CORONAVIRUS AND YOUR BUSINESS Advice for employers Top tips for working from home Legal View: Contracts Plus: IW Councilâ€™s Newport Harbour Masterplan Company Profile: Diametric IW Lottery helps Vectis Refrigeration
In this issue... Editor’s
02 03 08 10
News Business news IW Chamber – your business voice in the Coronavirus crisis Vectis Refrigeration celebrates £45,000 IW Lottery Loan Coronavirus cut-backs: Considerations for employers
WE ARE LIVING IN FAST MOVING AND UNPRECEDENTED TIMES The coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves through all of our lives, threatening not just our health but also the way we work and earn money. The idea that any major incident “probably wouldn’t happen on the Island” no longer holds true. These are different times and this is a different edition of Island Business magazine, where you’ll find articles about adapting to the current situation. We look at lay-off and shorttime working as possible options for employers facing an uncertain future. We also provide some tips for staying productive and healthy whilst working from home.
Elsewhere you’ll still find the stories of business success that you would expect in Island Business; we look at the IW Council’s proposals for Newport Harbour and we visit Diametric for our company profile, to hear the story of an Island based manufacturer with a track record of working for household names. In these difficult times, working together, supporting each other and communicating our successes have never been so important. I hope that Island Business will continue to be able to share these stories in future issues.
TOM STROUD EDITOR, ISLAND BUSINESS
Editor Tom Stroud firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising Amber Beard email@example.com
16 19 20 24
Newport Harbour Masterplan
Company Profile Diametric
Legal View: Contracts and Coronavirus – are you protected? Working from Home New Chamber Members
Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Mill Court, Furrlongs, Newport Isle of Wight, PO30 2AA Tel. 01983 520777
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Island Business Magazine – Published by the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of Island Business magazine the publishers do not accept any liability or provide any guarantee that the information is accurate, complete or up to date. The publisher and its employees and contractors have used their best efforts in preparing these pages and this publication but make no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, with regard to the information supplied. The views of contributors do not necessarily represent those of the IW Chamber of Commerce. The IW Chamber of Commerce and its employees and contractors shall not be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages in connection with, or arising out of, the providing of the information offered here. Island Business magazine is printed by Crossprint, an ISO 9001 registered printer based on the Isle of Wight. Contains material sourced from responsibly managed forests, certified in accordance with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).
Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce
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New contract and ISO certifications for Diverse Marine Cowes based boatbuilder Diverse Marine has signed a new build contract for the construction of a 24m offshore wind crew transfer vessel. The commission comes from Suffolk based windfarm supply company Turner Iceni and Gwynt Y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Ltd who have the vessel under long term charter from next year. Ben Colman, Director of Diverse Marine said “We are delighted to continue our working relationship with Turner Iceni and to be awarded the contract to build the ‘Iceni Valour’. A great deal of work has gone into developing this design to ensure optimum performance. To have signed our fifth new build in two years is incredible and these vessels slot nicely into our scheduling alongside refit and repair projects. We are humbled and very thankful for Turner Iceni’s support and we look forward to delivering this project on budget and on time early next year.” Diverse Marine is also celebrating being certified to ISO9001:2015, ISO14001:2015 and ISO45001:2018 by the British Assessment Bureau. The company is one of very few boat builders in the UK to meet these Quality Management, Environmental Management and Occupational Health & Safety standards respectively. The company engaged and retains the services of Wight Safety Consultancy and is very grateful to Mark and his team for all of their assistance.
Double award nomination for Innovative Physics Shanklin-based AI company Innovative Physics has been shortlisted for a brace of prestigious industry awards. The company has been shortlisted in both the Tech Company of the Year category of the National Technology Awards and in the Business & Product Innovation Awards category in the South East regional finals of the Federation of Small Business (FSB) Celebrating Small Business Awards. Underpinning Innovative Physics’ shortlisting in both awards is the company’s pioneering innovation in AI technology to assist sectors including cancer detection, homeland security and nuclear decontamination. It is now an industry leader in sensor technology, artificial intelligence and pattern recognition renowned for providing effective solutions to complex science and engineering problems. Based at Landguard Manor and with around a dozen employees, the company has at the heart of its success strong links with market contacts and government departments in 35 countries across the world. Mike Anderson, Innovative Physics chief executive said: “Though we work on the international stage we are always very proud of our Island roots and seek to fly the flag for UK and Isle of Wight enterprise wherever we are in the world.”
Walking Angels affiliate partnership for Hovertravel Hovertravel is working with Walking Angels, described as the Isle of Wight's hub supporting Island Care Workers and those who need care in the community, to provide discounted travel across the Solent to their members. Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, said: “We are proud to be an active member of the island community and supporting carers through Walking Angels will
make it easier for them to travel across the Solent. “
organisation, are self-employed or are a fulltime carer for a relative.
Hovertravel is joining 35 island businesses offering discounts via the Walking Angels affiliate scheme. The Walking Angels membership programme offers all Isle of Wight care workers, Healthcare Assistants and Personal Assistants the opportunity to join a caring community, whether they work for an
Andy Hibbert, Operations Director at Walking Angels, added: “We have teamed up with many Island businesses supporting this worthy service to offer exclusive discounts as, like us, they recognise that a care worker’s health and wellbeing is paramount.”
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IW Chamber –
YOUR BUSINESS VOICE IN THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS By IW Chamber Chief Executive Steven Holbrook
The Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce has always been the voice of Island businesses, representing hundreds of member businesses and in turn, many thousands of employees. Your Chamber has taken the lead in providing an essential connection between businesses and the government during the economic emergency wrought by the Coronavirus pandemic. I am speaking with the Island’s MP Bob Seely on a daily basis, passing on all of the concerns shared with me by members. This new working partnership has also included conference calls with the local authority and many Island businesses who have been able to provide first-hand evidence of problems that our MP has subsequently been able to raise directly at Westminster. At the Chamber we welcome the government’s package of support for business, including the remarkable grants to cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month. The deferral of VAT payments will also help businesses to continue to pay their people and suppliers. These measures must also be supported by the detail and the full information to allow businesses to take informed decisions. The support from government will give many Island businesses some breathing space but the measures may not go far enough and the hospitality and tourism sectors will potentially suffer the most from the enforced shutdown. We must support local businesses as much as possible and our challenge is to find creative ways in which we can do so. The clock is ticking and many businesses will be forced to move quickly into decisions on how to sustain operations long term. Cash flow is crucial at this time and for some businesses a period of “hibernation” may be the only way forward to
protect their livelihoods in the long term. Continuing to trade and keeping people in work as much as possible are essential for our economy. Business must continue as much as possible and we are all being forced to be more agile, embracing flexible working and where possible, working remotely. We are living in unprecedented times and membership of the Chamber has never been so vital or valuable. Businesses who are IW Chamber members have unlimited access to five business advice lines, providing free round-the-clock Legal, Financial and HR support and guidance. Members are also protected by £1m of excess-free business insurance. I would urge every member to make the most of the services included as part of their membership and I hope we will continue to count them as members in future years. I would also urge members to encourage non-member businesses to join the Isle of Wight Chamber, to protect themselves in the difficult times we all face. Our membership team is here to support you, for member businesses of all ages. We don’t know how long this pandemic will last. The Coronavirus and our response to it look set to alter the way we live and work for many months and years to come. As employers we carry a responsibility to our staff. Their safety, health and well-being are the priority. We must all follow the relevant advice and take care of ourselves and others.
GET YOUR BUSINESS IN ISLAND BUSINESS! If you’ve got a news story then get in touch. It could be a new contract, a milestone, an anniversary, a new appointment or a celebration. Send your 200 word story, with photo, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Gold win for Red Squirrel Property Shop Island estate agent Red Squirrel Property Shop has picked up a prestigious industry award for the second consecutive year. The team won the Gold Isle of Wight Letting Agent trophy at the British Property Awards, performing outstandingly throughout the extensive judging period, which focused on customer service levels. Agents who go the extra mile and provide outstanding levels of customer service are rewarded with the independently judged awards, designed to act as a beacon to highlight these attributes to their local marketplace. “Winning this award is overwhelming and we are so proud of our team and our continued excellence,” says Red Squirrel’s managing director Charlie Panayi. “It demonstrates how we always put our customers first, considering what is best for them whether we can help or not and shows that we really are an estate agent that is different. It confirms all the hard work behind the scenes and winning these awards makes us so happy to know we offer the best service to our island.” Red Squirrel Property Shop’s Charlie Panayi
Red Squirrel Property Shop has also been shortlisted for a number of national awards, to be announced early next year.
Radio awards spotlight winning businesses Island businesses celebrated their success at Isle of Wight Radio’s recent Best in Business Awards 2020, held at Lower Hyde in Shanklin. The event marked the start of Isle of Wight Radio’s 30th birthday celebrations and was sponsored by Red Squirrel Property Shop. Briddlesford Farm took the Isle of Wight Produce of the Year award and the Best Place to Work, sponsored by WP Recruitment and HR Limited, went to Hose Rhodes Dickson. The Brightbulb Design, winners of IW Radio’s Overall Best Business of The Year Family Business of the Year Award with Hillbans Pest Control went to Med Tec Design Services, and the Employee of the Year Award, with HTP Apprenticeship College, went to the Seaview Hotel’s Jackie Scott-Jackson. Tapnell Farm’s ‘Tapland’ winter experience was crowned the Top Event of 2019, sponsored by Stagegear Rentals. The Best Place to Stay award, with Wight Fire and Security, was given to The Royal Hotel, while the Isle of Wight Steam Railway scooped the Best in Tourism Award, supported by Visit Isle of Wight. Overall Best Business of the Year - with Red Squirrel Property Shop, was won by Brightbulb Design.
Smart Island Live postponed Organisers of Smart Island Live are assuring delegates, exhibitors and sponsors that the event will take place later this year. Originally set for May, the event will move to a new date which will be announced shortly, in collaboration with host venue CECAMM. Smart Island Live founder, Vince Wedlock-Ward comments: “We know this is disappointing news, but our first responsibility is to deliver a safe and enjoyable event. This is best achieved by rescheduling for later in the year. We are grateful that our excellent guest speakers are all planning to join us for our new date. We are also looking to use the time now to add in some extra items to the event programme.” To keep updated on the event, visit: www.smartisland.live
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Coronavirus: WightAID supports frontline charities The Isle of Wight Council and the funding body WightAID have joined forces to ensure frontline charities to the coronavirus response receive the support they so desperately need. For the next few months, WightAID will focus its grant giving to those in the most critical need. This includes — but is no way limited to — the Isle of Wight Foodbank as well as homelessness, mental health and bereavement charities working on the Island. Geoff Underwood, WightAID chairman and High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight, said: "As we enter a period of considerable difficulty, it is even more important than ever for us to stay together and support those most in need. Hopefully, this pandemic will reduce to manageable levels within a few months, but we have a fight on our hands.
Now more than ever, we need the people of the Isle of Wight to dig deep and support those less well off. Even though times will be difficult, now is the time for everyone to do their bit." Council leader Dave Stewart added: "The council is delighted to be working alongside WightAID in delivering crucial support to charities working at the forefront of the Covid-19 crisis. While recognising the enormous strain being placed on our business community at this time, I would implore you to give what you can to this important appeal." Businesses, both large and small, are being asked to show their resolve and put something towards their community via WightAID at www.wightaid.org
WightAID founder Geoff Underwood
Robust remote working support from Wight Computers Remote working is second nature to the multi-award-winning team at Wight Computers as they often help customers remotely using screen sharing software. Now, given the ever-changing situation surrounding COVID-19, and with the official guidance from the Government fully endorsing working from home wherever possible, the team have been using their innovative skills and experience, working flat out to help businesses get their staff setup for remote working from home. Managing director Andrew Nordbruch said, “During this uncertain time, businesses want to put their continuity plans in place and with security and GDPR compliance critical, we can make sure that systems are not compromised even when company data is being accessed from home. “We took the decision early on to close our office and to work remotely. We know that a lot of businesses have decided to do the same and we’re here to help make that shift as seamless as possible for them. Wight Computers has always played an active part in the Island’s business community and we want to do what we can to help businesses continue to work in these unprecedented times by doing what we do best - providing the very best possible IT service and support.”
Ascensos partners with Isle of Wight College to focus on Mental Health Ascensos, the customer contact business, has teamed up with the Isle of Wight College to deliver a full-day First Aid course focused on mental health in the workplace. Employees learned how to spot the signs of mental distress in themselves and fellow colleagues. Attendees received a certificate confirming their new status as 'Mental Health First Aid Champions' after completing the course, provided by Mental Health First Aid England in conjunction with the Isle of Wight College. Claire Sixsmith, Head of Operations at Ascensos said: “We feel it is important, particularly in the workplace, that our colleagues feel confident to talk openly about their mental well-being. This course has helped our colleagues identify stress factors and to notice if individuals may be experiencing mental health challenges. More importantly it has encouraged discussions about mental health. “We all have mental health, just as we have physical health, but it can sometimes seem more difficult to spot the signs of mental ill health. At Ascensos, we understand the importance of spotting these signs and creating an environment with positive well-being.”
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FEATURE - VECTIS REFRIGERATION
Vectis Refrigeration celebrates £45,000 loan from Isle of Wight Lottery Cowes based Vectis Refrigeration is the latest Island business to benefit from the support of the Isle of Wight Lottery. Founder Will Overton has taken out an interest free lottery loan of £45,000 that will enable him to bring in two new employees as well as providing the specialised training and equipment that is essential in this highly regulated industry. Will has been using the latest technology to provide repairs, service and maintenance on commercial refrigeration equipment since he founded the business in 1999. “Vectis Refrigeration has seen rapid growth over recent years,” Will explains. “The loan and our growing team also supports the expansion of new preventative and maintenance plans that are much in demand from local businesses and national contractors. We have also invested in a new custom built trailer unit, which we have christened ‘Elsa’. It’s the first available for support, hire or rent directly from an island provider.” The new 2.9m long unit is fully fitted and capable of maintaining temperatures as low as -18/-20c in addition to being used as a chiller unit. The trailer boasts remote temperature monitoring and will be available to provide emergency refrigeration and temporary storage for frozen and chilled goods at commercial
establishments and events across the island, including supermarkets and at the sites for island food producers.
Winning numbers More than 400 jobs have been created by more than a hundred interest-free loans to businesses, thanks to the Isle of Wight Lottery. Since its inception in 2002 the lottery has now loaned more than £900,000 to more than 90 Island businesses. Vectis Refrigeration is the latest in a long list of Island businesses that also includes Rapanui, Wyatt & Jack, Ann Ginger Soft Furnishings, Bright Bulb Design, Bump Express, Crossfit Valentis, Nosy Design, Greef’s Biltong, West Wight Sports Centre and the Bay Tree Florist, all of whom have been helped with interest
Vectis Refrigeration’s Will Overton receives his loan from the IW Lottery’s Steve Porter
free loans from the Isle of Wight Lottery. Isle of Wight Lottery loans are interest free, repayable over two to five years, for any amount between £500 and £50,000. The loaned money has to be used to create or sustain Island jobs. If you’re a business that wants to grow, it’s never been easier to borrow money from the Isle of Wight Lottery. Give us a call on 529888 to talk about how we can help you. Playing the Isle of Wight Lottery supports Island jobs. It’s a win for everyone. Just £1 a week gets you in the draw to stand the chance of winning more than 500 prizes each year including the £10,000 monster prize. Join today!
“This loan from the Isle of Wight Lottery enables us to expand our position as the leading provider of refrigeration services on the Island, increasing employment and expanding our services.” Will Overton, Vectis Refrigeration
Vectis Refrigeration is unique on the island in holding both Safe Contractor Accreditation and Fgas Elite Certification.
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HR SPECIAL FEATURE
HR SPECIAL FEATURE
Coronavirus cut-backs: Considerations for employers The Coronavirus pandemic is hitting many businesses hard. Even with government measures to fund wages, some businesses will still be contemplating tough decisions. Real Employment Law Advice’s Alison Colley writes for Island Business about the next steps for employers.
In light of the current crisis many businesses have been looking at making cuts to their costs as quickly as possible, and with wages being one of the highest overheads for many Island businesses, the most frequently asked question has been, ‘how can I afford to pay the wage bill when I am unable to trade?’ This has led to various discussions about options for employers. Resoundingly employers wanted to avoid making redundancies and dismissing staff for as long as possible, firstly because they recognise the need to keep the good quality trained staff onboard for when things pick up again and secondly because the costs of redundancy pay would be crippling for the business, especially as in 3-4 months they would hopefully be looking to replace them and with this comes the associated costs of recruitment and training.
Short-time working Is where an employee’s hours and pay are temporarily reduced, thereby providing the employee with less work than their contract states. The employee's pay for the week must be less than half a week's pay to qualify as being short-time working.
Consequences of Lay-off and Short-time working To lay-off an employee or put them on short-time working without any contractual right to do so, i.e. no express clause in their contract stating that you can, is a breach of contract. This means that if the employee disagrees with your actions, they have the option to: 1)
Accept the breach and remain in employment without taking any action.
Make a claim for their loss as a result of the employer’s breach of contract.
Claim unlawful deductions from wages.
To lay-off a member of staff is to temporarily send them home with no work or pay.
Resign and make a claim for constructive unfair dismissal (if they have been employed for 2 years or more).
Fortunately, there are a couple of options available to employers to avoid redundancies and to make temporary cuts to the wage bill, whilst retaining staff.
The law states that an employee has been laid off for a week if: •
The employment contract provides that whether or not the employee is are paid depends on the employer providing them with the work they are employed to do.
They are not entitled to any pay that week because their employer does not provide work for them.
Employees can claim a statutory guarantee payment An employee who is laid-off or on short-time working can claim a statutory guarantee payment of £29 a day for 5 days (within a 3-month period). THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT
HR SPECIAL FEATURE
Claim for redundancy pay An employee who is laid-off or on short-time working (or a combination of the two) for at least: •
four or more consecutive weeks; or
a total of six weeks (of which no more than three are consecutive) in any period of 13 weeks
can make a claim to their employer to be made redundant and therefore receive a statutory redundancy payment. An employer can resist this claim if there is going to be work available for them within 4 weeks of the employee serving the notice. This means that if the lay-off or reduction in work is going to be long-term it may not be possible for an employer to avoid redundancy pay.
Furlough/Job retention scheme and government funding Fortunately, before many businesses had to implement hard decisions about unpaid lay off and redundancies the government have announced a means for businesses to preserve jobs during this crisis. For businesses who must close or make cutbacks due to lack of or reduced income, the government will step in and pay 80% of wages for those employees who are furloughed. Furloughed means to temporarily tell employees they are not required to work, normally in situations of extreme or unusual circumstances (such as now!). This situation of furloughing employees is different from lay-off (set out above) as they will be receiving at least 80% of their normal pay (up to £2,500 per month) in this time. Therefore, employees furloughed will be unable to apply for redundancy in the same way as someone who is laid off without pay could. There are a lot of details missing currently about how the scheme, this is what we know for certain at the time of writing. 1.
Employees need to be undertaking no work for you to qualify for the scheme.
If you delay furloughing staff and they remain at work, then you will not be able to recoup the 80% for this period. Employees need to be laid-off and not undertaking any work for you to qualify.
You need to notify employees of the change preferably in writing.
Unless you have a lay-off clause in your contracts or some other written or implied right to reduce pay then you will be in breach of contract if you furlough and pay 80% of wages.
If you do not top up the additional 20% wages, thereby leaving the employee out of pocket, they could make a claim for unpaid wages and/or breach of contract. This is because employees have the contractual right to be paid in accordance with their contract terms. The reality is that in the current situation many employees would rather retain their employment and receive 80% pay than take the chance of resigning and/or making a claim against their employer. It has been repeatedly stated that it is ‘unprecedented times’ and fortunately many people understand the reality that employers need to make quick and (hopefully) temporary cut backs in order to save jobs and the ultimately to save the businesses so that there is something to come back to when this situation has been resolved. 5.
You can top up the employees’ wages (beyond the 80%) but are not required to do so in order to access the 80% funding (noting of course the point about breach above).
You will have to pay the wages and recover this from HMRC. The indication is that the repayment will not be available until May, so you need to be prepared from a cashflow perspective. This is where the government loans and grant schemes come in for this interim period.
Further advice It is an ever changing situation for employers and employees and the Real Employment Law Advice team are available to provide legal and practical advice so you can make a decision that is best for you in this time. Alison Colley is a solicitor and founder of Real Employment Law Advice. Alison specialises in providing advice to Employers and Employees on all aspects of Employment Law and HR, including mediation and dispute resolution within the workplace. Contact Alison or the team on 01983 897003 or you can find details at www.adviceforemployers.co.uk/coronavirus
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ISLAND BUSINESS MAGAZINE Every month Island Business magazine spotlights the people and companies that are making the news on the Isle of Wight. If you’ve got a story to share with the Island’s business community, start with Island Business. Every edition is emailed directly to thousands of Island business people and the physical edition is racked across the Island at high footfall locations. It’s also directly mailed to all Chamber members. If your business is growing, investing, celebrating, winning awards, appointing new staff or marking a milestone then get in touch. Send your news stories to the editor, email@example.com. Find out more about advertising, marketing opportunities and how we can help you to raise your profile by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
FEATURE - NEWPORT HARBOUR MASTERPLAN
NEWPORT HARBOUR MASTERPLAN Newport is leading the Island’s bounce back! Why the Newport Harbour Masterplan is great news for the Island economy By Chris Ashman, Director of Regeneration, Isle of Wight Council
As the Island, UK and global economy face major challenges, in current uncertain times, there is increased significance for any project that can bring £100m of investment to the island over the next 10 years, creating a new expanded town centre in the island’s county town, supporting creation of new jobs across a range of sectors.
centre and setting out proposals for an iconic new cultural centre, hotel accommodation, waterside apartments, housing and new business space for local companies. Keeping Newport's historic role as a working harbour and improving its attractiveness as a leisure destination are further key features of the plans, which also include a new cycle/foot bridge linking the two sides of the River Medina.
The long-awaited plans for the regeneration of Newport Harbour area recently announced by the Isle of Wight Council, will form the springboard to bring forward investment in the area from 2022. The intention is for the new masterplan to complement the “Shaping Newport” regeneration delivery strategy over the coming years as the project proceeds on a phased basis.
The aim is to create a vibrant and economically sustainable Newport that creates not just a new destination for the island, which will be home to more community facilities, arts and culture uses, cafes and restaurants, but can also offer cost effective employment space to help support local companies.
“Shaping Newport” is a partnership regeneration plan involving the community council, the Newport Business Association and the Isle of Wight Council. It seeks to “future-proof” the town centre positioning Newport as a destination in its own right. A new masterplan has been produced by the local authority, establishing a revitalised harbour district, extending the town
The investment in physical and economic infrastructure for the area will be welcome news, not just for Newport, but the island as a whole, breathing new life into the county town. The harbour masterplan follows 18 months of research and consultations and a financial assessment of the plan’s feasibility to ensure sufficient funding is generated to improve harbour facilities, attracting more users and key infrastructure, such as the maintenance of the harbour walls. THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT
FEATURE - NEWPORT HARBOUR MASTERPLAN
Highlights to pick-out from the masterplan are: Cultural Destination The ambition for part of the site on the waterfront subject to more detailed feasibility, is the opportunity to provide a building which is capable of hosting conference facilities, which are lacking on the island, and a flexible venue capable presenting either permanent or touring mixed arts and events.
Hotel opportunity Near the cultural destination, the Council’s surface car park would be an ideal location for a hotel, sitting between the historic town centre and the harbour. It will have excellent synergy with the ambition for the cultural and conferencing destination on the neighbouring site close to the town centre.
adjacent to Sea Close Park creating a new entrance point to the town from Fairlee Rd.
Commercial Opportunities Providing affordable and flexible business space is an important aspiration for the project, this will allow a range of businesses to establish the area as an important part of the island’s offer to small, medium sized enterprises. The space comprises a mix of refurbishment of existing buildings or new build plots.
An important link across the harbour is planned with a new foot and cycle bridge makes the connection to the west quay and the industrial area, the college and hospital beyond to the harbour and park which is expected boost economic activity on the east quay.
The integration of approximately 250 housing units within the mix of uses is important to bring a range of housing for local people which is affordable, providing excellent access to the town centre. The two primary areas are on the waterfront and
Early “meanwhile use” projects for the harbour include the potential use of former Island line carriages to provide quirky co-working an café space in advance of the refurbishment of nearby former warehousing.
“These ambitious but deliverable proposals are the result of the imaginative feedback gained from local consultations. They have already been well received by potential developers and will help re-establish Newport’s position as the Island’s county town.” Councillor Wayne Whittle, IW Council cabinet member for business development and regeneration
Have your say on the future of Newport Harbour The plans for the harbour are available to view and comment on, up to 20th April on the council’s planning portal website under “Supplementary Planning documents” www.iow.gov.uk/Residents/EnvironmentPlanning-and-Waste/PlanningPolicy-new/Supplementary-PlanningDocuments/About-1718
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“Local business across the Island welcome the publication of the plans for Newport Harbour; they contain some really exciting ideas to breathe new life into the harbour and we are particularly keen to see the plans for the new harbour side business units creating more jobs in the county town.” Norman Arnold, chair of the Federation of Small Businesses on the Isle of Wight and the Island Economic Board
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FEATURE – WIGHTFIBRE
For many businesses, social responsibility and giving back to the communities we serve are not only powerful but high on the agenda. No less so at WightFibre, where the ‘because we care’ ethos runs through the heart of a local Isle of Wight business and is very much part of the company identity.
For WightFibre, charity starts at home
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These charitable works are very much aimed at benefiting the Island community, however ‘giving back’ in this way is also good for business. Boosting morale and creating a culture of care that promotes a very positive attitude across the WightFibre team - reflected in the high standards of care and attention afforded to every customer across the rapidly expanding broadband network. What makes this support more unusual is not only its long term nature, but the broad range of charities and good causes covered. From supporting musical theatre workshops, IW Pride and providing youth football kits to sponsoring Isle of Wight Day, manufacturing awards and the IW Radio Toy Appeal to charity raffle prizes, Green Impact events and the Foodbank. The Star Wars blockbuster films alone have enabled WightFibre to host three charity premiere screenings over the past four years, with 850 VIP guests attending Cineworld in Newport. The events raised almost £15,000 for Cowes based charity UKSA, helping to provide almost 500 places for Year 6 pupils from across the island to join their ‘Test the Water’ programme. The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, who work to support young people to rebuild their confidence after cancer recently received a £2,500 contribution from WightFibre and commented: “Thank you to WightFibre for contributing towards our new EMC Trust van. We're super grateful for the support which helps us reach more young people & build better connections.”
of Wight Awards, now in their fourth year and the Local Hero Awards which have seen WightFibre as title sponsors for the sixth year running. These events celebrate so much that is good about the island and are an inspiration to many.
The continuing support and commitment of WightFibre is reflected in the IW Radio Child
Research has also shown that taking an active interest in your community helps to develop
an emotional attachment between a company and its customers, as each work to better the communities in which they live with a common purpose. For WightFibre it helps to connect with the community they serve and the commitment every member of the WightFibre team has to the company’s ‘because we care’ ethos.
COMPANY PROFILE - DIAMETRIC
DIAMETRIC Joe Newnham, General Manager
LABELLED WITH LOVE: The manufacturing team at Diametric in Newport are behind some of the UK’s biggest brands. By Tom Stroud It’s something of a well-kept secret but inside Diametric’s manufacturing plant on Manners View a small but loyal team produce commercial badges, labels, nameplates and fascias for names like Aston Martin, McLaren, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley, Naim Audio and Roberts Radio. They work with local businesses too, supplying branding and parts for IFPL, Marine Data Systems and Spinlock. “We’re the brand behind the brand,” explains managing director Graham Steele. “We work across many sectors including marine, education, military, automotive or for anyone that needs a label.” Graham has worked for Diametric for seventeen years, joining the company at the same time as his colleague Steve Watts. In 2015 Graham and Steve led a successful management buy-out and today they run the business together, with Steve working as plant director. Diametric’s Newport factory is supported by a mainland sales team, based in Southampton.
“It’s a small team but they're devoted and they really make this business,” says general manager Joe Newnham. “We dispatch somewhere between 12 and 20 packages in any one day and they can be valued at hundreds of pounds or many thousands of pounds. It's a real range of products and we have around 15 individual manufacturing processes meaning no two days are the same, which is great.” Joe joined Diametric 18 months ago. He’s overseeing major investment in the factory, with a £150,000 project to add a mezzanine floor that will increase capacity by a third, as well as creating new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities. “Everybody's trying to drive price down, so we're constantly looking at what we can do to evolve, improve and reduce our lead time. The current climate is challenging but I'm confident in our strategy. We've got a number of initiatives that we're implementing in terms of lean manufacturing. We've installed a new software system which is capturing lots of data for us and we're learning to use that data to make improvements to the manufacturing
Graham Steele, Managing Director
“The buy-out was good for us and the staff,” Graham explains. “It caused minimal disruption, rather than if it had gone through a trade sale. The previous directors had leant on Steve and I to run each site so taking the helm of the company wasn't too daunting because we were already entrenched in running it.”
In 2019 Diametric shipped more than two million products from their Newport factory, manufacturing more than six million badges and labels. The company is in a strong financial position, with a turnover of £5.3m that has grown steadily year-on-year, to more than three times their turnover of £1.7m in 2009. It’s a big achievement for the team of 16.
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COMPANY PROFILE - DIAMETRIC
process, helping us to shorten lead times and reduce material usage and scrap.” With an established background in automotive and manufacturing on the Island, Joe’s keen to engage more with local businesses as well as evolve Diametric’s offering to existing customers. “My main focus is on the Island and we’ve become active Chamber members,” Joe says. “I think we have a big opportunity
to grow the business here. The irony is that Diametric has been here since the 1980s but we're reintroducing ourselves now. Some of the technical projects that we deliver to Island businesses are incredible but we haven’t shouted about that. We want other businesses to know that we’re here. Everybody needs to brand themselves and having somebody like us on your doorstep is a massive advantage.”
offer that as a service too, working to lift a
Graham recognises that although Diametric’s reputation and client base are enviable, their track record might make them look ‘too big’ for smaller firms. On the other hand, the houeshold names can make it harder for Diametric to promote its own identity.
Reinforcing that commitment to quality
“For us the frustration in marketing is the fact that our brand sits behind other people’s brands,” Graham says. “When you see the badges for McLaren, Jaguar and Land Rover they were probably made by us. When we go to trade exhibitions our client list can scare potential customers but we’re keen to stress that we deliver quantities of between one and a million and anywhere in-between. “We provide brand identity services. We work with global leading automotive OEMs and we learn from them because we sit with their marketing departments and their corporate ID strategists. We can APRIL 2020
client’s own brand in the marketplace. “We are very fortunate in the reputation that we've got within the industry. We pride ourselves on our customer service. If you buy a Jaguar, Land Rover or McLaren you receive first-class service and we apply those standards whether you’re buying a barcode label or you're buying a high-end electroformed badge from us.”
in 2018 the team celebrated receiving JLRQ status, the quality trust mark from Jaguar Land Rover. It’s an accreditation that opens doors within their sector and is rarely achieved by companies of Diametric’s size. The business also picked up SME of the Year in 2018 and Management Team of the Year 2019 at the Solent Business Awards. “We’re very fortunate to have a loyal team,” Graham says. “We've got very specialist machinery and their knowledge and skills learnt over the years are second to none. When clients visit us they can see that. We're not just a company that talks about wanting to be on the Isle of Wight. We truly believe that this is a fantastic place to manufacture. We've had a lot of success here and we want to share that story with our clients as well as potential new customers.”
To s p e a k t o o n e o f o u r e x p e r t s p l e a s e c a l l u s o n 0 1 9 8 3 5 2 7 8 7 8
Island knowledge, national expertise At Glanvilles Damant, we are committed to achieving the highest standards and the best results for our clients. We pride ourselves on putting the needs of our clients at the heart of everything we do. Please contact us now to find out how we can help you.
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FEATURE – LEGAL VIEW
Contracts and Coronavirus –
ARE YOU PROTECTED? By Lee Peckham, Roach Pittis
We have received a number of calls from clients who are concerned as to their contractual position following the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. As everyone will be aware, the pandemic is already having a significant impact upon the economy and obviously many local businesses have been affected. Many events have been cancelled and people have been told to stay away from various venues, and those who rely upon footfall are being most badly impacted. Consequently, various businesses are forced to suspend their operations or find other ways of dealing with situations and that, in turn, is having an impact upon supply chains and particularly the contracts that link one supplier to another. The question immediately arises therefore as to what do you do if you find yourself in the situation where the person you are supplying is either unable to pay you or decides to try to cancel their contract with you; or, perhaps because you have not been paid yourself, you are unable to pay your own supplier? The general principle in law is that contracts which require ongoing performance are, generally speaking, absolute. What that means is that even if a party is unable to perform its obligations as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, they remain potentially liable for their failure to perform. I.e. just because the person that you were supplying to has cancelled/failed to pay you, does not necessarily mean that you are no longer liable to pay your supplier. The two exceptions to this general principle are the application of any force majeure clause in a contract and, failing that, the contract law principle of frustration. APRIL 2020
A force majeure clause is a particular type of “boilerplate” clause in a contract that allows a party to either suspend or terminate their obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance either impossible, illegal or inadvisable. All of these clauses differ and so the wording of any particular clause will need to be considered very carefully to see if it is applicable. Businesses affected would need to consider the following:
In the absence of any force majeure clause, the parties might be able to turn to the contract law doctrine of frustration. In very short compass, if the doctrine is engaged, it allows a party to be discharged from its contractual obligations in the event that a change in circumstances makes it commercially or physically impossible to perform the contract, or would make performance of the contract very different to what it would have been. In practice, there is a high bar and the Courts generally do not like to invoke frustration. Each case turns upon its own merits and the position would need to be considered carefully.
whether the coronavirus epidemic is specifically covered as a force majeure event in the contract. That would appear to be unlikely in the circumstances.
even if it is not, whether it will fall under the general force majeure wording.
whether causation has to be established (i.e. proof that it is indeed the coronavirus that has caused the contract to be unperformable).
whether a duty to mitigate applies.
what the outcome will be if you can establish force majeure.
whether there is any duty to mitigate your loss.
In essence, the clause will need to be considered very carefully to see if it is applicable. If it is, then that may well allow you to terminate the contract and be relieved of your contractual obligations; equally, another party may well be able to do the same thing to you.
Having said that, it seems highly likely that there will be circumstances in the current pandemic where frustration will apply and, if it does, it would allow recovery of monies paid under the contract before it was discharged but subject to an allowance, at the Court’s discretion, for any expenses incurred by the other party.
Insurance It goes without saying, that businesses should, of course, review their insurance policies to see if they have cover. Sadly, it is quite likely that a lot of businesses do not hold standard “business interruption” insurance and, even if they do, that the various conditions and thresholds within may not be met. If this is an area that is likely to affect you or your business, then it may be wise to obtain expert legal advice in respect of your contractual position. Lee Peckham is a Director at Roach Pittis Solicitors, he specialises in litigation.
FEATURE – WORKING FROM HOME
Top tips on working remotely without becoming remote
By Tom Stroud
For many businesses the idea of “working from home” is far from the norm but the Coronavirus pandemic is forcing us all to change the way we work. Home working might have been seen as something of a luxury until now, or even have been regarded with suspicion by some bosses or colleagues. Right now, for many of us, it’s the only option. Working from home definitely comes with challenges. How can you work effectively? And if your home is now your workplace, what does that do to your work-life balance? In the current climate of social distancing and potential self-isolation, with additional pressures on our family lives, things can easily get tough.
Get comfortable… Think about your posture. Get yourself a good chair, at a desk or table. Tempting as it might be, a bed or a sofa isn’t ideal. Choose a well lit room. A window can provide daylight as well as a sense of connection with the outside world. But don’t get too comfortable You’re at work, remember? Some authors can’t write at home unless they’re wearing shoes –it tells their brain that they’re on the job. Shower and get dressed properly before you start. Cleanliness and discipline are your friends in these difficult times. Pretend you’re heading in to the office, even if you’re not.
Get started Procrastination is the enemy, especially if your boss isn’t watching. Make a list for each day to give you a structure similar to your office routine. Doing the more mechanical things first can be a good way of warming up, saving the phonecalls for later in the day.
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FEATURE – WORKING FROM HOME
Get the right tools Software can make life much easier and keep you connected with colleagues. Microsoft Teams can keep conversations, files and meetings organised in Office 365. Slack and Trello are popular alternatives. Google Suite is fine for spreadsheets and other simple documents. Dropbox also allows for collaborative work and it’s a great way of sharing files, as is WeTransfer.
You won’t be commuting but it’s easy to underestimate how much our brains rely on the journey to work. While we’re travelling we’re also organising our thoughts. On the way in we’re psyching ourselves up and on the way home we’re processing the day. You wouldn’t expect to sit at your desk within seconds of leaving your front door, or vice versa. Allow yourself time to adjust and refocus, especially if your partner is also working from home. Going straight from the desk to the
Zoom is popular for videoconferencing but Skype is well
dinner table isn’t great for work-life balance. Your brain will still
established; WhatsApp is ubiquitous and a multi-platform
be in “work” mode.
alternative to Apple’s Facetime. Group video chats are often the easiest replacement for traditional meetings, ensuring the team works efficiently without feeling isolated.
Don’t forget the phone Unfashionable as it might seem, the phone is still a great way of getting things done. Emails are impersonal and your tone of voice can be so much more persuasive. For home workers a phonecall can be a welcome piece of social interaction. Get a headset too, or use headphones with a built in microphone.
Get the support you need to do the job Don’t feel alone or out of your depth. If you’re leading a team, make sure your staff can do their jobs as realistically as possible. Business continuity depends on resources so make sure your staff are well supported with IT back up and HR access. Consider the security implications of working from
Think about your shift pattern and talk to your boss. Our office hours are dictated by the office, typically 9-5, Monday to Friday. If you’re not actually in the office, it’s a moment to change things up, if you so desire, perhaps with child care or personal space in mind. If it suits you to work a Saturday instead of a Wednesday, why not?
Take a break Remember to eat and not at your desk. A change of scenery is important. Eat healthily - you’re burning fewer calories after all - and the fridge is a temptation to resist. Fresh air and exercise are important, especially as you won’t be walking to work. Avoid cabin fever by stepping out into the garden or walking the dog, whilst keeping a safe distance of course.
home too, whether that’s VPNs or GDPR or any other
If you’re sharing your home with another home worker make
sure to give each other space. Work in separate rooms if you
Take advice Don’t worry too much about feeling the need to “be seen”. Ask your boss – what do you want? It’s easy to
have the option and shut the door. Keep the noise down. Headphones can help.
Turn off the TV
over-communicate. Is a daily email or call enough? Manage
Music can help provide pace to your day but stay away from
too much speech. The World Health Organisation advises not
Avoid distractions Keep focused on your job and avoid domestic multi-tasking. You might be able to fit in some washing around coffee breaks
to watch the news too much. Times are tense and rolling news channels are relentless.
Enjoy the benefits!
and lunch. If that helps give you a sense of completion, great.
Working from home can be brilliant. Many businesses already
However you wouldn’t be thinking about housework if you
recognise that staff are more productive and that home-
were in the office. Time is finite and if you have a fixed amount
working should be encouraged, with or without pandemics.
of tasks to get done, you are literally making work for yourself
Many offices are incredibly distracting places with the greatest
later on if you take an hour off during office hours to do
challenge to productivity coming from our co-workers. Working
from home can make us more efficient, cutting costs and
Rhythm and routine
reducing travel time and our carbon footprint. Covid-19 has
Get up at the same time each day and have breakfast as usual.
many of us remote working will be here to stay.
accelerated a gradual change to business operations and for
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Being a member of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce is a great business decision! Membership starts at less than £3 a week and entitles you to a huge range of business support, exclusive events and member discounts.
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