Dynamic Business Magazine - issue 37

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Labour’s SEN time bomb


Impactful Innovation


Fiat Abarth EV


The clever VPN hack

Baroness Floella Benjamin

WOMEN Understanding GABA Kreston UK Charities Report
Childhood lasts a lifetime ❜❜


Baroness Floella Benjamin

Inclusivity champion, Windrush spokesperson, motivational speaker, and Humpty’s friend, Dynamic chronicles the life of a national treasure 10


Labour’s VAT time bomb Labour needs to listen to families with children with special education needs ahead of its plans to remove VAT exemption from fee-paying schools

You called… and we came poem by Professor Laura Serrant, about the Windrush generation



occurring amino acid –and what it can do for you


Number of passengers on Windrush’s only migration voyage, 1948

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6 Upfront: The top international news stories involving women in business

20 In The Right Direction: Good news stories from around the world

22 Spotlight

22 Highlighting two professional businesswomen whose work deserves greater attention than it currently receives

30 Further Reading

30 Reviews of books by Petra Velzeboer and others on the subject of mental wellbeing Art Scene

32 Kellie Miller discusses the works of Mary Jones – aka ‘The Brick Thief’ Travel

34 Acquiring a VPN can not only disguise your IP address, but save you money when booking a holiday Fine Dining

36 Fumi – high quality Japanese cuisine in central Brighton

What’s On

40 A brief snapshot of art and culture cross Sussex and Surrey


8 Business exit strategy

Samantha Kaye from Wellesley points out that the proceeds from selling your business may affect your loved ones too

14 Celebrating the ‘wow’ factor

Rachel Watkyn OBE, the CEO of Tiny Box Company, has been inspired by the women at the Dynamic Awards

15 ‘No hard feelings’

Beth Warner of FRP Corporate Finance, was honoured to be involved in judging at the recent Dynamic Awards

16 Plus X Innovation

Innovation is one of the most essential tools businesses can have, says Natasha Kingdom


24 Kreston UK Charities Report 2024

The Kreston UK Charity Group has produced a report into the financial condition of the UK charity sector. Dynamic offers a snapshot of its findings

26 Rockinghorse

Rockinghorse Children’s Charity is fundraising to create a new Wellbeing Service to support thousands of children and families

❛ Getting some clarity, any clarity, would be incredibly welcome

Nick Pietrek, headmaster of Stafford Grammar school on Labour’s VAT plans


38 Fiona Shafer, MD of MDHUB, road tests a ‘cheeky little Italian motor’ – the Fiat Abarth 500e


PUBLISHER: Maarten Hoffmann maarten@platinummediagroup.co.uk

EDITOR: Tess de Klerk tess@platinummediagroup.co.uk

MOTORING EDITOR: Fiona Shafer fionas@platinummediagroup.co.uk

COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: Lesley Alcock lesley@platinummediagroup.co.uk

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SUB EDITOR: Alan Wares alan@platinummediagroup.co.uk

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We are delighted to share this edition of Dynamic with you, carefully curated for your reading pleasure.

In this month’s Big Story, we tell the life story of the talented Baroness Floella Benjamin, who has done so much for race relations, working tirelessly for diversity, inclusion and equality. A life led with passion and purpose.

Kreston Reeves brings us the Kreston UK Charity Report 2024, while we hear from the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity about its latest initiative. We also look at what Labour’s proposal for removing the charitable status of private schools may mean to the families of children with special educational needs.

Our magazine is, as always, full of remarkable women including Rachel Watkyn from Tiny Box who offers her support and guidance to people in business through the Tiny Clinic. In Spotlight, we feature Tanya Houston of the marketing agency Wildwood Plus as well as Mary Cullen, who shares her unusual journey with us.

You will find plenty more in our regular features, including a hack to save money on your next holiday booking on page 35, and plenty of reading material for sunny days on page 28.

We hope that you enjoy this month’s Dynamic.

Editor, Dynamic Magazine tess@platinummediagroup.co.uk

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Women leaders in male-dominated industries shared their experiences and insights at a forum at Bayes Business School, London recently. The panel discussion, chaired by Dr Janina Steinmetz, who leads the Bayes Global Women‘s Leadership Programme, explored the challenges facing women in sectors such as transport, real estate and finance – and the campaign for a gender-balanced House of Commons. Janina said: “Globally, we see more women in leadership positions, and that makes a lot of sense because we now have a lot of research evidence that diversity in leadership positions actually benefits organisations.

“However, most of this progress has happened in industries that tend to be female-dominated. Even the few women who rise to leadership positions in male-dominated sectors, report problems such as impostor syndrome or even sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination due to gender stereotyping.”




Dating app Bumble, founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd, has apologised for adverts that critics said shamed women who were not sexually active.

The marketing campaign included messages such as “A vow of celibacy is not the answer” and “Thou shalt not give up on dating and become a nun”.

Bumble said the ads were supposed to bring humour to “a community frustrated by modern dating”. But critics said the adverts were tasteless and ran counter to the company’s stated aim of empowering women.

“In a world fighting for respect and autonomy over our bodies, it’s appalling to see a dating platform undermine women’s choices,” wrote Jordan Emanuel, a model and actress who has talked publicly about her decision to refrain from sex for a year.

❛ ❛
I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me
Tracee Ellis Ross


Justine Upton, a business mentor from Worthing, has picked up two awards at the National Mentoring Matters Awards 2024. She received the Best Mentor Award, and the Outstanding Contribution Award for the outstanding work she does to help businesses to unlock their growth potential; a double in a set of very prestigious awards.

Justine launched and ran her own recruitment business for 25 years before exiting in 2021. Since then she has gained her qualifications in Mentoring and Coaching and has set up her eponymous business to share her knowledge with entrepreneurs who are at a crossroads with their company and need a helping hand.

She joined the Help to Grow: Management course in 2023 and has already mentored eight business leaders on the course.

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In a bizarre twist of positive discrimination, a French road safety association is urging people to “drive like a woman” to reduce the number of traffic deaths.

Victimes & Citoyens, a group which supports the victims of road accidents, has launched a campaign to debunk the misogynistic stereotype that men are better drivers than women.

Using data from France’s National Interministerial Road Safety Observatory, the campaign noted that 84% of fatal accidents in 2022 were caused by men, while 88% of young drivers were killed by men, and 93% of drunk drivers involved in accidents were men “When we look at the figures, they are clear: to stay alive behind the wheel, the best thing for men to do is adopt the same behaviour as women,” the campaign’s website says.

The beauty of being a feminist is that you get to be whatever you want. And that’s the point
Shonda Rhimes
❛ ❛
Always concentrate on how far you have come, rather than how far you have left to go. The difference in how easy it seems will amaze you
Heidi Johnson


Rising NHS waiting lists are being blamed for more than 1.5m women leaving work due to ill health.

Musculoskeletal issues, such as back and neck pain, were the biggest driver of women leaving the workforce due to ill health, while depression, anxiety and mental illness contributed to a large increase in the number of women classed as economically inactive - neither in work nor looking for work.

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “We need a proper plan for dealing with the sharp rise in long-term sickness.

“It means dealing with the chronic staffing shortages across the NHS and social care that are delaying patients from being seen when they need to.”


London City Airport Chief Operating Officer Alison FitzGerald has been appointed CEO. She has been COO since 2016 and co-CEO alongside Chief Financial officer Wilma Allan since January 2024.

She joined London City 10 years ago as Chief Information Officer and, since then and in her role as COO, she has been responsible for leading the airport to become one of the first in the UK to fully deploy new CT security scanners.

She has also overseen the implementation of the world’s first major digital air traffic control tower, and has worked with aircraft manufactures and airlines to enable the introduction of next generation aircraft into the Docklands airport.

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The proceeds from selling your business may set the scene for a secure financial future –so take the time to think about your loved ones too, says SAMANTHA KAYE from Wellesley


When your thoughts turn to selling or exiting your business, getting the sale over the line may seem like the most pressing concern – but it’s essential to plan ahead.

You’ll hopefully receive a significant cash sum for this new chapter in your life. Before you seal the deal, it’s essential to plan what you intend to do with the money to ensure you’re doing the best thing for yourself and your family, both now and in the future.


It’s true to say that the earlier you start planning your exit, the more options will be open to you. Th is is particularly relevant if you’re considering gifting your business, because if you intend to pass your wealth on to support your loved ones, how and when you do so could have tax implications for them.

A trading business generally qualifies for business relief and is therefore free of Inheritance Tax (IHT). However, once the business is sold, the cash proceeds will be assessed for IHT. Look at what you’ll likely have available, how much you need and what you can do with any remainder.


Smart estate planning before an exit uses all available exemptions in an overarching fi nancial plan and tends to involve the whole family. Th is is called a holistic estate plan.

Your plan should also include a decumulation strategy showing how to draw retirement income efficiently from your various assets. For example, pensions are IHT-free, so creating an income stream that draws as little as possible from your pension can help you pass on wealth efficiently.

You might wish to consider gifting shares in your business to family members – either directly or through a trust – before you exit. Alternatively, you can remove money from your estate by gifting dividend income you don’t need.

Your plan should also look at factors such as IHT relief for married couples, which allows individuals to pass assets to their spouses during their lifetime or on death without tax exposure. A fi nancial adviser can help you with what is needed to make your Will IHT efficient.


true to say that the earlier you start planning your exit, the more options will be open to you

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Before you seal the deal, it’s essential to plan what you intend to do with the money


If you want to discuss your exit plans and work out the most tax-efficient ways of gifting your business or some of the proceeds of its sale to loved ones, I’m here to help. Contact me today for a no-obligation review. Whatever life after an exit holds for you, you can look forward to the future with Wellesley.

Wellesley House, 50 Victoria Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 9LH

T: 01444 849809

E: samantha.kaye@sjpp.co.uk www.wellesleywa.co.uk

The levels and bases of taxation and reliefs from taxation can change at any time. The value of any tax relief depends on individual circumstances.

Trusts are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Please note that advice with regard to exit strategy planning may involve the referral to a service that is separate and distinct to those offered by St. James’s Place.

Wellesley is a trading name of Wellesley Investment Management Ltd. The Partner Practice is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/about-st-james-place/our-business/our-products-andservices.

The ‘St. James’s Place partnership’ and the titles ‘Partner’ and ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives. Wellesley Investment Management Ltd: Registered Office: 44 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, TN2 5TN. Registered in England & Wales, Company No. 06530147.

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SJP APPROVED 15/05/2024

Receiving the BAFTA Fellowship Award last month put one of the nation’s favourite entertainers front and centre once again.

To millions, Floella Benjamin is a kindly aunt who kept a generation of children entertained in the 1970s and 80s. To others, she is a leading campaigner for the Windrush generation; a campaign that should never have needed to happen, and a champion for the empowerment of women.

To business people of today, she is a motivational speaker, talking from the head and heart about courage and love. To others still, she is a Liberal Democrat peer in the House of Lords.

Dynamic tells the story of a national treasure…


Floella Karen Yunies Benjamin, better known today as Baroness Benjamin, OM, DBE, DL was born on September 23rd 1949, in Pointe-à-Pierre, Trinidad and Tobago, one of six siblings, with one older sister, three younger brothers and a younger sister.

Her father, “a policeman and a talented jazz musician,” decided to emigrate to Britain, with her mother later joining him along with Benjamin’s younger sister and youngest brother. This led to a brief family separation, with the four older children – including Floella – left in the care of family friends. The ‘family friends’ looking after Floella and her sister were secretly abusive. She and her sister tried writing to their parents to tell them about the abuse, but the letters were always intercepted before they were sent.

In 1960, the rest of the children went to join their father in Beckenham, in those days in the county of Kent. Floella has talked of the racist experiences she had when arriving in Britain as an immigrant, such as with neighbours and at school.

After leaving school, she went to work in a bank. While working there, she studied for A-Levels at night school. She had a spell as a stage actress in West End musicals, including appearing in Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Black Mikado and The Husband-In-Law, as well as several pantomimes.

On screen, she appeared in the 1975 horror film I Don’t Want to Be Born and starred in the 1977 film Black Joy. In 1976, she began the role for which millions of then children, now 40 and 50-something parents and grandparents will always remember and cherish – presenting children’s television programmes, most notably Play School for the BBC.

According to TV fan site, TVCream, “Floella vaulted over childhood ambition to become a pioneer of cultural diversity in mainstream entertainment, breaking down cultural walls by sheer weight of hyperactive force and singing calypso-lite, reggae-inflected songs about global themes to audiences who were too young to know any different. She also later waved aside further pointless taboos by continuing to present the show whilst extremely heavily pregnant.”

Floella fought for representation in the stories she read out in every programme, persuading producers to let her read tales featuring children from every race, so the audience at home could see people who looked like them and no-one was left out.

“Childhood lasts a lifetime”: Floella Benjamin, sporting her trademark beads and smile, during her Play School days, which lasted from 1976 to 1988

10 www.platinummediagroup.co.uk BIG STORY

Floella vaulted over childhood ambition to become a pioneer of cultural diversity in mainstream entertainment, breaking down cultural walls by sheer weight of hyperactive force

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Children are not born racist, it’s a cultural phenomenon they pick up, in varying degrees, depending on their life influences as they grow older. Floella was there to deflect as much toxicity coming children’s way as she could, all the while offering fun, love and inclusion.

TVCream also pointed out that Floella Benjamin, “added an enthusiastic touch of awareness of other cultures, delivered with frighteningly limitless reserves of energy, matched only by the number of beads in her hair.”

She lasted on Play School for 12 years, finally calling it a day in 1988. In those intervening years, her television credits reads like a who’s who of programmes of the period, including Angels, Crown Court, The Gentle Touch and Dixon of Dock Green. She appeared in the first episode of Bergerac.

Post-Play School, she continued to appear in television programmes, including Dr Who spin-off, The Sarah Jane Mysteries, as well as narrating a variety of television, audio stories and educational programmes.


As someone who came to Britain in 1960 as part of the ‘Windrush generation’ (albeit not on the Windrush itself), Floella was subject to racist abuse both in school and out of school.

In 2019, she wrote on the Black History Month website of her first experiences in England. “I remember at least a dozen police officers stood poised by the ‘For Sale’ sign at the gate of the house my mother, accompanied by her six children, were viewing.

“The neighbours had rung 999 saying black people were stealing the fixtures and fittings from the empty house in white middle-class Beckenham. Thankfully, the first policeman on the scene was sympathetic, he was married to a black woman and explained this kind of thing happened all the time. He waved his eager colleagues away, saying it was a false alarm.

“My wonderful, determined and charismatic mother defiantly folded her arms across her ample bosom, stared at the group of neighbours who stood watching and said loudly, ‘We are going to buy this house’. She and my dad lived there for 40 years until she died of bowel cancer, which is why I am patron of Bowel Cancer UK.”

Floella has written over 30 books and, in 2016, the 20th anniversary edition of her memoir ‘Coming to England’ was chosen as a ‘Guardian Children’s Book of the Year’. For over two decades, it has been used in schools and universities as a tool to explore the Windrush journey, and to teach children about British post-war social, political and racial history. It was made into a television film by CBBC in 2005.

Today, she is Chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee – a role she took up in 2018 – to create a lasting memorial to celebrate the contribution to Britain made by the Windrush Generation.

She featured in the 2023-24 New Year’s Eve fireworks display in London, reciting the poem “In This World” by the late Benjamin Zephaniah as part of the segment celebrating the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush.


The Windrush was launched in Germany as the MV Monte Rosa, in 1930. In 1945, it was confiscated by the British as a trophy of war, and renamed HMT Empire Windrush. She continued to be used as a troopship until March 1954, when she caught fire and sank in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Windrush herself only ever made one immigrant-bearing voyage into the UK, landing at the Port of Tilbury on June 22nd 1948. There were boats before and after, but the Windrush caught the imagination. Today, the ‘Windrush Generation’ has become the go-to phrase for post-war immigration.

The 1971 Immigration Act gave Commonwealth citizens living in the UK

indefinite leave to remain; the permanent right to live and work in the UK.

However, in April 2018, it emerged that the UK Home Office had kept no records of those granted permission to stay, and had not issued the paperwork they needed to confirm their status. It had also destroyed landing cards belonging to ‘Windrush’ migrants, in 2010.

Those affected were hence unable to prove they were in the country legally and were prevented from accessing healthcare, work and housing. Thousands were threatened with deportation; at least 83 people who had arrived

before 1973 had been wrongly deported, with many others wrongly detained and denied legal rights.

The subsequent inquiry announced that the scandal was both “foreseeable and avoidable”, and criticised “a culture of disbelief and carelessness” in the Home Office. It made 30 recommendations, which were accepted in full. However, in January 2023, then-Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced the Home Office was arbitrarily dropping three of them.

The farcical scandal continues today, and Dame Floella Benjamin is at the forefront of the campaign for justice.

The Benjamin family, 1952. Floella is front, right

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Play School’s Humpty about to address the Brighton Summit with his friend Dame Floella Benjamin, 2022


Floella is vice-president of NCH Action for Children and Barnardo’s, and was in the NSPCC’s Hall of Fame. She runs the London Marathon to raise funds for Barnardo’s and the Sickle Cell Society.

Floella is a patron of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, having lost her mother to the disease in 2009. She was a cultural ambassador for the 2012 Summer Olympics.


Floella has rightly been awarded many honours and accolades, including for her television work, her work with children, women’s rights, the Windrush generation and tackling racism.

She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2001 New Year Honours for services to broadcasting. At that time, she was chairperson of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). She has also won a Special Lifetime Achievement award from BAFTA.

She was chairperson of the Women of the Year Lunch for five years and a Millennium Commissioner. She is president of the Elizabeth R Commonwealth Broadcasting Fund and a governor of the National Film and Television School. She was a governor of Dulwich College, where her mother once worked, and her son had attended.

In 2020, Floella Benjamin was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to charity. In 2023, her stature as a much loved national figure was underlined when she received what was almost certainly the biggest television audience of her career – carrying the sovereign’s sceptre with dove as part of the procession at King Charles III’s coronation.

She says the reaction from the public afterwards was overwhelming. “They said when they saw me, on the screen, entering Westminster Abbey, they remembered their childhood. They remembered Play School. And they went ‘yes’, and they felt part of the coronation, too.

In May 2024, Benjamin was presented, to two standing ovations, with the BAFTA Fellowship award at the 70th British Academy Television Awards. Of the honour, BAFTA stated, “Floella is an unstoppable force for good with a determination to create opportunities and positive role models for future generations that has seen her effect a tremendous amount of positive change over 50 years and counting.

“She is deservedly a national treasure and we can’t wait to celebrate the impact of her work to date at the BAFTA Television Awards.”

For her part, Dame Floella Benjamin responded. “I feel blessed as I stand on the summit of the lion’s mountain, looking back at my adventurous journey sparkled with affection, but also with challenges and adversities. I’ve been told ‘shut up, or you’ll never work again,’ when I spoke out. But my mission over the last 50 years has been to get broadcasters and organisations to have diversity and inclusion in their DNA.

Remember, wherever you go, and whatever happens to you, there will always be somebody who loves you. And that’s me, Floella

“I am so proud of my work for children, making them feel loved, confident, hopeful, worthy, as I took them through the windows of imagination inspiring them to grow up and make a difference for others. Childhood lasts a lifetime.

“How I wish my beloved mum and dad were alive to celebrate this part of my family’s Windrush journey.

The University of Exeter awarded her an honorary degree in D.Litt. (Exon) for ‘contributions to the life of the United Kingdom’. She succeeded Lord Alexander of Weedon as Chancellor of the University of Exeter. She famously hugged graduates instead of traditionally shaking their hands during the graduation ceremonies. She remained in post until 2016.

There is a statue of Floella outside the University of Exeter’s student guild. This was the first public statue of a named living black woman in the UK.

In the 2010 Dissolution Honours List, she was appointed a Liberal Democrat life peer, being created Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham, in the County of Kent.

In her maiden speech in the Lords, she spoke of choosing Beckenham to reflect the legacy of her mother and father, and the importance of childhood. She also spoke of the NSPCC, Childline, and Barnados, and their work to protect and support the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children.

“Thank you for blessing me with this incredible accolade, recognising someone from the children’s television world. And remember, wherever you go, and whatever happens to you, there will always be somebody who loves you.

“And that’s me, Floella.”

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Baroness Floella Benjamin of Beckenham, receiving her BAFTA Fellowship Award, 2024
The National Windrush Monument in the main hall of Waterloo Station, London

Rachel Watkyn OBE is the CEO of Tiny Box Company, a Sussex-based environmentallyprogressive packaging company, which was a sponsor at the recent Dynamic Awards


As CEO of Tiny Box Company, I was delighted to have sponsored and attended the Dynamic Business Awards. Th is event does an incredible job of recognising women in business across the South East, and being part of a community that supports women in business is a privilege.

These women in business events acknowledge our achievements, and by supporting one another, doors are opened for other women to feel they have a voice to be heard.


plenty more to do in making

sure women are recognised for their achievements but the Dynamic Business Awards opens the door

It was an experience to see everyone in one room, and watching Dee Mathieson win the Lifetime Achievement award was an inspiration, along with having the chance to see Katharine Archer win the award for Professional Services, and Julie Kapsalis, who won Employer of the Year.

Having had the opportunity to hear about what these ladies do and seeing them be awarded for their achievements really was a ‘wow’ moment for me. Although there is still a long way to go, I believe we’ve come so far, and celebrating our achievements and supporting one another is vital. By encouraging women in business, we are, in turn, encouraging our future generations to get involved and recognise the need to be heard.

We want to welcome female entrepreneurship, and by celebrating one another’s achievements this is a great way to create a network and form the connections we need to move forward in business. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of UK companies built and run by women, which means we are on the right trajectory.

As a woman in business, I want to offer my support and encouragement to anyone who feels they need advice or guidance. As part of the Tiny Box Company, we offer the Tiny Clinic, and you can book on to speak with us through the Tiny Box Company website.

There’s plenty more to do in making sure women are recognised for their achievements but the Dynamic Business Awards opens the door for this and being a part of an evening celebrating women which was a privilege and an honour.

E: Hello@tinyboxcompany.com www.tinyboxcompany.com

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NO HARD FEELINGS The personal aspect of the dealmaking process

It was an honour to be part of the judging panel at the recent Dynamic Awards, which celebrated remarkable businesswomen from across the South East.

One of the key aspects that drew me to a career in corporate finance was the opportunity to work closely with inspiring business owners to help them to thrive and, judging by the rest of the field, it’s clear that the South East is benefitting from a wealth of ambitious and experienced leaders.

Corporate finance advisor is an inherently technical occupation – yet the passionate and supportive atmosphere on the night reminded me of the personal investment I see wrapped up in the trials and tribulations of M&A and business exits.


Deal success is often measured quantitatively, be it through multiples, sale price or cash at completion. It can often be easy to forget the personal impact selling a business can have on its owner and the people around them.

Many of the businesses I advise are owner-managed, with the owner having poured much of their life and energy into making it a success. The business has likely been a key part of their lives for a long time and, in some cases, may feel akin to a member of the family. Because of this, selling a business has the potential to bring a cocktail of different emotions to the fore, from celebration and joy to anxiety and doubt which, without the right support, can easily derail efforts to secure a positive deal outcome.


From the outset, insight from an advisor brings the advantage of impartiality. By being one step removed from the process, a third party can provide the independent, objective thinking that helps provide clarity - particularly during the negotiation process, the emotions of which can often cause owners to lose focus or make poor decisions.

However, for this advice to truly resonate, open and effective communication is crucial. From the outset, advisors need to build a relationship where they are equipped to provide an open and honest assessment of the situation. Th is can help to avoid many of the potential pitfalls that arise during the dealmaking process.

One example scenario I often see is when difficult information, such as a dip in trading results, needs to be passed to the buyer at a sensitive stage. When effective relationships have been established with both seller and purchaser, the

advisor can better contextualise this information with the necessary analysis and narrative to mitigate deal disruption.


Support from an advisor that is a good emotional match can be a game-changer. Of course, technical expertise and credentials are a non-negotiable requirement for every advisor - yet trust, rapport and chemistry should not be underestimated in helping to secure a positive outcome.

We support our clients through the lifecycle of the transaction; from the development of an initial strategy and negotiations to the celebrations of completion. Th is can often be a long process, so it’s important for business owners to choose an advisor that they feel comfortable with. With this in mind, I would always encourage business owners to start discussions with advisors in the very early stages to help build a strong foundation for an effective relationship.

Of course, dealmaking is a multi-faceted process, and this forms just one of the many aspects that advisors must manage throughout the timeline of a sale. However, taking the time to build a positive relationship based on communication and honesty creates a strong foundation that can underpin a successful outcome for all involved.

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Innovation is one of the most essential tools businesses of all sizes can have in their arsenal. It’s the key ingredient to ensuring longevity, brand recognition, and team productivity.

Having an impact with innovation


The list may seem endless. And its impact cannot be underestimated. However, contrary to popular belief, innovation is not reserved for industry giants with colossal budgets.

But to sustain an innovation mindset, the practice must be embedded in your business’s daily operations, which might mean seeking support or finding a space that energises and exercises your innovation muscles.

Home to some of Sussex’s most ambitious businesses, here at Plus X Innovation, we have honed our expertise to provide the proper support to ensure that businesses in our community strike the right balance to be innovative whilst maintaining the day-to-day.

Contrary to popular belief, innovation is not reserved for industry giants with colossal budgets


Transformation agency Cosaris is part of the Plus X Innovation Brighton hub, and is the perfect example of an impact-driven company that has used innovation to drive a brighter, more sustainable future.

Founded in 2014, Cosaris experienced accelerated growth during the pandemic. It connects organisations with all their internal and external stakeholders for better understanding and collaboration. It helps align an organisation’s strategy and purpose, organisation and culture, information and systems, as well as experiences and relationships. It also guides them to evolve into a company that creates a positive impact through its entire ecosystem.

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Space: Cosaris originally joined Plus X Innovation looking for a private studio to accommodate its rapidly growing team and operations. To be innovative, you must be able to have the space to explore ideas, host your team and really get out of your old ways of thinking.

Programmes: Cosaris’ Co-founder, Marina Schneider, is a part of the Leaders’ Circle Programme at our Brighton hub, where founders from the community join forces to create a powerful peer-to-peer network and provide mutual support. Innovation programmes that support business owners, challenge them and provide new ways of looking at the world are critical to growing as a company.

Community: In addition to attending our member events programme, Cosaris has collaborated directly with other businesses in, and close to, the Plus X Innovation Community, including SimplerWithAI and FSUK. It even collaborates with students from the neighbouring University of Brighton, running a study on UK Business Transformation. As Marina so powerfully says, “We cannot change the world all by ourselves.” For true innovation, you must cultivate collaboration and understanding like Cosaris does daily.

Marina also comments, “Moving in with Plus X Innovation broadened our horizon, not only in terms of how we can work together as a team, but also in terms of what we trust ourselves to achieve and how big we dare to think. It is very inspiring to be part of the community, and everyone feels good about coming into the office for work. We also benefit from all the great facilities at Plus X Innovation, which help us deliver excellence for ourselves and our customers.”


Meaningful innovation needs time and space to happen. Here are some simple tips to get you started:


Mix up your space

If you’re stuck physically, your creativity will be the same. If you find you and your team are in an innovation rut, change your scenery. Get out in nature or find another inspiring space to work from for the day.


Utilise external opportunities

If you need help to make the time, or need to learn how to be innovative, consider challenging yourself by joining a programme or formal accelerator to get started.


Build a support system

Surround yourself with a great community of people on a similar path and find ways to hold each other accountable to your goals and dreams.

Immersing yourself in an innovative ecosystem will impact your thinking and, inevitably, help you and your team become more creative in your business.

If you want to take the plunge and commit to adopting an innovative mindset, we are hosting a free week of Coworking in June at our hubs in Slough and Brighton. There’s space for teams in private studios and hot-desking spots. So whatever your size, it is a great opportunity to discover what an innovative community looks like.

Find out more about how Plus X Innovation can support you on your innovation journey or sign up for your free week of flexible office space and coworking at www.plusxinnovation.com

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According to experts, the parents of more than 100,000 children with special educational needs are likely to face an unfair tax burden due to Labour’s private school policy. As reported by The Telegraph in May, approximately 20% of all students in private schools currently receive specialist support, yet most lack the necessary written certification that would exempt their families from paying VAT on school fees.

The Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), issued by local authorities for students with significant additional needs, can take years to obtain – a delay worsened by increased demand following the Covid-19 lockdowns. By law, the EHCP process should not take more than 20 weeks (excluding holidays) but local authorities say that it is not that simple and that the process regularly takes much longer than that.

Labour’s proposed policy states that only those with an EHCP would be exempt from the 20% VAT on school fees, should the party come into power. Data from the Independent Schools Council (ISC) reveals that 111,154 pupils, or 20% of all students in its schools, receive Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) support.

Of these, 7,646 students, or 6.9%, have an EHCP for conditions such as dyslexia and dyspraxia. Clearly, many parents have opted for private schools to provide their children with the needed support, bypassing the protracted official assessment process or seeking interim assistance while awaiting an EHCP.

Labour’s plan will tax SEND families

Julie Robinson, CEO of the Independent Schools Council, highlighted the potential disruption, noting, “Over 100,000 children and young people without an EHCP receive specialist SEND support in our schools. VAT on their parents’ fees will disrupt education for thousands of them, placing further strain on state SEND provision, which is already in crisis.” She stressed that without a comprehensive impact assessment, Labour cannot accurately foresee the immediate repercussions of its policy on SEND services and local councils, raising concerns that the policy might unintentionally worsen existing problems.

By law, the EHCP process should not take more than 20 weeks (excluding holidays) but local authorities say that it is not that simple

The proposed VAT changes would significantly impact families of children with special educational needs. Private schools would become significantly more costly with the addition of VAT. A school charging £20,000 per year could see fees rise to £24,000, a substantial financial burden for families already managing the high costs associated with raising a child with special needs.

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Unlike private school students, many SEND students do not have viable alternatives within the state sector. Many state schools lack the necessary facilities, expertise, and support staff required to cater to their specific needs –much of that due to cost cutting of successive governments. Consequently, some families already sacrifice plenty to be able to scrape together private school fees to ensure their special needs children can be educated in a supportive system that they require. What will happen to these families?

Wealthier families might absorb the cost more easily but middle-income families will be disproportionately affected and will find themselves forced to make untenable sacrifices. The added financial pressure and the potential decline in education is likely to contribute to increased stress and mental health issues among parents and students alike, compounding the existing challenges faced by families of children with special needs.

Keir Starmer has been criticised for not adequately considering how increased costs will push more SEND students into an already overstretched state system, potentially exacerbating the challenges these schools face and leading to a decline in the quality of education and support for all students, across the board.

Ensuring that the voices and needs of all
families are heard and addressed will be essential in crafting a fair and balanced approach to education policy

Starmer has committed to enforcing VAT on private schools “straight away” if Labour wins the general election. Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor, has indicated that this policy would be included in her fi rst budget.

While the Labour Party’s intention is noble; to address educational inequality and generate additional public funds, it feels clumsy and heavy-handed. It has not thus far considered the unintended consequences for all SEND children and their families. Without careful planning and targeted mitigations, this policy could inadvertently place an unfair strain on vulnerable families, undermining the very principles of equity and support that it says it promotes.

As the debate continues, ensuring that the voices and needs of all SEND families are heard and addressed will be essential in crafting a fair and balanced approach to education policy. Policymakers must recognise the unique challenges faced by families of special needs children.

The financial and emotional burdens are already significant, and any policy changes that increase these pressures could have far-reaching consequences. The Labour Party’s proposal must be carefully examined and adjusted to ensure it does not create new disparities or exacerbate existing ones. The goal should be to support all students and families, providing equitable access to quality education without imposing undue hardships on those already navigating the complexities of special needs care and education.

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❛ ❛
It is not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it
Dorothy Zbornak, The Golden Girls


A major study has found that patients experience better post-operative outcomes when at least a third of the surgical team are women. Researchers at the University of Toronto, Canada, examined over 700,000 elective surgeries in Ontario from 2009 to 2019. The study revealed that hospital teams with more than 35% female surgeons and anesthesiologists had improved post-operative results, including a 3% reduction in illness within three months. The researchers emphasised that increasing gender diversity in operating rooms is crucial for optimising performance, not just for representation or social justice. They concluded that healthcare institutions should actively promote gender diversity in surgical teams to potentially lower major morbidity, enhance patient satisfaction, and reduce costs.



UNESCO’s 2024 Global Education Monitoring Report highlighted significant progress in achieving gender parity in education. The report indicates that more girls are attending school than ever before, with notable increases in enrolment at both primary and secondary levels in low-income countries. This progress is attributed to targeted interventions, such as scholarship programmes, community awareness campaigns, and improved school infrastructure, which have collectively reduced barriers to education for girls. Additionally, the report underscores the importance of sustained policy efforts and international support in maintaining and accelerating these gains, ensuring that girls continue to have access to quality education globally.


Imagine intercepting cancer before it develops. Research indicates that cancerassociated proteins can appear in blood over seven years before diagnosis. University of Oxford academics identified 618 proteins linked to 19 cancer types, including 107 proteins in individuals whose blood was collected at least seven years pre-diagnosis. These findings suggest that these proteins may be involved in the earliest cancer stages. Dr. Karl Smith-Byrne, senior molecular epidemiologist at Oxford Population Health, stated, “This research brings us closer to preventing cancer with targeted drugs – once thought impossible but now attainable.” His team will explore these proteins’ roles in cancer development, detection, and prevention.

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Digital tools are being increasingly used to improve women’s health and promote gender equality, according to a WHO report. These tools are helping to bridge the gender gap in healthcare access and outcomes, providing women with better health information and services, and empowering them to make informed decisions about their wellbeing. From mobile apps offering personalised health insights to telemedicine platforms facilitating remote consultations, innovations are enhancing the overall quality of care for women worldwide. According to the report, by harnessing the power of digital solutions, societies can foster greater inclusivity and ensure that women receive the support and resources they need to thrive.

❛ ❛ Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford


Claudia Sheinbaum has become Mexico’s first female president, in a historic landslide win. The 61-year-old climate scientist, the ruling party candidate, won with between 58% - 60% of the vote. The former mayor of Mexico City thanked her mentor, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who was elected in 2018, for his support and has vowed to continue his policies including a universal pension for the elderly and a programme paying youths to undertake apprenticeships.

Ms Sheinbaum, who is Jewish, is the first woman to win a general election in the US, Mexico or Canada.


A groundbreaking oral immunotherapy trial is profoundly impacting the lives of children with milk and peanut allergies. This pioneering approach trains their bodies to develop tolerance to allergens, representing a significant transformation. Five NHS hospitals have joined the £2.5m trial, thanks to funding from the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died in 2016 after suffering a severe allergic reaction to sesame baked into a Pret baguette. Her parents set up the foundation hoping to cure allergies with research.

During the trail, daily doses of the allergen are consumed under strict medical supervision. Observations reveal children on the trial are now able to consume and tolerate foods that previously induced severe allergic reactions. “We are very pleased with the results we are seeing so far,” said trial lead Prof Hasan Arshad of the University of Southampton. Ultimately the goal is to find a therapy that will free people from the constraints of avoiding allergenic foods and the fear of accidental allergic episodes.

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In our exclusive Spotlight feature, we highlight women who are doing good things in their community. They’re not always seen but we think they should be


Tanya Houston

Horsham-based marketing agency Wildwood Plus is celebrating 30 years in business this month. The independent company was founded by Tanya Houston in 1994 and has only gone from strength to strength

”I started Wildwood as a sole trader in the back bedroom of our home in Southwater, West Sussex back in 1994. I can’t believe that it was three decades ago!

“I had a vision of creating a B2B PR & Marketing organisation that delivered great results for clients, but with minimum bureaucracy and a focus on fair terms of work. Two years later, things were booming and too big for me to cope with alone.

“Happily, an ex-colleague, Jeff Hayward, was able to join the business, and shortly after that my now husband, John joined us full-time. Together, we have built a fantastic team, who all go the extra mile, are a pleasure to work with, and who embody our core values.

“Turning 30 years-old in business is an exciting milestone and it has given us the opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, and to celebrate with our talented team. But we won’t be resting on our laurels. We have ambitious plans to continue to grow and we’re looking forward to the future.”

Together, we have built a fantastic team, who all go the extra mile, are a pleasure to work with, and who embody our core values

From an original focus on public relations, the business evolved from its origins as Wildwood PR, to offer a wider range of marketing services including digital marketing, media buying, event management, video production, podcast services and more – leading to a 2023 rebrand as Wildwood Plus.

Wildwood Plus has a team of 20 staff, with a mix of full and part-time, office-based and remote team members, as well as an international network of partners, who make up a highly skilled team of communications specialists, focussed on delivering outstanding results for clients.

“There are many things that make Wildwood remarkable, but our committed, resilient and lovely people really make it a special place to work. Together, we make great things happen.” says Tanya.


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Mary Cullen

Mary Cullen runs a successful property investment company, Gold Prime Property, alongside an holistic coaching company, The Vortex Entrepreneurs. This is her story...

Mary has walked a unique path. She left her native Ireland for London at the tender age of 19 where she worked to the point of burn-out, only to find herself with nothing much to show for it. Something had to change.

Eventually, she found her way to her dream in the sun, moving to Montenegro and becoming a multi awardwinning property developer. Her developments over eight years included opulent villas and even a palace, but her success drew envy and anger from the local organised crime syndicates who endeavoured to ruin her and her business. Their methods were extreme, even sinking so low as to physically assault Mary on site, which forced her to leave the country with her young family. At this point, broke and alone, her marriage did not withstand the pressure.

In 2023, she founded a transformational training company to help women become creative entrepreneurs, aligning their passions and their businesses. Mary says, “I believe we are the future employers of our children and to empower more woman to create businesses will truly change the world. Women need to get richer in all areas of their lives and I know I have the skills to help them do that.”

No one tells you what to do when you’re living your dream and then it falls apart

Back in the UK, Mary’s fighting spirit helped her dig deep while she worked three jobs to pay the bills and keep food on the table. As she says, “No one tells you what to do when you’re living your dream and then it falls apart.”

She now greatly values that period of her life as she learnt how the human spirit has the endless capability to adapt and that new dreams can be forged from ashes.

Soon she started offering her property development and management services for free to gain traction and opportunities in the industry. By 2019, Mary had returned full-time to property and went on to build her UK property investment business.

She has also created the Women who Love Property and Travel breakfast club, held monthly in Hove.

goldprimeproperty.com thevortexentrepeneurs.com

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The Kreston UK Charity Group has produced a report into the financial condition of the UK charity sector. Here is a snapshot of its findings


The Kreston UK Charity Group, which works with over 2,000 charities across the UK, has surveyed 80 charities on the financial outlook for the sector, the challenges and risks being faced, and attitudes surrounding subjects such as diversity, recruitment, digitisation and sustainability.

The key findings are:

• Almost half of charities believe their financial outlook is positive for 2024.

• Charities are increasingly exploring options to diversify their income streams.

• 81% of the charities have seen wages rise in the last 12 months, 76% have seen energy costs rise and 78% have seen insurance costs increase.

• 54% are finding it difficult to recruit and retain employees and 29% believe it has become harder in the last year.

• Increasing salaries is the most popular incentive used to attract and / or retain employees in the last year.

• 51% have difficulties finding volunteers and 23% believe it has come harder in the last year.

• Most charities will not be focusing on more ESG/ sustainability in 2024.

Despite the uncertain economic times, it is good to see that many charities are confident with

their fi nancial outlook

• HR and IT are the skills that charities are most likely to be missing amongst their trustees.

• 59% believe the Labour Party will have the greatest impact on their charity if they come into power after the next general election.

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The contribution all of these charities make to our communities up and down the UK is vital, and we should all play our part in supporting their work

Despite the uncertain economic times, it is good to see that many charities are confident with their financial outlook. Many charities are experiencing pressure on their income streams and 67% of those surveyed are exploring options to diversify. Th is includes growing major donors, grants, trusts and foundations, legacies, and corporate giving.

The fact that charities are struggling with recruitment and retention could be due to the risks associated with the sector. Charity boards are acutely aware of the risks involved with running a charity, and a third of those surveyed now review their risk register at every board meeting.

Of the charities surveyed, 86% have not been affected by a cyber-attack in the last 12 months. However, the risk of this remains high and can have a significant effect on the charity’s ability to deliver services. They need to remain vigilant and be well equipped to deal with this type of threat.

The political uncertainty which a General Election brings is frustrating for many charities and the majority believe a change of government will make no difference to their

charity, suggesting the sector has fallen out of political favour in recent years. Back in 2010, the ‘Big Society’ was a key pillar of most party manifestos.

Sam Rouse, Partner at Kreston Reeves comments: “It is good to see that charities are remaining resilient and, despite all of the challenges of the last few years, 80% believe they have the capacity to deliver their required services in 2024. The contribution all of these charities make to our communities up and down the UK is vital, and we should all play our part in supporting their work, volunteering and where possible making a donation to those causes close to us as we will really miss them if they were no longer there.”

You can download a full copy of the report at www.krestonreeves.com/sectors/ charities/#related-resources

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Rockinghorse Children’s Charity is fundraising to create a new Wellbeing Service to support thousands of children and families who currently access support through the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital

New initiative from Rockinghorse Children’s Charity

Th is dedicated service, developed with the help of an expert steering group, will expand on many of the wellbeing projects that the charity has funded over the last few years, such as sea swimming courses, art therapy, music therapy and woodland wellbeing days.

But the crucial difference is that it will bring them all in-house and be able to offer them to a much wider group of children across more paediatric departments within the hospital. Th is will mean that these impactful services will support thousands more children and families.

Wellbeing has an incredibly important role to play within the healthcare sector and actively impacts the health outcomes of children and young people. If children feel brave enough to go to the appointment they are so frightened to go to, fewer appointments are missed or delayed, and children and families have a less anxiety-provoking waiting time to undergo the treatment they so desperately need.

Or for older children, feeling they have a place to talk about what’s going on for them, somewhere where they don’t feel like the different one, or the ill one, but just a normal kid dealing with a health condition they don’t want and never asked for.

Wellbeing projects within the children’s hospital contribute to the holistic care of paediatric patients by addressing emotional, psychological, and social needs. By enhancing the overall quality of life for children and their families, these projects indirectly support medical treatments, improve resilience, and contribute to positive health outcomes.

Far from being a nice addition to their treatment, these additional services provide crucial support at the darkest times
26 www.platinummediagroup.co.uk CHARITY FOCUS
Dr Oli Rahman, Rockinghorse Chair
Wellbeing has an incredibly important role to play within the healthcare sector and actively impacts the health outcomes of children and young people

Dr Oli Rahman, Consultant Paediatrician and Chair of Trustees at Rockinghorse explains why supporting wellbeing is an important part of treatment. He says, “Imagine being a paediatric patient, especially if you have a long-term illness like cystic fibrosis, diabetes or asthma, it’s really daunting and can leave long lasting emotional scars. Th is is where the wellbeing projects step in; offering a glimmer of hope and comfort in the midst of adversity.

“These projects will provide a much-needed distraction from the challenges of the medical treatment. They offer joy, laughter and creativity, and children can momentarily forget their pain and fears. They also help children to engage with their treatment, comply with their medication, improve their mental health, and support their overall holistic care.

“Th is empowerment is invaluable and boosts their resilience in difficult times.”

Far from being a nice addition to their treatment, these additional services provide crucial support at the darkest times.

Hannah Peckham’s son Bodhi is five years old. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with leukemia, and since then, he has been receiving treatment at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

During that time, Bodhi and Hannah have had fi rsthand experience of the impact that our wellbeing services can have on children and families spending time in the hospital.

Spending weeks at a time on the wards can make it really difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s boring. But having toys to play with activities to enjoy,

or things to take their minds off their situation makes all the difference. It means that they are able to cope with such an enormously difficult situation, be able to take their minds off the fear and pain and feel like a normal family.

Hannah says, “You can’t take the hand of a child frightened to attend an appointment or give back what they have missed out on. You can’t take away the grief and loss of all that our little fighters and their families have had to go through. You can help to put a smile on a child’s face even when they face the unknown which in turn helps them and the parent feel held and supported.”

Donna Holland, CEO of Rockinghorse, adds, “We are so excited to be launching this ground-breaking new project. Wellbeing has a vital role to play in the care of so many children spending time in hospital.

“It helps children learn about, understand and manage incredibly difficult and complex conditions. Having children who are better able to manage their treatment also saves waiting and treatment times, meaning NHS staff can treat more children more quickly and effectively.

“It supports families to get through the biggest challenges of their lives. It saves the NHS time and money. And it saves lives.”

To learn more or donate to this new campaign, visit the Rockinghorse website at www.rockinghorse.org.uk.

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The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital Hannah and Bodhi

Supplementing with Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is becoming common amongst people who are looking for ways to modulate stress, anxiety and sleep issues. Dynamic investigates the over-the-counter supplementation use of GABA

Understanding GABA


GABA is a naturally occurring amino acid. It is a neurotransmitter, which means it delivers a message through your nervous system from one neuron to another. GABA, in particular, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Its primary role in the brain is to promote relaxation and reduce neural excitability.


Drink tea with high GABA content. Green tea, white tea, and oolong tea naturally have high amounts of GABA.

Try yoga to naturally increase GABA activity. During one study, participants practiced yoga 60 minutes a day, three times a week for 12 weeks. Scans showed an increase in GABA in their brains.

You might think of GABA in your nervous system as brakes on a car. The right amount of pressure on the brake pedal slows your car down. Similarly, the correct amount of GABA slows information in your nervous system to keep a person from feeling overwhelmed.

Practice meditation and deep breathing every day. Research shows that meditation can increase the production of GABA in your brain, as well as boost its activity. To get this boost, meditate for at least 20 minutes

every day.

Th is slowdown in message transition may be helpful in modulating mood and anxiety. In other words, GABA calms your nervous system down, so you don’t become overly anxious. Specifically, GABA affects how the body reacts to feelings of anxiety, fear, and stress, and it allows the nervous system to better process information.


GABA is prescribed for various conditions such as schizophrenia and epilepsy but non-prescription use is mainly for:


GABA is used for relaxation.


Engage in vigorous exercise. Moderate exercise is great for your health, but it takes a little more effort to stimulate GABA production – exercise at about 85% of your maximum heart rate, to be exact. Research shows GABA production in your brain increases after an eight to 20-minute session of vigorous exercise. Eat more foods that contain GABA, or boost GABA production. GABA isn’t really found in a lot of foods unless they’re fermented foods (like kimchi or kefi r). But there are foods that naturally boost the production of GABA in your body. These include cruciferous veg, lentils, fava beans, grains and sweet potatoes.

2 SLEEP AID GABA is crucial for promoting sleep and regulating sleep patterns. By inhibiting neural activity, it facilitates the onset of sleep.

Research indicates that GABA supplementation may have positive effects on mood and cognitive functions.

Some studies suggest that increasing GABA levels can improve focus, reduce symptoms of depression, and enhance overall mental performance. There is, however, some question of how much of these supplements actually cross the blood-brain barrier and are ultimately available to the brain.

You might think of GABA in your nervous system as brakes on a car. The right amount of pressure on the brake pedal slows your car down
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While GABA supplements are widely available and generally considered safe for use, it is important to consider several factors regarding safety and efficacy:

• Dosage: The appropriate dosage of GABA can vary depending on the individual and the condition being treated. Common dosages range from 250 to 750mg per day. It is recommended to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it to assess tolerance and effectiveness.

• Risks of raising GABA levels: GABA activity and/or production can be affected by alcohol and other drugs. These substances can be abused by people trying to self-medicate. Alcohol, for example, promotes GABA receptor activity. Th is can create a temporary feeling of calm and relaxation. But the effect is artificial and risky. You won’t get the same effect over time. People may build up a tolerance, which makes the body require more of the substance to achieve the same feeling. Overdosing or taking multiple GABA-modulating drugs and alcohol can result in respiratory depression (slow breathing) due to increased GABA signalling in the brain stem.

• Side effects: GABA supplements are generally welltolerated. However, some individuals may experience side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches, or drowsiness. These side effects are usually mild.

GABA is well worth considering in the treatment of anxiety related issues but

first have a discussion with your healthcare provider

• Drug interactions: GABA can interact with certain medications, particularly those that also affect the central nervous system. For example, combining GABA supplements with benzodiazepines or other sedatives may enhance their effects, potentially leading to dangerous levels of sedation.

• Pregnancy and breastfeeding: The safety of GABA supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been thoroughly studied.

• Long-term use: There is limited research on the longterm use of GABA supplements. While short-term use is generally considered safe, the effects of prolonged supplementation are not well understood.

GABA is well worth considering in the treatment of anxiety related issues but fi rst have a discussion with your healthcare provider, particularly if you are taking any other medication.

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Petra Velzeboer is a renowned mental health expert, psychotherapist and author of ‘Begin With You: invest in your mental wellbeing and satisfaction at work’. She works with organisations to create mentally healthy workplaces

How to make sure your wellbeing strategy is having a direct impact on your people’s mental health and performance.

When people think of wellbeing many think of bubble-baths, spas, long country walks and perhaps meditating and finding your zen. The reality is, in a fast-paced world, wellbeing at work has to be so much more than that.

It’s not just about giving people breaks and giving them access to perks or benefits for when things go wrong; a wellbeing strategy is about helping people thrive and perform at their best. Mental Health, according to the World Health Organisation, is: ‘a state of wellbeing in which an individual realises their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life and can make a contribution to their community.’



by Harvard Business Review Harvard Business Review Press (2024)

Help your people feel more valued and motivated at work. Psychological safety is at the heart of an effective team. Without it, people would feel stifled. Individuals would fear speaking up, taking risks, failing, or even bringing their full selves to work. But with psychological safety, your team can reach new levels of performance, growth, and inclusion. This book offers leaders an understanding of the concept of psychological safety. Using key themes of emotional intelligence, including empathy, compassion, and self-awareness, it provides expert advice on how to assess the level of psychological safety of your team.

So, in a work context it’s about giving people space to boost their resilience, which could look different to different people, and crucially aligning your wellbeing strategy with the notion of realising potential and contributing to a community.

Here’s three things to get you started:

1Align your wellbeing strategy with your business objectives

So often we miss out on connecting the dots between our business objectives and wellbeing plans. Showing your exec level team the connection between the two is essential to ensuring wellness improves performance and isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ when the business is in peacetime.


Timothy R. Clark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the subject of psychological safety in the workplace. This book offers a framework for understanding and cultivating an environment where employees feel safe to express themselves, learn, contribute, and challenge the status quo. Clark introduces the concept of psychological safety through four progressive stages: Inclusion Safety, Learner Safety, Contributor Safety, and Challenger Safety. Each stage builds upon the previous, providing a clear roadmap for leaders to foster a culture where innovation and collaboration thrive.

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Lead by example

So many people that I speak to say they know what to do but they never do it themselves. Instead they wait until they are on the brink, burnt-out or unable to deliver on a task. An athlete knows that they can’t red-line all the time, instead they think about all of their needs holistically that will play a part in helping them perform.


Esther M. Sternberg MD Little, Brown Spark (2023)

Staying healthy at work has never been more prevalent than it is today. But staying healthy isn’t the same as staying well. Staying well at work isn’t just about the germs and toxins that impact how we feel; it’s also about the many aspects of the environment that affect our stress levels, mood, focus, and productivity. Whether you work in a traditional office or a corner of your bedroom, healthy workplaces need not be a luxury. Well at Work reveals how to design these spaces for wellbeing across the seven domains of integrative health: stress and resilience; movement; sleep; relationships; nutrition; spirituality; nature and the air we breathe.


Talk openly about performance and mental health

We need to say out loud how wellbeing, mental health and performance are linked together. That means it’s all good having it in a strategy (that’s a great start!) but we now need to bring that strategy to life in behaviour and conversation.


As employers step up their efforts to address workplace culture and employee wellbeing in the fight for top talent, it’s time to invest in an approach that is grounded in science, steeped in ancient wisdom practices, and tested in leading organisations. Author Jessica Grossmeier, PhD, integrates proven best practices from workplace wellbeing research with decades of management science research on workplace spirituality. This book will help you strengthen your blueprint for employee wellbeing efforts that yield business results.

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Mary Jones is a ceramic artist otherwise known as ‘The Brick Th ief’. KMA Gallery was the fi rst to showcase her characterful sculptural heads. Since then, Mary has been headhunted by designer Paul Smith to produce a collection for his new art venture.

Her work is a response to conversations she encounters with people in her everyday life. She is particularly interested in dialogues with strangers on public transport. She gathers these heart-to-hearts with visual information and returns with them to her studio.

Mary emphasises expressions and feelings by pressing broken shards of crockery into the clay structure of the sculpted faces. These shards represent memories, triggering the emotions embedded in our personalities.

Mary says, “The idea behind my work is to capture human emotions and moments in time, representing the spirit of individuals. I’m very interested in people and their emotions and, as an artist, I aim to capture these precious moments shared between us while in conversation, in clay.”

She is in her element when chatting with people, and embraces sombre conversations if that is what is needed. She oscillates between smiling, laughter, sadness, and sincerity in her exchanges and has identified that people often enjoy talking about their stories or daily routines. It’s the essence of these encounters that she aims to capture.

The idea behind my work is to capture human emotions and moments in time, representing the spirit of individuals
Mary Jones

Returning to her studio, she creates portraits of the people she was talking to in clay. She records their expressions and emotions with colour and mark-making, mainly using coloured slips and oxides in an expressive, painterly manner. She introduces broken recycled crockery and embeds it into the clay while in the making. Th is offers an added dimension to her work, like structure, shapes, patterns, and colours, enhancing the personality of the piece and the person it’s representing.

Her pieces have a playful, simple quality that is incredibly difficult to replicate. The titles are a significant aspect of her work, too. Each piece circles back to the conservations she had by naming snippets from that engagement.

Her works can be viewed at Kellie Miller Arts, Brighton.

Kellie Miller is an artist, curator, critic and gallery owner. www.kelliemillerarts.com

32 www.platinummediagroup.co.uk ART SCENE
Go and catch a falling star
Her pieces have a playful, simple quality that is incredibly difficult to replicate
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The Teacups Are Called Beryl My kisses are his daily feast My joy and hearts delight


People in the UK are being charged hundreds of pounds more than some overseas customers by travel firms presenting higher prices on UK websites

From car hire and cruises, to ferries and theme parks, consumers are frequently being presented with wildly different prices depending on where they log on. For example, using the Indonesian website, Agoda.com resulted in a £461 saving on a two-week holiday in Bali – meaning that UK users are paying 35% more. Researchers used virtual private networks (VPNs) to make it look to websites like they were not in the UK. They discovered savings across a range of well-known travel sites such as Hotels.com, Booking.com and Agoda.com, for a variety of countries, including Greece, France, Indonesia and Australia.

A VPN disguises your IP address, while improving privacy and security. You select a country, and the VPN ensures that’s where websites think you are. VPN users are then able to

see the differing content — and prices — shown to overseas consumers.

Using a VPN, a two-week stay for two adults at the Ayodya Resort in Bali booked on the Indonesian Agoda.com site cost £1,314; that’s £461 cheaper than the £1,774 quoted for users on the UK site. The biggest saving came from booking a trip for a family of four to Disneyland, Paris, through the Disneylandparis.com French site. The two-week trip cost £17,342 – £1,540 less than the £18,822 price quoted to users of the UK site.

Once you’ve found your perfect hotel, run the site through a local VPN to the country you are visiting and do a side-by-side comparison

34 www.platinummediagroup.co.uk TRAVEL



Agoda.com Indonesia

Hotels.com Greece

Booking.com France

Agoda.com Australia

Hotels.com Mexico

Booking.com France

Two adults staying at the Aug 14 to

Ayodya Resort Bali Aug 28

Two adults and two children July 17 to

staying at the Iberostar July 31 Selection Creta Marine

Two adults and two children June 6 to £1,237 £1,077 £160 13% staying at Novotel Paris June 10 Center Gare Montparnasse

Two adults staying at June 11 to £1,224 £1,089

Surfers Beachside Holiday June 25 Apartments in Gold Coast, Australia

Two adults staying at the Sept 12 to £1,525 £1,362 £163 11% Cyan Cancun Resort Sept 26 & Spa in Mexico

Two adults and two children June 6 to £912 £825 £87 10% staying at Citadines Bastille June 10 Gare de Lyon Paris

Disneylandparis.com France Family of four staying July 4 to £18,822 £17,342 £1,540 8% at the Disneyland Hotel July 18

Source: NordVPN

Using the Greek site of Hotels.com to book a family holiday at the Iberostar Selection Creta Marine Hotel in Crete would cost £4,612 – a 14% saving on the £5,355 price offered by the UK site.

The research was commissioned by NordVPN and conducted by an external company between April 2nd and 12th, 2024. Simultaneous searches were made for identical products being sold by the same vendor using numerous country servers. Currencies were exchanged via xe.com. Th is is the second consecutive year carrying out the vacation pricing research, and Brits are still being shown different prices to people elsewhere in the world.

When conducting the research, there were cases when prices offered to consumers in different countries were similar. However, for illustration purposes, this article and table (above) present some of the deals with the biggest differences in price.

Marijus Briedis, Chief Technology Officer at NordVPN, said: “Millions of us have got used to hunting for a vacation and booking our holiday car hire online, but not all customers are treated equally when it comes to the price.

times you visit a website, and how your search fits in with the school holiday schedule, can all influence the price you’re offered.

“The best way to fight back is to shop around with the same provider using a VPN and see if you can find hidden savings offered to customers overseas. As our research shows, it could save you thousands of pounds on a trip.


“Online tracking used by travel websites means that they can tell what holiday we’re looking for before we do, while algorithms can adjust holiday prices to the spending power of different countries.

“Never assume you’re getting the same deal as everyone else. Your location, the number of

“Once you’ve found your perfect hotel, run the site through a local VPN to the country you are visiting and do a side-by-side comparison. You can use an online currency exchange to help in your search.”

35 www.platinummediagroup.co.uk
£461 26%
£1,774 £1,314
£4,612 £743


Tucked away in Circus Street in Brighton, you’ll find Fumi – a space dedicated to quality Japanese cuisine and harmonious interiors.

It is a beautiful space. Rooted fi rmly in Japanese culture and traditions, with clean lines, neutral colours and minimalist design. The natural beige colours and dark wood furniture are complemented with strategic lighting and impressive murals, while the space is used cleverly, by having a food bar style section as well as tables for

Fumi focuses on the seasons. All produce is sourced locally with nothing mass produced –farm to table

face-to-face dining. The space creates a feeling of sanctuary and calm, and was particularly welcome after the hustle and bustle of the surrounding Brighton streets. We were seated without fuss, even though we hadn’t made a reservation.

Fumi focuses on the seasons. All produce is sourced locally with nothing mass produced - farm to table. Th is extends to the substantial wine list where you’ll fi nd mostly small, often organic wineries. For dinner, you can choose between the traditional menu or the Omakase menu, directly translated to ‘I’ll leave it up to you’ where the chef makes all your dining decisions – you sit back while being served four or six courses, paired with the perfect wine or cocktails. The chef will take care of your dietary requirements too.

Omakase is not what we chose on this evening, mostly because we were too tempted by the dishes on the menu. I really like sharing plates, it assures the glutton in me that I am getting to try the most dishes possible! And we went all out.

Starting with small plates we went for the Tuna tataki with tosazu wasabi and ponzu slaw that came with perfectly seared tuna, the sear ensuring a subtle smoky flavour. Tosazu is a vinegar-based sauce, the combination of tosazu and wasabi created a harmonious balance of acidity, heat and umami, making each bite of tuna more complex.

36 www.platinummediagroup.co.uk WINE & DINE
Service was friendly and helpful but a little on the slow side. But then again, Fumi aims to be a restaurant where slowing down is encouraged

Added was the crunchy slaw for freshness, vibrancy and textural contrast.

The Kagoshima Wagyu A5 beef tataki with ponzu was another good choice. The beef was exquisitely marbled, melt-in-your-mouth tender, and perfectly complemented by the tangy, citrusy ponzu sauce.

Of course, we couldn’t not sample the tempura! Tempura moriawase it was (mixed tempura platter), all delightfully light and crunchy but we didn’t want to skip the sushi either, anticipating high-quality nigiri, which is exactly what we got.

Small plates/starters done, we were impressed. The kitchen (the whole restaurant, really) clearly values attention to detail – the food presentation was just beautiful.

My partner opted for a main of yakisoba noodles with glazed roasted squash with the squash lending

a sweet, caramelised depth to the savoury noodles, while my roasted black cod was perfectly flaky, enhanced by miso and the nutty, earthy contrast of black rice.

We are both sake fans and were pleased with our choice of Nanbu Bijin umeshu, which is made without any added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Looking at tables around us, it was clear that the same attention to detail is paid to cocktails as it is to the plates.

Service was friendly and helpful but a little on the slow side. But then again, Fumi aims to be a restaurant where slowing down is encouraged.

Fumi 1 Circus Street, Brighton BN2 9QF www.fumi.restaurant

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A cheeky little Italian motor

(that might raise an eyebrow or two...)

Having happily hopped around in a Fiat 500 last year, though not so happily in a Fiat 600, I was intrigued to see how Fiat’s brand new Abarth 500e, its fi rst ever electric model, performed alongside its distant cousins.

Recently awarded the highly prestigious Best Small Car for 2024 at The Car Experts Awards, I had very high expectations of this cheeky little Italian motor.

My fi rst meeting with the Abarth 500e in ‘Acid Green’ got off to a rather inauspicious start as I actually thought there was something wrong with it when it pulled into my drive. It was making a very odd sound, neither roar nor rumble – more terminal, and in need of a mechanic.

For such a small car, a whole new-world reality opens up with ample room for leggy six footers like me

I should have known better really, Fiat’s designers always like to keep their customers on their toes with the most extraordinary and unusual array of bings, bongs and general ice cream van siren noise – and the Abarth is no exception.

Seeing my pained expression, the delivery driver explained that it was the Abarth sound generator that had been developed for the 500e using an external speaker mounted underneath the car. It is meant to reproduce the sound of an Abarth petrol engine. Except it doesn’t.

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MODEL TESTED: Abarth 500e

POWER: 152 bhp

SPEED: 0-62mph 7 secs

TOP: 96 mph

RANGE: 135-142 miles

PRICE FROM: £34,195


• Great value for money – starting at £34,195

• 85kW charging: 0-80% in 25 minutes

• It lives and breathes the Abarth brand

At least I had the option to switch it off if I wanted to. So, with apologies to the brand’s late, great pioneer, Carlo Abarth, born under the strong and powerful sign of Scorpio, that is exactly what I did.

For the Abarth enthusiasts amongst you, worry not, as it got a whole lot better after that. I don’t quite know how the designers of the Fiat 500 series do it but I always find that it is akin to getting inside a Tardis. For such a small car, a whole new-world reality opens up with ample room for leggy six-footers like me.

The Alcantara seats are super comfy and the steering wheel is a joy to behold. Being Italian, of course, it is going to be good looking, both inside and out. It has a new electrified scorpion logo, scorpion ‘claws’ integrated across the car and a new sportier bumper, all beautifully complimented by 18” diamond cut titanium grey alloy wheels. The design of the headlights made me laugh as they look like eyes with eyebrows, and I half-expected to be winked at.


• The infotainment system was rather slow and a bit clunky

• No automatic closure on boot

• Silly Italian seat belts that drag on the floor when unclipped

• The sound generator – personal choice, of course

So, has Fiat managed a successful transition with the Abarth from petrol to an EV? You bet it has, and should be applauded for doing it. It’s fabulous, fun and the easiest EV I have driven to date and likely up there in my top five cars reviewed thus far.


Fitted with an IP titan steel bracelet, it also features –wait for it – the sound of the iconic Abarth roar (sound generator) – which can be heard once when you scan the QR code on the bracelet. It will set you back the princely sum of €499.00, and likely give the person next to you a heart attack when activated.

Meanwhile, back on planet earth, its performance is pretty impressive, and it handles brilliantly with great corner entry and exit. I have not had so much fun in a long time, effortlessly nipping about, in and out of traffic.

It has three driving modes – Turismo (comfort), Scorpion Street (sport performance) and Scorpion Track (Sport performance without one pedal drive). It will take you from 0-62 mph in seven seconds, which is 0.3 seconds faster than the Abarth 595. Indeed, all of Fiat’s acceleration data for the Abarth 500e show that it appears to be stealing a significant march on its elder petrol siblings quite considerably.

So, has Fiat managed a successful transition with the Abarth from petrol to an EV? You bet it has…

The Abarth comes in five colours, all aligned to the classic characteristics of a scorpion – ‘Antidote White’, ‘Venom Black’, ‘Adrenaline Red’, and the new ‘Acid Green’ and ‘Poison Blue’. Just make sure you don’t get bitten by one.

If you are an uber-fan, you can even get a watch to match the colour of your Abarth. Fiat has teamed up with Milanese watchmaker, Breil, to design just 999 limited edition watches.

The first question I am only ever asked about EVs is what the realworld range is. Fiat claims 157 miles, but the reality is more likely to be closer to 135-142 miles. You do have to be careful with the Abarth as it is easy to get carried away with the thrill of driving it as, before you know it, you are looking for a EV charging station.

Not for the first time did I think, “oh, this is a bit thirsty,” a term usually reserved for petrol cars and it was especially noticeable when the air conditioning was on.

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The Love Supreme Jazz Festival is a three-day greenfield jazz festival held at Glynde Place. It is the first full weekend camping jazz festival in the UK but also welcomes day-trippers and non-camping weekend visitors.

DJs and club nights, talks and lectures, panels, classic album playbacks, films, dance classes, kids areas, VIP experiences, camping, and fairground... it’s an immersive musical weekend which has quickly built a loyal and dedicated following.

Glynde Place, Nr Lewes July 5th-7th https://lovesupremefestival.com


A brief snapshot of art and culture in Sussex and Surrey


Devonshire Park once again plays host to the Rothesay International (Eastbourne) WTA tournament, the curtain-raiser to Wimbledon, with some of the world’s finest female tennis talent playing. Some of the legends of the game, including Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Virginia Wade, Kim Clijsters and Lindsey Davenport have played in this tournament.

Devonshire Park, Eastbourne June 22nd-29th www.lta.org.uk/fan-zone/international/ rothesay-international-eastbourne/


Celebrate life in full bloom at Borde Hill Garden Festival, where the splendour of nature meets aspirational outdoor living. Over 40 stalls of artisans, specialist growers and lifestyle trends, with guest speakers, fringe events and live music, all nestled in the heritage-listed Garden.

Borde Hill Gardens, Nr Haywards Heath June 22nd-23rd



An event in our beautiful grounds to showcase local makers and suppliers of local produce in collaboration with Chailey Heritage Foundation. Come along and enjoy the live music, face painting, raffle and demonstrations from crafters and local producers, and fun for all the family!

East Sussex National Hotel, Nr Uckfield June 29th


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Mysterious? 4 Beautiful? 4 Brave? 4 Colourful? 4 Wait, is this artwork you?

Femme Fatale is all about expression and bringing your most authentic self to canvas. Whether you are red and fiery, yellow and charismatic, orange and creative – play with colours that represent you, your vibe, your soul.Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will be available.

The Grain Store, Brighton June 15th www.pinotandpicasso.uk/brighton/session/ femme-fatale-6


The Ibiza Proms comes to Hove seafront for the first time with a 50-piece orchestra to take you on a musical journey to the White Isle! Expect a carefully selected mix of the most iconic Ibiza Dance anthems paired with more recent hits performed like you have never seen them before

Hove Lawns

June 29th



Parham House hosts another ‘Sussex Day’. This delightful event will showcase local produce, crafts and art in the setting of the Pleasure Grounds at Parham House. Guests can enjoy the festivities without any additional charges as the normal garden admission grants access to the event.

Parham House, Pulborough June 16th www.parhaminsussex.co.uk/sussexday-2024


This year’s Festival of Chichester is a celebration of all things arts, incl. music in a variety of genres, theatre, art exhibitions, spoken word and poetry, literary talks from best-selling authors and much more. There are over 100 events taking place across the four weeks so make sure you catch your favourites.

Across Chichester June 15th - July 21st https://festivalofchichester.co.uk/

Wiston Estate Winery, Washington First Saturday of the month www.wistonestate.com/product/ vineyardexplorer WASHINGTON VINEYARD EXPLORER TOUR & LUNCH


A guided 4.1km walking tour of our vineyards, hidden away in the South Downs, incorporating a tasting of our award-winning English sparkling wines and a picnic lunch in the vineyard. The tour will head out into the vineyards, and the beautiful South Downs National Park.

Step back in time to the glamorous 1920s for this exclusive Great Gatsby event at Buxted Park Hotel. Indulge in a weekend of luxury, entertainment, and revelry worthy of Jay Gatsby himself. Transport yourself to the Jazz Age with the finest food, drink and entertainment.

Buxted Park Hotel, Buxted July 6th-7th www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/the-greatgatsby-experience

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