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Issue 80 November - December 2020

Atul Lakhani

keeps the dream alive at the IXL Events Centre Page 20





Coventry & Warwickshire in business



Dear Chamber of Commerce Member, Each year when we get to November, it’s always difficult to believe that I am writing my final column of the year for C&W in Business.

by Louise Bennett OBE DL Chief Executive Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

But 2020 is an all together different story! We began the year with a new Government and, regardless of party politics, a hope that we could put some of the uncertainty of recent years behind us and look forward. Sadly, the year hasn’t mapped out how any of us had planned due to Covid-19 and the crisis it has caused right across the globe. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by the virus from a health point of view – especially those who have lost loved ones. It has also had a huge bearing on the economic health of the nation, as we all know and now, once again, businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire find themselves in lockdown. There are differences this time compared to the beginning of the crisis. Schools are still operating so those who are following the rules about working from home aren’t having to balance that with trying to educate their children at the same time. The Government has also been much more explicit this time around in saying that those firms in sectors such as construction or manufacturing should carry on. However, it is those in our leisure, tourism, events and hospitality sector that have been hardest hit by the closure, along with ‘non-essential’ retail. My message to you if you are in that sector is to get in touch with the Chamber to see how we can help you. That could be in accessing the furlough scheme or other types of support that are now available. It could be in other ways. Maybe you want to use this month to improve your digital footprint or start to prepare and plan for, hopefully, a better year in 2021. Could this month be spent taking care of some tasks that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to focus on or looking at new markets? Our advisers can help you. My message to Government is clear. Businesses want to play their part in controlling the virus and health has to come first, we know that. We also welcome the support that has been made available in these truly unprecedented times and applaud the recent extension to the furlough scheme.

All that said, nothing beats being able to actually do business and being able to plan, invest and grow. Without a plan for the future and a clear direction from Government on how we can open up the economy again and keep it open, companies are going to continue to live hand-to-mouth and that will continue to harm the economy. And, of course, even at this latest of hours we still don’t know what kind of deal – if any – we are going to strike with the EU despite being less than two months away from the transition period. The need for certainty on all fronts is a message that I am sure will be delivered at the Chamber’s Annual Economic Conference on Wednesday (November 11) which takes place online this year, due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The Rt. Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng MP, the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will be speaking at the event along with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street; Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratfordon-Avon; Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG; Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of the Centre for Cities; Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Coventry City of Culture Trust; Leigh Hunt, CityFibre’s City Manager Coventry; Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, and Monica Fogarty, Chief Executive of Warwickshire County Council. The two-hour event is being broadcast by Istead AV from its Spotlight Streaming Studio between 2.30pm and 4.30pm and it’s a chance for you to hear from decision-makers but also to put your questions to them too. The conference is sponsored by CityFibre, Prime Accountants Group, WCG and Kumari Hart Solicitors. For more information and to book a place go to https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/ events/coventry-warwickshires-virtualannual-economic-conference/ Finally, let’s hope that the current restrictions do only last for the scheduled month and that December brings an opportunity for our leisure and hospitality sector to safely reopen for a few weeks before Christmas. After the year we’ve had, I’d like to wish you all a safe and merry Christmas and keep our fingers crossed for a more positive 2021 with plenty to look forward to across our region.

Kind regards, Louise, Mrs L Bennett-Bayliss OBE, DL Chief Executive

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Economy The official publication of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce ••••

CONTACTS At the Chamber

Furlough extension brings relief for regional businesses - but they want to see a future plan scheme and more generous grants for the self-employed are important steps in protecting jobs and providing certainty for our business communities beyond the immediate shock of a fourweek lockdown. “These changes give businesses significant reassurance over an uncertain winter, but many will understandably still wish for the government to give a clearer view of the road ahead. Government must set out longer-term measures over the next 12 months to give firms greater certainty and confidence to plan proactively, rather than to react to changes in support from week to week. “As well as support on jobs, reduced demand will impact firms’ cashflow across the country, not just those placed under the toughest restrictions. More generous grants will be required if those businesses are to weather a difficult winter ahead. “Despite the Chancellor’s announcement, there are still many businesses and individuals who have, through no fault of their own, been unable to access any government support since the start of the pandemic and will require support if we are to avoid significant increases in unemployment and business failures. “Ultimately, there can be no substitute for a fully functioning economy. Fundamentally, that means the government using the time afforded to them through another lockdown to significantly improve the Test, Track and Isolate system, which remains key to keeping the economy open.”

News desk Members are encouraged to send any news about their firm - new orders, staff, new products, expansions or relocations for publication in C&W in business. Whilst every effort will be made to publish submitted articles, we cannot guarantee inclusion. Send them to: news@cw-chamber.co.uk Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Chamber House Innovation Village Cheetah Road Coventry CV1 2TL T: 024 76 654321 F: 024 76 450242

At the publishers Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ T: 0151 236 4141 Advertising Contact Karen Hall karen@benhampublishing.com T: 07801 788880 Production Manager Mark Etherington Accounts Director Joanne Casey

Business leaders in Coventry and “At the start of the crisis, it had a Warwickshire have welcomed the major impact on encouraging many extension of the furlough scheme firms not to part with staff immediately until March 2021 – but say firms now and this extension to March will need to see a plan for keeping the hopefully provide some comfort for economy open. businesses and their staff as we head Louise Bennett, chief executive of the into winter. Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber “However, businesses across of Commerce, said the ability to Coventry and Warwickshire really want furlough staff on 80 per cent pay had to see a plan for how we can keep the been a lifeline for many businesses economy open as much as possible and their employees at the beginning because while the support is welcome, of the crisis. companies of all sizes and sectors She said extending it to March would really want the opportunity to invest provide further relief for companies and grow. across Coventry and Warwickshire “We’d urge businesses across the – but that the Government needed to patch to make sure they contact the use the next four weeks to work out a Chamber if they need any help at this strategy to keep the economy open. Bennett said: “The Chancellor’s move time or if they need any assistance in accessing the support available.” to extend the furlough scheme is very British Chambers of Commerce welcome and, I have no doubt, will have Director General Adam Marshall said: brought much-needed relief to firms across the region. “A further extension of the furlough For further information, head to www.gov.uk/government/news/government-extends-furlough-to-march-and-increases-self-employed-support

Brexit warning for firms in Coventry and Warwickshire

Media Number 1734 © Benham Publishing 2020 C&W in Business is produced on behalf of Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce by Benham Publishing Limited and is distributed to members free of charge. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in C&W in Business, neither Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, nor the publisher can accept responsibility for any omissions or inaccuracies it contains. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Chamber.

•••• For further information on the forthcoming features please contact: Terry Brannigan Chamber Sales DD 07841 115444 Terry@benhampublishing.com

David Hooper at a Brexit Club event in 2019

Do not wait for a Brexit deal to be agreed before making preparations, businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged with less than 100 days to go before the transition period ends. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce welcomed around 70 businesses to an online Brexit Club meeting which heard from Saqib Bhatti, the MP for Meriden; James Martin, of the British Chambers of Commerce; Ajay Desai, International Trade Director at the Coventry and

Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce; and David Hooper, of Hooper & Co. Martin said the Coronavirus crisis had put businesses’ Brexit preparations back two years but that firms needed to ensure they are ready for what is to come in around three months’ time as the transition ends at midnight on January 1, 2021. Hooper said: “Don’t wait for the deal. That’s the advice in big capital letters! “If we get an agreement with the EU, it’s going to be a free trade agreement but there are going to be declarations and there are going to be checks. If you trade with the EU, you’ve got to get ready.” Firms can tap into training courses being run by the

Chamber to help them prepare and, Hooper added, it’s vital that UK firms are on top of the issues.

Government money available that companies can access to help get them ready. Companies need to use it.”

He said: “If you think businesses here aren’t ready, most firms in the EU don’t have clue. If you have a customer in the EU you might find that they take the attitude that they didn’t vote for this and they just want business to carry on as it was.

Bhatti said he believes a deal can still be struck with the EU but echoed calls for companies to get ready for the end of the transition period, while Desai informed businesses that the Chamber has taken on additional staff to help with customs declarations.

“That means if you are a business based in Coventry and Warwickshire dealing with the EU, you are the ones that are going to be need to be ready and have everything in place. “That’s why I am urging businesses to make the most of the training courses available and there is a pot of

David Burton, who has chaired the Chamber’s Brexit Club since its inception just after the referendum, said: “There are less than 100 days to go and many businesses have still not got to grips with it. They need to make preparations now and to use the support that is on offer.”

For more information on the Brexit training courses available go to https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/business-support/coventry-warwickshire-brexit-hub/brexit-support-events-training/

•••• 4


Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Coventry offers first glimpse of UK City of Culture programme

Adult skills the key to success

Coventry City of Culture Trust has announced the first events that will form part of the 365-day programme of UK City of Culture 2021, with a confirmed kick-off date of May 15, 2021. As well as announcing the date of the opening event – called Coventry Moves – other highlights include the worldrenowned Turner Prize exhibition and ceremony being held at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, a major co-commission with the Royal Shakespeare Company and a threeday weekender curated by Terry Hall, the lead singer of The Specials. Rooted in the rich history of the city and celebrating the stories of the people who have made it their home,

That’s the view of Louise Bennett, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, who welcomed the Prime Minister’s recent speech in which he committed to transforming the foundations of the skills system.

the programme also addresses the issues that communities are faced with today while imagining what the future holds. The events are the first sight of the ways in which Coventry 2021 is radically rethinking what a City of Culture, and its legacy, means to the region and audiences locally and internationally. They are a preview of some of the early plans for City of Culture ahead of a full programme announcement in January 2021. Chenine Bhathena, creative director of Coventry City of Culture, said: “We are announcing these events today and hope, in these dark times, to give something for people to look forward to – things they can do and

enjoy, whatever the future may hold. When Coventry is faced by a challenge, we tackle it head on. The resilience and innovation that the city is known for around the world can be seen in the events we announce today.” The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, said: “UK City of Culture 2021 is a wonderful opportunity for Coventry to showcase and champion its arts and culture offering to people in the city, the West Midlands and beyond. This is an exciting time for the city and I look forward to hearing more about the plans as they progress.”

Improving adult skills will be vital to individual and economic wellbeing in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis.

In his speech, Boris Johnson committed to a Lifetime Skills Guarantee to give adults the chance to take free college courses valued by employers and a new entitlement to flexible loans to allow courses to be taken in segments, boosting opportunities to retrain and enhance the nation’s technical skills. He said he would extend Digital Bootcamps, invest in FE colleges and expand the take up of apprenticeships. Louise said: “A commitment to ongoing skills training would be welcome at any time but now, more than ever, individuals and businesses are going to need to be flexible in what they require as we look to rebuild the economy when we are through the worst of the crisis. “Individuals will need new skills to access the jobs that are going to be available and it’s vital for the economy that we have a workforce that is ready to meet the challenges ahead.

Kopek Security Ltd will be Supporting the Amazing Coventry Glides at the Cathedral Ruins

The iconic Coventry landmark will be transformed into a winter wonderland creating one of the most spectacular festive ice-skating rinks in the UK. The ice-skating rink, which is the first event to be announced as part of Coventry City of Culture Trust’s winter programme for 2020, has been created in partnership with Coventry Business Improvement District (BID), Coventry Cathedral and with support from Coventry City Council.


Safety was the top priority and Coventry Glides has been planned in conjunction with some of the country’s best events specialists including Chamber members Kopek Security who are the events safety team to make sure all government advice is followed. Kopek Security LTD Directors Gennine Cope and Sue Yildiz said, “we have known about the event for a few months now and our whole

team were so excited about this amazing idea we feel really proud to be involved!” Kopek will be supplying Stewards, SIA safety teams, Mobile CCTV, Spotlights, and Dog Handlers 24 hours a day throughout the event. A number of COVID-19 safety measures will be put in place to ensure guests can stay safe and still have fun, including timed slots for skaters, reduced skater capacity, mandatory facemasks for all skaters and cleaning in between skating sessions. Trish Willetts, Coventry BID Director, added: “We are thrilled to be working alongside our great friends at the Coventry City of Culture Trust to bring some joy in to our city this festive season with Coventry Glides. To be able to offer an ice rink is exciting enough, but having it situated within the beautiful Cathedral Ruins makes it extra special. After a tough year, this will be a fantastic and safe way for families to come into the city and experience a little bit of festive magic!”

“The types of jobs available was already going through massive change as the world has become more digital over the past few years and the current crisis has accelerated some of that change. “The Chamber has been calling for adult skills training to be in step with those changes and, while the devil is always in the detail, this looks like a move in the right direction.” British Chambers of Commerce Head of People Policy Jane Gratton said: “The government have listened to Chambers and taken an important step toward a more agile adult skills system in the wake of the pandemic. Our Workplace Training and Development Commission has found that employers need access to bite-sized accredited learning that enables adults to be quickly up-skilled and re-skilled for new opportunities. “Apprenticeships will remain crucial to solving the skills crisis and employers need support to recruit and retain apprentices throughout the pandemic as cashflow restrictions force firms to make difficult choices. Over time, we still need to see greater flexibility in how the apprenticeship levy can be used. “The government’s renewed focus on FE, greater investment in technical and digital skills and a more flexible skills system must go hand in hand with high quality local delivery that responds quickly to the growth aspirations of business.”



Regional businesses give their views to the Bank of England

Nick Abell (chair of the CWLEP)

Chamber and LEP call for Gigafactory in the region

Two leading business organisations in Coventry and Warwickshire have put extra charge in the call to Government to build a factory in the region that could create thousands of jobs. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its latest #PolicyHour video call with businesses in the region and invited representatives from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) to discuss its reset strategy for the economy. The event heard from Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce as well as Paula Deas, deputy chief executive of the CWLEP, and Nick Abell, the chair of the CWLEP. All three recognised how difficult the past six months have been for companies of all sizes and sectors in the region and that there will still be incredibly tough months ahead as firms face up to the continuing Covid-19 crisis. Both organisations said, however, that there are reasons to be optimistic in Coventry and Warwickshire in the medium to long term and both cited the building of a Gigafactory in the region as having the potential to be a gamechanger. Nick said: “The Government is going to back a Gigafactory and, wherever it goes, it is going to create thousands of jobs, potentially tens of thousands. “There is no doubt, we want it here. When you see the arrival of Lotus to the region recently, the development of the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) and the other incredible companies we already have on the patch, this is the place to be when it comes to the future of automotive. “If we could bring a Gigafactory here, it would be huge for the area. Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands, is pushing for one to come to this region and, who knows, the Government might back more than one. “It’s important, not just on this topic, that we all stick together and that Coventry and Warwickshire continues to work as one which organisations such as the LEP and the Chamber do extremely well.” Louise added: “Margot James, a former MP and now of WMG, was on a #PolicyHour call a few weeks ago and called for a Gigafactory to come to this region and it’s clear what a massive positive affect that could have for the economy. “We can’t say anything other than this has been a really tough time for all of our businesses but we can be optimistic about the future if we can, with Government support, get as many companies as possible through this incredibly difficult period. “And it’s vital that as business bodies in the region, we all work together to support that.”


Businesses from a range of sectors across Coventry and Warwickshire have given the Bank of England their views on the current economic climate – amidst a warning that unemployment could approach double pre-crisis levels. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held a business panel meeting with Graeme Chaplin, the Bank of England’s Agent in the West Midlands, to give firms an opportunity to feedback on how they are managing during the Coronavirus crisis. It came as figures showed that unemployment in the UK had hit 4.1 per cent and CPI inflation fell to 0.2 per cent. Graeme said: “The last time we held this meeting was just at the very start of the Covid-19 crisis, before we knew what the extent of it was going to be. “Since then, we’ve been through a lockdown of large areas of the economy – followed by a gradual reopening, varying by sector. “That has led to a rebound of economic activity through the summer, but the speed of recovery is likely to begin to slow into the fourth quarter of 2020 and early 2021. “Some of the Government support schemes are now being phased out –

particularly the Job Retention Scheme – and the end of that support, coupled with the impact of Covid-19, could see the unemployment rate push up to around 7.5 per cent by the end of the year. “What is hard to predict is how businesses, individuals and Governments in the UK and overseas will to react to the uncertain path of the pandemic in the coming months. Many firms – especially in an area such as the West Midlands – would benefit from a pick-up in the global economy.” Sean Rose, policy officer at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said companies had given a range of views on how they are currently performing and what they are predicting for the coming months. He said: “It was great to hear from Graeme Chaplin and, most importantly,

for him to hear from companies across Coventry and Warwickshire. “He was given a perspective from a whole range of businesses of different sizes and sectors – from manufacturing through to education – and that information will now be fed back to the Bank nationally.”

“What is hard to predict is how businesses, individuals and Governments in the UK and overseas will to react to the uncertain path of the pandemic in the coming months. Many firms – especially in an area such as the West Midlands – would benefit from a pick-up in the global economy.”

Chambers and WMCA step up Brexit support Regional Chambers of Commerce and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) are stepping up their free support to help businesses prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period. The WMCA, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce (C&WCC) and the Black Country Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) are working together to scale up existing support. The programme, available between this month and February, 2021, gives local businesses access to: • Fully-funded places on a choice of 24 accredited and non-accredited highquality international trade-focused training courses (worth c.£200+VAT per delegate per course) • 15 free webinars featuring guest experts on all aspects of preparing for 2021, including intellectual property, data protection and immigration • One-to-one support with customs and export documentation-related queries • Digital resources, including business briefings, checklists and videos on key topics You can find out more about the support available www. https://www. greaterbirminghamchambers.com/ brexit-support/brexit-support-eventstraining/ The UK left the EU on the 31 January, 2020, and entered a transition period during which nothing has changed practically for businesses. This transition period will end on the 31 December, 2020, and the New Year will bring a significant number of changes for businesses across trade with the EU, employing non-UK citizens and more.

The UK and EU are currently undertaking negotiations on a potential trade deal.Both sides agree that in order for it to be implemented by the New Year, agreement needs to be reached in October. The UK has ruled out requesting any extension to negotiations. The UK government has released guidance on a number of areas, including the UK’s immigration system, border operating model and import tariffs postBrexit. Paul Faulkner, chief executive at the GBCC, said: “Brexit remains the biggest fundamental change to the UK’s political and trading relationships for a generation, and the end of the transition period is coming hot on the heels of another oncein-a-generation event - the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are looking forward to working together with our fellow chambers and the WMCA to make it as straightforward as possible for businesses to get to grips with and adapt to key changes to come. “The next two months in particular are pivotal for businesses to get clarity on what will (or will not) be in a UK-EU trade deal. We are going to be here for businesses every step of the way with the latest advice, guidance and what it means for them as we all get ready for 2021.”

Louise Bennett, C&WCC chief executive, said: “It is critical that local businesses explore and understand the impact of the EU transition on their business, whether they import or export or, maybe, sit in a supply chain of import/export that could affect their goods in and out of their business. “The Chambers of Commerce in the West Midlands, working with the West Midlands Combined Authority and Elected Mayor, are here to help and offer advice and support on export and customs documentation and more.” Corin Crane, the BCCC’s chief executive, said: “Following months of trade deal discussions between British, EU negotiators and prospective new trading partners, most British business leaders continue to worry about the limited progress made and the consequences of no deals or partially formed agreements. “This collaboration ensures that support is out there for our importers and exporters with the most relevant and timely detail provided to ensure that West Midland companies are able to navigate the trading landscape following the end of the transition agreement.”

“The UK and EU are currently undertaking negotiations on a potential trade deal. Both sides agree that in order for it to be implemented by the New Year, agreement needs to be reached in October. The UK has ruled out requesting any extension to negotiations.” www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Leamington development wins building excellence award

The Station Approach Development in Leamington

A Warwick property development company is toasting its success in the regional round of a nationwide building excellence awards scheme. Tachbrook Parkheadquartered AC Lloyd is the winner of the Best Social or Affordable New Housing Development in the West Midlands region of the Local

Authority Building Control (LABC) Building Excellence Awards 2020 for its work in phases one, two and three at Station Approach Development in Leamington. The £22 million project involved AC Lloyd collaborating with Warwick District Council and Platform Housing Group to create twoand-three-bedroom homes

and apartments on a site which dates back nearly 400 years near Leamington Spa Station. Alistair Clark, managing director of AC Lloyd Homes, said: “Thousands of extra visitors will be travelling to Leamington Spa Station when the town hosts the lawn bowls and para bowls during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and next year when Coventry is UK City of Culture. The brief was to deliver a landmark development as it’s one of the first buildings people will see when arriving in the town. “The complexity of the site from day one meant this couldn’t have been achieved without regular dialogue and co-operation from Warwick District Council’s building control team; it was a true partnership.”

Phil Rook, head of consortium at Warwick Building Control, said: “I’ve worked with AC Lloyd for almost 30 years on numerous developments and they always build with quality as their main driver. “As a local developer, they’ve always accommodated and worked with us to provide developments that comply with legislation and fit into the local environment. This award is greatly deserved.” Hazel Doolan, area development manager at Platform Housing Group, added: “This has been the first major project I’ve been involved in with AC Lloyd. I’ve been impressed by the quality of the development and the extra care they’ve taken in the little details.”

launched in September, is a network of universities, corporates and public organisations that are keen to explore the key issues facing society due to COVID-19, and to help drive solutions for change and recovery. Steve Chapman, Ingenuity director, said: “Ingenuity provides a unique opportunity to motivate and develop a generation of dynamic new leaders, ready to do their bit to help drive the recovery from the COVID crisis and build back a more inclusive economy, society and environment.

“We have been lucky enough to be joined by some of the most innovative universities in the UK, leading charities, and forward-thinking corporate partners who see the opportunity to create something new in the place of what has been lost. Ingenuity is now in its fifth year and Shakespeare Martineau has been on that journey with us from the start.” Ben Buckton, chief people and marketing officer at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “This programme is a perfect fit for us. Our purpose is to unlock potential wherever we see it and being able to

support ideas and innovations that will truly make a difference is fantastic. “We’re also specialists in the education sector and have a deep expertise in supporting entrepreneurs at all stages of their business lifecycle.” For more information visit www.ingenuityimpact.org

Triple shortlist success for college in national HR awards North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) has been shortlisted in three categories of the national 2020 Personnel Today Awards. Shortlisted in the Excellence in Public Service, Health and Wellbeing, and HR Director of the Year categories, the college has been recognised for its focus on employee health and wellbeing, as well as for the way it has responded to the coronavirus crisis. NWSLC developed its first health and wellbeing strategy three years ago to provide support for its workforce designed to boost their physical and mental health and keep them fit for work.


A key aspect of the strategy included raising awareness of mental health issues with the introduction of an expectation that all staff work towards a mental health qualification, currently completed by around 20% of colleagues. The HR team put in place a formal communications plan to raise awareness of the health benefits offered by the college and to encourage staff to access the support available. Initiatives have included a diabetic and health assessment clinic, meditation classes for stress management and anxiety, and a “Get Active” campaign to promote the health benefits of activity. As the coronavirus pandemic unfolded, the college worked hard to avoid losing ground on the advances it had made

Furlough Scheme extended The Chancellor announced on 5 November that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which ended 31 October, is being extended to 31 March 2021. This is in effect a restart rather than an extension as such, as the scheme is open to new entrants (both employers who have not previously claimed, and employees who have not previously been claimed for). In addition, the government is again funding 80% of usual wages for hours not worked. The limit is £2,500 per month, reduced pro rata where employees are flexibly furloughed such that they continue to work some hours.

Law firm supports Ingenuity for fifth year running Law firm Shakespeare Martineau has committed to partnering the Ingenuity Programme for the fifth year running, having supported the programme since its inception in 2016. The firm will provide legal, business development and investment information, as well as business coaching, to help the creation and implementation of the next generation of business startups, as well as innovations from within organisations that will deliver sustainable social impact across the UK. The Ingenuity Programme, which

Sponsored Column

in the arena of health and wellbeing. The team was aware that heightened anxiety coupled with remote working during lockdown might have an adverse effect on health and wellbeing, so it worked with staff to recognise individual circumstances and adapt its support to meet lockdown requirements. Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, principal and chief executive of NWSLC, said: “We are proud that the college workforce consistently displays care and compassion in all that they do. We are committed to ensuring wellbeing is at the core of their work experience by encouraging and supporting them to look after their health and wellbeing.” For more information visit www.nwslc.ac.uk

Employers can claim for furloughed employees who were on their payroll on 30 October 2020. They can also claim for employees who were on the payroll on 23 September 2020 and were subsequently made redundant or stopped working, if they re-employ and then furlough them. Claims can be made from Wednesday 11 November with further guidance due to be published on 10 November. As a result of this, the £1,000 CJRS bonus where employees who were furloughed remain employed until 31 January 2021 has been scrapped. If you require support in relation to the CJRS please contact Paul Spencer or David Thomas-Walls on 02476 257481 or ps@sgduk.com/ dtw@sgduk.com respectively. For more information, please visit our website, www.sgduk.com



Back to business for in-person events, but not as we know it!

Hazel Pilling, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, welcomes guests to the ‘socially distanced’ business event in Warwickshire

Business events returned to Coventry and Warwickshire for the first time since March – but there were no handshakes or business card swaps. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its first ‘in-person’ business event since lockdown and chose the IXL Events Centre, in Southam, to host the gathering as one of the Chamber’s valued Strategic Partners.

Eighteen delegates attended the socially distanced event and all stood more than two metres apart as they chatted about their businesses with fellow firms while regularly sanitising their hands. Hazel Pilling, membership manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It wasn’t quite a full on business event as we know it, but it was great to be back in

a room with businesspeople and there was a real buzz – you could definitely tell that everyone had missed it. “It was a great example of how business events of this nature can work really well and be done safely and securely and within Government guidelines. Everyone was happy to follow the procedures such as wearing masks, although they could take them off while they were having a coffee or a water. “There was a one-way system in operation in terms of coming in and going out and hand sanitiser everywhere. “The feedback was that everyone felt really safe but also relaxed too so they could enjoy the chance to see other business people ‘in-person’ again. As a Chamber, we will continue to operate online events because they have worked really well over the past six months in connecting businesses but I, for one, was delighted to be back meeting in person.

“The Chamber is a long-established and trusted source of business events and for connecting companies to one another and this event proved, yet again, that we will do whatever it takes to bring firms together to do business. “A huge amount of credit must go to the IXL Events team for staging this event and proving that they are capable of scaling up to even bigger gatherings, as and when the Government guidance changes.” Lai-Yee Cheung, director of sales and marketing at IXL Events, said: “The events sector is having a really difficult time right now and, there is no doubt, that we need more support and to be allowed to host larger events as soon as possible. “We were delighted to host the Chamber’s event and it gave businesses the chance to see the wonderful facilities we have to offer here. “We simply cannot wait to get more people back in as soon as we can.”

“The Chamber is a long-established and trusted source of business events and for connecting companies to one another and this event proved, yet again, that we will do whatever it takes to bring firms together to do business.”

Conference moves online but will still pack a punch! One of the biggest annual business events in Coventry and Warwickshire has been moved online due to the Coronavirus crisis but will focus on recovery and resilience within the economy and region. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Economic Conference, in its 20th year in 2020 as a key event in the business calendar, will take place on Wednesday, November 11. It will run for two hours but will still pack a major economic punch with a range of speakers from industry as well as decision-makers at a local, regional and national level. They include West Midlands Mayor Andy Street; Nadhim Zahawi MP, Minister for Business & Industry; Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG; Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of the Centre for Cities; Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Coventry City of Culture Trust; Leigh Hunt, CityFibre’s City Manager Coventry; and Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council.


The event – which will run from 2.30pm until 4.30pm – is being sponsored by CityFibre, Kumari Hart Solicitors, Prime Accountants Group and WCG. Around 300 delegates are expected to join the event which is being broadcast by Istead AV from its Digital Spotlight Studio. Louise Bennett, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our Annual Economic Conference is one of the staples of the regional business

calendar and it’s always great to bring together hundreds of businesspeople and decision makers in one room. “Of course, that’s not possible this year but we thought it was important to hold the event and to cover some of the key topics that affect everyone in business in our region – how we will remain resilient as the crisis continues but, also, explore how we will put our regional economy on the path to recovery.

“As a trusted and accredited organisation, we have been long embedded in the business landscape in Coventry and Warwickshire. It is our job to ensure our businesses’ voices are heard so we still intend to make this an interactive and engaging event for ouraudience with a chance to put questions and comments to our speakers and panels.”

“As a trusted and accredited organisation, we have been long embedded in the business landscape in Coventry and Warwickshire. It is our job to ensure our businesses’ voices are heard so we still intend to make this an interactive and engaging event for our audience with a chance to put questions and comments to our speakers and panels. “Our incredible line-up of speakers will be at the heart of that recovery and it will be a fantastic opportunity to hear from them and for our delegates to better understand how the region can come together to trade our way out of this crisis. “We are very grateful, too, to all of our sponsors who make the conference possible.” For more information and to book a place go to https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/ events/coventry-warwickshiresvirtual-annual-economic-conference/


Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Businesses back Annual Economic Conference

Sponsored Column

Four key businesses have given their backing to one of the biggest economic events in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Photo Credit: Istead AV Spotlight Streaming Studio www.istead.co.uk/spotlight-streaming-studio/

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Economic Conference, in its 20th year in 2020 as a key event in the business calendar, will take place on Wednesday, November 11 and has been moved to an online format. CityFibre, Kumari Hart Solicitors, Prime Accountants Group and WCG are all headline sponsors for the annual conference, which is set to attract around 300 delegates. And they are all are looking forward to the event that will focus on recovery and resilience and will hear from a range of speakers from industry as well as decision-makers at a local, regional and national level. The conference will also look at the impact for businesses of the end of the EU Transition period. Leigh Hunt, of CityFibre, said: “CityFibre is delighted to be sponsoring this year’s Chamber conference, especially as it moves online. During 2020 we have seen a massive change in our business and social behaviour, which could not have been imagined at the beginning of the year. “Given the challenging environment we are working in, it is therefore essential that our local entrepreneurs and wealth generators can continue to come together. In doing so we can learn about the bounce-back plans for the sub-region and hear of the opportunities that Coventry 2021 and Birmingham 2022 will bring. “As the UK’s third largest digital infrastructure provider, CityFibre is investing an initial £60m to provide world-class infrastructure to Coventry and the wider area. That is only the beginning of the journey, and as demand grows, we look forward to playing our part in the transformation of our sub-region into a world-beating digital hub.”

Anu Hart, of Kumari Hart Solicitors, said: “We are so pleased to be one of the headline sponsors for this year’s virtual Annual Economic Conference. We are providing legal support to many businesses throughout Coventry and Warwickshire so we know that some sectors have been devastated. We have also seen some real success stories, especially with clients that have adapted and diversified. “We are looking forward to seeing the great line up of speakers from industry and decision makers at local, regional and national levels to gain more insight on the pathway to recovery and to adapt how we can provide businesses with support going forward.” The conference will deliver a mix of engaging panel discussions and speakers who include West Midlands Mayor Andy Street; Nadhim Zahawi MP, Minister for Business & Industry; Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG; Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of the Centre for Cities; Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Coventry City of Culture Trust; Leigh Hunt, CityFibre’s City Manager Coventry; and Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council. Steve Harcourt, of Prime Accountants Group, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Annual Economic Conference this year as we feel this is such an important event to attend.

It is a date that we make sure is in our diaries every year and is one not to be missed. “Although this year will be slightly different with the conference taking place virtually, it will still provide attendees with the exceptional panels of speakers and high calibre of guests that we are used to seeing each and every year. These speakers will give insight in to how the economy will recover from the global pandemic and what local businesses can do to be best placed as we come out of the other side.” Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, said: “The Chamber’s Economic Conference is one of the major annual business events in the region and we pleased to be supporting it again this year as a key sponsor in its new online format. “WCG works closely with businesses across the region and holds strong partnerships with many fellow members of the Chamber. The conference is a fantastic opportunity to build those relationships and speak directly with businesses to find out what skills they need to support their future development, especially the digital skills which are the focus this year.” The two-hour event is being broadcast by Istead AV from its Digital Spotlight Studio between 2.30pm and 4.30pm. Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’re all very much looking forward to this year’s annual conference. Of course, this is normally an opportunity for everyone to come together in one room to hear from key speakers at a local, regional and national level. “This year, delegates will be watching the event from their own office or home but are still going to hear from a great line-up of speakers on all the key matters affecting the region. We are extremely grateful to all of our sponsors for backing this year’s conference and for helping us to bring together such a fantastic event.”

“Given the challenging environment we are working in, it is therefore essential that our local entrepreneurs and wealth generators can continue to come together. In doing so we can learn about the bounce-back plans for the sub-region and hear of the opportunities that Coventry 2021 and Birmingham 2022 will bring.”

Did cross border just get more complicated? The UK has taken advantage of a variety of compliance simplifications as a result of being members of the EU VAT regime, Customs Union and Single Market. So, as we cease to be members after 31st December 2020, does this mean that cross border is now going to be more complicated? Potentially so. Therefore it’s important to be as prepared as possible ahead of the deadline. A good place to start is to get your internal systems ready now to address the changes to customs declarations, checks and potentially tariffs that will be introduced. One of the key points to make at the moment is that many of the issues businesses are going to face post 31st December are already known certainties, whether we get a trade deal with the EU or not. A case in point being the UK will be an export location from the EU’s perspective and vice versa. Import and export procedures is an area many businesses are well versed in, however, for those who trade primarily with EU countries, things are about to change and alternative processes will need to be adopted. It is impossible to summarise all the changes that will take place within this article. But we know that we will be adopting the B2B and B2C general rules for services, so many of the VAT implications of selling services will remain the same, at least initially. There are many complexities within the place of supply of services rules though, so businesses will need to ensure they are not caught by one of the exceptions. Recent conversations we’ve had with our clients have also included assistance with how changes get reported through accounting systems, in particular those organisations with bespoke or non-standard software. Getting new reports out of the system for the appropriate VAT reporting will be a critical step. In conclusion, changes in the next few months are going to add some short term complications. But the key advice is to control the controllables and act now on the things that we know are going to change. Please head over to the Dafferns website at https://dafferns.com/brexit/ for further details of the latest changes, webinars, blogs and commentary. Or contact Brian Jukes, on 02476 221 046 or brian.jukes@dafferns.com Dafferns Chartered Accountants Trusted Advisers since 1896 Authentic, Agile, Connected

www.dafferns.com For more information and to book a place go to https://www.cw-chamber.co.uk/events/coventry-warwickshires-virtual-annual-economic-conference/ www.cw-chamber.co.uk


Corporate Profiles

AHR Consultants grows as it helps firms through the crisis

A leading provider of HR and health & safety services based in Rugby has gone through a period of expansion as it supports clients through the Covid-19 pandemic. AHR Consultants has taken on three new members of staff and is recruiting for other positions after seeing a huge influx in enquiries from both new and existing clients. The firm, established in 2007, provides professional HR consultancy services as well as health and safety services – each tailored to the needs of the individual client. The HR side of the business offers a range of solutions related to risk factors, commercial pressures and the cultural values of the client. It has worked on projects including HR audits, investigations, disciplinary and performance management procedures, HR and TUPE due diligence,

managing restructures and redundancy programmes, developing training programmes, and securing risk free exits of individuals using settlement agreements. The firm has recently seen a large increase in clients needing support with restructures and redundancies as well as advising on pre-claim conciliation and employment tribunals because of the pandemic. The health and safety side of the business offers services including a competent person provision, health and safety audits and inspections, fire risk assessments, reviewing and updating of policies, procedures and risk assessments, training and expert legal advice as well as occupational health and hygiene services. The firm has also developed a new Covid-19 Workplace Management System to ensure businesses are managing potential coronavirus exposure in the workplace and complying with government requirements. Simon Howes, managing director of AHR Consultants, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a huge amount of uncertainty for businesses, and this has seen us experience a large influx of calls – particularly to our HR Consultants. “At the start of lockdown, we were not only supporting existing clients, but saw our client base expand as businesses sought advice on the Job Retention Scheme.

“Fast forward six months and our advisors are now providing support with restructures, redundancies and employment tribunals.

“The team is also ensuring that other health and safety audits that would have taken place during the lockdown period are completed and up-to-date.”

“It is a trend that we unfortunately expect to continue as ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) figures show that one in three employers are due to make redundancies because of the pandemic.

Simon added: “We are extremely fortunate to be able to expand the business, and it is excellent that we can not only provide additional support for our clients but also jobs for local people.

“But with years of HR experience, we are helping clients make the best decisions for their business, not only providing guidance on restructuring but also helping them understand the new Job Support Scheme.

“The expansion is testament to the high level of service provided by the whole team at AHR Consultants.

“Our health and safety department is busy ensuring businesses are Covidsecure and implementing new measures with clients, involving everything from risk assessments and compliance checks to putting arrangements in place for visitors and contractors.

“We are a relatively small team, but we pride ourselves in having a deep understanding of our clients to ensure we can provide them with the best service possible and packages that meet their needs.” For further information about AHR Consultants, visit https://ahrconsultants.co.uk/

“Our health and safety department is busy ensuring businesses are Covid-secure and implementing new measures with clients, involving everything from risk assessments and compliance checks to putting arrangements in place for visitors and contractors.”

Events firm adapting and diversifying due to pandemic A Coventry firm which helped worldclass events such as the Olympics, the Champions League Final and the Rugby World Cup run smoothly is diversifying after Covid-19 heavily impacted on its business. Event Support Team UK (EST UK), which has been based at the Ricoh Arena since it opened in 2005, provided a range of services for major events, such as traffic management, security, parking solutions and ticketing services. The majority of EST UK’s clients were either involved in professional sport or hosting large concerts – which has meant a solid source of income has disappeared thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. But the firm has not given in. Instead, EST UK has been working with local authorities in the region to manage traffic and pedestrian flows to help towns and cities with social distancing during the pandemic.


And because of its reputation, the firm picked up work from Coventry City Council to help provide traffic management in advance of the Black Lives Matter protest in June. After joining the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in September, the company has been able to speak to businesses in the region who require its services, as well as being advised on what grants are available. Sales director Grant Woollaston said: “The pandemic significantly affected our business – we never really thought about diversification before that as we were doing very well. “We had work with several Premier League football clubs, Premiership rugby clubs, and festivals around the country including last year’s Godiva Festival in Coventry. “But now a lot of that work has gone away, we’ve had to have a serious think about how we can use our expertise to help clients in a different way.

“What’s really pleasing is that the Chamber has been very helpful since we became a member. It has put us in touch with other firms in Coventry and Warwickshire who would benefit from our services. “And the Chamber also highlighted streams of funding, such as new grants, that we may have overlooked ourselves had we not joined. “There’s no denying that the pandemic has been very tough for us, but with the support of our excellent team, our understanding owners, and the Chamber, I think we can come out of this strongly.”

Candice Chambers, Office Operations Manager at EST UK, added: “When lockdown kicked in and our main source of income dried up, we did not simply give in. We knew our services could still be useful. “We’re really pleased with what we achieved during Coventry’s Black Lives Matter protest – where we had to come up with a plan on very short notice – and what we’ve done to help local authorities during the pandemic.” For more information on EST UK, phone 02476 997605, or visit its website at www.estuk.co.uk

“There’s no denying that the pandemic has been very tough for us, but with the support of our excellent team, our understanding owners, and the Chamber, I think we can come out of this strongly.”


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Corporate Profiles

Expansion for Coventry solicitors A Coventry solicitors specialising in commercial litigation and business support is expanding to help cater for its growing client base. Kumari Hart Solicitors is set to welcome another lawyer after experiencing an increase in demand from businesses across the country. The firm has seen a rise in enquiries from businesses seeking advice and guidance around matters including raising equity finance, restructuring and refinancing, lease renewals, litigation, contact drafting and disputes as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is now working with clients to provide tailored support to minimise and mitigate risks and help them plan for the future. Kumari Hart Solicitors, established in June 2017, was launched with a view to providing friendly, accessible and affordable legal services to both individuals and businesses. The firm is made up of a small team of professionals who pride themselves on providing a personal service to clients. As a modern, IT-led practice, it has no physical offices and uses the very latest cloud-based technology to provide a seamless service without interruptions. The firm is now not only expanding, but is also looking to lead the way in championing transparency in the industry by releasing video content over the coming months to answer many of the questions that consumers often have before buying legal services.

Anu Hart, managing director of Kumari Hart Solicitors, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has seen businesses experience a huge amount of uncertainty, and we have seen a rise in enquiries that reflect this. “Companies are looking closely at options such as re-financing and are being more cautious when it comes to lease renewals. “We have also seen a rise in contract disputes and partner disputes as businesses look to resolve internal issues. “Likewise, we have also assisted businesses who have been able to adapt and innovate to take advantage of the many opportunities that Covid-19 has presented. “We are working hard to support our clients, reacting as the situation changes and providing the best possible advice to help businesses plan for the future. “Being an IT-led firm which works remotely meant that we were able to continue operating as normal when the lockdown was imposed, enabling us to both continue catering for our clients and also take on new business. “This increased demand means that we are now able to expand the team and we look forward to growing our business in the coming months. “Our new marketing strategy is another very exciting development for the business. People do not usually gain information about legal fees from online searches and costs are one of the major factors that influence a consumer to buy a service.

“We want to be completely transparent about how we charge for our services and the factors that influence our charges so that consumers can make an informed decision from the outset. “Over the coming months, we will be adding informative videos to our website and YouTube, answering those frequently

asked questions by consumers within the legal industry.” Further information about Kumari Hart Solicitors is available by visiting www.kumarihart.co.uk, emailing enquiries@kumarihart.co.uk or calling 02477 981545.

“Our new marketing strategy is another very exciting development for the business. People do not usually gain information about legal fees from online searches and costs are one of the major factors that influence a consumer to buy a service.”

Studio44 adapts to challenges to remain part of the furniture A Coventry-based commercial furniture consultancy which has just celebrated its second anniversary is continuing to thrive as it supports businesses through the pandemic. Studio44, based at Pilot Business Park, has adapted to cater for the changing marketplace as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The firm, which supplies and installs commercial grade furniture, has seen an increase in enquiries about home office support as well as from businesses looking for office space planning and PPE. It has not only been helping employers ensure their staff are sitting ergonomically and have the correct home working environment, but also working with them to bring staff back to the workplace safely by erecting protective screens and ensuring the correct social distancing measures are in place. Studio44 was launched in 2018 following the decision of the parent company X4 Office to extend its installation management offering to include design and procurement services. X4 Office specialises in commercial furniture delivery and installation worldwide particularly. It is therefore with complete confidence that Studio44 can offer its clients a truly end-to-end solution, whatever their needs.


The company works across all sectors, collaborating with clients, architects and designers to deliver unique furniture solutions for all project sizes and budgets. From the very start, offering interior design services through to deep cleaning before sign-off, and everything in between, it covers every aspect with strategic partners. The firm invests heavily in sustainability and feels very strongly that any older furniture it removes from its clients is either donated or redistributed for further use. It is part of Studio44’s sustainability plans to constantly review and add to this process, developing relationships to assist in achieving this wherever possible so it can build it into all of its offerings. Abbie Pittaway, of Studio44, said: “We work with everything when it comes to interiors, and can supply commercial furniture not just for offices, but for all settings including residential, student accommodation, hospitality, buy to lets, medical and educational institutions – we have even fitted out laboratories. We create packages to suit each individual and any budget.” Studio44’s Lisa Haigh-Jones added: “The flexible nature of the business means that we have embraced the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, adapting

our offering to match the needs of the marketplace. This has seen us focus more on home working and supporting businesses with PPE. “We have also worked hard to reschedule projects we were not able to progress due to the pandemic, and have not lost any business as a result. “By our very nature we find the positive in any situation. The current conditions, while undoubtedly challenging, have proceeded to bring us closer together as a team and we are very optimistic about the industry’s recovery and the future at Studio44.” Mark Kelly, of Studio44, concluded: “We would welcome anyone who would like to find out more to get in touch and book to visit our office and showroom -

Abbie Pittaway, Mark Kelly and Lisa Haigh-Jones of Studio44

we have worked incredibly hard to ensure it showcases everything we are able to achieve.” Further information about Studio44 is available by visiting www.studio44.co.uk or calling 0845 643 2926

“The flexible nature of the business means that we have embraced the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, adapting our offering to match the needs of the marketplace. This has seen us focus more on home working and supporting businesses with PPE.”


News Sponsored Column

Business development in challenging times By Sean Farnell, Partner

At Burgis & Bullock we stress to our clients the importance of sound, comprehensive business planning in a time of crisis – but also that it’s vital to not lose sight of the future and continue to invest time into the development of your business. Whether this be through pitching for new work, identifying new avenues of business or expanding and future-proofing your workforce, it’s crucial not to stand still and rest on your laurels. Over the last few months we have been practising what we preach and set out to win new business and add to our ever-growing workforce across our offices in Leamington, Nuneaton, Rugby and Stratford-upon-Avon. One of our big wins was being selected to deliver the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) ‘Peer Networks’ programme for six of its cohorts. The Peer Networks groups aim to create a diverse collection of individuals to work together to combat common business issues by building a strong support network. We have already started to deliver the programme and will be supporting up to 66 SMEs in the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, Professional Services, Retail and Digital Industries and New Technologies sectors between now and March. It is being delivered through our established Business Mastermind Group and is expanding on our already comprehensive offering of free advice and support for businesses. In order to come out of this crisis in a position to capitalise it’s essential for business leaders to grow, develop and adapt. It’s crucial now more than ever that leaders have a network to help them work through common business issues – so we’re proud to be delivering groups with these opportunities. At our Nuneaton office we have welcomed two new team members, who both have a bright future in the industry and we hope will have an impact on the business for many years to come. We have heard a lot from government about skills and supporting the development of young people in industry recently, so we’re delighted to be able to support both Brandon Jacques and Morgan Hill through the next stage of their training and development. These are difficult times for business but now isn’t the time to stand still. There are always opportunities to develop your business and continue to build for the future. To find out more about joining the Peer Networks programme through Burgis & Bullock contact 0345 177 5500 or visit www.bb-bmg.co.uk Offices in Leamington Spa, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Nuneaton, London and Rugby.

Confidence grows - but businesses are still nervous about the future Business confidence in Coventry and Warwickshire has started to improve after the massive hit it took at the height of lockdown, according to a new survey. The latest Quarterly Economic Survey by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, which acts as a barometer for the regional economy, showed that the outlook for the region was still way short of preCovid levels and that while business morale has shown a marked uplift it still hangs by a thread. The survey, which is sponsored by Prime Accountants Group, is analysed by Warwickshire County Council and feeds into the national survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). Warwickshire County Council’s analysis uses a similar score to the national Markits Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) where 50 is the balance and anything above means the majority feel positive and anything below means the reverse. Business confidence in the second quarter of 2020 dropped to 38.3 in the service sector but rose to 54.4 in the latest survey. In manufacturing, it rose from 39.0 to 47.7. There were improvements across the indicators of domestic sales, overseas sales, investment and cashflow, and employment in both the service sector and manufacturing. All were still, however, way short of the levels prior to the Coronavirus crisis and were all still below 50. Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire

the patch with advice and guidance through this next phase of the crisis.” Steve Harcourt, of Prime Accountants Group, said: “The UK was officially in a recession following two consecutive quarters of negative growth in 2020 Q1 and Q2. The overall effect of COVID-19 on the UK economy resulted in around a quarter of GDP in 2020 Q2 being erased. “Economic indicators within the QES Q3 point to a recovery, buoyed by the release in business and economic activity, partly supported by pent-up consumer demand and growing confidence from the drop-off in COVID-19 cases. “This, combined with the additional economic policies announced in July, such as Eat Out to Help Out and the temporary cut in VAT for the hospitality and leisure sector, helped boost spending. “However, the ongoing Government support is going to lead to a budget deficit and ultimately some long-term fiscal tightening will be needed after the full recovery from this crisis. “There is still significant uncertainty over the pace and path of the recovery, especially in light of the growing number of cases which have led to another round of limited national restrictions, as well as the behaviour of the virus in the winter, degree of economic scarring and the outcome of the UK-EU trade negotiations. This is shown in the QES results for the region, as the overall economic outlook in the short term is still pessimistic, both in the service and manufacturing sectors.”

“As a Chamber, we will continue to feedback to Government where help is needed but will also continue to support the businesses across the patch with advice and guidance through this next phase of the crisis.”

QES – Q3, 2020 Economic Outlook:

Overseas Sales:

Investment & Cashflow:

• Overall 42.6, up from 29.2. • Service Sector 42.4, up from 28.8. • Manufacturing Sector 43.2, up from 30.6.

• Service Sector 32.1, up from 17.5

• Service Sector 33.3, up from 25.6 • Manufacturing Sector 45.5, up from 30.2

Domestic Sales: • Service Sector 34.9, up from 14.0 • Manufacturing Sector 42.2, up from 20.5


Chamber of Commerce, said: “Confidence has improved but only relatively speaking. We are comparing this quarter with Q2 when the economy was, largely, in hibernation. “Businesses were, to a considerable degree, in a state of shock and it’s no surprise that almost every single economic indicator dropped to a record low. “The third quarter has seen many areas of the economy beginning to tentatively reopen and that has generated something of a recovery in confidence but the overall economic outlook is still short of where we were prior to the crisis. “It’s also very difficult to gauge right now if the confidence that businesses are experiencing is thanks to the huge levels of Government intervention. “We must also acknowledge that many businesses remain unable to operate, especially those in the leisure and events sector which have been affected by the most recent Government restrictions. “So, the final quarter of 2020 is going to remain challenging with the ongoing Coronavirus crisis coupled with the looming end to the Brexit transition. “It’s vitally important that Government keeps its options open in terms of stimulating the economy and remains agile enough to support businesses as the crisis continues to evolve. “As a Chamber, we will continue to feedback to Government where help is needed but will also continue to support the businesses across

Louise Bennett with Steve Harcourt

• Manufacturing Sector 38.8, up from 23.9

Employment: • Service Sector 49.2, up from 40.8 • Manufacturing Sector 38.6, up from 33.3

Business Confidence: • Service Sector 54.4, up from 38.3 • Manufacturing Sector 47.7, up from 39.0 www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business


Sponsored Column

Former Minister backs Midlands manufacturing A former Minister has called on the Government to back Midlands manufacturing as the region looks to recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

“These are highly skilled jobs, which we will need to build our economic recovery in the short, medium and long term.

Margot James, the former MP for Stourbridge and Minister of State for Digital and Creative Industries, was speaking in her role as Executive Chair of WMG, at the University of Warwick, on the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s latest #PolicyHour call.

“Another way the Government could support the sector would be to honour its election manifesto promise to build a Gigafactory, and Coventry and Warwickshire, the home of British automotive innovation, would be the natural location

Margot, who was raised in Coventry, said manufacturers needed more support in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and the Government could stimulate both the sector and the region by securing crucial research and development jobs and delivering on its manifesto pledge to build a Gigafactory, saying that Coventry and Warwickshire would be a natural location for the investment. The factory, which would make batteries for electric vehicles, would add to the region’s pull as a centre for automotive excellence. She said said: “Manufacturing needs more backing. We are working with the West Midlands mayor, Andy Street, to ask Government to support R&D jobs in manufacturing. If we can protect those jobs, we are protecting the future of a very important industry for the UK and for this region. “Sales are slowly recovering but investment hasn’t recovered and that is where Government support is vitally needed.

“Everyone in the region is behind this bid. The Mayor, the City Council and relevant District Council can get all of the planning in place and ensure that there is the necessary energy supply available. “If we can get this factory built here it would make this area an even more attractive place for investment in the automotive sector in the future. It’s not about simply protecting what we have, it’s about looking to the future.” Sean Rose, policy officer at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said it had been a very informative call. He said: “There is no doubt that the manufacturing

sector needs more support in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We were delighted to welcome Margot James onto the call, who spoke of her admiration for the Chamber in work it does on behalf of business in the region. “Not only was it a chance for her to raise this issue, we connected Margot James with some local businesses that proved to be extremely useful for all concerned. “It’s a further example of just how important our #PolicyHour calls have been over the past few months in keeping businesses across the region connected with decision makers.”

“Everyone in the region is behind this bid. The Mayor, the City Council and relevant District Council can get all of the planning in place and ensure that there is the necessary energy supply available.”

NCD Equipment appointed to Mecalac dealer network

Mecalac Construction Equipment UK has appointed NCD Equipment to its national dealer network. From its site in Battlesbridge, NCD will be responsible for retailing Mecalac’s highly-acclaimed MWR, MCR and 15MC range of excavators across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. Established in 2014, NCD originally specialised in tree shears, but has rapidly grown and now sells a wide variety of equipment for professionals


operating across the forestry, agriculture and utility industries. The business provides customers with market-leading products, supported with exceptional customer service and personal support.

With extensive first-hand experience working as a contractor, Nick Dinsdale, founder and MD of NCD Equipment, understands the crucial role that quality equipment can play in both safety and profitability.

Paul Macpherson, commercial director at Mecalac Construction Equipment UK, said: “We are thrilled to be appointing NCD Equipment as a specialist distributor of Mecalac excavators. Engineered for rugged and compact performance, our excavators hold a unique place in the market.

He said: “Working with Mecalac has given our customers access to excavators from a world leader in compact equipment. With the brand gaining significant traction in the UK, we look forward to playing a key role in further driving market share.”

“Providing UK professionals with state-of-the-art equipment is only made possible through the efforts of our dedicated dealer network. Now, with the addition of Nick and the NCD team, customers throughout East Anglia, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire have ready access to Mecalac excavators alongside trusted servicing and support.”

NCD Equipment will retail Mecalac’s three unique excavator portfolios: the MCR crawler skid excavators, MWR wheeled excavators and the 15MC compact crawler excavator. Designed to maximise operator performance and efficiency, their next-generation design and class-leading performance are renowned worldwide.

“Our turnover has increased by 54%, gross profit by 92%, and our net profit has increased by 51% and we’ve increased staff numbers by 33%. AND I’ve got my personal life back!” These are the words of one of my clients; Dean Rochester of Target Maintenance GB Ltd who recently gave a case study interview. Like many other business owners, he was initially “dead against” business coaching. But following the exceptional results we’ve had working together, he’s completely changed his tune! “Don’t be afraid to open up your mind to giving coaching a go. I’m completely supportive of it now, so give it a go” Social proof is great, but as they say, the proof is in the pudding, so I’m offering you a free taste of dessert! So here is my final special offer to members of C&W Chamber: I’m giving two lucky people the chance to have one intensive day of working with me “on your business” without risking ANY of their hard-earned cash. Usual cost is £1,495 + VAT, but if you decide you didn’t get fantastic value from working with me, it will cost you absolutely nothing. 100% of your money back – no questions asked. To qualify for this offer you must be a business owner with £1M+ turnover who wants more profit, more personal freedom, or both. Simply Email davidlee@actioncoach.com for an information pack on what you can expect to achieve on the day and a copy of the video Case Study featuring Dean Rochester. Remember, either you’ll come away from the day delighted or your money back, 100% Guaranteed.

David Lee ActionCOACH 07970566390 davidlee@actioncoach.com www.linkedin.com/in/davidleeac/ www.actioncoach.co.uk/davidlee

For further information visit www.mecalac.com/en


Chamber Training

Bespoke Training Solutions with Chamber Training Shown is the Negri Bossi team outside the UK premises in Rugby, Warwickshire. Photo taken before social distancing was in place.

A Competitive Edge in Training

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Training is working in partnership with a well-established manufacturer of injection moulding machines, to provide tailored sales training to improve productivity across its workforce. Established in 1947, Negri Bossi has a wide range of high-performance machines ranging from 50 to 7,000 tonnes. With its headquarters based in Italy and a strong UK and Ireland presence, the company supplies worldwide to France, Spain, Mexico and the Czech Republic. Having already worked closely with Chamber Training in 2018, the company approached the team at Chamber Training for additional support in the key business area of sales. As one of the largest providers of training and development in Coventry and Warwickshire, Chamber Training was only too pleased to be of assistance. Commenting on the training, Alan Dodds, General Manager at Negri Bossi said: “We are recognising the effects of Covid-19 across the manufacturing industry worldwide. We turned to Chamber Training for guidance and recommendations on specific sales and training opportunities to gain a competitive edge. During the pandemic, our Italian headquarters in Milan diversified our product range to include the production of masks, glass and facial shields to counter the spread of the virus. We now need to revisit our sales training techniques to maximise opportunities moving forward. “The bespoke training provided by Chamber Training has been invaluable and we have already seen an improvement in sales reports and analyses. Over the last couple of months there has certainly been a marked increase in business activity and we remain strong across various sectors including garden care, the domestic market, automotive and medical.” Commenting on the training provided, Rob McDonald, Management Trainer at Chamber Training said: “We explored a range of areas, including professional questioning techniques and establishing a profitable relationship with customers. This has helped to identify new pipelines and we are looking at future opportunities for the team.” Chamber Training’s bespoke training solutions are available from the main suite of seminars. Alternatively, the team can research and design training and development programmes to help your workforce meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. Prior to course delivery, one of our Business Advisers and Trainers will discuss your individual requirements and tailor a programme to meet specific business needs.

Communicating Assertively Complaint Handling Professional Telephone Techniques Professional Email Writing Managing Change Successfully Microsoft Excel - Intermediate to Advanced Microsoft Excel - Basic to Intermediate Time Management Managing Change Successfully Customer Service Essentials Complaint Handling

First Aid at Work (HSE Recommended) Professional Telephone Techniques Professional Email Writing Key Account Management Microsoft Excel - Basic to Intermediate

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Training offers an extensive range of bespoke training, specifically designed for businesses and their individual training needs. This increasingly popular approach to training presents businesses with excellent cost-effective solutions. As one of the largest providers of training and development in Coventry & Warwickshire, Chamber Training has a long history in supporting businesses, working in partnership to create a workforce to meet the needs of customers and the demands of today’s business environment. Commenting on the benefits of tailored and bespoke learning, Tracy Sawrey, a Management Trainer at Chamber Training said:

“Our bespoke training solutions are available face-to-face in your business, even during these difficult times. We can work safely in partnership, with our employers, in a way that suits the needs of the business in the current climate. We are also offering remote bespoke training on MS Teams to those where access is not possible at their business location. “Training solutions can be selected from our main

suite of seminars including: Time Management; Managing Change; Project Management; Effective Sales and Communication; Business Planning and Appraising People and Performance. Alternatively we can research and design training programmes tailored specifically for an employer. “As a delivery partner of Coventry & Warwickshire Skills4Growth, eligible

businesses are able to access Tracy Sawrey, a Management Trainer at Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Training

50% funding towards both accredited and non-accredited courses. We urge SMEs to get in touch with us to find out if the funding applies.”

To discuss how bespoke training could benefit your business or to determine if your business is eligible for 50% ESF funding, please contact Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training’s Business Development Team on 024 7623 1122 or enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk

Further Apprenticeship success for Chamber Training Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Training is celebrating another apprenticeship success with accountancy firm, Burgis & Bullock. Trainee tax specialist Kingsley Rhule has completed his Higher Apprenticeship (level 4) despite the challenges brought on by Covid-19. Kingsley is a real advocate for apprenticeships as he joined Chamber Training to study foundation accountancy at level 2 (AAT) in July 2016 successfully progressing through to level 4. As the leading provider of apprenticeships and business to business training courses in Coventry & Warwickshire, Chamber Training has a strong track record of supporting businesses to

design and deliver a plan of learning that meets their specific requirements. Apprenticeships are designed around the needs of employers and enable businesses to grow their own talent and become more productive. Commenting on Kingsley’s success Sean Farnell, Partner at Burgis & Bullock, said: “Since joining our personal tax team over four years ago, Kingsley’s confidence and knowledge have developed significantly. We are sure he will continue to develop into an excellent tax professional. “We have worked closely with Chamber Training for many years in order to shape the future of our trainees. Recruiting the right apprentices is vital in maintaining the right level

of skills we need to remain competitive. Chamber Training’s apprenticeship programme continues to offer our trainees the platform to gain a real hands-on experience, whilst enhancing their skills and gaining qualifications.” Nicky Cheshire, Account Manager at Chamber Training remarked: “We are delighted to have been able to support Kingsley in his training and development. We are currently working with a wide range of accountancy firms to provide a structured pathway to training and developing qualified accountants. Apprenticeships offer an

exciting route to attract new talent and are a real investment for the future. “We would urge employers to take advantage of additional Government incentive payments for supporting businesses to create new jobs and apprenticeships. Until 31 January 2021, employers can access £3,000 for each new apprentice aged 16-18 recruited into a new job, £2,000 for 19-24 year olds and £1,500 for those aged 25 and over. “So, if you are looking to recruit an apprentice or train new staff, it is worth taking advantage of the grants whilst they are still available.”

For further information about Chamber Training’s Apprenticeship Programme, call 024 7623 1122 or enquiries@cw-chambertraining.co.uk

Chamber Member Price + VAT

Non-Member Price + VAT



£110 £110 £110 £110 £220 £130 £130 £220 £220 £110 £110 £220 £110 £110 £110 £130

£135 £135 £135 £135 £245 £160 £160 £245 £245 £135 £135 £245 £135 £135 £135 £160

Half Day - AM Half Day - PM Half Day - AM Half Day - PM 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day 1 Day Half Day - AM Half Day - PM 3 Days Half Day - AM Half Day - AM Half Day - PM 1 Day

03-Nov 03-Nov 10-Nov 10-Nov 17-Nov 18-Nov



02-Dec 15-Dec 12-Jan 19-Jan 19-Jan 22 & 29 Jan & 5 Feb 26-Jan 26-Jan 27-Jan 27-Jan

Prices subject to VAT. Please note: Chamber Training courses will be delivered remotely between November 2020 and January 2021 (unless otherwise advised)



Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Peer Networks Programme

Development programme launched for 18 to 30-year-olds to learn from their peers Young leaders in tourism, hospitality & leisure and professional services in Coventry and Warwickshire are set to benefit from a free development programme. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has been chosen as one of the delivery partners for the Peer Networks programme which is being funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and managed locally by the CWLEP Growth Hub. The Chamber, through its training division Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training (CWCT), will deliver the programme online to 18 to 30-year-olds within either the tourism, hospitality & leisure or professional services sectors. The aim is to encourage participants to collaborate, work through common business issues and strengthen business performance by completing the programme. It has also been

devised to support young leaders to develop their skills, resilience, implement practical solutions and develop a trusted support network of peers – particularly during the current crisis.

Commerce, said: “It has been an extremely difficult period for everyone in business but especially those aspiring young leaders who will have missed out on so much.

The interactive, online sessions are targeted at young people who are working within a business or organisation already and will be delivered in six, three-hour sessions. They will be based on themes, such as leading and managing change; driving performance and productivity; managing stress and building resilience; having difficult conversations remotely; and effective team working at a distance.

“We know that this age group has disproportionately been affected by Covid-19, particularly in the sectors we are seeking to support. Undoubtedly, the next six months will continue to present challenges – the opportunities to interact with colleagues and peers, both formally and informally, will be more limited and we will need to continue to adapt our way of working.

It will begin in November 2020 and run through to March 2021. Keely Hancox, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of

“This programme is seeking to support our aspiring young leaders. It will be very much led by the participants themselves,

but will be focussed around several themes in order for participants to take ideas and new approaches back into the business they work for. “There is strong evidence that this kind of peer network training really works, problem solving and working through solutions with your peers, led by an experienced facilitator can generate some fantastic results, as well as enabling participants to build a trusted network of peers that they can call on for years to come. “We’re calling on aspiring leaders to get in touch with us to help them develop their skills or for businesses to recognise that they have this kind of person within their company to put them forward for this programme.” • Pictures taken prior to March 2020

“There is strong evidence that this kind of peer network training really works, problem solving and working through solutions with your peers, led by an experienced facilitator can generate some fantastic results, as well as enabling participants to build a trusted network of peers that they can call on for years to come. For more information on the programme, go to https://cw-chamber.co.uk/business-support/peer-networks/ www.cw-chamber.co.uk



Law firm announces expansion of its membership Growing law firm Shakespeare Martineau has announced several new additions to its membership. The firm has made several new appointments and promotions within the membership, including managing director of the life and business unit, Victoria Tester, who stepped away from practising law in 2012 when she moved into the executive office for the firm. Senior legal professionals Jayne Gardner, Neil Gosling and Louise Ingram move into a new level of membership after being promoted from preferred to ordinary members and represent the firm’s debt recovery, residential and commercial development teams. Town planner Brian Mullin and head of managed legal services Emma Porter have also been promoted to ordinary member status.

MTC installs state-of-theart waterjet guided laser The Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre has made a six-figure investment in its industryleading laser processing capability, with the installation of a Synova LCS305 waterjet guided laser. The five-axis system, the only one currently in operation in the UK, allows engineers to cut, drill or machine complex shapes without the drawbacks associated with traditional laser machining such as heat build-up or tapers. It can machine a range of materials including ceramics, hard-to-machine alloys and composites among others. Bethan Smith, technology manager at the MTC, said the waterjet guided laser would allow the MTC to develop and use the latest technology to support industries across the UK with their manufacturing challenges. She said: “For example, we will be helping to develop production solutions for the machining of lightweight, high performance, hard-to-machine

Gary Stephens, an expert in town planning, becomes the firm’s newest salaried partner following an internal promotion. CEO Sarah Walker-Smith said: “I’d like to first of all congratulate those who have been promoted and thank the entire membership for their passion and commitment to our growth ambitions and their dedication to excellent client service. “At Shakespeare Martineau the most important thing for us is to ensure the right person is in the right role. We aspire to be a leading example in the sector by adopting a more inclusive mindset, opening the opportunity for inclusion in the membership to all of our people.” For more information visit www.shma.co.uk


The Synova waterjet guided laser

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers. For further information visit www.the-mtc.org

Lockdown success for IT services firm

Those promoted to preferred member or joining the multidisciplinary firm’s membership for the first time include family law specialist Helen Bowns, corporate lawyer Emma Bryant, property disputes specialist James Fownes, social housing expert Rachel Gwynne and private client lawyer Hannah Tait. New partners joining the firm include Tom Ansell taking the role of team leader for residential conveyancing; Daniel Jennings, a commercial litigation specialist who will be leading the litigation team in Leicester; and Amal Kaur, a dualqualified English and Scots law real estate lawyer.

materials that will be crucial in helping manufacturing businesses hit the UK’s upcoming net zero targets. As Synova is a tier two member of the MTC, we also look forward to working with the company to bring the latest machine developments and innovations for this technology to our customers.” Bernold Richerzhagen, chief executive at Synova, said: “We are excited about the partnership with the MTC which is known to be the innovation and technology hub for the manufacturing industry in the UK. We look forward to participating in joint research projects, learning about new industrial applications and benefiting from the organisation’s vast know-how and network. “Together with our expertise in wet laser machining, we believe we can be a competent partner for the MTC to advance manufacturing solutions for aeronautics and other sectors among others on super-alloys, ceramics and CMC.”

Coventry-based managed IT services firm Syscomm has reported success during the UK lockdown, with high employee retention rates, no pay cuts for its 20 staff and new clients coming on board. The company is also well positioned for future growth,

having secured a place on a major government procurement framework. As a managed IT services firm that has been providing high-end network solutions to UK businesses for decades, Syscomm cites having a healthy workbook before lockdown, as well as recording its most successful year to date in 2019, as the main reasons it has been able to navigate lockdown with minimal disruption. It means the company, which celebrated its 35th anniversary this year, looks to the future with confidence and stability. The company has also secured a spot on the GCloud 12 government

procurement platform. From October, any UK public sector organisation, including agencies and arm’s length bodies, can now benefit from Syscomm’s network and cloud expertise, using the government’s digital marketplace. This achievement is testimony to Syscomm’s reputation as a trusted provider of quality network solutions that connect clouds, applications, users, staff, customers, multiple types of devices and their data. Chris Tyler, managing director of Syscomm, said: “I am pleased to report that we have come through this period unscathed. We have retained all staff during this

period and have been actively recruiting throughout the past six months. “As we are coming out of the lockdown, we can now focus on the future with confidence and stability. To be appointed onto the GCloud procurement framework is also fantastic news and is thanks to Syscomm’s team of skilled IT professionals who deliver for our clients day in, day out. Being accepted onto the GCloud makes it easier for us to work with our public sector customers in delivering modern network infrastructure solutions tailored to the specific needs of these professionals.” For more information visit www.syscomm.co.uk

The Chace Hotel completes major rebrand The Chace Hotel has changed its name to Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry. The new boutique Laura Ashley Hotel underwent a thorough refurbishment which brought it in line with Laura Ashley brand standards and showcased the British brand’s signature style and fabrics. Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry will be only the second Laura Ashley branded hotel. The portfolio also includes The Belsfield Hotel, Windermere, and is soon to include Burnham Beeches Hotel in Buckinghamshire. The hotel is already home to the Laura Ashley The Tea Room, which opened in October 2018.

Laura Ashley Hotel The Iliffe, Coventry is named after the family the property was constructed for in the late 1890s: Dr Charles Webb Iliffe, a well-respected figure in the local medical community, and his wife, a young debutante by the name of Mary Ann Soden. The hotel’s 17 bedrooms have been redesigned with Laura Ashley Glenmore chairs in marine velvet, statement lighting and Laura Ashley constellation champagne and gold Constance mirrors. Kay Cullen, commercial designer for Laura Ashley, said: “I was charmed by the beautiful building which was once a grand manor house of late Victorian origin.

The beautiful sweeping staircase takes you on a journey through the owner’s past with a portrait of the glamorous lady Mary Ann Soden as a debutante in the mid-1800s. “To pay homage to the decadence that this image portrays, I decided to bring back a sense of the past and to embrace the beautiful detail within this magnificent old building.”


Coventry & Warwickshire in business


New portal helps firms chase outstanding debt Askews Legal has announced the launch of its new bespoke debt recovery portal service specifically tailored to the needs of clients that are owed money. The Debt Claims Portal will enable Askews’ clients to pursue their debts through a firm of solicitors but without uncertain or high costs. Being fully automated for simplicity of use, the portal will offer a unique debt recovery service like no other on a fixed fee basis dependent on the level of service requested.

Clients register their details online, provide details of their debt and request the level of service required – and the Debt Claims Portal will do the rest. The user-friendly system, along with handy tips and guides, will provide the information necessary in respect of each procedure and process involved. As registered users, clients will be able to simply access and send a “Late Payment Demand” or a “Letter Before Action” from as little as £2 plus VAT pre-letter or, if the debt remains unpaid, they can

use the portal to issue a money claim for the recovery of the debt. Pritpal Chahal, Practice Manager, said: “We are really pleased to offer this new service to our existing and new clients. The current economic climate and coronavirus pandemic has affected companies big and small nationally. “Cashflow is critical to the survival of any business and this has never been more relevant in today’s climate. Our clients can add the Debt

Portal to their preferred debt solutions provider to help their businesses back onto their financial feet. “Our clients and registered Debt Portal users can have peace of mind knowing that their matters are in safe hands. “As well as a wealth of experience in litigation and debt management, the Debt Claims experts can offer practical and sensible advice on personal and corporate recovery and insolvency, regardless of the size of the business and/or debt.”

HR Genie stops firms bottling up employment issues A Coventry law firm has launched an innovative new mobile-friendly HR tool in response to the challenges being faced by businesses across the region during the coronavirus crisis – and beyond.

Seal of approval from British Mensa

Askews Legal, a strategic partner of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, is making the HR Genie free to all of its Ask HR clients to support them through the continued uncertainty.

When Warwick Conferences re-opened its doors following the lockdown period, one of the first companies to return was British Mensa. The high IQ society not only held its first post-lockdown board meeting in the COVID-secure facilities, but also hosted its first ever virtual annual general meeting (AGM) for its 18,000 members.

HR Genie is an innovative employee database which, at the touch of a button, means businesses can access employees’ personnel files to include employment contracts, holiday and absence records, expense claims and other records.

The lockdown period allowed Warwick Conferences to overhaul its services, launching both hybrid meeting spaces and virtual conferencing in August. With government guidelines ever-changing, its team ensured its spaces met strict policies to deliver a safe environment for visitors and staff.

One of the first teams to experience the new-look facilities was British Mensa. A long-established client, British Mensa invited its board of directors to take part in a creative brainstorm, offering the choice of meeting in person or joining remotely. John Stevenage, CEO of British Mensa, said: “During the lockdown period, we had a number of online calls to discuss future plans, but we all missed the face-to-face experience. “We’d been coming to Warwick Conferences for a number of years and were informed of the new-look facilities. Like anyone meeting for the first time after lockdown, there was some apprehension about returning to a face-to-face setting. However, as soon as we walked through

the doors at Warwick Conferences, we all felt very safe.” Also utilising the on-site overnight accommodation, British Mensa was so impressed that it decided to arrange more regional meetings using the facilities at Warwick Conferences. John added: “We could see how beneficial face-to-face team meetings were and want to ensure our regional offices can experience the same. The team at Warwick Conferences has clearly worked hard to ensure it is a welcome and safe environment. For me, it was great to be back and we are already looking forward to future plans to meet.” For more information visit www.warwickconferences.com/ welcometowarwick.

New scheme launched to tackle homelessness Warwickshire County Council and key partners have formed a Homelessness Strategic Board in a bid to prevent homelessness across the county. Other partners in the initiative include North Warwickshire Borough Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Rugby Borough Council, Warwick District Council, Stratford on Avon District Council, Warwickshire Police, Probation and the NHS. The partners will work to the principles of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, which introduced fundamental changes to how local authorities assess and assist homeless applicants. The intention of the act is to put a greater focus on prevention.

In line with the working objectives of the act, the Homelessness Strategic Board and its partners will look to incorporate five overarching, strategic priorities, which include: • to reduce the inequalities and improve the health of people at risk of homelessness, homeless or sleeping rough in Warwickshire • to enhance and improve services that prevent homelessness among young people • to prevent domestic abuse and the homelessness that results from it wherever possible • to deliver better-focused housing and related support services for those at risk of homelessness on leaving prison

• to ensure that a wide range of appropriate services are available to support those at risk of homelessness due to financial difficulties The Homelessness Strategic Board is seeking views on the overarching priorities and recommendations within the draft strategy. We’re interested in hearing from a wide range of partners, including members of the public, statutory partners and representatives from the community and voluntary sector. To give your views on the draft strategy, please visit Ask Warwickshire and search for Draft Warwickshire Homelessness Strategy (www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ask) The Homelessness Strategic Board is aiming to publish the final strategy in Spring 2021.

The Leadership Coaches turns one! Here at The Leadership Coaches we reflect on a momentous year as we celebrate our first birthday. Over the last year we have received a tremendous amount of support from a wealth of people who we would like to thank. Firstly, we would like to thank our incredible team of leadership coaches. Without a dedicated team, we would not have the ability to offer the leadership coaching services that we do, nor would we have the opportunity to work with incredible clients and support people from all walks of life through their leadership journey.


Secondly, we would like to say a huge thank you to Hazel Pilling and her team at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce for inviting director of coaching, Zoe Lewis, to host a workshop for the members earlier in the year. We thoroughly enjoyed hosting the workshop and hope that we can share our expertise in a similar way as we enter our second year of business. We would also like to say a special thank you to Trevor Hoyle, Kosta Christofi, Dan Reed, Paul Lomas, Nadira Hussain, Sophie Metcalf, Neil Morrison and Vicky Waters. Over the last year we have interviewed these admirable leaders who all work for organisations across the country.

Each has shared their leadership experience, informing us how they have dealt with unprecedented challenges and changes that we, as a world, have faced and offered their advice for other leaders. Finally, we would like to thank you. Thank you for reading this and celebrating our first year of business with us. While we have faced many ups and downs this year, we can only hope that our second year of business will be as full of support as our first has been. We look forward to seeing what the next year brings for us and continuing to helping others.

The shared calendar enables firms to know of their employees’ whereabouts at any given time. It also sets reminders for key dates such as expiry of probation periods, work permits or training certificates. In addition, the tool gives notifications if any member of staff is earning below national minimum wage, especially when they have reached a new age threshold that should see their wages increased. As employers get to grips with managing remote workforces and agile working across their operations, having quick, easy access to a centralised system could save time and resource when it comes to all HR-related matters. Lianne Payne, head of employment and senior associate solicitor at Askews Legal, said: “Every small business owner faces challenges, but the added burden of HR in the midst of a pandemic is daunting, time-consuming and enough to push any business owner to the brink. “As well as HR Genie, Askews Legal offers Ask HR, a fixed-fee employment law retainer scheme. At a time when redundancies are rife, lay-off and short-time working is seeing a resurgence and there is a substantial increase in flexible working requests, it is vital for employers to ensure that they do not fall foul of best practice and legislative requirements.”



Budgeting Time for the Budget

Due to the unprecedented events of 2020 the autumn budget was cancelled and the next budget statement is now expected sometime in early 2021. However, as many of us follow the proverb ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst’ no doubt a great amount of planning is currently underway in light of much anticipated future tax grabs.

Due to the sudden and unexpected expenditure of government funds on supporting businesses and employees in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is now widely anticipated that measures will have to be taken in the next budget to recoup funds and refill Government’s dwindling coffers. A notable area considered likely for tax review are capital gains tax rates, with suggestions that both changes to rates and allowances are very much on the Chancellor’s radar. Coupled with the March 2020 reduction in entrepreneur’s relief (lifetime allowance reduced from £10m to £1m), now known as, business asset disposal relief, there is the potential for some business owners’ long term planning to be significantly impacted by both the recent, and imminent, anticipated, tax changes. Anybody acting in an advisory role will no doubt have been asked by clients, ‘what changes do you think they’ll make?’ and/or ‘should I act now or wait?’ to which all of us can only hazard a guess as to what the right answer might be. However, opinion seems undivided as to one thing – “the only way is up” for CGT rates.

What is important now is to seek early advice on your options and plan accordingly. That way you may determine what can and can’t be achieved prior to the next budget and prepare the groundwork to ensure you can best weather any storms ahead. Here at BRI we deal with many solvent liquidations which enable shareholders to achieve their planned outcomes in both a compliant and efficient manner.

If you or your clients are currently seeking a sale of a business and wish to have matters tied up as soon as possible thereafter please call now and we will be happy to discuss how we and a solvent liquidation may assist. At BRI we will always assist you by providing the right advice, first time every time, regardless of the fee outcome to us.

“What is important now is to seek early advice on your options and plan accordingly. That way you may determine what can and can’t be achieved prior to the next budget and prepare the groundwork to ensure you can best weather any storms ahead.” For an initial discussion please contact John Rimmer or any member of the BRI Business Recovery and Insolvency management team on 02476 226839 or email jrimmer@briuk.co.uk

Gallagher announces new European headquarters Don’t know where to turn? We’ll give you our…


Whatever your circumstances, trust BRI to help you get your business back on track.

Our services:

From business recovery to CVAs, administration, debt advice and more, our highly-qualified insolvency experts are dedicated to giving you the best advice.

• Corporate Insolvency

• Restructuring • Personal Insolvency

Whatever your business financial concerns, talk to BRI – we can help you on your way to a healthier future.


Call now on 02476 226839 Kings Chambers, Queens Road, Coventry, CV1 3EH



Security manufacturer, Gallagher, has announced the development of their new European headquarters in Warwick, United Kingdom. The 1,500 square meter (16,145 sq. ft) office, with onsite café, will allow Gallagher to host prospective clients, hold events, and support Channel Partners and customers with meeting, conference, and training facilities. The development also includes a 670 sqm (7,211 sq. ft) warehouse, with land available for future expansions. “We’re very excited to announce this new facility for our UK and Europe operations,” says Richard Huison, Regional Manager for the UK, and Europe. “We’ve experienced rapid growth over recent years and have fast outgrown our current premises. This new facility will enable us to showcase our exceptional security solutions while providing outstanding support for our Channel Partners and customers.”

Gallagher has invested in the development of solutions that comply with UK access control, perimeter intrusion detection, cybersecurity, and high security standards. Their UK-certified high security solutions build on Gallagher’s governmentapproved solutions for the U.S., Australian, and New Zealand markets. Mark Junge, Global General Manager for Security, says, “Gallagher aims to be the security solution of choice for countries in the Five Eyes alliance. With discussions already underway with several UK government agencies, this new facility provides the ideal base to support our extensive growth plans for the region.” Gallagher’s European headquarters will be in Tournament Fields business park. Development is set to begin in September 2020, with the team aiming to occupy the building in mid-2021.


Considering the cloud? Speak to the experts We work in partnership with you to provide industry leading cloud solutions that future-proof your organisation.


Profile: Atul Lakhani

Atul keeps the dream alive at the IXL Events Centre When Atul Lakhani eventually sealed the deal to take over the IXL Events Centre in Warwickshire, it should have been a dream come true. The venue is set within the stunning grounds of the Dallas Burston Polo Club in Southam and is one of the most prestigious wedding, conference and event centres anywhere in the UK. Atul’s other business, Sanjay Foods, previously ran the hugely successful catering operation at the venue until he got the call to fly to Jersey for a meeting with Dr Dallas Burston last year. “Our contract was due for renewal and I assumed we were going there to thrash out a new deal because it had been a win-win scenario for all of us up to that point,” he said. “He asked me if I had the appetite to take over the IXL Events Centre, which I did, and we struck a mutually beneficial deal.” The deal was signed in March of this year and, within less than four weeks of putting pen to paper, the


UK was placed into lockdown as the Coronavirus crisis gripped not just the nation, but the whole world. “We had the euphoria of finally doing the deal but we’ve been closed down ever since,” he sighed. Atul, however, is used to meeting challenges head on, dating back to when he was a six-year-old boy. His family was forced out of Uganda as part of the exodus that took place under the rule of Idi Amin in the 1970s. They headed to Leicester and his father, despite being a successful entrepreneur in East Africa, ended up selling the family jewellery to be able to open a restaurant in the city. “My father managed to get some money out of Uganda,” said Atul, “but he believed his handshake was a good enough bond in business. He found out the hard way that not everyone else operated like that and he lost a lot of money not long after we’d move to England. “He sold mum’s gold and started the restaurant and it went on to be successful but, as kids, we didn’t

see him as much as we had done in Uganda. He worked very long hours.” After finishing school, Atul headed off for Greenwich University to study Economics and Politics. He met his wife-to-be, Gina, and, after finishing their studies, lived in Surrey with Atul all set for a job in the City of London. But that was all short-lived as he answered an SOS call to go back to Leicester and help run the family business when his father fell ill. “I’d got no aspirations to join the family business but I felt that I should help out,” said Atul. “Dad owned a well-known establishment in the city. Hospitality was in my blood and it wasn’t that difficult to get back into it. I started working, started earning money and I got used to it. “Your priorities change. I subsequently got married to Gina, had kids, got a mortgage and that’s where the journey took me. “I worked with my father for about ten years. I helped to elevate the

restaurant to quite a prominent position. “Working with him was a challenge because I had certain ideas about how I thought things should be done and it’s not always easy to hear that if it’s your business. I understand where he was coming from now because when you run a business, it becomes your baby. “I trained myself when I was working for my father. I did an Advanced Food Hygiene course – it was £600 – but my father thought that was too much because there was a much cheaper option. “But I knew that, with the way things were going, systems had to be much more regimented and diligent so I paid for myself to go on the course. “I passed with flying colours and came top in Leicester. That news even made it into the Leicester Mercury – the story said something like ‘Atul knows his onions when it comes to food hygiene’! “Believe it or not, that was me putting my marker down for how I wanted to go.” www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Profile: Atul Lakhani By then, the desire to run a business his way was burning deep inside Atul, but it took a trip to freezing cold Canada on the eve of the new Millennium to help make up his mind. “I’d been really down and we decided to go away for the Millennium celebrations,” he recalled. “I was in Canada. It was minus 16. We were all freezing and stuck in snow storms. “But it was a good night and the penny dropped that I couldn’t do it anymore. The only problem was that I’d got three young kids and only five grand in the bank, as I had always lived well and savings were never at the forefront of my mind.” He launched Sanjay Foods – named after his son – as a catering business, which was tough at first as the company narrowly missed out on contracts and Atul considered pivoting into food manufacturing. Instead, he called upon a few of the contacts he’d made on the Food Hygiene course a few years previous and that eventually led to work with the likes of Leicester City Football Club and De Montfort Hall. Sanjay Foods quickly earned catering rights at over 160 venues nationally, including 30 in Central London. In 2014, the company became one of seven caterers operating at the IXL Events Centre. “I recall the first day I came in,” said Atul. “My jaw dropped immediately. I thought ‘wow!’ Dr Burston has created such an amazing venue but it’s one of those places where you drive by and you always wonder what’s behind the amazing gates. “Within six months of arriving as a caterer, we became the exclusive caterer. Major Richard Carney, the Director of Operations for Dallas Burston Polo Club, saw how we operated and he told his team that he wanted to work with only us. “When I got the news, I nearly fell off my chair. I was over the moon. Being more based in Leicestershire, we didn’t have that much exposure to the Warwickshire business scene but it was a lovely awakening. We met some fantastic people. People who wanted to engage with us. “Slowly but surely, we started to grow our business alongside the polo club. Within another five months, we were the exclusive caterers on everything.” It was the company’s out-and-out commitment to incredible customer service that led to Dr Burston being ready to offer Atul the option of taking over the IXL Events Centre and he believes that’s what sets any individual or business in the sector apart.

“I’ve travelled a lot,” he said. “It was America in the 1980s, Europe in the 1990s and after the Millennium, the Middle East has been a place I have visited a lot. It’s all about standards of service there and excellence comes as a pre-requisite. That’s what I want when you arrive here. “I remember being in the USA in the 80s and I was at a particular diner and the waitress there was phenomenal. She was a single mother with two kids and through the course of the meal we got to know her. We’d have tipped her, even if the food hadn’t been up to standard – she was that good. “It turned out she needed two jobs and she was only a waitress because of the tips she made. So, the quality of service meant everything to her. Excellent service will always be rewarded.” Right now, everything from businesses to wedding parties should be enjoying that supreme level of service at the multi-award winning IXL Events Centre but, with Government guidance constantly changing, there is very little the venue can do. “We haven’t been able to trade,” said Atul, “and, after the initial lockdown period, it’s basically been a series of confusing messages. “By now, we’d have a full focus on Christmas and we do some amazing festive events here! We’ve become a major player in that market – we’d got four nights fully booked by February, so you can see the direction of travel. “Gymshark was going to host their Christmas events here – so from that point of view it’s really difficult to accept. “We’re in the hands of the Government and have to follow the guidance but we’re in the events game and we are adaptable. If the rules changed and we had to put on an event this weekend, we’d do it. Despite having a capacity of 750 guests, the Government’s guidelines dictate we can only permit 15 guests for weddings and 30 guests for a corporate event. “This is so unfair and as a result, we will be damaged financially this year and perhaps 2021 – it would be impossible not to be – but this is a totally viable business once things return to anything like normal.” So, knowing what he knows now, would he have still taken the plunge and started out in business after that stormy night in Canada? “I was embarking on a journey that would take me through a lot of hardship and that meant I wouldn’t see my kids as much as I’d like. Was it worth it? When I am at the IXL I feel like it most certainly was.”

“It was the company’s out-and-out commitment to incredible customer service that led to Dr Burston being ready to offer Atul the option of taking over the IXL Events Centre and he believes that’s what sets any individual or business in the sector apart.” www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Atul Lakhani Born: Lives: Married: Hobbies: Children:

Uganda Leicester Yes, to Gina Sports Four

Favourite Book: Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela Favourite Film: The Shawshank Redemption Last Holiday: Dubai Gadget: iPad Pro Max 21 21

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Coventry & Warwickshire in business


New roles add up as accountancy firm looks to the future Kevin Johns, managing director of Prime Accountants, which has made a raft of new appointments despite COVID-19

An independent accountancy firm in the Midlands has shown its resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by making a raft of team appointments. Prime Accountants Group, which has offices in Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull, has shown an agile approach to navigating the effects of coronavirus throughout the year and is now looking to the future by strengthening its senior team. The appointments include head of tax advisory Claire Lea being promoted to the role of director at Prime, which this year has seen client approval ratings of more than 90%.

The appointment continues a rapid rise for the vastly experienced Claire, who joined the business as an associate tax director in October 2019, with 15 years of specialist tax experience. Claire said: “Having joined Prime last year, it has been clear to see how its flexible approach aids both clients and team members. “My specialist tax experience has helped broaden Prime’s in-house offering and I’ve been pleased to be able to support a number of clients, particularly those struggling during lockdown. “We have helped them to win tax relief claims at a time when cash is king, giving them much-needed breathing space and, in some cases, ensuring they continued to stay in business.” Other appointments made by Prime see Nick Ballard promoted to senior manager in the IT department, while Craig Drew has taken on the role of manager in the company’s audit and accounts team.

James Roe has also joined Prime from MHA MacIntyre Hudson as an audit and accounts manager. Prime managing director Kevin Johns said: “At Prime, we have always adopted a two-pronged approach of investing both in the business and in talented personnel to help us expand and excel in the service we offer to our clients. “We are continuously looking to improve and evolve and those goals are perfectly illustrated by these appointments.” For more information visit www.primeaccountants.co.uk

“My specialist tax experience has helped broaden Prime’s in-house offering and I’ve been pleased to be able to support a number of clients, particularly those struggling during lockdown.”

Houlton residents harvest apples for charity tipple Residents at Rugby’s newest neighbourhood, Houlton, have helped harvest this season’s apple haul to produce a special batch of apple juice and cider, to help raise money for local organisation Hillmorton Support Group.

Teaming up with local craft-cider company, Healy’s of Winwick, community members collected fruit from the development’s onsite orchard, which will be turned into bottles of the limited-edition charity tipple. The family-run company will then produce and bottle the wares at its brewery just a stone’s throw from the new neighbourhood, using a variety of Houlton’s apple tree varieties, including Malus Bramley’s Seedling, Worcester Pearmain and Gascoigne’s, Scarlet and other Heritage Species. Once fermented, the apple juice and cider will be available to buy from local eateries and farm shops, with all


proceeds going to support the local community group. Organised by one of Houlton’s first residents, Steve Gold, the project comes as a joint effort between residents and the Hillmorton Community Support Group, which was set-up as part of its community Covid-19 response. Going forward, the group hopes to continue to provide support for families throughout the area by delivering a host of Covid-secure activities and initiatives to the growing community. Galina Bardarska, from Urban&Civic at Houlton, said: “As a growing neighbourhood, we pride ourselves on our strong sense of community and it really was brilliant to see friends and family get involved with the apple picking initiative. “At Houlton, we’re home to acres of outdoor space, including wildlife habitats, ecology corridors, and of course a variety of trees and wildflower, and it’s been wonderful to see residents make the most of our natural space over recent months.” she added. Set within 1,200 acres of open space, the new neighbourhood will feature lush

green spaces, ponds, wildlife corridors and ecological habitats throughout the development as well as a network of over 8km cycleways and walkways. As well as extensive outdoor space, once complete Houlton will feature 6,200 new homes from the development’s four housebuilders Davidsons Homes, Redrow Homes, Morris Homes and Crest Nicholson plus three primary schools, a secondary school, a GP health centre, children’s nursery, convenience store and further amenities. The development, which is a joint venture between master developers Urban&Civic and Aviva Investors, is already home to an award-winning eatery The Tuning Fork, an adventure play park, the first of its three primary schools and community centre The Barn. A 1.5mile link road, Houlton Way, which connects the site to Rugby town centre opened in November 2019. For more information on Houlton visit www.houltonrugby.co.uk Find out more about Healy’s of Winwick at www.healysofwinwick.co.uk

Warwickshire hotel awarded COVID-safe status following refurbishment As the coronavirus pandemic continues, a Warwickshire hotel has achieved COVID-secure status having successfully completed a number of assessments confirming it has the necessary measures in place to keep guests safe. Billesley Manor Hotel and Spa in Stratford-Upon-Avon has received accreditation from four leading bodies including the AA, which has presented the hotel with its “COVID-19 Confident Award”, and the CSC, which has recognised the hotel as “A Safe Place to Work and Visit”. Furthermore, the hotel has been awarded TrustYou’s “Trusted Cleanliness Award” and VisitBritain’s “We’re Good To Go” tick, which is designed to help and encourage consumers to explore the country with confidence. Confirming that the establishment has the necessary risk assessment, safety measures and staff training in place to operate safely and in line with the UK’s government and public health guidelines, the hotel hopes guests will be reassured that they are in safe hands when visiting the premises, which have recently reopened following an extensive £5.6m lockdown refurbishment. Protocols currently being implemented by the hotel include regular cleaning and staff training, clear signage and a one-way system throughout the hotel, hand sanitising stations, social distancing arrangements in public spaces, and the use of face coverings. Stephen Fearnley, general manager at Billesley Manor, said: “With consumer confidence at an all-time low and the hospitality industry still suffering the impact of COVID-19, we know just how important these accreditations are and so we’re delighted to have achieved them. We’re excited to welcome guests again and for everyone to have the chance to enjoy the results of our refurbishment, but of course they must feel safe to do so. We hope that these awards will let people know that we are open, we are COVIDsecure, and that we are taking the situation seriously so that they feel welcome and able to visit.” For more information and to book a visit, please visit www.billesleymanor.com


Strategic Partner & Corporate Member



Welcome to our Chamber Member Directory

Business is done better together Dear Chamber of Commerce Member,

We’re delighted to bring you this special directory featuring our Chamber Strategic Partners and Corporate Member businesses from across Coventry & Warwickshire in this edition of C&W in Business magazine.

Chambers of Commerce in every area of the UK are unique in that we work with and represent every sector, and every size, of business and the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce aspires to be the leading voice of business in our region – on behalf of micro to multinational organisations, driving better economic conditions and new opportunities for our members and the wider business community.

Since 1903, our Chamber of Commerce has championed the best interests of business through recessions, depressions, World Wars and now COVID-19. We are a trusted, accredited, not-for-profit organisation always acting in the best interests of our members on a local, regional, national and international front.

We’re part of a UK network of over 70,000 member businesses across the UK representing upwards of 5m employees. Being a Member of your local Chamber of Commerce brings to life the powerful voice of that network and is about being connected to the business community in our region. We work tirelessly to give your business a voice to ensure your priorities are heard.

• to new opportunities, through our FinditinCW Procurement Portal & Marketplace

We look to connect our members: • to each other, through our extensive networking & events programme

• to funding & grants, through our Chamber Finance Finder

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chamber has been at the forefront of supporting businesses and our members have found the advice, guidance and regular updates from us invaluable in navigating uncertain times. Over 300 of our members sought professional and insured advice from our Chamber Protect advice lines to help them do the right thing. So to all of our members, thank you for supporting your local Chamber of Commerce – we’re always here to help. For anyone who is considering becoming a member, please get in touch – 024 7665 4321 or email info@cw-chamber.co.uk

• to information and guidance, through our team, website & communications • to HR & Legal support, through our Chamber Protect services

Kind Regards, Hazel Hazel Pilling Membership Manager Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

CHAMPIONING THE BEST INTERESTS OF COVENTRY & WARWICKSHIRE BUSINESSES SINCE 1903 Chambers of Commerce are modern, dynamic, and vibrant champions of business communities all across the UK. Together they are the voice of Britain’s civic businesses, helping companies, places, and people to achieve their full potential.


There are great benefits in Chamber membership. Find out what Chamber membership can do for you... Raise Your Profile • Chamber Events • C&W In Business Magazine • Online Members Directory

Protect Your Business

Membership that’s right for your business Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce offers membership to support businesses & individuals to thrive and grow in our region at every step of their journey.

Strategic Partnership

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Corporate Membership

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www.cw-chamber.co.uk/membership 26

• Legal Expenses Insurance & Advice Line • HR & Employment Law Support • Free Credit Checks

Grow Your Business • Chamber Inter-Trading/Tenders • Post your Vacancies • Grants & Funding Searches

Cost Saving • Chamber Training • Chamber Roadside Assistance

Healthcare For Your Business • Health at Hand Advice Line • Private Medical Insurance • Chamber Primary Health Plan

Representation & Keeping You Informed • Quarterly Economic Surveys • Bank of England Panels • Chamber Branch Meetings www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Strategic Partnership Together with our Strategic Partners, our work focuses on creating real change and influencing the agenda to ensure the region remains a great place to trade, locate and grow a business. Askews Legal LLP

Askews Legal LLP are solicitors in Coventry offering businesses and individuals affordable legal services with quality and reliability. Legal services that you can trust to assist you in your business and in everyday life. We will guide you through the legal justice system and explain the law in a language which is jargon free. We are a Lexcel accredited and leading Legal 500 firm offering a fresh approach to legal services.

Telephone: 024 7623 1000 Website: www.askewslegal.co

Birmingham Airport Birmingham Airport is a key economic accelerator for the Midlands region, providing the air connectivity vital for international trade, investment and employment, the growth of inbound tourism and access to outbound leisure destinations. The Airport’s net economic impact including catalytic effects in the region is estimated as £1.5 billion GVA (Gross Value Added) and 30,900 jobs.

Telephone: 0871 222 0072 Website: www.birminghamairport.co.uk

Burgis & Bullock It’s tough out there at the moment. Many businesses are facing the toughest time for years. It’s at times like these that you need a safe pair of hands to support you and guide you. Someone whose advice you can trust implicitly. Someone you can call, whatever the challenge – and know you’re going to get great advice and a plan of action that makes absolute sense. That’s Burgis & Bullock.

Telephone: 0345 177 5500 Website: www.burgisbullock.com

Calor Over the years, we’ve expanded quickly to meet the evolving needs and reach more customers; whilst keeping true to the heart of our mission - facilitating access to gas across Great Britain, even outside the mains gas grid. The team at Calor are proud to be celebrating our 85th anniversary in 2020. From the beginning of ‘Calor Gas’ in 1935, we have powered homes and businesses right across the UK for an incredible 85 years.

Telephone: 0345 177 5500 Website: www.calor.co.uk

CityFibre CityFibre is the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform. With existing networks in more than 60 towns and cities, CityFibre provides wholesale connectivity to multiple business and consumer service providers, local authorities and mobile operators. CityFibre’s £60m fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) project in Coventry will provide commercial and residential sites with access to gigabit-speed internet services and is expected to bring significant benefits to the city over the next 15 years.

Telephone: 0800 083 6160 Website: www.cityfibre.com www.cw-chamber.co.uk


Strategic Partnership Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation Ltd Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation Limited, based in the heart of Warwickshire, is a company which has been established for 16 years providing  Legal Services, Probate, Professional Executor and Trustee Services and is part of a group of companies providing advice in all aspects of Estate Planning and Asset Protection.

Telephone: 01926 514390 Website: www.countrywidegroup.co.uk

Coventry City Council Coventry is a dynamic city which welcomes people from all over the world. It is a place where over 300,000 people live and work, has an inspiring world famous history, a rich choice of cultural venues, two world renowned universities catering for students from home and abroad, alongside a number of multi-million pound investments that are dramatically changing the face of the city. The City Council is responsible for delivering the key services and inward investment activity to ensure the city continues to prosper.

Telephone: 08085 834333 Website: www.coventry.gov.uk/investincoventry

Coventry City of Culture Trust This is the city where movement began, from innovation in the transport industry to a history of activism. Our city has moved people for centuries. For a whole year, we will celebrate our city with events, music, dance, theatre, and large-scale spectacle. As well as these big celebrations, our city will show its unexpected side, with more intimate experience and ways to get involved across every ward of the city. And it’s not just Coventry. This celebration will see the entire region get involved and benefit from the opportunities that being City of Culture brings.

Telephone: 024 7699 8221 Website: www.coventry2021.co.uk

Coventry College At Coventry College, we understand that every business is different. This is why we will work in partnership with you to understand your business. Once we identify your skills gaps and business needs, we can build a bespoke, tailored programme for the role you need to fill. We have the tools and the people necessary to help your business prosper. With constant developments across all industries, it is important to continue to develop your workforce and ensure you are nurturing the skills needed to succeed and prosper.

Telephone: 024 7679 1700 Website: www.coventrycollege.ac.uk

Coventry University Coventry University is a forward-looking, modern university with a proud tradition as a provider of high quality education and a focus on applied research. Our city-centre campus is continually developing and evolving, and we have plans for further investment in it over the next few years. We are a major presence in Coventry, which contributes to the city’s friendly and vibrant atmosphere and also enables us to foster successful business partnerships. Through our links with leading edge businesses and organisations in the public and voluntary sectors, our students are able to access project and placement opportunities that enhance their employability on graduation.

Telephone: 024 7765 7688 Website: www.coventry.ac.uk



Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Strategic Partnership

Coventry University Enterprises Ltd Operating in a regional, national, European and international context, CUE supports the corporate aims and seeks to maximise the commercial potential of the University’s skills, expertise and resources. CUE focuses on innovation, design, high performance automotive engineering, health, environment and ICT as areas of expertise. Through this activity it has to date supported thousands of Small-to-Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) through specific projects and support programmes. More than 200 SMEs have been established with the support of CUE and many more have benefited from one-to-one involvement.

Telephone: 024 7623 6406 Website: www.cuebusinesssolutions.com

Envisage Group Envisage Group is an engineering service provider, focused on creating beautifully bespoke, perfectly engineered vehicles and products. At Envisage you’ll find a team of highly skilled and dedicated craftspeople that make our business truly extraordinary. We believe in creativity, craftsmanship, innovation and excellence and have a clear vision for the future – to be the world’s most successful bespoke engineering services company.

Telephone: 024 7771 4900 Website: www.envisagegroupltd.com

HORIBA MIRA Ltd HORIBA MIRA is a global provider of pioneering engineering, research and test services to the automotive, defence, aerospace and rail sectors. Working in close collaboration with vehicle manufacturers and suppliers around the world we provide comprehensive support. Our services range from individual product tests to turnkey engineering design, development and build programmes. With over 70 years’ experience in developing some of the world’s most iconic vehicles, our engineers utilise the latest test facilities and simulation tools to make vehicles and journeys safer, cleaner, more efficient and rewarding.

Telephone: 024 7635 5000 Website: www.horiba-mira.com

HSBC UK Bank plc HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations. We serve more than 40 million customers through our global businesses: Wealth and Personal Banking, Commercial Banking, and Global Banking & Markets. Our network covers 64 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and Latin America. We aim to be where the growth is, connecting customers to opportunities, enabling businesses to thrive and economies to prosper, and ultimately helping people to fulfil their hopes and realise their ambitions.

Telephone: 03456 040 626 Website: www.hsbc.co.uk

IXL Events Centre Limited The IXL Events Centre – one of the most prestigious conference & wedding venues set in a stunning 600 acre estate in beautiful Warwickshire countryside within the grounds of Dallas Burston Polo Club. Our award-winning venue offers stylish facilities for a range of sporting, social and business events. As host to prestigious polo tournaments, fabulous luxury weddings, impressive business events, live music and entertainment – it’s Warwickshire’s premiere events destination.

Telephone: 01926 695383 Website: www.ixleventscentre.com



Strategic Partnership Netmetix Ltd Digital Transformation is on the mind of almost every CIO and IT director and Netmetix is committed to offering our clients the very best that technology has to offer as they undergo this process. The status of IT within organisations has changed, it is no longer there to facilitate select business functions, but is a vital part of a business’s overall strategy. Netmetix help our clients make the most of cloud technologies and take advantage of the enormous business benefits they can deliver.

Telephone: 024 7640 8100 Website: www.netmetix.net

Nimbus Digital & Technology Innovations Ltd Nimbus is leading the way in focusing on providing collaborative, agile and adaptive digital and technological innovations that enable our customers to benefit from running their business and IT Services in the cloud. Based in Coventry, we have a wealth of experience in building and supporting bespoke solutions that have been carefully designed to work in partnership with our valued clients, to evolve and manage their businesses and IT services as they move forward into fully benefitting from cloud life – and we continue to be their trusted cloud partner of choice.

Telephone: 024 7615 8712 Website: www.nimbusdti.co.uk

PET-Xi Training Ltd PET-Xi is a high-energy training specialist whose multi-award winning teams work tirelessly to make a difference to people’s lives, firing up their minds with engaging and positive learning experiences designed to help school students to achieve their target grades, jobseekers to get back into employment or those in business to upskill and progress with their goals. Over the last 25 years we have helped over 150,000 people by delivering intensive, motivational and inspirational ­interventions that have a positive impact on learner progress from primary to GCSE and for adults, from basic to advanced skills. Each one is carefully structured to achieve optimal learning.

Telephone: 024 7642 0310 Website: www.pet-xi.co.uk

Prime Accountants Group At Prime, what we believe sets us apart from the competition is our approach to servicing our client base. Prime Accountants Group of Companies are in a unique position to provide our clients with a range of solutions ‘under one roof’ which is far greater than that provided by a traditional accountancy practice. We are always available to simplify the complex, cut through the jargon and provide accurate, honest advice to help our clients prosper over the long term.

Telephone: 024 7651 8555 Website: www.primeaccountants.co.uk

Serco Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) is a programme developed to upskill employees within small and medium-sized businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire. We provide recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses to enhance your employees’ skills, increase the competitiveness of your business and boost the local economy. SSW is co-financed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the European Social Fund. Skills Support for the Workforce is all about progress. We can help you progress your career, education and business.





Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Strategic Partnership

The Manufacturing Technology Centre Ltd The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) was established in 2010 as an independent Research & Technology Organisation (RTO) with the objective of bridging the gap between academia and industry – often referred  to as ‘the valley of death’. In December 2011, there were 16 industrial members, 44 staff and just a few key pieces of equipment in the ‘workshop’. Over the following years the MTC’s rapid growth has seen the expansion of our campus with the construction of three more facilities, including the opening of the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre and the National Centre for Additive Manufacturing.

Telephone: 024 7670 1600 Website: www.the-mtc.org

University of Warwick We’re a world-leading university with the highest academic and research standards. But we’re not letting the story end there. That’s because we’re a place of possibility. We’re always looking for new ways to make things happen. Whether you’re a dedicated student, an innovative lecturer or an ambitious company, Warwick provides a tireless yet supportive environment in which you can make an impact. And our students, alumni and staff are consistently making an impact - the kind that changes lives, whether close to home or on a global scale.

Telephone: 024 7652 3523 Website: www.warwick.ac.uk

Warwickshire County Council Warwickshire County Council want people to stay safe, and be healthy, independent and engaged with their communities. And we want a vibrant economy: an environment where businesses can thrive and everyone has access to jobs and training, and where there is a transport infrastructure that allows everyone to access these opportunities. Underpinning all this we want to address the long-term challenge of climate change.

Telephone: 01926 410410 Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk

WCG WCG is one of the largest training providers in the West Midlands with an enviable reputation for its excellent industry partnerships and its positive relationships with local, regional, national and international employers. The Business Development Team help identify the needs of businesses and know how to access a range of government funding, which will ensure that the training we provide is not only of the highest quality but enables you to maximise your training budget. The team has a wealth of cross-industry knowledge, which they use to help inform and advise businesses on the best training solutions available.

Telephone: 0300 456 0047 Website: www.wcg.ac.uk

The Wigley Group The Wigley Group is a leading ISO 45001 and 9001 certificated property, development and construction company based in the Midlands. The Group own an extensive portfolio of commercial property and landholdings across the Midlands which it is continually looking to expand. The Group’s construction arm, Wigley Building and Development, specialises in a wide range of projects nationwide and primarily in the commercial sector, from refurbishments and fit-outs to new builds.

Telephone: 01926 670 600 Website: www.thewigleygroup.com

Wright Hassall LLP Wright Hassall is a leading law firm, based in Warwickshire, and has been supporting individuals and businesses for over 170 years. Our heritage means that we understand local business and their issues. We see the success of our business as being parallel to the success and development of the region.  We take an active part in supporting the region and are proactive in our support of its growth and wellbeing.  For example, Nick Abell, our Chairman, is Chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) and 32 members of our team sit on a total of 50 Boards of companies and charities across the region.


Telephone: 01926 732512 Website: www.wrighthassall.co.uk


Corporate Membership Corporate Membership is ideal for established, growing companies who are keen to raise their profile and increase the opportunities to share knowledge. A.C. Lloyd A. C. Lloyd LTD is a privately owned property investment and development company based in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

Telephone: 01926 421326 Website: www.aclloyd.com

Advent Communications Ltd Advent Communications PR is a well-established public relations consultancy based in Coventry, operating across the Midlands and UK.

Telephone: 02476 633636 Website: www.advent-communications.co.uk

AHR Consultants AHR is a leading provider of HR, employment law, leadership training and safety services. Our HR support solutions are comprehensive yet cost-effective.

Telephone: 03450 762288 Website: www.ahrconsultants.co.uk

Alsters Kelley Solicitors Limited Alsters Kelley Solicitors Limited is one of the largest solicitors firms in the region with offices in Coventry, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton & Southam. We offer legal services with a quality and reliability you can trust.

Telephone: 01926 356000 Website: www.alsterskelley.com

Amazon UK Services Ltd Since 2010 Amazon has invested over £23bn in the UK economy to provide convenience, selection and value to UK consumers, while helping to digitally empower hundreds of thousands of small businesses and content creators.

Telephone: 01530 267427 Website: www.amazon.co.uk

AMCO Group Services Since 1983 Amco has provided reliable and dedicated Logistics and Warehouse services across a wide range of industrial and commercial sectors.

Telephone: 01905 758000 Website: www.amcogroupservices.com



Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Corporate Membership

Atkins Wealth Consultancy, St James’s Place Wealth Management We aim to be your trusted partner in creating clear financial solutions. Our work is based around the Wealth Management needs of a select group of clients who typically have their own business or professional practice.

Telephone: 01212 330099 Website: www.sjpp.co.uk/michaelatkins

Band Hatton Button LLP Band Hatton Button is one of the leading law firms in Coventry and Warwickshire, working regionally, nationally and beyond. We cover a wide range of legal issues for businesses and individuals.

Telephone: 02476 632121 Website: www.bandhattonbutton.com

Catax At Catax  we help uncover the hidden value in your business or property, through Capital Allowances, R&D and Patent Box tax relief.

Telephone: 03003 031903 Website: www.catax.com

Catthorpe Manor Hotel & Estate Catthorpe Manor Estate is a highly regarded business hotel in Rugby, conveniently located close to the M6 and M1 and ideal for for  business travel, meetings,  residential conferences, training, corporate dining and team building days.

Telephone: 01788 860599 Website: www.catthorpemanor.co.uk

Circle Insurance Services Ltd Circle Insurance Services Ltd are a modern and innovative financial services company providing Insurance, risk management and financial advice to businesses and private individuals via our national network of offices.

Telephone: 02476 257444 Website: www.circlegroup.co.uk

Compton Verney Discover the unique delights of Compton Verney, where there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 120 acres of stunning parkland and lake surround an award-winning art gallery and gift shop.

Telephone: 01926 645500 Website: www.comptonverney.org.uk

Coombe Abbey Hotel Coombe Abbey Hotel is an ideal conference venue in Coventry with 11 meeting rooms available, hotel accommodation and an onsite restaurant. Whether you need a room for an important meeting, to launch a new product or to hold a conference, impress and inspire your guests by choosing Coombe Abbey Hotel.

Telephone: 02476 450450 Website: www.coombeabbey.com



Corporate Membership Corona Corporate Solutions Ltd Whether you need a top quality digital print solution – photocopiers, printers, scanners and documents management – or a sophisticated telecoms solution – single site, multi site, hosted or mobile – CCS has the answer.

Telephone: 03332 413344 Website: www.coronacs.com/welcome-to-corona-bbt/

Coventry City Football Club There are a number of commercial opportunities available with Coventry City Football Club. From Premium Memberships on a seasonal basis to Matchday Hospitality for an individual game, or from Advertising to Sponsorship - we have it covered!

Telephone: 02476 991987 Website: www.ccfc.co.uk

Eskuta Limited The Eskuta vision is a simple one, to bring freedom of motion to the masses with our electric bikes and electric scooters. We’re creating a revolution and we’d love you to come along with us for the ride.

Telephone: 02476 350150 Website: www.eskuta.com

Event Support Team Ltd Event Support Team Ltd provides support services for the event industry. We specialise in providing Design and Consultancy services, Traffic Management, Security and Stewarding, Parking, Cash collection and Advance ticket sales for your event.

Telephone: 02476 997605 Website: www.estuk.co.uk

Futura Design Ltd With top-tier industry experience in Prototyping and Low Volume Production, we offer a forward-facing vision selecting the right materials and leading technologies to deliver high quality and cost-effective solutions.

Telephone: 03335 557000 Website: www.futura-design.co.uk

Gallagher Gallagher is a global insurance, risk management and consulting services company offering clients and customers innovation and tenacity across 150 countries. We use our 90 years of intelligence and insight to protect what matters most: your business.

Telephone: 02 476 232600 Website: www.ajg.com

Glide Ultrafast broadband designed for business parks, industrial estates and serviced offices – get the robust future-proof connectivity you need with Glide’s FTTP, FTTC and leased line solutions.

Telephone: 02476 997222 Website: www.glidebusiness.co.uk/business



Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Corporate Membership Glued Limited

Glued is a design agency based in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. We love to help organisations grow through the use of effective design, storytelling and web creation: basically anything that requires a visual style to tell your story.

Telephone: 07787 557197 Website: www.gluedlimited.co.uk

Hanson Lawrie Limited hansonlawrie was established in 2015 by Sammantha Hanson and Paul Lawrie with the aim of offering an all-encompassing HR and Recruitment solution to micro businesses and growing SMEs that have no internal HR or Recruitment department, or are in need of additional support.

Telephone: 01926 357209 Website: www.hansonlawrie.co.uk

HBT Communications Working with the SME sector for over 30 years, we work with companies to improve productivity and their financial bottom line. We provide the full spectrum of IT and Telecoms services including support, networking, security, telephone lines, business broadband and business mobiles.

Telephone: 02476 867400 Website: www.hbtcommunications.com

Health Matters (UK) Ltd Good health, is good business. Health Matters is a specialist team of Consultants dedicated to providing a tailored range of employee health related benefit packages to businesses across the UK.

Telephone: 02476 516083 Website: www.health-matters.co.uk

Hilton Warwick/Stratford-Upon-Avon Our countryside hotel is off the M40/Junction 15 intersection, two miles from central Warwick. We’re one mile from Warwick Castle, with Shakespeare’s Birthplace 15 minutes from the door. We have 14 flexible function rooms, including the Castle Suite which boasts a private bar and accommodates up to 450 guests.

Telephone: 01926 499555 Website: www.hiltonwarwick.com

Holiday Inn Coventry M6 Holiday Inn Coventry M6 J2 is in a great location near Coventry city centre and the M69, M1, M6 and M42 motorways. We have dedicated meeting facilities, venue hire facilities as well as stylish bedrooms and Open Lobby dining.

Telephone: 08719 429021 Website: www.holidayinn.com/coventrym6

Hooper and Co International Trade Consultancy Ltd Hooper and Co was set up in order to provide a hands-on-service to business both large and small in all areas of international trade. The complexity of the regulations and the ever changing environment means that businesses whether they import or export or do both need to have an understanding of these rules.

Telephone: 02476 343037 Website: www.hooperandco.com



Corporate Membership Image+ Ltd We’re a top-drawer design and development agency. We’ve undertaken hundreds of web design, brochure design, brand consultancy and app development projects, which have increased the reach – and enhanced the sales – of our clients. We do so by being open, friendly and creative: we’ll conduct a conversation with you, and figure out how to build what you need.

Telephone: 02476 834780 Website: www.image-plus.co.uk

Integrity Wealth Solutions Established in early 2013, Integrity Wealth Solutions  is a fully independent and directly authorised  financial  advisory firm, specialising in Pensions, Investments, Protection, Mortgages and Inheritance Tax planning for private individuals, families, corporate clients, trusts and charities.

Telephone: 02476 388911 Website: www.integritywealth.co.uk

John Good Ltd Since 1897 we have grown to become the UK market leader in publishing and printing for the arts. Creativity, quality, consistency and service are paramount to our clients. Using the highest quality materials and our in-house designers, we work with you to design and craft beautiful printed media, which helps you communicate with your audience.

Telephone: 02476 652800 Website: www.johngood.com

Kumari Hart Solicitors At Kumari Hart Solicitors, we pride ourselves in providing a personal service, which is at the centre of everything we do. As a modern, IT led practice, we have no physical offices. We specialise in key practice areas, providing expert legal advice and representation, delivered with integrity.

Telephone: 07840 925161 Website: www.kumarihart.co.uk

Lodders Lodders specialise in work for private clients and privately owned businesses. From business owners through to wealthy families, landowners, farmers and successful individuals, clients choose Lodders for our renowned technical expertise and our friendly partner-led service.

Telephone: 01789 293259 Website: www.lodders.co.uk

London EV Company Limited LEVC are the leading global manufacturer and retailer of purpose-built commercial electric vehicles. We have built the black cab into a global icon and secured its future to our vision of seeing it on the streets of every major city around the world.

Telephone: 02476 572000 Website: www.levc.com

Luckmans Duckett Parker Limited LDP Luckmans is a large, highly-motivated and dynamic practice with a history of serving the Coventry and Warwickshire business community for 50 years. With our client base today extending as far afield as London and Scotland, LDP Luckmans is the trusted business partner of corporate organisations from SMEs to larger corporates.

Telephone: 02476 627200 Website: www.luckmans.com



Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Corporate Membership

Mecalac Construction Equipment UK Limited The Mecalac Group offers a wide range of innovative compact construction equipment for today’s urban construction sites. MECALAC’s aim is to offer compact class construction equipment with superior performance concerning flexibility, speed and process innovation.

Telephone: 02476 339400 Website: www.mecalac.com/en/

Midland Heart Our mission is to be a leading housing organisation, delivering homes and services across the Midlands that enable people to live independently. We own and manage 33,000 homes, and balance great customer service and value for money to provide a range of quality services for 70,000 customers.

Telephone: 08706 070300 Website: www.midlandheart.org.uk

Mirius | Global Hygiene Solutions Since 1963 Mirius, formerly Coventry Chemicals, has been a leader in the manufacture and supply of cleaning liquids, powders  and tablets to suit all professional, retail and healthcare cleaning and hygiene requirements. 

Telephone: 02476 639739 Website: www.mirius.com

National Express Coventry National Express operate bus services within three areas namely the West Midlands, Coventry and Dundee. National Express West Midlands is the largest bus operator in the respective area and one of the largest in the UK carrying over 1 million passengers every day.

Telephone: 02476 817000 Website: www.nxbus.co.uk/coventry

North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) is a large Further Education college offering a wide range of full-time, part-time, Higher Education and Apprenticeship programmes.

Telephone: 03300 583000 Website: www.nwslc.ac.uk

Pantos Logisitics Ltd Pantos Logistics provides comprehensive logistics services to about 13,000 customers in various industries, such as electronics, machinery, chemicals, oil refining, construction, distribution, food, energy, and fashion.

Telephone: 02476 331812 Website: www.pantos.com/en

Quality Hotel Coventry The Quality Hotel® is located on the edge of the city of Coventry, located just six miles from the NEC and a short drive to Birmingham International Airport. With four meeting rooms accommodating up to 150 people, all with natural daylight and external access, the hotel is equipped to host intimate meetings and large conferences.

Telephone: 02476 403835 Website: www.thequalityhotelcoventry.com/en-gb



Corporate Membership Ramada Hotel and Suites Coventry The Ramada Coventry’s dedicated training & meetings floor offers distinction in corporate design style and affordable luxury, and is the perfect modern city-centre venue, with full concierge care and dedicated executive lounge. Stay in one of our 166 spacious en-suite bedrooms all with stunning views overlooking the historic Coventry City Centre and County of Warwickshire.

Telephone: 02476 238110 Website: www.ramadacoventry.co.uk

Rational FX RationalFX has grown into one of Europe’s key international payment providers, without any borrowing or external investment. We have a team of over 100 dedicated individuals, and offices across Europe, with our headquarters based in in London’s financial district, Canary Wharf.

Telephone: 02072 208181 Website: www.rationalfx.com

SafetyFlex Barriers Ltd Safetyflex Barriers are part of the GME Springs group who have over 40 years experience in manufacturing suspension systems for the automotive, rail and MOD sectors. We have now put our experience of spring technology into the design and manufacture of Anti Terrorist Security Barriers and Bollards Rated to PAS68.

Telephone: 02476 662166 Website: www.safetyflexbarriers.com

Shakespeare Martineau On paper we’re a full-service law firm, providing legal services to businesses, organisations, government departments, families and people throughout life and in business. But we offer so much more than that. Expertise, commerciality and relationships are at the very heart of what we do.

Telephone: 01216 315335 Website: www.shma.co.uk

Skye Wellbeing Stand out as an employer of choice through an unrivalled employee experience. Full mental health/wellbeing/EAP services, staff perks including retail discounts and cash backs offers.

Telephone: 07889 593951 Website: www.skyewellbeing.co.uk

St. Modwen Developments St. Modwen is an expert property developer with a rich 30-year history. We operate across three dedicated business units: St. Modwen Homes, St. Modwen Industrial & Logistics, and Strategic Land & Regeneration, all of which are aligned to structural growth trends.

Telephone: 01216 471000 Website: www.stmodwenlogistics.co.uk

Stadium At Stadium, we work across a range of sectors, and with clients of all kinds, to ensure spaces of every sort are as safe as they should be. From football stadia to music festivals, public places to conference venues, we are dedicated to helping our clients host and hold events that run as smoothly – and as securely – as possible.

Telephone: 02475 189999 Website: www.wearestadium.com



Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Corporate Membership Stonewall Security Ltd

Established in Rugby in 2008, Stonewall Security has gone from strength to strength thanks to a knowledgeable, skilled and proactive management team and a workforce of highly trained staff. All of our security officers are vetted and have attained the industry standard SIA Licence.

Telephone: 01788 561241 Website: www.stonewallsecurity.co.uk

Stratford Racecourse Co Ltd One of the country’s leading small jumps racecourse’s. With an excellent reputation for being host to 19 thrilling horseracing fixtures. Stratford’s private boxes offer superb views of both the parade ring and the course itself and are extremely popular with guests coming back year after year.

Telephone: 01789 267949 Website: www.stratfordracecourse.net

Studio 44 Ltd Studio44 collaborate with clients, architects and designers to deliver unique furniture solutions for all project sizes and budgets. Our consultants pair their in-depth knowledge and passion for furniture with well-forged relationships to achieve a  creative,  non-bias, competitive service.

Telephone: 08456 432926 Website: www.studio44.co.uk

Syscomm Ltd Syscomm is one of the UK’s most nimble Managed IT Services providers, specialising in delivering continuous business critical IT, delivered end-to-end over our network.

Telephone: 02477 712000 Website: www.syscomm.co.uk

The Billesley Manor Hotel Barely a stone’s throw from Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare penned his comedy ‘As You Like It’ here in 1599. Not content with our illustrious past though, we’ve just completed an extensive £5.6m refurbishment. Our sumptuous interiors coupled by 11 acres of private grounds, an 11th  century church and a Victorian-era topiary garden, offer that perfect peaceful sanctuary from the outside world.

Telephone: 01789 279955 Website: www.bespokehotels.com/billesley-manor

The Canal and River Trust We’re the charity who look after and bring to life 2,000 miles of waterways, because we believe that life is better by water. Our work involves not only looking after our waterways, but promoting them widely to the eight million plus people who have waterways on their doorstep so that many more people benefit from our free, accessible and local source of wellbeing.

Telephone: 07810 630376 Website: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

The Myton Hospices At Myton, we believe that everyone matters for every single moment of their life and that treating patients with dignity and respect is more important than meeting targets. We passionately believe that the final part of someone’s life is as important as the beginning.

Telephone: 01926 838817 Website: www.mytonhospice.org



Corporate Membership thefutureworks thefutureworks is a commercial recruitment agency operated by Coventry University Enterprises Limited which has been established to provide quality, intelligent and flexible temporary and permanent recruitment solutions across all sectors and at all levels.

Telephone: 02476 158815 Website: www.thefutureworks.co.uk

Urban & Civic Houlton in Rugby is where 6,200 homes will be created in the verdant Warwickshire countryside with new schools and an excellent location. The development is being brought forward by Urban&Civic in partnership with Aviva Investors and partners – combining long term investment with experience of delivering largescale communities across the country.

Telephone: 02075 095555 Website: www.urbanandcivic.com

Village Hotel Club At Village Coventry you’ll find everything you need for your stay – stylish rooms, a pub and restaurant, state-of-the-art gym and Starbucks, all in one location. In the hotel itself there’s plenty of room to work and meet, with a range of fully-equipped conference rooms as well as informal spaces to network or catch up on emails.

Telephone: 02477 710860 Website: www.village-hotels.com

Volvo Group UK Limited Founded in 1927, Volvo is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of heavy commercial vehicles and diesel engines. The Volvo Group offers a comprehensive range of customised solutions in financing, leasing, insurance and service, as well as complete transport systems for urban traffic.

Telephone: 01926 401777 Website: www.volvogroup.com

Waste Solutions - Coventry City Council Our reliable, value for money and flexible service, operates Monday to Friday from 7.00am - 11.00pm and Saturday from 7.00am - 1.00pm. We offer recycling initiatives which help your business reduce waste disposal costs and become virtually zero landfill. We even complete all of the necessary paperwork.

Telephone: 02476 832255 Website: www.coventry.gov.uk/wastesolutions

Chamber Membership is designed to appeal to every business.

www.cw-chamber.co.uk/join-now 40


Eviction Management Services

AdvertisingAdvertising Feature Feature

Tenant Eviction Specialists with a Difference Eviction Management Services is a professional tenant eviction service founded by landlords for landlords. The team possesses extensive knowledge on the law relating to residential property and tenant eviction proceedings. Eviction Management Services pride themselves on their personal service, which they tailor to the needs of each individual. Unlike many of their competitors, this service will not ask for any money until it has reviewed your case, to both save you money and make sure they can successfully secure possession for you. Charles Anderson, Founder of Eviction Management Services, explains why it’s important for landlords to use services like theirs. What are the most common reasons for landlords needing to get possession of their properties back? Landlords come in all shapes and sizes; some have inherited a property, others are couples who rent their additional house after moving in with each other. There are also sophisticated portfolio landlords with properties of a variety of sizes and tenures. Regardless of what kind of landlord they are, most will need to secure

possession of their property, which to them may be a retirement nest egg or a strategic investment for more complex reasons. There are two common reasons for needing to evict a tenant to secure vacant possession; the first is to sell the property to realise capital and the second is simply because the tenant is not paying the rent. For the smaller landlord, nonpayment of rent can be crippling and, despite all the ‘landlord bashing’ we hear, many smaller landlords are far from flush with money and can find themselves in dire financial straits due to defaulting tenants. How do you help landlords secure possession in a timely and cost effective manner? Taking possession of a property and conducting possession proceedings can be one of the most stressful things that a landlord can be involved with. Whilst filling in a few forms might seem straight forward, there is limited guidance in the public domain. Things can very quickly go wrong when a claim is defended by a tenant or when the landlord has not adhered to the raft of regulations that has hit the private rented sector over the past few years. At Eviction Management Services, we carry out a complementary review of a landlord’s paperwork before we agree to serve notice or undertake possession proceedings.

There are unfortunately dishonest operators out there who will take landlords fees regardless of whether the case is capable of being successful at court. However, our approach is to only accept a commission of an eviction case if it is capable of succeeding in court. If a case is likely to fail, we will tell the landlord why and what they should do to resolve the issue before coming back to us. What are the biggest challenges facing landlords looking to evict a tenant? The biggest challenge is the ever-changing legal and regulatory landscape, as well as the lack of consistency in county courts. Eviction Management Services takes the view that every case is going to be defended. We anticipate what could happen in a client’s specific circumstances, meaning we always have the perfect legal argument at the hearing. What advice would you give to a landlord experiencing difficulties with their tenants? • Try to keep a channel of communication open – it will pay dividends in the long run • Maintain accurate records and notes • Save text messages, as these conversations can be used in court as evidence

• Always stay professional – don’t lose your temper despite provocation • Don’t procrastinate when taking positive action • If you don’t know what you are doing – especially with serving notices or possession proceedings – find assistance instead of struggling by yourself • Carry out inspections on a quarterly basis where possible • Always get references and look into them • Be prepared to say no to a prospective tenant if you have a bad feeling about them Is there anything else you would like to add? Eviction Management Services have been around since August 2015 and assisted more than 2,000 landlords in getting their properties back. In that time, due to our ‘belt and braces’ approach to eviction work, we have not lost a single case. That means if a case will not succeed due to a technical issue, we will let you know so an alternative solution can be found. We operate on an honest and ethical basis and provide excellent value for money by securing possession via the best route possible.

IMPORTANT – Eviction Proceedingsduring duringthe the current current coronavirus crisis UPDATE - Eviction Proceedings Covid-19 crisis Following on from thehave previous update wea Many people will heard about provided the“eviction Government and Ministry of so called ban” being imposed Justice been at it again. by thehave Government for a period of

3 months. Unfortunately, thisthe is being Any section 21 notice served after 28th misunderstood by many, August 2020 will have to be forlandlords a period of at and tenants a complete least 6 months.alike, Thereas is being a suggestion that banmay on all activities that are “eviction” they revisit this in March 2021.

related. In a nutshell the following is There are new for section 8 notices currently therules case: mainly for26th breach of contract: From March 2020, all notices, The notice they periods as follows: whether be are a section 21 notice possession section 8 •requiring 6 months for rent arrearsorbelow 6 months. seeking possession, •notice 6 months for all other grounds will otherneed than todomestic be for aviolence, minimum of three months.rent antisocial behaviour, arrears above 6 months, securing The Government haveand stated thatthe property false statement orofdeception there willbybe a suspension all •possession 4 weeks notice for arrears over months proceedings for a6 90

•day 4 weeks notice for27th anti social period from Marchbehaviour 2020. and domestic violence Possession claims already submitted to •court 4 weeks notice for securing property by prior to 26th March the 2020 will not deception/false statements. go ahead until after the 90 day period

is up. The ministry of justice are also said to be Possession claimscases for which are prioritising rent arrears abovethere 9 months hearing already in place, will be (where thisdates is 25% of a landlords income) and adjourned a date after the expiration arrears of 12to months. of 90 days from 26th March 2020.

In addition, cases that were suspended Astowell thewill Government prior the meaning 3rd Augustas 2020 have to is,reactivated. and as understandable asadditional it is to put be There is also an the brakes the eviction process, process beingon added presumably to avoid– the fact remains many will have listing cases thatthat don’t needoftoyou proceed to had tenants who were not paying the hearing because the proceedings are no rent prior to the spread of coronavirus. longer needed.

Also there may well be other reasons for seeking possession. A recent

This is being called a Reviewthat Hearing and is commentator suggested landlords not a hearing in lose person. Claimants or theiras were likely to around £15 Billion Solicitors willCOVID-19 be expected to lost submit a claim a result of and revenue. “bundle” to court electronically of all the papers So what can you do? and evidence that will be relied upon in a face Don’t forget that communication is to face or substantive hearing. key – keep lines of communication open

tenants, especially Awith newyour Practice Direction 55A paraduring 2.3(5) this difficultthat timethe claimant must confirm that: provides If you needincludes to serve putand it • The bundle all notice, requireddon’t material off until the including end of the days – some information, the90 information required landlords have misinterpreted the by Practice Direction 55A para 2.3(5) as to “eviction ban” to mean that you cannot theanything claimantsfor knowledge to the effect of do 90 days as – you can! the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant. Serving notice now will save you time •even The bundle been provided toenforce the thoughhas you don’t have to it. defendant by hard copy through the post. If you are uncertain as to how to serve a notice, especially a section 8 notice –

•get Thehelp. claimant or legal representative will be It can be a lot more technical available on theand daythe of the Review and that than it seems Government they have provided contact number. website doesn’t tella you how to do it.

A mistake setthe you back 3-4 months There seemscan to be usual misinformation now due to additional period out there. I’vethe already spokennotice to a number required. of landlords, Agents, and Solicitors believe it that after thewhole 90 days there or Be not,aware that believe that the process is is likely to or bethat a huge spike the number suspended evictions arein“banned” until of new2021. possession claims March This is only reallysubmitted the case if you to court – intoaddition will are only able rely on athere section 21be notice a backlog been owed from the endofofclaims August,that or if have rent arrears adjourned. are well below the six months mark. If you need further help and advice

So, if you’re in any doubt whatsoever of your with serving a section 21 notice or ability to start possession proceedings do give section 8 notice during the period of this us a call as we can help.

current eviction suspension, we will be only too pleased to help.

Tenant Eviction Specialists with a Difference FREE

No obligation appraisal

• • • • • • • •

Need your property back to sell Tenants not paying rent Anti-Social Behaviour Recovery of Unpaid Rent Illegal sub-letting Squatters Damaging your property Crack houses and other drug activitiy

e: info@evictionms.co.uk

6 www.cw-chamber.co.uk

We provide a service that is tailored to your needs as we know only too well that everyone is different as are the circumstances you may find yourself in with your tenant.

Midlands and the North:

0121 728 55 88 / 55 99 London and the South:

0203 9126 299








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Coventry & Warwickshire in business


New service centre is IPP’s platform for further growth

IPP has opened a new third-party service centre in Grays in collaboration with longstanding logistics experts S&R Smith and Son

One of Europe’s premier poolers of sustainable wooden pallets has opened a new service centre as it continues to add customers to its business, especially in the South East. The move sees Coventrybased IPP utilise a strategically located facility

in Grays, Essex, which will process more than half a million reusable pallets within the first year. This is an addition to IPP’s existing network which include its £2.5 million fully-automated repair and repatriation centre at Bardon Hill, Leicestershire, which

processes in excess of 700 pallets per hour – a capacity of an incredible six million each year. As IPP continues to grow its portfolio of blue-chip customers across multiple markets, including the manufacturing, retail, FMCG and DIY sectors, the new centre supports its future growth. The new pallet inspection and repair service centre, which went live in the summer, is operated by S&R Smith and Son Logistics, a long-standing south-east distribution specialist and transport partner of IPP. Located next to the Thames, the service centre will support IPP’s growth having the capacity to inspect and repair more than 1.3 million pallets per year.

Commenting on the new depot, which complements its network of strategic repair centres, Phil Storer, UK & Ireland director of IPP, said: “Sustainability has always been at the heart of what we do and this move illustrates our commitment to increasing re-use and efficiency as well as reducing waste. “With the ability to process well over a million pallets per year, we can increasingly use this facility to apply our popular circular economy model to even greater effect across the supply chain. “This location is perfectly located for South East users and represents a major investment in IPP’s future growth.” For more information visit www.ipp-pooling.com and www.sr-smith.com

ADAO celebrates ten-year anniversary It’s been a wild rollercoaster for Adao. The company has evolved from a two-man team ten years ago, all the way to a team of more than 15 staff in a top-floor office. It has branched out from web design and has added digital marketing and web development services to the business. Adao has travelled across the world for clients but has always kept its feet on the ground, offering digital services to local businesses in the UK. The company’s evolution has been dramatic. On August 4 2010, David Ohandjanian and Josh Clare-Flagg started Adao, a small but mighty web design agency based in David’s home (rumours are,

they were based in the attic!) With David’s keen knowledge of digital marketing and salesmanship, and Josh’s aptitude for all-things-web, they quickly built up a close-knit client base of loyal customers. In 2011, technical director Edward Pendergast joined the ranks of Adao alongside David and Josh. With coding wizardry at his fingertips, they were able to build a team focused on stunning web design with a deeper understanding of web development. The team then moved into Frank Whittle Business Centre in Rugby. On January 14 2013, it was time for the next move, and this time the team returned to its homegrown roots – literally! David remodelled

the entire ground floor of his home on Regent Place into Adao’s business office. The following year, the company won a Google Award for its work for local businesses in Rugby and beyond. By 2015, the next step was to pack up and move to the brand new Adao (and very purple) office down the

road in Albert Street. As the company’s reputation grew, a string of awards followed including the 2016 WebAward for web design. While lockdown was challenging, Adao team members have found ways of staying in touch and are looking forward to a successful future.

Feraru Dynamics launches new wearable tech product Feraru Dynamics has identified an opportunity to improve existing corporate health and safety equipment with the launch of a new wearable tech product. The initial idea was to create complex monitoring equipment that would shift the current reactive health management system into a proactive approach of managing hazardous exposure. Based on the current needs of the manufacturing community, it was decided that vibration monitoring equipment would be the ideal first product to be designed and prototyped. The founder of the company then started a research project as part of his mechanical engineering


degree at Coventry University. The thesis titled: Enhancement in Hand Arm Vibration Monitoring Technology and Technique was produced alongside a working proactive prototype conforming to British Standards BS ISO 5349 and BS ISO 8041. The resulting novel monitoring technique and innovative mathematical additions to the standardised exposure assessment were patented. Shortly afterwards, the company formed the idea of developing a revolutionary product, which can be viewed on its website: https://ferarudynamics. co.uk/hav-sentry/.

An initial team of five people with complementary skills volunteered for six months on a full time-basis to keep the vision alive and seek funding. Andrei Feraru, founder and managing director of Feraru Dynamics, said: “We have worked very hard for the past two years as a company to bring this innovation to market and we are excited to start working with businesses across the UK.”

Feraru Dynamics was incorporated in August 2018. The company designs, engineers and collaborates to manufacture reliable, nonintrusive wearable monitoring devices that can create a safer working environment for all tool operators. In addition, Feraru Dynamics can help companies create best practice guides for use in the workplace.

New process gas burner installations benefit Thwaites The latest process gas burner technology from Lanemark Combustion Engineering is now helping one of the country’s leading manufacturers of construction equipment to benefit from optimised energy usage and minimised emissions. Warwickshire-based Thwaites, which provides a wide range of dumper truck designs particularly to the construction industry, has replaced two well-proven existing Lanemark FD5EP-3 burner installations with the company’s latest force-draught gas and air FD5GAP-3 models. The result is a combination of excellent heat control and an anticipated significant saving in gas usage. Jeff Foster, Lanemark’s sales director, said: “The two new burners have been fixed to two separate drying ovens, both of which receive products via an overhead conveyor – one for an epoxy primer preheat facility and the other for a polyurethane top coat drying installation. “In both cases the burners, which here operate with a propane gas source, fire through the wall of the oven into a combustion chamber with a recirculating fan, then distribute the heat evenly around the oven chamber.” The replacement of the two existing Lanemark burners – both hi/lo units which have delivered reliable performance since 1998 – have allowed Thwaites to gain from the latest designs and technology. Lanemark’s FDGA burners utilise the latest “air pressure lead” monobloc gas valve technology, which is central to ensuring that safe, efficient gas/air ratios are always maintained even under variable plant operating conditions. These offer significant benefits compared with alternative fixed gas/air valve linkage control arrangements, while the absence of mechanical linkages between the gas and combustion air control valve and dampers means that the need for adjustment or the risk of sticking are avoided. For more information visit www.lanemark.com


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Coventry & Warwickshire in business


ADAO launches new website for Energy Trust Digital agency ADAO has launched a new website for its Leicestershire-based client Energy Trust. Energy Trust is one of the UK’s premier providers of training courses relating to all aspects of the Green Deal and energy assessments. All of the organisation’s qualifications are City and Guilds-approved. The project wasn’t just a typical website development and design. It involved a review of Energy Trust’s checkout flow and streamlined integration

with the organisation’s Arlo customer relationship management (CRM) system, account (user) portal, and payment and checkout system. ADAO, whose clients include aden+anais, Rodericks Dental, British School of Brussels and Arthur Property Management, was appointed by Energy Trust after pitching alongside other agencies. Energy Trust chose ADAO due to the agency’s ability to meet all elements of the creative brief and its longstanding relationship with Energy Trust over many years.

Richard Elton, technical director at Energy Trust, said: “We are experiencing an exciting period of growth at present. Even during 2020 with the difficulties experienced, there has been a surge in demand for remote learning and online course provision. We believe that our new website now serves to truly reflect our status as the UK’s leading provider of energy assessment courses. “During the process of working with ADAO, they fully demonstrated an understanding of the brief and audience and we’re delighted

with the result of the website – and with the noticeable improvement in website engagement since going live with it.” David Ohandjanian, founder of ADAO, said: “We are delighted to haveworked with the team at Energy Trust in delivering this project. They are a fantastic organisation to work with and we look forward to further supporting their growth through digital marketing campaign activity moving forward.” For more information visit www.energy-trust.co.uk

Expansion plans in full swing despite COVID challenges Midlands-based Absolute Works has continued its expansion plans by opening its first franchise. The award-winning family-run business, which helps SMEs deal with employment law and employee challenges, has launched its first franchise in Dorset. Although its head office is based in Warwickshire, the company works nationally with hundreds of businesses across a variety of sectors, looking after their outsourced HR needs. Over the last six months Absolute Works has helped clients keep up to speed with the changing landscape of furlough and has also provided advice on cost savings, restructuring and the redundancy process. Heidi Skirrow is the owner of the Dorset franchise and brings with her more than 20 years’ experience in

HR at senior director level, nationally and globally. Heidi left her role as vice president HR with Carnival Cruises because she wanted to utilise her skills, knowledge and experience in supporting SMEs. She researched other franchise opportunities but choose Absolute Works because of the company’s extensive employment law and HR knowledge, its focus on customer service, strong values and excellent customer testimonials. Heidi said: “I departed Carnival earlier this year to fulfil my long-held ambition of establishing a Dorset-based business and building a specialist team in the area of HR and employment law, which I am absolutely passionate about. I now hope to bring my skills and knowledge, built up over the last 25 years, to locally based SMEs. “Partnering with Absolute Works to launch and own the first Dorset-based

franchise seemed like a great fit for me given their company values, commercial thinking and approach to delivering great customer service.” For more information visit www.absoluteworks.co.uk

Austin Healey parts specialist sees record growth

A H Spares, the original and largest Austin Healey and Sprite parts specialist in the world, has shipped more parcels and received more online orders than ever before since March. In the last six months, the Warwickshire-based parts supplier has seen a 45% growth in the number of parcels it has shipped out, with online orders rising by 38%. Rebecca Kemsley, director at A H Spares, said: “A H Spares has seen record growth since March, no doubt


in part because more people have been at home with free time to carry out restoration projects, large or small, on their Healey which might not have been possible before. “The growth is also a reflection of the strong team spirit at A H Spares and as a result of stocking the largest inventory of Austin Healey spare parts on the planet, meaning we can successfully and quickly fulfil the vast majority of orders without delay.” Aside from nuts and washers, the other most popular parts included cylinder heads and steering boxes. Based in Warwickshire, the family business was founded in 1972 and is now in its third family generation. It has expanded over the years to become

the biggest supplier of replacement parts for Austin Healey models and has developed an in-house trim shop while also establishing a professional sheet metal manufacturer, A H Panels. Rebecca added: “A H Spares ships out orders across the world, with the USA in particular being a strong market as many models were shipped stateside, so it is especially pleasing to see the export side also performing beyond expectations. In fact, we recently sent a chassis to Hawaii and another to Puerto Rico.” For more information about A H Spares, or to order spare parts for your Austin Healey or Sprite, visit www.ahspares.co.uk

Darryl Smith, general manager of the Heart of England Co-operative Society’s funeral division

Society invests £1.5 million in new Southam facility The Heart of England Co-operative Society has brought more than 180 years of its award-winning expertise to Southam in the form of a new state-of-the-art funeral home. Work has now been completed on a new £1.5 million development encompassing the funeral home – the 15th in the society’s network – as well as three refurbished, threebedroom flats and a separate retail unit, all available to let. Trading as The Co-operative Funeralcare, the funeral home will cater for Southam and surrounding areas including Bishops Itchington, Long Itchington, Napton, Harbury, Ufton, Leamington Hastings, Offchurch, Chesterton and Ladbroke. Work on the project started at the end of November and was scheduled for completion at the end of March but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Darryl Smith, general manager of the Heart of England Co-operative Society’s funeral division, said the society took the decision to expand the funeral division into Southam to further strengthen its links with the local community and offer local families more choice. In addition to its funeral division, the society operates a food division with a 35-strong network of food stores. It first opened a store in Southam in 1868 and its Coventry Street food store had a £507,000 refurbishment last year. Darryl said: “These sizeable investments in our food store and new funeral home, additional retail unit and three residential properties in Southam are testament to our commitment to the people of Southam. “While the town is already served by a well-respected and longestablished funeral director, it is our belief that offering choice is good for the client families in and around the area.” The society’s network of 15 funeral homes, which spans Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, includes homes in Leamington and Kenilworth.



Gallagher “breaks ground” at new European headquarters A H Spares appoints motoring communications specialist Automotive public relations agency Red Marlin has been appointed by Austin Healey parts specialist A H Spares in the latest in a series of new client wins. With huge experience in the classic car sector, including with numerous auction houses, specialist retailers and insurers, Red Marlin will manage A H Spares’ global public relations activity, developing the company by further increasing awareness of the brand and its vast array of spare parts. Danny Rughoobeer, director of Red Marlin, said: “As a longestablished and well-respected family business, A H Spares already boasts a loyal customer following and through our targeted communications activity we will aim to expand its client base at home and overseas. “Indeed, Austin Healeys are among the pinnacle of automotive design and driving, as well as evoking a nostalgia for the golden era of motoring, and A H Spares truly embodies this passion.” Warwickshire-based A H Spares is the original Austin Healey and Sprite parts specialist. It was formed in 1972 and has grown to become the largest supplier and manufacturer of Austin Healey parts in the world. Within the business, A H Panels was founded in 2003 as a professional sheet metal manufacturer, producing high-quality body panels for the Austin Healey marque, while A H Performance Parts supplies competition and fast-road parts. Rebecca Kemsley, director of A H Spares, said: “Red Marlin are specialists in their field and we are delighted to be working with them. “We have ambitious plans for the future and the team at Red Marlin will be instrumental in helping us to reach our goals.” For further information visit www.redmarlin.co.uk and www.ahspares.co.uk


Gallagher, a premier manufacturer of security and agricultural technology, has officially celebrated the start of groundworks at its new European headquarters in Warwick. A “breaking ground” ceremony was held with limited numbers, in keeping with government regulations, to mark the beginning of the development of the 1,500 sq m (16,145 sq ft) office and 670 sq m (7,211 sq ft) warehouse. Established in New Zealand, Gallagher now has offices and warehouses across the world. With its business expanding rapidly, Gallagher made the decision to further invest in the region with the development of a new European headquarters. The ceremony was attended by New Zealand’s high commissioner to the UK, Bede Corry; Matt Western, MP for Leamington Spa and Warwick; and Nick Swallow, New Zealand trade commissioner to the UK and Ireland. Richard Huison, regional manager for the UK and Europe at Gallagher, said: “It was an honour for us to host such distinguished guests at our ceremony as we celebrated work starting on our new European facilities. The new office and warehouse will give us even greater scope

to showcase our world-class technology, host events and support our Channel and customer network across the region.” Bede Corry said: “Gallagher Group is an iconic Kiwi company and it’s great to see them expanding their presence in the UK. This new headquarters is a vote of confidence in Gallagher’s British and European markets, and the investment is yet another example of the diverse and sophisticated trade relationship between New Zealand and the UK.”

Matt Western added: “I’m delighted that Gallagher has chosen to locate its UK and European headquarters in Tournament Fields in Warwick. At the centre of the UK transport networks and with such a terrific pool of skills and talent, it makes perfect sense for businesses such as theirs.” The development of Gallagher’s European headquarters, which will be located in Tournament Fields business park, is set to be completed in mid-2021.

PET-Xi Training chosen to deliver high quality tutoring to disadvantaged pupils through National Tutoring Programme Coventry training provider PET-Xi has been awarded funding to become an approved Tuition Partner as part of the National Tutoring Programme [NTP]. PET-Xi has been chosen to deliver tutoring to schools as an approved NTP Tuition Partner, it was announced today. Primary and secondary schools in England will be able to access tutoring through PET-Xi from Monday 2nd November. PET-Xi will deliver tutoring subsidised by 75% to schools across the country. PET-Xi will focus their tutoring on schools. PET-Xi became an approved Tuition Partner after a competitive process, during which all applicants underwent a rigorous assessment and review process. All approved Tuition Partners have met and exceeded criteria, including their ability to work with schools delivering curriculum relevant tutoring and scope to reach as many disadvantaged pupils as possible. PET-X will support 1840 pupils from locations across the UK with 1-2 online and 1-3 online tutoring in English and Maths at KS2, KS3 and KS4. Their highly trained and experienced tutor’s use awarding winning resources and their in house VLE allowing for a full online blended learning experience. Enabling safe personal interaction with paper-free marking and feedback which is essential in the current climate. Schools will be requested to provide initial assessment data which will be used to develop tutor sessions. Tracking, through our internal systems with regular assessments being undertaken will monitor progress. Reports are produced and account managers will ensure

schools are fully informed of attendance and progress. PET-Xi has extensive experience of working with schools in in East Midlands, West Midland, South East, London, North East, North West: and Yorkshire and Humber. Commenting Fleur Sexton DL Managing Director of PET-Xi said: “The whole team at PET-Xi are absolutely thrilled. This is all about equity, enabling PET-Xi to ensure that no learner gets left behind, helping to rebuild communities, and a fabulous opportunity for young people to reset, to grasp opportunities and to fulfil their potential. “PET-Xi’s core business is tutoring disadvantaged and low achieving KS2- 4 school pupils, a targeted service we have delivered nationally for 25 years. We have helped over 150,000 pupils by delivering intensive, motivational, and inspirational tutoring which is carefullycrafted and designed for schools to select according to their specific requirements. Each interaction is carefully structured to achieve optimal learning impact to close the attainment gap. Over the last two years we have worked with over 450 schools nationwide, annually engaging 9000 pupils through targeted engagement (approximately 20 per school), 98.5% say that their confidence has improved as a result. “Our organisation underwent a rigorous criteria assessment and we’re now ready to deliver high-quality tutoring to complement the incredible work going on in classrooms up and down the country. We can’t wait to start making a difference to those who need it most.”

Robbie Coleman, Director of the secretariat of the National Tutoring Programme, said: “The National Tutoring Programme has one simple aim - to support teachers and schools to support their pupils who have missed out the most as a result of school closures. We’re pleased to welcome our new Tuition Partners who will make tutoring accessible to disadvantaged pupils who need it most. “The National Tutoring Programme is a tool for teachers. We hope that by providing high-quality, cost effective tutoring to disadvantaged pupils the NTP will make a difference to those who need it most across the country.”


Have you considered Outsourcing your IT? With the current climate affecting so many businesses financially, one smart option is to partner with an experienced IT company, the goal being that they become your entire IT Department. A Fully Outsourced Managed IT Support Service is a proven concept that enables the correct skills to be available when required. Especially with the new IT Challenges due to Covid and the demand for home working. The right partner would include IT Strategy, Project Planning, Cyber Security and naturally the mundane day-to-day issues.

Such a broad range of skills and expertise are required within an IT Department so employment costs often sky rocket. When outsourcing, these concerns are dramatically reduced. Thinking about Holiday and Sickness cover, Pensions, Payroll and general HR Drama is a thing of the past.

Worrying about the ever-changing world of Technology, or the issues that come with hiring people? When taking on a service, you gain a full IT Department that helps your business to succeed with a predictable annual budget.

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Area Focus: Coventry

Cabinet Office recognition for a Coventry Engineering company

Be part of Coventry 2021, businesses told

Whiteley Brooks Engineering Ltd have been awarded a certificate from the Cabinet Office thanking them for the invaluable contribution to their Ventilator Challenge UK team on behalf of Penlon. The engineering company based in Coventry who specialises in CNC Machining, wiring and grinding produced components for a company for their ventilators. The components were manufactured with many design changes and there was an increase in numbers produced. This work meant that the company didn’t have to furlough as many staff as first thought given that their main customers are predominately motorsports companies and this industry has been affected by the pandemic.

Businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have been given the lowdown on the opportunities to be part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, which is a Delivery Partner for Coventry 2021, hosted a video call with the Coventry City of Culture Trust’s 2021 Club and heard from Chief Executive, Martin Sutherland, and Production Director, Jacob Gough. As a Delivery Partner, the Chamber will work closely with the Trust to support its strategic objectives and to maximise the social, economic and cultural benefits the title will bring. Nearly 100 businesses took part in the call and heard that there were still contracts to be awarded ahead of the year – which will run from May 2021 to May 2022. The event also looked at how businesses can promote creativity in their workforce and start making plans to engage with the year. Jo Hunter, of 64 Million Artists, led an interactive activity with delegates as well as sharing the benefits creativity in the workplace can bring. Martin said: “There was always a strong economic driver behind Coventry being UK City of Culture and now, more than ever, that is required.

Tom gets a pizza the action with Chamber support The owner of a start-up pizza business in Coventry is hoping for a slice of the events industry action after innovating to ensure the firm survived lockdown. Former Coundon Court student Tom Capell launched Surf and Slice in 2019 after deciding to leave his role as quality controller at Jaguar Land Rover after five years with the company. Having always wanted to work in the catering sector, he bought a mobile woodfired pizza trailer and was supported with advice and mentoring by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce as part of the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). While Tom’s focus was on the quality of the pizzas, he had no experience of running a business and the Chamber helped him with many of the details

“But we also want to work with organisations such as the Chamber in terms of businesses making the most of UK City of Culture in others way too – such as more visitors coming to the region, greater profile for the city and also the opportunities it might bring to their staff to get involved.” Chris Nagle, Events, Communications and Marketing Manager for the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted to be a Delivery Partner for Coventry 2021. “We supported the bid to be UK City of Culture very early on, as we could see all of the potential benefits it would bring to the city and the wider region. “Now it’s up to all of us to support the team in turning the potential we saw into reality.” To find out about potential contracts with Coventry 2021, go to https:// coventry2021.co.uk/get-involved/ jobs-tenders-and-call-outs/


around establishing a company, such as setting up a business bank account, managing his finances and cash flow. The business got off to a positive start, operating at Cannon Park Shopping Centre in the city and also taking private bookings for events. But when the coronavirus crisis hit, Surf and Slice’s market dried up and Tom came up with a new way of keeping the business alive. He said: “We were doing quite well to begin with but when the crisis started, there were no customers for me to serve. Everyone was at home. “I came up with my own DIY pizza kits including all the ingredients and recipes that I delivered all over the region. All in all, I delivered around 2,000 kits throughout the crisis and that kept the business going.

Tom Capell with Keely Hancox of the Chamber

“As lockdown has eased, I’ve got pitches at Dhillons Brewery, in Longford, and one at The Criterion Theatre, in Earlsdon, where I am back out serving customers again.”

Read all about it…new hotel set to open

“As a city and a region, we are very fortunate to have this boost coming our way at this incredibly difficult time and it’s important that we make the most of that. “We are working with local businesses already but there are going to be further opportunities with us including everything from lighting through to cleaning services.

The company utilised a number of machines and hours available to produce parts for the ventilators. Time was critical and colleagues pulled together to work round the clock to hit the deadlines and in some cases exceed them. The duration of the project was two months, the company has a real sense of pride to have been able to help in a time of need. Gear Purewal, Managing Director said, I’m delighted with the recognition we have received and for the company to have helped in these unprecedented times. As a company we take great pleasure of how we can diversify our skills and knowledge to meet customers’ needs.

Chris Nagle from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Amy Windsor General Manager of the Telegraph Hotel, Cllr Jim O’Boyle and Brian Harrabin of CDP.

Key figures in Coventry are convinced that Coventry’s newest hotel will provide an economic boost to the city after being given an exclusive tour of the project. The Telegraph Hotel is set to open its doors in November this year in the former headquarters of the city’s newspaper.

The special guests got a sneak peek at the Corporation Street-based hotel – which is being redeveloped by Complex Development Projects (CDP) and will be operated by Bespoke Hotels, the largest independent hotel company in the UK. Representatives from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Coventry BID, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Coventry City Council were among those who got the inside story on the redevelopment work that has taken place so far. Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Telegraph Hotel is such an exciting development for Coventry. “It brings a fresh, new offer to the city centre at a time when we are going to be welcoming visitors from all over the world to our region.

“The fact that it is retaining many of the mid-century features is going to make it a destination in and of itself. We wish the team behind it every success ahead of opening.” The Telegraph Hotel features 88 fully air-conditioned bedrooms, several of which are duplex penthouse suites, along with large doubles and twins. It also features an all-day bar and restaurant called the Forme & Chase, and a rooftop bar, Generators, which overlooks Belgrade Square. The hotel includes meeting and conference facilities. The Editors Suite, can accommodate up to 160 and has a prefunction bar. There are also two private rooms – the Boardroom and Directors – which can each accommodate up to 12 people for meetings and private dinners.

Marathon effort raises cash for The Myton Hospices When it comes to fabulous fundraising efforts, staff at Spencer Gardner Dickins (SGD) have been “stepping on it” to help secure vital funds for The Myton Hospices. Community-spirited employees at the Coventry-based chartered accountants have raised an “amazing” £5,176 and counting for Myton after a 16-strong team took on the challenge of each completing their very own marathons. The Myton Hospices is SGD’s chosen charity of the year for 2020 – but when COVID-19 struck, the team’s original plans for a big group summer event were put on ice. Undeterred, and determined to raise as much money as possible for Myton, SGD came up with the ambitious plan for fundraisers to walk or run their own marathons over a five-day period from September 26 to 30.

Paul Spencer, partner at the Coventry Innovation Village-based firm and a member of the marathon team, said: “We had been planning to do a big summer event to raise money for our fantastic charity of the year, Myton, but COVID restrictions made that a little more challenging. “We have a great team here though, and our staff are always up for getting involved in fundraising, so we knew we still had to do something! “It was a great team effort and every one of our fundraisers completed the challenge - well done all!” Chris Willmott, corporate fundraiser at Myton, said: “A huge, huge thank you to the amazing team at Spencer Gardner Dickins for this inspiring challenge –

Becky, George & Paul

and to everyone who donated to the cause. We have to raise £9.2million each and every year to continue to provide our services free of charge and we quite simply wouldn’t be able to do it without this kind of support.”

If you would like to donate to the SGD team, you can still do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sgdmarathons www.cw-chamber.co.uk

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: Coventry

Lord Mayor pays visit to Coventry company A truly remarkable lady, Ann has served Coventry for many years as the leader of the council and now Lord Mayor. Coventry born and educated, she has looked after the ward where Staeger’s factory has been based for more than 20 years and has received an OBE for her charity work associated with domestic violence.

Staeger Clear Packaging was honoured to receive a visit recently from the Lord Mayor, Councillor Ann Lucas OBE.

The visit was a result of a suggestion by Louise Bennett, CEO of the Chamber, to show the Lord Mayor an example of a successful, growing company in these difficult times, and to see the production of visors for the NHS.

Ian Jaimie, managing director of Staeger Clear Packaging, said: “I was delighted and honoured to receive a visit from the Lord Mayor, Ann Lucas OBE, at our factory. We had a quick tour of the factory where Ann met many of her constituents. She was delighted to see an expanding company producing PPE for the NHS and one that has retained its staff over many years.” Ann took a real interest in the work Staeger is doing with the NHS and saw first-hand how busy the company is making face visors for frontline staff. The company recently recruited a further six people to service the increased workload.

Coventry brand agency marks milestone year Coventry brand and creative agency, The Jade Studio, is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. Based at Electric Wharf, the company began life in 2020 when two Coventryborn childhood friends received a grant from the Princes’ Trust, and since then has gone from strength to strength. Over the years they have worked on some major projects for the region, including bringing the Olympics to the Ricoh Arena in 2010 and the more recent City of Culture success – something that the team is particularly proud of. The eight-strong team previously won Creative Communications and Digital Agency of the Year at the Telegraph Awards, and FirstPro Marketing Campaign of the Year too. Managing director, Matthew East, said: “We are extremely proud to be marking our twentieth year, although it’s been an extremely challenging year at that, but there are exciting times ahead. “We’re really looking forward to the future and especially next year’s City of Culture celebrations, and

Coventry College has formed a key partnership with the Armed Forces for the first time. The city’s further education provider – which educates around 8,000 young and mature students – has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a formal pledge of support to former and current


An established Midlands-based commercial property agency has expanded its team by investing in the next generation of talent. Holt Commercial, which has offices in Coventry and Birmingham and also serves Warwickshire and the wider West Midlands, has recruited Harry Hanson as a graduate in its agency division.

Coventry’s resurgence in general which is great to see.” The agency has also made the most of the current situation by not only providing usual services but also gifting help to local organisations that need it. One such project saw the company complete a branding project for Coventry’s Highly Sprung, the UK’s premier physical theatre company, which does fantastic work with young people in the city.

The team has also been upskilling and enhancing its motion and digital creative services offered to clients all over the UK and overseas. Business development director, Jason Dickens, said: “We are really looking ahead to next year and hopefully some normality. We will also be launching our own rebrand, and it’ll be our twenty-first year, so there may even be a party involved!”

Coventry College forms major Armed Forces partnership

Carol Thomas, Principal and CEO at Coventry College, signing the Armed Forces Covenant

Commercial property agency invests in the next generation

personnel who have served in Great Britain’s Navy, Army, and RAF. The covenant will see Coventry College working with Career Transition Partnership, a free service supporting the employment prospects of all veterans, and Forces Families Jobs, providing free support to businesses looking to recruit military spouses. It means that Coventry College will also support the training and deployment of its staff who wish to become members of the Reserve Forces - which sees individuals from all walks of life dedicating their spare time to serving their country as a member of the Armed Forces. Serving personnel from the Navy, Army, and RAF will also regularly visit the college to talk to students

about a career in the Armed Forces, whilst Cadet units across Coventry and Warwickshire will also benefit from college visits. Carol Thomas, principal and CEO at Coventry College, said: “The Armed Forces provides an invaluable service to our country and wider society, and as a college we are incredibly proud to show our support by signing the Armed Forces Covenant. “This is the start of an exciting partnership that is of mutual benefit. We can help Armed Forces personnel to upskill to make the transition back into civilian life a little smoother, while also highlighting to our students and staff the benefits of supporting the Armed Forces to help bring through the next generation of serving personnel.”

Harry, who graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in real estate earlier this year, has returned to his roots by joining the company. He attended Finham Park School and lives just a 15-minute walk from the company’s office in Coventry city centre. He said: “I have always been interested in business and property and this interest was only enhanced during a placement year as part of my degree. It’s therefore great to get my first step on the career ladder here. “Holt Commercial is a very wellknown name in the region and the company has shown that it is willing to give young professionals a chance to rise quickly if they work hard and show promise. “There’s a really good mix of people within the team here and I feel like I can learn so much from everyone. This is a great opportunity for me.” Nick Holt, director of Holt Commercial, said: “We’re very pleased to welcome Harry to the company. “These are very busy times for Holt Commercial and for this region with City of Culture and the Commonwealth Games coming very soon. It was vital, therefore, that we grew the team to meet the demands of our growing client base and ensure we continue to provide our high standard of service. “We are keen to invest in our industry’s next generation of professionals whenever we can as we look to build for the future.”


Area Focus: Coventry and Mid Warwickshire

Women Who Awards

Sponsor and judge Ian O’Donnell MBE, of Real Point Design; keynote speaker Julie Colan, of Secret Whispers; host and Woman Who founder Sandra Garlick MBE; keynote speaker Julie Lilley, CEO of the Federation of Small Businesses; sponsor and judge Julie McGarrigle, director of Alsters Kelley Solicitors and Jester Styles, who provided entertainment for the event. Photo courtesy of John Cleary Photography.

Two Coventry businesses have joined to ensure a long-standing annual awards ceremony which celebrates the achievements of women in business could still be held - but this year on the glittering virtual stage. Business network Woman Who and technical production company Istead, both members of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, have collaborated to hold this year’s Woman Who Achieves Awards 2020 online. The fifth annual awards ceremony was originally due to be held at Coombe Abbey Hotel in May but was postponed until October due to the Covid-19 outbreak. After government guidelines meant that the event could still not take place, Woman Who and Istead, which has provided audio visual services for the ceremony for three years, came together to not only deliver the event online, but hold a TV-style awards ceremony with professional staging. The event saw Woman Who founder and director Sandra Garlick, MBE, deliver the ceremony along with sponsors and keynote speakers at Istead’s very own studio, which the company built at its warehouse

in Binley when it was forced to diversify after losing bookings as a result of the pandemic. The businesses streamed the interactive event to delegates via the online platform Zoom, with the video feed going live to each of the winners after they were announced to capture their reactions. Neil Sayer, director of Istead, said: “It was fantastic to work with Sandra and the team at Woman Who to ensure we could still deliver the awards ceremony. “It has been an incredibly difficult year for businesses, so it was hugely important to not only ensure the achievements of women in business could still be celebrated, but that it was done to the same high standards delivered by Woman Who each year. “We are experts in delivering audio visual services for events right across the UK, but when the lockdown was implemented in March, we lost all of our business. “Rather than relying solely on government funding, we decided to create our own studio with staging, backdrops, and lighting so that we could host professional, socially-distanced events which could be streamed online. “This meant that Sandra and her team could stand on a physical stage with all of the equipment you would expect to see at a live ceremony, and we also worked hard to ensure that we could capture some fantastic reactions from the winners.” The Woman Who Achieves Awards celebrates women in business, recognising their achievements in start-ups and SMEs, networking, leadership, import and export as well as in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), charity and social enterprise sectors

and those who have made outstanding contributions to a team. Its success meant that Woman Who’s newest awards, the Woman Who Achieves Solopreneur Awards 2020, were also held at the studio shortly after. Sandra said: “The event far exceeded everyone’s expectations and the feedback we have received has been incredibly positive, with delegates commenting on how professional it was and some even saying they felt like they were actually there in person. “We were really keen not to cancel the awards ceremony and wanted to do something positive for not only women in business, but also the events industry which has been hit extremely hard by the pandemic. “Despite being online it was still very emotional, and it was excellent to capture the reactions of the winners. “It was great to work with Istead, a company which has diversified very quickly in the current climate, to produce what was a very special event.” Chris Nagle, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “It is fantastic that two Chamber members have come together to innovate and use the very latest technology to ensure that a long-standing awards ceremony recognising women in business could not only still be held, but to an extremely professional standard. “We are now looking forward to our Coventry and Warwickshire Virtual Annual Economic Conference on November 11 which is also being broadcast from the Spotlight Streaming Studio created by Istead AV.”

Young people in Coventry begin on the Kickstart Scheme A Coventry based company has become one of the first businesses to take part in the Government’s landmark Kickstart Scheme to help young people into work. Event Support Team UK, which is based at the Ricoh Arena and provides a range of support services to the events industry, welcomed 12 new recruits on the first day of their six-month Kickstart placements. They were joined by Thérèse Coffey MP, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who spent the morning hearing from the young people on what they hoped to get out of the scheme, as well as watch them on their first training session. Through the new scheme, the company has taken on a total of fourteen 16 to 24-year-olds with the Government paying 100 per cent of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week for a total of six months. The company will also receive £1,500 per person from the Government towards set-up costs. For businesses taking on less than 30 young people through the scheme, they can apply through a Gateway organisation – such as the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. Grant Woollaston, sales director at EST UK – which is a corporate member of the Chamber, said: “When we first heard about Kickstart, we spoke to Hazel Pilling at the Chamber and wanted to engage with it. “We knew how hard our industry had been hit by Covid-19 and also that young people had been disproportionately affected by the impact on unemployment.


Coffee house sees the benefit of workshops A Studley coffee house owner whose business has gone from strengthto-strength during the coronavirus lockdown – despite being closed for ten weeks – has revealed the secret to its success. Mum-of-two Ella Clarke launched Bumbles Coffee House & Lifestyle on Alcester Road in Studley in November 2019 after a year of planning her vision for not just an eco-friendly coffee house, but a space where the community could host workshops and events. However, just four months after opening, she had to close her doors as COVID-19 took hold of the country. Fortunately, having attended a series of digital workshops focused on supporting retailers in January 2020, Ella was able to take on board advice and continue to grow her business, even during lockdown. The workshops were delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Stories Marketing, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council through the Warwickshire Towns Network Programme. The workshops shared insights into how businesses can use social media and other digital tools to drive traffic to their website.

Hazel Pilling (Chamber), Grant Woollaston (EST UK), Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey MP, Julie Nugent (Julie Nugent, director of productivity and skills at the West Midlands Combined Authority) with members of the EST UK team.

“Kickstart is a great away of giving 16 to 24-year-olds an opportunity in work and also a really good way to give back to the community.” Hazel Pilling, Membership Manager at the Chamber, said: “It’s great to see one of our corporate members adopting the Kickstart scheme so quickly. “We’d urge any businesses looking to make the most of the scheme to get in touch with the Chamber and we can help to support them.” Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “It was great to meet some of the talented young people on the first day of their Kickstart placement at Event Support Team UK as they begin this exciting chapter in their careers.

“Every job created by the Kickstart Scheme is a potentially life-changing opportunity and we want to help as many young people as possible. “We are doing everything in our power to ensure no one is left without hope and the next generation has the chance to find their place in the world of work. It really is great to see employers creating new and interesting jobs, helping us level up across the country.” The Kickstart Scheme was launched as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs and is aimed at helping young people to develop skills and experience for the world of work. More information is available from the Chamber’s Kickstart Co-ordinator Samantha Beard at samanthab@cw-chamber.co.uk

It was here that the seeds for her company’s success during lockdown were sown, and the techniques she learned here would go on to see Ella accruing more than 1,000 new Instagram followers while her business was closed. Ella said: “When coronavirus took hold there was no way I was going to let nearly two years of hard work go to waste, so I turned my attention to improving my online presence. “Looking back now, I could not have attended the digital workshops at a better time, as I had learned some intelligent approaches to using Instagram and Facebook to reach more of my target audiences. These are mainly those in their mid-20s who like socialising, as well as my working customers who use my venue for wi-fi and meeting clients. For more details about the workshops, and to book a place, visit https://bit.ly/Warwickshire-DigitalRetail-Skills-Training


Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: North Warwickshire

TruTac software is so cool for Arra Distribution Temperature-controlled logistics specialist, Arra Distribution, has reported a marked improvement in compliance management, including more efficient driver monitoring and smoother DVSA inspections, since installing software tools from fleet management and tacho software experts, TruTac. With 60 vehicles delivering 24/7 from five distribution hubs throughout the UK, Arra required a system that would consolidate all driver, vehicle and

tachograph data so that compliance procedures could be managed online from anywhere within the operation. James Buttery, general manager of the Tamworth operation, said: “The beauty of TruTac’s software is its ease of use. Before we installed the system, we had our work cut out monitoring WTD regulations and managing driver information. This involved lots of paperwork and inefficient procedures, which cost us in terms of time and labour. Now I’m pleased to say that TruTac’s easy-to-read data presentation makes analysis fast and accurate.” In addition, by using TruTac’s DigiPostPro hardware at each site, the Arra operations team can easily download tacho data without a PC and instantly view information such as vehicle speeds, break intervals

and daily working times. All of the data are viewable on a single screen with individual driver averages and an automatic alert system to flag up any anomalies. James said: “This allows us to deal with any infringements almost as soon as they happen. With the software module TruControl, using TruAnalysis, TruDriver and TruView, data is seamlessly captured, uploaded and analysed via the DigiPostPro terminals at every site. This is so much easier than our previous method of manually gathering the information.” Coventry-based TruTac is part of the Microlise group and was recently awarded a Queens Award for Enterprise for its innovative contribution towards safety and driver hours management.

Transforming Nuneaton project An update on the ambitious £500 million plan to transform Nuneaton has been given to businesses in the region. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its latest North Warwickshire Branch meeting online and heard from John McGuigan, of ransforming Nuneaton, on how plans were moving forward to regenerate the built environment in the town centre but also change its perception. The far-reaching plan includes creating new uses for the town centre including health, education, transport, leisure, residential and culture as well as retail. McGuigan said a flexible masterplan had been drawn up and that there was potentially £100 million of public sector funding available to support Transforming Nuneaton with the town in the running for several Government funding pots as well as investment by both Warwickshire County Council and Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council and other public agencies.

He said that the rest would have to be made up by the private sector and that now was the time for firms in the area to get behind the plan. Queensberry, Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council’s development partner for the Abbey Street site, will shortly be publicising its proposals as the first step towards planning approval and work starting on this site in mid-2021. Funding for a new business support centre and library and major upgrading to the ring road have recently been approved, and financial support has been generated from many public sector agencies. McGuigan said: “The last time I reported to the Chamber, it was very much a case of saying the kind of things we hoped to do as part of the Transforming Nuneaton project. Now, the conversation has moved on and we can say ‘this is what we are doing’ and, despite Covid-19, we are making progress. “There is still an incredibly long way to go but we really want businesses in the region to get behind what we are doing.


Zumba business moves towards success after Chamber help A Nuneaton mum who began running Zumba fitness classes three years ago to unite those feeling isolated is seeing her business move in the right direction following a rise in demand during the coronavirus lockdown.

Nicola Rigby from Whitestone decided to launch her own Zumba fitness classes – called Zumba with Nicola – in 2017 as a way of improving her own fitness and overcoming anxiety and loneliness. Nicola’s sessions – which incorporate Latin dance – were regularly attracting more than 20 people per session before the coronavirus pandemic took hold but after migrating to online sessions, she is now attracting up to 40 regulars and has more than 500 Facebook likes.

The potential for Nuneaton as a modern, forward-looking town is enormous. “When you look at its location and the transport links, it can be the sub-regional hub for north Coventry, north Warwickshire, west Leicester and south Staffordshire via rail. “The opportunity is huge and it’s time we really started to talk up the potential for Nuneaton as a great place to do business and to live and work. “We’d also like to hear directly from companies on the patch on what they want to see in the plans. If there is something

we need to be doing to attract investment, then tell us.” Tom Mongan, the chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s North Warwickshire Branch, said: “As a Chamber, we are whole-heartedly behind Transforming Nuneaton. “This is a fantastic opportunity to create a town centre that can offer people opportunities for both employment and for leisure. “It recognises that our town centres are having to change and adapt to fresh challenges and this plan is ready to meet them head on.”

Heart of England enjoys solid trading performance

The Heart of England Co-operative Society has reported a satisfactory year of trading during a challenging 2019. The society, which operates 35 food stores and 15 funeral homes, made investments of almost £13 million in a year which saw deep economic uncertainty due to Brexit, the elections and the UK’s future relationship with the EU. The retailer also saw its turnover rise to £76.9 million in the 52 weeks to

Nicola Rigby (left) with Rita Booth

January 18, 2020 – up 3.6 per cent from £74.2 million the previous year. The food division recorded sales increases of 4.5 per cent over the period – against a backdrop of changing customer habits and increased competition from multinationals and discounters. In his report, Ali Kurji, chief executive of the society, said the rise was a pleasing result – particularly when the previous year’s sales had been helped by the Beast from the East cold spell followed by a hot summer. He said: “Increasing sales levels, whilst carefully controlling costs, remains the best way to achieve a consistent growth in profits and in the long term maintain our society’s outstanding level of success.

“We intend to continue with our strategy of renewing and expanding our businesses and the cash reserves we have built up will enable us to continue to do this without the need for any external financial assistance in the short term. “In spite of the pressures we intend to maintain our unique position in the heart of England by building our reputation as one of the UK’s leading retail co-operatives by continuing to develop profitable trading activities and maintain community friendly initiatives and policies.” He added: “In spite of the uncertain economic outlook ahead we remain optimistic about our society’s future prospects as one of the leading independent regional co-operative societies.”

The 40-year-old was initially supported by the start-up team at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. This start-up support service is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, forming part of the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale Programme. It is also funded by Warwickshire County Council and the five Warwickshire district and borough councils. Nicola worked with a Chamber business coach, Rita Booth, on a marketing plan and pricing structure that eventually saw her hosting four sessions a week in community centres across the north of Warwickshire. Nicola, who combines her business with a part-time cleaning role, said: “I had spent three years working hard to build up my client base and then all of a sudden the pandemic hit just as I was starting to see some consistent growth in my sessions and, initially, panic set in. “There was no way I was going to allow all of the hard work I had put in to come undone, so I took my classes online. I brought out my ironing board and placed a footstool on top of it to create a makeshift desk for my laptop, and I’ve been able to host two day sessions and two evening sessions a week from home ever since!” For more details about support for start-up businesses, visit www.cw-chamber.co.uk


Staeger Clear Packaging

Staeger Clear Packaging helping to prevent ocean plastic waste Fully Recyclable British Green Shields made from Ocean Waste As a supplier of face visors to the NHS we have now launched our Green Shields - a sustainable and more permanent solution perfect for all sectors, as well as the general public. Our Green Shield sets consist of a headband and ten recyclable inserts. Further inserts can be bought separately (see website). These are both skin-friendly and environmentally responsible as the inserts are made from flake

sourced under the Prevented Ocean Plastic initiative. The initiative aims to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans. Locals in countries with poor waste management systems are employed to collect washed-up plastic items from the shores to be turned into flake.This not only helps create sustainable jobs in those communities, but it also makes our Green Shields ocean-friendly.

You can learn more about the Prevented Ocean Plastic initiative at www.staegerclear.co.uk/prevented-ocean-plastic Each Green Shield set can be purchased directly from our website for only ÂŁ9.99

Staeger Clear Packaging: a UK Business Hero We are humbled and honoured to announce that Staeger Clear Packaging has been recognised as a UK Business Hero and has been awarded the UK Business Hero stamp. The initiative has been widely supported by HRH The Countess of Wessex and the stamp has been designed to distinguish UK businesses who have gone the extra mile during the Coronavirus outbreak by supporting their Chamber and their local business communities.

We’d like to thank Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce for the nomination, and for the support and partnership that has been constant and ongoing, especially in the past year. We will continue to do the best that we can to support the local businesses and the NHS for the remainder of the pandemic by supplying green shields and face visors that are both medically graded and planet friendly!



For more information visit www.staegerclear.co.uk/ppe-equipment You can also contact us at info@staegerclear.co.uk or give us a call at 024 7658 1197 At Staeger we specialise in producing high-quality transparent plastic packaging also known as acetate packaging for businesses. From plastic boxes, sleeves, lids & bases, tubes, to vac forms: we produce and have produced a wide variety of solutions for products of all shapes and sizes. For more information please contact us on 024 7658 1197 or email info@staegerclear.co.uk Unit 1, Swallowgate Business Park, Coventry CV6 4BL www.staegerclear.co.uk



Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Area Focus: South Warwickshire

Permanent hybrid-working at Leamington law firm

Sarah Perry, managing partner at Wright Hassall

The workplace of the future is being mapped out at a top Midlands law firm in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A hybrid approach to working is being permanently introduced at Leamington-based law firm Wright Hassall, which will see the majority of the company’s workforce given the option to split their time between their home and the firm’s offices on Olympus Avenue – once the

government’s latest guidance on working from home where possible is relaxed. Full-time and part-time staff are also being given the opportunity to flex when they work their contracted number of hours a week, banishing the traditional daily 9am to 5pm work patterns. Sarah Perry, managing partner at Wright Hassall, said: “While the government is once again urging people to temporarily work from home, we are giving our staff the option to make this a permanent arrangement on some days if they want to. “The office is no longer defined by where you are, but more by the work itself – and this approach has undoubtedly been accelerated across

the business community over the past six months as people have had to adjust to working at home whilst looking after their loved ones. “While this has proved challenging for some of our workforce, others have found the new way of working beneficial, not only in terms of their productivity but also for their overall wellbeing. “It has also been encouraging to note that our high standards of client service have not been affected by the move to remote working. Therefore, after listening to feedback, we have decided to forge ahead with some permanent provisions that will enable most of our staff to work from home for some of their working week if they want to.

“While this has proved challenging for some of our workforce, others have found the new way of working beneficial, not only in terms of their productivity but also for their overall wellbeing.”

Stratford Butterfly Farm wins double award Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm is celebrating after scooping two recent awards in such difficult and challenging times. The popular attraction won the Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice Award 2020 and was awarded first place in Stratford in Bloom within the tourism properties category. Although the Butterfly Farm was the only entrant in the tourism category due to it being the only attraction with gardens open in Stratford, the judges unanimously agreed that the farm deserved first place due to its stunning display of colourful wildflowers. The lavender which lined the entrance pathway was also particularly impressive this year. The wildflower garden was prepared during lockdown and bloomed in time for the farm’s re-opening on July 4. The annual Stratford in Bloom presentation evening took place online on October 9 to celebrate local gardening achievements. The Butterfly Farm received an engraved trophy and certificate.


Each year, Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel website, pulls together reviews and ratings that travellers share from across the globe and uses that information to spotlight the best. Traveller’s Choice (formerly Certificate of Excellence) recognises businesses that draw consistently great user reviews and winners are ranked among the top 10% of businesses on Tripadvisor. Upon reopening, the Butterfly Farm has safely welcomed hundreds of visitors to see the stunning displays of tropical butterflies and has received glowing reviews. Jane Kendrick, marketing manager at Stratford Butterfly Farm, said: “The team are absolutely delighted to have won these two awards and have something to celebrate. We opened our wildflower garden back in 2010

Landmark project for biodiversity in Warwickshire One of the first biodiversity net gain projects has been implemented at The Alscot Estate, just outside Stratford Town in Warwickshire. In a landmark deal, The Alscot Estate Project – one of the first private biodiversity projects in the UK – has started selling biodiversity net gain credits to the development industry and has completed on two deals with local developers. The sale process is being dealt with via the appointed land agent, Jonathan Thompson. Jonathan has been working within the biodiversity net gain industry for more than three years now and worked closely with The Alscot Estate and Warwickshire County Council to bring this deal to fruition. He is also part of the Markets Advisory Group with Natural England and DEFRA officials to provide advice to the government on aspects of the Environment Bill. Jonathan said: “It has been very exciting to work with key stakeholders to bring this project forward. It is one of the first projects of its kind within Warwickshire and the wider UK.

and it’s an incredibly special haven in which butterflies can live. The team are immensely proud of the positive feedback that the farm has received and would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to leave a review on Tripadvisor.” For more information visit www.butterflyfarm.co.uk

“The team are absolutely delighted to have won these two awards and have something to celebrate. We opened our wildflower garden back in 2010 and it’s an incredibly special haven in which butterflies can live.”

“This project provides the basis for the development industry across Warwickshire to deliver key biodiversity gains within the area. The Environment Bill, which is expected to gain Royal Assent in mid-2021, will mandate the delivery of a 10% improvement in biodiversity on all development sites, and this exciting, groundbreaking project will help to d eliver that objective.”



Coventry firm clinches Wembley Stadium contract

A Midlands-based event management specialist has clinched a major deal with one of the world’s iconic sport and music venues. Stadium – which is based on Bodmin Road, Coventry – has signed a four-year deal with The FA at Wembley Stadium to support the venue operators with crowd management at future events such as England football internationals, Euro 2021 matches, NFL matches, elite boxing and music concerts. The contract will see at least 70 of Stadium’s experienced stewarding and security staff not only maintaining everyone’s safety but ensuring they receive a firstclass customer experience. Scott Metcalfe, managing director at Stadium, hailed the relationship with The FA – an organisation which plays a leading role within the football industry

and owns an iconic international venue in the form of Wembley Stadium. He said: “Over the past decade Stadium has built up a strong reputation within the event management sector through the events it has worked on, ranging from London 2012, to Premier League football matches, sellout concerts and high-profile conferences. This long-term deal we have struck with The FA is testament to that.

“The customer journey will look very different when crowds are eventually let back into venues and stadiums with new social distancing guidelines to follow. All of our staff will be aligned with these changes to support the safe return of crowds back into stadia across the country when the time comes. “We’re looking forward to working with the team at Wembley over the coming years, and hopefully operating at such

“Over the past decade Stadium has built up a strong reputation within the event management sector through the events it has worked on, ranging from London 2012, to Premier League football matches, sell-out concerts and highprofile conferences. This long-term deal we have struck with The FA is testament to that.”

a famous venue and brand can help us to not only expand our role at the stadium in the years to come, but further afield too.” Stadium is continuing to support the Premier League in hosting fixtures behind closed doors whilst preparing for spectators to return as restrictions are lifted and it’s safe to do so.

Hanson Lawrie celebrates five-year anniversary You know you have made a dent in the business world when you celebrate your five-year anniversary – especially in 2020 when all the odds have been stacked against you from Brexit to COVID. We therefore think it’s a big deal that Hanson Lawrie has reached this milestone. Director Sammantha Hanson said: “Under normal circumstances it would only seem natural to throw a party, a blowout event to thank all our loyal customers, but in this world of social distancing we find ourselves in we are not able to show our appreciation in this way. We do realise though, that


our success is in part down to all those that have supported us, continued to work with us and recommend us to the wider business community and as such we would like to say a wholehearted, big thank you to those that have made this journey with us.” Hanson Lawrie is a specialist provider of recruitment and outsourced HR services. The company has had a strong year and gained new clients that needed support with the furlough scheme, business restructuring and the provision of recruitment services. Director Paul Lawrie said: “With the spread of coronavirus,

organisations have had to operate in exceptional circumstances. They have constantly had to review policies, support their people physically and mentally, and be agile enough to meet the needs of their customers whilst balancing government advice, with ongoing consequences

if they didn’t adhere to changes in legislation. Like most businesses it’s been a tough ride for us this year, but we have been able to continue to keep our doors open to provide resources and guidance to support employers and their people.”

“We do realise though, that our success is in part down to all those that have supported us, continued to work with us and recommend us to the wider business community and as such we would like to say a wholehearted, big thank you to those that have made this journey with us.”


Coventry & Warwickshire in business


AVC can help you find the perfect car! The Advanced Vehicle Contracts team is back in the office and ready to help customers find their perfect car. The company has years of experience and can help you drive away with the car or van of your choice. There is no hard sell and staff are completely impartial; their goal is to get you a great vehicle that meets all of your needs for the right price. The Warwickshire-based business recently employed the services of Piece of Cake Marketing to ramp up its marketing programme for the next six months.

Stephen Hussey, director of Advanced Vehicle Contracts, said: “We have seen huge numbers of enquiries since we were able to reopen after lockdown and we plan to build on these sales as we head into the final quarter of the year.” Advanced Vehicle Contracts can get you up to 40% off your next car through the long-standing relationship it has with suppliers. There are some great deals on SUV’s in September – see https://avcgb.co.uk/ for more details.

Local community comes together to care for Coventry Canal

Local people from Coventry and across Warwickshire have been working together to help a local charity care for the 200-yearold Coventry Canal. Working with waterways and wellbeing charity, Canal & River Trust, the community team includes local people, businesses and university students, all of which are working together to get the


Coventry Canal ready for the City of Culture celebrations in 2021 and the Commonwealth Games in 2022. The team, who are regularly out on the canal, carry out a variety of activities and have so far created a community allotment along the canal, cleared litter and fly tipped items from the towpath and on the water, cut back overgrown

trees and bushes, painted over graffiti, filled in potholes, and carried out general maintenance repairs. At 38 miles the Coventry Canal is mostly rural and, during the industrial revolution, it was once a vital route for transporting coal from local mines to London and Birmingham. During the war the canal managed to escape most of the severe bombing that hit the city during the blitz but, after the war, the canal was in danger of being built over. Thankfully, it was saved by local volunteers such as the Inland Waterways Association and the Coventry

Canal Society and is now a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city. Terry Hodgetts, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “We’ve achieved some fantastic improvements along the Coventry Canal and at Coventry Basin since we started working with local businesses and the community. It’s amazing to see what we can achieve with a little enthusiasm and a bit of elbow grease when we all work together.” For more information the Canal & River Trust, visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

“We’ve achieved some fantastic improvements along the Coventry Canal and at Coventry Basin since we started working with local businesses and the community. It’s amazing to see what we can achieve with a little enthusiasm and a bit of elbow grease when we all work together.”


Aston Programme for Small Business Growth Positioning for the Future

Applications Open n Develop your leadership skills at webinars delivered by industry experts* n Receive one-to-one support from an experienced business mentor n Build a clear action plan for the future of your business n Share experiences with other business owners and build your SME networks n Provided free of charge to business leaders; the programme is part-funded by

the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Our membership business grew by 98% in the six months after we finished the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth.

Finance and marketing were some of the key areas of improvement I noticed as a result of completing the programme.

Kat Carrick

Parminder Bal

Managing Partner, Concierge Medical Practice Ltd Programme Participant 2017

Director, Drawing Desk Ltd Programme Participant 2018

Receive expert support for your business provided by world-class academics and experienced business leaders. Email centreforgrowth@aston.ac.uk to find out more *Workshops may be delivered face-to-face or online dependent on coronavirus restrictions

Coventry & Warwickshire in business

Education & Training

Five-figure investment at college’s dance and theatre facilities

College selected to join skills revolution

arts department to have industryleading equipment such as this – it’s something we are incredibly proud of. “This transformation will benefit many generations of students to come, and will play a key role in attracting some of the best talent around over the coming years.” The upgrade comes in time to support Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, which runs for 12 months from May 2021 and is receiving wider support from Coventry College, a city champion of the initiative. Carol Thomas, principal and CEO of Coventry College, said: “Facilitating musical and theatrical performances and honing the next generation of performers at our state-of-the-art facilities are just some of the ways that we will be looking to support Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture to showcase our city’s amazing talent.”

Young people in Warwickshire and Leicestershire are set to benefit from a radical new approach to delivering high-level skills following the induction of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) into the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence.

Coventry College students on the new dance floor

Coventry College’s performing arts department has taken a giant leap forward after landing a five-figure investment in its dance and theatre facilities. The city’s premier further education provider has installed a 109 square metre Harlequin dance floor, which is used in elite venues such as the Royal Opera House, alongside new mirrors. The investment has also funded the installation of electric retractable seats in the college’s theatre, which has trebled its audience capacity in the process to 130 people. The renovation means that 100 of the college’s acting, musical theatre and dance students have access to state-of-the-art, industry-leading facilities.

Grace Rodgers, curriculum lead for creative and digital at Coventry College, said: “This investment takes Coventry College’s performing arts facilities to a different level as it’s quite rare for a further education institution’s performing

“This transformation will benefit many generations of students to come, and will play a key role in attracting some of the best talent around over the coming years.” For more information about Coventry College and to apply for last minute places on one of its courses, visit www.coventrycollege.ac.uk/last-minute-places

Aston Programme for Small Business Growth - Apply now for 2021 Receive free industry-leading business support from world-class academics at Aston Business School. Past participants of the Aston Programme for Small Business Growth consistently increase business turnover, take on new employees and expand their companies into new exciting markets – in some cases even during a pandemic!

We are looking for small business leaders with an operational address in Birmingham and Solihull or Coventry and Warwickshire LEP who have the ambition to grow their company! Limited spaces are available; businesses must have at least 12 months’ trading experience and a turnover of £50,000 or more.

Take control of your business’s future with the support of face-to-face* and online workshops, one-to-one mentoring and peer-to-peer learning as part of the premier business support programme of the Midlands. As an Aston Programme for Small Business Growth participant, you become part of the Aston Business School network and will benefit from a range of resources to help your business continue to reach new heights long after completing the programme.


Manny Athwal, Aston Programme for Small Business Growth, Cohort 5, 2018/2019 : “Implementing learnings from the programme has resulted in our business turnover increasing by 380% in less than a year.

“My vision has always been to grow School of Coding into an international corporation. In order to do that, I needed to increase my own knowledge and understanding on how to develop the business. “The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth programme was the perfect option to get high-quality education from an outstanding institution and share ideas with like-minded business leaders.” Find out more and apply today www.aston.ac.uk/smallbusinessgrowth * Face-to-face delivery of workshops is determined by COVID-19 restrictions

Launched by WorldSkills UK in partnership with education and skills charity NCFE, the centre of excellence will mainstream world-class standards in skills development. NWSLC is one of just 20 colleges selected to participate in the first phase of the scheme. Utilising NCFE’s expertise in curriculum development and drawing on its unique insights into global skills systems through its membership of WorldSkills, the global hub for skills excellence, WorldSkills UK will coach and mentor staff at NWSLC to embed world-class techniques in their teaching, learning and assessment practices. By creating a cadre of world-class educators, all students at NWSLC will benefit from the highest quality training. Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, principal and chief executive of NWSLC, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to join the prestigious WorldSkills Centre of Excellence. The college has a strong track record in delivering excellence in our training and teaching programmes and we are looking forward to building on our expertise by working in partnership with WorldSkills UK and NCFE. “The WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence will enhance our teaching and curriculum innovation and provide our students with a world-class skillset that will support their future success.” Parisa Shirazi, Head of Skills Development and International Competition at WorldSkills UK said, “This is a milestone moment – a unique opportunity for NWSLC to work with colleges across the UK and join the dawn of a skills revolution. “Working with the staff at NWSLC, we will champion a skills-led recovery that is driven by international benchmarking and rightly values highquality apprenticeships and technical education to enable all young people to develop the employability skills that will provide them with a rewarding future.” For more information visit www.nwslc.ac.uk


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Welcome to New Members Corporate Members AHR Employment & Safety Services Ltd t/a AHR Consultants

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President & People

Prominent criminal defence lawyer retires Prominent criminal defence lawyer, Stefan Hunka from Alsters Kelley Solicitors, has retired from the profession after a career spanning more than four decades.

Not the Final Curtain Good grief, things are so fluid and challenging. This is not the first draft of my final Presidents Column, lots to say, not enough space to do it, and the world keeps changing. Since my earlier draft, we are now about to go into another lockdown.

Stefan qualified as a solicitor on December 1, 1978 and was on his feet and in court on his very first day! He worked in various areas of law until 1986 when he decided to specialise exclusively in criminal litigation. For many years he has been recommended in the Legal 500 publication in recognition of the high quality of legal representation that he has provided to his clients. Stefan became a partner at Alsters Kelley in June 2005 when the firm merged with Richards, Heynes & Coopers, and a director of Alsters Kelley Solicitors when it became a limited company in 2018.

You will know I like to find positives where possible, so here’s a few:• Coventry and Warwickshire are named (Estates Gazette) as the number one location in the UK for enquiries for satellite offices. • JLR have recently announced they are making profits again with a very positive cashflow in Q3. China is buying again. • Mercedes have invested in a 20% stake in Aston Martin. This is not ironic when it looks like we will not have a Brexit trade deal with the EU! • The Telegraph Hotel in Coventry is set to open its 88 bedrooms before Christmas (COVID allowing of course). • Your Chamber is supporting calls for the Government to build a regional Gigafactory in our sub-region. In the meantime, please continue to work with your Chamber. One of the clearest things of my two year Presidency is just what an awesome job the Executive does; clearly the voice of business. Finally – you know I couldn’t let it lie – I and your Chamber will keep working at helping to find a solution to the shortage of allocation of land for jobs. If you would like to get involved please get hold of me via the Chamber, at Bromwich Hardy, or try me on Linkeydin. Finally, finally, all the very best to my successor, Tom Mongan, who I can confidently state will do a fantastic job and a ginormous thank you to the Executive team. Work hard, stay safe.

in the judicial system in Coventry and Warwickshire who does not know Stefan. He is enormously well-respected within the criminal legal profession for his knowledge and experience. “We will certainly miss him and would like to wish him and his wife Stefka a long, healthy and happy retirement.”

Top tier rankings for Lodders lawyers

What remains the case is that our society will, more than ever, rely on business to get through, hence the Chancellor’s further raft of support measures, including self-employed grants, extended Job Support Scheme and retrospective grants, particularly to the leisure and hospitality sector. We are officially in recession, but we will come out of it. Your Chamber’s recent Q3 economic outlook index showed improvement from Q2, but what will Q4 look like?

Stefan said: “I am very proud of a career during which I have achieved far more than I ever anticipated or aspired to. I have worked with some fantastic people both at Alsters Kelley and within the criminal justice system, many of whom have become very good friends. I will miss them and the work tremendously, but I am looking forward to spending more quality time with my wife, children and grandchildren. “I am leaving the criminal litigation department in great hands, as Jas ThIara will now take over as sole head of department. Jas is not only an excellent lawyer but also has great commercial and business acumen which will stand her and Alsters Kelley in good stead as she strives to develop the department going forward. Cathy Wahlberg, MD of Alsters Kelley Solicitors, said: “There is hardly anyone

Lodders’ managing partner Paul Mourton

Local law firm Lodders has retained its top tier rankings in the 2020 edition of the UK’s leading guide to the best law firms and lawyers, The Legal 500.

Seven of the firm’s specialist practice areas and 22 of its solicitors have been recognised by the guide, with three of its lawyers named as “leading individuals”. For the second year running, Lodders’ family, private client (personal tax, trusts and probate), real estate, and agriculture and estates teams retained the highest top tier ranking. Also ranked again this year are Lodders’ charities team (tier two), corporate and commercial team (tier three), and its dedicated property litigation practice. The Legal 500 gives special recognition to a number of Lodders’ legal specialists,

including charities and not-forprofit lawyer Mark Lewis, and head of Lodders’ family law practice Beverley Morris, who both retain their standing as “leading lawyers” in the guide’s elite list of the UK’s most outstanding lawyers. For the first time, Mark Miller, partner and head of Lodders’ real estate practice, one of the largest in the West Midlands, joined the roll-call of leading lawyers. With particular experience in strategic land matters, Mark works primarily with landowners across the country on large-scale residential developments and strategic land matters. The guide describes Lodders’ family law practice as “one

of the finest private client firms in the Midlands” and its head Beverley Morris as an “exceptional practitioner” who is “totally committed to her clients” and “handles her cases with great skill and dexterity”. Commenting on Lodders’ rankings, its managing partner Paul Mourton said: “This year’s Legal 500 recognises many members of our ambitious team of talented lawyers, which includes many of the best practitioners in individual specialist areas who consistently demonstrate exceptional legal skill and deliver the very best standards of client service.” For more information: www.lodders.co.uk

Photography firm selected as AOP 2020 finalist Chamber member Lorentz Gullachsen has been selected as a finalist in the AOP 2020 awards. He was shortlisted in the portrait category for his portrait of Rev Tim Hewes, an Extinction Rebellion activist photographed in Oxford during January 2020. Lorentz said: “I wanted to produce portraits of these people who are so passionate

about climate change and its impact on society. What the XR Extinction Rebellion was doing was often controversial, but climate change is probably the most important issue that was affecting us back in January. “Little did I know what was to come. These portraits at that time gave human face to the organisation and cause but events overtook the project. However, the portraits are a historic record and I am

very proud that this one was shortlisted for the AOP awards and the collection documented a group of people who want to save the world. “I am now working on more personal projects as well as my commercial work, which is often influenced by the portraits I take for my artistic practice. Art and commerce are a powerful combination; gaining recognition from the AOP has made a great impact

on my career. I have featured in the awards many times since the 1980s with advertising and personal projects; this has helped me with my profile and it is something I would recommend to any aspiring photographer – enter awards, especially the Association of Photographers Awards.” For more information visit www.gullachsen.com

Willsons Solicitors expands with merger Willsons Solicitors has announced that it has completed a merger with Tustain Jones and Co. The newly merged firm will be known as Willsons Solicitors. The deal has enabled the firm to expand its partner base to five, with Peter Tustain and Annamaria Stanford now on board, and secure a large readymade residential conveyancing department to deal with a growing number of conveyancing transactions. The firm said it was seeing a large amount of new builds and increased property developments, especially with people taking advantage of the government’s stamp duty holiday, in Nuneaton, Warwickshire and the wider area.

Peter Tustain will head the residential conveyancing department and is keen to act for developers selling properties or buying plots of land, together with first-time buyers or families looking to move to a larger property. The firm will also be strengthened by the addition of Annamaria Stanford, a solicitor who deals with wills and probate matters. Annamaria has a background in family law and for the last few years has been specialising in wills and probate. Her family law background gives her an insight into the complexities that making a will can highlight and she is able to give expert legal advice on this area of law.

Bob Willson, managing partner of Willsons Solicitors, said: “We are very pleased that Tustain Jones and Co. has joined our firm. We feel that this means our firm can continue to grow and continue to strive forward. “We would like to thank our clients for their ongoing support, together with the clients from Tustain Jones and Co. We welcome all clients from the two firms in the hope that we can continue to do business together in the future.” Willsons Solicitors will continue to operate from its base in Coton Road, Nuneaton.

Best regards David Penn



Coventry & Warwickshire in business

President & People

Seventh heaven for Bromwich Hardy with new award success “There are now real signs of things improving and we are delighted to have been able to strengthen our team as a result.” The agency recently took on Coventry University business management student Mark Booth to help with its social media accounts and administration. His appointment is the fourth the company has made as part of an ongoing relationship with the university to offer work placements to students.

New starters Hayley Smith, Sam Cooper and Mark Booth

Commercial property specialist Bromwich Hardy is in seventh heaven after scooping a prestigious award for the seventh year running. The Coventry-based agency has been named Warwickshire’s most active agent by respected industry publication Estates Gazette – retaining the title it has won every year since 2014. The win comes as the agency revealed it has recruited new staff to deal with a surge of business since the coronavirus lockdown was lifted.

Founding partners Tom Bromwich and Richard Hardy said they were delighted with the latest success. They said: “We took the decision to continue working in full throughout the lockdown and not furlough any staff and this award vindicates the faith we placed in our fantastic team and wonderful clients. Even though the commercial sector was so badly affected, we still managed to conclude deals worth millions of pounds and provide the unrivalled commercial service which has become our trademark.

Also joining Bromwich Hardy is Sam Cooper who graduated from Lancaster University two years ago with a politics and economics degree. Sam is now studying for a masters in real estate at Birmingham University whilst working in the agency team. The newest member of the team is Hayley Smith who has joined the accounts department as a property accounts assistant. Hayley has passed her AAT accountancy exams at levels one and three and her ACCA accountancy qualification at level two. For more information visit www.bromwichhardy.com

Lodders’ property partners unite to launch specialist team Responding to growing numbers of businesses seeking specialist legal advice on their property purchases, sales and leases, Midlands law firm Lodders has created a new team including some of the region’s top commercial property lawyers. The firm’s new business property and renewables team is spun out of Lodders’ award-winning and top-ranking real estate practice that is one of the largest in the West Midlands with 32 specialist real estate, commercial property, planning, construction and highways legal experts. Partner Alastair Frew has been appointed head of the new team, which has been created in response to the current shifting market conditions for all business property owners and occupiers brought about by the challenges of COVID-19. He said: “Some businesses make income from letting out property, while others need relevant and affordable property in order to conduct their operations. All businesses require sound, pragmatic and dependable legal advice to secure the best deals, rates and terms from their contracts. “Business property matters have always been at the core of Lodders’ property and real estate work, and


Law firm Lodders has launched a new Business Property and Renewables team - led by partner Alastair Frew (left), the team includes Donna Bates, Anna Turnell, Ian Yarde, Josy Haigh, Steven Baker, and (not pictured) Constantine Berry and Lee Thompson.

“Using a combination of our specialist technical knowledge and commercial appreciation, we provide clients with expert assistance for all of their business property needs.

seeking advice for the future, the business property group is set up to handle many different types of work, with our clients ranging from individuals and businesses to charities and pension schemes. The properties we regularly act and advise on are varied, including shops, offices, industrial premises, nursing homes, restaurants, pubs and hotels.”

“Whether our clients are buying or selling, owners or tenants, or just

For more information visit www.lodders.co.uk

now is the right time to deliver clarity and focus for the firm’s private business clients, with services dedicated to the buying, selling and leasing of commercial property premises.

Farewell to well-known Midlands’ property man One of the Midlands’ leading commercial property specialists has announced his retirement after a career spanning 40 years. Bromwich Hardy partner Andrew Cosnett – Cossie to his huge contact book of colleagues and clients – has called time on a career which has seen him act for developers, property companies and occupiers across the region’s industrial and logistics market. Andrew, who joined Bromwich Hardy three years ago, said he was finally looking forward to spending more time with his family after four decades of travelling to all corners of the Midlands. He said: “I have had an absolutely wonderful career and there is nothing I would change about it at all. I have run my own company, worked for some fabulous businesses and been privileged to act for hundreds of terrific clients who have since become friends. “I will miss work tremendously, but the time has come to concentrate on my own life a little more and spend a little bit of time with my family and grandchildren.” Andrew’s working life started in 1980 with Grimley & Son in Birmingham – now Avison Young – having graduated from the University of Reading with a BSc land management degree – the first year it had been awarded. He was a partner in his own business, Cosnett Price, for more than 20 years, worked for King Sturge in Birmingham, was a director at JLL and the regional head of industrial and logistics for BNP Paribas. Tom Bromwich founding partner of Bromwich Hardy, said: “There is hardly anyone in the industry that Cossie does not know and does not regard as a friend. He is enormously well-respected across the whole region for his knowledge and experience. “He has helped establish Bromwich Hardy as a major player in the Midlands and on a wider stage and we will miss his insight and humour immensely.”


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The Government has announced details of a new incentive payment available to all employers who hire a new apprentice. The incentive is available between 1st August 2020 and 31st January 2021. Age Of New Apprentice

Incentive Payment

16 - 24


25 +


This payment will be in addition to the existing £1,000 incentive payment that the Government already provides for new apprentices aged between 16-18, and those aged under 25 with an Education Health Care Plan, where that applies. At WCG Apprenticeships, we offer the widest range of apprenticeship standards in the region, allowing us to meet the needs of almost all businesses. We are able to offer apprenticeships within the following sectors: • Agriculture • Health & Care • Animal Care • Horticulture Inc. Golf Greenkeeping & Sports Turf • Business & Professional • Hospitality • Construction • IT • Engineering • Motor Vehicle • Equine & Farriery • Veterinary Nursing • Hairdressing


£3,00 0

Contact our Business Development team who will be able to help you negotiate the new incentives so that they benefit you in the best way possible:

0330 135 6940 | employerenquiries@wcg.ac.uk Visit wcg.ac.uk/apprenticeships for more information. info@wcg.ac.uk


Profile for Benham Publishing Limited

C&W in Business November 2020  

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Manageme...

C&W in Business November 2020  

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Magazine, Latest Local Business Issues, National Business News, Accountancy and Fiscal Manageme...

Profile for benham