Thinking Business Kent October 2022

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THINKING BUSIN E S S • OFFICIAL MAGAZINE FOR KENT INVICTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • October - November 2022 • WORKING TOGETHER FOR MUTUAL BENEFITS n Kent Invicta Chamber Business Awards 2022 p4 n The Big Interview with Connor Styche of The Digital Lookout p16 n International Trade - No shortage of trade issues in new PM’s in tray p36 n Chamber Events p42 n New Members p48
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Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business.

We will remember late summer 2022 with great sadness, as our Queen for over 70 years passed away at her beloved Balmoral. She will be greatly missed.

The end of an era and the beginning of another

It is also the beginning of a new era which heralds a different occupant at Number 10 Downing Street; the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss.

Her in-box is full and these are certainly challenging times for both families and businesses as essential costs rise alarmingly.

Businesses showed great resilience through several lockdowns, but now different pressures are being faced. Once again, local businesses need to adapt and innovate as best they can.

In this issue we look at how companies and organisations can work together for the benefit of the local area.

For instance, rather than just donating money, companies that partner with charities can boost morale, motivation and collaboration within their own team.

We focus on how charitable groups can ensure an effective and transparent relationship with volunteer workers.

We provide insight on how you can protect your business

in a recession. And we also demonstrate how a marketing strategy based on in-depth research and industry knowledge will provide better sales numbers for demanding clients.

All this, and the latest news across the Kent area.

Thinking Business 3 Welcome & Contents Our Patrons 4 Kent Invicta Chamber Business Awards 2022 5 Legal Update 6 Members News 8-9 Members News 11 Patron News 12-13 Members News 16-17 The Big Interview 19-21 Members News 22-23 Skills 25-30 Cover feature - Corporate Social Responsibility 33 Members News 35 Members News 36-37 International Trade 41 Member Benefits 42-43 Chamber Events 44-45 Members News 46-47 Business News 48-49 New Members 50 Movers and Shakers 50 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 OBE Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687 Media No. 1868 Published October 2022 © Benham Publishing Publisher Benham Publishing Limited, Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Ian Fletcher Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440 Advertising and Features Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Editor David Burrows Tel 0151 236 4141 Production Manager Peter Wilkinson Tel: 0151 236 4141 Disclaimer 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. © 2022. 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.
38 Contents cover image by malcolm west from Pixabay 2616 36

Are you relying on volunteer goodwill?

Many charitable organisations rely on the goodwill of volunteers, and many people enjoy ‘giving something back’ and the social benefits that voluntary work provides. For the majority of organisations and volunteers the relationship is overwhelmingly beneficial, but things can go wrong and volunteers have been successful in bringing claims against the organisations for whom they have volunteered. Usually this is on the basis they were in fact working for the organisation under a contract of employment or some other worker-type agreement and were, therefore, entitled to statutory benefits or other employment rights.

In the usual voluntary arrangement no legal contract exists between the organisation and the volunteer because for a contract to exist there must be an obligation upon the worker to perform work, and an obligation on the employer to provide some form of payment or other benefit for that work. In most voluntary arrangements there are neither of these obligations – the volunteer is not obliged to perform the work and no reward is provided. Volunteers are, therefore, neither workers nor

employees (in the technical legal sense) and do not have the statutory rights that apply to workers and employees. However, there have been cases where the courts have found that a contract does exist between the ‘volunteer’ and the organisation, usually because the organisation was found to have provided some form of tangible reward to the worker, which then opens the door for the worker to bring other claims.

For example, the payment to a volunteer by a charity of the sum of £40 per week as ‘expenses’ was found by an Employment Tribunal to be, in reality, payment for work because the sum was paid to the worker regardless of whether she actually incurred any expenses. This payment was sufficient to create a contract of employment between the worker and the charity and the worker was found to be entitled to bring a claim for unfair dismissal when she was dismissed. A payment which was undoubtedly intended to offset the expenses of a volunteer inadvertently led to the volunteer being regarded as an employee, and a claim against the charity.

So how can charities avoid these pitfalls?

First, while it is perfectly permissible to reimburse volunteers for out of pocket expenses such as travel or meals, you should ensure that any expenses paid actually relate to expenses genuinely incurred by the volunteer.

Second, be aware that the offer of other benefits, such as the provision of a training course or some other payment in kind, could also be regarded by the courts as consideration for work carried out.

Finally, do not impose a requirement that the volunteer must work a certain number of hours or work at certain times. The courts have found that a ‘volunteering agreement’ which sets out expectations with regard to the hours to be worked will not usually give rise to there being a requirement to work and a legal contract. However, do take care to ensure the language of any agreement reflects the underlying voluntary nature of the arrangement and does not create an impression that there is an obligation on the volunteer to perform work either generally or at particular times.

David Morgan Senior Associate Solicitor Tel: 01233 664 711 Email: For further legal advice on this and other employment law issues, please contact

10 Years of teamwork at Prowired Electrical

This year Prowired Electrical celebrated their 10th year anniversary of providing electrical services across the Southeast. Founded by directors Danny Edmonds and Nathan Fribbence in 2012 the team has expanded year after year with now over thirty-five team members.

Working together previously Danny and Nathan over time have built a strong relationship based on having full trust in one another. With their wealth of experience in the construction and electrical industry it was a no brainer to start their own company together.

As with most business owners, they had to make some big sacrifices early on to enable the company to get where it is today, but with hard work, determination and learning from mistakes along the way they have achieved their 10-year milestone with a vibrant and passionate team behind them

Covering the whole of Kent and Southeast they have managed to build up a respectable cliental across various sectors, from new build housing, renewable, commercial, industrial and maintenance. Being this versatile they have had to ensure they maintain high standards across Prowired

Christina Bowden

Appointed Trustee for Abigail’s Footsteps

Director of Bowden PR, Christina Bowden is delighted to join the board of baby loss charity Abigail’s Footsteps as a trustee.

Based in Rochester, Abigail’s Footsteps provides support and counselling for bereaved parents and families as well as specialist bereavement training for midwives and healthcare professionals across the world.

Since 2010, the charity has worked to improve the way bereaved parents are cared for by hospitals and to better

Are you an Ostrich?

Why hasn’t your company increased its cyber resilience?

by closely monitoring health and safety and on-going staff training.

Prowired wanted to be different in the ways that they look after their staff on-site and in the office and have built a culture where teamwork brings everything together. To Prowired this is the most important part of the business.

The Prowired culture means they work hard on supporting and growing, which has allowed them to create a strong bond within their team, clients, wholesalers, and manufacturers across the industry.

Cost? The ECRC is free to join and can sign post you to free tools and services.

Unsure of where to start? The ECRC has a bite-sized programme explaining fundamental cyber resilience concepts and how to implement them.

There’re more important things to do? Did you know that 48% of small businesses identified a cyber-attack or data breach in the last 12 months? What would happen to your business if ransomware infected your system, and you could not access your emails or customer data? What about if your social media account was taken over and you were locked out? Could your company survive being tricked into paying a criminal instead of your supplier?

You’re an ostrich. If you can’t see it, it can’t affect you. If you have any kind of online presence, then cyber criminals can affect your business. And it is not that they are targeting your company specifically. Criminals target everyone online. They look for vulnerabilities and will pick those low hanging fruit, those companies without fundamental cyber security controls. If you were a burglar, would you pick the lit house with CCTV and a strong door lock, or would you pick the house in darkness which is not overlooked?

educate midwives about how to care for grieving parents. Sadly, stillbirths and neo-natal deaths occur daily, yet many hospitals are not equipped to deal with the parental care required.

David Ward, Abigail’s Footsteps Co-founder, and Trustee, said, “Earlier this year, we were fortunate to cross paths with Christina Bowden at a Dartford FC event at Princes Park, to raise funds towards an Abi cooling cot. Christina was writing an article about the charity football match, and

we quickly realised what an incredible asset she would be to our board. As a charity, we do a lot of good work in the baby loss community, but we lack the ability to publicise the impact we make. We are confident that with Christina as a Trustee, her expertise and advice will help us to plan and develop our PR and communications strategy. We were delighted when Christina accepted the role and joined the board in August.”

The Eastern Cyber Resilience Centre has been set up to help small and medium businesses and third sector organisations increase their cyber resilience.

Do not put it off. Start your resilience journey today.

Policing led – Business focused.

6 Thinking Business
Members News

What can you do to protect your business in a recession?

Recent headlines report that the UK is already in recession. It’s predicted that inflation will reach 14% towards the end of 2022. There are increasing cost pressures on family businesses due to a number of factors. These include supply chain pressures, increased energy costs, rising interest rates, a weak pound and wage inflation. Collectively, this translates to reduced profits and threats to business viability. The cost of living crisis generally is impacting household income and spending and therefore many family businesses.

In the UK we entered periods of recession in 1990, 2008 and 2020. The 2020 recession was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2008 recession was categorised as a Banking Crisis and the 1990 recession as rising inflation and interest rates.

Many family and owner-manager business owners who have lived through the more recent recessions have been described as ‘financial crisis veterans’. However, the upcoming predicted recession seems to have similarities to that experienced in 1990/91. That recession seemed to hit households and family businesses in the UK the hardest. Inflation in 1990 hit 9.2% with average inflation since then remaining at low levels. On the other hand, since 2008, interest rates have been historically low. It seems clear that the business environment is changing, meaning few business owners will have first-hand experience of operating through these challenges.

The government may yet provide additional support measures to assist family and ownermanaged businesses and households to lessen the extent of this recession. But, direct action will also be needed by business owners. To weather the storm, it would seem appropriate

for businesses to consider implementing a cost reduction strategy to effectively utilise available resources. Cutting costs often requires tough decisions and trade-offs (without affecting an ability to grow). Here are a number of areas to consider to manage costs.

1. Reduce property costs by more remote working by employees.

2. Review premises requirements - sharing office space, downsizing or dual use spaces.

3. Review supply chains. Ask if goods can be sourced at lower cost.

4. Invest in modern technology to increase efficiency.

5. Alternatively, consider hiring serviceable refurbished equipment’.

6. Review staffing requirements and invest in employees to assist in staff retention.

7. Consider whether your marketing channels are effective and up to date.

8. Chase unpaid invoices/reduce debtor days.

9. Request discounts from suppliers for early payment.

10. Use and maintain budgets and financial forecasts.

A business owner will have their own ideas on how costs can be reduced, typically with a reduction of staff being the last alternative. A combination or all of the above measures may help to reduce business costs and may help with financial planning for the short and longer term, to ensure that a business can act appropriately and react to growth opportunities

We have a team of experienced business advisors and licensed insolvency practitioners who work with businesses to advise on the best course of action, depending on your business’s circumstances. You may want to talk to us if you are dealing with:

• cash flow difficulties

• struggling with payments to creditors

• inability to maintain time to pay arrangements with HMRC or repay pandemic lending

• increases to material and labour costs (adversely affecting profit margins).

We can help by:

• talking through the difficulties and finding a solution

• discussing informal arrangements and restructuring to resolve difficulties

• negotiating with creditors

• introduction of external funding partners or stakeholders

• assisting with proposals to pay creditors over an agreed period of time.

Please get in touch with Vince Green or Steven Edwards who are licensed insolvency practitioners, or your usual Crowe contact. Focus on Finance

Brachers advises on the international sale of a global TV transcription platform to a large US firm

America, Warner Bros. Discovery to reach a wider audience through their services including; TV transcription, captioning, subtitling, localization and translation.

Verbit Inc is a US firm and a leading provider of AI transcription and captioning solutions globally. Verbit employs the largest professional captioner workforce in the world and are recognised leaders in the $30B transcription industry.

Commercial Solicitor Kieron Cummins, Employment Partner Colin Smith and Commercial Property Senior Associate Katherine Morgan. Brachers also worked in collaboration with Castle Corporate Finance to complete this deal on behalf of the sellers.

Brachers Corporate team has advised on a significant international deal for the sellers of Kent based global TV transcription platform, Take 1 Script Services Limited which has been acquired by Verbit Inc. Majority owned and operated by Dom Bourne and Louise

Tapia prior to the deal, Take 1 was founded by Dom Bourne in 1998. Dom and Louise will be continuing in their roles as president and CEO respectively, as they progress into this exciting new venture. Brachers had worked with Take 1 for a number of years on various corporate and employment matters before acting for the shareholders on this sale.

Take 1 has a history of over 20 years in the broadcast industry

The international aspects of both Take 1 and Verbit meant that the Brachers team had to overcome the differences of dealing with UK and US legal approaches as well as working with two different currencies, and working with legal counsel from Chile and the USA. As well as the international dimension, there was added complexity, as the deal involved an intricate purchase price structure and pre-sale restructuring.

Claire Williams commented: “It was a pleasure to work with the sellers of Take 1 on this exciting international deal. We’re very pleased that they will be joining one of the most influential companies within the transcription industry and we wish them every success.”

Take 1’s CEO Louise Tapia commented “Thank you to Claire and the team for guiding us through this transaction, their support and advice was invaluable. This is an exciting time for us at Take 1, and we foresee that the this new venture will allow us to provide an even better service to our customers both in

Members News 8 Thinking Business8 Thinking Business
Full package - everything above£300 Get in touch today Use your Chamber membership for marketing this autumn Izzy PR can help you to reach Chamber members with: • Member News: 250-word story in this magazine (£100) • Member Blog: Published on the Chamber website (£100) • Directory listing: Chamber website – to make sure you can be found (£45) • Member 2 Member offer: An advert for the Chamber website to share an exclusive member offer (£125)

Advertising - what you need to know before you book

Advertising can be great for your business, but only if it’s in the right place, in front of the right people, at the right time with the right message.

Sarah Hawes from Izzy PR gives this advice to consider before booking, to get the best out of your advertising budget,

1. Is your target audience reading/watching/listening?

Ask for audience demographics. If you’re a trendy hairdresser in Kent, a magazine mostly read by pensioners in East Sussex won’t be very effective!

2. What’s the circulation/ listener/viewing figures?

Bigger is not necessarily better if they’re not your potential customers.

3. What’s the readership?

Is it worth the cash you are about to part with?

Circulation is the number of copies distributed, whilst

readership is the number of people who read it. If one copy is read by four people, readership will be four times the circulation figure. Are these people your potential customers?

4. Online v print

Where is your target audience most likely to see you - print or online? Choose carefully to make the best investment.

5. Social media posts

Only pay for content to be posted on a third party social media timeline if they have a good sized audience of potential customers

6. Don’t be talked into advertising by a sales rep

Check the title before you book – does the content and other adverts look like they appeal to your target audience? Not all ad reps will point out that they don’t.


LS Express Limited are an international freight forwarding company with offices in Kent & Manchester. Founded over 20 years ago the company has developed a network of partners at strategic locations around the world. Whether it is air or ocean freight, packing, logistics or events services, at LS Express you will always find the expert able to handle your shipments as if their own

If punctuality is a requirement for your daily business and trade activities, our global shipping services guarantee first class delivery to any destination worldwide.

Shipments are handled in accordance with individual requirements. Our global network consists of our long term partners,

which allows us to offer the best rates and services for all of shipments. Our teams around the world are committed to ensure that goods reach their correct destination, safely, promptly and cost efficiently.

LS Express is the key factor in dealing with the daily challenges of dynamic production specifications and the satisfaction of customer’s needs. Our experts are here to ensure the scheduled departure and arrival of goods including appropriate customs clearance procedures. The choice of carrier is determined by two key factors, the commodity being dispatched and pricing, to ensure you always receive the First Class service that you are entitled to and


Not all businesses run smoothly – disputes inevitably occur. Partners fall out, Directors disagree, and once harmonious relationships can sour, impacting business performance and profits. So it’s essential to resolve commercial disputes as quickly as, and as effectively as possible.


Our Dispute Resolution team provides expert advice, short-term tactics and long-term strategies to resolve business disagreements. Ranked in Chambers and Legal 500, we have an enviable track record in achieving mutually acceptable agreements, and preserving future relationships.

Thinking Business 9
deserve. Global
Divided? To find out how we can help, call us on 01622 698000 or email Whitehead Monckton Limited (no. 08366029), registered in England & Wales. Registered office 5 Eclipse Park, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3EN. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under no. 608279. 2128_WhiteheadMonckton_Thinking Business_Half page_Advert.indd 1 08/09/2022 17:00 Members News


Speed and Efficiency

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• • • 0345 8500333 If you would like to arrange a no-obligation auction appraisal please do not hesitate to contact us or complete our online form at Clive Emson Auctioneers offer a fast, professional and friendly service to all those looking to sell land or property across Southern England and, with over 30 years experience, we have built up a strong presence in auctioneering. Our fully trained, professional team are only an email, call or click away: 0345 8500333 Local Knowledge - National Coverage

Ashford housing schemes shortlisted for national awards; could new Dahlia scheme have the sweet smell of success?

Ashford Borough Council’s Housing team has been shortlisted in two categories at the national UK Housing awards. The recognition is for two major housing projects and a rebranding of its older persons independent living offer, called Dahlia.

The Council has been shortlisted for the Housebuilder of the Year (South) category for one of its new schemes – Halstow Way – also in the Best Older People's Landlord category, with East Stour Court used as a case study.

Halstow Way comprises 17 flats in South Ashford, a mix of one-bed, two-bed and some stunning threebed duplex apartments overlooking Noakes Meadow. East Stour Court, an independent living scheme for older people, made up of 29 oneand two-bed apartments, including two fully wheelchair accessible homes complete with adjustable height worktops and a wider hallway to ensure bigger turning circles.

The £7.1m East Stour Court scheme is located at Mabledon Avenue, and is designed to be dementia-friendly throughout, taking into account colour schemes, light, corridor lengths, patterns and memory shelves. It has been devised in recognition of the need to make special provision for the needs of an ageing population – by 2026 it is anticipated that around 40% of the residents within the borough will be aged over 50.

Both schemes were designed by the authority’s in-house architect.

Dahlia – a fresh look at independent living in Ashford

The best older people's landlord category nomination recognises the work the Council has done not only delivering new, high quality dementia-friendly and care ready accommodation like East Stour Court, but also how it has shifted the emphasis and perception of what it is like to live in quality accommodation that combats isolation in older people and reduces the need for separate healthcare interventions.

Dahlia stands for Desirable Affordable Housing Linking Independence and Age. The brand represents a move away from traditional sheltered housing provision, giving older residents more choice, flexibility and variety of independent living options –something specifically highlighted in the Government’s new Social Housing Charter to give tenants a better deal.

The council had consulted widely with residents and staff before adopting a new model of housing provision for older folk. As a result, it created a new brand that sums up

this fresh approach to independent living in the 21st century.

“The Dahlia was chosen to symbolise our approach to independent living because traditionally it represents inner strength, change and dignity,” explained Sharon Williams, Head of Housing at Ashford Borough Council.

Sharon said the catalyst for change has been Britain’s ageing population, which has driven a national focus on housing provision for this sector. Nowhere is this more evident than in Ashford, where in just two years’ time it is expected that nearly a quarter of all residents will be aged 65 or over.

“We are looking to offer a variety of living options, from community bungalows to independent communal living. Some will be in urban areas, while others will have more rural settings. All will be self-contained and provide comfortable, modern homes for affordable rent for older people.

“We are preparing for the needs of an ageing population by building and remodelling homes for older people to live more independently in homes that are the right size for them.

“This change of approach ties in with our multi-million pound modernisation plan for our old sheltered housing schemes. We are building and remodelling accommodation for older people so they can live more independently in homes that better suit their needs,” she said.

Ashford’s Housing team have to make their final pitch to a judging panel for each award in October, before the awards themselves take place on 25 November in Manchester.

Patron News
Thinking Business 11

Whitehead Monckton unveils a new brand identity to mark an exciting new chapter in the business.

Whitehead Monckton, one of Kent’s largest law firms, has today unveiled its new branding and new brand manifesto.

It is all part of the company's mission to showcase its future ambitions to service more regions of the UK, attract new corporate clients and highlight the firm as being more forward driven with a modern approach.

The dynamic new logo is created from two different elements – the WM monogram and the wordmark itself to better reflect the company's diverse client base and inject a new lease of life into the business.

The executive board and marketing team worked with graphic designer Mark Daniels to shape the rebranding decision.

Whitehead Monckton’s new core values centre around; service (seeking purpose in partnerships), integrity (genuine, trusted, honest and ethical), heritage (historically innovative) and knowledge (infuse expertise into everything they do).

The move comes following the appointment of Antonio Fletcher, the firms’ new Head of Employment and Head of Corporate Dan Tozer who are both keen to shape, grow and drive the team forward

The new logo is the first step in the rebranding journey as Whitehead Monckton will unveil a new website later this year.

Amanda Adie, Marketing & Events Executive at Whitehead Monckton, said: “One of the main reasons

Maisa Almufty appointed Head of Political Risk at the Inkerman Group


GROUP has announced that Maisa Almufty has been appointed to its management team as Head of Political Risk. This announcement comes as the company continues on a period of significant growth and business consolidation, particularly within the intelligence, political risk and crisis management business units.

Maisa joins the Company with already proven expertise and experience in political risk, intelligence and crisis management at a senior level having worked previously within the FCO and

Ministry of Defence in senior positions at the British Embassy in Amman, first as Defence Section Manager and later as Vice Consul and Head of Consular Section.

She is particularly experienced in political risk and crisis management including having had hands-on experience on the front line to evacuate British Nationals from Afghanistan and most recently out of Ukraine representing the Embassy in Jordan. Maisa is a fluent Arabic speaker and an MBA Graduate.

Commenting on her appointment, Maisa explains “I am extremely pleased to be joining The Inkerman Group and taking up this post at this exciting and challenging time as the Company continues to develop its proven

for the rebrand is to attract new corporate clients and show the firm as being more forward driven with a modern approach.

“We are very excited to launch our new brand which shows the future appetite within Whitehead Monckton to become more product focused with the growth of our corporate team.

“Visually, our new identity responds to this by looking and feeling bolder and more confident.

“Rejuvenating the look and feel of our current brand will go a long way toward injecting new life into business performance and employee morale.”

capability, expand its client base and specialist product and service lines in the political and crisis management sector.

Gerald Moor, CEO of The Inkerman Group, explains “Maisa’s skills and experience are precisely what The Inkerman Group needs going forward at this crucial point in the Company’s continued growth. In recent months, the business has gone through a massive stepchange and there is more still to come in assisting companies in the management of their business risks throughout the world.” He adds “Maisa brings a considerable amount of knowledge, experience and expertise in a wide-range of crisis management and business risk issues for clients which is most timely given the most recent developments in Ukraine, where we have been working in-country for clients delivering evacuation and risk management services, and now monitoring developments and advising clients in the Taiwan region. We are delighted to have her here as part of the team.”

No jargon just straight talking, promises local IFA

Though only 31 years old, Joe Parker has spent almost half his life working in financial services.

At 16 he had a Saturday job for a well-known UK bank and by the time he was 18 he had a full-time role as cashier.

He steadily progressed from banking into financial advice, gaining multiple qualifications along the way to complement his consumer-facing experience.

After a number of employed IFA roles, Joe now works as a self-employed adviser for McMillan Wealth Consultants. He enjoys having the flexibility to plan his own diary and factor in ‘family time’, whether that be taking his daughter swimming or dog walking around client calls.

He enjoys the opportunity to network and build his profile outside the nine-to-five norm. Having a membership with the Chamber has allowed him to meet some amazing people and build great business relationships.

Recently married, Joe knows all too well the need to budget, prioritise and plan for the future.

Joe works by the motto of ‘straight talking, no jargon financial advice’. He believes in breaking down the stereotypical myths that this service is only for those with certain ‘status’. He insists: “Financial advice is for everyone, as it’s important for people to build wealth for future objectives and plan for retirement”.

You can find more about Joe by visiting jparkermcmillanwealth

Members News Thinking Business12
Graham Baker


Sittingbourne set for £9.5M Full Fibre boost

CityFibre, has named Sittingbourne as the next UK town in line for a multi-million-pound investment in its digital infrastructure.

point of connection. This gives users speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps for upload and download (up to 1,000 Mbps), near limitless bandwidth and connectivity users can depend on

Construction work on the Full Fibre network in Sittingbourne will begin later this year

As Area Manager, Anne Krausse will be responsible for overseeing the project, while also acting as the main point of contact for all stakeholders. Krausse said: “We are delighted to be adding Sittingbourne to our nationwide Full Fibre roll out. In a few short months, our builders will get to work on a town-wide Full Fibre network – and we think people will be amazed by the difference it will make, both now and for generations to come.

What is your ‘why’?

Your website is your brand’s front window to the world.

It’s your sales person. It’s your merchandising department. It’s your operations and logistics team. It’s your shop.

Above all of these things though, it is your why. Why you do what you do. This is especially important for websites in the third sector.

Your ‘why’ is your brand purpose. It is the intangible driver of your business, your passion and your overarching goals. Using your website as a vehicle to communicate your brand’s ‘why’ to your audience is essential: it sets you apart from others

The independent carrier-neutral Full Fibre platform, CityFibre is set to invest £9.5m in a new town-wide network that will bring fast and reliable Full Fibre-enabled internet services within reach of almost every home and business in Sittingbourne.

Across the UK, CityFibre is building new and improved digital infrastructure for up to eight million homes and businesses. Full Fibre networks, unlike many of the copper-based ‘fibre broadband’ services available today, use 100% fibre optic technology to carry data at light speed all the way from the home to the

Millennium Consulting are accredited by the Good Business Charter

We are pleased to announce Millennium Consulting have been fully accredited by the Good Business Charter and are now recognised for their responsible business practices, such as fairer hours and contracts, employee wellbeing, ethical sourcing and environmental responsibility.

The Good Business Charter is an accreditation which organisations in the UK

She added: “This technology will bring a whole host of opportunities for residents and businesses in the southeast and we can’t wait for them to see what is possible with strong digital connectivity.”

Commenting on full fibre rollout plans for Sittingbourne, local MP Gordon Henderson said:

“A genuine Full Fibre network is an important step in stimulating economic growth in constituencies like mine. It will tap into the potential of local businesses and lift the local economy."

can sign up to in recognition of responsible business practices. It measures behaviour over 10 components: real living wage, fairer hours and contracts, employee wellbeing, employee representation, diversity and inclusion, environmental responsibility, paying fair tax, commitment to customers, ethical sourcing, and prompt payment. An organisation must meet all 10 commitments to receive GBC accreditation.

Jeremy Lucas, Chief Operating Officer at Millennium Consulting said:

"Millennium is delighted to have been accredited with the Good Business Charter. Our core business practises revolve around being ethical and the award demonstrates to our team, partners and clients that we are completely committed to responsible business practises and continuous improvement."

Find out more about the Good Business Charter:

Authentically communicating your purpose with conviction makes you totally unique. So exactly how do you do this?

First of all, you need to hone your brand personality. First impressions are everything online so you only have a small window of opportunity to catch your viewers' eye. Make sure your key messages are clear, strong and bold, with the right tone of voice.

Marketing & Advertising

Every piece of copy, every image and every call to action needs to be true to your brand. These things will organically communicate your purpose, quickly.

Once you’ve piqued your audience's interest, where do you want to take them? Mapping out the various journeys website visitors may take is key. Always make sure there is more information at hand: links to additional case studies, new articles, downloads and so on.

Their journey around your website will expose them to various messages about your brand’s purpose. Think of every visit to your website as a raindrop falling into a funnel - you want to guide that drip into one focussed goal: be that a sale, a donation or an enquiry.

Illustration & Animation

Your website is one of your greatest assets to generate an emotional connection with the visitor - no matter what sector you are in. Use it to your advantage - make it an engaging learning resource. Use it to raise awareness, drive memberships, create partnerships or collect donations.

This connection cannot be bought or replicated, it truly makes your purpose and your brand come to life.

Focus everything on your why.

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• We champion Kent to local economies
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• We deliver creative know-how brand building expertise
Thinking Business 13

Reporting on Property

The annual Kent Property Market report will be 31 this year and is a document that’s been lauded as ‘best practice’ by local authorities and property sector experts alike. Unique in the UK, the report is a comprehensive and credible guide to development in Kent.

Since 2013, Caxtons Property Consultants has been pivotal in researching, analysing and compiling the Kent Property Market Report (KPMR) data.

During that time, we have gathered, studied and analysed an enormous amount of information, from our own and other property experts across the county. With our partners at Kent County Council and Locate in Kent, and together with the support of Kent based contributors and sponsors, we have delivered an incredible number of statistics and trends in a digestible Report document that focuses specifically on Kent.

For the past decade we have diligently reviewed and updated the information we provide and spoken to Report-users across the property, investment and finance sector about it. This year, we commissioned specific research into how KPMR launch attendees and Report

recipients exploit the document and the data; what value, (if any) they get from it; and how we might best improve it.

The response to our questions was positive and we received suggestions on how to improve this year’s Report – a number of which we are incorporating into the 2022 document.

Participants were from all walks of the professional and property sectors.

• 55% of those surveyed said they use the Report as a general source of information, many on a day-to-day basis.

They value it as:

• Providing an insight into all sectors of the Kent property market

• Its specificity to Kent

• That it provides a strategic overview of the county’s property market

In particular:

• “It's a great insight into the trends of the Kent property market. The face to face meetings

get a vast amount of Kent individuals from all sectors under one roof.”

• “It’s a great benchmark and showcase of Kent development, and helps us focus our marketing efforts in the right direction...”

• “Enables our property and commercial teams to update themselves on the marketplace so that they can speak knowledgeably to clients.”

One interesting statistic to emerge was that 63% of participants prefer to attend a face-to-face event. This year we are planning an in person event, which will be recorded and available to those who prefer a virtual option. For other innovations you will have to join us at the launch to learn more!

Over the past decade the sector continued a slow recovery from the earlier recession, only to be faced with a devastating pandemic that impacted landlords, tenants, work trends and individuals in equal measure. In that time, we have greeted and bade farewell to 13 housing ministers, and we recently welcomed yet another new incumbent to the housing brief, Lee Rowley. But whatever changes or challenges we face, Caxtons will continue to bring you the evidence to make an informed decision – never forgetting that property was, is and always will be a good long term investment.

14 Thinking Business
Property Report
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Construction marketing firm nominated ‘Game Changer of the Year’

The Digital Lookout

Maidstone-based construction marketing specialist The Digital Lookout only launched last year, set up by former colleagues Connor Styche and Sharon Bowles. They’ve been nominated for the British Chamber’s accolade of ‘Game Changer – Entrepreneur of the Year 2022’.

16 Thinking Business The Big Interview
Connor Styche

Connor and Sharon have in the past worked with blue chip clients such as Vodafone, Microsoft, Nike, TalkTalk, Discovery Channels and Private Eye magazine. An illustrious and broad list in anyone’s book so why do they now work exclusively within the construction industry?

“Sharon and I have spent a number of years now working solely in construction marketing. We’ve both developed a passion for it so why wouldn’t we set up our own business working to support the industry where we have a great deal of knowledge and expertise, and respect for the people who work in it?”

After three months of planning and preparation, they officially opened for business in July 2021. The business has grown way ahead of even their own expectations, and they’ve built up an impressive reputation already. They’ve appointed a construction industry respected Non-Executive Director in Cheryl Causebrook and the wider team is growing fast, so much so, they’re now planning for an office move (within the area) to accommodate such growth.

Providing real value

So, what does Connor put the business success down to and in what way do they differentiate themselves from other marketing agencies?

“It feels odd to be considered ‘game changing’,” Connor said. “We’re just doing what comes naturally to us. We’re building good relationships, we’re working hard, and we’re invested in helping grow our clients’ businesses.”

“The marketing industry generally is known for high client turnover. The reason behind this is often because the marketing agency is waiting around to be told what to do by the client; when in reality the client needs to be told what to do, and guided to get the best results for the business. Marketing doesn’t work as a standalone activity. It should be intrinsically linked to a business’ sales process.”

What often happens, he says, is the client terminates the contract when it sees little value in the relationship and no boost to their bottom line. The onus at The Digital Lookout is to get under the skin of the business, clearly understanding their position, overall business objectives and future aspirations. The other prerequisite is to have in-depth understanding of the construction industry itself.

“We spend a lot of time keeping up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry, through research and through our relationships. We’re serious about supporting not just our clients but helping to develop the industry, especially here in Kent. Sharon and I both sit on the steering committee of Constructing Excellence and we were involved in the planning and promotion of this year’s Kent Construction EXPO, including bringing in some of our contacts to enhance the seminar programme.

Our industry knowledge and relationships mean we can advise a client, for instance, to talk about new building regulations or introduce them to a specialist consultant to collaborate with, supporting them in getting ahead

of the competition. Too often marketing advice is generic; our position in the construction industry means we can add value and be commercially focused. We don’t just deliver marketing.”

Putting in the hard yards

When it comes to identifying opportunities and providing the level of research that gets to the heart of where the company is and where it needs to get to, Connor is in his element.

Commercially focused marketing is the only way he works. This means clear data analysis, meticulously planned strategies and transparent reporting.

“Intelligent marketing means providing a client with value, information that means something. No-one cares that your last social post achieved 2,000 impressions,” Connor explains. “What do impressions mean to your bottom line? What clients want to know is who is in the market for their product or service, so they can follow up with them. That’s the power of digital tools in today's marketing. We can research, deliver, analyse and track back to actual return on investment”.

By providing tangible new business enquiries and proving they’re as a result of marketing, the client is able to see where and how the agency is adding value –thereby helping to build a lasting relationship rather than a move to another agency hoping for better results.

No jargon, just straight talking

Connor suggests that his autistic traits mean that The Digital Lookout will only ever be upfront and direct. “Sometimes we have really frank, honest conversations with our clients, but we’ve only ever been told that our approach is refreshing.”

They build confidence through good relationships, a total understanding of the business’ objectives and spell out feasible options for their development. What they offer is so far from a one-size-fits-all approach. The Digital Lookout provide clear analysis based on their construction industry knowledge and focused research, to justify how they can facilitate a growth strategy their clients feel comfortable with and prepared for.

Rather than reacting to what the client thinks they need – perhaps a revamped website or regular comment in a trade magazine, The Digital Lookout focuses on targeted actions and tangible results. “By researching the business and its market, we are able to say ‘the reason this isn’t working is XYZ’ and then identify what needs to be done to achieve the required results’.

Connor concludes: “If enquiry levels and new business numbers haven’t increased off the back of your marketing efforts, or they have, but you don’t know where those enquiries are coming from, you’re wasting your marketing budget somewhere along the line”.

Thinking Business 17 The Big Interview
Marketing agencies are known for having a high client turnover. The reason behind this is often because the marketing agency is waiting around to be told what to do by the client; when in reality the client needs to be told what to do, and guided to get the best results for the business.

Because there’s always a curve ball.

When new challenges come out of nowhere, it helps to have the best legal team on your side. As Kent’s leading law firm, we’ll take your business personally from the outset, supporting what really matters to you.

Solving your problems and championing your ambitions, we work together to make a positive and lasting difference.

Severn Trent chosen for innovative wastewater facility in Canterbury

Leading housebuilder Redrow has appointed Severn Trent

Connect to deliver a new and innovative onsite Wastewater Treatment Works at The Hoplands, its community of homes in Canterbury.

The new facility meets the most stringent regulations on nutrient removal and will strip the site’s wastewater of phosphates and nitrates, before returning clean water to the adjacent Stodmarsh, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The new treatment works will generate surplus transferrable nutrient credits for Redrow, while providing reliable treatment

of wastewater to the highest standard.

As a result, residents will benefit from a reduction to their wastewater utility bill and dedicated maintenance of public wastewater drainage at the site.

Recent changes to Nutrient Neutrality in the first half of 2022 have halted many planned developments across England. An on-site wastewater treatment works

is a great alternative to waiting for long lead-time upgrades to existing treatment works and can be scaled for sites ranging from a few hundred to several thousand homes.

The waste that is eventually left behind after being processed, also known as ‘sludge’ is used to make renewable energy from biogas and the rest is sold as organic fertiliser, making it a sustainable method of treating wastewater.

Brachers ensures smooth sale of Kentbased Xtratec

Karen’s clean up act is of the highest calibre

While there is a familiar ring to how Karen Thomas set up her Calibre Cleaning business – there is also a bit of a twist.

As a young mum in the late nineties, she found herself unable to work traditional office hours due to family commitments, so she started Calibre Cleaning, offering commercial cleaning to businesses across Kent.

The flexible hours meant she could work early in the morning, or later in the evening, fitting around her family responsibilities.

And here is the twist, before she started her company, she wanted to train properly – and so she went to Swaleside Prison, where she learnt with their Class A inmates.

A BICS (British Institute of Cleaning Science) course was run there that wasn’t available anywhere else in Kent and so Karen rang up to see if she could join

She said: “The course they ran at Swaleside was to rehabilitate

prisoners and give them a skill for employment when they came out but it was such a good BICS-approved course, I asked to go on it. I doubt it would happen now, but once a week, I would drive over there to learn about the correct techniques, chemical uses, and practice cleaning using commercial equipment”.

Karen insists she never felt unsafe and was just a student like the others “That course set me up to be able to start the business to work around my children and give me the skills to grow the company to what it is today,” she says.

Maidstone-based solicitors Brachers recently advised on the successful sale of Kent-based construction material testing company, Xtratec to aggregator Phenna Group.

Brachers’ Corporate team oversaw Xtratec shareholders’ sale of shares to Nottingham-based testing group, Phenna Group.

Founded in 2000, Xtratec is based in Maidstone, Kent. The company has worked alongside a number of construction companies on some major nationwide infrastructure projects; including the Gatwick NWZ Apron and the Felixstowe Dock Extension.

Mark Beer, founder and MD of Xtratec is staying on with Xtratec under Phenna Group’s ownership.

This is the latest in a range of recent deals for the Corporate and Commercial team at Brachers. Other recent deals for the team include advising on the sale of Take 1 Script Services and advising IKRA on a property sale and purchase.

Members News Thinking Business 19

Workwear that works for women not just men

Many more people wear workwear now, to be highly visible, safe, compliant or to show authority.

Margate, has spent 30 years in print, supplying workwear to many of the West End stage crews, plus fulfilling large orders across the UK, ensuring what’s provided is suitable for the wearer.


And women no longer have to choose the small men’s size or wear oversized garments because nothing else is available

Jason Sutton from Evolution Branded Workwear, based in

He says: “We offer a huge range, including a good choice of women’s workwear. So many more women are now in job roles that require it and they want work clothing that fits well. We’ve also got a small range of maternity wear too, because women still need workwear to do their job during pregnancy and beyond, to stay safe and compliant.”

Evolution’s tips for choosing the right workwear:

Higher quality will last longer, especially if it’s worn a lot, washed frequently or used in all weathers. You want your branding to stay on the workwear, so make sure you choose the best process; vinyl print, transfer, screen print or embroidery.


You can’t tell the difference between workwear made from recycled materials against traditional fabrics. It’s a way of supporting your company’s environmental commitment.

Evolution Branded Workwear,

Offering bespoke training for Kent-based builders

H & K Training Services offer high quality training specialising, but not exclusively serving, those within the construction industry.

Employing experienced trainervocationally qualified up to degree level and teacher training up to PGCE level – H& K deliver CITBbacked courses and write bespoke training plans for clients too.

H&K Training has supported many small and medium sized

Hayne House opens to corporate events, with sustainability at their core.

Hayne House, near Hythe, is a countryside venue nestled in a private estate and has played host to many weddings and

construction companies throughout Kent and delivered training nationwide for the National Trust.

Having settled in the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point building at Waterbrook Avenue, Ashford , the company has found a home

events over the past 10 years. Its purpose built and versatile orangery holds glamorous galas, Christmas parties, team days and photo shoots.

With its long-term desire to reach net zero, sustainability is at the heart of the business and beyond. Alongside their ambitious plans to tackle their emissions, the team actively strives to raise awareness within its immediate sphere of influence but also at an industry level. Working with carefully selected local suppliers sharing a similar ethos, Hayne House encourages its corporate

to be proud of with excellent parking facilities and good-sized, well-equipped rooms to facilitate excellent training.

To discuss you needs contact or

clientele to think about ways to minimise the impact of their event. Through menu and décor options, offering local food and drinks or considering the impact of guests travelling to the event, there are many ways to reduce an event’s footprint.

Managing director Fleur Record Smith said: “We’re passionate about upholding our responsibility for the environmental impact of the events that we host, and we’re committed to taking meaningful action to play our part in protecting our planet. On a day-to-day basis, we’re doing our very best

Converting a Dutch barge into Ramsgate arts hub

A project to renovate and convert a 133-yearold, Dutch barge into a thriving 'not-for-profit' arts and cultural hub is gathering pace.

The 50-metre long Ramsgate Arts Barge, permanently moored in Ramsgate Harbour, will be a floating community arts space comprising; exhibition, event/ performance space and community art studio. The barge will also boast a restaurant, bar and rooftop garden with views overlooking Ramsgate marina. Once operational, profits from the project will be reinvested to provide FREE art classes, workshops and courses for children 2-16 years of age living in the Thanet District.

Ramsgate Arts Barge CIC have secured the 200-tonne vessel as a community asset and have obtained all necessary permissions for the project. The organisation has launched a £100k fundraiser to pay for the first phase of capital works – this has already hit the £20k mark. To find out more visit:

to evaluate and improve our practices, one step at a time”. As a result, last year they received certification from the Sustainable Wedding Alliance and recently won the Marie Claire Sustainable Venue Award.

Hayne House also hosted events for local business to raise awareness around net zero for SMEs, and is keen to put the venue to good use for discussions and events around the topic.

For more information on Hayne House

Members News 20 Thinking Business

New service offers quick access to cardiac assessments for people worried about their hearts

KIMS Hospital is the only private provider to offer this Rapid Cardiac Assessment Service in Kent, which offers people a tailored set of tests appropriate to their symptoms following a triage call with a specialist cardiac nurse within 48 hours of enquiry. Costs for the bespoke range of tests and follow up appointment are confirmed upfront following the triage call. The tests are followed by a face to face appointment with a specialist cardiologist, who can advise on any further tests or treatment plans if appropriate.

How much are you worth to your business?

KIMS Hospital in Maidstone has opened a new private rapid cardiac assessment service for people who are worried about symptoms they may have with their heart, and want a quick diagnosis and advice from a specialist cardiologist.

The new service has been developed following growing concern from cardiologists about the number of people who are living with heart disease, which can go undetected.

Today in the UK there are 7.6 million people living with Heart or Circulatory Disease* . Early detection and treatment of heart issues can help prevent serious complications


AMAZING with Lexus

New Chamber member, Lexus Sidcup is a state-of-the-art retail and aftersales centre, designed to offer new and existing Lexus owners the opportunity to experience amazing

The Lexus team is knowledgeable, friendly, and highly trained, so you will always be sure of a

Anne Hatswell, Cardiology Services Manager at KIMS Hospital, commented, “Our service complements the NHS who are fantastic dealing with emergencies but are unfortunately unable to meet the growing demand to test and diagnose people promptly who have concerns about their heart. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms relating to their heart wants answers quickly, and with this new private service, we are able to provide that.”

* British Heart Foundation factsheet August 2022

warm welcome. Corporate Sales Executive Roy Ingleton is the lead contact, he is absolutely thrilled to have joined Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Roy is looking forward to providing local business solutions for company cars and fleets.

Lexus Sidcup are the leading professionals in business and vehicle funding solutions, offering varied, bespoke options for your individual company requirements.

The Corporate Fleet department offers a wide range of EV, Hybrid vehicles tailored to suit any size company vehicle fleet & industry

Sadly, history is full of stories of successful business leaders who have died and whilst everyone’s immediate thoughts are for the welfare of their family, the business they ran finds itself with a leadership vacuum and a financial challenge. This financial challenge impacts everyone from the remaining directors, employees, investors, lenders, trade creditors and debtors.

The creation of wealth is a financial achievement, but it sits in the box of ‘nice problems to have’. The problem with real life is that it doesn’t always go as planned so how can you protect your family from the impact of what can be a burden?

Peter Colechin, Chartered Financial Planner, provides an insight into two effective solutions.

So, what steps can a business take to protect itself?

Sadly, history is full of stories of successful business leaders who have died and whilst everyone’s immediate thoughts are for the welfare of their family, the business they ran finds itself with a leadership vacuum and a financial challenge. This financial challenge impacts everyone from the remaining directors, employees, investors, lenders, trade creditors and debtors.

Loan Protection – this is protection for the bank that any business loans will be repaid in the event of the death of one of the directors. Whilst the bank can insist on the insurance cover, they cannot insist which insurance company or adviser arranges this for you.

• Market contacts and industry reputation

So, what steps can a business take to protect itself?

Loan Protection – this is protection for the bank that any business loans will be repaid in the event of the death of one of the directors. Whilst the bank can insist on the insurance cover, they cannot insist which insurance company or adviser arranges this for you.

Whether wealth has been created by selling a business, receiving an inheritance or as the fortunate result of picking the correct lottery numbers, this wealth now sits in your estate for inheritance tax (IHT) purposes and baring the nil rate band (£325,000) and a few other allowances, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is going to want 40% of this wealth on your death. Whilst the transfer of assets to your spouse on your death are exempt from IHT, this is only a delaying tactic as far as HMRC are concerned.

Keyperson Protection – usually a requirement by an investor in the business or by the business itself to ensure corporate survival in the event of losing someone who is key to the success of the company. Typically, this would be the CEO, MD, or Sales Director but we are now often seeing the CFO, Compliance and IT directors included as well as the employee who wrote the code for a business operating or IT system. Generally, this insurance cover would be expected to be for a short period of time, say up to five years.

Keyperson Protection – usually a requirement by an investor in the business or by the business itself to ensure corporate survival in the event of losing someone who is key to the success of the company. Typically, this would be the CEO, MD, or Sales Director but we are now often seeing the CFO, Compliance and IT directors included as well as the employee who wrote the code for a business operating or IT system. Generally, this insurance cover would be expected to be for a short period of time, say up to five years.

This is where professional planning comes into its own. Pushing the edge of the tax envelope isn’t necessary and is rarely a good idea. The adage “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” could have been written specifically for tax planning.

Putting a specific value on a director or employee requires a mix of science and art and will usually include a combination of factors: -

For large amounts of wealth that you are prepared to gift to reduce your estate, a Family Trust, or a Family Investment Company, both recognised by HMRC, are two solutions that our clients use.

Putting a specific value on a director or employee requires a mix of science and art and will usually include a combination of factors: -

Advanta Wealth

Buckingham Palace Road,

• Contribution to turnover

• An assessment of a multiple of profits impact

• Cost of replacement i.e., head-hunter fees, joining bonus and equity participation

What’s the difference between a Family Trust and Family Investment Company (FIC)?

• Market contacts and industry reputation

Shareholder Protection

• Cost of replacement i.e., head-hunter fees, joining bonus and equity participation

Shareholder Protection

A Family Trust is a legal arrangement established by a person referred to as the ‘settlor’, who gifts money into a trust for the benefit of family members; quite often this includes family members not yet born. So long as the settlor survives for seven years after the date of the gift, the amount is outside of their estate for IHT purposes. On a £2m gift, that’s £800,000 of tax saved.

– established to enable the company or its directors to purchase the shares held by a deceased director shareholder. Shares normally pass to a surviving family member in a Will so unless the company doesn’t want control over who the inheritor sells the shares to, a competitor perhaps, then agreements need to be in place alongside the insurance to protect the business.

– established to enable the company or its directors to purchase the shares held by a deceased director shareholder.

Shares normally pass to a surviving family member in a Will so unless the company doesn’t want control over who the inheritor sells the shares to, a competitor perhaps, then agreements need to be in place alongside the insurance to protect the business.

Partnership Protection

– for partnerships, many of the same keyperson issues exist but added to this, is the requirement to repay partnership capital on death.

Partnership Protection

The simplest way of thinking about a Family Investment Company is to remember that it’s a company subject to normal corporation tax and accounting rules. Just about everything you currently know about a company applies.

– for partnerships, many of the same keyperson issues exist but added to this, is the requirement to repay partnership capital on death.

Common mistakes to avoid include: -

• Incorrect tax treatment resulting in policy proceeds being treated as a trading receipt.

Common mistakes to avoid include: -

If you pay salaries from it, they are subject to income tax and national insurance, if you provide an employee with a company car, then they would be subject to a P11D benefit in kind charge and so on.

• Incorrect tax treatment resulting in policy proceeds being treated as a trading receipt.

• Insurance for a purpose not allowed under the Memorandum & Articles of Association such as the company not having legal powers to purchase the shareholding.

The subtle difference is that this company invests rather than trades and issues shares to family members. This enables you to retain control over the assets and create a highly tax efficient environment to pass on family wealth.

• Insurance for a purpose not allowed under the Memorandum & Articles of Association such as the company not having legal powers to purchase the shareholding.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you protect your business, please call us on 020 3668 7480

If you would like to discuss how we can help you protect your business, please call us on 020 3668 7480

If you would like to discuss how we can help you protect your business, please call us on 020 3668 7480

London, SW1W 9SA
So, I’ve just come into a lot of money… now what?
SPONSORED COLUMN Advanta Wealth 130 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9SA
How much are you worth to your business?
Thinking Business 21 Members News


With Kent’s Heritage Coast named as Lonely Planet’s fifth best place to visit in the world, hospitality and tourism are the lifeblood of Kent’s economy.

However the shortage of incoming staff is a well-known issue facing the sector, with a recent petition to allow UK visas to EU workers in the industry gaining more than 13,000 signatures.

But why look abroad when there are skilled and ambitious employees on your doorstep?

At EKC IntoWork, we take people who are currently out of a job and help them enter fulfilling careers. They could have experience in their chosen industry, or simply an interest to explore it, and we’ll nurture their capability until they find work that they can not only do but thrive in.

Our courses teach skills such as CV writing and interview technique, with the opportunity to specialise

in certain areas. One example was a recent Hospitality Sectorbased Work Academy Programme (SWAP) in Thanet, which saw participants learn knife skills, culinary techniques, and menu preparation with the help of a top chef. Working with Thorley Taverns throughout the SWAP, as well as a number of local partners, we provided the hospitality chain with new employees who had taken part in the course.

By working with us and engaging with SWAPs, you too can gain access to an untapped source of motivated, emerging talent whom you can help mould as they enter your sector.

Another well of fresh talent that can help boost the local economy are the many skilled workers that come to us after recently arriving in the UK. At EKC IntoWork, we have dedicated staff members who teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

Not only do they quickly pick up the language, but often they have previously acquired qualifications that allow them to seamlessly enter into the labour market.

EKC IntoWork programmes also act as a springboard into further study with our EKC Group Colleges, which are renowned for their Catering, Hospitality, and Travel and Tourism courses. These can bolster your existing employees’ skills, or provide another route through which you can find excellent new staff members. With strong ties to industry leaders including Eurotunnel and Tripadvisor’s toprated hotel in Kent, The Yarrow, the Group has established a fantastic reputation as a provider of top quality candidates to Kent’s hospitality sector.

So if you’re in need of staff, or just considering taking on an ambitious, freshly trained graduate, then search today.


EKC Group’s impact goes far beyond our College campuses, with our dedication to improving the lives of people across East Kent driving positive action.

We have teams specifically established to promote education and outreach in the communities we serve, as well as financial reserves set aside to bolster our region.

Our EKC IntoWork Business Unit supports people re-entering the workplace with CV workshops, interview training, and career guidance. The team also provides basic English and Maths lessons, a key skill looked for by employers and a perfect springboard back into wider education.

EKC IntoWork has been successful in its mission, enhancing the employability of hundreds of people in communities across East Kent. This includes prisoners coming to the end of their sentences, who are trained in vocational qualifications to assist them as they transition back into the labour market.

Another way our Group is benefiting the communities we serve is our recent success in bidding for the Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund. As one of the fund’s pilot

schemes, it’s allowed us to boost community education and outreach.

The fund has enabled free short courses across subjects including Bricklaying and Nail, Hair and Beauty, specifically designed for adults who are out of work or looking to change careers. With anyone in our nearby communities aged over 19 able to engage in the courses, they have proven effective in easing people back into the world of education, prompting many beneficiaries to sign up for more courses.

Through the Government grant, we have also been distributing hundreds of free laptops to those without digital access, alongside training in using the devices and basic software such as emails and Microsoft Word. This has reduced digital illiteracy in communities across East Kent, offering them greater licence to thrive in a world that is increasingly technologically dependent.

Our bi-annual Community Weeks see staff and students leave their campus and enhance the region by beautifying towns, repairing public facilities, and raising money for charities.

We also work with industry partners, collaborating to improve our local area. One

such effort, for partners Southeastern and Kent Community Rail Partnership, saw students making planters before installing them at Charing Station and along the Swale Line.

Not only do projects such as these benefit the communities our Colleges serve, they also have a positive impact on the learners taking part. It means they have a stronger connection with their local area, and a more-impassioned desire to care for the places they live. Another positive to come from these actions is pride in our staff and students, knowing they’ve achieved something that has visibly improved their community.

Our efforts during Community Weeks are leading the Further Education sector, having been given a top national award for the initiative. The Association of Colleges awarded us the 2020 National Beacon Award for Social Action and Student Engagement, showing how pioneering our dedication to inspiring positive impacts has been.

At EKC Group, we’re constantly searching for more ways to enhance the communities we serve. If you would like to help us in our vision, contact us at today.

Thinking Business 23


Want to build an ambitious partnership in the new corporate landscape?

Association for the Blind (KAB) and we recognise that long-term partnerships actually bring us both closer to achieving our missions.

Purpose-driven partnerships –what are they?

There are many ways to get involved, such as offering probono support, or staff volunteering, sharing messaging, making a donation, encouraging staff to fundraise, participating at events, having talks or training delivered by the charity and supporting campaigns. This list is endless!

Make a real difference today

Our focused approach enables us to identify companies who have a shared purpose and principles making for our ideal prospect, we believe that as members of Kent Invicta Chamber you already recognise the value in supporting your local community. We’d love to build on that together and would love to hear from you.

Please don’t do it because it feels as though it’s the ‘right thing to do’ or a responsibility to tick a box. Do it because you want to create a lasting legacy and make a difference whilst benefitting as a business.

We totally get it – the corporate landscape has transformed forever. We are all feeling the squeeze and recognise things are not going to improve in the short-term. With that, we need to approach fundraising more sensitively than ever while costs to our supporters continues to rise. Companies have shifting new conflicting priorities, which is why our purpose-driven partnerships are more relevant than ever. We have had to evolve too at Kent

We believe that partnerships with charities work best when they are true partnerships; where both organisations benefit. It’s about working together to fulfil specific objectives and, even better, to fulfil shared objectives. A great example of this is our work with Specsavers stores to share messaging around KAB’s ‘Love Your Eyes’ campaign; encouraging more people to have regular eye tests.

So how can YOU make a difference?

Partnerships must be mutually beneficial and highly impactful. This means that by working together and helping to understand one another’s priorities, we agree on much needed solutions that we both benefit from.

Whether your goal is to increase employee engagement, improve brand awareness, support your local community, build public trust or to attract new staff, working in partnership with charities can be highly beneficial.

Working with charities is a great opportunity to give back to society, whilst creating a healthier, happier and engaged workforce with valuable connections within your local community. That’s why charity partnerships are so much more than just two organisations coming together in support of one another; it’s about making a positive difference and improving people’s lives.

So why is it important to give back to society? Let’s face it, we’re all experiencing difficult times at the moment. Charities have experienced huge declines in funding. As we emerge from the pandemic, the need for KAB’s services and support at KAB is greater than ever. Increasing demand from patients is adding to the huge backlog in eye care. Waiting lists for key treatments are the longest they have ever been and senior Ophthalmologists speak of ‘a tidal wave of avoidable blindness’. In the last year, monthly referrals to our counselling service have increased by a staggering 175%. All of this comes at a price and the importance of generating vital income is undeniable.

If you are looking for a simple and effective way to support us consider the Take on 250 challenge.

Every day in the UK 250 people begin to lose their sight. This is equivalent to one person every six minutes.

To help spread awareness, we are inviting you to Take on 250. People can take part individually or as a team and get to choose any activity whether it is baking, knitting, running, walking or dancing – the choice is endless and yours. Simply complete 250 minutes, 250 laps or 250 repetitions and use it to kick start your fundraising.

Fundraiser Rick Newman, who is visually impaired, took on this remarkable challenge by running 250km comprising of 50 x 5km runs for his Take on 250 challenge and raised over £1,400. What an inspiration!

Please do get in touch to take our next steps together and join us in not losing sight of what is important.

Thinking Business 25 Cover Feature

Working together for mutual benefits

Grant Supports Fishing for Schools Project

A £5,000 Kent Community Foundation grant will enable The Countryside Alliance Foundation to provide its Fishing for Schools initiative in three local schools

Thirty disadvantaged young people aged 10-16 who attend Cornwallis Academy in Maidstone, Dunton Green Primary School in Sevenoaks and Thamesview School in Gravesend, will be selected to take part in the project.

Fishing for Schools aims to build confidence and children a sense of achievement. The young people, selected by their teachers, will have been experiencing a variety of challenges and barriers to learning including low attendance, social, emotional, and mental health needs and learning abilities.

Charles Jardine, Director, and Founder of Fishing for Schools, said: “As a Kent lad, I am thrilled by the support of Kent Community Foundation and the vital resource that they have kindly offered. This is crucial and will help so many young people – especially those with special needs – within the county I love.

He adds: “I grew up fishing Kent’s rivers and lakes and learnt so much about the natural world and I am sure that future generations will do the same. The young people of Kent are worth our very best effort, and I know, with the team we have in place and Kent Community Foundation’s generous support we can deliver.”

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said “The application (from Countryside Alliance Foundation) explained that the initiative would be a platform for young people who are struggling to engage with learning, to discover that they are valued and raise their self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth and fitted perfectly within our funding priorities.”

For further information visit

26 Thinking Business Corporate Social Responsibility
Working on national or local charity projects can provide tangible benefits for individuals and causes but also enhance brand recognition and respect for the company.

Essential support for construction workers and their families

Two construction workers take their own life every single working day.

The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity is the only charity that provides emotional, physical and financial wellbeing support to the construction community and their families.

The charity provides a 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline which provides a range of free and confidential support, complemented by a free Self-support App.

The Lighthouse charity also offers a variety of free construction focussed training programmes ranging from hour long interactive wellbeing sessions through to the MHFA England approved Mental Health First Aider courses.

The charity’s latest campaign, Help Inside the Hard Hat aims to raise awareness of mental health issues in the construction industry.

All services are completely free and accessible via

successful series of summer beach cleans around Kent.

Working with its Charity of the Year, Kent Wildlife Trust, the company organised clean ups close to some of its most picturesque coastal pubs and hotels including the Minnis Bay Bar and Brasserie, Birchington; the Botany Bay Hotel, Kingsgate and Marine Hotel, Tankerton.

More than 100 people attended the events, held to help the environment

and raise awareness of how we can protect our coastline.

Members of the Kent Wildlife Trust’s Marine Conservation Team attended each event, offering information about the impact of litter on marine life and providing Shoresearch surveys for volunteers to capture details of the waste collected.

The final clean took place on Sunday (August 14) at the Royal Albion Hotel, Broadstairs, with a

total of 38.61kg of litter collected during the events.

Nina Jones, Protected Area Warden at Kent Wildlife Trust said: “With the help of the public, we collected a large amount of waste and had lots of families get involved with some fantastic citizen science to collect useful data on marine pollution.”

Shepherd Neame Communications Executive Angela Cole, who spearheaded the project with support from Thanet District Council and Canterbury City Council, said: “We have been really pleased by the success of our first series of beach cleans, with individuals and families from across the county coming along to join in.

“It has been great to get out and enjoy the glorious weather in some of Kent’s most beautiful locations, working with our Charity of the Year Kent Wildlife Trust to help the environment and raise awareness of our county’s unique marine habitats and wildlife.”

Local brewer happy to help in Kent beach summer clean up Faversham-based brewer and pub company Shepherd Neame has completed its first

Thinking Business 27 Cover Feature


Our mission is to help and support young people and children with intervention to avoid being involved in crime

Since 2005, founders Lennox and Bali Rodgers and the team have been supporting young people and children involved in crime or on the verge of crime by working in schools, delivering outreach services and accessing young people on a one-to-one basis, Kent wide and in the Southeast.

We provide early intervention and prevention, tackling these issues at the root. We help those most at risk through conflict resolution to build protection and to prevent them from being exploited or caught up in bullying, knife crime, peer pressure, county lines, crime, grooming, money laundering and gangs –either as victims or perpetrators.

Our engaging workshops help and support parents, young people and others to de-glamourise this lifestyle.

We highlight the reasons that people get involved in crime and share the consequences of doing so.

Help at the earliest stages

In 2019 – 2021 we reached 7750 young people in schools in Orpington, Canterbury, Bromley, Margate, Sevenoaks, Greenwich, and North Kent. The child sex/ crime exploitation sessions are to reach and teach at the earliest ages!


● Delivered diversionary programmes such as prison visits for over 1500 young people from probation and pupil referral units in 5 different prisons

● Delivered early intervention workshops to over 55, 000 young people, targeting small and large groups

● Delivered workshops to over to over 3,500 girls’ addressing problems of low self esteem, gang membership and risky behaviours

● Mentored over 75 young people a year in school and those outside of education

● Worked with over 50 families a year providing advice and intervention support

● Supported young people in Employment and education

● Have had active collaborations and partnered with a wide range of support agencies, faith groups, parents, local authorities, youth workers, the Met and police, safer neighbourhood teams and local and Londonwide youth agencies

● We have worked with and employed over 35 exoffenders and supported them into employment

The young people that are referred to us or those who have self-referred have spent many years involved in

crime or are on the verge of crime, for many reasons but the majority we have helped have come from marriage break ups, financial lack growing up, domestic violence, abuse, bullying, and other very troubled backgrounds

On January 21st 2020 Refocus Project Ltd co-founder Bali Rodgers set up Safer Communities Alliance consortium alongside Refocus In Kent and the South East, to help address issues that can prevent and divert families and young people from making wrong choices and increase their well-being at the earliest stages of childhood to maximise their success in the future.

The need, however, has accentuated because of financial pressures, lack of support and now Covid, and we are only now seeing the real impact since the restrictions began to lift. We believe in helping families at the earliest stages which reduces the risk of children and young people going down the poor mental health, drugs, or crime route.

The SCA his using a two-prong approach, firstly to help the small organisations and those that are like-minded in the community of Kent, and secondly to support those with disadvantaged, and vulnerable young people to increase wellbeing and divert them away from crime and prevent exploitation of vulnerable young people by helping the whole family.

For the last two years we have worked closely with many small organisations, community and schools providing form filling, completing grant applications, policies, coaching, hardship support, healthy activities, food support and have many families being identified in need.

Last year we gave out nearly 6500 meals and raised £16.5k in donations to both Refocus Project Ltd and other small community charities we support. We raised over £17K for children and young people to have hardship grants for clothes, cooked meals, suites, travel for first month of employment, microwaves, subsidised sports memberships for those who couldn't afford to access dance classes, boxing, football etc.

At present

We are anxious to support those with what we can and especially those young people and adults dealing with the loss of jobs and/or transitioning into low income that has resulted in domestic violence, alcoholism and drug use due to the stress of decreased income. We have been supporting many on a low income that simply cannot afford rent and food.

We aim to build resilience and empower communities to help each other and to access the right resources. Many families and young people will not talk about poverty due to pride and shame but because of our relationship with the community, we are approached by our small communities to help. We work with a cohort of communities that don’t engage with

commissioned and other local organisations services and they will not go to food banks for cultural and personal reasons.


● Dry or canned groceries (-any) and toiletries such as deodorant, soap, shower gel, shampoo, sanitary towels, toothpaste, nappies, etc

● Food vouchers

Donations for cooked meals and travel

Reconditioned laptops

Internet support

● Voluntary time for house maintenance

● Donations for subsidised sports, arts, music, and other activities

If you can donate anything that would be amazing, the link is below, please reference it to care in the community

● IT support

● Fundraisers for grant making and other fundraising

● One to one sessions and support for young people = £35 pr hour

● Outreach session = £35 per hour

School’s session = £75 per hour for 35 children

IT support and training

Marketing support

New website support

Jobs for young people

Breaking better is a book Co-written by Lennox Rodgers that can be bought online.

Refocus Project Ltd: | Charity Number: 1150441

Supporting young people to achieve their goals

The Amber Foundation recently opened its Fourth centre in Ashford, Kent, which can house and support 26 young people. The charity helps young people who are homeless and unemployed fulfil their potential through a programme of activities tailored to the individual to help them achieve their goals.

The centre works with the young people to improve their physical and mental wellbeing, employability skills, as well as helping them to develop

their confidence and belief in themselves. The average stay at one of our centres is

around 6-9 months and over the last year we have helped over 140 young people with 77% moving on to safe and secure accommodation and either back into work or further training

As a charity, we rely on grants and fundraising activities to support our centres – we need to raise £6,000 for every young person that stays with us.

How can you help?

We love to offer young people new opportunities, which can be through work experience, talks or workshops that enable them to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals.

If you are able to help with funding a bed space or organise a fundraising event to support the work we do at the Amber Foundation, please contact Darren Ellis:

BAE Systems in Rochester: giving back to the local community

As one of Kent’s largest employers, BAE Systems in Rochester, U.K. is committed to giving back to the local community. This year, the global aerospace, defence and technology company is collaborating with 16 charities and organisations across Kent, including those that support armed forces veterans and their families, our local communities, and initiatives that promote careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

Earlier this year, BAE Systems donated £100,000 to the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) Centenary Village development in Aylesford, which provides accommodation for veterans. The donation is going towards the charities’ ‘Move-On’ initiative,

which helps to get veterans off the streets and gives them a fresh start. BAE Systems employees have also volunteered at the RBLI, helping to paint some of the accommodation.

BAE Systems also actively encourages employee engagement. A number of the charities have held talks at the Rochester site, including the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership, and Age UK Medway. Last Christmas, employees showed their generosity by contributing over 500 items towards around 50 care packages

for the homeless and those in need through Medway Street Angels, and they are hoping to exceed this number during the upcoming festive season.

BAE Systems has also teamed up with the Kent FA for the first time this year and will be supporting underrepresented young people to take part in weekly football sessions in Medway. There’s also a new collaboration with Stemettes, a social enterprise working to inspire and support young women in STEM careers. Together, they will host a STEM activity day for 40 young women from local schools – hoping to inspire the next generation of engineers right here in Kent.

For further information, visit

Support in our communities

Imago is a well-respected charity and social business covering Kent, Medway, East Sussex and South/East London. Dedicated to empowering individuals and improving the health and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable adults, children, and young people in our communities.

We are one of the UK’s leading and largest providers of support to 10,000+ Young Carers and their families. We provide short breaks and social activities for children living with a disability; youth mental health and wellbeing support; training in schools; as well as 1:1 sessions and Social Prescribing services. Our Community Navigation services support adults and adult carers through signposting and guidance, befriending, groups and activities and through our own Community Transport service.

Our focus is to make a real difference to those we support; building connections between individuals and communities, building close relationships with a wide range of partners, stakeholders, and funders, and seeking opportunities to leverage additional resources to support services and clients.

We have expanded rapidly over the pandemic period. The desperate need for our services has never been so apparent, and we never cease to be amazed and delighted at what our dedicated teams achieve, and the scale of the difference they make.

There are many ways that you can help to support us to continue to enrich the lives of others in need. It may be from sharing your time to volunteer, your items to donate or your financial support via a fundraiser or donation. We also welcome your long-term support by becoming a corporate partner.

We have a highly skilled and dedicated team who will work with you to ensure that a partnership with us is fitting and personalised to you and your organisation.

If you are looking to make a difference to the lives of Young Carers, children with disabilities, young people’s mental health, isolated older people, or those with complex needs, then by supporting Imago, you can make that happen.

Please get in touch with our Partnerships team: or visit our website to find out more:

Thinking Business 29 Cover Feature


Established in 1984 the Kent MS Therapy Centre aims to improve the quality of life of people living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other health conditions. Situated in Canterbury, the Charity benefits from a modern, state-of-the art therapy centre which provides a warm and welcoming environment in which a range of non-invasive therapies and support services are provided to our members, their Carers and their families. Facilities on site include a hydrotherapy pool as well as a gymnasium, therapy rooms and 2 oxygen chambers. We also have a café as well as a charity shop within the Centre.

MS is an auto-immune condition which attacks the protective layer of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This makes it difficult for signals to be sent to other parts of the body, and results in a range of symptoms including numbness and tingling, muscle weakness and spasms,

balance and mobility difficulties, fatigue, pain, bladder/bowel dysfunction, cognitive dysfunction (‘brain fog’) and depression. It is estimated that there are 3,500 people in Kent and Medway living with MS, with approximately 15 people being diagnosed with the condition every month (based on Public Health England estimates of prevalence and incidence of MS, and local authority population estimates mid-2018).

MS is not classed as a terminal disease but there is no known cure and its effects can be debilitating and highly disabling. The condition can be well managed with proper

medical treatment and care, alongside services such as those provided by our charity - allied and complementary therapies, practical and moral support. The Kent MS Therapy Centre provides a range of non-invasive therapies which includes: high dose oxygen therapy, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, complementary therapies and counselling. We currently have 550 members, 330 of whom have MS.

Our members report extremely positive benefits from attending the Centre: "I’m determined to help spread the word about the great work done at Kent MS Therapy Centre. I don’t know how to express my gratitude to the staff, therapists, volunteers and supporters who make it possible. You have literally given me my quality of life back.”

Self-funded, the charity receives no regular or core funding from the


government or NHS and relies on other sources of income to sustain its services – operational income from our therapies, specific (restricted) grants and unrestricted donations from charitable trusts and other grant-makers, individual donations and legacies, local business and community supporters, fundraising events and our on-site charity shop.

To find out more about the Kent MS Therapy Centre go to or drop in any time to take a look around and grab a coffee in our café and social area. Everyone is welcome.

The Kent MS Therapy Centre aims

improve the quality of life of people living with


other health


30 Thinking Business
Kent MS Therapy Centre, Bradbury House, Merton Lane North, Canterbury, CT4 7DZ Supporting those living with MS and other neurological conditions in Kent. 01227 470876 Registered Charity no. 801382 KentMSTherapyCentre kentmstherapy KentMSTC Kent MS Therapy Centre
(MS) and
conditions. We provide a range of non-
therapies, classes, specialist clinics and information sessions. Contact us to find out more:
Corporate Social Responsibility

Delivering employability and vocational training services

The Forward Trust is a charity and social enterprise working in East Kent. Since 2021, our Employment Services Directorate has delivered employability and vocational training services for the unemployed. In Thanet, we deliver the Department for Work and Pension’s Restart Scheme in conjunction with Reed in Partnership. The Restart Scheme gives Universal Credit claimants who have been out of work for at least nine months enhanced support to find sustainable jobs in their local area. Our Adult Education Budget funded Skills, Training, and Jobs Pathway also provides qualifications, career advice, and employability support for low-skilled and unemployed adults. In 2021/22, The Forward Trust’s Employment Services Directorate supported 1,400 people in Kent alone.

As a member of the Kent Chamber of Commerce, we at The Forward Trust are keen to work with employers and other members who, like us, are

committed to improving social mobility and supporting disadvantaged groups into sustainable careers. We believe employment support and skills providers must work with employers to improve job quality and security. Together we can build a more productive and inclusive economy in Kent, as well as contribute to the wider ‘levelling up’ agenda.

We are keen to collaborate with members of the Kent Chamber of Commerce that have vacancies or skills gaps in their organisations. As an approved apprenticeships provider, we can help you to optimise the use of your apprenticeships levy. As a registered charity, we support fundraising campaigns and social value projects including employee volunteering and mentoring. By joining our Partners and Employers Network (PEN) you can get access to our roundtables, events, and awards ceremonies.

We recently teamed up with local employers for our Jobs Fair at The Turner Contemporary in Margate,

where we celebrated Employability Day and were joined by over 100 jobseekers, as well as at local ‘jobs clubs’, sector awareness sessions, and guaranteed interview workshops.

To find out more about our employment support, head to our website:

Employment support - Forward Trust

Employer services - Forward Trust

Or email:

Emma Woodward, Operational Manager, Forward Trust Restart

A s p a c i o u s , t r u s t e d , f l e x i b l e v e n u e i n C a n t e r b u r y c i t y c e n t r e

ECelebrations vents Meetings

L a r g e m u l t i p u r p o s e s p a c e f o r u p t o 3 0 0 p e o p l e d a y / n i g h t

P r o f e s s i o n a l k i t c h e n & l i c e n s e d b a r

A d j a c e n t 1 9 0 s p a c e c a r p a r k

E x p e r i e n c e d e v e n t s t e a m

A c c e s s i b l e f a c i l i t i e s

C a t e r i n g , m u s i c , a u d i o v i s u a l & t e c h s u p p o r t C i t y c e n t r e l o c a t i o n c l o s e t o m a j o r t r a v e l r o u t e s , a t t r a c t i o n s & a c c o m m o d a t i o n W h a t e v e r y o u r v i s i o n , W e s t g a t e H a l l c a n p r o v i d e t h e p e r f e c t v e n u e C o n t a c t u s : 0 1 2 2 7 6 3 4 8 8 6 | i n f o @ w e s t g a t e h a l l . o r g | w e s t g a t e h a l l . o r g

E m p l o y e e s w h o b e n e f i t f r

o m o n t h e j o b t r a i n i n g , s t a y t w i c e a s l o n g a s t h o s e t h a t d o n ’ t E n r o l l o n o u r f u n d e d t r a i n i n g p r o g r a m m e s s u c h a s : • A s s o c i a t e P r o j e c t M a n a g e r • B u s i n e s s A d m i n i s t r a t i o n • C u s t o m e r S e r v i c e S p e c i a l i s t • L e a d e r s h i p & M a n a g e m e n t • O p e r a t i o n s M a n a g e r S u p p o r t i n g U K e m p l o y e r s d e v e l o p g r e a t t e a m s E s p a c u k 0 1 2 3 3 6 3 2 1 1 1 i n f o @ e s p a c . u k 32 Thinking Business

Vibrant, neutral meeting place steeped in history

Steeped in history, Canterbury’s Westgate Hall has been a trusted city centre venue for over 100 years. Being built by public subscription as a Drill Hall for the Territorial Army in 1912 rooted the Hall in the community and determined its character and purpose - as an essential space for everyone living in and visiting Canterbury to access, use and make theirs.

Westgate Hall is a vibrant, neutral place for residents and visitors to meet, celebrate, connect, and do business. Full of heritage and heart, it is a generous civic space that supports and brings together residents, businesses, health services, educational establishments, social purpose organisations, charities and community groups in making their projects a reality.

People and creativity make Westgate Hall’s heart beat. As a charitable company and

social enterprise synergising charitable endeavours with business acumen, the team provides a unique offer. Over 50 charities use the venue for events that enhance their aims, while the local business community regularly meets for networking, training workshops, exhibitions and award ceremonies. The Hall partners closely with leading professional organisations including Canterbury Business Improvement District (BID), Burgess Hodgson, Girlings and Brachers.

Staff retention at an average of 5.4 years. If you

C-Suite and line managers need to wake up and smell the coffee! Prioritising learning and skill building is no longer optional.

Opportunities for personal development is now a major reason for accepting a job offer –and staying with the employer.

• This is due to technological advancements and the fear of redundancy. People want opportunities to move up and around into different teams and projects.

• According to LinkedIn 2022 Workplace Learning Report, when given on-the-job learning, shadowing and new projects, employees stay an average of 5.4 years. That’s nearly twice as

Community is the Hall’s anchor, with its civic role extending beyond the city centre, to Canterbury’s districts and wider Kent. Activities and projects work to contribute to the quality of community life: from the regular Westgate Hall Market showcasing Kent’s talented makers and producers to hosting local life-enhancing groups such as Bemix Discovery Catering, Canterbury Academy, and NHS blood donations; from pulsating live performances and entertainment including

the annual Canterbury Festival, to hosting parties, celebrations and weddings, and founding the hugely successful Canterbury Wine Festival.

In short, Westgate Hall is where village meets city in the heart of Canterbury City, where anyone can come to express themselves, build memories and adapt to the priorities of the times, now and for generations to come.

long as the average retention span of 2.9 years!

Lack of time is the main reason employees do not invest in learning or training.

• With today’s fast-paced and busy schedules, there is never enough time.

• Making time for learning as part of day-to-day work tasks should be a priority for all managers / supervisors

• Encouraging sharing of learning at team meetings is a great and simple way to start.

How The Education & Skills Partnership can help Your business faces unique talent

challenges, so getting a bespoke solution that is designed to suit your business and apprentices is the only way to ensure you have a training programme that delivers the results you want.

There are various funding pots available to employers, talk to us we can advise and guide you on the best programmes to suit your business goals.

We’ll do all the heavy lifting to enroll and onboard your new or current staff members and will deliver engaging and compelling programmes to each and every learner.

To learn more about how we can support you, contact a member of our team for a free consultation.


Members News Thinking Business 33

Bison and rare birds enrich Kent countryside

Protecting, rewilding and conserving British Wildlife is at the very heart of what the Wildwood Trust does.

As a leading animal conservation charity with over 200 native animals in its care, Wildwood is dedicated to saving the UK's most threatened wildlife.

The charity has received global acclaim most recently for its collaboration with Kent Wildlife Trust - the 'Wilder Blean' projectwhich has seen bison released into Blean Woods near Canterbury.

The initiative aims to restore the ecosystem of the area’s ancient woodlands through nature-based solutions by introducing a variety of animals including bison, longhorn cattle, Iron-age pigs and Exmoor ponies into a fenced area in the woods.

Running alongside the bison project, is the highly anticipated release of red-billed choughs into

the wild in Kent. The birds, which have been absent in the county for over 200 years, could be taking to the skies in a matter of weeks thanks to Wildwood and partners’ extensive conservation efforts.

Other conservation programmes to date include, saving the water vole, using wild horses to help restore Kent’s most precious nature reserves, bringing the extinct European beaver back

to Britain and returning the hazel dormouse and red squirrel to areas where they have been made extinct.

Much of Wildwood’s work as a charity involves close collaboration with local organizations and communities. To find out more about how your business can get involved, visit Wildwood’s website at:

Can you help Ashford Citizens Advice service?

Ashford Borough Citizens Advice was established in 1942 to help those people who live and work in Ashford. Over the past 80 years we have helped literally hundreds of thousands of people to resolve problems with Debt, Housing, Welfare Benefits, Education, Immigration, Consumer, Family and Relationships, Employment and Contracts.

We are a self-funding independent charity.

We are non-judgemental, legally based information and advice service, supported by highly trained advisers and specialists. We are here to help your staff, your family, your friends, your neighbours with their problems with free, independent, confidential, unbiased advice and guidance.

We offer support, advice, assisting and negotiating with third parties and representing clients at Court and Tribunals.

Last year we advised over 13,000 problems and dealt with £2 million debts

We have a legal aid contract for housing and advise on re-possessions, homelessness and rough sleepers, families being separated and put in temporary accommodation, supporting Ashford Borough Council, saving taxpayers time and money. This year with rising prices and cost of living we fully expect the number of people seeking our assistance to dramatically rise. BUT this takes money to support the work we do.

We need your help to enable us to continue our work.

We need to raise £40K per year to keep the service going.

Would you consider helping us so we can continue to help the community?

Would you consider making us your charity of the year?

Would you consider sponsoring us?

For more information, please visit

Thinking Business 35 Members News


There is probably never an easy time to become Prime Minister. But for Liz Truss it is fair to say that with soaring inflation, a cost-of-living crisis and a potential trade war with the EU in the offing, this is a particularly challenging period to take the reins.

The prospect of a fully-fledged trade dispute between the UK and the EU is growing in likelihood. The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill has completed its Commons stages and has been introduced into the House of Lords.

Should the Bill become law, it would provide UK Ministers with the legal powers domestically to overwrite the NI Protocol and introduce check free, friction free movements of goods East-West and WestEast across the Irish Sea for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Though the implementation of the new law is still many months away - the EU may respond aggressively with further actions. This may include tariffs on selected UK exports to the EU while attempts to resolve the matter are undertaken by the dispute resolution machinery in the Withdrawal Agreement and Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The British Chamber of Commerce is prioritising a negotiated solution but is advising potentially affected companies to take advice now to mitigate their exposure to new costs on exporting goods to the EU should matters worsen.

It is still unclear how much willingness for compromise there is on the UK side (under the new PM) and from the EU. There is a danger that things could escalate, and that

the EU might harden its line further but the noises coming from Ireland right now suggest constructive dialogue might begin soon.

Following Liz Truss’s leadership win, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney struck a more hopeful note.

He told Irish broadcaster RTE recently: "I have to say I have some cautious optimism that we will see in a few weeks' time the opening of an honest effort to try to settle some of these issues that have been outstanding for far too long”. Watch this space.

India and Canada

Also, near the top of the in tray for the new Prime Minister, is an

intensive series of non-EU trade negotiations.

Negotiations with India are expected to be completed in time for 24 October – and the BCC has had sight of some negotiating drafts in key areas.

Negotiations with Canada for a bespoke trade agreement are expected to conclude by the end of the year to tie-in with UK accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Mexico and Israel will continue but may not conclude until into 2023.

Prime Minister Truss will also be expected to deliver a key export strategy which provides a pathway to stronger export-led growth.

The Office for Budget Responsibility forecast in last autumn’s Budget export growth between 8-9% this year. Trade data from the first half of this year puts UK export performance short of that growth trajectory. The BCC

36 Thinking Business International Trade
Businesses must be part of the solution too by creating the right workplace conditions, for example by providing flexible working practises, training opportunities and a focus on workplace healthcare and support
Picture of Liz Truss from UK Parliament under following licence conditions: full licence, no changes have been made


is putting plans to the Department for International Trade (DIT) to remedy that and boost export volumes.

Recruitment and training

Filling vacancies remain a major concern for UK businesses –whether their focus is on domestic or export trade.

The number of job vacancies in the economy remains around the highest on record and competition for skills and labour continues to drive up wage costs.

The Truss government is being urged to act quickly.

As BCC Head of People Policy, Jane Gratton, warns: “Skills and labour shortages have reached

crisis points for many firms. The impact is being felt on their ability to meet customer demand and forcing some to turn away new business, because they simply do not have the human resource.

This is restricting growth and business confidence. It is a serious and urgent problem”.

Gratton is calling for an immediate review and reform of the Shortage Occupations List (SOL) to include more jobs at all skill levels. This will give firms breathing space to train and upskill their workforce.

“We also need to encourage economically inactive people back into the UK labour market through access to publicly funded rapid retraining opportunities”.

She adds: “Businesses must be part of the solution too by creating the right workplace conditions, for example by providing flexible working practises, training opportunities and a focus on workplace healthcare and support.

“It’s time for action and we’re offering the solution. It’s time for the Government to listen.”

Thinking Business 37
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash


Thinking Business

recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tony Watkins, Head of Development London & South East at Panattoni, and get an insight into why Europe’s largest industrial real estate developer is investing more than £180m in Kent.

Despite excellent motorway connections to the Channel ports and M25, Kent has a longstanding un-met need for high quality logistics and warehousing space. However, that’s changing, thanks in part to Panattoni’s arrival in the county.

The company is transforming the 90-acre former Aylesford Newsprint site to create high-quality logistics and distribution space, employing more than 3,000 people. When fully completed in Q1 2024, the park will be the company’s largest UK investment, and part of its commitment to supporting its global clients and strengthening local employment. The first unit at the park will be operational from this month and be in full employment use ready for the Christmas peak.

As a site, Aylesford offers the perfect location with motorway connections, existing access to the power network and a size to meet the exacting demands of the distribution and warehousing industry, without requiring development on greenfield land.

The prospect of new jobs was welcomed by local residents, and its economic significance helped ensure the plans got the green light from Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, and support from Kent County Council and Locate in Kent.

Demand-led development

Having marketed the site to the global logistics industry, Panattoni’s confidence was quickly rewarded with significant levels of demand from industry leaders wanting to secure operations in Kent.

Four occupiers have already been secured for the site near Junction 4 of the M20, including DHL, Fowler Welch, and Evri (formerly Hermes) and most recently Marley Tiles, with other deals close to being finalised.

When it comes to demonstrating confidence, nothing speaks louder in the property industry than investing in speculative development. It’s a case of “If we build it, they will come” and that is exactly what Panattoni is doing here in Kent. The company is shortly to bring forward plans to speculatively create 750,000ft2 of highquality flexible warehousing space on the site. The aim is for the building to be operational, subject to planning, by the end of Q1, 2024.

Strengthening local supply chains

After being introduced by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, Panattoni signed up Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) to supply the permanent estate signage and hoardings for the whole development site

38 Thinking Business

RBLI’s social enterprise Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company employs more than 100 people – 70% of whom are veterans and people with disabilities. The partnership is one of those occasions when Panattoni has been able to source high quality, competitively priced products and also support the nation’s veterans with employment, training and accommodation

Leading by example

The company is also delivering on its environmental commitments by exceeding its requirement to deliver a 10 per cent Biodiversity Net Gain onsite at Aylesford. It is also working closely with Kent Wildlife Trust to support a number of local environmental projects, including work on Ditton Stream.

village. When construction of the new link road is finished, it will be formally become part of KCC’s road network.

After listening to the local community and recognising the need to enhance local transport provision, Panattoni will fund an upgrade to the local bus service for five years, and contribute towards a cycle hire scheme. More than 4km of new cycle paths and footpaths will be put in place, as well as improvements to the New Hythe and Aylesford railway stations.

Continued investment

On an 8-acre site at Wrotham, Panattoni is proposing to develop a 58,000ft2 distribution centre, creating 250 jobs and retaining longstanding employer Marley Tiles in the borough. Located on the A20/London Road, the site offers easy access to the M26 and M20, and would be home to a high-quality facility for leading parcel delivery company DPD to support online and high street retailers.

The Wrotham proposals offer a win-win for Kent, with Marley Tiles being able to relocate to Panattoni Aylesford and the site freed up for greater levels of employment and the investment in a high-quality distribution centre.


Panattoni has been crowned the Developer of the Year at the Insider's South East Property Awards 2022. The company has also announced proposals for delivering development in Burgess Hill in West Sussex, plus a 200,000 sq ft planning application for a new unit in Crawley, with a new three-unit net zero development in Basingstoke currently under construction.

Long-term perspective

As part of its commitment to sustainable development, Panattoni will use low or Zero Carbon technologies to reduce energy demand and CO2 emissions at Aylesford. Solar panels, air source heat pumps and LED lighting will reduce energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions by at least 10 per cent. No gas will be used in its operation, and EV charging points for cars and bikes are being integrated. The whole park will be certified to the national environmental standards, with a BREEAM rating of Excellent and Energy Performance Certificate of A

Wider benefits

As part of its Section 106 agreement, Panattoni is also funding the construction of a £7m road which will link Bellingham Way to Station Road to improve the local infrastructure and at the same time restrict HGV access to Aylesford

With its commitment to being a good neighbour and recognising that the industry it serves can impact on the local community will see Panattoni continue to manage the dayto-day operation of the Aylesford park going forward, and retaining it within its portfolio.

As for the future, with the ongoing growth in online sales, the outlook for Panattoni who count many global brands and household names among their customers looks positive – with Kent a beneficiary with Panattoni always open to having a conversation about other sites.

For more information

visit: Thinking Business 39
01843 446459 07525 348426 All printed or embroidered with your company branding evoworkwear 01843 446459 07525 348426 All printed or embroidered with your company branding evoworkwear 01843 446459 07525 348426 All printed or embroidered with your company branding evoworkwear

Every week we bring you an eclectic mix of information sessions, networking events, workshops, panel sessions and training sessions with some of the top local business professionals from an array of different industries.

Each event is designed to offer invaluable up-to-date information tailored to our attendee’s wants and needs, as well as networking opportunities to help you grow your business.

With many events held online and across Kent, you’re sure to find the right one for your business.

Kent Construction Expo 2022 Thursday 6th October 2022

Kent Event Centre, Detling

Maximise Your Membership Tuesday 11th October 2022

Chamber Connections Networking Special With Kent Asscoiation for the Blind Thursday 13th October 2022 Givaudan, Ashford

Maximise Your Membership

As a Chamber Member, you have access to a wide range of services to take advantage from. In this information event, you will hear from a number of speakers about what benefits each of them provide to you and how you can maximise your membership benefits.

Come along and hear from Keith Brown, Business Support Manager at Quest and Caroline Mason, Health & Wellbeing Consultant from Westfield Health.

Tuesday 11th October 2022

10:30am - 11:45am

Members: Free to attend Non-Members: Free to attend

Why You Should Consider Employing Sales Staff For Your Business

Owain Williams, Director of Dremur, will talk us through why you should consider employing sales staff for your business, when you should start planning for this, and what needs doing before starting a recruitment drive. Your business doesn’t exist without sales – fact.

If you have ambitions to grow your business, how will you achieve this?

Tuesday 18th October 2022

9:30am - 11:30am

Members: Free to attend Non-Members: £5.00 + VAT

Why You Should Consider Employing Sales Staff For Your Business Tuesday 18th October 2022

Kent Business Leaders Dinner Wednesday 19th October 2022 Frasers, Ashford

Business Talks: Networking and Tour Thursday 20th October 2022

The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Chatham

Virtual Business Networking Tuesday 25th October 2022

How To Spend Your Marketing Budget Thursday 27th October 2022

Kent Construction Focus Group (KCFG) Tuesday 1st November 2022

The Village Hotel, Maidstone

Chamber Connections Networking (Sittingbourne) Thursday 3rd November 2022


Hosted by members of the KCFG committee, Cheryl Causebrook and Ella Brocklebank, we bring you KCFG Live!

The Kent Construction Focus Group (KCFG) is a one-stop-shop for local businesses to discuss the future of Kent development, giving companies access to local knowledge, expertise and contracts.

KCFG promotes the future role of Kent land development and construction businesses in the growth and development of Kent and its environment.

The session will start promptly at 7:30am for a chance to be put into breakout rooms and network with the other attendees.

The first Tuesday of every month

7:30am - 9:30am | The Village Hotel, Maidstone

KCFG Members: £22.50 + VAT | Non-Members: £32.50 + VAT

Business Talks: Networking and Tour of Chatham Historic Dockyard

Join others as we explore Chatham Historic Dockyard and network with other business professionals from the local area.

For more than four centuries The Historic Dockyard Chatham was one of Britain’s most important centres of warship building and repair.

During this event there will be plenty of networking opportunities, giving you the chance to connect with like-minded individuals from local businesses of all sizes.

Thursday 20th October 2022

10:30am - 12:30pm | The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Members: £15.00 + VAT | Non-Members: £20.00 + VAT

Virtual Business Networking is a bi-weekly, fun way of networking which is highly interactive, sparking interesting conversations and aims to bring like-minded people together, guide forward new ideas and form new business relationships.

Conversation with our guest speaker will be followed by three breakout room sessions where attendees can delve deeper into discussion, or discuss their own topic in more depth.

Every other Tuesday | 10:30am - 12:00pm

Members: Free to attend | Non-Members: Free to attend

Chamber Connections

These informal events will give you an opportunity to promote your business and make invaluable connections with local businesses in Kent. ‘Chamber Connections Networking’ is a new networking event, free to both members and non-members.

Each month will be in a new location, so to be inclusive of all businesses in Kent.

‘It is not just who YOU know, its who they know – the power of connections!’

10:30am - 12:00pm

Members: Free to attend | Non-Members: Free to attend

How To Spend Your Marketing Budget

Through this event, Connor Styche from the DIgital Lookout will talk you through the most effective ways to research what the competition are doing but ultimately, how to do what’s right for your business objectives and your audience.

SEO? Google Ads? Facebook advertising? There’s no fixed formula.

Thursday 27th October 2022

10:30am - 11:30am

Members: Free to attend | Non-Members: £5.00 + VAT


Lighthouse Safety donates £1,000 to Kenward Trust

Andrew Price, managing director at Lighthouse Safety, recently presented a £1,000 in support of The Kenward Trust.

The donation from the Rainhambased health and safety training specialist, was specifically to support ‘Kenward in the Community’ which delivers

essential early intervention outreach work to help educate young people about substance misuse.

Kenward Trust is a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre based in Yalding, offering a supported residential environment for men and women.

Penny Williams, CEO Kenward Trust; “We are so grateful to Andrew and Lighthouse Safety for their kind donation and the support they continuously show in our alcohol and drug recovery work. The funds raised will help us save more lives and carry out the essential prevention work we carry out in schools."

Girlings Solicitors achieves Legal 500 ranking 2023

South East law firm Girlings has ranked as a Legal 500 Firm for 2023, across five of its departments following successful submission earlier this year (2022).

The Wills, Tax and Estate Administration team at Girlings has been awarded Legal 500 status for the fifth year and the Family team for the second year. Corporate and commercial received the ranking for the third year and moves up a tier from tier four to tier three. The Employment Law team and Commercial Property each achieved rankings for the first time.

The Legal 500 assesses the strengths of law firms in over 150 jurisdictions. The rankings are based on set criteria including feedback from clients, submissions from law firms, interviews with lawyers and a team

of experienced researchers with specialist knowledge in the market.

The rankings highlight those firms, and departments which provide the most cutting edge and innovative advice and counsel.

Andrew Watson Managing Partner at Girlings said: “I am delighted that all five departments which made submissions to the Legal 500 this year have received the ranking. It’s testament to their expertise, innovative and personalised approach – all of which has been recognised by the researchers of the Legal 500 who award the status.

“We are very proud of this achievement, reflected by the dedication of all those who work across these departments.”

For more information visit




‘Scrap long-term workforce plans’, says local HR adviser

People Matter, People First! (PMPF) s a HR and people management

The company argues that the uncertain environment we currently lend itself well to traditional workforce modelling - predicting labour markets against service demand

just ‘exquisitely’ designed, number crunched documents sitting in a folder. Why waste three months developing plans that become obsolete as soon as they are complete’.

Instead, people planning and strategy should be a daily, weekly, monthly ongoing activity.

workforce plans are up against includes economic uncertainty, artificial intelligence and rapidly shifting multigenerational workforce needs.

The company suggests a different approach. Workforce planning and people strategies can no longer be

PMPF says a winning formula would be a loose framework + curiosity, dynamism, flexibility = responsiveness to rapid change = org agility.

Most importantly, plans should not be just numbers. They should be about real people and their needs. That would be a great place to start. Or build. Members News 44 Thinking Business www directionlaw co uk 0800 158 82 81 Direction Law has a strong local client base of both private individuals and businesses to whom we provide a range of services. For over 45 years our growth has been borne from our relationships with clients, peers, agents & staff alike. Wills and Probate Trusts and Powers of Attorney Residential conveyancing specialists Experts in New Build and Affordable Housing F O R A N I N S T A N T Q U O T E , C O N T A C T : South East Office: 31 Watling Street Canterbury CT1 2UD London Office: 21 Gloucester Place London W1U 8HR South West Office: 32 Chamberlain Street Wells BA5 2PJ Midlands Office: 11 Cannon Street Birmingham B2 5EN P R O
E R V I C E S built on relationships

Supporting employees during testing times

Over the last few weeks, Maria Wilson at Saxon HR Consultancy has had numerous conversations with employers about how the rising cost of living is affecting their employees and in turn, impacting on their businesses. They seek guidance on how to support their employees in the most cost-effective way.

“It’s a critical time and employees feeling the effects of the rising living costs are being tempted away and drawn to jobs offering more flexible working options, higher salaries and benefit packages”.

In a recent government survey, 80% of people say that they

Walk in customers’ shoes to enhance brand relationship

the value is in their customer base and how to leverage it.

The thinking is, if you know who your customers are, their wants and needs, you can drive more sales; and if you know their behaviour, you can predict their buying habits.

currently worry about their financial wellbeing, whilst this figure increases to 88% of adults who live in households with children.

So, what can employers do to prevent their employees from joining another company?

The answer is more than just increase salaries, insists Wilson. Rewarding employees and their loyalty through an enhanced benefits package, long service recognition and enhanced annual leave are just some of the basics that can be put in place.

One-off cost-of-living payments; offering more opportunities for development and promotion, implementing performance

related bonuses and offering an employee assistance programme can provide further support and stability.

“At Saxon HR Consultancy employee engagement is at the heart of what we do,” Wilson says.

“We provide a variety of quality services to businesses, whether a start-up, small or large company. And this can be either on a retained service or on an ad hoc basis. We have over 20-years’ experience in both private and public sector and are able to support businesses with the challenges they face in a down to earth and professional way”.


Bowden PR chosen to work with awardwinning The Indian Dish

You’ve heard the phrase ‘walk in somebody else’s shoes’. Kent Invicta Chamber member The Insight House does just that for their clients.

The Insight House works at boardroom level with businesses across a broad range of sectors, from hospitality, entertainment and transport, to health and safety, and retail.

The clients include Caffe Nero, Lumo trains, Game, Handpicked Hotels and Horizon Platforms.

The Insight House uses their client’s own data to really understand where

However, this might not be obvious on first glance, as Angela Hall, Customer Strategy Director, explains: “Let’s assume, there are 20 people on a train carriage. They’re all travelling to Hull. They all behaved the same way: getting on the same train at the same time, in the same carriage and going to the same place, but other aspects of their behaviours vary”

She adds: “If you look at all of their shoes, they are different but you can start to group them, into work shoes, dressy shoes, or scruffy shoes.

“So, on the face of it, all of the people in the carriage appear to have identical needs, but when you look closer and analyse, you start to see differences, which tell you what they really want or need from their relationship with your brand.”

Bowden PR has been selected to work on the PR strategy for award-winning, Kentbased caterers The Indian Dish.

A family run, corporate, party and wedding caterer, The Indian Dish, is known for its much-loved family recipes and has made a huge impression, since they were established in 2020.

Winners of prestigious awards including ‘Catering Service of the Year’ at the English Curry Awards, The Indian Dish felt the time was right to appoint a PR Agency to assist their in-house team to

promote their brand to a wider audience.

Based in West Malling, the luxury caterers have served their freshly cooked Indian food to businesses, families, couples, groups, and well-known celebrities, at offices, homes, and venues throughout Kent and the southeast.

Julia Hussain, Director of The Indian Dish explains: “The Indian Dish team is honoured and thrilled to have been recognised by not one but three prestigious awards and as we enter a new phase of growth, we are delighted to welcome Bowden PR onboard to direct our PR strategy.”

Members News Thinking Business 45

New Kent Partnership to supercharge STEM talent and enterprise of tomorrow

A leading university in the Kent and Medway region and the county’s largest science and innovation park have announced they are taking their collaboration to a whole new level.

Canterbury Christ Church University and Discovery Park in Sandwich have signed a ‘partnership agreement’ to help attract and retain much-needed regional talent and develop student enterprise and commercial services for tenants. It will also help create innovation zones and attract companies and jobs to Kent and Medway.

Discovery Park and Canterbury Christ Church already enjoy a successful partnership through the University’s Life Sciences Industry Liaison Lab, where students and staff link up with companies working at the cutting edge of research, helping them to find solutions that lead to new treatments and ground-breaking discoveries. The partnership also provides outreach activities through Community Lab, an initiative with Pfizer and the charity STEM Learning where access to educational opportunities for local schoolchildren are supported with the labs giving them the chance to discover and develop an interest in the important STEM subjects and encourage them to pursue STEM careers.

The move follows the recent opening of the University’s £65m Verena Holmes Building, the state-of-the-art facility to support Science, Technology, Health, Engineering and Medicine, and a key part of its £150m campus investment.

Discovery Park will provide specialist facilities and business support for new ideas and opportunities coming out of the

knowledge exchange partnership thanks to the new wet lab incubator facility and the upcoming Barclays Eagle Lab, which will both open later this year.

The new alliance will further accelerate student enterprise and commercialisation activities for Discovery Park-based companies by:

• Providing a Business School in residence at Discovery Park

• Setting up a business clinic to provide a wide range of commercial support

• Setting up a law mediation clinic to provide mediation support to the park’s business community

• Tapping into International and UK academic partnership expertise

• Creating innovation zones and clusters

• Establishing a Data Lab to support the park’s business community adopt a Data-Led decision-making approach

Mayer Schreiber, Chief Executive Officer at Discovery Park said:

“This new face of business and university collaboration will drive far bigger benefits and support not only Canterbury Christ Church students and our tenant companies, but also the region’s business communities. We are investing in the future by sharing resources and knowledge to stimulate new skills, foster talent and attract inward.

“This will supercharge STEM talent and enterprise of tomorrow which will significantly boost the region’s economy and improve people’s lives.”

Professor Mohamed AbdelMaguid, Pro Vice-Chancellor (STEM) for Canterbury Christ Church University added: “We are delighted to continue and expand our partnership with Discovery Park. This collaboration aims to enrich the regional knowledge exchange landscape bringing together educational and industry partners to address the STEM and Digital skills gap by upskilling the existing workforce and inspiring future generations. It will foster the creation of an environment where undergraduate and postgraduate students work collaboratively with businesses to solve pressing industry challenges as an integral part of their education.

“This will support the delivery of our shared vision to position Kent and Medway as a globally recognised hub for STEM and knowledge-based economy.”

Discovery Park is one of Europe’s largest centres for life sciences and one of just seven Life Science Opportunity Zones established across the UK. The new partnership will also see the delivery of training programmes, including the development of a cobranded PhD or MSc qualification.

A full programme of joint events, conferences and roundtable forums will be hosted at Discovery Park and Canterbury Christ Church University to stimulate cross industry/academic partnerships, bringing together different skill sets to foster opportunities for convergence.

If you would like to find out more about the work Discovery Park does with Canterbury Christ Church University or are interested in collaborating on a project contact Jane Kennedy at jane.

Business News 46 Thinking Business

Kent’s appetite for local food & drink to be backed by Government funded programme

Kent’s food and drink industry has been recognised at governmental level as a sector with huge potential for growth; and Produced in Kent is named the partner chosen to deliver a support programme for Kent’s F&B companies called “Boost Your Business”.

Produced in Kent (PINK), the trade membership organisation for Kent’s food and drink producers, will be delivering the Boost your Business programme to Kent’s new and growing F&B companies, which have been affected by the pandemic. The county-wide programme will help businesses to reach more customers, sell more products and gain better visibility.

PINK was able to evidence the county’s love for local food and drink, after seeing the results of a survey it ran at the Kent County Show in July. During the 3-day show, PINK hosted an extremely popular area, which was buzzing, packed with stands from members championing their own local and artisan food and drink products.

PINK surveyed visitors first-hand about their buying habits and feelings towards local food.

The results were surprising. It found that shoppers are buying more local produce in 2022 than in 2021, and a quarter of those surveyed stated that more than half their weekly shopping comes from local businesses.

According to the survey results, Kent’s residents associate local food with the following reasons;

67% said they thought it was ‘good for the environment’ through reducing the food miles; 65% thought the flavour was ‘fresh and tasty’; and 56% said they felt it was ‘high-quality’.

A whopping 91% of shoppers said they buy locally for ethical and economic reasons, preferring to support local businesses, over big retailers.

Boost your Business – How it works

PINK has been awarded Government

funding to support 125 food and drink businesses who have been impacted by Covid with a bespoke business support package, focusing on making the businesses more visible to customers and buyers. Marketing and promotional support, 1-2-1 business advice, signposting support services, advice about grants and funding options and a range of networking events will connect independent producers and hospitality venues to the right experts, advisors and foodie peers that will ensure their businesses can thrive.

PINK’s Boost Your Business project officer, Beckie Alves, comments:

“I have been working with local producers for the past 5 years, and I cannot wait to help them with the Boost Your Business programme, offering free business support. I have seen a lot of the challenges they face first hand and I truly believe in a localised food system, which I have been championing via my work with Kent Food Hubs and running local farmers markets."

The two-year Boost Your Business programme follows on from the very successful pandemic support programme, Help Kent Buy Local campaign which ran in 2020/21.

If you are a small food and drink businesses operating in Kent and you wish to hear more about the Boost Your Business programme, please contact beckie.alves@

Teenage Cancer Trust have arrived in Kent!

Waterfront sports centre saved by married couple reopens in November

Waterfront Leisure Centre at Gillingham Marina which announced it was closing permanently due to the financial strains of the pandemic is to reopen for business again at the beginning of November – under new ownership.

The popular health and fitness club along with the adjoining marina has been taken over by husband and wife team Gary and Rita Beckwith who previously ran City Cruises, a sightseeing river excursion business on the River Thames.

The centre which enjoys views over the River Medway, includes a pool, gym, squash and badminton courts and a spin and dance room. It is currently undergoing a makeover.

Every year, around fifty-five young people in Kent receive the devastating words ‘you have cancer’, turning their lives and that of their families upside down.

Teenage Cancer Trust has 28 Units across the country, where young people aged 13-24 can be treated alongside people of their own age by specialist staff. They provide space to be social, for young people to have their own room, rather than being on an adult ward with people four times their age or being sixteen and surrounded by 5-year-olds on a children’s ward. Where in normal times families and friends can visit, young people can play pool together or take part in music workshops and activities and try to carry on as normal life as possible. But we know support is needed closer to home. So, beyond our units, our teams of outreach nurses across the country are bringing support closer to young

people, giving them the help they need, where they need it most. And that is exactly what is happening right here in Kent.

This is why our outreach nurses are so valuable. They are a lifeline to young people and their families. Be that through attending hospital appointments, explaining a diagnosis or treatment plans. Supporting young people to stay in education or generally being a shoulder to lean on. £30 can fund an hour with one of our expert nurses - an hour that makes the world of difference at such a difficult time.

For more information or to get involved contact lynn.hyder@ or visit

L to R Neil Vanstone, Head of Membership & Events, Kent Invicta Chamber, Lynn Hyder and Helen Farquharson, Teenage Cancer Trust. The event was held at Curious Brewery, Ashford

General manager Ashley Martin explains that the centre, which is 20 years old, has been closed for some time, so a lot of the work is mechanical and electrical as well as general maintenance. A sixfigure-plus sum is being spent on refurbishment.

There will be a series of open days prior to the official launch and the centre has already been inundated with messages from former members who want to re-join as well as new people keen to enrol.

“The feedback has been phenomenal; we've had over 1,000 inquiries and that's without really advertising. The general feeling we are getting is that people want somewhere to relax and enjoy”, says Martin.

“The idea is to make this a community hub for berth holders and leisure club users together”

For further information go to:

Business News Thinking Business 47

Welcome to our new members

Absolute Hygiene

Solutions Ltd London 020 8317 9693 Workplace Hygiene Specialists

Anglo-Saxons Friendly Society Northfleet 01474 567050 Friendly Society/Insurance/Property

Astra Physiotherapy

Ashford 01233 631555 Physiotherapy and Acupuncture

Band Agency LLP Canterbury 020 7395 1760 Marketing - Branding, Communication, Strategy, Digital, Content Business Computer Solutions Ltd

Ramsgate 01843 572600

Managed Service Provider - IT Support and Consultancy

Butler Harwell Ltd


0800 030 2999 Home Automation, Audio Visual, Home Cinema Room

Evolution Branded Clothing Ltd Margate

01843 446459

Branded Workwear

Fosters Accountants & Consultants Ltd Sittingbourne 01795 484026 Accountancy

Idyllic Retreats Ltd Canterbury

07860 940749 Holiday Let Management and Interior Design

IWP London 020 7100 0444 Technology Provider

Lexus Sidcup

Sidcup 020 3797 7624

Business and Fleet Car Specialist

Kent Payments Ltd Ashford 01233 221777 Card Payment Solutions

Kenton House of Many Stairs Margate 01843 224005 Tea Room and B&B

Koti Design Ltd


0333 056 3315

Home Renovations

KPM Group Holdings


01322 663328

Data, Print, Digital and Direct Mail Services

KSS Design Group Ltd


020 7907 2222


ORB Tech Solutions Sandwich 0330 229 1384

IT Services and Support

Plush Huts Ltd


07930 000819

Holiday Lets

REDEC Refurbishment


01233 503577


48 Thinking Business New Members

Enhance Protect Connect

Rockthorn Ltd


0330 118 5030

Plant and Machinery Hire

ROI Safety Ltd


0333 305 0208

Health and Safety Specialist

Roof Tests & Surveys Ltd West Malling 07955 206708

Roof Testing and Surveying

Royal British Legion Industries Ltd Maidstone

01622 795900 Charity Supporting Serving and Ex-Serving Personnel

Saxon HR Consultancy Limited

Sittingbourne 01795 390010 HR Consultancy

Steam & Air Blowing Service Company (SABSCO) Ltd Maidstone

01622 794400

Powering Non-Profits & Businesses with Integrated CRM Technology and Enterprise-Ready Hosting

Telekomatrix Ltd


020 8133 3836

Medical Technology

The Hypnotherapy Couch Canterbury 07802 842315 Hypnotherapy

The Three Crutches


01634 763410

Public House, Restaurant, Venue Location

Tuxedo Mouse Events


Gillingham 07852 600073

Event Planning - Event Management

U Can Too

Staplehurst 07771 747499

Technology in Education - Helping to Deliver the Computing Curriculum, in Exciting and Creative Ways

Waterside Construction Ltd Chistlehurst

020 8697 4036

Complete Design, Building and Maintenance Services and all Building Trades

Thinking Business 49 New Members

I am the founder of the not-for-profit organisation Lily’s Social Kitchen CIC which I opened in 2017. The organisation was set up to provide real work experience to autistic people, neuro diverse groups and people with learning disabilities and then support them into mainstream, paid, sustainable employment. We use food as the vehicle to provide the training and work experience with cafes, coffee shops, catering business and an admin site.

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

My first job was a paper round when I was 13. It was way too long ago to remember the pay packet but I do remember the feeling of independence of having my own money and being able to buy the branded trainers that my parents refused to buy for me!

What do you always carry with you to work?

Phone, water bottle (which I then do not remember to drink from) and snacks because I am ALWAYS hungry….

What is the biggest challenge facing your business?

Definitely increasing costs.

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

As a social enterprise founder and someone who advocates a neuro-diverse workforce I would want to see more businesses focussing on a diverse workforce, using social enterprises in their supply chain and seeing the benefits of embedding in our communities. The benefits to staff of working for a company that really cares are well documented.

What can you see from your office window?

An industrial estate – I clearly need to get a new view!

If you could do another job what would it be?

To coach people in the physical and mental benefits of good nutrition and physical exercise.

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

I am determined, passionate and fun loving (and loud!)

What was your biggest mistake in business?

I am not sure I can really think of any mistakes as such, even the challenges have been a learning process.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

To make the jump (even though it feels like jumping off a cliff), to surround yourself with people who support and cheer your achievements, to look after yourself and to enjoy the ride (even the scary parts).

Who do you most admire in business?

My chairman Edward Perry, CEO of COOK. He provides me with such good advice and guidance, and I greatly admire his ethos and the humanity and kindness threaded throughout his business.

Furley Page expands Agriculture and Rural Business team to meet growing demand for specialist legal services

Leading South East law firm Furley Page has expanded its Agriculture and Rural

new Head of the Agriculture and Rural Business team.

The nine-strong multi-discipline team now comprises five Partners, a Consultant, a Senior Associate, and two Associates, with more than 140 years’ combined experience working for clients in the agriculture and rural business sector

comprehensive solutions to help clients meet the complexities and challenges faced by the modern agricultural sector. The team comprises:

Sarah Webster, Partner & Head of Agriculture & Rural Business

Business team in order to meet growing demand for its specialist legal services.

The firm has recently appointed several key members to the team, including Associate Daniel Bridgland and Partner Sarah Webster, who serves as the

Furley Page’s Agriculture and Rural Business team is recognised for its expertise in advising farmers and rural landowners and businesses by independent legal guides The Legal 500 and Chambers UK

The members of Furley Page’s multi-discipline Agriculture and Rural Business team have a wide range of specialisms, enabling them to provide

Whitehead Monckton expands dispute resolution team with lawyers Fariha Shams and Sam Corse

Dispute Resolution lawyer

Fariha Shams has joined Whitehead Monckton to

David Riordan, Head of Dispute Resolution at Whitehead Monckton, says: “Fariha is a very exciting addition to our team. She joins a Dispute Resolution team that offers advice on all types of business and private client disputes. We look forward to working with her on a range of cases in the High Court and local County Courts.”

Daniel Bridgland, Associate, Real Estate Christopher Wacher, Consultant, Real Estate Tony Chester, Partner, Corporate

Darren Philpot, Partner & Head of Residential Property Aaron Spencer, Partner & Head of Private Client Rich Risino, Senior Associate, Private Client Jeremy Ferris, Partner, Dispute Resolution

Sarah Woolnough, Associate, Dispute Resolution

ConTra (The Contentious Trusts Association) and is working towards being an Associate Member of The Association of Contentious Trust & Probate Specialists (ACTAPS). Sam brings a wealth of experience in advising on tax and estate planning into his contentious probate practice which gives him an advantage over other contentious probate lawyers. He represents private individuals, executors, administrators, attorneys, deputies, trustees, beneficiaries and disinherited, disappointed or forgotten beneficiaries in bringing and defending contentious probate and trust claims.

grow the team, run by Team Head, David Riordan.

Fariha, previously worked as a solicitor in Kent and has developed a reputation as a client focused lawyer who shall work relentlessly to get a positive outcome for her clients

Fariha will be working alongside Sam Corse, who has recently joined the team following an internal move from our Tax & Estate Planning team. Sam will specialise in contentious probate work within the Dispute Resolution Team. He is a member of

Chris Longden, Whitehead Monckton’s Managing Director, says: “I’m very pleased to welcome Fariha to Whitehead Monckton and Sam to the team. We are looking forward to what Fariha & Sam can bring to the Dispute Resolution team as we continue to expand.”

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