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The business magazine of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce September - October 2021

Inside Returning to Work


Getting back to business

p12 &14

New Chamber Patrons Chamber welcomes two new Patron members

Spotlight Focus


Innovation thrives in central Herts

Wellbeing Conference


Chamber to host first Wellbeing Conference


A County of Opportunity and Optimism

Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards Celebrating outstanding business achievements across the county


For a greener future, think Hertfordshire IQ. With a focus on sustainable travel solutions, renewable energy and tax breaks for green businesses, Hertfordshire IQ is the perfect place for your business to thrive. Find out more and get in touch at


Land of opportunity and optimism Briege Leahy Chief Executive Officer Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

WELCOME to the latest edition of Inspire magazine.

Over the last year-and-a-half we’ve heard a lot about the resilience, tenacity and adaptability of businesses as they battled their way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, though, with the worst of the health crisis hopefully behind us, the narrative has changed. Growth is back on the agenda, with many businesses actively searching for new opportunities at home and overseas and generally feeling more optimistic about the future. This isn’t just bullish rhetoric, either; in Hertfordshire, several new projects that will bring jobs and wealth to the county are underway. These include GSK’s ambitious plan to create one of Europe’s largest life


Returning to Work 4-7 Patron Focus 12 & 14 Spotlight Focus 16-17 Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 26-27 Chamber Events 28-31 Wellbeing Conference 32-33 Inspirational Leader 35 Entrepreneur Foundation 36 Queens Green Canopy 38 Internal Communications 39 Tourism & Hospitality 40 Members News 41 Peer Networks 42

Editorial and General Enquiries Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce MacLaurin Building, 4 Bishops Square, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL10 9NE Tel: 01707 502180 Email: Web:

science campuses in Stevenage. The pharma giant recently announced it has formally started the process of seeking a development partner to transform land within the company’s existing 92-acre research & development site in Stevenage into one of Europe’s largest ‘clusters’ for biotechnology and other earlystage life science companies. The project is expected to unlock up to £400 million of new private investment and create up to 5,000 new highly skilled jobs over the next decade.

Hertfordshire Growth Hub Members News

Another exciting development is news that Hollywood’s Sunset Studios is aiming to open a new base on a 91-acre greenfield site in Broxbourne. Backed by £700m from two major US investment firms, the TV and film studio complex would create more than 4,500 jobs and generate an estimated £300 million for the local economy if the proposals get the green light.

Perhaps the main story is that there’s an air of opportunity and optimism in the Hertfordshire business community as we move into the later stages of 2021 – and that can only be good for the local economy.

Briege Leahy

Chief Executive Officer Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce

These are just two of the ‘good news’ stories that have emerged in recent weeks; there are many others in our county.


42 46-47

New Members



Skills & Development


Members News


Hertfordshire Global


Keeping the Heart in Hertfordshire


Members News


Membership Benefit



Magistrates Support Scheme 60 Construction


Last Word


Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: Web:

32 Published September 2021 © Benham Publishing and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email:

Disclaimer Inspire is published for Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Inspire are not necessarily those of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. ©2021 Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email:

Media No. 1851




Getting back T to business

his rapid and radical sea-change has had a major impact on

the way in which we all do business. The old 9am-5pm office culture has

On March 23, 2020, the country went into lockdown in a bid to slow the surge of COVID-19. Almost 18 months on, the world has changed dramatically – and in some cases, forever.



gone, seemingly for good, while Zoom and Teams calls have replaced many meetings that would have been held face-to-face.


Some companies are actively encouraging staff to work from home but giving them the option to come into the office. However, some employers are saying that their staff can only come to work if they’re double-jabbed; this could be seen as discriminatory and therefore illegal. “A lot of young people are desperate to return to the office to mix with people and understand the culture of the company that they’re working for. They need an office environment for the good of their mental health. They require a structure to their day, whereby they get out of bed at a certain time, get dressed and travel to their place of work.

With society beginning to reopen again, the number of COVID cases has started to rise steeply. This has resulted in many workers having to self-isolate, which has caused major problems for some businesses, particularly those in the retail and hospitality industries which have had to organise staff cover at extremely short notice.

“On the other hand, many older people like the idea of working from home so they can achieve a better work-life balance. As a result, some companies have had to downsize their office space.

This has proved exceptionally challenging at a time when retail managers are doing their level best to attract customers back into shops.

“The other issue is that if older workers are working from home, who is going to mentor the younger workers to help them develop in their roles? This could cause problems for companies later down the line.

The question is: will we revert back to our pre-pandemic behaviours or will online events and remote working become the norm in the post-COVID era?

“If people are working from home, employers have a duty of care to ensure their staff are set up to work safely and efficiently. For instance, do they have a proper desk, adjustable chair and height-adjustable PC monitor to prevent neck and back strain injuries?

Businesswoman Donna Obstfeld, founder of human resources specialist DOHR, says: “Government ministers have said that they don’t expect everyone to rush back to the office at once. At the moment the advice is that you can return to the office as long as it’s safe to do so – but this may change.

“Some companies are actively encouraging staff to work from home but giving them the option to come into the office. However, some employers are saying that their staff can only come to work if they’re double-jabbed; this could be seen as discriminatory and therefore illegal. We’re encouraging companies not to do this and instead to make their workplaces as safe as possible by having an on-site testing facility, for example, and having hand sanitiser available.”

Tim Stirling, Centre Director at Land Securities – owner of The Galleria shopping centre in Hatfield – says: “In recent years there’s been an increase in online retail but there’s still a place for physical shops. Many brands want to retain a physical presence to be visible in their localities. Now there’s an opportunity for outlets to look for further retail units or pop-up space to complement their online offering. “The pandemic has forced shopping centres to reimagine the retail environment. Some landlords may look into the feasibility of offering turnover leases, which would enable retailers and landlords shares in the Cont. >>>




He says: “It’s about giving people the confidence that we’re doing all the right things to keep people safe. Demand is strong because people in England like their bars, restaurants and trips away. If international travel decreases due to COVID restrictions, this will provide opportunities for the staycation market in the UK. People are getting sick of 100% virtual communication and would like a hybrid model of virtual and face-to-face contact.

success of popular brands. Some brands may find that they have too much or too little space so they may have to downsize or upsize accordingly. “It will be a different environment in the post-pandemic age but I can’t imagine retail going 100% online. People have missed the engagement with their community, family and friends. They welcome being able to come to shopping centres and meet in person again. “At the Galleria, footfall is running at about 20% lower than pre-COVID levels but we’re seeing a big increase in the conversion rates, where footfall leads to sales, and a large rise in average transaction values. Recently we had 2,500 people in our Odeon Cinema to coincide with the launch of the film, Black Widow. This proves that if you have the right product at the right price, people will come here.” Despite the lifting of most COVID restrictions on July 19, most indoor shopping centres and some bars and restaurants are still advising people to wear face masks and use hand sanitiser to prevent the spread of the virus.



Rafi Bejerano, Director of AB Hotels – which owns Sopwell House Hotel & Spa in St Albans – said it was important to ensure that staff and customers feel safe and secure.

“Opening up again has caused us some major challenges. With COVID cases rising, a lot of our staff have been pinged by the NHS app and have had to self-isolate at a time when we need more staff to service a huge rise in our leisure business. We’ve had to hastily arrange cover at short notice but this has proved difficult, especially as this industry has a skills shortage anyway. Many staff who’ve come from overseas have gone back to their home countries. Brexit has really damaged the hospitality and leisure industries. We’ve recruited 45 people in the last eight weeks and we still need more. “We’re also being hit by supply chain issues. Delivery firms are struggling with driver shortages, and there have been delays in sourcing products such as towels for the hotel rooms. “We’re trying to plan ahead as best we can. We’re hoping for our first decentsized business conference in September and our leisure market is booming.


Despite the lifting of most COVID restrictions on July 19, most indoor shopping centres and some bars and restaurants are still advising people to wear face masks and use hand sanitiser to prevent the spread of the virus. “This hybrid way of working seems to be an appropriate way forward for us but for other companies the situation might be different. For those that have asked all of their staff to work from home, there may be insurance implications for their unoccupied premises.

The pandemic has forced companies in our industry to improve their offering. If you deliver a good product with a good service at a fair price, you can still thrive.” The pandemic has forced us all to think about different ways of doing things. Ashbourne Insurance, for example, has staggered staff arrival and leaving times at the office to minimise the spread of the virus. The company is also encouraging staff to maintain social distancing measures when travelling through the workplace and has reviewed office lay-outs and processes to enable staff to work further apart from each other. Peter Smits at Ashbourne Insurance says: “I’ve challenged all of our staff to think about their environment and empowered them to do the right thing. We’ve encouraged them to use remote working tools to avoid in-person meetings and asked them to minimise the number of unnecessary visits to our offices.

“Some insurers may automatically reduce cover for premises that remain unoccupied. Many of them will acknowledge the continued efforts to control the virus and allow full cover to continue but our advice is to check your insurer or broker first. “If your insurer agrees to maintaining full cover, there’ll be some conditions attached. For example, the insurer may insist that you inspect the premises at least once a week, remove refuse and waste materials from inside the premises, and switch off all mains services apart from the electricity needed to maintain alarm systems, water and heating systems for sprinklered premises.” The key message here is that businesses should be prepared. Hertfordshire County Council has been busy planning and preparing for a new normal in which working life is markedly different to its existence before the pandemic. Owen Mapley, Chief Executive at the Council, says: “Offices are not the only places where collaboration can take place. We’ve now developed a strategy and vision that encompasses

a hybrid model of working. A one-size-fits all approach won’t work for us because we have such a diverse workforce. We empower teams to work out what’s the best way of working for them, to deliver the best outcomes for our service users. Outcomes are what is important to us, not where people work. “This flexible hybrid model is a better way of working. It has saved many of our staff an enormous amount of time, it’s good for the environment and allows people to have a better work-life balance, whilst still giving them the option of coming into the office when appropriate.” Owen warns that working from home may not be suitable for everyone, however. “For example, young people who house share or live with their parents might be working from a small bedroom, which might not be appropriate,” he says. “They might not have a suitable office set-up at home or benefit personally and professionally from the option to return to face-to-face contact with managers or colleagues. Also, some teams, such as those who work in care settings, need to be physically present to do their jobs. “Flexibility is going to be the watchword going forward, even when all COVID restrictions have been lifted. As a Council we’re constantly evolving and modernising; we’re working hard to help staff navigate several change programmes that are underway. Beyond Today is our brand for these programmes; it encourages everyone to lift their heads above their inbox, and not just focus on the day-to-day tasks but also to plan for the short, medium and long-term. This will allow us to deliver even better services to Hertfordshire residents and businesses.

Flexibility is going to be the watchword going forward, even when all COVID restrictions have been lifted. INSPIRE



HOP: a gateway to success in Hertfordshire

WHAT IS HOP and why should you use it?



Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal (HOP) is a one-stop destination for residents looking for careers guidance and local jobs, skills and training opportunities. We know it is not always easy for school leavers and young people to plan their next steps, be it work-based training and apprenticeships or deciding if university is the right choice. The portal, powered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, can give clear guidance on all the options available. By working hand in hand with education providers, HOP can help

support 16-18 year olds to make informed decisions about their future options. Here we show just some of the invaluable free resources available for use in and outside of the classroom: 1. Lesson Plans: educators can access six free plans to help students prepare for the world of work and find out more about the opportunities on their doorstep; 2. Virtual Employer Encounters: Be inspired by our webinar series featuring local employers; 3. HOP into bitesize videos: find out more about Hertfordshire’s key growth sectors.


There are six free lesson plans on HOP for educators to use. These include: 1. What is labour market information and why is it important? 2. Hertfordshire’s growing employment sectors 3. #HOPinto the right career for you 4. My dream work experience 5. Further and higher education options 6. Hertfordshire Skills Framework – get work ready!

#HOPinto the right career for you

This lesson plan encourages young people to maximise their research and ensure they explore all possible job profiles and routes into employment before deciding on their next steps. It caters to GCSE students looking to plan their career pathways and encourages teachers to discuss how subjects selected at Key Stages 4 and 5 can impact future job options. This lesson is centred around HOP’s Careers Directory and includes an activity sheet to help students consider the steps they can take to secure their ideal job.

My dream work experience

This lesson plan educates students about the importance of work experience in informing future career decisions, bolstering their CVs and preparing for the demands and expectations of the workplace. It encourages young people to think about the opportunities for work experience that may readily be available to them and provides a step-by-step guide to searching for and securing work placements.

BE INSPIRED! Local employer interviews

Be it through work experience or careers talks, face-to-face encounters with employers are a crucial part of careers education and play a key role in supporting students’ decision making process. Research has linked employer encounters to increased motivation, aspiration and a greater chance of future success in the workplace. With schools unable to provide employer encounters during the pandemic, Hertfordshire LEP and HOP launched a series of interactive webinars for young people, with each episode featuring local employers and spotlighting a different industry sector. There are currently 37 webinars available to view on demand which have been viewed more than 10,000 times on YouTube, and a brand new series set to commence in September 2021.

‘HOP INTO’: SHORT VIDEOS HOP features a collection of bitesize videos covering Hertfordshire’s seven key growth sectors: life sciences; engineering and manufacturing; film and media; technology; health and social care; construction; and financial and business services.

Produced by Elstree Screen Arts Academy, the videos support young people’s careers research by introducing the key businesses that operate in each sector, and featuring testimonials from apprentices who share their own personal experiences.


and start planning tomorrow today!



Our purpose is to deliver brilliant buildings, transform lives, strengthen communities, and enhance the environment so our world is fit for future generations. We are passionate in supporting the people and businesses in our communities to thrive with a focus on helping young people facing societal or personal barriers to access good careers. We are proud supporters of the Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal and work closely with colleges and schools across Hertfordshire to deliver enrichment programmes focusing on interview skills, personal branding and CV knowledge.


So, you would need to consult with them before you could implement this change. If you tried to impose the requirement without their consent, this would be serious breach of contract. You could try and justify the change on the basis of the health and safety of staff generally.

Safe Workspaces As businesses try and move forward from the pandemic, Richard Gvero answers some of the numerous questions being asked by employers in a bid to ensure a safe workplace.


Can I insist on all staff being vaccinated?

Current ACAS guidance is that employers should introduce a voluntary vaccination policy, encouraging staff to take up the vaccine. In relation to existing staff, implementing a contractual requirement would amount to a unilateral change to their terms of employment.


Staff could counter-argue that taking the vaccine is risky for them because of underlying health conditions or that the efficacy of the vaccine is still not entirely clear. If you implement a mandatory requirement there are also potential discrimination issues arising from a blanket policy. For example, an employee could have a religious reason for not wanting to take the vaccine. And there could also be Human Rights issues.


Do we still have to socially distance?

The restriction has been lifted and that applies also to workplaces. Businesses are not subject to any limits on attendance or social distancing. However, employers should be mindful


of the risk to staff who work in close proximity to colleagues or customers particularly if they are clinically vulnerable or not yet fully vaccinated.


Do employees still need to work from home where possible?

Employees are no longer advised by the Government to work from home. There is nothing stopping a full return to the workplace, if that suits business requirements. However, if individual employees object, their circumstances need to be considered carefully to guard against health and safety claims or constructive dismissal issues.



Do face coverings have to be worn at all?

The requirement to wear a face covering has been removed in all settings. However, guidance advises the use of face coverings where you are operating in closed or crowded spaces. Employers should support those wanting to wear face coverings.



Have the self-isolation rules gone?

No. It remains a legal requirement to selfisolate if you test positive or are notified by NHS test and trace. However, the Government is intending to remove this requirement for fully vaccinated individuals or those under 18.



Will COVID status certification be introduced?

At the present time, there is no legal requirement for certification as a condition of entry to any premises. Any implementation of such a requirement, would need consultation and appropriate parliamentary approval.


So, restrictions have been relaxed and life is significantly easier for business. However, a significant degree of caution remains appropriate and in that regard the government has published useful “Working safely” guidance, dealing with such matters as cleaning, ventilation and reducing contact.

Please note the contents of this article are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.

01992 300333 24 Castle Street Hertford SG14 1HP




CAE becomes Herts Chamber’s newest Patron CAE Technology Services is the latest company to have signed up to be a Patron of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

The IT infrastructure solutions provider, which has a UK base but global presence, around 320 staff and an annual turnover of £120m, recently moved into new headquarters in Hemel Hempstead and felt the time was right to expand its presence in Hertfordshire.

We were really impressed with the Chamber team and were delighted to become a technology patron. As a customer centric organisation, we enable our customers to achieve their priority purposes and amplify their successes. 12



ichard Behan, Chief Operating Officer and co-owner of CAE, says: “Previously we were a member of Watford Chamber but we wanted to build connections all over the county. Herts Chamber has a strong and wide-ranging membership base and is really proactive in terms of creating networking opportunities for businesses like ours. We’re looking forward to being able to share ideas and connections, especially as we’re allowed to meet face-to-face again now that COVID restrictions have been relaxed. “We were really impressed with the Chamber team and were delighted to become a technology Patron. As a customer centric organisation, we enable our customers to achieve their priority purposes and amplify their successes.” CAE provides a wide range of services to help companies. This could be improving their security to ward off cyber threats, managing data or to help staff work as efficiently and productively as possible, wherever they may be. The company also has a strong standing in a crowded technology marketplace, having been around for almost 30 years. Richard, who is Hertfordshire born and bred and has more than 20 years’ experience in the tech sector, says: “We have locations from Brighton to Scotland so we have a presence all over the UK. However, we also operate globally in that we support our customers technology infrastructure all over the world.”

“Our purpose is “To Transform people’s experiences, and people’s lives, through technology”. Our specialists are very experienced and we can create bespoke services to meet the tech needs of our customers. Every customer has a set of unique challenges and outcomes that are aligned to their values and purpose. They might want to move some services into the cloud, or automate some of their services. Whatever their journey, we are there to help them on their way and amplify their successes.” The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for most businesses, but it has also meant accelerating their reliance on technology. CAE, for example, helped dozens of organisations set up adequate remote working provision for their staff so they could do their day jobs safely during the worst of the pandemic. Richard says: “Some of the trends that we’ve seen in COVID may be here to stay for some companies. Working from home is now seen as the norm for many, whereas others have a flexible policy that allows staff to come into the office for part of the week and spend the rest of the week working from home. Prior to COVID, industry events in the tech sector would take place and people from all over the globe would attend. Now, though, companies seem to be favouring a more hybrid approach, where some delegates attend and others dial in from afar. “What was fast and innovative pre-COVID is now seen as old hat. The world has moved on rapidly over the last 18 months and technology has also had to move quickly to keep pace with the fast-evolving needs of companies. At CAE we’re at the forefront of this change.”

The vision inspiring the growth of Sharp-aX Computers


Those who succeed in the fast-moving world of digital technology need to have vision to allow them to stay ahead of today’s technological advances. Such vision drives inspirational leaders and has characterised the career of Hertfordshire businesswoman Jean Freeman, the Managing Director and a founder member of Sharp-aX Computer Systems. Her ability to spot gaps in the market and a determination to focus on developing the most modern, powerful and flexible software is what has driven the success of Sharp-aX in its first four-and-a-half years. The result is that Berkhamsted-based Sharp-aX has grown rapidly and now employs 22 local Hertfordshire people. Specialising in distribution software and with an integrated website, the company is perfectly placed to focus on new business sales. Jean says: “For the first three years of our existence, we focused on our own Sharp-aX software and integrated website development, ensuring that it became the most modern, powerful and flexible system available. “It’s important to lay those foundations; everyone in our company is involved in R&D as we continue to develop new modules and apps based on our close scrutiny of the market and our customers’ needs. The result is that our systems are capable of uniquely flexible and powerful complex functions, rules and workflows designed around exact company requirements – automation from sales quotation to sales order/purchase order/invoice/statement allied to integrated mobile sales and warehouse apps. “Our delivery routing module is vital for our customers who have heavy delivery commitments. Orders are allocated to vans by route, time, weight and size – legally essential when failure to comply with weight restrictions can lead to instant prosecution. “Our integrated website uses the customer and product information held within the Sharp-aX system so that customers can order online 24/7, enabling instant access to their products, pricing, historic orders, invoices and statements. “Sadly and inevitably, our growth plans suffered last year but we remained profitable by working harder and looking

after our customers through, in some cases, vicious and prolonged lockdowns. Some were food distributors, the hardest hit, but the majority of our customers are allied to the building trade. With the Sharp-aX software and our integrated websites, they were able to offer a service over and above those of their competitors without websites.”

Adam Brown, Managing Director of Nationwide Supplies claims:- COVID made us totally rethink our customer service. Using Sharp-aX, we are wholly delighted with the outcome whereby all orders, enquiries and payments are processed online as well as minimising social contact.

Nationwide Building Supplies – Buntingford One of those customers is Nationwide Supplies, a local builders’ and plumbers’ merchant in Buntingford. The company supplies a range of products including underground drainage, soil and vent, waste pipe and fittings, copper plumbing, bricks, insulation, radiators, timber and driveway paving. Using its fleet of vehicles, Nationwide aims to offer a fast and efficient delivery service locally, and uses an extensive network of couriers to ship goods to locations from Aberdeen to Southampton. Adam Brown, Managing Director of Nationwide claims : “Covid made us totally rethink our customer service. Using Sharp-aX, we are wholly delighted with the outcome whereby all orders, enquiries and payments are processed online as well as minimising social contact.” Nationwide’s drivers simply load their vehicles, a photograph of the goods and their reg plate is taken and they drive off. Similarly – using the Sharp-aX Delivery Routing app – photographed deliveries are stored on the system. Sharp-aX also set up 24/7 collection points – a system which has since become a standard service. Together with the company’s new same-day delivery system, this has resulted in a 450% rise in website sales at Nationwide.




Sky signs up to become Chamber Patron It’s an exciting time for media giant Sky, which is investing in a new 27.5 acre, state-of-the-art TV and film studio at Elstree. When it opens in 2022, the facility will house 13 sound stages, create 2,000 jobs in the local area and has ambitions to be the world’s most sustainable TV and film studio. Sky Studios Elstree is also one of the latest companies to become a Patron of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. Chief Operating Officer Caroline Cooper explains why and gives an insight into the company’s ambitious investment plans for the future…


When did Sky Studios Elstree become a Chamber Patron?

How do you add value to other businesses in the area?

We recently became a Herts Chamber Patron as we recognised the great opportunities of working with local businesses to help deliver Sky Studios Elstree, which is set to open early next year.

Sky Studios Elstree wants to help fuel the local economy of Hertfordshire. We’ll do this through job creation and by building a world-class, sustainable studio that will help attract more investment to the area.

We’re building Sky Studios Elstree because our customers love Sky Originals. This innovative new studio will help us tell stories like never before and Elstree and Borehamwood were the perfect locations for us due to the area’s rich heritage in TV and film.

What benefits do you get from having Patron status?

Our partner, BAM – which is actually constructing the site – has also hosted open days with more than 100 local businesses that wish to become a local supplier of Sky Studios Elstree throughout the construction phase of the site. Later in the year, we’ll be hosting an event with the Chamber to meet more local suppliers who we can work with when the site is operational.

Working with the Chamber as a Patron will allow us to build valuable relationships with businesses in the area. We have big plans for Sky Studios Elstree – it will allow us to double our investment in Sky Originals by 2024 and our ambition is that it will be the world’s most sustainable film and TV studio. The support and knowledge of other businesses in the area will help us strive towards our ambitious targets whilst also boosting Elstree and Borehamwood’s reputation as the new British Hollywood; an exciting place to live, work and do business.

We’re also committed to using Sky Studios Elstree to train and develop the next generation of on and off-screen talent. That work has already begun with our partnership with Elstree Screen Arts Academy – a nine-month documentary partnership where students will receive masterclasses and workshops from teams at Sky Studios, and ultimately create four, ten-minute documentaries on the studios, the heritage of the area, sustainability and diversity. By upskilling this new generation of the workforce, we hope to help bolster the industry in the local area.


What is it like to work with Herts Chamber? Working with the Herts Chamber, you can see there’s a clear passion for the local area and businesses. We love the ‘Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire’ campaign that the Herts Chamber recently championed. That’s exactly what we want to do – we’re building on an incredible legacy of TV and film within Elstree and Borehamwood. We want to make sure we’re contributing to that rich heritage. Whether that’s supporting job creation or training and developing talent, we also want to keep the heart in Hertfordshire.

What value do you get from being based in Hertfordshire? We’re already benefiting from the highly skilled workforce in the area. We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to hire dozens of people locally already – working with Job Centre Plus – and a large number of these were unemployed before working on Sky Studios Elstree. The new studio will create 2,000 jobs along the way, so we’re excited to further tap into the Hertfordshire talent pool and will be opening operational roles for the studios soon.

Working with the Herts Chamber, you can see there’s a clear passion for the local area and businesses. We love the ‘Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire’ campaign that the Herts Chamber recently championed.


THE SHIFTING LANDSCAPE OF BUSINESS RISK The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a significant shift in traditional working models. Whilst many companies were initially forced to implement remote working for staff, recent research indicates that remote working is here to stay with many companies preparing to adopt a hybrid working model (where most of the time is spent working remotely).

With more staff located offsite, traditional perils, while still representing risk, are less likely to result in a total loss or disruption to business. This is due to the wider geographical spread of risk, as employees & IT equipment are no longer concentrated in one location. However, remote working can also result in new, less tangible risks.


Employers retain the same health and safety responsibilities plus duty of care towards their employees, regardless of staff being based offsite. Employees should be provided with the right equipment to complete their work, and it should be set up correctly and well maintained. Electronic devices need to be safety tested and it should be established whether an employee’s home workspace is appropriate with sufficient space, natural light and ventilation. Organisations could see more Employers Liability claims related to musculoskeletal disorders or personal wellbeing where employees maintain they’ve developed these conditions because of unsatisfactory physical working conditions. Completing home workstation assessments (such as Display Screen Equipment or ‘DSE’ assessments) is important and the HSE provides templates to assist employers with this. Company directors face an ever-broadening raft of risks and exposures because of decisions they take; such claims may stem from decisions relating to the management of employee wellbeing. Prolonged remote working can affect health and wellbeing and this issue should not be underestimated. It is essential that there is regular communication between employers and employees.



The potential for thousands of Wi-fi routers in employees’ homes across a wide geographical spread, opens new vulnerable access points for cyber criminals and employers should consider this increased exposure.

ƒ Many employees have had to take equipment

It is now essential that all organisations (regardless of their size) implement fundamental safeguards to ensure company data and networks remain secure such as:

policy? It is recommended that employees inform their insurer that they are working at home. Policies usually allow for infrequent home working. Most home insurance policies do not automatically cover homeworking, so employees need to check with their providers. ƒ Where each home insurance provider may differ is with extending cover to work visits at home. If home visits are to be allowed, and in unlikely event of a trip or slip in the home by a visitor, a commercial office or commercial combined insurance policy may need to be extended to cover employees’ homes. ƒ Fewer people working in the office regularly could also have implications for businesses’ buildings and contents insurance, especially if it means the space is semi-vacant or left unoccupied for periods of time. ƒ Are systems – sprinklers, security, access control, and fire – being maintained? It’s important to consider any property risk exposures − how they might be changing and what additional controls may be required.

ƒ providing advice and information to employees about setting up security on their home Wi-fi;

ƒ issuing guidance, developing rules on using ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ

public Wi-fi networks, or preferably mandating employee to use private Wi-fi networks only; ensuring employees only use work e-mail accounts for business and limiting devices or equipment they can use; ensuring that staff are adequately trained, restricting work equipment to business-related tasks only; requiring multi-factor authentication for business apps and networks; implementing a robust VPN infrastructure; reminding employees to be vigilant for possible increases in phishing attempts; having a communication plan for reporting suspected breaches.

home to enable them to do their jobs, and employers need to ensure all work-related property is adequately insured.

ƒ Do homeworkers have a household insurance

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thrives in central Herts Central Hertfordshire certainly has a lot to offer. Places such as St Albans, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City are thriving business hubs with a range of different attractions that support the local tourism industry.


eakin-White, an independent family run boutique real estate agent, is well qualified to comment on the area, having established offices in Hatfield and St Albans. Founded in 2015 by mother and son team, Christine and Ed Harrison, the award-winning company has expertise in residential and commercial sales, lettings, auctions and mortgages and has built a strong presence in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Ed Harrison, Managing Director of The Deakin-White Group, says: “There are many advantages of doing business in the area. One is the uniqueness of each locality within the area. St Albans is markedly different to Hatfield which in turn is different to Aylesbury.” “The transport connections are another plus point, with airports on our doorstep and a regular fast train from St Albans into London. Although we’re close to the hustle and bustle of trade and industry, Hertfordshire has some beautiful countryside and offers a better, more cost-effective standard of living than London and other areas.” “Where possible we use local suppliers, such as insurance firms, accountants and printers, in a bid to keep trade local. We also support the community here through our CSR work. Our Hatfield office recently agreed a shirt sponsorship deal with Hatfield FC – not just the first team but also the youth teams. We’re a firm advocate of grassroots football and we want to encourage children and adults to keep fit and active.” Like many businesses, Deakin-White had to shut its offices for three months in the first lockdown but has bounced back strongly since then. Ed says: “The property market was one of the first to recover last year. It was helped by government incentives such as the stamp duty holiday and a state-backed mortgage scheme to help first-time buyers or current homeowners secure a mortgage with a 5% deposit. As a result, the residential market has been extremely buoyant and that side of our business has been very busy.” “The commercial market is more of a mixed picture. Some parts of it are doing well; a lot of small, independent traders are opening boutique ventures in small units, for example. However, some of the larger department stores are struggling, as we’ve seen with the closure of Debenhams and job losses at John Lewis. Also, although we haven’t seen any major adverse



effect on large office units yet, that market is likely to suffer as more people work from home.” “The good thing is that the government is looking to relax planning laws that will make it easier for property to be converted into other uses. Commercial units could be turned into muchneeded affordable housing and large empty retail stores could convert to offices.” “That will be good for the high street; the last thing that shops want is to see empty or boarded up properties nearby. It dissuades people from coming here and will reduce footfall and trade.” “Going forward, we’re feeling positive. I think that the country will have an economic boom like it did in the roaring 1920s. After such a miserable couple of years, people will want to buy property and spend their money on home improvements and going out again.” Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (WHBC) has been busy helping businesses navigate their way through the COVID pandemic. To date the council has handed out 4,654 grants worth more than £29.5 million, and has provided free training and advice to help businesses get back on their feet and reopen safely – work that will continue as we enter the next phase of the pandemic. Lisa Devayya, Economic Development Officer at WHBC, says: “Welwyn Hatfield has enjoyed an economic boom recently thanks to some of the UK’s largest companies, as well as an increasing number of start-up businesses, making the borough their home. It has excellent transport links, easy access to international airports, good schools, lively shopping areas and beautiful parks and green spaces.” “Hatfield was listed as one of the Sunday Times’ top 20 UK ‘Turnaround Towns’ thanks to its impressive employment growth, which has soared 134% since 2009 – the highest of all the areas featured. But it’s not just Hatfield undergoing major regeneration. WHBC has also embarked on an ambitious programme to develop Welwyn Garden City town centre and take the world’s second garden city into its next 100 years.” Driving footfall to town centres is a key focus for WHBC over the coming months, with several family activities planned. Lisa says: “The weekend activities are part of a ‘welcome back’ drive to encourage people into town centres as COVID restrictions ease, using a government grant allocated to local authorities. Welwyn Hatfield will be turned into an unforgettable carnival atmosphere over consecutive weekends, with stilt walkers, clowns, games, refreshments and delicious world food.” “These events will form part of the planned summer of fun alongside the WelHat Sports Healthy Hub Festival and Big Summer.”

“The Council continues to invest millions in ambitious regeneration projects to drive positive change and boost the borough’s economy. On top of the town centre schemes, the regeneration of neighbourhood shopping centre, High View, is intended to give south Hatfield a new lease of life.” Lisa says: “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world and its effects will last. One area that has seen tremendous growth is digitization, which incorporates everything from online customer service, remote working and supply-chain reinvention to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve operations. WHBC is working with partners including Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce to ensure businesses have the right skills to embrace all things digital.” “Businesses will also need to determine the role of the office itself, which is the traditional centre for creating culture and a sense of belonging. Companies will have to make decisions on whether they still need their commercial space in their building, office or floor, having to think about how much space there is between desks or about training and professional developments.” “The other challenge has to do with adapting the workforce to the requirements of automation, digitization and other technologies. This will be a challenge across the board, even in sectors not associated with remote work and employees will need to learn new skills.”


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world and its effects will last. One area that has seen tremendous growth is digitization, which incorporates everything from online customer service, remote working and supply-chain reinvention to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve operations. Due to the success and regional impact of the scheme it has been extended until the end of November. Sian Ryan, Head of Service at Hertfordshire Growth Hub, said: “As the central point of access to business support in the county, we’re delighted to be able to offer this vital support. It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to extend the scheme, meaning hundreds more businesses can benefit from our network of experienced volunteers.”

Also supporting local firms is the Volunteer Business Support Scheme, a free and confidential one-to-one business mentoring programme, set up by the Hertfordshire Growth Hub (HGH) in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire and the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Since the scheme was launched in June 2020, it has supported more than 270 business overall, including 50 in St Albans and 38 in the Welwyn and Hatfield areas. Yanina Aubrey-Gimenez, Head of Business Services at the University of Hertfordshire, says: “We joined forces with the LEP and the Hertfordshire Growth Hub (HGH) to launch the scheme during the Summer of 2020, in response to a surge in requests for

support registered by the HGH during the COVID pandemic. Challenges faced by businesses that got in touch then ranged from how to survive the pandemic to how to access the range of financial support that was being made available by the government.” “We recruited over 70 mentors with a range of different skills and expertise. We had academics from the university as well as experienced entrepreneurs and business professionals joining the scheme as mentors.” “The university is the core delivery partner for the scheme. Among other things, we manage the recruitment and training of mentors so they’re in the best position to support the businesses.” “Initially, many companies wanted to find out how to access financial support. Then, the focus turned to re-evaluating and rethinking their business model to make their businesses more robust – for example, by having a greater digital presence, developing new products or services or delivering them in a different way. For example, ELSA Next Generation (pictured), which delivers bespoke education programmes across the UK, has not only managed to navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic but is now in a much stronger position than it was a year ago. The business has been able to diversify its services, reach out to new customers and increase its turnover with help from a mentor.” Yanina says: “The fact that we have so many businesses from these areas – Welwyn, St Albans and Hatfield – being supported through this scheme shows how vibrant the entrepreneurial ecosystem in these locations is.” “Businesses now need support to prepare themselves to trade successfully in the postCOVID world. We’re keen to continue to support businesses as they embark on this mission.”

For more information about the Volunteer Business Support Scheme and to sign-up, visit One Hatfield Hospital is also supporting businesses by providing corporate healthcare packages including a private GP membership plan and discounts on surgery, physiotherapy and a range of health check packages. Holly Miles, Business Development Manager at One Hatfield Hospital, says: “We’re a modern, purpose-built hospital providing private healthcare for local families in Hatfield, St Albans and throughout Hertfordshire. We’ve put together some great corporate packages for the many thriving businesses based here on the Hatfield Business Park with us and would encourage them to get in touch.” “The NHS remains under enormous pressure. While there is now, thankfully, light at the end of the tunnel, the health service will face the repercussions of the pandemic for many years to come, not least in beginning the hard work of clearing the backlog of treatments that have built up during the last 12 months. Although we’re no longer under the national contract which saw us receive over 2,000 patients for urgent surgical care and diagnostic investigations, we’re still working with nearby NHS hospitals to help them work through their waiting lists. This will continue for as long as our support is needed.” “Alongside this important area of our work, our services for private patients now either match or have overtaken pre-COVID levels. Over the last few months, most likely due to the increased NHS waiting times, we have seen a significant increase in the number of patients using their insurance, and patients without insurance are choosing to pay for treatment. Many patients are taking advantage of the payment options we offer to spread the cost of treatment. We’ve expanded our staff team so that we can offer our facilities at full capacity at all times and for longer hours.”



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Good luck to all Good luck to all Good luck to all of the finalists of the finalists of the finalists in this year's in this this year's year's in Inspiring Inspiring Inspiring Hertfordshire Hertfordshire Hertfordshire Awards! Awards! Awards! Viatris, new kind ofofhealthcare healthcare company and proud Viatris,aanew newkind kindof healthcarecompany companyand andaaaproud proud Viatris, a new kind of healthcare company and a proud Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, sends Patron PatronofofHertfordshire HertfordshireChamber Chamberof ofCommerce, Commerce,sends sends Patron of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, sends best wishes to everyone taking part. our ourbest bestwishes wishesto toeveryone everyonetaking takingpart. part. our best wishes to everyone taking part. Learn more about us Learn Learnmore moreabout aboutus usat Learn more about us at


Hertsmere Works,

the future is in our hands

‘As we near the end of 2021, most people will look back on a year of ups and downs.’ Councillor Caroline Clapper,

Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Property and Deputy Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council

The amazing success of the vaccination programme and the lifting of restrictions has brought hope and light into our lives, but the continued rise in Covid-19 cases and the worry and anxiety it brings has cast a very definite shadow. In Hertsmere, like everywhere else, we’ve suffered during the pandemic, but we’ve also got more reason than most to be optimistic about the future. Our borough is booming. Just down the road from our Civic Offices, we’ve been watching Sky Studios Elstree take shape. This landmark development of international and national significance, will eventually host 13 soundstages, and be home to Sky Originals, as well as major productions from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Working Title. It will lead to the creation of more than 2,000 jobs in the local area. While across the road, expansion is under way at the council-owned Elstree Studios. The two new soundstages, on the site of the former Big Brother house, are beginning to take shape.


From the car park of nearby Tesco, you can see the steel structures now in place. The project, delivered with our contractors RG Carter, includes two new workshops and associated office facilities and is on target to be completed by next summer. The result will be at least 800 new jobs, plus apprenticeship and other learning opportunities for local school leavers and the unemployed. As part of the deal, £100,000 per year from the rental income received from the studios will be invested by us into local creative industries, and creative enterprises and intiatives. Elstree Studios is known as the birthplace of Star Wars and the Indiana Jones trilogies. Most recently it’s been home to Netflix and Sony Left Bank Pictures’ multi-award-winning production The Crown. The new soundstages will ensure productions of similar international acclaim and award-winning calibre can continue to be made in the borough. Our plan is to make Hertsmere the home of TV and film production in the UK, so that once again, as it was in the heyday of early cinema, it is known as the British Hollywood. Plus, we’ve recently given the green light for a 55,000 square metre data centre in the heart of Borehamwood’s Elstree Way employment area. All this development equates to thousands of jobs and apprenticeship and training opportunities, but it is also being achieved as sustainably as possible. For example, Sky Studios Elstree has ambitions to be the world’s most sustainable TV and production site. As a council, we fully support Sky Studios’ commitment to addressing climate change and protecting the environment.

We’ve pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions no later than 2050. As part of that commitment and in order to minimise the impact of the new soundstages at Elstree Studios, the development of Sky Studios Elstree and other major new employment sites, we’re progressing plans for a cycle hire scheme in Borehamwood, which eventually could be extended to other parts of the borough. My colleagues on the Executive and I formally approved pre-implementation work on the scheme at the beginning of the summer, and we’re now actively seeking support from businesses or employers, with a base or connection to the borough. The cycle scheme will encourage active and sustainable travel, reduce transport emissions, improve air quality, improve connectivity and benefit the health and well-being of all who live, work and visit Hertsmere. Having said all that, we know that the pandemic has taken its toll on small to medium-sized businesses, especially those involved in retail and hospitality. That’s why in April, we launched our Shop Local, Stay Safe campaign. This social media campaign, part-funded by Hertfordshire County


During the plan period, we’ve got to ensure 760 new homes per year are built in Hertsmere and thousands of new jobs are created in order to meet new and expected population needs. Since 2016, we’ve run three public consultations, asking stakeholders and members of the public for their views on how best the borough should grow. Earlier this year, we also conducted a further Employment Call for Sites, where 21 new employment sites came forward. Having processed and responded to all this feedback and working with stakeholders across the public and private sector, we’ve now come to a point where we feel we know where those homes and businesses could go and how they should be supported through schools, healthcare, green spaces, community and leisure facilities, and other infrastructure. Our plan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really shape the future of the borough and help put it back on the map, while retaining the unique characteristics and qualities of Hertsmere that make it home. But obviously, it is still just a draft plan.

Council’s Health Protection Board, was timed to launch just as restrictions began lifting for nonessential shops, restaurants, cafes and bars.

to find out more about the retail offer in the borough. It will be free for customers to use and free for businesses to sign up.

Its key aim was to encourage people back on to our high streets, while reinforcing the importance of following the rules and keeping each other and themselves safe.

Our aim will be to feature as many independent and start-up ventures as possible to help them connect with their customer-base, and help customers get to grips with the great range and quality of products and services available on their doorstep, so they’re not always visiting the same online retail corporations.

Hertsmere has four main retail centres – Potters Bar, Borehamwood, Radlett and Bushey – all with their own distinct offers and characteristics, and we wanted to showcase all they have to offer. We’re indebted to the business owners and managers who took part in our campaign. We were able to feature enterprises from across the borough and across a wide range of sectors, including non-essential shops, hairdressers, beauty salons, leisure centres, cafes and pubs. We’re going to be following up on this campaign with the launch of an online local directory. The directory will serve as a database for shoppers

We’re committed to business in Hertsmere, large and small, but we also understand the opportunities and challenges growth can bring. This month, we will be publishing our draft new Local Plan, which will be followed by a six-week engagement period. The plan will be used to guide decisions on the delivery of new homes, schools, employment and services in the borough up to 2038.

We’re hopeful that people will see the plan contains the best options for growth in the borough, but we also know we won’t have thought of everything and we want to hear from businesses, residents and other stakeholders, before we begin to prepare the final version. Alongside the draft new Local Plan, we will be publishing our economic development strategy, entitled Hertsmere Works, later this year. In it, we will identify ways in which we can support businesses following the pandemic. Among the measures under consideration are ensuring home-working and flexible office space are incorporated into our new Local Plan; working with schools and colleges to set up apprenticeships and employability days; fostering partnership working through sector-based forums and maximising opportunities for jobs and growth through Hertsmere’s existing links with the film and TV industry, sports clubs and other sectors. We want to reduce local inequalities and deprivation by giving local people the skills they need for future employment.

‘All in all, it’s an exciting time to be in Hertsmere – and if you’re not here, maybe you should be.’



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The Raw Natural Beef Co’s

Guide to The Perfect Steak

The Main Event: Choosing Your Steak Fillet

Cut from the tenderloin, fillet, or filet mignon is, in terms of steak, about as good as it gets as it is the most premium and expensive cut. It’s, therefore, best left to shine on its own with minimal accompaniment, so no heavy sauces. Simply cook it in a flat-bottomed pan with a splash of oil and then finish with thyme and garlic with a butter finish and then be sure to let it rest for half its cooking time. From £45 (pack of 4)


With BBQ season coming to end (although our fingers are crossed for a prolonged summer), steak season is an all-year round dining experience.

Rib-eye steak, also known as scotch fillet or entrecôte, comes off the rib and is ideal for fast cooking. If you’re a steak expert you’ll know the ribeye is the ‘Butcher’s Favourite’ steak. The sign of good quality ribeye is a characteristic marbling of fat that adds succulence and richness. From £17.95 (pack of 2)

Take advantage of our exclusive 15% discount for readers, using code INSPIRE15 when you spend a minimum of £30.

At 22mm thick and a weighty 500g, our dryaged, grass-fed rump steaks are cut from the hindquarters of the animal, without external fat and are well textured with plenty of deep flavour and a meaty bite that allows them to hold a rich sauce. From £12.49 (pack of 2)

Sirloin Sirloin steak is characterised by the layer of fat that runs along its length. This gives it a rich, deep taste making it more strongly flavoured than fillet, so it takes sauces very nicely. From £16.95 (pack of 2)

Top Tip: When cooking steak many people tend to overcook it and end up disliking it due to it being chewy and tasteless, so remember, the rarer, the more tender. The Perfect Cooking Times Blue: Fry for 1 minute each side Rare: Fry for 2 minutes each side

But sometimes its hard to choose which steak to go for and how to cook it perfectly. But not to worry, here’s our guide to the ideal steak dinner.


The Raw Steak Dry Rub The best way to get the most flavour out of your steak is the dry rub, which most people tend to go lightly on and stick to the usual salt and pepper. This recipe is enough for 4-6 steaks (depending on how generous you want to be!) • • • • • •

3 tbsp Salt 3 tbsp Smoked Paprika 2 tbsp Onion Powder 2 tbsp Garlic Powder 2 tbsp Dried Oregano 1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar • 1 tbsp Ground Cumin

Medium Rare: Fry for 3 minutes each side Medium: Fry for 4 minutes each side Well Done: Fry for 5 minutes each side

We are Raw

The Raw Natural Beef Co was founded to provide you with the finest grass-fed, open range beef. We believe in traditional Uruguayan farming, which is why our cattle are raised by experience Gauchos.

to hormones, antibiotics, or gain. Our cattle are able to spend their entire lives outside, enjoying 100s of square miles of Uruguayan countryside. Raised by traditional Gauchos, the cattle drink from the fresh springs and only eat the freshest grass and pastures.

Why Grass-fed Is Better

Choose Uruguayan

The world is on a mission to eat less meat, but of a higher quality. Research shows that grass-fed beef contains a lower fat content than grain-fed a nd a better combination of hearty, healthy fatty acids such as Omega 3.

Know Your Beef

We believe it is important that you know where your beef comes from. Our beef never has any exposure

There is a greater awareness around the importance of food traceability and Uruguay has the highest traceability standards in the world. Over 80% of Uruguay’s land can be used for agriculture, and with its temperate climate and natural grasslands, it becomes the ideal location for breeding and raising cattle. We are committing to the highest food safety standards and supply chain transparency.

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Inspiring Herts Awards

Anticipation is growing ahead of the Inspiring Herts Awards, a key fixture on the Hertfordshire business calendar. The awards were launched in 2012 to focus on and celebrate the expertise, achievements and outstanding contribution that businesses and individuals continually make to the growth of the county. They enable Hertfordshire businesses to showcase their performance and achievements to clients, customers, suppliers, stakeholders and to all of the Hertfordshire business community.



Due to the pandemic, the 2020 awards had to be postponed and the winners will now be announced at a special gala dinner on September 9 at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden – the home of Harry Potter! It promises to be a spectacular way to celebrate the tenth year of Inspiring Herts, and on the night, dozens of individuals, businesses and charities will be recognised for their sterling work.

Simon Walsh, Partner in SA Law’s commercial litigation and disputes team, says: “Traditionally we’ve had strong links with Herts Chamber. We’ve had a partner on the Chamber’s board for the last 15 years and we’ve sponsored some of the Inspiring Herts Awards categories in the past.

The joint headline sponsors for this year’s awards are Hillier Hopkins chartered accountants and tax advisors and SA Law, a multi-disciplinary firm of solicitors in St Albans.

“Getting involved in this way helps us to strengthen links with other judges. It also provides a great opportunity to meet the fantastic awards entrants and other businesses, to find out how they’re transitioning to a post-COVID world and how their requirements are changing.

SA Law said “it was a natural step” for the firm to get involved this year.


Simon believes that Hertfordshire’s diverse business community has a lot to offer in terms of driving innovation and assisting economic growth. He says: “The number of categories in the Inspiring Herts Awards demonstrates the breadth of talent in the county. The pandemic has highlighted their ability to innovate and adapt to a fast-changing environment. “There are many advantages of doing business here, including great transport links, proximity to London and easy access to international markets with Heathrow and Gatwick on the doorstep. Hertfordshire is also known for its innovation, which helps to retain skilled graduates and attract talent from outside the area.” SA Law, which has over 70 staff including 14 partners, has praised the resilience of its own staff for helping it to navigate through the worst of the pandemic. Simon says: “Our staff have proved to be amazingly resilient. It really does make a difference to have good people on board. It gives us confidence for the future. “They’re also very adaptable. Last year our employment team spent a lot of time advising companies on the government’s job retention scheme; now they’re helping companies to bring people back to the office safely.” “These awards are also part of our CSR approach – we want to give something back to the local business community. It’s good to give businesses a platform to showcase their achievements and talents. The external recognition they receive if they win an award can really make a difference to their standing in the community and help them to market their products and services more easily.”

Gary Wong, an Audit Director at Hillier Hopkins, is also on this year’s Inspiring Herts Awards judging panel. He says: “We’ve been headline sponsors for the last four years so we know what these awards are all about. As a company that has had a presence in the county for 85 years, we feel that supporting

businesses and championing their successes is something we should do. “These awards are a great opportunity to hear the unique stories of these businesses and some fantastic organisations in the third sector. You can really learn from the lived experiences of others. It’s good to hear about the challenges and struggles they’re going through, and to see if you can help in any way.” Many of these stories showcase the resilience and adaptability of local organisations in the pandemic – qualities that have enabled them to survive and thrive. “That resilience and adaptability has always been there in Hertfordshire,” says Gary. “The pandemic has just reinforced it. Many firms have been ably assisted by Herts Chamber, which has been very visible during the pandemic. “The support they’re able to give, and the lengths they go to in terms of the help they provide, are absolutely vital to this business community. There are always plenty of events to go to and lots of networking opportunities are created. “We’re really looking forward to the awards ceremony on September 9. It promises to be a fantastic evening.”

These awards are a great opportunity to hear the unique stories of these businesses and some fantastic organisations in the third sector.





Upcoming Events

The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce are delighted to be returning to live events. With the first taking place in July, we are slowly implementing more in-person events alongside our webinars, in order to continue supporting our members and non-members, and to provide vital information that businesses may need. With our members and benefit partners we have designed our Events programme to cover a variety of topics:

Tariff Free Trade – Global Britain Explained Since the end of the transition period the UK government has signed trade agreements with over 80 countries and has the aspiration to agree a deal with many more including Australia, New Zealand, India, the USA as well as to accede to the CP-TPP. Governments make trade deals and businesses make trade.

Date: 09/09/21 Time: 11:00 – 12:00 Venue: Zoom Price: Members FREE Non-Members £15.00 +VAT


• Liam Smyth, Director of Trade Facilitation at the British Chambers of Commerce and Director at ChamberCustoms • Dr. Anna Jerzewska, Founder and Director, Trade & Borders

In this webinar we will aim to help businesses understand what these agreements can mean for their international trade plans. Whether you are an importer or an exporter, tariff free trade can increase your competitiveness, margin, and market access opportunities. Our experts will provide guidance on what to look for, selecting great markets and winning competitive advantage.

TEN BUSINESS TIPS you can use now to be 2022-ready Date: 16/09/2021

Time: 08:30-10:30 Venue: Aubrey Park Hotel, Redbourn Join us on Thursday 16th September, from 08:30-10:30am, for a breakfast event revealing how you can make your company stand out from the crowd. 2022 is right around the corner, and businesses aiming for growth over the next 18 months need to make sure they’re ready. Your customers, like the rest of the UK, are standing up and looking around after nearly two years of uncertainty – so there’s never been a better time to ensure that your business is looking its best. That’s why OnBrand has put together a list of the top ten things you can do over the next 10 weeks to make your company stand out from the crowd next year.

Presented by OnBrand’s senior team Daniel Graham (MD), Emma Thompson (Marketing Director) and Tom Roberts (Head of Social & Content), the event will include: • Simple website improvements your customers will love • SEO hacks to get your site ranking on Google • Making your brand work harder to drive sales • Turning engaged customers into advocates • Improving your social feeds with shareable content

……..And much more!

This event is perfect for business owners, directors and marketers who want to make sure their business is ready to tackle 2022 head on. 28


Price: Members £15.00 +VAT Non-Members £22.00+VAT


For more information on any event:

01707 502180 or

Virtual Networking Opportunity Date: 22/09/21 Time: 11:00 – 12:00 Venue: Zoom Price: Members FREE Non-Members £15.00 +VAT

The next Webinar in the series that Herts Chamber have organised, is a networking event, designed to continue supporting our members and non-members in these challenging times.

Join us on Wednesday 22nd September at 11am and enjoy the powers of networking, providing the chance to meet with a variety of different businesspeople in an informal atmosphere, to listen and share experiences whilst working remotely. Each participant will be given the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business.

N.B. Any non-member attending this meeting who subsequently signs up for Chamber membership within one week (i.e. by 29/09/2021) will receive a full refund of the cost of attending this webinar.

Women in Leadership Lunch Date: 23/09/21 Time: 12:00 – 14:00 Venue: Knebworth Barns Conference & Banqueting Centre Price: Members £33.00 +VAT Non-Members £43.00+VAT

Our speaker for this lunch will be Claire Austin, Managing Director of Austin’s Funeral Directors. Austin’s was established in 1700 and Claire is the tenth generation to run the independent family business. Having expanded in recent years, Austin’s now operates nine funeral arrangement offices throughout North and East Hertfordshire and owns Harwood Park Crematorium in Stevenage. Claire has led Austin’s to win thirteen business awards, including the FSB Service Excellence Award in 2012. In the same year, Claire was named National Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year.

Hertfordshire Chamber are delighted to be reinstating our popular Women in Leadership lunches, with the first taking place at the beautiful Knebworth Barns on the 23rd September 2021.

In 2019, Claire was selected by Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce to win a very special award in recognition of her Outstanding Contribution to Charity. She has raised tens of thousands of pounds by embracing a number of personal fundraising challenges as well as encouraging others associated with her company to donate to worthy causes.

These include: • Undertaking a Tandem SkyDive for Keech Hospice; raising £1,000 • Running the London Marathon; raising over £10,000 for Isabel Hospice • Making a donation of £7,000 to Steph’s Wishes; a charity which gives ‘Memory Days’ to young people in the UK, who have recurring or terminal cancer • Shaving her hair off; raising more than £7,500 for grant-giving charity Stevenage Community Trust • Participating in an Arctic Survival Challenge, in support of Home Start Hertfordshire Join us for a delicious lunch and hear about some of the amazing activities and challenges that Claire has been involved in over the last few years, to raise money on behalf of a number of Hertfordshire charities. #KeeptheHeartinHerts




Upcoming Events

Meet the Buyer event: Could you work with Sky Studios Elstree?

Date: 29/09/21 Time: 15:00-16:00 Venue: Zoom Price: Members FREE Non-Members £15.00 +VAT

Do you want to help us bring Hollywood to Hertfordshire? Come and find out more about Sky Studios Elstree at our virtual networking event. Set to open in 2022, Sky Studios Elstree will house 13 sound stages and become home to a range of film and TV productions from Sky Studios and NBCUniversal, attracting £3bn of

production spend over the first five years of operation alone. Not only that, but Sky Studios Elstree aims to be the most sustainable studio in the world. Sound interesting? Sky Studios are looking to work with local businesses wherever possible. So come and meet their team on September 29th to find out more about Sky Studios Elstree and how you might be able to work together…

Learn how to generate free publicity: A Workshop Date: 05/10/21 Time: 10:00 – 12:00 Venue: The Riding School, Hatfield House Price: Members £15.00 +VAT Non-Members £22.00 +VAT Join us on Tuesday 5th October, from 10:00-12:00pm, at The Riding School, Hatfield House for a workshop on how to generate free publicity for your business, delivered by Laura Pearce, Managing Director, Strand PR. Sending out your own press releases is a free way of raising awareness of your business. And when it comes to media coverage, it’s arguably better than advertising because stories published by local, regional or industry news websites and papers represent thirdparty endorsement. So, it’s not you saying how fantastic your business or service is, it’s basically somebody else saying it.



Learning objectives:

• Gain an understanding of news and PR • Learn how to write a press release • Understand how to build a tailored distribution list and how to send your press release out • Know how to amplify your coverage through digital channels

But how do you do it, how do you establish what’s going to grab the attention of journalists, how do you angle a press release, how do you even write one, where do you start, what do you do with the press releasewhen it’s drafted? What do you do with the coverage you’ve achieved? That’s where Strand PR come in, and more specifically this workshop. Join us and learn from an expert with a proven track record of success.

Laura Pearce is a dynamic, creative and successful marketeer who established Strand PR in 2012, turning it into one of Hertfordshire’s leading PR, digital and marketing agencies. With experience of working with a diverse range of clients from boutique retailers to corporate brands, Laura has honed the ‘personal approach’ and firmly believes that is the key to successful campaigns. She has a particular flair for digital combined with a strong pedigree for running impactful public relations campaign, leading an in-house, award-winning team of creatives, digital experts and former journalists.


For more information on any event:

01707 502180 or

Export Documentation & Procedure – a Practical Guide Date: 22/10/21

Time: 10:00 – 16:00 Venue: Zoom Price: Members £300.00 +VAT Non-Members £350.00 +VAT This one-day, on-line course is designed to provide businesses with the essential knowledge to get their exports moving. Specific focus on Export procedures gives delegates the opportunity to increase the awareness and skills of the requirements involved with overseas trade. The course addresses the costs, documentation and procedures associated with exporting goods worldwide and includes up to the minute procedures and documentation associated with the UK exiting the EU.

Topics Covered:

• The New Incoterms 2020 Rules and the appropriate Rule to apply to your sales contract • Identifying the role of - EORI - NES • The role of Movement Certificates • Certificates of Origin • Applying for documents via E-Cert

• Examination of Transport Documentation • Containerisation • Getting the best deal - Understanding the structure of Sea Freight rates - Understanding IATA and consolidated rates for Air Freight • Examination of Commercial Documentation

• Insurance Sea/Air

- Invoice

• Examination of - Clause A,B,C insurance for Sea Freight - Clause Air for Air Freight

- Packing List - Others as requested by delegates • Pre Shipment Inspection

November Chamber Lunch

The next Chamber Lunch, taking place at the Cromwell Hotel, Stevenage on Thursday 18th November 2021. Join us for a delicious lunch, a chance to catch up with existing business contacts and use the opportunity to meet and network with new potential clients.

Date: 18/11/21 Time: 12:00 – 14:00 Venue: Cromwell Hotel, Stevenage Price: Members £33.00 +VAT Non-Members £43.00 +VAT

We are delighted to be joined by guest speaker Chris Barnes, Assistant Director for Regeneration, Stevenage Borough Council who will be talking about regeneration and recovery of the town.

Members! Don’t forget you can use your Event Voucher to attend this event. (To check if you have any remaining, please contact




Wellbeing Conference The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce are excited to reveal that we are holding our very first Wellbeing Conference. This event will be taking place at Rothamsted Enterprises, Harpenden on Thursday 21st October 2021* We are delighted to have Hertfordshire County Council Public Health as the Headline Sponsors for this important conference, which is of particular significance at this present time. With Professor Jim McManus, Director of Public Health, Hertfordshire County Council joining us to give a keynote presentation on the topic:

“Why should we care about workplace health and wellbeing?” The aim of this event is to explore health, wellbeing and performance in the workplace. The Conference and Exhibition will provide you with exciting new ideas and the information necessary to create positive change in physical and mental wellbeing.



Time: 9:30 - 16:00 Venue: Rothamsted Enterprises, Harpenden Price: Members £125.00 +VAT

Members Early Bird Rate by 10/09/2021 £112.50 +VAT



Non-Members £175.00 +VAT

The programme includes: u Keynote speakers u A choice of eight

Breakout sessions

u Panel discussions u A large exhibition

offering wellbeing-related products and services

u Networking opportunities


Jim McManus is responsible for England’s fifth largest public health system, with a portfolio of 142 work streams, including drug and alcohol treatment and care, health protection and health improvement services. He has significant experience of service redesign and transformation, commissioning and multi-agency strategy and implementation. Workplace wellbeing is essentially enlightened self-interest. There is increasing evidence from research that investing in the mental health, resilience and physical health of your workforce impacts positively on the bottom line. Workplace culture, workplace sickness absence and performance all improve. While there are some obvious examples like ensuring people are lifting safely and reduce avoidable injuries which result in time off, there are lots of good examples of areas from stress to vaccination

were workplace health makes a positive difference to employers. The last ten years has seen a significant growth in research which shows that working age adults accumulate risk factors for avoidable disease like heart disease and disability in the workplace, and these are largely preventable. The impact of these risk factors is that more adults develop early disability and have to retire from work on medical grounds, with a significant cost to employers

Panel Speakers

v Liza Armstrong

not just in lost experience but in recruitment and sickness absence. The UK remains one of the lower countries in Europe in getting people back to work after heart attacks, for example, and this often means the loss of skilled staff. Talking from research and experience, Jim will highlight the evidence for what employers can do, identify how employers can make a difference and share research on the economic benefits of doing this.

v Jo Healey

Head of Service, Hertfordshire Growth Hub

Support of business owners and employers with workplace wellbeing and resilience.

Police Officer and Force Lead Wellbeing Champion, Hertfordshire Constabulary

Oscar Kilo and the Bluelight Framework.

v Caroline Butler

Head of HR Strategy, Reward and Relations, Hertfordshire County Council

Workforce health as employer at HCC and learnings.

v Rushma Patel

Workplace Lead for Public Health, Hertfordshire County Council

The importance of workplace health and health improvement.

For the opportunity to host an Exhibition stand please contact or call 01707 502180 * Should it be necessary for this Conference to be postponed, we will advise you as soon as possible and will move your booking to the new date, or provide a refund should this date not be convenient.


Here are our TOP 3 TIPS and considerations for technology and crafting your company’s return to work plan.


Returning to the workplace We have very nearly faced 365 days in some sort of lockdown in the UK; we’ve endured 18 months of restrictions and don’t even get us started on the home-schooling! But has it all been so bad? A recent report by analysts McKinsey shared that the pandemic has forced companies to move quicker, in some reported cases up to 40 times faster than previously forecasted when it comes to implementing remote working solutions. Technology has been our undoubted saviour. Whether it’s connecting teams through solutions such as Microsoft Teams or enabling loved ones to stay in touch via Zoom, conference camera sales went through the roof, and collaboration applications like Monday and Trello ensured team productivity didn’t decline.

they work. Just as organisations needed to adapt to remote working environments back in March rapidly, the challenge now facing them is bringing their staff back into the office safely. How can employers ensure that staff can enjoy the flexibility and benefits of hybrid working but ensure productivity doesn’t suffer? After months of standing redundant, office and meeting spaces now need to be flexible and adaptable, transitioning seamlessly from 1-2-1 catchups to larger executive meetings that require social distancing spacing. So, once again, technology steps into the spotlight.

And now, as we enter the (hopefully) final stage of lockdown in the UK, what have we learnt? It seems highly doubtful that we will return to ‘normality’; instead, we will inevitably embrace the benefits that COVID-19 has delivered, such as better work/life balance.

Technology now needs to enhance the working practices that we have adopted over the last 18 months. We have accelerated video collaboration globally, and organisations must ensure that we can continue this trajectory, connecting people regardless of physical location.

The common consensus is that we are entering a new phase for the global workforce, with more people choosing to adopt a hybrid approach when they are allowed back to the office’, looking for more freedom around where and when

Companies need to ensure that they have a post COVID, return to work plan that doesn’t just focus on employees’ safety, and encompasses technology acceleration when we are no longer confined to the four walls of our homes.

Continue digital adoption

Remote workers have proved that productivity levels can be maintained, regardless of location, with the right technology deployed. Continue the digital adoption trajectory to ensure that people have a positive video conferencing and collaboration experience wherever they choose to work in the future.


Re-think your real estate footprint

Before the pandemic, typical meeting spaces may have featured an executive board room with some breakout spaces for smaller, ad-hoc meetings. Understand your teams’ requirements when it comes to meetings moving forward and work to create flexible spaces equipped with video to unify remote and in-room meeting delegates and consider how technology and furniture can work to create fluid areas that are intuitive and easy to use.


Invest in training and processes

Conduct an audit to understand how your business teams have used their technology through lockdown, what has worked and importantly, what hasn’t. Research and invest in training to ensure that staff are getting the best out of any technology or platform investment. For example, if you have used Microsoft Teams as a video collaboration solution to connect remote teams during COVID, do your staff have a fully loaded understanding of the platform and the advantages that it can deliver?

Although returning to the office is an unknown entity, the team at Lewcon have been helping many companies scope their requirements and needs to reshape their existing technology. We are also advising organisations to select and invest in new solutions to help return their staff to an office environment quickly, seamlessly, and successfully. We work with organisations to identify their specific requirements and work with world-class vendors in the unified communications space to ensure we are fully versed to recommend the right solution for your business, today, tomorrow and beyond.

Contact us today for your personal consultation on or 01462 457886. 34 INSPIRE

01462 457886

Lewcon Audio Visual


Daniel leads Sopher + Co

into new territory Daniel Sopher is well qualified to speak about the subject of effective leadership in business. He became managing partner of Sopher + Co Chartered Accountants in 2014 and since then has overseen strong growth at the firm, which has also increased staff numbers from 90 to 150 in that time.

In recent years we’ve grown from a boutique family business to a thriving medium-sized enterprise. One of the key challenges has been to get the right balance between being nimble and agile and having systems and processes in place so that the business can run effectively.

According to Daniel, a good leader should try to give staff as much autonomy to do their jobs as possible, but within a clearly defined framework or structure. He says: “In recent years we’ve grown from a boutique family business to a thriving medium-sized enterprise. One of the key challenges has been to get the right balance between being nimble and agile and having systems and processes in place so that the business can run effectively. “I try to give my staff the freedom to make decisions and do their job efficiently but I’m also careful to ensure that they follow the necessary systems and processes. They’re in place to guide staff and help them do their jobs to the best of their ability. “I trust my staff to do the right things. This trust is vital as I don’t want to spend all of my time micro-managing. Someone who runs a business, particularly one with 150 staff, has to learn to delegate and take a strategic view of things.” Daniel specialises in both corporate and personal tax. His expertise lies within the private client sphere, advising high net worth individuals (HNWIs), non-domiciles, families, entrepreneurs and their businesses across many sectors including the media and entertainment industry.

Daniel’s major strength is his ability to foresee and bring to the table a full range of possible issues and outcomes for clients, providing creative yet pragmatic and commercial solutions to complex matters. Having recognised the changing nature of the role of tax advisor, Daniel most recently trained in mediation, helping clients resolve their differences without causing rifts in family relationships. Within this context, much of his mediation work involves resolving disputes over business ownership and succession issues in relation to how a business will be run by the next generation. Daniel became a partner in Sopher + Co in 2010 and has been running the firm since 2014. Coming through the pandemic was a challenge but he kept staff motivated by running online quizzes and social events, and he ensured that everyone had the set-up necessary to service clients from home. The plan now is to go for further growth and expand Sopher + Co’s range of services, which already include advice on taxation, moving to and from the UK, business planning, and cloudbased or digital accounting solutions. Daniel says: “Our teams of accountants, tax advisors and business advisors pride themselves on our entrepreneurial approach to our clients’ personal and business affairs based on trust and expert advice. We pride ourselves on our ability to offer ‘Big Four’ advice at reasonable prices. “I’d like to think that we’re innovative and forward-thinking. We’ll always be flexible and adapt our services to our clients’ changing needs.”




Tech firm backs

entrepreneur scheme RICHARD MCBARNET

Founder and CEO of Lumina Technologies

The Entrepreneur Foundation provides training, advice and monitoring to dozens of talented individuals. The idea behind the scheme is to connect budding entrepreneurs with experienced mentors who have been there and done it – successful individuals who have overcome adversity, adapted to new challenges and found innovative ways to grow and sustain their business ventures. The Chamber teamed up with several Founders to get the initiative underway – people who are business owners and influential decision-makers with philanthropic desires to give back to the local community by passing on the wisdom of their experiences. The Foundation has also built a network of corporate supporters, one of which is Richard McBarnet, Founder and CEO of Lumina Technologies. Richard’s role at Lumina has evolved over time, from entrepreneurial Founder and first engineer to a strategic leader with a strong emphasis on driving the team and the company forward. Whilst he has long since hung up his engineering hat, he still provides



Entrepreneurial excellence in Hertfordshire is being highlighted by an initiative launched last year by Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

consultancy services to clients, specifically around IT strategy, budgeting, operational maturity, cyber security and business continuity. He loves nothing more than solving business problems and applying technology, where appropriate, to deliver creative solutions for clients. Richard says: “Having learned the hard way as an entrepreneur, I felt as though I could offer the benefit of some of my experiences to other entrepreneurs through the Foundation.

It’s very important to network with local businesses. The ability to offer mutual support is hugely important, especially in the last 18 months which have been difficult for most of us.

“It’s very important to network with local businesses. The ability to offer mutual support is hugely important, especially in the last 18 months which have been difficult for most of us.” Being involved in the Foundation also provides Richard with opportunities to raise the profile of Lumina’s brand. He says: “We want to strengthen our presence in the local marketplace and this seemed like a good opportunity for us to do that. We supply IT services from procurement to cyber security, using technology to help businesses solve real-world problems. “The whole nature of how we work is changing. Technology is giving us all something different; none of us would have been able to come through the pandemic without it. The best thing about technology is that it can be applied in a wide range of settings, such as healthcare, to solve all sorts of problems. “Our involvement in the Foundation also gives us a chance to work more closely with Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, which is incredibly proactive, wellresourced and well-staffed. They are a very prominent and visible presence within the local community and a great support to local businesses.”

From The NHS and Civil Service to smaller SMEs we have worked with organisations of all sizes.

Our offering includes:

v Core programmes such as

Fanhams Hall


Exclusive Collection A Jacobean mansion tucked away in the picturesque Hertfordshire countryside, offers a unique location for meetings, events and conferences. Set in a stunning 27 acres, this venue has something to offer for all occasions.


10 unique meeting rooms each individually designed to help inspire and encourage creative thinking. Whether it's a blue-sky session, a game-changing presentation, dynamic learning and development or transformative team building, we're famous for facilitating successful business outcomes. With unrivalled facilities in Hertfordshire that actively encourage interactivity, we'll help you to fulfil the most demanding agenda, in the most idyllic of locations,


Fanhams Hall has a number of gorgeous private dining rooms ideal for any special celebration. So if you are looking for birthdays, wedding anniversary celebrations, a special family event or a good old foodie treat, we have the perfect private spot just for you! For more information please call us on 01920 460511 or email and quote "INSPIRE21"

is an awardwinning provider of programmes that address wellbeing, resilience and leadership

Perform @ Your Peak and Multiplier combine expert knowledge with analytics to provide leaders and managers with the tools to ensure that your people are engaged, energised and focused for life both at and away from work.

v The Festival of Us is a digital

resource that provides information and insight to the work force over a 12 month period.

v My Balance Scorecard assesses

multiple factors that influence health, wellbeing and performance. Individuals receive a personalised report; organisations can be provided with anonymous aggregated data. Fanhams Hall Hotel, Ware, Hertfordshire

We have recently launched Reflect, Realign, Reboot a programme designed to help create organisational togetherness in such turbulent times.

Find out more at

Help us support your local family carers!

During the coronavirus pandemic we all experienced living in isolation. However, many family carers feel lonely or socially excluded each and every day. Please consider supporting your local carers by: • Donating your products or services. • Inviting us to present to your company to raise awareness. • Making us your Charity of the Year. • Volunteering for one of our many roles. The coronavirus has meant more people are now providing unpaid care to someone. An estimated 1 in 4 people in the UK are caring for someone due to illness, a disability, old age or addiction up from 1 in 6 people pre-pandemic. Caring for a loved one is something many of us do without a second thought, although it can impact on health, finances and relationships. We at Carers in Hertfordshire are there to provide emotional and practical support for carers to help them in their caring role and improve their health and wellbeing.

“Thank you for going the extra mile for me, listening to me and providing advice, support and encouragement when I needed it. It’s great Carers in Hertfordshire is there to help carers like me.” Patricia who cares for several relatives.

We need our local business community to help us in our work ensuring unpaid family and friend carers are identified, informed and supported. Together we can help more carers, like Patricia. Please get in touch with the fundraising team if you can help us. We look forward to building a partnership with you! Liz Alderson and Karen Denny 01992 58 69 69 INSPIRE





Herts firms invited to join tree-planting scheme Launched in May 2021, The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree-planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. It invites people from across the UK to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee.”

Businesses in Hertfordshire are being encouraged to get involved in a pioneering green project to celebrate the Queen’s 70-year jubilee.

Our QGC ambition in Hertfordshire is to celebrate with tree plantings across every corner of the County in both our towns and rural areas. We’re working with the Chamber, local authorities and other organisations to spread the word about this fantastic project and bring as many people as possible with us on this journey.



The general public, scouts and girl-guiding groups, villages, cities, counties, schools and corporates are being encouraged to play their part to enhance the environment by planting trees from October 2021 to March 2022, and from October 2022 to March 2023 – the key season when tree-planting takes place. With a focus on planting sustainably, QGC encourages the planting of trees to create a legacy in honour of the Queen’s leadership of the nation – a legacy that will benefit future generations. As well as inviting the planting of new trees, QGC aims to dedicate a network of 70 ancient woodlands across the UK and identify 70 ancient trees to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of sterling service. Ian Pigott OBE, the Deputy Lieutenant lead for Hertfordshire on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant, Robert Voss, CBE, CStJ is leading this innovative project and urging businesses in the county to get involved. He says: “It would be fantastic if Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce members and other businesses in the county could join us on this project. There are so many different ways in which businesses can get involved. “If they have access to their own grounds, they could plant some trees. If not, perhaps they could seek out land close to their business – a site on the grounds of a local school, for example. Local district councils could help to identify suitable sites nearby. “Also, it would be great if Hertfordshire businesses could actively encourage

their employees to get involved. People could plant a tree in their garden or ask their local scouts or girl guides if they’d like to participate. Local schools and community groups who are inspired by the QGC can also apply for The Woodland Trust’s free tree pack scheme, which is now open for applications. The tree packs come in different sizes to suit spaces from small urban areas to larger rural spaces and hedgerow-type spaces. “Businesses can also make a financial donation to support the project; any contribution would be much appreciated. “Our QGC ambition in Hertfordshire is to celebrate with tree plantings across every corner of the county in both our towns and rural areas. We’re working with the Chamber, local authorities and other organisations to spread the word about this fantastic project and bring as many people as possible with us on this journey.” The Patron of QGC is His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, who for more than 50 years has used his unique position to champion action for a sustainable future. In the context of global challenges which include the climate crisis, deforestation and ocean pollution, The Prince has promoted sustainability to ensure that the natural assets upon which we all depend – soil, water, forests, a stable climate and fish stocks among other things – endure for future generations. Whilst QGC is a national project, it can help to transform local communities, making them greener, moreenvironmentally friendly places in which to live and work.

Ian says: “Anything that Herts Chamber and its members can do to get the word out there would be much appreciated. The QGC is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Her Majesty’s extraordinary reign, and leave a legacy for generations to come.”

If you’re interested in getting involved or would like further information, please contact From October, all planting projects can be uploaded onto an interactive map on the new QGC website so that everyone can share and inspire others, as well as creating a greencanopy of projects to cover the country.


Why getting internal communication right is

fundamental to success When PayPal found out that not all their employees were using the company’s app, its President David Marcus took a heavy-handed approach. He wrote a memo to all staff issuing them an ultimatum: “If you are one of the folks who refused to install the PayPal app or if you can’t remember your PayPal password, do yourself a favour, go find something that will connect with your heart and mind elsewhere.”

The result. The memo was leaked to the press, leading to widespread negative media coverage. The lesson is simple and obvious, internal communication is important, as vital as external marketing messages. A happy house is a more committed and productive workforce.

Top tips It is no longer enough to simply manage and distribute information to your teams. But how do you devise an internal communications strategy? Here are a few tips based on the principles Strand PR follows:

4 Think of your staff as your first brand ambassadors.

4 Ensure your internal

communications strategy is aligned with your business objectives.

4 Create a clear structure for effective communications, setting out what platforms should be used for what messages. For example, maybe introducing a staff email newsletter or creating a WhatsApp group for immediate messages.

We have seen a real-world example of bad practice, but academics also back this up, with bags of research pointing to the benefits of good internal communication. One study, published in March 2020 in the Journal of Business Communication, explains: “Both symmetrical internal communication and leaders’ use of motivating language, including meaningmaking, empathetic, and direction-giving languages, induced employees’ perception of a positive emotional culture of joy, companionate love, pride, and gratitude, which in turn enhanced employees’ organisational identification.”

4 Successful internal communication

Getting it right

We are here to help

An effective strategy creates understanding and trust throughout the organisation, helping them collaborate to achieve mutual targets and goals. When employees feel valued and informed, they are more likely to provide optimal customer service. In times of crises, rapid communication of relevant and correct information brings people together, often relieving stress and panic by dismissing rumours.

At Strand PR, we work with clients to not only devise a bespoke internal communications strategy, but also to deliver those vital messages across an organisation.

is a two-way process, so ensure employees have the means and ability to be part of the conversation.

4 Have a defined internal

communications team or individual, with established roles and responsibilities.

4 As HR departments regularly

require the need to share and disseminate information widely among employees, have a close collaboration with the human resources team.

With an abundance of experience and expertise in internal communications, we can be your internal communications partner. Get in touch if you need any support, even if it is just for a conversation, we would be happy to help.


When employees feel valued and informed, they are more likely to provide optimal customer service. Laura Pearce, Managing Director of Strand PR with office dog Hugo.




Tourism industry looks forward to a bright future

The tourism sector is one of the brightest jewels in Hertfordshire’s crown. It generates millions of pounds each month for the local economy and, despite having a difficult time in the coronavirus pandemic, it is bouncing back strongly as restrictions are gradually eased. The focus now is very much on bringing visitors back to hotels, restaurants and other key attractions.

St Albans Museums are certainly looking forward to the future with optimism. These star attractions offer a space where visitors can explore the rich history of St Albans. They can discover the Roman heritage of St Albans at Verulamium Museum or visit St Albans Museum and Gallery to see cutting-edge art installations, historic exhibitions and touring blockbuster shows. Farhana Begum, Museum Business Manager at St Albans Museums, says: “Visitors to our museums get the opportunity to explore fascinating permanent and changing exhibitions and take part in a vibrant programme of events, activities and workshops for adults and families across our sites. We’ve just opened our Chroniclers of History exhibition, which displays some of the most exquisite illuminated manuscripts created at St Albans Abbey from as far back as the eleventh century. During the medieval period, the monastery of St Albans had a national reputation for the quality of its chroniclers! “No other monastery produced histories for as long as St Albans, and many of its chroniclers, who included Roger of Wendover, Matthew Paris, William Rishanger, Thomas Walsingham and John of Wheathampstead, came to be celebrated as amongst the finest in the country.” The Chroniclers of History exhibition runs until the end of October this year. Other events and exhibitions are currently ongoing; more details can be found at



Farhana, who has been working at the museums for the last five years and has spent 18 months in her current role, says: “Naturally, the coronavirus proved to be a challenging time for us. We closed on March 2020 and we reopened, closed again and now we’re back open again – it has been a rollercoaster last 18 months! We’re lucky that we received some funding from the Arts Council; this has helped to sustain us during the pandemic. “The future looks a lot rosier. Even though business hasn’t quite returned to prepandemic levels, it’s getting there as more people become more confident about socialising again. We’ve kept some precautions on site – face coverings and sanitisers, for example – so I’m confident that we’ll get more visitors over the coming months, particularly as the vaccination roll-out is going so well in this country. Also, people can get married or have Christmas parties here so it’s a good space for them to mix and socialise.” In particular, Farhana has seen a rise in the number of young people coming to the museums. “It’s great to see”, she says. “Around 35,000 children come to our museums each year so we can help them with their education. Even during the pandemic, we experimented with virtual sessions in which schools could participate. Feedback on these sessions was really positive. “We have a hugely significant collection of Roman artefacts at Verulamium Museum – large-scale mosaics that are in great condition. And there’s something new to see every time you visit the museum and gallery. But what links both museums is our dedication to the local community, local businesses and local artists, so we encourage everyone to get in touch and get involved.”

Aubrey Park Hotel also engages widely with the local community. This exclusive venue, which sits peacefully between the historic city of St Albans and the old town of Hemel Hempstead, has 137 bedrooms, nine meeting rooms and a reputation for providing fantastic customer service. Rafael Gonzalez, Managing Director of Aubrey Park, says: “Our aim is to create a personal experience far beyond the realms of just booking a package or meeting room. Whether we’re hosting two or 200 delegates, we take pride in accommodating all styles and sizes of conferences and meetings. We take a consultative approach with all of our clients to ensure we really meet their brief and consider all requirements in a bespoke way.” Although the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns were challenging for Aubrey Park, Rafael sees signs of optimism as the country begins to open up again. “Generally, we’re getting busier,” he says. “People are travelling more and seem to have more confidence again. “Demand is growing. We’ve seen a surge in demand for weddings in particular, and people are looking to book events for Christmas celebrations. While the corporate market has been slower to recover, we’ve recently been getting enquiries from companies looking to book their staff Christmas parties. “It has been a challenging time but I’m more confident than I was this time last year, when there was so much uncertainty. Aubrey Park has a lot to offer individuals and companies and I’m optimistic about the future.” For more information, visit


Hello Hybrid!

But What Next?

Hybrid working. It’s the latest great disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. And with some leaders very firmly ‘in’ and others equally firmly ‘out’, it’s a noisy world out there. So, where to start with creating a successful future workplace? St Albans-based Culture Consultancy, Culture Chameleon, share the following tips: • Press Pause. There’s so much that we can learn from the past 18 months about the successes and challenges of working remotely, and that we can use to inform our hybrid future - if we only take the time to do so. • Don’t mark your own homework. If, as leaders, we sit in isolation with our hybrid plans, we risk missing some key insights. Instead, open a hybrid conversation with the wider organisation. • Ditch the Policy. Smart leaders know that a policy is never going to cater for every conflicting need arising from a hybrid way of working. Instead, create a series of principles, based on the insight gathered, that can be regularly revised as your organisation progresses with hybrid working.

Whilst for those opting for a hybrid workplace, the starting point appears to be deciding when & where people will work, Laura Lewis, Founder and Chief Chameleon of Culture Chameleon advocates throwing standard thinking up in the air and reframing the hybrid ‘problem’:

And mindset is very much the focus of Culture Chameleon’s online, 1:1 Hello Hybrid Masterclass series. The first masterclass, Cut Through the Hybrid Noise, empowers healthy, highperforming hybrid teams by re-framing the hybrid ‘dilemma’ and using Culture Chameleon’s practical framework to break hybrid down and make it a long-term success. By facilitating team commitment to ways of working that will drive cohesion and clarity, the second masterclass, Re-writing the Rulebook, supports healthy, connected, engaged and productive teams, no matter where they work.

“Our research has shown that a successful hybrid strategy isn’t about time or place after all. Instead, it’s about enabling people to achieve their full potential, to make work great, so that great work follows. And that’s down to mindset.”

If you’d like more information about Culture Chameleon’s Hello Hybrid masterclasses, please email

VolkerFitzpatrick celebrates 100 years by donating to charity

This year marks 100 years since the inception of ‘Fitzpatrick and Son’, which later became VolkerFitzpatrick. To celebrate its centenary, the business is making donations to three of its key charity partners. VolkerFitzpatrick has been a Patron of CRASH charity since 2015, supporting several of their construction projects for homelessness charities and hospices, along the way. In 2019, a team of volunteers from the business refurbished the lounge of Caritas Anchor House in London, returning again last year to revamp the dining area.

meaningful youth employment and enterprise, protecting vulnerable environments, combating climate change, and ensuring the right to safe water and sanitation. In previous years, volunteers from VolkerFitzpatrick have travelled overseas to work on projects, such as the construction of a school in a remote area of Costa Rica to enable more young children to participate in education.

fundraising activities and provide ongoing financial support to the charity, including an initial donation of £10,000 to support children around the world to reach their full potential. Save the Children and VolkerFitzpatrick are exploring how the business can offer pro-bono technical expertise and advice to support the organisation’s construction projects, as part of the next stage of the partnership.

This year, the business is donating £10,000 to support CRASH’s work with Emmaus Village Carlton in Bedfordshire – a charity offering active support to formerly homeless people.

Unfortunately, travel restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, have prevented the team from participating in a similar project this year, so the business has instead made a donation of £10,000 to support the charity’s vital work.

Richard Offord, managing director of VolkerFitzpatrick, said: “Our partnerships with charities such as Raleigh International, CRASH Charity and Save the Children are extremely important to us. These organisations share our values of hard work, striving for success and caring for one another. I can think of no better way to mark our 100th anniversary than by supporting their invaluable work.”

Raleigh International is a youth-driven organisation, supporting a global movement of young people to take action. Working globally to promote the role of young people in decision making and civil society, creating

VolkerFitzpatrick has entered into a partnership with children’s charity, Save the Children. The business will undertake

Learn more about VolkerFitzpatrick’s history INSPIRE



Peer to Peer group continues to support each other after end of programme The #PeerNetworks programme is a Hertfordshire Growth Hub service delivered by Branduin on behalf of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, one of the three Hertfordshire Growth Hub Consortium Partners. The programme creates diverse cohort groups of local businesses to collaboratively work through common business issues. Our own Peer Network Group was formed last October, comprising seven members from a diverse range of backgrounds and with a variety of services and products. It includes Sarah Moreland from the Herts Agricultural Society (Herts Showground); Christine Frith from HourHands; Simon Hurst from Dopplle; Amit Wason from CBiz; Liz Redway from Redway HR; Raza Khan from Egniteit; Fiona Edwards from JPA Workspaces and was facilitated by Noshir Desai from Branduin.

coaching against relevant, topical business issues. Commitment to regular meetings enabled us to develop a trusted group of peers and an environment where we could openly discuss our specific challenges against a backdrop of support with peers providing valuable feedback on how to implement practical solutions to potentially overcome them.

We met virtually but regularly during lockdown and have found the contact and contributions made so valuable that we have continued meeting, long after the programme ended. Despite one cold outdoor meeting we have actually never all met in person and are excited at the prospect having just arranged our next meeting and first face

We’re continuing to meet as we feel we’ve only just scratched the surface in terms of learning about each other and how we can help each other. Says Sarah Moreland, Executive Director of the Herts Agricultural Society (Herts Showground) “it’s more important than ever to continue working together and supporting each other

to face sit down at Rothamsted Enterprises with its wonderful restaurant our venue of choice in August. Cake is on the menu! During the pandemic our Peer Group was led by trained facilitator Noshir Desai through a series of high impact interactive group sessions and one to one

as although things are getting back to normal we are by no means out of the woods and need to actively be planning for next year.” So we’re carrying on, determined to grow our businesses locally and sustainably whilst supporting the Chamber’s #LetsKeeptheHeartinHertfordshire campaign. Thank you Herts Chamber for enabling this to happen.

Get Your Business Finances Back on Track As COVID-19 restrictions ease, Government schemes such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as ‘furlough’, are ending and repayments become due. Determining the next step to achieve the financial recovery of your business presents a challenge due to the lasting impacts of the pandemic.

Hertfordshire Growth Hub, powered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, provides an entry point for all Hertfordshire SMEs to access business support and guidance. Fully funded, tailored support through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is available to Hertfordshire SMEs through the Get Growing 2 service. Experienced Growth Account Managers are on-hand to advise businesses and support them through the months ahead helping them to focus on the following areas: Identify, understand, and address the issues Since the start of the pandemic, businesses have been on a financial rollercoaster with many experiencing a decline in sales, increased costs to adapt to a new way of working, increased costs of goods or raw materials, using cash reserves and/ or taking loans to survive. Look at your breakeven point, analyse your production costs, pricing, overheads, productivity etc. almost all areas of a business will have a



financial impact, start with the financial negatives, and determine what can be changed to return these to positives or at least reduce the negative impact. Control cash and identify short-term objectives Cash, if not controlled, has a habit of disappearing rather fast. By revisiting payment terms with suppliers, looking at your credit controls ensures you have measures in place to get paid on time. The financial standing of your clients may also have changed so you may decide to reassess your terms of business. Monitor and reduce costs Reducing costs is not always easy, whilst it may be possible to negotiate with suppliers and other external providers this will only reduce costs so far. Other cost savings will come from within the business, and this comes back to identifying, understanding, and addressing the issues. Improving efficiency, productivity and utilising energy saving measures can help to reduce costs.

Developing new growth strategies It is also important to rebuild and develop future growth. The first step in developing a new growth strategy is deciding and outlining your vision for where you want the business to be and how it will look in the future. It’s then a question of planning how, what, who and the finance you need to get there. The Growth Account Managers can also help you to navigate your way to any additional support, enabling your business to focus on what really matters - getting back on track for future growth.

Grow with us


Is your home or vacant property properly insured? Property ownership in the UK is very popular and is often the most valuable asset someone will own in their lifetime. For more than 40 years, Ashbourne has been helping local residents and property professionals achieve the best insurance to help protect homes, premises and contents.

Paul Richardson, Retail Sales Manager at Ashbourne offers advice on considerations when buying property insurance, depending on the individual circumstances. These elements may include:

1. Vacant Premises

You may have an empty home and require vacant property insurance, because the previous owner may have passed away and the property is on the market, the building has been purchased by a new landlord but has not been leased out yet, the property is unoccupied between different tenants, or possibly the property is being renovated and is not inhabitable. There are ways of reducing your chances of loss and increasing your chance of insurers wanting to cover your property. These include • Ensuring the central heating is turned off when the property is empty. • Arranging regular inspections of the unoccupied property. • Securing windows, letter boxes and doors to prevent vandalism. IMPORTANT: One of the main concerns that solicitors may have is how quickly a vacant property can be insured in the case of probate; and this can be quoted and incepted within 20 minutes if necessary (policies range from 3 months to annual)

2. Non-standard properties

A non-standard construction house is built from materials that do not conform to the ‘standard’ definition. Standard houses have brick or stone walls with a roof made of slate or tile. A non-standard construction is therefore anything that falls outside of this such as: • Timber framed properties • Extensive flat roof • Thatched properties • Listed buildings

3. Combining Buildings & Contents

This type of insurance pays for damage to, or loss of, an individual’s personal possessions while they are located within that individual’s home.

In this context “possessions” means anything that is not permanently attached to the structure of the home. Some contents policies may also include possessions kept in outbuildings or in the garden area attached to the house. Contents insurance is usually sold alongside buildings insurance as a “package”, but it can also be purchased as a stand-alone policy, for those who are renting. Items that can be covered include: • Furniture • White goods • Clothing • Electrical goods • Floor coverings • Antiques • Collections • Items in outbuildings • Business equipment • Accidental damage

4. Personal Possessions

Personal possessions insurance covers your personal belongings against loss or accidental damage away from your home, and it can be included in some contents cover policies. ‘Belongings’ are considered to be movable items; such as: • Unspecified & Specified items • Valuables • Sporting goods • Portable computers • Jewellery / watches • Bicycles • Hearings aids / spectacles • Musical instruments

• Non-standard building materials or Eco-buildings; can alter any re-building cost. • Period features should be taken into account for full reinstatement valuation. • Property extensions are often valued in isolation and as a cost to build rather than the impact to the overall property value. • The building location could increase the cost of site clearance or rebuilding. • Other features of the property, such as car-parks or pavements. • Index linking is an average, different building in different parts of the country will have different reinstatement costs. • The reinstatement cost of any property should not be limited to just the re-build value. Other costs, including; site clearance and professional fees should also be included.

6. Flood Risk Working with Flood Re, we help take the flood risk element of home insurance from an insurer in return for a premium based on the property’s Council Tax band. In addition, they charge the insurer an excess of £250 on the flood part of the policy. Because Flood Re’s activities are subsidised by an annual levy on insurers of a total of £180m, the premium they charge insurers is below the rates insurers would normally charge on properties at the highest risk of flooding. It is estimated that, over time, around 350,000 households could benefit from Flood Re. Eligibility criteria apply.

5. Property underinsurance

The most common places where ‘underinsurance’ can be found: • Any listed building should be valued every 3 years, reinstatement can exceed the re-sale value of the property.

50 Amwell Street Hoddesdon EN11 8UA

Call 01992 471001 for additional information and a no obligation quote.

Visit for further information




Opportunities for Hertfordshire businesses to help make the county cleaner, greener and more sustainable In July 2019, Hertfordshire County Council declared a climate emergency, and in the following months published its Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy and Action Plan. The strategy sets out the council’s ambitions to tackle climate change by leading in its own operations, to enable sustainability with policy decisions and to inspire residents and businesses to act on climate change.

A cornerstone of the sustainability strategy involves engaging with local businesses to ascertain what sustainable actions they may already be taking, what barriers there are to becoming more sustainable and what support they might need to start tackling climate change in their own operations. A recent survey of Hertfordshire residents showed that 79.9% believed climate change to be a ‘very serious issue’, this reflects a national trend as knowledge about climate change becomes more widespread and people begin to make more sustainable choices. This growing awareness of the impact of climate change will increasingly be reflected in consumer choices as people become more discerning about the environmental practices of the businesses that they intend to give their money to. Hertfordshire businesses who are at the forefront of the sustainability agenda may find that positive action towards climate change could result in encouraging benefits not only for the environment, but also for their relationships with their customers. Two key sustainability projects being led by the county council in the next few months offer the chance for Hertfordshire businesses to engage with the sustainability agenda in the county and improve their own environmental credentials.

The Queen’s Green Canopy – ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’ The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a national initiative which will celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee by sustainably planting trees, improving the environment and leaving a legacy for future generations. The County Council has been asked by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire to lead and co-ordinate the county’s planting efforts and is keen to make Hertfordshire a leading county in numbers of trees and hedges planted. Businesses wishing to take part in this project can get involved in several ways. If a business owns land which is suitable for planting, they are encouraged to plant a tree or several trees on their land. The planting will be attributed to total number of trees planted in Hertfordshire and will appear on an interactive map on the Queen’s Green Canopy website. The county council will also promote the planting within Hertfordshire to recognise the collective efforts of everyone taking part. Businesses without access to land for planting can still do their bit to support the Queen’s Green Canopy. Tree planting and aftercare does incur costs, so businesses can pledge funds to help with the cost of planting trees in schemes across the county. Businesses who do pledge funds will be acknowledged and thanked for playing their part in seeding the Queen’s Green Canopy in Hertfordshire. Any parties who wishes to either pledge funding or plant a tree should contact the county council’s dedicated QGC team via email at queensgreencanopy@ and they will be able to provide advice and guidance on the best ways to get involved.

Keep in touch

COP26 comes to Hertfordshire Later this year the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), bringing together representatives of the world’s nations to accelerate action against climate change in light of the worsening climate crisis. In Hertfordshire, the county council’s Sustainable Hertfordshire team will be looking to follow suit by running its own HertsCOP, aimed at raising awareness of local climate change, biodiversity and sustainability issues at a series of online and in-person events. In order to ensure that these events help to address the county’s needs, the team want to hear from local businesses who want to get involved in HertsCOP and the wider conversation around sustainability in Hertfordshire. Whether the business has an existing environmental or sustainability focus, or are simply looking to improve their environmental credentials, the team want to hear from them. Any businesses wanting to get involved can email Hertfordshire County Council’s HertsCOP Programme Manager with queries or suggestions. By working closely with both residents and businesses the Hertfordshire COP can be an informative, engaging and most importantly impactful event which could alter the course of climate change and biodiversity in the county, helping to make Hertfordshire cleaner, greener and more sustainable. Find out more about Hertfordshire County Council’s Sustainability Strategy by visiting

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"In the midst of the pandemic, when challenges were coming thick and fast, the ei team helped us to adapt and change to emerge at our strongest." Gary Gwynne - BW Group


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UK Life Sciences Security Everywhere

launches new Website A new look at cybersecurity for all business owners.

Security Everywhere, the cybersecurity experts for small and medium businesses, is thrilled to announce the launch of its new website Everyone is at risk of being hacked, or accidently downloading malware or ransomware onto their devices. From the individual home-user to a multi-national corporation it is an inevitable part of running a business in the modern world. However, all is not lost as the team at Security Everywhere, brought to you by the experts at Westtek, the Apsleybased IT security company, is determined to protect you and your devices from cybercrime. Their mission is to educate business owners and provide them with the tools and knowledge to keep their data safe. Following a recent training session, one of the participants said: “Security Everywhere gave a very informative and engaging webinar on the importance of Cyber Security. Such an eye opener to see how easy it can be to be hacked but more importantly how easy it is to prevent if the right procedures are put in place.” With the re-launch of the website ( Security Everywhere are ready to go, and eager to take their place in the fight against cybercrime. With a team of more than 100 staff over four locations Security Everywhere are your friendly local cyber security company, ensuring you and your business data is protected – everywhere and every day. “The new website is much more targeted to meeting the needs of the clients we speak to every day, especially those that have already been hacked and are looking to never be hacked again.” Francis West, CEO of Security Everywhere. Security Everywhere has invited visitors to explore the new website. “We regularly add blogs about the latest threats and also have a weekly newsletter with tips on how to protect yourself and your business from hackers and scammers.” said Francis West.



Opportunities in a Changed World

What an 18 months it has been! The pharma and life sciences sector has come into its own and led society out of the pandemic. Names such as AstraZeneca have become household discussions. Collaborations have come to the fore - Oxford University teaming up with AstraZeneca meant their vaccine could be further developed, manufactured and supplied at scale. Innovation has been a game changer. The time taken from inception to mass roll-out for a new medicine would normally be at least 10 years, but the vaccines achieved that in under one year. The regulators, led by the UK’s MHRA, have also worked in innovative ways to approve medicines much quicker than normal, while not compromising on assessing safety and efficacy. Real word data from the NHS discovered that the steroid dexamethasone could be re-purposed for use with COVID-19 patients, saving over one million lives worldwide. The UK has led with rapid genetic sequencing of new variants. The pandemic response has accelerated innovation that was already taking place. The pharma industry and regulators

wanted faster development, approval and roll-out of life-changing medicines, and there were important collaborations before, as well as use of real-world data and genomics. The emergency of the pandemic has been a catalyst. The UK Government continues to see life sciences as a key industry and has an innovation agenda. The UK also continues to benefit from its unique position in having leading academic institutions, big pharma and the ability to tap into NHS patient data. The pandemic response has shown the UK to be such an exciting place for life sciences. So, what next? Will the huge strides be translated into other disease areas such as cardio-vascular, cancer, Alzheimer’s, rare diseases and the growing threat of anti-microbial resistance that could see tens of millions of people die following routine surgery by 2050 unless new anti-biotics are discovered? Will there be the same drive without an immediate global emergency?

PING (Pharmaceutical Industry Network Group), the VWV law firm’s not-for-profit initiative, will be examining these issues with leading speakers from the Department of Health, MHRA, Government, NHS England, Pfizer, GSK, Oxford University and others at a Conference in November. Paul Gershlick is a Partner and Head of Pharma & Life Sciences at national law firm VWV. Paul can be contacted at

KGK Genix achieve Carbon Neutral status By partnering with carbon offsetting experts, Carbon Footprint

London, Hertfordshire, Essex: On 8th July 2021, KGK Genix received a certificate from Carbon Footprint, to announce they have achieved carbon neutral status. Working with carbon emission offsetting specialist, Carbon Footprint, KGK Genix have been assessed from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021 and as a result planted 138 trees to offset 138 tons of CO2e emissions generated from building energy,

company cars, van travel, commuting, public transport and homeworking. KGK Genix have also made significant changes in their office and machinery areas by changing lights to LED panels along with using LED curing, water-based inks in their print processes, upgrading company cars to complete electric models and reducing movements between premises. They have also researched and developed a complete range of sustainable material alternatives to those traditionally used to help and advise clients to making more environmentally friendly choices. “We’re really proud to have been granted carbon neutral status, it

means a lot to the business, the team and of course our clients.” says Graham Pitts, Operations Director at KGK Genix. “We will continue to make changes to our business and processes to be more sustainable, just like our overall aim to have a number of ‘green’ alternatives for every single material that we currently offer. We really feel that by achieving carbon neutral status we have taken another important step towards a much greener future for our industry.” The company will not stop here and promises to strive for a more sustainable future and continue to invest in new technology and processes to support this.

About KGK Genix: KGK Genix is a multidisciplinary agency providing creative, print, project management and installation solutions for some of the world’s biggest brands and retailers. KGK Genix group is the result of a merger between two well-established companies within our sector: KGK and Genix. The group employs over 90 people, based at four sites in Central London, Hertfordshire, and Essex.


Are you ready

It’s triple gold for

for your staff to return to the office?

JPA Workspaces

Hertfordshire company JPA Workspaces is celebrating three wins in less than a fortnight. At the National SME Business Awards, the company won two gold awards: The Green Award and Best Enterprising Business. The SME Awards came hot on the heels of a win for JPA’s Head of Sustainability Fiona Edwards at the National Business Women’s Awards last week. She was announced as the gold winner of the Social Impact Award. The two Green awards are especially important to Fiona. Under her leadership, JPA has developed a circular economy business model that limits the company’s environmental impact at the same time as helping local charities and community organisations. The award-winning company only provides sustainably-sourced furniture and works hard to ensure that everything being replaced is reused, repurposed or recycled so nothing is sent to landfill.

On 19 July, we bid farewell to UK’s current lockdown measures. We are no longer limited to the rule of 6, nightclubs are open, and table service is no longer necessary in pubs and restaurants. JPA is certified carbon neutral but is committed to becoming Net Zero by 2030. JPA’s Chief Operating Officer Richard Cooksey is thrilled with the success: “This is such a good news story for JPA. We have a wonderful team and we’ll definitely be celebrating - it’s a marvellous achievement.” After two black tie events in just over a week, Fiona was understandably pleased. “I’m simply delighted for our entire team who have worked so hard over the last 15 months. It’s been quite a week for us at JPA and there’s going to be a real spring in our step for the next few weeks - well done team JPA!”

How smaller retailers can avoid spending more than they have to The outlook is tough; however, here is one simple step to control your outgoings

We have all heard about how the high street is under immense pressure, with smaller retailers taking the brunt of the impact of challenging trading conditions. The shift to online shopping, rising costs and the reduction of footfall in town and city centres have already heavily impacted the retail sector, and that was before the monumental impact of the pandemic which accelerated these challenges. Small and medium sized shops and independent retailers are particularly feeling the brunt of these pressures, as they tend to have fewer resources and rely more heavily on regular cash flow. And the light at the end of the tunnel may be some way off for a lot of retailers, as they struggle to reopen amidst complex restrictions.

The short-term outlook is looking tough; however, there are ways in which all business can start to take control of their finances. Running a retail business is challenging. Here is something which can help Many businesses are looking for ways to save money and maintain a healthier bottom line. The good news is that getting a smart meter for your business is a small change that could make a big difference. A smart meter can support businesses to take control of their energy bills as they enable accurate, not estimated billing – helping to take the stress out of budgeting. Owning or running a small retail business is hugely exciting, challenging – and busy, and we are all looking for ways to work smarter not harder. Smart meters

send your gas and electricity readings directly to your energy supplier, so you do not have to! Manage your environmental footprint It is also important to bear in mind that it is everyone’s responsibility to become more conscious of their environmental impact. Regardless of the size of your team, we all should be aware of how much energy we are using and a smart meter is a simple way of doing this. A smart meter is a positive step in taking control of business outgoings and if your firm has 10 employees or less your business could be eligible. To find out more please click here You can also contact your energy supplier or broker. It could be one of the best calls you make this week.

n Bal Dhesi Head of Human Resources at Wilder Coe Chartered Accountants

---------------------------------------------------------------------The legal obligation for home-working also ended for people in England. So, what is next for those who have spent the last 15 months remote working? For employers who are planning their staff’s return to the workplace; here are my considerations: • Give confidence to your staff that your workplace is COVID-safe. • Remember staff may feel anxious about returning to the office. Encourage staff to talk to their managers or a trusted colleague about their concerns. • COVID-secure guidelines will be simplified, but do not forget your obligations relating to providing a safe workplace. Have you reviewed your health and safety procedures? Will hot-desking return and, what will happen to your one-way systems? • If staff are reluctant to return to the office, work together to identify concerns and practical solutions. • Now is the perfect time to review all your working practices, from hybrid to flexible working. Provide clear guidance on how these measures will work moving forward. It has been 15 months of uncertainty, and wow, what a rollercoaster it has been! So, as an employer, continue to play your part, listen to your staff, and provide clear guidance with your expectations and next steps. If you need advice, then give me a call today.

01438 758100




Welcome to new members

u Amped AV Ltd

Audio-Visual-Networking-Security Twitter: AmpedAVLtd Email: Web: Tel: 07411 564358 Address: 29 Gateshead Road Borehamwood Hertfordshire WD6 4NH


Better Business Communications - Broad Band / Internet | Office Cloud Telephones | Mobile Phones Free Coms Test - Get Latest Tech - Lowest Monthly Costs Email: Web: Tel: 01992 804998 Address: 141A Hertingfordbury Road Hertford Hertfordshire SG14 1NL

u Chuffed Productions

Marketing and Training Videos for Brands and Business Email: Web: Tel: 01442 601 709 Address: 2nd Floor, Aldbury House Dower Mews High Street Berkhamsted Hertfordshire HP4 2BL

u Complete Tenders Ltd

Enabling Hertfordshire SMEs that have the appetite to compete with the big corporations to go out there and beat them. Twitter: CompleteTenders Email: Web: Tel: 01707 244713 Address: Great North Business Centre 82 Great North Road Hatfield Hertfordshire AL9 5BL

u Co-Space Group Limited

Provider of flexible workspace with a centre opening in Stevenage in Sept 21 Twitter: WeAreCoSpaceUK Email: Web: Tel: 020 8066 1761 Address: 3 Liskeard Gardens London SE3 0PE

u DM & CO

Property Lettings, Management and Sales. Will Writers, Probate Services and Inheritance Tax Planning Twitter: DMandCo1 Email: Web: Tel: 020 8864 5775 Address: 170 Greenford Road Harrow London HA1 3QX

u Ecoserv

Commercial Cleaning Twitter: EcoservGroup Email: Web: Tel: 0800 6126756 Address: Stables 3 Howbery Park Benson Lane Wallingford Oxfordshire OX10 8BA



u Exelient Ltd trading as Tutor Doctor West Hertfordshire

Provide professional in-home & in-school personalised, flexible & local tuition provider in Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Harpenden & neighbouring areas Web:

u face2faceHR

Human Resource Consultancy Twitter: SabihaLaboniHR Email: Web: luton/ Tel: 07918 131308 Address: 4 Laurel Close Luton Bedfordshire LU4 9FB

u Fortuna Group (London)

Manufacturer & Distributor of health and beauty products Twitter: FortunaTweets Email: Web: Tel: 020 8805 7805 Address: 3 Northgate Business Park Crown Road Enfield London EN1 1TG

u Gain Momentum Marketing

Help people move their brand, business and people forward, specialising in employee engagement, internal comms and people wellbeing Email: Web: Tel: 07841 054167 Address: 14 Star Holme Court Star Street Ware SG12 7EA

u GAMA Healthcare

Infection Prevention products and training Twitter: GamaHealthcare Email: Web: Tel: 020 7993 0030 Address: The Maylands Building Maylands Avenue Hemel Hempstead Industrial Estate Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire HP2 7TG

u JBC Skills Training Ltd

A respected Nationwide provider of Government Apprenticeships and Training in IT & Digital Twitter: jbctraining Email: Web: Tel: 024 7671 5143 Address: Stoneleigh House 66-70 Earlsdon Street Earlsdon Coventry Warwickshire CV5 6EJ

u Rapid Business Finance

We provide financial support to any business in any industry and cover all aspects of commercial business finance Email: Web: Tel: 020 8064 0355 Address: 1st Floor, The Dovecote Business Park Pury Road Towcester Northamptonshire NN12 7LS

u Rollagranola Ltd

Manufacture of granola Twitter: rollagranola Email: Web: Tel: 01462 419400 Address: 49 Knowl Piece Whilbury Way Hertfordshire SG4 OTY

u Sarala Computers Ltd

We can help with anything from a small repair or upgrade, supply hardware, software, Office 365 Services etc Twitter: SaralaComputers Email: Web: Tel: 01376 316101 Address: Laxfield House 2 Church Street Coggeshall Essex CO6 1TU

u TaxAssist Accountants

Accountants Twitter: TaxAssistUK Email: Web: Tel: 01992 210460 Address: 23-27 Maidenhead Street Hertford Hertfordshire SG14 1SW

u Tollers LLP

Tollers are a full-service legal practice, providing legal services to Businesses and Private clients Twitter: TollersSols Email: Web: Tel: 01438 901095 Address: 6 Arlington Court Whittle Way Arlington Business Park Stevenage Hertfordshire SG1 2FS

u WinWell Ltd

WinWell uses the experiences gained in mentoring and developing the holistic, wellbeing, personal development and transition needs of Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes to help businesses, teams and individuals embrace and create environments that enable people to thrive and perform in the workplace Email: Web: Tel: 07803 891568 Address: 8 The Rickyard Ashwell Hertfordshire SG7 5PR

University Campus St Albans (UCSA)


is a joint venture between the University of Hertfordshire and Oaklands College Focused on developing the skills that employers need for the future, UCSA has created innovative pathways for people with experience to gain academic recognition for this and accelerate their studies in quite unique ways. UCSA students work towards a University of Hertfordshire part-time honours degree delivered at both Oaklands College and the University; courses are offered in business, leadership and management, construction and engineering, and can be delivered as a levy funded degree apprenticeship or selffunded. Students are taught through day/block release and at the weekends. Our Mission is to help shape Higher Education by delivering flexible and affordable part time degree courses, enabling people to return to education and realise their potential. “UCSA broadens the Higher Education offering and is designed to allow students to build their degree in way to suit their lives, giving them more flexibility and

choice. It is the solution for those who don’t have the time to devote to full-time study or feel they missed out early in life.” Quintin McKellar Vice-Chancellor, University of Hertfordshire. “I’m delighted to be at the helm of such a great organisation who works in partnership with local employers allowing them to maximise their levy spend. UCSA offers fantastic courses which are developed with extensive employer feedback about what it is needed to upskill the local workforce. We have an amazing team of lecturers who are not only great educators but are industry experts with their finger on the pulse when it comes to new innovation, bringing the degrees to life with their enthusiasm and their passion.”

One of our most popular part time degrees is CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT, a top-up Construction Management Degree Programme commencing at level 5 which provides a progression opportunity for students who have achieved a Higher National Certificate or equivalent qualification in a Construction related discipline and experienced managers or supervisors without formal qualifications at this level. Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the programme is delivered one day a week and includes: • The Construction Environment • Leading and Managing People • Sustainability for Construction • Team Project • The Legal Context and Construction Contract Law • Construction and Commercial Management Practice • Construction Project Management • Modern Methods of Construction • Building Information Management • Construction Technology and Innovation • Professional Development Portfolio • Professional Inquiry Project

For further details about this degree or any of the others in the UCSA portfolio please email, call 01727 737403 or visit our website

Celeste Jones, Executive Director of UCSA INSPIRE



SMEs are core foundation of Hertfordshire’s strategy to build back from COVID-19

Hillier Hopkins’ Ruth Corkin appointed to the Board of the International VAT Association

Ruth Corkin, VAT and Indirect Tax Principal at accountants Hillier Hopkins has been appointed to a steering committee of the International VAT Association (IVA) in her capacity as the representative for the UK VAT Practitioners Group to represent the views and concerns of small and medium sized businesses in the UK. Her appointment will also serve to ensure that these businesses are kept up to date with developments in the EU that may affect them. The IVA is the world’s leading expert body on VAT and turnover taxes representing businesses of all sizes and their advisers. The body has members from across 40 countries and provides a forum for discussion and the sharing of ideas between business, government and national tax administrations including HMRC. Ruth Corkin is one the UK’s foremost VAT and duties specialists. She has been an adviser to the government sitting on its Alternative Arrangements for Northern Ireland Committee and acts a champion for SMEs in accessing HMRC’s systems in order for them to be able to prepare customs declarations. In January 2021, Hillier Hopkins was named as just one of four English accountancy firms listed by HMRC as accredited customs agents – the others being global giants PwC, Deloitte and EY. Ruth Corkin, VAT and Indirect Tax Principal, Hillier Hopkins said: “Hillier Hopkins has a large client base of entrepreneurs leading successful small and medium sized businesses. VAT is a complex tax made more so by Brexit. It is important that the voice of UK business is heard on the international stage, and I am delighted to be appointed to IVA Board.” The appointment was made on 28 June 2021 and follows joining HMRC’s Land and Property Liaison Group earlier that month as one of two representatives of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.



The ‘Hertfordshire Enterprise and Innovation Strategy 2021-2025’ sets out ambitions for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on the county’s strengths and focusing on small businesses which overwhelmingly make up the economy, the strategy proposes initiatives under five key pillars with sustainability at its core. Small businesses are at the heart of a sharpened vision to drive enterprise, innovation and economic growth in Hertfordshire post-COVID-19 and beyond. Led by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the ‘Hertfordshire Enterprise and Innovation Strategy 2021-2025’ launches a roadmap for recovery from the pandemic and features practical measures to support businesses. Hertfordshire is a dynamic knowledge economy with an impressive range of global companies attracted by the area’s skills, location and quality of life. Yet the economy consists primarily of micro businesses and SMEs, with 61 active businesses for every 1,000 working-age residents – above the England average of 47. It is these businesses that will be supported to scale up and increase productivity through the strategy’s initiatives.

KEY THEMES With societal, economic and environmental concerns influencing the pace of change, the key delivery themes of strategy include: u Enhancing the gateway to business support u Supporting entrepreneurs u Ensuring space is available for enterprise u Driving catalytic sectors u Skills availability Nitin Dahad, Chair of Hertfordshire LEP’s Enterprise & Innovation Board and LEP SME Champion, said: “This strategy reflects and addresses the emerging challenges from COVID-19 and the need to help Hertfordshire ‘Build Back Better’. We want to strengthen and simplify the business support offer, and the importance of digitisation and technology in driving growth is reflected in our strategy. “The development of local innovation ecosystems is a key policy objective and to make up for lost economic capacity over the past 12 months we need to intensify start-up provision and continue to focus on the scale-up of our innovative, high-growth SMEs. “As an entrepreneur and business leader, I know inspirational leadership goes hand in hand with business success. If SME owner-managers are to become effective leaders of transformational change we need to invest in skills development. By building in future resilience into the very DNA of our SMEs through targeted resources, we can achieve our goal of higher levels of commercial success and prosperity.”

PRACTICAL MEASURES The LEP will look to improve the coordination and delivery of business support in the county and help SMEs secure access to markets, finance and skills more easily. Entrepreneurs from all sections of society will be helped to exploit opportunities through the adoption and take up of digital technologies and through best practice management programmes focused on businesses with scale-up potential. Selling abroad will be promoted through the Department for International Trade’s Export Academy and the LEP aims to establish a pilot “angel network” of private investors. More flexible co-working space will be created, potentially through short-term use of vacant units in high streets. To address skills gaps, young people will be educated on enterprise concepts, with entrepreneurial opportunities highlighted on the Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal. The county’s most productive and innovative sectors will be supported to expand. These include: u Advanced Manufacturing, drawing on the success of companies including Airbus and Smiths Detection. u Cultural and creative, particularly film, with Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and the BBC based in Elstree. u Life Sciences: a Government-designated Opportunity Zone taking in Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, GlaxoSmithKline, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Centre. u Construction including BRE research, Willmott Dixon, Vinci, Skanska, and VolkerFitzpatrick. The Enterprise and Innovation Strategy has been published following stakeholder consultation and is one in a suite of strategic statements being developed by the LEP to guide Hertfordshire beyond Brexit and the pandemic into the 2030s.

Find out more about our investments to date at


Rothamsted Businesswoman Nicole Sadd wins National Business Leader Award

On July 22nd 2021, the National Business Women’s Awards 2020/21 event was held at the Hilton Hotel in Wembley, and saw business women from across the UK come together to support and celebrate each other’s achievements in this annual awards ceremony. There are 20 categories in total in these national awards and Hertfordshire-based Rothamsted Enterprises CEO, Nicole Sadd, was named as a finalist in two: ‘Corporate Leader of the Year’ and ‘Business Woman of the Year (Small Business - £1m-10m turnover)’.

This category is open to women in business who demonstrate being a proven leader in their organisation and brand category. Nominees demonstrate outstanding leadership, and a track record of building sales and profitability whilst energising and inspiring the people who report to them.

Nicole faced some serious competition from a number of women business leaders and was delighted to be named as the winner in the Corporate Leader of the Year category.

Nicole commented: “It’s taken a while to sink in. It was totally unexpected! I was up against some serious competition and I am absolutely delighted to have been named as winner in the

Corporate Leader of the Year category. This achievement is great news, both for myself and my great team and I am proud to represent Rothamsted and women in business generally. The pandemic has been a hugely challenging time for us all and leading Rothamsted Enterprises - a hospitality business and innovation campus - during this time required huge focus, resilience and determination. It is a real honour to receive this award.”

Congratulations for Stevenage Briege Leahy, CEO of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Stevenage Development Board Member said: “We are delighted with the recent news that GSK has announced plans to invest up to £400 million and create up to 5,000 new highly-skilled jobs over the next ten years, growing one of Europe’s largest life science campuses based in Stevenage. Herts Chamber has been supporting GSK for over a decade as a Chamber member and are proud to have such a dynamic, successful pharmaceutical leader in the county who will be supporting the growth of one of Europe’s largest clusters for biotech and other life science companies. The partnership that will realise the vision for the new campus along with GSK includes fellow long-standing Chamber members Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and Stevenage Borough Council; as well as the UK Government. We look forward to continuing to support GSK together with the local community.” The vision for the new campus has been developed in partnership with Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

(SBC), the UK Government, Stevenage Borough Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and would build on the existing presence of GSK, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and the SBC on the site. Tony Wood, Senior Vice President, Medicinal Science & Technology, GSK said: “The past 18 months has shown the UK life sciences sector at its best and the UK has recently unveiled an ambitious 10-year vision for the UK life sciences sector. Our goal is for Stevenage to emerge as a top destination for medical and scientific research by the end of the decade. We are excited to find a development partner to realise our vision to foster the next generation of world-class scientists and biotechnology firms in Britain.” Dr Sally Ann Forsyth OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst said: “Stevenage is already a leading location for life science companies

to develop and commercialise cutting edge therapeutics. Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is home to over 40 companies, and GSK’s proposal presents exciting opportunities to build on this by supporting their growth, attracting new organisations to the ecosystem and facilitating further collaboration with world-class organisations. We look forward to working with GSK and other partners to further develop the thriving life sciences campus in Stevenage.” Initial estimates suggest the plan could ultimately deliver: • up to £400 million of investment in Stevenage from a private sector developer to build out the campus, over 5 to 10 years; and • depending on finalisation of proposals and planning consent, space for up to 5,000 full time, high-skilled jobs. Councillor Sharon Taylor OBE, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council said: “I am deeply proud that Stevenage is home to a world-leading life science cluster and welcome plans for

a new life sciences campus… We look forward to continuing our work with the life sciences sector to make Stevenage a leading light in the discovery and development of the medicines of the future.” Mark Bretton, Chair, Hertfordshire LEP and Chair, LEP Network, said: “Our investment in the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst has consolidated Stevenage’s position as a globally recognised hub for cell and gene therapy, attracting international companies with the potential to create thousands of high-level jobs. Hertfordshire LEP played a pivotal role in securing Stevenage’s Life Sciences Opportunity Zone and High Potential Opportunities recognition. This exciting new development will be a key component of our Cell & Gene Cluster Plan, ensuring continued growth and investment for the area.”




Begin your export journey and unlock your company’s international potential with Export Academy. This fully funded programme of exclusive content will guide you through the fundamentals of exporting, leaving you with an immediately implementable export action plan.

November is International Trade Month for Hertfordshire By John Woodruffe Head of International Trade and Policy

With lockdown easing, the pandemic hopefully beginning to calm and Ministers being positive about our recovery, we can begin to look at helping companies to both recover and expand, particularly in exporting. This we see as key to aiding economic recovery and ensuring Hertfordshire remains the vibrant county we all know it is. However, the BCC research, makes sobering reading with over a quarter of manufacturing exporters stating a decrease in sales and many do feel that the aftereffects of the withdrawal from the EU, including more red tape and EU companies believing things are more difficult now, are to blame. Though there is nothing we can directly do regarding changing the current rules, we can help in many other ways. In what will be a busy month, we are designating November as International Trade Month. The Department for International Trade (DIT) has developed the Export Academy, comprising of a series of 10 modules, along with some bonus workshops, to guide exporters towards developing and implementing an export action plan. The modules are all free and delivered via webinars. Topics include: • Research, • Movement of money, • Pricing strategy and • Understanding customs procedures



We have teamed up with DIT to promote the next series commencing 27 September.

Although it is recommended, if you can, to watch the modules live, if you are unable to do so a link can be provided to enable you to catch up at a later stage. The modules will finish in October. Once this series is complete, we will invite all the companies who participated to a roundtable discussion, via webinar, on 16 November. DIT representatives will be present along with one of their Export Champions, to discuss how we can further assist you in developing your exporting. In addition to the Academy modules, we are planning webinars with representatives from various Commonwealth countries to help promote the many trade opportunities that exist. These will be held over two days, 23 and 30 November, to cover the vast time zones. We will have speakers from many of the countries to give an overview of their current needs and how to go about exporting to them, followed by Q&A. We are really looking forward to presenting these events and hope to see as many of you as possible at them. Let’s get Herts exporting!

Why Export?

Global trade is growing and changing rapidly and UK businesses are superbly placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented. Evidence shows that businesses which export, experience higher growth, productivity and are more likely to innovate. Not only do companies who begin selling internationally increase their customer pool, they also become more economically resilient to market downturns.

About Export Academy

The Export Academy programme gives small and medium sized businesses the knowledge and expertise to export. Led by experts at the Department for International Trade and a range of external specialists, this course is has been tailored to help companies overcome common challenges that businesses may face when they first start to export. The programme is comprised of 8 core modules including: • Market Research • Export Procedures and Routes to Market • Pricing Strategy • Understanding International Commercial Terms • Understanding Custom Procedures, Tariffs and Export Controls • Movement of Money These core modules will be repeated across the programme, so if you are not able to make one session you will be able to join it later in the programme. There will also be bonus webinars on topics such as; Create a Commercial Invoice that works, Optimise your Social Media for International Reach, Raising Finance, Selling on Amazon Japan and so much more. Businesses that complete the 8 core modules will leave with a completed export action plan to take their business to international customers.

Who is the programme for?

Suitable for companies focused on either goods or services, this programme is an unmissable opportunity for companies who want to make exporting part of their business growth plan and pro-actively sell internationally. Whether you are new to exporting, have your first order from an international client or are new to an exporting role, this programme will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to begin your company’s journey into international markets. Dates Until 31st March 2022 Organised by The Department for International Trade in the East of England, West Midlands and East Midlands For more information contacts us T: +44 (0) 300 365 1000 E:

Register at ehome/index.php?eventid=200209668&

BCC Research: Nearly 3 in 4 Exporters Report No Sales Growth in Q2 • Proportion of UK exporters reporting increased export sales (27%) rises from Q1, but proportion reporting decreased sales (28%) remains historically high • Manufacturing exporters were more likely to see rising sales than exporting services firms • B2C services exporters more likely to see sales fall, but neither B2C nor B2B seeing significant sales growth • Respondents cited issues with UK-EU TCA as a major barrier to growing overseas sales

The British Chambers of Commerce’s Trade Confidence Outlook for Q2 has shown that exporters still face significant issues after a historically weak Q1. The survey of more than 2,800 UK exporters revealed that the percentage of firms reporting increased export sales had risen to 27%, a 7-point rise from the previous quarter. The percentage of businesses reporting decreased export sales fell to 28%, down from 41%, however this remains a historically high proportion. 45% reported no change in their export sales. The percentage balance data shows that the proportion of firms reporting increased export sales has recovered slightly, after taking a downward turn in Q1. The balance of manufacturers reporting increased overseas sales was up to +8% from -9%, while the balance of services firms reporting increases rose to -7% from -26%. See graph. Overall, 35% of manufacturing exporters surveyed reported increased overseas sales in Q2, with 27% reporting a decrease and 39% reporting no change.

Consumer-facing exporters more likely to report decreased export sales The breakdown of services between B2B and B2C exporters reveals that a considerably larger proportion of B2C exporters are seeing a fall in overseas sales - 38% of B2C exporters surveyed reported a decrease in export sales, in comparison to 21% of B2B firms. The proportion reporting increased sales though was similar between B2B and B2C, 23% and 22% respectively, for B2B this represents an 11-point fall from 34% reporting increased sales in Q1. While 55% of B2B firms reported sales staying constant in comparison to 40% of B2C businesses. It should be noted that these numbers come on the back of historically high proportions of both B2B and B2C firms reporting decreased sales in the previous quarter, 31% and 51% respectively.

Across a number of metrics, including domestic sales, confidence and expectation of workforce growth exporters were more likely than non-exporters to report rises. This ties with historical data showing exporters as more likely to display confidence as they push into new markets or develop new products. Given that the recovery in overseas sales continues to lag domestic sales by a significant margin, it can be seen that despite being dynamic businesses exporters are still struggling to grow sales in the face of the issues currently affecting trade. Respondents cited issues arising from Brexit as the main cause of difficulties with export sales in the quarter. Many pointed to ongoing issues with the TCA, increased red tape or costs and losing EU based clients or customers to the perception that trade was now simply too difficult or complex. Responding to the findings,  Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, William Bain said: “Six months into the new trading relationship, more than a quarter of goods exporting firms are experiencing continued falls in sales to EU customers. This is a historically high number. “Our exporters are among the best problem solvers and innovators in our economy, and yet our data demonstrates that they are still struggling mightily to resolve the issues that they currently face. “As the UK and EU economies open up, we urge both sides to address the key pressures upon exporters - the red tape around import VAT and the new portals, paperwork and checks for agri-food exports, consistency of approach on customs rules and checks, looming deadlines on CE-marked goods, and the restrictions on labour mobility and service provision. “It’s clear the TCA needs to be built upon and applied in ways which cut the current red tape costs and burdens on EU exports. We must solve these issues so that exports can become a driving force in our recover from the pandemic.”

Legal Property Experts

in association with Penman Sedgwick LLP Claire Miller – Partner, Head of Property

Commercial leases Subletting: key issues Subletting (also known as underletting) might be an option worth considering if you find you have more space than you need at the moment, with many staff still working remotely and ongoing challenges which are putting pressure on the bottom line. If your lease allows this (and note that the landlord’s prior written consent will almost certainly be required), the key issues to consider are: • Can you sublet part, so that you can stay in occupation of the reminder of your premises, or are you only able to sublet whole? • Check the restrictions in your lease carefully: you must not deviate from these (even in a side agreement) and you can expect these to control matters such as: - the level of rent that you can charge your subtenant - rent review provisions, including the review dates - service charge - dealings with the sublease (e.g. assignment, further subletting) - permitted use - exclusion of the subtenant’s rights of security of tenure - the form of the sublease itself

• Length of term: it is essential that the sublease will expire before your own lease expires otherwise it will take effect as an assignment of your lease (subject to certain exceptions), even if that is not what you intended • Costs: subletting can be expensive, as your landlord will require you to cover their professional costs (which may include managing agents’ costs and/or surveyors’ costs as well as legal costs), and the costs of any superior landlord and/or any mortgagees whose consent is also required. Added to your own legal costs, the bills can mount up… • Don’t forget to serve formal notice of the grant of the sublease on your landlord after completion and pay the notification fee due, as required by your lease • And…. make sure you keep all the original documents relating to the sublease safely for the whole of the sublease term: you will need them for tax purposes and/or if you have to take enforcement action

If you are looking for legal advice, we can help.

Problem Solved e: t: 01923 225212

5 George Street, Watford, Herts WD18 0SQ INSPIRE INSPIRE 53 53


Stevenage Borough Council sign on to support the

‘Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire’ Campaign

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce are delighted to announce that Stevenage Borough Council have signed on to support the ‘Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire’ campaign. The initiative was launched earlier this year, setting out a number of goals to highlight opportunities for Herts based businesses, and showcase that the county is open for enterprise and innovation. Stevenage Borough Council join the Hertfordshire Growth Board, who announced in May that they were to champion this campaign, evidencing the strength of collaboration between public and private sector leaders in support of this important initiative. Briege Leahy, Chief Executive of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce said:“Herts Chamber is delighted to have Stevenage Borough Council’s support with the Keep the Heart in Herts campaign.

We hope to keep helping our County to bounce back and invite those interested in supporting the campaign to get involved and spread the news that Hertfordshire is thriving.”

Chamber to further support both residents and businesses to grow and flourish. The campaign supports a number of key aims for the council in encouraging organisations to “buy local” and support local supply chains. We are keen for Stevenage businesses to access the wide number of commercial opportunities that are open to them to facilitate recovery and growth and make Stevenage Even Better.”

Cllr Lloyd Briscoe, Portfolio Holder for Enterprise, Economy and Transport at Stevenage Borough Council said: “Stevenage Borough Council is delighted in supporting Hertfordshire Chambers of Commerce’s ‘Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire’ campaign to support Stevenage and businesses across the county to recover and re-build, in what has been a challenging year for many. Enterprise and innovation is at the epicentre of Stevenage’s dynamic economy and great to see further investment from the

Another element of this campaign has been the launch of the ‘ConnectHerts’ community, a platform designed specifically to enable Chamber members to meet with other local companies online. This community allows Herts Chamber members to: make local connections, share best practice, facilitate introductions,find county-based contracts requiring suppliers, talent & services, and to promote local opportunities to help ensure that we ‘Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire’.

In the months since this campaign was launched, we have been shown incredible support and received some excellent case studies of our members #KeepingtheHeartinHertfordshire.

The Hertfordshire Growth Board is delighted to be supporting ‘Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire’, a campaign to showcase the very best of our county and support its economic recovery following an uncertain 18 months. Sustainable growth must be at the heart of all we do as we look to the future. Our priority is to meet the needs of Hertfordshire’s people; by supporting the development of high quality, low carbon housing, contributing to connected communities and protecting our precious natural environment, we can ensure the county remains a great place to live, work and learn. Our county is already recognised as a great place to do business, with a number of leading national and international businesses calling Hertfordshire home. To ensure this continues, it is vital we continue to attract investment to drive economic recovery and growth, and create job opportunities by showcasing Hertfordshire as the county of opportunity for all.

I am very pleased to support the ‘Let’s Keep the Heart in Hertfordshire’ campaign run by Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce. All local businesses have had to respond to changing guidance throughout the pandemic and have shown incredible resilience as they adapted their services to keep our communities safe. It is crucial that we all do our bit to support our local businesses to get back on their feet as we return to normality. Our high streets and local businesses are at the heart of our communities. This campaign will help to show the rest of the country the fantastic businesses and people that we have in our beautiful county. Gagan Mohindra MP

PPS for Department for Transport Member of Parliament for South West Hertfordshire

Richard Roberts,

Chair of Hertfordshire Growth Board and Leader of Hertfordshire County Council

#LetsKeeptheHeartinHertfordshire #KeeptheHeartinHerts 54



World class film studio to be built in Broxbourne Borough

A major new film studio is set to be built in the Borough of Broxbourne. Land to the west of Waltham Cross has been purchased by Blackstone real estate funds and Hudson Pacific Properties for a new centre for film, television and digital production. This will be the partners’ first expansion of their Sunset Studios platform outside of the United States. The 91 acre site, close to M25 junction 25, is allocated in the Borough’s approved Local Plan 2018 – 2033 as a strategic employment site. This development will be a significant investment to the area creating over 4,500 permanent jobs and many

more during its construction. It is expected to contribute more than £300million to the local economy annually. Councillor Lewis Cocking, Leader of Broxbourne Borough Council, said: “This represents a fantastic opportunity for the people of our

Borough. Creative Industries are of strategic importance to us and the creation of over 4,500 permanent new jobs and the associated boost to the local economy is just what we need following the pandemic. We look forward to working with

Blackstone and Hudson Pacific to help deliver significant positive change in Broxbourne.” Economic growth is one of the Council’s corporate priorities which is underpinned by its recently approved Economic Development Strategy.

Ecoserv Group is a multi-discipline facilities management (FM) company that provides cleaning, waste management and maintenance solutions to customers nationwide, across a diverse mix of industry sectors The company was rebranded from Ecocleen in August 2021 as part of its plans to diversify the business from a leading commercial contract cleaning provider and offer complementary facilities services. The recent rebrand represents a significant step forward in Ecoserv Group’s growth strategy, ensuring it is best placed to take advantage of opportunities within the FM marketplace. As a result, a number of strategic acquisitions and partnerships are being targeted in the coming months, alongside continued investment in the existing business. This follows the acquisition of Watfordbased The JPM Group in April, which enabled the company to expand its presence within both established and new sectors –

most notably the film industry – whilst continuing to grow its nationwide network. Ecoserv Group has been a growth company for a number of years, but it has been during the last 15 months that has truly demonstrated its commitment to expanding the size, scope, and profitability of the business. The company have taken significant strides throughout the pandemic to double its turnover by proactively pursuing organic growth and acquisitions. Furthermore, Ecoserv Group is expected to increase by more than 70% in 2021, with revenue

projected to reach £30 million. Ecoserv Group currently services more than 20 million sq. ft of office, retail, leisure, healthcare, education, and industrial space on behalf of a wide range of private and public sector organisations. In fact, the company is now partner of choice for over five hundred customers, handling FM contracts of all sizes on a local, regional, and national basis. As an eco-engaged business with a green heritage, Ecoserv Group is also committed to being sustainable in the communities it operates. This year, the company has introduced a roadmap that

locks the business into a range of environmental and social sustainability targets. The next steps are to determine its exact carbon footprint and validate any existing assessments. This will enable Ecoserv Group to set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART) emission reduction targets and develop an effective strategy to achieve them.




Chamber of Commerce

Secure, efficient global payments solutions for Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Members Has currency volatility affected your bottom line or made your financial planning more challenging? AFEX can help. We are a global foreign exchange specialist with a heritage dating back to 1979. We are a proud Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce member and honoured to help other Herts members manage their international transactions more efficiently and more strategically. With offices across the globe, we provide secure and efficient global payments services, and a portfolio of customisable hedging tools. Our solutions are supported by robust payments technologies including our online platform and suite of global payments APIs.

Benefits for Herts Chamber members: u Extensive payment capabilities accommodate high and low value payments u A dedicated team of global payment specialists offering market insight and experience in helping clients manage FX exposure u Risk management tools including spot, forward contracts and structured products, tailored to your goals u Competitive rates and reduced transaction fees for more than 100 currencies u Foreign exchange at your fingertips with our secure online treasury management platform, AFEXDirect: Secure Strategic Global • Real time exchange rates keep you up to date on market movement FCA• regulated Forward 22 offices in 11 Schedule and track payments withcontracts ease and FX structured countries, serving • Stay on top of funding balances: receive, hold, and send different currencies from a single AFEX account products 35,000 clients • Tiered permissions for your team keep you in control


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AFEX is a subsidiary of U.S.-based FLEETCOR TECHNOLOGIES, INC. (NYSE: FLT), a leading global business payments company with $2.4 billion (US) in annual revenue and a market capitalisation of more than $23 billion. AFEX is part of FLT’s Corpay group of companies, which unifies all of FLEETCOR’s corporate payment companies under a single brand. © 2021 Associated Foreign Exchange, Inc. All rights reserved. Services in the UK are provided by Associated Foreign Exchange Limited (which does business under the trade name of AFEX) or AFEX Markets Plc (collectively referred to as ‘AFEX’). Associated Foreign Exchange Limited (registered in England and Wales, Company Number 4848033, Registered Office Address: 4th Floor, 40 Strand, London WC2N 5RW) is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (Register Reference: 502593) for the provision of payment services and is registered as an MSB with HM Revenue & Customs (Registered No: 12159000). For more information, visit AFEX Markets Plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as an investment firm (firm reference number is 526034). Registered in England and Wales. Registered Office: 40 Strand, London, WC2N 5RW (registered no. 07061516). For more information, visit


© 2021 Associated Foreign Exchange, Inc. All rights reserved. INSPIRE Services in the UK are provided by Associated Foreign Exchange Limited (which does business under the trade name of AFEX) or AFEX Markets Plc (collectively referred to as ‘AFEX’).

DELIVERING NEW HOMES FOR LOCAL PEOPLE Hemel Hempstead based housing association West Herts Homes are delighted to announce the completion of their latest development of homes for local people. Paul Eastwood, Chief Executive at West Herts Homes, said: “The new apartments at Mary Pedlow Court mark the achievement of the first part of our 3-year business plan, which we hope will deliver much needed homes across the west Hertfordshire area.”

The new homes in London Colney comprise a 2-bedroom apartment for sale, and three 1-bedroomed apartments for rent. The new apartments are being named in honour of West Herts Homes past Chair of the Board and company President Mrs. Mary Pedlow.

Mr. Eastwood continued: “Building new homes, and delivering services all require team good team work. My thanks to Redloft and our builders NFC, for bringing this new development to fruition. My thanks also to our legal advisers, Perrin Myddleton, for their support throughout. With some new Board members in place, led by

our Chair, Deborah Fenton, we look forward to doing more and achieving more over the next 3 years. 2020 into 2021 has been a challenging time for all companies but through our committed staff team we have kept our services at a high level and kept our tenants safe, and we look forward a successful year ahead.”

All initial enquiries about lettings and sales to Helen Kenyon at West Herts Homes on 01442 244484 or

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Ask your distributor for stock listing enquiries or contact EziDrops The past sixteen months have been difficult for all of us. The impact of COVID-19 has tested relationships to extremes and, both physical and mental health and well-being has been precarious for us all. We live in an uncertain world and this obnoxious virus has also denied those with no voice the help they are normally given. Working in animal welfare has caused exceptional anxiety and stress to volunteers not being able or allowed to help when it is so desperately needed.

Cats don’t ask for a lot but, unconditionally, give a lot -

Can you help?



Our income has decreased substantially, routine veterinary treatment such as neutering was put on hold by the BVA and DEFRA, many dogs and cats lost their owners and homes, all increasing the population of strays. Here at our Branch of Cats Protection, our main income streams suffered as our shop was closed for many months and normal fundraising events cancelled. We were not allowed to rehome cats in our care and

unable to help the many stray cats needing us. Last July, Cats Protection gave permission for ‘hands free homing’ which enabled us to rehome our kittens before they grew into cats, this was such a good experience! Our other foster cats also started to get enquiries and quickly found loving new homes. We were also allowed to start taking cats in if these were in danger or suffering. Due to the pandemic, we have lost some £35000, hopefully some of this money can be recouped, although not at the expense of the help cats in care need. Our shop is now open, and we are slowly getting back into fundraising at various events. We would like to thank all the kind people who made donations during this difficult time.

This helped in getting Mole’s broken leg mended, provided for Poppy’s hip operation, ensured Sylvester had his excessive wounds treated and enabled us to part pay for neutering for 198 owned cats so far this year, whilst continuing to provide excellent care for all our resident felines. If you can help in anyway either by donating a modest or not so modest amount, goods which are end of line or superfluous to requirement, we would be delighted. You can also donate online, sponsor a cat or cat cabine. Cats don’t ask for a lot but, unconditionally, give a lot, they have greatly helped people to smile during all these difficult times, let’s all say Thank You now.

To make a donation go to and click the button in the top right-hand corner For more information contact 01438 228877 Facebook Cats Protection North Herts Donations for our shop call 01462 432592

At CAE Technology Services we are a big believer in Keeping the Heart in Hertfordshire We turn 30 next year and our base has always been and will continue to be - Hertfordshire. CAE started out in a small room that overheated in summer and was freezing cold in winter. Over the years we’ve grown to become an infrastructure solutions provider, with customers ranging from local organisations through to some of the most recognisable brands in the UK and globally. As with all growing businesses we’ve opened new locations and moved offices multiple times. The past five years has witnessed a period of accelerated growth for CAE and we’ve now outgrown our existing HQ office space, so decided to invest in a new HQ building, back in Hemel Hempstead where it all started. CAE isn’t like most businesses, for us it isn’t just about profit. From the early days we were passionate about the importance of our employees to our business and we constantly strive to do our best for them. We often refer to the CAE Family - it was a key reason why we haven’t left Hertfordshire as many of our family are here, to move elsewhere would be a real upheaval for them. Our number one priority is to invest in our family and our culture. We believe this enables us to provide a higher-level experience to our customers, who are at our heart. Our goal is to build authentic, long-term partnerships by delivering on the outcomes that add maximum value and benefit to them.

u Artists impression of CAE’s new HQ

Hertfordshire is where our Heart is. We plan to remain here for the next 30 years and beyond and as we continue our journey, our goal to support and engage our local community and businesses grows stronger.

We believe in customer intimacy and know that our relationship and knowledge base builds over time. Combining this with a talented, committed, personalised service maximises the success of the technology adopted. We also focus on being flexible and agile for our customers despite our increasing size. Our operations and innovative service led approach help support our customers to win.

Sustainability is very important to CAE. We have a taskforce within the business that is constantly challenging us to do better. The choices we have made as we build our new HQ have been heavily governed by our desire to minimize our energy consumption. We were determined that as well as powering our HQ with renewable energy sources, we wanted to change our energy consumption right across the organisation. We haven’t stopped there because we are now signatories of the UK Tech Zero taskforce, a group of innovative UK tech companies taking bold action to fight the climate crisis, accelerating progress to carbon net zero and using tech to help consumers live more sustainably. We plan to be net zero by 2030, if not sooner. Another area that we are passionate about is the issue of digital exclusion. We believe it should be a basic human right for everyone to be able to access the internet. Digital exclusions are happening in the UK today with people generally being excluded due to lack of access, not having the right device or a lack of knowledge. We’ve taken a number of steps to try and help address the issue, including the creation of a charitable foundation into which a proportion of our profit is contributed.

Hertfordshire is where our Heart is. We plan to remain here for the next 30 years and beyond and as we continue our journey, our goal to support and engage our local community and businesses grows stronger.

Our role as a trusted advisor allows us to anticipate and guide our customers on their journey towards their future goals. We offer access to specialist resource that can respond to specific needs faster and more efficiently, provide ongoing advice, support and encouragement, working closely together through the most complex transformations. As a customer centric organisation, we enable our customers to achieve their priority purposes and amplify their successes. We call this delivering the Customer Why. As previously mentioned CAE isn’t focused just on profit, as a business we feel we have a responsibility to society – we don’t just talk (or write) about it, we believe in taking action.



The Magistrates Support Scheme

The Magistrates Support Scheme (MS2) encourages employers to support sustainable engagement of volunteering to the Magistracy and inspires others to do the same. The scheme encompasses Bronze, Silver and Gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to the Magistracy community.

Nominated employers recognise that young people may often be at an economic disadvantage when actively participating in this important community role and they pledge to encourage and facilitate their participation.

BRONZE AWARD Bronze award holders: • are self nominated by employers who pledge to support existing or prospective employees who are members of the Magistrates community. • provide an opportunity at least once every 2 years for employees to receive awareness training on the role of the Magistrates. • receive an electronic certificate and logo to display on their website, stationery and other collateral.

SILVER AWARD Silver award holders:

• must have already stated their intent to be supportive by registering at the Silver level and continuing to meet the requirement of the Silver level.

• should employ at least one individual appointed as a current practicing Magistrate.

• should employ at least one individual or 0.5% of the workforce, whichever is the higher, appointed as current practicing Magistrate(s).

• must actively ensure that their workforce is aware of their positive policies towards Magistrate Volunteering. • must demonstrate support to Magistrate volunteering by providing at least 5 days’ additional paid leave.

Employers can sign up themselves for each award. Silver and Gold nominations will be validated to determine the level of Magistrate appointments within the nominated organisation. Organisations confirmed for the Gold and Silver awards will be formally notified in writing and invited to a relevant award event. INSPIRE

Gold award holders:

• must have already stated their intent to be supportive by registering at the Bronze level and continuing to meet the requirement of the Bronze level.

Nomination and award process



• must demonstrate support to Magistrate Volunteering by providing at least 10 days’ additional paid leave.

I am delighted to bring this Magistrates Support Scheme initiative to Hertfordshire in collaboration with the Herts Chamber of Commerce, now the first signed up member! This voluntary scheme will transform how business is seen by the community in this crucial area of law and order. Lionel C. Wallace DL The High Sheriff of Hertfordshire


Unprecedented challenges facing the

construction industry? Like all sectors, the construction industry has faced severe challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some of the knock-on effects predicted to continue in the coming months as the country recovers. The Construction Leadership Council reported this month that a shortage of products and labour is having a significant impact on the industry’s supply chain, which in turn has led to escalating prices and longer lead times for deliveries. This, coupled with a growing demand for building products over the course of the last year, has left construction firms facing mounting pressures. We take a closer look at some of these pressures – and why there’s cause for hope despite some of the headlines.

Product shortages and escalating costs Earlier this month, the Construction Leadership Council reported that global demand continues to outstrip supply, with products used in housebuilding and home improvement among those most affected. The group also reported that prices for products and materials have increased by 10 to 15%, with timber products increasing by 20 to 50%.

Labour shortage With predictions that construction will need more than 200,000 new workers by 2025, the immediate challenge is a labour shortage. There have been reports of vacancies being hard to fill, from unskilled roles to more experienced positions.

Crucially, the logistics sector is also under pressure, with hauliers, HGV and LGV drivers in short supply, and recruitment issues adding to the problem. The Road Haulage Association says that a shortage of 60,000 lorry drivers has been exacerbated by 15,000 European drivers leaving the country and 30,000 HGV driving tests cancelled due to lockdown. There have also been concerns raised about a skills shortage as not enough young people are entering the construction industry to replace an aging workforce. It is something the Construction Industry Training Board is focussing on, saying it is working more closely with government and further education (FE) institutions to build closer ties between employers and FE, and make apprenticeships more flexible.

Self-isolation In the short term, building projects are being hampered by the high number of workers being required to self-isolate under the NHS Test and Trace programme.

Rising to the challenge While there are undoubtably significant challenges facing the construction industry, there is cause for optimism. Figures from the Construction Skills Network show construction has bounced back quicker than expected from the Covid-19 pandemic, and by 2022, the industry will be back to 2019 levels of output. Meanwhile, Builders’ Conference reports that both the number and value of contracts awarded in June exceeded the monthly average for the last year. With problem solving at the heart of much of LW Developments’ work, the company has taken the same positive, forward-thinking approach to the challenges thrown up by the pandemic. Director Dean Williamson said: “The issues facing the building industry won’t be solved overnight but, in the meantime, we have continued to build at pace through careful planning, early ordering of materials and by having a dedicated, passionate workforce determined to exceed clients’ expectations.


“We know how important it is to keep lines of communication open and ensure clients are up-to-date with any developments or hurdles that may arise as a result of the problems being experienced nationally. We have found that our clients have complete faith in us when it comes to overcoming these challenges and finding solutions.

Migrant workers returning home has already had an impact on labour, while there have been predictions that the end to free movement could drive up the cost of labour by up to 10%.

“Not only this, but we have also used this opportunity to review our practices and embrace new ways of working to ensure efficiency and excellent customer care.”

The Construction Leadership Council has called on the government to bring forward the date on which those who have been doublejabbed can continue working even after being notified that they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19.

Get in touch

For further guidance on freehold land or property get in touch with LW Developments email INSPIRE



The Last Word

Q What do you do?

I’m the founder and CEO of IntelliQA, an award-winning consultancy that focuses on improving IT delivery for retailers using advanced test automation and robotics.

Q Who do you work for?

I established IntelliQA in 2011. We excel at removing IT delivery bottlenecks using advanced technology developed by ourselves and our partners. For example, we have overcome point of sale test bottlenecks for leading retailers using advanced test automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). Essentially, we’re a niche company that operates in a niche market. We are a small company that works with leading enterprises.

Q Why did you join the Chamber?

Paul Kaye

CEO and founder of IntelliQA

Being a Chamber member has given us an insight into the challenges that other companies are facing and how they’re navigating them. Patrons



We joined the Chamber at the start of the pandemic because we wanted to get to know local businesses better.

Q What do you get from it?

We’ve benefited in several ways. The Chamber opened doors which allowed us to meet several retailers including one of the biggest in the country. We’ve also forged a link with the university and have now moved into one of their buildings. This connection will help us to embed cutting-edge research within our business and give us access to bright graduates who are coming through the ranks. Being a Chamber member has also given us an insight into the challenges that other companies are facing and how they’re navigating them.

Q How has it helped your network?

It has enabled us to grow our network and make connections that ordinarily we might not have made. I suppose it’s like having a Yellow Pages; the Chamber points us in the direction of various businesses that specialise in different areas.

Q What advice would you

give someone starting out in business?

Do your research to ensure that the market is there, then make sure you have a unique selling point that differentiates you from the competition. Innovation is essential to provide a competitive edge. That’s what we’ve done and it has enabled us to grow the business.

Q What’s the biggest

challenge in running and growing a business?

Probably the level of effort that it takes to get a business off the ground. If you want to start a business, you have to be prepared to put in the hard work.

Q What support do you

want from government?

We’ve had research grants from the UK government, which has been useful for us. I’d like to see a strong national technology strategy that supports innovative tech firms and facilitates their growth.

Q How confident are you that your business will grow in the future?

I’m very confident. Our customer base is growing and we’re changing the way retailers think and act. Our turnover is in the low millions, I believe that figure will rise in the future. We’re continually searching for more innovative ways to deliver solutions into other countries. With travel restricted in the pandemic, we’ve focused on creating online training and video demonstrations so we can deliver solutions to customers in far-flung places.

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Inspire Hertfordshire September 2021  

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