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The Official Magazine of Somerset Chamber of Commerce

February / March 2018

The aftermath of Carillion - opinion and advice 18 | FEATURE


County Council updates Chamber audience


Heathrow Airport announces business summit


A visual summary of the Chamber’s latest events

Over 40 business sectors and more than 32,000 employees represented



members across Somerset



Pulse e-newsletters a year

Bi-monthly Somerset Voice Magazine

discounted events a year

Be heard lobbying and representation

Includes: • Networking • Training • Development • Briefing • Panel discussion • CEO forum

Raise your profile within the local business community


inter-member discounts


Use of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce logo


Contribute to and receive Quarterly Economic Surveys Event sponsorship

400 attend Somerset Business Awards

T: 01823 444924 E:


CONTENTS 4 5 6-9

First Word Patron News Chamber News Focus On: Leisure and Tourism Members Area Features #WellConnected The Big Interview

10-11 12-17 18-19 22-23 24-25

Members News Business News Town Chamber News

26-31 32-33 34

Disclaimer The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the Chamber. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in print or electronic format (including, but not limited to, any online service, any database or any part of the internet), or in any other format in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in the magazine, Somerset Chamber do not accept any responsibility for any omissions or inaccuracies it contains.

Somerset Chamber of Commerce Equity House Blackbrook Park Avenue Blackbrook Business Park Taunton, Somerset TA1 2PX

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FIRST WORD As we know, Somerset is wonderfully varied in terms of geography and economic activity. From getting out and about speaking to businesses owners, I continue to hear how passionate they are about Somerset. It is true that over the last 100 years, Somerset has developed from principally an agricultural and tourism based economy to a wide cross section of industries including aerospace, energy, renewables and service sectors, but we must not lose sight of the importance of our bedrock industries. Tourism as a sector remains exceptionally valuable as it supports 26,000 full-time equivalent jobs in Somerset, generating over £1.3 billion to the Somerset economy. To put this into context, regional tourism spend in the South West is £10.3 billion; so we need to ensure that Somerset maintains and expands its share and value. In this issue, our subject for The Big Interview is John Turner, CEO of Visit Somerset. In his spread, John discusses his vision for the county, the implications Brexit may have on local tourism and shares exactly what Somerset has to offer in 2018. Continuing the theme, our Sector Focus for this edition is Leisure and Tourism, where we hear from some of our members about their thoughts and experiences surrounding what is happening on the ground within their industry. We hope you enjoy this issue and trust 2018 has started positively. I’m very much looking forward to catching up with existing and future members at our events in the coming months. There are exciting times ahead with more announcements to be made soon.



Get in touch Marketing

Scarlett Scott-Collins

Marketing and Communications Supervisor T: 01823 444924 E:


Alistair Tudor

Head of Chamber Services T: 01823 444924 | M: 07912 054195 E:

Ritchie Cridge Membership Manager

T: 01823 444924 | M: 07706 292143 E:

Jenn Chidley-Sanders Service Delivery Manager

T: 01823 444924 | M: 07872 063039 E:


Loren Gray Events Manager

T: 01823 444924 | M: 07821 950379 E:

Brooke Gilbertson Events Coordinator

T: 01823 444924 E:

Hinkley Supply Chain

Sam Evans

Head of Hinkley Supply Chain Engagement

Contact us to find out what benefits Somerset Chamber Patrons receive.

T: 01823 443425 | M: 07525 809274 E:

T: 01823 444924 E:

Business Reporting & Information Officer

Alan Windsor

T: 01823 443425 E:

General Enquiries

Laura Rigby

Senior Administrator T: 01823 444924 E:



A-Plant among UK’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers for consecutive year A-Plant has been celebrated once again for being one of the UK’s leading apprenticeship employers. The UK’s largest equipment hire company was named in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list for the second year running at the National Apprenticeship Awards 2017 held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. It is also the only major equipment rental company to be included in the list. A-Plant’s commitment to training the next generation of skilled plant maintenance teams, customer service personnel and transport and logistics teams is pioneering for the construction equipment rental sector. There are currently 166 apprentices in training across five different apprenticeship streams. A-Plant invests more than £2m in the programme annually and has an industry leading retention rate. A-Plant’s apprenticeship programme was first launched in 2005. Since then many apprentices have been promoted to senior roles across the business and the programme is oversubscribed each year. The company holds its own apprenticeship celebration to

recognise the outstanding work of individuals. A-Plant’s Head of Training, Bob Harper said they were thrilled to be named in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list for 2017, which features many leading household names. “We are delighted to have made the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer list once again and this recognition is testament to A-Plant’s commitment to training the next generation. Apprentices are a vital part of A-Plant’s future and our apprenticeship scheme has become much sought after and widely recognised across the construction industry. “Apprentices bring a fresh eyes to the workplace and offer opportunities for experienced A-Plant employees to share their extensive skills and knowledge. It creates a healthy and dynamic workplace for everyone as well as ensuring we have the right skills in place.” Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, commented on A-Plant being named a Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer. “The Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer

list 2017 demonstrates clearly the impact apprentices can have on an organisation. Apprentice employers are creating opportunities for individuals to gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed, up to degree level, while working and earning. “These Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers are making a difference to the lives of their apprentices by investing in their future. In return, apprentices are helping employers to develop a skilled, qualified workforce to build a stronger economy. “I hope the success of these Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers will mean more businesses across England aspire to follow their example and to find out for themselves how apprenticeships help to grow a skilled and highly qualified workforce.” Find out more information about A-Plant’s apprenticeship scheme at

Somerset County Cricket Club and Somerset Chamber renew partnership Somerset County Cricket Club will once again be working closely with Somerset Chamber of Commerce in 2018 after the two organisations renewed their current partnership. The new agreement will see Somerset County Cricket Club remain as a Patron of the Somerset Chamber for the forthcoming year.

Somerset CCC Head of Commercial Sales, Sam McIntyre said: “We have been patrons of Somerset Chamber of Commerce since 2014 and I’m delighted to say that our partnership has been going from strength to strength ever since. “The Somerset Chamber are dedicated to promoting, representing and supporting local businesses and that is something that we feel extremely passionate about. “The Chamber play a major role in helping the regions businesses to thrive and that can only be good for the county as a whole. I have no doubt that this mutually beneficial

relationship will continue for many years to come.” Somerset Chamber Chief Executive, Dale Edwards said: “It’s terrific to be able to reaffirm the strong connection between Somerset Chamber of Commerce and the Somerset County Cricket Club. Over the last four years of partnership, both organisations have undergone significant changes, developing their teams, working towards their core values and raising their profile across the region. “We look forward to working closely with SCCC over the coming 12 months and will continue to support the Club in their activities throughout 2018.”



CHAMBER NEWS Full house for Chamber update with Somerset County Council Devolution, road improvements and digital connectivity were among the key topics discussed at Somerset Chamber of Commerce’s breakfast briefing with Somerset County Council on Tuesday 16 January. Sixty business people gathered at Taunton Racecourse for the Chamber’s first event of the year, where Cllr. David Hall, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Development, provided an update on the Council’s plans and priorities for 2018. Cllr. Hall opened his presentation by highlighting that the County Council continues to recognise the importance of working with and supporting business where they can, so he was delighted to have been given the opportunity to speak to Chamber members again this year. He outlined the topic of devolution and the discussions that the Council has had with government regarding the challenges of electing a metro mayor to cover an area as broad and diverse as the South West, with confirmation now received that a metro mayor is no longer a requirement. He said that 17 local authorities across the South West have signed up to a joint committee, which is the first stage on the path to devolution, with the topics of rural productivity, digital connectivity and transport, housing, innovation and skills being the at the core of the devolution offering.

On the subject of road improvements, he emphasised that progress is being made on developing the second key strategic route into the South West, with a consultation on the proposed changes to the A358 about to be launched and positive discussions taking place regarding the proposed tunnel and bypass at Stonehenge. On digital connectivity, he stated that phase two of Connecting Devon and Somerset, which is now underway, will deliver 95% superfast broadband across the county. The Council is currently trying to set up a discussion with Matt Hancock, the new Culture Secretary, to get clarity on what is planned in terms of delivering 100% superfast broadband, as well as what is going to happen about the mobile network, which is still proving challenging for many in Somerset. As Carillion Telent is a prime contractor for Gigaclear, which is responsible for the second phase of the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, Cllr. Hall confirmed that they are monitoring the situation carefully. However, he did say that Gigaclear had confirmed they have no financial exposure and they have contingency plans for alternative delivery if there is a major issue. Other topics referenced by Cllr. David Hall during his presentation included the proposed merger of West Somerset and Taunton Deane district councils, the development

of the Somerset Energy Innovation Centre, the iAero project, and council budget constraints. Questions raised by the attendees included issues around business rates, road and rail improvements, unitary authority and inward investment support. Dale Edwards, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, then spoke to delegates about the continuing growth of the Chamber, including through the new Somerset Education Business Partnership – a collaborative programme with Somerset Chamber and Somerset County Council, which is funded by the Hinkley Point C Community Impact Mitigation Fund. He also referenced the upcoming Heathrow Business Summit in March, which will give local businesses a chance to understand the opportunities that are available and meet some of the Tier 1 suppliers to the project. Bradfords Group, a Patron of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, was the event sponsor for the breakfast briefing. Following the event, Director Paul Carlisle commented, “Today’s breakfast event with Somerset County Council was enjoyable and informative, with the presentation by Cllr. David Hall being a valuable source of information. Combined with the opportunity to communicate with other like-minded Somerset businesses, this was undoubtedly a worthwhile event to attend and support. Bradfords has been trading in Somerset since 1770 and we are proud of our roots, so we are happy and privileged to be a Patron of Somerset Chamber and were pleased to sponsor this event.” Cllr. Clare Paul from Somerset County Council added, “The event was hugely successful with a great turn out, enormously rewarding for all who attended and we have already placed correspondence to address some of the questions raised. The networking time was very successful where further introductions were brokered. Well done and thank you to Dale and the Chamber team.”


Ritchie Cridge, Membership Manager

Photography by Newsquest

of Somerset Chamber

Business to Business Dinner at Haynes International Motor Museum If you have never been to a Business to Business (B2B) Dinner hosted by Somerset Chamber of Commerce, our new Membership Manager, Ritchie Cridge explains what to expect. Having joined the Somerset Chamber in December, our January B2B was my first experience of this tried and tested networking format. The event was sold out with over 70 business professionals attending the Haynes International Motor Museum on Wednesday January 31. Access was given to The Red Room which allowed the opportunity for delegates to view cars, both classic and modern, followed by drinks and initial networking opportunities. Dale Edwards, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, presented an opening speech, welcoming everyone to the event before explaining

that we would be moving tables between courses, to allow for maximum networking opportunities (and reminding us not to forget to take our glasses and napkins with us!). Having sat at our first tables, everyone was given the opportunity to talk about who they were and their role, whilst passing out business cards. After the introductions, we enjoyed a relaxed conversation over our starter involving the whole table (a unique experience for a networking dinner in my experience), before changing tables for our main course to meet a further seven people. Across the three courses, I met far more people than at a traditional dinner, and it was great fun changing tables and making more connections. The Museum did not fail to impress, through the provision of three delicious courses in an elegant function room. Many new faces saw the event thrive, with multiple contacts made between Somerset (and surrounding counties) businesses and organisations. Thomas Seymour of Bibby Financial Services, sponsor of the event, delivered a captivating and informative synopsis of their core capabilities. The event came to a close at 10.00 with closing remarks from Dale Edwards. The next Somerset Chamber Business to Business Dinner will be held at Quantock Lakes on April 25, 2018 – please book early to avoid disappointment.




CEO gives Chamber update Somerset Chamber have had a great start to 2018 and it seems we’re not alone. From speaking to our members, it feels like 2018 has started strongly with orders being placed, agreements signed off and businesses starting to invest. The weight of negativity around Brexit seems to be lifting, not due to the pace of negotiations but a general weariness of bad news and a desire to crack on regardless. This has been reflected in the popularity of our events programme with January and February networking and workshop events all selling out. That’s 338 people and counting, connecting with other organisations and growing their businesses. I’m looking forward to the rest of the calendar of relevant, interesting and popular events and hope to see you during the year. Over the next few months the Chamber will be campaigning for parts of the M5 to become a smart motorway to reduce incidents and improve journey times. It’s vital that the main

arterial route to the South West is fit for purpose and reducing the number of incidents (16,934 between Exeter and Gloucester in the year to August 2016) is critical for sustainable business growth. Part of this growth will come from the Hinkley Point C project and the HPC Supply Chain team hit the milestone of 4,000 businesses registered on the South West Supply Chain portal recently. It is important that we try and keep as much of the positive economic benefits within the South West and the Supply Chain is mapping business capabilities to direct main contractors and Tier 1 and 2 businesses to local businesses who can fulfil their requirements. The Chamber also recently announced the success of a joint bid to deliver the new Education Business Partnership for Somerset. We’ll be working closely with the Somerset County Council to develop the project with partner organisations and stakeholders to deliver one of our key manifesto pledges – to have an aspirational workforce with world class skill, that will help grow the competitiveness of Somerset business.

Somerset Chamber of Commerce has a new media partner The County Gazette will be at the forefront of helping the Chamber communicate its vision to be a catalyst to develop and support a vibrant Somerset economy. Commercial director at the County Gazette, Karen Bosley, said: “The County Gazette, as well as the other titles in our Somerset portfolio, is already at the heart of championing business in our county, so joining forces with the Somerset Chamber of Commerce was a natural step. “These are exciting times for business in Somerset and as well as helping companies succeed through our range of advertising solutions, there is nothing better than being able to tell the stories of success in Somerset to thousands of readers in print and online each week. “So make sure you don’t forget to pick up your copy of the County Gazette to keep up-to-date with the business buzz.” The partnership sees the newspaper and website become exclusive media partners for selected Chamber events; the consistently popular Ladies’ Afternoon Tea & Networking and quarterly Business to Business Dinners. Dale Edwards, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber, said: “The Chamber has had a long-term relationship with Newsquest, Somerset, notably through the Somerset Business Awards and regular columns. “Extending this partnership by working with the County Gazette, its sister publications and specific Chamber events, is the next logical step and I am delighted to be working with such a progressive organisation.”

Pictured: Paul Jones, Editor at County Gazette; Alistair Tudor, Head of Chamber Services at Somerset Chamber; Karen Bosley, Commercial Director at County Gazette; Dale Edwards, Chief Executive at Somerset Chamber.

You can read about all the latest business news in Somerset every Thursday in the County Gazette, or log on to




Cognique redesign Chamber website 2017 saw plenty of change for Somerset Chamber, including a rebrand which sparked the creation of a new website! Designed and built by Cognique, the project demonstrated how a close working relationship can bring positive and rapid results. Based in Wells, Cognique provide websites and Digital Marketing for businesses throughout Somerset, many of whom are Chamber members. As Chamber members themselves, Cognique were perfectly placed to understand the needs of the Chamber and its member organisations. Cognique recently re-joined the newly-invigorated Chamber, attracted by its forward-thinking attitude and desire to understand what businesses want from membership. Like so many other Somerset businesses, Cognique recognise the importance of the introductions and opportunities available via Chamber networking.

£999 OFF YOU R N E XT WEB S I T E 01 749 678721


Somerset Chamber had clear ideas about what was needed from the new website. It had to mirror the dynamic nature of the Chamber and be at the forefront of design, maximising user experience. Responsive design is vital to an ever-growing smart phone audience, allowing users easy access to a wealth of valuable member content. Integration with the existing, third party ‘ChamberMaster’ booking system, was another technical requirement. Working closely with the Chamber team, Cognique delivered a website that not only met technical needs, but also reflects the Chamber’s position within the Somerset business community. Launched in August 2017, the new website continues to give a new level of accessibility for Chamber members. It also provided the Chamber team with an easy-to-use online platform to market the organisation. Managing Director of Cognique, Nigel Reece, said: “Developing a new website for a prestigious organisation such as the Somerset Chamber was a real pleasure. As with most projects, there were challenges to overcome. However, the focus and enthusiasm of the Chamber team meant that those challenges never became problems and the Chamber’s input enabled Cognique to deliver the website they needed.” Dale Edwards, Somerset Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, said:

Offer ends 31 March 2018. Offer can not be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount.

“From initial meeting to final delivery of the Chamber website, the process was smooth and professional. Cognique totally understood our vision, our objectives, our timelines and delivered a clean, fresh new website. A truly collaborative effort.”


FOCUS ON: LEISURE & TOURISM Southfork Caravan Park Chamber member Southfork Caravan Park is a family-run business, situated in the open countryside of Martock. Nancy Broadley and her husband run the business, which alongside the main holiday park function, also has a storage facility, in Approved Workshop and a Part & Accessory shop. Nancy discusses the challenges facing her business in the current economic climate, and offers her thoughts on the extent to which other self-regulating factors are influencing her industry in 2018. I was born into a farming family on the outskirts of Leeds, and loved to be out on the farm helping look after all the animals and riding our ponies. Due to my father’s early death, the farm was sold and I started working within an accountancy practice, but whenever I could, I would be out and about in the countryside. In 2004 we decided that we would make a new start and embark on a new challenge, and we never looked back. The most challenging part of a business such as ours is that you cannot guarantee your income. The nature of our work is seasonal and can be just as greatly affected by weather as it can by changes in the economy. Another crucial part is keeping up with the changes in demand. During the last few years, we have seen caravans and tents get bigger and a lot more motor homes on the road. With this comes the increase in pitch size, ampere and technology. The usage of our basic pitches with no electric has depleted massively and larger, hard standing with higher amps are in great demand. This also affects the Approved Workshop. As the manufacturers improve caravans and motor homes with higher level technology and more gadgets, it’s imperative we keep up to date with these changes. My background in accountancy enables me to personally keep our accounts and manage our cash flow. We also study new trends to understand exactly what it is our visitors want. We carry out questionnaires and analyse the feedback regularly. The Approved Workshop membership is incredibly helpful too, keeping us informed and up to date with changes.

Our park is a quiet, rural one, with no club house or other facilities, so I think the current weaker sterling has not made a great difference to us. The only area of our business which has changed considering the weaker pound is storage. We have increased now to 70 units, with only a quarter of users of these being local, most live in other parts of the country. Our visitors come from as far as Scotland to Cornwall to Kent. We also get visitors from overseas, mainly France and Holland. For these customers, we pull out their unit on to a pitch for the owners to come and stay. This saves them fuel costs by either using a more efficient car or driving to us and then only towing to another county nearby. The other difference we have found is that our local produce food shop is not cost effected anymore, we now only stock non-perishable goods or sale or return. Visitors have recently begun to ask if the can have supermarket deliveries, which shows they are looking for cheaper food and do not shop locally or eat out as much as they used to. Climate change is something that we foresee as becoming more of an influencer on the local tourism industry in the coming years. Although in saying that, when areas of Somerset were affected by areas of flooding, the news coverage suggested that more of the county was flooded than it truly was. Therefore, whilst our business had not been affected, we saw the effects of the misinterpretation. They did follow up all the work the Environmental Agency carried to prevent this happening in the future, but we need to keep this message out there. The potential introduction of a Tourism Tax could also be a challenge for us. Figures are showing that overall tourism has increased over the years, this is down to a lot of contributing factors; increase in and improved cars and transport links, more disposable income, paid annual leave increases, and improvements in technology to name but a few. The tourism industry is very varied and each sector of it attracts different visitors. Caravan parks are not everybody’s choice, but for those who do like touring, it gives them a place to stay in the comfort of their own unit, and the opportunity to enjoy the freedom of the open countryside and what it has to offer. Tourism to any area brings extra income to local economy, and provides jobs for local people. It also allows visitors to break away from their busy lives and spend time with family and friends.



TOP 5 COUNTRIES TO VISIT IN 2018 Somerset Chamber member Travel Counsellors, based in Wellington, offer a personalised travel service for business and leisure clients. Here, Jill Chamberlain offers hints of the destinations she thinks will be “hot” to visit in 2018, with a roundup of her Top 5 countries to visit this year.

CHILE Chile is a truly diverse country. Deserts in the north, the awe-inspiring Andes in the east, the Pacific coast line runs along the west and wild Patagonia in the south; Chile really does have it all. 2018 is a great year to visit as the county will celebrate 200 years of independence. With direct flights from London to Santiago there has never been a better time to visit.

PORTUGAL Very often over-shadowed by neighbouring Spain as a holiday destination, Portugal is becoming a hot destination for arts and culture, with new museums opening in the last few years. The country is becoming a “foody” paradise, Lisbon has a celebrated craft beer scene, with two brew pubs, five dedicated craft beer bars and around a dozen microbreweries. If beer is not your thing, then Portugal has over 300 Blue Flag beaches, and of course there is the golf!

SOUTH KOREA The country will host the Winter Olympics this year in Pyeongchang, this has meant an investment in the transport network with a new high-speed railway making the journey time from the capital under an hour. South Korea is mix of stunning scenery and Asian modernity. Seuol underwent a major regeneration last year, with the opening of the Seuol-lo 7017 - a linear park built on a disused elevated highway. There is plenty of history and culture too, the country boasts 12 Unesco sites including palaces, tombs and volcanic rock formations.

SOUTH AFRICA There is more to South Africa than safaris. The country also boasts vast beaches, mountains, art, history, culture and, of course, wine. The country will celebrate Nelson Mandela’s Centenary this year, so there will be so much more on offer, with an official programme of events throughout the year. Favourable exchange rates also make it is great time to visit the country.

GEORGIA Celebrating 100 years as an independent state, 2018 is a great time to visit this fascinating country. A country with beautiful mountainous scenery, it is a haven for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and anyone looking for an active holiday. However, did you know it is also perfect for wine lovers! The Georgians are so proud of their wine that visitors are often welcomed to the country with a bottle of red. Its is one of the oldest wine making regions in the world, and the wine is still made using traditional methods.



Heathrow Business Summit South West - Somerset Somerset Chamber is delighted to be hosting the Heathrow Business Summit in partnership with Heathrow Airport.

Why Attend? This year Heathrow Airport are hosting nine new Regional Business Summits across the UK, including Somerset, in addition to their flagship event in November, to appeal to more small British firms and give them an insight into Heathrow’s major suppliers to help them win new contracts in the future. The Heathrow Business Summits are a unique opportunity for SMEs to connect and trade face to face with Heathrow’s supply chain and connect to growth opportunities locally, nationally and internationally. Heathrow is committed to using its position as a national asset for the benefit of SMEs – as committed to in Heathrow 2.0, Heathrow’s plan for Sustainable Growth. As the UK’s hub airport, Heathrow connects businesses up and down the UK to crucial growth markets around the world. The airport spends over £1.5 billion annually with more than 1,200 suppliers from around the UK and there will be more work on the horizon with expansion. Construction of the runway will be the UK’s largest infrastructure project and small and medium-sized businesses will be critical to delivering the £16 billion investment. The Heathrow Business Summit on 16 March will give South West SME businesses the chance to have a free 15 minute face-to-face appointment with Heathrow’s supply chain in a one day event taking place at the Cooper Associates County Ground from 09.30, which includes a finger buffet lunch and refreshments for all guests. The buyers currently confirmed as attending the event are: • Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure Ltd • Mace Group • Amalga • Balfour Beatty • Atkins Global For more information on the work packages, please visit

• The Heathrow Business Summits each provide a great platform for SMEs to get a foot in the door and capitalise on the business opportunities available at Heathrow • Promote your business to Heathrow’s supply chain through face-to-face appointments on the day • Meet and network with exhibitor partners including the Local Councils, Chambers of Commerce, Local Enterprise Partnerships, and UK Trade and Investment. • All exhibitors actively support and guide businesses on how to connect and build trade relations into new supply chains at Heathrow • The Heathrow Business Summits each provide a great platform for SMEs to get a foot in the door and capitalise on the business opportunities available at Heathrow.

To register for this event visit events/details/heathrow-south-west-businesssummit-16916. 15 minute 1-2-1 appointments are available from 10.00 to 15.00. Once registered, you will be contacted regarding a specific appointment time. Should you have any queries in the meantime, please contact or call 01823 444924. This event is open to both members and non-members of the Chamber and is free of charge, however booking is essential.




Meet the Somerset Chamber team Name: Jenn Chidley-Sanders Department: Membership Job title: Service Delivery Manager How long have you worked for the Chamber, and what did you do before? I’ve been at the Somerset Chamber for seven years this February, and in that time, I have had several different roles and seen many changes including three CEOs and significant growth in the staff team. Before working at the Chamber, I had a varied working history, from pubs, to an Ilminster IT company, and then going on to work for a Challenge Events organisation as their events co-ordinator. Describe your role in just two sentences. I work within the membership team to make sure we are delivering on our membership offer as well as supporting and overseeing the excellent work the events team do. What do you like most about your job? The members! Somerset has such an amazing diverse range of businesses and I have the privilege of getting to know and work with so many of them.

How would your colleagues describe you? Probably best you ask them ;) but recent feedback has included my being dubbed ‘font of all Chamber knowledge’! What would people be surprised to know about you? After seven years there isn’t much that the team and members don’t know about me, but I guess one that several members still aren’t aware of is that at the start of March 2018 I will be heading off on maternity leave again to have my second child! I look forward to catching up with members and seeing how the Somerset business environment has changed in the coming year on my return!

Name: Sam Evans Department: Hinkley Supply Chain Team Job title: Head of Hinkley Supply Chain Engagement How long have you worked for the Chamber, and what did you do before? I’ve worked for the Chamber for four years now and it has flown by! I have had many jobs, mostly in PR, Marketing and Sales in the early years, and I ran my own pub for a couple of years. Describe your role in just two sentences. Creating the links to opportunities for local businesses to win work on the largest construction project in Europe. What do you like most about your job? The diversity of the role and the chance to speak to lots of interesting people. Also, I am constantly learning so much about the brilliant businesses we have in the South West. How would your colleagues describe you? I’d like to think they see me as hard working, dedicated and fun. What would people be surprised to know about you? I have a degree in theatre studies.




GDPR for Charities


With GDPR coming into force in February May 2018, and all organisations expected to comply, the Somerset Chamber have teamed up with Chamber members Miles Phillips Consulting to deliver a half-day workshop specifically for charities. Walk away with a series of resources and tool kits to better equip yourselves in data handling, as well as the opportunity to ask any GDPR related questions. Time: 09.00 Venue: Somerset Chamber Office, Taunton Cost: FREE (Charity members only) Buffet lunch included


Somerset Young Professionals



In your 20s and 30s and want to expand your network? Why not attend our next Somerset Young Professionals event. We will be joined by Guest Speaker Steve Graham of Toastmasters International who will provide tips and tricks for public speaking. Dinner will also be provided. Time: 18.30 Venue: Huntstile Organic Farm, Bridgwater Cost: £20.00 (members) £25.00 (non-members)

Sponsored by In association with


MD & CEO Round Table Forum



This quarterly forum brings together key decision-makers from similar sized businesses to discuss common growing pains over a confidential two-course lunch. For businesses employing 2-50 staff. Time: 12.00 Venue: Host, Near Wellington Cost: £26.50 (Somerset Chamber members only)

Sponsored by


Raising the Bar #7 Generating Business from Networking



Want to know when networking is a valid strategy for your business and when it isn’t? And how to generate new business opportunities at networking events? Join us for this breakfast briefing delivered by Graeme Crosbie of Level Up (South West) Ltd for practical tips and advice. Time: 07.30 Venue: Somerset Energy Innovation Centre, Bridgwater Cost: £18.00 (Somerset Chamber members only) Coffees and Breakfast baps included Sponsored by




*Prices are now plus VAT unless otherwise stated



Ladies Afternoon Tea & Networking



Join us for an afternoon of tea, cake and networking at Crowcombe Court, a stunning 17th Century House. We are delighted to welcome the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, Mrs Anne Maw as Guest Speaker for this event. Time: 14.00 Venue: Crowcombe Court Cost: £20.00 (members) £25.00 (non-members)

Hinkley Point C Site Tours

21 March

The Somerset Chamber have partnered up with EDF Energy to deliver a number of free site tours of Hinkley Point C whilst under construction. If you are interested in seeing how the build is progressing or to understand more about the infrastructure involved in the build, book now. Spaces are very limited and on a first-come first served basis. Time: 09.30 – 12.00 Venue: Hinkley Point Power Station, Bridgwater Cost: FREE (Somerset Chamber members only)

Sponsored by

In association with


South West Heathrow Business Summit



The Somerset Chamber in partnership with Heathrow Airport invite Somerset and South West businesses to attend our first ever Heathrow Supply Chain event. With opportunities to meet Tier 1 preferred bidders and discuss potential work packages. This is not an event to be missed! Time: 09.30 Venue: Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton Cost: FREE 121 appointments (must be pre-booked) In association with


The Benefits of Microsoft Power Business Intelligence (BI)

22 March

Join us for a half a day workshop to discover the reporting capabilities of Microsoft Power Business Intelligence. This workshop will be led by Peter Watkins and Christina Lloyd of Milsted Langdon LLP. Time: 09.00 Venue: Somerset Chamber Office, Taunton Cost: £45.00 (members) £75.00 (non-members) Buffet lunch included

In association with



New Members Welcome to our newest members of the Somerset Chamber. Alex Fletcher Associates Law Alex Fletcher M: 07910 881712 E:

Power & Pyro Ltd Manufacture Tony Garcia T: 01278 588374 E:

Augmentum Business Solutions Ltd Business Consultancy Lindsey Nutbeen M: 07717 209622 E:

Snoozebox Hotel and Tourism Neil McArthur M: 07954 822802 E:

C & D South West Transport Lorna Hammond M: 07894 614372 E:

Social Communications Marketing / PR Ben Lowndes T: 0117 9269 945 E:

Coll-Cats LTD (Innovation by Design) Property Development & Agencies Patrick Coll M: 07552 232025 E:

Somerset Passenger Solutions Transport Kevin Marshall M:07860 756720 E:

Elliott Environmental Services Limited Engineering Lloyd Crisp T: 01935 413700 E:

Taste With Martin Food and Drink Martin Straus M: 07470 078131 E:

FTI Construction Engineering Barbora Cowell T: 01749 881923 E:

The Design Hive Design Print Melanie Downing T: 01278 783273 E:

Hippychick Retail and Online Julia Minchin T: 01278 434440 E:

The Family Law Company Law Amy Langford T: 01392 421777 E:

HOST Events and Conferencing Charlotte Jarvis T: 01823 461311 E:

UniqueTiles Ltd Manufacture Kamil Kozorys T: 01460 77172 E:

Marriott Hotels Hotel and Tourism Helen Ferris M: 07789 500742 E:

White Moss Horticulture Limited Manufacture Simon Heywood T: 01934 713460 E:

Latest Member to Member Offers As a member of Somerset Chamber, all member business employees are able to take advantage of our great range of member to member offers. To post your own offer or to view all our member to member offers, visit /membership

Member Profile Name: Ben Lowndes and Amy Bodey Company: Social Communications Job title: Directors of the South West office Tell us a little about your business: We’re a full-service communications and PR agency with nearly 30 staff. We help organisations tell their stories in clear and memorable ways, build relationships with stakeholders and win ‘hearts and minds’ - in communities and at a national level. We’ve just opened our South West office, which is the fourth in the Social stable. What makes you special?

Neopolia Engineering Gregoire Mahoudeau M: 07376 255980 E:


Good question! We think there are a couple of things. Firstly, the range and depth of talent across our offices means we can genuinely offer a comprehensive communications service which is tailored to clients’ needs. Whether, it’s public affairs, media relations, digital, marketing or a ‘combination of all






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those things, we deliver it without needing to outsource the work. Clients only need one contact and they know what they’re getting. And we’re constantly looking at what’s coming next, so that we keep up with what clients need. Secondly, we speak fluent human and can turn complex - and sometimes dry - details into content that people ‘get’ and want to engage with. It sounds easier than it is, but it’s amazing how many organisations get this wrong! Tell us something interesting that our members won’t know: Social Communications was set up five years ago by John Quinton Barber and Caty Cartwright and has become one of the UK’s fastest growing agencies of its kind in that time. We’ve both worked with John before, so launching the South West office is something of a reunion for us both. What is the driving force behind your business? People and passion. We’ve got one value, which we’re very proud of, called Life.Happens. At its core, this is about us looking after our teams and everyone doing likewise for our clients if they have a difficult moment. We care about the people we work with. When Life.Happens moments happen, we’re there for them.




- OPINION AND ADVICE Dale Edwards, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber, gives his thoughts on the recent demise of outsourcing giant, Carillion The collapse of Carillion brought into stark focus the impact and implications of the failure of a major contractor. The effect of its implosion was felt immediately, with business partners, suppliers and subcontractors all coming to terms with the rapidly changing landscape created by the fall of a ‘too big to fail’ entity. In the days following, the press picked apart the contracts associated with Carillion, highlighting undercutting on price, unrealistic timescales and a willingness to accept payment terms that raised more than a few eyebrows. In hindsight, was there too much commentary coming from Carillion about their order book rather than their ability to deliver financially viable contracts, especially given the warnings from hedge fund managers who have been betting against Carillion for the last 12 months? It’s a shame to contemplate that the first major role of the government’s newly appointed Small Business Commissioner will be to try and negotiate payment, at least in part, for many of Carillion’s subcontractors. Paul Uppal, who was appointed in December of last year, has his work cut out given the poor cash flow of Carillion. Closer to home, the collapse could have a profound effect on the £200m contract Carillion signed in October with Gigaclear. The contract was awarded to facilitate the rollout of full fibre broadband to 80,000 rural properties in Somerset and Devon, continuing the work previously undertaken by BT as part of the government’s pledge to reach 95% of the population. With high speed broadband being a key issue for local businesses and one of the priorities in the Somerset Chamber Manifesto, the question that needs answering is whether this project now hangs in the balance. Despite the ‘business-as-usual’ stance taken in the press, I’ll be seeking assurances from the awarding parties that the project is still viable and on-track to meet the defined timescales. We heard from Daniel Gibson, Marketing and Development Officer, Melhuish and Saunders Ltd member of the Somerset Chamber. He commented, “That the way in which procurement is run could see a greater focus on the use of smaller contractors for the works they are capable of carrying out. Recently, for example, the volume of output

for repairs and maintenance work within the sector has increased, even while overall output is shrinking.” He continued, “Overall there needs to be greater diversification within the industry to insulate companies against the potential for systemic collapse, as the collapse of Carillion has threatened, while also helping to boost the growth of the industry as a whole. In an industry so reliant on small firms it seems inconceivable that the largest companies could still be in a position where they are to all intents purposes “too big to fail”. The fall of Carillion, however, may provide the foundations for the growth of the SME’s.” We at Somerset Chamber are also acutely aware of the potential impact on local organisations. With around 12% of our members being in the construction sector, there could be a significant impact on subcontractors across the region, with some facing an uncertain few months whilst the dust settles. We’ll be watching progress with interest and would like to hear from any companies that have been affected. Another concern that this situation brings into focus is the approach taken by the government when awarding work. At the time of Carillion’s collapse there were around 450 public sector contracts on the books, with contracts continuing to be awarded after profit warnings had been issued. Whilst the likes of Carillion made assurances that they could cover the cost of these projects, often only receiving payment on completion, should we not be questioning the wisdom of commissioning projects from such a small number of businesses rather than spreading the risk – and revenue – across a wider range of smaller contractors?



Advice from an expert Whilst the recent demise of Carillion has undeniably cast a shadow of doubt across the business community, we asked Chamber member and restructuring and insolvency expert Neil Vinnicombe from Begbies Traynor, in Taunton, to provide advice on how suppliers can protect themselves when a customer hits problems. Neil, whose 30 year career has helped establish a practice that covers the whole of Somerset, says the checklist should include the following: 1. Are you insured? Credit/Trade insurance can be taken out to cover bad debts. This usually occurs when you take out invoice finance such as invoice discounting/ factoring. The provider of the finance will usually offer bad debt insurance at an additional cost to the invoice finance. There are usually strict terms to adhere to in order to qualify, and these must be maintained to ensure cover remains in place. There is often a cap on the amount of cover per individual customer according to the size of the customer and the invoice financier’s credit rating of them. 2. Can you recover any goods/ products you supplied? Possibly, but this depends on a number of factors, and if you’re unsure you should always take specialist advice. First and foremost, you will need to have a clause within your trading terms and conditions (Ts and Cs), assuming you have written these) that allow you to legally recover goods/products. The clause will often be called a retention of title (“ROT”) clause. Secondly, depending on the wording of your ROT clause, you will need to prove that the goods/products on site were supplied by YOU and not another supplier of the same product. This is usually overcome by reference numbers, but once a pallet of bricks/ roof tiles is opened the ability to prove you supplied the bricks/tiles may not be possible. Just saying you supplied them is NOT good enough.

You also need to establish if the goods have been used/part used or incorporated into a building. Pursuing a claim will often be more difficult if the goods have been altered/fabricated or incorporated into a building. 3. Does the administrator/liquidator/ customer need you to finish your/ someone else’s work? This is probably your best avenue to pursue for getting some pre demise debt back and or to be paid for further work. Don’t just think all is lost and move on/look for other work. You could find yourself in a strong bargaining position especially if any type of “certification” for work is required – such as electrical/gas safety certificates or anything required for health and safety or quality assurance purposes. 4. Will you receive a dividend from the administrator/liquidator? In the vast majority of cases no - or only a small fraction of what you are owed. It will also take a long time, probably a minimum of 12-18 months, before an initial or first and final distribution is made. I have experienced a full repayment to creditors twice in my 30 year career. 5. Can you claim the VAT back and or claim tax relief on a bad debt? Yes and yes, but seek advice from your accountant. The VAT can be reclaimed promptly but the tax relief will take time as this is usually done when the next accounts are lodged and by way of set off against any current profits.

If you can’t utilise of any of the above or they prove fruitless, you will need to critically review your finances (probably with your accountant/advisors) to establish if you can continue to trade within your own cash/capital facilities/ reserves. If cash flow is inadequate you will need to consider how any gaps can be bridged either by introducing personal funds if possible or seeking new borrowing. The other point to consider is whether the bad debt has caused a terminal position, in which case specialist advice is required. Communication is paramount with key stakeholders/funders/major creditors in these situations as you could quickly find matters being taken out of your control if a creditor presents a winding up petition or sends in a bailiff to remove goods. Agreeing revised payment terms with your suppliers/ financiers is another option that should be considered. Taking professional advice early is the best advice to ensure that you are aware of your options and have a plan and someone to help you to deal with the issues. If you feel the need to discuss any aspects of the above or have any related questions please contact Neil who, will be happy to help without charge or obligation. His contact details are: or 01823 726271 Begbies Traynor is the UK’s leading independent business recovery practice, handling the largest number of corporate appointments, principally serving the mid-market and smaller companies.




South West Supplier Milestone for Hinkley Point C A total of 4,000 South West businesses have now signed up to the Hinkley Supply Chain portal, where companies are matched to contracts at the Hinkley Point C (HPC) construction project, creating hundreds of new jobs and pumping millions of pounds into the regional economy. The Hinkley Point Supply Chain Team runs the portal and is designed to be the single point of contact for both regional businesses seeking contract opportunities and main contractors seeking capable suppliers. The significant milestone was announced by the Team in mid-January. The Hinkley Supply Chain Team is a collaboration between EDF Energy, Somerset Chamber of Commerce, SWMAS and Business West. Sam Evans, Head of Supply Chain Engagement, said, “There is a strong commitment from EDF Energy to ensure businesses in Somerset and the wider South West benefit from Hinkley and the many opportunities it has to offer. “We have just seen our 4,000th company sign up to the portal to be considered for work at the site, a significant milestone at a time when work on the site is accelerating, creating more and more opportunities for South West businesses to bid for and win valuable contracts. “What’s especially pleasing is that, far from the list of companies registered all being construction and engineering companies, we are seeing a broad range of sectors represented, including design agencies, catering companies, professional services firms and office fit-out businesses.”

More than 90 Tier 1 and 2 HPC contractors use the portal run by the Hinkley Supply Chain Team to source suppliers with relevant capability for a range of work packages. South West suppliers can get help from the Hinkley Supply Chain Programme, which is specifically funded by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise partnership and West of England Combined Authority and is supported by core funding provided by EDF Energy. This programme of support provides diagnostics, advice and tailored support on how to access the project linked to specific opportunities. Nick Golding, who leads the delivery of this programme, said, “We’ve already provided support to over 200 firms across the project region. Winning work at HPC can be transformative for regional businesses, but they often need to make some step changes in their management approach, address capability gaps and achieve new standards.” In 2017 the programme engaged with over 18 contractors, assessed more than 85 work packages and promoted around 1,400 suppliers. Sam Evans added, “We are aware that over the last few months, this activity, together with existing contractor and supplier relations, has resulted in over 135 South West suppliers who are likely to be awarded over £110 million of construction related contracts. This is in addition to the site services contracts of £465 million awarded to seven different supplier consortia reported late last year.” Nick added, “I would encourage any business in the region to register at which helps make you visible to both the Team and the Tier 1 contractors. There remains significant potential for businesses to access opportunities linked to Hinkley Point C construction and I would encourage businesses to get involved”.




HPC Case Study: Cam Machine Components (CMC) “We work as a coherent, united organisation focused on collaboration” Like many South West businesses, the owners of Cam Machine Components were excited at the prospect of winning work at Hinkley Point C as activity at the site increases. However, that initial enthusiasm dissipated when they realised the full colossal scale of the construction project, where many of the Tier 1 contractors are some of the world’s largest, most successful multi-discipline construction and engineering firms. Assuming they could not compete in an environment dominated by PLCs and multi-nationals, CMC founders Simon Farr and Gervase Winn put their aspirations of winning work at the site on the back burner... until a friendly word of encouragement changed everything. “I remember we were at one of the Somerset Chamber meetings when someone high up at EDF Energy asked if we’d ever considered forming a consortium with other local businesses,” said Simon, who initially formed CMC in 1995 when, back then, he worked alone as an advanced engineering consultant. The company moved to its current premises and transitioned into a full precision engineering provider in 1999. At the time the company was operating conventional, more manuallyoperated machinery. Things really took off for CMC in 2002 when it invested a significant amount on a new “Computer Numerical Control” (CNC) machine, which made an instant impact on the company’s productivity. “Within six months we’d bought another,” continued Simon. “Fast forward to today and we have 11 turning centres which can run 24 hours a day, seven days a week if needs be.” The company works across multiple sectors, including automotive, agriculture and oil and gas. Their customers come to CMC from far and wide, including prestige car makers Audi and Aston Martin. Simon’s business partner and joint owner of CMC, Gervase Winn, says: “We’re very good at what we do and have had a successful 10 years, during which time we have gradually grown the business to meet demand from all over the country. “When we heard about what was happening at Hinkley Point C we recognised this could be a great opportunity but, with so many huge Tier 1 companies on site, we didn’t see a straightforward opening for us.”

It was then that Jamie Driver, Senior Supply Chain Engagement Manager, Nuclear NEW build for EDF Energy put it to Simon and Gervase that if they joined forces with other local businesses, forming a “strength in numbers” consortium with multiple areas of skill and expertise, they would have a much more compelling proposition. “That’s when the Advanced Precision Engineering Consortium (APEC) was formed,” says Simon. “There are six companies altogether, and we work as a coherent, united organisation focused on collaboration and on passing work to each other.” Along with CMC the other APEC members are Technical Inspection Services, Berry & Escott, TMB Patterns, Metaltech PrecisionEngineering and Amitec. As a consortium, APEC delivers a comprehensive range of skills and capabilities across a variety of engineering fields. It also boasts hundreds of years’ combined experience and a joint workforce of more than 200 employees. Earlier this year, under the banner of APEC, CMC was invited onto the HPC site to meet representatives of Premier Modular, the firm building temporary accommodation units who required a supply of bolts to hold the structures together. “That was on the Tuesday,” explains Simon. “By the Wednesday we’d produced the specified samples which were delivered by Thursday morning. By the end of the following week we’d received an order for 1,000 units.” With construction work at Hinkley Point C picking up pace CMC expects more contracts to come their way and, just as importantly, opportunities for their fellow APEC members. “We’ve just received an enquiry from a Hinkley supplier that we’ve passed to APEC member Berry & Escott in Bridgwater,” says Gervase. “It’s fantastic to be part of a consortium where its members’ honesty and integrity is rewarded with the ability to win valuable work for each other.” Simon adds: “To businesses considering the opportunities at Hinkley Point C I would say don’t be despondent and think you can’t win work there, because you definitely can. “Also, take a lesson from our experience and look at the possibility of forming a consortium of like-minded companies to give you that increased skill base and headcount. “Thirdly, don’t waste any time! Get yourself signed up to the supplier portal sooner rather than later, and find out when the supply chain team events are taking place to make sure you attend and get up to speed about what’s happening there and what the latest opportunities are.”


#WELLCONNECTED Christmas Coffee Morning

Somerset County Council Business Breakfast

p Dale Edwards, Somerset Chamber; Rupert Cox, Royal Bath and West of England Society

p Alistair Tudor, Somerset Chamber; Mandy Bridge, Yeovil College

p Alan Stone, Albert Goodman; Lloyd Crisp, p Hugh Graham, The Bid Coach; Sam Evans, Somerset Chamber

Elliott Environmental Services Limited


Patrons Race Day



Somerset Young Professionals Christmas

p Somerset Chamber Patrons 2018 p Robin Clempson, Albert Goodman; Dan Atkins, Louder than Words; Lev Boreiko, Porter Dodson, Beki Sharman, ADPR

p Jana Peckova, Clarke Willmott; Grace Davey, Clarke Willmott p Dale Edwards and Sam Evans; Somerset Chamber of Commerce

p Charlotte Robins, Porter Dodson; Michelle Mallon. Porter Dodson; Ritchie Cridge, Somerset Chamber of Commerce; Hollie Simmonds, Rebecca Bevins HR; Jonathan Fillery, Handelsbanken

TWEETS Thank you @events_scoc @chambersomerset for a fabulous breakfast event yesterday #networking @RemLearning

Really enjoyed @chambersomerset coffee morning yesterday. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our #Somerset partners @ERAC_BusinessSW

A great #business #networking event attended by @i2aDebra Head of #i2a #scocMembers #Somerset @i2aguidance

@chambersomerset Our Amy Langford really enjoyed networking at the @chambersomerset Coffee Morning yesterday. #Taunton #FamilyLaw @TheFamilyLawCo

We’re very proud to start the New Year by joining @chambersomerset & we can’t wait to get involved. @alistair_scoc @jenn_scoc #SomersetChamber #NewMember #scocMember @designhivetweet

Thanks @chambersomerset for arranging an informative breakfast event - interesting to hear about the Council’s Plans for 2018. @HatfieldWhite


THE BIG INTERVIEW An Interview with… John Turner, CEO of Visit Somerset In this issue, we caught up with John Turner of Visit Somerset, John was born in Bristol in 1971 and was brought up in Whitchurch and Saltford. John is married with four children, and is wholeheartedly passionate about all things Somerset.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to become a prosthetic makeup artist with the BBC.

What was your very first job? I was a Silver Service Waiter at the Pump Rooms in Bath during my student years whilst studying Performing Arts at College - it wasn’t until I started on a training program with Tesco that my life took on new meaning & direction that really helped shape the rest of my commercial and creative career & academic ability.

When did you become CEO of Visit Somerset, and what does the role entail? I became the CEO of Visit Somerset in March 2014, after a long spell as voluntary director supporting the Somerset Tourism Association, the company that now runs Visit Somerset. A really big turning point for us all was when Somerset County Council looked to hand over the Visit Somerset brand to the private sector, Visit Somerset had been previously run in the public domain. As a brand it had always been intrinsically linked to Visit Britain and Visit England, those national bodies in charge of marketing England and Great Britain domestically and internationally to our £116 Billion Visitor Economy. It was a great opportunity for the STA. After a years’ worth of procurement, the STA successfully took over the brand. We now run the organisation with a core team and a multi-agency network, supporting us with sales, PR and marketing acumen, this whilst we still have a public-sector partnership, in-conjunction with Somerset County Council. The biggest step change was two years ago, when Visit Somerset became the official DMO for the county. DMO stands for Destination Management Organisation. The Organisation now represents £1.3 billion worth of annual turnover and is the 6th largest GDP driver in the county, supporting 34,000 FTE Jobs. We can now proudly demonstrate possibly the largest digital platform in the county and the most comprehensive of any DMO, seeing an average of 8.5 million visits last year to all our communication platforms. We are a member/customer - centric organisation, I spend a large amount of my time with the members, understanding their businesses and ensuring that they are getting value for money from Visit Somerset’s marketing capabilities. This whilst meeting and aligning with Visit Britain and some of our other major stakeholders, helping to align strategy, in turn supporting greater inward investment. The more I look at the role of Visit Somerset, the greater our remit is becoming, there are many facets of wider industry that have helped shape Somerset’s heritage, which is such an important part of the visitor experience, helping to create ‘Brand Somerset’, which is what our visitors want to see, visit and explore. A great example of this is where the team has been working over the past two years developing a brand called ‘Buy Somerset’ with our friends at Miles Tea and Coffee. Our aim is to ensure that our visitor economy understands the incredibly rich and diverse food and drink offering we have.


25 What is your vision for Somerset?

How do you see the repercussions of Brexit affecting tourism in Somerset?

To become the number one county of choice in the UK for visitation and business development. We have a vision that if you holiday here, you might want to live here, and if you live here you might want to set up your own business or work here – so Visit Somerset & be inspired!

A great opportunity to redefine Britain’s future and to re-invent the UK. Tourism has benefited from the instability and uncertainty in currency markets which has been reflected in recent exchange rates. We are seeing and are expecting to see greater numbers of international tourists coming into the region and we will see more domestic tourists staying in the UK because the price of going abroad is so much more expensive. Brexit for me has to be full of economic opportunity. Whatever way my political vote went, its immaterial now, we need to focus on and ensure now that Great Britain stays Great!

What do you see as being the biggest assets that Somerset has to offer in terms of its tourism?

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

MANY! We are very lucky that we have possibly the most diverse county in the UK and the oldest! With three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the longest heritage railway in England; the most famous music festival in the world, Glastonbury Festival; a world heritage site with UNESCO status in Bath; the finest Gorge in Europe in Cheddar, to two of the most famous food brand origins in Somerset, Cheddar and Cider; the foundations of European Christianity in Glastonbury; the most famous shoe brand in the world, Clarks International; two of the most significant cave systems in Europe, Wookey and Cheddar; over twenty plus National Trust properties of historic and film location importance; the smallest medieval city in the UK, Wells, and the home of Mulberry and Europe’s largest Car and Aircraft collection in Yeovil and Sparkford. We have a huge amount to shout about and I am incredibly proud to be working with possibly the most enthusiastic and dedicated membership in bringing our glorious county to life. We have recruited a fabulous collection of celebrities as ambassadors to help spread the word regarding this great county of ours, with recent recruits such as Lord Jeffrey Archer and Damien Boyd, two authors both of whom have written a great deal about the county and can really help get the message across.

Working alongside possibly the most talented group of people in the county, who literally create near miracles on a daily basis, whilst ensuring that we genuinely deliver for our members. I feel very privileged.

Do you have any hidden hobbies or talents? I am the Chairman of the local Amateur Dramatics Society and the Vice Chairman of the Skin Cancer Research Fund, based at Southmead Hospital. Both organisations give me a great deal of satisfaction raising money for local and national research campaigns and local charities. I also have a huge interest in economics and, to the pride of my wife, I like to call myself an amateur economist!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? The only barriers to your future success are those that you put up in your mind. Don’t lose your enthusiasm; it is your USP and is worth more than you can ever imagine in a world that often only thinks about the glass half empty!

What has been your most important lesson learned during the course of your career? Always go with your gut instinct.



Cooper Associates appoint new Head of Marketing Cooper Associates Group is delighted to announce the appointment of Neil Wyatt as their new Head of Marketing with immediate effect. Neil will be responsible for developing and delivering the marketing strategy for Cooper Associates, with emphasis on supporting the growth plans of the business. Neil joins from Higos Insurance Services Ltd, where he brings a wealth of experience from managing their marketing and agency departments for nine years. Prior to this, Neil has previously held marketing roles within the healthcare, manufacturing and charity sectors. Commenting on the appointment Samantha Jackson, Managing Director of Cooper Associates, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Neil as Head of Marketing. The collective knowledge, expertise and experience he brings with him will be of tremendous value. Neil’s appointment represents a key part of our strategy. His industry experience, and knowledge, will be invaluable in helping us to drive forward our brand and growth plans.” Neil commented on his appointment: “I am thrilled to join Cooper Associates at an exciting time in their development. Cooper Associates is such a strong brand and I am delighted to have been given the chance to be part of its continued growth. I look forward to further strengthening the Group’s positioning and helping to achieve its strategic vision.”

New partner for Stokes Stokes Partners are delighted to announce that Kit O’Brien has joined the firm in their Family Team as a partner with effect from 3 January 2018. Kit qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and has always specialised in family law; she is an accredited member of the Law Society Family Panel and a member of Resolution. She has been based in Somerset since 1996 and has established a reputation for being passionate about client care and for providing an efficient and empathetic service coupled with realistic advice. Kit is a trained mediator and collaborative lawyer and so able to assist clients with the most appropriate option for their needs. Kit is described in this year’s Legal 500 directory as having “the perfect mixture of technical excellence, pragmatism and a good eye for a deal”. Kit will be based at the firm’s office in Crewkerne, but will continue to support clients across Somerset, Devon and Dorset. She comments “I’ve known David Stokes and Joanne Butler, partners in the Family Team at Stokes Partners, for many years. They share my philosophy of going the extra mile for each and every client so that they get the best possible service alongside expert and specialist legal advice. I’m extremely excited about joining the team and look forward to working with David and Joanne helping clients resolve their family issues.” Kit’s profile can be found at and she can be contacted on ko’ or 01460 477704.



Hippychick wins three industry awards Hippychick, a multi-million turnover nursery goods business based in Bridgwater, is celebrating a trio of industry awards. Hippychick was crowned Best Distributor at the 2017 Progressive Pre-School Awards in November, in recognition of its dynamism and creativity across the preschool industry. They are the leading nursery industry trade awards and this is a particularly special one as it is voted for by the retailers


Jeremy Minchin (quoted) leaves the stage with his ‘Best Distributor’ award.

themselves. “To be told by your customers and all those that you are trying to give a great service to that you are the best at doing so is a very special feeling. To be up against some great businesses and to win, felt absolutely brilliant. It is a true testament to the entire team at Hippychick. One of the best days in the 18 years we have been in this business!’ says Jeremy Minchin, Sales Director. As a distributor, Hippychick is responsible for the sales and marketing of an ever-expanding portfolio of nursery items, each of which has been meticulously curated by Hippychick founder, Julia Minchin. Every product must be put through its paces to demonstrate it can live up to Hippychick’s unwavering standards for product excellence and innovation and join the existing line-up which includes some of the most iconic nursery essentials and toys on the market – from the Hippychick Hipseat to Moover Wooden Prams and Wheelybug Ride-on toys. Two innovations which passed Hippychick’s strict muster in recent months include Space Cot, a full-size travel cot that is not only the thinnest and lightest on the market, but also assembles in under 3 seconds and Buggi Lights, ingenious ladybird shaped LED lights which affix to the bars of a pushchair ensuring its visibility for 300 metres. Both products achieved Gold in December in the highly prestigious 2018 Mother & Baby Awards a fiercely fought over contest which attracts thousands of entries from across the industry and is rigorously judged by a hand-picked panel of over 100 discerning mums. Founded in 1999, Hippychick has grown in leaps and bounds from its humble beginnings with just the Hipseat to its name. It now has 23 brands in the line-up, supplies its portfolio to major high street outlets including Tesco, Boots, Mothercare and John Lewis, ships to over 20 countries worldwide and has its own very successful website selling direct to the consumer at Julia Minchin is delighted to have gone out of 2017 on such a high: ‘ The best distributor award gives a clear message to suppliers and trade customers that Hippychick is the company to do business with. The Mother & Baby Awards provide parents with that all-important reassurance they need when making a purchase for their child.’



ITEC Acquires Bridgwater-based Mailadoc Bristol-based technology company ITEC has announced it has now completed the acquisition of Bridgwater-based Mailadoc. Mailadoc helps businesses with their print and mailing needs, including an innovative ‘hybrid mail‘ solution. This lets organisations easily and efficiently outsource their outbound postal communications while reducing the cost. Mailadoc combines state of the art equipment with ISO accreditations for security, environmental and quality management. The company was established in 2009. ITEC’s success to date has been built on a combination of strong organic growth combined with strategic acquisitions to expand the company’s portfolio of services. With more than 200 employees, the company now has nine offices and facilities through the South West and beyond. According to CEO Nick Orme: “The reality is that outbound postal communications is something of a black hole for many organisations and a part of the business where they are not managing costs and auditability. “Mailadoc fits perfectly with ITEC’s existing digital solutions that help companies work smarter and achieve new levels of efficiency, while at the same time improving their data security and regulatory compliance.”

Mailadoc now becomes a fully owned subsidiary of ITEC and will continue to be based at the existing facility in Bridgwater, Somerset. Mailadoc’s director Jon Horler noted: “Integration with ITEC will help us increase awareness as to how companies can solve their printing and mailing needs in innovative new ways. We have a great story to tell about very measurable business benefits and ITEC will help us amplify that message.” In the 12 months to the end of February 2017 ITEC Connect Ltd posted revenues of £27.4 million – up 26% compared to revenues of £21.7 million in the previous financial year. ITEC’s mission is to provide agile managed print, IT, VoIP and document capture technology, expertly deployed and supported for smarter business outcomes. Headquartered in Bristol, ITEC has offices and facilities in Bournemouth, Bridgwater, Exeter, London, Manchester, Plymouth, Reading, Redruth. The company’s web site is at:

A year of charity success for SSG SSG have had a very successful year of charitable work for their chosen charity Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA). Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) supports those who have been diagnosed with MND as well as their families and carers. They also continue to fund and promote research to help attain a better understanding of MND and potentially a cure for this illness. Their most recent success was a shopping trip to Cardiff on 18 November for team members, family and friends. The event included a day of shopping, travel provided by Target Travel coaches and a raffle held on-board the coach; raising a total of £273. SSG’s other fundraising activities for MNDA this year have also included a quiz night which was held in February, a bike ride in June and a sponsored Christmas card; raising over an enormous £1,500. Mel Standlick, Marketing Team Leader, “We are really lucky at SSG to have a great team who always get involved and help boost our fundraising efforts. MNDA is an important charity and we are so pleased to be able support them”. At SSG everybody holds local, regional and national charities close to their heart, and we are looking forward to a prosperous 2018 where we continue to support those charities.”

For more information on the activities that SSG have participated in this year including the variety of charity work, please visit:


Milsted Langdon starts 30th year with staff celebration


Somerset and Dorset law firm appoints new head of office Top 200 UK law firm, Porter Dodson, has appointed Ben Hingley as its new head of the Taunton office. Ben joined the Firm in 2008 and is a commercial property Partner. He advises on all aspects of commercial property law. Ben takes over from Partner Stephen Wray, who is now concentrating on expanding the dispute resolution offering in the area.

Award-winning accountancy firm Milsted Langdon is to celebrate its 30th year in practice with a celebration for its staff. Founded in 1988 by two graduates from the University of Bath, the firm has grown to become one of the South West’s most successful practices – helping thousands of businesses and individuals across the region with their accounts, business and tax affairs. To commemorate its success over the last three decades, Milsted Langdon will be holding a celebratory dinner in February at Somerset County Cricket Club in Taunton, which will see staff enjoy a three-course dinner and live music. The event will also celebrate the firm’s experienced team, many of whom have been nominated for awards on the night, which include a Client Service category, Buddy Award and Going the Extra Mile prize. The evening will end with an auction of items donated by some of the Partners, the proceeds of which will go towards a number of local causes. Jonathan Langdon, the firm’s Founding Partner and Chairman, said: “When I started the firm 30 years ago little did I realise the phenomenal growth we would achieve in just three decades. “I am looking forward to joining my fellow partners and staff to mark this momentous occasion in our history.” This initial celebration is part of a wider calendar of events being organised by the firm, which has offices in Taunton, Yeovil, Bristol, Bath and London. One of its main aims is to raise £30,000 for charity to celebrate 30 years in business. In order to achieve this staff will take part in a number of charitable activities, while the firm plans to host events to raise money, which they plan to donate to charities at the end of the year. “We are really excited about the 12 months ahead of us and hope that we can hit our fundraising total before the end of the year,” said Jonathan. “We have some wonderful clients and the support of some fantastic communities near to our offices, who I hope will share in our celebrations as well.”


Commenting on the appointment, Ben said: “I feel privileged to be asked to be Taunton office head. Porter Dodson is an expanding firm with its success based on strong client relationships. I look forward to continuing to work with existing and new clients within the local community to further grow the business.” Porter Dodson has eight offices across Somerset and Dorset.



Syncsort relocates Taunton team to Tangier Central Leading business software provider Syncsort is preparing for future growth, moving its Taunton based employees to Tangier Central, the town’s newly refurbished, contemporary office complex. The Taunton-based team recently joined Syncsort following the USheadquartered company’s acquisition of Metron, a specialist in the provision of capacity management software. Agents for the Castle Street site, Hatfield White and Williams Gunter Hardwick, have confirmed that a ten-year lease for 5,210 sq ft has been agreed with Syncsort, which provides its products and services to a global client base. The lease, which was negotiated by chartered surveyor Chesters Commercial on Syncsort’s behalf, includes a five-year rent review and saw Syncsort move from its previous base at Osborne House, Trull Road to first floor offices at Tangier Central. Syncsort’s move represents the latest of several deals that have seen prominent regional companies and

organisations, including consultant Setsquare Recruitment and a branch office of trade union UNISON, relocate to the riverside office complex. The two buildings that together comprise Tangier Central have been undergoing extensive modernisation in a £1.5m scheme that has released new office space ranging from 1,400 sq ft to 60,000 sq ft onto the market. Tangier Central aims to offer the convenience of an out-of-town business park in a central location that is just a 15-minute walk from Taunton railway station, and a 10-minute drive from Junction 25 on the M5. “It’s been an exciting year for our new employees, joining Syncsort, meshing their subject matter expertise with our increased resources, to support sales growth of our new capacity management solution,” said David Hodgson, Chief Product Officer at Syncsort. “We are very pleased to be relocating them to the employeefriendly, modern workspace that has been created in Tangier Central.”

Nigel Hatfield, Director at Hatfield White, commented: “We are thrilled to welcome Syncsort, a successful, progressive and highly regarded technology firm, to Tangier Central. “Syncsort’s decision to relocate to Castle Street demonstrates Tangier Central’s appeal to growing businesses that are focussed on providing high quality work space for staff and clients. “Taunton has a growing reputation as a base for the region’s thriving tech sector with tech companies showing a particular appetite to secure room for growth. We are proud to help facilitate this, as well as providing a base for growing companies from across the private sector.” For further information about the opportunities at Tangier Central contact the agents Nigel Hatfield of Hatfield White on 01823 353033 or Andrew Hardwick of Williams Gunter Hardwick on 0117 922 1222. Details are also available at




ACM appoints new partner with South West farming background Rob Selley has been made a partner in Somerset firm A C Mole & Sons Chartered Accountants (ACM) based in Taunton. Rob, who comes from a North Devon farming family, has moved up from his position as associate in the farming team, replacing Chris Loveluck on his retirement. He specialises in farm accountancy and taxation but also acts for limited companies, partnerships and sole traders across a wide range of sectors. He writes on the issues facing agriculture and is regularly quoted in the national farming press. He can be found on Twitter @RobAtACMole. Rob joined ACM in 2006 after gaining a degree in Politics and International Relations at Southampton University and working for firms in Bristol and Exeter.

M-CNC invests £2.75 million in South West manufacturing Bridgwater based M-CNC has ambitious growth plans and has invested £2.75 million in DMG MORI machine tools and automation. Specialising in the manufacture of high quality, high value components for aerospace, motor sport, chemical, oil and gas and leisure industries M-CNC is set to triple in size since its launch in 2011. Leigh Howarth, Business Development Manager at M-CNC says, “We are purchasing eight DMG MORI machines which will give us the ability to cut large 5-axis parts up to 2.5m long and 750mm diameter. We are completely automating our existing product lines and we are introducing a rapid response cell for a 10-day turnaround of orders. Our aim is to become a centre of excellence for the South West of England.” The company already employs 17 people with four apprentices and is actively seeking more skilled engineers to work in its state of the art facility. To complement its investment in DMG MORI machines, M-CNC is also investing in Edgecam CAD/CAM software and Javelin ERP and MRP. This will integrate with the DMG MORI CELOS software and, together with further investment in modular storage, tooling and inspection equipment, will enable the company to work towards Industry 4.0. Leigh Howarth says, “We aim to achieve zero defects by engaging the workforce in the complete manufacturing cycle. We are already very close to that target and our mantra is to ‘be the best we can be at all times’. The investment we are making will motivate our staff and inspire them to take full advantage of the capabilities of the advanced machinery we are installing, enabling us to deliver excellence to our customers.”

He is actively involved with the Somerset Centre for Management in Agriculture as a committee member, organiser of the annual farm management competition and sponsorship secretary. He is also a member of the Agricultural Law Association. Rob is married with two children. He enjoys shooting in the winter and part time farming. Commenting on his new role Rob said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed as a partner at A C Mole & Sons which is such a long established accountancy practice and has such an excellent reputation within the business community.” ACM managing partner Christine Glover commented: “Our farming team has built a strong reputation across the South West for practical and informed advice. Coming from a farming family, Rob combines a personal understanding of the issues facing the farming community with very strong technical knowledge. He is a great addition to the partnership.”



Source: BAD News (Business Advisers News)

Employees missing out on pensions advice

Charity numbers and income continue to rise

Poor awareness of a new salary sacrifice scheme covering pensions advice means employees are missing out, according to a survey carried out by People Management. The scheme requires employers to provide a salary sacrifice agreement that enables employees who will retire within the next five years to access up to £500-worth of pensions advice. The employee pays no tax or National Insurance contributions on the voucher and can save up to £310. Under the scheme, advice can be provided on workplace pension schemes including auto-enrolment, as well as private pensions.

The number of charities in England and Wales and the income received by registered charities increased for the fifth consecutive year in 2017. According to statistics from the Charity Commission, almost 168,240 charities were registered in 2017, up from 167,109 in 2016. The gross annual income generated by charities was £75.3 billion in 2017, up from £73.1 billion in 2016. The largest charities accounted for just 2% of charities but generated more than 72% of income in the sector, while the smallest charities accounted for around 74% of charities and generated just 3% of income.

Read more about the scheme at:

The statistics are available at: employers-ignoring-pension-voucher-scheme

New tool to help smaller businesses prepare for GDPR

Increase in UK inbound tourism

The European Commission has published new guidance to help EU member states prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The guidance outlines what national governments and data protection organisations such as the Information Commissioner’s Office must do to ensure a smooth transition to the GDPR. The European Commission has also launched a new online tool to help smaller businesses understand the GDPR. The tool provides advice and guidance about the information that the GDPR applies to and the steps businesses and other organisations can take to comply with the new rules. For further information, go to:

Value of farm borrowing reaches record high A survey carried out by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has found that the total value of farm borrowing rose by £481 million to reach a record high of £18.3 billion at the end of 2017. This represents a year-on-year increase of 2.7%. The survey has also revealed that around a third of farm borrowing is used for working capital and the remaining two thirds for longer term investment in land and buildings. Read more about the survey at:

Inbound tourists made 30.1 million visits to the UK and spent a total of £19 billion in the first nine months of 2017, representing year-on-year increases of 7% and 11% respectively. This is according to figures published by VisitEngland and VisitBritain in January 2018. Visits to Scotland increased by 14%, visits to Wales increased by 6% and visits to England (excluding London) increased by 4%. Growth in the UK’s inbound tourism market is forecast to continue over the next twelve months, with VisitBritain expecting inbound tourists to make 41.7 million visits to the UK and spend a total of £27 billion in 2018. Read more about the figures at:

Online retailers expect further growth in 2018 Research from Royal Mail has revealed that 70% of small and medium-sized online retailers experienced an increase in sales from 2016 to 2017. This was led by sales of health and beauty products and consumer electronics, which rose by 78% and 73% respectively. Of the retailers surveyed, 74% said they expect further growth in 2018 with 43% planning to increase their social media presence, 39% will run more promotions and 29% will introduce new products or services. Read more about the research at:






• UK GDP growth picked up in Q4, driven by stronger output from the services sector • The number of UK jobs vacancies reach record high as inflation eases a little • Global economic conditions continue to improve as Eurozone GDP growth reaches 10-year high UK economy enjoyed a strong end to 2017...


The first official estimate of economic growth (GDP) put UK economic growth at 0.5% in Q4 2017, the strongest rate of growth since Q4 2016 and up from the growth of 0.4% recorded in the previous quarter. However, in annual terms, the UK economy grew by 1.5% in Q4, down from 1.7% in the previous quarter. The UK economy grew by 1.8% in 2017 as a whole, the slowest rate of growth since 2012 (see Chart 1). Overall, the latest GDP data confirms that the UK’s economic performance remains underwhelming despite a strong end to 2017.


5 5

Chart 1: UK Real GDP Growth

4 4

Annual change % Annual change %


1997 1997 1998 1998Annual change % 1999 1999 2000 1997 2000 2001 1998 2001 2002 1999 2002 2003 2000 2003 2004 2001 2004 2005 2002 2005 2006 2003 2006 2007 2004 2007 2008 2005 2008 2009 2006 2009 2010 2007 2010 2011 2008 2011 2012 2009 2012 2013 2010 2013 2014 2011 2014 2015 2012 2015 2016 2013 2016 2017 2014 2017



















-2 -2


-3 -3


-4 -4


-5 -5

Source: ONS Preliminary Estimate, Q4 2017 Source: ONS Preliminary Estimate, Q4 2017 Source: ONS Preliminary Estimate, Q4 2017 Q4 QES points to more modest growth… The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for Q4 had almost all indicators for the services sector below their pre-EU referendum levels and the strong performance of manufacturers for most of 2017, eased slightly in the final quarter. The balance of manufacturers reporting increased domestic sales declined to +23% in Q4, from +24% in Q3 (see Chart 3). The domestic sales balance in the services sector was up slightly, from +19% to +20%. The latest QES data suggests that UK’s economic performance in Q4 was slightly more subdued than the official figures suggest.


60 60

Chart 3: Domestic Sales


40 40


20 20 0



-20 -20


-40 -40


-60 -60




Q4 2017


-1.5 -1.5

2017 Q3 2017 Q4Q3 2017 Q3 2017 Q4 2017



4Q15 2Q17 4Q17 2Q16 4Q17

-1.0 -1.0

Services Construction Construction Agriculture Agriculture Construction Agriculture

2Q12 4Q13 2Q14 4Q12 2Q14 4Q14 2Q13 4Q14 2Q15 4Q13 2Q15 4Q15 2Q14 4Q15 2Q16 4Q14 2Q16 4Q16 2Q15 4Q16 2Q17

-0.5 -0.5

0.0 Production Production Services Production Services -0.5

4Q07 4Q07 2Q08 % Balance 2Q08 4Q08 4Q08 2Q09

0.0 0.0


% Balance % Balance

0.5 0.5

Service sector output grew by 0.6% in Q4 (see Chart 2), up from the growth of 0.4% recorded in Q3 and accounted for almost all of the GDP growth recorded in the quarter. Industrial production grew by 0.6% in the quarter, with manufacturing output up by 1.3%. In contrast, construction sector output fell by 1% in Q4, the third successive quarterly contraction. Agricultural production dropped by 0.4% in the quarter. Taken together, the Q4 GDP figures are further confirmation that UK growth remains unbalanced with an over-reliance on services to drive growth.

2Q11 4Q12 2Q13 4Q11 2Q13 4Q13


...driven by the services sector...

Chart 2: UK GDP by Sector, Q3 vs Q4 2017

4Q07 2Q09 4Q09 2Q08 4Q09 2Q10 4Q08 2Q10 4Q10 2Q09 4Q10 2Q11 4Q09 2Q11 4Q11 2Q10 4Q11 2Q12 4Q10 2Q12 4Q12

1.0 1.0 Quarterly Growth %


Quarterly Growth % Quarterly Growth %

1.5 1.5

Source: ONS Preliminary Estimate, Q4 2017 Source: ONS Preliminary Estimate, Q4 2017 Source: ONS Preliminary Estimate, Q4 2017

Services Services Services ManufacturingManufacturing Manufacturing

Source: Source: BCC QES, Q4BCC 2017QES, Q4 2017 Source: BCC QES, Q4 2017 | @britishchambers



Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce is already proving to be beneficial to the Chamber. The membership of the Chamber is thriving with many new enquiries. The Chamber provides regular networking events that are well attended as well as a monthly newsletter keeping members up to date with all that is going on in and around Bridgwater.

Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce has a new home and is hot desking in Under Construction in Northgate, Bridgwater. Office Manager, Mandy Trunks, is pleased to have a base within the town centre and linking up with Under Construction and partners

This is an exciting time for Bridgwater Chamber as they seize the opportunity to grow and provide more services to members. Bridgwater itself is booming with many large projects arriving on our doorstep, not just Hinkley Point C. Bridgwater Chamber aims to provide a business to business support brokerage package which is designed to provide a platform for all SME & Micro businesses to register on, to be able to quote for some of this non HPC led build and supply contracts. The construction and project managers for developments outside of HPC will also be invited to embrace this “Supply the Supplier” brokerage and engage with companies on this list.

Businesses wishing to engage with Bridgwater Chamber can email

Affiliate Town Chambers & Business Associations Axbridge Chamber of Commerce T: 01934 733078 | E:

Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce T: 07530 042627 | E:

Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce T: 01278 228004 | E:

Taunton Chamber of Commerce T: 01823 230898 | E:

Bruton Chamber of Commerce T: 01749 813291 | E:

Wells Chamber of Commerce T: 01749 685236 | E:

Burnham-on-Sea Chamber of Trade & Commerce T: 01278 238959 | E:

Wincanton Businesses Together T: 01963 34327 | E:

Cheddar Chamber of Commerce & Industry T: 01934 742326 | E:

Wiveliscombe & 10 Parish Business Group T: 01984 684777 | E:

Frome Chamber of Commerce T: 01749 342255 | E: Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce T: 01458 835678 | E: Levels’ Best Community Interest Company T: 01935 851280 | E: Shepton Mallet & District Chamber T: 01749 681413 | E:

Somerset Chamber Affiliate Board Member, Nigel Pearce, is the primary contact for all Town Chamber dealings. Nigel would be very pleased to hear from any representatives with views they would like to express. He can be contacted at:


Somerset Chamber believes that networking is key to helping you grow and promote your business. We offer the opportunity to develop your personal connections while learning about topics important to your business. Here’s a summary of our events from last year‌

Somerset Voice - February/March 2018  
Somerset Voice - February/March 2018