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Midlands Asset Finance win at the 2017 Leasing World Awards!

Posted: 16/10/17 by Midlands Asset Finance Ltd

We are delighted to announce that we have won Top Hard Assets Broker at the 2017 Leasing World Awards!

We picked up the accolade after being nominated and then selected as the winners by a group of judges.

The award, sponsored by Metro Bank, is aimed at the ‘hard’ asset market which includes yellow plant, haulage, bus and coach vehicles.

Director, Sue Chapman, said: “We are delighted to win the Top Hard Assets Broker award. It’s a fabulous achievement for the whole team here at Midlands Asset Finance.”

We don’t just arrange funding for ‘hard’ assets, either.

We can fund IT equipment, office furniture and warehouse racking, and also offer a wide range of products:

Don’t have enough time to speak to someone?

You can get a Decision in Principle in 60 seconds from the comfort of your own office using our online tool, Asset Finance Compared.

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October half term events at Abington Park Museum

Posted: 16/10/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Abington Park Museum will play host to a range of workshops and events for children and families this October half term.

Starting with a one-man performance of Oscar Wilde’s Canterville Ghost, in an adaptation written especially for families, on Saturday, 21 October. Haunted Halloween activities will also be taking place on Saturday 28 and there are less spooky sessions on offer too with autumn leaf crown and bulb planting workshops on Thursday, 26 and Friday, 27 October.

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “Abington Park Museum has centuries of history so it’s a great venue for ghost stories and the park itself always looks beautiful in autumn as the leaves start to turn.

“There’s a good range of activities to suit different ages and tastes, so I hope plenty of families come along to get involved. Don’t forget that you can find the ghost of Lady Wantage hiding at the museum too as part of the Ghosts of Northampton Past trail. You just need to download the free Aurasma app and follow the trail to get started.”

Events require booking in advance and places are limited on some of the workshops. Visit for more information on all events at Abington Park Museum or call 01604 838110 to book tickets.

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Award win for major exporter

Posted: 16/10/17 by Beardow Adams Ltd

A multinational adhesive manufacturer has been crowned the region’s best exporter.

Northamptonshire Chamber member Beardow Adams (Adhesives) Ltd has won the Export Business of the Year award at the East Midlands heat of the Chamber Business Awards 2017.

The firm, which is a world leading innovative adhesive company based in Milton Keynes, will go on to represent the East Midlands at the national finals which will be staged by the British Chambers of Commerce in London next month.

The firm’s CEO Adrian Day said: “The business has been naround for 40 years and has grown internationally more than domestically as a result of our global partner network and our own organic growth.

“We have a network of experienced and knowledgeable sales managers that keep our partners aware of our latest developments and offer them guidance.

“Over 40 years the links between our technical abilities, commercial team and global partners has grown stronger and stronger.

“In addition to this in countries where we felt there was a big demand for our innovative and high-quality product we have set up state-of-the-art factories and have continuously invested in markets where we believe our products will be the most successful. As a result, we now have factories production facilities in a variety of countries, including Germany, Spain, America and Sweden.

“We’ve made big investments to keep us ahead of the game. For example, in the United States of America we have invested in cutting-edge technology ahead of realising the
sales, so we are running at 10% of our capacity there. Our willingness to take risks is part of the reason why we have been so successful overseas.

“Winning this award is of great significance to us. Over the years we have won Queen’s Awards and Chamber Awards but in recent years the focus was less on our domestic market. Following Brexit we have a reinvigorated focus on the UK market and are keen to raise our profile.

“Having won the regional award is an important step forward to show what Beardow Adams is all about and what we want to achieve.”

Now in their 14th year, the British Chambers of Commerce awards are a highlight of the business calendar, recognising the key role that local businesses play in driving the UK

Francis Martin, president of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “Our judges are always impressed by the high standard of submissions and the calibre of entries this year was no different.

“The finalists in the Chamber Business Awards represent the best of this country’s entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and hard work.”

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Celebrate drawing this month at MK Gallery

Posted: 16/10/17 by MK Gallery

Bring your drawings to life this October as MK Gallery celebrates The Big Draw Festival with a month-long programme of creative activities for families.

The Big Draw Festival is the world’s biggest drawing festival. Through weekly sessions at the Gallery, families are invited to explore and respond to this year’s theme - Living Lines: An Animated Big Draw Festival – in fun and inventive ways. Activities include:

  • Start the Art, every Tuesday and Wednesday, 11am-12pm

Start the Art provides messy and creative activities for under 5s to move around and explore. This month, use movement and line to make drawings.

  • Saturday Studio, every Saturday, 1-3pm

Artist-led sessions for children aged 5+ and their families. From capturing stop motion techniques to praxinoscopes and flip books, join MK Gallery to get your marks moving.

  • Half Term Activity: Playtime, Friday 27 October, 12-3pm

Experiment with drawing as MK Gallery’s Project Space is transformed into a laboratory for play and exploration with curious objects and materials. This session is aimed at children aged 5+ and their families.

Speaking about this month’s celebration of drawing, Tara Page, MK Gallery learning manager said, “Each year we look forward to finding out what the Big Draw holds in store for us. This year is no exception and we’re excited about the innovative and intriguing activities our Associate Artists have planned for children and families at MK Gallery.

“My favourite quote about drawing is by artist Paul Klee - ‘Drawing is taking a line for a walk’. I love how the simple act of creating a line could take you anywhere!”

Jane Glynn, MK Gallery Associate Artist states: “I love drawing because everybody can do it. It’s the perfect fusion of physical action, personal thought and concentration. Every drawing is a new beginning. I like the way people develop their own unique drawing language. For me drawing is a way of thinking and capturing ideas that can’t be put in to words.”

“The act of drawing helps me simplify and personalise the dynamic three dimensional landscape around me,” says MK Gallery Associate Artist, Rekha Sameer.

Each session costs £1 per person on the door. To find out more and book tickets visit

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Howes Percival expands commercial property team in response to growing demand

Posted: 16/10/17 by Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival has appointed specialist commercial property lawyer, Manpreet Kaur Panesar. Manpreet has joined Howes Percival’s Milton Keynes office from Shakespeare Martineau.

Manpreet, who specialises in commercial property matters, has spent the last two years working on a wide range of property investment and development projects. She brings a wealth of experience in advising on commercial transactions also, having recently represented a range of clients from regional developers to private landlords and tenants.

Lisa Mantle, partner and head of commercial property in Milton Keynes commented: “We are delighted to welcome Manpreet to Howes Percival. She is very highly regarded and well-connected in the sector and brings valuable experience to the team in Milton Keynes, contributing top level expertise to our landlord and tenant, property investment and development practices. Her appointment puts us in a very strong position to benefit from the increase in activity we have seen in recent months”.

Howes Percival’s commercial property, construction and development team advises landowners and developers. Providing a comprehensive legal advice offering across the full spectrum of requirement, from site acquisition and strategic planning to development finance, tax advice, construction disputes and plot sales.

Howes Percival recently received top tier rankings for Commercial Property in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 – the authoritative guide to the UK’s leading law firms.

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Jess’s T-shirt is one of Silverstone’s best sellers

Posted: 16/10/17 by The University of Northampton

Graphics whizz Jess Black has put her career prospects in pole position after designing one of the summer’s best-selling T-shirts from the home of British Motorsport.

The University of Northampton Graphic Communication student took part in an annual challenge set by Silverstone Circuit’s merchandise team, which gives those on the degree course
the opportunity to design T-shirts and caps.

Each year around 200 student designs are submitted, with the best selected, produced and sold by Silverstone.

Jess’s T-shirt design to commemorate the 2017 British Grand Prix caught the eye of the Northamptonshire track’s merchandise team – and also F1 fans, who snapped up more than 2,500 over the summer, making it one of the best-selling items in the circuit shop.

“I was so proud when I found out my design had been picked for production,” said Jess (pictured here with her T-shirt design), who comes from Farnborough in Surrey and is now beginning her third year of studies.

“I was on my own when I got a message from my tutor giving me the good news, and I admit I did a little happy victory dance.”

Jess’s reward was a pair of tickets for July’s British Grand Prix, and while she was there with her mum Sue, they popped into the shop to check out her design.

“It was surreal because there was a customer at the till who was buying my T-shirt. My mum couldn’t help herself and went over and told him I’d designed it – she was so proud.”

Hoping to follow in Jess’s footsteps are the current crop of second year Graphic Communication students, who were briefed by Silverstone’s merchandising team earlier this month, before going to the track for a research visit.

Their designs will be whittled down by Silverstone in the new year, with the best generic designs and those with the 2018 British Grand Prix theme, selected for sale.

You can buy Jess’s T-shirt via the online shop.

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Confidence-boosting trip brings students out of comfort zone

Posted: 16/10/17 by Northampton College

A three day trip to an adventure centre has given Northampton College students the chance to get out of their comfort zone and boost their confidence with a host of team-building activities.

The trip, arranged as part of the National Citizen Service (NCS), saw dozens of students head to Liddington in Wiltshire where they took part in activities such as raft-building, trapeze and a giant swing.

NCS team leader Parmilla Begum said: “This is the eighth project I’ve been involved with and every time I love it, it’s amazing. The change in young people is incredible. They are all very nervous at the start but by the end they are all excited and ready to go and help out in the community.”

Students are encouraged to develop the tools and belief to unlock their potential and make a positive impact in their communities.

NCS is a government-funded initiative aimed at boosting peoples’ confidence and get them to try things they have never done before such as staying away from home. As well as boosting skills, the trip helps bring students out of their comfort zone and is recognised by universities and employers as work experience that is applicable to everyday jobs.

Northampton College childcare student Andrea said: “I went on the trip to meet new people and learn new activities such as team-building. I was very excited to be part of it as it was my first trip away.”

For more information on courses available at Northampton College visit

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CML Gives Delegates an Insight into the Challenges of a Changing Retail Landscape at this Year’s Internet Retailing Conference

Posted: 16/10/17 by CML Ltd

On 5th October, Core Management Logistics (CML) was invited to represent the voice of third-party logistics (3PL) at this year’s Internet Retailing conference. Speaking from the perspective of an end to end logistics provider, business development manager, Jane Smith, discussed the challenges faced by retailers and the critical importance of customer experience.

The subject for the discussion, ‘Keeping track with innovative retailers by providing bespoke services: What do modern retailers demand and how is this fulfilled?’, not only touched on the changing retail landscape, but formed a wider conversation around technology and consumer demands on retailers. It went on to explore how the retail landscape can be personalised to ensure that retailers are able to provide customers with a bespoke experience that helps to promote loyalty, and how retailers can ensure that they uphold promises to their customers using nimble and agile 3PL solutions. It also detailed how a positive delivery experience helps to boost confidence during peak sales times such as Black Friday, and how 3PL’s keep at the forefront of technology solutions.

Industry professionals speaking alongside Jane included Peter Ward, chief executive of UK Warehousing Association, Karen Gibson, senior manager - ‘toyou’ Client Relationships at Asda, and Walter Blackwood, Omnichannel logistics expert at W&MB Consulting Limited. Having worked within the retail logistics industry for over 26 years, Jane used her experience to give delegates an insight into what she believes 3PL service providers need to do to support retailers in the fast-changing, consumer-driven market. She explained: “Over the last few years, CML has seen substantial growth in fulfilment needs and changes in consumer requirements including omni-channel, customer experience and personalisation, so we were delighted to represent the third party logistics category at this year’s Internet Retailing conference and give delegates an insight into the trends shaping the future of retail logistics.

“The retail landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years and continues to do so at pace. Fulfilment areas such as value added services (VAS) and returns processing play an important role in the supply chain and we predict that this is going to continue. This year’s event not only gave us an excellent forum to discuss the different trends shaping the retail industry, but it also gave us the opportunity to discuss the challenges amongst industry peers.”

The Internet Retailing conference provided decision makers in the retail industry with a platform to facilitate the decisions that define the future of the digital landscape.

For more information about CML, visit

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Honouring lives lost in the Northampton Zeppelin raid

Posted: 16/10/17 by Northampton Borough Council

On Thursday, 19 October, Northampton will mark the 100th anniversary of the Zeppelin raid of St James.

In 1917, 22 bombs were dropped on Northampton from a German Zeppelin Airship killing a woman and her twin daughters. Eliza, Lily and Gladys Gammons, who are buried at
Dallington Cemetery, are believed to be Northampton’s only victims of air raids which killed more than 500 people throughout Britain during WWI.

The Mayor of Northampton, Northampton Borough Council, St James CE Primary School, where the twins attended school, Sywell Aviation Centre, where the incendiary device is
now on display, and the Western Front Association have joined together to commemorate the occasion with a public memorial.

Members of the public are invited to join proceedings lead by Wayne Casey, Eliza’s great-great-grandson, St James Resident’s Association, and the children of St James Primary School who will recite from newspaper clippings of the time and perform war-time songs. The event will begin at 12.15pm in St James Square.

Councillor Gareth Eales, Mayor of Northampton, said: “Although not as well-known as the blitz, German air raids had a devastating effect on communities throughout the UK
during the first World War.

“St James lost three innocent lives that night, a mother and her young daughters, and it’s important that we make sure the memory of that event stays with us 100 years later.

“In order to make this the biggest event it can be, I hope as many people as possible can join us on 19 October to commemorate this sad event.”

For more information visit the Mayor of Northampton Facebook page.

Watch the video:

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Students can get on the fast track to railway apprenticeship

Posted: 16/10/17 by Northampton College

Students from Northampton College have been given the opportunity to earn a ‘fast-track’ progression to a leading apprenticeship programme as part of National Rail Week.

The National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR), based in Kings Heath, will offer one student from the college’s engineering course the chance to earn a place on the Siemens Rail Systems Rail Engineering apprenticeship scheme, giving them the chance to work for one of the world’s leading engineering companies.

The winning student will be selected next year upon completion of their studies. They will win a work experience placement at Siemens and will be fast-tracked onto the selection process for the apprenticeship programme.

Dan Walker, head of apprenticeship delivery at NTAR, visited the students as part of National Rail Week to explain more about the scheme and explained the opportunities available to apprentices.

He said: “The railway industry has an aging workforce with a lot of older people who will shortly be retiring. We have to attract new blood to not only replace these people, but bring fresh ideas and perspectives into the railway. Apprenticeships are a vital way of doing that.

“With the level of government investment in new technologies and approaches to running the railway, it’s an exciting time to be working in the industry.

“We enjoy an exceptional relationship with Northampton College and are proud of the programme we have developed together - giving learners a path to technical, occupational, and professional competence in the railway. We are looking forward to seeing who will be crowned our Student of the Year for 2018.”

Apprentices studying at NTAR will have access to cutting-edge training facilities and be able to gain valuable knowledge of the different aspects of rail engineering – from the maintenance of rolling stock to the installation of telecommunications systems. The learners will benefit from a close relationship between the college, the academy, and their employer.

Neil Tobin, an engineering lecturer at Northampton College, said: “This is a fabulous opportunity for our students. We are extremely fortunate to have NTAR on our doorstep which is leading the way in preparing the next generation of railway engineers.”

For more information on engineering courses available at Northampton College visit

Photo shows Neil Tobin and Dan Walker with engineering students.

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Beyond Theory to appear at Independent Hotel Show

Posted: 16/10/17 by Beyond Theory

Experts from Beyond Theory will be at the Independent Hotel Show this week.

Beyond Theory senior consultant Paul Beesley will be offering top tips and advice to boutique hotels during the two day event at Olympia London.

Paul said: “We are delighted to be returning to the Independent Hotel Show following our hugely successful appearance at last year’s event.

“We’re expecting to see more than 6,000 visitors over the two days so it should be a great show.

“We will be providing advice on a range of topics, including employee engagement, customer service and hospitality.”


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Marval Improves Functionality for iOS

Posted: 16/10/17 by Marval Software Ltd

Marval, a leading provider of Service Management solutions and services, announced new features that improve the MSM system’s functionality on iOS environments.

Integrated in Marval’s mobile application for iOS devices, new features allow MSM users to raise requests faster and easier, reducing waiting time and therefore advancing the customer service experience. The updated application is designed to help improve productivity and responsiveness of the Service Desk, enabling Service Desk professionals to stay connected and ensuring that SLAs are satisfied. It offers a modern, highly functional user interface which:

  • Facilitates data entry and search
  • Accelerates the authorisation process
  • Allows users to view, assign, update and resolve service requests when on the move

“Today’s work setting is less dependent on the traditional environment and more on the go. By improving MSM’s functionality for iOS with key features that enable Service Management professionals to be more flexible and responsive, even on the move, we offer a system that advances the service experience for the customer. Most importantly, it helps organisations embed the right culture; one that empowers the user to provide better and faster customer service, anywhere, anytime,” commented Greg Pritchett, managing director at Marval.

The new iOS application is available on Apple Store and is free to install. Find out more: MSM Mobile

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New Resilience Discussion Paper from Squared Apples

Posted: 16/10/17 by Squared Apples

Building on the third paper of the series, and with the imminent arrival of Storm Ophelia to the UK shores, Squared Apples has released a discussion paper which seeks to identify lessons from the recent hurricanes in the US.

Using research documents, reports from US weather organisation and FEMA, Squared Apples has identified lessons that all organisations could learn from these recent events.

To download the document, free of charge, please visit our website and review the Discussion Papers section:

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Sky football reporter gives journalism students tips and tales from the industry

Posted: 16/10/17 by The University of Northampton

Budding sports journalists at the University of Northampton were given an insight into the industry this week by an international television sports reporter.

Faye Carruthers (pictured) is a regular fixture on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday, Channel 5 and Premier League Productions – the company which provides all Premier League coverage outside the UK.

After her talk with journalism undergraduates, Faye was interviewed and explained what makes a good reporter, the state of the journalism industry – and answered her some tricky questions, including who is the most difficult football manager to interview.

Watch the interview here:

Faye had some words of comfort for students, who might feel nervous when they embark on work experience or start out in the industry after graduation.

“It may not look like it, but I am actually a very shy person,” said Faye, who supports Luton Town.

“It might look like I am doing a great job on television, but below the surface I can find it quite daunting. I still get clammy hands before I go on air, and I have a terrible habit of wobbling my knee through nerves. So the advice I can give you is to work at pretending to be confident, and people will think you’re confident, and things will get easier for you with more experience.”

Faye also spoke about the rise in former footballers now getting reporter jobs.“I think you need a mix of ex-players and trained journalists working side-by-side, it works well and producers know this and will always want people from my profession to cast that critical eye,” said Faye.

“All the ex-pros I work with are wonderful people who are always looking to learn. They ask us questions about the skills you need to be a journalist and see reporting as a skill that you learn over time.”

Faye also had positive things to say about the sports journalism jobs market. “When I graduated 15-odd years ago we were told that journalism jobs were drying up. But that hasn’t been the case, because a rise of different media platforms means there are actually more opportunities.

“You only have to look at how sports coverage has taken off on social media to see how many opportunities there are – and with Google and Amazon looking to break into the market, there will be many more to come.”

Marc Webber, who is the leader of the Multimedia Sports Journalism degree and a football reporting colleague of Faye’s, was delighted to see her come to speak to the students.

He said: “Learning from people that still do the job is a key component of all our courses at this University.

“In just the first two weeks our students have had an exclusive Q & A session with a Football League chairman and attended a press conference at Northampton Saints.

“One student is already writing for the Saints and Harlequins matchday programmes and another one has spent the summer working in the Aston Villa press office.”

The University of Northampton is running a dedicated Multimedia Sports Journalism degree right now. Check the course page for details.

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Rockingham provides sprint finish for competitors

Posted: 16/10/17 by Rockingham Motor Speedway Ltd

The motorsport action returns to Rockingham this weekend (October 21/22) as the Northamptonshire circuit hosts back-to-back sprint events.

New to Rockingham for 2017, the Vintage Sports-Car Club (VSCC) will be visiting the venue for the first time on Saturday (October 21), for its season finale, the Autumn Sprint.

Always one of the most popular events in the VSCC calendar due to its welcoming and relaxed “end of season” atmosphere in the paddock, the Autumn Sprint will be held on technical 1.7-mile infield layout of the National Circuit.

After kicking off the season at Rockingham in March, the BARC Midlands SBD Speed Championship returns to the circuit on Sunday (October 22) to bring down the curtain on another successful campaign, which has seen competitors visit some of the best UK venues as part of the 24-round series.

Once again more than 100 entrants will take part in the closed event on the 1.6-mile International Sprint Circuit, which combines the infamous Turn 1 banking of the Oval with the fast sweeping bends of the challenging infield section.

Spectators are welcome to attend both sprints however viewing will be restricted to the top of the Pit Garages and the three small viewing platforms next to the Timing Tower. Entry is free!

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Legal 500 recognises Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors for its expertise

Posted: 16/10/17 by Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors

The results have been announced and the Milton Keynes law firm, Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors has once again been recognised by Legal 500 for its experience and expertise in Commercial Litigation, Commercial Property, Construction and Property Litigation.

The experienced Commercial Litigation team is once again ranked high and reflects the wealth of experience the team has which is on par with the larger firms in and around Milton Keynes, proving that size does not matter. Legal 500 notes the ‘teams areas of specialism include professional negligence matters, property litigation, and insolvency, construction and IT-related disputes….. Kenneth Stangoe heads the department and has significant experience in the retail, property development and leisure sectors. Other key practitioners include Trevor Coward, who deals with computer and intellectual property-related disputes, Guy Brooks, who leads the debt recovery practice, and Mairead McErlean, who is noted for her expertise in dealing with local authority matters.’

Kenneth and Mairead expertise in Property Litigation is also recognised and in particular their ‘solid expertise across the full range of landlord and tenant work, advising on rent service and charge recovery, rent recovery and forfeiture actions’.

Head of Dispute Resolution, Kenneth Stangoe, was delighted with the ranking given to the team, saying Having 4 members of the litigation team ranked in the Legal 500 is a solid endorsement of the expertise, commitment and client care that underpins all of our work. Once again this is also reflected by the feedback and loyalty we receive from our clients’.

Managing Partner, Richard Millard and Head of Property Darren Millis have also established their position in Milton Keynes as the lawyers to go to for Construction advice. Legal 500 recommends Richard Millardand Darren Millis for Construction and notes that their ‘ areas of specialism include development site acquisition, planning queries, construction contracts and collateral warranties, bonds and guarantees. The team acts for a sizeable client base of developers, housebuilders and sub-contractors in the Milton Keynes area, and is increasingly advising on complex construction and development projects. The practice is also strong in all areas of dispute resolution, representing its clients in adjudication, mediation and arbitration. Richard Millard is the leading practitioner and specialises in commercial disputes, and Darren Millis is recommended for his property expertise.”

Darren Millis and Richard Willis are also recommended for Commercial Property and the Legal 500 reports “The team has strong real estate finance expertise and sits on the panels of several major international banks, advising on property financing provided to a broad range of borrowers. Department head Darren Millis acts for national and local property developers on financing deals, and also has substantial experience handling land acquisition work, conditional contracts and landlord and tenant matters. Richard Willis is the other key practitioner, and represents a range of charities, investors, developers and lenders on the full gamut of non-contentious property issues.”

Managing Partner, Richard Millard, was delighted with the results and commented ‘the firm is pleased with the recognition and we are proud of our dedicated team of charismatic, experienced and innovative lawyers who provide pragmatic and clear advice whilst being tenacious to achieve our clients’ objective. Whilst the Legal 500 recognises our Commercial Litigation and Property teams the whole firm has excellent expertise and is dedicated to providing a quality service to all its clients’

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Northamptonshire Business Networking 2017!

Posted: 16/10/17 by MSO Workspace - Serviced Offices

Are you a local business owner or senior member of staff in a local business?

Does time management mystify you?

Do you need help from an award-winning business coach on how to best practice planning your working business day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then why not pop along to our Northampton business centre (Managed Serviced Offices, Lakeside House, The Lakes, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7HD) on the 31st October 2017 between 10am and 2pm where you will be able to talk to like-minded people and hear from stars of the business world.

You will then be given the chance to talk to those people and engage with people who believe business connections are key.

Guests include Simon Williams from the award-winning business training company Arrivista, along with Beyond Theory’s Paul Beesley, Emerson Patton of Bright Business Advice, and Star Digitals Marketing Executive Emma Stewart.

Tickets are limited so please book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. You can also email for more information.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

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New Workplace Resilience Training From Squared Apples

Posted: 16/10/17 by Squared Apples

Working with local industry representatives, HR professionals and Local Authorities, Squared Apples has recently developed a comprehensive training course in the art of “Building Resilience in the Workplace”.

It is aimed at all levels of an organisation to help build an understanding across a company on the importance of resilience at all levels.

For more information please feel free to contact us at our website:

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RSM shortlisted for Central and East Dealmaker awards 2017

Posted: 13/10/17 by RSM

An independent panel of expert judges has shortlisted RSM four times in three categories at the Central and East Dealmakers awards 2017.

Following a successful year the RSM team has been shortlisted for Corporate Finance Advisory Firm of the Year and Stephen Orriss, Corporate Finance Partner, has once again been shortlisted for Dealmaker of the Year.

Two deals have been shortlisted for the Deal of the Year (under £10m) category:

  • the secondary MBO of Northampton amp manufacturer, Blackstar Amplification; and
  • the acquisition of TimePlan Education Group by Empowering Learning Ltd.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Central and East Dealmakers, an evening that recognises the outstanding talent from the regions top professional firms. The winners are announced on the evening of the 9 November at the DoubleTree in Milton Keynes.

Adam King, Office Managing Partner for the Milton Keynes office said: “I am delighted that the team have been shortlisted for these prestigious awards. It is a great reflection of the hard work and dedication of all the people in our local corporate finance team. They have also had a great start to this year which is particularly pleasing against the national backdrop of a downturn in deal volumes and the uncertain economic conditions.”

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YUMYUM Creative Solutions supports children’s charity

Posted: 13/10/17 by YUMYUM Creative Solutions Ltd

Children’s charities are popular, but in a sea of many organisations, it can be difficult for them to make their voice heard.

In Northamptonshire, there’s one charity who approach from an often-overlooked angle, focused on healing the hurt, but determined to prevent worst case outcomes in childhood trauma. The women behind the organisation are resolute in making sure that the money raised in the county stays here, for those that need to benefit from it.

KidsAid are the only charity who proactively go out in search of young people who need their help, or are likely to in the future, because they know how important the experiences they have are in shaping the adults they will become.

With expressive therapies, they help these young people learn to process and communicate their traumatic experiences, and have received overwhelming feedback from parents and schools on the difference made to the children’s behaviour and wellbeing.

As the charity turns 10 this year, YUMYUM Creative Solutions have pledged to donate by way of their design expertise and will work on providing a new website and strategic help to enhance the charity’s influence.

“It is important to articulate the seriousness of the impact that trauma manifestation can make in the lives of our future adults and their relationships. We aim to develop designs that help KidsAid communicate their aims, achievements and needs clearly, and that raise the profile of their work” – Ricky Conaghan, Director

“The support being provided by YumYum Creative is something we would not have the money or energy to do – our time and effort is best spent with the children and their families, so we are very grateful for all the support that YumYum and other local businesses provide” – Suki Bassi, KidsAid

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Motown legend Martha Reeves to perform in Northampton

Posted: 13/10/17 by The Deco Theatre

Motown legends Martha Reeves and The Vandellas are heading to Northampton next month, and the star of the show says they cannot wait to take to the stage at The Deco Theatre.

Martha Reeves is regarded as Motown’s ‘ultimate soul diva’, and with The Vandellas, they had hit songs still as popular today as they were back in the 1960s and 70s, including ‘Dancing in the Street’, ‘Third Finger, Left Hand’, ‘Heatwave’, and ‘Jimmy Mack’.

They will be singing those, their other big hit records, and much more, at The Deco on Thursday, November 16.

“I am very excited about coming to Northampton, a town I have been to several times in the past, and where I still have some great friends that I love to catch up with,” she told us.

“I celebrate 55 years as a professional singer this year, and I love it now as much as I did when I first started out – I am blessed by God with talent I prayed for, so why waste it?”

Martha says that her show does take fans on a journey down Memory Lane - “vintage music ages like fine wine: the older, the better,” she says - but she has never stopped making music, and after recording with four major record labels, now self-produces and records her own music.

“I continue performing, writing, producing and enjoying every moment of my life in music, and I hope I reflect that when I entertain the people of Northampton on November the 16th.”

What Martha particularly enjoys is the variety of her audience, with as many young people coming to see her shows as though who remember her first bursting on the scene five decades ago.

“We now have three generations of music lovers coming to our shows, which is wonderful, and when the parents, and grandparents, get up and start singing and dancing with us, they are amazed,” she says.

“Most of the younger people I talk to tell me they’ve heard

our music played repeatedly at parties they go to, and other music events – the
Motown sound continues to be the sound of young America and the world.

“How proud am I that people of all ages continue to enjoy my
music? I’m overwhelmed,” she said. “Being one of the pioneers of the Motown
sound means so much to me; we aimed our lyrics of love, joy and happiness at
the hearts and souls of people who could identify with the thoughts and stories
we sing about.”

And what music does a Motown legend herself listen to these days? “I love all music,” she tells us. “I attend as many concerts as I can to savour the artistry of talented fellow music makers, who study, practice and work hard to perfect their craft.

Martha’s concert at The Deco is part of a UK Tour in November that takes her from Salisbury to Wrexham, from Preston to Gloucester, and finishing in London. At 76 she is as excited about touring as she ever was. But you cannot help but ask if she has ever contemplated calling it a day? You get a short, sharp shrift that suggests it is not on her agenda!

“Singers are birds, and I am a songbird!” she proclaims. “We lift our voices as long as we are able, and besides, music keeps me young – every time we sing our hit songs it’s always a new experience, a different space and time.”

Martha Reeves and The Vandellas play The Deco on Thursday, November 16. Support on the night comes from the talented Hannah White, with a DJ set from Mattyboy (Inspiration FM / Soulvit / Motownphilly) and Paddy Grady (Shades / Inspiration / Motownphilly).

For tickets:, or call the Box Office: 01604 491005

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Buckinghamshire businesses weather Brexit uncertainty with strong year of growth

Posted: 13/10/17 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

Buckinghamshire businesses have delivered another strong year of growth, increasing turnover, profitability and employment albeit at a slower pace than previous years as Brexit uncertainty continues, according to a new report published today.

Now in its fourth year, the Buckinghamshire Limited study, conducted by financial and business advisers Grant Thornton, analyses the performance of the 100 largest, privately owned companies in the county to provide a recognised barometer of the overall health of Buckinghamshire’s economy.

The 2017 report findings, unveiled to more than 100 local businesses at a breakfast event hosted by Grant Thornton, revealed that combined turnover of the top 100 companies increased by a healthy 10.9% from £6.5bn to £7.2bn. Profits (measured by EBITDA – Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) also grew by 8.5% from £631 million to £684 million. This growth was largely driven by companies with a turnover of over £50m (33 of the 100 firms included within the report).

Employment levels for the 100 companies also increased by 5.3% to 40,726 and, even more positively, average wages rose by 7.9% to £29,307.

Mike Hughes, from Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office who presented the findings, said: “The strength of the county’s economy continues to impress with businesses weathering continued uncertainty over our future relationship with the EU and the falling value of the pound. Whilst Buckinghamshire has a number of economic centres, Milton Keynes, which this
year celebrates its 50th birthday, continues to play a significant part in the growth of the county as a whole.

“But there is a note of caution as both turnover and profit growth are lower than the previous two years and growth has been patchy across the top 100 companies. However, the report shows that only five businesses were lossmaking which, for the time being, suggests more of a slowdown in overall growth rather than a reversal of fortunes.”

The survey also showed that the county’s large businesses (turnover greater than £50m) achieved a significantly higher rate of turnover growth (13.5%) compared to SMEs (3.8%) which continues the trend seen in last year’s report. However, whilst profit growth for large businesses amounted to 11.3%, for SMEs it fell for the first time by 1.6%. This suggests SMEs have had a more difficult year, possibly as a result of the falling value of the pound.

As with previous years, the Buckinghamshire Limited report also analyses the performance of the top 100 companies by sector.

All nine sectors grew turnover highlighting a strong performance across the board. The standout players were Food, Drink and Leisure (32.8%), Business Support Services (19.5%) and Freight and Logistics (19.3%).

A further seven sectors reported an increase in EBITDA. However, Healthcare and Education saw profits fall by 5.9% as businesses face challenges over recent legislative changes and growing pressures on cost. Similarly, the Technology sector saw EBITDA decrease by 3.1%.

Mike added: “It is positive to see a growth across the majority of sectors with several notable performances. However, the report findings show it is the larger firms who have delivered the bulk of this growth which is in stark contrast to recent years when SMEs have been the real drivers. This suggests our county’s smaller businesses have had a challenging year, possibly due to caution around Brexit, currency changes and the subsequent economic slowdown.

“To ensure Buckinghamshire businesses, and the county as a whole, continue to grow they need a good supply of quality talent. Therefore, particularly against a backdrop of full employment, we need to ensure that the county has the infrastructure, housing and culture in place to attract the very best to the region. To achieve this, over the coming months we will continue to speak with local organisations across all industries to help shape the Milton Keynes of the future.”

The Buckinghamshire Limited 2017 findings were presented during a breakfast briefing at the Double Tree by Hilton, Stadium Way West with guest speaker Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-chancellor of Cranfield University and Chair of the MK Futures 2050 commission.

For a full copy of the Buckinghamshire Limited report, please contact

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Hundreds of children enter council’s drawing competition

Posted: 13/10/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Winners of a Children’s Drawing Competition, set up by Kettering Borough Council, visited the Newlands Centre to view their artwork on display and claim their prize money.

The purpose of the competition was to encourage young children to save money, and was split into two categories:

The 7 years and under category were instructed to colour in a money box, while the 8 to 11 years category had to design a moneybox with a Kettering related theme and provide three money saving tips.

The artwork was showcased in the Pop-Up Shop that celebrated World Mental Health Day, where numerous local organisations such as Kettering Mind, Credit Union, Citizens Advice and more were offering their professional advice.

The competition was judged by Mayor of Kettering, Councillor Scott Edwards, Councillor Mark Rowley, Councillor Lesley Thurland and Kettering Borough Council’s Managing Director, Graham Soulsby, who were present at the event to meet the winners.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the 8 to 11 years category were 8-year-old Lukas, 9-year-old Libbie and 11-year-old Joseph!

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the 7 years and under category were 6-year-old Alex, 7-year-old Maisie and 4-year-old Daniel!

Prizes included £100 for 1st place, £50 for 2nd place and £25 for 3rd place, all of which will be deposited into a Clockwise Credit Union child’s saving account for a minimum of one year.

Julie Trahern, Head of Customer Services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “All of the children across the Borough that participated in this competition created wonderful designs and put forward very impressive money saving tips. It is so important to encourage young children to understand the benefits of saving money, so this event was hugely beneficial and I am very pleased for all the winners.”

Councillor Mark Rowley, Kettering Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Communications and Youth, said: “This competition was a fantastic opportunity for the hundreds of children that took part to be creative and to encourage them to save money. Many congratulations to all of the winners and well done to all who participated!”

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Howes Percival receives top tier rankings for 12 different practice areas

Posted: 12/10/17 by Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival has been awarded top tier rankings in 12 different specialisms in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 – the authoritative guide to the UK’s leading law firms.

Howes Percival has achieved top tier rankings for:

  • Dispute Resolution – Commercial Litigation
  • Dispute Resolution – Debt Recovery
  • Finance - Insolvency and Corporate Recovery
  • Human Resources - Employment
  • Human Resources – Health and Safety
  • Private Client – Agriculture and Estates
  • Private Client - Tax, Trusts and Probate
  • Real Estate - Commercial Property
  • Real Estate - Environment
  • Real Estate - Planning
  • Real Estate - Property litigation
  • Technology, Media & Telecoms - Intellectual Property

In addition, 18 different Howes Percival practice areas are recommended in the guide including Corporate and Commercial, Banking and Finance, Education, Construction, Family, Charities and Contentious trusts and probate.

Over the last three years Howes Percival has pursued a targeted growth strategy, strengthening its geographical network in the key markets of Cambridge and Milton Keynes, and expanded its range of services.

The ability to work collaboratively across these offices has been demonstrated through increased instructions from existing and new clients, ranging from owner-managed business to SMEs and government contracts to international clients.

Commenting on the firm’s rankings Howes Percival’s chairman, Tessa Haskey said: “It’s a fantastic set of rankings and recommendations – and something that the whole the firm can be rightly proud of. Our core strengths have again been recognised and the recommendations across 18 different practice areas show the wide range of services we now offer, as well as the depth of knowledge and expertise available.

The Legal 500 is widely regarded as the authoritative guide to the UK’s leading law firms, it recommends firms and lawyers based on independent research, interviews and client feedback.

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Mazars Milton Keynes team completes 1,000 mile charity challenge

Posted: 12/10/17 by Mazars LLP

Staff from the Milton Keynes office of leading international accountancy and advisory firm Mazars have helped to raise a total of £93,301 by participating in the firm’s first national cycle challenge; “Sense 1000, powered by Mazars”.

Proceeds will be donated to Sense, a national charity supporting people with sensory disabilities or impairments.

Taking place across 12 consecutive days, the challenge covered 1,000 miles and started in Glasgow on Monday 11th September. The route passed through 15 Mazars offices to finish at Mazars’ London office by Tower Bridge on Friday 22nd September. The relay covered the length and breadth of the country.

Through cycling, volunteering and fundraising, over 200 Mazars staff were involved with the challenge. Partners and staff from the Milton Keynes office cycled one or more of the legs of the ride, including legs from Birmingham to Milton Keynes and Milton Keynes to Gloucester.

Funds raised through the event will be donated towards the charity’s work in local communities including TouchBase Pears, a pioneering new community centre in Birmingham that will provide specialist provision for disabled people in the region.

To thank participants for their efforts, Mazars and Sense also hosted several receptions along the route, ranging from barbeques to tours of Sense Touchbase centres.

Stephen Eames, Milton Keynes office managing partner (pictured), said: “It was an absolute honour to take part in the Sense 1000 challenge.

“The event has raised vital funds for Sense TouchBase Centres across the UK - pioneering, fully accessible, multi-purpose venues that cater for the whole community. The centres offer a range of day service opportunities for people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs, as well as public facilities, and in Milton Keynes we’re delighted to support this initiative.”

Ian Wrightson, UK Executive, head of people and culture at Mazars, said: “A lot of hard work and determination has gone into completing this challenge. At Mazars we are committed to making a positive difference to society and Sense 1000 is a fantastic example. It has brought teams from across the UK together to work towards a common goal. All those riding and supporting the event deserve thanks for their effort and for taking on a personal challenge in the name of a worthy cause. My body is still aching from cycling one of the legs!”

Gillian Morbey, Sense CEO, said: “We’re thrilled that Mazars has chosen to support our cause in such an incredible way. Sense prides itself on enabling people to achieve their
aspirations, and the Mazars event gives participants the chance to test themselves and achieve their goals. We’re incredibly grateful to the efforts of all the cyclists, which will help us to deliver vital services that make a real difference to the lives of people with disabilities and their families.”

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ISO Assessor Course

Posted: 12/10/17 by IMSM Ltd

The 2017 ISO Assessor Course is the latest addition and natural next step for career development, aimed at those with an interest in working with ISO management systems.

There are benefits to be attained for both your company and employees from our education program. The 2017 ISO Assessor Course assists in improving the effectiveness of your current workforce. CPD points are attached to each course and viewed as an attractive benefit to individuals.

2017 ISO Assessor Course

The training course has two units and is designed to teach and demonstrate techniques on how to plan, lead and report audits within organisations. Effective and efficient auditing can drive reductions in re-work, scrap, concessions and support ‘right first time’ initiatives; the proactive benefits of internal auditing can be invaluable in maintaining reputation and customer service by identifying potential issues before they become a problem or customer complaint; it can highlight processes that are currently compliant but may be ‘drifting’ towards non-conformance.

What you will learn?

How to perform 1st, 2nd and 3rd party audits of any organisations Quality Management System.
Identify the purpose & benefits of a Quality Management System.

You will learn the skills and techniques to plan, run, report and follow up an audit in accordance with ISO 19011:2011 guidelines for auditing management systems. (Provides guidance on auditing management systems, including the principles of auditing, managing an audit programme and conducting management system audits, as well as guidance on the evaluation of competence of individuals involved in the audit process).

Who is it for?

The 2017 ISO Assessor Course delivers easily accessible knowledge to delegates for a range of auditing situations, helping you to identify and apply the appropriate skills in the right context. Suitable for all employees wishing to learn about the ISO 9001: 2015 Quality Management System, and progress their careers.

What does it involve?

Unit One
Pre-course work prior to attending – the pre-course questionnaire is managed at your pace.

Self-study comprehensive broad entry-level ISO management systems knowledge questionnaire. Stand-alone certificated qualification providing evidence of an overview knowledge of ISO 9001: 2015 Quality management system.

Ideal for induction purposes, easily integrated into induction programmes to ensure a benchmark level of understanding amongst all employees.

The pass mark for the questionnaire is 70%.

Unit Two – two modules

  1. Classroom – our classroom module covers every aspect of the ISO Assessor Course helping to build on your knowledge and practical assessing skills.
  2. Practical assessor experience in the field – shadowing and working with a qualified assessor during the conducting of a company audit visit.

Final exam and certification.

Successful completion of the course is recognised by the award of a certificate.
The pass mark for the exam is 70%

Benefits of 2017 ISO Assessor Course

  • Studies have shown well trained personnel can have a positive impact on the success of any business in terms of both efficiency and profitability
  • Training helps to make people more confident in their role, which directly improves morale
  • A full understanding of the requirements for ISO 9001:2015 audit application
  • Knowledge and skills to carry out audits of complete management systems and assess conformity to a standard
  • Knowing how to apply risk-based thinking, leadership and process management within an organisation

For more information contact Andrew Tomkinson on 07803 593390 or

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Award winning shipping software

Posted: 12/10/17 by InXpress Ltd

InXpress have won a prestigious national award for their new online shipping platform – Webship 3.0.

They were delighted to be named, against stiff competition, as the winners of the British Franchise Association HSBC Brand Innovation Award.

This is testament to the many new features of Webship 3.0 which they hope their customers will enjoy using.

The new software is making shipping from and to anywhere in the world easier, quicker and more cost effective.

If you have any queries about using the new platform, or need any shipping advice at any time, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

InXpress MK, tel: 01933 426 995 or email to book an appointment with a Freight Consultant.

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Grant Thornton UK LLP launches new office in Milton Keynes

Posted: 12/10/17 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

The Milton Keynes office of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton UK LLP has relocated to larger, modern premises in the heart of Milton Keynes as part of the firm’s long term commitment to supporting business growth in the region.

Formerly operating from Silbury Boulevard, the almost 200 strong Grant Thornton team has moved into a contemporary 1,850 sqm space in Victoria House on Avebury Boulevard to accommodate future expansion.

The new office which offers improved facilities for both clients and employees, including on-site parking, has easy access to the M1 and is within walking distance of Milton Keynes Central train station.

More than 130 guests, including leading local figures from business, education and the public sector, joined the Milton Keynes team and Grant Thornton CEO Sacha Romanovitch on Tuesday 10 October to officially open the innovative new office which leaves behind the traditional concept of working.

Fiona Baldwin, practice leader at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office, said: “As the first national accountancy firm to open its doors in Milton Keynes over 40 years ago, this new office represents an exciting step for Grant Thornton as we reaffirm our commitment to the region and invest in its long term future.

“This move is also about investing in our future leaders. Milton Keynes is already renowned for being a great place to live and work and by creating this innovative, forward-thinking work space we hope to continue to attract the very best talent to the region.

“As one of the fastest growing areas in the UK, Milton Keynes has an exciting future ahead and we will continue our work with dynamic, high growth businesses across the region to help build a more progressive and productive local economy at all levels.”

An additional local flavour was added to the event in the form of refreshments provided by catering students at Milton Keynes College, beer from local brewery Concrete Cow and cupcakes made by Milton Keynes start-up company Simply Good.

The Milton Keynes City Orchestra was also on hand to entertain guests throughout the evening.

Fiona added: “The idea behind asking local companies to provide food and drink for the event was to emphasise how important it is for us to maintain our position as an integral part of the Milton Keynes community. We are committed to Milton Keynes for the long term and look forward to adding value to the town for many more years to come.”

Grant Thornton’s CEO Sacha Romanovitch who attended the event, said: “The new Milton Keynes office is part of our long term commitment to creating an environment where people and businesses can flourish. We believe that by working together we can stimulate ideas and actions that will help realise the region’s untapped potential, generating a more prosperous, vibrant economy to benefit everyone.”

Grant Thornton’s new Milton Keynes premises offers an innovative approach to working with a range of spaces and pods for events, meetings and discussions, encouraging interaction and collaboration. This is available to organisations to drop in or to use free of charge who share our vision for connection and collaboration.

Photo caption: L-R Fiona Baldwin, practice leader at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office, Sacha Romanovitch, Grant Thornton’s CEO and Steve White, Grant Thornton.

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Change is here to stay

Posted: 12/10/17 by Daventry Area Community Transport

Things never seem to stop still here at DACT, as during these last 12 months we have achieved so much.

In February this year, we moved downstairs in The Abbey to our fine new Office and MiDAS Training Room which has given us a much better lay-out and is far more accessible for visitors.

In July, came the fantastic news that DACT and its brilliant volunteers had been awarded the ‘Queens Award for Voluntary Service’ which is the equivalent of an MBE for Volunteer Groups. The Award Ceremony was conducted in September by Mr David E Laing MA RIBA, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire and was a hugely memorable occasion enjoyed by a large audience who had gathered including many of our volunteers.

The new building extension to our Mobility Shop is due to commence towards the end of 2017 into early 2018 enabling us to provide a wider variety of mobility equipment, advice and hire equipment.

DACT has also been nominated for the ‘Community Group of the Year’ category as part of The Pride of Northamptonshire Awards which is taking place later in October 2017. Watch this space! At the same awards, our longest serving volunteer car driver Ron, has been nominated for the ‘Volunteer of the Year Award’.

We have also been privileged to have two of our team members receive invites to HM The Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, as a recognition of the work of DACT and all that has been achieved.

In terms of the DACT office team we welcome on board Sarah who will be spending time with our longest serving Transport Booking Officer Rosemary (Roe), learning the ropes and tapping into her vast knowledge and experience, before Roe retires in March 2018.

Sarah says: “As a new member of the team I find myself in completely different territory compared to my previous roles. I started my career as a travel consultant for a well-known high street travel operator and spent a happy 10 years, booking, dreaming about and travelling to some wonderful destinations. After the birth of my first and only child I wanted to change the direction my career was heading in and started a role supporting vulnerable people with tenancy difficulties. I have spent the last 12 years supporting a diverse group of people with a range of different needs and most recently, I have had the challenge of coordinating the Sure Start programme delivering a service for vulnerable families with young children.

“I am now looking forward to the new challenge of working as part of the DACT team. I have been inspired by the stories that I have heard so far and feel really pleased to be part of a service that is making such a difference to the local community.”

Hopefully DACT will never be standing still and the next 12 months will see many more exciting developments!

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Howes Percival shortlisted in five categories: Insider’s Central & East Dealmakers Awards 2017

Posted: 12/10/17 by Howes Percival

Howes Percival has been shortlisted in five categories in Insider Media’s Central & East Dealmakers Awards 2017.

The firm has been shortlisted as ‘Corporate Law Firm of the Year’ and have been shortlisted for four deal nominations. Howes Percival was part of the advisory team on the following transactions:

- Acquisition of Keencut by Constant Equity (Private Equity/Venture Capital Deal of the Year)

- Investment of Blue Skies by 8 Miles LLP (Private Equity/Venture Capital Deal of the Year)

- Sale of Woodway Packing to Bunzl plc (Deal of the Year - above £10m)

- Sale of Integrated Business Systems to Southern Communications (Deal of the Year - under £10m)

Commenting on the shortlistings, Howes Percival’s Northampton corporate partner, Gerald Couldrake: “This is a fantastic result for the team. Everyone has worked so hard in the last couple of years. We said we wanted to be the ‘go to’ firm for corporate work in the region and these nominations go a long way to supporting our ambition.

“We’re an ambitious firm, hungry to grow and help our clients achieve their aims. We have the team and the infrastructure to rival any regional law firm and we’ve shown this year that we are capable of handling some of the biggest deals around.”

The Insider Central & East Dealmakers Awards recognise the wealth of talent that the region’s professional services sector possess and celebrate its achievements. Shortlists are drawn-up by an expert, independent judging panel. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner which will take place in Milton Keynes on Thursday 9 November 2017.

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JK Rowling’s ‘genius’ illustrator lifts the lid on being given the keys to Harry Potter’s wizarding world

Posted: 12/10/17 by The University of Northampton

The man who was handpicked by JK Rowling to illustrate a new series of Harry Potter books visited the University of Northampton this week – and revealed what it was like to work with the world’s most famous living fiction writer.

Northamptonshire’s Jim Kay (pictured), whom Rowling described as “modesty itself, completely unaware that he’s a genius”, appeared at Avenue Campus to promote the latest fully illustrated edition of the Potter saga: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The University’s press office caught up with Jim after his talk and book signing, to ask him about being Rowling’s chosen illustrator, the pressure that brings and his advice for budding illustrators.

Watch the video interview here.

Recollecting the moment he received the call that he’d been chosen for the job, Jim said: “I was terrified, because it was such a big thing and I didn’t sleep properly for six months because the responsibility would suddenly hit me – you don’t want to make a mess of the world’s most popular children’s book and that feeling never really left me.

“In fact, every time there’s a book release I’m still terrified, still nervous, but that keeps me going, you’ve got to keep on your toes.”

Jim also spoke about his relationship with Rowling, who has sold in excess of 500 million books – a figure which puts her alongside the likes of Agatha Christie, Shakespeare and
Enid Blyton in the top 10 of the most successful fiction writers.

“The one person you want to please, as an illustrator, is the author,” said Jim. “So far I’ve had some amazing letters from Jo, really lovely letters, and she writes beautifully, as
you’d imagine.

“So far she likes it, and I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

Jim went on to offer advice for students on the University of Northampton’s Illustration course.

“There are far better draughtsmen than me, but it’s all about perseverance and sticking power,” said Jim.

“If someone says I can’t do something it motivates me. Early on in my career there were loads of failures and they made me really push hard.

“So don’t be put off by criticism, just build on it and learn from it. It smarts at the time, but retrospectively that’s often the kick up the backside you need.”

You can find out more about Jim Kay by visiting his website and the Harry Potter Illustrated Editions on the Bloomsbury website.

Details about the University’s Illustration degree course can be found here.

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Northampton Property Litigation Seminar: Topical Case Update

Posted: 12/10/17 by Howes Percival

We are pleased to announce that we are hosting a breakfast seminar, which will be presented by members of the Howes Percival Property Litigation team.

The seminar focuses on some of the recent cases which have developed in the property litigation sector and will be particularly useful for managing agents and building surveyors.

Date: Thursday 2 November 2017

Time: 8:00 am to 10:00 am

Venue: Howes Percival Northampton Office, Nene House, 4 Rushmills, Northampton NN4 7YB

The event is free of charge and a light breakfast and refreshments will be served.

Please email to reserve your place.

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PROJEXIS opens new Milton Keynes office 1st November 2017

Posted: 12/10/17 by PROJEXIS LTD

We are delighted to announce the opening of our Milton Keynes Office from 1st November 2017.

Based in the heart of Central Milton Keynes on Midsummer Boulevard, this will enable the team to serve our clients in and around the area, as well as offer the highest possible levels of support.

Our standard office opening hours will be Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, with out of hours service available to clients as part of any systems services.

If you are in the area and want to pop in for a coffee and a chat, why not give us a message and we’ll get the kettle on!

Midsummer Court
314 Midsummer Boulevard
Milton Keynes

Both Allan and Mike will be in the office on 1st November, with a selection of cakes and biscuits to welcome any visitors.
(0845) 862 1630

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Northamptonshire Chamber welcomes new board members

Posted: 11/10/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce is delighted to welcome four new members to its Board.

Amarjit Atwal of Premier Electrics, Steve Clark of Hospital Aids, Mike McAuley of Tom Hewer Catering and Anjana Rajani of Power2Progress Ltd, were elected to their new non-executive roles at the Chamber’s 100th annual general meeting on October 10.

Welcoming the new board members, Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce president Kevin Shapland, said: “We are delighted to have Amarjit, Steve, Mike and Anjana, join the Board at what is an exciting time for the Chamber. Our national award winning Chamber has just finished celebrating its centenary year and is working on a number of exciting new projects, including the launches of our Northamptonshire Chamber Awards and Next Generation Chamber for young business leaders.

“Our new board members bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will help drive forward the continued success of the Chamber as a key organisation in the Northamptonshire business community. We thank them for agreeing to give up their valuable time to share their experience and expertise to support the Chamber and the service we provide to our members. We look forward to working with them.”

Kevin Shapland, of CJS (UK Management) Limited, will continue in his role as president, and Kevin Rogers, of Wilson Browne Solicitors, and Richard Osborne, of eFiling, will both take on the role of vice president.

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The Head of Economics at BCC comments on UK trade statistics

Posted: 11/10/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the trade statistics for September 2017, released today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The widening of the UK’s trade deficit in August is disappointing, and signifies a much weaker trading position than the average for the year, with exports falling and imports rising sharply in the month. Taken together with the recent widening of the current account deficit, the figures paint a rather gloomy picture of the UK’s external position.

“The latest trade data is further evidence that the decline in sterling’s value over the past year is doing little to boost the UK’s overall trade position. Businesses continue to report that the post-EU referendum weakness in sterling is hurting as much as its helping, with firms continuing to face higher input costs due to the weakening currency, particularly those locked into global supply chains. For those companies that rely on overseas suppliers for their production equipment, a weak pound also makes investment in growth less viable.

“Businesses want to see comprehensive trade talks begin in the EU negotiations before the end of the year, and need answers to the practical questions about our trading relationship with Europe beyond March 2019. At the same time, it is vital that more is done help firms take advantage of new trading opportunities, including greater practical assistance for exporters and tackling some of the longstanding issues at home including the chronic skill shortages and the cost of doing business in the UK.”

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Head of Economics at BCC comments on UK trade statistics

Posted: 11/10/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the trade statistics for September 2017, released yesterday by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The widening of the UK’s trade deficit in August is disappointing, and signifies a much weaker trading position than the average for the year, with exports falling and imports rising sharply in the month. Taken together with the recent widening of the current account deficit, the figures paint a rather gloomy picture of the UK’s external position.

“The latest trade data is further evidence that the decline in sterling’s value over the past year is doing little to boost the UK’s overall trade position. Businesses continue to report that the post-EU referendum weakness in sterling is hurting as much as its helping, with firms continuing to face higher input costs due to the weakening currency, particularly those locked into global supply chains. For those companies that rely on overseas suppliers for their production equipment, a weak pound also makes investment in growth less viable.

“Businesses want to see comprehensive trade talks begin in the EU negotiations before the end of the year, and need answers to the practical questions about our trading relationship with Europe beyond March 2019. At the same time, it is vital that more is done help firms take advantage of new trading opportunities, including greater practical assistance for exporters and tackling some of the longstanding issues at home including the chronic skill shortages and the cost of doing business in the UK.”

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BCC comments on UK trade statistics

Posted: 11/10/17 by

Commenting on the trade statistics for September 2017, released yesterday by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The widening of the UK’s trade deficit in August is disappointing, and signifies a much weaker trading position than the average for the year, with exports falling and imports rising sharply in the month. Taken together with the recent widening of the current account deficit, the figures paint a rather gloomy picture of the UK’s external position.

“The latest trade data is further evidence that the decline in sterling’s value over the past year is doing little to boost the UK’s overall trade position. Businesses continue to report that the post-EU referendum weakness in sterling is hurting as much as its helping, with firms continuing to face higher input costs due to the weakening currency, particularly those locked into global supply chains. For those companies that rely on overseas suppliers for their production equipment, a weak pound also makes investment in growth less viable.

“Businesses want to see comprehensive trade talks begin in the EU negotiations before the end of the year, and need answers to the practical questions about our trading relationship with Europe beyond March 2019. At the same time, it is vital that more is done help firms take advantage of new trading opportunities, including greater practical assistance for exporters and tackling some of the longstanding issues at home including the chronic skill shortages and the cost of doing business in the UK.”

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Kettering’s Martyn Lund helps produce a National Journalists’ guide to Fair Reporting of Social Housing

Posted: 11/10/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Kettering Borough Council’s dedicated tenant committee member of the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH), Martyn Lund (pictured), has helped produce the Fair Press for Tenants guide that helps journalists report social housing fairly.

Martyn formed part of the editorial team and over 400 social housing tenants took the time to contribute to this guide.

It reveals a series of facts and explores the history of social housing, with real life stories from tenants, who explain how they feel they are currently represented in the media.

Martyn Lund, representative of the ARCH Tenants Group and Producer of the Fair Press for Tenants Guide, said: “Tenants often get a bad name, and slowly it’s getting worse.

“It is important to talk to tenants to reduce the negative stereotypes that surround social housing. This guide helps to make people understand the real statistics.”

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Raising awareness of hate crime across Northampton

Posted: 11/10/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Local organisations are coming together this October to raise awareness of hate crime and how to report it in Northampton.

The Borough Council is working closely with eight local organisations to deliver a range of local events to educate residents about the different types of hate crime and the best ways to report it.

The awareness raising events all take place around National Hate Crime Awareness Week and kick off with the official launch on Saturday, 14 October at the town’s Diwali celebrations.

Residents, schools and businesses are invited to join the partnership organisations at town centre based events, including the community forum’s tea party at the Guildhall on Wednesday, 18 October.

At the tea party, attendees will find out how to report a hate crime, get an update on the Crane project, learn more about a recent visit to Srebrenica and get tips for keeping safe.

People can also show their support during the awareness week by posting messages on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #WeStandTogether. In addition, they can help to spread information about reporting hate crime during the awareness week, by sharing messages from @NorthamptonBC

Cllr Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “It’s fantastic to be working in partnership with so many local organisations to build on the previous success of raising awareness of hate crime in the town, for which we received the ‘Local Council Service Upstander Award 2016’.

“We look forward to welcoming people of all ages to a range of events, across the town as we help to raise awareness and understanding of discrimination and hate crime and the
best ways to tackle them.”

If you would like to attend the community forum’s tea party, please book your place by emailing

Incidences of hate crime can be reported by calling Northamptonshire Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

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Alice’s work experience puts her at the heart of Manchester bombing coverage

Posted: 11/10/17 by The University of Northampton

A student from the University of Northampton has spoken of her experience filming the funeral of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Final year Multimedia Journalism undergraduate, Alice Grundy (pictured), spent two weeks on a work experience placement with leading media agency, the Press Association (PA).

One of the most affecting parts of her placement was covering the funeral of eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, who was one of 23 people killed in the terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in May.

“It was incredibly strange to be reporting on a funeral, especially in such an emotional case,” said Alice.

“The mood was very sombre and as Saffie’s family walked towards the cathedral and her coffin was carried in I felt extremely sad, but also like I was witnessing something important and beautiful.

“There was this great outpouring of love for Saffie and a huge sense of togetherness. The funeral was about a little girl who was full of life and vibrancy and the way her family spoke about her was deeply moving and I was holding back tears.

“But it also felt to me like a show of spirit and defiance to the terrorists who tried to break this family and our country. At times, especially when the family were arriving, I did feel like an intruder.

“This was their private moment that I was filming and broadcasting to the world and it didn’t sit 100 per cent right with me. But I do think it’s important to tell Saffie’s story. In his speech, her dad said he wanted to make her the most famous girl in the world. And maybe, with the help of myself and the other media there, she could be.

“It was an incredible, emotive, and in some ways inspirational experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Alice made a video which sees her talk about her work experience – watch it here.

Her stint at PA also saw her film at Premier League football clubs, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and United, cover court stories and film a police press conference.

Alice added: “I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it wasn’t for the University of Northampton. My lecturers had the contacts I needed to get the work experience, and they gave me the skills I need to complete it successfully.”

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Do not lose your ISO 9001 certification!

Posted: 11/10/17 by IMSM Ltd

ISO 9001 was revised in 2015. If your organisation is currently certified to ISO 9001:2008 now is the perfect time to transition.

All organisations currently certified to ISO 9001:2008 will need to transition to the new requirements by September 2018. This means that after the end of September 2018 a certificate to ISO 9001:2008 will no longer be valid.

So why change now if it can wait until 2018? Time is the most important factor. Most organisations transition successfully but if you wait until near the deadline, then there will be less time to correct problems – increasing the chances of not being certified on time. So transition early to reduce the risks and costs to your business.

By transitioning now it will demonstrate your proactive approach towards a leading and innovative new management system. Helping to continually improve and strengthen your overall customer experience and enhance your reputation.

What is new in ISO 9001:2015?


More emphasis placed on Leadership will naturally drive top management to get involved in an organisation’s quality management system. This helps to align and motivate company employees towards the stated goals and strategic objectives.

Greater involvement in the management system by leadership teams helps to promote and motivate team buy-in to successfully achieve goals and business objectives, bringing quality and continuous improvement into the heart of your business.

Managing Risk

ISO 9001:2015 introduces “risk – based approach” focusing organisational resources on areas which are most likely to cause concern. A risk based compliance program will assist in identifying, managing, monitoring and reducing the compliance risks key to companies, making board and regulatory reporting easier to conduct and maintain with less work.

Read about Clause 6

The introduction of risk and opportunity management reinforces the use of the management system as a tool helping to control and identify business opportunities that can contribute to bottom line improvements.

Performance Measurement

Self-governance and organisational behaviour have a direct influence on performance and the capacity to create value for customers and employees. Effective performance measurement and self-governance can result in higher levels of innovation, employee loyalty and customer satisfaction, as well as superior financial performance.

Read about Clauses 7 and 9

If you organisation is still on ISO 9001:2008 please contact Andrew Tomkinson on 07803 593390 or

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Helping you to work only in your Zone of Genius

Posted: 11/10/17 by Office Wings Ltd

Gay Hendricks coined this term, the Zone of Genius, which means being in flow with work that only you can do.

For us at Office Wings, that’s working with individuals just like you to get things done – we won’t outsource our own clients, but we can outsource pretty much everything else.

When you focus on working in your zone of genius and outsource the rest, you leverage your energy to create more income AND ease in your business.

BUT! So many entrepreneurs waste time and energy by trying to do EVERYTHING, even if you’re not really good at it OR (and this is key too) you might enjoy it, but it doesn’t make you any money.


  • Don’t do your own books if it makes you cry.
  • Don’t update your website yourself if it takes you forever and you have a breakdown over it every time.
  • Nobody is paying you to clean your own toilet vs working on your next project or income stream.
  • Don’t sit doing admin if you hate it.

Let those things go to other people, who are actually GOOD at them, and focus on earning money in ways that are unique to you.

Running a business that specialises in doing jobs that you outsource, we don’t just stand here rooting for our own cause to keep us in paid work, but we also champion others who provide these types of services. We really understand the value outsourcing can bring to people and to businesses so if you would like to find out more and just have a general discussion about the benefits of outsourcing or how to outsource please do let me know.

Office Wings, helping you to stay in your Zone of Genius:

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Only Fools and 3 Courses! Alternative Christmas Party Night at the Deco Theatre

Posted: 11/10/17 by The Deco Theatre

Join us for the Christmas Dnner event of the year, which combines fine food and comedy action, served up Only Fools And Horses style.

Marlene and Boycie are hosting a Christmas Dinner, but will things go to plan with Del, as one of the Three Wise Men, Rodney, Archangel Gabriel, and Trigger as an Elf! Uncle Albert is roaming around with mistletoe in his cap?

An evening of chaos and mayhem with an extra large portion of comedy is the order of the night.

Expect a Big Fun Night Out in a friendly party atmosphere with some of the finest comedy actors in the land, professionally produced to the highest standards with your enjoyment at the top of the menu.

Contact us at the Deco Theatre on 01604 49005

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Christmas candle making workshop

Posted: 11/10/17 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

If you enjoy the beauty and fragrance of candles in your home, then they come into their own at this time of year. Join us on this one-day festive workshop and we will show you how you can make your own bespoke range.

Using a Christmassy array of fragrances, colours and containers you can match them to your décor or create candles to suit friends and family if you are giving them away as beautiful gifts. A great skill to learn, which could save you some pennies this Christmas.

All of our candles are eco-friendly, primarily using soy wax plus a range of other vegetable waxes in preference to paraffin wax, which although still widely used (mainly because it is cheap to produce) is very unhealthy and unnatural.

Held on Wednesday 15th November 9.30am-3pm, at £95 per person, this ‘hands-on’ workshop you ensure you:

• Learn how to use a variety of pure eco waxes to make your candles
• Be shown all the materials and equipment that you need to get started with candle making
• Understand the different wicks to use for the different candles you make
• Add fragrance to your candles using essential and fragrance oils
• Learn how to colour your candles using pure mineral micas and natural colourants
• Look at the wide array of different containers that you can use for the festive season and beyond
• Learn packaging and decoration techniques to give your candles a beautifully Christmassy ‘finishing touch’!

Whether your style is traditional, vintage or contemporary, you will leave the workshop with your own selection of handmade candles to proudly display or give away as gifts, and the knowledge and confidence to continue to create many more candles in your own home.

For further information email: or visit:

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Insider’s Central & East Dealmakers Awards 2017: Howes Percival shortlisted in five categories

Posted: 11/10/17 by Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival has been shortlisted in five categories in Insider Media’s Central & East Dealmakers Awards 2017.

The firm has been shortlisted as ‘Corporate Law Firm of the Year’ and have been shortlisted for four deal nominations. Howes Percival was part of the advisory team on the following transactions:

- Acquisition of Keencut by Constant Equity (Private Equity/Venture Capital Deal of the Year)

- Investment of Blue Skies by 8 Miles LLP (Private Equity/Venture Capital Deal of the Year)

- Sale of Woodway Packing to Bunzl plc (Deal of the Year - above £10m)

- Sale of Integrated Business Systems to Southern Communications (Deal of the Year - under £10m)

Commenting on the shortlistings, Howes Percival’s Milton Keynes corporate partner, Edward Lee: “This is a fantastic result for the team. Everyone has worked so hard in the last couple of years. We said we wanted to be the ‘go to’ firm for corporate work in the region and these nominations go a long way to supporting our ambition.

“We’re an ambitious firm, hungry to grow and help our clients achieve their aims. We have the team and the infrastructure to rival any regional law firm and we’ve shown this year that we are capable of handling some of the biggest deals around.”

The Insider Central & East Dealmakers Awards recognise the wealth of talent that the region’s professional services sector possess and celebrate its achievements. Shortlists are drawn-up by an expert, independent judging panel. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner which will take place in Milton Keynes on Thursday 9 November 2017.

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The Red Thread Partnership achieve ILM Accreditation

Posted: 11/10/17 by The Red Thread Partnership Ltd

The success of the Red Thread Fellowship™ continues.

The Red Thread Fellowship is proud to announce that it has just been endorsed by the ILM as one of their approved leadership development programmes. This external validation and recognition from such a premier awarding body gives the organisation’s Fellows a well deserved certification upon completion.

Created in 2016, the Fellowship builds more inclusive, sustainable and caring communities. It brings together leaders from all walks of life, engages them in a world class leadership development programme, at no cost to them, and uses its Sustainable Leadership methodology to challenge them to develop the sustainability of charities in the local area. Following great success in Milton Keynes, this programme is seeing its launch in the Oxford area in late Autumn.

The Fellowship is delighted to be working with MK College as the approved centre, working to the ILM’s benchmark of quality in order to provide the Accreditation.

If you would like to find out more about the programme please visit

The Red Thread Fellowship™ is run by The Red Thread Partnership Limited, a leadership and organisation development consultancy specialising in Leadership Development, Team Development, Culture Change and Engagement.


The Red Thread Partnership Ltd



t: 01234 240678

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Businesses mark Chamber’s 100th anniversary

Posted: 10/10/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Firms from across the county took part in a special celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of Northamptonshire’s largest business support agency.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1917 in response to the concerns of boot and shoe manufacturers over exports during the First World War.

Today, (Tuesday, OCT 10) more than 100 county businesses celebrated its landmark anniversary at its AGM at the Guildhall in Northampton where the organisation’s first AGM was held exactly 100 years ago to the day.

Northamptonshire Chamber head of operations Tracey Branson said: “A century ago the Chamber began life with 125 members. Today it is the county’s largest business support agency and its members represent over one third of Northamptonshire’s workforce.

“Along with our sister Chamber in Milton Keynes we are one of the fastest growing Chambers in the country and are now the UK’s 8th biggest Chamber.

“In recent years we have won many prestigious national awards, including Chamber of the Year and Excellence in Membership Services at the national Chamber Awards for three years in a row.

“We have achieved this high level of success because the Chamber offers so many benefits to businesses and we have a strong and vibrant membership.

“We were thrilled to celebrate the Chamber’s centenary with so many businesses today and it was very special to do so at the Guildhall where the Chamber held its first AGM exactly 100 years ago.”

The AGM was the culmination of 100 days of activities run by the Chamber to mark its centenary year which included careers fairs, international trade events, training courses, networking events, media appearances and charity events. The organisation was also presented with a letter of congratulations from The Queen.

During the AGM the Chamber launched the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards and Next Generation Chamber of Commerce which will support aspiring young business leaders.

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Property Litigation Seminar: Topical Case Update

Posted: 10/10/17 by Howes Percival LLP

We are pleased to announce that we are hosting a breakfast seminar, which will be presented by members of the Howes Percival Property Litigation team.

The seminar focuses on some of the recent cases which have developed in the property litigation sector and will be particularly useful for managing agents and building surveyors.

Date: Tuesday 7 November 2017
Time: 8:00 am to 10:00am
Venue: Holiday Inn Express Milton Keynes
Address: Tongwell St, Milton Keynes MK15 0YA

The events are free of charge and a light breakfast and refreshments will be served.

Please email to reserve your place.

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Executive apprenticeships: industry launches Master’s degree for business leaders

Posted: 10/10/17 by Chartered Management Institute

Employers can now use the Apprenticeship Levy to pay for executive skills development following the launch of a new Master’s degree apprenticeship in leadership and management.

The Senior Leadership Degree Apprenticeship was unveiled today at a launch event attended by 200 representatives from employers, government and executive education providers.

In August, the Institute for Apprenticeships approved the first ever executive management apprenticeship, which comprises a Master’s degree and the opportunity to gain Chartered Manager professional accreditation and fellowship of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Aimed senior executives and C-suite level business leaders, the apprenticeship includes a Master’s degree, such as an MBA, making these courses eligible for Apprenticeship Levy funding. Among the first to take MBA-linked Master’s degree apprenticeships are managers at Aviva, who are studying through Grant Thornton UK and the Cranfield School of Management.*

The apprenticeship has been designed by employers to develop the skill sets of senior leaders with responsibility for directing the operations of companies or third-sector organisations, government departments or local authorities, and formulating national and local government policy.

CMI is the only chartered professional body for managers and leaders, counting more than 157,000 in its membership.

Petra Wilton, CMI’s director of strategy, told attendees at the launch: “This exciting new Master’s level apprenticeship means that employers will now be able to lead by example and ensure that top teams have the professional leadership skills needed to drive growth. It will also help to challenge snobbery around vocational routes and can help demonstrate how these new apprenticeships really can provide pathways through to the top.”

The announcement is welcome news at a time of renewed focus on upskilling the UK, as Brexit continues to fuel concerns about future access to top-level international talent.

The critical nature of these roles means that not having the right management and leadership skills can lead to the ultimate failure of the business. BEIS data reveals that incompetence or bad management of company directors causes 56% of corporate failures**. A 2016 report from Investors in People revealed that poor leadership and management costs the UK economy £84bn a year in lower productivity.

Antony Jenkins, chair of the Institute for Apprenticeships, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to approve this standard. Apprenticeships are playing an increasingly significant role all across the UK economy, including at the very highest levels of leadership, so it is important that we are putting the right structures in place to ensure that they are of a high calibre and fit for the demands of the role. This approval means that we are better able to ensure first-class leadership among the next generation of senior managers.

“More and more businesses of all sizes are realising the benefits that high-quality apprenticeships can offer. The Institute is putting employers in control of developing the standards they need, giving learners a basis for lasting employment and overcoming national skills gaps.”

This new apprenticeship has been developed by a group of more than 30 employers*** led by Serco and Civil Service Learning, and supported by CMI. It adds to the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, which was launched in November 2015, and the team leader and operational manager apprenticeships launched in June 2016, providing a progression route for employers to invest in managers at all levels.

Anne Thomas, Head of Serco Education, said: “It’s vital for Serco that we develop and retain our skilled and professional senior managers who enable their teams and the business to deliver essential services for our customers. We are delighted to have led on the development of the Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship with Civil Service Learning, and other employers. I am sure this apprenticeship will not only contribute to the successful development of Serco employees but also the wider UK economy.”

For more information on the Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship, visit: or @CMI_managers

*List of confirmed providers:

Ashridge Executive Education at Hult, Aston Business School, Cranfield School of Management, De Montfort University, Edge Hill University, Henley Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Teesside University, University of Bolton, University of Cumbria, University of Gloucestershire, University of Portsmouth, University of Sunderland

**Leadership and Management in the UK – The key to sustainable growth – a summary of the evidence for the value of investing in leadership and management development,
BEIS, 2012

***List of employers involved with developing this standard:

Serco (employer chair), Civil Service (employer chair); Acivico (Birmingham City Council); Anglo Educational; Barclays; Balfour Beatty; Barchester Healthcare; Boots UK Ltd; British Army; BBC; CMI; Codegent; Co-op; DFS; EY Foundation; Interserve; KPMG; Manchester Airport; Manchester City Council; Morgan Sindell; NHS (Dept of Health); Opus Building Services; Pearson; Pendragon plc; Royal Navy Apprenticeship Centre (Babcock); Sainsburys; Santander UK plc; Speedy Services; TFL; Tui; umi Digital; Unipart; United Utilities plc; Virgin Media; Wincanton; and XPO Logistics.

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Andrew Jenkinson at Robinson & Hall has been crowned Farm Adviser of the Year 2017

Posted: 10/10/17 by Robinson & Hall LLP

Congratulations go to Andrew Jenkinson, partner & rural surveyor at Robinson & Hall, Land and Property Professionals, who was crowned Farm Adviser of the Year 2017 at the Farmers Weekly Awards last week.

Working as part of Robinson & Hall’s Rural Property & Business team based in Bedford and Buckingham offices for the last 12 years, Andrew advises on landlord and tenant law, farm and estate management, rent reviews, valuation and various farm support schemes. He also arranges finance for rural businesses as Agent for the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation PLC.

Describing himself as a ‘generalist land agent’, Andrew has a great deal of expertise and goes above and beyond to ensure he delivers value for money and exceeds his clients’ needs.

Andrew comments: “These days farmers need to diversify to add value to their business so I am constantly looking for new opportunities for my clients, as well as building relationships with potential new clients.”

The judges were impressed by Andrew’s:

  • meticulous attention to detail, especially for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications
  • ability to achieve his clients’ objectives
  • natural instinct to always be on the lookout for new opportunities
  • role in growing the business

The Farmers Weekly Awards are the Oscars of the agricultural world. They showcase the best in the industry. Andrew Capel, senior partner at Robinson & Hall, comments: “We are incredibly proud of Andrew for achieving such a fantastic accolade which is very well deserved. He is extremely hard working and his track record has seen him work with many of his clients for years.”

If you would like to find out how Robinson & Hall’s Rural Property & Business department can help you or your business please call 01234 352201.

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ISO 22000 will expand your market opportunities within the Food Industry

Posted: 10/10/17 by IMSM Ltd

ISO 22000 is the global standard setting the requirements for an effective Food Safety Management System (FSMS). ISO 22000 works throughout the food and beverage chain, to ensure that both are safe at the time of human consumption.

ISO 22000 will bring your business the following benefits:

  • ISO 22000 will give you a comprehensive, systematic and proactive approach to identifying food safety hazards and implementing effective control measures
  • The standard will make it easier for you to apply the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles
  • Comply with current food safety standards across different continents
  • ISO 22000 will help to document all techniques, methods and procedures in a thoroughly systematic way
  • Increase traceability, efficiency and resourcefulness in the food chain
  • This standard will enable you to participate in large scale food chains around the world
  • Ensure that your supply chain is secure to meet growing food requirements

IMSM strive to make ISO certification as simple as possible for our clients.

Provide reassurance to all concerned:

Consumers are increasingly concerned and aware of where their food comes from. They take an active interest in ensuring they are buying on an informed decision. Tailored and efficient management of your processes will prevent food safety failures and associated costs, whilst increasing legal compliance.

Public, private sector and governments internationally are increasingly regarding ISO 22000 as a guarantee of food safety, quality and security.

ISO 22000 connects you to a growing network of international suppliers in both developed and developing economies. ISO 22000 applies if you are in the food production industry, processing, distribution or storage.

Committed to quality:

Achieving an ISO standard demonstrates that your company is serious about delivering quality systems through tested processes. Internally ISO standards provide focus and discipline and externally you will achieve credibility, authority and recognition.

To find out more about how ISO 22000 can help you to compete on many more markets around the world, contact Andrew Tomkinson on 07803 593390 or

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Cranfield University involved in delivery of state-of-the-art digital control tower

Posted: 10/10/17 by Cranfield University

Senior executives from Cranfield University and Saab have met to confirm the delivery of a new state-of-the-art digital control tower for Cranfield Airport.

The cutting-edge technology replicates what can be seen through the windows of a traditional air traffic control tower via a live feed of panoramic views across the airfield using HD
cameras and sensors.

Digital control towers provide smarter approaches to air traffic control by digitising and integrating airport functions and improve a controller’s situational awareness, enabling quick and
informed decisions. The new system will allow controllers to zoom in on aircraft, improving visibility, and provide them with a 360-degree view of the airfield.

Currently, there are no operational digital control towers at UK airports. In 2015, the airports in Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall in Sweden became the first in the world to be controlled via a digital control tower in Sundsvall.

As well as serving Cranfield Airport, the digital control tower will further enhance the University’s research capabilities, which include the Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) and the newly announced Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC).

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University, said: “The digital control tower will be a significant boost for Cranfield Airport and the research capabilities of the University. Combined with our existing and new facilities, the digital control tower will cement Cranfield’s place as the home of the leading aerospace research facilities in Europe.”

Johan Klintberg, CEO of Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, who attended the event, said: “We are looking forward to the collaboration with Cranfield University and the strong links they have with the industry in the area of innovative research and development.”

Image: Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University and Johan Klintberg, CEO of Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions at the signing and at Cranfield Airport’s existing control tower

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Posted: 10/10/17 by MSO Workspace - Serviced Offices

Are you a local business owner or senior member of staff in a local business?

Does time management mystify you?

Do you need help from an award-winning business coach on how to best practice planning your working business day?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then why not pop along to our Northampton business centre (Managed Serviced Offices, Lakeside House, The Lakes, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7HD) on the 31st October 2017 between 10am and 2pm where you will be able to talk to like-minded people and hear from stars of the business world.

You will then be given the chance to talk to those people and engage with people who believe business connections are key.

Guests include Simon Williams from the award-winning business training company Arrivista, along with Beyond Theory’s Paul Beesley, Emerson Patton of Bright Business Advice, and Star Digitals Marketing Executive Emma Stewart.

Tickets are limited so please book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. You can also email for more information.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

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Local solicitor warns changes to powers of attorney may leave older and vulnerable at risk

Posted: 09/10/17 by Franklins Solicitors LLP

Local solicitor Helen Taylor TEP from Franklins Solicitors LLP based in offices in Milton Keynes and Northampton has joined fellow members of Solicitors for the Elderly in warning against proposals to turn the LPA registration process fully digital.

An LPA is a powerful legal document that allows a person to appoint trusted individuals to make important decisions about their finances and property on their behalf. Under the current process, a ‘wet signature’ – the physical signing of the document – is required by individuals who wish to register an LPA. But in a paper released on Thursday, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) called for a fully digital system, whereby documents could be registered completely online.

Helen said: “We are extremely concerned by the FCA’s push for fully digital powers of attorney. Although we welcome initiatives that make LPAs more accessible, the security of older and vulnerable people is paramount. Under the current system, the FCA’s vision of a secure, end-to-end digital LPA registration process is simply not possible.

“Removing the requirement of a wet signature has the potential to put thousands of people at risk of fraud and financial abuse. An LPA requires the understanding and consent of the donor, but without the witnessing of a physical signature, what is to stop a family member or friend registering a document on someone else’s behalf, perhaps even without their knowledge?

“LPAs are extremely powerful and complex documents, and the prospect of being able to take control of someone else’s bank account and even their property with the few clicks of a button is frankly reckless.”

Solicitors for the Elderly is an independent, national organisation of over 1,500 lawyers, such as solicitors, barristers, and chartered legal executives, who provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people and their families. Last year, the organisation released a report raising concerns around the current online system for LPAs, which it claims already leaves older and vulnerable people open to abuse.

LPAs are processed by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), a public body under the Ministry of Justice. The OPG has previously considered changing the LPA application process as part of a gradual move to take all its processes online.

To find out more about SFE, and to speak to a lawyer near you, go to:

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Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order introduced in Kettering

Posted: 09/10/17 by Kettering Borough Council

A dog related Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) is now in place across the Borough of Kettering, following a public consultation by Kettering Borough Council.

The Council believes that the vast majority of dog owners are responsible and law-abiding members of the community. However, each year we receive lots of complaints relating to dog fouling, threatening or out of control dogs and dog related horticultural damage.

To address this, the new PSPO came into force on 30th August 2017 and introduced the following restrictions:

  • Dogs are forbidden from enclosed children’s playgrounds (with the exception of guide dogs or assistance dogs).
  • It is also an offence to be in control of any more than six dogs on a lead at onetime.
  • Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times in the following Kettering town centre locations: Manor House Gardens, Municipal Gardens, Parish Churchyard (behind the Market Place), The Garden of Rest (behind Corn Market Hall) and Market Place.

Dog owners should also be aware that if they are asked to put their dog on a lead by an authorised officer they should do so immediately, as failure to do so will breach the PSPO. This is to help deal with those dogs that are out of control or may be perceived as being aggressive to other dogs.

Failing to pick up after your dog remains an offence across the borough.

A fine for breaching the PSPO will be £100, reduced if paid within 10 days. Those fined will have a maximum of 14 days to pay the fine or they could face prosecution in the magistrates’ court and a fine of up to £1,000.

Shirley Plenderleith, head of public services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “Kettering Borough Council has received over 500 complaints regarding dog fouling in the last three years. It is a significant health issue and we’d like to see a reduction in dog fouling incidents. Requiring dogs to be kept on leads or restricting access to dogs in certain designated areas will ensure dogs are under proper control and reduce the risk of dog fouling, making these areas cleaner and safer.”

Councillor Ian Jelley, Kettering Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “The dog control Public Spaces Protection Order acts upon resident feedback from our consultation earlier this year. It is about benefiting the community as a whole to help make it a cleaner, safer and a healthier place to live.”

New signage is now up and in place across the borough explaining the new restrictions, and further information can be found at

Image: Will Bolter (Kettering Borough Council Warden) with his dog Dexter.

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Olympic cyclist adds county gong to medal haul!

Posted: 09/10/17 by Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity

She may have retired from an impressive sporting career in the summer but double world champion cyclist Becky James has just added arguably the most important medal to her collection – the one hung around her neck for completing Northamptonshire’s favourite fundraising bike ride, Cycle4Cynthia!

After setting off an incredible 1115 riders taking part in the event held in September at Lamport Hall in aid of Northampton’s Cynthia Spencer Hospice (the Chamber’s chosen ‘Charity of the Year’), the Welsh wonder who also picked up two silvers at the Rio Olympics, then pedalled the five mile route to show her support for the cause.

And the former track cyclist, who now lives in the county with her partner, Saints winger George North, was thrilled to share the joy of the event with George’s sister, Hayley Cushing, who joined her on a tandem generously loaned by Leisure Lakes Bikes in Daventry.

Speaking after collecting her finishers’ medal, presented to everyone completing the 5, 25 or 50 mile routes, Becky revealed her long-standing interest in the event: “I heard about Cycle4Cynthia some years ago but of course my professional commitments meant I was never able to take part, so I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to do so this year and finally get to experience this amazing day” explained Becky.

“I visited the hospice earlier this year and seeing the incredible care they offer to their patients and families was just so inspirational, so to be here today and join all these other riders in supporting the charity has been fabulous!” she enthused.

That was a sentiment echoed by Northamptonshire’s business community as a plethora of Chamber members leapt into their saddles to join in the fun.

Briggs & Forrester, Haddonstone, British Pepper & Spice and EMW Law were among those out in force, while the pink t-shirts worn by the 36-strong team from Piroto Labelling clearly showed why they were pedalling, featuring as it did a photo of a former member of staff.

“Laura Silk was our much-loved colleague who actually rode in last year’s Cycle4Cynthia but who passed away at the hospice earlier this year,” explained team captain Amy Douglass. “So today has been incredibly moving, not least because Laura’s daughters, Angela and Daniella have ridden.

“We really wanted to show our continuing support for this amazing charity, and thanks to the generosity of the company, which is doubling the money we’ve raised through sponsorship, we hope to be handing over a cheque for around £3,000 to help them carry on their incredible care of patients and their families,” she added.

Other firms showing their equally vital support for the event were shirt sponsors Untied Utilities and Bluestep Solutions and those who sponsored and manned the en-route pit stops,
including iPSL, Travis Perkins and Morae Life, while staff from Chelton Brown demonstrated their usual commitment to the cause by not only sponsoring the medal but also presenting all 1115 of them to the joyful finishers.

Speaking at the end of the ride, which was blessed with glorious weather, the Hospice’s fundraising manager John Helm offered his appreciation to all those who’d been involved: “The sun shines on the righteous they say and that can’t be more appropriate than today, given the kindness and generosity of all of those who’ve turned out in support of the charity,” said John.

“So I want to say a massive thank you to everyone, including our team of marshals and volunteers, our sponsors and of course to the cyclists themselves who, alongside Becky, have made this another Cycle4Cynthia to remember!” he added.

Photos from the event are on the ride’s Facebook page and on the gallery page of its website – - while you can also show your continuing support by purchasing a C4C cycling jersey, priced at £25, from the Hospice’s ebay page -

It will be some time before it is known if the 2016 total of £76,000 has been bettered but for now, riders are kindly encouraged to collect their sponsorship money as quickly as possible and deliver or send it to Cynthia Spencer Hospice, Manfield Campus, Kettering Road, Northampton NN3 6NP, making cheques payable to ‘Cycle4Cynthia’.

Meanwhile, to pledge your business sponsorship or involvement in next year’s ride, please contact the Hospice on 01604 210941.

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SME Awards Northamptonshire Finalists for Employer of the Year and Innovator 2017

Posted: 09/10/17 by RRE Electrical Services

RRE Electrical Services is very pleased to announce that we are finalists for both Employer of the Year and Innovator in the SME Northamptonshire Awards for 2017.

Established for over 30 years, RRE is proud to provide a professional, reliable service to the Industrial and Commerical sector. We have an excellent reputation for our quality and customer service.

Our professionally qualified engineers take pride in the quality of their work. We are an NICEIC Approved Contractor providing you peace of mind that all work is of a high standard.

We have our own dedicated engineers. Industrial and Commercial experts

We provide comprehensive Installation service as well as Emergency Breakdown cover.

Please do contact us on: 01933 411306 or email:

Check out our website:

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Make your own stained glass Christmas decorations at Bay Tree Cottage

Posted: 09/10/17 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

Bay Tree Cottage in Farthingstone, near Towcester, is holding two creative hands-on workshops in November where attendees can make their own beautiful stained glass light-catchers and/or angels to hang on their tree or stand in their window this Christmas.

The workshops are being run by professional stained glass artist Anna Conti and are taking place on Thursday 2 November and Saturday 18 November.

Anna will introduce the art of making stained glass copperfoil items and guide attendees through how to cut a wonderful array of glass with different colours and textures, foil and solder.

No previous experience is necessary and by the end of the day, attendees will have made approximately four items to take home with them, as well as the techniques and skills to make more.

The workshops run from 10am-4pm and cost £120 per person, with refreshments provided throughout the day, including a delicious homemade lunch.

For further information or to book visit or email

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Christmas Shopping 2017 In Style

Posted: 09/10/17 by Liberta Business Travel

If the thought of Christmas shopping makes you feel exhausted before you’ve even entered a store, then why not turn it into a pleasurable experience?

Liberta’s chauffeur car service will make Christmas shopping a pleasure.

You can shop in style by hiring a chauffeur to assist you to take away the stress of shopping. When you are loaded down with heavy shopping bags, you can get tired easily. But with a chauffeur-driven car on hand to keep your shopping while you carry on, shopping becomes less of a hassle and much more fun!

Let us take care of your Christmas shopping transportation, while you enjoy shopping for the perfect gift for loved ones. And you could even combine it with a sightseeing tour, catching the Christmas lights of London!

For more information, please contact us on: 01536 684 254 or 0300 124 5205;

Please check out our website:

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Businesses take part in popular Charity Golf day

Posted: 06/10/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Businesses from Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes gathered at Northampton Golf Club yesterday (Thursday, October 5) to compete in a popular Charity Golf Day.

Nearly 30 golfers competed in the prestigious event organised by the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce in aid of their
charities of the year: Cynthia Spencer Hospice and MacIntyre.

This year the competitors were also vying to win the Northamptonshire Chamber Rose Bowl in its 40th anniversary year.

Tracey Branson, who is joint head of operations for the Northamptonshire Chamber and the Milton Keynes Chamber, said: “Our annual Golf Day gives players the chance to combine business with pleasure whilst supporting two brilliant causes.

“We are very grateful to all the players who supported the event and would like to thank Northampton Golf Club for their fantastic hospitality.”

The overall winners were Richard Powell and Paul Burton, representing MHA MacIntyre Hudson, with 43 points. They were presented with the Northamptonshire Chamber Rose Bowl and an additional prize provided by fellow Chamber members, Mooncomputers Limited.

Second place were Tom Jullings, of Onefoursix Ltd, and Jon Thorpe, of acs office solutions, with 41 points.

Third place went to Terry Maddocks and Stevie Johnson, representing Anglia Concrete Ltd, with a score of 37 points.

Jon Thorpe, of acs office solutions, also won the Nearest The Pin prize, sponsored by MacIntyre, and the Longest Drive prize sponsored by Cynthia Spencer Hospice.

The final amount raised from entry fees and donations will be presented to the charities at the Chamber’s annual Business Alliance dinner in the new year.

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Milton Keynes Chamber Annual Charity Golf Day

Posted: 06/10/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Businesses from Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire gathered at Northampton Golf Club yesterday (Thursday, October 5) to compete in a popular Charity Golf Day.

Nearly 30 golfers competed in the prestigious event organised by the Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce and the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce in aid of their charities
of the year: Cynthia Spencer Hospice and MacIntyre.

This year the competitors were also vying to win the Northamptonshire Chamber Rose Bowl in its 40th anniversary year.

Tracey Branson, who is joint head of operations for the Milton Keynes Chamber and the Northamptonshire Chamber, said: “Our annual Golf Day gives players the chance to combine
business with pleasure whilst supporting two brilliant causes.

“We are very grateful to all the players who supported the event and would like to thank Northampton Golf Club for their fantastic hospitality.”

The overall winners were Richard Powell and Paul Burton, representing MHA MacIntyre Hudson, with 43 points. They were presented with the Northamptonshire Chamber Rose Bowl and an additional prize provided by fellow Chamber members, Mooncomputers Limited.

Second place were Tom Jullings, of Onefoursix Ltd, and Jon Thorpe, of acs office solutions, with 41 points.

Third place went to Terry Maddocks and Stevie Johnson, representing Anglia Concrete Ltd, with a score of 37 points.

Jon Thorpe, of acs office solutions, also won the Nearest The Pin prize, sponsored by MacIntyre, and the Longest Drive prize sponsored by Cynthia Spencer Hospice.

The final amount raised from entry fees and donations will be presented to the charities at the Chamber’s annual Business Alliance dinner in the new year.

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Manor House Museum turns spooky at half term

Posted: 06/10/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Celebrate Halloween 2017 in spooky style with the Manor House Museum’s range of fantastic activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Activities run from Tuesday 24th until Friday 27th October. Half term craft sessions are £3 per child, £2 with a Kettering Leisure Pass and *FREE* to Young Friend members

Workshops last an hour and begin at 10:15am and 11:30am, where you can create:

¨ Spooky Sparkling Sugar Skull Masks, on Tuesday 24th

¨ Glowing Halloween Lanterns, on Wednesday 25th

¨ Spider Plant Spider Pots, on Thursday 26th

The Museum is also hosting a *FREE* Halloween Family Fun Day on Friday 27th, 11am until 3pm.

Come along dressed as your favourite spook, meet the real life ‘jeepers creatures’ from Zoolab and take part in crafts & games, storytelling and face painting!

Limited spaces are available for Jeepers Creatures; please collect your ticket from the museum front desk.

For further information, contact the Manor House Museum on 01536 534219, Email or Visit

Guy Holloway, Head of Corporate & Cultural Services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “The Museum and Gallery have a wonderful range of craft activities to keep the children busy, and the Halloween events mean children can celebrate, get creative and have fun at this time of the year!”

Councillor Lloyd Bunday, Kettering Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community and Culture, said: “It’s terrific to see the Manor House Museum host yet another family friendly set of activities over the half term. The Halloween crafts and family fun day will be an enjoyable day for all and will give families the chance to make the most of our fantastic museum.”

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MacIntyre Christmas Fair at The Antiques Room, Woburn Abbey - Saturday 02 December

Posted: 06/10/17 by MacIntyre

Stroll the cobbled streets of the exclusive Antiques Room at Woburn Abbey this Christmas in search of that perfect Christmas present. With over 50 stalls already signed up there will be plenty of choice including arts and crafts, vintage, food & drink, jewellery plus much more - enjoy a mulled wine, a mince pie or some hot roasted chestnuts whilst browsing - plus we have some local choirs and musical entertainment lined up to help us all get in the festive spirit.

And no visit would be complete without a visit to Santas grotto for our little visitors!

Tickets are £3.50 or £10 for a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) - give us a call for yours on 01908 357012 or email

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Oakland International appoints new operations director

Posted: 06/10/17 by Oakland International Ltd

UK and Ireland multi temperature supply chain operator and responsible family business Oakland International has appointed Shaun Foley as the company’s new operations director.

Bringing with him 35 years of Industry experience covering retail, food and FMCG sectors, Shaun has operated at the highest levels and held several senior positions within large logistic companies both in the UK and in mainland Europe.

A multi award winner, Oakland International is a BRC accredited (for storage and distribution) business and a multi temperature distribution specialist providing contract packing, storage, picking, food distribution and brand development support for ambient, chilled and frozen food to the retail, convenience, discount, wholesale and food service markets.

With depots and facilities based in the UK, Ireland and an overseas partner in Spain, Shaun’s focus as Operations Director will be customer excellence, its people and sustainable growth.

Oakland International Chief Executive and Co-Founder, Dean Attwell said: “We are delighted to welcome someone of Shaun’s calibre and experience to the Oakland team.

“His knowledge and sector experience, together with his operational know-how of the ever changing and developing landscape of the global and UK markets, will ensure we continue to deliver value added services and help drive and support our customers’ success.”

Commenting on his appointment Shaun said: “I am very pleased to join a fantastic team of people with my focus firmly on customer excellence, our people and delivering sustainable profit.”

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Northampton Town Make Latest ‘Signing’ - with a Difference!

Posted: 06/10/17 by Northampton Town Football Club

Northampton Town will be opening a brand new GAME Zone on the West Stand concourse at Sixfields on Saturday, headed up by the club’s very own latest new signing, Liam Merry!

Liam isn’t a goalkeeper, a defender, a midfielder or a striker, but he is an EA Sports Online Ranked Top 50 player who is also known online as REAPERZz, and has been playing FIFA professionally since 2015. He has been recruited to represent Northampton Town in online tournaments both nationally and internationally. He will also be at Sixfields on matchdays, heading up the club’s brand new GAME Zone that will open for the first time at the Bristol Rovers game on Saturday.

The GAME Zone has been supported by GAME in Northampton, and includes a number of PS4s that will be available for supporters to use, under the guidance of Liam, every home matchday.

Steve Stretch, Community Development Manager at GAME said, “It is an absolute pleasure to be working in partnership with Northampton Town to launch the GAME Zone at Sixfields. We are both excited and looking forward to further developing the partnership as the season progresses.”

Commercial and Marketing Manager Caroline Lucy added, “Online gaming is a huge market and getting bigger and we are delighted to recruit a top player to represent the club. But, he won’t just be representing us, he will be helping supporters develop their own skills while also looking after the brand new GAME Zone, which we are very excited about.

“We are delighted to be partnering with GAME, and we hope that supporters of all ages and all FIFA abilities enjoy this latest addition aimed at further improving the matchday experience.”

Turnstiles for Saturday’s game will open at 1pm, and from 1pm until 2pm Liam will be in the GAME Zone on the West Stand concourse, playing games of FIFA against Cobblers supporters. Games will last for 6 minutes. From 2pm onwards, Liam will be recruiting for a FIFA fans tournament, so for more details and to register your interest in joining the FIFA Fans Tournament for future games, supporters should please email

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New guidelines introduced in relation to child contact issues

Posted: 05/10/17 by Franklins Solicitors LLP

According to new guidelines introduced by senior Judge Sir James Munby, president of the family division of the High Court, children must not be permitted to have contact with a parent if there is a risk of psychological or physical abuse. The guidelines go so far as to recommend that there should not even be supervised contact in such circumstances. Introduction of the guidelines follows a campaign by domestic violence groups in response to cases where children were harmed or killed during contact with a parent.

Putting the ‘Child First’ – Women’s Aid campaign

A campaign introduced by Women’s Aid called “Child First” is aimed at ending avoidable child deaths and improve safety for women and children in family disputes. The campaign highlighted stories of 19 children and two women killed by perpetrators of domestic abuse in situations related to unsafe child contact over a ten year period. The chief executive of Women’s Aid said “For far too long children have been put at risk as a result of poor decisions made by Judges in child contact cases. In some cases perpetrators of domestic abuse were even given the opportunity to take away innocent lives”.

Special protection measures should also be put in place by the Courts so that victims and their children are safe when attending Court.

If you have any questions relating to child contact issues or parenting plans in general, please contact our family team to discuss your options on 01908 660966 or 01604 828282 for a confidential conversation on how we can help.

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Law Commission proposals to simplify Will writing: Supported Will-making

Posted: 05/10/17 by Franklins Solicitors LLP

As part of their Consultation on making Wills, the Law Commission has also asked whether it might be time to introduce a scheme of ‘supported Will-making.’ With such a scheme in place, the Commission hopes that it might be possible for many more people with diminished capacity to put a Will in place.

See also our article regarding the proposed formalities changes.


Currently, in order to make a valid Will, you must be considered to have the necessary ‘capacity,’ i.e. understanding, to do so. This test of ‘understanding’ dates from a case from the late 19th Century and by way of summary, it sets out in somewhat dated language that you must understand:
• that you are making a Will and what its effect will be;
• the extent of what you own and what you can deal with in your Will; and
• who may be entitled to provision under your Will.

Therefore, many who suffer mental health conditions lack this necessary mental capacity to put a Will in place and an application on their behalf must instead be made to the Court of Protection for them to approve the execution of a ‘Statutory Will,’ a process which can be both expensive and time consuming.

The Scheme

The Law Commission believes that this does not reflect the evolution of medical understandings of disorders, diseases and conditions that affect a person’s capacity and that with a support scheme in place, many who cannot currently make a Will would be able to by allowing them to appoint a ‘supporter’ to help them do so.

This scheme would share similarities with how advocates and doctors help those with diminished capacity deal with local authority processes or make decisions for themselves by helping them to understand their different treatment options.

However, when it comes to deciding what such a scheme would look like in practice, the Commission acknowledges that there are a myriad of potential issues to consider. These centre around who would be able to be a supporter and what safeguards should be put in place to prevent exploitation or abuse without going too far and undermining the overall aim of the scheme.

For instance, should a supporter be a professional such as a practicing solicitor, despite the fact that this would incur costs and may be unaffordable for some? Alternatively, should a supporter be a family member or close family friend or would this be too open to abuse and give rise to conflicts of interest?

Similarly, should a supporter or any close associates or family members of the supporter be prevented from benefiting from the Will and should the supporter owe formal duties to the individual making the Will? The Law Commission has only tentatively answered these questions so we will need to watch this space.

Should you have any queries or require any advice or assistance with regards to Wills please do not hesitate to contact the Wills Team here at Franklins on 01908 660966 or who will be more than happy to guide you further.

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Independent Chair sought for key Borough Council Committee

Posted: 05/10/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Northampton Borough Council is seeking an independent chair for one of its foremost Committees.

The Audit Committee oversees all relevant processes for risk, control and governance. The purpose of the Audit Committee is to provide independent assurance and to support strong financial management and good governance.

Appointment of the independent chair will be on a fixed term basis until the Annual Council meeting of Northampton Borough Council in May 2019.

Responsibilities will include establishing procedures to govern the Committee’s work and ensure the Committee’s full discharge of its duties and fostering good working relationships and communication among all Committee members.

The independent chair will be expected to attend approximately eight meetings a year at the Guildhall. As well as any addition meetings scheduled as required.

The allowance for the Independent Chair of the Audit Committee is £4,306.94 per annum.

Find out more about the role at click here for link

Applications should be sent to the Monitoring Officer, Northampton Borough Council, the Guildhall, St Giles Square, Northampton, NN1 1DE or emailed to by 5pm on Monday 30 October 2017.

If you would like to talk to someone further about this role please contact Jo Bonham on 01604 837668 or Tracy Tiff on 01604 837408.

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Grant Thornton Milton Keynes invests in young talent with seven new trainees

Posted: 05/10/17 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

Seven new recruits have begun their careers at the Milton Keynes office of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton, having secured a place on the firm’s industry-leading training programme.

Graduates Dominique Forbes-wright, Aishwarya Lakshmanan, Andy Yu, Neolas Masalskis and Bhavna Raghuvanshi, and school leavers Brittany Poole and Jessica Adams join the firm’s audit, employee solutions and corporate tax teams to study for a range of professional chartered accountancy qualifications whilst gaining valuable on the job experience.

Nationally, a record-breaking 12,000 candidates applied for one of the 300 places available this year on Grant Thornton’s pioneering trainee programme which has dropped GCSE, A-Level and degree results as entry requirements to instead focus on the individual’s talent, values and potential.

As a result, the programme has been opened up to many more young people regardless of background, with the proportion of trainees across the Eastern region starting with Grant Thornton straight from school rising from 25% in 2016 to 32% in 2017. Nationally, school leavers currently represent 26% of Grant Thornton’s trainee intake - almost a four-fold increase on the previous traditional academic selection based approach.

Under the school leaver initiative, candidates join the firm for a five year programme and initially complete relevant Higher Apprenticeships before going on to achieve professiona industry qualifications.

Laura Brierley at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office, said: “Credit must be given to our seven trainees for beating off such stiff competition to gain a place on this year’s programme. Each of them impressed our recruiters and senior team with their enthusiasm, energy and ambition for the future.

“By removing academic barriers to entry, we have been able to open ourselves up to a great new pool of talent. Grant Thornton was one of the first professional services firm to do this as we realised the best people might not always be the most academic on paper but have many other valuable skills to offer the firm and our clients.”

Grant Thornton’s research* shows that 32% of the firm’s 2016/17 intake would not have been able to apply for the programme based on old academic entry requirements. However, these individuals are performing at the same level or better than those who would have been eligible.

Jessica Adams, who joins Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office straight from school, said: “Grant Thornton’s focus on supporting businesses and the firm’s friendly, encouraging environment really appealed to me. I look forward to meeting local companies and working with the team to learn new skills, gain experience and develop a successful career.”

Grant Thornton is rated the number one accountancy firm to work for by recruitment website Glass Door. The firm is also named in the 50 most attractive employers in the world in an annual survey by employer brand specialist Universum, and recently topped the UK’s first Social Mobility Index for its significant action to improve social mobility.

*Research carried out by The Bridge Group, a charitable policy association researching and promoting social mobility.

Image: L-R Jessica L Adams, Lara Belle, Brittany G Poole, Aishwarya Lakshmanan, Nedas Masalskis, Dominique Y Forbes-Wright, Andy DL Yu, Bhavna Raghuvanshi

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Christmas parties at Bay Tree Cottage - cookery, craft and more!

Posted: 05/10/17 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

If you’re thinking about organising a festive celebration with your colleagues or customers and are stuck for ideas, the team at Bay Tree Cottage in Farthingstone, NN12, will provide you with some inspiration!

Jenny Dicks from Bay Tree Cottage said: “We offer a wonderful selection of hands-on festive workshops ranging from stained glass decorations and candle making to wreaths and cards, or why not give your party a tasty twist by indulging in some Christmas chocolate making, canape creating or cake decorating?

“Whatever you choose, our workshops provide the perfect opportunity for you and your group to relax and enjoy each other’s company, while learning a rewarding new skill. If you have other thoughts about what you would like to do, then just give us a call to discuss your ideas and budget.

“The brand new event venue at Bay Tree Cottage, which is opening soon, provides the perfect setting for a seasonal drinks reception or party with its exceptional facilities, stunning views and delicious catering available from the Bay Tree Cottage Kitchen.

“We also have a selection of B&B and self-catering accommodation for between 2-8 people available across our Grade II Listed self-contained cottages, family stable yard and our new development, making it perfect for guests travelling from further afield.”

For further information please email

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ISO 13485 provides proof that your company is providing safe and effective medical devices

Posted: 05/10/17 by IMSM Ltd

ISO 13485 specifies requirements for a Quality Management System for organisations required to demonstrate its ability to provide medical devices that consistently meet client and regulatory requirements.

ISO 13485 is the most accepted global standard of its kind and will bring your business a host of benefits, including:

  • Full ISO 13485 compliance – which is fast becoming a prerequisite for regulatory authorities everywhere
  • Be confident that your company has a quality system that meets the demands of legislation in every corner of the global market
  • ISO 13485 will establish robust development, manufacture, distribution and control processes
  • The standard will help to optimise efficiency and minimise costs
  • ISO 13485 will also help you to monitor your supply chain so that you are always in control

Patient safety is a priority in the healthcare industry:

As a medical devices manufacturer, you have a responsibility and requirement to consistently deliver devices that are high quality, safe and effective. The medical device industry is made up of many different and complex regulations, standards and other requirements.

The medical device standard, ISO 13485, helps manufacturers to become compliant and open up market channels on a global scale.

Committed to quality:

Achieving an ISO standard demonstrates that your company is serious about delivering quality systems through tested processes. Internally ISO standards provide focus and discipline and externally you will achieve credibility, authority and recognition.

Increase customer confidence, improve customer satisfaction and maintain a market edge; find out more about how your company can achieve ISO 13485 compliance by contacting Andrew Tomkinson on 07803 593390 or

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Kettering Crematorium donates over £64,000 to charity

Posted: 05/10/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Kettering Crematorium recently presented a cheque for £5,000 to Rainbows Children’s Hospice, from money received for participating in the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) metals recycling scheme.

This takes our total to over £64,000 donated to local bereavement related charities since 2011. Some of the charities to receive donations include Cransley Hospice (our biggest beneficiary), MacMillan Cancer Support, Kettering Mind, KGH Charitable Fund and Sands, among others.

Shirley Plenderleith, head of public services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “We are extremely proud of the impressive amount of money that we have been able to donate to local bereavement charities.

“Kettering Crematorium continues to provide a high quality service in a family’s time of need.”

Cllr Ian Jelley, Kettering Borough Council’s portfolio holder for environment, said: “We’re delighted that local charities are able to benefit from the metals recycled by Kettering Crematorium.

Kettering Crematorium & Cemeteries Team recently won Best Service Team at the APSE Service Awards, while the Crematorium was also a runner up as Crematorium of the Year at the Good Funeral Awards.

Image: Tom Stanyard from Rainbows on the left and Cameron Galloway, Cemeteries and Crematoria Manager, on the right.

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Supporting families & children in Central Northampton

Posted: 05/10/17 by The Spring Charity

In January 2017, The Spring Charity successfully applied to Northampton Community Foundation for a grant of £20,000 from the First for Wellbeing Targeted Fund.

The grant has been used to establish a programme of work with parents, which supports them in the early years and enables families to learn and develop skills. And it also enabled us to appoint a Community Worker who started in June 2017.

Following a period of planning, preparation and networking, she opened our premises in Spring Lane to families with young children, daily from 9.00am - 11.00am.

We hope that local businesses will support us in this venture and promote this much needed provision in this area of Central Northampton.

For more information please call: 01604 458280

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Milton Keynes Chamber welcomes new members to its Board

Posted: 05/10/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce is delighted to welcome two new members to its Board.

Doug Moody, managing director of Daimler Insurance Services UK Limited, and Joy Vollans, CEO of EMW Law LLP, were elected to their new non-executive director roles at the Chamber’s annual dinner on October 4.

Welcoming the new board members, Milton Keynes Chamber president Andrew Hall said: “We are delighted to have Doug and Joy, join the Board at what is an exciting time for our national award winning Chamber. Our membership continues to grow and along with our sister Chamber in Northamptonshire we are now the 8th largest direct membership Chamber in the British Chambers of Commerce Accredited Network.

“Our new board members bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will help drive forward the continued success of the Chamber as a key organisation in the Milton Keynes business community. We look forward to working with them.”

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Rate relief scheme to help local businesses

Posted: 05/10/17 by Northampton Borough Council

A local discretionary rate relief scheme has been launched to help businesses following the recent revaluation.

The scheme aims to help businesses that have seen their business rates rise by more than 5% due to these changes, which came into effect on 1 April 2017.

Potentially qualifying businesses have already been approached to apply for the rate relief, which is funded by central government. However, other business owners, whose property’s rateable value is less than £200,000, occupied and are not used as a betting shop, sex shop or pawnbroker, may also be eligible to benefit from the relief.

Cllr Brandon Eldred, Cabinet member for finance, said: “We really value businesses that chose to make Northampton their base and introducing the discretionary rate relief scheme is one of the ways that we are hoping to help smaller, independent businesses thrive.

“We encourage any businesses that have not yet heard from the Borough Council, to get in touch and find out if they are eligible to apply.”

To find out more about business rates and the guidelines for relief visit or email

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Bombinate Web Design are off to Wembley Stadium

Posted: 05/10/17 by Bombinate Web Design

Bombinate Web Design, the multi-award-winning WordPress specialist, has been successful in reaching the finals of the SME 2017 National Business Awards having been nominated twice, in “The Green Award” and “Best New Business” categories.

The finals will be celebrated on the 1st of December at the iconic Wembley Stadium.

Bombinate Web Design also specialises in Website Security, SEO, Hosting and Website Management.

Business owner, Patrick Horan commented: “We’re delighted to be shortlisted for such prestigious awards and it reflects the hard work, enterprise and business endeavour of the team.

“At Bombinate Web Design, we’ve worked hard as a new business to get established in the Milton Keynes area.

“We started 2017 with the explicit aim of becoming a ‘100% Green Business’ and implemented a new sustainability program across the entire business. We make donations to the British Beekeepers Association and Stand for Trees, and we use the Ecosia browser, which plants trees for web searches.

“We run our hosting on 100% sustainable Wind Generated electricity, which uses low energy (38% less power) and low-temperature solid state drives. We also source our stationery from recycled materials.

“It will be an honour to represent Milton Keynes in London and fingers crossed we’ll bring home some silverware to MK.”

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Painting the Town Purple: 6th - 8th October, Purple Flag weekend celebrates Kettering’s vibrant nightlife

Posted: 05/10/17 by Kettering Borough Council

The annual celebration of the Purple Flag programme, which recognises excellence in the management of the evening and night-time economy in the UK and Ireland, will be taking place on the weekend of the 6th - 8th October.

Kettering originally received Purple Flag accreditation in 2015 and this year was once again awarded the prestigious purple flag status for its night time economy.

Purple Flag highlights Kettering as a vibrant place to visit at night, with safe and clean environments, a diverse range of bars and restaurants, a choice of arts and cultural events and a great evening economy partnership with the Police, Licensees and Street Pastors.

Head into Kettering this Purple Flag weekend and look out for:

  • Purple orientated cocktails/drinks in bars
  • Purple flag balloons, t-shirts and beer mats
  • New Purple Flag lamppost banners
  • Purple themed rooms with purple lighting

Jamie Lane, chair of Kettering Pubwatch said: We want more people to come into Kettering town centre at night to have an enjoyable evening and to relax and feel safe.

“The Purple Flag weekend celebrates the fruits of a lot of hard work that has taken place to improve the night time experience for visitors to Kettering.”

Becci Wynn, Aura Bar and lounge said: “We are going to host a ‘Purple Party’. Staff will be dressed in purple and there will be a prize for the best dressed customer in purple!”

Liz Wade, head of commercial development, Kettering Borough Council said: “The award could only be achieved by people and partners working together to ensure the public has a great night out in Kettering”.

Councillor Mark Dearing, Kettering Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, said: “We are proud that Kettering has been recognised with a Purple Flag yet again and it should be celebrated!

“Show your support this weekend and come and enjoy a fun filled purple evening in Kettering Town Centre.”

This weekend in Kettering:

  • Aura Bar and Lounge – Purple Flag Party – Friday & Saturday
  • Kettering Arts Centre – Justin Moorhouse: People and Feelings - Saturday, 7.30pm.
  • Retro Union – Motown Night (Friday) & First Birthday Party (Saturday)

For more details about Kettering’s Purple Flag go to:

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Free Consultation with Ardent

Posted: 05/10/17 by Ardentisys

We at Ardent are proud to announce that we have been engaged by a recognised leader in retail insight and market research to build an enterprise grade mobile app that allows the collection of insightful data at various venues nationally.

The data will then feed into a decision–making API that we are building for the client to help improve understanding of consumer behaviour within the retail space. This is a cross platform app build for both iOS and Android devices.

If you’ve any questions about this work or about enterprise grade mobile apps, we would be delighted to speak with members of the MK chamber on a free initial consultation basis. Please contact or call me directly on 01582 870 185 and I would be happy to help.

About Ardent
Ardent was founded in 2008 and has grown rapidly as a provider of cutting edge software and data solutions that are fast, efficient and cost effective for business of all sizes and sectors.

Having worked with the likes of Vodafone, Ericsson, Vizio, GfK, IntentHQ and Onelan we have the experience and expertise across a wide range of industries.

The specialist services we offer are Big Data, Cloud technology, Software engineering and providing dedicated software development resource to augment your existing skills and team.

Ardent is a BSI certified organisation to the ISO/IEC 27001 framework. Find out more about ardent on

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Vision 29 helps leading financial services company

Posted: 05/10/17 by Vision 29 Ltd

Creating engagement and excitement in a time of change

Leading financial services company, Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS), was building a brand new, state-of-the-art office space in Milton Keynes. The building was going to bring together its 750+ colleagues, who were working across three different sites and improve collaboration between teams, departments and working groups. This was a break away from Vision 29’s usual external marketing activity and focused more on employee engagement.

The brief

To inform, engage and excite all colleagues throughout the accommodation project.

The solution

A detailed internal communications vision and plan was created and delivered on time and within budget.

A clear tone of voice and brand for the project was developed, which carried through all communication channels.

It was important that all colleagues were kept up to date as the project progressed and were informed as to the impact the move would have on them. Over a 15 month period, regular communications were shared utilising a whole range of channels including a number of employee engagement events, experiential suite, microsite, regular emails, desk drops, competitions and much more. Important building milestones, such as Topping Out and Practical Completion were marked with events and a photographic journey of the project was recorded.

Nearer to move day, the focus turned to ensuring everyone was ready for the physical move, with lunch and learn sessions, inductions and a weekly newsletter providing all of the relevant information. Carefully timed pre-move and move day communications were issued and once everyone had settled into their new home, a series of post move communications and engagement activities commenced culminating in an invitation for all colleagues to provide feedback on their experiences.

The results

  1. A highly engaged workforce who were enthused and excited about the move to their new office.
  2. Extremely positive feedback at the end of the project endorsed that the communications had been effective.
  3. An impressive 81% employee engagement when surveyed about their readiness for the move.
  4. A remarkable 885% increase in visitors to the dedicate accommodation programme microsite over the 15 month project timescale.

“Jo has done an exceptional job at engaging with our employees and keeping them informed of the project’s progress through a broad range of creative, innovative and exciting events, activities and communications channels. This has been absolutely critical in ensuring that our colleagues came on the journey with us and that they experienced a smooth transition before, during and post the moves.”

Titus Ackah-Sanzah, Project Services Manager,
Volkswagen Financial Services

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Celebrating 20 years of Bambino Mio

Posted: 04/10/17 by Bambino Mio Ltd

Celebrate 20 years with Bambino Mio, the UK’s most widely used reusable nappy brand!* Growing with families since 1997, husband and wife team Guy and Jo Schanschieff have nurtured Bambino Mio into one of the most recognisable names in reusable nappies.

Committed to providing products which are better for babies, better for parents and better for the environment, 20 years on Bambino Mio can be found on the shelves of the majority of supermarkets alongside popular disposable brands. Bambino Mio offer parents a simple, stylish and environmentally-friendly alternative to disposable products, continuing in their successful efforts to make reusable nappies mainstream.

Selling millions of reusable nappies to countless families, including miosolo all-in-one nappies, miosoft two-piece nappies, baby accessories, swim nappies and potty training pants in a range of stylish designs; Bambino Mio are proud to offer an ever-growing range of products’.

Available in over 50 countries around the world including the UK, USA, Germany, France, Spain and Australia, amongst many others.

Winning over 60 consumer awards across the entire range of Bambino Mio products, such as Mother & Baby, Loved By Parents and Made for Mums.

To mark achievements past, present and future, Bambino Mio has planned a month of festivities including competitions, giveaways, other activity across social media and the creation of video that captures the timeless essence of the Brand. Click here to view Bambino Mio’s birthday video >

In addition, Bambino Mio is relaunching of one of its most popular collections, great britain! Quintessentially British, this iconic design includes Big Ben, the Union Jack, double decker buses, teapots, telephone boxes and more! Whether you’re British or simply have a love for all things London, this collection is a must-have.

great britain is available now in Bambino Mio’s miosolo all-in-one reusable nappy, miosoft two-piece reusable nappy and wet nappy bag. To find out more about these eco-chic products, visit

Bambino Mio manufacture a multi award-winning range of reusable nappies, baby accessories, swim nappies and potty training essentials which are better for baby, better for parents and better for the environment.

*Bambino Mio are the UK’s most widely used reusable nappy brand according to research by MumsViews™ Mum and Baby’s Top 100 research, May 2013.

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All the signals point to success for rail engineer Darren

Posted: 04/10/17 by Northampton College

An aspiring railway engineer from Northampton College is firmly on track for future success having been named the regional winner of the National Apprenticeship Awards.

Darren Stawarz (pictured), a mature student who is currently completing an NVQ at Booth Lane while working as a project engineer at Knorr-Bremse RailServices in Wolverton, was named the East Midlands winner in the Higher or Degree Apprentice category.

Having fought off the challenge of more than 800 entrants, Darren will now progress to the national finals of the awards – which showcase the diverse range of sectors engaged with apprenticeships and celebrate outstanding apprentices and employers.

Darren, aged 34 from Abington, said: “I’ve always been highly driven and I want to do the best I possibly can. I’ve always been of the view that there’s no point doing anything if you don’t do it to the very best of your ability.

“I managed to secure an A* for every assignment at College and I’m delighted to have won this award, it cements the work I’m doing day in, day out and is reward for the effort I have put in.

“It’s actually the second apprenticeship I’ve done at Northampton College and I’m hugely grateful for the support and teaching I’ve received.

“I’m looking forward to continuing in education and I will be moving onto a BSc (Hons) degree at the University of Northampton next year when I complete my apprenticeship. I’m keen to do a Masters after that as well.”

Darren is now involved in recruiting and mentoring new apprentices at Knorr Bremse and has recently taken another Northampton College student, Liam Ward, under his wing.

Meanwhile, another college student and Knorr Bremse apprentice, Liz Lothian, was also recognised at the awards as being ‘highly commended’.

Managing director of Knorr-Bremse RailServices, Nick Fitzwater, said: “We are proud of Darren and Liz and all our apprentices and our long-established apprenticeship training programme. Recognising outstanding achievement through the National Apprenticeship Awards further strengthens the profile of apprenticeships and how important they are to business and our economy.”

Neil Tobin, course leader in engineering at Northampton College, said: “I’m delighted to see the hard work of our students paying off. Both Darren and Liz are exceptional students with a tremendous work ethic and that is clearly standing them in good stead in the workplace.”

For more information on engineering courses available at Northampton College visit

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Free Electric Blanket Testing

Posted: 04/10/17 by Age UK Milton Keynes

Bring your electric blanket in for free electric testing for over 55’s.

To book a time slot for your electric blanket test, please call: 01908 557885.

The testing will be held on: Thursday 26th October, 9.30am-4pm, at:

The Peartree Centre

1 Chadds Lane

Peartree Bridge

Milton Keynes


And while you’re there, make sure you talk to our Handyperson Service about a free Home Energy Check too!

To book and for more information call 01908 550700

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Mobile Tech in 2017 so far…

Posted: 04/10/17 by Oakhill Voice Solutions Ltd

The mobile industry does not stand still and all the major mobile phone manufacturers constantly compete to bring the best devices to you.

It can be difficult to pin down which devices are best for your business, but as Smartphones are quickly becoming a necessity for many organisations, it is vital that you make the right choice.

We have created a summary of the changes that have occurred so far in 2017.


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Artist Debbie Boon visits Northampton Art Gallery

Posted: 04/10/17 by The Rose Gallery

On Saturday 11 November, 11am-4pm the popular English wildlife artist Debbie Boon will be visiting The Rose Gallery (within Bell Showroom) in Kingsthorpe, Northampton.

The event is free to attend and anyone interested in art and the works of Debbie Boon in particular, is warmly invited.

Debbie Boon is well known for her bold, bright and extremely life-like paintings of animals.

Debbie lived in Northamptonshire and attended Loughborough College of Art and it was her rural upbringing which inspired her interest in painting animals and has formed the basis of her successful career.

Debbie aims to capture the striking and sometimes very quirky characters of English rural life, set in Britain’s often breath-taking landscape. She paints horses, hares, and dogs – capturing them with nobility and respect.

Debbie uses heavy acrylic paints and a variety of glazes to create layers of colour and light so conveying texture and movement.

The Rose Gallery has been supplying artwork from leading artists and art publishers to people in Northamptonshire and beyond for 20 years. The Gallery is based in the Bell Showroom, Kingsthorpe Road, Northampton NN2 6LT and also at:

We display art in many different genres: cityscapes, landscapes, still life, figurative, illustrative and equestrian to name but a few and we also offer a bespoke framing service.

“One of the best things about running a gallery is being able to stage live events with an artist,” says The Rose Gallery’s owner Deborah Davey.

“We are all really looking forward to Debbie’s visit which is sure to be an extremely popular and busy event.”

Previous artists who have visited The Rose Gallery include local artist Lee Burrows and the popular Sam Toft.

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World Mental Health Awareness Day Pop-Up Shop

Posted: 04/10/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Kettering Futures Partnership is holding a Pop-Up Shop in the Newlands Shopping Centre at the Gold Street entrance, to publicise mental health and wellbeing.

The event will be open from 10am until 4pm on Tuesday 10th October, with a Workplace Wellbeing theme.

So, whether you’re an individual looking to boost your own well-being, or an employer seeking advice on supporting your staff, the Pop-Up Shop will offer a range of ways to help.

Local organisations, such as Kettering Mind, Credit Union, CAB, British Red Cross, Groundwork, First for Wellbeing, Talent Match, and more will be present on the day to offer advice.

Kettering Futures Partnership is made up of numerous organisations that are working across the Kettering Borough to improve quality of life.

Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, but Tuesday 10th October is a great day to show your support for better mental health and personal wellbeing.

Councillor Mark Rowley, Kettering Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Communications and Youth, said: “World Mental Health Awareness Day is hugely beneficial for those seeking help or advice regarding any mental health concerns they may have.

“I am extremely pleased that the Kettering Futures Partnership and local organisations, such as Kettering Mind, who are one of the largest mental health charities in Northamptonshire, are making this facility available to offer their professional help.”

Julie Trahern, head of customer services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “Poor mental health can affect residents in many different ways, it is events like this that positively contribute to individuals and their families suffering by offering help and guidance that is specifically tailored to each individual in need.”

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Calling all social enterprises – The University of Northampton wants you for a special event

Posted: 04/10/17 by The University of Northampton

The University of Northampton will be getting social later this month with a special event.

Social Saturday is a national initiative co-ordinated by Social Enterprise UK, which showcases the value of organisations with a social mission.

The University will mark Social Saturday, which takes place on 14 October, with an event which will allow social enterprises in the community to connect with each other and raise their profile.

The two-hour event is free to attend and will include presentations by three local community based organisations: The Northants Credit Union, The Incredible Bakery and Elsie’s Café.

Organiser, Paul Connolly, said: “If you are a social enterprise, professional, or just generally interested in Social Saturday, be sure to book yourself in and come along.”

You can book your place by either emailing

For more information see the event page.

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St Andrew’s Mental Health in the Workplace Boot Camp - Wellbeing teams leading the way

Posted: 03/10/17 by St Andrews Healthcare

Throughout the year, St Andrew’s Healthcare offer Mental Health Boot Camps helping people to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Our next Boot Camp, will be in support World Mental Health Day and it’s theme of ‘Mental Health in the Workplace’. It will help you to find a healthier work-life balance.

Drop in anytime between 6 - 8pm to:

  • find out how you can improve your mental wellbeing at work
  • get tips and advice from our own on-site experts and leading local organisations on managing work place stress
  • find out how mindfulness can help you to take a break from the pressures of work and help you build your mental resilience
  • find out how sport, exercise and food can all contribute to positive mental health
  • take part in the FREE yoga and mindfulness sessions tailored to the workplace - please email to confirm your place at these sessions

And we are thrilled to welcome Barclay’s Wellbeing Team and First for Wellbeing to speak at the Boot Camp.

Barclaycard will be sharing the activities and events they offer to staff throughout the year to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance, providing you with ideas that you can take back to your own organisations.

First for Wellbeing have been working with local businesses, such as RS Components and Ricoh, to help these companies’ Wellbeing agendas. They will talk about this process and share some best practice approaches from these organisations.

Event details:

Tuesday 10 October 2017 6-8pm

St Andrew’s Healthcare, Main Building, Northampton

Entry FREE

To sign up for these sessions visit

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Save the date for Christmas Craft Fayre and Quiz Night

Posted: 03/10/17 by Age UK Milton Keynes

Two Save the date events for Age UK Milton Keynes

  • Christmas Craft Fayre - 26 November

Come along to our fundraising Christmas gift and craft fayre.

Join us for a mince pie and a drink while browsing our lovely stalls. We will have many stalls selling hand crafted stocking fillers and festive treats!

LUSH, Burning Time Candles, Emma Hatton, Textiles by Katie Lewis. Laser cut decorations, Pickles and Chutneys, Books, Handmade decorations, knitted hats, gloves and handmade Christmas cards!

Children’s Craft sessions will be on between 12-2pm.

Enjoy a hassle free afternoon shopping away from the city centre, with free parking on site!

At: The Peartree Centre, Peartree Bridge, Milton Keynes, MK16 9AE

  • Christmas Jumper Quiz Night - 8 December at 7.30pm

You are invited to join Age UK Milton Keynes’ jolly fundraising Christmas jumper quiz!

Cash bar and raffle.

£12 a ticket

Eat, drink and be merry! Crack out your best Christmas jumper, leggings, ear rings or just wear some tinsel!

The winning team will receive a hamper to share and 6 tickets to the MK Lightning Vs Dundee game on the Saturday 9th December!

At The Peartree Centre, 1 Chadds Lane, Peartree Bridge, Milton Keynes, MK63EB

Book on Eventbrite or call 01908 557891 or

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Cadet Forces increase social mobility and help disadvantaged kids reach potential report concludes

Posted: 03/10/17 by The University of Northampton

A University of Northampton report demonstrating significant social impact of the UK’s cadet forces, has been welcomed by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.

The newly unveiled research looked at the entire cadet programme and found that joining the cadets offers a range of benefits to the individuals involved, and the wider community.

According to the report’s lead author, these include increasing social mobility and helping kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Meanu Bajwa-Patel, senior researcher at The Institute for Social Innovation and Impact, University of Northampton said: “The evidence so far has been overwhelmingly positive and demonstrates that the Cadet Forces can make a huge difference to social inclusion, social mobility and the mental wellbeing of young people.”

Launching the report at the Albion Academy in Manchester - itself a school which has a Cadet Force - Sir Michael said he was particularly “delighted” to hear of the benefits bestowed
upon cadets from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The ongoing, four-year study by the University’s Institute for Social Innovation and Impact is using Government data and original research to measure the economic and social benefits
delivered by the Cadet Forces.

Its key findings so far include:

  • The social impact of Cadet Forces is vastly greater than the annual cost of the cadet programme to the defence budget.
  • Cadet Forces help children receiving Free School Meals achieve their potential.
  • Children excluded from school who join the Cadets are more likely to have improved attendance and behaviour on their return to school.
  • Cadet Forces help make communities more inclusive by helping people to overcome disadvantages in the way school does not.
  • Serving soldiers who used to be in the Cadets are four times more likely to be a senior non-commissioned officer or an officer.

The report also found that Cadet Forces help to develop an individual’s communication, confidence and leadership skills, as well as increasing their awareness of the Armed Forces and improves respect for veterans.

Speaking during the launch, Sir Michael also announced the approval of 31 new cadet units in state schools across the country under the Cadet Expansion Programme: “Joining the cadets is a great way for young people from all backgrounds to develop leadership, confidence and communication skills.

“I’m delighted that this new report shows the social value the cadet programme brings to the country, in particular helping kids from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their potential.”

The new cadet units, established under the MOD and Department for Education’s Cadet Expansion Programme is backed by £50 million funding from LIBOR fines, which pays for set
up costs, the cadets’ uniforms, equipment and training.

The new units also include the first school cadet unit to be approved under the programme in Wales.

More research on the Cadet Expansion and Cadet Forces across the devolved nations is planned, allowing the research team to evaluate the social impact further, added Meanu: “Participation in cadets clearly life changing for many young people and adult volunteers. The Cadet Forces deliver impact that is directly relevant to the Prime Minister’s vision of a ‘shared society’, and clearly contribute to increasing social mobility and decreasing social disadvantage.”

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Government due to take further action to speed up housing delivery

Posted: 03/10/17 by Robinson & Hall LLP

Following Westminster’s Summer Recess the Government have quickly come out of the traps to announce the next phase of policy reforms geared towards hastening housing delivery across England. Robinson & Hall, Land and Property Professionals explain further… expanding on the February publication of the Housing White Paper the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid has now announced a number of draft mechanisms designed to simplify and speed up both the planning for and delivery of new homes.

The ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places’ consultation, launched on 14th September, sets out a new standardised approach to calculating housing need. This is based on growth figures provided by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which are then to be ‘tweaked’ further in areas of heightened housing demand to ensure the build rate is further accelerated. The new methodology is designed to add certainty, consistency and transparency to the way in which the housing figures, which form the basis of all new local plans, are devised.

A number of the authorities where we are most active are expected to be hit with a significant uplift in the number of homes they are required to plan for when the ONS figures are applied. Central Bedfordshire is most at risk with a discrepancy in its projections of around 1,000 homes per annum - 1,600 compared with the Government’s indicative 2,553. The figures for Aylesbury Vale and Bedford Borough also show notable shortfalls in each – 534 and 331 respectively.

Longer term it is anticipated that the change will help streamline what has become a confusing and litigious process. With all policy changes of this nature, however, short
term delays to local plan delivery should be expected as town halls take stock of what this may mean to them and the future of their own strategies.

Details of the consultation and the Government’s indicative standardised housing figures can be found via the link below.

If you would like to talk to somebody about how the Government’s proposals may impact on your proposals, strategic or otherwise, please contact one of Robinson &
Hall’s Planning & Development team for a chat – we would be pleased to assist.

Call or email Nicola Wheatcroft on 01234 362891 or

Call or email Andrew Barr on 01234 362926 or

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SMEs suffering because of culture of slow payments in UK

Posted: 03/10/17 by Close Brothers Asset Finance

Two thirds of UK SMEs are of the opinion that there is a culture of slow payments in the UK, with the problem particularly acute in London (73%), the South West (72%) and Northern Ireland (87%). The results were obtained from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that questions over 900 UK SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions.

“Late payments are a very real issue for SME business owners,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance (pictured). “In some cases directors are having to defer their own salaries, increase their overdraft or pay their own suppliers late to ensure they remain liquid, causing the vicious circle to continue.

“This is clearly a national issue that spans both regions and industries. For example, 78% of Transport firms are affected by this issue, along with of 74% Manufacturing businesses and 73% of Printers.”

The effects of late payments are multiple, ranging from damage to the supply chain and business reputation to impacting credit ratings and consequently the ability to access further funding.

“We should also not forget the very real human impact because, in many cases, the ability to pay staff in full and on time is a consequence of late payments,” continued Neil.

Legal advice

One in four firms in the UK have been forced to seek legal advice because of slow payments, while in the Republic of Ireland the figure is significantly higher at 41%.

“In the sectors we serve the figures are, in most instances, higher than the national average,” said Neil. “Construction (30%), Engineering (38%), Manufacturing (37%) and Transport (33%) all track higher than the rest of the UK.”

Suitable legislation

Not only are many SMEs seeking legal advice, but 74% don’t feel that suitable legislation exists in support of SMEs to counteract slow payment by debtors, with firms in the East (85%) and West (84%) Midlands feeling particularly strongly about this issue.

“What these results confirm is that late payments are not merely a regional or sector issue, but one that is felt across the SME community,” said Neil.

For more news from Close Brothers Asset Finance please click here.

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Share your views as part of sites consultation

Posted: 03/10/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Members of the public are being asked to contribute their views on a host of sites put forward for potential development as part of the Local Plan Part 2.

The Local Plan is a statutory document that sets out the long-term strategy for how and where development should happen in the town, and how it will be delivered. The Plan will provide detailed planning policies and identify areas for development, as well as areas that should be protected from development up to 2029.

As part of this work, last year the Borough Council carried out a call for sites, seeking for those who owned property and land across the borough with development potential to come forward. Now members of the public have an opportunity to share comments and feedback on the sites identified which might help meet the housing needs of the borough.

Councillor Tim Hadland, Council Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “We now have a comprehensive site list and before we can proceed, we must consult the public on the areas involved.

“The list identifies a wide range of sites and is not intended to assess their viability. Some will be absolutely appropriate for development and others might not.

“Consultation at this stage will see the publication of maps outlining the positions of every site, so residents can see precisely which sites have been identified and can comment on them.

“The Local Plan is the blueprint for development of the Town in the future, and I would urge everyone to become involved in this latest stage of the process.”

Full details are available online at The consultation will remain open until 13 November 2017.

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BS OHSAS 18001 will safeguard your staff, reputation and business opportunities

Posted: 03/10/17 by IMSM Ltd

Demonstrating a rigorous approach to occupational health and safety is vital within today’s legislative environment. Although legal compliance to the raft of occupational health and safety legislation may be sufficient, businesses with a company-wide commitment to managing the health and safety of their staff stand out from the competition.

“Our health and safety policy was very robust, but this has now been tweaked to conform to ISO and is stronger as a result, ” Scott Carr, Toureen Mangan.

What is BS OHSAS 18001?

OHSAS 18001 is a British Standard, rather than an ISO and is designed to work alongside UK health and safety legislation. Like ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 it is a generic standard that can be applied to businesses of all sizes; it is based on the idea of embedding systems and processes, tailored to your business, that define how health and safety issues are managed across the business.

The standard promotes a safer working environment by heightening adherence to your health and safety policy and procedures at all levels of the organisation. As well as looking after your most valuable asset – your employees – BS OHSAS 18001 gives potential clients assurance of your effective risk management procedures and full regulatory compliance.

How will BS OHSAS 18001 help my business?

A fit-for-purpose health and safety policy that is assessed as BS OHSAS 18001 compliant demonstrates due diligence, good governance and a competent management committed to health and safety in the workplace. Other benefits of the standard include:

  • Improved performance and morale of your employees
  • Improved efficiencies in health and safety budgeting for costs such as training, ensuring that money is well spent and related to real needs of the organisation
  • Greater reassurance of stakeholders that you are taking all reasonable steps to protect the business against damage to your reputation and breach of legislation
  • BS OHSAS 18001 is increasingly a pre-requisite for companies wishing to tender for contracts within certain industries

Like other standards, BS OHSAS 18001 is not a one-off exercise. Regular reviews keep health and safety at the forefront of people’s minds, reducing your risk of non-compliance and demonstrating due diligence.

Please contact Andrew Tomkinson on 07803 593390 or

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TSC Transport Cafe: Support and Networking Event on Accessibility

Posted: 03/10/17 by Transport Systems Catapult Ltd

We’d like to invite you to our next Transport Café: SME Support and Networking event.

This Transport Cafe will be themed around transport accessibility. You will also hear about exciting developments in the Intelligent Mobility (IM) sector, and have the opportunity to meet the TSC team and other exciting businesses from within the IM industry.

The event will be held on 25th October between 9:30am and 12pm at Transport Systems Catapult, with a networking opportunity afterwards.

We would be delighted if you could join us.

Please click here to register for the event

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Explore Sourdough and learn to make your own Cheese & Butter at Bay Tree Cottage!

Posted: 03/10/17 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

If you’re a cheese enthusiast or a lover of sourdough bread, with its distinctive taste and character, we have two hands-on workshops coming up where you can learn the skills to make your own!

Exploring Sourdough - Tuesday 10 October - 9.30am-3pm - £75 per person

Sourdough expert Paul Raddan from Rugby Real Bread is leading this workshop where we will celebrate all things sourdough!

During the day you will learn how to produce your own sourdough loaves, including a wheat sourdough and a traditional pumpernickel-style dark rye bread.

You’ll also go home with your own pot of mature sourdough starter so you’re ready to carry on baking.

Cheese & Butter Making - Thursday 12 October - 9.30am-3pm - £75 per person

Spend the day with tutor Neil Clarke who will teach you the art of cheese and butter making at home without the need for any special equipment.

Learn how to separate cream from whole milk as you churn some butter yourself, and discover the cheese making process as you make a Cheshire type hard cheese, using a traditional farmhouse method, and a soft curd cheese.

Refreshments are provided throughout the workshops, including a homemade lunch

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Halloween Curry & Quiz for Age UK Milton Keynes

Posted: 03/10/17 by Age UK Milton Keynes

Age UK Milton Keynes invites you to a fundraising halloween quiz!

Held at: The Peartree Centre, 1 Chadds Lane, Peartree Bridge, MK6 3EB

Thursday 24th October at 7pm

£12 a ticket

Curry dinner, cash bar and raffle.

Fancy dress prizes!

The winning team will receive a hamper to share and 6 tickets to the MK Lightning Vs Edinburgh game on the 26th October.

One quiz ticket at £12 can provide one hour’s advice and support from an experiences, fully trained adviser on the telephone or in an office.

To book call 01908 557891 or email

Registered charity 1079773

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Tasty new premium breads launched by Central Foods

Posted: 02/10/17 by Central Foods Ltd

Frozen food distributor Central Foods has unveiled a mouth-watering and eye-catching range of new breads for foodservice operators.

Both the KaterBake flavoured wraps and the KaterBake Premium Fine Dining Roll Selection provide operators with something special, as the appetite for innovative and artisanal breads continues to rise.

Suitable for a wide range of different meal occasions throughout the day, the KaterBake Pumpkin Wrap and the KaterBake Beetroot Wrap each contains one of the recommended
five-a-day fruit and vegetable intake. Both are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, are dairy free and high in fibre, and are guaranteed to liven up a sandwich or snack display and add excitement to dining menus.

The 12-inch diameter colourful wraps are ideal for tapping into a number of current eating trends such as street food, healthier options and the next generation of breads. Plus, they
provide a stunning carrier for tasty fillings.

Meanwhile the KaterBake Premium Fine Dining Roll Selection is the perfect way to bring a traditional bread basket up to date. Featuring a mix of premium sourdough bread rolls in multigrain square, fennel and caraway seed, white torpedo, and beetroot flavours, each roll has an artisan appearance, with the range of different shapes and colours providing a visually appealing variety.

The new KaterBake selection is also perfect for a number of current trends such as the next generation luxury breads, the premiumisation of commodity products and the striking colours and savoury ‘earth’ flavours that consumers love today.

“The genuine sourdough rolls are made from the bakery’s original 20-year-old ‘mother dough’, which captures yeast naturally present in the air, not just added to the dough like some other bakeries,” said Central Foods MD Gordon Lauder. “The ‘mother dough’ is replenished with flour and water every day, meaning that each and every roll contains a part of the original 20-year-old dough mix. It is this original ‘mother dough’ that defines the deliciousness of bread and creates a taste and texture that just cannot be replicated any other way, ensuring our rolls are not only artisan but also premium.”

High in fibre, dairy free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans, each roll is approximately 45g in size.

“Our new KaterBake ranges are perfect for many of the latest eating trends and are both stunning in looks and taste,” added Gordon. “Frozen breads are ideal for caterers, as they really deliver on the flavour and presentation front when as fresh as possible, so it makes sense for caterers to have breads to hand in frozen format. It means they have a constant supply of ‘fresh’ stock to ensure they give their customers great-tasting and attractive food.

“Frozen food is also very useful as a back-up, in case demand outstrips supply. And of course, being able to defrost and serve just what is required, for items like bread, is key to reducing waste. This helps cut unnecessary costs and avoid unnecessary wastage – something that we should all be striving to do, whatever the type of the catering operation.”

The new bread ranges complement the wide selection of sweet and savoury bakery products offered by Central Foods, which include naans, tortillas, flatbreads, pitta breads, chapattis, sub rolls, crumpets, doughnuts, American pancakes, crepes, scones and other items.

Central Foods, which is based at Collingtree near Northampton, supplies more than 220 independent wholesalers, as well as larger national and regional wholesalers. It also supplies to foodservice caterers across the entire foodservice industry, including pubs, hotels, restaurants, staff canteens, schools, hospitals, coffee shops, football grounds and universities.

Offering a one-stop shop to the foodservice sector, Central Foods sources products from around the world and the UK, supplying more than 400 different lines, ranging from meat, bakery items and canapés through to buffet products, desserts and puddings.

The company has steadily grown since it was founded 21 years ago, and recently was named for the first time in a report by Grant Thornton as being in the top 100 companies in Northamptonshire. The company was also a finalist in the Family Business United Family Business of the Year Awards 2017 for the Midlands.

For more details about Central Foods, visit

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Diwali celebrations to light up the town centre

Posted: 02/10/17 by Northampton Borough Council

This year’s family-friendly Diwali celebrations are set to light up the town centre on Saturday, 14 October.

Organised by the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation and supported by Northampton Borough Council, this year’s celebrations will take place on the Market Square and will include food and information stalls, fun activities, entertainment and the annual lantern procession.

Beginning at 10am, this year’s celebrations kick off with stalls offering food and drink, and information about local organisations.

Family friendly activities such as henna painting and saree dressing start at 1pm. As do the stage performances from local children and music Inspiration FM.

Dignitaries will take to the stage at 4.30pm to officially welcome people to the celebrations and to help launch a week of partnership activity in the town, for national
Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Children from seven local schools will later join the Borough Council’s Youth Forum and organisers in the lantern parade, which starts at All Saints Church at 6pm. Crowd-pleasing light structures such as Harminder the Elephant and Shanti the big bird will be joined this year by giant puppets of Ram and Sita.

The procession will follow its usual route up Abington Street, onto Fish Street, past the Guildhall and along the Drapery to the Market Square, where the celebrations will come to a close with bhangra music and dance demonstrations.

Cllr Anna King, the Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “Diwali is an important event in our town’s calendar, which brings together local communities
as we celebrate this fantastic festival. We hope that everyone will come along on Saturday to enjoy the day time activities in the Market Square as well as the parade in the evening.”

Neelam Aggarwal-Singh MBE, chairperson for the Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation, said: “I am excited and looking forward to our annual Diwali celebrations, which will bring the people of Northampton together to celebrate this important Hindu Festival of Lights. It’s also fantastic to see so many schools taking part and we look forward to welcoming all children, parents and families to the celebrations.”

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Students set up a club to make a positive impact on Northampton

Posted: 02/10/17 by The University of Northampton

Students from the University of Northampton are urging their peers to join them and create positive change in the community.

Undergraduates Samantha Hernandez, Marie King and Toby Baily (pictured: left to right) are busy recruiting students to join the University’s new Rotaract Club.

Rotaract is an international service organisation for 18 to 30 year olds which provides a platform to bring about positive change though social action, collaboration and friendship.

The trio are in the middle of a recruitment drive, with the aim of having at least 15 members signed up, which would then allow the interest group to become an official club, affiliated to Rotary International and mentored by the Rotary District 1070’s E-Club.

Samantha said: “The club is all about volunteering, fundraising and supporting charities in whatever way we can.

Our first event of the term will be a litter pick on The Racecourse, Northampton, on 24 October, and after that we’ll be contacting charities in the area to find out how we can help them.”

Dr Jim Davies, Rotary District 1070 Rotaract Chair, and an associate professor at the University, added: “Rotaract provides the platform for global networking opportunities that change communities for the better with more than 290,000 Rotaractors in 177 countries.

“Rotaract provides the platform for personal and leadership development and improves employability, it develops lifelong friendships and gives a real sense of achievement through improving the lives of others.”

You can follow the University’s Rotaract Club on Twitter @Rotaract_UON17.

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Simon Represents Kettering at Small Business Saturday HQ

Posted: 02/10/17 by Simon Cox Marketing Solutions Limited

This Thursday, 5th October, Kettering Business Network leader and business owner Simon Cox will be representing Kettering at the Blue Tie Celebration event being held at Small Business Saturday HQ in London.

The event is an annual event and will celebrate the Small Biz 100 (featuring 100 small businesses from across the UK) as well as awarding the Francesca Kemp Community Award for 2017 and will see Small Business leaders come together from across the UK to help start the countdown towards this year’s Small Business Saturday campaign.

This year, Simon is looking to talk to Kettering-based small business owners to get involved with the campaign with a view of highlighting what small businesses there are in Kettering and aim towards consumers considering to shop with a small local business.

If you are a small business owner in Kettering town centre who would like to be included in the Small Business campaign, please contact Simon on 01536 869688.

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