SBT issue 443

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Relaunch of the new County Business Clubs Sussex Community Platform


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Welcome to the first, packed issue of 2021

The year has started much like 2020 finished as we survive the first month of lockdown 3.0. Despite the continuous

uncertainty, juggling between working from home and home-schooling, talking with people this month there is certainly an

air of optimism, as we are hopeful this is the final hurdle before the vaccine is rolled out and we can look forward to a better spring/summer and end to 2021.

This month we had great pleasure in interviewing County Business Clubs latest Value Added Partners, Mayo Wynne Baxter as we chat to new Chief Executive, Dean Orgill for this month’s cover feature.

We also have an exclusive interview with Rockinghorse CEO Ryan Heal, with a tribute to him and his work over the past eight years as he announces that he will be stepping down and moving onto pastures new.

County Business Clubs have some exciting announcements as we look to relaunch the new platform in February. Thanks

to your feedback and support we have some amazing new tools and functions including our new Marketplace and growth

services. We are delighted to also announce our new Value Added Partners Mayo Wynne Baxter, Whitespace, HR Dept and Learning Cog all who will be able to provide support, great content and advice for all our members.

We have a Virtual Business Awards Sussex special, as we talk to our winners and sponsors. This issue is packed with

insights, advice and great content across a variety of sectors, written by the Sussex business community for the Sussex business community.

Thank you all as always for your continued support and we look forward to a more positive and prosperous new year. I hope you enjoy the issue, Sam Thomas, Managing Director


Issue 443

06 11 Cover 443

Managing Director/Publisher Sam Thomas 01323 819 012 Production & Design Kim Butler Accounts Clare Fermor 01323 819 016 Published by The Business Group Sussex Ltd. Unit 1a Swan Barn Business Centre, Swan Barn Road, Hailsham, BN27 2BY Printed by L&S Printing Limited Hazelwood Close Worthing BN14 8NP 01903 821005

All material in this publication is strictly copyright and all rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The views expressed in Sussex Business Times Magazine do not necessarily represent the view of The Business Group Sussex Ltd. Every care is taken in compiling the contents but the publishers of Sussex Business Times Magazine assume no responsibility for any damage, loss or injury arising from the participation in any offers, competitions or advertisement contained within Sussex Business Times Magazine. All prices featured in Sussex Business Times Magazine are correct at the time of going to press. Copyright The Business Group Sussex Ltd. 2020 ©


Monthly News SBT Finance

MHA Carpenter Box – What the Brexit Deal means for business in the EU


SBT Legal

19 23 27 31

SBT Property

37 55 59 65 69 75 83 86

Employment Law what to expect in 2021– By Alex Jones 365 Employment Law

The Letting Partnership insists agents should be proud of the crucial service they provide

SBT Sales & Marketing

How to get your business through a global pandemic – by creative pod

SBT Charity Special

A tribute to Ryan Heal – CEO Rockinghorse

SBT Cover Feature

We chat to Mayo Wynne Baxter’s New Chief Executive Dean Orgill

SBT Awards Special

We hear from our winners and sponsors from the inaugural Virtual Business Awards Sussex

SBT Tech

New World Tech discuss women IT

SBT People Management & Recruitment

Can businesses insist that employees are vaccinated?

SBT Lifestyle

Spirit of the Downs – Plus Recipe of the month is back

SBT Motoring

COVID 19 Vehicle Update – 2020 in review - bought to you by Rivervale

SBT Networking & Events

5 Reasons your networking might not be working – Brighton up your marketing

SBT Ask The Expert

Why your business narrative matters – Inside Stories

Cube Corner

Cube Consulting by Paul Rogers focus on City Utilities




World Cup winner helps launch Sussex Cricket’s groundbreaking Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub • Cricketing great Sarah Taylor on hand to launch world first • Online platform harnesses power of shared experience and video, backed by NHS • Developed in response to long-lasting impact of COVID-19 pandemic Sussex Cricket is

Monthly News

proud to become

the first professional sports club in the

world to launch its

own, bespoke online mental health and wellbeing platform for the community. The Sussex Cricket Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub is being launched on


Monday 18th January by Sussex and

England cricketing legend, Sarah Taylor, who herself has contributed to the groundbreaking innovation.

Developed in partnership with Frog Systems and with the support of

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation

Trust, the hub is a free, online resource designed to help users find hope and

support through the power of shared, lived experiences.

At the heart of the mobile-optimised

platform is the ‘Champions Cinema’, an ever-growing collection of thousands

of videos of 60 seconds or less where people from the Sussex Cricket

community and beyond share their

experiences from an A to Z of topics

MON T H LY N E WS that impact or can help with our mental

position to make a positive difference in

Contributors include Sussex Cricket

The Sussex Cricket Mental Health &

club cricketers, experts from Sussex

that needs it at

health and wellbeing.

players and staff – including Taylor,

Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as

well as individuals from a whole host of backgrounds and life experiences.

The fully searchable library also provides links to trusted local resources and

further help relevant to the videos being viewed by a user.

The Sussex Cricket Mental Health &

Wellbeing Hub is completely free to use by anybody with an internet connection and requires no registration, ensuring complete anonymity for users.

The platform came to life after a Sussex Cricket working group, chaired by club

president, Sir Rod Aldridge, was tasked

with finding ways in which Sussex Cricket with its prominent role and significant

reach in the community could make a

this aspect of people’s lives.

Wellbeing Hub is available now to anyone

Sarah Taylor, Sussex player, World Cup winner and nominee for ICC Women’s Player of the Decade:

“I know from my own experiences

how helpful it is to share how we’re

feeling when it comes to looking after our mental wellbeing. Sussex’s new

platform is a wonderful way of taking the power of shared experience and using it to give as many people as

experiencing some form of depression

during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly double the pre-pandemic level, making

it clear that mental health and wellbeing was an area where help was and will continue to be needed.

With over 3,500 members, 182 affiliated cricket clubs, tens of

thousands of supporters who attend matches each year, thousands

more people encountered through

community programmes and corporate

partnerships, over 400,000 followers on social media and more than 850,000 unique website visitors each year,

Sussex Cricket is in an incredibly strong

safety, disrupted our daily routines, uprooted our lives and shaken our

world. It isn’t easy to maintain mental wellbeing, personal resilience and

optimism when we are surrounded and affected by such unsettling

uncertainty. This is why I’m so pleased we are working with Sussex Cricket

on this fantastic resource to provide

advice, information and support about mental health and wellbeing for our local communities.”

nation has collectively found its voice

be a better time for an innovation like this. I’m proud to have shared my

experiences on the platform alongside

so many other people from all walks of life. I’m sure the hub is going to make a big difference.”

to be breaking new ground as the first

one in five adults were likely to be

pandemic has threatened our personal

this current lockdown, there couldn’t

COVID-19 pandemic.

from June 2020* showed that almost

Foundation Trust CEO: “The COVID-19

Phil Worms, CEO of Frog Systems

the challenges of the last year and

Sir Rod Aldridge, Sussex Cricket

Office of National Statistics (ONS) data

Sam Allen, Sussex Partnership NHS

possible support and hope. With all

meaningful and long-lasting contribution

to addressing issues exacerbated by the

topics. I hope people find it useful.”

president,: “We are extremely proud sports club in the world to support

its community in this way. We have

long been able to count on people’s support and we’re delighted to be offering some support back in an

area that is so important, particularly now. It was felt with our connectivity across the entire spectrum of age, gender, background and personal

circumstances that Sussex Cricket

is ideally placed to reach out to our

said: “Over the recent months the

through technology, with millions of

people using video daily. Speaking up and out is essential in countering the

stigma associated with mental wellness issues - and video engages in a way that the written word simply cannot. The stories of hope and support

showcased within the Champions

Cinema will encourage others to feel less stigmatised by their own issues and will feel empowered to take

personal ownership of them. It’s so

commendable that Sussex Cricket is

using its influence and reach in such a

positive way to support its community.” *Source: Office of National Statistics (https://www. wellbeing/articles/

coronavirusanddepressioninadultsgreatbritain/ june2020)

supporters and wider community at

such a challenging time. The Sussex Cricket Mental Health & Wellbeing

Hub, with a seal of approval from the NHS, harnesses the power of shared experience – so vital when it comes

to addressing our mental health - and

provides an innovative and accessible ‘one-stop shop’ for people to easily

access support across a huge range of 7


Henry Powell

How the Brexit deal is impacting West Sussex businesses With a Brexit deal

Monthly News

agreed, businesses have spent the first

weeks of 2021 getting to grips with its

long-awaited details and implications. Members of the Coastal West Sussex

Partnership, representing some of the region’s key sectors, have explained what the deal means for them.

Tim Hague, Director of Property and

Infrastructure at Shoreham Port said

the biggest impact of the deal, which he described as “significant”, is the new requirement to have all cargo

cleared through customs prior to it being released from the port.

David Martin, Partner at SHW, said businesses in the property sector

faced impacts on supply chains, as

well as the costs of buying and selling

raw materials and finished goods. “It’s

early days yet, but it may lead to more


goods being made and sold in the

of workers from the EU and delays

UK,” he added.

at ports are causing disruption to the

At global engineering and consultancy

costs.” The need for great advice on the

Group Risk Manager said increased

was recommended by the majority

some tasks were taking three times as

Hanson at Landlink Estates added, “we

perishable supply chain and adding

firm Ricardo, Andrew Swayne,

import and export of goods and services

paperwork and processing time meant

of business owners interviewed; Paul

long to complete.

need to embrace the new regime.”

At Allergy Therapeutics, which

Henry Powell, Chairman of the

Operations Director Bev Lees said

“Businesses are picking apart what the

regarding import licensing, “masses”

clear that across many sectors there

of medicines in the EU for goods not

having a deal is far better than a no-deal

We have a laboratory set up in Spain

ours can work with businesses and the

government to help exporters negotiate

possible – that is our key concern.”

EU to change its import requirements.

For more information, please visit

manufactures and exports medicines,

Coastal West Sussex Partnership, said

Brexit has meant complicated logistics

Brexit deal means for them, and it’s

of paperwork and “Complete retesting

are impacts and challenges. However,

approved prior to Dec 31st 2020.

outcome, and now partnerships such as

to perform retests.” Bev wants the

public sector to create the best outcome

with EU bodies and put pressure on the John Hall at the West Sussex Growers’ Association said: “There is a shortage


Jamie Oliver & Jimmy Dougherty try winemaking at Ridgeview

Jamie Oliver and his best mate Jimmy Dougherty tried their hand at winemaking on a visit to Ridgeview. Filmed before the

Monthly News

pandemic in the

Summer of 2019 as a part of their

Friday Night Feast

programme, Jamie & Jimmy visited the vineyard in the South Downs of

Sussex on their quest to explore English sparkling wine.

To be aired Friday 29th January 8pm on Channel 4, Ridgeview feature alongside guest host Susan Sarandon in the final episode of the current series. As a

part of every show Jamie & Jimmy set

themselves a series of challenges. In this show Jimmy leads the way to the South Downs where he has heard that English sparkling wine is competing with some

of the best sparkling wines in the world and wants to learn more.

Jamie & Jimmy joined Ridgeview’s

Head Winemaker Simon Roberts as

apprentices by helping blend the base

wines. It was then Simon’s job to judge which apprentice had created the best

blend. The team at Ridgeview had such a

great day welcoming Jamie and Jimmy to the estate. Simon Roberts commented: ”What a great honour to have Jamie,

Whilst Jamie & Jimmy were at Ridgeview

English sparkling wine. With Jamie &

with us at Ridgeview. With their passion

final end product of Ridgeview sparkling

of English produce, the programme is

palates, they made for great apprentices.

episode as “Amazing with a smooth fresh

have always been big fans of Jamie &

end of the programme Jamie & Jimmy

filming and lots of laughs.”

some sampling to spread the word about

Jimmy and the team spend the morning

they had the opportunity to taste the

for all things wine and knowledgeable

wines which Jamie describes on the

It was such a great experience as we

flavour”. After the Ridgeview visit, at the

Jimmy. Most of all we had so much fun

take bottles of Ridgeview into London for

Jimmy being such incredible champions great piece and well timed to help spread the word of the joys of English sparkling, putting a spotlight on this very exciting and rapidly expanding industry. 9


Family soap business wins international business award Sussex-based soap

Monthly News

and luxury products manufacturer

Christina May is

celebrating after

winning the International Business of the Year category of the South East Region Federation of Small Business Awards

2020, sponsored by Lovetts Solicitors,

and being named a finalist in the Good Retail Awards 2021*.

Multi award-winning Christina May

now manufactures and exports a range of products to every continent apart from antarctica under The English

Soap Company brand as well as under white label.

Last year the family business

Alisa & Oliver

celebrated 20 years since it was

introduce new products such as scented

from their kitchen. Christina May’s

proved extremely popular.”

production taking place from a factory

The FSB awards follows success during

launched by Bob and Juliet Butts

turnover now exceeds £3 million with all

hand sanitisers to the range which have

near Heathfield in rural East Sussex.

2020 in the regional Institute of Directors

Today the company is run by Managing

category - and also being named a finalist

Director Oliver Butts and employs 47 staff while continuing to grow and innovate.

Awards - winning the Family Business

in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. Christina May Ltd, best known for

Oliver said: “We are all absolutely

its English Soap Company brand,

prestigious award for our success and

luxury soap bars each year along with

has worked incredibly hard with the help

under The English Soap Company brand

to expand our overseas customer

sold through major UK and international

delighted to have won another

manufactures more than five million

get this type of recognition. The team

more than 220 other products sold

of the Department for Trade and Industry

and also white label. The products are

base, market our brand and build our

retailers, hotel and gift suppliers.

reputation around the globe.

The company, which is based in

“It has been very challenging during the

Waldron, near Heathfield, was founded

but we have managed to adapt and

they discovered some vintage soap

pandemic with not being able to travel,


in 2000 by Bob and Juliet Butts after

moulds in a machinery workshop in

Kent. This coincided with Juliet finding

a 25-year-old book about soap making which sparked Bob’s fascination.

The couple spent several years creating a soap bar that is smooth and silky in texture, moisturises rather than dries

the skin and is infused with a luxurious

perfume that lasts until the end of the bar. Managing Director Oliver Butts joined

Christina May in 2012 to work alongside his parents. Bob remains the Senior

Director and Juliet is Company Secretary. Ailsa, Oliver’s wife, joined the company as Operations Manager in 2016.

Today the company’s 47 staff deal

with everything from production to the

packaging design, wrapping and boxing up for distribution.




What the Brexit deal means for business in the EU What great news to end a very tough year – the UK finally has a Free Trade Deal with the EU. Businesses have


craved this certainty

and to have tariff and quota free trading conditions is the

best possible outcome for businesses trading in and with the EU and UK.

Here’s what we know about the Brexit deal and what it means for doing business in the EU. Trade

Under the agreement, goods

originating from the UK or the EU


will not be subject to tariffs, thereby providing for ‘free trade’ between

the territories. The question of where goods originate from will therefore

be very important, particularly where goods are assembled in the UK and

where the component parts may have been imported. As expected, there

are exceptions and special rules for certain categories of goods ranging from medicines to motor vehicles. Whilst there may be ‘free trade’

between the territories, it does not

mean that trade will continue as it did

pre-Brexit. Importantly, whilst tariffs may not be applied, businesses will

be required to complete import/export declarations for movement of goods. There could also be delays due to

customs checks at the border which were not previously required.

Businesses will also need to consider the need to register for VAT in an EU territory to facilitate ongoing trade, particularly if selling directly to consumers.

Going forward the UK will no longer be

required to follow EU law. Great Britain

AWAR D S SPO NS O R to provide details on their affected movements.

Northern Ireland (NI) will operate a dual VAT regime as part of the Brexit Withdrawal agreement.

The rest of the UK, Great Britain (GB), will leave the EU VAT

EU transactions. Businesses in

NI may be required to have two

on goods that enter Northern

declarations will be required when

moving goods between Great Britain

and Northern Ireland, or into Northern Ireland from outside the UK. To

facilitate these movements, the UK

has introduced a new Trader Support

System (TSS). This is a free of charge online portal that enables businesses

the value of the sales.

extended to cover all B2C cross

supply is deemed to be in the EU. This is likely to include legal and

professional services, freight transport and the provision of information.

way in which VAT is charged

TOMS will continue to apply to all

sales from GB to customers in

Northern Ireland Protocol, customs

services to EU consumers, regardless of

Tour Operators Margin Scheme

and accounted for on most

Due to the UK’s obligations under the

VAT will be due on all supplies of digital

Ireland from Great Britain.

Whilst this won’t change the

Northern Ireland Protocol

consumers (£8,818). This means that EU

border services where the place of

Protocol, import VAT will be due

to see what the practicalities look like.

get the benefit of the current EU-wide VAT

number, the latter for continued

Under the obligations in the

arrangements and we will have to wait

must register by 10 February 2021.

From 1 July 2021, MOSS will be

VAT-free trade with EU suppliers.

time to adapt to the new trading

make supplies in January 2021, you

VAT numbers, their UK one and a special EU VAT identification

No doubt it will take businesses some

example the Republic of Ireland. If you

threshold for supplies of digital services to

continue to be treated as intra-

incentives as it sees fits.

scheme in an EU member state, for

and Single Market for goods

NI and the rest of the EU will

to introduce targeted subsidies and

register for the non-Union MOSS

In addition, UK businesses will no longer

only. Goods moved between

aid regime, allowing the government

(MOSS) scheme. UK suppliers can

regime but NI will remain inside the EU VAT, Customs Union

will also be free from the EU state

to use the VAT Mini One Stop Shop

Northern Ireland, there is an important change where goods are moved but ownership does not change. Services

UK financial businesses lose their access to EU customers (many

larger firms have already established

subsidiaries within the EU to continue access). In addition, whilst the UK

has granted EU businesses temporary permission to continue servicing UK

customers, there is no reciprocal EU


tour operators located in the UK.

From 1 January 2021 the margin on

designated travel services which take place inside the EU will be zero rated in line with the current treatment of

supplies that take place outside the EU. The margin on travel services

enjoyed in the UK will remain taxed at the standard rate except for

passenger transport (the margin will

be zero rated) and certain hospitality

and accommodation services taxed at 5% until 31 March 2021 (the margin will be 5% rated).

agreement for UK businesses yet.

This information is correct as of 12th

We expect regulatory discussions

the latest updates:

about “equivalence” in 2021 and

hopefully, an arrangement whereby UK

January 2021. Visit our Brexit Hub for

firms will get access to EU customers. Digital services

UK businesses will no longer be able 13

Our thinking starts with you “They are excellent in every respect and I am absolutely delighted with the service we receive. Everything has been done in a first-class manner. We know the next period is going to be uncertain, however, with MHA Carpenter Box’s help, I look to the future with confidence.”

Standing still is not an option In today’s environment you need an accountant that does more than just numbers. You need a trusted adviser that helps your business thrive. With our relationship led service, we look to understand the opportunities and challenges faced by you and your business. Our focus is always on client service, with open and honest relationships.

We’re here to help Audit and assurance Accounts and business consulting Tax planning Digital solutions Financial planning Now, for tomorrow







Employment Law: What to expect in 2021 By Alex Jones, Managing Director, 365 Employment Law As the Covid 19


pandemic continues to dominate all

matters related to

staffing issues, how

employment law will develop in 2021 is in some ways difficult to predict, but in

others, we can already see the issues that will be discussed in most workplaces.

Covid 19, combined with Brexit having

now happened, and the direct and indirect fallout from that, and I can see certain

issues coming up as the year develops: 1) COVID 19 and the end of furlough

Prior to late March 2020, the concept of furloughing in staff in the UK

employment relationship simply did

not exist. In response to the economic challenges the COVID pandemic

was presenting, the Chancellor, Rishi


Sunak, introduced the concept of paid furlough leave for staff, to essentially

place them in hibernation for a period of time, and to assist business

through any closures, reductions in turnover etc

The CJRS introduced the concept of paid furlough, when in simple terms,

employers could inform staff they were

not needed in the workplace, keep their jobs open, and recover 80% of their

salary (capped at ÂŁ2,500) from HMRC. Initially, employers had to either place

staff in furlough, or keep them in work.

They could not split the two options until later in the summer.

There have been various extensions

of the CJRS scheme, the last taking it until April 2021. Given the huge costs

of the CJRS, the vaccine rollout, and

the warmer summer months, I cannot see the scheme being extended further, unless for example if a

lockdown continues. Even if it is, it will be for a short period.

This creates a potential cliff edge for a number of businesses, particularly those that have essentially been

in hibernation due to covid, such

as hospitality businesses. This will

mean that redundancy consultations will accelerate in the spring, with

redundancies happening from late April onwards. Employers may

not appreciate the consultation

requirements, which become more

detailed with 20 plus affected staff, and this will also lead to unfair dismissal claims.

LEGA L 2) Health and Safety in the workplace

metre plus. Employers should think about

staff, who interact on a close and daily

reopen at the start of June, but large

of COVID-19 and how those can be

same as those in an office. Employers

not back at work, or working from

result in an investigation by the Health

almost immediately went back to full


warehouse based business, had to

Every workplace, should continue

they needed to put in place to protect

guidelines relating to COVID and their

4) Brexit and Employment Rights

been put in place, and lower paid staff

place relating to what to do in terms of

that workplace rights would not be

Large parts of the economy started to

the risk areas for possible transmission

parts of the workforce were either

mitigated. A failure to do this could

home at that point. Those areas that

and Safety Executive in the event of an

attendance, including factories and

consider what protections and systems

to assess, on a rolling basis, issuing

staff. In many cases, systems were not

staff safety, including having protocols in

were at times exploited and continue to

symptoms and an actual diagnosis.

November, working from home was not

Employers should appreciate that

to many workplaces being as normal.

extend to the worker’s commute to

position was in the middle. Certain

reduces transmission risk is not enough,

previously, were for no obvious reason,

for example, via crowded public

being estate agents.

environment. Working out mitigation

I have advised on a number of employee

eg later starts, should be considered

employer is taking, is that they are

engaged with their staff throughout the

provision. This assumption in a number

a much better place, than those who

having the view that because staff are

when those expectations had no legal

previously. This is incorrect and will lead

continue to be for more flexible and home

certain situations, a COVID outbreak

will be ahead of others in recruitment.

Health and Safety Executive.

3) Vaccination requirements

The Health and Safety at Work Act

given examples of employers taking

a safe system of work and this applies

by them, or continue to be employed

Covid. The specific application of that to

This unilateral path is a dangerous one

be considered by employers. Employers

claims. The question that employers

this. That should include a detailed risk

workplace require a COVID vaccination

specifics of their business/workplace and

staff or customers. As an example,

be exploited. In the second lockdown in a requirement, but a suggestion, leading

providing a safe workplace, can also

In the third lockdown this month, the

work. Eg an office that dramatically

workplaces that were not exempt

if workers attend the workplace,

exempt this time, the best example

transport, and also their home working plans on an ongoing basis in that regard

enquiries, where the position their

by all employers. Employers who

exempt from the work from home

pandemic, have found themselves in

of cases, also leads to the employer

dictated expectations to them, especially

in the office, everything should be as

justification. Staff expectations will

to claims against those employers. In

working, and employers who offer that

could lead to an intervention by the

A number of recent news reports have

basis with the vulnerable, is not the

should always take advice on specific

circumstances. Terminating employment because of this issue could lead to

Unfair Dismissal and Discrimination

Claims, with the latter also applying to job applicants too.

Despite the governments protestations diminished as a result of Brexit, they are now on a consultation path to removing some of those rights, specifically those

in the Working Time Regulations (WTR).

The simplicity of the discussion, ignores the reality, of removing those rights,

which will be difficult, both politically and legally. As an example, the WTR requires a rest break of at least 20 minutes in

every 6 hours. If this was removed in

law, an employer would no longer be required to offer it, but what about

existing employees? They could argue the break right was a contractual one.

What about Health and Safety? The HSE could take the view that the removal of

the right breached safety requirements.

Finally, the issue of the duty of trust and confidence could come into play, any

employer that denied a rest break, could be in breach of those obligations, and claims could arise accordingly.

It will be interesting to see how this develops, but my guess would be

that the practical problems, combined with pressure, for example from Trade

(HSWA) requires all employers to operate

the view that staff will not be employed

in all workplaces, specifically related to

by them, without a COVID vaccination.

the return to work and Covid-19 had to

for employers to take, and will lead to

should of course continue to assess

should ask themselves is, does this

Alex Jones

management plan, that focuses on the

to function safely, either towards

Tel: 01903 863284

not just based on general guidelines eg 1

a vaccination requirement for care

Unions, will mean this sits in the background for a long period.

Please always take advice on any staff related issues.

365 Employment Law Solicitors 17

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The Letting Partnership insists agents should be proud of the crucial service they provide As we enter a New


Year and a new

Due to the Government’s belief in the

agents should take

moves are still permitted in the latest

lockdown, letting

pride in the essential

role they provide, said The Letting Partnership.

It praised the industry for responding quickly to new legislation, which has

been changing constantly throughout the pandemic, and for working so hard to

allow many people to safely move home.


importance of the property sector, house lockdown and agencies can continue to

work as long as they follow the national guidance on moving home safely.

Operating safely means protecting everyone, whether that is staff,

landlords or potential tenants, and this provides many new challenges which agents have risen to.

The Letting Partnership, which delivers

outsourced client accounting and Client Money Protection services, pointed

out agents have a challenging job and

should champion their hard work during a difficult year.

Gill Waller, Compliance and Development

Manager at The Letting Partnership, said: “Letting agents should stand proud as

we head into 2021. They play a vital role

in helping people to find housing which is

P RO PE RTY Not only do they have no right to

enter the property once a tenancy

has commenced, except in extreme

Money matters

list of regulations, or risk financial or

must be handled correctly to protect

even custodial penalties.

Advertising the property, carrying out

also the Non-Resident Landlord tax to

a safe and healthy environment. This includes possessing an

understanding of safety regulations

such as the Furnishings (Fire and Safety) Regulations, Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations, Gas Safety

(Installation and Use) Regulations, and

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations for England. Moving in

When a tenancy is agreed, the agent must ensure they provide the tenant

and often it has been a home that they have invested time and emotion in.

When a landlord entrusts their property to a letting agent, they do so for the

reassurance that all rules and regulations are being complied with and the

knowledge that their investment is safe.” Starting out

Renting out a property always poses

a risk, and for some landlords handing over the keys to a stranger can be the cause of immense stress and worry.

as management of the property, there is consider. Without an agent it would fall to the tenant to operate the scheme. The agency as a whole must also comply with all of the relevant

regulations, such as having Client

Money Protection to protect landlords and tenants’, while making sure client accounting runs like clockwork. They remove all the stress for landlords of chasing rent, reconciling payments, paying contractors and tax. Agents

are also on hand to guide landlords

through the processes around the end of the tenancy.

with statutory documentation such as

Gill Waller added: “At the end of the

(if applicable). Failure to serve all of the

that must be followed to legally obtain

a current EPC or Gas Safety Certificate

are renting out is their biggest asset,

landlord, and an audit record kept.

iceberg. Letting agents must carry out a is ‘fit for human habitation’ and provides

“For a lot of landlords, the property they

the interests of both the tenant and the

If landlords live overseas then, as well

variety of checks to ensure the property

can sometimes go under the radar.

All money received from the tenant

COVID-safe viewings and finding a

suitable tenant is only the tip of the

we think the level of service they provide

waters where necessary.

circumstances, but they must ensure

that they comply with an ever-growing

fundamental to leading a happy life, yet

between the two parties and calming the

correct documents at the start of the

tenancy could jeopardise their chances of taking back possession of the property at a later date.

Agents are also required to provide a detailed inventory, or schedule of

tenancy there is a very strict process possession of a property. The rules

surrounding this process have been

changing constantly over the last year as a result of the pandemic – sometimes on a weekly basis! Letting agents have had to keep up to date with these changes.

condition, which records all of the

“The role of the letting agent has never

property and their state of repair. It is

involved in letting and managing a

contents, fixtures and fittings of the

crucial this is carried out thoroughly

as any future claim on the deposit for

dilapidations will rely on it as evidence. During the course of the tenancy the

letting agent will monitor the condition of the property and will liaise with the

been so important, while the work

residential property has never been so

involved and yet so underrated. Letting agents should feel proud.”

For more information visit: https://www.

tenant over any repairs. Letting agents have a duty of care to both landlords

and tenants, often acting as mediators 21


Industrial development Brighton Works close to capacity Artisan bakery


Coburn & Baker is

the latest tenant to make the move to Brighton Works in

Bevendean where lettings have been popular, with only three out of seven remaining units available.

This builds on the success of the striking development which was revamped by Charter Land and

responds to a need for industrial and warehouse space in the city.

Brighton Works has already welcomed

cheese and charcuterie supplier The Great British Charcuterie and local produce distributor Sun Harvest to the site.

Charles Sandy, Director of Charter

Land, said: ”Brighton Works is definitely


emerging as a hub for the food and

been supplying direct to consumers with

hospitality industry in the city, but our

the help of its team of delivery drivers.

any business in need of warehousing

Brighton Works provides a total of seven

site in Bevendean would be suitable for and industrial space.

warehouse and industrial units, at The

”We’ve seen a number of industrial sites

housed Brighton Sheet Metal, which

Hyde, Auckland Drive. It previously

in the city turned into housing in recent

closed in 2018.

of good quality warehousing units in

Located around three miles north east

robust. It’s a pleasure to welcome our

Road and Falmer Road, as well as

years and we know there is a clear lack Brighton, so demand continues to be

of the city centre near the A27, Lewes

latest tenant Coburn & Baker.”

Moulsecoomb Train Station, the site is

Coburn & Baker is a thriving artisan

good parking and the units boast views

Brighton which crafts artisan breads,

from 1,750 sq ft to a combined total of

well served by public transport. There is

bakery, employing 40 staff, based in

of the South Downs. Units range in size

vegan and savoury items, fine patisserie

50,500 sq ft.

restaurants, gourmet shops, cafes and

For more information, please visit

and cakes for wholesale to hotels,

caterers throughout Sussex and beyond. During the pandemic year it has also







How to get your business through a global pandemic Since March

Sales & Marketing

2020, the global

economy has faced unprecedented

collapse, not from a

physical world war, but an international, invisible war on the human race. Many of us never expected to be in our third national lockdown in England almost a year since the onset of the global

pandemic, yet here we are. And with

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a substantial return to some distant

resemblance of normality, now is the


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how you will keep your business afloat. Award-winning marketing agency, Creative Pod, have experienced

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COVID-19, and have pulled together

some advice on how to survive a global pandemic as a company.

Although a survey by ‘Simply Business’

outlines that the South East has had the second to lowest business closure rate

due to coronavirus of 3%, we sit slightly above the national average for loss of

earnings last year, at just under ÂŁ12,800.

A study conducted in June 2020,

showed that 28% of national SME companies think they will need to

make redundancies in the aftermath of COVID-19, and 36% have had to

halt all growth projects. The study also estimated that more than 50% of SME

companies could be out of business in

the next 12 months, and we are now just four months till this deadline. So, with

many businesses at breaking point, what is the solution?

Many studies have shown that the

key to keeping your business afloat is


marketing as possible, as the IPA also

this more than ever with our clients.

reduces profitability and growth of

in businesses approaching us for

send a company into insolvency in the

have invested in this activity have seen

reports that cutting marketing budgets

We have seen a massive increase

marketing, but this is often one of the

a business, which is a sure way to

marketing assistance, and those that

at when needing to cut costs, which

current economic climate.

the huge benefit it can have. For many of

lockdown of 2020 between March and

Matt Turner, CEO of The Creative

still around in the next 12 months.

Advertising (IPA) reported the largest

including Creative Pod, said “The reason

Right now, it’s about keeping your head

since it started its research more than

because they don’t have enough clients

their life jacket will be marketing.”

financial crisis of 2008. IPA recorded

there, even in our current economy, it’s

For help with your marketing, or if

reduced their marketing budget, and

Well, the only way you are going to find

please contact Creative Pod on matt@

first things that business owners look

is a fatal error. During the first national

them, it is likely to be the reason they are

June, the Institute of Practitioners in

Group which holds six companies,

decrease in business marketing spend

businesses are becoming insolvent is

20 years ago, superseding the global

to break even, but those clients are out

that 50.7% of UK companies drastically

just a little more difficult to reach them.

you would simply like some advice,

with England deep into its third national

those clients is by marketing.

more now than ever. But it is of vital

We have always known that you need

that they continue with as much

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to strike while the iron is hot, and over 25

Digital, design & branding

We are a full service creative agency specialising in design, web and marketing. Founded by three passionate creatives. 4 St. Georges Place, Brighton BN1 4GA 01273 258000 / 26





SBT Charity Special...A tribute to Ryan Heal This month SBT got an exclusive interview with CEO of Rockinghorse Ryan Heal, now stepping down after 8 years. Charity

Ryan you have

career to come. I remember applying for

Sussex Business

FM and being told by my soon to be

been involved in the Community for many years, tell us about

your career to date?

the my first job in radio with Southern

boss Bob Hoad, that they couldn’t take me on at the moment but to keep in

touch……..I don’t think Bob realised

Firstly, it’s incredible how quickly the

that to me that wasn’t a veiled offer and

for 300 years and I’m only 44! The career

hired me in month 13! Bob still tells that

publishing / commercial sales with Reed

in my career. Bob and those glory years

years pass! I feel like I’ve been around

I hounded him every week for a year. He

started straight out of University in

story, and he was the first great mentor

Elsevier, a great training ground for the

at Southern FM were very special and


planted the “radio bug” in my DNA that remains strong to this day. In between stints in the recruitment sector, which

everyone seemed to have a stab at in

the early 00’s, it was my arrival at Juice FM in 2005 that re-ignited the radio

connection. For years, Southern FM

had been the only game in town when it

came to radio. Every business looking to advertise on the radio in Sussex found their way to Southern FM, then all of a

sudden this little upstart of radio station


starts to make inroads into market

share and the hyper local commercial

radio platform that Juice FM provided was gaining real traction. Around this time, the much loved Southern FM

had been re-branded and re-launched as Heart FM. There is no doubt that Juice benefited greatly from Heart’s

decision to move to a more national

outlook, leaving Juice to build endless local partnerships for many years to

come. I became Managing Director at Juice in 2007 and held that post until

my departure in 2012. Having moved on operationally, I held the position

of Chairman until the sale of Juice in 2018. I was incredibly proud of what

we achieved at Juice against a huge

global market leader and in the midst of the 2008-2011 economic crisis. At

the time of the credit crunch recession,

we were one of the only profitable radio

stations in the country. It taught me the importance of relationship building and how local corporate partnerships still

stand for so much and should never be underestimated.

You have been at Rockinghorse for over 8 years, have you achieved

what you wanted to and how has the charity evolved during your time? I moved to Rockinghorse to “give

back” following our son’s illness and

subsequent season ticket at The Royal” Alex.” I don’t think I would have made such a move had it not been for the

personal connection. It didn’t feel like a career move that’s for sure. I recall

being interviewed at the time and stating firmly that I’ll do a couple of years with the charity, get our son better and

then move back into the commercial

world………I blinked and 8 years flew

by. I’m so proud of our achievements

at Rockinghorse during my time, it’s no secret that the charity was struggling

for direction, profile and engagement in the local community prior to my arrival in 2012. By 2014, the turnover was up

104% whilst, crucially, keeping the cost

base the same and therefore generating a very healthy surplus. By 2017 this

had reached record levels of surplus, not seen in the charity’s previous 50

years, while the fundraising team never grew beyond 4 members of staff with

an average of just 7 full time equivalent staff at the entire charity. This was the case throughout my tenure. The staff

have been incredible over the years and their utter dedication to the cause has

enabled us to give so much away to our projects at the Royal “Alex”, the Trevor Mann Baby Unit and beyond. I always wanted to focus on what we actually 29


gave away as opposed to how much we raised. Many charities out there will tell

you they raised £1M, without telling you

they spent £990,000 getting there! I was

base Rockinghorse enjoys, I have no

doubt it will continue to be successful for many years to come.

adamant from day 1 that I was going to

After such an impressive impact on

a big change for Rockinghorse, but I

close place in my heart, our readers

run the charity as a business. This was

think the outcome defends the strategy. Too many charities don’t incorporate

commercial thinking into their overall strategy and I think that’s very short

sighted. Personal highlights will include running the London Marathon in 2015

raising over £10,000, arranging a Royal visit to the children’s hospital in the

50th year Golden Jubilee and winning

Outstanding Contribution to Charity &

Outstanding Contribution to Sussex in 2018. As I move on from the charity, I

know I’m leaving it in a much stronger position with a profile that has been

resurrected beyond recognition (to what

it was previously.) With the huge support


the charity, one as you know has a will want to know what is next for Ryan Heal?

As one chapter ends, another one

begins and I’m very excited about the future. Using the experience

gained over the past (nearly) 25 years, including 15 of those as Managing Director & Chief Executive, I’ll be

starting up my business consultancy - BN1 Consulting - with the sole aim of working with local businesses to

raise their profile, network, footprint, engagement and ultimately increase their bottom line. Additionally, I’ll be continuing with my “Best of British”

Events which have been going since

2009 and have benefited many regional causes, including Chestnut Tree House & Rockinghorse, with hundreds of

thousands of pounds being raised

over the years. Admittedly, with the current pandemic, our larger scale

events will take a little longer to return but hopefully not too much longer

now. When they do return, I expect

them to be as popular as ever given the pent up frustration of not being

able to engage with our networks and professional communities for so long. I look forward to helping a variety of

regional charities through these events - Book early for 2021/22! Finally, and

until such times when the larger scale events return, I’ll also be launching

the Best of British Members Club –

BBMC for a smaller, select group of

businesses and business leaders so watch this space!




We chat to Dean Orgill from Mayo Wynne Baxter After 13 years at the helm of one of the South East’s most prominent regional law firms, Chris Randall has passed on the Chief Executive of Mayo Wynne Baxter baton to Dean Orgill. Dean is a well-known

Cover Feature

face in the Sussex

business community

and takes over during what we can politely

call ‘interesting times’. We interviewed

Dean to find out a little more about the man behind MWB.

Are you from Sussex originally?

No, born and bred in the Staffordshire/ Derbyshire border country. My home


town is Burton-on-Trent which was the brewing capital of the world.

What were you like as a child?

That is a long way back, but I will try

to remember. The word that comes to

mind is happy. I was always involved in as many sports as possible, which was

a good outlet for my competitive streak. I was lucky enough to go to excellent

schools, particularly a grammar school

that really taught me how to study. Most

importantly though I met the love of my life at a young age – and happily, she is still prepared to put up with me now.

Did you always want to be a lawyer?

When it became clear that no sport was

going to invite me to play for England, my first thought career-wise was psychiatry

– but I do not have the scientific aptitude that was going to be needed to qualify. History was a real interest, but I could

not see how it would earn a living. Law


was interesting for two reasons. Firstly

it suited my natural inclination to argue, and secondly working my way through

to qualify and then make a career looked like the toughest challenge that I could take on – so I did.

When did you join MWB, and what is your specialist area?

In December 1987. I joined as a general litigator dealing with civil, criminal and

they were spread around the county.

However, I am glad to have done both

as I think the experiences are invaluable. For the last 20 years though I have

focussed very much on commercial

disputes, predominantly about contracts, and developed my expertise in dealing

with intellectual property issues such as copyright and brand protection.

family cases. I was not a natural fit for

In your time at MWB, what are the

with criminal matters for ten years.

Sussex’s commercial landscape?

the family work, but I did enjoy dealing During that time, I worked in preparing

and appearing as an advocate in either defence or prosecution cases, and

would also attend police stations on the 24-hour duty solicitor scheme. I miss

the advocacy but cannot say that I miss the early hours calls to attend a police station, especially since at that point

main changes you have noticed to The biggest significant change has to

be the rise of digital technology. When I started at Wynne Baxter Godfree,

there was no internet – incredible but

true. It is almost impossible to imagine any business now, no matter how

traditional, that does not use digital

technology in one way or another. Plus,

of course, there are whole swathes of businesses that would not exist at all

without digital technology, and Sussex has many clusters of world-leading companies in that sector.

The other area that has come on leaps

and bounds is food and drink. We have always had superb producers in the area, but the number has increased significantly, and more of these are

establishing national and international reputations. It seems that our local

producers are very well-placed to meet

the increased demand in the market for accountable sourcing and sustainable production methods.

This also makes me think of our

efforts regarding sustainability and

consideration of our natural resources. As one of the inaugural trustees of 33


You are taking over at one of the

most challenging times in recent

history, what are your plans for the firm in 2021?

Like everyone in business, we would

love to be able to predict exactly what was going to happen in the next 12

months. At the best of times, that is not

possible, and these are certainly not the

best of times. We all have to get through the short-term, but we will, and beyond that, we are looking to continue our firm’s long-term expansion.

We continually review both the services we provide and how we provide them. Like many businesses, we learn the

lessons from operating in the pandemic. Fortunately, we were able to leverage the substantial investment in IT

infrastructure that we had made over many years. Our ability to work with

greater agility in terms of location and access to files was already set up,

and we were anticipating the trend

towards blended working methods.

In no way though would I say that we the South Downs National Park Trust, I am very aware of many initiatives in

place to help support local community

businesses and the support they provide for our environment.

where they are operating and want to give something back to that broader

community. The support generated for

our local charities is always tremendous, and long may that all continue.

had anticipated the turbo-boost to

that change that the pandemic put

into effect. Things that may have taken

months or years to evolve were required to be done in weeks if not days. We will be looking at how we best utilise what we have learned to benefit our clients,

Ultimately though business in the area

You were previously Chairman at

involved. The drive, initiative and support

to your new role as Chief Executive?

The pandemic has had an enormous

meetings, work with Chris Randall our

has it impacted MWB?

survives and thrives because of the people that the business community offers to

each other has not – I am delighted to

say – changed at all. The Sussex business community is an excellent example of

businesses supporting one another and

collectively supporting their communities. While the Sussex business community knows that profit is essential, it does

not forget that it is not the sole purpose for a business to exist. I have met so many people who really appreciate


MWB, what will be the main difference As Chairman, I would Chair the board previous Chief Executive on strategic matters, and hopefully offer some

“sage” advice before stepping back and reverting to dealing with my caseload.

As Chief Executive, the role is much more

operational. Things I would have pondered

on and given my view upon I now have the responsibility to make happen.

our staff, and the business.

effect on many business sectors, how As I have mentioned, the way we work has altered in that as a firm, we are

currently spread around the county,

largely working from our homes. But given the technology available, we have maintained the same levels

of service to our clients which they

have appreciated. I can say that with confidence not only because of the


public reviews data but also because we ask those clients directly.

Overall we have not been able to hit the

services provided by our highly-skilled

that we had set for ourselves 12 months

free legal guides to help explain the law

that keep us on track to resume growth

allows clients to create bespoke legal

challenging targets for this financial year

legal advisers. These products include

ago, but we have successfully hit levels

and legal processes and technology that

going forward.

documents online. Our research showed

have perhaps seen the biggest swings

Many businesses are moving to the

amongst clients that the traditional law

a short surge as people needed to

happen in the legal sector?

As a business we have various

departments that are differently

affected by different aspects within the economy. Our property departments from market closure (which led to

put emergency measures in place

for ongoing transactions), to virtually nothing whilst the market was

effectively closed, to another surge as the SDLT measures injected stimulus into the market again.

Other departments have maintained business levels more consistently,

while still having to adapt to temporary changes in the law which can then be further extended at short notice and advising accordingly.

digitisation of services, can that

a great demand for some services

firm is not, and will not be, asked to

meet. Therefore, we have invested in

It definitely can, and it definitely is. We

providing the means for that need to be

has been developing, as we are always

services directly if they wish to through

have kept a close eye on this trend as it

met, allowing people to purchase legal

aware that the way our services can .

services depend on communication, and

How do you see the Sussex

to evolve. It has probably changed more

next five years, and do you think that

years previously.

“Normal” is continually evolving in

As an example, we have developed our

constant. Things will not go back

be delivered continually changes. Our

the way we communicate now continues

commercial landscape changing in the

in the last 30 years than in hundreds of

there will ever be a ‘back to normal’?

LawEasier products to supplement the

any event. Change is really the only entirely to the way they were. Some of 35


the changes we have seen will, I am

sure, be kept. Blended/flexible working patterns will be maintained in some

shape or form as employers have come to realise that “working from home”

is not just a “duvet day” in disguise. Working spaces will become more

flexible. I do not think the office is dead, but I think it will look different.

I also wonder whether our values

and what we view as important, have

irreversibly changed. It will be interesting to see if those changes are permanent. One thing I personally would like to revert back to as soon as possible

though is actually meeting people and

interacting in the real world. I doubt very much that anyone reading this would say otherwise.

Your face will be familiar to many of

our readers from your work outside of Mayo Wynne Baxter, can you tell us a little about your other roles?

As Chair of Brighton and Hove Economic


Partnership, I chair the business group

also sit on the panel of the Sustainable

the City and acts as a critical friend to

grants to community projects that also

that promotes inward investment into

Communities Fund, which provides

Brighton and Hove City Council to devise

support the National Park’s objectives.

Because of that, I also sit on the Greater

With so much on your plate, what do

partnership side, which looks to promote

We are largely back to the sports theme

for the whole of the City region.

active playing football, rugby, squash

As Vice-Chair of the Board of Sussex

years ago and am now an absolute

can to Ana Christie and the rest of that

whilst also being able to cover long

Sussex businesses in as many ways

that you can feel that you are part of the

courses and support, local networking

it in a sealed container. In the winter

British Chambers of Commerce.

other passion is ice hockey – simply the

Finally, I mentioned earlier, the

stop moving I love listening to (what I

which looks to create long-term

comedy fan generally preferring radio to

and implement its economic strategy. Brighton Economic Board’s business

you do to unwind?

a cohesive strategic economic approach

here. Like many people who have been and running, I turned to cycling a few

Chamber, I look to offer what support I

convert. It is a great way to “switch off”

excellent Chamber team in supporting

distances, but also to do so in a way

as possible, such as providing local

landscape rather than passing through

and advocacy through the national

months, I love to ski whenever I can. My best team sport that there is. When I do

South Downs National Park Trust,

define as) good music, and I am a keen

sustainable funding for the support

TV -though live is best of all.

itself and its objectives. Within that I

and maintenance of the National Park


The Float Spa

Winner - The Business Resilience Award Because The Float

Award Winner

Spa’s raison d’etre is to help people, being forced to

close when people

needed them most was a real blow.

Fortunately, the wonders of modern technology, some innovative ideas and sheer determination allowed

them to continuing offering services.

Being recognised for doing this with a

Business Resilience Award voted for by the local people they set up to help felt like a real privilege and just the boost they needed after such a hard year.


Looking After Mental Health

health as anxiety rose and depression

Spa after realising she needed to take

lockdown went on. Not being able to

and wanted to share the mental health

them feel during this time was heart-

business was the first of its kind in the

The Float Spa offered.

discovering how much floating could


wellbeing, it quickly became popular.

popular so they were very fortunate

Float Spa was forced to close along with

continue those classes online. The

it had a huge effect on people’s mental

classes up and running was impressive

Camille Pierson founded The Float

and loneliness started to set in as the

better care of her own mental health

offer people floatation therapy to help

benefits of floatation with others. The

breaking but, fortunately, it was not all

area but, as soon as people began improve their mental and physical

Yoga at The Float Spa was also very

When the pandemic struck and The

in being able to use technology to

lots of other businesses on 20th March,

speed with which they got the online

AWAR D W I N N E RS alone as they were so popular through the webshop.

Future Proofing

Since the 2021 lockdown began, The Float Spa have been working harder than ever to expand their offering to

keep supporting people’s mental and

physical wellbeing during this difficult

time. In addition to the booming online sales and popular online yoga classes,

they recently introduced beginners’ yoga courses which people can purchase and follow at their leisure. These courses

are designed for total beginners to learn specific styles of yoga rather than just

generic yoga-type practices. They hope these classes will introduce new people to the benefits of yoga and give them the confidence to join a real life class

once lockdown is over. Camille Pierson herself has been adding to her skillset

to expand her offering going forward by

training to be a behavioural scientist. She as well as the safety features built

into their online platform. It meant

people could login and pay securely

to see their favourite Float Spa expert yogis teaching live from their homes. Additionally, they added all kinds of pre-recorded yoga and meditation

content to the platform for people to

access on demand so they could get

their yoga and relaxation fix whenever

they needed it. They felt this was very

important for people who depended on their yoga for their peace of mind and physical health. New Starts

Technology wasn’t the only option to help people during lockdown either. A new scheme by the NHS offering

acupuncture to its staff allowed The

Float Spa to offer its facilities for their use. This first of its kind research

project yielded some impressive results. The Float Spa offered the NHS their

facilities initially free of charge but now

have been forced to charge a small fee

to allow it to remain open. When they

finally reopened in August, they had to

make all the kinds of adjustments to stay COVID safe but still found themselves shortlisted for the Small Business

Saturday 100. The online platform continued to be popular until the

opportunity arose to expand the online offering even further. Limited Support

The Float Spa’s situation meant they received very little financial support through the first two lockdowns

(and still aren’t receiving it through the latest one) but were fortunate

enough to receive a small fund from Coast to Capital Funding to create an ecommerce platform to sell the

branded goods they’d been selling

in a very limited way into local small

is now fully qualified and offering online

coaching through Zoom. The total lack of support for company directors made this a necessity but she has found it a really

interesting opportunity to learn how she

could help people to achieve their goals and live a happier life.

Winning the Business Resilience

Award after such a hard fight to keep

going, keep helping people and keep looking to the future has really given The Float Spa the recognition they

needed to push on, continue expanding and improving. Obviously, they’re

desperately looking forward to opening again to see all their lovely visitors but The Float Spa have learnt a great deal from these lockdowns and believe it

will help them to offer an even better service to help people in the future.

independent retailers. This means

they went from selling a handful of

bath bombs and bags of Epsom Salts each month to making over 800 bath bombs in November and December 39

Turning Tides

Winner - The Sussex Business Community Award Turning Tides is the

Award Winner

largest provider of

homeless services for single adults

throughout West

Sussex. For over 28 years, the charity

has supported thousands of homeless men and women, including people

who are forced to sleep rough. Almost 90% of those they support are local. Currently, they run 21 properties in

various locations across the county, offering a broad range of housing

and specialist support to help people rebuild their lives.


At the very core of Turning Tides’ ethos is the belief that everyone has the right

to a home, regardless of the difficulties they may face in their lives. They work to empower homeless and insecurely housed individuals throughout every

step of their journey, from outreach and community hubs to specialist multidisciplinary teams in-house.

Turning Tides are constantly developing

and enhancing services not only to meet the ever-increasing rise in homelessness but also to ensure they meet the diverse needs of their clients.

2020 has been an extremely challenging year for the charity and this is set to

continue. They are facing significantly increased need for their services as rising numbers of people lose their

homes due to the economic impact

of COVID-19. The pandemic has also

brought some more hopeful changes.

The largest of these being in March last year when the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ initiative opened the doors of hotels

and B&Bs to men and women who had nowhere to live to protect them from

the spread of the virus. This brief, but truly historic moment, all but ended


homelessness. This was made possible thanks to the dedication of frontline

workers across Sussex. Partnership working across sectors was also

fundamental as everyone rallied to keep people safe in their communities.

‘Everyone In’ ended in July 2020 and

since then Turning Tides have continued to house many people in their own

services - which are now stretched to

the limit. As the virus grips even more tenaciously at the beginning of 2021,

the Government have just announced a second ‘Everyone In’ to ensure that no

one is sleeping rough. However, this will be temporary, as with the first.

COVID-19 continues to accelerate financial hardship, relationship

breakdown and mental health struggles,

all of which contribute to homelessness. At the end of 2020, local councils

reported a doubling of people becoming homeless. Even without the threat of a deadly virus, homeless people die

on average 30 years sooner than the general population.

2020 saw a number of vital fundraising initiatives from the charity to meet the

increasing demands for their services.

The charity are particularly grateful for

the overwhelming support of a Worthing fundraiser Phil Heckles, aka Hercule

van Wolfwinkle - whose ‘Pet Portraits’

whilst living on the streets:

and attracted media attention from all

and hopelessness, to high levels of

on Facebook have raised almost £50K

“We are used to long periods of boredom

over the world.

stress and even dealing regularly with

At Christmas, Turning Tides launched

people who have died on the streets

appeal and Ben, a client who

COVID yet.”

shared his story:

Despite everything, Ben remains

“I was made homeless after a difficult

a home in a community of people who

better of me and I just couldn’t ask my

helped to turn my life around.”

got cold, I slept by the heaters in the

There are still enormous challenges

you live on the streets, you just can’t see

undeniably risen to the hugest challenge

with your life. It takes everything out of

ongoing support from the community

their ‘Christmas is Not Cancelled’

supported the charity’s appeal, bravely

relationship breakdown. Pride got the family and friends for help…. when it

the possibility of dying. I know of many but, fortunately, no one who has died of

positive; “I feel incredibly lucky to have support this charity – a charity that has

car park next to the bowling alley. When

on the horizon but the charity has

how you are going to do anything else

in their 28 year history - COVID-19. With

you to just survive and you lose hope of

they hope one day they will be able to

achieving anything else”.

end local homelessness for good.

After 5 years of living on the streets, Ben

To find out more about the work of

Tides’ accommodation:

to read Ben’s story in full or to donate,

was offered a room in one of Turning

Turning Tides across West Sussex and

“It was the first time in a very long


time that I felt safe and had a reason for living. Having an address and my

own room gave me both security and

head space to start thinking about the possibility of a future.”

Ben provided a stark reminder COVID-19 is only one of the threats you experience 41


Winners Sussex Success Story In a year when they

Award Winner

were supposed to be celebrating their 25th Anniversary, opening their new winery and

curating their third Ridgefest, Ridgeview’s plans were brought to an abrupt halt

as England was plunged into the first

lockdown. 2020 changed quickly from a year of celebration to a year of resilience and survival in response to the global

pandemic. The team had to be agile and quickly flip their business plans, diverting sales into the channels that remained open whilst ensuring a safe working


environment was created to allow

production to continue. What a year for

Ridgeview to voted by their peers as the Sussex Business Community ‘Sussex Success Story’.

Despite the challenges, there were

plenty of successes during the year. With an online platform already operational, a switch to digital

marketing and free delivery paid

dividends with web sales quickly

outperforming the past in a significant way. Ridgeview also has a thriving

members club called OurView which

also increased in size with members receiving a Winemakers selection

of wines delivered directly to their

door twice a year. Corporate clients

increased as companies looked to new ways to treat their staff and clients,

with a rise in online tastings as well as gifts of wines and specially curated hampers filled with local produce.

During the months when Ridgeview

was able to open to the general public, they adapted the offering in their Wine Garden to include wines by the glass and local produce sharing platters

which resulted in an incredible amount

AWAR D W I N N E RS numbers over the summer were all the

incentive Ridgeview needed to prioritise investment in their on-site hospitality offering, phase one being the launch

of a new alfresco bar & kitchen in their Wine Garden in 2021. Tourism is so

important to the future of English wine and Ridgeview are at the centre of

this in Sussex. Working with Sussex Wineries, Sussex Modern, South

Downs National Park, Tourism South

East, Wines GB and many local tourism bodies Ridgeview see the very exciting future in Sussex Wine tourism with

the key being many of the successful wineries working together.

Sustainability is also high on the

company’s agenda, not just following sustainable practices in viticulture and winemaking but making sure

a sustainable and ethical culture is

present throughout the whole company. Winemaker Simon Roberts is a of footfall with customers loving the opportunity to enjoy sparkling wine

alfresco by the vines. Some came back numerous times!

All of the above helped to re-gain a

small proportion of the sales Ridgeview had lost due to the closure of the

hospitality industry. A decision was

made early on to support their friends in hospitality who were bearing the brunt

of the closed economy and a donation

of £1 for every bottle purchased online was made to the charity Hospitality

Action, resulting in close to £10k being raised to directly support hospitality

workers who had lost their jobs. They

also continued with the planned launch of a new wine to celebrate their 25th

Anniversary. Developed over several

years by Director of Winemaking Simon Roberts, the Ridgeview Oak Reserve received immediate critical acclaim

from wine writers and it’s packaging,

designed by local agency CookChick,

gained three awards including label of

the year in the UK Packaging Awards

for best overall food and beverage label

of the year – another first for the English Wine Industy.

Like all other manufacturing industries, Ridgeview had to contend with

numerous changes to government

guidelines in relation to making the workplace COVID secure on top

of all the normal health and safety

requirements. Ridgeview were able to carry on production in 2020 as wine

was classified as essential (of course!) under the exemptions granted by the

government for Agricultural Food and Beverage Production. The one thing

we must all be thankful for during 2020 was the weather. This is particularly

true for Ridgeview as all the marvellous

member of the founding group of the Sustainability Wines GB.

Last, but certainly not least, Ridgeview are very aware of the increasing

competition within the English Sparkling Wine industry with new brands coming onto the market regularly. They

need to continue to build their brand awareness and customer loyalty to maintain their position as industry

leaders with increased investment into targeted marketing campaigns being planned. Never resting has always

been a fundamental guiding principle at Ridgeview, leading the way, they look

forward to continuing being central in the exciting future of English sparkling wine. Cheers to 2021 and beyond!

Summer sunshine meant that the vines could carry on growing uninterrupted and made for an excellent harvest,

something good to come out of 2020! What is next for Ridgeview? The visitor 43

Creative Pod

Winner - Team of the Year Award Creative Pod thrive

Award Winner

during economic crisis of 2020

The year 2020 is one

have local businesses coped in these unprecedented times?

Award winning marketing agency,

Creative Pod, which is part of The

that will never be forgotten. It was a

Creative Group, have experienced the

separation, and adaptation. As we begin

the last 10 months. Like all office-

COVID-19 poses a bigger threat to our

overnight how to operate from home,

programme in history, however, now

to adapt at lightning speed to ensure

But with the economic climate likely

heightening needs as the country went

year of unimaginable change, isolation,

full force of the global changes over

2021 in our third national lockdown,

based businesses, they had to discover

nation than ever. The largest vaccination

but as a marketing agency, they had

offers a light at the end of the tunnel.

they could support all their clients

to be affected for years to come, how

into its first national lockdown.


Head of marketing at Creative Pod, Sarah Lyons, said “Whilst most

businesses had to work out how to

conduct their own business from home, we had to do that, on top of assisting our clients to do the same and get

messages out to all their customers. It

was quite a learning curve, and had to

be done very quickly, but as a close-knit marketing team, we are used to being flexible which worked in our favour!

There were of course many obstacles to overcome, but Creative Pod has

expanded greatly since the beginning of 2020. Of course, for some businesses

AWAR D W I N N E RS coming up, and to then debrief on what had

unfolded over the day.

They also started weekly Friday quizzes after

their meeting to catch up properly and bring

the team together over

a drink. Throughout the year, everyone would

contribute to send gifts

when it was somebody’s birthday, and CEO, Matt

Turner sent everyone a

hamper of luxury, locally hand-made chocolates

for Christmas as a thank

you for all their hard work during the year.

Marketing Assistant,

Becca Torricelli, said, “It was very strange and

rather nerve wracking the decision to stop marketing was

inevitable, as the economic climate

worsened, however most of our clients trusted us and saw that advertising

was the best way to ride the storm, and we actually gained many new clients because of it.”

Over the last 11 months, Creative

Pod have gained thirty clients, which

included roughly one new client each

week at the height of their demand. They have also completed sixteen full website creations since March 2020, with

another eight in current development. They soon had to expand their staff, and since June 2020, have employed six

new individuals to the team, including two marketing executives, one digital

designer, and one marketing assistant. The dynamic team is now made up of

ten people, meaning they have doubled in the last year.

All of this culminated in Creative Pod

winning the Team of the Year Award at the Sussex Business Awards in

December after being nominated for four recognitions.

Matt Turner, CEO of Creative Pod, said “Winning the award was a great way

to round off 2020, as it recognised the whole team’s enormous efforts! All of

the team had really gone the extra mile during such a challenging year, and

being recognised for it is an excellent representation of the work they have put in. The logistics and financial

implications are one area that has been affected by COVID-19, but I was also

determined to keep up the team morale and make sure we stayed connected, as my team are what makes Creative

Pod so special. Creativity is key in our business, and that only happens if people are happy and motivated!”

starting a new job in a

global pandemic, but everyone made

me feel so welcome. Even though we

couldn’t go into the office, I managed to get to know everybody, and I often

forget that I’ve actually only met half of the team face-to-face! I think it’s rare,

especially in the current circumstances when stress levels are high, to be working in a business where the

management is so supportive and encouraging, and the whole team

genuinely enjoy each other’s company; it’s made working from home a great deal easier.”

Creative Pod are a prime example of

how local businesses have survived and

thrived the relentless setbacks of the past year. If you would like support or advice with your marketing, contact Creative Pod at

During the first national lockdown, the

whole team had twice daily zoom calls to discuss all the tasks and meetings 45

Hove Fitness & Squash

Winner - New Business of the Year Award For so many

Award Winner


around the Sussex region, 2020 was a challenging,

rollercoaster of a year. And that’s

certainly no different for the Directors

of Hove Fitness & Squash. Having put huge amounts of effort and energy

into opening the doors to their new

community-focused club in October, they had to swiftly close them again to so many new and enthusiastic

members, both in November and again in late December due to the effects of COVID-19 restrictions.

These lockdowns didn’t however dent


the positive, “can-do” attitude of the

team behind the club, or its fantastic membership base, which have time

and time again shown their ongoing support for the club’s success. This

was demonstrated when in December, Hove Fitness & Squash was voted

the 2020 “New Business of the Year” winner of the prestigious Sussex Business Awards.

“It hasn’t been an easy year to start a business, especially in the leisure industry,” says Lucy Egan, one the

club’s three directors. “But we’re really proud to have launched a club that

offers something for everybody and

have worked hard to find new ways to

keep all our members fit and healthy

whether physically open or not. We’re so grateful to each one of them who took the time out to vote for us – thank you”.

As Lucy explains, the November

2020 lockdown – the first after the club opened – forced her and her

co-directors, Matt Lambert and Ben

Hutton, to think creatively about how they delivered the club’s various

fitness activities: “Having successfully opened over the summer, we wanted to keep the business going, and our members moving, into the winter”. The team quickly shifted as many

classes as possible online when the


Christmas brought another lockdown

Hove Fitness & Squash’s online

This time though, the team were more

club is unable to open but Lucy,

and sadly the club had to close again. than ready to relaunch their online

programme and are now offering a

wide range of over 25 online classes a week including Pilates, Zumba,

Circuits, Legs Bums and Tums, Yoga, HIIT and Abs and core. And while

it is obviously harder for the club’s

squash players to continue playing

from home, co-director and squash

coach Ben Hutton is running squashspecific HIIT sessions three times a

week. “Squash is such an important

and thriving part of the club so it was

crucial for us to help all our players to stay match-fit while they can’t get on court” he says.

During the current lockdown, Hove

classes will continue as long as the Matt and Ben are looking forward to welcoming existing and new

members to the club in person as

soon as they are able. The inclusive

and friendly gym has a wide range of

socially distanced cardio and weights equipment with fitness inductions

provided free of charge. There are also six squash courts used by a warm, welcoming squash and racketball

community, with club nights and team matches due to return as soon as they are allowed. A new outdoor timetable of classes such as

bootcamps, Boxfit, beginners’ running and Walkfit groups is also planned for the spring.

Fitness & Squash is offering even

And of course, members will be able

that, just like the rest of the club, the

choose by a visit to Hove Fitness

more to its community, making sure online version provides something for everybody. To help members

maintain and improve their health they have launched a free Hove Fitness & Squash Weight-Loss course on closure was announced. For many of

Facebook, encouraging healthy eating

Teams have become our second home

loss. Healthy, tasty recipes and food

and some good lighting, it was a

eatwell_hs on Instagram.

high-quality classes such as HiiT,

Members can also sign up for an

Zumba online straight to the comfort

which will help anyone who wants to

even loaned out equipment” adds

and tips including how to begin your

bikes and kettle bells to our members

routes what to wear, as well as a four-

Some of those staircases were a

offered advice with improving their

to follow whatever workout they

& Squash’s fabulous lounge, which offers great coffee, cakes, shakes and protein drinks, as well as a

fully stocked bar offering Harveys, Guinness and IPA on tap.

us, online platforms such as Zoom or

and providing support with weight

Fully inclusive membership is available

so, with a few technical upgrades

inspiration are then shared through @

or £5 each pay-as-you-go for non-

relatively smooth transition to deliver Legs, Bums & Tums, Pilates, Yoga and

online beginners’ running group,

of the members’ living rooms. “We

start running with a range of advice

Matt. “I spent a day delivering spin

running journey, how to pace yourself,

so those classes could continue.

week plan. New runners will also be

workout in themselves!”

5k run from February, and - building

The team were excited to reopen

challenges, a 28-day fitness

to their returning, loyal members and

throughout the month via the club’s

from £42.50 with all classes then free, members.

To find out more or join today, have a

look at

on the success of previous online

their doors again in December, both

challenge will be open to everyone

new members. However, of course

Facebook page. 47

Brighton Gin

Winner - Business Pivot award Brighton Gin was set

Award Winner

up in 2013 by Kathy

Caton and team and epitomises the spirit

that defines Brighton:

independent, fun-loving, open-minded, adventurous and ethically conscious. Coming out of the city’s first ever

distillery, Brighton Gin is also the UK’s

first vegan certified gin (and that means not just the liquid and its ingredients

but its packaging, bottle-sealing wax

and glue for the labels too!). Over its

relatively short life Brighton Gin has won

many awards, including being named as


the UK’s Best Gin and winning multiple gold and silver medals.

From day one, the company’s emphasis has been on ethical and sustainable

production, and making simply the best

quality gin that they can. Founder Kathy Caton says, “if there’s a choice between one way, and the better way, we’ve

resolved always to take the better way. For example, we use 100% organic

wheat spirit as our base alcohol (all the better for dodging those hangovers

with), use a UK-made bottle that’s made with a minimum of 85% recycled glass

sourced from the South Coast area, and make local deliveries on our reclaimed

Post Office bikes and our e-cargo bike”. Every bottle of Brighton Gin is made genuinely by hand, a pebble’s throw

from the beach, by a friends and family

set up of six employees, with a 53-year

age gap between the youngest and the oldest. Jude, (founder Kathy’s Mum),

is our Production Manager, waxing and

labelling each bottle and with final sign-

off to ensure that every bottle meets her exacting standards - no mean physical feat at 77. Sustainability and inclusion


meant that two more have been donated

to front line workers - everything from the NHS, care homes, food banks, to mental health workers and delivery drivers. The response from our customers has been

amazing, and I’m very proud to say that

through their support we’ve been able to donate literally thousands of bottles of hand sanitiser.”

Kathy also says, “Huge, huge thank

yous to every single person who has

ordered gin, hand sanitiser, gift boxes or anything else through www.brightongin. com over the past year - not only

have you kept us going but it’s been a

privilege to be sending Brighton Gin all

round the country as presents to people. We may not yet be able to gather in

person, but sending people a bit of the Spirit of Brighton is certainly helping raise some much-needed cheer!”.

The team were absolutely delighted to have received the Pivot Award -

supporting and giving back to the local community has been one of Brighton

Gin’s guiding principles since the start,

and making and distributing the not-forprofit hand sanitiser has been another step on that path. The Brighton Gin

team are both proud and humbled to be recognised for this!

Brighton Gin is available through many are key pillars of the company, which

is committed to supporting community

events such as beach cleans, Pride and

local charities such as the Rainbow Fund. At the time the first lockdown came

in, back in March 2020, and with it the closure of hospitality, an estimated

85% of the company’s business ceased overnight. However, within the space of a week the company had pivoted

to change their focus to sales via the

website, with the team jumping on their Brighton Gin pushbikes to make direct doorstep deliveries to customers (all

delivered following best-practice social distancing methods).

The biggest shift for the company - and certainly the one that was never in any

business plan - was to adapt operations virtually overnight to enable us to

make and deliver the best quality hand

sanitisers, made in collaboration with the

fine independents through Sussex

such as Quaff Wines and Southdowns

Cellars, through Waitrose and Marks and Spencer regionally, and shipping around the world via Master of Malt and The

Whisky Exchange. Gin, hand sanitiser and other goodies can be ordered

directly from for next-day delivery nationwide.

Lewes-based AS Apothecary. Kathy says, “an early decision was that these hand sanitisers would be not-for-profit, but

rather we would set up a “spray (rather

than pay) it forward” scheme. Every hand sanitiser sold through the website has 49


It’s all Food & Drink!

To say it’s been a tough time for the hospitality industry would be an understatement to say the least!

Gars Chinese Prince Albert Street, Brighton

We caught up

Awards Sponsor

with Noel Preston,

Managing Partner of Preston Insurance

Brokers in Brighton,

to talk about all things food & drink.

Noel wanted to recognise some of the amazing businesses we have in our

fantastic City of Brighton & Hove and how they have adapted, coped and survived through 2020!

What has been your experience of the food & drink industry during 2020? My over riding feeling is one of great

respect. The lengths some of the local

businesses have had to go to, adapting and coping with the various changes

thrown at them through the pandemic is very humbling. I personally do not think

there has been enough public recognition

of how these businesses have responded and the good news stories seem to have


Golden Lion Group Various locations

been neglected somewhat, so I wanted to highlight some great examples of these. What have they had to do?

It would probably be easier to say what they haven’t had to do! Adding home

delivery and click & collect was often the first phase during the initial lockdown.

Then when things started to open again; the social distancing measures required, reduction in covers and capacity, cost

of regular COVID cleaning, provision of

hand sanitiser and protective equipment

such as masks and the like were all direct additional costs to these businesses. What kind of businesses are we talking about here?

A wide range of businesses in the food & drink industry have been affected;

restaurants, pubs, food & drink suppliers to name a few. It’s impossible to provide a roll call to honour all of our superb

local businesses in one article but I

wanted to highlight just a few as really good examples.

Jo & Co Restaurant

They were just coming to the end of

their first year of trading as lockdown presented itself. It had been a good

year but lockdown was like running very quickly into a brick wall.

This didn’t stop them though. Very

quickly they started up Jo & Co At Home,

delivering their renowned recipes and cook at home meals to the local community,

keeping them in the mind of the residents and providing a much needed and welcome service during this time.

On reopening and with the advent of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme they were

fully booked 7 days a week (which is how long the owners Jo and Peter have been


Brighton Gin Brighton

working since March!). The changing

restrictions of the various Tiers has of

course also been a challenge but one they have risen to as a fine example of how

so many smaller independent restaurants have responded.

As a recognition of their efforts, Jo & Co

were runners up in the Business Resilience Award category at the inaugural Sussex Virtual Business Awards in December. Gars Chinese

Another local independent restaurant affected by the pandemic.

Throughout the year Gars normally host a number of events at their restaurant,

be it birthday parties, special occasions, corporate events and the like. We have

our own annual party at Gars, where we thank our clients and contacts for their business. It was booked for the 2nd

April 2020 and subsequently cancelled following lockdown. So immediately, before any impact from the social

distancing restaurant restrictions, this was normal repeat business lost.

Again restricted covers on reopening

meant skeleton staff, with take-aways

or deliveries being dropped off either by themselves or the likes of Deliveroo.

An establishment with the reputation of being the best Chinese restaurant

Jo & Co Restaurant Church Road, Hove

in Brighton & Hove for over 30 years

Golden Lion Group establishments are all

their status, quality of service and food

is driven by the area they are situated

has successfully fought hard to retain

very different in their own right. Custom

throughout this period.

and the demographic of the customers

Brighton Gin

slightly different ways or in some cases

themselves, each having to adapt in

Like many a company supplying libations

having to shut their doors altogether.

pubs, restaurants and visitor attractions

Some City centre based and others in

orders reduced significantly.

of takeaway, collections, heat at home,

Celebrating 7 years this year, they too

hampers and Christmas dinners to the

to the food & drink industry, while the

who normally buy their product closed,

residential communities meant a mix deliveries, all in addition to providing

found themselves in a position where they

elderly community.

business with the advent of the pandemic.

Whether it is a new or established, large

alcohol to make their own hand sanitiser

community, the challenges have been

gifts. All of this in a sustainable manner.

of these types of business need to be

needed to quickly adapt and evolve their This involved utilising their stocks of

or small business in the food & drink

and expanding their online products and

huge. The resilience and achievements

Due to their amazing efforts, Brighton

celebrated and recognised.

Gin won the 2020 UK Spirits Alliance

So, when they are open again, either in a

at the inaugural Sussex Virtual Business

of normality, I urge you to support your

Community Award and the Pivot Award

restricted way or back to some semblance

Awards in December.

local, independent businesses and

Golden Lion Group

around in our City for many years to come.

Pub Venues: Hove Place, Libation, The

establishments to ensure we have them

Cricketers, The Colonnade, The Ladies

Noel Preston, Managing Partner of

The Plough Inn.

Mile, The Long Man of Wilmington and

Preston Insurance Brokers

Managing through COVID is hard enough with one premises but when you have

seven the challenge increases! Each of the 51

Is your business being held to ransom by your IT Manager?

Many business Leaders and Entrepreneurs are aware that they need to make their IT more efficient to grow the business. Sounds simple,

Awards Sponsor

yet quite often IT Managers block

EVERY suggestion

even when they are

told that there is a better way.

So why is this happening? And how can you find more efficient ways of working while futureproofing your business? Long ago before the days of colour

television or England winning the World Cup, in many businesses there was

one employee who seemed to have a significant influence on the business. “This ‘influence’ came from a sense


of mystique around their role and the

fact that they gave off the impression that their skills could not be replaced and that they were essential to the

success of the business…that without them it would not be able to continue operating,” says Andrew. “Managers

would be constantly afraid of upsetting these workplace influencers and deferred to their every request.”

Not only did this affect workplace morale

Along with it came easy access to

processes and the ‘influencers’ grip on business culture was finally released. Leaders took back rightful control of their own destinies and all was well.

“Fast forward to 2021 and we have déjà

vu,” says Andrew. “Obstructive employees have been reincarnated in many

workplaces in the form of an IT Manager, whether that is internal or external.”

as other members of staff’s views were

How can businesses overcome this

the team’s views of their own leader.

“Though the issue might have changed

ignored, but it also negatively impacted Then came the computer, and BOOM!


slightly, the solution is exactly the same


Andrew Hookway

as it’s always been,” says Andrew.

“Don’t delay any further or bury your

head in the sand, it’s time to accept that you will - more than likely - get negative feedback from your IT Manager when

you’re looking to do something different. However, to break free and ensure

your business is future proof, you need to take the plunge and engage with

modern IT practices, not just a repeat of the old server or hybrid cloud setup that your IT Manager has insisted upon.”

This cloud vs server debate has been ongoing for years. The technologies

now make the cloud argument more

compelling than ever. For businesses

where this conundrum sounds familiar,

the team of IT experts at Extech Cloud can help, with a focus on transitioning businesses to the cloud to work smarter, not harder.

“It’s a completely different way of

doing things, to give the workforce

exactly what they need without the

frustrations,” says Andrew. “When it

comes to making long-term decisions about your IT, it can be challenging to make the jump to a new system and

process – especially if your IT Manager is not initially on board.”

This change can be even more daunting

if your business has been promised the

“We’ve spoken with a handful of

it has not been delivered.

their IT or MSP provider that a hybrid

“A move to the cloud doesn’t have to be

business. Or they were informed that

at Extech Cloud. “Digital transformation

Andrew. “Not only is that wrong, many

have the systems in place that you need

innovative enough or thinking ahead.

to battle through the transition without

whether this is because it’s easier or

world in the past by an IT solution…and

businesses where they’ve been told by solution is the perfect solution for the

scary,” says Ian Bryant, Project Manager

the private cloud is the way to go,” says

with Extech Cloud ensures that you

IT Providers and Managers aren’t being

when you need them. You will not be left

Businesses are being kept in the dark,

expert help and guidance.”

they don’t know what to do”.

“Providing the right solution for clients

Though there may be tough

and I’m delighted that our team can

not address these concerns and consider

is much more important to us than profit

conversations ahead, businesses that do

facilitate this,” adds Andrew Hookway.

change, will likely not grow as planned.

working, everyone should have access

Digital transformation is easier than

their business grow faster, it should also

Cloud. Speak to the experts to get the

flexible and happy workforce”.

443200, email or

“After all, in today’s world of modern to an IT system that not only makes

you think when you come to Extech

make it more efficient too leading to a

facts. Contact the team on +44 (0) 1444

Often regarding IT, firms will be


desperate to adopt new technologies

In the first instance, if you would prefer

anxieties. This can be that they’ve

Andrew, then contact him direct on

or have already made an investment

time to speak.

but will be put off by a handful of

to have a totally confidential chat with

tried to buy “silver bullets” in the past to arrange a

in technology that didn’t pay off in the

long run. Extech Cloud is committed in

helping to reassure businesses that their IT is safe in the right hands. 53


Thank you, thank you, thank you! The inaugural Virtual Business Awards Sussex on December 17th was a huge success, I have had so many amazing

comments and great feedback, and am truly humbled by the business communities’ support for this event. From the initial vision, the event exceeded all my expectations with 100 attendees, 31 nominees, over 2500 votes and 6 fantastic, well deserved winners. We also raised over £1000 for the amazing Rockinghorse charity which was truly fantastic.

I wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to our sponsors Preston Insurance Brokers, Extech Cloud,

Creative Pod and MHA Carpenter Box, as well as our supporters YBrighton, Picture Book Films, MCR Media, Remarkable Rhymes, The Hilton Brighton and Gars Restaurant. Also, to my amazing co-host Bradley Hatchett and the Network My Club team, whose support and advice helped to make my vision a reality. Finally, a huge thank you to everyone that attended the event, nominated someone or voted, the event really would not have been such a success without the support of the amazing Sussex Business Community.

Congratulations to all nominees and our winners, watch this space for the announcement of our next Awards night coming soon.











New World Tech discuss women in IT

By Cath Holt, Chief Operating Officer of Brighton based New World Tech In this, the second


of a series of four

articles, Cath Holt, Chief Operating

Officer of Brighton

based New World Tech discusses the stereotypes surrounding the types

of roles within the tech industry and the impacts – good and bad – that

COVID-19 is having on her mission to

improve diversity and get more women into the sector.

“The number of women in important IT and technology roles has always

been dramatically lower than that of men. Despite campaigns for equal


opportunities for women in tech and the fact that many organisations claim to

have diversity initiatives, only one in six tech specialists in the UK are women. Only 34.4% of the workforce in the

five largest technology companies in

the world (Amazon, Facebook, Apple,

Microsoft, and Google) are women. Lack of visible female role models is one of

the biggest contributing factors for the

lack of women pursuing a career in tech. Despite the fact that IT is an amazing place to be right now – we know for

example, that for every person who is

qualified, there are basically two open

jobs. We are still not graduating enough

people in the science, technology,

engineering and mathematics (STEM)

professions to reverse that trend. This

makes the labour shortage in IT a major priority for the industry today, and

nowhere could this be more effectively addressed than by attracting more women to the profession.

Now, that may seem like a hopelessly old-fashioned argument, after all,

women have been transforming the

workplace across every industry for

decades. Do we really need to still be having this conversation in IT?

The answer is yes. Because for all our hi-tech solutions to everyday


It’s this scenario as a whole that

we have to change, because the IT profession just can’t afford not to.

It’s really not about gender equality

at all; it’s about the kind of power in numbers – and the kind of diversity – that IT businesses today need to

propel themselves forward in a globally problems, we are still failing to attract

competitive market.

of the talent we could be tapping

IT workers used to be isolated. They

organisations forward.

projects that were slipped under the

The problem with attracting women

didn’t need to concern themselves

believe that schools are missing and

couldn’t be more different, as employers

at an impressionable time, when they

lot more collaboration.

career choice.

With more women in IT available to

At the college and university level,

kind of well-rounded talent pool that

in STEM continue to see a male-

in a vacuum. We would have that

upon graduation, the women who are

that can come up with ten solutions

than men for doing the same work.

have a knowledgeable workforce in

women, who make up a huge portion into to fill the gap and move our

would sit in their offices, receiving work door. They would write the code; they

to the industry begins in schools. I

with anything else. Today’s workplace

opportunity to attract young women

today demand business acumen and a

could start to think about IT as a viable

fill critical jobs, we would have the

women looking to pursue a career

understands IT work no longer exists

dominated world on campus. And

diversity of talent in the workplace

choosing IT jobs are still making less

instead of just two. And we would

place to sustain us for critical projects that demand highly skilled workers – whether male or female.

From the start NWT has always offered an inclusive environment for women

and our recruitment strategy and values reflect this. I believe that increasing the number of women in tech is essential

to add diversity to our sector and help inspire the next generation. My role as COO includes ensuring that we

continue to have important diversity and inclusion conversations.

Sadly, I believe that the drive to close the gender gap has potentially been

derailed by the coronavirus outbreak. More women in tech are likely to feel the devastating effects COVID-19 is

having on employment and recruitment than men.

Women in tech are more likely to be

laid off or furloughed than their male colleagues. This is largely due to

female employees still being more likely to hold entry-level or junior positions in companies. Women 57


Cath Holt

working in the tech field are at a

further disadvantage, being 1.5 times more likely, than their male peers, to be struggling to manage childcare responsibilities during lockdown.

The focus right now is on surviving

COVID-19, so I fear that improving diversity of the workforce will slip

down the priority list. But there is a

glimmer of hope. I predict we’ll see

a surge in the tech industry because

tech is at the forefront of businesses’ agendas in the age of coronavirus.

Companies are having to switch to digital incredibly quickly, artificial

intelligence is growing and we’re not going to lose that momentum. Tech has never been more relevant, jobs

will be created in the field and the new remote, flexible ways of working could really benefit women.

Since the outbreak, tech has gone

from being nice to have to an absolute necessity and COVID-19 is forcing

changes that will enable women to work in sectors they may have previously


shunned. All sorts of businesses are

moving to remote working and more people are beginning to understand that greater flexibility can mean you

might work less conventional hours and still get the job done.

Those types of changes are more likely to benefit women than men

because we all know the unpaid care

burden falls more on women, whether

for children or elderly relatives. A lot of tech roles in our field have traditionally involved time away from home,

visiting customers on site. Those jobs are not so attractive to women with

those kind of responsibilities at home, but greater use of tech and wider

acceptance and adoption of remote working potentially opens up those roles to female candidates.

While there may be reasons to be

optimistic about more women working flexibly in the future, the fact remains that many young female candidates who hoped to break into the tech

industry in the last year currently find themselves unemployed.

If you are in that position, I strongly

advise you to remain hopeful and use the extra time you have as a result

of lockdown to polish your skills and make new contacts.

If you’re out of work, look at online

courses and research how you might build up your professional skills and experience. If you can demonstrate

that you have used your initiative and committed to online learning you will be more attractive to future

employers. And don’t be afraid to

try networking through sites such as LinkedIn. If you see someone who

works in a role that you aspire to, get in touch, they may have advice or be

able to connect you to others who can help. You are welcome to reach out to

me on LinkedIn and follow my journey in the industry. Once the pandemic

passes, the tech sector will be busier than ever. Contacts you make now could pay off.”









Can businesses insist that employees are vaccinated? • COVID vaccines are here, but not everyone wants one. • Employers should tread carefully when considering a vaccination policy in the workplace. • There is a multitude of legal risks, from discrimination to data protection, to take account of. The well-publicised


roll-out of COVID-19

vaccines is gathering pace. While it is

initially reserved for

the high-risk categories and frontline

health and care workers, it will not be long before millions of other people of working age are invited for a jab.

It raises key questions for employers

regarding their stance on the vaccine. The first question on many employers’

lips will be ‘When can my employees get


vaccinated?’. It is probably the simplest to answer as the government has given an expected timeline of everyone aged

18 and over being offered the vaccine by the Autumn of 2021.

From there the questions are not quite so straightforward to answer: ‘Can I

ask that employees get vaccinated? What are my options if an employee refuses a vaccination?’

Whether you could ask that employees get vaccinated would really depend on

if it was a reasonable request to make

in the context of your business. There is an obvious difference between asking

a care home worker to get vaccinated, compared to someone who works by themselves remotely, for instance.

Doing any more than asking (best done by a non-contractual policy which

outlines the benefits of vaccination and

why your business is recommending it), exposes you to a number of risks.

The employment law risks are significant.

P EOP L E MAN AGEM EN T & R ECR UITM E NT examination of options will generally be

a better starting point than confrontation; but professional advice is essential.

Here at The HR Dept, we have been working closely with SMEs through

the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to provide urgent support to many

businesses through this unprecedented time of change.

Our core focus in recent weeks has

involved supporting businesses through

furlough and walking employers through the many rules and iterations of the

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. After speaking with a wide range of SMEs about the new and very real challenges they face beyond lockdown, we have devised a bespoke short-term HR

package to directly address and resolve

common concerns. Our local and personal service means that we can be flexible with this offering to find the perfect solution One of the protected characteristics of

the Equality Act is religion or philosophical belief. A person who does not believe in vaccinations or a person whose religion

bans the use of certain substances found

in the vaccine may claim protection under this. In December, the Vatican has said

it is acceptable for Catholics to have the

vaccine, but other faiths may not accept

it. Those who are pregnant or suffer from

severe allergies would likely be prevented from having the vaccination on medical grounds. So, it is a complex area.

That being said, if a company has carried out a risk assessment and the request is a reasonable way to achieve the aim of

minimising the risk in the first place you could potentially dismiss. You would, however, have to ensure a dismissal

process was followed properly – and taken on its own merits. Obviously looking at alternative roles or working from home

before dismissal would be sensible. There is no case law to which to refer.

Other legal areas into which an employer-

led vaccination initiative could stray include

that puts your business first.

between pro- and anti-vax employees.

To find out more about a beyond

As well as the legal issues, there are

contact your local HR Dept today.

allow employees paid time off to

The HR Dept is now the UK’s largest

How will you cover their absence?

outsourced HR support. Our clients

advance, and you will probably want

brands, across all industries.

appointments have been attended.

We pride ourselves on delivering cost-

Asking for information about

HR solutions that leave you free to

data protection and workplace disputes

other areas to consider too. Will you

lockdown plan for your business,

attend their vaccination appointment?

network of HR professionals providing

You may need to plan rotas in

vary, from tiny start-ups to established

confirmation that both vaccination

effective employment law advice and

vaccinations or lack of them is

concentrate on growing your business.

all discussions will be strictly

Your local HR Dept Offices:

store the information and who will

Eastbourne, Brighton and Hove Serena

a sensitive area and as such

confidential. How and where will you have access to it?

What on the face of it may seem a

May – 01323 403500

reasonable health and safety precaution

Chichester, Arun, Worthing, Adur and

Education and persuasion and a thorough 01243 214404

in embracing the vaccine is full of nuance.

Horsham Sue Beeby – susan.beeby@ 61


Watch This Sp_ce helps you reimagine how you work and communicate to include everyone This inclusion consultancy business launched during the lockdown. Watch This Sp_ce helps organisations see the benefits of diverse, inclusive workplaces where everyone can thrive. Back in March 2020


when we were all

forced to stay in our homes, the three

Co-Creators of Watch

This Sp_ce were on a zoom call to catch up. They could see the inequalities of society being highlighted during the

pandemic and wanted to do something positive to change that.

They already run a networking group in their hometown, Brighton Digital


Women, so they had a network and

experience in building a community.

They had contacts in a range of different organisations and could see they could

bring a new dynamic offering to people. Co-Creator Allegra Chapman said “the workplace as a concept is outdated and not fit for the world we live in.

There’s such a wide variety of people

and their lives that employers need to adapt to. The pandemic highlighted this further with employers who

previously said working from home was not possible, being forced to

adapt overnight. We could see that there was a place for us to create easily accessible, good-quality

consultancy and training courses to help organisations who often don’t know where to start”.

Allegra Chapman, Rachel Pearson

and Mo Kanjilal spent time creating training courses, a podcast,

workshops and consultancy services.


As soon as restrictions eased slightly, they recorded video content together.

Rachel is a film maker so she used her skills to create the video content to

engage with people for their training courses. They created simple ways for people to learn about being

inclusive in their behaviours and communications.

Mo Kanjilal said “creating a fair and equal society with opportunities for

everyone is the world we want to live in. There’s also a strong business

case. Research shows clearly that diverse teams create 19% higher

output of innovation. Diverse teams have greater productivity, faster

decision-making, and happiness. Younger people look for diversity

and inclusion when they are sizing up employers, so those who don’t address this now, will not be able

to attract people to work for them.

They won’t be the organisations who survive and thrive.”

The team recognised that a lot of people and a lot of organisations

have a long way to go with this. So

they have created simple messaging and content to help people start on

their journey to inclusive workplaces. Rachel Pearson said “people engage with content in a variety of ways. We worked hard on creating simple and

impactful messages, interactive content

of attention, with a TV and radio

we are working with clients on their

campaigning and speaking at events

help them to be more inclusive.”

many inequalities in our society, last

The team have already won new

working practices, for diverse teams

types of organisations. They have

and care for their children. Those

recruitment, run training sessions on

have been impacted by the pandemic

and inclusive communications, and

routinely represented in leadership, for

to help with inclusive communications

the world we want to see.”

new audiences.

As restrictions start to ease later this

They work closely with their local

more in-person meetings, events and

both Brighton and Worthing Chamber

online content and events as they can

Innovation Centre. They also run their

access their content easily.

join. They are becoming well-known in

The team were delighted to be

at events. They have become used to

award in December. Allegra said “after

from their own homes. This has

worked so hard on the new business,

across the country as there was no

an award in recognition of our work”.

including videos and e-learning, and

appearance. They aim to continue

communications to advise them and

and to the press. Mo said “with so

year highlighted the need for flexible

business with a variety of different

and for parents to be able to work

delivered workshops on inclusive

needs are not going away. Women

unconscious bias, inclusive leadership,

and people of colour are still not

they are currently working on a project

example. We will continue to work for

for a political party to connect with

year, the team are looking forward to

community, running workshops for

workshops. They will continue to offer

of Commerce and the Sussex

see that this is a way to help people

own open workshops for individuals to the community and regular speakers

nominated for a County Busines Clubs

attending events online as speakers

a tough year for everyone, we had

allowed them to speak at events

so it was amazing to be nominated for

travel time to factor in.

2020 was a year where the team

worked on campaigning on many

For more information contact:

issues which also got them lots 63


Foundation supports young people through the pandemic with virtual programme The LoveLocalJobs Foundation C.I.C is to offer their 2021 ‘Be the Change’ programme to young people in a virtual format, for the first time since the programme was launched in 2015. Be the Change is


an inspirational

programme aimed at

helping students who may face challenges

and difficulties to realise their full potential. The programme focuses on happiness, confidence, hope, relationships and

employability and encourages students to identify their personal barriers to

success, before helping them find ways of overcoming them.

The virtual offering coincides with the reintroduction of home-schooling, amid a crisis that has seen young

people experience more severe stress and anxiety than in previous years.

the students and listening to their day to

is no better time for young people

Sponsored by a plethora of leading

day struggles.

to be inspired and learn from those

to make its biggest impact to date.

The need for a programme such as

confusion and turbulence. We continue

Sussex Police, Legal & General, First

drive to support the local community.

accelerate and support young people in

Foundation Trust and PwC.

remains committed to supporting young

for this programme is greater than ever

Business representatives from

to support their futures, at a time when

Founder, Gary Peters.

local employers, the programme is set

who are leading through disruption,

Supporters of the programme include

this is greater now than ever, as is the

to give everything we can to energise,

Central, Sussex Community NHS

The LoveLocalJobs Foundation C.I.C

our local area, at a time where the need

people from the area and is stepping up

before.” said LoveLocalJobs Foundation

organisations across the local area

they need it most.

programme as business guides and

“We are incredibly excited to be able to

the Change’ virtual launch conferences

sharing their experiences and stories

in a virtual format. In the midst of a

and 4th February. Visit https://www.

on virtual tables, as well as encouraging

and with schools closed, there really

change to learn more.

have been invited to participate in the

The LoveLocalJobs Foundation ‘Be

positive role models – they will be

hold our ‘Be the Change’ programme

will be taking place across 2nd, 3rd

regarding their lives and career journeys

year unlike any that’s come before,






Spirit of the Downs Handmade Artisan Sussex Grape Spirit For 2020 the main focus has been with our grape spirit, but for 2021 we will be entering the two new Sussex brandies for IWSC awards for 2021 awards with the hope of winning again. Lifestyle

Recognition of the

Spirit of the Downs Cocktails on

winning sparkling wine grapes from

quality of Spirit of

We have produced a range of cocktails

a growing sector especially with the

more experience bars and restaurants,

expect more grape spirits to be coming


Brandies and liquers.

uniqueness and

the Downs grape

spirit We have had

a great response and were recently featured in the Telegraph’s top 20

Unique gifts for December https:// christmas/0/ best-unusual-christmasgifts-2020quirky-present-ideas-unique/



local vineyards. Wine based spirits are

for both the home cocktail maker and for

growth of vineyards in the South East

see our Youtube channel for inspiration

through from Vermouths to Eau de Vie,

UCHBcSspIhARFFbyjwMDSp6w/videos What is Spirit of the Downs?

Spirit of the Downs uses award

Our most recent releases include a

limited edition of run of 700 bottles of

the Pinot Noir Vintage 2019 Grape Spirit


as well as two new Sussex Vintage

2019 Brandies, one lightly aged in an English oak barrel made by Alistair

Simms the UK’s last Master Cooper based in Yorkshire and the other a

more traditional Brandy using French oak (in a VS Cognac style). These

small handmade batches of spirits are

available from £30 a bottle for the Pinot Noir Grape spirit and £31 for the two

brandies through the website or selected local wine merchants.

For 2020 the main focus has been with our award winning grape spirit, but for 2021

we will be entering the two new Sussex

interested in trying one of our unique.

with the hope of winning again.

an opportunity looking for a change to

Future plans

something new and local.

brandies for IWSC awards for 2021 awards

In 2020 we produced 700 bottles, for

As well as a great tasting spirit this is

the usual vodka or gin spirits and to try

2021 are hoping to produce 10,000

For further details of Spirit of the

markets. We are working with four local, for all enquiries

Tickerage and Plumpton producing eight

bottles for both the UK and export

Downs please visit our website www.

vineyards including Breaky Bottom,

please contact me on 07773766225 or

different spirit varietals for 2021.

We hope that more people who haven’t

Michael Yeoman Owner,

tried Grape based spirits before will be

After winning Bronze for our Pinot Noir grape spirit, the International Wine and Spirit Challenge (IWSC) 2020 judges commented with the following regarding the spirit; “Elegant & restrained nose. Subtly aromatic with fruit and spice. Balanced, clean palate.”. 67


Recipe of the Month: Sugar Free Banana Bread By Joanna Myles, The Baking Artist

Yield: 12

Cook time: 55 mins

Prep time: 20 mins

Total time: 1 hour & 15 mins

Paleo & Whole30 friendly banana bread. A most delicious sugar and grain free banana bread, perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Ingredients • 4 Bananas, mashed • 4 Large eggs, beaten • 2 tsp Vanilla extract • 1/4 cup Melted Ghee Instructions

• 1 3/4 cup Ground almonds

1. Pre-heat oven to 180c/325f.

• 1/2 cup Coconut flour

2. Grease and line a 1lb loaf tin.

• 1/4 cup Coconut nectar blossom sugar

3. I n a large bowl mix together the mashed banana, melted and cooled ghee and vanilla extract.

• 1 tsp Baking soda

4. I n another bowl mix together the ground almonds, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and poppy seeds.

• 1 tsp Ground cinnamon

5. A dd the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and then

• 1/4 tsp Salt

add the poppy seeds to this.

6. Mix together, but don’t over mix! Just mixed is what

• 1/8 cup Poppy seeds

you’re aiming for.

• I Banana, sliced (to top)

7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. 8. Top the mix with the sliced banana.

Calories: 278.55

Sugar (grams): 12.70

Fat (grams): 18.12

Protein (grams): 8.16

Sat. Fat (grams): 4.69

Sodium (milligrams): 281.27

Carbs (grams): 23.94

Cholesterol (grams): 72.93

Fibre (grams): 4.36

Contains: Eggs, seeds, nuts.

Net carbs: 19.58


9. B ake in the pre-heated oven for 55 - 60 minutes. Testing

the banana bread with a skewer, it should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack, removing the banana bread from the loaf tin after 15 minutes.

Slice once cooled and enjoy!








COVID 19 Vehicle Update:

Here’s What Drivers Can and Can’t Do During Lockdown Brought to you by Rivervale Leasing

Motoring News

For the third time

Can I still drive my vehicle under

is going into a full

Given all the new rules, you might be

in history, the UK

national lockdown.


wondering if you can drive your car at all

assisting elderly and vulnerable people is also allowed.

Jumping in the car just to have a

during the lockdown.

break and get out of the house?

out. Wash your hands. Only see those

The answer is yes. You can still drive

exercise or a reasonable excuse and

All that said, there are some key

specific purposes.

By now, we all know the drill. Don’t go in your household or support bubble. differences this time around when it comes to the Coronavirus rules, particularly for drivers.

If you’re a UK motorist wondering what

it all means, we’re taking a look at what you can and can’t do as a driver under this third set of COVID-19 restrictions.


your car under tier 4 but only for

The government has drafted a list of ‘reasonable excuses’ - it includes

shopping for food or dropping kids off at school if you’re an essential worker

Unfortunately, this does not count as is therefore not permissible. If you’re stopped by the police and can’t

give a good reason for why you’re

travelling, you could face a fine of up to £200 or more.

Read more: Driving in the Dark - How

(children of essential workers are still

to Stay Safe

for medical appointments as well as

It’s also vital that any passengers going

allowed to go to school). Travelling

MOTOR I NG N E WS along with you are from your own

household or your support bubble. Drivers and passengers are encouraged to: • Open windows for ventilation,

• Face away from each other (in terms of seating arrangements),

• Clean the car after each journey,

• And, of course, wear face masks Are garages open? Can I get an MOT test?

During the first lockdown, garages were closed. This time they’ll stay open.

MOT testing and vehicle servicing are considered essential business. That

means you can book your car for an MOT or check-up during this third lockdown.

It’s important to note that since MOTs

and servicing will go ahead, there will

be no MOT test extension period, as there was due to the first lockdown.

What about fuel top-ups? Are petrol stations still open?

Petrol stations are also essential

businesses and therefore will remain

open throughout the 3rd lockdown. That includes motorway stations as well as independent sellers.

While topping up, you’re advised

to wear gloves and practice proper hygiene.

Can you still get a car wash under

tier 4 restrictions? The answer is yes,

though while automatic car washes are open, manual hand-wash locations won’t be.

Read more: Green Number Plates Introduced on UK Roads

Can I buy a car during lockdown?

Those dealers able to offer a click-andcollect service as well as contactless

delivery can stay open during this current

lockdown, though showrooms and

physical locations must remain closed. That means motorists can order a new

car or lease online and collect their new purchase outside of the dealership at a social distance.

If the car was previously purchased or

used, the dealer must sanitise the whole vehicle along with its keys. Instead of

in-person demonstrations, they are to provide walk-through videos.

What about renewing my driving license?

During the first lockdown, the DVLA

struggled to update photocard driving licenses as most of its workforce was forced to work from home. Drivers whose licences were set to expire

between the 1st of February and the 31st of December 2020 were thus offered an 11-month extension

Motorists with licences due to expire in 2021 will have to apply for a renewal. Can I take a driving lesson or test?

The DVSA has confirmed that both driving lessons and tests cannot take place

during this 3rd lockdown, including

in Scotland and Wales. That applies to everyone, including key workers.

The agency stated that they’d be in

contact with candidates as soon as

possible with additional information but

that they await the government to make further announcements.

Is it time for a new set of wheels?

Get the car you want on lease from

Rivervale. You’ll find a superb range

of leases on offer from family-friendly

models to the latest electric and lowemission vehicles.

It’s a challenging time, but we’re still

here, operating on a contact-free basis to ensure your lease’s smooth set up and delivery. All vehicles on offer are

completely sanitised, including keys, before their contactless delivery or hand over.

For more information or to get answers to any more questions, get in touch on 01273 433 480 or email info@ Our friendly team is on hand to help. 71

2020 in review - a round-up of car/ van related news from this year

From the early excitement of new car and van models, to a global pandemic 2020 has been quite the ride. Brought to you by Rivervale Leasing

Motoring News

The automotive

and their pick of the best in show? For

adapt, and quickly.

Ford, starting with...

industry has had to But despite a very

odd year, there are

still some celebrations to be had. There

are the usual new model launches along with developments to electric cars and changes to the way we drive.

Here’s our round-up of the good, the bad and the ugly car and van related news from the ever-evolving year of 2020.

the sixth year in a row, it was all hail the

The Ford Puma

Winning the coveted Car of the

Year award, this crossover SUV was

commended for its driveability, smart

packaging and pretty affordable price.

Not to mention extra points for its ability to showcase an unbeatable economical side in real-world driving, thanks to its mild hybrid technology.


Other accolades included:

mention the What Car? Awards of 2020

thanks to its powerful performance

What better way to start the year than to


The Audi TT - voted the best coupe

The Land Rover Defender - scooping the Reader Award as voted for by the public.

The BMW 5 Series - winning best luxury car (more on this one later). February

After an exciting start to the year, the

green light was firmly on, as Plug-In EV car sales more than doubled. In fact,

sales of BEVs pretty much tripled. The total number of Plug-In car registrations

at this point was sitting at an impressive

4,566. An increase of 117% year-over-year at a market share of 5.9%. Not bad for the environment, and the EV arena, at all.

February saw the unveiling of the new

MOTOR I NG N E WS Hyundai i20 while Citroen rolled out their Ami electric city car (more accurately known as an electric quadricycle)…

sadly only onto the streets of France.

But drivers keen to adopt their own Ami for a ride on the UK motorways may not have to wait too long as the firm announced they could register their interest for the time being.

In other more sombre news, the Ford

Ranger 3.2-litre was discontinued but more eco-friendly 2-litre engines

looked set to replace the current models later in the year. March

We can’t round up the year without

mentioning the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect this has had on the

auto industry. And in March 2020, the

emergency brakes were pretty quickly slammed on due to a rapidly rising number of infections.

With a halt on manufacturing, purchases and changes to employment, the

industry has seen effects that will last beyond the year. It was also the first lockdown the UK experienced, with detrimental effects.

UK car sales saw a rapid decline in the wake of coronavirus as lockdown hit

and consumers were forced to tighten

their belts. Many UK van service centres remained open but mainly for essential


Not featured in this list but after winning

becoming more apparent, the auto

of 2020 earlier on in the year, the BMW 5

to its events schedule. Due to take place

From a reinterpreted front fascia with

Vehicle Show was unfortunately

kidney grille to its extended integral

it would resume again the following year.

wheels, it was an exciting revamp to

As the scale of the pandemic was

best luxury car at the What Car? Awards

industry had to act quickly when it came

Series received a striking facelift in May.

on 28-30 April 2020, the Commercial

beaming new headlights and reshaped

cancelled due to COVID-19, with hopes

active steering and new 18-20 inch

The industry also saw a dramatic 99.7

per cent year on year fall in production,


no choice but to close, due to strict

services - in an already increasing

as all vehicle manufacturing plants had

Due to a significant increase in delivery

Government guidelines, throughout the

landscape - and the need for businesses

month. In addition to this, new UK car registrations fell by a huge 97%.

In bids to try and drive home some

positivity, Ford decided to deploy a 131-strong fleet of Transit vans to

help in the fight against the virus, the

same month they turned 55 years old. Servicing 40 different organisations,

they put their best driving foot forward

to help as only they know-how. Further inspirational news came as Vauxhall

announced they were extending their

free breakdown cover to NHS workers. And from cars to ventilators, it was

declared that renowned brand SEAT,

would be collaborating with the healthcare system to make automated ventilators

with adapted windscreen wiper motors in order to help combat the virus.

servicing and repairs.

April was also the month in which the

There was some more uplifting news

topped the UK bestseller list for car

in the car and van world, however, with the unveiling of the new Renault Zoe

and some mysterious photos of the new

Mercedes Citan, due to emerge from the showroom shadows in 2021.

However, the brokers, leasing

companies and dealers in the industry have all successfully adapted their

process to provide “business as usual” while being COVID-19 compliant.

mark hitting the middle of the year.

Tesla Model 3 and the Jaguar I-Pace sales. May

With showrooms set to reopen in June 2020, it’s time to list the top five most popular new cars for the month:

to keep their vehicles in good working

order, Ford increased its fleet of Mobile Service Vans by 25 per cent. And in

more positive news in the car world, Fiat opened its registrations for their allnew electric Fiat 500. July/August

Throughout these months, everyone’s

foot was firmly on the eco-friendly pedal. From the electrification of the Maserati

brand to EVs outperforming the new car market in July. The numbers showed

a growth of 260% for pure-EVs and 320% for PHEVs, compared to the same period for the previous year. And in August, the sale of EVs set a

whopping great new record, as sales

shot up to 78% in August 2020 vs the same period last year.

In van related news, there was applause all around for the Mercedes-Benz Vito,

which showcased the results of its shiny

new facelift. Offering a choice of two trim

lines, a new generation diesel engine and

the intelligent Mercedes PRO connect - a real-time vehicle monitoring system - it

changed the game for small businesses at an extremely welcome time.

1. Tesla Model 3

There was also exciting news in the

3. Ford Fiesta

Government announced the potential

5. Ford Focus

motorways in 2021.

2. Vauxhall Corsa 4. Mercedes-Benz A-Class

world of self-driving cars, as the UK

introduction of such vehicles on the 73

MOTO RI N G N E WS September

pop-up roof and camping table with

number plate, new car sales still

who can, to get away for a weekend

Despite the introduction of a new

chairs. The perfect excuse, for those

continued to fall for the industry, with

with their bubble.

September performance since the

Another car model making an upgraded

system in 1999”. But there was good

Convertible. Flaunting the return of the

this month labelled as “the worst

introduction of the dual number plate

entrance was the BMW 4 Series

news to be found amongst the bad.

desirable soft top, it makes for a much

In the absence of festivals, funfairs

execute so its drivers were able to get

summer, one industry that seriously

their socially distanced hair.

indoor ice-cream sellers. Due to

Sadly, in a not particularly great end

to move their business to the streets.

Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

In the wake of the easing of the UK’s

cream van manufacturers, Whitby

new car registrations. Falling even

introduction of a strict tier system, the

Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans and

hit a nine-year low. The “firebreak”

brand new Toyota Hilux. With an upgraded

ice cream vans to treat universal fans

introduced on October 23, contributed

facelift also came with a new 2.8-litre

manner and help sweeten the sour

and other large scale events this

felt the heat of the pandemic was

lighter ride and takes just 18 seconds to out of the house and feel the wind in

COVID-19 restrictions, many decided

to the month, the Society for Motor


With this in mind, world-leading ice

released the latest statistics for

second national lockdown and the

further by 1.9 per cent, the figures

nation also saw the introduction of the

transform them into bright and cheery

lockdown in Wales, which was

design and bold new looks, this Hilux’s

of ice cream in a socially distanced

to this decline. Though electric sales

engine, which is the biggest engine of any

continued to rise.

new UK pickup on the UK Market.


In other shock announcements came

second national lockdown, it was

Camilleri announced his resignation

new car market registrations saw

Officer. Though the reasons were not

however, announced that UK MoT

for its successor to make themselves

Morrison, decided to order 55 classic

effects of the pandemic.

In more general news, and in an

With the Government declaring a

the one where Ferrari’s CEO, Louis

announced that four UK motorways

time to hit the brakes once more, as

from his position as Chief Executive

a decline of 27.4 per cent. It was,

entirely clear, the brand will have to wait

12 months.

testing stations would remain open

known in 2021.

And in no particular order, the following

would be agreed.

To round up the year in suitably festive

facelift in September:

However, as time continued to move, so

over at Mercedes-Benz. Unveiling their

• Peugeot 3008

slower pace, with the top five best

Christmas jumper, they’ve given us all

• Vauxhall Corsa - 3,718

with more pictures to come throughout

• Mercedes-Benz A-Class – 3,243

we’ll take two.

On the 13th of the month, it was

• Ford Focus - 2,922

If you want to take a look at any of the

in the UK was bringing back its beach

Mercedes-Benz also announced the

up or want to enquire about another

Tour and Camper - it arrived in the

help make it easier for consumers to find

give our expert team a call on 01273

effort to cut down on pollution, it was would be in receipt of a reduced

speed limit - down to 60mph. It was

stated this was due to be assessed after

car models all benefited from a 2020 • Audi Q2

• Peugeot 5008

• Jaguar F-Pace • Hyundai Kona October

announced that the VW California range

but it was unlikely another extension

style, we’ve left it to the genius minds

did the sale of cars, albeit at a slightly

iconic G-Wagon in a wonderfully ugly

selling cars of November reported as:

the perfect present to top the year off,

• Volkswagen Golf - 3,625

the month. Not sure about you but

• Nissan Qashqai – 3,073

cars mentioned in our yearly round

model. With two models on offer - the

launch of a new online van showroom to

car or van for the new year, why not

absence of a kitchen but included a

their ideal model.

433480, or email









Network My Club

Networking is one of the most effective business development activities you do. That’s when it’s done purposefully and strategically. Some people see

Networking & Events

networking as a

tick-box exercise.

By simply going to

an event will result in

new business. No!

Like any aspect of your business, the

the returns you’d hoped for from

networking, there may be some things to work on.

Here are 5 common reasons why your networking might not be working for you:

more you put into it, the better the

1. Y ou have unrealistic goals (or

This doesn’t mean spending hours

What are you trying to achieve from

results will be.

networking every single day. Nor does it mean chucking hundreds of pounds at different events and memberships and hoping for the best.

Work smarter not harder. If you’re scratching your head

wondering why you’re not getting


none at all)

your networking?

If you go in with the mindset of “I

want to sign up 5 new clients within this one event”, you will be bitterly

disappointed. Even thinking you’ll gain a new client at all from attending one event will result in disappointment. Networking is about creating new

opportunities, sharing ideas, but most importantly, helping others. Please,

please, please do not see it as a place to sell.

Think of networking like gardening. It’s about planting the seed and nurturing

the shoots (relationships). The flowers (sales) will come in time.

2. You don’t have a networking strategy

When we say strategy, it doesn’t

mean a structured plan or document. Although that would definitely help.

We mean how you approach an event. Aimlessly tipping-up 10 minutes late. Not having a clue who else is in the

room. Not understanding who you’d


like to meet. These will all lead to disappointment.

Plan your time either side of an

event accordingly. ALWAYS check

out the delegate-list beforehand and make a note of anyone you’d like an introduction to.

Know which types of industries/people are often good at referring business

to you and also who you can typically refer business too. Make a conscious effort to connect with these people.

Remember to put others first. Always

think ‘how can I help this person’. It’s

true what they say; what goes around, comes around.

3. P eople don’t properly understand what you do

For people to refer their friends or

Bradley Hatchett

clients to you, they have to like know,

4. You aren’t following-up properly

With some groups (such as Network

have to understand what you do and

This bit is really important. The fruits

additional benefits. Make sure you are

like and trust you. But they also problems you solve.

Don’t fall into the trap of spewing heaps

are in the follow-up. So, what is your follow-up process?

My Club) you have access to making the most of these!

Pro-actively send content to the

of jargon and industry-specific lingo.

If you’re sending an email or Linkedin

relevant person. Be brave. Shout

This may position you as an expert

about your service, you’re probably

news, industry insights and offers.

message with generic paragraphs

about what you’re doing. Share good

amongst your competition, but when

doing more harm than good.

your industry you may risk alienating

After you’ve spoken with someone,

advantage of being able to attend

don’t fully understand what you do in

connect via LinkedIn. You could

applicable. Ask for introductions.

conversation to trigger their memory.

with specific people.

to a six year old, you don’t understand

people but more importantly ask them

Struggling to make networking

speaking with people from outside of

Broaden your horizons. Take

them and cause a disconnect if they

make sure you share details and

multiple events in different areas if

simple terms.

include something from your

Don’t be afraid to ask to be connected

As Einstein said: “If you can’t explain it

Remind them how you can help

it yourself.”

how you could help them.

work for you? Try one of our online

Make sure you can convey what

If you think there could be potential

won’t be disappointed. Find all

able to address the problems your

arrange a 1-1 call or meeting to

you do clearly and concisely and be

for collaboration or business referrals

service or product can help with. Give

discuss further.

you can.

5. You aren’t utilising all benefits

relatable or recent real life examples if

meetups. We’re confident you

upcoming online events at www. 77

Brighton up your Marketing Here to help you create a standout brand! Here at YBrighton

Networking & Events

we pride ourselves

on creating engaging experiences which

showcase our fantastic

city. What you may not know is we have a

whole inhouse creative team with a wealth of creative experience across all areas of creative, from brand strategy through to print, digital and video.

Nothing brings us more pleasure than

helping local businesses be the best they can be. Whether you’re looking for a full rebrand, a tactical re-vamp or digital, video or print assets to support your

messaging, our down to earth creative

crew are on hand to guide you through your creative journey.

Understanding your world

With a focus on your vision, mission


statement and objectives, our creatives set to work, brainstorming, researching

the competitive set, and pulling together inspiration boards which lead to the

creation of your new logo, graphics, content or campaign. We know that

every brief and project is an invitation

into your world, so we carefully consider each touch point to ensure it delivers on your objectives. Our aim is to bring your brand identity to life whilst keeping your

business objectives and messaging at the forefront of everything we do. Brand Strategy

We get to know your story, goals and

dreams. Where do you see your brand

going in the future? What are the insights that will drive your target market? What is the short, medium and long term

innovation pipeline? This allows us to

create an identity that is meaningful and

memorable. Whether it’s bringing a new brand or product to life through a brand vision and guidelines or helping you

reshape and refresh your brand identity, we’ll work with you to help drive your

business forward in the right direction. Digital

With a team of front-end developers,

creative designers, and programmers we’re ready to tackle all your digital projects. We’ve deployed global

communication platforms, reward & recognition schemes and bespoke

email campaigns for some of the UK’s top brands.

A long-term SEO strategy (organic) and an ROI goal is the first step to putting your local business on the

map. That’s why we work with you to find your target audience, their


requirements, and how your business can help. In combination with a SEM strategy (paid) we can help create

dynamic display ads and social media plans that best target your audience

for the ultimate return on investment. To capture the interest of your target audience, our design team create eye-catching creatives to set you

apart from the competition. From the more traditional animated, static &

responsive display ads to epic video and digital out-of-home ads.

Our geeky but gifted team design and

build user friendly, engaging websites, email marketing solutions as well as

developing web and native apps. Give the team a presentation to bring to

life and they’re never happier, we’re

talking engaging layouts, animations

and infographics. If it’s a full template or simply a tidy, the team can liaise directly with presenters and offer

onsite support to ensure every slide is consistent and engaging, we can help spread the word in style!

Print & Display

world of 2D and 3D motion graphics,

we get that sometimes your message

your fingertips. From creating eye-

business print, display, event materials

story, to developing content to launch a

studio designs is with your objectives

the secrets to creating impact for your

brand and on message. We are in a

importantly, keeping it.

importance of print, business cards,

YBrighton HQ is based a stone’s throw

and signage, we can create magic with

of our vibrant city. Professionals in

Pros at standing out from the crowd,

animation and audio production is at

needs to be larger than life. From

catching animation to tell your brand

or promotion print, everything our

product into new markets, we know all

in mind to ensure every output is on

brand, grabbing attention and most

digital age, but don’t underestimate the flyers, event programmes, packaging,

from Brighton beach, right in the heart

your brand.

partnering form and function, consider us

Video & Multimedia

ready to hit your inbox with inspirational

One of the most impactful ways to

tell your brand’s story is through the power of video.

your first port of call – we’re primed and creative to take your brand to the next level in 2021.

Feeling creative? Drop us a line.

When time is ticking, nothing says


like video. Our team can help you plan,

more, shares more, or engages quite

Tel: 07825 773160

storyboard, film and produce engaging content for a multitude of platforms. Our in-house team also means the 79

Advantage Business Mentoring Services - New Website Launch This month SBT talk to Mike Monk about Advantage Business Mentoring, the launch of his new website and how he can help your business. “It Pays To Take Advantage” Business Mentoring

Networking & Events

You Can Trust

Being at the helm of your own enterprise

can be daunting. You can feel isolated

calming influence and help you plot a

• Professional mentoring

the results you desire. In addition to

• Networking

course that will assist you in achieving helping you set up and grow a new

business, we can help you expand, franchise or prepare an existing

and, at times, you may struggle to cope

business for sale.

have goals you are not 100 per cent

Our services are all about helping you

all the facets of growing a brand may

costs down. We will show you how

plan ahead.

business processes that break down

with stress. On top of that, you may

confident you can realise. Dealing with

pinpoint opportunities and keeping

not give you the time or confidence to

to implement efficient and effective

You are not alone. Even the most

successful people in business need

a helping hand from time to time. As professional mentors, we provide a


known barriers to success.

Among our comprehensive range

of business mentoring and support services, you will find:

• Effective support

• Strategy planning

• Performance reviews • Risk assessments

• Help to franchise your business • Social media support

•M arketing solutions, including trade show support and advice

Whether you are starting a new

project, expanding your brand to

include new products / services or

across additional channels, we are

here to ensure you get things right. We have got more than 30 years’

experience in business planning and


Mike Monk

marketing. We are also recognised experts in franchising. We offer:

• One to one support

• In-person mentoring • Telephone support • On-line support

• Industry-leading mentoring

• Specialist services designed to boost your business

About Advantage Business Mentoring Who We Are

Advantage Business Mentoring was founded by Mike Monk.

He has owned one of the South East’s leading marketing and promotional merchandise businesses for more than 30 years.

Trusted by those from multiple sectors, he is a confidante and advisor to many successful brands.

In addition to delivering powerful

marketing solutions, Mike is an expert

has seen him develop his portfolio

to include trade shows. He has been the organiser of Brighton Business

Expo for four years. The biggest free

B2B event of its kind in Brighton, it is the go-to platform for those looking to launch new brands, source local

suppliers and to gain valuable insights from experts in their field.

With a huge circle of connections and

his extensive business knowledge, Mike is the go-to person for those looking to take their ideas to the next level.

He is an expert in brand image, effective

entrepreneurs across Sussex, London and beyond.

His passion for networking brands

Advantage Business Mentoring, we

believe that trade shows are a great place to network your brand.

We help businesses of all sizes seize

the opportunity to gain a place in the spotlight. In addition to helping you

match your goals to the right event we

help with everything from preparing for

a show to getting your messaging right. And, importantly, how to generate and follow up leads.

Our services include:

promotions and franchising. He works

• Business exhibition selection

their business.

• Branding

with start-ups and those looking to grow

A sought-after advisor on franchising, Mike understands the often complex

and legal processes involved in creating a new franchise. He has started and owned a few of his own. Exhibit Your Business

Generate Leads at Trade and Business Shows

networker. In fact, his tips on business networking have been used by

and valuable engagement. Here at

There are few better ways to raise

awareness about your brand or launch a new enterprise than at a business

exhibition. Well-run events guarantee an audience, with good footfall

• Stand location and size • Promotional products • Pre-event planning

• Help to maximise lead generation • Networking tips

• Guest speaking opportunities and coaching

• Lead follow-up support If you want your business to take centre stage, a business exhibition is a great investment. Matching your goals to

event audiences is just part of what we do. We will make sure you project the right image and sell your products or

services uses the right messages and calls to action. 81

N ETWORK I N G & E V E N TS While often profitable, franchising can

be complex to achieve. It requires a firm understanding of business law to avoid common pitfalls.

In addition to providing trusted legal

advice, Advantage Business Mentoring helps with:

• Brand image

• Franchise systems • Training

• Quality control • Marketing

Starting a franchise from scratch can be

exciting but daunting. Having an expert on board from the very beginning will greatly enhance your chances of success.

Our franchise mentoring and coaching packages are designed to help those Networking

Growing Your Connections Networking is essential if you want to build your circle of connections and grow your brand. Advantage Business Mentoring offers a range of services to help you

promote your business at events. We

help entrepreneurs, including start-ups,

identify networking opportunities and build valuable connections.

We can also support brands at networking and other events across Sussex and the wider South East.

Considered as valuable as referrals, networking is the key that unlocks

new doors and helps to grow trust in your brand.

• Support when you need it

• Representation at events you are unable to attend yourself

We recommend networking to

businesses of all sizes. As well as raising awareness about what you do, this

type of marketing can help you develop lasting and lucrative new business

relationships. It helps people get to know your business and ‘like’ it.

Advantage Business Mentoring is one of the South East’s leading authorities on networking for success. If you want to

make the most of opportunities available through networking events, contact us. Franchising

Get Help To Franchise Your Business

We offer:

Grow Your Business Quickly

• Coaching on how to network for

Franchising your business is one of the


• Insider tips on how to make the right impression

• Expert guidance on how to target potential new clients


quickest – and most lucrative – ways

to grow a brand. Whether you want to

expand a start-up, grow an established brand or simply bring a brand-new

concept to the market, we can help.

from any sector, including B2B,

hospitality and service industries. We

will help you identify opportunities and develop robust, standardised systems that will be attractive to franchisees.

We will ensure you develop a consistent

approach to every aspect of your brand, so that it brings something unique to both the market and investors.

If you have got a great business

concept, there is no reason why you

cannot replicate it in a franchise model. Contact us for more information or book a FREE one-hour consultation. Visit

www.advantagebusinessmentoring. or call 01273 286133.

“I help you increase your Sales and make more Profit”








Ask the expert:

Why your business narrative matters more than ever Ask the expert

Give yourself a pat on the back. Go on, you deserve it. 2020 tested every single one of us, and we should feel proud to have even made it this far.

Now, with vaccines on the way, we’re finally able to look ahead to the future. So, where do we go from here? And what have we learned about ourselves, and our business, over the last twelve months? It’s my sincere hope that we’ve all had the chance to reflect on the role we play in the world, and think about the value we bring to our customers and clients. However, that’s often easier said than done. It’s tough to get introspective when you’re worried about bills. ‘Higher order’ thinking probably comes more naturally when you’re not spending all your time fighting fires. This is why storytelling is such a vital part of the communication ecosystem. Ultimately, it’s a discipline for processing all of the things we think and feel about whatever it is that we’re building, and sharing it in a way that will mean just as much to other people. It’s easy to forget that emotions are just as important in making business decisions as they are in our day-to-day lives. And stories are the best way of engaging audiences on an emotional level. We learn about stories from an early age – usually at bedtime, as exhausted parents hurriedly flick through the pages in the hope that we’ll nod off before Hansel and Gretel find the path of pebbles to lead them back home. The problem is, we begin to take for granted what makes a great story. Because there’s a vast difference between hearing one, and telling one. Have you ever watched a movie or read a book and thought “I’m enjoying this, but I’m not really clear on where it’s going?” That’s usually a sign that the writer hasn’t figured out what the story is really about. That leaves the reader or audience crying out for something more meaningful.


ASK T H E E XPE RT In his successful marketing blog, Dave Trott recently talked about the various businesses floundering or flourishing in the wake of COVID lockdowns. Looking at gyms, he pointed out that the fitness brands that see themselves as a space where people come to exercise were struggling to stay afloat. Alternatively, the brands that understood that their purpose was to motivate and inspire people to exercise, were pivoting and finding new ways to engage their consumers. Like the caterers who’ve switched to creating indulgent ‘pamper hampers’ or the bars who offer DIY at-home mixology solutions, the businesses who’ve figured out what they’re about, rather than what they do, are the ones who aren’t just surviving. They’re finding all new ways to build customer loyalty, based on the thing that they stand for. They understand their purpose, and have been able to find a variety of ways to activate it. That’s the power of storytelling. But, in the same way that introspection can be difficult when you’re trying to stay afloat, finding clarity can be equally

challenging in a world that seems to have a voracious appetite for content. If you’ve ever spent the evening scrolling through Netflix just trying to decide what you’re going to watch, only to realise you’ve run out of time, and switch back to old Friends reruns, you’ll know what I mean. There’s stuff everywhere and it can be overwhelming. Sometimes, more is just more. So, when it comes to telling your story, you want to find something that feels distinctive, unique and unforgettable. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get distracted by all the detail instead. Before you know it, a quick introduction has turned into a full-blown autobiography, and editing it down feels like an insurmountable hurdle. What to leave in, and what to cut out feels like an impossible ask. The fact is, a lot of great writers believe that the story isn’t revealed until the editing stage. They craft their narrative like a sculptor who, rather than making something out of a blob of clay, chips

away at a block of marble. Chiselling, shaving and polishing until the subject is finally revealed. As a business storyteller, you have to get it all out first, and then be willing to sift, edit and finesse with ruthlessness. And this is where people usually need the most help. Firstly, to ask the right questions and shake out all that detail. Then, to dispassionately chop away at anything that isn’t essential, or vital to the telling of the story. The end result is always better for it. A compelling story that captures why your business exists, and why the rest of the world needs to know about it. A tale that’s more than just the sum of its parts – a narrative that’s meaningful, memorable and moving. So here we are, at the start of 2021. You’re still here, and you want the world to know about it. It’s time to turn the page, and tell your story.

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Cube Corner - January 21 I hope you all had a

Cube Corner

great Xmas and New Year break, it was all a little different this year but hope you

are all re-charged for the year ahead. It certainly looks like there may be some

more challenges ahead but I am sure the local business community can help each

other through the next couple of months. In this months Cube Corner I wanted to

introduce City Utilities who I am assisting

Steve Darby

with their Business Development and Partnership Strategy. City Utilities

is headed up by Steve Darby, no

we can pass on all these savings to our

up to 80% more expensive than rates

you I am sure, and Malcolm Jacobs who

any like for like renewal quote.

state that up to 10% of small businesses

Utilities will be specialising on a number

The directors are drawn from many

efficient ways of cost saving. I caught up

run, or own businesses. This means they

introductions necessary to a number of

has immense experience in this area. City

customers and guarantee we will beat

charged in a negotiated contract. Ofgem are on Deemed contracts.

of areas across your business to find

industries, all of whom have managed,

We are only just getting started, so as well

with Steve for an update:

completely understand the stresses and

can carry out Energy Audits, advise on

City Utilities is a small company with a

and appreciate that time can often be in

strains running a business can produce

big idea! To help businesses of all sizes,

short supply.

contracts, and reduce costs through

People often ask “why should we use

get the best possible deal on their utility their energy audits.

a broker; the quick answer is it will

To do this, its directors deliberately set

thirty energy suppliers in the UK just

base; we do not have luxurious offices

you to contact them all and ask them for

save you time and money, with over

the company up to have a very low-cost

imagine how much time it would take

or embark on expensive advertising

prices, we are talking hours if not days.

a process of referrals and good old

Because the process of either going direct

campaigns. We are growing through fashioned hard work.

or using a broker can be frustrating, many

City Utilities have a strong working

existing supplier or worse still do not renew

utility suppliers, giving us access to the

or gas but are not under a contract, you

and relationships with suppliers means

Tariff that, according to Ofgem, can be

businesses elect to continue with their

relationship with over 30 of the UK’s

their contract at all. If you use electricity

best possible rates. This control on costs

will be placed on what is called a Deemed


as gas, electricity, water contracts, we

water-saving devices, bring you industry

beating rates on your credit card merchant

services and help you assess the feasibility of setting up solar power systems. We

will shortly be announcing a partnership

with one of the best facilities companies

in the business, and as we go on we will

look to add more services to our company becoming a one-stop outsource resource for business.

Phone: 01273 600300



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