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The Official Magazine of Somerset Chamber of Commerce

June / July 2019

Health and Wellbeing at Work 20 | FEATURE

6 | BUSINESS PARTNER NEWS

Leonardo secures contract with Polish Navy

13 | SOUTH WEST TO HEATHROW Plans in place for direct rail link

33 | NAVIGATING THE FOG OF BREXIT

Donna Kehoe gives an update from the Bank of England


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OUR TOWN CHAMBERS

Affiliate Town Chambers & Business Associations Axbridge Chamber of Commerce T: 01934 733078 | E: mike.sartain@hale-events.ltd.uk www.axbridgechamber.co.uk Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce T: 01278 228004 | E: talk@bridgwaterchamber.org.uk www.bridgwaterchamber.org.uk Bruton Chamber of Commerce T: 01749 813291 | E: brutonchamber@gmail.com www.brutonchamber.org Burnham-on-Sea Chamber of Trade & Commerce T: 01278 238959 | E: deryk@kds-interiors.co.uk www.burnhamonseachamber.org Business Exmoor T: 01643 851895 | E: admin@businessexmoor.co.uk www.businessexmoor.co.uk Cheddar Chamber of Commerce & Industry T: 01934 741792 | E: beccycheddarchamber@gmail.com Frome Chamber of Commerce T: 01749 342255 | E: president@fromechamber.com www.fromechamber.com Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce T: 01458 835678 | E: office@glastonburychamber.co.uk www.glastonburychamber.co.uk Ilminster Chamber of Commerce T: 01460 52506 | E: enquiries@ilminsterhomehardware.co.uk www.ilminsterchamber.org.uk Levels’ Best Community Interest Company T: 01935 851280 | E: enquiries@levelsbest.co.uk www.levelsbest.co.uk

Shepton Mallet & District Chamber T: 01749 681413 | E: alanpaulstone@gmail.com | www.shepton.biz Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce T: 07530 042627 | E: plenty.jon@gmail.com www.somervalleychamber.com Street Chamber of Commerce T: 07552 170725 | E: secretary@streetchamber.co.uk Taunton Chamber of Commerce T: 01823 230898 | E: office@taunton-chamber.co.uk www.taunton-chamber.co.uk Watchet Chamber of Trade T: 07836 239 932 | www.wacet.co.uk Wellington Business Association T: 07761 485657 | E: info@wellingtonbusinessassociation.co.uk www.wellingtonchamber.co.uk Wells Chamber of Commerce T: 01749 685236 | E: info@wellschamberofcommerce.co.uk www.wellschamberofcommerce.co.uk Weston-super-Mare Chamber T: 07850 363249 | E: President@westonchamber.org.uk www.westonchamber.org.uk Wincanton Chamber of Commerce T: 01963 34327 | E: chair@wincantonchamber.co.uk www.wincantonchamber.co.uk Wiveliscombe & 10 Parish Business Group T: 01984 684777 | E: secinfo@10pbg.co.uk | www.10pbg.co.uk Yeovil Chamber of Commerce T: 01935 804999 | E: secretary@yeovilchamber.org www.yeovilchamber.org

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CONTENTS 4

First Word Business Partner News

6-7

Chamber News

8-11 13

South West to Heathrow Members’ Area

14-17

British Chambers of Commerce 18-19 Feature: Health and Wellbeing 20-21 #WellConnected

22

Vodafone Feature

23

Advice From an Expert

24

Somerset EBP

27

Members News

28-31

Business News

32

Bank of England Update

33

18 | MEMBER NEWS

Somerset Cyber Consortium 34-35

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

Editorial and advertising: E: marketing@somerset-chamber.co.uk T: 01823 444924 Printers: Character Graphics, Somerset Design by: Thoroughbred Design & Print, Somerset

8 | CHAMBER NEWS

14 | MEMBERS AREA

18 | BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

27 | SOMERSET EBP

We are social @chambersomerset

@somersetchamber

Find us on LinkedIn


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Get in touch FIRST WORD We are now in the midst of summer as defined by the seasons, however, the definition in Somerset terms is less about the weather and more about the events we hold in our region. To me, the definition of being right in the middle of summer is the Royal Bath & West Show, Glastonbury, our County Cricket team performing well at the Cooper Associates Ground, RNAS Yeovilton Air Day and the positive noise from our businesses who rely on tourism and holiday makers to use their hotels, guest houses, camping and static caravan parks. The major attractions like Haynes Motor Museum, The Castle Hotel, West Somerset Railway, areas of outstanding natural beauty and our National Park rely on the revenue derived from Somerset’s influx of people and residents during our peak summer season. I feel there is very much a sense of businesses getting on with the job in-hand and day-to-day challenges as these are areas they can have a direct impact on, because the continued uncertain times ahead as we move away from membership of the European Union are no clearer now than 12 months ago. There is a continued sense of frustration at the lack of progress or indeed clarity as to what is happening, so businesses do what they do best, adapt and get on with it.

Marketing and PR

Scarlett Scott-Collins

Content Marketing Executive T: 01823 444924 E: scarlett.s.collins@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Annelise Cowie

PR & Communications Executive T: 01823 444924 | M: 07702 537630 E: annelise.cowie@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Membership

Ritchie Cridge

Membership Manager T: 01823 444924 | M: 07706 292143 E: ritchie.cridge@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Jenn Chidley-Sanders

Member Engagement and Policy Manager T: 01823 444924 | M: 07872 063039 E: jenn.c.sanders@somerset-chamber.co.uk

In this issue of our magazine there is news and updates from our partners and your Chamber and the wider British Chamber of Commerce. We also look at the link between the South West and Heathrow Airport on page 13 and our feature for this issue is Health and Wellbeing, which can be found on pages 20 and 21.

Alistair Tudor

Our Bank of England update on page 33 delivers facts and figures about the current financial position. One point that makes positive news is the Bank of England has a statistic that indicates, as a nation, we will replicate a good experience from a previous year, in terms of UK-based destination holidays and day trips. With a combination of great weather, positive results in 2018 summer sports events like the Football World Cup. There is every indicator we will see a replication of activity; tourism and the all-important Somerset Pound being spent again.

Events

Stephen Henagulph CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Operations Manager T: 01823 444924 | M: 07912 054195 E: alistair.tudor@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Loren Gray

Events Manager T: 01823 444924 | M: 07821 950379 E: loren.gray@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Brooke Gilbertson

Events Co-ordinator T: 01823 444924 E: brooke.gilbertson@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Hinkley Supply Chain

Sam Evans

OUR BUSINESS PARTNERS

Hinkley Supply Chain Project Lead T: 01823 443425 | M: 07525 809274 E: sam.evans@hinkleysupplychain.co.uk

Contact us to find out what benefits Somerset Chamber Business Partners receive.

Natalie Beacham

T: 01823 444924 E: membership@somerset-chamber.co.uk

Alan Windsor

Hinkley Supply Chain Business Advisor T: 01823 443425 | M: 07519 116916 E: natalie.beacham@hinkleysupplychain.co.uk

Business Reporting & Information Officer T: 01823 443425 E: alan.windsor@hinkleysupplychain.co.uk

General Enquiries

Kayleigh Gibbs

Senior Administrator T: 01823 444924 E: kayleigh.gibbs@somerset-chamber.co.uk


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BUSINESS PARTNER NEWS Richard Huish College becomes Somerset Chamber Business Partner Richard Huish College in Taunton has demonstrated its commitment to engagement with the Somerset Business community by moving from Members to Business Partners. Stephen Henagulph, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, commented: “It’s great to be supported by Richard Huish College as Business Partners. There’s recently been a significant amount of investment in the college and its courses, and it’s terrific to see their continued engagement with the local business community, which I’m sure will see them going from strength to strength.” John Abbott, Principal and Chief Executive of Richard Huish College, added: “I am delighted that Huish has become a Business Partner of Somerset Chamber and we’re thankful for the warm welcome provided by Stephen, his team and existing members. As Huish has recently expanded, both in terms of its apprenticeship offer and also to now include five schools, we are keen to further develop our engagement with the business community. The Chamber provides the perfect platform for this and I look forward to meeting colleagues at future events.”

Richard Huish College appoints new Head of Apprenticeships and Adult Skills Richard Huish College has announced the appointment of Kate Goldsworthy as the new Head of Apprenticeships and Adult Skills. Richard Huish College is a Sixth Form College based in Taunton, offering a wide range of A Level’s, Vocational courses, Apprenticeships and Professional courses. Previously working for TSFT Musgrove, specialising in workforce development, Kate’s experience is primarily in the Health and Social care sector. She will bring a fresh perspective to the role, working collaboratively with employers and increasing engagement between the College and local businesses. Her team will help businesses grow by looking into their skills and training gaps and responding to workforce needs. Speaking about her new role she said: “I’m excited for this new challenge. Here at Huish we are experts at working with our business partners and employers to identify the skills and training gaps they have and then work together to bridge these gaps.” The College currently offers a wide range of Apprenticeships within the Health and Care, Business, Accountancy, IT, Teaching and Childcare industries, with plans to expand. Learners can study Apprenticeships ranging from Level 2 all the way to

Level 7 (Masters level). The Apprenticeships provide specialist skills and Huish celebrated great success at this year’s Grow Somerset Talent Apprenticeship Awards with three learners winning awards. On the 28th June the College is hosting a Next Step Progression Event, an Open Event providing more information on Apprenticeships, professional qualifications and employment opportunities. Showcasing opportunities for all age ranges and experience. More information about the event is available on the College website, or by emailing the Apprenticeship team on apprenticeship@richuish.ac.uk.

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


Leonardo Poland order

BUSINESS PARTNER NEWS

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Leonardo has signed a contract valued at approximately €380 m that will significantly enhance the Polish Navy’s helicopter capability. Through its fully-owned Polish company and main industrial presence in the country, PZL-Świdnik, Leonardo will supply four AW101s and a comprehensive integrated logistics and training package to the Polish Ministry of National Defence (MoD). The helicopter is already in service in some of the most important NATO nations, among others. The Świdnik facility plays a significant role in the production of all the AW101s ordered worldwide. With deliveries expected to be completed by 2022 the AW101 will perform a range of missions including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR). Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, said: “We are proud that the Polish MoD has confirmed its trust in Leonardo as one of its key partners to collaborate on national defence, to support the modernisation of the Armed Forces and boost technological and industrial growth.

“It will also enable life-saving missions in demanding conditions with second-to-none effectiveness, leveraging Leonardo’s leading role in the maritime helicopter field.”

“We are committed to further reinforcing our presence and contribution to Poland, one of Leonardo’s home countries where we see significant collaboration opportunities in the future.”

To further consolidate its presence and develop its business in Poland, Leonardo is establishing a new legal entity headquartered in Warsaw. Leonardo Poland will represent and promote the entire technological and product portfolio.

Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, added: “The supply of the best-in-class maritime AW101s will allow the Polish Navy to meet its rigorous requirements for the protection of national security in the Baltic Sea and for NATO operations.

Marco Lupo has been appointed President of Leonardo Poland, with the objective of tightening relations with Polish customers and stakeholders and reinforcing the already well-established position of Leonardo in the country.

New multi-million pound training centre at Weston College to boost construction skills in the region Weston College is set to play a lead role in tackling the construction skills shortage by opening a multi-million pound training centre. The Weston College Construction Training Centre, completed by Midas Construction, opened in May and aims to offer training in seven key areas of training – plant, health and safety, scaffolding, highway and groundworks, warehousing (e.g. forklift training) and apprenticeships. The state-of-the-art training centre has been created in response to the growing demand for a trained and skills construction workforce in the region. The industry-specific training it provides has been designed with employers’ needs in mind, and will be available on request, rather than fitting into the traditional academic year. Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group, said: “The Construction Training Centre is a big step into commercial training and starts an exciting chapter for us. “Over the last ten years, we’ve built strong relationships with employers to develop our apprenticeship provision. But we’ve recognised, more and more, the need to deliver training at the point of need – not only for school leavers during the academic year. “The Construction Training Centre means employers can come to us at any time for short courses, top-up courses, and to up-skill staff who are taking on new roles.” This month the college launched the new website – www.construction-training-centre.co.uk, which enables

people to easily navigate between the seven key areas of training. The training centre has been made possible through the efforts of Weston College in partnership with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and North Somerset Council. The financial investment has been provided by the College match-funding a successful bid for £3.3m funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority. Chair of the West of England LEP, Prof Steve West, said: “We’re really pleased to support the fantastic new Construction Training Centre at Weston College. This will help to equip our current and future construction workforce with the skills they need to drive forward the building of new homes, business premises and infrastructure as our region grows.” West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “Construction is a key contributor to our region’s growing economy. It’s clear that there are huge opportunities here and we need to continue to provide the right skills to sustain the industry. The West of England Combined Authority has committed to working with colleges, councils and businesses to help the construction industry fill the estimated 82,500 jobs that will be created by 2036. The new Construction Training Centre at Weston College is a great example how we are addressing that challenge. It will help prepare young people, apprentices and higher education students for successful careers in the construction sector.”


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CHAMBER NEWS

The Somerset Education Business Partnership Awards Celebrating Careers Inspiration at the Somerset Education Business Partnership Awards The Somerset Education Business Partnership (EBP) Awards 2019, attended by over 130 guests from schools, businesses and education providers across Somerset, were held at The Canalside in Bridgwater. The awards recognised businesses, employees, teachers and students from Taunton, Yeovil, Minehead and across the county, who are committed to developing a skilled local workforce, inspiring young people and supporting businesseducation collaboration. Finalists and guests gathered together at the awards ceremony drinks reception, sponsored by Broomhead and Saul Solicitors LLP, to eagerly await the outcome of the awards. The ceremony was opened by Jonathan Langdon, Co-founder and Chairman of headline sponsors Milsted Langdon, with a rousing speech that highlighted the importance of businesses interacting with schools and providing opportunities for young people to learn more about the world of work. The night belonged to the winners of the 10 award categories celebrating personal contribution and development awards and careers inspiration in business and education. Each award was presented by the sponsor and a short video, filmed and produced by the Creative Arts department at Bridgwater and Taunton College, showcased the finalists in each category. Individuals and students from schools and businesses across Somerset were honoured for their personal contribution and development in careers progression and inspiriation. Other winners included, Taunton-based businesses, Eloquent Technologies and NatWest Somerset Commercial Bank in the Employer Careers Inspiration award. Inspired to Achieve were the winners of the Pathways to Employment award while Yeovil College student Oliver Weston-Mann was the winner of the Personal Development – Learner award.

Helen Lacey, Managing Director of Red Berry Recruitment and host of the awards, closed the evening with an inspirational speech congratulating all the finalists, winners and all those nominated for the awards. The winners of Somerset Education Business Partnership Awards, held on the 24th April 2019, were: Personal Contribution – Business Award, sponsored by Weston College: Emma Kelly, Butlins Personal Contribution – Education Award, sponsored by Train4All: Deborah Eele, West Somerset College Personal Contribution – Careers Inspiration Award, sponsored by Somerset West and Taunton Council: Maggie Whale, Somerset Work Experience Service Personal Development – Learner Award, sponsored by Hinkley Point C: Oliver Weston-Mann, Yeovil College Personal Development – Pathways to Employment Award, sponsored by CSW Group: Cameron, Fairmead School Employer Careers Inspiration Award, sponsored by The Design Hive: Eloquent Technologies & NatWest Somerset Commercial Bank Careers Inspiration in Education Award, sponsored by TMB Patterns: The Castle School, Taunton Careers Inspiration Provider Award, sponsored by Willmott Dixon: Young Somerset Pathways to Employment Award, sponsored by Bridgwater and Taunton College: Inspired to Achieve Outstanding Impact Award, sponsored by Red Berry Recruitment: Julie Young, Somerset County Council Post 16 Advisor For more information about the Somerset Education Business Partnership, visit the Somerset Education Business Partnership website at www.somerset-ebp.co.uk/awards.


CHAMBER NEWS

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Somerset Business Awards launch A FAMILIAR face will be returning to host the Somerset Business Awards this year – but at a new venue and with new categories, while the prestigious awards themselves have a completely new look, website and logo. Organised by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, the annual awards, which are free for all Somerset businesses to enter, were officially launched at a reception for past winners and awards sponsors at the Museum of Somerset, in Taunton, last Thursday.

The 2019 award categories and sponsors are:

Guests enjoyed a glass of bubbles and canapés as they learnt about a trio of new categories – Employer of the Year, Private and Public Collaboration and Outstanding Achievement – and were shown the new black and gold logo and completely redesigned website to mark the 15th anniversary of the awards.

• Small Business of the Year (TDA)

Businesses have until 9 August to enter the awards, which are again supported by main sponsor Albert Goodman Chartered Accountants. Somerset cricket all-rounder Peter Trego will host the glittering awards ceremony, which this year will take place at the Winter Gardens Pavilion, in Weston-super-Mare, on 25 October. And to give businesses and individuals the best possible chance of success, the Chamber will be holding a ‘how to enter’ workshop at the Holiday Inn, in Taunton, on 4 July. Stephen Henagulph, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said the awards were now in their 15th year and he thanked local businesses for their support through both sponsorship and by taking part in the awards. He said: “The Somerset Business Awards celebrate everything that is great in the county and covers so many sectors across a wide range of categories. “As we are a county organisation I am keen we move around the region and I’m aware the awards ceremony has been held in Taunton for the last couple of years, so this year we will be heading to the impressive Winter Gardens Pavilion, in Weston-super-Mare.

• Albert Goodman Family Business of the Year (Albert Goodman) • Best Use of Technology (Porter Dodson)

• Medium Business of the Year (BT) • Large Business of the Year (PKF Francis Clark) • Charity of the Year (Clarke Willmott) • Employer of the Year (Elite Staffing Solutions) • Investing in Somerset (Hinkley Point C) • New Business of the Year Award (Teapot Creative) • Outstanding Achievement (Weston College) • Private and Public Collaboration (Wessex Reserve Forces & Cadets Association) • Service Excellence (Brook Financial Management) • Somerset Manufacturer and Producer Award (Bibby Financial) • Young Business Employee of the Year (Clarks International) Judging will take place at the beginning of September and all finalists will feature in individual films which are shown on the awards night to around 400 guests. Winners receive a certificate and handmade trophy. More information about the awards is available on the website at www.somersetbusinessawards.org.uk, while updates are also posted on the official awards Twitter account @SomBizAwards.

“I would encourage all local businesses to enter the awards to share their own success stories and celebrate their achievements.” Michael Cahill, of main sponsor Albert Goodman, said he was proud the company was continuing to support the awards and said this year would be the tenth year as main sponsor. He said Albert Goodman wanted to celebrate all that was great about business in Somerset and the awards had become an important and popular fixture in the local calendar. “I can assure everyone that the judging process is vigorous and independent and that there are many benefits from entering the awards,” Mr Cahill said. This year there are 14 different award categories on offer and, once again, all applications must be made online through the Somerset Business Awards website at www.somersetbusinessawards.org.uk.

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


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CHAMBER NEWS

Ambitious business growth service launched in Somerset More than 140 business leaders from across the county attended the launch of an initiative which will boost high-growth businesses across Somerset as part of a new partnership between Somerset Chamber of Commerce and support organisation Inspire. Inspire has already been running successfully across the border in Wiltshire, spearheaded by Wessex Chambers and that knowledge will now be brought to Somerset businesses thanks to the tie-in with the Somerset Chamber. The initiative includes access to the prestigious Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Programme and is aimed specifically at ambitious businesses which are keen to grow and expand. Launched at Haynes Motor Museum, in Sparkford last month, guests heard from representatives from Inspire, Somerset Chamber, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Weston College and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Programme. They also heard from ‘alumni’ from previous programmes who told how their profits had grown and their companies had been helped by one-to-one bespoke support and advice. Rob Perks, Inspire’s CEO, said: “We know businesses all have a place they would like to be but they have a little journey to take to get there – that’s where we come in. We look at the journey and how far they have to go from here to there and help them plug any gaps.” He said he was delighted to be joining forces with both Somerset Chamber of Commerce and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and was pleased so many business leaders had attended last Thursday’s launch. Stephen Henagulph, Somerset Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be joining with Inspire enable us to further complement the business services we already provide. This offers a really world class service to Somerset’s growing businesses. “We already provide a broad range of business help and support to our members and this will enable us to further enhance our offering growing companies.” You can access the Inspire Programme at a preferential rate with Somerset Chamber Elite Membership. To upgrade or to join you can find out more at https://www.inspirebiz.co.uk/ or by telephoning Somerset Chamber of Commerce on 01823 444924.


CHAMBER NEWS

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Business leaders given critical insight into Somerset economy THERE was mixed news for businesses at Somerset Chamber of Commerce’s annual Somerset Economic Update event on Thursday, May 23 when details of a £1bn investment in the South West was tempered by warnings of the negative impact of the continuing Brexit uncertainty. Around 80 business leaders were given a critical insight into the state of the Somerset economy and forecasts for the future at the event which was held at Haynes International Motor Museum, near Sparkford. They heard from speakers from the Bank of England, merchant bankers Salamanca Group, EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C project and both the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Somerset Chamber of Commerce. Donna Kehoe, the Bank of England’s South West representative, said she believed consumers would keep spending as pay continued to rise faster than prices and was hopeful about the post-Brexit landscape. She said: “Looking further ahead, as the uncertainty created by Brexit begins to fade, businesses will return to investing, helping the economy to grow a bit faster in 2020 and beyond. “As a result, the Bank will probably need to raise interest rates a little to meet our 2% inflation target. But these increases will be limited and gradual. And for the moment Bank Rate remains at 0.75%.” But David Bharier, of the BCC, said the results of the BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey – the UK’s largest independent business survey – showed an increasing number of firms across the South West were currently reporting worsening conditions. “While UK GDP growth strengthened in the first quarter, this can be attributed in part to a temporary boost from stockpiling, as firms prepared for a possible no-deal Brexit on March 29. Our survey shows that the underlying business conditions remain tough as firms face further political and economic uncertainty, as well as rising cost pressures,” Mr Bharier said. Martin Bellamy, Chairman and Chief Executive of Salamanca Group, the company behind Gravity situated on Junction

23 of the M5, said the Group had invested in the site due to its size, established infrastructure and attributes, strong local political drive and ability to act as a catalyst to strengthen the South West’s regional proposition. Mr Bellamy said: “Gravity’s ambition to become the UK’s leading Innovation Campus in Clean Growth is a wider opportunity for the Bristol – Exeter corridor. The concept of the South West as a dynamic heart of Clean Growth in the UK is achievable and capable of bringing new investment, partnerships and businesses to the area. “It would be a sustainable point of differentiation between the South West and the rest of the UK, namely The Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine and Oxford-Cambridge arc. “Gravity wants to be an active partner with local stakeholders to transform this ambition into reality. As a new member of the business community, we’re keen to work in collaboration with the region to support the local and regional industrial strategies.” There was also good news from Jamie Driver, Senior Supply Chain Engagement Manager at EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C project, when he outlined the growing positive impact of Hinkley Point C on jobs, skills and people in the South-West and beyond. Spending with South West businesses reached £980m by the end of January and has now topped £1bn. A further £500m is ready to be spent in new contracts which have already been signed. Mr Driver said: “We can all see the incredible progress being made on-site at HPC in terms of construction, but we have also been working on delivering our targets for wider economic benefit. “We have worked hard to make the project accessible to local people and businesses. We have made sure that the massive inward investment made into the HPC is a catalyst for social and economic benefit in the South West and beyond.” Stephen Henagulph, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said the morning had provided a good insight into the state of Somerset’s economy and plans for ongoing and new investment in the area were to be welcomed.

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


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Critical decisions to be made for improved rail access to Heathrow Plans for a direct rail link from the South West to Heathrow – the Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtH) - is reaching a critical stage in decision making this year, writes Ruth Bagley, of Ardynt Consulting Ltd. Somerset Chamber of Commerce is supporting Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, and fellow accredited chambers from across the South West, in seeking completion of the project, which will be vital to regional economy. WRLtH is a 6.5km rail link from Heathrow T5 onto the western mainline, largely by tunnel. It will allow direct access every 15 minutes each way from Reading without travelling into London. This will provide a regular, reliable and faster service to the airport for approximately 14 million people in the South West, Wales, South and Midlands. Travellers from Taunton and many other South Western stations will have their journey time cut by at least 30 minutes. It will reduce congestion and pollution on the M4 and potentially improve service capacity to Paddington by allowing trains to run through. It may in future enable some longer direct services. WRLtH will improve the international appeal of the regions, create opportunities for improved trade links, business growth, construction contracts and development around stations. It will improve access to tourism locations for overseas visitors and to universities for overseas students and research partnerships. The economic benefits identified in 2010 (based on a two-runway airport) were: • 42,000 new jobs • £800 million added GVA • £1.5 billion savings in travel times and costs to business The scheme was adopted by Government in 2012 and has been developed by Network Rail. 2019 is the year for key decisions to be made. Network Rail and DfT are soon to sign off the business case, which is known to be strong. Government must make a decision on how WRLtH will be funded and this is expected to include private sector contributions. Subject to an agreement on funding, Network Rail will submit a Development Consent Order application in August. Completion is projected for 2027. Stephen Henagulph, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said “This may be a short rail link many miles away, yet it will directly benefit our business and tourism economy and give leisure travellers improved access to the world. Together with neighbours in the South West, we are giving it our full support.”

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce has formed a Working Group to spearhead this campaign. It is commissioning an updated study to detail the economic benefits across the regions and working with a growing network of partners to secure a positive outcome. Paul Britton, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are continually prompting MPs, local politicians, business colleagues, universities and the wider community about the benefits that WRLtH will bring to an estimated 14 million people and businesses.”

Members may wish to boost the campaign by prompting MPs and local councils to give their support.

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


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MEMBERS AREA

MEMBERS AREA: UPCOMING EVENTS Thursday

20

Youtube for Business

June

Are you new to Youtube or have a channel and want to learn more about how to manage your content? This interactive half-day workshop facilitated by Compass Video aims to help people better understand how to make the most of the internet’s second biggest search engine. Delegates will understand how to use their own videos (or a given video) to create, upload, manage and discover YouTube channels and more. Time: 9.00 Venue: Somerset Chamber Office Cost: £45.00 Members / £75.00 Non-Members

Thursday

4

Somerset Business Awards: The Benefits of Entering

July

The Somerset Business Awards is the Chamber’s annual black-tie awards ceremony, recognising companies around Somerset for exceptional accomplishments across a range of fields. Entries for 2019 open on 3rd June and close on 9th August. This lunchtime event will explain more about the awards and the entry process, with the opportunity to meet some of the judges and hear from a past winner. Early booking is advised. Time: 12.00 Venue: Holiday Inn, Taunton Cost: £15.00 (Buffet Lunch included)

In association with

In association with

Wednesday

Managing your Finances

26 June

Somerset Chamber is offering a brand NEW series of FREE workshops to support members with Business Development. This workshop, run by Poolbridge Accountancy, looks at how to manage financial records correctly, covering everything from tax planning, expenses to profit & loss and balance sheets. Come away with greater confidence when checking your accounts and know how to act on them. Time: 9.00 - 11.00 Venue: Somerset Chamber Cost: Free of Charge (Members only)

In association with

Thursday

Business to Business Dinner, Taunton

11 July

Our B2Bs are one of the most popular in the Chamber events calendar, with guests given multiple opportunities to network with different people throughout each of the three courses. If you are looking to meet like-minded professionals and raise the profile of your business then this is the event for you. Time: 19.00 Venue: Taunton Rugby Club Cost: £29.00

In association with

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


MEMBERS AREA

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*Prices are plus VAT unless otherwise stated Please note due to high demand, some of these events may be fully booked by the time of printing. Please note that all non-members are entitled to attend a maximum of two Chamber events. Should you wish to attend further events, you will be required to become a Somerset Chamber member.

Thursday

Ladies’ Cricket & Networking

18 July

Somerset Chamber invites ladies to join us for a day at the cricket for the England vs Australia Ashes series in our own exclusive box. Our ladies’ events provide the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded business women in a relaxed setting, whether you are new to networking, new in business, or just want an opportunity to meet new contacts. Time: 10.30 Venue: Cooper Associates County Ground Cost: Members £30.00 (to include entry to the grounds, lunch and welcome drink)

Wednesday

Change Management Workshop

Thursday

Somerset Chamber Annual Charity Golf Day

1

August

Welcoming golfers of all levels, teams of four are invited to participate in a relaxed golf tournament with the aim of supporting a local charity, this year we are supporting We Hear You. Following a day on the golf course, a two course dinner will be provided along with presentations to the day’s winners, a charity raffle and auction! Time: 10.00 Venue: Enmore Golf Club Cost: £200.00 Team of four In association with

August

This workshop facilitated by Fox Development will look at change management. It is aimed at any business planning or embarking on a process of change and will help prepare for the journey of change. Whether this change is through desire or necessity for the business, it has to be planned and it has to be led in order to achieve the desired outcomes. Time: 09.00 Venue: Somerset Chamber Office Cost: £45.00 Members / £75.00 Non-Members In association with

In association with

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MEMBERS AREA

New Members Welcome to our newest members of the Somerset Chamber.

Abel & Imray Law We protect your brands and ideas. Intellectual property is a key asset that shapes the value of many businesses. At Abel & Imray we work with organisations like yours to help protect your IP both in the UK and worldwide. John Austin-Brooks, 01225 469914 john.austin-brooks@abelimray.com www.abelimray.com

Acorn Recruitment Recruitment Acorn is listed in the top 1% of all leading UK recruiters. We develop careers, we grow businesses, we fulfil ambitions and we change lives. We’re committed to meeting and exceeding professional standards through our services, processes, and people. Helen Harvey, 07887 633245 helen.harvey@acornpeople.com www.acornpeople.com

BOS Interiors Manufacturing Primarily we manufacture made to measure blinds & curtains and have done for thirty years, supplying trade & retail customers. But our newly designed showroom incorporates a secret teashop amongst all the fabulous fabrics, furniture and beautiful things. Julia Stradling, 01278 780094 sales.bosinteriors@gmail.com www.bosinteriors.co.uk

Clear-flow Waste Management Clear-flow Ltd is a drainage company. Activities include liquid waste disposal, drain clearance, confined space cleans, CCTV surveys and Sewer rehabilitation. The Company is based in Yeovil (as well as Newton Abbot and Redruth) and offers a 24/7 emergency response. Mark Marriott, 01209 677970 mmarriott@clearflowltd.com www.clearflowltd.com

Cricket St Thomas Golf Club Events and Conferencing Located near Chard, with over 80 years of history, CSTGC provides members and visitors alike, the opportunity to play on a beautiful parkland course. With a newly renovated bar, restaurant, conference and wedding facilities, we are Somerset’s premier golfing and events destination. Alex Hill, 01460 30231 events@cricketstthomasgolfclub.co.uk www.cricketstthomasgolfclub.co.uk

Headway Somerset Charity Headway Somerset is an independent charity. We provide social and cognitive rehabilitation for adults with brain injury and support and respite for their families through our three Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centres based in Bridgwater, Henton and Yeovil. Krista Felek, 01823 618519 info@headwaysomerset.org.uk www.headwaysomerset.org.uk

HR Dept Business Consultancy A local and personal outsourced HR and Employment Law advice service, which guides you through complex employment law and finds business pragmatic solutions to enable you to run your business. Contact the team for your FREE employment document review. Debra Spurway, 01823 211188 hrteam@hrdept.co.uk www.hrdept.co.uk

Inspire Elite Business Consultancy Partnered with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Programme, the Inspire Elite network has been designed to deliver peer-to-peer education and networking alongside a “GP for business” delivering high level support for ambitious, scalable businesses across Somerset. Henrietta Brown, 01225 355553 henrietta@inspirebiz.co.uk www.inspirebiz.co.uk

Max Stone Cladding & Carpentry Construction Max Stone Cladding and Carpentry Ltd are a team of experts led by Max Stone, a carpenter with over 20 years’ experience in all aspects of Carpentry and Rainscreen Cladding. Max Stone, 01278 287765 info@maxstonecarpentry.co.uk www.maxstonecarpentry.co.uk

SOMERSET VOICE


MEMBERS AREA

Novanta Technology UK Manufacturing Cambridge Technology Taunton, a Novanta UK company, enables the manufacture of many of the world’s most sophisticated optical laser products. Key markets include advanced industrial material processing, electronics processing, laser-based medical procedures including, Ophthalmology, scientific applications and Minimally Invasive Surgery. Peter Nation, 01823 340482 peter.nation@cambridgetechnology.com www.cambridgetechnology.com

Oaktree Court Care Home Health & Wellbeing Oaktree Court is a 56-bed home providing care for people with nursing, residential and dementia needs. The home is set in seven acres of beautiful grounds in a quiet location in Wellington and has an extensive activities programme. Marie George, 01823 662032 marie.george@majesticare.co.uk www.majesticare.co.uk

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SEIMAF Engineering Since 1994, SEIMAF has provided engineering support from the preliminary to detailed studies. We’ve built strong partnerships in various industries by providing experienced assistance to our clients. With design as the core business, SEIMAF can help turn your projects into a success. Eugénie Sylva, 07394 338761 eugenie.sylva@seimaf.uk www.seimaf.fr

Sedgemoor Tree Services Environment Sedgemoor Tree Services is an innovative, dynamic company covering the South West. With a wealth of expertise, from Tree Surgery, Consultancy, Planting, Light Civil works to Environmental Projects. Always striving to offer alternative solutions to an ever-changing environment. Nicola Fairfax, 01278 653764 sedgemoortree@gmail.com www.sedgemoortreeservices.co.uk

PF Cusak Manufacturing PF Cusack is the UK’s leading supplier of Contractors Tools, PPE, Signage, Traffic Management and Pollution Control products to Utility, Construction, Road and Rail industries. Jafco Tools Ltd, part of the Cusack group, design and manufacture specialist 1000V insulated tools.

Somerset Design Studio Design Print High-quality, Graphic Design, Styling & Photography. Offering logos, business stationery, catalogues, leaflets, advertising, POS, packaging, web banners and social media creative. Also offering a freelance service to companies without the budget for a full-time Designer, to cover all creative needs.

Barrie Whittle, 01278 448980 BWhittle@cusack.co.uk www.cusack.co.uk

Kirsten Rae, 01458 762544 info@somersetdesignstudio.com www.somersetdesignstudio.com

RDHS Health & Safety A Somerset-based, award-winning safety management consultancy that provides Health & Safety Consultancy, Event Safety Consultancy, Safety Assurance, Quality Assurance, Learning & Development and Online Software – RDHS AIR (Accident, Incident & Near Miss Reporting) and Health & Safety Inductions.

St John’s Chambers Law St John’s Chambers, one of the largest barristers’ sets in the South West, with 10 silks and 76 juniors attracts high-quality work in major areas of civil law. We were voted ‘Chambers of the Year 2018‘ by Bristol Law Society.

Joe Ryan, 01458 241661 hello@rdhs-ltd.co.uk www.rdhs-ltd.co.uk

RElendex Finance RElendex is a peer-to-peer commercial property lender – development, bridging and investment. We connect lenders with professionally vetted and creditworthy borrowers and provide excellent interest rates to both parties. Loans made are secured on UK property. Danny McMurdo, 07470 805733 danny.mcmurdo@relendex.com www.relendex.com

Derek Jenkins, 0117 923 4700 derek.jenkins@stjohnschambers.co.uk www.stjohnschambers.co.uk

The Brewhouse Charity Taunton’s main theatre and arts centre, The Brewhouse is a multipurpose venue with a 352-seat auditorium, studio theatre, meetings rooms, gallery and café/bar (available for hire). We deliver high-quality live performances (drama, music & dance), films, exhibitions and learning activities/ workshops. Sue Windley (Marketing & Communications Manager) 01823 283244 marketing@thebrewhouse.net www.thebrewhouse.net


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QUARTERLY RECRUITMENT OUTLOOK Q1 2019 Firms in the Midlands and the North of England are more likely to have attempted to recruit and expect their workforce to expand than firms in the South. In the North of England

54% with

71%

of firms attempted to recruit

reporting recruitment

In the Midlands

56% with

71%

of firms attempted to recruit reporting recruitment In the South of England

47% with

81%

of firms attempted to recruit reporting recruitment


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BCC ECONOMICS

SOMERSET-CHAMBER.CO.UK/ NEWS-AND-MEDIA/NEWS

BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

QUARTERLY ECONOMIC SURVEY Q1 2019 The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Quarterly Economic Survey – Britain’s largest and most authoritative private sector business survey – based on more than 7,000 responses from firms across the UK – finds that key indicators of UK economic health weakened considerably in the first quarter of 2019.

Our findings should serve as a clear warning that the ongoing impasse at Westminster is contributing to a sharp slowdown in the real economy across the UK. Business is hitting the brakes – hard. These are some of the weakest figures we’ve seen in nearly a decade, and that’s no coincidence. The prospect of a messy and disorderly exit from the EU is weighing heavily on the UK economy, and must still be avoided. The unwanted prospect of a disorderly ‘no deal’ exit, and the serious damage and dislocation it would bring, is still just days away unless Parliament acts to avoid it. At the same time that firms are having to enact costly contingency plans, the cost of doing business here in the UK continues to rise. This week sees a new tax year with a number of changes adding to the upfront cost of doing business in the UK, including the introduction of Making Tax Digital and changes to auto-enrolment, leaving many firms facing more bureaucracy and new expenses. It beggars belief that ministers are piling on more and more costly obligations at a time that businesses are already having to cope with Brexit and uncertainty.

Dr Adam Marshall Director General, British Chambers of Commerce

Domestic Sales

AT A GLANCE

Positive balance (+) = growth | Negative balance (-) = contraction

0%

UK GDP growth and QES balance of firms reporting 60% improved domestic sales

0% +25%

-25%

+25%

-25%

2.0% 1.5%

40%

1.0% -50%

+50%

+15%

-75%

+75%

-50%

+50%

0.5%

0%

+10%

-75%

20%

+75%

0.0% -0.5%

-20%

-1.0% -40% +100%

-100%

...of manufacturers reported improved domestic sales in Q1 2019, down from +21% in Q4 2018

+100%

-100%

...of service firms reported improved domestic sales in Q1 2019, down from +18% in Q4 2018

QES % -60% Balance 2007 2009 GDP Growth

2011

2013

Service Sector QES

2015

GDP % -1.5% Growth (ONS) -2.0% 2017 2019

Manufacturing QES

Balance of firms reporting improved export sales 0% +25%

Export Sales

-25%

50%

0%

40%

+25%

-25%

30% -50%

+50%

-50%

+50%

20% 10%

+14%

-75%

+75%

+0%

-75%

0% +75%

-10% -20%

+100%

-100%

...of manufacturers reported improved export sales in Q1 2019, down from +20% in Q4 2018

+100%

-100%

...of service firms reported improved export sales in Q1 2019, down from +14% in Q4 2018

50%

-30%

QES % -40% Balance 2007 2009 2011 2013 Manufacturing Sector QES

2015 2017 Service Sector QES

2019

Percentage of firms facing recruitment difficulties (of those attempting to recruit)

90%

50%

80% 70% 25%

75%

25%

79%

75%

60% 50%

70%

40% 30% 20%

0%

100%

...of manufacturers that attempted to recruit in Q1 2019 faced difficulties, down from 81% in Q4 2018 (note: this is not a percentage balance scale)

0%

100%

...of service firms that attempted to recruit in Q1 2019 faced difficulties, unchanged from Q4 2018 (note: this is not a percentage balance scale)

10% 0% 2007

2009 2011 2013 Manufacturing Sector QES

2015 2017 Service Sector QES

2019

www.britishchambers.org.uk | @britishchambers


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HEALTH AND WELLBEING

FEATURES

Health and Wellbeing

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Employers have a legal requirement to not only protect the physical safety of their employees but also their health (including mental health) and welfare. The HSE states: “Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave... whether work is causing the health issue or aggravating it, employers have a legal responsibility to help their employees.” Furthermore, given that one in four people will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime and that 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems, employers can only benefit by implementing strategies to assist their employees. Reassuringly, at Atlas Safety Management we have seen a sharp rise over the last two years in the number of enquiries regarding workplace mental health provision and, specifically, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training. MHFA courses are by no means a replacement to doctors, therapists and other medical professionals but, rather, an excellent way to identify, support and guide employees to appropriate resources should they need it. MHFA courses typically cover; common mental health problems, symptoms of depression, drugs and alcohol, anxiety and anxiety disorders and psychotic disorders (bipolar, schizophrenia). They teach and advocate the ALGEE five steps approach: Assess risk of suicide or harm Listen non-judgementally Give reassurance and information Encourage the person to get appropriate professional support Encourage self-help strategies In workplaces with MHFA available, employees are more likely to access appropriate resources and support and continue to come to work or return to work sooner. www.atlas-sm.co.uk

Workplace Mental Health Mental health has often had negative connotations and a stigma attached to it in workplaces across the UK. However, over the past few years there has been a notable, positive shift, in addressing poor mental health in the workplace by businesses. Promotion of awareness around the topic is improving due to well publicised evidence that mental ill health is one of the leading causes of sickness absence in the UK. In 2017, stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 40% of all work related ill health at an estimated cost to employers of £35bn a year. 95% of employees reported calling in sick with stress, giving a different reason, often due to fear of discrimination. Managers often shy away from the subject for fear of making matters worse or provoking legal consequences. This culture of silence means that opportunities to support someone in the workplace are being missed, resulting in staff sickness or leaving the workplace altogether. There is significant evidence to show that looking after the mental health of employees makes business sense and increases productivity. Encouraging employees to talk about their mental health can make a real difference to sickness absence rates, presenteeism levels and employer reputation. www.mindinsomerset.org.uk

Mental Health in the workplace: The Last Taboo It is encouraging that firms are becoming more aware of mental health concerns in the workplace but there is still some way to go in reducing the taboo around mental health issues. Some organisations are more tuned in to the concerns experienced by their employees, but our experience suggests that many small to medium sized businesses are often unaware of their responsibility for ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. Business leaders are often working under great pressure and many say that they have neither the time nor resources to address the difficulties employees face. This would seem to endorse the evidence, perhaps, that 10% of employers were not aware of available support. Larger organisations may be best placed to invest in the mental health arena, equipping their members with internal and external support. This comes at a cost, but many smaller businesses do not appear to appreciate the direct payback in improved efficiency by investing in their people. So, is mental health at work becoming less taboo? In view of rising publicity, this appears to be the case. However, our experience in working with employees demonstrates that many access support because they have felt pressured to do so. Many would prefer not to engage with issues around their mental health at work as they fear personal or professional discrimination.

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


How physical activity can support Mental Health Attitudes to mental health in the workplace are changing for the better but there is still a long way to go. So why is the Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) interested in mental health? Well physical activity is one of the first things recommended for low mood, stress and anxiety. A robust evaluation of studies shows that physical activity not only reduces depression and anxiety but may well help prevent it and this can be done with moderate activity levels, it doesn’t need to be sweaty, specialist or cost anything. Physical activity releases endorphins (our natural occurring mood boosters) in our body and helps us deal with the stresses of balancing our working and home lives. So 150 minutes given up each week for some moderate physical activity can pay dividends for all our mental health and it can be fun if you find the right thing to do. Physical activity can also support good mental health through incorporating social connection between colleagues and for many of us who sit at our computers for long periods of time

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this can be increasingly important; it usually encourages people to go outside and being outside in natural light is also key for our mental health; it also improves cognitive functions – have you ever taken a lunchtime walk and felt so much more productive in the afternoon even though the decision to go felt rather counterintuitive? Very importantly physical activity can help us sleep and more and more studies are showing us as a sleep deprived nation. So don’t delay, sit less and move more. If you are interested in finding out more about the free workplace programme or other more targeted mental health initiatives through physical activity at SASP please visit our website at www.sasp.co.uk/active-workplace or contact enquiries@sasp.co.uk

Support is crucial Becky Wright of New Leaf comments: “I see some attitudes are shifting and with mental health it seems to be employee led in many cases with management trying to catch up. Some employers are investing in good mental health awareness training for line managers to support them like the half day Mental Health Awareness Training or two day Mental Health First Aid which are good examples, this can build employees’ confidence to have open conversations around mental health and help break the stigma and discrimination that prevents people from seeking help. “My biggest concern is for the large proportion of SMEs many struggle to support their staff and alleviate work

pressures. Half of small businesses don’t provide mental health support to staff, compared to the national average of a third. We need to develop affordable models for SMEs and allow them to have equal access to employee assistance programmes as invested in by larger companies. Most EAP providers won’t deal with companies under 50 employees as it’s not financially viable for them. Perhaps a future trend could be a responsibility for-the larger companies to extend their offer of employee assistance to their business associates and contractors as an added value to work with them.”

MENTAL HEALTH AT WORK BECOMING LESS TABOO, SAY BCC AND AVIVA A British Chambers of Commerce survey of 1,020 businesses from all regions of the UK online from 1 - 11 May 2018 suggests firms are more aware than ever of mental health concerns in the office.

The findings suggest employers are doing more to support staff with mental health issues:

www.britishchambers.org.uk | @britishchambers


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Business to Business Lunch

#WELLCONNECTED Simply Networking

p Samantha Beale, Meridian Business Support; Lindsey Nutbeen, Augmentum Business Solutions Ltd

p Darryn Knowles, Blueloop Ltd; Harry Stannett, Costgard ltd; Susan Pengelly, Bibby Financial Services; Zoe Steer, Love Musgrove

p Kevin Harris-Brand, KHB Mentoring; Sandra and Bill Wilson, Ylem Ltd

p Liberty Ash, ADPR Ltd; Peter Watkins, Blue Penguin Charted Accountants; Catherine and Dean Holloway, Holloway & Gauntlet Insurance Services

p Vivienne Greenwood and Mandy Trunks, Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce; Alice Dibble and Courtney Bellringer, Evolution ABS Ltd; Jan Rogers, JR Corporate Health

p Phil Riste and Alan Smith, TDA

p Stephen Henagulph, Somerset Chamber of Commerce

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


VODAFONE

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B2B - Getting your Customer Digital Experience Right Business customers want to be able to get things done 24/7, quickly and easily. They expect to have digital channels in place to get routine tasks done on their own, without needing to speak to an agent. For example, more and more companies are looking to new technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI), to provide customers with faster, more efficient service. A better customer digital experience is one of the key benefits of digital transformation. It’s no wonder that 79% of business leaders surveyed in our recent Digital, Ready? report say digital transformation is a strategic priority.

webpages, all with different user credentials. A slow and inconvenient customer journey, I’m sure you would agree.

Consider the telco industry. Say a business wants to get WiFi service, handsets for their team and cloud services too. In the past, they would typically need to ring up different service teams, or access a range of

That’s why putting in place a worldclass system that brings all products and services together into a single platform is critical. Enabling customers to make purchases quickly and easily, no matter the time of day.

The key to getting digital transformation right is empowering people and encouraging a culture of innovation across the business. By empowering teams, we can create the right digital experiences, for the right audience, with the right technology. And by providing our customers with the best possible service, round the clock and via the digital channels they prefer to use, we can stay ahead of the competition. www.vodafone.co.uk


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Advice from an expert The demise of British Steel will 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 plus 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 them) 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/container of goods is opened the ability to prove you supplied the product 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 product. Pursuing a claim will often be more difficult in these circumstances. 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 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 probably not or only a small fraction of what you are owed. It will also take a long time, usually 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 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. 6. Cash flow – refinancing 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. We have access to a multitude of lenders/finance products and can move very quickly where time is of the essence. 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 confidentially help without charge or obligation. His contact details are: neil.vinnicombe@begbies-traynor.com or 01823 726271 Begbies Traynor is the UK’s leading independent business recovery and restructuring practice, handling the largest number of corporate appointments, principally serving the mid- market and smaller companies.

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


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Made to measure business rescue. Whatever financial problems you are experiencing in your business, we can help. For a confidential free consultation, please contact: Neil Vinnicombe, Partner Begbies Traynor Exchange House, 12-14 The Crescent, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 4EB T: 01823 726 271 M: 07771 864573 E: neil.vinnicombe@begbies-traynor.com

Offices across the UK. www.begbies-traynor.com Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in England and Wales No: OC306540. Registered Office: 340 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LY A member of the Begbies Traynor Group: Specialist Professional Services. www.begbies-traynorgroup.com

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26

ADVICE FROM AN EXPERT

Turf-cutting at Gravity Somerset Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Executive, Stephen Henagulph, joined civic dignitaries, business leaders and directors from Londonbased Merchant Banking business Salamanca Group for the official turf cutting ceremony at the Gravity site at Junction 23 of the M5.

The Gravity project will become the catalyst for the M5 Corridor and wider South West, centred around Somerset, not only to rival, but to overtake areas like the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.

The 635-acres former Royal Ordnance Factory site near Bridgwater is being developed by Salamanca into a ‘clean growth’ enterprise zone, creating an immersive, connected, intelligent and sustainable environment to attract some of the world’s most innovative businesses.

Gravity will be home to a variety of businesses which provide solutions to sustainable economic growth in a form of components, platforms, goods or services. In addition, the physical site infrastructure will be developed to enable all businesses to become part of a system that supports environmentally sustainable economic growth.

Mr Henagulph said both Salamanca and Somerset Chamber shared a similar passion for Gravity to be the incubator for delivering the next highgrowth region of the UK, by boosting the local economy by investing in skills, innovation and transport via ‘clean growth’ and embracing leadingedge areas in Artificial Intelligence, advanced engineering and robotics.

Speaking at Somerset Chamber of Commerce’s economic update last month, Martin Bellamy, Chairman and Chief Executive of Salamanca Group said the group had invested in the site due to its size, established infrastructure and attributes, strong local political drive and ability to act as a catalyst to strengthen the South West’s regional proposition.

Mr Bellamy said: “Gravity’s ambition to become the UK’s leading Innovation Campus in Clean Growth is a wider opportunity for the Bristol – Exeter corridor. The concept of the South West as a dynamic heart of Clean Growth in the UK is achievable and capable of bringing new investment, partnerships and businesses to the area. “It would be a sustainable point of differentiation between the South West and the rest of the UK, namely The Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine and Oxford-Cambridge arc. “Gravity wants to be an active partner with local stakeholders to transform this ambition into reality. As a new member of the business community, we’re keen to work in collaboration with the region to support the local and regional industrial strategies.”


SOMERSET EBP

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Building Somerset’s Future Workforce

The national skills shortage is welldocumented and Somerset is not immune to its effects. Nationally, 124,0001 skilled engineers are required each year whilst hospitality and catering faces a national annual skills shortage of 60,0002. The HGV driver shortage stands at 55,0003 and QA Consulting assert that the UK requires 1.2 more digitally skilled workers. Engineering, tourism, food production and distribution are all key sectors in the Somerset economy, whilst digital businesses are developing rapidly. We need to take these skills requirements seriously to safeguard the county’s future prosperity and growth. Too often, Somerset employers tell us that young people think they need to leave for Exeter, Bristol or London to find quality career opportunities. Yet the county is home to high quality employers across many industries. To build an effective talent pipeline employers must engage with young

people at school. This will raise awareness of local opportunities and help to develop the employability skills – such as reliability, confidence and resourcefulness - that businesses tell us they need.

to ensure this happens. Somerset Education Business Partnership can connect your business with its catchment schools, to get your brand and requirements known by your future employees.

Schools are now required to ensure their students have regular ‘employer encounters’ – and every school has a ‘Careers Lead’ whose role it is

Telling a form group about your business, or taking part in mock interviews can inspire young people to prepare for work. Corinna, a student at Haygrove School explains that ‘it gives you the confidence to go into a real interview’. Hosting a half day workplace visit can enthuse students about your industry and your business – as experienced by a year 10 student at Westfield Academy: ‘Seeing the robotics was amazing’. To build the links you need to build your future workforce contact support@somerset-ebp.co.uk or call 01823 785440 – and we will help you make the connections you need to prepare tomorrow’s talent.

1 The Edge Foundation – Skills Shortages in the UK Economy April 2018 2 The Caterer – January 2018 3 Road Haulage Association April 2019

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


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The Fat Berg Project Clear-flow Ltd has recently and successfully completed the highly-publicised ‘Fat Berg’ project in Sidmouth. The specialist drainage company, who have just opened a depot in Yeovil, were working on behalf of their clients, South West Water. The mission was to remove two massive deposits (the largest seen in the South West Water area) of fat, grit and unflushable material, such as wipes, that had built up in the sewers beneath the Ham in Sidmouth. This was a complex operation involving cordoning off the highly visible site right on the sea front so that work could safely proceed whilst still allowing public access to the local

amenities. After carefully completing the appropriate risk assessments and method statements, the Clear-flow team of six highly-trained individuals were then able to effect confined space entry into the sewer network wearing full breathing apparatus and dry suits as a precaution against harmful gases and the sewerage flows. Their job was to break up the ‘fat bergs’ with a mixture of high-pressure water jets and manual labour prior to the waste being physically sucked to the surface and removed by one of Clear-flow’s ‘deep lift’ tankers. Due to the sheer volume of the ‘fat bergs’ this process took a number of weeks. The waste was ultimately taken to a suitably licensed South West Water disposal site prior to being correctly processed and disposed of. Clear-flow has advised that the work was completed safely, on time and within budget. The team has been nominated for a South West Water award due to the high level of professionalism displayed throughout the project. The company offers a full range of drainage services and is keen to grow its Yeovil operation and talk to businesses in Somerset about its transparent, compliant and value for money approach. The ‘Fat Berg’ experience has also focussed minds and Clear-flow is now exploring ways of grease-management where it can assist, particularly the catering industry, in helping the environment by restricting the flow of fats into the drainage system. For further information please contact Clear-flow’s Commercial Manager - Mark Marriott (mmarriott@clearflowltd.com).

School in a Bag marathon Luke Simon, founder and CEO of Somerset-based charity School in a Bag, and his good friend Claire Babbage have raised more than £1,200 for the charity after successfully completing the London Marathon in fancy dress. Fittingly, Luke dressed as a school bag, while Claire joined the field of 42,750 runners as a pencil! It was the second time Luke had competed in the London Marathon and both he and Claire found the second half of the race a real struggle. Luke said: “Claire developed a cold in the build-up to the run and really struggled on the day, feeling sick at mile eight, so we managed our pace and nutrition accordingly to get us to the end in 5hrs 20 minutes - and in doing so, adopted the attitude that the longer we were on the course, the more awareness we would raise!” Along the way the pair saw many familiar faces who had travelled to

London to cheer them on, including Luke’s parents and daughters. Luke said: “The atmosphere of the huge crowds that line the streets from start to finish cheering, shouting

and willing runners on, make it an extraordinary experience. Add to this the signs of encouragements and numerous bands along the 26.2 mile course and it did make for an unforgettable day. “I raised my fundraising target from £600 to £1,118 after the Yeovil Half Marathon, where Jules Richards accompanied me running as the pencil, as this was the number of runners that we overtook starting last as the charity chaser. “I am delighted to say that thanks to some very generous donors, I managed to surpass my second target and have been able to fund a brilliant 61 school bags that will be given to children in Zambia.” Luke thanked everyone who had supported him and said donations could still be made online at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ LuketheSchoolBag.

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


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Subtle or disruptive – which tactic is most innovative? By Lesley Eaton, Marketing Executive for SEEPEX UK It’s common knowledge that to remain successful, a company must innovate. But what does innovation actually mean? Is disrupting the status quo and discovering brand new products or processes the only way to innovate? Or can being innovative mean something subtler; for example, making an already good product even better? As experts in progressive cavity (PC) pumps, innovation has been at the heart of SEEPEX’s culture since its inception in 1972. Innovation is in our DNA; it drives our company forward. We have a joined-up approach to innovation, with a dedicated technology and innovation department comprising R&D, innovation strategy, engineered solutions, and product and industry management. After all, where’s the value in a good idea if there isn’t a framework in place to enable development beyond the idea phase? However, the framework only pays dividends if a company also fosters a supportive staff culture. In real terms, this means: • Having an open mind – There’s no such thing as a bad idea. If your staff feel their suggestions will be ignored or laughed at, they won’t speak up. Let them know that all ideas are welcome. • Being patient – Don’t expect instant results. Take time to reflect on new ideas and improve upon them. When you’re sure they’re ready, persevere and be tenacious. • Learning from your experiences – If your idea isn’t perfect, think about what you can do differently next time. See it as simply the first step on the road to innovation, and use the knowledge you’ve gained to improve things further. • Collective ownership – A team-based approach to innovation allows both individuals and departments

to freely explore new ideas; even if the first attempt doesn’t succeed. • Collaboration – Work together with colleagues, end-users and the wider market (e.g. trade associations, research centres) to discover what the market actually needs, and develop workable solutions to real problems. Once a supportive culture is in place and a framework to support the development of any new ideas has been established, it’s time to think about how your company can truly innovate. This doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the wheel or coming up with the next breakthrough invention – think instead about the problems your customers face and how you can help to solve them, driving the industry forward as you do so. Think about how you can make your existing product range even better by listening to your customers and the wider industry. Although PC pumps are an established technology, we believe there are always ways to improve and extend capabilities.

Outposts new centre

other groups have enjoyed pitching their tents for more than 20 years.

School students arriving at a Somerset outdoor education and training centre this summer are in for a surprise, thanks to a grant from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Surrounded by woodland and pasture, each lodge has a number of bedrooms, complete with bunk beds, and a bathroom with showers and toilets, as well as heating, and is within a short stroll of Outposts’ Bush Camp where there is a communal dining area with gas lighting, wood burner and eco-toilets.

Outposts Ltd, based at Broomfield on the Quantock Hills, has recently completed five new accommodation lodges to replace the traditional campsite where school students and

The EU-funded grant was awarded to help Outposts Ltd expand its business by providing accommodation in late Autumn and early Spring when accommodation in tents is less appealing, increasing the usage of the site, generating more business, creating new jobs and supporting the local economy. Michael Kingscote, the Managing Director of Outposts, said: “Outposts thrives on the rural nature of its setting for our outdoor education programmes,

both corporate and youth. We believe wholeheartedly in supporting the local economy to promote and protect the beautiful place in which we live and work, the Quantock Hills. “One of our initial objectives, when starting the company, was to provide jobs for local people and do what we could to help create a flourishing local economy. The grant we have received will enable us to continue meeting those objectives.” The lodges were opened officially by Sedgemoor District Councillor Anne Fraser. Outposts Ltd, was founded in 1998 and specialises in educational programmes, spanning Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) courses, leadership training for companies, youth programmes and overseas travel/ expeditions.


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MEMBER NEWS

Bath & West Showground Evolution Continues with Opening of the Wessex Pavilion The transformation of the event spaces at the Bath & West Showground continues apace with the recent opening of the Wessex Pavilion. Glastonbury Festival organiser and friend of the Bath & West, Michael Eavis cut the ribbon to officially open the refurbished restaurant facilities following a £1.2m project, signed-off by the Trustees of the Royal Bath & West of England Society in partnership with in-house caterers, Hayes Catering Ltd. Attendees enjoyed a glass of Thatcher’s cider in the newly named Thatcher’s Bar & Restaurant – a 500 capacity ground floor event space with an outside terrace which features a

striking visual of Thatcher’s Somerset Orchards. Located next to the Showering Pavilion, the Wessex Pavilion also includes a 350-capacity event space on the first floor; The Butcombe Bar, making it the largest dining and conference space in Somerset, North Dorset and West Wiltshire. Somerton-based Edgar Builders carried out the refurbishment which has been completed in good time for the Royal Bath & West Show (29 May – 1 June). The professional team that supported the project included Della Valle Architects from Shepton Mallet, project management from Randell Simmonds of Wells and Beveridge Chartered Structural Engineers from Street. Branded the “Wessex Pavilion”, to recognise the showground’s regional influence and its Vice-Patronage by Her Royal Highness, the Countess of Wessex, the venue has been designed to host large weddings, awards dinners, black tie events and conferences the scale of which have not been hosted in the Mendip area before. Chief Executive of the Royal Bath & West Society, Rupert Cox, said: “This is a major investment for the Society that improves our facilities tremendously. The changing face of event management necessitates the need to continually improve our offering for the 800,000 visitors that come to the showground to be entertained by a range of fantastic events throughout the year.”

Old Mill’s Carolyn Matravers achieves Gold Standard in later life advice by becoming SOLLA accredited adviser Carolyn Matravers, an adviser at financial planning firm Old Mill, has been welcomed into the prestigious Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) organisation. SOLLA was formed in 2008 as a ‘not for profit’ society dedicated to helping people and their families find trusted accredited financial advisers who understand the financial needs of later life. SOLLA accreditation is the Gold Standard for later life financial advice, and all advisers have to pass a rigorous assessment and attain the required qualifications to gain accreditation.

Carolyn continues: “My role is to provide support, guidance and a listening ear at a most vulnerable time for individuals and their families. My 19 years of experience means I can help people navigate the complexities of the care system and provide the information required to make informed financial decisions.”

Old Mill has offices in Exeter, Wells, Yeovil and Melksham and Carolyn will work with clients from all four and will be the only SOLLA accredited adviser in Yeovil. She is the second Old Mill adviser to become accredited; the other is Chris Tweedie, who qualified five years ago. She said: “The increasingly complex nature of later life finances means that it can be a total minefield for older people and their families, so having expert advice from someone who can take a holistic view of the whole later life market, as well as care funding matters, is absolutely vital.” Carolyn says that often advisers will have knowledge in some areas but not others. “This means that many older people are either not getting enough help or support for their needs, or are receiving incomplete or inaccurate advice,” she said.

Carolyn covers everything from ensuring that the individual is receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled, to addressing the more complex financial planning needs. To find out more about how Carolyn and the Old Mill later ife team can help you, your family and your business, visit https://om.uk/services/later-life-planning/ email carolyn.matravers@om.uk or give her a call for an informal chat on 01935 709334 or 07825 620028.

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


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SCCC and 40 Commando Somerset County Cricket Club has joined forces with 40 Commando Royal Marines to create a special initiative. The project has been designed to enable the two organisations to work together for the benefit of both 40 Commando Royal Marines and Somerset County Cricket Club, as well as aiding the local community as a whole. Whilst several elements of the initiative will see SCCC and 40 Commando sharing best practice in the fields of health & fitness plus science & medicine, the project will also cast its net wider in an attempt to benefit players and staff away from the field of play. Suzanne Roper, SCCC Commercial Sales Director, said: “As well as the obvious mutually beneficial shared practices from a health perspective, that is just the tip of the iceberg. “The initiative will see, among many other things, the Club offering work experience opportunities for Royal Marines preparing to leave the corps, while we will also be working together to deal with issues such as mental health awareness across both parties and the wider community. “SCCC and 40 Commando Royal Marines are both key institutions within the region and we are dedicated to driving elite performances of individuals and teams. We are also fully committed to the communities in which we work and live and that is why this initiative has been created.”

Lt Col Simon Rogers, Commanding Officer 40 Commando Royal Marines, said: “This mutually beneficial relationship is an extremely exciting opportunity for us. SCCC and 40 Commando both share the same enthusiasm and drive for the highest standards and professionalism, and I am sure we will learn a great deal from each other. “We are also grateful for the support the Club are providing to our serving men and women. They will gain a huge amount of enjoyment from the matches and the work experience opportunities. “We look forward to inviting SCCC to Norton Manor, where we will assist them to enhance their winning spirit through sharing our ‘Commando Values’: excellence, integrity, selfdiscipline and humility.”

Somerset Wildlife Trust picked as charity guest for Farmfest Somerset Wildlife Trust is excited to announce that Farmfest has chosen to support its work, by inviting it to be one of the event’s two charity partners for 2019. Farmfest has been carefully crafted into one of the most inclusive and unique events in the UK over the past 12 years from its beautiful site in Bruton. This year Farmfest will run from the 25-27th July, and organisers will be kindly donating 15% of the ticket booking fee to the Trust to support its work across the county. One of the Festival’s themes this year is Love the Land, making Somerset Wildlife Trust a natural partner. The Trust will be putting on a variety of nature-based activities at the Festival to compliment the Love the Land theme whilst raising money for vital conservation work. Activities include building bug hotels to make homes for nature, and creating wildflower seed bombs to throw colour into your garden and food for our vital pollinators. Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Community Fundraiser, Kate Wilson, said: “We are so delighted to be working with FarmFest this year. Festivals in their very nature are designed for uniting people, for massive celebration and to collectively make a big noise – things that our natural environment needs us to do for it right now so that it can recover and thrive.” Farmfest’s Eco & Charity Coordinator, Irene De Pasquale, explains why the Trust was a natural choice: “The Festival was born 12 years ago through a kindred love of culture and the amazing landscapes around us. We want to respect and give back to the land as much as we can and ensure that wildlife continues to thrive – so supporting the Trust in this way enable us to do that.”

SASP new board member SASP has welcomed Rupert Cox, the CEO of The Royal Bath and West Society, as a new board member. Rupert is an experienced CEO in primarily membershipbased not-forprofit organisations. He has a wealth of event management experience, is particularly astute in the political arena, working with volunteers and building effective teams. A spokesman for SASP said: “In line with our strategy launch and the changing landscape, we feel we have individuals that will provide the organisation access to more diverse networks and will aid SASP in embedding physical activity into daily lives through our partners and stakeholders involved in health, schools, youth networks and the environment. “Our new board member has a wealth of knowledge and is very passionate about making Somerset healthier and happier.”


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BUSINESS NEWS

Source: BAD News (Business Advisers News)

Review launched to shape future minimum wage policy

Small businesses with patents more likely to grow

The Department for Business has launched a review of the economic impact of minimum wages in other countries, to help shape future minimum wage policy in the UK. Speaking at the launch, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, said that National Living Wage (NLW) targets set in 2016 would be met by 2020, and that it was now time to set ambitious but sustainable new targets.

Smaller businesses that apply for patents, trade marks or designs are more likely to grow quickly and succeed than those that do not, research by the European Patent Office and the European Union Intellectual Property Office has revealed. The research found that small businesses which held at least one intellectual property (IP) right were more likely to become a high-growth business. The research also revealed that only 9% of smaller businesses have registered any IP rights compared to 40% of larger businesses.

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), warned: “It is essential that increases in the NLW are affordable for smaller businesses and do not have a chilling effect on economic growth.” Read more about the FSB reaction to the review at: https://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/ minimum-wage-review-must-consider-spirallingcosts-say-small-firms

Financial support package for exporters A financial support package for small and medium-sized exporters has been announced by the Department for International Trade and UK Export Finance. The package is made up of the Small Deal Initiative, the General Export Facility and increased financial support for exporters’ supply chains. The Small Deal Initiative will guarantee loans for overseas buyers of British-made goods to help make the UK more competitive. The General Export Facility will support exporters’ overall working capital requirements. Read more about the finance package at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/liam-foxannounces-gamechanger-financial-support-packagefor-uk-sme-exporters

UK exports boom in all four nations Data published by HMRC shows every UK nation recorded a greater value of goods exports in the 2018/19 financial year than ever before. To read more, go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ uk-exports-boom-in-all-4-nations

Read more about the research at: https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2019/june/ small-companies-with-patents-more-likely-to-growrapidly-than-those-without/

National tech database launched Tech Nation has launched a national database of 33,000 tech start ups and 12,000 investors for founders, investors and policymakers. To read more, go to:: https://technation.io/news/introducing-the-innovativedata-commons-for-uk-tech/

Sharpest decline in construction output since March 18 UK construction companies indicated a renewed decline in total business activity during May. Lower volumes of commercial work and civil engineering activity more than offset a modest increase in house building. To read more, go to: https://www.markiteconomics.com/Public/Home/ PressRelease/c059c6abac914658b3c8217fc0df0bd5

Figures show retail sales slump Figures released by the British Retail Consortium show a 2.7% slump in retail sales, the biggest dip in 24 years. To read more, go to: https://bira.co.uk/retail-sales-slump/

SOMERSET VOICE | THE MAGAZINE OF SOMERSET CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | JUNE/JULY 2019


MEMBER NEWS

Navigating the fog of Brexit The fog of Brexit continues to hang over the country, and the uncertainties facing businesses and households remain high. That makes my regular conversations with companies and communities in Somerset and the rest of the South West more important than ever! These conversations help the Bank’s policymakers navigate these uncertainties and set interest rates to keep price increases in line with our 2% target. The government sets this target because low inflation supports jobs and steady growth in the economy. While Brexit uncertainties have persisted at home, there has been some better news from abroad, with signs of a pickup in global growth. That should support the UK economy. And growth has been supported recently by businesses building stocks of raw materials and finished goods in case of disruption from Brexit. That helped to push up economic growth earlier this year. But the boost from stockbuilding is not expected to continue. That’s what the firms I speak to have been telling me. Investment by businesses is expected to remain weak while Brexit uncertainty persists and we expect growth in the economy will be fairly modest over the rest of 2019. But with pay rising faster than prices and employment increasing, we believe consumers will continue to spend and provide some support to growth. In the South West we’ve seen unemployment fall to the lowest level since 1975 and we have the lowest levels of unemployment in the UK! Looking further ahead, as the uncertainty created by Brexit begins to fade, businesses will return to investing and consumer spending should continue to grow solidly. Against that stronger backdrop, the economy is forecast to grow more rapidly in 2020. We expect this will lead to larger price increases. As a result, the Bank will probably need to raise interest rates to meet our 2% inflation target. But these increases will be limited and gradual. And for the moment Bank Rate remains at 0.75%. All that said, our forecast depends critically on the trade arrangements that are agreed between the UK and the EU, and how businesses, consumers and financial markets react to that. Since last October, the Bank’s Agents have been asking business contacts about their preparations for Brexit. Our latest survey found that three quarters of firms had done some form of contingency planning. Two thirds of contacts said they were ready for a ‘no deal, no transition’ Brexit. But of those firms, a third said they were only ‘as ready as we can be’, while another third thought that they would not be affected. But whatever the final Brexit outcome, the Bank will set policy to support the economy by keeping inflation low and ensuring our financial system is resilient. And the Bank has already ensured that the major banks are well prepared, whichever way things go. Donna Kehoe, Agent for Bank of England South West @BoESouthWest

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Somerset cyber specialists join forces A new Somerset consortium has joined forces to give supply chain members working on the Hinkley Point C (HPC) project the best possible IT security advice and Government-recognised IT security accreditation. The Somerset Cyber Group was formed last year by three local companies – Yeovil-based CETSAT and Blueloop and Bridgwater-based PC Comms. Between them they have decades of experience working with Government, defence and leading crime fighting agencies. Although all companies involved with the construction of Hinkley Point C must undergo formal security assurance for their systems, the Somerset Cyber Group is helping them to improve beyond best practice. All three members of the group are qualified to provide the Government-approved Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certifications and are also able to offer a wide range of other IT and cyber security products and services for Hinkley Supply Chain members. The group was set up to ensure all companies involved in the Hinkley Point C new nuclear build meet a simple but effective set of standards in good IT practice and cyber security. Their procedures must also illustrate good security practice within the supply chain so they don’t present a risk to fellow suppliers or their clients. Durgan Cooper, Chairman of the Somerset Cyber Group, said: “We have been working with Somerset Larder for a number of years, helping them to ready themselves for their cyber security needs. “Scaling-up and coming together as a consortium allows us to deliver best practice and commonality to a much wider range of organisations in the supply chain. We want to be working with Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 members on their IT security. “We can help suppliers add value to their work – 90 per cent of all cyber compromises of businesses are usually due to user interactions; we are here to train people well and to help prevent them from falling foul of criminals.” Somerset Larder, a consortium of local food suppliers, has provided all the catering needs at Hinkley Point C since 2014 and wanted to partner with other local companies with expertise outside of their own remit to ensure they could fulfil all aspects of their contract. Stephen Stapenhill-Hunt, Somerset Larder Manager, said an IT tie-up was vital as the company’s portfolio of responsibility grew to include the operation of Somerset Larder’s own IT network and systems. And those systems had to be highly regulated and tightly controlled.

that we comply with all legal and project requirements, additionally, they have provided that essential support, advice, resource and expertise that has allowed us to focus on our core purpose. “For Somerset Larder this has been a journey with a companion, importantly, a journey travelled with an expert guide.” Mr Cooper said he hoped Somerset Cyber Group would be able to engage with a wide range of supply chain members on both a national and regional level and would also offer training workshops and services as well IT health checks and cyber security certifications. HPC’s Project Security Compliance Manager, Chris Whyborn said: “All companies involved in construction and construction support at HPC are expected to undergo a level of Security Assurance for Information and Operational Technology systems. HPC contractors often use external service providers to assess or improve their own cyber security posture over and above the Project’s core requirements.” The Somerset Cyber Group is already working with many organisations of differing sizes and in a wide range of industries as other large projects and associated supply chains recognise the need to ensure good IT practice and procedures, all with a recognised certification. The Government-backed Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certifications show that companies take their IT security needs seriously and have installed systems to protect their customers’ data online. This includes the use of boundary firewalls and internet gateways, secure configuration, access control, malware protection and patch management. Cyber Essentials Plus goes one step further and includes a more in-depth technical review of workstations to give clients an even greater security assurance. Once an organisation has been assessed against the Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus security criteria and passes, they receive the relevant Cyber Essentials award, which demonstrates they have achieved a fundamental level of cyber security. Mr Cooper added: “We don’t want to be scaremongering, but every organisation is at risk and they need good IT cyber security. It’s like having insurance – we all have it but very few of us actually make a claim on it of things go wrong. “Everyone is aware of cyber security and IT is now embedded in most organisations but there are multiple things people need to do to protect themselves and good cyber security is just a starting point, it’s not the destination.” The Somerset Cyber Group already works with Avon and Somerset Police’s South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit and the group prides itself on using ‘agile technology’ to quickly adapt to new cyber threats and the needs of businesses.

Mr Stapenhill-Hunt said: “CETSAT, which is now part of Somerset Cyber Group, has been instrumental in ensuring

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