Platinum Business Magazine - Issue 81

Page 1

platinum ISSUE 81 JANUARY 2021




To feed the most vulnerable we needed great service from our bank Joshua Owens-Baigler Director, Angelina Restaurant

At NatWest, we approved a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan for Angelina Restaurant in Dalston. This not only enabled them to keep their staff on, but to provide around 500 meals a day to local vulnerable people. Search NatWest Business

Here to support you Security may be required. Over 18s only. Subject to status. Business use only. Any property or asset used as a security may be repossessed or forfeited if you do not keep up repayments on any debt secured on it.

J A N U A R Y 2021



44 FINANCE 28 Top tax considerations when selling your business 30 NatWest South East PMI® 40 Your top personal finance actions



32 Feeding the human need... Is business growth in 2021 closer to home than we realise?

10 The new chief executive Law firm Mayo Wynne Baxter appoints Chairman Dean Orgill 22 The fourth emergency service 66 Gatwick Diamond Business Awards 2020 The Winners are announced

LEGAL 26 Selling your business – time to act? 56 Protecting agri-foods and drink post-Brexit: Geographical Indications


12 Sir David Attenborough The Greatest Crime Of All Time


60 Are you ready to make 2021 a year to remember?


34 Secure remote access

42 Strength in Collaboration Sussex Innovation launches new peer network for business leaders

EDUCATION 63 Why disrupted business environments need a new type of leadership

MOTORING 72 The mobile staycation




64 Learning from lockdown

All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. The publisher reserves the right to change or amend any competitions or prizes offered. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit. Platinum Business Magazine is owned and published by Platinum Media Group Ltd.


Thinkers Challengers Innovators Leaders DISCOVER THE SUS SE X MBA


WELCOME HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all and with 2020 setting such a low bar, here’s hoping that 2021 brings a few rays of sunshine into our confusing lives. But we can forget all that for a while as here is the first issue of 2021 of the UK’s favourite business magazine, with all the news and views from across the country. Is it time to sell your business? If so, we have a section devoted to just that subject with some sound expert advice. We also present the winners and riders of the 2020 Gatwick Diamond Business Awards and we present the first Influencers Forum of the new year, on the subject of the Future of Work. Included within Platinum is the all-new 2021 issue of Dynamic Magazine – the only business magazine for women – Dynamic has been winning huge applause from far and wide and we intend to build on that praise with a bigger and better version this year. So, let’s keep the chins up and recognise that life will get better, we will emerge from this nightmare and perhaps with a new attitude that will serve us all well. In the meantime, keep reading.

The Platinum Team




NEWS VEGAS COMES TO TOWN Ladbrokes’ owner has revealed a £8.1bn takeover offer by MGM Resorts. Shares surged after the FTSE-100 listed betting and gaming group revealed it had received a proposal from the Bellagio operator. The company, which also owns the Coral chain and online brands such as Sportingbet and Foxy Bingo, said it believes the £8.1bn offer “significantly undervalues the company and its prospects”. It said it had asked MGM Resorts to “provide additional information in respect of the strategic rationale for a combination of the two companies” and that “a further announcement will be made as appropriate”.

NEWS BULLETIN A SPRIGHTLY START The FTSE 100 index of shares in London has seen a “sprightly start” on the first full day of trading of 2021. The blue-chip index is currently up 1.73%, or 111.77 points, at 6,572.29. The wider FTSE 250 index is up 0.98%, or 199.83 points, at 20,688.13. Richard Hunter, Head of Markets at Interactive Investor, said: “The UK market’s first opportunity to react to the Brexit deal has led to a sprightly start to the New Year. The finer implications of the UK’s exit remain to be seen, but the fact that a deal was agreed prior to the deadline removes some of the overhang which had been haunting the index for some time.”

❛❛ The surest sign that

intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us ❜❜ Groucho Marx


BUFFETT SOARS Stockholding conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway made a $30 billion profit in the third quarter as the value of its stock investments swelled. Berkshire Hathaway owner, Warren Buffett, the Sage of Omaha, holds stock in American Express, Bank of America and Coca-Cola amongst others. His 5.8% stake in Apple is now worth £111.7 billion.

NEWS REEBOK TO GO Sportswear giant Adidas has confirmed it could sell its Reebok brand. The German company said it had “begun to assess strategic alternatives” for Reebok that could include a sale as part of a new five-year strategy to be set out in March. Adidas bought US-focused Reebok in 2006 for £2.8bn in an attempt to build more of a presence in the home market of its rival Nike.

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI are investigating SEB, Swedbank and Danske Bank over possible breaches of anti-money laundering regulations. Dagens Industri said Sweden had received requests for help from U.S. authorities in investigations into a money laundering scandal that has already resulted in fines for Swedbank, Danske and SEB. The scandal surfaced in 2018 when Danske Bank admitted that suspicious payments totalling 200 billion euros ($243 billion) from Russia and elsewhere flowed through its branch in Estonia.

❛❛ In anger we should refrain both from speech and action ❜❜ Pythagoras, Greek philosopher

BARCLAYS FINE Barclays Bank has been fined £26m for the way it treated customers who fell into debt or experienced financial problems. Among those poorly treated were bereaved people whose financial issues should have been better assessed. The City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said Barclays’ poor treatment of its customers “risked making these difficulties worse”. The bank has compensated those affected, paying over £273m to 1.53 million customer accounts since 2017. The FCA said Barclays knew about many of the shortcomings in its systems and controls as early as 2013, but failed to adequately resolve them until late 2018.

ANGEL WITH ALTITUDE A consortium led by BT will develop the UK’s first commercial drone corridor in Reading next summer, using a five-mile flight path to experiment on the different uses for unmanned drones. The experiment will see drones share open and unrestricted airspace with other commercial aircraft, including planes, while being operated beyond the pilots’ line of sight, something that is currently prohibited. BT and partners, including Altitude Angel – a company that has developed an air traffic control system for unmanned drones – will support different projects contributing to the corridor test.


NEWS WORLD’S FIRST SOLAR-POWERED TRAIN The chairman of the Greater Brighton City Region welcomed investment in the world’s first solar energy plant for powering railways. Riding Sunbeams, the world-leading solar rail pioneer, has been awarded £2,527,500 from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the government’s new Getting Building Fund. The funds will be used to build and connect the world’s first renewable solar energy plant directly powering the railways in East Sussex. The project is located in Berwick, north of the Eastbourne to London via Lewes mainline railway which will be powered by the energy it generates. With the funds now secured, the solar farm is expected to be supplying power to the local railway network by March 2022. After completion, Cuckmere Community Solar will launch an investment offer so that the project can be owned by local community members and rail commuters who use the network.

AA BREAKDOWN The Automobile Association (AA) is to return to private ownership after six years as a publicly quoted company. At their peak, the shares were listed at 416p and have now dropped as low as 15p. Creaking under £2.6 billion of debt, it is being bought by Towerbrook and Warburg Pincus for 35p per share.

CROWN REMOVED Business leaders have again urged the government to end the stagnation in British air travel after Heathrow lost its crown to its Parisian rival as the airport that handles the greatest number of passengers. Charles de Gaulle is now the busiest airport in the world.

❛❛ Great artists are people who find the way to be themselves in their art. Any sort of pretension induces mediocrity in art and life alike ❜❜ Margot Fonteyn, ballerina 1975


KERCHING London Stock Exchange Group’s $27 billion takeover of Refinitiv, the financial data provider, is set to receive about £835 million in fees, making it the largest payout for a UK deal. LSE Group said that total costs, charges and expenses payable would comprise £358 million inducing financial, legal and accountancy advice. There will be a further £477 million in financerelated costs.

NEWS NAMED AND SHAMED Tesco is among more than 100 companies which have been named and shamed by the government for failing to pay workers the minimum wage.

MASSIVE MERGER Shareholders in Peugeot owner PSA have given the green light to the French company’s merger with Fiat Chrysler (FCA), one of the last steps towards creating the world’s fourth largest automaker.

The supermarket giant was one of 139 employers on a list of firms which had short-changed staff. In total, the companies failed to cough up £6.7m owed to some 95,000 employers between 2016 and 2018.

At a special shareholder meeting, the deal to form the new company called Stellantis was first backed by top investors with double voting rights, including the Peugeot family, China’s Dongfeng and the French state, via Bpifrance. All other PSA shareholders backed the deal at a second meeting held online with a 99.85% approval rate among votes cast.

A TAD OVERDRAWN Government borrowing hit record levels in November and City economists fear the latest lockdowns will push Britain back into recession. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show the government borrowed £31.6 billion last month, the highest November figure since records began. Since the start of the financial year, the UK has borrowed almost £241 billion. The total national debt has hit £2.1 trillion. Hinesh Patel, portfolio manager at Quilter Investors, said: “The debt to GDP ratio now stands at 99.5% of GDP, a level not seen since Harold Macmillan occupied Downing Street in 1962.”

BITCOIN SURGE Bitcoin’s value surged above £24,850 for the first time last week as the leading cryptocurrency continued to soar. It put the gain this year at almost £3,500. The rise was put down to interest from big investors seeking quick profits. It comes after Bitcoin soared 300% last year, with the price of many other digital currencies also rising sharply. Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency, gained 465% in 2020. Some analysts think Bitcoin’s value could rise even further as the US dollar drops further.

FAMILY SUPPORT The father of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is applying for French citizenship now that Britain has severed ties with the European Union. Stanley Johnson told France’s RTL radio he had always seen himself as French as his mother was born in France. The 80-year-old former Conservative Member of the European Parliament voted Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum. His son Boris spearheaded the Leave campaign and later took the UK out of the EU as prime minister. Boris did not comment on this lack of confidence by his own father.



Law firm Mayo Wynne Baxter has a new Chief Exec, its Chairman Dean Orgill. We sat down with Dean to find out what this new role means to him and the firm

THE NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE What made you want to be a solicitor and what type of legal work do you do? I wanted to have a career in something that would challenge me – and I can happily say that being a solicitor has done that every day from the very first. Throughout my career I have focussed on dispute resolution and have dealt with all types of litigation representing clients’ interests both on paper and through advocacy in the courts. However, the core of my work for many years has been commercial litigation, principally contract disputes and intellectual property matters.


How long have you been at MWB and when did you become a Partner and Chairman? I joined Wynne Baxter Godfree just over 33 years ago and became a Partner in 1993. I have been Chairman of Mayo Wynne Baxter since 2011.

❛❛ I joined Wynne

Baxter Godfree just over 33 years ago and became a Partner in 1993. I have been Chairman of Mayo Wynne Baxter since 2011 ❜❜

What are the key changes that you have seen during your time at MWB? I started pre-internet – yes there was such a time. We were also just heading into the era of widespread adoption of mobile phones. (I feel that I should add that we did have soundtracks on films by then!) The speed of, and accessibility to, communication has increased beyond what we might have imagined. Likewise, the way that lawyers communicate with clients has changed. A typical day in my first few years of practice would be likely to include a full afternoon of face-to-face appointments in my office followed by an hour or two of returning calls that had come in during that time. Now most of the contact is by telephone, email or video conference. However, crucially, the need for an understanding of people’s issues and then helping them with professional skill and integrity remains unchanged.

INTERVIEW How is your role changing? My primary focus becomes the business and interests of MWB and its stakeholders, though I will still carry out some legal work for a few clients. I have always been immensely proud to be part of Mayo Wynne Baxter and see this role as having a responsibility to, at the very least, ensure that its reputation and success is maintained and preferably to keep it moving forward to increase both its standing and its performance. What does being the Chief Exec mean to you? A responsibility, a challenge, and an opportunity. The responsibility to the firm, my partners who asked me to take on the role, to the staff who contribute so massively to its success and to the wider communities (which we see ourselves as being a part of and contributor to) will always be in my mind. A very positive challenge. I believe MWB has an enviable reputation and is a great firm to be a part of. My role is to try to make it better still – and then push it on still further. An opportunity to put into practice those things which I have learned along the way from so many people.

❛❛ An opportunity to put into practice those things which I have learned along the way from so many people ❜❜ What challenges do you feel are facing the firm in the next few years? In the short term the wider economic effects of the pandemic and of Brexit are almost “givens” in answer to this. But I also think that both will have longer lasting effects on how people live, work, and consume goods and services – including legal services. The continued rise of artificial intelligence and the changes in the way of accessing and consuming those goods and services through technology mean that we will have to adjust how we provide our services. We will need to deliver them in the ways that people want to access them whilst still maintaining the standards of professionalism, service, quality, and integrity which are embedded in the firm’s DNA. Alongside that, how our people operate and how they see their relationship with work is evolving too. Both of these aspects need to be considered and factored into our forward thinking – ideally in harmony with one another.

Do you have any work interests/positions outside the firm? I am lucky in that I have been able to carry out various roles outside of the firm. Until recently I chaired the Sussex branch of Institute of Directors and was fortunate enough to write a regular column for this esteemed publication. I was also a director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative for several years. Currently I am Chair of Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, a member of the Greater Brighton Economic Board, Vice-Chair of Sussex Chamber of Commerce, and a trustee of South Down National Park Trust. When you are not running one of the region’s largest law firms, what do you do to relax? I try to stay active, in order to counteract the effects of spending most of my day sitting down, drinking coffee and indulging my weakness for biscuits, and will play pretty much any sport given the chance. I ski (downhill or cross-country) whenever I can and would much rather be out in the snow than relaxing on a beach. Mostly though my regular relaxations are cycling and playing ice hockey.

For more information, T: 0800 8494101



THE GREATEST CRIME OF ALL TIME For nearly 70 years Sir David Attenborough has been exploring the planet, taking hundreds of millions of television viewers on eye-opening journeys through the natural world. Jungles and island archipelagos, deserts and deep under the sea, no place has been too remote, no animal too elusive, for Sir David and his talented team of filmmakers to document. The man known as a national treasure is 94 years old now, but age and the pandemic haven’t slowed him down. Regarding his programmes, they are, what he calls, a witness statement, a firsthand account of what he has seen happen to the planet and a dire warning of what he believes awaits us if we don’t act quickly to save it.




Sir David with Prince Charles and Princess Anne in 1958

Attenborough was born on May 8th 1926, 17 days after Queen Elizabeth II and, like Her Majesty, he has become a symbol of stability in a turbulent world. It is hard to imagine a time before he was on our screens, affably engaging with sloths or giant turtles – partly because there wasn’t. Television was invented the year after he was born, and only began to enter people’s homes in the 1950s, when he was beginning his career. The first programme he made was watched by barely 10,000 people gazing at 405 flickering black-and-white lines on large boxes in living rooms in the south-east of England. Recently, his series Our Planet became Netflix’s most-watched original documentary, watched by 33 million people in its first month. Attenborough and the Queen are more than just contemporaries. “I see them quite a lot,” Attenborough said of the royal family from his home in Richmond earlier this year. He first encountered the Queen’s children, Charles and Anne, in 1958, when they toured the BBC’s Lime Grove studios and the young presenter introduced them to his pet cockatoo, Cock y. In 1986, the year af ter Attenborough was knighted, he produced the first of six Christmas broadcasts for the Queen. Earlier this year, he was interviewed by Prince William on stage at Davos; the future king asked him for advice on how best to save the planet.


Marrying Jane Oriel with his brother, actor Richard Attenborough in 1950

❛❛ So many Chinese viewers downloaded Blue Planet II that it temporarily slowed down the country’s internet ❜❜ In our fractured age, Attenborough is the closest we have to a universally beloved public figure. Last year, a YouGov poll found him to be the most popular person in Britain. The crowd at Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage roared when he appeared on stage in 2019. Viewers of Love Island expressed outrage when one contestant declared she found his programmes boring. But Attenborough transcended national treasure status some years ago. He is a truly global figure now. So many Chinese viewers downloaded Blue Planet II “that it temporarily slowed down

the country’s internet”, according to the Sunday Times. When his latest series was broadcast live in South Africa and India, rapt schoolchildren held up signs: “Thank you for being you – Sir David A” and “Sir David please come to India please”. As he moves from the White House to the World Economic Forum, urging presidents, businesspeople and the public to better protect the environment, he has come to be viewed, in a way he sees as overblown, as a keeper of humanity’s conscience. “That man who saves the world,” is how many young children describe him. There will never be another David Attenborough. What makes him special, apart from all his personal qualities, is the timing of his life. When Attenborough began travelling the world in the 1950s, we were in a different geological epoch, the Holocene. Today, we live in the Anthropocene, an epoch defined by Homo sapiens’ disruptive dominance of


the planet. He’s seen more of the natural world than any human being that has ever lived on the planet and he’s also seen more change than anyone else and he feels a responsibility. Despite the adulation, one charge has dogged Attenborough for decades. Critics argue that he has built himself a unique storytelling platform, only to fail to tell the most important story of all: the destructive impact of people on the planet. But one reason Attenborough has thrived on screen for seven decades is because he has always sensed how attitudes are changing, and moved with the times. For a long time, he maintained that his programmes must showcase the wonders of the natural world, and not speak of the human one. Now his latest series are filled with urgent messages about environmental destruction. Still, he resists the idea that he has changed; he prefers to say that it is the public mood that has transformed. After a lifetime of caution, almost despite himself, he has become a leading champion for action.

collector – of tribal art, books and music – but although more than a dozen species are named after him, including a flightless weevil, Trigonopterus Attenboroughi, and a genus of dinosaur, Attenborosaurus, he is not an authority on natural history. “Everyone thinks he’s an amazing naturalist,” said the producer and writer Mary Colwell, who worked with him at the Natural History Unit in the 2000s. “He isn’t at all. He’s a great storyteller. Everyone thinks he makes these programmes. He doesn’t – but without him they wouldn’t sparkle in the way they do.” Attenborough agrees. “Work and reputation get separated,” he said. Forty years ago, he travelled around the world three times in order to make his groundbreaking series Life on Earth. He wrote the script, and every page of the accompanying book. “But now I just write and

speak the words. And people say: ‘What was it like when you saw that animal charging in?’ And I say: ‘I wasn’t there. Thirty cameramen worked on this thing.’ I’m given credit for things I don’t do. I am grateful, but I’m also embarrassed.” It is even worse, he said, when viewers assume he is a source of scientific wisdom. “OK, I was a biologist once, but I’m a hopeless birder. If I go out with a birder I keep my mouth shut. I just nod. ‘Mmmm. Mmmm.’ So to use a horrible word, I’ve become a kind of icon. Using it in its original meaning, I’m the image of what they think of as a naturalist. I’m a reasonable naturalist, but I’m not the great all-seeing source of all information, knowledge and understanding.”

❛❛ It’s really very unfair that man should

have chosen the gorilla to symbolise all that is aggressive and violent, when that’s the one thing that the gorilla is not and that we are ❜❜

Attenborough fell in love with the natural world as a boy, exploring his way through his neighbourhood in Leicester, looking for bugs, insects and amphibians. The middle child of three brothers, he grew up in a family of teachers. His father was principal of University College, Leicester. His mother was a talented pianist. Education was revered. He speaks of his boyhood passions – keeping tanks of tropical fish, venturing across northern England on his bike as a young teen, alone, in search of fossils. To this day, Attenborough is still a



At times, Attenborough’s self-deprecation almost sounds like imposter syndrome. When he was asked to list his failings as a person, he narrowed his eyes. “I’m too convincing,” he laughed, comparing his own expertise unfavourably to other wildlife broadcasters such as Simon King and Liz Bonnin. “When it comes to, as it were, conning your way through, I’m not bad at it. Never identify things unnecessarily.” Even so, plenty of colleagues recall Attenborough relishing his ability to surprise them with his knowledge. Jonny Keeling, the executive producer of Seven Worlds, One Planet, was excited to show his presenter never-obtained-before footage from China of a golden snubnosed monkey. “‘Oh yes, Rhinopithecus roxellana,’” remembered Attenborough instantly: he knew all about it and had tried to film it many years before.

The only praise Attenborough will accept is for his skill as a storyteller. Robert Attenborough, David’s son and an anthropologist at the University of Cambridge, remembered, as a teenager, “watching him in the raconteur role as a host of a dinner party and admiring the skill with which he would tell a funny story. Sometimes they get slightly improved. That’s something we used

❛❛ Climate change is the greatest threat

facing the planet for thousands of years. Even the biggest and most awful things that humanity has done, pale to significance when you think of what could be around the corner, unless we pull ourselves together ❜❜ to tease him about. Of course he wouldn’t do that, then or now, when making a serious point.” Attenborough’s storytelling has been honed over seven decades in television – and he is, above all, a TV man. After studying natural sciences at Cambridge, he married his university sweetheart, Jane Oriel, and ditched his boring junior publishing job for the glamorous new world of television. He started off behind the camera, after one of his first bosses decided his teeth were too big for a


presenter. In 1954, Attenborough travelled to Sierra Leone with Jack Lester, London Zoo’s curator of reptiles, to film a new series, Zoo Quest. The concept was simple: they would catch wild animals – their bounty from Sierra Leone included pythons, bird-eating spiders and their big prize, the bald-headed rockfowl – and bring them back to London to add to the zoo’s collection. At the outset, Attenborough was the producer, director, sound man and animal-wrangler. He only ended up being the presenter because Lester was taken ill after the first episode. Zoo Quest was broadcast in black and white, but the original colour footage, which was later discovered by BBC archivists, is beautiful. Attenborough narrates his encounters in clipped, 1950s, BBC-issue received pronunciation, with little trace of his more expressive later style. Although the colonial animal-snatching conceit of Zoo Quest is extremely dated, each episode focuses as much on the human worlds he visits as the exotic animals. Attenborough’s script is factual, respectful and open-minded; his films unsensationally depict nudity, polygamy and other cultural traditions, alongside the animal hunt. Over the next few years, new series of Zoo Quest appeared and Attenborough’s reputation grew. With his keen eye for the perceptions of his TV audience, he adapted cannily to a rapidly expanding


industry. By the dawn of the 60s, as he admitted in his autobiography, Zoo Quest was looking “increasingly antiquated”. He realised that it was time for a new approach. His next Quest series, filmed in northern Australia, eschewed attempts to bring animals home and instead depicted the cultural lives of Aboriginal peoples. The trip to Australia inspired him to take a part-time postgraduate degree in anthropology, but he was tempted back

to full-time TV work before he could complete it. In 1965, he became controller of BBC Two, an appointment greeted with scepticism by “TV professionals” quoted in newspaper columns of the day. At first, he was considered lightweight, a youthful bit of eye-candy, but he was soon hailed for his “unexpected” success, as a Daily Express profile put it. “Everybody forgot I wasn’t just a naturalist – I was always a trained TV man,” he told the paper in 1965. “Hell, I love it. I watch everything. Straight home from the office – switch to BBC Two – see all my babies.”

In 1972, he championed “community programming” that included what has been described as the first sympathetic portrayal of transgender people on British television; he even suggested phone-ins to widen audience participation, years before they became a staple of TV and radio.

As the channel’s controller and then director of programmes for both BBC channels, Attenborough was a great innovator. In 1967, the government decided that BBC Two would become the first channel to switch to colour, and he set about exploiting this advantage. He put snooker on the channel and helped devise new forms of sport: one-day cricket and rugby league under floodlights. Programmes that emerged under his watch include Dad’s Army, Porridge and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

One of his lasting innovations was the all-you-need-to-know documentary, beginning with Kenneth Clark ’s Civilisation. Attenborough designed this epic, 12-part series about the history of art and culture to showcase the glory of colour television. These monumental series became known as “sledgehamm e r s ”, a n d t h e r e f o l l o w e d uncompromisingly highbrow treatments of human evolution, economics and US history. But Attenborough believed the best subject for sledgehammer treatment was yet to come: natural history.

❛❛ Extinction Rebellion doesn’t have the monopoly on people who care about the planet ❜❜



Attenborough’s achievements at BBC Two made him a prime candidate for director-general, the top job at the corporation. But he was tiring of the senior executive’s life – desk-bound, constant meetings – and in the early 70s he resigned. “The fact he didn’t want to stay as an executive and wanted to go back to programming says something very important about him,” his son Robert told me. Attenborough yearned to be more creative, and had seen the thankless politics involved in the top job. “The Archangel Gabriel couldn’t do the DG’s job,” he remarked.

Instead, he persuaded the BBC that he could create a Civilisation-style treatment of the evolution of plants and animals. This series took three years to make, and the budget was so big that Attenborough had to pitch to US networks for funding. (He still enjoys impersonating a sceptical American TV man aghast at the prospect of funding a series that opened with “slime mould”.) Life on Earth was broadcast for 55 minutes on 13 consecutive Sunday evenings in 1979. It “started quietly,” according to Mike Salisbury, a former

❛❛ The crowd at Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage roared when he appeared on stage in 2019 ❜❜


producer who worked on the programme. Despite the presence of a safari-suited Attenborough, binoculars around his neck, skipping between exotic locations, the early episodes often feel like a lecture with moving pictures. Our handsome presenter tries to make the best of diagrams of DNA, micro-organisms and 200m-year-old fossils. “A whole lot of worms have left this delicate tracery of trails in what was mud,” he enthuses in the Grand Canyon. Salisbury chuckled at the difficulty of bringing this to life on television: “Fossils, for God’s sake. They don’t even move.” But as its epic story slowly unfolds, the series warms up. The writing is often superb: “Four million animals and plants in the world,” says Attenborough, “four million different solutions to staying alive.” The penultimate episode, on primates, features the first memorable


❛❛ He questioned the wisdom of

perpetual economic growth: only “a madman or an economist” would cling to this notion ❜❜ buster. While the BBC has relinquished its dominance over most genres, it remains the pre-eminent maker of natural history programmes. Much imitated, these blockbusters are still a huge global export: the BBC will not reveal what profit, if any, these series make, but Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II were sold to more than 235 territories.

Attenborough “two shot”, where he appears alongside another animal. He joins a grooming session among mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and still has the presence-of-mind to whisper: “There is more meaning and mutual understanding in exchanging a glance with a gorilla than any other animal I know.” Although some facts have changed – we now know there are more than 8m species, not 4m – the series stands the test of time; one Cambridge professor still shows his undergraduates the primates episode each year.

For most of his life, Attenborough’s environmentalism has been the old-fashioned, off-screen variety, lending his support to numerous green charities. Ever since he was asked, as a bit of a joke, to open a visitor centre at a nature reserve by the village of Attenborough in Nottinghamshire, in 1966, he has given rousing speeches at hundreds of events for nature charities across Britain. It is hard to find a visitor centre at a Wildlife Trust nature reserve that does not feature a silver plaque declaring that it was “Opened by Sir David Attenborough”. To his critics, these good deeds do not make up for what they see as Attenborough’s great failing as a broadcaster. Putting the case for the prosecution, the journalist George Monbiot has accused Attenborough of

“knowingly creating a false impression of the world” by making films that underplay humanity’s impact on the planet and fail to identify the forces driving mass extinction and the climate crisis. Another environmentalist told me that Attenborough possesses irreproachable integrity, but his long silence on extinction and global warming in his television work has contributed towards a popular knowledge deficit. Even so, his public reticence and natural caution have made the final stage of his career all the more striking. In November 2004, nearly 20 years after the phrase “global warming” was first coined, Attenborough attended a lecture in Belgium given by Ralph Cicerone, an American expert on atmospheric chemistry. The graphs that Cicerone presented, showing the rise in global temperatures, finally convinced Attenborough, beyond any doubt, that humans were responsible for the changing climate. Attenborough insists he was never a sceptic about man-made climate change; just cautious. Even after Cicerone’s lecture, he still believed his job was to make programmes about wildlife. He worried that people would think he was setting himself up as an expert on climate science.

For old-timers at the BBC, history is divided into before and after Life on Earth. “We hadn’t realised what a gamechanger it was going to be,” said Salisbury. “By the end there were 14 million people watching it.” The series established what television executives call the “blue-chip” natural history block-



At tenborough’s output changed, however. This distinction may mystify those beyond the Natural History Unit, but its film-makers distinguish between natural history and “environmental” filmmaking. The former focus on animal or plant biology and behaviour; the latter address e nviro nm e ntal issu es . Attenborough’s 2006 BBC two-parter, The Truth About Climate Change, was his first to address global warming explicitly. Three years later came How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?, which reflected his long-standing concern over the rising human population. (Attenborough’s position incurred criticism from some who argued he was focusing more on environmental harm caused by poorer nations rather than over-consumption by wealthier populations.) At 94, Attenborough is more in demand than ever. Susan, his daughter, keeps a watchful eye on him and tries in vain to scale back his speaking engagements and charitable commitments. (He has never put his name to any commercial product.) The BBC want him to narrate Planet Earth III, but he will be 96 when the

time comes. Meanwhile, he devotes most of his considerable stamina to appealing for radical action to tackle the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. In Poland, at the UN climate change summit in 2018, he was chosen to represent the world’s people in addressing leaders from almost 200 nations. At Davos, in early 2019, he questioned the wisdom of perpetual economic growth: only “a madman or an economist” would cling to this notion, he argued. Earlier this year, Attenborough launched Seven Worlds, One Planet with an exhausting round of interviews to journalists from six continents, while a police helicopter buzzed over Extinction Rebellion protests on the streets of London. At the premiere, when I asked if he was comfortable

❛❛ As the channel’s

controller and then director of programmes for both BBC channels, Attenborough was a great innovator ❜❜

about his films inspiring Extinction Rebellion, he replied sharply: “Extinction Rebellion doesn’t have the monopoly on people who care about the planet. That’s a section of people who care about the planet, but everybody should care about the planet. We’re citizens of the planet. We have the dominance of it and we ought to care about it.” Attenborough has been supportive of school climate strikers, and likes to suggest that the planet now belongs in younger hands. He remains visibly fascinated by all kinds of life and social change around him, but instinctively cleaves to the role of his lifetime – as an interested observer, watching a new generation clamouring for environmental change. “I’ve had my share of the platform. I’d be better off standing apart from it and trying to be as dispassionate as I can,” he said last week. “I’m old and they are young. They have their own techniques and their own ethos. It’s their world, not mine, that’s for sure.” Sadly, we are all on this planet at the time of the greatest crime of all time – the destruction of planet Earth.


Create your own bespoke legal documents online with LawEasier, it’s easy-peasy!

BUSINESS 30 years at the top of their game – EMC’s mobile boardroom focuses on business growth



Formed in 1989, EMC pioneered the concept of the ‘mobile boardroom’–a multi-disciplined task force capable of providing top-level support and advice to businesses on a short or long-term basis. After 30 years and having completed over 800

projects the team are still at the top of their game in the South East, helping SME’s grow and prosper. Today we talk to four of their experts as to how and why EMC’s Business Growth team as they are now known, make a real difference.

“Many business owners employ bookkeepers or accountants who record historic transactions, and then act as CFOs themselves in addition to their CEO roles. Even if you are proficient with accounting and finance, time is a scarce and valuable resource. Is this the best use of it? There are three great key reasons to hire a CFO:”


Laura McKenzie is a senior interim CFO and specialises in financial management and support


Trusted reporting “You need one source of data to be accurate, to enhance knowledge and judgement for day to day business decisions. So that financial reports, often leveraging technology, can be analysed and interpreted allowing meaningful KPI dashboards to be created. This requires understanding of what factors drive the business, and what signals they send off. i.e. The hidden costs of maintaining a demanding client or customer acquisition costs vs lifetime value”.

Financial planning “Every business should have rolling 12-months projections. Accurate financial forecasts allow meaningful cash management, tax planning, variance analysis and monitoring of performance targets. The faster the business is changing/growing, the more complex the operations, the greater the risk associated with not planning regularly. Understand your cash runway so you maintain an appropriate buffer or raise funds in time. They may take a bit of time to set up but once in place they become an essential and valuable management tool”.

BUSINESS Most businesses are fearful of consultants and costs. What would you say to that? “I would agree. I ran a business with over 350 people for five years and I was very cautious as to who I listened to and more so took care as to whom I actually paid for advice. But I can assure you that when you get the right support it can push your business forward and bring huge returns. The reason EMC have been around for more that 30 years and completed more than 800 projects is that we are trusted, known locally and give great value for money. What more can I say - give it a go”.


Carl Fillery, heads the strategy and business planning team at EMC

“I probably visit 25-50 businesses a year so I see all sorts of leaders and in fairness, they all have their strengths or they wouldn’t be there. The best are the ones always looking to grow, learn, challenge their teams and bring in help where necessary to do this. You have to invest to grow whether in mentoring for your key people, reviewing and crystallising strategy, business planning, or just having an objective independent view, as and when you need it. That’s exactly what the team at EMC offers – expert advice at an agreed price for as little or as long as you need”.

❛❛ After 30 years

and having completed over 800 projects the team are still at the top of their game in the South East, helping SMEs grow and prosper ❜❜

Strategic planning “Every owner benefits from objective advice. Once a CFO, (whether full- or parttime) is embedded in the business and becomes an integral part of strategic planning they will be able to assist with all business decisions whether investment or cut back, pricing, inventory management, to evaluate and cost growth plans and product launches, acquisition and exit decisions for owners”. “If you are spending more than 20% of your working time on finances, it’s time to hire a CFO. Often a part-time solution is the first step, hiring a top professional for short periods rather than committing to a full-time, less effective solution. This part-time solution will aid owners in truly appreciating the value such a CFO can bring - and how much diary time is recovered to work on all the other elements of their business”.




Tony Barsham is head of the technology team at EMC “There are three areas that will be very important as you recover and seek to grow” B2C and B2B over the internet “Web / App based ordering is now a given, and again many organisations have embraced this. The internet offers much more opportunity than basic transactions and organisations should consider how they can interact and engage with customers more effectively – and then use that data to drive decisions within their business. The transformation of the airline industry is a great example of this. The toolkits (e.g. Azure or AWS) are available and not difficult or expensive to use – so highly functional websites are no longer the domain only of large organisations”.


Using AI to grow the business “The know-how within an organisation is very often the most competitive advantage that it possesses. If that know-how is ‘wrapped up’ in people it also becomes a constraint to growth. Organisations must consider how they can ‘automate’ at least part of that knowledge, using AI technologies, which then allows their customers to access that knowledge with less need for human intervention. AI technologies are also becoming more accessible (again Azure and AWS have very rich portfolios) and less costly to develop”.

‘Always Connected’ Devices and Internet of Things (IOT) “Cars and most consumer appliances today are always connected to the internet using IOT technology. Smart meters to control electricity in homes are now government policy. Any organisations that manufacturer products, that ultimately will sit in a consumer or business environment, must understand how they can use IOT to deliver a better services to their customers. That could be proactive or predictive monitoring (to foresee problems before they happen) or alerting when faults occur. Knowledge is power.” “Business owners must embrace these opportunities and pull together a technology strategy to support their business growth. This can be done at speed and with accuracy if the right expertise is used. EMC is ideally positioned to support this”.


“As organisations grow, they have a tendency to try to manage all operational areas that they had to run as a smaller company. When companies mature efficiency, quality, customer service and cost are often best served by an outsourced solution. Make sure that you review your processes and recommend cost-effective areas to outsource. This should be supported by a costed payback model and action plan”.

John Stevenson Head of Operational Excellence

Sales & Business development “Most businesses have experienced some sales disruption in 2020. However, there will be significant opportunities as we emerge with a strengthening economy. Ensure your company has a growth plan in place and is ready to be more commercially agile, this is an area where external help can arrive more quickly at a plan that is realistic, innovative, and deliverable. Developing these plans and embedding tracking visibility is something we implement successfully with all our growing clients - and you should be doing the same”.

And what can we do on the operational front to achieve ‘Operational Excellence’? “This is a significant opportunity to ensure that your company emerges with a leaner, more efficient operational base. Challenge your operations team to add percentage points to your margin. There is always profit in the buying. You should have a toolkit which your team use to ensure you are working to a more effi cient plan, with a measurable dashboard, to improve profitability. Supply chain management will be key going forward”.

❛❛ As organisations

grow, they have a tendency to try to manage all operational areas that they had to run as a smaller company ❜❜


EMC’s business growth team work alongside their awardwinning corporate finance division that tops the South East league table for transactions completed. CEO Nik Askaroff said: “When I originally founded the business, it was with the idea of helping companies by providing expert advice in small affordable chunks or on a part-time basis. 32 years on, we are still doing that and I am very proud that we continue to be unique in the region in the combination of expert business advice and top quality corporate finance support. Whether you are growing, buying or looking to sell we can help you on that journey”

EMC MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS Rochester House, 48 Rochester Gardens Hove, BN3 3AW Tel: 01273 945984 Email: Offices in: London, Brighton, Eastbourne, Tunbridge Wells, Epsom, Maidstone



SELLING YOUR BUSINESS – TIME TO ACT? DMH Stallard Corporate partner Chris Simmons is of the opinion that Capital Gains Tax is likely to increase in 2021 In July 2020, the Chancellor requested The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to consider how capital gains tax (CGT) distorts behaviour or fails to meet policy intent. In November the OTS published its report, Capital Gains Tax Review – first report: Simplifying by design. The report makes 11 recommendations


including considering more closely aligning CGT rates with Income Tax, and addressing boundar y issues between CGT and Income Tax. Given the country’s finances have been so strongly impacted by Covid-19 and with a budget deficit predicted to balloon to £400bn, it is very likely that taxes will go up in the March

budget; it is just as likely that the OTS report provides a few clues as to what we can expect to see. If you’re looking to sell your business and would like the certainty and benefits of the current CGT regime, you will need to get your house in order and sell before the budget is delivered in March.


THE KEY STAGES TO SELLING YOUR BUSINESS ARE AS FOLLOWS: Preliminary stages Sellers will usually require a buyer to sign a Confidentiality Agreement agreeing to keep information that is disclosed to the buyer about the company confidential. It is also common for the key terms of a transaction, such as when the completion date will be, price being paid for the target company’s shares and other case specific essentials, to be set out in a document known as the Heads of Terms or Letter of Intent. Due diligence: commercial, legal and financial Due diligence is the information gathering process carried out by a prospective buyer to find out as much information as possible about the target company early in the transaction negotiations. This may then be used to knock down the initial price in the letter of intent.

Deferred consideration When money is to be paid after completion, thought must be given to ensure payment ie that the buyer will be able to pay and pay on time. One way to ensure payment is to put the deferred consideration into an escrow account which cannot be touched by the seller until the deferred payment date. Another option is to take security over the buyer’s asset(s). Disclosure letter The warranties are factual statements that reflect the “perfect” company eg a statement that there is no litigation. It is in the interests of the seller to disclose against the warranties and provide the information where it conflicts with the warranties. The reason behind this is that if the buyer brings a warranty claim, it will only be able to do so where it is outside of the warranties ie if there is litigation and the seller did not disclose this then the buyer would be able to claim for this against the seller.

Additional documents Consider whether there are any change of control clauses or consent is required from a landlord or any assignment of intellectual property is required. Service, employment or settlement agreements will need to be negotiated, if relevant. Signing and exchange There can be a split exchange and completion (like selling a house) where the parties sign the agreement but completion does not happen until a later date, for example if a charge is to be satisfied. More often, it occurs simultaneously. Completion and Post-completion Payment is usually made on completion (other than any deferred consideration if relevant). Post-completion will involve the filings of forms at Companies House eg change of directors and updating the company books.

❛❛ If you’re looking to sell your business

and would like the certainty and benefits of the current CGT regime, you will need to get your house in order ❜❜

Share purchase agreement The terms that govern the sale of the shares. The purchase price will set out any deferred consideration and payment schedule if applicable. The buyer will usually draft the first version and the seller will want to pay special attention to the warranties and liabilities. The warranties can be disclosed against (see disclosure letter below), and the liabilities will need to be negotiated so that the seller’s liability is limited in the event the buyer brings forward a claim.

Contact Chris Simmons or any member of the DMH Stallard corporate team in Gatwick, Guildford or London for more information.



David Crowter, Tax Partner at MHA Carpenter Box, provides food for thought if you’re considering selling your business in 2021



With the continued impact of COVID-19 and Brexit, many business owners may be thinking of selling on. Speculation around tax rates going up after the next Budget may be a further reason to think about selling sooner rather than later.

If you are thinking about selling your business, tax considerations can be vital in a business sale. The ability to structure a sale on a tax-efficient basis is central to maximising shareholder value. A review of the position in advance of marketing a business for sale may identify opportunities which can be capitalised on or risks which can be dealt with. We outline our top issues below but would always recommend professional advice on a timely basis, tailored to individual circumstances, and specialist tax support through the transaction process.


Over recent years, the ability to sell shares in a company with the benefit of a 10% tax rate has been a major attraction for vendors. Business Asset Disposal Relief (BADR), previously called Entrepreneurs’ Relief, has provided the means to achieve this. However, there are a number of requirements which, if not met, result in a loss of relief. A successful claim for BADR requires conditions to be met over a period of two years prior to the sale. Where shares are sold, the company must be a ‘trading company’, the shareholder must have a sufficient shareholding and must have been an officer or employee throughout the period of two years prior to the sale. If there is a problem meeting any of the conditions and changes are needed, there will generally need to be a further period of two years before BADR is available on a sale. Ensure you avoid making last-minute changes without taking tax advice – the conditions for relief must be met right up to the sale. A shareholder resigning their directorship or employment shortly before a sale, for example, would lose entitlement to relief.


FINANCE CAPITAL AFTER 2 SECURING GAINS TAX TREATMENT 4 LOOKING NON-SHAREHOLDERS Where BADR is not available, a disposal at the current Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rate of 20% is still quite attractive. However, there are risks to the availability of CGT treatment which may result in sale proceeds being taxed on a much less favourable basis. It is important to make sure the risks are mitigated.


Whether a sale is structured as a sale of shares or a sale of the company’s assets might be steered by the negotiating dynamic between vendor and purchaser. In any case, it is important to appreciate the differences in tax outcomes. A sale of business and assets will frequently result in tax being paid at company level on gains realised from the sale of chargeable assets such as property and goodwill. The shareholder will then be subject to tax (ideally CGT with the benefit of BADR) on a subsequent winding-up of the company and extraction of the proceeds of the sale.

The commitment of key staff will be central to ensuring the success of a sales process. Without forward-planning, the ability to reward these individuals will likely be limited to bonuses taxable as employment income. Consider establishing more tax-efficient incentives in advance. An Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) share option scheme might provide a more compelling and tax-efficient solution for all parties.

❛❛ If you are

thinking about selling your business, tax considerations can be vital in a business sale ❜❜


In selling their business, many owner-managers move from a position in which most of their wealth (in the form of their shares) is protected from Inheritance Tax (IHT) through Business Relief (BR) to one in which their wealth (the cash proceeds of sale) is fully exposed to IHT at a rate of 40% on death. Consideration should be given to addressing this pre- and post-sale, for example, through Business Relief qualifying investments, gifts, the use of trusts, family investment companies or life insurance. These are complex areas requiring careful tailoring to individual circumstances, but the savings that could be achieved are often very large.


The cost of BADR to the Exchequer has come under increasing scrutiny and most political parties are proposing to review, reform or repeal BADR. We do not know what the outcome will be or how quickly any changes may come. The possible withdrawal of BADR is something to consider in cases where there is an opportunity to accelerate a sales process. Likewise, the CGT rate of 20% may also come under review, raising the possibility of a significant increase in rates of taxation of business disposals going forward. Any CGT changes are likely to be effective from the next Budget day. There is no fixed date for this, but we are assuming for the deals we are currently working on that the Budget will be in March 2021. The process of selling a business often takes six months or more, but with well-motivated buyers and sellers, it is still possible to do something now.


For further advice on tax-efficient business transactions or sales, please get in touch with a member of our friendly team of tax and business advisers. Please visit or call David on 01903 234094.


ECONOMY Expansion of output moderates to five-month low amid tightening restrictions


SOUTH ® EAST PMI The latest UK regional PMI® data from NatWest indicated another improvement in the South East’s private sector activity. The headline NatWest South East Business Activity Index – a seasonally-adjusted index that measures the month - on - month change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – was at 52.3 in November, down sharply from 57.1 in October, signalling a softer increase in business activity. November data extended the current period of expansion to five successive months, although the rate of increase moderated to the slowest in the current period of growth. Private sector firms in the South East recorded an increase in new business during November. The volume of new work rose for the fifth successive month, although the latest uptick was the

softest in the current period of expansion. Many panellists commented that tightening lockdown restrictions weighed on the overall level of new work. Growth of new business in the South East contrasted with a modest decline across the UK as a whole. Firms’ expectations with regards to output in the next 12 months improved in November and were the strongest since March 2015. Anecdotal evidence linked optimism to hopes of stronger client demand, business expansions and the passing of COVID-19 following positive vaccine developments. Both service providers and goods producers recorded optimism in November, with sentiment much stronger at the latter.


sa, >50=growth since previous month 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 2001












› K E Y F I N DI NG S n Marginal increase in new order inflows n Marked job shedding continues, albeit at a softer pace n Sentiment improves to the highest since March 2015

November data highlighted a reduction in staffing levels at private sector firms in the South East, thereby extending the current period of contraction to ten months. Ongoing COVID-19 restrictions led to further staff cuts. Some firms also mentioned the use of the furlough scheme. Although sharp overall, the latest decline eased to the slowest since February.


Managing Director, London & South East, Corporate & Commercial Banking “The South East private sector remained in growth territory during November, with latest data indicating a modest improvement in business activity. Despite tightening lockdown restrictions, domestic demand rose, and new orders increased marginally. At the same time, positive vaccine announcements contributed to hopes that restrictions linked to COVID-19 will be less obstructive in the year ahead. “That said, marked job shedding persisted in November, and inflationary pressure continued to weigh on firms’ profit margins. Looking ahead, latest restrictions place the country into a total lockdown where few firms will be able to operate. Business activity must boast sharper expansions in the coming months in order to continue its recovery from the severe second quarter downturn.”

Staffing also declined at the UK level, with the rate of reduction faster than that seen in the South East.

average. Respondents linked the increase to insufficient capacity and a rise in new order inflows.

For the second time in three months, incomplete work in the South East private sector rose during November. Although marginal, the rate at which outstanding business accumulated compared favourably with the series

The UK as a whole registered a fall in outstanding business, and the South East recorded the fastest rise in incomplete work of the 12 monitored regions. Cost burdens faced by private sector firms in the South East have risen in each

month since June. Panellists associated the latest rise to higher raw material costs, in some cases for items sourced from China. Increasing transportation costs were also mentioned. That said, the latest uptick eased from that seen in October, and was softer than the long-run series average. Input prices also rose at the UK level, and at a slightly faster pace than that seen in the South East. At the sector level, manufacturers faced a much steeper rise in cost burdens than service providers. Prices charged for goods and services by private sector companies in the South East rose for the second month running in November. The rate of charge inflation accelerated from the previous survey period but was modest overall. Panellists often mentioned the passing on of cost burdens to customers, while those that reported a decline linked this to efforts to stimulate trade. Sector data suggested that manufacturers drove the latest uptick. Selling prices were broadly unchanged at the UK level. Published at the same time, the latest NatWest UK Small Business PMI® survey shows a decline in small firms’ business activity for the second month running in November, with the All-Sector Small Business Activity Index registering at 47.4 (up slightly from 47.0 in October). However, news of a vaccine boosted confidence and business outlook at small firms to a ten-month high.



Is business growth in 2021 closer to home than we realise? Contrary to what, at times, seemed like apocalyptic economic news throughout most of 2020, the MDHUB are delighted to report on business growth. Whilst the areas of growth might surprise you – do they really, given our very human need during the pandemic for safety and comfort?


Founder & Director of The French Bedroom Company, luxury home e-commerce retailer, is defying the ongoing pressures of the current global pandemic by reporting record growth of 90% in year-on-year revenue. stock products and the aftercare service that they are famous for. Georgia commented: “2020 taught us the importance of being dynamic and using disruptive thinking to navigate through these turbulent times. With Brexit now firmly upon us it’s now going to be an exceptionally tricky few months for retailers to obtain a steady supply of goods from outside the UK. We can no longer look to the past and use it as a guide to shape the future, so we need to think how to plan and stratThe growth is primarily down to egise in very different ways.” increased consumer demand for luxury goods, the wide range of in- An increase in DIY interest and home renovations resulted in huge sale spikes for this online business. Mattress sales rose by 320% just in October alone, bed linen sales were up 80% and sales of French beds up by 40%. The French Bedroom Company’s website saw a 28% increase in traffic and the brand saw a 300% rise in customer retention in 2020 compared to 2019.



MD of Espresso Solutions “The core of our business has traditionally been supplying parts for commercial coffee machines. When the first lockdown started, the spend of our largest customers dropped off significantly and we were concerned that the business would come to a halt with offices and hospitality businesses instantly closing across the country. However, we quickly started to see the spend of smaller, regional businesses increase. Customers were going to their local coffee roaster looking for beans and coffee equipment to use at home to get their caffeine hit. We quickly shifted our communications to focus on selling

home brewing equipment, wholesale to roasters. Since the first lockdown, we now have a higher average order spend and our turnover is more evenly distributed across a wider range of customers. We were blown away when, mid-lockdown, we had our best month on record, and 2020 continues to look like it is going to be our best year to date. The single most important lesson the crisis has taught us, is that we must consider diversification of customers and product ranges, a key part of our ongoing business development.”


Business Development Director of Alastair Fleming Design The initial consequence of lockdown for the business was that all design, manufacture and installation of their beautiful, bespoke kitchens were decelerated. However, because most people were forced to spend more time at home rather than on holiday, there was a 30% upturn in new enquiries. “The very real need to strengthen the business by diversifying our service and product range has accelerated. This crisis has come about through massive human interference in nature. So 2020 has taught me that we need to use the principles of the Circular Economy in our business. Instead of continually using virgin materials, we need to design out waste and pollution, keeping our products working well and looking beautiful and reusing materials contained in end of life products.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the MDHUB, please visit Email MDHUB Directors: Fiona Shafer: or Phil Green:


MD of Tiny Box Company Winner of the Natwest Everywoman – Woman of the Year Award 2020. “Tiny Box has survived the pandemic so far, without job losses or loss of business. We closed 2020 about 36% up, having created 28 new jobs. The plight of the planet has become more important to us over lockdown and influenced our attitude towards shopping. This unexpected move towards ‘conscious consumption’ has helped eco-friendly companies like ours grow. 2020 was an example of how sudden pressure can lead to massive change. It’s been inspiring to see how each and every one of our staff has pulled together in the midst of that change to make our “tiny” team stronger than ever. Faced with the spin cycle of bad news and uncertainty, it’s easy to feel helpless. My way of coping with that was to focus on what we could do to make a difference. That meant concentrating on our communities - our local community and our online community. We started by offering discounts to NHS key workers and hosting a wellbeing hub. Then we reached out to our artists and makers too, with the launch of Tiny Marketplace and by donating 10% of its profits to support small businesses. Recently, we started a free business advice clinic. These things only happened because the staff pulled out all the stops. That’s what this year has taught me - in the face of the upheaval that was 2020, I found out just how creative and resilient our team is.”


TECHNOLOGY How to keep your business running efficiently and securely from anywhere

SECURE REMOTE ACCESS At the start of lockdown, I had a conversation with an associate about how his remote team deployment was going. ‘We have to respond fast,’ he said. ‘For now, we’re just punching holes in our firewalls, literally violating security policies, so that people can access what they need to keep the business running.’ My heart sank. That time has long passed. Time now to equalise security with efficiency if you want to avoid a serious breach. Securing remote access to your corporate systems, data and apps is not complicated. I’m going to show you why it matters, how to do it and how to create records that can even help lower insurance premiums.



What about data encryption? At work, your Local Area Network (LAN) should be designed to allow permitted traffic only, and data is often encrypted. You penetration-test religiously or use continuous vulnerability management. Yet during lockdown, it was suddenly fine to let data run through unsecured networks.

Your critical data is no longer secured in your corporate environment. It’s out there, on those devices. Standard securit y on devices and home networks is an illusion. Trust it at your peril.

Finally, how many devices have access to your home network? A neighbour’s phone might have logged on at that BBQ, your kids’ tablet, smart cameras, smart assistants or gaming consoles… These offer multiple new attack vectors that you can’t control.

Your teams are conferencing away on their devices with unfettered access to every critical app. But what security measures have you compromised in the name of business continuity?

Endpoints, out of the box, are unsecured. Configuration is a simple procedure and should be your most basic step every time a new laptop, phone or tablet is unpacked. Next: the problem of unsecured networks. Home networks are about as secure as Starbucks! They are generally designed to allow more traffic than they block, to minimise frustrated calls to ISP help desks. Good configuration is the first line of defence as home and public networks are open highways, by default.


When you trust a device, how it’s accessed or the network it’s on, you create a weakness. Security requires layers and documented, zero-trust processes. Endpoint configuration significantly improves security but alone, it’s not enough. The Zerologon bug that allowed anybody to take over a Windows network in 30 seconds couldn’t be stopped by configuration.


Any data, emails, files etc sent over a public network could be sent as plain text. A virtual private network (VPN) is a common solution. Encrypted data is routed via the office to enforce policies. However, this ‘hairpinning’ creates a data bottleneck, a single point of failure and, often, requires additional licensing. Secure Application Service Edge (SASE – pronounced sassy) changes the concept of a network from site-centric to user-centric. SASE combines firewalls, secure gateways and zero-trust access from each endpoint. The platform connects you directly to the cloud and masks your data and IP address wherever you are. All traffic is logged. You can block access to certain websites, see who is accessing what and prevent data loss.

Documented evidence of processes is vital. Humans are fallible so a record reminds them of anything that’s been overlooked. Insurance companies too, require evidence for reduction in premiums. Seeing evidence of IT security measures should be as natural as checking your accounts with the CFO. There’s nothing wrong with asking for proof of financial health. IT security should be treated the same. Here are three simple steps to help secure remote access.

❛❛ Home networks are about as secure as Starbucks ❜❜



The Centre for Internet Security benchmarks – cis-benchmarks is a US-government sponsored site that provides handy guides to securely configure almost anything. Download checklists for current versions of every operating system and follow the recommended steps. The benchmarks are free and there are many tools available that automate the process if time is a concern. Questions for IT: } How do we harden endpoints for security? } How do we ensure the process is repeatable and uniform? }How do we record each configuration?

Questions for IT: }How do we control cloud application access? }How is our data encrypted? }How do we know if someone has downloaded something? } How do we know if someone has copied or shared something?


If long-term remote working is on your roadmap, you should look at treating home networks like branch offices by extending the corporate LAN. Network Access Control (NAC) ensures you know about every device on your network. ‘Zero touch’, cloud-managed wireless access points can be deployed. Plug them into the home network and they can automatically extend the LAN, ensure only registered devices can log on and put your endpoint behind an enterprise grade firewall. For a few hundred quid, you can expect massive ROI from these over their five to sevenyear lifetime. Questions for IT: }How do we know which devices are logged onto our network? For more information, feel free to get in touch with me at


BUSINESS ACT V MACBETH Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale, Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

BIZARRE NEWS YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP (anything to make us smile)

ADOLF HITLER ELECTED According to the BBC, Adolf Hitler Uunona was elected the new councilor for the Ompundja Constituency in Namibia’s Oshana region, and he has already clarified that he has no intention of taking over the world “That I have this name doesn’t mean that I want to subjugate Oshana” said Uunona. “It doesn’t mean that I’m striving for world domination!”

THE SUN IS SHINING While having a weird walk isn’t illegal, transporting gold from Dubai to India without paying the 18% tax certainly is. Unfortunately for one airline passenger, staff noticed his odd walk at India’s Kannur International Airport on Tuesday — and found two pounds of gold up his bottom. Guess the sun really does shine out of his...



HAIRY TEETH It’s been over a decade, but the rare case of a woman growing hair out of her mouth is still fascinating experts. It began when a 19-year-old Italian woman met doctors at the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, desperate for answers. Her diagnosis was gingival hirsutism — an extremely rare condition. She first sought help for the condition in 2009 when eyelash-like hairs kept growing from the gums behind her upper front teeth.

ITALIAN BRIGHT SPARK HAPPY AND HORNY In yet another folly of 2020, a U.S. pharmaceutical distributor issued a national recall of their antidepressants and anti-erectile dysfunction pills after it was discovered that there had been a “mix-up” between the two medications. The lawyers have told me that l cannot print the last line l was intending!

The latest European Space Agency rocket, the Vega, that launched from French Guiana last week carrying £300 million worth of Spanish and French observation satellites exploded into flames after only eight minutes. It was traced to an Italian electrician who put two wires the wrong way round. He likely stated that it was not his fault and he would return to fix it for the usual call out fee.

SUGGESTIONS ON A POSTCARD PLEASE Saddest news of the week, if you have a purile sense of humour, is that the Austrian village of Fucking is to change its name. The locals are sick to the back teeth of people sniggering, stealing the signs and even filming themselves engaging in the activity mentioned, with the sign in the background. My suggestion is that they rename after the village in Pennsylvania: Intercourse. Don’t get me started on Beaver Lick in Kentucky or Gofuku in Japan. Instead they have plumped for Fugging, which l am sure will forestall any titters.


Law Firms ... *

Not every cloud has a silver lining. Let us help you choose the right one!

You no longer have to be frightened by a lacklustre and expensive IT infrastructure update proposed by your IT consultant. You’ve heard it all before as a slightly repackaged version of a private cloud, hybrid or data centre approach. There is another way! Your new IT strategy can now embrace the full Microsoft Cloud. We don’t just mean 365 and MS TEAMS, we mean putting all your applications such as practice and case management systems (i.e Tikit, CCH or BigHand) 100% in the cloud. It’s faster for remote working, cheaper, more secure and compliant, scalable, always on the latest technology and billed monthly according to what you use. Talk to us directly.

01444 443200

* It’s not just law firms that can benefit from digital transformation. We can take any business into the full Microsoft Cloud platform.




Sussex based Microsoft Partner Extech Cloud has confirmed that it can move any server-based business-critical application into the public cloud. This is a significant step forward in the IT world, and one that will help many of the South’s professional services gain competitive advantage through reduced costs and improved remote working. “When we talk about the cloud, we mean all IT in the Microsoft Cloud environment and all business-critical applications too,” explains Andrew Hookway, Managing Director of Burgess Hill firm Extech Cloud. “We can publish any business-critical application in Windows Virtual Desktop, as opposed to hosted remote desktop sessions, which means each user experiences improved performance and seamless integration with other software applications” he confirms. “Where it may have taken about 40 seconds to open a business application in the office, users can now load a business application in fewer than five seconds from home.” Extech Cloud recently carried out a cloud transformation for Hunters Law LLP - a multi-disciplinary law firm with practice areas for property, business, charity, family, and private clients. At the start of 2020, the team were brought in to assist with a new strategic IT direction.

Told by their previous IT company and software owners that it wasn’t possible to put their old apps on the cloud, Hunters Law was being pushed in to a “hybrid environment” where they were to be locked-in to a Data Centre. Although the company didn’t want to be tied down to one supplier, they thought they had no way out. Hunters Law wanted an IT system and infrastructure that worked exactly how they wanted it to. With lots of applications, their whole system was increasingly slow, and they didn’t want to spend significant money on upgrades and licences for marginal improvements. Many of their PCs and laptops were also on Windows 7 which reached the end of its life in early 2020. The full transition to the cloud was staged in tandem with their Citrix virtualisation software. Although some of their older applications were not fully integrated into the cloud initially, they were accessed as before. So, it was business as usual during the transition, but with greater speed and efficiency.

Now, Hunters Law takes full advantage of the benefits offered by Microsoft 365 and Azure, with the very latest security and exceptional performance levels. Four pieces of legacy software, including Tikit Partner 4 Windows, CCH Central, CCH Trust Accounts and BigHand now run on the cloud thanks to Extech Cloud’s pioneering implementation of Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). Plus, WVD allowed Hunters to replace their Citrix platform, saving significant licensing and server costs.

If you need to take your whole business operation into the Cloud, Extech Cloud can help. For more information, call the Extech team on 01444 443200 or email




Daniel Grainge, Partner and Head of Tax


Consider your personal financial priorities: n What do you want to achieve in your lifetime? n What lifestyle would you like in retirement? n What would you like to be able to leave your family? n What can you do now to help you prepare and get there? Your plans and priorities are likely to change throughout your lifetime. Review your finances and goals annually and adjust accordingly to keep on track.


Sarah Mannooch, Solicitor, Director of Legal Services

The events of 2020 have presented challenges for everyone and resulted in many of us reflecting on our personal financial circumstances. Regardless of your level of wealth, it is essential to plan for the future



For those who do already have a Will when did you last review it? Have you had any changes to your personal circumstances since it was written?

There are two types of LPAs, ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ and ‘Health and Welfare’. We recommend you sign both versions as it is vital your finances and future welfare are covered to protect your best interests.

If you have not written a Will, now is the time to do so. If you have young children, you may wish to appoint guardians in your Will.

An LPA is a legal document and is a safe way of maintaining control over decisions should you no longer be able to make them yourself.

❛❛ If you have not written a Will,

now is the time to do so. If you have young children, you may wish to appoint guardians in your Will ❜❜



Review your state pension A large proportion of individuals are unaware of how much they may be entitled to under the current new state pension or previous entitlements and what date they would qualify for it. Check this for free at: Collate your old pension arrangements Many individuals have old pension policies, perhaps from previous employers, to which they no longer contribute. These accumulated benefits could make a real difference towards funding your retirement – you can track these down using the government’s free ‘Pension Tracing Service’. Update your pension beneficiary forms Where the benefits under a pension are paid at the discretion of the pension trustee they do not usually form part of your estate for inheritance tax purposes and are not usually inherited under your Will. A tax advantageous beneficiary’s pension may be obtained by ensuring funds remain in the pension wrapper and an ‘Expression of Wishes’ form should always be kept updated. Invest in your pension Investing in company and/or private pensions throughout your lifetime is one of the most effective and reliable ways to plan for and fund your retirement. Review your pension fund regularly. Will this enable you enough funds for the retirement you are aiming for? If not, consider investing more or finding alternative funding methods.


Review your existing policies regularly to ensure you are adequately covered in the event you have to claim. If you cannot locate your original policy documents, contact your insurance provider. Check if they are written in trust. Where they are it may mean that when funds are paid out, they may not automatically form part of your estate and may not be subject to inheritance tax. If you do not already hold life insurance, critical illness or income protection these could serve to protect you and your family.


We recommend that those who own all or part of a business consider its future plans, their ambitions as part of the business, and how a future exit might be structured. This will help ensure that both the business and you are ready for the exit, maximising value where appropriate, and minimising the various tax exposures. Business owners should also consider the formalities associated with the business (for example a partnership agreement or shareholders’ agreement) and how this interacts with their personal affairs, in particular their Will. There are significant tax exemptions for qualifying business assets, and these should be considered when drafting your Will and business documents. You may wish to consider a Business Lasting Power of Attorney and Key person insurance to ensure your business interests are protected.

You can find out more information planningforyourfuture Tel: +44 (0)330 124 1399

❛❛ Make sure you

understand the tax implications before gifting assets to family or friends ❜❜


Complete a periodic review of your financial position from an inheritance tax (IHT) perspective and understand your current potential exposure. Consider lifetime giving as a way to mitigate your estate’s liability sooner rather than later to start the seven-year period for a gift to be exempt from IHT, bearing in mind your ongoing financial needs. You may also wish to consider the tax benefits of making charitable donations whether during your lifetime or on death. Make sure you understand the tax implications before gifting assets to family or friends. IHT, capital gains tax and stamp duty land tax may all be relevant on a non-cash gift. For cash gifts only IHT needs to be considered. Contact us today so that together we can discover what steps you need to take to achieve your personal financial goals whether you are accumulating or distributing wealth. The content of this article is for information only and does not constitute formal financial advice. This material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other forms of advice. You should not rely on this information to make, or refrain from making any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.


This month, Sussex Innovation is launching its new peer-to-peer scheme for selected founders and directors of high-growth businesses in East Sussex


The Inspirational Innovators programme brings together an inner circle of ten of the most inspiring emerging business leaders in the region. Facilitated by S ussex Innovation’s expert consultancy team and headed up by chief executive Nigel Lambe, it has been designed to help businesses continue to scale and plot a course through the disruptions of the pandemic, Brexit and Net Zero.



Facilitated peer networks based on action learning principles have been shown to help business owners benefit from collective experience and practical insights, challenge their perspective on the opportunities and threats in their industry, hold each other accountable and support open and reflective practices. “We’re delighted to be working with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver this new initiative with some of our region’s brightest business minds,” says Nigel Lambe. “This peer network will be an excellent way for us to harness one

of our biggest strengths as an organisation; our community. “Every day, we get to see examples of the unpredictable benefits that can come from hosting a broad range of different perspectives and experience under one roof. One of our biggest challenges in 2020 has been finding ways to keep making these kinds of ‘chance encounters’ happen in a world of remote work – they’re an incredibly valuable part of the business incubator experience that can be a catalyst for new ideas. It’s good to have an opportunity to facilitate that source of inspiration through a formal peer-to-peer offering.”


The hand-picked cohort of some of East Sussex’s most exciting growing businesses includes: n Ambiental – flood mapping and risk analytics platform based on global satellite imaging. n At School Online – virtual learning environments offering live, face to face teaching. n Bedlam Brewery – one of the region’s fastest growing craft beer breweries and distributors. n C are Opticians – comprehensive home eye test service for elderly and disabled patients. n CTEC Energy – cleantech engineers, designing and building systems to repurpose waste heat. n Emteq – bringing sensor technology into VR headsets for direct, objective biofeedback. n G iroux – data consultancy, warehousing and analytics for the insurance industry. n Gogo Roos – high protein, low carb and gluten free cereal brand. n M indlab International – market research consultancy specialising in implicit testing. n One Research – patient recruitment and communications agency for clinical research. n J ust Helpers – ethical cleaning contractors committed to a living wage, training and advancement opportunities for their staff.


Group facilitator Nigel Lambe, along with Head of Marketing, Helena Jevons and Head of Programmes, Claire Pasquill, will come to the peer-to-peer sessions freshly armed with insights from The Harvard Business School’s Disruptive Innovation course, which Sussex Innovation is applying to its range of consultancy approaches. Based on the work of influential business guru Clayton Christensen, these tools are designed to help strategic decision-makers understand how disruption works, determine when and how to invest

in core versus disruptive business models, and how to mount an effective defence against disruption in an evolving industry. Examining strategic decisions with an analytical eye and a predictive framework can help businesses to spot potential threats and opportunities sooner, make the right strategic moves faster, drive innovation and position themselves for long-term success. This can involve applying theories of causality to understand why things happen the way they do, or to accurately predict the impact of different business decisions.

❛❛ We’re delighted to be working with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver this new initiative with some of our region’s brightest business minds ❜❜

The sessions, held over the first quarter of 2021, will feature a mix of keynote speakers, group action learning and one-to-one mentoring, incorporating new and emerging business management theory. The Sussex Innovation team are currently interviewing the cohort to diagnose their biggest strategic goals heading into the new year, with the content of the sessions to be based around the common challenges faced by business leaders.

This programme is part of the national Peer Networks initiative, overseen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The scheme is managed in East Sussex by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and East Sussex Growth Hub, and has received funding from East Sussex County Council.



INFLUENCERS FORUM Welcome to the first Influencers Forum of 2021. The hot topic of the moment is ‘What is the future of work’? Business life as we knew it has changed beyond recognition and what the New Year holds is still a mystery to many. In this Forum, we have brought together an array of leading experts and influencers to discuss the future of work. I would like to welcome our panel: Mims Davies, MP for Mid-Sussex and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Work and Pensions; Julie Kapsalis, Chair of the Coast to Capital LEP and MD of the Chichester College Group; Victoria Kerton, Regional Director of the NatWest Group; Dr Zahira Jaser, Professor of Organisational behaviour at the University of Sussex; Desiree Anderson, MD of Crest Coaching and HR; Harry Sherrard, MD of Sherrard’s Employment Law and last but not least, Jonathan Lea, MD of the Jonathan Lea Network. Welcome to you all and my sincere thanks for joining us today.

MAARTEN HOFFMANN The Platinum Publisher, Maarten Hoffmann is the facilitator for the Platinum Influencer Forums






MP for Mid-Sussex and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Work and Pensions.

Harry Sherrard is the principal of Sherrards, and has been a specialist employment lawyer for over 20 years. Harry is described in Chambers as “well known and respected” and appreciated for his “common-sense approach and manner.” Since the start of the pandemic Harry has been regularly posting videos on YouTube and LinkedIn on all aspects of the virus and the impact on employment law. Harry also writes and lectures widely on all other employment law issues.

We collaborate across disciplines to shape global issues in business, management and society, making an impact on policy, practice and people. Zahira is Deputy Director of the Future of Work Research Hub which brings together different disciplinary areas to influence industry, business and the public sector. Zahira is also Deputy Director of the Sussex MBA.

My love and passion has always been politics, but after gaining my Degree in Politics from Swansea University I followed a career in media, after becoming a Parish Councillor and then District Councillor in Haywards Heath, I was persuaded to stand as an MP. The rest is history as they say.




Desiree Anderson has worked for numerous multinational blue chip organisations across sectors in South Africa, US, Europe and the UK. She holds Masters level qualifications in both Executive Coaching & Mentoring and Human Resources. She is the Owner of Crest Coaching & HR which specialises in Remote Working. She is passionate about developing authentic leadership and helping SMEs with best practice.

Julie is Chair of Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and Managing Director at Chichester College Group – supporting over 20,000 learners across five campuses. Julie has worked in economic development for over 20 years with a particular focus on enterprise, skills and social inclusion. She is passionate about women’s enterprise and is a contributor to the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship.

We’re an SRA regulated firm of solicitors who focus on advising entrepreneurs, senior managers and investors, particularly in respect of technology startups. Our team consists of employed paralegals, trainees and solicitors in our Haywards Heath office, who combine seamlessly with a remote network of trusted specialist and experienced self-employed solicitors.


INFLUENCERS FORUM The world of work is changing. Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics will make this shift as significant as the mechanisation in prior generations in agriculture and manufacturing. Whilst some jobs will be lost and many more created, all will change. A recent McKinsey report, through detailed analysis of the local labour jobs market across Europe, examined profound trends playing out on the

that are expected to be hit hard by the pandemic. Job growth before the pandemic favoured those with the highest skill levels such as legal and the health sector, across all three sets of local economy clusters. Likewise job growth was also positive at the lower end of the employment market. Research shows that the very occ- However growth in the middle level upations and sectors likely to be affected skill occupations stagnated across all by these trends are the very same regional labour markets. continent in recent years. These include the growth of automation adoption, the increasing geographic concentration of employment, the shrinkage of labour supply and the shifting mix of sectors and occupations. All this will be greatly accelerated by the pandemic.

So, my first question – the idea of a single education followed by a single career followed by a single pension is over. Is that correct in your point of view and l will direct that question to Mims as the voice of government? Mims: Absolutely and delighted to join you in this important debate. A fact that has recently come across my desk is that 60% of the jobs that existed in 2014 did not exist in 1990, so l think your introduction is absolutely spot on Maarten. This shows the natural turn of events that has been accelerated by Covid but possibly not caused by it. I do think that automation is a really exciting advent as it can actually create jobs and entire sectors that did not exist before. The young generation need to understand that they will need to be agile throughout their careers and to permanently add on new skills. We must ensure we do not demotivate the next generation but at the same time they need to be realistic about the opportunities that will exist. In the last decade, we know that 80% of jobs created were in the higher skilled roles and, as the employment minister, l am very aware that despite the jobs miracle that we had coming into the pandemic, we know there are Cinderella sectors, such as care, logistics and some of the more blue collar jobs that people are not keen to do. We need to realign our skills labour market and our welfare policy, and that is something l am doing within government.



Julie: I would echo that and skills are going to be vital but we must avoid a knee jerk reaction whereby we change everything, so we need to be careful. We should recognise sectors that cut across industries such as FinTech. Many regard this sector as just finance and working with banks, but actually it cuts right across a vast number of sectors and we should focus on how these skills can be applied. I recently joined an all-party Parliamentary group where we spoke about how artificial intelligence is playing a major role within the sales process and those wanting to go into that sector will need to brush up their skills and understanding of AI. From my perspective, it does mean that education providers do need to look differently at how we teach; teaching skills that are relevant to tomorrow, not today. Something l am quite excited about is that as a college group we are putting in a bid for an Institute of Technology, focussing on sustainability through advanced engineering, digital with a focus on artificial intelligence and the twin areas of FinTech, with its broad application and medical technology. To achieve this, we must ensure that schools, colleges, universities and employers work together to create a curriculum that will inspire people to want to study, and to inspire them to achieve progress to the highest level posible. If we can secure an Institute of Technology, it will be a game changer in fostering a pipeline of talent that will pull us through the pandemic and secure our future.

Maarten: Victoria, is that something that you would support and is it something the bank is interested in? Victoria: Without a doubt. With the bank’s enormous client base, we are in a good position to make judgements about what commerce requires for the future. In a recent research piece, 62% of employers expect to have to re-train or replace over 25% of their current workforce in the coming years and we see that across our entire client base. What we also see is a vast number of employers looking at their workforce and considering them in terms of future technical skills, behavioural skills and current costs, and that is the harsh reality. The pandemic has accelerated these thoughts as we all try to deal with the changes forced upon us. Across all sectors, we are seeing a fast-paced acceptance of the importance of tech skills, across the board, and how this is carried forward. The way we all come to decisions in our businesses has fundamentally changed, and data, tech and automation play a vital role in this and how we can integrate and overlay those two very different ways of thinking. Realignment of skills is vital and the behavioural approach has to be studied as the pace of change is faster than we have ever seen.

Maarten: Looking behind the scene of that topic, Desiree, as the leader of an HR and coaching company, what challenges does this present for your sector? Desiree: There is no doubt this creates huge challenges for our sector. HR has moved from a rather transactional role to more of a partner role. We need to consider the employee lifecycle which may become more automated. That will take quite a bit of the transactional nature away from HR, which is a good thing, that and agility will be the name of the game going forward. Culture is also key here and over 70% of employees in a recent study stated that culture would be the key determinant as to whether they joined a company or not. With the expected blend of employers and education, another very important factor is mental health and that is an issue that is rising faster than we have ever seen. We need to teach our leaders to become more empathetic, more self aware and more emotionally intelligent and try to help the multi-generational workforce of the future. There are now more people over 65 than there are under five and with life expectancy increasing every year, employers will need to be able to connect with this older generation in the workforce, as well as the Gen X, Gen Y and everything in between. This is no small challenge. HR has a huge role to play here with the employee and the employer, in assisting them to create a roadmap. HR will have to become far more of an ethical partner rather than a capitalist venture.


INFLUENCERS FORUM Do you think HR might end up as more of a social worker? Desiree: There is that danger. Leaders have to step up and become more empathetic. It is all about collaboration. The other aspect is that so much of the future workforce will be contracted and this will present a new raft of problems.

Maarten: Harry, you deal with employment law, is this a nightmare coming down the line? Harry: If we consider Desiree’s comments, then no, quite the opposite. If so much of the workforce become contractors, or self-employed, then that presents less issues for employers as currently, workers only have the full suite of rights when directly employed. The distancing of self-employment actually creates a type of quasi independence from the employer. However, through the prism of employment law, legislation will need to be introduced around the rights of independent contractors and the self-employed if this is set to become such growth sector.

Maarten: Turning to Jonathan, as a law firm do you see many changes happening at this time within the legal profession?

as being forced to work from home has given people a fresh perspective on what they want, and how best to achieve the work/life balance.

Jonathan: The change we are seeing is more lawyers working, as stated before across other sectors, independently and contracting their services into law firms. There its definitely a trend here. With our law firm we act as a hybrid firm if you like. Although we have over ten staff, they tend to be the support team with five freelance lawyers contracting in depending on their specialty, who work in their homes or their own offices and this works very well as it reduces the costs we carry. We have certainly seen more enquires from lawyers about this,

It can be quite tough for lawyers to give up the security of full employment and all the contractual rights that go with it, but life is changing and we all need to change with it. Technology is making it so much easier to make this shift. As mentioned earlier by Julie, educators have a role to play here in explaining to young law students that the old way is not the only way and that’s where the word agility comes into play.

Maarten: Zahira, what’s your general view on what you have heard and the future of work in general? Zahira: I want to go back briefly to the original question of one job one pension as l think that actually disappeared some years back with the last financial crisis. Although l am in academia now, l was actually a banker for over 15 years with Barclays and JP Morgan so l have the benefit of being able to see this from both sides. From the university side, we are a long way down this road. We have an £8 million initiative called the Digit Centre that spends its time producing powerful research on the future of digital work in all its form. We have the future of work hub for which l am deputy director and pulls its research from an array of sources, and as a university, we are very keen to work with the business community wherever possible. I am also the Deputy Director of the MBA programme and we have recently restructured that to be based on four pillars: Digital Work, so where the future of digital is going; Innovation, how we disrupt and how we bring innovation into the traditional environment, which is exactly what Victoria was talking about; Resilience, which concerns mental health and how we deal with the fast pace of change; and Policy, so how do we lobby for change, how do we manage as business people to become more active in thinking about policy. After all, we are training the next generation of business leaders through the MBA programme. Technology is a paradox and can be seen as an


enabler and a controller. Equally, it destroys job and creates jobs. As the head of the Organisational Behaviour programme, we are concerned about the mental health toll on people. The divide between work and home has been erased, boundaries have gone. Employers and managers have to become much more aware of what is happening with their workforce whilst they are working from home. There is also a proliferation of HR Apps for example, that monitor what the workers are doing every minute of the day and that is another form of control, we need to be careful how such things are used. On the subject of the Cinderella sector, especially in the care sector for example, so many of these people are motivated by compassion and not salary and yet society has a habit of judging people on how much they earn, and during the pandemic we quickly realised that such value should not be based on earnings but by the value of the job. The same goes for teachers, nurses, carers and the like. If the pandemic has done nothing, it should at least teach us the societal value of the job and not just the pay-packet.


On the subject of mental health, l believe this is a huge ticking time-bomb on a scale we can only imagine. Mims if l can come to you, will the government actually put a designated fund behind this subject rather than paying lip-service and assuming it to be the responsibility of the employer? Mims: I think it is important to look at mental health and mental well-being, and give people the tools to understand that this is a sliding scale. Regarding the Department of Health, they have put substantial support behind this issue. As a former Minster for Loneliness, and l am proud to say that the UK is one of the only countries to support such a role, it is important to recognise that as many young people as old are suffering from mental health issues and they must be supported, and we are committed to doing that. At the DWP, we are very focussed on these Cinderella sectors and indeed, in Scotland there is now a Carers Academy attracting people, many of them men, who recognise that they have a desire to give something back to the communities, and l am very keen personally to support that. Another thing we touched on is the boundary issue with people working from home. The Health and Safety Executive report into me and it is becoming increasingly important that employers do not think ‘out of sight out of mind’ and that they understand that they do have a responsibility for their staff safety and mental well-being even when they are working from home. Some people have the facilities to build that new garden shed for a home office or a spare room, but for many people they are living and working in the same two rooms with no garden for months on end, and l am determine to ensure that employers understand they have a duty of care towards these people.



Interestingly, a recent survey stated that 53% of employees do not think their employer is doing enough, yet in the same survey 75% of employers thought there were. Harry, is there a disconnect here and do you think we will see the day when such is written into the employment contract? Harry: On this subject, we are not only an employment law specialist but we also have an occupational health business and we are seeing increasing referrals of staff and, in terms of the demographic, it is mainly younger people being referred. We can be misled by the press stating that younger people are so much better at dealing with the upheaval of the pandemic but that is not the case. Perhaps it is down to experience and the support network that older people might enjoy or possible larger homes, but for younger people many are really struggling and of course, this is the next generation that will be paying our pensions. On a related issue, many people are praising the work from home movement but l am not a great believer in that. For young people, there is nothing better than having the structure of going to an office, of working out how to deal with all these different people and working alongside your peers, listening to them on the phone, seeing how they interact with people but if you remove that and leave them at home, who is training and mentoring them? Maarten: Victoria, NatWest is a major employer in the UK, what is the bank doing about this mental health issue? Victoria: We are very aware and concerned about this issue and we are very active in this area. Support, training, and the general incorporation of mental health and well-being into a comfortable narrative around this subject is vital and we have been working on this for quite some years. Role modelling is so very important and something the bank is very aware of and is critical for the issue of wellbeing of all businesses. Also, access to support in terms of anonymous mental support where needed, we offer coaches allowing staff to talk about such issues of isolation, of feelings of helplessness. My team alone comprises over 90 people and we work really hard to ensure we are all connected and supporting each other. We have a culture of psychological safety. For example, we recently had a tragic case of one of our business clients committing suicide after his business failed. A shocking instance that of course was devastating for the family but we also had quite a few members of our team who had worked alongside this person for many years, who were left with desperate feelings of inadequacy, feeling they should have done more to support this person, and that is something l personally am really concerned about. At every step of the way, we have to support our teams, role modelling, talking and being there at every step of the way and that is the culture of the bank.



Maarten: Julie, as the head of a major educational establishment in the South East, you have a responsibility to teach the next generation. How big an issue is this for you? Julie: it is a major issue that we are dealing with every day. Harry is right, it is the young generation that are suffering and we have, sadly, had a substantial increase in suicide attempts and in some cases, they have actually succeeded in their attempt. This is shocking for everyone, and we should not discount the teaching staff here who are greatly affected by such things. There is no simple solution but talking about it is so very important. The stigma needs to be smashed and people must be encouraged to talk about such feelings. One other very important aspect is employment. Crawley College is a part of our group and there is a town that enjoyed almost 100% employment, pre-covid. Now, it could be as high as 50% unemployment and that has a major effect on people their dreams, their aspirations, everything they have studied for over the past years have been dashed. The Chichester College Group is a gateway organisation for the Kickstart Programme. When it was announced, we were overwhelmed by the number of employers who wanted to take part in the scheme. What is so positive from my perspective is that most of them are not just seeing it simply as free labour, they are doing it because they have a deep and passionate commitment to the next generation. They recognise that if they don’t step up, the next generation of skills and talent will simply not be there. They also recognise that although these young people might not have the instinctive awareness of the rules of the office environment, employers understand that these people are their customers, that they can bring a fresh perspective to the company and help to innovate and develop. l cannot overstate how refreshing that is but l am sure Mims has an interesting government perspective on that subject. Mims: That is so refreshing to hear. Government has a £30 billion programme for jobs and £2 billion of that is for the Kickstart programme. This recognises the scarring effect of the pandemic, in fact we are now opening a new Job Centre in Crawley. This is designed to give a helping hand to the young unemployed. 20,000 Kickstarters have already been approved and we will continue at pace. We also have an array of new Work Coaches who will be available at Job Centres across the country and in many cases, these are former claimants, drawn from a variety of sectors such as car sales, airlines, banking, actors, retail, tourism and more, and they will be there to help the unemployed start a new career, if that is required.

I would like to move onto organisational culture. Organisational culture is described as a set on interconnected elements that shape the way people think, what they say and how they behave. The thee levels of culture are beliefs, values and behaviour and this is what keeps an organisation moving. Would that be right Zahira? Zahira: Organisational culture is a huge motivator that operates behind the scene, often without any of us realising it. With our new way of working, often we have to re-shape this culture. For example, if the boss sends emails to his team late as night and expects a reply by the start of business the next day, he has created a culture of working late at night and this is hugely detrimental, so as a manager we have to be very careful of what culture we create. Privacy is another thing we don’t think about. When the team meet up virtually, can they keep their camera off or do we expect them to always have it on? This can create an invasion of privacy therefore pointing out that we need to reassess what culture we create. Jonathan: This is something we are aware of as even before the pandemic, we were seeing lawyers looking to work freelance and they then of course do not have the organisational culture they have been used to. It doesn’t take long to see this adjustment as there are so many benefits and so it’s a mind change. Many of our lawyers quite quickly say it is the best decision they ever made. Looking at the degree graduates hoping to enter the legal sector, so many of the large firms have placed their graduate programmes on hold so there is a bottle neck created. This l feel will accelerate this new way of working but it will be quite different for the newcomers as traditionally, they would be in the office with the senior lawyers, learning by watching and listening and it might be the case that this will have to change. Victoria: Can l interrupt and throw in a contrary view to that? At NatWest, we have 50,000 employees working from home but in that time, we are still recruiting, still training, still launching new products - it can be done and many companies are doing it and we just have to adjust how we recruit and how we train. It’s complex but not impossible. Jonathan: Absolutely, we are still recruiting but this is something, probably temporarily, that the legal sector needs to focus on if we are to have professional lawyers of the future.



Let’s look at the Gig economy. 75% of Generation Z say they would prefer to work in the Gig economy and this sector is set to explode. Desiree, what issues will this create within the employer/employee contract side of things? Desiree: I think remote working will outstrip the Gig economy but that might change. It’s the career ladder that is set to change into the career web. We will need to unbundle and rebundle skills and capabilities and within HR, we will have to map out the career web of each candidate and we will have to collaborate with educational organisations to ensure we are ready for this. The other element that will change is the way candidates interact with the employer and this is where technology will play a part. Imagine getting a feel for the company you wish to apply to with virtual reality, whereby you can have a really good 3D look around the company without leaving your home. Flexibility on behalf the employee and the candidate will be key. Maarten: Harry, do you see the Gig economy as a large truck coming down the road? Harry: I think it is incremental as it has been growing steadily for a few years now. There will need to be legislation to protect and re-define this work so it is down to the government and then the legal process to adjust to this growing sector to ensure protection and rights. There might need to be a new definition, one l am hearing a lot is ‘dependant workers’ so they are not freelance in the fullest sense of the word and therefore would need some form of increased protection. Julie: So many of our students are already gearing up to be freelance or to run their own business. Young people are quick on the uptake and already they are looking at certain careers that used to be defined by graduate programmes that are now having to re-route. l think one of the biggest influences, although they might not admit it, is their parents so it is important to reach these influencers to cement the message. Traditionally, youngsters would often go into the profession their parents were in but it is such a different world today. Also, there is a better understanding that the university route might not be the best route to follow. It’s a fantastic way to start your career but it is not the only way. For example, at the Chichester College Group, we supply over 2,000 apprenticeship places annually with the likes of Rolls Royce to name just one and, at the age of 16, youngsters can be


learning incredible skills with highly impressive global companies, and without the debt burden of course, but so many parents struggle with that as a concept. I think T Levels will help that but there is significant piece of work to be done on this issue. Victoria: The other subject look at here is the BAME community. NatWest take on a substantial number of apprentices each year and we bring them together in sessions whereby they can express their thoughts and we can learn. A young man stated that he had absolutely no concept that banking was a career he could follow as he had zero role models. His mother was a cleaner and his father was absent and it was never on his radar so it is opening the eyes of all members of the community as to what is available to them. Indeed, we should actually target certain areas to ensure the message is received. Our staff should reflect our customers. Mims: At my G20 speech recently, it became apparent that so many employers don’t actually know how to be more inclusive and that is what is stopping them so, without that role model within the family, where on earth are these youngsters supposed to get that motivation and knowledge. At the DWP, we are setting up Youth Hubs, designed to bring people together to fully explain their options and to point out that nothing is out of their reach because of their colour, race or gender. Role modelling is the key and the Youth Hubs will offer that. I think many parents still see such apprenticeships as oily rag work and the like but it is banking, creative sectors, retail, hospitality and so much more so, as Julie said, it is important to get this message to parents that it is a very different place to the one in which they were brought up. Zahira: On the subject of inclusion, how does someone included mentor someone who is not? How does a white person role model a black person? Simple questions but think about it, it is not ideal. At the University, we have mentoring programmes run by someone of the same ethnicity and this makes a significant difference in outcomes. We need to find a common language and that is not our language, it should be the language of the person we are mentoring.


Let’s look at the shift to Asia. A recent piece l read stated that China has quintupled its number of graduates and doubled its higher education facilities. Within the decade, Asia will account for over 40% of all graduates within the G20 countries with over 60% of middle class consumption also coming for this area. Julie, from an educational standpoint do you see that as a threat or a challenge? Julie: Of course it’s a challenge but also an opportunity. We are all working on a global stage so working across borders is now in our nature. With the increase in tech it is even easier but we should look at our skills so that we can match those figures. It comes through investment and collaboration with business to ensure that we don’t need to bring in the skills but we home grow them. We have over 1,000 foreign students at the college each year and why did they come to us? Because there is still the belief that the UK education system is world-class and it is important as we grow back from this year, that we are not shy about promoting our education system to not only attract foreign students to come and study, but we use this world class system to grow our own people and retain them in this country. Mims: We must recognise that. Our recent announcement about the major investment into the space industry for example, is an opportunity for home grow the talent required to push that sector forward. With automation, a recent study stated that by 2030, if we fully engage in this, it could add £232 billion to the UK economy, around 10% of our GDP. And don’t forget, many of the issues we are facing such as the ageing workforce, caring responsibilities, welfare support etc are being faced by most other countries too and we are well ahead of many on these subjects. Desiree: As certain jobs drop away, higher skilled jobs will drop down into the middle and perhaps it is robots that will take over some of these top positions. It will be interesting to see how humans feel about working with robots and indeed, even having a robot as the boss. This might be more of an issue with the ever increasing older workers, who will no doubt stay in their jobs longer and they might have the toughest task to adjust. We will have to retrain this older workforce to give them the new skills and the new mindset to deal with automation. With so many working longer than their benefits and pensions will last, this is not really a choice any longer.


INFLUENCERS FORUM On that subject, it is projected that over the next decade the economically active workforce aged over 65 will increase by a third. Harry, do you find that you have an increasing number of older workers within the workforce? Harry: Yes and with age discrimination rules that exist it is no longer acceptable to end employment based on reaching a certain age, and this can be an issue for employers. It is true that older employees can slow down and have skills that atrophy but it is very hard to disentangle the ageing process with job performance but that is what employers have to do. Zahira: From the university aspect, we find more and more older people coming to us to re-train, to learn new skills and actually reinventing themselves to be ready for this new future. It is what they have to do to remain relevant within the workplace. Something we teach is critical thinking, how to become someone who can appraise subjects, to become agile to adjust to the changing workplace.

A growing trend amongst younger job seekers is the desire to not just have a job but to work for a company that share their ideals, a company that has a mission or purpose in which they can believe. Julie, do you identify with this? Julie: Absolutely. I only moved over to education myself six years ago and that move was motivated by the desire to do a job that had a direct impact on young people. The other word that to me has changed so many things is authenticity. An employer who is authentic in their actions and purpose so yes, people are looking for more than the pay check. Maarten: Gosh, from an employer’s point of view this is just more pressure in attracting new team members but then l guess that is the point - redefine the organisation’s purpose for the good of the company and the ability to attract staff who share that purpose. Maarten: I would like to thank all our experts for joining us for the first Forum of 2021 and their contribution to this important debate. There are huge changes coming for all of us and the future of work is a vital component that needs very careful attention. After all, the children of today will be paying our pensions and it is important that we all get involved in ensuring that the end result of the pandemic is a more vibrant, progressive workplace and workforce, equipped for the technical revolution we are currently going through. I look forward to chairing the next Forum on the subject of Funding for Business.


Our focus is you Outstanding legal advice for individuals, families and businesses.

For business We make it our business to know your business, working with you to add value and to deliver tailored legal services with energy and creativity whether you’re an established market leader or an ambitious start-up.

For you Your family’s security and wellbeing are your priority. And we have the legal skills and knowledge to support your plans and the challenges life brings.






Our success depends on understanding your needs Please call or email to discuss how we can help you: 03333 231580

LEGAL New year, new protection: as we enter the post-Brexit world, trade mark specialist Victoria Watt explains how you can protect food, drink and natural produce brands in the UK and Europe.


There are some 88 British food, drink and agricultural produce names currently protected by the EU GI scheme covering everything from cheese to wool, and that list is growing.






















Post-Brexit, the EU GI scheme no longer extends to the UK, and hypothetically (and technically) a Yorkshire dairy could call its clotted cream, made in Yorkshire, “Cornish Clotted Cream” without repercussions.

The food items listed are registered under the EU Geographical Indication (“GI”) scheme, just as Champagne and Parma ham are. As such, they are protected against imitation throughout the EU: so, for example, whisky made in France can no more be called “scotch whisky” than English sparkling wine can be called “champagne”. The production of scotch whisky is restricted to Scotland, and the production of Champagne to one specific region of France.


With the Brexit-transition period at an end, many brand owners are keen to ensure that all of their protections remain in place throughout both the UK and the EU. EU trade marks (EUTMs) are being converted to UK trade marks (UKTMs) automatically by the Intellectual Property Office; the GI right is receiving the same treatment.

A trade mark performs the essential function of identifying the origin of goods and services as being a particular trader; in similar fashion, the purpose of a GI is to indicate that certain goods have originated from a specific region and possess qualities particular and peculiar to regional tradition. A product claiming a certain origin protected by an EU GI must bear the appropriate logo.


English wine. Stilton Blue. London Cure smoked salmon. These are not just happy memories of a sumptuous Christmas feast as we sit here in 2021, hoping for a more predictable year ahead whilst recovering from festive gluttony.


But existing GIs specific to the UK registered under the EU GIs would still continue to receive protection in the EU. A French cream manufacturer, for example, will not be able to call their clotted cream “Cornish Clotted Cream” unless it has been made in Cornwall to the specifications of the GI registration. However, Cornish dairies need not fear; duplicate UK registrations of EU GIs will automatically be created under the new UK GI scheme, managed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. From January 2021, to protect a new UK-based GI in both the UK and the EU, applicants will have to file an application in the UK first, obtain registration and then apply to the EU scheme. A GI can be applied for by an individual producer or a group of interested parties. As with similar schemes, once you’ve obtained registration in the UK, that base registration can be used to apply for protection in other jurisdictions.


So why, as a trade mark specialist, am I waxing lyrical about GIs? If you are a manufacturer or producer of a food, drink or agricultural product in the UK that is specific to your region and has an established tradition, then you could benefit from the additional protection that a GI might provide. Of course you should already have an established protective trade mark portfolio, but the use of a GI badge may help not only to enhance the appeal (and value) of your product, it could also offer an extra weapon in your brand protection arsenal. If, for example, a copycat is using certain similar elements of your branding but not enough for a trade mark infringement or passing off claim, then GI protection may provide you with an opportunity to stop the copycat if they are falsely claiming that their product has the same specific traditional origin.

❛❛ A French cream manufacturer, for example, will not be able to call their clotted cream “Cornish Clotted Cream” unless it has been made in Cornwall to the specifications of the GI registration ❜❜

A protected GI is also capable of preventing the registration of misleadingly similar trade marks. A recent decision in Singapore thwarted an attempt by a Singaporean company to register a trade mark containing the word “CHAMPENG” for “sparkling wine”. This sailed a little too close to the wind for the French trade association responsible for protecting the Champagne brand; they opposed the registration, relying on the protection offered by the Champagne GI which is registered where possible around the world. The judgment held was that the applicant must have had knowledge of Champagne and its protected status. They had therefore used an acronym to avoid blatant copying, which was held to be in bad faith. The opposition was successful, and the trade mark application rejected. If you are auditing your trademark portfolio as we exit the EU, it’s a good time to consider other protective measures available to you: a GI may well be one of them.

}}MORE INFORMATION Find out more about the UK GI scheme and how to register here: Find out more about the EU GI scheme and how to register here:

Victoria Watt is a Solicitor in DMH Stallard’s technology, media and telecoms team. She can be contacted at or by calling 01273 744207.


Freedom Works is a simple concept created by people who have worked from home, coffee shops or cafes Developed for those looking for a ‘workplace home’ Freedom Works offers independent, freelance, start-up or growing companies a home from which to excel their business or venture

Jon Trigg Founder, Freedom Works • • Tel 01293 368100 • Follow us on Twitter@works_freedom FREEDOM WORKS – CHICHESTER Metro House, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1BE

FREEDOM WORKS – HOVE Creative Hub, Hove Business Centre, Fonthill Road, Hove, BN3 6HA

FREEDOM WORKS – WORTHING The Mill Building, 31 Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1LY

FREEDOM WORKS – GATWICK The Office-South Wing, Crawley Business Quarter, Manor Royal, Crawley RH10 9AD





One of the main things that came out of the conference was that minorities in the workplace need allies to advocate for them. For example, if there aren’t any women on the board of directors, the men who are there need to push for more women to be included. It has to come from the top, to demonstrate to everyone in the organisation that change is needed.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace brings benefits for both employees and organisations. If employees feel that they will be accepted as their true selves, they are more likely to feel happier and stay in jobs for longer. This can save the organisation time and money re-recruiting for roles. Diversity of thought is also a major benefit that can drive innovation and revenue. So, in this day and age, diversity and inclusion should be at the forefront of any organisation’s agenda!



We also discussed how being vulnerable can really help an organisation become more inclusive and accepting. If everyone is open about their struggles and feelings, whatever they may be, people will become more and more willing to share themselves without feeling like they will be judged for who they are.

As a whole, 2020 has brought plenty of developments to the working world, with working from home, increases in online trading and events, and more. But while everything seems to be moving forward, is diversity and inclusion in the workplace getting left behind? Meena Chander is founder and CEO of Events Together, an events agency that produces THIS IS US CONFERENCE, a yearly event dedicated to this very topic. Here, she discusses some findings from 2020’s virtual conference, and what they mean for everyone in the workplace.



This links into the idea of intersectionality. Putting people into boxes, even if it is to aid diversity and inclusion, can make them feel alienated or singled out. After all, nobody fits neatly into one box! We are all made up of a whole range of traits and characteristics that should be celebrated and accepted in order to achieve a better level of diversity.

There is still a long way to go until true diversity and inclusion in the workplace is achieved. However, there’s no reason not to get ahead of the game. With Events Together and This Is Us Conference, I’m dedicated to helping organisations produce diverse events and improve inclusion in their workplaces as a whole, to help bring about change, happy employees, and thriving organisations. If this is something that you’d like to explore for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Contact: Email: Websites:


CHARITY What will you do this year? Will you run a marathon? Face your fear of heights? Shop more sustainably? Or give your time and start volunteering? Whatever your team’s goal make 2021 your year to make a difference.



A YE AR TO REMEMBER? Whether you are a team of four or 104, in the office or working from home, an adrenaline seeker or a foodie fanatic, we want to help your team make 2021 a year to remember. So, let Chestnut Tree House know what you will do this year and kick-start the conversation now!


Worthing girl, Amy Hart, visited Chestnut Tree House within a fortnight of leaving the Love Island villa in July 2019 and pledged her support for the children’s hospice. Fast forward to December 2020 and Amy became an Ambassador for the charity and has been thinking of ways to get involved further in the coming year. “My family and I have supported Chestnut Tree House for many years as it’s our local children’s hospice,” explains Amy. “When I came out of the Love Island villa, I was determined to be a ‘responsible influencer’ and talk to my audience about causes and subjects close to my heart, as well as my interests and everyday life.


“I was honoured to be asked to become an Ambassador for Chestnut Tree House and St Barnabas House. There are a lot of misconceptions around hospice care – for children and adults, but it’s so important as none of us know when we might need it. The hospices receive very little government funding, so donations, fundraising and support from businesses and individuals in the local community are critical.”

To show her support for Chestnut Tree House, Amy has committed to taking on an abseil challenge for the charity in 2021. “I wanted to do something a bit different in the new year, so thought ‘why not abseil from a great height!’ I hope I’ll be able to raise some funds for the hospice as well as awareness of the vital work they do,” says Amy. After completing a 23-mile Pier-to-Pier challenge for Chestnut Tree House in May 2020, Amy also has her sights set on taking part in a running event at some point in the future. “I started getting back into running again during the second lockdown. I haven’t signed up for a Half Marathon or Marathon yet but watch this space!”


WHAT WILL YOU DO THIS YEAR? There are so many ways that your workplace can get involved with Chestnut Tree House. What will you do this year?


Whatever you fancy, there’s a way for you to boost staff morale and take on a challenge - cycling, walking, skydiving, and so much more.


You could even take part in a virtual challenge whilst working at home and compete with your colleagues. Chestnut Tree House nurses walk between 7,000 and 10,000 steps a day when looking after children with life-shortening conditions. Could you challenge yourself to walk the same number of steps every day, for the month of February?


Funky fancy dress Friday, a great themed bake off or a virtual quiz? Liven up the office and put on your own fundraiser.


Payroll Giving is a flexible scheme which allows anyone who pays UK income tax to regularly give to charities of their choice on a tax-free basis.

To find out how you and your business can support local children with life-shortening conditions and their families this year, visit Registered Charity Number 256789


Our thinking starts with you “They are excellent in every respect and I am absolutely delighted with the service we receive. Everything has been done in a first-class manner. We know the next period is going to be uncertain, however, with MHA Carpenter Box’s help, I look to the future with confidence.”

Standing still is not an option In today’s environment you need an accountant that does more than just numbers. You need a trusted adviser that helps your business thrive. With our relationship led service, we look to understand the opportunities and challenges faced by you and your business. Our focus is always on client service, with open and honest relationships.

We’re here to help Audit and assurance Accounts and business consulting Tax planning Digital solutions Financial planning Now, for tomorrow


WHY DISRUPTED BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS NEED A NEW TYPE OF LEADERSHIP Dr Zahira Jaser, Deputy Director of the Sussex MBA, explains why now is the right time for local businesses to partner with the University of Sussex Business School and bring new skills and ideas to their organisations. Businesses in the South East of England have been significantly disrupted by COVID-19. Many are now facing a transformational phase and getting this right means survival. The Sussex MBA offers a place where managers can rethink their strategy and remodel their agenda. At the University of Sussex Business School, we believe there are four pillars which are fundamental to providing the leadership needed to manage in today’s disrupted business environment: n Digital work – Developing an understanding of digital work is crucial to operate efficiently in the current shift to digital technologies and virtual work environments. n Innovation – Learning how to shift rapidly and develop new strategies to adapt to current disrupted environments. n Resilience – Cultivating both the individual level wellbeing of team members, and the sustainability of business models. n Policy – Broadening the ability to lobby and influence policy makers, at local, regional and national levels.


These four pillars are the foundation of the Sussex MBA, which is designed for busy managers and employees that are working full-time. It is our ambition at the University of Sussex Business School to develop strong local partnerships with business associations, corporations and entrepreneurs. The Sussex MBA is a centre of distinction for the development of business talent in Sussex and the South East of England. It is accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA), a trademark of excellence held by only the top 5% of business schools worldwide. We are accredited by EQUIS, the most comprehensive institutional accreditation system for business schools.


We have created The Sussex MBA Partnership Scheme to support the local community. Whether you are a local business, a business group or an entrepreneur, we offer you the opportunity to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the Business School.

n The scheme will support your talent development programme and be a major component of your current and future leaders’ training. n You receive substantial savings on MBA fees. n Your key managers get access to local, flexible study options, and the chance to tailor the course around the challenges and needs of your business. They can study part-time over two years, with in-class teaching held on Fridays and Saturdays only, typically three times per month between October and June. n We encourage you to join the MBA advisory board, helping the Business School to shape business education to support the challenges you face. n The Business School will benefit from having alumni in senior management positions with local employers to continually influence business education.

For more information: To discuss collaboration with the Business School email: External Engagement Manager



The journey of Hurst College’s history department by Joanna Clarke, Head of History

LEARNING FROM LOCKDOWN This song rang out across England’s school playgrounds in 1918: “I had a little bird Its name was Enza I opened the window, And in-flu-enza” The ‘Spanish flu’ killed three times the number who died in World War I and infected a third of humans. A century later we are facing another deadly pandemic that has already led to the deaths of over one million globally. Then, as now, pandemics present unique educational challenges for teachers and

students. I wanted to find out about our students’ and teachers’ experiences before they forgot about this pivotal moment in our world’s history. What was their biggest challenge? W hat did they enjoy, and perhaps most importantly, what did they learn about themselves as historians in lockdown?

One of the biggest challenges that our history students experienced was staying engaged and motivated. History comes alive during heated discussions and debates. Interruptions, and sudden changes of direction give lessons pace and excitement. The deadening Pinter pauses generated by Microsoft Teams killed the momentum of conversations. It was more difficult to ensure whole class participation, and check for understanding in real time. Survey feedback showed that no amount of online provision can ever replace the living breathing classroom for historical debates and discussions. In an increasingly automated world, can we derive some comfort from the fact that face-to-face interactions are still so sought after?



Most students responded that it wasn’t the high-tech solutions which engaged them most. The chance to be creative – personal, even silly, seemed to help breathe life into remote teaching. During debates we encouraged students to dress up using props they had at home. Curtains, kitchen appliances and garden soil were used to get into the mindset of Russian serfs. Learners were delighted when one teacher began taking the register by demanding the name of each student’s favourite biscuit. Being able to break out into channels for pairs and small group work helped to recover a sense of communicative intimacy, and allow more varied approaches to tasks. Something that surprised us was how much enjoyment some students generated from the opportunity to work independently on longer, open-ended projects and presentations. They relished the freedom to go at their own pace without classroom distractions.

❛❛ We learned to treasure the human interactions that first inspired us to go into teaching, and the importance of face-to-face fun ❜❜

The technology we were lucky enough to use did allow for paperless education. However, the pen is not dead! Students overwhelmingly preferred writing notes and essays on paper because it helped them to better remember the evidence. As teachers, what we feared was how much students would be able to actively memorise to prepare for remote exams. We shortened exams and assessed our Lower Sixth more creatively by giving them panel vivas, and an opportunity to write extended essays in their own time. For some students, the lockdown was understandably a very frustrating experience, and they highlighted the positives of the classroom environment, such as peer motivation, and live pressure from teachers to get on with tasks. However, many students also said how much the lockdown made them realise the value of working in silence, having a clear, dedicated workspace, and how well they were able to motivate themselves at home. At a time when there have been calls for exam cancellation, our feedback

would suggest that students really value having some kind of fixed assessment to work towards. Perhaps we just need to think more carefully about the format? We learnt to treasure the human interactions that first inspired us to go into teaching, and the importance of face-toface fun. It also made us realise that whilst lockdown introduced many new stressors, both teachers and students gained insight and deployed valuable techniques for achieving a healthy balance between work and play. Something I hope can be applied now that we are all back in the classroom.

For more information:







The 2020 winners of the prestigious Gatwick Diamond Business Awards were announced on December 3rd at a ground-breaking ‘Putting on the BIZ’ event compered by Gyles Brandreth, the well-known TV personality and author.

This was joined by 18 other award categories including Business Person of the Year, won by Richard Pollins of DMH Stallard. The two awards for Business of the Year were won by Assurity Consulting (over £1m) and Posture People (up to £1m).

The Awards are strongly supported by the Gatwick Diamond business community including the headline sponsors – Gatwick Airport, NatWest, Thakeham Group and Extech Cloud.

The awards importantly also look to the future with Max Rayner of WS Planning & Architecture being recognised as Apprentice of the Year.

For the first time, the very special category of Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Gatwick Diamond was introduced.

At such a challenging time for so many people, the award for Community Investment Business of the year was particularly poignant. PVL Ltd were very worthy winners.


Now in their 12th year, the Awards are a well-established highlight of the business calendar. They celebrate the achievements of individual businesses and business people across a wide range of categories. Importantly, they also showcase the success of the Gatwick Diamond economic area as major driver of the regional and national economies. The winners in each category were:

Angie Doll, Managing Director at Southern Railway and Gatwick Express, sponsors of the Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Gatwick Diamond, said “this new prestigious award recognises outstanding personal contribution to making the Gatwick Diamond a great place to do business. It celebrates personal commitment and leadership that goes way beyond professional and business interests. The gdb Executive Council found it impossible to separate two exceptional individuals. It is no exaggeration to say that without their efforts, going back further than they probably care to remember, we would not be here this evening celebrating the success of Gatwick Diamond businesses.

John Peel


David Butcher

Many congratulations to both outstanding winners, Mr. John Peel and Mr. David Butcher”.



(Up to £1m)





RICHARD POLLINS Richard Pollins, DMH Stallard



















(Over £1m)


























MAX RAYNER Max Rayner, WS Planning & Architecture


Planning for your future Financial clarity in an uncertain world 2020 has presented challenges for every one of us, resulting in many people reflecting on their personal circumstances and plans for their future. Our nationwide survey explored the personal finances, priorities for retirement (including longer term planning) and threats to financial security of over 1000 people. Download your copy of the report, along with guidance and personal finance actions from our tax, financial planning and legal experts at

Guiding you to a brighter future Call: +44 (0)330 124 1399 Email:

2020/ 21 report

PEST CONTROL Cleankill Pest Control is celebrating after winning another business award for being ‘green’ and being shortlisted in three other categories


WITH SECOND GATWICK DIAMOND AWARD The 2020 winners of the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards were announced at a ground-breaking ‘Putting on the BIZ’ event compered by Gyles Brandreth, well-known TV personality and author. The awards are strongly supported by the Gatwick Diamond business community including the headline sponsors – Gatwick Airport, NatWest, Thakeham Group and Extech Cloud.

The company, which has its headquarters in Kenley near Croydon, Surrey, added the prestigious 2020 Gatwick Diamond Green Business of the Year title to a growing collection in the office trophy cabinet.

staff to our surveyors and technicians, who are constantly looking for ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint and help our customers reduce theirs by using green solutions on their premises.”

Cleankill was also a finalist in the Professional Services and the Brighter Thinking categories, while Managing Director Paul Bates was one of three people to be shor tlisted in the Businessperson of the Year category.

The company has expanded over the past several years and now covers Bristol and Buckinghamshire as well as London, Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Hampshire. Cleankill strives to differentiate its work from other pest control providers by focusing on being green and using natural pest control. This has reaped rewards and Cleankill now employs 47 staff.

Paul Bates said: “We won the GDBA Green award in 2017 as well. To win it again shows that we are moving forward in what we do and not resting on past glories! The Gatwick Diamond covers a huge area with thousands of businesses so to get shortlisted is fantastic, but winning is absolutely brilliant. It’s also wonderful to end 2020 by winning this award. “This latest award is a real credit to every member of the team, from our office


A ‘green’ service that is proving particularly popular involves using predator birds to rid business and residential properties from pigeons and gulls. There are three Harris Hawks on the payroll along with a team of expert birds handlers who visit sites several times a week to discourage pest birds.

Now in their 12th year, the awards are a well-established highlight of the business calendar. They celebrate the achievements of individual businesses and business people across a wide range of categories. Importantly, they also showcase the success of the Gatwick Diamond economic area as major driver of the regional and national economies. The Cleankill team has built a reputation for acting with professionalism, courtesy and expertise. Customers can count on highly trained staff arriving in smart uniforms and branded vehicles and using the best available products and equipment.

Cleankill is the only pest control provider in England to achieve a Gold Investor in People accreditation.


By Matthew Farrant, Partner, Haines Watts Godalming



Part of your routine should be to ask for advice regarding the tax and VAT treatment of transactions. Often the tax treatment appears to defy logic and one transaction may be allowable while a similar one is not. Processing the transaction in the correct way at the outset can save tax.

There is of course only one answer‌ us. The taxpayer! HMRC is under increased pressure to be more efficient in collecting what is due. Their latest analysis of the shortfall in taxes collected, highlighted that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are responsible for the majority. Fur ther analysis shows that the biggest loss comes not from fraudulent activities but instead from carelessness in data processing and interpretation of legislation. It is not difficult to see where HMRC will concentrate their efforts. They will of course continue to pursue criminal activity and large companies using complicated tax avoidance schemes; but these are time consuming and expensive. Not only will HMRC collect the tax that is owed, they will charge interest from the original due date until it is paid and a penalty varying from Nil to 200%. Something not to be caught out on. Their likely policy will be zero tolerance for non-compliance and ignorance will not be an accepted excuse. If your records are maintained accurately and error free there is of course nothing to worry about apart from the time taken to deal with HMRC. However, if you, as with many other SMEs find that your records and systems lack

completeness or are over-complicated, the chances are more errors are likely to be made and you may find yourself at the end of a HMRC enquiry. To encourage better compliance the penalties for errors can be reduced to nil if reasonable care was taken when or where the error was the result of careless behaviour and an unprompted disclosure is made to HMRC. Meaning if you or your accountant spot it first, there is more chance of fi xing it and therefore avoiding the penalty. Don’t wait for the Letter from HMRC to arrive before panicking to sort your business out.

A detailed audit of all transaction will be time consuming. A useful alternative that can be used for VAT returns is to have a sanity check of the detailed return before it is submitted. Checks will be made for completeness, reasonability and unusual items reviewed in detail to ensure the treatment is correct. Think of it as a health check on your system; the aim to making each submission as painless as possible. There are other ways of streamlining and simplif ying your processes and documentation such as going digital, whether this be by automating the documentation or expenses and mileage. The key takeaway is businesses should start now to ensure their bookkeeping systems are robust to eliminate the risk of simple errors. Reaching out now for advice will prevent the rush later on.

For more information: T: 01483 425 724 E:



THE MOBILE STAYCATION By Maarten Hoffmann, Senior Motoring Editor



Campervans have always held a certain mystery and romance to many and l have to admit that l am one of them but often like the idea more than the practice. I ventured into this life many years back when l drove a classic Winnebago RV from LA all the way down the Baja peninsular in Mexico to La Paz and Cabo san Lucas. It was certainly a fantastic adventure, with the Sea of Cortez on one side and the Pacific on the other, through a fascinating desert, with the most important factor - 35 degrees of heat. When Ford asked me to review their new model in this sector it was November and, as expected, cold, damp and miserable but l am always up for a challenge. So after lying to my partner that we had the latest Bentley outside, we ventured forth.

❛❛ For those with

the Bongo Friendee, here’s another one with a daft name ❜❜

The first thing to note with all campervans is that there is little doubt that they lock someone into a room with serious OCD and give them the design of the base vehicle, and the complete list of everything that has to be crammed in, and leave them with it.

The Ford Custom Nugget is a Transit van converted into a campervan and as the Transit van is one of the best selling vans on planet earth, it should be quite a good base for a bit of outdoor living. For those with the Bongo Friendee, here’s another one with a daft name. The benchmark for such vans is the VW California – a model with a long and illustrious history that has become achingly cool as the ‘surfer dude’ van. I reviewed that a few years back and it was great fun so Ford has quite a battle on its hands. The famous conversion company Westfalia have done this conversion so that’s a good sign. First impression is that it drives really well. With its 2-litre EcoBlue engine allied to a 6-speed auto box, it is quick, sturdy and doesn’t feel as heavy as it obviously must be. I spent a couple of days in town with it before we departed, and it is easy to flick around town, quite easy to park with reversing cameras and sensors, and huge wing mirrors - l was tempted to pick up a box of Yorkie bars for the journey (those of a certain vintage will recall that commercial), yank my trousers down so you could see my arse crack and wolf whistle at every woman that strolled by. There are lots of storage spaces and cup holders, Ford’s SYNC 3 entertainment system with an 8-inch screen with voice activation or touch screen. It also offers Cross Traffic Alert, Pre-collision Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control.

Lord knows how long it took but everything has to have a place and with such limited space, he had better be damned smart about what goes where.



TECH STUFF MODEL TESTED: Nugget Custom ENGINE: 2.0-litre EcoBlue POWER: 185 bhp SPEED: N/A TOP: N/A ECONOMY: 30.1 mpg combined PRICE FROM: £62,726 AS TESTED: £65,816

We ventured along the south coast to Poole and Sandbanks and then onto the Isle of Portland, drove right to the top of the island and found a place to camp, with great views and no obvious signs that it was a dogging car park. It was cold and raining and I began to wonder what I was doing here. So now time to sort everything out and get to grips with how it all works. The first very clever arrangement is the kitchen. Instead of being down the side of the van like the VW, they have placed it at the very back by the huge rear door. It is very well equipped with gas cooker, fridge, sink, hot water, plenty of drawers and cupboards and a shower! You have to be standing outside to take the shower and god knows what your fellow campers would think, standing there with your tackle out, singing Nessun Dorma when they wake for their morning cornflakes, but as l had zero intention of having a shower, or singing, it didn’t really matter. A great addition though when coming off a sandy beach, rinsing the dog or actually taking a shower.

It also has a retractable awning that extends from the roof to make a shaded area, and then tucked away very cleverly in the rear door is a table and chairs. In the summer, this would make an excellent area that effectively extends the inside outside. We had zero intention of cooking but we did make cups of tea and it is all very civilised, easy and close at hand. The gas bottle is internal and is next to the water on/off switch and, once you know where it all is, it is straight forward and well designed. As cold was the biggest problem we faced in this very ‘out of season’ test, l had hopes of a decent heating system as without it, l was headed straight back

home and l was not disappointed. The heating system does not run off the battery so there is no fear of being dead in the morning, instead it uses some of the fuel in the tank and can run all night if you so desire. The cabin was 100 degrees within minutes and l realised l would stay. Mid-cabin, you have the rear seats that move back and forth to make the second of the double beds. For inside dining, the two front seats rotate 180 degrees and then the rear seats push back and a table is then placed in the centre and you have a decent 4/5 person dining room. To ensure the front seats will swivel, they have had to design the handbrake to ensure that when it is fully on, it is not in the up position. As to the second double bed, that takes a tad more effort. Above the kitchen is the latch that makes the roof rise up revealing a double bed with three zipped windows. Then, in yet another cupboard, is the mini ladder that enables you to climb up there without putting your feet all over the kitchen cabinets. It’s a neat arrangement and the bed is quite comfortable, and bear in mind l say this during the wind and



❛❛ As cold was the biggest problem we faced in this very ‘out of season’ test, l had hopes of a decent heating system as without it, l was headed straight back home ❜❜ And on that issue, why oh why do manufacturers boast the vehicle is a WiFi hotspot when it never actually works? Really, l have never managed to get one working and here is no exception. We did manage to get it on the phone but then were referred to the website (signal required) before it dropped out and it noted we had to pay for something. Several attempts later and we gave up as life is just too short and just did a hotspot off the phone to watch anything on the tablet.

the rain of a British November! With a good duvet, it is warm and cosy although the lack of any USB ports up there does mean phone and tablet charging is a faff. There are only two USB’s in the whole vehicle which for four people is not really enough especially if there are kids involved.

I was concerned about the lack of standing height in the cabin as when the top bed is ready to go, it hinges from the front and therefore offers good standing room in the a kitchen but not in the cabin. I have just found out that l missed a switch, as the roof actually has the ability to rise in one piece and therefore raises the cabin head room significantly - there goes one of the only bitches l had about the Nugget. Well, two as the name is still an issue and

to make its worse in the test model they sent me, the number plate says nugget!!! In summary, this is an excellent vehicle that is already selling really well in Germany apparently. The pandemic has led us all to reconsider vacations for 2021 and the ‘staycation’ market looks to explode, much to the delight of long-suffering hotels around the UK. I hear that holiday park homes, boats, cabins, canal barges and the like are selling like hot cakes and the motorhome market is no different. Excluding the weather, we had a great time in the Nugget and l can imagine cruising the length and breadth of the UK in it with ease and being able to stop anywhere you choose, without the hotel bills, it is very tempting. As it drives so well, it could then be used almost as a daily driver as it just looks like a Transit van. The challenge is the competition, in the form of the VW California and the new Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo. The VW starts at around £56,000 but you will need to spend north of £65,000 for all the kit and the Merc will drain you on £59,000. Where the Nugget trys to excel is the sliding doors on both tries of the van, unlike the others, and and the wellequipped kitchen. On the top model you can also have a loo which the others certainly do not offer. Having said that, the base price is £62,726 so l am not sure there is enough price gap to stop you from looking at the other two models and that could be a problem for the Ford. Park at the beach and then sleep at the beach – why not, it’s a hoot.


Businesses local to Gatwick are 50% more likely to export than the national average

Gatwick brings global trade opportunities closer

We’re more than just an airport


JAN | FEB 2021 #8




Order from for socially distanced, COVID-safe doorstep delivery within Brighton and Hove by a member of our little team or send the spirit of Brighton nationwide with next-working-day courier delivery

cont ent s 20






28 THE YOGA SERIES Focusing on High Lunge Asana and Downward-facing Dog

6 UPFRONT All the latest bulletins from the world of business







32 MOTORING Lochdown


8 3


Our illustrious steering committee guide the editorial tone of the magazine

JULIE KAPSALIS CEO Chichester / Crawley College Group

EMMA LANE Director Allied Irish Bank

VICTORIA KERTON ROSEMARY FRENCH OBE Regional Director Executive Director NatWest Gatwick Diamond Initiative


ALISON ADDY Community Officer Gatwick Airport

LOUISE PUNTER CEO Surrey Chambers of Commerce

LESLEY ALCOCK Commercial Director The Platinum Media Group


ABIGAIL OWEN Corporate Partner DMH Stallard

FIONA SHAFER Managing Director MD HUB

MAXINE REID Partner Quantuma

MAARTEN HOFFMANN CEO/Publisher The Platinum Media Group

ANA CHRISTIE CEO Sussex Chamber of Commerce

ALISON JONES Partner Kreston Reeves


FIONA GRAVES Events Director The Platinum Media Group

welc ome FROM ROSEMARY FRENCH OBE Chair of the Dynamic Steering Committee ROSEMARY’S OBE WAS AWARDED FOR SERVICES TO WOMEN IN BUSINESS It’s getting close! The vaccinations have arrived and hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, we will be extensively immunised by the end of Spring. I am feeling upbeat about getting back to some normality this year, whilst accepting that it will be a different normal. This edition of Dynamic features the worthy winners of the NatWest Everywoman Awards 2020. I remember when these awards were launched 18 years ago and in fact, sponsored them. They were not the first awards for

women because I remember being nominated in the mid-80s for a Veuve Clicquot Women’s Award. The event at the Savoy was full of famous businesswomen and celebrities and I was well out of my depth! But the Everywoman Award was the first to truly recognise real women in business – entrepreneurs of all ages, from diverse communities and from the private, charity and social enterprise sectors. Browsing through the stories of these inspirational Everywomen winners, I am reminded once

again of women’s resilience, adaptability, and creativity to overcome the challenges and hurdles that women face. I was reflecting on the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards in December. The Awards are in their 12th year and yet the most coveted award, Business Person of the Year, has never been won by a woman. There are so many amazingly successful women in the area that it is hard to believe why not? I would not want to see a separate category for women but surely we can do better than this?


WWW.PLATINUMPUBLISHING.CO.UK DISCLAIMER All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. The publisher reserves the right to change or amend any competitions or prizes offered. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit. Dynamic Magazine is owned and published by The Platinum Media Group.


WOMEN ARE LIKE MEN BUT CHEAPER! Are you sitting down right now? Is there something on your desk you can squeeze to release the wave of total anger and frustration that’s about to hit you? Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that at a tech start-up conference in Sydney, Evan Thornley, the co-founder of an online advertising company in Australia, gave a presentation about the benefits of hiring women, saying women are “often relatively cheap compared to what we would’ve had to pay someone less good of a different gender.” He then reportedly pulled up a slide that read, “Women: Like men, only cheaper.” If comments like Thornley’s make you feel like this, you’re not alone. Thornley’s talk didn’t start off so badly: He mentioned how his company, LookSmart, has had women in senior management since the start-up went public in 1999 and the gender gap in tech was the size of the Grand Canyon. But then Thornley, who served two years in Parliament and allegedly has an estimated net worth of roughly $54 million, took a turn. A stupid, insulting one. “Call me opportunistic; I thought I could get better people with less competition because we were willing to.

{up f r o n t } All the latest bulletins from the world of business

LEVELLING UP The Forum of Executive Women joined with corporate leadership data company Equilar to further its mission of diversifying boardrooms and c-suites. The Equilar Diversity Network comprises more than 30 member organisations, including partners like NASDAQ, KPMG and the Athena Alliance. “Being a part of the Equilar Diversity Network offers exposure for the Forum’s 500 members, who can later be considered for board membership and other executive roles”, Forum President Lisa Detwiler said.

FEMTECH DISPUTE The meteoric rise of the label ‘femtech’ to describe technology products, apps and hardware addressing women’s health and wellbeing issues divides opinion. While some say it helps the sector secure vital funding from male-dominated venture capitalists, others argue that it unnecessarily pigeonholes women’s health. From period trackers to breast pumps, the term encompasses menstruation, menopause, pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility. One often-quoted report predicts femtech could become a £40bn industry by 2025. You could argue: what’s taken so long? And $50bn sounds like a lot. But when you consider that it’s a sector that, in theory, targets almost four billion women - roughly half the world’s population – suddenly it seems quite modest.


PERIOD DRAMA The very first law to change now that the UK is in charge of its own laws is the VAT on sanitary products. The 5% rate of VAT on sanitary products - referred to as the “tampon tax” – is abolished in the UK from January 1st. A ludicrous EU law requires members to tax tampons and sanitary towels at 5%, treating period products as non-essential. Chancellor Rishi Sunak committed to scrapping the tax in his March Budget. Campaigners welcomed the end to what they called a “sexist tax” with activist Laura Coryton saying it was “about ending a symptom of sexism”.

PASSION TRUMPS BALANCE Women who start their own businesses aren’t doing it for just more flexibility. This might sound obvious, considering that launching a company means long hours, tons of pressure, and financial risk –but now there’s proof. A new survey by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) found that the top motivator for female entrepreneurs is doing something they’re passionate about—and markedly not work-life balance. In fact, when more than 300 female business owners were asked to rank different factors in their decision to start their own companies, “having flexibility to care for your family” came in next to last. Passion, being your own boss, and the potential for higher pay were all bigger motivators. Darla Beggs, national board chair of NAWBO, said many respondents felt that “the time has never been better” for women to go out on their own.

DEATH OF THE GYM Women who were gym members before the pandemic hit will seek different ways to keep fit in 2021, according to a study by online runners’ community RunRepeat. The group surveyed 1,990 gym members from 120 different countries to learn how they will approach staying fit in 2021 in comparison to the start of 2020. Although nearly half of gym members said in April they would return to their gym when it reopened, only a third had returned as of November, RunRepeat found. Only 15% of current gym members said they think a gym membership is the best way to achieve their fitness goals in 2021, a 63.31% decline from the start of 2020s.

THE STARLING SINGS As the founder of UK challenger bank Starling, Anne Boden wanted to prove people wrong. “Women have to achieve more, work harder and be much more perfect to get the job compared to a man”. Ms Boden is also chief executive at Starling, which has grown rapidly and is now the subject of takeover talk. “The experience of being treated differently because I am female only inspires me to work harder and prove them wrong, which is in part why I founded Starling,” she adds. The banking and finance industries have traditionally been maledominated although this is beginning to change.



By Rosemary French OBE


When I watched the Patriarchy Paradox video at the centre of the Eton schoolmaster dismissal, I was both dismayed and outraged. I was disappointed that such a video could emanate from the school that has produced 20 of our prime ministers, hundreds more MPs, and leading figures in commerce, industry, and the civil service. I did understand what this teacher called Will Knowland was trying to say. However, his message was clumsily delivered and unbalanced which is surprising considering the quality of teachers recruited at Eton. The thrust of his paradox is that by shaping men and women to be more similar exaggerates their differences.

This may be true and indeed there is evidence in Norway, the country where gender equality is the highest, that women still prefer to choose people and communication-oriented roles and men to choose roles which involve making things. However, gender equality is much more than what men and women do in their jobs, something which Knowland does not acknowledge. Instead, he concentrates on the superior strength of men putting them in a better position to take on the lead role, to be patriarchs. Astonishingly, he then tells us that women choose it to be so because it suits them! I remember in my university psychology studying ‘nature versus nurture’ theories which 40 years later remain little changed. There are a few

I need hardly remind him, as he faces his employment tribunal, that it is not ok to offend and put back gender equality of another generation of schoolboys


academics that believe that biology, genes, and testosterone are entirely behind the differences between boys and girls; and there are others that believe that it is 100% social learning from birth that deeply roots gender roles in a child. However, most academics subscribe to the theory that it is both, of which a far larger proportion of learned behaviour which influences you, rather than your genes. That children can be influenced in those early years by the way that they are treated. For example, do girls naturally veer towards dolls because of their genes or is it because parents and educationalists treat them differently and influence them so much that they pick up the doll, and not the truck, because we have trained them to do so? Knowland recognises this issue of balance between genes and learning but in his view the social construct of gender equality has gone too far, and that biology plays a far bigger role than social development ever has. That is his opinion, fine. My issue is that he presents his view in a sexist and discriminatory way. Furthermore, his content is based on the past not on a potential future of equal matriarchy and patriarchy, that has been learned. He admits that what he is saying will ‘bruise’ listeners. He defends his article


My issue is that he presents his view in a sexist and discriminatory way

by saying that free speech is more important than a bit of bruising. I need hardly remind him, as he faces his employment tribunal, that it is not ok to offend and put back gender equality of another generation of schoolboys. Let us look at some examples of his bruising in his talk. For example, ‘Calling a woman a wimp isn’t an insult’. I would not advise he tries that one! Or showing a clip from the Goodfellas film where the gangster’s moll says that ‘gratuitous violence turns me on’. Sorry, that was written by a male scriptwriter. Did Knowland really think about this clip before showing it? About the thousands of women beaten up in their homes by their partners? Later by emphasising that there is more male-onmale rape in jails than male-on-female

rape outside, he is reducing the enormity of rape on women. I remember in the 80s when the earlier Yorkshire Rippers victims, single mums who were desperately trying to make a living through selling their bodies, were ignored in the investigation. It was only when, in the eyes of the police, ‘respectable’ women were killed that they started to properly investigate. Knowland says that ‘women prefer men with muscles and money’ and then shows a photo of a buxom blonde revealing more than she should as though that is how women should dress to get that muscle man. He talks about men learning to get that ‘pretty girl’; that men learn that they need money and

power to succeed with women. Rather than oppressing women, he says that getting men to compete over them gives women tremendous power. Really? It is the other way around. When a man wins the pretty women he believes it gives him tremendous power and kudos amongst his peers, which is what he has been led to believe. It is not about women’s behaviour; it is about men’s own learnings. He says that men have invented well over 90% of inventions which have improved the quality of women’s lives? Did Knowland not mull this over and consider that women were not allowed to be educated, never mind take jobs in medicine, engineering, technology for hundreds of years? Indeed, they still struggle to get to the top of these professions to be equally recognised and paid; and in too many third-world nations, girls are still not being educated. What is disappointing is that Knowland could have taken this opportunity to help his boys understand that they can change social learning at all stages of life to enabling a more balanced approach where it is ok for a woman to take the lead in money and power, to be the matriarch. It does not mean the man is a wimp! The whole half hour is delivered as a fait accompli. He says it is to stimulate debate but, in my experience, when a teacher teaches, even when it is one sided, you tend to respect it, remember it, and take it through your life. My view is that he has damaged these boys’ perceptions, encouraging them to believe that a woman’s main aim in life is to find a Chippendale man who will provide for her. Unfortunately, the controversy has attracted a following of shared believers, whipping up anti sexual equality sentiments judging by the YouTube comments. Well done to you, Eton Headmaster, for stamping on these outdated views. I salute you!

Will Knowland weightlifting






Winners announced in the UK’s leading awards programme for women business owners

The 18th annual NatWest everywoman Awards, held in London on December 3rd celebrated the UK’s most inspiring female entrepreneurs, recognising their outstanding achievements. This year’s virtual awards championed women in enterprise from all walks of life, providing a platform to share their journeys to success and inspire the next generation of talent. In an extraordinary year, the 2020 winners span multiple industries including technology, fashion, beauty, medicine and hospitality, but all are united in one common purpose - to leave the world a better place than they found



it. With many businesses rocked by the Covid-19 crisis, these women also demonstrate the resilience, adaptability and creativity that will help Britain weather the current economic storm. The 2020 NatWest everywoman of the Year Award was presented to Rachel Watkyn, Founder of Tiny Box whose story of triumph over adversity unanimously inspired the 2020 judges. Rachel spent her formative years in care before returning to her family and experiencing the effects of alcohol and domestic abuse. Whilst working in Sierra Leone during the military coup, the extreme poverty she witnessed drove


For an inspirational woman running a business trading 18 months-3 years ◗ Thuria Wenbar, e-surgery, from Norwich. Having come to the UK as an asylum seeker from Iraq, Thuria trained as an NHS doctor, where she realised how dated the prescription service was. Thuria founded her business to simplify the prescription system creating a completely paper free process, addressed directly to the consumer. Despite growing up with dyslexia, she coded the system herself and now hopes to roll it out to further medical and cosmetic organisations.

Rachel Watkyn, Founder of Tiny Box



Sponsored by Nutriment For an inspirational woman running a business trading 3-5 years ◗ Maxine Laceby, Absolute Collagen, from Telford. After realising the nutritional benefits of bone broth, Maxine set out to create quality, affordable collagen products available via a subscription model. Despite being 50 years old and having spent the majority of her adult life as a stay-at-home mum, Maxine was determined to pursue her idea, even remortgaging the house to start the business. Now in its fourth year, Absolute Collagen, is on target to turnover £8 million.

Sponsored by Taittinger For an inspirational woman running a business trading 6-9 years ◗ Connie Nam, Astrid & Miyu, from London. Having started as a side project in 2012, Astrid & Miyu, under Connie’s vision and leadership, has grown to become a cult brand, with six stores across London. Forced to close her stores in March when Covid hit, Connie restructured, developing inspirational online content that grew sales in April and May by 150%.


her vision for a fairtrade business. This began as a jewellery company, but her struggle to find recycled and environmentally friendly packaging sparked the idea for Tiny Box, supplying businesses with aesthetically pleasing and ethical packaging. Against a backdrop of difficulties including cancer, fire, flooding, an IT hack, and now Covid-19, she has grown Tiny Box to a £6.5m annual revenue and a team of 85 employees. Fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood accepted the Spirit of everywoman Award, awarded to a woman whose pioneering spirit has helped change the landscape for women in the UK. She was recognised for her phenomenal career, which has seen her bring avant-garde British fashion into the mainstream and become a vocal activist for the environment and civil rights. British make-up artist, Pat McGrath MBE, received the everywoman Ambassador Award, created to celebrate a high-profile entrepreneur and role model to young women. Despite having no formal training, Pat is now considered the world’s most influential make-up artist after a career that has spanned roles at Giorgio Armani and British Vogue. When her eponymous make-up

Maxine Benson MBE, Co-Founder at everywoman

brand, Pat McGrath Labs, launched at Selfridges it was the most successful beauty brand launch ever and is now valued at $1 billion. The Fortuna Award, which recognises a stand-out individual who invests or is involved in securing i nvest ment i n women-fou nded businesses was awarded to the Founder of Ada Ventures, Francesca Warner, for her work in investing in often overlooked female entrepreneurs and running a non-profit partnership promoting diversity in Venture Capital. Speaking about the winners, Maxine Benson MBE, Co-Founder at every woman comments: “Self-employment has started to decline for men, but not for women. Despite this, only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, a gender gap equivalent of 1.1m missing businesses and a potential value add of £250bn to the UK economy. Now more than ever, it is critical to address this and showcase how successful and resilient so many female-owned businesses are.

For 18 years the NatWest everywoman Awards have done just this and we continue to encourage, embolden and empower women. We congratulate the 2020 winners them and applaud their incredible achievements.” Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise and Community Finance at NatWest says: “The NatWest everywoman Awards have once again helped us shine a light on some of the UK’s most inspiring female founders who continue to not only achieve great things for their businesses and their communities, but also help inspire the next generation of would-be entrepreneurs. At NatWest, we continue to work to support existing and aspiring women in business through a network of over 500 externally accredited Women in Business specialists who understand our customers’ ambitions and provide business advice, mentoring and networking opportunities.” The 2020 NatWest everywoman Awards are judged by an esteemed panel of entrepreneurs including Chrissie Rucker OBE (The White Company), Suzanne Brock (Nutriment), Helen Pattinson (Montezumas), Melissa Odabash, Annoushka Ducas MBE (Annoushka), Roni Savage (Jonas Associates) and Sarah Wood (Unruly).




Sponsored by Saunderson House For an inspirational woman running a business trading for 10+ years ◗ Sarah McLean, McLean Restaurants, from Nuneaton. Sarah joined MacDonald’s as a graduate trainee and spent 20 years with the brand. She used her savings to acquire her first franchise in 2002 and has built McLean restaurants to become the brand’s largest female franchisee.

Sponsored by Montezuma’s Chocolates For an inspirational founder of a social enterprise who has combined strong community benefit with a sustainable business model ◗ Dr Asha Patel, Innovating Minds, from Birmingham. After a successful career in the prison service, Asha founded Innovating Minds, a social enterprise which enables thousands of children and adults to access mental health services. Her EduPod technology is being used by over 50 schools across the country and she is training 100 community support advisers to help children affected by domestic abuse.

Sponsored by Daily Mail For a woman who founded her business whilst raising a child/ children aged 12 or under ◗ Christine Kelly, Little Kickers, from Didcot. One of the ten most powerful women in franchising, Christine’s business sees over 65,000 children in 34 countries enjoy football training every week. Inspired by her then two-year old son, Christine had no experience of football or franchising, but an early investment of £300 has turned Little Kickers into a global football themed franchise, championing funbased activities for pre-school children.

BRAND OF THE FUTURE Sponsored by The White Company For a female founder of a business that demonstrates great potential for growth ◗ Joyce and Raissa De Haas, Double Dutch, from London. Known as the Tonic Twins, sisters Joyce and Raissa started making mixers at university, inspired by the explosion of artisan spirits. Their start-up plan won funding from UCL, and attracted the attention of Richard Branson. Since then, they have won the World’s Best Tonic Water 2018 started exporting to 28 countries and have sold a minority stake to drinks behemoth, Heineken.


The turn of the year is the perfect time to make use of the available tax reliefs and allowances, says Samantha Kaye from Wellesley Wealth Advisory.

LET’S MAKE 2021 A LESS TAXING YEAR We’ll experience several coronaviruslike market shocks in our lifetimes – but although such volatility can be unsettling, these are beyond our control. As with business planning, we’ll give ourselves the best chance of achieving our personal financial goals if we focus on what we can control: including how and where we invest our money, the size of our retirement fund, and how much tax we pay. Here are some ways in which you can use the start of the year to get your plans back on track!


Simple and readily accessible, it’s no surprise that ISAs have become one of the most popular ways to save. However, as UK interest rates are lower than ever, money being held in Cash ISAs is failing to achieve the very basic objective of keeping pace with inflation. Therefore, savers who invest their ISA allowance for the long term – in assets offering the scope for attractive levels of income and capital growth – have a better chance of maximising the tax-saving opportunities on offer.


We will give ourselves the best chance of achieving our personal financial goals if we focus on what we can control


Saving into a pension is a particularly appealing prospect at the moment, as there’s much greater freedom for taking benefits, tax relief on pension contributions, and pension savings can be more easily left as part of a taxefficient inheritance. Those wishing to make their retirement plans a reality should consider fully utilising their annual allowance for this tax year to make the most of the tax breaks on offer. Plus, unused allowances can be carried forward from the three previous tax years.



With some careful planning, you can legally reduce your Inheritance Tax bill – or possibly pay nothing at all. You could look at reducing your taxable estate by topping up a child’s pension or Junior ISA – this could go a long way to providing them with an invaluable head start in life. The Junior ISA allowance rose from £4,368 to £9,000 on April 6th 2020. Also, make this year’s £3,000 gifting allowance count – and carry forward last year’s, if you haven’t used it already.


After a turbulent 2020, it’s easy to see how business owners who are laserfocused on their company might not be paying enough attention to their own finances. But, as we can see, making the most of valuable reliefs and allowances can help to create longterm financial security for ourselves and our family – and now’s the perfect time to do so. What’s more, I’d recommend

considering using the allowances at your disposal before the Chancellor starts to explore ways the government can recoup some of the costs from dealing with the pandemic – in case tax reforms appear on the menu. If you have a question about tax allowances, or would like more information about my services, please contact me today! The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you


select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested. An investment in a Stocks and Shares ISA will not provide the same security of capital associated with a Cash ISA. The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time. The value of any tax relief generally depends on individual circumstances.

◗ Samantha Kaye Chartered Financial Planner & Adviser Wellesley House, 50 Victoria Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9LH 01444 849809 / Wellesley Wealth Advisory 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 Groups wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Groups website Wellesley Wealth Advisory is a trading name of Wellesley Investment Management Ltd.




YOU JUST HAVE TO TAKE THEM By Alison Jones, Partner at Kreston Reeves


You may not think it now, but new opportunities await you. The lockdown has changed where people live, where they work and how they work. We now communicate and interact with each other differently and these changes are here to stay. For some people this might be a time of great opportunity but they might not yet be confident enough to take that leap into the unknown. As the saying goes, when one door closes another one will always open somewhere and now is a very good time to consider diversifying your existing

business and/or starting up a new business. Here are just a few tips to help make your new venture a success. During the global financial crisis in 2007-2009, both Uber and Airbnb were set up along with thousands of other businesses that have shaped our lives since and historically many other successful firms have been set up during a downturn. When jobs are scarce people frequently turn to ‘necessity entrepreneurship’. Change may just be the push that some people need to take their idea and turn it into a business reality.


Here in Brighton we are seeing a creative and entrepreneurial boom and the local housing market is buzzing as people seek to achieve a better work life balance

Businesses which are set up during lean times are often very cost focussed, more creative and will give more thought to the goods and services that customers really want to avoid making expensive mistakes. Given the new agile way we are all working, working from home is no longer a barrier and with technology to keep you in touch with the business community and social media to help showcase your business products or services, you can reach a huge audience at very little cost. With any new business, cash flow is key. Whilst there is support for many existing businesses at the moment there is less for new businesses and banks might be more cautious about lending to a start up at this time. You might want to consider alternatives such as crowd funding or angel investment, but it is important to have a water-tight business plan to enable this to be successful. You need to know how to price your product and at what point you will start to make a profit as well as whether there is a market out there so planning is key to your success. Looking at taxes, whilst corporation tax is unlikely to rise in the near future longer term tax rises should be planned for, to pay for the financial support which the Government is providing to help existing businesses survive the pandemic. So don’t be scared, use some of the fantastic help and support which is currently available at the moment for entrepreneurs. For example, here in Brighton we are seeing a creative and entrepreneurial boom and the local

housing market is buzzing as people seek to achieve a better work life balance. Plenty of new people to the town mean more people to market to and more new contacts to make. The Brighton Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start looking for business support and there is a lot you can tap into from home. Here at Kreston Reeves we also have a huge range of resources available on our website and we have an active programme of online seminars and events which can be joined live or viewed later. You might experience practical difficulties setting up a new business

bank account at the moment but don’t let this stop you from starting your business. You can start off as a sole trader and as long as you record all your income and outgoings and keep this separate from your own day to day spending then this can be changed to a business account once that facility is easily available again soon. Also, you can change your business to a Limited Liability Company at any time. Be wary about putting too much capital into a new venture as it is important to properly plan and prepare a budget, look closely at your pricing structure, quality of goods or services and ensure that your product or service will have a long-term market. Does your new business have intellectual property which needs registering or protecting? Patent Relief is available but this can be a complex area which needs more specialist advice which we are happy to offer. I look forward to hearing soon about all the great entrepreneurs who are just beginning their journey today! And if you need any help then please give me a call.

â—— Alison Jones is a Partner at Kreston Reeves Tel: 01273 811000 or 0330 124 1399

After 15 years in Jubilee Street Brighton we have now moved into a new, collaborative and innovative office space at Plus X Innovation Hub, Brighton, a move which takes us a step closer to being a carbon neutral business by the end of 2021 but still enables us to be part of the Brighton community. We look forward to showing you this fabulous new space and telling you more about how it will help us achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals that we are actively working too.




FEMALE AUTHORS? By Mindy Gibbins-Klein


Business leaders come in all shapes and sizes but one thing they all have in common is they are at least partly responsible for the success or failure of the organisation. The pandemic and lockdown have created unique challenges and opportunities at the same time, with more people working from home than ever before, as well as starting new projects and new businesses. New business owners can learn from those who have been there and done it,

but an interesting situation arises when female leaders and professionals want to improve their skills and knowledge: most business books are still authored by men. That is not necessarily a problem but it is a missed opportunity. Of course women can learn a lot from male authors, but many women may prefer to read business books authored by other women, or at least get a more balanced view of things. So we need more women to write and publish business books, to provide that balance.


There’s plenty of discussion available today around the issue of diversity, and it is not my intention to divert the conversation. However, it is worth noting that the diversity in society and even in business is not reflected accurately in the books on business subjects. I keep seeing lists of ‘top business books’ with only 5% or 10% authored by women. In one notable case, a list of over 30 recommended business books included not one book written by a woman!


Confidence needs to be mentioned right up front. It is a proven fact that on average, women do not feel or exhibit the same level of confidence as men. Speaker and author of Dancing Round the Handbags Lynne Copp has shared that typically men over-estimate what they can do and what they know, and women under-estimate those things. This leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of women not stepping forward to write books, in part because they are not sure they know enough.

At The Book Midwife®, one of my companies, we are seeing more women coming forward than previously, which is encouraging. But we still hear them say ‘I’m not sure I know enough’ or ‘I’m not sure I have enough to say’ significantly more than their male counterparts. At Panoma Press, one of my other companies, there is an ongoing initiative to ensure that 80% of the books published are authored by people from underrepresented groups. The number and percentage of female authors is up, but it is still a challenge to find enough women of colour willing to share their expertise. Perhaps they don’t see enough role models who look like them. I can understand someone’s concern about belonging, when they look at a group and don’t see people they can identify with. I believe there is subconscious thought about there not being room for them, or that forum not being the right place for them. What female entrepreneurs and professionals need are stories, insights and wisdom shared by other women who have been there and done it.


Please don’t misunderstand me: I’m not talking about tokenism, churning out more books by women just to make up the numbers. Smart people know how to discern between valuable books and substandard products created for the sake of it. Even the quota or target I mentioned earlier is an aim, not a must at any cost. One thing we must never sacrifice is quality. Every book should be the best it can be, and should add real value to the reader’s life, and in this case, business life. There are women out there who have achieved great things in business; they just need to get published. If we were to see more female authors stepping up, a percentage of them would definitely get into print. I’m not a big fan of proposals, but if you are going to do one, sell yourself confidently to give yourself the best chance.

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW Here are three easy things for you to do:


Look out for great business books written by women. Read them, review them and spread the word about the books and the authors.


If you know a female entrepreneur or business leader, ask her to write and publish a book about her experience and expertise, to inspire other women. There’s help available if they need more clarity to get started. Just get in touch and I’ll be happy to discuss.


Call out lack of diversity every time you see it: in lists, reviews, awards, conferences, articles and social media posts. But don’t just criticise; recognise and mention inspiring female leaders and authors to balance things out. Everyone should be given a fair chance. The opportunity is there; we just want to see more women reach out and grab it.

◗ Mindy Gibbins-Klein MBA FRSA FPSA is a global thought leadership expert and founder of Panoma Press, REAL Thought Leaders and The Book Midwife®. Her latest book The Thoughtful Leader is available from Amazon and all good bookstores. Find out more at



CHILDREN’S HOMEWORK DILEMMA With online schooling having become a large factor in so many of our lives this year, the Knowledge Academy have issued a survey detailing the troubles we are all having with home schooling. The back-to-school transition can be difficult for families. Especially when it comes to homework. So which subjects do parents find the hardest? They surveyed 1,633 British parents of children in secondary school, to reveal which subject they find most difficult to help. Children will sometimes rely on their parents’ help, but constantly changing curriculums have left many parents insecure in their ability to assist. The results reveal physics is the hardest (81%). In second place is maths (55%), and interestingly, history is the easiest subject according to parents (9%).


THE SUBJECTS PARENTS FIND DIFFICULT TO TEACH AT HOME 1. Physics (81%) 2. Maths (55%) 3. Chemistry (43%) 4. Economics (37%) 5. Business studies (34%) 6. Biology (31%) 7. English language (28%) 8. Languages (27%) 9. English literature (18%) 10. R.E. (16%) 11. Geography (12%) 12. History (9%)


◗ Parents are watching YouTube videos and hiring their own tutors to better help ◗ 61% of parents say school curriculum changes too often 18

The Knowledge Academy discovered that a whopping 82% of parents struggle to help their children with homework. It appears some aren’t interested in becoming better at this either - 63% admit to encouraging their child to ask someone else (or figure it out themselves). Of those that are interested, the preferred method to improve their ability to help is ‘watching informative YouTube videos’ (66%). This is followed by hiring a tutor (45%), contacting teachers directly to ask for clarification (36%), teaching yourself some of the subject (23%), asking another parent (18%), taking an online course (16%) and finally researching the current curriculum (9%). When asked if they would consider hiring a tutor for their child, 27% of parents admitted yes. However, the most common answer was only if they are really struggling (38%). Other responses include no (17%), depends on the price/ease of finding one (10%) and depends on the subject (8%). Many parents believe that what their children are taught varies too much. When asked “Do you think the school curriculum changes too often?”. 61% said yes, in some areas/subjects. 27% said yes, whilst 12% disagreed.


Finally, parents agree with homework, but to a certain extent. When asked if they think homework is necessary, the majority believe if it is relevant and helps to reinforce what the child has been taught (34%). This is followed by yes (28%), for some subjects (27%), and finally no (11%). The Knowledge Academy also spoke exclusively with the CEO and founder of Tutor House, Alex Dyer: “There are a number of reasons why parents find it difficult to help their kids with homework. For starters, communication between schools and parents is often minimal, so they worry about teaching their child the ‘wrong thing’! And in a world of distracting stimuli, getting children engaged and focused on homework can be a problem. There is also the issue of what the children are learning, and a parent’s ability to keep up with it. Subject matter and methodologies are constantly changing, so they’re always going to be unfamiliar with them! However, of course, there are benefits to changing the curriculum, particularly if it means an update. The incorporation/ introduction of new and more relevant topics are all great reasons to change a curriculum.”




Kamala Harris savoured the moment she became the first woman, and the first black and Asian American, to be vice-president-elect, with a very hearty laugh






Kamala and her younger sister, Maya

In a video posted to her social media she shares the news with President-elect Joe Biden: “We did it, we did it Joe. You’re going to be the next president of the United States!” Her words are about him but the history of the moment is hers. “It is a big reversal of fortune for Kamala Harris,” says Gil Duran, a communications director for Ms Harris in 2013 and who has critiqued her run for the presidential nomination. “Many people didn’t think she had the discipline and focus to ascend to a position in the White House so quickly... although people knew she had ambition and star potential. It was always clear that she had the raw talent.” What she has demonstrated from the moment she took the national stage with her pitch for the presidency – is grit. Born in Oakland, California, to two immigrant parents – an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father – her parents divorced when she was five and she was primarily raised by her Hindu single mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist.


She grew up engaged with her Indian heritage, joining her mother on visits to India, but Ms Harris has said that her mother adopted Oakland’s black culture, immersing her two daughters – Kamala and her younger sister Maya – within it. “My mother understood very well that she was raising two black daughters,” she wrote in her autobiography The Truths We Hold. “She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as black girls and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud black women.” Her biracial roots and upbringing mean she embodies, and can engage with, many American identities. Those parts of the country which have seen rapid demographic change, enough change to alter a region’s politics, see an aspirational symbol in her. But it was her time at Howard University, one of the nation’s preeminent historically black colleges and universities, which she has


described as among the most formative experiences of her life. Lita RosarioRichardson met Kamala Harris while at Howard in the 1980s when students would gather in the Yard area of the campus to hang out and discuss politics, fashion and gossip. “I noticed she had a keen sense of argumentation.” They bonded over an aptitude for energetic debate with campus Republicans, their experience growing up with single mothers, even

just both being the Libra star sign. It was a formative era politically too. “Reagan was president at the time and it was the apartheid era and there was a lot of talk about divestiture with ‘trans Africa” and the Martin Luther King holiday issue,” Ms RosarioRichardson says. “We know that, being descendants of enslaved people and people of colour coming out of colonisation, that we have a special role and having an education gives us a


Kamala with husband, Doug Emhoff

Ms Harris says she’s always been comfortable with her identity and simply describes herself as an “American” special position in society to help effect change,” she explains – it was a philosophy and a call to action that was part of the university experience Ms Harris lived. But Ms Harris also operates with ease in predominantly white communities. Her early years included a brief period in Canada. When her mother took a job teaching at McGill University, Ms Harris and her younger sister Maya went with her, attending school in Montreal for five years. Ms Harris says she’s always been comfortable with her identity and simply describes herself as an “American”. She told the Washington Post in 2019, that politicians should not have to fit into compartments because of their colour or background. “My point was: I am who I am. I’m good with it. You might need to figure it out, but I’m fine with it,” she said.

Momala with stepchildren, Ella and Cole

In 2014, Senator Harris married lawyer Doug Emhoff - a fixture at her campaign stops - and became stepmother to his two children. “When Doug and I got married, his children Cole and Ella, and I agreed that we didn’t like the term ‘stepmom’. Instead they came up with the name ‘Momala’.” They were portrayed as the epitome of modern American “blended” family,




an image the media took to and one that occupied many column inches about how we talk about female politicians. On becoming vice-president-elect, she is unlikely to lose this nickname but many argue she should also be seen and recognised as the descendant of another kind of family and that is the inheritor of generations of black female activists. But from the very earliest, as her friend Ms Rosario-Richardson attests, she showed the skills that allowed her to be one of few women to break through barriers.

But from the very earliest she showed the skills that allowed her to be one of few women to break through barriers


“That is what attracted me to get her to join the debate team at Howard University, a fearlessness.” Wit and humour is part of that armoury. The laugh she greeted the president-elect with, when making that first momentous phone call, was one her friend recognised immediately and intimately. “It clearly shows her personality, even in the short time she has been on the campaign trail. She has always had that laugh, she has always had a sense of humour too, she had a sense of wit – even in the context of a university debate – to get those points across.” But straddling the line between pleasing left-leaning California Democrats and being a politician for a nation where the left does not decide who gets to be president has been hard. She gained favour among progressives for her acerbic questioning of the then Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, but as a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party her adept debate performances were not enough to compensate for poorly

articulated policies. Walking the fine line between the progressive and moderate wings of her party, she ended up appealing to neither. Despite leftward leanings on issues like gay marriage and the death penalty, she faced repeated attacks for not really being progressive enough. Now she has the chance to do just that and from inside the White House. If, as many pundits claim, Biden will not or cannot complete his full term, Kamala Harris will rule the free world from the Oval Office.


TOP TRENDS FOR VEGANUARY 2021 AND BEYOND? By Louise Palmer Masterton, Stem & Glory In the space of just one year to November 2020, Deliveroo reported a 115% increase in demand for plant-based meals. The UK is the largest consumer of plant-based milk, meat, cheese and ready meals in Europe, according to the Vegan Society. I do think there is a long way to go, both in terms of quality and quantity. So where do we see vegan products in the UK heading in 2021?

VEGAN SEAFOOD Yes, you read that right! I was in Amsterdam in the heady days of Feb 2020 and there I had my first experience of vegan ‘sashimi’. It really, really looks like raw fish. I admit I had very low expectations of the first piece I put in my mouth. These however, were immediately dispelled. It was quite tasty and very moreish. I’m not really a fan of plant-based seafood, but I’d eat this again.

HEALTHIER FAKE ‘MEAT’ What we know about good health is that you need a diet high in natural protein and low in refined carbs, so this is a big challenge for plant-based alternatives. We predict that 2021 will be the year that we start to see a trend in the direction of healthier and less processed animal alternatives. Ed Al Subaei, executive Chef at Stem & Glory, is a genius at creating fake ‘meat’ out of vegetables, instead of highly processed ingredients. For example, he makes a show-stopping ‘ham’ from smoked celeriac sheets, and ‘chorizo’ from beetroot. Using the classic flavours to make the experience, whilst remaining 100% unprocessed.

VEGAN CHEESE At present, vegan cheese is the absolute holy grail, and the race is on to be the first company that creates a plant-based cheese that has the same taste and texture as dairy cheese. A few brands are now on the verge of creating an authentic product with an engineered cow’s milk.

VEGAN FASHION Innovation in sustainable vegan leather is happening. Michiel van Deursen from Capital V is one investor interested in the plantbased fashion space. ‘Leather is not sustainable at all, and since the alternative is often plastic, this has brought about a shift now towards plant-based and biodegradable vegan ‘leather’.

VEGAN READY MEALS We are in development mode for our new ready meal range which has a focus on taste and texture, as well as innovative dishes. The aim is to bring restaurant quality to supermarket shelves and raise the bar on vegan ready meals. An overarching trend which will underpin all others in 2021 is sustainability. To date, plantbased has been labelled, by sole virtue of it being ‘made from plants’, as ‘sustainable’. We believe that 2021 will be the year that this comes fully under scrutiny.

◗ Louise Palmer-Masterton is founder of multiple awardwinning restaurants Stem & Glory; hip and trendy but accessible plant-based restaurants, serving delicious gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredients, 100% made on site. Stem & Glory also offers click-and-collect and local delivery in London and Cambridge.




A guide to mastering the poses of Sun Salutation by Tess De Klerk from Bliss Yoga In the third edition of The Yoga Series, our simple Sun Salutation continues with the micro-movements and adjustments needed to unlock the full benefits of Banarasana and Adho Mukha Svanasana but please, let’s just stick to calling them High Lunge and Downward Dog!

And if you’re not into yoga, versions of these poses are frequently used in all kinds of workouts, from Pilates to post-run stretching routines to injuryprevention plans. Practising and mastering these moves will not only translate into increased flexibility and strength of the entire body but these poses are also fantastic at counterbalancing the tightness created in the hips from countless hours of sitting. They train the body to alleviate weight off the lower back.

If you’re not into yoga, versions of these poses are used in all kinds of workouts, from Pilates to post-run stretching routines to injury- prevention plans


Both of these poses stimulate the internal organs, increase circulation of blood and lymph and Downward Dog, in particular, alleviates lethargy & mild depression. Remember that while yoga is for everyone, not all movements are for all bodies at all times! Avoid the High Lunge pose if you have a serious knee or spinal injury. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.


HIGH LUNGE ASANA I suggest having two yoga blocks ready to really enable space in our High Lunge Asana. Two small stacks of books work well too. ◗ Start with our previous Sun Salutation poses as described in previous editions of The Yoga Series - your strong Mountain into Swan Dive, folding forward into Uttanasana. ◗ Now bend your knees as much as you need to be able to touch the ground with your hands. Slide your fingers beside your feet, place the palms down and ground through the hands. Alternatively, grab your blocks and place your hands on them.

◗ Ensure that your front knee is stacked directly above your ankle or a little behind. Ideally, we’re looking for a 90-degree angle here but as long as your knee is not tracking over your ankle, you’re doing it right.

◗ Elongate and stretch the spine by extending the crown of the head forwards and tail bone backwards. Keep your gaze down if you have any neck issues otherwise lengthen the neck and gaze forward.

◗ Move your left foot back as far as you can while still maintaining balance. If necessary, place your knee on the mat. The ball of the foot should be pushing down and heel pointing skywards. Enjoy that stretch through the toes and sole of the foot.

◗ Powerfully engage the buttocks, abdominal and pelvic muscles to ensure that the hips aren’t hanging down.

◗ Step your left leg back. Keep your feet hip-distance apart even as you step back into the lunge shape.

◗ Check in to ensure your wrists are stacked directly under your shoulders, press into your fingers tips, and straighten your arms without completely locking the elbows. Ensure that the shoulders aren’t pulling towards the ears by micro-moving the shoulders backwards and downwards.

◗ Make your micro-adjustments to ensure your hips are straight and facing forwards

We don’t want a scrunched up feeling here create more space by resting your hands on your blocks if needed.

◗ Try to remain in this position for up to five breaths while stretching and micro-adjusting to find that sweet spot in which Adho Mukha Svanasana feels both fierce and relaxing. ◗ Do not lose heart if your sweet spot feels worlds away. In yoga, a bit of effort goes a long way, just keep practising and you’re guaranteed to reap the rewards sooner than you imagine. We will now move into our all-encompassing Downward-facing Dog



DOWNWARD-FACING DOG ◗ Step your left foot back. ◗ Move your hands slightly forward from your shoulders, with your middle finger pointing forward and fingers spread wide. Think about creating a suction cup in the middle of your palm by pressing through the outer edges of the palm, the base of the fingers and the fingertips. ◗ Create a spiral action in your arms by rolling your upper arms away from you and your forearms spiralling inwards. These movements are slight and hardly perceptible.


◗ Tuck your toes under, and on an exhalation, engage your lower abdominals by drawing the navel into the spine. Press through your hands and lift your hips back and up to bring yourself into an upside-down V pose. ◗ Keep your knees bent at first as you lengthen your spine. ◗ Slide your shoulder blades down your back while creating length and space across the upper chest. Keep the base of the neck relaxed. ◗ Let the head hang freely so there is no tension in the neck. Gaze is towards the feet.

◗ Maintaining length in the spine, ‘walk your dog’ by alternately bending and straightening your legs. Eventually bringing both heels towards the floor. They do not have to touch the floor. ◗ With each exhale root down firmly with the hands, with each subsequent inhale send the hips back and up. Hold for anywhere from a few breaths to a few minutes. ◗ Bend your left knee and step forward. Change sides and practice High Lunge Pose with your right leg stepped back.


Think about creating a suction cup in the middle of your palm by pressing through the outer edges of the palm, the base of the fingers and the fingertips

MODIFICATIONS AND VARIATIONS IN DOWNWARD DOG WRISTS If you have wrist issues you can use a yoga foam wedge under your hands. This will decreases the angle of extension at your wrist. Another great wrist modification is to place two yoga blocks against the wall. Then do Downward Dog facing the wall with your hands on the blocks. This modification makes your arms ‘longer’ and can help you find more length in your spine. BACK If your back rounds while doing Downward Dog, bend your knees and work to find the natural curves of your spine. By bending your knees you will be able to tilt your pelvis more (stick your sit bones up towards the ceiling), and then find more length for your spine. If possible, practice in front of a mirror to keep an eye on your back. ELBOWS It is essential not to hyperextend in your elbows. Hyperextension can lead to damage in your elbow joint over time and will prevent you from building strength in your biceps and triceps in Downward Dog. To help prevent hyperextension, squeeze your wrists towards each other (without actually moving them closer – this is more a feeling than an action). This will encourage your elbows to ‘unlock’, or to bend slightly.

SHOULDERS If you have shoulder issues you can modify Down Dog by using the wall. Stand your leg-length away from the wall. You can sit down on the ground and bring your feet to the wall to measure this. Then stand up, face the wall, and place your hands on the wall in line with your hips. Push your hands into the wall and bring your back parallel to the ground. You may need to adjust how far away your feet are from the wall to get your back parallel to the ground. “It is often repeated by yoga teachers, and in yoga texts, that women should never do an inversion when menstruating. The story told is that when you position upside down the bad blood that is being expelled by the menstrual cycle reverses flow and that this can cause health problems. This myth dates back to a time when men decided what women should and should not do, with no reference to facts or science. I have spoken to several doctors about this and it has absolutely no basis in medical science. If you don’t want to invert when menstruating, that’s up to you. If you want to, that’s also up to you. Inverting, just like everything else in yoga, is a choice. It’s your choice.’

◗ To read other poses from the series follow the link below: Part 1: Sun Salutation Part 2: Mountain pose, Swan Dive and Standing Forward Fold




LOCHDOWN A slightly surreal Scottish Road trip. By Motoring Editor, Fiona Shafer, Managing Director of MDHUB As we all know, 2020 was the year where we all learnt to deal with the spectacularly unexpected. On Christmas Eve 2019, following another year of what I then thought had been very hard work I decided to make some significant changes to my life in 2020. This included taking a month off in August 2020 to start writing a book (based around an extraordinary family event). I chose to start writing the book on the furthest and most remote island in the British Isles – Unst in Shetland – where my late mother’s family date back to 1767. I had always wanted to visit distant cousins there, so it seemed like a good place to start. I decided to drive the 867 miles from my home in East Sussex as I needed quite a bit of kit for a month. I also thought it would be an excellent opportunity to really put my Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0 TD4 to


the test. It has had quite a tame life to date. I rented a newly refurbished croft on a headland above a small bay, where seals frequented and with the most glorious of views. I had a very clear vision of walking, sea swimming, cooking fresh fish on the beach and enjoying the odd dram of whisky with neighbours, and hopefully new found friends. Catching up on much needed sleep and creating the head space to start remembering and writing. Fast forward to March 2020 and the shock arrival of the global pandemic in the UK. A week before lockdown, we took the decision to move our entire MDHUB business model online in order to support our MDHUB members and that is where we stayed, day in day out for the best part of 2020. I had no time at all to give any thought to the month off, other than


On July 29th, my spacious Land Rover boot was finally packed with everything including the kitchen sink, I was off on an adventure and it felt great

have the odd exchange with the holiday company to see what their cancellation policies were. I also had the conundrum of not yet being able to book onto the three ferries required from Aberdeen to get to Unst. Quite rightly, the island communities were desperately worried about the impact of Covid as their limited medical infrastructure could not cope with even a small outbreak. And so I vacillated between – do I go, don’t I go ? Will it be irresponsible to visit an island community which was Covid-free but badly needed tourism income? Should I really be taking time out of the business? Yes – was the over riding feedback from my amazing business partner and friends. It all went to the wire and when North Link Ferries opened up their bookings in mid July – I immediately booked my passage, just two weeks before I was due to go. There ensued a military-like operation to plan my exit from work and life as I knew it. On July 29th, my spacious Land Rover boot was finally packed with

everything including the kitchen sink, I was off on an adventure and it felt great. In addition, I also had two lastminute travel companions for the journey up – my step mum Doreen (from Leith) and step-nephew James (aged 13 going on 35) – both great and entertaining company. The plan was to drop them in Aberdeen and then they were off on their own adventures . Rest was taken en route at the remote Anchor Inn at Whittonstall where we were made very welcome with fantastic home made pies washed down with a few glasses of Merlot.

Day two involved leaving the rolling, beautiful hills of Northumberland where you could see miles ahead on very straight Roman roads. We then pressed on to Scotland via the Kielder Forest, crossing the border into a characteristically misty Scotland which James almost missed but thanks to Nanny Doreen pointing it out, the moment was not lost. We then hit the A68 to Edinburgh, Perth and onto Aberdeen, where the Sat Nav got a wee bit confused and after a hurried goodbye to my travel companions, I only just made the 5pm ferry for the 12.5 hr overnight crossing via Orkney



to Lerwick (capital of mainland Shetland) I always love going up on deck and watching the land recede on any boat crossing and Aberdeen harbour is particularly impressive to depart from. Due to the pandemic, all passengers had to stay in their cabins, which was fine up until the point I heard a car alarm go off and hoped it was not mine ... only it was. In my rush to board, I had also forgotten to put the boarding card on the dash board, so the crew had additional hassle in finding out who the owner was. How not to be popular with the handsome Norwegian Purser at 2am who had to come and knock on my door to get my car keys. I now know how to immobilise my car alarm. I arrived in a gloriously warm Lerwick and then, after stocking up for the month to come, headed 30 mins across the island to get a small ferry from Toft to Yell (20 min crossing), driving across Yell (30 min drive), to get a final car ferry from Gutcher to Belmont on Unst (15 min crossing). My first impressions of Shetland was of the vastness and clarity of the incredible blue skies with a lunar like


How not to be popular with the handsome Norwegian Purser at 2am

landscape, few or no trees and an awful lot of sheep. It reminded me of Iceland and Patagonia. It felt remote and offgrid, which is exactly what I wanted, I could feel my heart rising with a real happiness as I drove over the islands. It felt like coming home. Unst is known as ‘the island above all others’ due its remoteness. It is incredibly wild, windswept, beautiful and a little bit ghostly. The Land Rover absolutely came into its own when exploring the steep cliffs and the tracks down to deserted beaches of Lund, Skaw and Norwick, where my ancestors had forged very tough lives as fishermen. The island community is not

much bigger than the village I live in and the main source of employment is salmon farming for the US and Chinese markets, and tourism. Ironically, this is likely to change with the arrival of the Shetland Space Centre in 2021 and the site of a new £23.4m Satellite launch site, which will provide much needed employment and curious tourists. My time on Unst was cut spectacularly short by the arrival of two very stormy nights not long after I arrived and part of the roof of the croft literally blew away, resulting in a lot of water getting into both the interiors and the electrics. Hardy and practical as I am but with no other accommodation available (as either booked up or closed) – I had to take the very sad decision to leave after just a week. Options on neighbouring Orkney were nonexistent, so I decided to cut my losses and head home but not without finding and meeting my distant cousins Joan and Charlie (who was beyond excited about the satellite launch being behind his “hoose” – think ‘Local Hero’ film and you will get the picture) adding some more research to my book. Aberdeen went into lockdown 30 minutes after I had brought my return


ferry booking forward so there was a rush to get back across the islands in case they too went into lockdown. I decided to return via an alternative route once I arrived in Aberdeen. I took the wonderful coastal route to Edinburgh via Montrose, Dundee and St Andrews– the gloriously green and lush landscape with dashes of purple heather meeting the sparkling sea. Arriving in Edinburgh to have my first post lockdown (No 1) lunch (and a chilled bottle of Ridgeview I had brought with me) with good pal Heidi Carroll, MD of Meerkats, who had rather brilliantly found me some exceptional accommodation for the night at 10 Clarendon Crescent Apartments, life began to feel a little bit more normal. After the best nights sleep for about 10 days, I then headed down to Carlisle on more amazingly empty roads, watching the peaks of the Lake District majestically appear the further south I went. The final night of my trip was to be spent in Derbyshire at The Maynard – a refurbished pub that I had visited 25 years ago. I was joined by my lovely sister Deryn and family for supper. They had to come to me as I could not go to them due to

lockdown restrictions in Manchester. I was beginning to feel that I was outrunning a pandemic. Leaving Derbyshire in 14 degrees and watching as the temperature gauge steadily rose to 34 degrees by the time I got home, I felt like I had been time travelling. So, 2000 miles in 12 days from one end of the country to the other – not quite the holiday I had anticipated but it was most definitely an adventure and a reminder of just how glorious this set of islands of ours really is and why

we really don’t need to keep decanting all of our toiletries into plastic bags in security queues, jumping on planes and running away. My Land Rover Discovery was the unexpected star of the show. It had only taken me two years to find out that it’s spacious, comfortable, straightforward, easy to drive, safe and able to cope with all manner of environments. A really great car for a family road trip or a solo adventure off the beaten track.


r charges may be payable. 2. Payable if you exercise the option to purchase the car. 3. Includes optional urchase payment, purchase activation fee and retailer deposit contribution (where applicable). *Orders/ redit approvals on selected E-Class Saloon models between 1 July and 30 September 2019, registered by 1 December excluding Mercedes-AMG models. Guarantees may be required. Offer cannot be used in onjunction with any other offer. Some combinations of features/options may not be available. Subject to vailability. Over 18s only. Finance is subject to status and provided by Mercedes-Benz Finance, MK15 BA. Sandown Group is a credit broker and not a lender. Sandown Group is authorised and regulated by he Financial Conduct Authority in respect of regulated consumer credit activity. All New and Approved Used cars sold by any Sandown Mercedes-Benz Retailer is subject to a purchase fee of £129 inc VAT. Prices orrect at time of going to press 07/19. Images for illustrative purposes.ww

The Sandown Group Here at Sandown, our customers are our main priority. We have over 35 years experience in the Mercedes-Benz brand, so we’re proud to call ourselves experts in the field. Our dedicated team are here to assist with your every need. Whether you’re looking for your next new model, or need a little help maintaining your current pride and joy, we are committed to providing you with the best service possible. We are just as passionate about your vehicle as you are, so when you choose to visit a Sandown retailer, you can rest assured that your experience will be nothing short of first-class. We have seven retailers throughout Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire located in Basingstoke, Dorchester, Farnborough, Guildford, Hindhead, Salisbury and Poole, each equipped with a friendly and knowledgeable team. So if you’re in need of a service, are searching for your latest vehicle upgrade, or are on the hunt for a fleet of business cars, we’re the people to visit. We look forward to welcoming you with a smile at your local Sandown Mercedes-Benz retailer soon!

0330 1780038 Mercedes-Benz of Basingstoke Mercedes-Benz of Dorchester Mercedes-Benz of Farnborough Mercedes-Benz of Guildford Mercedes-Benz of Hindhead Mercedes-Benz of Poole Mercedes-Benz of Salisbury