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FOCUS ON LEWISHAM Lewisham is a great borough in which to start and build a business.

ECONOMY More support for cash-strapped businesses.

ENVIRONMENT Major investment in air quality monitoring in London.

BIG INTERVIEW Andrew Theoff of Direction Law.

The Road to Recovery Richard Burge CEO of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)

Law firms don’t solve problems, people do.

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London 020 8290 0440

West Wickham 020 8290 0440

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ELCC was proud to have HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as our Patron. At the time of his retirement from official duties, Buckingham Palace confirmed he wished to remain in this role. On behalf the Chamber I have written a letter of condolence to the Queen.

We are working closely with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry to whom we are Affiliated. LCCI is keen to start a new Chamber in Croydon and have asked us to bring this borough under our umbrella. This means we will represent business in the boroughs of Royal Greenwich, Lewisham, Bromley, Bexley and Croydon. We are working closely with Strategic Partner the University of Greenwich on new ways of delivering a more digital friendly chamber. The SELCC Property Group is holding its second webinar on Tuesday, 27 April 2-3pm. Book into this free event and learn about the future of the office from the experts. When you register for our future virtual events (pages 30 & 31) you will see we are holding a real Summer BBQ at The Clarendon Hotel on Thursday, 8 July. In the coming months, I hope to see you at our virtual events and at the lunchtime BBQ in the walled garden of The Clarendon – Blackheath Village.































We know SELCC’s future events will be hybrid – some virtual and others at our amazing venues.







Helen McIntosh FCIPR President





Editorial and General Enquiries South East London Chamber of Commerce Unit TW/145, Trinity Wharf, Harrington Way Warspite Road London SE18 5NR Tel: 020 8317 3365 Email: office@selondonchamber.org www.selondonchamber.org



South East London Chamber of Commerce

Publisher Ian Fletcher Benham Publishing Limited Aintree Building Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park Liverpool L9 5AQ Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Email: admin@benhampublishing.com Web: www.benhampublishing.com Published: April 2021 © Benham Publishing

Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: karen@benhampublishing.com Production Manager Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141 Email: mark@benhampublishing.com Media No. 1854 Disclaimer The Masthead is published for South East London Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members.

All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at South East London Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in The Masthead are not necessarily those of South East London 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 forthe 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.


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We can change that! Online Team Building for an Online World



International Women’s Day 2021 International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March every year around the world. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. It is a day dedicated to celebrating women and girls and all they have accomplished. The day also acts as a call to action to reach gender equality. Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, half of its potential. However despite many changes for the better, there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality of rights and opportunities for women and girls, both within the UK and throughout the world. From action to end the many forms of gender violence to securing appropriate childcare support; from fair access to education, health, training and employment to full participation in political life and to reaching positions of leadership and decision-making the agenda is large and challenging. The international IWD 2021 campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge

The theme highlights that: We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s and girls’ achievements. And together, we can all help create an inclusive world. In Lewisham Covid-19 restrictions prevented the usual public event on March 8th. Instead this year’s programme of activities – prepared by a cross-sector working group – took place on line. However this did not stopped an amazing and diverse range of contributions to inform, entertain, educate and inspire. Contributions included: • A short film of female Lewisham Council leaders, including the Lewisham Mayoresses, sharing experiences and challenges.

• Young Mayor Advisors’ selection of 5 women who changed the world. • A 10 minute history of IWD and today’s challenges. • Recordings of inspirational local businesswomen and community activists. • The premier of a lockdown film produced by the Broadway Blazers, Broadway Theatre’s very own pensioners drama group Plus lots of information, webinars, readings, demonstrations and a quiz on women who chose to challenge. The virtual programme has also been shared with Lewisham schools as an online learning resource. The programme of events and International Women’s Day features remains available to view on I Am Lewisham - www.iamlewisham.uk/ international-womens-day-2021.

£160M FOR GREEN PROJECTS to tackle climate emergency Pioneering energy efficiency programmes have helped to secure more than £160 million in government funding for the capital.

The projects will boost London’s Green New Deal mission, led by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London councils, which aims to sustain and create new green jobs whilst tackling the climate emergency. This sits alongside the investment the mayor is making to support action on the climate and ecological emergency through other City Hall programmes on housing, adult education, skills and transport. Almost £46 million has been secured for home retrofitting to upgrade London’s energy-inefficient homes, cut energy bills and reduce the local carbon footprint.

London has been successful in its bid for the government’s Local Authority Delivery scheme, which aims to raise the energy efficiency of low-income and low-energy performance homes. This will apply to all housing tenures, including owner-occupied and privately rented homes. Retrofit measures will include air source heat pumps, solid wall insulation, solar PV, flat roof insulation and more. Around £10 million of this fund will boost the £4.95 million Warmer Homes programme, which provides muchneeded home upgrades and advice to fuel-poor Londoners. London has the second highest rate of fuel poverty in

the country, with an estimated one in nine households in the capital unable to meet the cost of heating their homes. Sadiq Khan said: “I am delighted to have helped secure more than £160 million for projects that will create green jobs in London as part of our Green New Deal to help support our economic recovery from COVID and tackle inequalities faced in our city. “The funding will directly help those living in ageing, energy-inefficient homes, and also support Londoners with the skills they need for jobs in the green economy.”


Musicians hit by “unnecessary” red tape

The London Assembly has expressed concern about the burden of red tape facing musicians and other touring artists following UK’s departure from the EU. The assembly has written to the Mayor of London, claiming there is a “real worry” that artists from the UK and EU countries will need working visas to allow them to perform, which would lead to a costly administrative burden. The letter from the EU Exit Working Group highlights that the Free Trade Agreement does not include the required regulations for musicians and other artists to go freely between the UK and the EU when touring. With live music accounting for around one fifth of the £5.8 billion contributed to the UK’s economy by the music industry, and the importance of live events to London’s cultural offering, the assembly said there was an economic argument to allow musicians to travel freely between the two regions. Len Duvall OBE AM, chair of the EU Exit Working Group, said: “There has been a lot of criticism from high-profile artists in both the UK and Europe about the impact of Brexit on musicians. Concerts and other live events bring so much joy to people’s lives, something we have all been missing in one way or another since the start of the pandemic. The issue of working visas for big artists must be noted but the unnecessary red tape will take a massive toll on the less-known artists or those who are just starting out in their careers.” The letter raises several other concerns including the possible long-term impact of immigration rules on the health and care sector workforce, and the impact of the new immigration rules and supply chain issues on the construction industry. It also stresses the need for London to play to its strengths and ensure the city remains an attractive place for people to visit, live and do business, particularly for those in the financial sector.

Council backs hospitality sector with £3MILLION CASH BOOST Royal Borough of Greenwich Council is backing its hospitality businesses with a raft of grants ringfenced specifically for pubs, restaurants, bars, cafés and hotels in the borough. The Hospitality Recovery Grant offers grants of £10,000, £15,000 or £25,000 to companies whose core business is serving seated customers to eat and drink in their premises. This builds on the 500 businesses that the council has already helped across a range of sectors with £2.7million worth of additional grants administered on behalf of the government since last November. These have been helping closed businesses that didn’t qualify for other grant schemes or businesses that can remain open but have been adversely impacted by the national

restrictions. Across all grant schemes being managed by the council, 6,500 grant payments have already been made to businesses totalling more than £13.8 million. Cllr Danny Thorpe, leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “Pubs, restaurants and hotels are an integral part of the identity and economy of our borough. They bring life and a vibrancy to our local high streets and can make a place a must-visit destination as well as being major employers and helping to keep our economy afloat.

“When we have come so far, and are beginning to see things improve, now is not the time to stand by and let them wither. When we can meet each other again we’ll want to eat, drink and laugh in our favourite café, restaurant or pub – so we have to ensure they’ll still exist then.” The level of Hospitality Recovery Grant available is based on a company’s rateable value, which is determined by the rental value of their premises calculated by the Valuation Office Agency.


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more support for cash-strapped businesses South East London businesses are digesting the contents of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s latest budget.


s well as announcing new measures to help businesses through the coronavirus crisis and kick-start an economic recovery, he also unveiled a raft of tax-raising plans to repair the public finances. Among the headline business support measures was an extension of the furlough scheme until September, more financial grants for the self-employed, a £3,000 incentive for firms to take on an apprentice, and £5 billion in restart grants for hospitality and high street businesses forced to close due to the pandemic. There was also £1.65 billion to support the UK’s vaccination roll-out and £50 million to boost the UK’s vaccine testing capability, almost £400 million to help arts venues in England to re-open, and a business tax “super deduction” that will allow companies to reduce their tax bill by 130% of their investment costs. The 5% VAT rate for hospitality firms will be maintained until September, while a business rates holiday for firms in England will continue until June, with a 75% discount to be imposed after that. To help rebalance the public finances, the Chancellor announced a freezing of the taxfree personal allowance and a significant hike in the corporation tax rate. From April 2023, companies with profits of more than £250,000 will pay a new rate of 25% – up 6% on the current rate. Giving his reaction to the Chancellor’s budget, Dr Adam Marshall, the outgoing director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “There’s much to welcome in this budget for business

communities across the UK. The Chancellor has listened and acted on our calls for immediate support to help struggling businesses reach the finish line of this gruelling marathon and to begin their recovery. Extensions to furlough, business rates relief and VAT reductions give firms a fighting chance not only to restart, but also to rebuild. “We particularly welcome the massive ‘super deduction’ investment incentive that the Chancellor has put in place for the next two years. This responds directly to our call to encourage those businesses, that can, to invest and grow. “While no business will relish paying higher rates of corporation tax in future, the impact of the Chancellor’s tough decision is blunted by the big new incentives for investment, lower rates for the smallest firms, and the extension of coronavirus support measures in the short term. “This budget provides reassurance to businesses, provided that they are able to restart and rebuild according to the government’s road map. If firms face unexpected bumps in the road, the Chancellor must be prepared to take action until the economy is firing on all cylinders again.” Commenting on the super deduction investment incentive, Suren Thiru, head of economics at the BCC, said: “We are pleased that the Chancellor has listened to our call for bold incentives to encourage companies to invest. Super deduction will provide a major enticement for firms to invest and grow, helping to boost productivity and the wider economic recovery.”

❛❛We are pleased that the Chancellor has listened to our call for bold incentives to encourage companies to invest. Super deduction will provide a major enticement for firms to invest and grow, helping to boost productivity and the wider economic recovery.❜❜


Focus on Lewisham

Lewisham Council is here for its businesses Lewisham is a great borough in which to start and build a business.


e’re proud to have one of the highest numbers of small and micro businesses in the UK. However, we know running your own business is never easy and the last 12 months have been especially challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an economic crisis which has hit many of us hard, but it has also created opportunity. As a Council we’ve done our best to support local businesses in weathering the storm. Since the start of the pandemic we have distributed over £50 million in grants to more than 4,000 businesses. Many have done an incredible job at adapting their services and the way they operate, in order to continue serving their local communities although sadly some had no choice but to close. While the battle against coronavirus may be turning a corner, we know that conditions remain tough. As restrictions ease we are

❛❛Lewisham has a huge variety of fantastic independent shops, delivering that personal touch you would never get from a major retailer. Shop Safe Shop Local is all about promoting them to champion the incredible range of products and services available on our doorstep.



focussed on building Lewisham’s economy for the future and will continue to support local businesses, the lifeblood of our communities, so they bounce back. There is a range of financial support including Restart Grants and Additional Restrictions Grants. We are also running a range of free programmes to support businesses and upskill local entrepreneurs whatever stage their business is at including Start-ups in London Libraries, Stride, Goldsmiths’ NX Hub and CEZ’s Creative Business Knowledge Exchange. In addition, we are working with local businesses to create local jobs. Boosting the local workforce will be vital in helping the local economy recover and thrive. Our Kickstart and Apprenticeships schemes offer funding to businesses to provide work placements for local people.

Shop Safe Shop Local In line with the Government’s roadmap, non-essential businesses can reopen from 12th April and Lewisham Council is marking this milestone by launching Shop Safe Shop Local. The campaign focuses on promoting local businesses. Our high streets are at the

heart of our community and economy. We want to celebrate them, but do so safely. There’s no denying this past year has been incredibly tough but many people have developed a newfound appreciation of their local areas and their high streets in particular. Being able to access essential shops, services and outside spaces within walking distance of home became a life line during the pandemic. This campaign is about returning the love. Lewisham has a huge variety of fantastic independent shops, delivering that personal touch you would never get from a major retailer. Shop Safe Shop Local is all about promoting them to champion the incredible range of products and services available on our doorstep. We believe that, within the borough, you can find a product or service to suit any taste or occasion. While this campaign is about shining a light on local business, there is an added emphasis on safety. We are working closely with shops and businesses to ensure they have the guidance and support needed to stick to the latest COVID-19 guidance, keeping customers and staff safe. Businesses can find further support at www.lewisham.gov.uk/tradingsafely The Council’s Shop Safe Shop Local campaign will run throughout the spring and summer. There are free webinars to support safe reopening, advice packs and printed materials for businesses. Residents will be encouraged back on to the high street through a mix of street and print advertising as well as social media. A series of blogs will provide inspiration, if any is needed, to shop locally and a lucky few will get their hands on free limited edition tote bags to carry their shopping. Visit www.lewisham.gov.uk/ businesssupport for further information on how Lewisham Council is supporting its businesses.

Focus on Lewisham

Sign up for our business emails One important way to keep up-to-date on all the latest Lewisham business news is to receive our business alerts by email. Visit our website to sign up www.lewisham.gov.uk/business

consumption, of food and drink. This helps you to remain COVID-19 secure whilst protecting as many hospitality jobs as possible.

It offers access to a range of workshops, networking events, one-to-one support and business resources to help turn your idea into a reality.

If you would like to apply for a licence visit www.lewisham.gov.uk/pavementlicence

Find out more and sign up for events www.lewisham.gov.uk/sill


Lewisham backs its businesses

Restart Grants Restart Grants support the recovery of the high street as national restrictions are lifted and replace the Local Restrictions Support Grants. You are only eligible if you hold a Lewisham Council business rates account.

The Council launched the Lewisham Backs Business taskforce in June 2020. This new group is made up of representatives from the Mayor’s cabinet, the Council, partners including the DWP’s Job Centre Plus and local business groups including SE London Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses.

To check eligibility and apply visit www.lewisham.gov.uk/restartgrant

Additional Restrictions Grants Your business does not need to have closed to be eligible for this scheme. If you are self-employed or a small business owner who has seen a significant drop in sales or turnover due to COVID-19 restrictions, you could qualify for a one-off grant payment of up to £9,000. To find out if you are eligible and apply visit www.lewisham.gov.uk/ additionalrestrictionsgrant

Fast track pavement licences Planning is not required for the new pavement licence which allows businesses to use more of the space outside of their premises for the sale, or service and


The task force works together to identify the needs of local businesses. That localised knowledge ensures targeted support is provided where it’s needed most. Whether that’s financial support, upskilling the local workforce, help with jobs creation, or a roadmap to reopening our high streets.

Start-ups in London Libraries (SiLL) Got a business idea you’d like to get off the ground? Own a start-up that is in its very early stages? SiLL is a free fully-funded programme designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs gain the skills, information and know-how needed to build a viable business. in the mornings or dog walkers. It used to be quite a lively atmosphere outside but the fact we have had to shut the outdoor seating area means that that’s now changed. We also now offer takeaway burgers in the evenings – it was something we had always planned to do and then the initial lockdown was announced. They’ve gone down very well which is great, considering the times we are in.

How has the council supported you during COVID-19?

Local business owner shares his experiences of the past year Nolan West opened Rise Café in 2018 offering a menu of freshly prepared food and drinks in relaxed hygge surrounds. It quickly became a firm favourite of locals in Honor Oak Park. We caught up with Nolan to find out how the council has supported him and how he has adapted his business during COVID-19.

The council has been very supportive, especially in the first lockdown where we were stuck for two months. They were good at working everything out and we received our grant without any problems. The money I received, covered my costs for when the shop was shut and I felt the council communicated well through email updates. We even received a visit from one of the teams which was very much appreciated.

How have you had to adapt your business? We introduced burgers in the evenings during COVID-19 – we thought it would be a good takeaway option. It has worked very well and we have only had to adjust by buying more take away boxes, cups etc.

How has COVID-19 affected your business?

People don’t have to wait around very long as they can phone up and order prior to pick up and book their orders in advance.

The customers are different – we have a lot more people who are working from home who drop by during lunch time for a sandwich. It used to be mums who would come in with children for coffee

People in the local area know us for offering sandwiches in the day time and burgers in the evenings. Friday and Saturday nights are usually busy as people tend to order more take away then.

Could you provide a work opportunity for a local person? We continue to encourage and support local businesses to provide local work opportunities. Doing so is a great opportunity for businesses to place themselves at the heart of the community and benefit from the commitment, knowledge and ideas that come with taking on local people. Funding is available through the Kickstart programme to provide a six-month work placement for a young Lewisham resident. You can find more details here www.lewisham.gov.uk/kickstart We can support you to provide an apprenticeship for a local person within your company. Visit our website for further details www.lewisham.gov.uk/ apprenticeships We have also had to adapt by putting COVID-19 safety measures such as signage of 2 metre distancing, barriers of where people have to queue when waiting around for their orders and other notices to ensure everyone is safe. Usually people are quite responsible.

What are your tips on adapting business during COVID-19? I would say adapt to the situation that you are in. Don’t supply things that you can’t takeaway – like a Sunday roast. People are looking for things they can take away quickly. As you can see, pizzas are doing well at the moment – I’d recommend thinking what is most convenient for the customer and adapt from there.

What are your plans for the future? I look forward to opening up again in the Spring, we have just got our alcohol licence approved. We’re excited for people to be able to sit outside again and socialise with a drink while enjoying a great meal. There’s nothing better than watching our customers enjoy our food and themselves. Looking further ahead, we might even open a second premises. It looks like a very strong possibility at the moment!

Nolan West spoke to Lewisham Council in February 2021.


We will work on 3 areas relating to the environment:



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PUBLIC REALM IMPROVEMENTS to enhance the vitality of town centres in Bromley

Focus on Bromley

Bromley Council is committed to enhancing the vitality of town centres throughout the borough, for the benefit of residents, local businesses and visitors. Investing in the borough’s high streets will support the recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the way we use our town centres.


romley Council appointed consultants Turner Works and YOU&ME Architecture in August 2020 to deliver a series of permanent public realm improvements located within Bromley High Street.

The project brief includes the provision of covered seating to encourage the introduction of more food outlets within the high street, an all-weather performance space to enable a range of events and a sculptural statement piece to define the character of the town centre and contribute to a sense of place. The proposal will diversify the leisure and culture offer within the town centre, drive footfall and thereby support local business. Turner Works and YOU&ME Architecture have responded to the project brief with a series of interventions which draw inspiration from different elements of Bromley’s past and present including Music and Culture, Science and Technology, Fiction and Intervention, Health and Nourishment. The commission will transform the use of the pedestrianised area of the high street and build on the landscape improvements delivered to date to activate the town for quality high street programming and make it known as a centre for recreation, leisure and culture as well as retail. Green House: Inspired by Charles Darwin and traditional half-timbered houses, the Green House is a glass canopy structured positioned to the south of Churchill Square. The Green House will provide shelter to a performance space and seating which will allow for a range of cultural events on the High Street and encourage all-weather dining. The Green House will be illuminated at night with soft LED lighting.

Punk Rock: Within the Green House, the Punk Rock is an area of tiered seating from where performances on the raised stage can be viewed. The seating takes inspiration from the musical heritage of Bromley. Story Seating: Partly covered by the Green House canopy, the Story Seating will be a winding bench tiled with stories from Bromley’s past and present and poetry created by local community groups. Time Machine: Inspired by H.G. Wells, the Time Machine provides a focal point at the southern entrance of the High Street. The sculptural piece is constructed from a series of illuminated colourful portals and will display a poem written for Bromley derived from community engagement poetry sessions. Broom Flower: Located in Market Square, the Broom Flower is a sculptural piece which references Health & Nourishment and wells. It is designed in the shape of the Broom flower from where Bromley takes its name. Consultation for the project has involved engagement with stakeholder groups, including YOUR Bromley BID, Bromley Town Ward Councillors and the Churchill Theatre, who have been invited to comment on the design proposals at each RIBA Stage. Public exhibition posters showing the design proposals have been on display outside the entrance to Bromley Central Library for one month. Further engagement with the local community has taken place via poetry co-creation sessions with 10 community groups. Groups were invited to an online one-hour session over Zoom with poet Beth Calverley from the Poetry Machine. During the sessions, participants told their stories of Bromley and Beth drafted these into individual poems. The resulting poems will be compiled into a Poem for Bromley which will be displayed as part of the sculptural installations and within the tiled Story Seating.

❛❛The project brief includes the provision of covered seating to encourage the introduction of more food outlets within the high street, an all-weather performance space to enable a range of events and a sculptural statement piece to define the character of the town centre and contribute to a sense of place.


Information about the project can be found on the project blog: https://bromleyhighst.tumblr.com/ The project has been submitted for planning permission and can be viewed using the following reference 21/00337/FULL1. It is anticipated that the scheme will be delivered during Summer 2021.


Sidcup is more than ready to face

the exciting challenges that face us all in the coming months.

We have high expectations that the community will continue to support the high street and the businesses that rely on local patronage. Many of our businesses are looking at adapting their business models, changing their opening hours and offering more services, click and collect and takeaway are likely to continue and probably grow. Being flexible and having the tenacity to adapt quickly are key to success. In terms of major investment work has really begun in earnest on the new library and cinema development a huge bonus for our town. The works include the erection of a four storey building to provide a 3-screen cinema with an additional studio, a library, a cafe and bar, provision of a Changing Places WC and also 9 residential flats comprising 3 x 1 bed and 6 x 2 bed flats. New ways of working have been imposed on many people and as with most things in life there is a positive and negative side to these changes. Some have relished the idea of working from the comfort of their own home and haven’t missed waiting for a delayed train on a wet and windy morning. However, the stress of trying to work with limited equipment and space amongst all the normal household activities has for many been a major challenge. Sidcup Partners will be looking to provide flexible low-cost office space in the town to accommodate those who are in need of a local bolt hole where they can work in peace but still not have to travel too far. Some of the vacant units that have appeared as a result of the lockdown are to be targeted for this purpose.

Lots of things have and will change but the reassurance of having a strong and vibrant high street providing a range of services remains constant. Sidcup Partners Ltd 1 Elm Parade, Main Road, Sidcup, DA14 6NF

0208 302 4970 info@sidcuppartners.co.uk www.sidcuppartners.co.uk

Focus on Bexley


now available for Bexley businesses

Local employers can now get funding to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit. harder for young people to land their first job and gain valuable work experience.


he Kickstart Scheme, managed locally by the London Borough of Bexley, aims to help young people who are at risk of becoming long term unemployed. The funding pays for the young person’s wages (including on-costs) up to 25 hours per week for 26 weeks. The Council is gearing up to work with over 40 Bexley businesses to create 89 new job placements with the Kickstart Scheme funding. The coronavirus pandemic has meant many businesses have had to close their doors or operate in a different way, while others have had to cut costs by furloughing their employees or letting them go. With fewer jobs available as a result, it has never been

The Kickstart Scheme is a brilliant way for not only young people to get into work, but for businesses to get back on their feet by getting extra staff on board and having their wages fully covered for 26 weeks. If you run a business in the borough and you think you can help young people get the experience they need, please sign up today. The new job placement opportunities are being advertised at Jobcentre Plus where Work Coaches will identify suitable candidates for interview. Further Kickstart funding is available for training and support so that young people on the scheme can get additional workplace qualifications. Businesses in Bexley wanting to create a funded job placement should apply by emailing kickstart@bexley.gov.uk The council is accepting applications up until December 2021.


Works to provide new shop fronts for local businesses at Erith Riverside Centre will begin shortly.


he works will improve the town as a place to do business and deliver a much-needed boost for local businesses. Logan Construction will be carrying out external and internal refurbishments to a vacant ground floor office at the Erith Riverside Centre to provide a working area for the Council’s employment support team and to create a shopfront called ‘Made in Erith’ which will promote Erith and its businesses. The aim is to provide a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ as a space for local manufacturers and makers to showcase their products.

WELCOME FOR NEW FREEPORT in the Thames Estuary Bexley welcomes news that a new freeport will be sited in the Thames Estuary.


he new freeport will boost the economy along the estuary and brings with it massive potential for future growth.

It is one of eight new freeports to become new economic zones in England, offering tax advantages and customs relief to businesses - as well as helping to stimulate the economy. Bexley will be refreshing its Growth Strategy to take account of changes that have taken place since it was approved in 2017. Bexley Riverside is among the areas where the Council wants to see new development to create the new opportunities and homes that local people need.


Focus on Greenwich

SUPPORTING LOCAL HIGH STREETS to reopen The Royal Borough of Greenwich is running a Shop Local campaign to encourage local people to visit and shop at their local high streets to support non-essential shops as they are allowed to reopen.


he Council has commissioned a specialist business support organisation, Retail Revival, to talk to retail businesses across the borough to get their views on what will help their recovery. Retail Revival will present their findings to the Council which will help to inform the Shop Local campaign. If you are a Royal Greenwich based retail business tell us what support you think the Council could provide. Email: Shoplocal@royalgreenwich.gov.uk

Royal Greenwich Street Eats From the 12 April onwards, Royal Greenwich will be launching Street Eats, places where residents will be able to enjoy food and drinks purchased from their favourite participating pubs and restaurants. Locations will pop up around the borough when hospitality businesses can reopen for outdoor dining. As part of the launch of Street Eats locations, the Council has also helped fast track pavement licences and waived the costs for businesses serving food and drink so they can have tables and chairs outside their premises alfresco-style. www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/streeteats

❛❛I wanted to send this email as a BIG Thank-you to you and the Royal Borough of Greenwich for the amazing grant that I received yesterday.❜❜ 14

Backing hospitality businesses The Council has been backing its hospitality businesses with a life raft of grants ringfenced specifically for pubs, restaurants, bars, cafés, and hotels in the borough. The Restart Grants available from April will allow the Council to support businesses that supply the hospitality sector such as caterers, photographers, and musicians who rely heavily on the events and hospitality sector. It is critical these supply chain businesses are up and running to support the wider sector with reopening. This follows the Hospitality Recovery Grant (HRG) which the Council launched on 25 February which made up to £3million available in grants for businesses whose core business is serving customers seated to eat and drink in their premises. The HRG built on the 560 businesses the Council has already helped across a range of sectors with £4.4 million worth of Additional Restrictions Grants administered on behalf of the Government since last November. These have been helping closed businesses that didn’t qualify for other grant schemes or businesses that could remain open but have been adversely impacted by the national restrictions. Across all grant schemes being managed by the Council, 9,000 grant payments have already been made to businesses totalling over £20 million. Quotes from business owners who have been helped with an Additional Restrictions Grant. “I can’t believe it I actually got the grant, couldn’t have come at a better time first 2 months have been tough.” “I wanted to say thank you so much for your help with this. We have now received all of our Covid Grant and we are SO grateful. This will make a really big difference.” “I wanted to send this email as a BIG Thank-you to you and the Royal Borough of Greenwich for the amazing grant that I received yesterday.”

Supply chain contract wins by Royal Greenwich businesses First Choice Caribbean Hut, a BAME and female-led catering company in Royal Greenwich, is just one of borough’s home-grown businesses that has received practical support to successfully bid for a contract via the Building Legacies programme. East London Business Place (ELBP) helped First Choice Caribbean Hut with its costings and tender submission to provide healthy and nutritious breakfast hampers for children entitled to free school meals over the school holidays. Building Legacies is delivered by ELBP and Newham College of Further Education’s Centre for Innovation & Partnerships and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. If you think your business would benefit from understanding how procurement processes work and how to apply for contracts please contact: Business@royalgreenwich.gov.uk

What can the Council do for your business? In Royal Greenwich, professional advice is available on many aspects of running your business from tendering for contracts to recruitment and marketing. We also run an e-business support programme to help businesses reach their potential online which includes free workshops and seminars. To keep up to date with our latest business news sign up to receive our newsletter directly in your inbox: royalgreenwich.gov.uk/businessnewsletter

Find out about all the advice and support we can offer your business by visiting our website: www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/ businesssupport



Visit Greenwich reopening strategy Visit Greenwich is ready to launch its destination marketing to drive recovery and boost domestic tourism in 2021. The past year has seen a massive detrimental impact on local businesses, especially those in the visitor economy - which is so broad it includes retail, hospitality, heritage, culture, events, leisure and tourism. Visit Greenwich - as the destination management organisation for the Royal Borough of Greenwich - was quick to adapt to providing an increased amount of business support and guidance for its 140+ partner businesses and to pivot its marketing to become ‘Visit Greenwich @ home’ while continuing to keep Greenwich top of mind with the influential travel trade.

v Up at the O2 16

Now for 2021, with the government’s roadmap of dates for the gradual reopening of businesses, Visit Greenwich is able to kick start its destination marketing strategy for welcoming the return of locals,

Londoners and visitors to the experiences that we can’t wait to get back to enjoying in the destination.

New website A new destination website will launch in the second half of April, using the Simpleview platform used by many destinations worldwide. The new website will have improved design, content and enhanced functionality. It will also have Tourism Exchange GB (TXGB), the new online booking system developed by VisitBritain, integrated within the site to give increased bookability direct on the website. This will give businesses who sign up to TXGB greater selling power, being able to link up with a large range of agents.


❛❛It’s been a tricky balance for us over the last 12 months. Trying to help our partners survive and also planning for a safe and sensible recovery. With additional funding from VisitEngland, I’m confident that we can maximise Greenwich’s profile in the domestic market, drive visitor levels and ensure we have a great and safe welcome for everyone.


Barrie Kelly, CEO Visit Greenwich

Reopening the Tourist Information Centre Greenwich TIC, located within the Visitor Centre for the Old Royal Naval College will reopen on 7th May in advance of the next date in the government roadmap of 17th May, when the majority of Greenwich’s indoor attractions, hotels and experiences can open their doors. The TIC is one of only two in London and offers the essential welcoming face of Greenwich to visitors who are keen to talk face to face with a local expert to find out things to see and do and to buy tickets.

Greenwich TIC, Visitor Centre at the Old Royal Naval College, 2 Cutty Sark Gardens, London SE10 9LW. 020 8305 5235 tic@visitgreenwich.org.uk

v Royal Observatory Greenwich

Marketing campaigns

2. London & Partners, also known as

Visit London, has also successfully bid for VisitEngland funding. The funding will be used to relaunch the “Let’s Do London” campaign that was running successfully to drive domestic visits to London before it was forced to pause in March 2020. Visit Greenwich is involved in the campaign development and will be part of the campaign when it launches this month.

Visit Greenwich is running a number of new marketing campaigns to attract its UK and international tourist back through 2021 and beyond. Lockdowns and tiered restrictions over the past year has invigorated a new local visitor market and these vital loyal visitors, who are able to be repeat visitors as well as bring friends and family, are a key part of the marketing for 2021. The campaigns will be running in phases:

1. Visit Greenwich has been

3. Destination campaign, July to

successful in its bid for VisitEngland funding to run “Royal Greenwich: It’s Time”, supporting VisitEngland’s national Escape the Everyday staycation campaign. Due to run from 7th May to 31st July, the campaign will be used to position Greenwich and zone 2 as a base for a staycation enjoying the best of both worlds of Greenwich and central London, and to generate bookings. It will target 18-34 year old pre-nesters and families with pre-school children.

December. With the working title of “It’s About Time”, this campaign is being planned to run straight after the Escape the Everyday campaign and will continue the UK staycation message as well as targeting London and south east England for day visits and short breaks. Visit Greenwich is working with key tourism partners to fund the campaign which will include paid media as well as pooling its partners’ channels to give the campaign extensive reach.

Get back into Greenwich!

Explore the Visit Greenwich website, grab your family and friends and plan your own Greenwich staycation 2021! Visit the website and follow us on social for updates on reopenings and events

visitgreenwich.org.uk v Greenwich TIC




The road to recovery By Richard Burge, CEO of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)

Since the last edition of Masthead was published, the prime minister has announced a roadmap that, hopefully, will take us back to some semblance of normality.


s I write this, children have already returned to school and attention is now turning to April 12, which marks the planned reopening of non-essential retail, gyms and outdoor hospitality. From May 17, indoor hospitality is expected to return and by June 21 the hope is that all sectors of the economy will reopen and all legal limits on social contact will be removed.

All of this, of course, will depend on COVID-19 infection rates, hospital admissions and death rates but these indicators are currently going in the right direction. The government’s roadmap is looking realistic but companies still need clarity on the issue of when workers can return to the office. At the moment the message is: “work from home if at all possible”. When is this likely to change? The other big event in recent weeks was chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget. Overall, it was good for businesses. Among the headline support measures was an extension of the furlough scheme until September, more financial grants for the self-employed, a £3,000 incentive for firms to take on an apprentice, and £5 billion in restart grants for hospitality and high street businesses forced to close due to the pandemic.



❛❛Encouragingly, the budget didn’t contain too many threats to introduce tax hikes imminently, with many businesses struggling with their cashflow. Future tax rises will be inevitable as the government looks to rebalance the public finances, but although the country is carrying a lot of debt it is easily


affordable and can be paid off in the medium to long-term.

In addition, the chancellor announced

He could also do more to put pressure

That said, there will be opportunities

a £400 million fund to help arts

on banks to provide more support

for UK businesses to support other

venues in England to re-open, and

to SMEs. There are reports that

countries further afield – on projects

a business tax “super deduction”

funding applications are determined

designed to improve the lives of

by algorithms which exclude viable

disadvantaged communities, for

businesses and, in some cases, entire

example. The UK government is

that will allow companies to reduce their tax bill by 130% of their investment costs.

sectors. This is unfair. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that

Encouragingly, the budget didn’t

banks are not sufficiently prepared to

contain too many threats to introduce

deal with businesses in a crisis.

tax hikes imminently, with many businesses struggling with their cashflow. Future tax rises will be inevitable as the government looks

The budget and roadmap out of lockdown have to be set within the context of the new post-Brexit era. It has certainly been a challenging time

putting too much emphasis on Britain taking the lead on everything. Other countries will be glad if we take a supporting role in some projects. Building partnerships all over the world and adopting a global outlook will be important in this post-Brexit era – both socially and economically.

to rebalance the public finances, but

for UK exporters and importers. Many

although the country is carrying a

have been hit by delays, rising costs

lot of debt it is easily affordable and

and a heavier administrative burden

can be paid off in the medium to

since the Brexit transition period


ended on January 1.

One notable omission in the budget

Due to these factors, it’s likely that the

many now have at the heart of

volume of UK-EU trade will decrease

their business strategy a clear

in the coming months. Many UK firms

commitment to achieving some

will be forced to explore alternative

form of social good.

was the continued lack of support for those who so far have fallen through the cracks. Owner-directors of limited companies fall into this category. The assumption that these individuals are all rich is way off the mark; many earn a modest living, mainly through a combination of dividends and a

overseas markets that have fewer barriers to entry, or they’ll seek to increase their market share within the

Global trade is the single biggest contributor to the drive to alleviate poverty and generate positive social change. The importance of these goals is not lost on UK companies;

In the commercial world, companies still need to realise value for

UK. The EU is far more protectionist

shareholders and be profitable to

than perhaps we had first thought and

remain viable. However, perhaps

it will take efforts from policymakers

capitalism is now being recalibrated

small salary, yet the chancellor seems

and businesses on both sides of

so that it’s defined by something

intent on excluding them from any

the divide to ensure that the UK-EU

more than the accumulation of

meaningful support.

relationship is less fractious.

vast amounts of wealth.



What is GRADFORCE? GRADFORCE is a new project funded by the Office for Students (OfS) until September 2022, and match-funded by Canterbury Christ Church University. The project aims to ensure that all Canterbury Christ Church University students have an equal opportunity to use their knowledge and skills to progress into graduate employment. By encouraging participation from underrepresented groups, and providing employability training and development, GRADFORCE aims to create a generation of graduates that are ready for the workplace, regardless of background or challenges faced.

Do you want a quality bespoke training and recruitment service at a fraction of your usual costs?

Get Ahead

with GRADFORCE Develop the potential of your business and its people 20

Our unique bespoke graduate recruitment model works specifically with SMEs in Kent and Medway, providing small local businesses with access to graduate talent, as well as training and development opportunities for their workforce, helping to grow and retain skills in the region. The project works with employers in tackling fears and barriers in employing people from underrepresented groups, and provides training and support to address these issues.

Skills for the 21st century Employability skills are vitally important as graduates enter an increasingly competitive job market. GRADFORCE aims to prepare students and graduates for the workplace, making them more attractive to employers and providing them with the skills needed for personal career success. At GRADFORCE we are committed to making sure that our students from marginalised backgrounds are not held back and that they have the best opportunities to progress and ensure that their futures are secure. Through our Get Hired! Programme we offer students and recent graduates bespoke training and development, which focuses on building strengths, enabling a growth mindset ready to face challenges, giving realistic expectations and enhancing essential skills needed to succeed in a graduate role. Our 2020/21 cohort will consist of a minimum of 60 students enrolled on our comprehensive programme, with up to 100 students also attending additional bespoke events. The programme is derived from research and evaluation of personal and professional development needs and gaps, using information gained from events involving both students and employers.


Employer Engagement Many SME employers may say ‘we don’t have any jobs for graduates’. The new GRADFORCE model aims to demonstrate to SMEs that finding a graduate job simply means finding a job that matches the skills that you have gained throughout your degree and additional work experience. Our programme for students aims to ensure they have the strengths and skills to match the requirements of employers in Kent and Medway. There are 68,000 SME employers In Kent and Medway and 69% of graduates in Kent went on to work in the region they were originally domiciled, demonstrating a clear talent pool for employers to meet their recruitment needs. GRADFORCE is here to offer that service to SME’s by delivering a bespoke headhunting and matchmaking service to make sure that the right candidates are selected for the job roles employers have available. A full recruitment service can be provided, reducing the costs and time for employers searching for the right employee. Another part of our unique Get Ahead model is the training and development opportunities we offer to SME employers in Kent and Medway. Through this we aim to give employers an opportunity to be involved in GRADFORCE, provide opportunities to their existing workforce, as well as developing relationships with us and our students. The initial training programme we have developed will look to begin to break down barriers related to employing graduates from underrepresented groups, as well as be an additional support for businesses through the current COVID-19 pandemic.

GRADFORCE will host these first Get Ahead workshops in partnership with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce between January 2021 – May 2021, offering training sessions such as: • New Year, New Me - Improving productivity from a Sports Science perspective • Let’s Talk About Race - Exploring the impact of race within the workplace • Unconscious Bias - How bias impacts decision making • Supporting visible and invisible disabilities in the workplace Increasing your confidence to support disabled candidates & employees • Recruitment Excellence - Essential tips on making the right recruitment decisions • Healthier Minds at Work - Normalising conversations about mental health in the workplace • Agility and Strategic Planning - Dealing with uncertainty and complexity • Raising Your Marketing Profile - Key strategies to improve your marketing profile • Where are we now? - Business insights and Q&A with key academics and experts We also have a bespoke Belbin for Teams training programme to help you understand the dynamics in your team and where the strengths lie. We very much encourage input and support from local employers to ensure that we are able to make the project as successful as possible. If you are interested in finding out more about GRADFORCE, our recruitment offer, our training or would like to get involved as a mentor for our students and graduates, please get in touch with the team at gradforce@canterbury.ac.uk. And we will arrange a meeting with you to discuss your needs. Sessions can be booked at https://www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk/events/

Meet the GRADFORCE Team

Louise Gotch

GradForce Project Manager

Katy Suckling

GradForce Project Officer

Amber Bytheway

GradForce Project Officer



Speak out and make a difference

Stuart Lawrence’s inspiring message to students Educator and motivational speaker, Stuart Lawrence, has spoken to students and staff at London South East Colleges - highlighting the importance of ‘speaking out’ and making a difference.


tuart is the younger brother of Stephen Lawrence, who was tragically murdered in a racist attack in south London in 1993. He is dedicated to working with young people; encouraging them to reach their full potential and transform their life chances. The virtual event, part of the College’s Landmark Lecture series, was hosted by Director of Diversity at the Association of Colleges and the ETF, Jeff Greenidge. Stuart spoke to the audience about his background and life experiences, as well as sharing insight to his new book ‘Silence is not an Option: You Can Impact the World for Change’. He said: “We are all unique but each of us has the ability to use our brains to reflect on the things we’ve done in the past. We can judge for ourselves whether they are good things or bad things and we can all make changes - to ourselves and influence others to change too. “Always question what you hear people say, particularly when you think they have said or done something wrong. Learn to challenge using the power of the ‘five whys’ - ask five questions why and each one will lead you to why someone believes and says the things they do. Eventually you get to the truth and maybe they do too.”

London South East Colleges has partnered with L&Q, a charitable housing association, and submitted plans to redevelop its campus in Greenwich (Plumstead). The proposals will create a new state-of-the-art facility, alongside a significant number of new and affordable homes.


he proposals mark an exciting new chapter in the College’s history. The campus currently offers around 300 career-focused courses for young people and adults, of all interests and abilities. Pathways include apprenticeships, traineeships and vocational as well as degree-level courses, professional qualifications and adult and community learning. The plans for the site, submitted to the Royal Borough of Greenwich, include the development of a state-of-the art, sustainable building on the existing site. This will enable the College to provide a modern, flexible and inspiring teaching and learning environment. It will improve the breadth and depth of its curriculum offer, generating new skills development, training and employment opportunities for local people.

Dr Sam Parrett OBE, Group Principal and Chief Executive of London & South East Education Group says: “We are delighted to have submitted plans to redevelop our Greenwich Campus. This work will enable us to create training facilities which are fit for the future, helping the local economy and community by providing skills and opportunities for generations to come.

Chair of London South East Colleges, Stephen Howlett CBE, DL welcomed the speakers and audience to the event. He said: “We are hugely grateful to Stuart and to Jeff for joining us today. This event is particularly timely in terms of the social and economic impact of Covid-19 and indeed our own educational group’s focus on equality, diversity and inclusion.

“London South East Colleges is proud of the history it has in Greenwich. We know that education has a profoundly positive impact on people’s lives, supporting social mobility and economic growth.

For more information visit www.LSEC.ac.uk

training pathways to enable them to realise their potential. “We look forward to progressing our work with L&Q and being part of such positive change in Greenwich.” Vicky Savage, London Managing Director at L&Q said: “We’re so excited to have submitted our plans for the redevelopment of the Greenwich Campus on Plumstead Road. “London South East Colleges and L&Q both share deep roots in Greenwich, and a core value to work with local communities - whether by improving educational outcomes, or by building great homes and neighbourhoods where people can afford to live. We’ve worked closely with the Royal Borough’s planning officers on these proposals and hope that members will support us at committee.”

The plans will also see the delivery of 294 high-quality new homes, half of which will be affordable housing (with a mix of shared ownership and affordable rent). Importantly, the scheme will provide 63 three-bed homes, providing much needed family sized housing.

Host Jeff Greenidge led the Q&A session, which followed Stuart’s talk, and offered reflective closing remarks. He said: “Stuart’s words today were very powerful as well as truly inspirational. I know the students hearing them will have listened carefully and challenged themselves, thought deeper and looked beyond the blurred lines that can cloud our judgements. It was a fabulous presentation and I for one feel very privileged to have watched and listened too. Thank you very much Stuart.”

“Stuart’s talk resonated strongly with all our students and staff and I am sure that his words will inspire many of us to consider what more we can do personally to help improve the world in which we live.”


Plans submitted for new college campus in Greenwich

“As our communities recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to ensure people have access to high quality and relevant

❛❛The plans will also see the delivery of 294 high-quality new homes, half of which will be affordable housing (with a mix of shared ownership and affordable rent). Importantly, the scheme will provide 63 three-bed homes, providing much needed family sized housing.


London South East Colleges and L&Q expect to learn the outcome of the planning application later this year, and plan to open the new campus by September 2025.

Visit www.LSEC.ac.uk to find out more.


Employment Disciplinaries and Grievances during the pandemic


With Government advice to “work from home if you can” continuing to apply until at least 21 June, HR teams are having to continue to look at new ways of working.

hile workplaces continue to be disrupted, with many working from home or on furlough, employment law and the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures still apply. Acas has published a Guide for employers on how to conduct disciplinary and grievances during the pandemic. Furloughed employees can still be involved in disciplinary or grievance procedures, including taking part in a grievance or disciplinary investigation or hearing and have the right to raise a grievance. The flexible furlough arrangements in place since 1 July 2020 allow employers to treat hours a furloughed employee spends participating in disciplinary and grievance proceedings as working hours, and not to claim for them. So how might the current restrictions affect how we handle workplace disputes?

Practical challenges for employers Under the Acas Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, disciplinary and grievance procedures must always be safe, fair and reasonable. However, while the coronavirus pandemic continues, they must also be in line with public health guidelines, including social distancing and avoiding workplaces where possible.

As a result, there may be practical challenges to holding disciplinary or grievance procedures, but they must continue without undue delay. Employers must attempt to proceed in a safe, fair and reasonable manner. If this is not possible, they must consider whether it would be fair to suspend proceedings until a later date.

Suspending proceedings In deciding whether proceedings should be suspended, a reasonable employer would be expected to consider the case’s individual circumstances. For example, the matter may be urgent, where it deals with gross misconduct or unlawful harassment. However, minor disciplinary issues may be dealt with at a later date where appropriate.

Holding a disciplinary or grievance procedure remotely While homeworking is in place, disciplinary and grievance meetings can be held remotely. Video meetings can form part of any investigation into disciplinary or grievance matters. Employers may choose to conduct a video meeting, interview or hearing so long as the process is fair and reasonable, taking into account factors such as: • Do all parties have adequate access to the technology required to take part in a video meeting?

• Is it possible to access all of the evidence required to conduct the investigation or hearing, and can all parties access the evidence during the video hearing? • Is it possible to assess the evidence and question the relevant parties fairly during a video hearing?

Will a video hearing be recorded? Employers must keep a record of any disciplinary or grievance procedures carried out, usually by a note taker attending the meeting and procedures conducted via video may be recorded. However, it is important that everyone involved agrees to the meeting being recorded.

❛❛Employers must attempt to proceed in a safe, fair and reasonable manner. If this is not possible, they must consider whether it would be fair to suspend proceedings until a later date.


• Does any party have a disability or any other accessibility issues which may affect their ability to take part?

For assistance with holding grievances and disciplinaries contact Laura Claridge on 01689 887873 or email laura.claridge@cwj.co.uk 23


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Andrew sets Direction Law on route to success When Brian Sharratt set up his own law firm as a sole practitioner in Whitstable in 1976, he’s unlikely to have imagined how successful the firm would become. Fast forward 45 years to 2021 and the firm is now called Direction Law and has eight partners, 170 staff and offices in Canterbury, London, Wells and Birmingham.


oday the firm is headed up by managing partner Andrew Theoff, who has had an interesting career journey of his own. He joined the Canterbury office of the original firm just three years after qualifying as a solicitor and swiftly rose up the ranks, becoming a partner in 1999. In his early days there, Andrew acted for housing associations in the purchase of individual properties and land for development and later ran the plot sales team. In 2004 Andrew joined another company in Ramsgate where he dealt with more local clients as well as building an affordable housing team from scratch.

After just 2 years, he left to set up his own business along with Wayne Moore-Read, who is now Direction Law’s senior partner and who he met initially in 1997 when they both worked in Canterbury. As fate would have it, they went full circle by merging their firm with the firm they had both started out with, to form what is now Direction Law. At the new, larger company, Andrew established Direction Law’s new build department, initially acting for private individuals buying shared ownership homes from housing associations, then expanding the department to encompass purchasers buying from private developers, finally splitting it into two distinct teams and handing over the reigns to others when he became managing partner. Since the merger, Direction Law have experienced a period of unprecedented growth, with staff numbers increasing almost five-fold from 35 in 2010 to 170 today.

❛❛We had our best ever start to a year in 2020


but then COVID-19 hit the country. For a few months work dropped considerably but, when the housing market re-opened at the end of the first lockdown, instructions quickly picked up and we ended the year in an even stronger position than we started it.


The Big Interview

The Inside Story Andrew Theoff

❛❛We want to build more relationships with housing

• Favourite food?

providers and developers in Kent; we feel that there’s a

• Favourite tipple?

lot of potential in the local market. We are also planning to increase our local presence by expanding our traditional residential conveyancing team, building on

Curry (or anything spicy).

Depends on my mood! I like a beer but am also partial to a gin and tonic – I have a collection of nearly 20 gins at home.

• Favourite holiday?

our growing relationships with local estate agents and


mortgage brokers.

Last year this growth was checked slightly

particular expertise in dealing with cases

by the coronavirus crisis but, with the

involving the government’s Help to Buy

vaccination roll-out programme in full

Equity Loan scheme, which has helped to

swing, preparations to kick-start the next

stimulate the market.”

phase of the firm’s expansion are well underway.

“We want to build more relationships with

Andrew says: “We had our best ever start

we feel that there’s a lot of potential in

to a year in 2020 but then COVID-19 hit the

the local market. We are also planning to

country. For a few months work dropped

increase our local presence by expanding

considerably but, when the housing

our traditional residential conveyancing

market re-opened at the end of the first

team, building on our growing

lockdown, instructions quickly picked up

relationships with local estate agents

and we ended the year in an even stronger position than we started it. “There is pent-up demand in the housing market, fuelled by the stamp duty holiday, which has now been extended following the Chancellor’s recent budget. This is good for us, as we’ve built a solid reputation in this market, both locally and in our niche areas of affordable housing and new build. “For many years we’ve carved a niche within the affordable housing sector, acting for housing providers and those who are buying from them, completing over 3,000 shared ownership purchases in 2019/20. In addition to our rapidly expanding resales department we have a team that specialises in new build shared ownership and another one that acts for individuals who buy new-build properties from private developers; the latter has

housing providers and developers in Kent;

• Describe your family life?

I currently live on my own but have two grown-up children (a son and a daughter) and two granddaughters. They all live locally, as do my parents, but I don’t see enough of them, especially over the last year!

• How do you spend your downtime?

and mortgage brokers. The local market is buoyant in Kent as a lot of people are choosing to relocate to the county from

Right now, any holiday would be good! Last year was my 50th year and to celebrate I had several different holidays planned, all of which were cancelled. I do, however, particularly enjoy a city break; over the last few years a friend and I have been working our way around various cities in Eastern Europe.

My passion has always been radio. For the last ten years I’ve been a presenter on a local radio station (Academy FM in Thanet) where I present two shows a week, sometimes more. I present the breakfast show every Wednesday and a show on a Saturday where (when we are not restricted by COVID) local bands and singers can play live sessions in the studio.


• What are your key strengths as a

Despite being predominantly a

conveyancing firm, with several core specialisms within that field, Direction Law also has a private client team that deals with wills and probate, trusts and powers of attorney. “As a company, you don’t last for 45 years if you’re not doing a lot of things

local client base, reputation in the market and our core specialisms in affordable

For more information visit www.directionlaw.co.uk

Too numerous to mention…

• Famous person you’d most like to

optimistic about the future. Our strong

good stead as we move forward.”

Recognising that I can’t do everything and don’t know everything, but employing people who are better at those things than I am!

• And your limitations?

right,” says Andrew. “I’m feeling genuinely

housing and new build will stand us in


spend dinner with?

I really can’t think of any! The closest I ever got to having lunch with a famous person was sitting in a restaurant in Soho next to Steve Coogan (quite apt really as he plays radio presenter Alan Partridge) but I didn’t even notice. My lack of observational skills is legendary!

• Most interesting fact about


I once owned more cars than pairs of shoes! For many years this was on my page on our website and often caused comment.

27 27

Past Chamber Events

Making the right connections Each month the Chamber hosts a variety of events which offer members a superb opportunity to meet and chat to fellow business people. Here, we review a few of our past virtual events.

The Property Group with Thackray Williams Tuesday, 26 January Our first Property Group event of 2021 was a brilliant session and the first of our series of Property Group webinars presented by South East London Chamber of Commerce and SELCC member, Thackray Williams LLP. Asking the important questions about how the impact of a

pandemic has jeopardised the livelihoods of both Landlords and Tenants amid pandemic restrictions and how this has greatly increased the threat of evictions and Court proceedings as a result. Thackray Williams Head of Commercial Property and Real Estate Partner, Yildiz Betez emphasised the critical

need for maintaining strong communication & seeking a collaborative solution wherever possible. Highlighting the importance of understanding that all parties are currently stuck and struggling with unprecedented circumstances, so the best hope we have for an amicable and positive outcome at the moment is by working together on a collective

strategy as we move toward something more resembling normality. If you’d like to hear more from this session you can find the video for this event for free on the business support page of our website.

This month the Property Group is back, so join us as we ask, “What is the future of the office?” on Tuesday 27 April at 2pm - It’s free to attend!

South East London Chamber of Commerce – COVID Grant and Funding Application Webinars

Virtual Breakfast Meeting

with Lewisham Council 16 & 23 March &

Thursday, 11 February

Royal Borough of Greenwich 2 February

Gareth Bacon MP for Orpington shared his reactions to the announcement of the government’s, then emerging plans to deliver a road map to reopening the UK for business. He shared his thoughts on what additional support measures could be introduced to assist small businesses starting the journey to economic recovery.

Lockdowns over the previous 12 months meant that many businesses were forced to close temporarily, and many companies’ incomes were severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The financial support grants made available were delivered in multiple, staggered formats from the UK Government to be distributed by local authorities. To help alleviate the confusion around the many different and constantly evolving strands of grants and funding sources available to different kinds of businesses at different times, we were delighted to be able to help run COVID-19 Funding Application Workshops to help clarify the application process and encourage more local businesses to apply for funds with both Lewisham Council and Royal Borough of Greenwich business services teams.

with Gareth Bacon MP Orpington

Luke Murfitt of Integrity Cleaning Ltd posited the implementation of new standards might trigger a boom in the cleaning industry to maintain COVID safe standards, ensuring workplaces aren’t subject to further closures in the coming months. Dr Sam Parrett OBE, who is CEO and Group Principle of our strategic partner, London South East Colleges highlighted the need to prioritise vaccination of key workers, such as teachers, as targets to vaccinate vulnerable groups were being delivered ahead of schedule. Dr Parrett also raised a question about the likelihood we’ll see a boom in the #GreenEconomy, post-lockdown, making the case for


further discussions on the important role Further Education organisations will have to meet the re-skill of a labour market. With uncertainty on employment after lockdown ends, there will be opportunities to retrofit existing housing stock, to meet emerging green standards as we hurtle toward 2030! Richard Burge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry highlighted the need for greater integration of London’s Local Chambers and the British Chambers of Commerce on government drives for apprenticeship, such as Kickstart, in the light of low uptake numbers using the government’s centralised approach.

Past Chamber Events

Virtual Coffee Morning Janet Daby MP, Lewisham East Thursday, 4 March Janet Daby, MP for Lewisham East joined us for our first ever Virtual Coffee Morning. Janet shared live reactions to the 2021 Budget (which had been announced just the previous day), as well as the exciting developments about the safeguarding of the Bakerloo Line Extension project, that ensures the land currently reserved for the project will remain available until works

can go ahead, bringing some much-needed additional transport infrastructure to the region. Discussions turned to local government hopes for a postlockdown exit strategy, looking at possible advantages the recent changes to Property Use Class definitions might bring to solving the dual problems of empty retail units and need for new housing in the “new normal”.

Will these changes actually help landlords stuck with empty units, capitalise on helping meet the drive for house building? Or should we instead consider the potential of these empty retail units provide opportunities for community group spaces to bridge gaps such as digital inclusion? With the subject of rising youth unemployment in communities across the region in mind,

Virtual Business Breakfast

Virtual Business Breakfast CNT Associates

with Raymond Sheehy

Thursday, 11 March Raymond Sheehy, Chief Executive of the wonderful charity, Bridge Wellbeing Support gave an illuminating presentation about the importance of mental health in our rapidly changing work environment. The unfamiliar territory we have found

Chamber President, Helen Mcintosh highlighted the potential role chambers could take in linking local business networks and maximise the potential for apprenticeship schemes like Kickstart among small businesses across the region.

ourselves in due to the pandemic and numerous lockdowns, has raised important questions about how best to encourage conversation on the subject in an increasingly digital workplace. We discussed the importance of being able to spot the signs of mental health issues and really useful techniques that will help us improve dialogue between colleagues, family and friends. Learning as a society to deal with the effects of the unprecedented changes we have faced together, will help us to process any resulting feelings of uncertainty, stress and depression and help us maintain our mental health and wellbeing.

Thursday, 25 March Gary Parker of CNT Associates joined us on 25 March to deliver an introduction to the myriad of funding sources available for businesses starting work on Digital and Tech based projects that are currently available on the market. He shared his 20 years of expertise for an eye-opening presentation, on where to look for funding, on which strands of funding are the most appropriate for digital projects and how to apply.

Lunchtime Webinars

Employment Update with Emma Thompson, Partner at Thackray Williams Thursday, 6 April At the first instalment of our brand-new series of lunchtime sessions we were joined by Emma Thompson – Head of Employment Law at Thackray Williams LLP, who delivered an excellent update on the latest developments in the world of employment and HR. The webinar focused on the potential complications surrounding HR, faced by businesses on the roadmap to reopening Britain for business.

With company budgets stretched amid uncertainty to what level businesses will initially bounce back, in addition to the realistic financial impact, the end of financial support will have on a largely furloughed workforce, it’s very important we stay on top of key dates and policy changes. The implementation of adequate policy in a rapidly changing situation, whilst mindful of our financial predicaments, we still have to prepare our re-entry strategies,

including customer confidence of safety within the workforce, assuring productivity amongst uncertainty and minimising further risks of infections and closure. And lastly if the sad reality is that we are unable to maintain the workforce then redundancies may have to be made and here it is important to follow the necessary steps to avoid miscommunication and disagreement. Observing all necessary steps of consultation can be drawn out and

potentially affect productivity during that time. There may be benefits to consider options such as voluntary redundancies to mitigate such procedures, being aware that there are different risks in this scenario, as you can’t guarantee the person who offers to resign, will be the best solution to your problems. If you’d like to hear more from this session you can find the video for this event for free on the business support page of our website.

Join us for the next Lunchtime Webinar: An Introduction to Wills And Tax Planning for Business - with Zahra Kanani (Wills and Tax Planning Specialist) and Elliot Lewis (Equity Partner). Tuesday, 18 May from 12.30 – 1.30pm


Forthcoming Events

FORTHCOMING EVENTS Webinar Events Property Group Event The Future of the Office

Date & Time

Tuesday, 27 April 2.00 - 3.00pm

Additional Information There has been a lot of speculation in the media about how viable office space – particularly in central London will be in the future. The reality is that businesses will always need a vibrant office hub to collaborate and grow their culture and brand. Surveys have shown that working from home for 2-3 days a week may become the norm post-pandemic. ‘Hybrid’ working is in its early stages, and every organisation will need to choose their own individual vision of future working. This event will assist you to work your way through the legal, economic, and logistical challenges of this new landscape when reviewing your office needs. Free to attend.


Lunchtime Webinar Do I sell my business now, in 2021, or build it for 2 years more?

Tuesday, 4 May 12.30 - 1.30pm

A question often posed by business owners contemplating the sale of their business in good economic times. Whilst the long-term impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns on many SME businesses remains to be fully assessed, this question will become much more prevalent in the coming months for those who were considering the sale of their business at the start of 2020 but have postponed the decision to sell over this time. This webinar will help assist you to make an informed decision with the guidance of Henry Campbell-Jones, Business Adviser and Valuer for Hornblower Business Brokers, alongside Dr. Saverio Salandra, who will lead the session as Head of the Corporate and Commercial Department at Thackray Williams Solicitors. Free to attend.


Chamber Breakfast Clinic Dave Millett

Thursday, 13 May 8.30 - 9.30am

Every successful business is built on a solid business plan. Join Dave Millett, director of CRF Consultants for a free webinar offering his expert insight on you how to create the perfect plan, with examples of how to structure it and measure performance. Suitable for new start-ups, pre-starts looking to write their first plan or for established companies looking to review or revise their existing ones. Free to attend.


Introduction to Wills and Tax Planning for Business Owners with Thackray Williams

Tuesday, 18 May 12.30 - 1.30pm

You are invited to join a free lunchtime webinar offering you, insight into just how important Tax Planning and putting your affairs into order’ is for business. Speakers: Zahra Kanani (Wills and Tax Planning Specialist) and Elliot Lewis (Equity Partner). Tax and Wills are tough enough for us to deal with in a personal capacity, but it is also important for our businesses. If you own a business you’ll want to know how to plan for the future, and how the company would be affected, should the worst happen. Zahra and Elliot will lead you through the process for making things nice and tidy for your partners, families, and stakeholders, as well as giving you some well-earned peace of mind. This webinar is brought to you, courtesy of Thackray Williams Solicitors LLP. Free to attend.



Forthcoming Events

Webinar Events

Date & Time

A Guide to Buying your First Home Monday, with 24 May 12.30 - 1.30pm Thackray Williams Residential Property

Additional Information Join expert speakers: Vikki Herbert (Head of the Residential and Leasehold Department) and Paul Antoniou a fellow specialist, both from Thackray Williams Solicitors will set out the process of conveyancing for buying your first home. As well as pointing out the pitfalls and offering advice, Vikki and Paul will talk about the effect that the pandemic has had on the housing market. Getting that first step on the property ladder is so important and if you have some burning questions, these professionals could give you exactly the answers you need! Free to attend.


An Introduction to Legal Services for Start-Up Businesses with Thackray Williams Company Commercial

Tuesday, 22 June 12.30 - 1.30pm

Got a great idea for a business? Want to set up and get selling? Well, there are some things that you might want to know before you start … Starting a new business is thrilling, and nobody wants to dampen your enthusiasm! Getting a few insights from legal professionals can help prevent you making some expensive mistakes.Join us for this lunchtime session, which is sure to be lively and fun, as well as addressing some serious topics. Dr Saverio Salandra will lead the session, he’s Head of the Corporate, Banking and Finance Department who also specialises in Corporate Law and Capital Markets at Thackray Williams. Free to attend.


Summer Chamber BBQ at The Clarendon Hotel, Blackheath Village.

Thursday, 8 July 12.30 - 2.30pm

Delighted to announce we will be hosting our annual South East London Chamber of Commerce Barbecue this year at The Clarendon Hotel - Blackheath Village, and would like to extend the invitation to members and colleagues, both old and new to join us to celebrate our freedom, while networking and enjoying some delicious food and drinks! Cost: £27.50 + VAT Member -£32.50 + VAT Non-Member




JOIN US for our first actual event since March 2020

The Clarendon Hotel

Blackheath Village, Montpelier Row, Blackheath, London. SE3 ORW.

Thursday 8th July 2021 12.30 - 2.30pm Cost: £27.50+VAT Member £32.50+ VAT Non-Member

includes a sumptuous BBQ and dessert, plus 2 glasses of wine or soft drinks.


31 31

Cover Feature – Environment/Green Business

Major investment in air quality monitoring in London Business tycoon Michael R Bloomberg and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have announced a £1.5 million investment in air quality monitoring in the capital.


Cover Feature – Environment/Green Business

❛❛Breathe London will focus on reaching communities that research indicates are exposed to poor air quality and lack access to green space, including low-income and black, Asian and minority


ethnic (BAME) groups.


he combined investment – including £779,000 from Sadiq Khan and £720,000 from Bloomberg Philanthropies – will fund the day-to-day running of 195 air quality sensors across London, as well as further research and community engagement until November 2024. In Data from the sensors – installed at hospitals, schools and in local authorities to measure pollution locally – will produce real-time air quality data that Londoners can access on the new Breathe London website: https://www.breathelondon.org/. The website will bring together data from London’s existing monitoring network alongside Breathe London sensors, meaning once all the sensors are in operation it will host data from more than 300 monitoring sites. Sadiq Khan has also announced a new sponsorship programme, run in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and Imperial College London, that will provide an additional 60 sensors available to London communities over next three years. Organisations and individuals will be able to apply to host a sensor in a location of their choice from the summer, with all associated costs covered. The first ten sensors will be released in the autumn.

❛❛The work of the Breathe London network forms a vital part of supporting a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by tackling environmental and


health inequalities.

Breathe London will focus on reaching communities that research indicates are exposed to poor air quality and lack access to green space, including low-income and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. As part of the Breathe London project and supported by the Mayor of London, Bloomberg Philanthropies is also helping to fund a community project in Newham. Greener Together, a pilot project which aims to address environmental inequality linked to social and racial injustices in London, looks at building better relationships between local government and civil society. The project team will work with residents to find environmental solutions to local issues most affecting the community, such as poor air quality. As part of the Breathe London project, sensors have already been installed at several hospitals across the capital. Community groups, charities, businesses, individuals, academics and boroughs are being encouraged to host a sensor in their area. Each London borough will receive at least one sensor and will work with their local communities to choose the locations.  In addition to the Breathe London sponsorship programme, community groups, charities, businesses, individuals, academics and boroughs will also be able to “buy in” to the network at a reduced cost. The sensor network will significantly reduce the costs of sourcing reliable air pollution data for local projects or schemes such as School Streets. In the past this has been prohibitively expensive for some, often leaving communities with no data or, worse still, extremely inaccurate data with no quality control. Details about how to apply through the sponsorship programme or to buy into the network will be announced in the summer. The work of the Breathe London network forms a vital part of supporting a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by tackling environmental and health inequalities. >>Continued overleaf


Cover Feature – Environment/Green Business

Professor Frank Kelly, the Battcock chair in community health and policy at Imperial College, said: “The Breathe London sensor network is rapidly taking shape after intensive work over the past two months by our team at Imperial. The necessary data transfer and quality control systems have been put in place and nodes at hospitals across the city are already providing near real-time air quality data via the new Breathe London website. The next stage of the project will see schools and local communities benefiting from this expanding network of sensors as we supply real-time air quality information to more and more Londoners.”  Chinedum Nwokonko, community consultant for Greener Together, said: “As partners in Greener Together, Sadiq Khan said: “I am delighted that Londoners will now have access to realtime, accurate air quality data for their area from more than 300 monitoring sites. This will improve awareness and help people reduce their exposure to polluted air.

with Mayor Sadiq Khan and London will

“As we look towards a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that we create a city that is cleaner and greener. Never has tackling London’s toxic air been more important, which is why I am taking these bold and innovative steps to improve it.”

areas and take steps to protect those who

Michael R. Bloomberg, U.N. secretarygeneral’s special envoy for climate ambition and solutions, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the 108th Mayor of New York City, said: “I’ve often said, if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it. Improving air quality monitoring gives us the data we need to tackle sources of pollution and protect public health. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ partnership


help do exactly that. Our joint investment will support high-quality air sensors across London and make localized air pollution data available in real-time online. That will help policymakers identify problem are most at risk, including schoolchildren

we want these programmes to strengthen community relationships, promote improvements in physical and mental health, and increase understanding of how the area  is affected by air pollution and climate change. The time to act is now, and we have a great opportunity to tackle the

and residents of lower-income

environmental burden placed on the


people who live here.”  

❛❛Our joint investment will support high-quality air sensors across London and make localized air pollution data available in real-time online. That will help policymakers identify problem areas and take steps to protect those who are most at risk, including schoolchildren and


residents of lower-income neighbourhoods.

IS YOUR BUSINESS DOING AMAZING THINGS FOR THE PLANET? THEN JOIN US! Businesses that put the environment at the forefront of their growth are the beating heart of the Thames Estuary. If this sounds like you, join our movement and apply to become an Estuary Visionary! Would you like to be a Visionary business? Benefits include:

The Thames Estuary Growth Board – a government backed team – are working to make amazing things happen in this region, but we believe that growth should work in tandem with the environment. We call this ‘good green growth’. That’s why we’ve launched Estuary Visionaries. We want to celebrate and share stories from successful businesses who are making their growth green. The scheme is free to join and we’re seeking applications from businesses in East and South East London (including Bexley and Greenwich), North Kent and South Essex. Successful applicants will be championed on the Thames Estuary website, at events, including one at Parliament, where they can share good green practice with like-minded businesses, and as ambassadors integral to marketing the Estuary domestically and internationally. Moreover, they will work with Government-backed Estuary Envoy, Kate Willard OBE, to deliver her ambition of creating the greatest, greenest Estuary in the world. Businesses in any sector, any size can put themselves forward to join a growing number of current green visionary organisations, including Elvis

and Kresse, The Kentish Soap Company, London City Airport, Ashwells Reclaimed Timber and others, that are leading the charge in being more sustainable. From banks to hairdressers, multinationals to sole traders, there are many businesses in the Estuary that are reducing their environmental impact. By highlighting these innovative businesses, in the UK and internationally, the scheme hopes to share ideas and inspire others to grow in a more environmentally friendly way. Creating the greatest, greenest estuary in the world The UK government identified the Estuary as the UK’s number one growth region. In its ambitious ‘Green Blue’ plan, the Thames Estuary Growth Board committed to making this growth green. Across the region, the Board is looking to do this by facilitating projects to improve access to green and riverside spaces for all to enjoy, supporting clean energy production and supply, and greening transport, including moving freight from roads to river. This will support local and national net zero targets.. Individual businesses can also do a lot to help create a world leading green estuary, and the Board want to recognise those that already are operating more sustainably.

Business promotion – through local, national and international marketing activities.

Exclusive events – when it is safe to do so, including our planned Parliamentary celebration in 2021.

Help from the Thames Estuary Growth Board – who have a wide range of expertise, are willing to support sustainable businesses like yours in the Thames Estuary region.

Shaping the Growth Board’s support - as a Visionary you will be able to help us develop our offer to sustainable businesses in the region to support good green growth.

Working with Estuary Envoy, Kate Willard OBE, to deliver her ambition of creating the greatest, greenest Estuary in the world.

How can I apply? Email us and tell us why your business should be an Estuary Visionary. We want to know what you do and how you ensure your business positively contributes to the Estuary environment. Please keep it brief (no more than 500 words) - you can use the form on our website or email enquiries@thamesestuary.org.uk To find our more visit thamesestuary.org.uk/ thames-estuary-visionaries Join Elvis & Kresse and become one of the growing number of businesses in the Estuary Visionaries scheme. Elvis & Kresse in Tonge, near Sittingbourne, prove that sustainable fashion is possible and profitable. They rescue materials that would otherwise go to landfill to make sustainable, luxury lifestyle accessories whilst donating 50% of their profits to charity. A 100% plastic free brand, they began with a negative carbon footprint, which it still maintains by running on renewable energy and has saved over 250 tonnes of waste from going to landfill. Find out more: elvisandkresse.com

“In the Thames Estuary, we are proud to be the home of such dynamic, innovative and resourceful businesses, of different sizes and sectors, that are pushing the boundaries by demonstrating an unwavering dedication to good, green growth. We are looking for more businesses like these in the region to become Estuary Visionaries so that we can share ideas, inspire learning, future-proof our environment and stand as an example to the rest of the UK of how to deliver stronger, greener growth.” Kate Willard OBE, Thames Estuary Envoy

35 35


Minister calls for faster, smarter rail upgrades The government has challenged London’s rail industry to pioneer new ways of working that will halve the time and reduce the cost of delivering critical infrastructure projects.




hat’s the idea behind the next stage of Project SPEED, the details of which were unveiled recently by rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris. In a keynote speech at the recent Project SPEED conference, hosted by the Rail Industry Association, Mr Heaton-Harris invited the 1,800-strong virtual audience to get on board with the new approach to become faster, smarter and more efficient in the way that projects are delivered. Rail Project SPEED (Swift, Pragmatic and Efficient Enhancement Delivery) was jointly developed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Network Rail last summer. Infrastructure projects at different stages of development have been reviewed to identify how government funding could go further and work could be carried out faster.

This approach identified ten key themes to lower costs and speed up the delivery of infrastructure schemes, such as rapidly increasing the use of innovative construction methods and removing complexity from planning processes. These new and innovative ways of working will be rolled out across all rail upgrades, with the intention of: • ensuring passengers experience better journeys more quickly • giving greater value to taxpayers • transforming the pace and way in which our railways are improved Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “The whole country has relied on the transport industry over the past year to keep the country moving, get supplies delivered and key workers to their jobs. We are now depending on transport to kickstart our economic recovery.

❛❛The whole country has relied on the transport industry over the past year to keep the country moving, get supplies delivered and key workers to their jobs. We are now depending on transport to kickstart our economic



“Rail Project SPEED, forged alongside Network Rail, is a call to arms to cut unnecessary red tape, be bold and purposeful, and empower the railway industry to be radical in its thinking to halve the time and reduce the cost of delivering infrastructure projects.

Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s chief executive, said: “There has never been a more important time to make the case for rail. The pandemic has spurred us to make real progress in removing barriers that have long hindered industry transformation.

“By maximising the benefits of every pound that we’re channelling into rail, we will make the case for continued investment. Our intention is to create a more resilient, resourceful and robust railway, equipped for the challenges ahead and delivering better for its passengers, as we build back better from COVID-19.”

“But, of course, there is still much more to do, and we will do that faster and more effectively when we work together across the industry.”

❛❛There has never been a more important time to make the case for rail. The pandemic has spurred us to make real progress in removing barriers that have long hindered industry



At the conference, Mr Heaton-Harris called on the supply chain to come up with creative ideas where they can help reduce the cost of delivering infrastructure projects, with the best ideas set to be recognised in future industry awards. The launch of Project SPEED builds on the new Acceleration Unit, announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps in August 2020, to complete public investment projects more strategically and efficiently. The DfT’s new unit brings together transport experts, ministers, businesses, local government and other specialists to inspire fresh ideas, get to grips with opportunities to improve infrastructure delivery, and help the transport sector share best practice and learn from other industries.



Lost and found: raising a glass to Morden Wharf and celebrating regeneration in Greenwich ❛❛A place you don’t know about yet. A place you won’t forget. A beach in the east facing west. A corner of the capital seconds past the Prime Meridian that’s waited centuries for its big moment. Reclaimed again by Dutch design masterminds for you and I, for a pint by the river, a picnic in the park, a book on the beach while the sun goes down.




Regeneration specialist U+I revealed it has signed a lease with craft beer exponents Brew By Numbers to establish a brewery and taproom at Morden Wharf, the 19-acre regeneration scheme it is currently developing on the western edge of the Greenwich Peninsula. Beer aficionados in south east London and beyond will certainly be raising a glass or two to celebrate that independent brewing is returning to Greenwich, and that’s got to be something worth celebrating.


s part of the wider transformation of the old industrial site into a new and dynamic mixed-use neighbourhood, Brew By Numbers will occupy a 6,000 sq ft space located in a refurbished warehouse next to the River Thames. Showcasing the ambitions of the new-look Morden Wharf, the new brewery will be Brew By Numbers’ second in the capital, expanding production beyond its headquarters on the Bermondsey Brewery Mile in south London. As well as setting up the new brewery, Brew By Numbers is looking to expand its food and retail offer with its new taproom, creating an all-day destination at Morden Wharf and complementing its two existing outlets in Bermondsey and Peckham. In addition to securing Brew By Numbers, U+I is re-signing MDM Props, a creative industries business that produces artworks and props for film, television and theatre, to remain on the site. MDM Props’ work includes a number of pieces for the famous ‘Fourth Plinth’ in Trafalgar Square, including ‘Nelson’s Ship In A Bottle’, designed by Yinka Shonibare and now on permanent display outside the Sammy Ofer wing of the National Maritime Museum, also in Greenwich. Having two such illustrious tenants in place highlights U+I’s ambitions for Morden Wharf, which will see the major repurposing of this once-vibrant, but now down-atheel industrial setting. Synonymous with innovation and industry, historically Morden Wharf hosted shipbuilding activities, traditional rope-making, and the manufacture of the world’s first submarine cables, enabling Britain to communicate effortlessly with the rest of the world.

space, alongside 1,500 new homes – more than a third of which will be affordable – together with bars, cafés and restaurants, and acres of new open space for visitors and the local community. At the heart of Morden Wharf is a new riverside park, covering nearly four acres and stretching for hundreds of metres along the banks of the River Thames. The park itself will lead directly off the Thames Path, which will be upgraded and expanded to comfortably accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. Meanwhile, a new public square will be laid out where the Thames Path meets Sea Witch Lane, the main boulevard running east to west where the old Sea Witch pub was located. And thanks to underground car parking, the public space will cater almost exclusively to pedestrians and cyclists. Local infrastructure will play a significant part in Morden Wharf’s success, with an improved transport network to connect the neighbourhood with key transport hubs, including the North Greenwich station on the Jubilee line, just 15 minutes’ walk away. And the impact of Morden Wharf goes beyond placemaking too – overall, the scheme is expected to contribute £42m

a year in local economic value and a further £25.2m in social value over the next decade, primarily through the generation of more than 1,000 new permanent jobs on and off site, plus an additional 2,000 jobs throughout the development and construction process. The plans for Morden Wharf are the culmination of nearly a decade of activity and engagement with the local community, all of which has shaped U+I’s vision to create somewhere that all Londoners can live, work and visit. The introduction of Brew By Numbers is a significant step forward in making this vision a reality – by bringing life this forgotten corner or Greenwich Peninsula long before construction begins on the wider site. U+I’s ambitions, once realised, will result in a truly mixed-use and prosperous community, where homes, leisure, work and play seamlessly combine. Morden Wharf will become a destination for visitors to explore, and a new vision for what a London neighbourhood can – and should – be. “Lost and Found” (abridged) by Michael Evamy, commissioned by U+I.

Sadly, this activity went into decline in the late 20th century, and save for a few small businesses, the area fell quiet, its purpose lost, its potential unrecognised. But this is all set to change. U+I’s bold regeneration plans will result in a diverse and thriving community of businesses occupying 200,000 sq ft of commercial


Berkeley Homes

KIDBROOKE VILLAGE: A place transformed through public, private and community partnership

Kidbrooke Village is one of London’s most significant regeneration projects. Berkeley is building just over 5,000 spacious, high-quality new homes sitting surrounded by 136 acres of parkland and open space, and centred around well-planned and environmentally diverse public realm. It is a place where local people are valued and love living.


erkeley is working with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the Greater London Authority to transform the land of the former Ferrier Estate. Over ten years in the making, Kidbrooke Village is a great example of the power of working in partnership, both with development partners and with the community.. This £1 billion regeneration project changed significantly since the first spade was placed in the ground in 2009. Kidbrooke Village has really taken shape and its community is drawn from all walks of life. People come from miles around to enjoy the green space and take part in the regular events such as village fêtes, Christmas markets, street food festivals and other health & wellbeing activities such as yoga.

When finished, Kidbrooke Village will house more than twice the number of people than the old estate, while only building on 35% of the land – delivering much-needed homes for Londoners. The brutalist architecture has been replaced by traditional brick, surrounded by parks and wetlands, rich in flora and fauna and with a thriving eco-system. Above all, it’s about creating a great place to live: high-quality, welldesigned and environmentally friendly homes, where residents can live healthy, comfortable and sustainable lifestyles. The homes meet residents’ needs, now and in the future.

Green spaces for people and wildlife Biodiversity plays an important role within towns and cities, helping to improve air quality, providing resilience to climate change, adding amenity value and supporting wellbeing. While in London biodiversity continues to decrease at an alarming rate, Berkeley is committed to delivering a net biodiversity gain at Kidbrooke Village and all of its developments. This means creating new habitats to attract wildlife and plant life to make a positive impact on the local environment. In Cator Park alone, Berkeley has created a 258% net biodiversity gain with new wetland habitats, swales and wildflower meadows, along with over 500 newly planted trees. To help achieve this, Berkeley is proud to work with the London Wildlife Trust to enhance nature across Kidbrooke Village and to engage local people in loving and caring for their green spaces. The vision is to create spaces where the community and wildlife grow side by side, and an engagement programme means a constant calendar of events are delivered from nature conservation volunteering to bat walks.


Berkeley Homes

❛❛When you visit Kidbrooke Village today, you will discover an unrivalled sense of space. Over 86 acres of the development area is set aside for parkland, so it is easy to explore and escape into the great outdoors, and learn about nature, right at the heart of urban London.


Collaboration with the public, private and community sector The success of Kidbrooke Village has been a result of true collaboration between a wide range of partners, from Berkeley, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the GLA to the housing associations Southern Housing, Optivo and Moat, who manage the affordable housing, the local businesses and healthcare providers, the schools operating in and around Kidbrooke and of course the local residents. The shared ambition for Kidbrooke Village is to create a long term sustainable community.

When you visit Kidbrooke Village today, you will discover an unrivalled sense of space. Over 86 acres of the development area is set aside for parkland, so it is easy to explore and escape into the great outdoors, and learn about nature, right at the heart of urban London. Cator Park was created as an important and integral part of the Kidbrooke Village’s vision. It is a destination used and enjoyed by residents and the wider community with accessible areas for jogging, walking and cycling, and spaces to relax and enjoy the landscaped lawns and beautiful water features. Cator Park forms a ‘green river’ through the village, connecting all the local neighbourhoods and leading into Sutcliffe Park, which has been declared a local nature reserve and has Green Flag status. In creating the green heart of Kidbrooke Village, the focus was firmly on ecology, sustainability and partnership.

The Kidbrooke Community Forum meets quarterly, with representatives from all partners attending. These meetings create opportunities to identify new projects and funding for the community and to ensure that all the partners are collaborating and sharing any projects or work they are focused on. The Forum is empowered to make important decisions about the development, and the residents act as champions, updating the wider community on the latest updates. Relationships have been built with all partners, resulting in a strong mutual trust and respect. Collaboration, passion and tenacity have all been essential in making Kidbrooke Village an exemplar of placemaking and successful urban regeneration.

biggest affordable housing providers in the country. The partnership consists of a mix of Affordable Rent and Shared Ownership homes, incorporating much needed affordable family homes for the local community in the form of larger houses and family sized apartments. Earlier this year, L&Q’s presence in Kidbrooke Village was cemented with the opening of a dedicated marketing suite and show home within the Village Centre. Together with building new homes, Berkeley will also make significant enhancements to the southern area of the award-winning Cator Park. Berkeley is enhancing another 11.4 acres of parkland, improving connectivity with new cycle ways and pedestrian paths and providing new play areas which are accessible to all children’s abilities. This will provide an opportunity to further enhance the work already ongoing by LWT at Kidbrooke Village and provide new apprenticeship and job opportunities for local people. Kidbrooke Village has transformed the former Ferrier Estate to create a new urban neighbourhood with vast parkland and an abundance of wildlife. Much has been achieved over the past ten years by working collaboratively with partners and the local community, and what’s to come in the future is equally exciting.

The next phase of Kidbrooke Village Currently, Berkeley have delivered just over 2,000 homes in Kidbrooke Village, along with the extensive level of open space. The next phase of Kidbrooke Village will bring forward 1,306 new homes, 503 of which are affordable homes and a proportion of these are to be delivered in partnership with L&Q, one of the


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as COVID crisis squeezes cashflow Record levels of smaller businesses sought external financial support last year, with lending to SMEs topping £100 billion.


lmost half (45%) of UK SMEs applied for some form of external financial support in 2020, according to latest research from the British Business Bank – a significant rise from the 13% of firms that did so in 2019. This sparked a huge rise in bank lending to SMEs, which increased 82% to £104 billion.

❛❛In Q3, 49% of zero employee firms reported a fall in turnover over the previous 12 months compared to 38% of businesses with 50-249 employees.❜❜

Nearly nine in ten firms (89%) that sought finance cited the impact of COVID-19 as the reason why they did so. Of these businesses, 75% needed finance to help with their cashflow. On a more positive note, 8% sought finance, at least in part, to pivot or change their business model, while 7% wanted additional funds to invest in the digital capability of their business. The majority of sectors saw between 20% and 30% of their SME population take up a loan during the pandemic, and British Business Bank data shows that across both the BBLS (Business Bounce-back Loan Scheme) and CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme), the majority (59%) of SMEs accessing governmentbacked finance borrowed more than 20% of their reported turnover. Turnover decline rates for businesses of all sizes were over three times their respective prior five-year average, illustrating the scale

of disruption across all businesses. The smallest SMEs experienced the largest declines in turnover. In Q3, 49% of zero employee firms reported a fall in turnover over the previous 12 months compared to 38% of businesses with 50-249 employees. The report also found that record cash balances on the one hand and increasing debt levels on the other indicate that a sizeable number of smaller businesses will be in a position to borrow further in 2021 and a sizeable number are likely to struggle with debt repayments. High levels of debt, and in particular the number of businesses with higher debt-to-turnover ratios, suggests a potential drag on viable applications for finance in 2021. Looking forward to the rest of this year, the survey said that one third of businesses predicted they would shrink in 2021, with 4% expecting to close or be sold. Only one in five (21%) expected to grow, compared to 28% the previous year. Small firms (10-49 employees) and medium-sized businesses (50-249 employees) were most likely to expect to grow (35% and 38% respectively) compared to 21% of businesses overall. SMEs in business services (25%) and production (23%) were most optimistic about their prospects for growth over the next year, with businesses in construction and other services sectors least optimistic (both 17%).



ALL FOR FOR £1,195 ALL £1,195 Introducing our Apple Blossom Micro Wedding package for your intimate wedding of 15 guests. We found the

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Resolving a commercial lease dispute in a recession

With the UK economy currently in the deepest recession since records began, disputes between landlords and tenants are beginning to rise as pressure mounts on commercial occupiers to find ways to diversify and slash overheads in order to survive post-Covid. As David Hacker, property disputes lawyer with Thackray Williams explains: ‘Government restrictions, the move towards working from home and growth in shopping online have put a lot of commercial tenants under intense strain. As a result, we have seen an increasing trend in landlords being pushed hard to agree to lease concessions and changes to contractual obligations, some of which are quite controversial. Strained relationships are leading to disputes which need to be addressed swiftly to avoid matters getting out of hand.’ Types of dispute relating to a commercial lease Aside from non-payment of rent, numerous disagreements are beginning to emerge over commercial leases including: • contested rent reviews; • challenges to variable lease costs, such as service charges or insurance contributions; • tenant repairing responsibilities; • reasonableness of requests to assign, sublet or effect a change of use; • proposed terms for lease surrender; • liability for dilapidations; • the terms of a lease re-gear, particularly if tied to a proposed lease extension or an agreement not to exercise a commercial break; and • delaying tactics when a lease comes to an end, for example where the tenant is undecided whether to renew and so they seek to hold over. What landlords should consider It is undeniable that many tenants are suffering extreme hardship for reasons entirely beyond their control. However, it is also the case that some tenants are struggling because of poor business decisions and general mismanagement. Therefore, when considering a tenant’s position, it is important for a landlord to be clear about the reason why a particular request is being made or a certain stance

is being taken, and what the likely consequences will be in the event that a deal cannot be done. For example, if a tenant asks to surrender their lease and agrees to pay 50 per cent of what they owe because they maintain that this is all they can afford, thought needs to be given to what the alternatives might be if you say ‘no’. Are you likely to recover everything that is due? Or is it more probable that you will force the tenant into insolvency and risk receiving nothing? Assessing your risk exposure can be hard, which is why we suggest enrolling the help of a lawyer who can assist you by: • carrying out a review of the tenant’s financial position; • testing the strength and robustness of their current business plan; • investigating their pre and post-Covid performance; and • clarifying whether they have availed themselves of any available grants and loans, where short-term funding appears to the be the root cause of their problems. A lawyer can also help you to consider your own financial and commercial needs and whether acceding to a tenant’s request might in any way risk jeopardising your own position or viability.

Options for resolving a lease dispute There are a number of ways in which a commercial property dispute can be resolved, some of which necessitate going to court and some of which do not. Deciding which option is right for you requires careful consideration and a review of your lease terms, as this may prescribe the approach that you and your tenant are expected to take. Direct negotiation The easiest and cheapest way to resolve a property dispute is through direct negotiation between you and the tenant, which continues until you reach an acceptable agreement. In many cases it will be beneficial to appoint a lawyer to provide you with ongoing advice in order to ensure that you do not agree to something

you might later regret. For example, some things may no longer be appropriate when the recession ends and the economy begins to bounce back.

Mediation Where direct negotiation fails, it may be useful for you and your tenant to agree to refer your dispute to an independent mediator whose role will be to try to help you broker a deal that works for you both in the short, medium, and longer term. The mediator is not there to tell you who they think is in the right and who they think is in the wrong, but rather to support you in finding a commercially acceptable way in which the disagreement might sensibly and realistically be resolved. The process is non-binding and voluntary (unless made mandatory by your lease) and is a frequent feature in most tenancies to encourage disputes to be resolved outside of court.

Court action Where everything else fails, it might be that you are left with no option but to go to court. However, before committing to this, it is important to think about what you are trying to achieve and whether legal action is the best way to do this, given the risk that a judge may elect to side with your tenant and you could find yourself exposed to significant delays and costs. That said, court action will almost certainly be required where your objective is to get the tenant out of your property and where you cannot effect forfeiture by peaceable re-entry or where you are dealing with a lease that has the benefit of 1954 Act protection. It may also be needed to resolve a service charge dispute or a disagreement over tenant repairs or a lease extension. www.thackraywilliams.com

Arbitration In some cases, it may be appropriate for a dispute to be referred to an impartial arbitrator who has the power to impose an enforceable decision on you and the tenant in much the same way as a judge, but without the need for you to issue legal proceedings. As with mediation, the process is voluntary unless prescribed by your lease and will result in you being bound by the decision that is made. This gives you the reassurance of knowing that your dispute will be resolved and is generally quicker than if you were to go to court. Many commercial leases contain arbitration clauses, particularly for the resolution of rent and service charge disputes.

45 45

Clients in safe hands since 1851

Employment Law Advice We provide comprehensive advice for employers on all aspects of employment law. Our specialism includes: Employment contracts and policies Employee and worker status IR35 and off-payroll working Pay, holiday and sickness Data protection and privacy Grievances Disciplinary Dismissal and termination TUPE

Breach of contract Post-termination issues Redundancy Unfair dismissal Settlement agreements Whistleblowing Discrimination Human Rights Bullying and harassment

For more information, please call us on 020 8858 6971 or email employment@grantsaw.co.uk

020 8858 6971 employment@grantsaw.co.uk www.grantsaw.co.uk

Grant Saw

COVID-19: can employers legally insist on their workforce being vaccinated? As the Government’s plan for the largest vaccination programme in British history continues, questions have been raised by some employers about whether they can insist that their staff are vaccinated. Simran Lalli explores the debate surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine and where an employer stands from a legal perspective. The Government does not have the statutory powers to require individuals to undergo medical treatment, and therefore employers cannot rely upon the Government making the vaccination compulsory.

An employer should approach with caution any decision to dismiss an employee for failure to be vaccinated. To do this, an employer will need to ask themselves the following questions:

Can employers themselves require their employees to be vaccinated?

• What is the employee’s reason for refusing the vaccine?

In short, an employer cannot compel employees to take the vaccine. Forcing a member of staff to take the vaccine may give rise to a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as possible claims for unlawful injury.

• Has careful thought been given to whether there are alternatives to dismissal? This can include redeploying the employee to a role where the risk of contracting and spreading infection is significantly reduced.

On the other hand, employers are obliged under health and safety laws to take reasonable steps to reduce any workplace risks. It therefore makes sense for employers to encourage their employees to be vaccinated to protect themselves and everyone in the workplace. In some settings, an employer may be able to issue a reasonable management instruction to their employees to take the vaccine. This is likely to be the case in sectors such as healthcare and those where employees have close contact with the clinically vulnerable. Where a reasonable management instruction has not been followed, there may be circumstances where an employer would be justified in considering the dismissal of the employee. Will employees have an employment claim if they are dismissed? Unfair dismissal If an employer dismisses an employee as a result of their refusal to take the vaccine (and the employee has the qualifying period of service of two years), they may bring a claim for unfair dismissal at the Employment Tribunal.

• Has a fair process been adopted in dismissing the employee? Each case must be considered on its own facts. If an employer decides to proceed, the existing disciplinary procedures of the employer should be followed as long as they are fair. Discrimination While some employees might be hesitant to receive the vaccine due to concerns around side effects, some may decline the vaccine due to reasons relating to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. Employees have the right to not be discriminated against for reasons relating to a protected characteristic and special considerations should be given to employees within these groups. The protected characteristics which are likely to be asserted in respect of the vaccine are: • Disability • Sex and pregnancy • Religion or belief.

It is possible that employees with certain medical conditions will be advised against or choose not to take the vaccine. Such employees may be disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act, and any pressure to take the vaccine could lead to an employee bringing a claim for discrimination. An employee with a recognised philosophical belief or religion may also refuse the vaccination because of such beliefs. For a belief to qualify for protection under the Equality Act, it must: • Be genuinely held • Be a belief, not an opinion or a viewpoint • Relate to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life • Attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance • Be worthy of respect in a democratic society. Pressuring employees to take the vaccine in contravention of their beliefs could also be discriminatory and should be approached with care. New cases are likely to come before the courts in the future. Requiring or encouraging an employee to take the vaccine is a sensitive and evolving topic which potentially raises a number of legal issues. There are many factors to consider and it is important to seek legal advice before taking any action against an employee which might involve any detriment to them, including dismissal.

For more information, please email sl@grantsaw.co.uk or contact the Grant Saw employment department on 020 8858 6971 47


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Thousands forced out of labour market due to ill health

Health and Wellbeing

The TUC has warned that hundreds of thousands of older workers are being “consigned to poverty” due to ill health.


new report published by the union body shows that one in eight (12%) men and women are forced to stop working before state pension age due to ill health or disability. The report finds that more than half a million (534,876) workers aged 60 to 65 have had to leave the workplace due to medical reasons. It also reveals a stark income and class divide. People who left the labour market early while working in low-income jobs – such as cleaning, care and manual labour – were six times more likely to quit due to medical reasons than those in higher-paid jobs. One in three low-paid workers who left their jobs before state pension age did so because of ill health. By contrast, just one in 20 professionals who left the labour market early did so because of long-term sickness. The analysis also shows clear regional disparities. In south west England and the west Midlands, one in 12 people aged 60 to 66 have left work due to long-term sickness or disability. However, this rises to one in seven in Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales, one in six in the north east, and one in five in Northern Ireland. The TUC says this reflects huge health inequalities across the regions and nations of the UK. The organisation says that plans to hike the state pension age while the healthy life expectancy gap between rich and poor areas is growing would deepen inequalities further. The TUC is calling on the government to urgently work with unions and employers to develop training programmes for older workers.

Older workers who lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic will face greater barriers getting back into work, warns the union body, and they are twice as likely as younger workers to become long-term unemployed. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “People should be able to retire in dignity with a decent pension when the time is right. “But many older workers are being forced to stop work earlier due to ill health. They must not be consigned to years of poverty. “The government should stop plans for further rises in the pension age and focus on improving support for people who are too ill to work. Ministers should also tackle the health inequalities that are causing it. “With healthy life expectancy falling for women in poorer areas, ministers need to reverse this alarming trend, not make them wait even longer for their pension.” On the need to provide re-training, Frances added: “Older workers have a crucial role to play in the labour market – but like everyone else they need access to decent training. “This is especially important as we emerge from this pandemic. Many older staff are at risk of losing their jobs and we know they face extra barriers getting back into work.” The TUC is calling for short term support for older workers who lose their jobs due to the economic impact of COVID-19, including wage subsidies for good quality, new jobs and funded training opportunities. In the longer term, the TUC wants more support to help workers who need or choose to work later in life, planned increases to the state pension age to be shelved, and reform of the social security system so that it provides an adequate safety net for workers of all ages, and with increased flexibility around how retirement age benefits are accessed.

❛❛The government should stop plans for further rises in the pension age and focus on improving support for people who are too ill to work. Ministers should also tackle the health inequalities that are causing it. ❜❜


New Members

...and finally


to our new members

As a member of our Chamber, you are joining a unique organisation with a strong campaigning voice for business to local and national government. All Inclusive Advice and Training Ltd


Tel: 020 8253 7062 Email: Admin@allinclusivetraining.org

Tel: 07534 055 985 Email: davidson@ordrs.co.uk Contact: Davidson Otobo

Contact: Julie Agbowu

VJ Financial Solutions

Blue Light Group

Tel: 07792 527 988 Email: vishaljoshi@vjfinancialsolutios.co.uk Contact: Vishal Joshi

Tel: 0800 999 1829 Email: info@bluelightgroup.uk Contact: Luke Brice

HH Architecture and Design Tel: 020 8854 8931 Email: hharch.design@btinternet.com Contact: Howard J Hughes

Members can access a range of services, networking events and support to help their business do better. Importantly, they can also access other members to find new suppliers, promote your business services, or join forces on new opportunities.

Find out how to join and learn how others are benefiting from their membership.

For more information telephone: 020 8317 3365 email: office@selondonchamber.org

❛❛As a member you’re well connected with access to our range of benefits and services, including our directory of local member businesses. ❜❜ 50

Marie Hanby

Marketing Manager Serenity Parks Ltd What was your first job and what was the pay packet? Aged 14, I worked weekends in my local corner shop – a massive £14.40 for a Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning which gave me a sense of independence from earning my own money!

What would you do with your last pound? Invest it in someone less fortunate in hope of a bigger change for them.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Changing the perception and stigma surrounding park home living. We are continuously trying to raise the standards to offer high end retirement communities as a form of alternative living.

If you were Prime Minister, what would be your first decision? Reform how we look after our older generation, in terms of care, health appointments, housing need, loneliness issues and more…

If you could do another job what would it be? Something where I could make a real difference in people’s lives.

What book are you currently reading? The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.


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