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June 2013 12


What’s happening in the business world



From charity balls to business seminars – mark them on your calendar



Thoughts from the region’s business community



Major revamp for Newcastle Central Station and its surrounding area



Jules Quinn founder of The TeaShed



Antony Hall, head of commercial at Mincoffs



New executive appointments



News and views from the region’s legal and finance sectors



Richard MacAlister from Brewin Dolphin reflects on his industry’s past, present and future



News and views from the region’s technology sector



Clarity gets the ITPS treatment




News and views from the region’s media sector



Alison Cowie reviews Six Restaurant



Anthony Sargent, general director of Sage Gateshead



The best up-coming cultural events



This month’s hottest thing on four wheels



Steve Harper on this retirement from NUFC



Ben Quigley, managing director of Different



Directors: Mike Grahamslaw, Mick O’Hare Editor: Alison Cowie Senior account managers: Martin Stout, Chris Turner Editorial: Jessica Laing, Elise Rana Hopper, Daneet Steffens, Dan Sheridan Senior designer: John Haxon Feature photography: Chris Owens Additional photography: Teri Henaghan ( Illustrations: Low Moon Over High Town (

Office: 11 Causey Street, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 4DJ. | t: (0191) 284 9994 | f: (0191) 284 9995 | @NETimesmagazine Front cover: Ian Purves (Clarity) and Garry Sheriff (ITPS), by Chris Owens.

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EF annual conference The forum hosts its biggest event of the year.


he Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s Annual Business Conference took place at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Hotel last month. Entitled Together We Can Take on the World, the event encouraged local business owners to come together to connect, collaborate and mentor each other. Two hundred entrepreneurs and leaders of entrepreneurial organisations attended the conference to hear from a number of speakers. Paul Callaghan CBE, founder of Leighton Group, was joined on stage by Dominic Edmunds, an entrepreneur and brainchild of Sunderland-based SaleCycle, who he mentors. North East-born James Averdieck who founded Gu chocolate puds (pictured) also spoke at the event, along with Bavarian Glaswegian Petra Wetzel, a single mum and lawyer who now runs a successful micro-brewery, and three-time entrepreneur of the year Lara Morgan who founded hotel amenities company Pacific Direct that she later sold for £20 million.

Heathrow runway vital for NE NECC calls for aviation policy reform to boost regional exports.


ncreasing capacity at Heathrow Airport would be good news for our region’s companies, according to the North East Chamber of Commerce. In a submission to the UK Airports Commission, which is looking at the future of UK air capacity, the NECC calls on the Government to back plans for a third runway at Heathrow to further boost the North East’s export credentials. NECC policy specialist, Mark

Stephenson, said: “A hub airport would be hugely beneficial to businesses throughout the UK and reforms to aviation policy could ensure that UK exporters have affordable and efficient links to overseas markets. “North East airports play a vital role in providing world-class connectivity to foreign and domestic markets. Our airports have the capacity for sustainable growth as demand for air connectivity grows.”


Minister supports Skillsbridge


Government minister has pledged his support for a North East scheme that strengthens links between businesses and charities. SkillsBridge matches volunteer advisors with high level skills from the private and public sector with charities and community groups who need expert advice and support in a range of professional areas. Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd MP (left) has held the organisation up as a model of best practice and lent it his backing in its search for funding.

Teenager gets Dragon’s approval


young entrepreneur is hoping to capitalise on the backing of millionaire businessman and television personality Theo Paphitis. Luke Robertson, who owns Wallchimp, an online business selling wall stickers for the home and office, caught the eye of the Dragons’ Den investor in his weekly Twitter chats, so much so he invited Luke to join his Small Business Winners programme (#SBS) to receive help and guidance on this business.

Design for disaster competition


hree Northumbria University students have been shortlisted for a national design competition with their solutions for disaster relief. Michael Heppenstall, James Scott, and Josh Allsopp have reached the final five of the 2013 Design Innovation Plastics Award. The competition challenged undergraduate and postgraduate students to design a product that would help to alleviate the suffering of disaster victims.

Northern Golf Masters returns to Rockliffe


ockliffe Hall is again giving amateur golfers from across the North East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria the chance to be crowned the best in the region. The Northern Golf Masters tournament will be held at Rockliffe Hall Golf Club on Sunday July 28 for club golfers across Teesside, County Durham, North Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and Cumbria.

Ryder’s winning ways


yder Architecture has won two categories in the prestigious AJ100 Awards. The company received the awards for New Member of the Year, and the Best Place to Work in the North East and Yorkshire. Ryder’s managing partner, Mark Thompson (centre), said: “To win these awards is a great achievement and demonstrates continued improvement and progress despite challenging economic circumstances in recent years. It is fitting and very rewarding to get this recognition on our 60th anniversary.”

Fashion store is flying high


irport Retail Group’s pilot UK store at Newcastle International Airport has announced a 67 per cent increase in sales in April, compared to the same period last year. Airport Fashion, which opened in April 2012, offers high-end clothing brands such as Hugo Boss, Eton, Tommy Hilfiger and Gant.

Celebrating women in business


omen into the Network (WIN) launched its 14th North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards at a special event last month, attended by last year’s winner Kari Owers of OPR. The awards are now open for entries, with winners announced on November 15.

Music venue unveils patrons


age Gateshead has announced the patrons supporting its tenth birthday fundraising appeal. Those named are David Miliband, film producer Lord Puttnam, athlete Jonathan Edwards, Sir Peter Vardy, Gary Lydiate, Louise Halbert and John Squires, the architect of the venue Lord Foster, musicians Mark Knopfler and Kathryn Tickell and conductor Lorin Maazel.


Exporters look East


he North East Chamber of Commerce has published a major international trade survey, looking at how many North East companies are currently exporting and the barriers to new growth markets. The report shows that more companies are targeting the fast-growing economies of the United Arab Emirates and India to increase export sales.



Charity balls, business dinners and seminars.




Level 1, Newcastle City Library Tel: (0191) 277 4100 Email: Web: Price: Free

RMT Accountants & Business Advisors, Gosforth, Newcastle Tel: (0191) 256 9500 Web: Price: Free



Funding is essential to growing any business, whether taking a mature business to the next stage of its development or starting up a brand new business venture. Guests eager to learn more about the different types of funding available and which are right for their business, are urged to visit one-to-one 45-minute consultation sessions with the team at North East Access to Finance.




Partners Room, Newcastle University Business School Tel: (0191) 208 1636 Email: Web: Price: Free

Those looking to better their business’ online reputation and visibility will benefit greatly from this seminar, lead by Zebra Internet Services. The seminar will provide guests with advice and tips regarding internet marketing strategies, the use of social media to and getting Google on your side. Online reputation specialist, Camille Taylor, and Shaun Brown, sales executive at Zebra Internet Services, will be attending.





The Toffee Factory, Newcastle Tel: (0191) 500 7780 Email: Web: Price: £65+VAT (members only) £95+VAT (non-members)


Business owners are urged to attend this eyeopening event to discover the importance of branding. With an ever increasing number of choice and ways for customers to interact with a business, this workshop will explain what makes a strong brand stand out and how guests can employ this into their own business.




Live Theatre, Newcastle Tel: (0191) 406 1200 Email: Web: Price: £75+VAT


UNW, Citygate, Newcastle Tel: (0191) 243 6014 Email: Price: Free

Those interested and involved in the hospitality industry are invited to attend this event, as part of Newcastle University Business School’s Convocation Weekend 2013. Bob Arora, owner of Sachins restaurant, and Duncan Fisher, the man behind Newcastle nightspots, Floritas and As You Like It, will be talking to guests about the business demands of running top venues in a city famous for its hospitality, as well as treating guests to cookery and cocktail demonstrations. Guided tours of the new Business School will also be available.

Those associated with sales and marketing, including managing directors and account directors, are urged to attend this leading event for b2b marketers. Packed with workshops, breakout sessions and insight from leaders within the field, the event will give guests the right strategies and tools needed to improve sales and marketing and ensure their business doesn’t get left behind.

This charity event, organized by UNW, will explore the world of Fairtrade in the UK. Guest speaker Paul Chandler, former CEO of Traidcraft, will be explaining how the company has reached a £17 million turnover and what guests can learn from the success of Fairtrade organizations.




Maften Hall, Newcastle Tel: 07824 338277 Email: Price: £200 (per team of four) Organized by Sport Newcastle and held at the Maften Hall Golf club, this annual charity event supports the young sporting talent in Newcastle and the region. Guests will receive refreshments on arrival, a round of golf and a two-course meal, followed by a presentation of prizes and a chance to win the coveted George Bayley Trophy.

Email with your events



North East view points ROB TAIT

Local business men and women share their thoughts ...



The best thing is proudly being a part of this diverse, multicultural and cosmopolitan area. A great combination of the people and the place: the energy, charisma and informal professionalism from the people of Newcastle mixed with the city itself. The never ending culture, the proximity to 'the outdoors', the vast amount of places for after-work drinks and Newcastle United makes the North East a very enjoyable and rewarding place to work.

MICHAEL JOPLING FINANCE DIRECTOR ITPS We're blessed with great transport links keeping us in constant contact with our UK wide client base. There's a real spirit of entrepreneurship and an appreciation of the value of partnerships among the North East business community. We have a reputation for being friendly and approachable and I find this to be very true, having worked in the North East throughout the whole of my career.


The North East is a fantastic place to live, work and play. The region is home to a number of world class companies and brands who create opportunities for locally-based companies such as mine. Working with them gives us credibility and confidence when looking to attract business in other parts of the country and further afield. There’s an overall culture for growth and success.


What’s the best thing about working in the North East?

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NORTHERN STAGE I guess I'm bound to say the fabulous cultural offering that we have in the region is the best thing about living and working in the North East, but it’s true. From iconic galleries and concert halls to theatres and festivals, the choice for locals and visitors really is world-class. As a dog walker you also can’t beat the expanse of Druridge Bay or the beauty of Dunstanburgh Castle at sunset to unwind after a busy day at work.




One of the best things about working in the North East is avoiding what we call ‘the noise’. The investment industry is predominantly London based, especially the area commonly referred to as the Square Mile in the City. Within this environment it is virtually impossible to avoid being surrounded by people talking or giving a view on the markets. As a North East based firm, we can take a step back, look at the market with an impartial view, and moreover avoid being caught up in a herd mentality.

According to recent Office for National Statistics findings, the employment rate in the North East is the lowest in the UK. As grim as this may sound, this statistic is one which makes me appreciate my role and encourages me to work to the best of my ability and support others in a challenging employment market. This is a view I believe I share with others in the region, which has led to many successful regional businesses despite the economic climate.



Newcastle to offer a warmer welcome The £20 million Newcastle Central Gateway project is set to transform the city’s main station and surrounding area. E1 Ltd, Newcastle City Council, Network Rail and East Coast Rail have unveiled their joint plans to transform Central Station and its surroundings area. The multi-million pound regeneration project, known as Newcastle Central Gateway, will see major work to the interior and exterior of the city’s main railway station while the area outside will be rejuvenated to create a more attractive space for visitors to dwell. It is hoped that improving the station and the surrounding area will provide a more welcoming gateway to the city, boosting business and the local economy. NE1’s director of communications, Stephen

Patterson, said: “Central Station is such an asset to the city. It’s not just the gateway of the city centre but the region as well. It’s a fantastic building and NE1 and the council very much recognise that more needs to be made of this asset, creating the right impression to people who are arriving at Newcastle.” NE1 Ltd has coordinated the partnership between itself, the council, Network Rail and East Coast in the three-year planning of the project. It also submitted a grant application to the Regional Growth Fund that successfully unlocked £8 million, bringing the total budget to £20 million. The state-owned East Coast Rail and Network Rail will be delivering the work to the



interior of Central Station which will include the glazing and pedestrianisation of the 150 year-old portico. This will double the allocated space for retailers, a new travel centre, better toilet facilities and clearer signage. This stage of the project will cost £8.6 million, funded by the Department for Transport’s Station Commercial Project Facility Fund. East Coast spokesman, John Gelson, said: “Stations such as Newcastle are a very important shop window to the railway. It’s the first and last places people see. “East Coast’s passenger numbers are hitting 19 million a year so we need a facility that’s safe, clean and gives a good impression to our passengers. “These changes will bring Newcastle’s Central Station into the 21st Century so that it can best perform the role is was built to do: be a major transport hub for the North East.” East Coast is currently in negotiations with a number of retailers – focusing on high-end brands. “East Coast recognise that, especially when traveling from Newcastle to London, it is in direct competition with airlines,” explains John. “We’re therefore looking to offer facilities and retail opportunities that you would expect to see at an international airport.”

The regeneration of Newcastle Central Station will compliment the changes to services that East Coast implemented in May 2011. A total of 117 new services a week were added to the East Coast main line – including the high speed morning service from Newcastle to London, branded the Flying Scotsman. Plans for the exterior of the station will be coordinated by Newcastle Council and is set to dramatically alter how people access the station. Wider footpaths, space for pavement cafés and improved pedestrian access to and from the station with be created, including with more direct pedestrian crossings on Neville Street and lower Grainger Street. A two-way cycle track will be added to the west end of Neville Street, south of St Mary’s Cathedral, and the flow of traffic at the front of the station will be altered to ease congestion, while maintaining the public transport links and drop-off and collection points. Taxis will continue to rank from Orchard Street with the pick-up area relocated to east of the portico. The planning team has worked closely with public transport operators and other interest groups, including the Elders’ Council, Newcastle Disability Forum and the Public Transport Users Group, which have helped to


shape the final plans. Work on the interior of the station is expected to be completed by next March, with the exterior plans completed by Summer 2014. Neil Humphrey, Transport Development manager at Newcastle Council, said: “More than 7.5 million people use Central Station each year so our challenge is getting the work done with the minimum of disruption.” The project is set to boost existing and new business around Central Station while also benefiting the city itself. Cllr Michael Johnson, deputy cabinet member for Skills, Business and Enterprise at Newcastle Council, said: “By pedestrianising areas outside the station, it will provide a clearer route to the city centre. This should lead to a greater uptake of retail units and improve numbers to Eldon Square and the city’s bars and restaurant. “Newcastle City Council is absolutely committed to improving the business and retail offer the city has. We’re developing key strategic sites, such as Science Central and the Stephenson Quarter, around the station, and what we need is a world-class transport infrastructure to match. “Central Station is a really important hub for the city and we’re determined to improve the visitor experience there.”


Lobster Charity Ball More than 900 people attend the inaugural ball in aid of Daisy Chain. ne of the biggest events on the North East social calendar took place on Friday, April 26 at Hardwick Hall Hotel in Sedgefield. The Lobster Charity Ball was hosted by Brendan Healy and included performances from pop duo Go West, Britain’s Got Talent finalists Jonathan and Charlotte and comedy ventriloquist Paul Zerdin. Fashion retailer Van Mildert showcased its 2013 spring and summer collection and guests enjoyed a special gourmet Lobster Surf and Turf menu created specifically for the event. An outstanding £25,000 was raised for the Daisy Chain charity which supports families affected by autism.





10 Questions for ...

Jules Quinn Jules Quinn is the founder of *TeaShed, a design-led tea, teaware and homeware company, based in Newcastle. In April, Jules opened her first pop-up TeaShed in Fenwick Food Hall serving breakfasts, lunches, cakes and a range of whole-leaf teas.

What was your first break in business?

What made you set up your own business?

What has been your career highlight to date?

My first break was from the day The *TeaShed launched and we were listed with Fenwick Newcastle. Starting at this level meant that we could access big accounts quicker as we had a reputable retailer already behind us. The next big break was three months after we had launched when John Lewis contacted us.

I’ve always wanted to run my own business and have done several smaller enterprises along the way. It was only a matter of time until I found the right one. I have never considered working for someone else the same way some people won’t consider having their own business.

Launching our pop-up TeaShed in Fenwick Food Hall has been absolutely amazing. To think two years ago I walked into Fenwick with some basic samples and an idea, to now having learnt and experienced what I have and to also have an actual TeaShed in store serving food and tea. It is the best feeling ever, especially when customers fall in love with it and come back time and time again – sometimes twice in one day!


And your career lowlight? A lot of things that have happened that I thought were lowlights. But it’s about turning it around and making it a positive learning experience. For example, I used to get down and frustrated when people didn’t want to buy our teas as they said they are too expensive when they could get 80 teabags for 29p. I think the key message here is to learn who your target market is and don’t try to convert people.

What do you enjoy most about your role? Drinking tea and eating biscuits! And being able to choose a team of lovely girls to work with. When we’re at work, it doesn’t feel like work, as we love what we are doing. The whole team puts everything into The *TeaShed and that is what makes it such a great happy working environment. I wouldn’t change it for all the tea in China. Or actually, maybe...

What's been your biggest business challenge?

Who are your heroes, both in and out of business?

Cashflow has been a challenge and will continue to be a challenge as we grow the business. We have various strategies to manage this but ultimately cash flow is king.

In business, I think Natalie Massenet who came up with Net-a-Porter is pretty cool. She launched her business in a little flat in London after giving up her job and while having a new born baby. Her business is now worth hundreds of millions of pounds and most importantly, she has really nice hair and clothes! Out of business I would say my mum and dad. They are incredible! They have always believed in me, even when I came up with mad business ideas they would never ridicule them. With The *TeaShed, they have done everything they can to support me. They have even worked late into the night cutting and sticking things for orders. My dad calls it the Blue Peter Club for Pensioners.

What's been the best business advice anyone has ever given you? To make sure my ideas ultimately make money. There are a lot of ideas I have and things I want to do (like import Tuk Tuks from Sri Lanka!), but sometimes I just have to reign them in a bit and think if they make business sense. Also that it doesn’t matter not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up. The *TeaShed has had a lot of successes, but when you put yourself out there to win you also are putting yourself out there with the possibility of loosing. We have won some and we have lost some but all together we are winning.


What does the future hold for *TeaShed? World domination! Move over coffee houses, it’s time for Tea Sheds!

What do you do to relax? I normally take Sundays off so I will go for a run, cycle, swim or walk with the dog, followed by pints at the pub. I won’t look at emails until the evening, although I am prone to a bit of internet shopping. I would like to say that I work hard and play hard with my weekends filled with roof top parties, city breaks and drinking Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, but they’re not. Running your own business is consuming, draining and really, really hard work but I wake up every morning with excitement and a smile on my face. For more information visit



One to watch

Antony Hall In a new series of interviews with talented professionals set for major success in their respective industries, Daneet Steffens talks to the head of commercial at Mincoffs Solicitors.

ntony Hall made his career choice while still at school: he knew he wanted something that would include a cerebral challenge as well as direct client contact. Law, he felt, offered a good blend of the two. “I wanted something with a business focus, and I enjoy communicating with people,” says the newly-appointed head of commercial at Mincoffs Solicitors. “I didn’t want to be locked away in a room crunching numbers. In commercial law you get to meet a lot of different types of people and work with different types of businesses – a client could be someone who has originally worked on the workshop floor and is the managing director of a major engineering organisation, right though to someone who’s started up a cosmetics venture from her back room which has developed into a worldwide premium brand.” Indeed, a brief inventory of his client list reveals the likes of video game developers, magazine publishers, franchise businesses, rail and infrastructure engineering companies as well as the yacht manufacturers who provided Team GB with their Olympic equipment. While the diversity of clients attracts Antony to his job, it’s the rewarding working relationships that adds impetus and leaves him in no doubt that he is in it for the long haul. “When you do commercial law,” he says, “because it’s dealing with a client’s contracts on a day-to-day basis, you develop a close involvement with their business – you get to understand what their concerns are, what


their objectives are and how they are trying to move their business forward. “You also get to see how their business evolves and what happens with those contracts you’ve written for them, so you’re really working much more alongside them and eventually, well ...” He pauses briefly. “One of the best things about my job is that the clients involve you from the project outset and you really feel as though you become an extension of their team.” 31-year-old Antony, a Newcastle lad born and bred, took a classic approach to his career, going straight from Durham University into a training contract with Mincoffs in 2005, and was lucky enough to be mentored by some of the firm’s own partners. “They’ve taught me my craft, really,” recalls Antony. “The word apprenticeship is associated more with traditional labour, but this is the same: you’ve got someone who knows how to do the job and they’re passing on their skills to you – the right way to do things, the right way to deal with clients. They’re the ones who will shape what type of lawyer you become.” One of the key lessons that Antony absorbed from his mentors is the crucial element of attention to detail: “You need to be extremely detail-orientated for this job. The words that you write in a contract can make a huge difference.” It’s that same attention to detail that underlies every project that Antony undertakes, that’s inherent in every aspect of his approach, whether he’s working on a merchandising agreement, or helping an


independent business launch their products in a Dubai department store: “These ventures are the lifeblood of the businesses, and I write the agreement to actually make them happen,” he explains. “It’s really quite rewarding – it’s brokering, it’s facilitating, it’s turning something from an idea, from people verbally agreeing to do something – to actually giving them the proper framework to achieve it,” Outside of the office, Antony’s primary passion is travel. Particular favourites include Japan (“I loved the constant contrast between ancient traditions and cutting-edge modernity”), South America (the best part: “sweating my way through the Inca Trail before finally arriving at the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu”), and the Arctic Circle (“the chance to see the Northern Lights in a true wilderness was very inspiring”). Antony has a clear vision for the future. “We’ve created a dedicated department,” he explains, “and the intention is to become recognised in the region and beyond as the place where businesses can come to receive sound advice from a team of commercially astute lawyers. They’re going to find someone here, whether it be me or someone within my team, who’s not just a lawyer who will simply produce contracts for them, but someone who is going to try and get to grips with their business objectives, someone who they they can bounce ideas off and will really add value to their business.” As for his next travel destination? In light of the recent department launch and all the work on at the minute: “a chill-out beach holiday is definitely on the cards”.


On the Move Your monthly guide to appointments and promotions.




North East law firm, Gordon Brown Law Firm, has appointed a new partner to head up the practice’s new corporate services department at Newcastle city centre offices. Corporate and banking specialist, Neil Large, brings 17 years’ experience in a range of equity matters to the role.

Recruitment business, CY Partners, has appointed recent Newcastle College graduate Tom Kilpatrick (right) as a resourcer. 26-yearold Tom, who previously worked as a support worker, joins the Newburn-based business’ fivestrong team and will be tasked with assisting with the increased demand for its specialist services.

Newcastle’s Northern Stage, has appointed Susan Coffer as new executive director. Susan, who is currently acting executive director, joined the company in 2006 as administrative director and previously held senior management positions at Aldeburgh Music and Rambert Dance Company.




Patrick Parsons Consulting Engineers has appointed geoenvironmental expert, Dr Steve Black. Dr Black, who holds a PhD in Applied Geology, has more than 25 years of industry experience and has worked for a number of high profile engineering consultancies, will be responsible for providing technical support, staff development, identifying geoenvironmental design opportunities.

Wealth management firm, Brewin Dolphin, has appointed Jennifer Perry as trainee investment manager. Recently graduating from Oxford Brookes University, Jennifer transferred from the company’s Edinburgh office to take up her place on the firm’s investment training programme. She will be working with the company’s investment managers and financial planners to obtain her Investment Advice Diploma.

Sintons has recruited a new solicitor to work in its employment team. Ailsa Wilkie joins the Newcastle-based law firm having spent over two years working at another North East law firm as a paralegal and trainee solicitor. While only recently qualified as a solicitor, Ailsa gained significant experience working on employment tribunals during her training, acting for both claimant and respondent.



Raising your company’s


Nick Brown sold his company, Northern Profile, in 2004 for a seven figure sum. In a series of monthly columns he is offering North East Times readers, advice on how to build and sell a business, just like he did.

n my last column I recommended that you think about who you want to sell your company to in the future. This month I am going to advise you to concentrate on putting your business in the ‘shop window’. The first thing to flag up is that selling your company doesn’t just happen. It takes thorough planning, often over several years. I built my business up over 10 years and sold it for a seven figure sum. Quite often a suitor will be a larger rival organisation. So how do you get them to notice you? Phase one is pretty straight forward: you should start appearing in trade magazines, online publications, radio and television programmes that prospective acquirers are going to be reading, listening to and viewing. You should look to become a commentator on radio and television. This is less intimidating than it might appear and is actually quite easy. Therefore, my first tip is that you seek out a PR company that can deliver national trade, broadsheet, online, social media, radio and television for you. Ask to see what the PR company has accomplished nationally for other clients and if they can only produce a few local articles run a mile as they will never get your business in front of a suitor. Locally, there


EXPERT VIEW Nick Brown Managing director Corporate Exit Email: Web:

are a number of excellent PR operators with the ability and evidence of generating national exposure, such as Helene Graham at Vibrant PR, Kari Owers at OPR, Sue Reay at East River PR and Christian Cerisola at Quay 2 Media. Helene, Kari, Sue and Christian all used to work for my old company before I sold it and I can vouch for the fact that they will get you noticed in the national media. It is essential to appoint a PR operator that can show you tangible national results and a PR organisation that has won national awards for its work.


This brings me on to phase two: national awards, rankings and best companies to work for league tables. The guidance I convey to all my clients is that they should enter their businesses into as many relevant national trade awards as possible. Even a national nomination will start to get your business noticed. When my company won the national PR Week Award for Best Small Consultancy in the UK, this is when a number of suitors started to approach my business. Positioning your company as a national winner in your sector will get you recognised at the highest level in the right board rooms. It will also help you attract bigger contracts, which will mean larger profits and add more value to your business. There is nothing better than winning a national gong to get you recognised. Likewise, annual rankings in national and international trade publications and the best companies to work for league tables in the likes of the Sunday Times also help position your business in front of acquisitive CEOs. In summary, if you start to raise the profile of your company nationally you will find that the credibility and profits will follow. Remember the bigger the profits, the greater the value of your business.


Left to right: Roger Tames (Box to Box Media), Mike Grahamslaw (North East Times), David Hodgson (Read Milburn & Co) and Peter Rutherford

North East Times’ Golf Day Clients gather at Linden Hall Hotel for a golfing event.

Left to right: Ciprian Condrea and Paul Mandier (Derwent Manor)

Left to right: George Galloway (ITPS) and Tom Seymour (Durham CCC)

orth East Times recently held its annual Golf Day at MacDonald Linden Hall Hotel. Guests enjoyed bacon rolls and coffee on arrival, followed by an 18-hole stableford competition and three-course dinner. The winning 4 ball consisted of Mike Grahamslaw (North East Times), Steve Toomey (Backworth Bespoke Bidets), Michael Vassallo (FW Capital) and Mat Flinders (RMT). North East Times director, Mike Grahamslaw, said: “Despite the occasionally inclement weather everyone had a marvellous day. “Our thanks go to our friends at Linden Hall who looked after us royally throughout.”

Left to right: Roger Butler and Craig Dickson (McQuay)

Left to right: Grahame Garland (Gosforth Golf Club), David Tabiner (Meze), Mick O’Hare (North East Times), Steve Toomey (Backworth Bespoke Bidets) and Brian Dickenson (WDL)


Left to right: Simon Granger (Bibby Financial), Michael Vassallo (FW Capital) and Mat Flinders (RMT)

Peter Croma--rty (Bibby Financial), Steve Welton (Collingwood Insurance) Tony Coates (Stephenson Coates)

Left to right: David Hodgson (Read Milburn & Co), Peter Rutherford, Brian Dickenson (WDL) and Mick O’Hare (North East Times)

Left to right: The Winning Team. Mike Grahamslaw (North East Times), Steve Toomey (Backworth Bespoke Bidets), Mat Flinders (RMT) and Michael Vassallo (FW Captital)



The right person for the job? Effective recruitment advice from Rod Findlay, consultant at Your Sport Consulting.

ost people with even a passing interest in sport will know that Alex Ferguson is standing down as Manchester United's manager after 26 years and is being replaced by Everton's David Moyes, where he served for 11 years. In the Premier League that leaves the two longest serving managers as Arsene Wenger with 16 years at Arsenal and Stoke manager Tony Pulis who has been there six years. Once Ferguson and Moyes have moved, the number of managers in post for longer than three years in each of the top four divisions will be four out of 20 in the Premier League, two out of 20 in the Championship and three out of 24 in each for League One and Two. You might shrug your shoulders and say, “well, that's football” but what it really shows is an industry that routinely either recruits the wrong person or doesn't give the right person time to get things right. Of course, circumstances change and the best candidate might not be the appropriate person after, say, ten years but the timescales suggest that we can dismiss this as a major factor. How can a multi-million pound industry repeatedly make one of those two mistakes? But giving it honest appraisal, can you say that your company has not done the same at some point?


Getting recruitment wrong I've recruited for many positions over the years and I have been fortunate to have secured some

EXPERT VIEW Rod Findlay Consultant Your Sport Consulting Email: Twitter: @RodFindlay

excellent staff out of the process. But I'll admit that I've made some mistakes and had to accept the consequences. Recruitment mistakes probably fall into four main areas. The first is often at the outset when an employee hands in their notice. Too often an organisation assumes that they need to make a like-for-like replacement. Taking time to review the company's resources and changing needs would help identify if that was the case, if a different role now exists, or if there is no need to recruit at all. The job description and person specification are the next steps where mistakes are sometimes made. An old job description might be used or be so vague that no one could properly identify what the role entails. If a person specification exists at all it might only be a few bullet points or contain essentials or desirable that are not relevant to the role or are not competency based. How does ‘must have a degree’, for example, ensure that you get candidates that'll have the skills for certain


roles? In reality is it just a crude filter? And finally, the interview is the most common place to make recruitment mistakes. Essential requirements are not tested. If team work is important think how are you going to properly test that? Questions might be subjective or inappropriate; decisions made on likeability; and little regard for the person specification held. I applied for one job where I met all of the essential and desirable criteria in the person specification, which is why I got an interview. I met very few of the requirements at the interview which is why I didn't get the job. I've no idea if I would have been the best candidate but I do know they were almost recruiting for two different roles.

It's up to you My former boss used to say that it takes a year to learn the job; three years to do it; and another year to find another one. Those football manager figures suggest that people are being given time to learn the job and in most cases very little time to actually do it. If the manager isn't ‘good enough’ to see it through then whose fault is it for recruiting them? When did they last recruit the ‘right’ candidate and what happened to them? It's something to think about when you next recruit someone or if you're wondering why a recent hire didn't work out. It can be argued that there are two reasons for new staff failing. You hired the wrong person or you didn't deploy or train them properly once they started. Either way, it's your responsibility to get it right.

EVENT Left to right: Mark Richardson (Park Road Group), Matt Eyres (Benfield), Anna Stacy (Sage Gateshead), Sarah Hall (Sarah Hall Consulting) and Will Fatherley (March Thirty One)

Left to right: Sunniva Thompson (St James’ Place), Lesley Milbourne (LMC) and Garth Thompson (St James’ Place)

LMC Limited & St. James’s Place race day Left to right: Lesley Milbourne (LMC), Andy Barker (Results Network) and Andrea Barker (Results network)

Left to right: Graham Tyerman (Steel River Consultants), Jill Tyerman Joanne Gifford (Desco) and George Gifford (Desco)

The two companies host business owners at Gosforth Park.

esley Milbourne of LMC Limited and Garth Thompson of St. James’s Place Wealth Management welcomed local business owners to a day at the races at Gosforth Park. As well as an opportunity to network, money was raised for the St. James’s Place Foundation which supports local charities.

L Left to right: Tracey Lyons (Monument Foods), David Thompson (Monument foods) Lesley Milbourne (LMC) Marian Bassman (Growth Accelerator) and Denise Franks (Growth Accelerator)

Left to right: Fiona Bullen (North Associates), Mark Barlow (DKS Architects), Steve Wraith (Wraith Promotions) and Dawn Wraith

Left to right: Garth Thompson (St James’ Place), Geoff Gibson, (Dale Fabrications), Steve platt (Mandata) and Denise Hewett

Left to right: Ian Stewart, Lesley Milbourne (LMC) Ken Stenger (Longden Walker & Renney Solicitors) and Michelle Winter (Longden Walker & Renney Solicitors)



Sintons backs cricket star


rising star in the world of cricket has struck a sponsorship deal with law firm Sintons. Michael Richardson, who plays for Durham County Cricket Club (CCC), has traditionally been regarded as a wicketkeeper, but is now making his name as a batsman. Newcastle-based Sintons will sponsor the bat of the 26-year-old cricketer, who made his Durham debut in 2010 and has recently signed a new contract. Michael, who was named last year’s Durham CCC second team player of the year, said: “In an important year for me on the pitch, I am delighted to receive the support from Sintons. Hopefully the sponsorship provides good exposure for the firm while helping to create great relationships with Durham players and its public.” Iona Sims, a solicitor at Sintons who

acts for numerous sports players and sporting organisations, said: “This is an important time for Michael in his career as he looks to become established as a

batsman, and we are very pleased to be able to lend our support. Michael is a genuine talent who we are confident can achieve great things at Durham.”

BHP expands its service

Warning to students

Law firm wins national training award


HP Law is now offering Court of Protection deputies, appointed by courts to act for people who have lost capacity due to an accident or clinical negligence. Deputy and partner in the firm Karen Pratt said: "Someone who has suffered a catastrophic injury but still has a normal life expectancy will need some level of support for the rest of their life. They may need 24-hour care or a specially adapted home, as well as having normal day-to-day financial needs. “Sometimes family members can help; in other cases it can be very hard if you're already caring for a relative to know how to protect a settlement that can run into millions of pounds."

Michael Richardson and Iona Sims


ewcastle-based accountancy firm Robson Laidler LLP is warning students to check their tax following the introduction of Real Time Information (RTI). Due to the erratic nature of their work during term time and in the holidays, the frequency of their jobs, number of jobs, or agency work, the tax regime often struggles to keep up. This means that students often pay too much tax and have to claim a refund even if they are vigilant. Furthermore, the introduction of RTI from April 6 has meant the withdrawal of form P38 (S), which means that students now fall under the standard PAYE regime, and increases the likelihood of their having to claim back tax at the end of the year.



orth East firm Short Richardson & Forth LLP has won the Best trainer – Small firm accolade at the 10th annual LawCareers.Net Training and Recruitment Awards (known as the TARAs). The TARAs celebrate firms and individuals who provide exceptional training, from the recruitment process to the actual training and the quality of work placement schemes. Senior partner David Richardson said: "We have always prided ourselves on providing excellent training to the new lawyers that join us. We are delighted to have won this national award and feel it reflects the efforts we make to nurture our trainees so they achieve their full potential”.


You don’t know until you

ask Why regular client surveys are essential to maintain a quality financial advice service, by Ian Lowes, managing director of Lowes Financial Management.

ne of the key differentiators for any business in any industry is its level of customer care. This is particularly so, of course, in service industries where it is how a customer feels about the overall quality and level of service they have received that will dictate their view of a company and, importantly, whether they will continue to use them for that particular service. Financial advice is very much a service and it is the relationship between, not just the adviser firm and the person needing financial advice, but also the individual adviser and the person that is essential to ensuring the customer receives the right level of service to satisfy their financial requirements. As such, taking a regular review of how customers/clients feel about our firm, in our view, is an essential part of maintaining a quality service. Of course, a lot of what we do is face-to-face advice, which is the ideal opportunity to gauge how clients are feeling. But good financial planning is a long-term process and as part of that it is sensible to conduct a regular survey of our clients that allows them to give us their candid views and for us to chart our performance. In addition, we believe that having conducted the survey, which is an invaluable management tool, we should make the results available to our clients and to prospective clients as well. After all, the mark of a firm is the way its clients see it and the value they receive from the service provided.


EXPERT VIEW Ian Lowes Managing director Lowes Financial Management Tel: (0191) 281 8811 Email: Web:

So, for over two decades Lowes has been conducting biennial client satisfaction surveys to help measure our performance and identify how we may improve our service to our clients. We have over ten years’ worth of survey results on our website, freely available for our clients and, indeed, anyone else to view. The response rate for the 2013 survey was very high and that is an encouraging sign. We are extremely pleased to note that against what has been a somewhat challenging economic backdrop, in general our clients feel we have maintained the level and quality of service for which we strive. It is important when conducting surveys that they do more than scratch the surface and are sufficiently in-depth to allow us to see where improvements may be necessary. So as well as asking for a general overview of how we have performed, we add specific questions about, for example, our client service, our approachability, our


professionalism, the depth of knowledge conveyed by our advisers, and the general helpfulness and friendliness of all the staff with which our clients may come into contact. This depth of questioning shows our clients that this is not a flash-in-the-pan survey and as a result we receive considerable feedback and comment – generally extremely positive – and clients feel that if they make suggestions as to how we can improve our service, those suggestions will be considered carefully. For example, one of the areas that attracted a number of comments this year was that of client service and contact. While around 95 per cent of respondents rated Lowes as either ‘very good’ or ‘good’ in these areas, some clients indicated that they would like more contact with their adviser. In current markets that is easy to understand. We monitor each client’s portfolio on an on-going basis and in some years this may mean we work with clients on several occasions while in other years the requirements for contact could be much less. We’ll be talking to those clients to see how we can satisfy that need for greater contact. Being entirely open and transparent in this way gives our clients greater confidence and also reflects the way in which we strive to conduct our relationship with them; in a friendly and approachable manner and remaining true to our motto of caring for personal finances personally. To see the results of the Lowes Financial Management Client Survey 2013 (and since 2001) visit and click on the client feedback tab.


It’s a family affair Major Family Law can help with the emotional side of divorce as well as the legalities, says Joanne Major.

EXPERT VIEW Joanne Major Principal and Collaborative lawyer Major Family Law Tel: (01661) 824582 Web: Twitter: @majorfamilylaw

t is generally accepted that divorce is one of the most stressful life events a person can go through, coming second only to the death of a spouse on the Holmes & Rahe Stress Scale, with similar scores on the equivalent scale for children. The end of a marriage has been likened to a bereavement and the physiological effects can be similar. Stress, anxiety, depression, tiredness and lack of focus are common symptoms, along with feelings of abandonment and rejection, the worry of coping financially, and adjusting to being one instead of part of a couple. While the range of possible effects of divorce are generally acknowledged, historically, there has been little in the way of professional support available to help address those effects and to meet the needs of the individual. As lawyers, we are trained in legal procedure, in problem solving and in promoting our clients’ best interests, but not specifically in dealing with our clients’ emotional issues. Although we often find ourselves counsellor as well as counsel, better support is needed which focuses entirely on the client’s needs. There has been a steadily growing acceptance in recent years within the legal profession that steps should be taken to make the divorce process less adversarial wherever


possible and to focus on assisting clients to achieve a satisfactory resolution by constructive, non-confrontational methods. However this only goes some of the way to addressing the lack of emotional support for people struggling to cope on a personal and emotional level with the end of their marriage. As a niche practice dealing exclusively with family law matters, Major Family Law have always been concerned to offer clients a comprehensive service, and take a holistic view of the definition of client support. For this reason, in a unique step, we now offer clients the opportunity to access a family consultant as part of the separation and divorce process. While family consultants are already in use around the country, they are largely used for support specifically within the collaborative process when divorcing couples are working towards reaching an amicable agreement in relation to financial and children matters. What makes the service we offer unique is that we do not offer it within the specific framework of a divorce settlement process; it is a stand-alone service accessible at any stage when a client feels the need for additional support. Being an independent and confidential service, it complements our own expertise and reflects our client-focused approach.


Brian Cantwell, our family consultant, has 25 years’ experience in working with families dealing with separation and divorce issues. Qualified in social work and a registered practitioner with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), Brian was also a senior court welfare officer for a number of years, and has practised as a family mediator, as well as working with children and families in an interdisciplinary team within an NHS Trust. He believes strongly that getting the right support from the very beginning can be vital not only to the individual he is working with, but also to the children of the family who will benefit indirectly from having a parent better able to cope with and come to terms with the end of the marriage. From our point of view at Major Family Law, being able to offer this exclusive service to our clients is just as important as referring them to an expert accountant or pensions adviser when that is the advice they need. We are delighted to be working with Brian and being able to offer our clients such a unique and holistic approach. Divorce in the 21st century is not just about who gets the house. If you think you could benefit from the services we can offer, and in particular our family consultant, then please do contact us in strict confidence to find out more.

LAW & FINANCE Christopher Knox

Mark Chandler

Breakfast at the Hilton Mark Chandler, wealth manager and head of business development at Ellis Bates Group, meets Christopher Knox, a barrister, Crown Court Recorder and deputy head of Trinity Barristers Chambers, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. Mark Chandler: What or who inspired you to become a barrister? Christopher Knox: When I was quite young a great friend of the family, very clever and prominent solicitor and Magistrate, Eric Miller, took me to North Shields Magistrates, he also introduced me to work in a busy solicitor’s office. From then I became fascinated by the law which I went on to study at Durham University. I was always keen on debating and became president of the union chairing debates. I then became interested in the Bar; after work experience in a barristers’ chambers I decided that the Courts and the law was what I really wanted to do – it gave both an immediacy of dealing with legal disputes but also a fascinating insight into people, their lives, their crises and how to deal with them. MC: What are your particular areas of specialism and expertise? CK: Serious crime, fraud, matrimonial property, personal injury and, what I would call, various problems – legal oddities which come my way from time to time – I have addressed a University Senate on behalf of a professor accused of plagiarism; I have been involved with the Nursing & Midwifery Council; I represent clients in Trusts of Land disputes; I have also appeared in the Chancery Division in nuisance matters.  My main specialism is the resolution of complex, often high value disputes which have got to or are likely to get to Court. These also include acrimonious disputes about missing or hidden money in businesses which become the

subject of quasi matrimonial litigation. MC: The 2012 Legal 500 endorsed Trinity Chambers as being one of the leading sets of barristers’ chambers in the North of England. What separates Trinity from the rest? CK: Trinity is an unusual barristers’ chambers, in that it has modernised and is very business focused, I think well ahead of its competitors. Despite the challenging economic climate, Trinity has continued to grow with nearly 80 barristers now practising from our Chambers at the historic Custom House on Newcastle’s Quayside and our recently refurbished premises in Middlesbrough. The barristers and staff at Trinity always aim to be responsive, pragmatic and deliver high standards of client care. Testament to this is the exceptional calibre barristers that we have been able to attract over the years. We are very proud of our North Eastern heritage and I am encouraged that we have been able to “export” some of our expertise to clients across the UK bringing revenue to the region. MC: What should people consider when choosing a barrister? CK: People need to know that the barrister acting for them, first of all, has a proper level of expertise to deal with their problem. They also need to know that he or she has the keenness and capacity to do whatever is required in the course of their case. Clients need to be able to get on with their barrister and each understands one another. Above all, clients need to know that their barrister is on their side and will do everything he or she can, irrespective of the


amount of effort required, to achieve what they want. MC: What do you enjoy most about working in the legal profession? CK: The constant variety, the hugely privileged insight that a barrister has into his client’s life and the challenge of achieving a relationship over a relatively limited period of time, with somebody who is usually at a stressful period in their lives and seeking to achieve what is realistic in the circumstances. MC: What are your interests outside of work? CK: My wife and family are my driving force. The things that interest and concern them has been what interests and concerns me. I have been involved as Governor of a School for over 15 years although now I have moved on from that, I was also involved with Northumbria University for several years. I adore the North East coast and country, I love books, I read political history and novels when I get a chance on holiday.  I do enjoy the Mediterranean, but as my daughter now lives in Australia I have to try and get there as often as possible.

Mark’s closing view: It was interesting to meet with Christopher; our association has proved good for his clients and for mine, whether they appreciate good legal advice and/or the value of professional wealth management. For more information on Ellis Bates visit


Stylish new offices for niche law firm McDaniel & Co has recently moved for the third time in eights years to keep up with the growing demand for its family and Intellectual Property services. aw firm McDaniel & Co, which specialises in family law and Intellectual Property (IP), continues to expand with a third move into larger office premises since husband and wife team, Rozanna and Niall Head-Rapson, established the company in 2005. Although geographically their new office on Portland Terrace in Jesmond is close to the firm’s roots on Osborne Road, McDaniel & Co has travelled some considerable distance in the intervening eight years, expanding from two to 18 full time employees including lawyers, associates and support staff. The ‘city-styled without city prices’ niche law firm has not only earned a solid reputation for its high quality legal advice and commercial acumen, but has ambitious expansion plans for further development in the months ahead, as Niall explains:


“Our new 4000 sq ft of accommodation represents a significant investment in the future of the firm. We purchased the building

Niall Head-Rapson


a couple of years ago and have been planning this move ever since. Now we have ample room for growth with offices on each of the four floors as well as two large meeting rooms, a spacious reception area and on-site parking for five cars, which is a blessing in this part of the city. “The rear of the property is ripe for further development too, and we will begin work on this soon to provide additional office space.      “Rozanna has been heavily involved in designing the interiors and we have received some very positive feedback from early visitors, so we are delighted with our new surroundings and see them as a stylish backdrop for some very busy times ahead.“ The commercial department, which Niall heads up, is renowned nationally for its depth and quality of service. An expert in his field, Niall Head-Rapson trained in the City of

Staff at McDaniel & Co

London and boasts stints at some of its major law firms including Gouldens (now Jones Day), Freshfields and McKenna’s (now Cameron McKenna) before moving north to head up Ward Hadaway’s IP team as a partner and subsequently, establishing McDaniel & Co. One of the only a few law firms in the region to have a full-time IP team (which is currently nine strong), McDaniel & Co was involved in the first ever patent case held outside the City of London. The team is particularly well known for its work in the areas of fashion, furniture, greetings, home wares and interiors as well as jewellery. Additionally, Niall is not only a panel member of ACID (Anti Copying In Design), the national membership trade organisation created in 1996 by designers for designers which provides help advice and support on IP, but McDaniel & Co is one is ACIDaccredited. The firm was also recently acknowledged as one of the UK’s top three practices when ranked alongside significantly larger law firms, based on the number of cases it had concluded through the Patents County Court since a change in IP law in 2010. Although offering a full service in the area of IP (trademark, patent, copyright and design matters) for which his team is regarded as a safe pair of hands for those whose core asset is IP, McDaniel  & Co also offers a range of other services including IT commercial agreements, debt recovery and litigation.

The Family Law team, headed up by Rozanna Head-Rapson, is equally highly regarded by clients, who regularly leave fantastic feedback and recommendations about the sensitive and empathetic way in which they have been helped, guided and emotionally supported through a very traumatic time. McDaniel & Co is the firm favoured by those who like to keep their private lives private, which possibly explains why the Family Law team has developed a robust reputation for its ability to apply a high level of commercial awareness in cases of high net worth family finances. For those who are also in the unhappy situation of facing a family break-up where children are involved, as a mother of four

Rozanna Head-Rapson


school age children, Rozanna can offer tremendous insight into family issues and is a trained mediator and Collaborative lawyer. Her sound judgment backed by wellintentioned  pragmatism, has helped many families achieve the best possible outcomes for all concerned. Rozanna also began her working life in the City of London, at international law firm Allen and Overy and has continued to make significant strides forward in her career ever since. With High Court civil rights of audience, she was a former chair of Family Law for Newcastle upon Tyne Law Society, a committee member of the North East Resolution Group and North East Collaborative Lawyers Group, she is currently a member of the Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates and is frequently recommended by professional peers. In March this year, Rozanna was also appointed as a part-time judge. So what’s next for McDaniel and Co? “For the next few weeks,” reveals Rozanna, “we will be planning our official office opening celebration – a  midsummer Pimms party. It will give Niall and I so much pleasure to thank and welcome guests to our new office, all those who have helped and encouraged us – from the early days, which were testing times with a young family to consider – up to the present time.” McDaniel  & Co is located at 19 Portland Terrace, Jesmond, NE2 1QQ. Tel: (0191) 281 4800, web:



automatic enrolment New pension requirements, involving automatic enrolment, offer a golden opportunity for employers to engage employees with their total reward package. David Hodgson of RSM Tenon explains how to get the most out of your communication strategy.

f you’ve ever wondered why so many of your employees don’t even look at their benefits options, let alone make selections, automatic enrolment could be the answer to your prayers. This is one of the best opportunities you are ever likely to get to change the way your employees think about benefits. While the administration and compliance challenges around automatic enrolment are considerable, companies that focus on simply ticking the right boxes are missing a trick. You can add real value by starting a meaningful conversation with your employees about the total value of the reward package you offer.


EXPERT VIEW David Hodgson Head of Group Pensions RSM Tenon Tel: 07921 840 023 Email: Web:

their new pension in the context of their total reward package.

Targeted, individual messages Valuing reward The Pensions Regulator has said that it expects to see at least 75 per cent of employees enrol into a pension scheme as a result of automatic enrolment. Any organisation that has implemented a benefits package will know what a challenge that represents. Getting it wrong is likely to result in your payroll and HR teams being inundated with queries when people see their take-home pay reduce by the amount of their contributions. It is advisable to plan a creative and engaging communications programme to ensure your employees understand and value

Build your strategy around the needs of your individual employees. If you already have a benefits programme, you will know which of your employees are actively engaged with benefits and which are not. These two groups will need different communications plans. Think about what your employees need. Do they all have access to computers? Do they like to use them? Would some prefer a face-toface approach? Do they all have sufficient understanding to discuss complex benefits? Having answered these questions, you will understand your starting point, be able to set appropriate and realistic objectives. We recommend a three-stage process:


Raise awareness: Start raising awareness at least six months before the intended start date. Your strategy should focus on alerting your employees that you need their attention for something important. The aim should be to catch their eye and generate excitement and interest about what comes next, so try to avoid too much detail in the early stages. Take responsibility: Your communications need to get across the detail of the options available to employees and the implications of their choices. For automatic enrolment, they need to take responsibility for their retirement plans. Depending on the makeup of your wider reward programme, you could also look to include details of any health and wellbeing initiatives and any insurance options for employees and their dependents. Take action: Allow around one month for your employees to take action. Early take up is a good indicator for engagement, as employees who value their benefits feel able to make the time to select their options. Research suggests that employees who prioritise their benefits selections feel more valued by their employer. This has a direct impact on motivation and productivity; generating a return for what will be a significant pensions investment.


Unfair dismissal and the Acas Code Collingwood Legal’s Sarah Fitzpatrick outlines the requirements of the Acas Code of Practice and provides top tips for businesses dealing with disciplinaries. [2013] the EAT held that an employer's decision to dismiss was fair, following a number of acts of misconduct and a final written warning. This was despite the employer's failure to formally notify the employee of the potential consequences of the disciplinary hearing, or the written warning, in accordance with the Acas Code.

mployers will welcome an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision that suggests that minor infringements of the Acas Code of Practice will not render a dismissal unfair.


The Acas Code When deciding whether an employee has been unfairly dismissed for misconduct or poor performance, an employment tribunal will consider whether the business has followed a fair procedure, and must take the Acas Code into account when considering whether an employer has dismissed fairly. If the employer has not followed the procedure there can be an increase in compensation awarded to the employee by up to 25 per cent. In brief, the code requires that an employer: • Conduct a reasonable investigation of any disciplinary issues. • Inform the employee of the issues in writing, providing any evidence gathered and should indicate the potential consequences of disciplinary action. • Have a disciplinary hearing with the employee to consider the issues and evidence which is conducted in a reasonable way.

Best practice

EXPERT VIEW Sarah Fitzpatrick Associate solicitor Collingwood Legal Tel: (0191) 282 2884

• Inform the employee of the decision in writing, explaining how the decision was reached. • Afford the employee a right of appeal. In a recent case Buzolli v Food Partners Ltd


Despite this decision, employers should be aware of the risks connected with non-compliance with the Acas Code, and ensure that they follow the best practice procedures set out in it, to reduce the scope for procedural unfairness claims. It also highlights the importance for employers of having clearly drafted policies and procedures, which can be relied upon in the event that their actions are challenged. Other practical steps we suggest businesses take: • Ensure managers are trained in handling disciplinary issues. • Investigate all issues thoroughly, carefully considering evidence which might support the employee’s version of events. • At any disciplinary hearing allow the employee to put their side of the story and carry out any further investigation if necessary. • Keep written records.


Who owns your intellectual property rights? Would you expect to automatically own the IPR for a new website or piece of software you've paid for? Not necessarily, says Muckle’s Gill Hunter.

ost businesses believe that they will own all of the IPR created by their web or software developers. However, if the developers aren't employees and the business doesn't have a contract giving it ownership of any rights, then this belief is likely to be unfounded. In these circumstances where an independent company, freelance developer, consultant or subcontractor creates a new website or piece of software then the IPR will be owned by them and not their customer, even once the work has been paid for. In one case that ended up in court a company asked a software development company to design and develop a web based database system for it. The agreement between them did not include a provision for the IPR in the software to be transferred to the customer. The court refused to force the software development company to transfer the IPR to the customer. It even refused to


EXPERT VIEW Gill Hunter Partner Muckle LLP Tel: (0191) 211 7944 Email:

require the company to grant an exclusive licence to its customer so that the customer would be the only business entitled to use that IPR – even though the software was constructed around the customer's specific operating procedures. The customer was only granted a nonexclusive licence to use the system. Potentially other licences could be granted by the software development company to its other customers, which might even include competitors of the customer. So, if you want to have control over your new software or website and to be able to make decisions to change, alter, sub-license, sell or develop it further without having to go back and get the agreement of the developer, you must ensure that you have a written agreement with your developer that deals properly with IPR ownership. A small bit of planning at the start of a project can save a whole lot of mess at the end!

Create a valuable business Blu Sky Chartered Accountants’ Jon Dudgeon reveals some tips to make your business valuable from the word go, and gives some tips on how to do that.

reating a valuable business in today’s economy is important if your exit plan in the future involves a sale or if you will want to attract investment. The question is, how is a business valued? A valuation, of course, is only a guide price as the real price is only what someone will actually pay, but what makes that starting value figure? A number of factors could be considered: Earnings Basis is a valuation based upon the level of sustainable business profitability and the earnings multiple rate of return. A good history of profit making is key, and a ratio is applied based on the average return an investor could expect in your market sector. Private companies normally have a multiplier between four and ten applied but, even within a sector, this can change depending on other factors. Looking at the forecasted cash flow a business is expected to generate some five to 15 years into the future is another way. A discounted rate is then applied to cover risk, inflation and


Jon Dudgeon

interest rates. Good long term clients and contracts are particularly useful here. Or, if your business is cash rich, individual assets and liabilities of the business are considered then adjusted to current market


value. Good will, brand and long-term contracts can be included here. Non-financial measures will also influence the valuation too. If the owner is not involved in daily running, the business is more attractive and is prime for a take over. When employing think about building the best team that will run the business without you. The more systemised a business is, the less new ownership will disrupt it, so again this is a good draw. A clean compliance record and credit all reflect well too, as does having a good reputation with customers, supplier, HMRC and your accountant. A good accountant should ask lots of questions, challenge assumptions, then be able to help you collate supporting documentation on an ongoing basis, building a good history and a positive picture of the future – all in all increasing the value of your business. More information is available by visiting


Left to right: Stephen McNicol (Muckle), Dean Richards (Falcons), Jonathan Combe (Muckle) and Peter Winterbottom (RPA)

Left to right: Peter Winterbottom (RPA), Dean Richards (Falcons) and Jonathan Combe (Muckle)

Muckle and The RPA The law firm hosts a special reception with The Rugby Players’ Association.

Left to right: Alan Ross (Muckle), Michael Brace (DJS Project Management) and Graeme Edmundson (Edmundson Building & Preservation)

Left to right: Owen Ingam (Global Manufacturing Supplies), Andrew Higgins (Falcons), Brian Glendinning (Engenera Power), Allister Hogg (Falcons), Oliver Tomaszczyk (Falcons) and Craig Gordon (Access Energy plc)

uckle hosted an exclusive reception with the former England and British & Irish Lions rugby union players, Dean Richards and Peter Winterbottom. The evening was supported by The Rugby Players' Association (RPA) who arranged for current Newcastle Falcons players to attend so that they could network with the business leaders present. During the lively discussions, Dean Richards and Peter Winterbottom discussed their attitude and determination to succeed on the pitch, and how this has affected their subsequent careers in coaching and business.


Left to right: Gerry Osborne (Roman Ltd), Hugh Welch (Muckle) and Steve Hodgson (Hodgson Newcastle)

David Frith (Deloitte LLP) and Robert Vickers (Falcons)

Left to right: Peter Winterbottom (RPA), Steve Bainbridge (Benfield Motors) and Tony McPhillips (Muckle)

Stephen Bilclough (John N Dunn) and Tim McAdam (St. James’ Place Partnership) Left to right: Tom Catterick (Falcons), Paul Johnstone (Muckle) and Alex Tait (Falcons) Left to right: Paul Oxtoby (Home Group), Neil Mandle (GVA Grimley) and Will McKay (Muckle)



The long game In a new series of interviews, North East Times will be asking successful business men and women, with more than 25 years' experience in their field, to reflect on what their industry was like when they started, how has it changed and where they see the sector going.

Richard MacAlister Divisional director at Newcastle wealth management firm, Brewin Dolphin.



first started work as a temp for the firm ‘Wise Speke’ in Newcastle (which later became Brewin Dolphin) during the British Gas privatisation in November 1986. I had just graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Chemistry. I had no plans for a career in finance but I found I loved the job and agreed to become a permanent member of staff as a graduate trainee. My first job was to write out all of the deals on record cards. Computers were used but only for a limited number of functions and most processes involved a mass of paper. The trainee role was highly administration based but it was an exciting time, with many privatisations and a roaring bull market. That is until the Great Storm of ‘87 hit the UK on October 15-16, followed three days later by ‘Black Monday’ on October 19, when stock markets around the world crashed, shedding a huge value in a very short time. Unfortunately for me, this was also the day that I took my first exam! After that, clients were much more cautious and followed our advice more often.

ver the last 27 years I’ve worked in the industry it has changed beyond all recognition. Our office has grown from about 120 people when I started to around 350 people now. Technology has made it a much faster-moving business where deals are carried out electronically from your desk, without share certificates and transfer forms. We all have screens showing live prices, rather than two price screens for the whole room when I started. Our systems are so much more sophisticated and the Internet and email have changed the speed of communications for everyone. I started to specialise in looking after Charities and Pension Schemes, although most investment managers are still generalists. However, the emphasis on building personal relationships with clients (many of whom have become close friends) and providing bespoke investment solutions has remained unchanged. There has been a major move away from the old, traditional advisory stock broking service and it has become more difficult to enter the industry as academic standards have risen. The client has become more sophisticated and demanding as the traditional, “old money” has been supplemented by “new money” entrepreneurs and professionals, particularly with the change in pensions regulations to allow Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs).



FUTURE expect the trends of recent years to continue. Regulation has become more onerous as a result of legislation from Europe and the UK and we have to make sure that every decision and conversation is recorded. Technology should make investment management less time-consuming and allows us to analyse risk and performance much more closely. Social media is likely to have more impact in future rather than just a tool for head-hunters. I expect clients to become more demanding. Competition varies with the market cycles and we have always seen new competition open offices in bull markets, only to close when the going gets tough. I hope and expect that our emphasis on each client’s individual requirements and our relationships will remain unchanged.


TIMELINE 1986: Graduate trainee, Wise Speke, Newcastle 1993: Divisional director, Wise Speke, Newcastle 1994: Team leader, Wise Speke, Manchester 1998: Team leader, Wise Speke, Newcastle 1998: Wise Speke taken over by Brewin Dolphin 2009: Chair of Brewin Dolphin Asset Allocation Committee 2012: Deputy head of the Newcastle Office




Inflation or deflation? That is the question Brewin Dolphin divisional director, Barney Hawkins, assesses whether inflation or deflation is most beneficial to investors.

ince 2008, investors have been questioning whether it is inflation or deflation that haunts them. One might imagine that by now we would be closer to knowing the truth but, in our experience, the answer to these either/or questions is almost always neither. When the two options are polar opposites, some combination inevitably turns out to be the true path. When approaching the question from a scientific perspective, the answer is easy. There has historically been inflation and too much of it. In March 2004, the Chancellor gave the serving Governor of the Bank of England a mandate to target growth in the Consumer Price Index of two per cent per annum. Initially the Bank achieved this but recently that target has been missed more often than it has been hit. Cumulatively, prices are now seven per cent higher than the Chancellor had intended when the inflation target was set. And that overshoot has all accrued in the years since 2008. So inflation then is the clear winner of the inflation/deflation debate of the last few years. Or is it? When we talk about inflation we are normally talking about consumer or retail prices but other things inflate too: wages and salaries, for example. In fact, the UK has seen incomes rise faster than prices for decades (back to the 1960s at least). But that stopped in April 2009. Since then earnings have lagged inflation – leaving them 11 per cent behind the trend rate of real earnings growth. Therein lurks the deflation.


EXPERT VIEW Barney Hawkins Divisional director Brewin Dolphin Tel: (0191) 279 7784 Email: Web:

This creates a real dilemma for the Bank of England because, on the one hand, the inflation they are supposed to be targeting is high but because wages are lagging behind prices, this actually restricts disposable incomes. The explanation for what we reluctantly describe as ‘deflationary inflation’ is that much of it arises from higher taxes such as VAT or payment of tuition fees. The other source of inflation has been the weakness of the pound. When the pound falls, as it did sharply at the end of 2008 and again earlier this year; the prices of imported goods rise. The typical way to fight inflation is to raise interest rates but this would simply compound the squeeze on households’ expenses by adding higher mortgage payments to their woes. The monetary policy committee argues that tax increases and sterling devaluations are one-off increases in prices, rather than an on-going trend.


Therefore, their best course of action is to cut rates, take the pressure off household finances, and thereby head off the risk of serious deflation further down the road. The problem is that these one-off events have been happening all too frequently. It is against this background that the reins of the Bank of England are being handed over to a central banking celebrity, Mark Carney. Speculation is rife about whether the new Governor will find new ways of being easy on us. Will he target growth instead of inflation? Most would conclude the bank has being doing that for the last four years anyway. Will he commit to even lower interest rates? This policy could tie his hands if the inflationary picture evolves in unexpected ways. Will he prime the presses for another round of Quantitative Easing? Beyond the weaker pound it is as yet unclear what the benefits of QE have been. The real result of all these easing policies is that they effect a transfer of wealth from investors’ savings accounts to the Exchequer, which, as a result, pays less interest on its future borrowing. The burden is felt by the decline in the after-tax value of savings held in banks or invested in Government bonds. This leaves savers with a difficult choice when we are experiencing the dual demons of inflation and deflation. Do you trust in cash or low risk bonds, which are unfortunately very likely to lose money after tax and inflation? Or do you take a risk with equities for a chance of growing or at least maintaining real wealth should inflation pick up? And therein lies the question.


Breaking down the barriers to international trade By Peter Cromarty, Bibby Financial Services North East head of sales.

EXPERT VIEW Peter Cromarty Head of Sales Bibby Financial Services Tel: 0759 035 5147 Email:

he North East has a long tradition of exporting quality goods and services around the world, from cars to pies; the region’s small and medium-sized businesses have always enjoyed success in international markets. This was partly the reason for Business Secretary Vince Cable’s visit to Newcastle in May. Promoting the simple message that exporting is great as part of UK Export Week, he urged even more North East firms to look to opportunities in foreign markets in an effort to grow their order books and spread sustainable growth across the region. However, for many businesses in the North East the fear of non-payment by overseas buyers is still a major barrier to exporting. With this in mind, Bibby Financial Services is now referring its clients to UK Export Finance’s Export Insurance Policy, which will protect businesses in the North East against this precise risk. UK Export Finance (UKEF) is the government department created to support exporting businesses, including SMEs looking to trade overseas, by providing credit insurance policies, political risk insurance and guarantees on bank loans. Although the North East’s key export


products including paint, packing foam, polymers, cables, chemicals and valves are in high demand overseas, many of the businesses producing them don’t receive the necessary support to give them the confidence to expand their horizons. It’s a problem that not only North East firms face, but businesses much further afield. British products, services and expertise in general are sought after right across the world, yet less than a quarter of UK firms currently export. Many SMEs face the problem of identifying opportunities within markets which are deemed too risky by some insurers, and this can mean that they are unable to obtain the level of funding they require; the Export Insurance Policy gives such businesses the security and reassurance required to pursue these overseas opportunities. A recent Bibby Financial Services study found that one in five businesses are in fact considering exporting in the next two years, and in last year’s budget, George Osborne announced the Government’s target is to double UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020. The UK’s GDP figures for Q1 showed minimal growth and this has been the catalyst for some businesses to look to overseas markets for greater opportunities.


The availability of low risk credit for North East businesses that are considering these opportunities has been a limitation in the past, which is why we think that it is so important for us to be working with government departments, such as UKEF to help SMEs overcome this hurdle. With insurance cover in place, it will be easier for businesses in the North East to obtain the funding they require in order to export successfully. Furthermore, funders such as Bibby Financial Services can provide value added benefits to exporters, such as overseas collections services, multicurrency and linguistic support. Working with more than 4000 small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, Bibby Financial Services knows that despite being open to trading overseas, many firms perceive financial and cultural barriers, as well as stringent export regulations as obstacles to growing a national company into an international operation. The benefit of the Export Insurance Policy is that it will open up new funding and support channels for businesses to be able to combat these challenges and target new and exciting opportunities around the world.


Can you protect investors? John Dance of Vertem Asset Management looks at strategies for investors in uncertain economic times.

EXPERT VIEW John Dance, CEO and chief investment officer Vertem Asset Management Tel: (0191) 341 0289 Email: Web:

oubts remain about how far the equity market can run given the positive performance so far this past year. Clearly, there are still some risks that could cause the market to wobble, so what’s the best way to protect investors? This is a conundrum that faced Vertem earlier in the year, when we considered the stellar performance in equity markets and their resilience in the face of macroeconomic headwinds. Rather than selling, investors have been using market weakness to top up on their equity holdings. After news about Cyprus needing a bailout, the European market has now shrugged off its losses and in the UK, the FTSE has been rising for the last 11 consecutive months. Even so there remains the question about how strong this resilience is. There are still macroeconomic headwinds facing the economy that cannot be ignored. Global growth is poor. China has missed growth expectations, the eurozone has entered its longest ever recession, and Japan still needs to achieve inflation. While it is possible to find light in most corners, there still remains significant issues facing economies across the world. Despite this, equity markets are still climbing higher and companies are trading at


ridiculous valuations that are dislocated from fundamentals. Industrial company Siemens’ earnings have moved significantly lower, missing previous estimates in February, while the share price has gone higher. Consumer goods company Danone suffered 13 per cent earnings downgrades for 2013 and also missed earnings estimates in February, but the share price has rallied since then. Fundamentals and prices are dislocated and they have to reconnect by either earnings catching up or share prices coming down. The potential for earnings initiating this reconnect seems less likely than price. As governments and consumers around the world continue to tighten their belts, it is possible that corporate profitability will come under further pressure. On top of this, quantitative easing is pushing up the prices of risk assets. This means that it is becoming difficult to find value in the stock market and the traditional rotation from cyclical to defensive stocks is not possible. Attractive valuations are concentrated in a few sectors. With valuations looking toppy and corporate profits looking to come under pressure, it seems possible that equity markets can come off their highs. So we have


concluded that it would be a safe move to take off some of our equity exposure and move it into covered call strategies. These are often sold as ‘enhanced income’ funds due to the additional income they produce. Managers write call options on holdings within the fund to produce this extra income through the option premiums. If markets rise aggressively then although these types of funds still rise, it would typically be at a slower pace than the overall market. In an environment like we have at present, which is more of a gradual grind, they perform very well indeed. Most importantly though is how they react to falling markets. When markets fall, volatility and fear increase which means the premium generated by writing calls increases and these types of funds tend to fall much slower than the wider market. At Vertem we think a sensible allocation to funds with a covered call strategy makes sense when future returns are as binary as ever, thanks to a fight of economic activity versus central bank policy action. Vertem Asset Management is an independent investment management company, with an individual and modern approach to investment services. For more information, please visit


The monthly report With Richard Clark of Barclays.

EXPERT VIEW Richard Clark Private banker Barclays Web:

2013: The end of the gold run? Gold prices have enjoyed a steady upward trend for the past ten years. However, weakening investor sentiment has caused many market participants to question the sustainability of the bull-run.

The rise of the physically backed ETF. Over the past decade, investment demand has become an increasingly important part of the gold market. Demand for perceived safe-haven assets (which tended to have low or negative correlations with traditional investments, such as stocks and bonds) and assets which were likely to benefit from higher inflation, have been the main reasons why investors have built up substantial positions in gold. As investment demand for gold started to pick up in the early 2000s, so too did the number of investment vehicles. Although traditional ways of getting exposure to gold – via derivatives for institutions and gold coin and bars for smaller investors – remain in place, the launch of the physically-backed exchange traded fund (ETF) in 2003 made it easier for gold to become a significant portion of investors' portfolios.

How have demand dynamics changed?

As gold became more accessible to the wider market, traditional demand dynamics changed. Jewellery has historically been the predominant source of demand, but as prices rose, demand from the sector declined. As a proportion of total demand, jewellery (which accounted for about 80 per cent a decade ago), lost significant market share and, as of last year, accounted for just over 40 per cent of demand. On the other hand, investor demand has steadily risen over the same time period. Since the launch of physically backed ETFs, total investment demand (bar, coin, and ETFs) has risen from about 10 per cent to around 35 per cent of total demand. Demand for physically backed ETFs has been so robust that flows have been positive every year since they launched. As of 2012, gold holdings in physically backed ETFs totalled over 2600 tonnes. As a result of these changes in demand dynamics, gold prices rose over the 5-fold in ten years and eventually peaked at $1920/oz in September 2011. However, since then, prices struggled to regain momentum, leaving prices relatively range-bound between $1800/oz and $1550/oz.

Prices likely to be range-bound in the short term Going forward, fabrication demand (i.e.

jewellery, industrial and dental demand) – particularly from India and China – will likely pick up now that prices are about 15 per cent lower than at the beginning of the year. This, alongside some bargain buying, should be broadly supportive for prices. Furthermore, we do not envisage any change in central-bank buying activity (which accounts for approximately 10 per cent of total demand). While there could be some sales, we are of the view that central banks will likely remain net buyers, overall, this year. But with much uncertainty in the gold market at present, prices will likely be range-bound as investors grapple with the recent fragility of the market. Although ETF holdings have declined by more than 10 per cent since their high reached in 2012, the total amount of gold held in physically backed ETFs is still elevated compared to historical levels (in fact, it represents the sixth-largest holding in the world, just behind France's official holdings). If further redemptions occur, prices could weaken. This is the biggest risk to prices, in our view, and the short-term trajectory of prices is likely to be determined by this investment demand for gold, rather than other sources. On the downside, fundamental cost support is estimated to be around $1300/oz, meaning that if prices were to fall below these levels, a considerable amount of output would be at risk, which could provide a (loose) floor for prices.

Barclays Wealth Management is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and is a member of the London Stock Exchange. Share prices and the income from them can go down as well as up. Readers are advised to seek professional investment opinion before entering into dealings in securities mentioned in this article, which may be unsuitable in their personal financial circumstances.


LAW & FINANCE Left to right: Mike Pott (RMT), Viv Williamson (St Oswald’s), Gracie Watchorn, John Richards (RMT) and Gill Knox (St Oswald’s)

RMT Accountants funds new St Oswald’s milk kitchen Special facilities dedicated to preparing feeds for babies and young children are set to be built at St Oswald’s Children and Young Adults Service thanks to a donation from the accountancy firm. MT Accountants & Business Advisors is funding the creation of a new milk kitchen at St Oswald’s based in Gosforth, as part of an auction at the Hospice’s recent annual ball. The donation will mean a bespoke milk kitchen area including a hand washing sink can be built at the hospice, which will allow feeds to be made up in a safe and sterile environment. Increasing numbers of both very young children and children needing specialist diets at St Oswald’s has brought about the need for the new milk kitchen. Sally Moody, clinical care lead at the children and young adults service, explains: “For the first five or six years we were open, we were able to make up any type of milk feed, but they were very few and far between. “We now have many more babies and very young children staying with us who need their


feeds made up, as well as an increasing number of children who are treated for their epilepsy with a special diet, and we have to prepare these feeds in a very specific environment, a task that has become increasingly challenging.” Mike Pott, managing director at RMT, adds: “St Oswald’s makes a huge difference to the lives of so many families across the region who are often facing the most difficult of circumstances, and we are privileged to be able to support a charity that is also local to us.” Families from across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland can benefit from St Oswald’s services, with no charge made for any of the services provided to ensure that hospice care is available to everyone. The charity’s annual running costs amount to £9.5 million, of which £6.5 million must be raised through voluntary giving. Around £63,000 was raised at the annual ball, which


this year had a Bollywood theme Viv Williamson, head of fundraising at St Oswald’s, says: “We’re thrilled that RMT has pledged to buy the milk kitchen for our Children and Young Adults service, it’s going to make a huge difference to the children, staff and volunteers. “Specialist equipment such as this can be expensive, so we were overwhelmed by the generosity of both RMT and everyone who attended our Bollywood Ball. “We rely on donations from the local community and companies such as RMT to help us to continue providing specialist care for adults, young people and children when they need it the most.” For more information about St Oswald’s, please call (0191) 285 0063 or visit

LAW & FINANCE Left to right: Sarah Hall, Neil Dwyer and Sarah Furness

Hay & Kilner’s lawyers take to the


Hollywood could be beckoning for some North East-based legal eagles. awyers from Hay & Kilner’s employment and litigation teams have recently scripted and featured in a number of training films for NBS. NBS, which offers specification and information solutions to construction industry professionals, is part of RIBA Enterprises Ltd, the commercial arm of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). NBS approached Hay & Kilner after attending a number of the solicitors’ employment ‘role play’ seminars, and realising that they weren’t your usual legal presentation of the facts. These were real life situations faced by businesses brought to life on the stage. Sarah Hall, an employment partner at Newcastle based Hay & Kilner, commented: “We decided a few years ago that our commercial clients needed us to demonstrate how they should tackle the challenges presented by complex,ever-changing legislation in a straight forward and understandable manner. “By filming these staged situations, we show managers and business owners a number of scenarios such as how to conduct disciplinary meetings and how to deal with difficult employees.”


The Hay & Kilner video approach has also been used by its litigation team to show businesses how to handle problem commercial debts. Neil Harrold, Insolvency partner at Hay & Kilner, commented: “Unpaid overdue bills are a major headache for all businesses. They play havoc with their cash flow and, if not addressed, can undermine the health and even the survival of the business. In the video, we examine a number of commonly encountered problems, based on real life experiences and give tips on how to deal with them.” Feedback from Hay & Kilner’s clients has been very positive. Norvil McClurg, managing director of Care Management Services, a client of Hay & Kilner’s employment and litigation departments, commented: “I’ve just viewed the latest training video offering on Hay & Kilner’s website on the subject of commercial debt recovery and have enjoyed watching and listening to the approaches discussed and advice given. “It was an excellent piece of work and extremely apposite to the times for most small businesses.” The videos are also used by NBS, expert providers of technical information for


construction industry professionals, as an educational tool on its website. Hay & Kilner’s constant quest for improving the services offered to clients resulted in the launch of HR Key last year. The service transforms the way its business clients gain legal advice when managing their workforce. Businesses of all sizes, from SMEs to PLCs, can sign up for the fixed fee service which gives them unlimited telephone support from Hay & Kilner’s experienced employment solicitors. Subscribers to the service are also given generous insurance protection and online access to an extensive range of HR documents aimed at preventing and resolving employment issues. All of the documents in the databank were also personally prepared and are regularly updated by Hay & Kilner’s employment law team. To view the videos please visit: or For more information on Hay & Kilner, visit


Rebecca Coates (general manager of Auckland Castle) and Donna Hunwick (Employment solicitor at Sintons)

Auckland Castle puts its trust in Sintons The law firm helps a historic castle get set for the summer. historic North East castle has now opened its doors to the public six-daysa-week, and the project is having a positive impact on a number of regional businesses who have been involved with its launch. Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, tentatively opened its doors two days a week on April 1. As it has already welcomed almost 1500 visitors, as of May 1, it has introduced longer opening hours in preparation for a surge in visitors expected to flock to the heritage site over the summer months. The Auckland Castle Trust, headed by businessman and philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer who took over its ownership last September in a bid to re-invigorate the site and the local economy through a five year redevelopment plan, has enlisted the support of a number of specialist organisations to get the project off to the best possible start. Newcastle-based law firm Sintons has been part of the local corporate team working behind the scenes to support Auckland Castle Trust in line with the re-opening. As well as working with the trust to devise the terms and conditions for events held at the venue – including weddings, for which Auckland Castle is already well known – the law firm also supports the trust in ensuring compliance with the current maze of employment legislation.


Through Assero – the firm’s fixed-fee employment law package designed for businesses, charities and other commercial organisations - Sintons has helped the trust to implement T&Cs of employment at the venue and to devise a handbook of policies and procedures for its staff. Donna Hunwick, solicitor in the Employment Team at Sintons, said: “Auckland Castle is a magnificent venue which, in the promotion of its charitable objectives, makes a huge contribution to the local community and the wider North East. “We are very proud to be working alongside the team to support the trustees with their employment and compliance issues, and it is a real privilege to be able to play a role in supporting the venue to hold events and weddings, for which they are renowned through the region and beyond. “As a fellow North East business and adviser to a number of charities in the region, we are privileged to be working with Auckland Castle Trust and we look forward to growing our relationship in the months and years to come.”     Sintons is not the only organisation to benefit from Auckland Castle’s development plans. The trust is committed to supporting the local and regional economy where they can and the castle’s gift shop alone showcases a number of products crafted locally. The castle’s cafe is


being operated by Newcastle-based LoveFood catering. Rowena Hackwood, chief executive of the Auckland Castle Trust, said that the team was pleased to have provided opportunities for local businesses, including Sintons. She said: “We are pleased to have been able to involve so many North East businesses and organisations in our plans to date and will continue to seek opportunities to build partnerships that will benefit our plans and which will feed back into the regional economy. “Sintons is one company we’ve turned to for their professional expertise as we prepared to open and the team there has helped guide us through the intricacies of employment law and a host of other corporate issues in a really straightforward and professional manner. We look forward to developing this partnership as our plans develop over the coming months and years.” Auckland Castle is open every day (except Tuesdays) from 10.30am to 4 pm. Tickets are £8 for adults, £6 for concessions, £4 for children and £20 for a family card. For further information visit or call (01388) 743 750. For further information on Sintons, log onto


Front, from left: John Seymour, chairman of Farmway and Graham Cock, chairman of Mole Valley Farmers (back, from left) Simon Bishop, operations director of Farmway, Peter Hull (CEO of Farmway), Andrew Jackson (CEO Mole Valley Farmers) and Andrew Chapple (head of Finance at Mole Valley Farmers)

Ward Hadaway advises on Farmway sale The law firm advises long-standing client Farmway on the sale of its business to a Devon farming co-operative. orporate finance experts from the Newcastle office of Ward Hadaway has provided legal advice to Darlington-based Farmway Ltd on the sale of its trading assets to Mole Valley Farmers (MVF). Formed from the amalgamation of three farming cooperatives in 1964, Farmway has grown to become one of the north's leading agricultural and rural retail businesses, specialising in animal feeds, the processing and dressing of cereal seeds, fertilisers, and also the drying, storage and marketing of grain. Over the past five years, the company has diversified into rural retailing, offering farmers


and people who live in rural areas a range of products via a network of eight stores across the North East and Yorkshire. Ward Hadaway has advised Farmway for over 20 years, providing legal support across a broad spectrum of areas including banking, corporate finance, employment, property and commercial agreements. A team led by Ward Hadaway’s head of Corporate, Martin Hulls, and Banking and Finance partner, Imogen Holland, advised Farmway on its sale to MVF. Based in Devon, MVF was established in 1960 and is an agricultural supply business, owned by over 7000 farmer shareholders and with an

annual turnover of more than ÂŁ350 million. Martin Hulls said: "Securing a successful sale to the right kind of new owner was very important to the team at Farmway who have put so much effort into building the business up over the years to become an integral part of rural life across the North East and Yorkshire." Farmway chairman John Seymour said: "Martin and the team at Ward Hadaway have performed superbly for us over the years and this time was no exception. "Having people who know your business well and who you can trust to deliver the right advice at the right time is so important and makes a real difference to the success of any venture."

Bill makes his (Trade) Mark Ward Hadaway extends its service after associate solicitor Bill Goodwin qualified as a trade mark attorney. ill, who has worked as a solicitor in the Intellectual Property team at Ward Hadaway since 2004, gained the qualification after two years of study and examinations while working for the UK Top 100 firm. He is now one of only three registered trade mark attorneys who are listed in Tyne and Wear. Bill explained: "While Ward Hadaway has always provided a service to advise our clients on trade mark law and to file and register trade mark applications in the UK, Europe and

worldwide, the fact that I am now a registered trade mark attorney means we can now offer a genuine 'one-stop shop' service for trade mark work. "Establishing, developing and protecting a well-recognised name is a must-have for many companies so this qualification means they will be able to use our services with added confidence."


For more information on Ward Hadaway visit Bill Goodwin



A sticky tale Andrew Twineham of Langridge Employment Law uses a case study to show the difficulties employers face when redundancy is the only option. imes were hard at Treacle’s Toffees. Tommy Treacle had taken over the business from his father in 1985. They struggled in the early ‘90s but, in 80 years of trading, they had not experienced anything like the crash of 2008. Turnover halved as the demand for toffee fell. They just couldn’t compete with the High Street chains and discounters any more. Ironically, their top of the range product, Toff’s Toffee, remained buoyant – it seems that even in a recession, people savour an occasional treat. Tommy had rolled with the dip for four years. He had taken no salary out of the business for three years and there had been no overtime or Christmas bonus for two. But things were now out of his hands. The bank would not lend them any more money and the sugar supplier was threatening liquidation. There was no option; jobs had to be cut. The idea of cutting staff was stressful. The prospect of even raising it with them was daunting. How should he go about it? Does he have to consult with a trade union? Does he need to invite the employees to elect representatives? Who should be selected for redundancy? Can Tommy pick and choose as he likes? Should he use selection pools? Can he ring-


EXPERT VIEW Andrew Twineham Partner Langridge Employment Law Tel: (0191) 222 1221 Email:

fence the well performing Toff’s Toffee line? Can he include Debbie (who’s on maternity leave) in the selection process? Or is that a backdoor to a sex discrimination claim? Can he just use “last in first out”? Or could that lead to an age discrimination claim? Can he include sickness absence in the selection criteria? What about the member of staff who has been off on long term sick with reactive depression? Is that a backdoor to a disability discrimination claim? What about spent disciplinary warnings? Is it acceptable to use them in the selection process? How far do they have to go in looking for alternative employment? What if an employee refuses an offer? Are they still entitled to a redundancy payment? All these are questions that commonly arise in a redundancy situation. The pitfalls are many. The cost of getting it wrong can be high. Employees can bring claims in the Employment Tribunals. With proper advice and planning these can be avoided. The best advice to Tommy is to take advice. Trade associations can often help, as can HR consultants and solicitors. Of course, that will come at a cost – but maybe a few pounds wellspent in order to minimise the potentially much higher cost of getting it wrong!

Testing times Emma Glover from Rowlands provides an overview of the Statutory Residence Test and its impact to taxpayers. test came into force on April 6, 2013 that is designed to give taxpayers greater certainty as to their residence for tax purposes and therefore, whether or not they are subject to UK income tax and capital gains tax. But the rules are complex and professional advice needs to be taken before the residence status of an individual can be conclusively determined. The first part of the test is an ‘automatic overseas test’. This sets out factors which, if they are met, prove that a taxpayer is conclusively non-resident. If the first test fails, you then consider the automatic residence test, which sets out factors which prove someone is definitely a UK resident. If an individual is neither conclusively resident nor non-resident under these tests, the sufficient ties test applies. This sets out five further factors that must be considered, together with the number of days spent in the UK, in order to determine an individual’s residence. The five connecting ties are:

Family: this includes spouses, civil and common law partners and minor children in the UK.


Accommodation: the individual has available accommodation in the UK. Substantive work in the UK: 40 working days or more. UK presence in the previous two tax years: an individual spends more than 90 days in the UK in either of the previous two tax years.

EXPERT VIEW Emma Glover Partner Rowlands Accountants Tel: (0191) 411 2468 Email:


More days spent in the UK in a tax year than any other single country. The statutory residence test determines an individual's residence status for the whole tax year. However, if part way through a tax year, an individual leaves the UK to live or work abroad or comes from abroad to live and work in the UK, and certain conditions are met, the tax year will be split into two parts. In one part of the tax year the individual will be treated as a UK resident and in the other part the individual will be treated as non-UK resident.


Feel valued at Valued AS Stephen Paul, accountant and director of Valued Accountancy Services, reflects on a successful two years in business.

When and why did you start Valued Accountancy Services?

advising them on how to affect the results rather then preparing accounts.

I started Valued Accountancy in April 2011. I wanted to be able to offer a hands-on service and to charge a reasonable price for the work.

What makes Valued AS different from your competitors?

How has the firm developed over the last two years? When we first started there were two of us based in Consett. Today, we are a nine-person team, with offices in Consett and Newcastle. We look after more than 500 businesses, ranging from one-man bands to £5 millionturnover companies. We have become one of the UK’s leading provider of online accounts, enabling us to access clients’ accounts systems 24/7. We have also developed our website ( as a source of information for business owners.

What services do you offer? We offer our Valued Accountancy clients a range of services – all fixed priced and spread over 12 months. We bundle our services around each client, some taking a pure compliance service of year-end accounts and tax return, while others have us work much more closely with them as an outsourced financial director. Being a Xero Platinum Partner has helped Valued Accountancy to deal with clients across the UK. As the software comes with inbuilt management accounts, it means we can reduce our costs to the clients and spend the time

The main core of the Valued Accountancy brand is that it’s all about the client, putting them first to ensure that they get the best advice when they need it, jargon-free. We talk with our clients, not at them. The “how are you doing?” phone call from the accountant is done weekly for prime clients (more than three meetings a year), monthly for Gold Clients (two meetings per year) and bimonthly for all compliance type clients.

How has Valued AS had to adapt to the economic downturn? Through the use of technology and our handson service we have been able to help our clients weather the economic storm. We limit the number of clients that we will deal with, and put the client first. Regular contact ensures that we provide advice when it’s needed in real time rather than days or weeks later.

How has the industry of accountancy changed in recent years? With the introduction of technology into the market sector, there is the option for smaller business owners to complete most of their accounts and tax returns themselves. We believe the drive for this will continue, which will make the services of a traditional


accountant redundant. Through our personal service, we are now able to offer advice when its needed which in turn helps to affect our clients’ results, taking us from someone who a client sees once a year, to someone who is a real part of their business.

What's been the firm's highlight? I can honestly say that every time a client chooses to work with us is a highlight. We are extremely passionate about our brand and appreciate the hard-earned money that clients decide to spend with us. The other highlight has been winning two national accountancy awards – Fastest Growing UK Partner with and Most Innovative Sole Practitioner Award with the 2020 Group.

And its biggest challenge? We have grown dramatically within two years with over 97 per cent of all of our new work coming from client referrals. The biggest challenge we face is maintaining our personal, hands-on service that we pride ourselves on, even as we expand. To ensure that we don’t lose that unique service, we send a quick survey to a client every time we do some work with them, which asks for feedback on key areas: how easy are we to deal with? How satisfied are you with our service? How can we improve? We don’t want to become a larger firm that loses its focus on the clients. Our clients always come first. For more information contact the Newcastle office on (0191) 261 2711 or the Consett office on (01207) 502145 or visit

EVENT Mark Abbs (Blick Rothenberg) addressing the delegates

Simon McInally (UNW) and Iain Stein (Eutechnyx)

Left to right: Jim Dodds (Newcastle CVS), Richard Painter (J T Dove) and Graham Lyall (Newcastle CVS)

UNW employment tax event The chartered accountants sweetens employment tax with 'pick and mix' event usinesses had their future employment tax obligations sweetened at a recent seminar, thanks to expert advice from business advisers UNW. Offering a mixed bag of UK and overseas tax advice, UNW Employment Taxes partner Lee Muter was on-hand at the free event, which was held at Newcastle University Business School recently, to give an update on the rules for businesses on UK employment taxes. Lee went over the implications of announcements made in the recent Budget and outlined some low risk saving opportunities up for grabs using salary sacrifice. UNW Employment Taxes partner Lee Muter said: “Our tax events tend to be well attended as they remove some of the leg work for businesses. We pull out the key issues and changes that they need to look out for and present them in an easy to understand format.” Muter was joined by fellow speakers HM Revenue & Customs' Phil Nilson, who spoke to delegates about the introduction of Real Time Information, as a means of making PAYE deductions more accurate, and Blick Rothenberg's expatriate tax partner Mark Abbs, who gave the tax low down on employees working abroad.


Ryan Lamb (UNW) and Lorraine Bullock (RM Services)

Carl Moffett (Benfield Motor Group) and David Soan (Northumbria University)

Stephanie Davidson (UNW) and Brenda Fisher (Fine Organics)

Left to right: James Marshall (Sandman Hotel), David Simms (Sandman Hotel) and David Walton (Datatrial)


Left to right: Lee Muter (UNW), Kevin Finlay (Northumbria University) and Christine Iceton (Northumbria University)

David Downing (Sanderson Weatherall) and Sarah Forsythe (Age UK Northumberland)

Left to right: Sue Richardson (UNW), Steve Shell (Pipe Coil Technology) and Claire Mason (Skelton Estates)

Phil Nilson (HMRC RTI Programme) delivering his presentation

Speakers (left to right): Lee Muter (UNW), Phil Nilson (HMRC RTI Programme) and Mark Abbs (Blick Rothenberg)

Delegates listening to the presentation

Delegates networking prior to the presentation


“A lot of our work is joining (colleagues’ work) up, coordinating what they’re each doing, connecting the dots.”



SUCCESS BY DESIGN Macnaughton McGregor is delivering professional training, development, commitment – and results, discovers Daneet Steffens. Audrey Macnaughton forged Macnaughton McGregor as an independent training and development company ten years ago, building it around the most invaluable asset of all – her own positive, dynamic early-career experience. “I was in financial services,” she explains, “and when I first held management positions, the in-house training department worked with me. They were a brilliant team – I still remember the leader, Margaret Hodge, because she had such an impact on me. “They did really responsive business training: they were accessible, trustworthy and they actually thought things through. They took it upon themselves to be progressive, to be a strong team. They appreciated talent when they saw it and they didn’t try to be all things to all people; they worked in partnership with you. It made the company feel like a learning company.” Audrey applied those principles when she moved from an operational manager’s role to head up the corporate training team at the Menzies Group in Edinburgh. A move back to Newcastle led to Macnaughton McGregor, a business venture that applies years of industry experience and knowledge to a diverse range of clients in versatile, effective and relevant ways. “The core of the business,” says Audrey, firmly pointing out that the days of doing training as something to tick off boxes are long gone, “is that the training should always add value to the client and their organisation. It should always have an impact on your business measures.” Macnaughton McGregor’s secret weapon? A multifaceted team of responsive trainers who contribute to, as well as gaining from, their work environment. “I wanted the company to be a trainer hub,” Audrey explains. “There are loads of really good self-employed people out there, but that lifestyle can be quite isolating. I loved being part of a development team at Menzies. This is a viable option for our trainers to be part of a team, to share creative ideas and extend their own professional development while working at a career that they love – it’s a proper symbiotic relationship.” That extended pool of trainers to draw from means that Macnaughton McGregor can focus on what it does best, creating a bespoke training team suited entirely to the clients’ individual needs, a flexible structure that can be adjusted at each stage of a project’s life, so that, as Audrey points out, “it’s flawlessly matched to the client and the contract.” Macnaughton McGregor offers a complete portfolio, from strategy development with senior teams to one-to-one coaching, leadership and management training and drama-based behavioral workshops. Each product,

says Audrey, reflects Macnaughton McGregor’s comprehensive approach: “They are strong, well-thought-out, well-designed products. They work.” Macnaughton McGregor, always interested in development on an organisational level, prides itself on the work it does with clients on an ongoing basis. They might initially start working with a client by doing management training. Then, as the client organisation grows, Macnaughton McGregor might come on board with more top-level development, HR advice and leadership training. “We currently have a long-term client going through a rebrand,” notes Audrey, “We are doing their HR. I chair and facilitate their leadership forum for their executive team and we’re also managing part of their service review work to support their branding project. So we’ve really grown with them.” The type of professional bond that that approach can build is priceless, both for Macnaughton McGregor and their clients: “We’ve got the benefit of being a really close partner,” says Audrey, “but we’re not part of the hierarchy and we’re slightly more objective, so we can add to the business. We aim to stay in partnership with the client: instead of chasing the project, we nurture the client and our relationship with them and stay aware of what they want and what they need – that’s crucial. It’s a long game rather than a single interaction.” That long-term commitment is reflected in the follow-up activity as well. “Of course, I’m always interested in what happens in the training room on the day,” says Audrey, “but I’m much more interested in what happens in the business over the next three months. How are they going to apply what we share with them? We’re always thinking about how they’re going to use the training. We’re very results-focused.” Ultimately, everything that Macnaughton McGregor does has to be steeped in the context of each client’s unique strategy, enabling them to visualize their culture, and then to achieve it. Much of that, says Audrey, is about individual people, about encouraging employees to take ownership of their roles. “There are lots of organisations out there with lots of people in them working really hard at their jobs, but they need to make sure they’re working with their colleagues. A lot of our work is joining them up, coordinating what they’re each doing, connecting the dots. That’s when everybody wins.” Audrey smiles. “We don’t want to be the messenger, we just want to encourage the conversation.” For more information on Macnaughton McGregor, visit



Space Group celebrates North East BIM export Regional business hosts national event for the building information modelling industry.


North East architecture and technology business has delivered a successful national event that attracted over 600 delegates and sponsors. Headed up by _space group’s BIM.Technologies division, this year’s BIM Show Live saw hundreds of delegates attend the event, which was held over two days at Westminster’s Park Plaza. It was following a visit to the annual Autodesk University Conference in Las Vegas that the BIM.Technologies team felt there was an opportunity to bring a similar event to Europe. _space group subsequently developed BIM Show Live in response to the lack of quality events for the UK’s practitioners of BIM – the production of design and production information required for buildings in 3D – as the construction industry continues to move away from traditional 2D drawings.

With attendee figures up by 200 following last year’s event, it has been the biggest and most successful BIM Show Live to date. _space group CEO Rob Charlton

Board changes at Sage


he Sage Group plc has announced the appointment of Jonathan Howell, Neil Berkett and Jo Harlow to its board as non-executive directors. Jonathan has already taken up his position while Neil and Jo will take up their appointments on July 1 and 5 respectively. Jonathan was previously finance director of Close Brothers Group plc, having joined the group from the London Stock Exchange in 200; Neil is shortly to retire as chief executive of Virgin Media Group and is a nonexecutive director of Guardian Media Group; and Jo is currently executive vice president, Smart Devices for Nokia Oy.

MymCart expands


North East digital company that specialises in mobile websites and transactional mobile apps is moving its production centre to larger premises and recruiting more staff. MymCart offers the means for small businesses to create their own mobile websites or transactional mobile apps, at a fraction of the time and price of building a solution from scratch. Mark Kuhillow, managing director of MymCart, said: “It’s fantastic to be in a position to take on four new team members and we are working with the University of Teesside’s graduate recruitment programme to help identify talented individuals with the relevant skill sets.”


(pictured) said: “BIM Show Live is a great example of the North East exporting its skills to London – it’s a hugely successful event which was born in the region and now has a national profile.”

Digital agency helps manufacturer firm


otUK has completed a £14,000 contract with window and door manufacturer H Jarvis, based in Marske. The contract, which was fully managed by the Yarm-based digital agency, included building a client care system for H Jarvis and providing the company with on-going web support. Andy Flisher, founder of DotUK, said: “It’s been a great honour working with H Jarvis and it’s fantastic to add such a reputable company to our portfolio” “We’re very pleased with the work we’ve supplied H Jarvis and hope it greatly benefits its company and clients.”






ealth informatics might not be a term everyone is familiar with, but using data to improve care, save lives and reduce spending on health means that behind the scenes it affects all our lives. Thanks to a partnership between two North East businesses, our region contains an internationally-renowned centre of excellence in the application of evidence-based health informatics. Newcastle-based Clarity Informatics was set up by Ian Purves, a holder of professorships at universities in New Zealand, Canada and Newcastle, a past adviser to the European Commission and the UK Government, and chair of several think tanks and advisory boards. He explains the company’s business in simple terms: “Our team of clinicians, researchers and software specialists collect, analyse and present evidence-based data that is used to benchmark the performance of hospitals and healthcare organisations. “The aim is to identify, share and implement best practice and the end result is to improve people’s quality of life and help healthcare providers get more value from the country’s £95.6 billion health budget.” Adapting to a constantly shifting client base is normal for all businesses, but when your clients are pulled from strands within the whole of NHS England, its local and regional health authorities, individual GPs, nurses and other health practitioners – and you can be fined for every minute of service unavailability – the problems are magnified. Thousands of organisations and individuals use Clarity’s services, and it was one of the first organisations contracted by the NHS to provide a critical health-related service outside of the organisation, making it a trusted name throughout the NHS and the private healthcare sector. The company relies heavily on its ICT solutions partner, ITPS, to provide the infrastructure that underpins delivery of its services to a UK and Middle East client base. Garry Sheriff, managing director of the £15 million Gateshead-based firm ITPS, explains the background to the long standing relationship: “Clarity is a complex business with an innovative approach, and that makes them very rewarding to work with. They were early adopters of a truly collaborative, private cloud-based model and are a prime example of its success. “Sadly, many businesses see ICT specialists as simply system fixers who step in when things go wrong, rather than digital leaders. “Clarity’s solutions are accessed by licensed users via a web portal so secure, resilient ICT is crucial. We created a costeffective virtualised environment that gives them instant scalability, and invested heavily in a 10G ring network sitting across multiple secure data centres to form a multi-peer solution with no single point of failure. “This high capacity communications hub – the fastest in the North East region - gives Clarity essential, always-on large bandwidth connectivity to its worldwide client base – anytime, anywhere and from any device. And all without them having to maintain a huge IT team. “As part of the solution we worked with Strategic Health



Authorities around the UK to develop an N3 connection, essential for companies dealing with the NHS. This serves as a three-way high security link between Clarity, its clients and partners and our ISO27001-certified data centres that together form the backbone of the operation.” ITPS created the solution using elements from its Symmetri brand ‘best of breed’ products and services from trusted vendors, which create a solution that mirrors an infrastructure from operating system and applications, to processes and data. In the event of interruption the entire physical and virtual system is restored, either on the client’s premises or at ITPS’s disaster recovery site, from where the client can continue to run their business. The technology supports Clarity’s innovative approach. For instance its secure platform allows it to run dual versions of its Appraisals Toolkit, used by 25,000 clinicians and support staff. This means when upgrades are due, one system can be taken down, upgraded and swapped over, eliminating the risk of downtime or service failure. “Our research throws up some shocking statistics,” adds Ian. “For instance, one study showed that 7.5 per cent of readmissions were down to drug errors, which led to the creation of a new drugs-based solution for the market. Frequent reorganisations and hospitals working hard to achieve CQIN performance-related payments make the health sector a constantly moving target. Large organisations are dead, it’s the small, agile businesses that will succeed, but to do that they need a flexible ICT infrastructure and a partner that understands their business. Ian continues: “Our position as market leaders is based on constantly developing new products and service lines that keep us ahead of competitors, and our underpinning technology plays a key part in that. For instance, we have developed an app store, giving clients an easy, highly secure way of buying into our services from any device. “Our infrastructure offers us a rapid, scalable development platform and test environment. Our development team can have a new server set up and running in under ten minutes, saving us time and effort and allowing us to act quickly when the market demands. “Working with ITPS has given us a state of the art, powerful and responsive platform that delivers better value at lower cost. As strategic partners they help us to stay ahead by creating solutions that support the current business and can grow with us. For instance, we are currently looking for health-related organisations interested in pilots on predicted modelling and medication review, and we are confident our infrastructure will support that move.” So what does the future hold for this successful partnership?   “Our two organisations are similar in outlook and the desire to keep breaking new ground. With the Middle East customer base set to expand, we are now exploring opportunities in China and India, with a view to taking our world class approach further afield,” adds Garry Sheriff.   For further information on ITPS visit



Mike Bowers


iNTEGRATiON iS KEY How Cellular Solutions can help your business with its tailor-made communications solutions. Effective communication is essential to any business, something Cellular Solutions excels in. The company has been working with North East businesses for more than 20 years, providing advice, guidance and bespoke communications solutions. “My pet hate is ‘one solution fits all’”, says managing director Mike Bowers. “It’s the exact opposite of how we work. There’s such a myriad of products, services and deals when it comes to landline, broadband and mobile communications that the average company is unable to make like-forlike comparisons and the decision that is right for their business.” Cellular Solutions has turned that approach on its head. “We work with the client to really get to know their business and requirements before we suggest any kind of solution,” says Mike. “Our mission is really simple: to assist our clients to effectively communicate with their people, clients and partners, using the best means available, but only if it adds real value to their business.” Cellular Solutions moved to purpose-built offices in Sunderland in 2007 and has grown year-on-year with a current staff of 30, who are focussed on client account management and award-winning customer service. In 2009 the company was also awarded O2 Centre of Excellence status. “O2 are hard task masters,” explains Mike, “they set demanding qualifying criteria focussing on the customer experience and standards of customer service. “Partners who gain accreditation, must continue to meet the programmes’ high standards to maintain the status and are continuously audited.” Cellular Solutions’ client list is a bit of a who’s who in businesses, from the North East down to the Midlands. “We are in a fiercely competitive marketplace,” Mike reveals, “and we realise that not everyone is offering a truly objective service, but we don’t get drawn into price and bidding wars. We are honest and upfront about what we believe is the correct solution


from day one. “We know that the proposal we provide to a potential client will make them more efficient and ultimately save them money in their business. “We are also confident that our account management and levels of customer service the are hard to beat in the industry.” Earlier this year, Cellular Solutions took the brave step of undertaking a rebrand and refresh of its promotional and marketing materials. “We wanted to make some noise in the industry so have deliberately chosen a look and feel that is very different from the norm and is a little bit quirky. “We know this means that existing and potential clients won’t forget us especially after they have been introduced to Cel Sol: the retro-looking robot that introduces the Cellular brand. In fact, if you’re driving south on the A19 take a quick glance to the left, just before the Sunderland slip road, and you’ll see a 20 ft high Cel Sol outside the offices.” The rebrand has been well received from existing and new clients alike and has been important in the latest stage of growth which confirms the true desire to deliver industry-leading, integrated communications. In March, Cellular acquired Bond Solutions, one of the UK’s leading business software resellers with Derek Curtis, former managing director of Bond Solutions joining the Cellular team. Explaining the reasons behind the acquisition, Mike says: “Our existing clients often ask us to recommend software and reliable resellers. We had worked with Bond for many years and so it made sense to join forces and ask them to be part of a bigger business. So far this seems to have been the right decision with both Bond and Cellular clients benefitting from an improved portfolio of services, expertise across the whole range of communication and business services and, of course, the thing Cellular Solutions is most proud of though, is its multi-award winning customer service. For further information on Cellular Solutions, visit


State of the Art What’s new in the world of techology and gadgets.

SAMSUNG GALAXY MEGA amsung’s answer to the iPad Mini is the new Galaxy Mega which offers a mix of popular smartphone and tablet features. The Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) device has a 6.3-inch HD screen with landscape mode while its ultra thin and portable design makes it able to fit in a pocket or hold comfortably in one hand. Other features includes a 1.7GHz Duel Core AP processor and 8 megapixel (rear) and 1.9 megapixel (front) cameras.



SAMSUNG S9 UHD TV amsung has unveiled its massive 85-inch S9 ultra high-definition 4K television. Upscaling technology can up-convert HD or FullHD to UHD-level picture quality while the powerful sound system with a fast quad-core processor ensures the sound is fantastic quality, too. Combine this a design where the TV appears to float within the frame, and it seems that the S9 definitely raises the bar of luxury television design. With an expected cost of £35,000 when it’s released later this year though, it wont come cheap!


DAMSON OYSTER orkshire-based company Damson has launched its latest portable Bluetooth speaker. Measuring just 23x10x12 cm, the Oyster is small enough to fit in your bag yet large enough to handle impressive volume thanks to two front-facing 10W midrange drivers, two side-firing 1.5in tweeters and a rear passive radiator subwoofer. Boasting 12 hours of battery, it is the perfect companion when you’re travelling.


RRP £179.99

HTC ONE TC’s new flagship smartphone, the One, is crafted with a distinct zero-gap aluminum case and is packed with innovative technology. HTC BlinkFeed turns the home screen into a single live stream of social updates, entertainment news and photos so you don’t have to open each application separately. And HTC Zoe gives users the ability to shoot highres photos that come to life in three-second snippets to transform your photo gallery.




OPR launches ‘Ocademy’ The pr agency is to host quarterly events on the latest communication trends.


PR in Newcastle has launched its own Ocademy events to inspire and educate businesses on the changing media landscape. The PR Agency has run its own inhouse training school for the past five years, for its staff and regular university ‘Opprentices’. But after growing demand from clients, the Ocademy is now launching as a quarterly event to bring the latest trends from around the world in communications, and make them relevant to North East businesses and brands. Chief executive at OPR, Kari Owers, said: “We are lucky to work in one of the world’s most exciting and fast-paced industries, yet the changes in the way we communicate in the modern world can be confusing, challenging and even frightening for businesses if they don’t understand what it means to them.

New client for Karol


arol Marketing Group is expanding its portfolio with the addition of a new client, Asolo. The Italian footwear brand is one of the worldwide leaders in producing technical mountaineering shoes. Appointed by the brand’s UK distributor – Scotland-based AMG Group – Karol Marketing will undertake UK focused PR activity for the brand. Rob Birrell, Product and Marketing Manager at AMG Group, said: “We have worked with Karol Marketing Group for over six years now so when it came to appointing PR support for Asolo, Karol was the natural choice, as the team already have established relationships with the specialist outdoor media.”

“The Ocademy will bring some of the insights we learn and the ‘think tank’ attitude we have at OPR to the businesses of this region. The events will hopefully inspire, challenge and motivate them to embrace what’s

Sage Gateshead’s new approach


age Gateshead has unveiled a newlook logo as part of a renewed drive to bring more people to the venue. Dominic Parker, director of communications and development, said: “As we prepare for our tenth birthday in 2014 we felt it right to refresh our logo and inject more colour into the building,” he said. “We have also dropped ‘The’ from our title to make us less formal and brought colour into the logo as well as into our uniforms, signage and other areas of the organisation. We want people to realise that we are a fun and accessible venue that has more to offer than they think and that they don’t need to be ‘in the know’ to come here.”


coming next in communications.” The first Ocademy event will take place in June and will look at, Creating a Social Business Strategy as part of the agency’s Social Summer series of activities.

Agency celebrates award win


arketing communications agency Guerilla has won Drum Marketing Awards’ Global Brand Strategy of the Year. The agency was nominated for its creative strategic work with The Phoenix Group, one of Europe’s largest pharmaceutical wholesalers. Guerilla was nomiated alongside big name brands such as Samsung, BT, Love Film, Mercedes, Danone and the BBC. James Allen, managing director at Guerilla Communications, said: “It is a great feeling to be the only North East agency to come away with an award, especially as we were up against very high profile brands.”


New trains of thought for business


Sarah Hall, managing director of Sarah Hall Consulting Ltd, the PR and marketing consultancy, looks at how reframing your thinking can lead to success.

ith daily pressures it’s no surprise that it can be hard to step back and look at your business with fresh eyes from time to time. Don’t panic though, help is at hand and maybe you’re just not finding the right time in the day to carry out this type of activity. This month I’m using my column to review Tubespiration, a book about the London Underground and how it can help simplify your life and unleash your creativity. As author Andy Green says: “The Tube map is a wonderful example of managing complexity … and your Tube journey a rare chance to practice masterful inactivity and use an imposed pause point in your thinking, allowing you to unleash your creative brilliance.” If you’d prefer to localise it, feel free to swap the word Tube for Metro throughout but take a look – Andy’s point is that you have two daily opportunities to take time out and consider how you can add further value at work or even at home. Andy starts by observing that many of us are becoming more socially engaged, with the side effect that we disengage from the real world and faced with a mobile, tablet or computer screen, expect to constantly be entertained, occupied and informed. All very well, but when does this leave us time to think? Andy posits that commuting time is one of the best opportunities to allow our brains to wander free and be creative - and perhaps we should do this at least once a week. As he puts it: “While you are travelling, you are free … to unleash your imagination, roam unexplored frontiers, or at least create thinking


EXPERT VIEW Sarah Hall Managing director Sarah Hall Consulting Tel: 07702 162704 Email: Web: Twitter: @hallmeister

time for new ideas, new solutions, new ways of doing.” What’s interesting is that Andy encourages you to reframe how you look at challenging situations and opportunities by asking what assumptions you are making, allowing you to unravel the elements that may be holding you back. He also provides a list of further questions designed to give real insight so that you can get to where you want to be ‘faster, cheaper, better and greener’. Critically, he suggests that if the immediate answers seem easy, you’re probably not approaching things right. Becoming tolerant of ‘IdeaPoo’ (ideas that might not seem good on first impression but which should not be dismissed too quickly) is important. Reading the book will show you how Andy has cleverly linked this all with the London Underground and how you can draw upon the various lines and stations to benefit your organisation by approaching it in a different


and more creative way. For example, he suggests one good way of navigating a challenge is by drawing a Tube map of your problem, from the starting point, through the stops and connections you need to make to your destination, looking at how you can simplify things along the way. Andy’s Harry Beck test is also worth applying. Despite the genius of his Tube map design, Harry Beck was rejected at his first attempt. Andy therefore asks his readers how they respond if someone presents them with an idea that is different to how they usually do things. If they ignore them, tell them to go away, feel threatened, add it to the pending list or have limited expectations, there is definitely work to do. According to the author, “listening with a challenging but open mind, ready to change as a result of what you’ve discovered” is really where you need to be. Ultimately Andy’s book is worth a read if you want to grow and become stronger by learning how to respond flexibly to and harness all the unexpected events that life throws at us day by day. It’s bite size, easy to read and a great reminder of taking time out as ‘incubation time’ during your commute, or if you’re me, when you’re out for a run or in the bath. What’s more, one of the side effects is that you’ll know more about the London Underground than you ever thought possible! Tubespiration costs £8.99 and is available from Amazon. For more PR and marketing related news and articles, please visit


The changing face of

marketing Samantha Davidson, managing director of marketing company Horizonworks, explains how the world of marketing is changing. arketing has changed its face over recent years, a major force being the increase in digital and social media driving it to new heights. According to industry data, over 70 per cent of companies in the UK have increased their digital spend this year, with 35 per cent of the overall marketing budget being allocated to it. We have never had so many marketing tools at our disposal. The challenge is to understand what role both new and traditional methods of marketing will play in your marketing strategy and to ensure that they are all integrated to provide a holistic marketing drive. Fundamentally, digital media has transformed the way organisations interact with their customers, providing a fantastic opportunity to build relationships and get inside their minds. Whilst traditional media is mainly one way communication, with digital media, the customer is now part of a two way process and it’s a conversation that happens in real time. Now, the customer is in the driving seat with a mass of opportunities at their fingertips – they are choosing which marketing messages they want to receive – when, where and from whom. In this digitally-connected world, the importance of PR is stronger than ever. Customers are being exposed to hundreds of messages across all media on a daily basis, not just in traditional print, but via a mass of online channels. PR provides a lens through which audiences view all your other marketing tactics and if you’re not managing your reputation effectively online, then other communications have to work harder. The growth of online has also had a significant impact on content marketing, which according to the Direct Marketing Association, equates to


EXPERT VIEW Samantha Davidson Managing director Horzonworks Tel: 08450 755955 Email: Web:

27 per cent of marketing budgets in the UK. Customers expect to see up to date information such as articles and case studies readily available online and disseminated via channels such as emarketing, Twitter and Linkedin. You may think print has diminished because of the influence of online, but printed materials can still make the biggest impression when presented to a client and actually, can convey the personality, quality and positioning of a brand in


effective and creative way. The web is a busy place and it’s easy to be part of all the other electronic fuss. Print still has power. Technology seems to be the focus, however it doesn’t matter how often marketing evolves, some things will not change – the quality of the product or service you are delivering, managing and exceeding your customers expectations and delivering what you say you’ll deliver – your brand promise. Regardless of which tools you use, your brand touches everything you do and say as an organisation. It is the impression that you, your products, your adverts, your website, your tweets, even your staff, leave on others. It delivers a consistent message. Every element, both old and new, should work together to create a positive perception and build a powerful profile. People and relationships are still at the heart of business interactions and successful marketing is still very much about this. New technologies help reach new customers and can give you greater exposure and awareness, but there is still nothing more important than meeting customers, getting to know them and their business and consequently building trust in your brand and extending that relationship into a partnership. Technology has undoubtedly changed the way we connect with our customers on a global level. The challenge is to harness these new tools whilst incorporating traditional media – a big move in the world of marketing. Despite the increase in digital marketing spend, it is quite clear that more companies are investing in cross-channel marketing, and this is set to grow. This demonstrates the increasing importance, that despite the boom in digital, the importance is still very much on integrated marketing – a mix of the old and new.


Get the look Fashion and accessories for men. By Jessica Laing.

Haloze Global check blazer, £625, Ted Baker

J by Jasper Conrad briefcase, £150, Debenhams

Navy suit trousers, £23, F&F

Gents Waterproof Les Originales Gold Plated Case watch, £259, Rotary

ou spend most of your working week in office attire, so show you mean business and dress for success. Work wear doesn’t have to be boring, so liven up your look with a mix of tartan, paisley and polka-dot prints and splash of navy for a modern twist on the classic suit. For extra comfort, opt for lighter and softer fabrics when choosing a blazer and, to tie your look together, why try your hand at a variety of vintage accessories? Brave braces and a briefcase to add old school charm to your outfit that is guaranteed to stand out in the boardroom.

Y Paisley tie, £55, Jaeger

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Rail manufacturing facility on track Planning is submitted for a major rail plant in the region, designed by Ryder Architecture.


43,000sqm, Country Durhambased Hitachi rail plant, has taken another step forward after -submission to planners for reserved matters, following detailed design sign off. Last July, Hitachi Rail Europe, a subsidiary of Hitachi, confirmed it would construct a UK factory after it secured an order from the Department for Transport to build the next generation of high speed trains for the Intercity Express Programme (IEP). The plant is due to be operational in 2015 with a start on site date anticipated for the end of this year. Ryder Architecture has designed the manufacturing facility and proposed European base for Hitachi Rail Europe, which will also include rail test facilities. The Hitachi train manufacturing facility is the first part of a bigger jigsaw that is set to attract further businesses to the adjacent sites on Merchant Place Developments’ Amazon Park in Newton Aycliffe, County

Durham, creating a international manufacturing hub. Ryder partner, Tim Jeffery, said “This is a major milestone for a significant national and international project. The facility will

Double joy for North East surveyor

Housing scheme goes for planning


lans for a 472 new-home regeneration project on sites in Saltwell and Bensham, Deckham and Birtley in Gateshead have been submitted to Gateshead Council. The proposals by Gateshead Regeneration Partnership (GRP) are part of a 2400 home, £350m scheme that aims to transform housing provision across the borough and breathe new life into local communities. GRP is an award-winning partnership comprising Gateshead Council, housing provider, Home Group and FTSE 250 homebuilding and construction group, Galliford Try. The collaboration aims to address a shortage of affordable housing and limited available public funding.

provide a high quality working environment with flexibility to adapt to future requirements. The design includes excellent environmental responsiveness and extended building life.”


Newcastle-based surveyor is celebrating after achieving chartered status and winning a Young Achiever of the Year award in the same day. JK Property Consultant’s Thomas Conneely, Thomas, who chairs the region’s RICS matrics group, passed his Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), then went onto to win the Young Achiever award from Construction Excellence North East, after being nominated by Northumbria University for his ongoing commitment to charity and community work in the region. The RICS matrics provides a vital local link between student, trainee and full members of RICS. As regional winner, Thomas will now go on to compete in a Construction Excellence national final later in the year.


Retail units at Teal Farm


entoo Group is in the process of constructing four brand new retail units at Teal Farm in Washington. As part of a contract with specialists in environmental regeneration, Hellens Group, work began on the former industrial site in January as part of a major mixed-use regeneration project. Hellens Group chief executive, Gavin Cordwell-Smith, said: “Our mixed-use development at Teal Farm is one of the largest private sector led regeneration projects in the North East. The retail centre at Teal Farm Village will complement our development of over 500 new homes and 5000 sq m of offices and industrial units at an already popular location within Washington.”


Philip Barnes, planning and economics adviser

Kevan Carrick,

Mark Thompson,

principal of JK Property Consultants (chair)

managing partner, Ryder Architecture

Edward Twiddy,

Adam Serfontein,

chief executive, North East LEP

managing director, The Hanro Group

Fergus Trim, director, Quorum Business Park



Kevan Carrick:

Adam: This is all positive and the key word is collaboration. Whether

Let’s contextualise today’s discussion. The economic recession has had a significant impact on the property sector. Demand has reduced, finance is limited and confidence has been shaken. The UK’s policy has also changed with UK Trade & Industry [UKTI] being charged with attracting inward investors and the devolution of greater power to a local level to deliver economic growth. We’ll come onto to each of these but to start, how is the property market for you today?

the new LA7 agreement is substantial or the bodies are doing something they are being forced into is yet to be seen.

Fergus: I am keen to see whether LA7 will show sufficient ambition regarding inward investment.


They need to address planning alongside transport and environment agency issues. As yet there is not a clear match between the Adonis Report and the LA7 papers. This is critical. We also need to know how the North East LEP plans to work with LA7.

Mark Thompson: The market is improving. There’s a noticeable change with more enquiries coming through since February for design and feasibility work and we’re 10 per cent up on last year. There’s not much starting on site in the commercial sector however, unlike larger projects we’re involved with in Glasgow and Liverpool.

Edward Twiddy: The LEP is working with LA7 on a combined piece of marketing and inward investment. How soon it will materialise, I don’t yet know. There is no lack of pace, it is just competing for space on agendas and the radar of senior bodies as we make progress on many fronts. In creating a combined authority the core things that are statutory and inescapable for the local authorities are transport and skills so these are always top of the list, but a joint working group has been established on inward investment and functional relationships are very strong.

Philip Barnes: The housing market is strong. Housebuilders are looking to invest. There is a real opportunity for the region to link that investment appetite to the provision of infrastructure for new jobcreating economic development. Adam Serfontein:

Occupational demand in the city centre remains fragile but it’s not getting worse and I think it’s time to accept this and for developers to move forward with any plans they have on hold. A significant positive is that we don’t have the large overhang of stock in any sector found in other major cities and this will enable us to recover quickly.

Philip: I have never been so optimistic in terms of the collaboration taking place. However what’s needed is the input of the private sector to agree the precise remit of the combined authority in terms of strategic planning, inward investment and housing. If these three elements are integrated and involve us all we have a better opportunity of making investment decisions with a wider benefit.

Fergus Trim: In terms of the out-of-town market, we are seeing more signs of activity. At Quorum we secured a large investment at the start of 2013 and take-up in this first quarter has been greater than the whole of 2012.

Adam: The seven local authorities must agree protocol regarding working in partnership and how individual investment opportunities are then passed around – until then we’re not on the radar as a region and their considerable individual efforts are substantially diluted. This is vital for success.

Kevan: JK Property Consultants has had a similar experience. We have had more office enquiries in this last week than for the first quarter. A step forward and cause for optimism. One of the good things to come out of the downturn has been better collaboration between developers and the public and private sectors. We now have the Developing Consensus initiative, G9 (eleven of the chartered surveying firms working together) and the new LA7 proposals that would see the seven local authorities come together around a shared vision for economic growth. What are your thoughts on this?

Fergus: I agree. Competing local messages work against us. One strong voice is the way to be heard nationally. Time is a big issue, we are seeing an increase in inward investment activity. We need to shout now because, while this is all happening, we risk missing out on opportunities.



My viewpoint is that there should be a shadow board that is delivering while agreement on the collaborative framework is being sought.

Ed: I’m glad to say a property database is in development. An ITQ has

Mark, Adam, Fergus and Philip agree.


Kevan: This is all useful insight. To close, what would you like to see happen here in the North East in an ideal world with an improved economy and more money?

Mark: Ultimately demand is what’s going to stimulate the market. In

Mark: In terms of infrastructure we need flights to the US and to have faster trains to London.

been drawn up and has gone to the market so we are moving forward on this point.

So other than a shadow board are there other issues that should be addressed?

planning there are examples of where the local authority has tried to impose its own thoughts about what’s viable rather than respond to private sector appetite. This needs to stop to build trust with investors. What’s more, we need to be bolder and have greater vision. Rather than spreading ourselves too thin, we should pick a few flagship sites to make a lasting difference in the region.

Fergus: A conference and convention centre to bring more influencers and decision makers to Newcastle.


All the local authorities should contribute towards this too because it would bring a regional benefit.

Adam: The local authorities need to be prescriptive in massing and

Philip: A greater appetite for compulsory purchase orders. Team Valley

scale and less prescriptive on use. The market must dictate what’s needed.

should be extended as our most successful economic development so far and I would like to see the region take advantage of shale gas extraction as this holds massive opportunity.

Fergus: We also need to push through schemes that are ready to go.

Adam: We shouldn’t forget about broadband and connectivity. I’d like

Ed: Exactly what the LEP is here to make happen, and we have sites in progress right now.

to see investment into this. It’s embarrassing that it is easier to connect faster in Jesmond and Gosforth than in the business districts.

Philip: As a planner and economist I look further forward than the

Ed: I’d like to see the brand that will take this region forward developed

next few months and I see the Adonis Report as the most important step forward for the region since the Hailsham Plan of 1963. However there are critical differences. Hailsham had a very clear spatial strategy and made big decisions like building towns at Peterlee and Washington delivered by the private sector. I hope the Adonis Review leads to similar big thinking that can transform the region for the next 50 years.

and agreed. We need to create a framework that people respect and have bought into. A strong brand is critical in any sales process and we need something powerful for this region.

Kevan: Thanks very much to everyone’s input today. It has been a

Kevan: This feeds into ongoing discussions about making greenfield

fascinating debate and while we have a lot to achieve, it is clear we have already taken some significant steps forward. Let’s hope this continues based around collaboration and with critical support from all concerned.

sites available for development and the need for clarity and communication around what stock there is within the region. Does everyone agree this is a necessity if we are to attract inward and indigenous investment?

Thanks goes to Sarah Hall ( and Ramada Encore Newcastle-Gateshead (


Photo credit: Dan Aziz


A week in the life

Zeno Rea, associate director at Heaton Property Ltd. Monday I hit the alarm clock, get up, shower and go down to breakfast. Check the news on my iPad while four-year-old, Laila, is getting ready for nursery. Then I’m off to our office in Heaton. I work 10am-6pm so I get to do the school run and miss the rush hour. Monday morning is always team meeting time. Our estate managers, Nichaela and Lauren, plan their week of meeting tenants and ensuring new properties are ready for them to occupy. Our maintenance crew also updates us on progress and Damiano, our managing director, makes sure all the threads pull together. We finish off with my quality circle meeting. I have always been fascinated with Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning ‘improvement’. Kaizen means that we can continuously improve our processes so everybody from our MD to our newest recruit has to suggest one thing that we can do better. The day everyone says there is nothing we can improve, I will be worried. There is always something.

which will allow tenants to access our property list on their iPhone or Android. The app must sync with our existing software and web portals so that property details are up to date in real time. It is a complex project but so far everybody is enjoying the challenge. Usually lunch is a salad box at my desk unless I have had time to prepare Sushi. Between my love of Sushi and Kaizen, I sometimes think I am turning Japanese!

Wednesday A landlord who wants us to convert a house with five student bedsits into a five-bedroom home. I suggest our ProShare Plus scheme where we arrange for five young professionals to take on the tenancy. They get a single monthly bill which covers the rent, utilities, Council Tax, internet and a cleaner. The tenants initially get to know each other through Facebook. By the time they move in they are fast becoming friends. This means a happier tenancy and no arguments over bills. Both tenants and landlords seem to love the scheme.



Meeting with Lauren, our digital communications lead, and our web development team. We are developing an app

Site meeting with Damiano who founded the firm in 2005, to look at a double-fronted Victorian terraced house which is classed as a


‘distressed property’. Since it needs a complete refurbishment, we are meeting the interior designer and our project manager on site. I have a degree in Design for Industry and it is a discipline that can be applied to the refurbishment of a house. We all get a kick out of seeing a shabby house transformed into a warm, modern home.

Friday It’s everybody’s favorite day because the office is buzzing and the weekend is looming. I reserve part of Friday for research. The industrial design community is pretty open, swapping ideas, experiences and concepts. Fridays seems to be the day when this happens. Science and technology are constantly improving the way we build and constantly improving the lives of our tenants, so this is a vital part of my week. At 6pm we hand over to the out-of-hours team who ensure a 24/7 service for our landlords and tenants, then I head off home. We might go out to eat otherwise we have a family meal at home. Then it’s a quiet evening with my partner watching television, reading a book or sharing a bottle of wine. That alarm clock can have a rest until Monday. For more information visit


A word from Hannah Hannah Lamb of Charles Lamb Residential Lettings reflects on the highs and lows of the last 12 months.


s I look back over the last 12 months, it seems hard to believe the roller-coaster journey my life has taken in such a short space of

time. On May 11, 2012 my father Charles left his desk to take two weeks annual leave to look after my mother, Lois, after just having gone through major surgery herself, unbeknown to us, never to return to full-time work. Within two weeks, my family and professional life changed dramatically with the diagnosis that my father had two blood cancers and was a very ill man. With my mother still on crutches and my sister selfemployed, it was down to me to run the family business and drive my mother to-andfrom the Freeman hospital on a daily basis. The hardest part was the fact that I had to walk into work every day and be faced with questions from concerned friends and clients about my father’s health and get on with not only my day job, but fill in the huge gaps left by my mum and dad. The next nine months brought many ups

and downs. I questioned my own ability and strength. Can I do this? Do I want to do this? Was I doing this for my parents or was I doing this for me? At times, I really felt that I was not coping, especially when you are dealing with people that are complaining about cleaning charges and broken toilet seats etc., all you wanted to


do was scream at them, “My dad’s got stagefour cancer, I don’t care!” A year on and it’s hard to believe how far I have come. I have received amazing support from friends and family, colleagues, contractors and clients. I truly appreciate the understanding and patience that everyone has shown me while I adjust to my new role. This has given me the opportunity to take Charles Lamb Residential Lettings Ltd and build on the foundations created by my parents. On March 20, 2013, Charles was given the all-clear from the doctors and is officially in remission, however since receiving this amazing news, he has subsequently been diagnosed with a malignant melanoma and we are awaiting further tests. So, as I look forward to my first full financial year in charge, keep an eye out for changes, exciting new services and building on what is already a trusted and well-known name in North East property management. Contact Charles Lamb Residential Lettings on (0191) 281 6200.


Let it ‘Wright’ Kerrie Dixon, office manager at Wright Residential on broadening your horizons when finding your perfect property. o, you’ve decided you want a new property to rent, how much you can afford to pay each month, and the area you want to live in – or have you? On a daily basis, we see people visiting our office and finding properties in an area they had never thought about. Here at Wright Residential, we always offer any potential tenants a range of properties that suit their needs, as well as showing them that by looking a little further afield, you can not only save money, but often find nicer properties for the price. Within a five-mile radius of Newcastle city centre, there are numerous beautiful areas with an array of fantastic properties that our landlords have decorated so elegantly. Heaton, Sandyford, Jesmond, Walkergate, Byker and Wallsend are just some of the places that we currently have properties in, and nine times out of ten, our tenants are more impressed with the quality of the homes and flats available in these areas – especially as they are usually under their budget. If you choose just one area you wish to live


in, for example Walkergate, you are limiting yourself to only the properties in that one place, meaning it could take months to find somewhere you like. This can be very frustrating, especially if your lease with your current landlord is about to, or has, expired. By looking around the corner, Byker in this


case, you never know what you will find. In all of the areas surrounding Newcastle, there is usually a convenient bus or Metro link which will take you directly in to the city centre generally within ten minutes or less. This is handy for business and leisure, meaning you won’t get stuck in any city centre congestion, saving you not only time, but wellearned money too. I find that most of our tenants are amazed at the quality of our properties within different areas, which is why I thought it relevant to express to you all about searching in places you hadn’t initially considered, but would in fact be ideal for what you are looking for. If you are struggling to find that dream home, please get in touch with me directly and I will be more than willing to help. I’m sure we can accommodate you. Email Kerrie on For further information on Wright Residential visit or call (0191) 240 1818.

PROPERTY Chris Jude and Jonathan Mason of Building Surveyors Ltd

Dilapidations explained How Building Surveyors Ltd can help when a rented property is left in a state of disrepair. ilapidations are a minefield and can often lead to unnecessary costs being paid in damages by the tenant or the landlord being left out of pocket with a property in disrepair at the end of a lease. It is therefore essential that these matters are dealt with by experienced practitioners to ensure dilapidations are handled fairly and diligently.   In commercial property, dilapidations principally concern the tenant’s failure to observe certain express and implied obligations within the lease, thereby committing a breach of covenant. In general terms, this falls in to four main categories: repair, decoration, reinstatement and statutory compliance. The Yield Up clause is also key to reiterating the requirements imposed upon the tenant elsewhere in the lease, as well as outlining further conditions to ensure the premises are handed back to the landlord with vacant possession, and in a properly repaired, decorated, reinstated and a cleansed state compliant with current regulations. Most landlords and tenants of commercial property will, at some point, come across a schedule of dilapidations. This may either be an interim schedule (during the term), terminal schedule (within the last three months of the term) or a final schedule (following lease expiry); there are legal parameters which define the content, correct method of service and timing of each. Building Surveyors Ltd act for landlords in the


preparation of interim, terminal and final schedules of dilapidations for formal service upon the tenant. In some situations the company will act for head tenants in a similar capacity if the obligation can be legally passed down to a subtenant.   Schedules are accurately prepared  by the company’s team of chartered surveyors following a detailed inspection of the premises and adhere to the civil procedure rules and pre-action protocol for claims for damages in relation to the physical state of commercial property at the termination of a tenancy. The Dilapidations Protocol is a document published by the Ministry of Justice which sets out the courts’ expectations of the landlord and tenant when it comes to lease-end dilapidations. Equally, Building Surveyors Ltd represent tenants in the event that a schedule of dilapidations has been served upon them to negotiate a fair claim. All budget costs are the subject of verification through recognised cost indices and, where appropriate, subjected to a competitive tender to ascertain the true market rate for the claimed works.  This process obviates the potential for inflated or unsubstantiated surveyors costs, which may otherwise exacerbate a dispute between the parties. Even if the landlord does not issue a Schedule of Dilapidations a tenant will still have potential


dilapidations obligations and a chartered building surveyor can give advice as to the scope and potential cost of the obligations. Schedule of Condition details the condition of a property at the commencement of a lease Before a lease is signed, either party may request the inclusion of a Schedule of Condition to identify the condition of the premises at the date of lease commencement. A properly prepared, authorised and engrossed Schedule of Condition will serve as documentary evidence as to the pre-existence of any disrepair should a dispute later arise at lease expiry. Building Surveyors Limited prepares detailed and accurate Schedules of Condition either on a purely photographic or photographic and written basis to avoid dispute over responsibility for disrepair further down the line. Building Surveyors Ltd was established in 2003 by local Chartered Building Surveyors. In addition to Dilapidation the company provides a comprehensive range of building surveying services for both residential and commercial clients. These include: Party wall matters, Project Management, Building Condition and Defect Diagnostic Surveys, new-build and refurbishment design and CDM-C. For free property related advice or a no obligation quotation call (0191) 267 9108 or visit, Twitter @BuildingsLtd


Branching out Established in 2001 by Adam Kane, Easilet has become one of the leading property experts in Newcastle city centre, Jesmond and surrounding areas.

orking closely with landlords and with an extensive and enviable portfolio of properties, Easilet is committed to sourcing only the best accommodation for a large range of consumers, from first-year students searching for a place to live to large corporations needing professional property advice and services, at affordable prices. Easilet also finds properties for companies wishing to relocate their employees to the region and for families looking for lettings close to good schools and local amenities. To ease the stresses of looking for properties, Easilet is proud to offer unique, boutique-style offices that ooze comfort and stylish interior design and create a calm and peaceful atmosphere for clients. During a property search, Easilet’s fully integrated software system will search through a list of available properties based on your specific needs and budget, and find the best suitable accommodation. Using the UK’s leading web portals, social networks and online directories, Easilet uploads new properties on a daily basis.


Adam and Carly Kane

Easilet is committed to providing honest advice at all times and if they can’t find the right property for you, they will work with other local agencies to ensure they find what you are searching for. What’s more, because Easilet has such faith in its ability to find the right property for the right tenant, it also employs a ‘no rent, no fee’ system, which, put


simply, means that if it doesn’t let your property, you don’t part with a single penny. Recently, Easilet has opened a brand new city centre branch in Newcastle. Thanks to its central location – only a stone’s throw away from St James’ Park – the new office provides a great base for the business to let its expanding list of city centre properties. Additionally, Easilet is also already in the process of buying out another agency and has won two tenders to manage residential blocks in the city centre. The business also plans to expand the brand’s property portfolio. Whether you’re looking for a house to rent or an apartment to let, Easilet’s wide-ranging portfolio, brimming with desirable properties, partnered with its trusted and professional relationships with landlords means that you and your money are in the best possible hands. Easilet’s Jesmond branch is located at 257 Jesmond Road, Newcastle, NE2 1LB. Tel: (0191) 281 4577. City Centre branch is located at 4a Leazes Park Road, Newcastle, NE1 4PF. Tel: (0191) 261 2230. For more information, visit

L E I S U R E & H O S P I TA L I T Y N E W S

Expanding operations


orth East leisure firm, Cairn Hotel Group, is expanding its Scottish operations with the purchase of a new hotel. The Newcastle-based firm has bought the freehold of the Queensferry Hotel, Fife, which was previously in administration, and will operate it directly. Cairn Hotel Group, which already operates hotels in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, now plans to invest around £3 million in refurbishing and rebranding the 77-bedroom property over the next 12 months. Previous rebranding projects carried out by the Cairn Hotel Group have more than doubled the workforce at Hotel Indigo Kensington Earls Court, London, the Holiday Inn Newcastle Jesmond Hotel, Newcastle, the Doubletree by Hilton Newcastle Airport and the Holiday Inn Darlington A1 Scotch

Corner hotel, County Durham. The firm’s existing directors hope that the three-star Queensferry hotel achieves similar success. Aran Handa, director at the Cairn Hotel Group, said: “The Cairn Hotel Group has a proven track record of rescuing and

restoring struggling properties like the Queensferry hotel. We are now looking forward to not only returning the property to its former glory, but introducing the high levels of customer service and staff satisfaction which operate in all our hotels across the UK.”

Birthday celebrations

Father’s Day lunch

Chef of the year


taff, guests and local business people gathered at a special party at the Ramada Encore Newcastle Gateshead on April 25 to celebrate the Tyneside hotel’s first birthday. Among the party guests at the 200-bedroom hotel were some of the region’s food producers, whose products are at the heart of the recently unveiled menu in The Hub, the hotel’s signature bar and lounge space. The hotel has welcomed more than 50,000 people since it opened its doors a year ago, with around 350 local, national and international companies regularly making use of its conference and event facilities, as well as its accommodation.


odexo Prestige, which runs the conference and banqueting facilities at St James’ Park, is offering a celebratory Father’s Day lunch on June 16 for footballfanatics and their families. Diners can either opt for a three-course meal prepared by Sodexo’s team of awardwinning chefs, with a gift for dad and a behind-the-scenes tour of the iconic stadium, or opt for a soup starter followed by a choice of traditional roasts from the carvery. The Father’s Day lunch costs £17.95 per person, with children under 12 dining for half price, while the carvery costs £9.85 per person, £5.95 for children and is free for children aged under five.



abor Pustzai, from the Duke of Wellington gastropub, near Corbridge, has won the prestigious NECTA North East Chef of the Year award 2013. Fine Dining and Restaurant Guides publisher, Relish Publications, sponsored this year’s North East Culinary & Trade Association’s two-day Salon Culinaire on May 8 and May 9.The event featured colleges from across the region competing to demonstrate the significant and diverse range of skills needed to work in a professional kitchen.The NECTA event, held at Newcastle Civic Centre, is now an established part of the North East culinary sector and is well respected by the region’s colleges and fine dining establishments.


The view from Hotel Indigo Adam Munday is the general manager of Hotel Indigo and acclaimed Marco Pierre White Steakhouse in Newcastle. Check out his monthly column on the insider view of the life and times of a busy city centre hotel ... onth two of my column and being totally honest, I am tucking into a large piece of cake and a glass of champagne that is balanced between my papers, iPad and the usual paraphernalia found piled high on my desk. It’s almost a year since we opened Hotel Indigo and the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse – and we’re planning a party. Back then, my days as the general manager were spent poring over architectural drawings and marketing plans, trying to visualise in my head just exactly what and who I would be managing. You could say we were mixing a great big multi-layered cake, trying to work all the ingredients out – it was challenging and exciting. We practically lived in the Assembly Rooms (located next door to the hotel), while the building work was going on, and in the process forged a great relationship with Antony Michaelides. Antony now works in partnership with the hotel, hosting weddings and events. It was the first of many partnerships across the city that we looked to broker, to make sure anyone who stays or dines with us enjoys not just our hospitality, but also our ‘neighbourhood’ as we fondly call the city (we all know it’s a village really).


Located close to the O2 Academy it seems we are starting to become a bit of a celebrity haunt too, which has been a great development. So next time you are in town, call in for coffee and keep your eyes peeled. Gentle giant Frank Bruno pitched up this month, and demonstrated a few moves on me in reception; what a genuinely great man. And, well of course there are always the celebs who I can’t reveal. It wouldn’t really be right if I didn’t mention


my team in this special birthday column, guys if you are reading this, I am so very proud of your work this year. To be sitting here as one of the leading hotels in this great city after only a year is something you should all be very proud of. So to all the crew who pull a hotel and restaurant together of this nature together, thank you. Somehow we seem to be able to have fun and get the work done. It’s a balancing act, but the feedback we get has been outstanding and yes, the drinks are on me guys! A big thank you to Newcastle, the city, as well. So welcoming and friendly, you have helped me to settle into life in the North East, supporting the hotel and the Marco Pierre White restaurant, but most of all for making this part of the world so special to me. So the next time you find yourself in the city, skip your usual parking spot and head to the Hotel Indigo car park and call in for a coffee and a chat. You never know who you may bump into … Adam. PS: As we go to print I have just been told that we have won the Trip Advisor 2013 Certificate of Excellent for Hotel Indigo! It’s going to be a good month.


In the boss’s chair

Grant McKenzie, GM at Slaley Hall Briefly what has been your career to date? I started in hospitality at the Devonshire arms hotel in Bolton Abbey before moving to the then newly opened Thorpe Park hotel and spa outside Leeds. Keen to work in London, I joined the Four Seasons in Canary Wharf where I gained valuable experience. Next stop was Malmaison Manchester in 2004 before moving to Malmaison Newcastle to become deputy general manager in 2006. I became general manager of Malmaison Leeds from 2008 to 2011 and Malmaison Manchester until February, 2013 when I was delighted to take over Slaley Hall.

What attracted you to the role at Slaley Hall? The main factors for joining Slaley were to relocate my family back to the North East and the opportunity to run such an iconic resort. There are so many different elements in running hotels and until now, I’ve not worked in a resort with such a strong golf and leisure segment.

What do you hope to achieve at the hotel? I want to maintain and build on the great services Slaley Hall provides and to continue to deliver amazing hospitality to our guests. I want to communicate and work closely with the local community and surrounding areas so

that the hotel is not only an international destination, but a local hub for golf, leisure, beauty and food and drink.

requirements. And of course, an open and hospitable personality. Our business is based on personality

What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

How has hospitality changed since you began in the industry?

The weather! Having only been here for three months, I’ve seen enough snow to close the golf course for five weeks. The biggest challenge is adapting to the seasonality and encouraging the leisure market to Northumberland in the winter months. Resort management requires a much longer-term view to the business than operating in the big cities, our main business is leisure, golf, conference and event and weddings, all which have very long booking lead times so we need to plan and make decisions far in advance.

I truly believe that hospitality is much more widely recognised as a great career choice than it was 15 years ago. Connections with schools, colleges and universities are stronger than ever before. The industry as a whole has also had to become much smarter since the economic downturn, delivering a greater experience than ever before.

What skills and attributes do you need to run a hotel? Patience to manage guests’ expectations and staff development and progress. Also a sharp eye for the small detail. The devil really is in the detail which is what I try and instill in the entire team I work with. What I really enjoy in my role is that at one point I’m strategically looking at the business over the next five years and in the same hour I’m checking to ensure the apples on the breakfast buffet are polished! An adaptive management style is key to running a hotel, communicating with the various department managers and directors who all have very different and specific


What are the future plans for Slaley Hall? The resort has recently had a great deal of investment in the hotel and two golf renowned golf courses, we have also just launched our new bedroom product, Chambre Unique, which is really exciting and adds a new dimension for our guests. The Chambre Unique rooms have Starbucks coffee machines, Newby’s of London tea sets, smart internet televisions, ESPA toiletries, luxury linen, and Bluetooth Bose music systems. This year, I’ll be continuing to develop and maintain a great team we have at the hotel and ensure we are constantly exceeding our guests’ expectations. For further information on Slaley Hall, visit


Business lunch

Six Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays.

ocated on the sixth floor of the iconic Baltic art gallery, the amply named Six Restaurant has an impressive USP: namely, breathtaking panoramic views across Newcastle and Gateshead. The interior of the restaurant is minimal with a monochrome colour scheme, not drawing focus from the exceptional views from the floor-to-ceiling glazing everywhere you look. The various buildings that make up the region’s most cosmopolitan area stretch out in front of you – from ultra-modern office buildings and luxury apartments to Newcastle’s historic Castle Keep. But what my three colleagues and I really wanted to find out when we visited Six one bright and sunny day last month, was whether the food matched the impressive location. Converging from various business meetings, the four of us congregated in Six’s


staging area which offers comfy black leather chesterfield sofas and unspoiled views of the Tyne Bridge. We were then seated at our table where we could fully appreciate the cityscape views, which momentarily distracted us from our talk of June’s redesign issue. Our starters, all chosen from the á la carte menu (a daily specials menu is also available with two-courses for £16 and three-courses for £18.50) arrived in a timely fashion and were well presented. The duck egg, deep-fried in bread crumbs, that topped my salad of spring vegetables and herbs was a highlight. Only the twice-baked Welsh rarebit soufflé which sat in a puddle of cream proved too heavy and stodgy for my colleague. For our mains, two of my party were attracted by the 28-day aged Wallington Hall Estate beef. 


They both chose ribeye steaks which were cooked to their liking and full of flavour, as were the accompanying hand-cut chips that we all sampled! My chunky fillet of hake was also beautifully cooked and the jet black squid ink and chorizo risotto it sat on was a treat for the eyes as well as the tastebuds. Our ample first two courses meant we skipped dessert and concluded our meals with a variety of coffees. Reluctantly, we left Six to make our way back to the office. Does the food at Six match its lofty location? The answer is probably, no. The food is definitely high quality and inventive but it’ll be the views that stay with you long after you leave. For bookings call (0191) 440 4948, email: or visit

Salad of spring vegetables and herbs, sorrel emulsion, crispy duck egg and lemon oil


Terrine of corn-fed chicken, ham and duck breast with pickled radishes

£7.95 Succulent and full of flavour.

This delicate seasonal salad, including radish, spring onion and broad beans, was light and refreshing. The highlight was the perfectly cooked duck egg.

Twice-baked Welsh rarebit soufflé with slow roasted tomatoes

£7.95 Its size and creamy sauce proved a little too stodgy.

28-day aged Wallington Hall Estate 10z ribeye steak with peppercorn sauce, hand-cut chips, watercress and provencal tomato

£22.95 (sauce £1.95)

Seared king scallops, cauliflower, golden raisins, caper tempura and mustard frills

£11.95 Well-cooked scallops and an inventive flavour combination; worth the extra pennies.

Roast hake, squid ink and chorizo risotto, black olive, espelette pepper and salsa verde

28-day aged Wallington Hall Estate 10z ribeye steak with red wine jus, hand-cut chips, watercress and provencal tomato


£22.95 (sauce £1.95)

The most adventurous dish of the meal was a treat for the eyes and the tastebuds.

Well-cooked and tasty beef with accompaniments to match.

Rump of Ingram Valley lamb, foraged mushrooms, local wild garlic and red wine sauce


£16.95 Tender lamb and rich, earthly flavours.

No complaints and much enjoyed.


From £2.45 Passing on dessert, it was coffees all round.


Amore attractive menu Sample new dishes at the Sunderland eatery. ince opening its doors in December 2006, Amore City Centre restaurant has continued to delight diners with their unique and innovative take on traditional Italian cuisine. Serving up favourites such as freshly prepared stone baked pizzas and sumptuous pasta dishes, has earned Amore the reputation as one of Sunderland’s finest eateries. Following its recent renovation, Amore City Centre has introduced a meticulously crafted, fusion menu incorporating exciting new flavours, dishes and influences from across the Mediterranean. Sumptuous new dishes such as the incredibly popular Pollo Asiana; butterflied chicken breast supreme marinated in Asian spices served with a refreshing salad of tomato, cucumber and spring onion; tossed in a garlic, lime, chilli and fish sauce. For the more carnivorous diner, the fillet teriyaki is the perfect dish to satisfy any craving. A carefully selected, farm-assured quality, prime British beef steak will be cooked to your liking, fused in soy sauce, mirin and a touch of honey and accompanied by a grilled tomato, sautéed mushrooms and homemade chips. What more could you want? In a bid to assist its diners to indulge in the

beef spezzatino, a traditional Italian stew. Filled with aromatic herbs, spices and tender pieces of prime beef, the dish is simply to die for. Diners can also treat themselves to one of Amore’s signature desserts, all for just £10 per person. Each Tuesday and Wednesday night, Amore City Centre offers two courses from the extensive menu including fusion dishes such as; chorizo and calamari paella, diced chicken breast served with stir-fried fresh vegetables in a spiced Asian sauce, and a selection of pizzas and pastas, plus a glass of house wine for just £10 per person. As well as the introduction of the flavourful menu and offers, an opulent new lounge area has been created to comfortably house diners while waiting for a table, providing a plush haven to relax in once you finish your meal.


scrumptious new dishes, Amore has also introduced a range of special offers, deals and discounts. With their superb happy hour running from 5pm to 7pm, Tuesday to Fridays, and 12pm to 2pm every Saturday, it is easier to enjoy more, while spending less. Launching on June 2 is Amore City Centre’s new gourmet menu, available only on Sunday evenings. Traditional Italian dishes such as bruschetta and lasagna will be offered alongside the finest quality main course dishes including

To sample the brand new menu, and to view the restaurant’s transformation for yourself, Amore City Centre can be found at 11 Tavistock Place, Sunderland, SR1 1PB. To book a table call (0191) 565 00 77. Alternatively, visit For regular updates, competitions and promotions find Amore Sunderland on Facebook or follow @AmoreSunderland on Twitter.

Civic ceremonies You’ve been planning the big day for years, you’ve got the dress, the shoes and you’ve even picked the venue but what about the after-party? he recently refurbished Civic Hall based in Jarrow is the perfect venue for all occasions. If you’re not rushing to tie the knot, but have something else to celebrate, why not do so at the Civic Hall? The beautifully restored grand ballroom has been lovingly renovated, surpassing its original glory and is now one of the most popular venues in South Tyneside. The fully licensed hall is available to hire for all celebrations, from birthday gatherings to christenings and wedding receptions to wakes. Acting as the perfect backdrop for any celebration, Civic Hall was originally opened in 1863 and the traditionally modern interior synonymously reflects the renowned, cosmopolitan venue back in its heyday. Boasting modern facilities capable of coping with both intimate and larger events, the Civic Hall can comfortably house up to 150 guests, and the luxurious furnishings and lavish décor bring a chic and stylish touch of class to all events.

team is on hand to make your gastronomic dreams a reality. The Civic Hall events team will be on hand from your initial enquiry, right through to the end of your event. With an inexhaustible list of contacts, the team can help you source both traditional and unique entertainment options, as well as a selection of resident DJ’s. If you’re looking for a unique way to indulge your guests, the team at Civic Hall has strong links with local suppliers who can add all the special touches to your room, including chocolate fountain hire, nostalgic candy carts and a whole range of decorative solutions, guaranteeing your event will be memorable.


The highly skilled and experienced team of chefs will work alongside you to meticulously craft the perfect menu to ensure your day is completely personal and unique. Whether you’d like a traditional buffet or an elegant gala dinner, the Civic Hall catering


The Civic Hall is at 59-61 Ellison Street, Jarrow, NE32 3HZ. For more information on availability, to arrange a room viewing or to request an enquiry pack, call (0191) 406 97 11, visit, Facebook ‘The Civic Hall Limited’ or follow @JarrowCivicHall on Twitter.


Recipe of the month Donal Skehan’s Deep South pulled pork sliders with buttermilk coleslaw.


ry this delicious street food-inspired recipe by the rising-star chef and Junior MasterChef judge.

for a couple of hours or overnight if you have the time. If you don’t have the time, don’t worry just cook the meat. Place the pan over a high heat, add just enough water, about 1 litre (1 3/4 pints), to cover the meat and bring to the boil.

Serves 8 Ingredients: 1 boneless pork shoulder (about 1.2kg) 8 floury baps Marinade: 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped 8 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped 1/2 tablespoon of Tabasco® Pepper Sauce 1/2 tsp coriander seeds 2 tbsp English mustard powder 150ml distilled white vinegar 2 tsp paprika 6 tbsp tomato ketchup 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp treacle 75g dark Brown Sugar Sea salt to season Coleslaw: 1/2 head of cabbage, finely shredded 1/2 head of red cabbage, finely shredded 3 carrots, peeled and grated 6 spring onions, finely sliced

Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook at a steady simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork. Make sure to turn the pork during the cooking time. Remove the pork from the sauce with a carving fork and shred, then place the shredded meat on a plate, cover with foil and set aside. 3 tablespoons of buttermilk 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar 1 garlic clove, finely minced Sea salt and ground black pepper Method: Blitz all the ingredients for the marinade in a blender or pestle and mortar until you have a smooth mixture. Place the pork in a large pan or dish, add the marinade and turn the pork until coated. Cover and allow to marinate in the spicy mix


Bring the sauce to a steady simmer and reduce until it is thick. Spoon the sauce over the pork and serve in toasted burger buns with a little coleslaw. For the coleslaw: Whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic in a large bowl. Toss in the carrot, cabbage, spring onion until coated. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.


Expanding the Range Walter Dix & Co is celebrating its 125th anniversary by investing £70,000 in a new-look showroom. nce nothing more than a functional space, the modern day kitchen is rapidly becoming an informal entertaining room, children’s play area and, increasingly, the home office. North East-based Range cooker specialist and AGA dealership, Walter Dix & Co, has a superb range of kitchen appliances and cookware accessories on offer to help you make the most of your living area. It’s a well known saying that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and if you’re looking to add a touch of tradition and glamour while expressing your individuality, a visit to the Walter Dix & Co Team Valley showroom is an absolute must. Founded in 1888, Walter Dix & Co supplies some of the best quality cooking and heating equipment on the market. Alongside its diverse range of products, the family-owned and operated business has been sharing its expertise and product knowledge in region for over 125 years. Appointed in 1931 as one of the North East’s first AGA dealerships, Walter Dix & Co have been offering a complete service to all of their customers for over 80 years. With an inexhaustible wealth of knowledge and experience, Walter Dix has become one of the region’s most respected, well-known AGA and Range cooker specialists. Continuing in its mission to bring the best possible product range to AGA and Range cooker aficionados, and to celebrate its 125th birthday, Walter Dix & Co are about to embark


upon a full-scale refurbishment plan. Investing over £70,000 in the new look showroom, Walter Dix & Co will be doubling in size, with the introduction of a purpose-built cookery demonstration area, an expanded product range with exciting new additions of top quality Range cookers from Falcon, Britannia, Lacanche, Viking, Steel Cuisine, Rangemaster and many more, as well as stock from the AGA Cookshop range, stoves and refrigeration equipment. With the investment, Walter Dix & Co will become a Rangemaster Design Centre. Only the second dealership in the North East to be awarded this accreditation, customers can be assured that they will receive the best possible service and finest quality products, which are completely tailored and personalised to suit the space.


Maintaining its first class customer commitment, a brand new shop front will be designed, the opening hours are to be extended and the number of in-store demonstrations is to significantly increase. To commemorate the completion of the showroom renovation, and mark the monumental occasion of 125 years in business, Walter Dix & Co has a fantastic evening of celebration planned in September. Live cookery demonstrations, entertainment, Champagne and birthday cake will be offered to customers, friends, family and local media personalities to truly celebrate in style. To be the first to hear about the upcoming event, and for the chance to win a VIP invitation to the evening, sign up to the newsletter by sending your details to The highly skilled and knowledgeable team are on hand to deal with all of your equipment requirements Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 5pm, and Saturday from 9.30am to 1pm. To view the full range of products on offer, visit Walter Dix & Co at its Gateshead showroom at 1 Stirling Court, Eleventh Avenue North, Team Valley, Gateshead NE11 0JF. For more information on Walter Dix & Co the services and products on offer, upcoming events and demonstrations, please visit For regular posts, offers and information you can ‘like’ Walter Dix & Co. on Facebook or follow @WalterDixCo on Twitter.


Travel you can


Combining a host of impressive travel services with over 50 years of quality service, award-winning Stanley Travel has evolved into one of the North East’s most respected and elite transport providers.

ounded by Robert Scott in 1961, Stanley Travel began with just two taxis, operated from a small wooden hut in Stanley, County Durham. Today, the family-owned business, run by Robert and Ann's two sons, Ian and Andrew, operate a fleet of 35 buses, mini buses and coaches, alongside 40 taxis. Stanley Travel is now one of North Durham’s major employers and the area’s largest taxi provider. Despite the company’s expansion, taxi hire remains at the heart of the business. Those living within the Durham City and Derwentside areas can benefit from Stanley Travel’s trusted taxi service operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The company has also recently re-entered the bus service market, operating in Durham, Wearside and Tyneside. Stanley Buses provide vital transport links for commuters, school children and for shoppers wanting to get around town. The company operates local service routes on behalf of Nexus and Durham County Council as well as their own commercial routes. If you’re in need of something bigger or wanting to venture out further, Stanley Travel also has an impressive fleet of coaches including six to 76-seat vehicles, operated by a team of qualified and courteous drivers. Clean and comfortable, every coach is equipped with a satellite tracking system, as well as a radio, CD and PA system. Selected vehicles also include TV, DVD and free WiFi access. Stanley Coaches cater for all types of groups, from associations and business travellers to tourists and schools. The company works closely with a wide range of schools throughout Durham, Gateshead and Northumberland, as well as a number of independent schools in and around Newcastle. Whether a school is in need of a short transfer to a neighboring school, a study visit or a ski trip abroad, Stanley Coaches can provide a safe, reliable and enjoyable means of transport. More recently, Stanley Travel has gained CoachMarque accreditation, one of only three operators in the region to hold such an accolade. CoachMarque is a universally recognised kite mark of quality in the UK coach industry. It is concerned with all aspects of the business and not just the coach


Mark Spoors (centre) wins Coach Driver of the Year 2013

itself, guaranteeing to clients that they operate to a strict set of criteria which is regularly assessed by an independent third party. Additionally the company has been awarded a six star rating from BUSK (Belt Up School Kids), working to promote safe child road transport, to and from school, throughout the UK. For those looking for a change of scenery, Stanley Travel offer weekend day trips, holidays, weekend city breaks and guided tours around the likes of Holy Island,

Gavin Scott wins Professional of the Year 2013


Hadrian’s Wall and the Northumberland Coast. There’s good news for bridal parties and businesses too with the company’s extensive range of executive vehicles. Whether you’re looking to meet and greet clients from the airport or transport colleagues to a conference, Stanley Travel is able to provide the solution. For weddings, Stanley Travel offer executive cars for bridal parties, along with mini coaches and coaches to transport guests from venue to venue. Wheelchair accessibility is also provided across its full vehicle range. With so much to offer, it’s not surprising that Stanley Travel has acquired a variety of awards over the last few years. In 2011, for example, alongside reaching its 50th anniversary, the company was awarded the prestigious Coach Operator of the Year and, more recently, scooped two awards in April at this year’s UK Coach and Rally Awards. Mark Spoors won Coach Driver of the Year and Gavin Scott was awarded Young Coach Industry Professional of the Year. Despite dramatic increases in operating costs the business remains exceptionally strong and the future looks bright for Stanley Travel. As business booms, the company is outgrowing its 30-year-old premises in Stanley and is currently in consultation with developers and the local planning authority in the hope of extending its workshops and yard space facility. The company is now also running a PCV Driver Training school: a relatively new addition to the business portfolio offering those new to driving buses complete training including medicals, theory and practical tests. Stanley Travel remains committed to the family values, hard work and unbeatable service that have brought it to the enviable market position it holds today. Those searching for reliable and trustworthy transport can find peace of mind as a passenger of Stanley Travel, knowing they are receiving a service that is tailored to them, at the best price. Stanley Travel is based in Stanley, County Durham, DH9 7LL, with offices in Stanley, Newcastle and Durham.For more information visit


My North East Times John Duns, divisional director for business development and marketing at Brewin Dolphin, reveals why he supports our magazine ...

his region needs to give its business community a voice and North East Times allows it to shout about itself in an entertaining and informative way. We need to know what is going on so businesses can talk to each other and help grow our region. North East Times allows Brewin Dolphin a fantastic platform to promote our investment management and financial planning services to the business people of the region.

We want to talk to professionals who want to deal with someone locally who can manage their wealth. The magazine provides the perfect environment to talk to those people. We have had a fruitful and enjoyable relationship with the magazine for many years, right back to the days when we were still called Wise Speke. When we changed the name to Brewin Dolphin in 2008, we used the magazine as a keystone of our ad campaign called, ‘Something Big is Brewin’, which worked well.




NOVOS CELEBRATE IN STYLE The rugby club’s end-of-season celebration. ovos RFC celebrated the end of the season in spectacular style with a grand marquee for various functions at their Sutherland Park ground in Benton. The season had seen promotion for the 1st XV, Cup Final appearances in two competitions with the Centurions XV winning their Cup. Club commercial director, John Dias, commented: "The marquee enabled us to hold our Players’ Awards on the Friday night, the Annual Ball on the Saturday and the Awards and barbecue for the junior section on the Sunday. This was the second year we’ve held the ball at our own ground and it was a superb night in a fantastic setting which brought the whole club together like never before, with every penny taken going back to the club. The organising committee did a magnificent job and everyone had a great time. "We're very grateful to all our contractors, especially Collingwood Marquees, our sponsors, raffle prize donators and the many volunteers who made this happen and look forward to repeating it in future years."







HOW HAS SAGE GATESHEAD DEVELOPED AND CHANGED SINCE IT OPENED? pianist Alfred Brendel who has retired, but then just the other day Northern Sinfonia gave one of the most physically exciting and virtuosic performances of a Shostakovich Symphony (No. 9) I’ve ever heard.

I do think we’ve stayed absolutely with our original vision: to bring the most exciting international musicians of all kinds to Gateshead, to offer the region’s own musicians a world-class platform for their work, and to make a step-change in music education. However, the scale of our work has hugely exceeded all original estimates, with overall turnover more than doubled and Sage Gateshead providing five times more music education as originally planned. We’ve also continually refreshed our building, adding new amenities like the shop and the new Concourse Bar and regular free concourse music. Most recently we’ve refreshed our logo, giving it a funky 3D twist and a snazzy electric blue colour. The change in logo is part of a much bigger plan to lighten up what I think is our slightly serious image, and encourage more people to come here and enjoy all we have to offer.

WHAT’S BEEN ITS BIGGEST CHALLENGE? Our biggest challenge is continuing to offer all these things in the face of the incredibly challenging economic and political landscape we’re living through, which we all reckon will get worse before it gets better. We keep our prices as affordable as we possibly can, but the realities of the economy seem to get tougher. We know an upturn will come though, even if at present each day it seems to get further off rather than closer!



I think the day you sit back and think you’ve achieved everything is the time to head for the deck chair and the carriage clock! But I do think we’ve achieved a lot in our first eight years. We’ve built an international reputation as well as a supportive family of regular visitors, we’ve welcomed over five million people since we opened. The unique way we bind together all our programming (concerts, education and conferences) are now constantly referenced. I’m really proud of that – as well as global superstar conductor Lorin Maazel writing to us after his debut here to say he reckoned Hall One was one of the five best halls in the world, and Norman Foster’s team coming back and saying the building looked better after five years than when it opened! But those are only our foundations – we’re constantly working to develop new programming ideas and reach out new and wider audiences.

Enormously. The national and local support we receive for our work has lost £1 million in value in the past four years, which is a big hole to fill with other earned income, from philanthropists and our wonderfully loyal and generous circle of donors. We’ve just started our Tenth Birthday Appeal and a new endowment fund to support our work in the longer term. We constantly make small adjustments to the balance of what we do and start up new things – like our online shop and our new roof walks – all designed to help us earn as much as we can to cover the significant costs of running a large iconic building and a world-class music programme. These are tough times for so many businesses, not just ours.



I think people in the North East (even those who don’t come the venue much) are genuinely proud of having Sage Gateshead on their doorstep as an international, landmark music centre and a constant menu of the world’s greatest musicians. The people who do come here regularly for performances or to learn and make music, talk very movingly about Sage Gateshead being a second home to them. We work incredibly hard to make the quality of everything we do as high as we can. But I’m conscious how many people we’ve not yet connected with – we’re on a constant mission to draw more musiclovers into our world.

We don’t really see the two separately. We always think of the financial realities underpinning all our artistic work, just as we try and operate as a responsible business in areas like minimising our carbon footprint.

THE VENUE HAS RECENTLY GONE THOUGH A REBRAND, DROPPING THE ‘THE’ AND UNVEILING A NEW LOGO. WHAT LED TO MAKING THESE CHANGES? We loved the original logo which the international design wizards at Pentagram created for us but we both felt it could do with refreshing, to make our logo look as young and energetic as we felt! Those three small changes, adding colour and the 3D effect and dropping the ‘The’, have had an amazingly transformative effect. Taking on responsibility for Gateshead’s wonderful Old Town Hall was part of that change. It’s given us all kinds of informal programming opportunities and made us a part of Gateshead’s exciting new town centre. Already we can see people reacting to us differently – seeing us as just that bit funkier and more colourful. We’re loving that, since it mirrors exactly how we see ourselves – more experienced and confident than when we opened, but also more ambitious and boisterous than ever, even as the outside environment gets tougher. But then, the tougher it gets, the more deeply we all need the joy and excitement of live music.

WHAT’S BEEN THE VENUE’S HIGHLIGHT? Often I come out of a show and think to myself that was one of the best things we’ve done. I suppose inevitably you remember, poignantly, people we’ll never see again, who’ve died since they came here – James Brown, Ibrahim Ferrer, or like master



Arts previews Elise Rana Hopper looks forward to some of the region’s biggest cultural events.




Back in the late ‘90s, the world was theirs for the taking. An emotionally raw, anthemic sound, powerful live shows and larger-than-life frontman Tiny, made the Newcastle-based band darlings of the indie music press – yet their moment was brief, and internal tensions led to the band’s collapse shortly after their debut album in 1999. They’re now back – and if their long-awaited second album Play for Today is anything to go by, they’re better than ever.

From Barbie-fied teen popstrel to good girl gone bad, Rihanna has risen to pop royalty status since her 2005 debut, and despite her relatively guarded approach to the media, nevertheless provides them with endless fodder with her outlandish outfits and abysmal taste in men. With album sales that outstrip even that of Beyonce and place her as one of the bestselling music artists of all time; the woman’s also a chart hit machine.

Let’s be clear: this ain’t no tribute show. Recognising the 1973 release of Tubular Bells as a landmark in rock music history, Australian musicians Aidan Roberts and Daniel Holdsworth aim to bring this influential piece of music to a new audience, with the pair tackling more than 20 instruments between them in a uniquely theatrical live performance of the intricate work.

June 20 • Stadium of Light • from £50 •

June 18 • Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre • from £16.50 •



Created by Dora Frankel Dance as part of the Festival of the North East, art, music and movement combine in this original work inspired by the work of English landscape painter William Turner. Accompanied by an original music score, three dancers perform a vibrant re-imagining of some of the painter’s radical depictions of the Northumberland countryside, with performances across the county’s coastline during June.

A three-man comedy troupe with a knack for turning long, serious subjects into short, sharp comedies, the Reduced Shakespeare Company have updated their rollercoaster romp through the Bard’s works - or, as the ‘bad boys of abridgement’ themselves admit, revised it for 2013 with ‘the same recycled jokes in a different order’. Irreverent but irresistably enjoyable.

June 8 • Lindisfarne Priory • June 15 • Warkworth Castle • June 20 • Dance City • £5 •

June 21 • Customs House • from £14 •

June 15 • Cluny • £9 •

TOUCHING COLOUR Did you know there was such a thing as the International Colour Association – or that it’s holding its congress in Gateshead this summer? To coincide with the gathering of the world’s leading authorities on colour at Sage Gateshead in July, the Hatton Gallery has curated an exhibition focusing on artists whose work explores the areas where colours meet and overlap. Susan Hiller, Angela Bulloch, David Batchelor and James Hugonin’s work all feature. June 28-August 17 • Hatton Gallery • free •



Left to right: Young engineers Michael Plummer, Jamie Lines, Kathryn Elliot-Smith and David Plummer

Left to right: Charlotte Cooper, Manon Williams, Laura Neill, Martha Spalding, Lowri Waugh, Isobel Brealey and Emma Haley

Cast of Mobile Phone Show in rehearsals at Dame Allan’s Schools

News from

Dame Allan’s Schools Principal Dr John Hind looks at some of the schools’ sporting, cultural and academic achievements. SILVER AND BRONZE AT NATIONAL SQUASH FINALS ame Allan’s Girls’ Schools’ squash teams are celebrating their magnificent medal winning performances at the National Schools Squash Finals. The under 19 team played superbly in the qualifying rounds to reach the final two, an impressive performance in their first year in this age group of the competition. In contrast, it was the 11th consecutive final for their opponents. The Girls’ School team played with determination and although they were ultimately beaten by Millfield School, they were immensely proud of their silver medal. The under 15 team also reached the final four. In their semi-final they lost a close match with Cleeve School 3-2. In the play off for third place, they played exceptionally well to win the bronze medal. Coach Jane Dennis was proud of the girls’ achievements. She said: “All the girls played brilliantly. They are a fantastic squad, all helping and encouraging each other both on and off the court.”


CURTAIN UP AT NORTHERN STAGE t was curtain up at Northern Stage for Spotlight – Dame Allan’s Schools’ drama company – and its production of Mobile Phone Show. Fifteen students performed the new play by Jim Cartwright, whose credits include the Rise and Fall of Little Voice, as part of the National Theatre’s Connections Festival. Each year the National Theatre commissions ten new plays by influential British playwrights exclusively for the festival to celebrate new writing coupled with the energy, commitment and talent of young theatre makers. The Schools’ art department worked with the company to design the stunning setting for the production which explores young people’s attachment to their mobile phones and the possibilities of modern communications. Dame Allan’s was one of ten schools and youth theatres from across the North East who performed at Northern Stage in April, with other performances taking place across the whole of the UK. After Spotlight was selected, head of drama Mrs Phillips took part in an inspiring workshop at the National Theatre in November, working with Jim Cartwright, National Theatre directors and designers. She said: “The purpose of the festival is to develop young people’s enjoyment of and participation in theatre and we have certainly achieved that. It has been a great journey of discovery for us all.”



GOLD SCIENCE MEDALS ixth form students have completed an inspirational engineering programme with Draeger Safety of Blyth, who manufacture breathing apparatus and safety equipment. The students, Kathryn Elliot-Smith, Jamie Lines, David and Michael Plummer, took part in the Engineering Education Scheme which links students with local companies to work on real scientific, engineering and technology problems. Their problem was to investigate the comfort of the self contained breathing packs (SCBA) using methods which included a specialised questionnaire, a pressure mapping cloak and exercises using the packs. The team visited the Draeger factory and the Tyne and Wear Fire Safety Centre in Washington, where they were able to wear the equipment and try the obstacle course. The team spent three days of their Christmas holidays working in Newcastle University’s engineering laboratories before the final assessment day at the university, when they had to present their findings to a board of engineers and field question about their project. Their excellent work has earned them a prestigious Gold CREST award from the British Science Association.



Building a new future for education News from Central High School and Church High School as they prepare to become Newcastle High School for Girls in 2014.

arlier this year, Central Newcastle High School and Newcastle upon Tyne Church High School announced plans to join forces to form Newcastle High School for Girls in 2014. Newcastle High School for Girls will be a beacon of national excellence and between now and September 2014 Church High and Central High will continue to deliver an outstanding education for girls as well as prepare for the future.


Unique learning environment for girls Set to create the most exciting and unique learning environment in the region, Central Newcastle High School has announced proposals for the transformation of the grounds at its Junior School. The Junior School at Chapman House, Sandyford Park, Newcastle, which will become the Junior School for Newcastle High School for Girls, has already undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment programme which included the stunning restoration of a Grade II John Dobson designed villa. The  impressive Junior facilities at Central High were officially opened by the Duchess of Northumberland in March. Now the school’s attention is very much focused on restoring the five acres of grounds surrounding Chapman House to the same exceptional standard. The guiding principle for the whole project, buildings and grounds, has been the introduction of a new creative curriculum. The landscaping of the grounds is the final phase in an exciting programme that will bring this innovative curriculum to life. Holding lessons outdoors is not a new idea but the proposals for the school grounds have taken this concept to a whole new dimension. The scale of the landscaping is simply extraordinary and includes a sensory garden and picnic area, a fire pit with seating, a pond and bog garden, outdoor classrooms and storytelling area, an amphitheatre, woodland walks, wildflower areas and two all-weather sports surfaces. Work on the project is expected to start in July with completion planned for the end of 2013. Angela Charlton head of the Junior School, and future H,ead of the Junior School at Newcastle High School for Girls, said: “The landscaping and restoration of the grounds will enable the teachers to fully deliver my vision for the school.   I want learning to be filled with

discovery – it certainly shouldn’t stop at the classroom door and outdoor learning is an integral part of our curriculum. The natural environment is rich with exciting opportunities and our new outdoor facilities will mean that, no matter the weather, the girls will be outside exploring. “The girls love being outside where they have the freedom to explore a different way of behaving and interacting. They really enjoy finding nooks and crannies to hide in as well as being able to turn outdoor space into places that have a meaning for them which gives them a real sense of belonging. Within the grounds at Chapman House, the girls can be noisy and messy on a grand scale! “Our teachers are crucial to unlocking the potential of outdoor learning for the girls and for this reason we have invested in training for all of them in the Forest School approach.  Our knowledgeable teachers combined with the wonderful resources we are planning within the School grounds, will mean that when the girls are outdoors, we can stand back and watch wherever their creativity takes them.  “This is an incredibly exciting project: our Junior School is unique and offers a whole new world of learning for girls now at Central High and in the future when we become Newcastle High School for Girls.”

Creating new opportunities The planned merger between Church High and Central High has created a wealth of new opportunities for the girls at both schools to come together within the local community and to combine their charity fundraising efforts. On May 10, Lexie Roberts and Elspeth Robinson from Year 5 at Church High joined Beth Tiplady and Serena Philpot from Year 6 at Central High, along with members of the local community, to help celebrate the launch of the increasingly popular Jesmond Community Festival. The festival, which is in its ninth year, is a twoweek event uniting the whole of the Jesmond area and incorporates a programme of activities including musical performances, family fun days, food fayres, community work and more. The girls attended the launch event at The New Northumbria Hotel and rubbed shoulders with prestigious guests including the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Jackie Slesenger and Town Crier, Marjorie Dodds along with a host of musicians and entertainers.


Church High’s Lexie said: “We had lots of fun at the festival launch. I enjoyed meeting Beth and Serena from Central High and we talked lots about our experiences at school and some of the same events and trips we have been on. We got the chance to meet the Lord Mayor and enjoyed seeing the stilt walkers who were very funny.” Beth Tiplady from Central High said: “The launch of the Jesmond Festival was really exciting – there was so much happening. The best bit though was making friends with Lexie and Elspeth from Church High.” Very much part of their local community, both Central High and Church High hosted events during the Jesmond Festival. In recent weeks girls from the two schools have also been able to come together for a common fundraising cause, donning their running shoes to train together and participate in the North of England’s Children’s Cancer Research Run (NECCR) at Gosforth Park, which took place on May 19. Over 150 girls, teachers and parents from both schools took part in the run and raised thousands of pounds of vital funds for the charity while enabling the girls to have fun and keep fit together. Judith Cunningham, Head of Church High Junior School, said: “We are delighted that so many girls, parents and staff from both school communities were able to come together for the race. This joint event is just one of the many exciting opportunities the girls have to look forward to now that the two schools are working closely together.” Angela Charlton, head of Junior School at Central High, said: “The Children’s Cancer Run is a great event with a true family feel. It offered a lovely opportunity to bring the girls together to raise money for a cause we feel passionate about.” Ten-year-old runner Daisy Pass from Central High, said: “Coming together for the Cancer Run has been fun. I decided to run the race as fast as I could and am really pleased to have raised a lot of money to help children who have cancer. I am really proud to have been involved.” To find out more about Newcastle High School for Girls, please make an appointment to visit during our Open Week which will take place June 17-21. For more information, call (0191) 201 6511 or visit to



Irritation irrigation North East Times’ readers can benefit from a discount at Central Healthcare this June. t’s that time of year where we’re all trying to fit back into last year’s summer wardrobe, our favourite jeans have become somewhat tighter and there’s only so long you can use the, ‘they must have shrunk in the wash’ excuse. If you’re looking to get in shape in time for your upcoming getaway, Newcastle-based Central Healthcare has the solution. Recently opened on Forth Street in Newcastle – behind Central Station – Central Healthcare is a brand new, nurse-led colonic irrigation clinic. With years of experience in both nursing and colonic irrigation, the highly qualified team are on hand to help ensure you are offered a perfectly designed colonic hydrotherapy session. From its modern and contemporary base, the Central Healthcare team offer a unique range of services by appointment only. Unlike many other centres in the region, the purpose-built clinic offers the highest standards in comfort, hygiene, privacy and dignity, all of which are important factors when choosing to book an intimate treatment, such as colonic irrigation. Specialising in more than just colonic irrigation, the skilled and experienced team


also carry out food intolerance testing, provide dietary advice, colon massage as well as herbal implants and enemas. You can be assured that services offered by Central Healthcare are of the highest quality, totally confidential and individually tailored to suit each client’s needs. The main benefit of a regular colonic hydrotherapy treatment is the breakdown of toxic material, so it can no longer harm your body or inhibit assimilation and elimination. Waste debris can build up over a long period,


and over a series of irrigations the material is gently removed. As the demand for food intolerance testing rises, Central Healthcare is pleased to be able to offer their unique package to all North East Times readers this June. For just £150 you will receive a full colonic irrigation treatment, and food intolerance test to highlight which foods you are sensitive to, and the severity of the sensitivity. To take advantage of this offer, please contact the clinic and quote, ‘North East Times offer.’ Central Healthcare is open, from Monday to Saturday. The clinic can be found within Arch 3, Forth Street, Newcastle, NE1 3NZ. For more information on the services on offer, to view the clinic opening times, to read about the associated benefits and how they will improve your physique and well-being, please visit To arrange a consultation with one of the nurses or for any enquiries please contact the clinic on (0191) 222 0100, alternatively email For regular posts and updates find Central Healthcare on Facebook or follow @CentralHealthNE on Twitter.


Improve your posture, improve your swing Antonia Pellegrino of Be-Fit reveals how its golf stability programme can help you on the course.

t is very common to hear golfers talking about back pain, stiff hips or shoulders, aching knees, etc. The main cause of this is mainly due to the aggressive forces of the golf swing. This force exerts onto the spine, lower back, hips, shoulders and knees. We see many golfers at Be-Fit. Young and old, male and female. What is common between all of these people, is the apparent muscular imbalances. The human body is made of over 600 pairs of muscles. We are designed to move equally in both left and right. Think about your golf swing for a moment, even put the article down and have a gentle swing. Feel how the muscles on one side of your body will allow you to naturally swing one direction. It is very awkward to swing the other way! Looking at the anatomical diagram on this page, you may notice that the feet point straight and forwards. In most golf pros and amateurs, the feet will point outwards. This is an indication that the stabilisation muscles of the hips, knees and core (back and abdominals) are imbalanced. There are tight muscles and there will be weak muscles. Our job is to get you flexibly strong for golf and therefore optimise your ball placement. The Be-Fit structural balance for golf programme, has been developed with your

golfing needs in mind. Few people realise that posture is directly related to factors that control ball flight The programme aims to develop strength, flexibility and control within the core muscles (the ones you use to swing the club), which will enable the golfer to play consistently controlled shots, and increase both distance and accuracy. Golf is not only about the lower limbs; we also structurally balance your upper body muscles, increasing flexibility through the shoulders, back and neck. Any tight, weak or imbalanced muscle can affect your swing. We want you to play as a finely tuned machine! Remember, your game will only be as good as your weakest link. Structural balance for golf, can not only take your game to a new level but will also enhance your enjoyment of the game! Golf’s frustration will be a thing of the past and your handicap will start to plummet! You will get more out of your golf lessons and practice sessions as you will have the strength, flexibility and control to perform the movements required to correctly and consistently hit the ball.


For your individualised golf stability programme, call Be-Fit on (0191) 213 5300.



Women’s health Breast care specialist nurse Amanda Pinkerton, from Spire Washington Hospital, talks through areola (nipple) tattooing for ladies who have had a breast reconstruction, post-mastectomy. Why would a patient be offered an areola tattoo? The majority of ladies who have had a mastectomy go through a lengthy reconstruction process, which for many involves a number of stages including symmetry surgery and nipple reconstruction. The results can be amazing but at the end the nipple is the same colour as skin. Giving the nipple a natural look is the last step in the process, which is something our breast care patients are understandably keen to achieve.

At what point can nipple tattooing take place? A full breast reconstruction is not a quick procedure because it is important to leave plenty of time for everything to heal before progressing to the next stage. Nevertheless we tend to find that approximately nine out of ten ladies opt for areola tattooing and decide this relatively early on so they are given a return appointment straight after their nipple reconstruction. This appointment takes place approximately three months’ later but if check ups suggest this is too soon, it can be put back as necessary. On occasions the whole nipple can be tattooed, depending on skin type and consultant preference.

What happens during the process?

I’m glad to say the areola tattooing is a relatively easy procedure to have done after everything the ladies have been through. About 48 hours beforehand we do a very quick skin test (a bit like when you have hair dyed at the hairdressers) to ensure there is no allergy to the pigments. This is highly unusual but we always want to eliminate any potential risk. An average appointment on the day itself takes about two hours. Very frequently the longest part is securing a colour match to the lady’s other nipple as we mix various pigments and shades to get the correct result. Once the colour match has been achieved we then apply a local anaesthetic cream and after 20 minutes, mark out the area we are going to tattoo with a lip liner. The lady concerned is instrumental in all of this in order to ensure she is happy with both the shape and colour. The next step is to tattoo using a small penlike needle and patients may feel a slight pushing and vibrating sensation as it is placed against the breast while the pigment is transferred to the outer layer of skin. The whole nipple areola can be completed in around 30 minutes, after which the patient is free to go home.

What should patients expect afterwards? Patients are asked to come back around six weeks after the breast tattooing procedure so


we can adjust the colour and soften the nipple borders. This usually makes the colour a bit richer and provides a better finish. As with any tattoo the pigment can fade over time so patients are able to come back for colour to be refreshed as and when this is needed. Ultimately there is always scarring from the breast reconstruction but, when coloured, the nipple is a natural distraction and really takes the attention away from this. It’s amazing how natural the look can be and it’s wonderful to see how this simple procedure builds confidence in the people we treat.

Can patients access further support? Many patients who have been through treatment for breast cancer at Spire Washington Hospital join the patient support network that takes place on the first Wednesday of every month and it is a lovely, relaxed environment in which ladies can share their experiences. Those undergoing treatment can source information on the issues affecting them and ladies get to see, in advance, the results achieved by other patients, which is very reassuring and helps with the decisionmaking involved. If you would like more information about Spire Washington Hospital breast care services, visit or call (0191) 418 8636.

BUSINESS Libby Lucas and Emma Riley

Pair ahead of the pack with doggie day care Lola’s Place is set to provide the ultimate home-from-home for your four-legged friend.

ong hours at work can be tough. It can also prove stressful for a dog stuck at home with no chance of walkies until the owner returns home. But a new luxury dog daycare, complete with grooming spa and even a ‘Bark and Ride’ collection service, is set to open in Gosforth on July 1. Lola’s Place is the brainchild of friends, Emma Riley and Libby Lucas, who have invested more than £200,000 to create a stateof-the-art day care facility for dogs. The dog-loving pair, who met ten years ago, decided to start Lola’s Place (named after one of Libby’s Jack Russells) in response to their own experiences trying to juggle busy family lives and demanding work responsibilities. Emma says: “Dogs are part of the family and we’ve seen how difficult it can be having to go back to work, especially for a pet that’s been used to having a ‘friend’ around for most of the day. “Lola's Place is not only aimed at helping responsible dog owners struggling to balance work and time at home with their pets, but also those who wish to break up the week for their four-legged friends; we believe every dog deserves a life filled with love and fun. “Inspired by our American cousins, we felt


the North East was crying out for a similar service. It’s something that’s completely unique to the region.” After finding the perfect location on Sandy Lane in Gosforth – close to the A1, the A19 and the Spine Road into Newcastle city centre – Emma and Libby set about creating their doggie dream. As well as offering luxury heated log-cabins with big soft squishy beds, Emma and Libby


are keen to provide a fun and stimulating environment for their canine guests with plenty of outdoor space to run and play – not to mention unbridled love and attention lavished all day long by the fully-trained handlers. Lola’s Place will also offer a full grooming service in a fully-equipped state-of-the-art pet spa, a Bark and Ride collection service for dogs living within a ten-mile radius (with a small charge for those living outside of the area) and there’s even a special Puppy Club for youngsters who require that extra bit of attention, training and socialisation. Libby adds: “We have had a fantastic response to the new venture and are thrilled that we will be opening with a diary full of bookings”. An exclusive open day will be held on June 22, between 9am and 5pm, where dog owners, interested in the facilities on offer at Lola’s Place are welcome to visit the centre to find out more. A complimentary barbecue will also be served from 12 noon to 4pm. For further information call Lola’s Place on (0191) 236 3969 or visit


Behind the wheel by Jessica Laing.


MASERATI GHILBI aserati introduces the all-new Ghilbi: the first ever four-door, luxury sports saloon in Maserati’s history and the first model to be offered with a diesel engine. Combining style, dynamic sport handling and comfort with the spaciousness of an executive saloon, the Ghilbi boasts unmistakable luxury and topclass performance. The model’s newly designed frame radiates sporty glamour; dominated by the distinctive Maserati radiator grille, the traditional triangular C-pillar and sleek, frameless door windows, and lavish aluminium alloy wheels. Inside, you’ll discover sumptuous leather upholstery, exquisite stitching and an 8.4 inch Maserati Touch Control display. Powered by a highly efficient, 3-litre Twin Turbo V6 engine, not only does the Ghilbi deliver a thrilling driving experience, but it also uses less fuel and offers a CO2 emissions output of less than 160g/km on the combined cycle.


F.Y.I. Max power: 301 KW Max speed: 285 KM/H Peak torque: 550 NM 0 to 100km/h acceleration: 5,0s Fuel tank capacity: 1653MM Boot capacity: 1635MM



MOTORS Adam Marshall and Martin Watson.

Nissan Micra, Mongolia bound Three adventurous servicemen from the Royal Navy have been given an enormous boost ahead of the 2013 Mongol Rally, thanks to Benfield. eam Mongke's Fist, comprising three serivcemen from the Royal Navy, have received their official rally car from Benfield Motor Group for their 11,000 mile global motoring adventure on the 2013 Mongol Rally. The Nissan Micra has been supplied by Benfield Nissan, Portland Road Newcastle and the keys to the ‘rally battle’ vehicle were handed to a delighted team member, Adam Marshall. Adam said: "This is an exceptional show of support and we are extremely grateful. The fact that Benfield has got behind our challenge and backed us in such a generous way means a great deal to the team and our chosen charities." Benfield Nissan, general manager, Martin Watson, said, “Benfield Nissan are delighted to help support this amazing challenge. The Nissan


Micra has a great reputation for reliability and we are confident that the car won’t let them down along the way. It will be a really tough challenge for the team and the car will be required to tackle some very rocky roads and terrain. Starting their mammoth journey on July 12, Adam, from Gateshead, and two colleagues, Will Scown and Jon Ford, will be driving the Nissan Micra 11,000 daunting miles from Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall to Ulaan Baatar, the capital city of Mongolia. Travelling a third of the way around the earth's surface on some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet, the team will spend approximately four weeks living out of their car. During this time they will be crossing 15 national borders, countless rivers, mountain ranges and deserts on

the way to their final destination on the other side of the world. In achieving this, the intrepid trio are hoping to raise in excess of £10,000 for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, Operation Smile UK and Heel and Toe Children's charity who are based in Durham. Adam added: We want to raise as much money as possible for three exceptional charities and the support given to us by people such as Benfield and Ast signs who did such a fantastic job of creating the car's vinyl wrap makes a huge difference." You can follow the team and their adventure by visiting their website at which also includes links to their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Partnership is on a roll The motor company signs a major deal with Michelin. ustomers of the North-East’s largest motor group, Benfield, will be rolling on a new brand of tyres now that the company has signed a major deal with leading tyre company Michelin. Benfield Contract Motoring, the contract hire and leasing division of Benfield, has started converting its fleet from mid-range tyres to Michelin tyres in order to reduce the inconvenience and costs associated with frequently replacing tyres for its customers. General manager Carl Moffett, who initiated the change, said he expects to see significantly improved mileage as a result of the swap. He said: “Introducing a Michelin policy across our fleet means we will we be replacing

fewer tyres because of their improved wear capabilities, and we will also be providing a better service to our customers.” Part of the Benfield Motor Group the contract hire and leasing division operates across the UK, supplying an extensive range of vehicle makes and models and has doubled its fleet size over the last three years. Andrew Guile, Michelin’s key account manager, said: “Moving to a premium tyre contract means Benfield’s contract hire and leasing customers can expect lower fuel bills, fewer tyre failures and better mileage, all provided by Benfield’s friendly staff.”


Andrew Guile (Michelin) and Carl Moffer (Benfield)


For further information on Benfield visit


V60 Plug-in Hybrid

S60 R-Design


The latest in design, technology and efficiency at Mill Volvo The 2014 Volvo model year line-up is available to order at the North East dealership.

ill Garages North East Ltd, one of the UK’s leading approved Volvo dealerships, is offering new design, enhanced equipment and lower emissions with the 2014 Volvo model year line-up. Six new models join the Volvo range, boasting improved styling, technology and efficiency. The new Volvo S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 all feature new front and rear profiles plus enhanced equipment levels, including DAB radio as standard. Optional items such as integrated exhaust pipes, active TFT driver display (first featured on the V40) and the addition of new safety equipment such as the world-first Cyclist Detection help these new vehicles stand out from the competition. R-Design versions of the S60, V60 and XC60 have also received the Volvo Special Vehicles Team treatment by taking the updated models and adding a more sports-inspired look and a re-tuned chassis. Volvo, famed for its seat comfort, has also redesigned the sports seats to offer even more support with additional bolstering, while also showing off the new R-Design logo embroidered on the backrest. V40 and V40 R-Design models fitted with the 115hp 1.6-litre D2 diesel engine with


manual gearbox have been further improved, benefitting from a reduction in CO2 emissions from 94g/km to 88g/km. The V40 is also now available with a new 1.6-litre petrol engine, the T2, developing 120hp and returning up to 53.3mpg (official combined cycle). The CO2 emissions of the S60, V60, V70 and S80 fitted with the D2 engine have also been improved, resulting in a reduction in Benefit In Kind payments for drivers and 1A National Insurance Contributions for employers. • S60 D2 Manual – 114g/km to 103g/km – 15 per cent BIK, two per cent decrease • S60 D2 Automatic – 114g/km to 107g/km – 16 per cent BIK, one per cent decrease • V60 D2 Manual – 119g/km to 108g/km – 16 per cent BIK, two per cent decrease • V60 D2 Automatic – 119g/km to 110g/km – 17 per cent BIK, one per cent decrease • V70 D2 Automatic – 119g/km to 111g/km – 17 per cent BIK, one per cent decrease • S80 D2 Automatic – 119g/km to 109g/km – 16 per cent BIK, two per cent decrease


To support the forthcoming digital radio switchover and to ensure customers benefit from the enhanced audio clarity and available stations, Digital Audio Broadcasting Radio (DAB) will feature as standard in all of Volvo's Model Year 2014 range fitted with SENSUS. High Performance or Premium Sound are now both standard across the entire range (except XC90 ES). Bluetooth is also standard on the same vehicles, which allows for handsfree mobile phone use and music streaming through a compatible device. All R-Designs (except XC90) also come fitted as standard with Volvo's Active TFT Crystal Driver's Display, unique from the standard cars in that the start-up sequence displays the R-Design logo and also features blue dials. You can order your 2014 model year Volvo at Mill Volvo now with first customer deliveries expected in July. Dealerships are located at Scotswood Road in Newcastle, Wessington Way in Sunderland, Preston Farm Business Park in Stockton and Grimbald Grag Road at St James Retail Park in Knaresborough. For more information on the 2014 Volvo model year line-up, visit



Alan Bailes, general commercial sales manager with the Ford Transit Custom model

Ford Commercial vehicles from Jennings The award-winning Ford Commercial range is now available at Jennings Commercial Sales Centre in Middlesbrough. etail and business customers visiting Jennings Ford’s Commercial Sales Centre, part of the Jennings Motor Group, can take advantage of Ford’s award-winning commercial vehicle range, which is on display and readily available to test drive. The Commercial Sales Centre, based on Cargo Fleet Lane in Middlesbrough, is responsible for selling the popular, awardwinning Ford commercial range to customers on a local and national level. From local one-man operations to multinational blue chip companies, the commercial sales team at Middlesbrough is geared to cater for customer’s needs by offering finance packages to meet individual requirements. The range consists of the Ford Transit model, which has been the best selling commercial vehicle in the country for more than 40 years, in addition to the Transit Connect, all-new Custom, the new Fiesta Van, Tourneo Connect, Tourneo and Transit Mini-Bus. Ford’s multipurpose selection including Tipper, Chassis Cab and 4x4 Ranger, are also available. The new Ford Transit Custom became the fourth member of the Transit family to win the highly prized International Van of the Year 2013 award at the Hanover IAA Commercial Vehicle Show, in addition to receiving top honours after being awarded Best Medium Van at the 2013 Trade Van Driver Awards. The new Transit Custom follows in the footsteps of the Transit (2001), Transit Connect (2003) and Transit (2007) after achieving a record-breaking fourth win for the Ford Transit family in the IAA award’s 22-year history. The all-new Ford Transit Custom offers top


load-carrying ability, including a number of innovative load space features, such as the loadthrough hatch in the bulkhead for extra-long items and the integrated roof rack which can be folded away when not in use. The driver also benefits from the latest Ford technologies, including Lane Keeping Aid and Ford SYNC voice control and MP3/phone connectivity system. Customers looking to purchase a Ford Transit Custom model can take their pick between a choice of engine power levels, interior trims and equipment levels, which means there is a model to suit every business and budget. Five options available include: the Transit Custom base model, Transit Custom Trend, Limited, Sport and ECOnetic. The model offers excellent fuel economy with C02 emissions from 174g/km which is delivered by an improved 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel available with Auto-Start-Stop and Smart Regenerative Charging. Heading the sales team at Middlesbrough is general commercial sales manager, Alan Bailes, who has worked for the company for the past 15 years. Alan said: “The combination of outstanding technology and cutting edge design makes the Ford Transit Custom more capable, more dependable and above all, more efficient than ever before. “Awarded maximum five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, the Ford Transit Custom is also stylish and a very functional and practical vehicle.” Customers recently took advantage of a twoday promotional event organised in conjunction


with Ford Motor Company at B&Q, Portrack Lane in Stockton, where the Transit Custom was on display. Other award-winning vehicles in the Ford Commercial range, includes the Ford Ranger which also scooped the International Pick-up award, in addition to being awarded Best 4x4 Truck at the 2013 Trade Van Driver Awards. The Ford Ranger was praised for its robust appearance, its car-like ride and handling and supreme ability to cope with rough terrain. Four models are available in the Ranger lineup, including Wildtrack, XLT, Limited and XL edition. Each model is powerful, efficient, and stylish and come with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. In addition to Ford’s impressive new commercial vehicle model line-up, the commercial sales centre at Middlesbrough also stocks over 100 used commercial vehicles which are readily available and on display. An adaptation service which includes fitting roof racks, line outs, towbars and a signage service that entails vehicles being fully fitted with company logos, images and straplines, is also available through the company. Alan added: “By offering the product and the additional adaptation and signage service all under one roof, saves the customer time and money sourcing other suppliers.” For more information about products and services available at Jennings Ford’s Commercial Sales Centre, call into the Cargo Fleet Lane dealership, contact (01642) 209100 or visit


Website a mobile success Geneva Digital helps Richard Hardie promote the NEW Fiat 500L by making the motor company’s website more accessible. ewcastle-based performance marketing agency Geneva Digital has used its in-house, digital expertise to transform the website of local motor group and Fiat specialist Richard Hardie. Geneva’s formula for success, which has been refined and specifically-tailored for Richard Hardie, included overhauling the existing site to engage new and existing customers; design and development of a dedicated mobile site; optimisation of the sites for search engines; ongoing social media marketing; and ultimately transforming conversion rates to convert visitors into carbuying customers. Smartphone penetration in the UK is at an all-time high, with the numbers of people using their phone to access the internet predicted to continue its upward surge. With the introduction of a dedicated mobile site, using responsive design, Geneva Digital has enabled Richard Hardie to monetise the 52 per cent of website visitors who now access their site using a mobile device. In tandem, intelligent, search-led redevelopment of the site has created a streamlined, highly functional website resulting in transformed conversion rates and a large spike in, targeted, site traffic: specifically those looking to purchase the new Fiat 500L.


Fiat’s latest model in the highly-desirable Fiat 500 range, the spacious new Fiat 500L, comes with 22 storage compartments, six airbags and is available in over 300 colour combinations and 1500 different interior configurations. This larger version of the Fiat 500 is just as funky and chic but offers more doors, more space and even more fun! This cool, new, family-friendly city car can be test-driven now at Richard Hardie branches throughout the North East. The state-of-the-art Fiat dealerships in Newcastle Silverlink and Ashington offer new, delivery mileage and used


sales and service for the entire Fiat car range. In addition to specialising in Fiat car sales, Richard Hardie also undertakes Fiat servicing and supplies a range of genuine Fiat parts to keep its customers’ new cars in prime working order. Richard Hardie’s new website was launched to coincide with the arrival of the new Fiat 500L and after just a short time applying the magic Geneva formula, in a highly competitive marketplace – driven by large advertising budgets and national marketing campaigns – the website is exceeding all expectations and now ranks number one in Google for ‘Fiat 5 door price’ and number four for ‘Fiat 500 5 door’. Initial results are just a taster of the impressive business results Richard Hardie can expect following the introduction of its new improved responsive website specifically optimised for mobile devices in conjunction with continual monitoring and hard-hitting social media marketing, managed by Geneva Digital, its online business is set to sky-rocket. To find out how Geneva Digital could help your business go mobile, call Tom Fotheringham on (0191) 375 9120 or for more information on Richard Hardie and the new Fiat 500L visit the new Fiat website at

EVENT Left to right: Steven Dodds (Bond Dickenson) and Allan Holmes (Bond Dickenson)

Left to right: Mike Grahamslaw (North East Times), Mick O’Hare (North East Times), David Tabiner (Meze) and Brian Dickenson (WDL)

Paul Dutton (Eversheds) and Tony Coates (Stephenson Coates)

Beancounters Bowl Stephenson Coates hosts special golf event.

Russell Hall (Bond Dickinson) and Stuart Hindmarsh (Stuart Hindmarsh Advertising)

he Stephenson Coates Beancounters Bowl was won by solicitors Bond Dickinson with a Stableford score of 92; team captain Allan Holmes had a red-letter day in leading the victorious team and also winning nearest the pin on the tricky 15th hole. Coutts came second with a score of 87 points and Walton Robinson edged out Barclays bank on count-back for third place with a score of 85. Ben Crossley of the Walton Robinson team won the longest drive competition with a windassisted drive of 319 yards on the 7th hole.


Left to right: John Duns (Brewin Dolphin), Keith Hately (Muckle LLP) and Peter SchoďŹ eld (Auckland Consultants)

Left to right: John Davidson, Scot Howie and John Straker (Barclays)

Left to right: Chris Acaster (RBS), Paul Dutton (Evershed), Neil Matthews (Deloittes) and Malcolm Bainbridge (Barclays)


Left to right: Campbell MacLachlan, Nick Lee, Ian Nagel and Ian GifďŹ ths (Brewin Dolphin)

Left to right: Steve Cockrill, John Dixon, Phil Cain and John Sterricks (CDC Wealth Management)

Left to right: Mark Walton, Scott Mallon and Ben Crosby (Walton Robinson)

Left to right: Colin Dickenson, Nick James, Don Jones and Phil Broadhurst (Hay & Kilner)



The launch of BT Sport Can BT score with its new football coverage? Asks Box to Box Media’s Roger Tames. rmchair fans have been promised a fresh approach to football coverage when new player BT Sport hits our screens next season. Sky Sports will brace itself for the latest challenge to its supremacy, fortified by the knowledge that it has already seen off the threat of Setanta and ESPN. It’s all about broadband evidently, but in BT Sport’s new production headquarters in Stratford, the motivation will be to make its own mark with its programmes. Former BBC rising star Jake Humphrey will be leading BT Sport’s football coverage alongside Steve McManaman, David James and Owen Hargreaves. Of course, BT are promising a new dimension which will include the novelty of an indoor pitch where its experts presumably will demonstrate the points they are making. Sky Sports has taken the video technology of analysis to new heights but ultimately, covering football comes down to a few blokes (usually) sitting around talking about the match.


That’s been the case since the real breakthrough in football on television was led by ITV Sport – which never get any credit – with its panel for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Led by the incomparable Brian Moore, characters like Malcolm Alison, Jack Charlton,

Paddy Crerand and Derek Dougan were let off the leash to argue and joke in a way that straight-jacketed shows hadn’t previously enjoyed. They were personalities whom the viewers took to immediately. That much hasn’t changed. It has and will always come down to personal preference. Robbie Savage, Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson have the ability to divide opinion on Match of the Day; Roy Keane is the provocative choice of ITV; ESPN played it safely down the line with Kevin Keegan and co. Gary Neville has been the outstanding newcomer for Sky Sports – not because of the on-screen toys he utilises smoothly, but because of the directness and insight of his comments and the conviction with which he delivers them. Good luck to BT and its new signings. I’m most interested to hear how Michael Owen fares in the commentary box alongside the outstanding Ian Darke. I think that’s the hardest role to master.

Golf events to a tee

Relationship building on the golf course can be important for your organisation, explains Victoria Rought of The Creative Event Partnership. f there’s one sporting activity that transcends age, gender and, thankfully, ability, it’s golf. From celebrities to business executives, female professionals to pensioners, golf has a knack of bringing people together, generating camaraderie and sparking connections. It also has a way of igniting passion. Louise Suggs, founder of the LPGA Tour, says: "Golf is very much like a love affair, if you don't take it seriously, it's no fun, if you do, it breaks your heart. Don't break your heart, but flirt with the possibility." Golf really is emotive. This is why it’s a great backdrop for a business or charity event. Inviting your guests for a day of friendly competition with colleagues and new contacts out in the fresh air, topped off with lunch, drinks or dinner in the clubhouse or other selected venue, is a day out that few can refuse. Importantly in business terms, it’s also a great way for people to network and for you to spread the word about your cause, services or products, or simply to showcase your brand. However, like any event, it has to be well organised and must run smoothly and efficiently on the day, all of which requires detailed advance planning. Hosting a golf day for charity or business is no mean feat, which is why it’s advisable to


EXPERT VIEW Victoria Rought Director Creative Event Partnership Tel: (0191) 264 4000 / 07766 088600 Email: Web:

seek professional help. At the Creative Event Partnership we are currently planning two high profile events in the North East on behalf of The Prince’s Trust.


One is Benfield Motor Group’s biggest charity event of the year, which raised over £70,000 for good causes in 2012. We are fortunate in this region to have some fantastic golf courses – Rockliffe Hall, Slaley Hall and Close House, to name just a few – all with superb accommodation and excellent dining and entertaining facilities, to make a corporate golf day a really special experience. But this also highlights the challenge of hosting a golf event – there’s so much to think about and plan for, not least ensuring your messages as host or sponsor are not forgotten in the decisions over tea time and tee-off times. The key factor is being able to strike a balance between the social and business aspects of the day. This is where we can provide a host of ideas for making your charity event a lucrative fundraiser, or an effective profileraiser if you’re showcasing your business. In fact, it’s a balance where one depends upon the other. Give your guests a great golfing day out and they will remember you for all the right reasons. For more information on taking part or supporting The Prince’s Trust Charity Golf events, please contact Victoria on (0191) 264 4000.




People often ask me what Kevin Keegan was like to work with, and I tell them that if you were playing golf and he walked onto the first tee, you’d birdy the hole. That was the effect he had on people. Sir Bobby Robson was the same. On day one he had ten minutes with every player, asking things like ‘what can you do for me?’ and ‘do you want to play for me?’ and that was his way of working out whether a player needed an arm around his shoulder or a kick up the backside. He’d learned from day one about how to get the best out of people and he was very good at it.

Playing against Arsenal was a bonus and gave me something to concentrate on during the build up rather than getting caught up in the emotion of it being my last game for the club. Knowing I was playing really helped and it gave me the focus that I needed. I didn’t allow myself to think beyond the Arsenal game because there was still work to do. It was strange the way it worked out following Rob Elliot’s injury the week before, but to bow out in front of 52,000 people was fantastic.


It’s a strange time for me, but I’ve seen this coming for a while now. I’ve always been comfortably in contract, but it’s quite exciting to think I can play on for another year or so elsewhere. I’m actively pursuing my coaching qualifications and who knows what else is out there? It’s a new chapter for me. On the one hand I’m sad to leave but on the other hand it’s quite exciting.

There was a huge sense of relief around the place after the win at Queens Park Rangers, from the players to the backroom staff and everybody associated with the club. It would have been nice to reach safety a bit earlier, but the first aim in any season is to get the amount of points needed to stay up. It took a bit longer than we would have liked but we got the job done.


I’ve had a few phone calls already and it’ll be exciting to see what happens next. My immediate priority is a family holiday then I’ve got a coaching course, so hopefully I’ll come back to a very hot telephone. I could certainly play for another year. I’ve only missed something like ten days training this season, which isn’t bad for a 38-year-old, so I feel good and we’ll see what’s out there.


It’s hard to put into words how I felt about the reception I got during and after the Arsenal match. It was something my family and I will never forget. Somebody had said to me before the game that the applause in the 37th minute might happen, but I was concentrating so much that I’d forgotten about it. So when it happened it was incredible and I started to get a little bit wobbly. I then had a one-versus-one with (Arsenal forward) Lukas Podolski and he smashed the ball between my legs, so that sobered me right up and got me out of the pickle I was in.


Last summer was the perfect example of how if you stand still in football you go backwards. People spend and invest and the game moves on and hopefully lessons were learned. In the past we’ve bought good players that weren’t necessarily good characters, but there seems to be an active policy in more recent times to change that. Sir Bobby always used to say ‘don’t just buy good players, buy good people’ and that’s certainly what’s happening now. All credit to the club for spending in January because ultimately that’s what kept us up. Things have been taken on board and I’m sure the club will get back into the top-half of the table next season. There’s the core of a good side at the club but you have to constantly improve if you want to keep up with everyone else.


The two Champions League games I played against Juventus and Dynamo Kiev in 2002 were very special. They were at St. James’ Park and we managed to win them both. But the 2009/10 Championship season really jumps out for me. People had written us off after we were relegated from the Premier League but the togetherness and the spirit that was forged during preseason saw us through. That dressing room was a special place to be. It was like having 23 cup finals away from home and 23 home games where we were expected to win every one. It was a special year and one I’ll never forget.


My son is obsessed with Newcastle and he watches all the games, so I’m hoping to take him to an away game or two next season if possible. That will be a good experience for him. I’ve been here for over half of my life and supporting this club isn’t something you can turn on and off, so I’ll be shouting them on from the stands as much as I can in the future.


Each manager I’ve worked under had their own strengths, but we all know 12 in 20 years is too many.



EVENT Left to right: Tom Seymour (Durham CCC), David Lloyd, Clive Eoatman and Andy Naylor

Left to right: James Angus (Bradley Hall), John Duns (Brewin Dolphin) and Tim Peach (Queensway Dental Clinic)

South Northumberland CC Sporting Dinner Left to right: Christian Swinburne (Swinburne & Jackson) and Stuart Smith

Left to right: Barney Hawkins (Brewin Dolphin) and Graham Brown (RMT)

Brewin Dolphin hosts guests at the club’s annual dinner. rewin Dolphin hosted guests at South Northumberland Cricket Club’s annual Sporting Dinner on May 10. Attendees enjoyed food and drink and an entertaining Q&A from Sky Sports commentator and former England coach David Lloyd.


Left to right: James Lloyd (JWL Construction) and Paul Burke (Dallas Carpets)

Left to right: Anthony Peart (Brewin Dolphin), Geoff & Pam Parker and Marguerite Myers (Brewin Dolphin)

Guests of Brewin Dolphin and David Lloyd



Golf Course Guide:

Alnmouth (Foxton) Alnmouth Golf Club (Foxton), designed by the famous golf course architect, Harry Colt, is the fourth oldest course in England, having been established in 1869. Location

Although the course has a coastal location it has parkland turf and a reputation for the quality of its greens and excellent presentation.

spacious television lounge, the clubhouse offers a warm and friendly Northumbrian welcome at the end of a great day’s golf. Both bars overlook the 18th green and are the perfect place to sit and relax outside on a summer’s evening watching fellow golfers come home. In the winter the real coal fire in the small bar provides a homely atmosphere. On the first floor, there is a quiet lounge overlooking the course and a snooker room. A special feature of Foxton is a 26-bed Dormy House within the clubhouse designed to accommodate groups of visiting golfers and their partners in very comfortable twin or single rooms with en suite facilities and private lounges. Alnmouth also has wonderful practice facilities. There is an expansive practice area with a ball dispensing machine, which includes yardage markers, targets and nets as well as a practice bunker and artificial mats for wet weather practice. There is also a brilliant 4 hole par 3 course for families to enjoy or to sharpen your short game. In addition to these facilities there are two practice putting greens, one surrounded by a rose garden and a chipping green.


Longest drive

Foxton Hall was one of the historic residences of the local Percy family in the early 1900s when it was offered by the Duke of Northumberland, the then captain of the club, as a clubhouse for a new proposed golf course in 1929. The clubhouse occupies the main building which oozes with character and the traditions of the game of golf.  With two bars, a lounge, dining room and

No16, a par 5 of 575 yards from the gold tees: teeing off from the high point of the course overlooking the coastline, this is a great hole with out-of-bounds tight on the right hand side.

Situated half a mile to the north of the village of Alnmouth and only ten minutes drive from Alnwick and the A1. The nearest mainline train station is Alnmouth, less than five minutes drive from the golf club.

Setting Alnmouth Golf Club overlooks the splendours of both Foxton and Alnmouth Bay on the Northumberland coastline, in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.

Length of course Red tees, 5752 yards Yellow tees, 6026 yards White tees, 6449 yards Gold tees, 6723 yards

Course type

Toughest hole No17, a par 3 of 216 yards from the white tees, depending on the wind, choosing the club can be difficult with the driver used sometimes.


Signature hole No5, a par 3 of 179 yards from the white tees, runs parallel to the beach and Foxton Bay.

Course record 63

Competitions The course hosts national and county events.

A word from the club manager Peter Simpson: “Alnmouth is a fantastic setting to play your golf whether that be as a member or visitor. We pride ourselves in the presentation of the golf course and when coupled with our excellent English Tourism three-star accommodation on the first floor of the clubhouse.”

Contact Foxton Hall, Alnmouth, Northumberland, NE66 3BE. Tel: (01665) 830231 Email: Web:

Prices/rates Green fees: £38 per round Twilight golf (after 3pm): £15 per round Golf breaks: From £87 per person DBB and two rounds of golf. Coastal Classic Golf Break: £225 per person, two nights DBB with golf at Alnmouth, Goswick and Bamburgh.


Gosforth Golf Club has the cutting edge The club has all the equipment to present an immaculate course for its golfers. s avid fans of golf, football and tennis, we seem to take it for granted that all grass-based sports venues are presented in such a fashion that turf preparation has become a work-of-art, and enhanced further when watching on television in HD and 3D. Gosforth Golf Club, also known as the Bridle Path, certainly know how to do this. To start the season this year, the club took delivery of five pieces of state-of-the-art course machinery, all designed to give the wow factor when it comes to presentation. This year, Gosforth chose Lloyds of


Throckley, the region’s main Toro dealership which supplied a fairways machine, a tees machine and a semi-rough cutter. Greenlay then came to the fore with a greens machine and a rotary plantation cutter. Club Secretary/professional, Grahame Garland, said: “The course is our number one asset, and the reason why people come to the club. “Our key objective is to present the course in as pristine a condition as possible, and to achieve this we invest in what we believe to be the best equipment on the market. We have a rolling


finance program in place, that enables us to replace equipment when a contract expires. In general, machinery of this type will continue to deliver excellent results for between four and five years. The improvement in performance since taking charge of the new equipment has been instantly noticeable.” Gosforth Golf Club is looking forward to a busy season of golf and, to complement their current range of memberships, you can also join as an Associate Member. To find out more, contact Grahame Garland on (0191) 2853495 or email  


Get to know me ...

Ben Quigley Managing director at Different and IPA* chairman for England and Wales.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a film director. I used to watch endless movie seasons on television from a young age, ranging from Alfred Hitchcock to Boris Karloff movies, from Laurel and Hardy to Buster Keaton. I've always loved stylish visual storytelling and sharp dialogue. Television advertising was always a natural inspiration. I was fascinated by shortform messaging, As it turned out, it's all come in very handy.

My first job was with a youth cooperative called Instant Muscle. It was a workforce of teenagers, available to take on odd jobs for a fixed hourly rate. It was an amazing experience and so varied. One minute you'd be cutting lawns, next you'd be painting a shop or working with a tree surgeon in the forest. I learned how to be customer-centric and it boosted my confidence and communications skills. It helped make me intuitively entrepreneurial – perhaps except for the time when we ended up packing fresh leeks on a farm at the end of the harvest season and I threw up on the conveyor belt, nauseous from the smell of rotting leeks!

I'd tell my 18 year-old self to have more self belief. What you may want to do may look a remote career possibility in hard economic times now (as they were too when I was 18) with determination and persistence,

you may just make it. Believe.

I'm inspired by Tony Wilson and Factory Records. Following the punk rock explosion in 1977 and inspired by the Sex Pistols, a host of forward-looking bands and independent record labels emerged who realised that you didn't have to be a virtuoso musician to make amazing music. Factory in Manchester changed the rules, they had bands that didn't do interviews, record sleeves that were works of art, weren't in London and still had amazing bands who redefined music. Outsiders always make the most interesting music and also great companies. Seeing things differently like Factory is key to us at Different, too.

My greatest achievement is…yet to come. Look back and pat yourself on the back at the end, when you've created a worthwhile legacy, not during.

I'm a great believer in self-help. The internet is an obvious source of information available to all, yet it never ceases to amaze me how many people can't be bothered to spend time researching potential solutions to problems for themselves. LinkedIn is brilliant for free advice. And check out Kickstarter too. Researching solutions on your iPad in front of the telly is the future.


My favourite record right now is Get Lucky by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers. Daft Punk is simply one of the best dance acts of recent times. Pharrell is very cool and don't get me started on Chic and Nile Rogers. Suffice to say, this is a marriage made in heaven and a great laid-back groove. The soundtrack for the summer.

In my spare time I'm the complete renaissance man ... well nearly. I love to cook for friends and family. I (occasionally) play golf with my mates around the North East's fabulous courses. I do personal circuit training with my business partners. It builds well-being as a team and is great fun too. And in my remaining spare time I run the UK's first virtual draft real ale pub business as a sideline hobby.

In five years’ time I'll be on a beach in the South of France. Technology in five years will allow me to be even more closely connected to my business interests, so I can enjoy more freedom to travel, wherever I am. I like connecting, I like purpose, I like transformation. Hope you can join me! For further information on Different, visit * The Institute of Practitioners in Advertisers.

North East Times Magazine - June 2013  
North East Times Magazine - June 2013