Page 1

Island usiness



IW Chamber Business Awards preview issue

Cutting edge: CECAMM’s Richard White talks apprenticeships and business Making contact: A year of Ascensos in Cowes Island Echo The Garlic Farm Steve Porter Transport Christopher Scott Plus:

Member news and events


In this issue... Editor’s

FOREWORD WELCOME TO OCTOBER’S ISLAND BUSINESS! This month, as ever, it’s a busy magazine. From education to agriculture, property to publishing, contact centres and even building your own house, there’s a lot going on within these pages.

Toogood reflects on a year of record growth and new heights, whilst Steve Porter looks back on 39 years in business and how he feels about merging his firm with a mainland operator.

We return to Ascensos in Cowes, a year after their launch. We hear how the business has settled on the Island and evolved, with new local managers and a stable workforce. We also visit CECAMM to talk to managing director Richard White about the role it plays in developing apprentices for the Island’s manufacturing, marine and composites sector.

As I write this the Chamber’s Business Awards are only days away. In this issue we recap the nominees and we look forward to the biggest night for the Island’s business community. It’s going to be a great evening and a very busy one too – look out for full coverage of the event in next month’s Island Business.

We also get insights from business owners at very different stages of their journeys. Island Echo’s Darren

Editor Tom Stroud

Until then, enjoy your magazine!


Advertising Amber Beard

02 10 12 14 17 18 26 30 32

News Business news GKN’s £11m investment in East Cowes site Insight Steve Porter

Feature John Devlin - Ascensos Property Insight - Ever thought of building your own home?

IW Chamber Business Awards The Interview - Richard White, CECAMM’s managing director

Notes to Self Darren Toogood, Island Echo

Events Chamber Networking & Training

Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Mill Court, Furrlongs, Newport Isle of Wight, PO30 2AA Tel. 01983 520777

Printing & Design Crossprint A Newsquest company

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

Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce



Red Funnel wins prestigious Maritime 2050 Award

Mainland merger for Steve Porter Transport The Steve Porter Transport Group has merged with mainland based haulier the Knights of Old Group. Established in 1981, the Steve Porter Transport Group has grown to employ around 45 people in Cowes, with depots in Portsmouth and Southampton. Malcolm Gibson, who joined the business 35 years ago, continues to be the MD of Steve Porter Transport and now sits on the board of Knights of Old Group. The merger secures the future of the company and will raise the profile of the Steve Porter group on the south coast. “The merger gives us opportunities and security going forward,” explains former owner and ex officio chairman Steve Porter. “We were absolutely focused on making sure that what we had built would continue. We started off as a one-man band. We've become a good regional haulier which is now a super regional haulier, working with a bigger group that covers the whole of UK and Europe.”

Red Funnel Ferries has won the the ‘Maritime 2050 Award’, recognising the ferry firm’s contribution to supporting the British shipbuilding industry. Of Red Funnel’s existing fleet of seven ferries, six have been built in the UK.

The “perfect legacy”, progress and how you know when it’s time to go - Steve Porter reflects on 39 years in business on page 12

The prestigious award, sponsored by the Department for Transport, also reflects Red Funnel championing of the UK Government’s Maritime 2050 strategy, which seeks to maintain and strengthen the UK’s position as a global maritime leader. Red Funnel’s newest high-speed catamarans, Red Jet 6 and Red Jet 7, were built at Wight Shipyard in East Cowes in 2016 and 2018. The orders amounted to a £13M investment into the UK economy, with much of that staying on the Isle of Wight. Some 85 skilled Island craftsmen were employed during the Red Jet builds, including several apprentices. Most recently, Red Funnel awarded a £10 million contract to Cammell Laird, based in Birkenhead on the River Mersey, to build its new state-of-the-art freight-only ferry, Red Kestrel. This marked the third successive UK-based ship order for Red Funnel in recent years and specifically generated over 3,000 hours of apprentice work and supported 45 UK supply chain business. Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel said: “We are extremely delighted to receive this prestigious award as we continue to do our part to support the British maritime industry. We believe in the UK Government’s Maritime 2050 vision of keeping the UK as a leading, global maritime nation, so we’re particularly honoured to receive this accolade.”

Record results for Island Echo Island Echo is reaching more people than ever before following a bumper summer period. The month of August alone saw 225,000 visitors head to the news website, generating over 1.7million page views – a new record for the 24-hour service. As well as celebrating seven years in business, Island Echo became accredited to Hampshire Constabulary at the start of the season. This long-awaited recognition has not only helped to reaffirm the business’ position in the market as a leading source of local news, but to also increase the number of articles being published. During June, July and August the number of stories appearing on Island Echo grew by 204 year-on-year. In November, Island Echo’s Editor and Publisher, Darren Toogood, will be heading to the bi-annual News:Rewired conference in London where he will join local, regional and national news organisations from across the country. Darren has been selected as one of 30 journalists to receive a sponsored place at the one-day event by Google News Initiative. Island Echo’s Darren Toogood features in this month’s Notes To Self on page 31




Sold out IW Chamber Awards night will be biggest yet The 2019 Isle of Wight Chamber Business Awards are set to be even bigger than before. The prestigious event sold out within days of being launched with a record 315 tickets sold in the first five hours. The ceremony takes place on Friday October 18th at Cowes Yacht Haven’s Events Centre. “We have challenged every part of this evening to make it as fun, new and dynamic as we can, whilst delivering an event that highlights and celebrates the amazing job being done by Island businesses,” says the Chamber’s CEO Steven Holbrook.

Roadworks for 14 months at St Mary’s junction We’re being warned to expect delays and disruption caused by construction works at the St Mary’s junction in Newport. The project is the largest of its kind on the Island for many years and will see the St Mary’s roundabout replaced by traffic lights and a new road layout. Works are set to continue until December 2020. The IW Council scheme is designed to reduce congestion now as well as ‘future-proofing’ the junction — given expected growth in traffic movement associated with regeneration projects in the Newport area. David Evans, strategic manager for highways and transport said: “During construction there will be various temporary traffic arrangements so work can be undertaken as quickly and safely as possible. Traffic lanes will be reduced temporarily, and contraflows introduced as well as short-term speed reductions. Road users will inevitably experience delays and should allow additional time for their journeys.” Recognising the impact on adjacent areas, double yellow lines will also be introduced to Manners View and Riverway for at least the duration of the scheme, to enable better access to the industrial estate. Work will take place during the day and at night when appropriate. To support local businesses, the council will be offering free, weekend afternoon parking in its Newport town centre car parks in the run up to Christmas. Meanwhile, Cowes floating bridge Saver Cards — which usually cost £2 — will also be available for free during the works, offering discounted travel on the crossing.

The awards will be handed out by comic actor Colin Carmichael, who grew up on the Island and has appeared in films and TV shows including Hot Fuzz, Midsomer Murders, Black Mirror and EastEnders. “I’m really looking forward to hosting these prestigious awards and it’s great to be back on the Island where I have so many happy memories,” Colin says. “We’re going to have a great time together. Expect the unexpected!” See our IW Chamber Awards special feature beginning on page 18 for all this year’s nominees.

Newport and Ryde win £2.36M government heritage funding

Julie Jones Evans A four-year programme of physical improvements, community engagement and cultural activities will help Ryde and Newport to regenerate their historic high streets and town centres. The towns have won shares of the government's £44M High Streets Heritage Action Zone fund. Together with contributions from partners including the IW Council, the improvement funds will total £1.4 million for Newport with a further £960,000 to be spent on Ryde. Activity could include supporting local retail and industry through shopfront grants, improvements to the layout of the two town centres, and works such as arts, sculpture, working with schools and community organisations. Councillor Julie Jones Evans. Chair of Newport and Carisbrooke Parish Council said: “We are so excited to be chosen by Historic England for this fund, recognising the huge importance of Newport’s heritage, and the value we place on our historic county town. We have strong partnership working in Newport and this funding is a really important step towards a genuine revival for our high street and town centre.”




Islanders learn more about Wightlink’s ambitious Green Agenda

Guests at the community launch of Wightlink’s Green Agenda at Fishbourne meet Final Straw Solent’s giant recycling fish

Wightlink has launched its ambitious Green Agenda to Isle of Wight community stakeholders at a meeting at its Fishbourne terminal. Chief Executive Keith Greenfield outlined the ferry company’s strategy to look after the Solent and its coastline, then hosted a round-trip to Portsmouth for guests on board Wightlink’s £30million hybrid energy flagship Victoria of Wight. He was supported by Wightlink’s Environmental Officer Nicola Craig and Head of Retail Simon Lewis who explained how green initiatives are being introduced across the routes. They include increasing recycling, replacing plastic cutlery with sustainable wooden alternatives, reducing food miles by buying from Island suppliers, cutting emissions and providing electric vehicle charging points at ports. In the audience at the launch were representatives of Isle of Wight Council, Fishbourne Parish Council, local schools and Island businesses. Ten were members of Visit Wight’s Green Star scheme to acknowledge and reward companies and organisations that promote sustainable transport. Wightlink has been awarded a Gold Star by Visit Wight for its achievements so far. “We care about the environment and will do our best to protect the sea, land and air that surround us,” says Keith Greenfield. “We will always consider environmental factors as we operate our ships and ports and when we make business decisions. We will continually look for new ways to reduce our environmental footprint.”

Integrity at heart of Freemont Finance Independent brokerage Freemont Finance is looking to help Island businesses by providing tailor made financial solutions. They arrange finance for the purchase of new and used cars and vans, high value classic cars and supercars, HGVs, coaches, plant, machinery and agricultural investments. Freemont also offers bridging finance, commercial property, professional practice, asset and leasing, re-financing and most aspects of business finance. Directors Steve and Sandra Hargreaves wanted a panel of lenders who, as well as being specialists in their fields, shared their core values for honesty, integrity and ethics.

Steve Hargreaves

“We look at ways to save Island businesses money through our confidential approach to each enquiry,” Steve says. “We will not compromise standards by trying to write a transaction purely to earn a commission. The company recently walked away from a £500,000 re-finance proposition as circumstances meant we could not save the client money. If we can’t save money when it comes to borrowing, taking advantage of our vehicle sourcing facility means as well as financing vehicles we can source new and used cars and light commercials at greatly discounted prices. This saving of thousands is passed on to customers.”

Walking Angels is “the carer’s carer” Walking Angels is a new introductory and support service based on the Isle of Wight, specifically set up to support Island care workers, whether they are self-employed or work for an organisation. Founders Carly Harding and Andy Hibbert have experience in complementary and mainstream health. They have identified the key support tools to assist care workers, as well as supporting and balancing their private lives and wellbeing. “It is still recognised that care workers are lacking the support and community they need to fulfil their essential roles,” Carly explains. “Our membership incorporates many benefits, including CQC recognised


E-learning, bi-monthly group counselling, networking opportunities and trade discounts. We are proud to have teamed up with many Island businesses with exclusive discounts to support carers free time to enhance their lives. Some of our affiliates are 1Leisure, The Garlic Farm, The Needles, Pin ups Beauty and Albert Cottage Hotel. “We are very excited at the prospect of supporting Island Care workers to further their careers and at the same time strengthen and evolve as a service provider. We all need care at some point in our lives and many of us have a story to tell so it’s important for us to take responsibility and to change our outlook on those caring in our community.” THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT






Proud to be a founding partner in the Construction Property Partnership





01983 539730




Celebrating excellence, ermc offer skilled technical knowledge and experience in architecture, surveying and estate management disciplines. Serving the Isle of Wight and Solent Gateway since 2002



Get the Whole Package from the Specialists in Packaging Supplies Paper carrier bags

• Solutions for high or low value items.

Cardboard boxes

• Business branding.

Bubble wrap

• Bespoke packaging to protect any items, large or small.

Loose-fill Packaging solutions for any item Send items in the most cost effective, safe and professional way, whilst reducing packaging.


Biodegradable and recyclable

• Small mail order or bulk wholesale and everything in between. • Catering disposables.

Environmentally friendly options





Carl Crawley remembered By Matthew Chatfield, Pinkeye Graphics Limited Few who work in the Island's digital and tech industry will have been untouched by the death of Carl Crawley. The MD of Newport digital studio Made by Hippo died in August while holidaying with his family, at the tragically young age of 40. The loss of this proud Welshman came as a shock to his many friends, leaving a huge gap in the Island's business community. Carl was a skilled back-end geek who loved to write code and solve technical problems. He was also a man of unstoppable energy, and an incredible appetite for innovation. If you heard rumours that new technology was coming, you'd soon discover Made By Hippo was already using it - or in the case of content management system Expression Engine, contributing to it. Carl worked with many Island businesses, for example he launched the Islandbased internet service provider Wight365. Ecommerce evangelist Carl became a successful Island business export working with overseas companies, mostly remotely from the Island or from Wales. He was made CTO of US company Fresh Nation in 2011 and, with typical Crawley pizzazz, commuted to work in New York. By 2015 Fresh Nation had a multi-million dollar investment from Amazon, which now uses the software developed under Carl's management to run its huge US fresh food delivery service, Amazon Fresh.

Carl Crawley

Beyond his entrepreneurial passion, Carl was an unforgettable networker, whose booming voice and irresistible charisma filled conference halls and bars around the world. A founder member of the IW Digital Disrupt group, he rounded off that successful 2018 event in unforgettable style by buying a drink for the entire conference. The big man leaves a big space to fill, and the Isle of Wight will long remember and miss the talent, passion and friendship of Carl Crawley.

Union Street parking zone to encourage “local shopping” in Ryde

Historic map for Newport A new map has been unveiled in Newport town centre, designed by a local artist, reflecting the history of the Island’s capital town through the ages. “We’ve been working on this project for about four years,” explains Julie Jones Evans, chairman of Newport and Carisbrooke Parish Council. “We received seed funding from the Isle of Wight Lottery. We’re very proud that the map has been made in enamel by AJ Wells and hand drawn by Alan Rowe. It’s a real snapshot in time, showing the similarities between today’s town layout and the mediaeval era. It’s for visitors and local people alike. I hope people will enjoy it and connect with it. It’s something more than an a-to-z, instilling a sense of place as well as directing people to some of the secondary and tertiary shopping areas.”

IW Council has introduced new regulations in Union Street designed to free-up valuable parking bays for shoppers and visitors. A single parking zone now covers the full-length of Union Street meaning vehicles will have to leave the area after one hour and park elsewhere. Councillor Ian Ward, Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said shoppers, visitors and local businesses would benefit from a regular turnover of convenient parking. He said: “Across the country, one of the reasons some town centres are struggling is the difficulty of parking. The new regulations, which apply seven days a week, will ensure there is a regular turnover of parking bays in Union Street and encourage people to shop local.”




Our pledge to you


Providing legal services across the South Coast for more than 130 years

We'll help you approach your situation with confidence

Suggestion We'll help you make the best decision for you and your family

Solution We'll help you to get the best possible outcome





£26 million investment in Island Line network

A package of refurbished electric trains, major infrastructure improvement and track upgrades has been unveiled for Island Line. The Department for Transport will principally fund South Western Railway’s proposals to improve the sustainability of the railway linking Ryde to Shanklin. This follows a multimillion investment announcement by Network Rail into improvements to renew Ryde Railway Pier where trains connect with ferries to Portsmouth. Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This investment in the Island Line means more punctual, reliable trains and better connections to ferry services, supporting local residents, businesses and tourism. This underlines our determination to provide passengers across the country with the modern rail network they expect.” The proposals were developed in partnership with key stakeholders on the Island, including Isle of Wight Council and Solent Local Enterprise Partnership. They have agreed to jointly contribute £1 million to fund a new passing loop at Brading, helping to deliver an even interval half-hourly service to the pier. Gary Jeffries, the Chairman for Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "A renaissance of our coastal communities

is a strategic priority for the Solent LEP as we strive to raise productivity levels and spread prosperity across the Solent. Improved digital and transport connectivity is a key enabler of this renaissance and we are delighted to be working with SWR, the Department for Transport and Isle of Wight Council to unlock funding." Refurbished former London Underground trains will replace the current stock, which entered service in 1938. Island Line is restricted in terms of the size of units that can run on it and so SWR has chosen Vivarail's Class 484 trains which will provide more capacity, better accessibility, passenger information systems and wi-fi. The two carriage trains will also have connecting gangways allowing guards to move freely throughout the whole train, collecting revenue and providing passenger assistance. The first train is expected to arrive on test in early summer 2020, with track improvement works due to take place over the winter of that year.


The proposals submitted to the DfT followed an initial stakeholder consultation back in the autumn of 2017. Feedback from that consultation was then considered by the Island Forum, made of stakeholders including: IOW Commuity Rail Partnership, IOW Steam Railway, the IOW Bus and Rail Users Group, Southern Vectis, KILF, Wightlink and Hovertravel, with detailed proposals reported back to a steering group. The investment has been welcomed by Wightlink’s Chief Executive Keith Greenfield, who added: “This investment will bring about a significant improvement to Island Line and therefore transport on and off the Island. The money will mean better, more reliable trains and a timetable that connects better with our ferry services. That is great news for travellers. Wightlink will continue to work with our partners to ensure our services are part of a high quality and sustainable integrated transport network to and from the Island.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris meets Wightlink's Keith Greenfield, Andy Mellors from SWR and Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely on Ryde Pier.

The announcement has also halted the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s ambition to return steam trains to Ryde. Initial discussions between the Steam Railway and South Western Railway were positive but the Steam Railway withdrew from further discussions when it was advised of costs which were “significant and were neither financially acceptable nor sustainable.” Peter Conway, chairman of the Steam Railway said: “We examined all options to return steam trains back into Ryde St John’s but, in the end, regulatory concerns and the costs involved made the project unsustainable. Our ambition remains to return steam hauled trains to Ryde at some point in the future but it is unlikely to be within the term of the current South Western Railway franchise.”




500 Leaflets

get 250 extra FREE**

& Books

Talk with us about your project. We can print any quantity and design items specifically to suit you. 01983 524885

weddings | events | retail | promotion

6 Panel folded


An ideal way to present your information in a manner that suits your target audience


Boxes & Labels

TwinArch Boxes from £52*

from £86*

The perfect way to promote your event or business or simply say thank you... yum yum!


Six Panel Leaflets from £70*

Chunky Cards & Coasters Multi-layered Business Cards with a choice of coloured centre


Chunky Cards from £35*

We can design and produce boxes, labels and sleeves specifically suited to your products

Custom Business Cards to suit your business any quantity any size! Choice of Card SILK | MATT | GLOSS Laminated Finish VELVET | MATT | GLOSS



Business Cards Double Sided 400gsm card

SOME OF THE ITEMS WE CAN PRODUCE FOR YOU Appointment Cards Banners Booklets Books Boxes Brochures Business Cards Calendars Cards Catalogues Direct Marketing Documents Envelopes Flyers Folders Forms Invitations Invoices Labels Leaflets Menus Packaging Postcards Posters Pull-Up Banners Signage Stationery Stickers Tickets Vouchers Wedding Stationery Plus much more… Print any quantity from one copy to thousands

from £26*


and Bespoke Wrappers

A5 Double Sided – £64 QUOTE OFFER CODE: CPIB419

Chocolate Bars & Wrappers A great way to promote businesses, organisations, events and special offers


mmm! Chocolate Bars





01983 524885

Terms & conditions apply. All prices and offers are subject to change. *All prices are based on use of our standard stock for each product and printing full colour on both sides where appropriate. Design service and bespoke finishing available at an additional cost. ** Offer valid until 29th November 2019.



GKN’s £11m investment in East Cowes site backed by Island MP

Bob Seely invites

government minister to visit the Island’s largest private employer

GKN Aerospace is investing millions of pounds in a five-year plan to modernise its Island operation by transforming the factory and updating the East Cowes site. GKN Aerospace employs around 1,000 staff on the Island, making it the Island’s largest private employer. The plans are designed to improve efficiency and enhance the site’s position as a “Centre of Excellence” for advanced composite structures. The investment will focus on automated manufacturing processes, high volume and complex products, across both commercial aerospace and strategic military work. Garry Hernes, General Manager GKN Aerospace Cowes said: "The East Cowes site has been a fixture on the Isle of Wight for a century

and the rates on some key platforms declining. This puts real pressure on sites like Cowes and we need to make sure we are ready for the next 25 years and more. “Being able to take the best technology from GKN Aerospace’s global footprint, and then smoothly integrating it into our complex manufacturing environment here in Cowes can set us apart and put in a great position to not just survive, but to thrive and grow. “Combined, these changes will ensure our Cowes site is better able to serve our customers today and will position us to succeed for the long-term.”

“We were delighted to welcome Bob to our facility in East Cowes to discuss our world leading products and our plans to secure the site’s long-term future, so GKN Aerospace will continue to underpin the Island’s economy and employment for years to come.” Garry Hernes, General Manager GKN Aerospace Cowes

and owned by GKN Aerospace for the past 25 years. The new £11m investment, alongside additional capital investment over the next five years, is to ensure the site is fit for the future and keeps the Isle of Wight at the forefront of advanced aerospace systems.” GKN Aerospace will transform its Composite Research Centre (CRC) on the Island into a Technology Insertion Centre (TIC) for the Cowes site, in order to speed up the time from technology breakthroughs to high-rate production. The TIC will ensure the latest ground-breaking composite technology developments – drawn from GKN Aerospace’s worldleading network of Global Technology Centres – are smoothly integrated into the Cowes manufacturing site, allowing it to offer unique solutions for its customers. Garry Hernes added: “The global aerospace industry is highly competitive, with customers always looking for price reductions


The decision to invest heavily in GKN’s Isle of Wight operation has been welcomed by the Island’s MP during a recent visit to the East Cowes plant. Bob Seely intends to hold a meeting with newly appointed Minister,Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to discuss future government plans for GKN Aerospace and proposes a further visit with the Minister to the site soon. Bob Seely said: “I want to see GKN Aerospace thrive. With direct links from Portsmouth and Southampton Universities it’s important that we focus on attracting high quality jobs, and train and educate Islanders. GKN Aerospace offers fantastic apprenticeships. I am proud that we have a cluster of aerospace, marine, composites and renewable energy firms here; however, we as an Island need to sell ourselves nationally to attract more firms in these supply chains. “Truly global companies like GKN Aerospace help the Island raise its profile on the international stage. I am delighted to see the company is not only committed to the Island but also investing so heavily to modernise its East Cowes site and keep it at the forefront of its business.”



01983 82 50 55


uPVC and aluminium windows Aluminium, engineered timber and composite doors Aluminium bi-fold doors Patio doors Conservatories Solid roof extensions Roof upgrades Available in different colours and ďŹ nishes



5 Daish Way, Dodnor Industrial Estate Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 5XB






The “perfect legacy”, progress and how you know when it’s time to go The Steve Porter Transport Group has merged with mainland based haulage firm Knights of Old Group. Steve Porter talks to Tom Stroud You’re now the ex-owner and ex officio chairman of the business that you founded in 1981. How does that feel? I'm really proud of what we've achieved. We always used to laugh that if a business can survive for two years then you've made it. Well we've survived. We did the two, then the five, we nearly lost it at ten but 39 years later it's been attractive enough for a much bigger group to take it on and run with it. How did you know that the time had come? Why now? Age, for me anyway. I think your energy and ideas reach a peak. Tim, my brother and partner in the business, is seven years younger than me and we both felt we'd reached the limit of our ability to take it further. Clearly any business needs to progress the whole time. I'd been gradually filling my days with things like the Chamber, the Food Bank and WightAID so it's not being a shock for me. I've still got a full-time week, I just happen to not go into work every day. Although I've retired I'm retained as a sort of ex officio chairman and ambassador in the medium term. Tim has retired but he still holds a watching interest. Was it a difficult decision to make? I think it was when we first started talking about it, which was probably four years ago. It's been a long process to get where we are today. It did feel weird but once you realise that it’s the right thing to do, you just focus on getting there. The most important thing was getting to the finish line and handing it to somebody that will take it further. What will happen to the business and the team in Cowes and the Portsmouth and Southampton depots? Knights of Old see us as a strategic fit and the merger gives us opportunities and security going forward. We were


absolutely focused on making sure that what we had built would continue. We've had opportunities in the past where people could have taken the business on for commercial reasons but it would have almost disappeared as a local entity which was something that we were dead against. Malcolm Gibson has been with us for 35 years and he continues to be the MD of Steve Porter Transport but he’s also a shareholder and sits on the board of Knights of Old Group. Of the three big long standing haulage companies in the group, we're actually the youngest. Nelson's in Derby are three generations and Knights of Old started 156 years ago, so we're the youngsters here. We started off as a one-man band. We've become a good regional haulier which is now a super regional haulier, working with a bigger group that covers the whole of UK and Europe. We’ve effectively gone from 80 staff to 700 staff. Our two or three depots are now joined by depots in Luton, Kettering, Derby, Southampton and Portsmouth. It's a big outfit now. What would your advice be to someone who is in that a similar position? You've got to recognize that you've got to bring talent in. Always employ the best people you can and if they're smarter and got better ideas, let them do it. Don't try and put your stamp on it all the time. We wanted to see continuation. It's not always going to be the same. You can't say anything is the same forever but for the foreseeable future, people won't see anything different. It’s the perfect legacy for what myself and the family wanted to do. For us it was all about that legacy. We may have sacrificed a bit of personal gain but the most important thing was seeing the business carrying on. THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT






You’ve been here for two years now. Your contact centre looks after big names like Aldi, Wickes, JD Sports, Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing, Game and soon Estee Lauder. Do you feel like Ascensos has arrived? We're delighted with what we've achieved here. We set out to have a sustainable, viable business operating from the Isle of Wight and we’ve achieved that. We are now part of the fabric of the Island. We’re no longer creating waves, which is good. We're not making headlines, either positively or negatively, we’re just delivering good quality jobs here in the same way we would do in all our other locations. We just want to occupy our rightful space here as a large-scale employer and someone who makes a massive contribution to the general economy of the Island and the well-being of the Island community.

The business is growing – you’ve taken on almost half as much space again by expanding to the ground floor at Rangefinder House. How big can you get? We have the capacity to get to 600 jobs here so we’ve still got some way to go until we are at our maximum occupancy of this site. We want to do that at a pace that doesn't stretch the resources and the talent here on the Island. Today we have around 270 jobs here and that varies with the seasons. Before Christmas we’ll probably go up to 350 jobs and


that will be a comfortable level for us this year. At first we had to parachute some staff in, from our head office in Scotland in particular. Two years in, every one of our employees here is an Islander. Our objective was to have a community based business here, on-island for the Island and I think we’ve achieved that.

What have you learned in the last two years? We had a bit of a sticky start and we went from zero to hero and back to zero very quickly in in the first six months. We launched in September 2017 and within eight weeks we had 550 employees here. It was probably too much, too soon for us and we've learned to be a little bit more conservative about our plans to grow at that kind of pace. We’ve also learned to adjust to the seasonality of the Island. Recruiting over the summer is certainly different from the autumn and winter period. We've also learned that you can have an Island management team rather than bringing managers in from elsewhere across UK. All the experts out there told us it wasn’t possible and that we’d struggle to hire experienced people from a management perspective. What we had to do was look for people who had great talent and great management experience in other industry sectors and who could adjust to running a contact centre operation. I think we've done that very well. Before I came here I said that we would start to bring people in very senior positions and decision makers from recognized brands and big corporate organisations to the Island. I made THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT


that point knowing that maybe the Island infrastructure isn't there to support that yet. We do struggle at times during the summer to find hotel accommodation for our guests who are traveling in from the UK and Europe. I still think that's a bit of an issue because there isn't a corporate hotel that can host those type of visitors. We have to put people up in a dispersed nature across the Island rather than having them all stay together. I've said this to all the other stakeholders, including the council, saying that it is something that probably holds the Island back but in any case we're trying to do what we can to change that.

You’ve expanded recently by bringing names like Wickes and Estee Lauder here. We've worked with Wickes for five years in Scotland and in recent months we've had an agreement to deliver more activity from the Island. That will create 120 colleague jobs working for Wickes here, which is a sizeable piece of our overall proposition. We’re supporting Estee Lauder through the autumn and winter period, creating 55 new positions. It's great that the Island is winning these new clients in its own right. I think that's great testimony to the strength of the operation and its great credibility for us to have those brands here. We've got a pipeline of new clients coming on board as we enter 2020. We already work with great brand names like Aldi who are still growing on a global basis. Today we only represent their UK and Ireland business, so there’s massive opportunity for us to do more with our existing clients as well as continue to bring new brands, new businesses and new clients to the Island. I think that's very important. Would they be coming here and making a contribution to the economy as well without Ascensos? Probably not.


“We have adjusted to the Island, rather than the Island adjusting to us. I think that's natural. We are a business that operates in a big city like Glasgow and we’ve had to adapt to the ebb and flow of the heartbeat of Island life. I think I've done that well, by ensuring that our colleagues here are running the operation. What better way is there? I think it's been really successful.” John Devlin, Ascensos











RED KESTREL • Specialist Freight Ferry • Comfortable drivers lounge with reclining leather seats, free Wi-Fi and USB charging.

02380 248589 | |


Three routes for Sixth Form: IB Diploma and Career-related Programmes and A Levels plus enrichment FOR MORE INFORMATION Call +44 (0)1983 617970 or visit Queen’s Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 3BE





Ever thought of building your own home? BCM’s Thomas Dawson did – and since February he’s been living in a brand new house built for him by Island contractors. He tells us about what he learnt from self-building a home and why he’s getting ready to do it again… My partner and I decided to build our own home at the age of 22. We decided to give it a go, despite many people telling us that it was stressful and would never happen! We achieved a wonderful new build property in a lovely location, that is energy efficient and most importantly, the overall cost was more than 20% less than purchasing your average flat on the Island. We both worked full time and decided to project manage it ourselves. I worked in architecture at the time and my partner in floristry. We looked around the Island for properties in a nice location with parking but couldn’t find much in our price range. We were not tempted by the tightly squeezed new developments on the Island. The first step was to have a look on the market as to what would be available. We came across a plot in the West Wight with planning permission for a two bedroom detached bungalow, with double parking and a good sized garden. Our initial offer was rejected but our second was accepted and then we looked into the possibility of finance. Finance for self-build properties is fairly simple but takes longer than a standard mortgage. The lender usually looks to lend around 80% of the value of the land with planning consent and then around 80% of the build costs. In our case we put down a slightly larger deposit of 20%


in order to reach our target, with the rest funded by a loan from our building society. Before the mortgage is approved, the land still needs to be surveyed by a RICS chartered valuer and also go through a process with the in-house quantity surveying team at your lenders bank and you will have to provide a very comprehensive spreadsheet detailing your proposed build costs. Inputting random numbers into the spreadsheet won’t cut it here. You need quotes on letter headed paper to back up your figures! After the mortgage was approved we swiftly exchanged and completed on the same day. Throughout the build we used local contractors. Our foreman and electrician came from Ventnor, our plumber from Godshill, superstructure and heating engineers from Newport. We received building control and warranty sign off in February 2019 and moved in just two days after. We wanted to use as many local businesses as possible which in turn would be good for the local economy – even some of our furniture is from charity shops in Newport! Having had time to reflect on the experience, the pros of the ‘self-build’ on a budget are: You will own your property, which is brand new

You will learn to manage money better The overall project cost can be less than expected The cons are: It is stressful – mainly managing money and ordering the correct materials Cash flow- money was very tight throughout the build so definitely advise having at least a 10% contingency Time consuming – it is essentially like having another job The self-build option is fulfilling personally, financially and creatively. We are risk takers, so much so that we are thinking of doing self-build #2 in 2020. The skills and experience that I learnt from building my own home also stood me in good stead and helped me to get my position at BCM where I am now a rural property consultant & assistant planner in their Newport office. If you’re considering project managing, I would advise that you seek professional advice throughout the process, from architects, surveyors, contractors to make sure that you are complying with the planning permission and building control. You may pay fees, but the professional’s advice is definitely worth it.



THE NOMINEES ARE... The 2019 Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Business Awards for Excellence will be presented on Friday 18th October 2019 in a glittering ceremony at Cowes Yacht Haven’s Events Centre. It’s the biggest night of the year for the Island’s business community with a glittering ceremony that showcases a wider breadth of Island success than ever before. With 40 Island businesses nominated across 17 categories it’s going to be a highly competitive evening. The winners will receive their awards in front of a packed house, with more than 400 tickets sold in record time, making the event a sell-out success. This year also sees the launch of two new categories. Excellence in Customer Service is now covered by two awards, for Micro Business and Small Business. There’s also a new award for Micro Business of The Year. Congratulations to all of our nominees!


Island VetCare Lintons Home Ltd Nosy Design Solent Youth Services


The Seaview Hotel Stoneham Construction


Cowes Town Central The Garlic Farm


Action 4 Support Northwood House Charitable Trust Southern Co-op Retail UKSA Vectis Radio CIC





Farringford The Garlic Farm



IFPL MedTec Design Services MHI Vestas



Bayliss & Booth BeCalmed Hillbans Pest Control Real Employment Law Advice





Farringford The Royal Hotel Top Mops


The Garlic Farm The Wight Book Visit Isle of Wight


Gurit The Seaview Hotel Wight Computers


MHI Vestas Mountbatten WightFibre


IFPL Innovative Physics Isle of Wight College


MHI Vestas Top Mops WRS Systems

BeCalmed Hillbans Pest Control Island Echo Real Employment Law Advice




Gurit Red Funnel


Caffe Isola The Havelock The Royal Hotel

Sponsored by Liz Earle French Franks Island Roasted The Tomato Stall

Thank you to all of our sponsors

WIGHTLINK SPONSORS THE IW CHAMBER BUSINESS AWARDS "The Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, recognising the achievements of many amazing companies, are always a highlight of the year,” says Wightlink’s CEO Keith Greenfield. “The Island is home to a tremendous number of talented individuals who are running flourishing enterprises of all kinds. "Wightlink is proud to sponsor the 2019 Awards and are sure it will be a fantastic event. We look forward to hearing more about the successful individuals and businesses on the evening.” OCTOBER 2019



NOMINEE – Green Initiative Award Red Funnel Ferries has introduced a number of green initiatives recently.

recycling all used cooking oil, which goes to become eco-friendly biofuel.

These include an anti-idling campaign, which encourages passengers to switch off their engines while waiting to board and disembark the ferry.

Passengers can bring their own beverage cup and receive a discount from Steam, or purchase a cup made from 100 per cent recyclable material and get the first fill free.

There is also a discount for electric vehicles, while on-board, the company has replaced plastic plates, straws, cups, cutlery with ecofriendly alternatives, and as part of working to eliminate single-use plastic, it has stopped the use of sachets and milk pots.

Red Funnel has installed the Cycle Hub at West Cowes to promote foot passenger travel and also promotes day trips by foot for sustainable travel.

The company is working to reduce waste and improve recycling rates, one of which is

The new East Cowes terminal will also be fitted with solar panels to supply excess power to the grid.

Red Funnel Ferries (Southampton Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company), 12 Bugle Street, Southampton, SO14 2JY T: 02380 248500/02380 248501 E: W:

NOMINEE – Technology and Innovation and Green Initiative awards Gurit UK is part of the global Gurit group and has been located on the Island for 40 years. Prior to acquisition by the Gurit group in 2002, this site was SP Systems which was focused on supplying the local boatbuilding industry and the emerging wind energy industry. The company's products facilitate the 'light-weighting' of structures such as wind turbines, boats, trains, cars, aircraft and civil structures to increase performance and save energy. With such diverse applications, Gurit products touch many aspects of our

everyday lives and are considered essential to advance our world and support environmental initiatives such as carbon reduction, electrification and sustainability. Gurit UK currently employs 140 staff and is part of the Swiss Gurit group and 90 per cent of products manufactured on the Island are exported. Over the past year, Gurit has increased its focus on environmental issues and established a wider approach to creating environmentally-friendly composite products, because the company believes it has a direct responsibility to ensure composites are sustainable long-term.

Gurit (UK) Ltd/Gurit Composite Components Ltd, St Cross Business Park, Newport, IW, PO30 5WU. T: 0983 828 000 E: W:

NOMINEE – Manufacturing Business of the Year and International Business awards IFPL is known throughout the world for manufacturing headphone connector modules and USB outlets which are installed in aircraft seats.

several customer awards, as well as being the proud recipients of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2008 and 2014.

IFPL is the largest supplier of such products in the world and its innovative technology is installed on every major airline across the globe.

The company's primary customers are based on the west coast of the USA and IFPL is a regular exhibitor at international trade events.

If the aircraft has an in-flight entertainment system, then it is likely to have IFPL products on board.

Pictured is Mark Reed, director of business development, North America, demonstrating IFPL products to airline buyers at the APEX Expo in Los Angeles in September.

All IFPL products are built at the company's purpose-built manufacturing facility in Calbourne and the business has received

IFPL, Elm Lane, Calbourne, Newport, IW, PO30 4JY. T: 01983 555900 E: W:




NOMINEE – Start-Up Business of the Year Solent Youth Services provides accommodation and support to young people aged 16-25 who are leaving care and taking their first steps towards full independence. The intention is to raise the standards and availability of support throughout the sector, so training and consultancy services are also available. Marc Steele, managing director, has been working with young people for more than 22 years, overseeing the management of post-16 accommodation provisions in the south of England. Marc has a master’s degree in therapeutic childcare and numerous quality assurance qualifications — these are the foundations

on which Solent Youth Services has been established. Lucy McGrath, business development director, has a background in property development, as well as achieving qualifications in psychology, sociology and human physiology. In addition to developing the properties to ensure a range of accommodation can be provided, Lucy has been establishing links with key organisations locally and nationally, including the Living Wage Foundation and Community of Communities. Last summer, the completion of the first property enabled the organisation to house its first residents and a second home is planned.

Solent Youth Services Ltd, 136 – 137 Pyle Street, Newport, IW, PO30 1JW. T: 01983 840268 E: W:

NOMINEE – Excellence in Customer Service and Micro Business of the Year awards Hillbans Pest Control is an award-winning business which was founded more than 40 years ago and is the Island’s leading and longest established pest control company. Sandra and Patrick Knowles took over the company in 2016, re-establishing Hillbans as a family business and taking it forward with new aims in customer service and professional standards. Hillbans provides the broadest range of pest control services available on the Island in a host of commercial and domestic environments.

The company has highly experienced technicians, who are professionally qualified and registered with the British Pest Control Association, and work closely with an experienced administrative and operations team. The company continues to grow and evolve, with every member of the Hillbans team helping to ensure it delivers a first-class customer service and builds excellent relationships across the extensive and diverse customer base.

Hillbans Pest Control Ltd, Unit 7, Enterprise Court, Nicholson Road, Ryde, IW, PO33 1BD. T: 01983 406999 E: W:

NOMINEE – Small Business of the Year The Tomato Stall is a purveyor of delicious tomatoes grown with love on the Island. It brings the freshest, ripest and tastiest tomatoes to a wide range of farmers' markets, farm shops and restaurants around the UK, as well as delivering direct to your door. Tomatoes have been growing in the rich and fertile Arreton Valley for more than 30 years and the Island’s unique maritime climate and extra sunshine hours make it the perfect place to grow tomatoes. With more than 40 varieties grown every year, The Tomato Stall is passionate about

taste, trialling in excess of 200 varieties each year on its quest for the finest flavours. From the hearty beef to the naturally sweet Piccolo, its diverse range of tomatoes is carefully selected to offer customers the finest quality and best taste. The Tomato Stall also sells a huge range of tomato-related products, including fresh or roasted tomatoes, tomato juice, passata, tomato-flavoured balsamic vinegar, tomato ketchup and other sauces, tomato-flavoured crisps, roasted tomato sea salt and much more.

The Tomato Stall, Main Road, Arreton, IW, PO30 3AR. T: 01983 866907 E: W:




NOMINEE – Manufacturing Business of the Year Award MedTec Design Services is an ISO9001accredited engineering design company based in East Cowes. The name MedTec is derived from the proximity of the office to the River Medina and the technical nature of the service provided.

locations, utilising MedTec’s outsourcing service. Using the latest software packages, MedTec provide realistic 3D models and detailed manufacturing drawings.

MedTec has been supporting clients for almost 40 years at any stage of the design process, from concept to creation.

The use of 3D models, CGI, animations and simulation analysis gives a visualisation of how a client’s products will look and perform before any commitment to the manufacture is made.

MedTec offers complete turnkey solutions to clients, streamlining the supply chain and making the whole design process easier.

MedTec has been acknowledged for providing clients with very fast turnaround times at extremely competitive prices.

The experienced design team can take on tasks from their office, or at customer MedTec Design Services, RNLI Building, Clarence Road, East Cowes, IW, PO32 6HB. T: 01983 294974/07530 165900 E: W:

NOMINEE – Small Business of the Year French Franks is a popular local business, which is well known for quality food and drink to go and casual every day dining.

It employs more than 40 Islanders with a key team developed during many years.

French Franks aims to be the default choice for food to go at work and for high-end coffee in the towns and locations which it operates in, and sites cover town centre, commuter and out-of-town workplace locations with a regular customer base

French Franks is in its 30th year, but continues to innovate, staying on top of food trends and customer demands, including healthier options, vegetarian and gluten-free, as well as being one of the first to switch to biodegradable, compostable packaging on all the products made on site.

The business aims to create an enjoyable place to work and has staff who are experts in food, to ensure French Franks is a positive part of customers' daily routines.

The business has recently opened a central bakery and prep kitchen at St Cross Business Park, with a popular warehousethemed café attached.

French Franks Food Company Ltd, 13 St Thomas Square, Newport, IW, PO30 1SL. T: 01983 821685 E: W:

NOMINEE – Employer of the Year Developing a workforce which is passionate about its work is fundamental to Mountbatten.

“Getting this right can be incredibly powerful, in terms of what we offer and this plays a huge part in our success.

The Island’s hospice employs more than 250 people in a variety of roles including patient and family facing, administrative, catering, retail and fundraising.

“We have exceptional staff and volunteers, and every single one of them plays a part.”

Its staff and volunteers are at the heart of the organisation and play a key role in defining its values. “It’s vital to us to create a group who are willing to go above and beyond and believe in the cause and commit to our shared values,” said Mountbatten chief executive Nigel Hartley.

Mountbatten provides expert care and support to anyone on the Island who is facing death, dying and bereavement. On any one day, it provides care to more than 1,500 Islanders, mostly in people’s homes, but also within its inpatient unit and at St Mary’s Hospital. Mountbatten also provides day services seven days a week within its John Cheverton Centre.

Mountbatten Hospice, Halberry Lane, Newport, IW, PO30 2ER. T: 01983 529511 E: W:




NOMINEE – Innovation and Technology Award Wight Computers has been producing innovative solutions for all the IT needs of businesses since 2012 and for the second year running, it has been shortlisted for the prestigious Innovation and Technology Award. The dynamic team of innovators provide proactive IT support and create bespoke software applications to add value through the latest technology; helping a business to operate more effectively saving precious time, money and resources. With more than 85 reviews on the independent online review platform,

Google Business, the company has achieved a 100 per cent five-star rating, so its customers are testimony to its work. Working across all industry sectors, Wight Computers supports individual entrepreneurs through to mediumsized companies and has an ongoing commitment to supporting local charities. The Wight Computers team believes IT is there to support everyone and should be accessible to all. Their main aim is to help businesses embrace technology to become innovators within their own industries.

Wight Computers, Innovation Centre, Monks Brook, Newport, IW, PO30 5WB. T: 01983 898250 E: W:

NOMINEE – Excellence in Customer Service Award BAYLISS & Booth is where style and service meet, and is synonymous with two things; outstanding products and excellent customer service. Founded in 1994, this large store in Newport showcases all that’s best from Tetrad sofas, Lacanche French range cookers, inspirational furniture, one-off finds, home accessories and gifts, all in a unique setting. While it is easy to buy something with the click of a button, the Bayliss & Booth team believes that by giving customers great

service, quality brands and constantly striving to source ever-changing collections, many of which are exclusive to them on the Island, they deliver product and service above and beyond what the internet can offer. The team is renowned for excellent customer service and attention to detail. Recognising that customers value the whole store, service and shopping experience, forming a good relationship with customers and maintaining this relationship is at the heart of everything Bayliss & Booth does.

Bayliss & Booth, Unit 10 Riverway, off Hurstake Road, Newport, IW, PO30 5UU. T: 01983 528600 E: W:

NOMINEE – Manufacturer of the Year, Employer of the Year and Growth of the Year awards MHI Vestas Offshore Wind was founded in April 2014 as a partnership between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Vestas Wind Systems. The company has been manufacturing offshore wind turbine blades on the Island since January 2015. It had an initial workforce of 35, but now employs more than 750 people on the Island, producing blades for UK and export markets. MHI Vestas Offshore Wind manufactures one of the largest offshore wind turbine blades in the world: the 80-metre blade, equivalent in length to nine double decker

London buses. As a company, it is committed to investing in staff and gives them comprehensive City & Guilds-accredited training on joining, then ensures personal development is continued, by offering NVQs at level 2 Leadership, level 3 in Composites and Degree level in Engineering to name a few. The company is proud that its exponential growth and investment in the team has resulted in three nominations for Manufacturer of the Year Award, Business Growth of the Year and Employer of the Year.

MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, Stag Lane, Newport, IW, PO30 5TR. T: 01983 288000 E: W:




NOMINEE – Excellence in Customer Service Award The Royal Hotel in Ventnor is renowned for its sumptuous decor and exquisite food, but it’s the legendary service which has seen the hotel nominated for an Excellence in Customer Service award.

Every member of staff — from chefs to chambermaids — is fully trained in the art of hospitality, so guests always receive outstanding service from every member of staff they encounter.

The approach is simple: to make every guest feel like royalty, whether visiting for lunch or a long weekend.

Regular visitors (‘Loyal Royals’) receive extra-special treatment, with staff making it their business to know exactly which type of pillow, bedroom, newspaper and food choices are their personal preferences.

With more than 60 members of staff employed all year round, the care and comfort of guests is second to none — even canine visitors are made to feel welcome, with dog bowls and water bottles delivered to the suites of those booking a dogfriendly room.

This ‘Royal’ treatment is clearly appreciated by their customers, whose feedback always mentions the exceptional service and charming staff.

The Royal Hotel, Belgrave Road, Ventnor, IW, PO38 1JJ. T: 01983 852186 E: W:

NOMINEE – Employer of the Year Award WightFibre is the last independent cable company operating in the UK and provides phone, broadband and TV services to homes and businesses on the Island.

The project is building a ultrafast network, which is future-proof and will helping the Island grow, develop and making it a great place to live and work.

It owns and operates its own telecommunications infrastructure, which is entirely independently of BT.

WightFibre's policy to employ locally wherever possible is a testimony to its commitment to the Island.

WightFibre’s vision is to: "provide a different kind of broadband and the best customer service on the IW, because we care" — a vision which is becoming reality through its £35m investment in the WightFibre Gigabit Island Project.

The company understands its team is vital to WightFibre's success, and the staff know they work for one of the Island's leading businesses.

WightFibre Limited, Communications House, 56 Love Lane, Cowes, IW, PO31 7EU. T: 01983 240240 E: W:

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF OUR NOMINATED BUSINESSES The winners of each category will be revealed on

Friday 18th October at the awards ceremony at Cowes Yacht Haven

Look out for our November / December edition of Island Business with full coverage of all of our winners





New Exciting Development at

THE BROOK St Cross Business Park has been developed over the years by our clients, MJH Developments, and is the only modern business park of its kind on the Island. Newport is the County Town and administrative centre for the Island and, as such, is constantly busy. The town has enjoyed a great many developments in recent years, which have now firmly cemented it as the commercial hub for the Island. Newport provides excellent communications for the whole of the Isle of Wight, and about ten minutes to the north is the regular and quick Red Jet passenger crossing to Southampton on the mainland from Cowes.

• Small business rates relief applicable STC • Generous parking allowance • High eaves and power floated concrete floor • Central Newport location


Scotcher & Co

• Power floated concrete floor finish • Electric insulated up and over door • Passenger door • High Eaves • Steel portal frame • Composite cladding

26 The Mall Carisbrooke Road Newport Isle of Wight PO30 1BW Telephone: 01983 822288 Website:

• From £891 PCM plus VAT • B1, B2 and B8 uses • Starter units from 1252 sq.ft

Location: St Cross Business Park is situated within the town boundaries of Newport, just to the north of the main Town Centre, and is home to a variety of occupiers, including Gurit, Vestas, RFEL, the NHS, Glanvilles Damant and more recently French Franks.

1 2019 OCTOBER





Richard White,

CECAMM’s managing director The CECAMM Centre is the Island’s centre of excellence for composites, advanced manufacturing and marine. Situated at the Island Technology Park in East Cowes, the £12 million site opened in 2017. Richard White joined the team earlier this year as managing director and will be known to many readers as the former head of the Studio School. In a nutshell, what does CECAMM do – what makes it different? CECAMM was designed to support business across the Island in a real way and not just play at it. We provide courses in engineering, composites and electronics that are meaningful to employers. We help bring their workforce forward and then continuing to support employees whilst they're working in the various engineering organisations across the Island. What sort of businesses do you engage with? GKN are a strong partner and they bring their employees here to do two-week deep induction sessions for people working in composites. We provide specialist support and training courses for their staff too. MHI Vestas use a space within our area and have regular inductions for their new workforce. We also deliver apprenticeship training for firms like Lallows, Parlex, IFPL, Island RIBS, AMC and Pascall.


We’ve currently got 11 apprentices from Wight Shipyard. Apprentices will come here for either an extended block period of induction or have day release. CECAMM also hosts management training for organisations like the NHS so the building has an amount of industry and an adult involvement. We also have students as young as 16 coming through, all the way through to those that are doing HNDs and HNCs and who are looking at technical courses that will take them through, perhaps, to university. How do you see CECAMM’s role as a training provider for businesses? Do you reflect the business community? I think we do. It’s about being ahead of the curve and meeting the changing needs of the workforce, showcasing the kind of opportunities that are here on the Island. Others will leave us and go on to university in the knowledge that some of these SMEs through to the large corporates will have opportunities that they could come back to in the future. We’re having discussions with lots of businesses to find out what they need and where they THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT


are going. In the early stages my conversation is about bringing people together to explore what the future looks like over the next five to ten years for them. That must be a challenge at times because technology moves so quickly. Technology is moving fast and I think the game is to ensure that we are providing a service for the needs of the Island right now. In terms of the boatbuilding and marine engineering, some of the oldest and most traditional boatbuilders are rushed off their feet. The businesses are strong and those traditional skills are important and valued. Across all elements of engineering there are still organisations with very traditional working machinery that young people need to understand. At the other end we have new technologies that are being used by some of our ambitious entrepreneurs, high-tech organisations. They are keen for us to replicate their needs at CECAMM. Those discussions are really healthy at the moment. It goes beyond engineering too. The key skills are around adaptability, imagination, creativity, problem-solving and those skills are common nature to engineers. If we can provide opportunity to nurture those innate skills as well as giving real technical experiences across all areas, then our young people on the Island will be in the best place for the future. Is engineering still typically a male thing? I'm afraid it is. We could showcase dozens of incredibly successful young ladies who have come through our organisation but the percentage split shows that the vast majority who have are male. We look at every opportunity to ensure that young women are aware of the opportunities that are available to them. There is a shift taking place and more and more women are working in design and all manner of high-tech engineering as well as more traditional routes. We've got some great success stories.

What did you learn from your time at the Studio School and how does that inform what you do here? I learnt so much about the power of the interaction between young people and the adult world in a business and commercial way. I think it's about raising aspirations through self-belief. Work isn't necessarily about sitting at a desk and writing. Identifying and developing those other skills, growing confidence in young people and then seeing young people flourish as a consequence - that's been the joy. We have students at CECAMM who have come from the Studio School and a good proportion of the young people that have come from the Studio School experience have been able to secure apprenticeships or gone on to higher level full-time courses, particularly in engineering. That's been a delight for me, to see that we've fulfilled the mission of the Studio School. We know that it was effective. You’ve been in post for a few months now. What do you want to achieve here? I'm confident that we can become the jewel in the south coast and maybe in the UK. We've got a phenomenal facility. I feel an absolute connection, from my previous years, that we can grow that next generation, to create a learning experience of the highest calibre. The phrase “Centre of Excellence” is in our title and I want us to fulfil our potential at every level. I think we've got the capacity and capability to do that, not just for the Island but beyond too. I'd love to see courses in A-level equivalent (level three) and then level four, five and potentially level six qualifications to be housed here, in part at least. The world is changing and we need business to be in partnership with us. If they have any doubt about what we can offer, the best thing is to sit amongst us and have a conversation about their needs for now and into the future.


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, Find out more about advertising, marketing opportunities and how we can help you to raise your profile by emailing




TAKE FLIGHT BY HOVERCRAFT · The fastest link across the Solent in just 10 minutes · Ideal for business travel and corporate events · Competitive prices for regular passenger travel · Corporate credit accounts available · Private hire, team days out and filming opportunities



The fastest way to transport small to medium items of freight and parcels, to and from the Isle of Wight, 363 days of the year.

HT_Island Biz Mag Advert_12.18_v2.indd 2

12/12/2018 20:32


t h r o u g h l e a r n in g Over 9,000 students choose to study at The Isle of Wight College and your involvement and contribution can help us to meet the needs of all in our community. As a College Governor your insight, experience and ideas can widen the perspective of our Corporation. We’re keen to involve people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. You may have experience in business, community or social work with charities, financial or legal practice, or even be an entrepreneur. The broader your vocational field and cultural experience the better.

This voluntary role brings many professional rewards such as boardroom experience – adding to your CV and a positive step towards long-term career development as well as helping the college retain its status as one of the best Colleges in the county and a pivotal player in the development of our community.

For further information on becoming a College Governor please contact Brian Bowker on 01983 550775 or email





New homes at Ash Lane are built by Island developers, growing the workforce and creating apprenticeships A development of land providing serviced plots for Island small builders, developers and individuals to build their own houses has now become a reality in Gunville in Newport. The IW Chamber of Commerce has been working closely with the stakeholders on this project to provide what is seen as a first by a British Chamber, encouraging and supporting a building scheme. The parties involved in this ground-breaking scheme include Stoneham Construction as builders and developers, working with land owners GJL Ltd and also with the Isle of Wight College, Christopher Scott, Rainey Petrie Architecture, Vectis Housing and Hose Rhodes Dickson. “Only 7% of new homes in England are self or custom built, compared to 57% in Germany and 70% in Austria,” says Christopher Scott. “The government wants to generate 20,000 self-build homes a year by 2020. Even if the economy slides, they are expecting delivery of 16,000 homes a year. The demand is there, as seen at Whippingham, East Cowes, where 19 selfbuild plots were sold by Second Common Ltd over the last three years. Since 2016 more than 40,000 people have signed up to

the Right to Build Registers across England, which logs those people seeking to create their own dream home in their local council area. This site at Gunville will attempt to satisfy that demand in Newport. “What is being delivered here is a selection of serviced plots ready for small builders to turn up and build without the traumas of the planning system. The process means that Island builders have to be registered with the Chamber of Commerce and qualified as an Island business, with the ability to build a detached house, a pair of semis and a terrace of four homes.” There are 32 plots available and premarketing by Hose Rhodes Dickson has shown that all these plots have now been purchased and there is a waiting list. Individuals from the parish of Newport can also build their own homes on this site. Planning has been drawn up by Rainey Petrie Architecture. The stakeholder group, which also includes a representative from Newport Town Council and the Chamber of Commerce is also involved in this pilot scheme. This gives an opportunity to work closely with


the Isle of Wight College to encourage apprenticeships to join the small builders and expand the Island building workforce which is dwindling at the current time. The Isle of Wight College is also encouraging and promoting its sound health and safety procedures, raising the bar on what is always seen as a sensitive subject. This scheme follows a successful individual selfbuild project at Grace Woodford Drive in East Cowes. “There are now moves afoot to find other sites in Ryde and Cowes,” Christopher says. “These sort of developments keep the building industry expanding and growing, and creating more apprenticeships and more Island based building jobs whilst providing local housing for local people at the right price, in the right place at the right time. “Without the Chamber of Commerce this scheme could not have got off the ground and this has been achieved at no cost to the Chamber or its members. This is one of the ways that the Chamber can work in a constructive way, keeping the Island’s economy growing. What is not to like?”




Growing success, Island roots The Garlic Farm reaches major markets in the UK and Europe but the team are working hard to enhance their Isle of Wight identity By Barnaby Edwards, director, The Garlic Farm The Garlic Farm is a growing success across Europe thanks to our innovative range of over 60 garlic-based food and drink products. We have delivered double digit revenue growth for the past five consecutive years, with exporting accounting for an increasing percentage of this total. Sales to Germany, Sweden and Denmark are estimated to grow by at least 25% over the next two years. The sale of our product to the mainland (and further afield) exceeded our immediately local revenue some time ago but the Island, which is the home for and backdrop to our brand remains pivotal to our consumer appeal. As well as being farmers and producers, at The Garlic Farm we are also retailers and restaurateurs, so blind tasting is something we do on a regular basis. We know from personal experience that Isle of Wight producers have been riding a wave of quality and inventiveness for the past few years. The local offering in our own retail space is entirely more eclectic and exciting than ever before and the ingredients in our restaurant now even includes locally grown quinoa.


The Isle of Wight is fast becoming not only a hot-bed of produce and producer brands but also a food-tourism destination. Collaborations between venues and farmers or producers taking the shape of gastronomic weekend tours and food trails are more easily facilitated when you are never more than twenty minutes from field to fork, or distillery to pub! Our success is a similar story to not only Mermaid Gin, The Tomato Stall, Island Roasted, Briddlesford and Isle of Wight Cheese plus other producer brands we’re working closely with – the product merit speaks for itself but it’s the context, the positivity and the allure of this collective love born from a region or ‘terroir’ that adds extra magic. There is strong evidence to show that the perception of a region, in particular an island, plays a huge role on the economics of not just food & drink, hospitality or tourism enterprises but property, technology, services, manufacturing and all sectors of industry and commerce. We are planning to build on the great example of The Wightbook where a

group organised themselves to celebrate the Island. We will use this approach to raise the collective reach of Island brands. The hope is to bring the message of celebration, albeit with a slightly more consumer focus, to a broader audience. We’ve instigated a work-group, along with the Chamber’s CEO Steven Holbrook, to help support and facilitate a partnership of marketing professionals locally. This work develops alongside and hopefully adds depth and breadth to destination marketing. It’s exciting! It’s often the case that quality breeds quality and the cumulative effect of a collective effort to approach food in a considered way is changing the profile of the Island. The stock on our shelves and the plated dishes served at here the farm are tangible examples of a flourishing region. Helping to shape a clear identity for the Island, especially the shoulder and offseason months is at the top of our to-dolist. This might seem a bit expansive for us but a collaborative approach is the only way to do this well. The benefits are clear for us all, not just our own business.



Notes To Self Darren Toogood Publisher/Editor, Island Echo What was your first job? I left Medina High School aged 16 intending to study photography and law at sixth form but I quickly accepted a job as a waiter in Sandown instead. I actually quite enjoyed it! At the same time, I was already self-employed as a photographer. Back then it was all events and commercial work on a part-time basis, but it laid the foundations for what developed into Island Echo several years later.

Day 1 I decided that every story must be accompanied by a photograph – an obvious choice as this was my core skill, not journalism. I come from a working-class background but have battled through several challenges to enter the world of business. Earlier this year I completed a Media Law Diploma – something I never thought I’d even consider undertaking.

What have you learned about business? Nothing is handed to you on a plate. In business you have to work extremely hard to achieve success and if that means putting in 80 hours a week then so be it. People always ask me ‘how do you do it?’ but I don’t really know the answer. Sheer determination, passion and ability I suppose. I’ve also learnt that being surrounded by like-minded individuals is key. Success breeds success and I’ve been supported by some amazing people so far in this journey, with special thanks to Karyn Carson and Dale Howarth in particular. Joining the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce at the start of 2019 has really helped to expand my presence within the business community.

What have you learned about yourself? I’ve realised that the card you’re dealt in life – your background, education and circumstances – doesn’t have to be the card you hold forever. Stick or twist – you either decide to settle for what you’ve got or you strive to better yourself. I’ve learnt that I can do more than I ever thought was possible and having a little selfconfidence goes a long way.

Is the Isle of Wight a different place to do business? Having lived on the Island all of my life, I wouldn’t know what it is like to do business anywhere else! I’m a true caulkhead and I think that has helped in providing a truly local service.

What was your first proper job? Over the years I have been everything from a waiter to a bin collector, a holiday park receptionist to a laundry operative. Throughout these short-term employments my photography was always in the background, so you could say that being a photographer was my first ‘proper job’ as it was bringing in the pennies from such a young age. My interest in photojournalism grew and by 2012 I had made the decision to launch my own independent news source, bringing 24/7 breaking news to the Isle of Wight on a local level. From OCTOBER 2019

There is certainly a uniqueness to Island life and that has helped Island Echo become the success it is today.

What advice would you give that younger version of yourself? I’d almost certainly say ‘think of the future’. Bad decisions made at a young age can change the path you follow and it can be a real battle to change direction – but I’ve shown it is possible. I’d also say that self-belief and confidence does go a long way… don’t be so harsh on yourself!



Networking Chamber

Being a Chamber member means you’re well-connected. Make the most of your membership by taking advantage of our member-only networking opportunities. Friday 11th October 2019

Thursday 24th October 2019

Annual General Meeting and Networking Lunch

Business Start Up Course

The Garlic Farm AGM commences: 2.00pm Lunch commences: 1.00pm (£25 +vat per person)

Tuesday 15th October 2019

Tuesday Tea & Toast Networking N0 64, Shanklin | 7.30am – 9.30am | FREE Meet members for informal networking in a great location. It’s free to attend, with hot drinks and toast for everyone.

Friday 18th October 2019

Business Awards For Excellence 2019

IW Chamber, Newport | 9.30am – 4.30pm | £5 admin fee This course is available for non-members. We offer new businesses the opportunity to take their ideas from paper into practice. We offer a one day business seminar aimed at people who are starting a business. Get the tools you need to take your idea from the drawing board to the real world. This course is designed for those with a business idea through to those who have been in business for six months.

Friday 1st November 2019

Business Breakfast The Seaview Hotel | 7.30am – 9.30am | £15 per person Our guest speak this month will be Chris Court from Chris Court Associates. Chris will be talking through 10 things you can do that will guarantee you better visibility online, and bring more relevant traffic to your businesses website. These will be tasks that you can take away and do yourself, so bring your notepads and be ready to make some notes!

Cowes Yacht Haven | 5.00pm till late | SOLD OUT!

Tuesday 5th November 2019

Get set for the biggest night of the year for the Island’s business community! The 2019 Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Business Awards for Excellence will be presented on Friday 18th October 2019 in a glittering ceremony at

Caffe Isola, Newport | 7.30am – 9.30am | FREE

Cowes Yacht Haven’s Events Centre.

Tuesday Tea & Toast Networking Meet members for informal networking in a great location. It’s free to attend, with hot drinks and toast for everyone.

Book your place now! Go to

Training Chamber

Tuesday 5th November 2019

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Utilising LinkedIn to Gain Customers

Go Ahead Make My Day for Staff Team

With Nosy Design

Training Course delivered by In2Action

IW Chamber Offices, Newport | 9.30am – 12.30pm | FREE

Gurnard Pines, Cowes | 10.00am – 5.00pm | £95+vat per person

LinkedIn is 3 times more successful at generating business LEADS compared to Facebook. Are you using this platform to build your personal brand and to advertise your business? In this FREE workshop, Matt from Nosy Design his experiences with LinkedIn, what sort of content you should be posting, how to set-up your profile correctly and how to engage with other users to make an impact.

The “Go Ahead Make My Day” customer service training will include solutions on how to put the customer at the heart of everything you do, and enable you to go that extra mile for every customer all of the time. The training will explore guest psychology, complaint handling techniques, using real complaints and situations from real guests! This workshop is designed to empower all who attend to work with customers face to face.




Being a Chamber member means you can learn more and upskill your staff at our exclusive training sessions Wednesday 20 November 2019

Tuesday 26th November 2019

Emergency First Aid at Work Course

The Interview Workshop

Delivered by Good Skills Training

With WP Recruitment & HR Ltd

IW Chamber Offices, Newport | 9.30am – 4.30pm | £60 per person

IW Chamber Offices, Newport | 10.00am – 1.00pm | £5 admin fee

This one-day course designed to give delegates the knowledge, skills and confidence to help those that have become unconscious, and those with minor injuries. The Emergency First Aid at Work Course also looks at the responsibilities of the Emergency First Aider. On successfully completing this course, attendees will be confident, safe, prompt and effective emergency first aiders.

During the morning you will understand the need to have and be able to prepare, a comprehensive job description and interview questions. You will also explore techniques and other assessment and selection methods in order to assist you to make the right appointment.

Book your place now! Go to 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

IW Chamber PATRONS Our Gold Patron

Our Silver Patrons

Our Bronze Patrons




Chamber Members New

Topline Windows

Ian Rollins 01983 404044

VeriSmart Isle of Wight Neil Baker 07767 641728

Oaklands Resource Management Ltd

Oliver Howells 07818 661412

Upper Chine Developments Ltd

Sharon Ryan 07714 750815



Chris Brennan 07738003649

a My CRM Ltd solution Alistair Dickinson 01983 245245

Pristine Wight

Solent Postal

ReCycle Plas Ltd

Patrick Barnes

Jayne Robichon 07896 766350

Paul Lynch 07766 881097

Weaver Brothers Ltd Richard Weaver 01983 872598


Roy Richardson 01983 249108 Ecommerce and product development

Want to join the Chamber? Call the team on 01983 520777 or online



Join the


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.

IW Chamber members have access to these four essential services:

ChamberHealth & Safety ChamberHR ChamberTax

These services give you unlimited access to no less than five business advice lines and a website which features over 750 free downloadable template documents. Not only that but you are protected by £1,000,000 of legal expenses insurance which includes employment cover and tax enquiry cover.

All these services are included in your membership fee.


Don’t delay…join today! Project1:Layout 1



Page 1

We talk technology. But in a way you can understand.

Project6:Layout 1









01983 898250


Page 1



President’s View By Peter Tomlinson, IW Chamber President

In June, I wrote about an initiative in Preston seeking to increase the proportion of public spending (by the local authority and other public bodies) placed with local suppliers. I was keen to see such an initiative replicated on the Island, to boost our local economy and sustain employment. Following that article, I was very pleased to be invited to have a discussion with Director of Regeneration, Chris Ashman and Hayley Holden, Team Leader for Procurement for IW Council. It was clear that the sentiments expressed in the piece were very largely shared by the Council, and many steps are already in place to maximise local spend, which I found very encouraging. Hayley has also presented to the Business Reference group to explain both the ambition and legalities behind Council procurement and particularly the opportunities to increase local sourcing. Copies of a draft Procurement Strategy for 201922 have also been circulated to group members and the Chamber will be providing appropriate feedback on behalf of its members. Interestingly, we now also have a “baseline” figure for the current percentage of total IW Council procurement spent with local suppliers, which is 31.4%. This figure excludes the Island Roads contract

and Amey waste contract as both of these are paid to mainland head offices, even though the value of both contracts is largely spent right here on the Island, which itself raises an interesting debate about what should count as “local” spend! It also raises the question as to whether 31.4% is good or bad! It certainly is far better than the 9% figure quoted for Preston in 2013, before their initiative to buy local commenced, and it remains better than their post-initiative figure of 28% in 2017. So we are already better placed than some other authorities, even those who have tried to increase local spend, which is commendable. However, I think the figure is most useful as a baseline against which future progress can be measured, and much of the discussion with the Council has been (and needs to be) about exploring ways in which the Council, with the support of the Chamber and other groups, can achieve even more. Several very welcome initiatives have been discussed and are included in the draft procurement Strategy •

Making it simpler to do business with the Council

Providing clear information about selling to the Council

Seeking quotes and awarding contracts to IW suppliers for contacts under £25k where they offer best value

Reducing the bidding burden on suppliers, and being aware of the procurement process impact on small companies

Running market engagement events and workshops

Using local based advertising portals to ensure Island businesses are aware of the opportunities.

Additionally I would like to see the Council provide a leadership role with other public bodies on the Island to spread the message and ensure that the maximum percentage of Public Estate spending possible remains on the Island, to drive the circular economy. I am pleased with progress so far and look forward to the Chamber working collaboratively with Hayley and her team to achieve even more. Together, I believe we can make a difference.


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, Find out more about advertising, marketing opportunities and how we can help you to raise your profile by emailing




We look after our customers, so you can look after yours Fire Alarms

Intruder Alarms



Access Control

Fire Protection

Working with you to look after your individual fire and security needs. Solutions available with 24 hour monitoring, remote viewing and control through smartphones and tablets, with Police, Fire & Keyholder response.

Tel: 01983 521621 Email: The Island Security Centre, Riverway, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 5UX

A Different Kind of Broadband

Full-fibre, ultrafast, future-proof - available now, only from WightFibre.

The Island’s fastest broadband is getting even faster Fibre phones: A truly flexible phone system Made on the Isle of Wight: Island engineers, Island call centre, Island staff

Rated 4.6 / 5 ‘Excellent’

01983 300 000

Profile for Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce

Island Business October 2019  

IW Chamber Awards preview issue; CECAMM's Richard White, Ascensos and more

Island Business October 2019  

IW Chamber Awards preview issue; CECAMM's Richard White, Ascensos and more

Profile for iwchamber