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September/October 2019 November/December


Niche Business Awards Nominations 2020 open December 1st

Mental Health in the Workplace Creating an environment for openness

IvyJack Communications Delivering marketing excellence


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Nominations open for Niche Business Awards 2020 Preparations are already underway for next year’s awards The Niche Business Awards were set up to recognise the outstanding work and achievement of both businesses and business professional across the Leicestershire area. After months of preparation and a rigorous judging process, the business community come together each September to celebrate.

Save the date for Friday September 4, 2020 Nominations will open on Sunday December 1, 2019 on the Niche Magazine website. You can nominate yourself, another business or your chosen businessman or woman!

To enter go to www.nichemagazine.co.uk There are 15 categories that you can submit your nominations to, and they are as follows: Best New Business Best Family Business Best Small Business Digital Business of the Year Innovation in Business Business Growth Rising Star Employer of the Year Best Customer Service Leicestershire Charity of the Year Achievement in Sport Educational Excellence Professional Services Businesswoman of the Year Businessman of the Year







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nichemagazine.co.uk Published by Cross Productions Ltd 17 Mandervell Road, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5LR info@crossproductions.co.uk

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.

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It’s been a busy few months for the team at Niche, having delivered the 5th Niche Business Awards, which was even bigger than previous years, we have been getting things organised in preparation for nominations opening for 2020. With Christmas just around the corner, this is our last issue of 2019. We have worked with the theme ‘success’, showcasing some of Leicestershire’s most talented businesses and business professionals, as well as dropped in some Christmas Gift suggestions — the Fish Flops are an office favourite! As we prepare for the end of another year, we have taken some time as a team to reflect on some of the biggest highlights of 2019. For us it was Tracey, Hannah, Lauren and Nigel joining the team, taking us to a team of 11: taking on our first Global client: seeing our longest standing client become president of the Leicestershire Law Society: the FOCUS ball doubling in size and both myself and Sally becoming trustees for two outstanding charities –



FOCUS and Zinthiya Trust. Aside from this, as a company, we have invested heavily in coaching and education with the whole culture of Cross Productions changing. Of course, the Niche Business Awards are always going to come up as a great moment for me, but I can also say things like the Kazzoo Curry night in aid of Hope Against Cancer have also stood out, not only as a great event, but as a true inspiration. One man pulling together more than 150 members of the business community and all there to support charity and work together. As the nights draw in, luckily it’s not all doom and gloom as the Leicester Comedy Festival kicks out some great events! So on a cheery note, on behalf of myself and all the team at Cross Productions, we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all our clients and a big thank you to our readers. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Thank you to 360 Autoleasing for keeping us driving business forward

CONTENTS NEWS 08 Business News 10 Sarah Harrison 12 Lionheart Academy Trust

BUSINESS FOCUS 12 Affinity HRM 14 The Turnaround CEO 16 Finance 20 MNE 21 John Harlow Insolvency 22 Finance Lab 23 Ask the experts 26 Ian Guyler 28 Paradigm Wills and Legal Services 30 Legal columns

Featuring Paradigm Wills and Legal Services, Glynis Wright & Co, Hollingsworths Solicitors

31 Leicester Law Society 33 Celebrating Success

37 Kazzoo 38 Falcons 39 360Autoleasing Leicester 40 2XL Commercial Finance 41 Trident

43 IvyJack 43 Marketing Columns Featuring Soar Valley Press, Creative62, Trident

47 Incite Video 43 Marketing Columns

Featuring IvyJack, Cross Productions

49 The importance of content marketing


50 Outside LE1

50 51 51 52 52

MME Mortgages Made Easy Sarson Electrical Armstrongs Wealth Planning DLT Roofing JSP Virtual

54 SFB 59 Nico Properties 60 Way of Life 64 Property columns

Featuring Kings Real Estate, Oadby House, Leicestershire Garden Design,

65 66 67 68 73 74

Utility Warehouse The Commercial Flooring Company Kings Real Estate Mental Health in the Workplace Stoneygate Eye Clinic Health Columns

Featuring Priti Coles, Stoneygate Eye Clinic Function Jigsaw

76 Betty Brown 85 Adore Fine Art 86 Fourwards at Ashfields 88 Foodcourt 91 St Martins House

SOCIAL 96 Tracey Miller Culture 97 Steps 98 Corporate Social Responsibility 100 The Amwell Care Home 100 Zinthiya Trust 101 Hope Against Cancer 102 Help the Homeless

Cover: St Martins House photographed by Hitz Rao at Hitz Rao Photography 0116 246 0475

Photography & Video courtesy of: Alex Benyon Photography alexbenyonphotography.co.uk Adam King hello@incitevideo.co.uk

91, 93 COVER STORY St Martins House

33 Celebrating success

43 IvyJack

67 Kings Real Estate

70 Mental health in the workplace


University adds £500m a year to UK economy De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) adds £500m to the UK economy – half of which is directly spent in Leicestershire, according to a new report. Independent analysts Regeneris have mapped the economic and social impact made by DMU over one financial year, revealing how it supports a range of businesses and services as well as serving communities across the city. The Economic Impact Report also highlights the central role the university plays in attracting new businesses and jobs to the region. With an annual income of more than £200million, DMU’s turnover is greater than the average for all Premier League clubs. Here are just some of the findings: ◆ DMU spends £11m with Leicestershire businesses on goods and services and £60m nationally ◆ DMU supports 7,800 full-time jobs across the UK – and one in every 30 jobs in Leicester can be traced back to the university

◆ Students

at DMU spend an estimated £240m in the UK economy every year, supporting an estimated 3,300 jobs ◆ More than 80% of nursing students take up their first post in the region ◆ Students logged 33,400 hours volunteering on projects across the city ◆ DMU has the eighth highest number of graduate start-ups of all UK universities PVC Enterprise Professor David Mba said: “We commissioned the report because we wanted to better understand the impact DMU has not only upon the city but also the region, and the UK as a whole. “What it shows confirms our belief in the power of a modern university as a catalyst for economic growth. It highlights our strong links with local and national employers and industry as well as our civic role, which is important to us. Our students and staff make an enormous contribution to making Leicester the vibrant city is it today. “Next year DMU will mark its 150th anniversary. We began by providing

education and training for workers in Leicester industries. This new report shows that today, one-tenth of our city’s workers also study at DMU. It is more than a matter of tradition – we continue to provide skills and talent that are absolutely vital to Leicester’s future success.” DMU works closely with Leicester City Council, supporting the authority to achieve its objectives. The university has just launched Local+, an extension of its community outreach programme DMU Local, which will see academics act as consultants to work on projects that will benefit communities in Leicester. DMU’s students have significant spending power. Students spent an estimated £240m in the UK economy during 2016/17, supporting an estimated 3,300 jobs. Visits from friends and family generated a total of £2 million of extra spending for Leicestershire. With more than 23,000 students and 2,600 staff – the majority of whom live locally – DMU accounts for 6% of all jobs in the city.

Leicester’s own North42 Gin lands exclusive partnership with Selfridges A new brand of craft gin, created by two Midlands female entrepreneurs, is to launch exclusively in Selfridges Birmingham, thanks to a chance remark made at a women’s business event. Sally Davis who is behind the Leicester-based North42 brand, told an audience at the launch of Back Her Business in Birmingham in April, that she wanted Selfridges to stock their gin. Sam Watts, Selfridges Birmingham general manager, was so compelled by the story behind North42 that she told them she was keen to support them. “It was a surreal moment,” says Sally. “To get it stocked in Selfridges, one of our favourite stores is a dream come true.” After attending the launch of the Alison Review of Female Entrepreneurship, Sally and 08 | NICHE

Chef Joanna Betts went on to finalise the perfect blend with a local distillery, eventually taking delivery of their first 1000 bottles in May. Joanna and Sally are now launching North42 gin in Selfridges Birmingham, which will be followed by pop-up shops in the flagship London store and Manchester, as well as online. The number 42 has been key to the brand – not only is their restaurant at 42 Hinckley Road, it opened on 4/2/2015 and the gin is 42 per cent ABV. “We’re so excited that our premium gin will be in such a prestige store,” said Sally. “We crafted the gin to be perfect on its own, in a cocktail or with tonic water. We’re looking forward to introducing it to new customers over the next few months, showcasing how it can be enjoyed.”

Huge boost to business support for Leicester and Leicestershire Business owners across Leicester and Leicestershire, looking to expand and grow their enterprises, now have access to an enhanced service through the Business Gateway Growth Hub, including the addition of a £1.4 million pot of grant funding. The Business Gateway Growth Hub service is backed by a newly designed website, which provides a straight-forward and comprehensive menu of all the support and finance opportunities on offer to business owners across the city and county. The site aims to simplify access to business support by signposting to the most relevant or appropriate help, saving time and keeping entrepreneurs, and those thinking about starting a business, well informed of the options available to them. The Business Gateway has provided intensive support to over 1,000 Leicester and Leicestershire enterprises since 2014 and will continue to provide a variety of core services including tailored, one-to-one advice, a programme of presentations and workshops, finance opportunities and support programmes. Following successful bidding to the European Regional Development Fund, a further £3.9 million has been secured to deliver an enhanced service for local companies. This will be run in partnership with Leicester City Council, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), Leicestershire County Council and the Leicester and

Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Limited (LLEP). This broader service means there will be a larger team of advisers offering free, impartial and commercial-focussed business advice and information. A new Business Growth Grant is available to established small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) trading businessto-business and looking to create jobs or develop new products/services. The Growth Hub will continue to offer a free programme of events to help businesses develop skills and knowledge on all aspects of running a successful business including sales, finance, marketing and HR procedures. Helen Miller, Growth Hub Manager, said: “This is a very exciting time for the Business Gateway as we begin delivery of more face-to-face business advice and open the Business Growth Grants for applications. “We are proud to be serving the diverse business community across our city and county. Our aim is to make business support and advice as accessible as possible and build support networks for businesses to benefit from peer-to-peer interaction. Often a bit of external help can make a big difference to how quickly a business owner achieves their goals and aspirations. “We want to support our local businesses to thrive and prosper, creating a strong business economy for Leicester and Leicestershire.”

Everards and Carling offer communities £20k in funding Do you know of a community project that could do with a little funding? Everards could help. Following the success of last year’s ‘We Got This’ campaign, which received over 200 applications and saw 12 communities benefit from a £20,000 fund pot, Everards are delighted to announce that the Made Local Fund is open again for nominations! This is all made possible thanks to Everards’ relationship with Carling, who are offering funding for local community projects across the UK, as part of their Made Local campaign. The initiative encourages people to get together and create stronger communities in their local area. Last year’s fund saw an array of entries and helped to set up a number of brand-new community groups, replace very old chairs in a village hall, install a fire door at a library, buy a wheelchair for a basketball club and support a local trust who provide canal boat trips for the elderly and vulnerable. If you know of a project that is struggling to get off the ground, equipment that needs replacing or a community space in desperate need of renovation, get your nominations in and your community could get a share of the £20,000 fund pot. All you need to do is pop into your local Everards pub that sells Carling and complete a nomination form. Nominations open Monday 14 October and will close on Wednesday 8 January, 2020. All entries will go through a judging panel in January and the winners will be notified early February 2020.

NICHE | 09


in Leicester Christmas in Leicester is truly magical. Lights twinkle across the city, shop shelves are piled high with gift ideas, and Christmas cheer is in the air as everyone enjoys the most wonderful time of the year. City Centre Director, Sarah Harrison, reveals the events calendar for Christmas in Leicester The switch-on of the city’s Christmas lights gets a season of festive fun underway – and there really is something for everyone to enjoy. There are Christmas shows and pantomimes, street entertainers and brass bands, a beautifully-lit big wheel, and a snow-topped grotto where little ones can meet Santa and his elves — free of charge! LightWeight, a beautiful interactive globe, will be enthralling visitors to new market square – while all the fun of the fair will be on Humberstone Gate for the festive season. And Leicester’s traditional nativity scene will be in Town Hall Square, opposite an animated tableau featuring festive woodland tales. The Christmas tree at the Clock Tower will be decorated with more than 900 brightly coloured baubles and 16,000 lights will illuminate the city centre streets, creating the 10 | NICHE

perfect festive ambience. Shoppers searching for those ideal gifts – and family, friends and colleagues looking for some festive cheer – will not be disappointed with the choice of where to go to shop, eat and drink as it has never been better! If you want to shop local then you will not be disappointed, simply look out for the yellow stickers in the independent shop windows. To book ice skating tickets please go to christmasinleicester.co.uk and for information on what’s on, check out visitleicester.info or pop into Visit Leicester Information Centre, 51 Gallowtree Gate and speak with one of our friendly advisors. 0116 299 4444 visitleicester.info


Thursday 21 November 5pm - 8pm Humberstone Gate West and Clock Tower. Programme of live music and entertainment, late-night Park and Ride service until 9pm

A Christmas Canteen

Thursday 21 November 12noon 10.30pm New Market Square Award-winning street food plus entertainment, Midday - 10.30pm

Wheel of Light

15 November - 6 January Jubilee Square Rise to a dizzy height of 110 feet. Wheelchair access available in one of the gondolas and assistance provided

Town Hall Tableau and Nativity Scene 21 November - 6 January Town Hall Square

Santa in the Square

7 - 22 December New Market Square Visit Santa in his grotto for a wonderful free experience

Lightweight Interactive Projection Orb

12 - 21 December New Market Square

Jubilee Square real ice rink

7 December - 5 January 10am - 8pm Special Preview Offer only £5! 5 December 5 pm - 8 pm 6 December 11 am - 8 pm CLOSED Christmas and New Year’s Day Tickets: christmasinleicester.co.uk or at the box office at BBC Radio Leicester on Jubilee Square


23 November - 11 January Curve Inspired by Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Romeo and Juliet and with a timeless score including Tonight, America and I Feel Pretty, this is one of the greatest musicals of all time filled with romance, charm, aggression and heartbreak.

Giraffes Can’t Dance

9 December - 31 December Gerald the Giraffe longs to go to the great Jungle Dance, but how can he join in when he doesn’t know how to tango or two-step? Carrying the message of acceptance and self-belief this story is perfect for young children. Book tickets: curveonline.co.uk


14 December - 5 January De Montfort Hall Starring X Factor winner Sam Bailey and Antony Costa from Blue. Jump aboard our magic carpet as we travel to ancient China to meet our hero, young Aladdin. Book tickets: demontforthall.co.uk

Robin Hood

The Little Theatre 13 December - 5 January Join Robin’s band to add plenty of laughs and panto slapstick, no doubt with a few fresh cream cakes thrown in for good measure. Book tickets: thelittletheatre.net NICHE | 11

Marc Abrams

appointed as senior partner for KPMG’s East Midlands practice


Professional services firm KPMG has appointed a new Senior Partner to run its East Midlands practice at the Leicester and Nottingham offices

Marc succeeds Ian Borley, who is stepping down from the role ahead of retirement in April after nearly 35 years with the firm. Marc has been with KPMG for 11 years and is responsible for leading the firm’s Tax practice in the East Midlands. He has advised on some of the region’s highest-profile transactions in recent years and worked with a range of businesses from privately owned to listed, his advice covering both company and shareholders’ taxes. Marc commented: “I’m thrilled to have been appointed to lead KPMG’s East Midlands practice. Over the last 11 years, I have seen first-hand the tremendous ability that exists across the 200+ talented individuals that make up our vibrant local practice and the fabulous range of ambitious businesses within the East Midlands. Being an active and visible member of the local business community continues to be a key part of KPMG’s regional strategy in the East Midlands. I’ve got big shoes to fill, but I’ll be working closely with Ian until he retires

in April.” Karl Edge, Chair for KPMG in the Midlands, added: “Marc is absolutely the right person to take over the reins and build on Ian’s legacy. He has been responsible for the successful growth of our tax practice in the East Midlands over the past decade. Under Marc’s leadership, our tax practice in the East Midlands has achieved double-digit growth every year for the past six years and he has developed a hugely talented team of people. “Ian has done a fantastic job of leading our East Midlands offices over the past five years. He’s been extensively involved in the local business community, and led the East Midlands practice to achieve consistent growth year-on-year.” Ian Borley commented: “Whilst I’ll be sad to leave KPMG after so long, I’m delighted to have handed over the reins in the East Midlands to such a talented and hard-working individual as Marc, who’s also a really nice bloke!”

Moving from Reactive

to Proactive HR – which one are you?

The saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ couldn’t be truer of how you should be approaching your HR


It’s fair to say that as a business owner, your time, money and stress levels would be better reserved for you working on your day-to-day operations. Aleena Ahmad of Affinity HRM provides an expert ‘outside-looking-in’, hands-on HR approach to gain a deep understanding of your business goals, to help with strategic HR planning. A HR plan, can be as simple as mapping out: do I have the right people, in the right place, at the right time, doing the right role, at the right capability, now and in the near future? So, are you a business owner who approaches your HR from a reactive firefighting perspective, rather than having a proactive plan? You’ll probably have a business plan, including finance and marketing, but

12 | NICHE

does it also incorporate how your people will help you achieve your goals? For many businesses, HR is considered to be solely compliance and policies, with the human element of their business largely overlooked. Your people are your business and really, whatever the size of your business, you’re never too small to plan and this is what will take your business from surviving to thriving. “I’ve seen so many owners, ‘muddle’ through until they hit a problem and need a quick solution, rather than try to mitigate their risk in the first place. Being reactive is no longer enough!” Aleena comments. Aleena offers much more than behind the scenes HR support, and comments: “The business owners that I assist see me as an extended member

of their team and HR naturally becomes part of their routine business planning. Approaching the people aspect of your business with a longer-term perspective is vital to being proactive rather than reactive,” Aleena tells us. Aleena is offering Niche readers an exclusive HR Healthcheck for your business, contact her to discuss. 0116 478 0025 affinityhrm.co.uk

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The journey so far… An inspiring conversation on a retreat three years ago led Amanda Daly to start a company which would go on to help businesses grow and develop in a unique way. Drawing from her extensive business experience Amanda has created a new way of assisting businesses on their path to success


By working closely with business leaders from an ‘outside looking in’ perspective, The Turnaround CEO looks at ways in which a business can grow, develop and prosper through the evolution of the leader at the heart of the company. Amanda’s extensive and varied experience within a highly successful company puts her in the perfect position to be able to share her knowledge in a bid to help leaders address limitations that they themselves may be unwittingly applying to their business. Her perspective is the driving force behind changing the company culture for good. Her work is a true passion for Amanda, who thrives on watching a company and its leader evolve. “Working with the leaders in the way that I do is incredibly rewarding for me. Through what can often be subtle changes, we can see a snowball effect of positivity which can make a big impact.” Changing a company culture

16 | NICHE

isn’t plain sailing though: “Change can be uncomfortable to start with, and for many the very beginning stages of implementing change can be the toughest part of the journey. Sometimes there will be things that leaders bring to the role and company which they won’t see as detrimental to the business and their employees. Helping them to realise this can be difficult, especially in companies where leaders have been doing what they are doing for a long time. It’s during these changes where the good things will emerge – change is vital, nothing good can come from sstanding still.” Now, at three years since the company’s inception, Amanda has helped a wide range of companies, from SMEs to large businesses, to move to the next level, to create strategies when in a period of difficulty or to create a succession plan. In the time since its birth, The Turnaround CEO has worked with a wide variety of businesses in varying industries and at


It’s during these changes where the good things will emerge – change is vital, nothing good can come from standing still different stages of their business path. Looking to continue to provide unique and interesting networking opportunities in addition to one on one support, Amanda flourishes when creating platforms for leaders to grow. Hosting unique roundtable networking events, and with a range of exciting opportunities to gather leaders together to help each other soar, Amanda is keen to create environments which enable the local business community to share experiences and knowledge. “The roundtable events consist of handpicked guests. They are all people that I know will bring their expertise and the right tone of interest for each of the guests attending. It’s a valuable opportunity to form rewarding and lasting relationships in a real and active business community.”

01509 274 119 theturnaroundceo.co.uk NICHE | 15


Investing in 2020 With a new year there comes a renewed purpose for assessing what worked and what didn’t in the previous year ready for the year ahead. Your finances as a growing business are one of the crucial areas for re-assessment, what might have been working may no longer be returning as much as it did this time last year. What measures do you have in place to carry out new year financial assessments?


PETER HIGGINS Founder and Managing Director at Conkers3 Ltd


2019 thus far has seen an enormous rise in the number of listed companies registering profit warnings. The end of September 2019 saw several FTSE 100 Blue Chip companies (including Imperial Brands, British Airways and Pearson) shocking the markets with poor numbers. We also saw some significant announcements of City financial veterans announcing their retirements or leaving their CEO roles. Dave Lewis the Tesco CEO since September 2014 announced he will leave in the summer of 2020. Martin Gilbert is retiring from Standard Life Aberdeen having co-founded Aberdeen Asset Management in 1983. Alison Cooper announced that after nine years as CEO of Imperial Brands she would be stepping down. In September we also saw the sad demise of one of the pioneers of recreational travel, Thomas Cook after 178 years in business (as some will know its famous founder organised his first excursion from Leicester to Loughborough in July 1841), as it fell into administration. It succumbed to debts that had risen to more than £1.25 billion, after over two decades of failing to grasp the importance of technological advances and competition from their capital lite and online only travel peers.

16 | NICHE

Our tech sector employs around 2.1 million people, contributes around £184 billion a year to the British economy and continues to attract record levels of foreign investment. Even this year, despite macro-economic and geo-political headwinds, this inward investment has continued. Opportunistic takeovers by foreign cash rich predators are likely to persist. My views are that investors should research companies and investment opportunities with greater scrutiny. As this will reduce their risks of negative returning investment returns as experienced by investing in Wood Patient Capital Trust and Thomas Cook to name but two. That business leaders should invest in technological advances, software and processes that will add value to their enterprises and enable them to compete against their national as well as their global peers. These advances could include software as a service, robotic process automation or simply adopting their fleet of vehicles from diesel to electric, thus cutting their fuel costs. Such investments ahead of and during 2020 would enable businesses to run more efficiently and make them even more globally competitive and ready for business.



RAJESH MODHA Director at Finance Lab


As a rule, I believe every business needs a constant year-long handle on their finances. It can, however, be a real balancing act to maintain enough cash flow to run a business for its day-to-day activities, against having funds for marketing, business development and research and development. Whether it’s in-house or external, the use of your accountant to keep you abreast of your position is essential. We work on a very simple (and some would say very conservative) structure. We always hold one year’s business costs in cash to cover any calamity. The balance we can then direct, if required, to activities which we believe will benefit the business looking forward. Most business owners naturally want to maximise profit, but too often I find that there are no real targets except for ‘more’. Scratch under the surface and you find that this profit goal is often related to other factors. For example,

more profit will allow the owner to ‘relax’, so that they feel they can take more time away from the business. In fact, normally this just leads to the opposite, as they strive to maintain that level of income or increase it further. Lifestyle and health suffer, and the cycle repeats. I would suggest that you put a little time into understanding what type of lifestyle you wish to enjoy – now and in the future. Work out the financial requirements to attain this lifestyle and repeat every year. I also believe you should be reviewing not ‘what’ you do, but whether you have the correct ‘who’ in your organisation. Are your staff sitting in the right seats to drive your business forward? As much as technology has helped in many ways, it’s the priceless commodity of your staff that will drive it forward. Could your financial resources be better used upskilling or attracting the right staff?

JOHN KIELY Director at Claremont Financial Planning Ltd


With the run-up to the end of the tax year, businesses and individuals will be looking at their investments, and how they can maximise their tax efficiency for the outgoing tax year, whilst preparing for the new tax year. Ideally, businesses should start to review from December and January so that they have time to maximise their tax and make use of the current pension and ISA allowances. We get clients to look at their

allowances and ensure that they are making the most of their allowance. So, looking forward to future investments, we look at whether they can make any payments into their ISA or other tax-efficient savings that have limits on what you can pay into them in each tax year. Whilst there has been an increase in more people saving into a pension, with the benefits of greater freedom for taking benefits and the savings being easily left as part of a tax-free inheritance. Those who want to plan their retirement should consider utilizing their annual allowance in order

to make the most of the tax breaks on offer. With pension contributions, you need to ensure these payments are received by your pension provider by the end of the tax year. Each year, you can contribute up to £40,000, depending on your pensionable earnings. Investing in the latest technology is extremely beneficial to us, so we can offer the best service for our clients and ensure that they utilise their tax allowances in the current tax year, as well as putting plans in place for the future.


NICHE | 17

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Joanne was promoted from her previous position of Senior Manager at the firm’s office on Regent Road earlier this month. Her appointment takes the number of partners at the firm to 10. Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the ICAEW in 1994, Joanne gained Fellowship of the Institute in 2007. She joined Newby Castleman 19 years ago following the firm’s acquisition of Jervis Taylor & Partners in 2000, where Joanne had worked as a Manager. The longevity of a large proportion of Joanne’s client relationships reflects Newby Castleman’s emphasis on delivering a personal service and forward-thinking advice to its clients. Joanne has worked with UKD, one of the largest footwear distributors in the

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Newby Castleman appoints new partner

04/09/2019 10:41

Leicestershire accountants Newby Castleman has announced its appointment of Joanne Chilton to the role of Partner at its Leicester office UK, for the last 30 years. Since joining Newby Castleman, she has managed UKD’s accounts, providing ongoing audit and tax compliance services as well as occasional bespoke, specialist advice. Chris Brown, IT & Operations Director at UKD, says: “Joanne has always been a pleasure to work with over the many years I’ve known her. She is professional and personal all at once: Joanne represents Newby Castleman extremely well.” Joanne comments: “Over the years I have built my own portfolio of clients, many of whom I’ve worked with for over 20 years, managing all of their account and taxation needs. I also oversee a team of staff to co-ordinate the smooth running of the work within our

department. “In recent years I have become more involved in estate planning, which I find fascinating and rewarding from a professional point of view, as well as significantly beneficial to clients. All aspects of my work in tax and estate planning will continue, alongside which I am also looking forward to developing my new role as these are very exciting times for Newby Castleman.” Chris Castleman, Managing Partner at Newby Castleman, says: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Joanne as our new partner. We believe this appointment, coupled with our ongoing re-branding activities throughout both branches, will continue to raise Newby Castleman’s profile further.”















“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

Demergers – why do businesses break up?

The Miller Partnership is often asked to advise on company demergers, but what exactly is a demerger and why would you want to do one? Put simply, a demerger is the breaking up of a company into two or more smaller ones. In principle, it’s straightforward, but the tax aspects can be complex. There are special exemptions and reliefs from tax which will allow you to demerge pretty much tax free, subject to certain conditions, so you will need expert professional tax advice. In my experience – I also used to be the Inland Revenue’s demergers expert – people demerge their companies for three main reasons. The first, most common one, is so they can keep control of the property – often the premises they work from – when they sell their business. Let’s imagine you run a carpentry business through your company. Someone wants to buy the business, but they don’t need or want your workshop. By demerging, you can keep your premises as an investment for your retirement – perhaps renting it out – leaving your buyer with the holding company and the trading company that sits underneath it. The second scenario is where owners fall out. It’s not necessarily personal – it’s just that they have different, incompatible ideas about their business’s direction. A rental property company co-owner might want to go into luxury apartments while his business partner is focused on the student flats market. If the company doesn’t demerge then the business will suffer. The third most common reason for demerging, falls somewhere between scenarios one and two. It often involves two business owners who have got on fine for many years but are thinking of retiring. Their children, however, don’t know each other well and there is no guarantee they will get on. So, it makes sense to split the company and take their shares separately, avoiding any problems further down the line. If you’re considering marketing your business, it’s important to start getting it ready for sale, which might include a demerger, at least two or three years before you plan to sell it. That way, you’ll be able to show that the demerger is for commercial reasons and it should be easier to persuade HRMC to give you advance clearance.

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

www.themillerpartnership.com pete.miller@themillerpartnership.com


The future of

accountancy ‘Tradition’ isn’t a term you’ll hear in the city centre-based open-plan offices of MNE – an accounting firm with a youthful team that implements streamlined systems and bursts with energy and innovation


Dynamic and ambitious accountancy firm MNE has shaken up the industry in the last six years and their modern approach to a somewhat stagnant industry isn’t going unnoticed. The firm, who offer a full accounts outsourcing service for some of the UK’s leading businesses and brands, is led by Tim Emmony ,whose view on what a modern accountancy firm should look like has enabled the company to grow and evolve organically with its youthful and high energy team being pivotal to its success. Tim comments: “Many people may view some of our team and look at their young ages and assume we don’t have the experience that older accountants have, but we see it as an advantage. Take Jamie, a Director at our firm, for example – at 24 years old he manages a quarter of a billion pounds’ worth of business, his fresh and up to date knowledge of finance and business makes him more than capable and within a

20 | NICHE

short time of meeting him clients see that. Our firm has limitless youthful energy in what is typically perceived as a stagnant industry.” With youth on their side the team, which in six years has grown to almost 20 individuals, now has a unique ability to deliver specialist financial services by account managers with the very latest in knowledge and expertise. Making the working environment a productive one is down to many factors for the team, but Directors who have absolute confidence in their abilities is a great start. A modern and open office working environment and half day Fridays all contribute to greater productivity for the firm. “Initially, I was dubious about the move, but the effects have been nothing but positive.” says Tim. With a forward-thinking company culture based around honesty and transparency, MNE believes that businesses in the current climate require their accountants to handle their books


with a level of competence and experience which doesn’t need continued updates and client involvement. Tim explained: “We are always open with our clients about what services they do and don’t need. Not only does this boost our own productivity but it also prevents the client spending where they don’t need to. We manage the accounts efficiently and without the need for clients to use their time checking in with us.” An original and modern accountancy firm whose work and relationship ethics are naturally innovative, MNE have created a benchmark for others with the bar set high, and they have no intention of letting up. Tim summed up: “From the start our intention has always been to do things differently, breaking out of the mould set by the industry.” 0116 255 2422 Mneaccounting.co.uk



Warning Signs John Harlow of John Harlow Insolvency points out some key indicators


Running your own business, either as a sole trader or as a director of a limited company, is not always a great deal of fun. Many businesses experience problems during their lifetime and many continue to trade long after the point at which it would have been wiser to stop. Directors, in particular, owe a strong duty of care towards both their company and its creditors, and failure to recognise this can lead to dire personal ramifications if they ignore the warning signs. It is an offence for a director or owner to trade a business that he knew, or ought to have known, was insolvent. A company is insolvent if either its liabilities exceed its assets or it is unable to pay its debts when they fall due. There are a number of key indicators which should not be ignored. What, therefore, should directors (and

individuals) be looking out for? The obvious thing would be an examination of management accounts showing that the assets are worth less than the liabilities on the balance sheet. This is, of course, dependent on accounts having been prepared – and many owner-managed businesses find it hard to find the time or money to do this whilst doing the main job. A large bad debt will affect cash flow very quickly and should not be ignored; once cash flow is compromised, increased creditor pressure quickly builds up. The bank overdraft limit may be reached and the need to find alternative credit to assist cash flow may actually be counterproductive, as it creates an extra raft of indebtedness to service. Legal process by creditors and

being placed on stop for credit are other key indicators of insolvency to look out for, and somewhat counterintuitively, a sudden increase in new orders can in itself cause problems if the business ends up overtrading. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but if and when such problems are recognised, business owners should not be afraid to take immediate and appropriate advice. The earlier problems are recognised, the more options are available for recovery or turnaround. Most Insolvency Practitioners will provide a free initial appraisal for worried business owners. 0116 275 5021 harlowinsolvency.co.uk mail@harlowinsolvency.co.uk

NICHE | 21

Finance Holistically

The approach we adopt when dealing with the financial side of our lives is not only a matter of practicality, but it’s also deeply personal. Rajesh Modha of The Finance Lab sits down with Emily Kirton to explain why our finances have more to do with our feelings than the figures


“Money is emotive even if us humans might not realise it,” says Rajesh as we get comfortable in the relaxing surroundings of Finance Lab HQ. Adopting a holistic view of the wealth management of their high net worth clients, The Finance Lab is home to a variety of supportive services which are quite unlike any other company in the sector. “We have a specialist team of counsellors, hypnotherapists and even a travel consultant to help support our clients through what can be emotional financial choices. We don’t save anybody; we stand by our clients as they work towards saving themselves.” Whilst Rajesh is keen to set the tone that it’s about more than simply advising on products, he explains just why helping clients to discover the vulnerabilities they have around money is so important to reaching a decision on investment advice, retirement planning, wealth succession and property financing. “We believe your wealth should be used to match your life’s aspirations. By getting to the root of how we

22 | NICHE

feel about money and how it will work for us in our future, we can comfortably decide what is the best way to deal with it.” Many of Finance Lab’s clients are females at a crossroads in their life, where they may have recently experienced a great deal of change in their lives. Rajesh comments: “We specialise in guiding females who have recently experienced a divorce, the death of a partner, and successful entrepreneurs who are looking to either expand or sell their business. It’s at these times that the finances they are left to sort out can be daunting and may have many emotional ties.” Rajesh explains that by looking deeper into our feelings behind money and actually making ourselves vulnerable enough to explore those spaces they can then work to a plan which is bespoke to the individual. The team will advise on the products for investments and planning. “We aren’t on a commission basis for the products we recommend; we operate an annual flat fee


structure and so there is never any need to rush this stage to earn money on our part. We concentrate on creating the financial plan first, so we can arrange the right financial products at the right time to suit the client.” Rajesh Modha is a Chartered Financial Planner and has over 17 years of experience in the financial services sector, and yet for him he does what he does for more than profit margins: “I greatly enjoy what I do. I live our mission statement – using financial strategies to plan for an authentic lifestyle, so that I look forward to waking up every morning, but also have the peace of mind to be able to sleep soundly at night.” 0116 262 1414 financelab.co.uk


When should you seek help with your business? As the saying goes, ‘no man is an island’: no one can be expected to be able to do everything and therefore should not be afraid to take advice from others. Running a business can be extremely stressful, especially when times get tough and things aren’t going to plan. There are many benefits to your business when you seek outside support and guidance; so, at what point should a business seek help when an issue arises?


JOHN HARLOW Director at John Harlow Insolvency


There seems to be little doubt that there are a great many businesses throughout the country which are underperforming for a variety of reasons. The annual growth rate in the economy has been poor since the crash of 2008 and although some sectors have thrived, many have merely bumped along just managing to keep their heads above water. A few years ago, these businesses were branded as ‘zombie’ companies, which were able to service the interest on their borrowing, but had insufficient cash surplus to enable any investment in the business to facilitate growth. We dealt with several old established businesses, which may have been able to survive had they been able to reduce their overhead costs by reducing the workforce, but who were unable to do so as redundancies were too expensive in terms of termination costs of long-term employees. From the perspective of an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) this has been frustrating, as it renders some of the tools in the chest, such as administration, unworkable as the application of TUPE regulations often makes a sale of the business and assets as a going concern unattractive to would-be buyers, meaning that the only alternative is a winding-up with the loss of all jobs.

Also frustrating, from an IP’s point of view, is the fact that business owners frequently fail to take proper advice at an early enough stage. It may be human nature to play the ostrich and to put off unpleasant things in the hope that, as Mr Micawber optimistically said: ‘something will turn up’, but this often leads to the problems getting worse and again restricts the ability of an IP to introduce a rescue plan. This failure to take advice may, however, be due to lack of awareness that the problems exist. Many owner-managed businesses are good at what they do, ie manufacturing widgets or grooming cats, but are hopeless at maintaining financial control. They may miss some of the more obvious indicative signs and, when money is tight, will try to save costs by cancelling production of management accounts or refusing to meet with their financial advisors. There is no doubt that the earlier advice is taken, the more options to save a business, either in part or as a whole, will be available. Business owners should learn to recognise the indicative warning signs that a business may be heading for insolvency and should not be afraid to admit that they can’t do everything themselves and take professional advice. Most IPs will be happy to provide free confidential initial advice to worried business owners – and the earlier they do so, the greater is the chance of avoiding formal insolvency. NICHE | 23

JAY WEBB Director at Jay Webb Consultancy


Matrimony is not the only area where individuals may come to blows and the only way forward is the ‘D-word’ – divorce! Employing people can either be a marriage made in heaven or the worst nightmare of your life and, just like marriage, things can start off well and then something happens and both sides are off into their own corner, knives akimbo and ready for a fight. Employees are the lifeblood of an organisation; they can also be the most significant drain on both finances and emotions. From a employee’s point of view, they may wish to part company but feel that they have an entitlement to be given a pay-out. In these days of litigation and a no-fee Tribunal Service, some employees feel that it is their only way forward, but it doesn’t have to be. There are all sorts of reasons why companies feel the need to part company with an employee. For example, performance, grievances, restructuring, complaints, personalities, shareholders, disputes or simply a round pin in



In an attempt to trade out of difficult financial circumstances, an employer may wish to reduce their employee costs temporarily or permanently. An employer should seek advice from an employment solicitor at an early stage to determine the most appropriate way of doing this. There are a number of options that might be available including: 1 Making redundancies. A fair procedure should be followed in making redundancies

24 | NICHE

a square hole – the list can be endless. There are also processes and procedures in place for many of the above. However, not all employers can manage them or think they may take a prohibitively long time, which is not necessarily the case. The time to bring in expert advice is as early as possible before things get out of hand. There are some great HR Consultants and excellent, expert employment solicitors in the Midlands area, so taking advice as soon as possible is always the best way forward. Sometimes it needs an independent person to provide help and support for the organisation and the employee to move forward, to achieve an amicable divorce. Once a decision has been made by the organisation that a parting of ways is necessary, I do advise that the managers obtain expert legal advice and support in advising the employer on their way forward, speaking to the expert solicitor to explain the situation and identify the potential sums to be agreed. Usually, there is a bandwidth of the lowest amount that the organisation is willing to pay, up to a maximum. The solicitor will give this advice based on their knowledge of employment law and case law. Sometimes there are shareholdings involved and again an expert will provide advice on the amount together with the employers’ accountants. Meetings with the employee and employer with their HR support usually lay the foundation on how the organisation wishes to proceed. It is usual for the employer to pay towards the employee’s legal advice on the settlement agreement drawn up by the employer’s solicitor (the divorce). The aim should always be to try and achieve an agreement where both parties feel that they have been treated fairly.

as otherwise employees with two years’ service or more could claim they have been unfairly dismissed, which, if successful, will entitle them to compensation. The employer may wish to ask for volunteers for redundancy, albeit this should be on the basis that such applications can be rejected if the particular employee’s skills need to be retained. Employers may wish to consider redundancies of those employees with less than two years’ service, in that this will save employers the ongoing payroll cost in respect of such employees but without the liability of redundancy payments. 2 If the employer has a contractual right to do so, it could place employees on short time working or lay them off. Guarantee payments may

be payable depending on the circumstances and if the situation continues for a prescribed period time, employees with two years’ service or more could claim redundancy payments. 3 Consulting with employees and seeking their agreement about reducing their working hours with a corresponding decrease in their pay. The above will not be viable solutions if redundancies or reduction in working hours would only cause more financial problems. In this situation, the employer may consider asking some categories of employees to forego elements of their remuneration package or take a decrease in pay. However, such a contract change must not be forced on employees, as if it is, the employees could pursue successful claims.

Ask the Experts



Director at Affinity HRM


Every business is likely to encounter an employee whose performance isn’t up to scratch. Whilst you may think ignorance is bliss and not manage the situation because you’re not sure how to, or you feel uncomfortable, from experience the problem will only get worse! An underperforming employee can have a negative domino effect on the rest of your business, because other staff are forced to pick up the work, leading to resentment,

burnout and eventually high turnover. I’ve seen service levels drop, customers and clients go elsewhere, impact on reputation and ultimately a fall in revenue. We’ve helped clients at all stages, but my advice is to tackle any performance issue early on and you’re more likely to have achieved a better result for your business and the employee. Here are five early warning signs every manager needs to have on their radar when it comes to identifying underperformance of an employee. 1 Consistently failing to meet their targets and objectives by a large amount. 2 Take note of the quality of work and if your expectations of attitudes and behaviours are being met. 3 Poor feedback from colleagues or customer and client complaints. 4 Lack of communications is an

easy one to spot, as you will notice fewer emails and calls, and other team members may find their expectations are not being managed because the individual is not communicating as expected. 5 Regularly arriving late, leaving early, calling in sick more frequently often signals a lack of motivation and disengagement. Underperformance can occur for many reasons, including personal circumstances which might be impacting their performance, so it’s not always straightforward to manage. As business owners, you are spinning many plates, so getting professional HR advice is key to ensure you are dealing with performance issues in the most time and cost-effective way. Remember, there’s always a solution you just need to ask for help!

CAROLYNN BEST Partner at Begbies Traynor Leicester


As the saying goes ‘no man is an island’ – each man, woman and business alike should strive to coexist and take refuge in each other, as working in solitary confinement can detach you from valuable resources, funding and guidance. Working in an uninvolved manner with organisations around you and excluding yourself, similar to the disconnect between an island and the mainland, can result in cutting off a core lifeline for the business when in serious need. By exposing yourself to the marketplace, competitors and consumers, you firmly establish your presence and this gives you a fighting chance in winning support when things fail to go as planned. In most cases, a business will experience faint symptoms of struggle, such as cash flow pressures, a decline in sales or a drop in customers. This can rapidly escalate without sounding any alarm bells, as many high street branches have experienced throughout 2019, such as Patisserie

Valerie, Coast, and more recently Thomas Cook. As a business owner you have a vested interest in steering the business towards profit, making it harder to arrive at the realisation that the business is experiencing a severe slowdown in trade. The best step for the future of the business is to tackle the symptoms early before the business spirals into sales despair. We may find that to better place the business in front of customers the company could require an emergency cash injection to propel it to the centre of the sales floor. Alternatively, if you recognise any inconsistencies or suspect a downfall in trade, tackle the symptoms early by seeking specialist restructuring and turnaround advice. We are experienced insolvency practitioners and business rescue experts located on the 1st Floor at Gateway House, Grove Business Park, Enderby, Leicestershire.


NICHE | 25

Innovation a ‘soupçon’ of our local Innovative business activity As I sit here in the Leicester Innovation Hub at the University of Leicester on a rare sunny day at the end of September, I am reflecting on what innovation means, why it is important and considering some of the areas where I’m currently seeing it in the Leicestershire business world


Some dictionary definitions include:

innovation | ɪnəˈveɪʃ(ə)n | new ideas; creative thoughts; better solutions; new solutions that meet new needs or even unarticulated needs. noun [mass noun] the action or process of innovating: innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any organisation. [count noun] a new method, idea, product, etc.: technological innovations designed to save energy. DERIVATIVES innovational | ɪnəˈveɪʃ(ə) n(ə)l | adjective ORIGIN late Middle English: from Latin innovatio(n-), from the verb innovare (see innovate). 26 | NICHE

Leicester Innovation Hub

The Leicester Innovation Hub exists as a ‘front door’ to the University of Leicester, to leverage the research and development knowledge and resources of our local university. It provides a lively and engaging space to facilitate innovation, providing a meeting place to generate ideas and bring businesses together to collaboratively launch new products and services. And, as if by magic whilst I am sitting here, Vimal Chauhan of Drive My Car Executive has called in to discuss his own latest ‘innovation’. He has a great idea to help reduce the school run parking problem – it involves technological innovation mixed with good old fashioned basic human communication! Vimal is working with the Innovation Hub as the outcome of his ‘innovation’ will help to reduce car pollution and make roads safer for children and others near schools. I’ll say no more at this point, but parents in Oadby will certainly hear about it as the local pilot trial develops. On the subject of transport and cars, myself and a few other prominent local business people visited HORIBA MIRA in Nuneaton recently. We received updates on several areas of innovation including extending the battery life of electric cars, driverless cars, cars and cybersecurity, emissions improvement – the list is endless. There are many cutting edge engineering and test facilities there

which are available to industry and it’s right on our doorstep! Two of my fellow visitors to HORIBA MIRA were Ashley Butcher and David Hunter – the A and D of ADT taxis. They are at the forefront of the evolution of ‘how humans get around’. Automated cars, app-type communications and the future of vehicle ownership will bring change to the good oldfashioned taxi service, with the business ideally positioned to become a fulcrum of people ‘getting around’.

Why is innovation important?

Taking the opportunities that all forms of innovation offer is key to the strategic management of a business – if it is ignored, then there is the likelihood of missed opportunities and being left behind. Consider, if you will, how taxi businesses can become the fulcrum of how humans choose to get around outside of the more traditional public transport routes? What do taxi firms have that car manufacturers don’t? Will we even own cars in the future and simply accept that they are an unused asset for 90 per cent of the time or will we just ‘short-term hire’ them for the 10 per cent we do actually need them? Food for thought, certainly. For those of you that have worked with Professor Paul Monks of Leicester University, you will know that he is a great strategic thinker and has a practical awareness of the innovation


Implementing the opportunities that all forms of innovation offer is key to the strategic management of a business – if it is ignored then there is the probability of being left behind

process. He constantly challenges how universities can help meet industry’s needs to keep progressing, especially by utilising science and engineering which, at Leicester University, includes Artificial Intelligence/Data, Space, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering. He is also very aware that not every idea has to be cutting-edge to be innovative. Innovation is not to be confused with invention, so here are two more definitions, this time from a business dictionary: ‘the deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources’ and ‘all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products’. Take, for example, one of the many initiatives of one of our local environmental management firms. Paul Baker, Managing Director of Baker’s Waste Services believes that,

ultimately, everything is recyclable – it is just a question of dealing with some unfortunate practicalities such as cost-effectiveness, variety (eg of plastics) and logistics, etc. But in a great example of the application of innovation, Paul has led his waste disposal team to produce concrete blocks from the residual product that exists after the waste has been sorted and recycled. There are still a few more steps of development to achieve in the process, which may well involve addressing the current high profile issue of what to do with plastic after it has been used, but innovation continues – and according to Paul there is much, much more to come! Innovation does not always have to be technological. Schoolwear Solutions Limited, a Leicestershire headquartered business (with shops throughout the Midlands) is an industry leader in the provision of

school uniform. They have adapted their model of distribution so that pop-up shops including ‘measuring for fit’ are brought to the schools and form part of the whole ‘starting the new school year’ experience for the family. The innovation here is focused on customer service and experience, although even in this area technological advancement is not far away. The advent of Artificial Intelligence is highly likely to bring innovative changes in measuring for clothes in the future. Anyway, as the title indicates, this is just a soupçon of what is going on in our highly pro-active, highly driven, agile and cohesive Leicestershire business world – and I have not even touched on the rumour of flying taxis and the fact that De Montfort University is recognised as a centre of UK excellence for Cyber Security. The faculty has attracted talent from all over Europe to work there and has recently won a national award as The East Midlands first ‘Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research’. In the next issue, I’ll cover some boardroom and board management issues including the roles that nonexecutive directors can take and how businesses can get value out of a nonexec director. 07973 693 455 ianguyler.co.uk NICHE | 27

The Litigation and Commercial Law Firm

In a Pickle? We help businesses, big and small, new and old. We help individuals, at home and at work. Talk to us today to find out how we can help you.

19 New Walk, Leicester LE1 6TE mail@hlegal.co.uk

0116 204 2500 www.hlegal.co.uk

In 2017, 101,669 divorces were filed in England and Wales


For those people who have made a Will whilst they are married would have named their spouse as a Beneficiary, Trustee or Executor, it is vital to understand how divorce will impact your current will. Once a Decree Absolute has been granted, then anything gifted to your spouse will be treated as if they had deceased on the day your marriage legally ends and is passed onto the next beneficiary. If you are still legally married but separated from your spouse, your Will remains valid and your spouse is legally entitled to inherit as it is set out in the Will. If you need advice on Wills during divorce, contact the team at Paradigm Wills and Legal Services.

0116 464 7055 paradigm-wills.com 28 | NICHE



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


0116 238 5680 or viSit:



GLYNIS WRIGHT Head of Glynis Wright & Co

‘COMMON LAW’ HUSBAND AND WIFE? There is a common misconception that ‘common law marriage’ exists in the UK. In fact, a survey carried out by Resolution 2017 established that two-thirds of unmarried couples believed that they would have the same rights as married couples upon separation – specifically in terms of finances. It is important to note that married couples in the UK have a wide range of claims against their respective spouses upon divorce. For example, even if a property is owned in the sole name of one spouse, the other spouse does technically have a potential claim against the same. In addition, the law strives to achieve financial fairness between married couples upon separation. Unfortunately, unmarried couples do not have the same rights as married couples, regardless of how many years they have been together. Therefore, if your relationship does break down, matrimonial law would not apply which can result in one party being unfairly disadvantaged in relation to finances post-separation. Therefore, if you are in a longterm relationship but do not intend to marry, you might consider the merits of a Cohabitation Agreement. It would allow you to record how to split your property, its contents, personal belongings, savings and other assets should the relationship break down. We would always recommend that legal advice is sought in order to ensure that the agreement is drafted appropriately.

0116 238 5680 glyniswright.co.uk 30 | NICHE


EMPLOYEE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS When relations between employer and employee break down or a serious disciplinary issue arises, employers are faced with starting a disciplinary process that, if they get it wrong, can give rise to claims against them from the employee. As for the employee, they risk going through a disciplinary process that goes against them, and a blemish on their employment record which may make getting a new role much more difficult. A settlement agreement is a mechanism for the parties to go their separate ways without a disciplinary process. It settles the statutory and contractual claims of the employee – to be valid, the agreement needs to be recorded in writing and meet certain legal requirements. This includes the employee receiving legal advice from a qualified person, such as a solicitor, who explains what it means. Some claims can’t be settled, and the solicitor will want to ensure that accrued pension rights and certain personal injury

GREG HOLLINGSWORTH Director at Hollingsworths Solicitors claims are excluded from the settlement. There can be financial advantages to both parties, with the employee sometimes being able to be paid taxefficiently, whilst saving the employer national insurance contributions and giving certainty. It is not uncommon to include confidentiality commitments, but recently some employees have spoken out in breach of these commitments where the confidentiality clause has been used to gag them after they complain about sexual harassment and misconduct by others. Such clauses should not be used in these circumstances.

0116 204 7260 hlegal.co.uk

PUTTING PLANS IN PLACE BEFORE WINTER BHAVIN GANDHI Director at Paradigm Wills and Legal Services As autumn turns to winter, the weather is becoming colder; over three million elderly people over 65 are concerned about staying warm in their own home – and it can be a serious concern as elderly people are more vulnerable to contracting hypothermia and other potentially dangerous or life-threatening illnesses quite easily. So, the topic of Wills may be difficult, but it is an important conversation to have with the elderly, so they have plans in place as the weather hits. This would include securing the Will, getting any trusts in order and in place, and ensuring that these are all up to date.

Furthermore, it is important to talk about the Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure that there are no unfortunate surprises in the event of incapacity or death. Lasting Power of Attorney is where a person officially appoints someone they trust to make decisions about their care and welfare. Whilst these topics are difficult to discuss with any elderly person, they are important to ensure that you and the elderly person in question are clear and comfortable with all arrangements. The peace of mind that all parties will have will go a long way in easing any concerns that could potentially cause any extra unnecessary worry for an elderly person over the colder days.

0116 464 7055 paradigm-wills.com


The fastest

Zip Wire

in the world The Leicestershire Law Society’s Zip Wire Challenge will help support charity Alex’s Wish’s mission to bring about effective treatments and ultimately a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy


This exhilarating Zip Wire challenge, taking place in spring 2020 is an initiative instigated by Leicestershire Law Society (LLS) President Glynis Wright, for local businesses and supporters of the LLS to participate in supporting the charity Alex’s Wish to achieve its first £1 million this year. LLS is looking for thrillseekers to take part in the fastest zip wire in the world. You will soar high above the ground and can travel at speeds of over 100mph whilst you admire the breath-taking views and feel the freedom of flight, all whilst raising money for Alex’s Wish. This is an amazing event that you will remember forever and one that you don’t have to train for. The Zip Wire Challenge will take place in Penrhyn quarry a disused site near Bethesda in North Wales. On arrival you will have a safety briefing and will be given all the equipment that you need to take part. Before you go on the ‘Big

Zip’ you get to practice on the ‘Little Zip’ to make sure that you are ready to take part in the main event. After the practice you will go on to an old quarry lorry complete with tour to get to the top! Then it’s onto the Big Zip – a 1,555 meter run on which you can reach those three figure speeds. This will be a whole day event including travel to the site, a stop for lunch, the amazing Zip Wire experience andl travel home – feeling exhilarated! The cost for this exciting experience is £100 (including all equipment, activities and transport) and you will be asked to raise a minimum sponsorship of £200 for Alex’s Wish. Please register your interest to receive more information about fundraising and sponsorship by emailing office@ leicestershirelawsociety.org.uk zipworld.co.uk/adventure/velocity leicestershirelawsociety.org.uk


EVENT DATES We have two proposed dates: Saturday February 22 OR Saturday March 14, 2020 Please reply with your preferred date – the most popular date will be confirmed

Deposit – £100 for the zip wire and return transport (lunch not included)

Minimum Sponsorship – £200 and above (failing to achieve this will not exclude you from the zip wire, but please aim to raise as much as possible)


Weight: 30kg – 120kg Height: min. 4ft – max. 7ft Min age: 10 years old (for those aged 10 – 17 years you will need an adult taking part with you) NICHE | 31







The idea of a commercial contract is to protect your position in the event


something goes wrong. Trying to put an agreement in place after the event might not help when you need it the most.

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

Do you have human resource issues? Support for organisations on the following: • Mediation & negotiating with ACAS on potential Tribunal Cases • Disciplinary handling up to and including Appeal Hearings • Contracts of Employment & Employee Handbook • Advice on Employment Law • Performance Management • Staff & Union consultation • Grievance investigations • BreatheHR (HR System) • Absence Management • Redundancy • TUPE

Independent Human Resources Consultancy and Advice

13 Dunholme Avenue, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 4SG | 01509 216 395 | www.jaywebbconsultancy.co.uk 32 | NICHE

It has been an amazing awards season so far, with many local businesses winning awards and celebrating all of their hard work over the past year. This feature looks at some of the winners from our very own Niche Business Awards this year – a glamorous evening with an exquisite Arabian Nights theme. To win an award is an amazing accolade of achievement, that not only raises your profile and your business, but it recognises the hard work of the people behind the business who have worked extremely hard to be where they are at right now.

Success breeds success. We have the privilege of being part of a thriving business community where businesses are keen to support one another Jenny Cross, Managing Director of Cross Productions



sponsored by Shakespeare Martineau


sponsored by Hollingsworths

sponsored by Leicestershire Garden Design

360Autoleasing Leicester




sponsored by Everards

sponsored by Beau Aesthetica




sponsored by Claremont Financial Planning Ltd

CDS Global


sponsored by Leicester Racecourse

Leicester Falcons

DIGITAL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR sponsored by Creative62


sponsored by Morningside Pharmaceuticals


Leicester City in the Community



sponsored by SFB Group

sponsored by The Miller Partnership

Secret Whispers

Brewin Dolphin



sponsored by Southall Hathaway & Co

sponsored by Evolve

Food Attraction Ltd

Cassandra Davison – Queen Victoria Arts Club


sponsored by Unity

Darren Willoughby – 2XL Commercial Finance


sponsored by Glynis Wright & Co Family Solicitors

Sam Hagger – Beautiful Pubs Collective

COMMUNITY CHAMPION sponsored by Paradigm Wills and Legal Services

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE



IT Support Local IT company Kazzoo won Best Customer Service at the Niche Business Awards in September Founded in 2003 by Director Chris Cain, Kazzoo offers flexible IT support to small and mediumsized businesses throughout Leicestershire and the East Midlands. Priding themselves on their attitude to service clients’ IT needs, Kazzoo IT takes the time to listen and fully understand a client’s business — how they operate, any security implications or considerations, future plans and aspirations. From there, the fully experienced team at Kazzoo tailor their services to provide solutions to any IT issue. The team can facilitate as a client’s IT department or aid an existing department. Their services include ad-hoc support, tailored IT support, dial-in support/remote support, on-site support and telephone support. Aiming to create long-term partnerships that add value through day-today support and up to date IT knowledge, Kazzoo go above and beyond for their customers: “I felt

really honoured to win the Best Customer Service Award this year; it is an amazing achievement for Kazzoo and we will continue to deliver excellence for our clients,” Director Chris said. Mel Pilkington, of Timbateq Ltd, has worked with Kazzoo for four years. Mel said: “We have used the services of Kazzoo for the last four years. During this time, we have found Chris and the team to be responsive and reactive to any of our IT issues. We feel like Kazzoo is a real extension of our own team and they work with us to ensure we are supported with the most effective and efficient IT platforms suitable to our business including SAGE (accounts and payroll), Microsoft Office, AutoCad, telephony systems, printer support and shared team areas. “I would highly recommend Kazzoo as an IT support for any business – because they will work with you to deal with any problems and ensure that you get



the best from your IT.” Kazzoo IT also gives back to the community by supporting local charities such as Hope Against Cancer, FOCUS and Menphys, and hosting fundraising events. This year, Kazzoo’s annual curry night on Thursday, September 19 raised a grand total of £3,710.83 for Hope Against Cancer. Their next event is a Christmas Quiz at East Street Events. Partnered with Fothergill Wyatt, the quiz is on Thursday, December 5 and is raising money for three charities: Soft Touch Arts, Hope Against Cancer and Focus. “Whenever I can, I try to give to charities; they’re great to get involved with,” Chris said. “This year’s curry night was fantastic – we raised a great amount of money for Hope Against Cancer and I look forward to hosting the evening again next year.” 0844 372 9893 kazzoo.com NICHE | 37

Falcons It’s been a fantastic year for the


sporting team, with flying home to the roost, the new appointment of a head coach and the phenomenal winning of a Niche Business Award

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soar to the top

The beginning of the year saw the Leicester Falcons collaborate with the Leicester Lions, and have their long-overdue return to TMDP Park on Lutterworth Road in Blaby. Guy Kersey, General Manager at the Leicester Falcons, said: “We’ve had a good year, with returning to TMDP Park for our home matches. For the last four years, we were based at the Leicester Road Football Club’s stadium in Hinckley.” It was also recently announced that Mike Grossner, former Head Coach of Baker University and former QB of the Nottingham Hoods, has been appointed the Head Coach of the Leicester Falcons. He is determined to build a dynasty at the Falcons and developing the talent that they have already in the team, as well as attracting new talent to join the club.



Guy commented: “We are pleased to welcome Mike to the club and look forward to seeing where we can take the team with our new appointment.” This year’s Niche Business Awards saw the Leicester Falcons win the Achievement in Sport Award – an outstanding achievement for the team’s hard work this year: “I’m proud of our team; we’ve had quite a year, and to be recognised for the hard work we are all putting in, and the effort the team make in training and matches, is amazing. “Our team are going from strength to strength, with them training harder than ever in preparation for next year’s season.”



Ian Hallam

celebrates After a tough 18 months, owner of 360 Autoleasing Leicestershire Ian Hallam, wins big at the Niche Business Awards 2019 – and he couldn’t be more delighted


n winning the award for Best New Business, Ian Hallam told us that, for him, the winning feeling started back when he made it as a finalist: “As Jenny called out the finalists I couldn’t believe it; the shock that I had made it to the final three was incredible, I was gobsmacked! And then to hear my name being called out as the winner on the night in September, well, it was really just the greatest feeling.” For Ian, after being nominated but not clinching an award last year, this year was particularly joyful as it came after what was a difficult time for him. “To look out onto an audience of my peers who have supported me in what has been an incredibly hard start of the year – well it was emotional to say the least.” The difficulties that he speaks of made him question what he was doing, and whether he could

continue working for himself. “I did question whether I still had being a business owner in me, but, with the support of people like my wife Tracey, businessman Barry Randall and others in the Leicester business community and some thinking time, I came back fighting. It just shows you how success can come if you dig deep and accept the support that the Leicester business community wants to give.” Keen to credit those around him who helped him get his win, Ian comments. “I have had the right people in my corner, especially my wife Tracey. She believed in me when I was struggling, and I am so happy that I can bring home an award like this to show that her support made a difference.” Many of Ian’s leasing clients are from recommendations



made by other clients, and this is testament to the great customer service that Ian continues to offer. He has become known for his approach to helping people who aren’t yet his clients, just because that is in his nature. “I can’t help myself – if I can save people money and help them receive a better level of service and vehicle, I will do my best for them.” And it’s his best which has made him an award winner. As he continues to grow, he has also set his sights firmly on another win in 2020. “This win has only made me more determined to keep growing and to add another award to my shelf in my office next year! Watch this space...” 01509 767025 360autoleasing-leicestershire.co.uk NICHE | 39

2XL appoints directors Award-winning commercial finance broker, 2XL Commercial, has continued its growth by appointing three new Directors


Taking the business to seven office locations nationally and eight directors, 2XL Commercial Finance are proud to welcome Adam Jolley (Leicester), Nina Scott (Nottingham and Mansfield), and Tom Bamber (Manchester) into the firm, following exceptional growth within the business. The team now has nearly two hundred years of collective experience in commercial finance and banking, allowing them to offer clients the best business advice when it comes to securing the finance required.


WE TAKE THE PAIN OUT OF THE SEARCH AND ENSURE THE CLIENTS GET THE BEST DEAL Managing Director Darren Willoughby Commented: “It is pretty clear that people now look to shop around for their business and commercial funding in very much the same way that people do for residential mortgages, holidays utilities and every other service these days – commercial funding doesn’t have such a sourcing system, due to the


Commercial Mortgages Business Loans and Peer-to-Peer Lending Property Portfolio Funding Buy To Let Mortgages Development Funding

complexity of the lending. “Commercial finance is a minefield and is time consuming, so we take the pain out of the search and ensure the clients get the best deal for their circumstances. Having placed £76 million of commercial lending last year we are perfectly placed to build on this with the new appointment for the benefit of the client and the introducers we serve.” 01625 421 976 / 07736 359 413 darren@2xlcommercial.com 2xlcommercial.com


Finance for Pension Funds Asset Finance Commercial, Business, Personal Insurance Invoice Discounting and Factoring Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme





Striving for excellence Best Family Business award winners Trident go above and beyond to deliver memorable campaigns and achieve excellence


Treating every challenge as a chance to deliver better projects again and again, the talented team at Trident work tremendously hard to provide a high-quality service and successful campaigns. Established 30 years ago, initially as a print management firm, Trident has evolved to become a full-service creative agency that offers print management and marketing services. From working within the business to becoming directors, Kim Burrage and stepson Adam took over the business from Kim’s husband six years ago. Kim brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and passion to the company; with 30 years in the design industry, designing childrenswear, she has a unique perspective on all aspects of the business. Talking to Niche about changes in the market and how to adapt to them, Kim says: “Adam and I recognised that the market

was changing, and was moving more into the digital age. At that point in time, we knew that our business needed to change and adapt. So, we created a strategy and plan to move the business forward and take it to the next level; our calculated move was based on the research that we carried out. It’s amazing to see that our hard work is paying off. “Our journey has been a great learning curve; we have a very skilled team who have the drive and determination to go above and beyond in their work for our clients. They have put in an incredible amount of hard work to get us where we are now. We are all honoured to win a Niche Business Award.” The client’s journey with Trident begins with a meeting to establish their goals, target demographic and the best medium to use – whether it’s email marketing, direct mail or social media. Then their strategy and proposal are created to


help the client’s business move forward and achieve their goals. Kim and Adam have many plans in place for the business next year. Adam says: “We are always looking for ways to improve and grow – as individuals, as a team and as a business. “Last year I completed the Squared Online Digital Marketing Course, which was fantastic; I learned a lot and have found ways to apply it within the business. “Our focus for growth in the coming year is to provide retainer services to SMEs offering integrated marketing packages focusing on business growth.” With exciting plans in development for the team at Trident, the business continues to grow and excel within the industry. 01455 557 766 wearetrident.co.uk NICHE | 41

Connect. Connected marketing communications allow you to create a unique defendable space in your market, acquire new customers and build more profitable relationships. We can help your business find the right path to success.

ivyjack.co.uk/connected 0116 218 2750


















excellence IvyJack Directors, David and Elaine Formby, talk to Niche about working with BM Catalysts to create an integrated marketing campaign with the aim of raising their profile within European markets and repositioning them as the most reputable brand


Having established a relationship with IvyJack prior to this campaign, BM Catalysts – Europe’s largest independent manufacturer of catalytic converters, diesel particulate filters and front pipes – approached the full-service marketing communications agency in April 2018 to create the marketing campaign. IvyJack challenged the brief with the knowledge and expertise to recognise that the strategy needed to focus more on enhancing the client’s reputation around quality and manufacturing. The skilled team at IvyJack set about developing a compelling strategy that would set BM Catalysts apart from their competition, strengthening their position across the market territories they operate in. Ultimately, driving awareness and sales, this would take their business to the next level. Their approach was to first decide what they wanted to achieve by gaining a deeper understanding of who BM

Catalysts are and their current position in the marketplace. The team conducted core research by meeting with senior managers and the sales team to understand their end goals, as well as looking at the competition. Whilst concentrating on their target audience, they asked what BM Catalysts wanted their existing and potential customers to say, think, feel and do. This helped IvyJack to refine and identify the essence of the brand and deliver a wide-ranging campaign. Director David Formby comments on how IvyJack approached the project: “We look at the top-line objectives and what the challenge is, as well as the end goal. We took a good, long look at the business landscape – their competitors, customers and market. “We have a very unique, holistic approach to producing compelling marketing strategies and campaigns. “Our findings shaped the four brand pillars which became the main focus of the campaign and


play an integral part in showing what BM Catalysts stand for.” The pillars were brought to life by implementing a fully integrated campaign that incorporated key brand values and messaging, tone of voice, supporting imagery and an updated typeface, creative social media, PR and advertising. All outbound communications were designed specifically to enhance BM Catalysts’ reputation using new concept campaign assets across multiple channels and formats, including print and digital. Director Elaine Formby describes the impact the campaign has had on BM Catalysts: “Our campaign facilitated an internal cultural shift at BM Catalysts as there is now a more focused strategy in place which is centred around their strapline of ‘exceeding expectations’.” IvyJack’s campaign was successfully received and enabled the repositioning of the brand, re-telling the brand story in an eloquent way. If you want to know more about how you can reposition your brand and engage with new customers, please get in touch with IvyJack Communications. ivyjack.co.uk 0116 218 2750 NICHE | 43


ADAM BURRAGE Managing Partner at Trident

TIPS TO MAKE A GOOD WEBSITE Whilst we live in a digital age, it is essential for businesses to acknowledge the importance of evolving with the turning business tide. To survive in the current business landscape that seems to shift by the second, it is vital to ensure that your business has a potent web presence. Your website is, most often, a potential customer’s first impression of your business, so make it count. Here are a few tips to help you. 1 Put yourself in your user’s shoes – don’t neglect the user experience when designing your website; analyse it from your own critical perspective and develop a thorough understanding of your audience. 2 Engaging content is definitely king – depending on your client base, engaging content can come in all sorts of forms, such as blogs, articles and eBooks. It is one important factor that will ensure low bounce rates. Regular streams of content such as blogs can encourage return users. 3 Make fonts and brand colours work for you – every element of your website should be in your house style and on-brand. Colours play a key role in impacting customer psychology and establishing a connection and driving action. 4 The simplest design is the most effective – incorporate elements that show your brand persona and remember the only purpose to visit your website is to find a solution to the problem. Each design element should aid the user in finding the solution.

01455 557 766 wearetrident.co.uk 44 | NICHE


CRUCIAL PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS Promotional merchandise provides a cost-effective way to reach out to potential customers. Here are our five reasons why branded products are crucial for your business: 1 Instant Brand Recognition If people recognise your brand, you can be assured that your marketing strategy is successful. By gifting your clients branded items, you are helping them to recognise your services. Every time they use the item, they are reminded of your company. 2 Low-Cost Effective Marketing The cost of promotional products is kept low for mass distribution. Yet they still have a high impact on recipients and reach prospects on a large scale, providing great value for your investment. 3 Great Business Exposure Promotional products are utilised and worn on a daily basis, providing consistent brand exposure for your business. A physical object is much more tactile and appealing than on-

CHRIS GOODMAN Managing Director at Soar Valley Press screen advertising methods, creating a lasting impression on your clients and prospects. 4 Deep Reach Promotional products aren’t just used by one person. They make an impression beyond their initial intended audience, generating a large amount of exposure from just one product! 5 Customer Loyalty Brand loyalty is important for any business. By investing in high quality promotional products, your customers associate quality with your brand, elping you to gain new customers and retain existing ones. Let us help you with your promotional product marketing strategy!

0116 259 9955 soarvalleypress.co.uk

BRAND VISION MARK ROBINSON Director at Creative62 When it comes to business, who do you aspire to? Chances are, that at the heart of any inspiring company is an inspirational brand. The way a business looks, feels and speaks is the key to how we perceive them – can we trust them, do we like them? And most importantly do we want to buy from them? Many small business owners think of brand as a luxury reserved for big companies with an endless marketing budget. Not so. Flip this concept on its head and consider that starting with a strong brand was the key to that

company’s growth. A great logo, clear message and a cohesive plan will help you to grow your business. For new start-ups and businesses that are changing and evolving, it’s important to take a long hard look at your logo. Visualise a brand like Apple – just thinking about the logo can evoke a certain feeling. Think of your logo as an investment. From emails and business cards to website and social media, your logo will be seen 1000s of times. Make sure it’s telling the right story. Is it time for some creative thinking for your brand?

0116 275 2831 creative62.com


Soar Valley Press



The countdown to Christmas is well and truly on! Have you started planning your festive Promotional Merchandise? At Soar Valley Press, we offer a wide range of products, perfect for the festive season! Why not send out personalised Christmas cards, chocolate advent calendars or branded Christmas crackers? Our design and print solutions will help you spruce up your Christmas campaigns and exceed your marketing goals.


Contact us today 0116 259 9955 orders@soarvalleypress.co.uk soarvalleypress.co.uk

How sticky is your business? Brand glue is a term we use to explain to our clients how to best look at and consider brand. Realising and seeing a brand as individual actions, and how each action behaves and reacts in the environment. But, more importantly, how you control your brand; how do actions interact and what should you do next – are you joining the dots? This methodology helps ambitious businesses plan brand activity and get the greatest return on investment.

Your logo is just the beginning A great business presence starts with a logo. Not just any logo – if you get this wrong you’ll miss the opportunity to stand out from your competitors and turn off customers from the start. Think about how many times your logo will be seen in the life-cycle of your business; every web impression, email, brochure, business card and social media post. Stop thinking of your logo as an expense and start thinking of it as a long-term investment.

Service with a smile Is your workforce engaged and onboard with your brand? From the receptionist to the MD, attitude and impressions count. A negative encounter with a member of your staff can seriously damage your brand. Take the time to train, educate and inspire your workforce and make sure that they feel valued as a brand ambassador.





Don’t come unstuck Think of brand glue as a mindset. A brand isn’t something that you do once and then put on the shelf, it should be on the agenda all the time. Brand glue is a way of approaching the brand environment, it focuses you on what’s happening and how it should be connected. This way, your brand journey will be sound.

If you’re ready to develop your business brand, Creative62 are ready to help. Call us today on 0116 257 2831



sparks growth Incite Video has had a phenomenal first year, with a massive period of growth, office moves and new additions to the team


Celebrating their first birthday earlier on in the year, the team at Incite Video are ecstatic at the rate of growth the company has undertaken. The video production company began with owner Adam King as a ‘spare bedroom operation’, but within two months had to move into offices. Adam said: “We expected the business to continue to operate from my house, but it has grown at three times the rate than we initially expected. “As our team has expanded, we moved into the office we are in now at the LCB Depot; we are coming up to celebrating one year in these offices soon. We have big plans for the next year, with a big push on property videos.” The team are busier than ever, travelling around the world to work at trade shows, working with vendors to film promos,

testimonials and product demos. Alongside the permanent full-time members of Team Incite, Adam also has a freelance team of creatives that are available to work on different projects; ranging from photographers, animators, scriptwriters, videographers, copywriters and graphic designers, the team’s skillsets complement each other extremely well. Kira, a full-time member of the team, enjoys travelling to work on projects, and Andy enjoys editing the raw footage, Kira said: “Travelling to different projects is one of the highlights of my job – I love to work on different projects. One week I could be working in San Diego, the next I could be in Europe. I love having the camera in my hand, filming”. Andy commented: “Editing the footage is definitely what I


like doing best; our ethos is to always tell a story within every video that we create.” Within the creative industry, there is no set client process for everyone; some clients have a set vision for what they want to achieve with their video, while others want the help of the Incite team’s creative spark. Beginning with an initial concept meeting, the team draw up storyboards before filming, then put together a high-quality video for their client. Adam said: “For us, it’s all about that human touch – that human element within our videos sets them apart from the rest. For example, whilst shooting a video of inside a property, it’s that lived-in, homely feel we want to create.” hello@incitevideo.co.uk NICHE | 47


MATTHEW BROADLEY Senior Web Designer at IvyJack

INNOVATION IN WEB DEVELOPMENT The world of digital web development is moving at an increasingly rapid pace. With innovative changes happening daily, it’s no longer just about creating a website. Whether it’s design trends, new development frameworks or the latest hosting environments, we like to be in the know. Our approach to implementing these things, however, is one of cautiousness. As well as any considerations that come within the project scope, in digital, there is always a base set of considerations too. Accessibility requirements, browser and device variations, speed optimisation and server stability are just a few of the things that require a solid foundation when approaching digital projects. We look to embrace modern technologies, but also have fundamentals that are based on tried and true development practices. It’s important to us, and to our clients, that we consistently achieve nearperfect stability, excellent usability, and offer effective support for the projects we undertake. This can only be accomplished by having a stable set of development tools and practices which evolve gradually over time. We continually innovate, looking to improve the usability and quality of a website’s component parts, and by finding creative ways to engage a website’s audience. At IvyJack, we’ve got a great set of tools that help us to take a client’s vision, plan it, design it, prototype it and build it in the most cost-effective fashion, while always delivering excellent results.

MARKETING WITH LINKEDIN As a business, the social media platform LinkedIn is a must for professionals; with over 225 million members and 30 million companies joined up, it is the world’s largest online professional network. Nowadays, it is assumed that you have an account on the platform, so by not being present or active on this platform, you allow your competition to take all the opportunities. So, as LinkedIn is the largest professional online network in the world, the site is a great tool for businesses and business professionals, not only to promote themselves but to raise brand awareness, establish connections and build relationships. Through LinkedIn, not only can you establish connections and build relationships with other professionals, but you can promote yourself and grow your reach at the same time. For example, when you are Googled, your LinkedIn profile will likely be one of the top Google searches for your name. The majority of work on LinkedIn is won through personal profiles so you should ensure that your profile is working to the best of its ability. Your LinkedIn account will generate more business for you if you are classed as an ‘All Star’ which means you have the right amount of information that is


of buyers are more

likely to engage

with a strong, professional brand

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SALLY SMITH Sales Director at Cross Productions completed on your own profile. From a strong cover image that captures what you do, to adding your contact details, it all has an impact. Consumers make a buying decision in as little as 30 seconds. You should treat your profile as your website – it is another shop window. Is it easy, does it provide information? LinkedIn is a great tool to use for marketing – educating an audience on what you do and the services/ products you provide while adding a personal touch at the same time. You can use LinkedIn to build targeted relationships. Adding an image or video can increase your audience engagement by 70 per cent. Hashtags are also still underused on this platform. Tapping into this can be an easier way to get your posts trending. Are you an industry leader? Being an SSI leader means you are 45 per cent more likely to generate business and create opportunities. Did you know that you can score yourself? It’s a great way to track and monitor your time. The aim is to score 70 or above. The scoring is broken down into 4 sectors; Establish your professional brand, Find the right people, Engage with insights and Build relationships. Go to www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi to find out more. Now it’s time for you to get LinkedIn!

6.7 a year searches

Over 500 million users in over 200 countries PEOPLE WHO LIST SKILLS

0116 218 2750 ivyjack.co.uk






of users check




The Importance of

Content Marketing Whilst content marketing used to be a way that you can set yourself apart from your competitors, the market has now changed; nowadays it is a necessity for any brand


Content marketing is right at the heart of any successful digital marketing campaign, and, whilst this is all well and good, you may still be wondering why content marketing is important; here, we have compiled a list of what we believe to be the main advantages of content marketing. Exceptional content helps conversions According to ABG Essentials, content marketing provides conversion rates that are six times higher than other digital marketing efforts. It allows you to connect and educate your customers and leads. Custom content provided by businesses is how 80 per cent of internet users like to learn about companies. Brings in new leads in a costeffective way There are many ways that content marketing can generate new leads; especially with small businesses, lead generation is extremely important for them as they rely on consistent traffic to boost sales and grow their brand. According to a survey by

Curata, 74 per cent of companies state that content marketing has increased the quantity and quality of inbound leads. Establishes trust and build a reputation In the marketplace today, it is as busy as ever, so businesses need to build their reputation in their sector as well as establish a trusted relationship with their customers and leads. When established customers and potential customers read your material, they will then begin to form an opinion of the brand. Consistency is key, and the more engaging your content is, the more valuable it will be for the consumer. Helps to improve SEO efforts Search engine optimisation, otherwise known as SEO, plays quite an important role in improving your business’ visibility online, and content marketing plays a part in helping your business improve SEO and build it up. Out of all the SEO techniques out there, content creation is the most effective one. On average, businesses who post blog content


that is consistent have 434 per cent more pages indexed by search engines. Helps to showcase your expertise Every time you post content, such as blog posts, you are demonstrating your expertise in the field and providing valuable knowledge so that the reader can make an educated decision when it comes to purchases – while also showing customers and potential leads what you know about the industry you are in. This can set you apart from the competition. To conclude, not only does content marketing bring in new leads and boost visibility, it also establishes trust and builds up your brand’s reputation. So now, to see the importance of content marketing at work, you now need to develop a content-rich marketing strategy that targets your audience demographics and boosts your conversions. 0116 271 2573 crossproductions.co.uk NICHE | 49


A look at the Leicestershire businesses thriving beyond the limits of the city centre

The leading

mortgage brokers Family-run mortgage and insurance providers, MME, are leading independent mortgage brokers with over 20 years of experience in the industry


Mortgages Made Easy is one of the UK’s leading independent mortgage brokers; the forward-thinking, familyrun business is based in Leicestershire and offers a proactive approach to meet and excel beyond clients’ needs. Operating throughout the UK, they have found the best deals for over 40,000 people since they opened and put clients first in everything they do. Peter said: “As a business, we understand that the mortgage process isn’t always easy, which is why we strive to make the process of obtaining a mortgage easier for our clients. We translate the mortgage jargon, so clients have a better understanding. Having access to the entire

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market gives us the means to provide impartial advice and the best mortgage according to the client’s individual needs and circumstances.” Providing a personal, professional service, MME are experts in domestic and commercial mortgages, whether you’re a first-time buyer, moving home or are a self-build, re-mortgaging and insurance and protection. Their client’s journey begins with being assigned an expert mortgage advisor, with whom they meet to discuss their needs and requirements; from there, their expert advisor will provide the best deal for the client, with access to the entire market. This is when the application begins;

throughout this process, MME keep in contact with their clients and updated them on any changes to the law that may affect them. 0800 999 2205 mortgagesbymme.co.uk

Honest, efficient and tidy Founded four years ago, Sarson Electrical has gone from strength to strength and has built a strong reputation in the electrical world


After starting out as an apprentice at 15, Adam Sarson has built a business from the roots up. Creating a strong reputation for his honest, efficient and tidy way in which he works Adam, who went solo with his business just over four years ago, has established a strong reputation in both the commercial and domestic electrical world. Having been an apprentice, and later a sub-contractor, working in the industrial sector for schools, hospitals and commercial buildings as well as domestic work, Adam’s varied experienced has helped to create a dynamic and varied electrical contractors firm. Adam tells us: “Clients tell me they appreciate my honest approach to quoting and carrying out work. I am also very tidy – this goes a long way with customers in the domestic work

in particular, if I am in their house we always aim to leave the house as we would like it to be left if we were in their position.” With the demand for the firm’s work growing, Adam has hired a further electrician and soon to be an apprentice too: “I take a lot of care about who we are employing to come on board. The reputation I have built for myself is a good one, so whoever joins us has to be on the same page in terms of work ethic and their attitude to customer service.” The business is growing at a steady pace with an apprentice joining the team soon and Adam looking to take on further large and small contracts in the region. 0116 304 3509 sarsonelectrical.co.uk


Excellent growth for There are exciting times ahead for the team at Armstrongs Wealth Planning, with growth and development on their mind


Armstrongs Wealth Planning has many years of experience assisting clients with their finances, from pension planning, family and business protection to mortgages and investment planning. Director Stewart Warden said: “We help business owners use their business as a vehicle to help them pay for their personal expenses, such as life insurance, or funding their retirement provisions.” “We look to work with businesses that have multiple directors, and offer ways to help their business and families thrive financially.” Stewart has over 15 years of experience in finance, having landed a

job in the industry straight after he left education. Wanting to incorporate a teaching aspect into finance, Stewart is hoping to teach finance educational workshops to local schools and academies. “I want to give something back to the community, which is why we are currently in talks with various schools to offer these valuable educational workshops to those who possibly haven’t been taught how to build up their credit score, know how to budget and other essential financial practices.” Currently, the team at Armstrong Wealth Planning are going from strength to strength; whilst developing

and growing the business, they are also expanding their team and are looking to take on another apprentice, having successfully integrated two previous apprentices into the practice. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage 02476 010 083 armstrongswealth.co.uk

Armstrongs Wealth Planning Ltd is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products.

The flat roof specialists Since breaking into the industry last year, DLT Roofing Limited has quickly become one of the leading independent roofing contractors in Leicester. Owner David Towl speaks to Niche about exciting plans for the future


Initially offered two weeks of labour work with a roofing company, David excelled in the industry and worked for them for 20 years, before deciding to take the leap to start up his own roofing business. Now, coming up to celebrate their first birthday, DLT Roofing are a reliable independent contractor who are specialists in flat roofing – a niche area of the roofing industry. Working on domestic, commercial and industrial properties, they are based in Leicester, yet cover the whole of the Midlands area and the surrounding counties. DLT Roofing is going from strength to strength, with growing the business as well as expanding their team — with a new team member joining recently. David talks to Niche about their future plans: “With the roofing industry, there aren’t enough qualification providers; you receive on the job training and get

a qualification through time served, where they come and inspect the work you have done. It is also very hard to find members of staff because of this. “As well as grow the business, we are looking to open a training centre, in which those who want to learn about roofing and step into the trade can complete a course before they find a job within the industry. “We’ve had a fantastic year so far, and look forward to growing the business further and seeing where that takes us.” With meetings and plans being put into motion, it’s safe to that DLT Roofing are growing at a rapid rate, and have promising plans to take the business to the next level. 07553 973 904 dltroofinglimited.co.uk

Exhilarating growth A Leicestershire-based virtual administrative support service continues to see growth at an exhilarating rate as Director Joanne Peters delights in what started as a small enterprise


Offering a wide range of administrative services to clients through a small yet highly skilled team, JSP started out from humble beginnings. “I started JSP Virtual as something which would be my sole income; in just a few short months, I have enlisted the help of two further admin assistants and now my husband too, to meet the growing demand for our services,” Director Joanne Peters tells us. In their first year, JSP Virtual have offered their supportive services to a range of businesses all looking to get the expertise of the team without experiencing the high costs which would be associated with recruiting these services internally. Having worked in a high-level administrative role at a logistics and freight firm for

52 | NICHE

over 20 years, Joanne has always been recognised for her friendly, approachable and professional manner as well as her ability in completing tasks with accuracy and care to deadline. Looking to expand and grow through further training and the recruiting of skilled personnel, Jo is thrilled at the growth of the business in such a short period of time. “I am so proud of where we are as a company. I love what I do, I think our clients recognise this in us and are recommending us to others, which is a huge compliment.” 07854 084 861 jspvirtual.co.uk




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Staying ahead

of challenges Managing Director of SFB Group Paul Carvell tells Niche how companies can stay ahead of challenges faced by businesses


Every business will face a multitude of challenges at various points in their journey. With 5.7 million private sector businesses having started in the UK in 2018, it proves that despite the challenges they may face, new businesses are still thriving in today’s uncertain financial and political climate. Paul said: “It is inevitable that every business will be confronted with changes and challenges. However, once they get over limitations, they will come out better, more dynamic and stronger as a business. “Businesses need to have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, in order to set realistic goals. Having a fully holistic approach whilst looking at the bigger picture of your business will help you set the goals.” In the UK, according to studies, the important challenges that businesses face are attracting customers, increasing revenue, uncertainty over economic conditions and maintaining profitability. According to a survey by Factwork, 79 per cent of the 537

54 | NICHE

businesses surveyed listed attracting customers as their main challenge. Another factor that affects businesses is change – whether it’s new competitors in the sector, turnover in staff, a change in your or your employees’ health, new legislation or the economy. There are many factors that incorporate change, and Paul advises us: “If there is one thing


If there is one thing within the whole of business that is inevitable, it’s change. Change can happen at any point so, as a business, you need to prepare for it

within the whole of business that is inevitable, it’s change. Change can happen at any point so, as a business, you need to prepare for it and handle change for your business to succeed. So, when this change comes to you, you just need to pick yourself up, brush it off and move forward. You will have a better business in the sense that it is more tuned to you as a person. I like to have the attitude that for a person in business every day is a school day.” Paul tells us that whilst the climate for business may look bleak, the recession may actually be a golden opportunity for business. “If businesses approach it right, they can reap many rewards from a recession – it really is about seeking opportunity and seizing it.” The three things people want in business are more money, more time or less stress. “Each one will have a greater importance over another at various points in a business leader’s journey. These aren’t business goals

as such, but they are motivators which, if identified, can be where your attention as a leader is placed. They will affect the way in which the business will flow and react to challenges too.” To maintain a balance and achieve all three, Paul expands: “You need to start by focusing on one, then the rest will follow”. These company values help SFB to remain focused and committed to the way in which they do business, which Paul concludes helps to create a business with integrity, a value which he says is something which is often missing from the way in which many people do business. “Integrity is, for me, a natural and important element of how we should do business in all its forms – from a one on one meeting, managing our teams or as a speech to a room full of people.”

At SFB, Paul’s ethos for business is simple yet effective, it’s EPIC in fact


Enjoyment – Running a business needs to be enjoyable for it to be successful. Professionalism – Maintaining a level of professionalism in business goes a long way. Innovation – Staying ahead in ideas, product developments and legislations is vital. Commercialism – Having a commercial mindset will ensure you are thinking long term.

sfb.group/leicester NICHE | 55

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Put Miller Homes in Kibworth on your Christmas list. Centurion Place, Kibworth, LE8 0UT Harcourt Grove, Kibworth, LE8 0HH 1-5 bedroom homes from £149,000 Reserve your new home in Kibworth, move in by Christmas and get up to 6 months mortgage paid*. Imagine what you could do with the extra money - Christmas presents, holidays or maybe new furniture for your new home. This offer won’t be around in the New Year so make sure you visit us at one of our stunning developments in Kibworth to find out more about our range of offers. Both our showhomes are open from 10.30am to 5.30pm, Thursday to Monday. Call us on 03301 734 871.

www.millerhomes.co.uk YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP THE REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY OTHER DEBT SECURED ON IT. *Available on selected plots on selected developments and is dependent on completion by a specified date. Number of months offered is plot specific. Maximum payment amount would be based upon the purchaser’s mortgage offer of up to £1,000 per month for a maximum of 6 months. Total payment must not be more than 5% of property purchase price. Payment made by deduction of funds due on completion. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or purchase assistance scheme. Cannot be exchanged for cash. Subject to lenders specific requirements. Only available on new reservations taken on or before 31st October 2019. Miller Homes reserves the right to withdraw or extend the offer at any time. Photography represents a typical Miller Homes exterior and interior. Price and availability correct at the time of going to print.

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Lauren Raybould and Emily Kirton from Niche visit Nazir and Hafsa Issat of Nico Properties to talk all things property and providing a unique, personal service


Stepping into the offices of Nico Properties on Egginton Street, we are welcomed by a friendly face and immediately feel at ease. The offices are sleek with a warm, friendly atmosphere, something the husband and wife owners Nazir and Hafsa set out to achieve. Hafsa says: “We want our clients to feel like they can come by and have a cup of tea and a chat with us. We go above and beyond to provide extra support for our clients – even if they have an out of hours emergency, we are there for them. We have become known for being very approachable and our welcoming atmosphere – we like people and we think it shows.” After managing portfolios for landlords alongside running a design agency, the husband and wife duo decided to take the plunge in 2003 and become fulltime Estate and Letting Agents. Nazir says: “Myself and Hafsa are the services that Nico provides; we are the face of the business and all our

clients receive the same level of exceptional care — we will personally go out to meet them, and carry on that relationship even after the sale or let of the property. “We pride ourselves on giving a professional and very personal service; we take a genuine interest in our clients. As a result of this, most of our work comes from referrals.” Specialising in lettings, the family-run business manages landlord portfolios, tenants and property sales; they are approached by landlords with a variety of portfolios, from those with single properties to a multitude of properties. Drawing on their experiences in the finance and accounting industry, working with offshore property investments as well as running a design studio, the duo are a strong team. Everyone at Nico Properties has a very positive outlook and prides themself on ensuring that company standards are met, but also allow themself to


be flexible, adapting to the needs of every client in order to deliver a high-quality service. It means clients return time and time again for any property queries, including the latest legislation changes. “For landlords, the legislations are getting more complicated and actually can be putting people off. We aim to make the process easier for landlords. We attend many council meetings to stay aware of the changes within the local property sector and always stay ahead of the latest legislation adjustments so that we can advise our clients with accurate data and law. Welcoming all into their offices, the team at Nico have created an agency with heart and will continue to build on this as their company grows. “All of our team enjoy what we do; it wouldn’t work in the way that it has if we didn’t!” 0116 255 5544 nicoproperties.co.uk NICHE | 59

Transforming Way of Life’s holistic approach to creating purpose-built rental properties enables the company to provide the best-in-class accommodation and a valuable investment to the private renting sector 60 | NICHE


With Leicester’s large young professional workforce and substantial student population, the city seems to have little in the way of non-student led accommodation. Identifying the demand for contemporary accommodation in central Leicester, Way of Life have transformed the rental market with their bespoke Build-to-Rent apartment block, The Wullcomb; the 297-apartment block is a valuable investment into the city, which means that individuals, couples and families can live close to their places of work and study, as well as access the fantastic transport links within the city centre. In the last 10 years, the number of UK residents renting property has doubled, with 20 per cent living in private households. The average rental growth of the city is four times the national average — there is a huge demand for private renting, which

is why Build-to-Rent is becoming a popular option in the property market. Build-to-Rent (BTR) is one of the UK’s fastest-growing construction sectors with 43,374 properties under construction and a total of 140,000 in planning. The BTR model enables investors to achieve long-term investment returns, all the while providing renters with more options and higher quality accommodation. Managing Director of Way of Life, Sowgol Zarinchang said: “The key to successful BTR which really pushes the needle lies within the intersection between community, culture, and home.” Which is why they have created spaces that prioritise the human experience. Their integrated approach to working with developers and investment partners at an early stage of the project enables Way of Life to put the human experience at the heart of every decision. Their


We believe that the home is a sanctuary; there are other aspects to a building other than the bricks — it’s a place to decompress and be the best version of you

the rental experience core values focus upon wellbeing and health – both mental and physical. Alongside developers and investment partners, Way of Life is involved with in-depth research of the marketplace — studying city masterplans, macroeconomic factors, audience psychographics, analysis of locale, through to identifying the best upcoming neighbourhood coffee shop. As well as underpinning financial decisions, this research informs the design process of every project, as well as inspiration that has been taken from thriving community programmes, lifestyle hotels and members clubs. Paving the way within the industry, Way of Life’s people-led approach in the Build-to-Rent market is transforming private renting permanently, with a welcoming lobby area, sleek workspaces and a shared rooftop garden terrace that is

thoughtfully designed and translates their values of health, wellbeing, community and sanctuary into living environments. Sowgol said: “We believe that the home is a sanctuary; there are other aspects to a building other than the bricks — it’s a place to decompress and be the best version of you.” Incorporating a 24hr on-site community managers, building management and a centralised customer service team, Way of Life have stream-lined the move-in process to make renting stress-free for their customers. Their values extend to their unique approach to technology, the customer experience, the online platform and fully trained building managers, allowing for a relaxed, modern home environment and a rental experience that is hassle-free.

This has been achieved by having an excellent in-house team with experts in every relevant field, from hospitality, design, technology and even experts in wellbeing and nutrition – ensuring that people are at the heart of what they do. With people nowadays getting used to the sharing economy by renting their mobile phones and cars, they are, by natural extension more open to renting rather than owning a home. By 2039, based on current rates, tenants who are renting privately are expected to make up 50.7 per cent of the housing market. Way of Life’s compelling offer not only responds to the rising demand for private rental properties, but also offers a valuable solution.

Wayoflife.com NICHE | 61




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5 TIPS TO SELL YOUR HOUSE When it comes to selling your home, you have to ensure that it’s looking the best it can; first impressions count. Here are my top five tips for selling your home. 1 Declutter People need to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there, so decluttering the house — but not depersonalising it, would help potential buyers imagine themselves living there. Leave some personality, as people buy into the lifestyle as well as the property. 2 Paint Giving your walls a fresh lick of paint, preferably neutral colours, will make your house seem bigger and lighter; the neutral colours will be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms without painting them again. 3 Clean and Fix Making your house look presentable will give a good impression; fix any minor repairs like cracked tiles, holes in the walls and clean everything until it is shiny — remove the limescale, clean tile grout and tidy up the garden. Buyers want to move in without making any changes or repairs. 4 Light and airy Making your house feel light and airy can make rooms feel bigger and welcoming. This then makes the property seem more attractive to the potential buyers taking a tour around your house. Placing lamps in dark corners can create a warm glow in the rooms. 5 Kitchen and bathroom These are typically the main rooms that buyers focus upon. Refitting your kitchen or bathroom can give your property an edge on the market.

0116 352 7012 kingsestateuk.com 64 | NICHE

At Oadby House, we are proud to now feature Little Greene within our showroom – the renowned industry leaders for environmentally friendly, luxury paint and wallpaper. The independent, British manufacturer is committed to the socially and environmentally responsible production of timeless paints and wallpapers. Little Greene has undertaken an ongoing research programme to discover and publish original paint colours, committing to the care and conservation of the properties in which they were originally used. So, in partnership with the National Trust, Little Greene has begun an extensive paint research project that has been undertaken at the most historically significant houses and gardens throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They have released a collection of 31 beautiful greens, with 20 of them being National Trust-derived shades. The National Trust looks after some of Britains finest and most significant historical properties and has a portfolio

MARK LUCAS Director at Michael John Flooring of 350 historic houses. They also have a partnership with English Heritage, which allows them access to their wallpaper archive; they have produced several astounding collections based on the protection and restoration of the wallpaper from historical properties. The sophisticated prints represent 300 years of decorative history, from the 17th century to the 20th century. The luxury paint and wallpapers produced complement our current array of products within the Oadby House showroom, with many premier flooring options, bespoke furniture and traditional kitchen designs.

oadbyhouse.com info@oadbyhouse.com

BARE-ROOT, ROOT-BALL OR POTTED? JODIE FEDORKO Soft Landscaping Designer at Leicestershire Garden Design The beauty of some shrubs, hedging, trees and roses is that they can be planted at almost any time of the year because of the way they are supplied: bare-root, root-ball or container grown. With bare-root season just starting, it’s important to understand the difference between the three supply types and what to expect when they arrive. Bare-root: These are grown directly into the ground in fields and are only lifted, without soil, when they are required during the dormant growing months of November-March. They are a lot cheaper for nurseries to grow and dispatch. These bare-root plants have a 10 per cent failure rate and should be planted immediately.

Rootball: Root-ball plants are grown in fields but are lifted with a substantial ball of soil around the roots. They are normally quite large and are delivered in a biodegradable hessian bag which is planted directly into a planting pit and covered with soil. Root-balled plants have had their roots cut at lifting, losing most of their fine fibrous roots, can only be planted in winter, take longer to establish, and have a significant failure rate. Container Grown: The benefits of container grown plants is that they are available year-round with a broader selection of trees, shrubs and perennials being grown in pots; with root-ball and bare-root only a select few are grown. They are easy to handle and have a high success rate because they haven’t been disturbed or had their roots cut.

0116 214 7076 leicestershiregardendesign.co.uk


Funding Christmas With Christmas right around the corner now, many of us are concerned about the added cost it will bring. Supplementing your existing income with some flexible, enjoyable work could be the answer


Utility Warehouse, the discount club and utility provider, are calling for people looking to earn extra income. In particular, they are looking for positive and smiling people who are serious about making a difference as well as earning. David Goadby, a Utility Warehouse Distributor and Partner 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. “You don’t need any special grades or a degree to be given a career break with Utility Warehouse. All we ask is for people who are keen to learn and develop their skills. Enthusiasm and a positive can-do attitude are the only requirements.” David concludes: “You make

money by helping people to save money and make money. I get so much reward on a personal level doing this work; it’s an ideal way to supplement your income. So, if you are a glass half-full person, contact me to see how you can have a brighter future and take the strain off for those more expensive times of the year!” 07736 146 400 david@davidgoadby.com davidgoadby.co.uk Authorised Distributor

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Crowning glory Co-founders Suki Kaur and Martyn Hicks talk to Niche about

exciting projects in the pipeline and look back to where they began


Established seven years ago, Kings Real Estate is now a marketleading independent estate agent within Leicestershire. Director and co-founder, Suki Kaur, learnt about the property industry from her parents, who bought, developed and sold properties; their investments sparked the beginning of Suki’s career in the property industry. Her passion, drive and determination led her to set up an estate agency with Martyn Hicks. Suki describes the pivotal moment in her life where she decided to take the plunge into the deep end and start Kings Real Estate: “The lightbulb moment for me was when my dad said, ‘why don’t you start up as an estate

66 | NICHE

agent yourself?’ And, I thought, why not? So, I started researching and now, here I am, with Martyn as we build our business up and take it to the next level.” As well as being a co-founder of Kings Real Estate, Martyn Hicks has a wealth of experience within the industry, being the Director at D.W. Hicks — a distinguished, local, family-run construction and building services firm. Established in 1979, they have worked on projects all over Europe and the UK. He said: “I am proud of our continued success as the leading independent estate agent for the Leicestershire area. We have a fantastic, experienced team who go above and beyond for our clients. We have some


great projects lined up in the near future.” Kings Real Estate is now a well established leading estate agent that have over 30 years of experience within the property market. They maintain extremely high standards of client care and support with their high calibre trained staff. The dynamic estate agent covers all areas of Leicestershire and offers fixed fees. With Kings Real Estate going from strength to strength, there are more exciting times ahead for the team, so watch this space. 0116 352 7012 kingsestateuk.com


British science museum

project completed The Commercial Flooring Company have recently completed one of its fast track, fit out projects at one of the countries landmark tourist destinations, The British Science Museum


Working alongside its supplier Bolon and designers Drinkall Dean, The Commercial Flooring Company were appointed to carry out a professional assessment of requirements and possibility of what could be done with the products to achieve not only a quality install, but a visual impact in line with the clients brief. Using a single product in various colours and laid in different direction, creating striking angles this certainly has been achieved. The project, which took just under four weeks, complete had to undergo extensive preparation works prior due to the age of the exiting building. These additional works were taken on board within

the time frame required and The Commercial Flooring Company certainly pulled out all the stops to get this complete ready for reopening. The project size was 1100m2 and the value was at £95,000. Nathan Ware, Managing Director of The Commercial Flooring Company, said: “The new shop is a flexible, playful space that supports the curated product ranges, which are inspired by the museum’s collections. Part of the aim was to increase footfall, dwell, and spend in an exciting, tactile space – reflective of the Museum’s evolving identity. “The shop’s two levels each


form a backdrop for different product ranges. The ground floor space is more vibrant and playful. It houses the Science Museum’s core product. On the new mezzanine level, we have established a calmer, more sophisticated ambience targeted to an older audience. “There is a suite of playful, flexible display units, in vibrant colours, as a core element of the new retail environment. This versatility allows the product, and the look of the shop, to be continually refreshed.”

0846 241 6724 Commercialflooring.uk.net NICHE | 67


Mental Health T in the workplace A study conducted nationwide by TalkOut has found that 82 per cent of Leicester workers have felt anxious, depressed or stressed due to their job. Jill Mead, Managing Director of TalkOut, talks to Niche about the importance of speaking about mental health in the workplace 68 | NICHE

TalkOut is an organisation created to remove the stigma surrounding mental health within the workplace. Their study found that over two thirds (67 per cent) of Leicester workers have been struggling with a mental health issue that has impacted their ability to work. However, only 36 per cent of the above have felt supported by their bosses, with 72 per cent believing that if they told their boss they were suffering from a mental health issue, it would have a negative impact on their job. The study also found that a shocking 65 per cent of Leicester employees have pretended to have had a physical ailment to take sick leave when in reality they were struggling mentally. TalkOut provides practical and measurable initiatives through insight, consultancy and training; their mission is to make it okay not to be okay in the workplace. Aiming to disrupt the way mental health is viewed in the workplace, they encourage

BUSINESS FOCUS It is about creating that culture of openness and trust within the workplace, and that

Working with mental health

starts at the top with

Studies show that 12.7 per cent of all sickness

the business leader

days in the UK is because of mental health issues – 91 million workdays are lost each year.

businesses to take employees’ mental health as seriously as their physical health. Formerly an experienced HR director, Jill volunteered for Childline and developed a passion for helping people and an interest in mental health, which led to her starting TalkOut. Jill wants to create a psychologically safe environment within the workplace. There are two main reasons for creating a psychologically safe environment; the human element and the economy element. People are afraid to talk about mental health and are unsure of what to say to someone who is suffering from mental health issues. The most important thing is to listen to that individual; you don’t have to have all the answers to help. People can thrive at work with a mental health condition if they have the right support as people will stay in work and can be productive. Jill said: “It is about creating that culture of openness and trust within the workplace, and that starts at the top with the business leader, as it has to flow through the company. “We offer a mental health first aid course, where you are trained to recognise and assess the signs of mental health issues and provide firstline support and somebody to talk to for the person in crisis. It’s a two-day course with licenced training and you become a qualified first aider upon completion.” The team are qualified in clinical psychology, psychological therapies, counselling and training, and are passionate about change and breaking the stigma surrounding mental health. talkout.org.uk hello@talkout.org.uk

Businesses can’t afford to not be doing more to support the mental health of its workers. How do you assess and improve mental health in the workplace?


SCOTT KEMPIN Mind Your Health


Some companies are still avoiding dealing with mental health issues in the workplace. Some are doing token gestures like putting table tennis tables in rooms for use at break times. It needs to be taken seriously. Education. Educating staff at all levels so they understand the many different mental health illnesses and what could potentially be causing them. Stress is one of the main problems in the workplace leading to absenteeism. Are companies asking their staff what support they need? Are there trained mental health first aiders available to talk to? Are staff in the right job roles? Are your managers compassionate and supportive or are they only bothered about targets? What is your companies culture like, from the top down? Are companies only bothered about their bottom line?

Recent studies show an approximate ROI of £4.20 per £1 spent on things that support staff, so why wouldn’t you invest in YOUR staff? The benefits are massive – more productive staff, less sick leave, happier staff, and less presenteeism (where staff are at work but not productive and just go through the motions). Legislation is changing, companies need to wake up and start excepting that the issues around mental health can’t be ignored. The link between mental wellbeing and your organisation’s success is enormous. It’s not only mental health conditions that are impacting your business but also workplace stress. Businesses should not only aim to reduce mental health problems, but also encourage positive mental health throughout the organisation. And here at Mind Your Health we can help with all of this! NICHE | 69

Total knee replacement. At Nuffield Health Leicester hospital. Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is a significant operation but one of the most common orthopaedic procedures, with over 84,653 operations performed during 2011 alone and this number is rising each year. Many people require this type of surgery and thankfully it has a very high rate of success. The most common cause of damage to your knee is arthritis. One in particular – osteoarthritis (known as wear and tear arthritis) can set in over time and cause pain and stiffness.

What is Osteoarthritis? There are 2 common types of cartilage in the knee surgeons refer to: The first type is the MENISCUS – 2 cartilage cushions or ‘menisci’ between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia). The menisci help the knee to function properly by bearing load and weight, absorbing shock, stabilising the joint and providing lubrication. The second type is ARTICULAR CARTILAGE which covers the surface bone ends of the femur, tibia and patella (knee cap) to reduce friction and cushion the joint to aid load distribution. Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis often due to ‘wear and tear’ or damage of this smooth articular cartilage surface which becomes irregular, fissured and may fall off revealing the underlying bone. If this happens, the underlying bones can rub together, producing the pain typical of arthritis. It causes pain in the joints and surrounding soft tissues and limits the range of movement and function of a joint. There are several factors which contribute to the development of osteoarthritis, including age, being overweight, heavy manual jobs, genetic factors, and joint damage from a previous injury. Severe arthritis can interfere with activities of daily living and limits lifestyle. The severe pain of osteoarthritis can be very disabling.

Healthy knee joint


What are the treatment options? There is no cure for arthritis, so beware of ‘miracle cures’. The first step is to preserve the knee and avoid surgery if possible. Initial treatment of osteoarthritis focuses on decreasing pain and improving joint movement with a balance of rest and exercise, avoiding vigorous weight bearing activities. Patients are given individualised treatment plans which may consist of:

• Education and understanding.

• Physiotherapy and / or heat or cold treatments.

• Exercises to keep joints flexible and improve muscle strength.

• Weight control to prevent extra stress on weight bearing joints.

• Joint protection, to prevent stress or strain on painful joints e.g. knee supports or braces, cushioned insoles, and orthotics.

• Injections of Hyaluronic acid or Steroids into the joint. Steroids improve symptoms by reducing the inflammation within the arthritic joint. Hyaluronic acid preparations are available which can be injected into joints affected by osteoarthritis to relieve pain, restore lubrication and cushioning, improving joint function.

• Medicines: eg: anti-inflammatory gels, the use of non- steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets (eg: neurofen or naprosyn), non-narcotic analgesics such as Paracetamol. Alternative medicines such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin and cod liver oil.

What about Surgery? Simple arthroscopic or key-hole surgery may be appropriate if there are mechanical problems within your knee joint such as catching, locking, swelling or giving way. Correcting the mechanical damage may prevent further deterioration of your knee. In some cases surgery will not be able to reverse the damage which has already occurred. In severe cases, surgery may be suggested, such as knee replacement which can give good results. The type of surgery will depend on your age and severity of the disease. The knee joint is made up of 3 compartments, the patellofemoral (kneecap) and medial (inside) and lateral (outside) compartments between the femur and tibia (ie: the long bones of the leg). Often only one of these compartments wears out, usually the medial one. If you have symptoms and X-ray findings suggestive of this then you may be suitable for a Unicompartmental or Partial Knee Replacement procedure where only the damaged part of the knee joint is replaced through a smaller incision (minimally invasive surgery) than would normally be used for a Total Knee Replacement. The aim is to keep the patient mobile and active with more rapid rehabilitation and greater activity at an earlier stage following an operation. A Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is an operation where the arthritic knee joint is resurfaced with artificial metal surfaces (cobalt chrome or titanium) secured with bone cement and a plastic insert cushion between these metal surfaces. Sometimes the surface of the Patella (kneecap) is worn and if it is badly damaged this is resurfaced (with plastic) as well. The surgery starts with an incision over If you require further information please, call 0116 2982612 email Leicester.enquiry@nuffieldhealth.com or visit nuffieldhealth.com/hospitals/leicester

the knee which exposes the joint. Special guides and precision instruments are used to remove the damaged surfaces and create the fit for the implants. The implant is then secured to the bone(s). It may be necessary to re-align the surrounding knee ligaments to achieve the best knee function. Once the components are fixed in place and the knee is balanced and stable, the incision will be closed. You are likely to benefit from TKR if your pain is severe and interferes with day-to-day activities. This includes severe knee pain and stiffness that limits mobility and function or severe pain that disturbs your sleep. 80-90% of individuals who undergo Total Knee Replacement experience a dramatic reduction of knee pain and a significant improvement in movement and the ability to perform the common activities of everyday life. Many patients get back to exercise (swimming and dancing) and sports such as golf, cycling and social tennis. Your range of movement, muscle strength and pain should continue to improve during the first year after surgery.

Anterior view of the right knee. Femur Articular cartilage

Lateral collateral ligament Lateral meniscus

Anterior cruciate ligament Medial meniscus Medial collateral ligament



Safeguard your skin

By Consultant Dermatologist Dr Anton Alexandroff

S *source cancer research UK

Skin is the largest organ of the body and is an amazing feat of engineering able to keep out infection, help maintain an even body temperature and protects us from danger by registering pain. Unfortunately skin problems in the UK are remarkably common and on the increase, with studies suggesting that over half of the UK population experience a skin condition every year*. Skin cancer is a particular concern in the UK, with rates of malignant melanoma estimated to be the ninth highest in males in Europe, and seventh highest in females. Breast Prostate Lung Bowel Melanoma Skin Cancer Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Kidney Hand and Neck



The reasons for skin cancer in the UK could relate to a number of factors including fair or freckly skin and the assumption that our colder and wetter climate renders it unnecessary to use sun protection. Additionally, the use of sunbeds has been proven to cause skin cancer by exposing skin to high levels of UVA and UVB rays. Unfortunately malignant melanoma is also the 5th most common type of cancer in the UK so whilst it is sensible for us to monitor changes in our skin – see our ‘Alphabet Guide to Checking Your Moles’ – skin cancer presents a bigger risk in the UK than can be assumed and, as with most cancers, early detection is crucial to preventing its spread. At Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital not only do we have a team of experts that can help you with a wide range of skin conditions, you can also be seen in as little as 48 hours.

The Alphabet Guide to checking your moles

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a non-cancerous mole and a cancerous one, particularly if you have a lot of moles or freckles. But there are some tell-tale signs that you can look out for. The A-G method provides a good basis for identification of potentially troublesome moles. If you exhibit any of these indicators, book in to see and expert Dermatologist.

What to look for

A – Asymmetry Normal moles or freckles are completely symmetrical. If you were to draw a line through a normal spot, you would have two symmetrical halves. B – Border A mole or spot with blurry and/or jagged edges. C – Colour Normal spots are usually one colour. A mole that is more than one hue is suspicious and needs to be evaluated by a doctor. D – Diameter If a mole is smaller than a pencil eraser (about 1/4 inch or 6mm), it is less likely to be a cancerous mole, but don’t be fooled by size alone – it can be smaller. 72 | NICHE

E – Elevation/Evolving Elevation means the mole is raised above the surface and has an uneven surface. Evolving means changing in size, shape, or colour. F – From firm to palpation If a mole changes from a firm consistency, to a softer, spongier consistency, get it checked out. G – Growing progressively over one month A mole should remain consistent in size. If your mole continues to grow over more than a month, speak to your doctor. 0116 298 6938

Beat the



Feeling the effects of the cold months on your skin? Central heating, icy temperatures and perhaps one too many comfort foods can all have a lacklustre effect on your complexion. Glowing skin is becoming as sought after as acne clearing and wrinkle diminishing requests, but there are a handful of procedures and treatments to help you move from dry and dull to get hydrated and glowing so read on… Colonic Hydrotherapy is essentially a spring clean for your insides giving your digestive system the boost it needs to achieve optimum functionality. With a list of benefits that go far beyond an initial desire for glowing skin which includes boosting your immune system, increasing energy levels, assisting in weight loss and increasing the hydration of the body. Microdermabrasion provides a deep exfoliation stimulating collagen to renew and new skin cells to form, whilst celebrity favourite CACI facial toning treatments lift and rejuvenate, taking years off after just one treatment. Then there’s the Enzyme Facial which harnesses the power of fruit to improve your skin’s natural clarity. Dermarollering, a micro-medical skin needling procedure, stimulates the skin to regenerate and repair itself naturally and safely, creating smoother, brighter, healthier, younger-looking skin. Water One of the cheapest beauty products around, water is a key way to get your skin looking its best. Ensuring you are drinking enough water can be harder in the winter months though — after all, how many of us what to reach for a cold drink? Herbal teas are a great hydrator for the winter months. Finish with a Microblading eyebrow treatment to really brighten your face and bring out your features for a flawless look.


Expert eye care Niche journalists Lauren Raybould and Emily Kirton take a tour around the Stoneygate Eye hospital, the only dedicated specialist eye hospital in the East Midlands


The Stoneygate Eye Hospital has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, whilst maintaining a subtle clinical undertone and professional feel. Greeted by Lisa Houldsworth, the Business Development Manager of the hospital, we talked aboutspecialist eye care, educating optometrists across the UK, and expanding the hospital with the addition of the new theatre. Established in 2013, the consultant-led hospital is based in the leafy suburbs of Stoneygate. With an inviting look and free onsite parking, it’s a convenient and refreshingly inviting hospital. All of the consultants are experts in their field as are all university hospital consultants. The founding directors were working in many different hospitals in and around Leicester when they identified a gap in the market for a specialist eye hospital. Having specialists within

all areas of ophthalmology, and all accessible under one roof was one of the main reasons for starting the Stoneygate Eye Hospital. The hospitals provide expert eye care for private patients with private referrals coming from GPs and opticians. Their state-of-the-art equipment and expert consultants enable them to provide the knowledge and comfort that patients are in safe hands. Lisa describes their current expansion and having the best equipment to provide the best service for patients: “It is an exciting time at the hospital, as we have the latest equipment to provide the best treatment, regardless of the eye condition. We have a laser suite and have just opened our second theatre within the hospital and four more consultation rooms, enabling us to treat more patients.” The hospital also organises educational events for


optometrists, who receive accreditation at the end of the training event. The hospital is a regarded education provider. When a patient begins their journey with Stoneygate Eye Hospital, they have an initial consultation to discuss their eyes and the treatments they wish to undergo; then, the diagnostic tests are performed by the specialist consultant; after that, they are booked in for the treatment. Once the treatment finishes, the patient can stay in a comfy room to recover and have a cup of tea, surrounded by their family. The hospital also has a patient liaison officer who is there to guide patients through the process. On-hand to answer any queries and worries, the friendly officer gives patients the peace of mind that they are in safe, expert hands easing the whole 0116 270 8033 thestoneygateeyehospital.co.uk NICHE | 73



MEN AND MENTAL HEALTH Attempting to improve your mental health or working through emotional problems very often involves counselling, psychotherapy, drugs or meditation. The first port of call is always a talking therapy. However not everyone, especially men, feel comfortable discussing their problems with a total stranger. Over 40 per cent of men are unwilling to talk about issues that affect them – even to their closest friends or family. Society dictates that men must be the strong ones, hunter gatherers, providers, perfect role models. It’s hard and challenging being a man, admitting that life is a struggle sometimes also bruises the male ego. I am a body worker and I teach TRE – tension and trauma release exercises. It is a novel way to gently shake stress and tension out of the body. It is an ideal modality for men as they don’t need to talk to me about what they are holding on to, what is causing the anxiety and depression; they don’t need to open up old wounds and they don’t need to keep judging themselves. Devised by an American neurologist, David Berceli, simple exercises ignite a primitive response within the body ,helping to discharge adrenalin and cortisol, resetting and downgrading the nervous system. TRE is the perfect tool for men to finally let go, release in their bodies and find some rest from the difficult struggle of being a strong man.

07795 361 288 priticoles.co.uk 74 | NICHE


KEEP OFFICE COLDS AT BAY Minor illnesses, including coughs and colds, were the main reason given for sickness absence and accounted for more than a quarter (34.3 million days) of the total number of days lost in the year 2017-2018. As a business leader the wellbeing of your team over the winter months is vital, not only for your interest in their wellbeing, but also in protecting your business from the costs that come from sick days. So, how can you as a business take extra care of your employees and their health over the cold and flu season? Vaccinate: Encourage your staff to get the flu vaccination. Recent stats show that flu vaccinations reduce flu by 4060 per cent of the population overall. Prevent Sharing: If a team member has the cold or flu, encourage them to rest

JULIE HAYTON Managing Director at Function Jigsaw up at home; if they come into the office and ‘share’ their illnes, the sickness will only spread and cause further sick days. Encourage Good Hygiene: Having the facilities for good hand hygiene is essential, as is the appropriate cleanliness for desks and equipment used. Think Healthy: Encouraging your team to look after themselves with good diet and exercise goes a long way towards preventing general illness within your staff.

0116 340 0255 functionjigsaw.co.uk

CORNEAL LASER EYE SURGERY VIJAY SAVANT Consultant Ophthalmologist at The Stoneygate Eye Hospital For many people, laser eye surgery can correct their vision so that they do not need contact lenses or glasses. The surgery involves using the laser to reshape the cornea. The surgery was introduced in 1990, and the first procedure used was photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), which has now been replaced by laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) and laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK). Whilst with PRK, the surgeon scrapes off the thin outermost layer of the cornea to expose it, in LASEK this isn’t removed, a flap is created in the epithelial layer and pushed to the side. In LASIK, the flap is made to expose

part of the cornea instead. This is followed by using the Excimer laser to treat the prescription. More than 95 per cent of patients are satisfied with the results – describing it as ‘life-changing’. The procedure comes with little pain and short recovery time without the need for stitches or bandages. Furthermore, a person’s vision can return to what it was prior to glasses and/or contact lenses permanently, with improvement seen within a few days. Generally, the results of the surgery are permanent, though in five per cent of laser surgery patients, a regression can occur. However, the surgery can be repeated further down the line.

0116 270 8033 the stoneygateeyehospital.co.uk

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24 Long Street, Wigston, Leicester LE18 2AH I 0116 340 0255 I functionjigsaw.co.uk NICHE | 75

winter With each new season, I actually get excited at the thought of what my new seasonal wardrobe will look like. I can spend hours poring over Pinterest to get good ideas of the pieces I would like to have. So, when Sukhina at Betty Brown invited me to view the autumn-winter 2019 THE DRESS IS £89


For me, the collection is an absolute treat as we go from sandals and summer dresses to boots, knits, tailored coats and muted, jewelled colours. Sukhina manages to capture all the comfort and style that winter brings. With a backdrop palette of blacks, rich golds, reds and black and white tweed, the collection is all highwaisted tailoring, chic bow tie shirts, tweed separates and elegant touches synonymous of Betty Brown (think Italian buttons, dresses with pockets and statement sleeves) and that’s just the office to dinner day wear. “I am always inspired by the modern woman and what she wants from key pieces in her wardrobe. Wearing good clothing makes us feel good, it’s as simple as that. I like to think that workwear needn’t be boring or actually entirely separate from a woman’s casual wear – you can have an interchangeable wardrobe which makes your investment in the piece work for you,” says Sukhina. For weekend comfort, Betty Brown have removed the need to go for all-out or void of style in favour of comfort with a loungewear collection featuring mix-and-match detailed joggers and

76 | NICHE

collection, I just couldn’t say no. WORDS EMILY KIRTON bomber jacket – which could easily be worn with trainers or heels and wouldn’t look out of place for a coffee date, or a cocktail or two in the evening. “I was inspired by the idea that when it comes to weekend dressing, we want to feel comfortable, but we don’t want to put on the sweatpants and be done with it, throwing style out!” Sukhina tells me of the loungewear designed to solve this in-limbo dressing problem. For party wear, things get even more special with glittering separates, high-waisted vegan leather skirts, tailored dresses and – my personal favourite – a golden velvet wrap full-length number with those perfect pockets and tie at the waist. I spent an excessiveamount of time cooing over this number in particular and I might have even been caught rather affectionately stroking it. “I wanted to design an evening wear collection which of course made women feel amazing, but again I wanted to make it accessible and really wearable time and time again, mixing a glittering top with some jeans for a more relaxed look or adding the matching glamorous trousers to


NICHE FEATURE complete a suit for example.” Styling Betty Brown pieces doesn’t feel like the morning chore, it all works harmoniously together saving time, stress and, as Sukhina says, money too. “For me, sustainability is very important. I never want my clothing to be worn once in a blue moon; I always design pieces with versatility in mind and that are easy to style with each other. It should be fun getting dressed in the morning, not stressful!” Sustainability isn’t only found in her attitude towards working pieces together, but also in her attitude to how her clothes are made. She tells me: “We only work with ethical suppliers, which is a greater financial cost but we feel it’s a necessity to do so. The company we work with hire people fairly who want to be creating the clothes. They are made with love and I think that shows in the quality of the clothes. Each season we feature vegan clothing and with this season we have a number of vegan leather looks which work so well for night or day.” The atelier, which is both an inviting and inspiring place to be, includes Sukhina’s workbench and walls lined with fashion bibles and Vogue sketches, is attracting shoppers from all over the UK, with many travelling from London to experience a unique range of clothing where only a few pieces of each style are made. Then, of course, shoppers outside of the area can shop online from the comfort of their own home. Just before going to press, we got to experience the collection at an additional exclusive invite-only event where we had the opportunity to try on and purchase, with the added bonus of being styled and chatting to Sukhina about the collection further. Watching her ‘do her thing’ and seeing how passionate she is about creating beautiful clothes and making women feel good is infectious. What’s more, with so many of us claiming to ‘support local’ and to ‘shop with a conscience’, it’s wonderful to see it in action within our city. By injecting some Betty Brown pieces into your autumn/winter wardrobe, you are not only adding style for the season ahead, you are also investing in pieces which can be worn time and time again and mixed into different seasons. Betty Brown style is unique, effortless and actually timeless beyond a season and you will find yourself pulling out her pieces time and time again. bettybrownboutique.com

I wanted to design an evening wear collection which of course made women feel amazing, but again I wanted to make it accessible and really wearable time and time again


NICHE | 77



turns one Zoe Darkins, Director of Inside-Out Laser Clinics, looks back at the past year since opening the doors at her unique laser, aesthetic and advanced skin care clinic in Mountsorrel


On Friday August 23, Inside-Out Laser Clinics had their first birthday. The celebrations took place at the clinic, located on Cromwell Road in Mountsorrel. Zoe and her team celebrated in style with family, friends, clients new and old, along with small local businesses. Their event was a huge success, with celebratory drinks enjoyed along with the clinic birthday

cake, which was cut by special guest Miss Leicestershire. Raising money for local charity, Hope Against Cancer, was a big part of the event including holding a charity raffle with many prizes from local businesses and organisations. Neighbouring, Roberts & Gray Hairdressing joined in the fun, decorating the salon and offering fantastic festival hair for a small donation, which was a big hit for all. The overall amount raised was £328. “We’ve had such a fantastic event! It was so lovely to see lots of happy smiling faces surrounding us and supporting my dream, which has now

become a reality. I’m immensely proud of my team, they have done so much to get us all here. We have had a fantastic year and look forward to the years ahead.” Zoe went on to say: “I think it’s extremely important to support local businesses. Stallholders and clients at our event have already asked when we will hold our next event! Watch this space – we could be holding one for the festive period.”

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Lindt 3D Teddy Advent Calendar £15 Teddy shaped Advent calendar with mix of hollows figures, Lindor Truffles, Snowballs, Santa and Teddy. Debenhams

Warner’s Raspberry Gin £35 Warner’s has linked with the PTES, every bottle sold helps the plight of important hedgerow species, such as dormice. Tesco, Waitrose and M&S

Charles Trywhitt Coat- Outlet Price £159.95 Mens Raincoat McArthurGlen Designer Outlet East Midlands NICHE | 79

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Newman’s Restaurant is a family run Leicester institution, established in the city centre by Dean Newman more than 30 years ago. Many loyal customers go back again and again to enjoy well cooked fare from an extensive menu. After my first experience of it, with Darren, our photographer, I plan to become one of them!

THE PERFECT EXPERIENCE FOR GIN LOVERS The 45 Gin School Experience includes:

Cocktail and gin infused masterclass, questions and answers by our distiller, complimentary gin and tonics, choosing and blending botanicals to create your own unique recipe before distilling, bottling and labelling your craft gin creation ready to take home and drink at your leisure. Situated at the heart of Leicester’s Old Town, the Distillers Kitchen is a beautiful Grade II listed venue.

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Newman’s has made it name on tasty food, cooked to order and served in a cheerful atmosphere close to the market and historic core of the city. It’s fully licensed and the menu includes all day breakfasts, light lunches, roast dinners and just about anything else while you rest from shopping or sightseeing.

0116 254 2090


I chose the sea bass, which was delicious, as was Darren’s steak, which he pronounced ‘luscious’ immediately before demolition. Both were served with summer vegetables prepared as freshly as they would be at home. Service was efficient and fuss-free. Dean makes time for all of his customers and creates a warm, friendly atmosphere. This is a real gem of a restaurant with traditional values and home cooked food that will keep you going back so that you can try something new from the menu every time. I cannot wait to return.

33 Market St, Leicester LE1 6DN

ORDER YOUR CHRISTMAS FAYRE FROM LEICESTER’S PREMIER BUTCHER Local bronze free range turkeys Fosse meadows free range cockerels Bradgate venison, pheasants and other game birds, ducks, geese, guinea fowl Leicestershire longhorn and British wagyu beef! Local award winning pork pies See website for order form

The ideal Christmas present: Try our pork butchery classes!

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99 Queens Road, Leicester LE2 1TT 84 | NICHE

CHRISTMAS ORDER BOOK NOW OPEN Farndon Fields Farm Farndon Road Market Harborough LE16 9NP Tel: 01858 464838

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A Fine Art Launch Dispelling all preconceived notions of art galleries, Oksana Smaditch has opened Adore Fine Art, a welcoming gallery situated on Allandale Road


Drawn into the gallery by the stunning artwork displayed in the window, I was warmly invited in by Oksana. The gallery, complete with sleek decor and amazing pieces of art, felt open and vibrant – a space where I was free to explore the art on display. Oksana bought the gallery from the previous owners, after forming a great friendship with them when on a visit; it was here that she fell in love with and discovered her passion for art of all forms. Formerly known as Trident Galleries, Oksana has refurbished the space to create a place where you can pop in for a drink and view the collections on display. She said: “Art is all about how you connect with the piece and the empathy for the artist. It isn’t just canvas deep, there’s always a story behind the artwork and why it was created.” Adore Fine Art has a diverse

range of both original and collectible limited-edition pieces in many different mediums such as digital art, canvas paintings and sculptures. The gallery features leading artists from the UK and USA such as Todd White, Fabian Perez, Tom Butler and a new and exciting talent called Yuvi. October 3 saw the launch of this new art gallery; the place was filled with friends, family and members of the local business community. Oksana concluded: “Our launch was a huge success; we are currently building relationships within the local community by hosting various events such as silent auctions and special exhibitions, so that we, as a community here in Stoneygate, are connected.” 0116 274 5333 adorefineart.com

NICHE | 85

Fourwards at Ashfields Running a busy restaurant is no easy task; and yet for The Fourwards family, they have truly taken it into their stride

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12 months ago, Adam and Stacey Ward, along with their two daughters took over the ever-popular Ashfields restaurant and transformed it into the now award winning ‘Fourwards at Ashfields’. Since then, the restaurant has risen from strength to strength and have earned rave reviews and accolades along the way, including the award for The British Restaurant of The Year title at the inaugural Restaurant Awards 2019 – Midlands Edition. Stacey, a former contestant on the BBC’s ‘Masterchef the Professionals’ said; “We are over the moon. Our category was so tough, and we were put up against some of the biggest names in the midlands, including Michelin-starred competition. “Our team have been working so hard over the past 12 months to turn our restaurant into a real gem, and we are so happy to have won this award. “We want to keep pushing forward. When we took over the restaurant

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just over a year ago we set out to turn it into a real destination; a restaurant where people can enjoy an incredible meal made from the best ingredients and we are well on the way to achieving that.” Fourwards at Ashfields has become well known, not just for their relaxing and yet tasteful approach to dining, but also for their ability to host events, and their Christmas schedule is always very popular. “We truly are a family inspired restaurant, and there is nothing we love more than being able to treat any diner that walks through the door,” Adam goes on to say. “Our passion and goal is to ensure that anyone dining with us leave fully satisfied and with a smile on their face; whether it be a romantic meal for two, a family lunch, or even a large banquet.” 01455 841 556 ashfieldsrestaurant.com

come and enjoy authentic veg & Non-Veg indian cuisine here Kerrysdale Avenue, (Corner of Barkby Road), Rushey Mead, Leicester LE4 7GJ 0116 319 1380

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The Old Curiosity Distillery’s Christmas gin is distilled with ginger, cinnamon and cardamom which gives the undeniably familiar smell of Christmas and provides a festive spicy flavour. The ingredients used to create this gin are all natural and mostly sourced from the distillery’s Secret Herb Garden. The gin comes with a bespoke Gin Spiced Shortbread recipe developed by Ruby Bhogal – a tasty treat ideal for the Christmas period. Available from Harvey Nichols, Fenwicks and Dobbies garden centre £35 theoldcuriosity.co.uk NICHE | 87

FOOD COURT Sponsored by

In this issue, local business people choose their favourite places to eat in and around Leicestershire

The best eating establishments in Leicestershire TRACEY HUNTER

THE PARCEL YARD steamin-billy.co.uk 0116 261 9301 48A LONDON RD, LEICESTER LE2 0QB

Advertising Executive at Cross Productions

The Parcel Yard is one of my favourite places to go with friends when we are after good, honest home-cooked style food. Known for their menu with ‘something for everyone’ and being right next door to Leicester Train Station, it’s a great place to gather after a hard day’s work with colleagues and friends. All their ingredients work so well together and always taste so fresh. As a restaurant in the Steamin’ Billy group, the atmosphere is always one of fun and is relaxed and warm. On a recent visit with friends, I went for a lighter option of the Steamin’ Billy Crunch, which is an Avocado and Mixed Leaves with

PETER SIMPSON Managing Director at Mme Ltd

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Quinoa salad featuring Pomegranate Seeds, Parsley, Cashews, Walnut and Toasted Almonds – it was delicious. For those feeling like going for something more home-made comfort though, there are lots of options including hearty breakfasts, express lunches, tapas and antipasti, burgers, pizzas, Sunday Roasts and the famous Steamin’ Billy burger! The staff are always relaxed, yet attentive and friendly too, and with an excellent drinks menu and an open and large space to soak up the social atmosphere it’s a must on any foodie’s list to visit in Leicester, or for those out of town waiting for a connecting train.


0116 254 7663

the-white-peacock.co.uk 14-16 KING ST, LEICESTER LE1 6RJ

Nestled along the beautiful Georgian pedestrian promenade of Leicester’s New Walk sits the fantastic White Peacock, with its beautiful interior and passionate staff, this restaurant is the perfect place for both formal lunches and dinners. Their website describes the venue as a ‘great location with expressive décor, local artistry that provides a consistent high level of exceptional guest service to deliver an extraordinary experience for all occasions’ and that is exactly what you get. I have been lucky enough to have visited several times, enjoying options from their lunchtime menu, A La Carte options and even their nine course

taster menu, but my personal favourite is the three course ‘Midweek Treat’ menu. Starting with the locally sourced smoked haddock fish cake served with basil on a nest of potato and followed by the roasted Chicken breast, that literally melts in your mouth. And to finish it all off, I have been known to go for the chocolate brownie as a treat on occasions and this is a dessert to die for. All of this for a reasonable price too! With exceptional service, wonderful food and maybe a pre-meal cocktail, what else could you ask for, from a restaurant, The White Peacock is a right little gem hidden away in the heart of Leicester City Centre.


THE GREY GOOSE greygoosegilmorton.co.uk 01455 552 555 GILMORTON, LEICESTERSHIRE, LE17 5PN

Owner of JSP Virtual

The weather is changing, it’s getting colder and wetter. The summer wardrobe is being replaced with warm jumpers, the BBQ is out and the Sunday Carvery is definitely in. The Grey Goose at Gilmorton is the perfect location for a Sunday roast with its cosy atmosphere, and spectacular food. We arrived and chose to have a drink before our food; the contemporary bar, with its beautiful open fire, was the ideal setting for a relaxing glass of wine before Sunday Lunch. For my lunch I opted for the delicious Lamb Kofta as a starter, served with Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper and Mango Puree. Then onto the wonderful Roast Beef Carvery, alongside seasoned



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Set amongst manicured gardens in a Grade II listed building next to the 15th century St Michael and All Angels’ Church, there’s barely anything about The Tithe Barn that says ‘cafe’ and that is certainly one of the elements that I love most about this place. It really is a stunning location for lunch with friends, family or work clients It is spacious with an extensive garden courtyard, so perfect for eating all year round. There is plenty to choose from on the menu, from beautiful Toasted Paninis to spectacular looking Thai Fishcakes, but I am partial to The Church Farm Sharing Board when visiting. Delicious fresh quiche and

Carrots, Red Cabbage, Creamy Mash and – my personal favourite – plenty of Roast Potatoes. The topside of beef was cooked exactly to my liking and was simply perfect for an autumn afternoon. For dessert, I chose the classic warm chocolate fudge cake which has to have been one of the best I have tasted, and there’s been a few! The staff are very attentive, friendly and with a very good knowledge of the menu. I highly recommend the Grey Goose when it comes to a classic Sunday Roast with family and friends, all year round but especially during the colder months when nothing beats a cosy environment and a hearty meal.

vegetarian pastry rolls, served with wedges of Stilton, a giant cheese straw served with a rustic baguette and flavoured butter. It’s beautiful and something I seem to enjoy more and more on each visit. The Service is always five star, with friendly attentive staff that go the extra mile for their guests. But what I love most about The Tithe Barn is that they pride themselves on sourcing and using fresh hand-selected local produce, much of which comes from the surrounding villages. The Barn is somewhere very special and with food and service that really lives up to is amazing location, this place is not to be missed.

BARNACLES RESTAURANT barnacles-restaurant.co.uk 01455 633 220 WATLING ST, HINCKLEY LE10 3JA Barnacles is my ‘go to’ place when it comes to restaurants local to me, located in the border of Leicestershire and Warwickshire it is perfect for every occasion. Whether that be business lunches, family meals or just a quiet night out with my wife. It’s amazing how a restaurant can have both an electric atmosphere yet feel relaxed and cosy dependent at the same time. I’ve never been disappointed or let down when I have visited, that is purely down to great service and wonderful food. I’m a steak man so the ‘Steaks & Grills’ section is always the place on the menu where my eyes are drawn, from the classic Sirlion to the Surf &

Turf option they have everything I need. Always perfectly cooked with the classic side dishes of French fries, grilled tomato and Portobello Mushroom, I cannot fault the food. The beef is locally sourced from ‘only the best butchers’ and you can tell. It really is classic ‘pub food’ at its best. For pudding, I have tried a few but the most memorable is the Banana and Walnut sticky toffee pudding, walnuts are not my thing but I loved this with salted caramel Ice Cream. I cannot recommend a better place locally than Barnacles, so please next time you are in the Hinckley area give it a try. NICHE | 89


Celebrate in style at St Martins House

St Martins House is one of our city’s most character-filled, contemporary and unique event and function locations


Adjacent to the impressive Leicester Cathedral at the heart of the renovated historic quarter, stands a venue event planners may assume is out of their budget. However, with a commitment to allow as many patrons to experience and enjoy the stunning building as possible, the venue is able to provide event space hire for weddings, birthday and anniversary celebrations and everything in between for flexible and affordable packages and budgets. The building boasts beautiful historical features which include stained glass windows, tall ceilings and original, large lightfilling windows. As impressive on the inside as it is on the outside, St Martins is a special and truly unique space which will create a memorable event and lasting

impression for all who attend. The Grand Hall is the venue’s most notable feature room and can accommodate up to 200 guests comfortably. Its tall ceilings and top floor location make for stunning views and beautiful lighting with a real city feel. With its own bar and allocated dance floor area, the room is perfect to host a range of events from birthday gatherings to weddings. Food for the event comes from the hugely talented Sam Dimblebee who joined the team last year. Sam has brought with her a fresh and contemporary approach to menus. “We like to think outside of the conventional when it comes to creating menu choices for events. Working with our clients, we create exciting options where good, homecooked style food is served


in unique ways. Whether it’s comforting bowl food, classic fish ‘n’ chips or flatbreads and kebabs — the possibilities are endless and we work hard to create the best for budgets.” A blank canvas from which organisers can create their own stylish décor, the venue’s white walls and lighting are the perfect backdrop. Experienced waiting and bar staff work each event with professionalism and charisma, and the dedicated in-house bar is always well stocked and efficient. An adaptable and modern yet character-filled space, St Martins House is setting the bar high for stylish and memorable event hire in our city. 0116 261 5200 Stmartinshouse.com NICHE | 91


Emerging as a significant conferencing venue on the UKs map, St Martins House can now provide multi-faceted conferencing with the addition of accommodation at St Martins Lodge


conferencing L Located in the stunning historic quarter beside the impressive Leicester Cathedral, St Martins House might have historical roots, but the future is where this prestigious corporate venue is steadily focused. The venue provides a contemporary and smart location for conferences but also offers a unique and memorably stylish feel to a conference too. Since expanding its facilities with the addition of St Martins Lodge, a luxury accommodation located just a short stroll away, the venue has been attracting a multitude of large businesses, including Natwest, RBS, Leicester Comedy Festival, Pick Everard and Mattioli Woods. Attracted to the venue’s capabilities for providing all aspects of holding a corporate event under the one roof, the experienced and multitalented personnel team can

accommodate anything from eight delegates up to 200. There are dedicated managers for every aspect of the event, and they take care of every detail – from the welcome drinks through to the menu planning and entertainment. With the addition of Samantha Dimblebee to the team, the food available for conferencing is brought up to date with freshly prepared, high quality foods with a home cooking style. “Our reach is expanding across the UK with many of our conferencing bookings now coming from London. Delegates tell us that due to our excellent transport links in the UK as well as the facilities we offer at a highly competitive rate, we are becoming a first port of call for large corporations as well as business in and around the city itself,” James Hayter, St Martins House Manager, tells us.


St Martins Lodge completes the luxurious conferencing facilities with its beautifully appointed sleek and sophisticated rooms. The reception is based at St Martins House with guests escorted across the stunning courtyard — past the cathedral and recently rejuvenated, relaxing yet vibrant area. Each room is individually styled to complement the Georgian building with many suites boasting roll top baths, grand fireplaces and tall windows overlooking the cathedral. A delightful and unique conferencing venue, St Martins brings personality to conferencing, and thanks to its excellent facilities and central UK location, it is fast becoming a key corporate venue in the UK. 0116 261 5200 Stmartinshouse.com NICHE | 93


Local Independent Skiwear Specialist

Adults & Kids Christmas gifts Plus Gorgeous winter hats & boots

Love and Piste

Lovely retail store in rural setting

01509 853 944 ALBERT’S BARN 33 Costock Road, East Leake LE12 6LY

Free Parking! Inhouse Coffee Shop! Shop instore or online


Opening Times: Weds 9.30am-7pm Thurs-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm Sun 9.30am – 12.30pm Closed Mon/Tues

CURVE, ROSE THEATRE KINGSTON & SIMON FRIEND PRESENT In association with Hachette Children’s Group and Coolabi Group

LIVE ON STAGE Based on the bestselling book by


23 NOV – 11 JAN



Book by

Music by

Lyrics by

Entire Original Production Directed and Choreographed by


NIKOLAI FOSTER Choreographer ELLEN KANE Set Designer MICHAEL TAYLOR Costume Designer EDD LINDLEY Musical Supervisor SARAH TRAVIS Lighting Designer GUY HOARE Sound Designer TOM MARSHALL Casting Director KAY MAGSON CDG Director

Originally produced on Broadway by Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince by arrangement with Roger L. Stevens Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited


9 – 31 DEC



Once Upon A Time In Hollywood...


Partner of The Miller Partnership


In the earliest days of cinema, women were the true pioneers of this burgeoning art form in the cultural arena of the post-industrial 20th century. Initially considered a quirky fad, a hobby for wealthy women who eschewed embroidery and piano, females played significant roles in film production, especially before movies became such big business. Ida May Park, Gene Gauntier and Alice Guy-Blaché were strong women and forceful presences in cinema’s early days. Trailblazer Lois Weber’s silent film Shoes (1916) a portrait of urban poverty, resonates today in this era of food banks and the working poor. Lois became the first female member of the Motion Picture Directors Association.

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Then, with the increasing popularity of the medium, and untold fortunes to be made, women in film were ruthlessly sidelined as merely decorative on-screen fodder for a greedy, pervasively male-dominated, cash-driven entertainment industry – and Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood manages to completely disempower Sharon Tate in an unnecessarily similar way. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed so much of this movie, I’d possibly put it in my Tarantino Top five alongside Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs and Inglorious Basterds. But does it pip Jackie Brown, whose portrayal of its female lead is one of Tarantino’s best? After all, Quentin simply isn’t very good at women. “What about

The Bride in Kill Bill?” I’ve been asked. Well, IMHO, she’s really just a vengeance-filled man in a catsuit. I love the fact that in Reservoir Dogs, they’re all guns and bluster and women don’t necessarily need, or perhaps want, to be a part of that – it really doesn’t end well. Brad Pitt (channelling Robert Redford) and Leonardo Di Caprio’s bromance in Tarantino’s ninth film is a joy to watch. But Sharon Tate, beautifully and sensitively portrayed by Margot Robbie, could’ve been so much more. If you’re truly reimagining history, give that woman some control over her tragic tale, Honey Bunny.

traceyannmiller@hotmail.com themillerpartnership.com






Bring your favourite record and our DJ will play it on the night

THURSDAY 23RD JAN 2020 from 6.00pm til late

Upstairs room at the Queen of Bradgate 93 High Street, Leicester LE1 4JB Organised by :

Matt Moore RSVP suitsandvinyl@gmail.com leicestersuitsandvinyl

£10 donation on the night - supporting

What record will you bring for the DJ to spin?

Steps towards hope When a child comes to Steps, they embark on a journey and that journey starts in a very dark place, not only for the child but for their parents too. They are often without hope.


Steps is a centre of excellence dedicated to helping children with cerebral palsy and other motor disorders and provides that hope. The charity, which was founded over 25 years ago, provides free conductive education and vital emotional support for children and their families who simply wouldn’t get it elsewhere. Steps Patron Rosemary Conley told us: “Steps consists of highly experienced and passionate staff who, through guided niche sessions, provide bespoke support to the children and their parents in order to greatly improve their skills and quality of life.” As the only free service of its kind in the East Midlands and with running costs of £250,000 annually, the charity

needs consistent funding. There are local businesspeople who are helping enormously such as The Randal Charitable Foundation (Dr Nik Kotecha) who have given Steps £25,000 a year for three years, but the charity will always need more to be able to do the vital work that they do. Said a parent whose son had moved on to mainstream school, “We started our journey with Steps when we were struggling to accept what had happened to our child and didn’t know if he would ever walk, talk or have any independence. Without exception, the entire Steps team has shown great kindness, empathy, technical knowledge and dedication, with an infectious, positive attitude and manner. My son leaves Steps being

able to walk, talk, and is self-confident, resilient and persistent. We will leave with beautiful memories and hope and optimism for my son’s future” Text 70660 to donate £5 today.

01509 506 878 stepscentre.org.uk NICHE | 97


Is your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) working for you? CSR is not just good PR in attracting employees and consumers; it also has a tangible impact on a company’s bottom line. When CSR is strategically considered with an effective strategy, it supports increasing company performance as well as generating positive social impact


DR NIK KOTECHA OBE Chief Executive of Morningside Pharmaceuticals and Trustee of the Randal Charitable Foundation


Since the inception of Morningside Pharmaceuticals in the 1990s, we have always had a keen focus on supporting a wide range of local, national and international charities. This has become part of the company’s identity and connects well with our mission, which is ‘making quality healthcare an affordable and accessible reality throughout the world’. Our support includes giving to sport, education, health and the community. One example of this is our named sponsorship of the Morningside Arena, Leicester, where we are able to gift fundraising space to charities for free as part of our partnership. The benefits to Morningside and other businesses of investing in CSR are clear. But it wasn’t until I undertook a large amount of research into the voluntary and charity sectors when founding the Randal Charitable Foundation, that I fully understood how charity/private sector partnerships are a win-win. So how does supporting charities benefit businesses and their employees? Charities and the Voluntary Sector have a key role to play in helping businesses become good corporate citizens. By working with charities, businesses are able to give back, which in turn builds recognition and awareness amongst your customers and the wider community in your brand, your

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activities, your products and your people. For a pharmaceutical business like Morningside, we are proud of the absolute quality of our products, so supporting good causes fits well with our corporate ethos and desire to bring communities together and improve the quality of life of the people living there. Supporting charities also chimes with people’s values which acts as a motivating factor for a company’s employees. Your people are your greatest asset and get a lot out of supporting charities. This makes them feel good about themselves because they are making a positive contribution to society and the wider world. Another key area where charities add real value is recruitment of talent. People become aware of a business’ charitable activities and see those businesses as great places to work. This is particularly important in the East Midlands where there is a well-publicised skills shortage, particularly in high level manufacturing. Working with charities also involves people in a ‘common cause’ which is great for team building and bringing your people together under a shared mission. Much of the time charitable fundraising in the workplace can be a lot of fun, just look at the impact of Comic Relief! It also provides a means for colleagues to socialise between departments outside of their day to day working environments. The Randal Charitable foundation was founded in 2017 and is dedicated to saving lives, helping the socially disadvantaged and improving the quality of life for those in need, in the UK and around the world.


EILEEN RICHARDS MBE Managing Director at Eileen Richards Recruitment


Businesses all across the globe are ramping up their focus on CSR, from the giants to SMEs and independents, corporate social responsibly is at the heart of many brands. There are multiple benefits in adopting a charity of the year or partnering with non-profit organisations; however, some businesses fail to see the value they receive in return. As a business that specialises within recruitment and supports three very varied local charities, we believe that not only is CSR activity an attraction to employees, it has become a crucial characteristic in whether an individual chooses your firm over a competitor. We are currently in a position where despite salary being important, only 33 per cent of individuals state salary is the most important thing while 57 per cent say it is a company’s brand image, brand reputation, commitment to the community and additional benefits which impacts their final decision. We encourage our clients that in order to be considered an ‘employer of choice,’ having a charity associated with

GEMMA ORTON Managing Director at Mocha Marketing


CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is something which, in our business, we deem incredibly important. I believe that we have a duty to ‘make time for others’ and ‘give back’. These aren’t just good things to do from a business owner responsibility point of view, but I believe that it supports the continued development of our team who learn so much from the work that we do with charities. However, that doesn’t mean to

your brand can incur empowerment amongst employees, giving them corporate resources to do good and make a difference for a cause they are passionate about. The charities you support become a branch off of your immediate team, providing encouragement and expertise where needed but mainly injecting fun team initiatives that bring employees together in a different way outside of day-to-day responsibilities. With stats demonstrating that empowered employees increase productivity resulting in ROI, giving your employees time can present positive financial results for the firm overall whilst boosting morale. Despite some businesses still at the crossroads in regards to introducing CSR activity into the business, coupling yourself with a charity also provides new connections and potential business opportunities, giving you an avenue to network with clients who may have previously been out of your reach. We have never looked back, and encourage other SMEs to get involved too – it doesn’t just take the big brands to make a difference.

say that working with any charity will tick all of these boxes. There are a few things that should be considered when choosing a charity. Personally, I have to believe in the charity and the work they do; it has to resonate with me, for me to truly give it my all. The charity also has to fit with our company values. I have, in the past, been guilty of being excited by and getting involved with too many charities at one time and my time, therefore, was been spread too thinly resulting in little impact. This is a great learning process that I have taken from my time with charities and have since reined this back to working with three charities in different capacities. The relationship between a charity and a business should

be mutually beneficial and this is where many get it wrong. Only when it is mutual can a relationship be sustained. If a business over time isn’t able to achieve their CSR objectives from their work with the charity, it will become harder and harder to justify the spend and time invested in the chosen charity. A CSR partner should be approached in a measured and strategic way, very much the same as you would any other supplier. Essentially, the decision will be made based on a ‘mind and heart’ blend, but get the due diligence right, ensure it fits with your overall business strategy and you could be embarking on a very special and lengthy relationship.


NICHE | 99


Beds available for respite care at Melton care home this winter A Melton Mowbray care home will have beds available for respite care and short stays over the winter period and New Year


Whether it be planned or emergency temporary care, The Amwell offer exemplary levels of supportive care and premium comfort for residents. The care home is situated in Asfordby Road overlooking the River Eye and opened its doors in February, 2017. Built to an exceptionally high standard across two floors, The Amwell has 88 luxurious en-suite bedrooms. It offers state-of-the-art facilities: a home cinema, beauty spa, riverside bistro, a specialised gym, a beautiful landscaped courtyard garden, private dining and computer suite facilities. All the guests can enjoy a fresh fine dining experience which is prepared daily by the on-site chef. There is a chauffeur-driven car and minibus to take residents out into town and the home offers a stimulating and varied activities programme. The Amwell offers residential, nursing, dementia and respite care. The care home was rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission following an inspection by the independent regulator of all health and social services in England in April earlier this year. It also has a score of 9.2 out of ten on leading UK care home website, carehome.co.uk.

01664 882 525 theamwellcare.com info@theamwellcare.com

Zinthiya Trust

celebrates Zinthiya Trust celebrated 10 years with an incredible evening at College Court on Friday September 27

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Over 100 people attended this anniversary event, which featured keynote speaker, ex Superintendent of Police Stephanie Morgan who has worked on both sides — from seeing women affected by extremely difficult life circumstances who may have been in and out of the system, to helping charities raise awareness. As Stephanie found retirement not challenging enough, she felt she had more to give, and so her important work with charities began. Having seen behind the scenes and been truly affected by it, she knew she wanted to be part of helping in any way she could. Now a Trustee of The Leicester Community Foundation, Stephanie is working in support of charities looking to make change happen.

After hearing the moving speaker, special awards were given out during the evening for the people who have supported the Trust from the very first day it launched. As well as this, there were complimentary wristbands on the table, and a great raffle, with one of the gifts being a £160 pair of earrings donated from Wilkinsons, the jewellers, in Market Harborough. Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan, who founded the Trust to help women and girls experiencing domestic abuse, honour-based violence and poverty, made a touching speech to express her belief that if they only helped one person, all the work that they do is still worth it. From talking in schools to raising awareness and educate to providing direct, practical support to those in current crisis, the trust has helped change the lives of countless women over the last decade and will continue to do so for decades to come. 0116 254 5168 zinthiya.trust@gmail.com


r lle

by Pete M ed i st

s of Tabl e 0 8 or 1 er £70 p d hea

Black tie Quiz Night Mercure Grand Hotel Friday 13th March 2020

3 course meal, arrival drinks and FANTASTIC SURPRISE ENTERTAINMENT throughout the night. PLUS a trophy for the winning team All money raised goes to Hope Against Cancer to fund cancer research in Leicestershire & Rutland. Charity number 1091480.


treatment research A study which has involved researchers from Hope Against Cancer’s Clinical Trials Facility in Leicester has shown promising results for patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia


Professor Martin Dyer, a Hope funded researcher, saw a future where patients could receive chemotherapyfree treatment and has led a study. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) is the most common form of adult chronic leukaemia, where chemotherapy is typically the first treatment for it. However, this isn’t always a suitable solution for older patients with other health issues. The researchers combined a protein called BCL2, which effectively kills the CLL cells, with a drug called Obinutuzumab. This was clearly effective as it was found that 95% of those treated at the Hope Clinical Trials Facility had a complete remission rate, which means there were no signs of leukaemia in the blood or in the scans with the patients not having any symptoms.

The results have been exceptional and the patients who took part in the clinical trial haven’t had to go through the awful side effects of chemotherapy. Professor Martin Dyer is a professor of haemato-oncology and is the director of the Ernest and Helen Scott Haematology Research Institute at the University of Leicester. He has said: “This new treatment is producing extraordinary results”. He added: “The high response rates and remissions have made us optimistic that this treatment could become a standard of care for CLL in the future. I am delighted that we were able to offer patients in Leicester the opportunity to take part in this trial at the Hope Clinical Trials Facility”. Hope Against Cancer is a Leicestershire and Rutland based

charity who fund cutting edge research and have made clinical trials available to local people. Nigel Rose, the Chief Executive at Hope has said: “We are thrilled to see such incredible results from the Hope Clinical Trials Facility, this simply could not happen without the fantastic support from the people of Leicestershire and Rutland who fundraise, donate, take part in and attend Hope’s events.” If you want to find out more information about the Hope Against Cancer Clinical Trials Facility, or how you can help them raise money to fund vital research projects like this, then you can visit their website. 0116 270 0101 hopeagainstcancer.org.uk NICHE | 101

The 2020 Club


Local charity Help the Homeless Leicester has launched the 2020 Club project, the new way for businesses to get involved and help the homeless on our streets

Next year, Help the Homeless are launching the club so that businesses can donate to make a difference to the lives of the homeless community and tackle the growing problem of Leicester’s homelessness. With an initial donation of £100, followed by a minimum monthly donation of £20 thereafter, the money will go towards the reintegration of service users into society, finding a place for them to live and setting them up with opportunities so that they can get back on their feet. The businesses that are a part of the club will be sent regular updates on the progress of all aspects. There will also be two networking events held that will provide the opportunity to receive further updates on how the financial donations have been utilised.

From bulk buying clothing on eBay, to housing 55 people, co-founders Arif Voraji, Corrie Moulds and Vanessa Ghelani started Help the Homeless in 2014. It originated as a community organisation but is now a charity that the co-founders are running to help many people in need around Leicester. They said: “The 2020 Club is a way for businesses to get involved in helping people get back on their feet and off the streets for good. “Helping these people is our calling in life; we feel very blessed to help people every day. To date, we have helped thousands of people and families.” hthleicester.co.uk av@hthleicester.co.uk



01664 88 25 25





55 Asfordby Road, Melton Mowbray, LE13 0HR | T: 01664 88 25 25 | E. info@theamwellcare.com 102 | NICHE


Focus Black Tie Extravaganza On Friday 11th October, the local business community came together for a glamorous awards evening that featured delicious food, fabulous entertainment, dancing, music and a whole lot of heart. Liquid Blue, a local band, performed during the evening, whilst guests played heads or tails and enjoyed the celebrations. A very touching video was played during the evening, with Minder Bhamra, Project Manager at FOCUS, describing how the charity had transformed her life. It was a fantastic evening, recognising the brilliant work that the volunteers at FOCUS do for the young people they help. There was an amazing turnout of 150 people, doubling from last year; every guest received a stone painted by a child who is involved with FOCUS and had a nice message on the stone.

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Lionheart Academies Trust GCSE Awards The Lionheart Academies Trust had their student celebration awards in September at the Leicester Racecourse, where staff, students, sponsors and parents came together to celebrate the hard work of students from The Lionheart Academies Trust Schools: Beauchamp College, The Cedars Academy, Judgemeadow Community College, Humphrey Perkins School, Martin High School, and Sir Jonathan North College. The Keystage Four awards evening ran over two nights and featured ‘Outstanding Effort’ and Outstanding Progress’ categories in each subject. Students from each school who really stood out from the rest were also awarded in categories: Sports Personality of the Year, Overall Effort, Overall Progress, Character and Contribution. Many local businesses sponsored the categories: Outdoor Pursuits Centre Leicester sponsored the Geography category, Cross Productions the English, De Montfort University for Social Sciences and Schoolwear Solutions for the Student of the Year Award. Lionheart Trust said: “We would like to thank our sponsors once again for their generosity and also the students for always outdoing our expectations. Congratulations on your successes, you’ve proved to be role models of our Trust.”

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Lord-Lieutenant’s Charity Event Small charities gathered together on Monday 30 September for an exquisite evening of networking at the Lord-Lieutenant’s Charity Event at the luxurious Queen Victoria Arts Club. In attendance on this wonderful evening was the Lady Mayor, Annette Byrne. Guests arrived to fizz and canapes reception, and mingled until Mike Kapur, the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, welcomed the guests and said his opening remarks. The aim of the event was to aid local charities by informing them about the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and give them a better understanding of what makes a good application to potential donors and where help can be found. Stephen Draisey of Samworth Brothers Foundation did a talk on ‘what a good funding application looks like’ and Kevan Liles, CEO of Voluntary Action Leicester talked about bid writing and the help that is available for charities. The evening’s networking provided a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere for charities of Leicestershire to meet others and discover a vital way to get much needed funding and support.

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Zinthiya Trust 1oth Birthday Bash Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan, who founded the Trust to help women and girls experiencing domestic abuse, honour-based violence and poverty, hosted an evening of celebration for her charity reaching a decade old. Over 100 people attended the anniversary event, which featured keynote speaker, ex Superintendent of Police Stephanie Morgan who has worked behind the scenes – from seeing women affected by extremely difficult life circumstances who may have been in and out of the system, to now helping charities raise awareness. Very special awards were given out during the evening for the people who have supported the Trust from the start. In addition, there were complimentary wristbands on the table, and a great raffle, with one of the gifts being a £160 pair of earrings donated from Wilkinsons, the jewellers, in Market Harborough. Cross Productions Ltd along with Ewe Move, J Nandha, Glynis Wright Solicitors, Regal, Quack Media, Phil Nassau Action Coach, Claremont Financial Planning Ltd, True Roots Carpentry, Paradigm Wills and Legal Services, Wilkinson Goldsmiths and The Golden Media Group were one of the event’s proud sponsors.

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Kazzoo’s annual charity curry night Local IT company Kazzoo held their annual curry night in aid of Hope Against Cancer on Thursday 19 September. Held at East Street Events, the night began with a fizz reception and networking, before guests sat down and had their starters. The catering was provided by Steamin’ Billy, which was a choice of three exquisite curries, rice and naan bread. A raffle was held, which had great prizes to be won, alongside a very close game of heads or tails and a fantastic singing performance by Brendan Green. It was an amazing evening raising money for a local charity, which raised a grand total of £3,710.83 — a phenomenal amount. Kazzoo have another event coming up on Thursday 5 December; partnering up with local estate agent, Fothergill Wyatt, they are hosting a Christmas Quiz at East Street Events. The quiz aims to raise money for three charities: Soft Touch Arts, Hope Against Cancer and FOCUS.

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Profile for Niche Magazine

Niche Magazine Issue 35  

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

Niche Magazine Issue 35  

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


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