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March/April 2019


Launching businesses forward

Leicester City Council

Upcoming exhibitions at New Walk Museum

Leicester’s Matt Piper

Putting kids on a positive path

Claremont Financial Planning Investment advice that can help make you happy

Business Expo Connecting Local Businesses





your stand 70+ EXHIBITORS


0116 271 25





BRAND CREATION AND EXECUTION 11am Pete Frost, Unity Media; Mark Robinson, Creative62; Jenny Cross, Cross Productions



1pm Eileen Richards MBE, ER Recruitment & Toni Robinson, Nucleus HR



with the right circles Get involved at the Cross Connections Business Expo on May 15 How important is it for your business to be seen in the right circles? Well, from direct experience we know the significant benefits to be had. That’s why we provide the perfect opportunity for the right circles to form every year at The Kube, Leicester Racecourse. The Cross Connections Business Expo aims to see that the businesses we work with connect with each other and go on to flourish in the Leicester community and beyond. Entering its third year, the expo is creating waves in the exhibition market. With our easygoing approach and relaxed attitude, we achieve a warm, welcoming atmosphere making Cross Connections the top choice for many regular exhibitors. We know only too well the importance of your direct networking unit. So, joining together with other businesses in the local community to share ideas, motivation and contacts is something we are always keen to implement. This, along with social media and advertising outlets, is what will help your business take off and continue to thrive. In an age where technology and

social media play such a huge role in consumerism, learning how to present your business to the right audience is no easy task. Firstly how should you present your business? And secondly, who should you be getting in front of? It – mainly – revolves around being seen in the right circles. Your connections make up a part of how you are perceived and can positively affect the audience you are seen by.

Why Cross Connections is the right circle for your business

Our exhibitors always gain an impressive level of exposure. Cross Connections attracts high calibre exhibitors from all over Leicester and Leicestershire; both local and national. It therefore also attracts visitors from the general public as well as businesspeople looking to make new connections and deals. Visitors are exposed to this specially selected collection of exhibitors showcasing their unique offerings with outstanding installations enticing guests from across the county and beyond. The Kube accommodates their ideas no matter how unconventional they may be. The

large open space and tech offered at the venue allow our clients wishes to be granted beyond expectation. Interactive workshops educate and inspire, as each year we host open seminars throughout the day. These are run by experienced experts in their fields, and cover everything from PR to employment law. The general public and business guests comment year upon year on the welcoming, informal environment we have created after they have escaped their usual working surroundings to a fun, casual networking event. We also have ample free parking and make sure we have wholesome dining and refreshments on offer throughout the day, so our guests stay energised and satisfied. Join us on May 15 in The Kube at Leicester Racecourse for a full day of meeting new potential clients and partners face to face. Be inspired by powerful workshop experiences and learn how to stay ahead of the competition. 0116 271 2573


Cover: BGS Accounting



Photographed by Jay Nandha J Nandha Photography 07894 501 072




The Miller Partnership, Glynis Wright & Co, Ian Guyler, Leicester Racecourse, Leicester Riders, St Martins House, Soar Valley Press, Ian Guyler, Fothergill Wyatt



SALES DIRECTOR 07931 220 116


Photography & Video courtesy of: Adam King Chris Edwards Leicester Legends Official Media Sponsors of the Leicester Riders







0116 271 2573

I Published by Cross Productions Ltd 17 Mandervell Road, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5LR

Marketing Partner of the Leicester Falcons

Also Sponsoring Robbie’s Rugby Festival Leicester Law Society Awards Hope Against Cancer Rainbows Dorothy Goodman Academy

Disclaimer – Niche Magazine and Cross Productions Ltd are fully protected by copyright; no part of this magazine may be reproduced or reprinted without the complete and expressed permission of the publisher. The greatest care has been taken to ensure accuracy, however there can be no liability accepted by the publisher for errors and omissions. We can under no circumstance be held responsible for any materials, matter or photographical copy submitted for publication or not within the website or magazine. We cannot be held responsible or liable for any breaches of copyright from adverts, materials or photography or any other such material supplied by a third party. The views and opinions expressed within our publications are not necessarily those of the publisher or indeed Niche Magazine or any featured parties.

Distribution Media Matters Direct Self Select Distribution



As the weather gets warmer and we enter into spring, the team here at Cross Productions are extra busy at work on many exciting events and partnerships. Having now attended my first meeting as a board member at Focus Charity; I have a reinforced stance on the importance of businesses supporting our local charities. Corporate social responsibility plays a huge part in our local community and I am proud to see so many in the Leicester business network doing their bit for local causes. Team Cross thoroughly enjoyed the launch event of this year’s Leicester Comedy Festival, held at the 25 comedy club; there were many laughs, achy faces and tears of laughter. It was a nice touch to see the organisation introduce their sister festival, Kids Comedy Festival, for the first time this year, helping to make comedy more accessible for the whole family. We had the pleasure of hosting our annual Sponsors and Ambassadors evening at the Queen Victoria Arts Club. All of the companies we are working with for this year’s Niche Magazine Business Awards came together for a few glasses of fizz and to get to know one another. Hearing from our headline sponsors Paradigm Wills and Legal Services we were thrilled to learn why they chose to become so heavily involved in this years awards. Panic not – we captured most of this on film which we will be releasing over to coming months.



March 1st saw our crazy golf tournament at Caddyshackers in aid of Hope Against Cancer. It was a great day packed full of fun, jokes and competitive spirit! There were some great shots from participating teams - look out for our captures on social media. After completing the first two modules of my post-grad in Executive Business Coaching at Leicester Castle Business School, I have started to implement the practices I’m training in to benefit the team here at Cross. The direct impact has been really positive so far and we are all looking forward to seeing the results roll out. As I am educating in coaching, I felt it was important to also be coached, and so we are working closely with WiserWays to implement more change into the workplace. We have lots of exciting plans we’re making with them, so watch this space! Issue 31 is packed full of interesting topics, including great quality hot topics on managing your time efficiently, columns on future divorce, as well as exciting partnership news for the Leicester Falcons American Football club and so much more.



NEWS 08 Business News 10 Sarah Harrison 12 Everards

BUSINESS FOCUS 14 Nucleus HR 15 Affinity HRM 17 Time Management 21 Finance 22 Claremont Financial Planning 25 BGS Accounting 25 2XL Commercial 26 Torr Waterfield 28 Digital Tax 29 Finance Lab 31 BGS Accounting 36 Legal Columns

Featuring Glynis Wright & Co,

Hollingsworths Solicitors and

Paradigm Wills & Legal Services

37 Paradigm Wills & Legal Services 39 Hollingsworths Solicitors 41 Soar Valley Press 42 Marketing 44 Incite 46 Base 8 Innovations 48 J Nandha Photography 50 Management Information 54 Manufacturing Forum

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58 Property columns

Featuring Fothergill Wyatt, Oadby House and Wells McFarlane

60 Fothergill Wyatt 58 Utility Warehouse 66 Property columns

Featuring Ponds by Michael Wheat and

Leicestershire Garden Design

68 Health columns

Featuring Rossell Fitness, Function Jigsaw and Priti Coles

72 Debbie Moore Coaching 74 Foodcourt 76 St Martins House 79 Beautiful Pubs

SPORTS 81 Sports

Featuring Oadby and Leicester Gymnastics Club

82 84 86 87 88

Matt Piper Leicester Falcons Leicester Riders Outlaws Leicester Racecourse

SOCIAL 94 Eden Hall 96 Tracey Miller Culture 96 Amwell Care Home 98 Focus 99 Menphys

31 COVER STORY BGS Accounting

10 New Walk Museum

82 Matt Piper

22 Claremont Financial Planning

88 Leicester Racecourse NICHE | 07


QDTS main contractors discuss £5 million development on iconic picture house The Old Picture House on Tamworth Street in Lichfield has been sat empty for 10 years – but no longer. The tired building has now been demolished and redeveloped into a new mixeduse four storey residential development worth £5 million. QDTS are the main contractor, aided by Somerton Jones and Lodge Park Homes. The Leicestershirebased contractor is working with experienced architects to create a building that fits in seamlessly with the surrounding Georgian architecture. As a company that has worked on several housing projects in the past, they are well placed to work on the Old Picture House, to transform it into an iconic building once again, attracting more visitors to the town of Lichfield.

The treasured façade will be restored to its former glory because of its historic significance to Lichfield, whilst the back of the area will be developed into an apartment building containing 38 new premium apartments. Complete with retail space on the ground floor and secure, private covered car parking, this new high-specification development provides essential housing to aid the Greater Birmingham housing shortage. Managing director of QDTS, Terry Benson, has said: “The team at QDTS are very proud to be the main contractor for this project, and we can’t wait to see how it impacts the local community.” The multi-disciplined contractor are working with

experienced architects to create a building that fits in with the surrounding Georgian architecture of the city of Lichfield. QDTS have a wide range of passionate and experienced partner consultants which makes it easy to deliver architectural and structural design on this project.

VAT changes to retained deposits taken effect When a payment is made to secure bookings for goods and services, a deposit from that payment is retained, which are subsequently not taken up. Whilst hotels, restaurants and other such businesses were previously exempt from VAT charges on retained deposits - they were keeping the payments as compensation for having held a table or room and was cancelled, that has now changed. Following two recent European Court rulings, companies whose services require customers to make a deposit or down-payment are now responsible for paying VAT to HMRC on the deposits on goods or services that haven’t been used. This change took effect from Friday 1st March 2019, though any bookings that had been cancelled or failed to be honoured before Friday 1st March will be subject to HMRC’s previous policy - VAT will not be charged on those deposits. 08 | NICHE

Brent Goodwin ACA, VAT Manager at Newby Castleman, said: “It’s important that businesses are aware of this upcoming policy change. Until now, they have had the right to retain deposits on the unfulfilled supply of goods or services without any VAT implications; however, this is now changing. “Any business which has previously kept deposits under these circumstances should prepare to pay VAT on those sums retained in relation to bookings, goods or services that are cancelled or not honoured from 1st March 2019.” Newby Castleman is one of the Midlands’ leading independent accountancy firms, with offices in Leicester and Loughborough. It offers a range of specialist financial services, business and tax advice for individuals and businesses. 0116 254 9262

Looking back: 2020 remembering Oscar winner Olivia Colman

Loughborough Uni to host college sports showpiece The student American Football Final 2019 has been confirmed for Loughborough University’s state-ofthe-art Rugby Rubber Crumb pitch on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) premier league and division one Finals will be happening on the same day in Loughborough - with both BUCS and BAFA looking towards a more festival experience and an emphasis on American-style excitement and entertainment both on and off the pitch. The two finals will also be live streamed on the BUCS YouTube channel and Facebook page. The organisers are looking to create an improved and interactive atmosphere inside a much more intimate venue. Leicester Falcons President, Guy Kersey is BAFA’s (British American Football Association) event manager for finals day. Guy has organised and run highly successful senior Britbowls before and is also an experienced events professional with his own specialist company in the field. Jenny Morris, Head of Sport Delivery & Performance for BUCS, says: “We’re absolutely thrilled at the

prospect of heading to Loughborough for the first time for the BUCS American Football Championship and Trophy Finals 2019. Loughborough is a university and a town synonymous with sporting prowess and the venue will undoubtedly provide a thrilling spectacle for players, coaches, and fans alike.” BAFA Operations Director, Steve Rains, adds: “We are delighted to be organising the hosting of the American Football Finals day on behalf of BUCS, at a renowned and revered sporting facility which will provide all in attendance with an amazing and rewarding experience. There will be raised standing for 2,000 extra people and a temporary stand for another 400 spectators added, as well as a 9.5m LED screen to show replays and highlights. Wherever you are you won’t miss a moment of the action. Food, music and drink will be bigger and better - including an outdoor bar, pizza, hotdog and burger outlets, as well as Leicester’s legendary ‘Plukd Chicken’. There will also be a first floor indoor retail and exhibition area where attendees can purchase merchandise and memorabilia.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock without a television, you will by now know all about who-wonwhat at this years Oscars Academy awards ceremony. After winning over new fans with her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, Olivia Coleman is fast becoming a national treasure. Olivia won “Best Actress” at this year’s Academy Awards for her stunning performance as Queen Anne in The Favourite, a historical satire period drama that examines the relationship between two cousins vying to be court favourites of Queen Anne. Leicester-based 2020 Media International look back and reminisce over working with Olivia on a training video about sexual harassment at work. Over 20 years ago, a young Olivia Colman helped to make the training video. Rob Potter, CEO of 2020 Media International, said: “Who would have thought that this shy, modest young actress straight out of college would go on to be a global superstar- yet without losing any that endearing modesty! “Even in her days of acting, her commitment to being the very best she could be, was so evident to the team at 2020 Media.” Olivia is the fourth Oscar winner that 2020 media have worked with. Previously, they have made videos with other great actors - Richard Attenborough, John Hurt and Emma Thompson. NICHE | 09


New Walk

Museum & Art Gallery

Free Entry since 1849 City Centre Director Sarah Harrison tells us about some of the exhibits displaying this year


The New Walk Museum and Art Gallery originated in 1849, when the Literary and Philosophical Society formally presented its collections. It has grown and developed over the last 170 years, making it one of the premier museums in the region. The family-friendly galleries include the new Life and Death in Ancient Egypt Galleries, Dinosaurs, The Wild Space, The Den gallery for under-fives, the Victorian art gallery, Arts and Crafts gallery, Picasso Ceramics: The Attenborough Collection, modern and contemporary art, World Arts and Leicester’s internationally renowned collection of German Expressionism. The museum welcomes a vast array of temporary and touring exhibitions, works from collections, and a programme of contemporary art and craft displays. Enjoy a range of events, talks and lunchtime concerts; you’re always welcome to browse the extensive range of exhibition merchandise and contemporary crafts, or have coffee at Costa. New Walk Museum and Art Gallery is licensed for weddings, civil ceremonies, vow renewals and naming ceremonies; if you’re looking for somewhere different for your event, then look no further! Since 2018, Leicester Arts and Museums has been a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) – it has four years of investment from Arts Council England (AC) to develop its overall offering to give it increasing value in people’s lives and attract audiences. The aim is to create a quality exhibition programme that is a core part of the culture of Leicester, celebrating and inspiring local communities and visitors to the city.

10 | NICHE

New Ancient Egypt Gallery

A new family-friendly gallery opened at the museum in October 2018, covering the earliest evidence of humanity through to the Byzantine period in the first millenium AD; the gallery provides an insight into daily life and death of Ancient Egyptians. Over 400 artefacts feature in what is the best collection of its kind in the East Midlands, with some objects bequeathed to the city by John Mason Cook – the son of local travel pioneer Thomas Cook; some objects were found through excavations by British archaeologists in the 19th century. The gallery is split into two parts across two spaces; the first gallery is a light, airy space with the feel of a farming village by the Nile. Objects and models reflecting daily life are displayed, including children’s toys and clothing, such as a colourful knitted Coptic sock from around 300 AD. The second gallery is enclosed and dark, imitating an ancient tomb, and contains the mummified bodies of four ancient Egyptians: Bes-en-mut, Ta-Bes, Pe-iuy and Pa-nesit-tawy, with photographs and x-rays showing the mummification process. Funerary objects include two linen fragments from the Book of the Dead and a colourfully-painted ‘shabti’ figurine created as a worker for the deceased in the afterlife. The new gallery is visually stunning, ideal for schools, families and individuals with an interest in Ancient Egypt. There is a great programme for 2019 and the following represent some of the key exhibitions coming up this year:


Siam through the Lens of John Thomson 1865-66 February 9 – March 31 2019

A stunning exhibition of large-size photographs, enlarged from the original 19th century photographic plates of John Thomson (1837-1921). This pioneering 19th century Scottish photographer explored China and Siam in the 1860s. The photographic technology, including large format camera and wet-collodion process plates, was cutting edge for its time. Photography had only been invented some 20 years previously. He photographed King Mongkut Rama IV, his royal family and entourage and several royal ceremonies. With special travel permissions from the King, Thomson travelled to Cambodia and was the first to photograph the ancient site of Angkor Wat. The range, depth and sensitivity of John Thomson’s photographic vision marks him as one of the most important travel photographers of his time. Exhibition curated by Narisa Chakrabongse and Betty Yao MBE.

Coming Home: Richard III Portrait from the National Portrait Gallery June 8 – September 22

Mods: Shaping a Generation April 13 – June 30 2019

This exhibition tells the story of the 1960s Mod scene in Leicester and Nottingham through eye witness accounts and previously unpublished images. The show celebrates the 40th anniversary of the release of The Who’s cult film Quadrophenia, with displays of original clothing, scooters and other material from the movie. The exhibition is a partnership with Soft Touch Arts and Arch Creatives and has been supported by the National Lottery Fund and Bid Leicester.

One of the most popular portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, the instantly recognisable portrait of Richard III is coming to New Walk Museum as part of the national Coming Home project. The portrait is one of 50 being lent by the National Portrait Gallery from the national collection to travel to towns and cities across the UK. Working in partnership with the King Richard III Visitor Centre and Leicester Cathedral, the exhibition will explore the story of King Richard III and his famous rediscovery in a Leicester car park. Look out for ways to give your views about what Richard III means to Leicester. The exhibition has been made possible by support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and generous contributions from The Thompson Family Charitable Trust.

The Wonderful World of Ladybird Book Artists

July 13 – September 1

This exhibition for children of all ages will reveal the talented artists behind the iconic style of Ladybird books. The show will tell the story of the creative talents who made Ladybird books so appealing to many generations of children. It will contain original artworks and props that inspired some of Ladybird’s famous images and explore many of the different book series that were produced by Ladybird. There will be many creative activities for all the family inspired by the Ladybird books. NICHE | 11

Run an independent

pub business If you’re even a little bit intrigued as to how to go about getting into this exciting trade then you need to chat with the team at Everards


It doesn’t matter if you have a bucket load of experience or none at all – it’s about being a people person with a good head for business and a passion for making a difference. All Everards pubs are run as independent businesses and they will support you as much or as little as you need. This will be your own independent business, so you will need some level of investment to get started, but this varies from pub to pub and Everards will talk you through everything. Everards has more than 165 years’ experience in the industry with over 175 pubs in the Midlands –they have some great opportunities in the city, the countryside and everything in between! Here’s how others have started their next chapter with Everards… 0116 201 4260 12 | NICHE

Lee and Kate The Winstanley Arms, Braunstone In the middle of Braunstone Town, a stone’s throw away from J21 of the M1, south Leicestershire, stands The Winstanley Arms. The Winstanley is a big building and it caters for all sorts of people - food lovers, drinkers, locals - but at its heart is that it remains an old fashioned, down to earth pub. A drinkers’ pub which serves good, home-cooked food. The Winstanley is doing well - at a time when many other pubs are struggling - thanks, in no small part, to its licensees, Lee and Kate Coltman, who have run this pub for nearly eight years. Lee was a former supermarket manager. Kate was a nurse. It was a big jump into the unknown becoming licensees. Now they only wish they’d have done it earlier. “I’d just turned 40 and I felt a bit trapped in my job,” says Lee. “I was on good money and I enjoyed it - but I just felt I wanted to do something more, something more interesting.

“It was Kate who said: ‘Well, do you fancy running your own pub?’ and that was it. That was the start. We rang Everards and we had an interview. “From the very start, they were brilliant with us. They made us feel welcome and they were interested in us as people. I really liked that.” Lee and Kate run the The Winstanley Arms now but they started at The Blue Bell, a small pub in Stoney Stanton. “It was out first pub - but I think we took to it pretty quickly and we did well. We doubled the take there - and, at the same time, we took on The Bull at Broughton Astley. “Our area manager told us about The WInstanley. We came over, drank here, had a look around - we liked it, but we felt we could make it better.” The pub runs like a well-oiled machine now. Everyone knows what they’re doing. “And we’re not working ridiculous hours like we did at the start,” says Lee. “We’ve got it sorted.

David Keatley-Lil The White Horse, Quorn “It’s a great job, if you like people and you like being the master of your own destiny. You call the shots. It’s your name above the door. I like that.” One summer’s night nearly a decade ago, David Keatley-Lill and his three brothers sat in The White Horse pub in Quorn watching the final of the Champions’ League. The pub should have been full. It wasn’t. It was virtually empty. “I ordered a steak baguette and when it came, it was barely edible,” remembers David, a former wine sales rep who also lived in the village. He sighed and looked at his brothers. “We could run this place,” he said. “And we could make it better than this.” They nodded. Yeah, they agreed. They could. And that’s how it was left - a pipe dream, really; pub talk, unlikely to come to anything - until a year later,

when the pub came up for sale and David’s ambition turned the dream into a reality. He sketched out a plan, fleshed it out with his brothers and sent it to Everards. They knew this village, they said. They lived here. They knew The White Horse could be better than this. It could be the beating heart, the hub of this community. The long process of repairing the tarnished imaged of The White Horse began that day. That was November, 2009.Today, The White Horse is what David and his brothers - Martyn, Gareth and Adam (although Gareth and Adam left a while ago) - hoped it would be: a busy, well-kept, old pub that is the heart of the village. Today, The White Horse is a successful, well-run pub - but it didn’t become one over night. David explains, “I think we spent

It’s a great job, if you like people and you like being the master of your own destiny

the first six months getting rid of our unsavoury customers - the ones who were coming in from out of town, drinking too much, getting into trouble and giving the place a bad reputation.” Too many decent people from the village were wary of using the pub because of the people who travelled in at the weekends. “We needed to change our customer base,” says David. The White Horse now has a good reputation as a food pub, a drinkers’ pub, a live music venue and a community pub. It’s a hard balance to strike, says David, being all those things to a different group of people. The pub used to take £7,000 a week when they took it over in 2009. They can take that now on a good Friday, and up to £30,000 in a week. How have they done it? “We just try to do what we do well,” said David. “We care.” The pub started its fund-raising community organisation, The White Horse Wishing Well, around five years ago. Initially it was to hand out small cheques to local people who had fallen on hard times. But the fund and its reach has grown. The pub has raised more than £70,000 in five years and has sent local kids to Disneyland, paid for days out and home refurbishments. The planning never stops. All kinds of things have made David Keatley-Lill proud during his time at The White Horse. But nothing more than the good deeds of pub’s charity. “Do I still enjoy it? I love it. I’m never going to retire a rich man - I could probably earn more as a wine rep, working regular 9-5 hours - but I’m proud of what we’ve made this pub. I want to work here until I retire.

Read Lee, Kate and David’s full stories at Give us a call for a chat and let us help you start your next chapter! NICHE | 13



TAXING PAY IN LIEU OF NOTICE HOW HARD CAN IT BE? TONI ROBINSON Director at Nucleus HR Terminating the contracts of difficult employees in an amicable and efficient way is always a challenge for employers – one that is often seen as complicated, littered with potential pitfalls and as a result, is all too often avoided due to the potential risk to the business. Frequently, many employers ask me how to make difficult employee exits smoother; one tool that was always used – depending on the terms of the contract – was to make the payment in lieu of notice tax-free. Historically, if the contract of employment contained an express

clause that allowed the employer to pay the employee in lieu of notice, the payment would be seen as wages, therefore, it would be subject to tax and national insurance. If, however, the contract did not contain such a clause, and there was no custom and practice to pay in lieu of notice, the payment could have been regarded as compensation for a breach of contract – and consequently could be a tax-free payment. However, for any termination since the April 6 2018, payment for notice has to be subject to tax and national

insurance. Provisions in the Finance Act 2017 changed the rules on taxation of termination payments to remove the confusion caused by the wording in the employee’s contract. Ultimately, removing this tool from your armoury shouldn’t prevent employers from tackling difficult employees and taking professional advice on how best to approach the desired exit is recommended. 07960 418 494

nucleushr offers expert insight in all areas of HR ●

HR Strategy & Implementation

Employee Relations

Performance Management

Training & Development

Recruitment & Selection

Employee Reward & Benefit

Lets meet and talk! tel: 07960 418494

14 | NICHE



A new dawn for HR Company Director Aleena Ahmad discusses why her HR consultancy, based in Leicestershire, is paving a new way for HR support for SME’s


Affinity HRM is the brainchild of experienced businesswoman Aleena Ahmad. She has worked in HR for over 14 years in a variety of commercial sectors including retail, pharmacy, finance and accounting. Now, she is using her skills and experience to offer a unique approach to HR and recruitment services. Supporting businesses of all sizes from start-ups employing their first member of staff to well established small and large businesses, there is a package to suit all budgets. Affinity HRM offers a tailored and flexible approach to its clients, offering commercially savvy HR advice and hands-on support. The impact of employment law rights and regulations

can often be underestimated and whether it’s basic operational support or a more strategic approach to HR, Affinity HRM can help take the strain off businesses, leaving you to focus on growing your business. “From the outset, I knew I wanted to build real, honest relationships with my clients and working in close partnership with them is key to our success. I have created an environment in which my clients feel at ease to pick up the phone and know they will benefit from pragmatic advice.” Aleena told us. Thriving on watching her clients succeed, Aleena approaches each client with the same personable, professional manner for which she is rapidly becoming known and appreciated for.

After a chat over coffee to discuss what you might need, Aleena works out a bespoke package. Whether that’s adhoc hours, contracted hours or longer term retainer plans. Aleena is offering businesses the opportunity to access extensive HR expertise in HR without the high cost of an in-house HR team, so you can be sure your HR matters are in safe hands. “HR is about much more than policy and process, it’s about maximising your workforces’ potential. Focus on your people practices and the rest will follow.” Affinity HRM.

07824 887 544

Great Apps for Business MileIQ Tracks your miles

The MileIQ app runs in the background tracking your miles and creating a comprehensive record of your drives. Easily add details such as parking and tolls. MileIQ creates a record of your mileage and sends you weekly reports.

Toggl Hassle-free time tracking

Toggl makes time tracking so simple. Know how much your time is worth? Break down your hours by projects, clients and tasks to see what’s making you money, and what’s holding you back. Toggl will crunch the numbers so you can focus on the planning. Export any report into any format you need, or use our public API to move the data. NICHE | 15

How do you pick yours?

Are you responsible for the recruitment within your organisation? What interview training have you received to ensure you are recruiting the best candidates? How do you measure key competencies against your job description and personal profile? How are you promoting yourself as an Employer of Choice within a candidate driven market? “Eileen Richards Recruitment has worked with Bloor Homes over the past year to deliver Successful Recruitment training to our Director and Management levels across all regions. The team use their wealth of experience within the recruitment industry to provide a unique, tailored workshop aligning closely with our business and sector needs. So far, the training sessions have achieved an overall 99.8% satisfaction rate with interviewing techniques, successful hiring and increased retention occurring as a result.� Jane Gadsby - Senior HR BP - Bloor Homes

For more information regarding the training we deliver onsite, or to book onto one of our courses please contact

0116 254 9710



Time Management

Making every second count From launching your business to reaching its 10 year mark, time is always money, and making every second count is certainly made easier with technology, but how can we make sure we are utilising the right tech


BARRY RANDALL Director at Leicestershire Garden Design


Building a business isn’t easy. Why? Because the days disappear before you ever get through your to-do-list. I’d bet my house on it. There’s some great ways to help overcome time management challenges... but, first. Here’s why (most people) have a big problem with time management. And, it’s all selfinflicted. As soon as you get some time to yourself you fill it with ‘stuff’ to do. So, actually you’ll never have enough time to get everything done, because – if we’re honest – it’s good to be busy... isn’t it? How many times do you promise yourself a few days off when you get your latest project finished only to find yourself ‘inthe-thick-of-it’ on another project? It happens all the time. Here’s the secret sauce. Stop wasting time on low value tasks that are easy to automate. If you’ve got someone in the business who is good at converting sales, get them to

write out – step by step – what they do from start to finish with a client. What do they say? What do they send? How often do they communicate? Then get everyone on your team to do EXACTLY what they do. If most of the sales happen outside the office, get them to record it on a dictaphone or an iphone. Once they’re back in the office you can transcribe the conversation using You then take the transcribed conversation and create your sales script. This is replicable across your business. For example, if you send out quotes to clients and you’re writing out a new proposal for every client, you want to look at your products and write a standard proposal everyone uses, every time. If what you sell is too ‘bespoke’ to do that, look at ways you can package your product, so it’s easier to measure. And, it’s super important to get systems written out in your business, as soon as you know

something works. Systems don’t have to be complicated, in fact they shouldn’t be. If the system is more than five steps it’s over complicated. Here’s three great tools for creating time in your day. Monday ( For managing the day to day process in the company. This is a brilliant way of keeping the communication moving through the company. It also helps everyone to understand all the Better proposals (www. For managing the sales pipeline, making sure all the sales team are performing. It also allows you to see if customers have seen your proposal. Infusionsoft (www.keap).com). For automating follow up emails. Take standard follow up emails, write them once, and have them sent to every new customer who comes on board... and much, much more. Remember, it’s not the time you have. its what you do in the time you have that counts. NICHE | 17


Time Management


LAURENCE DUNCAN Business Coach at WiserWays


JIGNA VARU Global Commercial Director at Microfresh


Based in the heart of the Midlands, with multiple international offices, every minute of my working day counts! Due to the time zone differences, my mornings are dedicated to the far east as their day is coming to an end as my day is beginning; it is the same with Atlanta, where we have opened our most recent office. Growing from three international offices from when I first started, to nine global offices, it became apparent how valuable time is and it must be used efficiently to achieve greater results. Within our global team, I found there was ‘bits of information’ floating around and majority of my time was spent catching up on other people’s conversation to get the full story. It was time for a change; we needed a central point that could compress three hours of a working day into 15-30 minutes. Being a chemical business, there are regulations that we must adhere to on an international level and when it came to looking

18 | NICHE

for new IT technology, it was a crucial requirement for us that information should be shared, stored and accessed by all quickly, but securely. Using a web-based application such as Microsoft Office 365, we’re able to pick and choose which apps in the package suit our business best. One of our key apps is Microsoft Teams which allows me to quickly connect with my team across the global, setting tasks, project management, sharing calendars and many more! The best way to describe it is as ‘whatsapp for business’. The biggest difference I have found is the massive reduction of internal emails, which in turn has increased the team’s productivity. We have recently introduced a new CRM system that makes it easy to identify where prospects/ leads are in the sales process, with regularly reminders/prompts to the sales teams. It’s important for a business to be open to new technologies that will reduce time to increase time efficiency.

My view on time is that it should be invested wisely rather than just spent doing things that aren’t necessary. It does not matter as much what you do, where you do it, or how you do things - just as long as the value per hour of contribution to your business continues to increase. This can be through additional sales, investing in processing systems, investing in strategy development, training your team to manage their time and priorities more effectively, investing in customer communication strategies and more. The increase in your value per hour will result in business growth and increased profitability for certain. When you start to think about your own value per hour, it will also require your team to start thinking about their value per hour. The multiplier effect of multiple team members trying to increase their value per hour within an organisation will have a significant impact on the bottom line. If implementing new tools or using the tools you have at your fingertips increases your value per hour to your business, then great. If not, delegate and move on to something else that will.


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Managing cash flow Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business and with 82 per cent of established business forced to close due to poor cash management it’s a very real concern for companies – large or small

JIM WOOLLEY Consultant at Haines Watts Accountants

F ASHLEY BARRATT Managing Director at CDS


Invoice factoring is fast becoming a dirty word, dubbed the ‘pay day’ loans of small businesses its impact if not managed properly can have a devastating effect on businesses. A recent survey by the Independent Federation of Small Business announced that 80% of all SME failures happened within the first 18 months and were largely down to bad cash flow management. Based on this, it’s easy to see why some owners would rush to push the panic button and factor outstanding invoices giving away two, three, or even ten per cent of their hardearned cash. If you think this is solely a problem for small businesses, you would be wrong; a comparable survey quoted that 41 per cent of large businesses (with a turnover >6.5m) also suffer from cash flow issues. The impacts are less vocalised unless your house is built on sand, like the raft of energy companies going bust but the problem still remains the same. Whilst the above two paragraphs are all doom and

gloom, three simple steps could transform a businesses cash flow outlook and ensure a healthy balance sheet: 1 Shorten your payment terms Whilst this may feel like ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ the reality is a shift from 28 days to 14 days limits the length of a dip in a company’s receivables and ensures the impact is halved. 2 Enforce late payment charges Threatening to charge the Bank of England base rate plus 8% is usually enough to ‘manage company’s behaviours’ around prompt payment and actually charging it could also provide a good revenue source squirrelled away for a rainy day. 3 Use invoice factoring sparingly Every business owner from the budding entrepreneur to the seasoned veteran has at some time over stretched their cash flow whether it be an investment or taking their eye off the ball. Factoring a single invoice to put you back on track is fine but if this becomes common place you are running the risk of becoming another SME statistic.

For a new business start-up, cash flow and raising capital is an especially daunting prospect. It is tempting to take on that large and profitable contract BUT will your business have sufficient cash inflows to fund the associated future costs? Most businesses need external finance from time to time, to support their working capital and future growth. So how can you ensure your business is attractive to potential lenders/investors? Consider the following questions: ◆ Do you have a five-year plan in place for your business? If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you expect someone else to join you on the trip? ◆ Have you discussed with your advisors what finance is likely to be required to achieve the projected outcome and when? A realistic cash flow forecast can be enlightening (and sometimes frightening, but you need to know the facts in order to plan). ◆ What assets (cash/security) are you prepared to inject towards the project? ◆ Do you know your funding options, and have you considered terms such as flexibility, contributions and speed of access? What products are out there and what are the best options for your business? Grants / Loans / Overdrafts / Invoice Finance all have their place. ◆ Have you got all your facts substantiated? In our experience, honesty is the best policy when it comes to funding. An ongoing relationship based on trust goes a long way in unlocking your business future potential to raise cash. Given the range of options, it is imperative to consider your plans regularly and seek professional advice before committing to anything. NICHE | 21

Can money

really buy happiness? It’s a big question – and we try to find the answer while learning about the investment process at the offices of Claremont Financial Planning Ltd, an Associate Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management WORDS BY KERRY SMITH, EMILY KIRTON AND JENNY CROSS


The first step towards answering this question is to make your money grow to see if it really does make you happy. To that end, at Claremont Financial Planning’s offices we’re shown a chart labelled: ‘why investing makes sense’. It indicates that investing in equities, bonds, and property has proved the best way to grow capital and protect it from inflation over the long term. John Kiely, Director of Claremont, explains that if someone invested £100,000 in equities in 1987, then by 2017 it could have been worth over £1.5m. A lot of people are intimidated by this kind of of financial speculation, but John explains the ins and outs in a way that is crystal clear. Another general concern is that this is an expensive process, but John and his son Declan explain our options – and it’s not unaffordable. It soon becomes clear, even to the most financially uninformed person, that using a financial adviser could dramatically improve any return on your investments. Declan explains to us: “You’re investing for the long-term. There

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will be short-term volatility but it’s all about time in the market, not timing. It’s important to stick with the financial markets and not to get swayed by short-term fluctuations.” John adds: “We can’t control the markets but if you’re going to Australia you don’t get off at Dubai and go back home because of a bit of turbulence, do you? What we know is that people have very hectic lives and it can be difficult to find time to manage finances. Most of our clients are busy running companies or employed full time with barely enough time to spend with family at weekend.” They are “the guardians of your wealth,” as Declan puts it. They look after all sorts of clients from truck drivers to high net-worth business owners in all sorts of circumstances. They take care of them should they become widowed, critically ill, or generally unhappy about their life as they know it. But this kind of relationship doesn’t just happen overnight. Declan tells us they can acquire a client in their 30s and be with them well into their retirement and

beyond. John wants to know what kind of person you are, figuring out what you love in life and what holds you back. “Our work is not just transactional, it’s a unique long-lasting relationship,” Declan says. “Most clients aren’t interested in what the product is too much, they want to know about the end game. We need to get the best outcome for them as our clients’ money impacts not only them but their children and their grandchildren.” Mentioning the funeral of one of his clients that the pair will be attending in Aberdeen the week after our interview, John says: “I’m very fond of all my clients and I get upset when something happens to them. If there are illnesses within their family, I will call to see how they are. They know I care about what happens to them.” He continues to explain that there’s a lot of reward in what they do, especially when you’re able to achieve something like relieving the financial burden from the widow of a client. Declan adds: “It’s bad enough having treatment for an illness without the financial worry. That’s why we only


work with a limited amount of product providers that meet certain criteria and precise conditions carrying a good chance of paying out.” Declan aims to become a chartered financial adviser, having joined the company almost four years ago after a previous career in electrical engineering. He realised he thrived on helping people, something he believes financial advisers should be better known for. He studied hard for a year, taking seven exams, joining the St. James’s Place Academy, and completed a presentation to John and St. James’s Place. John told us: “I’m close to all my children but a working relationship can be different so I wanted him to prove that it would work.” Declan went on to highlight the fact that there are now an estimated 25,000 financial advisors (FAs) in the UK compared to around 250,000 back in the ’80s and that this is down to changes in legislation, regulations, and qualification expectations. He wants to change the perception of financial advisers. We’re as impressed as he is with the St. James’s Place processes.

Our work is not just transactional, it’s a unique long-lasting relationship Claremont, and other partners, are reviewed each year by St. James’s Place. A team comes into the office to check all files and processes, and the advice they give out. This way, Claremont is satisfied with their ‘rubber stamp’ and the client has peace of mind that their investments are backed by many specialised experts. The cornerstone of the St. James’s Place Approach to Investment Management is the Investment Committee. The Committee’s role is to ‘manage the fund managers’ on behalf of their clients. In 2018 St. James’s Place conducted 492 fund manager monitoring meetings and had 59 investment professionals working exclusively on behalf of St. James’s Place clients. This equates to 240+

years of industry experience of the Investment Committee members. Declan is passionate about this: “The typical IFA couldn’t do all that and spend on all those resources. Clients have peace of mind that St. James’s Place investments are constantly being monitored. It’s a safety net.” To put the role of the financial adviser into perspective, John ends with: “People are willing to spend £30 a month on lottery tickets with a one in over 45 million chance of winning. Yet there’s around a one in five chance of becoming critically ill, but they’re less willing to spend the same for that protection and payout. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can pay for the things that make you happy.” The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested. 01455 286800

NICHE | 23



MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING: ESSENTIAL? BHAVESH SHAH Director at BGS Accounting Absolutely. As a set of financial and statistical data which can be used by business owners and key management to make timely and meaningful day-today decisions; in my opinion, they are invaluable. Compiled for internal consumption only, unlike financial accounts, management accounts are not compulsory and neither do they need to meet specific standards. But I believe they ought to be considered just as important as their financial accounting counterparts. It can be all too easy for businesses to take a glance at the

turnover section of the accounts for example and feel that they can take all they need from that. This is missing the mark rather, with management accounting proving its worth in many other ways aside from pound signs. Taking a more holistic view of things looking at process rather than simply cash flow, profit or other financial metrics management accounting takes in more readable data. Of course, much depends on who’s viewing them and what they need to take from it, but not utilising them for their quick snapshot of recent business activity is a wasted

opportunity. Another huge benefit to a robust management accounting environment is that the focus of them usually concentrates on shorter periods permitting managers to act quickly on current business conditions and decisions. Offering a unique window into the inner workings of your business, management accounting is a service you can not do without. 07816 130 053







MONEY BACK YOU PAY WHEN WE RECOVER NO SET UP FEES NO UP-FRONT COSTS 0116 268 8965 I City Gate House, St Margaret’s Street, Leicester LE1 3DA I 24 | NICHE


Finance lending: do I need a broker?

“If I had a pound for every time someone said to me ‘the banks aren’t lending’ then I would be sat sipping a Piña Colada in Barbados as opposed to writing this on a wet and windy day in a Leicestershire hotel lobby” – Darren Willoughby tells us more


The facts of the matter remain the same: the banks have always been lending. And, if you are within a reasonable loan-to-value ratio (LTV), and you can prove that you can pay the money back, then you have more than a sporting chance of obtaining finance. Here at 2XL Commercial Finance we ensure deals are prepared and presented accordingly. This increases your chances and gains the best possible pricing, so you get the very best deal.

So, what’s available?

The obvious place to start is the High Street lenders as they will almost certainly guarantee the most competitive rates as well as ongoing traditional banking facilities support. However, a number of banks have pulled out of this marketplace. In the owner-occupier market (buying or refinancing premises to run your business from), some lenders will go up to 85 per cent LTV. You can, on occasion, get

100 per cent funding providing additional security is made available. Whilst we have seen some lenders increase their rates over the last six months, there is certainly no shortage of them around the 70 per cent LTV figure, who – after negotiation – will happily start the pricing discussion around base +2 per cent with up to 25 year repayment terms available. This means that often it is cheaper to buy your premises than to rent, and you have an ongoing investment. When it comes to the second tier, or the challenger banks, the gap between pricing narrows. When the challenger banks first launched, rates were in the eights and nines so were never really an option. But now, we are seeing them in the 4-5 per cent mark, which – if you have failed to obtain funding on the High Street – is a very viable option. For buying property and letting to a third party, the above is pretty


much flipped on its head. Many High Street banks are increasing pricing and putting in place overly onerous debt service covenants whereby the second tier – whilst being marginally more expensive – will allow a client to get more money out of the deal and offer such things as interestonly or repayment holidays. This flexibility used to come at a cost, but we are seeing an increase in clients preferring this option. The key in all of this is to ensure the very best solution for your needs – no two deals are the same. We recently saw a client who had secured an offer from his own bank at base +5.5 per cent. Introduced to the client by their accountant, we secured finance at base +2.5 per cent; a huge saving proving that the role of a broker in securing funding has never been more crucial. 07736 359 413

SERVICES: Commercial Mortgages | Business Loans and Peer-to-Peer Lending | Property Portfolio Funding Buy To Let Mortgages | Development Funding | Finance for Pension Funds | Asset Finance | Commercial, Business, Personal Insurance | Invoice Discounting and Factoring | Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme NICHE | 25

Niche Advert_May.indd 1

Research & 10/04/2017 11:05

are you claiming the tax relief? It’s not just for scientists according to Torrwaterfield – Mike Waterfield discusses how your company may be eligible


In assisting my clients to make R&D tax relief claims since the launch of the government’s appropriately named incentive scheme – some 19 years ago now! – I’ve come across many diverse and interesting projects. I am constantly amazed by the range of innovation in the businesses I work with and admire the dogged enthusiasm of business owners who constantly strive to push the boundaries of what is possible within their respective industry. Many companies fail to appreciate the breadth of activities that may be considered as ‘research and development’ meaning that they miss out on tax refunds, tax savings, or cash credits (for loss making companies). But the R&D tax relief incentive scheme does not just apply to men in white coats and rocket scientists! If you can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions, then there is every chance that your company may qualify for this relief too! 26 | NICHE

Do you: ◆ Employ engineers, scientists or IT personnel? ◆ Undertake engineering or software design or feasibility studies for others or yourself? ◆ Develop (create or improve on) products, processes, materials, devices, services, or systems for others or yourself? Remember, whatever it is your company is looking to introduce, it does not have to be something brand new. It does not even need to be particularly innovative (doing work to replicate the specifications/effects of existing products and/or processes but in a fundamentally different way is equally valid). R&D tax relief applies equally to product, process and systematic improvements. The key thing is that the solution is not readily deducible (ie. there were significant uncertainties around the potential for success and the company faced challenges and

setbacks when attempting to realise the improvements, (specifications and/or functionality sought). Most importantly, success is not required! If you would like to explore this further, please contact me to arrange for one of our R&D tax relief specialists to speak with you.


50:11 7102/40/01

development I am constantly amazed by the range of innovation in the businesses I work with Examples of recent successful claims that we have been involved with include: Industry

Examples of advances sought

Cash/tax benefit

IT systems

Finding out how to manage increasing data volumes without compromising end-to-end latency.

£230k of tax saved over three return periods.

Plastics engineering

Finding out how to integrate new materials and product component combinations into a seamless and efficient manufacturing process without jeopardising the innovative design features and quality of the finished product.

£31k of tax saved over two return periods.

Packaged wipes

Developing a process to impregnate cheaper materials with formulations without jeopardising the material strength or performance in use.

£50k of tax saved over two return periods.

Equipment engineering

Finding out how to use alternative mechanical technologies to replicate the strength and lifting efficiencies of hydraulic processes.

£21k tax refund over two return periods.

Software development

Extending the capabilities of search-based algorithms to accelerate the recognition and navigation of huge data sets.

£23k cash credit.

NICHE | 27

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Did tax just get more taxing? Has the new tax year got you in a spin? The move towards digitalising tax has got many an existing business and new business owners a little perplexed to say


the least, our experts shed some light

Managing Director at MNE

with straightforward affairs to try the new system, ahead of the mandatory introduction of the new rules from April 2019 although it is unclear at this stage on how many businesses have DAVID participated in the pilot. WEIR Keeping digital records and making quarterly updates will Tax Consultant at Torr Waterfield not be mandatory for taxes other than VAT before April 2020. Under the new rules, keeping HMRC is phasing in its landmark digital records will not mean Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime, businesses are mandated to use which will ultimately require digital invoices and receipts, but taxpayers to move to a fully the actual recording of supplies digital tax system. Regulations made and received must be have been issued which set out digital. It is likely that third-party the requirements for MTD for commercial software will be VAT. Under the rules, around required and software will not be one million businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold available from HMRC. The use of spreadsheets will be allowed, (currently £85,000) must keep but they will have to be combined digital records for VAT purposes with add-on software to meet and provide their VAT return HMRC’s requirements. information to HMRC using MTD In the long run, HMRC is functional compatible software. still looking to a scenario where The new rules take effect income tax updates are made from 1 April 2019, where a taxpayer has a VAT quarter which quarterly and digitally, and this is really what the VAT provisions begins on that date, or otherwise applying from April 2019 from the first day of a taxpayer’s anticipate. HMRC’s goal is to first VAT period beginning after 1 become one of the most digitally April 2019. HMRC have recently advanced tax administrators in announced that the rules will the world, with the aim of making affect some VAT-registered the tax system more effective and businesses with more complex efficient and easier for taxpayers requirements from 1 October to get their tax right. Fundamental 2019. Included in the deferred changes will however take time start date category are VAT to implement and embed and groups and businesses using the business owners will be at the annual accounting scheme. forefront of these changes during HMRC has been running the transition. a pilot scheme for businesses


28 | NICHE


There have been a lot concerns surrounding Making Tax Digital, particularly for businesses who have historically used spreadsheets, desktop software or simply kept records manually. There’s no doubt that come April, this will be a huge change for those businesses. I’m in no doubt that the pessimistic, ‘glass half empty’ attitude towards MTD from business owners has stemmed from their advisors and accountants, causing unnecessary uncertainty and distress. Typically, this has come from ‘ye olde’ accountants who have rested on their laurels, are still using ledgers and not kept up with technological advancements in the industry. The truth is, business owners (and I guess accountants too) should be seeing Making Tax Digital as a way to future-proof how company finances are managed. Yes, MTD is a way for the government to plug a rather large gap in missed tax, however the benefits for a business completely outstrip the benefits for HMRC. MTD will mean less manual entry, so fewer mistakes. Calculating tax will be more accurate in giving you relevant information in real-time, so no nasty surprises. If you’re still using spreadsheets, the whole process of managing your finances will be simpler, saving you time and money. In fact, recent research by Sage has suggested that small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) would save on average £17,000 annually. The MTD initiative should reduce stress, providing an easier, faster and more efficient way of record keeping and accounting compliance. If you’re already using cloud accounting software such as Xero, Quickbooks or Sage, the chances are pretty high that you’re already MTD compliant. To avoid any potential fines from April 1, SMEs should be looking to accounting software in order to send figures directly to HMRC. This is by far and away the easiest route to being MTD ready. If you asked business owners what was the one precious commodity they lacked, most would say it’s time. I think we can all agree that businesses need to embrace the digital world. MTD is one step in the digital revolution.



are you paying for? On January 16 2019, a true legend of the investment industry passed away at the age of 89. Rajesh Modha talks of his impact on the industry


There is every chance that you will not have heard of Mr John Bogle, and in turn there is a good chance that you may not have heard of the investment company he founded, Vanguard. His work has transformed the industry and in one way or another will have affected how your money within your pension, ISA or unit trust is invested. Vanguard currently has over $5 trillion (yes you read that right) of assets under management. That makes it the world’s largest mutual fund company – and it is still growing. Fast. So, you may ask yourself, why hasn’t my adviser mentioned them to me? When John Bogle set up Vanguard in 1975, he created the first index mutual fund; index funds were Bogle’s revolution. It was his theory that an average investor would do far better owning a small piece of the entire market as opposed to paying a mutual fund manager endless fees to frequently perform worse than the market. How do you justify your fee if all you’re doing is holding the market? You see, what the financial services industry continually forgets to

mention is that the majority of academic studies pretty much provide the same results. Costs matter. There is a direct correlation between what you pay and the results you receive. The higher the costs, the worse the performance is over time. So, that so-called ‘fund management expertise’ you’re paying for – sorry to be the bearer of bad news, it’s not worth it. Study after study confirms that after costs, these funds all fail to beat the market. Hold the entire market – diversify, diversify and diversify. Therefore, I hold the global market with Vanguard & Dimensional Fund Advisors. All for approximately 0.35%. Investments are volatile, you need to stay the course. History is littered with those of you who sold when the markets crashed; a long-term investment perspective will provide you with the ‘return of the capital market’. This is no short-term solution. It’s a ‘get wealthy slowly’ solution that will last generations. My advice? Do not get emotional – this is tough! Especially as your life savings are on the line. I hear clients say regularly: “Does no-one understand the life I have planned for, with the money in my pension


and investments?” This is where a great financial planner comes in. A great financial planner wants to learn everything about ‘your money story’. What are your aspirations? Your fears, you know, all the kinds of things that keep you up at night. Why? Because there will be occasions when these fears and your money story will blow up your plan… because, I understand you. I won’t let you! This is why you pay the fee to your adviser. Everything else is just dressing. The list can go on, but I’m out of space. The late and great John Bogle set the scene for what the investment experience should be like for the investor. What value are you receiving for the fee you are paying – in pounds and pence? Ask yourself these kinds of questions. I genuinely hope it matches your requirements – if it doesn’t you know where to find me. 0116 262 1414

NICHE | 29















“We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle” Sir Winston Churchill

Changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief: Do you still qualify? Until recently, if you had shares in a trading company you were usually eligible for entrepreneurs’ relief when you came to sell those shares – reducing your capital gains tax liability to 10% from the usual 20%. To qualify, the company simply had to be a trading concern for the year before the sale, rather than an investment business, you had to be an officer or an employee of the company for the same period, and the family had to be the shareholder’s personal company for that year, too. This last condition broadly meant that you had to hold 5% of the company’s shares and those shares had to give you 5% of the voting power of the company. Then, without warning, the Chancellor moved the goalposts so that shareholders must also have the rights to 5% or more of the dividends and 5% or more of the proceeds if the company were wound up. As a result, some people immediately lost their right to entrepreneurs’ relief, perhaps because they held 5% or more of the shares of the company but did not have rights to 5% or more of the dividends that would be paid. The rule change also caused problems for companies with “alphabet shares”, where the shares are designed so that a different rate of dividend can be voted on each class of share. Fortunately, HMRC bowed to pressure and amended the new rule to provide an alternative test of whether the shareholder would receive at least 5% of the proceeds if the shares were sold. In most cases involving alphabet shares, this should allow shareholders to claim entrepreneurs’ relief, even if they are not entitled to 5% of dividends or proceeds of a winding up. The qualifying period has also been extended from one year to two years for disposals on or after April 6 2019. So, if, for example, you acquired shares in November 2017 and sell them between December 2018 and March 31 2019, you will qualify for entrepreneurs’ relief because you will have held them for at least a year. If the sale is delayed until after April 5, though, the two-year period applies and you will need to defer your disposal until, say, December 2019.

UK tax legislation is the most complex in the world and, when you’re looking at the Taxation of Company Reorganisations, Pete literally wrote the book The Miller Partnership are experts in all aspects of corporation tax. Our specialities include: Taxation of corporate transactions, mergers, acquisitions, disposals, demergers, reorganisations & reconstructions HMRC clearances Transactions in securities anti-avoidance legislation Taxation of corporate intangible assets & goodwill Disguised remuneration Taxation of partnerships Patent Box

T: 0116 208 1020 M: 07802 197 269 The Miller Partnership New Walk House, 108 New Walk, Leicester LE1 6UF


The next wave

in accounting A start-up company that moved into sought-after office hub space The Dock is shouting about its services after cementing its branding


To be invited to reside at The Dock in Exploration Drive, home to the National Space Centre, a company must be high tech, low carbon and, most importantly, innovative. BGS Accounting’s creative branding certainly conveys that image. “We bring numbers to life,” says the Director of BGS, Gurbinder Singh


(better known as Gubs). he admits that sounds cheesy, but this is how the company makes it possible to offer the full spectrum of services in accounting. And – together with fellow Director Bhavesh Shah (better known as Bhav) – the pair just cannot help themselves when it comes to going the extra mile for their clients.

We offer a strategic side to accounting. Our experience brings added value to the client

Bhav said: “We offer a strategic side to accounting. Our experience brings added value to the client, which can include services like management accounts, three to five-year plans, KPIs, and much more.” Explaining further, Gubs told us: “Normal accountants concentrate on what the numbers are. However,

We’re in partnership with you from the start and we want to be a part of the journey with you we add value by concentrating on the reasons behind the numbers. By providing details on sales, costs and profit, we can consult with the client on how they can improve things, and ultimately make larger profits. It’s the next wave of what we do: giving suggestions and advice. “We did this for a client who said they were making profit and that’s all they wanted to know. But when we came back with a detailed report on their sales, we were able to identify trends and promote slow moving stock accordingly which, as a result, improved profits. The client said, ‘this is exactly what we needed!’ But they didn’t even realise they needed it. If we were conventional accountants, we couldn’t have done all that.” Bhav added: “We’re here to change the norm. Every time a client calls an accountant, they’re on the clock, whereas we offer a fixed price service, so they do not have any surprises about fees.” The new business – which started up in August 2018 – is built on the foundations of a lifelong friendship. The pair took their university exams 32 | NICHE

together, holidayed together, and were best men at each other’s weddings. Wanting these foundations to underpin all they do, Gubs and Bhav become their clients’ friends so they know they can turn to the trustworthy accountants with any questions or issues. This ethic runs throughout the BGS branding: the shaking hands graphic, the first name email addresses, and the casual language used in their reading material. The importance of building seamless relationships is communicated with the infinity symbol that makes up the BGS logo. The friendly, down-to-earth duo had worked for large corporates such as Mattioli Woods, Bellrock Facilities Management, Santander and Next, where dealing with commercial accounting matters and explaining numbers to non-financial clients were the norm. It could be seen as a fortunate event that both Gubs and Bhav were made redundant from their positions around the same time. Over a beer, the idea formed to set up their own company. “Alongside my job, I was accounting privately so I already had a

lot of the software and authorisations in place to start a business,” Gubs explained. “Redundancy gave us the nudge we needed to set up our own company.” Having the freedom and independence to go about their business in their own way, they based everything they do at BGS on humanity. Running a start-up company themselves, they understand the pitfalls and challenges that other start-ups face. They understand that business-owners are experts in their chosen field, and that numbers can often bog leaders down. Gubs said: “We let clients get on with their passion and ensure that they are not distracted by accounting matters such as filing of VAT returns and Companies House submissions. If we can get the processes and reporting right from the outset, companies can grow quickly by focusing their minds on problem areas.” Adding to that, Bhav stated: “We’re in partnership with you from the start and we want to be a part of the journey with you. We can assist in making sure that the management information provided is powerful and relevant and is available to be used for decision-making purposes. To achieve this, the majority of big companies have large finance functions, we however, can be an extension of your team so you are able to benefit from such a provision. “So, whether you are proactive and have everything set up correctly, or if you are in a bit of a muddle, and require some assistance, there is rarely an issue we haven’t dealt with before. We’ll be able to get you back on track.” If you have any accounting queries, BGS invites you to get in touch.

COMPLIANCE SERVICES • Self-assessment (SA100 and SA302)

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS DELIVERING SUCCESS Whether you’re an SME, a serial entrepreneur or a brand-new start up, we know your time is precious. Our job is to take away the hassle of accounting, bookkeeping and more, so you can spend more time growing your business and serving your customers.

Whether you’d like to discuss how we can help, set up a meeting or just ask a quick question, get in touch today. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

We can submit accurate, complete tax returns and confirmation statements, maximise tax savings and help you manage and plan for tax payments. We can produce clear reports to help you understand your business’s performance and potential, and we can even give you the tools and insights you need to take your business to the next level.

Gurbinder Singh 07816 130 053

• Limited company, sole-trader, partnership and landlord accounts • Companies House submissions and updates • Corporation tax (CT600) • Payroll (RTI submissions and PAYE)

Contact Bhavesh Shah 07940 780 751

TRANSACTIONAL SERVICES • Invoicing • Purchasing • Credit control • Bank reconciliation • Outsourced payroll • Bookkeeping • People management

STRATEGIC INSIGHT • Management accounts • KPIs and dashboards • Business partnering • Xero implementation • Financial modelling • Budgeting and forecasting • Cloud accounting • Process improvement • Training and mentoring

Working in partnership with each other, and with you BGS Accounting Limited, The Dock, 75 Exploration Drive, Leicester, LE4 5NU

PUTTING YOUR MIND AT EASE Thinking about when we are no longer here and what will happen is something that naturally, none of us want to do, but we must Creating a Will is paramount in order for your children, grandchildren and relatives to inherit what you want them to. This is where Paradigm Wills and Legal Services come in. A team of expert advisers, the firm have offices in Leicester and London and are committed to giving you the very best professional advice when it comes to Trust Planning and creating Lasting Power of Attorneys. Will writing is an area in which the team at Paradigm Wills and Legal Services specialise in; creating a Will involves dividing up your assets in line with your wishes – leaving you with peace of mind that when you are no longer here, your wishes will be carried out. Safeguarding your finances is an extremely important process, and the team at Paradigm Wills and Legal Services are on hand to guide you through this process from beginning to end. Not only does Paradigm Wills and Legal Services help to create a Will for you, they can also provide help with a Living Will also known as an Advanced Directive – it’s very important to have, particularly if you’re suffering from an illness. A Living Will is used while you’re alive and it will include instructions to doctors on how you wish to live and at what point to cease treatment, should that be your wish.

The firm team can also assist with a range of other services surrounding end of life preparation. But, it isn’t just the person who has passed away that they focus on. Understanding just how difficult a time it is when a loved one is lost, they can also assist with funeral plans. Providing you with all the necessary information to organise the funeral, you can also plan ahead to cover the costs and the team will offer unwavering financial support.

0800 999 7750



We help With: Divorce Separation FinanceS DiSputeS over chilDren cohabitation breakupS pre nuptial agreementS


0116 238 5680 or viSit:




PROTECTING YOUR ESTATE FROM DIVORCE 101,077 couples divorced in 2015. Some of these cases may have been straight forward however majority of cases can be complex as children maybe involved as well as property and also each wanting to make sure they walk away with what is rightfully theirs or what they believe is rightfully theirs. One important factor that gets missed is that during the lengthy divorce proceeding if either party was to pass away then their share of the estate or whatever they own can end up going to the spouse they are divorcing automatically unless they have made a Will. A Will may already be in place however if this was made during a healthy and loving marriage then this Will could be written to prioritise the spouse however as the marital situation has changed they also need to change the Will. We come across people going through marriage break ups and they want to ensure any property they own, money and savings are passed to people of their choice and not their existing spouse in the event of the inevitable happening and them passing away. If you are going through a marriage break up or divorce then be sure to get your affairs in order. To find out more speak to Paradigm Wills and Legal Services

0800 999 7750 36 | NICHE

Our team at Glynis Wright & Co say there is not necessarily a ‘right’ time to seek advice; in many ways any time is a good time. For example, have you considered that it may be a good idea to get some legal advice before marrying? It is certainly wise to do so if you are bringing wealth and assets into a marriage that you wish to protect, particularly if you are marrying for a second time as you may want to ensure that any savings or property you have acquired prior to that marriage remain, as far as possible, yours. Similarly, you may want to ensure that any children of a first marriage do not have their legacies damaged by a second divorce. In such cases, a prenuptial agreement may protect you should the worst happen, and your marriage breaks down. Although prenuptial agreements are not yet legally binding in this country,

GLYNIS WRIGHT Head of Glynis Wright & Co they are very weighty documents if properly drafted. The courts are both willing and able to take the existence and terms of such an agreement into account upon divorce. For this type of agreement to be as effective as possible should your relationship end, you and your future spouse must both seek independent legal advice, provide each other and your respective lawyers with disclosure of your finances, and give your lawyer at least three months (preferably more) to draw up the prenuptial agreement. Do not leave it too late!

0116 238 5680


GREG HOLLINGSWORTH Director at Hollingsworths Solicitors A shareholders’ agreement is often used to set out the terms governing issues in a limited company. It is a contract between all or some of the shareholders, so can deal with all or some aspects of the relationship between them. If there is no shareholders agreement, the relationship between the shareholders is governed by the Company’s articles and memorandum. This would mean, for example, a shareholder who is a director could be removed as a director by the passing of an ordinary resolution (a simple majority) by the other shareholders. If there are three shareholders each holding a third each of the shares, this would allow two of the shareholders to remove the third

shareholder from being a director and gain control of the Board of Directors. A shareholders’ agreement could protect an individual shareholder from being removed as a director or from being out voted on key decisions. What does it cover? Some of the issues that can be covered include the transfer of shares, selling shares, directorships, what happens on the death of a shareholder and restrictive covenants on the shareholders. The inclusion of restrictive covenants can stop a shareholder setting up a competing business (even if they have resigned as a director and shareholder of the company). In a company with two 50/50 shareholders, the agreement can deal with deadlock situations which can be a common problem in 50/50 situations.

0116 204 7260


Intestacy What happens when you don’t have a valid will?


When a person passes away but hasn’t left behind a Valid Will, they are classed as dying ‘intestate’. Instead of the person’s wishes being followed, the law decides who inherits the estate. The rules of intestacy was initially introduced in 1925 and we can safely say it does not meet modern day requirements. A Will must meet certain requirements in order for it to be valid; it must be made by someone over 18, made voluntary by a person of sound mind, it must be put into writing and signed by the person making the Will in the presence of two witnesses, and must be signed by those two witnesses. There are many different factors that affects the distribution

of the estate. So, if the deceased is married or in a civil partnership and has no children, then the spouse receives the entire estate. However, the addition of children means that everything in the estate - including personal possessions up to the first £250,000 still go to the spouse, but anything above that amount is to be divided in two; half of that goes to the children when they turn 18 and half to the spouse. If the deceased is unmarried but has children, then it is the children that will receive everything when they turn 18 years of age. Although, if the intestate person has no spouse or children, then the entire estate goes to their relatives; starting with their parents, it works its way


down the chain of relatives, to siblings, grandparents and then aunts and uncles. Ultimately, if there are no living relatives, it will go to the Crown, also known as bona vacantia. The Crown can make grants from the estate though it is not obliged to agree to them. 0800 999 7750




At Pattersons Commercial Law, we have spent an incredible amount of time learning about our profession and honing our


skills to give you the best


possible advice. Above all,


we are commercial lawyers with expertise across multiple industry sectors.

FA N C Y H AV I N G A C H AT ? Getting in touch doesn’t cost anything

0116 319 1110 I

2 Pear Tree Business Park, Desford Lane, Ratby, Leicestershire LE6 0PG


Asit’s ten tips

for a start-up business 1

Structure your business to suit you From sole traders and partnerships through to limited companies and social enterprises, your business can be structured in many different ways. Take advice on the best structure for you.


Know your customer When you provide goods and services to a customer, you invoice them for your work and usually will give them credit. This is like loaning them money so make sure you know who your customer is.


Record your contracts Whilst many verbal contracts are just as binding as written ones, it is a lot easier to prove and demonstrate what was agreed if your contract is in writing.


Review your customer/supplier paperwork You need the terms that you buy and sell upon. If reference is made to terms and conditions, find out what they say and what they mean.


Get support from the right people Get professional help when you need it. Prevention is better than cure.


Maintain good records within your business Limited companies must keep records about the company and its financial accounting activities. These must be kept for at least six years from the end of the last financial year they relate to.


Issue employment contracts If you employ people, you must provide them with a document known as a statement of terms within eight weeks of them joining you.


Protect your confidential information and trade secrets Your business may do something in a unique or special way that sets it apart from the competition. Make sure you protect it.

Asit Jansari, Director at Hollingsworths Solicitors


Cash flow is king Many businesses fail because they overstretch themselves and cannot meet the demands of the work as well as fund it. Think carefully about the payment terms you offer to customers and have a plan if you are not paid on time.


Get professional advice if you have a dispute Things can go wrong for many reasons, and disputes can and do arise. If a problem does come about, address it. Get good advice and help with resolving the problem. 0116 204 7260

The National Minimum Wage pitfalls you need to watch for The financial penalties for an inadvertent failure to pay staff at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW) are significant, and penalise employers in order to ensure compliance with the law The National Minimum Wage Regulations are complex, and small businesses, in particular, can easily be caught out. Non-compliance with the letter of the law in this area results in strict liability enforcement by HMRC. In addition to the need to reimburse the cost of any underpayment for existing staff and ex-employees who have been affected, going back up to six years, the employer faces a financial penalty of up to 200 per cent of the total underpayment – in addition to being ‘named and shamed’. 38 | NICHE

Common areas in relation to which employers may be in breach of NMW legislation are as follows: 1 Failure to account for deductions or payments for uniforms or equipment needed for work. 2 Payments for benefits deducted from wages. Apart from accommodation up to the limit of the accommodation offset, which is currently set at £7 per day, no other benefits count towards the NMW. 3 Failure to increase the hourly rate to reflect annual increase or change in age band. Employers should

review pay rates in March each year to ensure increases to the rate of NMW in April do not result in their workers being underpaid. Employers should also keep an eye on the ages of their workers to ensure that their pay continues to comply with the NMW when they move into a different age band or complete the first year of their apprenticeship. Further information can be found at

Civic Dinner 2019 The Leicestershire Law Society Civic Dinner has been hosted every year since 1860 to celebrate with Leicestershire’s Legal, Business, and Educational & Arts Communities


We are extremely honoured to have hosted the Annual Civic Dinner 2019 during Ms. Bushra Ali’s Presidential year at New Walk Museum and Art Gallery which originated in 1849 and sits in the heart of Leicester City Centre. We were proud to have the HM Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire Michael Kapur OBE who delivered a speech on the history of the post; Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach; The Rt Hon Lord Mayor Ross Grant and Lady Mayoress Yasmin Grant; Chairman of the County Council Chairman Ozzy O’Shea and his wife Mrs Jenny O’Shea. We were also honoured to have HM LordLieutenant of Rutland Dr. Sarah Furness, High Bailiff Councillor Manjula Sood and High Sheriff of Rutland Mrs Jarron. We were proud to have members of the Judiciary including HHJ Nicholas Dean QC, District Judge Atkinson, District Judge Stamenkovich and District Judge Afzal.

Our Patrons and Business Partners:

De Montfort University, JLT University of Leicester, Civic and Commercial Cost Lawyers, Jonstar Energy Brokers, Severn Trent Searches, Finance Lab, Easy Internet, Niche Magazine

Our Charities for the year: Zinthiya Trust and After 18

LLS LEGAL AWARDS ANNUAL DINNER 2019 Nominated charities:

Patrons/Business Partners:

Our sponsors for the evening were:

Mr Rahman, Chef & Spice, The Miller Partnership, Bright Legal Solicitors, SKR Legal and Bushra Ali Solicitors NICHE | 39



Nominate now for your favourite business The Niche Magazine Business Awards 2019 are drawing ever closer, and there is still time to put forward your vote


There is still time to nominate businesses for this year’s prestigious ceremony, so if you feel like you know a business that has strived for excellence, then hurry and nominate before April 30. Run by Cross Productions, the awards are entering their fifth year, with some exciting changes. There will be new entertainment during the event, and new categories have been introduced to encompass the vast range of companies: Employer of the Year and Best Family Business are amongst the new categories. One of the categories this year, Best New Business, is sponsored by Hollingsworths solicitors, specialists in commercial law, debt recovery, restrictive covenant advice and dispute resolution and litigation. Established in 2011, Hollingsworths will be sponsoring the award category for the third year in a row. Greg Hollingsworth, director and founder of Hollingsworths solicitors, said: “We love sponsoring this award and championing new Leicestershire businesses.� The winner of Best New Business should be a company that has been trading for less than three years. They must be able to demonstrate a strong plan and performance, as well as being unique and really stand out from the crowd, miles above the rest. The category aims to recognise outstanding new businesses launched locally and support businesses that are just starting out. Other categories include Best Family Business, Charity of the Year, Business Growth, Achievement in Sport, Best Customer Service, Best Small Business, Educational Excellence, Innovation in Business, Businessman of the Year, Professional Services, Digital Business of the Year, Businesswoman of the Year, Employer of the Year and Community Champion.

BEST NEW BUSINESS Proudly sponsored by

We love sponsoring this award and championing new Leicestershire businesses Greg Hollingsworth

You can vote by going to and filling out the form 40 | NICHE



Soar Valley Press

Soar Valley Press

continues to grow Soar Valley Press have extended their production space by over 800sq feet to accommodate a new production zone


An official launch party on April 3 is planned for the new production zone at Soar Valley Press. The new space is designed to increase efficiency in the production process and has been combined with further investment in four new generation finishing lines. Loving their new environment, the team are now equipped to handle print needs in ways not previously possible. It has been designed as a state-of-the-art digital environment. The investment in equipment means folded leaflets and brochures can be produced more quickly, helping to meet shorter deadlines. The addition of precision cutting also increases accuracy, particularly for business

cards and other small items. Short-run packaging, presentation folders, swing tickets, point of sale can all be handled on the new digital die-cutter. The designers can now get creative and show you finished samples, including shaped flyers and mailers. All of these new machines are controlled from digital screens for fast set-up and minimal waste in our fast-moving production zone. Further investment has improved efficiency in wiro-binding, which is proving really popular for workbooks and manuals. Soar Valley Press has built its business on being really responsive to its clients’ requirements, turning work around quickly and to a high


standard. The team takes great care to ensure clients’ needs are met and the business relies on recommendations from its supportive client base. The changes build on these core values and are part of plans to grow across the whole business; it’s the start of a big year for the team at Soar Valley Press. The official launch party of the Production Zone is scheduled for Wednesday April 3. If you would like to network with other local business and attend their launch, please contact the Soar Valley Press team. 0116 259 9955 NICHE | 41


Do you have an intelligent marketing budget? Creating an intelligent marketing budget for any new business is one of the most valuable objectives a business can establish from the start. However, the burning question is, how much budget should you be allocating to it? And, where can it be most effectively directed?


BILLY ALLINGHAM Director Steamin’ Billy


In an age where competition is at an all time high within the pub and restaurant industry due to the growth of the casual dining sector, marketing has never been so critical. A well-defined marketing budget helps us to measure and manage what we invest in acquiring new customers, and reconnecting with existing ones. We are in a constantly changing, fast-paced industry and as a result, we have to be able to react quickly to key trends and changes in the market. For this reason, in recent years we have diverted much of our marketing spend away from more traditional avenues such as print, to less expensive yet often more effective forms - such as social media and inhouse software. Utilising social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook allows us to be able to reach a wider audience much quicker. The analytics available on paid advertising through social media enables us to measure the success of our marketing through this avenue, replicate things that worked or adapt accordingly when unsuccessful. Data is one of the most valuable assets within our business, it allows us to understand exactly

42 | NICHE

who our customers are and also communicate with them on a regular basis. Therefore, a significant proportion of our marketing budget is allocated to Wi-Fi solution software, Wireless Social. The system allows us to collect customer details as they sign into our complimentary Wi-Fi, allowing us to grow the customer database easily and automatically. We operate 12 individual businesses under one umbrella, Steamin’ Billy. Our pubs are situated in different locations across the East Midlands, from the city centre to rural villages and often we target different demographics entirely. So, we have to use our marketing budget accordingly - what works to promote one pub won’t necessarily be successful to market another. We treat our marketing budget for each site independently. Detailed information available to us through our database, social media analytics and Epos system allow us to react accordingly. We use our marketing budget as a guide and benchmark rather than something set in stone. We only spend where really necessary, but if we identify an opportunity that we believe will translate into footfall and sales, we are happy to increase our marketing spend.




MIKE HUTTON Director at Base8 Innovations


Don’t underestimate the value a few seconds of time can make; social media is becoming one of the strongest ways to raise awareness in a cost effective way. The Base 8 Innovations team have identified the strength of sharing their work, their capabilities and their desire to let themselves be seen by sharing Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn several times a week. By putting yourself out there on these platforms you can control content yourself in its entirety and this of course can be hugely beneficial. Feedback shows that it works, and creates healthy sales leads and is a far more subtle way to generate them. Just being at the forefront of someone’s mind through social media can have a profound effect on sales and your image as a company. Base 8 love what we do and are proud of what we deliver, and because it’s so visible it plays into the hands of social media. Of course, there needs to be time taken and consideration over what content you are putting out there, but often the simple day to day activities of your business are enough. There are of course other ways to market yourself, but cost to output ratio social media is hard to beat.

Managing Director at Soar Valley Press

STRETCH YOUR EXHIBITION SPACE Research confirms that exhibiting can offer a great return on your investment. Events like the forthcoming Cross Connections Business Expo in May can give a great boost to SMEs. However, for exhibiting to be effective, you need to think about five key areas: 1 Pre-event marketing – getting your key clients and prospects along to see you 2 The key message your stand conveys and how it will draw attendees to you. 3 The print collateral you have to give to attendees to engage them 4 Have a great competition or prize draw on your stand to attract engagement and obtain contact details for your follow-up. 5 How well planned you are for follow-up after the event. How will you get in touch with them and what can you send them as part of that process? The use of ‘soft signage’ is a new trend that has grown rapidly in the last couple of years; these are cost effective display stands printed on cloth and stretched over metal frames to create a single skin for portable exhibition set ups. Traditional pop-up display stands are still popular, but the prints require careful positioning and the vertical strips don’t always line up when the stand has been used a few times. Stretch stands can come with LED lighting and a wide range of shapes and sizes. Pull-up banners are still incredibly popular for smaller spaces, but they don’t create the same impression as full backdrop displays. If you would like to make the most of your exhibition space, then think about investing in a stretch stand. Co-ordinating your whole plan for preevent, on-the-day and post-event follow-up with consistent branding and messages will add to the effectiveness of your efforts. Design and print companies, such as Soar Valley Press, can be really valuable in helping you plan your exhibition investment, and offer innovative ways to get noticed without breaking your budget.

0116 259 9955 NICHE | 43

Onwards and upwards Incite Video mark their eight month anniversary with a move to state-of-the-art office space


After establishing little more than eight months ago, the team at Incite Video is heading in the right direction and not looking back. With a new state-of-the art double office space complete with built-in studio and a talented growing work force, the team outgrew their first base at the LCB depot so rapidly, they had to upgrade to bigger premises within six months. At the helm is video aficionado and comic book fanatic Adam King, who set up shop in the LCB depot with his business partner Jacob Parker in July of 2018 after spending what he describes as “Far too long doing business someone else’s way”. Adam’s way certainly seems to have worked as they currently 44 | NICHE

take on more than one new client per week, many of them being fairly high profile. Adam’s reveals that he’s been working for TV personality Phil Spencer’s YouTube channel Move IQ, and that, they’ve now formed a lifelong friendship. Although the team are now stacked up with work, they still manage to find time for all important team bonding with plenty of office laughs and team outings. “It’s important to keep the team motivated by giving them lots of encouragement, with a light office vibe and frequent social nights out together. It really makes the late nights in the office worth it.”


Looking for new and exciting ways to elevate your business to the next level? Cross Productions’ mix of products and services are available to all ambitious businesses throughout Leicestershire and beyond. We’ll help you innovate ideas that grab attention, get you noticed in a crowded market and inspire you and your team to achieve great things. Keen to take your business up a level? Get in touch today.



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Adding value

to business Growing digital services company Base 8 Innovations to launch new website package


Martin Underwood, managing director of Base 8 Innovations, and his fellow directors, set the creative agency up in January 2016 and set about working with businesses of all different shapes and sizes with any projects they needed assistance with. From simple Wordpress websites to complex Web-apps, from developing digital strategies to content management systems - clients benefit from Base 8’s expertise in digital design, website and application development and much more. Base 8 Innovations are located in the UK but work internationally with different clients all over the world. The company love helping businesses on projects. Martin said: “We get a real buzz from talking to all types of businesses, from start-ups all the way through to multi-national corporations. At Base 8, we love listening to clients and seeing if we can help and add value to the development and growth of their business. Mike, our sales director, set the bar high, and we all love to work to it.” Creating digital designs,

branding, logos and marketing material including videos and animations, the company has an excellent in-house team behind them, led by Gary Brown, as well as amazing associates that are outsourced when needed. From the early design and concepts of the project, to the complete finished product, Base 8 Innovations love to see projects through right to the end - with over 85 percent of clients returning for further assistance on projects. Base 8 have just launched an exciting new product which will help new and small businesses looking to get themselves online quickly, easily and costeffectively. The unique tool built by Base 8 called ‘The ONE’ is a new package created specifically for clients who don’t want to be left to build their own website and would like valuable expertise and advice from design and development web experts keeping their website simple from day one.The whole concept is that there is the one package to suit and benefit all clients, because it’s so versatile


and flexible. Giving support to clients every step of the way, the client receives full creative control, from start to finish. “We build it, they’re the content designer,” Martin said. The One package includes: ◆ One page website with all the key information regarding someone’s business ◆ One hour of free consultation and advice to support the successful build of the website ◆ One year’s free hosting – to avoid any other hidden costs ◆ One relationship with a team of experienced website developers ◆ One price for the website so businesses know where they stand The One package suits the differing needs of businesses of all shapes and sizes, from a one person team, to a 200 person team. NICHE | 47


Captured The phrase ‘a picture says a thousand words’ couldn’t be more fitting than for the work of J Nandha


This photography and cinematography company with nearly a decade of experience produce award-winning imagery for corporations and private events. J Nandha’s work with high profile business clients includes promotional and testimonial videos, adverts, social media digital work, headshots and carefully curated website content. The team, which comprises of seven highly talented individuals, is headed up by company director Jay Nandha, who with his passion for visuals drives and inspires the team to produce their best in each and every assignment. “Everyone starts out in photography and video work with a passion for images and I’m no exception. The thrill of getting the perfect shot still gets me every time,” he reflects. It’s this passion for creating the perfect shot which drives the ambition for each team member, and it’s infectious. “It’s important that as a team we are all on the same page, that we 48 | NICHE

are all working towards a shared goal of producing nothing short of perfection for each client.” And perfection is what they deliver. Even the awards cabinet is starting to fill up – the company was a finalist at Britain’s Asian Wedding Awards 2019, taking home Videographer of the Year. “It was certainly a proud moment for all of us! It was the ultimate honour for us really.” With a background in photo and video via the family business in India, Jay has built up his experience and training ‘on the job’ learning as he goes, and his organically grown talent is reflected in results that speak for themselves. Jay’s professional yet friendly approach hasn’t gone unnoticed by countless corporations both locally and further afield with many commenting on his passion for his business and his efficiency and natural ‘at ease’ style. Working with clients to understand firstly what make their


business what it is and then what they want out of services, Jay explains that their ‘no one-size fits all’ mentality means that they deliver their brief efficiently and effectively. “Every business has their own requirement, their own purpose and their own vision of where they want to go and what they want it to look like. It’s our job to unearth what that is and create images which make it visual.” From initial client consultation through to post-production and the delivery of final product, the company ensure they visit on location, create a ‘story-book’ on the proposal and then utilise all their high-tech in-house equipment to bring the ideas to life. 07894 501 072

How ambitious is your business? We partner with ambitious businesses to achieve success with brilliant marketing. Our sleeves-up, no-nonsense approach to creative design, digital marketing and content inspires our clients. Together we achieve great things.





Information as an asset Information and its effective management can have a direct and lasting impact on achieving business objectives. Ensuring that information is available to the right person, in the right format, at the right time is the ultimate goal


DARREN WILHOUGHBY Director at 2XL Commercial


As an adviser to clients looking to seek funding, the availability of Management Data is crucial in assisting with new lending applications. Not only do lenders want to see financials but they also want to be able to understand key business relationships that ensure the business runs smoothly - whether that be clients or suppliers. It doesn’t look great for a business if they can’t lay the hands on the crucial info which is the lifeblood of their business - such as year end and management accounts, as well as crucial key performance indicators for their business. As a business, we have implemented a cloud system to allow the whole team to instantly see each other’s cases and paperwork, should anything happen as part of our disaster management plan and

50 | NICHE

also in case of cyber threat. In addition, we log every single case that draws down to be able to instantly tell anyone who wants to know how much we’ve placed this year, who with and any fees generated – this is key to see which lenders are active and winning business in our marketplace. If you can’t understand the numbers within your own business, what hope do you have of doing it in someone else’s? We also regularly track who introduces clients to us and how many actually convert; it’s vital that we understand our business mix and which of our introducers are most valuable to us – I believe firmly in the “Pareto principle” named after Vilfredo Pareto, the Italian Economist, and is an incredible tool for growing your business. For instance, if you can figure out which 20% of your time

produces 80% of your business’ results, you can spend more time on those activities and less time on others. Likewise, by identifying the characteristics of the top 20% of your customers (who represent 80% of your sales) you can find more customers like them and dramatically grow your business. We also introduce other businesses to our clients who can add value so again, it’s something we log and regularly update so we can see who is performing and helping each other’s business reach a common goal. As Vince Lombardi said: “Individual commitment to a group effort that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” All of the above is underpinned by information and how effectively you use it!

Management Information



Operations Director at Cross Productions

Director at Evolve


Data and information is key to decision making and managing your business. As a business owner, you will know how frustrating it is not to have that data at your fingertips particularly when you need to make decisions or be confident about your business performance. Perhaps the person you need to get that information from is not available, or worse; maybe the data exists in so many different places that you need to piece it together. Information and Data Management include the identification, storage, optimisation, guardianship, accessibility and connection of information. Done correctly, these processes can allow your business to take competitive advantage, generate business and innovate through operating more effectively. There are six keys to effective information data management: 1. Attitude to Communication A good approach to information and data management must begin with your attitude towards communication as a business. Without transparency, honesty and regular information exchanges, you may fail your objectives. 2. Leadership Set the tone for the rest of the business and ensure your team are engaged, know and understand the key business objectives and Key Performance Measures and how they will be achieved. 3. Operations Ensure your operations allow you to collect the correct data at the correct time and the right level of granularity. Capture data once and use many times to ensure you have a single version of the truth. Understand the exceptions and what action you are going to take as a result of

the information you receive. 4. Processes Design your process, document them and execute them consistently, so you understand the data and information flows required. 5. Data Make sure it has an owner. Collect consistently, organise and maintain well. Use your data – many businesses have terabytes of data that they don’t use, or they don’t even know they have it! 6. Technology Align your technology to the above key points and ensure it serves your business appropriately. Use your technology to deliver the vision of the business as set out through your leadership and strategy. It must be fit for purpose. It is important to note that it is likely that if you have one of the six keys missing or wrong, this will damage your information and data management considerably. So, whether you are a start-up or a well-seasoned business looking to improve its information provision, do review where your weaknesses are. Discover your weaknesses and then make the changes to help you reach your objectives. As a software company we often provide business intelligence tools to our customers, sometimes in the form of Microsoft Power BI, of Tableau for example. These types of platforms pull together data from multiple sources and generates the meaningful information in understandable formats that are easy for the recipient to understand and take the appropriate action. To take ownership of your data and understand what information is required by the business is the only way to really know what is going on and to gain control. Be the master of your business information: Capture it, own it, share it and use it. Your business will be in a better place.


Part of effective Management Information is getting your processes right. The official definition of a process in business: A collection of linked tasks which find their end in the delivery of a service or product to a client. A business process has also been defined as a set of activities and tasks that, once completed, will accomplish an organisational goal. Why worry about processes? Business owners should always concern themselves with process for three reasons: 1 The way in which tasks are completed and resources are used is what builds unique organisational capabilities. 2 Written, communicated, trained and measured processes enable repeatable and consistent methods. 3 Processes encompass how a business makes decisions, and are a very useful, measured tool when looking to improve aspects of your business. Having clear processes in place and strategically managing this information also allows you to sell up seamlessly making your business far more valuable for your exit strategy in the process. If you want to achieve optimal organisational performance, simply put, you must manage your processes. This will allow you to consistently draw upon the correct procedures and methods for the way in which your business does business. What’s more, having clear processes in place means that the whole of your organisation, from those at management level right through, are all singing from the same hymn sheet. NICHE | 51

Everyman Racing is the leading brand in corporate driving experiences. Operating over the past 39 years, they have hosted multiple events throughout their time. You are spoilt for choice with an eye dropping fleet of over 200+ supercars from the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and more. Treat your staff to a unique experience where they can push a high-performance supercar like a McLaren 720s on a track, or simply let the rear wheels spin in a custom-built extreme Rage buggy. The competitive driving experience allows drivers to put their skills to the test by working together as a team. To find out more and see how Everyman Racing can help you with your corporate day, visit Tel: 01509 892260 E:


Solving the skills shortage With the skill shortage and competitive recruitment market, getting the right people on board for your business can be challenging. So how do you overcome this problem? EMPLOYERS CAN ALSO VOLUNTEER TO GIVE TALKS IN SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS


SHELLEY HARVEY Director at SFB Group


Do you recruit skilled people, train from within or take on apprentices? Or is it a mix of one or more of these? Before recruiting or training, it’s important to identify the exact skills you are lacking in your business and the skills you require to help achieve your short and long-term goals. It could be that the best solution is to develop from within your team. It is important to evaluate your existing employees to identify their strongest skills and how to maximise that potential for the benefit of your business. By reviewing the available skills and profiling your team members, you might discover that you have the right employees but in the wrong roles. Training can be expensive, so profiling can provide significant savings on this investment. The amount of time that needs to be put into developing someone’s weakest skill, could be used to better effect concentrating on their strength and maximising that return. Alternatively, taking on apprentices is a great option as you can hone their skills and develop them specifically to your business. Additionally, don’t be afraid to use a recruitment agent when necessary. They have access to the best skilled workers available and although many businesses are discouraged because of the costs, in the long-term, the benefits to having the right person in your business makes this a solid investment. The core purpose when evaluating your team is forward thinking. It is not just what your business needs today but what it will need over the next few years to enable planned growth.

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Operations Manager at Leicester Education Business Company


With employment rates at a record high, many businesses are finding it difficult to recruit and are also facing rising wage costs. It takes time and effort to attract talent and to market your business in the best possible light. If you don’t have an HR department, this puts the onus on ownermanagers or department leads. There are many young people looking for their first step into the employment market and to reach them, Leicestershire Education Business Company (LEBC) can open doors and give employers some tools to appeal to young people. Most young people want to experience a work placement, either in a voluntary or paid capacity, to build up their skills and experiences. We are always looking to engage employers to offer placements, and this opportunity has mutual benefits to both the young person and employer. To get their company name out there, employers can also volunteer to give talks in schools and colleges about their business. This takes up about half a day and can be done by an enthusiastic staff member who is able to present the business in the best possible light. If an employer does take on a young person, there are incentive grants available. There is also a great benefit to helping young employees develop their skills through structured training frameworks. We currently have 60 CVs in from young people seeking their first job this summer. Schools and colleges actively encourage employers to engage with young people while they are still in education. Whilst some young people know what they want to do job wise, the majority don’t until they start to choose their A-levels or vocational courses. Because of new technology, some of the jobs available are not even on the radar of young people.


EILEEN RICHARDS MBE Director at Eileen Richards Recruitment


As experienced recruiters, we have identified a notable shift within recent years with the current skills gap across multiple industries within the UK. In the past, this alteration has been attributed to many factors including the recession and instability within certain trades, and with Brexit dawning upon us the skills gap threat continues to rise. For employers and hiring managers, this is a concerning time when current employees are moving up within their career paths, leaving a clear gap where fresh talent is failing to seep through. Much of this has been described as a result of a new millennial workforce breaking through with differing interests to previous generations, including an eagerness to join the ever-evolving digital market as opposed to traditional roles. A lack of industry visibility in education has also been listed as a skills gap factor. Many students are choosing to study vocational courses rather than those resulting in specific industry qualifications.

PAUL CARVELL Managing Director at SFB Group



We use psychometric testing (profiling) for recruitment. You can use a variety of tools to create the perfect job profile, helping you to identify the right candidate at the earliest opportunity. You can quickly establish where an individual will fit in best, and the type of manager or team dynamic they will need to feel motivated and settled. Once you have the right people in the right roles, retaining them and their individual skillset can be a challenge and we

Despite some hiring managers being affected very little by this, it is leaving others in a position to compromise certifications for other transferrable skills. Career days and offering work experience will increase a company’s brand awareness amongst younger generations. With competition fiercely escalating, it is likely that active and experienced candidates are in touch with multiple organisations and will be sought out incredibly swiftly. This leads many businesses into an overly competitive negotiation phase regarding salary, benefits and counter offers. Despite this process resulting in a successful hire every now and again, it highlights the importance of continually recruiting to attract high quality people rather than waiting until a chair urgently needs filling. Employees are in a position of power with constant choice and temptation from head-hunters each day. Maintaining staff engagement and satisfaction is crucial and can be managed through regular one-to-one catch ups and the implementation of relevant staff training, enabling members to develop their skill set and increase productivity.

believe this is one of the most important factors in overcoming the current shortage of candidates on the market. So, how does profiling help? We tend to favour the Thomas International Personal Profile Analysis, and more specifically, DISC theory. The theory is that there are four types of personality, each bringing with them different strengths, motivations, and fears. Whilst you can have several characteristics from all personality types, each person will usually associate with one for the majority. You can establish their preferred learning style, what success means to them, and exactly where they will bring the most value to your organisation. You can easily increase engagement and improve efficiency and productivity

simply by combining the right mix of personalities and working strengths. Moreover, you can manage an individual’s expectations and clearly demonstrate what they need to achieve to realise their goals. Once established, you can decide how to orchestrate your business to help them fulfil their full potential. The most successful teams usually have a mix of the four profiles. Spending time learning about an employee demonstrates that their skills are valued. This in turn motivates and engages people, which is an important factor in retaining their services. Ensuring an employee has responsibilities they are comfortable delivering will naturally increase their ability and have a knock-on effect on confidence, efficiency, and customer service.

Here at SFB Group we can help you with your digital filings, can recommend and assist with your bookkeeping and migrating your software onto one of our recommended bookkeeping products. NICHE | 55

Fothergill Wyatt Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors

Top Quality, Spacious, Contemporary Accommodation Uppingham Road, Evington, Leicester ÂŁ899,950 A fabulous three storey, executive, family home located in a private, two property gated development in a popular suburb of Leicester. Spacious, contemporary and finished to the highest of standards with underfloor heating and top quality fixtures and fittings throughout. Accommodation comprises of three reception rooms, magnificent living kitchen, seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, double garage, ample driveway and large lawned rear garden. Easy access to city centre and Evington village and the many facilities they offer and perfectly placed for popular state and private education. Entrance Hall with Cloakroom and Study. Sitting Room with full height windows, French doors to rear garden, inset fireplace with marble hearth and underfloor heating. Family Room with marble flooring and underfloor heating. A delightful, sizable, contemporary living kitchen with ceiling spotlights, glazed French doors and underfloor heating. The kitchen area has a wide

selection of light grey urban gloss wall and floor storage units with granite worktops. First floor landing with Master Ensuite Bedroom, one ensuite bedroom, three other bedrooms and family bathroom. Second floor with two further bedrooms and guest bathroom. This stately home is approached via electronically operated double wrought iron gates with intercom and pedestrian gate along a lit, sweeping, block paved driveway - shared with one other property - with the capacity to park several vehicles. Both front and rear borders to all sides are fenced and there is a large integral, double garage with twin doors, power and light, personnel door to property. To the rear of the property is a large, private, mainly lawned garden with a generous, paved patio and newly planted borders including trees and shrubs EPC rating B.

Fothergill Wyatt Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors 26 Allandale Road Stoneygate Leicester LE2 2DA

0116 270 5900

Nest thermostats

Beautifully designed to keep you comfortable and help save energy.

Nest Thermostat E £199 It’s easy to use. You can turn the heat up or down from anywhere with the Nest app. It’s easy to save energy. And it’s easy to install yourself. With Professional Installation £259 The Nest Learning Thermostat £279 Programmes itself and automatically helps save energy when you’re away. Control it from anywhere using your phone, tablet or computer. The Nest Learning Thermostat should be installed by a professional.

Showroom Open: Monday - Saturday 9am - 5pm The Old Cinema Cropston Road Anstey Leicestershire LE7 7BP

0116 232 3175


call out



Landlords are required by law to ensure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.





BUSINESS IN THE FAST LANE One of the first questions we get asked by commercial tenants seeking new property is around the speed and quality of internet connection. In the past this has proved a major hurdle for owners of rural business parks, to ensure internet connection and speed is fast enough to appeal to businesses where technology sits at the heart of everything they do. The good news is that with improved technologies and availability of fibreoptic broadband and fixed wireless access, there is no reason why rural businesses should not achieve much faster speeds today. This is something we advise our rural landowners on. The Government has pledged a commitment to connecting rural areas and communities to faster fibre internet services with a £250m fund. This has paved the way for new initiatives aimed at supporting rural businesses with new and faster internet services. Narborough Wood Park in Leicestershire is just one example of a rural business park we manage, where its landowner and commercial tenants are benefitting from these types of schemes. Acting on behalf of the landowner, our commercial agents were able to advise commercial tenants at the business park about new part-funded initiatives aimed at improving internet speeds. These changes can make a big difference to potential commercial tenants. If you are an owner of a rural business park or a commercial tenant, investigating funding and initiatives through a commercial agent is invaluable. In today’s fast-paced environment there really is no reason to be left in the slow lane.

01455 559 030 58 | NICHE

Since opening in October 2018, the Oadby House showroom has been particularly popular for our natural wooden flooring provided by Michael John Flooring. Wood flooring continues to be a firm favourite in British households, with its timeless appeal and incredibly durable nature. Ethically sourced wood is also very good for the environment; any trees that are logged to produce flooring are replaced with new trees. Oak is the most popular choice for flooring as it is readily available and hard wearing. It can come in either its natural colour, or it can be coloured in a huge range of shades. If you are looking for a more contemporary style, then grey is the ‘must have’ colour at the moment. Every piece of wood is individual, so the knot and sapwood marks will give every floor a unique look. Natural wood flooring will improve with age and develop

MARK LUCAS Partner at Oadby House characteristics in the same way as a piece of furniture. This cannot be achieved with laminate or other types of flooring. Michael John places a huge emphasis on selecting the highest quality products from the very best manufacturers. At the moment, we are delighted to stock the fantastic Woodpecker flooring collection. The family-run business has a heritage in the timber industry that spans three generations and is one of the most prominent wood flooring suppliers in the industry. Stop by and take a look for yourself next time you’re in Oadby.

0116 254 3924

SPRING BUYING NICOL NIGHTINGALE-SPEAR MARLA Director at Fothergill Wyatt With the sunshine streaming through the windows it finally feels like spring has sprung and now is the perfect time to think about new projects, new investments and new starts. Whether you’re looking to resize, or are focusing on the future and looking to invest in a buy to let property to provide an income, now is the optimum time to act. Typically, the busiest times of year for both property sales and for tenants moving house it’s imperative that you make the most of this window in time. Whether you’re selling or letting, look for an agent who holds a qualification in their field and is a member of a professional body such as RICS, NAEA Propertymark or ARLA Propertymark. Don’t just choose an agent who quotes the highest valuation for your property, but the one who can justify

their valuation with comparable properties and their sold prices. Remain as competitively priced as possible if you are looking for a quick sale and don’t fall in to the trap of saying, “But the house down the street is up for £15,000 more than your valuation” if it has been on the market for months and still hasn’t sold! Finally, if you’re looking for a buy to let investment and aren’t fully up to speed with the wealth of tax changes that have hit the private rental sector in recent years, take advice from an accountant specialising in Property Tax to help you maximise your profits and protect you from any unexpected costs or problems.

0116 270 5900






To buy or not to buy? A question for the bank of mum and dad Being a homeowner in the UK is a very British custom; most Europeans traditionally rent, and it is quite rare for them to buy houses – Lauren Raybould investigates the options at Fothergill Wyatt estate agency


The last decade has seen a trend for less people in the UK owning their own homes with many switching to renting instead. Though this may not always have been the case throughout the years, this tendency is increasing for a number of reasons. As of August last year, a study conducted by Property Rescue found that renting is cheaper in 60 per cent of UK cities, with some seeing a fall in rent prices for the first time in six years. Maybe this is one reason why the British are changing their minds on homeowning. The cheaper option, understandably, is predominantly the one people tend to go with. As it also becomes increasingly difficult for first-

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time buyers to get onto the property ladder, despite the many ‘help-to-buy’ schemes, they turn to renting instead. Whilst a contradicting study by Santander in June 2018 shows that owning a home is cheaper than renting in the UK, this does not take into account that you have to save a lot more money for a deposit. The article suggests it is possible to save over £2,000 a year by buying, but there’s a catch: the average deposit needed by a first-time buyer is £51,905 – money they just don’t have. The average salary for a graduate in 2019 is between £19,000 and £22,000, and according to reports by Instant Offices, those with only one year of

experience (like mainly millennials) earn on average a mere £20,404. This makes it almost impossible to save for a mortgage, whilst renting and paying bills simultaneously. As house prices have risen, banks have tightened mortgages and ‘helpto-buy’ schemes. Consequently, the affordability of houses decreases. According to Zoopla, only 37 per cent of people aged 25-34 now live in a property they own, down from 57 per cent in 2006/07. They may want to become homeowners one day as 60 per cent expect to buy a property, though a hefty 40 per cent of those think it will be at least five years before they’re able to. The idea of owning

NICHE FEATURE Fothergill Wyatt Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors

a house seems to be unreachable, impossible and unrealistic as it becomes more and more expensive. In order to counteract the large deposits that deter first-time buyers to follow their dream of homeowning, Santander recently unveiled a new 100% no deposit mortgage. This sounds like a great plan for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder, with the main advantage being there’s no deposit. However, your guarantor or family member must be willing to put aside their own money into a savings account in order for this mortgage to work. Can the ‘bank of mum and dad’ afford to support first time buyers with this possibility, to change the trend back to buying rather than renting? It carries a few serious risks, the main one being your extended family’s finances. It appears most people would rather rent at the moment than buy a house; currently it’s more affordable, there are too many mortgage schemes asking for impossible deposits or a guarantor to commit to the liability to help out, and with the increase in house prices – yet decrease in rent prices – who wouldn’t want to rent instead? So what choice does that leave potential first-time buyers like me? I’m a recent graduate with a partner, and we are yet to make this huge decision: should we rent a property whilst struggling to save up for our own house, or do we stay lodging where we are and save up a huge amount of money for a mortgage? To afford the deposit and own a place of our own would be the dream, but we may have to look for a pet-loving landlord instead, at least for the time being. Fothergill Wyatt supports youth charity Soft Touch Arts giving Lauren Raybould the opportunity to use her editorial skills on her career in journalism.

0116 270 5900 NICHE | 61


Make a



David Goadby, a Utility Warehouse Distributor, tells us how he is achieving his dreams


Recently, David and his wife Anne celebrated 40 years of marriage by doing 40 special things throughout their Ruby wedding anniversary year. And now in continuation of these positive processes, David has decided to help 40 special people make positive changes in their lives through identifying what they would like to do to achieve their dreams. So, in a nutshell, David is calling for positive and smiling people who are serious about making a difference. He wants you to ask yourself if you would like financial freedom, whether you would like to run your own business, have more family time

and meet new people? If you answered yes to these questions David would like to stress that you can achieve it on a part-time basis where no experience is necessary. The Utility Warehouse College of Excellence provides full professional training and David will be your mentor encouraging and supporting you all the way.


David concludes; “You make money by helping people to save money and make money. I get so much reward on a personal level with this. So, if you are a glass half full person, contact me to see how you can have a brighter future!” 07736 146 400 Authorised Distributor

The Light House Leicester’s Leading Independent Lighting Retailer Open: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm Sunday 11am-4pm


107A/B Hinckley Road, Leicester LE3 OTD ● 0116 233 0303 62 | NICHE

Our brand new Oadby showroom is now open... Visit 88-91 The Parade, Oadby, LE2 5BB

study by Public Health England (PHE) released in 2016 found that the number of five-year-olds with tooth decay had dropped 0116 262 7150

Your leading independent flooring retailer for over 70 years...

NICHE | 67

Our new Kitchen Studio is now open within our showroom in Leicester, where you can talk to our sales team about your dream kitchen. And for a limited time, we’re giving away a free appliance worth up to £800 with every new kitchen*.




Kitchen Studio 15 William St Leicester LE1 1RW near St George’s Retail Park Call 0116 242 9384 or email

*Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.



Ethical, environmentally friendly and biophilia house décor Say goodbye to brass and pink rose gold and say hello to some more

Ebu Desktop Globe £59.99

This decorative black and burnt orange globe comes in two sizes and can be placed on the desk top or a sideboard. The brass tripod gives the globe a suave, vintage feel, a perfect decoration for your office or in your living room.

biophillic products to

Karana Planter on Stand £23.95

This stylish glass planter, placed on a unique geometric stand, is sleek, stylish and striking. A new, inventive way of showcasing your plants in this handmade, fair trade planter

decorate your home as spring is upon us


Pantone’s colour of the year is Living Coral, a vibrant but mellow tone, embracing us with warmth and nourishment, and providing comfort. The nurturing colour does tend to appear in natural surroundings, tying in with the current trend biophilia. Biophilia emphasises the relationship between humans and nature, as well as the connection between the two. Biophilic Design creates a human-centred approach and improves the spaces that we work and live in. It has numerous health and well-being benefits, including decreased post-operative recovery times in a healthcare space, and increased This involves incorporating elements of nature into the environment such as wooden flooring, stones and plants. The natural elements really work well with the ethical and environmentally friendly themes. In a polluted world, what better way to help save the planet by going as environmentally friendly as you can? You’ll be surprised at how stunning ornaments are that you can make out of recycled material.

Grey Rattan Square Cub Baskets (set of two) £24.45

These aesthetically pleasing fair trade baskets are a great way to keep your space uncluttered, whilst giving off a natural, rustic vibe.

Peaceful Buddha Lotus statue £32.19 Consisting of cement and sad, this enlightened buddha meditation would be a great addition to your living room or garden. The solemn statue is picturesque and compliments decorative items such as plants to really give that natural element.

Square Table Top Antique Finish Lantern £23.95

This stunning antique finish, bronze lantern was handmade in India using ethically-sourced recycled glass and metal. The lantern gives a Moroccan feel. Crafted by skilled artisans. NICHE | 65



MAKING THE MOST OF THE SHADE LOOKING AFTER YOUR SPRING BULBS Springtime always carries the idea of ‘starting anew’, when plants blossom after a harsh winter, and leaves start to grow on trees after months of the branches laid bare. Flower bulbs can be categorised into two sections: spring-flowering bulbs, which are planted in the autumn, and summer and autumn flowering-bulbs, which are planted in the spring. Whilst the optimum time for planting spring bulbs was back in October/November, have no fear you can still plant some spring bulbs and they will blossom. Tulips are a great example of certain types of flowers that can still bloom despite only being planted in January. After that, flower bulbs are split into another two categories: hardy bulbs survive in the hard ground throughout the winter (daffodils, tulips, lillies) and the tender bulbs - although they can flower year after year, they have to be dug up autumn and replanted in spring (dahlias, cannas). Here are some top tips for looking after your spring-flowering bulbs: ◆ After blooming in Spring, the foliage starts to fade and ends up going dormant by midsummer: let the foliage naturally go yellow - do not cut it off, it’s important. ◆ Pay attention to bulbs after flowering. It’s always best to get rid of the fading flowers on the bulbs before they use up too much nutrients and energy, and that can go to flower heads about to bloom, instead. ◆ Bulb placement is key - naturalising your patch of bulbs under a tree, or at the base of a fence can really set your garden apart from the rest - providing they’re the right type of flower. ◆ Don’t double plant the same type of bulb - scatter different types of bulbs in an organised way to get a more natural look. 66 | NICHE

Your garden might not be in the prime position for sunlight, but that’s not to say that you can’t still enjoy your time in it. Dense tree canopies can make an area too shady for grass to grow. Tree roots can hog all the water and nutrients around them causing turf to become dry and sparse, letting moss take hold. Artificial turf can solve this problem, giving you that healthy, lush green lawn of your dreams all year round. Another benefit is the money saved by not having to water, fertilise or treat the lawn for pests, weeds and diseases, all of which tend to be aggravated by shady conditions. If you don’t like the idea of artificial lawn or want to keep your natural lawn, increasing the size of a flower bed under the trees can help the look of your garden. Bringing a flower bed out to where the grass dies back means you’ll get a clean and tidy looking lawn without the problem of it dying back under

JODIE FEDORKO Soft Landscaping Designer at Leicestershire Garden Design the trees and spoiling the look. With a careful selection of plants that like dry shade, the area can look very effective. It’s a common perception that seating areas need to be in the sun. If you love the outdoors but don’t want to sit in blistering sun then a patio under trees or under a pergola create secluded, private and magical places to sit in the garden. Why not scrap the area of turf or planting under trees completely and go for a natural looking paved area to enjoy the dappled sun through the trees? Make the space work for you.

0116 214 7076

WHY FILTRATION IS SO IMPORTANT IN A KOI POND LEAH ASSIMACOPOULOS Senior Designer and Marketing Assistant at Ponds by Michael Wheat Koi ponds are like picture frames, and it’s all about what is in the pond; the fish. Japanese Koi can be expensive, this can be due to their heritage. Their life can be tracked, and we know a lot about their line. Israeli Koi are more affordable and more widely available and therefore, most Koi lovers opt for these. They come in beautiful bright colours and people really appreciate the quality of the fish. A lot of what you need to focus on here is the filtration, as it is such an important part. Koi produce a lot more waste than gold fish, for example. You need to make sure you get the biological part of the filtration right. If you cannot keep the water clean it seems pointless to invest in Koi or a Koi pond. If you look

at Koi in the wild, they live in such big ponds and what you are trying to do is condense them into a significantly smaller area. It is a very similar premise to marine and tropical fish tanks. The main consideration for Koi generally, is doing something that looks smart on the outside but is practical in terms of the filtrations to make sure they are healthy and can live long-term. Koi can grow to as big as a metre in length or even bigger. They can also live for a long time and therefore, you need to create a long-term home for them. Email me to get your free copy of ‘Pro-Tips’ for Koi Ponds.

0116 240 3735

We create breathtaking, bespoke koi ponds.

We will transform your ordinary garden into a stunning, beautiful one! Call: 0116 240 3735

Stylish Garden Furniture Rattan-style garden furniture is very in fashion for spring this year. Here are a great selection of trendy furniture that will really add style to your garden.

Lindfield rattan effect six seater garden furniture £275

Have friends coming over for dinner? Why not spend the summer day outdoors on this unique six-seater table. The black has a sleek, polished look that is very trendy and will add style to your garden. To top it off, the chairs are stackable for simple, space saving storage.

Lamorteau four-seater rattan-effect sofa set £189.99

By Lynton Garden This beautiful sofa set is made from poly rattan and has a sleek sophisticated look. The four seater has a flat weave type and boasts comfort with comfy cushions - perfect for the summer.

Two seater rattan bistro dining set £129.99

This two-seater outdoor dining set would be perfect for having lunch in the summer. The mixed brown weave table is topped with 5mm tempered glass, which gives it that sleek sophisticated look. NICHE | 67



PAIN You cannot measure pain, but it’s always so very real to the person suffering it at the time. Science acknowledges that pain is complex and involves the whole person in their world. Understanding your pain, however, is a good way of relieving it. Pain is your brain’s way of telling you that it thinks something is dangerous. At a fundamental level, it’s your brain’s assessment of safety – the pain subsides if it thinks you’re safe. There is no pain centre in the brain, it’s the result of processing in your nervous system. Pain involves a few elements – nerves, immune cells and chemicals. They interact, creating systems of attention, memory and action. The nervous system receives danger signals from tissues and cells that are oxygen depleted, dry, damaged or inflamed. The brain then evaluates the danger signals in relationship to everything else it is processing. Pain is the moment your brain decides something is unsafe and you need to know about it. Pain changes how your immune and nervous systems work. The changes amplify and become entrenched; this is known as sensitization. Sensitization means that we turn up the volume on our alarm system, but we are poor at turning it back down. So, any ongoing pain is due to a sensitive nervous system and you not being able to switch the body’s alarm system off after you have healed.

07795 361 288 68 | NICHE


LUNCH BREAK MINI-MASSAGE, ANYONE? The core of every good wellbeing programme is behaviour change. With the right education, skills, motivation, tools and social support, people can change behaviours. Wellbeing programmes in the workplace are good at helping people adopt and maintain healthy behaviours which in turns leads to lower health risks; and lower health risks reduce susceptibility to chronic disease. With less chronic disease, employees have fewer health care costs – a wellbeing programme like our ‘Fit for Industry’ sees great results in our clients. PA Housing re-launched its wellbeing initiative in 2018 after a brief hiatus. Their goal was to make sure that staff could enjoy a work-life balance with mental wellbeing high on the agenda. As part of this initiative we gave colleagues 15-minute mini massages. Fast forward six months and we now

JULIE HAYTON Managing Director at Function Jigsaw attend monthly. Terry Shuttlewood, PA to the Executive Director at PA Housing, told us the sessions were ‘the most successful aspect of our wellbeing initiative in 2018’. She said: “The team are professional and friendly and provide a great service at a reasonable rate. I’d recommend the services of Function Jigsaw to anyone.” Our clients utilise our services in a variety of ways. Essentially, we work organically with them to adapt and create a programme which gets the very best out of their wellbeing initiatives.

0116 340 0255

TOP FIVE HABITS OF HEALTHY PEOPLE NICOLA ROSSELL Personal Trainer at Rossell Fitness January is long gone and you’re possibly feeling like New Year Resolutions are a distant memory, tinged with a smidgen of guilt and a dollop of shame. Summer body season is fast approaching now, and I want to help you get ahead of the game this year. Weight loss for summer is big business. You’ll start to see diet plans, pills, potions and poultices that claim to be the magic solution to your summer weight loss desires. The reality is that there is no magic pill. There simply isn’t a fast track way of shifting the winter weight if you aren’t prepared to look at your lifestyle choices and your daily habits. Your health and wellbeing reality right now is a product of the choices that you have made over the last weeks, months and years. The good

news is that you have the power in your own hands to change that reality if you don’t like how you feel! If you can identify the top five habits of healthy people who are able to maintain a healthy (and visually satisfying) physique, and emulate those habits in your own lifestyle, you will be shocked by the results (and by how simple weight loss can really be if you commit to making some small changes). Start working on your summer health now and you won’t ever have to experience the mad panic and desperation that goes hand in hand with trying to lose weight in a short period of time! Drop me an email quoting ‘Niche Summer Body’ and I’ll send you my summer body guide, including the top five habits of successfully healthy people so that you can get started!

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Skip the wait and get the treatment you need faster. Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital. If you’re considering knee replacement surgery you might wonder what to expect. From anaesthesia to recovery, Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital fills us in on the process.


Knee Pain. 26 | 04 | 2019

Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital Scraptoft Lane, Leicester LE5 1HY

Living with daily pain and reduced mobility in your knees can have a significant impact on your lifestyle, making even everyday tasks, like housework, feel like a huge challenge. One of the main causes of knee pain and immobility is osteoarthritis (OA), accounting for a great many of the 90,000 knee replacements carried out in England and Wales annually. There are many ways of managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis including exercise, physiotherapy, pain relieving medication, and sometimes injections such as steroid or hyaluronic acid (viscosupplementation). But when the symptoms can’t be managed by these, you may decide you’d like to be considered for a knee replacement.

Deciding on a knee replacement. The decision to carry out knee replacement is made jointly between you, your GP and your surgeon. There’s almost never an absolute indication for knee replacement surgery but ultimately it’s your decision when you can’t live with the pain and the disability. While the average age of a knee replacement patient is 69 years, very many younger patients also benefit from successful knee replacement surgery. Surgeons carry out either a partial (medial, lateral or patello-femoral) or total knee replacement. Which surgery you receive depends on your symptoms and x-ray findings and would follow a discussion with your surgeon about the expected outcomes of each.

Meet our consultant

Knee Pain.

On Friday 26th April 2019 From 17:30 This event is for anyone who is suffering from knee pain and would like to explore their options for treatment. You will receive a complimentary mini one-to-one chat with one of our consultant orthopaedic surgeons on the types of treatments available as well as getting more information on what to consider if you are thinking about treatment.

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Let love back in What do healthy boundaries in relationships look like? How can you use them effectively to allow healthy love into your life? And, are they really that integral to a healthy, happy love life?


Yes, absolutely, says relationship guru Debbie Moore. “All too often I see individuals healing from previous relationships who want to find love again but are unaware they are preventing it or frightened of allowing it back in,” she says. Debbie explains the importance of boundaries: “Often, our personal boundaries and values are overlooked in pursuit of a relationship and we often ‘bend’ them to accommodate another person. This really is to our own detriment.” To have the healthiest relationship, both partners should know each other’s wants, don’t wants, and limits, through ‘honestly communicating your needs without being afraid,’ Debbie tells us. Having boundaries starts with honouring ourselves and acknowledging that we

OFTEN, OUR PERSONAL BOUNDARIES AND VALUES ARE OVERLOOKED IN PURSUIT OF A RELATIONSHIP differ from others. How then, do we discover our boundaries and values and put them into a healthy relationship? “By taking responsibility for ourselves first and foremost and being clear about what matters to us,” replies Debbie. This doesn’t mean being oblivious to how we’re affecting others, neither does it mean habitually accommodating others without considering how things affect

us. By outlining our boundaries clearly, we are communicating to ourselves and others that ‘we matter’ and therefore are in a better position to let a healthy relationship in. And, if boundaries are repeatedly crossed we’re then able to be more realistic with ourselves about whether the situation we are in is healthy or not. Easier said than done? The key is working with the experts to help you identify and communicate your boundaries, and this may feel scary at first. Knowing and skilfully setting boundaries is essential for living a fulfilling, happy, healthy life and relationships. 07808 783 483

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FOOD COURT In this issue, local business people choose their favourite places to eat in Leicestershire

The best eating establishments in Leicestershire ADAM KING


Director at Incite Video

You may not know about Crafty Burger in Saint Martin’s Coffee Shop in St Martin’s Square but once you know, you’ll be back time and time again. Originally set up as a ‘pop up’ restaurant, this is now one of the coolest places in Leicester City Centre to eat and is a regular haunt for me and the team. It’s only open Thursday to Saturday, but it is well worth the visit. My burger of choice is the ‘Farmhouse Jam’ - it consists of a beef patty accompanied by beautiful maple bacon, delicious onion jam, Red Leicester served with their special Crafty Sauce. From burgers to toppings, these Crafty Burgers are



Residential Property Consultant at Wells McFarlane


One of the many great things about living in rural Leicestershire is the variety of village pubs we have on our doorstep, and The Grey Goose at Gilmorton has to be up there as one of the best village pubs within the county. An incredibly welcoming country pub just a stone’s throw from Lutterworth, an open fire roars away as you enter and straight away, the contemporary décor and lavish bar oozes style. A seating area around the bar provides a modern environment to enjoy a drink and has the feel of a contemporary wine bar. The style continues as you move into the dining area, with floor to ceiling wine cabinets displaying a vast

everything you could ask for. Though, that’s just scratching the surface, there is a whole load more - the sides. The Spanish fries are beyond delicious - topped with spicy sausage balls, melted cheese and smoked paprika, I just cannot resist them! The restaurant itself is a hidden gem for Leicester, tucked away in St. Martin’s Square. It reminds me of the more unique burger houses that you find in London or Edinburgh. The service is always spectacular and with it being just a short walk from the city centre its location couldn’t be better for after work drinks with colleagues or a night out in the city with friends and family.

collection and a conservatory with large skylight and ambient lighting set the scene for a contemporary yet comfortable dining experience. The lunchtime menu is vast and offers both traditional meals as well as lighter bites, and a set two course menu; I opted for smoked salmon and capers to start, followed by a beautiful seafood risotto for the main course. Both courses were faultless and a real lunchtime treat. Whether you are looking to entertain clients over lunch, to celebrate a special occasion or you just want a chilled out Sunday lunch with the family – The Grey Goose at Gilmorton will serve as a perfect choice.

ALEENA AHMAD Managing Director at Affinity HRM

LEANNE BAKER Operations Director at Cross Productions

SARAH HIGGINS Director at Sarah Higgins Corporate Coaching Ltd

KONAK 0116 319 4404 136 LONDON RD, LEICESTER LE2 1EB There’s a restaurant on London Road that never fails to deliver consistently amazing food and service and has me returning time, and time again: Konak is a family-oriented Turkish restaurant that my family and I visit regularly. The staff are very friendly, welcoming and attentive - they always makes us feel special. As we’re regulars, we find that the staff make sure there’s a table for us, and they pop over for a chat, always remembering previous conversations we’ve had - it’s a really nice touch. Whenever I’ve driven past the restaurant, I’ve seen queues extending out of the door! This was what first piqued my interest in Konak - it made

me really want to try the food and visit. They have a vast selection of Turkish cuisine which is quite healthy. You get complimentary starters with great dips and delicious bread as well, which the staff also replenish when they’re low. There are mixed kebab and meat platters with salad, rice and chips - it’s all mouth-watering. After food, you get complimentary Turkish tea. As we come here very often, the staff will also bring us over Baklava - a stunning traditional Turkish dessert consisting of filo pastry filled with chop nuts and honey. Konak is definitely my favourite restaurant in Leicester. Make sure you book a table if you intend to visit!

THE WATERFRONT 01858 434 702 MARKET HARBOROUGH, LEICESTERSHIRE, LE16 7UW My family returned to The Waterfront for the winter igloos. Fully heated, with room for six people, and decorated with twinkly fairy lights and trailing ivy vines, The Waterfront has created a dreamy, cosy setting perfect for families and couples. The outdoor, transparent igloos make for a great date night or family occasion with a difference. As they were in even higher demand than the restaurant predicted after last year’s festive success, the igloos are now available until Easter. Unfortunately, by the time you’re reading this they’re most likely fully booked. Keep your eye out for when they’re set up again in December; it’s an experience you don’t want to miss. We love The Waterfront so have

been there several times in the past. It’s not just the novelty of eating in an unusual setting that keeps us coming back. The food is wonderful. The nonigloo menu offers a generous choice for all with lots of fish, vegetarian, vegan and grill options. The 10oz rump steak comes with chunky chips, cherry tomatoes and flat field mushrooms – it’s my husbands’ favourite and The Waterfront never lets him down. The slow cooked feather blade of beef with mustard mash, bourguignon sauce and veg crisps is a very fancy, extra tasty version of my classic go-to carvery (Igloo menu).On top of a comforting atmosphere indoor and out, we’re always treated to a friendly welcome and terrific service every time.

TURTLE BAY LEICESTER 0116 262 9993 15 BATH HOUSE LANE, HIGHCROSS, LEICESTER, LE1 4SA For a family treat, one of the places we love to visit is Turtle Bay. I will admit to feeling a bit dubious before our first visit. Having been to the Caribbean, and loving that style of food, I wondered whether a national chain of restaurants could live up to the authentic experience. But there is real soul with a fresh and vibrant feel, making it feel more like a local, niche, entrepreneurial venture. The bright and colourful décor always takes us back to our fun holiday times in Jamaica. You are also welcomed by the warm sounds of reggae music and smells of Caribbean cooking. There are many different options for food, including a children’s menu and vegan and vegetarian choices. Inspired

by beach shack and street vendors across the Caribbean islands, the great tasting dishes are perfect for starters or sharing with other small plates, and with mains. We used to need advice on how spicy some dishes were, the serving staff have always been very helpful. Served in rustic enamel bowls, the food is delicious and plentiful, and we find it to be great value. We also like to come here to enjoy Happy Hour cocktails when we have been ‘out-out’. Rum is the tropical Caribbean sunshine, which is celebrated at Turtle Bay with a huge selection, perfect for sipping and cocktails. Overall, Turtle Bay is a great choice for tasty and value-for-money Caribbean food served with a down to earth atmosphere. NICHE | 75

A stylish affair Elite wedding location St Martins House in the heart of our city provides luxurious accommodation for guests

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In the historical sector of our evolving city landscape, St Martins House plays host to stylish weddings all year round. The venue provides a stunning and unique location for those looking for a ceremony and reception with a difference. The Grand Hall, the jewel in the venue’s crown, provides the focal point with its high vaulted ceilings, exquisite stained-glass window, sprung floor and a capacity for up to 200 guests. Having hosted a number of highprofile events, the venue is adept at creating a setting which suits whatever the occasion, budget or size. Nick

Quinn, St Martins Director said: “Our experience in a wide variety of events helps us to bring to the day exactly what a wedding requires. Whether a couple are looking for a particular type of catering, entertainment or style for the day, our wedding coordinators have a natural talent for creating something which surpasses expectation.” Next door, the cathedral brings a magical, romantic feel to proceedings whilst the garden creates a relaxing outdoor space for photographs or simply a seat in which to watch the day unfold.


The venue is a wonderful hybrid of city style with character and period features with the Grade II listed building dating back to 1877. Exhibiting splashes of Victorian architecture in seamless combination with contemporary design, the venue’s intimate yet accommodating environment is welcoming yet has a grand feel with a sense of occasion. The addition of 2018’s highend hotel to the Cathedral Quarter just a stone’s throw away further enhances the venue’s offerings with 28 individually styled bedrooms. The luxury build was the creation of the Diocese of Leicester. Its position close to King Richard III’s burial site make it a hot spot on Leicester’s map. The stunning build is a welcome and fitting addition to the city’s rejuvenated Cathedral Quarter. For a wedding party, the hotel provides fitting accommodation in keeping with the look and feel of its surrounding buildings yet boasts a luxurious feel. The building, which compromises of former neo-Georgian offices and Grade II listed former 18th century town house, has been respectfully transformed into an elegant £1.8m development retaining many original features. The hallway with its chandelier and stylish staircase are particular historical highlights. Providing delicious breakfast and a highly convenient car parking provision, the hotel overlooks the Cathedral gardens and is a peaceful spot which lies in the centre of our cosmopolitan, bustling city. Dedicated St Martins wedding co-ordinators focus their attention on every detail, bringing all the elements together with staff intent on providing every aspect of a wedding day with creativity and flexibility. The in-house quality catering reflects the decadent venue – guests will be wowed with everything from canapés to banquets, and from the first dance to the very last of the night.

Our wedding co-ordinators have a natural talent for creating something which surpasses expectation

0116 261 5200 NICHE | 77



all hours

The much-loved Rutland & Derby Arms have a brand-new look and are attracting people from all walks of the city


It’s official. You can go to the pub on a Monday lunchtime. Gone are the days when the pub was only open for business after dark. The Rutland & Derby is paving the way in Leicester for pubs as a place to meet, work and connect with new people during the day too. The Rutland & Derby, located on Millstone Lane, is just a stone’s throw away from the historical cathedral quarter. With its welcoming atmosphere and exceptional offers it has long been a favourite for those looking to enjoy a drink and innovative pub food - especially in the spring and summer with its secluded courtyard. Today, the pub is a hub of activity in working hours too with local


businesses finding the refurb, speedy Wi-Fi and highly rated, down to earth lunch menu irresistible. Beautiful Pubs founder, Sam Hagger told us: “After work socials are creating a healthy little network of local businesses and we are enjoying the idea that the pub and garden is becoming a welcome alternative to the office desk!” With a bevy of local pubs under his belt, Sam is keen to bring his pubs to life during the day and thrives on finding new ways for pubs to become the hive of social activity that they ought to be. Alongside the fantastic facilities at the Rutland & Derby, the pub has

many attractive events already in the pipeline for this year. They include, the ‘Payday After Work Social’, the ‘Sausage & Cider Festival’ over Easter weekend and their 9th Annual St. Patrick’s Day weekend ‘Guinness & Oyster Festival’ which attracts people from far and wide with its bespoke menu, live music and plenty of pints of the black stuff. When the Wi-Fi and lunch is as good as it is here, there’s never been a better excuse to relocate the business meeting to the local. 0116 262 3299



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NICHE | 79


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MENTAL HEALTH AND GYMNASTICS The physical benefits to moving our bodies are spoken about a great deal but the mental benefits are huge. For young people in particular, regular physical activity within a group setting can have profoundly positive effects on mental health. A recent study by revealed that regular physical activity ◆ Reduced feelings of anxiety, depression, and anger, while improving attention spans and how the young people reported their overall wellbeing ◆ Empowered young girls – that it has a positive effect on their self-belief ◆ Lead to greater happiness ◆ In a group, provides a host of social benefits Dr Louise Mansfield, the report’s lead author from Brunel University London, pointed out: “The importance of understanding and addressing mental health issues in young people is gaining momentum. We are delighted to make a significant contribution to national conversations by showing that there is evidence that being physically active through sport, exercise and dance improves young peoples’ happiness, confidence and sense of purpose.” We see these study results in action every day and with every one of our gymnasts of all ages. There are countless benefits that regular gymnastic activity can have in a social setting and one of the most tangible ones that we witness is the young people socialising with their peers and mentors in a positive space. 07813 205 852

Kian’s 60 miles in 60 days for Khun Vichai Eleven year old asthmatic raises thousands in memory of late Leicester chairman in running challenge for charity From storming the Championship to the Great Escape, shocking the world in 2016 by lifting the Premier League trophy, to Champions League games under the lights, lifelong Leicester City Fan Kian Deacy has seen it all. But on October 27 2018, less than an hour after leaving the Leicester City versus West Ham United game, Kian became aware of the tragic events that took place that night. “I was at the game before the Chairman’s helicopter went down and was shocked when my dad told me the news. We normally stay after games to get photographs with the players and see the helicopter come and go. But that night I was cold so we went straight home.” Inspired by Jamie and Rebekah Vardy auctioning off their box at the King Power Stadium, Kian decided he wanted to do something for Vichai - that’s when he came up with his running challenge. “I’ve ran a couple of 5k’s and a 10k for charity before so I decided to run 60 miles in 60 days to raise some money for Vichai” With his original aim of raising £100, Kian set off inhaler in hand around the King Power Stadium for mile one of his challenge. After completing mile one, he had exceeded his target; with a little push from his dad, he raised the bar to £600. In the end, Kian managed to raise a staggering £3,472. Kian was joined on his run by this issue’s ‘Life Outside of Sport’ feature

Matt Piper, Leicester Riders Harrison Gamble and Leicestershire County Cricket Club Head Coach Paul Nixon. But there were a few last surprises for Kian. In February he was invited to watch Leicester play Manchester United from the director’s box, where he was greeted by the Vice Chairman of the Club, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, son of the late chairman. “It was great to meet Top and he told me his dad would have been very proud of what I did” The final surprise was Leicester City ambassador Alan Birchenall inviting Kian to join him on his annual charity run around the King Power pitch before the final home game of the season. “We’re incredibly proud to have Kian as a supporter and thank him for his amazing efforts for the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation. “On behalf of the Football Club I’d like to congratulate Kian on completing his 60 miles in 60 days challenge. His generosity in donating this money is something that will be appreciated by all who benefit from the work of the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation. “I’d be honoured if Kian would join me for a few laps of King Power Stadium for my 39th Annual End of Season Run. It’s a special day in our Club’s calendar.” You can still sponsor Kian as he begins his training for the endof-season run at www.Justgiving. com/60milesin60days NICHE | 81


Matt Piper Having experienced massive highs and crushing lows in his career, former Leicester City FC winger Matt Piper has turned his life around – and aims to put others on the same positive path. He tells us about his commitment to preventing kids becoming lost souls WORDS BY KERRY SMITH


The Leicester lad was just eight when he joined the LCFC Youth Academy – the first step in his journey to achieving the ultimate goal: playing Premier League football for the city he cherished. He was born in Leicester Royal Infirmary and describes himself as an inner-city boy. It’s the inner-city that he has grown up to help improve but he had to experience some extreme highs and very low lows to do so. LCFC’s first team manager was Peter Taylor when the young winger was at the hopeful brink of moving on from the reserve team. It was then when his dreams were first crushed. He was told he wasn’t good enough to join his home town’s first team. Two weeks later Taylor was sacked, and 17 year old Matt was immediately asked to play for the first team’s game against Leeds. “I’d just been told by one manager that I would never play for the first team, so I literally came from nowhere. We lost 6-0 but I got Man of the Match!” But it would end as quickly as it began after two new managers, Dave Bassett and Micky Adams, came in with bad news for the rising star. Considering him an asset, they sent Matt out on loan. Three months later though the new managers invited him back to the club. The next part of his story brought another upheaval perhaps best told in his own words: “All summer the club was telling me how I was going to be the new star, building the team around me. They’d sold the most shirts with my name on them, and so when they came

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to tell me I wasn’t going to be playing the game that weekend I was buzzing because I thought I’d got into the England U21s! But on the Monday they told me they’d sold me to Sunderland for £3.5m. Sunderland offered me five times more than Leicester, but I turned it down. All I ever wanted to do was play for Leicester since I was six, but they said they couldn’t play me in case I got injured so I had to go. That six months was a crazy time.” He’d played just 15 games with Sunderland before he got his first serious knee injury. It turned out that Matt had lax ligaments, a condition that causes frequent injuries or joint dislocation. Over the next four years he would have 16 knee operations until he sought out an American doctor who he’d heard to be the best knee surgeon in the world. “He said if I had any more operations then I wouldn’t have any cartilage left and by time I was 35 I wouldn’t be able to walk. I was 26 at the time and just had my first little boy. It was a huge decision, but I asked to end my contract with Sunderland. I can’t really explain it, but it was kind of a relief. “When you’re a professional footballer you can’t do anything dangerous so the first thing I did was go snowboarding with my brother in the French Alps. I remember sitting up there reflecting and it felt so good. My head was clear.” From loving life in the French Alps Matt transitioned rather quickly to into a

lifestyle of drinking alcohol and watching Jeremy Kyle almost every day for the next 18 months. “I was on a non-playing contract being paid like a footballer and spending like a footballer but doing nothing. So, when I got back from snowboarding, I thought ‘what now?’ I tried being a builder, electrician, plumber and computer salesman but when you’re getting paid thousands a week and don’t have to work, I would to live for the weekends. And then the weekends bled into the week. At the same time as my career ended so did my relationship and it was all difficult to deal with. I hit rock bottom.” Matt’s mum called charity Sporting Chance run by ex-England player Tony Adams, which helps sportspeople through mental health issues and addictions. Matt explained: “It’s very common for sportspeople to have that ‘what now’ feeling because you’re so dedicated. With football everything’s done for you and how do you replicate the adrenaline of playing in front of 40,000 people. It’s a loss and a grieving process.” Sporting Chance rehabilitated Matt with the use of nature and taking care of Madden, an abused horse from Portugal, and Football coach Jon Goodman came in twice a week. “When you’re suffering from depression you don’t do what you love anymore,” Matt said. “Jon really ignited a passion in me to pass on my knowledge.” When Matt came away with a new lease of life, Jon Rudkin had become LCFC’s Director of Football and took him


how do you replicate the adrenaline of playing in front of 40,000 people. It’s a loss and a grieving process

on as a coach for the next four years. The now 37 year old went on to develop his own business coaching in schools. “When I played at 17, I remember it being a difficult age, but I was lucky because I got taken on by Leicester. But for my friends who didn’t get taken on – and all they did since they were six was focus on football – they were sort of lost. That’s exactly how I felt.” The former player relates to the ‘what now’ feeling of inner-city school leavers and wanted to create a pathway for them. He set up Football & Sports Diploma (FSD) Academy in 2017 in partnership with private education group SCL Education and coach Owen Johnson. FSD offers a BTEC sports qualification as well as life skills courses, maths and English lessons and re-sits, and coaching in a growing variety of sports. The pitch and classroom courses are also accompanied by exclusive, inspirational talks from professional sportspeople, the latest being MMA fighter Andre Winner. The academy’s boys’ attendance figures from their previous schools were around 65 per cent but with FSD the average is 95 per cent. “A lot of these inner-city boys seem to drift ending up making money on the streets. I wanted to put these boys on a path. They’re not the only boys we take on though. Education isn’t for everyone. The only time I received any help was at rock bottom. I’m trying to get to these boys way before – preventing the cause, not treating the symptom.”


When I feel any kind of low thoughts coming on I talk about them straight away. Air it as soon as possible.

2. Make a routine

Include fitness in your routine whether it’s weight training or yoga. I haven’t missed one day of exercise since my time at Sporting Chance. NICHE | 83



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Leicester Falcons

spark partnership across the pond In preparation for the 2019 season in the Premier Division, the Leicester Falcons have moved their home ground nearer to central Leicester and will play this year’s season at the Leicester Lions Rugby Club in Blaby, instead of in Hinckley


The American football team was founded in 2006 and was initially a senior team. After clawing their way up in the divisions, the team are returning to the top tier of football this year - after just missing out on promotion to the Premier Division in 2017 and becoming BAFA National League Division One trophy champions in 2018, they remain virtually undefeated and are ranked 11th in the UK. Recently, the team formalised a mutually beneficial partnership with the University of Derby, as well as Baker University in Kansas, USA; the partnerships aim to significantly improve scholar player recruitment.

The University of Derby (UoD) are offering degree courses to eligible students from Baker University, enabling them to utilise the sporting opportunity whilst completing a Bachelors and Masters degree in five years. They will have funding assistance from the Sports Sponsorship Panel and the US government. For the last three years, the Leicester Falcons have taken on young scholars from UoD and given them opportunities to play for the Leicester Falcons in the UK senior league. The US scholar athletes will be playing for the Falcons during the summer season, as well as

helping to coach their U17s and U19s, before transitioning onto the UoD team and the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) season in September. The University of Derby will be the only university that has direct access to the potential students from the USA through the database and recruitment and open days. The new filter will enable the university and Leicester Falcons to properly know the temperament of potential scholars, learning capacity and playing threshold. NICHE | 85


Catching up with the Riders They may be Britain’s oldest professional basketball team, but that doesn’t mean Leicester Riders are set in their ways – from community spirit to business principles, the national club is launching new initiatives and achieving historic firsts all the time


Last year the Riders celebrated the third anniversary of using the Morningside Arena as their home, and the business arm of the club continues to move towards driving new visitors to Leicester. But the team has also been active further afield – this season they played in the European Club competition – becoming the first British club to do so in a decade, and it was a massive learning experience for the players, despite being knocked out at the pool stages. This European campaign led to lessons being learnt both on the court – and in business matters off the court, revealing great opportunities for Riders to further grow and develop. Head Coach Rob Paternostro said: “It was a great experience and everyone in the team was excited to have the opportunity to match up against some of the bigger clubs in Europe. “People in the UK generally don’t appreciate just how wellsupported and financially strong basketball clubs are in Europe – but we knew, and learnt a great deal along the way.” For the last three seasons, Riders have been the national club basketball champions, and for the

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last two seasons they were BBL treble winners. They are Leicester Mercury’s Team of the Year and Rob has been named Coach of the Year for the last three years. Their women’s team won their first WBBL Trophy last season and were second in the Championship. Riders are well in the hunt for the BBL Championship this season but are playing catch-up with fixtures. Their last home game in the regular BBL season is against the Surrey Scorchers at Morningside Arena on April 27, with their season ending on April 28 when they face pace-setters London Lions at the Copper Box. The play-offs follow with the top two teams reaching the BBL Play-Off Final at the O2 Arena in London on May 19. Riders’ second teams – based at Loughborough University – both recently won their respective National Cup Finals. And their elite academy at Charnwood College goes from strength to strength. The team’s charity, Leicester Riders Foundation, delivers a wide range of health and wellbeing opportunities throughout the city and county. It has won a grant award from the Home Office as part of its Building a Stronger


Britain Together programme. The foundation is also partnering with LCFC Community Trust to launch a new, joint BTEC education programme in September 2019. Morningside Arena has upcoming major events in 2019 for Frank Warren boxing on BT Sports, Matchroom PDC Darts, Indian Idol and other Bollywood events. Watch this space for the launch of further proposals and project campaigns from the Riders!

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY at Morningside Arena Riders v Newcastle Eagles Floyd in the Flesh Riders v Cheshire Phoenix Challenge Charity Boxing Riders v London City Royals Riders v Glasgow Rocks Riders v Worcester Wolves Riders v London Lions Riders v Surrey Scorchers,

March 15 March 23 March 29 March 30 April 5 April 12 April 20 April 28 April 27



End of an era for Outlaws U18s

The Outlaws prepare for Sparta 2019, a championship that challenges not only the team’s gameplay but also their personalities – coach Neil Jepson gives us the lowdown


Now that Auld Lang Syne is a distant memory and the Easter chocolate is now on the shelves, it’s difficult to avoid diverting all thoughts to the returning inline hockey international Sparta Cup tournament in Barcelona. This will be the third yearly pilgrimage to Spain with the U18s roller team, the previous two returning with silver. We need to be ready for Sparta, without taking our foot off the gas for the U18s and Senior league here in the UK. Our U18s team – without tempting fate – is currently undefeated in these leagues. Sparta is a different beast to that of playing in the UK. European and world teams have different systems and game plans to contend with. Inline in Europe has a much larger following; the standards can be seen in the World Championship standings over the years. France, Italy, Spain, and Czech Republic are amongst the highest achieving teams in the world. We will need more than ever

to reflect on our experiences. As with any tournament, all play is condensed into a few days with little to no time to put any mistakes right, adding to that adrenalin rush and making any wins that bit more special. With the Outlaws, it’s about more than just playing hockey. Niche Magazine asked Sports Performance Mind Coach Nick Davies about the effects of playing in a sports team. He explained seven benefits – all of which we have experienced – and fellow coach Geoff Baker and I resonated with three of his quotes specifically to do with our development ethos: 1 “The first thing you get when you start is ‘structure’.” 2 “You begin to understand that ‘hard work’ creates success and everyone around you is there because they want to be, not because they’re forced.” 3 “Sport, like any endeavour, has its fair share of ups and downs and children begin to learn that losing or failure is not the end


but something you strive to overcome, and this is where they develop ‘mental strength’.” I believe Sparta has been the key to the development of the players outside of the sport and I’m sure a major contribution to the UK success of the team. This is the last year for us in Sparta with our current U18s team. I’m looking another season ahead and hopefully, with half the team gaining places in university, we’ll be looking to Sparta Seniors in 2020. I would have loved to take the other Outlaws age groups into Sparta, but with the club build only starting in August, this was a challenge too far. But we are halfway through our inaugural season and – touch wood – with the great work of the Outlaws teams, we can turn our attention to Sparta 2020 for the younger age groups. Facebook: @MidlandOutlaws18 NICHE | 87

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Time to dust off the cobwebs of the winter and enjoy some days out in the sun at Leicester Racecourse. With an exciting schedule ahead there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a day out with friends




One of the Midland’s most calendar marked events of the year, Ladies Day, Saturday, July 6, is a day packed with racing, entertainment and good food. 2019 is set to welcome Will Young, a performer who, since his Pop Idol Debut in 2002 has had a plethora of hits including a multitude of number ones and multiplatinum albums as well as several Brit awards and accolades, sell out tours and even acting roles. A superstar DJ is always good to polish things off nicely and this year DJ Ana Matronic is your woman for the job. AKA Ana Lynch of Scissor Sisters fame, her sets always deliver. So, gather your friends, pick out your dress, choose a hat and get ready for a day not to be missed!

Fear not chaps, you get your own day too with Gentlemen’s Day earmarked for Saturday, April 27, this year. Of course, you can expect loads of racing, entertainment and rows upon rows of street food sellers along with artisan cider and ale. Live music comes courtesy of ‘From the Jam’ a band whose bass player was actually from the Jam and who are ever growing in popularity. The day will also see the ‘Best Dressed Man’ competition return with some fantastic prizes up for grabs, so fix up and look sharp gents.

Hands up who loves summer sun, cider, entertainment and ale? If your arm is aloft the Cider & Ale evening on Saturday, June 15, is one for you. There will be enough cider and ale for the whole of the region, some yummy street food stalls and live music by Oompah Band to top off the festival vibe of the affair.


Saturday July 6

0116 271 6515

CIDER & ALE EVENING Saturday June 15

GENTLEMEN’S DAY Saturday April 27

The summer season is what we all look forward to at the racecourse and our classic Ladies Day is a particular highlight with people coming from far and wide to enjoy the sunshine, get dressed up, have a flutter and take in the entertainment. I feel it is becoming a real date for many people’s calendars as it gets bigger year on year! Rob Bracken, Director at Leicester Racecourse




IAN HALLAM IMI Regional Sales Manager at 360 Autoleasing

With the new 2019 DVLA number plates released in March, here’s my guide to what makes up a number plate and what the change might mean for new car owners. You might be wondering, what do the numbers and letters actually mean? The first two letters on the number plate are the ‘DVLA memory tag’. These letters represent the region in which the vehicle was introduced – the first letter refers to the region while the second indicates the local DVLA offices.

The third and fourth digits signify the year in which the car was made and is known as the ‘age identifier’. The last three letters of the number plate are randomly selected and allocated to dealers when the vehicles are registered. Here ensues the huge demand for cars with new number plates every release date of March and September! If you are looking to buy, be aware of ‘overcharged’ prices similar to those felt by parents

looking to book a holiday once school’s out for summer. Opting for new registration lease deals is the best way possible to get a new car quickly. You’ll have low monthly payments, particularly if you take out one of the best car lease deals available and can be assured of a stable price point.

01509 767 025


Discover the best vehicle contract hire and leasing offers ...for businesses and individuals With every vehicle purchased we will donate £10 to either Hope Against Cancer or the Riders Foundation.

01509 767 025

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Book today 0116 289 2308

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MOT: WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Like your birthday and Christmas, if your car is over three years old, your vehicle MOT test will come around annually. A legal requirement since its introduction to the UK in 1960 by the government, a car without an MOT faces some pretty big consequences: a £1000 penalty, a restriction on renewing road tax and it will almost certainly invalidate any car insurance policy, which risks a further six to eight penalty points and negates any claims. So, it’s quite important to keep that annual MOT date in your diary! Here are some MOT facts worth knowing: ◆ The test’s purpose is to check a car’s safety and whether it’s fit for the road, in particular, its brakes and emissions. ◆ Examiners are not allowed to change or remove anything on your car – so you still need to keep on top of servicing. ◆ There is a list of internal and external checks and over 600 ways to fail. ◆ The government caps the cost of the test at £54.85* (excluding VAT) and is controlled by the DVSA and the tests must be carried out by an approved ‘Nominated Tester’. ◆ You will receive either a pass or fail, with a certificate and a time restriction placed on when the vehicle needs to be re-tested for a pass.

0116 289 2308 NICHE | 91

Become a Curve Business Associate and enjoy a range of benefits... Engage and entertain clients through our bespoke hospitality service, preferential rates on venue hire, corporate booking service and regular B2B networking events. Our Business Associates also benefit from added marketing value through various branding opportunities year round. CONTACT Alex Bliss Sponsorship and Projects Manager 0116 242 3580













Reviewed: Eden Hall Day Spa If you’re stuck for somewhere to take the much-loved lady in your life this Mother’s Day look no further – the Cherries and Berries Spa Day solves every problem


A rooftop terrace, thermal spa suite, vitality swimming pool, outdoor hot tubs, a saunarium, rose infused steam room, herbal caldarium, massage jets, slumber lounge, and lavender infused gardens. What more could you ask for from a spa? When it’s as unique as this it can’t get any better, right? Well, it keeps us going back for more year on year. Not only because there is always a new experience to be had in the pure indulgence of its facilities, but because of its regularly updated treatment offerings. There’s always something new to discover with each visit – and that’s just in the surroundings you find yourself in. So, a new exciting treatment to experience simply adds the shine to a cake that already has its cherry on top.

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Speaking of cherries…

A new offering that comes in perfect time for Mother’s Day is called the Cherries and Berries Spa Day. This seasonal offering will be available from April through to the end of June. It includes a youth boosting facial massage to lift and tone the skin, an energising super fruit facial polish, and an anti-ageing acerola cherry mask. Fifty-five minutes of blissful pampering. You can truly relax while the skilled therapists massage all this goodness into your skin and feel satisfied that it is doing you the world of good. As part of the package you get full use of all spa facilities as listed above, a three-course dining experience, and a robe and towels for the day. All you need to bring with you is your


gym bag and trainers (if using the gym), swimming costume/shorts, and flip flops. Our favourite spa facility this time was the herbal caldarium. It’s purifying ambience calms and energises somehow simultaneously. The intensive heat deeply penetrates into your body boosting your circulation, melting away stress and relieving tense muscles. The Cherries and Berries Spa Day temporarily solves every problem in your world by taking all stress and worry away while you indulge in its luxury. Get booking for Mother’s Day before it’s too late! 01636 525 555

Soft Touch Arts and Arch Creative bring ambitious

ground-breaking MOD Exhibition and Festival to Leicester Arch Creative co-founder Joe Nixon was working on a documentary idea about Leicester in the 1960s when he was approached by Author Shaun Knapp. Coincidentally Shaun was researching his new book about '60s Mods, and was inspired by the oral history recordings that Joe’s Father had carried out at Leicester University. Joe’s Father John, or ‘Jelly’ as he was known, was one of Leicester’s Mod ‘faces’ and a popular musician who passed away from Cancer in 2017. Joe and Shaun approached award-winning charity Soft Touch Arts to see if some of their young people could get involved and Mods: Shaping a Generation was born. The project has developed into an ambitious exhibition and festival and has captured the imagination of cultural leaders, organisations and a large Mod fan base in Leicester, Nottingham and across the UK. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and BID Leicester, Mods: Shaping a Generation will launch as a three month major exhibition from April 13-June 30 2019, at Leicester’s New Walk Museum and Soft Touch Arts. The multimedia exhibition tells the story of the '60s Mod movement through interviews with Leicester and Nottingham Mods, shows original scooters, the clothes from cult Mod film Quadrophenia and shares the memories of a popular youth subculture at risk of never being told. Young people involved with Soft Touch Arts have listened to these stories, creating their own ‘inspired by’ Mod fashion, music, film and design exhibition. The project has snowballed with huge local interest, resulting in many cultural organisations and businesses coming together to create REVIVE – a new festival for Leicester. The exhibition, film and associated REVIVE events have gained national press interest – listed as a ‘2019 must see’ by ArtFund magazine. The exhibition opening weekend has created a big social media buzz and people are flying in from as far afield as Germany, Greece, France, Spain and Australia with hotels already booked up for the weekend.

It’s the only major UK exhibition and festival which ties in with the 40th anniversary of the popular cult film Quadrophenia. The project team are putting a call out for businesses to get involved in the REVIVE festival which takes place between 15-30 June 2019. They’re looking for cash sponsors for the festival and for businesses to tie in and put on their own REVIVE events. So if you’re a business that enjoys sponsoring festivals and you want your logo and name to reach thousands of people, why not get on board? If you are a retail or food outlet this is your chance to go back to the '60s, do something different and benefit from the publicity and visitors the festival will bring to Leicester on the weekend of 15-17 June 2019. Dress your shop window 1960s style, offer '60s themed cakes or burgers, offer 1960s prices for an hour or give discounts to visitors to the festival or become a festival sponsor – all ideas for involvement are welcome. The REVIVE festival will bring significant economic benefit to Leicester businesses, particularly over the weekend of June 15-17 when a city centre scooter exhibition, Mods 19:64 photography exhibition at LCB Depot, a vintage fair and '60s film screenings and music events will take place. We know that Mods travel to events so we expect the films, exhibitions and REVIVE festival events will attract people from across the UK as well as large numbers locally and regionally. For further information and to discuss how you can get involved contact Christina Wigmore at Soft Touch Arts. 0116 2552592

BOOK • EXHIBITION • FILMS • FESTIVAL April 14 - June 30 at New Walk Museum & Soft Touch Arts www.shapingageneration



And The Winner Is....


At 5am on Monday February 25 my annual Oscars marathon culminated in a ‘safe’ Best Picture win for Green Book, despite Alfonso Cuaron taking home the Best Director and Cinematographer awards for Roma, a very personal story set in his Mexico homeland and financed by Netflix. We had our first African American female winners for Costume Design, Ruth Carter, and for Production Design, Hannah Beachler, both won for Marvel’s Black Panther, the first superhero franchise film nominated for Best Picture. This was truly a CeCe Peniston ‘Finally’ moment with a third Wakanda Forever win for Ludwig Goransson’s Original Score. Despite The Favourite, a ten times nominee, remaining almost unfavoured by the Academy, apart from a triumph


Director at The Miller Partnership in the Leading Actress category by the utterly fabulous Olivia Coleman, Bohemian Rhapsody picked up the most awards on the night with four. British wins for the Queen biopic went to John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone for Sound Editing and the Sound Mixing category to Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali. A technical hat trick saw John Ottman winning for Film Editing. Rami Malek rounded off an awards season super-haul with an Oscar for his factually inaccurate, but nonetheless compelling performance as Freddie Mercury. It’s easy to see why the Academy chose to celebrate art and inclusivity rather than Christian Bale’s often brutally fierce rendition of Dick Cheney in Vice. Bookies tips came in: Cuaron and Roma winning Best Foreign Language Film, Mahershala Ali picking up his

second Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Green Book, and Regina King Best Supporting Actress for If Beal Street Could Talk. Animated Feature Film was Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, and you could’ve staked your life on Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson taking home the Best Original Song statuette for A Star Is Born’s Shallow. Netflix also financed the Best Documentary Short Subject, Period: End Of Sentence about period poverty. Best Documentary Feature Free Solo, Best Original Screenplay went, undeservedly in my book, to Green Book, but Best Adapted Screenplay went to my favourite film of the year, Spike Lee’s BlacKKKlansman.



Residents at a Melton Mowbray care home were treated to an afternoon of love songs and uplifting music when an innovative local choir visited them for a special Valentine’s Day performance


Staff at The Amwell, a private care home offering residential, nursing, dementia and respite care, organised the concert by the unique Rutland Rejuvenating Singers who aim to ‘share and spread their energy’ through song, at the home in Asfordby Road. The choir, who specialise in fun and entertaining performances, gave residents at The Amwell a truly lively show, performing hits from through the decades, popular with residents, and helping to mark Valentine’s day in a joyful way. Rutland Rejuvenating Singers, who aim to be the ‘most fun’ choir in Rutland, are renowned for their friendliness and wide repertoire and have plenty of experience of visiting care homes. Staff at The Amwell also held a romantic evening meal for seven of the residents with the ladies treated to roses and Valentine’s Day cards. The Amwell’s acting activities co-ordinator Chloe Bray said: “We wanted to find a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day

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this year that would bring together everyone in our home, and create a sense of happiness and love. “Valentine’s Day can be a tricky time for some of our residents who perhaps can’t be with their partners on the day, but the Rutland Rejuvenating Singers put on such a heartwarming, entertaining show that everyone was absorbed with it, and our residents enjoyed the show immensely. “It’s well known that music lowers blood pressure and relieves stress, and we always find that musical events really lift the spirits of our residents. The Rutland Rejuvenating Singers did even more than that. They put a big smile on everyone’s face, just perfect for a day dedicated to love. We can’t wait to have them back.”

01664 882 525

Come in and see the wider range of affordable food, toiletries, cleaning products, household items, stationery and sanitary products

The Leicester Community Shop has moved to larger premises

Get support to reduce your household bills

Find out about volunteering opportunities

The shop helps to reduce local food waste and combat food poverty by offering affordable products from as little as 10p. As well as providing support to reduce household bills and offering discounts at other local businesses.

LEICESTER COMMUNITY SHOP 10 Bishop Street Town Hall Square Leicester LE1 6AF 0116 254 5168


The great


Focus, a Leicestershire based young people’s charity, is engaging young people between the ages of 13-24 in outdoor activities


The latest project by the groundbreaking charity is called ‘Breathing Space’ and provides a range of outdoor activities and support to young people with mild to moderate mental health concerns. So far, the project has had a profoundly positive effect on participants’ lives through immersing themselves in the nurturing outdoor space on an allotment by growing produce, making fires, attending workshops, and essentially connecting to nature and the great outdoors. Youth worker and Breathing Space Project Manager Joe Roughton spoke of the effects of the project: “A lot of the positivity to come out of

the project appears to be that being in a different outdoor environment engaging in activities seems to help the young people to open up to their leaders and connect with their peers. You can actually see the positive change in the young people at the start of a session and at the end.” Plans are already underway for expansion of the current site with various sensory enhancements such as transforming a boat into a reading area, a cabin made into a workshop hub and much more. “We are excited about new plans which will engage our young people further. We want to make sure the project evolves and attracts new

people who are looking to reap the mindful benefits of simply being outside and taking on the challenges it offers.” Joe explains. Businesses and organisations can look to sponsor different aspects of the project and Joe is keen to encourage those who want to get involved to visit the project site for themselves, “Please do come along and see us. Get involved in a bit of bush crafting, enjoy a cup of something and soak up the atmosphere to really see what we are all about.” 0116 251 0369 / 07808 128 803


01664 88 25 25





55 Asfordby Road, Melton Mowbray, LE13 0HR | T: 01664 88 25 25 | E. 98 | NICHE


New horizons for Menphys Menphys has been providing support to children and young people with disabilities and their families in Leicester and Leicestershire for nearly 50 years


After a challenging two years, the charity has set out on an ambitious journey with the appointment of a new CEO to redevelop and regrow services; this is to help meet the very significant, unmet needs of children and young people with disabilities in the city and county. Whilst the existing Saturday Clubs at the Barley Croft Community Centre will continue, the charity are looking for a new home in South Leicester to base their new Head Office and provide a hub for services. The aim is that the Hub will offer a range of extended services for disabled children and their families, providing them with space to offer more clubs and activities whilst continuing support groups for parents and carers. It is hoped that The Hub will be large enough to also provide a sensory room and a range of therapies for the children, as well as a charity shop and café, and provide opportunities

for Menphys to host events to support ongoing fundraising. In the future, Menphys would also like The Hub to have a sensory garden to extend the incredible opportunities available to support the children and young people. The new CEO, Ian Caldwell, said: “We have a very busy programme of work in front of us as we approach our 50th Birthday in 2020. With the continued hardwork of our volunteers and staff and the support and goodwill we receive from the community and Leicestershire businesses, this programme will enable Menphys to grow and extend the support we provide to local children and young people with disabilities and their families.” In order to support this growth, the team will be fundraising with an exciting series of events including a concert featuring West End musicals, a Golf Day, a fashion show, carol concert and a quiz night. These fundraising events will also support their new Work


Ready Crew project, which helps disabled young people gain work experience to improve their employability. Initially, Menphys is working alongside Desford-based Caterpillar, but over the longer term the charity hope to roll this out to other employers. The organisation has been supported by the community and corporate sponsors for many years and they greatly value that help. “We are now asking you to continue to walk alongside us on this new and exciting journey. As we look to the future we can, with your help, continue to offer support for disabled children, young people and their families, continuing the great work of our tireless volunteers, staff and trustees whilst maintaining the legacy and vision of our Founder, Audrey Smith.” Ian continued.

01455 323 020 Charity Number 270700 NICHE | 99

Take on an amazing challenge for Hope Against Cancer in 2019 as you Escape The Wild in some of the most rugged and remote places in the UK.

Take on an amazing challenge for Hope Against Cancer in 2019 as you Challenge The Wild in one of the most rugged and remote mountain ranges in Europe, The Pyrenees.

Trek 20km over rugged terrain.

River Crossings

Abseil over waterfalls

Scramble up gorges and river beds

Climb Crags

Swim in the open water

Be self sufficient. Cook your own meals in the mountains.

Survival Activities

Camp under the stars

Grade 2 Scrambling/Climbing – Challenge yourself over steep terrain

Via Ferrata – negotiate the edge of a cliff whilst clipped onto a cable.

Canyoning – Obstacles include waterfall jumps, rock slides, water based abseils and cliff jumping.

Abseiling - over 200ft on exposed rock.

Trek high peaks over rugged terrain

Camp under the stars

Problem Solving at night – work in teams to solve mental problems.

Breakfast at sunrise – Trek in the early hours to a vantage point to watch the sunrise.


entry fe

e plus




14th - 17th September 2019 £200 entry fee plus £1000 sponsorship. All food and accommodation included based on sharing a twin room. Fully supported by a team of 15 including Cycle repairs.

For more information on sponsorship or to book your place contact Tracey Hallam or call 0116 270 0101 All money raised goes to Hope Against Cancer to fund cancer research in Leicestershire & Rutland. Charity number 1091480.



The Big Chill


The 4th year of The Miller Partnership’s annual comedy dining event for Soft Touch Arts, organised by Pete and Tracey Miller, raised £4,000 taking the total funds raised by this dynamic duo for the award winning charity, to over £10,000 Sole sponsor for the 2nd year running was Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors & Mediators, and Chutney Ivy hosted this fabulous event, starring TV’s Celebrity Island’s Shazia Mirza, with elan. These vital funds for Soft Touch Arts’ Creative Enterprise Programme support more than 50 young people each year who struggle to reach their potential because of difficult life circumstances and challenges with mental health & wellbeing. This rewarding work supports the development of individual creative talents, to build confidence with the invaluable building blocks of enterprise skills, so that the recipients can learn to make, sell and market their own creative works. A truly inspiring thought. Cross Productions, Media Sponsors for The Big Chill, would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved.

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Niche Business Awards Sponsors & Ambassadors evening On Monday February 18, Cross Productions held their Sponsors and Ambassador’s evening at the Queen Victoria Arts Club as a way for all the companies involved in supporting the Niche Magazine Business Awards to network together. It was a fantastic evening full of speeches, consolidating relationships, as well as the forming of new bonds. Bhavin Gandhi from Paradigm Wills and Legal Services, headline sponsor for the awards, made a great speech about working with Team Cross on their Business Awards. He said: “At Paradigm Wills and Legal Services, we work very closely with many businesses within the Niche community. So, to support the awards was something that felt natural to us especially when it comes to supporting local businesses. “Having worked with Niche since early 2017, we have seen solid growth as well as various opportunities being presented as a direct result of being associated with Niche.” The evening marks the start of celebrating this year’s success in the Leicester Business community.

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Profile for Niche Magazine

Niche Magazine Issue 31  

Niche Magazine is a bimonthly independent business and lifestyle magazine that supports local businesses

Niche Magazine Issue 31  

Niche Magazine is a bimonthly independent business and lifestyle magazine that supports local businesses