting the most from your membership.

Front cover photograph by Ginger Pixie Photography







GETTING STARTED Cheryl White, MD, Apollo Care

YOUNG CHAMBER Latest news and events

THE BIG INTERVIEW Mark Williams, MD, DRB Group 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. © 2017. 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.


INSIGHT INTO Lisden Technology

BEHIND THE SCENES Alan Barker, Broughton Shopping @Chamber WCNW West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce /wcnwchamber WCNWChamber



Are you maximising your Chamber membership?

Follow the steps below to ensure that you are getting the most out of your membership 1. Update your business profile in our online directory Profiles that have logos and descriptions, as well as website and social media links, stand out from the crowd so be sure to add these to your directory profile.

4. Advertise your events/workshops Got an event coming up that you want to promote to other Members? Be sure to add it to our website. The event will also appear in our weekly events update for the four weeks leading up to your event.

2. Download your membership logo Log into the Members Area on our website and download your Membership logo. Display this on your website, email signature etc.

5. Add and browse Member to Member offers Take advantage of special offers and discounts from fellow Members or create your own offers to build interest in your products and services.

3. Browse and book onto free and discounted networking events We regularly hold networking events throughout the region which are a great way for you to make connections with like-minded business people. Head to the Events section of our website to find out more.

to feature in our monthly newsletter and the magazine that you are holding in your hands!

For further guidance, please contact the team on 01244 669988.

6. Editorial opportunities Send any news that you might have; we will then post this on our website and share on our social media streams. All news items are then considered

Meet our new Export Documentation Officer M y career started in a large insurance company based in Liverpool, where I worked for 18 years. I started off as an office clerk and then a telephone advisor. I progressed on to a team leader of an admin team and gained my NVQ Assessor qualifications and Coaching qualifications based in customer service, until I eventually left for pastures new back in 2005. In 2005 we decided as a family to take a risk and emigrate to Australia. It was a risk, but what an adventure! Once there, I got a job for a few years as an Office Manager in a local winery, close to where I lived in the Barossa Valley. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the winery, it gave me the opportunity to meet so many different people who came into the cellar door from far and wide. I also learnt so much about wine itself and how it was made and then bottled. In the latter few years of me being in Australia, I moved to the Commonwealth Bank of


Australia, where I worked as a Personal Banker and attained my financial planning qualifications. This position gave me the ability to help customers look at their personal finance needs and guide them to utilising their finances in the best way possible.

Returning to the UK in 2011, I worked as an Office Manager in a PPE company for a couple of years before joining another North West Chamber of Commerce. I gained my export documentation certification and spent my time there on the export, finance and membership teams. I also helped when I could at any events. With this in mind, I like to see myself as a can-do person and also an all-rounder in chamber life, where I am able to assist our exporters, and indeed members, whenever I can. It has been lovely for me joining the team here at the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber, where I have been made to feel so welcome. I look forward immensely to what the future has to hold in export documentation and working with your business to assist in the smooth running of all your export documentation needs.

Hayley Gray, Export Documentation Officer at the Chamber


Devolved Nation Chambers meet with Senior Government Minister to discuss Brexit


est Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce CEO, Colin Brew, was invited to the Cabinet Office in Whitehall this week, along with Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce and representatives from the devolved nations, to meet with senior Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington MP to discuss those elements of the Brexit plan that affect specifically the devolved nations. Chamber representatives were provided with an hour of the minister’s time and used this opportunity wisely to encourage further clarity from government, better communication to business, with an offer of support, and for Chambers to be a conduit for government to pass on its updates and to engage further with. With North Wales at the forefront of his thinking, Colin Brew emphasised to the minister the impact that

uncertainty was having on businesses in North Wales on a sector by sector basis. This focused mainly on the following; l Concerns around the everemerging skills gap and the inevitable migration of EU nationals back to mainland Europe, which is already affecting businesses ability to recruit. l The lack of confidence which is stifling investment. l Concerns around regulatory aspects of the UK’s departure from the EU which, in some cases, is resulting in companies considering relocation out of the UK. l Concerns around future funding and the planned ‘Shared Prosperity Fund’. Following a positive and challenging discussion, the meeting concluded with a promise on the part of government to consider the need for more robust communication. This will support preparedness in business across the devolved

nations for any eventuality that the Brexit negotiations might bring. It also included a promise from the Chamber movement in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to facilitate the critical connections between business and decision makers in Whitehall. Colin Brew confirmed: “This was a fantastic opportunity to meet a senior minister, who

has a direct link to the PM, to put forward the views and concerns of business in North Wales and West Cheshire. I am pleased with the level of dialogue, and look forward to further engagement with the Cabinet Office over the coming months, so to ensure the voice of our members is heard loud and clear in respect of Brexit and its effect on business”

Left to Right: Christopher Morrow Northern Ireland Chamber, Liz Cameron Scottish Chambers, Heather Myers South Wales Chamber, Colin Brew, WCNW Chamber and Adam Marshall, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce

Chester Forum and research report compares Chinese and Cheshire businesses


usiness leaders and academics discussed internationalism, sustainability and the key challenges facing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in both Cheshire and China at a conference organised by the University of Chester. Jointly hosted with the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, the ninth annual Chester Forum was held at the University’s Queen’s Park Campus. The event focused on a major research report, recently published for the Chamber, which looked at export competitiveness in China and the UK, and SMEs’ understanding of sustainability in the changing global market. The report was produced by the University’s Business Research Institute (BRI,) with input from Dr Wing Lam, Professor Phil Harris, Dr Henry Sidsaph, Dian Wang, Professor Jinbo Zhou and Sen

Yang. The BRI was launched in the summer of 2014, with the aim of being a bridge for high quality research and development between business and the academic community regionally and internationally. The report gives an overview of the current situation for SMEs in relation to internationalisation, sustainability and the challenges facing them in the marketplace in a time of uncertainty surrounding BREXIT. By comparing the key challenges of both UK and Chinese businesses, the results of the research found that, while attracting new customers was seen as the biggest challenge for UK businesses, attracting skilled labour was seen as the most significant challenge for Chinese businesses. Speakers at the Chester Forum included: Dr Fran Hulbert, Chairman of the

Delegates at the annual Chester Forum

Chester Forum; Jim Hancock, broadcaster and journalist; William Lv, CEO of Shenzhen CEEEC, China; Mark Livesey, Cheshire and Warrington, Local Enterprise Partnership; Professor Jinbo Zhou, ViceDean of Economics and Management School, Guanxi Normal University, Guilin; Colin Brew, Chief Executive Officer, West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce and Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester. Discussions included exploring potential business collaborations and sharing experiences; developing business and entrepreneurship in China and the UK and a

review of the economy. Professor Phil Harris, Executive Director of the Business Research Institute at the University, said: “It was extremely pleasing to welcome colleagues from across the North West and China to our annual Chester Forum to discuss the major issues affecting the economy and how we can work together to bring benefits for all. “It was very rewarding to present our research findings and I wish to thank all involved for their hard work and dialogue, which will help both Cheshire and Chinese businesses to build sustainable businesses and partnerships for the future.”


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Are you looking to grow your business? Franchising can be a great option commercially. Here are our top tips for franchising your business: Carbon copy Can your business be replicated by someone else, in a different part of the country, and still be successful? Not all businesses can be franchised. Carry out a pilot study for at least 12 months to enable you to find out whether a franchise works for your business. You will need to produce a manual covering everything that a franchisee should (and shouldn’t!) do. Purchasing a franchise is akin to buying a business in a box: you need to make sure that everything is there from the start for a franchisee to be successful. What’s in a name? When it comes to franchising, branding is key! You need to stand out from the crowd to attract

customers and also franchisees. Choosing the right name and look for your brand is a crucial first step. Also, make sure that your trade name and/or logo are properly trademarked – this will make it easier to protect your brand, and will also demonstrate to franchisees and competitors that you are a professional business, taking branding seriously. Finding franchisees - trust your instincts One of the most difficult aspects of franchising is finding the right people to be your franchisees. Identify key character traits that make you successful in your business and use those as a list of criteria. If your franchisees are passionate and committed to your business model, then they are more likely to ensure the franchise succeeds. Our advice is to follow your instincts with recruitment – it’s better to let one good franchisee slip away than to allow three poor choices in. Location, location, location When your franchisees are starting out, they will need a lot of support. Make sure that your

first few franchisees are located reasonably near to you- you don’t want to be dashing between Bangor, Cardiff and Liverpool in order to sort out franchisees’ issues! When deciding on territory sizes, consider factors such as exclusivity, population density, competitors and whether you are targeting a particular section of the population (e.g. young families or the elderly). Get a grip on the numbers The key thing common to franchisors and franchisees is the numbers: the business needs to succeed in order to increase the monthly revenue for both parties. You will need to understand your numbers and projections in order to sell the franchise, but remember that you shouldn’t make any guarantees or promises and you need to be very careful not to misrepresent likely financial performance in your promotional material! Take specialist legal advice from the outset – prevention is better than cure! We would say that, we’re franchise lawyers! But it is

important that you seek sound legal advice when setting up and running your franchise. Franchising is a niche area, so we would strongly recommend that you speak with a lawyer affiliated to the British Franchise Association (BFA) and who understands the sector. Darwin Gray is affiliated to the BFA. We are also members of the Approved Franchise Association, and within our team we have the only two lawyers in Wales holding the BFA’s “Qualified Franchise Professional” qualification. 029 2082 9100 @DarwinGrayLLP

Summer Cocktail Party Shines!


he sun was shining down as businesspeople from across West Cheshire & North Wales attended this year’s eagerly anticipated Summer Cocktail Party, hosted by the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce on 19th July 2018 at the stunning Eaton Estate, Chester. The Estate, owned by His Grace the Duke of Westminster, covers 10,000 acres of land and comprises a remarkable 35 homes, 15 farms, 72 commercial units and four schools. The Chamber was honoured to host its annual Summer Cocktail Party in the beautiful surroundings of the Long Room, one of Eaton Estate’s most impressive buildings. Guests were greeted in the spectacular courtyard with a glass of Prosecco and mouthwatering canapés, kindly provided by culinary students and staff of Cheshire College - South & West. Conversation then filled the air, as guests welcomed each other to the grand location. Entertaining the guests throughout the evening was Lucia Rojek, who played an acoustic guitar set of a variety of genres and classic favourites. Guests then gathered for speeches from Colin Brew, Chief Executive Officer at the Chamber, followed by Keith Anglesea, Chairman of the Chamber. Keith welcomed everyone to Eaton Estate and focused on the growth of the Chamber over the last year. The Chamber now has over 600 members, with numbers continuing to grow, who are supported by 13 members of staff in the Chamber office. Keith also mentioned the success of Young Chamber, which now supports eight schools in the region, backed by over 75 Young Chamber sponsors. Keith then looked to the future and highlighted the upcoming Chamber Annual Ball & Recognition Awards 2018. This is the Chamber’s standout event of the year and celebrates the success of Chamber members through the recognition awards on the evening. Keith was delighted to announce that nominations for the

Recognition Awards were open for entry. The deadline for submissions was 14th September and the shortlist will be revealed on 21st September. After the speeches, guests then enjoyed the sunshine and engaged in further conversation with one another. Paul Cooney, Managing Director at Zodeq, said “What a fantastic evening! It was great to catch up with current and new members and I’d like to thank the Chamber for arranging such a prestigious event. It is not every day that you get the chance to go to Eaton Estate!” Colin Brew said: “The 2018 Summer Cocktail Party has proved to be another fantastic success. We always look forward to welcoming members to our show piece events and this was no exception. I would like to thank our hosts, Eaton Estate, for allowing the Chamber and our members the opportunity to network in your incredible surrounds. I would also like to thank Jenny Davidson, our Membership Support & Events Manager, for her dedication and effort that has been put into the organisation of this event. It was fantastic to catch up with so many Chamber members on the evening and I hope that, like myself, you are all looking forward to our next showpiece event, our Annual Ball and Recognition Awards!”


Above: Darren Kewley, Protos Networks and Angella Rawsthorne, Claire House Children’s Hospice. Below: Sarah Bailey and Nathan Johnson of NatWest Business Banking

Guest in Eaton Estate’s Long Room Courtyard



Training and flexible working key to staff retention, says BCC and Indeed A

side from staff pay, firms are more likely to increase their investment in training, and introduce more flexible working practices, in order to retain staff, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and recruitment company Indeed. The survey, of over 1,000 businesspeople across all sizes and sectors, shows that just under half (42%) of businesses would invest in training and developing their staff in order to increase staff retention, while 38% would look to introduce flexible working practices, from flexible hours and remote working to job-sharing. Skills shortages are at near record levels, and this survey reveals that the most likely approach that firms will take to address gaps they have are to use self-employed workers, or contractors (30%), followed by investment in


recruitment and training (both 25%). Developing a relationship with the local school comes next, at 22%. B2C firms are more likely to build that relationship, while B2B businesses are more likely to use contractors and retain older workers. At the interview stage, the businesses surveyed are overwhelmingly likely to decide between two equally qualified candidates based on their performance in interview (70%), followed by quality of job application (50%). Skills gained in extra-curricular activities are important for a quarter of employers surveyed (24%). Amid a chronic skills shortage, these findings suggest that civic-minded businesses are doing everything they can to ensure that staff morale remains high. However, businesses can also do more in terms of providing a flexible working environment.

Jane Gratton (above), Head of Business Environment and Skills Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Access to people and skills is a top priority for employers and firms are doing everything they can to recruit, retain and upskill their workforce. Increasingly, employers are embracing flexible working practices as a sensible way to retain staff who need to balance work with family and other commitments. Amid rising upfront costs for businesses, it is crucial that innovative ways are found to motivate staff. “Flexible access to the Apprenticeship Levy funds would enable more firms to boost productivity by training and developing their teams, and we urge the government to consider this as soon as possible.” Tara Sinclair, senior fellow and economist at job site Indeed, added: “Attitudes to work are changing and salary is no longer the only way employers compete to attract and retain workers. Workers today seek worklife balance – searches for ‘flexible’ jobs on Indeed are at a three-year high, suggesting a growing number of jobseekers start their application with job satisfaction in mind. “A tight labour market – where employer demand for staff is outstripping the supply of workers – places greater emphasis on staff retention but investing in training should not be viewed as a short-term fix to keep hold of the best talent. Rather, it should be seen as an opportunity for employers of all sizes to unlock the longterm potential in their staff.”


Young Chamber Experience F or this edition, I wanted to briefly talk about my recent experience working with several students at Christleton High School under the Young Chamber Programme. I was asked by the Assistant Head of years 9/10 if I would spend some time with them to discuss ‘How to be a gentleman’ and to give advice on interview skills. I had done something similar at the school before which had been successful. In total around twelve students attended. From the beginning, I had to gain their trust, so we did some interaction which involved answering questions honestly and openly. It took a while but, in the end, all the students shared some experiences. We went on to talk about their ambitions and what they wanted to do when leaving school. That ranged from being an engineer to helping mum. Some of the individuals, if not all, had gone through some form of hardship, but they were a great bunch of guys with lots of potential.

During the session we went through some interview techniques such as proper handshakes, sitting up straight, finding out about the company and so on. It was interesting discussing how they could tell if someone was telling porkies, just through their body language. The students decided to take this on board and wanted to practice this skill with each other. I sat them one at a time, centre stage in the lecture theatre and they each asked a series of probing questions to test the theory. I believe Young Chamber is a terrific programme where members can give help, advice, guidance and support. After all, it’s all about bridging the skills gap between education and business. All I would say is, get involved and give something back. You will enjoy it, I certainly do.

Phill Jones, Joint Managing Director at Insignia Resourcing

Jackson Fire & Security awarded contract for North Wales’ largest housing association


orth Wales headquartered Jackson Fire & Security have been successfully awarded a fire safety contract with Gwynedd housing association, Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (CCG). As North Wales’ largest housing association, CCG manage 6,300 homes and are responsible for the management and maintenance of these

properties. Following the submission of their bid, Jackson Fire & Security were invited to an interview at CCG’s headquarters in Bangor as part of the two-stage tender process. The fire and security firm scored top marks for this part of the process and were complemented on the quality of their submission. Jackson Fire & Security were awarded the contract

in March 2018 to service and maintain the fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers and emergency lighting across 233 properties for the housing group. The new partnership includes carrying out weekly and monthly tests of the fire alarm systems in addition to the 6-monthly servicing, meaning CCG can demonstrate the highest level of compliance when it comes to fire safety. The Mold-based fire and security specialists hit the ground running in March by taking over the monitoring of the fire alarms and replacing the existing alarm monitoring devices with CSL Dualcom G2. Dualcom are the industry leader trusted to protect hundreds of thousands of premises throughout Europe. Gareth Roberts, Assets Compliance Manager at CCG said: “We are very proud to be working with

Jackson Fire & Security, a local and professional company from North Wales. Their expertise and knowledge has proved to be second to none and we have been very impressed with their positive attitude and innovative ideas. For example, they always make us feel like their most important customer and have introduced new products and an online portal. “We look forward to developing a strong partnership with them as they work with us to assure fire safety in our properties and carry out training for our staff that includes keeping up to date with current regulations and British Standards. “We always aim to maximise social, economic and community benefits from all of our contracts, and it’s great to see the local economy benefiting from this contract.”

Left to right: Richard, Peter & Gareth from CCG with Steve & Rob from Jackson Fire & Security (Ginger Pixie Photography)



Nathan joins NatWest Business Banking Cheshire to help boost local businesses


t NatWest Business Banking, we believe it’s our role to help businesses succeed. We’ve been working hard to do that, building trust, improving our services and doing more to meet customers’ needs. Whether it’s a small business or larger commercial business, our support goes beyond finance. From maximising your online presence to staying on top of the latest cyber threats, your new local NatWest Business Growth Enabler, Nathan Johnson, has all the expertise you need to help you stay ahead of the curve. Here he tells us more about himself and his role.

local community with SME’s and entrepreneurs to help them grow and develop their businesses, so I took the opportunity to become a Business Growth Enabler in Leeds in 2017, before moving across to Cheshire in June this year.

Tell us about yourself and background I’m 18 years old and started my career as an apprentice for Natwest in 2016. I was part of our entrepreneurship team working in the NatWest Accelerator programme in Manchester, helping people bring their business ideas to fruition. I thoroughly enjoy working in the

What does your typical day involve? A typical day usually starts with hosting an event and helping business owners to boost their skills and knowledge on a range of topics, such as cyber-crime. The events offer a great opportunity to meet other local business owners and help entrepreneurs expand their network. I’ll then spend the rest of my day meeting business owners across Cheshire, offering face to face support and guidance to help them find solutions to day-to-day business challenges and connect them with the right people and the right knowledge to boost their business and help it grow. Give us an interesting fact about yourself I have recently been made captain of Lancashire hockey club and I am a brand ambassador for an Italian sports company. Nathan Johnson, Business Growth Enabler at NatWest Business Banking

If you’re looking for one to one mentoring to help you boost your business or would like to attend a local event, you can contact Nathan on 07876 940400 or

Three signs your business needs software development 1. “We’re still moving pieces of paper around the office and between departments. The risk of loss and error is high” You’ve started to notice oversights creeping in. The more complex and busy your processes get, the bigger the margin for mistakes. Double data entry and copying between a variety of systems is inefficient and unauditable. Maybe you’ve noticed that your customer service is inconsistent and your follow-ups, communications and general client care is not being provided in the same way by everyone. 2. “There’s no centralised point for all our data and no way of seeing end to end processes” This is particularly noticeable when you have more than one department


operating from different systems – spread sheets, databases, old legacy software. You’re unable to get useful business information out or to connect with your financial software and this is preventing you from having a 360° view of your operations. 3. “Our current systems are actually inhibiting growth and will soon become a barrier to the business health if not addressed” If you are unable to run a process through the business from end to end, collecting and using data as it flows through, your visibility will be poor and trying to devise targets will be tricky. As we know, setting goals and achieving them leads to growth but if your system software is below par, you won’t have real time and accurate information to guide you.

Building a software system to grow your business is a challenge we take on everyday and regardless of the decision-making stage you’re at, we will always add some valuable insight and guidance for the journey ahead. For a fact-finding and confidential discussion, please contact Lou Crane

“Cwrddais i â Busnes Cymru ar ddechrau symud y busnes o syniad i realiti. Cefais i gyngor a sicrhaodd fy atal rhag mynd i lawr rhai llwybrau diwerth a hir iawn. Roedd fy ymgynghorydd hefyd yn wrandäwr gwych a gadawodd i mi gynnig cant o syniadau cyn gwneud i mi ganolbwyntio ar y blaenoriaethau o le i ddechrau.” Jessica Eade, Dinorwig Distillery

“I met with Business Wales right at the start of moving the business from idea into reality. The advice that I had certainly stopped me from going down some very long and fruitless paths. My adviser was also a great listener and let me run a hundred ideas past them before making me focus on the priorities of where to start.”

Jessica Eade, Dinorwig Distillery

YN Y MANYLION G E T C L O S E R 03000 6 03000


Development Bank’s HQ opened in Wrexham T

he Development Bank of Wales’ new headquarters in Wrexham officially opened on 14th September on the Technology Park at Ellice Way, Yale Business Village. With regional offices in Cardiff and Llanelli, the new HQ supports the Development Bank’s panWales location strategy. 23 staff will initially be based at the Wrexham HQ that was previously home to Moneypenny. This number is expected to rise to more than 50 by 2021 with staff benefitting from fully refurbished offices that are designed to promote agile working in a flexible and productive environment. Risk, Compliance and Legal Director Neil Maguinness will be based in the new HQ, which will also provide a regular base for Chief

Executive Giles Thorley, other directors and senior staff. It will also be a venue for the Group’s Board meetings. Giles Thorley, Chief Executive of the Development Bank of Wales, said: “I’m delighted that the Wrexham office is now open for business. “The Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan includes a focus on strengthening Wales’ regional economies. Although we have improved our online accessibility, businesses still tell us that they value the face to face contact that comes from having teams on the ground. “That’s why we’ve been scaling up our operations in north Wales over the year and continue to see ambition and appetite for investment from businesses in the region, supported by a vibrant

Development Bank of Wales new HQ in Wrexham business community. “My vision for the development bank is for it to have best in class operational efficiency while keeping the face to face human contact that business owners value.”

Paul, Natural Ambition Wrecsam / Wrexham

The Development Bank of Wales has taken a five year lease. They were advised by Hugh James and Knight Frank, interior design by Momentum and fit out by Paramount.

Ein busnes ni yw helpu ariannu’ch busnes chi. It’s our business to help finance yours.

Rydym ni yma i ddarparu cyllid o £1,000 i £5 milliwn ar gyfer busnesau yng Nghymru. Ymgeisiwch nawr: We’re here to provide finance from £1,000 to £5 million for Welsh businesses. Apply now: Nid yw Banc Datblygu Cymru ccc wedi’i awdurdodi na’i reoleiddio gan yr Awdurdod Rheoleiddiol Darbodus na’r Awdurdod Ymddygiad Ariannol, felly ni all dderbyn adneuon gan y cyhoedd. Mae meini prawf cymhwyster a benthyca yn berthnasol. Darganfyddwch fwy yn The Development Bank of Wales Plc isn’t authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulatory Authority or the Financial Conduct Authority, so it can’t accept deposits from the public. Eligibility and lending criteria apply. Find out more at


STRATEGIC MEMBERS NEWS Could your coffee machine hack your business? Y ou may or may not have heard the term ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), but what is this? Many futurologists and tech specialist believe we are currently living through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and that digitisation is going to revolutionise the way we humans live and work. At a macro level, this could involve engineering and manufacturing industries using virtual reality headsets to make their workforce more productive. At a micro level, this could mean you sitting at your desk and getting the internet-attached coffee machine to make you a caramel latte. The Internet of Things is an allencompassing term for the devices we are connecting to the internet every day; thermostats, IP cameras, vacuum cleaners, cars, machine sensors and so on. It is estimated around 22 billion devices will be connected to the internet by the end of 2018. Clearly a more connected and productive world has huge benefits, however, introducing new devices onto your network can also present

real risks. Often, these nifty devices are attached to the company wireless network without IT administrators knowing. People also neglect to change the default passwords on these devices or fail to keep the operating systems updated. Cyber-criminals are clever people and will use whatever weaknesses they can to get into your systems, steal data or just create havoc. In October 2016, a huge cyber-attack, known as the Mirai Botnet, used infected IoT devices from all over the world to attack a major service provider in North America, essentially leaving the internet inaccessible for much of the east coast of the United States. Businesses need to start considering the very real threats from cyberattacks, understanding what devices their staff are connecting to their networks and assigning budgets to invest in cyber skills and defences. Steve from accounts may have a cool new internet-connected latte machine, but could that coffee machine be also responsible for a very costly and embarrassing data breach?

Darren Kewley, Technical Director at Protos Networks To find out how Protos Networks can support your business visit


The MSIF Finance Hub supports over 750 businesses in the last 12 months


SIF launched the Finance Hub in June 2017 as a separate arm of the business. It is a free, single access, independent help point for SMEs trying to access external funding. The Finance Hub is here to assist any business that is currently looking for funding. The team do not just signpost the business to relevant funders, they work with them through the process, helping to build their application documents, including their financial forecasts. They then introduce the business to the best funding options and products for their business, and offer support and guidance throughout the whole process. So far, the Finance Hub has helped over 750 businesses. One of the businesses the team recently helped was Liverpool Lighthouse. Liverpool Lighthouse is a local community hub contributing to the regeneration of North Liverpool. They needed £150,000 to fund essential property refurbishment within their main head office site in Anfield.

George Wright and Rita Potter, Finance Hub Facilitators at MSIF One of our Finance Hub Facilitators, Steve, spent time meeting with the business, learning about the organisation and what they did. After finding out the full information, Steve was able to contact First Ark; a social investor that specialise in providing finance to not for profit organisations and charities. First Ark agreed to support Liverpool Lighthouse with a combination of £75,000 of grant funding and £75,000 in the form of a business loan. Normally, First Ark will only offer 30% of the total funding needed as a grant,

however, they were so impressed with Liverpool Lighthouse’s work and future plans that the Finance Hub presented, that they made an exception and agreed to offer 50% of the total funding as a grant. This is the first time that First Ark have agreed 50% of grant funding. The bank were not aware of First Ark and the work they do, but they were aware of the Finance Hub. The knowledge and understanding of the current funding landscape held by the Finance Hub, ensured that Liverpool Lighthouse received the investment funding they needed. George Wright, Finance Hub Facilitator, said: “The process of obtaining funding is complex and full of options, we’re here as an independent body, continuously monitoring the funding landscape and what is available to SMEs. Our sole aim is to support and guide businesses through the funding process, ensuring they are investment ready and making the process as simple as possible for them.”



Picanha Chester’s first networking lunch is a great success!


uly 11th saw the Chamber’s first lunch event at Picanha Chester, which was attended by over 50 people. Guests gathered in the Picanha bar, where general networking took place. Attendees had the chance to catch up with previous business connections, as well as meeting an array of the newest Chamber members! After this, delegates were then seated and introduced to the restaurant by Julia Coutinho Huf, Business Development Manager at Picanha’s sister brand Fazenda, explaining how the unique form of dining works and directing members to the incredible salad bar available. In Brazil, Picanha is the very best cut of meat, famed for its succulent texture and exceptional flavour. Guests were

served seven delicious cuts of meat, as well as having a large selection of vegetables, bread, cheese and cold meat to choose from the salad bar. After food had been served, our guest speaker of the day, Tansy Rogerson from Armadillo Events, took to the stage to speak to delegates about her recent business trip to Japan. Whilst there, Tansy met with Japanese tourism boards as well as local businesses, creating valuable links and business contacts. After listening to Tansy, delegates were then offered a selection of Brazilian deserts, before having a final chance to network and then heading back to the office for a busy day! Gareth Boyd from Chester Running Tours, said: ‘The event at Picanha was very well attended and gave

a great chance to interact with the local business community. The food was fantastic and the restaurant was a great setting for the afternoon. This event really showed what networking should be like!’ Jenny Davidson, Membership Support and Events Manager, said: ‘A big thank you to the team at Picanha for co-hosting such a fantastic lunch. I’m sure everybody will agree that the food and service was incredible and I am extremely grateful for your efforts. A thank you also to Tansy for being our guest speaker and to the members in attendance, your support is always much appreciated!’.

Top: Guests gathered at Picanha Chester for a fantastic networking lunch

Networking fun in the sun at MacDonald Craxton Wood Hotel


he WCNW Chamber of Commerce and MacDonald Craxton Wood Hotel joined forces to host our Networking Lunch and Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 28th June. 60 guests arrived on a glorious summer’s day in the wonderful surrounds of Cheshire’s MacDonald Craxton Wood Hotel, where they were given the time to network amongst one another and introduce themselves to a range of businesses from the region. On offer to guests was a superb two course meal of Braised Beef Shin, Creamed Potato & Glazed Carrots or Pumpkin Ravioli, Herb Cream Sauce & Smoked Almond Pesto, followed up with a lemon tart. After guests had finished their meal, our guest speaker of the day, Nathan Stephens from Disability Sport Wales, took to the floor. Nathan spoke to

delegates about his journey in life which changed dramatically after an incident with a train left him without legs at the age of nine. Despite Nathan’s injuries, he was determined to continue with his passion for sport which lead to him becoming a professional athlete. After competing at the winter Paralympics as part of the ice hockey team, Nathan made the choice to focus on the javelin and went on to win the World Championships in 2011 and setting the world record distance. Nathan now works for Disability Sport Wales helping children with disabilities get into sport and to generally be more active. Nathan’s talk was extremely inspirational and the passion for what he does was well received by the delegates in attendance. Keith Edwards from Just Libra said: “Today was my first meeting having

only joined the Chamber a few weeks ago, and the warmth of the welcome matched the fabulous weather. I’ve been out of the networking loop for a little while, however the quality of the people in the room, together with a truly inspirational speaker, tells me I’ll be a regular at chamber events.” Jenny Davidson, Membership Support & Events Manager at the Chamber, said: “This was a fantastic turnout for another successful lunch at MacDonald Craxton Wood, thank you to the Hotel’s team for their service this afternoon. I would like to extend my thanks to Nathan Stephens, our guest speaker, your story is extremely motivational and I’m grateful to you for you sharing that with us.” Following on from Nathan’s inspirational talk, guests had the chance to stay and attend our AGM. Keith Anglesea, Chairman of WCNW Chamber, delivered his Report of the Board, which gave an overview of the developments that took place at the Chamber during 2017. James Crane, Managing Director at OverByte Interactive, and Katrina Michel, CEO at Marketing Cheshire, are both stepping down as Board Directors. Keith thanked them for their support over the last three years and James was awarded a certificate to recognise this. The AGM then closed.

Guests network before the lunch at MacDonald Craxton Wood Hotel



WCNW Chamber networking lunch at Las Iguanas


n 15th May, the WCNW Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Las Iguanas, Chester to hold another superb lunch, after last year’s success. Over 40 delegates met at Las Iguanas, Chester for a networking lunch with fellow Chamber members. The event started with general networking time, during which delegates had the chance to meet with new and old Chamber contacts and connect with businesses from the local area. After delegates had networked with one another, they were then seated ready for our speaker of the day, Nicky Owen from North Clwyd Animal Rescue. Nicky spoke to delegates about the fantastic work they carry out on a daily basis, outlining the story of how NCAR became a Charity through her Mum’s

love of animals! Nicky also spoke to delegates about how they can help out with the Charity, as they rely on fundraising to help with their £1,000 daily costs that goes into running the animal rescue. Gary Beagan from Jackson Fire & Security said: “Today’s event was a great way to network informally over a great lunch, it definitely takes the stigma out of how many people think networking events are run. Nicky from NCAR was a great speaker and spoke about an extremely interesting topic; after today’s networking I will be registering to walk some of the Charities dogs when I’m out with my own!” After Nicky had spoken to the group, guests were served a delicious two course meal of smoked chipotle chicken burritos or black

Chamber members listen to Nicky Owen from NCAR bean & beetroot burger followed by a favourite of last year - Dulce De Leche macadamia cheesecake! After food was served and enjoyed by all, delegates then enjoyed a last spot of networking before heading off to carry on with busy days! Jenny Davidson, Membership Support & Events Manager at the Chamber, said: “Today was a great event, attended by great delegates and companies.

Thank you to Las Iguanas, Chester, for once again hosting our members, the food was outstanding as always. Thank you also to Nicky from North Clwyd Animal Rescue for speaking to our delegates about the work that you do, your story was extremely interesting and great to listen to! I look forward to welcoming our delegates back to another networking event very soon.”

WCNW Chamber Annual Ball and Recognition Awards


eturning for another year, the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce’s showpiece Annual Ball is back! The Annual Ball & Recognition Awards evening will be held on 16th November at 7pm in the Pavilion at Chester Racecourse. We are delighted that Lomani Luxury Travel will be our headline sponsor on the evening. A completely independent travel agency who offer a personalised service, Lomani Luxury Travel specialise in worldwide tailor-made itineraries and luxury holidays, giving their clients the option to travel with a wide and varied portfolio of travel companies. Lomani work extremely hard to not only

source the most suitable destinations and products on behalf of their clients, but also those that offer the best value. They act as an agent for ABTA and ATOL protected suppliers only. On the evening, guests will be greeted with a glass of prosecco on arrival. Guests will also enjoy a spectacular three-course meal, provided by the Racecourse’s very own catering company, Horseradish – a local culinary expert in the field of fine dining and gastronomic events. Due to the popularity of last year’s entertainment, we are delighted to announce that we will be bringing back the casino and photo booth once again! Paired with fantastic

music from DJ Gary Carr, delegates will be entertained from start to finish. Gary will also be introducing the much-anticipated Chamber Recognition Awards, celebrating a year of success in business over the previous year. The night will be raising funds for the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, through a charity auction and raffle. If you would like to donate a prize for these please contact Helen via the below email address. To book onto this event, please visit the ‘events’ section of our website. For more information you can contact Helen on 01244 669988 or



College supports growth of Ellesmere Port’s engineering and construction industry


he Engineering and Construction industry in Ellesmere Port has received a welcome boost following Cheshire College – South & West’s decision to move its Engineering and Construction departments to the town. The move demonstrates the College’s commitment to ensuring the region’s Engineering and Construction workforce has the skills it needs to ensure future investment and growth. The College has delivered highquality training and apprenticeships in the industry for over 30 years, working with some of the region’s largest employers such as Vauxhall and Unilever to develop their future workforce. Nathan Richards, 20, from Ellesmere Port, who is studying a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Process Engineering at Vauxhall Motors said: “I started on a Maintenance Engineering Apprenticeship with Vauxhall straight after leaving school. After two years I was given the chance to move onto

College Awards


heshire College - South & West recently hosted the second of its two annual College Awards, at its Crewe Campus. The awards celebrate the achievements of learners and employers over the past 12 months. On the evening, 33 individual awards were presented at the glittering ceremony, in the presence of parents, family, friends, college colleagues and employers. The evening also recognised the achievements of local employers, with Bentley Motors winning the Large Employer Award and Banks Sheridan Accountants winning the Small Employer Award. Both employers were recognised as having made a significant contribution to the development and success of their staff and apprentices. David Morris, right, Director at Banks Sheridan Accountants, accepting his award


Apprentice Nathan Richards, left, with Teacher Graham Fox the Higher Apprenticeship, which I’m studying now. “Growing up in Ellesmere Port there’s a lot of engineering focus. The opportunities I’ve been given at the College have been amazing. I’m so glad I chose to do an Apprenticeship – the knowledge and skills you learn from colleagues and tutors who are

qualified, competent and experienced are incredible.” Supporting the College’s Apprentices are a dedicated team of highly experienced teachers and assessors. Graham Fox, a former Vauxhall Apprentice and now teacher at Cheshire College – South & West, said: “I completed my Apprenticeship with Vauxhall in the 1970s and then went into the Merchant Navy. I then came back to Vauxhall in the 80s. After that I went on to work on aeroplanes, ships and cancer treatment machines. “Going into teaching at a later stage in my career means I can give things back to young people from my lifetime of experiences. Moving to Ellesmere Port is an exciting time for us all – with opportunities for more specialist rooms and labs which will benefit our students as well as employers.” For more information about studying Engineering and Construction at Cheshire College – South & West visit or call 01244 656555.

Microsoft Digital Hub Launch


mployers, staff and industry professionals recently attended the launch of Cheshire College – South & West’s Risual Microsoft Academy, an initiative that will provide Microsoft accredited digital training for learners and local employers to equip them and their staff with the skills and knowledge they require in the workplace. The new collaboration between the College, Risual and Microsoft aims to embrace the digital revolution and link employers with learners. The digital training centre contains the latest Microsoft technology and will be used to train internal and external staff, access digital apprenticeships and provide industry qualifications. Helen Nellist, Deputy Principal/ Deputy Chief Executive at Cheshire College – South & West opened proceedings at the event and commented: “The Academy idea was born out of a conversation some 12 months ago with our Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Representative, Mark Livesey. We discussed how we can respond to the digital world, and agreed we needed to invest time and effort in the right areas by creating a digital hub with the aim of sharing knowledge and information. Mark Livesey, Deputy Chief Executive at Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) added: “I am delighted to see the developments over the past year

Helen Nellist, Deputy Principal/ Deputy Chief Executive at Cheshire College - South & West, launches the Risual Microsoft Academy come to fruition and feel tremendously proud to have played a part in scoping out this programme. We believe this will have a significant impact on the local economy, drive economic growth and create additional job opportunities. I look forward to seeing what’s to come.” Digital literacy is one of the most valuable tools for lifelong learning. The influence of social media, technology and online resources has had a huge impact on society. Having an understanding of the evolving digital world can be the difference between success and holding people back. For more information on the Risual Microsoft Academy at Cheshire College – South & West and details on how you can benefit, visit or call the College hotline on 01270 654654


Chester based Business start-up ‘made up’ with Business Support The Beauty Room@No.1


or many years Natalie Hayton, from Chester, had wanted to start her own business and work hours which fit around her family. She has always been passionate about beauty, skincare and make-up; studying, as well as attending masterclasses over the years to hone her skills. An opportunity arose for this dream to be realised and Natalie established the new business from a beautiful log cabin in her garden, offering a peaceful and tranquil setting. Natalie was very grateful for the support she received, and the small grant from Cheshire West & Chester Council. Natalie accessed free Start-up support from Blue Orchid, a service funded by Cheshire West & Chester Council. The assistance she received enabled her to draw together a detailed business plan and cash flows, work out competitive price points and create innovative marketing solutions. This has paid great dividends as the business is starting to grow and Natalie

New website launched for Cheshire West Businesses


he holding page for the new site launched in June 2018 and is very much targeted at supporting businesses in Cheshire West & Chester. If you’re a business based in Cheshire West then we would encourage you to take a look. For further information and to find out how you can get your business on to the new site please email: business@cheshirewestandchester. or call us on 01244 973618

has really benefited from the support and guidance she received. Natalie goes on to say: ‘I feel very fortunate to have had the support and guidance I received and more so that it was funded by my local authority’. If you’re looking for advice and support to start a business in Cheshire West, Start-up provides a flexible programme of free support, business advice and training across the county. The service can help you explore your business idea, provides 'one to one' business advice and supports you once you actually start trading. Blue Orchid has been delivering business start-up support across Cheshire West and Chester for almost 10 years, and has assisted over 500 people to start a new business. For more information on how to access this service please email or call 03300 245007

Natalie Hayton of Beauty Room@No.1

Do you currently employ any young people under 16? Do you know your responsibility as an employer around the employment of children? l As an employer do you know there’s a limit on the hours that an under 16yrs can work? l All young people who work need a licence; this is national legislation and may vary depending on where your business is based. l You can get this licence for ‘free’ if your business is based in Cheshire West & Chester. Gareth Lewis, Child Licensing Officer for Cheshire West & Chester Council, works within the Council’s Education Welfare Service and is responsible for, amongst other things, issuing employment licences to children who are working within Cheshire West.

“A lot of young people think they can’t start working until they have a National Insurance Number. However, this isn’t always the case. In the UK, you can start working in a few kinds of work at the age of 13, and other forms of “light work” from age 14. These young people will be restricted in the number of hours they can work and in the type of work they can do, but it is possible to work at this age”. So, if you’re thinking of employing a young person, or would like any advice and guidance and are a Cheshire West business, you can make contact by emailing Gareth at: childlicensing@

Let’s talk… Start that business conversation.



MWL Systems achieves Microsoft Gold Cloud Productivity competency


he team at the region’s leading IT firm, MWL Systems, is celebrating after achieving the coveted Microsoft Gold Cloud Productivity competency, once again cementing the company’s position as a major player within the technology industry across the UK as a whole. In order to achieve this accreditation, MWL Systems - which has been in business for 34 years this year - was required to carry out a number of tasks that would establish and ultimately demonstrate the company’s technical excellence, high levels of customer satisfaction and the volume of business that it carries out with Microsoft. To demonstrate the team’s dedication to customer service, MWL Systems submitted numerous positive customer references relating to the Microsoft cloud-based services it provides to its varied client base. In addition to this, the business was required to have a set number of team members with Microsoft certifications, gained following stringent qualifying exams. This achievement will sit proudly alongside the thriving IT business’ other Microsoft accreditations, which include Gold Cloud Platform, Gold Datacentre and Gold Small & Midmarket Cloud Solutions. All of these accomplishments highlight MWL Systems’ expertise and strong ability to analyse and implement the appropriate technologies for clients, that ultimately lead to efficient and reliable IT functions. Speaking of this success, Managing Director of MWL Systems, Matt Kingsley-Williams said: “We are extremely proud to have achieved this accreditation. Our team works tirelessly to ensure that each and every one our clients receives the highest levels of customer service at all times. “As a company we are continually increasing our knowledge and expertise in line with the everchanging and adapting nature of the technology industry. Our long-

MWL Systems’ Managing Director Matt Kingsley-Williams, centre, proudly demonstrates the company’s Microsoft Gold Cloud Productivity plaque with members of the Cloud Technololgy team Nigel Blain and Will Jones, who along with other specialists in MWL’s team were instrumental in achieving this latest accolade. standing partnership with Microsoft has opened some amazing doors for our business, and we look forward to our continued relationship with this leading technology partner”. MWL Systems has had major success with helping business leverage the power of their O365 products, especially SharePoint online. Matt continues: “Many businesses move to Office 365 mainly for their email provision or a better way to licence Office, many aren’t aware of the other powerful tools that are included in their subscription. We’ve been helping them to use the in-built SharePoint online tool to create great looking intranet sites and comprehensive document management, for their quality systems for instance”

To find out how MWL Systems can support your business, please visit 18

Cloud based Microsoft products that forward-thinking businesses are using to help grow include: Microsoft Azure - Cost effective cloud based storage that is easily integrated, adapts to suit your requirements and grows with your business. SharePoint Online - Effective software for businesses wanting to securely share, organise, store and access vital information from any device. Power BI - Provides real time business analytics, allowing you to visualise, share and report on vital metrics from your dashboard. Benefits of cloud based solutions designed by MWL Systems: Flexibility - Employees can work from anywhere Improved collaboration - This can make a huge difference, particularly where organisations have multiple sites or remote workers Security - Data can be remotely wiped from lost or stolen devices Scalability - Cloud solutions can grow with your organisation Reduced expenditure - Cloud computing doesn’t require the expense of costly hardware for your IT systems Reduced maintenance - Updates and maintenance can be handled easily by our team, off-site


SMEs increasingly see alternative finance as the way forward Almost double the number of UK SMEs have used external funding since 2016

Paul Slapa, Head of Direct Sales, Wesleyan Bank

By PAUL SLAPA, Head of Direct Sales, Wesleyan Bank


ore businesses are exploring alternative finance options rather than relying on traditional borrowing methods such as overdrafts, savings and credit cards to facilitate growth. This is based on the findings of specialist commercial finance provider Wesleyan Bank’s annual survey of UK small and medium sized companies. The ‘SME Heroes or Zeros 2018’ research surveyed over 500 SME owners, from established business owners to serial entrepreneurs. Almost double (59%) the number of UK SMEs have used external funding on at least one occasion, against 30% in the same survey in 2016, while 27% admit that they now ‘regularly’ turn to external finance, up from 20% two years ago. Attitudes to finance differ according to age and gender. Business owners aged 45 and above are three times more likely to have ‘never’ sought external funding but this mindset could be influenced due to them describing their relationship with their business bank as ‘poor’ or ‘lacking’. It may stem from a lack of trust or confidence in their bank’s support when previously broaching the possibility of securing funding at a time when they most needed it, such as in the aftermath of the economic downturn in 2008. In contrast, only a fifth of SME owners aged under 30 said they would ‘never’ pursue alternative finance options, whereas male business owners (40%) are more likely to seek external funding compared to women (28%), BUSINESS OWNERS BECOMING MORE INQUISITIVE IN PURSUIT OF GROWTH There appears to be a correlation between SME owners displaying a greater understanding of alternative funding sources and having positive feelings about how tailored solutions can aid their business. 48% and 46% respectively stated they felt ‘positive’ about short-term loans and equity finance which is an increase from 22% in 2016.

In addition, just 8% now feel ‘very negative’ about asset finance compared with 35% in 2016. Knowledge of asset finance is growing with 29% of the survey’s respondents admitting they have a ‘full understanding’ compared to 16% two years ago. These figures are encouraging but indicate that specialist finance providers still have work to do to highlight the benefits of adopting alternative finance to drive growth and support a business’s working capital. Tailored asset finance solutions can cover all kinds of investment including IT hardware and software, business and office equipment, plant and machinery, commercial vehicles, premise refurbishments, office relocations and more. By electing to spread the cost, typically over one to five years, SMEs can benefit from having greater flexibility and control over their finances without compromising their existing banking lines. FIVE REASONS WHY SMEs SHOULD CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE FINANCE l Drive growth and innovation specialist payment over time finance solutions can allow your business to expand and take advantage of market opportunities when they are ripe. l Strengthen your business plan – experienced financial services providers employ hundreds of regional financial advisors who can offer free business health checks to help SMEs better plan for the future. l Gain greater flexibility – consider separating your commercial finance requirements from your day-to-day business needs. By comparing multiple sources of financial options, you will be able to make a better-informed decision and be in a stronger position to secure the right deal for your business. l Boost cash flow – flexible finance solutions can help to spread the cost of major annual expenses, such as annual VAT and tax liabilities, into smaller, more manageable chunks to allow businesses to continue to invest.

l You don’t have to rely on your bank – alternative finance providers may be able to add greater value and longterm funding support by fulfilling your ongoing business requirements. GREATER ACCESS TO FUNDING AT LOWER INTEREST RATES Understandably, some businesses are cautious about seeking finance given the fluctuating appetite of high-street lenders to support them. However, in reality there are now more alternative funding sources available from specialist providers than ever before to assist SMEs to grow, so it’s worth exploring all potential options. Many successful, growing businesses have cash flow funding requirements for a variety of reasons. Flexible alternative finance solutions enable them to spread the cost of short-term working capital liabilities to gain greater predictability over expenditure rather than accumulating more debt by relying solely on a bank overdraft facility. Customised finance plans also cover all types of investment to allow businesses to gain access to the specialist equipment and technology they need to flourish, without being constrained by large, upfront costs. SMEs which are leveraging alternative finance solutions have more reasons than most to feel optimistic about the future through being able to swiftly capitalise on lucrative market opportunities when they arise. Wesleyan Bank provide short, medium and long-term funding solutions for UK businesses. To obtain a free copy of the ‘SME Heroes or Zeros’ report, please email bankcommercialsales@ or call 0800 980 9348.



Blacon youth facilities get major investment


wo important facilities for young people in Blacon have benefitted from major investment from Avenue Services. Blacon Adventure Playground’s activity centre has had a new £40,000 floor fitted complete with markings for football, badminton, netball and basketball. The future of the Portakabin in Cairns Crescent, which is home to Blacon Youth Football Club and the Delta Centre youth club, has also been purchased to secure its long-term future. Both projects have been funded by Avenue Services, a not-for-profit venture between Sanctuary Group and Cheshire West and Chester Council. The adventure playground’s revamp will help it attract even more people on top of the 5,000 who visit the Kipling Road venue every month. Sandra Hewitt, Blacon Adventure Playground manager, said: “The refurbishment of this important community facility is fantastic news for the playground and for all the local people who use it. “It looks like a brand-new

building and from the feedback we have already had, we know this will make a real difference.” Chester MP Chris Matheson was instrumental in enabling Avenue Services to buy the Cairns Crescent Portakabin. The popular facility welcomes up to 60 young people aged eight to 18 three nights a week for the youth club, as well as being home to Blacon Youth Football Club. The youth club initially moved to the building on a short-term basis after the Delta Centre was demolished during the redevelopment of the Parade in Blacon. Paul Knight, head of Avenue Services, said: “This is a fantastic facility for young people in Blacon and we are delighted to have worked with our local MP Chris Matheson, Blacon Youth Football Club and Portakabin to secure its long-term future.” Mr Matheson commented: “It is so important the young people of Blacon have somewhere to meet and spend time with their peers and I’m very pleased to have helped secure such a positive outcome for all involved.”

Chris Matheson MP shows his support for the investment

Help to move house in Chester


anctuary Housing residents are helping to give people in Chester a hand with moving home. Volunteers are running twice weekly drop-in ‘Move It’ surgeries, offering advice and assistance with securing a place on the housing register as well as searching for and bidding on homes. Sessions take place at


Centurion House, in Northgate Street, every Thursday between 10.30am and 12.30pm and at the Blacon Enterprise Centre every Tuesday from 10.30am to 12.30pm. They are led by the volunteers, with support from Sanctuary’s resident involvement team and Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Care home receives Good rating from CQC


pton Dene Residential and Nursing Home has received a Good rating from the Care Quality Commission. The home, in Caldecott Close, is one of more than 100 managed across the UK by Sanctuary Care. It has 74 spacious ensuite bedrooms and, in addition to residential and nursing care, provides dedicated dementia care to residents. The CQC report

praised the home for its level of care, safety and leadership and also highlighted the effective training received by staff. Dawn Smith, manager at Upton Dene, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded a ‘Good’ rating by the CQC – it is a true testament to all of our team members who work tirelessly to provide the very best care, and to our lovely residents who we have the privilege of caring for each day.”

Sanctuary staff helping to improve mental heath Sanctuary Group staff are giving their time to help people across West Cheshire improve their mental health. Working with Ellesmere Port-based charity Chapter, they are supporting adults who are living with mental health issues access volunteering, work experience and employment opportunities. Employees are being trained as mentors so they can understand the issues surrounding mental health and how people are affected. By spending time with people, they will be able to look for suitable work or volunteer placements in and around Chester

to enable individuals to improve their mental health. Avenue Services, which is a joint venture between Sanctuary Group and Cheshire West and Chester Council, has already welcomed volunteers to its city farm at Blacon Adventure Playground. Colleen Eccles, head of development – relationship management, said: “Sanctuary is pleased to be able to offer this opportunity which could bring about shared benefits to both organisations and provide a valuable service in the communities in which we build and manage homes.”


Group from North Wales cycles 1,400 miles to Gibraltar for charity


n 19th May, Wrexham-based financial adviser Richard Williams and seven other cyclists left Wrexham on a sponsored cycle ride to Gibraltar. Over 13 days the group cycled a total of 1,400 miles and completed over 60,000 feet of climb. The route took the team through some gruelling terrain including crossing the Pyrenees, containing a climb equivalent to climbing the height of Snowdon twice in one day. Richard and the other cyclists took on this task to fundraise for four important local charities: Marie Curie, Hope House, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Crohn’s and Colitis UK. Laura Ellis-Bartlett, Marie Curie Community Fundraiser for North East Wales, said: “Thank you very much to

everyone at Williams Financial Planning for the support they have given the local Marie Curie nurses over the last twelve months. With their support, the nurses are able to continue to provide vital care and support when it’s needed most. “It has been great to be a part of this fantastic journey as Richard and the other cyclists prepare for their challenge. We wish them all the very best of luck and look forward to hearing all about it on their triumphant return.” Reflecting on the challenge Richard said “All those weeks ago it seemed like another crazy idea to put ten guys together to cycle from Wrexham to Gibraltar. Well it seemed crazy to other people but not to Mike, Barry or I. We have become defined by these challenges and in truth we love them.

We have been overwhelmed by the messages of encouragement and sponsorship we have received and would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the last few weeks”. Over the years Williams Financial Planning of Wrexham have completed a number of cycling challenges; from around Wales in eight days, to their epic ride from Wrexham to Monte Carlo. Thanks to the generosity and support of local people, these events have raised over £30,000 to support the vital work of Hope House, Sparks, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Bloodwise. The donations are still being counted but so far this challenge has raised over £20,000 for the charities. Follow their story on Richard’s blog The Reluctant Cyclist:

Top: The cyclists at the finish line outside the town hall in Gibraltar

Elixir to expand after Awards success


wenty-five-year-old entrepreneur Max Van Der Heiden is looking to expand his North Wales marketing business after making a name for himself in the industry. Despite his age, Max has already been running Elixir for three years, after graduating from Bangor University with a master’s degree in marketing in 2015. Based in Llandudno, he got off to a flying start, picking up the Best Social Media Campaign prize at the North Wales Young Business Awards in 2016, for developing Snapchat Geofilters for the public to use in both Llandudno and Conwy. Just last month he was nominated for New Business of The Year at Conwy Business Awards. “I started the business straight after university which was nerve-wracking as most of my friends were walking into secure jobs, but ultimately it was the best thing I ever did,” he said.

“I’d say the first 18 months were a rollercoaster, especially in the beginning; there were a few teething problems as there are with any new company, but I embraced the learning curve and was fortunate to start working with some brilliant people who showed a lot of faith in me. “I have always believed by combining strategic design and effective marketing to give the clients maximum return on investment, and that’s something I’ll continue to do as I move forward.” The future already includes a bigger workforce and office space. “Yes, expansion is on the cards and of course Elixir will remain in North Wales,” said Max. “This area is sometimes seen as behind the times, so along with other up-andcomers and more established, cuttingedge firms we want to change that perception because it’s simply not the case.” He added: “In today’s instant world

you can work remotely – especially in the marketing, brand and design arena – so why not choose to work somewhere as beautiful as this region?” Admitting there is “never enough time” in the day, Max is now focused on growing his client base and has a few words for any other graduates planning to take the plunge and go it alone. “Go for it!” he said. “Whilst you’re young you have so little to lose and there are so many ways to get started so why not take the risk. You can always go back to a secure job if it fails, but you have to be positive and believe that it won’t – it worked for me.”

Max Van Der Heiden, CEO at Elixir



Edge Transport celebrates 85th anniversary 2018 marks Edge Transport’s 85th year, a milestone that will be much celebrated by this third generation family business


dge Transport started life in 1933, delivering goods for the army as part of the war effort and today the company is run by four of the Edge family members; Jonathan (Managing Director), his wife Nikki (Finance Director), his sister Jenny (Commercial Director), and her husband Richard (Operations Director). Edge pride themselves on being problem solving logistics experts, offering high quality distribution and storage solutions from their purpose built site in Deeside. In addition to their own fleet of vehicles, as shareholder members of Palletline, they have access to the UK’s premier pallet delivery network. Edge is always striving to do better, be better and deliver better. Jonathan Edge, Managing Director, said

“Our customers are likeminded companies who share our ethos and values. We want to be a company who people want to work for and work with. A company that you can trust” Edge are also proud supporters of the Hospice of the Good Shepherd. The team regularly fundraise for the hospice and one of their trailers is liveried with a Hospice design. Last year Edge was awarded the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year; an accolade that meant a lot to the team. Edge have also been awarded ten service excellence certificates by

pallet network Palletline. Edge are one of only four depots in the country to achieve certificates for six or more consecutive months – an impressive feat. Businessman Ray Kroc once said “You’re only as good as the people you hire”, and that’s a core belief at Edge. From the small things, like free fruit in the office, to company perks and a fantastic working environment as well as staff training. Many of the current team have progressed through the business to higher levels of responsibility and Edge employ a surprisingly high number of female and young drivers; confirmation that their progressive attitude runs right through the company. Edge Transport at night. Photograph by Ian Southerin

Left, above and top right: Members of the Edge Transport team

Edge Transport Limited, Fourth Avenue, Zone 2 Deeside Industrial Park, Flintshire CH5 2NR 20 22

Tel: 01244 957400

Jonathan said “Our team are the reason that we are so successful. Happy and well-rewarded staff always offer the very best service and the knock on effect to our customers is huge”. Delivering high quality storage and distribution solutions across the North West and North Wales, Edge Transport is your best bet if you’re looking to employ a local business you can really trust


Getting started Cheryl White

NAME: Cheryl White JOB TITLE: Managing Director FROM: Apollo Care Franchising Limited


y name is Cheryl and I run a business that provides personal care to individuals living in their own homes. Before I began my business, I worked full time as a District Nurse, witnessing first-hand the lack of good home care providers in my local area, and decided I needed to do something about it. I believed that every individual had the right to live as independent a life as possible and based my home care company around that model. The business was launched in 2011 and by 2012 our reputation had grown so much that we had waiting lists for people who wanted to use our care services. As well as providing personal care, we also started to provide companionship services, sitting services and shopping calls so people could continue with their hobbies, despite their disabilities. Demand was high and we were inundated with calls from desperate family members, looking for a higher standard of care for their relatives. In 2013 I took the decision to franchise the business; this then gave me the opportunity to grow the brand, provide more care hours to people who desperately needed them and keep the business in small teams so the care standards were not affected. I sold my first two franchises to two of my senior care staff! I now have seven franchise teams across the Merseyside area, and our franchise managers are fantastic. We follow a very strict criteria when choosing our franchisees, as care really must come first within the organisation. We are always looking to speak to individuals who would love to own their own business within the care sector, with full support from a dedicated team. The franchise managers are all separate business owners, working under the Apollo Care umbrella, but we really are one big team, with the client’s best interests at heart. The feedback from families is wonderful and gives us all enormous job satisfaction every day.

Some days can be difficult. It is always a challenge to recruit good care staff and we do only employ the best in the industry who see care as a profession and not a stop gap. Not being able to take every care package that needs us is very difficult at times, as family members can become quite distressed if we have to refuse the care. This is something we are working on together, as a team. This year, we were very proud to receive our Investors in People Silver Accreditation. This gave us all the acknowledgment and confidence that we are providing an excellent service to both our clients and our fantastic employees every day. Our care staff are so important to us, often doing a very difficult job, and we were delighted to be recognised for the support we provide to them. When I came into business, I had absolutely no business background or experience, but I did have a passion

to create a service that would help as many people as possible. I made lots of mistakes and basically learnt as I went along! Every day is about selfdevelopment and seven years on I am still learning and encouraging my teams to learn as much as they can... all the time! My aim for Apollo Care is to become the leading Home Care provider and Home Care employer in the North West. We are constantly looking for new ways to add more value to our services and recognise the work of our care teams. Franchising my business was the best business decision I ever made. It has helped me to grow my business at a steady rate, without compromising the high standards of care we provide. Each franchisee is responsible for the running of their own team, which has given me the chance to work on the business systems, head office support and the services we offer to our clients.



Young Chamber join Christleton High School students for two-day Careers Conference


oung Chamber Sponsors attended a two-day Careers Conference at Christleton High School as part of the Young Chamber programme, to speak to students about their current roles and their career pathways. The aim of the first day was to encourage pupils to explore their options, whether that be at university, apprenticeships or in the workplace and to show that what they choose to do immediately after school doesn’t limit their future careers. Having chosen the sectors they were interested in, around 120 Sixth Form students attended the event to listen to expert speakers. The students listened to the different types of challenges the speakers have faced along their careers and how they came to be in their current roles. They highlighted the fact that, more often than not, people end up in a different career to the one they had planned at school. A number of the speakers described how they ended up in a career that was completely unrelated to what their degree was focused on. Rachel Evans, Marketing Manager at Jackson Fire and Security, who spoke to the students said, “It was a great morning at Christleton High School for the Careers Day. Not only were students engaged asking all the right questions, but it was great to catch up with other Young Chamber sponsors and learn more about their experiences and backgrounds. The event was a great success and worthwhile for both students and supporting businesses.” Paul Slapa, Head of Direct Sales at Wesleyan Bank, spoke about his career in financial services and said, “It was a pleasure to be able to stand in front of students at Christleton High School and talk to them about my career and a potential career in financial services. Leaving school can be daunting when you are not sure what the future holds, but there is so much opportunity out there and it is great to be able to give a little insight to that. Financial Services is a great industry to be a part of, and hopefully I helped demonstrate that today” The second day of the Careers Conference focused on mock

Young Chamber Sponsors and Guest Speakers at the Careers Conference


interviews. Students were given a selection of jobs from a range of sectors that they could choose to be interviewed for. Once they had selected their job interview sector, they were then assigned an interviewer who proceeded to interview them for the selected role. The purpose of this was to emulate a real job interview, with the aim to fully prepare students for the world of work after leaving high school. Students were expected to dress in formal attire and prepare themselves for the interview by rehearsing potential questions and making themselves aware of the sector they had chosen to be interviewed for. Our Young Chamber Sponsors offered students vital interview practice across a range of sectors and valuable feedback to take away from the day. John Farrell, Accounts Senior at Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers said, “The mock interviews are a great way for students to get to know how to write a CV and then take the next step in to an interview environment. It’s an invaluable process that teaches students interview techniques and helps them gain some useful tips along the way. This was my second year of holding the interviews and again the candidates were of a high standard. Ellis & Co look forward to further events and to continue support Young Chamber”

We would like to extend our thanks to our sponsors that attended the conference for their support and expertise; l Altimex Ltd & MJ Lighting Technology LTD l Broughton Shopping l University of Chester l Ellis & Co Chartered Business Accountants and Business Advisers l Feelgood Co l Hillyer McKeown Solicitors l Jackson Fire & Security Ltd l Lomani Luxury Travel Ltd l Nuffield Health l Smurfit Kappa l Stay Calm and Content l Surf Snowdonia l The Townhouse Chester l Wesleyan Bank l Wockhardt UK Ltd l Zodeq Ltd Debbie Bryce, Deputy CEO of the WCNW Chamber, said: “This twoday conference has been fantastic for all involved. It is great for the students to hear from highly successful businesspeople and to pass on their experiences. The mock interviews are a vital way to ensure young people are prepared for their future career or educational pathways. I would like to thank our Young Chamber Sponsors that attended the conference and to Christleton High School for such a well organised event.”


Young Chamber take part in an Empowering Women’s Day


n 21st June, the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce Young Chamber programme took part in an ‘Empowering Women’s Day’ at Christleton High School. The aim of this day was to inspire young women to further investigate and explore entering roles and sectors that are typically male dominated. Christleton High School, with the help of the Young Chamber programme, gathered eight female speakers from a range of industries such as engineering, medicine and public services. These speakers carried out talks to students about their career journeys and their day-to-day job roles within their professions, highlighting that there are many routes to achieve your dream

role and any setbacks can always be overcome. Throughout the day students were split into groups and given challenges and activities to carry out as a team. These included looking at how to be body positive, how to love yourself and to be confident, as well as being placed into a ‘desert island task’ and viewing leadership roles within a group. Three Young Chamber sponsors took part in the morning; Louise Crane, Managing Director at Overbyte Interactive and Katy Harrison, Marketing Manager at Cimteq Ltd, spoke to students about their journey to becoming experts in their field and the challenges that they faced along the way. Students also had the opportunity

to hear from Dr Rena Ohri, a private GP at Nuffield Health, Chester. Dr Ohri spoke to students about how she entered into the field of medicine and the obstacles that she overcame as she embarked upon the challenge of becoming a fully qualified GP. Lou Crane said: “It was a privilege to be involved with the day and giving these girls the opportunity to understand that their potential lies within themselves. I hope they have been inspired to listen to their ambitions and ignore the critics!” Students also listened to talks from female officers in different departments at Cheshire Police, including riot control. Cheshire Police exhibited one of their largest riot vans, where students had the opportunity to tour inside and view the equipment that is used by officers when on duty. Lynsay Lawson, a teacher at Christleton High School and organiser of the day, said: “’When women support each other, incredible things happen!’ This is so true. Christleton was so lucky to have so many wonderful women come and share their stories and advice at our first ever empowering women event. Let’s hope there are many more to come.” The WCNW Chamber would like to thank our Young Chamber sponsors that attended, as well as Christleton High School for organising a fantastic event.

Guest Speakers for Empowering Women’s Day

Christleton High School students get advice from recruitment specialist


n the 4th June, Young Chamber Sponsor Phill Jones, Joint Managing Director at Insignia Resourcing and Deputy Chairman at WCNW Chamber, spent the afternoon at Christleton High School, speaking to students who needed support on how to present themselves, whether this be in school or at future job interviews. Phill spent time talking to the students about how their body language can greatly impact how they come across in an interview and that a good, firm handshake can go a long way. Phill also spent time telling the students to think about what they are posting on social media as managers will check these for any negative comments when applying for jobs in the future. The students found the discussions with Phill extremely useful; Barry

McDonnell, Assistant Head of Year 9/10, commented “Phill very quickly became in tune with the way the group needed to interact with him and his passion and delivery was enthralling for the students. The session was fantastic for the group of boys, who gained a lot from the experience.” Phill commented on the afternoon “Supporting Barry was a real pleasure. The afternoon was a great success, working with a number of young individuals who needed some coaching on how to be a gentleman, amongst other topics. It was a very interactive afternoon with the students getting involved in a number of subjects, including body language, interview skills and a number of open and honest discussions. I am looking forward to helping again in the future.”

, Phill Jones, Joint Managing Director at Insignia Resourcing speaking to students at Christleton High School



MARK WILLIAMS WCNW: To begin, tell us a little about yourself and your background. I’m MD of DRB Group. I live in Ormskirk, Lancashire about 37 miles from work. I have two children, Amy 21 and Tom 17. Even at school, I always wanted to be a Chartered Engineer. I did a full technical apprenticeship with Dresser, then, after completing my degree while at Pilkington Glass, I became Chartered. I quickly moved into management – project management and then general management at BOC and Hattersley Valves. This is when I started my own company and at the same time worked for Shanks


Waste Plc. I went through a Management Buyout which started me on a more senior general management route. I carried on with Continued Professional Development and I’m now Fellow of the IMechE and Fellow of the IoD. I came to DRB in September 2015 and moved into the MD role in April 2016. WCNW: What attracted you to the company? One person – Matt Bennett, the current owner – he has a real drive and focus on where he wanted to take the company. I knew I could work well with him - and we do.

Managing Director DRB Group, Deeside Industrial Park WCNW: Once you became MD, what did you do next? My first challenge was to turn DRB from reactive to proactive in sales. The business had evolved over its 40 years, and we had to develop a sales team and drive the focus in our core activity. WCNW: What are your main responsibilities? I have many hats. I provide some technical authority and assist with operations, but my main focus is the commercial aspect for DRB. Our challenge is to nearly double the turnover and profitability of the business, so this involves many networking events and long hours.

THE BIG INTERVIEW WCNW: What does a typical day involve? I write out my action plan for the week on Sunday night. I can’t guarantee it won’t get derailed, but I generally tick most things off. I’m an early riser so I check emails before my drive into the office, then at 9:00am we have a KPI review meeting to make sure we’re on track. Before lunch I’ll get involved in contract review meetings, have 1-21s with the account managers and meet with the senior team. Sometimes a day can go by and all I’ve done is meet clients, go on site visits and have internal meetings! I leave the office after 18:30 to miss traffic and get home in time for dinner with my kids. I have a final check of emails to see if anything urgent needs doing (we’re a 24/7 operation), then bed around midnight.

WCNW: Any difficulties? If so how did you overcome them? Recruitment remains our biggest challenge even though we pay well, offer good work/life balance and invest in apprentices – 9% of our workforce are engineering apprentices. Our apprentice buddy system means we bring in fresh talent and pair them with our senior engineers. We won a High Sheriff award for our Apprenticeship training scheme in 2016.

WCNW: Who are your target audience and what is the main aim of the organisation? DRB’s target audience is any company that needs to keep it’s moving parts moving. This could be a rail company that needs a custom solution to remove its train axles, or a food manufacturer that needs to tweak its process line set up, so they can produce different sizes of their product.

WCNW: Looking ahead, what are your main aims for the organisation and how would you like it to develop? Our 5-year strategic plan involves doubling turnover and increasing our profit to secure the business for our 130 employees and for future generations. We’ll be here for another 42 years, supporting local industrial business to be the best they can be.

WCNW: What projects are you currently working on? We’ve just signed a Framework Agreement with a local company worth more than £2.2m over 3 years. We’re also working with a local pharmaceutical company on a second project. The first got them through a tight regulatory deadline, saved them lost revenues of around €100 million, and kept one of their overseas business units in business.

WCNW: Did you ever think ‘I’ve taken on too big a risk’? If so, how did you overcome it? Health and safety, NEVER. But business risk is inevitable. DRB has operational and process systems which mitigate these risks and due diligence is measured at every step – often with the directors as and when required – this is the benefit of a family run entity.

WCNW: How have businesses and individuals responded to what you’re offering? We get a lot of “I didn’t know you did that,” from clients when they visit our 6.5-acre site. We tell all our clients

to come for a tour to see just how varied our skills and expertise are. We have everything in-house from technical designers to machinists – and everything in between! WCNW: How are you involved in the local community? DRB actively supports local schools, colleges and universities. Many of our employees are still in further education and we look to promote engineering through networks like the Chamber. We are active with WC&NW Chamber of Commerce, Deeside Business Forum, Flintshire Council, Welsh Government, Mersey Dee Alliance, and I am personally involved in the Northern Powerhouse with Rt Hon Lord Barry Jones and CBI North Wales. WCNW: What are your career aims and aspirations? Is there anything else in particular you’d like to achieve in your lifetime? I want to see DRB become the shining star that I know it can be, with its younger employees developing and one day leading the business. WCNW: What message would you give to other people in business? Simplify your model, manage and keep control of costs, but most importantly invest in your people: happy, focused, talented staff are what will keep your customers coming back for more. My only other comment would be to enjoy what you do and work hard at it. Nothing is free!

DRB Group - Technical Intelligence, Practical Experience

WCNW: How have things gone so far? This year’s been more challenging than expected, including boardlevel changes. The business is in such diverse industries and we have the continued challenge of attracting not just multi-skilled engineers but multi-skilled engineers with the right experience. We have a seriously bright future though with massive opportunities on the horizon – DRB would not be where we are today without the loyalty of our experienced staff and our extremely favourable customer base. Pictures: Ginger Pixie Photography



Recruitment difficulties continue to hamper West Cheshire & North Wales Businesses


usinesses across all sectors in West Cheshire & North Wales continue to face high recruitment difficulties, according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce. The survey, which saw 100 businesses from the region take part, revealed that 77% of firms that tried to recruit staff over the past 3 months encountered difficulties (compared to a national average of 65%). Manufacturers were the hardest hit with 93% facing recruitment problems, the largest figure for over three years. The survey also indicates that growth in domestic and export sales have eased and have fallen behind the North West average. Despite this, confidence in both profitability and turnover has increased on the quarter, with the latter the highest it’s been since Q4 ’16.

The percentage of WCNW businesses that tried to recruit staff over the last three months remains broadly flat, after a very slight increase in Q1 ’18. Employment expectations have recovered after the dip seen in Q1 ’18. There has been an increase in concern about a wide range of external factors over the last quarter. Concern over business rates recorded the largest increase and rose to the highest level since Q2 ‘15. Businesses are also reporting a significant increase in concern about corporate taxation which rose to the highest level since Q2 ‘16. Competition, once again, remains the largest concern for businesses in WCNW as well as the North West region as a whole. Commenting on the results, Colin Brew, Chief Executive Officer of West Cheshire & North Wakes Chamber of Commerce, said;

“The current political and Brexit related uncertainty, as well as the failure to deal with longstanding issues such as weak productivity, are likely to weigh on economic activity over the near term. The availability of skilled staff remains the biggest issue that firms face. Unless the government gets a handle on the disarray in the training and apprenticeship system and sets out a clear immigration policy that enables firms to cover vacancies, the economic potential of the region will be held back. Big, bold action is needed for the UK to buck the current slow-growth trend – with major new incentives for business investment, confidenceboosting infrastructure projects, and a concerted effort to slash the upfront cost of doing business, which is putting consumer-facing businesses especially under intense pressure.”

In Focus with Insignia Resourcing Limited Launched in 2014, Insignia Resourcing Limited is a North West recruitment agency that has worked extensively in Power & Utilities, Manufacturing, Telecoms and the Construction sectors, among others. Phill Jones, Joint Managing Director and Chamber Deputy Chairman, talks us through his response to the Q2 2018 QES; Over the last three months you have increased investment in both staff training and machinery. Is there a specific reason behind this? Over the last three months we have made a significant investment in faster technology, improving our broadband speed, obtaining new computers and software. It is essential for our business to use the latest technology so we stay ahead of the competition. We have also invested in training our staff with a specific focus on media and marketing to help us to promote the business. As we have diversified into different industry sectors, these investments are


making a huge positive impact on Insignia Resourcing. You have highlighted a few external factors that are a concern for your business, could you explain the reasons behind these? Brexit has had a major impact on our business and we have lost some multinational clients because of the uncertainty it has caused. The recruitment market is very saturated with a lot of competition driving rates down. However, we pride ourselves on our personal approach and this helps us stand out from the crowd. Increasing costs, including business rates and corporation taxation, are also a concern. What would you say is the biggest issue facing businesses in your industry at the moment? The number one issue facing the recruitment industry at the moment is the skills shortage. Employers are asking us to fill positions where it can be a struggle to find candidates with

Phill Jones, Joint Managing Director of Insignia Rescourcing

the correct qualifications. We have seen a change over the last few years as employers are now stating that degrees are no longer essential but preferable. This is one of the main reasons why Insignia Resourcing is a Young Chamber Sponsor as we are very passionate about trying to bridge the gap between business and education.


BCC/DHL: UK exporters impeded by labour shortages T he British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL, has published its latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook, based on survey and documentation data from UK exporters. The Outlook shows exporters are being hampered by widespread labour shortages, particularly in manufacturing, where two-thirds of firms struggled to recruit in the first quarter of 2018. Both sectors are being severely hampered by the prevalence of skills shortages. Of those recruiting, 66% of manufacturers and 57% of services exporters are struggling to find the right staff, according to the survey of over

3,300 exporters. In the manufacturing sector, the greatest difficulty was in finding skilled manual and technical labour (66%) and in the services sector, it was professional and managerial level positions (53%). Addressing the growing skills gap is a joint responsibility for business, government and the education sector. Companies themselves must do more to invest in training, but to do that they need to be confident that the apprenticeship and training system is fit for purpose – particularly with regard to the apprenticeship levy and the implementation of new frameworks, where businesses have raised significant

issues to government in recent months. The continued lack of clarity over future immigration rules – and business access to skills from overseas – is also a key issue where urgent action is required. The survey also shows that in the manufacturing sector, growth in export sales and orders remain stable, while they slowed slightly for the services sector in the first quarter of 2018. Elsewhere, the BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, which measures the volume of trade documents issued by accredited Chambers of Commerce for goods shipments, increased by 2.24% on the quarter, and stands at the second highest level on record.

KEY FINDINGS FROM THE REPORT l 68% of exporting manufacturers and 53% of services had attempted to recruit in the last three months, of those, nearly two-thirds reported difficulty finding staff (66% and 57% respectively) l 42% of exporting manufacturers and 28% of exporting service firms reported increased export sales in Q1. 42% of exporting manufacturers and 25% of exporting service firms reported increased export orders l 45% of exporting manufacturers expect their prices to rise. Of these

firms, 82% cited raw materials as a cost pressure. 37% of services expect prices to rise l 56% of exporting manufacturers cite exchange rates as a concern to their business (compared to 66% in the previous quarter), and 42% in the services sector (down from 47%) l The BCC/DHL Trade Confidence Index, a measure of the volume of trade documentation issued nationally, rose by 2.24% on the quarter. The Index now stands at 126.82 – the second highest level since records began in 2004.

Five reasons to start exporting W ith Brexit fast approaching, many companies may be forgiven for being apprehensive about starting to export their products or services. However, as we wait to see what our future trading relationship with the EU will be, there are many opportunities outside the EU that businesses can take advantage of now. In Q1 of 2018, 55% of the UK’s exports were to the rest of the world – a statistic that highlights that, although the EU is a huge importer of UK goods and services, the majority of the UK’s exports are to countries outside the EU.

The Chamber is very passionate about promoting exporting to businesses in West Cheshire & North Wales, as it can bring great benefits to firms and the local economy. Below we have listed five reasons why you should consider exporting your product or service:

1. Increase your annual turnover The simple fact that if you are selling your product or service to other markets abroad, means that you could greatly increase your turnover. 2. Spread risk across multiple markets By limiting your business to one market there is a risk that if there is a change in regulation, for example, it could have a huge impact on your business. Exporting means you can spread this risk across different markets so the impact will not be as substantial.

3. Innovation – create new products to meet demand in new markets Entering new markets can lead to the development of new products or services to suit a different customer base. This increased innovation can bring a host of benefits to your business. 4. Get ahead of your competition If your market in the UK is saturated, by expanding overseas you can find new ways of generating revenue to help you get ahead of the competition. 5. There is support out there! The Chamber works closely with a range of organisations, including Welsh Government and the Department for International Trade, who aim to support UK businesses as they start their export journey. Our dedicated export department are also on hand to help with any questions you may have.

If you would like any information on how your business can start exporting, or you are interested in expanding into further markets, please contact the team on 01244 669985.



‘Happiest workplace in the UK’ hosts PR industry event A director at a Mold-based digital PR agency organised an event to provide public relations (PR) and marketing professionals with expert advice on two of the sector’s most pressing topics at an industry event in Wrexham. Anthony Bullick from Outwrite PR held a Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) seminar on ‘Getting Creative and Dealing With Mental Health’ at Moneypenny’s award-winning head office. The event focused on using creativity to stand out in business, and how-to safe guard mental health at work, after a CIPR survey found that 16 per cent of PR professionals suffer from a mental health condition. Hannah Stringer, Moneypenny’s head of marketing, delivered a talk on how the telephone-answering giant strives to be different, including how giving away branded socks led to increased engagement on social media. Life coach Joe O’ Connor then spoke about protecting mental health while working by using brain-training skills to stay focused and happy. Delegates were also given a tour of the building, which has been named

one of Britain’s best offices. It features a treehouse, on-site pub, and a gym. The company also runs on-site fitness classes including yoga, as well as offers free healthy breakfasts. Anthony Bullick, vice chair of CIPR North West, said: “The feedback from attendees has been fantastic, with each person leaving with useful and relevant information and actions to implement. “It was fascinating to hear how Hannah and the marketing team at Moneypenny make every effort to set themselves apart and build relationships with their customers. “And Joe’s tales of his inspirational story of adventure and how everyone can take steps to make sure they’re in a healthy and happy state of mind drove home how complex the subject of mental health is.” Fraser Edwards-Cleaves, sales and marketing manager at Active Cheshire, said: “The CIPR event was a great evening hosted by Moneypenny. The presenters touched on two very important topics both generally and in the marketing world: creative thinking and mental health. They provided fantastic insight on how we

Attendees at CIPR seminar can implement change for the better amongst our own team. “The inspiring offices at Moneypenny resonated with us; the company seamlessly put employees’ wellbeing at the centre of its focus. The design even gave us tips about how we can encourage other businesses to become more active every day in the workplace.

New community publication from Chester FC Community Trust


new publication promoting the work of Chester FC Community Trust, along with news and information from Chester FC has been launched. Blues Briefing is a tabloid-style newsletter that will be distributed free across Chester, Cheshire West and Deeside to raise awareness of the club’s charitable trust and improve engagement with supporters and the wider community. The first issue is out now with 10,000 copies ready to be given to shops, businesses, leisure facilities and community venues, as well as being delivered door-to-door in some areas. The Community Trust, which delivers a range of initiatives under the themes of coaching, education, health and

inclusion, hopes to publish Blues Briefing every three to four months with local companies able to support its distribution through advertising. Jim Green, Chief Executive of Chester FC Community Trust, said: “The launch of Blues Briefing is an exciting step forward as we look to raise our profile as a charity and the impact our work has on the local community. “As a supporter-owned club, Chester FC is about so much more than what happens on the football pitch and Blues Briefing will help us to illustrate that. “We want to reach out to people who might not be familiar with Chester FC or the Community Trust and hopefully inspire them to become part of our journey.”

Blues Briefing Magazine

Businesses and premises who wish to receive copies of Blues Briefing for customers and visitors can email to arrange distribution. Supporters interested in becoming part of the team of volunteer distributors to deliver Blues Briefing in their area can contact the club on 01244 371376 or email



The Person behind the Business Melissa Cross, Owner of Ginger Pixie Photography An overview of yourself and your current role I am a professional commercial & PR photographer. My career in photography started in 2006 as a media photographer where I worked in the newspaper industry for nearly ten years. Jumping ship in 2015, I am now the proud owner of Ginger Pixie Photography and just celebrated three years in business. I work solely B2B and create imagery to promote businesses on their websites and social media platforms. What are your aims for the business My main focus is to continue to offer a professional product, with excellent customer service. My clients have grown considerably over the years and in May this year, I landed my first contract client of 20 hours per week. I sub contract my work to other professional photographers in busy periods but looking forward, I would like to be in a position to bring an apprentice on board. To be taken seriously as a photographer these days it can be difficult, so to give a young person the opportunity to learn from my experience is something I aspire to do. What do you enjoy most about your job? I love how I am in control of my work and how this benefits me in having a stable work/home life balance. Working with people is a strength for me so building relationships with my clients comes naturally and I really enjoy this. Over the past three years I have made, not only some business connections, but also some good friends. I love how every day is different from the last, the opportunities I have in traveling to new places for work and producing imagery that can sell a business. I’m extremely proud of the Ginger Pixie brand, it is now recognised in the area as a professional company, which has been one of my many goals and successes.

Was a role like this always what you aspired to? I like a challenge in life and always fancied running my own business for years. Friends said I was nuts when I decided to leave my full-time job, but life is about taking risks and I am a bit of a risk taker! I aspired to be more than just a media photographer, to prove to myself that I could run a successful business. The years of experience working in the media was a good starting point for me and with my business head I knew I could make it as a business woman. From leaving school I moved from job to job but always had that passion in art and taking photographs, it just took me a while to find that right path. Do you have any memorable clients or jobs that you have carried out? Every client is memorable to me but I have to say that there are some clients who will always hold a special place in my heart. The ones that have been with me from the start and continue to use my services. To name a few are, Gladstone’s Library, Hanson Cement, Flintshire County Council and Wrexham Borough Council, Broughton Shopping Centre and Jackson Fire & Security.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out? Oooo, good question! Firstly, I would say network lots. Meet as many people as you can and build good connections and relationships. People buy from people, so always smile. Join a good networking group and surround yourself around those who may want to buy from you in the future. Market your business as much as you can, I find that LinkedIn and Twitter work wonders for me and I get a lot of positive feedback about my posts. Research your target market and your competitors, this is important. Always give your clients 110% and ensure you keep grounded with your work/home life balance. Most importantly though, go with your gut and don’t get too greedy!

Tell us a bit about what you do outside of work to relax The last two years I have been busy renovating my new house and garden, even though it hasn’t necessarily been a relaxing task. I have really enjoyed project managing it and making my house into a home for me and my 12-year-old daughter, Emily. With the usual demands of being a Mum, I also try to keep fit with the occasional run, bike ride and circuit training class. I also love being outdoors, I like a good book to read and love to travel. In an ideal world, what else would you like to be? As a teenager I always wanted to be a professional dancer but had to settle for the dance floor in the Tivoli at Buckley. On a serious note though, there’s nothing else I would rather be! I absolutely love being a Photographer!

Melissa Cross, owner of Ginger Pixie Photography


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Young people ‘turning their back on small businesses’


ew research has shown that young people leaving education and looking for work may be missing out on potential employment opportunities by failing to consider Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The study by Santander UK revealed that only 35% of young people who are leaving full time education, whether that be school, college or university, say they wish to work for an SME. An even smaller proportion, just one in six (18%), want to work for a start-up or micro business. Instead, the most popular career aspirations are to work for a large firm (51%), the public sector (51%) or a global multinational (49%). The main reason today’s young people say they would not want to work for an SME is because of a perceived lack of job security (56%). There is also the belief that SMEs offer a lower salary (46%) and fewer opportunities for progression than large companies (33%). Yet, according to Santander, by choosing to ignore SMEs, young people are missing out on a vast number of opportunities, given that

more than 99% of businesses are SMEs. The majority (70%) of SMEs are actively recruiting for entry level roles, whether that be graduates (43%), further education leavers (36%) or school leavers (35%). Sue Douthwaite, Managing Director of Santander Business, said: “SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy, making up the overwhelming majority of private sector businesses. “While there are fantastic opportunities working for large companies or the public sector, anyone about to leave education should not discount the huge range of exciting career opportunities offered by the nation’s SMEs. SMEs offer huge opportunities for growth and many are at the forefront of British innovation and exports.” Graduate recruitment in particular is still at the top of the SME hiring agenda, with nearly a third (30%) of businesses having hired a graduate in the past 12 months and a similar number (32%) planning to do so in the next 12 months.

Lack of interest among young people in SME careers may, in part, be due to lack of exposure to them, says Santander. SMEs tend to be less visible at careers fairs, with a third (33%) admitting that they do not engage directly with education providers, so graduates and school leavers may need to be more proactive in reaching out to them in comparison to the big businesses and public sector which often exhibit at careers events. Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, said: “SMEs may not be as visible in education institutions as larger businesses or the public sector as they may not have the same level of resources or just historically haven’t worked as closely with schools and universities. An internship is a fantastic way to get to know a business so anyone who isn’t sure what they would like to do, or who is and would just like some experience, should consider speaking to the careers department at their school, college and university and finding out what opportunities there are.”

To help connect graduates with SMEs, Santander runs a UK-wide Universities SME Internship Programme which matches up SMEs with interns at one of 84 partner universities. SMEs can contact one of the universities to find an intern who matches the needs of their business. Santander will then contribute up to £1,500 to each SME per intern towards a placement of 1-10 weeks.



Acas launches new advice on job references


orkplace experts, Acas, have published new guidance to help Welsh employers and employees know the rules around employment references. A recent survey found that nearly half of employers want job applicants who have relevant work experience. Acas Wales Area Director, Gareth Petty, said: “The job market can be very competitive so it is vitally important for job applicants and employers to know what the legal requirements are around work references. “We’ve based our advice around the typical questions that we receive on our helpline about job references. “Acas’ new advice has information on what to include in work references, when they are needed and how to resolve problems with references.” Typical questions the Acas helpline receives about job references: l Can an employer refuse to give a reference? l How can I obtain a copy of the

reference my previous employer has supplied? l If a reference is incorrect what can I do about it? l Can my employer include absence rates relating to sickness in a reference? l Can an employer put negative things in a reference? Acas’ employment references advice includes top tips such as: l Employers can usually choose whether or not to give a reference. l Employers must only seek a reference from a job applicant’s current employers with their permission. l If a conditional job offer is made then it can be withdrawn if the job applicant doesn’t meet satisfactory references. Employees should consider waiting until they get an unconditional job offer before handing in their notice in their current job. l Potential employers should remember

a referee may not provide a reference or might inaccurately suggest the applicant is suitable. In these circumstances, it may help to discuss any concerns with the job applicant directly first; and l Job applicants who are unhappy with a reference can ask for a copy that was sent to their new employers and may be able to claim damages in court if they can prove it was misleading or inaccurate and resulted in the withdrawal of their job offer. For further details contact Trudy Davies: Acas, 3rd Floor, Companies House, Crown Way, Cardiff, CF14 3UO. t: 0330 109 3157 m: 07747 760515

The full guidance is available at

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Promoting design, prototyping and testing A University of Chester project part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF 2014-20), supporting SMEs to introduce innovation into their organisations and advance commercialisation of new products, processes and services to the marketplace. • New product development strategies • Idea generation and screening • Concept development and product validation • Product tools and techniques • Commercialisation Email: Tel: 01244 567500


Charity flying high thanks to support from the ERDFfunded 12C project 12C case study - The Aeroplane Collection


he Aeroplane Collection (TAC) is a registered charity based at Hooton Park in Ellesmere Port, North West of England. It is made up of 35 members that dedicate their time to restoring classic aircraft and artefacts for static display. Hooton Park, previously RAF Hooton Park, is managed by The Hooton Park Trust, a not-for-profit organisation. It has a long history and association with aircraft, both military and civil and is a fitting location for the charity to be based. The Trust’s objective is to restore and preserve the World War One aircraft hangars and other buildings on the site and TAC is fully committed to supporting this. With increased visitor numbers coming to Hooton Park, there is a potential to generate more interest in TAC’s restoration work and encourage increased participation in preserving our aviation heritage and history.


One of the key challenges for the charity is to source missing aircraft and engine parts. Once these parts have been obtained, full restorations can be achieved, so that future generations can see and understand how flight has developed. In many instances the required parts are either impossible to source or incredibly costly. As a charity, TAC’s income comes largely from the members’ subscriptions and is very limited, so there was a need to find either, other sources of funding, or an alternative approach to the restoration work.



As a way of raising awareness of the work TAC carries out, the charity attends local events to showcase some of its key pieces. While attending the Parkgate Festival earlier in the year with a restored cockpit for people to ‘have a go’ in, John Morris, a member of TAC, spotted an advertisement for Innovation to Commercialisation’s (I2C) forthcoming 3D Printing Masterclass. With a background in IT and an interest in this type of technology, John was curious to find out what the project entailed and whether it would be able to assist TAC. Upon contacting the University of Chester, John was taken through the eligibility criteria by the I2C Business Development Manager. It was quickly apparent that TAC met the criteria of this European Regional Development Funded (ERDF) project and was accepted on to the 3D Printing Masterclass. As a starting point, John and fellow member Stewart Turner attended the I2C’s 3D Printing Masterclass, a two-day session held at the Energy Centre at Thornton Science Park. The course reactivated an interest in 3D printing for John and highlighted the possible applications of the technology to TAC. John and Stewart recognised that 3D printing could be used to reproduce replacement aircraft parts, using damaged existing pieces, as it is capable of reproducing accurate prototypes in various colours and materials.


This will be cheaper than sourcing a particular spare part and having to buy it outright. They also identified the possibility that 3D printing could be used to create scale 3D models for resale. A new software package, which would be appropriate to create virtual 3D designs, was also introduced to delegates who attended the masterclass.


John has since gone on to attend the I2C’s Foundation Workshop, which has provided him with further ideas on how the charity could capitalise, not only on the applications of 3D printing, but also to improve some of its processes and procedures

John Morris said: I knew very little about 3D printing before coming here but I’m so glad I came. I have learned so much over the two days that will be a tremendous help to The Aeroplane Collection with its plans to restore old aircraft and engines. 3D printing will really come into its own for the work we do, particularly where the spare parts are obsolete or very expensive to source. There is also potentially a more commercial benefit, where we can create scale 3D models of the aircraft to sell, to raise funds to progress our work. He continued: “Another huge benefit of both these courses has been the opportunity to network with other businesses.

I have made some great connections that might prove very important to the charity in the future.

The Aeroplane Collection, along with other groups at Hooton Park including 201 Bus Group, Ellesmere Port Model Boat Club and The Griffin Trust, will be taking part in The Hooton Park Trust’s Heritage Open Days in September 2018. The Heritage Open Days offer the public the opportunity to visit the site, absorb the history and see the restoration work being carried out by the various groups. TAC is hoping to have put in place some of the learnings from I2C before this event.


he I2C initiative is partfunded by the European Regional Development Fund. SMEs registered or trading in Cheshire and Warrington which meet the eligibility criteria are eligible to apply for support from the I2C project. Applicants must have a turnover of less than 50 million Euro and employ fewer than 250 employees. In addition to I2C’s in-house team of engineers and specialist equipment, SMEs that enrol in the project will have access to the world-class facilities at the University of Chester, via its state-of-the-art skills, equipment and resources based at Thornton Science Park and the NoWFOOD Centre in Chester.

If you are an SME and meet the criteria to take part in I2C, please visit our website and complete the application form. W: E: T: 01244 567500 University of Chester, Thornton Science Park, Pool Lane, Ince, Chester CH2 5NU 37


A phenomenal site for Earth science


he Natural Environment Research Council and the British Geological Survey are proposing a geoenergy observatory for Ince Marshes in Cheshire. In 2015, NERC consulted with the UK’s leading geologists, geoscientists, geoengineers, regulators & atmospheric scientists to determine what we need to know and why. In an ongoing series about the proposal for Business Matters, some of the UK scientists involved explain why a Geoenergy Observatory in Cheshire will break new boundaries in energy, climate change and environmental science.

Professor of Geophysics at the University of Bristol, Mike Kendall:

Humans have always done things to the ground, from mining for coal to building a hydroelectric dam. We know that our activities change the stresses below ground. We’ve not yet set up a monitoring system that can explain the precise detail of those stresses nor the connections of behaviours. For example, we know that a naturally-occurring earthquake can affect ground water 1,000 miles away. We can’t provide detail on why that happens or what effects it has. We haven’t done enough investigation on what these stresses are and how they change the immediate system nor wider geological system. It’s really important for us to understand this. The UK Geoenergy Observatory at Ince Marshes will become a phenomenal site for us to watch and understand how the system interconnects. We’ll be able to examine the impacts left behind by industries such as coal mining or salt mining. We’ll

be able to determine how far away we can detect activity. We can look at the effects of things like ground shaking associated with wind farms, motorways and sea storms. We’ll be able to understand more about how watercourses change the physical stresses underground. This is particularly important for understanding the impact of hydroelectric power, which relies on creating huge expanses of water that sit on top of the land. We’ll be able to move our understanding of seismicity forward, as the observatory will allow us to watch tiny seismic movements from their onset, develop an understanding of how they build and start to be able to predict forward the behaviour. This is something that we simply cannot do yet. The ability to study the physics and chemistry of the system in this minute detail will enable us to observe the way it responds to external driving forces. These responses are so small that they are not felt or known.

Professor Mike Kendall


BGS hydrogeologist taking readings of water samples We need sophisticated kit to be able to study and understand it. Once we do, we can extrapolate the findings, scale them up and apply them to fundamental questions geoscientists still have. We have one of the best and safest regulation systems in the world. The UK Geoenergy Observatories will ensure that we continue to lead the way in environmental impact monitoring: by providing even better understanding of how the underground system works. It will improve our understanding of the connections and pathways and therefore identify what else we need to be monitoring from an environmental point of view. It will become a world-class showcase for how monitoring should be done.

FOCUS ON ENERGY Dr Grant Allen, Reader at the Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Manchester:

For me, there are two big questions in atmospheric science: How and where greenhouse gases are emitted when fossil fuels are extracted; and the rate and pathways of natural fugitive emissions when rocks remain undisturbed. While one US study has proven the hypothesis that pre-existing pathways may conduct fossil methane gas during disturbance, little has been done to measure and quantify emissions beyond the perimeter of individual oil and gas extraction sites, nor to understand how they differ from one geological context to another. On the second question, our body of knowledge is scant. We know that emissions can escape from rocks deep underground, however, atmospheric scientists currently have a poor understanding of what emissions are natural and what are induced. And geologists don’t understand enough about the pathways taking gases from deep underground into the atmosphere. There’s a big gap between hypothesis and measurement, so science lacks the knowledge needed to be able to predict with accuracy

BGS geologist mapping changes in land formation using a LiDar survey

future climate change, or to balance the Global Methane Budget. We believe that up to 10% of gaseous methane emissions may be due to geological seeps under natural planetary conditions. As we are not routinely measuring this anywhere in the world, we have no bar on the margin for error of our estimate. The UK Geoenergy Observatory in Cheshire will provide the first controlled, natural laboratory in the world from which to measure what the levels of natural fugitive emissions are and how they migrate to the surface. It will deliver the evidence required on the natural pathways between deep geology, along fault lines and in groundwater, to the surface and ultimately into the atmosphere. We will be able to extrapolate the natural baseline evidence from Cheshire to further understanding of, for example; what happens when fossil fuels are extracted; how natural methane seeps in areas such as Siberia and the Middle East; and how to capture emissions at source preventing them from escaping into the atmosphere. With demand for energy unrelenting, solutions such as these are needed urgently to tackle climate change. The research could be applied to the oil, gas and coal operations delivering on worldwide energy demand to mitigate fossil fuel emissions by being able to capture them before they get to the surface. Being able to quantify natural seepage will empower environmental scientists to predict future climate change with greater certainly, and to improve global greenhouse gas accounting. As methane is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gases next to CO2 and as methane is rising faster relative to CO2, Cheshire would provide the world with vital new evidence for tackling climate change.

Dr Grant Allen from the University of Manchester’s Centre for Atmospheric Science in NERC’s atmospheric research plane, FAAM. In the next issue, you can hear from Royal Society Professor Mike Bickell from the University of Cambridge and Dr Alwyn Hart from the Environment Agency. The BGS and NERC are holding a science briefing at Jodrell Bank on Wednesday, September 19th. If you would like to attend, please email



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ASTUTE 2020:

Working with the Welsh Manufacturing Industry across Wales Demand-led by industry, the EU-backed multi-university partnership enables greater levels of business innovation in future manufacturing. We are supporting industry by applying advanced engineering knowledge to manufacturing challenges to develop advanced and sustainable future technologies. ASTUTE 2020 will work with the high-value manufacturing industry across Wales through effective collaboration with academia, aiming to drive productivity and growth within the industry. We can support a variety of sectors by facilitating the development and adoption of advanced and sustainable manufacturing technologies, higher-value goods and services of the future for the global market.

INDUSTRY SUPPORT We can help you by: • leading and supporting cutting-edge Research, Development and Innovation • increasing competitiveness and future-proofing • encouraging the stimulation of ideas and challenges to foster knowledge exchange • collaborating on Industry demand-led projects to de-risk new technologies • stimulating successful partnerships and knowledge exchange between industry and academia

COLLABORATIVE BENEFITS We can offer and provide access to:

MANUFACTURING FOCUS Over the last three years, the ASTUTE 2020 operation has been collaborating with a number of Welsh Manufacturing companies from different sectors including Caerphilly based Kautex Textron CVS Ltd., Denbighshire based Qioptiq Limited and Neath/Port Talbot based Tata Steel UK. The companies and the Welsh economy have benefitted from increased investment and employment, and new and improved processes and products, increasing the companies’ competitiveness and future proofing. Hi-Lex Cable Systems Co. Ltd. is a leading producer of electro-mechanical devices and control cables for the automotive industry. ASTUTE’s technical experts collaborated with Hi-Lex on a ‘casing cap’ manufactured from glass filled nylon:

Hi-Lex has had a very positive experience with the “ASTUTE team. We did not have the correct skill sets at the time within Hi-Lex to solve a particular issue with a component used on handbrake cables for Ford. ASTUTE were able to support and subsequently resolve the issue. The best advert for their work is that the component design has been in use on all Ford B-platform vehicles produced in Europe since 2013 with zero warranty concerns.

Adam Glaznieks, Managing Director, Hi-Lex Cable Systems Co. Ltd.

• world-class academic expertise and technical experts • state-of-the-art facilities and experimental equipment • the application of intelligent systems, advanced techniques and bespoke software • R&D projects developed by industry together with a dedicated ASTUTE 2020 technical manager

To find out if we can help you, contact us: I weld allwn ni eich helpu chi, cysylltwch â ni: +44 (0) 1792 606378

The ASTUTE 2020 operation is led by Swansea University in partnership with Cardiff University, Aberystwyth University, University of South Wales and University of Wales Trinity Saint David.


ASTUTE 2020:

Gweithio gyda’r Diwydiant Gweithgynhyrchu Cymreig ledled Cymru Gan ddilyn y galw gan ddiwydiant, mae’r bartneriaeth hon rhwng sawl Prifysgol, a gefnogir gan yr UE, yn caniatáu lefelau uwch o arloesedd busnes ym maes gweithgynhyrchu i’r dyfodol. Rydym yn cefnogi diwydiant trwy gymhwyso gwybodaeth beirianyddol ddatblygedig i heriau gweithgynhyrchu, er mwyn datblygu technolegau uwch a chynaliadwy i’r dyfodol. Bydd ASTUTE 2020 yn gweithio gyda’r diwydiant gweithgynhyrchu gwerth uchel ledled Cymru trwy gydweithredu’n effeithiol â’r byd academaidd, gyda’r nod o sbarduno cynhyrchiant a thwf o fewn y diwydiant. Gallwn ni gefnogi amrywiaeth o sectorau trwy hwyluso datblygu a mabwysiadu technolegau gweithgynhyrchu uwch a chynaliadwy, nwyddau gwerth uwch a gwasanaethau’r dyfodol i’r farchnad fyd-eang.

CEFNOGI DIWYDIANT Gallwn ni eich helpu chi drwy wneud y canlynol: • arwain a chefnogi’r gwaith Ymchwil, Datblygu ac Arloesi diweddaraf • cynyddu cystadleurwydd a chydnerthedd at y dyfodol • annog ysgogi syniadau a heriau er mwyn meithrin cyfnewid gwybodaeth • cydweithio ar brosiectau sy’n ymateb i’r galw gan Ddiwydiant er mwyn dileu risg technolegau newydd • ysgogi partneriaethau llwyddiannus a chyfnewid gwybodaeth rhwng diwydiant ac academia

MANTEISION CYDWEITHIO Gallwn ni gynnig a darparu mynediad i’r canlynol: • arbenigedd academaidd o’r radd flaenaf ac arbenigwyr technegol

FFOCWS AR WEITHGYNHYRCHU Dros y dair tlynedd ddiwethaf, mae gweithrediad ASTUTE 2020 wedi bod yn cydweithio â nifer o gwmniau Gweithgynhyrchu Cymreig o wahanol sectorau gan gynnwys Kautex Textron CVS Ltd sydd wedi ei leoli yng Nghaerffili, Qioptig sydd wedi ei leoli yn Ninbych a Tata Steel UK sydd wedi ei leoli yng Nghastellnedd/Port Talbot. Mae’r cwmnïau ac economi Cymru wedi elwa o fuddsoddiad a chyflogaeth uwch a phrosesau a chynnyrch newydd a gwell yn cynyddu gallu’r cwmnïau i gystadlu a diogelu eu dyfodol. Mae Hi-Lex Cable Systems Co. Ltd. yn gynhyrchydd dyfeisiau electro mecanyddol a cheblau rheoli ar gyfer y diwydiant modurol. Cydweithiodd arbenigwyr technegol ASTUTE hefo Hi-Lex ar gapiau casin a gynhyrchwyd o wydr wedi ei lenwi â neilon:

Hi-Lex wedi cael profiad hynod gadarnhaol gyda’r “TîmMae ASTUTE. Nid oedd y sgiliau cywir gennym o fewn Hi Lex ar y pryd i ddatrys mater penodol gyda darn a ddefnyddiwyd ar geblau brêc llaw ar gyfer Ford. Roedd ASTUTE yn gallu cefnogi ac yn y pen draw, datrys y broblem. Y ffordd orau i ganmol eu gwaith yw dweud bod y dyluniad o’r darn wedi cael ei ddefnyddio ar gyfer pob cerbyd llwyfan Ford-B a gynhyrchwyd yn Ewrop ers 2013 gyda dim un pryder o ran gwarant.

Adam Glaznieks, Rheolwr Gyfarwyddwr, Hi-Lex Cable Systems Co. Ltd.

• y cyfleusterau diweddaraf a chyfarpar arbrofol • cymhwyso systemau deallus, technegau uwch a meddalwedd wedi’i theilwra • prosiectau Ymchwil a Datblygu a ddatblygwyd gan ddiwydiant, ynghyd â rheolwr technegol penodedig ASTUTE 2020.

Mae rhaglen ASTUTE 2020 yn cael ei harwain gan Brifysgol Abertawe mewn partneriaeth â Phrifysgol Caerdydd, Prifysgol Aberystwyth, Prifysgol De Cymru a Phrifysgol Cymru y Drindod Dewi Sant.

Cyflymu Cymru i Fusnesau Superfast Business Wales

T R O S I A N T £ 8. 5 M £ 8. 5 M T U R N O V E R Mae technoleg wedi helpu i Ystâd Rhug dyfu busnes gwerth £8.5m.

Online technology helped Rhug Estate grow an £8.5million business.

Mae wifi, teleffoni, a man gwerthu electronig wedi eu galluogi gan fand eang cyflym iawn yn ei gwneud yn haws i redeg y busnes. Mae cyfryngau cymdeithasol hefyd yn helpu Ystâd Rhug i gadw mewn cysylltiad gyda chwsmeriaid newydd a chwsmeriaid presennol.

Superfast broadband enabled wifi, telephony and electronic point-of-sale payments makes running the business seamless. Social media also helps Rhug Estate keep in touch with new and existing customers.

Cafodd Ystâd Rhug gymorth digidol am ddim gan Cyflymu Cymru i Fusnesau. Erbyn heddiw, mae Ystad Rhug yn cyflogi 115 o bobl gydag allforion gwerth £500,000. I ddysgu sut i dyfu eich busnes, chwiliwch: Cyflymu Cymru i Fusnesau #Cyflymubusnesau

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Rhug Estate has benefited from free digital support from Superfast Business Wales. Today Rhug Estate employs 115 people with exports worth £500,000. Find out how to grow your business, search: Superfast Business Wales #Superfastbiz


Using coaching and mentoring to conquer challenge


sing challenge as a motivation can be a benefit to recruitment and retention or enhance employee engagement and improve performance. One barrier to high levels of performance is poor motivation and one key motivator in the workplace is the creation and achievement of appropriate challenges. Every organization wants the best people to work with them and for those people to stay and develop their skills and abilities alongside the organization’s aims and strategies, and not become bored and look for new challenges with other organizations. Coaching and mentoring is an enabling process which can have important outcomes for teams and individuals to perform at their best. Challenge is a word we use every day but rarely look at in any detail even though challenge is important to the organization as it has benefits such as in recruitment, creativity, innovation and the retention of valuable employees. For the individual, challenge has the benefit of learning new skills, develop existing skills and enhanced well-being. I am a Human Performance Psychologist and elite coach with a background in promoting success in organizations and work alongside clients to help them through the stages of a challenge from the initial goal setting stage, to the ultimate achievement of that challenge (and in most cases the setting of new goals when the process starts again). This is enabled through combining my academic research into challenge and my experience to help organizations, teams and individuals to understand how to use challenge as a motivation to achieve their goals and ambitions and be successful. My training and consultancy business specialises in coaching and mentoring using the peer reviewed and internationally published de Prez TEAM Model of challenge. My research found that challenge was not a single concept but made up of four main areas with each area being as important as the next. The easiest way to think

of these areas is that they are similar to the links in a chain with each link representing one of the four areas; Time, Emotion, Achievement and Motivation. CHALLENGE AND TIME Challenges invariably have some type of time element associated with them. A challenge will normally comprise a beginning, middle and end but the time associated with these parts may change from challenge to challenge. This time element for the challenge could be short term (you need to complete a work task by the end of the week), medium term (you are furthering your education on a professional course) or long term (you are dealing with a mental or physical health issue that will always be with you throughout your lifetime). CHALLENGE AND EMOTIONS There are as many different emotions connected with challenge as the amount of different challenges we face in our lives. Whilst initially some people can be apprehensive about challenges the general consensus is that the greater the challenge, the greater the feeling of elation and happiness at completing it. One of the reasons for this may be that a new challenge usually requires the learning of new skills or information in order to complete the challenge but it is this pushing of personal boundaries that makes a challenge worthwhile. CHALLENGE AND ACHIEVEMENT The ultimate outcome of taking on a challenge is to complete it successfully. This achievement is completely unique to an individual. If something was easy to complete, individuals may not feel that something of value had been accomplished yet everyone who I have interviewed and spoken to about challenge has said the challenge they take on has to be ‘do-able’. By that they mean they recognise it may be difficult and push their skills and abilities but in doing that they must still have the opportunity to meet that challenge successfully.

CHALLENGE AND MOTIVATION Even if all the other elements of Time, Emotions and Achievement are taken into account, without Motivation the challenge will not be completed. The levels of motivation will change in relation to the challenge; initially it may be very high at the beginning when enthusiasm is high, but dip slightly when the challenge becomes harder but as long as some motivation is kept then the challenge is usually met successfully. Generally there are two key types of motivation individuals tend to focus on when taking on a challenge, intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation stems from inside the person and is arguably the strongest motivator and is driven by personal desires such as wanting to learn new skills, becoming more adept at what we do already and as an opportunity to push ourselves to new heights. Extrinsic motivation refers to externalised rewards such as money, acknowledgment by others and prizes.

Dr Phillip de Prez

Although challenge has found its way into quotes from great philosophical thinkers, world leaders, top sports people, and celebrities who all use the word to tell how it inspired them personally, my favourite quote for inspiring others is from a four year old child who, when asked about their day at an adventure playground said ‘it was a fun day but climbing up the steps to the big slide was a challenge’. Challenge yourself and those around you today to push the boundaries and achieve your goals Dr. Phillip J de Prez BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, AC, FHEA, PGCPD, PPABP


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Why WCNW businesses need to invest in Christmas A

mid all the uncertainty in the world, one thing is certain - it will soon be Christmas! Plenty of organisations recognise the value of a staff party and now is the time to select the venue for your event. A good Christmas Party can do wonders for staff morale and getting the festivities right is not difficult in an area blessed with excellent venues that can stage the best parties possible. Remember that people like to be appreciated. Maybe your staff and suppliers have gone over and beyond what was expected of them to help the business. Maybe they have played a key role in helping you survive and thrive this year. A good boss knows that it makes sense to acknowledge their contribution at the Christmas party. Maybe a tribute in a short speech would go down well or a thank you note on place settings would be a good idea.


Times have indeed been tough for many with tight budgets to adhere to, but it is worth it for an organisation to consider the best Christmas party it can to acknowledge their staff’s contribution over the year, the gesture will be much appreciated.


electing the best venue is crucial but how do you get it right? Venue Cymru is the perfect location for your Christmas Party, its versatility ensures that your staff can drink, dine and dance the night away all in one place. Spaces are already selling FAST, the parties at Venue Cymru are already the number one choice for many groups across North Wales, with many returning year in, year out. The party starts when you arrive! Join your friends at the drinks reception to take some pre-dinner snaps to create those special memories right from the start. The

main event consists of a sensational three course gourmet banquet with access to a fully licensed bar and champagne stations. (Avoid queues at the bar by pre-ordering your wine/champagne in advance and it will be waiting for you on your table when you arrive!) Keeping you entertained until the wee hours is the phenomenal band, Cold Fame, who will play covers of everyone’s favourite songs before the resident DJ takes over with the party classics. This year’s Venue Cymru party nights take place on Friday 7th December, Saturday 8th December, Friday 14th December and Saturday 15th December with the theme of ‘Glitz and Glamour with a touch of sophistication’ – we encourage you to dress to impress! Book now and make it a memorable one! Call 01492 879771 or email:


An Insight into Lisden Technology A brief overview of your role and company We are Kelvin Lawson and Sara Evans from Lisden Technology. We’re a custom software development company providing bespoke software, tailor-made for our clients. Whatever the project, be it a mobile app or other application, we develop software that provides solutions; for example, by realising a business idea or automating a process. We also have specialist experience in creating smart, connected devices (internet of things) and video camera software. As the director and a software engineer, Kelvin leads on software project design and development. As development manager, Sara’s role extends to everything that helps us grow as a company and, as a qualified psychologist, to advising on user experience aspects of projects. Can you tell us a short overview of the project and how the job came about? We’ve been working with a partner company in Germany developing animal-borne video cameras for projects tracking animal migration

and behaviour. The cameras have been worn by penguins, turtles and whales, and our partners supplied the cameras that provided the whales’eye footage for the television series Blue Planet II. Our role is to write the software that runs the video cameras and sensor technologies. Amazingly, our partners found us via a single blog post we wrote about fast start-up video technology. Our fast start-up camera software preserves battery life but ensures that none of the animal action is missed, which is pretty important when you’re tracking whales over enormous distances! What made this project different to any others before? First of all, our partner company contacted us out of the blue (excuse the pun) following that blog post; the project was an opportunity to apply our technology in a radically different way and enter a new market. Not every project leads to involvement with a high-profile television programme, which was an unexpected but exciting turn of events.

How did you prepare for the project? Was this bigger than anything you’d done before? Although the project built on our existing expertise, we were working in a new field so we needed to listen hard and learn fast to understand the needs. That said, developing any custom software requires working closely with the client to develop the right solution - and that’s the great thing about collaboration, you get to learn about a new area whilst bringing your expertise to the table. In terms of scope, we’ve previously written software to run on thousands of cameras and devices, whereas there are only a few of each highly specialised animal-borne cameras in existence. However, when you throw whales and TV companies into the mix, the stakes can seem higher! Any particular challenges? Working as part of an international team of developers and people in the field brings its challenges in terms of effective communication and coordination across time zones. Although we work in the technology sector, there’s no getting around having to rely on mail services to ship hardware, which can introduce unexpected delays. What plans do you have for the future? We’ve developed a close working relationship with this partner and we continue to collaborate on animal-tracking projects. Actually, we’ve recently been working to our strangest deadline yet, with software needing to be ready “before the Orcas migrate” - not your typical development timeframe! Beyond that, the exciting thing about custom software development is that you never know what the next project will bring, it just takes an idea. It might be helping a business to streamline and develop with a mobile application or it might be tracking another elusive beast!

Sara Evans & Kelvin Lawson, Lisden Technology



Welcome to WCNW Chamber of Commerce

4G4U Ltd Phill John London House, 6 Market Square, Flint, Flintshire CH6 5NW T: 0800 4101295 E:

Chapter (West Cheshire) Ltd Matt Zeqiri Stanlaw Abbey Business Centre, Dover Drive, Ellesmere Port Cheshire CH65 9BF T: 01244 344409 E:

Alan Parry-Jones Accounting Chester Childbirth Appeal Services and The Comfort Zone Alan Parry-Jones Pat Daniels Chester Countess of Chester Hospital, T: 07989 745992 Women and Childrens Building, E: Chester CH2 1UL T: 01244 365186 BizSpace Ltd E: Vicki Buckingham Hooton Road, Chester Running Tours Hooton, Cheshire Gareth Boyd CH66 7NZ 1st Floor, Great Weston House, T: 0151 3278894 Boundary Lane, Chester E: CH4 8RD T: 07868 538700 E: Bolesworth Estate Ltd Maria McLean Bolesworth Castle, Circle Consulting Tattenhall, Cheshire Mark Bayley-Smyth CH3 9HQ Chester, Cheshire T: 01829 307676 T: 0207 9711357 E: E: Breakout Chester Limited Daniel Norman 42 Bridge Street Row, Chester CH1 1NN T: 01244 638061 E: Car Leasing Online Michael Baeten B3 Stanlaw Abbey Business Centre, Dover Drive, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire CH65 9BF T: 0151 3565629 E:

Communications Plus Liam Wilson O2 Shop, 12b Broughton Shopping Centre, Broughton, Flintshire CH4 0DP T: 03701 02 02 02 E: Crabwall Manor Hotel & Spa Dalene Ferreira Parkgate Road, Mollington, Chester CH1 6NE T: 01244 851666 E:

Crescent Therapy Carol Hickson Castle.Ed Training Consultants 37 The Crescent, Karen Castle Northwich CW9 8AD Tarporly, West Cheshire T: 07899 806494 T: 01829 730154 E: E:


Cull Paperless Solutions Ltd Warren Caine Imaging House, Unit 5 Westfloat Industrial Estate, Millbrook Road, Birkenhead CH41 1FL T: 0151 6386000 E: De Prez Training Ltd Phillip J de Prez Flintshire T: 07588 619102 E: Dewinter PR & Marketing Ltd Kate Cox Fidelity House, Stocks Lane, Chester CH3 5TF T: 01244 320677 E: Disability Sport Wales Fiona Reid Sport Wales National Centre, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff CF11 9SW T: 0300 3003115 E: Double Tree Chester Hotel & Spa Stephanie Chamberlain Warrington Road, Hoole, Chester CH2 3PD T: 01244 408800 E: Duncan Boxwell & Company Ltd Duncan Boxwell Montrose House, Clayhill Park, Neston, Cheshire CH64 3RU T: 0151 3367375 E: Elmac Technologies Ltd Lew Bingham Coast Road, Greenfield, Flintshire CH8 9DP T: 01352 717555 E:

Welcome to WCNW Chamber of Commerce Gavin J Priest - Photographer Gavin Priest Wrexham T: 07976 798278 E: HFT Flintshire Jordan Smith Glanrafon, Chester Road West, Queensferry, Deeside CH5 1SA T: 01244 831290 E: Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd Claire Burgess Sunrise House, 1420 Charlton Court, Gloucester Business Park, Gloucester GL3 4AE T: 01242 508508 E: Huxley Corporate Finance Limited James Rushforth The Old Coach House, 32B High Street, Tarporley, Cheshire CW6 0DX T: 01829 730062 E: Jeffrey’s Tonic Ltd Steve Frehley 15 Lockwood View, Chester, CH2 1EZ T: 07450 220782 E: Julia Chaplin Virtual Assistant Julia Chaplin 21 Blackthorn Close, Marford, Wrexham LL12 8LB T: 07747 031190 E: Kier Construction Northern Christie Commins Kier House, Windward Drive, Estuary Business Park, Speke, Liverpool L24 8QR T: 0151 4485200 E:

Liz Hobbs Group Ltd Gemma Kennison-King Music Factory, Jessop Way, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG24 2ER T: 01636 555666 ext3 E: LT Print Group Ltd Alan Manger Alfred Road, Wallasey, Wirral CH44 7HY T: 0151 6478006 E: Luminate Ventures Limited Ian Traynor 6 St Georges Crescent, Waverton, Chester CH3 7QR T: 01244 335381 E: Monopoly Buy Sell Rent - Chester Gavin Belton-Rose Unit 7 Plas Pentwyn, Coedpoeth, Wrexham LL11 3NU T: 01244 560610 E: NW Security Group Alessandra Atria Claddagh Business Centre, New Hall Lane, Hoylake, Wirral CH47 4BP T: 0151 6332111 E: Owen Watkins Personal Brand Photographer Owen Watkins Chester T: 01244 911566 E: Peninsula Home Improvements Leanne Miller Bowles Cheshire T: 0345 3404740 E:


Powell Commercial Limited Warren Bidwell Meridian House, 2nd Floor, 17-19 Boughton, Chester CH3 5AE T: 01244 345076 E: RADCO Solutions Ltd David O’Malley Chester CH4 9BT T: 07876 565780 E: Radio Active Communications Ltd Mike Rowan 6 Tower Close, Wrexham Industrial Estate, Wrexham LL13 9WB T: 01978 664242 E: Raymond Jones Images Raymond Jones Chester T: 07837 788874 E: Red Planet Payroll Services Philip Barker Unit 2, Star Business Park, Congleton Road, Macclesfield SK11 9JA T: 0161 7131730 E: Silverlining Furniture Ltd Nerys Price-Jones The Old Ordnance Factory, Bridge Road, Wrexham LL13 9QS T: 01948 822150 E: Synergy Procurement Solutions Ltd Laura Ouslem North Wales T: 01244 831547 E: The Welding Academy Heather Backstrom 7 Winsford Way, Sealand Ind Est, Chester CH1 4NL T: 0800 2461483 E:



Behind the scenes at Broughton Shopping ALAN BARKER, Centre Manager, Broughton Shopping


ver the last few years, my role at Broughton as Centre Manager continues to evolve, and our local area and people are still at the heart of what we do. We will shortly be rolling out our latest ‘Bright Lights Starting Out’ Programme, where we run a 5-week work placement and training initiative, which is fully funded by British Land. Last year we were able to get 10 young adults back into employment or education. Without the help of the retailers on site at Broughton, this initiative would not be possible. The programme is designed to provide help and support to young adults between the ages of 16-24, who haven’t quite found the right direction on their career path. They spend two days per week with a retailer, gaining valuable knowledge of working in retail. They then spend the other three days


per week taking part in certified training courses to improve their chances of future employment. We can’t wait to welcome the next group of young adults this year, who I’m sure will once again prove to be a huge success. As well as the Bright Lights programme, I also provide sessions to business study students at Coleg Cambria. I have welcomed various groups of learners to the centre, whereby we take part in discussions around retail and business. It gives the young learners an opportunity to see first-hand what it’s like running a successful retail centre and they take away plenty of information and knowledge to help them with their learning and development at college. We will also be hosting our latest National Literacy Trust Young Readers Programme, where three

local schools are invited to the centre to take part in various activities that are hosted by our retailers. This year, there will be storytelling at Cineworld, Tesco will be showcasing their store, along with taste testing and quizzes, and then Asda Living will be providing refreshments. The reason we hold these events is because the statistics show that there are more and more young children who don’t get enough access to reading books; this gives us the opportunity to provide 300 children each year with books of their choice, fully funded by British Land. The future of Broughton is looking extremely positive, and I am very excited to play a huge part in the success that we share with our community and retailers. Alan Barker, Centre Manager at Broughton Shopping


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Business Matters September 2018  

West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Man...

Business Matters September 2018  

West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Man...