Niche Magazine Issue 47

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The next 12 months

Your intentions for 2022

Ctrl + Alt + Success

Productivity and data security solutions

The bigger, greener picture Leicester’s position in the Race to Zero

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marketing overview?

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et’s dig into 2022 then. My stance on this New Year is that personal resolutions aren’t going to help me as much as focusing outwardly could. I’ll take more time to consider the feelings and opinions of others, be kinder to them, and listen more. At the start of the pandemic there was a collective cultural response to be this way – an understanding that you can’t possibly comprehend what someone else is going through having not spent any time in their shoes. With new coronavirus variants, division on whether to wear a mask or not to wear a mask, and people’s social choices, I want to continue this in 2022 and just hope that others do the same back. This is largely inspired by my monthly coaching session which helped me see that even though one situation to me might seem entirely, certainly, definitely one way, it can be a completely different story to someone else. It’s helped me set some really useful workplace resolutions too. For our readers, we’ve put together a New Year’s Resolutions feature based on changes you can make in the workplace. Whether you’re a leader or a new starter, with these resolutions you might be able take some positive action, or inspire your team with an idea. It leads nicely on to our Ctrl + Alt + Success piece which is filled with IT and tech hints and advice to help eliminate precious business time wasted on daily dramas at the keyboard. Our cover story goes deeper into the digital world as Adam Burrage from creative agency Trident explains the key steps to winning the SEO game. He claims that many of your bottom line goals can be achieved by getting your website up to scratch. We became a Zellar business last year to help reduce our carbon footprint. Zellar is a platform that helps companies take climate action now and, after COP26, we wanted to inspire others by talking all about going green in our January issue – what better way to start the year. Let us know what your intentions and resolutions are for this New Year too!




Contents JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022





THE ULTIMATE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION? Creative agency Trident on websites and seo


Leicester’s impact as we head towards 2050


A growing business equals a shrinking carbon footprint


Partnerships to save the planet


Lower carbon, lower cost


Nottingham University supports Leicester in green initiative


Top 10 business resolutions


Implementing a marketing strategy


Becoming No.1 on Google


Processes and CRM systems


Investing in training


Updating your images



Creating a positive culture


Thought Leaders


Benefits of company videos


We Asked You


Award nominations in 2022


First Impressions: a photography guide


With the Printers


Susie the Foodie


The Boardroom

CTRL + ALT + SUCCESS Data and productivity concerns 46

Security solutions for company data


IT systems on the move


Risky passwords

Cover Image Adam Burrage photographed at the Trident premises Photographed by Hitz Rao at Hitz Rao Photography 0116 246 0475


National Apprenticeship Week


It’s a jobseekers’ market


Music to ease anxiety at work


Turning career dreams into reality









Manufacturers join forces


Legal advice columnists



‘Hundreds of new jobs’ at new Wigston warehouse


The worries of video doorbells


Council buys Haymarket shopping centre


Why your will may be powerless



Does ‘Divorce Day’ really exist?

Rocky Horror at Curve this January



Mediation Monday

Beautiful at Curve this February


Things to do this New Year


Stronger together: award-winning law firms


Leicester’s Business Improvement District


EMC’s Leicestershire Business of the Year


The Digital Marketing Conference


Celebration of Culture and Communities returns


QuickBooks Desktop discontinued


No changes for Capital Gains Tax


Trouble paying staff since furlough ended?


The GreenBELLE grant


Planning for a wedding with an ongoing pandemic



Rocket Around Leicester



Awareness, interest, desire, action

A rocket to represent our environment


Surviving the wild for charity


Marketing courses on offer


Prostate cancer and you


Making a difference one sport at a time


Leicester Living: property scheme round-up



Singer overcomes mental health issue

Real Entrepreneurs Club dinner, Kazzoo Christmas Quiz, and the East Midlands Chamber Leicestershire Business Awards


Midlands manufacturers join forces to inspire national manufacturing revolution Over 50 of the Midlands’ leading manufacturers met in late November to discuss the sector’s role in levelling up the UK. Boosting manufacturing has a key role in creating regional growth, reducing geographical inequality, leading to higher productivity and better wages for all. The meeting was convened by Midlands Engine, Make UK and East Midlands Chamber, in partnership with leading UK think tank, The Centre for Social Justice, and builds on Midlands Engine research (Midlands Engine Makes) that showcases the vast strengths and potential of Midlands manufacturing. It is the first stage 08 | NICHE

in developing new policies, due to be published in spring next year, to encourage government to promote and enhance manufacturing at the heart of the UK’s economic and social regeneration. Chris Hobson, Director of Policy and External Affairs, East Midlands Chamber said: “The manufacturing sector is a core part of our region’s business community and is wellplaced to support the recovery and rebalancing of our economy. The pursuit of sustainable growth will enable our region to flourish and I welcome the opportunity to advance the voice of the business community in

this goal.” Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, said: “Our region was the original global manufacturing pioneer, and we continue to lead the world. Together, we are identifying and acting on a wealth of opportunities for a new generation of Midlands makers and entrepreneurs, through our increasingly clean, advanced and technology-focused manufacturing.” The Midlands is the leading location for UK manufacturing, with 25,270 businesses and 555,820 existing jobs in the sector, equalling 12.5% of total employment – a much higher percentage than the national average.

Wigston developers claim warehouse space could create ‘hundreds of new jobs’ Chancerygate has secured planning to build 127,975 sq ft of light industrial and warehousing space in Wigston, which it anticipates could create hundreds of new local jobs. Work has begun on the 5.4-acre development, named Genesis Park, located just one mile from South Wigston railway station. The scheme comprises 15 freehold and leasehold units ranging in size from 4,785 sq ft to 18,510 sq ft.

Mark Garrity, development director and head of Chancerygate’s Birmingham office, said: “Genesis Park is a prime site in South Wigston’s well-established industrial area. With planning now approved we’re looking forward to A&H Construction starting work to help us deliver high-quality light industrial and warehousing space to the region. “With excellent transports links, and close proximity to Leicester city centre, Genesis Park will fill a gap in the local

market for warehousing space and has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs. In particular, we know there are an increasing number of businesses looking to invest in their logistics operations to help meet rising demand for rapid last mile delivery.” The scheme has a projected gross development value of around £20m and the construction contract has been awarded to Halesowen-based contractor A&H Construction.

Council adds Haymarket Centre to its £112m corporate estate portfolio Leicester City Council has purchased the landmark Haymarket Shopping Centre for £9.9m after securing a deal before the property went to market. Funding for the purchase comes from a pot of £10m set aside for capital investment within the council’s overall capital programme. This funding can only be spent on buying or improving buildings or highways, and not on running services. Before purchasing the property, the council was a major tenant of the previous owners, contributing 19% of all revenues paid to them. It paid rent for the Haymarket car park, Haymarket Theatre, Haymarket House (sub-let to Travelodge) and Haymarket Health (sexual health clinic). Savings from rent payments and the income generated from rent paid by other tenants will give the council an income to continue to support critical services. The shopping centre will be a major addition to the council’s Corporate Estate portfolio, which is worth more than £112m and includes buildings such as the Corn Exchange and Loseby Lane properties, but also 400 industrial units and 263 retail units, more than half of which are in neighbourhoods. It also supports small businesses and start-ups by letting workspace at a low rent. However, the entire estate generates an annual income of more than £7m which the council uses to support services.

Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “This council has invested in property in Leicester for many generations. Unlike many other councils, we are continuing to invest in our own city, and these assets make a huge contribution to its economic prosperity. “The Haymarket Centre is a significant and important addition to our holdings. It also fits in with our wider regeneration of this area, where we have already invested in a new bus station, the pedestrianisation of surrounding streets, and a new link road to St Margaret’s bus station. “Government cuts to our revenue budget mean that like all councils we face very difficult spending decisions in the coming months. Using our capital budget in this way will generate much-needed income that we can spend on jobs and services, and will also give us the opportunity to have a positive impact on the city centre and the many businesses and jobs it provides.” Built in the early 1970s, the Haymarket Centre is currently home to 65 shopping outlets. Major tenants include Matalan and B&M. The units leased by Primark, TK Maxx and Metro Bank are owned by another local authority outside the East Midlands. The council will work with the current, experienced managing agents to operate the centre, whilst working on a medium to long-term plan looking at how its performance could be improved. NICHE | 09

Leicester’s Business Improvement District City centre director Sarah Harrison explains what a BID is, and what ours has been up to


ou may have noticed the festive ‘Christmas in Leicester’ TV advert during December just gone. It’s a proud moment to see your city advertised on TV and we have our city’s not-for-profit organisation BID Leicester to thank for it. The BID has done a lot more than just that for Leicester though and plans to do even more according to its new 2023-28 business plan. Since it was established in 2018, BID Leicester has worked in partnership with the local authority to deliver additional services. The BID acts as a means of delivering additionality, as opposed to services already delivered by local authorities, to improve the area and benefit local businesses. Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are business-led and business-funded bodies, created through a ballot process to improve a defined area. To fund a BID, a levy is charged on business rates payers within this area. The BID then uses its resources to develop services or improvements within the district. They can be a powerful tool for directly involving local businesses in activities, allowing the business community and local authorities to work collaboratively. BID Leicester’s geographical area covers the city centre and De Montfort University, and its 11-strong senior management board represents the wide range of business and educational sectors in the city centre. The quality of the board supports the strong partnership between the BID team, local businesses, and the local authority. This strong alliance oversees the successful delivery of the business plan. In the 201823 business plan, there are three strategic priorities. 10 | NICHE


Raising the profile of Leicester through high-quality marketing and events

The BID’s support has created fantastic new additions to the annual events calendar; attracting thousands of people into the city centre, increasing dwell time, spend, and benefitting the local economy. BID Leicester’s inaugural events, Architects of Air 0Luminarium giant inflatable sculpture and BrewBeat, a beer festival showcasing an extraordinary range of musical talent, are just two examples of new, exciting events organised and funded by BID Leicester. Large-scale projects supported by BID Leicester were Light Up Leicester 2020, Leicester's first citywide light-art festival, featuring spectacular illuminations and interactive installations and Graffwerk’s Bring the Paint 2019 street art festival, attracting over 46,000 visitors. The permanent public art created by international and local artists has transformed many buildings.



Creating a clean, safe, attractive environment


Creating a strong business voice for Leicester

This strategic aim operates at a subtle level, quietly but assuredly contributing to the elevation of the area. Initiatives include street washing, chewing gum and graffiti removal, and transforming empty shop fronts through collaboration with local artists. Support for the city’s night-time economy came through a successful submission for a Purple Flag accreditation in 2019 and more recently, sponsorship of the bespoke CityBus providing support to evening visitors.

The BID team’s commitment to providing a strong business voice for the city was clearly evidenced during Leicester’s extended lockdown restrictions. A lobbying campaign on behalf of BID Leicester and local authorities to central Government resulted in four letters to the Chancellor and an additional £2.6m funding being allocated to the city. Throughout the pandemic, BID Leicester also provided much-needed support and reassurance to the business community, including social distancing signage, free hand sanitiser, regular updates on BID Leicester’s website and newsletters to businesses on Covid regulations. The BID Street Ambassadors logged over 8,000 interactions with businesses over lockdown.


The next BID ballot will be taking place in June 2022, and BID Leicester will be consulting local businesses to gather feedback, which will inform an exciting new plan for 2023-28. The BID has successfully delivered a variety of projects during challenging times. The new 2023-28 business plan stands to be as ambitious as the last and achieving a resounding ‘Yes’ vote at the ballot would secure an ongoing partnership to continue to improve Leicester city centre together. To find out more, visit NICHE | 11


named Leicestershire Business of the Year at East Midlands Chamber Business Awards


etalfacture, a manufacturer that has transformed its business from being a solely domestic trader to an exporting success story, has been crowned the Leicestershire Business of the Year by East Midlands Chamber. The Wigston-based company – which now sends deliveries to more than 54 countries worldwide, with exports accounting for about half of sales – also won the Excellence in International Trade category and Outstanding Growth Award at the Leicestershire Business Awards, which was held on Friday, December 3 in conjunction with the Chamber’s annual Christmas Lunch. Founder Ben Jones-Fenleigh started the company as a sheet metal work sub-contractor, but diversified over the past few years to make its own products. It has used its wealth of manufacturing knowledge to create innovative displays used in shops that increase brand awareness and impulse sales, with a specialism in beverages, small convenience stores and petrol forecourts. Customers include Heineken, Molson Coors, Asda and Sainsbury’s. The Leicestershire Business Awards, held in partnership with headline sponsor Mazars, recognised winners across 13 categories, ranging from Business Improvement Through Technology and Environmental Impact Award within an organisation to individual honours for Entrepreneur of the Year and Apprentice of the Year. There were new categories this year for Collaboration Project of the Year and Excellence in Innovation. Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, said: “There has been so much to celebrate within our business community despite a challenging 18 months and these awards have showcased some of the incredible companies that call our region home. “As the economic recovery continues, and new opportunities present themselves in a new era of global trade and sustainable business, these are just the kinds 12 | NICHE

of organisations we should be highlighting when we’re shouting about everything the East Midlands has to offer. We know it’s a great place to do business and these are living proof.” Finalists, chosen by a judging panel of the Chamber’s senior leadership and board of directors, as well as sponsors, discovered their fate during a gala dinner attended by hundreds of people at Leicester Tigers’ Mattioli Woods Welford Road stadium, marking a return for face-to-face celebrations after being held virtually last year. “We received so many high-calibre applications, which demonstrated how the pandemic hasn’t been a period in which we have just stood still. Instead, the time afforded for reflection has led to many companies seeking out new opportunities, innovating and driving themselves forward. “While last year offered us a different kind of experience in a virtual awards ceremony, it was great to be back holding such a landmark event for the Nottinghamshire business calendar in person once more. Once again, we are so thankful to our sponsors for making this event so successful.” The Leicestershire Business Awards – one of three awards hosted by the Chamber, along with Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – were hosted by comedian Dom Woodward. A raffle and auction raised more than £3,000 for East Midlands Chamber president Eileen Richards MBE’s three chosen charities this year – Chesterfield Samaritans, Help the Homeless Leicester and Nottinghamshire Hospice. Eileen, who owns Leicester-based ER Recruitment, gave a speech in which she explained how much the city where she has always lived means to her, as well as its strong entrepreneurial community – with four and a half businesses for every 100 residents, and 85% of those companies having fewer than nine employees. She also referenced the economic opportunities on

WINNERS OF THE LEICESTERSHIRE BUSINESS AWARDS – SPONSORED BY MAZARS the horizon, with Leicestershire securing £54m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to back projects including Pioneer Park, Pilot House and the remodelling of the city’s railway station. Commenting on the awards, she added: “During my year as president, I’ve been privileged to witness some of the amazing success stories that don’t always receive the wider recognition they ought to, so I’m thrilled to see some of these come to the fore at East Midlands Chamber’s Business Awards. “The Leicestershire Business Awards has shone the spotlight on some well-deserving winners from my hometown’s thriving entrepreneurial community, but I’d also like to congratulate the finalists for their outstanding entries as we had some really strong competition across many categories this year. “Metalfacture is a very worthy winner of the Leicestershire Business of the Year and shows just what can be achieved by having the boldness of ambition to diversify into new products and markets. “British manufacturing’s badge of quality will be at the heart of our economic recovery and post-Brexit global trading relationships, so it’s really encouraging to see one of Leicestershire’s own flying the flag across the world, from Japan to the USA.” Visit for more information on the Leicestershire Business Awards.

Business Improvement Through Technology – Sponsored by De Montfort University Due Diligence Checking Community Impact Award – Sponsored by emh group Zinthiya Trust Outstanding Growth Award – Sponsored by Morningside Pharmaceuticals Metalfacture Environmental Impact Award – Sponsored by Cambridge & Counties Bank Abacus Flooring Solutions Commitment to People Development Award – Sponsored by De Montfort University Precision Facilities Management Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by Loughborough College James Cook – C S Ellis Group Entrepreneur of the Year – Sponsored by Leicester Business Festival Brij Thankey – Precision Facilities Management Education and Business Partnership Award – Sponsored by Blueprint Interiors MIRA Technology Institute Excellence in Customer Service – Sponsored by ER Recruitment Furnley House Excellence in International Trade – Sponsored by HSBC Metalfacture Small Business of the Year – Sponsored by PPL PRS Your Tender Team Excellence in Innovation – Sponsored by RSM Structural Adhesives Excellence in Collaboration – Sponsored by Fraser Stretton Estate Agents De Montfort University – Round-tip Knives Business of the Year – Sponsored by Mazars Metalfacture

Leicestershire Digital Marketing Conference returns for 2022


he latest digital marketing insights will be on offer for SMEs at the upcoming Leicestershire Digital Marketing Conference 22. Taking place at the Leicester Marriott Hotel, in Blaby, on Thursday, February 3, it will celebrate the success of East Midlands Chamber’s Digital Growth Programme (DGP), which ends in March this year. It also features a series of presentations from some of the digital consultants who help deliver it. Topics for discussion include: ◆ What’s new in search for 2022 (Ian Lockwood) ◆ Automate your digital marketing with artificial intelligence (Martin Broadhurst) ◆ Why you should consider saying no to Google Ads recommendations (Liam Lally) ◆ Full site editing in WordPress and why you should use it (Rob Gregory) ◆ LinkedIn: How to get your team from WTF to GOAT (Paul Ince) Speakers will also showcase case studies of successful outcomes from the DGP – which supports eligible SMEs across Leicestershire to embrace the digital world via one-to-one support, workshops and grants – and talk

about how SMEs can continue to access digital support via schemes such as Digital Upscaler. The conference will be delivered by the DGP in partnership with headline partner De Montfort University, and partners Leicestershire County Council and Superfast Leicestershire. To book a place at the Leicestershire Digital Marketing Conference 22, go to

Celebration of Culture

and Communities returns


erformances that represent the diverse culture of the East Midlands will be front and centre of a returning Chamber event this year. Celebration of Culture and Communities, which features dance and music from local acts, will take place on Thursday, March 24 in Leicester. The venue will be announced in due course and will be held in partnership with emh group, a provider of affordable homes, care, and support services in the East Midlands. It was last held in February 2020, with more than 250 people coming together at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium for the inaugural chapter of an event that aims to demonstrate all that is great about our unique region. Guests were treated to a specially prepared fusion menu and entertainment that included performances from a community choir, a DJ specialising in Western and Asian music, Caribbean and Bollywood-style dance groups, and a poet. More information will be published soon at



By shining a light on those who set up breakthrough businesses, saw dramatic growth, or even pivoted their business to adapt in the ever changing face of our economy, we are here to share their stories enabling others to learn and, of course, grow. It’s through the Real Entrepreneur Awards that we will identify best practice, promote enterprise, and encourage entrepreneurship across the board.


28th April 2022 Register your interest at




















Emma Ward


Partner at Nelsons

Leading by example, one opinion, one idea, one lesson at a time, our thought leaders are significant in the Leicester and Leicestershire business scene. With authority in their field of expertise, passion for sharing ideas, and commitment to helping others, they’ve been asked to express their most current brainwaves in print. Selected organisations and individuals share how and why they go about their business, reveal their ambitions, provide clarity on matters within their industry, educate on complex or novel subjects, inspire with their forwardthinking and progressive perspectives, or look backwards to evaluate what’s been learnt.

Got something you’d like to see our team of thought leaders cover? Send your topics of interest to 35 | NICHE

The importance of IP Audits


he UK Intellectual Property Office recently launched an Intellectual Property (IP) Access Grant, extending its existing IPO Audits Plus Programme, as a way to support SMEs. An IP audit is a review that helps identify existing IP and opportunities to create IP rights within a business, providing that business with a competitive advantage in the market. There’s always a risk that once a product is on the market, a competitor will copy it. But if an audit has identified the rights that might accrue to, or might be available to, protect that product, the business could be in a stronger position than it otherwise would be to prevent unauthorised copying. An IP audit may identify existing, unregistered IP, or opportunities to register/ create IP. Unregistered rights tend to be less extensive, more difficult to prove the existence of, and be of a shorter duration than registered rights.

However, they’re worth knowing about, as are any opportunities to register IP, so as to strengthen the protection, and thus the commercial advantage that might be available. An expert should be brought in to conduct the audit, as they’ll be better placed to spot the potential to create and protect IPR. They’ll also be able to help support with IP strategy and advice. The new IP Access Grant is an ‘add on’ to the support that’s provided through the Audit Scheme, which provides funding of £2,500 to qualifying businesses for use in obtaining an audit. The Grant sees the government pay up to £5,000 to businesses, which can be put towards a number of costs including professional fees, to help protect and commercialise IP. Both provide businesses with confidence and financial support – allowing them to develop and grow securely as they recover from the pandemic.


Jay Webb Managing Director at Jay Webb Consultancy Services

Creating workplace fairness


s we start a New Year full of hope and expectations, it’s a good time to reflect on where we are and the future of our businesses. If you employ people, good employee relations and culture can make such a difference to your success

or otherwise. Towards the end of last year, I attended a CIPD Workshop with several of my HR colleagues to hear about new research and work that has been undertaken into workplace fairness and the impact fairness can have in creating positive, inclusive,

Krupa Joshi-Bhatt Development Officer at Voluntary Action LeicesterShire

Valuing the value of the charity sector


he charity sector is often forgotten about in their contributions to the economy, but the last two years have shone the spotlight on how significant a role they play. Whilst the social impact of these organisations is highlighted, it is important to appreciate their financial position within the community. There are currently over

168,000 charities across the UK, with additional social businesses and not-for-profit organisations unaccounted for. Most of these charities are small; around 75% have income less than £10,000. This is significant, considering the impact these charities have on the local community – both directly and indirectly. But first, if we talk

and productive workplaces. It gave me time to reflect on some of the excellent managers I have had the privilege to have worked for and some who, shall we say, had development needs. Over the years I have witnessed that for some who are perceived to be good and fair managers, staff will go that extra mile. Staff benefitted from being told by their manager that they are doing a good job and generally enjoyed their job, so both the employee and employer benefit. Unhappy staff who don’t believe they are being treated fairly tend to only do the basics. The atmosphere at work is not always conducive to a happy workplace. When the chips

are down, that’s when the manager realises just how badly their staff feel about the workplace. There are so many benefits to developing a workplace founded on fairness, such as wellbeing, attendance, job satisfaction, connection and commitment to the business, with the resulting improved performance, retention, and productivity. Why not start the year off with a review of your workplace and your management style? Are you a fair boss? Do you treat people in an ethical, unbiased, and morally right way? How can you improve and benefit your staff, yourself, and your business?

about the direct economic contributions of this sector, which is easily measured by statisticians and policymakers, the sector accounts for over 900,000 jobs and creates more than £15bn in GDP. However, this doesn’t take into account the wider social value created by the sector, and its volunteers: almost one in two adults volunteer at least once a month, equating to over two billion hours of volunteering support each year. So, charities need to become better at recording their social value and evidencing the wider positive impact they deliver to the communities in which they serve, all the while gaining public support and reassurance of their true charitable purposes. In a recent report by The Charity Commission, it was noted that charities are being closely examined in the way they deliver

social outcomes and are not automatically given the benefit of the doubt. It also states that the charity sector is a powerful vehicle to manoeuvre human endeavours to do good, with a significant importance of their actions for the Government, economy and society. The sector is the vital bridge between different communities, but needs to be more transparent in the way charitable endeavours are delivered. As a brief recommendation, the charity sector needs to embed trust through meeting high standards of conduct and behaviour, provide locally rooted activities and to establish stronger local links, use their local knowledge and expertise to influence and advocate for positive change, and provide a voice for the most vulnerable. The full report can be found on the Charity Commission website. NICHE | 17

Rik Pancholi Managing Director at Pattersons Commercial Law

How do you pick your corporate lawyer?


ere’s the scenario… you’ve built up a very successful business and you’ve decided you’re now ready to sell. You know you need to build a great team around you to guide you through possibly one of the biggest contract negotiations of your career and are looking for an

amazing corporate lawyer to work with. So, how do you choose the right person (and team), and do they have what it takes to get the job done? There are many lawyers who will want to work with you, but what should you look out for? I often make the point that you should be able

Jenny Cross CEO at Cross Productions

The foundations of your marketing


ith 70% of buying decisions made before ever speaking to a company, it’s no wonder businesses are upping their game when it comes to marketing. You’re wondering why is it that you’re still getting nowhere? No calls, no emails, no engagement? The answer is simple. You don’t understand your 18 | NICHE

audience. If you’re trying to speak to a wide audience, you’ll end up not being heard by anyone. All your efforts will be white noise. If your messaging is so broad, the reality is that it’s actually being missed by everyone. My advice would be to firstly have a think about what you’re actually trying to achieve here. Brand perception, increase

to get along with your lawyer and feel confident in being able to ask all those questions, which may seem silly and trivial but are actually fundamentally important to you. Remember that your lawyer attended law school, so they should be technically up to the challenge, but do they have the business experience and commercial acumen to understand what this means to you? They need to be approachable and able to explain things in simple terms. This will help build trust and confidence in them and the process. There are always two things you will want to know: How much is this going to cost and how long will it take? Legal fees can appear to be high, but it’s important to remember that a great corporate lawyer will add

tremendous value to the process and in negotiations. If you appoint them early on, they will be able to shape the heads of terms and potentially negotiate a stronger position for you (or avoid potential pitfalls early on such as securing confidentiality obligations). It’s easy to pick the lowest quote you receive but you’ll never know if it will cost you more in the long run… until it’s too late. Regarding timescales, it really depends on the transaction, the experience of the advisors involved and the motivations of both the buyer and the seller. So, what should you do? Interview your lawyer and find out if they are experienced, understand your own commercial objectives, and if they will be able to deliver on time and to budget. Do they have what it takes to be your lawyer?

awareness, generate leads? Now give it some numbers. Without a benchmark, how will you know if your marketing is successful? It doesn’t matter if your benchmark is plucked out of the sky at this point. By starting to measure, you can review and adjust once you have tracked results and begin to gain some idea around realistic expectations. To stand out from competitors, you must talk in a language that a) your target audience understands and b) produce content that’s relatable. Once you have established your goal and your audience, have a think about the pain points faced by your potential new customer/clients. How can you talk about those pain points and showcase you have the answer? You’re making life better for them? Easier for them? How are you adding value? You need to

demonstrate how easy it is to work with you, and how much better life will then be. Marketing is like playing an old school computer game. Every time you nail one level, you unlock the key to the next. What does the next level look like? Perhaps consider thought leadership content. This is a tactic that enables brands to produce content that genuinely influences and inspires their audience. You can reposition a brand, raise awareness, ignite conversation, and build relationships simply by sharing your unique perspectives and industry analysis. With great marketing, there is no limit to what you can achieve; every success opens up a new level, a new road in. However, like anything in life, you must start somewhere and having the right foundations is key. Know your goals, know your audience, and know how you make their life better.

Often in our culture, people feel insulted when attempting to barter or negotiate. Yet in some cultures it’s the norm to do so

Darren Willoughby Managing Director at 2XL Commercial Finance

The art of negotiation and adding value


’m often asked why people should use a broker. Having been MD of 2XL Commercial Finance for 15 years, I’m now well versed in responding. However, in a world that is increasingly more automated, it got me wondering if technology has removed the art of negotiation and adding value. Automation in the residential mortgage space is quite a frequent thing, but in the commercial lending arena, lenders don’t have – in most cases – a rigid policy or pricing structure. One of my mentors in my business banking days said that policy is a ‘guidance not a rule’. This has stuck with me and ensures my belief that if you’re justified in challenging an offer or a credit decision and can back this up with evidence, then it’s worth the negotiation. One of my mantras to my team is ‘show me don’t tell me’, and this is never a truer word in negotiation.

It is estimated that the art of ‘bartering’ goes back as far as 6000 BC. It’s believed that the barter system was introduced by the tribes of Mesopotamia. This system was then adopted by the Phoenicians, who bartered their goods to people in other cities located across the oceans. People used to exchange their goods for weapons, tea, spices, and food items. In The UK, I see this disappearing – and often in our culture, people feel insulted when attempting to barter or negotiate. Yet in some cultures it’s the norm to do so. A quick trip round the bazaars of Africa and India will illustrate that, as will the chess board I purchased in Turkey some 15 years ago for £40 negotiated from £800 (smiley face). In an economy that is currently seeing a shortage of goods, a rise in inflation, a pending rise in interest rates and the general costs of goods and services

increasing, including fuel and food, maybe it’s time we look back for a few lessons from the Phoenicians and seek out value, not just accepting the norm. This doesn’t mean we can’t still command a premium for our services. If people see the value, they will generally pay for it. This leads me on to my favourite ever business story. A man runs a factory making boxes and on one Friday afternoon in the lead up to Christmas, his machine breaks down, causing disruption to production. He drafts the staff in, some working overtime to try and fix it, but to no avail. He is losing thousands of pounds every hour that passes. He calls in an expert repairer who arrives immediately. He reaches into his tool bag and grabs a hammer, walks around the machine for a minute, then hits it with the hammer. The machine springs to life with cheers from the staff and owner. The expert repairer hands him an invoice for £2,000. The owner gasps: “But you were only here five minutes! That’s not value, you only hit it with a hammer – anyone could do that.” The expert repairer responds: “But you’re not paying for the five minutes I was here; you’re paying for the 25 years of learning where to hit it.” NICHE | 19

The role has enabled the Mayor to forge a consistent long-term vision, outside of pre-existing political cycles

George Oliver Director at 1284

Where Leicester led – and where it goes next


he Guardian’s leader column on April 17, 2011 took the view that Leicester’s decision to directly elect its own Mayor may be the shape of things to come in other places. Ten years on and it hasn’t played out quite like that – but things may be changing again, with the Levelling Up agenda and the emerging reorganisation of regional governance. I’m interested in these things, so I was pleased when Rory Palmer, himself a former Leicester Deputy Mayor, suggested we get together again to discuss the matter with a panel at Leicester Business Festival. For context, Rory and I staged a similar event, hosted by my company 1284, at the 2020 festival and featuring Niche’s own Jenny Cross among our guests. On that occasion, we discussed Leicester and the emerging Build Back Better agenda (which was being discussed by DMU in the

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context of social recovery from the pandemic long before the term had entered mainstream conversation). So, what was said this time around as Rory and I were joined by panellists Sir Peter Soulsby, Helen Donnellan and Dr Kate Broadhurst? Well, this being a business festival, we chose to look at the role of Elected Mayor in the context of business and investment. In (broad) summary there were three key points made: ◆ Agree with the model or not, Elected Mayors have enabled a more businesslike approach in decisionmaking. Examples given by Sir Peter and Helen – who spent four years as the city’s inward investment director – demonstrated investment which would not have come to Leicester without a political leader with an executive mandate. ◆ The role has enabled the Mayor to forge a consistent long-term vision, outside

of pre-existing political cycles, and has provided the stability needed to bring together multiple agencies. ◆ The role enables more innovative decision-making and a more nuanced approach to risk. Helen – now, of course, DMU’s Director of Enterprise and Business Services – described how investment analysts often start by examining the local political leadership when considering places for investment. Consideration is also given to ONS data, workforce availability, universities and supply chain as analysts start sifting places to spend money. But it was agreed that access to senior political leaders – leaders with the authority to make swift political decisions – supports inward investment. So, DID Leicester Lead in 2011? I think that the panel’s view was that it did, although fewer other cities followed than The Guardian expected in 2011. Now, with the Levelling Up White Paper imminent, things may change again. As Dr Broadhurst, a lecturer in International Business, Strategy and Innovation at Loughborough University and researcher in economic development and place-based partnerships, noted that the detail of Levelling Up remains loose – however, its regional governance agenda could soon become a whole lot clearer.


Jennifer Thomas Development Manager for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, and Rutland at Federation of Small Businesses

Sustainability: a ‘need to do’ business


etting up and running a small business requires entrepreneurs to think outside the box, take on new challenges, and face issues that had not been apparent when scoping out the original business plan. Whilst small businesses have been asked to tackle a number of such challenges over the decades, none are more threatening than the impact of climate

change. However, in the face of many competing priorities, taking action on sustainability has been a ‘nice to do’ challenge for small businesses, who often find themselves cash-, resource- and most importantly time-poor. Now, however, with increased levels of environmental awareness and the pressing need to reduce our impact on the environment before it’s too late, this is no longer

a ‘nice to do’, but a ‘need to do’. Governments across the UK have set the key target of achieving net zero by 2050, or 2045 in Scotland, as well as a number of milestones along the way, such as gas boiler and diesel vehicles bans in coming years. Recognising their role in combating climate change, small businesses themselves are already taking action to mitigate their impact on the environment. From the installation of basic measures such as LED lighting, through to becoming fully selfsufficient microgenerators, small businesses are as varied and as creative as ever in their drive to reach net zero. Whilst the Chancellor rightly embraced some of FSB’s proposed changes in this area at the Budget, including allowing small firms to install solar panels

and heat pumps without fear of higher business rates bills, it was disappointing to see that the Government’s recent net zero strategy contained only four specific mentions of small business. There is still work for government to do to recognise and harness the opportunity and challenges which SMEs have. Small businesses will only be able to do more if they have adequate support from governments across the UK, and their local authorities. It can be a confusing landscape, and support needs to be clear, consistent. Policies and initiatives by government need to be incentive-based, encouraging and supporting businesses rather than taxing and punishing them. While there is much to do and many barriers to overcome, businesses have already made great strides in the net zero journey.

important conversations and realisations did not take place. As the end of this year is approaching, I encourage people to have those significant discussions with family and friends about making them the executor and guardian for your children as this usually tends to delay people starting the process of wills and estate planning. This is because many people often haven’t spoken with their preferred family and friends about becoming their executor. It’s only right you check with the people that you want to take on these huge responsibilities. It’s also worthwhile

checking to make sure elderly parents have also got their affairs in order. They may have a will in place, but did they get around to updating it with any new grandchildren, or have they ever got around to making those Lasting Power of Attorney documents to appoint the people they would want to make important decisions on their behalf with regards to their finances and their health. Whatever people have planned over this year’s festive period, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at Paradigm Wills and Legal Services.

Bhavin Gandhi Director at Paradigm Wills and Legal Services

Family discussions over the festive period


n the New Year many people contact us to discuss their wills and estate planning requirements on the back of having some family time together over Christmas, appreciating one another

and comprehending the time and number of Christmases they may have left. Last Christmas was not an opportunity for any of us to see friends and family due to the pandemic, which meant many of those

NICHE | 21

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I think sustainability has become trendy. We all know a lot more about it now, I think. For me, it is important that I’m able to work for a company that is making an effort to be more sustainable.


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Sustainability is absolutely vital and you can’t ignore it anymore. Being a bit older I do sometimes worry that they might be asking too much, but it’s got to be done; we’ve got to be able to survive. I think it’s very easy to just float along and think ‘we’ll sort that out at some point’ but Covid has concentrated people’s minds a bit more. Things don’t just go on forever, so what are you going to do about it?



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I work at a vegan café, so sustainability to me is really important with being vegan myself. I’m vegan firstly because of the animals and secondly for the environment, I think we’re all quite aware now of the impact that meat has on the planet. I think more companies should be making sure that packaging is recyclable or at least plastic-free.

How important is it for businesses to become more sustainable? Does it make a difference to employees and customers that a company is making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and consider the impact they have on the planet?





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Looking at where we’re going with the seas and the air and global warming, I think it is very important for business to take responsibility and not do it in a way that is looked at from a capitalist point of view. There is going to be an end soon if we keep doing things that we’ve been doing in the past. The reason I changed my line of work from being a chef to working in The Exchange bar is because a bar uses much less resources with metallic kegs and serves in glasses – everything is recyclable at the end of the day so there is less wastage.

I work in an industry which is historically designed for landfill. We design and manufacture point of sale cosmetic displays and there’s been a real shift in the beauty industry recently where they’re much more conscious of what’s going to happen to their units at the end of their life. The business I work for offers recycling services as well now, so we’ll bring displays out of the shop and take them back to our facility in Loughborough to separate the plastics, metals and woods to recycle. Businesses kind of have to do this because people aren’t just buying products based on how it’s going to make them look, they’re thinking about the carbon footprint of that product as well.




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Everything is moving towards sustainability. I don’t think enough was particularly achieved with COP26, so we should all work together on an individual level – it shouldn’t just be business. I’m self-employed, so I’m always looking at ways that I can make my artwork more sustainable using paint that doesn’t have so many chemicals in and boards that aren’t manufactured using chemicals that are bad for the environment. It’s the smaller scale things that can make a big difference. Cutting down on mass farming is also important. NICHE | 23

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Finance Forum Kellie Chetwynd Director at The High Street Accountant

QUICKBOOKS DESKTOP DISCONTINUED ​ ith tax moving to a digital domain, it W appears that one of the first changes in response is QuickBooks Desktop’s announcement that their platform will no longer be available in the UK. A QuickBooks representative said: “Given the recent changes to accounting and tax regulations, and with more on the horizon, we need to ensure you’re on a product that can be supported with regular updates.”

Given the recent changes to accounting and tax regulations, and with more on the horizon, we need to ensure you’re on a product that can be supported with regular updates

The move, which will see their services continue on a solely online version, enables the team at QuickBooks to develop features fast and roll out changes incredibly quickly in the cloud. This move will allow users to connect to a range of add-on apps that allow the end-user and their accountancy team to create a bespoke package to meet their specific or personal needs. In a nutshell, it’s good news. This will allow, forward thinking accountancy firms’ opportunities to

offer more up to date and current advice and support on how your business is performing, and increase opportunities to work closely with clients through the online application improving the advice and support for business owners. For those who use desktop QuickBooks and are unsure about how they might be affected, or if you are considering moving to a digital platform such as QuickBooks, talk to us – we know it all inside out, so you don’t have to.

Programme of financial help for businesses approved An update on the Economic Recovery Plan was published by Leicester County Council in December


total of £370,000 has been approved for the latest series of measures to help the city’s economic recovery post Covid-19. The programme to be delivered marks the latest stage of work by the city council as part of its Economic Recovery Plan. City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This additional funding will help accelerate that recovery as we move forward. The measures set out here are all designed to enable short and long-term growth in the economy, attracting investment, generating footfall and promoting the city, which are all vital steps to ensure we emerge from Covid-19 in as strong a position as possible.” A total of £30,000 is earmarked for projects working with partners, including both universities, to support research and new thinking into the major economic, social and environmental challenges facing the city, focusing on areas such as support for more ‘green jobs’ in the local economy. An investment of £125,000 will go towards supporting the city’s cultural and creative economy, looking at the viability of major cultural development projects, and devising a longer-term vision for expanding the city’s cultural and creative industries sector. This funding will also support the creation of a new archive celebrating the contribution to the East Midlands of communities from Africa and the Caribbean. There will be £65,000 put into work to attract inward investment into the city, by developing a long-term city growth plan to highlight opportunities for potential investors and developers and support other initiatives to attract investment and drive business recovery. And a programme of ‘Animating the City’ activities will receive £150,000. Search ‘Leicester Economic Recovery First Steps’ to find the full plan. NICHE | 25

Thinking of selling your business?

Why now could be a good time to press ahead with your plans Many entrepreneurial businesses will be relieved to see the current rate of Capital Gains Tax remain unchanged in November’s Budget corporate tax consultant Pete Miller believes


here had been concerns that Capital Tax Gains (CGT) might go up and that Business Asset Disposal Relief (BADR) – the new name for Entrepreneurs’ Relief – could be scrapped, following the reports on CGT by the Office of Tax Simplification. Instead, despite the speculation, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has left well alone. This is probably because the amount of money he can raise through putting up CGT is tiny compared to the revenue he can generate by increasing National Insurance contributions. Almost everyone pays those taxes, while only a very small number

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of people pay CGT. A rise in Capital Gains Tax would have been purely ‘presentational’ – making it look to some as if the Government were coming down more heavily on ‘fat cat’ wealthy business people. In truth, most people who are liable for CGT aren’t multimillionaire fat cats at all. They are entrepreneurs who have made their venture their life’s work over 20 to 30 years. When someone makes them an offer or they decide to retire, their businesses sell for a few hundred thousand pounds; rarely do they fetch £1m or more.


Leaving CGT alone is good news in that it removes some uncertainty in what is still an uncertain time for business. It appears that CGT rates will stay as they are for at least the next year, allowing business owners to relax for a while longer. As we know, the pandemic has led people to consider their own mortality, with more business owners looking to bring forward their retirement plans. So, if you’re preparing your business for sale or actually selling it, you can talk to us. We help optimise post-tax sales proceeds. For more advice, contact me on pete.miller@


Can’t afford to pay staff

now furlough has ended? The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), or furlough, came to an end on September 30, 2021 after several extensions of the supportive government coronavirus initiative by the Chancellor. Carolynn Best, Partner at Begbies Traynor tells us more


he scheme has protected thousands of jobs since the start of the pandemic, and helped to prop up the economy in unprecedented conditions. Now that we’ve emerged from lockdown as a nation, however, businesses are being forced to consider whether they can continue with the same staffing levels, or if they’ll have to take action. Businesses that find the additional costs are too much may be forced into liquidation, so if you’re one of the many still experiencing financial difficulty due to the pandemic, what can you do if you can’t afford to pay staff now that furlough has finished?


Even though furlough has ended, there are other schemes and reliefs in existence that could stabilise your finances and help you to pay your staff. These include, but are not limited to:

The Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme is open to new applications until December 31, 2021. It’s available for businesses of all sizes that need additional funding to

grow following coronavirus, and offers a range of different methods of funding. These include invoice finance, asset finance, overdrafts, and term loans.

Pay As You Grow (PAYG)

If you already have a Bounce Back Loan, Pay As You Grow can help you spread the instalments over ten years rather than six years if your lender is agreeable. You may also be able to make interest-only payments for six months, or take a six-month payment holiday.


Redundancies If your business needs to make staff redundant in order to survive, it’s important to make sure the selection and redundancy processes are fair, so you aren’t at risk of unfair dismissal claims at a later stage. You also need to factor the cost of holiday pay into your redundancy payments. Staff who have been on furlough are entitled to arrears of holiday pay if they’re made redundant by their employer. If members of staff have been furloughed for an extended time, this holiday


pay could represent a significant sum in addition to their statutory redundancy payout.

Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)

A Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) is a formal restructuring of your business debts. It could be an option if the company is sufficiently stable to continue trading in the long term. Essentially, the purpose of a CVA is to help viable companies trade their way out of difficulty. The company repays creditors an affordable monthly sum that is legally binding within the agreement. This arrangement can also help creditor businesses, as it means they retain a trading relationship that may have simply faltered temporarily.

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

If your company’s financial difficulties are irreversible, entering voluntary liquidation protects your creditors’ interests and enables you to move on as a director. You can decide when to place the company into liquidation, and are also able to appoint your own choice of liquidator. Additionally, if you’re eligible, you can make a claim for director redundancy pay. If your business is struggling financially and you can’t afford to pay staff now that furlough has ended, please contact Carolynn on the Begbies Traynor dedicated business rescue helpline on 0800 1822 367 or via email to NICHE | 27



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Green BELLE grants

to help businesses save energy

The energy grants that could help save the planet as well as business outgoings


nergy costs are now more important to local businesses than ever, and green credentials are an increasingly important factor in securing new business and contracts. At the same time, the UK is committed to reducing carbon emissions to help the fight against climate change. In order to help local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) become more energy efficient and less carbon intensive, Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council are providing grant funding through their successful Green BELLE project.

What is Green BELLE?

Green BELLE offers grants of £1,000 to £10,000 to eligible businesses to install energyefficient low carbon measures. The grants are available to support measures such as efficient heating, lighting, and controls, insulation, renewable energy – for example solar panels or heat pumps – and other energy-efficiency equipment such as replacement

air compressors. Green BELLE offers a capital grant of 50% of the cost of these measures, up to the grant maximum of £10,000. The scheme is run by Leicester City Council, with support from Leicestershire County Council, and is partfunded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Why is improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions important?

Improving the energy efficiency of your business will lower its costs, as well as increasing resilience to future energy price rises. It is also recognised that carbon emissions from industry contribute to climate change, which threatens lives and livelihoods worldwide. Increased energy efficiency will also reduce your carbon emissions, helping you to play your part in the fight against climate change. Improving your green credentials can also be an important factor in securing new business and contracts,


and consumers are increasingly choosing low-carbon products and services.

Who can apply?

To apply for a Green BELLE grant, your business will need to be a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) located in Leicester or Leicestershire. Please also refer to the eligibility criteria given on the Green BELLE website at

How do I apply?

For more information and to make an enquiry, visit, where you can fill in the online expression of interest form, by clicking the ‘Apply Now’ button. If you have any questions you can’t find the answer to, you can also give the Green BELLE team a call on 0116 454 2700 or email

NICHE | 29

Legal Forum Bhumika Parmar Director at BP Legal Solicitors

If a person purchased a property, they can’t simply assume that they will be entitled to continue living there following the divorce

CONVEYANCING IN SEPARATION With the separation of a couple, so too comes the separation of assets – and with property often top of the list of assets that a couple might share, there are legalities that they may need to be considered. If a person purchased a property, they can’t simply assume that they will be entitled to continue living there following the divorce, or that they will be entitled to 100% of the property’s value. And yet, if an individual’s name is not on the mortgage or title

Bhavin Gandhi Co-director at Paradigm Wills and Legal Services

deeds, they shouldn’t expect to find themselves out of the home with nowhere to go. There are legal rights, and at this time – a parting couple should seek legal advice. When a decision has been reached through divorce lawyers or mediation, that’s when the next steps can come in. A conveyancing legal team will help an individual to carry out the moves to make the division of the

home. Conveyancing, either through the transfer of equity or transferring of ownership, is a process that requires careful planning and there are several legal steps to get there. Of course, a house is rarely just that – it’s a home – and the dividing of this home and its contents is a sensitive one. A good property lawyer will know that a home is more than numbers and will treat each case with the right level of professionalism and care.

whilst most of us want our children to inherit our house after we pass, the reality is that unless you protect your home, it will go towards your care home fees

CARE HOMES AND YOUR OPTIONS As health inevitably declines during the later stages of life, it is important to look at long-term care options. With around 490,326 residents in UK care homes, according to ONS 2020, the care home sector is hugely important; whilst the figures and prices may seem daunting, there are a range of options available to consider, as well as advice and support. Your ability to pay for care is 30 | NICHE

worked out through a means test. If your capital and income is below £23,250 then you may be able to obtain assistance from the local council - though you may need to contribute towards the fees. If your capital and income is above this amount, then you are accountable for the full amount of the fees. Planning for these fees is about looking at how your assets are structured; whilst most of us want

our children to inherit our house after we pass, the reality is that unless you protect your home, it will go towards your care home fees. You cannot explicitly gift your house to your children to avoid nursing home fees, though there are legitimate reasons as to why you are gifting your house to someone else. It is possible to put your house into a trust and assign your property to someone else.


Video doorbell vs

Rights of privacy Where should the line be drawn between good-sense security and invasion of privacy? Pattersons Commercial Law solicitor Asit Jansari discusses a recent case


he smart world in which we all live gives us access to our video doorbells and floodlight cameras overlooking gardens and even over our pets in our homes, and then there’s also the prevalence of CCTV. Is it all too much? In a recent County Court case, a judge ruled that a video doorbell was an invasion of privacy. The two parties were close neighbours in Oxfordshire and between their homes was a private access road to a parking area situated at the rear of the houses. One of the parties was an audio-visual engineer and took steps to install a Ring doorbell 2 camera, a Ring floodlight camera on the access road to the car parking area, a Ring floodlight camera on his shed (at the end of the garden overlooking the car parking area) and a Nest camera on a front windowsill. The reason for this was his concerns for home security and concerns over the security of his parked Audi motor vehicle in the car park. The neighbour was concerned about the cameras overlooking her property, garden and her visitors coming to and from her premises. She spoke to her neighbour on a few occasions about the cameras and where they were pointed

and what they saw, but these queries were dismissed and he was untruthful about the scope and whether they were working and recording. She sought to claim for the harassment of the constant recording, nuisance, and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018. She sought to claim monetary damages and an injunction forcing the removal of the cameras The Judge considered the claims made and accepted that the cameras (along with the additional threats to call the Police and possibly adding more covert cameras) had caused her harassment and that there had been a breach of the principles of the Data Protection Act. The owner of the equipment, as a data controller, must be able to justify the recording of video and audio files for a legitimate interest. The homeowner claimed it was for the purposes of crime prevention at his property and in the car park. His legitimate interest had to be balanced against the neighbour’s right to privacy in and around her home. Each camera’s video and audio recording capabilities were assessed separately by the Judge, based on what they filmed and whether it assisted in crime prevention.



This case has received a huge amount of media attention, with concerns being expressed that people who have installed video doorbells could be breaching the Data Protection Act and subject to huge fines. This is not the case. Firstly, this is a County Court ruling and so will not bind higher courts in the land, but may be of some assistance. Secondly, the decision could still be appealed up to a higher court to be reconsidered. Amazon, which owns Ring, may choose to challenge the decision to safeguard fears over owning or buying their products. Despite press commentary that this is a ‘landmark’ ruling, the case actually sets no legal precedent. The only thing of note is for it being the first reported ruling on Ring doorbells and similar devices. It is therefore simply of great interest to the general public, given how common the use of video doorbells and security cameras are becoming. Should you experience any harassment, nuisance or breach of data protection matters, you can call Asit on 0116 319 1110 or 077613 25968 for advice and assistance. Always call 999 in emergencies. NICHE | 31

House going on the market?

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actively pushes for your sales to go through at the pace you want. Talk to our team at BP legal. With more than 24 years experience we understand your frustrations and are here to take away that headache.

AWARD-WINNING Outstanding Woman in Professional Services of the Year from East Midlands Woman’s Awards 2020 awarded to BP Legal Director Bhumika Parmar Law Firm of the Year finalists in the English Asian Business Awards 2019 Best Small Business finalists in the Niche Business Awards 2019 and 2021

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Will power Only four in 10 UK adults have made a will according to 2020 research by IRN: Intelligence, Research, Insight. However, those wills may turn out to be powerless as Paradigm Wills & Legal Service explains


hat if those who are ahead of the game having already made a will were actually at risk of having their children, money and possessions in unwanted hands? A will states who you wish to inherit your estate but it is not necessarily guaranteed. “People often forget they’ve made a will and that a marriage or divorce can revoke it and changes in circumstances can leave it outdated. Therefore, it needs to be reviewed and kept up to date,” explains Bhavin Gandhi, co-director of Paradigm Wills & Legal Services. “It’s essential to consider all the people around our customers and all the situations they might find themselves in when they’re gone. Lots of factors can affect how your beneficiaries inherit.” He adds: “It’s all about educating the client and prior to us doing that, we fully understand them

and their requirements, so they have all the information to make the right decisions on what they want in their will.” Co-founder Satwinder Sidhu says: “We write to our clients every three years as a reminder to update their will if there has been a change in circumstances, this way their wills remain up-todate.” Paradigm was built to offer full will and estate planning solutions to clients. Both Bhavin and Satwinder, who have known each other since the age of five, wanted to ensure they provide clients with exceptional service and nothing less. “Providing a great customer experience is key to building a successful business and for our existing clients to continue to recommend our services,” explains Bhavin. As members of The Institute of Professional Will Writers (IPW)


and approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, Paradigm Wills and Legal Services has secured business with large corporations and council organisations providing staff benefits within just three years in business. It was in 2015 that Satwinder decided to go into the will writing profession making contact with an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) and accountant in London, who are now valued partners. Now, with an array of collected contacts, Paradigm Wills and Legal Services is able to understand all aspects of its client’s lives nationwide. Satwinder tells us: “We try to make the process as easy and painless as possible for our clients.” With the New Year here, it may be time to give that will a power boost. Find out more at NICHE | 33

Divorce Day

Fact or coincidence? The first Monday of the new year has been dubbed ‘Divorce Day’ due to the rise in divorce enquiries for family lawyers. The reason why is open to debate WORDS BY EMILY MILLER


here are conflicting opinions as to whether Divorce Day is a result of Christmas being the breaking point for couples or simply a build-up of enquiries when the offices of family lawyers open after a long break. January is typically a time of reflection for many people who feel their marriage might not be working. The stress of Christmas, financial pressures and family politics are all magnified at this time of year and it can prove very challenging for couples who are already feeling strains. In addition to that the effects of lockdowns and the global pandemic can also be felt by many couples. It was reported by law firm Wright Hassall that there has been a 31% increase in divorce enquiries since lockdown began,

with 30% of adults believing that an increased use of social media has been a contributing factor. The number of cases of divorce is on the rise exacerbated by lockdown and the increased use of social media to maintain contact and develop relationships. The report states that with the prospect of increasing lockdowns, be those national or local, these figures could be set to rise further. For those that are parting, however there are ways to decrease the impact to family life, with mediation being the preferred and least detrimental method of arranging both finances and child arrangements in separation.

Mediation Monday Separation can be like a living bereavement, but there is a third party that can make it easier to cope WORDS BY EMILY MILLER


ccredited family mediator Sushma Kotecha says there are benefits to using a mediator for support in the dividing of finances and childcare arrangements when going through divorce. “Mediation supports couples facing family breakup to have a kinder, compassionate and more dignified approach to resolving issues arising out of their separation,” Sushma, owner of Holistic Family Mediation, tells me. The process permits and supports parties on communication difficulties and boundary setting that are often more pressing than the legal issues. The court has no power to adjudicate on such matters and frankly, will not be concerned or drawn into any such dialogue. Mediation is future-focused and 34 | NICHE

helps couples in conflict to shelve issues that no longer serve them or their families. The mediator provides a safe space for discussion and supports the parties to focus on key issues that need to be agreed by providing pragmatic guidance, and relevant legal and other information to empower them to reach their own informed decisions. “It’s less toxic and emotionally draining than any other alternative.” says Sushma. “A holistic approach to family breakup via the mediation route will allow for happier lives post separation and divorce for all concerned – the divorcing or separating couple, their children and future generations.” To start mediation, one of the parties must complete a self-referral form online (or a lawyer referral may be submitted by their lawyer). The

couple is then invited to book and pay for an initial fixed fee (£125) Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting better known as ‘MIAM’. To learn more about starting the process, visit



Apply now to be in with a chance of winning one of these fantastic awards Barrister of the Year Chambers of the Year Junior Solicitor of the Year NQ to 4 PQE Large Law Firm (7 partners or more) Legal Executive Small Law Firm (up to 6 partners) of the Year Solicitor of the Year 5 years PQE Support staff member of the year Trainee Paralegal of the year

Application deadline: February 4, 2022 Download application forms at

The Leicestershire Law Society Is The Independent Professional Body For Solicitors In Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland. We are the voice of solicitors, driving excellence in the profession and safeguarding the rule of law.

PO BOX 10948 Leicester LE5 9LZ 07929 150 597

Since our acquisition of Glynis Wright & Co we’ve seen the synergy of our expanded team go from strength to strength. Our success has been recognised nationally for the family law services we provide. We know that divorce and separation can be complicated and emotional and our team will deliver the right blend of support and practical advice – empowering you, giving you a voice and helping you come through stronger.

Provincial House 37 New Walk Leicester LE1 6TU // 0116 222 6666

Award-winning law firms are

stronger together It’s been over a year since two of Leicester’s award-winning law firms came together to create the most sought-after family law provision in the East Midlands, Niche finds out more


ecember 2020 saw Nelsons acquire Glynis Wright & Co as part of the firm’s vision to become the region’s strongest and biggest family law department. The acquisition saw the team welcome nine specialist family lawyers, including three mediators, to the office on New Walk, kickstarting a year of growth at the Leicester office. The trajectory of this growth has remained unshaken, even in the face of a global pandemic.

National recognition

Just weeks after the acquisition was announced, Glynis Wright was recognised in the Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours list and was awarded an MBE for her services to furthering the cause of female entrepreneurship – marking the beginning of what has since become one of the department’s most successful years on record. Glynis also went on to be highly commended in the ‘Woman Solicitor of the Year’ category at the Law Society Awards, the highest accolade for law firms in England and Wales that celebrates solicitors who have achieved significant results – either in business or for the benefit of society. Meanwhile, the family department as a whole was shortlisted in the ‘Family Law

Firm of the Year – Midlands and Wales’ category at the prestigious Family Law Awards, fighting off competition from across the region to make it into the final six. Glynis said: “I’m immensely proud of how well our teams have come together since we joined forces. The key to any successful acquisition is strong leadership; there has to be absolute trust and faith in those leading the organisation, and the incredible work the family team has done over the past year is a testament to this. We’ve enjoyed unbelievably strong results, proving that a team can successfully integrate, even in the heart of a global pandemic. “We are committed to empowering our clients, and each other, and have truly gone from strength to strength, with another team member joining us in the spring to continue this momentum. I couldn’t be more pleased that the department’s hard work has been recognised at such a high level in numerous ways and can’t wait to see what the next year holds.”

Leading the way

In addition to its awards successes, the family team is also ranked in Tier One by The Legal 500, the independently researched publication that assesses law firms and solicitors,


with Glynis being listed as a recommended lawyer as well. Stewart Vandermark, chief executive at Nelsons, said: “We’re immensely proud of the entire family team. We’ve never been a firm who rests on our laurels and are looking to build on these successes as we head into 2022. “Our new colleagues have embraced this change in impressive fashion, especially at such a busy time, and are contributing positively to the culture we are creating and have continued to put clients first through all of the changes. It has been a delight getting to know them all. “Our vision is to become the strongest and biggest family law department in the East Midlands, so that we can truly empower our clients, offering them a strength and depth of expertise that’s unrivalled in the region. There’s no doubting that we’re already well on the way to realising those ambitions, and that’s down to the dedication every single member of the team puts in every day. We are already seeing that, together, we are undoubtedly stronger.” To find out more about the acquisition, go to family-solicitors-leicester. And, for advice on any family law matter, contact the Nelsons team on 0116 222 6666. NICHE | 37

The next 12 months: what are your intentions? It’s time for that New Year talk – but this time, we’re talking business WORDS BY LEVITHA BIJI, SIDIQA REININGHAUS, KERRY SMITH AND EMILY MILLER


t’s that time when ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ are splashed across every magazine, spoken about in every friendship group, or at the very least, thought about at the beginning of every new calendar year. We all make personal pledges to get fitter and healthier, drink less, quit smoking, start a new hobby, etc. But resolutions aren’t just personal, you can make them for your business too. The start of every year is a chance to hit the reset button, reflect on 2021 and think about what you would do differently by setting some New Year resolutions for business.

Psychotherapist at Rutland House Counselling and Psychotherapy, Jenny Collard, said: “Although many more people make New Year’s Resolutions than stick to them, a business New Year’s Resolution is a good way to ‘zoom out’, have a think, a review and refocus. “My business partner and I have set a business resolution every year since we started. OK, so some years we have made the same resolution over and over (ie more time working on the business rather than working in the business) but taking the time to say it out loud certainly brings clarity.

“My top tip: share your resolution with others – the sense of accountability will increase the likelihood of taking action, and if you don’t, oh well… nothing lost.” Trying to avoid being too pushy about it – we understand that NYRs can actually cause quite a bit of undue stress, placing pressure on yourself to achieve them or even just remember them. To help you, we’ve put together a list of intentions that you may, or may not, choose to follow through with this year. No pressure. Here’s our list of business resolutions to inspire a successful 2022.




IMPLEMENT A MARKETING STRATEGY If you don’t know where to start when creating a marketing plan, firstly, this is the perfect time of year to get your head in the game. This New Year, take the time to level up your business and create a marketing strategy that supports your goals. Niche Magazine’s publisher Cross Productions is a marketing company that helps businesses across the region to succeed through their online and print activities. Marketing Director Sally Smith said: “You may have the best product or service to offer, but your customers aren’t coming to you… yet. “With a detailed marketing strategy in place, time is not wasted on creating posts and materials that aren’t right for your audience and industry. It will also help with being able to directly target key customers as well as measuring the effectiveness and impact of what

you’re doing. “Developing a marketing strategy is a great way to sit back and review your company’s mission and vision and asses the objectives and goals you have set. It’s the ideal time to strip back your prospective customers’ journey and work out what messaging you should be sending and when. “This is your opportunity to start measuring how different activities perform – what can be ramped up and what is simply not delivering the results and leaving you throwing good money after bad. This year, Cross Productions is running a new course entitled ‘How to write a Marketing Strategy’. The halfday session is aimed at familiarising participants with proven marketing strategies and tactics in order to increase sales and grow your business. Sally added: “No successful journey starts without a roadmap, and no successful marketing journey starts without a plan. The four-hour course will help anyone from marketing

professionals to small business owners – you can learn how to write effective marketing plans.” The next workshop takes place on January 13 at 9am. It focuses on learning how to assemble a crossfunctional team, analyse an existing market, and break down your marketing plan’s components into focused sections, including strategy and tactical implementation. Book on to How to Write a Marketing Strategy by emailing


A four-hour workshop led by Cross Productions’ CEO Jenny Cross and Marketing Director Sally Smith

Thursday January 13 9:00 – 12:00

£499 + VAT Call 0116 271 2573 or email to book your place.

NICHE | 39



To run a successful business, your potential customers and clients need to know where to find you. Being page three of Google is pretty much as invisible as it can get. Danny Gohil, SEO master and Director of Pencil & Coffee, said: “Being visible and directing your clients to you is vital, plus, the higher up you are on Google, the more value your clients will place on you. They’ll trust you, for a start. “Imagine your website is a shop; even if it was best looking shop in the world, if it’s in the middle of a desert nobody will know it exists. With SEO, our job is to create the roads and signs to let people know where this shop is, how to get there and what to do once they are there.” Investing in your SEO as highquality content is a cost you can’t afford to overlook. Danny explains: “SEO isn’t a one-time fix, it’s a constant investment into your business to allow it to grow and stay ahead with keywords relevant to your company. “Google constantly changes

Now that so many platforms are available to businesses of any size, there are few excuses not to implement CRM into your operations – the benefits are huge: ◆ Manage contact data ◆ Analyse trends with real-time dashboards and reporting ◆ Measure channel engagement and marketing returns


its algorithms – you need to keep adapting to it to ensure you stay ahead. If you stop, that allows your competitors to catch up with those keywords right from underneath you. “With a professional SEO service, you are making sure that you’re adhering to all the regulations and algorithms set by Google, which are constantly changing.” To get yourself started with SEO this year, you can get a free SEO report at 40 | NICHE


At the heart of your business operation should be a Customer Relationship Management (CRM), because profitable customers are the lifeblood of any organisation.

◆ Target

your communications lead generation and track sales pipelines ◆ Project manage service delivery Here’s how you can refine your processes to aid business growth: 1. Archive unused contact data. If your CRM platform is holding old enquiry/ ◆ Monitor

prospect data and you are including them in your email marketing, check out how many are engaging. Consider removing those that have not engaged for over a year as they could be costing you and can harm your email deliverability with service providers due to non-openers. 2. Segment your audiences so that you can tailor your communications/ promotions for better engagement and conversion. A good starting point would be: Prospect, Active Client or Lapsed Client – then possibly drilling further into the product/service purchased. 3. Review your CRM Feasibility. Is your business getting the most out of the systems used? Are they configured and integrated correctly to enable great processes? A CRM Feasibility Review could make the most of your current set-up or highlight changes to deliver your operational goals. Find more process and CRM tips at




Consultant and trainer, Chris Batty, from Leicestershire Training Team advises business owners to take control of this golden opportunity in the New Year to rethink recruitment and retention. He said: “This year will mark the start of a new era in competitive recruitment, as the last two years proved unstable and employees will ask questions about benefits of the job.” Training is a crucial part of the overall job package, as it demonstrates professional growth and allows for career progression. This will attract the best and brightest of candidates, Chris affirms. “Growing in terms of knowledge, skill set, or developing a promotional plan is vital to business success. This will attract the best and brightest of candidates. The lure of growth remains the same for existing and new employees,” he said. Whether you’re investing in existing staff or training new staff, employers must always consider opportunity for growth in their employees, advises Chris.


The New Year is the perfect time to re-evaluate the quality of existing training sessions and replacing them with effective ones where staff feel valued and rewarded. Chris said: “Staff tend to retain information when they enjoy training sessions. If you give back to your staff, in return they’ll give you the company you desire.” For more advice on training and recruitment, visit



In the business world, first impressions are perhaps more crucial than anywhere else. What people see of you matters more than ever in 2022 “One of the most vital aspects of a business is imagery. Whether for headshots of team members or a look into a business online, a good image

that most definitely is not a stock image, is vital.” Your website is an ideal place to start as photographer Jay Nandha explains: “In an age where we all seek a company’s online image before we even think about parting with cash, a good website with real-life images is so important – people won’t trust stock images, that’s for certain.” A good headshot is another must have. “A selfie appears unprofessional and like you aren’t investing in yourself, whilst a stiff old-fashioned passport style photo can lack a personality and therefore a trust. “Headshots and web content are a real favourite of mine. I like capturing the person in the images with a consultation prior so that I can see what they are about. “People only really buy from people; you have to stand out and begin a relationship with your customers even before you would have potentially said a word to them. A great image is key to starting the process of getting to know you and your business.” A reputable photographer who knows you and your business and the message you want to convey is an investment your company can’t afford to be missing in 2022 – especially given so much business has moved online. Whether it’s your website, LinkedIn profile picture or a video of your offices and services – 2022 is all about showing the real faces behind your business. To see more of Jay’s work, go to and book in a shoot by calling 0116 436 2332. NICHE | 41



SAVE MONEY Reduce office costs. Only pay for the hours you require

SAVE TIME Free your time by delegating those time consuming tasks




Strategy #1 Humility:



CREATE A POSITIVE CULTURE The culture of your organisation is the brand of your company. The way our people feel and behave at work affects how we work with each other, our customers and also how we overcome challenges, solve problems, and embrace change. Former HR Director, leadership coach and author of the book ‘Power of Love Leadership®’, Sarah Higgins supports individuals in an organisation using neuroscience proven strategies to understand and use the energy of their fears through tailored coaching, workshops, and leadership development programmes in person and online workshops. “We are not taught how to be aware of our fears and how to manage them as infants. As adults, we react to emails, people, meetings, deadlines, pressure, and clients in ways that might not be as effective as they could be. We have good intentions, but this impacts the effectiveness of our organisations every day. Imagine what our organisations could be achieving if we knew how to overcome our day-to-day fears, be emotionally resilient, learn from adversity, change, and challenge. “Imagine workplaces where teams don’t hold grudges or get annoyed or blame each other. Where they give each other feedback, continuously improve and confidently suggest ideas. Think of what we could achieve if we trust each other more and feel happy and fulfilled at work. It’s about developing greater self-awareness, emotional intelligence and using strategies based upon love, not fear.” Here, Sarah outlines her seven love-based leadership strategies for reflection and advice for real and positive organisational change. Find more at

Remember: We are all perfectly imperfect and human. We want to be right, be the best and be in control, but it is a barrier to trust. Action: Understand and share your strengths and weaknesses. Hint & Tip: Take responsibility and say sorry. Reflection: How am I creating a psychologically safe environment and culture?

Strategy #2 Compassion:

Remember: We are too critical of ourselves. Talk to yourself in a way you would talk to others you care about. Put yourself in others’ shoes. Action: Ask open questions, be curious about someone’s intent or reasoning for their behaviour. Hint & Tip: Don’t push your view onto others – ask them how they can influence it too. Reflection: How effectively am I making time for myself as well as others?

Strategy #3 Enthusiasm:

Remember: Your enthusiasm is infectious. Just as it is when we are annoyed, or demotivated, so aim to be as positive as you can. Action: Repeat positive and motivating messages. It takes six times as many to outweigh our fear-based thoughts. Hint & Tip: Understand your strengths and use them as much as you can in your team to increase motivation. Reflection: How clear are my purpose and values?

Strategy #4 Hope:

Remember: Have realistic, clear goals with a system and action plan for yourself and others, which will develop greater resilience. Action: Create time in your diary for regular reflection and frequently involve your team in how they believe

the goals can be achieved. Hint & Tip: Ask your team what success looks like for them. Reflection: How well do I enable the regular celebration of success so far?

Strategy #5 Forgiveness:

Remember: Don’t blame others or yourself for things going wrong. Accept things, learn, let go and move forward. Action: Most people have good intentions. Ask what their intentions were behind their actions, rather than assume. Hint & Tip: Forgive yourself; you did the best you could at the time with the resources, knowledge, and time that you had. Reflection: How well do I and my team seek information to learn as opposed to blaming?

Strategy #6 Learning:

Remember: There is no such thing as failure, just another result. Every result is a bend in the road, not a destination. Action: What can I learn from this situation so that I can make it even better in the future? Hint & Tip: Find the valuable learning from disappointment rather than focus on winning and losing, success or failure – you will become even stronger as a result. Reflection: To what extent am I developing a coaching culture to learn from everything, versus controlling and telling?

Strategy #7 Gratitude:

Remember: Focus on the possible gain as well as possible loss. Action: Think: “What do I have right now that’s great, rather than what I don’t?” Hint & Tip: Show your appreciation to others as a strategy for reinforcing good behaviour, it will make people feel valued. Reflection: What am I grateful for? Think of three things that you are thankful for every day. NICHE | 43



Banishing the bland and the boring with video storytelling is an essential aspect of work that the video creators produce at Orange Fox Studios. Video has become a fundamental part of how people consume content online. Those precious first few seconds of your visual communications are vital to grab the attention of your audience. Lee Tomes from Orange Fox says: “Thanks to streaming services, viewers are well-accustomed to content that looks like TV and film. Couple this with our ever-decreasing attention spans, and the need for a perfectly executed marketing video becomes even greater.” So how does one stand out in an oversaturated market? This is where video storytelling comes in.

Being authentic and avoiding ‘boring’ content

At Orange Fox, they challenge their clients and business partners to think differently, as they believe the secret to good storytelling is authenticity. Authenticity makes for more memorable messages and more impactful communications that can touch your audience on an emotional level.

instead they make you feel something – whether that’s laughter, a bucket load of tears or getting you on the edge of your seat. The very best marketing makes you feel. Find examples of video storytelling at

Tapping into human emotion through storytelling

Humans have been telling stories for thousands of years. From cave wall doodles right through to Netflix. It’s embedded in our nature to connect through story. Storytelling offers an opportunity to foster a strong connection between your business and your audience on a personal level. If you look at the very best adverts, they don’t sell you a product or a service but


E X P E C T M O RE THAN NUMBERS Book keeping Payroll VAT Self Assessments Capital Gains Returns Budget Planning



01509 767 415 44 | NICHE



If you’ve never applied for an award before, or have never won one, don’t be put off. Awards applications act as a great form of PR, progress reflection, and confidence booster. Submitting an application provides you with the opportunity to review your business’s goals, see how far you’ve come, and encourages you to make changes for the future success of your company. Award ceremonies and all the promotional marketing that comes

with them over the course of a whole year, in many cases, constructs a unique marketing opportunity. It’s also a chance to learn from other business leaders who share a passion for progress and business development. Attending or sponsoring these events demonstrates determination to your company’s clients. It gives your business an edge over your competitors because it shows you’re networking and advancing outside of your business’s niche. It’s also a fantastic way to treat your team to a great night out – and if you win, it produces employee pride and recognition.

AWARDS TO APPLY FOR IN 2022 AND BEYOND Leicestershire Law Society Awards FSB Awards East Midlands East Midlands Women’s Awards The Great British Care Awards Furnley House Community Awards Niche Business Awards Real Entrepreneur Awards Enterprising Women Awards enterprising-women East Midland Chamber Business Awards Generation Next Awards LeicestershireLive Business Awards LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards eastmidlands/leicester-innovationawards The Nachural Entrepreneurship Awards Leicester Curry Awards

NICHE | 45

CTRL, ALT, Success The solutions to productivity and data concerns that come with the move to hybrid working WORDS BY EMILY MILLER, SIDDIQA REININGHAUS, KERRY SMITH AND SALLY SMITH


ow many times a day do you hit ‘command + Z’? How many times a week do you wait for the internet to catch up? How many times a month do you try the trusty ‘off and on again’ technique? When it comes to IT, we know that having an expert team behind us keeps our websites live, phones ringing, tills ticking, and work backed up safe and secure. Business owners dread those warnings that memory is full or a virus has been detected. Trying to troubleshoot our own issues takes time, causes stress and often, results in us calling an IT expert if the company doesn’t have an IT department. Thrown into the mix as well now is the added complexity of working from home. Sat in a room alone with a computer virus or a connectivity issue can be even more stressful and isolating for employees. At home, there’s no one to see you’re struggling or to understand why you might be behind on your work. Employers also need to know that all company data is secure in the homes of their employees.

IT’s not easy at home

The State of Security in a Hybrid World, produced by Citrix, surveyed 1,250 security decision makers across medium to large organisations in the US, the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. The survey found that 74% of security decision makers say procedures and controls have become more complex as their organisations transition to remote and hybrid work. Citrix also polled 3,603 workers regarding the top three hurdles faced when working from home. Poor connectivity, navigating technical problems virtually, and the inability to get IT support quickly or easily were the most-faced challenges. 46 | NICHE

IT in the office

Samsung conducted a survey that found that job satisfaction is linked to employees’ access to technology. The 2017 Samsung ‘More Good Days at Work’ initiative reported that nine in ten (91%) lost concentration in the office due to helping colleagues with IT problems. It highlighted that businesses were losing almost four hours each week per employee as two thirds (63%) of workers spent between 15 and 45 minutes a day attempting to sort IT issues with colleagues. The productivity crisis continues in 2022 as organisations adapt to hybrid working and ever-evolving technologies. It’s clear that technology in the workplace and in the home has a huge impact on the productivity of teams and individual employees. We got in touch with some computer bods in Leicester to introduce their services and to get their thoughts on some vital yet basic and time-consuming IT essentials.



re you someone who ‘files’ their important documents at home in that bills and receipts messy drawer only to close it and forget about it hoping for the best? Sure, they are in one place but it’s certainly not organisation at its best Chris Cain, an IT specialist, draws parallels with messy drawers and computer data, telling me, “Your data items need to be in a safe location and not all over the place like that messy drawer at home only organised and accessible!” “Keeping it simple is key. Once things become complicated, people just won’t engage with it, let alone use it.”

By keeping your protected data in a location designed by a reputable IT company, it’s organised, protected and most importantly accessible. The users don’t have to think about it at all, and that’s the way clients like their IT to work for them. A great IT system shouldn’t require a client to have to worry about it. Addressing things before they become a threat, or a problem, is key. It keeps things running smoothly and more crucially, running in a simpler way. “People often only think about their IT when it goes wrong. So, when they’ve had a security threat or a very slow internet speed for example. When a good functioning system is in place they can get on with the day-to-day running of their business. “By listening to customer’s IT issues, we can resolve and support their systems so it all ticks along safely and simply.” Keep your systems simple, efficient and organised in 2022 with support from




t’s all systems go when moving offices or updating systems. Many businesses have had realisations over the course of the pandemic that their premises or their technology need updating. But it can be a big, daunting project. For those moving offices in the New Year, or streamlining an existing space which works better for hot desking and hybrid working, Anil Motivaras, managing director at Giga Ops, tells of the important things to assess and consider for IT system success. ◆ Strategy

- Create a work model with built-in flexibility to allow you to be agile and adapt to any changing conditions both short and long term. Technology will enable those teams of remote and in-office workers to thrive, while a hybrid work program will help improve employee experience, increase agility, performance and cost savings. ◆ Plan - Conduct a site survey of your new offices to establish any network cabling requirements. Ensure you contact your internet service provider and any technology vendors to manage any lead times for installations/setup in your new office. ◆ Equipment - If any exists, determine whether it still meets your needs and will be suitable in the new location. A move is a good time to update IT equipment and systems with a view to saving costs

long-term and improve efficiency. ◆ Network requirements - Check the internet line meets the demands of the new system steup and IT strategy, and whether it’s a broadband or a dedicated leased line you require based on your IT strategy and systems. ◆ Perimeter Security - Implement a firewall with web filtering and antivirus/spam filtering service. ◆ Telephony - Consider VOIP, a Cloudbased telephony system to give you flexibility and cost-saving benefits. Consider phone numbers you need to port across or consider call forwarding. ◆ Systems/data backup - Implement this before moving office and outline what needs to be installed in the new office. Ensure backups are separate to actual systems and test the strategy to

password. This means someone needs your password and mobile phone to log in, making it much more difficult. It’s the technology banks have used for years.” Your IT Department, founded by Lee and Operations Director Simon Cox, has been providing IT support to businesses across the East Midlands for well over a decade. The company is internationally recognised and is currently ranked fifth in the UK and 97th in the world in the MSP501, the world’s largest independent assessment of businesses from the sector. Lee adds: “We provide our clients with complete peace of mind. They know we’re keeping their vital systems running, routinely monitoring and maintaining to ensure no business

Business owners dread those warnings that memory is full or a virus has been detected confirm recovery is possible. ◆ Malware & antivirus - Needed for all systems on all endpoints such as PCs, laptops and servers. For more hints and tips, contact Anil on


time is lost to IT problems.” “Our engineers deal with lots of customer queries each week. When someone reports an issue, the technician runs through a step-by-step troubleshooting process and gets the problem resolved. It’s rare that a client comes up with a problem we’ve not seen before.”


ave you had the same password for years? Do you use it to access every app, website and email account? Then you’re putting your personal data and the business you work in at risk. Stolen and compromised login details are readily available to cyber criminals. Whilst individuals should use strong, unique passwords for every site, it’s impossible for businesses to know whether their staff are following best practices. Lee Hewson, Managing Director of Your IT Department, recommends businesses introduce Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to mitigate the risks. “Good cyber security is about having layers of protection,” he said. “MFA means you provide or confirm a code generated on a separate device, usually a mobile phone, alongside your NICHE | 47

Building a brighter future As a business owner have you considered what the job market might be like out there currently? In fact, have you gone further than that and considered what you can do as a company to help support those seeking opportunity whilst strengthening your company with fresh, emerging talent? WORDS BY EMILY MILLER


ebruary 7-13 marks national apprentice week and with the job market a highly competitive place currently, taking on an apprentice can be a hugely beneficial asset to add to your business – whether they be a school leaver, university graduate or someone simply looking for a complete career change. The week provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate apprenticeships and bring the whole trainee community together, shining a light on the positive differences that apprenticeships can make to individuals and employers. So, what is the appeal for an employer taking on an apprentice? According to ◆ 86% of employers said apprentices helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation. Often apprentices are fresh out of an educational setting, they often bring with them a new, relevant perspective that might breathe new life into your company and your ideas. ◆ 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity. Apprentices are likely to be recently trained in technologies which can aid productivity and be able to help implement these

48 | NICHE

into your company. ◆ You can adapt their training according to the needs of your business. Their education is their foundation, but your company can train and shape their work through your own goals, dreams and vision for your business. ◆ They are motivated to learn new skills. The chance of an apprenticeship for a person looking to get into a job that they love will make them highly motivated individuals – who doesn’t want that around? ◆ You can expand and upskill your workforce. An apprentice won’t be as expensive as a new employee who has the experience behind them – they offer an affordable way to expand your team. For an apprentice themselves, the opportunity to learn on the ground, in the environment where they want to grow, is invaluable and presents an opportunity to enter the world of work from a solid starting block at a time when competition is fiercer than ever. If you would like to find out more, visit

Winning the best people

in a jobseekers’ market

The shift to hybrid working has taught organisations that there are two essentials necessary to maintaining productivity – the right technology and the right people, Niche finds out more


ssuming that hardware, software and WiFi are functioning as required, the final component for effective hybrid working is team members who are engaged, loyal and focused on the task in hand. Working from home creates teams that spend windows of time unsupervised and trusted to deliver what is required. So what of those who look towards technology as a means of management? Well, a quick look at newspaper headlines demonstrates the kickback some companies receive as they propose ever-greater use of technology to monitor workers’ movements and outputs. ER Recruitment has been matching ‘great workers with great employers’ for the last eight years. And it meant that managing director, Eileen Richards MBE, was on familiar ground when she hosted her final round table of 2021 as President of the East Midlands Chamber and conversation quickly progressed to how organisations can recruit and retain people in hybrid working environments.

A panel of regional industry leaders joined her for a faceto-face discussion at the Rose Room at Orton’s in Leicester last November. It started with a discussion about the economic outlook, touching on interest rates, housing markets and inflation. “What I loved about the conversation was that those present quickly moved on to how markets are impacting people – and how we can all better meet employees’ needs and expectations,” said Eileen. “I’ve made a career from matching people with employers and what was so encouraging is that Leicester leaders continue to look for new ways they can create value in recruitment.” The latest Chamber data at the time of print suggests that East Midlands employers are hitting capacity in their production due to the current employees’ market. Eight in 10 of those who tried to recruit in Q4 reported their struggle to find candidates with the right skills. It’s a challenge that Eileen and her team have been describing for some time, not


least as hybrid working options opened up a new national – or even global – market for staff members in some sectors. “The fact that the latest Quarterly Economic Survey provided by the Chamber referenced increased costs of staffing reflects what I have been saying at our forums for several months – that we are very much in an employees’ market,” added Eileen. “Employers who are able to add value for their workforces are attracting and retaining the best jobseekers – whether it be through their office space, flexible working or supportive teams. “We have deep regional connections and provide clients with authoritative sector-specific advice on how to adapt to the changing market, as well as what the expectations of jobhunters will look like in 2022.” To learn more about offering a first-class process for recruiting top talent in an employee-led market, you can call ER Recruitment on 0116 254 9710 or email NICHE | 49

How music can help to

ease anxiety at work

Responsible for TheMusicLicence, PPL PRS Ltd


encourages businesses to ‘restore the rhythm’. Marianne Rizkallah, a music therapist working on behalf of the music licensing company, tells us how we can restore the rhythm at work as well as in our personal lives


lot has happened since March 2020, hasn’t it? For those of us who were making it through life well enough, it now seems surprising to not know of someone experiencing symptoms of anxiety or feel a little on-edge yourself. As many of us return to the office for the first time since the pandemic hit or embark on the next chapter in our lives, it’s common — and OK — to feel stress and worry. There are many methods that are known to help with soothing anxious symptoms, including meditation, being at one with nature and self-care. But did you know that music can play a powerful role in alleviating low feelings? Signs of anxiety in the workplace Firstly, let’s establish the signs of anxiety. We may experience physical symptoms such as a quickening heart rate, shallow breaths, fatigue and muscle aches. In a workplace context, anxiety can manifest as feeling irritated by our colleagues or paranoia, whereby we presume the worst when a senior manager makes a comment. Our minds can be masters at playing tricks on our bodies, causing symptoms to feel very real and overwhelming. What it means though, is that if we can harness the power of music to calm our anxious minds, then our physical symptoms should subside too. The physiological effects of music Music affects both our autonomic nervous system which manages our heartbeat, and our limbic system which regulates our emotions. A 2013 study showed that listening to music before a source of stress accelerated recovery time compared to those that did not listen to music. 50 | NICHE

How about those shivers down our spine that we feel when listening to music? Well, that’s a result of a dopamine hit, both from when we hear the music we like and at the point we anticipate it coming. In my music therapy work, I observe first-hand how music aids those experiencing anxiety at work. An interesting example is from one individual that I have previously worked with, who found it hard to keep on top of their admin and realised that this dramatically worsened during the lockdowns. Their musical solution was to use the beat of their music to stay focused, utilising a bar’s countdown (‘4, 3, 2, 1’) to fire off emails and messages on the strong beat of the next bar. They found that it helps keep them motivated and immersed in the task at hand, while also bringing an element of fun to the job. Can certain genres of music help the most? In a recent PPL PRS survey of 2,101 UK respondents by Perspectus Global in September 2021, nearly all respondents agreed that different types of music affect their mood in different ways — ie some tracks lift their spirits, while others leave them feeling mellow. Almost two-thirds (63%) answered ‘yes definitely’ while 31% said ‘yes sometimes’. Another study points to the ideal type of music that is perfect for anxiety reduction. Namely, it must contain a steady tempo, a simple melody and a relatively predictable harmony. Although from experience, personal preference is also extremely important — if a rock and reggae piece each contain the musical relaxation tools described above, the one you prefer listening to is more likely to calm you!



Using music as part of your return-to-work strategy might help you ease your mind in various ways How to use music to ease yourself back into work Returning to the office after tackling your to-do list from home, furlough or to start a new role can feel intimidating. Using music as part of your return-to-work strategy might help you ease your mind in various ways: ◆Play music without lyrics to aid concentration. Having a musical ‘sound bath’ without the distraction of words can give your mind the space to tune into your immediate surroundings. This is ideal when the office feels slightly overwhelming or you’re working to a tight deadline ◆Use the office playlist to bond with your colleagues. A recent PPL PRS survey found that nearly a third (32%) of the office-based Brits surveyed feel that music is an important aspect in creating a positive work environment. Compiling a playlist with your peers’ favourite artists and/or songs can boost morale and is an ideal icebreaker, promoting harmony in the office while kickstarting conversation. ◆Try faster music to give you an energy boost. Music genres with a slightly higher BPM (beats per minute) than your heart rate will encourage your heart to keep pace, pumping more oxygen around your body and getting you firing on all cylinders. Exercise may spring to mind; indeed,

music can enhance sporting performance — whether you’re in the gym or gearing up for a game. So, why not try a quicker tempo to tackle your to-do list? According to the recent PPL PRS survey, pop music is the most popular genre to power productivity (43%) while over a quarter (26%) of respondents prefer rock. Whichever genre takes your fancy, find a fast track to turbocharge your working day It’s worth taking time to listen to the broad range of genres, songs, and artists available to find music you enjoy — either because it’s relaxing, mood-boosting or helps you focus. If you’re still struggling, tailored support from an expert might be wise. Music therapy aims to facilitate positive change in emotional wellbeing and community through live musical interaction; consider the British Association for Music Therapy. While music can help to alleviate anxious feelings, a combination of good sleep, spending time with loved ones, a balanced diet and enjoying hobbies you’re passionate about can work wonders on wellbeing. Restore the rhythm in your life. Visit for more advice on dealing with anxiety. NICHE | 51

Dreaming things will change As we begin 2022, Action Coach Phil Nassau says only time dedication will turn your dreams from mirage to reality


n my professional life I have lots of conversations with business owners about improving their lives and their business. I ask lots of questions about how they are going to improve things, this sparks off commitments about changing things. When I follow up at a later date on the commitments they made, I discover that many have done nothing. So why don’t we do what we committed to do? One answer can be found in a dream. It’s a dream I have often and you may too. It goes something like this. You know I am incredibly busy right now. In fact, I feel about as busy today as I have ever felt, some days I feel overwhelmed, some days I even feel as though my life is out of control. But I am working on some unique challenges right now. I

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feel like the worst will be over in a couple of months. After that, I am going to take some time off, get organised, spend some time with the family and start getting fit again. Everything is going to change, after that it won’t be so crazy anymore! Have you ever had a dream that sounds vaguely like this? How long have you been having this dream? How’s that working out for you? “Your life will get better when you do.” I love this quote from business coach Brad Sugars. He’s spot on. Improving yourself will improve your life. It’s a great mantra to live life by, both personally and professionally. This time of year, we often lead with our negative thoughts as we find ourselves doubting what’s next for the new year. Let’s spin this thought process and think about how we can


use our thoughts as power. What story would people have to tell if only they would adopt a definite purpose and stand by that purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming obsession? One of the tricks of opportunity is that it has the sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat. One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Perhaps it’s time to stop dreaming of a time when you’re not busy, as that time will never come unless you dedicate yourself to that commitment to change. It’s your dream, but it’s also a mirage. Find out more about coaching for business at /coaches/phil-nassau.


The bigger, greener picture The Race to Zero is on and the UK is leading the way, with having around a third of its biggest companies pledged to become carbon-free including Severn Trent, Sainsburys and Vodafone, all before 2050. But how can small, local businesses play their part in saving the planet? WORDS BY KERRY SMITH, LEVITHA BIJI AND EMILY MILLER


ogether, firms such as AstraZeneca, BT Group, Unilever, and many more which have signed up to the Government’s Race to Zero, represent a total market capital of £650bn. Undoubtedly, their sustainability efforts will have a positive impact on the planet, but with over five million small businesses in the UK, their efforts combined could be vast. Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Businesses wield incredible influence to drive change across society and the economy – we need to harness this power to fight climate change. UK businesses are already leading the way in cutting carbon emissions and building back greener.” The UK hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12 last year. It brought parties together to accelerate action toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. UK Net Zero Business Champion Andrew Griffith said: “Since firing the starting gun on the year-long road to Glasgow a few months ago, we have seen an accelerating rate of the UK’s largest and most successful businesses taking action on climate.” The UK currently seems to be making great strides towards sustainability, but more specifically, what about Leicester?

OUR IMPACT ◆ Leicester was named Britain’s first ‘Environment City’ in 1990 mainly due to open space investments to foster urban wildlife. ◆ Net Zero Leicestershire is a commitment made by the local government to become a net zero council by 2030. ◆ University of Leicester experts showcased the measurement of greenhouse gas concentrations from space at COP26. ◆ Space Park Leicester hosted a series of events demonstrating Leicester’s role in sustainable technology last November. ◆ A £13.5m redevelopment of St Margaret’s bus station will see it become the first in the country to be carbon neutral. ◆ National Space Centre invited local leaders to a summit to discuss sustainability during COP26. ◆ Sustainability platform Zellar launched in Leicester in November last year. ◆ Green BELLE is a programme that offers grants to local SMEs towards the cost of energy efficiency measures. ◆ CREST, Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology, was created by Loughborough University over 25 years ago. ◆ DMU is making moves towards a more sustainable future with its Sustainability Engagement Plan. ◆ Experts at MIRA Technology Park are working on hydrogen fuel and are developing Viritech’s hydrogen hypercar. ◆ Harborough District Council is implementing its ambitious Climate Emergency Action Plan from 2022-2030. NICHE | 53



esides the government’s deadline, why should small businesses take the time and effort to go green in the first place? The benefits include qualifying for tax benefits, cutting energy and transport costs, attracting new employees and customers, attracting new investors, and even inspiring others in your industry to meet environmental regulations sooner rather than later. At this significantly damaging point in Earth’s life, businesses can grow by shrinking their carbon footprints. But it seems like such a big job that the prospect is daunting. In the East Midlands, we’re lucky enough to have a dedicated Small Business Sustainability Hub run by Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). It’s jam packed with a plethora of easily digestible information from reports, helpful downloads, and videos to ensure that small businesses aren’t left out of the bigger, greener picture. Within the hub, you can download the ‘How to Get Started With Sustainability’ free guide, watch the COP26 small business event, browse

sustainability resources, visit the Zero Carbon Business Portal, and make your commitment to the climate. A detailed report is also available to read in full. Here are some key findings from the November 2021 FSB Policy Report ‘Accelerating Progress’.


At this significantly damaging point in Earth’s life, businesses can grow by shrinking their carbon footprints. But it seems like such a big job that the prospect is daunting

FSB’s Accelerating Progress report: net zero and small businesses

28% 36% 69% 67%

said it will be extremely difficult to transition to a net zero economy have a plan to combat climate change, but only 30% have made changes to their business as a result of that plan. don’t know how to measure how much carbon emissions their business produces. have taken steps to address their energy usage, some of which include: 22% have installed a smart meter 37% have installed energy efficient appliances 26% have switched to a renewable energy provider/tariff 18% have invested in microgeneration 14% have installed solar panels 4% have installed a heat pump Small businesses have taken a number of steps to increase recycling and to reduce waste, including: 64% have increased recycling in their business 50% have taken steps to eliminate waste wherever possible 47% are avoiding plastic products if an alternative is available



s mindfulness spreads concerning how people are contributing to the drawn-out corruption of the climate through man-made contamination and carbon emissions via fossil fuel by-products, businesses are putting higher accentuation on their commitments to this worldwide issue. The Printers have been helping businesses grow since 1984 with an awareness to minimise any negative impacts socially and environmentally. The Loughborough-based company recently changed their ink to vegetable ink and have examined their production and internal processes. Through this, they’ve come up with some ideas to help all of us make positive improvements.


Printers tell us. Check what they are doing to help cut carbon and tackle climate change. For example, you can use energy from companies that offer 100% renewable energy such as Opus Energy, which The Printers opted for. In addition to this, you can also plant a tree for a client when they have spent a certain amount with you. Discover more ways to save the planet at enviromental-values.



uite simply, businesses consume more energy and produce more pollution than individuals,” Stuart McKee, director at Equipment Leasing Solutions (ELS) told us. “This also means that by implementing energy efficient and renewable energy technologies within their organisation, it has a greater impact on the reduction of consumption and carbon emissions.” ELS helps businesses fund greener technologies that won’t break the planet or the bank. Working with companies across a range of industries, they provide finance for energy efficient and renewable energy technology, so they know first-hand that most businesses want to work towards a greener future. Often, it’s about looking at technologies to support greener options for a business, and there are many possibilities from small immediate changes to long term

UK businesses are already leading the way in cutting carbon emissions and building back greener

investment options. They’ve funded LED lighting, voltage optimisation, battery storage, biomass boilers, solar thermal panels and more to UK businesses to provide immediate savings against energy bills. As with any change, there is an investment cost, and that’s certainly the case with green technologies. For example, LED Lighting can be costly at first, but they can provide a 60-70% saving on energy costs, meaning businesses can soon recoup the investment. Stuart expands: “By using a finance facility to fund the investment cost, a large proportion of businesses can see an immediate return, with the savings in energy costs often being greater than the monthly finance repayment.” Considering a greener commitment to the planet might feel like a costly one initially, but there are options to support your budget long term. For more information go to

How to start out on your carbon-cutting journey

The Printers say you can join schemes that allow your business to see the amount of CO2 generated in the production of printing and delivery of items such as Woodland Carbon Capture used by The Printers – 100% of all carbon capture charges are paid to the Woodland Trust who will plant trees at one of their accredited woodland creation sites in the UK. This way, their customers are all helping to do their bit for the environment. Then, review your suppliers, The




niversity of Nottingham is supporting Leicestershire businesses’ green initiatives. The mounting pressure on business to get on track in the race to zero emissions by 2050 is extensive. Businesses may very well be committed to making changes in their organisations but be daunted at the prospect. As the owner of a Leicestershire business, you may have outlined or acknowledged a corporate responsibility in your commitment to zero emissions moving forward, but the journey to get there may not be clear, let alone easily navigated. A chat with the University of Nottingham’s Colette McHugh Putman, Project Manager of the Energy Innovation and Collaboration team, informed me, however, that SMEs – and in fact any organisation in the Leicester region – are eligible to receive a great deal of free support and, in many cases, funding to help them achieve a greener commitment for their company with ‘signposts’ on the journey to a greener organisation. Colette’s team are part of the University of Nottingham Energy Institute, which is home to a vast range of researchers and experts in the energy field. The team manage the ERDF funded ‘Energy for Business’ project and have already supported many businesses in the Derbyshire and

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Nottinghamshire region with energy projects and innovation. New funding awarded in 2020 for the Leicestershire region means that Leicester businesses are now able to tap into this valuable range of resources. Colette said: “In 2020 we launched the Leicester initiative to offer advice and support for businesses looking to increase their commitment to joining the race to zero emissions. “Leicestershire based businesses might not yet be aware that our services are available to them or know what we can do to help. I want to ensure that businesses get our support and access knowledge, facilities and research so passionately achieved by our university experts.” Support starts with an initial conversation and then businesses are partnered with a business development officer. Discussions about existing green commitments lead to site visits, plans to access funding, and ways to introduce greener technologies and strategies within a business. Funding is available primarily for SMEs through the ‘Energy for Business’ scheme, but placements and longterm collaborations are also within the reach of larger organisations. Eligible businesses can apply for an £8k grant towards their energy project, in addition to accessing consultancy and support from their dedicated advisor who will build a supportive relationship with the company. “The essential take-home message

for the Leicester business community is that yes, it can be daunting taking on these greener outlooks and technologies, but with support, it needn’t be. We haven’t seen a single business that isn’t enthusiastic about making real change, which is hugely encouraging. “Leicester businesses needn’t go through the journey alone – we have a plethora of resources at our fingertips ready and waiting to assist on their journey.” Tap into this valuable research and support for your business by contacting Colette, head of the Leicester initiative on 07815 503988 or 0115 846 6895. For more guidance, visit

Race To Zero is a global initiative, backed by science-based targets, to commit businesses, cities, regions, investors, and universities to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest. To be accepted into the Race to Zero, company leaders must pledge to reach net-zero by 2050. Companies are also asked to publish a five-to-10year plan of how they will achieve their net zero target, as well as to sign up to Science Based Targets as a way of monitoring and assessing progress.


Collaborate and create Good photography is essential for your brand and like any other maintenance of that brand, your images need to remain fresh and grow as your company does WORDS BY EMILY MILLER


or your images to work as you grow in the most effective way this translates into having an ongoing collaboration with a photographer who knows you, what your brand already is and has an affinity to your vision of where you want it to go. Glynis Wright, Partner at Nelsons Law, has worked with the same photographer Hitz Rao over the years which has seen her as Director of her own highly successful family law practice and president of the law society and then to a hugely successful

sale and partnership of her practice with Nelsons. “Hitz is a photographer I have collaborated with for many years and he has always had such an innate ability to tap into what works whilst putting whoever is in front of his camera at ease. It’s a creative process with him and always just so enjoyable. “What’s perhaps more important though is how he gets to grips with how you want to express yourself and your brand. I have worked with him throughout my career in Law so far and as that’s taken different


directions, he has managed to capture it all in the right light!” Recalling the shoot with Glynis, Hitz said: “She wanted to look less like a lawyer and more like a person. Glynis brought her ideas to the table and from that I could see exactly what she wanted. I knew what she wanted from the latest images and we wanted more luxurious high-end feel so didn’t want these images to be too vibrant. They needed to be edgier to take her from glossy Glynis and show a different side to her.” Whilst having images is essential to your brand, to magnify it so too is updating them. Glynis adds: “I have wanted different things from my images over the years and certainly have never wanted to keep bringing out the same ones. It’s important to stay relevant and almost ahead of your own game with photography which is the face of you and your brand.” For more photoshoot ideas and creativity visit

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Steps to get to the top of your web design and SEO game The ultimate New Year’s Resolution?


With trends continuously shifting and SEO eternally evolving, the perfect website may never exist. It’s a topic that boggles the brains of those who aren’t trained in it, so Kerry Smith spoke to a web developer about the most important steps of web design – and how small and medium sized businesses could benefit from a fresh digital start this New Year


here’s lots of talk at this time of year about resolutions. In business though, no matter what your work-related resolutions are, ultimately we all want to gain new clients, decrease expenditure and increase turnover for the good of the company. Thinking about New Year’s Resolutions that could possibly achieve all of those goals at once, I realised there aren’t too many. You could hire more staff to enable you to take on more work – but what if, after all the time you spend on recruiting them, it turns out that they’re not right for the business or they decide you’re not right for them. You could cut down on marketing to save money and time spent on producing it – but then your brand might not receive the customer touchpoints it needs and you could miss out on valuable leads. You could develop your website to make it easier for customers to communicate with you and cut down on admin time… but I couldn’t think of a disaster-waiting-to-happen scenario for this one, so I picked up the phone to a Leicester-based creative agency. Adam Burrage, the man who answered the phone, is the Managing Partner of Trident which offers digital marketing, and graphic and web design services. A chat with Adam made it clear I was on to something and that web development and SEO could be one way to achieve all those bottom line goals. Web development and SEO are two things that people feel overwhelmed by, but really I think it comes down to being under-informed. Of course, Adam is a big believer in a website’s power to grow a business, so he’s not going to downplay it, but he really couldn’t think of any possible downsides to developing your website other than an initial investment. So, Adam helped me put together some steps you can follow to develop a website by yourself. I took ‘steps’ quite literally and went about making up a staircase analogy to go with Adam’s advice. With each step, Trident is our handrail.


Before you even open WordPress, or call a web designer to build a completely bespoke site, you need to think about your goals strategically. What are they? Do you want to gain more leads, more sales? Do you want your website to run more processes more efficiently than people? Once you’ve written down what you want to achieve, think about who your audience is and what are their needs when they land on your website. This is crucial to making sure that your site delivers on your goal. You’re not designing the site for you, it needs to be designed for your users.


If you have a website, you should first check your Google Analytics to get an idea of what’s already working and what’s not. It’s usually best to design for mobile-first, but if you work in a B2B environment where people may be looking for your services on their computer in an office, you can find out the most used browser type and design primarily for that. You can also check the landing pages of your website to see how they’re performing and which pages people are entering the site via most often. If they are key pages of your site, you can make sure they are well-designed and well-optimised for attaining more leads and sales. Likewise, check the exit pages. If people are dropping off your site on key product or services pages without buying or getting in touch, think about – or speak to your designer about – how to make the page better for conversion or look at changing the content to be more compelling in order to increase the leads or conversions.

Web development and SEO are two things that people feel overwhelmed by STEP 2: DESIGN

Put your ideas on paper. You may have tons of ideas on what pages you’ll need, what functions you want it to have, and the styles you want to go with. Getting it all down on paper will help those ideas evolve. Look for inspiration and actually draw out your home page and menu – it’s OK to keep going back to this step to make alterations. Share your message: Draw your viewers in by inspiring them with your message in a visual and interactive way that will surprise and engage. The use of animations and subtle background videos will engage the visitor’s mind, add fluidity, decrease bounce rate, and allow users to engage with the words and messaging. Simplicity: A page design with fewer words, calm colours, vivid imagery and clear calls to action create a lighter experience that encourages users to explore deeper, rather than obvious front page placement. The message is simplified, pushing the user to want to learn more, rather than leaving visitors with information overload. NICHE | 59


Accessibility: The devices we use to explore the internet

accommodate visitors with visual or auditory impairments – and so accessibility is an increasingly important element of web design. Web development needs to take on a holistic approach where content and technical needs meet, making your message accessible to everyone. Trends: App-like experiences are seen as the future of web design. The world has become familiar with apps where navigation, animation and simplicity are the norm. So it makes sense to bring elements of these front-end driven apps to websites. We are all using our mobiles more and more to browse websites, so thinking about thick thumbs when designing for mobile navigation can really help users. Are the buttons big enough? Can they be clicked from the lower middle area? Are forms easily filled in? Oversized typography is a fresh bold design trend for this year. Type can become more of a purposeful graphic element rather than another page title.


The development of the website is the part when you would actually build the site to make it onto the internet and show how everything looks and interacts. This is the phase that Trident would go to next for a client after the design is signed off. If you’ve identified your goals before design, this is when you can add that to the website. For SMEs, there are loads of simple things you can do to save you time and money or increase your leads to the website.

SEO is all about placing good content in front of your target audience If you want to get more leads or meetings, a really simple way to get them is to add an appointment booking link via apps like Calendly, which can be free and is very simple to add. You can be more adventurous if you have bigger needs – this could be sending automated emails to clients depending on the pages they visit on your website, or if they abandon a shopping cart. It could also be managing resources; if you have engineers out on-site, you can get clients to book in with them via your website to cut down on administration time for office staff. Then there are bespoke applications that you can build tailored to your business. It’s worth thinking about earlier in the process to make sure that you have enough time to build them. Website builders like Wix, WordPress and Squarespace have customisable templates and provide some free apps to add to different pages of your site. However, it can be frustrating to perfect all the elements that go into the making of each page, so make sure you’re prepared to invest your time into this step. 60 | NICHE


After launching your website, if your objectives are to gain more leads, you’ll need more traffic! If you’re looking for longer-term stability with traffic, SEO can achieve organic listings on search engines. Once you start to get traffic, you can maintain being at the top of Google (and other search engines). SEO is all about placing good content in front of your target audience. While search engines value good content, all content you create should be made with humans in mind, not the search engine. Examples of great content are well-optimised service or product pages, blogs, infographics, and videos. The other part about SEO is how much search engines trust your domain for your website. A website like the BBC’s is a really well-trusted domain and has credibility in the eyes of the search engines. The way you can increase your trustworthiness is by receiving backlinks, which are links back from other websites. A great way to do this is to guest blog on other websites and get a link back that way. SEO is constantly evolving, and it’s worth reading up on what Google values the most, but you don’t have to. Just think ‘user-first’ and provide a great experience through engaging content. If you want to do the fancy stuff, this is the time to get the experts in.


After launch, get back onto Google Analytics and see how things are performing. Are people getting the information they need? Are you getting enquiries, sales and phone calls? If not, why are people dropping off? Google Analytics can help you see where people are going and you can use this to to optimise the site. An example of a conversion is an e-commerce sale. If you are selling services, this would be how many leads, phone calls and enquiries you’ve had, or how many downloads of PDFs you have had. Tracking these is essential for development of the website and therefore, growth of your business. Once you have all of the above in place, you may find yourself going back and forth between the top two steps due to continuously shifting trends and eternally-evolving SEO. And every now and then, you may even need to go back down the staircase to be able to get back to the top. For more tips on web design and SEO, go to

It’s time to reflect on the last 12 months What did I do in the business?

● ●

What worked well for the business? ●

Where is the business going? ●

What is my 2022 plan?

How do I reach my business goals? At Cross Productions our passion lies within helping businesses across the region succeed in business through their marketing activities. In 2022 we will be holding a different class every month to help you strategically plan in advance, track and monitor data, brush up on your skill set and equip you with the knowledge to succeed.

Classes include: ● A beginner’s guide to marketing ● Understanding your audience ● Creating a marketing strategy ● How to write lead generation content ● LinkedIn Masterclass

Workshops and courses start from £250 + VAT We are waiting to help you take your business to the next level

What are you waiting for? Call 0116 271 2573 or email to book your place

Marketing Forum I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive and understanding wife who accepts the disruption starting out can bring to the household

Remy Clarke Director at Cymer Marketing Solutions

STARTING OUT Pondering about my future after redundancy in 2019, I took the plunge to do something different, channelling the negative situation to fuel getting Cymer Marketing Solutions up and running! I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive and understanding wife who accepts the disruption starting out can bring to the household: ◆ Less income ◆ More working hours ◆ Less socialising ◆ Zero employee benefits (although I know a company that provides to self-employed/sole traders – There is a lot to consider, which puts you out of your comfort zone, as those things we took for granted while working for a company previously have to be taken care of on your own. Build and make use of your networks, not only to spread the word that you are in business, but also to help you with the areas with which you are not familiar: ◆ Accountancy ◆ Legal ◆ IT and Systems ◆ Human Resources ◆ Marketing I can scratch off Marketing, but this is a massive one off the list. All the others are important to set up the foundations correctly, but the area that deals with finding your audience, communicating with them so they respond and take actions to make your business profitable is fundamental to keep operating. AWARENESS > INTEREST > DESIRE > ACTION My suggestion to anyone starting out on their own, you need to look at your marketing early on in the process and make proper provision in your budget to ensure you and your business get off on the right foot. NICHE | 61

‘With the printers’ Every print job has a story behind it. Niche Magazine’s print partner Soar Valley Press reveals meaningful conversations with local people working at Leicester-based organisations while their projects are with the printers WORDS BY KERRY SMITH



randed chocolates and chocolate box to give Christmas cheer to the beneficiaries of the Zinthiya Trust, founded by Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan

What print has achieved for the charity:

“We support women and girls experiencing or at risk of all types of abuse including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse as well as help people to improve their financial position. “We wanted to add something nice for our beneficiaries in their hampers last year, because so many families and individuals have

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faced unimaginable hardship during the pandemic and we wanted to comfort and cheer them up in a small way over Christmas by choosing to give chocolates instead of a card. The box was designed with the Zinthiya Trust branding, which made it even more special and meaningful. “Our beneficiaries, especially the children but the adults as well, loved them and thought it was a nice idea. I believe we will continue to do this each Christmas now, as it seems very popular among our beneficiaries which include individuals, families and children. “Most recently we are also investing in travel mugs that we can give out in our cafe as this is something we would like to promote to prevent people using


disposables wherever possible and help lower our carbon footprint. “Soar Valley Press has helped us deliver in a cost-effective and timely manner, which is most important to a charity. They also help us source other providers, which is great to know that you’re working with trusted referral partners. “Our printing requirements range from simple flyers to banners and branded items such as the chocolates and the travel mugs. We have also used Soar Valley Press for other projects such as providing large photos for our new hub and our magazine, She Inspires.” Branded chocolates and chocolate boxes are available from Soar Valley Press, visit for a quote.


Leicester living A round-up of some of the key property schemes across the city and county WORDS BY KERRY SMITH


here’s been a lot happening for Leicester’s property scene lately. The luxurious new Gresham Hotel opened last November in the former Grade II listed Fenwicks building after a £17m refurbishment. Build-to-rent is quickly developing as a sector in the UK housing market, represented in Leicester by apartment buildings such as The Wullcomb and The Arches, the latter of which opened to tenants late last year. Build-to-rent schemes provide supreme tenant experiences with the intention to build whole communities as well as homes under one roof. Indicating the upcoming popularity of build-to-rent, Hugh McAleer of Catella APAM, to which The Arches scheme has been sold, said in June last year: “We are pleased to announce this c. £31.65m investment to deliver 184 high quality, purpose built rental homes in Leicester on behalf of the Catella European Residential Fund III (CER III). This transaction marks CER III’s long term plan to roll out a

wider strategy of investing in high quality developments in first class locations across the UK with Catella APAM acting as investment and asset manager.” On top of some unique schemes having come to Leicester, house prices have risen by nearly 10% from September 2020 to September 2021 across the city and county, which was reported by Land Registry. The Time on the Market report conducted by Home, showed that the average time on the market for homes in Leicester dropped by 14% for detached houses; 12% for semi-detached properties; and 10% for terraced homes in December 2021 compared to December 2020. It shows these types of properties are being snapped up quicker than last year, while the average time on the market for flats has risen from 232 days to 235 days, an increase of 1%. A £30m seven-storey student block is also expected to be completed by September 2022 and there are 885 new homes planned to be built as part of a huge new housing estate in the


countryside between Hinckley Road and Kirby Muxloe Golf Club, which will also include a new school and shops. Local people in Oadby and Wigston now have the unique chance to become homeowners without the need for an upfront deposit in a first for Leicestershire. The Rentplus scheme allows working people to move into brand new homes with no deposit as well as offering the chance to buy the home in the future. Leicester is an exciting place to live and visit with its beautiful countryside; rich history in radio, food, textiles and royalty; three well-known universities; the largest comedy event in Britain, Leicester Comedy Festival; being known for its huge Diwali celebrations; and much more. Travelling around the city and county is about to become much more appealing with electric buses coming with the redevelopment of St Margaret’s bus station. And with a planned £22m revamp of Leicester train station, Leicester is evermore establishing itself as a noteworthy destination. NICHE | 63


A guide for first-time buyers Advice for first-time buyers from mortgage broker Kamlesh Lodhia at Airborne Mortgage Solutions


uying a home is one of the biggest financial commitments most people will make in their lifetimes. So, it’s no wonder that first time buyers can feel overwhelmed and bewildered when starting out to purchase their first home. Not only do you have the stress of finding the perfect property, but there is a lot of new terminology and processes to learn on top of this.

To help, a good mortgage broker will assist your journey from start to finish, offering information on the buying process, taking care of the entire mortgage application, and remaining on hand to provide support through to completion and beyond. Which is all part of the process at Airborne Mortgage Solutions. How much you can borrow can be determined through a simple call with one of our mortgage brokers to assess your current circumstances such as income, expenditure, debt levels, and credit issues. In terms of deposit, at the very least, lenders require 5% of the property purchase price. The more

deposit you can put down, the better the mortgage rates. Once a suitable property is found, we understand this is when things get most exciting but also daunting. Not knowing what the next steps are, is why we remain on hand the whole way through for any questions you may have. The solicitor firm also forms an integral part of the process. We will keep in close contact with yourself throughout the process, ensuring to liaise with the lender and solicitor for updates to track your case through to completion. To find answers to frequently asked questions go to our website:

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TikTok helps singer turn his life around Single dad overcame mental health problems and changed his life to be a role model to his son WORDS BY LEVITHA BIJI


athew Richards, a singer from Leicester, who has been featured on platforms such as BBC radio, is someone who experienced the struggles of lockdown first-hand, as he had been diagnosed with COVID and gained full custody over his four-year-old, all while going through mental health problems. After dealing with it alone, he lost the passion for his craft. However, the artist said: “I soon realised that only you can help yourself when dealing with mental health problems,

as others can only advise you.” Being an individual with a strong mind, his life was turned around with his son being his motivation as he built an online presence on social media platforms such as TikTok with gaining 86k followers. “Having full custody over my son made me change my life around. Changing the way I think rubbed off on my son and he can see how positive I am, which is the most important thing to me.” To learn more about Mathew Richard and his work go on


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Welcome to award-winning healthcare Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital general surgery services At Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital our experienced general surgeons specialise in a range of diagnostic and repair procedures. They are experts in their field and can provide rapid access to treatment. Why choose Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital for your general surgery? Whether you are seeking results from a diagnostic procedure or looking at treatment options to remove a painful hernia, our team of experienced general surgeons at Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital are experts in their field, providing you with rapid access to a personalised treatment plan.

Choosing to go private provides you with a number of benefits. At Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital you can: • Skip the waiting lists to be seen quickly • Be seen by the same consultant from your initial consultation, through to your aftercare • Receive a packaged price inclusive of all aftercare needed • Receive a detailed and accurate diagnosis from any diagnostic procedure as soon as possible.

Awards 2017, 2018, 2019

WINNER Private hospital group of the year

Services include but not limited to: • Hysterectomy

• Haemorrhoid removal

• Colonoscopy

• Gallbladder removal

• Endoscopy

• Flexible sigmoidoscopy.

• Gastroscopy For more information or to book, call 0116 298 2612 visit Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital Scraptoft Lane, Leicester LE5 1HY

Been waiting to

tie the knot?

If you’ve been waiting to get married since before the first lockdown, here’s what to do first to ensure the big day goes smoothly this year or next WORDS BY KERRY SMITH


aving witnessed two of my closest friends go through the stress of planning their own wedding, I can only imagine the complications that two years of Covid has added on top for those eager to marry after becoming engaged during or before the first lockdown in March 2020. Many weddings – not to mention other celebrations such as engagement parties, anniversaries, and hen and stag dos – have been cancelled throughout much of the last two years and it’s meant that many of these gatherings will be taking place in 2022/23 having been pushed back to as far as this year to be on the ‘safer side’. That doesn’t leave much room for venues, caterers and entertainers to squeeze in your own wedding with the flurry of celebrations you’ll be competing with in the coming few years. If you’re planning for your wedding to take place between now and next year, even if you have a small or relaxed celebration in mind, you’ll need to get booked in with your desired companies now. It’s not impossible to book or finalise your wedding for this year or next, but you will need to be getting on the phone to your preferred suppliers as soon as you’ve finished reading this! Here’s a handy timeline to help you plan your wedding in 2022 and 2023.

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Create a…

This is the fun part. The more of an idea you have about what you want your wedding to look like, the quicker you will be able to work your vendors and friends and family to set a date and make decisions. However, if you have your heart set on certain aspects, this may hold you up. Flexibility is your best friend at this time. ◆ Guest list ◆ Wedding party list ◆ Pinterest/mood board ◆ Wedding website

Book the…

For a wedding to go ahead in 2022/23, you’re going to have to be less choosy about dates. It’s recommended that you liaise with whichever vendor is most important to you first, whether that be your favourite venue or preferred entertainer. See which dates they’re available and try to match them up with one another. ◆ Venue ◆ Entertainment ◆ Caterers ◆ DJ ◆ Officiant ◆ Block of hotel rooms for overnight guests ◆ Transportation ◆ Hair and makeup artists ◆ Cake ◆ Florists ◆ Hen/stag dos


Buy the…

Remember that try-on sessions will be needed and alterations may take time. Ask your vendors how long they’ll need. ◆ Bride’s outfit ◆ Bridesmaid attire ◆ Groom’s outfit ◆ Groomsmen’s attire ◆ Rings ◆ Accessories ◆ Wedding party gifts ◆ Props and decorations

Send your…

Ideally, invitations should be sent out two to three months before the occasion. ◆ Hen and stag do invitations ◆ Wedding invitations


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Valentine’s Burlesque Cabaret Show Saturday 12th February 3 course meal plus show £50 Show only £15

Comedy at Joe’s 3rd, 10th & 17th February 3 ACTS PLUS HOST

Tickets £10 proud to be part of

Visit the What’s On tab at or for tickets

Susie the Foodie FOODIE THINGS IN LEICESTERSHIRE In honour of Leicester boy Will Chirag (Chigs) making it to the final of The Great British Bake Off at the end of last year, we thought we would look at some of Leicestershire’s finest bakeries.


50 London Rd, Oadby, Leicester LE2 5DH A little family run business with over 30 years’ experience in cake design. It has it’s own inhouse bakers and decorators designing simple cupcakes to elaborate wedding cakes. Open daily for freshly made sandwiches and freshly baked bread, pastries and cakes.


2 Cottesmore Road, Exton, Oakham Rutland LE15 8AN 12 Church Street, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16 7AA Hambleton Bakery was formed as a partnership between Julian Carter and Tim Hart producing top quality traditionally made bread using the best ingredients, no additives and traditional recipes. Hambleton Bakery has grown to supply six Hambleton Bakery shops, Hambleton Hall, Harts Nottingham, many farm shops and delis across the surrounding counties as well as restaurants, gastro pubs and artisan cafes.


58 Hinckley Rd, Leicester LE3 0RB A family-owned and operated bakery established in 2013, by a mother (Lorraine) and daughter (Danielle) selling cupcakes and personalised cakes. Since then Danielle’s other two siblings have joined them. They provide cakes, cupcakes, wedding cakes and buffets, as well as offering tasty lunch and breakfast options.


Unit 2, 122 Bridge Road, Leicester LE5 3QN Deen’s Bakery are committed to producing tasty, quality treats. Upholding traditional snack-making techniques they create Chai Treats; seasoned, flavoured and fried to perfection! They make treats for weddings, Eids and other celebrations. Treats can be made to order and gift platters are also available. They also make naans, buns, finger rolls and pizza bases.

CAKE ORIGIN 110 Queens Road, Leicester LE2 3FL

From cupcakes to multi-tiered wedding cakes and celebration cakes, Cake Origin are passionate about producing cakes that not only taste delicious but provide visual memories. Relax in the cosy boutique, with a cake (or two) made fresh on site each day with some locally roasted coffee, or a selection of Teas. Cake Origin also offer classes for beginners or the more experienced, one to one or group sessions, corporate team days or hen parties.


98 Clarendon Park Rd, Leicester LE2 3AE A small independent artisan bakery specialising in handcrafted breads and pastries, bespoke celebration cakes and locally roasted coffee. They sell a range of hot and cold speciality drinks to take out, tray bakes, loaf cakes, scones, vegan savoury rolls and lots more, all baked on site, made from scratch by skilled passionate bakers.

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What’s on at Curve Start the year off with a pelvic thrust and some unique renditions of your favourite classic hits

The Rocky Horror Show Curve would like, if you may, to take you on a strange journey


he Rocky Horror Show plays here in Leicester from January 10-15 and if you didn’t get a chance to book tickets, the production photography offers a glimpse into the sheer madness. In the risqué and riotously funny show, Brad Ore plays squeaky-clean Brad Majors – who, along with his fiancée Janet Weiss, inadvertently cross paths with mad scientist Frank-N-Furter and his bunch of outrageous followers. Cue fun, frolics, frocks and frivolity, classic songs like The Time Warp and Sweet Transvestite, and Oduba in various states of undress. Ore studied sports and social sciences at Loughborough University before becoming a TV and radio presenter. He believes The Rocky Horror Show is just the tonic audiences around the country are in need of. “Theatregoers are gagging for a great night out. They’re desperate and clawing at the walls, and this show is the perfect remedy to everything we’ve all been through,” says the Strictly

Come Dancing champion. Can he relate to the nerdy character whose visit to FrankN-Furter’s castle proves to be an inhibition-shedding experience? “I think there’s a lot of Brad in me and in a lot of people,” the 35-year-old admits. “It’s the idea of being kind of caged animals, because we all have a lot of reservations and inhibitions and things we hold back. We’re just waiting to be unleashed.” Since it premiered in 1973 at The Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, and has been seen by over 30 million people worldwide who turn up for what is the ultimate guaranteed party. “It’s pure escapism. You leave your troubles at the door and you’re taken into a world that’s nothing like the real one. In addition to iconic music and brilliant dance numbers, it’s just such a feel-good show.” See The Rocky Horror Show Curve January 10-15. Book tickets at


The Carole King Musical Telling the story of the singersongwriter before she became a chart-topping legend


he UK tour of the Olivier, Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, opens at Curve on February 28 and plays until March 12. Directed by Curve’s Artistic Director Nikolai Foster (Sunset Boulevard, West Side Story), the show will feature a talented cast of actor-musicians performing countless classics including You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, Take Good Care of my Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, Up on the Roof, Locomotion, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling and exploring the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom. Tickets are available now at

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Things to do this New Year January isn’t known to be the most fun month of the year with tight budgets, holiday podginess and the tiresome weather. Therefore, we’ve found a list of events taking place throughout January and February to brighten up a typically dull start to the New Year.


The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival February 2-20 Big Difference Company

Tickled Pink All Star Female Comedy Night February 4 20:30-21:30 Leicester Guildhall

The Big Chilli February 15 18:30-22:30 Chutney Ivy


Beer & Cider Festival February 19 12:00-23:55 Queen Street, LE1 1QD

Spark Festival

February 7-13 Various opening times Various locations across the city


Shrek The Musical

January 25-29 19:30 Loughborough Town Hall

Musicals Bottomless Brunch January 29 From 11:30 Lane7

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Leicester International Music Festival January 27 13:00-14:00

Leicester Museum and Art Gallery The Sound & Vision Of Bowie Tribute January 28 19:30-22:45 The Y Theatre



The Snowman and The Snowdog

November 13 – February 20 Various opening times Newarke Houses Museum

Built for Sound

December 17 – January 29 Various opening times LCB Depot

Getting Away with Murder(s) January 16 15.00-19.00 Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre

Banff Mountain Film Festival January 27 19.30-23.30 De Montfort Hall


Space Lates – Backyard Astronomy January 14 16:00-21:00 National Space Centre

Professor Brian Cox January 24 19.30-21.30 De Montfort Hall

Check in with these venues for schedules jam-packed full of events in January and February. ◆ O2

Academy Guildhall ◆ De Montfort Hall ◆ Curve ◆ The Little Theatre ◆ The Y ◆ Loughborough Town Hall ◆ Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre ◆ International Arts Centre ◆ National Space Centre ◆ Leicester Museum and Art Gallery ◆ Newarke Houses Museum ◆ LCB Depot ◆ Leicester

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A galaxy of rockets in Leicester

Over £150,000 was raised through auction for caring patients at the most difficult time of their lives WORDS BY LEVITHA BIJI


he city of Leicester came alive last summer with a galaxy of spectacular rockets, which touched down as a trail around the city. The spacetastic rockets were all individually designed, and hand printed by artists who were sponsored by a local business organised by the local charity LOROS Hospice, together with leading art event producers Wild in Art. The Rocket Round Leicester trail, which took place across ten weeks in the summer, saw 40 spectacularly decorated rocket sculptures and 38 mini Junior Jets direct a journey of discovery across the city’s streets and open spaces. Laura Betts, Fundraising Manager at LOROS Hospice, said: “The trail has been a real smash hit with the people of Leicester, bringing the community together after 18 months of isolation. The Rockets have taken us on a voyage of

recovery as well as discovery.” The rockets, sponsored by University of Leicester, were as diverse as Leicester itself, with designs celebrating Leicester’s finest. Designs were inspired by Leicester City Football Club, King Richard III bringing the king-in-the-carpark back to life, David Attenborough and many other favourites like giant blue fluffy monster Bogswamp, as well as unique features of the city representing Leicester’s community, wildlife, architecture, and waterways. As well as the out-of-this-world trail of the 8ft rockets, a separate trail was created for miniature rocket sculptures designed by over 35 local schools and community groups as part of the Rocket Round Leicester Learning Programme. Trail attendees had the option to assemble a path map from the Rocket Round Leicester Trail Hub Shop in High Cross retail outlet to track down all the rockets


and complete the path. Simon Jenner, Director of BID Leicester, said: “It’s been fantastic to see people of all ages in the city centre enjoying the Rocket Round Leicester trail. The additional footfall in the city has been a great boost to our local businesses during the summer months.” The final time to see the sculptures together was at the farewell weekend in October 2020 just before the rockets blasted away for auction. The auction was taken to the moon and back as it saw a plethora of bidders both online and inperson compete to take home the individually designed, handpainted giant rocket sculptures. The closeout was overseen by VIP barker Charles Hanson. The most noteworthy bid which scooped the King Richard III Rocket King was £20,000, with Blue Army fetching £13,500 which brought the total amount raised to £153,095. NICHE | 81

A rocket to represent our

environment A local councillor hopes the rocket he bought at auction will remind others to take care of our planet WORDS BY LEVITHA BIJI


hen the handpainted rockets were auctioned off at the end of the campaign, it offered many opportunities to bring home one of the stunning giant rocket models. It was a wholesome event for the community and involved people in a really good cause. It was a win-win situation for the organisation as well as for the public. The rockets looked fantastic, and the campaign was a suitable opportunity for local artists. It got children and families involved and pushed them to discover new things, which they probably didn’t know about before, all for a great charity. Paul Hartshorn, a councillor and managing director of Mr. H IT who supports food banks and various charities bought one as a personal purchase, to give back to the community. He purchased the rocket titled ‘David’s Flora

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And Fauna’ created by Caroline Coates, which was placed in Abbey Park Pavilion Café, the Oval as part of the Rocket Round Leicester trail. The design of this incredible rocket was Inspired by Sir David Attenborough, paying tribute to his work by featuring animals and plants. This particular rocket aims to raise awareness for endangered species.” The sculpture was carefully chosen by Paul’s wife, and has been installed in the local councillor’s garden, matching perfectly with the family’s aesthetic. The importance of the rocket meant quite a lot to Paul, as it was designed around David Attenborough’s life motto to keep endangered species and our planet protected. The inspiration for this specific rocket is so important because the current issue of our environment and climate change must be taken seriously. Not


only does it look good, but also represents such an important cause. Paul said: “It is a reminder to us all to start looking after our planet that we are living in and start making some changes in our lives, each time we step into our garden. “LOROS has always proved to do good work and highlights the point that it is always moral to give back to the community, even in the smallest way you can. “There are so many charities to choose from, but if you want to get involved in one, sometimes it is not about which charity, but what the charity stands for, which is why the I chose to get involved with LOROS. “It is a great sense of fulfilment whether you are an individual, business or an organisation. It is important for your own self being, giving back to the communities especially in the times recovering from the pandemic.”


Can you

survive the wild? How signing up for Hope Against Cancer’s Survive the Wild could be just the fitness motivation you need in 2022 WORDS BY EMILY MILLER


he Hope Against Cancer Survive the Wild challenge is a menu of outdoor pursuits, challenges and camping in the British wilderness. Ashley Butcher, director at ADT Taxis, took part in the challenge last year and says signing up is a great way to hold yourself to those New Year Resolutions. “We met up with an ex-army guy who took us on a long hike up to do abseiling, mountaineering and caving,” he told us. “The last bit was a five mile hike up a steep hill at the end of the

day – that was well worth it, because we ended up canyoning-jumping into water! “Right from the beginning, the people were great, everyone got in there and did it. It was challenging but well worth it because we knew money was being raised for a fantastic cause. We all felt we’d been pushed out of our comfort zone. “That night we had such a good laugh camping together. We had a few beers and the jokes flowed. The rapport we built and everyone bonding

together was just brilliant. “It’s great value too – you get transport, most meals and all the amazing activities – you just need a pack up, good shoes and a sense of adventure. I’d thoroughly recommend anybody to get involved in 2022.” The next Survive The Wild takes place on June 22-24, 2022 in the Lake District. Participants pay a £150 initial fee and are required to raise a minimum of £250 sponsorship. To secure your place, call 0116 270 0101 or email

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Prostate cancer and you Support groups and treatment options for prostate cancer patients WORDS BY LEVITHA BIJI


rostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Sadly, 32 men die every day from the disease in the UK according to Cancer Research UK. And other statistics show that African and African Caribbean men have a three times higher risk of getting prostate cancer than all other men. Receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer can be very stressful, but it is important to understand how much support is really available. Joining support groups is not only beneficial to the patient, but also to their partner and family, to get through it together.

Support groups

Support groups are mostly run by volunteers who themselves have experienced prostate cancer and are eager to help an 84 | NICHE

individual through the process, from beginning to end. Thanks to the unique team of five support groups within the Prostaid charity – four in Leicestershire and one in Northampton – together with their four Prostaid specialist prostate cancer nurses, jointly funded with local hospitals and visits from local consultants, surgeons and oncologists, Prostaid is able to support and advise patients and their partners.

Treatment decisions

Treatments can vary depending on the type of prostate cancer. Treatment choices can appear to be confusing and deciding on which is right for you can be overwhelming. It is essential to put some time into making an educated and informed choice and not to settle on an option


either due to any pressure you put on yourself or an assumption that you feel from others. To work out which treatment choice is for you, listen carefully to advice given to you by the specialists and nurses you’ve dealt with and ask for information from Prostaid, all written by dedicated consultants. Set aside time to pose any queries you have to your specialists and don’t be reluctant to request further explanation later if you feel that something isn’t clear. Prostaid also has a ‘buddy’ service. You can ask for help from a Prostaid ‘Buddy’ who has been recently treated to help you with your choices. To request a buddy or find your nearest support group, go to or call Prostaid on 0116 288 8188.


Make a difference

one sport at a time Local businesses support global sporting initiatives Words by Siddiqa Reininghaus


iving back to the community can make a huge difference to anyone, no matter how big or small. However, many business leaders may find it difficult to learn how they can support the community in the most effective way. A community-focused social enterprise, Koi Sports CIC, have made that process readily accessible with their six levels of membership scheme, new for 2022, for businesses of any size. Managing director, Dave Rayner, explains that when business leaders become members of Koi Sports, they are investing in young people with special needs, their communities,

and charities to make positive social changes. He said: “Membership fees are reinvested into the members chosen grassroots sports club, sports charity or sports initiatives of their choice, and our charity of the year for 2022 which is the Jordan Sinnott Foundation Trust, whose mission is to support vulnerable children through their love of sport.” The charity was set up in memorial of Jordan Sinnott, Matlock Town FC midfielder, and the fund commemorates Jordan by providing financial support to underprivileged children who also have a passion for sports. Koi Sports has continued to boost development in communities both,


locally and internationally. Currently, the company supports sporting initiatives in rural areas of Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda, encouraging international trade opportunities for UK employers. Koi Sports welcome new members in the New Year to kick start their global sports programmes in India. To support them, visit

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Changing lives in Leicester & Leicestershire Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL) is a charity that has been helping local people to change their lives for the better for over 50 years.  Supporting local charities by providing advice, training and resources  Promoting volunteering across the city and county  Helping people find work through our YES and GREAT projects  Supporting people with learning disabilities to live fulfilling lives  Low-cost office space for local businesses and charities 0116 257 5050

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If you’d like to help VAL improve the lives of local people, get in touch with us today

Loneliness and older people 2 million

The number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6. This compares to around 1.4 million in 2016/7 – a 49% increase in 10 years AGE UK

3.9 million Two fifths of all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company AGE UK


5 days

Half a million older people go at least five days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all AGE UK

Over half of those aged 85 and over, and 38% of those aged 75 to 84 live alone ONS

Combating loneliness Loneliness isn’t only for Christmas or lockdowns. For many, it’s all year round and every day. For the elderly, it can mean a significant decline in wellbeing and quality of life WORDS BY EMILY MILLER


ccording to a recent study by Age UK, a substantial minority of one in twelve people, which currently represents around 1.4 million older people living in England, are often lonely. In line with these findings, statistics suggest that within the next decade, two million people aged 50 and over in England are projected to be lonely if we fail to tackle loneliness. Jay Ghaghda of leading at-home care provider Bluebird Care says: “Having worked within the elderly community for the last 11 years I have seen how loneliness can affect a person. “Some individuals might not have family members or friends nearby who can pop in or even speak to on the phone. It’s not an especially growing problem, but it is a persistent one that is very much a pandemic within our society and it peaks in the darker and colder months.”

So, how do we tackle loneliness in our elderly population? “There are ways to firstly uncover loneliness and prevent it too. It really starts with an individual and treating them as such. It’s important to remember that every person will have a unique set of challenges and needs. “Following on from that, it’s about listening to people, making sure they are heard and from this, building their self-esteem and confidence.” Establishing what people need, where they need the support to relieve that loneliness, and working out how that can be brought into their lives is part of the ongoing solution. “At Bluebird Care, our carers are matched specifically to individuals and their personalities. A carer visiting daily provides a familiar, friendly face that they have developed a relationship with, and


this is all part of making sure that our customers don’t only receive the medical care they need but that their mental health is taken care of too,” Jay explained. Looking for opportunities for the older generation to interact with their carers and as a wider community is all part of trying to break down the feeling of isolation that so many feel. And, after the pandemic of Covid-19, that feeling of isolation is greater than ever. “We have provided care for individuals in their own homes throughout, but with so many staying away from friends and families and barely venturing to the shops, the loneliness is more prevalent than I have ever seen. “Reach out to those in your local neighbourhoods who may be alone this year. Our communities are needed more than ever before to prevent and treat loneliness.” To learn more about loneliness in the elderly and to find befriending services, visit and for tailored, individual care in the home contact Jay and the Bluebird Care team on 0116 217 1405 for localised support. NICHE | 87

Celebrations all round for Leicester’s business community


ur social pages are back! In this first issue of the year, we’re taking a look back on three significant, annual events that took place last November and December. First up was the Real Entrepreneurs Club Dinner which was hosted by Jenny Cross, who is CEO of the club’s parent company Cross Productions. Almost 60 prestigious guests joined her for the evening at Winstanley House on November 18, 2021. e-Bate’s Leanne Bonner-Cooke MBE was special guest speaker and 10 other associate partners hosted tables for their chosen invitation-only guests. The popular Kazzoo Christmas Quiz night provided a great end to the year for Focus Charity with £2,144.89 raised at the event on December 3. Eighty-two people joined in with

the quiz and raffle at East Street Lanes. Each year, Kazzoo’s Chris Cain puts together an eventful charity quiz night, which much of the Leicestershire business community loves to get involved in. The East Midlands Chamber Business Awards for Leicestershire also went ahead on December 3. Guests were welcomed at the home of Leicester Tigers by president Eileen Richards MBE. With over 20 years’ experience on the UK comedy circuit, Dom Woodward hosted the event. On the night, £2,400 was raised bringing Eileen’s overall fundraising total of the year to £11,500. Her chosen charities are Help the Homeless, Chesterfield Samaritans, and Nottinghamshire Hospice.

Real Entrepreneurs Club Dinner

88 | NICHE



Kazzoo Christmas Quiz

The East Midlands Chamber Business Awards

NICHE | 89


Directors, specialists, CEOs, MBEs, PhD holders, and other higher-ups… they’re all people you might meet in the boardroom. It’s a professional space where best behaviour is upheld. But these successful types are people too! They have lives and we want to know what goes on in them. We squeeze answers out of them on subjects you wouldn’t normally discuss in the boardroom

PROFILE: Andrew Futter ational Politics Professor of Intern ster University of Leice Age: 37

Born in Cambridge shire Lives in Leicester clear weapons in contemporary nu es lis ia ec sp y: rth Notewo threats task r-nuclear security be cy e th of r be Research issues, mem Initiative, Honorary at re Th ar cle Nu force run by the Conflict, Fellow at the Institute for gy te ra St ar cle Nu Fellow in te in Oslo. Nobel Peace Institu n ia eg rw No e th at w would you FRIENDSHIPS: Ho as a friend? describe yourself and encouraging. Always supportive listen to my to I am always there gemental. jud be t friends and no hat’s the craziest ADVENTURES: W ? Giving the thing you’ve done at my brother’s ch ee best man’s sp wedding. here would your ENVIRONMENT: W est look for you? nearest and dear cket club or The office, at the cri I on the ground, as doing some work de out cricket outsi am passionate ab of work. NESS: What’s HEALTH AND FIT habit? A st your unhealthie eaways and tak of combination lagers.

E: INTELLECTUAL LIF t ou ek ge What do you ls, ve no al ric on? Histo with especially novels , se spies and of cour cricket! What’s your best RELATIONSHIPS: Make sure you’re e? relationship advic e things from able to listen and se ective, even if it is other people’s persp hard sometimes. od at anything? SKILLS: Weirdly go r! Born cricket playe Which of life’s SPIRITUAL LIFE: u up at night? mysteries keep yo od person and the Whether I am a go be. best version I can the worst part CAREER: What’s t being able to about your job? No . es switch off sometim

tside of work, CREATIVE LIFE: Ou eate’? ‘cr what did you last e with my us ho er I built a summ rden. ga the in law brother-int’s your most FAMILY LIFE: Wha childhood? My m fro fond memory watch me play parents coming to me on. cricket and cheer E: Which political COMMUNITY LIF t interested in topic are you mos government right now? How the how it continues d an deals with Covid le can believe and to make sure peop trust their words.


To get a well-rounded feel for our interviewee, our questions are based on Vishen Lakhiani’s 12 Areas of Life Balance

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