West Cheshire & North Wales December 2021

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Together, We’re Well Connected Quarterly Business Magazine

Winter 2021

The Big Interview JULIE DERBYSHIRE CityFibre

British Chambers of Commerce Ac

c r e d it e d

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Welcome to the Winter edition of our Quarterly Business Magazine. 2021 has been another incredibly challenging year for business, the focus must now be on creating the best possible environment for businesses to grow and thrive. By supporting firms through the difficult months ahead, they can begin to generate wealth, create jobs and support communities.

With 2022 just around the corner, the Chamber’s centenary year will soon come to an end. We have held a number of events recognising our 100th year of supporting business and you’ll be able to read about some more recent ones in this magazine. It has been brilliant to see Chamber members engage with these events and it has really made it a year for us to remember, so thank you and we look forward to supporting you for another 100 years! The centenary celebrations culminated at our Annual Ball & Recognition Awards on 12th November, a really incredible night! It was wonderful to see members get the recognition they deserve for their hard work and resilience over the last couple of years. A huge congratulations to the winners of the awards but also to those that were shortlisted

as finalists. It was an incredibly hard decision for the judges and you should be very proud of your achievements. After a year of virtual support, it has been great to run in-class Young Chamber events once again. Sponsors of the programme, which helps prepare students for the world of work, have held workshops and given careers talks over the last few months and we are looking forward to continuing this support over the course of the school year. Please do get in touch if this is something that your organisation would be interested in supporting. Looking forward to next year, we have a host of networking events lined up and ready for members to book onto via our website. It has been great to see members building business relationships at our face-to-face events over the last few months and the feedback we’ve had has been incredible! I’d encourage you to attend one of our events if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so. I wish you all the best over the upcoming festive period and we look forward to working with you in 2022.

PLEASE NOTE: Some articles in this edition may have been written before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Article and image content therefore reflects this time lapse. Contact Matthew Hodgson Churchill House, Queen’s Park Campus, Queen’s Park Road, Chester CH4 7AD t: 01244 669988 e: info@wcnwchamber.org.uk w: www.wcnwchamber.org.uk Publisher Benham Publishing Limited Suite 5 & 6, Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ t: 0151 236 4141 f: 0151 236 0440 e: admin@benhampublishing.com w: www.benhampublishing.com Published December 2021 © Benham Publishing Media no. 1791 Advertising and Features Karen Hall t: 0151 236 4141 e: karen@benhampublishing.com Design Peter Wilkinson t: 0151 236 4141 e: peter@benhampublishing.com

INSIDE: West Cheshire & North Wales

Chamber of Commerce


Together, We’re Well Connected.









THE BIG INTERVIEW Julie Derbyshire, City Manager CityFibre

Disclaimer The magazine is mailed without charge to all Chamber members

and distributed to businesses in the region. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in publication are not necessarily those of West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission of the Editor. © 2021. 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. Cover photo created by - www.freepik.com



@ChamberWCNW West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce /wcnwchamber WCNWChamber

#WCNWChamber100 |



A night to remember at the Chamber’s Annual Ball & Recognition Awards 2021! The West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Ball & Recognition Awards returned in style on Friday 12th November when over 300 guests came together to celebrate the success of businesses in West Cheshire & North Wales. Taking place in the Pavilion at Chester Racecourse, the event, headline sponsored by Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers, was made even more special by the fact it is the Chamber’s centenary year. This was reflected in the theme of the evening with each table being named after a significant year from the last 100 years and having upon them memorabilia and facts from that decade. The table centrepieces we sponsored by Cheshire College – South & West.

Debbie also highlighted the incredible resilience and adaptability of Chamber members throughout the coronavirus pandemic and said it was a testament to their hard work and dedication that their businesses had not only survived, but in some cases, had come out of the pandemic in a stronger position. The award ceremony then began with nine categories up for grabs for Chamber members that had been previously chosen as finalists. You can read more about the Awards themselves on the next page!

The evening started with guests enjoying arrival drinks in the Champagne Bar, kindly sponsored by Begbies Traynor PLC, whilst listening to a live acoustic performance by Anthony Kluge, lead singer of Skynights who were the live band for the evening.

Once the awards came to a close, a raffle and auction took place to raise funds for Neuro Therapy Centre, the Chamber’s chosen charity for the year. A total of just under £5,000 was raised which will be used to support the charity’s Virtual Centre which offers support and therapies to people with long term neurological conditions. Thank you to all the businesses that donated a prize for the auction and raffle, your support is hugely appreciated!

After guests were seated, newly elected Chair of the Chamber, Helen Nellist, took to the stage to welcome all and to get the evening underway. Helen thanked the Headliner Sponsors for the evening, Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers, and then introduced Chamber Chief Executive Officer, Debbie Bryce to commence the awards.

Debbie Bryce said: “This year’s event was even more special than usual as we’re also celebrating 100 years of the Chamber supporting businesses across our region. It’s an honour and a privilege to be the CEO of our Chamber, particularly during this, our centenary year, and I feel very lucky to have been here to help make a little bit of Chamber history with all in attendance!”

Firstly, Debbie gave an insight into the Chamber’s history as she presented the original minute book from 1921. Containing clippings and handwritten text from the origins of the Chamber, the minute book contains a host of information about the lobbying efforts of the Chamber at the time, including skills and infrastructure, two things that are still crucial today.


Thank you to our suppliers on the evening: CSP, Design 2 Print, Gavin J Priest – Photographer, Glamour Events Hire and Umbrella Marketing Team

Photos by: Gavin J Priest.

Thank you to our Headline Sponsor: Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers

Thank you to the below companies for donating a prize to our raffle and auction! n ACJ Risk Solutions Limited

n Lavinia Stamps Ltd

n Acton Edocs Systems Limited

n Lucas Oil Products UK Limited

n Altimex Ltd

n Lyan Packaging T/A Icertech

n Angelsey Sea Zoo n Begbies Traynor Group PLC

n McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Cheshire Oaks

n CH1ChesterBID

n Paradise Island Adventure Golf

n Cheshire College - South and West

n Professor Phil Harris

n Chester Zoo

n Resin Request

n Crust and Tipple

n Rhug Organic Farm

n Edge Transport

n Ropeworks Active

n Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers

n Sandstone Brewery

n ePay Merchant Services

n Smashed Grapes

n Everbright Hotels

n Spencer’s Friends Kids Mobile Shoe Fitting

n Fanny’s Burger Shack

n The HR Dept Wrexham and Chester

n FootGolf Ruthin

n The Literacy Company

n Force 10 Paintball

n The P&A Group of Companies

n Grosvenor Garden Centre

n The Suburbs

n Helping Reach Potential Ltd

n The Village Hotel Chester St David’s

n Hillyer McKeown Solicitors

n Tiger Trailers

n Inspire Rewire

n Wagtail UK Ltd

n Jayne Clarke Lettings &Property Management Ltd

n Wild shore Delamere - Cheshire

n Scanwel Ltd

n Zodeq Ltd

n Kirsty Craig Associates

#WCNWChamber100 | 5


Chris Grice, Acton Edocs Systems Limited, presenting the Made a Difference Award to Menopause 360

Sarah Bailey, NatWest, presenting the Business Growth Award to Cokebusters Ltd

Award Winners and Sponsors

Maria Hinfelaar, Wrexham Glyndwr University (L), presenting the Excellence in Sustainability Award to Anglesey Sea Zoo

Paul Cooney, Zodeq Ltd (L), presenting the Start-Up Business of the Year Award to Cyd Innovation

Phil Jones, RTC North (L) and Debbie Bryce presenting the Special Recognition Award to Professor Phil Harris

Our 2021 Recognition Start-Up Business of the Year AwardSponsored by Zodeq Ltd

Congratulations to our winners:

Congratulations to our finalists:

n Isaac Heyes – Russell Taylor Group

Congratulations to our winner:

n Cyd Innovation Ltd

Export & International Trade Award Sponsored by Edge Transport Ltd

n Cokebusters Ltd

Congratulations to our finalists:

Made a Difference Award - Sponsored by Acton Edocs Systems Limited

n Faraday Wheelchairs Innovations LTD n Just Financial Group NW Ltd n Mynydd Sleddog Adventures Ltd n The HR Dept Wrexham & Chester Congratulations to our winner: n Cyd Innovation Ltd

n Carolina Teixeira- WeMindTheGap

n Cokebusters Ltd n Consort Precision Diamond Co Ltd n Limb-art Ltd Congratulations to our winner:

Young Person/Apprentice of the Year Award - Sponsored by SQR Group Ltd

n Consort Precision Diamond Co Ltd

Congratulations to our finalists:

Business Growth Award – Sponsored by NatWest Business Banking

n Auron Polo – Titan Webtech Ltd n Carolina Teixeira- WeMindTheGap

Congratulations to our finalists:

n Isaac Heyes – Russell Taylor Group

n Cokebusters Ltd

n Ryan Hardwick – Financial Fortress

n Lavinia Stamps Ltd


n Platts Agriculture Ltd n Scanwel Ltd

Congratulations to our finalists: n Cheshire West Voluntary Action n Chester BID n Cokebusters Ltd n Helping Reach Potential Ltd n Menopause 360 n Your Space (Marches) Limited Congratulations to our winner: n Menopause 360


Tony Fish, RFCA for Wales (R), presenting the Young Chamber Award to Archers Brook SEMH School

Jenny Edge, Edge Transport, presenting the Export & International Trade Award to Consort Precision Diamond Co

Ian Piercy (L) and Marie Piercy (R), Chrysalis People Solutions, presenting the Customer Excellence Award to The Literacy Company

Debbie Bryce (L) and Jennifer Kennedy (R) presenting the Young Person/Apprentice of the Year Award to Isaac Heyes, Russell Taylor Group and Carolina Teixeira, WeMindTheGap

John Farrell, Ellis & Co (L), presenting the Business of the Year Award to Russell Taylor Group

Award Winners! Customer Excellence Award - Sponsored by Chrysalis People Solutions

n Anglesey Sea Zoo

Congratulations to our finalists:

n Cyd Innovation Ltd

n Limb-art Ltd

Congratulations to our winner:

n Scanwel Ltd n The Literacy Company n Tours Around Chester

n Biking Bookkeeper Ltd

n Anglesey Sea Zoo

Congratulations to our winner:

Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers Award for Business of the Year

n The Literacy Company

Congratulations to our finalists:

Young Chamber Award - Sponsored by Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’ Association For Wales

n Bathgate Business Finance

Congratulations to our winner: n Archers Brook SEMH School

n JVP Group n Russell Taylor Group n The Literacy Company

Excellence in Sustainability Award Sponsored by Wrexham Glyndŵr University

Congratulations to our winner:

Congratulations to our finalists:

n Russell Taylor Group

A Special Recognition Award was then announced and presented to Professor Phil Harris who has been a long-term supporter of the Chamber and only recently stepped down from the Board of Directors. Debbie Bryce, Chamber CEO, said: “This evening’s awards have been an opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate the great work and success of our members. The standard of the award entries was exceptional and we would like to thank each and every one of our members who took the time to complete what was a record number of award nominations. As always, it was an extremely difficult job for the judges to decide who the winners should be, the finalists have achieved so much during what has been an extremely challenging and difficult period. Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all of our sponsors, your support makes nights like these possible!” #WCNWChamber100 |



n L to R: Claire Brook and June Potts were speakers at the Menopause ‘Why it Matters to you and your Business’ event

Chamber hosts event that highlights importance of including menopause on the workplace agenda The Chamber recently hosted an online event that targeted raising awareness around the importance of businesses understanding the menopause and why it should be included firmly on the workplace agenda. The event was supported by two experts; June Potts, Menopause 360, and Claire Brook, Employment Law Partner at Aaron and Partners LLP.

n Affecting 4.4 million working women, aged 50-64 (ONS, 2019). Popular culture is changing the way the menopause is perceived. n The new emergence of focus towards women’s experiences of the menopause at work is being spoken in broadcast and print media, suggesting women are ready to talk about the menopause.

Why did the event take place?

And yet, there’s no legal requirement for organisations to have a menopause policy or to protect employees experiencing menopause symptoms. Nor is there legal protection for businesses that experience undue impact, because an employee’s menopause symptoms are affecting their ability to work. Nonetheless, menopause has the potential to cause psychological distress, erratic behaviours, and sick leave, and is responsible for 1 million women leaving the workforce due to the impact on health and well-being. Menopause symptoms account for 14 million sickness days per annum.

n Inclusivity is featuring highly on many workplace agenda’s yet 90% of UK businesses fail to recognise menopause as a business problem.

After the event, June commented: “Popular culture is changing the way menopause is perceived with women finding the strength to speak out about their lived experiences,

June has been helping organisations get the menopause conversation started through training and support initiatives aimed at providing a menopause friendly place of work for the benefit of all employees. Claire advises a wide range of employers on all aspects of employment law, from recruitment and employment, through to complex dismissals and representation at employment tribunals.

Event Celebrates Success of Kickstart Programme The West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce recently held an event to celebrate the businesses and young people engaged in the Kickstart programme in its capacity as an approved Kickstart Gateway. The event, held at Boughton Hall Cricket Club on 4th November, was held to recognise the success of the scheme that has seen the Chamber place over 220 young people into fully funded Kickstart work placements with employers across the region. The scheme is a government- funded programme that aims to create thousands of new jobs for young people. Under the scheme, employers, in both North Wales and West Cheshire, have been able to offer six-month work placements to young people aged 16 to 24 who are claiming Universal Credit. The event saw employers and Kickstarters come together to enjoy afternoon tea, whilst also having the opportunity to connect with fellow businesses that have


benefitted from the scheme. Colin Billingsley MBE, DWP Cheshire Kick Start and Employer Lead, commended the attendees for their contributions to the scheme and Lee Dixon, HR Manager at Paul Bristow Associates Ltd, gave his insight and experience as a Kickstart employer and he was joined by one of his Kickstart employees to give their unique insight. The Kickstarters were then presented with a certificate and a Kickstart branded pencil case designed by a Kickstarter from Paul Bristow’s, textile manufacturer of bespoke printed products. “It was brilliant to meet some of the employers and young people that we have been able to support through the Kickstart scheme,” said Chamber CEO, Debbie Bryce. “The scheme connects firms that have been facing recruitment difficulties with young people who are seeking vital work experience and offers invaluable experience and work-based skills training.

especially in the context of the workplace. I am one of those women. Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience from a personal, academic and business perspective.” Claire Brook also commented: “With recent studies highlighting the negative impact of menopausal symptoms, together with an increase in employment tribunal claims citing discrimination at work as a result of menopause; it is important for all employers to raise awareness, train their managers and employees to understand their legal obligations and build a culture of trust and respect in managing sensitive issues such as menopause in the workplace.” As with all business change initiatives, creating a menopause friendly workplace requires commitment from senior leaders. It is therefore imperative that menopause guidance and policy is addressed at the top, filtered down through education and awareness and embedded in the workplace culture. The Chamber is looking to host more activity around this subject. If you would like to find out more, please email info@wcwnchamber.org.uk. It has been amazing to hear the success stories with a number of employers offering their Kickstarter permanent roles once their placements have ended. “There are still a number of live placements available across the region for young people to take advantage of and I’d encourage people to share information of the scheme with anyone that may be eligible.” The Kickstart scheme was recently extended until 31st March 2022 meaning that young people have up until this date to start their 6-month placement. You can view the current Kickstart vacancies here: https://bit.ly/3bdW0a2 n Employers and Kickstarters attended the celebration event in Chester


Chamber Commemorates Centenary Year by Planting Trees “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as a location for the Chamber’s tree planting and time capsule! It not only supports our efforts to help the environment but also represents the support we offer businesses in North Wales to grow and thrive. We are very much looking forward to seeing both the tree and local business grow over the years!” said Bethan FraserWilliams, Projects Director at Menter Môn. Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at WCNW Chamber of Commerce, added “Thank you so much to Menter Môn and M-SParc for being the site in North Wales for our centenary tree and time capsule! We are hopeful that in years to come future members of the Chamber can gather in this same spot to uncover a glimpse into the past.” The second tree planting event took place on 9th November in the grounds of University of Chester’s Business School in Chester, patron member of the Chamber and home to the Chamber of Commerce’s main office. A British Oak Tree was chosen on this occasion and, with a lifespan of over 1000 years, it is hoped that the tree will remain a significant part of the University for years to come.

The West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce has marked its centenary year by planting two trees and burying two-time capsules at sites in Anglesey and Chester. Marking 100 years of supporting business, the Chamber has been celebrating with its members throughout 2021 and the latest events hope to see the Chamber remembered for many years to come! The first event took place on 4th November at Menai Science Park in Anglesey, home of the Chamber’s first North Wales office that was established earlier in the year. As both Menai Science Park and Menter Môn, also based at the site, are Patron Members of the Chamber, it made an ideal location for both the tree and time capsule.

Members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors attended the event and enjoyed refreshments before making their way outside to plant the hazel tree. Kindly donated by Cae Mabon Natural Building project’s small tree nursery, a hazel tree was planted to celebrate the connection between community, local provenance, native trees and biodiversity. Hazel trees produce hazelnuts, which are among the favourite food of Anglesey’s famous red squirrel population, which has been saved from disappearing through dedicated conservation work supported by Menter Môn and its partner organisations. Once the tree had been planted, it was then time to bury the time capsule! Containing information about the Chamber and a letter addressed to the future Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, the hope is that in 100 years’ time the capsule will be unveiled at an event celebrating 200 years of the Chamber of Commerce!

Martin Morlidge, Head of Commercial Operations at University of Chester, addressed those in attendance, which included members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and Chamber staff, and said: “It was a pleasure to celebrate the Chambers centenary with the planting of an Oak tree at our Queens Park facility. The planting of a tree symbolises new growth and the putting down of firm roots and this mirrors the relationship between the University and the Chamber, as our roots grow stronger, we will continue to support the business community we both serve for the next 100 years and beyond.” Sarah Bailey, Deputy Chair of the Chamber and Director of Business Banking at NatWest, said: “It was an honour to be involved with the continuing celebrations of the Chamber’s centenary year, and being able to mark this occasion with something that can be recognised in the next 100 years was very inspiring. Not only does the planting of the tree and the time capsule mark the centenary, but they also allow us to reflect on the past 100 years and show how business has evolved while also looking ahead to the next 100 years to those businesses we need to nurture and allow to grow.” #WCNWChamber100 | 9


On Board with Sarah Bailey with NatWest as a Branch Business Manager in Northwich. This role concentrated on the start-up proposition, and my job was to support new businesses through the process of opening an account with the bank and ensuring they had everything needed to have a good foundation to start their business. After five years, I moved to Chester and into a Relationship Manager role, where I looked after a portfolio of customers who were on the journey of growth and development and spent six years helping people achieve their ambitions. As a Director Business Banking, I now lead a team of 10 Relationship Managers across the North West, looking after more than 6,000 businesses and now encouraging them to build their own career path whilst adding value to the businesses they support on a daily basis.

What is your role as a Board Director?

An introduction to yourself and your background Many people won’t realise, but my career did not start in Banking. I graduated with a Business and Law degree after having my heart set on being a solicitor throughout my school years. Deciding this wasn’t the path for me, and needing a job after leaving university, I was accepted onto the graduate scheme for Mitchells & Butler and went on to manage a 125-seat public house for them in Ormskirk. In 2006, after 12 months of 100-hour weeks and serving 220 people Christmas dinner, I once again felt this was not for me and started my journey


NatWest have been members of the Chamber for many years, and since I moved across to Chester, I have been heavily involved in many aspects of the Chamber and am avid supporter of their vision and the role they play within the local business community. In 2019, I was appointed as Focus Group Chair - a group which is the link between members and the Board and who are used to help support and shape ideas which will allow businesses to get the greatest benefit from their membership. More recently, September 2021, I became Deputy Chair for the Chamber and am really excited about working closely with Helen Nellist (Chair of the Chamber), the other Directors and the Chamber team on this new venture to continue to build on our vision and support businesses to grow and scale across the West Cheshire & North Wales region.

What are your aims over your tenure as a Board Director? People are my passion, and I am a strong believer that it’s not always what you know, but sometimes who. The last 12 months have really emphasised this for me and

highlighted the need for a solid network when in business. My aim is to help the Chamber continue this work, connect more people and businesses and grow an even stronger community across the area. I now have many years of experience within the Banking sector, I have worked with many industries and have seen the impact of two financial and economic crisis across that time, the crash of 2008 and the recent pandemic, which has given me a greater understanding of business and the challenges they face. I use my knowledge of running a business to have a different perspective and, hopefully, this adds value to a number of the members when discussing their business needs.

What has been your greatest achievement so far? It may sound cheesy, but winning the Members Choice Award in 2016. I was so overwhelmed that members had voted for me and that I had actually made a difference in some way to them or their business – it was like winning the Oscars!

If you could go back and pass on one piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be? I have two pieces really, trust your instincts – they are usually right, even if it means you have to say ‘no’. I’ve learnt over the years that there is nothing like being able to look into someone’s eyes to really understand them and, whilst uncomfortable, this does help with decision making, just because something looks good doesn’t always mean it is right for you or your business. Secondly, build a network. The support around you is invaluable, both to allow you to build your business but also for your own wellbeing. I constantly tell people that even though others might not be in the same industry or at the same point in their journey, they will have probably experienced what you are going through and will help – if not, they will usually know someone who will.

20Twenty Vision Investing in yourself and your staff

The renowned 20Twenty Business Growth Programme will be delivering its flagship CMI level 4 and CMI Level 5/7 programmes in 2022 to businesses in North East Wales (Flintshire, Wrexham and north Powys) which are 80% funded. The ‘Fast Track’ Programme (CMI Level 4) is suitable for Middle Managers, Business Owners and Aspiring Managers and is completed in only 7 days over 4 months. The ‘Executive’ Programme (CMI Level 5/7) and PgC is suitable for Senior Managers, Directors and Business Owners and is completed in 15 days over 10 months.

Why 20Twenty? • Level 7 valued as a 1/3 of an MBA • 80% subsidised for businesses in Flintshire, Wrexham and north Powys • Receive 1-2-1 coaching. • Improve your career prospects with the Chartered Management Institute • Learn from world-class speakers and academics. • Become a confident leader. • Gain competitive advantage by ensuring all your leaders are qualified. The programme attracts leaders and aspiring managers from some of the best businesses in the region, with 10% of the top 300 businesses in Wales having completed the programme. Cohort’s have the opportunity to get to know each, making long-lasting contacts to enrich their professional network. The programme enables you to apply your learning directly to your business. On average, participants achieve 10-30% business growth over a 10-month period.

Contact j.whittaker@bangor.ac.uk for further details or to apply visit: www.20TwentyBusinessGrowth.com

• Enable your business to grow. • Join over 1000 leaders who have attended the programme. “Our first attendees reported back to say how much they learned and how beneficial the workshops were. I don’t believe we have ever received such positive feedback from any other external development programme.” Karen Fletcher, HR Manager of Nu Instruments “As I was new to management and keen to focus on engagement and culture within the

workplace, I wanted to learn the skills available to me so I could be the best type of leader possible”. Shona Stockton, Director of Sherratt Landscape “The 20Twenty Programme definitely had an impact on my leadership style and helped me learn lots of new strategies and techniques which I use every day.” Alison Stace, Managing Director of Allington Hughes “I found the 20Twenty programme a wholly worthwhile experience. I went into it wanting to both confirm the skills I had and to develop new ones in areas of business management where my career to date has had less emphasis. The lecturers on the course were a diverse group of seasoned professionals, delivering the information they were expert in”. Ian Danby, Head of Biodiversity (BASC) The 20Twenty Business Growth Programme will be delivering its flagship CMI level 4 and CMI Level 5/7 programmes in North East Wales in 2022 and both programmes are currently 80% subsidised for businesses in Flintshire, Wrexham and north Powys by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.


2021 – a year in review Of course, it wouldn’t be a round up of the year without the dreaded C word. Despite the fact that the majority of the year has been inundated with issues and news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the latter half of this year has allowed us to feel some normalcy, both professionally and personally.

n John Farrell, Director at Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers

As the year winds down towards what we hope will be a much more recognisable festive period than we had in 2020, myself and the team at Ellis & Co. have been taking a look back at what has once again been a memorable year, not only for our business, but for the business world as a whole.

We were very fortunate that our operations were able to transition to remote working for much of the year, meaning that we were able to seamlessly continue supporting our clients through the ups and downs of everchanging restrictions. The Job Retention Scheme, grants, loans, not to mention publication after publication of guidance were all areas that we helped our clients to navigate, ensuring that their business could continue running effectively, in spite of the challenging time. Whilst uncertainty has been a key feature of the last couple of years, we are confident that 2022 will bring great things for the business world. As well as established


Students competed in a Trade Olympics and exhibition driven by a leading industrial supplier. Deeside and Rhyl-based GE Tools held events in partnership with Grwp Llandrillo Menai and Coleg Cambria. Coleg Llandrillo Rhyl saw dozens of Construction and Engineering learners battle for medals in plumbing, carpentry and joinery, brickwork, motor vehicle services, vehicle body repair and fabrication and welding, while also welcoming sector businesses on-site. The previous evening, Coleg Cambria Deeside hosted an open event, attended by GE Tools and manufacturers and suppliers from across the area.


businesses switching over to Ellis & Co., we have already seen an influx of start-up businesses in recent months, a trend that we expect to continue into the New Year, which is a wonderful sign of what’s to come and a fantastic boost for the local economy. If you’re looking for support for your business’ accounts in 2022, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on 01244 343 504 to discuss.

On behalf of the entire team at Ellis & Co., we’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, we look forward to seeing and working with you all in the New Year! skilled lecturers and outstanding facilities, so for the students there is no better platform for them to go on and be successful.” Ian Hogg, Assistant Principal at Coleg Cambria’s Institute of Technology and Site Lead at Deeside, echoed those words. He said: “We felt it would be great for potential new students to see a range of quality tools, equipment and safety wear used by industry on display, so we thank Chris and the team for bringing everything together.

Chris Owen, Managing Director of GE Tools, said the “incredible response” from attendees at both institutions bodes well for the future of these trades in North Wales and beyond.

“It created a real buzz on the evening for all the visitors, parents and students alike; there was also positive feedback from the manufacturers and suppliers, who plan to get more involved in the future with our students.

“We had two brilliant days with the colleges and there was a fantastic atmosphere among the learners and industry representatives,” said Chris.

Meanwhile, Coleg Llandrillo say the Trade Olympics demonstrated the ability and passion of their students in a pressure situation.

“Across both campuses we had an incredible response, with hundreds of people taking part and attending, so we thank them for their support.” He added: “The main aim of the Trade Olympics was to inspire confidence that this is a strong sector with many career opportunities, and I think the learners embraced that. “We are fortunate to have two of the best colleges in the country on our doorstep, with

“They really enjoyed themselves and gained much needed experience in a competitive environment, giving them the confidence to go forward and enter Welsh, national and international competitions,” said Salah Berdouk, the college’s Assistant Principal for Computing and Creative Industries, Construction and Engineering. For more information on GE Tools, visit www.getools.co.uk or contact sales@getools.co.uk.


Parade Enterprise Centre reopens its doors A community hub in Blacon has re-opened its doors for use by local groups and organisations.

‘Calm Coffee’ serves up support with mental health A new venue where people can enjoy a friendly cup of coffee and prioritise their mental and emotional wellbeing has opened its doors at Blacon Adventure Playground.

The Parade Enterprise Centre is run by social enterprise Avenue Services and offers three different sized rooms for hire, with capacity ranging from 20 to 200 people. It is wellused by local residents and businesses and regularly hosts activities ranging from social groups to dance classes, keep fit sessions and yoga.

‘Calm Coffee’ is run by Rage Fitness Company, which already operates a community gym at the playground. Craig Brown, CEO of Rage Fitness, was inspired to launch Calm Coffee after completing a cycling challenge to raise awareness of male suicide.

With the centre now open to the public following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, new and existing users are being encouraged to make use of the facilities.

He said: “I increasingly found myself speaking to people on the gym floor who were experiencing hard times. I wanted to create a safe space for both men and women to speak in comfort, feel welcomed and have a calming experience.”

Chris Leicester, neighbourhood partnerships manager at Avenue Services, said: “The Parade Enterprise Centre is such an important community facility, so it’s been wonderful to open the doors again and safely welcome back our users.”

Avenue Services supports Calm Coffee and Rage Fitness Company by providing use of the activity centre at Blacon Adventure Playground as well as business mentoring and support.

To find out more, visit www.avenueservices.org.

Zodeq’s MD, Paul, provides his top tips for new business owners Over the last few months, I have seen many people take that leap from full-time employee to business owner, seeking the flexibility that running your own business can afford. Five years ago, I was in their shoes, taking my own step into the role of Founder and Managing Director of Zodeq, and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Since it was established, Zodeq has gone from strength to strength. Having recently celebrated our fifth birthday, our client turnover doubling over the past nine months and our forecasts showing that we will hit the milestone figure of £200 million

assignments by the end of 2021, the future is looking very bright. So, where did it all go right? Here are my top tips for any new business owner!

Focus your efforts You can easily fall into the habit of taking on all tasks related to running the business, such as payroll, invoicing, credit control, etc. This can quickly snowball and ultimately take you away from your core business responsibilities. If you aren’t in a position to hire in these positions, there are third party companies out there who can help; my advice is to ensure you have this support in place from the outset.

Monitor your cash flow Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business, it will ensure your business is able to continue running efficiently and provide the working capital for growth. Many businesses will require that additional cash injection on a month-by-month basis and there are numerous options out there for this, whether that be a loan, overdraft, asset-based lending or, my personal favourite, invoice finance.

Get involved A strong network of contacts is crucial. Not only in terms of suppliers and prospective clients, but for people to turn to for support, advice and those all-important referrals. I have found being part of the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce highly important to Zodeq, as well as our sponsorship of award shows, which has led to a number of client wins. Thinking of jumping into the world of business owner? There has never been a better time to take that leap! Get in touch with Zodeq to find out how we can help. Email paul@zodeq.com or call 01244 617 087. #WCNWChamber100 |


CHAMBER EVENTS Village Hotel Hosts Fantastic Chamber Networking Lunch!

that attended the lunch event, it was so great to see members enjoy themselves thanks to the great hospitality from Village Hotel Chester St David’s! Delegates were very engaged and made connections with one another. Thanks also to Mark for sharing his incredible journey, a truly inspiring story.”

100 not out! Chamber continues celebrations at Networking Lunch

Lunch was then served to the delegates, a delicious main course of Roast Chicken with Roast Potatoes, Sage Stuffing, Lincolnshire Sausage & Smoked Bacon or Vegetarian option of Tomato Tart with Tomato & Thyme Sauce & Pea Shoots, followed by a desert of Chocolate Fudge Cake, the lunch went down a treat with everyone! After guests had enjoyed their food, the guest speaker, Mark Williams, Founder and CEO of LIMB-art Ltd, spoke to the room about his journey of becoming an amputee and how that led him to start up his own niche business that designs and manufactures cool prosthetic leg covers. Mark has supported numerous amputees and his business has had huge success! Once Mark had spoken and questions had been answered, guests then had further time to network and catch up with fellow members. Malcolm Jones, Manager at Begbies Traynor, said: “There were lots of great people at today’s event, great contacts and a really inspiring speaker, so a big thank you to the Chamber for a great event.” Jenny Davidson, Events & Young Chamber Manager, said: “I’d like to thank everybody


Dan commented on his first networking event: “It was great to meet so many other local business leaders, introduce them to Smashed Grapes and talk about our journey up to now. Being part of the Chamber has allowed us to make some incredible connections and drive our new businesses forwards.” Debbie Bryce said after the event: “It was so lovely to see all our members enjoying today’s networking event in the excellent venue. A big thank you to Boughton Hall Cricket Club who were incredible hosts for the day, the beautiful location made for an excellent outlet for guests to create new connections.” Just before Jenny Davidson closed the event, she held a raffle for our Salt to Sea Challenge, with all donations going towards our fundraising for the Neuro Therapy Centre. Over £250 was raised by the raffle so thank you to all that took part!

Village Hotel Chester St David’s played host to another fantastic networking lunch on October 12th, delegates arrived from 12:30pm at the stunning venue in Ewloe. Guests had time to catch up with fellow members who they have met at previous Chamber events whilst also having the opportunity to meet new contacts.

company, giving the guests a flavour of his excellent wine tasting business.

West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce held September’s networking lunch at Boughton Hall Cricket Club on 8th September. Over 40 guests were welcomed to the stunning Marquee in Boughton, Chester and it was a beautiful sunny afternoon, perfect for networking outside!

Guests Xplore!’d new connections at this month’s breakfast event

Jenny Davidson, Events and Young Chamber Manager at the Chamber, welcomed everyone to the event and introduced Shannah Goodrick from the Neuro Therapy Centre, the Chamber’s chosen charity for the year, who gave a brief overview to the guests about the brilliant work they do for people with neurological conditions. Next, lunch was served by the catering staff at the Cricket Club; chicken with seasonal vegetables and white wine sauce or squash tagine with couscous followed by lemon cheesecake. Robin Tudor, Head of PR & Communications at Liverpool Airport, then gave an update to the attendees regarding how the pandemic has affected their business and the travel sector in general. Following Robin, Dan Thomas, Director of Smashed Grapes, provided an excellent presentation on the growth of his start-up

Xplore! Science Discovery Centre, located in Wrexham Town Centre, was host to West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber’s breakfast networking event in September. This event was a ‘speed networking event’ and was kindly sponsored by Altimex Ltd. Guests arrived at Xplore! where they were welcomed by Katie Williams, Business Development & Stakeholder Engagement Officer at Xplore! Science Discovery Centre and Jenny Davidson, Events and Young Chamber Manager at the Chamber. Guests were provided with breakfast buns including

bacon, sausage and vegetarian options. option. A selection of fruit and tea & coffee was also on offer for members to enjoy whilst catching up with fellow guests. Jenny then handed over to Davinder Lotay, Managing Director of Altimex Ltd, who gave a presentation on the work his company do with fibreoptics and LED lights. Davinder provided examples of projects the he has worked on from Nike Town to the National History Museum. Guests were then invited to take part in ‘speed networking’! They were given three minutes to speak one-on-one with a fellow member and create a connection before one side of the tables moved along to allow each member to speak one-on-one to as many guests as possible at the event. Guests then had the amazing opportunity to try the different exhibitions that Xplore! had to offer and even a chance to try the HGV simulator, which they all enjoyed! Davinder Lotay commented on the event: “The event at Xplore! was tremendous, due to Altimex supporting STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). What better place to sponsor an event as it is aligned with my business?” Adam Jones, Managing Director of Lyan Packaging Supplies Ltd, said about the event: “I really enjoyed today’s event, it was a relaxed and informal atmosphere which is a great contrast to other networking events which can be more focused on selling, it’s great to meet to like-minded people and I have made some great connections!”

Breakfast networking goes down a treat at Mercure Chester Abbots Well Hotel

Guests arrived at the stunning venue of Mercure Chester Abbots Well Hotel on the morning of October 6th, all ready to get back to networking face-to-face! This event was a Round the Table networking event kindly sponsored by WR Partners. A delicious selection of pastries and tea & coffee greeted the guests and there was plenty of time for open networking before the event started. Jenny Davidson, Events and Young Chamber Manager at the Chamber, then introduced the sponsor for the event, WR Partners. Andrew Tweedie, Accountant from WR Partners, presented an overview of the dedicated Accountants, Business Advisers & Tax Specialists and how they support local businesses. A host of local business people were in attendance and were ready to make new connections and catch up with familiar members through the Chamber’s signature ‘Round the Table’ style of networking! Each table has a ‘Table Captain’ and their job is to make sure each member of their table has three minutes to pitch their business until everyone on the table had spoken. The tables are then mixed so that attendees can speak to as many business people as possible. Event sponsor Sarah Porter, Marketing Executive at WR Partners, commented: “This event was a great opportunity for us to connect with new businesses in the West Cheshire area, it’s been a long time since we have been able to do face-to-face events, by sponsoring the event we are able to strengthen our relationship with the Chamber and make some excellent new business contacts.” Craig Nichol, Marketing Manager at Paradise Island Adventure Golf, said about the event: “I Really enjoyed the event today, it’s good to get back to meeting people at face-to-face networking. It was great to meet some new faces from in and around Cheshire and I look forward to strengthening connections at future events.”

Spa-ctacular Chamber Networking event at Rowton Hall Hotel! Guests arrived at the beautiful venue, Rowton Hall Hotel & Spa, on the morning of November 2nd and were ready to network face-to-face whilst enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and a selection of pastries kindly provided by the catering team at the hotel!

A host of local business people arrived from 9am at the elegant Georgian Manor House ready to make new connections and catch up with fellow members before Helen Pullin, Membership Support Officer at the Chamber, introduced the format of the Round the Table Networking. Once guests understood the concept, the networking fun began! When the time was up, there was an opportunity for further introductions to be made between guests that didn’t sit at the same tables. “It was really nice to meet people faceto-face again, especially after such a tumultuous time, you don’t get the same repour online so it’s always nice to meet people and discuss anything and everything!” said Monisha Khan, Solicitor at Poole Alcock LLP. “It was great to see some familiar faces and some new ones too! Thanks to all that attended for making it a great event with a real buzz in the room. Thank you also to Rowton Hall Hotel & Spa for their brilliant hospitality. We now how a host of events on our website for 2022 and I’d urge all members to head over to our website to see which they’d like to attend!” said Jenny Kennedy, Membership Director at the Chamber.

If you are interested in sponsoring an upcoming Chamber Event, please get in touch with Jenny Davidson on 01244 669988.


n Morlais is the tidal stream energy project off the north west coast of Holy Island

Morlais Tidal Energy Morlais is the tidal stream energy project located in the West Anglesey Demonstration Zone, off the north west coast of Holy Island. The project is run by social enterprise, Menter Môn, which secured the 45-year Crown Estate lease for the zone in 2014. Since then, the project team has been working towards securing consent. An application under the Transport and Works Act was submitted to Welsh Government in the summer of 2019, along with the Marine License application to Natural Resources Wales. The project is phased and will gradually scale up over time to a generating capacity of 240MW – monitoring and mitigating any potential effects as it is developed. Morlais has secured support from the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO) and the North Wales Growth Deal, subject to approval of a full business case.

What’s so special about Morlais? But why is this project on Anglesey different to other tidal schemes? Ask the team and anyone who is familiar with the project and they will tell you there are many things that make this project stand out from the crowd.


Most significantly perhaps, is the fact that Morlais is home grown. It is owned and run locally by Anglesey-based Menter Môn. It is the only project on this scale to be run by a third sector organisation. Menter Môn has been running green projects on the island since 1996. So, there’s history here. And Menter Môn is driven today, as it was 25 years ago, by its vision to create opportunities for local communities by making the most of resources available on its door step. This is exactly what Morlais is – borne from the vision of one of its directors in 2014 to see renewable electricity generated off the coast of Anglesey. Local ownership for Morlais means it’s part of the community in every sense – and its very existence is to ensure benefits and any profit from the scheme come right back into that community. The driver for Morlais has always been to make sure the huge potential of the marine energy sector in terms of jobs, skills, investment and the supply chain are realised locally. And as ‘a local’, Morlais is in it for the long haul. It will be many years until the scheme will reach the 240 MW capacity in its consenting application due to its adaptive management model. This means its potential to deliver local jobs and investment will continue to grow as the scheme grows. Along with Morlais, other Menter Môn projects, including its plans for a Hydrogen Hub at Holyhead, create a solid platform for Ynys Môn and wider region to be at the forefront of the renewables sector.

Looking beyond the local, Morlais can also stand its ground on a global platform. Ten international turbine developers have already signed up to be part of the project. Attracted by Morlais’ unique ‘plug and play’ model which will provide them with the infrastructure and consent needed to develop their knowledge and understanding on a commercial scale. The Morlais pathway to commercialisation reduces the risk for developers, but promotes innovation in a sector which is yet to realise its full potential in terms of the energy mix. And through all this of course Morlais as a player in the sector in Wales is poised to help governments in Cardiff and over the border in Westminster to reach their carbon reduction targets. The climate change narrative has been around for a while – but progress has been slow. Morlais along with its developers, similar projects across the UK and beyond, are well-placed to take action and make the real difference that’s needed. Green recovery is now the focus – with that there is more awareness and an urgency to act. Young people are vocal in their views on climate and inaction from governments. The sector can make a difference and has a responsibility to leave a greener and cleaner legacy for future generations.


Navigating Corporate Insolvency: Restructuring, Administration and Liquidation Running a business is not always smooth sailing. While there are often huge highs to ride, navigating challenging times is also part and parcel of being a company director. Sometimes these challenges are related to the company itself, such as changing consumer preferences, reduced customer demand, or new entrants to the market, while others are related to unavoidable macroenvironmental factors, such as political decisions, changing legislation, and the wider economic landscape.

However, what all instances of company insolvency have in common, is the need to seek swift, professional advice as soon as practically possible. Left alone, financial problems have a tendency to escalate and a company can find itself going surprisingly quickly from merely noticing cash flow is being squeezed to a state of being insolvent. Being alert to the warning signs of impending company insolvency puts you in the best possible position and allows you to seek swift advice at an early stage.

Bad times, not a bad company

Five things you can do right now

Regardless of the reasons behind the problems being faced, it is important to remember that a company experiencing financial challenges does not necessarily mean it is a bad company. In fact, in many instances, periods of financial or operational distress can be successfully managed and ultimately overcome, with a company emerging on the other side stronger and more resilient in the face of future challenges.

n Be aware of the impending signs of insolvency – the sooner you take action, the more options will be open to you to maximise your chances of saving the business

n Seek professional advice early – having a trusted advisor you can turn to during times of financial distress is key n Keep up dialogue with creditors during this time – they are more likely to be open to the idea of negotiating a payment plan if you are transparent about your situation and the problems you are facing n Conduct an insolvency test – if your outgoings exceed your income or your liabilities outweigh your assets, you are classed as cash flow or balance sheet insolvent respectively. Conducting this test on a regular basis can help you determine your position n Understand your responsibilities – as the director of an insolvent company, you have certain legal duties to your creditors. If your company enters liquidation your conduct as director will become subject to investigation, so it is important you know your responsibilities and adhere to them

While a period of financial distress does not have to signify the end of your company, it is important that steps are taken to mitigate the losses being felt and ensure a robust plan is put in place to help effect a successful turnaround of the business. The longer a situation like this is left alone, the harder the problem is to untangle. History has shown us that it is businesses that possess the agility to pivot their offerings to accommodate the changing climate which thrive the most when wider macroenvironmental challenges present themselves. You need to ensure that a plan is put in place for your business which is robust enough to weather current problems, is also flexible enough to allow for unforeseen and unexpected changes to be confronted head on.

The warning signs of insolvency When it comes to company insolvency, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What will be an appropriate solution for one company may be wholly unsuitable for another. A number of factors need to be considered before a plan can be put into place. These include the current financial position of the company, its ability to repay outstanding creditors, the likely viability of the company going forward, as well as the ongoing ambitions of the company’s shareholders and their desire to continue operating the business. #WCNWChamber100 |



Cheshire College learners showcase skills at T Level Launch Events Cheshire College, the largest provider of post-16 education in the region, have recently celebrated the launch of new T Level programmes at their three Campuses in Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester.

The event, which spanned 3 evenings, provided an opportunity for learners, tutors, employer partners and stakeholders to take part in demonstrations, find out more about the opportunities available to T Level learners on successful completion of their course, enjoy refreshments prepared by the College’s award-winning Academy Restaurant and more. Dhesi, Principal and CEO at Cheshire College, commented: “It has been a fantastic week celebrating our new T Level programmes and welcoming so many friends, families and partners in to showcase our world-class teaching and learning facilities. “Studying a T Level at Cheshire College provides young people with a fantastic opportunity to thrive in their chosen subject whilst learning what a real career in the industry they’re hoping to join is truly like.” Richard Caufield, Area Director (North West) and National Mental Health Lead at the Association of Colleges, said: “It was a pleasure to be a part of Cheshire College’s T Level launch event and to meet the learners who are currently following the new T Levels the College has recently introduced. It was enlightening to talk to learners who spoke so enthusiastically about their courses and what they are learning, and how they are planning for their future careers as skilled professionals. I truly believe that, with the support of employers, T Levels are essential to take the national skills agenda forward in training the UK’s future workforce.” Equivalent to three A Levels and comprising of 20% on-the-job work placement, T Levels have been designed with employers to help young

people develop the knowledge, attitude and practical skills to thrive in the workplace and for one learner at Cheshire College, starting on the new course will take them one step closer to achieving their dream job. At the heart of each T Level programme is an extended work placement of at least 45 days which will provide learners with the important industry experience they need to further develop their skills and progress on to a higher-level apprenticeship, degree course or into employment. A range of employers including, Virtalis, Leighton Hospital, Input Squared, Balfour Beatty, TJM Projects, Kids Planet Day Nursery, Baywater Healthcare, Russell IPM and Changing Education, attended the launch event to provide learners and their parents with an opportunity to find out more about work placements and the core, knowledge and skills that underpin many jobs within industry. Cheshire College is one of a limited selection of colleges chosen by the government to offer the following T Levels from September 2021: n Construction n Digital n Science and Health n Education and Childcare And the following T Levels from September 2022: n Business and Administration n Engineering and Manufacturing

Cheshire College delivers digital careers workshops at local high school Committed to enhancing young people’s digital skills for the future, this week, Cheshire College has visited The Bishops’ Blue Coat Church of England High School to deliver exciting workshops and showcase state-of-the-art technology, including handheld scanners, iPads with the latest software and a life-size 3D robot. As the largest provider of post-16 education in the region, Cheshire College is on a mission to support the community with their five-year project, ‘The Digital Hub’, which has been designed specifically to boost digital skills, enhance career pathways and develop confidence across communities with increased access to technology.


The College’s School Partnership Team and expert lecturers delivered interactive and exciting digital skill workshops to 180 Year 10 pupils throughout the day, which demonstrated the versatile use of technology and extensive range of career pathways in a number of industries, including, Construction, Engineering, Media & Games, Science, Sport and Media Make-Up. ‘The Digital Hub’ project has been formed as part of a £5 million programme of investment that has prioritised Cheshire College as one of the further education providers in the region best placed to deliver digital and STEM-related training and education.

n L-R: Simonetta Pearce, School Partnerships Co-ordinator, Iain McCluskey, Media & Games Tutor and Gemma Kirk, Media Make-Up Tutor


How to Protect Your Business From Cyber Security Attacks here we start by explaining one of the most common threats – phishing. Did you know that 83% of cyber breaches in businesses are through phishing? Have you ever received an email that doesn’t look quite right? It may look like it’s from a reputable source, such as a supplier, bank or a governing body such as HMRC. It may also be presented in a text message. Once you have opened the phishing email or text, you will be directed to a website where you may be asked to fill in your personal details or make an online payment.

Running a business is rewarding, but it comes with a variety of risks that can threaten not only its success, but its very existence. A robust and secure IT system is vital to any business nowadays. It is the engine room that keeps the business moving, but this engine can be at risk of faults that could ultimately steer your firm into disaster. As technology advances, so do the methods cyber criminals use to steal data. To combat this, we’ve learned that simply deploying antivirus software is not enough to keep our businesses data secure. A cybersecurity breach can be devastating or even lifethreatening to a business. From cyber-criminals stealing funds to holding your data to ransom, the cost of a cyber-attack can be crippling. At Elite, we know that the threat of an attack is very much a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. You have put a lot of time, money and energy into building your business. It’s therefore only right that you take the time to ensure you and your team know which are the most common cyber security threats to avoid devastating cyber-attacks. Cyber threats you need to be on your guard against include phishing, malware, weak passwords and social engineering. Spotting the characteristics of these common cyberattacks is key to help you protect both your business’s and your customer’s data. So,

It used to be easy to spot a scam message - the layout may look unprofessional, displaying fake-looking branding. However, nowadays phishing messages and emails can look very convincing. Criminals are taking sophisticated steps to make the communications and the websites that they link to look like the real thing. Conversely, some scammers may not go to such lengths - even today, sending out emails or messages that don’t look professional. This is because they work in bulk, sending out potentially thousands of emails at a time – scammers only need to trick a few people to gain enough sensitive information to make the financial gain they’re after. With phone phishing, it’s the same concept. You will receive a call out of the blue from someone posing as a governing body, insurance company or retailer. You may be threatened with an account suspension or a fine and be pressurised into giving your payment details or direct you to a website or to download a phone application. All these actions can extract your personal details from your device or hack into your bank accounts.

Protecting Against Phishing and Other Cyber Threats

n Endpoint security software that protects against Zero-Day exploits. n Conditional Access & Multi-Factor Authentication. n Advanced email threat protection n Mobile Device Management, including remote wipe capabilities for laptops, tablets & smartphones Elite’s Commercial Director - IT Services, Phil Scanlon, emphasised: “As a minimum, all businesses should deploy multi-factor authentication in their protection against cyber-criminals. We say this repeatedly because it is not only true, but imperative! The more educated your team is about cyber security and how to keep their data secure, the better.” Keep cyber-safe! Ensure your team undertakes training to learn: n How to create and look after passwords safely n How to identify a scam email and to check links before clicking them n Who to talk to if they are suspicious about any email or message n How to use two-factor authentication n Company-specific policies relating to data security Ensure all business software and systems are up-to-date Software and systems that aren’t up-to-date will contain weaknesses and insecurities which hackers can exploit to access your data, attack your systems or gain access to your machines and network. Ensure you regularly update all your software and programmes, firewalls, servers, software applications and operating systems on your machines and cyber security software. Elite Group is a leading technology provider which delivers and manages unified IT and communications services to enable businesses to communicate and collaborate in a secure, productive and profitable way. Providing unrivalled technical support and with dedication to customer service, Elite’s team is renowned for helping organisations achieve their productivity objectives and business goals.

Deploy the right tools for the job! Deploying the right security solutions is key to protecting your staff, customers and data and should include:#WCNWChamber100 |



ARG Business Support Programme Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, Cheshire West and Chester Council has distributed more than £137m in grants to 38,000 businesses in the borough, coordinating over 10 different grant schemes for businesses; these include the Restart Grant Scheme. In addition to this, local authorities received Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding to help them better support their local economies throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, aiming to reduce the impact and ensure businesses were sustained. To date, the council has awarded almost £10m in ARG funding directly to businesses that were forced to close or had been otherwise significantly impacted by the pandemic. Cheshire West and Chester council has now been awarded a top-up of £2.6m to its ARG funding. Part of this fund will be used for the Extended Restrictions Grants, and the remainder will be used to provide a programme of wider support, including direct business support and grants for

eligible businesses. The support will help those starting up, existing businesses looking to scale up and an investor fund to support businesses to expedite their growth plans. Businesses had the opportunity to learn more about the business support programme at the online launch event which took place on 2nd December 2021. This support programme will include bite-sized training and workshops, online materials, one to one support and networking opportunities delivered by professionals with a wealth of experience and insight to share with those starting or developing their business. The training sessions will cover a range of topics including communications, operations efficiency, and productivity and innovation through digitisation. Attendees will be provided with access to a “knowledge hub” following the sessions where they can access a range of training resources to further develop their knowledge. These sessions aim to empower and instil confidence in attendees by providing resources that aid with decision making, anticipation of challenges and understanding of alternative revenue streams.

to break down any pre-conceived boundaries that may sit between them and self-employment. These activities, such as competitions in designing and selling a product within a marketplace, will encourage younger people to look further to pursuing self-employment as a career option – influencing the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Rebel Business School has already been secured as part of the programme to help anyone considering starting a business, helping with insight and better approaches to successfully launching and growing. Rebel is passionate about helping anyone and everyone, no matter their starting point or background, find an achievable way to start their own business. Their alternative start-up methodology empowers people in engaging fun events, delivering information, inspiration and practical help people need to take action. The Rebel Business School will be delivered online from 17-28 January. Sign up to the weekly Let’s Talk Business newsletter, https://www.letstalkbizcw.co.uk/ Register, to receive further information about Rebel Business School and the wider support programme as it is released.

Furthermore, emphasis will be placed on supporting the younger generation with activity in local schools to talk about selfemployment. Sharing alternative options to those who want to hear about alternatives to traditional paths for education, helping

Cheshire West and Chester launches new high street app to promote local spend and support local businesses Customers can use the app to discover the exclusive deals available and to see events happening within the community.

Cheshire West and Chester council has also commissioned a digital solution for businesses as part of an initiative to rebuild confidence on the high-street, helping to increase visibility, footfall, and sales. The Loyal Free app provides West Cheshire businesses with a platform to promote business offers, loyalty schemes, events, local guides, competitions, and interactive trails.


Loyal Free is funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council and is free for West Cheshire businesses to register. With the use of online platforms and social media becoming increasingly important within the last couple of years, this application allows local businesses to establish a credible online and social media presence more easily. There is a mixture of businesses already signed up on the Loyal Free app, in a range of sectors and with different offers available. For example, some of the local businesses on the app already include Fairy

Dust Cake Shop in Northwich, AMY’s Fruit & Veg and The Cheshire Wine & Cheese Co of Tarporley and Convoy Records, Flowers by Jenny Penny and Strive Barber in Frodsham – all offering either discounts, loyalty schemes or both! Moreover, the app shares local events such as Chester Makers Market, Guided walks, Exhibitions and Garden visits. Benefits to your business include promotion and increased awareness of your brand, zero admin, access to customer insights and flexibility on your offers. Get your business involved by contacting info@loyalfree.co.uk. Download the app to start accessing great local West Cheshire offers, https://www.loyalfree.co.uk/.

R&D Tax Relief - Is your business missing out? What is R&D Tax Relief? A tax incentive that works by providing an enhanced tax deduction for the costs incurred in undertaking qualifying research and development activity. Broadly speaking, qualifying R&D is resolving scientific or technological uncertainties. This can include: n New Products, New Processes (internal or external), New Services

Research and Development Tax Relief was introduced by the Government to provide an incentive for UK companies to undertake innovation. However, many companies are still not claiming this valuable relief, missing out on a cash refund for overpaid company tax, a reduction in company tax now and for future years or an immediate cheque to cover some of the costs of the research and development activity undertaken.

n Enhanced products, processes, services with improved features, durability, reliability, efficiency, capability, resilience etc. n Bespoke software programs to integrate multiple systems and improve existing systems. SME companies can claim additional relief of 130% of the qualifying expenditure. For profitable companies this means that they can currently save an additional £247 in corporation tax for every £1,000 they spend on qualifying

R&D. With the corporation tax rate slated to increase to 25% in a couple of years then the savings will potentially be much higher. For those companies which do not have taxable profits, they can in effect “sell” some or all of their R&D deductions back to HMRC. The tax benefit from selling the deductions is lower but it can mean an immediate cash injection where there is currently no corporation tax to be saved/repaid. Case study WR Partners recently helped a manufacturer identify a range of R&D projects that they were undertaking, including automating production processes, altering a product to become fire retardant to comply with standards after a change in regulations. This led to qualifying R&D costs of £377,688 being identified and led to the company claiming a repayment from HMRC worth £125,959. Our experienced team can work with you to explain the tax relief in detail, help identify qualifying activity and costs and prepare a report explaining this to HMRC.

We are moving accountancy forward. Need help with growth? We’ve got you. wrpartners.co.uk

08000 664 664 #WCNWChamber100 |



Sophie peers into an exciting future in marketing “If you get, give. If you learn, teach.” A University of Chester initiative helping students benefit from the guidance of their predecessors is putting Maya Angelou’s words into practice - and a recent graduate has hailed its support in achieving her dream career role.

the opportunities that are provided at the University.” As Sophie looks ahead to an exciting future, she hopes to be able to herself give back to students who follow in her footsteps: “As I embark on my next adventure as Digital Marketing and Design Officer, I will look to continue to develop in Marketing and eventually in the future I will be able to share my knowledge and skills with other aspiring marketers.”

n How to set up and run a Limited Liability Partnership; n How to set up and run a partnership; n Shareholders and directors; n Employing staff; n Protecting your ideas (currently only Trade Mark queries can be dealt with.)

Support the future workforce with a Work Based Learning placement The University is currently looking for businesses to host a student placement from April to May in 2022. The Work Based Learning (WBL) module at the University of Chester gives employers the opportunity to help develop the future workforce as well as find potential employees.

While the Graduate Peer Mentoring initiative stands out for Sophie, it was far from the only opportunity she dedicated herself to during her time at University.

Work placements can also prove an ideal opportunity for businesses to gain an extra pair of hands, someone to offer a fresh perspective or work on a specific project.

She added: “Alongside studying for my degree, I also took advantage of the opportunities that were offered to me by the University, such as venture sessions - developing entrepreneurialism - and internships. My internships included working with a start-up social business to raise funds through a crowdfunding campaign as a digital marketer and working with Cheshire Football Association as a marketing assistant. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make the most of

The University’s second-year undergraduates, from a wide range of disciplines, undertake a five-week, Work Based Learning placement in the spring each year. The placement provides them with an insight into future careers as well as developing their employability skills and experience.


The Clinic provides advice on a variety of legal issues relevant to those starting up or running their own business, for example, advice relating to:

n How to set up and run a company;

The 22-year-old from North Wales said: “My proudest moment yet has been achieving a first-class honours degree in Marketing Management, which has enabled me to pursue my dream career. Since finishing my degree, I have gained a specialist marketing job and I attribute my job application and interview success to my Graduate Peer Mentor, Joseph Kelly.

Matching final year students with graduates in the same field to share good practice, provide advice and support, the scheme Sophie took part in was run by the Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO) and the Department of Marketing and Sales from Chester Business School. The University also offers peer mentoring programmes, where second and third year undergraduates mentor students who are in their first or second year.

The University of Chester offers a free Enterprise Clinic (part of the University’s Legal Advice Clinic), during term time (November to March,) run by Law student volunteers and supervised by qualified solicitors.

n Which structure to use to set up your business to manage risk and ownership;

Sophie Weston was part of the Graduate Peer Mentoring scheme during her time at the University and after graduating with a first-class BA Honours degree in Marketing Management, she is now embarking on her next adventure as a Digital Marketing and Design Officer.

“I volunteered to take part in the Graduate Peer Mentoring scheme to gain insight from professionals working in the industry. It was a great scheme and I am very grateful to have been a part of it.”

Free advice from the Enterprise Clinic

For more information about WBL and how to get involved, visit: https://www1.chester. ac.uk/work-based-learning/placementproviders/get-involved.

Any business that would like to set up an appointment, can email: legaladviceclinic@chester.ac.uk. Please insert ENTERPRISE in the email header, and provide a brief note about the subject of your query.

Bootcamp helps startups grow, thrive and survive A fully-funded online bootcamp has been organised by Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme (BGP) to help start-ups develop a clear plan on how to move their new business forward, a refined business proposition, and clear ideas on structure and model. Attendees will also have the chance to reflect on their own mindset and resilience and consider what support and resources they may need. The Grow, Thrive and Survive Bootcamp, delivered by Ruby Star Associates, will be split into four sessions on January 17, 24 and 31, and February 7, each lasting three hours. To join the Bootcamp, businesses need to be registered or eligible to register on the BGP and not have received more than six hours of support from the BGP already. For further details, please visit: https://www. eventbrite.co.uk/e/start-up-bootcampgrow-thrive-survive-tickets-187586615617.

Sandstone Brewery A brief overview of your role and company The family were all for it, buy a microbrewery and we will never want for beer again!! I had previously worked in the food industry as a factory manager where there was always someone to support me by doing the hard graft. Now everything is between the three of us and as a small business the smallest job has to be done by one of us. We decided to put some characterisation in to the business and found that the brewery was (unbeknownst to us) the home of a group of dragons. They help and hinder on a daily basis but appear on our marketing to help us sell the beer. The brewery is a traditional craft brewery. The equipment is flexible, and we can brew any type of ale. The finished product goes into either cask (those barrels you see rolled around) or keg (which is the modern plastic equivalent used by many micro beer shops). We can also put into bottles and sell at the farmers’ market in Nantwich. Through the Chamber of Commerce, we networked with another brewery who was looking for capacity in the Chester area, so we now are contract brewing and bottling. We also offer a Brew your own beer day, which is great fun, educational, but a lift home is recommended given the sampling required.

n Stuart Deeley, Sandstone Brewery

Can you tell us a short overview of an average day at work?

Have you faced any particular challenges recently?

Like many small businesses there isn’t an average day but a mix of selling, marketing, brewing, bottling and delivering. If we are brewing, then we weigh out the malts to start the day. The type of malt and the quantity of each type defines the colour and alcoholic strength and contributes to the flavour. HOs are added later in the process to give further flavour and provide anti-bacterial support. Various stages follow (if you would like more detail then a day at the brewery is recommended). Overall, these steps, together with cleaning, sterilising, digging out and transferring water around, take around eight hours and a fair amount of concentration to ensure all steps are accurately completed.

Covid closed us for over 12 months. I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the Welsh Government who provided grants through this time which we have used to maintain our premises but also invest in equipment for the future. They also supported us with training and consultant resources which we have used (and are still using).

In the meantime, we would also be fielding customer questions and orders (hopefully), doing paperwork for beer duty and VAT collection. Cleaning is an important part of the day; given we are creating a food product we must ensure that there is no chance of foreign body contamination. How has the company grown in recent years? We have slowly grown by adding new beer styles, bottling capabilities and more recently the ability to do keg filling. We sell throughout north Wales and Northwest England, the market place is competitive so new recipes, sales outlets and marketing changes all add to the ability to grow.

The loss of pubs (which are our main outlet) has not helped nor has the stop start nature of the reopening. We have very recently seen the first signs of consistent order patterns, but we are now approaching the pre-Christmas lull. What are your plans for the future? We would like to revisit the possibility of creating a post-production packaging line which would also be usable by third parties. We have also had success in working with other breweries and it is likely that we will look for similar cooperative ventures in the future. The long-term development of the mature beer market is unlikely so we will need to look further afield to create sustainability If there was an extra hour in the day, how would you spend it? Either servicing my rally car or catching up with paperwork, or developing new brews, or looking for further sales, or just sitting down with a coffee a beer.

#WCNWChamber100 |



Christleton High School Students receive a Marketing Masterclass! After a year of providing virtual support, the Young Chamber programme has returned to the classroom and recently held a series of Marketing Masterclasses at Christleton High School. Students from all years were asked if they wanted to help rebrand the school’s Careers Programme which would include creating a new logo, a tagline and imagery for the Careers room. 10 students expressed their interest and went on to receive support from Claire Davies, Director of Marketing at Umbrella Marketing Team, and Taylor Lewis, Graphic Designer at Umbrella Marketing Team, over two sessions on how to do so.

careers, must be memorable and must resonate with its customers. Claire emphasised the importance of the logo being instantly recognisable because people tend to have a short attention span.

The second session saw the students reveal their rebrand ideas for the Careers Programme and Claire gave individual feedback and advice on the logos, taglines and imagery that had been created. Claire emphasised that it was important that the students considered how they communicated the careers room and programme to fellow students, do they understand its aim?

Penrhos Avenue Education Centre pupils get expert Marketing and Finance insight

sold previously and the Young Chamber Sponsors were brought in to give an insight into what the students needed to consider from a finance and marketing perspective. The pupils were taught about profit & loss, how to price a product, what makes a good brand and product research. The aim is for the students now to continue selling the products throughout the year.

As part of the school’s Young Chamber Enterprise Project, the Masterclass saw experts from the Marketing and Financial Services industries, Claire Davies, Umbrella Marketing Team, and Sarah Bailey, NatWest, explain the vital aspects of running a business to students. Students had the example of key rings and plaques that had been made and


Lynsay Lawson, ICT & KS4 Co-ordinator at Christleton High School, said “Claire and Taylor were a fantastic support team for our students during the rebranding challenge, they gave them a real insight into their working life and projects that they had previously worked on whilst guiding them through the challenge. They provided support and ideas without overwhelming the pupils and they produced some fantastic designs.”

Students were then tasked to create designs and other ideas for the Careers room before the next session took place later in the month.

During the first session, Claire delivered a presentation to the students and explained what branding is and key factors they should consider when designing the new logo, including that it; needs to represent

Young Chamber Sponsors, Umbrella Marketing Team and NatWest, recently took part in an event supporting students at Penrhos Avenue Education Centre in Colwyn Bay.

The next stage is set to see the designs shown to the senior team at the school and a winner to be chosen.

Jennifer Kennedy, Membership Director at the Chamber, supported the event and commented “The Young Chamber

Enterprise Projects are designed to teach pupils the skills needed to start and run a business, from designing and creating a product, to selling it and making a profit. The interactive talks from Claire and Sarah were really informative and the feedback that I’ve had from the teachers has been amazing. We look forward to supporting the project throughout the rest of the year.” Thank you to Umbrella Marketing Team and NatWest for your support on this event.


n L to R: Adele Slinn, Headteacher at Ysgol Bryn Alun, and Debbie Bryce, CEO of West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce

Ysgol Bryn Alyn joins the Young Chamber Programme West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce that Ysgol Bryn Alyn (YBA) are the newest Young Chamber Member. Ysgol Bryn Alyn is a vibrant, welcoming school situated in the village of Gwersyllt with a proud history of academic success and exceptional pastoral care. YBA’s extensive extra-curricular opportunities and exceptional staff allow all learners to flourish. Ysgol Bryn Alyn has an outstanding team of teaching and support staff who encourage and support all learners to develop a real love of learning. As a team, YBA wants the best for every child in their care and will challenge and support all children to ensure they fulfil their potential. By becoming a Young Chamber Member, Ysgol Bryn Alyn will be working closely with

Young Chamber Sponsors on a variety of events, giving students opportunities to be involved with local employers and help them improve essential skills needed in the workplace. The events range from careers talks or interview days to interactive workshops and enterprise projects. The Young Chamber programme also offers virtual opportunities for students to develop skills that businesses are looking for through the Young Chamber Online platform. “YBA is delighted to have been invited to become a member of the West Cheshire and North Wales Young Chamber of Commerce. We are so pleased that our young people will benefit from the expertise of this initiative and develop skills and experience to support them with their future ambitions. We are looking forward to further developing links with

our communities, local employers and the Chamber of Commerce itself” said Headteacher, Adele Slinn. The Young Chamber programme is all part of the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce’s aim to tackle the skills gap that currently exists between the education and business sectors. By bringing firms closer to their local schools and colleges, it is hoped that students can gain the skills and experience needed to succeed in the world of work. Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at the Chamber of Commerce, commented on the newest member of the programme: “We are delighted that Ysgol Bryn Alyn has joined the Young Chamber programme and we are looking forward to supporting their students going forward. Our aim is to deliver workshops and events which will provide students with skills and knowledge that will help them in preparation for the workplace. We look forward to connecting our Young Chamber Sponsors with the new school to bring their experience and knowledge to the students.” To find out more about Young Chamber, please click here or email youngchamber@wcnwchamber.org.uk. #WCNWChamber100 |


with Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre and I just thought, Wow! His passion and vision really inspired me, I applied for the job and here I am today as a City Manager in Chester. I really hope residents and businesses in the city will experience that vision which CityFibre aims to deliver in their homes and in their work environments. I really admire the company ethos which isn’t just to put in a brand-new network and leave, it’s to leave a legacy behind. WCNW: What are your main responsibilities? As a City Manager for CityFibre, my main area of responsibility is as conduit between different areas of the CityFibre business, including Internet Service Providers, potential customers, and stakeholders within my city, Chester. This includes working with Cheshire West and Chester council to keep them updated and engaged with the construction progress, also working with Ward Members to ensure that their residents have knowledge and communication of the build progress on their roads and streets. I am working with local businesses, resident and community groups, schools, and colleges, to make sure that everyone understands the transformation which gigabit speed network will bring to everyone and everything, throughout Chester, and how they can stay informed and register for updates on the build. WCNW: What does a typical day involve? There isn’t a typical day in my role at CityFibre, each day is interesting and never dull; from meeting with residents in their streets and councillors on dig sites, to a day at Chester Zoo meeting the team or walking the ancient Roman city walls, with our build team, every day is different but with the same goal; to ensure sure we are planning and doing everything right for the city’s development. WCNW: To begin, tell us a little about yourself and your background. I was born and bred in Manchester and then moved to Cheshire, as a single mum with my now, 21-year-old son, Harry. I was the first in my family to go to university and myself, and my younger brother both attended University of Huddersfield, which was, at that time in the 1980`s, Huddersfield Polytechnic. Having gained a second-class honours degree in English and Politics, my career plan was to go into journalism, however, fate rerouted me, initially into publishing and then marketing and communications, in London. Moving back to the North, I worked in advertising agencies and then retail marketing, where I spent over twenty years identifying and researching customer attitudes and how to communicate with them, at all levels.


Moving into the public sector and corporate stakeholder management, I worked across a broad range of business sectors, this gave me a very rounded business and commercial perspective, with the ability to fully understand the needs of customers and stakeholders, within diverse industries. WCNW: What attracted you to the company? I never saw myself working in telecoms, but I had noticed some activity on social media around an innovative infrastructure provider, they were modernising existing technology to new full fibre. It wasn’t something I knew much about, and like most people, I believed I already had full fibre broadband, but when I looked into it and found I didn’t, I thought this could be something that really takes off and it piqued my interest about what this company was doing. I then saw an interview

WCNW: Who are your target audience and what is the main aim of the organisation? CityFibre is more than just another fibre infrastructure business, although the third biggest in the UK. As we build a brand-new Full Fibre network street by street, we focus on working with residents, businesses, and local communities to set new standards in our industry for speed reliability and customer service. Our target audience is everyone across the city who wants and needs fast, efficient, and competitive full fibre broadband, whether for work, running a business, school, entertainment or socialising with friends and family. We build the network, educate everyone on what Full Fibre is and how it benefits homes and businesses alike, we then work to bring on board Internet Service Providers to take care of the broadband package side of things. We create what’s called

THE BIG INTERVIEW an “open network” which means we can bring onboard a variety of Internet Service Providers, so businesses and residents have choice in the available providers, and a better quality of broadband product servicing properties in Chester. WCNW: What projects are you currently working on? I’m currently focusing on ensuring a successful build across Upton, Newton, Hoole and into the city centre which will take me into summer 2022. As well as the build aspect, I will continue to work with key local organisations in Chester to raise awareness of the project in Chester and the benefits it’s bringing to area. I attended Taste Cheshire’s Farmer’s market in October with CityFibre, and it was a brilliant opportunity to meet residents in the area and discuss what we’re doing and get any feedback. We’ll be doing more of those events in 2022, as well as looking at any other relevant key community or marketing activities that are local to Chester that can help us to raise awareness about what CityFibre are doing in the city, and the impact it’s going to have. WCNW: How have things gone so far? The last ten months in my role at CityFibre have been interesting, challenging but extremely rewarding. The project itself in Chester is progressing well, we began building in Chester in March earlier this year, we have connected the majority of Upton, with our first Internet Service Provider, Air Broadband launched and nearly ready to take customers. It’s fantastic seeing things progress, we are aiming to have our first live connected residents in December this year. WCNW: Any difficulties? If so, how did you overcome them? To work for a business that is investing £4 billion over the next 5 years, to connect 30% of the UK, over 8 million premises, is just staggering and exciting, and there can be challenges that come with that. There are strong personalities and passionate individuals within CityFibre, which is what I would expect from a progressive, and visionary organisation. Also, with any significant build and expansion there are some teething problems along the way. In my experience listening, observing, and taking time to see things from all perspectives, is key to success and the CityFibre way is always to support our colleagues and our customers. Diversity and Inclusion is also a cornerstone of the CityFibre Way and the fact that the company has been awarded Times Top 500

“I honestly believe life is about taking measured risks, I am aware of my capabilities and if there is something or someone, I am not too sure about, I will always ask.” Employers for Women in 2021, assures me that it is a great working environment, for all. WCNW: Did you ever think ‘I’ve taken on too big a risk’? If so, how did you overcome it? I honestly believe life is about taking measured risks, I am aware of my capabilities and if there is something or someone, I am not too sure about, I will always ask. We are all never too old to learn and develop in all walks of life and we all, at some point, make mistakes. “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” Nelson Mandela WCNW: How have businesses and individuals responded to what you’re offering? There has been such a positive response from residents, businesses and CWAC to CityFibre’s investment of £23million into the installation of full fibre in Chester. Communities have been registering their interest daily and my job is to continue to work closely with residents, local communities, and Ward Members, to ensure that Chester will very soon be a major part of the UK` s digital

transformation. I would really recommend to anyone reading this who lives or works in Chester, who might be thinking they’ve had slow or poor experience with their broadband, to register their postcode and email address at www.cityfibre.com/Chester for updates on when we’ll be building in their area and when they can take up the service. WCNW: What are your career aims and aspirations? Is there anything else you’d like to achieve in your lifetime? Having had a long career in a diverse range of industries, I would like to think that the culmination of that experience I have now brought to CityFibre. When we finalise, the Chester build in 2023 and this wonderful city is a leader in the UK`s digital future, then I may finish that novel… WCNW: What message would you give to other people in business? Always listen and learn, we are never too old to learn new skills and to meet new and exciting people, from all walks of life. And in business, always remember that “the customer really is King”. #WCNWChamber100 | 27


Quarterly Business Report: Businesses continue to show signs of recovery despite supply chain and labour difficulties The latest Quarterly Business Report from the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce found that firms continued to report historically high levels for a number of key economic indicators. The report, based on a survey of 62 firms, which employ 4,000 people across the region and published in partnership with Cheshire West & Chester Council, indicates that businesses in the region are continuing to show positive signs as the UK recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. However, the supply chain crisis, alongside wider labour shortages and spiralling price rises, is threatening to drag on our economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Key Findings n Business confidence in the region, for both profitability and turnover, eased fractionally though the scores remain high compared to historic levels. n Employment conditions eased slightly in the last quarter, which could reflect falling confidence in the economic outlook due to supply constraints and price pressures. n Firms’ investment intentions for training eased following the two-year high of last quarter. n Domestic sales have continued to strengthen, rising to their highest level in three years reflecting continued strong consumer demand following the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions. n Export sales and orders returned to positive levels for the first time since the


start of the pandemic (meaning more people reporting an increase rather than a decrease) and are marginally above the level at the end of 2019. The survey fieldwork took place between 23rd August and 13th September 2021. Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce, commented on the report: “Our latest Chamber Quarterly Business Report indicates that WCNW businesses are continuing to show positive signs as the UK recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. Many readings either returned to or exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with domestic sales reaching the highest level in three years.

However, the supply chain crisis, labour shortages and increasing prices, is clearly starting to drag on our economic recovery from Covid-19. Businesses are being battered by a deluge of up-front cost pressures, including huge increases in the prices of key raw materials and shipping, as well as now facing a rise in National Insurance Contributions. At the same time, they are losing out on opportunities for growth due to labour shortages, despite many businesses already raising wages and offering training. The focus must now be on creating the best possible environment for businesses to grow and thrive. By supporting firms through the difficult months ahead they can begin to generate wealth, create jobs and support communities.”

IN FOCUS WITH You’ve indicated that domestic and overseas sales and orders have increased over the last three months. Are there any specific reasons behind this? Social media has played a massive part in our growth on a multitude of platforms, our Facebook group enables crafters using our stamps to share their creations, tips, and techniques that inspire fellow members worldwide. Crafting has certainly helped people through the pandemic, there has been a considerable increase in the number of people watching our video tutorials. Sales have grown considerably, and we now export to over 35 countries.

You’ve recruited and looking to recruit further in the next three months. Can you explain why this is the case? I am constantly working on new designs; we have a range of own branded associated products with more in development. With every new release we increase our appeal to a wider market and maintain interest for existing customers consequently increasing our workload hence the need to recruit. We have been very lucky in finding some great new colleagues who are making a significant difference and form a great team, we now need some more.

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing businesses in your industry at the moment?

In Focus with Lavinia Stamps Lavinia Stamps, based in Ruthin, design and create a range of stamps for card making and have progressed from working from home to having two industrial units, retail shop and a successful on-line platform. Below, we hear from Tracey Dutton, Director, on their contribution to the latest Quarterly Business Report.

Brexit has had an impact, shipping to Europe has certainly presented some difficulties. Collecting and submitting vat for every country in Europe has been a clerical nightmare. My other big challenge is my work being copied. We employ a dedicated specialist to reduce fraudulent activities. It’s heart-breaking to spend weeks on a design only to find it copied and offered for sale all over the world.

Looking forward, how do you see the next 12 months for your business? We are looking forward to the challenges that are ahead, we have some exciting new products, we hope to expand our team and will be making every effort to grow our customer base. We have also expanded our shop and have included some great artisan products, unique gifts and crafting inspiration. We have tried to create a magical and calming theme and look forward to welcoming visitors and customers.

#WCNWChamber100 |


Salt to Sea Chal The West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce continued its centenary celebrations with their Board of Directors and staff taking on a ‘Salt to Sea’ 100-mile challenge over three days in September.

Claire Davies, Director of Marketing at Umbrella Marketing Team, said “This challenge has been a tough one, but what a team! It started with two, and what a start from Northwich to Talacre. Matt and John did amazing, reaching Talacre with time to spare, a well-deserved pint and a great group photo. We were determined to get this done from this point on, and we did it with lots and lots of laughter along the way; we really had each other’s backs. We had a core team of four (Debbie Bryce, Sarah Bailey, Jenny Kennedy and Claire Davies) but then gained Helen Nellist on day 2 with her caffeine-fuelled explosion of energy. On day 3, we were met by Paul Cooney and his family, who did a leg with us and the ever-bubbly Tansy, who motivated us to keep moving and her chat! A huge thank you goes to the unsung heroes of the event - our support crew, who


Setting off from the Lion Salt Works in Northwich and finishing in Anglesey, the Salt to Sea Challenge team raised £3025 for the Chamber’s chosen charity of the year, the Neuro Therapy Centre Virtual Centre! Neuro Therapy Centre supports nearly 500 people from across North Wales, West Cheshire and the Wirral that have long term neurological conditions including MS, Parkinson’s, MND and ME. The Virtual Centre was established in 2020 in order to provide support throughout the coronavirus pandemic and after its success, funds are now needed to ensure that the services can continue going forward. After cycling from Lion Salt Works on Friday 10th September, Chamber staff were joined by members of the Chamber at Talacre in North Wales where they began the walking section of the challenge to Anglesey, finishing on Sunday 12th at Llanfair-Pwllgwyngyll. You can follow the route taken and hear from some of the participants on this page!


Matt Hodgson, Policy & Communications Manager at the Chamber, said “It was an early, wet start for us in Northwich but we had a great send off by Kate Harland at Lion Salt Works! The ride through West Cheshire went pretty smoothly, despite the odd closed road, but the real challenge came as we hit the hills of North Wales. Although the legs were burning, it was worth it as some of the views across the River Dee were incredible! After a few stops to make sure we were heading in the right direction, we were greeted by the delightful sight of Team 2, and the close by pub, as we met them bang on time in Talacre. It was great to take part in the challenge and we are so pleased that we’ve been able to raise a substantial amount for a great cause!”

John Farrell, Director at Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants, said “The bike challenge was a very exciting but nervewracking one – as we were the pair to start the journey to Anglesey off! We were conscious that we had a planned arrival time for the team in Talacre to start the walk for stage 2. It was a really enjoyable ride and we were pleased to say that we made it in good time. However, getting off the bike in Talacre was a challenge in itself!!! I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and wouldn’t hesitate to do similar things again with the Chamber, as it was a great cause, but perhaps I’ll do a bit more training next time.”



parked up with snacks and supplies and clapped us in at every stage - never before have we been so excited to see an orange or white car and their smiling faces. They could see the pain but told us how well we were doing, which really spurred us on- so a massive thank you to Gareth Bailey, Gareth Davies, Iwan Davies and Neil Bryce.

West Cheshire & North Wales

Chamber of Commerce Together, We’re Well Connected.

On our walk, we stopped and chatted to so many people who were interested in our cause, they kindly donated money, and even schoolchildren at bus stops were cheering us on. The kindness of strangers was inspirational. So thank you to all the car beepers, the truck horn blowers and to my fellow team members - we did it, and I am so proud of us all and hope with the money raised, we will make a difference!”



Jennifer Kennedy, Membership Director at the Chamber, said “A big highlight for me was when we were walking from Conwy and came across a lovely lady sitting with her dog. She asked what we were doing as she saw our T-shirts. She had never heard of the Neurotherapy Centre before and suffered from a condition herself. She not only was going to look the Centre up, but also said she would donate. At that point, I realised the difference we were making by doing the challenge!”

Tansy Rogerson, Director at Armadillo Events, said “A little bit of a latecomer to the party, I arrived on Sunday, bringing along my bags of support and energy to hopefully keep the amazing team uplifted. I didn’t need to; their energy was still high despite a few feet issues and expected aches! It was a truly brilliant experience, chatting and laughing with everyone as we walked along some truly magnificent coastline. The weather held off too. It’s such a great way to get to know people in a relaxed setting and share an adventure for a very worthwhile cause.

Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at the Chamber, said “It was a brilliant experience, one I’ll never forget, filled with laughter but also at times pain! It was made even more special because everyone involved was such great company! It was incredible how many members gave so generously and we can’t thank you enough for helping to raise vital funds for such a great cause.”

I will certainly join in next year, although next time I’ll be there from the beginning!”

#WCNWChamber100 |


Reports and survey results relating to skill shortages in all sectors in the North-West and across the UK continue to dominate the business media. Is this just scaremongering or fact? Sadly, the news is pretty much accurate, and as professional recruiters with over 40 years of experience we are living this reality first-hand each day. Currently the situation is that in many industry sectors it is a candidate’s market,


with more job opportunities available than there are people to fill them. This is resulting in many businesses finding it increasingly difficult to attract the right person for their vacant position. The good news is that all is not lost, and businesses can improve their chances of achieving a successful outcome.

Review Take an objective look at your recruitment process from start to finish. That is from the point where you have identified a job vacancy to the stage where you are welcoming a new employee to your business. It is worth remembering that candidates will judge your business as a potential employer, on their experience when going through your process.

RECRUITMENT “Take an objective look at your recruitment process from start to finish. That is from the point where you have identified a job vacancy to the stage where you are welcoming a new employee to your business.” Interviewing Are the right people interviewing the candidates? Consider who will be conducting the interview for this position. Do they know how to interview well? Instead of deciding who is available on the day or following the standard plan of a combination of HR and senior management, look at who would be most appropriate within the business based on the job role. Who will relate to the candidate the most? Who would be best placed to represent your business most favourably? How can your company culture be portrayed accurately?

The Process Given that your business is likely to be judged by candidates on how you manage the process pre-and-post-interview, if you have provided timescales at any stage of the process, then do stick to them.

Self-reflection can be difficult but is extremely useful so be honest in your evaluation… just how good are we at managing our recruitment process? Are there parts of it that we can do better? Ask for feedback from your team on their thoughts, what makes your company a great place to work at? Talk to your newer employees, they are likely to have suggestions or ideas based on their experiences, why did they decide to join your company rather than another? Their answers may surprise you and could be incorporated into the messages you use in future vacancy adverts, during the interviews, or within the onboarding pack.

You may respond quickly to your number one candidate and then wait to contact the others until the applicant has confirmed their intention to join your business just in case you need to then contact your second or third choice. This is fine but you must keep these two people ‘warm’ – don’t just not contact them at all. Candidates looking for a new opportunity, will be applying for other positions and attending interviews with other companies, meaning that you could miss out on the

right person for YOUR role by not following up in a timely manner or being transparent in your process.

Outsourcing If our suggestions for better recruiting seem daunting or if you just don’t have the resources within your business to be able to take these on board - after all you are busy with running your operation and are coping with staff shortages - then then do consider working with an external professional recruiter. There are many benefits to joining forces with a professional recruiter. They can provide a comprehensive service and an unbiased view on your current recruitment process and give guidance on how this can be improved. They can handle the actual recruitment process from helping you to develop the role & skills profile (job description), creating the job advert, identifying candidates, reviewing applications, providing a pre-interview telephone screening to developing a qualified interview shortlist and then will handle all the interview arrangements, including giving feedback to candidates. Kirsty Craig Associates are professional recruiters with all these skills and more, and with the added benefit of having HR and Training expertise meaning we can support your team with learning and development sessions on how to attract the best talent, recruiting right first time, interviewing skills and how to onboard new employees.

For more information, or to discuss how Kirsty Craig Associates can help your business, visit www.kirstycraigassociates.co.uk, call 01244 732070 or email hello@kirstycraigassociates.co.uk #WCNWChamber100 |


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A wealth of legal experience A wealth of legal A wealth of legal experience experience right on your doorstep. right on your right on your doorstep. doorstep. We provide first class legal solutions for local businesses We provide first class legal solutions for local businesses We provide first class legal solutions for local businesses and individuals in West Cheshire and North Wales. and and individuals individuals in in West West Cheshire Cheshire and and North North Wales. Wales. Some of the areas we cover... Some of the areas we cover... Some of the areas we cover...

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Resolving workplace conflict productivity, satisfaction and engagement and be costly to a business in the long run. As an experienced employment law Partner, I’ve seen workplace conflict take many different forms and the reality is that often situations can be managed and dealt with through a more flexible approach, such as mediation.

What is a mediation?

Helen Watson, Partner and Head of Employment at Aaron and Partners looks at mediation and how employers can resolve conflict in the workplace Conflict is something that can unfortunately crop up in all areas of our lives, including within a workplace. The combination of different personalities, added to the complexities and pressures that can come with working environments means workplace disputes can occur more often than you may think. As well as potentially causing distress to those involved, if left undealt with these issues can significantly impact employee

Mediation is a voluntary process and, particularly in the present day, can take a variety of forms from virtual to face to face. There is no set form to mediations, but a mediator is there to facilitate a discussion between parties and see if an agreement can be reached. My advice would be to go into a mediation completely open minded to the process and the end result. Mediations are entirely confidential and there is no binding judgement made, it is just an agreement between the parties – if an agreement can be reached.

Why mediate? Mediations are a cost-effective way of amicably resolving relationship breakdowns and disputes before any legal process is necessary. It may be that a claim has already been made and in that situation a mediation can resolve things before a tribunal or court hearing is reached. If resolution can happen between the parties in a mediation this can save a huge amount of management time and costs.

senior Board Members. In my experience, mediation is effective at all different levels and in a variety of workplace scenarios.

How we can help Helen Watson is a Legal 500 listed Employment Lawyer, with more than 25 years experience of workplace disputes and the consequences for employers. As well as being an Accredited Mediator and Workplace Investigator she also has a wealth of Boardroom experience as a NED, Chairman and Board Director so brings vast experience and understanding to the mediation table. “Helen has supported us, as an organisation, through mediation on a number of occasions. Invariably this has been when we have reached what could be described as the ‘end of the road’ in terms of ongoing communication between employees or between employer and employee. As a headteacher, I have found Helen’s work invaluable towards enabling us to find a way through some very tricky situations. She is considerate, skilful and able to see the heart of every issue.”

Principal – Wirral School If you require any advice or assistance relating to a workplace dispute, then contact Helen Watson on 01244 405 565 | helen.watson@aaronandpartners.com

What situations can be mediated? Workplace mediations may involve two employees who struggle to work together, a Manager and a subordinate or even #WCNWChamber100 |


Health and Safety & ISO Compliance Guaranteed Are you considering obtaining ISO certification and struggling with knowing what you must do to obtain ISO certification? Don’t have internal resources, time or knowledge on how to go about this, then call SQR Group for a free no obligations 1 hour consultation. Our expert consultants will be able to provide you with competent advice and support on what you need to do to become compliant with H&S legislation, the ISO compliance process and we will walk you through the process of obtaining ISO certification for your company. We will support you all the way through the certification process, guaranteeing you obtain certification which could result in wining new clients or retaining current clients. We have over 25 years’ experience in developing and implementing health & safety, quality and environmental (HSQE) management systems and assisting clients achieve and retain ISO certification(s) (ISO9001:2015, ISO14001:2015, ISO45001 & ISO27001:2013), and other industry accreditations such as RISQS, NERS, HERS, FORS, CHAS, Constructionline Etc. across multiple industry sectors such as rail, construction, manufacturing, engineering, utilities, telecommunications, retail etc.


Health and Safety Consultancy


Health and safety compliance gap analysis and report


Health and safety site inspections and reports


Annual HSQE competent person service


Health and safety training – www.sqrtraining.co.uk)


ISO9001:2015 Quality management systems consultancy


ISO14001:2015 Environmental management systems consultancy


ISO45001:2018 Health and safety management systems consultancy


ISO27001:2013 Information security management systems consultancy


RISQS – Railway safety and compliance consultancy


NERS Management systems and compliance consultancy


HERS Management systems and compliance consultancy

Testimonials We contacted Sean at SQR Group for assistance in gaining a RISQS accreditation. Once we signed up with SQR, we were extremely impressed with the way Sean supported us with the requirements to enable us to gain the accreditation. We thoroughly covered each section of the audit protocol and felt we were in safe hands with Sean with his vast wealth of experience within H&S and the Railway industry. SQR proved to be professional, efficient and with their help we managed to successfully pass the audit. We would recommend them to any company looking to achieve accreditations Tower Lifts

The decision to commence the process to acquire ISO9001:2015 and pursue methods which would improve evidencing our internal auditing process was made simpler by appointing SQR Group Limited. Sean Rintoul invested time prior to our appointment of their services to understand our business model and presented us with a realistic, supportive programme which would assist Intaglio Engraving Limited achieve ISO9001:2015 accreditation. Sean devised methods of recording evidence which complimented our existing Integrated Management System, making the process simpler – with almost no additional time or effort for me! The best part was that I could completely trust Sean, his team and certified company to represent our company professionally. Intaglio Engraving

Tel: 01352716857 Mob: 07595893659 www.sqrgroup.co.uk - SQR Training: www.sqrtraining.co.uk


Tiger Trailers Adding bite to the logistics industry and making tracks in the community

material produced by Tata Steel in Shotton for the double deck trailers Tiger builds for certain customers is recyclable and offers significant weight-saving properties plus increased load capacity, potentially reducing congestion. Additionally, many of the firm’s products incorporate flooring made from sustainable plywood. Tiger has set a target of reducing tonnes of CO2e per £m of costs of sales by 5% per annum, its building utilises energy-efficient heat pump and cooling systems, natural ventilation and gas-fired radiant heating, and automated high-efficiency LED lighting is installed throughout, leading to an overall rating of ‘A’. It is the company’s aim to create opportunities for local people and encourage the next generation into commercial vehicle manufacturing and logistics, and to this end the Alan Cartwright Foundation and Apprenticeship Awards recognise Tiger’s top-performing apprentices. In Q4 2021, the firm is recruiting at least 50 more people in varying roles across #TeamTiger, reflecting strong order books and growth.

is home to in-house leasing division Tiger Finance, Tiger Rentals, and Tiger Siberian temperature-controlled products. The firm is passionate about road safety and the local community and recently set up the Tiger Safety Team to raise safety awareness in the factory, in the trailer yard, and in the wider community with more vulnerable road users and groups in mind, such as children and cyclists. Next time you travel on the road, safely look at the rear bumpers or wheel arches of trailers being pulled by trucks and there’s a good chance that you’ll spot orange Tiger lettering or logos. Winsford-based Tiger Trailers, launched in 2014, is a leading HGV trailer and truck bodywork manufacturer, and its customers include many household names along with businesses also proudly located in Cheshire and North Wales, such as Boughey Distribution and Edge Transport. The firm’s product portfolio spans from single and double deck curtainsider and box trailers, to refrigerated and specialist trailers, the most unusual recent example being a flatbed for transporting large tanks of live fish from Scotland. The focus of Chamber newcomers, Tiger Trailers, is on innovation, build quality and collaborative service, and at its state-ofthe-art, purpose-built facility, all processes are completed under one roof. The business

Tiger Trailers’ CSR activities also include a sponsorship relationship with prominent road safety charity, Brake, and membership of the Cheshire Community Foundation’s Cheshire 100. Both commitments currently run for 3 years each and Tiger is immensely proud that its fundraising and donations to these organisations benefit local people and projects. Tiger Trailers is pleased to support others doing great work, too, such as Veterans into Logistics, who place ex-military in trucking roles to reduce unemployment and help ease the reported driver shortage. Haulage news, campaigns and innovative technology developments are discussed in the Road Transport Hub on Tiger’s website. The manufacturer is passionate about sustainability and strives to increasingly introduce environmentally efficient ‘green’ components and engineering approaches to its products, working alongside likeminded suppliers. The innovative sidewall

Steven Cartwright, Joint Managing Director at Tiger Trailers, comments: “We are well set for the future growth of the business, as we continue to provide high quality products and a range of services to the industry. We would like to thank the whole Tiger Trailers team, as well as our customers, suppliers and partners, for their continued support. We really do have an exciting future ahead, and we are extremely pleased to be supporting a growing number of charities and other initiatives here in Cheshire.” The company’s 168,000 sq ft complex houses a training area, 3D engineering suite and product showroom, and has benefited from investment in robotic welding along with new paint and shot-blast facilities. Tiger was the first UK manufacturer to offer a moving deck double deck trailer with a 52-pallet capacity and has introduced continuous engineering achievements such as the development of its Lightweight Clearspan Curtainsider Trailer and Captive Rave load restraint system, demonstrating innovation as a core characteristic of the firm’s culture. Tiger’s product range is the key to the company’s continued success and has enabled it to become a valued partner to many well-known supply chain, logistics, retail, and parcel delivery businesses, from B&M and DPD to Hovis, Morrisons and Wren Kitchens. #WCNWChamber100 |



Internationalisation Fund now open for businesses in England Grant funding available via new fund for eligible businesses in England. The Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched its new Internationalisation Fund for eligible businesses in England. Match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 will be available for future activity (subject to eligibility and availability). To secure a grant, businesses need to fund a proportion of their costs themselves. This varies according to where businesses are based and will be either 40 or 50% of the total cost. The fund can be used to support areas including (but not exclusively limited to): n Market research


n IP (intellectual property) advice n Translation services n International social media/SEO n Trade fairs (where no TAP funding is available) n Independent market visits n Consultancy and other international commercial services Is your business eligible? n The company must be based in England n The company must be a small or

medium sized enterprise (SME) with up to 250 employees n No more than 25% of the business is owned by an enterprise which is not a SME n Annual turnover does not exceed €50 million or annual balance sheet does not exceed €43 million n The fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Funding is subject to availability within your region, and will be prioritised for businesses who can demonstrate they have high export potential. To find out more contact The Department for International Trade North West at T: 0333 320 0392 or E: info@tradenw.org


Customs Declaration Changes

It is our understanding that full import declarations will be required from 1st January 2022. Importers will no longer be allowed the 175 days before the full (supplementary) import declaration and any VAT and duty are to be paid. We are awaiting notice from HMRC to confirm this.

Rules of Origin: All exporters and importers must be able to prove the original manufacturing country for the goods they are shipping. Furthermore, they will be able to retrospectively request proof for goods that were shipped during 2021.

Current Importers knowledge ‘Importer’s knowledge’ in 2021 has allowed the importer to claim preferential tariff treatment based on evidence they have obtained about the originating status of

imported products. This evidence must be in the importer’s possession, be in form of supporting documents or records which may be provided by the exporter or producer and provide evidence that the product qualifies as originating.

From 1 January 2022, you must hold a supplier’s declaration (when needed) at the time you issue a statement on origin. If you do not have a supplier’s declaration, or other information (UK EUR1) to show the originating status of the goods for any statements on origin you’ve issued during the easement period

(1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021), then there is an obligation on you to let your customer know. If you are subject to a request for verification and evidence cannot be provided to show that the goods you exported to the EU originate in the UK, your EU customer will be liable to pay the full rate of Customs Duty.

REX – Invoice Statements – Declaration of Origin: If you are importing goods into the UK from a country with whom we have a free trade agreement (FTA), your overseas supplier will need to declare the goods originated in their country. Each FTA will have an official notification in the documentation. It could be a statement on the invoice, a Certificate of Origin, a preferential trade certificate, a supplier’s declaration, a trusted trader status (REX, Approved Exporter (AE) or AEO) (or the goods originate in a GSP country). Whatever it is, you as the importer of record must show HMRC that you have done sufficient due diligence to prove the goods you are importing meet FTA preference rules. From 1st January 2022 all suppliers from Europe must have a REX (Registered Exporter) authorisation. The REX number must be shown on their Commercial Invoice for the goods to enter the UK duty free. Any goods arriving at the UK customs border point without the REX authorisation number will have an import duty charge if the products commodity code carries duty. It is important that all businesses bring this to the attention of all their EU suppliers. It is very easy to get REX authorisation and it is free. For UK companies exporting to the EU, they will continue to put officially worded origin declarations on their commercial invoices. For the rest of the world UK-EUR1 preferential trade certificates, Certificates of Origin, invoice statement declarations, long term supplier’s declarations or a trusted trader status (REX, AE, AEO) etc will be used to prove origin.

“From 1st January 2022 all suppliers from Europe must have a REX (Registered Exporter) authorisation” #WCNWChamber100 |



Platts grow Management Team with appointment of new key personnel. Thanks to continued business growth and to fuel further planned expansion in the current months ahead, The Platts Group have made 4 key new appointments of staff to their Management Team since July– at Platts Commercial Services and Platts Agriculture Limited. Nerys Price-Jones joined as Group Head of HR in July, to support Platts people across the Group. She brings with her a wealth of HR experience across a range of industries, from training and development, recruitment and ensuring legal employment compliance – all key areas of importance for Platts.

the Platts Group, as well as overseeing the Production site and Teams. Prior to joining Platts, he was responsible for running operations at Mainetti’ UK-Wrexham Site, where he gained significant experience in the plastics manufacturing and recycling industry. With 3 shifts keeping the Platts production facility operational 24/7, Mik’s experience has meant he’s hit the ground running and is getting to know the team.

“What is important to me and why I chose a career in HR is people. I want everyone to feel proud and secure in work and to ensure that we are all given the opportunity to do and be the best that we can in our roles” says Nerys. Her experience is proving invaluable as the Group continues to grow rapidly.

Finally, Ian Morris also enrolled at Platts Commercial Services as Workshop Manager in September 2021. With a longstanding history working at within the Commercial Vehicles industry, Ian joins Platts with over 18 years’ worth of knowledge in the commercial sector. He’s passionate about good customer relations, and is keen to strengthen the Platts Commercial Services Team as Platts Commercial Services expands.

Mikolaj Pietrzyk joined as Group Health and Safety and Factory Manager in September, responsible for Health and Safety across

This recent growth in the Platts Management Team follows Brian McKay’s return to oversee the Environmental and Compliance

Management for the Platts Group, having previously held various roles including Health and Safety and HR at Platts Agriculture Limited. With key personnel in place, the future is looking bright for the group!

n L to R: Ian Morris, Commercial Garage Manager, and Mikolaj Pietrzyk, Group H&S & Factory Manager, at Platts Agriculture

LV Shipping & Transport becomes LV Logistics LV Shipping & Transport, the internationally operating logistics service provider headquartered in Vlaardingen, is changing its brand name to LV Logistics. The new name better reflects the company’s activities.

Dutch market. With immediate effect, all activities will be carried out under the flag of LV Logistics.

LV Logistics has 33 offices worldwide. The fast-growing company is internationally recognised as a strong and reliable partner in the field of logistics, including large-scale on- and offshore energy projects, such as the construction of wind farms. LV Logistics has the strong ambition to increase its revenue (currently over 200 million euros) to an even higher level in the coming years by providing a broad range of logistics services and by actively responding to new opportunities in the field of supply chain integration and energy transition.

“Our company has existed for 100 years. It is our ambition to grow further at the beginning of our second century. A consistent and clear brand name helps us achieve this. Lensveld was still often used in the Netherlands. Internationally we operated under the name LV Shipping & Transport, which only partly covered the scope of our activities and services. After all, at LV Logistics we are responsible for a large part of the logistics chain, like transport, warehousing, fulfilment service, customs activities and supply chain management and advice. In other words, we want to relieve our customers of all of their worries. The name LV Logistics better reflects what we do and as far as I’m concerned, underlines our innovative strength and growth ambitions for the future.”

The family business was founded in 1921 under the name J. Lensveld & Sons. Lensveld Transport is still a household name in the


Mark van Herk, CEO of LV Logistics:


North Wales entrepreneur named “Entrepreneur for good” at national awards heart of beautiful North Wales dedicated to producing cool prosthetic leg covers. Founded in 2018 by former Paralympic swimmer and medallist, Mark Williams and his wife Rachael, LIMB-art was born out of an overwhelming desire to help other prosthetic users raise their confidence, be proud of what they have and very simply, but equally importantly have fun showing off whilst doing so! North Wales based business founder Mark Williams has been named as Entrepreneur for good winner at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. In partnership with Starling Bank, the ceremony was held at Grosvenor House in London on 22 November and saw 159 entrepreneurs across the UK recognised for their entrepreneurial stories and achievements over the last year. His company, LIMB-art, is a British design and manufacturing company based in the

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards launched in 2012 to celebrate the best of British enterprise, inviting founders from across the UK to apply with their entrepreneurial success stories. This year, after having to hold the awards virtually in 2020, the organisers brought together all eight of their regional shortlists for the first time, with a guest list of 1,200 entrepreneurs, judges, mentors, investors and partners invited to the London celebration.

Cheshire Entrepreneurs Celebrated at House Of Lords

Francesca James, founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, spoke highly of the entrepreneurial talent coming out of this year’s cohort: “It was fantastic to hear so many inspiring business stories after a difficult few years, and even better to have been able to invite all of our finalists to the inperson ceremony and celebrate together. “With more than 1,200 attending, the evening was a real snapshot of the UK economy. The winners were thoroughly deserving, overcoming some stiff competition from their fellow finalists, and we look forward to welcoming them into our alumni community and seeing what they do next.” Mark Williams, Founder and CEO of Limb-Art Ltd commented on his achievement: “I am truly amazed by this recognition and award from what started out not as a business but as a solution to my own body image issue has now grown into Limb-art as we know it today and giving confidence to amputees all around the world from our supply into the NHS for the UK market and for the rest of the world through several distributors as far afield as Queensland” and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support businesses in their communities. This year it is calling on the nation to share a ‘big thank you’ with small firms to recognise their vital role throughout the pandemic.

Inspiring small business owners from across the UK attended a special event ahead of Small Business Saturday. Richard J Smith founder of The Wine School of Cheshire and Mark Jarvis, Managing Director of The Chester Fields, were both invited to a special reception at the House of Lords, to be recognised for their successes and achievements as small business owners.

Richard and Mark said, “We were both thrilled to attend the House of Lords together as Cheshire winners for 2020 and it was fantastic to catch up in person, especially after the challenges for all of us over the last 18 months”

Hosted by Small Business Saturday, in partnership with the campaign’s principal supporter American Express, the event celebrated the SmallBiz100 – 100 inspiring small businesses from all over the country that are highlighted as part of the Small Business Saturday UK campaign.

Bringing together entrepreneurs from this year’s SmallBiz100 line-up and those called out in 2020, the guests were treated to afternoon tea overlooking the Thames. Entrepreneurs from across the country met with Small Business Minister, Paul Scully, along with enjoying the opportunity to come together for the first time since the pandemic hit.

Both The Wine School of Cheshire and The Chester Fields were named a SmallBiz100 in 2020, in recognition of their impressive entrepreneurial journey.

The awards were judged by a panel of industry experts and leaders of influential UK businesses, including some of the prize winners from previous years.

Now in its ninth year in the UK, Small Business Saturday celebrates small business success

Michelle Ovens CBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK said: ‘Hosting this special event at the House of Lords for amazing businesses like The Wine School of Cheshire and The Chester Fields felt like the best way to say a big thank you for their incredible effort and contribution over these past tough couple of years. They can be really proud of everything they’ve achieved, and we hope the afternoon was a positive way to draw 2021 to a close.’ On Small Business Saturday, customers across the UK go out and support all types of small businesses, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Many small businesses take an active role in promoting the day by hosting events and offering promotions. Dan Edelman from American Express said: “It’s so important that we all continue to support our favourite independents on Small Business Saturday and beyond, and we’re proud to play our part through our own Shop Small campaign and as principal supporter of Small Business Saturday.” #WCNWChamber100 |









Gaea Land Services their little patch of Eden. We love working with our customers, green fingered or not, to help them realise their visions for their space. Best moment so far? The best moment for us so far has been how well we have been received in our local community. It is important to us to offer a bespoke and friendly service to our customers and we have been fortunate to have work with and for some amazing people. Biggest challenges? We are confident that our work and quality of finish is always done to an exceptional standard, however it became apparent early on that our business acumen left a lot to be desired. Our biggest obstacle was the steep learning curve we had to climb whilst venturing into making the business idea a reality. Benefits of the Chamber Start-Up club since you joined? Meeting others in a similar position to ourselves was invaluable, it made everything much less daunting knowing there was support from others available to us. We have made friends along the way in various sectors and has been amazing to watch them grow too.

What’s in a name? Gaea features in the mythology of many cultures, being symbolic of Mother Earth and Nature. We felt she represented how we are as individuals as well as how we approach our work. A key part of the company’s ethos is sustainability and preserving the local ecology. Your position? Stephen Hughes and Emma Harding. We are partners in business and at home, we think our skills complement each other nicely. About your business? Gaea is a family run business based in Rhyl, born from a passion for the environment and the outdoors, providing land and garden services. We offer tree, garden, landscape and groundworks. People’s gardens and lands are their patch of paradise, and that’s what we work hard to provide! About you! Stephen – Has worked within large scale civil engineering projects for most of his career, picking up a variety of practical skills and qualifications along the way. Though there has always been a need to pursue a more environmentally attuned way of life, incorporating his personal interest in arboriculture and exploring a more creative career.

Emma – Has worked within a few large public and private institutions over her career. The one thing she always enjoyed and excelled at was working with people. However, she always felt like there was something missing. When the opportunity arose to combine her lifelong love of gardening and nature into a career, whilst still getting to work with and meet amazing new people, it became an absurdity to not go for it!

Lessons learnt …what would you do differently and why? We are in a fortunate position to say that we wouldn’t change or do anything differently. It has been a whirlwind year but we have enjoyed every second. We were lucky to have found support early on which gave us some great foundations for our business that allows us to enjoy our work.

Together our skills and way of thinking complement each other perfectly Why? During lockdown, as for many others, some huge changes occurred within our family. Though the Covid restrictions made things particularly difficult, what it gave us was time to revaluate what was important and led us to the decision to spend every day doing something we loved.

n Stephen Hughes and Emma Harding of Gaea Land Services

The light bulb moment! We have for years chatted about the idea of ‘Gaea’ and how amazing it would be to turn our hobbies and passions into our work. We are so pleased that we took the plunge and turn our little pipe dream into a reality. Who is your ideal client/customer? Our ideal customer is someone who needs help reclaiming #WCNWChamber100 |



The University of Law in partnership with the University of Chester The University of Law (ULaw) is one of the UK’s longest established specialist providers of Legal education and we are delighted to have gone into Partnership with the University of Chester to continue to deliver ULaw’s Postgraduate full-time and part-time professional programmes. This arrangement with the University of Chester means that Ulaw can continue delivering vocational training and working with law firms in the city to nurture future talent. Based at the Queens Park campus in Chester we share a building with the University of Chester’s Business School in its Queen’s Park site, with a spacious library, computer suites, group study spaces and learning pods for quiet study, together with a coffee shop and open plan restaurant.

We provide postgraduate courses for those who have completed a Law degree or for students who have completed a non Law degree and wish to convert to Law. Our conversion courses are designed for those who wish to become successful solicitors or barristers. We have our Find out about our new PGDL, MA courses and SQE courses and start your legal journey with us. Our postgraduate law courses are designed and taught by lawyers with real commercial experience and have a strong emphasis on building the practical skills that employers are looking for. The flexibility of our courses allows you to study in a way that suits you, whether you choose to study on campus or online, full-time or part-time. www.law.ac.uk/locations/chester/

Award-Winning North West agency appoints Independent Non-Executive Director to Accelerate Growth TMC Strategic Communications, an awardwinning creative agency, have appointed Ian Traynor as a Non-Executive Director to accelerate its current business growth. Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, TMC has continued to invest in its business growth strategy, this includes welcoming Ian Traynor as a Non-Executive Director alongside expanding their specialist solutions such as Virtual 3D Environments. These solutions have been delivered for a range of prestigious organisations such as Siemens, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Manufacturing and Technology Centre. Ian, an experienced executive from Corporate and SME businesses, is delighted to be joining TMC at an exciting time and will bring the focus required to take the business to the next level. As a Chartered Director and Fellow of the IoD he has recently been nominated for the accolade of Non-Executive Director of the Year. Ian is also a visiting Fellow of the Henley Business School, where he provides a wealth of experience and insight. This appointment will compliment his current portfolio of NonExecutive Director and Advisor roles. Ian Traynor said: “TMC Creative is an agency built on very solid foundations and lives its values. This approach has led to consistent growth and many awards. Driving the over-arching strategy to rapidly scale-up the organisation, I will bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and


insight through what will be a period of transformation for the Cheshire based creative marketing agency. As TMC continue to focus and build on their core markets within Healthcare, Technology and Manufacturing, it’s worth noting that in the most recent period, they have achieved over 60% year on year growth, with further plans to grow by 50%. Strong governance around this is crucial as we continue our journey. The chosen strategy of accelerated build via a mix of ‘Organic and Buy’ will further accelerate TMC’s ambitions. I am excited to be on-boarding and aiding the business at this time.” Tim McCloud, Managing Director of TMC added: “Having Ian join us as a NonExecutive Director is a great opportunity for TMC. It comes at an extremely exciting stage of our business growth. The addition of Ian to our operations will strengthen our senior management team

in order for us to maintain focus and further develop on our core markets. Our strong performance over recent years in Healthcare and Technology is testament to our ability and skills to deliver for our clients innovative and creative solutions. Our relentless focus on customer service and quality is a cornerstone of our success and one we will maintain going forward”. Alongside TMC’s growth to date, they have also successfully recruited an additional 9 staff across the organisation, with further plans to onboard 5 more in roles across the agency by the end of the 2021. In addition to this, TMC are embracing the Government’s Kickstart scheme initiative. Recruiting a further 6 young people across the team, which will give the Kickstarters’ the opportunity to gain experience and mentoring, supporting them in their career aspirations. Tim McCloud went on to say: “As we continue on this growth journey our commitment to our clients and team will further focus on ESG (Environmental Social Governance). As an agency we will implement initiatives that will support our clients and will be key to our ongoing success, building on the educational and social impact programmes that we currently specialise in.” Embracing the ESG responsibility for its clients, industry and the agency itself, TMC has a proven track record, by delivering engaging programmes and campaigns, that leaves a lasting positive social impact.


Rosebridge finalist in two prestigious industry awards Leading financial planning and wealth management specialist Rosebridge is celebrating after becoming a finalist in two prestigious national industry awards. The Chester-based business, which also has branches in Skipton, Leeds and Ramsbottom, has been shortlisted in both the Money Marketing Awards and the Personal Finance Society Awards, both of which recognise the creme de la crème of the financial sector. Rosebridge is a finalist for the accolade of Advice Firm of the Year in the Money Marketing Awards, which were devised to acknowledge the work of the financial advice profession and the providers which give advisers and their clients the products, services and solutions they need to make

demonstrate expertise, business growth and how they have coped with market and regulatory challenges, particularly during the challenges of the pandemic.

sound financial decisions. The results will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony which will take place later in September at The Happenstance, St Paul’s, London and will be attended by many of the industry’s leading business figures. The business has also made the shortlist in the Personal Finance Society Awards in the category of Chartered Financial Planning Firm of the year. The awards shine the spotlight on firms who deliver exceptional outcomes through the highest standards and the commitment to continuous improvement, inspiring others to follow suit. The winners will be announced at an online event in early November. In both awards, Rosebridge met tough judging criteria to beat off stiff competition nationwide and make it through to the final shortlists. Applicants were required to

PhD student supervises his first industrial scale metal production at LCM for hydrogen storage PhD student, Alex McGrath, said he had a ‘fantastic’ experience at LCM when he was invited into the factory to put his PhD research into practice and to oversee the production of a composition that he is researching at Nottingham University for hydrogen storage. Alex, aged 23, graduated from Lancaster University with an integrated Master of

Engineering in 2020. Shortly after graduating, Alex started his PhD, Doctor of Philosophy in Advanced Materials, and is focussing on sustainable hydrogen. However, this route wasn’t something that Alex had planned. He said: “I didn’t think a PhD was an option for me, but I realised it was the best option of all, and thanks to LCM for partfunding it.” The choice to study Sustainable Hydrogen at the CDT (Centre for Doctoral Training) was heavily influenced by a very important worldwide topic: climate change.

Group CEO Phil Rose said: “It’s a huge honour to be shortlisted for not one but two accolades. Both awards really do showcase the best of the best and the competition is tough from some of the UKs leading organisations. I’m exceptionally proud of the team to have made it this far.” Rosebridge was launched in 2006 and has just entered it’s 15th year of Chartered status. The firm offers professional financial advice to individuals, families, trustees and corporate entities who typically have more challenging and complex requirements when it comes to effectively managing their money. Phil Rose continued: “At Rosebridge, the chartered ethos is ingrained in our firm with customer service and inclusivity at the heartbeat. We are absolutely dedicated to achieving the best possible client experience, building lasting relationships and raising professional standards. Both of these nominations are a reflection of our commitment to this ethos”.

For now, Alex would like to experience firsthand the production of alloys and that is where LCM comes in. Alex explains: “In the future, I would like to create a new composition and make material with LCM. Today we have used a composition which is well known in the marketplace, and my research back at the university will be on how I can improve this alloy by changing the elements used and looking at the production processes to see if there are any adjustments, we can make to improve the product. On the last day at LCM, Alex worked with the laboratory team to analyse the material and he will test the hydrogen storage capabilities when he returns to Nottingham University.

“The work I am doing will be valuable and give me the best chance in my career prospects.”

When asked what the highlights of his visit were Alex said: “It made me appreciate the challenges LCM faces in the industry. I wouldn’t have thought of these challenges if I didn’t have the opportunity to come onsite and see it firsthand. When I am carrying out my research at university it is very different to see what can actually be done at an industrial scale.

Upon completing his PhD in 2024 Alex plans to work as an industrial manufacturer and put his research to the test on a larger scale.

The team at LCM look forward to working with Alex further and supporting his PhD research in sustainable hydrogen.

Alex added: “With the current climate and the shift to green technologies like hydrogen storage, I think it is a good move and a great industry to get involved with.

#WCNWChamber100 |



Business and Governments must unite to hit Net Zero target n Nine out of 10 firms have not done any assessment on a series of key strategies for managing a sustainable transition to net zero n Two thirds (61%) said either capital grants or tax allowances would do most to encourage them to reduce their carbon consumption in the long term. n Most firms recommend the government focus on a transition to more efficient sources of energy A new survey by the British Chambers of Commerce has revealed how challenging net zero targets will be to hit unless governments work with businesses across the globe on making the transition. More than 1,000 businesses, including some from the BCC’s International British Chamber Network, took part in the survey to understand what steps they are already taking to reach net zero and what support would encourage them to further reduce their carbon footprint.

It found most businesses were either unaware of or were not taking steps to get involved in key net zero strategies. These included the impact of changes to food supply chains (93%), a ‘Just Transition’ to net zero (93%), or the use of ‘nature-based solutions’ (89%) It also highlighted that businesses want to see capital grants and tax allowances to support them to make the transition. A previous BCC survey from July that found although most firms were taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, only one in 10 currently measure their carbon footprint, falling to just one in 20 for microbusinesses.

October survey findings The latest data also highlight the divide between larger and smaller businesses, with only 5% of firms with less than 10 employees carrying out an assessment on potential net zero changes to food supply chains, compared with 10% of firms with more than 50 staff. Firms of all sectors and sizes overwhelmingly said that either capital grants or tax allowances would do most to support them to reduce their carbon consumption in the long-term, with 61% citing either of those options as the single most effective type of support. Businesses based outside the UK were also most likely to cite tax allowances as their preferred type of support. The latest data survey also gave an indication of which of the UK’s 10 key priorities for a green industrial revolution were most important to them. It found that 39% recommend prioritising ‘protecting our natural environment’, while 34% favoured ‘greener buildings’, 33% ‘delivering

new and advanced nuclear power’, 33% ‘advancing offshore wind’, and 32% ‘driving the growth of low carbon hydrogen’. Reacting to the findings, Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said: “Everyone is aware that the target of reaching net zero by 2050 is extremely challenging but of historic importance. “There is a real danger that smaller businesses will get left behind unless politicians and business leaders come together to galvanise action. “The steps a High Street hairdresser must take to get to net zero will be very different to those needed for a farmer or those of a component manufacturer. “Larger firms need to help smaller businesses within their supply chains to adapt and adjust. The BCC has developed a Net Zero hub, in partnership with O2, to provide businesses with a one-stop shop on everything they need to know about setting Net Zero targets. “Politicians, for their part, must find ways to help business help themselves, especially smaller firms concerned about extra costs and red tape if they want to adopt green technology and practices. “What we are still lacking is much of the detail. There needs to be both carrot and stick for firms to make the change. We need to know how businesses will be supported to switch from gas boilers, when electric vehicle charging points will become commonplace, how our freight systems will be decarbonised and our energy sources diversified and stabilised. “Inevitably, how we pay for all of this is a big question. The ambitious transition to a carbon neutral economy will put a huge strain on public sector finances in the years to come. “The pandemic means many firms are still struggling to get themselves back on a sustainable footing and cannot currently bear additional tax rises that will further squeeze their cashflow.”



Graduations galore as WeMindTheGap celebrates creating opportunities for young people even in these Covid times Not one, not two, not three but four groups of young people from across Wrexham and Flintshire have celebrated completion of WeMindTheGap’s WeGrow programme! Graduation celebrations for 30 young women who have completed the charity’s WeGrow employment programme were held at Moneypenny and Theatr Clwyd. Friends, families, supporters, employer partners and funders gathered to celebrate these young people’s achievements, which have been made despite the challenges of the global pandemic. While many charities and public services that serve young people have floundered since the first lockdown, the WeMindTheGap team have been more active than ever. As many opportunities for young people dropped away following that first lockdown, and evidence in an increase in social inequality mounted, the charity realised that its programmes were more needed than ever before, and resolved to keep on offering them despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. The result is that the three programmes being run in 2019/20 were paused in March 2020 and then restarted as soon as restrictions allowed in August 2020,

Chester Cathedral given a helping hand Chester Cathedral is one of the heritage sites across England to receive a financial boost thanks to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Administered on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by Historic England, 142 sites will receive support, bolstering local economies and supporting jobs across the country. Money from the government’s £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund is intended to open up heritage and the benefits it brings to everyone, helping to level up and improve life and opportunities for people in places that need it most. Abbey Gateway – the grand entrance to Abbey Square and part of the historic Abbey site – will be undergoing an intense programme of long-overdue conservation

and four new programmes were launched in Autumn 2020 in Manchester as well as Flintshire and Wrexham. In addition, the charity launched a new virtual programme – called WeDiscover – to engage with those many young people aged 16+ isolated by the pandemic. The celebrations were long-awaited for the 2019/20 graduates, whose graduation could not take place last year due to restrictions. A year on from completing the programme, every single graduate from last year is now in full-time work or education: not only have these young people moved from being ‘prisoners of circumstance’ to ‘pilots of their own lives’, they have become active contributors to the North East Wales economy and role models in their own right.

celebrations are a testament not only to them, but to our team, commissioners, supporters, and allies who have worked so tirelessly to create these programmes.” To continue to thrive we need to harness the support of our communities, be loud and proud about our results, and work in partnership with commissioners and corporates with a like-minded approach. If you would like to get involved, then please do not hesitate to get in touch hello@wemindthegap.org.uk / 0333 939 8818.

Rachel Clacher, Chair of WeMIndTheGap says: “What a privilege to share in these young people’s journeys, especially in these unprecedented times. The achievements of these many young people show that transforming young peoples’ futures with opportunities, care and love is an achievable reality with the right support, even in these Covid times. And these and maintenance, including addressing areas of deterioration, preventing the effects of weather on the exposed masonry, and repairing decayed aspects of fabric. The project will also include training opportunities for the Cathedral’s Works Department as they work with contractors to revitalise the building. The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of Chester Cathedral, said: “Abbey Gateway is an important part of both the Chester Cathedral site and the visible heritage of the City of Chester. Its imposing structure provides not only the main vehicular and pedestrian access to the Cathedral estate but is also

an on-street reminder of the Cathedral’s pre-Reformation Abbey status. Indeed, its prominent position on site – as well as the sheer scale of the project – has meant a large conservation project has not been possible in recent years. We are therefore immensely pleased to receive this funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund to enable this project to address the needs of the building and invest in our heritage.” Money from the Heritage Stimulus Fund will also keep our nationally and internationally significant heritage assets in good condition and sustain the skilled craft workforce that looks after them. The latest £35 million funding awards builds on £52 million already allocated from the first round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, which has supported works at 800 of the country’s treasured heritage assets. This includes Blackpool’s iconic Tower Ballroom, the stunning Georgian landscape at Gibside in Gateshead and the tranquil Thornton-le-Beans Chapel in North Yorkshire. n Abbey Gateway is set to undergo an intense programme of conservation and maintenance #WCNWChamber100 |



Welcome Welcometo toWCNW WCNWChamber ChamberofofCommerce Commerce


JMR Cleaning Ltd

Poole Alcock LLP

Brynford House 21 Brynford Street Holywell Flintshire CH8 7RD https://www.azets.co.uk/ 01352 710216

https://www.jmrcleaning.co.uk/ 01745 776500

Minerva House Gadbrook Way Gadbrook Park Northwich Cheshire CW9 7RA https://www.poolealcock.co.uk/ 01606 663989

Burfield Financial Planning Ltd 12 Cheshire Business Park Cheshire Avenue Northwich Cheshire CW9 7UA http://www.burfieldfp.co.uk 01606 839720

Christos Pyrgas 07940 848164

Cryoblast Deflashing UK Ltd Unit 2 BC Estate Miners Road Llay Industrial Estate Wrexham Wrexham County Borough LL12 0PJ https://www.cryoblastuk.com/ 01978 788078

Evans Lamsley Employment Law & HR Solicitors Suite 4b Rossett Business Village Llyndir Lane, Rossett Wrexham Wrexham County Borough LL12 0AY http://www.evanslamsley.com 01244 980680

Goliath XXI https://www.goliathxxi.com/ 07769 845328

HR Change Consultancy https://www.hr-changeconsultancy.com/ 07803 851269

Leonardo Hotel Chester Pepper Street Chester Cheshire CH1 1DW https://www.jurysinns.com/hotels/chester/ leonardo-chester 01244 667600 Lyan Packaging T/A Icertech Lyan Packaging Supplies Ltd T/A Icertech Clywedog Road South Wrexham Industrial Estate Wrexham Wrexham County Borough LL13 9XS https://www.icertech.co.uk/ 01978 661247

Maloney IT 20 Brook Lane Hawarden Flintshire CH5 3PR https://www.maloneyit.co.uk 07874 373120

Oakmere Wealth Management Ltd 14 Warrington Road Cuddington Cheshire CW8 2LJ http://www.oakmerewealth.co.uk 01606 530530

OES Nexus House New Vision Business Park, St Asaph Denbighshire LL17 0LP https://oes-uk.com/ 01745 816473 Paradise Island Adventure Golf Coliseum Leisure Park

Unit 1 b Schappe Building Llay Industrial Estate Rackery Lane, Llay Wrexham Wrexham County Borough LL12 0PB http://razsl.com 01978 532511

Sirius Business Transformation Ltd Tudor House Well Street Ruthin Denbighshire LL15 1AE 01824 703693

Stanley Staff 38 Cambridge Road Ellesmere Port Cheshire CH65 4AG https://www.stanleystaff.co.uk/ 01513 563181

The Amazing Webman https://www.theamazingwebman.com/ 07881 940047 The University of Law University of Law Chester University Queens Park Campus Chester Cheshire CH4 7AD 07734 258247

Ellesmere Port Cheshire CH65 9HD http://www.paradiseislandgolf.com 01418 866600

Thursday’s Child Coaching and Consulting Ltd

Paul Bristow Associates Limited

Obsidian Offices 4 Chantry Court Chester Cheshire CH1 4QN https://www.voltique.co.uk 07450 130559

22nd Floor City Tower Wrexham Hydr Limited Wrexham County Borough http://www.hydr.co.uk M1 4BT 01978 664779 01978 840063


Razsl Ltd

https://www.thursdayschildcoaching.co.uk/ 07907 648960

Voltique Limited

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Adam Jones MD at Lyan Packaging An overview of yourself and your current role. I have been the Managing Director of Lyan Packaging for over 5 years, having worked in the business for 11 years. The company supplies a range of stock and bespoke transit packaging, particularly specialising in temperature controlled packaging for the food industry, under our ‘Icertech’ trading division. As the MD of a small company, I am generally involved in all areas of the business. My role mainly focusses on strategic development, commercial decision making, and general problem solving. I am passionate and care a great deal about everything I do, and always give 100%.

What do you enjoy most about your job? I like the variety in my job, with no two days the same. Although I am not primarily a sales person, I still get a great buzz out of closing a sale or business deal. I take particular satisfaction out of knowing that as a business we take good care of our staff, providing them with a secure job in which they feel respected, and receive training and development opportunities. It is also great to be in a position where I feel we can support our local and wider communities through our business activities.

Was a role like this always what you aspired to? I wanted to be an engineer when I was younger, and I studied for a degree in


engineering at Cardiff University. I have since discovered that engineering has a lot of transferable practical and problem solving skills to my current role. In particular, when I joined 11 years ago we didn’t manufacture any of the products we sell, but I have since set-up and developed the manufacturing of ice-packs for our packaging.

Tell us about your previous roles/ business journey. Following University, I tried a couple of different jobs, one of which was teaching maths at a secondary school! I love inspiring others, but teaching was not what I had expected it to be, and I decided to pursue a career in the private sector. At the time, my Dad was the MD and majority shareholder of Lyan Packaging, and although it was never pre-planned that I would join the ‘family’ business, I had previously worked at Lyan Packaging for a couple of summers as a student. During this time I got to know the business well, working in the warehouse and on the production line, and I found that I enjoyed working for the business. When an opportunity later became available to join the business in a development role, the Directors reached out to me to offer this opportunity, which I gratefully accepted. I studied qualifications in accountancy and developed into a Commercial role within the company, before eventually becoming the MD. In my time with the business, I have played an integral part in developing the Icertech trading division of the business, growing that particular part from £100k turnover in 2010

to £2.7M in 2020. This has been an extremely challenging (at times stressful), and exciting journey.

Tell us a bit about what you do outside of work to relax. I love spending time with my wife and two young daughters outside of work. It is important to me to switch off from work when at home, and I try to have as much fun and be as silly with my kids as I can. I try to go running or out on a bike ride a couple of times a week – this provides a great opportunity for me to clear my head and relax.

In an ideal world, what else would you like to be? In order of preference, an F1 driver, a commercial airline pilot, or a HGV driver. Basically anything that combines spatial awareness with a powerful engine!

What advice would you give to anyone else in business? Never give up. An essential ingredient to success is perseverance. Most successful people have had to overcome a lot of failures and difficulties to get where they are. The ability to bounce-back and learn from failure is key. You only tend to see the positives and end result of someone who has achieved something, but there is usually a lot that lies beneath that. Being honest, and sharing your difficulties and challenges with others can be a great help.









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01978 661 247 | www.lyanpackaging.co.uk | websales@lyanpackaging.co.uk














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01978 661 247 | www.icertech.co.uk | sales@icertech.co.uk



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