Platinum Business Magazine - issue 87

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platinum ISSUE 87 JULY 2021





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J U LY 2021




10 Excluding and limiting liability: How to play your cards right 34 Coronavirus & key considerations for commercial leases


12 NatWest South East PMI®


14 Sussex Business Awards 2021 22 Surrey Business Awards 2021


28 Winners of Brighton & Hove Business Awards 2021 revealed


24 Reawakening the economy 27 The importance of good management information


49 NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator Iona Mind case study 57 Why does your business need a precision engineer?


16 Naftali Bennett A stranger to peace


32 Sustaining the UK’s natural capital


52 More Than Space



50 Why AI is more A than I

55 From Cabin Crew to Pest Control



58 Hotel Indigo, Bath


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.


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WELCOME Our lives are ‘close’ to returning to some semblance of normality and perhaps we have seen the back of the virus nightmare. Regardless, business is booming across many sectors and Platinum will always be here with all the news and views. In this issue, we bring you all the runners and riders of the Brighton & Hove Business Awards, and the launch of the Sussex Awards and the Surrey Awards. Winning an award this year of all years would be a real testament to your business so, enter now – it’s free to enter so nothing to lose. The Big Story features the new Prime Minster of Israel and he has quite a task on his hands; we present the latest Influencers Forum on the subject of the Kindness Economy; DMH Stallard look at how to play your cards right when it comes to drafting contract clauses; MWB looks at commercial leases; and ITHQ discuss why AI seems to be more A than l. The only business magazine for women, Dynamic is also included in this issue looking at the role of women during the pandemic, the huge problem of fast fashion, while Maarten and Fiona go head-to-head in the motoring section, both reviewing the same car. This issue is packed with invaluable information and we hope you enjoy the largest circulation business magazine in the country.

The Platinum Team CONTACTS PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Maarten Hoffmann COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: Lesley Alcock EVENTS DIRECTOR: Fiona Graves TR AVEL EDITOR: Tess de Klerk STAFF JOURNALIST: David Bagnall STAFF JOURNALIST: Roxy Costello-Ross HEAD OF DESIGN: Michelle Shakesby SOCIAL MEDIA: Faye Greenwood PROOFING: Alan Wares



GET A RISE OUT OF THIS The past year has seen a marked increase in men enquiring about cosmetic procedures, says the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. The increase in interest from men spreads across all ages, with both older and younger members of society seeking out professional advice. Dr Helena Lewis-Smith, a psychology researcher specialising in body image at the University of the West England, has drawn attention to the increased focus on social media over the past year, but also the pressures that remote video meetings have put on our body image. With people being able to see themselves on call more often, combined with the emphasis on image that social media promotes, it is unsurprising that more men have taken the time to re-evaluate their body image.

NEWS BULLETIN ❛❛ Old age is one of the most unexpected of all things that happen to a man (or woman) ❜❜ Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary, 1935

HIGH TIDE Tide, a major digital banking group, is close to finalising an injection of tens of millions of pounds into the company, a deal that is understood to value the company at around £350m. The funding is being sourced by Apax Digital Fund and will be Tide’s first injection since 2019. The injection comes as another win for Tide, as last year the company introduced Sir Donald Brydon, one of Britain’s most prominent businesspeople, as Chairman. Founded in 2015, Tide now boasts over 300,000 SME business customers, accounting for 5.5% of the UK’s SME banking market.

SUPPLY CHAIN DISASTER An outbreak of Covid-19 in Guangdong province in southern China is the latest hit to the global container shipping industry, with disruptions now expected to lead to shortages in the run-up to Christmas. The new outbreak has caused Guangdong’s ports to become heavily congested, which could take months to resolve on top of an already strained supply chain. Combined with other holdups, the disruption is expected to continue for at least another 12 months, with consumers in Europe and North America continuing to face much longer waits than normal for their goods.



❛❛ Alone we can

do so little; together we can do so much ❜❜ Helen Keller, American Writer and Political Activist


DOG DAYS FOR BREWDOG BrewDog, the craft beer firm that has 100 bars around the world and annual sales of £215m, has come under heavy criticism from former staff, who claim “Being treated like a human being was sadly not always a given for those working at BrewDog”. The attack comes from a letter on Twitter that was co-signed by 61 former workers, all of whom claim that the company’s swift growth has led to a “toxic” work environment and a constant “fear to speak out” at the company’s mistreatment of its staff. BrewDog co-founder and CEO, James Watt, acknowledged some of the failings within the company and said that they are “committed to doing better, not just as a reaction to this, but always”.

Official figures show that under a quarter of pubs are confident that they will survive the next three months. Whilst this is an improvement from October 2020’s figures which stated that only 6% of pubs were confident about remaining open, there is no doubt that pubs are still suffering. Only 24% of pubs have a high level of confidence that they will stay in business, compared to the 44% average for all types of companies. These worrying statistics come alongside the Office for National Statistics’ report which revealed that furlough rates are significantly higher than average in the pub sector. At the end of May 55% of all pub and bar staff remain furloughed, a far higher amount than the rest of the UK’s workforce, which sits at just 8%.

AMAZON FUND APPRENTICESHIPS With the launch of a £2.5m fund, Amazon is helping to create 200 new apprenticeships at small businesses in England. The Amazon Apprenticeship Fund has been created to help fund new roles across a range of industries, predominantly focussing on digital skills and software development. £1m of this fund will go to smaller partner organisations within the creative industries to create apprenticeship roles. The announcement came after a previous statement that promised to recruit more than 1000 full-time apprentices in 2021. Amazon has also pledged to create more than 10,000 permanent jobs this year, raising the company’s total workforce to more than 55,000 people.

❛❛ Success usually

comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it ❜❜ Henry David Thoreau, American Poet and Philosopher


A SECOND WIND Rampion 2, a proposed extension to the existing offshore wind farm along the Sussex coastline, is moving into the community consultation period on July 14th. Rampion 2 will be developed by RWE, on behalf of Rampion Extension Development Limited, who specialise in offshore and onshore wind energy and are among the largest global providers of renewable energy. The main infrastructure developments that are being proposed are 116 new turbines, three offshore substations, an underground cable connection from Climping Beach to Bolney, and one new substation located near the existing Bolney substation.

LOCAL NEWS ❛❛ Angry people are not always wise ❜❜

Jane Austen, Writer, 1813

VAIL WILLIAMS RAISES A GLASS Property consultants Vail Williams is celebrating after securing what is expected to be the biggest industrial deal in Crawley this year. The deal, brokered by property agents at Vail Williams on behalf of Nuveen Real Estate, will see the Wine Box Company (WBC) move to Manor Royal, taking 33,402 sq ft at Centron in Crawley on a 15-year lease. After a year of significant growth for the wine packaging firm, which exports its products to Europe and beyond, WBC sought additional grown-on space to support the continued development of its business when Centron caught its attention.

KELP TO HELP Local councils are looking to restore marine habitats off the coast of West Sussex, though they will have to lease the seabeds from the Queen. The councils’ project seeks to protect habitats such as kelp forests, and potentially lead to the creation of the Sussex Bay marine park along the entire length of the West Sussex coast. Despite the intentions to improve and rejuvenate the coast, The Crown Estate owns the sea bed up to a distance of 22km off the coast (12 nautical miles), forcing local councils to agree terms with them before any habitat restoration can occur. The kelp forests that the councils hope to introduce would provide a nursery and feeding ground for a wide range of species, including seahorses, lobsters, and cuttlefish. Kelp would also help to reduce coastal erosion by taking the brunt of incoming waves’ force.



❛❛ Business has only two

functions – marketing and innovation ❜❜ Peter Drucker, Business consultant

ALLIANZ CHOOSE SURREY CHARITIES Three Surrey charities have been chosen to receive the first round of donations from the Allianz community fund initiative. Allianz, a multinational financial services company, pledges a total of £30,000 each year to local charities close to its largest UK office in Guildford, allowing its employees to pick the charities that they want to donate to. The three charities that Allianz employees have chosen are TALK Surrey receiving £5,000, Surrey Care Trust receiving £5,083, and PACT receiving £4,917. Allianz will choose further charities to designate the remaining £15,000 to later on in the year.

WOKING COUNCIL FACE INQUIRY Following an independent investigation into the previous council’s processes, which found that the council failed to properly address risks, lacked openness and had conflicts of interest, hundreds of Woking residents have signed a petition demanding a further inquiry into their actions. Residents hope to get to the bottom of why there was insufficient contingency plans for the stadium and housing developments planned for Woking Football Club and its Kingfield surroundings. One petitioner commented “They seem to have been playing real-life Monopoly at the public’s expense”, a feeling that is shared amongst the public, even after the chief executive, deputy chief executive and council leader retired in March of this year after the initial report was released.

❛❛ A means can be justified only by its end. But the end in its turn needs to be justified ❜❜ Trotsky, Russian revolutionary, 1938

QUEEN’S AWARD FOR ENTERPRISE The most prestigious award for UK business, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, reaches its 55th year, and Sussex businesses are being encouraged to celebrate their success and boost confidence by entering candidates for selection in 2022. There are four categories to choose from, International Trade; Innovation; Sustainable Development; Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility), with the winner being allowed to use the Queen’s Award emblem for five years.

The winners are personally approved by the Queen and the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, the Queen’s local representative, will present the award. However, it is hoped that 2022 will see the return of the Royal Reception at Buckingham Palace for the winners pandemic permitting. With the closing date for entries looming on September 8th, there is little time to waste and you can find all the information you need in the link here.



John Yates considers the art of crafting clauses to reduce risk

EXCLUDING AND LIMITING LIABILITY: HOW TO PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT After 15 years drafting various types of commercial contracts, I can honestly say the most hotly contested contractual issue is exclusion/limitation of liability: suppliers will want to exclude and/or limit as much of their liability as possible; customers will want the opposite. A recent case – Green v Petfre (Gibraltar) Ltd (t/a Betfred) – provides salutary lessons for all regarding limitation/exclusion clauses.


In 2018, Mr Green played Blackjack on Betfred’s mobile app, amassing winnings of £1,722,500.24 in just five hours. When he tried to withdraw his money, the app wouldn’t let him. He called Betfred’s service team who at first congratulated him but then, five days later, said that they needed to carry out a check with the game’s developer, Playtech, given the scale of his winnings. Playtech determined there was a glitch in the game; Betfred told Mr Green that he wasn’t entitled to anything. Mr Green issued a claim for his winnings relying on the T&Cs he accepted when he first started using the Betfred app – there was a clause which said Betfred would


pay out where payments were confirmed. Betfred said this clause only related to stake money paid in by punters, and its principal line of defence was that various clauses in its T&Cs, the mobile app’s licence agreement and the game’s rules excluded its liability when caused by a software malfunction. Mr Green countered (i) there was no software malfunction but rather a game malfunction, which was not covered by Betfred’s exclusion clause, (ii) the relevant exclusion clauses were not sufficiently notified to him and (iii) that they were inaccessible and unclear, meaning they weren’t part of the contract.


There were three key points for the Judge, Mrs Justice Foster, to consider and in April 2021 she found:


The wording of Betfred’s exclusion clauses was not adequate to exclude liability to pay out winnings for the glitch because: (i) the clauses did not deal with the failure to pay out winnings; and (ii) the reference to “malfunction” without further explanation or definition was insufficient to cover the circumstances relating to Mr Green’s win.


Betfred’s exclusion clauses did not form part of the contract because the exclusions were not sufficiently brought to Mr Green’s attention. To be incorporated into the contract, the clauses should have been signposted and Betfred should have highlighted their meaning and intended effect.


Betfred’s exclusion clauses were not transparent or fair and therefore, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, not enforceable.



So what lessons can be taken from this particular case? Firstly, is your customer a business customer or a consumer? If a consumer, your options around limiting and excluding liability will be somewhat curtailed. Under consumer legislation, you cannot include terms which limit or exclude your liability when you are at fault, nor can you reduce or remove a consumer’s legal rights. Any limitation or exclusion clause must be fair. Additionally, you must ensure your consumer contracts are written in plain, intelligible language; if there is any doubt as to meaning, the interpretation most favourable to the consumer would win out. Of course, the point about plain, intelligible language is a good one to bear in mind regardless of customer type. Secondly, clearly signpost those terms and conditions which may be onerous or unexpected to customers, including limitation and exclusion clauses: for example, make it clear up front, as to where the nasties lie, or highlight them in some way to identify them. You should check the relevant clauses actually form part of the contract; no mean feat if

❛❛ At the time of writing, Betfred’s terms

appear to be those from 2019; I suspect its legal team have been tasked with updating these, and Playtech with fixing that glitch. And fast! ❜❜ the contract is made up of various sets of terms. The final point is that any exclusion or limitation wording must be precise, clear and readily understood. The broader the exclusion, the clearer the wording must be for it to be effective. Consider if it is more commercially acceptable to limit liability rather than seek to exclude it completely: a sensible cap on liability is more likely to be upheld than a blanket exclusion. And take care to address and explain key issues: for example, by precisely defining what is meant by a “malfunction”.


Mrs Justice Foster has recently ruled that Mr Green should be handed a further £600,000 in interest and costs after his lengthy fight: he will receive a total of £2.3 million. Not too shabby when you consider that Betfred initially tried to settle the dispute at an early stage for £60,000 and his silence. At the time of writing, Betfred’s terms appear to be those from 2019; I suspect its legal team have been tasked with updating these, and Playtech with fixing that glitch. And fast! John Yates is a Partner and Group Head Commercial at DMH Stallard. He can be contacted on 01293 558541 or by email at


ECONOMY Joint-record improvement in business activity as restrictions ease further


SOUTH ® EAST PMI Latest UK regional PMI ® data from NatWest signalled a strong expansion in South East private sector activity. The headline NatWest South East Business Activity Index – a seasonally adjusted index that measures the month-onmonth change in the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – rose from 61.4 in April to 64.9 in May, indicative of the joint-strongest expansion in business activity since the series began nearly 25 years ago.


› K E Y F I N DI NG S ■ Output and new order growth strengthen in May ■ Business sentiment at new series high ■ Record rate of output price inflation

May data revealed a third consecutive monthly increase in new orders placed at private sector firms in the South East. Moreover, the rate of growth strengthened for the second month running and was the fastest in seven-and-ahalf years. Easing virus-related restrictions allowed the resumption of some businesses.

Private sector firms in the South East recorded the strongest business sentiment since the index began in July 2012. Respondents mentioned expectations of greater international demand, material availability and new product launches, while others hope the vaccination rollout will bring a return to normality by next May.

At the sector level, both service providers and manufacturers recorded a sharp uptick.

Of the 12 monitored UK regions, the South East recorded the strongest level of sentiment.


Managing Director, London & South East, Corporate & Commercial Banking “Another round of loosening COVID-19 restrictions underpinned a joint-record expansion at the South East’s private sector with output and new order growth gaining momentum. The uptick equalled that seen last August as indoor hospitality and entertainment businesses widely resumed their operations. Firms raised their headcounts to deal with the surge in demand, though sharp increases in backlogs suggest employment numbers will continue to improve in the coming months. “Yet again, firms faced soaring cost pressures after material shortages and higher transportation costs contributed to inflation. Fortunately, the recovering demand environment allowed companies to raise their selling prices, and at a record rate, to somewhat cushion profit margins. Firms seem to be dealing with the disruption, but if shortages persist, the extent of the recovery may be hindered.”

Staffing levels continued to rise in the South East’s private sector, with the current sequence of expansion extending to three successive months. Moreover, the rate of growth was the strongest since February 2015, and among the sharpest in the series. The re - opening of some businesses and stronger client demand required additional staff in May. Employment also rose across the UK as a whole, and the rate of job creation was

slightly faster than that seen in the region. Adjusted for seasonal influences, incomplete work rose in May, thereby extending the period of backlog accumulation to three consecutive months. The latest expansion was the strongest since January 2014, and the third most marked in the series to date. Firms that noted a rise attributed this to delays in the receipt of inputs and insufficient staff numbers. Outstanding business also rose at the UK level, and at a slightly faster pace than in the South East. Average cost burdens faced by private sector firms in the South East rose in May, extending the current sequence of inflation to 12 consecutive months. The uptick was the quickest since August

2008, and the fourth sharpest in the series to date. Firms overwhelmingly linked material shortages to higher prices, while others mentioned rising freight, wage, and fuel costs. Sub-sector data indicated manufacturers faced steeper cost pressures than service providers. In line with higher cost burdens, private sector firms in the South East raised their selling charges for the eighth consecutive month. Furthermore, the rate of output price inflation was the sharpest in nearly 25 years of data collection. According to panel members, higher fuel and material costs were passed onto clients during May. Selling prices also rose at the UK level, and at a similar pace to that seen in the South East.


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











Sources: Natwest, IHS Markit





❛❛ Winning a Sussex Business Award was wonderful recognition of our hard-working team for their passion in going above and beyond in every aspect of our exciting business...❜❜

Tamara Roberts, CEO Ridgeview Wine Estate Businessperson of the Year 2019


CATEGORIES Company of the Year Large Business of the Year SME Business of the Year Micro Business of the Year Business Innovation of the Year Growth Champion Award International Business of the Year Start-up of the Year Best Customer Service Business Pivot Award Businessperson of the Year Community Hero Award Employer of the Year Professional Services Award


Maarten Hoffmann

This nomination ❛❛helps increase the

awareness of patients, customers and prospective staff that there is a world-class healthcare company in the heart of Sussex... Rayner International Business of the Year 2019





A STRANGER TO PEACE By David Bagnall Naftali Bennett has come to power in Israel, heading a wide coalition of parties that has overthrown previous prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on June 13th. Bennett will lead the coalition for half the prime ministerial term, eventually handing his seat over to the liberal alternate prime minister, Yair Lapid, who will see out the remaining two years before the next election. Who is Naftali Bennett, where did his life begin, and what are the next few years of Israeli politics set out to look like under his guidance?



Born March 25th 1972 in Haifa, Israel to US parents from San Francisco, Naftali Bennett was the youngest of three sons. As for his upbringing his father was a successful real estate broker turned entrepreneur, raising Bennett in a comfortable middle-class home. After following his father to new cities for years at a time due to his job, Naftali Bennett returned to Haifa to attend Yavne Yeshiva High School, going on to become a youth leader with the religious Zionist youth organisation Bnei Akiva. In 1990 Bennett was drafted into the Israel Defence forces (IDF) and after six years of serving in the Sayeret Matkal and Maglan units, he was discharged, but continued to serve in the reserves and attained the rank of major. His continued service saw him being active during the First Intifada and the Israeli security zone in Lebanon during the 1982-2000 South Lebanon Conflict, participating in a plethora of operations, including the infamous Operation Grapes of Wrath. Though not all of Bennett’s actions in the IDF were so controversial, it’s also where he met his wife, Gilat Bennett. Gilat, in contrast to Naftali’s Modern Orthodox Judaism, was brought up secular in Moshav Kfar Uria and owned a successful ice cream factory in Kfar Saba called “Gilati” which she sold at the time of their first child’s birth. The couple now have four children and live 20km north of Tel Aviv. Often overlooked, in 2000 Bennett moved to Manhattan to build a career as a software entrepreneur after co-founding Cyota, an anti-fraud software company. Cyota was sold to RSA Security in 2005 for $145 million, making Bennett a multimillionaire before the age of 34, an impressive feat.


Cyota wasn’t the total of his business ambitions though, in 2009 he served as the CEO of Soluto, a tech company providing cloud-based service that enables remote support for personal computers and mobile devices, also selling for over $100 million in 2013. When it comes to Bennett’s political career, he has always found himself on the right, being party leader of the Jewish Home party from 2012, where he secured 12 out of 120 seats in the 2013 elections and entered into an alliance with Netanyahu’s party to serve as Minister of the Economy and Minister of Religious Services. In December 2018, Bennett defected from The Jewish Home to form the New Right party, stating the reason for the split was that

Israeli security fence near Jerusalem separating West Bank territory the Jewish Home was purely religious in nature, and he wanted to create a platform to promote cooperation between religious and secular Jews. The party also identifies with economic liberalism, opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state and personal freedoms.

❛❛ Nobody can say, in war or in peace,

that the destruction of non-combatants farmland with incendiary balloons is a just or acceptable thing ❜❜

The Knesset, Parliament of Israel


Just a few weeks ago the long-standing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was seemingly confident of his position. After all, he had held it for 12 years, and was Israel’s longestserving prime minister. He now sits on the opposition benches, watching Bennett stand where he once did. Moments before the vote began, Netanyahu made a speech, declaring that he would “topple this dangerous government” and return to power if he were to be ousted. Whether or not Netanyahu’s threats have any susbstance to them doesn’t wholly matter right now, what is more pressing is the fragile peace negotiations that so many in Israel and Gaza desperately cling to. The start of Naftali Bennett’s term of office was marked by a brief return to hostilities between Hamas and the IDF, with Hamas’s militants setting off incendiary balloons into southern Israel and the IDF responding with a new round of airstrikes on Gaza. Hamas claimed that the incendiary balloons were a means to respond to the march on Jerusalem that Bennett allowed to take place. The march was the Jerusalem Day flag march, an annual event that marks Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. The reason behind the march being such a controversial event is that the occupation of East Jerusalem by Israel is illegal under international law, making Naftali Bennett’s decision to permit it strikes sharp cords in the minds of Hamas. Bennett’s approval of

Nobody can say, in war or in peace, that the destruction of non-combatants farmland with incendiary balloons is a just or acceptable thing, just as much as nobody can say that the firing of rockets out of Gaza into populated areas is a just or acceptable thing. Though even in that statement lies the whole question that forces this conflict to continue; are the farmlands owned by non-combatants? I’m not going to say that Israeli civilian occupants of land and houses that have been stripped from Palestinians in the afflicted zones are combatants, and it would be inflammatory to the conflict to suggest they were. However, it must be understood that the people who now occupy houses and farmlands are seen to be provocative by Hamas, and that Bennett’s continued support for increased settlements acts only to provoke the dispossessed to fight back against further land loss, whether it be right or wrong. It should also be pointed out that Israel is not entirely blameless. Hamas has been forced into these actions due to the continued illegal theft of their land, their living conditions that can only be described as shocking, and the forced removal from their family homes within Israel – at gunpoint. As long as Israel continue to treat Palestinians as thirdclass citizens, there will be no end to this vicious conflict. Palestinians are currently living on $2 per day. the march so soon after the ceasefire was agreed may set the tone for his prime ministerial term as controversial, provocative and dangerous. There is no doubt that it was Hamas who launched the first wave of attacks out of Gaza since the ceasefire which was brokered between Israel and Hamas, a ceasefire that ended the conflict that took the lives of 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, and 12 Israelis. There is also no doubt that the balloons, uncontrollable in their flight, are indiscriminate in which way they blow, and therefore in which targets they hit. Hamas is a terror organisation, whether it be through the firing of missiles into Israel, or the launching of incendiary balloons, their aim is to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation through means of force. Though it is important to know and understand why that aim exists in the first place.

If we are to look to Naftali Bennett to relieve both Israelis and Palestinians from the effects of conflict then we would all be sourly disappointed, and perhaps far more nervous about the future. Bennett finds himself to the very far right of the political spectrum, he even led the Yesha council, a council that seeks to protect and promote the aims and reasons behind Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied west bank and Gaza strip. These settlements break international law, and Bennett headed a council that directly supports those settlements. Naftali Bennett’s past political career is provocative to Hamas, and I can only see them acting with more violence over the coming years.


BIG STORY Palestine’s authority. To endorse Naftali Bennett’s actions as prime minister to date is to accept that Israel can legitimately enact authority over East Jerusalem, something that is just too much to ask of any Palestinian or Arab Israeli, let alone Hamas militants.

Though maybe my accusations are too harsh, after all, he has entered a coalition with a liberal alternate prime minister, Yair Lapid, and for the first time in history there’s an Arab Israeli party in the new coalition government, surely this must be some progress on Bennett’s hard-line views? No, it’s not. In an interview with NPR, ToumaSuleiman, an Arab Israeli member of the Israeli parliament, explained the reason that his party didn’t unite with Bennett. Touma-Suleiman first outlined why the other Arab Israeli party joined the coalition, to secure a budget of $16 billion to improve infrastructure and to fight crime in Palestinian-majority towns in Israel. He said that there was no doubt that this was something beneficial and to all those who it affects, and that it’s something that the communities have wanted for a long time. However, most importantly, and the reason why I also see no reason why Bennett’s two years as prime minister will be any improvement when it comes to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, is that the new government’s broad guidelines expressed that they would be enhancing and creating new buildings in Jerusalem. At first glance, this might seem perfectly acceptable, who doesn’t want improvements to one of the oldest cities in the world? The problem is that their definition of Jerusalem includes East Jerusalem, an area that is recognised by the UN to be under

Naftali Bennett, speaking during a conference in Jerusalem back in March


❛❛ I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state ❜❜

Though again, Bennett has a history of controversial politics. In 2012, the same year that he became the leader of The Jewish Home party, Bennett published “The Israel Stability Initiative”, a plan which sought to manage the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. The plan relied on the full annexation of the West Bank, further showing Bennett’s disregard for Palestinian sovereignty. To further clarify Naftali Bennett’s position on the possibility of a Palestinian state, Bennett said that “I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state.”. Now that he is prime minister of Israel, a nation that has the secondhighest military spending by GDP percentage, he has a huge amount of

BIG STORY even when Netanyahu was in power. This, with Bennett as the new prime minister, is no longer possible.

power behind him to enforce that statement. To me, and so many others, it seems that under Naftali Bennett’s leadership, the only way for lasting peace in the region is for Israeli control over the entire region. Of course, domestic peace isn’t the only reason that he pursues these ends though, fully controlling the borders will protect Israel from the possibility of an armed conflict between neighbouring Arab states. There can be no disagreement that history has shown the willingness of surrounding nations to go to war with Israel. Bennett also knows as much, even suggesting a tripartition of Palestine, offering Gaza to Egypt, a region that has been advanced on in the past. After all, it is the reason why Israel needs American aid, for simple survival. Although there is a problem with Bennett’s hard-line approach to the formation of a Palestinian state, one

Political advert in the Israel Knesset elections 2021 which may see Bennett having to revise a lot of his rhetoric, even if just for appearances. The USA, Israel’s largest and most dependable ally, has often sought to cool tensions in the region when fighting between Hamas and Israel has escalated by publicly calling for a renewal of a two-state agreement,

It is unclear what will happen due to his unwillingness to consider a two-state solution. Will the USA put more pressure on Israel to commit to a two-state solution, or will they withdraw levels of support for Israel, opening them up to potential security threats? It is hard to say, though I highly doubt it is the second option. After all Israel still remains key to American interests in the Middle East. The first option also sounds just as unlikely though, the Israel lobby is one of the largest in America, with over seven million people being a member of the Christians United for Israel group alone. The prospects of any genuine and committed agreement from either nation is doubtful. Neither the US nor Israel is willing to lose the other, the difference is that if America retracts any amount of support, they will be condemned by their citizens as abandoning their only ally in the Middle East, a sure-fire way to lose the next election, and Bennett knows this.

❛❛ Bleak prospect

for lasting peace in the region under his leadership ❜❜

So, there we have it, Israel will continue to be a bastion of the ‘west’ in the Middle East, and America will continue to defend the nation from neighbouring countries. Perhaps my forecasts are too bleak on Naftali Bennett, maybe the coalition really can reign his personal political position in and steer him on a more liberal line than before. It could be, as Anshel Pfeffer, an Israeli journalist who has worked privately with Bennett, claimed, that most of his rhetoric is for electioneering purposes and that he is far more moderate in reality. Though who can say for sure that any of that is true or will happen? Bennett has a clear history of being on the political far right in Israel, and his initial government guidelines seem to back that up fully, leading to a bleak prospect for lasting peace in the region under his leadership.





I am absolutely delighted and incredibly proud to have won Businessperson of the Year. There are so many fantastic businesses in Surrey and I was very honoured to be a part of it... Giles Thomas of the Manor Collection, Businessperson of the Year 2019


To receive this external ❛❛recognition is a great achievement and reward for our staff who put so much time and energy into making our business what it is… BDH Sterling, Professional Services Award 2019



CATEGORIES Chamber Member of the Year Employer of the Year Business Growth Award Most Sustainable Business Professional Services Award


Best Customer Service

It really is a testament ❛❛to the fantastic team we

have and our wonderful customers, four legged and two who make it all possible… Bruce’s Doggy Day Care, 2019

Business Innovation of the Year Business Pivot Award Businessperson of the Year Community Hero Award International Business of the Year Start-up of the Year Micro Business of the Year


Maarten Hoffmann

SME Business of the Year Large Business of the Year Company of the Year




Andrew Tate, Partner and Head of Restructuring and Transformation shares the findings from a quarterly survey of owner-managed businesses from Kreston Reeves and the Association of Practicing Accountants

REAWAKENING THE ECONOMY Owner-managed businesses are the backbone of the UK economy. They employ three-fifths of the UK workforce and contribute 50% of the turnover of the private sector. How these businesses perform, their hopes and fears for the future, and a business environment that supports and nurtures these businesses is important. Those businesses are facing change at a rate not seen in generations. The need to pivot, adapt, flex and, in some instances, rethink has never been greater. Time to think, to plan, and to prepare for post-Covid and Brexit growth is paramount. They face a huge challenge but also a great opportunity in the coming months. That is why Kreston Reeves and the Association of Practicing Accountants, a network of advisory firms acting for 14,000 businesses, surveyed 435 owner-managed businesses across the UK in May 2021.

The need to pivot, ❛❛ adapt, flex, and in some instances rethink has never been greater ❜❜

Our survey suggests that the impact of the Covid pandemic has yet to be fully felt. However, the early stages of recovery are here. Businesses that for much of the past year have been on ‘life support’ are stirring, evolving and looking for opportunities to grow. The UK faces an unprecedented challenge in reawakening the economy in a way that helps businesses grow. HEADLINE FINDINGS 45% of the businesses we surveyed reported a drop in turnover by a third since the January 2021 lockdown, against a fifth (21%) reporting an increase in their turnover. The single biggest challenge facing 53% of businesses surveyed is the uncertain trading conditions. The Government’s extension of restrictions, alongside questions following the emergence of new strains of the virus will continue this uncertainty. Businesses will be preparing for localised restrictions. Just 15% of businesses consider Brexit and supply chain issues a concern, with perhaps the challenges of Brexit temporarily overshadowed by the Covid pandemic. Just 9% of businesses see new hybrid ways of working and an additional 9% a lack of capacity to rebuild a concern. As the UK emerges from the latest rounds of lockdowns and the efficacy of


FINANCE the Government’s vaccine programme is felt, business confidence grows. A priority for almost half (45%) of all business surveyed is to capitalise on the opportunities a post-lockdown economy presents. For a small number of businesses (15%) survival remains the priority. If in a worstcase scenario, 15% of owner-managed businesses were to collapse, 1.85m people would face the prospect of losing their jobs. THE IMPACT OF BREXIT It is now six months since the UK left the transitional arrangements with the European Union. The Office for National Statistics reported in May a 23% fall in European trade for the first three months of the year, and is perhaps only following the easing of restrictions from the latest Covid lockdown that the challenges are becoming more apparent.

Just under a quarter of businesses (23%) surveyed told us that Brexit has had a detrimental effect on their business following the UK’s departure from the EU. Just 10% told us that leaving the EU has had a positive impact on their business. The majority of businesses, 66%, told us that it is just too early to fully assess the impact of Brexit on their business. This underpins the importance of businesses to scenario plan every possible future outcome and make plans accordingly. Our quarterly barometer will ask businesses whether they are optimistic about the long -term economic prospects of the country outside of EU. The picture at the end of the first quarter of the year is almost as close as the referendum result itself in 2016.

GOVERNMENT FISCAL POLICY The Government held its first postBrexit Budget on March 3rd. It was, understandably, a Budget focused on continued support to Covid-affected businesses rather than repositing the UK on the world’s stage. An overwhelming 81% of the businesses we surveyed told us that it was too early to assess the impact of that Budget. 14% told us they considered it a good Budget for their business, with just 6% saying it was bad. Over a quarter (27%) of businesses surveyed told us that the Super Capital Allowances Scheme was singularly the most important measure introduced, with 19% pointing to the extension of the furlough scheme, and 12% highlighting the re-start grants. Access to funding will be critical as businesses look to capitalise on post-Covid growth opportunities. It is encouraging, therefore, that 84% of businesses believe they will have no trouble accessing the funds needed. Anecdotal feedback also suggests bank lending is increasingly available. It was also encouraging to see almost all businesses (89%) report that they are either unlikely or very unlikely to make staff redundancies within the next six months and that 84% of those businesses using the government furlough scheme are expecting to retain their staff.

To access a full copy of the ‘Reawakening the economy’ report visit reawakening-report Andrew Tate is a Partner and Head of Restructuring and Transformation at Kreston Reeves. E: T: 0330 124 1399


Celebrating 200 years of history This year we are celebrating 200 years of our history. We’re using this as an opportunity to celebrate what all our people collectively do for our clients, colleagues and communities. Our people make Kreston Reeves, they are our greatest asset. Visit our website to find out more


By Dan Morgan, Managing Partner, Haines Watts Esher

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD MANAGEMENT INFORMATION Having a clear picture of the financial health of your business is important for any owner. Management information is an umbrella term for data that relates to your business activity, but ultimately it covers anything which can help you to make informed decisions. The past 18 months has shone a spotlight on the importance of financial information. When the data is high quality it allows a business to monitor its performance and identify any bumps in the road ahead. WHAT SHOULD YOUR MANAGEMENT INFORMATION INCLUDE? A lot of management information that I see is backwards looking, for example, profit and loss statements and balance sheets. It is still fairly rare for businesses to include forecasting even after the impact of the pandemic where many businesses experienced a squeeze on their working capital. But that is where the value is. Your management information works to present a snapshot of your business’s financial health at one point in time. Forecasting goes one step further offering predictions around how your business will cope in the immediate future. This means you can identify if you may run out of money and where in the business this will happen. If your forecast is showing gaps in your cashfl ow you may need to access funding.

WHAT DOES A LENDER WANT TO SEE? It’s a real balancing act. The lender will need to see that the money is required but you also need to show that you are able to make the repayments. It’s important to specify where the money will be spent e.g. redundancy payments or equipment purchase. It’s incredibly difficult to ask for money to pad out your working capital in general terms so your forecasting will be vital here to inform you where the money will be needed and also to give an indication of whether you can make the repayments.

Market trends can also be used to back up an application. Most applications will include some sort of basic commentary around this but currently they can be useful for sectors such as hospitality. For example, clubs will have shown a dramatic loss over the last 18 months but will be predicting a boom period once restrictions ease. The information that a lender requires will vary so it’s important to seek advice if you’re unsure. HOW IS MANAGEMENT INFORMATION CREATED? The best place to begin is to speak with your accountant and begin to review your processes. For some owners implementing management information is a big job as they don’t have the procedures already imbedded. The overall aim is to make the information easily accessible to allow for relevant information in a timely manner. Cloud accounting software like Xero can help with this. These programmes can also add a level of sophistication to funding applications as the way the data is extracted will look professional and sophisticated even if the numbers themselves are fairly basic.

If you want to improve your management information to safeguard the future of your business, get in touch. For more information: T: 020 8549 5137 E:



Brighton & Hove’s brightest and best businesses have been honoured at a ceremony that celebrated the great achievements of businesses large and small The awards, presented by TV broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky, were held online with a ground-breaking virtual event on June 24th and praised the thriving firms that have overcome huge challenges posed by the past year.

Mike Herd, former Executive Director at the Sussex Innovation Centre, took the role as Chair of Judges. Mike commented: “Having received a record level of entries to this year’s BAHBAs, judges had the unenviable task of selecting winners across all 14 categories. “Each of the winners has demonstrated impressive levels of innovation and ingenuity. They represent the kind of entrepreneurial spirit we need in the business community, particularly as the economy continues to recover. This year more than ever, I want to congratulate the category winners on their success”.

Mike Herd















Sponsored by Best of British Events WINNER - Sopro Lawton & Dawe Properties Rockinghorse Children’s Charity We Are Tilt Sponsored by Rix & Kay WINNER - RocketMill Magenta Associates Paxton Access Roadways

Sponsored by University of Sussex WINNER - Roadways Crunch Mayo Wynne Baxter Wellbeing with Cari Sponsored by MDHUB WINNER - The Float Spa Big Egg Films Blakes Meats The Sussex Sign Company

Sponsored by Knill James WINNER - Loch Associates Group Britton and Time Solicitors Cognitive Law DMH Stallard LLP

START-UP OF THE YEAR BIPC Brighton & Hove WINNER - Rockwater LOOKOUT Brighton Marketing 101 Watch This Sp_ce

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD Sponsored by Churchill Square WINNER - Home Instead Blakes Meats Crunch The Pet Shed

Sponsored by Kreston Reeves WINNER - Hyve Managed Hosting Dotsquares Graphite Digital Paxton Access Sponsored by Quantuma WINNER - OMGTEA Encore Fitness The Joyful Trapeze Media

Sponsored by always possible WINNER - Pier Pressure Advice Cloud Search Seven SiteVisibility

Sponsored by Lloyds Bank WINNER - KSD Support Services Bird & Blend Tea Co. Peopleforce Recruitment RocketMill

Sponsored by Cardens Accountants WINNER - Krisi Smith, Bird & Blend Tea Co. Dean Orgill, Mayo Wynne Baxter James Bailey, Roadways Richard Pollins, DMH Stallard LLP


Sponsored by EMC Corporate Finance WINNER - Hyve Managed Hosting Bird & Blend Tea Co. Blakes Meats Paxton Access Roadways Sopro


Sponsored by Capital Radio WINNER - Peter James


What a fantastic event you created and presented last night. I thought the Platinum team were brilliant and we thoroughly enjoyed it – and we won! Loch Associates

This wonderful city is full of inspiring businesses and to have been recognised is a real honour OMGTea

What an incredible achievement! Our sincere gratitude goes out to all those who contributed to the project and made this win possible Sopro

Congratulations to all the worthy winners. From the cast, the show to the TV production, it was a really impressive event. Face Media Group

To be honoured by the city where I was born and raised means so much to me. I am passionate about Brighton & Hove where I spend so much of my life Peter James

To win two in the same ceremony is an extraordinary achievement, which acknowledges our resilience and ability to continue innovating and thriving during a time of unprecedented changes and challenges

It’s the best thing I have seen on TV in a very long time! It was highly creative, imaginative and very funny MDHUB

Hyve Managed Hosting

It was perfectly pitched between showcasing the brilliant business community of Brighton and Hove and the drama of awards shows alongside quality entertainment Knill James

People are our business and winning this award shows our commitment to local businesses beyond doubt Loch Associates Group

BUSINESS PROFILE Award winning civil engineers, Land & Water Group celebrates 27 successful years in business


Established 27 years ago, Land & Water Group has grown to become recognised as the UK’s thought leader for adaptive environmental engineering and civil engineering, driving change in the industry and learning to operate amongst the most sensitive natural capital in the UK.

In 1994, Land & Water Group was founded by James Maclean, current CEO at Land & Water Group, and Richard Melhuish, current Chairman. Initially specialising in lakes and canal maintenance, the business has since grown substantially to a family of businesses - Land & Water Services (environmental civil engineers), Land & Water Plant (providers of specialist machinery), Land & Water Remediation (habitat creation), Terraqua Environmental Solutions (aquatic plants and wetland works) and Geomac Ltd (marinas and property). Working collaboratively, the group is able to offer innovative, comprehensive solutions and works with prestigious clients including the Environment Agency, Thames Tideway Tunnel, The Olympic Delivery Authority and the Canal & River Trust. With a focus on innovation and a dedication to protecting the environment, Land & Water Group is at the forefront of the industry. This includes the development of bespoke plant and machinery, and the continued drive to reuse waste and enhance habitats wherever they work. Not only this, wellbeing of its staff is at the hear t of ever y thing it does, Land & Water CEO, James Maclean


employing 190 people across a range of roles, including a successful cohort of young apprentices. From site labour to chartered professionals, Land & Water Group is renowned as a leading employer in the industry, with a dedicated wellbeing officer and mental health support offered around the clock for those in need, at work or at home. “Family values and partnerships up and down our supply chains underpin our behaviours” recounts CEO James Maclean. “As a business, we are full of people who are passionate about

caring for our coastline and the nation’s network of rivers, streams, wetlands and waterways. Our people are definitely our most valuable asset. We ensure that people join us in a career where they can reach their full potential in whichever role that may be, and we spend time working in preserving our culture as we grow towards a net zero society, asking for feedback and listening to our teams. “From modest beginnings 27 years ago, our business has grown and flourished.

❛❛ One of the major projects Land & Water

is currently working on is its wetland habitat creation on the River Thames at Rainham Marshes - the largest habitat creation project ever constructed inside the M25 ❜❜

BUSINESS PROFILE tric distribution vehicles deep inside the city, which will have a positive longterm effect on the environment, and ease congestion. We are also funding some fascinating research into reed-bed and wetlands, writing a carbon code for these valuable natural assets and potentially enhancing their carbon sequestration performance. This is environmental engineering for the future.

As a group we recognise that we need to support the changing landscape and environments we live in. Our ultimate objective is to leave the world in a better place, a value Richard Melhuish and I hold true to this day. We love to innovate to solve our clients’ problems, and we celebrate building relationships that will be sustained in the longer-term.” The work Land & Water Group is doing is becoming increasingly relevant as we feel the increasing afflictions of climate change and as we mobilise our plans to achieve a net zero society. We are playing our part in the transformation, setting industry standards with the use of HVO (plant based) fuels, establishing a Carbon Team which looks at how we buy, behave, construct and think and scores our improvements. We 100% recognise that the combined effects of an ever-increasing global population and climate change will drive new ideas, industries and strategies in the space we are in.

habitat creation on the River Thames at Rainham Marshes - the largest habitat creation project ever constructed inside the M25 and London’s biggest wildlife haven. The project involves creating a significant area of new wetland habitat from re-engineered spoils, coupled with a strategic investment in riverside infrastructure to support significant projects along the Thames Corridor for decades to come. We’re thinking about the future of the River Thames and how Land & Water can play an integral part in using it in different and creative ways. Our plan involves using the wharf as an opportunity for logistics and supplying commodities into and out of London. We hope our hub will feed a fleet of elec-

At the same time our core businesses continues to expand and we are currently building an exciting new UK holiday destination at Shakespeare Marina at Stratford-upon-Avon, supported by NatWest Bank. Our relationship with NatWest has been exemplar, we have a partnership that understands where our business is going and a Relationship Director, who understands our longerterm strategies. Land & Water Group aims to stay at the forefront of innovation in the civil engineering sector, continuing to provide solutions with regards to sustainability issues, supporting its employees and customers and building on its specialist knowledge of environments where land and water meet.

One of the major projects Land & Water is currently working on is its wetland T: 01483 205643 T: 0844 225 1958



By Robert Trench, Solicitor, Mayo Wynne Baxter

Coronavirus & key considerations for


The past 15 months have seen challenges for all individuals and businesses across all sectors because of the coronavirus. The resulting lockdowns impacted most commercial tenant’s businesses from the way they trade when they can open and even what they can sell, and many companies have had to close their doors for good. Over the last year or so, one of the main concerns for commercial tenants is “do I have to pay my rent even though I am not permitted to trade?”


The short answer is – yes. However, whilst the Government introduced various measures to help businesses in these testing times, the rent payable under a commercial lease (arguably one of the most significant overheads for any business after wages) was not provided for in the package of support measures. A commercial lease is a contract between the landlord and the tenant to, amongst other things, pay rent as and when the lease dictates.



Break clauses are common in fixedterm commercial leases but often forgotten by tenants when negotiating the terms of a new lease. Breaks provide for the tenant to terminate the lease at fixed points during the lease term, without reason but on the basis that a sufficient notice period is given to the landlord, usually six months. The lease often specifies that the break will only be possible if certain conditions are satisfied, such as rent being paid up-todate and no breach of other terms of the lease. Provided the tenant has complied with the lease provisions, there should be no reason why the break cannot be exercised. However, failure to serve the break notice correctly could mean the difference between ending the lease and being released from liability to pay rent or remaining liable for the remainder of the term, so seek legal advice first.


Some commercial tenants have tried to put a case forward whereby they have argued that they cannot use their premises (due to the restrictions) and so they should not have to pay the rent. Unfortunately, this is not the case because the lease creates a contract between the landlord and tenant and a promise to pay rent. The lease provides for the suspension of rent payments, but only in limited circumstances such as the destruction of the premises. The rent must be paid, pandemic or not. The exception to this general rule is where the landlord and tenant can agree otherwise and negotiate a rent suspension and/or rent concession. Whilst not an ideal situation from the landlord’s perspective, agreeing to such measures in the short-term may aid the long-term viability of the business and, consequently, rental income, particularly

if the property may be difficult to relet post-pandemic. Whilst tenants of existing leases have limited options for rent suspension or concession; there are options for incoming tenants taking new commercial premises, which should be considered when negotiating heads of terms such as break and rent suspension clauses.

❛❛ A commercial lease is a contract between the landlord and the tenant to, amongst other things, pay rent as and when the lease dictates ❜❜

The existence of a break in the lease can be exercised for any reason, and there will be tenants that are currently relying on those breaks to escape their obligations under their commercial leases as the impact of the virus is felt.


With future lockdowns being possible, tenants should consider negotiating the inclusion of a clause that suspends the payment of rent if mandatory measures imposed by the Government require the tenant to cease use of its premises or require the landlord to restrict or prevent access to the premises. This clause may seem only to benefit the tenant. However, as we see a move towards long-term home working, the demand for commercial premises may suffer. Therefore, landlords would be wise to consider terms they may not have previously considered if the result is to secure a tenant and rental income.

Robert Trench, Solicitor Mayo Wynne Baxter


RECONNECT WITH YOUR TEAMS at The Grand Brighton or Richmond Hill Hotel Whether you’re planning a meeting or a team engagement day, with two stunning venues to choose from you can enjoy spending the day somewhere you’ll be able to recharge, reconnect, and make the most of every minute. Nestled atop the hill in Richmond, Surrey and just a stone’s throw from Richmond Park and the beautiful riverside, you’ll find Richmond Hill Hotel, a hidden gem just outside of London. Or, zip down to the coast and on Brighton’s iconic seafront you can enter the doors of The Grand, the city’s stunning landmark hotel. Both of these venues blend their luxurious and historic interiors with beautiful modern design touches and


fantastic facilities. With fabulous rooms, flexible event spaces and delicious foodie delights all under one roof, both The Grand Brighton and Richmond Hill Hotel offer the perfect space to swap online meetings and e-greetings for face-to-face events.


Booking couldn’t be easier with our on-site events teams who offer a one hour acknowledgement time on all enquiries. From planning to delivery, the on-site teams at The Grand Brighton and Richmond Hill Hotel go the extra mile to create exceptional experiences. For your peace of mind and safety, we have a number of Covid-secure policies and risk assessments in place across both hotels including testing staff twice a week. This has allowed us to receive a number of accreditations to demonstrate our commitment to keeping our guests safe including, MIA’s AIM Secure Accreditation, Visit Britain “Good to Go” and AA Covid-19 confident.



Alongside specially designed conferencing and banqueting menus that can be tailored to your meeting or event, you’ll find award-winning restaurants at both hotels. At The Grand Brighton, Executive Chef Alan White leads the team at Cyan, where the menus revolve around shared experiences and the finest seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients. On their delicious all-day dining menu you’ll find a tempting selection of small plates, signature dishes, and unforgettable sharing platters.

afternoon teas and more, designed by their fabulous Head Chef, Jessen Valaydon. Plus, they have an incredible selection of cocktails on offer and a collection of 75+ gins, both perfect for summer sipping on their sunny southfacing outdoor terrace.

Over at Richmond Hill Hotel, you can take a seat in their stunning restaurant, bar and terrace, 144 On The Hill. Enjoy sensational all-day-dining, epic Sunday roasts, bright and beautiful brunches,


INFLUENCERS FORUM There has been an emerging shift in the value framework that customers respond to. Price is still a factor, but so is fairness with how the company treats people, and how the business impacts the planet. This increased awareness of company ethics from the consumer is in the early stages and there is still a long way to go until doing more isn't the main measurement for success. Doing good isn't just about feeling good, it makes business sense. Millennials have become the most powerful consumers in the world, and 40% of respondents in the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey stated that the goal of business should be to improve society, second only to generate jobs. Welcome to our panel of Influencers.

MAARTEN HOFFMANN The Platinum Publisher

Maarten Hoffmann is the facilitator for the Platinum Influencer Forums

LESLEY ALCOCK Commercial Director, Platinum Media Group 07767 613707




CEO, Good Karma Media



After a decade in the corporate world, Sally was determined to create an environment that made a difference as well as profit and co-founded Something Big, with a vision to create a better workplace culture, particularly for women. In the vanguard of variable hours, flexible and remote working, Something Big has recently been ranked nationally as a Best Place to Work for Women. Something Big is equally committed to protecting our planet, as certified Planet Mark ambassadors and on the journey to become a B Corporation.

Jo has worked in the marketing consultancy and communications industry for over 25 years with the last 10 of these being in the social enterprise sector. He has an MBA from Cass Business School where his thesis focused on the need for business to adopt a more holistic approach to society, people and our environment. Jo is the co-founder of Good Karma Media, the first data-driven PR, Comms & Social Value Agency registered as a Social Enterprise in the UK (SEUK).

Samantha spent many years working as an in-house lawyer for well-known companies and not-for-profits (including Channel 4 and Comic Relief). She has recently been focused on helping SMEs and social enterprises on a wide range of issues and as such her approach is very commercial and pragmatic, enabling you to focus on building and growing your organisation on strong foundations. 01737 448018 01273 685 888


JAKE STANDING Partner, Kreston Reeves


Account Director for Transport Infrastructure, Amey

Victoria Kerton is NatWest’s Regional Director for the key market of London, Surrey and Sussex, leading a large team of experienced Commercial Banking Relationship Managers and Directors supporting 3,000 SME and Commercial Customers. Victoria is responsible for setting and delivering regional business and engagement strategy across multiple locations, delivering purpose-led activity and creating sustainable long term value.

Jake is a Business Advisory Partner based in Sussex, working with finance teams across a number of different sectors to help them grow and prosper. Jake is a great believer of business having a purpose, and is passionate about our role in enhancing our communities and our people.

Sunita is a qualified engineer with over 10 years in the Highways Sector. Her current role as Account Director for Transport Infrastructure sees Sunita lead a team with energy and enthusiasm, creating a culture that allows freedom to perform, empowering the team to make decisions. Her most recent achievement is leading Amey’s Centre of Excellence, working with clients, teams and key partners to deliver transformation and innovation across the highways sector. 01483 746650

Regional Director, London West, Surrey & Sussex, NatWest +44 (0) 7768 357 349 +44 (0)330 124 1399

Consultant, Corporate & Commercial, Healys 07790820587



What is the kindness economy? SP: I think the word ‘kindness’ sounds a bit soft. ‘Kindness’ suggests that we are there just to do nice stuff. I don’t think it is that anymore, I think it is about improving society. There’s no reason why doing good can’t be good for business. I think this isn’t a new phenomenon though, this has come from this balanced scorecard that we have had for decades where we speak about the triple bottom line, so this is the people, profit and planning. Kindness has got accelerated during Covid because we were talking about being kind. But, there’s nothing soft about kindness, it is a critical part of business.

Well as you say, it makes complete business sense, but how does someone enact a kindness economy? VK: NatWest launched its purpose-led strategy on February 14th last year and it fundamentally rewrote the way we approached our decision making, the way we engaged with our communities and our vision statements. The purpose-led strategy identified three main pillars, and whilst kindness wasn’t specifically named it was absolutely fundamental to its ethos. ‘Kindness’ means you’re creating a relationship and an environment of trust and that is essential to all good business relations. ‘Kindness’ means you’re creating an environment of psychological safety that gives you a space to be innovative, collaborative and creative, all of those are essential ingredients to strong fundamental business relations that will take you into the future. JE: We’re one of those cohorts of organisation that have the concept embedded in our structure as well. We are a registered social enterprise, and what that means is on our articles of association it’s hardwired that no less than 50% of our profits will be going back into the community. It’s a very firm commitment from us in that regard. That also feeds into the employee side, there is also such a fundamental desire of human beings to be more than just a producer of something, this sense of purpose is very important and it gives us a sense of meaning in our lives. SD: I completely agree, for us, it’s been very much around local communities, we work on contracts around the UK, most of our contracts are local, in Surrey, it’s the Waste Corp Partnership Contract. It’s very much about partnerships and working collaboratively. We do it for employee engagement, that’s a big part of kindness as a lot of those employees are local, but also it’s a public contract, so it’s something we’ve been doing for a long time. Kindness is very much built into our organisation, it’s not just a strapline, we work to understand local issues, and work through those collaboratively with our client, bringing people together.


Are you saying that the kindness economy is as attractive to the employee as it is to the consumer? SD: Yes, especially as 90% of our employees will be based in the area that we are working in, it’s where they live, they have family there. You get so much more engagement when people are brought into what you do. During Covid, we became a frontline service, so our message became about having pride in the services we provide. Everybody took on board that message, and we also introduced the real living wage, and taken together this has made our employee engagement the highest we’ve seen.

Does this approach change when put under the lens of accounting though? JS: What we have seen in clients, and also within Kreston Reeves, is that when we have put on a purpose-led strategy like Victoria was saying, that has really helped with getting better employee engagement and affinity with our brand and what we stand for. One of the things we have seen is that speaking about kindness is not the same as actually doing something for kindness. I’m sure we have all seen what is happening with BrewDog at the moment. I think it just goes to show that you have to have that kindness embedded in your organisations, and not just as a marketing strapline. SO: I think that when it comes to the example of BrewDog, it happened because there perhaps isn’t enough legislation that forces people to be kind, and so they can just get away with it being a strapline. We have the Equality Act, now 11 years old, but that’s being fundamentally ignored by too many people. This isn’t just employers like BrewDog, it’s also your supply chain, it covers everything. We can’t separate the terms ‘kindness’ and ‘economy’, we have to integrate them, otherwise we will continue to see attempts to get around the ‘kindness’ part.


To me, legislation is the antithesis of what we are talking about here, it seems that this is driven by people rather than obeying the law. I think it starts with a surge down below which wants a kinder economy, it starts with people. Is that the case, is legislation the enemy of it?

❛❛ You get so much more

engagement when people are brought into what you do ❜❜

JE: No I think they work in harmony. There’s also the Social Value Act 2012, which has just been updated this year to become tougher. That’s a very wise and very good policy that drives all the right changes that we need. I think what’s interesting is that people do take it up, there is not too much resistance with these changes and these concepts. When you start to take steps as an individual in the direction of kindness, you give others the permission to do so as well, and they respond to that. People do take the permission you grant them to be kind which indicates that we might not have to entirely force them with legislation. VK: I think that’s a really interesting point, whether you talk about it as being leader led in a larger organisation or whether you talk about it being the taking of permission to do things. I’ve worked in banking my entire career and it has radically transformed in terms of the way we evaluate, the way we engage and the sort of leadership traits that we look to. That’s really been in the last few years, partly because we’ve taken permission, and partly because I think there’s been a recognition that the old way, the macho culture, doesn’t work, and instead we need different ways to stimulate and support. I think a big part of this is because so many people remember the financial crisis and the dot-com bubble, and how those old ways led us there.



❛❛ You have to have

that kindness embedded in your organisations, and not just as a marketing strapline ❜❜

Do we feel that the kindness economy is essentially female-driven? JE: What I can say is that there is a higher percentage of female leaders in the social enterprise sector, statistically. That would say that statistically there does seem to be a balancing, not hugely led, but a balancing. SD: I think diversity as a whole brings change. I’m not saying that it’s led the kindness economy, but it brings change and a different way of thinking that you wouldn’t necessarily have if you had your traditional older white male in charge. SO: I don’t think you would get that diversity without legislation, it’s legislation that forces the men to change. Certain companies have to have a certain level of representation and have to have a level of equal pay, which is a level of equality and diversity that is enforced by law. VK: I feel slightly uncomfortable saying that the kindness economy is women-driven, or because of the rise of women; undoubtedly women have played a role but it’s not the main or only reason, it’s diversity that is the driver. Diversity has absolutely been the main force behind all of this, it’s that diversity of thought and approach that gives viewpoints that we wouldn’t have had before and the ability to challenge and try to do new things. Legislation has been something that allows us to do that.



What are the benefits of the kindness economy? SP: Let’s be clear about the fact that the economic benefits of this are huge. We’re just coming through the recovery from the pandemic, without engaging our employees we are not going to get the talent we need, and we’re not going to keep that talent. We don’t do this community work and engaging our employees for nice reasons, we do it because we need to keep that talent within our organisations. Kindness gives us the ability to retain and develop our employees, where without it we wouldn’t be able to. VK: So bringing it into a business meeting or into a collaboration meeting, if you’ve got kindness as a way of engaging with your colleagues you’re going to create a sense of trust. If you’re trying to create a new campaign, innovate or workshop new ideas for products and have kindness as your core ethos, then you will have people willing to speak up and share. They might be stupid ideas, they might be brilliant ideas, but they will vocalise them, so it’s an essential ingredient to creating a culture that provides innovation and creativity, that is the bottom line when it comes to keeping the business relevant. SD: I think it’s definitely landed that kindness drives good business, we’ve shifted our language and culture to ‘freedom to perform’. If I don’t need to tell anybody I’m here and I can be accountable for the decisions I make, at every level, then you take away the noise that comes from making good decisions. We’ve really tried to empower our people to make good decisions so that they have a voice and they aren’t going to get in trouble for using it. SP: Exactly, I completely agree. From a people perspective, it makes good business when we do that. I’d say if you’re going to do any sort of marketing campaign this year, one of the greatest opportunities we have this year is sustainability. If you’ve got a way of increasing the sustainability of your products or services, then that’s the campaign to run right now because of demand, thats the popular message that’s out there. Again, it makes good business sense, kindness is the friend of the economy I would say, particularly in this era.

❛❛ Let’s be clear

about the fact that the economic benefits of this are huge ❜❜

This all sounds amazing, but do you think we are still in an early enough stage for this to get reverted, perhaps after the pandemic ends? JE: Nearly a decade ago, Sir Ronald Cohen predicted that the social value movement would last 30 years until it became mainstream. We are about a third of the way through, and that’s where you start to see the hockey sticks, but for this I think it will make it past that stage and reach that 30-year mark. JS: There has been a shift in how shareholders and your supply chain will work with you if you don’t fulfil a level of kindness in your business. Their expectations have shifted, likely pandemic accelerated, and they simply won’t work with you or allow contracts to operate unless you demonstrate certain social values. With that in place already, I feel that it won’t change for the worse in the future. VK: Precisely, and this is a cost that businesses are held to, if they don’t demonstrate those values then their costs increase; you can’t just ignore that after the pandemic. PLCs now have to report their climate and sustainability objectives, that’s something they have to do from a regulatory position, but it’s also essential for their own frameworks operations. So, we have PLCs, VC’s and PC’s doing it, it’s being embedded into procurement contracts and supply chains and ways of doing business.

❛❛ There has been a shift in

how shareholders and your supply chain will work with you if you don’t fulfil a level of kindness in your business ❜❜



But if one runs a company with very low margins you can understand that they might think they cannot afford the luxury of kindness? SD: Coming at it from an organisation that doesn’t make a lot of money, it has to be about more than the margins because it’s the lasting impact that matters for us. Yes, that contract needs to be able to make some money, and meet margins that we forecast, but actually what our clients are interested in is that impact. That’s the shift in government organisations, they are starting to think broader, and maybe more so than private organisations as we aren’t incentivised in the same way. The way we invest isn’t so much about how much you’re investing financially, but rather about how you bring those resources together so it’s not always about having to spend money on something to recover it, it could be time.

Looking at this from a slightly different angle then, the online retailer, Boohoo has been shown to have atrocious working conditions and now we are told about their use of virgin plastic to make 49% of their items. Their shares dropped for a few minutes then bounced back up again - is there a point where unethical products are too cheap for the consumer to ignore? Does this do anything to show that people might not care about the kindness economy? SP: People will write reviews and raise awareness. If you say things or act in a way that isn’t right you will come unstuck, we live in a world where there aren’t any ivory towers anymore. JS: However, with everything being in the spotlight it means that anything that does enter that spotlight is only news for a few moments before the next thing replaces it. This level of massive connectivity goes both ways, unfortunately.

❛❛ Ultimately, I feel like I want to

leave a legacy that is bigger than just saying “I’ve run a business ❜❜


JE: I’d say sometimes people are willing to spend more, the stats certainly show that some demographics are willing to pay more in certain areas, it does tend to be among the wealthier groups of society, although interestingly the less well off demographic give more as a proportion certainly. The bigger question here is the debate between gaining profit and doing good. You have to move the dial, it has to change. JS: That’s what I was going to say, money does make the world go around. We talked about the cost of doing things, of course there is a cost to do something like this but if they do then they will improve their bottom lines, so they’re still driven by getting a larger reward out of what they do. It’s a matter of understanding that the cost of doing it is outweighed by the gain of having done it. It’s an investment. SO: I’m someone of a certain generation that remembers when the Body Shop and recycling was starting alongside free trade but it all got left behind. It took a while but it’s back and I see it as a very encouraging return.


With this idea that it’s all about money, is there any way to move away from that idea, to move towards a mentality that is based on doing good? JS: We already accept lower recovery rates to work with charities and social organisations, so in effect we are already doing that. That’s not just a Kreston Reeves thing though, a lot of businesses in professional services do that, and so I think that is imbedded in professional services and how we work. SD: I think that if anything is to change over the next couple of years it is the way businesses work together, it needs to be more about collaboration. We need to look at the supply chain and the circular economy, is there any small thing that we or other members can do that is sustainable or beneficial? It’s those small things that we all can do which will make a big difference. We can’t be looking at it in terms of purely ‘what’s in it for me’ we need to look at it in a broader sense, and that’s how we can change. VK: I completely agree and I feel it’s the responsibility of large businesses to lead the way. At NatWest we are working with Blueprint For Better Business, which help inform and guide us on how to be a better business. Through every single forum, whether it be supply chain or risk forum, we have to articulate how doing that piece of business actually aligns with our pillars of purpose. We have to articulate the relevance of that business with our social values. That’s the difference and that drives change and cooperation. I think there is huge potential for large business to lead the way with that. SP: Money talks, but we often are running businesses for a purpose, because we feel we can do something better. B corp is our version of your Blueprint For Better Business and I’m an example of this, we’re trying to be a B corp and we have been for the last year. That’s about more than profit, we have to put a lot of effort into that. SO: I think B corps are unnecessarily bureaucratic, they are aimed at large businesses and have taken all of those principles and tried to put it on top of SMEs. Maybe if you’re at the higher end of SME you can do it, but the smaller groups who are genuinely doing the good simply can’t get the badge to show it, and that’s such a shame. There needs to be a better way, but it is definitely a start.


INFLUENCERS FORUM As a final statement to our readers then, what is the kindness economy to you? JS: For Kreston Reeves, we make sure everything we do looks after our clients, colleagues and communities, so that factors into the profit element, but also the people and predominately our planet. It’s working with those people and groups in a sustainable and positive way that embodies the kindness economy for us. SO: For me personally I don’t think we can separate out kindness and economy, I think the two go hand in hand. I hope that this forum has shown my understanding that this is the future, it’s about developing us as a people, one impacts the other. JE: The word Karma means action, good action ideally. The kindness economy means a chance to act more and to be authentic around that. I hope it’s a recognition of the reality of the importance of the connectivity between people, places and planet. I feel that an increased understanding of that will naturally change things. VK: The kindness economy is integral to a compassionate, empathetic and trustworthy environment, which means that the communities that you participate in can rely on you. By enabling that reliance you enable those communities and families to thrive. SD: I think I see us as that enabler for the kindness economy, whether that is for the communities or our staff. It’s about doing it now and not waiting for another generation to do it, it’s here right now, lets make the impact when we can. When you take it down to a personal level it’s about doing what’s right for you, and all of that adds up to the organisation that you work for, and that’s where our culture of kindness comes from. SP: For us, it’s about how being a good business is good for business. We’ve made this commitment to our people, profit and clients, and for those clients that is about helping to make their workplace better and doing better business as a result of being better people. Ultimately as a person, I feel like I want to leave a legacy that is bigger than just saying “I’ve run a business”, I want that to be a positive legacy. I think that resonates a little with everyone. To sum it up in a quote from Mary Portas, it’s about “Planting the trees that we are not going to sit beneath”.

I would like to thank all our Influencers for a fascinating discussion. My take-away from this is that enacting the kindness economy makes good business sense – not just for how you feel but for the bottom line. I will apologise in advance for this but l don’t think most corporate CEOs prioritise this in their business life – they are responsible for the bottom line and shareholders will be all over them if it suffers for any reason. Convince them that kindness is good for the bottom line and progress will really be made. l must say, the panel have convinced me that this is the case and after the extraordinary 18 months we have had, if not now – when?


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IONA MIND CASE STUDY that regular users have been checking in with Iona for eight minutes everyday day on average. The popularity of Iona Mind continues to increase due to recently registering users from over 70 countries and over a million messages being sent through the application. This is a great subscription-based service and promises to help alleviate user’s mental health issues when in need.

Iona Mind’s mission is to deliver effective, desirable and affordable mental healthcare to everyone on the planet. They provide a single access point to mental health services and automate the assessment, treatment and referral of people with mild conditions such as anxiety and depression. The co-founders Jonathan and Philip both met when studying for their degrees at Cambridge University. When working together at the university a friend of theirs sadly took their own life due to battling with mental health issues. Following this Jonathan began looking into how he could access mental health care and was shocked to find out that he would need to go to his GP to get an appointment and then be referred to a specialist, a process which in some circumstances can take up to nine months. He then began talking to clinicians and saw no reason as to why the wait had to be that long to receive help. Jonathan then teamed up with Philip,

❛❛ 86% of users say that they feel better after checking in with Iona Mind for the first time ❜❜

who is a clinical expert and they began thinking of ways in which they can offer mental health support in the age of the internet. They spent time working to create a chat bot that you check in with every day. The bot asks you a range of questions in relation to your mental health and learns more about the user as they talk. Based on the information gathered it allows the chat bot to offer personalised recommendations and advice to help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression that the user may be feeling. The information collected can also be used by therapists so that they can investigate previous exercises that helped the user and integrate this into their sessions. 86% of users say that they feel better after checking in with Iona Mind for the first time. Going forward it has shown

Since the pandemic began, Iona Mind has not just seen an increase in the number of users, but also a spike in particular issues, demonstrating the power of its database for analysing mental health trends. Some of the key trends that they have noticed include increased health anxiety, increased mood disorders, more self-reflection and greater anxiety over job and relationship security. Insights such as this over a large database support Iona Mind with its ultimate goal of putting quality into healthcare and delivering it in a way that is desirable.

Website: Twitter / Instagram: @iona_mind Linkedin ionamind



Got robots working for you? Nope. Just some clever code By Scott Nursten, CEO, ITHQ

WHY AI IS MORE A THAN I AI is one of tech’s most over-used terms. In 2019, an MMC survey concluded that 40% of EU ‘AI’ startups did not actually use AI. The term is appealing to investors, customers and analysts, leading to regular misclassification which businesses can be very slow to correct. In truth, real AI doesn’t exist yet. Instead, we have machine learning: an algorithm that processes data very quickly and issues a pre-programmed response. While these pieces of code do enable technology to ‘learn’ we’re a long way from Turing’s AI test, where a machine emulates our intelligence so convincingly that a human will mistake it for another human.


Machine learning might not sound as sexy as AI, but these algorithms are helping to protect businesses, prevent fraud and save lives. AI conjures images of slick robots and futuristic worlds. Conversely, its appeal dates back to ancient Greece. Silver coins depicting a mythical automaton called Talos demonstrate as much. Machine learning as a term was coined


in 1959 by Arthur Samuel from IBM. It is the engine that powers today’s most advanced ‘intelligent’ systems and without it, AI will never exist. Technically, the difference between machine learning, and AI is formal reasoning. Whereas machine learning uses advanced heuristics to adjust its response based on input AI can ‘think’ independently. Anyone who’s used an online chatbot or automated phone system knows how broad a gap we still have to bridge. But is it wrong to use the term ‘AI’? While we can’t have an authentic conversation with an automated system, it is still analysing a shed load of data extremely quickly, demonstrating a sort of intelligence. The problems begin if you believe AI, as it currently exists, delivers more than it can.

Machine learning ❛❛ might not sound as sexy as AI, but these algorithms are helping to protect businesses, prevent fraud and save lives ❜❜


Using AI as a marketing term is fine, providing nobody is being misled. If you believe that AI means you’re getting a superior product guaranteed to deliver a superior outcome, you can find yourself anything from disappointed to dangerously exposed. You can overpay for something that will never deliver the results you hope for, purely because you’ve been seduced by the term ‘AI’. Then there is the question of risk. Allowing unproven AI access to your precious, perhaps regulated data can be a huge error. A badly written algorithm will deliver bad results. It could be missing critical signals amid all the data noise. In the security world, it could be detracting from your overall security posture, as opposed to improving it, leaving you open to a serious breach. We’ve recently worked with two clients, both of whom believed their endpoint security solution was superior because it ‘used AI’. Once we introduced them to SentinelOne, with its extensive proof of AI defeating malware, they realised their mistake.


Telecoms AI is helping telecoms businesses tap into the power of GPUs and the 5G network. As our communities become ever more connected, AI can harvest and analyse data to generate real-time insights into congestion, pedestrian safety, parking or pollution.


Good AI is defined by specifi city and speed. In other words, it requires excellent data and lots of processing power. The more specific the dataset, the better informed the responses. The greater the processing power, the faster it will learn. To select AI well, be clear about what you want to achieve, and the kind of results you can realistically expect. Ask to see unbiased proof. SentinelOne broke records during independent tests, identifying and isolating more malware more quickly than any other similar endpoint security solution. Show me AI that is designed for a single, focused purpose and I’m interested. Promise me a ‘silver bullet’ and I am instantly wary.


Cyber security AI is being used to protect businesses from highly advanced threats. Algorithms can detect and isolate malware much faster than a human could. Healthcare Doctors are using AI to tackle interoperable data, meet increasing demand for personalised medicine, develop intelligent applications and accelerate areas like image analysis and life science research. Retail Accenture estimates that AI has the potential to generate $2.2 trillion of value to retailers by 2035, by boosting growth and profitability. Improved asset protection, in-store analytics and streamlined operations are predicted benefits.

Financial services £1.6 billion of fraud was prevented last year, according to Mastercard, using AI. When I was in Brighton recently at the T20 Vitality Blast cricket match, we stopped at a small shop way outside my usual spending locale. My contactless card payment was stopped, and my PIN requested. This is AI in action, checking it was indeed me using my card and preventing fraud. Industrial and manufacturing AI is empowering smart factories to improve quality, operational efficiency, reduce costs and build safer working conditions. AI can deliver seriously impressive outcomes if you approach it in the right way. First, be clear on the results you want to see. Then seek proof, not promises. Remove trust, sweep away the hype and see good AI for the clever code it is.


For more information, feel free to get in touch with me at



MORE THAN SPACE With remote and flexible work patterns becoming a more common part of our lives, businesses are demanding something different from traditional office rental. Five very different case studies from Sussex Innovation’s community show how the business incubator is adapting to demand RAPID GROWTH ISMS.ONLINE provides cloud-based software for managing information security, privacy and compliance. With significant recent investment, and increasing demand from businesses responding to their newly distributed workforces, the team has almost tripled in size over the past 18 months. This growth presented two problems: how to increase the company’s offi ce space without paying for more than was needed, and how to onboard new employees without distracting the existing staff from their work?


As tenants at the Sussex Innovation Centre, were able to access overfl ow offi ce space as and when required, and occupied the Centre’s boardroom as their dedicated training hub for over a month while integrating new team members into the business. “We’ve gone from two or three people working from this office, to 15 at the beginning of lockdown, to over 40 now as we come back from Covid. The Innovation Centre has allowed us to grow and flex with their office space, the technology, the support they’ve offered.” Sam Peters, CPO,


Portal Devices delivers immersive audio -visual installations for the themed entertainment industry; an extremely specialised service that often requires practical demonstration to impress and win new clients. Their tenancy at Sussex Innovation enabled the business to install ‘XR Space’, an immersive lab in the Centre’s technology demonstration room that showcases virtual tour content through a wraparound projection display. “We and our partners are using the space to move forward critical sales discussions, which are happening almost daily now and attracting key clients to work with us.” Matt Roberts, founder, Portal Devices


Claimer is a cloud software platform for startups that removes the hassle and cost associated with claiming R&D tax credits. With several new team members having never met their colleagues faceto-face due to lockdown, the company’s founders decided that a day needed to be set aside for the whole team to come back together, socialise and build cohesion and trust. Sussex Innovation hosted a Covidsecure team-building day in their collaborative open plan space in Croydon, which had a noticeable impact on mood, motivation and engagement across the whole company. “Given some of our team members live hundreds of miles away from London, it was the first time many of us met in person, and it was brilliant! We had a staff photoshoot in the breakout area of Sussex Innovation Croydon, where we have a permanent office. We then spent the rest of the afternoon in and around the space doing a meet and greet so we could get to know each other better. It was really powerful to be able to have everyone together, especially given the convenience of the space being located right next to East Croydon station.” Adam McCann, founder and CEO, Claimer


InterAnalysis is a trade analysis platform that provides an affordable way for governments and third parties to model the impact of proposed trade agreements. With many of the team planning to work from home for the duration of the pandemic, the company decided that they no longer needed a full-time office throughout the week, but still wanted a physical space for face-to-face meetings and collaborative work. Sussex Innovation brokered an arrangement with fellow tenants Prophecy Marketing, enabling InterAnalysis to keep their office space on a timeshare basis, reducing operational costs without losing the valuable ‘real-life’ connection between the team. “Sussex Innovation has shown itself to be highly adaptable in a time of uncertainty and rapid change. We can’t thank the team enough for all they have done in response to the pandemic - while remote working has allowed us to continue operating throughout, it cannot replace the type of collaboration and mindset that in-person working delivers so well.” Michael Laffey, Business Support Manager, InterAnalysis


Watch This Sp_ce is an inclusion consultancy that helps organisations recruit, train and retain a diverse workforce. As a small core team with flexible working patterns, they make use of Sussex Innovation’s Sussex Stars scheme to come in and use a hotdesk or meeting room, as and when needed. The arrangement proved particularly valuable when Watch This Sp_ce needed a base of operations for the day so that the team could shoot video content together as part of an upcoming campaign. “The Sussex Stars membership is perfect for us as a new and growing business. It gives us flexibility for when we need to work together. And we have used the space a few times for recording our video content for training courses. The team are helpful, friendly and so supportive of our business.” Mo Kanjilal, co-creator, Watch This Sp_ce

If you’re planning a more flexible return to the workplace for you and your team, get in touch with Sussex Innovation about the range of options available for office-based, remote and hybrid working using their facilities – visit


PEST CONTROL Cleankill Pest Control’s Samantha Virgo has been in the pest management industry for three years now, but her introduction to the sector came in a roundabout way. Here she talks about how her pest control career took off


You might think these roles are worlds apart, and in some ways they are. But there are many similarities, too. Having pests is distressing for some customers and bringing my skills learnt whilst on board an aircraft 30,000ft up in the sky has helped me bring a supportive and caring element to the surveyor role.

I started working as cabin crew at just 18 years old based out of Gatwick and Heathrow, I flew with TUI and Virgin Atlantic to over 20 destinations worldwide. From Economy to First Class, I served every type of customer you can imagine and then some - you probably can’t imagine! The training regime to be cabin crew isn’t easy but, like most jobs, it still doesn’t prepare you entirely for what’s to come. It’s like pest control in that way. Every single day you come to work, you learn, you adapt and you improve your skills. In fact, I’d been introduced to pest control during my time in the airline industry. As you can imagine, sometimes foreign creepy crawlies could be brought on board with luggage, so ensuring the aircraft was pest-free was key. I watched one of the aeroplanes get fumigated once, on departure from Barbados. It’s quite a sight when you’re not familiar with that process, seeing someone dressed from head to toe in PPE/RPE and spraying the aircraft. I felt like I was an extra in Outbreak! I was always really interested in what the pest technicians were doing, asking questions and bugging them more than the bugs. Cabin crew were even trained in using residual insecticide spray canisters. In certain areas around the world, there are mosquitoes or insects that can carry diseases, so it was important to eliminate those before departure.

And even the pests I came across on layovers in foreign countries (which are a thousand times more scary than any pests we deal with here in the UK) didn’t put me off wanting to know more about them. Don’t even get me started on the spiders I saw in Kenya and the Caribbean!


After seven years as a cabin attendant, I wanted a new challenge. I knew that I needed a role which incorporated those elements of being cabin crew that I loved most; where every day was different and I could interact with customers face-to-face, adapting to the needs of each individual.

But you also need to be resilient, hands on, positive and good at solving issues. And most of all, you need to be cool, calm and collected in tricky situations. My surveyor role is very varied; one day I could be dealing with a rat infestation, the next it can be dealing with pigeons roosting under solar panels. As a cabin attendant, I was the face of TUI and Virgin. As a pest control surveyor, I’m the face of Cleankill. Being a brand ambassador for a company I believe in is something that has always made me proud. So whether you need me down on the floor checking for rats or up on the roof checking out your pigeon issue, I’ll do it with that famous friendly flight attendant smile!

Helping customers is what I do best, so I needed to find a role that gave me that same satisfaction. So, after leaving cabin crew, I fell into pest control! I took my RSPH Level 2 Award in Pest Management through the British Pest Control Association and made the move from Sussex to Bristol, which is where my Surveyor role started.

If you have pest problem and would like expert advice contact Cleankill



7 SEPT 2021 WE’RE BACK FOR 2021! It’s never been a better time to stay connected, so after the huge success of our 2019 show, the fastest growing Surrey Business Expo is heading back to Epsom. We provide a professional, open and friendly platform for start-ups, SME’s and large businesses to network, build relationships, gain new knowledge and keep up to date with the latest products & services.



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WHY DOES YOUR BUSINESS NEED A PRECISION ENGINEER? From initial design drawings and prototypes to final manufacturing of a product, precision engineers undertake a variety of different tasks to assist a business. Particularly after such a turbulent year, the services an engineering firm can provide will eliminate some of the risks surrounding new product development. Don Cunningham from Epal Engineering is here to highlight some of the key benefits of using a precision engineer to create your next prototype.


A prototype is an early sample, model or release of a product, enabling the designer to test a concept or process before producing the item en masse. Simply put, it’s a formalisation of an idea, allowing for evaluation. Prototypes are a crucial part of the design process and are used across a variety of different industries, but why work with a precision engineer to create this? Precision engineers have specialist technology and can provide quality assurance to ensure your prototype is a true relation to the final product. Epal Engineering can work with you to design a prototype should you lack the experience and know-how, successfully supporting you from the offset to completion.

you with the expertise and quality measures needed to take your product forward in the development process. Particularly if you have not produced a prototype before, the expertise and experience of a precision engineer can streamline the process considerably. And, can eliminate the risk associated with this investment.


There are several factors to consider when selecting a precision engineering firm, from whether they are utilising the very latest technology and machinery

to their enthusiasm and customer service skills. At the end of the day, you should select the firm you feel most comfortable with and who you trust to fulfil your brief. New product development is exciting for any business, particularly seeing your prototype for the first time. Working with the right precision engineer can ensure this prototype exceeds your expectations rather than falling short. Established in 1989, Epal Engineering is experienced in delivering the right element the first time, every time. Our team can work with you from the initial design stage to iron out any queries and pre-empt any potential flaws, saving you time and ensuring your final product is exactly how you envisioned it. If you’re looking for advice, get in touch today. Contact details: T: 01903 744352 E:


New product development is an exciting yet daunting process. If a design is incorrect and goes to mass production, it can be a hugely costly mistake that could negatively affect the reputation of your business in the long run too. Prototypes are a cost effective way to identify any flaws before they cause a major issue and enable your business to gain invaluable feedback from customers. Working with a precision engineer will not only ensure your prototype is built to an exceedingly high standard in a short turnaround time, but it will also provide



HOTEL INDIGO, BATH After the completion of a five-year renovation project, we delight in the stylishly quirky Hotel Indigo Bath By Tess de Klerk In my family the time has come to carefully consider uni options for my 17 yr old daughter and to us, that means road trips to explore various cities - oh yes! Granted, Bath Uni was not welcoming visitors at the time of our trip, but did that stop us? Absolutely not! 'It's all about the milieu of the city' was my daughter 's surprisingly eloquent comment! I love Bath for the mishmash of cultures that shaped it, its beautiful Georgian architecture and the way the city balances a genteel feel with vibrant contemporary culture. This feel-good city was built for pleasure and relaxation and it still holds true today.

We stayed at the recently renovated Hotel Indigo Bath which is part of the worldwide Intercontinental Hotels Group which offer unique boutique hotels from Shanghai to New York under the Indigo umbrella. A project five years in the making conjoined Pratts Hotel and The Halycon to form the spacious 166 room Indigo Bath. This beautiful honey-coloured, upmarket establishment effortlessly manages to ooze both classic and eclectic, thoroughly modern yet never losing touch with its 18th-century roots. It may well be part of a 'chain' but there is no such feel except perhaps in the knowledge of knowing that staff are trained to a very high standard.

We enjoyed how ❛❛ every corner seemed to

be a flight of fancy, while all the while maintaining the integrity and character of the historic building and city of Bath ❜❜ LOCATION

Fantastically located in a quiet cul-de-sac right in the city centre, ensuring easy access to all the sights and the hustle and bustle of the city while also peaceful enough for sweet slumber. The train station is close by and the paid-for car park is a stone's throw away.


The quirky decor is a feature in itself with splashes of colour, pictures of animals in military uniforms and carpets of butterflies and flowers up and down the hallways. We enjoyed how every corner seemed to be a flight of fancy while all the while maintaining the integrity and character of the historic building and city of Bath. The staff were thoroughly knowledgeable in both the history of their hotel and the surrounding city and the ease at which they delivered excellent service made for a laid back and trendy feel.




Bedrooms at Hotel Indigo are contemporary with a traditional twist, reflecting the age and style of the building while also catering for modern tastes. Rooms are loosely themed, reflecting the influences of architects and novelists of olde and ours was inspired by the literary history of the city. Our bed was plush and fabulously comfy with luxury Egyptian cotton linen and chocolates on our pillows. We enjoyed the surround sound feature in the bathroom which allows you to listen to the tele while in the shower. All rooms feature spa-inspired bathrooms, Nespresso coffee machines, air conditioning, high speed Wi-Fi and a variety of channels on your 40” flat screen TV. Not all bathrooms have bathtubs so be sure to check when booking, if that is important to you. No need to carry your shampoo and conditioner with you, the complementary, all natural range by Bramley is absolutely heavenly.


The Elder restaurant is not run by the hotel, but it occupies a set of elegant and atmospheric dining rooms within. It is steeped in the principles of sustainability with meat, fish and veg grown or harvested humanely and with care. “Our wild food offering is unique in the UK - as land managers we control wild deer herds on private estates and

process the venison in our own FSA regulated larder.” – What a fantastic of fering by restauranteur Mike Robinson. The menu presented tempting classic dishes with a twist such as a ploughman's platter starter served as a terrine (not expected by my 17yr old!) and the wild fish of the day served alongside 'nosotto', a delicious potato risotto. The aged Hereford sirloin was exceptionally tender, flavourful and cooked to perfection but the highlight of our meal had to have been the Hot Ilanka Chocolate Fondant which was declared as 'the best dessert I've had in my life!'


Hotel Indigo Bath has a number of wheelchair accessible rooms with walk-in showers.


Unfortunately, only service dogs can be accommodated at this time.


Mercedes-Benz of Guildford At Sandown, we pride ourselves on excellent customer service. Our dedication to customer care and quality stretches beyond the forecourt, with specialists always on-hand to help you at Mercedes-Benz of Guildford. Please be assured that we have always prioritised the safety of both our customers and staff. We have taken all the necessary steps to enable you to deal with our sales, service and parts teams safely and in full compliance with the latest government’s guidance. To speak to a member of our team today please contact us on 01483 916291.

Our Sales, Service and Parts departments are all COVID-19 compliant.

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JULY | AUGUST 2021 #11












1 2 0 2 r e b t h Novem Friday 5 ON LO N D IRPO RT IC K A









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s r e d San CBE






ames J n o r a A LE NOW VAIL AB TABLES



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cont ent s 8


4 5

Steering committee Welcome

20 Offenders continue without fear


UPFRONT All the latest bulletins from the world of business

22 What’s the plan? Part 1

14 NatWest promotes climate action 16 The role of women in the pandemic 18 A shoutout to the ladies starting a new venture later in life

24 Plastic fashion 26 The five Tibetan rites 30 TRAVEL The roof of the world: Tibet 32 MOTORING How differently is a car review perceived when written by a man or a woman?

32 30





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 Welcome to this issue of Dynamic which demonstrates well the contradictory behaviour of our government. On the one hand the achievements of the women instrumental in getting us out of the Covid crisis are celebrated with the development of the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine; on the other hand, we learn that the government is rejecting the Lords Stalking Bill to be replaced by reviewing how they monitor stalkers. Talk about tinkering around the edges with minor changes while women live in real fear and lives are at risk. We are not talking about a lovesick schoolboy hanging around one’s street, but men obsessively focused on harassing and persecuting women and, in too many cases, going as far as to

kill or disfigure to prevent her ever being with another man. So, what is the answer? A female prime minister is not enough if she is surrounded by a sea of misogynistic parliamentarians. How long will it take to increase the number of female MPs to the 50/50, male/ female share necessary? As I say in my article elsewhere in this issue, there needs to be a significant cultural change in our parliament now to bring a balanced perspective to today’s political issues. Regrettably, I do not think this will happen in my lifetime. In the meantime, for some light relief, I will turn to the Motoring section to consider how much the views of Maarten differ from those of Fiona when reviewing the same car.


WWW.PLATINUMMEDIAGROUP.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.



WALKIE TALKIE The Metropolitan Police will be shadowing women as they walk the streets of Lambeth and Southwark to learn how they feel unsafe. The new “walk and talk” scheme will see 25 female neighbourhood officers buddying up with local women to walk the streets of south London and hear of their “experiences, concerns and reflections”, the Met announced recently. Sgt Becky Perkins, who leads the initiative, said it would build trust with women who don’t feel completely safe walking London’s streets.

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



Dr Kate Clancy, a medical anthropologist, shared on Twitter her experience of an unusually heavy period following the Moderna vaccine and received dozens of similar accounts in response. A number of trans men and post-menopausal women who don’t normally have periods, got in touch with Dr Clancy saying they had experienced bleeding after the jab.

Monzo will allow either partner affected by pregnancy loss to take up to two weeks’ additional paid leave.

And, although the link is unproven, there are logical reasons the vaccine could be causing changes to periods, but these changes are not anything to worry about, reproductive specialists say. But with such little research, are women being treated as ‘guinea pigs’?

WALES HONOURS BAME Some 22 years since the formation of the Senedd (a building in Cardiff that houses the debating chamber and three committee rooms), Natasha Asghar has become the first woman from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background to have been elected. Conservative Ms Asghar, who will represent the South Wales East region, said she had stood to be “a voice” for those who faced barriers entering politics. “We have no real political influential women of colour in Wales and I am honoured beyond comprehension to be the first one,” she said.


“Monzo takes the mental health of its staff incredibly seriously,” the bank said. Under the new policy, workers who suffer from pregnancy loss, including stillbirth, miscarriage and abortion, will have up to 10 days additional paid leave. The leave will also be offered to workers who are partners or surrogate mothers, “recognising that pregnancy loss doesn’t just affect women or heterosexual partners”, the bank said.


PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION Pregnant Then Screwed, the leading charity working to end the motherhood penalty, argued that the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (Seiss) breaches equality laws and that as a result of the way that grants are calculated, around 75,000 women who took maternity leave between 2016 and 2019 received lower payments than those whose average income was unaffected by maternity-related leave. In a ruling in February, Ms Justice Whipple dismissed the case, saying there was no unlawful discrimination as a result of the scheme. The Self Employment Income Support Scheme has helped nearly three million people claim almost £20bn.

THE SAUDI DARK AGES Saudi Arabia will allow women to live alone without permission from a male “guardian”, bringing an end to a rule that attracted condemnation from human rights campaigners internationally. Judicial authorities have replaced a legal statute stipulating that a male guardian has authority over a woman’s living circumstances with a new text stating: “An adult woman has the right to choose where to live. A woman’s guardian can report her only if he has evidence proving she has committed a crime.” The development follows a 2019 decree allowing women to travel abroad without approval from a guardian, following a series of attempts by women in the Kingdom to escape their guardians.

SOMERVILLE TOUR Prince Charles has celebrated the contribution of female students to life at Oxford University with a visit to one of its celebrated colleges. Charles toured Somerville College which was established 140 years ago as a place for women to study during the late Victorian era when society and academia were against women undergraduates. His visit also marked 100 years of Oxford degrees for women and the prince met research students from the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development.

DRIVE-BY ASSAULTS Men who harass women from cars should face criminal charges, a cross-party group of MPs has urged, as the government comes under mounting pressure to criminalise sexual harassment. In March, a poll by UN Women UK found more than four-fifths of young women in the UK had been subjected to sexual harassment, and most women had lost faith that the abuse would be dealt with. Labour MP Harriet Harman, Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, and others including the Conservatives Peter Bottomley and Andrew Mitchell, and the Green party MP, Caroline Lucas, are also calling for street harassment to be criminalised and for stricter controls over the use of the sexual history of complainants in rape trials.

JANE BOND Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced his choice of Elisabetta Belloni as head of the Department of Information Security. Born in 1958, Ms Belloni became one of the first women to join the prestigious, and formerly exclusively male, Massimiliano Massimo Institute in Rome. Ms Belloni rose within the ranks to become the first woman in the role of Secretary-General of the foreign ministry, Italy’s highest diplomatic post, a position she has held ever since.

SALLY BUZZES INTO THE POST Sally Buzbee, the Associated Press executive editor and senior vice president, has been named to succeed Martin Baron as executive editor of the Washington Post, taking up her new role on June 1st. The appointment makes Buzbee the first woman to lead its newsroom. Publisher Fred Ryan said Buzbee was the “runaway unanimous choice.”




Professor Sarah Gilbert

THE OXFORD PIONEERS Professor Catherine Green

By David Bagnall

Professor Sarah Gilbert, soon to become a dame, and professor Catherine Green, to be made Officer of the Order of the British Empire, have been the nation’s champions of the Covid-19 Oxford vaccine, being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their astounding achievements. Many of you who are reading would have had the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over the past months, but few know the full story that led to the jab in their arm. In a recent interview, both Sarah and Catherine went into more detail about the creation of the vaccine and the personal toll it took on them.





Both women are closely partnered with the Jenner Institute, a part of the Medical Sciences Division of Oxford University which focuses on developing vaccines and carrying out clinical trials for diseases including malaria and MERS-Coronavirus. Although they have only worked with one another since 2020, both Catherine and Sarah are two sides of the same coin. Sarah is the Saïd Professor of Vaccinology at the Jenner institute whilst Catherine runs the university’s Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility that makes the vaccines that the Institute creates. The closeness of the two professions within the university led to a natural, and extremely effective, partnership when the pandemic struck. Sarah begins her story where it started, in a pub in the Oxfordshire countryside on January 3rd, 2020. She’d seen a report that was tracking the development of a virus that had 44 cases, 11 of which were critically ill, and 121 further people who had been in close contact being monitored. Though the cause was unclear at the time , Sarah remembers it being labelled as ‘SARSlike’, already the alarm bells were going off in her head as she continued to eat her pub lunch.


Jenner Institute, University of Oxford Just over two weeks later, on January 20th, Sarah had emailed Catherine, asking to discuss a couple of things about the new reports that were coming in; 201 cases in China, and the confirmation of human to human transmission. By the end of that same week, they had decided to make a vaccine as soon as they could get their hands on its genetic sequence. Whilst at this time the pursuit of the vaccine was only an academic exercise, I think, with experts clearly foreseeing the consequences of such a virus months ahead of any political considerations, there are some comments which can be made about the government’s response time, I’ll leave them unsaid, but Sarah Gilbert didn’t.

Catherine Green, whilst reflecting on the meeting she had with Sarah in that week commented that “Sarah set out the situation. Would my Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility be able to start making the materials for a vaccine against this new virus immediately? There was not yet any funding. Equally, the vaccine might not be needed. We were also working on other projects which would have to be delayed. I had to balance the risk to our finances with the fact that not going as fast as possible would be something to regret if the spread of the virus continued to escalate. ‘Let’s go for it,’ I said.” This early commitment to the vaccine programme is perhaps a good analogy for the rest – at odds and with considerable financial risk. To match it, Sarah’s deceleration perfectly characterised the pair’s spirit “It was a financial risk, but we would ask for forgiveness, not permission.” Without the determination and raw grit of these women, the UK’s response to Covid-19 would have been markedly weaker. The process, Catherine described, relied on huge amounts of work being done even before the genetic sequence of the pathogen was known, so that once



Sarah begins her story where it started, in a pub in the Oxfordshire countryside on January 3rd, 2020

they finally knew the relevant gene they could get start work on the vaccine as soon as possible. “Think of it as like a baker who sells personalised cakes iced with personalised messages, such as ‘Happy 50th birthday Joe’. If she bakes a batch of cakes, she can save time dealing with a shop customer by just having to pick up her piping bag and adding the customised message while they wait.” On January 25th, Catherine and Sarah were presented with 100 billion dehydrated strands of DNA sequence coding for the new coronavirus’s spike protein, this was all they needed to finally get started fully on the creation of the vaccine. Even then, though, Catherines most optimistic estimates were that they’d have a starting material ready by midMarch, and a vaccine (made by Advent) up and running for trials by the end of July. Catherine dedicates much of their team’s early success to their ‘qualified person’ - someone who ultimately certifies the release of every batch of product – Eleanor Berrie, another woman who championed the fight against coronavirus, working to create the starting dose that would be used to manufacture every dose of the Oxford vaccine ever

produced. Her work cut months off the production time. It was March 23rd that the first batch of the vaccine was made, the same day as the UK was ordered into lockdown by prime minister Boris Johnson. It wasn’t for another month, however - on April 21st - until they got the product back and could breathe a sigh of relief that it was finally with them. Sadly, their respite didn’t last long, the next day the batch was certified for use in the clinic and testing began.

Despite taking a further seven months for the vaccine to test in clinical trials, from April to November, and be approved for use at 70% effectiveness, Sarah and Catherine had a lot to be proud of. In just 65 days they had gone from DNA construct to clinical trials, “an achievement no-one would have thought possible in February” Catherine says.




Their tale is extraordinary and is what you’d expect to find only in a novel ... perhaps that’s why they’ve just written one. ‘Vaxxers’, to be published on July 8th by Hoodder & Stoughton, relays their tale in their own words and goes into detail about the highs and incredible lows they faced alone and together when working on the vaccine. Though the good news was rolling in, it must have felt Pyrrhic at best; co-workers lay ill at home, their families weren’t allowed to be told of what was going on at work and sleep was never freely available, leaving little respite for the next engagement. For our two champions, the march to victory must have seemed bleak and with little glory. Even in the easier moments when finding time to camp with her daughter, Catherine remarked that she would “drive around trying to find a 4G signal to do Zoom calls from the car.” To summarise the despair and overwhelming human cost of their exploits and work, Sarah commented “There were days when we swore or cried with frustration and exhaustion. We lost sleep and gained weight. There were days when we met a prince... and other days when it seemed we had to save the world and get the central heating fixed.” Earlier I stylised these two women as champions of the Oxford vaccine, battling Covid-19 tooth and nail with all they have, though perhaps I was too quick to label them as such. ‘Champion’ implies a singular warrior, marching alone against the singular challenge before them, ready to win and then go back home, but Catherine and Sarah aren’t alone, they’re mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and leaders. They have

duties not just to find the glory, receive the praise and then leave, but also to their team to see it through and make sure that they’re managing the workload, to see the project through to the end. Catherine and Sarah are not champions but captains of the vaccine response, leading us step by step to a

The day we used it to start making the first batch of vaccine was when I first felt the fear: this is madness, no way this is going to work



safer and brighter future, all the while being under immense pressure. A comment from Catherine expressed this perfectly “The day we used it to start making the first batch of vaccine, March 23rd 2020, was when I first felt the fear: a low twist at the base of my guts that said: ‘This is madness. No way this is going to work.’ I had to give myself a talking to. No matter how much I was freaking out, the team couldn’t see it. They needed me calm.” Though it might seem entirely contradictory to do so, I remind you that what makes these women such captains and inspirations is the fact that they are wholly ordinary people. There is no special training that they underwent to manage the level of stress and pressure that they took up in their fight against Covid-19, no contracted duty to start work on the vaccine so early and certainly no special ‘detox housing’ that they got to live in whilst working like we see in pandemic films.

BIG They did their work as normal people in extraordinary times. Of course, Sarah and Catherine both have extreme courage and resilience to go ahead with what they did and see it through, but as Sarah put it “Cath and I were just two scientists among many in the right place at the right time to fight back. We don’t have cleaners, or drivers, or nannies, and like everyone else, we had other things going on in our lives. And though there was plenty of drama, there was not one big breakthrough moment – in a bath or under an apple tree or late at night in a silent, empty lab – but lots and lots and lots of small moments.” Though to say that they were both in the right place at the right time might be a bit of a disservice to the decades of preparation that the pair have collectively contributed to the fight against Covid-19, directly or indirectly. Each day of their careers they’ve been preparing, researching, and building the data landscape upon which this latest battle has been fought. If Wellington is said to have won the battle of Waterloo because of his prior mapping of the area, then it must be said that our captains, Sarah Gilbert and Catherine Green, were only able to win this battle due to their decades of combined experience, data gathering and understanding of the complex processes which are involved in creating vaccines. Sarah in particular has spent the last 15 years making and testing vaccines, initially working on malaria, influenza and tuberculosis, but more recently MERS. MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, is another coronavirus and has been closely related to Covid-19, causing hundreds of deaths in 2012. Her experience dealing with and working on this virus has provided more experience than almost anyone else in the world to tackle this pandemic, something that few point out. To again put it in their own words, Sarah comments “For years, those of us working in the field had expected something like this – an unknown ‘Disease X’ that could cause a pandemic. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was set up in 2017 to fund vaccines against known dangerous viruses, and in 2019 I submitted a proposal to use adenovirus technology against what the World Health Organisation had termed ‘Disease X’ –


a future, hypothetical disease.” Sarah was unsuccessful in achieving her grant due to reviewers being “not convinced these vaccines could be produced quickly enough in the event of an outbreak”. Sarah isn’t the only one who has considerable experience; Catherine had also worked on MERS in the Jenner Institute vaccination platform, which had been prepared for the specific purpose of tackling previous coronavirus outbreaks. More broadly, her expertise has been shown by joining the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics in 2012, and leading the Chromosome Dynamics, putting her in a perfect position to work on the Covid-19 vaccine. It’s clear that these women didn’t just happen to fit into a successful vaccination programme and work to save millions of lives around the globe; they engineered and captained the whole vaccine response, defying the odds and putting their institutions at immense financial risk throughout the whole period. This was all built on a bed of experience and knowledge which they had gathered over years, each day forming the foundations of what the public now turn to for support and safety. Again, there was no special treatment received at all, and family life rolled on amidst all of the pressures of their task, filled with all the usual trepidations of a pandemic. To close, I feel it best to reiterate the mentality that Sarah Gilbert and Catherine Green took whilst pulling off one of the most daunting medical tasks of our age, as I feel it perfectly summarises their character and resolve: “It was a financial risk, but we would ask for forgiveness, not permission.”




NATWEST PROMOTES CLIMATE ACTION ◗ NatWest Group joins the call from the Prime Minister and the Business & Energy Secretary to urge the UK’s small businesses to lead the way on climate action ◗ As part of the launch of the government’s Together for our Planet ‘business climate leaders’ campaign, NatWest is encouraging as many of its small business customers to make a climate commitment to net zero ◗ NatWest, as the only banking partner, is supporting the government on the campaign alongside other companies including Google, Scottish Power and BT

NatWest Group will encourage its small business customers to make a climate commitment and join the government’s Together for our Planet ‘business climate leaders’ campaign that was launched on May 28th by the Prime Minister and Business & Energy Secretary. As part of the campaign, NatWest, as the leading bank for UK businesses, will highlight to its customers the importance of tackling climate change and encourage them to sign up to the campaign where they will commit to cutting their emissions in half before 2030, and to net zero by 2050 or sooner. When small businesses sign up, they will be given tools to understand their emissions, as well as practical but important steps to protect the planet, the benefits of future proofing and growing a greener business. Small businesses who make a net zero pledge on the new business climate hub will be recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero


campaign and will become ‘climate leaders’ – role-modelling and inspiring others to find meaningful ways to take positive environmental action. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Every step that a small business takes on their journey to net zero adds up – not only in protecting the health of the planet but also in future-proofing their business and encouraging new

investment, new customers and new opportunities for growth. “We are providing the support and advice small businesses need to join us and become leaders in the fight against climate change.” Chief Executive Officer of NatWest Group Alison Rose said: “As the leading bank in the UK for businesses, we want to encourage, enable and lead the way in helping small businesses transition to a net zero carbon economy. From our recent SME Recovery Report, we know SMEs have the opportunity to help the UK meet its net zero targets by reducing their carbon footprint by 80 MtCO2e by 2030 through more sustainable business operating models. “As COP26 Principal Banking Partner, we’re proud to support the small business climate leaders campaign and partner with the government on this important initiative, especially in the run up to November’s UN Climate



Alison Rose, CEO NatWest

As the leading bank in the UK for businesses, we want to encourage, enable and lead the way in helping small businesses transition to a net zero carbon economy

Summit. We will be encouraging as many of our customers to sign up as possible.” NatWest is encouraging its customers to sign up to the campaign through email, social and digital marketing, including a recent Instagram Live with Holly Tucker, founder of Not On The High Street, and Andrew Griffith MP, the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion. A toolkit advising its small business customers on how to take their first steps to becoming green will be hosted on NatWest Group’s dedicated customer facing NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Ulster Bank Business Hubs as part of the partner campaign activity. The support of this campaign builds on the bank’s purpose led strategy of helping people and businesses across the UK transition to a low carbon economy. The bank has launched a series of initiatives over the course of the year to help businesses go green:

◗ As part of its Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, at least 25% of the spaces in its 12 UK wide accelerator hubs are dedicated to supporting Climate -focused businesses. Each business will receive mentoring, a dedicated climate cohort community, climate specific events, and office space in one of the hubs across the UK ◗ In February, NatWest launched a joint offering with Octopus Energy, to help make it simple and affordable for customers and colleagues to move to electric vehicles (EVs). The bundled solution allows NatWest Group customers to purchase electric vehicle (EV) chargers at discounted rates and get access to Octopus Energy’s public charging network. The combination of NatWest Group’s financing and Octopus’ energy innovation will help all customers decarbonise their transport.

◗ The bank also announced it has joined forces with Microsoft to support business customers to understand and reduce their carbon footprints. The platform will provide business customers with personalised carbon action plans and is thought to be the first tool of its kind at this scale. It will be piloted with business customers later this year.





As we hope that with full vaccination globally the Covid-19 virus is brought under control, it is worth reflecting on the role of women in the pandemic. Roles which can never be understated. At home as lockdown started, women got to work right away. While men retreated to their own home offices, it was the women who had to multitask. They had little choice and they stepped up to it. As schools closed, women took on the role of teachers. As lockdown dragged on, women became counsellors to isolated children for whom anxiety, low self-worth and depression set in and mothers were there to console them. Women’s role as family cook and bottle washer intensified, having to now prepare a substantial lunch, not just at


the weekend but every day of the week. Women on maternity leave, who could normally handle their baby care during the day in peace, suddenly found themselves trying to feed baby while watching a bored seven-year-old careering around, about to knock a pan off the stove. Women with children normally at nursery, became more and more inventive entertainers. Calls went out on neighbourhood social media groups for newspaper for paper mâché and toilet roll cores for rockets. Women became keep fit instructors to ensure their family had enough exercise. Women have always been economists balancing the food and home budgets. But during Covid, in traditional sectors for female workers often on zero hour contracts, such as hospitality and retail, jobs were fast being lost. With the


The role of women at home during lockdown was as teachers, cooks, cleaners, keep fit instructors, counsellors, babysitters, entertainers, and economists while doing their best to hold down their job or keep their business running decline of women’s income, food banks crept into view for those who had never dreamed they would have to use such things. Other multi-tasking women still had their nine-to-five job to do, and in many cases run their own businesses amongst the chaos. Yet, they managed to present themselves as calm and composed in Zoom meetings with clients, staff, or bosses, while fearing children and animals running into the room. That is, if they are lucky enough to have a room of their own to work. More often, it would be in the bedroom, the kitchen or in the case of one of my own Managing Directors in the broom cupboard. At board meetings she hid it so well with one of these online background screens that we only realised when there was a loud clunk as the ironing board unexpectedly fell over and hit her. The dark side of the lockdown became apparent with a significant increase in abused women and so sadly, also children. Trapped at home with an abusive partner or father, with no one to talk to or to get help. Some escaped to family refuges, but demand was so great that there was not enough room for all, even if they could be identified and reached. To recap, the role of women at home during lockdown was as teachers, cooks, cleaners, keep fit instructors, counsellors, babysitters, entertainers, and economists while doing their best to hold down their job or keep their business running.

Which of course, is exactly what women have been doing for ages, long before Covid came on the scene. If I move on to governmental female leadership, there are many women worth noting globally who took a quite different approach to Boris. While he was pontificating about shaking hands right up to the last minute and thus catching Covid, other female leaders were quietly but decisively getting on with closing their borders. So many female world leaders would appear to have fared better in the crisis. However, perhaps the media makes too much of a fuss about the fact these countries are led by women just because they are female. It is almost as though the press is patronising them by concentrating on their gender, neglecting that they are excellent

leaders being proactive, decisive, and communicating well. In addition, academic research in the scientific journal PLOS One addresses the role of women leaders in mitigating the effect of the pandemic. It suggests that the gender of the leader does matter but not necessarily in the ways highlighted by the media. The research contends that women attain national leadership positions in countries where core cultural values reward traits often found in women leaders, such as long-term orientation, a collectivist (rather than individualist) focus, and fewer power disparities in society. These countries therefore have policy landscapes that enable leaders to consult with others and carefully weigh options, examine the larger policy and outcome picture of major decisions, and manage risk effectively. Women who lead these countries can successfully manage crises like the pandemic not because they are female, but because they oversee countries more likely to elect women to the highest executive office in the first place. Countries with policies and priorities that pre-dispose them to manage risk better. You can turn this around. The cultural values that underpin women’s leadership in many cases would also produce better Covid-19-related outcomes if the country were led by a man. This makes me think that there is little point putting a woman at the head of a patriarchal organisation because she is not going to achieve very much until cultural values change. It is too early to reach a conclusion on male versus female leadership during the pandemic but one day we will know why being female-led has provided countries with an advantage in the current crisis.


The past decade has seen a surge of women in their 50s and 60s returning to work and embarking on new career paths. Whether this is out of choice or necessity, there’s a host of benefits of continuing work later in life. Samantha Kaye from Wellesley Wealth Advisory discusses these advantages, and explains how to make the best use of your income

A shoutout to the ladies starting a new venture later in life Winding down? What’s that? Indeed, many women in their 50s and 60s are busy starting a new chapter in their working lives – the employment rate for women aged 50-64 rose to 68% in 2019, up from 53% in 2001.1 Some are continuing to enjoy their career and see no reason to stop; others are relishing the opportunity to try something different, without the financial pressure of mortgage payments or childcare. On the flip side, many will be working out of necessity – with issues such as the gender pensions gap and changes to the state pension age meaning many will not have saved enough for their retirement.

The longer you work, the longer you can hold off taking your pension – a deferred pension has more time to potentially grow and, depending on your income, you can also keep making contributions


But, whether work is a result of choice or necessity, we’re doing ladies a huge disservice if we present the growing number of older women in the workplace as a negative. After all, continuing to earn a salary gives women more financial resilience and independence – and that surely can’t be a bad thing? There’s a lot to be said for keeping the money coming in as long as you can. The longer you work, the longer you can hold off taking your pension – a deferred pension has more time to potentially grow and, depending on your income, you can also keep making contributions. And, when you do start taking your pension, your savings won’t need to last as long, either. Indeed, you may also find it makes sense to defer your State Pension in return for a higher income later on. And the benefits of working into later life aren’t just financial. Those who can carry on working often find that the right job – and the social outlet it provides – improves both their physical and their emotional wellbeing. Colleagues are part of that vital support network I’ve written about previously!




It’s clear that the stereotype of women in their 50s and 60s putting their feet up is quickly becoming outdated! If you’re one of these formidable ladies who’s starting a new chapter in your working life, it makes sense to speak to a financial adviser about retirement planning. An adviser can help you plan ahead and put your income to the best use to boost your financial well-being, both now and when you do choose to wind down. I’m here to help – contact me today for a no-obligation review! Sources 1 Office for National Statistics, LFS: Employment rate: UK: Female: Aged 50-64: %: SA, April 2021

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. 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.

◗ Samantha Kaye Chartered Financial Planner/Adviser Wellesley House, 50 Victoria Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9LH 01444 849809



If we had a female prime minister would this bill have been rushed through? By Roxy Costello-Ross

OFFENDERS CONTINUE WITHOUT FEAR In recent weeks, the House of Lords voted for plans to add convicted domestic abusers and stalkers to the high-risk offenders register in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard. This would give the police and other specialist agencies a chance to monitor these criminals to prevent them from offending again. Although amendments to the Domestic Abuse bill have been added to provide extra protection to people experiencing domestic abuse and strengthen measures to tackle perpetrators, it would appear that the government do not plan to change the law on registering, monitoring and managing those already repeat offenders and stalkers will not make it onto the ‛statute’ book.

This would be a catastrophic mistake as it means losing the opportunity to manage these incredibly dangerous convicted perpetrators, which would consequently have a detrimental effect on women’s safety. In England and Wales, two women a week are killed by a current or ex-partner, and so often in these cases, it emerges afterwards that the perpetrator also had previous violent offences against other women, yet nothing was done to prevent them from moving on to their next victim and increasing their level of violence and abuse. Not having this law in place allows these tragedies to continue. Countless women have lost their lives to violence and abuse and have undoubtedly been failed by these

In the year ending March 2018, police recorded 599,549 domestic abuse-related crimes, an increase of 23% from the previous year


government rulings. Sadly there will be many more to come without protection against convicted abusers. We are particularly in need of these plans currently as, due to the pandemic, stalking and domestic abuse cases have risen significantly. The National Stalking Helpline recorded 18,000 calls from March 2020 to February 2021, as opposed to 16,000 for the same period of the previous year. That is just from the people who chose to report their stalking incidences. The Crime England and Wales Survey states that over 1.47 million people were stalked in 2019 but just 2% of victims reported it to the police, many of whom will have been subjected to up to 100 incidents before coming forward. Unfortunately because of lockdowns, stalking victims are much more easily accessible as their stalkers will know where they are at all times and victims of these crimes can suffer enormously over the pandemic, feeling as if they are prisoners in their own homes. Known stalkers must be watched and monitored in the same way they watch and monitor other criminals.

COM M E N T highly dangerous people are not being monitored by the police. Many of these perpetrators will go on to take lives, destroy families and cause immense pain and fear for women all over the country, which could be avoided by simply adding convicted serial domestic abusers and stalkers to the high-risk offender’s register. For many women, implementing safety tactics in our day to day lives is second nature. We learn at a young age to hold our keys between our fingers or in our fist like a torch so that we can defend ourselves. We learn to not walk alone at night, to only ever wear one headphone so that we can be aware of our surroundings, try not to get in a taxi alone, don’t wear provocative clothing

they face due to victim-blaming after these heinous crimes. Sarah Everard was kidnapped on March 3rd 2021 and was found dead a week later. A Metropolitan Police officer has since been arrested and has pleaded guilty to her rape and kidnap, although he has not yet entered a plea for the charge of her murder. He had been previously arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure at a fast-food restaurant in south London just a few days before kidnapping Sarah, a police watchdog later investigated whether or not this accusation was responded to appropriately. This case exacerbates the fear - not only was he not on the register but he was a serving police officer - the one man we thought we could trust!

This case exacerbates the fear - not only was he not on the register but he was a serving police officer - the one man we thought we could trust!

A study by the University of Gloucestershire found that stalking was identified in the run-up to 94% of the 358 criminal homicides that were examined. People deserve to feel safe in their own homes. Women deserve to live and to feel safe, by not implementing plans to monitor these perpetrators the Government is doing a huge disservice to all women. Not putting in place any measures to ensure our safety against violent criminals who can be found and stopped before more people suffer and more lives are taken is frankly unacceptable, and incredibly disheartening. In the year ending March 2018, police recorded 599,549 domestic abuse-related crimes, an increase of 23% from the previous year. Out of those recorded cases, police made 225,714 arrests. Over half of domestic abuse-related crimes that are recorded by police do not result in an arrest and many of them that do still have evidential difficulties when it comes to prosecution. From these reported cases alone, almost 400,000 perpetrators walked free and would potentially re-offend. Almost 400,000

and the list goes on. Yet, often in domestic violence and sexual harassment cases, the woman is still being blamed, as though they were responsible for what happened, even if she did everything ‘right’. There is nothing ‘right’ about having to be constantly worried about your safety when you’re trying to get home at night, or having to be nice to strangers making uncomfortable advances in case they become violent after being rejected. We can help tackle the victim-blaming culture by having a register that monitors these violent offenders, placing the responsibility of the crime on the perpetrator instead of the victim, and protecting victims from the injustice.

Hollie Gazzard was stalked and murdered by a man who was involved in 24 previous violent offences, including 12 on an ex-partner. Hollie had reported him to the police many times but there was no proactive risk assessment or management despite the perpetrator’s previous violent offences. Jane Clough was stalked and murdered by her violent ex-partner even though she had warned police she feared he would kill her. He had been charged with rape and assault and had a history of abusing women. He was not on the high-risk offender’s register or being monitored by police. Shana Grice, Janet Scott, Pearl Black, Linah Kenza, Maria Stubbings, Kerri McAuley, Molly McLaren, Justene Reece, Kirsty Treloar, Alice Ruggles, Linzi Ashton, Hollie Gazzard, Jane Clough, Sarah Everard. These are all women who were murdered by serial perpetrators who had previously been violent and abusive to other women. Their deaths and many others could have been prevented by a system that monitored their killers and stopped them before they could take any more lives. The government and the police need to do better, for these women and all the others that have suffered at the hands of domestic abuse.



By Alison Jones, Partner Kreston Reeves

WHAT’S THE PLAN?PART 1 Everyone needs a strong business plan when starting up a new business but how many of you now feel like you’re running a start-up business once again, only without the right plan, thanks to the events of the last 18 months? I’ve been speaking to a number of clients and business owners recently and many of them have said they now feel like they did when they first started out. Except this time they have a full team to look after, all of the costs and pressures of an established business and a business plan that is no longer working. It’s tough at the moment! So apart from the obvious, what’s changed, and why are so many business owners feeling like this? In reality it’s because everything has changed and a return to ‘normal’ is going to mean understanding and learning to navigate how the pandemic has permanently affected your business, your customer base and your markets. It may not be all bad news as it may have opened up new opportunities for you. However, all of this may be adding pressure on top of the pressure that we are all feeling from the lockdown. When you first started out, you



would have spent time researching the market and the sectors you wanted to supply to and asking yourself hundreds of questions about what was out there already, what was needed and how you could build a strong product or service line to attract and serve customers. Effectively this is what you need to do again, look at what is out there, look at the change in demand and more importantly what is needed to deliver it and base your revised business plan on this. Also, don’t be afraid to ask yourself, is this what you want out of the business going forward? Does this give you the right work/life balance and can you still plan for your future? I will touch on this point more in my next article.

For many business owners their whole business model might need to change considerably and I appreciate that this is a very scary prospect. For others it will just need adapting, so what else is there to consider? I would suggest that everyone goes back to basics and reviews all aspects of their business plan, products, services, supply chain, route to market, workforce, warehousing, distribution, sales, marketing, advertising, financing, staffing, location ... the list is seemingly endless but really everything needs to be reviewed to see if it is still relevant, working or if it needs changing. Take the time now to stand back and review. The good news is that this time you have the benefit of your knowledge, and experience and that of your team around you. Many businesses will have business bounce back loans and I would suggest that you start looking at the opportunities to refinance this lending. Many banks are offering the opportunity to increase the repayment period over a longer period to help with cashflow. In trying to understand the barriers to growth that your business may face now, especially post Covid, it is perhaps important to also look at some of the wider issues that affect women entrepreneurs, such as the lack of funding.

For many business owners their whole business model might need to change considerably and I appreciate that this is a very scary prospect

Research published by Extend Ventures (Diversity Beyond Gender, November 2020) shows “between 2009 and 2019, 68.33% of the capital raised across the seed, early and late venture capital funding stages went to all male teams, 28.80% to mixed teams and 2.87% to all female teams. Black female entrepreneurs experienced the poorest outcomes with just 10 receiving venture capital investment over the 10-year period and non-receiving late-stage funding.” This is clearly something which has to change and fast. Finally, do try to remain positive, easier said than done I know, but even in the most difficult of times there are always new opportunities. Remember a problem shared is a problem halved so I am always happy to be a sounding board if you need to talk.

◗ Alison Jones is Partner at Kreston Reeves T: 0330 124 1399


PLASTIC FASHION By Roxy Costello-Ross

Increasingly, fast fashion brands are becoming one of the biggest environmental risks and contributors to climate change. Over the last 20 years the use of synthetic fibres such as polyester, acrylic and nylon, which are made using fossil fuels, has doubled thanks to the boom in fast fashion and online retailers such as Missguided, Boohoo and Asos. An analysis of 10,000 pieces of clothing that had been added to these retailer’s websites found that 49% of items were made from these new plastics, and many companies refuse to use recycled materials that would reduce pollution caused by the fashion industry. This poses a great threat to our environment as the production of synthetic fibres requires large amounts of energy to be used up, causing great environmental damage over time. Consumers of these brands must be educated on the damage that the production of these clothes is causing and stop falling for the gimmicky 8p dresses and £1 bikinis that won’t last for more than a few washes. A key issue is the safe disposal of un-


sold clothes from fast fashion retailers, which are equally as harmful to the environment as single-use plastic packaging. In the UK, 300,000 tonnes of clothing is burned or buried every year. Brands argue that burning clothes that don’t sell is the most cost-effective way of maintaining their brand’s exclusivity, but that comes at the cost of releasing dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, as well as plastic microfibres, which greatly exacerbates global warming. They should be legally banned from this type of behaviour. Landfills are no solution either, with an estimated 18.6 million tonnes of clothing ending up being dumped in 2020.

With each second that passes by, a truck’s worth of textiles is dumped into a landfill. These materials can take upwards of 200 years to decompose and generate greenhouse methane gas as well as leak toxic chemicals and dyes into the groundwater and soil. Our job as fashion consumers is to make these brands aware that we are determined to protect our environment in any ways that we can and promote ethical consumption and sustainable clothing so that more clothes are made in a way that does not contribute to the climate crisis. After all, these consumer-based brands will only follow where the market takes them; we need to create more public demand for sustainability. Sadly, it’s not just the land that is affected by the use of these plastics. Microfibres can come off synthetic clothing in the washing machine, with as many as 250,000 microfibres being released from just one fleece jacket. Some of these microfibres can be removed by wastewater treatments, but around 40% are drained into rivers and eventually

E N V I RON M E N T ducing clothes that shed fibres or at the very least use recycled plastics, we can save thousands of aquatic animals, and ourselves, from ingesting these harmful substances. Recycling is fundamental to the sustainable production of clothing. In some stores, just 1% of their items contained

If we carry on purchasing from fast fashion brands and supporting unsustainable consumption it doesn’t matter if our dress only cost 8p, we won’t have a planet left to wear it on

into the sea. As the fibres do not dissolve, they stay in the ocean forever, which poses an enormous threat to fish and other aquatic animals. Fish eat plastic fibres which then fills their stomachs and gets stuck, causing them to feel full even if they are not. Eventually, these fish, and other sea creatures, will die of starvation, or at the very least suffer severe health complications such as cell damage and inflammation. These fibres can also bind to harmful chemical pollutants, which can make them toxic and as people eat fish, these fibres will ultimately end up inside of us. A 2019 study estimated that people eat up to 11,000 pieces of plastic per year, and no studies have been commissioned to investigate how this will affect our bodies. Most of the micro-plastics that harm fish in freshwater are microfibres coming from clothing instead of microbeads that can be found in things like exfoliating face wash and toothpaste. Fast-fashion brands are the key to combating this. If they stop selling clothes that are made from these synthetic plastics, stop pro-

recycled fabric, according to a study from the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). The good news is that many fashion companies are taking steps towards this, with companies like Boohoo and Missguided pledging that in the next few years, more of their products would use recycled fibres and/or be more sustainable. Asos have taken it a step further, using more recycled synthetics and sustainable cotton and introducing a curated ‘responsible edit’ to guide shoppers to clothes that are made with more sustainable materials. Until most, if not all clothing production can be made more sustainably, it is up to brands to stop producing such a large quantity of clothing, as many will go unsold, and for consumers to stop feeding into unsustainable shopping where they can.

Ultimately, it is the massive scale of production of synthetic fibres that needs to be stopped to create less environmental damage, as alternative materials such as cotton and viscose can also create problems but are not produced in such large quantities. The RSA is calling for a per-item “plastic tax” on clothing using virgin plastics that are imported or produced in the UK. MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee claim that a 1p per garment charge is needed to raise £35 million per year for better clothing collection and sorting. However, the government failed to implement this, stating only that it could be considered by 2025. Even fashion brands are in support of this, with a survey from Drapers, a fashion trade publication, revealed that out of 370 brands, 85% thought the government was not doing enough to support sustainability in the fashion industry, and 69% claim they support the 1p charge. There is no time to waste when it comes to stopping climate change. The MPs report ‘Fixing Fashion’ revealed that UK shoppers buy more clothes than any other European country and twice as many as Germany and Italy. Research shows that textile production contributes more emissions to the climate crisis than international aviation and shipping combined. It consumes lake-sized volumes of fresh water and creates countless levels of chemical and microplastic pollution. It is now well established that fast fashion is one of the leading contributors to environmental damage, and as the climate crisis increases its pressure on the industry to mend its ways, we as consumers need to do our part to ensure that we are shopping as sustainably as we can, even if it costs us a little more. If we carry on purchasing from fast fashion brands and supporting unsustainable consumption it doesn’t matter if our dress only cost 8p, we won’t have a planet left to wear it on.



THE FIVE TIBETAN RITES Access your deep energy source with this ancient routine By Tess de Klerk from Bliss Yoga

The Five Tibetan Rites, also known as the “Fountain of Youth,” are a series of five exercises said to have been practiced by Tibetan lamas (monks) for over 2500 years. The story tells of an English colonel who, during his travels in Tibet, noticed the youthful, vibrant energy of even the eldest monks and committed to staying in the monasteries to learn their secret of youth. After learning much, he concluded that the one most powerful practice of all the monks was the Five Rites. Ultimately a condensed form of yoga that powered the chakras, strengthened and healed the body while balancing the physiological systems. Practitioners of the Tibetan Rites report increased energy and mental clarity, greater spinal flexibility, a decrease in body pains especially within the joints, better sleep, better digestion and improved libido. I can agree with those practitioners. Interestingly, data has emerged in the last few years suggesting that the flexibility of our spine predicts the flexibility of our arteries, and a yoga practice centered on spine flexibility, just like the Five Rites, may help maintain our arteries in a youthful state. Although the Tibetan


Rites haven’t been studied for arterial health, other studies suggest the flow can help cardiovascular health. From a more ‘yogic’ point of view, the power of the Rites lies in the positive effect on our chakras. According to Tibetan monk practitioners, youth and vigour can be achieved when the chakra energy fields spin at the same rate. They practice the Five Tibetan Rites in order to achieve this. The movements activate, energise and balance the chakra system which corresponds with our endocrine glands. Some of the major endocrine glands are the thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, pancreas, adrenals and ovaries, and the hormones secreted by these glands play a vital role in controlling and regulating many of the body’s functions. In short, when our endocrine system is working well, we feel well.


WHERE TO START ◗ Respect the golden rule – respect your body and where it’s at in your practice. Don’t push yourself too far too fast, modify moves when needed. ◗ The first week: do three repetitions of each movement. After the first week: add two or three repetitions per week, building up to 21 repetitions of each Rite (considered to be the full practice). ◗ Keep in mind that practicing the Rites correctly is more important than doing them quickly. ◗ Follow the recommended breathing pattern for each movement, keeping the breathing full and continuous. ◗ Practice six days a week. If you’re short on time, do fewer repetitions, but do them. ◗ Be aware that beginners may experience mild detox effects such as nausea, runny nose and aches, particularly if building up to many repetitions too fast. Start with the cleansing breath and take two cleansing breaths between each Rite. The short break gives the body a moment to integrate what it has just experienced. ◗ Stand with feet hip-width apart ◗ Rest your hands on your hips ◗ Inhale deeply through your nose ◗ E xhale fully through your mouth, forming an ‘o’ with your lips


H E A LT H RITE #1: Spinning

The first Tibetan Rite – spinning! With arms outstretched, palms facing down, stand tall and turn slowly around in a circle.


◗ Spin clockwise ◗ B reathe fully in and out through the nose as you spin ◗ Focus your gaze on the leading hand, if dizziness is too uncomfortable ◗ Take a break every few spins if needed to reduce dizziness ◗ Try to spin in the same spot (not as easy as it sounds)

RITE #2: Leg lifts

◗ Lay on your back, tucking your arms under your body ◗ Inhale through the nose as you raise legs to 90°, keeping them straight if possible. ◗ Modify this by lifting one leg at a time. ◗ Flexing your feet will deepen the stretch in the back of your legs. ◗ A s you raise your legs, lift your head and tuck your chin to your chest. ◗ Keep your shoulders on the floor as you raise your head. ◗ E xhale through your nose as you lower your head and legs to the floor.

2 3


RITE #3: Ustrasana or Camel pose ◗ K neel on your knees with your legs hipwidth apart, knees in line with your hips. ◗ Curl your toes under and place your palms on the buttocks, fingers facing down. Keep your back straight and abdominals engaged. ◗ Inhale as you lift your chest, arch your back slightly and look up, gently squeezing your shoulder blades together, keeping your neck long (your focus should be on lengthening and opening the chest rather than arching). ◗ Ensure that your abdominals are engaged to protect the lower back. Watch out for the temptation to overarch! ◗ E xhale as you return to your starting position.


RITE #4: Tabletop

◗ Sit with legs hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the mat. ◗ Place your hands next to your hips with fingers pointing towards your feet. ◗ Drop your chin toward your chest. Inhale and gently drop your head back. Simultaneously lift your hips and bend your knees until you’re in a Tabletop pose, with your head gently tilted back. ◗ E xhale as you lower back to the mat, tucking your chin to your chest.


The Five Tibetan Rites must be one of my all-time favourite practices – it works wonders for energy levels and stamina and takes less than 20 minutes a day


RITE #5: The fifth Rite involves both the Downward-Facing Dog and Upward-Facing Dog poses. For this reason, it’s often called Two Dogs or Pendulum ◗ Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Plant your palms in front of you. ◗ E xtend your feet behind you, toes curled and shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms and arch your spine while keeping the tops of your legs on the ground. Drop your head back into Upward-Facing Dog. ◗ Then, inhale and lift your hips, moving your body into an upside down “V” shape. Move your chin toward your chest and straighten your back into Downward-Facing Dog. ◗ E xhale and move back into Upward-Facing Dog. ◗ To support your lower back, you can bend your knees when moving in between poses.

Gradually move up towards 21 repetitions of all movements every day. Use it on its own or as a warm up to any other practice. The Five Tibetan Rites must be one of my all-time favourite practices – it works wonders for energy levels and stamina & takes less than 20 minutes a day!



TIBET In today’s Tibet, we can still experience the ancient culture set in a region of lakefilled valleys and mountains, surrounded by stupas, temples, and monasteries. The Himalayan Mountains flank Tibet’s endless peaks, giving it its iconic profile. In testament to the enduring spirit and mystery of Tibet, the old and sacred Tibet can still be found in spite of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region in 1950. Tragically, thousands of Tibetan sites were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution after the Tibet Autonomous Region of China was formed but the most important and

sacred Tibetan monuments remain, and you can explore them as you travel through the country.


There is no easy answer to this question. Although China controls Tibet’s tourism, visiting means contributing to the preservation of Tibetan culture and experiencing the forms of spiritualism unique to Tibet that you cannot find anywhere else. The Dalai Lama encourages travel there to see the country first-hand and bring those stories home.

Tibet is not for the faint-hearted but it is a rewarding destination in itself, one that will surely be vividly remembered after memories of your average get-away have long faded


The Tibetan Kingdom is undeniably on the bucket list of many adventure travelers and spiritual seekers, and in my opinion, a mystical destination to be experienced while we still can. By Tess de Klerk

T R AV E L KEEP IN MIND ◗ Foreigners can no longer travel independently in Tibet All travel has to be organised by a Tibetan (or Chinese) travel agency. You have to be accompanied by a tour guide for all monastery and historical site visits. You can however wander around Lhasa freely, go to restaurants, etc.

◗ Not all sites are open to foreign travellers. You can’t enter Tibet during the Tibetan New Year The Tibetan New Year is arguably the most important date on the Tibetan calendar and falls in February or March. The country is closed to all foreign tourists during that time

◗ You can only enter Tibet via Mainland China or Nepal There are trains and direct flights from many Chinese cities and direct flights from Khatmandu, Nepal to Lhasa.

◗ You need permission to climb Mount Everest from the Tibetan side If you’re a climber and plan to conquer the highest mountain in the world, you have to apply for a climbing permit via a professional mountaineering company.

◗ Entry Permits are required A Tibet Entry Permit is required to enter Tibet. This can not be applied for independently and has to be organised by a local travel agency such as China Highlights.

◗ Best to steer clear of discussing local politics or the Dalai Lama In light of the tumultuous past, the history and politics of the region are understandably a very sensitive subject for both sides.

In spite of these imposed restrictions, this kingdom of extremes offers mystery and magic, overwhelming beauty of the world’s highest mountains, haunting images of Buddhas, deities and demons, intricate colourful Tibetan art, poignant devotion of the pilgrims and improbable ancient architectural wonders clinging to perilous hillsides. Tibet is not for the faint-hearted but it is a rewarding destination in itself, one that will surely be vividly remembered after memories of your average getaway have long faded.



TECH STUFF MODEL TESTED: Z4 sDrive 30i ENGINE: 1,998 turbo V6 POWER: 258 bhp SPEED: 0-62 - 5.4 secs TOP: 155 mph ECONOMY: 38.7 mpg PRICE FROM: £36,990


I have been set a challenge to see how different a car review is perceived when written by a man or a woman. Therefore, Fiona Shafer, our Motoring Editor for Dynamic, is writing the same review having spent the same time with the car did. I can’t wait to see the results as l have asked Design to keep them from us until publication

By Senior Motoring Editor, Maarten Hoffmann


The Z4 was introduced in 2002 and went on sale in Europe in March 2003. Unfortunately, it always suffered from the same reputation as the Audi TT – that of being a ‘hairdressers’ car, a phrase coined by the Top Gear hooligans that, inadvertently, can seriously damage the reputation of any model. Sadly, they were not wrong as it was small, under powered and certainly did have a specific demographic. This third generation model changes all that – it’s powerful, beautifully designed, fast, stable and a seriously nice place to be. This is the car BMW has been developing in tandem with Toyota since 2013. What BMW has done however, is to entirely redesign the car’s suspension (struts featuring up front and, for the first time in a Z4, a five-link system at the rear). Lightweight aluminium components have been adopted to save on unsprung mass, while new subframe mounting techniques have been used at both ends and the tracks are wider – by a significant 98mm at the front. IE: it’s chunkier, lighter and more comfortable to spend time in. Buyers will be able to choose between 194bhp and 255bhp turbocharged


2.0-litre petrol engines in the 20i and 30i respectively. A 3.0-litre turbo straight six (M40i), with M Performance derivative status, sits temptingly atop of the range and is endowed with 335bhp and 369lb ft of torque. The Z4 features BMW’s newgeneration ‘Live Cockpit Professional’ digital instruments and its ‘BMW Operating System 7.0’ infotainment set-up. It’s also the first Z4 with a headsup display. The latter is optional but always worth having as your eyeline is where it should be – on the road ahead. The virtual assistant can be given a name; I called mine was ‘Fiona’, and if




you are chilly, say ‘l am cold’ and she will pop the heating on. Likewise, say ‘take me home’ and the SatNav springs into life and guides you home. She also works as a live manual for the car so ask her anything and she will tell you where it is or how to do it. Clever old Fiona. You’ll need to keep a wary eye on that speedo too, because the Z4 can certainly stretch its legs. The car’s turbo straight six pulls with lots of guts and great throttle response from low speed, and keeps pulling with smoothness and freedom in its delivery all the way to 155mph. BMW’s preference to dial in contrived engine noise through the speakers in the car’s more dynamic drive modes might be a bugbear for some, but you quickly forget about that and enjoy the drive. And there’s the point – this is a car that you really want to drive, making it the journey and not the destination that’s most important. Inside is a very nice place to be with all-new seats designed for this model that hold you well in corners and everything on the dash is well

Being so low to the ground, the acceleration always feels quite special and it will pull endlessly if you give it the beans placed and at hand. To save weight, we have an electric soft top rather than the heavy old hard beast and as weight is always the enemy of performance, this helps and makes no difference to the drive as little wind noise is evident. It also offers you more boot space which is always welcome. The statutory BMW rotary dial to flick through the various menus works well and does get away from all the very annoying touch screen variants we are awash with. In my opinion, touch screens are dangerous

to use on the move and the Land Rover Defender l currently have on my drive is a testament to that. The drive is a hark back to the old days of small, powerful sports-cars with rag tops and all the power going through to the rear wheels. This means losing the back of the car is easy on wet corners and spiffing good fun if you like that sort of thing but if you don’t try, it won’t happen so there is nothing to be concerned about. Being so low to the ground, the acceleration always feels quite special and it will pull endlessly if you give it the beans. The ride is acceptable and the steering is very precise although somewhat lacking is feel through the wheel but, to be honest, we are getting used to that these days, whether we like it or not. If l was in the market for a twoseater rag top, this would be very high on the list and would be in front of the Porsche Boxster and the Audi TT. It’s fun to drive, looks sensational, goes like a train, is built like a Panzer tank and makes any journey a joy. What more do you need – go buy it.





By Motoring Editor, Fiona Shafer, MD of MDHUB

Price from: £36,990 | Combined MPG: 38.7 Speed: 0 – 62 MPH in 5.4 secs | Top speed: 155 mph | 8 speed | Semi-auto 4 Drive Modes: Sport, Comfort, Eco and Advance

The new BMW G29 Z4 Drive 30i M Sport produced an unstoppable grin on my face before I even got into it, always an exceptionally good sign. Being very honest, I have been looking for this “sign” for a while now. Whilst I have been extraordinarily lucky thus far to review some exceptional cars for DYNAMIC: ◗ Mercedes E53 AMG, ◗ Jaguar F Pace SVR and I Pace, ◗ Audi E Tron 55 Quattro and SQ7, All of which were spectacularly fast, brilliantly engineered and all eye-

How to manoeuvre my 6ft Amazonian, part German frame into the gorgeous Magma Red (Burnt orange to you and me) vernasca Leather seats?


watering expensive, none of them quite had the complete “Va Va Voom” I so craved. Greedily, I wanted the whole experience of a stylish, fast BMW, but with the sheer joy and fun that a great convertible sports car provides. Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, I also wanted a car with intuitive technology that even I could completely understand and enjoy at a price that I could afford. I will caveat all of this with – if you enjoy driving, then I think that everyone should have the experience of a convertible sports car at least once in their life, even if only for a short while or for a holiday rental or a very sweet romance. Appreciating this is an entirely personal choice, my mantra remains – if you are going to seriously invest in a car, do not buy one unless it makes your heart sing, every day.




◗ A bsolutely fabulous value for money – Starting at £36,990 ◗ E rgonomically gorgeous – the leather interior was to die for ◗ T he soft top fitted snugly and was very quiet ◗ Visibility better than most convertibles ◗ I t was enormous fun, and I did not want to give it back

NAY ◗ T he parking brake button is rather too close to the Sunroof button for my liking, unless you are thinking of having your own ejector seat for unwanted passengers ◗ T he cup holder compartment is directly under your elbow, the designer must have had a momentary lapse of reason

9.5/10 Can you tell that I absolutely loved it?


Still grinning ridiculously, I then had to navigate as to how I manoeuvred my 6ft Amazonian, part German frame into the gorgeous Magma Red (Burnt orange to you and me) Vernasca Leather seats ... rather seamlessly as it transpired. Even to my surprise. There was more bootie space for me than actual boot space for you, but I would expect nothing less from my Teutonic ancestors and their design capabilities. I bow down to them. It was an unseasonally cool May evening as I drove the Z4 away from Brighton Marina. With the new cloth roof down (just because I could and it wasn’t raining) and wearing a ridiculously inappropriate chiffon peasant blouse and leather boots (but that is what happens when you drive a sports car – they make you change your wardrobe!), I drove from Brighton over the hills to the High Weald; the evening air, still holding the scents of the day – ozone, diesel, bluebells, manure and wild garlic; all the reasons I SO love a sports car with its roof down. After a challenging day, a convertible will always give you

a feeling of a day at the beach before you get home. I soon immersed myself in the driving experience with the extraordinary Paolo Nutini singing Scream (Funk My Life Up) as I sped along the lanes around Glyndebourne Opera House, on the Hardman Karman sound system. I had every reason to join in and sing. “Makes you wanna scream... Hallelujah”. The Z4 has come on in leaps and bounds from the earlier models and the cheeky hairdresser car moniker that they unfortunately got labelled with. In fact I don’t think it is even a distant relation to them now unless you really want to do a DNA test. It is a gloriously understated car, stylish with a simplicity of design that I adore. The technology in the Z4 was wondrously straightforward – it is 100% BMW (despite the German – Japanese partnership with Toyota). I could understand everything immediately. It was highly intuitive, and it also had a small hard copy manual (how quaint … not seen one of those

for a while but which we all need if you break down in the middle of nowhere with no GPS or signal) . It also made me smile for other unexpected reasons – you can delete your history of stored relationships, you can have Do not disturb – passenger on board, you can have a “ vitalize “ or a “relax” car care programme and concierge services – for requests of all kinds. Let’s be frank, who needs a hotel?



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