May - June 2021
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Louise Bennett There’s a new High Sheriff in town Page 20
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Dear Chamber of Commerce Member, It’s hard to believe that we are, once again, into a new financial year for most of our businesses. Time seems to move so fast!
by Louise Bennett OBE DL Chief Executive Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce
Let’s all hope that this year, and into the future, we can really start opening up our economy and our lives in the face of, I believe, what will always be the challenge of keeping Covid19 in abeyance. As I suspect you have, I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to visit both the hairdressers and the local pub, happier days! Indeed, mid-April, I took the opportunity, with my family, to spend the evening in Coventry, enjoying what our City has to offer including being able to sit in the open-air and enjoy a drink and a meal. Coventry and Warwickshire has so much to offer those who live, work, and visit and I believe we will see a significant rebound of our economy (Covid permitting) and, as detailed in our latest quarterly economic survey, it is great to see confidence across all business sectors starting to bounce back. Your Chamber of Commerce has continued to support local businesses and learners, throughout Covid19, we have been “open for your business” and we will continue to do so, so do not hesitate to give us a call on 02476 654321. Many of you will know that, on 30th March 2021, I was proud to take up the role of the High Sheriff of the County of the West Midlands, which is a role that acts in the best interests of our judiciary and all those who keep us safe, but also one which provides a platform to promote the very best of our region. In fact, I uniquely used the Declaration Ceremony to showcase Coventry, our UK City of Culture, which opens up a year long of celebrations from 15th May and we can all look forward to a first, signature event of Coventry Moves on 5th June 2021. Very exciting!
May - June 2021
Sadly, my first two formal High Sheriff commitments were in remembrance of HRH Prince Phillip who, I am sure we will all agree, did so much in his service to The Queen and this great nation. More recently, I have enjoyed, as High Sheriff, attending a Coventry Equality Day celebration, a virtual evening full of thought leadership, song and dance, and a United in Hope event, organised by the Alumni of Warwick University Business School. I hope that our Members and Partners believe that, on their behalf, we have continued to be a strong voice of Coventry and Warwickshire and you have my assurances that we will continue to be so, fighting for more support for hospitality, tourism and leisure; speaking to Government about how they need to now, and in the years to come, support a low cost, business friendly trading environment; and continuing to call for the need for more employment land if we are to grow our resilient and dynamic subregion. A final piece of great news, in the face of worrying high levels of youth unemployment, I can announce that this Chamber of Commerce, as a Kickstart Gateway, working with the Department of Work & Pensions is now ‘placing’ young people into kickstart placements. This allows your Chamber to be ‘open’ again to any employer who wishes to apply, through us, for a kickstart placement, funded up to 25 hours per week, for six months, by the Government. Our kickstart work fits neatly with the hard work and efforts of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training who continue to support hundreds of apprenticeships and, similarly, are keen to talk to any employer (as we open up the economy) interested in taking on a new apprentice. Kind regards, Louise, Mrs L Bennett-Bayliss OBE, DL Chief Executive Chamber of Commerce
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First tickets for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 events go on sale On Friday 30 April, the first tickets went on Observations on Being was commissioned sale for Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture by Coventry City of Culture Trust and 2021 which kicks off on 15 May 2021. produced in partnership with York Mediale. Presented in partnership with Historic More than 55,000 tickets will be available Coventry Trust, Warwickshire Wildlife to buy for 15 events via the Coventry City Trust and Coventry City Council. of Culture website coventry2021.co.uk Observations on Being is funded by The events take place at seven different the National Lottery Heritage Fund venues across the city and represent around 3,500 individual admission times or shows. and supported by the Garfield Weston This is the first on sale date for UK City Foundation. The Tides Within Us was of Culture 2021 with further tickets being originally supported and presented by released throughout the year and into 2022. York Museums Trust. • Productions from the Belgrade Theatre’s Tickets are on sale for the following events: programme of modern and diverse • A limited number of pre-sale tickets for theatre will also go on sale including Faith (11 September 2021), a celebration Like There’s No Tomorrow (19 Mayand exploration of the many faiths that 13 June 2021), a digital production of the guide our lives, in a powerful citywide youth climate change work originally theatre event. Faith is co-produced by the devised by Belgrade’s Young Company Coventry City of Culture Trust and the Royal and one of the first National Theatre Shakespeare Company in collaboration Connections plays to be co-created by with Coventry’s diverse faith communities. young people. Like There’s No Tomorrow • The world’s best-known prize for visual was created by The People of Coventry, arts, Turner Prize 2021 (29 September 2021 Justine Themen, Ruby Spencer-Pugh. – 12 January 2022), in the West Midlands • Roundabout, a co-production with Paines for the first time this autumn, presenting Plough and the Belgrade Theatre for its annual exhibition of shortlisted artists Coventry UK City of Culture will present at Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. a festival of new world-class plays and community-led activities in the world’s • A major new commission by leading art first plug-in, pop-up and play theatre and technology studio Marshmallow Laser (27 July – 8 August 2021). The four plays Feast, Observations on Being (22 June that will be played in repertory are Hungry – 15 August 2021), previously called The by Chris Bush (30 July – 8 August 2021), Tides Within Us. An installation of music, Really Big and Really Loud by Phoebe voice, ground-breaking visual worlds, Eclair-Powell (27 July – 8 August 2021), sensory effects and technologies located May Queen by Frankie Meredith in Coventry’s London Road Cemetery (29 July – 8 August 2021) and Black Love and Charterhouse Heritage Park and is by Chinonyerem Odimba, in association one of the first large-scale visual arts with Tiata Fahodzi, with music by Ben commissions to be unveiled as part Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture. and Max Ringham (28 July – 8 August).
As part of UK Asian Film Festival (27 - 29 May 2021) the Belgrade Theatre will host five film premieres, socially distanced in their B2 auditorium, including the world premieres of The Beatles and India and Toofan Mail. The programme also includes Pakistani film Zindagi Tamasha and Indian films Khape and Fire of Teak and Flame of Chinar. • Specially commissioned production The Allesley Silas (28 July – 1 August 2021) a new, site specific largescale musical theatre production inspired by George Eliot’s Silas Marner, created with communities in Allesley, Coventry. The Allesley Silas is produced by From the Heart Theatre in association with Coventry City of Culture Trust with support from Arts Council England, Great Place and Trust funding. • The Lost Lending Library (25 October 6 November 2021), the UK theatre premiere presented by Punchdrunk Enrichment for family audiences and school groups that invites children (aged 4-12) to discover a magical world, a celebration of books and the journeys they take us on. • The Vanishing Land (8 October 2021), a new teacher-led adventure for years 5 and 6 encouraging students to learn about their local geography. This teacherled project is conceived and designed by Punchdrunk Enrichment. All events are being planned in a flexible and responsive way, to allow them to be presented throughout 2021-22 in line with the guidelines at the time they take place.
Vibrant new retail store now open Coventry City of Culture Trust’s vibrant new retail store, ticketing and information centre opened in the city centre on 30 April. The Trust has been working with partners to fit-out the unit at 31-35 Hertford Street over recent weeks to launch before the UK City of Culture year starts on 15 May, remaining open through to May 2022. The store, which is open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm and on Sunday 11am-5pm, is offering Coventry City of Culture merchandise – from clothing and postcards to exclusive, bespoke and artisan items by local makers – as well as providing a ticketing service and information on upcoming events. It will showcase and sell original artworks and products created by artists and makers from Coventry and Warwickshire.
The new location is also home to a studio for media broadcasts, a meeting space for visiting delegates from across the UK and beyond, and a refreshments offer, which will feature food and drinks made by Coventry businesses. The store will be a hub for Coventry 2021 right across the year and will provide a place for the public to find out everything they need to know about the year as UK City of Culture. Laura McMillian, Director of Audience Strategy, said: “We are excited to open our shop today, and welcome the people of Coventry to what will be a central hub for our City of Culture year. “It is great to see the city starting to open up again as we follow the roadmap out of restrictions, and to have a physical space where visitors can buy a ticket for
City of Culture events, pick up a coffee and something to eat or buy merchandise. “With just a couple of weeks to go until our year gets underway, this store will be a hive of activity and help put Coventry UK City of Culture at the heart of city.”
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Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Midlands app developer scores with Soccer Pots mini-leagues in which each member makes predictions about future games. The canniest pundits can win cash from an agreed pool.
Warwickshire app development company Apps Plus chalked up two lockdown wins recently through a new partnership with a local SME and by building a fresh new soccer app. The Soccer Pots app offers an exciting, responsible way to stay involved with the national game and connected to friends. The Midlands-headquartered venture offers users the chance to test their football knowledge against that of their friends. Groups of friends can form
Alan Hartin, MD of Apps Plus, said: “With stadia closed nationwide, now just seemed the ideal time for the Soccer Pots app. It provides users with a way to get together with their mates – if only virtually for now – and enjoy a bit of footie-based banter.” Ideal for lockdown life, but also with plenty of room for growth as grounds and fans get back to match days in the future, Soccer Pots is already shooting up the download tables. It’s available for Apple and Android handsets and promises to bring people together just as it did these two companies.
Matt Nunn, MD of Soccer Pots, said: “For new SMEs like ours, apps are a great way to reach an audience quickly. The key, though, is to find a developer that’s focused on the particular needs of businesses like ours – and Apps Plus proved to be exactly that. “Their no-nonsense, jargon-free approach really helped us navigate through the development process. It didn’t feel difficult at all.” Just as there’s no bar to entry for would-be footie experts in the pub or on Soccer Pots, Apps Plus believes that there’s no reason why every SME shouldn’t explore what an app might do for them – and get it built quickly and cost-effectively.
Company Cars benefit in lockdown
Envisage Group launches flexible workforce programme
Spring is here, lockdown is easing and the 2020/21 tax year, a year like no other, has come to an end. Much as many of us would like to forget it, unfortunately there is still tax administration to be done.
Engineering concept design and realisation company, Envisage Group, has launched a new flexible workforce programme through its specialist recruitment division. The scheme aims to help clients and individuals address the new normal of workspace restrictions and forthcoming changes to off-payroll working regulations. With a proven track record as a top technical recruitment company specialising in permanent and contract positions, Envisage Group is leading the way with the automotive engineering industry, identifying flexible ways of working for businesses and employees, and focusing on selecting and providing access to the best available talent that is fully aligned with the needs of a business.
Firstly a reminder of the basics:
Envisage Group offers several different options for employers and employees. This includes selection and recruitment for permanent employment, packages of work or deliverables-based contracts, PAYE employment or contractor positions. The group recognises that in order for clients to meet their business needs, new models for resource are required, ensuring no disruption to their projects or programmes. The new normal and changes to off-payroll working regulations continue to drive unique work processes in organisations. Envisage Group can help businesses through these challenging times by providing cost-effective resource solutions, easing the administrative burden and allowing employees and employers to focus on core competencies and skills.
Tim Strafford, CEO of Envisage Group, said: “Envisage Group is leading the automotive and mobility industry with our flexible workforce programme. In anticipation of the changes to the working environment, this new service builds on our existing expertise in the field of recruitment. We can help provide flexible work programmes to suit the needs of a business – and flexible ways of working for contractors too. These processes can often take a while to realise, but our new programme can streamline the process through expert support and experience, ultimately providing the employer and employee with the optimum solution.” For more information visit https://www.envisagegroupltd.com
Coventry manufacturer achieves staff wellbeing accreditation Mecalac Construction Equipment UK has achieved Thrive at Work Bronze Level Accreditation at its UK manufacturing headquarters in Coventry. Coming as part of the company’s health and wellbeing strategy, the award positions Mecalac as an employer that supports positive workplace health and wellbeing. A workplace initiative designed to promote healthy lifestyles, Thrive at Work aims to promote and improve the health of employees across the UK. To achieve Bronze Level Accreditation status, Mecalac was required to demonstrate its commitment to a number of key organisational enablers of health, which included a safe working environment for its employees and promotion of positive health and wellbeing towards making healthy choices.
As part of this process, the HR team, in conjunction with health & wellbeing champions, delivered in-depth evidence on a variety of subjects including eating, exercise, stress management, musculoskeletal, health and safety, policies and procedures, while team members were asked to submit a survey about their awareness and understanding. Sharon Challis-Brown, head of HR and HSE at Mecalac Construction Equipment UK, said: “In 2019, we introduced our health and wellbeing strategy. Since then, we have continuously developed our offering to support team members with advice, information and resources. “At Mecalac, we are committed to creating a safe working environment that supports our employees and promotes positive employee health and wellbeing. This accreditation perfectly demonstrates our progress, ambition and team-wide commitment.”
With UK production operations headquartered at Prologis Park, Mecalac is one of Coventry’s most prominent employers. Renowned for its globally-acclaimed portfolio of construction plant machinery, the company prides itself on setting new standards in quality, performance and capability.
• 2020/21 P60s must be issued to employees by 31 May. • Benefits in Kind must be reported to HMRC on forms P11d and P11d(b) by 6 July along with payment of Class 1A National Insurance Contributions. • Self Assessment tax returns for individuals, trusts and partnerships must be submitted by 31 January 2022. Focusing on benefits in kind, many employees with company cars will have used them very little for long periods of the last tax year as a result of working from home. They might therefore feel they have had little actual benefit from the car. However HMRC have issued guidance stating they consider company cars were still ‘available for private use’ and therefore a taxable benefit even for periods where the employee was instructed not to use the car and/or can show that they did not use it. HMRC will only accept a company car is unavailable if the employee has returned the keys to the employer or a third party such that is impossible for them to drive the car. Where the keys are returned but the contract is not terminated, HMRC will only accept the car is unavailable after 30 consecutive days from the date the keys are handed over. If you would like to discuss this or any other tax matter further please contact Paul Spencer or David Thomas-Walls on 02476 257481 or firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com respectively. For more information please visit our website www.sgduk.com
For more information visit www.mecalac.com/en
Leading figure says parity needs to be achieved at the top of business One of the UK’s most senior female business figures says closing the gender pay gap and achieving parity at the top of big business has to be achieved more quickly. Baroness Ruby McGregorSmith, the president of the British Chambers of Commerce, was the guest of honour at the launch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s 21in21 Women in Business Mentoring Programme. The new scheme has matched 21 mentors with 21 mentees across the region to offer one-to-one support including advice, guidance and inspiration to help drive forward with their ambitions, either within an existing business or with their own venture. Mentors have been handpicked from a range of sectors and backgrounds – including manufacturing and logistics through to hospitality and professional services. Baroness McGregor-Smith said mentors played a crucial role in
supporting women to achieve their goals in business and praised the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber’s new programme. But she said more had to be done to level the playing field. “There’s nothing acceptable about there being a large gender pay gap and, if we carry on at the rate we are going, it won’t be closed until 2043,” Baroness McGregor-Smith told an audience of businesswomen. “We have to be bolder and we have to go faster. “It’s not acceptable that we haven’t got 50/50 boardrooms at the top of big business. It has to change.” She added: “Mentors are incredibly important in helping individuals to
achieve their potential in business. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great people who have told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. “I’ve had tough times along the way too – I don’t believe anyone who says that it’s all been plain sailing! “I’d say to the mentors on this programme to be really good listeners and help the person you are mentoring to develop a plan of what you both want to achieve from it. Have some defined deliverables that you can check the progress on.” The new initiative is being sponsored by the West Midland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association (WM RFCA) and builds on the Chamber’s successful
“Mentors are incredibly important in helping individuals to achieve their potential in business. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great people who have told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be.”
Women in Business network which has provided networking opportunities and inspirational role models for businesswomen across the region over many years. Siamha Butt, Head of Engagement at WM RFCA, said: “We strongly believe in female leadership and that’s why we continue to support the Chamber’s Women In Business network through this new 21in21 initiative. “We want to increase the number of female leaders in our own world and this kind of engagement is key to that.” Keely Hancox, Operations Manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We were all truly inspired by Baroness McGregor-Smith’s story and her call to action on achieving parity for women in business. “We were also delighted to hear from our sponsor – the WM RFCA – and look forward to seeing how the programme progresses over the coming months.”
Virtual expo welcomes over 2,000 visitors “We’re all still feeling our way in this new virtual world and, whilst we had to overcome some difficulties getting used to new technology, it was important that we tried something new for our members. The feedback we’ve received has been excellent from those who attended across the week.”
More than 2,000 visitors attended a West Midlands-wide virtual expo as Chambers across the region continue to lead the support for firms through the Covid-19 crisis. Around 200 exhibitors – including over 50 from Coventry and Warwickshire – signed up to the West Midlands Business Week & Virtual Expo, which was organised by five Chambers of Commerce across the region. It was a chance to pilot both a virtual expo experience and the five Chambers working in collaboration on a region-wide event. As well as being able to visit virtual stands, which included information on each exhibitor, access to their website and video content, the expo also offered a series of business focused webinars across the week, delivered in the Virtual Seminar Room. The Coventry and Warwickshire region, which was sponsored by Wright Hassall, took the lead on Thursday and visitors heard from chief executive Louise Bennett before getting the latest on Coventry’s plans for UK City of Culture 2021. The day’s events were concluded by a seminar hosted by Wright Hassall on the Commercial and VAT implications of Brexit on businesses in the region. Chris Nagle, Events, Communications and Marketing Manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said:
“We are delighted to have delivered our first week-long West Midlands expo in collaboration with other Chambers across the region. “We’re all still feeling our way in this new virtual world and, whilst we had to overcome some difficulties getting used to new technology, it was important that we tried something new for our members. The feedback we’ve received has been excellent from those who attended across the week. “Throughout the pandemic, Chambers have been pioneering ways to help companies through the crisis and the expo was an opportunity for businesses to come together in a virtual way to network and market themselves. “We were very grateful for the support from Wright Hassall, which helped to make the event a success, and for the update on UK City of Culture and the exciting opportunities it is bringing to the region.” Sarah Perry, Managing Partner at Wright Hassall, said: “Attending and supporting events such as this play a key role in ensuring that we keep our fingers on the pulse of the challenges and opportunities facing the business community, and how we can help. “There has never been a more important time for businesses to come together to support each other as the country emerges from this pandemic.” www.cw-chamber.co.uk
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Following the successful launch of our 21in21 Women in Business Mentoring Programme on International Women’s day, March 8th, Keely Hancox, Operations Manager and Programme Lead is pleased to share that our Mentors are already making a big impact on our Mentees. 21in21 secured a range of business leaders from some incredible organisations across Coventry and Warwickshire, all signing up to mentor
on this programme. Our mentors have committed to the programme to give something back and believe in the importance of supporting women to grow and develop in business. Some have personally been mentored in the past and have talked about the value, and impact, this has had their own career. All have shared their passion for supporting this initiative. We received an overwhelming response from prospective Mentees, including those running an established business, those in the early phases of growing their own small business, as well as those working in both the public and private sector, who wanted some guidance on how they can develop within their organisation.
We whittled it down to our final cohort, carried out the matching, linked Mentors to Mentees and brokered introductions. During the final weeks of March, it was a busy time with all Mentees and Mentors meeting, albeit virtual, and their mentoring journey commencing. Initial sessions have covered a wealth of information, including career goals, strengths and weaknesses, business planning through to some specific advice around logistics and sales. Some mentors have also reached out to the Chamber’s Business Support team, providing that added value and advice on specific issues. Already our Mentees have quoted that their Mentor has really helped them ‘drill down’, putting their ideas into practice,
they have put a ‘spring in their step’, helped them start to push out of their comfort zone, as well as helping them to build their confidence and business skills. It really is exciting to see, even after only a few months, the difference the support, advice and guidance that mentoring is having on our Mentees. Over the coming months we will be rolling out a series of events and workshops to complement our 21in21 programme starting off with our first workshop on the 17th of June, which will be delivered by Major Samantha Lucas-Floyd, a representative of our Programme Sponsor – WM RFCA – who will deliver a session on what strong leadership looks like.
My journey from Reservist to Cadet Force Adult Volunteer
Petty Officer (SCC) Lisa Wood MA is the Officer in Charge of Redditch & Bromsgrove Sea Cadets. As a volunteer, Lisa has embraced the opportunity to help develop the lives of young people in her community; here she shares her journey to becoming a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer (CFAV). I served in the Royal Naval Reserves in Birmingham, at HMS Forward, for over 21 years. With the unfortunate disbandment of my branch, I hung up my Tricorn hat in 2009 saying goodbye to an organisation
that had blessed me with some of the most amazing memories, skills and friends to whom I would still entrust with my life. To leave an organisation that had played a huge part in my life and had given me so much, it was inevitable that a void would be left. Therefore, I became a member of the Royal Naval Association, the Wrens Association and even established a weekly breakfast club for veterans and serving personnel who were in need of some military humour, camaraderie and support.
Meet our Mentors “With the disruption we have all faced this last year, what would you say has been the most challenging part for you?” www.cw-chamber.co.uk
Then in 2017 whilst shopping, two very helpful and polite young people, a Royal Marine Cadet and a Sea Cadet, assisted me in packing my bags at the checkout. I commented on how smart they looked, popped some money in the charity bucket and by the time I reached the door, I had made an appointment with the Commanding Officer to become a CFAV. Having completed the enrolment criteria to become an adult instructor, three years on, I am now the Officer in Charge of Redditch & Bromsgrove Sea Cadet Unit, with 65 cadets who form a remarkable Ships Company and Royal Marines Cadet Detachment. The Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) is a disciplined, uniformed youth organisation with the aim of giving young people the best possible head start in life through nautical adventure and fun, based on the customs and traditions of the Royal Navy. As a charitable organisation, the SCC provides for all young people and offers a multitude of onshore and offshore activities, hands on qualifications such as BTECs and community engagement for both cadets and volunteers such as the National Citizen Service, alongside the development of confidence, independence and depth of character.
The cornerstone of the organisation is the Sea Cadet Values, which are instilled and embraced by all cadets and adult volunteers: • Commitment – to do what I say I will • Courage – to do what I know is right • Self-Discipline – to do what I must • Respect – to appreciate and be considerate to others • Honesty and Integrity – to tell the truth and be a good person • Loyalty – to be faithful to those who invest in me Being an Adult Volunteer and Officer in Charge is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, and I feel privileged to be part of an organisation who not only contributes to the shaping of young people’s lives, but also alongside its core values and respect amongst its members, provides a fun, safe and supportive place for young people to thrive. The Sea Cadet Corps inspires, motivates and educates young people to be the best they can possibly be for today and the future. I just wished I had known about it earlier!
Cadets and CFAVs alike come from all walks of life and all embark on their own unique journey into the Sea Cadet Corps. For further details about becoming a Sea Cadet or adult volunteer, please visit https://www.sea-cadets.org/join-us
We will be featuring Mentors in each edition...
Dr Sharon Redrobe OBE, CEO, Twycross Zoo ‘Whilst I’ve enjoyed the need to be creative and solve problems, accepting the things you can’t change has been tough.’
Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director, Coventry City of Culture Trust ‘The most challenging thing, over the last year, has been not being able to enjoy building this incredible, once in a lifetime City of Culture programme with my team in person.’
Cheryll Rawbone ACII FRSA, Chairman, Gallagher Coventry ‘Lack of actual face to face communication and collaboration has been the biggest challenge, coupled with maintaining momentum/ motivation, and on a personal level adapting to a slower paced lifestyle.’
Mirius listed in business growth index
Coventry College unveils new courses to aid COVID-19 recovery
Mirius has ranked 138th in the twelfth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 – 2021. The index ranks Britain’s midmarket private companies with the fastest-growing international sales. This year’s special COVID-19 edition highlights the important contribution that private companies have made during the pandemic. Already a global manufacturer of cleaning and hygiene products, Mirius turned its attention to the production of antiviral cleaning products at the beginning of the pandemic to supply healthcare providers and consumers with high performance antiviral cleaning solutions. Mirius was able to develop, test and supply antiviral surface disinfectants, including its now flagship Hycolin brand, in record time. This vital disinfectant, which has shown to be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19) by independent laboratory tests, has afforded healthcare providers and consumers around the country protection against harmful bacteria and viruses during the ongoing pandemic. Now, less than one year since its initial launch, Hycolin has become one of the fastest-selling cleaning products in the grocery sector, having sold millions of bottles in stores such as Savers, Dunnes, Lidl and Aldi as well as hundreds of independent retailers nationwide. Steve Quinlan, CEO at Mirius, said: “We’re proud to be recognised within the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 after several years of incredible growth. At Mirius, we have been committed to offering effective cleaning solutions for over 50 years, and this year we have worked harder than ever to deliver more scientifically excellent cleaning products – when our professional customers and retail consumers have needed them most. We look forward to continuing to expand our ranges and developing additional high-performance products for the future.”
A bumper number of new courses are being launched at Coventry College as part of wider efforts to help the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. A minimum of 12 courses will be open to students from September 2021, including new healthcare, business and performing arts-related courses to reflect rising student demand. Three of the new courses expected to be popular following the pandemic
include the Level 3 Technical certificate in Health & Social care, Level 3 Certificate in Understanding Mental Health, and Level 3 Certificate Understanding Principles of Dementia Care. These three courses allow for flexible study and are backed by the government’s National Skills Fund, entitling most adult learners to free study. The college’s new premium Level 3 Diploma in Enterprise & Entrepreneurship – which is targeted at school leavers – is also preparing for a swathe of interest from entrepreneurial hopefuls ahead of the new academic year. Paul Starkey, director of creative and service industries at Coventry College, said: “We know from our close links to industry that there is a need for more health and social care staff, as well as a need for existing professionals looking to up-skill.
“More people have expressed an interest in working within the health and social care sector after being inspired by the important role that healthcare professionals have played during the pandemic, and our new year-long Level 3 Health & Social Care course will play a key role in meeting this demand.” Another area key to the country’s long-term recovery is the business community. Donna Mason, curriculum manager for business at Coventry College, said: “Around 99.9% of British businesses are SMEs, which will have an important role to play in helping the economy to recover over the coming months. This course has an equally crucial role to play in bringing through the personnel to keep these businesses going in the longer run.” For more information visit www.coventrycollege.ac.uk
Wright Hassall completes two major property deals Midlands law firm Wright Hassall has competed two multi-million-pound commercial property deals within a week of each other. Anna Power, senior associate in Wright Hassall’s commercial real estate team, acted for a private property investment company in securing the acquisition of two properties, each for around £3.1 million. The first acquisition was of four industrial units covering 119,000 sq ft at Bridge Road in Brompton-on-Swale, Catterick from the existing tenant, who has taken a 15-year leaseback of the units as part of the deal. The second deal was the acquisition of the recently refurbished and
extended 53,000 sq ft industrial property on the Altham Industrial Estate in Accrington. The existing tenant will remain in occupation, having signed a 15-year lease less than a year ago. Anna said: “I was delighted to work with this client on securing these two properties. Commercial property deals are often a good indicator of the market. “These two deals underline the confidence investors still have, particularly in the industrial and logistics sectors with good long-term yields, and their resilience in the current economic climate. We also have a number of other deals in the pipeline for this client.”
Wright Hassall worked alongside the client’s property agent, Tom Bromwich from Bromwich Hardy, on closing the deals.
College reveals plans to boost skills and enterprise in Nuneaton the addition of a training restaurant that will be open to the public. The facility is expected to serve more than 2,600 students over the next ten years, support 290 business start-ups and deliver value to the economy worth £13.4m.
Outline plans have been revealed by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire (NWSLC) to launch a Digital Skills and Innovation Centre in the heart of Nuneaton that will help to regenerate skills and careers opportunities in the town. The plans follow news earlier this month that Nuneaton was named
as one of 45 UK towns to benefit from £23m from the government’s Towns Fund. NWSLC plans to deliver a new state-of-the-art centre in the heart of the town centre that will enable access to digital skills training, provide an incubation space for business start-ups, and deliver a lifeline to the hospitality sector with
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, principal and chief executive of NWSLC, said: “We’re delighted to be working with My Town Nuneaton to contribute to the regeneration of the town and boost opportunities for people to gain new skills that pave the way for exciting careers. “We know that the UK is facing digital skills shortages and that careers in big data, AI,
and superfast computing are set to grow on the back of swift developments in 5G connectivity. The Digital Skills and Innovation Centre is being designed specifically to address skills development in this area and provide space for entrepreneurs to thrive and grow. “In addition, we have seen the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the hospitality sector. By re-locating our training restaurant to the town centre, we will provide a boost for vocational skills that will help the sector’s recovery in Nuneaton.” For more information visit www.nwslc.ac.uk
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
High 5 training scheme helps pupils on return to classroom
Bruce Williams, Kelly Wright and Arif Ghaffer, of PET-Xi, at St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School
A Merseyside school has teamed up with a national training provider to deliver intensive and immersive lessons to help pupils catch up as they return to the classroom. St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School, in Whiston, has joined together with training provider PET-Xi to deliver GCSE maths and English lessons to some of its year 11 pupils
who are most in need of additional support. PET-Xi is delivering its High-5 training programme to four groups of pupils over the next few weeks at the school, which promises to move a minimum of 70% of the group up by a grade in just five days and to increase their confidence. The move comes as pupils return to the classroom for the first time since December last year. The school is the first location PET-Xi has delivered face-to-face lessons at since the very first lockdown in March last year after moving its programmes online. Steve Smith, business development manager at PET-Xi, said: “We’re extremely pleased to be working with St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School to do what we do best – delivering intensive lessons to pupils. It’s fantastic for us to be back in the classroom delivering face-to-face.
“Year 11 pupils need supporting now more than ever and the sessions we deliver complement everything that the school already has in place.” Helen Charnley, assistant headteacher at St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School, said: “Pupils have found the PET-Xi maths and English sessions invaluable in identifying and closing gaps in learning. “The sessions are enjoyable, engaging and interactive but also academically rigorous and as a consequence, pupils develop their knowledge, skills and understanding and make accelerated progress. “Pupil voice is overwhelmingly positive and we will continue to work with PET-Xi in the future to support and challenge our pupils.” For more information visit https://www.pet-xi.co.uk/
Affordable homes for families across the Midlands
Housing association Midland Heart completed and handed over 350 new homes during the year to March 31, 2021. This includes 131 in Leicestershire, 97 in Staffordshire, 92 in Warwickshire, 12 in the West Midlands and 8 in Northamptonshire. Joe Reeves, executive director of finance and growth at Midland Heart, said: “This is a brilliant achievement for us, especially during what has been a challenging year. All of these new homes have been offered at affordable rent and low-cost home ownership, which is great news for our customers. “This year, we made the decision to extend our corporate plan by a year
and refresh our development target to build 4,000 new homes by March 2025. With over 900 developed over the previous two years and 1,400 properties currently being built on site, we are well over halfway towards our target.” Chris Miller, director of development at Midland Heart, said: “Handing over so many new homes this year while dealing with the various restrictions has been a challenge but I’m pleased that so many families have been able to settle into their new homes as planned. “I’m very proud of the team and their work both within Midland Heart and outside of the organisation with our many partners, developers and local authorities. The bar is set even higher
for 2021-22 with a target of around 800 new homes to be completed by April 2022.” Midland Heart said its forward pipeline was very strong. The company is due to start on several sites this year, including Drakelow Park in Burton-on-Trent in partnership with Countryside Properties. For more information visit www.midlandheartgroup.org.uk
Growth fuels Gas Data expansion
A Coventry manufacturer of portable and fixed gas analysers has recorded year-on-year growth that has allowed it to operate on a grander scale.
Established in 1991, Gas Data is renowned among industry professionals as a manufacturer for industrial applications. The company has seen growth since the new owner, Peter Cieslak, took over the management in 2018. Through the years, Gas Data has been listening to its customers and innovating with well-engineered products and customised services to guarantee the highest quality standard and reliability. The company is an ATEX, UKEX and IECEx-certified manufacturer
with several product accreditations. Currently, Gas Data employs a highly professional team of people. It is now looking to expand its workforce to innovate, advance its technologies to the next level, and increase its presence within the gas industry. The increase in staff allows the company to support and supply more customers than ever. Gas Data is proud to deliver its services to 1,500 customers in more than 50 countries and looks forward to extending its customer base.
Making that all important change stick The last 12 months has seen businesses of all types facing unprecedented challenges. COVID-19 has been a driver for greater innovation. “In a changing world, success depends on our ability to adapt” says Richard Miller, Strategic Services Partner at Dafferns. But how do we make that change stick, and make it more than a leap of faith? Research tells us that the probability of change success in whatever project or initiative you undertake can be as low as 30%, which means there is a 70% probability you will fail. Whilst any adaptation of your model requires an element of ‘trial and error’, there is a risk of a high cost in terms of lost time, reduced confidence, wasted money and poor utilisation of resources. Research by global business experts Mindshop has examined how to improve your probability of change success, identifying 3 main contributing factors:
Readiness (30%) • How ready the organisation and the people within the organisation are to implement change? • Does the leadership visually and emotionally support the change? • Do the participants understand the need for change? • How do you answer the question “What’s in it for me?” • Do you have an appropriate process to bring about the change? • Is there sufficient confidence for it to succeed?
Capability (40%) • The skills, people, training and resources needed to implement change – both operational and dynamic
Beliefs (30%) • The overall attitude of the organisation in relation to the change For your business to be agile it makes sense to identify where the key gaps are before you start, and to put in place specific action plans and key performance indicators to bridge those gaps. We use a simple diagnostic tool as a starting point, in testing how likely a particular plan or initiative is to succeed. A little time invested in assessing whether your business is “change ready” in the first place will boost your probability of achieving those all-important plans as you reset your business for 2021. Try the diagnostic for yourself at https://dafferns.com/diagnostic/changesuccess/. You can find more information at www.dafferns.com or by contacting Richard.Miller@dafferns.com Dafferns Chartered Accountants Trusted Advisers since 1896 Authentic, Agile, Connected
Flurry of activity as Stamp Duty Holiday deadline approaches A leading Coventry law firm has seen a huge growth in property transactions as people take advantage of the Stamp Duty Holiday. Band Hatton Button, based at Earlsdon Park and one of the largest firms in Coventry and Warwickshire, has seen a huge increase in conveyancing work as people look to save money by taking advantage of the Stamp Duty Holiday implemented by the government. The firm’s investment in the very latest technology has helped it provide the highest level of service to clients as staff members continue to blend their time between office and home. Experts at the firm have been using the latest IT equipment and telephone/communication systems which has enabled them to make a seamless transition from the office to homeworking and is helping service the increased level of demand. The firm is now predicting that there will be an increase in other areas of property-based work, such as litigation, when the government’s freeze on residential and commercial evictions expires on May 31.
Band Hatton Button covers a wide range of legal issues for both businesses and individuals specialising in areas including residential and commercial conveyancing, mergers and acquisitions, wills and probate, commercial litigation, employment law and family law. With experts across all areas of law, the firm can offer a bespoke service, which enables clients to approach the firm with specific problems and gain high-quality support and advice. Band Hatton Button has 65 employees and works with clients across the country, including Coventry and Warwickshire, mainly gained through recommendations. It acquired Richardson and Davies 18 months ago to increase its commercial property and litigation reach across Coventry and Warwickshire. The firm’s reputation is underpinned by its internationally recognised ISO, Lexcel and CQS accreditations, which demonstrate thoroughness, accuracy and efficiency in the advice it provides and the way in which it works. A significant number of its departments together with some key lawyers have been commended in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners, legal directories which ranks the most outstanding law firms/ lawyers in the UK.
John French, Partner and Head of Litigation at Band Hatton Button, said: “We have always had a forwardthinking approach when it comes to IT, so when lockdown began, we already had systems in place which meant colleagues could begin working from home straight away and continue to provide the very highest quality of service at all times. “This change in working means that colleagues will have increased flexibility when restrictions are eased as they will be given the opportunity to choose to work from home or in the office. “The sheer diversification and wide-ranging expertise of the business means we have been able to service the needs of our clients throughout the pandemic. “We have seen a huge increase in property related matters and expect a deluge of litigation going forward, as landlords seek to chase substantial
rent arrears and recover possession of their properties. “We have also sadly seen an increase in our wills and probate services as a result of the pandemic and have provided the highest quality legal and emotional support to some very vulnerable people. “We have a wide range of high-quality staff covering all aspects of the law, some of whom have been with us for more than 30 years, providing us with a very strong backbone of knowledge and experience. “We aim to provide excellent legal services with a human touch, giving clients understandable information rather than corporate jargon, and we are extremely proud that around 50% of our business comes from referrals.” Further information about the firm is available at https://www.bandhattonbutton.com
“We have always had a forward-thinking approach when it comes to IT, so when lockdown began, we already had systems in place which meant colleagues could begin working from home straight away and continue to provide the very highest quality of service at all times.”
‘Millionaire’ contract part of Kopek’s growth A Nuneaton security firm has diversified as a result of the pandemic, expanding its range of services to provide an extensive ‘one stop shop’ for clients – something which has even attracted business from the TV and film industry. Kopek Security provides a wide range of services including manned security guards and stewards, security dogs, mobile CCTV units, keyholding, asset protection, high value vehicle escorts, maritime security, void property inspection, emergency response and close protection. The company, which was established in 2018, operates nationwide with a total of 168 members of staff and prides itself on providing a tailored service to meet the needs of its clients. Kopek Security’s high-standard, which has been approved by the SIA, has seen the company secure contracts with businesses and organisations including universities, councils, well-known property builders and film production companies across the country. The company has also been asked to provide security guards for ITV’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire phone-afriend candidates. Kopek Security is now seeing a particular increase in interest in its keyholding services for both commercial and residential properties.
All keys are stored in a secure safe, and the firm’s rapid response units are on call 24-hours-a-day to respond to emergency alarms. Anthony Johnson, of Kopek Security, said: “Our security patrol and asset protection services have always been popular with clients. “They see our guards provide a visual presence at areas such as business parks and other commercial premises or provide asset protection for sectors such as the construction industry, mainly during the night. “This service proved particularly popular around Christmas when our patrol cars were enlisted to shadow high value HGVs transporting the new PS5 and latest iPhone models. “But we are now seeing more clients take an interest in our key holding services which involves colleagues from our rapid response unit attending properties with our security dogs when emergency alarms are triggered.
“They check the property and remain there should the police need to be called. At less than £1 per day, it’s a service which provides great peace of mind to our clients. “We’re also a supporter of local charities and are very proud to offer keyholding to Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice free of charge as a way of giving back to the community.” Anthony added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been a real rollercoaster for us. Event security used to be one of our primary specialisms, but since lockdown began in March last year we’ve worked hard to diversify and position ourselves as a one-stop-shop for security. “While we haven’t been working on many events, we were extremely pleased to be named as a City of Culture 2021 preferred supplier, with one of our first jobs being providing SIA guards and stewards as well as overnight asset protection for the ice rink event at the Cathedral ruins.
“They see our guards provide a visual presence at areas such as business parks and other commercial premises or provide asset protection for sectors such as the construction industry, mainly during the night.”
“The pandemic has meant we have seen an increase in the need for security guards as working from home has resulted in many commercial premises laying vacant for longer periods of time. “We’ve also had a presence at some university campus and accommodation blocks to help ensure Covid-19 restrictions are being followed. “But with the further easing of lockdown on the horizon, we already have some exciting projects in the pipeline, including working with Birmingham Hippodrome on their outdoor events. “We also look forward to continuing our work for Coventry City of Culture 2021 and providing security support during what will be a very exciting year for the city and the wider region.”
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Read all about it… new hotel opens in former newspaper office Coventry’s Telegraph Hotel is all set to make its long-awaited debut – but has already made its impact on the social scene. Based in the heart of the city centre, the eagerly-awaited hotel has been created in the former newspaper headquarters of the Coventry Telegraph. After months of waiting, it opened its rooftop bar – Generators – back in April to huge success and now the hotel will open fully under strict Covid-19 safety measures on May 17. The hotel has been transformed thanks to a two-year, £18 million investment programme by Complex Development Projects and celebrates the cool Mid-Century style of the building. Exuding style, class and charisma, the Telegraph Hotel encompasses a 1950s design that will be simply unforgettable for those visiting whether it’s for business or pleasure. It features 88 beautifully designed bedrooms that are fully air-conditioned, while several of them are duplex penthouse suites, along with large doubles and twins.
The Telegraph’s most luxurious space is the Lord Iliffe Suite – which features its very own hot tub and terrace. There is also the spectacular Winter Garden – which is made up of 11 bedrooms overlooking a private, glazed indoor terrace only accessible from these rooms. The Telegraph Hotel also features an all-day bar and restaurant dining experience – Forme & Chase – for a meal, light bites, celebration dinners, afternoon tea and more. The south-facing Generators rooftop bar overlooking Belgrade Plaza offers a year-round seasonal experience Operated by Bespoke Hotels, the largest independent hotel company in the UK, The Telegraph Hotel also features the latest conference technology.
Conferencing, meetings, weddings and events are well catered for at the Telegraph Hotel with the Editors function space - a large and versatile room, capable of accommodating up to 140 guests across a range of layouts. On the third floor, you can find two private rooms – the Boardroom and Directors – which can each accommodate up to 12 people for smaller meetings and dinner.
“Conferencing, meetings, weddings and events are well catered for at the Telegraph Hotel with the Editors function space - a large and versatile room, capable of accommodating up to 140 guests across a range of layouts.”
What makes the hotel even more appealing is the excellent transport links with it being just four miles away from J3, four miles from J2 and nine miles from J3A of the M6. It is also just ten miles from Birmingham Airport and the NEC. The hotel is also opening at a major time in the history of the city with the national spotlight on UK City of Culture 2021. For further information about the Telegraph Hotel or to book a stay or meal visit www.telegraph-hotel.com People can also keep up-to-date with news and events on the Telegraph Hotel social media pages @CovTelHotel on Instagram and Twitter and follow Telegraph Hotel on Facebook.
Home-working triggers boom in adverse possession A premier law firm has seen a boom in adverse possession applications as the COVID-19 pandemic has meant millions of people are spending more time at home, resulting in a sharpened understanding of how they use their outside space. Lodders Solicitors LLP, which has offices in Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham, Cheltenham and Henley-in-Arden, has seen adverse possession, or squatters’ rights, become something of a hot topic in recent months.
With many people spending more time at home than ever before, homeowners are realising they have been using part of their neighbour’s garden for years and are therefore keen to become registered as the legal owner. The Dispute Resolution team at Lodders has been guiding an increasing number of clients through the process. Ellie Crofts, a Senior Associate at Lodders who specialises in propertyrelated disputes, said: “Adverse possession can be tricky to navigate, so getting professional advice is a key part of the process. “In order to apply for adverse possession of land, there are four principal elements which must be satisfied. “This includes physical occupation of the land, ideally with the land being fenced off; the intention to occupy the land as one’s own to the exclusion of all others, including the legal owner; occupation of the land without the consent of the legal
owner and occupation for the required period of time. “The method of application for adverse possession differs depending on whether the land in question is registered at the Land Registry or unregistered. “For registered land, an applicant must show they have occupied the land for at least 10 years. This rises to 12 years for unregistered land, and even further to 30 years where the relevant land is owned by the Crown. “However, with registered land, the applicant has additional requirements to overcome for a successful application, which were introduced by the Land Registration Act 2012.” Ellie added: “Regardless of whether the land is registered or unregistered, all applications must be supported by evidence. “This can include physical evidence such as fencing, changes in planting on agricultural land, showing a change between grass and cropland, evidence of historic walls or fences and hedges.
“Adverse possession can be tricky to navigate, so getting professional advice is a key part of the process.” Ellie Crofts, Senior Associate www.cw-chamber.co.uk
“Photographs showing enclosure over time can also be used. For instance, in residential properties it is common to have photographs of family in the garden over the years, or of building works carried out, and aerial photographs or Google Earth images can also be very useful. “Statements from the occupiers of the land and neighbours with relevant knowledge can provide witness evidence. Statements from predecessors in title are also crucial if the current owner has not been in occupation of the land for the relevant time period. “So although complex, Lodders’ property dispute specialists are experts at advising and guiding clients through the whole adverse possession application process, and we would welcome anyone with further questions to get in touch.” Lodders has 26 partners and more than 160 fee earners and support staff across its office network. With its portfolio of sector and market specific top-ranking legal teams, the firm has recorded year-onyear growth in recent years. For more information, visit www.lodders.co.uk. Further information about adverse possession applications is available by contacting Ellie Crofts by calling 01789 206 148 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Take Advantage of 50% ESF Funding Never Been a Better Time to Upskill Your Staff Changes to Apprenticeship Funding Chamber Training are supporting local employers to navigate the apprenticeship system, assisting them to set up a digital apprenticeship account which enables businesses to access Government funding to pay for apprenticeship training with 95% or more of the costs covered. As a leading local provider of high quality apprenticeships, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training’s specialist team of advisors have been working closely with businesses to support them in seamlessly accessing apprenticeships via the digital apprenticeship service which is the Government channel through which all employers can access funding for apprenticeships from April. As part of this new way of working, employers can reserve 95% Government funding to pay for apprenticeship training as well as make claims for incentives of up to £4,000 per apprentice as part of the Government’s COVID-19 business support arrangements. Sally Lucas, Executive Director from Chamber Training said: “The transition for all employers onto the digital apprenticeship service will enable employers to directly manage their apprenticeship funding. “At Chamber Training, we are already helping a number of large and small businesses to set themselves up with a digital account and provide them with the tools to easily access the service and engage with apprenticeships. We have experts on hand to support employers to navigate the apprenticeship journey and design tailored programmes that deliver real business impact. “The extension of the digital apprenticeship service will now give businesses more control over their apprenticeship choices and secure access to funding to support the training of apprentices.” Chamber Training is also help businesses access other incentives for creating new apprenticeship roles which provide huge benefits back to the business. To discuss how apprenticeships could help your business or to find out more about the Government incentive scheme, contact Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training’s Business Development Team on 024 7623 1122 or email@example.com
As lockdown eases and businesses start to move to a new normal, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training is urging employers to take advantage of grants of 50% ESF funding for eligible local SMEs through the Coventry & Warwickshire Skills4Growth programme. The funding will offer a lifeline to businesses looking to upskill their workforce and set themselves up for the future. With over 1,200 people engaged in learning, Chamber Training has a strong track record in supporting businesses and working in partnership to design the right training solutions. CW Skills4Growth is a great way to cost effectively enhance skill, improve performance, motivate and increase efficiency in the workplace. There is 50% ESF funding towards both accredited and non-accredited courses including: • Managing Change Successfully • Time Management • Communicating Assertively • Complaint Handling • Professional Telephone Techniques
• Professional Email Writing • Microsoft Excel • Full Team Leader Supervisory Suite Together with accredited qualifications such as: • ILM Management Development Levels 2, 3 & 5 • Award in Education & Training • Certificate in Mental Health Awareness • Train the Trainer Commenting on CW Skills4Growth ESF funding, Natalie Lane, an Account Manager at Chamber Training said: “The funding is a great incentive for employers to upskill employees and we would urge SMEs to get in touch with us to find out if they are eligible for the funding. Our team will work with you to identify your organisation’s training needs and recommend an appropriate solution, with 50% of the costs being met through CW Skills4Growth.” To be eligible, companies must employ no more than 249 people operating in eligible sectors including Business & Professional
(including accountancy), Health and Social Care, Digital and Creative Industries, IT Services and Retail and be based in Coventry & Warwickshire. For more information, or to determine if your business is eligible for support, please contact our Business Development Team on 024 7623 1122 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Businesses offered training in mental health awareness As the current lockdown restrictions begin to ease, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Training is providing mental health training to help businesses manage the mental wellbeing of staff as we pass the pandemic’s 12 month marker. Sally Lucas, Executive Director at Chamber Training commented: “As businesses start to evaluate their plans regarding staff working patterns and locations, it is important to recognise that some individuals may be struggling with their mental health and may be anxious about the prospects of returning to the workplace after working from home for many months. Even before lockdown, the number of days taken off for mental health reasons had soared by 25% year on year and this could be the tip of the ice berg. “Research suggests there is a growing health concern with many businesses not
having the skills needed to support their employees. Mental health can be an extremely complex area and the training we offer ensures businesses have the right mechanisms in place to support individuals, enabling them to fulfil their work roles. “The Certificate in Awareness of Mental Health starts on 7th June and runs over a three day period. The course has been designed around latest research findings, and contains highly practical approaches to identifying mental health issues and creating the infrastructure to support individuals to improve their outcomes. An added advantage is it also leads to a nationally recognised qualification. “As a delivery partner of Coventry & Warwickshire Skills4Growth, eligible businesses are able to access 50% funding towards both accredited and non-accredited courses.
Training Courses 2021
Chamber Member Price + VAT
Non-Member Price + VAT
Microsoft Excel - Intermediate to Advanced Professional Telephone Techniques Professional Email Techniques *Certificate in Awareness of Mental Health Problems Customer Service Essentials Complaint Handling Key Account Management Effective Communication Training & Coaching the Team Time Management Building the Team Motivating the Team Managing Difficult People Understanding Discipline in the Workplace Managing Change Successfully Microsoft Excel - Basic to Intermediate
£130.00 £110.00 £110.00 £450.00 £110.00 £110.00 £110.00 £110.00 £110.00 £220.00 £110.00 £110.00 £110.00 £110.00 £220.00 £130.00
£160.00 £135.00 £135.00 £450.00 £135.00 £135.00 £135.00 £135.00 £135.00 £245.00 £135.00 £135.00 £135.00 £135.00 £245.00 £160.00
*First Aid at Work (HSE Recommended)
Setting Goals & Targets
We urge SMEs to get in touch with us to find out if they are eligible for funding towards such valuable business tools.” To find out more about the Certificate in Awareness of Mental Health 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 email@example.com Places are available now to book at: https://www.cw-chambertraining.co.uk/ employers/courses/short-courses/ health-safety-and-wellbeing/certificatein-awareness-of-mental-healthproblems-level-2-new/ Or get in touch on 024 7623 122 or firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Day Half Day - AM Half Day - PM 3 Days Half Day - AM Half Day - PM Half Day - AM Half Day - AM Half Day - PM 1 Day Half Day - AM Half Day - PM Half Day - AM Half Day - PM 1 Day 1 Day 3 Days (over three weeks) Half Day - AM
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7, 14 & 21 8 8 16 22 22 23 29 29 6 6 6 7 9, 16 & 23 13
Prices subject to VAT. *Includes registration and certification
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Community fund awards largest regional grant to HCT Ambitious plans to create a two-mile countryside walk and cycling route next to the city centre have taken another big step forward after Severn Trent’s community fund awarded its largest grant in the West Midlands region. Created for community groups and projects that aim to improve community wellbeing, the fund has awarded a £198,460 grant to Historic Coventry Trust (HCT) to complete a 330m-long section of the former railway Loop Line. Severn Trent launched its community fund in 2020 and aims to donate £10 million over the next five years to community groups and projects across the region. Across Warwickshire the company has awarded 11 projects in its first year, with funding for community projects that aim to improve the environment and the lives of local people.
The grant is not only the largest the fund has given in the West Midlands, it is also the closest to Severn Trent’s headquarters, with the project less than a mile from the organisation’s offices in Coventry. Historic Coventry Trust will use the grant to transform the central section of the former Loop Line as part of a planned two-mile route along the River Sherbourne and through woodland around Charterhouse Heritage Park. Sue Heyes, Community Fund Officer at Severn Trent said: “We’re so proud that our community fund has been able to support such a fantastic local project, which will create a lasting legacy for years. We believe this project will not only bring massive environmental benefits, but will also play a huge role for Coventry and the people who live here in terms of
Graham Tait from Historic Coventry Trust with Sue Heyes, community fund officer at Severn Trent
volunteering, boosting wellbeing and encouraging communities to connect with nature.” Graham Tait, assistant director at the HCT, said: “We are really grateful for Severn Trent’s support, which allows us to open up a major part of the former railway for public access. It really is a magical place, a stretch of countryside woodland right in the heart of the city.”
EMKA locking solutions for the railway industry EMKA has announced it is now offering a comprehensive range of door locking hardware for the railway industry to suit specialist cabinets on-board or lineside, as well as for passenger doors and storage lockers. Train installations are particularly rigorous with respect to special requirements for safety – even in the smallest detail. For example, the regulations on fire protection play a major role in this area, where EMKA provides its customers with complete systems consisting of closures, hinges, sealing and accessories that comply with sector standards.
They also offer a range of purposedesigned seals for interior and exterior use, which are integrated in a well-thought-out closure program specifically for the railway industry. This railway range is signposted in the new EMKA guidelines on its website which connects to a comprehensive range of locking solutions characterised by their modular design, versatility and high quality. The highest standards are guaranteed at EMKA through the company’s extensive manufacturing know-how and a production control process certified according to ISO 9001. EMKA also provides individual special solutions derived from new customer design requirements. Typical products include a compression latch with flap and an
optical opening indicator with an integral 90° opening flap that serves as a visual opening indicator, which is clearly visible when the lock status is open/uncompressed. There is also a quarter-turn railway lock for use outside the gasketed area and a railway compression latch with opening indicator – the lock is both tamper and vibration proof as is the safety latch lock with status marking. Furthermore, there is a 90° 3D hinge with integrated 3D adjustment by use of eccentric discs and a 180° concealed gear hinge with 180° opening angle. Further information on EMKA locking solutions for the railway industry can be found at www.emka.com/uk_en/ sectors/railroad-industry/.
Funded training available for furloughed employees
Have you got staff on furlough?
You could access funded training for your furloughed employees through the Skills Support for the Workforce programme.
Staff who are on furlough may be feeling detached from the team or their job role. Training through the programme could help to motivate these employees and reengage your team. Training can address skills gaps and make sure your employees have the most up-to-date skills to drive your business forward. We have a network of expert training providers who can deliver hundreds of fully funded and accredited training courses in a range of subject areas including: digital & IT skills, customer service, business
administration, retail and manufacturing. Many of the courses on offer are virtual so employees can learn remotely at home. The SSW programme is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency so the training can be accessed at no cost to your business or the individual. To find out more about the Skills Support for the Workforce programme, visit www.serco-ese.com/ skills-support-for-theworkforce
Plan B for Business! By Graham Freakes
Coming out of lockdown presents most businesses with a changed landscape, so if you had a Plan A you’ll be reviewing it and producing Plan B. If you don’t have a Plan A now is a crucial time to create one – otherwise you risk becoming an eternal firefighter! Don’t miss out on the opportunities offered by Brexit, tax incentives and the new working paradigm! But why plan? Fail to plan – plan to fail! Let’s take a poignant example: Why is England winning the war against Covid more effectively than most of the rest of the World? Planning – pure and simple. Before Christmas Boris had no plan and was firefighting. Then came a plan which has all the necessary features to succeed; • Specific milestones • Measurable indicators • Achievable tasks • Relevant to end result • Timeliness By providing this roadmap to freedom he gave hope, silenced his critics and brought the public onside. You can use this opportunity to bring your team together to create a plan with SMART tasks. You inspire your team to produce a credible plan that will inspire and motivate them to achieve the goals you set. At the end of a short but intense process you’ll have a Single Page Business Plan that shows where you are now, where you want to be and a small number of key SMART projects with actions, dates and owners that will get you between the two. You’ll have molded your team, got the right players in the right positions on the pitch, and all aiming for the same goal. The SPBP acts as your management meeting agenda and each of the projects updated to show progress. If there are deviations from the plan they can then be dealt with appropriately before the project gets out of control. I’ve delivered this simple but effective process to a wide variety of businesses including as an associate of Winning Pitch delivering of the High Growth Programme. It’s intense, simple, hands on, no nonsense business planning in the space of a few days. So when you’re ready to rally your team and create a plan call or email me to make it happen for you! Call 07774 200321 or email email@example.com
Coventry College strikes agreement with Alan Higgs Centre Peer Networks initiative praised for essential pandemic support Organisers and facilitators of a Coventry and Warwickshire Peer Networks programme say the initiative has provided essential support and counsel for businesses during the pandemic. Accountancy firm Burgis & Bullock has been delivering four cohorts of The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Peer Networks programme since October. The firm has been supported by partners from Trinity CPD Training, business growth specialists Enquir3 and LinkedIn expert Charlie Whyman. Partners involved have all called for the Peer Networks scheme to be extended throughout 2021 to help realise the full potential of the groups already created and for more businesses to experience the benefits. The Peer Network programme is funded through BEIS and delivered by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub. Burgis & Bullock has supported businesses from across the manufacturing, retail, professional services, IT and digital sectors. David Mack, from Trinity CPD Training, facilitated some of the groups and says it has given businesses a vital sharing space during the pandemic. He said: “When you get a group like this together, it can be very powerful; it has been like a non-executive board for members and provided support through a difficult time “It’s a place to share your problems, the challenges being faced and then be supported by like-minded businesses to find solutions. It’s has been a reinvigorating experience for businesses.” Sean Farnell, partner at Burgis & Bullock, added: “We have been running four cohorts and for us it’s about doing what we can to support local businesses to grow and develop. “It’s essential to society that SMEs are successful. They are the underlying engine for growth of the economy. The more we can do to throw support behind SMEs as they recover from the pandemic, the quicker and stronger the bounce-back will be.”
A premier further education provider in Coventry has struck a long-term agreement to move some of its sporting and public services provision to a state-of-the-art centre in the city. Coventry College has agreed a partnership with leisure operator CV Life for its 230-strong cohort of sports and public services students to access facilities at the Alan Higgs Centre on Allard Way from September 2021 onwards. It will see these students use the centre’s facilities for practical and theory sessions alongside additional academic study at Coventry College’s city centre campus. The move is hot on the heels of the Alan Higgs Centre undergoing a major transformation – including the opening
of a 50-metre Olympic swimming pool, along with new indoor and outdoor 3G football pitches. Carol Thomas, principal and CEO at Coventry College, said: “This is fantastic news for the college, as the elite facilities at the Alan Higgs Centre are ideally suited to help us nurture the next generation of athletes and sports professionals. “This move will strengthen our appeal as the go-to destination for the next generation of footballers, rugby players and other sports professionals, and we look forward to working with CV Life on developing our partnership further over the coming years.” Paul Breed, chief executive at CV Life, added: “Working with Coventry College
Coventry College 2 - From left, Joe Farmer, Carol Thomas, Paul Breed, Joshua Hill
forms a key part of our overarching aim of ensuring that the wider community is able to benefit from the Alan Higgs Centre’s cutting-edge facilities. “We’re thrilled that the centre is now going to be able to play its part in helping many young people to realise their career ambitions, on top of the 539,000 visitors we receive to the centre every year.”
MTC and Lloyds Bank launch support service for SMEs MTC apprentices work with the latest manufacturing technologies
The Manufacturing Technology Centre and Lloyds Bank have joined forces to offer free support and resources to help UK manufacturing and engineering SMEs embrace innovation, develop their workforce and increase productivity. The new SME Support Service includes advice, guidance and access to additional funding and resources for smaller organisations. This will help SMEs recruit the next generation of apprentices, upskill their existing workforce, and identify opportunities to deploy emerging technologies to solve productivity challenges and improve business performance.
The SME Support Service is the latest initiative in a five-year partnership between Lloyds Bank and the MTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre. It aims to increase the collaboration’s reach to deliver greater positive impact. The package includes up to £3 million from Lloyds’ Apprenticeship Levy Fund. In addition, the SME Apprenticeship Support Service provides financial and practical assistance to help SMEs take on new apprentices. The MTC’s training experts will offer one-toone advice and guidance to help SMEs understand and navigate the complexities of apprenticeship funding, including the government’s apprentice incentive scheme. They will also provide a full recruitment service to identify and secure the best talent for each business’s specific needs. Eligible SMEs will have access to salary support funding for the first 12 months
of their apprentice’s training. Colin Bancroft, strategic development manager at MTC Training, said: “Our goal is to provide the knowledge, skills and support that industry needs to implement the technology of tomorrow, today. In partnership with Lloyds Bank, the SME Support Service will help us reach even more businesses, delivering real impact and driving positive change to empower the UK to realise its potential in advanced manufacturing.” David Atkinson, UK head of manufacturing, SME and midcorporate at Lloyds Bank, said: “The new SME Support Service, in conjunction with the MTC, helps us deliver on our commitment to manufacturers by helping UK SMEs recover strongly from the recent impacts of the pandemic.” For more information visit www.the-mtc.org
COVID Business Pledge goes live Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire councils have gone live with an initiative to support businesses to show they’re doing the right things to be COVID-safe for customers and staff. The Business Pledge is aimed at all businesses across the sub-region, including shops, factories, offices and eventually hospitality, as a way of reassuring staff and customers that businesses and venues are operating in a COVID-secure manner. The pledge has been developed to support businesses as England takes the next step on the roadmap out of lockdown.
It is entirely voluntary, but by signing up to the pledge, businesses are making a positive statement that they are following the relevant guidelines and are putting in place measures to ensure their premises are COVIDsecure to safeguard the health and wellbeing of employees and visitors alike. The pledge covers social distancing, face coverings, ventilation, vaccination, testing and isolating, employee health and wellbeing and risk assessments. Warwickshire County Council has worked in partnership with BIDs and local councils of Warwickshire, as well
as a range of local agencies to ensure a comprehensive level of support to local businesses. Monica Fogarty, chief executive of Warwickshire County Council, said: “We want to work with businesses and offer whatever support we can to ensure their re-opening and ongoing operation is as successful as possible. “The Business Pledge is our way of encouraging businesses to do the right thing and demonstrate to their customers – our residents – that it’s safe to shop and do business.”
Louise Bennett OBE, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “Our businesses have been working incredibly hard to ensure they’re COVID-19 secure, and it’s vital that we work together to restore business and consumer confidence. By applying for the pledge, they can show that shopping, visiting businesses or returning to work really can be a safe and enjoyable experience.”
Warwickshire businesses can sign-up to the Business Pledge at https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/information-coronavirus/coventry-solihull-warwickshire-covid-secure-business-pledge
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Day to remember for toastmaster Reuben Lynch
“My Lords, Ladies, and Ladies and Gentlemen… “After celebrating 25 years as a toastmaster last year, with many national and international highlights after hosting an event in the desert in Dubai, I thought surely nothing else
could equal that. However, on March 30 this year, I was invited to officiate as toastmaster at the declaration ceremony of the High Sheriff of the County of West Midlands. To make it even more special, our new High Sheriff just happens to be our very own CEO of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber, Louise Bennett OBE DL. “This event was different to the way that I am used to doing events as it was virtual and the first time that I had my full regalia on in twelve months because of the pandemic. With just Louise and myself in the room it felt a little unreal, but looking back it was a most enjoyable experience. I was participating in a most prestigous event which is part of English history because the office of High Sheriff is the oldest seculare office in the UK after
the crown and dates back to Saxon times. Whilst the duties of the role have evolved over time, supporting the crown and judiciary remain central elements of the role today. “Looking back, travelling to do an event on such a lovely sunny day after twelve months out of action due to lockdown combined to make it a most memorable day for me. And I do hope that many of my colleagues in the hospitality industry will also have something to look foward to and lift their spirits in the next few months after what has been has been a very stressful for year them. “On behalf of the Circle of Toastmasters we raise our glasses in a toast to Louise and to wish her all the best for the coming year.”
New fleet management tool for coach and bus industries TruTac and the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) have launched a new fleet management tool onto the market. New to the coach and bus industry, CPT Fleet Management offers PSV operators a system to plan and manage all vehicle maintenance and compliance requirements using the latest technology from TruTac. Developed in conjunction with the CPT, the easy-to-use software enables PSV operators to plan, organise and control all aspects of day-to-day fleet maintenance management. The system replaces traditional wall planners with a fully interactive online calendar to automatically plan schedules and alert on upcoming events.
Using EPMI electronic document control, fleet managers can easily access vehicle history, maintenance records, safety inspections, defect reporting, rectifications and audit checks – all in real time and captured in easy-to-view digital format. Jemma James, commercial and marketing director at TruTac, said: “Together with the CPT, we see this addition to our existing suite of CPT-dedicated PSV compliance software as an essential tool for coach, bus and mini-bus operators to stay compliant and in control of mandatory vehicle maintenance procedures – while focusing on the busy demands of running a passenger transport business.”
Peter Gomersall, commercial manager at CPT UK, said: “CPT has worked in partnership with TruTac over the past five years to ensure that our bus and coach operator members have access to the latest technology and management tools needed to help maintain a compliant and efficient vehicle fleet. “CPT Fleet Management provides operators with a comprehensive online dashboard presenting key dates – engineering and maintenance inspections, MOTs, vehicle taxes – and a comprehensive vehicle history in a platform that’s easy to access and administer. “I’m sure that the addition of CPT Fleet Management to our exclusive range of CPT/TruTac products will benefit members greatly.”
Free training for adults as part of lifetime skills guarantee Adults can retrain at advanced level in subjects vital to help the UK’s post-pandemic recovery for free as part of the government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee. Any adult aged 24 and over who wants to achieve their first full Level 3 qualification, which is equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma or two A levels, will be able to access dozens of fully-funded courses via NWSLC. (Those aged 19 to 23 will continue to be eligible for their first full Level 3 at no cost as before). At NWSLC, the offer includes full-time courses in the priority sectors of construction, engineering, automotive, digital skills, health and social care, computing and business. Advanced level courses available to study remotely online on a parttime basis include accounting (AAT), management (ILM), autism, dementia and mental health.
This offer is part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee announced by the Prime Minister as part of a longterm commitment to remove age constraints and financial barriers for adults so that they can access training to enable them to progress. Sally Denning, director for adult education at NWSLC, said: “We welcome the offer of support for adults who want to retrain or improve their current skills and are looking forward to signing up new students next month. We know that many individuals are facing challenging circumstances including redundancy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and hope that we will be able to offer them a lifeline with a route into a new career. “The government is targeting support to those areas of the economy that are forecast to grow and are most heavily impacted by current
skills shortages, meaning that job roles are likely to be available. “Colleges are leading the way to help reenergise the UK economy and NWSLC is in a great position to make links between organisations that need skills and individuals looking for work.” For more information visit www.nwslc.ac.uk
Kickstarting campaigns, kickstarting careers The Campaign House is a campaigns and communications agency based in the Warwickshire town of Atherstone. Launched in 2020, we support progressive causes and political candidates to strengthen their audience engagement and maximise the impact of their message. Though our clients are spread throughout the UK, supporting the local community is of vital importance to us. We understand that businesses do not exist in a vacuum; they’re part of the social and economic fabric in the areas they’re based. With unemployment having risen significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among young people, we asked ourselves how could we grow our business and support young people in Warwickshire and the surrounding area at the same time? The answer: Kickstart. This scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16-24-yearolds on universal credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. It provides funding to cover the national minimum wage for 25 hours per week for six months, and additional funding for training. We’re taking this further as a living wage employer, topping up our Kickstart staff salaries to the real living wage. Managing director Chris Clark said: “The Kickstart scheme is going to bring a new wave of energy and skills to The Campaign House, helping to extend our offer to clients while improving the life chances of our young people in Warwickshire.” Over the course of the summer, The Campaign House will be hiring 18 new staff members through Kickstart, covering a range of roles from customer service assistant to photographer, web developer and accounts executive. Using Kickstart allows our business to grow at a faster rate than would otherwise be possible while supporting communities in Warwickshire by helping its young people at risk of long-term unemployment.
The Wigley Group signs Armed Forces Covenant Midlands-based property, development and construction company The Wigley Group has formalised its commitment to support ex-armed service personnel by signing the Armed Forces Covenant. The company, based in Stockton, Warwickshire, has supported the forces since 2013. The covenant is a promise by the nation to ensure that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated with fairness and respect, and to ensure they have the same access to government and commercial services and products as any other citizen. The Wigley Group has raised more than £100,000 for the official Parachute Regiment charity, Support Our Paras, through its annual golf day since it was first held in 2013, and in 2017 it established the Wigley Support Fund (WSF) to support and help re-train injured serving and veteran service people in all areas of their transition from military to civilian life, such as physical and mental rehabilitation to further education and skills training. Jaco van Gass, a former paratrooper, is a brand ambassador for The Wigley Group and a driving force behind the WSF. He served two tours of Afghanistan during five years in the Parachute Regiment, and overcame life-changing injuries on the front line to become a champion para-cyclist and adventurer. He said: “The Wigley Group is well-known as a company that’s prepared to do whatever it can to help ex-service people and really does go above and beyond with that support. So, it’s fantastic to see it formalising that commitment by signing the Armed Forces Covenant to ensure that level of support and understanding continues for many years to come.” James Davies, managing director of The Wigley Group, said: “Being part of the communities in which we operate is important to us. We recognise the real value that the Armed Services community can offer, both as employees who bring a wealth of skills and experience, and as customers.”
New hospitality firm offers expertise to other leisure operators A new hospitality company that has increased the turnover of a landmark country park during the pandemic is now offering its expertise to other leisure operators. Coombe Abbey Park, which is behind the award-winning Coombe Abbey Hotel, has now formed No Ordinary Hospitality Management. The move comes after the team took over the park’s three catering outlets in May 2018 and for the third consecutive year in a row saw revenue growth, despite national lockdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic. Coombe Abbey Country Park’s three catering outlets generated more than £490,000 of income in 2020 compared to £400,000 of income in 2019, despite a two-and-a-half month closure as part of the national lockdown. It means the park’s catering operation has recorded its third consecutive year of growth since Coombe Abbey Park – which is the
operator of Coombe Abbey Hotel – took over the running of the park’s catering facilities in May 2018. No Ordinary Hospitality Management brings together decades of hospitality, conferencing and events experience. The company works with all types of properties including the award-winning and nationally renowned venue Coombe Abbey Hotel through to an independent café. The people behind this new venture are members of the Coombe Abbey management team. It works with company owners to develop and implement creative strategies and best practices to help venues fulfil their commercial potential through operational management, human resources, sales and marketing and project management. Richard Harrison, managing director of No Ordinary Hospitality Management and Coombe Abbey Park, said: “The past year has proven that
Richard Harrison, MD of No Ordinary Hospitality Management and Coombe Abbey Park, with Ron Terry, operations director of No Ordinary Hospitality Management and Coombe Abbey Park
any business needs to be broader and more diverse than ever before. “This venture is a chance to showcase the huge amount of experience that we have collectively within our own business and then be able to apply that into creative and dynamic support for other companies.” For further information visit www.noordinaryhospitality.com
Industrial Temporaries signs Armed Forces Covenant Industrial Temporaries is the latest organisation to sign the Armed Forces Covenant. A spokesperson said: “This is our commitment to those serving or have served in any of her majesty’s armed forces – the Navy, Army or Royal Air Force and their reserve forces. “We recognise the value that serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to our business and to our country.”
Industrial Temporaries will seek to uphold the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant by: • Promoting the fact that we are an Armed Forces-friendly organisation to our staff, customers, suppliers, contractors and the wider public. • Supporting the employment of veterans, recognising military skills and qualifications in our recruitment and selection process; and working with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to support the employment of service leavers. • Supporting the employment of service spouses and partners; partnering with the Forces Families Jobs Forum; and providing flexibility in granting leave for service spouses and partners
before, during and after a partner’s deployment. Supporting our employees who are members of the Reserve Forces; supporting any mobilisations and deployment; actively encouraging members of staff to become Reservists. Supporting our employees who are volunteer leaders in military cadet organisations; supporting local military cadet units; recognising the benefits of employing cadets/ ex-cadets within the workforce. Supporting Armed Forces Day, Reserves Day, the Poppy Appeal Day and Remembrance activities. Supporting Armed Forces charities with fundraising and supporting staff who volunteer to assist.
The Myton Hospices reflects on one year of hospice care since first UK lockdown After what has been an extremely challenging year for everyone, The Myton Hospices wanted to reﬂect on the last year and share some of its journey with the local community. The organisation asked Myton nurse of ten years, Chad Khaira, to write down her experiences over the past 12 months and reflect on what it’s been like on the front line of hospice care. Chad said: “When it all started back in March 2020, I was extremely worried that I would get COVID, but more so that I would take it home to my family. I have been exposed to COVID but thankfully I haven’t caught it. I have been so careful and sacrificed a lot, as have all my family. “The hardest part of my role is the emotional aspect of caring for patients who are dying and the most rewarding
is the difference we make to ensure that they are as comfortable as can be. This has remained the same throughout the year and not changed during the pandemic. Although the public closed their doors to protect themselves, we kept open our doors at the hospice. The thank you clap on Thursdays was a humbling time as a nurse, but we’ve always provided this care. It’s what Myton is all about.” CEO Ruth Freeman said: “We are incredibly proud of our frontline teams and their commitment to providing the very best palliative and end-oflife care. They have been working in a constant crisis situation for 12 months now and continue to play a vital role in the ongoing response to COVID-19. Despite facing huge professional and personal challenges, their dedication
L-R Myton Ward Manager Sharon Kelly, CEO Ruth Freeman and Deputy Director of Nursing Jodie Morris
has not wavered. They have pulled together more than ever to look after our patients, families and each other.” To read Chad’s heartfelt letter in full and see some of the Myton milestones from the last 12 months visit www.mytonhospice.org/one-year
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Profile: Louise Bennett OBE DL
Louise is keeping busy with major new role If plate spinning was an Olympic sport – Louise Bennett would be a gold medallist. Louise has led the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce for more than 18 years, helping it become one of the strongest in the UK. While that in itself is a professional feat, she is also the High Sheriff and a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands, has two daughters, is a foster mother, owns numerous cats and dogs, is a keen horse rider and motorcyclist. In short, she fits the idiom “if you want something doing, ask a busy person.” “It’s true I do like to keep busy – you won’t find us sitting watch TV very often and we are not one for box sets, that’s for sure,” she said. What does occupy her time is batting for businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire, and the wider region. It is partly the reason she was proud to accept the role of High Sheriff of the County of the West Midlands, a voluntary post that is a one year term, and which represents the sovereign on matters pertaining to the judiciary, law and order. “Before I accepted the role, I ran it past the Chamber board to check they were all happy for me to do it and I will be using it where I can to promote business and the good that commerce does in our communities,” said Louise.
“I am there primarily to support the judiciary but it does give you a platform and I will be showcasing some unsung leaders in business and I want to focus on how we bring to life the opportunities for young people. “So many of our companies do amazing things. We all go about our business and probably don’t get the air time needed to talk about the good that our companies and organisations do. That can be through creating wealth and opportunities but also a whole myriad of other things to do with the place. “That does not get talked about. Usually we only get that depth of airtime when there is a crisis such as Brexit or Covid. When there is an issue, businesses are featured on national media but it is to talk about that particular issue. “We get great positive regional coverage for the Chamber and our members through radio and press, but not at that higher national level. Of course, social media has helped companies talk about the good that they do – and I want to help amplify that during my year in the role. “Employees more than ever want – and expect – their employers to do good things and behave ethically. Most businesses do that and I know from our Chamber membership that many have a real sense of place and commit hugely to their localities. “I think our young people value that highly and the companies which act responsibly on issues such as
diversity, equality and the environment, will be the strongest going forward. No longer can firms just tick the CSR box, it is about how they behave and how they are seen to behave. “Often that is down to leadership. A prime example of that is the Deeley Group. I have no idea if they have a written policy on ethics, but everything they do and represent makes people want to do business with them.” Louise has long been a champion of business. After time working in corporate retail and the National Health Service, she was policy director of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, before moving to the top job in Coventry and Warwickshire. Her services to enterprise saw her awarded an OBE in 2007, while, closer to home, she has made the Chamber a profitable organisation which punches hard at national level. Like most events, Louise’s declaration ceremony had to be conducted virtually – yet another sign of the Covid crisis – but it did mean nearly 200 guests took part and allowed Louise to spotlight Coventry’s year as the UK City of Culture. As the country starts to emerge from lockdown, offices begin to be repopulated and some level of normality returns, the true impact on the local economy will be revealed. The same is true of the impact which has, media-wise, been overshadowed by Covid.
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Profile: Louise Bennett OBE DL Louise feels it is a mixed picture. “Unprecedented must be one of the words of the last 18 months and certainly I have not experienced anything like it before. “Business leaders are used to pressure and, while this might be pressure like we have never felt before, I think they will have dealt with it. I fully except it depends on the sector in which you operate and where you are in the life cycle of your business, but our evidence is that businesses are resilient and working hard to come through the worst of the pandemic. “Business which have been able to operate to some level – not for example, those in hospitality – are well established and have been able to build up healthy reserves and have flexed their offer, will, by and large, get through this. “In the first two weeks after lockdown, there was a sense of fear. No-one had lived through this before, no-one knew what was coming and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. “That is no longer the case, and now companies have to reset their culture. This has been a watershed time, but businesses and their leaders have to make sure that they are establishing – for example – the ways they work and not let it just happen and become fixed. “With Brexit, I think there is a realisation now that early issues are still there and are not just teething problems and that will take time and maybe to reform, but business will find away – that’s what it does.” And that, is exactly what Louise has done in her career. She has moved through the ranks from a Saturday shop assistant to gaining a firstclass degree, and from working in acute care management to mixing it with ministers and now she is the new High Sherriff in town.
No wonder she never sits still!
“So many of our companies do amazing things. We all go about our business and probably don’t get the air time needed to talk about the good that our companies and organisations do. That can be through creating wealth and opportunities but also a whole myriad of other things to do with the place.”
About Louise Bennett OBE DL : Born: Live: Married/ Partner: Children: Hobbies:
Wolverhampton Children’s Hospital Worcestershire Married
Two Horses/equine; Enjoy the garden; walk/run every day; motorbikes. Favourite Book: ... usually what I am reading at the time ... current, “The Secret Barrister” Favourite Film: Seabiscuit or Secretariat or Warhorse (you get the theme here!!) Last Holiday: Pre-Covid, Lanzarote, villa with hubbie & children Gadget: Alexa (love the easy access to any music...) www.cw-chamber.co.uk
Group Commercial Director set to take up Chief Executive role at Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes Chambers of Commerce
New restart grants ‘extremely welcome’ The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has welcomed new ‘restart’ grants for the firms hardest hit by Covid-19. It was revealed at the weekend that a further £5bn is being made available to high street firms and the hospitality sector, with grants of up to £18,000 on offer to individual businesses. Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said it was crucial to get the money to businesses as quickly as possible – and that she had every confidence in the local authorities in the region to do that. She said: “Businesses are desperate to get back to being able to trade again but for those that have, essentially, been dormant they are going to need help and these restart grants will be extremely welcome from that point of view. “The key is getting the money to firms that need it as quickly as possible so they can avoid a cashflow cliff edge and, also, prepare themselves to get back to business. “The local authorities in Coventry and Warwickshire have done an amazing job during the Covid-19 crisis in acting quickly and it’s vital that they do that once again to get this cash to those businesses that need it most. “And, while we welcome this help from the Chancellor and acknowledge the unprecedented levels of support that have been offered during the crisis, it’s still crucial that he doesn’t try to recoup that money through increased business tax in this week’s Budget. “We all understand that the money will need to be paid back at some point but it’s too early, with the economy still some way off reopening in full, to expect that of business.” Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Chambers of Commerce have campaigned for additional grants to support the cash flow of our hardesthit businesses, particularly those who have faced severe restrictions or closure in recent months. We welcome the announcement of these additional cash grants, which will be a lifeline for many firms as they look to restart and rebuild over the challenging months ahead. The Government, devolved administrations and local authorities must now make sure that cash gets to the front line fast. “While the announcement of additional grants is positive, a support plan that covers the rest of 2021 would really help to build business confidence. That means removing the immediate cliff edges on support by continuing the furlough scheme and VAT deferrals for as long as they are needed. Business rates relief for the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors should also continue until next year. “Critically, the government needs to send the right signals to firms and investors by avoiding hasty rises in business taxation. The best way to raise money for the Exchequer will be to give companies the breathing space they need, as the economy reopens, to generate revenue and return to profit.”
Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber’s Group Commercial Director, Louise Wall, has been appointed as Chief Executive of the Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes Chambers of Commerce. Over the last 12-months, in addition to her role at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Louise has acted as the Interim Chief Executive for Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes, steering both Chambers through an unprecedented time in terms of the economic and business landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Louise takes with her a wealth of experience across both the public and private sector. Prior to joining the Chamber of Commerce in 2014, Louise was Head of Sustainable Communities at Warwickshire County Council and had previously run her own successful private businesses.
During her time at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber, working alongside Chief Executive Louise Bennett OBE DL, Louise oversaw the development and delivery of many key Chamber services a nd contracts, including International Trade, Business Support and Membership, as well as supporting the work of Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Training. The new role encompasses both the Northamptonshire and the Milton Keynes Chambers of Commerce which, whilst operating separately to serve the best interests of their local business communities, are led by a single Chief Executive and Senior Management Team. Louise said: “I am excited by this new opportunity having acted as Chief Executive on an interim basis for almost a year, in what has been an incredibly uncertain period for businesses. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my seven and a half years working with our members, the business community and partners across Coventry and Warwickshire.
“This is a new challenge and I’m looking forward to championing the member businesses across Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes, leading a passionate team and working with the Boards across both Chambers as we look to bounce back from the COVID-19 crisis.” Louise Bennett OBE DL, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Although a huge and sad loss to the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, we are proud to be part of the UK Accredited Chamber Network that succession plans for the future in terms of supporting leadership and talent into our most senior and high-profile roles. “We look forward to continuing a mutually supportive relationship, between our two leading Chambers, to the benefit of our Membership.” Louise will remain in post at Coventry and Warwickshire until June 2021 and take up her new role from July.
Bank paints a positive picture for the future – but with potential risks The Bank of England sees the post-Covid future for the economy as positive but with large doses of cautionary realism, businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have heard. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce welcomed Graeme Chaplin, the Bank of England’s Agent in the West Midlands, onto a call with firms from a range of sectors from across the region. Businesses – from manufacturing through to banking – gave Graeme their take on how they expect their own companies to emerge from the crisis once restrictions begin to be lifted. That was following an update on where the Bank believes the economy may be heading, should the Government’s roadmap stay on course. Graeme said: “The anticipation from the Bank of England is that UK economic activity is likely to recover strongly over
2021 towards pre-Covid levels. And the extension of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme is likely to soften any near-term rise in unemployment. “However, risks remain on both the upside and on the downside. “The outlook for the economy is unusually uncertain. It continues to depend on the evolution of the pandemic and measures taken to protect public health. And it depends on how households and businesses respond to those developments.” He added: “It is always great to hear from business people on how they are finding the current climate, as that helps us to get a clearer picture of what is happening on the ground.” Issues flagged by firms included the UK-EU trading relationship, rising transport costs and a shortage of raw materials. Sean Rose, policy officer of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce,
Graeme Chaplin (Bank of England)
added: “We are very grateful to Graeme Chaplin and the Bank of England for the update and it was great to give many of our members the chance to report back on how they are finding life in business on the back of the Budget, Brexit and the Government’s roadmap out of restrictions.”
Unemployment expected to rise when furlough ends Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say firms will need further support to keep the unemployment rate down in the next few months, after another small drop in the rate was recorded. The latest figures show that the unemployment rate dropped from five per cent to 4.9 per cent in the three months to February but that five million people remain in employment but on furlough. Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said the Government must be ready to offer more support to ensure the rate doesn’t jump once the furlough scheme ends. He said: “The latest unemployment figures show a small drop which is welcome but looking at the data from our most recent QES, there is concern among businesses around employment.
“The really big unknown is what is going to happen when the furlough scheme comes to an end and it’s vitally important that the Government stands ready to help businesses, who have faced the most incredibly difficult year. “Cutting the costs of employment and helping people to develop new skills fit for the workplace of the future could be vital in keeping the unemployment rate down over the next few months.” British Chambers of Commerce Head of Economics, Suren Thiru, said: “The latest data confirms that the UK labour market remains subdued. While there was a marginal fall in the unemployment rate, the squeeze on activity from ongoing restrictions helped drive a decline in payroll employment in March.
“Unemployment remains on course to peak towards the end of 2021, once the furlough scheme expires and those who stopped job hunting during the pandemic look to return to the workforce as restrictions ease. “Although the furlough scheme will limit the peak in job losses, the longer-term structural unemployment caused by Covid-19, particularly among young people, may mean that the road back to pre-pandemic levels lags behind the wider economic recovery. “Further action will be needed to support the labour market when the furlough scheme ends, including supporting businesses to recruit and retain staff through a temporary cut in employer national insurance contributions.”
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Free help on offer to help Economic recovery still improve digital skills a long way off
Councillor Jim O’Boyle (left) with Keely Hancox
Independent businesses in Coventry are being offered free support to improve their online presence as the city prepares for UK City of Culture 2021. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and tourism sector can benefit from the new programme of workshops and one-to-one support being delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Coventry City Council, having been funded through the Council’s Additional Restrictions Grant support package for businesses. The Chamber is working with digital and retail specialists Stories Marketing to deliver the programme which includes a one-hour taster session, two workshops and one-to-one support. Businesses can benefit from advice and practical tips on digital marketing, low-cost online tools and social media, all with the aim of connecting more with their customers, increasing sales online,
as well as driving footfall into their stores once they can fully reopen. A similar project has proved to extremely successful with businesses in Warwickshire – and now independents in Coventry, both in the city centre, and neighbouring bricks and mortar businesses, will be able to access help to grow their online following, as well as their instore sales ahead of the economy reopening later this year. Keely Hancox, operations manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We extremely pleased to be bringing this support to businesses in Coventry – particularly with UK City of Culture just a matter of weeks away. “We’ve run similar projects in Warwickshire over the past 12 months and they have proved to be very popular, with many small businesses saying that the skills they learned helped them to survive the pandemic. “It’s not just about selling online, however. The support offers businesses the chance to grow an online community, communicate with their customers, build their brand and demonstrate their individuality and uniqueness,
all with the aim of driving sales both online and in store. “Stories Marketing have proved to be a great partner in delivering the workshops. They are two friends born and bred in Coventry, with an extensive background in retail, having owned a series of stores around Coventry and Warwickshire.” Councillor Jim O’Boyle cabinet member for jobs and regeneration said: “The last 12 months have been tough so I’m really pleased as we get ready to welcome people back to the city centre that we are able to partner with the Chamber to offer specialist support to small businesses, including independents. “Online shopping is on the rise but if traders are to thrive they need to be able to successfully operate online and in store and that’s exactly what this support is all about. “Of course we have been hard at work in the city centre – combining the best of the old and the best of the new and creating the kind of environment where people want to spend time and money supporting local businesses.” To register your interest go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/ coventry-digital-skills-32696072537
Greater flexibility around apprenticeships will benefit businesses One of the leading apprenticeship providers in Coventry and Warwickshire will tell the Government that greater flexibility will benefit businesses across a range of sectors and could lead to more opportunities for apprentices. Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training (CWCT) is responding to the Government’s consultation on flexible apprenticeships, which could potentially be on offer from as early as January 2022. Sally Lucas, Executive Director of CWCT, said certain industries were crying out for flexibility when it comes to apprenticeships. She said: “Flexible apprenticeships are plugging a hole in the system, particularly for some sectors where project-based employment is the norm. “Industries, including creative and construction, have found it difficult to take advantage of apprenticeships
which require a minimum of 12 months of employment typically with the same employer. “The notion of a flexible apprenticeship means an apprentice can move from employer to employer for short focussed periods which enables them to gain the necessary experience but in a manner which reflects the nature of an industry. “For example, you have creative industries where varied and flexible job roles are common place and a full year in one role just isn’t practical for an apprentice. “If flexible apprenticeships come into force, employers will come together under an agency-type arrangement to facilitate the movement of apprentices within a sector across a number of short employment opportunities and, therefore, it levels the playing field for particular sectors that have previously found apprenticeships to be inaccessible.
Sally Lucas, Executive Director of CWCT
“Anything that can add flexibility into apprenticeships has to be welcome and we will certainly be looking to work with those industries to move forward with flexible apprenticeships once they are given the green light.”
Make the most of apprenticeship incentive Businesses are being urged to make the most of new incentives around taking on apprentices, announced in the Chancellor’s Budget on Wednesday. Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered a three-part Budget aimed at helping firms survive the Covid crisis, start to fix the UK’s finances and then grow the economy. Among the measures was support for apprenticeships and Sally Lucas, Executive Director of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber Training (CWCT) said it was the perfect time for businesses and organisations to look at taking on an apprentice.
She said: “This is an opportunity for employers to take advantage of the increase in the value of incentives employers can claim for creating a new apprenticeship job opportunity. The Chancellor has raised that amount to £3,000 plus a further £1,000 if an apprentice is 16 to 18 or if they are under 25 with an education, care and health plan. “It is available for new apprentice starts up to the end of September so I’d encourage employers to move quickly and get this set up with CWCT as soon as possible.”
Sally added: “Furthermore, there is an additional £126 million in England for high-quality work placements and training for 16 to 24-year-olds. Employers who provide work experience will receive £1,000 per placement offered which, again, is another great incentive. “Helping our young people into employment is hugely important as we look to grow the economy as we come out of the crisis and these are great opportunities for businesses to make use of Government support to either take on an apprentice or offer a high-quality work placement.”
The Chamber says there is still a ‘long way to go’ before the economy recovers after national statistics showed a slight improvement in February. GDP – the measure of economic output – grew by 0.4 per cent in February but the economy is still 7.8 per cent smaller than when the Covid-19 crisis began. The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, also showed that exports to the EU from the UK had recovered after a steep drop in January but were still weaker than last year. Sean Rose, policy officer at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This very slight improvement in GDP in February is positive news but there is still a long way to go before we can really start to talk about a full economic recovery from Covid-19. “Restrictions are starting to be lifted but, even if the roadmap is followed as set out by the Prime Minister earlier in the year, there are still a couple of months of restrictions being in place which will be a drag on growth. “Companies across Coventry and Warwickshire are looking forward to returning to being able to do business freely in the next few months and, even then, it’s unclear just how quickly the economy will recover due to a range of factors. “It’s positive news for our exporters that trade picked up with the EU after the big fall in January but, again, it remains to be seen whether this will be the start of an ongoing uplift or if it was an inevitable bounce back after such a major drop.” British Chambers of Commerce Head of Economics Suren Thiru, said: “The latest data confirms a modest return to growth in February. However, coming after a contraction in January, it does little to alter the prospect of a downbeat first quarter for the UK economy. “The pick-up in output in February reflected a broad-based improvement in activity with all the main sectors recording an increase in growth. The clarity provided by February’s announcement of a roadmap for reopening also helped support output in the month. “The release of pent-up demand following the easing of restrictions and the strong vaccine rollout will boost activity. However, hope of a sustained consumer-led revival may prove too optimistic as the economic scarring caused by Covid may trigger a renewed reluctance to spend as government support winds down.” He added: “Although there was a rebound in UK goods exports with the EU, this may reflect an unwinding of a number of temporary factors that weighed on the January outturn, including the running down of pre-Brexit stockpiling, rather than evidence of an underlying improvement in UK-EU trade flows. “Businesses continue to encounter significant disruption and difficulty with many firms reporting serious structural issues which, if not addressed, will weigh on UK economic prospects for some time to come. “The UK and the EU must get back around the table to thrash out the remaining structural problems in the UK-EU trade deal and focus on long-term improvements to the flow of trade between them.”
Conference Coventry and Warwickshire
Conferences, Meetings, Incentives and Events After being apart for the last few months, we are now looking forward to welcoming you back to Coventry and Warwickshire, so let us help you to Meet in the Middle. Whether you want to plan a socially distanced team building day or a longer event, we are here to help you find the perfect location in one of the most accessible destinations in the UK. Our venues can offer indoor and outdoor space, so social distancing can easily be assured. Whatever your needs, our region’s diverse array of hotels and conference facilities has all the necessary preparations in place to allow you to deliver a highly successful event, with confidence. Coventry is UK City of Culture 2021, so bringing your delegates here will offer something truly unique to your event and enhance their experience. Our expert team is on hand to help with: • venue finding • negotiating costs • accommodation requirements • team building • social programmes The Coventry and Warwickshire Convention Bureau is a free service, so why not let us work with you to create an outstanding experience? Our extensive local knowledge will help to make your event a success - delivered on time and within budget.
Email: email@example.com Twitter: @cw_conference
Telephone: +44(0)24 7697 5526 LinkedIn: @cwconference
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Conference and Venues
Warwick Conferences gains Green Star for sustainability In recognition of Warwick Conferences’ remarkable commitment to operating sustainably, the venue provider has been awarded the esteemed IACC Green Star forits eco-friendly efforts.
Local venues ready to welcome you back After a challenging year, the conference, meetings and events sector is now, more than ever, hopeful that face-to face meetings can safely resume. Coventry and Warwickshire is looking forward to welcoming events back to the region, in what will be a hugely momentous year for the region, as we gear-up to become the UK City of Culture 2021. As the events sector is set to reopen, it is critical that face-to-face meetings can recommence in a safe and controlled manner for both the local and national economies. According to the UKCAMS 2020 report, the UK’s conference and meetings sector was worth £18 billion to the country’s economy, pre-COVID, proving how vital it is that this sector resumes quickly, but safely. Locally, Coventry recorded over 10m visitors in 2019, and in economic terms, the visitor economy was worth £594m in 2019 – a 4.6 per cent increase on the previous year. This shows the real value that tourism has, not just locally, but on a national scale too, and this can only recover fully if business events can safely recommence. Coventry and Warwickshire venues have been consistently adapting their spaces and ways of working, ensuring adherence to COVID-safe restrictions that have been put into place. Many venues, including the Ricoh Arena, the MTC and The Box at FarGo Village, have received their ‘We’re Good To Go’ COVID-19 industry standard and consumer mark accreditation. This will help reassure local residents and city visitors alike, that clear processes are in place and businesses are ready
to open safely. The Coventry and Warwickshire MICE sector has been extremely resilient, and its venues have stayed in touch with the needs and wants of clients to ensure they can welcome back events to the region. Another example of this great work comes from Warwick Conferences, who are now offering creative outdoor spaces for meetings and events, to ensure that social distancing in the fresh air can be maintained, whilst offering a unique and tranquil experience for delegates. This is just one of the great examples where Coventry and Warwickshire venues have shown a real desire to welcome and accommodate the needs of their clients and delegates, as a result of the sector now having to find new ways of working. Coventry and Warwickshire is at the forefront of culture in the UK and are the UK City of Culture for 2021. This means that now is an extremely exciting time for the region, as we will safely welcome visitors into the city from May 2021. Coventry will be a top city visit destination for 2021 and 2022 and nowhere else in the country will have an opportunity like ours. Bringing a cultural, arts or creative event to Coventry and Warwickshire has never been more relevant, as delegates will be immersed in the city’s cultural celebrations and yearlong programme of events, whilst having the opportunity to host events at venues such as The Herbert Art Gallery and Coventry Cathedral. Our Convention Bureau team of experts can also help tailor an event’s specific needs and support with involvement in the City of Culture programme. Coventry and Warwickshire prides itself on being a leader across
many sectors, including advanced manufacturing, engineering, and intelligent mobility. These industries have been thriving in the region, even throughout this challenging time, and have put Coventry and Warwickshire on the map for events linked to these sectors. For example, plans to build an EV battery Gigafactory have been unveiled by Coventry City Council. This will prove vital for the continued success of the automotive industry, creating thousands of jobs and attracting up to £2 billion of investment. The region is the perfect destination for future automotive, engineering or manufacturing events, and has many suitable and relevant venues that can host them, such as the famous Coventry Transport Museum. As the sector begins to reopen, venue suitability is one of the top three motivations for choosing an event location, according to VisitBritain’s Business Events Research, and Coventry and Warwickshire has a diverse array of venues similarly relevant to our sector strengths. The Conference Coventry and Warwickshire Convention Bureau team can provide a free service to help create your event. The team can offer extensive local knowledge, venue finding and cost negotiation services, as well as social programming for delegates.
For more information, please contact one of the team: • Cameron Innes - Conferencing and Business Events Officer: Cameron.Innes@coventry.gov.uk • Zoe Anthony - Conferencing and Business Events Officer: Zoe.Anthony@coventry.gov.uk
Achieving the prestigious Gold Tier status, Warwick Conferences has demonstrated its dedication to implementing green initiatives. The Green Star is a highly recognised accreditation awarded to venues which adhere to IACC’s Code of Sustainability to continually strive to act in a more economical way. Within the code there are 60 tenets that venues must adopt to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact, such as waste management, recycling and energy management. In its bid to continually improve its sustainable offering, Warwick Conferences has introduced a number of steps to minimise waste. It works with local food suppliers, for example, to reduce the distance travelled when ingredients are being delivered, minimising its carbon footprint. Additionally, Warwick Conferences works alongside the University of Warwick to recycle 58% of all waste, with only 3% going to landfill due to the reduced usage of plastic and paper packaging within the venues. The company also invests in packaging that is environmentally friendly and completely compostable, with paper coffee cups no longer an option in the lounge areas. Commenting on achieving the Green Star, Warwick Conferences’ director Paul Bartlett said: “We pride ourselves on our continual development of key sustainability initiatives that are not only beneficial to us as a business and our customers, but to wider society too. Achieving IACC’s Green Star at Gold Tier level is testament to the team’s hard work in ensuring we are environmentally responsible as a business.” For more information visit www.warwickconferences.com
Confidence returning as Upbeat budget gets restrictions begin to lift business backing Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have given a broad welcome to the Chancellor’s budget as he announced initial support to help firms survive the COVID-19 crisis and then invest in an economy recovery. Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his budget in three parts, announcing further support measures for businesses and individuals before moving on to how he would fix the UK finances and concluding on how the government intended to build the future economy.
Coventry and Warwickshire businesses emerged from the first three months of the year feeling more confident than at any point over the past 12 months, according a new survey. However, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s first Quarterly Economic Survey of 2021 showed that there are still many concerns around the economic recovery after the COVID-19 crisis hit firms hard across the region. The survey, which is delivered in partnership with Prime Accountants Group, is analysed by the economy & skills group at Warwickshire County Council. Its 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.
There were further incentives on offer to take on apprentices, and for businesses to invest through a new “super-deduction” that reduced tax by 130 per cent of the cost over the next two years. The Chancellor also revealed that the business rates holiday would continue until June and that VAT for hospitality firms would remain at five per cent until September. He did reveal, however, that corporation tax would rise to 25 per cent in 2023. There were also announcements around investments in skills, digital development and a new levelling up fund for regions to apply for. Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chancellor has clearly heard the calls from our members in Coventry and Warwickshire and businesses up and down the country that more help was needed to get through the crisis and then to invest in the recovery and the future. “It was very upbeat speech, considering the health and economic crisis we have all faced over the past 12 months – one designed to give businesses confidence that they can survive and then grow.”
But there were mixed responses when it came to other factors such as employment, investment and orders.
In both manufacturing and the service sector, the employment index dropped below 50, suggesting a potential rise in unemployment over the coming months. When it comes to investment and cashflow, manufacturing rose to 50.7 from 41.3 while the service sector fell from 45.3 to 43.3. All of the responses taken together created an overall economic outlook figure of 53.0 up from 51.5 in the final quarter of 2020.
Louise Bennett with Steve Harcourt (Prime Accountants Group)
Sean Rose, policy officer of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “When you take into consideration that the first three months of 2021 saw our leisure, hospitality and events sector still closed along with non-essential retail, as well as the fact that the new trading relationship with the EU was just kicking in, these results paint a reasonably positive mood among our businesses.”
Small firms hardest hit by Brexit, says expert
The speech was watched by an online panel organised by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, supported by Prime Accountants Group. An extension to furlough until September and new restart grants were announced prior to the budget and were welcomed, while the Chancellor also revealed an extension on who qualified for support under the help for the self-employed. He also announced a new government-backed recovery loan scheme.
Of those firms surveyed in Coventry and Warwickshire, service sector confidence jumped to 80.1 compared to 67.9 at the end of 2020, while the manufacturing sector moved up to 71.1 from 71.0.
One of the leading international experts on UKEU trade has told an audience in Coventry and Warwickshire that smaller businesses are being hardest hit by a fall in trade following Brexit. Dan Dalton, a former MEP and now the CEO of the British Chamber of Commerce to the EU and Belgium, was speaking to businesses at an online event with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. He reflected on figures that showed exports to the EU had fallen by 40 per cent in January and that imports had dropped by 28 per cent, and urged businesses to keep highlighting their issues to Government. Dalton said: “When you dig deeper into the figures, the majority of the exports that are getting into the EU are from
bigger businesses – which means that trade from SMEs is virtually at a standstill. “We really don’t know yet how hard it is going to hit smaller businesses in the longer term but that is not a good sign. “Those figures could also be being skewed by stockpiling before the transition period came to an end and, also, the ongoing effect of Covid-19. However, when you look at trade in food – something that can’t be stockpiled – that has fallen dramatically too, so I’d suggest this could be a longterm trend. “And, because of Covid, we don’t yet know what the effect is going to be on services as people aren’t yet able to travel into Europe but, again, that is another issue we have got on the horizon. “The agreement that was signed between the UK and EU is binding but, written within it, there is the opportunity to build on the relationship over time. So, businesses should keep up the pressure and should let Government know
what problems they are facing so that they can take those into account if they return to the negotiating table with the EU. “In a sense, it’s a truly world class agreement between the EU and UK because it offers tariff free trade – but it’s the non-tariff barriers that are causing the headaches and the vast majority of those are here to stay because we are no longer in the Single Market or the Customs Union.” The event also heard from the Chamber’s former Brexit Club Chair David Burton; International Trade Director Ajay Desai; and David Hooper, of Hooper & Co, who has been delivering training to businesses on the new rules around trading with the EU. Hooper said: “There were many who thought that if we got an agreement with the EU everything would stay the same, but that’s simply not the case. “EU businesses were even less prepared for this than those in the UK and, sadly, they are just looking at new
suppliers within the Single Market and Customs Union now and companies in Coventry and Warwickshire are losing out. “There are some teething problems but there are some longer-term issues too. It’s currently taking three weeks to get freight into France – that was two to three days prior to Brexit. “I’ve had one customer tell me that it was quicker for their business to get goods sent to Saudi Arabia than it is to get them to Cork in Ireland. “There are businesses that just don’t understand much of the paperwork and the new rules around duties and VAT – and it has the potential to do real damage.” Desai said: “The volume of calls to the Chamber’s International Trade team has increased five times since the end of the transition. “We’ve got a strong team in place to help support businesses and, also, to ensure their issues are passed on in order to find a long-term solution.”
Chamber support is music to Debbie’s ears A Coventry business owner is ready to strike the right chord in 2021 after her business was put on hold for a year. Debbie Lynne launched a new company – Debbie Lynne Music – playing the violin at weddings and events, which builds on her passion for music that began when she was eight years old and has seen her play in a variety of orchestras in the UK and Europe. Debbie sought help to get the business underway from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce start-
up team through the Coventry & Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). After a year on hold, she’s now raring to make Debbie Lynne Music a success in a year when the whole region will be celebrating culture. Debbie said: “I’d been made redundant and was then in a job I really didn’t like so at around Christmas 2019 I decided I would do something for myself.
“I thought I could really do something with music as it’s been a big part of my life since I was very young, having played in orchestras and string quartets through my career. “I decided that I would go down the route of playing solo at weddings and corporate events and, before COVID-19 hit, there had been some really good interest and quite a few bookings. “So, after a really tough year, I’m excited to be able to get out there and start playing again to help make the business a
success and I am hopeful that being City of Culture can help me to do that.” Through the Chamber, Debbie has been given help in writing business and marketing plans as well as attending training courses to help her with the basics of setting up her own venture. She was also assigned a mentor, Sarah Humphreys, by the Chamber and her support has certainly hit the right note.
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Ellen looking for the sweet taste of success with new business Ellen Booton went to catering college in Rugby as a 16-year-old, but ended up working first as a wedding planner and then in HR. Fast forward to 2021 and now married to Robert with a two-and-a-half-yearold daughter Isabelle, 26-year-old Ellen has set up The Fabulous Fudge Company from the kitchen at her family’s home in Wyken, with support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, and just in time for the city’s year as UK City of Culture.
A Coventry mum has reignited her passion for cooking by kickstarting a career in the kitchen that began at college ten years ago.
Having drafted in family and friends to give her feedback on early recipes, she is already offering 25 flavours for customers to choose from to make up their own bespoke gift selection boxes, with lemon meringue made with fresh lemon curd and white chocolate and raspberry among her best sellers.
Ellen said: “It was towards the back end of last year that I started to think about how I could start a business that could offer a regular income but would be something I can grow organically. “I went to catering college and have always had a passion for cooking but I never pursued it as a career. I did my research and there are so many other companies making baked goods and doing it well but I found a gap in the market in making fudge so I ran with it and have put my own twist on it.” Ellen has been given a helping hand by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through its free Start Up Business Support Programme, and has attended three workshops and benefited from four one-to-one sessions with a mentor.
New venture looks to put success on the menu An Indian cuisine expert and chef has started a new venture that gives people the chance to learn how to create their own authentic meals. Rama Food and Cookery Club is a Stratford-Upon-Avon business that is offering classes to teach people how to make their very own Indian food. The company has been created by Uttam Rawat – a former development chef for a range of supermarkets who took the plunge to start the venture last year. It all came together thanks to help and support of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce Start Up Support Service which is funded via the CW Business: Start, Grow and Scale programme. This programme for start-up businesses is funded by the European Regional Development Fund,
Warwickshire County Council and all five district and borough councils. Uttam came up with the idea for the business during the first national lockdown when he was placed on furlough from his job. He said: “I was a development chef in London and you would have seen my meals in national supermarket chains. At the start of the pandemic, I was placed on furlough and as a way to give back to the community and keep myself busy, I started doing cookery classes online for free. It was appreciated a lot at a time when there was not much activity available due to lockdown. “I had been doing the courses at a community centre in my spare time, but when I was made redundant, I thought I could turn it into an actual business.”
A Coventry-based tattoo studio that launched during the pandemic is gearing up to re-open with a fourmonth-long waiting list. Tattooed Llama, which is based on Lockhurst Lane on the outskirts of the city, opened its doors in June 2020, but has been closed since November due to COVID-19, and is now set to welcome back customers. Despite the company being closed for around half of its life so far, the business’s leading tattoo artist,
Two friends with a dream of running their own art business have made it their reality thanks to help from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. Alexia Deaville and Nessa Grimes founded ceramic business Fire Formed, which sells a variety of functional and ornamental pieces, after being offered studio space at Eaton House in Coventry through the Coventry-based charity Artspace Coventry.
In a bid to get things started, Uttam sought the advice of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to take the next steps. He was given a Chamber mentor and also signed onto a range of online courses on offer including marketing, forming a business plan and social media and now the business is already branching out. For more information visit https://ramafoodsuk.com/
Tattoo studio secures support from the Chamber Dagmara Kokocinska, had built up such a strong reputation in her field that customers were travelling from as far as Oxford and Stoke-on-Trent for tattoos. Alongside offering tattoos and aftercare advice, the studio is developing a community focus and also sells merchandise, artwork and a range of clothing. The studio was attracting up to ten customers a day before having to shut in November, and ever since then, the business has been putting into practice the digital marketing advice that they have learned from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to target current and poten-tial customers, ready for their re-opening date. The business was supported by the Chamber’s start-up team through the
All fired up for new business venture
Coventry & Warwick-shire Business Support Programme, which is partfunded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Konstantin Patronov, Dagmara’s business partner, said: “It has been a bitter sweet experience for us so far. We were building a strong client base in the four months we were allowed to open, but since November we have had to adapt quickly to be able to survive as a business. “Government grants have played a key role in enabling us to stabilise until we can open, but the support that was provided by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has also been vital in helping us to attract new bookings even though we have been unable to trade.”
Thanks to support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, the pair have managed to create solid business plans and find grants to bolster the business’s finances through the pandemic. The pair met in 2019 when they both enrolled as mature students onto a foundation art and design course at Coventry University after separately deciding the time was right to leave their current jobs and pursue their dreams. Alexia said: “We had never met each other before the course, but we got on almost immediately and had similar reasons for taking the course. “We both wanted to start some sort of creative venture, but during the course we both fell in love with designing and creating ceramics, and we agreed we’d start a ceramics business soon after graduation.” Fire Formed sells a variety of ceramics, including mugs, bowls and small sculptures, and can even be commissioned to create bespoke pieces. Alexia mainly focuses on “slip casting” ceramics, which can be almost any shape, while Nessa’s ceramics tend to be designs that can be turned on a potter’s wheel, such as bowls and plates. The ceramics are initially made either in the studio or at a shed in Alexia’s Coventry home, then fired in a kiln at Nessa’s home in Birmingham. The creations are then glazed to add colour and shine, and fired in the kiln for a second time to finish.
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Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Why it is time for businesses to GO GREEN
Green growth is an important economic driver, growing around fourtimes faster than the overall economy. Going green dramatically benefits businesses and now is the time to capitalise on this opportunity, which could be central to their coronavirus recovery strategy. Starting early gives companies the best chance of staying ahead and diversifying into future products and markets.
A business can gain a competitive advantage by taking early action in moving to low carbon approaches. By offering new green products or processes or showing that it is implementing sustainability into its business thinking, an organisation is more likely to cater to an emerging trend or niche market, which can make it more competitive. Sustainability can be promoted in other ways like green working practices and processes, which can help an organisation win new business through competitive tender bids and standing out from the competition through its social responsibilities and green ethics. The Government is now forcing large businesses to make climate related disclosures. Currently small to medium sized organisations (SMEs) don’t have to but if you operate within respective supply chains and third-party business
Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme Following the Government’s recent new target to reduce greenhouse emissions by 78% by 2035, businesses need to be aware what help is available to them in achieving this in their operational processes. The Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme supports small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 250 employees based in Coventry and Warwickshire who want to save money on energy, waste and water bills and maximise low carbon opportunities. We provide grants and free energy and resource efficiency audits to help identify where energy, water and waste savings can be made, as well as low carbon product development. The Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is being delivered by Coventry City Council, Coventry University, and Coventry University Enterprises Ltd. Since the programme started in 2016, we are very proud to report that: • £2.5m in grants have been awarded to over 300 small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) • There have been over 14,000 tonnes of CO2 savings • Over 200 SMEs have received non-financial support • 1450 organisations have now joined the Green Business Network
The programme is running until June 2023 and opportunities in the Low Carbon Economy will continue to grow, with a major drive to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy. If your business is looking to implement a renewable energy project or has the potential for high-tech green growth, support may be available to help your business grow through an energy and resource efficiency grant up to the value of £50k. We offer eligible businesses grants of between £1,000 and £50,000 to fund up to 40% of the cost of installing energy efficiency measures. Examples include: • Lighting – LED, controls, sensors • Heating - replacement boilers/ burners, upgrades, zone control, heat recovery • Compressors • Ventilation – fans, distribution • Refrigeration • Renewable technologies such as solarPV • Recycling and waste compactors, balers and crushers • Energy efficient machinery
To find out how your business can benefit by going green, book a free energy and environmental audit with the Coventry and Warwickshire green business programme team by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02476 972046.
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relationships of larger organisations then it could have implications for winning future work. SMEs make up 51% of the UK economy and are generating 65% of UK emissions, so the time will come when they will have to disclose their emissions, therefore making the journey to go green now will put a business ahead of the game. Greening initiatives signal to external stakeholders, such as investors and customers, that a business is committed to doing good. This can lead to increased investment, customers and stakeholder loyalty.
are more likely to believe that their employer will care for them and are more satisfied with their jobs. Greening processes can result in efficiency gains by reducing energy costs, allowing businesses to secure green tax credits and local grant funding, improving operational efficiency and productivity, and embedding circular economy principles internally.
Other business advantages for going green, include saving energy, waste and resource costs due to cutting carbon as well as attracting talent. Job seekers are increasingly attracted to companies that care for the environment. The employees of firms that promote sustainability
CASE STUDY: £395,000 investment made by innovative Warwick business
3P innovation design, manufacture and support high-end production equipment and machinery, from lab-scale to commercial scale which allows their clients to launch new products faster and at lower cost, with high productivity and reliability from the start. The company received a £69k *(during phase 1 of programme) grant from the Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme The grant has helped 3P innovation to expand their business and achieve energy efficiency savings at their site in Warwick. The measures have included installing LED energy efficient lighting throughout the
building, new high efficiency gas fired modulating heaters that save 30% on fuel costs, a high performance air conditioning system which incorporates heat recovery units that use the heat from the outgoing air to preheat the incoming cold air, new air compressor achieving savings of between 20% and 30% and the installation of solar panels on the roof to reduce their use of electricity from the grid. 3P innovation said: “the grant we have received from the Green Business Programme has met our objective to reduce the carbon footprint of the building whilst not breaching the budget we had set for it. Our customers are becoming increasingly aware of their environmental impact and we were beginning to have to make commitments to our customers to constantly review and reduce our carbon usage and environmental impact in order to win their business.” 3P innovation estimates to see a reduction of 153.3 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year with 290,000kWh of energy usage having been reduced.
CASE STUDY: The show must go on for a business that has reduced its carbon emissions A cutting-edge entertainment and events business in Warwickshire is reducing its carbon footprint after investing in two energy efficient machines and installing LED lighting throughout the building. Area 51 Design has been supplying creative props, décor, entertainment and shows for over 20 years. With its turnover reduced by 95 per cent due to Covid-19, co-director Rich Moore started to research applying for grants. Area 51 Design successfully applied for a grant of £12,702 towards an energy efficient CNC lathe and Polurea Spray Gun as well as the installation of LED lighting from the Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme. Rich Moore, Co-Director, Area 51 Design said: “Receiving a grant towards investing in the machines and helping to reduce our carbon footprint has been incredibly useful for us to move forward. The CNC lathe will help us to modify our designs and The Polurea Spray Gun will help to insulate our premises and double-up as a mould making machine, and both these machines will help to reduce our carbon emissions by nearly 61 tonnes every year
as well as help us to diversify into new markets.” Bernadette McCullagh, Green Business Programme Sustainability Advisor at Coventry City Council, said: “The Polyurea Spray Gun will enable Area 51 to eliminate costs and carbon emissions from welding gas and heating oil, and the energy efficient lighting will improve staff comfort as well as significantly reducing their energy and maintenance costs longer term. The grant intervention will also help to accelerate production post Covid-19, when more work is available, thereby both supporting the business to recover from the current crisis and simultaneously reducing their environmental impact.”
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Coventry & Warwickshire in business
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Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby
Coventry business launches new innovation Sejal Pancholi (left) and Damini Sharma from The OM Group
Expanding Coventry firm hires new apprentices An expanding Coventry business where every employee undertakes an apprenticeship is set to grow as part of a government initiative. The OM Group, which was established in 2008, provides multidisciplinary consultancy services and training within the construction industry, as well as health and safety support and training to other sectors.
A Coventry business has secured its first contract for a new product which improves the safety of construction workers. Feraru Dynamics launched its Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAV-Sentry) glove in 2020 after two years of developing prototypes and completing validation tests. The business received a grant of £11,992 from the Coventry and Warwickshire Innovation Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. They developed the wearable device after getting in touch with the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub
and securing funding from Coventry City Council. The digital glove monitors the vibrations created by heavy machinery when worn by construction workers who operate tools. By analysing the data, it alerts them when dangerous levels are being reached so they know to take a break. Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome can be prevented but once damage is caused, it can lead to a permanent lack of grip strength, white fingertips, numbness and tingling in the hands and arms. Feraru Dynamics, which is based at the Coventry University Technology Park in Puma Way, has secured
The business has already recruited a training centre manager, a consultant and bid manager and a senior health, safety and environmental consultant in 2021. All of those recruited through the Kickstart scheme will undertake a six-month training programme during their funded placement, after which, if successfully completed, they will be offered fulltime roles in the growing business. Damini Sharma, a director at The OM Group, is leading by example by studying for an apprenticeship MBA at Aston University. The entrepreneur said: “I believe it’s possible for a business, however large or small, to grow by taking advantage of the apprenticeship schemes that are available. “Apprenticeships are a great way of upskilling your workforce and key to how your workforce can increase their productivity. “Everybody in our business has either completed an apprenticeship, is studying for an apprenticeship or applying to start an apprenticeship that’s relevant to their role or in an area which can help them to grow within the business.”
Andrei Feraru, co-founder and managing director of Feraru Dynamics, said: “Health and safety is an important area for every business but particularly in the construction sector. The material of the glove is currently being manufactured in Germany but we hope to bring the glove material sourcing and design manufacturing back to the UK.
“We have won our first contract which is with Coventry City Council and we are demonstrating it to a major company, so we really hope it is going to take off.” Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration at Coventry City Council, said: “I’m really impressed by this new product which has been developed right here in Coventry. I’m also pleased that we have placed the first order with Andrei and his team to help improve safety for our own construction workers.”
Saving the environment through graphic artistry
It is set to recruit ten individuals as part of the government’s Kickstart scheme within the next six months after it received information about the national programme from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub. It is aiming to employ business co-ordinators, health and safety co-ordinators, a marketing executive, a social media executive, a bid co-ordinator, a training co-ordinator, a sales executive and an accounts administrator.
its first contract to supply the gloves to Coventry City Council for staff to use when constructing roads.
expertise, the pair founded Bayven, a portmanteau of surnames and location with environmental justice anchored at its core. Bayven Studio is a Coventry-based graphic artistry and communications studio that specialises in environmental campaigns.
Parminder and Sally want to utilise their creative energy to stimulate positive change. Bayven’s raison d’etre is bringing environmental campaigns to life through unique and engaging graphic artistry.
While networking on LinkedIn, ex-work colleagues Parminder Bal and Sally Taylor found one another and connected. In catching up, they honed in on some common ground: a passion for preserving and promoting the natural environment. Combining their graphic design and creative strategy
Bayven believes that environmental work should be accessible, actionable and share a clear message that prioritises the natural environment. From redesigning dull governmental reports to developing colourful renderings of major environmental projects, the company aims to create
a world where everyone cares about the wellness of the planet. Campaigns close to Bayven’s heart include natural resource and environmental conservation efforts, public policy, green finance innovation and sustainable product development in the private sector. By working closely with policymakers, agricultural NGOs, environmental organisations, energy companies, and politicians to curate effective environmental campaigns, the company aims to nurture a global community that shares its values and vision: to protect and preserve the natural environment. For more information visit www.bayven.co.uk
More success for award-winning Bromwich Hardy Award-winning commercial property agency Bromwich Hardy is celebrating more success after scooping two top titles in a prestigious awards scheme.
hot on the heels of the agency being named amongst the most successful in the country in figures compiled by Estates Gazette.
The Coventry-based agency has been named the most active single-branch agency for the volume of commercial sales and purchases in both Coventry and the wider West Midlands in the influential CoStar Awards.
They said: “We really could not be more delighted to have won these awards. They are based entirely on the deals we concluded in 2020 so are a true mark of our commercial success and the value we have been able to deliver to our clients.
The agency also features in the list of top five best-performing agencies in a host of other categories for both regions in the awards, which reflect deals completed throughout 2020. Founding partners Tom Bromwich and Richard Hardy said they were thrilled with the latest success, which comes
“Our team are second to none when it comes to their experience, commercial insight and client focus and that shines through in the success they achieve day in, day out. Although these awards are for regional deals, we are increasingly now working in all parts of the country as our reputation spreads.
Tom Bromwich and Richard Hardy
“Of course, the pandemic has created challenges for everyone in business, but we have continued to work through all the various lockdowns, have not had to use the furlough scheme and have continued to conclude deals. “Hopefully there is now some light at the end of the tunnel and the second half of 2021 will see a return to more usual business conditions.”
Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby
Esquires Coventry celebrates funding success A coffee shop owner in Coventry admitted he cried with relief upon learning his bid for £78,000 from the second round of the government’s Culture Recovery Fund had been successful. Following the announcement, he is raising a cup to a more certain future in the city with coffee and culture collaborations on the menu. Esquires, which operates from Millennium Place, has been at the heart of the Coventry community for more than 12 years, supporting numerous local organisations and events. Pre-COVID, the
business was performing well and celebrating its best year to date. After the pandemic hit, Esquires – like many businesses in the city – was struggling to see a way out of the situation and with the support of Trish Willetts at Coventry BID, submitted a funding application to Arts Council England (ACE) in the hope of securing the company’s future. Steven Prime, director at Esquires Coffee Coventry, said: “This past 12 months has easily been the worst in our 12-year trading history. My goal in applying for the ACE funding was to shore
up the finances of the business so that we could rebuild and restore Esquires to its place at the heart of the community. In doing so, we can continue to support other local organisations, as well as provide Coventrians with more amazing cultural events.” Upon learning of his successful application, Steven admits to shedding a tear. He said: “The team have all been absolutely fantastic and so understanding throughout, so it’s a joy to be able to share such amazing news with them.” Trish Willetts, director at Coventry BID, added:
“We were honoured to be able to support Steven and the Esquires team with their application for ACE funding and absolutely delighted to hear that they were successful. We are very much looking forward to seeing how the funding will help to bring the business back to life again after such a tough year and can’t wait to celebrate with them at their first cultural event!”
Six-figure investment and new staff for Coventry business
Justine Chadwick of the CWLEP Growth Hub
An innovative engineering software consultancy in Coventry is investing a six-figure sum and recruiting new staff after receiving help from a business support group. EnginSoft UK was launched at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Venture Centre in Sir William Lyons Road in 2009. The business provides state-of-the-art virtual prototyping, consultancy, training
and research for a wide range of clients including Jaguar Land Rover. A total of £150,000 is being invested this year in hydraulics software along with a grant of £44,207 from the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme which is partfunded by the European Regional Development Fund after the company received help from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub. Bipin Patel, co-founder and managing director of EnginSoft UK, said: “We have several clients in the water sector and we’ve developed software tools to help them manage the flooding impact of growth of towns and cities through the drainage capacity needed for housing, hospitals and schools plus climate change. “There are so many variables and unknowns that it’s difficult to understand and predict all the changes.
“You can have a 25-year plan for growth but can’t know when the growth will happen or when climate change will kick in so we’re developing AI-based software to help manage the risk for water companies. “We have products in advanced third stage trials with Anglia Water and more talks are in the pipeline.” Bipin has also recruited 39 interns as part of the government’s Kickstart scheme to add to the current 11-strong workforce – and between five and ten are expected to secure full-time jobs in 2021. He said: “I think the Government has supported us well through the pandemic since we have been able to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Bounce Back Loans and grants. Being involved in Kickstart is my way of giving something back to the community and, in particular, the engineering community.”
New app offers strong foundations for construction projects At a time when construction firms of all kinds need a hand to help get the economy moving again, a Midlandsbased developer has launched a mobile app that aims to assist builders in managing projects smartly. Coventry-headquartered Apps Plus, which also has offices in Birmingham and Manchester, has a decade’s worth of experience in designing and developing apps for businesses of all kinds. This expertise has now been applied to a solution the company says can help any construction company improve their reporting, grow their brand and improve efficiency. The firm’s managing director, Alan Hartin, said: “App technology, in general, has so much potential to help businesses free up time, rationalise processes and centralise data storage.
Our app specialises in deploying these key benefits within the construction space.” Named Under Construction, the app offers a suite of project management tools that are each designed to help render processes smoother and easier for directors, supervisors and staff alike. The app offers real-time form submission to streamline on and offsite reporting, providing an accurate, visualised record of an entire job – in real-time and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Alan said: “Not only does this transparency grow brand reputation with clients, it also maximises productivity by making form-filling easier – and improves safety by making reports instantly available to all.”
Under Construction’s mix of notifications and audited results offers a proactive means of not just achieving but demonstrating regulatory compliance – critical for construction firms operating within today’s exacting frameworks. Alan added: “Under Construction offers firms the chance to ensure accuracy and consistency in reporting and documenting on-site projects, conveying protection for the company and proper briefing for its operatives. It’s a win-win.”
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Amethyst Centre becomes FE provider to support young therapists
The Amethyst Centre on Walsgrave Road, Coventry, has become an approved centre with Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT), to deliver training in complementary therapies up to level 3. VTCT is a specialist awarding and assessment organisation that offers vocational and technical qualifications that are equivalent to NVQs. Former teacher Chris Ramsbottom, who founded The Amethyst Centre in 2015, recognised the need for this level of education in the local area when she saw that local colleges had stopped offering level 3 training. Achievement at this level is necessary for therapists to become recognised as professionals with entry to professional associations. Chris said: “Many more people are interested in moving into the complementary therapy arena, both young entrepreneurs and those seeking a career change, yet I was finding they couldn’t become qualified locally to a level that meant they could set up their own business. Level 3 qualification provides them with the skillset, knowledge and experience to set up their own practices, as well as the business skills that go with running a practice.” The courses, which will start in September, are designed to run in small groups of six people, which allows for more individualised tuition and development. Students do have to put in the necessary 200 case study hours in their own time, but by being based at the Amethyst Centre, they have the opportunity to put into practice their learning in the realworld situation of a working therapy practice. Chris said: “We can train in subjects such as aromatherapy, reflexology, massage, Indian head massage, thermal auricular therapy (ear candling) and stone therapy. Also available is training in skin cancer awareness for nonmedical professionals, which is very important, and infection prevention for beauty and complementary therapists. “We’re delighted to have become an approved centre for VTCT and cannot wait to welcome students.”
Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby
Leamington rugby club in sponsorship deal HydroGarden gains international recognition
Last year challenged businesses to adapt and think on their feet like never before. Despite the enormous global challenges, some determined, innovative companies have found opportunities to grow. The Sunday Times HSBC International FastTrack 200 league table reveals that 2020 was HydroGarden’s strongest year yet, with the company ranked 26th in the top 200 UK companies for international sales growth. Founded in Coventry in 1996 with a team of just three people, HydroGarden has grown into an international business with almost 140 employees across the UK, Germany and South Africa. Since its foundation the company has achieved consistent profitable growth, expanded to offer more than 2,000 products and built ten own-product brands from the ground up. Now in its 25th year of trading, the company has transformed into one of the UK’s premier hydroponics wholesalers with an annual turnover of just under £42 million. HydroGarden has expanded its international footprint by opening up an arm of the business in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2019, and acquiring German hydroponics wholesaler, Berlin-based Grow In, the following year. In the 25 exciting years that ydroGarden has been in business, it has contributed to technological development in the global hydroponics industry and continues to push for innovation. HydroGarden holds 98 patents in total (including pending), and continual product development and testing happens both with partner farms and in HydroGarden’s onsite vertical farm and greenhouse facility. Collaborating with six English colleges and universities, HydroGarden hosts ongoing knowledge transfer partnerships and development partnerships, offering opportunities for the next generation of leaders in the fields of plant science and hydroponics. Hydroponic agriculture is often touted as a solution to future food insecurity, as climate change makes conventional agriculture less dependable. Utilised as part of a local food supply chain, hydroponic growing can reduce the carbon footprint of fresh produce, as it enables suppliers to grow outof-season crops locally for their customers rather than having to import from overseas.
A Leamington rugby club has been kitted out for the season ahead thanks to a new sponsorship deal with a local developer. The logo of Warwick-based business AC Lloyd will take pride of place across the front of the kits of both the women’s and men’s teams at Old Leamingtonians RFC. Old Leamingtonians Women’s RFC was formed in 1988 and is the oldest women’s rugby union team in the West Midlands. The firm has supported the men’s side for three years and signed up to sponsor the women’s team last year. The pandemic curtailed the season in 2020 but the loosening of restrictions means the team will be able to take
to the pitch this year, with the season scheduled to begin in August. The women’s team has now donned the AC Lloyd-sponsored kit for the first time as training sessions get back underway. Gemma Lewis, chair of Old Leamingtonians Ladies, said the sponsorship support has been crucial after a challenging year for the club. She said: “We’re always very appreciative of any support shown to us by local businesses and AC Lloyd have been fantastic supporters of the club as a whole over the past few years. “Our women’s section continues to grow at great pace and we have seen more people looking to join the club since we have been able to hold training sessions again.
From left to right - Peter Beddoes (AC Lloyd), Pippa Scarisbrick Miller (ladies vice-captain), Debbie Thomson (ladies captain) and Henry Reynolds (men’s captain)
“The social aspect has proved really important in such difficult times.” Peter Beddoes, chairman of AC Lloyd, added: “We have a great relationship with everyone at Old Leamingtonians and it’s fantastic to see the teams all kitted out for the new season. “At AC Lloyd we place community at the heart of our work and that’s something that Old Leamingtonians do as well.”
Leamington business coach wins three awards in as many months The business coach from ActionCOACH Warwick was crowned Coach of the Year for the Central Midlands region at the business coaching firm’s UK awards. The excitement for Kevin’s team didn’t stop there, as he was then announced the winner of the overall UK Growth Coach award – out of more than 200 coaches nationwide. Kevin Riley with award
Just a few months after scooping a national award that recognises the tremendous support he has offered his local business community throughout the pandemic, Kevin Riley has added two more accolades to his trophy shelf.
Since the first lockdown, Kevin and his team have dedicated their time to business owners across Warwickshire and Oxfordshire to help negotiate the challenges thrown their way by the pandemic. With his business coaching sessions, including those he gifted to over 750 local companies, he
has provided a lifeline to many businesses across the region. Kevin said: “It’s amazing to see the determination, passion and willpower shine through in the business owners that I coach. That’s what really makes it worthwhile. Receiving these awards is the icing on top of the cake.” These two awards follow his win at the 2020 bfa HSBC Franchise Awards in November, where he was hailed as the community hero. Celebrating the shining stars across the UK who have given back tremendously to their communities, Kevin clinched the title with almost 700 votes, over 100 more than his fellow finalists. His impact has evidently been felt across
the region, and one business that has benefited from Kevin’s coaching is The Little Gin Company. Founded in 2015, The Little Gin Company was born out of friendship between business owners Nicola Tavener and Emma Bishop and their love for gin. When March’s lockdown posed a threat to their events-based business, they reached out to Kevin for help. In January 2021, their turnover had increased by 150%, with a 300% increase in gross profit and a staggering 800% increase in net profit. They say they are confident that these results are due to Kevin’s support. For more information visit warwick.actioncoach.co.uk
Local recycling scheme results in cash boost for The Myton Hospices The Myton Hospices has been handed a £650 donation thanks to the recycling efforts of people in Nuneaton and Bedworth.
Thanks to the efforts of the people of Nuneaton and Bedworth, The Myton Hospices is now the grateful recipient of the £650 windfall.
The green-spirited residents were voted the best-performing recyclers by the Slim Your Bin campaign – and were rewarded for their efforts with a £650 donation to a local charity of their choice.
Myton expects to see overall losses this year of at least £1 million but continues to play an important role in the response to COVID-19 by delivering vital services across Warwickshire and supporting NHS colleagues. The money will help to ensure Myton can care for people with life-limiting illnesses and their families, now and in the months ahead.
Voting to decide which charity was set to benefit from the donation was carried out online – and Myton was the unanimous winner, receiving 44.2% of the votes. Slim Your Bin – a partnership between sustainability engagement specialists Jump and Warwickshire County Council – rewards participants for reducing their waste and recycling more, with individual prizes for residents each month and a charity donation at the end of each year.
Ruth Freeman, The Myton Hospices CEO, said: “A huge thank you to everyone who has made this fabulous donation to Myton possible. “To Jump, Warwickshire County Council and the Slim Your Bin scheme for the generous donation and to the wonderful residents of Nuneaton and
Bedworth who, so very kindly, chose Myton to benefit from the scheme. “The support of the communities we serve has never been more important, so thank you on behalf of everyone at Myton and, most importantly, on behalf of our patients and their families who this wonderful donation will make such a huge difference to.”
Area Focus: Coventry - Mid Warks - North Warks - South Warks - Rugby
MP calls for halfway house on the roadmap A Warwickshire MP has set out to an audience of regional businesses why he believes the UK economy should be allowed to open up more quickly than has been planned in the Government’s roadmap. Jeremy Wright, the MP for Kenilworth and Southam, told the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Policy Hour session that there may be a ‘halfway house’ between immediate reopening and that which the Prime Minister set out. He said the pace and success of the Covid-19 vaccination programme could mean that planning for a full reopening on June 21 – or later – was too cautious. Mr Wright said: “The reason for lockdown and closing parts of our economy was to reduce transmission. “However, the vaccination programme which began in
our region has been hugely successful – probably even more successful than the Government could have ever imagined – and this is offering a great deal of protection to those most vulnerable and those most likely to die from Covid-19. “So, in my view and that of many others, our focus should no longer be on transmission. There are some who say we can go faster and that we should open everything now, while others are quite happy with the caution set out in the roadmap. I believe there can be a halfway house and I will be making that case when legislation comes before Parliament.” He added: “The Government has spent almost £350 billion in supporting businesses through Covid-19 and, as the Chancellor set out in his Budget, that will eventually need to be paid for.
“The best way of doing that is to get businesses back trading as quickly as possible for them to start making the money that means they are no longer reliant on support and can start to generate the profits to pay off the debts they’ve incurred during the pandemic. “People might say that I’m arguing about a matter of weeks but, actually the difference between opening up in early May compared to later on in June could be massive to some of those seasonal businesses in our area.” Mr Wright said the longterm effect of the pandemic on retail, leisure and office work would not be known immediately. He said: “Even when we do reopen, we won’t know for some time whether people’s habits have changed. I suspect we will see change but we will have to wait to see what the extent of that is.”
Sean Rose, policy officer at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was an engaging and interesting virtual meeting and gave companies from across the region the chance to hear from a local MP directly and also ask questions that are key to their business and their future prospects.”
Mirius wins prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade
Steve Quinlan, Darren Langdon and Paul Marsh
Mirius is honoured to announce it has been named as a winner of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise Leading hygiene company, Mirius, is one of 205 organisations nationally to be recognised today (Thursday 28th April) with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Mirius has received the accolade for International Trade recognising its success in the development and growth of export markets. Instituted by Royal Warrant in 1965, The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise,
are the United Kingdom’s most prestigious business awards. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise recognises outstanding achievements by UK companies in four categories: Innovation, Sustainable Development, Promoting opportunity (through social mobility) and International Trade. The awards are announced annually by HM The Queen with winning businesses able to proudly use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years. Mirius, a market leading manufacturer of biocides, cleaning, and hygiene products, supplies the Retail, Professional (B2B) and Animal Healthcare sectors, supplying export customers and international distributors with both Branded and own label products. Mirius’ International brands include Omnicide broad spectrum disinfectant for use in Animal Healthcare, Hycolin and Vital Fresh retail brands, and Hycolin Professional into the B2B Professional cleaning sector. Steve Quinlan, CEO at Mirius, commented: “The Queen’s Award is
the most prestigious business award that the UK bestows and it is a great honour that Mirius has been considered a worthy recipient and I want to acknowledge the tremendous collective efforts of the entire team at Mirius who have made this possible. As a British manufacturer we are especially proud, to be a recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade recognizing our incredible growth in our global markets. At Mirius, we have been committed to offering effective cleaning and hygiene solutions across retail, professional and animal biosecurity for over 50 years. We look forward to continuing to expand our brands and developing more high-quality products for our customers across the globe in the future.” Mirius is also ranked for the second successive year in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. The 2021 league table has Mirius at 138 in the ranking of the top British mid-market private companies with the fastestgrowing international sales.
Town Centre businesses back Rugby First Town centre businesses have backed Rugby First Business Improvement District (BID) for another five-year term following a successful ballot. This gives Rugby First a mandate to continue their CCTV, Town Rangers, cleaning, marketing and event services and will bring an estimated £4 million investment into the town centre. For any BID ballot to be successful, there needs to be a majority of businesses in favour, both in terms of number of votes cast and by rateable value. A total of 77% of businesses voted in favour of the Rugby First BID with an aggregate rateable value of 90%. Alistair George, chairman of Rugby First, said:
“We’re delighted to announce we’ve succeeded in securing the votes required to enter into a new five-year term. “We’d like to say a massive thank you to all of our levypaying businesses for their continued support, especially during what has been a very challenging year. As we emerge from the pandemic, we’re really excited about working together as a business community to face the challenges ahead, deliver our five-year business plan and ensure a bright future for the BID area.” Operations director Rich Warren added: “I’d like to thank the Rugby First team who work tirelessly to keep the town centre a safe, clean and welcoming place.
We’ve been providing key services for the town centre since 2005 and we’re very proud to play our part in attracting shoppers and visitors to Rugby, which helps to boost the town centre’s economy.” In the BID Ballot a turnout of 32% was submitted before
the March 25 closing date. The vote was administered independently by Civica Election Services and ballot papers were received and returned by post. The result of the vote was announced by Aftab Razzaq, returning officer at Rugby Borough Council, on Friday March 26.
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Support package for firms as region gets ready for City of Culture As lockdown lifts, hospitality businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire are being offered assistance to help them get ready to welcome visitors to the UK City of Culture 2021 as part of a new £400,000 support package. The Coventry City of Culture Trust has brought together the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Coventry BID, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, and Coventry and Warwickshire LEP (CWLEP) to codesign a package of support to help the hospitality sector to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and to be ready to make the most of UK City of Culture. The 12-month programme of support includes training programmes for existing hospitality business, introductory sessions for individuals seeking to develop careers in the hospitality sector, investment in the BID team to link hospitality businesses more formally to the 2021 events programme and start-up and scaleup business advice services. Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We are very pleased to bring together so many key partners in the region to aid both individuals and companies. “The hospitality sector has been one of the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis so the support we are offering together will create jobs and help businesses to make the most of the commercial opportunities that City of Culture is going to bring.” WMCA has commissioned WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) to deliver two training programmes alongside Coventry BID, the first of which is already underway. This will support up to 100 Coventry hospitality businesses to access training courses to enhance the service they provide to their customers. The second will see up to 500 individuals, who are new entrants to the hospitality sector, taking part in a skills bootcamp in a range of settings – once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted – to help develop skills needed to enter the workplace.
Full speed, full choice, full fibre is coming to Coventry We’re building a new digital network in Coventry. This will give you access to gigabit speed full fibre broadband from our growing list of internet service partners. Check your postcode and register for updates cityfibre.com
COVENTRY UK CITY OF CULTURE 2021
At Coventry College, we’re fiercely proud of all that Coventry has to offer. Our focus during this exciting City of Culture year is to maximise opportunities for our learners – past, present and future. As a college, we NURTURE, ELEVATE and CELEBRATE the talents of our learners. These themes are at the heart of a series of exciting events, activities and celebrations we have planned for the year, including: • A Dragon’s Den style competition, where learners will pitch their ideas for a business start-up in a bid to win £2,021! • Our 2,021 Hours Pledge, which will see staff and learners work together to devote a total of 2,021 hours to charities and good causes. • 2021’s Lasting Legacy - the creation of legacy courses to address culture and skills gaps. This is a truly historic time for our city and as a City Champion we’re excited to be helping put Coventry on the map. Visit www.coventrycollege.ac.uk/2021 to find out more about our plans and events!
If you’re a local business and would like to support or partner with any of our City of Culture plans, please email email@example.com.
Education and Training
Warwickshire businesses urged to back internship scheme The programme aims to help young people get paid employment by gaining skills in an internship of at least six months. WCG provides a dedicated job coach to support the intern during their time with a company, all of which is government-funded and free to the employer.
Matt Cook, Thabo Mlambo, Rob Henderson and Jonathan Appelbe-Wootton
“WCG provides a dedicated job coach to support the intern during their time with a company, all of which is government funded and free to the employer.”
Businesses are being encouraged to consider offering internships for supported learning students to help them develop transferrable skills and gain workplace experience. WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) is calling on employers to back the supported internship scheme, which is aimed at young people aged 16 to 25 who have learning difficulties and disabilities.
Employers across the public and private sectors are already supporting the initiative, which has been run by the college group for three years.
“We are delighted to work with WCG to help young people develop skills, showcase their potential and put them on a pathway to a positive future.” Businesses that have taken on supported interns in the last year include ISS World at Warwick Hospital Kitchen in Leamington, Royal Mail, Ansty Hall Hotel, Cineworld and Barnardo’s warehouse and online hub in Rugby.
Warwickshire County Council is among the employers who have worked with WCG and has taken on supported interns for two successive years.
Chris Healy, head of department for supported learning at WCG, said: “Supported internships are an incredible opportunity for businesses to make a real difference to the lives of our young people and boost their workforce at the same time.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “Supported internships offer a way forward for young people with special educational needs and disabilities across the region to enter the workplace.
“The internships provide vital training opportunities to students and give them a chance to develop their confidence and work skills – making a huge difference to their employment prospects after leaving college.”
For more information visit www.wcg.ac.uk/supportedinternships
Government announces extended and expanded apprenticeship incentive scheme The region’s largest apprenticeship training provider is urging businesses to take advantage of the newly extended and expanded Government incentive scheme. WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) trains over 2,500 apprentices each year and working with more than 1,100 employers annually. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in The Budget that any employer hiring an apprentice will be entitled to a payment of £3,000 regardless of the apprentices’ age - until September 2021. This builds on the existing £1,000 incentive payment that the government already provides for new apprentices aged 16 to 18, and those under 25 with an Education Health Care Plan.
These new incentives could see an employer potentially receiving up to £4,000 for hiring a new apprentice. WCG delivers apprenticeships at six colleges across Warwickshire and Worcestershire and offers more than 50 apprenticeship standards across 12 industry sectors and boasts a 76 per cent overall apprenticeship completion rate, nine per cent above the national average. Mark Eden, Director of WorkBased Learning at WCG, says the new incentive scheme from Government is very generous and it means there has never been a better time to take on an apprentice. He said: “Apprenticeships are a cost-effective way of supporting your existing workforce and
taking on an apprentice brings huge long-term return on investment. “We welcome the Government’s drive to create more skilled workers and cultivate the workforce of the future, and the college group is perfectly positioned to be able to support this initiative.
“We hope this incentive scheme will encourage more businesses to explore what an apprentice could bring to their business and would urge companies to get in touch with us to see how we can support that process.”
For more information regarding the government incentive, visit www.wcg.ac.uk/govincentive or contact WCG’s Business Development Team: E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0330 135 6940
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
Education and Training
MTC helps employers access cash for apprenticeships The Manufacturing Technology Centre’s SME salary support scheme and government incentives announced in the budget mean that MTC employer partners can receive up to £8,200 for hiring a new engineering apprentice. In the budget, the government doubled and extended the financial incentives available to support employers who create new jobs for apprentices, incentivising workforce growth and helping to minimise unemployment. As part of the chancellor’s plans to aid the UK economy’s COVID-19 recovery, businesses will now receive a bonus payment of £3,000 per new apprentice hired until September 30, 2021, regardless of age. This is in addition to the £1,000 payment for apprentices aged 16 to 18, meaning that some employers will receive a total of £4,000.
Firms can already access of a range of funds and financial incentives to support the employment of an apprentice. UK employers with a payroll of more than £3million can use their apprenticeship levy to cover training costs, while eligible smaller businesses can access a levy transfer fund created through an exclusive partnership between MTC Apprenticeships and Lloyds Bank to fund their apprentice’s training. In addition, SMEs with fewer than 50 employees can apply to receive up to a further £4,200 towards their apprentice’s wages through MTC Apprenticeships’ SME Salary Support Scheme. As well as paying for the apprenticeship training, this extra funding now takes the available support up to a maximum of £8,200, significantly offsetting the cost of employing an apprentice for the first year of their programme.
Virtual T Party Success for College Group
In March, leading college group WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) held their first-ever employer Virtual T Party - an online webinar about the upcoming Digital T Levels. Digital T Levels at WCG are due to begin in September 2021 and are set to bring about the biggest change to technical training in a generation. T Levels are new courses which will follow GCSEs and will be equivalent to 3 A Levels. These 2-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work. WCG’s T Party webinar was joined by a multitude of Coventry and Warwickshire-based businesses, with some now offering T Level placements to students after hearing how they can benefit from them. For those that were unable to attend the webinar, WCG have made the Virtual T Party presentation available on their webpage, wcg.ac.uk/tlevelemployers.
On this webpage, businesses can also find out information on T Levels and their benefits, including: · Extra support with current projects. · A solution for entry level jobs. · Cost-effective channel for recruitment. · Developing young people into industry, enhancing brand image and profile. · Better management and development of mentoring skills. · Placement students offering fresh perspectives in the working environment. · Becoming ambassadors of the College and having your brand name promoted at related WCG events. · Opportunities to become guest speakers at related WCG events. Steve Ellis, head of WCG’s Business and Digital Technology department, said: “Employers should see these new qualifications as a way of bringing talented young people into their business to assess them as a potential employee, as well as benefiting from new ideas that they could bring to help them grow their business.” For more information on T Levels, contact WCG’s Business Development Team: E: email@example.com T: 0330 135 6940
David Hughes MBE, managing director of MTC Apprenticeships, said: “The improved scheme is a fantastic opportunity for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the benefits apprentices offer. “Apprenticeships are already a cost-effective way to attract enthusiastic, motivated new talent, helping businesses to future-proof their workforce and reinvigorate current staff, as well as enabling firms to retain existing expertise by passing on knowledge and skills to the next generation.” For more information visit www.the-mtc.org
“As part of the chancellor’s plans to aid the UK economy’s COVID-19 recovery, businesses will now receive a bonus payment of £3,000 per new apprentice hired until September 30, 2021, regardless of age.”
HOLISTIC THERAPIES AND TRAINING IN COVENTRY
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Proud to be a member of the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce
Coventry & Warwickshire in business
New Member Profile
Welcome to new chamber member MyFreshCo.com Our humble beginnings started in the 1970’s in Royal Leamington Spa, as a local Convenience & Butchers Store. Fast forward to the mid 1980’s we purchased another store in Coventry & in the mid 1990’s, due to the demand for our excellent service and quality of produce, we started to specialise in fresh produce (Fruit & Veg) where we have continued until the present day. Based in Binley Industrial Estate, Coventry, MyFreshCo operates and serves customers throughout Coventry, Leamington, Warwick, Rugby and surrounding areas.
We’re a 3rd generation family owned business, with over 35 years industry experience and our goal is simple - to consistently provide the highest quality produce, which is sourced daily, delivered on time and competitively priced, whilst maintaining excellent customer service. We aim to provide a one to one, personal service to our customer base, be it at home or corporate. We’re your local supplier! Our buying team have many years of experience in sourcing the freshest and best produce available locally, UK wide and imported. They pride themselves in their knowledge and experience. If you need an item which is hard to source we can help.
MyFreshCo dropping off the weekly supplies to The Hope Centre Foodbank in Coventry.
We supply to, the general public either as doorstep delivery or click and collect, as well as other business outlets such as pubs, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, cafes, care homes, outside catering companies, local authorities or any other individual involved in the food sector. As well as specialising in fresh produce, we are also able to offer our customers a range of other kitchen staples such as bread, dairy, dried goods & oils and are always on the lookout for new quality products to add to our range.
In these unusual and unprecedented, times you can enjoy peace of mind, that your quality fresh fruit and veg delivery will arrive on your home doorstep, workplace, business operation or any other outlet in a professional, timely manner with the best quality and your safety assured. We look forward to welcoming you to the MyFreshCo family! For more information, or if you’d like a site visit, please get in touch to discuss your requirements. email@example.com 024 7697 0100
MyFreshCo: Coventry & Warwickshire’s
leading independent fresh produce supplier We source and deliver the freshest produce direct to Restaurants, Cafes, Care Homes, Work places, Schools and other businesses around the Coventry & Warwickshire area. We are now able to offer HOME DELIVERY to the general public for the same premium quality produce via our website. No account needed, simply browse and fill up your basket, when you are done, securely checkout and one of our friendly drivers will deliver your personalised box to your door, or why not Click & Collect from our warehouse in Binley Industrial Estate, Coventry.
For home delivery to CV post codes, Click & Collect orders via our website – 10% discount on first order using code: CWCHAMBER For new Trade/Business 2 Business customers – 15% discount when mentioning CWCHAMBER on first order.
PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF THE COVENTRY & WARWICKSHIRE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Phone: 024 7697 0100 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
22 Herald Way, Binley Industrial Estate, Coventry, CV3 2RQ
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President & People
Growing Midlands law firm announces flurry of promotions
Feeling of hope and renewed optimism A couple of years ago I remember writing about the chronic lack of employment land in the Coventry and Warwickshire area. Sadly, it would appear from the information I am receiving, that this situation has not improved and if anything is getting worse! Something needs to be done or else the economic impact will have far reaching consequences, inasmuch as potential businesses looking at moving to this region will simply go elsewhere, or businesses already here and looking to expand will have no option but to relocate out of this area. In simple terms, that will mean job creation is non-existent and existing employment levels could fall, resulting in much-needed income for all types of businesses being lost! It is a situation that would be totally unacceptable, especially given what everyone has had to endure over these past twelve months. One thing is for certain and that is the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce will continue to lobby for more employment land to be created, if only to ensure that there are enough jobs in the future to match the additional homes that are being built throughout the Coventry and Warwickshire area. We cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand on this issue, future generations deserve better and those generations deserve a future! And speaking of futures, at time of writing all businesses have just started to open up and there is certainly a feeling of hope and renewed optimism out there and long may it continue. History will determine how the world in general handled this pandemic, history will judge whether the actions taken were a success, an abject failure or something in-between. I really do wonder what history will make of it all, one thing for sure is that everyone I speak to has an opinion and discussions can become quite heated, obviously depending on your point of view. However, for now and going forward let us hope we will not have to endure any further lockdowns. Finally, as President of the Chamber I want to offer my congratulations to two outstanding individuals at the Coventry & Warwickshire’s Chamber of Commerce. Firstly, to Louise Bennett OBE DL and CEO of the Chamber, who has been appointed as High Sheriff of The West Midlands, it is without doubt a great honour and thoroughly well deserved. Secondly to our Commercial Director Louise Wall, who will be taking over the role of CEO to the Northampton & Milton Keynes Chambers of Commerce in July. Louise is an exceptional individual and will be sorely missed by everyone within the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber network. Best regards Tom Mongan
A Midlands law firm has announced 17 promotions across its business as part of its on-going growth plans. Leamington-based Wright Hassall has appointed three partners, two senior associates, eight associates, a legal director and promoted three individuals within its wider business services teams.
Those who have been promoted to partner include Gemma Baker (invoice collection and debt recovery), John Gregory (planning) and Tracy Ashby (wills and tax planning); while Luke Moulton (intellectual property) and Sarah Beer (agriculture and HS2) are now senior associates.
Kaleigh Brown, (real estate), Laura Steel (commercial) and Nathan Hinks (commercial property) have been appointed as associates, as have Patrick McCallum (commercial), Rees Herrod (corporate) and Sandra Piaskowska (construction).
James Leighfield (real estate) and Jennifer Rhind (litigation) have also achieved associate status, while Claire Halle-Smith (data protection) has moved up to the position of legal director. Also being promoted are three members of the firm’s business services teams: Ann-Marie Davis (senior executive assistant), Shaan Jamal (compliance) and Charlotte Bowler (sales & marketing). The promotions come in a year in which Wright Hassall – which employs more than 245 staff – is marking its 175th anniversary with a range of celebrations.
Sarah Perry, managing partner at Wright Hassall, said: “As a firm we pride ourselves on helping to develop and nurture the talents of our staff, and these promotions further underline this commitment. “Our business, like so many others, has had to adapt and show resilience in what has been a challenging year, and we’re delighted to now be in a position to promote these outstanding individuals who’ve all shown such dedication, application and teamwork in everything they do.”
Trio of High Sheriff awards for Rugby College staff and students Rugby College staff and students have received a trio of awards from the High Sheriff of Warwickshire to recognise the significant impact they have made on a local community. Joe Greenwell CBE DL, High Sheriff of Warwickshire, visited the college to congratulate those involved with The Prince’s Trust Team Programme for their recent project at a community church garden in Brownsover. He presented the college with three High Sheriff awards and spoke with leaders about how the programme is supporting the development of young people in the region. The Prince’s Trust Team Programme is based at Rugby College and is delivered in the area by college group WCG, which is the largest provider of programmes for the trust in England. The first award was presented to students enrolled in the course who carried out work to renovate the garden in the church grounds of Christ Church Brownsover. Team leader Georgia Allen received an award for leading the programme and delivering the project. Paul Harrison, senior Prince’s Trust
From l-r: Chris Gately (WCG) Angela Joyce (WCG), Paul Harrison (WCG), Joe Greenwell CBE DL and Georgia Allen (WCG)
programme coordinator for Coventry and Warwickshire at WCG, was also recognised for his impact regionally with the course delivery. Joe Greenwell CBE DL said: “It is very impressive for the initiative to have been able to achieve what it has in such a challenging year. I visited Christ Church in Brownsover during the project and I feel confident that the programme is making a huge difference to the lives of the young people involved.”
Georgia Allen added: “Joe has been very supportive since we first met him last year and we’re hoping to continue this work with his successors over the coming years. “Many young people involved in the programme are in difficult circumstances, so to receive an award like this from a highly respected person in society gives a great boost to their confidence. To find out more, visit https://wcg.ac.uk/page/25/princes-trust
Lodders hires estate and tax planning specialist
Barrister, tax, estate planning, wills and trusts specialist Alana Graham has joined Lodders private client department
Qualified barrister, tax, estate planning, wills and trusts specialist Alana Graham has joined local law firm Lodders in its top-ranking private client department. A barrister for more than 20 years, Alana has a wealth
of tax and private client experience having worked for several national law firms and inheritance tax consultancies and one of the UK’s big four accountancy firms. She regularly advises clients based around the world on tax, wills and trusts matters. In Lodders’ top-ranking private client practice, she will advise on all tax-related matters and utilise her advocacy skills to represent clients in the courts. Louise Igoe, head of Lodders’ private client department, said: “Alana combines an impressive breadth of knowledge with
being able to represent clients in the tribunals and courts, which has a national reputation for excellence and top tier rankings from both Chambers guide to the UK Legal Profession and the Legal 500. “For the private client department, Alana represents the addition of a tax expert, which not only strengthens our current offering, but will also contribute to the development of our estate and tax planning services in other areas.” Alana, who holds a Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours) degree from
McMaster University, Toronto, Canada and an LL.B. (hons) law degree from Brunel University, Uxbridge, England, said: “This is my dream job as it combines tax issues and advice, with tax law, which has always been my first love. “Over the years, I have advised individuals on tax, will, and trust matters, as well as challenging wills and trusts. Nowadays this type of work is primarily combined, and with my skills and passion I can offer clients completely holistic advice based on my many years of experience.” For more information visit www.lodders.co.uk.
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President & People
Shakespeare Martineau announces multiple promotions
Law firm Shakespeare Martineau is celebrating a raft of internal promotions in its Shakespeare Martineau, Lime Solicitors and Marrons Planning teams as part of its ambitious growth strategy. The 13 promotions include eight in the West Midlands. Birmingham-based property litigation expert Justine Ball has been promoted to partner after nearly ten years with Shakespeare Martineau. Justine specialises in telecoms and advising landowners on the termination and renewal of leases.
Further promotions in the Birmingham office include Hannah Pickering and Lucy Haynes who join the ranks of legal director, working in the corporate and residential development teams at Shakespeare Martineau, respectively. Shakespeare Martineau has also awarded six promotions to associate level. Laura Taylor and Samantha Vaughan of the firm’s Birmingham office and Aller Dawlat in Nottingham now sit within the commercial property and development team, while Monica Ghai and Nicola Lediard in Birmingham support the wealth and litigation and restructuring teams. The final associate promotion is Sarah Parker in Solihull, who sits within the residential development team. Contentious trust and probate expert Debra Burton who works as part of the inheritance disputes team at Lime Solicitors, has also been promoted to partner at the firm’s Leicester office.
Meanwhile, David Pendle and Jenny Keen, who work as part of Marrons Planning, have been promoted to planning director in Nottingham. Also in Nottingham, family law expert Nikki Aston who specialises in children, divorce and complex financial settlements has been promoted to legal director for Shakespeare Martineau. Sarah Walker-Smith, CEO of Shakespeare Martineau, said: “Unlocking the potential of our people is fundamental to our growth. It’s our people who make our business – and it’s our clients who benefit from our investments in our people. Everyone promoted has shown outstanding commitment to our values and working collaboratively across our regions to take our business forward in its next phase of growth.”
Double senior hire for Lodders’ growing teams Local law firm Lodders has strengthened its dispute resolution and private client teams with two senior hires. Commercial litigation specialist Andrew Wylde joins Lodders as a senior associate in the firm’s 13-strong dispute resolution team, and trusts and estate planning specialist John Padget joins as an associate in the private client department. Previously, Andrew led the commercial litigation team at East Midlands firm Ringrose Law Solicitors for five years, and was a partner at Irwin Mitchell. He joins Lodders’ dispute resolution team, which is headed by partner Jane Senior, to advise clients on all aspects of dispute resolution, including corporate and shareholder disputes, contract breaches, together with providing insolvency advice.
As associate in Lodders’ top-ranking private client department, which is led by Louise Igoe and is one of the Midlands’ largest dedicated private client practices, John Padget will utilise several years of experience working solely in private client law, including providing advice on trusts and estates administration, estate planning, wills, lasting powers of attorney, inheritance tax and capital gains tax. An affiliate of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), John joins Lodders from Birmingham’s Meridian Private Client, where he was an associate working principally on estate planning for high net-worth individuals. He qualified as a wills and probate solicitor in 2014 at Solihull firm Wallace Robinson & Morgan and has worked exclusively in private client law since then.
Lodders has appointed Andrew Wylde as senior associate in its dispute resolution team and John Padget as an associate in the private client department
Paul Mourton, Lodders’ managing partner, said: “The firm has seen sustained growth in instructions for our private client and dispute resolution advice. Maintaining our pledge to recruit only the best-in-breed legal specialists and our commitment to providing the very best legal skill and client service, Andrew and John’s appointments represent significant additions to our expanding team.” For more information visit www.lodders.co.uk
Director invited onto the global compliance panel Red Laces director, Jonathan Dempsey, has been invited onto the global thought-leader panel of the International Compliance Association (ICA) to provide thought-provoking content and guidance to compliance professionals across the banking and finance sector. Coventry-based Red Laces was founded by Jonathan in
2020 and has worked with many businesses within the area. The company is a management consultancy, unravelling the mystery and requirements of risk, safety and compliance to empower business leaders towards success. Jonathan said: “It’s a privilege to be invited onto the global ICA Panel. It offers new
possibilities for innovation and collaboration with ICA’s community to unravel the mystery and requirements of risk and compliance in a rapidly changing world. This is a world in which it’s vital for businesses to be agile, adaptable and resilient.” The ICA panel is a body of top industry thoughtleaders and subject matter
experts who meet ICA’s high standards for excellence in knowledge delivery and who work in partnership with the ICA to support and empower communities.
Key promotion at CityFibre Leigh Hunt, CityFibre’s city manager for Coventry, has been promoted to the role of regional partnership director. This new role has been created to support CityFibre’s drive to roll out full fibre to eight million homes by leading on key local city relationships and co-ordinating the regional Midlands team.
Leigh will retain ownership of her role as city manager for Coventry whilst leading on the expansion into Warwickshire and further afield. Speaking of her appointment, she said: “I am pleased to be playing an increased role in helping CityFibre achieve its ambition. “In Coventry we are investing £60m to bring about a Gigabit
City transformation that will bring future-proof digital infrastructure within reach of almost every home and business locally. “As a born-and-bred Coventrian, I am delighted I have a part to play in bringing about this latest chapter in our city’s proud history.”
New director Jennifer Wale
New director at Midlands accountancy firm A national award-winning firm of chartered accountants based in the East & West Midlands has promoted one of its most experienced client managers to a directorship role. Armstrongs has appointed Jennifer Wale as director of its Hinckley practice after seven years with the firm. Jennifer, who has a wealth of experience managing clients across a range of sectors, specialises in audit and assurance services. She has been based at the firm’s offices in Hinckley since June last year when Armstrongs took over longstanding practice Lester & Co. Jennifer said: “The Hinckley office was a fantastic opportunity for me to get involved with. I have really enjoyed working with the new clients and team. I am looking forward to my new role and raising the profile of Armstrongs Lester & Co over the coming months. Paul Farmer, Armstrongs director, said: “At Armstrongs, we pride ourselves on providing clear career paths for our employees. We invest heavily in the training and development of our staff, supporting them to achieve their potential as accountants and business advisers. “Jennifer has been with us for seven years now and her hard work has been rewarded. Her promotion is well deserved and we wish her every success in the new role.” Armstrongs provides a wide range of services including accounting, tax, corporate finance, wealth planning, audit and assurance, business support and business development. For more information on how Armstrongs can help you survive, thrive and achieve fantastic things, please visit www.armstrongs-accountancy.co.uk
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