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Has your Charity obtained its legal entity identifier (LEI)?

Posted: 17/11/17 by Wilson Browne Solicitors

If your charity invests and trades on the financial markets in the UK you will need to apply to for an LEI by 3rd January 2018.

All legal entities, including trusts (except bare trusts), companies, pension funds (except self-invested personal pensions), charities and unincorporated bodies that are parties to financial transactions will need an LEI.

An LEI is a code unique to that legal entity or structure. When an LEI code is allocated to you, the code is included in a global data system. This enables every legal entity or structure that is a party to a relevant financial transaction to be identified in any jurisdiction.

There is a fee for obtaining your LEI, this can vary from provider to provider but generally in the region of £150.

If the LEI has not been obtained by 3 January 2018 then investment firms will not be able to provide your Charity with investment services.

LEI numbers are available from bodies endorsed by the Legal Entity Identifier Regulatory Oversight Committee (LEIROC) as an authorised local operating unit for the global allocation of LEI numbers.

Call a Member of our Charity Team on 0800 088 6004 who will be happy to assist your Charity Trustees obtain your Legal Entity Identifier in time for January 2018.

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University of Northampton represents leather and industry in this year’s Lord Mayor’s Show

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

Staff and students from the University of Northampton’s Institute for Creative Leather Technology (ICLT) were fortunate enough to take part in the prestigious procession that was part of the Lord Mayor’s Show on Saturday 11 November.

Rachel Garwood, Director of the ICLT and Professor Tony Covington, Director of Research, were invited to join the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers’ on its float to represent industry and education.

They were joined by eight students; Calum Bryan, Barry Hanlon, Cadel Thomas, Aaran Humphries, Loren Buckingham, Beth Hudson, Kellie Neighbour and Victoria Lily Cuthbertson. The students were dressed to represent both the technology and science of leather making; with four in blue lab coats carrying red leathers (technology) and four in white lab coats carrying test tubes (science).

Both Alumni of the University, Rachel and Tony were robed up in MSc and DSc gowns respectively to represent leather education. Notably Professor Covington holds the only DSc attributed to research in Leather Science in the world.

The Lord Mayor’s Show is a procession of more than 6,500 people, 165 horses, 20 bands and 35 carriages. It set off from Mansion House just after 11am to the Royal Courts before returning back to Mansion House. The various floats comprised of companies such as the Donkey Breed Society, Royal Air Force, Greene King, the AA, the Dogs Trust and Girl Guiding.

Rachel Garwood said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for both academics and students to be invited by the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers to be part of this prestigious procession. And with the great coverage by the BBC, it was an ideal opportunity to both highlight the charitable work carried out by the Leathersellers and also increase the profile of leather education at the University of Northampton on a national level.”

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Compensation Claims for Damage Caused by Tree Roots and Branches

Posted: 16/11/17 by Wilson Browne Solicitors

Tree roots can cause significant damage to houses, either through direct damage to underground structures (for example by breaking into drains or foundations) or by causing indirect damage by changing the water content of the soil, in particular clay soil as is found throughout many cities.

Particular trees such as willow are more likely to cause indirect damage, as a result of their ability to draw water from the soil by the roots. As it dehydrates, soil shrinks, and as it rehydrates after for instance, greater winter rainfall, the soil can swell. The alternate shrinking and swelling can cause movement to structures on or in the soil, and tree roots can contribute to this effect on neighbouring land, whether or not the roots encroach across the boundary into that land.

Certain trees cause damage due to their particular fine root structures such as poplars, willows, elms and oaks. We have specific experience of cases where settlement or subsidence has required underpinning of all of the relevant house/structure affected by the subsidence, and in many cases the damage to the property itself will need to be remedied in addition to steps being taken to either fell the tree or prune the top of the tree to heavily reduce transpiration (the amount of evaporation from the leaves, which results in the tree drawing more water from the soil through its roots).

Claims for Damages Following Tree Root Damage

There is a duty of a tree owner to do what is reasonable to prevent or minimise the risk of damage to any neighbouring properties. This duty arises where a neighbour either knows that the tree is encroaching over the boundary through its roots or branches, or ought to have been aware of this as a result of, for instance, the size of the tree or the obvious position of the tree in relation to a neighbouring property.

If in addition to knowing of the encroachment of the tree roots, there is an obvious risk that this encroachment will cause damage, then a duty is established. So, to take the example of a very small tree planted right next to a boundary, a neighbour would know that the tree is encroaching, but there would be no reasonably foreseeable risk of damage as a result due to the small size of the tree. The individual circumstances of each case need to be looked at, but a reasonable proposition is that if there is a large tree near to a boundary, and the boundary is near to a neighbouring property, then it can certainly be argued that a neighbour should have been aware of encroachment, or actually know of encroachment, and that there was a reasonably foreseeable risk of damage as a result of the tree.

A neighbour can be held liable for damage caused, even if some damage has occurred before they bought their property. This is because an owner of land continues a nuisance (and this type of claim is based on a legal nuisance) if with knowledge of the existence they failed to take reasonable steps to bring it to an end.

Proving That Damage was Caused by the Tree Roots

This aspect of any legal claim is known as “causation”. In addition to showing that it was foreseeable that damage would happen, and that the roots were encroaching over the boundary and the neighbour knew of this or should have known of it, every homeowner who has suffered damage will have to show that the damage was caused by the tree roots.

There might be many different competing factors, including faulty construction, settlement common to a particular part of the country even where there are no tree roots present, and there might be a number of trees, each of which could be arguably contributing to the damage, and which were on different properties. Although the starting point is to prove exactly what caused the damage, a claim can still succeed if desiccation from the tree roots makes a material contribution to the damage, it does not always have to be the only cause. This is helpful to a claimant where there might be competing causes.

Claims Against Councils

Many claims for damage caused by tree roots are as a result of a local authority failing to take steps to prevent damage from trees found adjacent to a pavement, despite the fact that most of them have regular preventative pruning standards. It is much easier to show that a local council is aware of the potential of damage than an individual homeowner, and as long as it can be shown that the damage was foreseeable, and actually was caused or contributed to by the tree roots, claims against local authorities regularly succeed.

You Must Prove More Than Damage

However, whether in relation to a claim against a local authority or a neighbour, it is important to realise that there is no “strict liability”. The risk of damage must be one which a reasonable person in the tree owner’s position would have regarded as a real risk, not just a vague possibility. So if the possibility of soil shrinkage and subsidence was merely a vague outside chance, then if damage occurs but it is not reasonably foreseeable, then a claim will be difficult to sustain.

What Damage Can Be Compensated?

If damage has been caused that requires building work to remedy, for instance, underpinning, or repairs to cracks, then this can be claimed providing the other legal requirements are satisfied. In some cases, if the damage is on-going, it is possible to apply to the Court for an injunction to force the neighbour to either fell or manage the tree properly so that further damage is prevented in future.

One other area of claim relates to a potential reduction in the value of the property. Even once remedial work has taken place (for instance underpinning) it may be that a property is tainted by the subsidence; meaning that it may be difficult to sell for the same value as a neighbouring identical property that isn’t underpinned, and it may be that insurance premiums are more expensive, and in some circumstances insurance can be very difficult to obtain at all.

Many homeowners may be tempted to allow their home insurers to reach a concluded negotiated settlement with either the local authority or a neighbouring homeowner if they have suffered from subsidence. This may be a big mistake. Most insurers will only negotiate in relation to payment of insured risks, and a reduction to the equity in the property is generally not an insured risk. Any homeowner who has suffered from significant subsidence as a result of tree root damage should consider obtaining expert legal advice in relation to the value of the claim. There is otherwise a significant risk that if you rely upon negotiation between insurance companies you would be left with a property that is worth perhaps 20% less than a neighbouring property, without any compensation having been obtained by your insurance company.

Claims require expert consideration, and in many cases experts of the correct sort need to be instructed, for instance, an arboriculturalist to advise on whether or not the tree in question caused or materially contributed to the damage caused, and specific expert surveyors and property valuers.

Wilson Browne Solicitors are experts in claims relating to tree root damage. We can assist to ensure that your claim is put forward in the correct value, and with the best possible prospects of success.

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Makita’s New Factory Service Centre & Training Academy In Glasgow Has A National Role

Posted: 16/11/17 by Makita Ltd

Makita UK has opened their first regional Factory Service Centre (FSC) & Training Academy in Glasgow’s Govan commercial district to support the rapidly expanding market penetration of Britain’s number 1 professional power tool range in Scotland and Northern England. Whilst this new facility is already providing a valuable regional role, the FSC has already been awarded the national responsibility for the secure environment of servicing Makita’s comprehensive range of dust extraction machines.

To carry out maintenance or repair functions on an extractor approved for use with Class L, M or H dust particulates, the repair facility must protect both the technician working on the machine as well as the workshop environment from dust contamination should material escape from the extractor. The FSC facility will now handle all dust extraction servicing for the brand right across the UK.

“The protection of our staff is paramount and that is why we have made this substantial investment,” says Norman Dodds, manager of service & training at the Glasgow FSC.

The Factory Service Centre & Training Academy covers nearly 1000m³ on South Street in the G14 area and delivers technical repairs and maintenance services for the full range of Makita products, including all mains and cordless construction machines, and the rapidly expanding range of grounds care tools, including petrol engine products.

Training is a cornerstone of Makita’s marketing success ensuring that both authorised distributors and operators are fully conversant with the power tools, how to obtain the best performance from the machines and how to maintain them for efficiency and productivity. Makita offers a full itinerary of training courses covering the extensive product range.

A key course: The Correct and Safe Use of Handheld Power Tools is a City & Guilds accredited course which offers either a user certificate or instructor certificate upon successful completion of the course. The theory element of courses is held in a lecture theatre, followed by the essential hands-on practical work which is carried out in specially adapted and fully equipped training workshops. Courses, including Health & Safety related and Correct Use, are of 1 – 2 days duration.

Any CITB certificated courses, which may include a combination of in-house and on-site training, relate to Abrasive Wheel training; an instructor’s course or user course. Gas Nailer user training, chainsaw cross cutting and service courses, are also available.

“We are receiving a very warm welcome from all sectors of the power tool industry in this part of the world,” reports Norman Dodds. “I foresee that we will need to increase our staff and in particular our training personnel as demand grows from both employers and operators who can now benefit from this convenient location.”

For more news and product information about Makita UK please visit Follow us on Twitter @MakitaUK, and


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Chancellor must simplify tax system in Autumn Budget, says Grant Thornton Milton Keynes

Posted: 16/11/17 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget announcement next week (Wednesday 22 November), the Milton Keynes office of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton is calling for a fundamental review of the UK tax regime to ensure it is fit for purpose in a post Brexit world.

Grant Thornton’s analysis suggests an overhaul of the UK’s 1,100 plus tax reliefs, which are estimated to cost over £400bn a year, could have a positive impact on the public purse and economic growth both locally and nationally. Simplifying the system would also offer clarity and efficiency for businesses and individuals in Milton Keynes, and in the wake of the release of the ‘Paradise Papers’, make the tax regime harder to abuse.

Kevin Gale at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office (pictured here), said: “Tax reliefs are designed to help maintain competitiveness, redistribute wealth and influence good, long term, behaviour. In principal, they should be of great benefit but as with the rest of the UK tax system, they are shrouded in complexity, leaving them open to abuse or closed off to those who are eligible.

“For tax reliefs to be used efficiently and for their intended purpose, government needs to clearly outline its plans for the UK economy, the behaviours it wants to encourage and the sectors it wants to grow - then create reliefs to support this.

“As we move closer to exiting the EU, this is more important than ever to ensure we have the right reliefs in place to support a flourishing post-Brexit economy. For example, if we want to develop a stronger export culture, then tax credits that support businesses in researching and entering new markets would be beneficial.

“This would also act as a wake up call for some businesses to accept that society now expects corporates to do the right thing on tax, irrespective of what convoluted laws might allow them to do.

“Finally, it is clear that even a basic understanding of how tax works, its role in society and the impact it has on individuals and companies, is essential. We suggest that basic tax education is mandatory for all Key Stage 2 pupils to provide a foundation for future generations.”

Further recommendations from Grant Thornton Milton Keynes for the 2017 Budget include:

  • For ‘profits with purpose’ to become the new normal, supported by measures such as a firm commitment that all future government contracts be with businesses that make a positive contribution to society.
  • Put collaboration at the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy. For example, prioritise action to boost UK exports by encouraging small and larger firms to work together, supported by new export tax credits to help fund the cost of researching new markets. Also, encourage collaboration between employers and education by introducing a new school performance target for every pupil to have at least one interaction with an employer per year. This would help ensure young people are equipped with job ready skills for the future.

  • Equip towns, cities and rural areas to create vibrant local economies by continuing to devolve powers from Brussels and Westminster to local areas.

Kevin concludes: “We ask that government is brave in its approach and strips our tax system back to one that supports the local and national economy. Only then will tax reliefs perform their intended function.”

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Onefoursix adds extra GDPR Lunch and Learn session due to demand

Posted: 16/11/17 by Onefoursix Ltd

Northampton marketing agency Onefoursix, which hosts the town’s Lunch and Learn events for local businesses, has added a second November date due to the popularity of this month’s topic – GDPR.

Running since 2015, the company’s Lunch and Learn events take place monthly, and offer attendees an educational seminar on a business topic and networking over a buffet lunch, for £15 a person, with profits going to local children’s cancer charity Alfe’s Cause.

This month Onefoursix decided to run a Lunch and Learn session on the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into force in 2018. This European legislation is designed to replace the current Data Protection Act and will apply to ALL businesses and how they hold their data and contact people – be that through marketing or simply keeping customer records.

Dave Williams, managing director of Onefoursix, said: “The subject - Everything You Need To Know About GDPR – focusses on something which is going to affect every business from every industry, so everyone is understandably keen to find out more. Even though there is a wealth of information and events available to educate businesses and get them GDPR-ready, there is still a lot of fear and confusion out there.”

Fellow director, Tom Jullings, added: “We wanted to present the key facts and offer advice in an informal, friendly and affordable way. We knew this would be a popular one as it is a ‘hot topic’ right now, but even we hadn’t anticipated that we would need to run a second event to cope with demand!”

Aside from running an additional Lunch and Learn event in November, another sign that the concept is growing in popularity is that Lunch and Learn made it through to the finals
of the recent SME Northamptonshire Business Awards in the Networking Group of the Year category.

Dave said: “We were delighted to be finalists in the Networking Group of the Year category at the SME Northamptonshire Business Awards and we were up against some tough competition - in fact, it was a privilege to see our name listed beside theirs.

“The rising popularity of Lunch and Learn proves that there is a demand in this area for affordable knowledge sharing and networking opportunities for SMEs. All of this, while raising money for an amazing local children’s cancer charity at the same time. We are very grateful to everybody for their continued support.”

The ‘Everything You Need To Know About GDPR’ Lunch and Learn sessions will be held between 12pm and 2pm at Dapper Sandwich on Wellingborough Road in Northampton on Tuesday 21st November and Thursday 23rd November. The Thursday event is sold out but tickets can be purchased for the Tuesday session via Eventbrite or by contacting Onefoursix on 01604 419776.

Pictured: Tom Jullings (left) and Dave Williams.

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Free web copy re-write

Posted: 16/11/17 by Copywriter Pro

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To find out more about your free web copy upgrade. Call today on 01604 378495.

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Helping our staff to prosper

Posted: 16/11/17 by Prosper

Congratulations to Ben Mason (pictured here), architectural assistant at Prosper for completing his Architectural Practice Postgraduate Diploma from De Montfort University. Completion of the course now allows Ben to register with the ARB (Architect’s Registration Board) and become a chartered member of RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).

“Learning the best procedures for practice management and contract law were particularly interesting aspects of the course,” said Ben. “The real-life experience I gained in the office was invaluable during this study period as it provided me with a strong foundation to reflect upon and allowed me to explore these elements of practice in more detail.”

“Prosper has been fully supportive of Ben’s progression through the training process for achieving the qualification of Architect,” said Ken Wallace, associate director at Prosper.

“This Diploma isn’t handed out lightly so we congratulate Ben on his consistent hard work over the years. Ben adopted the ‘work placement’ route to obtaining the qualification which takes longer, but we have benefitted greatly from his wholehearted participation in the project in the office during that time. The enhancement of staff skills is a core principle within the practice and we are pleased to have been able to assist Ben in this achievement.”

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The Lowdown at Northamptonshire Business Expo - Corby

Posted: 16/11/17 by The Lowdown

The Lowdown are really excited to join other businesses tomorrow at Northamptonshire Business Expo in Corby.

We have been invited by Sheila Smith to hold a Seminar which will be hosted by Theresa Donaghue, our Services Manager, on The Lowdown Services and Mental Health in the Workplace.

Please come along to the Event 10am-4pm but especially at 3pm to hear more about The Lowdown, and what we do to support young people in the county with Counselling, Sexual Health and LGBTQ Support Services in Northamptonshire.

It’s going to be a great event!

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Guide to Squatter Evictions in Commercial Premises

Posted: 16/11/17 by Wilson Browne Solicitors

As an owner of commercial property, you may already be aware of the difficulties that can be caused by a client’s premises being left empty.

It was estimated in February 2016 by Policy Exchange (a leading UK think tank and Educational Charity) that there are more than 500 hectares of empty or underutilised industrial land across London which is equivalent to over 750 football pitches. It is likely to be a similar picture across much of the country.

A very real threat during this time is that empty commercial premises can become occupied by squatters. Squatters often move from one industrial unit to another and can be highly organised and efficient. There are groups set up to advise squatters of their legal rights such as the Advisory Service For Squatters. Inevitably, local Police forces are stretched and will not become involved in removing squatters from commercial premises.

The only safe remedy is for you to take action in the Civil Courts. If you are not an expert in the law then it can be frustrating in obtaining an order from the Courts which can result in increased legal costs, further loss of income and damage to commercial premises.

This is where Wilson Browne Solicitors can help. We have just been awarded the title of Large Law firm of the Year by the Northamptonshire Law Society, as well as being shortlisted for two national Law Society awards. The firm is also recognised in the Legal 500 as being a strong regional firm with a wide range of expertise. We have the connections to help you but at a price that your clients will appreciate. We are able to offer you an efficient, cost effective, one stop shop that can give you access to Chambers and High Court Enforcement Officers that ensure the process is dealt with quickly and efficiently, and squatters are removed and the premises are secured to prevent re-entry.

Very recently we obtained a Possession Order from a County Court in the morning and then arranged for an application to be made to High Court two hours later and obtained a Writ of Possession. This meant that the squatters were evicted from the premises shortly afterwards by High Court enforcement officers.

Testimonials can be provided on request and you can be sure that if you recommend us to your clients they will be in safe hands. If you wish to discuss any issues raised in this article then please do not hesitate to contact David Farmer on 0800 088 6004. David is an Associate in our Commercial Litigation team and is a member of the Property Litigation Association. He will be happy to discuss your case with you on a confidential basis and provide expert advice as and when required.

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Charity Link asks local businesses to ‘Get Funky’

Posted: 16/11/17 by Charity Link in Northamptonshire

Chamber member, Charity Link, is asking local businesses to ‘Get Funky’ by supporting its annual dress up day, Wear a Funky Scarf Day, on Friday 26th January 2018.

The annual event - part of the charity’s Poverty Action Week activities (Monday 22nd – Sunday 28th January) - encourages colleagues to ‘funk up’ their neckwear and give a donation. The charity also encourages businesses to enjoy other fundraising activity on the day, such as sweepstakes, cake sales and raffles.

Whilst the day aims to be great fun for those taking part at what can be a gloomy time of year, the day does have a serious message, as many of the vulnerable local people Charity Link supports are unable to afford to keep themselves warm over winter.

Susan McEniff, director at Charity Link, says: “Many local people are currently going without the very basics in life, such as adequate food or a warm, safe place to sleep. We believe that all local people deserve a decent standard of living, no matter what crisis, illness, disability or difficulty they may be facing.

“We hope that local businesses will have a great time supporting Wear a Funky Scarf Day whilst knowing that funds raised will help to buy more essential items, such as clothing, beds and cookers to really make a difference.”

For more information or for a Wear a Funky Scarf Day fundraising pack, please visit or email

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University of Northampton Postgraduate Information Evening

Posted: 15/11/17 by The University of Northampton

Are you or your colleagues interested in gaining relevant postgraduate qualifications that could help you in your career?

The University of Northampton is hosting a Postgraduate Information Evening at John Franklin’s (Royal & Derngate theatre bar) and invite prospective postgraduate students to drop in to speak to us about your options.

Postgraduate Information Evening

Monday 27 November 2017, 5pm until 7pm.

John Franklin’s, 21 Guildhall Rd, Northampton NN1 1DP

The event is an opportunity for anyone interested in returning to higher education to discover the postgraduate study options available at The University of Northampton. The options span a range of subjects and awards including MA, MSc, PGdip, PGCE and MBA, as well as postgraduate research degrees; PhDs, MPhils and professional doctorates in business (DBA) and health and social care (DProfPrac).

What can you expect?

  • Meet academic staff and get detailed information on courses and modules
  • Get one-to-one guidance about applying for a place
  • Speak to current University of Northampton postgraduate students
  • Find out about fees and funding options that are available such as a £10k postgraduate loan or 20% off course fees for returning alumni* and which scholarships you could apply for
  • Take a virtual reality tour of our new Waterside campus

Visit the university’s website, to book a place, or for more information please email, or phone 0300 303 2772.

You can also find out more by visiting the university’s dedicated Postgraduate Portal.

If you aren’t able to attend this event, you can also visit Postgraduate Events Page to see all the university’s upcoming events.

*terms and conditions apply

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Christmas Jumper Quiz Night - Friday, 8th December @ 7pm

Posted: 15/11/17 by Age UK Milton Keynes

You are invited to join Age UK Milton Keynes’ jolly fundraising Christmas jumper quiz! An alternative to the typical Christmas night out.

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, MK6 3EB

Date & Time: Friday, 8th December. 7pm onwards

Book on Eventbrite or call 01908 557891 or

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View from a DACT Volunteer

Posted: 15/11/17 by Daventry Area Community Transport

I was 48 years old when health issues brought my successful career as a Business Development Consultant in the Motor Industry to an abrupt end. I vowed that I would never become committed to any company ever again. When in recovery I decided to turn my hobby of singing Country Music into a way of life. I was quite successful and launched my own agency, finding work for other artistes as well as myself. This I did for five years before eventually taking on one of the pubs I was associated with. I never wanted a pub but saw it as a new challenge which involved a new learning curve.

I spent the last seven years of my “Working life” at this canal side pub in Derbyshire. During my time as Landlord, I met and married my wife, regained my faith and turned a loss making business into profit, eventually selling up and retiring in February 2017. Like most people I thought retirement was about being able to relax and be something to look forward to. However, when the time actually arrived, it came as quite a shock to the system.

I heard that DACT were always looking for volunteers so I came into the office and was welcomed with open arms and bribed with a cup of coffee and biscuits. The team seemed a friendly bunch so I immediately signed up for both car and mini bus driving.


A sense of belonging

This is something we immediately miss when we retire or lose our jobs through redundancy. It is a kind of bereavement. Working within the DACT team has given me so much more than I ever imagined.

Feel good factor

People have said how good it is of me to volunteer. Well, I am of the opinion that no one does anything for nothing. The most caring and devoted people who give their time so selflessly to help others will probably agree that the rewards from volunteering are bountiful, and that in truth we probably get much more back than we give.

Contact with a variety of people

As an entertainer, I still play music in Care Homes and Community Centres for which I do get paid enough to cover my expenses. The real rewards however, come when you see a toe tapping or a smile arrive on the otherwise vacant face of a person trying to cope with an ever fading body and mind.

People who use DACT services have a variety of health and mobility issues, and sometimes all it takes is a little bit of extra consideration and understanding to put them at ease. So clients have told me how caring DACT drivers have been towards them and how grateful they are for the services they depend on. I soon learned that I have high standards to live up to.

A brighter day

A friendly chat on the way to what might be a daunting hospital appointment hopefully brightens a passenger’s day as much as it does mine. I understand now just how many people are lonely and isolated. I have already introduced one or two ladies to my wife and friendships have developed. This in turn has helped her to find a way out of depression. It has also helped us as a couple for which I am so grateful.

Whenever possible, Jessica books herself onto DACT Day Out which I am booked to drive. This again presents opportunities for friendships to blossom.


We all need to feel that we are appreciated and for me there is nothing better than when people tell me that they have enjoyed a bit of a natter on the way to and from hospital or how much they have enjoyed a DACT Minibus Day Out. Just a word of appreciation makes volunteering so worthwhile.

A purpose in life

This is essential for our own well being and vital for me in my own retirement. Something to motivate me, something to look forward to each day and also perhaps the chance to give a little back as a thank you for my own life, which, because of the care given to me by others has twice been saved.

In my opening paragraph I did state that I never wanted to become committed to work again? I thought that one or two DACT trips a week would be enough for me but I am happy now to commit as much time as possible to what I have discovered is not only a worthwhile but also an ESSENTIAL service to many people in the Daventry Area.

Anyway this is NOT WORK, it is a pleasure. If I don’t have a DACT trip booked each day I now feel lost.

If you enjoy driving and meeting people, I can highly recommend that you join us as a volunteer. You can do as much or as little to suit you. Who knows, one day WE might need YOU to DRIVE US. None of us are getting any younger.

By: Bob Oakley

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The Chilean Pharmaceutical Market: An Ecosystem of Opportunity - Webinar

Posted: 15/11/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

The Chilean pharmaceutical market is a true ecosystem of opportunity, with commercial potential across a range of areas including biologicals, biosimilars and bioequivalent generics and technological improvements such as AI and electronic medical records.

As part of our Industry 4.0 Info Series, Britcham Chile Services is hosting this webinar with Jaime Jankelevich, Managing Director of Etika Consultores, to give you an understanding of the market and explore the potential for UK companies to export to Chile.

Etika Consultores, based in Santiago, Chile, is a specialized consultancy solely serving the pharmaceutical industry in Latin America. It has developed international partnerships and business intelligence platforms which are used in Latin America and Spain, and is now working on an AI project with IBM for pharmaceuticals.

Register online now

If the time is inconvenient in your time zone, please register for the webinar and you will be notified when the replay is available.​​

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The Chilean Pharmaceutical Market: An Ecosystem of Opportunity - Webinar

Posted: 15/11/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

The Chilean pharmaceutical market is a true ecosystem of opportunity, with commercial potential across a range of areas including biologicals, biosimilars and bioequivalent generics and technological improvements such as AI and electronic medical records.

As part of our Industry 4.0 Info Series, Britcham Chile Services is hosting this webinar with Jaime Jankelevich, Managing Director of Etika Consultores, to give you an understanding of the market and explore the potential for UK companies to export to Chile.

Etika Consultores, based in Santiago, Chile, is a specialized consultancy solely serving the pharmaceutical industry in Latin America. It has developed international partnerships and business intelligence platforms which are used in Latin America and Spain, and is now working on an AI project with IBM for pharmaceuticals.

Register online now

If the time is inconvenient in your time zone, please register for the webinar and you will be notified when the replay is available.​​

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One year celebrations at Daventry Campus as tile mural is unveiled

Posted: 15/11/17 by Northampton College

A commemorative mural will be unveiled at Northampton College’s Daventry campus on Tuesday, November 21 as part of the building’s first birthday celebrations.

The unveiling will take place during an Open Event at the campus, designed to help prospective students find out more about college life and the courses available to them.

Principal Pat Brennan-Barrett said: “We are delighted to be unveiling our stunning mural – made by students, staff, local businesses and members of the community. This mural is a true collaboration of creativity, made up of hundreds of individually designed tiles, and is a fitting way to celebrate the first birthday of our state-of-the-art new campus.

“We are hugely grateful to everyone who has played their part and contributed not only to the mural but have also made the last 12 months so special for all of us at Daventry.”

Northampton College’s multi-million-pound Daventry Campus, in Badby Road West, is home to industry-standard workshops for motor vehicle engineering, a stylish library, contemporary hairdressing and beauty therapy salons, ICT and Mac suites, teaching space for healthcare and childcare plus dedicated provision for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the unveiling of the tile mural at 4.30pm on Tuesday. The Open Event will then be held until 6.30pm and prospective students and their families can register online at

Picture: Daventry-based oil painting artist Michael Piper visited Daventry Campus one year ago to help.

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New jobs for Northamptonshire residents thanks to Waterside campus

Posted: 15/11/17 by The University of Northampton

Over 200 new jobs for Northamptonshire people have been created as a result of the creation of the University of Northampton’s new Waterside campus, figures reveal.

216 county people in total have been employed in paid work throughout the operations of the two main contractors on site, Bowmer & Kirkland and Kier, since Waterside construction began in 2015.

A total of 755 people from the across the county have worked on the site, including apprenticeship posts created and various work placements for students, including University of Northampton Architectural Technology graduate Volkan Aslan (pictured here alongside an aerial image of the campus).

On his time on the project, B&K Trainee Design Manager Volkan said: “It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me.

“Being a member of this enthusiastic team has enabled me to translate my theoretical knowledge into practical experience. I’ve learnt so much that will be invaluable in my future career.”

The Waterside Campus, which will open in September 2018, will see the regeneration of a 58 acre brownfield site close to Northampton Town Centre.

The University, its staff and its students already make a positive cultural and economic impact on Northampton and Northamptonshire.

Reports have shown the institution as a whole creates a £290m boost to the county and generates more than 2,700 jobs*.

Simon Denny, executive dean of research, impact and enterprise at the University of Northampton, said: “These figures are welcome confirmation of our commitment to making a positive and lasting impact on the county during the building of Waterside.

“We look forward to welcoming the next crop of construction professionals as the building project enters its final few months.”

See our website for information about the Waterside Campus.


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Starry night for Tresham College

Posted: 15/11/17 by Tresham College of Further and Higher Education

Outstanding students from the 7,000 who are part of Tresham College at Kettering, Corby and Wellingborough were recognised at a special ceremony on Friday November 10th.

The applause was amplified by those from what is now The Bedford College Group who were joining the event for the first time since the merger with Tresham College in August of this year.

Group Principal and CEO Ian Pryce CBE joined now Group Vice Principal Corrie Harris in congratulating the assembled at the Kettering Conference Centre.

Ian said these awards marked the end of a remarkable year in which all the main Government bodies, which monitor FE colleges, had recognised improvements in the Northants education provider. GCSE resit results, for those who failed them at school, showed the best improvement in the UK. Anyone joining The Bedford College Group who does not have passes in English and Maths, has to attend classes to get up to speed.

He also announced three exciting developments

  • Opening of a new TV studio at Kettering for media students which had taken place this autumn
  • A multi-million bid for SEMLEP* funding for new facilities at Wellingborough
  • Plans for new Learning Centre at Kettering offering low cost and free IT training for adults to support them into work or promotion.

Ian said: “Success rates have climbed and we are looking forward to some exciting new developments. I especially thank the local authorities, including the three Mayors who joined this event, for their support for our plans to boost education and training in Northamptonshire.”

Chair of The Bedford College Group Corporation Roger Marriott said: “The group is one of the largest FE colleges in the UK. We are the largest provider of sixth form, apprenticeships, adult learning and non-university campus Higher Education (degree level learning) in the region and we are ambitious for our communities across Northants and Beds.”

Star turns

Guest speaker for the evening was Adelle Moss a star of stage and screen who now runs the AM Kids Agency placing young people in many roles (including some of this year’s Christmas ads on TV). Adelle is a course manager at Bedford College Performing Arts where they are looking forward to working more closely with the cast from Tresham College, such as those who sang and danced at the ceremony.

Business backers

Lead sponsors for the evening were Mindful Education which specialises in media-rich course and The Old Cytringanians Association which supports quality educational opportunities in Kettering.

Thanks also to other sponsors: Corby Borough Council, Garrett’s Property Services, Kettering Borough Council, MHR, Northamptonshire FA, England Rugby Colleges, Russums Catering Equipment, Tresham Students Union and the University of Northamptonshire.

Picture: Right Vice Principal Corrie Harris, Principal Ian Pryce CBE and guest speaker Adelle Moss.

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Free photographic exhibition to mark International Men’s Day

Posted: 15/11/17 by Northampton Borough Council

A free photographic exhibition celebrating International Men’s Day will be on the 1st floor of the Grosvenor Centre on Friday, 17 November.

The pop up exhibition, produced by keen local photographer Matthew Toresen, is entitled “For me, being a man means…” and contains portraits of a number of local men, showing their perspectives on what they think makes a man.

Local men who have had their portraits taken include Father Oliver Coss, Broadcaster John Griff, Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Simon Edens and local brewer Alaric Neville.

Men’s health and wellbeing information stalls from organisations such as Northampton Leisure Trust, the Lowdown and Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire, will accompany the exhibition, which opens from noon to 3pm.

There will also be an opportunity to assist the Borough Council with their plans for next year’s celebrations, by sharing your views on what makes a man.

Cllr Anna King, cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “We’re pleased to be working with partners to mark International Men’s Day with a fun and informative awareness-raising event.

“We encourage local men to come along and view the fantastic photos and find out more about the services that are available to them. We also look forward to hearing their contribution to our plans for next year’s celebrations.”

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EU funding allows expansion for local business

Posted: 15/11/17 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

This month Bay Tree Cottage in Farthingstone, near Towcester, is launching a new range of bespoke B&B and self-catering accommodation, plus a new events workshop space.

The project is supported by the Rural Development Programme for England, for which Defra is the Managing Authority, part financed by The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.

Located in the heart of rural Northamptonshire, Bay Tree Cottage was established in 2010 and is owned by Jenny and William Dicks. Situated on a picturesque small holding, it currently offers B&B accommodation in two fully equipped Grade 2 listed self-contained cottages, as well as self-catering accommodation just 100 metres further up the road.

The new development is opening in December 2017 and will provide three accommodation units sleeping from 2 – 8 people, plus a large workshop space for group events and private parties. Set in the footprint of the old stable block, it has been designed and built sympathetically to the local area incorporating a balance of traditional materials and modern fixtures and fittings, as well as a large outside seating area and BBQ with stunning views over the surrounding countryside.

Bay Tree Cottage also has a well-established business running a diverse array of art, craft, cookery and floristry workshops and the new events space and accommodation will enable its success to be built upon and expanded to include residential courses and group events, corporate team building activities, private functions and parties on a larger scale.

Jenny Dicks commented: “Demand for quality accommodation in Northamptonshire continues to increase and our new development will allow us to meet the needs of visitors to the area whether they are here for a weekend or full-blown holiday or are business travellers requiring a mid-week stay.”

For more information please visit or call Jenny Dicks on 01327 361 720.

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Former student returns to advise aspiring chefs

Posted: 15/11/17 by Northampton College

Former Northampton College student Kathryn Holmes (pictured here) returned to Booth Lane to give catering students an exclusive insight into what goes on during a food safety inspection.

Now working as a trainee environmental health officer for Birmingham City Council during a ‘sandwich year’ as part of a degree at the University of Wolverhampton, Kathryn returned to her roots to talk to the current students about the importance of food hygiene and explaining the process of inspectors’ visits.

She said: “It was good to be back. It felt strange to be walking back up to the main entrance again after two years away, but I really enjoyed it. The students were great and really got involved, asking lots of questions and taking a real interest.

“While I enjoyed learning kitchen skills during my college course, I didn’t want to work in kitchens so I’ve taken a different route. I love my job now and I’m keen to explain to the students what they can expect to happen when inspectors visit their premises in the future.

“Chefs are always looking for shortcuts and ways of becoming more efficient, but it’s vital they don’t compromise on safety, particularly when public health is at stake.”

The talk saw Kathryn explain what inspectors are looking for during a visit and give invaluable advice on how best to prepare for inspections, how to react during the assessment and what steps they can take to ensure they meet latest legislative requirements.

Catering tutor Phil Martin said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Kathryn back to Booth Lane and I’m delighted she’s doing so well in her new career. It was brilliant for our students to hear first-hand from someone involved in inspections, which play such an important role in modern day-to-day kitchen life.”

For more information about Northampton College visit

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Snapper Claire focuses on a brighter future for rare breed animals

Posted: 15/11/17 by The University of Northampton

A photography graduate has focused her lens on a rare breed of farm animals in the hope her pictures will help to preserve their existence.

Claire Watson (pictured here) documented rare breed farm animals and poultry for her final year project at the University of Northampton, producing a book of her work which she hopes will encourage more farmers and small holders to consider keeping the livestock.

“As the name suggests, these animals are rare and it won’t take much for us to lose some of them forever,” said Claire, who comes from Helmdon, near Brackley.

“Some of them are on the endangered list. Many people might ask why we should bother spending time and money to preserve these rare breeds. Well, the answer is that these farm animals are the ancestors and cornerstone of British farming and therefore deserve our respect.

“By producing my book, I hope to raise awareness of their beauty, but also their unique attributes, which will hopefully raise enthusiasm to make sure we preserve them.

“With cattle, modern breeds produce more milk and get fatter quicker, so they will always be the go-to choice for farmers. But rare breeds can have significant advantages. For example, while the rare breed Shetland cow yields less milk than a Friesian cross breed, it is hardier, needs less food and medical care.

“In 20 years there might be an increased need for Shetland cows, for example, if there’s a devastating disease affecting Friesians, or something changes in the economy – once again they could be in demand.

“But if we lose them, and with their genetics, we’ll be narrowing the options available for future generations.”

Claire, who grew up on a cattle farm in the Northamptonshire village of Helmdon, believes her striking images of rare breeds will help to keep them in the public consciousness.

“My work often concentrates on the animal’s faces, capturing their gaze,” said Claire, who favours shooting animals in classic portraiture style, against a dark studio background.

“I wanted people to really study the faces, like they would a human portrait. I want them to see it’s not just an animal, it’s an individual creature with its own thoughts and emotions, and is an incredibly noble and beautiful animal.”

Having spent her formative years surrounded by cattle, Claire is comfortable working with animals and has a knack of getting them to accept her when she steps into an enclosure with them. But, she admits some are harder to capture on film than others.

“A particularly feisty Gloucester old spot sow gave me a bit of trouble,” said Claire. “She must have thought I had some food on me, because she chased me round the pen and my dad had to stop her in the end. But that’s an old spot: they are feisty, intelligent and are real characters. That’s exactly what I want to portray in my photos, their characters.”

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Plan launched to double the size of the South East Midlands Economy

Posted: 15/11/17 by SEMLEP

Ambitious plans have been unveiled to double the size of the region’s economy by 2050. The revised Strategic Economic Plan: South East Midlands: where innovation fuels growth, was launched by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) on 8th November 2017. The plan highlights seven key areas to be targeted to achieve growth across three headline themes; ‘Growing Business’, ‘Growing People’ and ‘Growing Places’.

The long-term strategy will create conditions for sustainable, productivity-led growth, with the area’s strengths in innovation at the forefront. It details priority areas where SEMLEP and partners will focus and target investment in core infrastructure, skills and business support. SEMLEP’s current investment programme is around £265 million, funding 36 capital projects.

The plan maximises opportunities from our position at the core of the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Northampton-Cambridge Growth Corridor, that has the potential to transform the South East Midlands into a hub of knowledge and intensive industry that can compete on the world stage.

Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, chair of SEMLEP said: “We have a strong and thriving economy in the South East Midlands, with a positive future ahead. We are already recognised as the most innovative LEP area in the country, and our ability to deliver growth, our high concentration of business and innovation assets, our expertise in key growth sectors, alongside our proven track record in turning innovation into business activity, positions us as being integral to achieving the vision for the Growth Corridor.

“Our revised Strategic Economic Plan sets out clearly the type of growth we want to see and what we need to do to achieve prosperity for our businesses and communities right across the region.”

The Strategic Economic Plan can be downloaded from

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Christmas Gift and Craft Fayre - Sunday 26th November 2017

Posted: 15/11/17 by Age UK Milton Keynes

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, MK6 3EB

Date & Time: Sunday 26th November, 10am - 4pm

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Should I purchase a re-sale or newly constructed property? Decisions decisions!

Posted: 15/11/17 by Wilson Browne Solicitors

It’s fair to say the new build market is a busy one and demand for newly built properties is growing – NHBC have reported that builders registered nearly 38,000 new homes in the UK during quarter 3 of 2017 representing a 6% increase for the same period last year.

New or “pre-loved”?

Essentially it is a matter of personal preference, some people prefer the character of an older property whereas some prefer a shiny new one, but there are slight differences in the purchase procedure.

When purchasing a new build property it is fairly common to commit to the purchase and exchange contracts before the house or home is even built! You may have heard the expression “purchasing off plan”…because you are buying “off the plans”.

Of course when purchasing a re-sale property you get the opportunity to inspect the property then and there.

As a buyer it may be daunting to exchange contracts without seeing the actual house you are buying, hence it is a good idea to visit the show homes to get a feel for what you want/need and inspect the plans carefully. It can be helpful to visit other sites for an idea of a particular design of property.

28 days later

Usually a developer will impose a 28 day deadline to exchange contracts from the date the property is reserved. In view of this it is important to have everything in order for example your mortgage offer in principal, easy access to the necessary funds to facilitate the purchase and instruct your solicitor as soon as possible. In a buoyant market there is sometimes little flexibility on this as such it is important to appoint a solicitor who is experienced in dealing with new build properties and can assist you to ensure the deadlines are met.

Purchasing a re-sale property does not usually have the same deadlines imposed, although it is still a good idea to get everything in order as quickly as possible to ensure delays do not cause issues with the chain.

It is also important early on to make any applications under the Help to Buy Scheme or any shared ownership schemes and deal with any requirements for your Help to Buy ISA (if any).

Are completion dates set in stone?

Completion of a newly built property will also differ from buying a property in the re-sale market. The weather, suppliers and other factors can all impact on the speed of the build and completion dates are generally a guide at best.

When purchasing a re-sale property the completion date is usually fixed a the point of exchange of contracts, as such you know the date you are moving and can organise work and family commitments around it. When purchasing a newly built property unless the property is complete at the point of exchange, the builder gives notice to the buyer that it is ready… and completion must take place within the time frame specified in the contract (usually 10 working days). This allows time for final inspection by the mortgage lender’s valuer (if necessary), and for a snagging list (a list of faults or things for rectification) to be prepared by the buyer; for the builder to remedy these items; and for the (mortgage) funds to be released for completion.

Mortgage offers

It is important to note that mortgage offers are only valid for a certain period of time and completion of your purchase must take place prior to the expiry date. Completion of your new build property may be months down the line. As such it is important to keep in touch with your lender and broker to ensure that an extension of the offer will be granted if it expires prior to actual completion. This is vitally important as you will be contractually committed to your purchase and without a valid mortgage offer are unlikely to be able to raise the funds to complete your purchase. Financial penalties will be imposed for breach of contract (if you are unable to complete on the contractual completion date) and ultimately you could lose the property and your deposit paid on exchange.

This is less of a problem when purchasing a re-sale property. Usually most transactions are completed easily prior to the expiry date although this is something to keep in mind if the completion date will be some time in the future or if there are delays during the transaction.


Pre-exchange searches are accurate only at the date of the search – things may change – for example planning permissions or road proposals may be submitted subsequent to the date of the search. Lenders will not allow searches to be more than 6 months old at completion. As such it is necessary to either undertake new searches prior to completion or an indemnity policy may also be available to provide cover for any adverse entries that would have been revealed had the search been carried out.

Why choose Wilson Browne Solicitors?

Whatever your decision we have teams experienced in both re-sale and new build transactions on hand to help you…we weren’t finalist in the national awards for Excellence in Conveyancing for nothing! Also, let’s not overlook the fact that we’re on most of the major lenders’ panels too so you can be assured we’ll get you into your new home as quickly as reasonably possible.

Call our dedicated team on 0800 088 6004 today.

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Room Hire

Posted: 15/11/17 by The Bee Hive

Book your training/conference room from as little as £12 per hour with the following Menu options. Nita will be glad to take your enquiries on 01604 777820

Conferencing Menu Options

(All prices include VAT)

Below are our standard menu options. If however you would like alternatives please contact us to discuss.

Breakfast £4 per head

Selection of mini Croissant, Danish pastry, Bacon and Sausage rolls.

Fruit Platter £10 per 8 people minimum

Selection of seasonal fruit

Lunch option 1 £4 per head.

Jacket Potato with cheese, coleslaw, cheese, beans

Cake dessert

Lunch option 2 £3.50 per head

Homemade soup and bread

Cake dessert

Lunch option 3 £5 per head Cold Buffet

Selection of sandwiches, crisps, salad, savoury item, cake

Savoury items


Homemade veggie or sausage rolls

Pesto and olive pastry twists

Cheese straws

Sweet potato and sage palmiers

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Christmas Canapés evening at Bay Tree Cottage

Posted: 14/11/17 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

Bay Tree Cottage in Farthingstone, near Towcester, is running a Christmas Canapes evening workshop on Tuesday 5 December from 7-9pm.

Jenny Dicks from Bay Tree Cottage said: “Whether you’re throwing a party or having a quiet get-together over the festive season, we have some great ideas for seasonal canapés which are sure to be a hit with your guests. We will show you how to keep everyone happy with an array of hot and cold, sweet and savoury canapés that are easy to make, look impressive and are packed full of flavour.

“You will leave at the end of the evening feeling inspired and with the knowledge to create your own delicious festive food for the party season.”

To book a place, which costs £22.50 per person, please visit:

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Winner SME Award 2017 Northamptonshire Employer of the Year

Posted: 14/11/17 by RRE Electrical Services

RRE Electrical Services are the proud winners of the SME Award 2017 Northamptonshire Employer of the Year.

Providing electrical and mechanical engineering services for more than 30 years, RRE have professional qualified engineers who take great pride in the quality of their work.

They also have an excellent reputation for quality and customer service.

And now they are proud National Finalists of the SME National Award 2017 for Employer of The Year. Good luck!

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Local businesses invited to grow with support from University

Posted: 14/11/17 by Cranfield University

Small and medium-sized businesses across the SEMLEP (South-East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership) area are being invited to a showcase event at Cranfield University, being held on 4 December 2017.

The showcase will enable local businesses to learn how they can access some of the many world-class research facilities at the University and engage leading academic expertise, through the IMAGE (Innovation in Manufacturing, Aerospace and Green Economy) project.

Funding through the IMAGE project is available to support small and medium-sized businesses to develop new technologies, processes and services and to enhance their ‘green
business’ credentials. IMAGE is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is led by Cranfield University.

Sandra Turner, IMAGE Project Manager at Cranfield University, said: “IMAGE is an exciting project, enabling small and medium-sized local businesses to engage and utilise expertise and facilities that they might not ordinarily have access to. Our message to local businesses is come and talk to us and view the research facilities on offer, particularly if you have a product idea you want to develop or are looking for advice on how to grow your business.”

Local businesses wishing to register their attendance at the event can do so here

For further details about the support available for small and medium-sized businesses through the IMAGE programme, please contact or visit

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Will you lose your ISO 9001 certification?

Posted: 14/11/17 by IMSM Ltd

​If you have the ISO 9001:2008, you must upgrade to ISO 9001:2015 by September 2018 or lose the certification.

Most businesses will not think about upgrading until the Spring of next year. It will be too late because there are a limited number of qualified Auditors for the ISO 9001 and they will prioritise large businesses and new implementations.

IMSM is helping small businesses of 20 or less employees by providing the full ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015 transition for less than £2,000.

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. Your business will increase its credibility and you will attract more new business.

Please contact Andrew Tomkinson on 07803 593390 or

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Jenny takes to the stage in Strictly Northampton

Posted: 14/11/17 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

Jenny Dicks, owner of Bay Tree Cottage in Farthingstone, NN12, is swapping her apron for dancing shoes to take part in Strictly Northampton on Saturday 18 November.

She is raising funds for Cynthia Spencer Hospice, a fantastic local organisation whose support she has experienced first-hand.

Cynthia Spencer Hospice provides specialist palliative care services for South Northamptonshire, offering physical, psychological, social and spiritual care to those with life-limiting illnesses. This includes inpatient care, outpatient services, Hospice@Home, lymphoedema service and a palliative care clinical nurse specialist service, a large part of which is funded by the generous support of local companies and individuals throughout the county.

To read more about Jenny’s story and to support her as she makes the leap from craft and cookery extraordinaire to dancing queen, please visit:

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BCC comments on inflation statistics

Posted: 14/11/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the inflation statistics for October 2017, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “Inflation was surprisingly unchanged in October, as falling fuel and furniture prices helped to a keep a lid on overall UK price growth.

“It remains probable that even if inflation drifts above 3% in the coming months, it will only remain in letter-writing territory for a limited period, with slowing price growth at the factory gate suggesting that supply chain price pressures are easing. The impact of the decline in the value of sterling following the EU referendum will slip out of the calculation by the end of the year, easing the increase in UK price growth.

“With UK economic conditions expected to remain subdued for a prolonged period, it is vital that the Autumn Budget pulls out all the stops to support business growth, at a time of significant uncertainty and change, including cutting up-front business costs.”

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BCC comments on inflation statistics

Posted: 14/11/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the inflation statistics for October 2017, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “Inflation was surprisingly unchanged in October, as falling fuel and furniture prices helped to a keep a lid on overall UK price growth.

“It remains probable that even if inflation drifts above 3% in the coming months, it will only remain in letter-writing territory for a limited period, with slowing price growth at the factory gate suggesting that supply chain price pressures are easing. The impact of the decline in the value of sterling following the EU referendum will slip out of the calculation by the end of the year, easing the increase in UK price growth.

“With UK economic conditions expected to remain subdued for a prolonged period, it is vital that the Autumn Budget pulls out all the stops to support business growth, at a time of significant uncertainty and change, including cutting up-front business costs.”

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Chamber supports Business Growth Roadshow

Posted: 14/11/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce will take part in a morning of business advice and networking at a Business Growth Roadshow.

The roadshow will provide invaluable advice and support for SMEs and will feature an interactive session with Google Digital Garage and information about funding opportunities.

It has been organised by Chamber members NatWest and Northampton Borough Council in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire.

Northamptonshire Chamber head of operations Tracey Branson said: “We are thrilled to be supporting this event as we are committed to helping the county’s economy grow.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming lots of businesses to our stand to help them find out how the Chamber can help them boost their business.”

The event will be hosted by Chamber members Park Inn by Radisson Hotel in Silver Street, Northampton, from 9am to 2pm on Thursday, December 7.

For more information email or book a free place at

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Cawleys and Kettering General Hospital shortlisted for Waste2Zero Awards

Posted: 14/11/17 by Cawleys

Cawleys and its customer Kettering General Hospital (KGH) have each been shortlisted for an award at the inaugural Waste2Zero Awards, with the winners being named on 6 December 2017.

The Waste2Zero awards are the first of its kind in the food waste sector, being specifically designed for out of home industry to showcase best practice and recognise excellence in the sector.

KGH has been shortlisted for the ‘Best Waste Management Project Award (Food)’ which celebrates how food waste is managed. The hospital cares for over 371,000 patients a year with a staff of 3,200 people, and serving 1,800 meals a day to patients.

After an 18-month research period, Robin Packman, waste and sustainability manager at KGH, organised the installment of a wastemaster system which efficiently converts and reduces the volume of food waste on site to a much smaller quantity of odour-free material. This material is then used in recycling, processed by Cawleys.

Catering manager Sue Landon commented: “In the three months that the system has been operational, KGH has reduced the weight of its food waste by a third. Because they can see they are helping the environment, staff now feel what they are doing with food waste matters and are much more motivated. Being finalists at the Waste2Zero awards reinforces this great feeling.”

Cawleys have also been shortlisted for ‘Best Resource Management Business of the Year Award’ due to its commitment to providing a complete range of services, including recycling and hazardous waste, across many industries.

Anna Cawley, director of customer services at Cawleys, said: “We’re delighted to see our customer, KGH, shortlisted for an award and thrilled for the waste and sustainability team at the hospital. Achieving such a sharp reduction in food waste from this time last year, in such a fast-paced environment, is no mean feat.

“To also be shortlisted for an award ourselves in our 70th anniversary year seems very fitting. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the back house team from Cawleys who have worked so hard to deliver on our promises for all clients.”

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Panto stars and outstanding local sports people to light up the town this Christmas

Posted: 14/11/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Two local outstanding sportswomen will be given the honour of switching the town’s Christmas lights on with stars of this year’s pantomimes on Saturday, 18 November.

Emily Williams and Susan Corless have been given the illuminating honour after their sporting achievements were recently recognised at the Leisure Trust’s Sports Awards. Keen runner, Emily, was commended with the Young Sportswoman Award and Susan, an archery enthusiast, won the Local Sportswoman Award.

Emily and Susan will join Heart FM and panto stars Jaymi Hensley and Lydia Lucy on stage to turn the Christmas lights on, following an afternoon of family entertainment.

Starting at 2pm, the entertainment will include performances from the casts of Royal & Derngate’s Aladdin and The Jungle Book, The Deco’s Peter Pan and the Looking Glass Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast pantomimes. Heart FM will lead the countdown, before Emily and Susan hit the switch to illuminate Northampton’s shopping streets at 5pm.

The light switch-on marks the start of five weeks of family-friendly Christmas activities in the town, including the return of the Frost Fair, wreath-making workshops, a Victorian Christmas celebration and the new Igloo Cinema.

Cllr Anna King, cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to invite two of our outstanding local sports people, to follow in the footsteps of Ellie Robinson and switch on our Christmas lights this year.

“We’ve got a fantastic day of family entertainment lined up to get everyone in the Christmas spirit ahead of the switch on.

“We hope a large crowd of visitors will join us on the Market Square to enjoy the shopping, entertainment and to help us countdown to the light switch-on.”

For more information about any of the events and activities coming up over the next five weeks visit:

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Deal Summary - Paybreak Refinance with Shawbrook Bank

Posted: 14/11/17 by EMW

EMW Law LLP is pleased to have advised PayBreak Limited on its recent £12.5m refinance with Shawbrook Bank Limited. The refinance follows a £24m funding round which concluded in March this year.

Trading since 2012, PayBreak is a leading fintech company active in consumer finance which operates a unique point of sale lending platform, under the “afforditNOW” brand, allowing merchants to offer a broad range of finance products to their customers. Its client base includes companies in the retail, healthcare and education and training sectors.

Shawbrook is a specialist UK savings and lending bank founded in 2011 to serve the needs of SMEs and individuals in the UK with a range of lending and saving products.
At 31 December 2016, its total lending reached more than £4.1 billion and it has now raised more than £3.9 billion in deposits since its launch.

Julia Throop, Managing Director of PayBreak, commented: “I would like to thank Jody and EMW for their outstanding work and effort in handling the legal matters for PayBreak throughout the entire refinance process. Jody was great to work with and his knowledge of banking law gave me great comfort that he was overseeing the transaction. We are looking forward to working with Jody and the EMW team again in the near future.”

Jody Bingham who led the EMW team, said: “It was a pleasure to work with Julia and the team at PayBreak on this transaction. The new partnership with Shawbrook means that, in addition to expanding its funding resources, PayBreak can now accelerate the growth of its lending through its retail point of sale platform and scale more quickly. We are looking forward to working alongside PayBreak again on the next step of their journey.”

The EMW team was led by Jody Bingham and was assisted by Sean Halliwell, Solicitor and Millie Kempley, Solicitor.

If you would like to find out more about this deal, please contact Jody Bingham on 0345 070 6000.

To read this deal summary on our website: please click here

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Third and final Question Time-style event to examine Brexit’s impact on democracy

Posted: 14/11/17 by The University of Northampton

The University of Northampton will be hosting its third and final installment of its trilogy of debates which have focused on different aspects of the potential impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

‘Brexit and Democracy’ will take place on Tuesday 21 November and follows on from the successful ‘Brexit and Prosperity’ and ‘Brexit and Community’ events that occurred earlier this year.

The latest instalment will give the audience the opportunity to discuss the Brexit process and how it exemplifies or challenges the much-admired and cherished traditions and values of British democracy.

The event is being organised by University of Northampton students, with the support of Northamptonshire County Council and the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, David Laing, who is also the University’s Pro Chancellor.

Open to all, the evening will include a Question Time-style session, with the audience interacting with a panel comprising:

BBC Radio Northampton presenter John Griff will be question master for the evening.

Adrian Pryce, senior lecturer in International Business at the University of Northampton, who organised the event said: “This is likely to be the most lively and contentious of the series so far, with an informed and high profile panel drawn from all aspects of community life, local as well as national, all with a professional interest in Brexit.”

Brexit and Democracy takes place in the Cottesbrooke building on Park Campus from 6pm. Doors open at 5.30pm with refreshments in the Hub.

The event is free to attend, but as places are limited, attendees must register in advance via the event website.

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Grant Thornton takes top honours at regional corporate finance awards for sixth successive year

Posted: 14/11/17 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

Financial and business advisers Grant Thornton has been named Corporate Finance Advisory Firm of the Year for the sixth year in a row at Insider’s Central and East of England Dealmakers Awards 2017.

The accolade recognises the outstanding work of Grant Thornton’s Northampton based team, the largest in the region which has had another successful 12 months supporting high levels of transactions in terms of both deal volume and value.

Highlights include the sale of Heating Plumbing Supplies to Marlowe and the acquisition of Woodway Packaging by Bunzl.

In addition to being named as the leading advisory firm in the region, Grant Thornton’s Stuart Davies (pictured here) scooped Young Dealmaker of the year. The judges were impressed by the number of deals Stuart supported over the past 12 months and his ability to take the lead on key transactions. They also recognised his recent promotion to Associate Director as a strong achievement for someone under 30.

Commenting on the awards, Grant Thornton’s Phil Sharpe said: “It has been another hugely successful year for us and winning the top accolade for the sixth time in a row at the Dealmaker of the Year Awards is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of every one of our team. I would also like to congratulate Stuart Davies on his much deserved recognition and the instrumental role he has played in key deals throughout the year.

“We have been heavily investing in our team across the region to ensure we continue to offer the highest levels of expertise and local knowledge to dynamic, fast growing businesses. The combined depth of experience we have is demonstrated by the strong results we have achieved for our clients.”

Phil added: “There has been a lot of talk about the challenges facing businesses in this current uncertain economic environment but the deal market over the past 12 months has demonstrated for many firms it is ‘business as usual’. Whilst activity hasn’t quite reached the record breaking heights of last year, businesses continue to remain optimistic about their future prospects.”

The annual Insider Central and East of England Dealmakers Awards was held on Thursday 9 November at the Doubletree by Hilton in Milton Keynes and recognise the achievements of the region’s top performers in the corporate finance sector over the last year.

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Boozy Bundts® range of desserts unveiled by frozen food distributor Central Foods

Posted: 14/11/17 by Central Foods Ltd

Frozen food distributor Central Foods has launched a range of Boozy Bundts® to add a dash of excitement to dessert menus.

The three-strong Menuserve range has been created in response to increasing demand for retro, homemade-style puddings and sweets.

Perfect for coffeeshops, restaurants, pubs, hotels and other hospitality outlets looking to serve up something special, the Boozy Bundts® are available in three flavours - rum, Limoncello or chocolate – and bring a touch of indulgence with a tipple of alcohol.

“Authentic Bundt® cakes can only be baked in Nordic Ware® cake tins, originally developed in the USA in the 1950s and based on speciality Scandinavian ethnic cookware products,” explained Gordon Lauder, MD of Central Foods.

“The Menuserve range of Boozy Bundts® has been launched to tap into the current demand from consumers for comforting, retro-style desserts and puddings, which seems to have risen in these unstable, political times, and thanks also in part to programmes like the Great British Bake Off, which have introduced a new generation to traditional desserts.”

The Vanilla Boozy Bundt® is a light moist sponge infused with authentic Jamaican rum, filled with rum buttercream and topped with a glacé cherry, and has a total rum content of 5%.

The Lemon Boozy Bundt® is a light moist sponge infused with lemon liqueur (Limoncello), filled with lemon liqueur buttercream and topped with a sweet lemon slice, and has a Limoncello content of 4.75%.

The Chocolate Boozy Bundt® is a light moist sponge infused with coffee liqueur (Kahlua®), filled with coffee liqueur buttercream and topped with a coffee bean decoration, and has a total Kahlua® content of 5%.

Suitable for vegetarians, the Boozy Bundts® are the latest desserts to be added to the Menuserve range at Central Foods, which also features roulades and pavlova.

The Boozy Bundts® are supplied frozen, in packs of 12, and have a defrosted shelf-life of two days.

Central Foods, which is based at Collingtree near Northampton, is this year celebrating 21 years of supplying to the foodservice sector.

The distributor supplies more than 400 different lines, ranging from desserts, cakes and bakes, to canapés, buffet items, breads and meats. It delivers to more than 220 independent wholesalers, as well as larger national and regional wholesalers, and foodservice caterers across the entire foodservice industry, including coffee shops, cafés, pubs, restaurants, bars, hotels, universities, schools, business and industry caterers, and sports facilities.

Visit for more information.

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Briggs and Forrester secure fourth contract at Harwell Campus

Posted: 13/11/17 by Briggs & Forrester Group Ltd

Briggs and Forrester Engineering Services have secured their fourth contract with Willmott Dixon Construction and the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at the Facility Support Building (FSB) project on the Harwell Campus.

This collaborative partnership with main contractor Willmott Dixon began with the successful delivery of the R100 building to STFC just over two years ago, and the subsequent fit-out of the Southern offices in the same building a year later.

R100 is occupied by STFC’s RAL Space facility who carry out world-class space research and technology development and have been involved in over 210 space missions to date. With the services provision being critical to the user’s activities, Briggs and Forrester acted as the consultant and the contractor in partnership with Willmott Dixon, to ensure the exacting facilities were delivered.

This unique partnership has produced a number of successful projects. Briggs and Forrester are currently on site at the new FSB project with Willmott Dixon, which is scheduled for handover in February 2018. The building consists of two large halls, one for testing and another for handling.

Each hall is almost the size of a football pitch in area and over 20 meters tall. Within each hall are supporting offices and control accommodation. The services have been specifically designed from concept ‘first principles’ to the customer’s brief with great consideration, to ensure flexibility for adaption and extension in the future.

The Briggs and Forrester and Willmott Dixon Construction team are about to re-visit R100 for the latest fit-out of clean rooms, offices and laboratories. The design works are well underway and the installation works will commence on site shortly, for completion in autumn next year.

Ian Peake, contracts manager for Briggs and Forrester said: “The Briggs and Forrester Engineering Services team are proud to be in partnership with Willmott Dixon Construction, in an environment where our joint expertise is appreciated by this prestigious customer.”

Picture courtesy of: STFC

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Are you maximising the income from your farm?

Posted: 13/11/17 by Robinson & Hall LLP

Richard Sheppard, commercial property surveyor at Robinson & Hall, Land and Property Professionals, shares with you considerations when it comes to maximizing the income from your farm.

  • Is it time to take another good hard look at farm assets?
  • Do you have buildings and areas of your yard with the potential to considerably increase your monthly income?

Rural locations offer excellent commercial potential in this changing world.

Easy arterial road connections, good value storage and a better working environment are what a quality tenant is searching for.

  • Are you storing a collection of rubbish that could be disposed of?
  • Are your sheds and yard storing equipment that could now be moved to another part of the farm?

Reviewing the building’s use could produce a considerable increase to the farm’s income.

  • Have you an area of hardstanding/yard that could easily become home to HGVs or smaller commercial vehicles?
  • Or older farm buildings, no longer of commercially farming use, that could potentially be converted into office suites?

With a little expenditure, these could dramatically increase your monthly income.

We have a growing number of commercial enquiries actively seeking availability of rural accommodation and, with a new rating list that came into force this April (which means business rates are not payable if the rateable value is less than £12,000 per annum), now is the time to consider reviewing your options.

Did you know that you can also apply for small business rates relief if your property has a rateable value of £12,000 to £15,000 per annum?

Robinson & Hall’s Commercial department has a wealth of experience and knowledge in these matters, with associated departments able to assist in surveying, planning and project management.

Please contact Richard Sheppard, Commercial Property Surveyor at Robinson & Hall on 01234 362939 or email

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Reducing rough sleeping in Northampton

Posted: 13/11/17 by Northampton Borough Council

A strategy to reduce the number of people sleeping rough in Northampton is having a positive impact.

The ‘together we change lives strategy’ which was published in 2016 set out the shared vision of more than 30 local agencies working to support homeless individuals in Northampton.

The number of rough sleepers in Northampton has dropped from an estimated nightly number of 25 when the strategy was published to 13 following a rough sleeper’s count last night.

Northampton Borough Council organised the statutory count with more than 30 volunteers from those agencies involved in the ‘together we change lives’ strategy. The count sees teams of volunteers take to streets across the whole borough to seek out and engage with people found to be sleeping rough.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member for housing and wellbeing at Northampton Borough Council, said: “I’d like to thank all of the volunteers who joined us last night, it was cold and late, but everyone put in a fantastic effort.

“We are working hard to tackle rough sleeping in Northampton and I’m pleased to see that the number of people sleeping rough is going in the right direction. Sleeping rough is dangerous and has a serious impact on people’s health and wellbeing, but with a night shelter and appropriate supported housing available there is no need to sleep rough in Northampton.

“In addition to last night’s count, we have a street outreach team who regularly go out to talk to people identified as sleeping rough. Many of the people we spoke to last night are currently choosing not to engage with the services on offer, but we will continue to encourage them to take advantage of the support available and change their lives for good.”

For more information about the night shelter and how to get involved, visit

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BCC: UK’s weak trade position shows no signs of improving

Posted: 13/11/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the trade statistics for September, released on Friday by the ONS, Mike Spicer, director of research economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The deterioration in the UK’s net trade position in September was disappointing, and reinforces the overall weakness of our trade balance and external position. The widening was primarily driven by a sharp rise in imports, particularly in machinery and fuels.

“While the fall in sterling is helping some exporters abroad, it’s also hurting those that import by increasing the cost of raw materials and capital equipment. The trade figures from this quarter, and throughout the year, prove that we are a long way from the rebalancing of our economy.

“The increase in exports to EU countries underlines the importance of agreeing a deal that safeguards favourable terms of trade for UK businesses with their largest overseas market. Firms need clarity on the nature of the UK’s future trading relationship with Europe, so they can plan with confidence, which means Brexit negotiations must progress on to trade talks as soon as possible. The decrease in exports to non-EU countries shows how important it will be in the coming years to support trade with these markets too.

“To boost our overall trade performance, more must also be done in the upcoming Autumn Budget to support UK companies to begin or expand their export journeys.”

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BCC: UK’s weak trade position shows no signs of improving

Posted: 13/11/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the trade statistics for September, released on Friday by the ONS, Mike Spicer, director of research economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The deterioration in the UK’s net trade position in September was disappointing, and reinforces the overall weakness of our trade balance and external position. The widening was primarily driven by a sharp rise in imports, particularly in machinery and fuels.

“While the fall in sterling is helping some exporters abroad, it’s also hurting those that import by increasing the cost of raw materials and capital equipment. The trade figures from this quarter, and throughout the year, prove that we are a long way from the rebalancing of our economy.

“The increase in exports to EU countries underlines the importance of agreeing a deal that safeguards favourable terms of trade for UK businesses with their largest overseas market. Firms need clarity on the nature of the UK’s future trading relationship with Europe, so they can plan with confidence, which means Brexit negotiations must progress on to trade talks as soon as possible. The decrease in exports to non-EU countries shows how important it will be in the coming years to support trade with these markets too.

“To boost our overall trade performance, more must also be done in the upcoming Autumn Budget to support UK companies to begin or expand their export journeys.”

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29 tips to market your business for free or cost effectively presentation material from MKCC Business Expo

Posted: 13/11/17 by Vision 29 Ltd

It was with great pleasure that Jo Coxhill, Director and Founder of Vision 29 spoke at the Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Business Expo in November.

The presentation covered 29 ways to market your business for free or cost-effectively. If you were unable to attend the session but would still like to benefit from the tips, read our blog with the same title here:

We are always happy to discuss your marketing needs, so please contact us on 01908 900329.

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Deal Summary - BGF £2.65m Investment in Monodraught

Posted: 13/11/17 by EMW

EMW Law LLP is pleased to have advised BGF on its £2.65m investment in the High Wycombe-based ventilation systems specialist, Monodraught. BGF is the UK & Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses, helping ambitious management teams, founders and family businesses to succeed.

Monodraught designs, manufactures, installs and maintains ventilation, cooling and lighting systems to create low energy, low carbon and sustainable buildings. The investment from BGF allows Monodraught to support its long-term growth plans, including product development and expansion into new markets.

Mark Nunny of BGF, who will join the board of Monodraught, said “Monodraught has continually invested in and protected its IP which gives it defensible positions in its chosen markets. With BGF funding, the management team now has the opportunity to move into new markets and develop complementary technologies to increase its share of wallet on specific projects.”

Simon Arkell led the EMW Corporate team, providing assistance to BGF on the terms of its investment documents. Simon said BGF is now on patch in Milton Keynes and the team has hit the ground running with a number of transactions already completed since they arrived. It was a pleasure to work with Mark and the team on this particular investment. BGF is incredibly efficient at what they do, and on this transaction, it helped us move from offer letter to completion within an incredibly short time scale. We look forward to the next opportunity to work with BGF.”

Simon was assisted by Faye Meredith, Senior Solicitor.

If you would like to find out more about this deal, please contact Simon Arkell.

To read this deal summary on the EMW Law website: please click here

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Bell Northampton celebrates double award success

Posted: 13/11/17 by A Bell & Co Ltd

Bell of Northampton is celebrating after winning two regional business awards and getting through to the finals for two national awards.

October saw the company win the Small Business of the Year award at the East Midlands heat of the British Chambers’ Chamber Business Awards 2017, and scoop the Business of the Year Greater Than 50 Employees award at the SME Northamptonshire Business Awards for the second year running.

Now the business is through to the national finals for both. This will see Bell of Northampton attend the Chamber Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday 30th November at the Brewery, London and the SME National Business Awards at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 1st December.

The home and lifestyle store, which has been a fixture in Northampton for more than 100 years, has experienced phenomenal growth over the last three years with profits and turnover increasing year-on-year. The store’s offering has also grown and now boasts an interior design service, bathrooms, art gallery, tea shop and outdoor section in store and a new e-commerce platform to enable online purchasing.

Graham Jackson, managing director of Bell, said: “We have worked so hard over the last three years to completely transform our business and this is set to continue as we are currently undergoing a re-brand and looking to extend our store to include a deli and expand our existing departments further.

“Locally, we are still regarded by some as suppliers of fireplaces and kitchens, but there is so much more to Bell than that. Now we can compete with the top UK department stores and offer a wide range of home and lifestyle products. Winning these awards is recognition of how far we have come in a few short years.

“Whatever the result on the night, we are extremely proud of our achievements and our hard-working team and look forward to continued growth in 2018, as we open a major extension to our store which includes a 110-seat restaurant.”

Bell of Northampton is located on Kingsthorpe Road in the town. To find out more, go to

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Public borrowing could be around £7bn higher than OBR forecast by 2021/22

Posted: 10/11/17 by PwC LLP

· Short term public borrowing estimated to be around £10bn less than OBR forecast

· Medium term deficit likely to be higher due to slower productivity growth

· Still room for Chancellor to ease austerity, but any giveaways in the Budget might need to be largely offset by takebacks

· Longer term target of eliminating the budget deficit by mid-2020s looks challenging

Public borrowing could undershoot the Office for Budget Responsibility’s March forecasts in the short term due to a combination of higher than expected tax revenue growth and lower than expected spending, according to projections from PwC’s forthcoming UK Economic Outlook report. PwC estimates public borrowing to be around £48bn in 2017/18, around £10bn less than the OBR forecast.

But in the medium term, borrowing may be higher due to lower productivity growth, more than offsetting the effects of a better starting point and stronger future jobs growth. PwC projects public borrowing of around £24bn in 2021/22, compared to the OBR’s March forecast of £17bn.

John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, commented: “We don’t think the medium term public finance outlook is that bad, because there are some positives both from the recent data and the UK economy’s ongoing success in creating jobs. We still think the Chancellor should have some room for manoeuvre in the Budget to boost spending on priority areas like housing and health, and to ease public sector pay constraints selectively, while meeting his medium term target of a structural budget deficit below 2% of GDP with a reasonable margin.

“But both the OBR and the Bank of England have faced up recently to the reality of sluggish UK productivity growth continuing for some years to come. This will also dampen future real wage and tax revenue growth and so make it harder to meet the Chancellor’s longer term objective of balancing the budget by the mid-2020s, which already looked challenging given the upward pressures on state pension and healthcare spending from an ageing population.”

Regionally, all parts of the UK are likely to see some moderation in growth in 2017-18 with London no longer leading the pack.

In contrast to previous years where London has generally had one of the strongest growth rates of any UK region, our latest projections suggest London’s growth rate may fall to close to the UK average in 2017-18 (see Figure 2.7).

This is partly due to the greater exposure of some London activities (e.g. the City) to adverse effects from Brexit-related uncertainty, as well as growing constraints on the capital in terms of housing affordability and transport capacity.

Most other regions are projected to expand at around the UK average of 1.4% in 2018, although Northern Ireland is predicted to lag behind somewhat with growth of around 1% next year.*

Andrew Sentance, senior economic adviser at PwC, added: “The government should respond to this productivity challenge in the Budget and beyond with measures to boost skills, infrastructure development and innovation. But this has to be a long term industrial strategy - there are no quick or easy fixes to increasing productivity growth.”

Detailed public finance projections

Further details of PwC medium term economic growth and public finance projections, assuming no change in fiscal policy in the Budget, are summarised in the table below, including comparisons with the OBR’s March 2017 forecasts. The main differences between the two sets of projections are that:

· The latest PwC projections see real GDP growth being around 0.3% lower than the OBR forecasts in 2017/18 and 0.2% per annum lower after that due to the negative effect of slower productivity growth outweighing the positive effect of faster jobs growth.

· PwC’s projections envisage a cyclically-adjusted budget deficit of around 1.1% of GDP in 2020/21, whichwould still be 0.9% of GDP (around £21bn) below the Chancellor’s target of a budget deficit no higher than 2% of GDP in that year. The Chancellor would still have some room to ease austerity in the Budget, but around £3 billion less than the OBR estimated back in March.

· The structural budget deficit would remain largely unchanged at around 1% of GDP in 2021/22 on the PwC projections, rather than falling further in that year as the OBR forecast in March. This would put the already challenging longer term target of balancing the budget by the mid-2020s a little further out of reach.

· PwC projections would still see public sector net debt falling over time as a share of GDP in line with the Chancellor’s secondary medium-term fiscal target, but this debt ratio would still remain relatively high at around 80% of GDP in 2021/22, roughly double the levels seen before the financial crisis.

This is an advance release based on PwC’s latest UK Economic Outlook report, which will be available online from 14 November 2017. The full report will include more detailed economic projections and special focus articles on the potential economic impact of lower EU net migration to the UK after Brexit, and the reasons for the ‘twin puzzles’ of the UK’s relatively poor performance on productivity growth and exports since the financial crisis.

For more information please contact Tilly Parke at

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Christmas is coming!  Join us for our MacIntyre Charity Christmas Fair, Sat 02 December

Posted: 10/11/17 by MacIntyre

Where better to start your Christmas shopping than by joining MacIntyre at our Christmas Fair in the beautiful setting of the Antiques Centre, Woburn Abbey on Saturday 02 December from 10am to 3pm

Soak up the festive atmosphere with music provided by some fabulous local choirs and bands, enjoy a mince pie, mulled wine and browse for that special gift, MacIntyre have over 50 stalls offering something for everyone.

And even though its a busy time of year for him, Santa has made some time to see the youngest visitors with an opportunity to visit Santa’s Grotto,

Tickets are just £2.50 for adults, £1 for 5-16 years and under 5’s are FREE with a trip to Santa’s Grotto £2.50

Get yours by visiting and clicking on Christmas Fair, MacIntyre accept all major credit and debit cards.

Alternatively give the Fundraising team a call on 01908 230100, it is here to help with any enquiries, ticket sales etc.

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Joy Vollans is appointed a Non-Exec Director of the Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce

Posted: 10/11/17 by EMW

Joy Vollans, EMW Law LLP’s CEO, has been appointed non-executive director of the Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce

Joy will join the board as a non-executive director. She will be responsible for representing the interests of the local business community and ensuring that the highest standards are applied in managing the performance of the Chamber’s activities.

The Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce promotes, and is a vocal supporter of, local business activity and business-to-business exchanges. Through the development of local relationship networks, it works as a source of expert advice and aims to attract new business and residents to the area.

Since becoming CEO in 2005, Joy has helped EMW grow and has seen turnover increase from £6.8 million to over £13 million now. As a qualified management accountant, she sits on both the Operational and the Strategic boards of the firm.

Joy comments: “The Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce has a well-earned reputation for helping local businesses make the most of their potential, and I am delighted to start my work on the board.

“Under my leadership, I helped drive the decision to relocate EMW to Milton Keynes in 2007. Since the move, the firm has experienced a great deal of success in this community, and I look forward to helping promote the needs of all local businesses.”

To read this article on our website: please click here

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The Melrose Directory announced as a finalist in Biztech’s BrightSparc awards!

Posted: 10/11/17 by The Melrose Directory

The Melrose Directory has been named a finalist in Biztech Technology Forum’s BrightSparc Awards 2017 - in not just one, but two categories.

The family-run firm, which created a value for money website directly connecting holidaymakers with property owners, made the shortlist of Best New B2C Technology Innovation and Best Technology Collaboration for its work with AD Media Relations and westfourstreet.

The news comes just weeks after The Melrose Directory relaunched its website – transforming it into an innovative and user-friendly site which is compelling in design functionality for the customer, with a combination of off-the-shelf products and bespoke development.

Shirley and Stewart Elsmore, founders of The Melrose Directory, said: “We are thrilled to be finalists in Biztech’s BrightSparc Awards, which showcases the very best of technology across the SEMLEP and MK area.

“It has been a very exciting year for us as we’ve developed The Melrose Directory website to provide a modern, appropriate and reliable technical functionality and design. This has allowed the uniqueness of the business to shine through, thus differentiating it from the top 5 corporate competitors.”

In a bid to use technology to its full advantage, The Melrose Directory, worked alongside web designers westfourstreet to create its new website and with marketing agency AD Media Relations to communicate the brand’s message.

Shirley added: “It is truly a collaborative approach with all partners having free-reign to put forward their ideas, taking the best of all our knowledge and packaging it in a way that creates a personalised service to both owners and holidaymakers.

“Using our instincts, we have jointly implemented a successful formula which not only makes The Melrose Directory service to our customers completely differentiated in the market place, but the sound relationships that have formed ensure that all 3 parties benefit from each other’s respective skills, and being a finalist is testament to that collaborative team approach.

“We are incredibly proud of what has been achieved since our launch last year.”

Biztech Judges including Mayor of Milton Keynes Cllr David Hopkins, the MK Council Leader Cllr Peter Marland, Jan Flawn of PJ Care, Nick Lancaster of the University of Bedfordshire and Silvia Vitiello from Kingston Smith, chose the winner who will be announced at the awards ceremony on November 24.

Alison, director of AD Media Relations, said: “To be recognised by such a high calibre of judges for our work with a groundbreaking company like The Melrose Directory is fantastic.

“We are very proud to have been involved in this collaboration with two businesses which like us thrive on delivering creativity and individuality to benefit their customers.”

Richard Bateman, creative director of westfourstreet, said: “From the very start of the project there was very organic understanding between ourselves, The Melrose Directory and AD Media Relations. This organic understanding translated into the creative collaboration which in turn made the project a lot of fun to work on.

“We share with AD Media Relations the same philosophy - where understanding the target audience as well as the short term and long term goals of the client are key areas of the creative process.

“Naturally we’re delighted to be finalists, but more so over the moon for the guys at The Melrose Directory who work tirelessly to deliver a customer experience and platform to their users, which unquestionably would be a fantastic benchmark for any company or organisation.”

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Event - Join us for our General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Seminar: 18 January 2018

Posted: 10/11/17 by EMW

EMW Law LLP is delighted to invite you to an introduction to the General Data Protection Regulation on 18 January 2018.

With the GDPR coming into force on 25 May 2018, EMW Law LLP has had many requests to deliver a seminar providing a basic introduction. Come along to hear its thoughts, plus it will be your chance to put your questions to its expert lawyers.

In this session it will:

  • provide a recap of the basic principles of UK data protection law;
  • summarise the top 10 issues presented by the GDPR; and discuss thorny issues such as fines, consent, direct marketing and security breaches.


  • Arrival for 8am for bacon rolls, pastries and refreshments
  • Presentation at 8:30am
  • Close at 9:30am
  • No Charge

Who should attend this event?

Those with little or no knowledge of the GDPR and would like to know more about it.

Sign up here

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Do you want to win more business and build better relationships?

Posted: 10/11/17 by Power2Progress LTD

Discover the process that creates TRUST and FOSTERS relationships that bring in business again and AGAIN!

Open yourself up to the possibility of deeper, better, stronger relationships.

Repeat business is good business, saving your money and resources. Your clients will thank you for it.

Learn how to CREATE BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS that are based on trust.

CREATING TRUE PARTNERSHIPS, is a seminar, hosted by Anjana Rajani of Power2Progress, that will change how you do business - come along to the talk at 2pm.

Expo is on the 16th November, 10am - 4pm. Holiday Inn, Geddington Road, Corby, NN18 8ET

FREE to Attend, just Register for your attendance HERE, via Eventbrite and be in with a chance of winning a free stand at the Spring Expo in 2018!

There are a few stands still available priced at £150 (no VAT) and this includes a 3m x 1m space with or without a table, white linen table cover and chairs and inclusion on all Expo social media platforms (x3 stands per industry max).

To find out more about the event, contact Sheila Smith on / 07809 635181 or Kate Denne on / 07940 520841.

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Kettering Borough Council shortlisted for national award

Posted: 10/11/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Kettering Borough Council has been shortlisted for a prestigious award from the Local Government Chronicle in the Housing Initiative category.

The LGC Awards, the biggest and most prestigious awards ceremony for the local government sector, have recognised Kettering’s efforts to reduce tenancy breakdown in Council housing.

Initiatives such as a tenancy support service, a ‘LifePlan’ project, welcome meetings, an intensive programme of home visits for new tenants, and a ‘Tenant Passport’ have helped bring a reduction in the number of tenancies ending within the first year, by 44%. The Council has also seen a noticeable reduction in the number of tenancies ending as a result of rent arrears, from 30 in 2013/14 compared to 13 in 2016/17.

Nearly 100 organisations have been shortlisted as finalists in the coveted awards, which recognise the best of local government innovation and service delivery.

The winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony at Grovesnor House in London on 21st March 2018. The full list of finalists can be found at

John Conway, Head of Housing at Kettering Borough Council, said: “We are really proud to be nominated as a finalist in this category given the stiff competition from other councils from across the country. We work hard to help tenants to maintain their tenancies and keep a roof over their heads, and we’re delighted that our work is having a positive impact on the lives of so many of our tenants.”

Cllr Mark Rowley, Kettering Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Communications and Youth, said: “It is an honour to be a finalist in the Housing Initiative category, recognising our commitment to tenants across our Borough. We are always looking to find innovative projects to improve the services we provide. We have a great team of officers who deserve this sort of recognition for their hard work and imaginative ideas which improve our services for tenants.”

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FREE funding available in the Northampton area for businesses with under 250 employees!

Posted: 09/11/17 by Impact Recruitment Ltd

Get skills for your business - Free Training Analysis available today!

Impact are pleased to announce that we have partnered with an organisation who are working alongside your Local Enterprise Partnership and has been allocated funding by the Government to help businesses in the Northampton-shire region.

Please be advise this funding covers accredited qualifications and can also be used for Leadership and Management courses or any Industry specific qualifications.

This is to be spent on developing your staff in any area that you feel is going to help strengthen your business.

This funding is available for a year and as this is your funding we are very keen to understand from you where you feel this money would be best spent in your business.

In short Northampton has been recognised as a high growth area in the UK and has secured investment from the European social fund.

This money is for any business in the Northampton area that has under 250 employees and allows them to access grants to develop their employees in any number of areas, to help them to progress through your business and in turn strengthen your company and the economy as a whole. “

Please email me your availability and one of our consultants, will pop in and provide further details and a training needs analysis appointment on the day.

Bev Parekh

Branch Recruitment Manager – Commercial Division


01604 239555

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There’s a story brewing – TV newsreader and beer buff joins journalism team at the University of Northampton

Posted: 09/11/17 by The University of Northampton

Journalism students at the University of Northampton will be able to get the lowdown on television, transistors and top tipples from their new lecturer.

Marverine Cole (pictured here) is one of only a handful of black female television newsreaders in the UK, who’s highly skilled in live news reporting and TV and radio presentation. She’s hosted news bulletins and current affairs programmes for Sky News, 5 News, ITN and the BBC. She’s also produced radio documentaries for BBC 1Xtra, 5 Live and BBC Radio 4.

When it comes to craft beer and real ale, Marverine is a respected authority on the subject and is a Beer Sommelier, accredited by the UK Beer Academy. She’s often been seen extolling the virtues of Britain’s national drink on shows like ITV’s This Morning, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, and BBC 2’s The Great British Food Revival.

“I’m delighted to join the University of Northampton at such an exciting time,” said Marverine. “It has a well-earned reputation for high student satisfaction, having recently gained a TEF Gold Award and on the verge of making a move to a brand new campus in 2018.

“I’ve worked in the media industry for almost 25 years, now, 14 of those as a Journalist and Television Newsreader. Journalism as an industry is changing so fast that we can hardly keep up. I’m really enjoying preparing our students to be storytellers in this fascinating multi-media world.”

Subject Leader in Journalism, Media and Performance, Matt Walsh, said: “I’m delighted Marverine has joined the team at the University of Northampton.

“Our students will hugely benefit from learning with such an experienced journalist, film-maker and presenter. And we’ll all be looking forward to learning more about beer too.”

Find out more about Marverine on her website.

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Health awareness video is praised for helping spot sepsis

Posted: 09/11/17 by The University of Northampton

A health awareness video co-created by University of Northampton researchers has received praise from a mother whose daughter’s life was saved after watching it.

Amber Mullally of Widnes, Cheshire faced every parents’ worse nightmare when her 14 month old daughter Annabella became ill in the early hours of the morning.

Amber had, coincidentally, recently watched the video that was promoted during a national health campaign in July.

She was convinced Annabella’s symptoms could be the early stages of the potentially fatal condition sepsis and took her daughter to their nearest A&E department, who confirmed it was sepsis.

Her swift thinking, on the back of advice in the video, saved Annabella’s life.

Praising the video, Amber said: “For any parents like me, I was worried I was causing a fuss over nothing, but went with my gut instinct after watching the video.

“If I hadn’t of watched the video, I wouldn’t of known what was wrong. It made me aware straight away this could be sepsis. Thank you for the video; it really helped my Annabella and I’m sure it will save many more lives.”

The videos were co-created by University of Northampton associate professor in Children’s Nursing Sarah Neill, professor Monica Lakhanpaul from University College London, both part of the research group called ASK SNIFF (Acutely Sick Kids Safety Netting Interventions for Families) and with Dr Lauren Fraser at the Health Innovation Network.

The video was funded by NHS England along with a second video on how to look after a child with fever.

Sarah Neill added: “This is such wonderful news. I’m very happy to hear that Annabella is doing well and that the video my research team and I helped create pointed Amber in the right

“We know it can be difficult for parents to tell if their child is seriously ill and, if so, what to do next but this story shows that one video can make a huge difference in helping them.

“We know it isn’t always easy to ask a doctor to see your child, especially if they were seen earlier in the day, but children can deteriorate very quickly so it is important to know the
symptoms and to have the courage, like Amber did, to ask ‘Could this be sepsis?

“We hope other parents have a chance to see the videos we have made, bookmark them and share them with their friends and family.”

Watch the video about Sepsis online here.

Watch the video about Caring for a child with fever online.

For more information about ASK SNIFF and their research see their website.

Find out more about the University of Northampton’s Child Nursing Course.

Pictured: Amber and Annabella

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British Touring Car & British GT 2018 Tickets On Sale

Posted: 09/11/17 by Rockingham Motor Speedway Ltd

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the petrol head in your family, advance tickets are now available for both the Rockingham rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship and British GT & BRDC F3 race series.

The BTCC rolls into the Northamptonshire circuit next summer as part of the UK’s premier racing series’ 60th anniversary celebrations, so motorsport fans will not want to miss out on this landmark season for the championship.

Rockingham is the seventh circuit the BTCC will visit in 2018 as part of its 10-meeting championship. The venue hosts Rounds 19, 20 and 21 over the weekend of August 11/12, and spectators will have the opportunity to catch all the action for as little as £25.50, if booked in advance.

New for next season, BTCC fans will have the choice of purchasing general admission or grandstand seating tickets in the Rockingham Building. All tickets will include access to the pit garage roof and race paddocks.

Advance grandstand seating tickets cost £33.50 (Sunday), £42 (weekend) and £5 for children. General admission prices are £13 (Saturday), £25.50 (Sunday) or £34 (weekend), while those aged 15 & under get in for free.

If the petrol head in your life prefers endurance racing, the high-performance teams from the British GT Championship always bring more than a touch of glamour to the track showcasing some of the world’s exotic supercars.

The British GTs will again be joined by the raising stars of the BRDC F3 Championship for its annual pilgrimage to Rockingham over the weekend of April 28/29. There is good news for spectators as the venue has frozen its prices for next spring’s visit.

Advance tickets cost just £22 (weekend), £17 (Sunday) and £12 (Saturday), while children aged 15 & under get in free! So why not treat your favourite motor racing fan to some high-octane entertainment at Rockingham at an affordable price?

Tickets can be purchased online at or via the ticket hotline on 01536 500500, option 1. For more information visit the race events page on the Rockingham website.

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Students make a stand to support Northampton’s refugees and asylum seekers

Posted: 09/11/17 by The University of Northampton

Students and staff from the University of Northampton are helping to plug the gaps in the town’s refugee and asylum seeker support system.

Dismayed by the limited support available for those fleeing their homelands for a new life in Northampton, students and staff have launched an initiative to be recognised as a University of Sanctuary, commited to welcoming and supporting refugees and asylum seekers.

A University of Sanctuary is an institution that ‘offers good practice in welcoming asylum seekers and refugees into the university community and fostering a culture of welcome and inclusion for all’.

Practically, it means welcoming asylum seekers and refugees onto University courses, and providing incentives and routes for them to get involved.

International Development undergraduate, Kelsey Clarke, is one of the students involved in the initiative, and has seen first-hand how little provision there is for refugees and asylum seekers to assimilate into Northampton life.

Kelsey, who is part of the Northampton STAR (Student Action for Refugees) group, said: “Northampton seems to be lagging behind other towns and cities when it comes to supporting refugees and asylum seekers. In Coventry, for example, there’s a dedicated refugee and migrant centre where people can access support, advice and services.

“Here, there’s no official place to go to for support, and as Northampton is one of the largest towns in the country, that’s pretty terrible.

“In Northampton, it seems like it’s down to people in the community to help refugees and asylum seekers. Students are part of the community and we want to do something to help.”

Together with fellow students Lara Hamer, Antonia Obrvan and Arte Artemiou, Kelsey volunteers at a refugee drop-in evening held at a youth club every Friday.

“They just have a chance to relax in a friendly place, see friendly faces, watch a film, play table tennis and enjoy tea and biscuits,” said Kelsey. “It doesn’t sound like much, but for a refugee or asylum seeker it is incredibly important.

“I cannot imagine what it is like for them, knowing what they have run away from and now struggling to assimilate to UK life. They tend to only interact with their own group and have little contact with other people, so Friday nights help them to mix with local people who are friendly and welcoming.”

While refugees wait for their cases for asylum to be heard, the University of Sanctuary initiative feels more could be done to help them to become useful members of society.

She said: “International human rights law states everyone should have a right to access education and rights to have a family life. Do refugees in our country have access to education or a family life? For the majority the answer is ‘no’ – there are so many rights violations.

“Integration can be problematic for refugees and asylum seekers, and access to education is surely something that would help them to assimilate, better themselves and the town. We hope the University will gain official University of Sanctuary status, which would hopefully lead to the uni providing scholarships and assisting with accommodation.

“These people are humans, we need to show our humanity.”

Pictured: Refugee helpers from left, Arte Artemiou, Kelsey Clarke, Lara Hamer and Antonia Obrvan.

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Seven reasons to visit The Development Company at the Corby Expo

Posted: 09/11/17 by The Development Company Limited

If you are planning on attending the largest exhibition in Northamptonshire on 16 November, make sure you pop by The Development Company stand.

Seven reasons to talk Learning & Development needs with us:

  • We are the only UK ITOL (Institute of Training & Occupational Learning) Delivery Centre. We accredit in-company courses, such as Recruitment & Selection, Appraisal Skills and Customer Care Skills. You agree the standards that need to be met, and we measure your people against those standards.
  • We are licensed to deliver ITOL qualifications – talk to us about Foundation and Certificate qualifications for Train the Trainer, and Coaching Skills.
  • If you are struggling growing your business, our Business Coaching is Pay as You Go. Our coaching enables you to work ON your business.
  • If your leaders need help to work strategically, we provide Strategy Day consultation, facilitation and advice.
  • For managers who are struggling to manage, our modular programmes get results.
  • You need bite-sized learning to fit around your business needs? Our Training Acorns are 90-120 minutes, ideal top-ups for staff. Talk to us about ‘Lunch and Learn’, ‘Tea and Train’ and ‘Breakfast bites’.
  • We are licensed for Thomas International DiSC, so if you need personal profiling to help you recruit, develop and retain your people, discuss this with us.

And lastly, why not pop by and ask us what connects The Development Company and kinky boots. See photo of Chamber Business Development Manager, Sunny Singh, modelling them.

Where? Holiday Inn, Corby

When? Thursday 16 November 10am to 4pm

Cost? Free to attend, £150 to exhibit -

If you can’t attend, yet you’d like to discuss training needs, then contact us on 01604 810801 or email and we can discuss your unique needs over a coffee

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University of Northampton’s ‘year-ahead’ dementia plans to be unveiled at conference

Posted: 09/11/17 by The University of Northampton

The University of Northampton will outline a series of bold and innovative projects to help make the town and wider county dementia friendly, at a conference to be held next week.

‘Future Directions in Dementia Care’ will take place on 14 November at Newton Grand Hall, at the University’s Avenue Campus.

The University’s dementia projects lead, professor Jackie Parkes (pictured here), will launch the year-ahead plan for the Northamptonshire Dementia Research and Innovation Centre (NDRIC), a joint collaboration between the University and the Northamptonshire Dementia Action Alliance (NDAA).

These plans include the launch in early 2018 of UnityDEM, a support centre for those recently diagnosed with dementia and their carers.

Leaders in dementia health and policy will meet at the conference to discuss and showcase the latest research and care innovations.

Keynote speakers include world-renowned experts in the field of dementia care, including Professor Alastair Burns, the UK’s National Clinical Director for Dementia and Mental Health in Older people.

The Dementia Friendly Northamptonshire Brochure will also be officially launched, with copies available for people to take away.

This is a practical guide to living with dementia and includes information the signs and symptoms, how to get diagnosed, key contacts for help and support as well as details of forthcoming projects across the town and county.

Organisations from Northamptonshire and across the UK will be on hand at the conference to answer questions about their innovations at an exhibition also to be held at Newton Grand Hall.

The innovations are aimed at promoting independence in people with dementia, reducing isolation and loneliness and maintaining their social connections.

Jacqueline Parkes, professor in Applied Mental Health at the University of Northampton, said: “The total number of people living with dementia is expected to rise to 1 million in 2025, although this figure doesn’t include the many family members and friends also affected by this devastating condition.

“But the outlook isn’t all gloomy and with the projects and research detailed in our plan, officially launched today, people will be able to see how we are working with our partners to make Northamptonshire a better place to live if you have or care for someone with dementia.

For more information about the University’s dementia projects, contact Professor Parkes on:

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Advertise on The Melrose Directory for just £95 a year

Posted: 09/11/17 by The Melrose Directory

Dissatisfied property owners who have been swallowed up by corporate accommodation websites are being urged to contact The Melrose Directory to advertise for just £95 a year.

Using their combined 70 years’ worth of experience in the hospitality industry, founders Shirley and Stewart Elsmore launched The Melrose Directory to offer a direct, personal and friendly service.

The innovative, user-friendly website makes it easy for both holidaymakers and holiday house owners – saving everyone time and money.

Shirley said: “We understand that property owners are usually reliant upon agencies who charge up to 23 per cent commission to advertise their homes. That’s why we wanted The Melrose Directory to be a value for money website which directly connects holidaymakers to property owners for a low cost.

“The website achieves the aim of making the booking transaction quick and easy for the holidaymaker and with little administration for the owner who has their calendar auto-updated and an invoice sent to the customer.

“Holidaymakers and owners can have a dialogue if they wish to prior to booking. This means they both have the confidence that each other fulfils their personal requirements.

“If this sounds pleasing, we’d love to hear from interested property owners and chat in more detail.”

Call The Melrose Directory on 01234 711825 or email

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Positive Attitudes - Manufacturing Survey Report 2017/2018

Posted: 09/11/17 by MHA MacIntyre Hudson

MHA Maclntyre Hudson and Lloyds Bank Plc have launched their Manufacturing Survey Report for 2017/2018.

The midlands results show that overall attitudes remain positive and demonstrate an upturn in optimism this last 12 months along with continued growth. Nearly 79 per cent of respondents were forecasting growth of up to 10 per cent, driven by increased demand, a rise of six per cent on previous year. This comes after another successful year for the majority of respondents with almost 70 per cent having seen their businesses grow over the last 12 months.

Simon Knibbs, partner and head of manufacturing at MHA MacIntyre Hudson’s Milton Keynes office, said: “It’s encouraging, that in spite of all the recent doubts and reservations about the UK economy, the manufacturing sector is responding with remarkable resilience and optimism.”

The main challenges identified by respondents were raising the capital investment required for the push towards automation and increased production costs due to raw material price increases and expected wage growth.

With regards to Brexit, the good news is that the majority of businesses have a strategy for Brexit in place. 43 per cent believe that Brexit will have a limited impact, with 15 per cent claiming that Brexit will have an extensive impact on their businesses.

In terms of retaining and recurring staff, 22 per cent of businesses have lost staff as a result of referendum result. This is being put down to uncertainty with regards to the EU workers’ rights, making it even more challenging to deliver growth against the difficulty of recruiting and keeping staff.

The survey also highlights things businesses are not making the most of, including:

  • R&D Tax Credits - Surprisingly a third of respondents had not made a claim in the last 12 months and 41 per cent did not anticipate making a claim in the next 12 months. Given that companies gain significant benefit for R&D claims this remains an area of concern.
  • The apprenticeship Levy – 62 per cent of businesses have no strategy in place or do not understand access to the apprentice levy funding.
  • 61 per cent reported that they had received no government funding or grants during the last year and only 20 per cent felt that they could access anything.
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The Melrose Directory has entered the Biztech’s BrightSparc awards!

Posted: 09/11/17 by The Melrose Directory

The Melrose Directory is proud to announce it has entered Biztech’s BrightSparc awards 2017.

Since launching last year, the family-run firm has created a value for money website which directly connects holidaymakers with property owners for a low cost.

In a bid to use technology to its full advantage, The Melrose Directory, alongside web designers westfourstreet, recently relaunched its website – transforming it into an innovative and user-friendly site which is compelling in design functionality for the customer, with a combination of off-the-shelf products and bespoke development.

It worked alongside marketing agency AD Media Relations to help present the founders’ personalities and has encouraged interaction through the site with the use of personal messages and quality competitions.

Keen to show off the new and improved property rental website, TMD was entered into Best New B2C Technology Innovation and Best Technology Collaboration for its work with AD Media Relations and westfourstreet.

Judges including Mayor of Milton Keynes Cllr David Hopkins, the MK Council leader Cllr Peter Marland, Jan Flawn of PJ Care, Nick Lancaster of the University of Bedfordshire and Silvia Vitiello from Kingston Smith, are now faced with the hard task of choosing a winner ahead of the awards ceremony on November 24.

Shirley and Stewart Elsmore, founders of The Melrose Directory, said: “We are incredibly proud of what has been achieved since our launch last year.

“It is truly a collaborative approach with all partners having free-reign to put forward their ideas, taking the best of all our knowledge and packaging it in a way that creates a personalised service to both owners and holidaymakers.

“We have jointly through our instincts implemented a successful formula that not only makes The Melrose Directory service to our customers completely differentiated in the market place, but the sound relationships that have formed ensure that all 3 parties benefit from each other’s respective skills, and this awards application is testament to that collaborative team approach.”

Fredi Nonyelu, Biztech’s chairman, said: “It’s a sign of the importance of technology and innovation to the regional economy that the Biztech BrightSparc Awards are able to attract such a high calibre of judges.

“A part of Biztech’s role is to showcase the very best of technology across the SEMLEP and MK area, in this way we can play our part in creating a hub of businesses that will generate the growth and wealth for the benefit of everyone.”

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Northamptonshire Growth Hub will be celebrating its 4th anniversary on Friday 1st December 2017

Posted: 08/11/17 by Northamptonshire Growth Hub

To mark this occasion, the Northamptonshire Growth Hub (NGH) will be hosting an event where a number of businesses supported by NGH will be sharing their success stories. This will be a great opportunity to find out the Growth Hub story, to meet and network with our team, partners and clients.

NGH was established in November 2013 to fulfil a need for business support for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the county and in that time has helped over 6,000 businesses. It is now based in two locations: The University of Northampton Innovation Centre and the iCon in Daventry – both ‘state-of-the art’ premises offering office space and meeting facilities. NGH handles over 500 calls every quarter, 70% of which are established businesses but with a significant portion from pre-start and start-up enterprises.

Over the last four years NGH has expanded its offer from a pure business signposting service to providing direct support designed to address gaps in local provision. Together with its partners, NGH has played a key role in bringing over £7 million of investment to the county, by running projects such as Ready2Grow and Innovate Northamptonshire, and helping to deliver the Northamptonshire Digital Enhancement and South East Midlands Start-up projects. All of which are part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Malcolm Johnston, head of enterprise at Northamptonshire Growth Hub commented: “Our first learning curve was understanding and getting the right support to our customers, and to provide them with services that they needed. 4 years on, we can say that we have gone above and beyond achieving this. It is a significant milestone for us as we’ve seen huge changes, but we have managed to adapt and grow with the ever-changing landscape. From my point of view, it’s been exciting to watch the team increase in number and witness our clients achieving great success. I’m looking forward to what we as a growing organisation can achieve over the next 5,10 and 15 years!”

Everyone is invited to join in with our celebration on Friday 1st December 2017 at the University of Northampton Newton Hall from 3-5 pm. If you would like to register for this event, or if you require any further information please or call 01604 892810 .

Northamptonshire Growth Hub offers a comprehensive and unbiased business support to new or growing businesses in the county. To find out how we can support your business contact us on 01604 212696 or visit

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The TSC’s next Transport Cafe takes place 6th December

Posted: 08/11/17 by Transport Systems Catapult Ltd

The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) next Transport Café: SME Support and Networking event takes place Wednesday 6th December here at our TSC offices and will run from 9:30am to 12pm.

At this Transport Cafe, you will hear about exciting developments in the Intelligent Mobility and Transport Innovation sector. We’ll also be focusing on Mobility as a Service (MaaS), where we will explore this exciting area with specialists within this field, including TSC’s MaaS Lead, James Datson.

You will also have the chance to network with the TSC team and other businesses from within industry. To register to attend, simply click on the following link: TSC Transport Cafe

If you have any queries, please contact us at

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Leap into Northampton’s Lapland this Christmas

Posted: 08/11/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Join us for a magical journey through a snowy town centre Lapland as we celebrate Christmas in Northampton, with family-friendly activities throughout November and December.

The journey begins on Saturday, 18 November as we illuminate the town centre at the annual Christmas lights switch-on. Taking place on the Market Square, festivities start at 2pm with fun performances from the casts of the Royal & Derngate’s Aladdin, The Deco’s Peter Pan and the Looking Glass Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast pantomimes.

Panto stars Jaymi Hensely and Lydia Lucy will later join two of the Leisure Trust’s recent Sports Award winners, as they switch on the Christmas lights at 5pm. Emily Williams, the Young Sportswoman of the year and Susan Corless, the Local Sportswoman of the year, will have the honour of switching on the town’s lights.

The festive celebrations continue on Sunday, 3 December with the annual Frost Fair and Christmas parade returning to the Market Square. Stalls at the fair will be offering unique gifts, handmade cards and decorations plus a range of seasonable food and drink between 11am and 4pm. The Christmas parade will begin at The Deco Theatre at 1pm and will follow Santa’s journey around the town centre, before completing his rounds on the market square stage, ready for a good old sing-song.

Families will also get an icy surprise on 3 December as the Igloo Cinema opens in the Grosvenor Centre at 11am. The 360-degree cinema will showcase three fun and educational
Christmas films, every day until 22 December. Santa will be on hand each Saturday too, to welcome people to the cinema hub and pose for a selfie or two.

There will be plenty of opportunities to get into the Christmas spirit during December weekends. Festive food stalls will take up residence in Abington Street from Saturday, 2 December, offering delicious snacks such as roasted chestnuts, hog roasts and hot dogs to help fuel your shopping trips. In addition, local community groups, church choirs and bands will be providing musical entertainment on the market square, every Saturday until 16 December.

Abington Park museum will also be offering a range of events and workshops during the festive period, including a Christmas wreath-making workshop, a Victorian Christmas celebration and a one-man play of A Christmas Carol. There will also be a two-day Christmas Fair opening on 25 November, offering artisan produce and gift ideas.

Cllr Anna King, cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “We have been busy, working with partners to provide a jammed packed itinerary of family-fun in the town centre this Christmas.

“From lively entertainment and delicious food, to creative workshops and our fun new Igloo Cinema, there will be something to suit everyone this festive season.

“We hope to see lots of people out shopping and enjoying the events and entertainment, which all kick off with our fantastic light switch on.”

Visit for a full list of events and to book free cinema tickets. Or search #CelebrateNorthampton on Twitter.

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Have you applied for a Digital Enhancement Grant yet?

Posted: 08/11/17 by Northamptonshire Growth Hub

Would your business benefit from increasing its digital presence? Or by investing in a new payment system? How about by improving stock management?

However digital solutions could help you – we can help make it happen.

Northamptonshire-based SMEs can apply for funding to help implement a range of digital solutions – such as building a website, upgrading accounting software, developing a new product/application or improving customer services tracking.

To be eligible, you must be:

  • a Northamptonshire based company;
  • a small to medium sized enterprise (employ fewer than 250 people);
  • a non-retail business; and
  • have an idea of how new technologies and capabilities will improve your business.

Applications close for this round of funding on 17 November 2017 at 12pm.

To find out if you’re eligible and to apply, contact Northamptonshire Growth Hub at 01604 212696 or Email:

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Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service 2017

Posted: 08/11/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Northampton will be honouring members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty with a Remembrance Sunday parade and service.

The Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Gareth Eales, will lead a procession of councillors and town dignitaries from The Guildhall to All Saints’ Church as part of this year’s Remembrance Day parade and service on Sunday, 12 November.

The main parade will form in two parts on the Market Square. The Northampton Pipe Band will lead the first part of the march to All Saints’ Church at 9.30am and will be followed by the second part led by the Air Training Corps Band at 9.35am. The parade will join with the Mayor’s procession at All Saints’ Church for the Divine Service which starts at 10am.

After the Divine Service the parade will assemble in George Row. The traditional two minutes silence will begin at 11am at the first stroke of All Saints’ clock. The laying of designated wreaths and the remembrance service will then follow.

After the service, the parade headed by the Northampton Pipe Band, will make its way to The Guildhall to make the salute before progressing up St Giles Street, into Fish Street and then reaching its final destination in Abington Street.

The Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Gareth Eales, said: “Remembrance Sunday is an important time for us to honour and remember the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and all those who have been affected in conflicts.

“This year, we have already paid tribute to local war hero Edgar Mobbs and those affected by the Zeppelin raid in St James during WWI. On Remembrance Sunday however, we show our respect for the thousands of service men and women who lost their lives 100 years ago as well as those who continue to serve our country today. I do hope the local community will join us as we pay our respects.”

Large poppies have again been installed on lampposts and street furniture along the parade route.

Phillip York, Branch Chairman for the Royal British Legion, said: “It is wonderful to see the large poppies marking the parade route again for this year’s Remembrance Day event in Northampton. It is great that the town shows such support for its service men and women and their families, and marks the sacrifices they have made for our peace and security today.”

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Are you GDPR Compliant?

Posted: 08/11/17 by Woodfines Solicitors

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

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

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

We will be hosting two breakfast seminars from our Cambridge and Milton Keynes offices to provide you with the essential information you need to become compliant before 25 May 2018.

29th November – Milton Keynes Office: Silbury Court, 352 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK9 2AF

30th November – Cambridge Office: Lockton House, Clarendon Road, Cambridge, CB2 8FH


8.00-8.30 Breakfast (bacon rolls and pastries)

8.30-9.30 Presentation

9.30 – 10.00 Chance to network


RSVP with your preferred location to:

Kerry Ransby at: or telephone: 01234 270600 by Friday 17th November.

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Milton Keynes improves its ranking in top 10 high performing cities index

Posted: 08/11/17 by PwC LLP

  • Milton Keynes moves up one place to 6th on the overall Good Growth for Cities index
  • Cities in the Midlands including; Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Walsall and Leicester are amongst fastest improving cities this year
  • But the price of success is reduced housing affordability and increased average commuting times
  • Critical need for local industrial strategies that address housing, transport and skills gaps

Milton Keynes has seen strong jobs growth and is catching up on the historic top-performers in the South of England, according to the latest Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities Index.

While the highest ranked cities still tend to be mostly in the South of England, except for Edinburgh, Milton Keynes has ranked 6th on the index. The top 10 improvers in the 2017 index include Birmingham, Leeds and Leicester suggesting a steady narrowing of the gap with the South.

John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, commented that: “The UK has been a great job-creating machine in recent years and this has driven improvement in our good growth index this year across all major UK cities. On average across the UK, the index is now at its highest level since it began in 2006 and all regions have benefited from this upturn.

“But there has also been a price to pay for this in terms of worsening housing affordability, increased average commuting times and more people having to work long hours. The cities that are highest ranked on the index also tend to suffer the highest price of success.”

Published today, the sixth annual Good Growth for Cities 2017 index sets out to show that there’s more to life, work and general wellbeing than GDP. The index measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the new Combined Authorities against a basket of ten indicators based on the views of the public as to what is key to economic success and wellbeing.

These include employment, health, income and skills - the most important factors, as judged by the public - while housing affordability, commuting times, environmental factors and income inequality are also included, as is the number of new business starts.

Milton Keynes was found to be one of the best performing cities within the UK, moving up to 6th in the overall ranking, but was shown to have the most wide-ranging score profile. The city is significantly above average for over half of the indicators, but below average on elements such as work-life balance, house price to earnings and income distribution, suggesting that the city is facing the ‘price of success’ dilemma.

The index shows that all 42 UK cities improved their score relative to our 2016 Index, driven primarily by increasing employment. In general, those cities that have seen the biggest improvements in their overall score have also experienced particularly large falls in unemployment in recent years.

Growth comes at a price (see page 16 / Fig 6)

However, while all 42 cities have improved their year-on-year scores in the 2017 index, success comes at a price. A reduction in housing affordability, falling owner occupation rates, rising average commuter times, and minor declines in both health and work-life balance since last year’s report suggest pressure on scarce resources such as housing, transport and labour during the recent period of economic recovery between 2013 and 2016.

Ruby Parmar, PwC’s senior partner for Milton Keynes (pictured here), commented: “I’m delighted that Milton Keynes continues to be in the top 10 of the index and has moved up one place from last year to 6th in the overall ranking. This is a significant year for the city as we celebrate its 50th anniversary, which has been a year-long opportunity to showcase the strengths of the city, its people, skills, economy and community.

“Delivering good growth cannot be achieved by any one person working alone, but goes hand-in-hand with place based transformation, where local government, central government and the private sector act together and work collaboratively, to facilitate local economic growth, prosperity and wellbeing.”


Milton Keynes has also benefited from the growth of the UK digital tech industries, with nearly 70% of all UK digital technology investment in 2016 taking place in regional clusters outside London.

Of the top-10 cities winning these tech investments, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Edinburgh and Bristol are also in our top-10 highest ranking cities, demonstrating the importance of technology as a catalyst of regional growth. See Tech Nation 2017

The UK Powerhouse study produced by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) 2017, also supports Milton Keynes’ tech hub status, suggesting the economy grew by 2.6% in the year to the end of Q2 2017 on the back of its booming technology sector and its track record for encouraging start-ups. According to the report Milton
Keynes also tops the league table for job creation after employment levels grew by 1.4% over the last 12 months. See UK Powerhouse report

Ruby Parmar, commenting on the overall theme of this year’s Index results, said: “We’ve seen broad-based improvements in our good growth index across the region, driven in particular by falling unemployment rates. Some areas that had lagged behind in the recovery from the financial crisis are now showing clear improvements, so the recovery and some early signs of economic re-balancing are spreading across the UK.

“However, we are also seeing the price of prosperity in terms of growing pressures on scarce resources of housing, transport and skills. If regional cities are to sustain the strong recovery and performance of recent years, it will be critical to address these challenges as part of cities’ growth strategies. Key national and regional infrastructure projects combined with private sector development, will add momentum to the region for the next decade.”

A copy of the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities Index 2017 can be downloaded from

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Willen Hospice will benefit from card sales on DoodleDoo

Posted: 07/11/17 by Willen Hospice

Willen Hospice has registered as one of the charities that will benefit from sales on an online personalised greeting cards ordering site,

For every card bought, DoodleDoo Personalised Charity Greeting Cards donates at least 10% of the purchase price after VAT to the buyer’s charity of choice. Willen Hospice will appear as one of the options buyers may select.

Hywel Jones, head of retail at Willen Hospice says: “We’re encouraging people to use this online site when buying a personalised greeting card as it’s a really simple way to help make a difference without incurring any extra cost; whilst raising vital funds for Willen Hospice.”

DoodleDoo has thousands of designs from artists and photographers; themes and messages for every occasion and delivery is free. Willen Hospice even has its own gallery of Christmas card designs from a competition held last year by HWS Keens.

As a further initiative, local business Woolfe Jewellery based at centre:mk Milton Keynes, will MatchFund each amount raised on the site for Willen Hospice.

John Woolfe of Woolfe Jewellery said: “At Woolfe Jewellery we are always happy to support the vital work done by Willen Hospice in any way we can.”

Glenn Wynsor, creator of locally based DoodleDoo said: “We are particularly keen to help local charities, and the opportunities for other businesses to MatchFund our donations make it even better. If we could get a few more companies on board for Willen Hospice, that would be wonderful.”

Willen Hospice services are free to those they care for, but to continue to offer this care, the charity needs to raise around £7 every minute from the local community. The annual running costs of the Hospice is around £4.6 million and although it is grateful to have 22% of these costs met by the NHS, the remaining 78% needs to be raised from the local community.

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Naturally Tribal Featured in Women@Forbes

Posted: 07/11/17 by Naturally Tribal Skincare Ltd

Naturally Tribal is very excited to be featured in Women@Forbes.

They were presented with a unique opportunity by an award-winning writer, speaker and presenter who is not only a champion for women’s rights, but also supports start up organizations.

Melissa Jun Rowley was looking to connect with women entrepreneurs with ongoing or upcoming projects with a link to Africa, Asia or South America – and tell their story.

Shalom Lloyd, founder and managing director, said: “This connection presented a fantastic opportunity for Naturally Tribal. We saw this as an opportunity to not only tell our story, but to raise awareness, shine the light on what we do which goes way beyond producing amazing products, but connects with empowering and supporting women both in our home country (Milton Keynes, UK) and in Africa.

“Having and nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset achieves results, and when we add a sustainable and ethical way of working to that mix, we can impact and change lives for the better.

“We are a living example and proud to be a Milton Keynes start-up who are making a difference - one community at a time, one woman at a time.”

Please click on this link to read more:

Pictured: Shalom and her business partner Francis Emeghara.

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Giveaway Time at Northants Flooring

Posted: 07/11/17 by Northants Flooring Ltd

Northants Flooring has teamed up with a local business to buy you Christmas dinner!

Just in time for Christmas, we have a Festive Meat Hamper worth £80 at The Butchers Block to be won.

All you need to do is Like the Northants Flooring Page and The Butchers Block page. Then share this post to enter.

You must do ALL three to qualify.

Northants Flooring is committed to supporting and growing local businesses in the Northants area.

Competition finishes November 30th and we will announce the winner on the 4th December!

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GPW Consulting Managing Large Crude Tank Clean on Exxon Refinery

Posted: 07/11/17 by GPW Consulting

GPW Consulting are proud to be managing and delivering a large Crude Tank cleaning project for a client on the Exxon Mobil Refinery in Fawley Southampton.

This involves removing and processing over 2500m3 of Heavy Oil Sludge from inside a storage tank to allow inspection and repairs.

GPW Consulting are supplying trained, skilled and competent Project Management and Supervision staff to deliver this work in a tight timescale.

This project is worth around £400K to GPW Consulting’s client.

GPW Consulting can look at any technical project and come up with safe, competitive, managed solutions.

Please get in touch to discuss any requirement:

Landline: (01295) 768068



The Cottage

27 Church Street



NN13 5QJ

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An evening with the University of Northampton

Posted: 07/11/17 by The University of Northampton

The University of Northampton are hosting a Postgraduate Information Evening at John Franklins’ (Royal & Derngate theatre bar, Northampton town centre) and invite prospective postgraduate students to come along on Monday 27th November, from 5pm-7pm.

The event is an opportunity for anyone interested in returning to higher education to discover the postgraduate study options available at The University of Northampton. The options span a range of subjects and awards including MA, MSc, PGdip, and MBA, as well as postgraduate research degrees; PhDs, MPhils and professional doctorates in business (DBA) and health and social care (DProfPrac).

What can you expect?

  • Meet academic staff and get detailed information on courses and modules
  • Get one-to-one guidance about applying for a place
  • Speak to current University of Northampton Postgraduate students
  • Find out about fees and funding options that are available and which scholarships you could apply for
  • Take a virtual reality tour of our new Waterside campus

The University of Northampton Postgraduate Information Evening takes place on Monday 27 November between 5pm-7pm. To book a place or receive more information, visit

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Boo’s, Booze and a Wicked Quiz!

Posted: 07/11/17 by MHA MacIntyre Hudson

A night of fun and games as many of Milton Keynes’s Frank-Einstein’s got together to enjoy the Young Bright Things Halloween Quiz hosted by EMW Law.

10 MHA Maclntyre Hudson professionals mixed it up with other company professionals where everyone’s knowledge was put to the test. The questions varied from guessing Halloween songs to what direction do bats leave a cave…

The networking continued with some delicious food and sweets, followed by more frightening questions. As the evening came to an end some of the young professionals decided to continue the night by heading down to the nearest bar to enjoy a few drinks before heading home.

It was truly a SPOOK-TACULAR night!

For further information contact marketing coordinator Bhavisha Gajjar at or on 01908 662255

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Farmland sales demonstrate both nervousness and resilience in 2017

Posted: 07/11/17 by Robinson & Hall LLP

As the farmland selling season comes to a close, David Jones, head of agency at Robinson & Hall, Land and Property Professionals (pictured here), reflects on a year which has shown some highs and some lows.


Only some 11,000 acres were publicly marketed in the first quarter of the year, suggesting that supply could be constrained in 2017. However, the market made up lost ground with in excess of 95,000 acres being offered by the half-year mark, putting the statistics back on trend. Nevertheless, for those looking for larger complete farms, the pickings have been thin on the ground.

The weak pound has increased the value of subsidies and commodity prices and has provided some sort of respite on farm debt. Interest rates remain low, despite every prediction, and pressure from the banks is limited.


Uncertainty surrounding major political events and policy changes has remained at the forefront of buyers’ minds. The Government has indicated support will continue until the end of the current Government, which could be 2022. This may have calmed the nerves surrounding the immediate implications of Brexit, but caution remains.

Nevertheless, considerable rollover funds continue to chase a small number of larger farms and local demand for smaller blocks can, in some cases, be considerable. However, without local interest, sales of the smaller blocks can be difficult.


The market continues to show a very large variation in prices, both regionally and locally. Arable land might be sold at £7,000/acre, or at £14,000/acre; a 100% variation for a very similar commodity.

Continued constrained supply will help sustain land values, while uncertainty, combined with good local advice, often provides opportunities for both buyers and sellers.


The Local and Neighbourhood Plan process continues to provide opportunities for well-sited land. There remains consistent demand from housebuilders for all development sites, ranging from single plots through to schemes of 1000+ dwellings.

Many strategic land promoters are actively looking for new sites to promote, over both long and short term, particularly in regions where the local authority does not have a minimum five year housing land supply.

Terms vary considerably and attention needs to be paid to every element of the promotion agreement, as the devil is often in the detail.

If you are considering putting your farm or land on the market then please get in touch with me. The beauty of Robinson & Hall’s unique in-house set up means that we can use the expertise of our other departments where necessary, such as planning and development, to ensure that your sale is attractive to buyers.

Please contact David Jones, Head of Agency on 01234 362906 or email

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Alcohol Awareness Week: 13th - 18th November

Posted: 07/11/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Kettering Borough Council has joined forces with local organisations to organise a range of activities to promote Alcohol Awareness Week, which runs from 13th – 18th November.

Kettering Borough Council, Hope UK and Alcoholics Anonymous will be offering help and support to the public in the Newlands Centre on 14th and 16th November from 10am -1pm. We will be sharing facts, challenges, advice and information about alcohol as well as offering free tasters of alcohol-free drinks.

The public are also invited to join us for a health walk on 15th November, starting outside the Corn Market Hall at 12.30pm (lasting 30-60 minutes) and finishing with some alcohol-free drinks and a wealth of information and advice.

During the week, the organisations we will be raising awareness about the harm caused by drinking alcohol on a daily basis, with the events supported by The Co-Operative who have provided essential funding.

Shirley Plenderleith, head of public services at Kettering Borough Council, said: If you are concerned about your drinking, or that of a family member or friend, please take this opportunity to find out about the help and support which is available from organisations in Kettering.”

Cllr Lloyd Bunday, Kettering Borough Council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for community & leisure, said: “Alcohol misuse has a real impact on the lives of all those suffering as well as their friends and family. We want those who may be suffering this Christmas to know that they are not alone, and there are many support services available in Kettering.”

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Dress your head for the hospice

Posted: 07/11/17 by Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity

Are you dressing your head for the hospice this December?

Whether you want to grab a Christmas hat, spray your hair green and red, jazz up your beard or sparkle your face…Cynthia Spencer Hospice doesn’t mind!

Just sign up by emailing with the subject: ‘I want to Dress My Head for the Hospice’ and the hospice will send you out a poster and collecting tin and support you in any way it can! Download its sponsorship form now!

You can also make a donation via its Justgiving campaign page here -

So make a date to DRESS YOUR HEAD and HELP YOUR HOSPICE on 8th December.

Download and print its ‘We Are Dressing Our Heads’ poster once you’re signed up and let all your friends, family and colleagues know how they can get involved and sponsor you.


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LinkedIn or LinkedOut Masterclass: 1 Day LinkedIn Training Northampton - Book Now, Few Spaces Left!

Posted: 07/11/17 by Power2Progress LTD

Power2Progress are hosting this, not to be missed, LinkedIn or LinkedOut Masterclass: 1 Day LinkedIn Training Northampton. With only a few more spaces left, make sure you book now to ensure your place.

This event is ideally suited to Business Owners, Entrepreneurs and Sales Professionals. During this 1 day Masterclass, LinkedIn Expert Sam Rathling will teach you:
In addition to the incredible tips and tricks that Sam will teach on the day, this event offers a unique opportunity to network with other business professionals who will also be in attendance on the day. Sam is a business networking expert and will be incorporating an element of networking and relationship building into the day. You never know, you might just meet your next best client!

  • How to generate business opportunities using LinkedIn
  • How to develop a great LinkedIn Profile that oozes credibility
  • How to find and reach your target market, influencers and key decision makers
  • How to be relevant to your target market with great content
  • How and why to increase your connections to 1000+
  • How to do LinkedIn in less than 15 mins. per day.

Details are:

Date: Tuesday, 14th November

Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm

Venue: Nene Whitewater Centre, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7AA

Early Bird Ticket: £97.00 BOOK NOW!

Find Out More HERE! and read BLOG

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Christmas edition of Corporate Charity Chat

Posted: 07/11/17 by Milton Keynes Hospital Charity

Hello! Welcome to our Christmas edition of Corporate Charity Chat.

We love to keep in touch with our key corporate supporters and share with you what we have been up to over the last few months.

We hope you enjoy reading! Please click on the link here:

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Handmade Christmas card workshops - couple of spaces left!

Posted: 07/11/17 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

We have a couple of spaces left on our lino print Christmas card evening workshops on November 9th and 23rd from 7-9pm in Farthingstone.

This form of fine art printmaking is a great technique to use for making Christmas cards as once you’ve cut the design in the lino, you’re ready to print as many cards as you need.

The workshops are led by Northampton artist and printmaker Iain Hodgkinson and cost £48.50 pp (for both evenings).

Details: Bay Tree Cottage, Maidford Road, Farthingstone, Towcester, Northamptonshire, NN12 8HE

Contact us on tel: 01327 361720 / 07909 966806 or email:

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Bell Northampton Xmas Open Evening

Posted: 06/11/17 by A Bell & Co Ltd

We will be holding our exclusive Xmas open evening for customers and clients this Wednesday evening and would love to see you here!

There will be over 20 pop up shops with a broad range of Xmas gifts, six cooking displays with pizza ovens, and Big Green Eggs producing an array of mouth watering food.

Headlining in our Bespoke Kitchen is the amazing Carmela Sereno Hayes, demonstrating delicious authentic Italian dishes.

Enjoy cocktails, Mulled wine, Live Music and much more.

See too the changes that Award winning Bell has made and hear more about our exciting plans for 2018.

Please feel free to bring as many friends or colleagues as you like.

Details: Wednesday 8th November 6 til 9pm (or later)

Address: A Bell & Co Ltd, Kingsthorpe Road, Kingsthorpe, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN2 6LT

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Bell Northampton Xmas Open Evening

Posted: 06/11/17 by

We will be holding our exclusive Xmas open evening for customers and clients this Wednesday evening and would love to see you here!

There will be over 20 pop up shops with a broad range of Xmas gifts, six cooking displays with pizza ovens, and Big Green Eggs producing an array of mouth watering food.

Headlining in our Bespoke Kitchen is the amazing Carmela Sereno Hayes, demonstrating delicious authentic Italian dishes.

Enjoy cocktails, Mulled wine, Live Music and much more.

See too the changes that Award winning Bell has made and hear more about our exciting plans for 2018.

Please feel free to bring as many friends or colleagues as you like.

Details: Wednesday 8th November 6 til 9pm (or later)

Address: A Bell & Co Ltd, Kingsthorpe Road, Kingsthorpe, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN2 6LT

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Howes Percival warns employers to review policies on inappropriate behaviour following high profile cases in the news

Posted: 06/11/17 by Howes Percival

Following a slew of bullying and harassment allegations in the news, leading regional law firm Howes Percival is urging all employers to review their policies on inappropriate behaviour.

High profile cases include the suspension of Radio 5 Live presenter, George Riley by the BBC following accusations of sexual harassment; the Football Association penalised for failure to properly deal with allegations of racially discriminatory remarks made by ex-England women’s manager Mark Sampson and the resignation of Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.

Employers are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment in the workplace and can be liable for any harassment suffered by their employees. Having up to date policies and procedures can help prevent problems occurring and provide a framework for dealing with complaints.

Paula Bailey, partner and employment law expert at Howes Percival (pictured here) explained: “Harassment and bullying in the workplace isn’t a new problem. Many employers have had policies and procedures in place for years and believe that they’re doing everything necessary to comply with their legal obligations. However, with recent media attention surrounding allegations of harassment against high profile employers and individuals; employers have received a hard-hitting reminder of the serious and potentially damaging implications of becoming complacent and failing to properly manage inappropriate workplace behaviour.

“Employers should take a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment in the workplace and, they should be mindful that one employee’s ‘office banter’ may be considered offensive harassment by another. Employers should take any concerns raised by employees seriously and deal with them appropriately. Dealing with complaints quickly and effectively is key to restoring positive workplace morale and productivity.”

Implications for failing to address inappropriate behaviour

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers are liable for acts of discrimination (including harassment) committed by employees in the course of their employment unless the employer has taken all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the discrimination/harassment complained of. Not only will the employee who has committed any acts of discrimination be personally liable, employers will also be liable. Compensation in relation to discrimination claims is uncapped and therefore discrimination claims can be costly.

In addition to the cost of legal claims and adverse PR risk; there will inevitably be other implications for employers including potentially the cost of sick leave (if a harassed employee is signed off work due to stress), the cost of replacing staff, lost productivity, and lost time of managers and employees dealing with a complaint or investigation.

What is Inappropriate Behaviour?

Inappropriate behaviour in the workplace can take an array of forms. Whether it be harassment related to sex, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender reassignment for example or sexual harassment or bullying.

The important thing to understand is that when dealing with allegations of harassment, it is the perception of the recipient that’s important; provided that perception is reasonable. It is the effect that the behaviour has on the victim, as opposed to whether the perpetrator intended his/her behaviour to have that effect, which is key. So, it is vital that, if an employee raises concerns about an employee’s or third parties’ behaviour, the employer takes the allegations seriously and deals with them appropriately.

Appropriate Action

If inappropriate behaviour is detected or reported employers need to act swiftly, consistently, and in accordance with their policies. Depending on the severity of the allegations, it may be that the matter can be dealt with informally. However, if the alleged misconduct is serious, the employer will need to deal with the matter formally and commence a full and thorough investigation.

If after investigation, it is considered that there is a case for the alleged perpetrator to answer, then the matter should be dealt with via the disciplinary procedure. In serious cases, it may be that the matter can be treated as gross misconduct and it may be that there are sufficient grounds to terminate the employee’s employment summarily without notice or payment in lieu of notice.

Pro-Active Management

The best approach is to adopt a preventative strategy. Steps for employers to consider include:

  • Ensuring that you implement or review your policies and procedures including anti-harassment & bullying procedures, grievance and disciplinary procedure, and equality and diversity policy and procedure and any and all other relevant policies. Make sure these are robust and up to date and that staff are aware of the expectations on them and what behaviour will not be tolerated, both in the workplace and outside of work at work related events (such as Christmas parties, etc.)
  • Ensuring that staff are inducted and trained on your policies and procedures on a regular basis.
  • Regularly reviewing your complaints and grievances records: patterns of behaviour, in particular departments or by particular employees that you can pro-actively address may become apparent.
  • Encouraging employees to come forward by ensuring that you have appropriate complaints mechanisms in place: many victims of bullying and harassment are apprehensive to report inappropriate behaviour.
  • Regularly reviewing your policies, procedures, training and complaints to ensure that you are doing all that you can to prevent discrimination, including in relation to third parties who may come into contact with your employees.

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Free places at Business Accelerator Summit

Posted: 06/11/17 by Bright Business Advice

Ambitious business owners can find out how to achieve rapid, sustainable growth and reach peak performance at award winning Bright Business Advice’s next Business Accelerator Summit.

In just one day its experts will help businesses delve deep into every area of Bright Business Advice’s proven, tried and trusted 7-Sector Business Accelerator Model.

Delegates will come away with a one-page focused 90-day business plan and five lucky Northamptonshire Chamber members are being given the chance to attend the Summit for free.

Tickets to the popular event normally cost £95 each.

Bright Business Advice’s 7-Sector Business Accelerator Model helps firms to:

· Improve profitability to create a more solid and sustainable business

· Provide outstanding customer service to increase customer retention and generate more referrals

· Systemise and organise to make effective use of their time and save thousands of pounds in unnecessary costs

· Achieve Rapid Sales Growth – discover strategies that will allow them to generate large amounts of revenue in a shorter space of time

· Implement smarter, lower cost, marketing to attract more leads and customers

· Recruit, lead and motivate their staff to increase productivity and reduce staff turnover

· Design their business plan around the key areas of Leadership & Management, Finance, Operations, HR, Marketing & Sales

· Create a ready to go multi-touch marketing campaign

· Guarantee they make tens of thousands – or hundreds of thousands, and for some millions of pounds of extra revenue on implementation

· Implement the structures and systems proven to increase efficiency, effectiveness and organisation.

The event will take place from 9am to 5pm on Friday, November 10, at Hilton Hotel, Northampton. Registration starts at 8.30am.

To take advantage of the offer of free places click here

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Oakland International Exhibiting at Sustainable Food and Beverage Conference

Posted: 06/11/17 by Oakland International Ltd

Multi temperature supply chain and distribution specialist Oakland International will be exhibiting at the Sustainable Food and Beverage Conference at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on the 7th November.

Joining the 2,000 delegates and showcasing their range of sustainable and innovative supply chain solutions, Oakland will partner with SEaB Energy, creators of the innovative Muckbuster and Flexibuster turnkey Anaerobic Digestion (AD) systems, used globally in shipping containers, for the event with both companies focused on supporting and helping lead the way in industry innovation and sustainable business change.

Oakland’s consolidation platforms and contract packing services encompasses their award winning and pioneering Distress Load Management (DLM) facility, which minimises food waste for customers, loss adjusters and hauliers on distressed product loads, consistently operates a recovery level of circa 80% of product, with nothing sent to landfill, and to date has successfully recovered over 2,000 tonnes of food, with any residual food waste redirected to nominated anaerobic digestion plant centres or recycling centres, where it is used for renewable energy.

Oakland International European customer support and development manager, Edith Hurst-Earl (pictured here), commented: “We are delighted to partner with SEaB Energy for the conference.

“It will be a fantastic opportunity for both Oakland International and SEaB Energy to share good practice and sustainable business innovation and to showcase each our individual and unique value-added service offers.”

A double Queen’s Award winner, Oakland will be exhibiting with SEaB Energy on Stand T12A, the Conference will bring together key stakeholders, regulatory organisations, food and beverage manufacturers and all sectors of the supply chain who have successful track records of delivering quantifiable and sustainable results.

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Our Q4 Quarterly Economic Survey Goes Live Today - Make Your Views Known

Posted: 06/11/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Firms throughout the borough of Milton Keynes are invited to take part in Milton Keynes Chamber’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES).

The Chamber is asking businesses for feedback on their experiences of trading during Q4 of 2017 to gain a picture of the local economy.

Results from the online survey are fed to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) along with the other 52 accredited Chambers. They are then passed onto the Government and the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), providing them with an accurate national economic overview.

The findings from the national QES are also widely used by the media, politicians and economists.

To take part please click visit

The survey will remain open until Monday 27th November.

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Our Q4 Quarterly Economic Survey Goes Live Today - Make Your Views Known

Posted: 06/11/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Firms across the county can now take part in Northamptonshire Chamber’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES).

The Chamber is asking businesses for feedback on their experiences of trading during Q4 of 2017 to gain a picture of the local economy.

Results from the online survey are fed to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) along with the other 52 accredited Chambers. They are then passed onto the Government and the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), providing them with an accurate national economic overview.

The findings from the national QES are also widely used by the media, politicians and economists.

To take part please click visit

The survey will remain open until Monday 27th November.

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Opus Energy wins two accolades and recognised as leading industry challenger brand

Posted: 03/11/17 by Opus Energy Limited

Business energy supplier, Opus Energy, has today announced that it has been named in the top 10 as one of the UK’s healthiest brands, alongside household names including Dyson, Innocent and Easyjet.

Opus Energy was placed sixth in Kantar Millward Brown’s first UK BrandZ study. The firms listed were judged based on purpose, innovation, communications, brand experience and love, and are seen to have disrupted a category either through a strong sense of purpose, seamless brand experience or fresh innovation.

Opus Energy won a place in the top 10 due to its innovation, and its proven success in taking on the Big Six energy companies – cementing its position as the leading challenger brand for business energy provision. The award also signalled the potential for Opus Energy’s prospective future growth, with the company already expanding from ten to over 900 employees in just fifteen years.

In addition to this accolade, Opus Energy was awarded the British Small Business award for Utilities Provider of the Year on Wednesday 1st November. Opus Energy won the award as the provider that managed the needs of small businesses better than its competitors, with judges considering a combination of the best value, customer service, reliability, and SME-focused initiatives. Fighting off stiff competition from firms including E.On and Gazprom Energy, the award signals a successful year for Opus Energy, following its acquisition by energy giant Drax, earlier this year.

Nikki Flanders, chief operating officer at Opus Energy commented: “We have a strong heritage in supporting small businesses and doing everything we can to ensure they have the best energy provision and customer service.

“We’re pushing to go the extra mile for small businesses, and as well as aiming to give the best service, we support SMEs with initiatives like our Brighter Business advice hub and Business Clusters map. We also make it easy for SMEs to meet their sustainability objectives – last year, 90% of the electricity we supplied came from renewable sources, including our 2,300+ UK-based renewable generators.

“Being recognised with both an award for small business services and a vote of brand confidence is a fantastic way to mark an exciting and fast-paced year for Opus Energy,” Flanders concluded.

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Kettering HR firm through to national award finals

Posted: 03/11/17 by Business HR Solutions Consultancy Ltd

HR Solutions of Kettering is through to the finals of a national business awards for its commitment to customer service excellence.

The inaugural SME National Business Awards, which takes place on Saturday 1st December at Wembley Stadium in London, will see HR Solutions go up against 13 other competitors from across the UK in the hotly-contested Service Excellence category.

This award comes hard on the heels of the company’s success in the regional version of the awards last month - the SME Northamptonshire Business Awards – which saw HR Solutions go into the awards as finalists in two categories and come away as Runner Up in the Business of the Year Less Than 50 Employees category.

Greg Guilford, Chief Executive Officer of HR Solutions, said: “We were delighted to be announced as Runner Up in the SME Northamptonshire Business Awards for the Business of the Year Less Than 50 Employees category, and now have our sights firmly set on the national Service Excellence prize.

“Providing excellent customer service is second nature to us and has really helped our organisation to grow. We started in 2001 with one client and have grown year-on-year through providing the very best service and HR advice possible and now have a client base of 300 and staff of 19.

“Being an SME ourselves, we understand how vitally important customer service is to a business. Some of our clients have been with us since the beginning which tells us that we are doing something right. As we have grown, we have been careful to take on people who share our ethos of putting the client at the heart of everything we do, offering peace of mind and allowing business owners to focus on growing their business while we help manage and protect their biggest assets - their staff.”

HR Solutions supplies outsourced HR support to clients from small care agencies to multi-national technology firms, and boasts over 300 clients in a wide range of industries including financial services, charitable, medical and hospitality sectors. Services available include HR health checks, bespoke documentation and handbooks, employment advice and more.

To find out more, go to

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University of Northampton International College student braves hurricanes to start law course

Posted: 03/11/17 by The University of Northampton

A new student at the University of Northampton International College (UNIC) has spoken about how disaster movie weather didn’t stop him from enrolling on his Foundation in Law programme.

Llnnall Ayre Emanuel, from Dominica, found himself in the eye of the storm as Hurricane Maria tore through the Caribbean last month.

Maria went on to flood Llnnall’s apartment, destroy many of his belongings and left him with no power to finalise his enrolment and visa application.

The UNIC admissions team kept in touch with him throughout his travails to grant an extension to his application as he pieced his home life back together. He managed to make it to Northampton in time for his final enrolment date.

Llnnall, who wishes to go on to study for a full degree in Law with the University of Law, said: “Despite the arduous journey getting to the UK, I received the warmest and most wonderful welcome from UNIC. It felt like meeting a new family and it has been like that ever since.

“After the hurricane struck, it would have been so easy for me to feel sorry for myself, give up and defer my studies in the UK, but I stayed positive and it paid off.

“My message to students facing difficulties is to never give up. If I can survive this and still get to the UK then you can do anything you put your mind to.”

Craig McIlwain, College Director/Principal said: “Llnnal’s incredible feat of endurance living through and dealing with the aftermath of disaster is matched by his commitment to getting his studies started with us. We are proud to have him enrolled as a UNIC student.”

UNIC is part of the leading global education provider Navitas’ group of UK colleges and offers Foundation, First Year and Pre-masters Programmes in a range of subjects. As an Associate College of the University, UNIC is based in the University of Northampton’s Park Campus and has just celebrated its one year anniversary.

During its first year of operation UNIC has welcomed nearly 200 international students from over 30 different countries.

Read more about Llannal’s experiences on his blog:

Students who are interested in courses at UNIC can look at their website or follow their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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New Gen Come To The Rescue!

Posted: 03/11/17 by Simon Cox Marketing Solutions Limited

Having been told by your e-mail hosting provider that you are no longer required as a customer and that you should change provider is something no business owner should ever hear but that’s what happened to Simon Cox of Simon Cox Marketing Solutions last week.

Having been a customer of a company for seven years, Simon had a number of e-mail problems which were causing problems. Communication wasn’t reaching the right place, e-mails were bouncing and the business operation was being affected until Friday afternoon when a meeting with fellow Chamber members New Gen IT solved his headaches.

Following a conversation with Sales Director Suraj Dholakia, Simon was swiftly set up on Office 365 with excellent support from Managing Director Steve Souch who talked Simon through what he needed to do to get his e-mails up and running so he could continue with his business without interruption.

“The service and response from New Gen IT was fantastic. I arrived at New Gen IT to talk to them about some branded clothing and left with a new system set up saving me time, energy and money with a cloud base solution. I would recommend talking to Suraj and Steve if you are considering moving to a cloud base solution for your business. It’s already reaped it’s rewards as well as sown seeds for the future growth of my business.” said Simon, who is now able to access all his e-mails on his PC, tablet, laptop and phone and have confidence that he is able to run his business without further interruption.

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£750 for Eve

Posted: 03/11/17 by eve

Eve would like to thank ​everyone involved in the Annual Weston Favell Village Show this year.

They raised a fantastic £750 for Eve, with many prize winners on the day donating their financial winnings to the organisation.

A spokesman said: “We are very grateful for these funds and very much appreciate all the hard work that went into raising them for us.

“We will use this money to provide educational, therapeutic and wellbeing activities for service users attending our Restored Programme.”

If you would like to invest in Eve’s work to Transform Lives Affected by Domestic Abuse, please click on the Donate Tab and follow the links.

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Creating the Digital Footprint

Posted: 03/11/17 by Squared Apples

Squared Apples has now developed its Facebook page to enable a greater number of individuals the ability to contact it and discuss the importance of building and organisational resilience footprint for their company.

Please feel free to approach the firm and ask its advice on the relevant activities to help increase your resilience.

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Simon Selected For Panel At Santander Breakthrough In Branch Event

Posted: 02/11/17 by Simon Cox Marketing Solutions Limited

Next Wednesday, Simon Cox will be one of the guest speakers at the Santander Bank in Kettering High Street at their Breakthrough In Brand session.

The Breakthrough in Branch event aims to give local business owners or start up businesses the inspiration, practical insights and professional support you need to start or develop your own business as well as see it survive and thrive.

Simon will be talking about the growth of the successful Kettering Business Network, forthcoming events for small business owners to attend and engage in as well as the forthcoming Small Business Saturday campaign.

If you would like to know more about the event, please contact Simon on 01536 869688.

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New programme of family art activities will support young people with complex needs

Posted: 02/11/17 by MK Gallery

MK Gallery is extending its role in improving access to culture. The Gallery has been successful in securing funding to support a new inclusive programme targeting young people with complex needs and their families. The programme is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and MK Community Foundation. Inclusive Practice in the Arts will develop the expertise, confidence and capacity of the MK Gallery team and Associate Artists to deliver a stimulating, challenging and enjoyable programme of art explorations and activities, engaging families with a child or children with physical or learning disability.

Inclusive Practice in the Arts is being developed in recognition of the unique needs of, and strains experienced by, families with a child or children with complex needs. The three-year programme builds upon MK Gallery’s expertise in ‘whole family’ programming and the Gallery’s long-term partnership with Hastings-based organisation, Project Art Works, working to create meaningful arts engagement with individuals with profound disabilities. From spring 2018, the programme will deliver weekly workshops to enable families to work directly with an artist with specialist training in complex needs, allowing family members to enjoy spending time together in an environment which is creative, accessible, fun and understanding of everyone’s needs.

MK Gallery is currently undergoing a major expansion which is due for completion during the second year of the Inclusive Practice in the Arts programme. The main gallery building will reopen in early 2019 with state-of-the-art access facilities funded by MK Community Foundation and generous individuals. The expanded MK Gallery will include access routes of a generous width, accessible signage, a hearing loop, portable seating and a Changing Places toilet - a facility for those whose needs mean they are unable to use a standard accessible toilet. These provisions will hugely enhance the experience of visiting MK Gallery and the Changing Places toilet will open up the venue to an entirely new audience that is currently unable to make extended visits to the Gallery.

MK Gallery director Anthony Spira, speaking about the new programme said: “Having the support of Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Milton Keynes Community Foundation to deliver this transformative programme is fantastic. Their support enables us to bring in specialist expertise and train artists and other staff to provide a positive experience of the arts for absolutely everyone regardless of their level of need. For families with a family member with complex needs, the opportunity to enjoy a high quality creative activities together is very rare, which makes the new Inclusive Practice in the Arts programme all the more important. We are delighted to be delivering this crucial work as part of our commitment to providing the very best arts experiences for all.”

Moira Sinclair, chief executive of Paul Hamlyn Foundation, said: “At Paul Hamlyn Foundation, because we see the difference it makes to people’s lives, we believe access to the arts is a right, not a privilege, and we are interested in opening up opportunities to as wide and diverse a group of people as possible. We recognise that disabled people, and especially those with complex needs, often face barriers to taking part in arts activities and that is why we are backing MK Gallery’s ‘Inclusive Practice in the Arts’ programme. The ‘whole family’ approach should allow the positive impact of creativity to be experienced much more widely, and we are delighted to see it in our portfolio of grants supporting best practice and innovation in the arts.”

Ian Revell, CEO of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation said: “MK Community Foundation is proud to partner with MK Gallery by co-funding this ambitious and innovative project with Paul Hamlyn Foundation. This project is designed for young people with complex needs and their families to engage with a high-quality arts programme. MK Gallery has a long and impressive track record of delivering quality arts projects and we have every expectation that they will produce a first rate programme that will benefit many local families and leave a positive impact on the cultural life of Milton Keynes.”

MK Gallery will recruit a Curator of Inclusion to support the delivery of Inclusive Practice in the Arts. The Curator of Inclusion will work alongside MK Gallery’s award-winning learning team. For more information about the role, please visit

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