Careers Fair at Kingsthorpe College - 1st February

Kingsthorpe College is looking for more firms from the IT, marketing and media sectors to take part in its popular annual Careers Fair

This year’s event will be open to hundreds of students from the college, Moulton School and Malcolm Arnold Academy.

Kingsthorpe College careers teacher Sue Cockerill said: “We’ve had a good response from businesses so far but are particularly keen to attract more firms from the IT, marketing and media sectors because we have many students who are interested in these areas.”

The college is keen to attract a variety of local and national companies that can offer advice on opportunities, courses and apprenticeships for Year 9 students who are about to make their subject choices for their GCSEs, through to Year 13 students who are taking their A Levels and making university applications or considering higher level apprenticeships.

This year’s event will be held between 3pm and 5pm and from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, February 1, at Kingsthorpe College in Boughton Green Road, Northampton.

Companies will be invited to set up their stands from 2.30pm and light refreshments will be provided at 5pm prior to the evening session.

For further information contact Sue on 07850 007171 or email

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Five Saints changes for Champions Cup trip to Saracens

Northampton Saints have made five changes to their starting line-up for this weekend’s final Pool 2 clash in the European Champions Cup.

Two-time defending champions Saracens lie in wait at Allianz Park, but Saints come into the fixture off the back of two straight victories – beating Gloucester Rugby in the Aviva Premiership before downing ASM Clermont Auvergne for the first time in the Club’s history.

And they have a point to prove again this weekend despite being unable to progress to the knockout stages, having been beaten twice already this season by their London rivals.

Technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney and interim head coach Alan Dickens have rung the changes following last weekend’s triumph, with several players rested.

All three Saints called up for England duty on Thursday retain their place in the side, with the uncapped Harry Mallinder keeping the No.10 jersey again after impressing at fly-half in recent weeks.

Nafi Tuitavake – who scored with his first touch against Clermont – replaces Ahsee Tuala in the starting XV, with last weekend’s man-of-the-match Ben Foden switching to full-back as a result.

The only other change to the back-line sees scrum-half Cobus Reinach given the opportunity to impress on his first start since early December, but the front row is unchanged.

Christian Day is given a new second-row partner in Michael Paterson, while Jamie Gibson and Mitch Eadie also come in to join Courtney Lawes at the base of the scrum.

And Francois van Wyk is the only player retained among the replacements from last weekend with seven fresh players set to make an impact from the bench – including Stephen Myler and George North who have recovered from rib and knee injuries respectively.

“We built on that Gloucester performance against Clermont, and we’re looking to continue that momentum,” said Dickens.

“We want to go down there, put a performance in and finish our European campaign strongly. There was a great buzz around the whole stadium last week and we’ve been pretty clinical inside the 22 for the last two games.

“We can’t progress but we said last week that there are no dead rubbers for us, and we’re fortunate that we’ve got a group of competitive players who want to win every week.”

Tickets are now available for Saints’ Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Harlequins from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by visiting or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000.


European Champions Cup, Round 6

Allianz Park

Saturday 20 January, 2018

Kick-off: 3.15pm


15 Ben Foden

14 Ken Pisi

13 Rob Horne

12 Tom Stephenson

11 Nafi Tuitavake

10 Harry Mallinder

9 Cobus Reinach

1 Campese Ma’afu

2 Dylan Hartley (capt)

3 Kieran Brookes

4 Michael Paterson

5 Christian Day

6 Courtney Lawes

7 Jamie Gibson

8 Mitch Eadie


16 Reece Marshall

17 Francois van Wyk

18 Paul Hill

19 David Ribbans

20 Lewis Ludlam

21 Alex Mitchell

22 Stephen Myler

23 George North

Injury update

Alex Waller (arm), Jamie Elliott (hamstring), Piers Francis (head), and Luther Burrell (calf) are unavailable for selection.

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5% Discount offer

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Free Export Consultation

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Free Evacuation Equipment needs Assessment

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Walkerpack launches new website

Northampton based Walkerpack proudly launched their new website at the beginning of 2018 to coincide with an ambitious strategy to deliver sustainable growth in new and existing markets.

The ISO9001 & 14001 accredited business is more than 100 years old and provides a range of warehouse based value added services such as packing, warehousing, logistics and fulfilment across a wide variety of sectors and works with some of the world’s leading brands.

It is estimated that around 94% of business buyers do some form of online research meaning that a fresh new website was a priority for Northampton based business Walkerpack.

The website provides a clear overview of the companies offer, values and strengths and is packed with new content including customer reviews, news and blogs. Navigation around the site is easy, which is formatted for a range of desk top and mobile devices.

Sales Manager Steve Tiley added: “Websites continue to be the primary tool used by professional buyers when evaluating vendor products and services and it was extremely important that our site supported our strategy, clearly defined our offer and strengths. Although other marketing channels such as social media and advertising will impact your business they all need to lead somewhere and give customers a chance to make an even more informed decision.”

Moving forward, the plan is to add even more features to the site to ensure that visitors enjoy the best possible experience.

As part of its promotional plans, Walkerpack are offering any business that sends a new enquiry through the website contact page a 5% discount on its first order by quoting CODE:WEB18.

The site can be found at or contact us or +44(0)1604 760529.

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New litter enforcement launches next week

New enforcement officers will be on the streets of Northampton from next week to ensure the town stays clean and tidy.

In December, Northampton Borough Council announced that Kingdom Services Group Ltd had been awarded a new environmental enforcement contract.

Staff have been recruited and will be trained during the next week, then they will take up their duties across the town centre.

Cllr Mike Hallam, Cabinet member for environment, said: “During the first week or so, the new enforcement officers will aim to educate rather than immediately hand out fines.

“That said, their primary aim is to prevent littering – including dropped chewing gum and cigarette ends which have become such a blight on our streets.

“We have found that the only way to deter some people from their casual, anti-social attitude is to hit them in the pocket, so that’s precisely what will happen.”

The contract is set to run for an initial three-year period and will be paid for entirely from the proceeds of enforcement action.

But a fundamental element is that Kingdom cannot offer staff commission based on number of fines, meaning the will only be handed out where necessary.

To begin with, enforcement officers will concentrate on the town centre but as soon as this activity begins to have an impact, they will start to patrol other areas of the town.

“We have just awarded our new environmental services contract and that will launch in the summer,” added Cllr Hallam.

“It is vital that we make improvements to the cleanliness of the town and these two commissions will work in tandem to do just that.

“We want people to take pride in our beautiful town, not be ashamed of it, which is why we are taking a no tolerance approach from this point on.”

Throughout the initial contract, the council can choose to expand the service to cover other areas and possibly include fly-tipping enforcement. If necessary it can be extended for up to two years.

Kingdom will be responsible for administering all fines including a robust appeals process. Operatives will use body-worn cameras to gather evidence to support their actions.

Performance will be monitored throughout the contract and enforcement activity should result in a downward trend in the number of littering incidents.

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Holocaust Memorial Day to raise awareness of the normalisation of extreme attitudes in modern societies

The University of Northampton is inviting people to reflect on the past at its Holocaust Memorial Day event – while thinking about how the history behind it remains relevant today.

The annual event, which takes place on Wednesday 24 January, has been organised by Dr Paul Jackson, Senior Lecturer in History, an expert in far-right extremism.

Dr Jackson (pictured) has warned that people need to be aware of the normalisation of extreme attitudes in modern societies, and hopes the day’s events will help to expose the issue.

He said: “It is important to study and reflect on the history of the Holocaust, and what it tells us abouthow extreme attitudes can become seen as normal in modern societies.

“The University marks Holocaust Memorial Day every year, and we invite people from across Northampton to come and join us in an event reflecting on the past, and thinking about how which history remains relevant today.”

You can read Dr Jackson’s blog about Holocaust Memorial Day here.

A number of guest speakers will appear at the event, including Aristotle Kallis, from Keele University, who will be talking on the role of leaders and ideology, both during the Holocaust
and in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. He is also an expert on the contemporary extreme right in Europe.

University of Northampton student, Siobhan Hyland, will be talking about her PhD research into anti-fascist campaigning in the 1980s and 1990s to identify and prosecute alleged Second World War criminals who came to the UK after 1945.

Siobhan Tatum will be talking about an oral history project she leads called Race Act 40 which focuses on how people in Wellingborough have promoted racial equality.

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on Wednesday 24 January, between 1.30pm and 3.30pm, at Park Campus.

It will commence with a stone-laying ceremony at the Anne Frank and Stephen Lawrence memorial tree, located outside the main restaurant, followed by talks in Grendon Lecture

The event is free and open to the public, students and staff.

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Health graduate tucks in to evaluation of Northampton food and poverty programme

The University of Northampton has been appointed to lead an evaluation into the effectiveness of a collaborative and multidisciplinary food and poverty programme based in the town.

Natasha Bayes, researcher and graduate of the university’s Masters in Public Health course whose dissertation focused on people’s experiences of food poverty, has commenced the evaluation in collaboration with co-lead Dr Roz Collings (Senior Lecturer). The findings of the evaluation will be reported in late 2021.

The HUB partnership was created in June 2016 to look at what interventions work best to help people facing hardship crisis. These included:waste

  • Access to the food aid
  • Advice and advocacy from local partnerships such as Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Cookery courses, including information about budget shopping and reducing food
  • Creative workshops designed to help services users, or guests, ‘make, do and mend’
  • A money course to help guests devise a manageable budget and learn how to save.

The HUB partnership is led by Northampton food charity Re:store, in collaboration with the Springs Family Centre, Northampton Community Foundation and the Central
and East Northamptonshire Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Help Through Crisis’ fund (now closed to applications) and the evaluation will involve two stages.

The first looks at reviewing the data collection tools designed to identify guests’ socio-economic circumstances and how they can be supported through the services.

For the second work stream, the research team will interview guests to find out if and how using the services has impacted them (such as their health and well being, life skills, employment status and access to crisis provision).

Researchers will speak with ‘Community Champions’ (guests who have benefitted from the services and promote these to new peopole) to see how this role can be further used to encourage life changes in guests.

They will also survey stakeholders to see how the partnership has worked and what changes are needed to make it work better in the future.

The evaluation will be rounded off with visits to key project partners to identify what is working and what can be improved.

Natasha commented: “The multidisciplinary services provided through the HUB partnership is of huge importance to people facing hardship crisis. It’s therefore important that we
understand the effectiveness of the project in meeting its outcomes in supporting people facing socio-economic hardship to change their circumstances.

“It has been a pleasure working with Anya and the wider partners and I look forward to continuing to working with them over the next few years.”

Anya Willis, Director of Re:store in Northampton, added: “We’ve been proceeding at a great pace with our Hub partners, but to ensure the future success of the programme, we need an objective, in-depth look at what works, why and what our guests feel about the services we provide for them. At the end of the day, it’s their views that matter so we will be working with Natasha and her team on this evaluation.”

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Are you ready for GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) comes into force from May 25 2018 and will bring some important changes to data protection law.

The GDPR will apply to the processing of personal data by both data controllers and data processors and will hold the processors to higher standards of compliance and accountability whilst increasing the penalties which can be incurred for non-compliance. Therefore, controllers and processors will need to become more pro-active in the ways in which they collect, process, store and delete personal data.

Organisations need to consider not only the personal data they hold for contacts, clients and other third parties but the personal data processed for their own employees alongside internal policies.

Due to popular demand Woodfines Solicitors has decided to host some additional GDPR seminars from its Bedford and Milton Keynes offices to provide you with the essential information you need to become compliant before 25 May 2018.


8th Feb 8.00am
Bedford Office: 16 St Cuthberts Street, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK40 3JG
9th Feb 9.00am
Milton Keynes Office: Silbury Court, 352 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK9 2AF

A light breakfast/lunch will be provided at each seminar. Spaces are limited so reserve yours now. RSVP with your preferred location to Katie Dyer at or 01234 270600 by Friday, January 26.

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CML goes beyond ‘In Stock’ in Internet Retailing’s Latest Whitepaper

Leading end-to-end logistics provider, CML, has announced that Internet Retailing magazine has published its latest whitepaper “Beyond ‘in-stock’: How fulfilment services can deliver the memorable experiences customers expect”.

The paper, which was commissioned by CML, explores how retailers can use fulfilment and logistics to improve the experience of individual customers.

There is no doubt that the retail sector has seen huge changes in the way goods are delivered, returned and packed. As this evolution shows no sign of slowing, CML uses the whitepaper to investigate how retailers can use visibility of stock across the whole estate to serve customers better, make fulfilment services intrinsic to customer experience, and work with changing customer behaviour to drive sales.

According to the findings, close to 90% of respondents saw it as important to improve the delivery and fulfilment experience in 2017. 44.6% respondents also said they would like to gain an improved visibility of stock across the internet and for their customers. Such statistics divulge key details about the current requirements for businesses along the supply chain. Additionally, as customers’ expectations continue to increase as the market evolves, the whitepaper administers systems and processes that can be put in place to not only manage customer expectations, but exceed them.

Jane Smith, Business Development Manager at CML, said: “The retail landscape is continuously evolving and it continues to do so at pace. With footfall in store declining and ecommerce growing, retailers have had to adapt their methods of selling goods to suit the needs of consumers. This requires a dynamic and agile supply chain - one that delivers the retailer’s promise of brand and customer experience.

“In this whitepaper, we explored how retail fulfilment is adapting to these changes and emerging trends in ecommerce as a result of this shift in customer demand towards omnichannel shopping. The outcome of the whitepaper highlights the need for retailers to react to changes in consumer behaviour and use it as a catalyst for improving the overall customer experience.”

To read CML’s whitepaper visit,

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Rypro Energy maintains 100% record through 2017

​Northamptonshire based energy brokerage Rypro Energy maintained its 100% record in delivering savings for SMEs in 2017.

Delivering an average saving of £476.04 per annum* Rypro Energy was able to cut costs for businesses in a variety of sectors ranging from insurers, manufacturers, retailers, IT specialists and charities.

Utilising advances in technology Rypro Energy are now able to provide their full suite of services remotely, enabling businesses to save money on their energy bills without disrupting their day.

*savings calculated against offered renewal or out of contract rates.

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I’m Locked In To A Contract. Can I Get A Better Deal?

Chances are that if you run a business you’re always on the look out to cut your costs and maximise your profits. One of your business’ largest fixed costs is likely energy, so being a savvy business owner you’ll have fixed your prices for a number of years by entering into a contract with an energy supplier.

But what happens if a better deal comes along?

Your friend or someone you chat to at a networking event has found a better deal elsewhere or a broker contacts you offering you cheaper prices.

Suddenly your deal doesn’t seem so good. You feel like you’re throwing money away.

Is there anything that you can do?

A contract with your energy supplier is legally binding and they’re unlikely to let you go before your agreed term ends. The supplier will have purchased the energy you need in advance, so they won’t want to be left with excess.

It may all seem futile…but there are things you can do:

Review your contract. You’ll have agreed a fixed price with your supplier for a set period of time. Usually this will be between 1 and 5 years. Most suppliers also tell you when your contract is due to end on your bill, but the simplest way is to review the contract you originally signed. If you agreed your contract over the phone you should have been sent documentation, or you can call/email your supplier and obtain the information.

Review your Terms and Conditions. All suppliers will provide you a copy of their terms when you enter into a contract. If you’ve misplaced them give them a call and they’ll send you a replacement copy. Each supplier has different terms of business so it’s important to know the rules by which you are playing.

Some suppliers will let you break your contract for a fee. This is usually costly as they’ll bill you what they estimate you would have used had you honoured your contract in full, along with an administration fee.

Most suppliers will not allow you to break your contract, even if you want to pay.

All suppliers will tell you how to renew your contract, and the window of opportunity you have to negotiate with them or terminate your contract as you approach its end. This is vital information to know. Some suppliers play fair and give you ample opportunity to leave, others stack the deck firmly to their favour to keep you.

Some suppliers, such as Dual Energy, have unique products which allow you to submit competing quotes for review each year, and will let you break your contract free of charge if they can’t match or better it.

Avoid the traps

If you don’t monitor your energy contract you could end up paying even higher prices. In the worst case you could find yourself locked in to increased prices for a further year. Do not let this happen!

Most energy suppliers will move you to a standard variable tariff when your contract term ends. These tariffs are significantly more expensive, but you are able to switch suppliers if you give 28 days notice, and you can re-negotiate a new contract with the incumbent.

Some suppliers have more draconian auto-renew terms, where if you don’t tell them otherwise, they’ll roll you onto a new 1 year contract at new (usually higher) prices. This contract remains legally binding so there is no way out of it. This practice has been mostly phased out, but still exists. Be careful.

Secure your lower cost future

You can manage all of the above yourself. That’s a lot of reminders, reading and risk to consider.


You could engage with an Energy Broker to take the hassle away.

A broker will:

Review your contract and terms and see if there is a favourable way to secure you a new deal immediately.

If there’s no way to secure you cheaper prices immediately we can ensure you don’t auto-renew or pay higher variable rates.

Scour the market up to a year in advance and secure you a cheaper rate for when your current contract ends. You get the benefit of today’s prices, and the knowledge that you’ll be moving on to the best deal available when your current contract ends

Speak to Rypro Energy for free today and we can advise you on the best action to take. / 07887 757589

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The Importance of ICE in the workplace

ICE For Workers…

Really? Yes! Do one or other of these sound familiar?

You sit next to the same person every day in the office, and though you chatter you don’t really know each other.


You find yourself managing a different set of site workers every week; you can barely keep up with their names let alone any personal details.

In either situation, where would you turn for information if someone collapsed? The stricken individual is going to need appropriate, fast medical assistance and will be keen for their family to be notified of their situation.

How can you, as an employer, ensure this happens?

ICE for workers – Emergency ID that makes a difference

That’s right, emergency ID tags.

It’s a proven fact that an efficient, effective response to an accident or acute medical condition improves the chance of a good outcome in both the short and the longer term. If you ensure every worker in your office or onsite has an ICEtag, you are enabling them to carry potentially lifesaving information.

ICEtags can provide paramedics, first responders, and first aiders with critical medical details and emergency contact information without having to raid the HR Department’s files.

What are the benefits of implementing an ICEtag system at work?

1. The system is simple both to operate and then use in an emergency. An individual’s details are easily accessible or visible. A medic doesn’t need a scanner or specific piece of equipment… they just need to be able to read.

2. It is an extremely cost effective method of facilitating the best outcome you can as an employer in an emergency health situation.

3. It can be of use to all members of staff, not just those with known medical conditions. Accidents happen, and to have the emergency contact details of family etc. will make things much easier for you to fulfil your responsibilities as an employer.

4. Workers still have control of what information they provide. It may be that as a minimum you request staff to provide their name and manager’s name. If somebody doesn’t wish to provide medical information on allergies, that’s their choice. You have, at least, given them the option.

5. ICEtags need not be an intrusive addition to one’s apparel because they can be worn on the wrist, around the neck, on a shoelace, on a helmet, or even on a zip. For office workers, ICE information can be added to an existing ID card (behind a scratch-off panel in case of sensitive information) or printed on a stand-alone credit card style ICE card.

6. With that said, however, for certain work locations where helmets are worn, this may be the best location for an ICEtag to sit. Medics often won’t/can’t move a person when they arrive at a scene for fear of causing more injury. If medical information is in a visible location like a helmet it is going to make a medic’s life a lot easier.

But there are also strategic benefits too…

Here’s some food for thought:

1. An ICEtag system demonstrates best practice and a proactive safety management approach to staff, customers and insurance companies.

2. A positively promoted ICEtag system helps raise awareness of high standards of health and safety in the workplace. It reinforces a safety culture.

3. An ICEtag system encourages staff to take greater personal responsibility for their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of their colleagues. This makes health and safety management far easier.

So if you’re keen to make even one small change that will make a big improvement to the health and safety of your employees, give us a call now on 03333 444122.

We’d be delighted to advise you on what is the best emergency ID solution for your business.

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Chambers’ chief joins SEMLEP Board

Paul Griffiths has joined SEMLEP’s Board in a further boost to strengthen business voice in shaping economic growth in the South East Midlands.

Paul Griffiths said, “It is an honour to be appointed to the board of an organisation which is working tirelessly to tackle barriers to sustainable growth and promote job creation.

“Everything the Chamber does is designed to help businesses make the most of their potential so it makes sense for me to give my support to an organisation which is committed to making the South East Midlands one of the most successful economies in England by 2020.”

Dr Ann Limb CBE DL said, “I’m very pleased to welcome Paul to SEMLEP Board. Paul is well-connected to local businesses, large and small and, has his ear to the ground to local business issues so he will be a great addition to the Board.”

SEMLEP brings together the private sector, universities and further education providers, the not-for-profit sector and the public sector, to steer investment and deliver projects to grow businesses, people and places. SEMLEP’s Board has a collective strategic leadership role in identifying priority strategies and actions to deliver growth in the South East Midlands. The Board scrutinises performance of SEMLEP and provides stewardship of funds, programmes and projects.

As Chief Executive of both Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire Chambers of Commerce, Paul is a qualified accountant with an extensive business background at senior level. He brings a wealth of experience from a diverse background in manufacturing, software development and publishing, hospitality, financial shared services, and in delivering public sector contracts across a variety of sectors.

Paul’s role within the Chambers means that he works closely with both the Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire business communities representing their views to local, regional, and national Government.

Paul is also a non-executive director of EMB-Group Ltd and its subsidiaries: East Midlands Business Limited and EMB Excellence Limited, and a member of the British Chambers of Commerce Accreditation Board.

For further information about SEMLEP and Board members, visit

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Chambers’ chief joins SEMLEP Board

Paul Griffiths has joined SEMLEP’s Board in a further boost to strengthen business voice in shaping economic growth in the South East Midlands.

Paul Griffiths said, “It is an honour to be appointed to the board of an organisation which is working tirelessly to tackle barriers to sustainable growth and promote job creation.

“Everything the Chamber does is designed to help businesses make the most of their potential so it makes sense for me to give my support to an organisation which is committed to making the South East Midlands one of the most successful economies in England by 2020.”

Dr Ann Limb CBE DL said, “I’m very pleased to welcome Paul to SEMLEP Board. Paul is well-connected to local businesses, large and small and, has his ear to the ground to local business issues so he will be a great addition to the Board.”

SEMLEP brings together the private sector, universities and further education providers, the not-for-profit sector and the public sector, to steer investment and deliver projects to grow businesses, people and places.

SEMLEP’s Board has a collective strategic leadership role in identifying priority strategies and actions to deliver growth in the South East Midlands. The Board scrutinises performance of SEMLEP and provides stewardship of funds, programmes and projects.

As Chief Executive of both Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes Chambers of Commerce, Paul is a qualified accountant with an extensive business background at senior level. He brings a wealth of experience from a diverse background in manufacturing, software development and publishing, hospitality, financial shared services, and in delivering public sector contracts across a variety of sectors.

Paul’s role within the Chambers means that he works closely with both the Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes business communities representing their views to local, regional, and national Government.

Paul is also a non-executive director of EMB-Group Ltd and its subsidiaries: East Midlands Business Limited and EMB Excellence Limited, and a member of the British Chambers of Commerce Accreditation Board.

For further information about SEMLEP and Board members, visit

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YMCA Milton Keynes calls on businesses to help the homeless

YMCA Milton Keynes is calling on local businesses to help the homeless by supporting Sleep Easy 2018. This is a national campaign run by YMCAs across the UK to raise awareness of the growing problem of youth homelessness and to raise funds for local YMCAs, so that they can continue their work with formerly homeless young adults.

Sleep Easy Milton Keynes will take place on Friday 16th March in Fred Roche Gardens, immediately behind The Church of Christ the Cornerstone. YMCA Milton Keynes is inviting supporters to sleep out overnight in a small tent, or under cardboard, to briefly experience what it is like not to have a bed and a roof over your head. This can provide a great opportunity for team building and team bonding - as well as helping to further highlight and address an issue of local concern.

People who want to take part are asked to pre-register by going to and searching for ‘YMCA Milton Keynes Sleep Easy 2018’ – or by contacting YMCA Milton Keynes on 01908 295600.

“We have seen a growing number of homeless people sleeping out in Central Milton Keynes and other parts of the borough. But the street homeless are just the visible tip of a much larger problem that is disproportionately affecting young people,” said YMCA Milton Keynes chief executive, Simon Green

“There are young people sleeping in cars, sofa surfing or living in unsafe situations where, for example, they may be subject to physical or sexual assault – but have nowhere else to go. Last year YMCA was contacted by over 1,000 young people – but we were only able to directly help some 350,” said Simon.

But having a bed and a safe place to stay is just the start for many of the young people who approach YMCA. Many suffer poor mental health as a direct result of the trauma they have had to face. Others will have had a disrupted education and may not have been able to secure stable employment.

YMCA Milton Keynes works with its residents to make them feel valued – to give them a sense of belonging and purpose in life. The formerly homeless young adults learn independent living skills while living in the hostel before graduating to the flats, where they can put these skills into practice. There are activity programmes designed to improve physical and mental health – YMCA Milton Keynes has its own mental health practitioner, funded by a grant from Milton Keynes Community Foundation, available to provide support and counselling to people who need it. And YMCA staff help residents attain basic educational qualifications and seek out training and employment opportunities.

“We want our residents to move on as confident individuals, with a job and a home,” said Simon, “but this takes time and resources – and as we have seen demand for our services increase we have also seen our funding reduce – so every pound we can raise through Sleep Easy will be vital to us and, more importantly, the young people we support.”

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Steadying the ship post-Carillion

Following the liquidation of Carillion, which has left many suppliers and sub-contractors facing a difficult future, Graham Bushby, RSM’s head of restructuring (pictured here), advises affected businesses on their options.

Graham commented: “Over the last few days, suppliers and sub-contractors to Carillion have been urgently seeking confirmation as to whether PWC, the Special Managers appointed, require them to continue supply for goods or services. Affected businesses need to tread carefully here as ceasing supply without agreement could unwittingly lead to a breach of contract so taking advice is strongly recommended.

“If continued supply is required, suppliers should seek undertakings that PWC will put Carillion into funds to pay for any goods or services supplied during the period of the liquidation. Regrettably suppliers will be highly unlikely to be paid sums due to them in relation to the period before the liquidation.

“If PWC/the Official Receiver decides it does not require continued supply, affected suppliers will need to take action to seek the return of any goods provided, if they have a valid retention of title claim. Again it may be worth seeking advice first.

“Businesses should also submit a claim to the Official Receiver for all unpaid bills, but in all likelihood, many will simply have to assume that they won’t be paid for outstanding work. As a result, many will suffer a painful hit to their cashflow.

“There are encouraging signs from the Government and UK Finance that the banks will seek to support SMEs that need assistance with overdraft extensions, payment holidays and fee waivers. Affected businesses are advised to contact their bank as soon as possible to discuss the options. Other funding avenues such as invoice financing could also provide a useful facility to help tide companies over in the short term.

“Many businesses will also need to rapidly reduce their cost base. Reducing headcount is one option, but redundancy costs can sometimes exacerbate short term cashflow difficulties, so are not always the answer.

“In the short term, businesses should consider chasing outstanding trade debtors for payment and checking their own customer base for creditworthiness, particularly in cases where it is known they may have exposure to the Carillion collapse. In the longer term, firms would do well to ensure they are not overly reliant on one large customer.

“It’s also important to remember that out of this crisis, new contract opportunities may emerge. Clearly the priority for many will be on steadying the ship, but businesses should not lose sight of new business development opportunities.”

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Cobblers team up with local theatre in official partnership

Royal & Derngate is embarking on a new two year partnership with Northampton Town Football Club to work together on cross promotion of activities at the two organisations.

Building on the partnership which saw the theatre bring multi-media production The Twelfth Player to life at Sixfields Stadium last summer, Royal & Derngate and the Cobblers are further developing their working relationship, with the football club becoming a member of the theatre’s Business Club for the next two years.

Joint activities get underway with a ‘Shrek Take Over Day’ at the football match between Northampton Town and MK Dons at Sixfields on Saturday 20 January, in advance of family blockbuster Shrek – The Musical coming to Royal & Derngate in March.

The theatre is also supporting the Cobblers with their new networking club “Northampton Means Business”.

Northampton Town’s Commercial and Marketing Manager Caroline Lucy added: “We are very excited about this partnership. The Twelfth Player showed how well our two organisations can work together, and we are both committed to not only showing off the best Northampton has to offer, but bringing fantastic entertainment to the people of Northampton and beyond.

“We are looking forward to working with Royal & Derngate and I am sure our supporters will benefit by attending some of the fantastic shows that the Royal & Derngate have to offer.”

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Northampton remembers the Holocaust

Holocaust Memorial Day will be marked by Northampton Borough Council on Wednesday, 24 January, with two public events at The Guildhall.

A short ceremony will take place at noon in the Guildhall courtyard, followed by a larger community event in the Great Hall in the evening, at which community groups and dignitaries will deliver a series of readings and performances inspired by this year’s memorial day theme: “The power of words.”

The evening will begin at 6.30pm, with a welcome from the Mayor of Northampton, councillor Gareth Eales, followed by a programme of music, film, poetry and dance, concluding with the blowing of the Shofar and memorial prayers, led by the Northampton Hebrew Congregation.

Other speakers will include Julian Harrison from the Holocaust Memorial Trust, Northamptonshire Police Chief Inspector Dave Lawson and William Duncan, Chair of the Northampton Inter Faith Forum.

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community engagement and community safety said: “These events give us the opportunity to come together to honour survivors, remember
the dead and reflect on some difficult questions about prejudice, persecution and suffering.

“It’s also a chance to remember victims of later genocides, including those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, and reinforce the message that antisemitism and hate crime will not be tolerated.

“People of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to join us at both events to commemorate the day. This year’s theme focuses on the impact of words, and how they can make a difference for both good and evil.”

The events take place ahead of the global Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, which also marks the liberation date of the Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945.

For more information about this event, please call Northampton Borough Council’s Communities and Partnerships team on 01604 838592 or visit to view the full programme.

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Introducing our in-house training co-ordinator

Louise Kirchel, our in-house training co-ordinator, joined The Richardson Partnership for Care in March 2017. With over 10 years’ experience as a Positive and Safe Facilitator in a mental health setting and as a care support worker, she is an ideal fit for our organisation: She understands the needs of the service users as well as the skills required to deliver the best possible care.

Each member of staff takes part in a training day every three weeks. This may be induction training or refresher training on working with people with learning disabilities or acquired brain injuries, or awareness of specific medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy or dementia. Regular statutory training also includes health & safety, infection control, fire safety, food hygiene, first aid, fire awareness, data protection and equality & diversity. In addition, aspects of numeracy, literacy and information & communication technology are incorporated into each training session to improve skills in these areas.

Louise creates and delivers the training programme for all of our care support staff as well as co-ordinating the training activity, for example; who is taking part, where training will be held, and ensuring that all staff are up to date and legally compliant.

The training that Louise delivers is bespoke to our organisation, but also tailored to the staff in each care home. She uses live examples relating to the service users who have a range of complex needs and behaviours that challenge. This equips the staff better to deal with any incident that they may encounter as well as giving them the opportunity to explore situations from different perspectives. Louise is also on-hand to help staff with specific issues or provide any additional training as required.

Louise is one of four MAPA (Managing Actual or Potential Aggression) instructors at The Richardson Partnership for Care. They deliver specialised training sessions in each home for all management, care support, admin, cleaning and maintenance staff. This helps them to manage risk in the safest way possible and de-escalate potentially aggressive situations, avoiding the need to use hands-on skills.

Louise also works in partnership with community teams, outsourcing specialist medical training such as peg feeding or insulin administration and building relationships with external professionals.

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Team building events - organiser goes free!

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Veolia named as Northampton’s new environmental service contractor

Northampton Borough Council has awarded its new environmental services contract to leading company Veolia.

Following a tough competitive process, the company’s proposed service was felt most likely to deliver the exceptional service people in Northampton deserve.

This includes bringing street cleansing standards up to scratch and roll-out of new recycling bins within four months of the new contract’s June launch.

As part of the new bin collection service, many residents can expect to see delivery of a third lidded wheelie bin for all recyclables, replacing the boxes, though in areas where sack collections take place these will remain.

Cllr Mike Hallam, cabinet member for environment, said: “Veolia is offering services at a level people deserve, but we have been unable to provide through the current contract.

“A fundamental issue residents have had is with recyclables being blown out of boxes and littering the streets, so I’m sure those in wheelie bin areas will welcome the introduction of a single bin.

“The changes outlined in the winning bid demonstrate an understanding of the complex issues we’ve faced during the past decade and offer practical solutions.

“Fine details of the contract will be worked out in the coming months to ensure the kind of excellent service we are expecting is delivered.”

The new contract comes as a result of strong opinions expressed by around 8,000 people to a survey carried out in 2016.

Residents made it clear that the new environmental services provision needed to be of excellent quality and the Borough Council has listened, allocating additional budget to the project.

In order to minimise the impact, the Council is able to borrow at significantly lower rates than the private sector so has decided to buy all associated vehicles direct, which will save taxpayers around £1 million.

As part of the new service, all dry recyclables will be collected together and delivered to a commingled facility where they will be sorted and packaged.

Grounds maintenance also forms part of the contract and will deal with all areas of public open space in the borough, with particular attention on Northampton’s premier park in Abington.

And a key part of the new service is to change behaviour, increasing participation in recycling and waste reduction and tackling littering, including gum and cigarette butts.

The contract will also see kerbside collections of small electrical items introduced and improved reuse of bulky items following collection.

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10% discount on accommodation

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Coaches… Did you know…?

From social media scheduling to diary management to setting up your booking system, we support coaches and help to make their business run smoothly!

What could we help you with?

Contact us or visit to find out more!

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Pictures55 Drop In Portrait Sessions

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Diesel Cars – Should they really be demonised?

Since the emissions scandal broke in 2015 it feels like there has been a stream of items relating to diesel and its emission of Nitrogen Oxides, increased vehicle taxation and dramatic recent decline in new car registrations.

One of the reasons diesel cars became so popular is due to taxation. In 2002 HM Revenue & Customs introduced a new company car benefit in kind regime based on carbon dioxide emissions of cars. This means that the lower the manufacturer-stated CO² emissions, the lower the benefit in kind percentage charge. The stated level of CO² is also now used to evaluate the amount of vehicle excise duty due.

In 2002 the amount of CO² for then-Euro 3 standard cars was nearly four times higher for a petrol car (2.3 g/km) than a diesel (0.66 g/km). However, the amount of Nitrogen Oxides for those Euro 3 cars was more than three times higher for a diesel (0.5g/km) than for a petrol (0.15 g/km).

The registration of new diesel cars grew to 47.7 per cent of all new car registrations at the end of 2016, just behind 49% for petrol. However, only a year later new diesel car registrations were down to 42%, with petrol up to

Why such a dramatic change?

This may be down to consumer confidence, with news stories in 2017 saying that the government plans to ban the sale of new diesel cars in the UK from 2040, that diesel cars may be banned from major cities from 2020 and that Scotland plans to phase them out from 2032.

So what is the truth about today’s diesels?

The Euro 6 standard, for all new cars from 2014 means that a diesel still has lower CO² emissions -half those of Petrol car - and that the Nitrogen Oxides emissions are now just a third higher for a diesel at 0.08 g/km than a petrol car 0.06 g/km.

And what is the Government view?

The government view was published on January 11 this year in a House of Commons briefing paper entitled: Transport 2018: FAQ for MPs.

In response to the question: Will diesel drivers face higher costs in the future? it says:

“There has been much in the press of late about diesel vehicles and there have been calls for the Government to do something – particularly about older vehicles, which is where the real issue is. Suggestions have varied from an increase in fuel duty on diesel, to changes to the car tax (VED) system, to the introduction of a scrappage scheme, whereby owners of older diesel vehicles would be offered a financial incentive to switch their old diesel for a new vehicle of some sort.

“The Government made some changes to VED for diesels in the Autumn 2017 Budget, but these only affect new vehicles. The motor industry has introduced a number of scrappage scheme but there is not as yet any Government-supported scheme. The July 2017 Air Quality Plan indicated that the Government was generally cool on the idea of a scrappage scheme and would need to be convinced of its merits.”

MHA MacIntyre Hudson recommends that people look carefully at all of the evidence including that new diesel’s are much improved (it is older diesel’s that are considered to be the problem), any dramatic changes are perhaps 20 years away and that alternate technologies are much improved but perhaps not fully ‘on line’ yet.

Consider the facts, take advice and then act, based on full knowledge not the headlines. Contact our Tax Director Nigel Morris on or on 07718 34063.

- Bhavisha Gajjar

+44 (0) 1908 662255

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Annual Training Day for Marshals

With the new motorsport season fast approaching, the Orange Army will be heading to Rockingham this Sunday (January 21), to take part in the marshals’ annual refresher training course.

Organised by the British Motorsport Marshals Club South Midland Region, the volunteers will take part in a mock race event and be presented with different scenarios which marshals could face when trackside at a live event.

Now in its third year, the one day event will be supported by the Northamptonshire circuit’s Safety Team, and will start in the classroom.

The theory session will provide a refresher on basic skills such as flags, fires and first aid through to report writing, communications and incident handling

Following the theory, volunteers will move trackside for the practical session which will cover all aspects of marshalling from enforcing track regulations and assisting with judicial reviews through to removing debris from a live track, incident handling, fire training and the recovery of a rolled car.

Circuit operations manager at Rockingham, Nick Breed said: “It is always a pleasure to host this training event, and we are delighted to continue our support by providing a free training venue.

“Marshals are an essential part of motor racing without the goodwill of these enthusiastic volunteers, our race meetings wouldn’t be able to go ahead. This event is a great opportunity for the marshals to not only brush up on their skills but to also meet up with fellow enthusiasts before the start of the new season.”

British Motorsports Marshals Club South Midlands Region training officer, Elaine Brice added: “We are very grateful to Rockingham and Prize Motorsport, without whom we couldn’t put on the training days in this style.

“The training the British Motorsport Marshal Club provides for marshals is essential to keep our marshals up to the high standards they achieve at circuits all around the world.”

The British Motorsports Marshals Club (BMMC) is always looking for volunteers. So if you’re looking for a new challenge and would like more information visit or follow the club on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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PwC to co-host executive showcase evening to present successful scale-ups with a platform to grow

Following its successful introduction last September, PwC and Bizzin will host their first Scale Midlands executive evening on the 8 February 2018. A cohort of nine leading Midlands-based technology scale-ups, ranging from online booking specialists to the developers of a payments lifestyle app, will have the opportunity to showcase their products and services to an experienced room of corporate executives and specialists from PwC.

The event is designed to provide the selected scale-ups with feedback on their value propositions, products, services and the chance to network with influential business leaders from the region, looking for the latest enterprise technologies to implement in their organisations.

The Scale Midlands programme is designed to help high potential businesses bridge the gap between innovative late-stage startup and established large organisations.

It is the latest in a series of UK-wide Scale Programmes connecting these dynamic businesses with potential customers and industry decision makers, as well as introducing them to a network of investors and experts who can help close deals and secure future investment.

Commenting on the event, Steve Smith (pictured here), Midlands fast growth leader at PwC said: “We recognise that the primary needs of scale-ups are to access new customers and win further investment. In our Scale Midlands programmes, we help businesses become fit for scaling, then open the doors to our network, which can facilitate introductions and funding opportunities.

“We’re bringing together fast-growing and ambitious scale-ups from across the Midlands with the world’s biggest brands, in a way that allows both sides to learn from each other and build commercial opportunities.

“Interest is now extending beyond the UK and we’re seeing increased collaboration from overseas, both from our global PwC network, scale-up applicants and programme partners.”

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Independent contractors’ livelihoods must be considered in Carillion collapse

Following the liquidation of construction giant, Carillion, Qdos Contractor has urged the Government and the parties involved to protect the countless independent contractors working on projects for the UK’s second largest construction firm.

In the UK, 20,000 people work for Carillion, and leading tax adviser, Qdos Contractor, is calling on the Government, along with Carillion’s liquidators to consider the livelihoods of independent contractors engaged directly and indirectly by the company.

Seb Maley, Qdos Contractor CEO, commented: “Each party in Carillion’s supply chain will be impacted hugely by its liquidation. So needless to say, this is a hugely worrying time for all independent contractors engaged the company and its subcontractors.

“Much of the attention so far has been focused on the threat this puts Carillion’s permanent employees under. But without the safety of employment rights, every independent contractor engaged by Carillion - or through any of its sub-contractor companies - will be fearing for their livelihoods too.

“Together, contractors contribute over £119bn to the economy each year. Amid the confusion and uncertainty, the Government and Carillion’s liquidators must consider the wider impact that simply cutting ties with its independent contractors would have on UK contracting and the economy.”

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15 year Anniversary - 15% Fees to All MK Chamber Members

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SCMS represents Northants at #MicroBizMattersDay

Simon Cox, director of Kettering based marketing agency Simon Cox Marketing Solutions, was proud to represent the County at the annual Micro Biz Matters Day on Friday in Manchester.

The day, founded by Tony Robinson OBE and Tina Boden, provides a day of learning, growth and support for micro businesses across the globe with live broadcasts from up and coming entrepreneurs, as well as successful business owners from across the globe. This year saw Charlie Mullins OBE, Kate Hardcastle and Penny Power as well as other well known entrepreneurs sharing information to the micro business community across a live broadcast.

Simon said: “I was delighted to receive the invite to attend from co-founder Tony Robinson OBE and was proud to represent the County at the event. It’s key for micro businesses to know that they are not alone with what they are doing in business and that they can learn from some of the free information from MicroBizMattersDay.”

For further information on MicroBizMattersDay visit

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Learn the secrets of making Marvellous Marmalade

Citrus fruits are at their best in January and February, so seize the moment and learn how to make delicious marmalade to stock up your cupboards or gift to friends and family!

This practical workshop covers all the steps and skills needed to make your own traditional Seville Orange marmalade using everyday equipment.

Once you have mastered the art of making marmalade, you can be a little more creative with your ingredients, using a variety of different fruit, a dash of alcohol and a few added spices and flavours. And, with homemade bread fresh from the oven, you’ll get to sample them all too!

Thursday 1 February; 9.30am-12.30pm; £45pp.

To book your place please visit:

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Half term FIFA Soccer School

Join us for our first ever football soccer course and E-sports event.

Northampton Town’s very own ESPORTS PLAYER “ReaperZz” together with NTFC Community Coaches are holding their first ever half term FIFA Soccer Schools at Sixfields during the February half term, sponsored by DBFB.

It all kicks off on Wednesday February 14th, Thursday February 15th and Friday February 16th, and involves outdoor games on the pitch behind the Sheinman Opticians Stand (weather permitting) from 11.15am to 1.00pm, lunch from 1.00pm until 1.30pm, and the FIFA GameZone from 1.30pm to 3.00pm. This gives you the opportunity play FIFA against ReaperZz (Liam Merry) and learn some tips from one of the UK’s top 50 e-Sports player!

Just £15 per person, per day with a sibling discounted price of £12 per person, per day. This course is for children aged 8-15 only.

Fruit and water will be provided, please bring your own packed lunch.

To secure your place, please email, or call 01604 683734/5.

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Stamp Duty Land Tax - beware the parent trap!

There are statistics abound to show that parents are having to help their children on the property ladder. On average, parents purchased their first home at the age of 26, whereas a first-time buyer in the UK in 2017 was aged 32.

According to “ONE POLL FOR HABITO”:

  • 44% would give or lend money to their children from their own savings;
  • 20% would lend them £10k or more;
  • 12% would downsize their own home;
  • 9% have said they would even delay retirement!

Since 22nd November 2017 first time buyers have been entitled to lower stamp duty land tax (SDLT) where they and the property they are buying meet the conditions for the new relief. The relief means that no SDLT is payable on the first £300,000 of the purchase price and the rate will be 5% between £300,001 and £500,000. The maximum saving is £5,000 so if you are buying your first home, this is a welcome saving.

However, beware the parent trap!

Where parents (or other relations or friends) help first-time buyers get on the property ladder, it’s not uncommon for them to have equity in the property. This provides security for the debt and gives them a share of any increase in the property value. From that angle, it’s a good idea. The trouble is, it will fall foul of the conditions for the relief and mean that none of the purchasers will be entitled to it.

Tip: One possible solution is for the financing to be as a loan rather than a share of the property. A loan agreement can be drafted so that the amount of interest payable is linked to the growth in the value of the property, but deferred so that its payable only when the property is sold or, if earlier when the homeowners decide they want to. It is advisable to ask a solicitor to draft the loan agreement.

Do call us if you want to find out more on 01604 678470 or email me at

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Women in Leadership Event 7th December 2017

KierWSP Northamptonshire Highways launched its first Women in Leadership event on 7th December 2017 with a group of women, from a variety of professions and organisations, with an interest in making a difference and sharing knowledge. This fantastic event offered a great way for women to network and access an inspirational talk from a guest speaker.

This first event focused on ‘thriving under pressure, how to manage stress with grace and was delivered by Matt Hatson of Nexus8. KierWSP also partnered with Social Enterprise the Good Loaf to cater for the event. KierWSP promoted the artisan bakery that provides training and employment opportunities for vulnerable females to break the cycle of poverty.

Nav Gahonia, head of customers and communities who set up this group, is enthusiastic about the benefits of the event commenting: “Our Women in Leadership events are designed to empower the leaders of tomorrow by sharing the knowledge, insights, and motivating forces driving today’s most successful women, and in doing so making meaningful progress on gender diversity.”

KierWSP is committed to gender equity in our professions and leadership positions, and we want to make Women in Leadership events a regular occurrence supporting gender balance in our industry.

If anyone is interested in being a guest speaker or attending the next event please contact

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SCMS branding for International Football Team

Kettering based marketing agency Simon Cox Marketing Solutions are delighted to be working with the international football team of the Isle of Man once again as the island’s team prepare for the 2018 CONIFA World Cup.

Ellan Vannin, who are the representative side from the Isle of Man, face Yorkshire IFA, the latest members to have joined CONIFA, next Saturday as the Yorkshire side become the 48th member of the governing body for micro nation football in the world.

Director Simon Cox said: “Its a pleasure, once again, to be working with such an up and coming micro nation in World football and I’m delighted to be supplying their leisurewear once again ahead of their 2018 programme.

“The Isle of Man is a beautiful place and I’ve learned a lot about their culture and history since meeting founder Malcolm Blackburn in 2014. There is even a mountain that you can see England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales from the top on a clear day, so it’s worth exploring the Island just to take in the scenery!

“Being a football fanatic, it’s been an amazing opportunity for us especially with Ellan Vannin being a member of CONIFA, the governing body set up in Sweden to oversee international competitive football for micro nations around the globe.”

Participants taking place in the London based World Cup this year include Northern Cyprus, Tamil Eelam, Tibet, Panjab and Padania, as well as other nations from across the globe.

For further details on CONIFA visit and for further information on Manx IFA visit

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Event celebrates women working in Northamptonshire’s sports media industry

An event will be shining the spotlight on Northamptonshire’s reputation for being a leader when it comes to women working in sports media.

The University of Northampton’s Changing Futures For Women In Sports Media conference will see a host of county sport media professionals reveal the secrets of working in the industry.

They will be joined by a raft of national top female sports media professionals, including Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen, sports writer Vikki Orvice, BBC commentator Robyn Cowen, broadcaster Lynsey Hooper and Women’s Super League journalist Kait Borsay.

Conference organiser, senior journalism lecturer Marc Webber, said: “While there are still far too few women working in sports media and marketing, it’s pleasing to see Northamptonshire as something of a leader in this respect.

“We have female sports marketers at Northampton Town FC, Northampton Saints, Northants County Cricket Club and the Silverstone and Rockingham Speedway motorsport circuits.

“The BBC’s Northampton Town reporter is also female, as is the local newspaper’s sports photographer.

“As a University, we are also helping to give the next generation every chance of making it in the industry, through our new Multimedia Sports Journalism course. One of our female students has already completed a work placement at Aston Villa and regularly attends Saints press conferences.

“We have also noticed a big increase in female applicants to the course for next year.”

Marc added: “We’ve also had in leading names from the industry to come and inspire our students, including TV sports reporter, Faye Carruthers, and former England Lioness-turned pundit, Sue Smith.

“But, not content with that, we wanted to hold a conference which celebrates those in the industry, while highlighting to existing professionals in the trade, and students looking to break into it, the opportunities that are there for them.”

The event is aimed at two audiences: female sports media employees wishing to hear from the speakers and network, plus female students aged 16 to 18 who want to try their hand at sports journalism, marketing and content creation at a series of workshops led by professionals.

Local sports media professionals appearing at the event, which takes place on Thursday 8 February, include:

  • Caroline Lucy, commercial and marketing manager, Northampton Town FC
  • Northampton graduate Charlotte Hyams, marketing and events coordinator, Northampton Town FC
  • Liz Tyler, communications executive, Northampton Saints
  • Laura Tringham, marketing manager, Northampton Saints
  • Ellie Emerson, marketing and communications manager, Northamptonshire County Cricket Club
  • Caroline Densley, sports presenter, BBC Radio Northampton

Female sports marketers and sports media practitioners can register their attendance for the free event by visiting the Eventbrite page.

Teachers of females aged 16 to 18 who are studying English or PE, and want to be involved in sports media and marketing can register students for the free workshops, by emailing

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Take the Four Week Challenge

Everyone loves a Challenge so why not try this one

Try Scouting for yourself
Would you like to…
Spend some quality time with your child?
Develop your own skills?
Have fun and rediscover adventure?
Give something back to the community?
Why not try some of the fun and adventure of Scouting for yourself? We’re now inviting parents to come along to Scouts for four weeks. You’ll be amazed at the difference you can make and how good you’ll feel…
Week 1 Come along and see what we get up to
Week 2 Start to help out
Week 3 Get a little more involved - maybe run an activity
Week 4 By now you’ll know if Scouting is for you.
We have a wide range of flexible vacancies either supporting young people or behind the scenes. Even if you can only give an hour a month, any help is truly amazing!
For more info contact or call 07931585926

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Pruning your fruit trees to yield maximum crops

Learn how to improve the health and productivity of your fruit trees at our morning workshop on Saturday 27 January 2018, led by our resident arboriculturalist and professional landscape gardener, Will Dicks.

The workshop takes place in the gardens at Bay Tree Cottage and combines the basic theory of pruning with a series of practical demonstrations and plenty of opportunities to get hands-on and have a go yourself!

With homemade refreshments and ample time to ask questions, you’ll leave with the confidence to prune your own fruit trees at home, ensuring you have a bumper harvest later in the year.

The workshop costs £40pp and runs from 9.30am-12pm. To book your place please visit:

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Barclaycard Payment Solutions New Year Offers £50 Amazon Voucher!!

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Comedian Alan Carr to Manage a Team in Sixfields Charity Game

A very special figure will be taking their place in the dug out at Sixfields on April 15th at the Celebrity Soccer match in support of Niamh’s Next Step and raising awareness of NeuroBlastoma in the shape of world famous comedian Alan Carr.

Alan, known for his hugely successful Chatty Man show on Channel 4, is one of the biggest comedy stars in Britain. He has a glittering CV, including being named the winner of the 2015 National Television Award for Best Chat Show Host, picking up a 2014 Royal Television Society Award for Best Entertainment Performance, he won a 2013 BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance and a 2013 British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Entertainment Personality.

Alan is the son of former Cobblers boss and current Northampton Town Associate Director Graham Carr, and the two will team up to manage one of the celebrity teams in April’s special charity match at Sixfields supporting Niamh’s Next Step.

The game will take place on Sunday April 15th at 3pm, with tickets available now from Sixfields or online from Tickets are priced at £10 adults and £5 for under 16s, with various other packages, including the chance to meet some of the celebrities, available by emailing

Some of the stars lined up to play in the game include Calum Best, Shayne Ward, Jake Wood, Dean Gaffney, Lee Ryan, Lee Latchford-Evans, Simon Webbe, MC Harvey, Tubes and many more!

“We are delighted that we will be welcoming Alan Carr down to Sixfields in April,” said Cobblers Chairman Kelvin Thomas.

“We are very proud to be staging this game in Northampton and to able to raise funds for a fantastic Northamptonshire charity.

“It’s been great getting to know Graham, and Alan is very much a Northamptonian of course having grown up in the area and we are very excited that he has chosen Sixfields to make a public appearance back in the town, helping to boost what we hope will be a fantastic event for the town.”

Alan himself added: “Although football was never really my thing, I have a lot of memories of spending many an afternoon at the County Ground when my Dad was manager of the Cobblers, so, even though the club have moved to Sixfields, attending this game will bring back memories of my childhood.

“The Cobblers have obviously been a huge part of my family through my Dad and I am looking forward to helping the club raise some funds for an excellent charity.

“I can’t say I have too much football knowledge, I will leave that to my Dad, but I am excited about seeing as many people at Sixfields as we can supporting a superb cause.”

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Where should you go on holiday in 2018?

Right now everyone is back at work with their heads full of business goals for 2018 and putting plans in place for the year.

This is great, but we should all remember how important it is to take time out from business to recharge. So, factor a holiday into those plans too.

If time is an issue perhaps a short break would be beneficial to get you away from the office and spend time with loved ones. New York is a great option if you are looking to spend three or four nights away. The whole vibe and buzz of the place with and so many sites to see make it the perfect place for a short trip. There is also a wealth of fantastic restaurants - Balthazar for a little classic French dining or the Spotted Pig for the unusual Gastro Pub. There are also some great Steak Restaurants and chocolatiers.

In contrast, how about Italy? You could opt for a self-drive tour to Tuscany where you can experience some of the most beautiful landscapes, food and architecture of Italy. Or how about Venice or Florence?

You could fly into Bangkok, take in a couple of trips, such as up to Chiang Mai for a cookery class, the River Kwai rail trip, and then down to Elephant Hills for a luxury tent experience at this amazing Elephant sanctuary. The minimum stay here is three nights.

For longer holidays we recommend South Africa, the Maldives and the Caribbean. If you head for Cape Town, you could stay at Cape Grace and experience dual aspect views over the harbour from one window and Table Mountain from the other. Hire a car and explore the Garden Route for a great drive and maybe stay a night or two whilst you do this. You can also explore the Winelands by tram enjoying tasting the wines of the Stellenbosch and stay over at The Last Word, Franschhoek. We’d also recommend Kapama Southern Camp in the Kruger Park for a three or four-day safari in style.

Escape the real world in the Maldives by boarding a sea plane for your transfer and land at the jetty of your chosen island. Hosted by your own butler, take in five nights in a Water Bungalow and then do another five nights in a Beach Villa – you will think you have had two holidays in one, even though you are still on the same island. Food is amazing with so much for everyone. Catch up on that novel you have been meaning to read, snorkel in clear waters or book a spa treatment to relax those tired bones.

Barbados also makes for a great holiday. Avoid the areas around Bridgetown and go up the coast further as the resorts are better and you can dine at Daphne’s restaurant or, for a special night out, go to the Cliff Restaurant. Hire a jeep and explore the island and experience the real Barbadian way of life.

Dragonfly Traveller acts as your personal Travel PA. Talk to us (Rob and Lisa) on 01604 661100 and we’ll be happy to build a holiday bespoke to you. For more information, go to

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Marble Arch alleyway gated

The introduction of a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) has seen Northampton’s Marble Arch alleyway gated.

Gates were added to both the Barrack Road and Ash Street ends of the passageway on Friday, 12 January following a public consultation in 2017.

Over 80 per cent of people who responded in the consultation between May and August, voted in favour of the area being permanently gated in a bid to cut down on anti-social behaviour such as street drinking and fly-tipping.

Any breach of this new PSPO, which is the second to be implemented in the town, would be a criminal offence and could result in a Fixed Penalty Notice or prosecution, resulting in a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction.

Cllr Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “As soon as the PSPO for Marble Arch was agreed to a Cabinet, we applied for the relevant planning permission and licensing to allow for the order to be implemented in early 2018.

“We hope the newly installed gates will deter future anti-social behaviour in the area and will help to improve the quality of life for local people.”

More information about the PSPO’s for Marble Arch and Northampton town centre can be found at

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Are you evacuation ready/

Hospital Aids can help you be evacuation ready.

We have a whole range of evacuation equipment to suit everyone’s needs. Visit

Hospital aids also offer training and equipment demos, for more information please contact us on

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LPG Fire Training Simulator Videos have landed

Our new LPG fire training simulator videos have landed, thanks to @CTRL VISUAL MEDIA LIMITED for all their hard work in producing them for us. I’m sure you will agree, they have done a great job.

You can watch a short promo video here,

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Football academy gives youngsters a shot at the big time

Football-mad teenagers will be able to get top training tips from Premier League coaches while continuing with their classroom studies, thanks to a new academy launched by Northampton College.

Headed by former Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Manchester City star Eddie McGoldrick, the academy will bridge the gap between grassroots football and top-level youth teams – giving talented youngsters in Northamptonshire the opportunity to get a full education while pursuing their dream of becoming professional players.

The partnership will see Northampton College team up with Premier League side Crystal Palace, with the CPFC Foundation Academy playing in the national football youth league against clubs including Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham United and Liverpool.

Youngsters who catch the eye over the season will have the chance to impress coaches at the Eagles’ main academy, with the ultimate aim of finding the next home-grown superstar.

Former Republic of Ireland international Mr McGoldrick, who started his professional career with Northampton Town, said: “We will provide the necessary training required to help students progress to a higher standard of football, education and employment. We are confident we can get them to the point where they are paid to play football and create a pathway to match their ability and aspirations both on and off the pitch.

“Players will train daily for two hours and play in a competitive FA-structured league. Students will have the option to complete a Btec extended diploma in sport level 2 and 3, A levels or a range of apprenticeship courses. The academic side of things is hugely important and the partnership with Northampton College gives us a huge range of options for students.”

The academy has previously run in Northampton, with youngsters progressing on to scholarship schemes in America and trials with clubs including Leicester City, Sheffield United, Notts County and Peterborough.

The switch to Northampton College will allow the academy to double in size, taking up to 80 students and fielding up to four different teams. Plans are also in place to introduce a girls’ team in September 2018.

Open trials will take place at Northampton College in the February half term.

For more information on courses available at Northampton College please visit

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How will a virtual assistant make my life better? Volume 2: Your home life

If you thought that a virtual assistant was only there to help you with business admin, you were greatly mistaken! Time is precious and, as your own personal fairy godmother, we can magic away the time-consuming life to-dos. We free you to focus on your work and spend more time with family and friends, or just relieve you of the tasks that you simply would rather not do!

Swap trawling through booking sites to find your perfect holiday; instead spend your time shopping for the new summer outfits, knowing that the ideal hotel, flights and sunny location are all sorted for you.

Swap spending hours ringing venues and caterers to organise a relative’s birthday bash; instead spend more quality time with your loved ones, being able to rest assure in the knowledge that you will soon be celebrating with them at their perfect party.

Swap stressing over having to contact and lease with handymen, entertainers, the car garage, taxis and restaurants (to name a few!); instead concentrate on achieving your business goals and maximising your potential, whilst we sort out everything else!

The evidence…

“Abi spent two and a half hours with my elderly parents helping get their filing into good shape. Thanks to her, they now have peace of mind and we are easily able to find things when we need them.”

S. Pindar

“[Jennie] located and bought children’s party bags all made up; researched and booked a holiday for me and my son; sorted a handyman when the TV fell off the wall and got a new router to the house on the same day when the rabbit ate the cable! She arranges car repair or replacement, organises company AGMs from start to finish, including entertainment, and even ordered me a chocolate and strawberry birthday cake.”

C. Daubney, Rowan Tree UK Ltd

Contact us or visit our website to find out mor

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Grant Thornton bolsters Employer Solutions team across the South

Grant Thornton has promoted Dominic Merlin-Cone (pictured here) to partner, heading up Employer Solutions across the South region.

The promotion comes as a result of growth in the firm’s Employer Solutions team in the region, which advises businesses on all aspects relating to reward and incentives, employment taxes, benefits and global mobility.

Before joining Grant Thornton in 2016, Dominic spent 15 years at Deloitte specialising in Employer Solutions, including significant work on management incentive plans. His new role will see him leading a large team of specialists across the firm’s five regional offices in the South namely Bristol, Cardiff, Southampton, Reading and Oxford.

In his time at Grant Thornton, Dominic has been a champion of the Cranfield University Executive MBA which was launched in 2017 as the first Executive MBA programme in England to use the Apprenticeship Levy.

Dominic commented: “Our team boasts an integrated offering, with our specialists across all areas of employment able to work closely with our colleagues in audit, tax, advisory and consulting, providing our clients with a truly joined-up service.

Talent is a huge concern for employers both in our region and nationally, and we expect this to be at the forefront of our discussions with our clients this year, with staff learning and development a major priority. I look forward to continuing to work with dynamic businesses in the region to support them on their growth journeys and helping them to anticipate their future needs.”

Louise Evans, regional managing partner at Grant Thornton, said: “Since Dominic joined in 2016, he has worked to build a strong and highly skilled team at all levels. He has used his extensive experience to support our clients on all aspects of employment issues and I look forward to seeing this continue in his new role as a valued partner in the firm.”

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Fire Extinguishers

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Positive Divorce Day

With Christmas and New Year out of the way I am hearing from lawyers that they are busy with divorce queries.

So with this in mind 4U noworries is playing a very big part in the Positive Divorce Day on the 1st March 2018 at The Mercure Hotel in Two Mile Ash.

We will be covering pensions, investments, protection, wills and utility bills.

All served up with a buffet lunch and a session with the Joy Practitioner.

So if you know of anyone struggling or thinking about divorce, then point them my way. For more info or call 0800 2889 108.

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We are into the new year.

My clients and I all have our quarterly plan in place, as well as our long term plans of course. We have set our goals and the actions we need to take. This is great and we are full of optimism. However! A few words of caution. What counts now is EXECUTION.

Leadership is 10% strategy and 90% EXECUTION. Plans and strategies are worthless if they are not carried out. That’s why, as always, a critical part of my business coaching strategy is ACCOUNTABILITY. That is where the execution comes in. On a weekly basis my clients and I agree the next steps or actions which we will review the following week. Please remember in your business, it’s all about Execution!

To Your Success


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Check List for Divorce

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Positive Divorce Day

​With Christmas and New Year well in the background now, I am hearing from Family Lawyers that they are busy with Divorce queries.

4U noworries is playing a very BIG part in the Positive Divorce Day on the 1st March 2018 at The Mercure Hotel in Two Mile Ash,.

We will be covering Pensions, Investments, Protection, Wills and Utility Bills

All served up with a Buffet Lunch and a session with The Joy Practitioner; Caroline Richards.

So if you know of anyone who is struggling or thinking about divorce, then point them my way. For more info, or call 0800 2889 108

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Let your Presentation go from Raw to Refined, Terrified to Terrific in just 1 day

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Middle-market sentiment in South dips as Brexit realities emerge

Sentiment among businesses in the South regarding the impact of Brexit dipped in the fourth quarter of 2017 according to the latest survey by leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

The survey, conducted by YouGov, featured RSM’s Brexit Monitor index, in which any reading above 100 indicates that businesses are more optimistic than pessimistic. Sentiment among businesses in the South about the impact of Brexit on their business over a two-year period slipped markedly from a weak positive score of 102 in the third quarter of 2017 into negative territory with a score of 79 in quarter four.

Businesses across the region were similarly downbeat about the impact of Brexit on their business over a five-year period, with the index score plunging from 116 in quarter three to 92 in quarter four.

In contrast, businesses in all other regions were broadly positive about the long-term impact of an EU exit on their business, with the exception of Yorkshire and the North East, the only
region with a lower index score (90).

Despite the region’s concerns, businesses across the South appear to be the most prepared for Brexit compared to other parts of the country. Middle market firms in the South said they had taken 39 per cent of actions needed to prepare for the UK exiting the EU, compared to the national average of 36 per cent. Actions taken to date include reviewing the status of EU workers, expanding or looking to expand into non-EU markets, and adopting measures to increase productivity and efficiency.

Elfed Jarvis, RSM’s regional managing partner for the South region said: “Our findings suggest that many businesses throughout the South of England, not to mention the rest of the UK, are frustrated with the political uncertainty surrounding our future trading position with the EU. It’s striking though that businesses across the South are more downbeat about the impact of Brexit than in other regions – both in the short and long term. They are also the least confident about the Government being able to deliver a good deal.

“However, they are also displaying a degree of pragmatism, getting on with the necessary preparations to mitigate any eventual negative consequences and to take advantage of new opportunities.

“We will watch eagerly over the course the coming year to see if this sentiment changes as trading negotiations progress.”

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Skills shortages biggest barrier to workforce productivity, say small businesses

· Attributes such as resilience more lacking than STEM skills

· Small businesses planning to increase use of independent contractors

Nearly a fifth of small businesses see skill shortages as the biggest barrier to productivity in their workforce. Resilience, adaptability and interpersonal skills are most lacking in new recruits, say 37% of small businesses. Significantly fewer (24%) businesses feel technical and mathematical skills are in short supply, a similar proportion (23%) for commercial skills.

The findings come from a PwC survey of decision makers in over 300 small businesses. The results supplement research with a panel of larger businesses on addressing the productivity challenge These bigger firms agree that while the focus on improving so-called STEM skills is important, equal attention is needed to soft skills - adaptability and resilience were felt particularly crucial in today’s rapidly automating world.

Ruby Parmar, Milton Keynes Senior Office Partner, said: “Improving skills is rightly a big focus of the Government’s Industrial strategy. There’s a lot of attention on STEM skills, but getting the soft skills right is just as important. Skills such as resilience and adaptability are arguably harder to teach, but essential to businesses across every sector and every size.”

One in five of the small businesses felt Government investment in improving skills would have the biggest impact on improving workplace productivity. But more small firms (a quarter of those surveyed) think a greater impact would come from reducing the tax and regulatory compliance burden.

Trusha Kachhela, Midlands Tax Partner at PwC, said: “Anything that distracts businesses and workers from reaching their potential is arguably a drag on productivity. A business can spend around 14 working days preparing and filing its taxes. Anything that can be done to ease this burden would be a quick win in boosting business output.”

Other findings:

· Some 30% of small businesses say they expect to increase their company’s use of independent contractors over the next 12 months (just 7% expect to decrease their use of contractors). Perhaps surprisingly, small businesses believe the Government’s changes to how contractors are taxed will make them more likely to use contractors. The changes will see the responsibility for how contractors are taxed shift from those individuals to the business.

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Wilson Browne Solicitors revealed as headline sponsors of Northamptonshire Business Awards

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce is proud to reveal that Wilson Browne Solicitors will be the headline sponsors of the inaugural Northamptonshire Business Awards.

The awards will recognise excellence in business and will be open to organisations of all sizes and from all sectors based in Northamptonshire.

The winners may also be eligible for the regional and national finals of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Chamber Business Awards.

Wilson Browne Solicitors partner Kevin Rogers said: “These awards are a way for businesses of all types and sizes to get together; recognise just how good they are; and celebrate success. We are proud of Northamptonshire businesses - acting for many of them - and would encourage everyone to get involved and showcase the talent that we know exists.

“At Wilson Browne Solicitors we are committed to the local market, as well as having national reach. Recent years have seen us invest heavily in people, and growing our presence in Northamptonshire and beyond: securing local and national awards. With a number of new hires, developing people from within, and a fresh focus on our brand, sponsoring these awards was an obvious choice.

“The willingness of our people to get involved in the community through various groups, whether they be business, education or not-for-profit is fantastic: Partners at the firm are all incredibly committed to - and supportive of - these activities and sponsoring the awards is a privilege of which we are proud.

“We want to encourage other businesses to also embrace change, be innovative, develop local talent and ensure that Northamptonshire remains firmly at the heart of the country…in every sense.”

Northamptonshire Chamber chief executive Paul Griffiths added: “The response we have had from the business community to these new awards has been incredible.

“There is so much enthusiasm in the air from businesses that want to enter the awards and even at this early stage we only have limited sponsorship opportunities left because so many firms want to get involved with this event.

“We are thrilled to have the support of Wilson Browne Solicitors and are proud to reveal they will be the headline sponsors for the event.”

For further information visit

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University of Northampton makes tracks to Kettering for health courses roadshow

The University of Northampton is taking its lecturers out on the road later this month to talk about the courses on offer for a study and careers visit in Kettering.

Subject leaders and lecturers from health and social care courses will be on hand to answer questions about what they involve, the study support on offer at University of Northampton and future career prospects at the Corn Market Hall, London Road on 31 January from 4-6pm.

Further details about the following courses will be available:

  • Adult Nursing
  • Child Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Learning Disability Nursing
  • Midwifery Health & Social Care
  • Social Work

Dr Steve O’Brien, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Society, said: “We have a vast array of courses in the Faculty of Health and Society so perhaps people aren’t aware of them or the
options available if they want to further their studies, get back into work or even choose a new career.

“Although the university is Northampton based, our outlook stretches much farther afield. We already have well established links in the Kettering area, working in partnership with
health and social care providers such as Kettering General Hospital and care homes in and around the town. We’re looking forward to expanding on this by getting out and about and talking to potential students.”

Tea and coffee will be provided on the day and bookings can be made online.

For further enquiries, please contact the University of Northampton’s events team: 01604 893160 or

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You Can Be Extravagant

I recently heard the statement “I’m happy to spend extravagantly on things I enjoy but I hate waste” …this got me thinking…

Our clients often spend large amounts of money on family holidays, cars, extending and decorating their homes; as well as gifting monies and funding charitable activities across the world. Is this ‘waste’…or ‘extravagance’?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘waste’ as use or expend carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose”. Waste speaks of squandering, frittering away, misspending, misusing and spending recklessly.

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of extravagance is very similar, “a lack of restraint in spending money or using resources”. In this definition extravagance speaks of lack of thrift, improvidence, wastefulness, and squandering.

It’s clear from these definitions that the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary perceive ‘waste’ and ‘extravagance’ as being interchangeable.

Luckily the Cambridge Dictionary compilers seem to be a little bit more laid back. Their more congenial definitions of extravagance include “something expensive that you buy even though you do not need it” and “behaviour in which you spend more money than you need to.”

When we meet our clients we have rich and meaningful conversations about their specific goals and objectives.

Our clients spend time and energy working hard and accumulating capital, so why shouldn’t they be extravagant from time to time when it comes to the things that are important to them? After all they have a plan so they know they can afford it!

Do you really want to leave this planet with ‘too much money’ and your ‘financial bucket’ overflowing?

Isn’t it better to manage your “financial bucket”, avoiding waste, so that you can use your wealth to do the things that are important to you; including being extravagant from time to time?


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Let Central Foods help with preparations for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is fast approaching with a bang.

And frozen food distributor Central Foods has tasty products to help foodservice operators serve up a feast to mark the celebrations on 16th February 2018.

Take a look at the mini vegetable spring rolls and the tempura vegetable mix, which will appeal to both vegetarians and meat eaters, or try the duck spring rolls.

Also available is chicken satay and the recently introduced charcoal grilled chicken yakitori – both of which are skewered and designed for convenience and portability.

“Chinese New Year is a big occasion on the dining calendar and the chance for caterers to take a look at some of the new products available in the sector,” said Gordon Lauder, MD of Central Foods.

“There are several types of Oriental cuisine products that really lend themselves to some of the current dining trends, like sharing plates, tapas dishes and finger foods – all of which are proving popular at the moment.”

If it’s street food-style items you’re looking for, Central Foods also supplies the Asian street-food staple, Hirata buns which are steamed and folded, and can be served warm…. filled with slow-cooked meat, crunchy salad/pickles and sticky sauce for delicious, tasty bite-size snacks.

Contact us if you’d like further information about any of our products suitable for Chinese New Year.

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Willen Hospice gears up for MK Midnight Moo 2018

Willen Hospice is calling on local ladies to put their best foot forward for this year’s MK Midnight Moo, taking place on 14 July 2018.

The ladies only 10 mile walk starts and finishes at intu Milton Keynes at midnight and is open to walkers of all levels, whether they walk in pairs, teams, or on their own.

The charity launched its flagship fundraiser this week, along with supporters including lead sponsor Specsavers Milton Keynes - Centre.

Willen Hospice Chief Executive Peta Wilkinson said: “I am so excited to be launching this year’s MK Midnight Moo! It’s a really popular event in our fundraising calendar with many women returning year on year to raise exceptional amounts to support the specialist end of life care provided by Willen Hospice.

“This will be my first Moo and I am appealing to anyone who has maybe thought of taking part before but hasn’t, to join me for a fabulously fun night.”

Walkers can sign up for the Moo for just £20 at

The registration fee covers the cost of the event, but it is fundraising that is key to the Moo’s success.

Events Manager Sarah Sweet-Rowley said: “We get a great response to the MK Midnight Moo and it is always an unforgettable night. This year we are asking our fundraisers to think creatively and raise as much as they can to support the care provided by the Hospice. Fundraising is so much more than just setting up a donation page: get baking, get the hair dye out, get entertaining – and get sponsored for it!”

Steve Moore, Director of Specsavers Milton Keynes, added: “We are thrilled to be supporting the MK Midnight Moo. It is such a fun event to be involved with. We are very lucky to be able to support local events and local charities in this way. Willen Hospice provides exceptional care in our community and we are very proud to be able to support the event through this partnership to help them raise vital funds.”

Willen Hospice needs to raise £3.6M every year, that’s £7 a minute, to continue to provide care to patients in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. The MK Midnight Moo is a key event that helps the Hospice to reach that goal.

To find out more and to sign up, visit

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Partnership Fund Grant to help local support groups and organisations

Local charitable and support organisations can gain financial help for a service thanks to the Borough Council’s Partnership Fund grants, which open for applications on Monday, 15 January.

Registered charities, unregistered voluntary or community groups, registered charitable companies by guarantee and social enterprises can all apply for grants between £3,000 and £15,000 from the fund to help them do positive work in the community.

To be eligible for the grant, the organisation must be able to demonstrate how the service will meet one of the Council’s priorities:

  • A vibrant, successful town for now and the future
  • Making you feel safe and secure
  • Helping those that need it to have a safe and secure home
  • A clean and attractive town for residents and visitors

Any organisations wanting to find out more about the grants and how they can apply for them, can attend a showcase event on 29 January. During the event, attendees will be able
to talk to organisations, such as Northampton Street Pastors, Northampton Women’s Aid and Community Spaces Northampton, who have recently benefitted from the Partnership Fund grants.

In addition, attendees can drop into training sessions about the Partnership Fund Grant application process for 2017/18, and working in partnership with the Borough Council.

Northampton Borough Council Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, Cllr Anna King,said: “The Partnership Fund grant can make a real difference in helping local
charitable and support organisations to continue the work they do.

“We encourage any groups interested in applying for the grants to come along to the event to find out more so that they can make an application.”

The Partnership Fund Grant Showcase will take place in the Great Hall, The Guildhall on Monday, 29 January from 3.30pm.

For more information and to apply for a grant, please visit

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7 Reasons why you need your own recruitment agency agreement & how to get one for free

1. Helps you to negotiate better fees

Having your own agency terms with a clear fee structure sets out a strong position when negotiating with a new agency. Not all your agencies will agree to your preferred fee structure, but having one document that you expect all agencies to agree with helps you start your negotiating from a clear position of “these are the terms you need to work to if you are looking to work with us.

2. Helps centralise recruitment agency usage

Without a formal agreement that you expect all agencies to sign, there is less of a requirement to have a formal list of approved suppliers. This means hiring managers are more likely to “freestyle” and engage their own agencies, rather than direct all agency contact from non-approved suppliers to go via the HR/Recruitment department to formally agree terms.

3. Avoid the “bun fight” that can occur over which agency “owns” the introduction of a candidate

It makes sense to have all agencies signed up to the terms that clearly state what constitutes an introduction of a candidate and how long the original agency “owns” each introduction. This will help reduce disputes over ownership and the potential that you get two separate invoices for the one candidate.

4. Agencies might expect their fee to be calculated against all guaranteed income

If you are not crazy about paying 20% of a candidate’s first year basic salary to an agency, then you are going to be event less impressed at paying 20% of a candidate’s guaranteed first year income. This could include car allowance and any guaranteed bonuses.

5. Helps you comply with Data Protection laws, including GDPR

Your own agency agreement will clearly stipulate who the data processor and data controller is. In addition to this, it is important that you get the agency to explicitly state that they have obtained the candidate’s permission to share their personal data with you.

6. Confirm a clear rebate structure

If the candidate leaves your organisation after a few months, for any reason (other than redundancy), you should be entitled to a refund of part of the fee. You will also want to avoid any nasty surprises that could affect your right to a rebate. See below.

7. Avoid any nasty surprises

Imagine a scenario, where a new agency markets a strong candidate directly to your hiring manager. They insist that this person is interviewed as they are a great fit. The candidate gets interviewed, hired, starts and then leaves after their 5th week of work. You check the terms for a rebate scheme and it says you are entitled to 75% of the fee to be reimbursed. The only issue is this agency is not on your PSL and has no long-term relationship to you. Your finance team has yet to pay the invoice which has only just come due. Technically, this late payment is a breach of contract and now the agency does not have to honour the rebate.

Please Note: Our agency agreement document includes a clause that states that late payment of any invoice does not change your right to a refund. It is one of the many clauses written to specifically protect your organisation.

If you are interested in viewing our free recruitment agency agreement that has been drafted by Marcus Andreen, our own lawyer, then just click on the link and enter your details:

How To Get Your Free Recruitment Agency Template Document

If you have read to the end of this post and have no need for a recruitment agency agreement….well we hope this project has helped in some small way to reinforce the belief that recruitment consultants (I used to be one) and solicitors are the nice guys.

Adrian McDonagh


EasyWeb Group

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Get a FREE recruitment agency agreement template

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Saints name side to take on french champions

Tom Stephenson, Kieran Brookes and Christian Day have all come into Northampton Saints’ starting line-up to take on Clermont Auvergne in the European Champions Cup.

Technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney and interim head coach Alan Dickens have made three changes to the side that began last week’s triumph over Gloucester, as the Saints take on the Top 14 Champions at Franklin’s Gardens, kick-off 5.30pm.

Northampton opened up 2018 in style against the Cherry & Whites, scoring a last-minute penalty try to win 22-19 and end a run of frustrating results in the Aviva Premiership – and will now smell blood with nothing to lose in the competition against Clermont.

The only change to the back-line is caused by the ankle injury that saw Luther Burrell hobble off against Gloucester.

Stephenson comes in to replace him in the midfield after a tenacious showing off the bench last weekend, and the inside centre will celebrate his 50th appearance in the Black, Green and Gold.

Nic Groom and Harry Mallinder will continue to build their half-back partnership, with Ahsee Tuala staying at full-back and Ken Pisi – who scored on his return to the side against Gloucester – and Ben Foden remaining on the wings.

Brookes also continues his comeback from a hand injury with his first start since November, joining skipper Dylan Hartley and Campese Ma’afu in the front row.

And with Day coming into the second row alongside Api Ratuniyarawa, Courtney Lawes shifts to blindside flanker.

“The players fully understand that we didn’t perform particularly well last week, but we got the result we needed,” said Gaffney.

“We fought hard and showed a lot of commitment in what we did which was pleasing, but we understand we still made a lot of mistakes which we’ve got to rectify over time.

“Our game management has to be better at times, but we’ve addressed that and done a lot of work to understand where we can start transferring pressure away from us.

“The next two weeks still mean a lot to us and we’ve got to perform. There’s an enormous amount of improvement still left in us, and we’ve got to go in and take another step forwards.”

Tickets are still available for Saints’ European Champions Cup clash with ASM Clermont Auvergne from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by visiting or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000. Prices start at £32 for adults and £14 for juniors.


European Champions Cup, Round 5

Franklin’s Gardens

Saturday 13 January, 2018

Kick-off: 5.30pm


15 Ahsee Tuala

14 Ken Pisi

13 Rob Horne

12 Tom Stephenson

11 Ben Foden

10 Harry Mallinder

9 Nic Groom

1 Campese Ma’afu

2 Dylan Hartley (capt)

3 Kieran Brookes

4 Api Ratuniyarawa

5 Christian Day

6 Courtney Lawes

7 Tom Wood

8 Teimana Harrison


16 Mikey Haywood

17 Francois van Wyk

18 Jamal Ford-Robinson

19 Michael Paterson

20 Mitch Eadie

21 Cobus Reinach

22 James Grayson

23 Nafi Tuitavake

Injury update:

Tom Collins (foot), Alex Waller (arm), Jamie Elliott (hamstring), Rory Hutchinson (back), George North (knee), Piers Francis (concussion), Stephen Myler (ribs), and Luther Burrell (calf) are unavailable for selection.

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Are your Key Performance Indicators working for you or against you

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Connect, collaborate and check out a new space to work- Thursday 8 February 2018

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Breakfast Briefing: Taming your inbox - avoiding email overload

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Surviving Brexit: Managing Supply Chain Risk

A review of risks is always good practice. However, Surviving Brexit is very much on many of our minds at the moment.

I would welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss further how I can help.

You can call me on 01908 597938 or

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Transport & Healthcare Trade Mission to Egypt: Sunday 11 February - Thursday 15 February 2018

The Egyptian British Chamber of Commerce invites you to participate in their forthcoming trade mission to Egypt, organised in partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT), the British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA), and Egyptian British Business Council (EBBC).

The Government of Egypt recognizes the UK as a key player in several sectors, with an emphasis on collaboration in the transportation and healthcare sectors.


A huge effort is underway in Egypt to upgrade public and private healthcare facilities. The government is looking for investment in medical manufacturing facilities, particularly in the new Suez Canal Economic Zone.

With a growing population already over 100 million to accommodate, Egypt’s Ministry of Housing is building new cities that require hospitals and medical centres. There is a further need for high-quality medical furniture, appliances, surgical equipment, disposables and pharmaceuticals.


Egypt’s Ministry of Transport has significant development targets in three main areas; roads and bridges, railways and metro, and maritime (ports, dry ports and river ports). The Ministry is actively looking for private sector involvement in the construction of a new road network (2000km), the renewal of 1200km rail tracks, the purchase and local manufacturing of 1300 rail passenger coaches, the maintenance of 150 rail stations, and replacement and renewal of rolling stocks (priority). The metro system is expanding from 77km currently to 300km by 2024, a total of 6 lines will service the Greater Cairo area.

The Ministry’s targets in the maritime sector are to construct a total of 6 ports on the Mediterranean and 9 ports on the Red Sea. There are considerable opportunities in the construction of terminals and logistics areas, as well as in the supply of marine tractors. For the first time in Egypt, four new dry ports and logistics centres are tendered via the EBRD on a PPP basis. In short, a great number of pipeline opportunities for UK companies to get involved in.

The three-day programme includes meetings with senior officials in government, site visits and B2B opportunities. Join them, and explore the vast trade and investment opportunities for UK business in Egypt.


£1,700 per delegate + 20% VAT applicable to UK registered companies (total payable incl. VAT: £2,040).

*Does not include your air travel

  • Luxury 5* hotel accommodation at the Intercontinental Hotel Semiramis, Cairo
  • Airport transfers
  • Land transportation
  • Pre-mission briefing, pre-arranged group meetings, tailored briefings, as listed in the programme
  • Business lunches, hosted receptions and dinners as listed in the programme

Please contact The Egyptian British Chamber of Commerce for more information:

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Transport & Healthcare Trade Mission to Egypt: Sunday 11 February - Thursday 15 February 2018

The Egyptian British Chamber of Commerce invites you to participate in their forthcoming trade mission to Egypt, organised in partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT), the British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA), and Egyptian British Business Council (EBBC).

The Government of Egypt recognizes the UK as a key player in several sectors, with an emphasis on collaboration in the transportation and healthcare sectors.


A huge effort is underway in Egypt to upgrade public and private healthcare facilities. The government is looking for investment in medical manufacturing facilities, particularly in the new Suez Canal Economic Zone.

With a growing population already over 100 million to accommodate, Egypt’s Ministry of Housing is building new cities that require hospitals and medical centres. There is a further need for high-quality medical furniture, appliances, surgical equipment, disposables and pharmaceuticals.


Egypt’s Ministry of Transport has significant development targets in three main areas; roads and bridges, railways and metro, and maritime (ports, dry ports and river ports). The Ministry is actively looking for private sector involvement in the construction of a new road network (2000km), the renewal of 1200km rail tracks, the purchase and local manufacturing of 1300 rail passenger coaches, the maintenance of 150 rail stations, and replacement and renewal of rolling stocks (priority). The metro system is expanding from 77km currently to 300km by 2024, a total of 6 lines will service the Greater Cairo area.

The Ministry’s targets in the maritime sector are to construct a total of 6 ports on the Mediterranean and 9 ports on the Red Sea. There are considerable opportunities in the construction of terminals and logistics areas, as well as in the supply of marine tractors. For the first time in Egypt, four new dry ports and logistics centres are tendered via the EBRD on a PPP basis. In short, a great number of pipeline opportunities for UK companies to get involved in.

The three-day programme includes meetings with senior officials in government, site visits and B2B opportunities. Join them, and explore the vast trade and investment opportunities for UK business in Egypt.


£1,700 per delegate + 20% VAT applicable to UK registered companies (total payable incl. VAT: £2,040).


  • Luxury 5* hotel accommodation at the Intercontinental Hotel Semiramis, Cairo
  • Airport transfers
  • Land transportation
  • Pre-mission briefing, pre-arranged group meetings, tailored briefings, as listed in the programme
  • Business lunches, hosted receptions and dinners as listed in the programme

*Does not include your air travel

Please contact The Egyptian British Chamber of Commerce for more information:

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St James Mill Road link takes a step forward

Work toward delivery of a new St James Mill Road link in Northampton could take a step closer next week.

At its meeting on Wednesday, 17 January, Northampton Borough Council’s Cabinet will decide whether to appoint KierWSP to carry out design work.

As Northamptonshire County Council’s designated highway contractor, KierWSP would be in a position to deliver the project under its existing framework.

Cllr Tim Hadland, borough council cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “It has taken a great deal of work to get the project to this stage and we are very grateful to partners at the County Council and Network Rail for their help so far.

“If Cabinet colleagues agree, we can press ahead to the delivery stage which will see KierWSP carrying out design work and then submitting a planning application.

“We have always believed that delivery of this link road would further improve the accessibility of the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone, as well as provide a measure of congestion relief, especially on match days.”

A link road would also provide better access to brownfield land that is ripe for industrial and commercial development.

The project will be part-funded by SEMLEP through the Local Growth Fund II and Growing Places Fund with further costs being met through Enterprise Zone Business Rates Uplift which will see upfront funding from the Borough Council paid back through increased business rates achieved over time.

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Northamptonshire businesses report improvement in overseas sales in the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce

County businesses have reported an improvement in overseas sales in the latest Quarterly Economic Survey by Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce.

Nearly 50 firms employing 2,220 staff, responded to the survey which examined the performance of businesses during the final quarter of 2017.

Service sector firms reported that the downward trend for overseas sales, which started in the second half of 2014, has reversed and nearly half of manufacturers identified an improvement in advanced custom.

However, several issues were highlighted in the report, including uncertainty about domestic sales, businesses coming under pressure to increase their prices and a drop in the number of manufacturers who are confident their turnover will increase in the next year.

Northamptonshire Chamber chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “The improved performance of the services sector in overseas sales perhaps gives cause for optimism against a backdrop of political uncertainty in trade negotiations. Perhaps, in the services sector at least, we are seeing the beginnings of the predicted rebalance away from domestic demand towards international trade in response to strengthening global growth and the weak pound.

“There was also a slight increase in the number of businesses that expected to grow their workforces over the next 12 months.

“However, the survey also highlighted a reduction in domestic sales for manufacturers and reports from 65% of manufacturers and 33% of service sector firms that their prices will have to increase.

“In addition only 18% of manufacturers predict their turnover will improve in the next 12 months which is the lowest figure reported since the financial crash.”

Northamptonshire Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey is part of the largest and most representative survey of its kind in the UK and provides central and local policymakers with feedback of the performance, concerns and views of businesses across Northamptonshire.

To read the full report visit

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Take part in Kingsthorpe College’s annual Careers Fair

Kingsthorpe College is looking for businesses to take part in its popular annual Careers Fair.

This year’s event will be open to hundreds of students from the college, Moulton School and Malcolm Arnold Academy.

Kingsthorpe College careers teacher Sue Cockerill said: “We want to attract local and national companies that can offer advice on opportunities, courses and apprenticeships for our Year 9 students who are about to make their subject choices for their GCSEs, through to our Year 13 students who are taking their A Levels and making university applications or considering higher level apprenticeships.”

This year’s event will be held between 3pm and 5pm and from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, February 1, at Kingsthorpe College in Boughton Green Road, Northampton.

Companies will be invited to set up their stands from 2.30pm and light refreshments will be provided at 5pm prior to the evening session.

For further information contact Sue on 07850 007171 or email

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Moulton College Apprentice Wins TCL Young Achiever Award

A Moulton College apprentice has been named ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ by his Northamptonshire employer, winning a trophy and £200 of Amazon vouchers.

Brodie Melay-Brown, who is 21, studies horticulture at Moulton College and works for landscape services, estate management and play space services provider TCL Group at TCL’s Midlands office in Chapel Brampton. TCL is a leading business in the landscaping sector and is always looking for apprentices to join its expanding operations.

Brodie was put forward for his award by TCL colleagues who wanted to reward his attitude to work and his performance and development through the year.

The company will continue to present the award annually to a developing member of the company’s Midlands team who, like Brodie, regularly demonstrates TCL’s values of honour, openness, enterprise and resilience.

TCL set up the Young Achiever award to commemorate Chris Williamson, an inspiring and much-loved manager who died just over a year ago, aged 33. Chris was passionate about his job and adored by colleagues, who have opted to include the organisation CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young ( – among TCL’s chosen charities for 2018.

Sarah Ward, Brodie’s work-based assessor at Moulton College, said: “Brodie has made the most of his apprenticeship and proved himself to be hard working and a good team player. It’s great that he has been recognised in this way and I wish him the best in his career with TCL. Well done, Brodie.”

For more information about apprenticeships through Moulton College please go to or call 01604 491131.

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Saints duo Collins and Ludlam sign new contracts

Northampton Saints can today confirm that first-team players Tom Collins and Lewis Ludlam have signed new deals to remain at Franklin’s Gardens.

Collins, 23 and 22-year-old Ludlam have both made huge progress since graduating from the Saints Academy, and are now valuable contributors to the first-team squad. Northampton-born winger Collins broke into the first team at his hometown club in the 2013-14 season, having won the Six Nations with England Under-20s earlier that year.

And that campaign he went from strength to strength, becoming a key cog in the Saints squad that claimed an Aviva Premiership and European Challenge Cup double.

Since then flyer Collins has continued to impress on the field for the first XV, and also scored twice in the Aviva A League final last term as Northampton Wanderers lifted the trophy following victory over Gloucester United.

“I’m delighted to be staying at Saints having been here for the entirety of my career so far,” said Collins, who has been sidelined in recent weeks with a foot injury.

“Ever since I first pulled on the Black, Green and Gold jersey, I have wanted to help Northampton become the best Club in this country and in Europe – and that ambition definitely remains the same.

“I can’t wait to get back on the pitch and help the team finish this season as strongly as possible.”

Ludlam meanwhile made his first-team debut last season during the Anglo-Welsh Cup, and after being part of the same A League success as Collins, made a big impression on his first Premiership start.

The dynamic back-row, who started out as a centre before finding his home in the pack, scored at Twickenham to mark the personal landmark in style and cap off a fine individual performance – and has delivered several accomplished performances in the Premiership and European Champions Cup since.

Ludlam said: “I’ve already had some incredible highs in my time at Franklin’s Gardens, and I cannot wait to make many more memories here at my childhood club.

“Helping the Wanderers win the A League trophy last year was a fantastic experience and I’m really excited to try and win plenty more silverware with the Saints.”

And Northampton Saints CEO Mark Darbon is confident the duo will continue to flourish at the Club: “Tom and Lewis are fine examples that our Academy is still thriving and we are of course delighted that the pair have committed their future to the Club,” he said.

“We want to build a world-class team with a backbone of home-grown talent, and Tom and Lewis certainly have the potential to have a huge role in that looking forwards.”

Tickets are still available for Saints’ European Champions Cup clash with ASM Clermont Auvergne from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by visiting or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000.

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Further measures recommended to manage the development of HMOs

Further planning measures to manage the development of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Far Cotton, Delapré and Cliftonville are to be considered by the Cabinet next week.

If agreed to during a meeting on Wednesday, 17 January, a Non-Immediate Article 4 Direction will come into effect in areas of Far Cotton, Delapré and Cliftonville from 29 September 2018.

This will mean that planning permission will be required by anyone who wishes to develop a family home into a HMO within the specified area.

Although planning permission may still be granted, the introduction of the Non-Immediate Article 4 Direction will ensure that the local amenity of residents and adjoining occupiers, and the character of the area will be considered as part of the application process.

Cllr Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “We must be mindful of balancing increased demand for accommodation with current pressures on existing services and amenities.

“The additional planning measures which are being recommended, paired with those that were introduced in areas most at risk of increased HMO development last April, will help to give us the opportunity we need to consider these issues as part of the planning process.”

Anyone currently in the process of buying a house in this area with the intention of converting it into a HMO is advised to contact Northampton Borough Council’s planning team directly.

Northampton Borough Council has a dedicated helpline for anyone concerned about a privately rented HMO near them and for landlords who might want advice – the number to call is 0300 330 7002.

Please visit to view a map detailing the areas to be covered by the proposed Non-Immediate Article 4 Direction.

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Grant Thornton appoints host to new Milton Keynes office

A new Client Services Executive has been appointed to host the collaborative space of the Milton Keynes office of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton.

Philippa Price (pictured here) will be the face of the new working space in Avebury Boulevard, and brings with her a wealth of experience and local knowledge having supported several senior Grant Thornton partners across Milton Keynes and Northampton over the past three years.

In her new role, Philippa will be responsible for managing use of the space including organising events and welcoming and connecting local businesses and individuals who can use the space during office hours.

Commenting on her appointment, Philippa Price said: “I am very excited to take on this role at our new office in Milton Keynes. Our aim is to provide an alternative place for local business leaders and entrepreneurs to work, meet and collaborate in a comfortable environment. Visitors can make use of our full office facilities which include private meeting rooms and breakout areas. I look forward to welcoming local organisations over the coming months.”

The new Milton Keynes office is part of Grant Thornton’s ongoing commitment to the region and to supporting fast growing, ambitious businesses by offering a collaborative place for people to work in today’s increasingly flexible environment.

Fiona Baldwin, practice leader said: “As more firms adopt flexible working hours and locations to help employees achieve a better work/ life balance, we wanted to offer a different space where people can work in a relaxed and innovative environment. It’s also part of our wider ambition to get businesses, individuals and communities working together to create a more vibrant, progressive and productive economy at all levels and we hope firms that share our vision for connection and collaboration will make use of this space.”

For more information, contact Philippa Price at

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Pictures55 shortlisted for IoIC Award

Delighted to announce that they have been shortlisted in the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) Central & North Awards 2018 for an image for Route One Publishing and Billypix is Pictures55.

The winners will be announced at an awards dinner at the National Space Centre in Leicester on 1st March 2018.

According to the IoIC - ‘The night promises to be a glittering event – an exhilarating rocket ride through the very best of internal communications.’

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LMD Design celebrates it’s first year in business

January 2018 marks the milestone of the completion of LMD Design’s first year in business. This year has been such a huge time for the agency. In this first year LMD Design has worked with new local businesses, local charities, larger organisations like the Open University and even international companies selling services across the world. The business has grown massively in just 12 months, and now with their first year complete they are keen to keep on continuing their success.

Like with any business, their first year has been full of trials and tests. Launching a business is stressful and always a learning curve, and having not only survived but thrived in this time is a massive boost.

Founder Liam Mitchell-Dolby said: “Launching a new business is always a daunting prospect. However, seeing the success of LMD Design in such a short period has been amazing!

“It’s been a really exciting time getting involved with local and national businesses, helping them succeed through design and marketing.”

LMD Design has a focus on branding and digital media, working with clients across the local area and further afield. They have helped launch new companies into the market over the last year and the results for both themselves and our clients have been huge.

LMD Design are now looking forward to the next set of goals for the agency. Their main aim is to continue to connect into the local community and help local businesses achieve.

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BRI has strengthened its position with another insolvency appointment taker in Northampton

BRI are pleased to announce that Lauren Auburn has been promoted to Associate and will be taking insolvency appointments.

Lauren has over 11 years insolvency experience and deals with a variety of corporate and personal insolvency and solvency matters.

Lauren’s experience includes dealing with the closure and liquidation of a national company with 300 employees which operated over 47 sites, complex voluntary arrangements for companies in both the professional and hospitality sector, solvent liquidations that involve distributions to members of more than £1m and cross border insolvency after dealing with a company based in Southern Ireland. In addition, Lauren also deals with internal technical systems and procedures.

Lauren has been heavily involved with our regular networking events, the Northampton Professionals Breakfast Club and Professionals Lunch, and also heads up our BRI Exceptional Female Society (BRIEFS) lunch.

Lauren joined BRI as a trainee in 2006 with no previous insolvency experience. With continued support and training from BRI and the opportunity to work directly with senior staff members, Lauren gained essential knowledge and experience and, after being promoted, joined the management team in 2014.

Lauren gained the AAT qualification shortly after joining BRI and went on to pass the Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency exam in 2010, and more recently obtained the Joint Insolvency Examination qualification.

Lauren will to continue to provide sound, practical advice and solutions for clients that are in financial difficulty.

Lauren is happy to be a part of the BRI team that is committed to finding the right solution, first time and every time, irrespective of the fee outcome for BRI.

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We are delighted to announce our move to new offices at Rockingham Motor Speedway

As we approach the end of our 1st successful year in business, we are delighted to announce our move to offices at Unit 31, Rockingham Motor Speedway.

We are energised daily by the changing panoramas from our office window.

With access to excellent on-site training and conference facilities we are looking forward to a successful 2018, coaching, training and facilitating individuals and teams on their journey.

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Brass Monkey 10k

Aircare support and work with Lakelands Hospice in Corby throughout the year, but annually we sponsor the Brass Monkey run and fun run.

This year the run is being held at Rockingham Speedway with the family fun run consisting of a single lap of the Rockingham racetrack and the big race being a 10k.

Lakelands Hospice provide the best possible care for people with cancer, heart failure and other life limiting illnesses, and are funded 100% by donations so events such as this are extremely important.

Last year we saw nearly 500 runners take part raising over £7,000 in total. Staff from Aircare will be at the event again this year giving out medals, t-shirts and goodie bags to all runners taking part.

This year’s run takes place on Sunday 28th January at 11:00am.

If you would like to take part please enter online at

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Seminar on The Building Blocks for Business Success

Building your business can be exhilarating but it can also be daunting when you enter the realms of the unknown. particularly for an SME owner/manager. At Business Finance Services we understand this and will do whatever we can to help our clients to save time, effort and, of course, money by setting up their business to be as efficient as possible.

With a bright new year upon us and with a distinct air of optimism in much of the business community, now is the time to start looking and planning ahead to make the most of new business opportunities as they arise, and they certainly will arise!

At BFS we offer our clients a wide range of services from Business Planning through sourcing of commercial finance to Post-Funding Mentoring services to ensure that our clients make the most of the finance raised by adopting efficient working practices. The next in our series of Seminars on the general subject of “Negotiating the Financial Maze” is designed to do that by providing information not only on sources of finance but onthe importance of business planning and mentoring.

BFS will be joined by speakers from four different business disciplines:

  • Lewis Stringer from The British Business Bank who will explain the origin and distribution of their funds which are specifically aimed at supporting SMEs.
  • Rod Beer from the UK Business Angels Association. Rod will be talking about what the UKBAA is and how its members can help and support SMEs.
  • Alan Price from BFS and Harpconsult Ltd who will talk about the importance of Business Planning and Mentoring to ensure efficient operation of a business.
  • Barry Parsons from Opus Corporate Finance

As always with BFS’s seminars, there will be an opportunity for questions and networking with all of the speakers at the end of the event. The feedback from previous attendees to our seminars has always been very positive!

So do join us - the seminar is FREE and everyone is welcome to attend. With speakers on Business Lending, Investment, Planning and PR there is something for everyone, whether you are an accountant, solicitor, other professional advisor or the owner/manager of an SME!

Event information and tickets:

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Top 10 Tips on Delivering a Terrific Presentation

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How to Increase Revenue with Ease

New business, new business, new business! This is what a lot of people focus on as they believe that this is what they need to increase the revenue into the business. In trying to do this, they spend a lot of time and money to achieve their end goal.

But what if I told you there was a much easier and less time-consuming way to generate revenue, you would be interested right? Well there is, and that is in the guise of your existing customers! We tend to forget about them, but why? They know us, they like us, they buy from us and they refer us to their contacts, so why not go to them first?

This is where cross-selling and upselling come in! These are great ways to increase the revenue and profit into a business, but what is the difference between the two?

Cross Selling - is the action of selling an additional product or service to an existing customer.

Up Selling – is the practice of persuading a customer to buy something additional or more expensive.

So now we know the difference between the two, let’s look at how we achieve this.


As this is the action of selling an additional product or service, what you first need to look at is what are your current customers buying from you and do they know about the OTHER products or services that you offer? You assume that they do, but do they really? Before I set up The Sales Manager, I worked in the print industry for a short while and I remember speaking to a customer (a plumber) that had always purchased their printed stationery from us on a “keep in touch call”. It was only when I asked the question of where do they get their branded work wear from and could we quote, that they asked “do you do that then?” and this was despite all marketing information they had received promoting work wear!

It is wrong to assume your customer knows everything you do so, but a great way to keep them informed it to have a regular catch up. This strengthens your relationship, enables you to find out what is happening in their business and ultimately allows you to educate them about your other products or services.

Up Selling

With up selling, you first need to understand what the customer needs/problems are and this is achieved by asking lots of open questions. Once you have done this you are then able to offer them a solution. Where up selling comes in, is that the solution is made with a small number of recommendations each of which will add perceived value to a sale, that the customer is already willing to make, as well as offer upgrades to purchases that increase the value and the bottom line, benefiting everyone. A prime example is the phrase “would you like fries with that” at McDonalds!

With upselling, don’t do it for the sake of it, there must be a perceived value for the customer, otherwise they will see right through your approach and it could end a perfectly good relationship!

Both approaches will add to your bottom line and will be more time and cost effective than chasing new business all the time. Try it, let me know how you get on!

For more sales tips, why not check out our video blogs on our website

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Free 30 Day SuperOffice CRM trial

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The R Inn Hotel, Tapas BAr & Grill - 10% discount January offer

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Adding Value to the Supply Chain

Expertise, cost, resource and space are key reasons for businesses putting their trust in Walkerpack, which has more than 50 years - experience in the competitive supply chain sector.

This experience has enabled the Brackmills-based business to fine tune its services to enable each client to reap the benefits.

Ongoing investment in its workforce and technology means privately-owned Walkerpack can offer key services to add value to the supply chain. These include Packing, Warehousing, Logistics and Fulfilment.

Walkerpack’s sales manager Steve Tiley said: “For many customers the biggest challenge can be to find a business which has the expertise and reliability to handle the most complex supply chain activities. Our ‘can-do’ attitude means we can offer a one-stop shop for business looking for solutions, so they can have the confidence to concentrate on their core business.”

There are real benefits for businesses who decide to outsource contract packing to a specialist firm like Walkerpack which takes pride in employing mostly permanent staff who are trained to carry out these tasks.

For some this could mean bringing together products from different sites to a central location where Walkerpacks specialist team can focus on ensuring orders are ready for efficient distribution.

Others might require reworking a product to make it ready for sale, fulfilment of point of sale displays for retail projects or packing which requires special machinery or labour intensive work.

The growth in international supply chains combined with rising costs means companies often see a benefit in shipping in bulk then packing locally to make a product saleable or secure for onward transportation.

“Walkerpack prides itself on having the competence and flexibility to meet the changing needs of its customers. This ‘best in class’ customer service is key to our ongoing success and is why people want to work with us, ” continued Steve.

To talk in confidence about your company’s needs call Steve Tiley on 01604 760529 or email: or see the website at

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Howes Percival Acts In Aspall Sale To Molson Coors

Howes Percival has played a key role in the sale of Suffolk-based cider maker Aspall to American brewing giant Molson Coors. The firm acted for the family shareholders in the sale.

Founded in 1728 by Clement Chevallier and run by the eighth generation of his family, Aspall is known for producing premium cider products as well as organic cider vinegar. Aspall operates from a single site in the parish of Aspall, Suffolk, where the Chevallier family first planted the orchards at Aspall Hall.

The deal will see members of the family remain as part of the business and play a key role in shaping the strategic direction of Aspall.

Howes Percival has advised the family for over 30 years and provided a wide range of services relating to the transaction including corporate, tax, banking & finance, property, employment law, IP and regulatory.

Milton Keynes-based Corporate Partner Edward Lee advised in relation to the corporate aspects on this deal, alongside the rest of the team across multiple offices.

Edward Lee commented: “We’re absolutely delighted for the family, who have worked so hard to build a fantastic business. We’ve worked alongside them for many years now and are very proud to be associated with the family and such a great brand. The deal allows the business to grow and seek out new markets for their unique products, while the family remain closely involved.

“At Howes Percival we were able to put together an incredibly strong team to cover a wide range of issues related to the deal. We’ve invested heavily in our office network and partner level expertise in the last three years and this kind of deal is typical of the transactions we are increasingly involved in.”

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GMC to launch the world’s highest specification Toughphone

​Its been a year since we last made a news update but we have been working on something special.

Global Mobile Communications (GMC) are pleased to announce that we will be launching the worlds highest specification rugged waterproof phone under its Defender brand:

GMC have specialized in the rugged mobile phone market for some years and own the Global rights to manufacture rugged phones under the Dewalt brand as well as our own Defender brand.

The new model is called “THE BEAST” and that is exactly what is it! With the biggest battery ever put in a mobile phone (6150mAh). This phone will last for a least three days with full usage. The phone can also be dropped on to concrete from 1.2m without any damage. The phone also have a very impressive 16mp on the back and 8mp on the front.

Some of the other features are:

  • Heartbeat monitor
  • Compass
  • Spirit Level
  • Height Measure
  • Pedometer
  • Plumb Bob
  • Protractor
  • Alarm
  • Flashlight
  • Picture Hanger
  • Air pressure SensorMagnetic field SensorTemperature and Humidity SensorThree-axis gyroProximity Sensor SensorGravity SensorAmbient lightBarometer SensorAccelerometer SensorTemperature SensorInfrared SensorGeomagnetic SensorTouch ID fingerprint

We made the phone with some unique features that have never been seen on a mobile phone. So are very useful while others may be seen as a bit gimmicky, like the infared blaster, which allows you to use you phone to control all your home remote controls.

On a business note, the phone include NFC and can run 2 SIM cards at the same time, which is perfect for running a business number and personnel number on the same phone.

Full specification can be found at and we currently are offering Chamber members to try out the phone before the official release of the device. Please call 01327301667 for more info.

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Free loan of mobile phones and tablets.

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Top 10 Tips for finding the best warehouse for your goods

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New Member of the Team

We are delighted to introduce the newest member of our Telemarketing team, Simone Leeson.

Simone joins us to facilitate the growth within this division of The Sales Manager and we are all looking forward to working with her.

To know more about what we do, contact us on: 01604 532 004 or

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Top 100 Firm Launches New Website

2017 has been an excellent year for Cottons Accountants with the company acquiring two new premises and opening an office in London. The year has ended on a similar note with the successful launch of their new website.

Cottons Chartered Accountants, small business accountants and audit specialists, announced the arrival of their new website on Wednesday 6th December. The firm offers tailored accountancy services to a variety of business and currently has four UK offices based in London, Northampton, Rugby and Daventry.

With the help of Antelope Consultants, the modern and uncluttered design is the ultimate userfriendly experience with quality navigation and functionality throughout. The site provides clients and customers with quick and easy access to company information, with its high-quality services at the forefront.

The team of chartered accountants also offer their expertise through the site’s comprehensive resource library, free of charge. The collection of over 40 articles and blogs are based on accountancy news, company updates and small business advice that include topics such as tax and VAT. The articles are written using everyday language without accountancy jargon creating a collection of information that is accessible and invaluable to small business owners and other individuals seeking accountancy tips and advice.

Jennifer Welford commented on the new website: “Over the last few months we have worked hard with Cottons to build their new website. We’re extremely happy with the result and believe we’ve created a new, fresh platform for the company to use as they continue to grow.”

The accountancy firm will continue to regularly update the website, and in particular the resource library. Visitors are encouraged to explore the site and provide their thoughts and feedback.

About Cottons Chartered Accountants: Cottons Chartered Accountants provide specialised accountancy advice and services through a network of five offices in London, Daventry, Northampton, Rugby and Banbury. With 50 members across these give offices their employees have an array on expert knowledge who can give specialise accountancy advice in all areas of business. They provide their clients with an unrivalled combination of size, expertise and a friends, personal service.

If you would like further information on Cottons Chartered Accountants and their team then please visit

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Hampton’s Otter Exclusion Fencing a Winner at Ringstead Island Fishery

Wellingborough and District Nene Angling Club offers 12 still waters, lengthy sections of the river’s Nene & Ouse and several sections of canal for their members to fish on an annual membership basis.

Ringstead Island Fishery is one of the club’s flagship venues set within some of Northamptonshire’s most stunning countryside and a popular destination for anglers of all ages and abilities.

Stocked with various species including chub, bream and carp, this popular destination for anglers was fast becoming otter heaven for these cunning predators. Working closely with Ashley Hubbard, Peter Laughton and the club’s teams of dedicated volunteers, UK Manufacturer, Hampton Steel recommended Hampton NET™ otter fencing. With fence heights up to 2.6 metres, small apertures and the inclusion of a hinged upper section allowing the fence to be angled out to prevent climbing, otter access is all but eliminated. Hampton NET™ also features a low profile knotted joint with no protruding ends so, whilst helping to exclude the otters, they are kept from harm. Unlike other more traditional fencing options this incredibly strong joint locks line and stay wires tightly together so preventing predators from forcing the wires apart to increase the size of the aperture to gain entry.

With 2500 metres of fencing needed to surround the venue, selecting a fence that could help protect the prize stock was essential but not at the expense of the landscape. Designated as a ‘Site of Specific Scientific Interest‘ (SSSI) by Natural England, a boundary that could be aesthetically sympathetic was also very important.

Hampton’s Metal Box Strainer Systems and StapleloK intermediate metal posts were used in areas prone to flooding; the superior durability of the new metal strainer system with StapleloK provides further reassurance of extended longevity over traditional wooden posts in constantly wet areas of heavy clay soil with poor drainage.

“Within the club, we were very aware of meeting the Natural England fencing specification whilst trying to be as sympathetic to the beautiful countryside surrounding our Ringstead site. The quality of the fence and metal posts is superb and the hinged top and skirting sections are a great deterrent to otters. Any burrowing will be met by the lower part of the mesh which has been laid and pinned 3ft along the ground on the outer side of the fence,” said Ashley.

“It is one of the club’s largest projects to date and one we will work to maintain with our team of volunteers for many years to come. We can now safely deter otters from predating our waters without harming them or their river habitats in any way.

“It was imperative that the boundary fence passed the Natural England’s strict specifications to ensure that, if at a later date an otter is on the site, the angling club can apply for the otter to be live trapped and released just outside the fencing with no harm to the animal. Without this specification being met it may not have been possible for this permission to be granted.

“Visitors will also benefit from the unobtrusive nature of the fence, aesthetically sympathetic to the environment. I would definitely recommend Hampton NET™ Fencing to other fisheries,” said Ashley.

Visit to view Hampton’s full product range or contact their sales team on 01933 234070,

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MKi Going Global: Network to Export

Many of you will already be working in international markets or working on your strategy to grow your business, but there is the potential to achieve more, for both B2B and B2C.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) in collaboration with Barclays have arranged an informative event to help you understand how your business can achieve sustainable growth through exporting, with a focus in the African market.

The event will be delivered at Buckingham University. Following the presentations there will be the opportunity for networking and presenter engagement. This is a great opportunity to understand how your business can grow through the evolving international opportunities that exist.

Speakers include Peter Wright from DIT South East, Bolaji Sofoluwe who will discuss Africa and the opportunities within the market and Joseph Cooksey, who will discuss the ‘digital world’.

Date: Wednesday 31 January 2018

Time: 09:30 - 11:00

Venue: University of Buckingham, Buckingamshire

Cost: Free of Charge

Due to limited space, please register promptly in order to guarantee your place.

Free onsite parking is available on the day.

To register your interest, please click:

For more information contact: +44 (0) 7469 404 322 or

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Free Sales Process Review

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Fran’s Top Ten Telemarketing Tips

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