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Chamber Business Awards

Spotlight on Ashford

Shaping the future of health and wellbeing Businesses are recognising good employee health as a core asset

Big Interview with Simon James CEO KIMS Hospital

T: 01795 472291



Welcome & Contents


Looking ahead to a momentous year

Jo James

Chief Executive

Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business, which appears as we look forward to a year that promises to be momentous for business as the Brexit negotiations gather pace. Or fall apart amid bitter recriminations. We simply do not know what the outcome will be.

However, if the politicians are presiding over an atmosphere of uncertainty, that is not the case in the business world. Business people are accustomed to thinking clearly and it is not difficult to find, amid the uncertainty, plenty of cause for optimism in Kent, something reflected in all of the editions of Thinking Business that we have published in 2017. For example, in this edition our Spotlight feature on page 16 examines some of the many initiatives that are transforming the business landscape in Ashford in a compelling partnership between the public and private sector. At a time when public sector budgets have been squeezed and local authorities need more than ever to show creative thinking, the sense of co-operation in Ashford to attract investment and create jobs is truly inspiring. There is also a strong health and wellbeing theme to this edition of the magazine and our big interview on page 22 is with Simon James, who is the CEO of KIMS Hospital.



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Chamber Business Awards Chamber News Members News Focus on Finance Patron Comment Members News Spotlight on Ashford

Our Patrons

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Simon tells us how the hospital is growing and helping to transform the face of healthcare in Kent and talks about the way the hospital cares for its staff as well as its patients. We continue the health and wellbeing theme in our main cover feature which starts on page 25. More and more employers are recognising their responsibility to help keep their staff healthy. Life can be stressful, work can be challenging and many employers are offering programmes and services that help preserve health in the workplace.


That trend has led to the growth of specialist organisations that can offer expert advice and our feature examines some of the options available. And finally, as we celebrate the Kent economy, we are issuing a call for entries to the Chamber’s business awards, on page 4. They are the ideal way to shout about what we do best and we urge you all to enter.

So, there is plenty of cause for optimism and with that thought may I wish you a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Big Interview Cover Feature Health & Wellbeing Ask the Expert The Person Behind the Business The Economy & Us Members News

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Editorial and General Enquiries

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Chief Executive: Jo James Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687

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Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2017 Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

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Chamber News

Lower Thames Crossing design In My Opinion update and progress welcomed

The latest design update on plans for a new Lower Thames Crossing between Essex and Kent – which will be the largest road scheme in the UK – have been praised by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).

The update highlights the work that has been undertaken by Highways England since the Rt Hon Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, announced the preferred route for the crossing in April. Highways England is now proposing that the route between the A2 in Kent and A13 in Essex is three lanes in both directions, which will involve widening the A2 to junction 1 of the M2 to improve traffic flows. In Kent, the proposed junction with the A226 has also been removed following feedback from residents and businesses that it would increase local traffic in the area. A new junction and link road at Tilbury is included following widespread support for the investment aiming to boost the local and regional economy by improving the connections to the Port of Tilbury and Kent. Across the Thames in Essex, a new design for the proposed junction with the M25 between junctions 29 and 30 is now being progressed. It aims to provide a safer junction with greater capacity that also blends better with the local landscape. The junction of the A13 has also been redesigned to improve traffic flows and the junction with the A128 has been removed. Concerns from the local community about the effects of a junction at Orsett Cock on local roads and traffic levels has led to changes to the link to the A13.

Current Lower Thames crossing tunnels

A new junction and link road at Tilbury is included following widespread support for the investment in order to boost the local and regional economy by improving the connections to the Port of Tilbury. Highways England believes the junction changes proposed for Tilbury will reduce HGV traffic on local roads. Highways England is also proposing that the route between the A13 in Essex and A2 in Kent is three lanes in both directions and through the tunnels. This will involve widening the A2 to junction 1 of the M2 near Shorne to improve traffic flows.

Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “It is clear Highways England has listened to businesses and local communities. “We recognise there are those on both sides of the Thames that will be affected, but believe Highways England is doing all it can to mitigate the impact. The new crossing will have a positive impact on the economy of the SELEP area, and the UK as a whole. “It is much more than just a tunnel with a road at either end. We welcome the focus of Highways England on ensuring it connects well with the wider road network in Kent and Essex.” Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: “The proposal to make each tunnel three lanes wide, and at the same time reduce the impact of HGVs on local communities, is great news. “The update will strengthen the confidence of the business community now that the project team is moving through the design stage and working towards getting diggers on site as quickly as possible.”

Further information on the Highways England design update can be found at

David Morgan Associate Solicitor Employment Law

While we all aspire to live healthy lifestyles the reality is that most people experience illness from time to time which means that employers will be confronted with cases of long term sickness absence at some point.

Considering the future of an employee who is no longer fit to work is not only a difficult proposition in emotional terms but employers also need to consider their legal position carefully. Perhaps the most important step for an employer to take is to make sure they are prepared for this type of situation. Employment contracts should contain a clause detailing entitlements to sickness benefits. It is also wise to include a clause which requires employees to consent to a medical report being obtained in appropriate cases. Policies and procedures for addressing long term sickness fairly should be in place. Often long term sickness will equate to a disability under the Equality Act. Some illnesses such as HIV, cancer and MS are considered disabilities under the Equality Act regardless of the length of time the employee has had the condition. Other conditions might be a disability if it is long term and has a substantial, adverse effect on the carrying out of normal day to day activities. In these cases employers must consider making reasonable adjustments to working arrangements to try and cancel out the adverse effect and preserve employment. Even in the absence of a disability, employers must follow a fair procedure in considering dismissal. This will usually involve obtaining medical reports, consulting with the employee, and considering redeployment. Often the key issue will be how long the employer can reasonably be expected to wait for the employee’s return to fitness and what arrangements it can reasonably make in the interim to cope with the employee’s absence. In my opinion employers are often unnecessarily worried by dealing with long term sickness. If employers are prepared and carefully follow a fair procedure, then they can deal satisfactorily with this difficult issue while avoiding claims for unfair dismissal or disability discrimination.

David can be contacted on 01233 664711 Thinking Business


Members News

Caring for those in need

Carers FIRST is a not for profit organisation whose central office is based in Kent.

Hotel enjoying successful times

The Holiday Inn Express, Folkestone Channel Tunnel first opened its doors in 2008, providing 100 conveniently located bedrooms less than one mile from the Channel Tunnel and a five minutes’ drive from Folkestone town centre.

John Lambourne Richardson, the hotel general manager has been at the helm of the operation for over two years and comes from a long history of hospitality management. He developed his passion for hotels after college, working for the prestigious Trusthouse Forte Group for over 24 years, before opening his own Belgian Chocolate & Patisserie in Salisbury, where he made the finest chocolate treats for more than nine years. John re-joined the hotel game in 2014 and is delighted to belong to the IHG group of hotels, part of more than 1,300 IHG hotels across the world. John said: “The hotel is continuing to perform very well, with this year surpassing all previous years which is fantastic. We have some great things to come here at the Holiday Inn Express Folkestone, with a large refurbishment planned for 2018.”


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Funded through contracts with the local authority and by grants from trust and foundations, we support people who look after a relative or friend who due to ill health, physical or mental illness, disability, frailty, or addiction cannot manage without their support. We employ 85 staff in Kent and Medway. For many, caring is a rewarding and positive experience, but for others, without the right help and support caring can feel overwhelming. For some, caring can trigger feelings of

As all members of Nextdoor use their real name and have to verify their address, the conversations remain private between the neighbours. Digitom, the Tunbridge Wells-based video content agency, has been travelling the UK helping to tell users’ stories through a series of films. Entitled ‘Nextdoor Communities’, the first video features Ballynafeigh, a mixed community of people from different social, religious and ethnic backgrounds in Belfast. Featuring community workers and local residents, the film explores how the platform is being used to engage

loneliness and frustration and many often find their physical and emotional health, work or finances affected. There are currently 6.5million people in the UK looking after a relative or friend and in Kent there are around 155,000 carers, with 3 million people, 11% of the workforce, juggling work with a caring role. Supporting people to combine work and care has become an economic as well as a social imperative. Not only will fewer families face the disadvantages of being outside the

labour market, but employers realise improved staff retention and increased employee resilience and the economy will benefit from less dependency on welfare benefits. Carers FIRST provides a range of services giving carers an opportunity to receive the support they need. We work with schools, colleges, employers and other voluntary organisations to help them identify and support carers to ensure they are supported to maintain a balance in their life.

A new way to meet your neighbours

A new private social network called Nextdoor is bringing neighbours closer together in a secure online environment, helping people to build communities and share experiences. with locals on important issues. It also features local resident Balazs who moved from Hungary with his employer. In order to help his wife learn English the family offered to host Hungarian cookery lessons in exchange for English lessons. Nick Lisher, Nextdoor UK’s Country Manager, said: “While launching Nextdoor in the UK, we heard some great stories from our users and wanted to share them with others. These days people often don’t talk to anyone in their street but Nextdoor is helping individuals and families to reconnect with their neighbours and

build a cohesive Kent, the rural village of Pluckley has the highest proportion of Nextdoor users per household. The network is being used by the Neighbourhood Watch coordinator to share updates, uniting the village and helping to communicate news and events. Tom Chown, Founder and Creative Director at Digitom, said: “Branded content is a great way of engaging with your audience. Everybody’s got a story to tell and video’s a strong medium to gather and share it.”

Fingerprint FP keeps growing

New Chamber members Ben Beslic and Paul Spencer-Nixon formed Medway based Fingerprint Financial Planning in the crucible of the 2007 global financial crisis. The seismic impact of the events from ten years ago have helped to shape Fingerprint FP’s business ethics and approach to client service; an approach which has been recognised by judges in this year’s Medway Business Awards. As Paul puts it: “Over the past ten years it has become more visible to clients how banks and wealth management firms’ operate and that has made Independent Financial Advisers a more attractive option. It’s great having our strong proposition that gives our clients solutions in all their financial needs.” What makes Fingerprint FP’s approach different? According to Ben it’s their ‘boutique service’. He said: “There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Our team and internal processes are

structured in such a way so that we get a handle on the complex issues that our clients are facing and then provide a tailored portfolio of financial products that are fit for purpose while being adaptable and in tune with their changing needs.” What are Fingerprint FP’s goals for the future? Paul said: “It’s steady, sustainable growth. We want to grow the number of advisers we have and work more closely with professional introducers. Being 36 and 41 years old, myself and Ben are experienced enough to have seen most circumstances and young enough to have a modern approach and keep up with ever happening changes in our financial world. We plan to be around for a while yet and we’re excited about the future.”

STOP PRESS: Fingerprint FP have been named as winners of the Excellence in Client Service Award at the 2017 Medway Business Awards.

Focus on Finance

Thank goodness for tax - otherwise there may have been no Christmas Rick Schofield

Tax Partner, Kent Region 01233 629255 (Ashford)

There are plenty of things that us accountants are useful for, but planning for and managing taxes makes up a lot of what we do. If we didn’t then individuals and businesses wouldn’t be able to function properly, nor run their affairs day-to-day. Also, if it wasn’t for tax, there may not have been Christmas as we know it today. I am, of course, talking about the Christmas story and Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. A census ordered by Caesar Augustus that required all residents in the Empire to register to ensure they were paying correct taxes. Families had to register in their historical tribal town, rather than where they lived. Joseph belonged to the house and line of the royal family of David and Bethlehem was the town of David, so a very pregnant Mary had to travel with Joseph so that he could declare her as his betrothed and be registered there. It just so happens, that as well as Jesus’ mother being engaged to a man of Bethlehem, and that was what brought her there for the birth of her child, it appears that an ancient prophecy written centuries previously had already foretold the birth of the Messiah in the town of Bethlehem. According to a prophecy given by Micar around 700 BC, “Bethlehem Ephrathah,

out of you He shall come forth that is to become Ruler in Israel. Whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” Some studies have suggested that this prophecy predicted the birth of Jesus some 700 years earlier and that it was Caesar’s new taxation census which brought the prophecy into truth. If that is the case, then it is thanks to taxation that we are able to celebrate Christmas Day as we know it today. Without the journey to Bethlehem, the prophecy may have remained unfulfilled. Perhaps the story of Christmas would have been set in Nazareth – but as very little is known about the town until 4th Century AD, the event could have been documented entirely differently. Taxation plays an important part of every story, whether it is for your own individual tax planning or for the future security of your business. So let us not forget, as we head towards the celebration

of Christmas and the approaching self-assessment deadline of 31st January that if there is something enjoyable to look forward to there is usually a tax consequence.

If you would like advice about how you can plan your affairs more tax effectively, why not contact Wilkins Kennedy to see how we can help.

“Taxation plays an important part of every story, whether it is for your own individual tax planning or for the future security of your business.”

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Success to succession

Members News

How to exit from your business is a key part of your retirement planning. It is vital that you consider this difficult topic as far in advance of your proposed exit date as possible.

Start with clearly defined goals do you want a clean break or, are you prepared to continue working to support your successor? Your aspirations will influence the type of buyer to target, your timeline, the value you realise and the deal structure. Potential buyers and their advisors will spot last minute attempts to window-dress your business. Remember that investors are often looking for long-term benefits, so run your business looking for the same.

• Have a clear & concise business strategy. • Focus accounts on earnings instead of minimising your tax liability. • The most valuable assets that a business can have are its staff. If your most valuable member of staff is you then things must change. • A potential buyer may be looking for synergies with an existing business. Ensure your legal housekeeping is up to date and minimise long-term contracts with suppliers.

The value of your business depends upon a number of factors including industry sector, earnings, future potential, asset

Brachers signs up to global legal referral networks

base and risk. Obtain a valuation as a starting point for negotiations.

Identify a purchaser – consider family members / colleagues as well as targeting third parties.

Remember consideration for a purchase can be phased over a number of years. If appropriate, you could consider a company buy back of own shares where finance is more difficult to secure.

If a quicker sale is desired, consider the option of a Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL). Whatever you do, please ensure you seek professional advice to ensure the best possible outcome.

Move will enhance firm’s ability to help clients with international matters.

Brachers has signed up to two global legal referral networks, which will enhance the firm’s ability to find high quality, reputable legal support for UK clients on matters in jurisdictions around the world. The Nextlaw Global Referral Network was set up by Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, and boasts over 500 member firms in 200 countries. Nextlaw’s membership covers more countries than any other legal referral network. In addition, Brachers has become members of The Lawyer Network, which has member firms in over 90 countries. Brachers’ Erol Huseyin, corporate partner, is listed on the network with a specific focus on Energy. Joanna Worby, Managing Partner at Brachers, said: “Referral networks are a great way of extending international reach to offer a better service to our clients. Having a network of established firms that we can call on to provide assistance means that we can support our clients no matter where their need lies. Taking out these memberships is all part of our determination to be ‘with you all the way’.

Plush leather bar seats and plug in points overlook the impressive coastal landscape with free high-speed WiFi.

Clair Rayner FCA, DChA

Partner, McCabe Ford Williams Sittingbourne 01795 479111

Working with a view and a brew

HatHat’s coffee company has taken over the management of Reculver Visitor Centre in Herne Bay and has kept mobile workers in mind with their refurb.

It provides the perfect spot for those in between meetings at the coast who need to recharge with a great coffee and work remotely or those just looking to stoke up the brain cells with a fresh environment – the view and brew will definitely provide some inspiration. Rooms are also available to hire for meetings and events and it’s good to know you will be able to get an excellent coffee for your guests!

To find out more visit

Iconic Towers of Reculver, Herne Bay

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Unique position drives growth in Kent and Medway

Members News

The launch of the Kent Property Market Report 2017. (l-r) David Gurton and Mark Coxon of Caxtons; Mark Dance, KCC Cabinet Member for Economic Development; Ron Roser, Chairman of Caxtons; guest speaker Ian Piper, Interim Chief Executive of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation; and Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent. Produced by Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, Kent County Council and Locate in Kent, the report was launched at the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel. The report says that the strength of the UK economy, coupled with the county’s unique position and comparative affordability, are driving the growth of Kent and Medway’s office, business park and industrial sectors. There is also a high level of activity in housing markets, with a strong message going out to residential developers that the county is open for business and an attractive place to deliver new homes. The report adds that, while Kent and Medway are not immune to the

economic uncertainty caused by Brexit, business activity and occupier demand remain robust and have spread across the county in the past year. The report states: “Kent is in an increasingly favourable business location, given the relatively more affordable cost of business space and homes in the county compared with London and other parts of the South East, and it will remain a vital gateway to continental Europe, regardless of the impact of Brexit. “With substantial planned investment and developments – such as Ebbsfleet Garden City – of national scale, Kent and Medway contain some of the most exciting economic growth prospects in the South East.”

Affordability and accessibility to London and Europe are driving strong growth in key commercial sectors in Kent and Medway, according to the Kent Property Market Report 2017.

Ron Roser, Chairman of Caxtons, said: “The county is home to business locations with a critical mass of high growth industries, and towns with a cogent regeneration story, both providing investment options for investors.” Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development Mark Dance said: “I appreciate that for businesses the county has not been left untouched by the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit. But I’m pleased to say that business activity and demand has remained strong and, importantly, we have seen a continual improvement in market confidence extending right across the county over the last year.”

“This high demand is unlikely to change over the next few years as Brexit negotiations continue, largely because of Kent’s fantastic connectivity, competitive costs, wide range of skills and exceptional quality of life.”

Striking the right balance

The Kent Property Market Report is supported by Clague Architects, Cripps, DHA Planning, Kreston Reeves, Handelsbanken and RICS.

Our focus is on working with everyone involved in construction to ensure that projects are able to go ahead with minimal issues, while providing the maximum protection to wildlife and the environment. In 2016, the team came together with a vision for a business that would promote environmentally responsible building through collaboration and innovation whilst protecting the environment. The team have a varied professional history, from managing a previous business, to freelance works, sales and customer service, all skills which they utilise within their daily tasks within Fellgrove.

• Close working with all involved, from builders to architects to ensure all legislations and policies are followed. The team take pride in their problem-solving abilities often being able to provide better and more efficient ways of completing tasks. We all enjoy the variety of challenges and the practical problem solving, that comes with project management and the opportunity this presents when meeting a variety of people. This is important to us, as we strive to create a reputation synonymous with integrity, collaboration, practicality and problem solvers. The team at Fellgrove believe that the best outcomes happen when they are working with their clients to offer practical solutions that benefit people and the environment.

At Fellgrove, we understand that housing and infrastructure requirements have risen dramatically in recent years, while at same time the need to protect the natural environment has become all the more important.


Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent, said: “Interest from companies looking to move into the county or expand remains strong, and this puts increasing pressure on the reducing level of commercial stock across the whole of Kent.

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Fellgrove’s greatest objective is to educate land owners, and those involved within the construction industry, in the environmental aspects involved within the planning and building process. Developing land is not straightforward and this is where Fellgrove’s knowledge base is required. An environmental assessment is important to ensure that planning legislation is adhered to, while protection measures such as reptile fencing and wildlife relocation are vital to prevent harm to wildlife and the environment. Many people are unaware of the vast amounts of wildlife which thrive in undeveloped areas- such as reptiles, bats, badgers, as well as protected plant species. The team at Fellgrove prefer to be an active partner when working with clients, developers and land owners, discussing the aims and objectives of the build proposals. Fellgrove can project manage and help remove the unknowns.

We are driven by seeing the progression of our built environment as we move forward to integrate green infrastructure for the benefit of people and wildlife. The team’s aim is to be a Positive Influence and change people’s perspectives on how things can be done.” This is achieved by a well drafted project management plan, where key provisions are included and demonstrated, for instance:

• Have a plan set for the protection and relocation where necessary of wildlife which maybe away from the build site. • Support in bringing together the correct team to implement the project. • Ensure habitat appraisals and surveys are carried out during the correct times of the year.

Fellgrove is an environmentally based practice that offers consultancy, contracting services, project monitoring and management to commercial clients. For more information please feel free to contact Fellgrove on 01795 22875 / Alternatively delve into our website to find out more.

Damian Green addresses guests at Kent Business Leaders’ Dinner

Damian Green MP, First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, was the keynote speaker at the Kent Business Leaders’ Dinner in November.

Held at the recently renovated Eastwell Manor the dinner event allowed leaders of Kent’s top businesses and organisations, alongside Kent Invicta Chamber Patrons, to exchange opinions and ideas in a confidential and supportive environment. The evening kicked off with William Simmonds, Group Operations Director for Champneys Health Resorts welcoming guests to the hotel which has undergone a £10 million transformation since its purchase in October 2016. He outlined how he and his team had been updating the property in order to create a luxury contemporary spa resort in line with Champneys’ worldwide reputation. William outlined the vision for Eastwell Manor and its commitment to supporting local businesses in its supply chain. Food served at the dinner had been locally sourced with venison coming from Eastwell’s parkland

and wine from nearby winemakers. Gusbourne Estate. After dinner, keynote speaker Damian Green MP outlined his thoughts on the Brexit negotiations and focused on the important decisions that need to be made in coming months. He also spoke passionately about the desperate need for housing and the government’s commitment to seeing 300,000 new homes built every year. Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber, commented ’We were so lucky to have Damian with us. Our guests appreciated his honest appraisal of the Brexit negotiations and he gave some engaging responses to challenging questions from the room.’ The next Kent Business Leaders Dinner will be held in January. For details contact:

KIMS Hospital, Here for the People of Kent Patron Comment

Dan Lock Sales Manager, KIMS Hospital KIMS Hospital was built on the premise of being a hospital for the people of Kent, ensuring that we could offer our local community the services of a big London hospital on their doorstep.

I joined the company a little over 12 months ago and I can say with certainty this is something we do. Working with over 250 Consultants across 35 specialties including orthopaedics and cardiology. We are ever developing our services and investing in new technology to ensure we are providing safe, outstanding care for our patients. In my role as Sales Manager, I see the important role we play as the largest independent hospital in Kent in providing access to healthcare for the local community. I feel I have the responsibility to ensure this is extended to local businesses. Working closely with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, and acting as their Health & Wellbeing Patron, has enabled us to identify how we can help local businesses. Having healthy and motivated employees is fundamental to the success of any business. Across the UK, 42%1 of employees state a health condition affected their work “a great deal” or “to some extent”, engaging employees in their wellbeing and providing prompt access to healthcare must be a focus for any business, irrespective of size. It’s well-known that healthier employees are absent less, recover from sickness quicker and are more engaged in delivering their organisation’s objectives. At KIMS Hospital we recognise this and want to help local businesses keep their staff healthy and in work by providing prompt access to services such as: private GP, diagnostic tests and highly experienced consultants. In Kent, it is estimated that 257,286 people live with back pain2, so we have developed a

new service, led by our specialist physical therapists, dedicated to diagnosing and treating back and neck pain and getting people back to work and doing what they love. Easier said than done you might think, but at KIMS Hospital we like to think we are leading by example. We know first-hand the benefits of investing in our staff’s health and wellbeing and in 2016, were recognised for doing so. We were one of the first healthcare organisations in Kent to receive the “Excellence Award”3 for the importance we place on the health and wellbeing of our 300 plus staff. We take our commitment to local businesses very seriously and believe we have a key role to play in delivering economic growth in Kent by helping their staff stay healthy and in work. A happy, healthy workforce leads to happy and satisfied customers, which is why 99% of our patients would recommend us.

We would be delighted to show you around KIMS Hospital to see our facilities and discuss how we can help your business, you can contact me on: 01622 538 221 or References:


1. Department of Work and Pensions: Health and Wellbeing 2014 2. Arthritis Research UK, Kent: Prevalence of back pain in England and local authorities, accessed on 05.10.17, available at south-east/kent.aspx 3. Excellence Award from The Workplace Wellbeing Charter and The Kent Healthy Business Awards is part of a national initiative funded by Public Health England

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Members News

Hotel recognised for its support to young people

Folkestone’s Grand Hotel has received an Employer Chartermark Certificate for its contribution towards the education and training of young people in the hospitality industry. The certificate was presented to the hotel’s General Manager Rob Richardson by Roger Gough, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Young People, and Leo Gagliano, of the Hilton Hotel Group, and Chair of the Kent and Medway Hospitality & Tourism Guild. This new award scheme has been developed by the Kent and Medway Employer Guilds, which have been formed to bring together education & training providers and employers. The Chartermark Award was introduced this year to recognise companies that make a significant contribution to training and development, including work placements, internships,

Getting Getting iitt rright ight Successful businesses need the right people, so the appropriate recruitment, remuneration and management policies are crucial. It all costs time and money if you get it wrong. Whitehead Monckton’s Employment Law team specialise in supporting businesses, helping them to develop their teams and manage staf taffff performance, all against the background of ever changing legislation and procedures. So check out how we can help you to get it right ghtt – simply contact us today.

Tel: T el: 01622 0 698047 E-mail www .whitehead-mo (no. 0 8366029), re gistered in England England W Whitehead hitehead M Monckton onckton Limited Limited (no. 08366029), registered Wales. Registered Registered office office 72 72 King King S treet, M aidstone, Ke nt, M E14 1 BL. & Wales. Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1BL. Authorised and and regulated regulated by by the the Solicitors Solicitors Regulation Regulation Authority Authority under under Authorised no. 608279. 608279. no. TB TB


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traineeships, apprenticeships and support to local schools. Rob Richardson of the Grand Hotel said “We are always very happy to support young people who are interested in careers in the hospitality industry and the progress of young people brings its own rewards.” Roger Gough, of the county council, said: “These awards provide an important recognition of the contribution that employers can make to young people’s careers. The Grand Hotel has made a significant impact and we are pleased to recognise this through a Chartermark Award.”

Mayor of Maidstone supports KIMS Hospital’s Breast Clinic

October was Breast Care Awareness Month and the Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Malcolm Greer, visited KIMS Hospital to pledge his support for their Bupaaccredited Breast Clinic and diagnostic equipment.

The clinic provides women in Kent with access to a team of specialists, led by Consultant Breast Surgeons and supported by a Macmillan Breast Care Nurse Specialist. Cllr Greer said: “Having a fantastic facility and specialist Breast Clinic at KIMS Hospital, the largest independent hospital in Kent, for women experiencing symptoms is vitally important.” Nada Tappouni, Lead Mammographer, KIMS Hospital, said: “We understand that if a woman has symptoms relating to her breasts it is a

very concerning time for her and wants to see experts who can help straight away. With ultrasound and mammogram onsite, we can offer diagnostic services in the same appointment.”

Nearly half of the new parade will be open space and parkland

One of the most eye-catching features of the plans for Princes Parade in Hythe is the large amount of open space included in the scheme. Almost half of the seafront site is being retained as open space, nearly 5 hectares out of a total area of 10.7 hectares. “This dispels the myth that Princes Parade is about to disappear under a sea of concrete,” says Cllr David Monk, Leader of Shepway District Council. “The plans for a new swimming pool and leisure centre understandably attract a lot of attention but the proposals to create wonderful public open spaces, fully accessible for all to enjoy, are equally important.” The plan includes: Western Park - The largest area of planned open space is at the

western end of the site, next to the golf course and the footbridge over the canal. This expanse of green parkland will be predominantly grasslands and meadow, plus a children’s play area. Central Park - An attractive central public open space will be created to link with the existing central footbridge that connects to Seabrook Road, providing a pedestrian access from the bridge to the newly-widened promenade and beach. The Green Link - A linear open space will run the entire length of the canal bank, separating the canal from the re-located road and the new buildings on the site.

Pentascape returns to The Business Terrace in strategic growth plans and new service launch

Kent-based website and technology company Pentascape has announced a move back to The Business Terrace, the Maidstone-based business hub where they had their first office. When the company launched in 2015, it occupied a small office at The Business Terrace. The location was ideal for their needs as a start-up. The company moved elsewhere in 2016 due to rapid growth, since The Business Terrace was at-capacity at the time. However, now that a new block has opened with spaces suitable for more established businesses, Pentascape has returned with its team. The move has given the company a fresh opportunity to develop and refine its services. A key focus for Pentascape is

on facilitating business growth, an ethos which is well-aligned with that of The Business Terrace. Director and consultant Liz Willmott said “It’s great to be going back to our roots with our brand new office in The Business Terrace. With the many start up business services available at the Terrace, this fits well with our commitment to give back to the business community by sharing our expertise with other Kent businesses. Plus, it’s an excellent place for our clients to come and visit.”

Members News

At nearly double the width of the current promenade at 11m wide and with vehicles rerouted inland, pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, anglers and other beach users can look forward to enjoying an attractive, traffic-free waterfront route that is landscaped to the highest standards. The application submitted to Shepway District Council includes a new leisure centre consisting of a six-lane 25m swimming pool, teaching pool, spectator seating for up to 100 people, three exercise studios and a fully-equipped 100-station gym to replace the existing pool in South Road.

About 50 high quality homes, including some 45 affordable units, could be built to address local housing needs and to help fund the delivery of the new leisure centre and public open space. The plans also include opportunities for small-scale commercial uses, such as a café, restaurant and a boutique hotel to expand the range of services offered at the seafront and bring new activity to the area. Cllr Monk, said: “This scheme will transform a contaminated and underused site into a terrific new leisure centre, with beautiful parkland that will enhance the canal for people to enjoy for generations to come.”

Snowdogs to be unleashed in Ashford

Ashford will become like a scene from The Snowman and The Snowdog, the animated sequel to Raymond Briggs’ classic story The Snowman, as a magical art trail arrives in the borough. A minimum of 25 giant individually designed and beautifully decorated Snowdog sculptures will be placed around the borough next year to create a world-class, sculpture trail that will encourage everyone to discover Ashford. The trail will be on display for ten weeks from September to November, building a buzz around Ashford’s iconic locations and public open spaces and creating a festive feel in the lead up to Christmas. After the ten-week display, each Snowdog sculpture will be auctioned by Pilgrims Hospices to help raise funds for the local charity. Local and national artists and celebrities will bring the sculptures to life and give them their own

personality by creating a unique design for each dog. The Snowdogs Discover Ashford 2018 project is delivered through a partnership supported by the local council with Wild in Art; creative producers of spectacular, massappeal public art events and Penguin Ventures, part of Penguin Random House and owners of The Snowman and The Snowdog brand. Organisers are talking to local organisations, groups and businesses who they hope will become sponsors. Sponsors will not only receive a variety of promotion and marketing, but will also be invited to a special event in spring 2018 where they’ll find the perfect artist to bring their bespoke Snowdog sculpture to life. Thinking Business


Storage technologies A new way present positive of reaching opportunities for rural businesses your electricity generated by solar panels having increased by 525 per cent since customers With 2012, a leading Kent land and property expert believes now is the right time for rural Members News

Meet me:now - a brand new way of reaching your customers. It’s about Time.

The right customer is one who wants your service at the time that you are available. Using our platform, you don’t just advertise what you do, you tell potential customers when you’re free. And unlike ‘traditional’ advertising, you’re not competing with everyone; our time-based search means you’re only up against services that do the same thing, in the same place and with availability at the same time. The me:now platform can even help take the sting out of late cancellations that would otherwise leave you with dead time. If you’ve worked hard building mailing lists and Facebook pages, me:now can help you make the most of them. For your customers, they can forget about trawling through pages of Google results hoping to find the service they want (plumber, dog walker, hairdresser, accountant, tattooist, tattoo removal expert...) at a time they’re free. They search for a service using the me:now app, pick a day that suits them, and will only be shown businesses that say they are available on that day. Customers pay nothing, and the businesses that use me:now are charged a basic flat fee. Nobody gets ripped off and nobody gets preferential treatment. That said… Chamber members who help us test, will get our full service for free for a whole year. That’s 20 laserfocused adverts every 30 days. me:now - it’s about time.


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businesses to consider using energy storage technologies. Following the publication of Upgrading Our Energy System, by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Ashfordbased Hobbs Parker Property Consultants believes there will be a growing demand for new energy storage technologies by businesses as the cost of purchasing them falls. However, it is arguing that the Government needs to simplify the planning regime in order to help those businesses who have invested in solar panels and solar farms, or who are considering it. In the South East, the amount of electricity generated by solar panels rose from 213 GWh in 2012 to 1,332.7GWh in 2015, a rise of 525 per cent. Jon Rimmer, Chairman at the Hobbs Parker Group, said: “We are aware of

a growing number of landowners who have been approached by developers specialising in batterybased energy storage technologies and we welcome the Government’s plans to promote their wider use. More landowners might be encouraged to use renewable energy to power their buildings if there’s a strong business case. “The combination of small scale solar installations with battery storage technologies provides an exciting opportunity for rural businesses to reduce their bills, but the planning system must be supportive of this emerging technology for farmers and rural landowners. “With the Government having also announced its aspiration to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 it is vital that we capitalise on the opportunities presented by

renewable energy in order to take pressure off our National Grid.” Owners of solar panels are increasingly turning to battery storage technology to store any excess energy produced by their solar panels. These systems can be located on the same site as the panels while owners will be able to control when they use the power generated by the renewable technology. These technologies mean landowners have the potential to power their buildings entirely from low carbon renewable energy sources. They will still be able to access electricity from the National Grid, while at the same time making considerable financial savings on their energy bills from the electricity they generate and store for later use.

Business supports parents

Sarah Webb and Michelle Cooke established Purple Parenting Ltd in 2014. Here, they talk about their business.

We provide a bespoke service to parents, offering guidance and practical strategies on children’s behaviour through home visits, telephone contacts, group work and workshops. Additionally, we deliver staff training to school and Early Years practitioners, enhancing skills and knowledge and supporting personal development.

Having worked with families for many years within the NHS and Social Care, we wanted to provide flexible support for families who would not traditionally access other services. Setting up Purple Parenting was a natural progression for us. So why ‘Purple’ Parenting? We had so many truly awful ideas! The ‘parenting’ bit was easy, but we got completely hung up on the other word. Loving a bit of alliteration, we had many laughs discussing ‘p’ words, but we wanted something different and memorable that had a strong image. Purple has ‘the calming influence of blue, and the energy of red’ and

Kent creativity is rewarded

represents the future and moving forward. We also loved Jenny Joseph’s poem, ‘Warning – When I am an old woman I shall wear purple’ and the sentiment of freedom behind it. Starting our own company has involved learning new skills and taken us in directions we had never considered, but underlying everything, the passion for parenting work remains. Being a parent can be rewarding and enjoyable, but also challenging, exhausting and overwhelming at times. Being able to walk with families as they see positive changes is a great privilege and one we never take for granted.

Kent creative agencies came out on top at the national Solutions Awards at London’s Café de Paris. Among the winners were two of Kent’s leading creative agencies, Lemon Creative and Bridge Media. Canterbury-based Lemon Creative continued their four-year run of Solutions Awards trophies, winning the Packaging category for their sales-doubling packaging solution for the Site Tuff Dry Diamond Core Set, for Premier Diamond Products. Lemon Creative’s Creative Director Drew Selman said: “We were delighted to be nominated for this, but weren’t sure we would get to the final, as we were up against some

much more glamorous products. But this packaging really is testament to the power of great design.” Steve Webb from Kent-based client Premier Diamond Products said: “This new packaging has not only resulted in increased sales but in a notoriously competitive environment we’re actually seeing product loyalty developing.” Bridge Media Group, the Sevenoaksbased creative print company won the Design category for a Press Kit for Sony’s Wipeout Mega Collection.

Drew added: “It was great to see Bridge Media win, too. We have partnered with them on client projects so it feels like a win for Kent’s collaborative partnerships as well. There’s so much amazing creative talent in Kent, but because we’re so close to London, we sometimes get overlooked, so it’s good to see it recognised at national level.” The national Solutions Awards are run by Earth Island, a media, marketing and publishing company based in Kent.

Spotlight on Ashford

Spotlight on Ashford

The AshfordFOR campaign: Damian Green and Cllr Gerry Clarkson

Sharing our success story


Thinking Business

Ashford’s economic success continues to grow as its reputation as the number one business location in Kent builds.

It is not just the skyline of Ashford that is changing. Ashford Borough Council’s approach to stimulating investment has been a true gamechanger for the public sector.

Spotlight on Ashford

Artists impression of Elwick Place

Ashford is witnessing investment on an unprecedented scale – £668m across the borough, of which £520m is within the town centre. The driving force behind many of these projects is the borough council. In 2013 the Leader of the council set up the Ashford Strategic Delivery Board to support the delivery of some key projects critical to the future economic growth and prosperity of the borough. The projects, known as “The Big 8”, are all progressing through the

council’s intervention, impetus and innovation. To help explain this, the council has developed the 'AshfordFor' investment campaign. Investors and business owners have come forward as storytellers, providing real-life success stories using peer-to-peer marketing to share key messages with target stakeholders. Breakfast investor events in both London and Ashford attended by prominent MPs have sold the Ashford brand and the borough’s potential.

“The council has developed the 'AshfordFor' investment campaign. Investors and business owners have come forward as storytellers, providing real-life success stories using peer-to-peer marketing to share key messages with target stakeholders. Breakfast investor events in both London and Ashford attended by prominent MPs have sold the Ashford brand and the borough’s potential.”

Major projects

The council is funding the construction of the 100,000 sq ft flagship town-centre leisure development at Elwick Place following an agreement reached with developers Stanhope plc. It includes a Picturehouse cinema, 58-bedroom Travelodge hotel and seven-restaurant complex and makes a bold statement

about the council’s stake in the success of Ashford town centre. Buildings are emerging from the ground and are due to be open by Christmas 2018. To enable the first phase of development at the Commercial Quarter, an important business hub for the south east adjacent to Ashford International Station,

Cont. page 18

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Spotlight on Ashford

developer and manager of designer outlets, McArthurGlen, has secured planning permission to add up to 50 new stores including six restaurants and cafes, an uplift of around 100,000 sq ft, to the Ashford Designer Outlet. Offering more of the best names in luxury, premium and designer fashion this will complement the retail offer in Ashford’s thriving town centre, where vacancy rates are at 7.9% (an historic low and below the national average), and create hundreds of jobs.

Cont. from page 17

the council has underwritten the cost of two floors of the new 80,000 sq ft office block the first constructed in Ashford for decades. Working in partnership, Quinn Estates and George Wilson Developments are ahead of schedule and the block is on course for completion in the spring of 2018, approximately a year since build-work began.

Ashford College

approximately 1,000 students on the doorstep of the town centre and footfall continues to increase. It will equip Ashford with a skilled workforce for the future, and opportunities are assured for these bright students. To the east of Victoria Way, Europe's leading owner,

Planning permission for 660 homes and new amenities across two sites in Ashford has been approved, bringing over 200 jobs to the area in the process and creating a new community on Victoria Way. Crest Nicholson’s Finberry development, a new community on the southeastern outskirts of Ashford, continues to be recognised as a quality development. The complex section 106 agreement for the 5,750-home development at Chilmington Green, which will come forward over the next 20 years, has been signed, and work has already started on site.

Ashford International

Infrastructure improvements

Provision of a new motorway junction at Junction10a of the M20 is progressing, with hearings in public complete and the examining authority preparing a report on the application to the Secretary of State for Transport. Approval would mean that the longawaited junction will be a catalyst for economic and commercial development in Ashford with funding in place. A new signalling solution is being installed, with full funding secured, to ensure that Ashford International station can receive the next generation Eurostar trains. Ashford’s status as an international town is therefore secured. The council has received the support of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership in this significant endeavour.

With 75% of space already let, the building is poised to add the latest chapter to the success of Kent’s International Town. Its prime central location in Dover Place, adjacent to Ashford International Station and the newly opened £26m Ashford College campus has made this prestigious site, one of the most sought-after business locations in the county. The new £26million pound Ashford College campus, which opened this September, was brought forward sooner through £3m of council grant funding. It now puts


Thinking Business

Aerial of Ashford International Station and Commercial Quarter

Orbital Park

Orbital Park, Ashford is a new development by Salmon Harvester Properties and benefits from a prime location fronting the A2070, which provides a direct link to junction 10 of the M20 less than a mile away.

The soon to be expanded Designer Outlet

Supporting business

Working with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, the council has funded and launched a pioneering new support programme for ambitious businesses. ScaleUp Ashford is an exclusive, tailored programme of support for businesses located in Ashford that have the ambition and capacity to grow. Six applicants who have the potential for high-growth have been selected. They will receive access to a localised team of experts specifically chosen to help address and overcome the key barriers to growth, including international trade, finance, HR, property and legal issues. They will also receive grant and funding application support and be part of a network of likeminded business owners, enabling them to share common challenges, best practice and collaboration opportunities. This is just one part of the council’s continued commitment to developing economic prosperity across the borough – the cornerstone of its Five-year Corporate Plan 2015-2020.

Tackling the big issues

And Ashford is leading the way in solving the difficult issues that all Kent boroughs face. In conjunction with Kent County Council (KCC), Ashford’s Civil Enforcement Officers now have the power to fine and clamp illegally parked HGVs as part of an 18-month lorry clamping scheme.

Phase 1, known as Axiom, reached practical completion in 2016, and comprises 55,588 sq ft across seven speculatively developed industrial/trade units, providing much needed new industrial accommodation to Ashford. Units range from 2,900 sq ft up to a maximum of 25,108 sq ft. The units are built to shell specification with 8m clear internal height and one electric loading door per unit. Lettings have already been concluded to established trade and industrial occupiers, namely Howdens, Meggitt, Hire Station and Specialised Roofline Supplies. There are now three remaining units which are ready for occupation. Units 7 & 8 comprise 12,528 sq ft and 12,580 sq ft

Spotlight on Ashford respectively and can be taken together, to provide 25,108 sq ft, or separately. The final unit, Unit 10, extends to 2,900 sq ft. All 3 units are available to lease at the quoting rent of £10.50 per sq ft. Phase 2 comprises 2.71 acres of available industrial land adjacent to Phase 1. Plots have already been sold told to South East Coast Ambulance Service and Tavis House respectively, who are yet to build anything on their portion of land. The remaining two plots (2.1 & 2.3) are available for sale or for leasehold and freehold design and build units to suit an occupier's requirements.

For further information, please contact Altus Group or BNP Paribas Real Estate.

Orbital Park

The initiative is being led by KCC and has been developed by working with the Department for Transport. It gives authority for clamps to be fitted for first-time offences. This stance has been taken due to the particular issues residents and businesses face from lorries parking illegally around our businesses parks and on a section of the A20.


It is clear that there is a dynamism in Ashford and Kent’s largest borough continues to create a positive narrative as it looks to the future. Find out more about the opportunities in Ashford by visiting: Thinking Business


Ashford Commercial Quarter (ACQ ONE 38) – Now Open for Business

As a place for business and lifestyle opportunities, Ashford has it all – from fast transport connections, millions of pounds in inward investment and growth, to culture and lifestyle.

By high speed train, Ashford is just 38 minutes from London and less than two hours from Paris by Eurostar, with easy access to the rest of Europe by road and rail. Ashford’s fantastic location puts it in prime position for businesses looking to tap into international and regional markets. When it comes to making land acquisitions, Ashford already had a head-start for Quinn Estates. On top of the town being well connected, and


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a great place to live, advantageous commercial property rates made the decision to invest easy. ACQ ONE 38 is a grade 'A' office block in a prime position in the centre of the town and adjacent to Ashford International Train Station. The first phase is a landmark building offering modern office and retail space. Set over six floors, the scheme offers a contemporary working environment for dynamic and ambitious businesses. Quinn Estates has marked a significant milestone with 75% of space already let. The building is poised to add the latest chapter to the commercial success of Kent’s International Town.

Knowing that potential businesses can access homes and vibrant communities for their staff is an imperative in development. Alongside a successful commercial offer, Chilmington Green will be Ashford’s first Garden City, designed and built to meet the needs of a 21st century community. The development will herald new opportunities for a healthier, more prosperous and safer lifestyle for its residents. The average home in the town is £284,210 – a modest figure compared to other desirable locations in Kent – and favourable to the current average of £314,700. Ashford has experienced a

value change of £8,065, which is a 2.63% increase.

Ashford is a proven fantastic place to live, with nine in ten residents claiming they are satisfied with the local area as a place to live. It offers a familyfriendly alternative to people wanting to escape their busy city lifestyle, but also wanting to remain connected to the capital and the rest of the country. With great schools and college, a busy town centre and leisure offer, spacious and affordable housing and plenty of business space to grow, Ashford is a vibrant and attractive place to live and work. For more information, visit:

Big Interview

Big Interview

Simon James


KIMS Hospital


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Hospital moves onto the next stage in its development

It is three years since KIMS Hospital opened in Kent and in that time it has gone from strength to strength, helped by a key Government change in the way healthcare is delivered.

The catalyst for the hospital’s success was the decision by the Government to open up the sector for elective surgery so that independent hospitals could be more involved. As a result, since opening in 2014, KIMS Hospital has become the largest independent hospital in Kent, providing safe, outstanding quality care to growing numbers of patients able to now make a choice between having their treatment in an NHS or independent hospital. Opened primarily for the people of Kent, it has 99 beds, five operating theatres, an endoscopy suite and the only independent interventional cardiology facility in Kent. The hospital works with more than 200 Consultants across 35 specialities and employs more than 300 people, caring for selffunded, medically insured and patients funded by the NHS. KIMS Hospital’s growth has occurred under the leadership of Simon James, who joined as CEO in 2015 from Nuffield Health where he was Hospital Director for Manor Hospital in Oxford. He said: “The biggest trend we have seen since opening is the growth in popularity of our services. “It is not a case of competing with the NHS but working together. Healthcare is in a state of flux. There is an acceptance that where

once healthcare was free at the point of delivery, this is changing due to patient expectations. While the local NHS hospitals are fantastic at offering all forms of care to patients, they are struggling to meet local demand, leading to increasing numbers of patients having to wait over 18 weeks for treatment. Today many people, particularly those in business, cannot afford to be off work for long periods of time. Prompt access to healthcare is key. We are also seeing more and more people choosing to self-pay for treatment to get prompt access to healthcare at a time convenient to them. “It is a case of saying to a NHS hospital ‘you do what you do best and we will do what we do best.’ I am a great believer in working together. I feel passionately that we have an important role to play in helping to provide joined up and efficient healthcare across the NHS and independent sector in Kent to avoid duplication. We work closely with the NHS Commissioner’s and Hospitals and other strategic groups to support and shape healthcare provision in Kent and that’s why I also sit on these bodies: Kent & Medway Economic Partnership; Kent Medical Campus Delivery Board; Partnership Board of Kent and Medway STP;” Simon’s belief in the independent sector and NHS working together was developed during a career

“I believe in being part of the community. We support local businesses where we can, we buy our food locally and other services locally whenever possible, we support local charities and we work with organisations to promote health and wellbeing.”

which has included 15 years at MD level in UK healthcare and included helping to turn round businesses that were struggling to operate in what is a very complex environment. His approach on taking the job at KIMS Hospital was to focus on getting the basics right before moving on to more ambitious activities. Simon said: “When I came to the job there were ambitious plans to do very complex surgery but my argument was that we had to get the basics right first. “You would not set up a phone business and begin with the most complex tablet, you would start with something more straightforward, and we have done the same with healthcare. “To give you an example we have focused on specialities like orthopaedic surgery, urology, gynaecology and general surgery and have also concentrated on getting the experience right for the patient, working as ’One Team’ to ensure that the patient has the best experience possible when they come to us. “Now that we have got the basics right, we are also working on the more complex specialities, as it is the right time to develop our services further, taking on more complex cases. We have invested, for example, in cardiology and cancer services. “Another step we have taken, is making our services easily accessible to our patients, enabling hubs of care to develop outside of the hospital setting and into the local community. We run three orthopaedic outreach clinics across Kent, based in Whitstable, Ashford and Sevenoaks, providing access to orthopaedic consultants close to where our patients live. “It can take a new hospital five to seven years to become truly

Big Interview sustainable but we have done well and the time is right to develop our services further to meet the needs of local people and businesses.” Also important for the hospital is its role in the wider community. KIMS Hospital is a Health & Wellbeing Patron with Kent Invicta Chamber Commerce, supporting local business and championing the health and wellbeing of employees. In addition, Maidstone United Football Club and KIMS Hospital recently announced a partnership that will see the hospital provide medical services, including diagnostic scans and injury treatments, to the club’s professional players. The hospital is just a ten minute drive from Maidstone’s ground, The Gallagher Stadium and, as well as performing scans and treatments, the hospital will provide screening services such as ECGs and Echocardiograms in the hospital’s Cardiology department. The screening aims to detect and prevent any underlying health issues and maintain players’ fitness. Simon said: “Supporting the local community sits at the heart of KIMS Hospital’s ethos and supporting the football club is part of that. “I believe in being part of the community. We support local businesses where we can, we buy our food locally and other services locally whenever possible, we support local charities and we work with organisations to promote health and wellbeing.” Also important to him is ensuring that his staff are happy, a key strategic objective he set to work together as ‘One Team’ making KIMS Hospital a great place to work. A 2016 survey showed high levels of satisfaction with their employer and the hospital has a high staff retention rate. In addition, 99% of patients said that they would recommend KIMS Hospital. Simon said: “I have a simple philosophy, that our staff have a responsibility to the hospital and we to them. There will be times when a staff member has to lean on the hospital, maybe because something has happened at home and we have to support them. “I know that you can’t whistle when you come to work every day but if you can get people whistling 70-80 per cent of the time that is good. We have fantastic staff and KIMS Hospital is proving itself a successful business, most importantly meeting the healthcare needs of local people.”

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Here for the people of Kent The largest independent hospital in Kent providing prompt, safe, quality care for our patients.

Why choose us: • • • • • • •

Call: Email: Web:

health & wellbeing

Putting health at the top of the business agenda

Cover Feature

More and more employers are recognising their responsibility to help keep their staff healthy, a trend that has led to the growth of specialist organisations that can offer expert advice. Kent is well placed to meet the need with a number of organisations working in the field, including the KIMS Hospital and One Ashford. In this special feature, we seek views on the challenges presented by health and wellbeing from a range of experts. Thinking Business


health & wellbeing

Cover Feature

Businesses are recognising good employee health as a core asset

Britain’s best businesses are investing in health and wellbeing at work, recognising this is vitally important to sustaining success, says Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). Latest annual figures released on 1 November 2017 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using Labour Force Survey Statistics make for stark reading. Ill health caused by work takes a heavy toll on our economy and society. There’s more we should do to encourage health and wellbeing at work. In 2016/17, an estimated 1.3 million workers suffered a work-related illness (new or longstanding), with around 80% either musculoskeletal disorders or stress, depression or anxiety. Occupational lung diseases accounted for 90% of the estimated 13,000 deaths linked


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to past exposures at work – often decades ago – which is why IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign, supported by over 200 organisations, was set up to beat occupational cancers. Mental ill health is also on the rise, now a primary cause of absence from work in the UK affecting one in six workers in Great Britain. The HSE attributes 49% of all working days lost due to ill health to stress, depression or anxiety. This may be why Stephen Martin, Director-General of the Institute of Directors (IoD), chose to speak about tackling mental ill health in the workplace on 20 November at the IOSH 2017 conference.

Later that day, Matthew Taylor, who reviewed modern working practices for the government this year, joined us to discuss the safety and health implications of Good Work, and a follow-on investigation by IOSH indicating nonpermanent workers are less well looked after. Then Tony Bickerstaff, Chief Financial Officer of Costain Group explained why he dedicates much of his time and attention to promoting and improving the health and wellbeing of company staff as well as over 30,000 workers in the company’s supply chain. The costs of workplace mental health are now widely-

discussed. The governmentcommissioned StevensonFarmer review of mental health and employers, Thriving at Work, on 26 October revealed the full extent of the issue in the UK, estimating poor mental health costs the economy up to £99 billion per year. Stephen Martin of the IoD puts “the scale of mental health problems at work” and the working time lost to this as equivalent to 75,000 people not working for a year. What else motivates these business leaders and finance chiefs to care how employees feel and to support their wellbeing?

One answer is proven performance improvements. Another is the “competitive advantage” of attracting and retaining the very best employees and encouraging them to thrive in their jobs. Former HR senior executive with multinational giant Unilever, Geoff McDonald tells the personal story of why he now advocates, campaigns for and consults full time on workplace mental health. “If a flower doesn’t bloom, there is nothing wrong with the flower. It is the environment in which it lives,” he says, describing people’s energy as the “most limiting resource” within organisations and something business leaders should look to enhance. “We can have knowledge, skills and behaviours but if we don’t have energy, we cannot perform.” Great work has been done here in Britain to improve

health & wellbeing

workplace safety. Now it is time to do the same with health and wellbeing, including gaining further engagement among business owners, upskilling people on spotting the signs of poor mental health and how to treat it, and shifting the narrative. Organisations can and must do more to enable those affected to return to work, and IOSH has sponsored research on returning to work after suffering from common mental disorders as well as guidance for employers in its occupational health toolkit. •

Cover Feature

Workplace mental health and wellbeing; the elephant in the room

When we talk about mental health and wellbeing, we tend to think of a horizontal line; a person is either well or unwell, they have either good or poor mental health.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health is the world’s leading chartered professional body for people responsible for safety and health in the workplace. It has more than 47,000 members in more than 130 countries.

Right now one in six employees is dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression or stress

It’s time to put workplace wellbeing at the top of your agenda

West Kent Mind will work with you to create a bespoke package focussed on improved workplace wellbeing, creating a culture of openness and initiating acceptance around mental health and wellbeing. West Kent Mind’s MH4 Business programme offers a range of blended training solutions, education, awareness raising and wellbeing strategies designed to equip your whole workforce with the skills and knowledge they need to support their own and other people’s mental health. With stress being the leading cause of workplace absence, there has never been a more important time to invest in your workforce.

West Kent Mind are offering a 60 minute Introduction to Workplace Wellbeing for up to 30 employees at a cost of £300

“AXA PPP Healthcare are proud to have worked closely with West Kent Mind over recent years to help develop and promote our internal health & wellbeing culture. Their expertise and passion for supporting good mental health has been an invaluable addition to our programme and our staff have reciprocated in kind by voting them as our ‘Employee Chosen Charity’ for 2016 For more information please visit Or contact Lucy Adams Please follow us on Twitter @WestKentMind Stuart Harman, Culture and Wellbeing Manager at AXA PPP Healthcare said:

West Kent

We need to start considering mental health as a graph, with two axes. That original horizontal line, intersecting with a vertical one, representing high or low mental wellbeing. All of us fluctuate on this graph as we go through life; events and circumstances can push and pull us at different stages affecting our mood and ability to thrive and this is demonstrated below. Research conducted by the mental health charity Mind found that more than one in five employees had ‘called in sick’ to avoid work. When asked how workplace stress affected them, nearly 1 in 3 didn’t feel able to talk openly with their line manager about stress. More than half of employers would like to improve staff wellbeing, but didn’t feel they had the right training and guidance to do so.

Being at work should bring reward and satisfaction. The sense of value and purpose it brings to our lives is good for our mental wellbeing, but the 24/7 connectedness of 21st century life is also stressful. Promoting good mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is not only beneficial for the individual but also for business, as improved morale increases performance and can reduce sickness absence. We need to ask ourselves, what needs to be done to create a workplace environment that promotes wellbeing. This can mean talking about mental health without the stigma and fear of judgement. Employee support can be provided in a number of ways, directly benefitting your staff members individually, or more broadly in the workplace environment:

Thinking Business


health & wellbeing

Cover Feature

A cycle of quality and shared benefits

Making budgets work harder and go further isn’t easy, but there are still opportunities out there.

• Implement a peer support, workplace buddy or mentoring program. • Lead by example; be open about mental health and wellbeing creating an environment where people feel able and empowered to talk and ask questions. • Encourage dialogue between employees and employers. • Really get to know your staff and understand their ‘baseline’. In this way, if you notice a difference in their mood, you can raise this with them. • Instigate internal or external emotional support programmes for staff who disclose personal information. • Provide workplace training on good mental health and wellbeing, providing practical ‘tools’ to help you and your staff. • Explore ways to support a member of staff to remain in work before assuming they will need time off.


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• On return to work after sick leave, co-produce a plan with the staff member that supports their recovery. Reasonable work place adjustments don’t have to be expensive and can be as simple as allowing adequate time for screen breaks. Taking the time to acknowledge that someone may be struggling and offering them your support, although daunting, can have a really positive effect on their emotional wellbeing, helping them to thrive personally and professionally. Often, I am asked how to approach the subject, and my reply is always the same. ‘None of this is rocket science. Just walk up to them and say, “How are you? And how many sugars do you want in your tea?”’

Wayne Goodwin Therapy Partners

North Kent Training Service (NKTS) helps to fund Medway Voluntary Action’s mission to support charity and community groups to increase their capacity to help local residents. This year alone over 100 organisations, ranging from carers support to neurological networks, have received support and training to empower them and the people they serve. This social model has created a positive cycle of increased quality and shared benefits – this is how: 1. NKTS attract highly skilled trainers who use their expertise to devise and deliver engaging and informative courses – they choose to deliver courses with NKTS as a way of ‘giving back’ to the local communities they live and work in.

2. Businesses are subsequently able to access low cost, high quality training that improves staff skills, morale, wellbeing and retention. 3. Businesses fulfil Corporate Social Responsibility goals, as their investment in training their staff is also helping the communities they may live in – after all, what better way to show that you value your staff but by helping to invest in their local communities.

4. Improved local communities means happier staff and increased potential customers for businesses.

5. Increased business income allows for greater investment in staff training and development…and so the cycle continues! This positive cycle of quality and shared benefits is why NKTS are becoming a training partner of choice for many local organisations. They are offering bespoke training sessions that can include real-life scenarios unique to your business; making them truly relevant for your staff as explained by one recent learner: "I liked how I was able to interact with my team and think about how we could apply what we were learning during the tasks we were set”. For more information about North Kent Training Service or to discuss your training needs you can contact: Website: Phone: 01634 818036


health & wellbeing

Cover Feature

Making Wellbeing Work

Our staff are our greatest asset and not a resource we can neglect. The figures speak for themselves: • Replacing a leaver has an average cost of £6000, (recruitment costs, management time, interviews and training) • Physically active staff are 27% less likely to be off sick and are more engaged in their work • Businesses with engaged staff experience 4.5 times the revenue growth Here, the Medway Healthy Workplaces programme share their tops tips on starting a wellbeing programme for your business:

1. Determine your starting point. Identify any patterns in sickness and turnover either by cause or department and look to address these issues. It’s vital to ask your team what they need. You can have great ideas bit if they don’t meet the needs and expectations of your staff, they won’t have a lasting impact. You could carry out a staff health and wellbeing survey or simply talk to them, particularly if you have a small team. Any themes identified from sickness and turnover along with staff feedback provide the basis for your wellbeing plans. 2. It’s vital to have Senior Management support and equally to involve staff from all levels of the organisation to drive something meaningful and worthwhile. Engage people that can champion the wellbeing cause and assist you in the running a workplace wellness programme. Consider offering

training for the champions so that they feel supported in giving out the health messages. 3. Once you know what you need to focus on, draw up an action plan with your staff champions. Use health campaigns that are already running for great resources. Use the expertise of your teams for help. You may be surprised to find colleagues with extra knowledge in keeping fit, nutrition and mental wellbeing. Utilise resources on offer in the community. Find out what local programmes can offer for advice, guidance and support. 4. Evaluate and adapt what you are offering. As you go along evaluate what you offer and make adaptions along the way. If something didn’t work so well, try something different next time. Retake any staff surveys every year or so to check on progress. Monitor absence rates and turnover.

Go for it – businesses who have implemented health and wellbeing initiatives report a return on investment of between £2 and £32 for every £1 spent and with free support on offer from local councils, you can run a programme on a small budget. What better investment could you make in your business today? For free advice and guidance, resources and access to subsidised training for wellbeing in your workplace contact the Medway Healthy Workplace team on 01634 334307 or by emailing The Kent Healthy Business award supports the rest of the county and can be contacted via

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Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert Osteopathy: Did you know it treats pain wherever it is?

Claire Lloyd

Director The Oast Osteopathy Many people are aware that osteopathy can be successful at treating back pain but were you aware that osteopathy can also be effective at treating many other aches, pains and injuries? You may not know that the prefix ‘osteo’ comes from the Greek word for bone and ‘pathy’ which means suffering, disease or disorder. This description can be in reference to a wide variety of ailments and as such osteopathy has a diverse number of applications. It acts as a safe, natural and gentle form of treatment which focuses on releasing the tensions in the muscles and joints and tissues. Here are some other examples of how osteopathic treatment can be helpful.

Headaches or Migraines

If you have been experiencing sharp and recurring headaches, your neck may actually be the real cause even if your neck seems to be pain free. Your osteopath is trained in effectively assessing and treating headaches that are a result of neck injury. They will be able to use a combination of techniques to help gently manipulate the joints and muscles around your neck which can prove be far more effective than medicated relief as the consistent use of pain relief medication can often be the cause of headaches in the first place.


Arthritis is inflammation and degeneration of the joints which can be particularly painful and unrelenting. Different parts of the body can be affected such as the pelvis, hip and back and these can often have an impact on each other. For example an arthritic

hip can cause problems with posture which can then put pressure on the knee. Osteopathic treatment does not by any means cure the actual arthritis but what it can do is help reduce the pain and improve the range of movement in the joint to help make the pain less noticeable.

Tennis or golfer’s elbow In other words, a repetitive strain injury in the extensor muscles of the forearm.

This type of injury is usually caused by improper technique (sorry if that’s not what you wanted to hear!) Your osteopath can help not only diagnose the injury but can also provide you with a course of treatment in order to relax the muscles in the forearm, in the form of massage. They will also be able to provide you with some exercises that will help stretch and strengthen the forearm too. You will be back in the swing of things in no time!

The Oast Osteopathy is a multidisciplinary health centre offering, consultations, diagnosis, treatments and rehabilitation plans.

The Oast Osteopathy also offers Pilates, Sports Massage, Yoga, Relaxation and Rehabilitation.

To find out more how we can help you call 01795 437710


Thinking Business

Making Tax Digital for Business – how will it affect your business?

As the Government tries to get us on board with the digital age, we should ask ourselves – ‘What information do we need from our accountant?’ Although many businesses may see Making Tax Digital for Business (MTDfB) as more of an administrative burden, it also brings about an exciting opportunity for strategic planning. The software packages used in conjunction with MTDfB come with the advantage of being able to see and interpret real time information. Gone are the days of seeing your accountant once a year to discuss the past; the future is what really matters and with

the help of MTDfB, accountants will have up to date information at their finger tips allowing them to give you the advice you need to run your business successfully and in due course they will become that trusted business advisor whom you can rely upon.

So what else do you need to know about MTDfB and the changes you need to make to ensure you are able to comply? Since the concept of Making Tax Digital was first introduced in the March 2015 budget, there have been some changes and a revised timetable has been agreed. Previously under the original proposals, unincorporated businesses with a turnover above £85,000 were expected to be the first to see significant changes in the recording and

submission of business transactions from April 2018. The government’s latest timetable now means that plans have been delayed by one year and will commence from April 2019. The legislation requires the first businesses to fall under MTDfB as those incorporated and unincorporated businesses with a turnover exceeding £85,000 (the current VAT threshold). It should be noted that compliance at this stage is only for VAT purposes. Even with these changes, it is still unclear whether HMRC acknowledges the challenges which businesses face in implementing MTDfB. Businesses with more complex VAT affairs (partial exemption, flat rate scheme, auctioneers’ scheme) that may use spreadsheets to aid the main part of the calculations will be affected by this level of digitalisation. At this stage, businesses in this situation are advised to speak to their software supplier to get an understanding of whether they are fully aware of the challenges presented in having

to process all VAT reporting through the software.

With the first implementation date now less than 18 months away, if your business currently uses a cash book to record transactions, the time taken to change to a desktop or cloud accounting software should not be underestimated. Guidance on what would be right for your business, now and for the future should not be overlooked, and therefore a conversation with your accountant should be had sooner rather than later. In this ever changing world of digitalisation, it can be hard to keep up and that’s why choosing the right advisor is so important. MHA MacIntyre Hudson offers a wide range of services and support to assist you with meeting your obligations under MTDfB. Whether you simply need advice on software or you are looking for us to take the burden of quarterly reporting off your hands entirely, MHA have the right package to cater for your needs.

For any advice on implementing digital systems or for further information on what MTDfB means for you, please contact your local MHA MacIntyre Hudson office, details of which can be found on our website – For further information or advice please contact: Hayley Benn Business Services Supervisor

MHA MacIntyre Hudson E: T: 03330 100220

MHA MacIntyre Hudson is the trading name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in England with registered number OC385090. A list of partners’ names is open for inspection at its registered office, 201 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 1LZ. MacIntyre Hudson LLP which also trades under the name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, controls MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP and is an independent member of MHA, a national association of UK accountancy firms. The term ‘partner’ or ‘partners’ indicates that the person (or persons) in question is (or are) a member(s) of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP or a member, an employee or consultant of its affiliated businesses with equivalent standing and qualifications. Further information can be found via our website MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP is registered to carry on audit work in the United Kingdom and Ireland and is regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is an independent member of Baker Tilly International. Baker Tilly International Limited is an English company. Baker Tilly International provides no professional services to clients. Each member firm is a separate and independent legal entity and each describes itself as such. Baker Tilly UK Group LLP is the owner of the Baker Tilly trademark. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is not Baker Tilly International’s agent and does not have the authority to bind Baker Tilly International or act on Baker Tilly International’s behalf. None of Baker Tilly International, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, nor any of the other member firms of Baker Tilly International has any liability for each other’s acts or omissions.

Lessons learned

The person behind the business

in the financial sector but the risks remain

The global crash of 2008 sent shockwaves through the financial sector, bringing about major changes as tough lessons were learned about the dangers of risky investments.

However, that is no guarantee that the same thing will not happen again, according to financial advisor Martin Knapp, the founder and owner of South East Wealth Management.

The American businessman, who is now based in the UK, argues that the sector needs to do a better job educating the public about the nature of risk and traditional investment. Martin is concerned that the recent buoyant performance of global investment markets could lead to a sense of complacency which could, in turn, see investors making the same mistakes again.

He has seen the effects of the crash from vantage points on both sides of the Pond, having worked for a Democratic congressman on the Wall St Reform Act which called on investment companies to be more responsible, and later as a broker on Wall Street.

His comments come against a backdrop of dramatic change in the sector, both in the US and the UK.

“After the crash we started seeing the rise of the ‘Registered Investment Adviser’ again, which was created in the 1940s and stresses a wholistic view to client finances. Likewise, the IFA (Independent Financial Advisor) is the counterpart to this movement. I think IFAs will become the norm here in the UK instead of restricted firms in the years to come. One of the things that concerns him about how financial services are conducted here is the ‘set it and forget it’ approach. “I’ve spoken to an alarming number of potential

clients who never hear from their financial advisors despite the promises of annual reviews.” He also believes that government programs which provide guidance about pensions and investments can mislead people who don’t have significant experience with such things. “A client is usually too busy living their own life to dissect the details of how the market is affecting their savings and investments.

His biggest concern is that the financial services industry is so much younger in the UK. “I often see that advisory firms don’t know how to treat clients, and clients don’t know what to expect from a firm. This is one of the reasons why financial fraudsters are so common here. The second is that the Government does not prosecute fraudsters enough.”

Following closely behind this concern is the general level of service. Martin said: “Being a financial advisor can often be a seven-day work week to keep investors fully informed should they need it, but I am not sure I see that happening in the UK. I am still not convinced that the sector is delivering the level of service that is required.

Martin believes that the changing financial landscape brings its own risk. He said: “I think the public needs to be taught more about unregulated markets and the type of investor they are really meant for; they also need to be educated more about conventional investments as well. Regulation isn’t the problem in the UK, it’s a lack of will by the Government to prosecute financial fraudsters to clear the way for proper advisory firms; and a lack of communication to the public showing them how they need to be saving for themselves for retirement.”

“A large part of my work is educating investors. I am a big believer in the Take 5 message, which urges investors to take a little time to think opportunities through before making a decision. One of the services South East Wealth Management offers is free ‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions in workplaces so employees can better understand their financial options. “In these sessions I teach the fundamental questions every investor should ask themselves before investing. For example, when and how will they get their money back if something does go wrong, what are the mechanics involved? They also need to ask themselves ‘if I do invest will I get a meaningful return on my investments?”

The next crash may not even happen in our lifetime, but there will always be another financial scandal or circumstance that causes a fall in the market, it’s just a matter of when. “Even though I think that the big financial companies have learned lessons since 2008, I do not think they have been particularly effective at communicating what they have learned to the general public. I learned a lot of hard lessons on Wall St and I’m conveying those lessons to my clients and the public.”

That is where financial advisors have a responsibility, he says, but he is not convinced that the sector is yet rising to the challenge.

Asked if a market crash like 2008 could happen again, he said: “Absolutely. My concern is that we have had 36 record highs in the financial markets this year, which is good, but that can lead investors to be less vigilant. The truth is the market had nowhere to go but up after the crash, so be wary of any fund manager or adviser who is patting themselves on the back. “The trick is knowing how to preserve client assets during the rough times. People think that the advent of the Internet makes investments more transparent, but the truth is that companies are only as transparent as they wish to be.

He is concerned about the amount of financial fraud in the U.K., and feels it’s a financial adviser’s duty to educate people about personal finance. Thinking Business


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The Economy & Us: On your Marx? The Economy & Us

Nick Rowell

Director of Policy Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Direct line: 01622 753568 Email: It’s often said that technological know-how is apt to run ahead of man’s ability to use it wisely. Nuclear power, for example, or genetic engineering, are impressive technologies that we don’t all trust.

What is less obvious is that much the same gap exists between our economic / financial know-how and its wise use for human wellbeing. Marx concluded after a lifetime’s research that the owners of capital would never self-regulate, that this lay beyond human capacity. Similarly, a banker friend told me after the 2008 crash that in the 1980s the government had ‘let the genie out of the bottle, and didn’t know how to get it back in again’. This gap has always existed: the rich are well-placed to soak wealth from the rest. What is new today is that the ‘haves’ are largely out of reach and even out of sight. Worse, the algorithms that deliver such massive power to their rich owners are largely unseen, too. In shaping our lives, they eclipse humanity’s ordinary societal relationships: we simply don’t know who to form our ‘social contract’ with. Inevitably we become reliant on our politicians, and increasingly our media (informal as well as formal) to an extent that, you may feel, is becoming unworkable.

“Invariably have I observed that the richer the soil … the more miserable the labourers. The cause is this, the great, the big bull frog grasps all.”

William Cobbett, Rural Rides 1826

Hence the unstoppable urge to ‘take back control’, propelling Britain into Brexit and the USA into the arms of Mr Trump. Meanwhile, the best explanation for the 2008 crash remains not so much economic, as human: unstoppable greed and herd behaviour in the face of borrowers’ constantly wishful thinking. Equally unstoppable: since 1980 when governments abandoned financial regulation citing ‘Reaganomics’, global debt has been rising at a constant 3%pa of global GDP; and global GDP growth is slowing down. That debt has to be serviced – the bull frog has to be fed. If (say) taxes had been rising @ 3%pa nobody would now be puzzled why productivity is flat, why so few of us are getting better-off and why our children’s prospects are worsening. The need to service this debt habit amounts to a compound 3% levy on GDP – a tax on global output. The solution is, I suggest, twofold: part local/personal and part governmental. First, it’s obvious we have to live within our means both individually and collectively, to stick together and focus mutually on ‘what in the end will matter’.

Second, building on our mutuality we must regulate the ‘bull frog’ of quasimonopolies that suck excess profits out of our economy instead of reinvesting them (UK fixed asset investment is in 25-year decline). We must adapt US anti-Trust law to recreate, at big firms’

level, the same free-market world as keeps us on our toes in Kent. The rich may cry ‘interference’ but the extreme laissez faire of Reaganomics and more recently QE have proven much costlier – and very divisive. It’s time for common sense to prevail.

“The best explanation for the 2008 crash remains not so much economic, as human: unstoppable greed and herd behaviour in the face of borrowers’ constantly wishful thinking.” Thinking Business


Members News

National Farming Award win for AC Goatham & Son

AC Goatham & Son was crowned Farmers Weekly Specialist Crop Producer of the year, for its work reviving the fortunes for British Conference Pears.

The awards are entered by farmers and farm businesses from across the UK and showcase the very best of British farming. Reviving the fortunes of British Conference Pears has been a major objective for AC Goatham & Son to enable them to compete directly with northern European growers. The business has over the past two years embarked on the largest programme of pear planting believed to have taken place in the UK for over 40 years. This has created a template for how conference pears can be sustainably grown in the UK in the future, to help revive the fortunes of this category. It has also invested in ripening rooms to provide ripe and ready British Conference Pears to consumers who want to eat fruit on the same day as it is purchased. Ross Goatham, Managing Director at AC Goatham & Son, said: “The team here at AC Goatham & Son are absolutely delighted to have won this award and to be recognised nationally in front of representatives from the whole farming industry.” “We have seen a significant interest from British consumers for British grown top fruit. We are continuously working with our partner growers and customers towards providing a secure and sustainable supply for the future. This will be done by securing more orchard sites and over time replanting apples and pears on new and more efficient growing systems. By 2020 we will have planted in excess of two million new fruit trees.”


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Hospitality finder - the journey

Hospitality Finder is currently the fastest growing independent hospitality company in the UK - a position which has been well earned through our passion and determination to succeed. Our dedication to providing exclusive hospitality for an unparalleled spectrum of events has been a key factor in our rise to the top of our field. The journey began 13 years ago when Mike Dunderdale, a former Sutton Valence School student, returned from working overseas with a vision to take the package he had been previously selling, and elevate the level of service to create the ultimate VIP experience. Mike explains: “It was paramount to create an experience that no one else provided and this meant being close to customers throughout their journey; from enquiry to booking to attending the event and then post event feedback.” Mike decided to call upon the experience of good friend and fellow Kent businessman, Stuart Hennell of Watch Finder

to utilise his working knowledge of the digital selling world as it was apparent to them both that this was the way the sales world was moving forward.... and so Hospitality Finder was born. Hospitality Finder have since signed Brand Ambassadors Mike Tindall MBE, Lawrence Dallaglio OBE and Sir Anthony McCoy MBE to strengthen the credibility of their offer - which it very much has. Their standing within the sporting community is the stamp of approval Hospitality Finder customers like to see when booking and attending events. They are complemented by the long standing staff members whose industry knowledge is second to none, further enhanced by their new members of staff who contribute with innovative ideas. Mike said: “The greatest fulfilment is seeing the company and many of the staff grow

(L to R) Mike Dunderdale, Managing Director and Mike Tindall MBE, Brand Ambassador of Hospitality Finder

within the business since inception. Not only the growth on turnover (forecast for £14M this year) but we also have a great retention of staff throughout each department.”

A way to solve the housing crisis and maximise property investment

Chamber member Hasan Sadik is about to launch Homeshare, a new letting agency business that aims to tap into a virgin sector of the property market. Homeshare will offer property management of HMOs, or Houses in Multiple Occupation, for professionals. These boutique rooms in shared housing can provide landlords with an exciting opportunity for a much higher return on investment per house than regular buy to let. Property is in Hasan’s DNA. During the school holidays as a teenager, he helped his parents with their managed property portfolio. When he was 18, he started to formally manage the properties as a landlord. Two years ago, after completing a law degree funded by his own

entrepreneurial efforts, Hasan set up his own letting agency Bullfinch Properties Ltd. As he built Bullfinch Properties, Hasan discovered that there was an untapped market. He found professionals who needed quality accommodation on a budget and investors who needed to adapt their portfolio in line with recent tax changes, and who wanted to ensure that they have the right profile of tenant. Demand for quality HMO accommodation grew: The concept of Homeshare was born. Hasan said: “HMOs have historically received a bad

Press, with reports of landlords cramming strangers together in substandard conditions. “However, I believe that with our proven processes, my established refurb team and the right level of investment these shared properties can provide executive accommodation for the tenants and a seriously higher return for the investor compared to regular buy to let, sometimes more than threefold. “The formula works really well in Medway and I see potential to replicate the business model in Maidstone, Gravesend and Ashford.”

Members News

Ashford property expert celebrates successful first year

Ashford property expert Richard Stafford is celebrating the first anniversary of his chartered surveyors business, with success attributed to loyal clients, hard work, great staff and the benefits of being located in the county’s most dynamic business location. Richard set up Stafford Perkins 12 months ago after spending the past 30 years working in Kent. His expertise earned national plaudits – commercial property magazine Estates Gazette recognised him as a top deal maker in Kent for four years from 2012 to 2015. Richard, a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, launched his own business in 2016 after a decade spent as a Director with Taylor Riley Stafford.

Gary Clark, Golding Homes’ Chief Executive (left) with Julian Squiers from the SE Lawn Tennis and children attending the Access for All Event.

Access for All is a free activity and information day that promotes a range of information, advice and activities for people with a physical, learning or mental disability who may not be aware of the services that are available, or how to access them. With more than 30 organisations in attendance there was something for everyone with lots of entertainment for the children including a bouncy castle, free ice cream for every child and a magic show, presented by Smee from this year’s Maidstone Studios Panto. Golding Vision was pleased to welcome some new organisations to

He said: “The past 12 months has been incredibly hard work but hugely satisfying. I started out on my own but now I have two fantastic members of staff and I’ll be looking to recruit more in the near future. We will hit our turnover target in year one and business growth in year two is looking very encouraging as we continue to expand.” Richard says the easiest decision he had to take was the location of his

fledgling company, adding: “There was never a doubt that I would choose Ashford. It’s a dynamic and vibrant town that is really going places.” Richard has taken a 90-year-old shop in Ashford and returned it to its former glory. He bought the freehold to number 11a in Park Street in February and has since painstakingly restored the front of the building to its original design.

Access for All promotes disability services

Nearly 300 people joined Golding Vision, the community arm of local housing provider Golding Homes, for its annual Access for All event at Market Hall, Maidstone. their Invictus themed event, including Gravity Trampoline Parks, Leybourne Grange Riding School for the Disabled, Kent MS Therapy Centre, SE Lawn Tennis and Gravesend Dynamite Wheelchair Rugby Club. James Hazel, from Gravesend Dynamite Wheelchair Rugby Club, was able to share his inspirational story with others on the day, whilst promoting the club. Losing his leg four years ago in a motorbike accident he thought his rugby playing days were over, until he found out about the Gravesend Dynamite Wheelchair Rugby Club. James said: “It’s a really friendly club and they have helped me out a lot.” James is now working towards gaining a formal coaching qualification so that

Fundraiser a success

he can give demonstrations in schools to encourage young people to get involved in wheelchair rugby. Representative Veronica Cruise from Kent Fire and Rescue said: “We have been able to engage with lots of different members of the community about our free Safe & Well visits. As a direct result of attending Access for All we will be organising more visits to people’s homes in the coming weeks, which are available for families, young people over 17 and anyone with a disability.” Caroline McBride, Head of Community Development at Golding Homes said: “This event is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the many services and activities that are on offer to people with disabilities.”

ellenor recently wrapped up their annual Accumulator Challenge, a competitive fundraiser for businesses which raised £16,228 this year. Each company was given £50, from funds donated by Baxall Construction, to grow as much as possible in three months, to support families facing terminal illness in Bexley & West Kent. A4G Amherst Ltd was named as the 2017 winner for raising £2172.76. Staff at the accountancy firm really got into the fundraising spirit, involving other businesses and Sevenoaks families. Many of their clients and other local business people attended a successful networking evening to get the ball rolling, then staff took to the pavement outside their offices

on a stationary bicycle – in the rain! They also enjoyed Dress Down Fridays and held a children’s play session. Thackray Williams LLP was given the Most Creative Fundraising Idea Award. Solicitors from this company quite literally offered the shirts off their backs by donating material to create a beautiful patchwork quilt which was auctioned. Nettl of Rochester was given the Community Engagement Award. The local design company partnered with Luton Junior School and magician, Nathan Ward, to put on a magic show

at the school. Luton Junior School has since nominated ellenor as their official charity of the year. If you would like to take part in the next Accumulator Challenge, or get involved with any initiative or event for ellenor, please do contact Kate Barnes -

TDLC supporting local people back into sustainable employment

TDLC works in Kent and South East London with Job Centre Plus and has succeeded in delivering more than 3,500 qualifications in accounts based bookkeeping skills to the unemployed.

It has long been acknowledged that the deeper the understanding of the financial fitness of a company, the more likely it is to survive the challenges that are presented in the current business landscape. This concept comes top down from the directors of a company, through to the personnel running the day to day records of the financial transactions of the company. TDLC have been working to formalise financial skills and re-skilling those who have a need that are currently unemployed with Job Centre Plus. Nigel Copleston, CEO of TDLC said: “TDLC realises the importance of having trained, qualified professionals in key financial positions in companies as the key to a company’s sustainability. TDLC have worked extensively in the training industry with the unemployed, and with the aims of UK Commission for Skills and Employment, to support the formalisation of financial skills in the work place.” The next step in TDLC’s development is to create an employer engagement programme to place learners on work experience. Thinking Business


International Trade

Don’t wait for Brexit

Bilingual partnership offers Kent firms a helping hand to trade in France now

Francois Reynier

Kent businesses are sometimes deterred from doing business in France because of perceived language and cultural barriers, with Brexit likely to make it even more challenging. But cross-Channel experts are easing the process and urging action before the UK leaves the EU in March 2019. Trevor Sturgess reports. Brexit uncertainty may be putting off Kent firms from doing business in France.

But two experienced businessmen – one from France, the other from Kent – have teamed up to help them now, ahead of Brexit in March 2019 and before cross-Channel trade becomes more challenging. French-speaking Richard Romain, a marketing specialist and former mechanical engineer, lived in Maidstone for many years before moving


Thinking Business

to France. Rochester-based English speaker Francois Reynier is creative director of Acacia UK, a brand-building business.

while the door is still open. As nothing has changed yet, it’s a good time to start.

They have created Bridge, a joint venture that advises firms interested in trading with French clients but worried that language and cultural barriers make it just too hard.

“There are also worries about exporting to France because of the language and cultural difference. We ease all the difficulty and the little niggles. Bridge is about hand-holding for as long or as much as the client needs or wants.”

Francois, who was born in Nice, has been in Britain since 1994 when he came to study graphic design and branding.

Francois says there is strong demand for British products in France where UK design is highly regarded.

He has worked for many blue chip clients including Barclays, Deloitte and Mercedes-Benz. He set up Acacia UK in Innovation Centre Medway to offer clients across Kent and the UK high-quality branding services.

“After Brexit, I can tell you for sure that it won’t be the same and won’t be easier. There will be difficulties for certain industries. There may be tariffs or tax. But the businesses that are going to win are those willing to go the extra mile. We will help them go the extra mile.”

He said: “There is a lot of anxiety surrounding Brexit. Richard and I thought it was a good time to help businesses

Richard founded his marketing business in 1982 and has since served clients in Kent, the UK

Richard Romain

and France. He mentored startups for the Maidstone Enterprise Agency. He and his wife Patricia now work together on their eco-friendly property in France. Richard added: “Bridge combines the 50 years of experience of a French business advisor in Kent and a Kentish specialist in France. We are both bilingual and happy to help any business that would like to do business in France. And the best time is to do it now - before Brexit.” More information: exporting-to-france.html

Francois Reynier: 07850 380 230 email: Richard Romain: +33 44 6 86 38 98 email:

Government drops M20 lorry park

International Trade

By Matt Leclere, KM Group

The government has dropped plans for a huge lorry park off the M20. In a massive U-turn, the government says it will no longer be going ahead with the plans for a £250 million park near Hythe just days after saying it was still "fully committed". It means plans will be taken back to the drawing board with options due to be presented to the public next year and submitted in 2019. Earlier this month the Department for Transport (DfT) denied the scheme had been pulled when contacted by KentOnline. But it has today told the High Court it will no longer be defending a judicial review against the plans for the proposals near Stanford and has scrapped the plans entirely - sparking a wave of reaction across Kent. The DfT said it had been trying to bring in the lorry park as quickly as possible and meet "environmental obligations" but found this was not possible. Despite scrapping the huge 3,600 space park, the door has been left open for a lorry park in Kent to form part of the new plans now due to be drawn up. This has been handed over to Highways England to carry out and the DfT said a lorry park would be part of those plans to provide daily parking for lorries. Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the government will be "reassessing the scope, scale and location of our solutions" to Operation Stack. He added: "It will take into account changes since the original concept of the lorry park was promoted, in particular the UK’s exit from the European Union but also the need for ‘business as usual’ lorry parking in Kent."

Folkestone and Hythe MP, Damian Collins, said a lorry park "could still be built at Stanford West". He said: "The government remains committed to providing a long term solution to Operation Stack in Kent through off road lorry parking. "This could still be built at the Stanford West site. This delay is disappointing, but interim measures will be introduced until the lorry park is open. "The long term solution must allow the M20 to flow in both directions even when there are delays at the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover. "It is even more important with Brexit in March 2019, that we have measures in place to deal with potential congestion." Roads minister Jesse Norman said: “We know how seriously the lives of Kent residents and the prospects of businesses were affected when Operation Stack was implemented in 2015 and we remain fully committed to a permanent solution. “However, we need to go through the proper procedures to ensure our plans, which include a lorry park, best fit the needs of Kent and the freight industry “In the meantime we are developing an interim measure to keep the M20 open to traffic in both directions if Operation Stack is implemented – ensuring disruption is kept to a minimum." The lorry park, which was announced two years ago by former chancellor George Osborne in the 2015 autumn statement, has drawn huge local opposition. It also drew criticism from the parliamentary Transport Select Committee in June 2016, when

the plans were described as "rushed" through by the government. The committee added it had not proven the case for a lorry park adding the plans had been produced in response to the summer of Stack in 2015. The new plans will be put out to public consultation next year. The latest timetable would include submitting a planning application in 2019 for the new scheme. Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately said the announcement did not necessarily spell the end of a lorry park in the area. “It is crucial that we solve this problem. The DfT is not defending the judicial review but they are moving ahead with a lorry park under normal planning processes.” The DfT says its "interim innovative plan" will be developed by Highways England for drivers to carry on using the M20 until a new solution is found and approved. One way is suggested to see a dual carriageway created on the M20 using moveable or steel barriers to safely stack lorries in the centre of the motorway whilst keeping the road open. The final decision will be made in early 2018 and implemented in March 2019, the DfT said. The government still has an agreement in place to use Manston Airport for lorry parking.

Highways England project director John Kerner said: “The disruption that people in Kent suffered in summer 2015 underlines the need for long term improvements to how traffic is managed when cross-channel services are interrupted. “Improvements at the port, and changes we have made to traffic management on the A20 near Dover, have delivered real improvements and have also helped prevent Operation Stack from being implemented. "Along with our partners we are better prepared than ever, but a better plan for dealing with more widespread disruption is still needed. “Now that the government has withdrawn the decision to build a lorry area at Stanford West, we have been asked by the Transport Secretary to immediately develop both an interim and a permanent solution to reduce the local traffic impacts if there is cross-channel disruption. “Highways England is committed to delivering the government’s aim of finding a solution that makes Operation Stack less disruptive for people and businesses in Kent, and the improvements we are taking forward will help to do just that." Thinking Business


24 Hours with ...

24 Hours with ...

Catherine Lloyd, Gullands Solicitors

For Catherine Lloyd, Associate at Gullands Solicitors in Maidstone, no working day is ever the same. The firm rightly prides itself on being able to advise commercial clients at any stage of the business lifecycle and commercial property is Catherine’s area of expertise. Catherine comments: “At Gullands we operate a Business Hub service to our clients, so access to all of the legal services they may need are within one central team. Whether that is advice on setting up the business, commercial contracts, employment law, licensing or commercial disputes, we work together and with our clients at every stage. Commercial property is of course a key area for most businesses and my aim is to offer an excellent service

to all of my clients, whether advising on a multi-million pound option agreement for a landowner, or a small shop lease for a retail business. Typically, my day begins around 9am depending on Maidstone’s ever busy traffic. I will be drafting and negotiating documents such as option agreements, acting mostly for landowners but also for developers as well. There is a huge amount of development going on in and around Kent as the ever-popular South East region tries to keep up with housing requirements. Development isn’t always popular amongst the public, especially in rural areas, but the construction industry has to keep on building homes for young families and future generations. With all these types of agreements, as with any, it is important that the client is fully aware of all of the terms of the contract and I negotiate on their behalf to ensure the terms are fair and reflect what they are seeking to achieve from the transaction. Another area that keeps me busy is drafting and negotiating commercial leases

– acting for both landlords and tenants on new leases and lease renewals. This could be for a range of property types such as small shops, offices or industrial and farm units. I’m always on the lookout for terms in a lease that could be of a disadvantage to the client. For example, I would advise the client to avoid agreeing to act as a personal guarantor and instead try to negotiate the provision of a rent deposit. It is not unknown for landlords to seek to exert their influence over a tenant client, especially one new to running a business, hence the importance of understanding their requirements at all stages of the business cycle. We make a particular point of guiding new business owners through the process, so they avoid the common mistakes that others make. I also regularly deal with the acquisition and disposal of commercial property on behalf of my clients, whether they are owner occupier-businesses, investors looking to buy property through a SelfInvested Personal Pension (SIPP) or general investors. I am currently working on the

sale of a small business centre on behalf of a group of private investors. I also work with my colleagues in our Gravesend office, and on property transactions across all parts of the County. I regularly have to make site visits depending on the type of transaction involved and enjoy visiting all parts of our wonderful County. My working day often begins or ends with a networking event, whether a breakfast seminar or a property sector event. Business lunches are becoming increasingly less common now as people like to focus on their working day and getting the job done. I love the variety of the clients we work with here at Gullands. The firm has been in Maidstone for 100 years so we work with many long-standing clients, especially those in the rural sector as well as new start-up businesses. There is a vibrant business community here in Maidstone and across Kent and I feel very proud to help contribute to their success and to guide them on their business journey.

Thinking Business



Kent Invicta Chamber Events



Call 01233 503838

International Events

(National Accredited Trade Training)

Part of the 10 core courses accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce.

Candidates achieving pass or merit in any of the courses will receive a certificate.

Those who pass 6 courses will receive a nationally recognised Foundation Award in International Trade. Chamber Members Non-members

8:30am – 12:45pm

£75.00 + VAT

£90.00 + VAT

Tea/Coffee & Light Breakfast included in cost.

Understanding Exporting & Importing Basic Procedures & Documentation

By the end of this course delegates will be able to: •

provide an export quotation

understand export terms of sale

organise their export office with an idea of the systems required understand export order processing, knowing how to establish which documents are required and how to complete them

This course serves well as an introduction to exporting, but can equally be used as a revision opportunity for staff who need to bring themselves up to date. In a fast-changing marketplace, it can also provide a very useful overview of staff responsibilities for senior management. 18th January 2018 Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH


Thinking Business

Kent Construction Focus Group (KCFG) Breakfast

Join us for a KCFG meeting where future plans and developments in Kent are discussed with businesses involved in the construction industry. This event is only open to those in Kent and in the construction industry.

9th January 2018 Mercure Great Danes Hotel Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 7:30am – 9:30am

KCFG Members

KCFG Non-members

£15.00 + VAT £25.00 + VAT

Muesli Mafia Breakfast Networking Come along to these informal business 2 business events in a congenial and relaxed atmosphere. Local business people can get together, enjoy mutual fellowship, share their good news, views and discuss topics of mutual interest. 26th January 2018 Mercure Tunbridge Wells Hotel 8 Tonbridge Road, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4QL 7:30am – 9:30am

Chamber Members Non-members

£20.00 + VAT

£25.00 + VAT

Full English Breakfast or muesli alternative included in cost.

Annual Christmas Luncheon

Full English Breakfast included in cost.

Lympne Castle offers you the opportunity to be transported back to a medieval fairy tale dream.

This beautiful Grade I building dating back to the 13th century will provide the most perfect setting for our Christmas Luncheon. With exclusive use of the Castle and grounds, dine by candlelight in the The Great Hall alongside a glorious 12ft Christmas tree with roaring fires.

This will be an excellent opportunity for you to entertain both clients, staff and partners, as well as network with existing members in the perfect surroundings. Welcome drink on arrival, followed by three course Christmas lunch with all the trimmings.

19th December 12:00pm - 3:00pm

Lympne Castle, The St, Lympne, Hythe, Kent. CT21 4LQ. Chamber Members £33.50 + VAT Non-members £37.50 + VAT


Would you like to invest in YOUR staff for FREE?

Can you spare someone's time for just three days? Do you have a number of staff with different training needs?

If you have answered YES to the above, then what are you waiting for!

Funded by the European Union Social Funds and delivered by Ixion & the Skills Funding Agency, they are offering a range of 3 day courses at a venue near you to any organisation with less than 250 employees for FREE. Any employee without a degree level qualification is eligible and will have the opportunity to achieve a training accreditation with Edexcel. All courses run for three days across a three week period (one a week). For each course Ixion will provide qualified trainers, refreshments and lunch together with the expertise and insights required to train your employees.

Places are strictly limited so book today!

Sales Techniques Level 3

Sales are the lifeblood of your organisation. We talk about individuals being “born sales people” but we believe that the principles of sales are a discipline that can be taught like any other. If you want to drive revenue and increase your bottom line, then this is the course for you and your sales team. This course is designed for business owners and sales professionals wishing to raise their game. Ashford 12th, 19th & 26th January 2018 9:30am - 3:30pm

Social Media for Business Level 3

Do you know about social media platforms but feel the need to take your knowledge to the next level? Perhaps you want to develop a social media campaign for your business? If yes, then this is the course for you. Social media should be at the heart of your marketing strategy. It’s a cost-effective way of building rapport and loyalty with your customer base. Ashford 11th, 18th & 25th January 2018 9:30am - 3:30pm

Leadership & Management Level 3

It makes sense that leadership and management are essential skills for your senior staff to master to support a successful and motivated workforce. Ashford 10th, 17th & 24th January 2018 Tunbridge Wells 9th, 16th & 23rd January 2018 Maidstone 10th, 17th & 24th January 2018 9:30am - 3:30pm

After Hours Club Come along to one of our

popular ‘casual’ networking

events. The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat to

FREE to attend

fellow business people.

& no booking required. Just turn up!

6:00pm – 7:30pm

13th December 2017

Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa Princess Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE

9th January 2018

Burlington Hotel

3-5 Earls Avenue, Folkestone,

CT20 2HR

17th January 2018

Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel

36 New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3DU

6th February 2018

Conningbrook Hotel

Canterbury Road, Ashford, TN24 9QR

Thinking Business


Four member services for your protection and peace of mind

Member Benefits

Did you know? As a member you have FREE access to FOUR essential business services

Advice Line

One number giving unlimited access to experienced advisers offering practical advice on HR, employment law, health & safety, legal issues plus tax and VAT matters.


Access to over 750 free template documents covering HR, employment law, health and safety and legal matters. The website also includes HR and H&S Health Checks. You need to manage your employment affairs; there may be consequences if you don’t. This is why you need HR support – whilst the threat of financially crippling employment tribunals has diminished there are still many pitfalls facing employers and they can have serious financial consequences. All employers should be aware of these threats and if you need advice on how to avoid the unpalatable results please call the Advice Line and get practical advice from the HR advisers.

Why should a Sole Trader use these services?

• Access to advice on any legal matter affecting your business including contract disputes, licence protection and more • Advice on your rights and what you can do to help get money from clients who are slow at settling your invoices • If you are having any issues with your landlord you can access all the advice you need to get the resolution you need • If you are ever considering employing or working with someone you can access the advice and documents you need • Access to advice to help you deal with any disputes with your clients

Why should a smallto-medium business use these services?

• Advice to help with a wide range of subjects including absenteeism, disputes, recruitment, annual leave, legislation plus a HR health check • Advice on any business legal matter including contracts, company law, property director or client disputes • Advice on tax or VAT matters including HMRC investigations, property, VAT registration, exemptions and more • Access to over 250 free documents covering risk assessments, policies, regulations plus a H&S gap analysis • Access to free documents you can use to create your own contracts of employment and employee handbook.

Why should a Large Company use these services?

• In the complex world of employment law and HR the advice line enables you to sense check you are doing the right thing • A resource library with over 750 free templates to use and keep your own documents up to date • Keep updated with latest news and changes in legislation • If you need help with complex cases then the enhanced services can help you with things such as difficult disciplinary issues • If you are thinking of outsourcing any elements of your HR system then the team of experts are able to help you

For more information visit or call the Advice Line on 01455 852037 or Client Services on 01455 852128

Thinking Business


Business News

From l-r; George Wilson MBE, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Tracey Kerly, and Mark Quinn. Behind them is Ashford International Station, offering fast rail links to London in 38 minutes plus high speed services to Europe. The tented structure in the distance is Ashford Designer shopping outlet, the largest tented structure in Europe.

75% of space already let at Ashford commercial quarter

A significant milestone in the construction of the new Ashford Commercial Quarter has been reached – and with 75% of space already let, the building is poised to add the latest chapter to the success of Kent’s International Town.

Mark Quinn CEO, Quinn Estates was joined at the site by Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, and Tracey Kerly, Chief Executive, and George Wilson MBE, Chairman GW Wilson, for the topping-out ceremony. Work on the Ashford Commercial Quarter began in January and will create a total of 80,500 sq ft. of space in the first phase alone. The project, being undertaken in partnership with George Wilson Developments, is due for completion in January, within a year of commencement of the build. Its prime central location in Dover Place, a stone’s throw from Ashford International Station and the newly opened £26m Ashford College campus has made this prestigious site, one of the most sought-after business locations in the county. Mark Quinn said: “Ashford is a really exciting place right now and we are delighted to be onsite and delivering. Cllr Clarkson said: “The Commercial Quarter makes a strong statement about the borough’s economic position, our can-do attitude as an authority, our sharp commercial focus and the confidence that key businesses and developers have in the borough. “I’m confident it will be a catalyst for delivery of new jobs and opportunities that our international town of Ashford needs.”


Thinking Business

Ashford housing development wins National Award

A major housing development in Ashford – one of the fastest growing towns in the South East – has won a prestigious national award.

Finberry, a collection of cottages and family homes being built by developer Crest Nicholson, was crowned winner in the ‘outstanding landscaping for housing’ category of The Sunday Times British Home Awards 2017, overcoming fierce competition from impressive developments across the country. The project was also named a finalist in the ‘development of the year (200 homes or more)’ award. Finberry is a visionary and highly sustainable new community in Ashford, with innovative landscape design at its heart. When complete, the development will comprise a collection of 1,100 homes, offering a blend of traditionally designed apartments, cottages, and family houses, surrounded by extensive countryside and tranquil woodland. Strict planning and quality standards apply at Finberry

as a result of a strong partnership between Crest Nicholson and the local authority. Ashford Borough Council believes in integrated and well-planned developments that have quality at their heart which is why in October 2011 the council introduced strict space standards for new homes and gardens. The Government followed by bringing in nationally prescribed space standards for dwellings in 2015. Given the site’s proximity to surrounding wetland habitat, Crest Nicholson worked with landscape architects to create a series of water features at the entrance of the development. Three ornamental lakes were constructed, decorated with species like alder and willow, which along with the mature oak and cherry trees flanking the entrance, create a peaceful environment for people to enjoy.

Beyond the well-manicured open spaces and ancient woodland that are central to the development, more natural wetland habitats have also been formed within the existing flood plain to significantly improve the biodiversity of the area. Finberry is a joint development managed by Crest Nicholson Strategic Projects and Crest Nicholson Eastern. Andrew Dobson, Managing Director at Crest Nicholson Strategic Projects, said: “This award is a fantastic achievement.” Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “From the outset, the emphasis has been firmly on quality and Crest Nicholson has not only been an advocate for this development but for Ashford as a whole and we thank them for the part they are playing in telling everyone that they are one of Ashford’s success stories.”

South East wins funding to deliver cultural tourism project

A £1.3million project to create a new cultural tourist trail and arts ‘treasure hunt’ along the South East coast has been approved.

Culture Coasting will bring together organisations across the South East to significantly grow the visitor economy for the region, targeting key international markets with a completely reimagined take on a traditional tourist trail. It will combine original artworks created by internationally renowned artists, geocaching technology and bookable itineraries along the South East’s spectacular coastline. Building on the South East’s growing reputation for its world class cultural offer, the project will bring new visitors to the region.

Visit Kent and Turner Contemporary have been awarded funding from VisitEngland’s Discover England Fund (DEF) and Arts Council England respectively to launch the project, in partnership with several leading arts venues in the region. VisitEngland announced that Visit Kent had been awarded £350,000 from DEF for the threeyear project, bringing the total value to just over £1.3million including partner cash and in-kind contributions. Director of Turner Contemporary Victoria Pomery OBE said:

Business News

“We’re delighted to have secured Culture Destinations funding to deliver Culture Coasting. By truly putting arts and culture at the core of the project, we aim to create a unique, cohesive visitor offer which celebrates our distinctive coastline and significantly grows the visitor economy for the region.” Turner Contemporary will lead on the delivery of the project’s arts content, including the new artwork, while Visit Kent will lead on building and marketing the project’s tourism offer. Other funders include East Sussex County Council, Kent County Council, Southeastern Railway,

Visit Essex, Medway Council, Visit Herts, The Historic Dockyard Chatham and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. Project partners include, De La Warr Pavilion, Whitstable Biennial, Creative Foundation, Jerwood Gallery, Towner Art Gallery and Metal. Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE, Chief Executive of Visit Kent, said: “We are thrilled that our bid has been successful, and that we have the chance to work with our partners at Turner Contemporary to bring this exciting cultural project to life.“.

Maidstone road bid backed by Government

Maidstone is to receive a £4m boost to help reduce congestion and attract further businesses and jobs to Kent Medical Campus.

A bid for £4m to the Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund, submitted by Kent County Council and Maidstone Borough Council, and backed by a significant financial contribution from Kent Medical Campus, has been accepted by the Department for Transport. The money will fund the upgrading of the two roundabouts close to Junction 7 at Bearsted Road and New Cut Road, and help create new jobs at Kent Medical Campus, part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, and support residential development.

The successful Maidstone bid, plus others in Kent and Essex, was endorsed and championed by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership as part of its role in generating economic growth for the area. Cabinet Member for Highways, Matthew Balfour, said: “Capacity and traffic flow will be improved so that increased traffic from the Kent Medical Campus can be accommodated. “This is a key employment site for the county and will create 3,000 highly skilled jobs, including specialised research

and development – an area key to boosting productivity.” Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, Cllr Fran Wilson, said: “This is a vote of confidence in our combined efforts to improve the area’s infrastructure and create new jobs at Kent Medical Campus, which is why we put £500,000 towards the project in order to unlock a further £4m from Government.” The news was welcomed by Gary Watson of JLL, the property advisers for Kent Medical Campus, said: “The Campus is already attracting significant interest from companies and institutions eager to find a viable and attractive alternative to what’s on offer in London, and elsewhere in the South East. “Our ability to offer a two-year turnaround from a company

signing the deal to opening the door thanks to our outline planning permission and support of Maidstone Borough Council, is very attractive. The road improvements will increase the potential to create an academic, health and science-focused campus here in Kent.” Kent Medical Campus, which has planning permission for 1,000,000ft2 of commercial property on the 30 acre site, was granted Enterprise Zone status earlier in the year by the Government. As part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, Kent Medical Campus is able to provide financial incentives to companies choosing to invest there, and has already seen a significant rise in the number of enquiries.

Thinking Business


New Members

Welcome to our new members

4 Life Training (UK)

Austen Allen Homecare

CT Travel Group Ltd

ABgene Ltd

Bauvill Ltd

Eonic Associates LLP

Rainham 01634 920498 Training Ashford 01233 648252 Plastics Manufacturer

AES Precision Engineering Ashford 01233 668883 Precision Engineering

Dartford 01322 424558 Care Recruitment Aylesford 01622 231490 Fit-out, Refurbishment and Construction

BrandJuice Ltd

Ramsgate 07979 332510 AJT Wealth Management Ltd Marketing and Branding West Malling Brave Zone UK Ltd 01732 522796 Maidstone 01622 232620 Financial Advice, Planning and Investment Management Marketing Agency

ALD Surveying Ltd

Gillingham 01634 850270 Surveyors

Allen Dadswell Construction Consultants Maidstone 01622 676454 Chartered Quantity Surveyors/Project Managers

Arnage Surveying Ltd Maidstone 01622 434903 Drone Surveying for the Construction Industry

AT Accounts Ltd

Whitstable 01227 200744,uk Bookkeeping Services


Thinking Business

Carers FIRST

Rochester 0300 303 1555 Voluntary Sector, Supporting Unpaid Carers

Chandler Tuck Limited Ashford 01233 629718 Chartered Accountants

Channel Fire Ltd

New Romney 01797 335050 Fire Safety Equipment

CL Architects

Folkestone 01303 647233 Architects

Tunbridge Wells 01892 673434 Leisure and Business Travel Tunbridge Wells 01892 534044 Web Design, Online Marketing, Web Strategies

Fingerprint Financial Planning

Chatham 03452 100100 Independent Financial and Investment Advice

Fiscale (South East) Ltd

Chatham 01634 959063 R&D Tax Credit Advisors

Grant Saw Solicitors LLP Sidcup 0208 308 3610 Law Firm

Hever Hotel

Edenbridge 01732 700 700 Hotel/Events/Leisure

HF Pest and Bird Control

Sevenoaks 01732 446454 Pest Control Services

Hodel Consulting Engineers Marden 01732 617555 Engineering

Hotel Energy Ltd

Ashford 0845 489 1011 Business Energy Consultancy

Intelligent Energy Savings Co Ltd- IESCO

London 02071 642271 Manufacturer of Electricity Savings Equipment

Kent Door Services Ltd

Sittingbourne 0787 5103 299 Bespoke Doors, Windows and Security Products

Kent Financial & Management Services Ltd

Tenterden 01580 388218 Accountancy & Financial Management

Lighthouse Workplace Solutions

Stockport 08000 858590 Workplace Pensions, Auto Enrolment, Employee Benefits

Littlejohn Flooring Ltd

Ashford 01233 331037 Floor Coverings

LYN Coatings Ltd

Gillingham 01634 780860 Manufacturer of Protective Coatings

Facts steams ahead of the competition


Facts International landed a top industry award for its work on the highly influential National Rail Passenger Survey.

Metro Bank (Maidstone)

Maidstone 020 3402 7890 Bank


Canterbury Clerical Services

Newlands Engineering

Maidstone 01622 671229 Manufacture of Precisionengineered Components

Phoenix Residential Care Homes Ltd Chatham 01634 841002 Residential Care Home

Pie Accounts

Upchurch 01634 262537 Accounting Services

Polaris Training Ltd

Gillingham 01634 374340 Training Provider

Ram & Sons Ltd

Northfleet 01474 247 990 Recruitment for Construction Vacancies

Red House Mortgages

Ramsgate 0773 8099584 Mortgage and Protection Adviser

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Thackray Williams LLP

Simply Office Furniture

Track Accountancy Ltd

South East 07816 239594 Membership Organisation Maidstone 01622 843157 Office Refurbishement, Furniture and Seating Specialists

South East Wealth Management

Northfleet 01322 788440 Helping Private Clients Grow their Pensions & Investments

Southern Counties East Football League

Bexleyheath 07710 143944 Entertainment/Amusements/ Leisure

Spotmarket Innovations Ashford 0808 284 9581 freephone Marketing

Success Tuition & Training Centre

Maidstone 07920 024629 Tuition and Training

Tacey - Avon Agent Deal 01304 448178 Cosmetics/Jewellery/ Fragrances

Bromley 020 8290 0440 Solicitors and Legal Services Gillingham 01634 374340 Accountants

Versatile Graphics

Canterbury 07929 578233 Engraving/Branding/ Digital Printing

VooServers Ltd

Maidstone 01622 524200 IT Solutions

Wilkins Kennedy LLP

Canterbury 01227 454861 Chartered Accountants

Wilkins Kennedy LLP

Maidstone 01622 690666 Chartered Accountants

Wilkins Kennedy LLP

Orpington 01689 827505 Chartered Accountants

Wingham Engineering Co. Ltd Sevenoaks 01732 459921 Construction Plant, Toolhire & Sales and Hire of Steel Locatable Modular Buildings

Hosted at Revolution in London’s Tower Hill, the annual Market Research Society Operations Awards, known as the Oppies, has, over the past few years, become the awards for market research agencies that work collecting thoughts and opinions from people across the UK. The event saw Facts International announced as winners of the Best Data Collection Face-to-Face category for 2017. This is the third time that Facts International has won Best Data Collection, quite an achievement considering that the MRS Operations Awards have only been running since 2014. The win was secured through Facts International’s team of more than 300 face-toface interviewers and researchers who worked tirelessly across the UK to distribute more than 260,000 surveys at more than 700 train stations, overcoming severe weather warnings, train strikes and cancellations due to damaged train lines, to deliver 20 train operating company reports to independent transport watchdog, Transport Focus. Chief Executive Crispin Beale said: “I’m incredibly proud of the work the whole team has done to update and improve this nationally important passenger survey and believe that the recognition is truly deserved by each and every one of the people involved.” At the 2017 MRS Operations Awards, Facts International were also finalists for Best Data Collection Telephone, which they previously won in 2015 and 2014, as well as Best Training & Development.

The experts in fire protection

ChannelFire are the fire protection experts who specialise in the design installation, commissioning and maintenance of all types of fire detection and gaseous fire suppression systems.

Its engineers have a minimum of 10 years’ experience in the fire protection industry and have a proven track record of working in all the major commercial sectors, where fire protection is a key element in the organisational operation. They also have the skills and resources to design a tailor-made solution to meet client requirements ChannelFire provides peace of mind, protecting client assets 24/7. Its dedicated team of experts can provide a speedy response, to any problem that may arise. ChannelFire appreciate the importance of working to only the highest professional standards and is accredited to: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, they are also members of the Fire Industry Association, Fire Protection Association and meet their codes of practice. ChannelFire offers the personal touch and commitment to help customers make the right choices for their business and the safety of their employees. Its friendly and knowledgeable service engineers, can both install and maintain systems allowing for complete peace of mind, knowing that business will be in a safe environment every day. For more information visit Thinking Business


The Last Word Name:

Jay Sahota

Company: Jarmans Solicitors

Job title: Owner and Senior Partner

Movers & Shakers

Blackbox Solutions appoints

new operations manager

Kent-based office technology and IT services provider Blackbox Solutions has appointed a new operations manager to spearhead the company's ambitious growth plans.

Colin Ayres, who has more than 20 years' experience working in the print and document solutions sector, will take charge of managing Blackbox Solutions' sales team. He said: “This is a very exciting time to have joined Blackbox Solutions.

Jay is the owner and senior partner of Jarmans Solicitors, a full-service law firm in Sittingbourne which punches above its weight and has clients on every continent. Having graduated from Cambridge University, Jay worked at Allen & Overy, one of the world’s leading law firms, and then stayed in the City for a number of years working on litigation cases of all types and sizes (e.g. a £3.5bn international fraud case). He set up his own firm in Kent before taking over Jarmans in June this year.

What was your first job and what was the pay packet?

Trainee solicitor at Allen & Overy (2003) - £18,000. Now they are paid three times that amount!

What do you always carry with you to work?

My tatty Hamleys bag containing papers and items to action. As my daughter says “being the boss of Jarmans, you really should have a nice briefcase”.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business?

The change and improvement I am implementing.

If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business?

I would make it illegal and punishable by public flogging to moan about Brexit. People need to understand that negative sentiment can become self-fulfilling in any sphere of life.

What can you see from your office window? Trees, Sainsburys, the sun on its daily journey.

If you could do another job what would it be? Magician (I was very good when I was younger).

As a business person, what are your three main qualities?

Diligence, honesty and attention to detail.

What was your biggest mistake in business? Trusting others without listening to the great Seer (my wife) or following my instinct.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Trust your gut instinct and always apply the risk and reward analysis (whilst being honest with yourself).

Who do you most admire in business?

My former boss, Sue O’Brien (previously partner at Pitmans) for inspiring me to run my own firm.


Thinking Business

Richard Mencner joins as head of the tax and trusts team and has a wealth of experience acquired during his career, which spans more than three decades. Prior to joining Cripps, Richard held senior positions at Londonbased C Hoare & Co, and Heartwood Wealth Management.

The company has ambitious plans to grow its customer base and double in size over the next three years, building on the fantastic foundations already laid by the company's directors.“ Colin Griffin, Managing Director of Blackbox

Solutions, said: “With more than two decades' experience in the print industry, Colin is the ideal candidate to improve our client support and expand our business to cover all parts of London and the South East.”

Cripps expands tax and trusts team with double appointments

Law firm Cripps has strengthened its private client team with the appointment of two highlyexperienced tax and trusts professionals.

Vikki Logan, a qualified chartered accountant, joins Cripps as a tax manager. Previously with Horsham based accountants Ritchie Phillips, where she had been a tax director since 2009, Vikki has more than 25 years’ experience in the accountancy profession. Myles McIntosh, head of the firm’s private client team said:

“We already have an excellent reputation for our private wealth work, and with Richard and Vikki’s significant experience and expertise from both wealth management and the accountancy sector, we are looking forward to further strengthening our overall service offering.”

Dispute Resolution Team increases presence in Canterbury

Next year, Whitehead Monckton celebrates their fifth anniversary of the opening of their new office in Canterbury.

Ahead of the anniversary, David Riordan, Associate Solicitor in the expanding Dispute Resolution Team, has moved to the office full time. David previously worked in Canterbury before joining Whitehead Monckton in 2014 and is delighted to

be returning to an area he knows so well. Christopher Longden who is head of the Dispute Resolution Team at Whitehead Monckton, said: “We’re delighted David is moving to our Canterbury office. This is a great time

for the firm, business continues to improve in all areas and our office in Canterbury is now well established in the City. Having David available to provide dispute resolution services for clients in Canterbury gives us that extra expertise, spread and capacity.”

Girlings grows its Business Law department

Girlings is delighted to welcome two new solicitors to its growing Business Law department.

Partner and Legal 500 recommended lawyer, Amrita Bartram, joins Girlings’ Commercial Property team from a Kent legal firm having worked previously at London firms, Fieldfisher and Finers Stephens Innocent (now merged with Howard Kennedy). Amrita acts

for clients from all sectors with a particular focus on retail and leisure. Senior Associate, Paul McAleavey, joins the Employment Law team from Tier-1 ranked City of London employment practice BDBF LLP, having

trained and qualified at leading Westminster firm Bircham Dyson Bell LLP. Paul, with a reputation for his sound pragmatic and commercial advice, is equally comfortable advising businesses and employees.

Thinking Business Kent December 2017  
Thinking Business Kent December 2017  

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