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Patron Scheme launch

Spotlight on Maidstone

Big Interview with The Hop Farm

Turner Contemporary

Reasons to be cheerful in the events sector

The continuing confidence in the economy suggests that 2017 could be a good year for the county’s conference, exhibitions and events sector.



Customer Service and Satisfaction is at the heart of what we do. We ensure your business needs are fully met.


Our evolution as a Group of businesses and with an established core team of professionals ensures that we deliver a bespoke and flexible service tailored specifically for your needs. We understand that no customer has exactly the same requirements, and our open and transparent approach means that we can deliver on our promises.


We will assign you a personal Account Manager, who will develop their relationship with you; so they fully understand your business and are able to handle your day to day requirements with a forward thinking, modern and efficient approach. RECRUITMENT We are fully aware that the nature of our business requires flexibility and will work continuously with you to provide an exceptional service.

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Welcome & Contents


The importance of getting yourself noticed

Jo James

Chief Executive Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business, which has its usual mix of news and views from around the county. On the 24th March we held the Awards Ceremony for this year’s Chamber Business Awards and our congratulations go to all of the Winners & Finalists. We had a record number of entries this year and we were certainly impressed with the quality of the applications, making the job of our judging panel difficult. You can see the full list of Winners and Finalists on pages 4 and 5. We also take a look at Maidstone, a place enjoying the fruits of investment as a wide range of organisations seek to support existing businesses and bring in more companies. Because this is a competitive world, the work being done in Maidstone is crucial to catch the eye both in Kent and beyond and we examine some of the initiatives on page 16. Our cover feature on page 24 looks at the conference, exhibitions and hospitality sector, which is booming at the moment, creating jobs and bringing investment to a wide range of venues. The main reason for the sector’s success, according to industry experts, is its ability to constantly try out new things while never losing touch with the needs of its clients. And those needs are?

Contents 4-5 6 7 9 10-11 12-14 16-20 22-23

Chamber Business Awards Members News Focus on Finance Healthy Workplace Update Patron Scheme Members News Spotlight on Maidstone Big Interview

Our Patrons


Well, we should remember that, amid all the innovation and clever technology, the main reason people like events is their ability to provide face-to-face contacts. Anyone in business will tell you that meeting people remains the best way of bringing in new contracts and retaining existing ones; humans still have a fundamental need to look each other in the eye when communicating and it is often when client and customer are together, and relaxed, that business is done, that relationships are forged and deals struck. All round the county can be found ideal venues, ranging from historic houses to hotels, specialist conference centres to sports clubs, all of which offer events and corporate hospitality and each one of them is working hard to be noticed in a busy market place.


Talking of good venues, our Big Interview on page 22 is with Miguel Fenton, Head of Marketing, Sales & PR at The Hop Farm at Paddock Wood, who talks about the joys of working at the unique venue. I hope you enjoy the magazine.

24-30 Cover Feature Conference, Exhibitions and Events 31 Industry Comment 32 24 Hours with.... 33 International Trade 35 Economy 36-37 Members News 38 BCC Chamber Business Awards

39 40-41 42-43 44-45 46 47 48 49 50

Ask the Expert Business News Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions Members News Getting Started New Members Movers & Shakers Last Word

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

Published April 2017 © Benham Publishing




Benham Publishing Limited 3tc House, 16 Crosby Road North, Crosby, Liverpool L22 0NY Ian Fletcher Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440

Advertising and Features

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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 Business Awards

Chamber Awards

- an evening of celebration

Chamber Members joined together to celebrate business success at the Chamber Annual Business Awards Dinner on Thursday 30th March at the prestigious Canterbury Cathedral Lodge.

Now in their 12th year, the Awards have been a great catalyst to promote excellence in business that is in abundance within the County.

Business of the Year: Sponsor Lucy Druesne - University of Kent

The quality and quantity of applications continues to increase year on year, just going to show that Kent is truly an entrepreneurial County, demonstrating business at its best. The Awards were in 7 categories

• Business of the Year Sponsored by University of Kent • Entrepreneur of the Year Sponsored by Kent Innovation and Enterprise

Winner - AC Goatham & Son

Finalist - Sleeping Giant Media

Finalist - Thanet Earth

Entrepreneur of the Year: Sponsor Marcus Wright - Kent Innovation and Enterprise

• Most Promising New Business Sponsored by The British Assessment Bureau

• Export Business of the Year Sponsored by UK Export Finance • Excellence in Customer Service Sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy • Young Person in Business Sponsored by Skills Hub Kent and Medway

• Construction Project of the Year Sponsored by Kent Construction Focus Group (Kcfg)

The Chamber would like to congratulate all of this year’s Winners and very worthy Finalists. In addition to our category sponsors named above, we would like to thank Gatwick Airport Limited and Ashford Borough Council for supporting the event and helping us to make the evening a great success.


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Winner - Luke Quilter Sleeping Giant Media

Finalist - Neil Sampson Green Gate Access Systems

Finalist - Helen Ross HRP Equestrian

Most Promising New Business: Sponsor Rob Fenn - The British Assessment Bureau

Winner - Breakthrough Funding Ltd

Finalist - Syncbox

Finalist - EC Safety Solutions

In My Opinion

Export Business of the Year: Sponsor Julian Lynn - UK Export Finance

In my Opinion

Ailsa Fairchild Debt Recovery Manager Girlings Solicitors

Winner - Bedfont Scientific Ltd

Finalist - International Association of Bookkeepers

Excellence In Customer Service: Sponsor Kim Farrington - Wilkins Kennedy

Winner - RIFT Group

Finalist - Sleeping Giant Media

Finalist - Red Eagle Ltd

Young Person in Business: Sponsor Chris Hare - Skills Hub Kent and Medway

Winner - Rakim Dixon Questor Insurance

Finalist - Ben Towers Towers Design

Finalist - Katy Barker Directline Structures

Construction Project of the Year - Sponsor Ella Brocklebank - Kcfg

Winner - WW Martin

Some of the many misconceptions when it comes to debt recovery include: it’s easier to write them off; solicitors are too expensive; recovery costs will outweigh the debt and the courts are too slow. What is undoubtedly true is that customers failing or refusing to pay in a timely manner can seriously affect your cash flow. Writing off the debt could encourage smaller debtors not to pay and risks setting a precedent to other debtors. If you decide to pursue the debt you need to be sure that the likelihood of recovering it justifies this expense. It is always worth taking a realistic approach. Success will depend upon two things: the debtor’s ability to pay; and there being no valid reason for non-payment. If a debtor is genuinely unable to pay you are on the back foot. Irritating as it may be, consider whether there is any room for agreement for payment of the debt by monthly instalments – something is always better than nothing. There may be a reason for non-payment. Keep the lines of communication open. You, as the creditor, are best placed to know why you have not been paid. If your customer is dissatisfied with the work, can you rectify it? If the debtor simply does not want to pay review your options. A solicitor’s letter before action can cost as little as £9.50 - I have lost count of the clients who have expressed surprise at being paid an aged debt after a dreaded “solicitors letter”! Chase your debts as soon as they become due. Consider informing your debtor in advance that a solicitor will be instructed if the debt remains unpaid. Some solicitors, like Girlings, offer fixed fee debt recovery so that you know from the outset exactly how much you are investing, some of which could be recoverable from your debtor. The key to successfully collecting your debt is to act swiftly and firmly. If you threaten a particular course of action, follow it through. And, finally, don’t be afraid to consult a solicitor, you might be pleasantly surprised! Ailsa can be contacted on T: 01233 664711

Finalist - Walker Construction

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Members News

UK Grower Awards Win

The team are delighted to have been named Top Fruit Grower of the Year in The UK Grower Awards 2017. They were also finalists in two other categories, Best Production Manager and Best Business Innovation. The awards took place at a black tie dinner in London on 23 February and were attended by many from the fresh produce industry. Carol Ford, Commercial Director at AC Goatham & Son comments: "We are absolutely delighted to have been named the Top Fruit Grower of the Year. Thank you to the whole Goatham's team who work so hard to ensure our continued success."

Goatham’s Great Kent Cycle Ride across Kent this Summer

Dame Kelly Holmes will be taking part in the first ever Goatham's Great Kent Cycle Ride covering nearly 200 miles over three days, in aid of Kent Sports Trust Foundation and Help for Heroes. Leaving the headquarters of AC Goatham & Son at Flanders Farm, Hoo, on the morning of Friday 14th July, the cyclists will begin their journey, taking in some of the more spectacular sights of Kent before returning to Medway to finish on Sunday 16th July. With one, two or three day options for cyclists, the event is open to all ages and abilities, giving even the most modest of bike riders the chance to be involved in something special whilst raising money for charity. Businesses along the route are being urged to get involved, take part and show their support for the riders. Chief Executive Officer of the Kent Sports Trust Foundation, Steve Wolfe comments: "We're anticipating hundreds of cyclists taking part over the three days and we couldn't run this event without the support of our main sponsors AC Goatham & Son plus Shepherd Neame, Holiday Extras and Canterbury Rugby Club for hosting fuel stops for the riders." Carol Ford at AC Goatham & Son comments: “This is a fantastic initiative for AC Goatham & Son to be involved with and we hope the hundreds of cyclists taking part both enjoy the event and help raise funds for two very well deserving organisations.” To secure your places on the Goatham's Great Kent Cycle Ride, visit, email or call (01634) 820780.


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Brachers wins prestigious Management Excellence award

Brachers won best collaboration across the management team at the 2017 Managing Partners’ Forum (MPF) Management Excellence Awards in conjunction with Harvard Business Review and The Financial Times. The black tie gala dinner and awards ceremony took place at the London Marriott, Grosvenor Square and Brachers was the only professional services firm in Kent to be nominated for the awards. The firm’s entry in the best collaboration across the management team category highlighted the new internal structures that had been put in place to support the firm’s strategic objectives, aligning the business plan to best serve the needs of clients rather than thinking in practice area silos. The result has been to promote better teamwork across the firm, which has also improved staff engagement. The firm was also shortlisted for best corporate culture following its ‘With You All The Way’ campaign designed to ensure they take a really

bespoke approach to each client’s needs and that staff behaviours are tightly aligned to business strategy. Joanna Worby, Managing Partner, said: “I’m really

pleased that, against some of the best professional service businesses in the country, we flew the flag for Kent and won the Best collaboration award.”

Firm attracts City high-flyer

(From left to right) rugby star Austin Healey, Managing Partner at Brachers Jo Worby & Ben Kent of Meridian West

The firm is delighted that Erol Huseyin has joined the corporate and commercial team at Brachers, having been a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright in the City for the past ten years. Erol has a distinguished track record, having also worked at Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy for five years before joining Norton Rose in 1998 and becoming partner in 2006. He has some 20 years’ experience advising businesses and lenders on all aspects of commercial transactions, with a particular specialism in energy. His expertise includes advising on joint venture arrangements, business and share sales, product supply and sales & distribution arrangements, IP licensing, and loan and other finance structures. Ranked in Chambers Global, which recognises lawyers as leaders in their respective practice areas, Erol has extensive experience of running and supervising teams of lawyers on projects and providing focused, riskbased advice to clients.

Living just outside Tonbridge in Kent with his wife and two children, Erol decided that the time was right to leave the City and start a new phase in his career working at a locallybased firm with a significant footprint in the business community. Erol was also attracted to Brachers by the firm’s ethos of supporting clients of all kinds throughout the business cycle as they grow, from familyowned businesses and SMEs to mid-market and larger corporates and publicly funded organisations. Erol said: “I am thrilled to be joining Brachers and am excited about the new chapter opening up in front of me. Brachers deservedly has a high reputation for its wideranging work with businesses across the spectrum in Kent and indeed the South East more widely.

There is a strong team of experienced lawyers at the firm and I am really looking forward to working with them to bring clients the advice and guidance they need.” James Bullock, Head of Corporate at Brachers, said: “We are very pleased that Erol is coming on board. His experience speaks for itself and I have no doubt that clients will greatly value working with him due to the knowledge, insight and support he can bring them.”

Saving can skip a generation

Focus on Finance

Rick Schofield

Tax Partner, Kent Region

01233 629255 (Ashford)

Whether it’s to help them with a property purchase, or to put towards university fees, plenty of parents and grandparents like to squirrel some money away for children. But, somewhere the taxman could get involved – particularly if you are giving away a large sum.

Child’s personal allowance

Even though your grandchildren may be too young to earn money from an employer, they still have their own personal allowance, which for 2016/17 is £11,000, providing their income is below £100,000. Such allowances can be used against income generated by gifts from persons other than parents – i.e. grandparents. Children can earn up to £100 in interest from money given to them by their parents and anything over that amount is taxable on the parent. However, this rule does not apply to grandparents. Other relatives and friends are also exempt from this £100 rule.

Beware the IHT

Grandparents can choose to gift money, such as a lump sum towards a deposit on a property. But to avoid an unexpected Inheritance Tax (IHT) bill for your grandchildren, then you should remember these three things: • Each of us have an annual IHT allowance of £3,000, so you can give money away to your grandchildren (or your children) without needing to worry about paying tax. You can also carry forward your IHT allowance from the previous year. • If you gift more than £3,000, and you are not carrying forward the previous years’

We all want to ensure financial security, both for ourselves and for our families. But, when it comes to passing on any personal wealth, there could be a more tax-efficient way of providing for your children’s future prospects.

allowance, you must live for 7 years after giving that gift otherwise it will be subject to IHT payable by the child. • You can give smaller sums of up to £250 a year to as many people as you like, but you cannot combine this with another allowance. Remember, the £3,000 allowance is allocated per gift-giver and not per child, so this allowance must be split accordingly. Consideration may even need to be given to your own children, as well as your grandchildren. It is worth bearing in mind that you can give extra sums for events such as weddings and civil partnerships. So if your grandchild was to get married, grandparents and great-grandparents can each give cash or gifts worth £2,500 in addition to the £3,000 gift allowance, and no further tax will be payable.

Recognising a gift

If you are still working or have other income, you have the option to pay a regular, small sum to your children or grandchildren out of your income and it will not be subject to additional tax. However this must not be from your savings, but must be part of your monthly outgoings and it must not affect the quality or standard of your living – so you must be able to easily afford these payments. If you choose to gift smaller amounts to your grandchildren, then HMRC recognises such genuine gifts out of normal income, such as birthday or Christmas presents, as exempted gifts. This means there is no inheritance tax (IHT) to pay, as long as they are small gifts which do not affect your

standard of living, regardless of your relationship with the receiver. What sort of gifts are included under this exemption? HMRC define ‘a gift’ as: • Anything that has a value, such as money, property or possessions • A loss in value when something’s transferred, for example, if you sell your house to your child for less than it is worth, the difference in value counts as a gift • However for it to be a gift out of income the gift needs to be of cash or an asset specifically purchased as a gift – you cannot gift an asset that has been long held.


There is currently a nil rate band on your estate of £325,000 per person (£650,000 for a married couple). However, from the 6 April, each person’s band will increase to a maximum of £425,000 but the increase is limited to the value of your home. If your home is worth £325,000 you will have no increase, if it is worth over £425,000 you will get the full increase. This extra home allowance will eventually increase from £100,000 to £175,000 in 2020. It is important therefore to review your estate with these changes in mind. If you are looking to help make the most out of saving for your grandchildren, and pick up some tax advantages on the way, then Wilkins Kennedy can help. Contact us at our offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone, Orpington and Sandwich to find out more information.

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Office in the cloud

Host My Office provides web-based hosting systems for businesses of all sizes, giving access to their desktop anywhere in the world.

The team also provides data backup and file sharing, video and audio telephone solutions and internet connectivity services, essentially a whole IT department, just not in the office! Host My Office has been three years in the making,

developing, testing and trialling servers, systems and technology, until the team was confident the offering was one of the best in the industry. So it has been running in the background for a while, but launched to clients in June 2016. Since then, the team

has gone from strength to strength, and enjoyed rapid growth. The team now consists of 8, all highly qualified engineers, based in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone. Added to that, servers are located in four separate locations in the South East of England, some of the most advanced technology available. Host My Office’s mission is to encourage businesses to move into the cloud, it’s a faster, more economical way to run a business, and allows employees to operate on the move, a must for today’s business world. It keeps businesses operating no matter what technological disaster may befall them. For more information visit

Gerald Eve recommits to Kings Hill

International property consultant Gerald Eve, which operates in the UK, Europe and major US markets and has an annual turnover of £54.3m, has renewed its lease in 35 Kings Hill Avenue.

Its Client Accounting division is based there, providing services in connection with business rates payments and property management finance. Partner Andrew Rudd said: “We wanted to stay at Kings Hill because it offers a highly landscaped contemporary workplace, with good connections to London and motorway links. It is also convenient for our staff and provides a good range of on-site retail and leisure amenities.” The firm moved to Kings Hill in 2004, taking a small office in Churchill Square with just three staff. It moved into larger offices in 2011 and 28 staff are now based there. In the 12 years since Gerald Eve moved here there have been a lot of positive changes at Kings Hill with many more shops, restaurants and leisure

Healthy Workplace Update

Close to your Heart

Many of us deprioritise our health when we're up against deadlines.

Anne Hatswell, Interventional Suite Manager at KIMS Hospital.

This is at our peril. Sadly, 73,000 people in the UK die from coronary heart disease each year. Many of these deaths are preventable by knowing the following symptoms and signs and then how to access the right treatment if needed: • Heart palpitations - the feeling that your heart is fluttering, skipping a beat or beating too fast. This can signal many heart and blood vessel related conditions • Shortness of breath • Discomfort or pain in your chest, upper back and arms - also known as angina, this is often triggered by exercise but can occur at any time. These symptoms can also signal a heart attack • Weakness, dizziness and fainting If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your GP or a specialist Cardiologist. Prevention is better than cure and it's reassuring to know there are things you can do to improve and maintain your heart health: • Eat a Mediterranean diet. i.e. a diet consisting of lots of fruit and veg, fish, fibre and Omega 3 • Stop smoking. Smoking raises blood pressure, thickens artery walls and makes blood clots much more likely • Exercise regularly. You should be doing around 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, especially if you sit for long periods of time • Keep an eye on existing health conditions. For example, having diabetes can increase your risk of heart problems, if it's not maintained and treated properly If you're concerned about your health, or that of your team, ensure professional advice is taken. KIMS Hospital has the only private interventional cardiology facility in Kent. Our state-of-the-art facilities offer treatment and diagnostic care from a specialist team who will be with you every step of the way.

International property consultant Gerald Eve has renewed its lease at 35 Kings Hill Avenue. amenities,” said Andrew Blevins, managing director of Kings Hill developer Liberty Property Trust. “We are delighted that they have decided to stay here and

hope they will remain with us for many years to come.” Altus Group, Hanover Green and Knight Frank acted for the landlord.

For Chamber members, we are offering the opportunity to visit KIMS Hospital to learn how we can help you prevent heart disease and keep your business on track. For information, to book a consultation or in-depth Healthy Heart Check with one of our specialists T: 01622 914 784 or

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Patron scheme is launched

Patron Scheme Launch

Chamber Chief Executive Jo James welcomed guests to the launch of the new Chamber Patron Scheme. Representatives from nine companies gathered at the Tudor Park Marriott to celebrate the launch and be presented with certificates. Jo told them: “Through the scheme, we will be looking to work with a maximum of 12 leading and influential organisations across Kent and Medway and we have been specific in who we would like as our Patrons. “With your support, working alongside our existing representation network, together we can work to influence key policies within the County and nationally. “As you all come from a diverse range of industries, your knowledge and expertise will be of real benefit to the membership and wider business community, enabling us to give a strong voice to support the county’s business community and, importantly, ensuring a thriving and growing local economy. “The patronage scheme offers an opportunity to build a strategic and mutually beneficial partnership between yourselves and the Chamber. Engagement at this level gives you the chance to build valuable connections with business, the media and political leaders in Kent.” Morag Welham, Head of Patron Services, introduced the patrons and thanked Michael Regenhardt, the General Manager of the Tudor Park Marriott, and his team for hosting the event. Ashford Borough Council Chief Executive Tracey Kerly received their certificate. Ashford Borough Council has had a strong partnership with the Chamber for a long time. Becoming a Patron is important within the context of Ashford’s flourishing inward investment programme and its desire to attract businesses that can contribute to the greater prosperity of the town. Leading law firm Brachers represents the legal sector. Joanna Worby, Managing Partner, accepted their certificate. Brachers is an award winning law firm, providing valuable legal support to individuals and companies. Founded more than 100 years ago, the firm remains


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renowned for building lasting relationships with clients. Becoming a Patron of the Chamber allows them to work in support of the business community and help deliver economic growth in the region Caxtons Chartered Surveyors’ Chairman Ron Roser received their certificate. Caxtons have had a long relationship with the Chamber through their sponsorship of the B2B exhibition series and becoming a Patron is a great extension of that relationship. Caxtons is one of the largest independent property consultancies in the South East. Operating from offices throughout Kent, they offer regional and specialist knowledge on a comprehensive range of property services in both the commercial and residential sectors. Also honoured was the KIMS Hospital. Representing the medical and healthcare sector, Simon James their CEO received their certificate. KIMS Hospital is committed to helping businesses in the local community, and especially Chamber members, to keep staff healthy and in work. As the largest independent hospital in Kent, they offer the most advanced diagnostic and clinical facilities in the county. MHA MacIntyre Hudson Partner James Gransby received their certificate. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is a Top 20 accountancy practice with offices in Canterbury, Folkestone and Maidstone. MidKent College, a long-time supporter of the Chamber, was honoured as well with Chris Hare, Director of Enterprise and Employer Engagement, being presented with the certificate. MidKent College is a large general further education college serving the communities of Kent and Medway. Its passion is to see the people of Kent and Medway equipped with the skills, qualifications and knowledge to support sustainability and growth of local businesses. Towergate Insurance Brokers Area Managing Director David Armstrong received their certificate. Towergate in Kent comprises of more than 80 insurance professionals who excel in providing

insurance solutions, expertise and support to businesses and individuals throughout Kent and the wider South East. For the University of Kent, the certificate was collected by Carole Barron, the Director of Innovation and Enterprise, who is also the President of Kent Invicta Chamber Board. The University of Kent provides excellent opportunities in Higher Education, undertakes innovative world-leading research, and promotes and values innovation, creativity and enterprise in all areas of its activity. The University’s research, skills, knowledge and facilities promote growth and innovation in the business community within Kent, and also at a national and international level. Their Patronage helps to illustrate its commitment to supporting local businesses, of all sizes, to adopt innovative and creative approaches within their organisation. Representing the rural sector is AC Goatham & Son - celebrating 70 years in business this year. AC Goatham & Son is one of the leading fruit growers in the UK with 20 farms with more than 2,000 acres, employing on average 500 full and part time staff annually. This year, it will grow 170 million apples and 50 million pears They are in the middle of an expansion plan and by 2020 more than 1.5 million new trees will have been planted.

“The patronage scheme offers an opportunity to build a strategic and mutually beneficial partnership with the Chamber. Engagement at this level gives our Patrons the chance to build valuable connections with business, the media and political leaders in Kent.”




Image 1: Left to right


Carole Barron - University of Kent, Tracey Kerly - Ashford Borough Council, David Armstrong - Towergate Insurance Brokers, Jo James - Kent Invicta Chamber, James Gransby - MHA MacIntyre Hudson, Ron Roser - Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, Simon James - KIMS Hospital & Joanna Worby - Brachers

Image 2: Jo James presents the senior

team at AC Goatham & Son with their Patron’s certificate. Left to right: Nigel Stuart, Carole Barron President of Kent Invicta Chamber, Ross Goatham, Jo James - Chief Executive, Kent Invicta Chamber, Clive Goatham, Carol Ford & Steve Everard

Image 3: Chris Hare from MidKent College collects their certificate

Image 4 and 6: The launch event was



kindly hosted by the Tudor Park Marriott at Bearsted

Image 5: The Chamber welcomes nine new Patrons

Photography courtesy of Kim Brett

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Members News

Developing talent

by Gemma Sharp

Business Owner / Learning Consultant and Facilitator

I have a passion for developing people and the powerful impact this can have on the performance of companies and their ability to grow. Having worked in Learning and Development for more than ten years, and with most of my experience being from the not-forprofit and public sector, I wanted to support similar organisations as well as bring my knowledge to private sector companies. All of this resulted in Lordene Learning being created in the autumn of 2016. Lordene Learning is dedicated to supporting companies to improve business performance through efficient learning systems and creative people development. We want to work with companies to understand and overcome their challenges which may include: • Reducing staff turnover • Improving motivation & morale • Enhancing team working • Increasing productivity Our vision is quite simple:

Learn More. Work Smarter. Improve Performance. Our ‘Learn More’ services include coaching, personality questionnaires and personal development workshops. Workshops are linked to our Resilience and Wellbeing (RAW) framework and we use stories and games to make them fun, memorable and have a direct impact in the workplace. Our ‘Work Smarter’ services are where we work alongside a company to identify areas for improvement and develop bespoke learning solutions. The solution could involve change management, company learning strategies or specific learning projects, such as redesigning a performance development system. We believe our work will help create positive working environments where companies, teams and people have Deep Roots as a foundation to grow and Strong Wings to achieve their full potential.

Top national award for D&D Autos

Ashford’s leading independent garage has picked up another top national award.

D&D Autos was named Large Garage/Garage Chain of the Year in the CAT Awards 2017, sponsored by the prestigious CAT magazine. The awards, which are based on votes from satisfied customers, are now in their tenth year, and D&D Autos’ success this year saw it move one rung up the ladder after being named runner-up in 2015. Business owner Derek Pestridge and wife Margaret were at the sparkling award ceremony in Manchester’s Lowry Hotel as the winner was announced from the final four nominations. “Being named the best in the country in such a great competition was a fantastic feeling,” Derek said. “The fact that this award is based on nominations from satisfied customers makes it even better.”


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The success follows similar national recognition in the 2011 IAAF (Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation) awards, when the family-run business was named Garage of the Year. D&D Autos, based in purpose-built premises in Moat Way, Ashford, continues to grow, with four new employees having joined the team over the past 12 months.

Action needed to help housing crisis

Members News

The Government should strongly consider reducing Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), allow development on suitable areas of Green Belt land and reduce red tape if it is to increase the pace of housebuilding. That was the widely held view of a group of 30 of Kent’s commercial and residential property specialists and their advisors who met to discuss the ramifications for the sector post-Brexit. The event, organised by national audit, tax and advisory firm Crowe Clark Whitehill, law firm Brachers and chartered surveyors Caxtons, included presentations from Phil Eckersley, South East agent for the Bank of England, and John Elliott of Millwood Designer Homes. On a positive note about the economic outlook, Phil Eckersley said: “The Bank expects growth to be stronger over the forecast period than in November 2016, with the economy now projected to expand by 2.0% in 2017 and around 1.75% thereafter. This upgrade will leave the level of UK output around 1% higher over the next three years than expected in November.” Top of the agenda was a discussion about the outlook for the county’s property market in the run up to Brexit.

Darren Rigden, Partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill, which has offices in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone, said: “For many, Brexit is still too far away. However, we are finding there is a continued uncertainty, and the potential tax fallout of the UK leaving the EU is hampering confidence. Of more immediate concern is the Housing White Paper published on February 7 2017, which could have gone much further in its efforts to tackle the UK’s housing crisis. “If the Government is to achieve its ambition to intensify the pace of house building across the country it needs to rethink tax policy, notably cutting SDLT, and allow development on suitable areas of Green Belt land.” When considering whether the government would adopt a more business-friendly approach to the economy Ron Roser, Chairman of Caxtons, thought there was a longstanding degree of scepticism among the business community. He said: “While there is general optimism about the post Brexit

property market in Kent and the wider South East, we urgently need to address the lack of supply of new or good quality commercial property for business, as well as a lack of focus on commercial development if we are to ensure we are best placed for our new relationship with Europe. “Developers remain frustrated by the planning system and the amount of red tape being put in their way, with the process also being too political. Efforts to fund larger planning departments are to be welcomed as they remain under resourced leading to poor advice, delays and inconsistencies in the planning process, although there are notable differences in performance between different authorities in Kent.” Sarah Gaines, Partner and Head of Commercial Property at Brachers added: “Much has happened politically which has led to uncertainty across the property market. It has been a privilege to be able to bring property experts together from

many sectors to discuss the challenges and opportunities for the year ahead. “Uncertainty is likely to continue throughout the year due to Brexit and many of our clients are seeking more flexibility in their property commitments in anticipation of this. However, the one thing that is certain, is that Kent has always had a lot to offer the business community and I am sure this is set to continue.”

Young Chamber at Invicta Grammar School

Young Chamber is a very successful extracurricular club that gives students the opportunity to be involved in the world of business on a local scale. The dedication put in has allowed Young Chamber to raise large sums of money for various charities over the years and this current academic year is raising money for SUDEP, a UK charity who help those who have lost loved ones to epilepsy. A team of sixth form students, have meetings on a weekly basis and keep in contact throughout the week using an instant messaging group chat, where preparations are made for four main annual events as well as additional ones later on in the year. We are also joined by Mr Richard Lavender, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, on a fortnightly basis who helps us with ideas during meetings, sponsorships for events and participates in the Business Lunch. The main events include: a ‘girl’s night in’ for younger years, a business lunch for companies to

make connections with each other and the school, a murder mystery night where a three course meal is served as well as entertainment and most recently, the annual Burn’s night which ran for the fourth time this January with great success. Alongside our events we also have a hoodies team where we offer to sell hoodies to groups of students going on trips like foreign exchanges or annual trips such as Iceland. In doing so we make a small profit towards our charity. This is a growing part of Young Chamber as our school continues to expand on the number of trips and increase its international links exponentially. There are high expectations set out for students wishing to join Young Chamber as it requires a great amount of commitment in

order to run efficiently. The team is broken down so that all aspects of the management behind the events is dealt with including an events team, advertising team, and a chair and vice chair plus numerous other roles. These are decided at the beginning of the academic year so that each member can participate in helping Young Chamber be a success. Our team and our school both take pride in delivering outstanding events and we are expected and do put in every effort to make sure our audience has a fantastic experience, after all, a good reputation ensures good advertisement for the next year. Despite the hard work that we deliver whilst still in full time education, Young Chamber is nothing but a positive experience. The transferable skills learnt enable the students involved to be more confident going into the world of

work, whether it be being able to lead a team, speak publicly to a group of people you don’t know or even to have something to talk about during a university interview that sets you aside from other candidates. In addition, Year 13 students receive an open reference from Mr Lavender before they go on study leave which has helped many go on to do greater things.

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Members News

Recruitment firms join forces

Encore Technical Solutions, a renowned specialist in automotive and engineering recruitment, has been operating as a division of RHL since 2008.

Company reveals new branding

It is a new year with a new face and a new brand for Bedfont® as Jason Smith, the new managing director, is shaking things up for the 40 year old company. Bedfont®, established in 1976, has specialised in the design and manufacture of exhaled breath and gas analysis products since before Jason was born. However, now that he has succeeded his father, Trevor, as managing director, Jason feels that it’s the ideal time to update the brand, to reflect recent changes and Bedfont’s future. The reason for the rebrand is that 2016 was a big year for Bedfont® which led to a lot of developments within the business and they sold their NOxBOX range of intensive care units to focus on their core business of breath analysis as well as celebrating forty years of business. Jason said: “As we focus more on breath analysis, having sold the intensive care range, we have changed a bubble from green to purple to represent our NObreath® FeNO monitor which is helping to improve asthma management. We have also included our establishment date because even though we want the world to see how new and innovative our ideas are, we still want them to know that we’ve been a long-standing established company, since 1976. “More significant than the logo with this rebrand is the new slogan, ‘Our family, innovating health, for yours.’ Again, we feel that it is crucial that the rebrand reflects our core values and purpose as a company and we feel this slogan does exactly that. What is important about this new slogan is that we are still innovating health, that is not changing, but we are expanding.”


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From March 6th, it has been fully integrated with Kent-based Recruitment Holdings Limited (RHL) and has changed its name to RHL. RHL, celebrating its 40th year of operating as a leading technical recruitment company, is part of the HR GO group of companies, with branches countywide and nationally, and headquartered in Ashford. Greg Wall, Managing Director of RHL, said: “We have decided that it is time to complete the transition and from March 6th, Encore Technical Solutions will be renamed

RHL, thus becoming a fully integrated division of the RHL team. “This is a seamless merger and clients will receive the same high levels of service they have come to expect. I’m delighted with our association with Encore and am confident that together we can look forward to continued success.” There will be no changes to the specialist Encore team, other than RHL seeking to add to their numbers. Tim Bees, Managing Consultant with Encore, retains that position in RHL and will continue to be based at the present offices in Maldon, Essex.

The executive management team and back office support (including payroll) will also remain the same, ensuring no disruption to any services to candidates and clients. Tim said: “With RHL, we will have increased access to candidate databases. This means stronger working relationships with colleagues who have expertise in related industries and will enhance our service delivery even further. “We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial business relationship as RHL.”

Waterloo boosts capacity

Buildings across the UK need the right air terminal devices to suit each room – and a major investment in its Kent factory by Waterloo Air Products Ltd has strengthened its ability to offer a fast, reliable supply of the biggest range of standard and bespoke products available.

Waterloo has seen a significant increase in sales volumes over the past year. The investment provides a robust framework for Waterloo to deliver exceptional customer service as demand continues to grow. With its team growing by 25 per cent in the second half of 2016, Waterloo has reorganised its factory space to increase capacity for greater speed and flexibility throughout the entire production process. It also means Waterloo can manufacture more products at the same time. The investment has added an additional 1,000 m2 of space – with extra manufacturing

workstations, additional warehousing for storing materials and finished products, a revamped paint shop and the packing area has been doubled, too. “Customer support is key, and this latest investment is all about delivering the best possible service,” said Rick Edmondson, Chairman at Waterloo. “We’re seeing increased interest across our entire range, including standard and custom-designed products, so we’re manufacturing a broader mix of air terminal devices. That means more painting, more packing and more deliveries.

“Our factory-wide investment is integrated across all departments to make sure products go out on time and to the highest standard. “We’ve built in real flexibility so we can make a greater number of different products at the same time, paint more products, and store more products to meet customers’ needs for fast, reliable delivery. “We’ve also expanded our team to fuel the huge opportunities customers are seeing in the construction sector, and their need for high-quality air terminal devices.” New equipment includes a high-capacity, programmable cross-cut saw to support precise manufacturing and a new packing machine. There are major additions to the paint shop, too, with a new drying oven, auto-spraying equipment, a waste recover system and a manual booth for short-run orders. The Waterloo factory in Aylesford includes design and engineering, manufacturing, two test labs, paint shop facilities and technical support.

The absence headache


Ever been in a situation and asked yourself:

And so the headache begins.

Am I dealing with short term absence? What can I do if a pattern of short term sickness emerges? Throw in long term sickness, GP fit notes, occupational health, disability and reasonable adjustments and you could find that the headache has taken hold, affecting your judgement, setting a collision course with others and even impacting the business itself.

And then, the conversation with the individual - one step short of a full migraine?

Having the conversation can be difficult. For example, some employees find it difficult to discuss personal medical problems, whilst others are happy to tell you their life story. Also, many managers shy away from what they perceive as a

• How can I tell if someone is genuinely sick or if they just didn’t feel like coming to work? • How do I talk to my employees about why they were away? • What action can I take to improve the attendance of my employees? • Can I dismiss someone when they are away sick? • What are the legal issues?

‘showdown’ with employees – particularly if they suspect that the sickness has not been genuine or if they wish to discuss high levels of sickness absence. Now there is recognised medication for a headache. When it comes to managing absence, what is often not recognised is the effect that proper absence management procedures can have in improving attendance. Our free advice, conflict resolution and training services have supported thousands to effectively soothe and resolve their managing absence headaches. Not because we have any delusions about stopping sickness, the majority of sickness is genuine after all, but because we know there are different effective strategies and techniques that are needed to support you and your organisation.

About the author Tim Rising Acas South East Adviser

Tim is an Acas Advisor who has experience in representation and management, along with particular interests in equality, employee well-being and developing workplace performance. With a practical understanding of the anxieties and communication issues that can affect each of these processes, Tim's belief is that good quality training practiced alongside good quality communication gives added value to employers, staff and staff representatives alike.

“Many managers shy away from what they perceive as a ‘showdown’ with employees – particularly if they suspect that the sickness has not been genuine or if they wish to discuss high levels of sickness absence. ”


Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. But when things go wrong we help by providing conciliation to resolve workplace problems. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas south east (01252 360701) - arrange a free advisory visit Acas helpline (0300 123 1100) - for free and impartial advice Acas customer services (0300 123 1150) - training events enquiries - help & advice for employers and employees Thinking Business


Spotlight on Maidstone

“There is no doubt that this is an exciting time for Maidstone as we start to see our visions for the area come to fruition. We have always been ambitious about what we can achieve and our strong relationships with our partners have enabled us to deliver and support projects that are for the benefit of everyone who comes to our borough.�

A County Town to be proud of

Known as the County Town of England, Maidstone is well and truly on the map with businesses and visitors alike. 16

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Spotlight on Maidstone

With its quick links to the capital via rail or road, it’s becoming a town that not only offers new opportunities but also is transforming before our very eyes. Just a walk through the town centre and you will notice a number of changes including the successful completion of phases 1 & 2 improvements to the public spaces at Jubilee Square and Remembrance Square on the High Street. The £3.5 million pound works

undertaken by Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) create a sense of place as well as providing a safe and attractive environment for those who visit, live and work in the borough. It’s hoped that phase 3 and 4 of the works planned for later this year will improve the north

end of Week Street and Gabriel’s Hill/Lower Stone Street thanks to a further £3 million pound commitment from MBC.

But these changes are just the tip of the iceberg for the council, who are committed to keeping the borough an

Artists impression of Week Street attractive place for all and securing a successful economy. Working with developers and other key stakeholders has seen the creation of the Kent Medical Campus at junction 7 of the M20 and is part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone. When complete, the 30-acre Kent Medical Campus site will provide 98,000m2 of accommodation for medical and life science companies, specialist residential and

Cont. over

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Spotlight on Maidstone

Jubilee Square rehabilitation care, with the aspiration for higher education level training facilities for the medical and healthcare professions. Phase one saw the construction of KIMS Hospital, a 92 bed independent hospital employing more than 300 clinicians, nursing staff and management. Now work has got under way on an £18m 65 bed mental health facility. Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, Cllr Fran Wilson, said: “The Kent Medical Campus represents one of Maidstone’s key employment assets. With the creation of thousands of highly skilled and well paid jobs

over the next 10 years and its status as an Enterprise Zone it will play a vital role in the borough’s Economic Development Strategy. Whilst economic growth is undoubtedly important I am particularly pleased that a new state of the art Mental Health facility is being brought to Maidstone which will provide much needed expertise and support to the borough.” One of the area’s key assets is the River Medway which runs through the centre of the town, linking it with Rochester and the Thames Estuary. Recognising the importance of the river, the Medway Cycle Path Project will be led Kent County Council with £2m from the LEP, and £500k from MBC.

this is an exciting time for Maidstone as we start to see our visions for the area come to fruition. We have always been ambitious about what we can achieve and our strong relationships with our partners have enabled us to deliver and support projects that are for the benefit of everyone who comes to our borough.” The future continues to look bright for Maidstone with the creation of an adventure zone at the popular Mote Park, which was recently named as one of the most-loved open spaces in the UK, and the redevelopment

William Cornall, Director of Regeneration and Place at Maidstone Borough Council, said: “There is no doubt that


Cllr Fran Wilson

of the former Royal Mail site in Sandling Road. The site, which was jointly purchased with Kent County Council, has a long term masterplan with the focus of transforming the area, with a ‘landmark’ mixed-use development including retail space, homes, offices, increased parking and an improved interchange between buses, trains and taxis. With the many schemes, developments and improvement works planned, it’s clear that the council is committed to making the County Town a place to be proud of, a location where businesses are enabled to thrive and a destination where visitors can enjoy an offer to the extent that they would come back to Maidstone over and over again.

The project will see the creation of a 2.5m wide tarmac path from Barming Bridge to M20 past Allington Lock allowing those living and visiting the borough to enjoy all the river has to offer.

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Artists impression of Mote Park Adventure Zone

William Cornall

Spotlight on Maidstone

Cyclist outside Archbishops Palace

For further information about Maidstone Borough Council and it’s projects, please visit

Artists impression of the Cygnet Hospital

An example of a successful local company is Rap interiors, which was formed 25 years ago. The company took the decision to base itself in Maidstone because they had more chance of succeeding where they could employ local talent, keep their rates down and still maintain easy access to motorways to carry out their work, which ranges from Birmingham to Brighton. Rap says that employees want to work locally with a small family business and this passion continues. It says that Maidstone has a wealth of talent who value a work life balance more than spending two hours minimum travelling to and from London before they do a day’s work. All staff live within 15 mile radius of the office so they remain a family business with strong values in recruiting local talent and supporting the future youth of our business, getting out to schools and spreading careers advice. Rap says that it will remain in Kent, encouraging young people and new blood to join in our growing company. Another organisation which enjoys being based in Maidstone is Enterprise England which runs Maidstone Enterprise Centre, a charity focused on small business support. Maidstone House offers a variety of space solutions from workstations to office suites and Registered Business Address services are also available. Occupiers benefit from free services as part of their package, including training and support, WiFi with options to upgrade, monthly meeting room allowance and access to regular business surgery’s and networking events. Furniture and printing facilities are also available to our occupiers at competitive ates and our prices even include tea and coffee! For more information visit Thinking Business


Maidstone shows grounds for optimism

Spotlight on Maidstone

Despite the many uncertainties facing the UK and its property market, the outlook for Kent remains positive. It has relatively more affordable business and residential property than other parts of the South East and will remain a vital gateway to continental Europe, regardless of exiting the EU. This also means that the prospects for Kent’s county town Maidstone shows grounds for optimism. Whilst it is true that employment has declined with significant job losses in the public sector and that output has grown more slowly in the town than in Kent overall, nevertheless there has been recent private sector jobs growth and Maidstone district has had the largest growth in


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population in the county over the last year. The property market in Maidstone is certainly very active. The town centre has undergone significant change, with office space being replaced through residential conversions and a number of residential schemes coming forward, with major house builders active on sites in the centre and on the edge of town and the surrounding villages. However, although this has grown the residential population this has also resulted in a reduction of quality office stock available to new occupiers.

There are a number of interesting developments on the commercial side such as the Council’s new work and meeting space – The Business Terrace which now has three of Kent’s ‘Top 30 under 30’ among the 23 entrepreneurs working from its 11 offices. However, there is a need to ensure that Maidstone is able to offer employment opportunities to match the growing population. Commercial development is necessary to ensure Maidstone can deliver employment opportunities to retain young people through apprenticeships and training and that there are opportunities for a highly skilled

labour force that as a region, we want to attract and retain. Given Maidstone’s strategic and geographic importance within the county, we anticipate that the property market will remain active across both commercial and residential sectors. The town’s Economic Development Strategy is clear about the priorities of regenerating the town centre and continuing to invest in infrastructure, and this should continue to hold Maidstone and its property market in good stead. Sarah Gaines Head of Commercial Property, Brachers

Big Interview

Big Interview Miguel Fenton

Head of Marketing, Sales & PR at The Hop Farm


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Making a success of an iconic site

Miguel Fenton, Head of Marketing, Sales & PR at The Hop Farm at Paddock Wood, talks about the joys of working at the venue. Tell us about your career

This is my fifth year at The Hop Farm. My background is in the hospitality, travel and leisure industries. I began my career working for the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall, where I was Marketing Manager with a particular focus on 5-star hospitality and events. I spent nine years at the IoD and some highlights include being involved in the Annual Conventions at the Royal Albert Hall and looking after some distinguished guests including Margaret Thatcher, Richard Branson, Buzz Aldrin and at our sporting events, George Best, Jack Charlton and Bobby Robson. Following my time at the IoD, I spent several years as Director of Marketing at London’s leading entertainment website, I have had the fortunate opportunity of travelling the world on business, in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia and at the Hop Farm, one of my biggest highlights was being involved in the music festival where I’ve looked after Grace Jones and the Beach Boys amongst others.

What makes The Hop Farm special? The Hop Farm is a fabulous place – it has such a diverse range of products and services which is a delight for a marketer as every moment of the day throws a different challenge. It is a visitor attraction, wedding, conference and field event venue, business park and also has the UK’s largest drive-in cinema! I call The Hop Farm ‘the South East’s entertainment hub’ because whatever interest you have, there is something here for everyone. One of our latest installations is a Segway/Hoverboard arena, and that’s for all ages!

How much of a selling point is the history of the site?

It is such an iconic site. We have the world’s largest collection of Victorian oast houses and during the peak time of hop-picking and supply, it was one of the South East’s biggest employers. The backdrop of the oast houses is phenomenal, particularly for field events and weddings - Kent personified.

What trends have you noticed in the corporate events/conferences market in recent years?

A few years back during the economic recession, businesses cut back on ‘luxuries’, particularly meeting space. We’ve seen bookings return to pre-recession levels and many of our previous clients, including the NHS and Kent County Council, again use The Hop Farm as their venue of choice. With my background in first-class hospitality, I’ve played a key part in raising the quality level. We’re now at the upper end of the hospitality spectrum and the result is the business is growing exponentially. Our client retention levels are now phenomenal. Another key point is that we’ve kept pricing competitive, which enables us to provide our clients more, for less. We have the fortunate situation of having so many varieties and styles of rooms - we can cater for a meeting for five people or an exhibition for several thousand. Also we sell out each year with our office Christmas party offering which is fantastic. This December we have an Alpine/Aprez-ski theme whichis totally unique.

Do you have team-building / corporate entertainment facilities?

Yes we have a hovercraft and quad bike course, laser clay pigeon shooting and we are specialists in company fun days – every Summer we host mini-festivals for companies. Like small Glastonburys!

Are weddings popular at The Hop Farm?

Yes, very. In fact we’ve got very few weekend dates left this year and we’re now trying to encourage mid-week weddings. We’ve just launched a seriously competitive package for Monday to Thursdays, so you can have a first-class wedding with a second-class price. We have several areas licensed for ceremonies, including on our beautiful, manicured wedding lawns and ornate Gazebo. One of our larger function suites, The Dray and Dray Marquee, which has a huge capacity, is really popular for Asian weddings that we host – a very versatile space.

Big Interview

What are your plans for 2017?

For several years we’ve hugely re-invested in the business so our maintenance and renovation projects of the Grade II listed buildings continue. And it’s not just the buildings where we invest. Last year we launched our new website, which then subsequently won at the Kent Digital Awards. We’ve a number of new features to add to the visitor attraction, launching from Easter, and our drive to bring the biggest and best events in Kent to The Hop Farm continues to reap rewards. This year some of the highlights are the War and Peace Show (it’s back home!), Truckfest and 10CC are back here in concert. 2018 is already shaping up well with some major bookings. The future is looking very bright for us, and for the Kent community as we deliver some great entertainment, corporate and leisure activities.

Brexit? Good or bad thing for the Hop Farm?

At this stage it’s difficult to say but we’re starting to see and be able to forecast trends. The weaker pound will mean more families will stay in the UK for the holidays, whilst foreign visitors will increase as they get more bang for their buck. So it’s a boost for visitor numbers and for our camping and touring site. The flip side is there are concerns that purchasing costs will increase, particularly imported goods or UK goods with elements that are manufactured abroad. We have always tried to buy local and support local businesses, so our risk in this respect is relatively minimised. In summary, the effects of Brexit as far as we can see, are positive.

“We’ve a number of new features to add to the visitor attraction, launching from Easter, and our drive to bring the biggest and best events in Kent to The Hop Farm continues to reap rewards” Thinking Business


Cover Feature

Reasons to be cheerful in the events sector

“From sports stadiums to cathedrals and churches, such venues offer something a little different in terms of visitor experience and enrich the sector in Kent.”

The continuing confidence in the economy despite all the uncertainty surrounding the likes of Brexit suggests that 2017 could be a good year for the county’s conference, exhibitions and events sector. 24

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Cover Feature

It has already proved itself a resilient sector, even during economic downturns, thanks to the ability of providers to constantly try out new things while never losing touch with the needs of clients, namely the desire to network and develop personal relationships with their clients. Kent has a particularly buoyant events sector with plenty of fine venues which take advantage of the opportunities on offer and allow companies and organisations to celebrate special events or promote their products and services.

All round the county can be found ideal venues, ranging from historic houses to hotels, specialist conference centres to sports clubs, science parks to civic buildings, all of which offer events and corporate hospitality. One trend increasingly being observed is the arrival in the market of venues which were not always considered for such events. Hotels and business centres have always hosted conferences and exhibitions but increasingly other venues are becoming involved. From sports stadiums to cathedrals and churches, such venues offer something a little different in terms of visitor experience and enrich the sector in Kent. Many Kent companies can see the value in taking a client to an event like a football or cricket match or day at the races or maybe a concert, events which allow for mixing in a relaxed atmosphere. And it’s a big market both for the Kent economy and UK PLC. Recent research into the UK’s conference and business events sector revealed that, in 2015, more business events were held at UK venues than the previous year. The UK Conference and Meeting Survey 2016, produced by UKCAMS, estimated that the sector nationally was worth an estimated £19.2 billion in venue and destination direct spend in 2015.

However, there did remain challenges and there had been a fall compared with the previous year. The findings mirrored other research which suggested that organisers are being asked to deliver more with budgets that have not increased. Nevertheless, the research findings showed that the overall number of business

events in 2015 (an estimated 1.34 million) rose by 600,000 compared with the 2014 figure of 1.28 million. A decrease in the average size of events (70 delegates per event as against 81 in 2014) led to a fall of 10 million in the total number of delegates, with 94.1 million delegates generating approximately 144 million business event days in 2015.

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ST MARTIN’S PRIORY St Martin’s Priory is our Grade ll listed building which boasts one of the most impressive boardrooms in Canterbury. It is hidden away from Canterbury’s bustle, yet only a stone’s throw from the city centre and close to the world heritage sites of St Martins Church and St Augustine’s Abbey. The picturesque venue includes a beautiful 2.5 acre tiered garden, which is the perfect backdrop for a marquee event, including wedding receptions of up to 200 guests. St Martin’s Priory has four boardrooms, which accommodates between 10 – 22 delegates. They are well suited for anything from an executive away day to boardroom dinners. The historic Frederic Mason Room offers a warm and charming setting for 36 guests, which is perfect for an intimate dinner.


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• Close to Canterbury city centre • Free parking available on request, including disabled spaces • Beautiful 2.5 acre tiered Gardens, with views of the Cathedral from the top lawn • Hi-tech audio visual equipment throughout For more information on our venues or to receive an initial proposal, please contact the Conference and Events team on 0800 456 1116 Canterbury Christ Church University, Rochester House, St George’s Place, Canterbury, CT1 1UT Follow us @UniqVenues_CCCU

Cover Feature

The average event duration was 1.5 days, although most events (67 per cent) lasted a day or less. Average duration varied from 1.4 days for non-residential events to two days for residential events. According to the authors, there is good cause for continuing optimism in the market, and to believe that growth is possible, which was reflected in sustained levels of investment by venues. The proportion of venues investing more than £500,000 was up on 2013 and 2014 levels, with purpose-built convention centres being the heaviest investors. Venues also indicated that their overall business performance was up in 2015 compared with 2014, and 61 per cent anticipated that 2016 results would show further growth. Underlining the reason to be optimistic for the sector in areas like Kent, Simon Gidman, Head of Business Visits and Events for VisitEngland, principal sponsor of UKCAMS 2016, said: ‘The UK events industry has a lot to look forward to over the next few years.” To underline the importance of the sector, the Business Visits and Events Partnership

(BVEP) has launched a major new policy document for the UK events industry called Opportunities for Global Growth in Britain’s Events Sector. The policy document outlines the issues, opportunities and challenges that will help Britain achieve a more competitive, more profitable and higher profile as it repositions itself following the decision to leave the European Union. It highlights five key areas of opportunity for the events sector: • To make a bigger role for government working with the events industry • To grow infrastructure and enable greater access and investment • To create a more competitive tax regime • To avoid greater regulation • To support the industry and business sectors that sustain the events industry. BVEP Vice Chair Simon Hughes said: “There’s no doubt that support for the events industry in Britain will reap tremendous benefits in terms of greater trade, increased exports, more inward investment, stronger community cohesion and

“To underline the importance of the sector, the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) has launched a major new policy document for the UK events industry called Opportunities for Global Growth in Britain’s Events Sector.”

higher levels of civic and national pride. We now have a once-in-alifetime opportunity to present a clear view of both the key policies and new opportunities which our partners believe will help Britain transition into a new global role following our exit from the EU. “This document is a rallying cry for all event professionals to make the most of the government’s focus on trade and industry and the role events can play in supporting Britain plc.” In such a competitive market place, it is vital for a venue to differentiate itself from its competitors, by choosing

an unusual venue it can offer an extra dimension and pull to your event which will potentially attract delegates that may otherwise have declined the invitation. Whether your event is hosted at an historical dockyard, on a yacht, in an old priory or medieval castle, on a steam train or at a wildlife park, choosing an unusual venue will stand you apart from the crowd and is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. By providing your guests with an unique venue that they’re unlikely to have sampled before you will be sure to tick the wow box and a leave your guests with magical lasting memories.

Our Café is open for lunch from 12pm – 2pm

The Orchards East Malling

surrounded by 200 hectares of orchards, is a purpose-built event venue in Kent

Situated in a perfect location to escape the hustle and bustle of the office environment, allowing delegates to be more focused and meetings more productive. • FREE Wi-Fi • Competitive rates you • Dedicated events team can afford • On-Site Catering • Versatile rooms for 2 – 200 • FREE parking for 200 cars • AV Equipment included • Team Building Activities in rates Email:

Telephone: 01732 523781

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Creating a buzz

Music@Malling runs from 21st - 30th September 2017, promoting outstanding artists in concerts, workshops and participatory events in historic venues in and around West Malling, Kent.

Each festival features the music of leading contemporary composers alongside jazz, classical, world and film music with a number of satellite events held throughout the year. Its dynamic and exhilarating programmes inspire and engage audiences from the local area, region and beyond bringing new people into an area with a rich heritage and outstanding natural environment. The festival also works closely with local and regional companies developing sponsorship and advertising packages: a synergy that draws attention to businesses as well as providing support and sponsorship for the arts. Founded in 2011, Music@Malling has engaged thousands of young people from across Kent in creative activities, providing direct access to leading arts practitioners and the opportunity to perform alongside outstanding professionals. Music@Malling collaborates with leading organisations in its outreach work including Chamber Domaine, English National Ballet, Opera Holland Park, Classical Kicks, Ronnie Scotts Club and has been featured in the national

and international press. In 2015 it was in the round up of top classical events in the Arts Desk and has been regularly featured on regional and national television and radio. Thomas Kemp - Artistic Director of Music@Malling: “Creating a buzz around the festival really does draw attention to West Malling, its surrounding villages and the fantastic countryside. Working with local business and with schools is a crucial part of involving the community in the work we do and fundamental to developing new audiences for music. It cuts both ways and benefits everyone.” Highlights for 2017 include the James Pearson Trio; the world renowned vocal group Tenebrae; Chamber Domaine with outstanding cellist Richard Harwood performing Vaughan Williams and Elgar and a recital by renowned organist, Kevin Bowyer on the organ of Tunbridge School. Full details will be available on the website Advertising and sponsorship enquiries can be sent to

University for all

Cover Feature

Universities these days have to diversify - as do many of us - and utilising University facilities during the vacation periods, when students are not in residence, is one way of doing this. Newest recruit to the team at the University of Kent Medway Campus, Sam Cunningham, is tasked with encouraging both local businesses and residents as well as those further afield - to use University facilities for their meetings, conferences and social events. As well as maximising the use of these wonderful spaces, the income generated from these activities is re-invested in the University estate to continually improve and upgrade its facilities for students and external visitors. With the Medway Campus having meeting and catering spaces in both the Chatham Historic Dockyards and the former naval barracks – HMS Pembroke – the University can offer spaces in some wonderful historic buildings. The recently restored Dockyard Church has been

transformed into a magnificent lecture theatre and the Galvanising Workshop is now a stunning meeting and performance space, with characterful café attached. With a flexible catering team offering a variety of catering options including ice cream receptions; formal banqueting for 300; BBQs for up to 1000 or a simple breakfast for 5 - the University plays host to the Pride of Medway Awards dinner; holds regular talks, concerts and exhibitions open to the public and its students engage in community scholarship programmes – one example, called Music Matters, involves a series of music workshops in care homes in the Medway area. Please visit medway-conferences-andevents/to see the spaces available on Campus.

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The Benefits of Exhibitions

Industry Comment

By Freddie Chirgwin-Bell

One of the major priorities for any small business is growth. As a business owner, you will have put in a lot of hard work to establish your business, likely building it from the ground up.

You will also know that you need to continue to grow in order to keep ahead of the competition. One of the most tried and trusted ways of aiding this endeavour is the attending of exhibitions. This could be either as a visitor or as an exhibitor, for, simply being at these trade shows will help your business. There are many benefits to come from attending trade shows, particularly for a small business. Below are some of the best. For many they may seem obvious, but it is easy for anyone to forget the opportunities these shows offer and so not take advantage of them, whether this be as an attendee or as an exhibitor. Networking and Getting Exposure The first part of growing any business is increasing exposure, so that people know you exist. Trade shows are perfect for this. You will have lots of like-minded people coming to the show you are attending who have a genuine interest in what you are selling. Trade shows give you the chance to talk to other business owners and gain valuable insights. If you are a B2B company, you need to network with professionals and foster the relationships over time, to ensure that you will see return customers. Keep an Eye on the Competition As well as the networking opportunities, you can also meet the competition and see what they are selling. Keeping an eye on your competitors is a vital practice for small businesses, because the competition is always intense. You have a chance

to assess their business, their products or services, their business model and their marketing. Essentially, you can see what their strengths and weaknesses are and you can use that knowledge to help position your business where it needs to be. This kind of competitor intelligence may inspire you to gain new ideas for products or services that the competition has not thought of yet, giving you the winning edge. Learn Something New Most exhibitions and trade shows now have keynote speakers, master classes, seminars and more. If you are a small business looking to grow, invest in yourself and gain some knowledge from these industry experts. The classes are almost always free and they regularly share valuable advice that you would not likely come across in your day to day work.

A Chance to Sell Your Wares A lot of lucrative and long lasting sales partnerships can begin at these exhibitions. This happens because those visiting have a genuine interest in the trade, therefore you have the opportunity to practice your pitch and gain new clients. This works both ways, for, most of the time, the products and services at these shows are discounted. You can purchase that service or product you need at a reduced rate and know that this business is likely to visit you in return (if you are exhibiting). Have Fun Yes – have fun! People work better when they are happy. Go out and enjoy. Take pleasure in meeting new people and pitching your product, learning new things and generally just having a day out of the office. You will return feeling refreshed and further motivated to work.

Come see the whole KM Facilities Management Group at the Kent Vision Live Event on 10th May 2017. We will be exhibiting on Stand 251 and we look forward to seeing you there.

Tel: 0800 468 1900 Email:

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24 Hours with ...

24 Hours with ...

Seeking perfection in the heat of battle

Gavin Taylor’s career path is an unusual one, taking him from teaching science in the classroom to running a business that imitates the heat of battle. The former chemistry teacher, who taught for seven years, left the profession and founded Battle Sector X, which stages battles using laser guns in a building in Rochester. Gavin, whose company now employs 15 people, has built the business into one that caters for

everything from children’s parties to corporate teambuilding events. For Gavin, it is a rigorous attention to detail that has allowed the company to be so successful and develop such a fine reputation for providing fun. He said: “I work the night shift but my day begins much earlier and I will usually be at the building by 9am. “My first job is to check overnight online bookings,

checking details and making sure that I know everything about the parties that have booked in. “We get a lot of birthday parties and are particularly busy on a weekend when we can have as many as sixteen parties and it is important that they are given the best possible experience. “Once I have sorted the bookings, I will check that we are OK for the day ahead, that the equipment is working correctly, that we are fully stocked, that we have the right amount of food in. “I will also make sure that the building looks good, things like, are the toilets clean? I like the building to be perfect and believe in leading by example. I will not ask my staff to do something that I am not prepared to do. “Another part of the job is HR, looking after the staff and sorting the payrolls, and I am also constantly trying to improve what we offer to the people that use the centre. For example, we recently installed a coffee machine.” Gavin, who was recently invited to address a leisure industry conference in Dallas on the

Does your team need to beat work stresses? Or do they just want to let off steam and have fun? Bespoke corporate packages available for team building, parties and events.

Call 01634 786953 or 07731112723 Email


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subject of branding, said: “A key part of my job is marketing the businesses, making sure that people know what we do. “As part of that, I will spend time seeking new work, talking to organisations who may want to use us for events and parties. “That has led to a number of new bookings from a number of well-known organisations and I also talk to a lot of schools to tell them what we do.” Once that is all done, Gavin can turn his attention to his night shift. He said: “My shift starts at 3pm and runs through until ten. “When people arrive at the building, there is a lot to do. Every piece of equipment will already have been checked but we have to take people through their safety briefing. “Once they have gone through the briefing, they can move onto the game itself. Each one of them wears sensors and the players are given phasers so that the hits can be recorded. “Like I said, we put a lot of effort into getting it right and we want their experience to be perfect.”

BCC International Trade Survey:

Fall in Sterling expected to increase cost base and push up prices

The BCC have published the results of its International Trade Survey, looking at the impact of the depreciation in Sterling on businesses.

The recent fall in the value of Sterling is squeezing domestic sales margins, and increasing the cost base of UK businesses, according to the results of the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) latest International Trade Survey. The findings, released today (Monday), also indicate that the weak pound is expected to push up the prices of products and services. The results of the survey, run in partnership with moneycorp and based on the responses of nearly 1,500 surveyed businesses, indicate that the recent devaluation of Sterling is having a negative impact on the domestic sales margins of nearly half of businesses (44%). The effect is more diverse on export margins, with roughly equal levels of businesses reporting a positive (25%) and negative (22%) impact, suggesting that while the fall in value of the pound may be helping some UK exporters, it’s also hurting others. The survey also found that 68% of businesses expect the fall in the value of Sterling to increase their cost base in the coming year. In turn, over half (54%) of companies expect to have to increase the prices of their products and services over the next 12 months.

Away from prices, the findings also show that nearly half of businesses (45%) do not currently manage currency risk. For those that do, invoicing in Sterling instead of their customer’s local foreign currency (32%) was the most popular means, followed by opening a foreign currency bank account to deal with sales and purchases in the same currency (16%), and waiting for an advantageous rate and buying using the spot market (14%). The same number of businesses (46%) don’t expect to manage their currency risk in the next six months. Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The depreciation of Sterling in recent months has been the main tangible impact that firms have had to grapple with since the EU referendum vote. “Our research shows that the falling pound has been a double-edged sword for many UK businesses. Nearly as many exporters say the low pound is damaging them as benefiting them. For firms that import, it’s now more expensive, and companies may find themselves locked into contracts with suppliers and unable to be responsive to currency fluctuations. “Our survey shows that inflation is going to be an important concern for businesses over the coming year. While inflation rates aren’t high by historical standards, they are still putting increasing pressure on companies. Rising costs are squeezing margins, and forcing many

firms to increase the prices of their goods and services. “Currency fluctuations aren’t something in the UK government’s direct control, and they are likely to continue as the Brexit transition unfolds. Ministers must do everything in their power, meantime, to help businesses keep costs down and stay competitive. Alleviating many of the upfront costs facing companies should be a priority for the Budget in March“ starting with the sledgehammer of business rates.” Lee McDarby, Managing Director of UK Corporate International Payments at moneycorp, said: “The post referendum fall in sterling has clearly had an impact on many UK businesses and, as hedging begins to expire, importers and exporters will have to adapt to the new landscape. For exporters, the move potentially allows for greater competitiveness on an international level; however, importers may now have to think of new ways of protecting their businesses from further volatility. “The timeframe for stepping away from the European Union is long, with at least two years of negotiation as and when Article 50 is triggered; this means that companies will have to be nimble and proactive when it comes to managing foreign exchange exposure. “The key events of 2016 have certainly caused market uncertainty and there are no signs that this will subside in 2017. On that basis we are definitely engaging more with new and existing clients who are turning to FX specialists such as moneycorp for support and assistance when it comes to managing their currency risk”

International Trade

Free Trade Zones

- part of the solution to post-Brexit international trade?

Could the re-introduction of Free Trade Zones across the UK promote UK manufacturing and ports industries postBrexit? Robert Marchant, VAT Partner and Head of Corporate VAT at national audit, tax and advisory firm Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP which has offices in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, considers the opportunities for the South East. A Free Trade Zone is an area physically within a country, but legally outside of its tax regime. Goods can be imported, manufactured, processed and reexported without payment of import taxes - which only apply when the goods leave the zone and enter the local economy. The Brexit White Paper suggests the UK will be outside the Single Market and Customs Union, meaning all imported goods will be subject to import taxes, potentially leading to increased VAT and Customs Duty costs for UK businesses. There are currently no operational Free Trade Zones in the UK as our EU membership effectively prevents their use. However, post-Brexit they could be re-introduced. By simplifying, or removing all together, import and local tax obligations for goods imported into the zones for manufacturing or processing, Free Trade Zones could encourage UK manufacturers to carry out more activities in the UK such as adding value to products on arrival, rather than import finished goods. They could also promote international trade and investment, as seen in Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. If goods are destined for the local market and not export, a deferral of import taxes due could deliver working capital benefits to businesses in these zones, as import taxes are paid on entering the UK. Lower corporation tax or VAT rates and enhanced tax allowances could be applied in these Free Trade Zones to stimulate local economic growth. The political challenge could be setting the borders, so as not to disadvantage neighbouring business communities. Could these zones help the South East? All successful Free Trade Zones are linked to investments in port infrastructure. Thanks to the ports of Dover, Medway, DP World and Tilbury, plus the Channel Tunnel, the South East is well served, if the Government adopts a free trade philosophy.

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Protecting you and your business “As we operate as out-sourced experts in our field of procurement and expenditure audits we completely understand the benefits of employing the right external resource to look after accounting and tax matters. After 13 years of growth, in terms of turnover and staff we were keen to ensure our concerns were well looked after and are very happy with the service and forward planning advice offered by James Gransby and the team at MHA MacIntyre Hudson.”

MHA MacIntyre Hudson’s client Utilitas Solutions help organisations to minimise essential spend and reduce the cost of doing business.

Steve Garnett and Eric Tiv started their Ashford based business in 2004 as Netiv Consulting Limited. In the last 13 years they have been very successful in growing the core business, developing long term and evolving relationships with suppliers of core business overheads, including energy, communications, waste, water and stationery/photocopying services. Utilitas’ clients benefit from these relationships, with the auditing, tendering and on-going management they provide, ensuring clients continue to receive best value and service. They have since rebranded as Utilitas Solutions, which they feel more accurately describes their mission “We believe there’s a better way to manage your utilities and other essential services”.

Steve and Eric first met one of the MHA MacIntyre Hudson partners at networking event in 2015. Already a successful, growing business the directors had a lot of ideas for the future of the businesses and also their own personal financial positions.

We met with Eric and Steve and quickly established that there were many areas in which we could assist, particularly as the business needed to think about its pension Auto Enrolment obligations and as they looked to amalgamate their businesses into one entity. Their previous accountant, a very small firm, had looked after the business well to this stage but now was the time to make structural changes to protect the business interests of the owners and make tactical decisions around tax planning and looking to the future. MHA MacIntyre Hudson looked into various options available and gave advice to protect both business and personal interests, and also achieve tax savings in the company by using mainstream tax

reliefs which had not previously been explored fully.

In regular discussion with the directors, MHA MacIntyre Hudson also looked at future tax planning for the individuals, including the consideration of the new dividend rules commencing 6 April 2016. We predicted the tax implications of the change in rules and hence ensured the shares were restructured in such a way as to ensure the most efficient result. Overall this solution has the benefits of protection, tax efficiency and, just as importantly, longevity as one thing is certain and that is that tax rules will change regularly and so the options taken now are shielded from these future changes as far as possible.

Your local offices: Canterbury:

01227 464 991


01622 754 033


01303 252 207

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.


Report sets out economic priorities for Brexit

The British Chambers of Commerce has published a blueprint for the UK government ahead of the Brexit negotiations.

Titled Business Brexit Priorities, the report sets out the steps that business want to see the UK take, based on feedback from more than 400 businesses at 16 Chamberhosted focus groups, along with nearly 20,000 responses to Chamber surveys. It puts forward priorities for action across seven key areas where business communities want practical solutions and certainty. BCC evidence confirms that Europe will remain a key market for UK exporters and importers well into the future. As a consequence, it is imperative that the government achieves a pragmatic UK-EU deal that facilitates continued trade. The key recommendations in the report are: • On the Labour Market, the Government should provide certainty for businesses on the residence rights of their existing EU workers, provide clarity on hiring from EU countries during the negotiation period, and avoid expensive and bureaucratic processes for post-Brexit hires from the EU

• On Trade, the government should aim to minimise tariffs, seek to avoid costly non-tariff barriers, grandfather existing EU free trade agreements with third countries, and expand the trade mission programme • On Customs, the government should develop future customs procedures at the UK border in partnership with business, seek to maintain the UK’s position as an entry point for global businesses to Europe • On Tax, the government should guarantee that HMRC is appropriately resourced to help businesses through the transition process, and provide clarity on whether VAT legislation will continue to mirror current core VAT principles • On Regulation, the government should ensure stability by incorporating existing EU regulations into UK law and maintaining these for a minimum period following Brexit, and ensure that product standards are aligned with, and recognised by, the EU to keep UK products competitive

• On EU funding, the government should maintain UK access to the European Investment Bank, and ensure there is no funding ‘cliff-edge’ for areas in receipt of EU funding • On Northern Ireland, the government must avoid any return to a hard border, so that businesses can move people and goods as freely as possible. Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said: “Business communities across the UK want practical considerations, not ideology or politics, at the heart of the government's approach to Brexit negotiations. "What’s debated in Westminster often isn't what matters for most businesses. Most firms care little about the exact process for triggering Article 50, but they care a lot about an unexpected VAT hit to their cash flow, sudden changes to regulation, the inability to recruit the right people for the job, or if their products are stopped by customs authorities at the border. The everyday nittygritty of doing business across borders must be front and centre in the negotiation process.

"What’s also clear is that the eventual Brexit deal is far from the only thing on the minds of the UK’s business communities. An ambitious domestic agenda for business and the economy is also essential so that business can drive our post-Brexit success. “Firms across the UK want a clear assurance that Brexit isn't going to be the only thing on the Government's economic agenda for the next few years.” Marcus Mason, Head of Business at the BCC, and author of the report, said: “Since the historic vote on June 23, we have worked with Chamber business communities all across the UK to determine their key priorities for the Brexit transition. “This report brings those practical priorities together and urges the government to adopt them in the forthcoming negotiations. Chambers of Commerce stand ready to help the government shape a pragmatic and practical approach to the coming transition, so that firms can continue to trade successfully with customers and suppliers across Europe and around the world.”

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Members News

Inspirations Hair Salon officially opened by celebrity hairdresser

Award winning celebrity hairdresser Lee Stafford paid a visit to North Kent College’s Gravesend Campus to officially open the fully refurbished Inspirations Hair Salon.

Inspirations salon is a fully operational training facility where students offer high quality treatments to the local community at a much more competitive price than the high street, whilst gaining nationally recognised qualifications. Lee, a City and Guilds committee member, said: “The facilities here are fantastic and, the team here show such great energy and passion. It is wonderful to find like-minded people to help revolutionise the college and the training it offers.” Lee Stafford Education was launched in 2014, and it is this that has led Lee to working more closely with FE colleges around the UK. He is passionate about giving young professionals the opportunity for a good education within hairdressing, as this was something not readily available when he started his career. Neil Hulme, Managing Director of Lee Stafford Education, said: “North Kent College has developed some fabulous facilities and has a team of really enthusiastic staff. Everything is in place to inspire the next generation of stylists.”

Extra tickets released for The Beast at Betteshanger Park

One thousand additional tickets were released for Betteshanger Park’s huge summer event, The Beast. Five additional afternoon sessions have been added to provide as many opportunities as possible for visitors to experience the popular inflatable obstacle course. At 272m The Beast is the world's largest inflatable obstacle course and one of its first UK outings will be at Betteshanger, from Friday, May 26th to Monday, May 29th.

Betteshanger Park has already sold 7,000 tickets, with weekend and party night tickets now sold out. The additional ticket release will be for sessions starting from 3.15pm on Friday, May 26th. Tracy Brunt, Betteshanger Park’s Events Manager, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the huge response to The Beast @ Betteshanger.”

Award-winning entrepreneurs join forces

Award-winning Kent based entrepreneurs Luke Quilter, Anthony Klokkou and Oliver Trailor have joined forces in a bid to tackle the lack of digital marketing skills training in the county, by offering apprenticeships in digital marketing. Luke, CEO of Folkestone search and social marketing agency Sleeping Giant Media, who was recently voted The WireHive 100 Digital Leader of The Year, has long seen a need for high quality digital training. As a direct response to requests from employers, Luke and business partner Anthony Klokkou, recently set up a sister training company Giant Campus, to offer digital marketing training in Kent and London. Luke said: “Apprenticeships are a key part of inspiring the next generation and tackling the digital skills gap. In partnering with Runway Training, we’re confident

we’ve chosen a high quality training provider with a proven track record, who are well known to employers across Kent”. The level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship is open to anyone aged 16 or above and includes units such as digital marketing metrics and analytics and e-mail marketing. Anthony Klokkou, Sleeping Giant Media’s Managing Director, said: “Not only do our apprentices receive great work based support from Runway Training assessors, but they also get access to four masterclass sessions run by current practising digital marketers here at Giant

Campus - something no other apprenticeship provider offers.” A 2016 Finalist in The Kent Invicta Chamber Young Person in Business Award, Managing Director of Runway Training, Oliver Trailor is known for his innovation in work based learning. Talking about the decision to join forces with Giant Campus, he said: “For us it was an easy decision. We wanted to go into training apprentices in the digital marketing skills that employers are crying out for, but at the same time realised we needed to combine our offer with hands on current expertise that Giant Campus are able to provide.”

A commercial photographer works business to business and can cover a variety of genre from products and portraits to real estate and cars. The imagery is used for websites, flyers, advertisements and e-commerce.

I haven’t yet conquered every continent or dived in every sea but with my love of photography each year the world becomes smaller. Whether it is photographing Classic Fords in Malta or jewellery beads in Canterbury, photography takes me places I could have never imagined. I have never been able to paint with a paint brush, nor sketch the perfect face but understanding the properties of light has allowed me to paint with light and create beautiful imagery. With a history in graphics, design and photography I am able to help clients realise their goals by

researching and planning a photoshoot for a specific purpose, resulting in imagery that can be used effectively thus saving time and money. I love how varied my work is, it makes each day exciting to wake up to and I never get bored. Not many of the clients I work with have an advertising agency to help them with their concepts, with my history and a first-class honours in photography I am able to don the Creative Director hat and lead a project from planning to completion. Make sure you check out some of my recent work on the blog section of my website.

Mark Rea, owner of Rea Lewis salon and previous student of NKC, said: “The salons are now very modern and have changed quite a lot since I studied here. I wouldn’t be where I am without the training I received from the team at NKC”.

Kim Catchpole, Curriculum Manager, Hairdressing, said: “We were thankful that Lee could attend, he was breath of fresh air and the inspiration and motivation he gave to our students and staff was lovely.”


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Darren Woolway - Commercial Photographer What is a commercial photographer?

£1.5m investment in Ashford ready mix concrete plant

Members News

Kent-based Gallagher Group has opened a £1.5m investment in a new ready mix concrete plant in Ashford. The facility can produce a range of concrete mixes and floor screeds, and is phase two of the redevelopment of the former Rimmel factory site at Cobbs Wood Industrial Estate, now renamed Carlton Business Park. The next phase of Carlton Business Park will see the development of 50,000ft2 of industrial warehouse units, which have already attracted strong interest from potential occupiers. Nick Yandle, Chief Executive of Gallagher Group, said: “This marks

an important phase in the evolution of our Aggregates business and shows our commitment to serving the housebuilding and development community of Ashford and the surrounding area. We are firm believers that successful companies need to follow the market and their customers. When it comes to creating the new homes, leisure and retail opportunities and commercial development that Kent needs, Ashford is leading the way.”

Kent Medical Campus launches new branding

Kent Medical Campus, in Maidstone, has unveiled the new brand identity that will grow its presence as a prestigious research, health and academic development bringing more than 3,000 jobs to the county town.

The brand identity created by Design Week Top 100 agency, Impact, beautifully represents the spirit of collaboration that will exist between the health, science and education businesses that make the campus their home. For Impact’s Managing Director, Wayne Hall, the brand identity was fundamental to demonstrating the potential of the campus.

“Having worked with some of the major science locations in the country we recognised the unique potential that exists here. “Our work clearly positions Kent Medical Campus alongside acclaimed estates in Oxford, Cambridge and London, locations we are very familiar with and have worked in before.

“The future here is one of collaboration between exciting, innovative companies and that’s captured through the brand identity that we have created. The quality of the campus is matched perfectly by the material we have developed to represent it.” Kent-based Impact also designed the website where the ebb and flow of collaboration is represented by a spinning version of the logo. Maidstone Borough Council recently passed a new outline application for the site, giving it the green light to become home to nearly 50 high-tech businesses within the next decade. Gary Watson, director for the sole selling agent for the campus, JLL, says it was essential to get the right branding to ensure the complex project is well positioned to move to the next level.

“AHSCs bring significant economic benefit to the areas in which they are located and will power forward improvements in health care. As such, it was essential that the brand identity for Kent Medical Campus demonstrated the integrity of our vision. “Impact has a talented and pro-active team with considerable experience in our sector. They quickly identified our aspirations and converted them into a stunning and visually commanding brand that reflects the value we bring to our current and future stakeholders,” adds Gary. Visit KMC’s new website at For more information about Impact, visit

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Chamber Awards 2017

Awards to showcase best of British business for 14th year running

Businesses from across the UK are invited to compete in the fourteenth annual Chamber Business Awards – hosted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The prestigious competition is one of the showpiece events in the business calendar, recognising and promoting the best of British business through a series of regional heats, culminating in a Gala Awards Dinner, which will take place at the Brewery, London on 30 November. Entries will run until Friday 30 June. Companies can enter nine categories, covering exports, small business, people development, technology, highgrowth, customer service, partnerships with the education sector, social media, and health and wellbeing. Francis Martin, President of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses are the driving force of the UK economy, creating jobs, growth and prosperity, and helping Britain to maintain its reputation internationally. This is exactly why it is important for us to recognise and celebrate the contribution they make to their local communities and the wider economy. “The broad spread of categories in the Chamber Business Awards reflects both the diversity of industries and skills of British firms, and the range of achievements and projects that they have been involved with.

“Each time I visit Chamber member businesses, it is inspiring to see so many companies finding innovative ways to grow their business in every corner of the UK. The Awards acknowledge the relentless efforts of these businesses and their talented employees.”

To enter online, go to or for further information you can contact the Chamber Awards team on 020 7654 5800, email or follow @chamber_awards on Twitter. The full list of categories this year is: • •

• • •

• • • •

High Growth Business of the Year Education and Business Partnership Small Business of the Year Export Business of the Year Commitment to People Development Best use of Technology Excellence in Customer Service Health and Wellbeing Best use of Social Media

“Businesses are the driving force of the UK economy, creating jobs, growth and prosperity, and helping Britain to maintain its reputation internationally. This is exactly why it is important for us to recognise and celebrate the contribution they make to their local communities and the wider economy.”


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Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert

R&D tax credits

For small and medium entities (SMEs) qualifying R&D expenditure is eligible for an enhanced corporation tax deduction of 230% which means that every £10,000 spent on R&D could result in up to £4,600 of tax relief.

Lesley Carrington

FCCA CTA Tax Director - Williams Giles 01795 478044

Q: Could my company be missing out on Research and Development tax credits? A: From a tax perspective the UK is currently one of the best places in the world for a company to be undertaking research and development (R&D).

For these purposes R&D is defined as “a project that seeks to achieve an advance in overall knowledge or capability in a field of science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty”. Whilst at first glance this may appear to be tightly drawn, the rules often have more applications than may first meet the eye. For example, it could include a programmer creating a new piece of computer software, an architect developing a new innovative design for a building project, or even a manufacturer developing a new form of packaging for their products.

Q: What if the company is loss making?

A: The same 230% enhanced deduction is still available.

Contact us today

There are two options: The most tax advantageous option is to carry forward any R&D trading losses to offset against future trading profits. This will reduce the taxable profits of future periods and corporation tax relief will therefore be given at the prevailing rate of tax (currently 20%). This would be equivalent to the £4,600 referred to above, albeit deferred until a later date. Alternatively, you can surrender any R&D losses for a tax credit which is payable in cash to the company. This tax credit is currently calculated as 14.5% of the expenditure, which whilst lower than the corporation tax rate, does have the distinct benefit of being received earlier. Based on the same £10,000 R&D spend the tax credit would have a value of £3,335.

Q: Which costs are eligible?

A: Only costs relating specifically to R&D are eligible and the costs must fall within certain categories. Broadly this includes staff costs, software, payments to

the subjects of clinical trials, consumable materials, subcontracted R&D costs and externally provided workers, though there are additional conditions to be met within each category. Additionally, R&D relief can be claimed on a proportion of business overheads to the extent that these contribute to the R&D function, for example light and heat.

Q: We have grant income, can we still claim?

A: This depends on the nature and source of the grant. If a company is in receipt of “notifiable state aid” then it will only be eligible for the large company R&D scheme, rather than the SME scheme discussed above, and this is not as generous. If the grant is not “notifiable state aid” then the company will be eligible to claim a proportion of both the SME and large company reliefs. This can become fairly complex and the advice of an expert in such circumstances may prove invaluable.

For a free no-obligation initial discussion to see if your company could benefit from R&D tax credits

Williams Giles Chartered Accountants Tel: 01795 478044

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Business News

Once-in-a-lifetime flights will support Battle of Britain charity

An exciting new link-up between the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and Aero Legends, a company operating flights in and alongside wartime aircraft, is set to bring new opportunities to both organisations. The Headcorn-based operator has agreed to support the charity, which cares for the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-leFerne, by giving a donation whenever a flight is booked through the Trust. Aero Legends will also offer free entry to any one of the summer events at Headcorn aerodrome to anyone who pays to visit the Trust’s new Scramble Experience at The Wing, the visitor centre at the Memorial. A number of other joint offers and promotions have been agreed by the two organisations, both of which pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice shown by the men of the RAF during the aerial conflict of 1940. Aero Legends, which was named Start Up Business of the Year at the Kent Excellence In Business Awards in 2016, offers a range of airborne experiences, from flying in a Tiger Moth or Harvard – training aircraft for future WW2 fighter pilots – to taking to the skies in a genuine Spitfire T9. The flights from Headcorn regularly take in the National Memorial to the Few on the cliffs at Capel-le-Ferne, and Aero Legends’ Ben Perkins was keen to forge stronger links between the two organisations. He said: “The Trust does a fantastic job preserving the memory of the men who flew these wonderful aircraft and we are happy to give something back to the charity.” Trust chairman Richard Hunting CBE said: “There is no better sight than a classic fighter flying over the National Memorial to the Few at Capel-le-Ferne and we are always pleased to see Aero Legends’ aircraft overhead.”


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Full steam ahead for Ashford as international rail services secured

Partners behind the Ashford International Station signalling upgrade project have expressed their delight that full funding for the project has now been secured, following the government’s Growth Deal announcement.

Andrew Percy MP, Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government, announced a government cash injection of £102m for capital projects for the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), which covers East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock with a number of projects in Kent and Medway set to benefit. The package of projects to be funded through this round of Local Growth Fund will improve educational attainment, create jobs and provide the enabling infrastructure to support the delivery of new homes and employment, and will leverage an additional £112m in private sector funding. For Ashford, the Ashford International Rail Connectivity Project was awarded £4.8m, meaning the total project funding (£10.5m) has now been secured. Upgrading the signalling will mean that the next generation of Eurostar

trains - and any future European rail operators - can continue to stop at the station. It will also maintain Ashford’s place at the heart of Europe’s transport network and safeguard direct high-speed international services, which benefit the whole of the East Kent economy. A partnership of Kent County Council, Ashford Borough Council, Network Rail, Eurostar, HS1, Department for Transport and the Office for Road and Rail are working closely together to deliver the new signalling by spring 2018. Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “This is a great boost for the town and the wider East Kent economy, including the many local residents, businesses and visitors who use these services on a regular basis. Ashford is arguably the most connected place in the UK, with direct links to major European cities as well as only being 38 minutes from London by high speed 1.”

Damian Green, MP for Ashford, said: “This is a vitally important project for the future growth of Ashford, and I am delighted that we have been successful in obtaining the money to pay for it. International links are a key factor in Ashford’s appeal, and this makes sure that we have them for the long term.” Cllr Matthew Balfour, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “This is fantastic news for Ashford as well as the south east because it means we will continue to have direct rail access to continental Europe. This signalling upgrade will ensure that Ashford continues to be served by international rail services, and opens the way for other operators to develop through services to Europe in the future.” Network Rail’s route enhancement manager for the South East, Mike Smith, said: “Investing in the railway and the connections it brings will deliver economic and social benefits and it’s great that the Government recognises this.” SELEP Chairman Christian Brodie said: “This Growth Deal settlement is a huge boost for the economy in Kent and Medway. We have secured funding to channel significant investment into the projects, which are of highest priority to our businesses and local areas.”

Kent entrepreneur sets sights on global growth

Maidstone IT infrastructure company VooServers is flying the flag for UK plc with an expansion of its UK operation and new products transforming the 13-year old business into a global brand. The company ended 2016 with the launch of a new data centre in Los Angeles with an additional data site state-side in New York and an additional facility in Frankfurt, Germany. Recent weeks have seen a rapid expansion of VooServers’ point-to-point network ensuring additional connectivity between the UK and New York, the UK and Frankfurt and between New York and Los Angeles. The new datacentre in Los Angeles alone has a capacity of 100 servers allowing VooServers to extend its reach into Asia and Australia. A further data centre is also planned for the Asia Pacific

region later this year with discussions honing in on Singapore as the most likely location. 2017 will see the company increase activity across its four locations including the expansion of its flagship high availability and disaster recovery service providing global data capability across multiple data centres. VooServers will shortly launch its latest service, which moves infrastructure between geographically diverse locations around the globe, allowing companies to use a single company for their information technology needs.

This service has been designed to cater for infrastructure that needs to move – targeting a number of sectors from sports teams to shipping industries. Still only 27-year-old, Matt has grown the business from a oneman operation to a team of ten. With its growing international profile, the company has plans in place to recruit more staff and move into bigger 1,365 sq ft offices at the Maidstone site. Matt said: “I hope to be in a position to double our team in the next two years. It’s been quite a year for us and 2017 is already looking good.”

£34.2m cash boost for Kent & Medway to help create local jobs and growth

Business News

Kent & Medway is to receive a further £34.2m of government cash to help create jobs, support businesses and create new growth opportunities. Andrew Percy MP, Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government, who has responsibility for local growth, announced a government cash injection of £102 million for capital projects for the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), which covers East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock with a number of projects in Kent and Medway set to benefit. The package of projects to be funded through this round of Local Growth Fund will improve educational attainment, create new jobs and provide the enabling infrastructure to support the delivery of new homes and employment, and will leverage an additional £112m in private sector funding. The Kent and Medway projects to receive funding are: • Dartford Town Centre Transformation (£4.3m) • Ashford International Rail Connectivity Project (£4.8m) • Fort Halstead redevelopment, Sevenoaks (£1.53m)

• Rochester Airport Technology Park, Medway (£3.7m) • Strood Civic Centre Flood Mitigation Works (£3.5m) • A2500 Lower Road Improvement (£1.26m)

• Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth & Enterprise Hub, Canterbury (£6.12m) • Leigh Flood Storage Area, Tonbridge (£4.635m) • A2 off-slip at Canterbury (£4.4m)

Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: “These nine projects will make a tangible difference to the productivity of local economies and communities across Kent and Medway.

“This investment in the county’s infrastructure, skills and business parks, alongside our town centres, will give business the confidence to bring forward projects and create new jobs and build new homes.”

Andrew Percy MP, Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government; Jackie Doyle-Price, MP for Thurrock; Cllr Rob Gledhill, Leader of Thurrock council; George Kieffer, Essex vice-chairman of SELEP; and Adam Bryan, Managing Director of SELEP at Grays station which is central to the Grays South redevelopment scheme.

The Mayor of London and South East LEP unveil plans to turn the Thames Estuary into a hub for creative industries

The Mayor of London and Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, have unveiled a bold vision to transform the Thames Estuary into a hub for the creative and cultural industries. The plans focus on strengthening productivity, innovation and talent and bringing great benefits to London and the South East region through new jobs and businesses. Sadiq Khan and Christian Brodie called on Lord Heseltine, Chairman of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission to back the proposal, which spans seven London boroughs, and the counties of Essex and Kent, and builds on the region’s huge success as a cultural and creative powerhouse – worth £35 billion per year to London’s economy alone. If realised, this vision, which is backed by business, would see the Thames Estuary transformed into a global creative industries production district, with several

large-scale developments of international excellence proposed. The creative industries are the UK’s biggest growth sector, with 1.3 million people working in the creative economy across London and South East. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills predicts 1.2 million new workers are needed in the sector over the next decade. However, rising land values, rents, business rates, the lack of large scale, cutting-edge production space and artists’ studios and a skills shortage threaten the sector’s future growth and competitiveness. Building on the manufacturing legacy of East London and the Thames Estuary, the letter to Lord Heseltine outlined a future where

the Thames Estuary becomes an internationally-renowned centre for major creative production facilities for building, innovating and testing new ideas – supporting growth, championing a low carbon economy, providing job opportunities and investing in a skilled workforce. These proposed developments include: • London’s largest film studio complex in Dagenham • A national theatre-making studios complex in Bexley • A state-of-the-art facility and foundry for manufacturing largescale artworks and sculptures, including the UK’s biggest 3D printing centre in Silvertown

• A new national centre for experiential arts in Woolwich • Quartermaster Studios in Purfleet, the UK’s leading proposed independent media production facility • Building on the success of Turner Contemporary, a creative and digital hub will support opportunities including digital knowledge, skills and training, and studios • A home for digital creativity and gaming at the University of Essex, Colchester • In Kent, a new industrial research laboratory for prototyping, skills development and across multiple creative disciplines, a hub for our freelance workforce Thinking Business



Kent Invicta Chamber Events

Visit Email Call 01233 503838

Networking Breakfast

with Exhibition at Turner Contemporary

4th May 8:30am – 10:00am

Business Coffee Hour

10:30am – 12:00pm Member £8.40 inc VAT Non-member £10.20 inc VAT

An opportunity to put your business in the spotlight to highlight its products/services and how these can help other businesses. You will make new contacts and generate business leads, whilst sharing ideas and experiences with like-minded business people. Tea/Coffee and breakfast pastries provided.

27th April Holiday Inn RochesterChatham, Maidstone Road, Chatham, ME5 9SF

9th May Herne Bay Pier, Central Parade, Herne Bay, CT6 5JN

11th May Hotel Campanile, Crossways Business Park, 1 Clipper Boulevard West, Dartford, DA2 6QN

25th May Holiday Inn RochesterChatham, Maidstone Road, Chatham, ME5 9SF

8th June Hotel Campanile, Crossways Business Park, 1 Clipper Boulevard West, Dartford, DA2 6QN


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Muesli Mafia Breakfast Networking

7:30am – 9:30am Member £24.00 inc VAT Non-Member £25.80 inc VAT

To provide an informal business 2 business networking breakfast in a congenial and relaxed atmosphere where local business people can get together, enjoy mutual fellowship, share their good news, views and discuss topics of mutual interest. Guests are from all types of B2B businesses. Meetings will be held at specially selected venues, on a bi-monthly basis, arriving at 7:30am with a 9:30am finish. A full English breakfast (or Muesli alternative) is provided.

28th April Ashford International Hotel, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 8UX Sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP

10th May The Warren Metropolitan Police Sports Club, Croydon Road, Hayes, Bromley, BR2 7AL Sponsored by Thackray Williams LLP

18th May Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE

Turner Contemporary, Rendezvous, Margate, CT9 1HG

Member £15.00 inc VAT Non-member £18.00 inc VAT Come along to a world-class art gallery for networking and an exhibition tour. Breakfast baps, fruit and pastries included in cost.

Innovation Centre Coffee Networking

4th May 10:30am – 12:00pm Innovation Centre Medway, Maidstone Road, Rochester, Chatham, ME5 9FD Early Bird Ticket Free (limited availability) Standard Ticket £9.00 Source fresh ideas, open new doors and widen networks. Hear from guest speakers from Connect-It, ZC Social Media and CSM Projects.

Pines Calyx Breakfast Meeting & Tour

18th May 8:00am – 10:00am

Pines Calyx, Beach Road, St. Margaret’s Bay, Dover, CT15 6DZ

Member £19.20 inc VAT Non-member £21.60 inc VAT Join us at this unique, sustainable conference and event venue set in organic parkland just a two minute walk from the sea. A breakfast special is included in the cost at this amazing low carbon venue.

KCFG Breakfast

(Kent Construction Focus Group) 9th May & 6th June 7:30am – 9:30am

Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE

Member £18.00 inc VAT Non-member £30.00 inc VAT Join us for the Kent Construction Focus Group meeting where future plans and developments in Kent are discussed with businesses involved in the Construction industry. The May KCFG meeting is an education special on the levy and apprenticeship update. Cost includes full English breakfast.

Networking Breakfast series with Sally Marshall

21st April 8:30am – 10:00am

Do you stand out from the Crowd?

19th May 8:30am – 10:00am

How does Networking work for you?

Kent Invicta Chamber, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH

Member £14.40 inc VAT Non-member £19.20 inc VAT Perfect for new & small business owners, sole traders and established businesses. At Marshall’s Consulting, we change sole traders into business owners. We help business owners free up their time, focus on their vision and increase their profits.

International Events

International Trade Inward Processing Relief (IPR) 25th April 8:30am – 1:00pm

Employment Law Events delivered by Furley Page 8:30am – 12:00pm

Kent Invicta Chamber, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH

Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE

Inward Processing Relief can be used to obtain relief from Customs Duty and Import VAT on goods that are imported from outside the EU to be processed in some circumstances. Inward Processing Relief can save a lot of money but can be quite challenging. The course looks at the new UCC requirements including Duty Guarantees and AEO approval. It also covers Returned Goods Relief. Presenter: The course will be presented by Graham Card MIEx (Grad) International Trade Adviser. Note: An optional exam will be available at the end of this course, candidates achieving pass or merit will receive a certificate.

These events are suited to all employers no matter the size of your workforce. The interactive workshops include extensive question and answer sessions. Costs include tea/coffee and bacon rolls.

Member £90.00 inc VAT Non-member £108.00 inc VAT

Export Procedures & Documentation 23rd May 8:30am – 1:00pm

Kent Invicta Chamber, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, TN24 0LH

Member £90.00 inc VAT Non-member £108.00 inc VAT

Your Company’s success in export markets will be directly related to the knowledge and expertise of the export staff and their competence when dealing with your customers, bankers and freight forwarders. The course creates and develops that competence. It gives a complete description of the documentation requirements, creates competence and proficiency on any export document. It provides a useful revision opportunity for experienced staff as well as being very useful training for those with a basic grounding in the shipping or export office.

Member £80.00 inc VAT Non-member £90.00 inc VAT

27th April

Employment Law Update 2017 Topics covered: - Recent developments in employment law and future changes - Practical guidance on how to prepare for changes - Effects on HR policies, procedures and people management - Important employment law cases for 2017 - Brief update on preparing for Brexit

11th May

Investigating Discipline and Grievances in the Workplace

Topics covered: - Best practice in conducting a disciplinary investigation - How to ensure a disciplinary procedure is used early and positively - Best practice in grievance procedures - Tips to avoid an Employment Tribunal case - Practical case scenario

25th May

Managing Sickness Absence

Topics covered: - Long term and short term absence management - How best to avoid potential claims - The increasing importance of disability discrimination law - Important recent cases on sickness management - Practical case scenario

After Hours Club


The After Hours Club is a popular and highly successful casual networking event. The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat to fellow business people. Free to attend for members and non-members.

6:00pm – 7:30pm

19th April Canterbury College, New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3AJ 20th April Holiday Inn Coniston Hotel, 70 London Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 1NT 20th April Royal Wells Hotel, 59 Mount Ephraim, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BE 20th April Burlington Hotel, 3-5 Earls Avenue, Folkestone, CT20 2HR 25th April Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 2nd May The Conningbrook Hotel, Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, TN24 9QR 2nd May Hotel Campanile Dartford, Crossways Business Park, Dartford, DA2 6QN 10th May Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa, Princess Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE 11th May Burlington Hotel, 3-5 Earls Avenue, Folkestone, CT20 2HR 11th May K Sports, Cobdown Station Road, Aylesford, Maidstone, ME20 6AU 11th May Royal Wells Hotel, 59 Mount Ephraim, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8BE 16th May (special) Aspinal of London, Bluewater Shopping Centre, Greenhithe, DA9 9ST 17th May Canterbury College, New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3AJ 23rd May Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 6th June The Conningbrook Hotel, Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, TN24 9QR Thinking Business


Members News

Kent Apprentice is a finalist at national awards

Mobile Bar Hire recently offered their latest apprentice who has come to the end of their studying a full-time position in digital marketing.

Peter Giblin retires from CWJ after 43 Years

Peter Giblin, Senior Partner at Clarkson Wright & Jakes retires on the 30th April 2017 after some 43 years at the firm. Peter started his career with CWJ in 1974, qualifying as a solicitor specialising in property law four years later. In 1979 Peter took over the running of our Estate Office in Petts Wood, primarily dealing with private client work. It was here that Peter was able to get involved in the local community and ran as Chairman of both the Petts Wood and the London Borough of Bromley Chambers of Commerce. Peter became a Notary Public in 1990 and two years later when CWJ centralised, moved to our current premises in Knoll Rise, off Orpington High Street, heading up the Residential Property Department. Peter’s presence within the office at CWJ would be greatly missed, therefore he will be continuing as a consultant specialising in the work of a Notary on a part time basis. Commenting on his decision, Peter Giblin said: “I am sure I will miss the tremendous friends and colleagues I have worked with over the years. I look forward to giving my backing and support to Michelle Pinnington, who succeeds me in heading up the Residential Property team.” On Peter’s retirement, John Bowden will become Senior Partner and Gavin Powis, who joined the firm in August 2015, will head up the Commercial Property Department. For further information visit


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Dartford-based William Malingan was recruited through Just IT Apprenticeships located in Aldgate, London and underwent a year-long course to obtain a NVQ Level 3 in Digital Marketing. The course consisted of William being observed by his assessor as well as undertaking a range of coursework. The written work entailed a range of case studies whereby William had to explain through his learning how social media and other digital marketing techniques could be integrated into the

business to provide beneficial results – something he is now putting into practise at Mobile Bar Hire. For his outstanding performance in both observations and his coursework, William was shortlisted for the Just IT Apprentice award ‘Best Digital Marketing Apprentice’. Mobile Bar Hire received an invitation to the finals of the awards being held at British Computer Society, London. William came runner up in his category and said: “All the apprentices put forward were of a very high calibre and to be recognised for the hard work and dedication over the year is a huge boost. None of this would have been possible without the support and belief from everyone at Mobile Bar Hire, they have lent me a helping hand every step of the way. It is an honour to be part of such a forward-thinking business.’ Company Director Avtar Sandhu MBE said: “‘Everyone at Mobile Bar Hire is proud of William.

He has progressed hugely and is a real credit to the team and we are pleased to have him fulltime. Being at the Awards with him demonstrated to me just how integral apprenticeships are to business and this is why we will carry on helping the younger generations.” Mobile Bar Hire Ltd are a company who specialise in providing bar counters and hospitality solutions for events in any environment – from homes to marquees to offices.

Why even small businesses should take backup and security seriously

By Ricky Fais from RicksTechSupport

There are small businesses out there, maybe the one-man band or with few employees, who I can bet have not considered whether their security is enough and whether they have a plan for dealing with the total loss of their data. Let’s face it, in today's technologically connected world pretty much everything we do is on our laptops, smartphones or tablets. Even as a small business you should be thinking how vital is the information you have for your business? What would happen if it fell into the wrong hands or worse yet you had hard drive crash and lost all of it?

It is not only computers that need thinking about smartphones and tablets running Android should be secured too as being an open platform it is not immune. I feel that even a small business can benefit from having cloud storage as backup solution not only is it constant but allows for easy access from anywhere with an internet connection and unlike using external drives for backup there is no chance of corruption or misplacing the drives.

Furthermore, Bitlocker encryption is a great why of ensuring the information stored on your hard drive cannot be taken out of your machine and put into another and accessed as it generate a unique decryption key that needs to be entered to make the drive usable.

Getting Started Ian Bale

Caduceus Training

Tel: 07712 672265 Q1: Tell us a bit about your business? Caduceus Training & Operations provide a variety of First Aid and Pre-hospital care training courses. We also deliver a range of training and awareness courses for clients that work or travel in hostile or remote environments and supply operational medical support.

Start date: 2015

Q2: What gives your business ‘the x-factor’? All of our instructors and operators are serving or former members of the military, and have many years of instructional and operational experience in their fields, this brings a wealth of knowledge to their instructing.

Getting Started

Q3: What motivated you to set up the business? I wanted to have control of my work and family life and use the skills and knowledge I had gained through my career in the Army. I looked at other training companies and thought to myself I could do that. Q4: What do you like most about working for a start-up I love what I do and always come away from a training course feeling infused and looking forward to the next. I also get to meet some great people. Q5: What has been your greatest business success to date? One of our greatest successes to date has been to get some large companies from the close protection and security industry to take us on as their training provider.

Q6: What has been your lowest moment? For me my lowest moment has been leaving fulltime military service and not having the security of a regular wage and the support.

Q7: In terms of business achievements, where do you want to be within the next 5 years? Within the next 5 years we want to open our own training centre and provide a larger range of courses and operational base.

Q8: What would be your top tip to someone thinking of starting up their own business? Make sure you have your finances sorted and talk to as many people as you can who run their own business for advice.

Are you ready for the Water Deregulation Changes?

If not, you are not alone. From our research, we have identified that the majority of businesses feel unprepared for these imminent changes.

There has been very little in the way of education and information from the industry. We were surprised to find that even the suppliers’ own customer service departments were unable to provide us with many answers. So, what is happening and why? In 2008 Scotland became the world’s first country to deregulate their water market. The Scottish government felt that Scottish Water held a monopoly and took the brave step to change the structure of the water market by separating the wholesale and retail markets, similarly to the way that energy was deregulated in 1994. Initially it is felt that here in England that with 14 Wholesalers the savings will be less than in Scotland who have

just one player. It is anticipated the saving will be between 4%-8%. However, this is just the beginning, as in 2020 the industry watchdog Ofwat intends to force the wholesale price down and rebalance the market, leading to greater savings. How does this affect your business? From April 1st you will be able to shop around for your water in much the same way you do for energy. To do this, you will need to conduct your own tender or partner with somebody like us who can do this for you. The major water companies have already reacted to this and you may have already received post informing you of some changes. What is happening locally? Southern Water has decided to exit the retail market and has sold this part of their business

to the Scottish firm, Business Stream. However, we only receive our waste water service from Southern, our fresh water supply comes from South East Water who have decided to stay in the retail market. To defend its patch South East Water has applied for a territory waste water licence. Thames Water have also decided to exit the retail market, and have sold to

another Scottish firm, Castle Water. These changes do not mean that you need to stay with these new suppliers, you are still able to go elsewhere. If you would like further help or assistance in moving water supplier, please do get in touch. Eric Tiv, Utilitas Solutions

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New Members

Welcome to our new members

360 Financial Services Ltd Ashford 07890 566995 Specialist Mortgages, Commercial Finance Development

B Ball Contractors Ltd

Ashford 01233 628743 Construction & Carbon Reduction Methods

Base Quantum Limited Folkestone 020 7043 0993 Quantity Surveyors

Baxterstorey Ltd

East Malling 01732 523781 Events Venue

Benchmarq Ltd

Billingshurst 01403 330235 Independent Software and Services Company

Blue House Design

Maidstone 01622 687773 Creative Design Agency

BTH Consulting

New Ash Green 01474 879381 Architecture, Principal Designers, Project Management

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust

Chatham 01634 823846 Charity overseeing the operation of Chatham Historic Dockyard

Corstorphine + Wright Architects

Canterbury 01227 786231

Darren Woolway

Maidstone 020 3151 7687 Commercial Photographer


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Diamond Maid Cleaning Rochester 07806 806795 Cleaning Service

e Business Coaching

East Malling 07973 905969 Business Advice Service

Ergro Group Ltd

Dartford 08450 943225 Mechanical, Electrical, Building, Fitout, Air conditioning, projects, FM / Maintenance

Expertise Homecare (Canterbury & Coastal)

Canterbury 01227 207340 Domicilary Homecare Services

Future Generation Services Ltd

Rochester 01634 718662 Interactive Touch Screen Kiosk System Manufacturer

Holmes Metrobuild Ltd

Biggin Hill 01689 452950 Specialist Commercial Refurbishment & New Build Contractors

Host My Office Ltd

Tunbridge Wells 03333 110020 Cloud Solutions Provider

HRP Equestrian Ltd

Canterbury 020 7859 4393 Inventors of Award Winning Equine Scientific Products

Information Protection Solutions

Marden 01892 771464 Data Storage

Interaction Recruitment

Maidstone 01622 686333 Recruitment

InXpress (Canterbury)

Battle 01424 870159 Shipping Services for SMES. Import/Export

Jacob’s Well Ltd

Camberley 01276 300143 Britain-China Import Export Company

K.Jaleel IT Consultant

Broadstairs 07759 623815 IT consultant

King and Taylor

Gravesend 01474 569777 Accountants

QS Support Ltd

Maidstone 01622 538970 Quantity Surveying

Quicklase Quickwhite Ltd

Canterbury 01227 780009 Dental Laser Manufacturers & Dental Suppliers


Aylesford 07935 567290 Business IT Support & Training

Robson & Co

Hythe 01303 264581 Solicitors

SO Branding and Communications Ltd

Margate Lionel O'Hara - Entrepreneur 01623 600 660 Bromley 07956 676707

Maximus Green

Ramsgate 01843 572574 Green Energy Consulting

Money Brain Ltd

Rochester 07515 061445 Mortgage Advisor

Not Just Travel Branding + Marketing digital communcation

SRE Services Ltd

Rochester 01622 206249 Commercial & Industrial Electrical Contractors

Supersonic Playground Ltd

Chatham 07776 097713 gill.sheppard Independent Travel Consultant

Maidstone 01622 238234 Web design & development, digitial marketing

Chelmsford 01245 399000 Freemasons

Tonbridge 01732 753125 Bookkeeping & Payroll Services

Sandwich 01304 249741 Pharmaceutical Manufacture & Storage

London 03457 616263 Card Payment

Province of East Kent Purogenix Ltd

Women Who Count Ltd Worldpay (UK) Ltd

Six join as Locate in Kent Mark makes Partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill strengthens its team

Movers and Shakers

Locate in Kent has announced six key appointments as it strengthens the team tasked with promoting investment in the county.

Locate in Kent’s new team members (l-r): Catherine Igoe, Imran Khan, Anette Hufnagl, Anita Glover, Ella Parsons and Danielle Lee The new arrivals follow the signing of a three year contract with Kent County Council (KCC) and Medway Council late last year, which will see the agency play a greater role in the county’s economic development. As a result of a successful bid to the European Union’s Regional Development Fund, Locate in Kent has been able to unlock further funding in addition to the financial support it receives from KCC, Medway Council, Kent Developers Group and private sector partners such as Cripps, the county’s largest law firm. Joining Locate in Kent are: Anita Glover - Head of Marketing. With 12 years of marketing experience in the technology, finance, publishing and not for profit sectors, Anita has worked across Kent and London. She is responsible for the implementation of the marketing and communications strategy, designed to attract new investment to Kent and Medway and promote the county's brand. Anette Hufnagl - Head of Business Intelligence. With her team, Anette will be responsible for Data Analysis, Insights and Locate in Kent’s online Property Portal. She is an MA graduate with professional qualifications in project management and marketing. As a multi-lingual German, she gained her 17 years business experience in the Consulting, Healthcare, Financial Services and Tourism industries working in Europe, Asia and the USA.

Danielle Lee - Executive Assistant. Danielle provides executive support to the Chief Executive, Chairman and management team. She is an experienced Executive Assistant, who has worked across various sectors, including Construction, Transportation, Design and Finance. Catherine Igoe - Partnerships Co-ordinator With more than 25 years’ experience in the public and private sectors, including 13 years in financial services and 10 years in the public sector working in inward investment marketing, Catherine is responsible for developing strong working partnerships with Kent’s district councils, KCC and Medway Council, government departments and other relevant public and private sector stakeholders in and outside of Kent. Imran Khan - Business Development Executive and life sciences sector specialist Involved with the life science sector for a decade, Imran has experience in both industrial and academic science environments and has a track record of success in developing start-up companies. Ella Parsons - Apprentice Ella is an apprentice currently studying at East Kent College. Her apprenticeship consists of a business administration framework where she helps everyone in the office alongside gaining her qualification.

The Tunbridge Wells office of national audit, tax and advisory firm Crowe Clark Whitehill has announced the promotion of Mark Sisson to the position of Audit Partner. Mark Sisson, aged 36, joined Crowe in 2004 as a trainee chartered accountant, after graduating from Loughborough University. Since qualifying, Mark has progressed through the managerial ranks providing audit and business advice to a large range of corporate clients. He specialises in owner-managed, AIM and Nex Exchange listed businesses with an annual turnover between £10m and £50m. Mark said: “Our Kent offices in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone have established strong teams. I’m looking forward to supporting our clients and

playing my continued part in our local and national growth. “As we move towards Brexit, it is vital for the area’s owner-managed businesses to have access to solid advice on how this may affect them, and to ensure they are operating as effectively as possible.” Keith Newman, Head of Corporate Business at Crowe, and also based in Kent, said: “Mark’s promotion is well deserved and his businessfocused pragmatic advice strengthens Crowe’s offering in the South East, and in particular across Kent and East Sussex.

Furley Page announces management restructure

Leading Kent law firm Furley Page has announced changes to its management structure designed to ensure the firm’s future growth and to underpin its commitment to delivering excellence in client service. While continuing to lead the law firm as Senior Partner, Peter Hawkes has become Chairman. Furley Page has appointed a Managing Partner who now oversees operations and is responsible for delivery of the business plan. Partner and Head of Real Estate Jeremy Licence has taken on the key role of Managing Partner.

Jeremy will chair a new Management Executive which will focus on the firm’s business objectives. Members of the Executive will include Partner and Head of Corporate, Susan Jennings, and Nicola August, who is Partner and Head of Vulnerable Client. Peter says: “These changes do not mean any radical alteration to the culture and ethos of Furley Page but it has created a more modern and business-like structure best suited to ensuring the firm continues to prosper in the years ahead. The changes build on a number of recent successes.”

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The Last Word Name: Gavin Powis

Company: Clarkson Wright & Jakes Job title: Head of Commercial Property (Partner)

Gavin holds a Master’s degree in International Commercial Law and has first-hand experience of running a business after setting up and restructuring his own successful law firm in Kent. Having specialised in both commercial and residential property for 13 years, Gavin joined Orpington based solicitors in 2015 and recently became Head of the Commercial Property Department. Gavin advises clients on business lease renewals, property development and has significant experience in managing high value commercial property transactions and projects. What was your first job and what was the pay packet? My first proper job was alongside studying for my law degree working in a call centre for P&O Ferries. My hourly rate was just above minimum wage but I got more for working anti-social hours. What do you always carry with you to work? My phone, business cards, motivation and personal drive. What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Keeping relevant in a changing market place and communicating the need for quality legal advice. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? I would provide more support and mentoring for new and entrepreneurial businesses along with restructuring small business rate relief. What can you see from your office window? My window overlooks Knoll Rise, which is off Orpington high street. I can see other businesses and some trees. If you could do another job what would it be? I would like something to do with motorsport – preferably including some driving. As a business person, what are your three main qualities? Integrity, commitment and resilience What was your biggest mistake in business? I’ve made a few mistakes over the years, all of which I now look back on as a learning experience. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Get proper advisors around you and rely on their experience so that you can focus on your business. Try not to scrimp on advisors fees (I would say that right!?) as it will save you time and money later on. Who do you most admire in business? Whilst I have worked with and for many people with admirable qualities, my father Nigel Powis stands out as my role model, confidante and advisor. He worked from the bottom of his profession to the very top and to this day is a great help to me in my career.


Thinking Business

MHA MacIntyre Hudson welcomes Chief Executive

The longstanding Chief Executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Michael Izza, visited the offices of MHA MacIntyre Hudson in Maidstone. Mr Izza toured the office and met staff, some who are themselves longstanding members of the ICAEW and some who are training to become qualified. He gave an update on the challenges faced by businesses and how the ICAEW members, with their world-leading training, are at the forefront of advising and finding solutions across the full range of business sectors. Last year the MHA MacIntyre Hudson’s Maidstone office co-hosted an event with the ICAEW and OneMaidstone aimed at helping small and medium sized businesses and ‘start-ups’ in Maidstone and the surrounding area to grow and develop their businesses. Partner James Gransby has also been involved as a judge with the school

leaver’s program BASE which is ICAEW’s National Business and Accounting competition where students are able to engage in a business challenge that enables them to develop key employability skills and understand what it’s like to be an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

Cripps acts for national house builders in major urban extension

Law firm Cripps has successfully completed on a deal for land valued in excess of £100 million for a consortium of leading house builders ahead of a major development in Hertfordshire. The recent three-month culmination of a long running project, involving a team from a range of disciplines at Cripps, enables the consortium consisting of Bovis Homes, Persimmon Homes, Kier Living, Taylor Wimpey and the Fairfield Partnership to start work on a new mixed-use development at Bishops Stortford North. Planning permission is already in place for 2,200 homes on the 320-acre site.

The sustainable community will include two new primary schools, shops and business space, health facilities, community buildings and public open space. “This was a complex and high-value transaction, completely restructured over the last three months, and completed to a very tight timetable,” said Cripps partner Garry Brett, who led the team.

A very charitable gesture

The winner of the £1,000 top prize in the Donations With A Difference (DWAD) annual raffle was Michael Keaveney, from Keaveney Contractors based in Ashford. Michael said: “We are always happy to support DWAD but never expected to win the top prize in their annual raffle. KSS Air Ambulance is another deserving charity and one we like to support – we thought it would be fitting if they could benefit from our win.” Julie Clare, Head of Corporate Relations at KSS Air Ambulance said “We are always grateful for the support shown by other charities such as DWAD and from individuals and businesses such as Keaveney Contractors, thank you.”

Wayne Hodgson (Chairman of Donations with a Difference) and Sarah Keaveney (centre), presenting the £1,000 cheque on behalf of Keaveney Contractors to the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance team

Thinking Business Kent April 2017  
Thinking Business Kent April 2017  

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