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Academy coach Paul Diggin to leave Saints

Posted: 21/02/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Northampton Saints can today announce that Academy Coach Paul Diggin will be leaving the Club after 15 years at Franklin’s Gardens.

The 33-year-old has been a part of the Club’s furniture since his playing days, when he notched up 148 appearances and helped Saints claim numerous trophies along the way.

A versatile player who was equally comfortable at fly-half, on the wing or at fullback, fan-favourite Diggin was a graduate of Saints’ Academy system, and returned to where it all began in 2014.

As Academy Coach, ‘Digger’ – as he is affectionately known to most people around Franklin’s Gardens – has been invaluable in the development of the Club’s brightest talent for four seasons, spurring several players onto international honours and into the Saints’ first team.

“I truly have loved my time here at Franklin’s Gardens; all the way from my days as a player to my most recent role as Academy Coach,” said Diggin.

“I will never forget what it was like to pull on the Black, Green and Gold jersey, and I have so many brilliant memories playing for the Saints – our 2009 European Challenge Cup victory and run to the Heineken Cup final in 2011 amongst them.

“But I will also remember fondly my time with the Academy and everything we have accomplished over four years.

“I love the Club and I wish everyone here all the best for the end of this season and beyond.”

After captaining Northampton School for Boys’ 1st XV, local-lad Diggin progressed through the Academy at Franklin’s Gardens and into the Saints’ first-team squad.

After making his debut in 2004, Diggin was a key member of the Saints generation that earned an immediate return to the Premiership in 2008.

He was named Saints player of the year for the 2008/09 season and won the Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2009 and 2010 respectively. He went on to play every minute in eight of Saints’ nine matches on their run to the Heineken Cup final in 2011 – becoming the first Saint to score four tries in a European Cup match along the way.

And then along with former teammate and fellow Academy coach Mark Hopley, Diggin guided the Club’s Under-18s to the league title in 2014 and a runners-up finish the following season.

Saints CEO Mark Darbon said: “Paul has Black, Green and Gold in his veins and has been an incredible servant for the Club.

“Our Academy here at Northampton Saints has really benefitted from his input over the last four seasons, and we wish him all the best for the future.”

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Opening (and closing) doors for their customers

Posted: 21/02/18 by Stanair Industrial Door Services Ltd

Stanair believes that having the right door for your premises’ needs is essential to help your business’ processes run at peak efficiency. This was certainly the case for one of their customers, BI Engineering in Wellingborough.

For over 38 years, BI Engineering have designed, developed, manufactured and refurbished a diverse range of systems and components for such high-profile clients as the Ministry of Defence, international defence vehicle and equipment manufacturers, and the UK coach, truck and bus industry.

Paul, purchasing manager, at BI Engineering, reached out to expert surveyors after identifying certain challenges caused by the existing roller shutter door on their warehouse loading area. Due to the high volume of traffic using the warehouse door, it was often left open for long periods of time. This inevitably led to heat loss as well as increased security risks.

Stanair’s surveyors recommended a Rapid Action Door. This door is fitted with sensors which automatically activate when a vehicle, such as a forklift, approaches, to open the door and closes again once it is safely through thus addressing the issues raised. The speed and automation helped reduce heat loss as well as improve security.

“Stanair’s surveyors were great at offering their expert advice and gave us a door to fit our exact needs here at the warehouse,” said Paul. “We’re really pleased with the end product and the warehouse staff are particularly pleased that the door no longer has to stay open, especially through these colder months!”

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YMCA Milton Keynes collaborate with local community campaigning organisation on a campaign to address homelessness

Posted: 21/02/18 by YMCA Milton Keynes

YMCA Milton Keynes is joining forces with citizens:mk, the local community campaigning organisation, in a bid to support efforts to end the homeless crisis in Milton Keynes. YMCA Milton Keynes and Citizens:mk supporters will be supporting Sleep Easy 2018 on 16th March in CMK, and will also be hosting an Assembly to which power holders, including the Leader of MK Council, have been invited. The event will mark the launch of Citizens:mk ‘House the Homeless’ campaign.

Speaking on behalf of Citizens:mk community organiser Tom Bulman said: “Homelessness has been a concern of our member institutions for a number of years, but due to the complexity of the problem our alliance has found it difficult in the past to put in place an effective campaign. This year we think we have got the leaders and the goals to helpfully support and challenge those already looking at how to address the problem.”

YMCA Milton Keynes is inviting supporters to sleep out overnight in a small tent, or under cardboard, to briefly experience what it is like not to have a bed and a roof over your head. Participants will also be raising funds to support YMCA Milton Keynes engagement, support and learning programme.

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

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

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

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

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

The Citizens:mk House the Homeless’ campaign has a number of goals including supporting the delivery of the Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnerships objectives; providing school students with an opportunity to engage directly with people who are sleeping rough – and developing practical activities to support them; publishing a ‘Citizens’ Guide’ to interacting with street homeless; organising a workshop to explore diversity issues among the homeless population; and exploring the establishment of a Community Land Trust in Milton Keynes, that will enable the building of truly affordable housing.

“The campaign is necessarily wide ranging and ambitious,” said campaign leader Lawrence Morgan, “because what we are dealing with is a complex issue that we have to address on many different fronts.

“It has been particularly heart-warming to see the concern that local school students have shown towards people who are homeless and their desire to do something practical to support them.”

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Master Abrasives exhibiting complete grinding solutions at MACH

Posted: 21/02/18 by Master Abrasives Ltd

Internationally recognised abrasives supplier Master Abrasives will be exhibiting at MACH in April 2018 presenting a grinding machine by Micromatic Grinding Technologies alongside measuring equipment, abrasives and superfinishing devices.

This will be the first time Master Abrasives exhibits at MACH for several years and the company has made many strategic changes since then. One significant development is the appointment as Micromatic Grinding Technologies sole distributor in the UK and Ireland. With a showroom equipped to demonstrate the machines’ capabilities, Master Abrasives is now offering a cost-effective and reliable option for hydraulic and CNC cylindrical, centreless and special purpose grinding machines. At MACH 2018, Master Abrasives will be displaying the Micromatic eco 200 machine on stand H6-442 in the Grinding Zone which is located in hall 6 at the NEC.

Ian Meredith, Applications Engineering Manager and stand manager for Master Abrasives comments “This will be the first exhibition for Micromatic Grinding Technologies machines in the UK and we are sure there will be a considerable amount of interest in this newly introduced brand of machines. Our stand team will include Martin Stevens, Master’s resident expert on the Micromatic product range.”

The machine being presented at MACH, eco 200, is a basic but high-precision grinder which can be used for external, internal or face grinding applications. The machine is available with a range of additional accessories offered by Micromatic, including the digital read-out. Its small footprint and low cost combined with its ability to hold tight tolerances makes it a great economical entry model machine for tool rooms requiring precise and accurate repeatability of wheel slide within ±0.001mm.

Another new partnership with Thielenhaus Superfinish Innovation AG allows Master Abrasives to offer a complete solution to superfinishing applications with tape finishing devices as well as precision microfinishing films from other brands. The SL50 tape finisher has been set up in the Master grinding and finishing showroom since December and will be available for show on the Master stand at MACH.

The SL50 device has a double-side mounted tape contact roller, is equipped with sensors and can be integrated directly into a machine. It has an oscillation frequency of 300-1,400 double-strokes per minute. The device provides manufacturers with the opportunity to cost-effectively apply precision machining methods to individual parts, small batches and prototypes using an existing supporting machine, e.g. a lathe or grinding machine. This allows manufacturers to achieve high-quality surfaces and geometric improvements on components such as gear shafts, rolls, piston rods and many others. They can be operated manually or using a programmable control unit, depending on requirements.

A new range of measuring equipment by Innovative Automation Products will also be exhibited at MACH by the recently appointed UK and Ireland representative Master Abrasives. This will include a 2D height gauge, air gauge and profile projector which have been made available for viewing in Master Abrasives showroom. The RS232 data output feature on this equipment provides the option of evaluating measurement data externally with SPC software on a PC.

Since last participating in MACH, the Master brand has been expanded and strengthened to satisfy customer needs more effectively. Master Abrasives still offers a full range of grinding wheel specifications and dressing tools for a range of applications, but also now available is the economical range of wheels in storage cases which come complete with changeable plastic bushes to reduce bore size. In addition to new products, Master Abrasives has updated its literature in line with its brand’s new look.

Ian Meredith concludes “with our dedicated applications engineering team available to provide technical advice at MACH, we can present a cost-effective, high-productive solution including the machine, the right abrasives, coolant nozzles and dressers for a high-quality finished part.”

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Digital grants available to help grow local businesses

Posted: 21/02/18 by Northamptonshire County Council

If you are looking to expand your business by introducing innovative and enterprising digital activities then you could be eligible for a grant of up to £5,000.

Small and medium sized businesses can apply for a grant to enable them to invest in digital technology to help their expansion.

• Perhaps you’re looking to achieve efficiencies by using cloud systems?

• Or enhance the online presence of your business?

• Maybe you want to access new markets through e-commerce?

• Or introduce remote working and mobile solutions?

Whatever your digital project, provided it is designed to stimulate business growth and job creation you could be eligible for a grant. Applicants must commit to at least match this funding to support innovative and enterprising digital activities.

Apply before 8 March.

Contact the Growth Hub to check if you are eligible to apply for a grant now.

 01604 212696

www.northamptonshiregrowthhub.co.uk

This project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the University of Northampton, Northamptonshire Growth Hub and Northamptonshire County Council.

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Celebrating 100 years of women’s right to vote

Posted: 21/02/18 by Northampton Borough Council

The centenary anniversary of women’s suffrage will be celebrated on Saturday, 10 March during an International Women’s Day event at the Guildhall.

Opening in The Great Hall at 11am, the event boasts a jammed-packed programme of talks, performances, workshops and family-friendly activities.

Leading the list of speakers on the day is Andrea Leadsom MP, who will commemorate the first female cabinet minister, Margaret Bondfield, by unveiling a bronze statue.

The celebrations will continue with the launch of the Stories of Resilience book, stage performances and stalls from local community organisations.

In addition, attendees will treated to a range of fun activities and workshops including knitting, a crime mystery activity, self-defence and yoga. And Annabel Amos from BBC Radio Northampton will be on stage at 2pm to help crown the 2018 Inspirational Woman Award winner.

Cllr Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “The centenary anniversary of women’s suffrage is a really important milestone to mark and we feel that our International Women’s Day celebrations provide the perfect forum for doing so.

“We look forward to welcoming women and families to our free event on 10 March, where they can find out more about the suffragettes and women’s right to vote as well as enjoy the
entertainment and networking opportunities.

Please visit www.northampton.gov.uk/info/200241/events/2110/international-womens-day-2018/1 to view the progamme for the day as well as a list of organisations holding stalls

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Getting it “Right” the Benefits of Engaging External Investigators

Posted: 21/02/18 by DGRC

​Carrying out a proper investigation is becoming increasingly important due to the number of allegations being made that a proper investigation or disclosure of information has not been done correctly.

The risks associated with poor investigation practices are not insignificant and mistakes can expose employers in the private and commercial sector to significant financial, legal and reputational risks.

Often, issues that are considered by a court or tribunal during employment related litigation will have first been investigated internally for the purpose of taking remedial or disciplinary action or for discovering factual circumstances behind a grievance. It is therefore important that organisations carry out investigations properly, as a failure to do so can, amongst other things, compromise how they defend the matter if it progresses to litigation.

Employers need to perform a cost/benefit analysis in determining how best to approach workplace investigations more generally.

Internal Investigations - Key Mistakes:

  1. Lack of pre-investigation planning
  2. Morphing of the investigation into disciplinary action to be taken
  3. Relying on “untested” information, unduly favouring one account and ignoring discrepencies
  4. Failing to establish a process that is perceived as independent and free of bias
  5. Delay in undertaking an investigation that fuels speculation and gossip that can jeopardise appropriate action
  6. Utilising employees to conduct an investigation who have had no experience in interviewing techniques and statement writng

Remember, in a tribunal or court, everyone is under scrutiny in making sure the process/procedures and method used during the information gathering was free from bias and a thorough unbiased investigation was carried out.

Advantages of an External Investigator:

  1. Greater confidence in the process outcomes
  2. Unbiased and impartial in the approach to the investigation
  3. Well versed in interview techniques and confident the investigation was conducted/presented with integrity
  4. Well versed in statement taking, cohesive reporting in chronological order to include for any audio, video or photographic evidence is submitted
  5. Less likely to be challenged in a tribunal/court over the manner in which the investigation has been conducted
  6. An increased likelihood of legal proceedings in response to investigation outcomes
  7. Confidentiality assured
  8. Police liaison on your behalf

Depending on the type of investigation and resources required, various avenues are open to the investigator in the gathering of evidence. Any costs should be discussed at the consultation stage with peer review ongoing during the investigation.

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Top 100 Accountancy Firm Stays Ahead of the Game with VPG Events

Posted: 20/02/18 by Cottons Accountants LLP

Sarah Kite from Cottons Chartered Accountants has organised a VPG event in the East Midlands.

Cottons Chartered Accountants are members of VPG (VAT Practitioners Group), a national organisation of people who specialise in VAT. VPG is a voluntary body run by members for members, and brings together individuals who work or study in an area of practice or learning with a substantial focus on VAT.

This month Sarah Kite is hosting an event for the East Midlands Chapter. At the event members in the area will have the opportunity to discuss issues and learn about changes in the VAT world.

Sarah has commented: “These meetings give VPG members and our organisation an opportunity to discuss issues and learn about changes or things happening in the VAT world that could affect our clients in areas such as Making Tax Digital.”

These events demonstrate how Cottons Chartered Accountants are committed to continuously training their staff to ensure they are fully up to date with the latest accountancy legislations. This knowledge allows the top 100 accountancy firm to provide their clients with expert advice and guidance in order for them to run a successful business.

About Cottons Chartered Accountants: Cottons are small business accounting and tax specialists and provide their clients with expert guidance through a friendly and personal service. With 50 members of staff across four offices, the firm have plenty of knowledge and give their clients accurate advice in all areas of business.

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Davis to boost Saints’ front-row options next season

Posted: 20/02/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Northampton Saints can today confirm that loosehead prop Will Davis will join the Club from Ealing Trailfinders at the end of the season.

The 27-year-old has enjoyed four successful seasons with the Greene King IPA Championship club, making over 70 appearances, and will make the step up to Aviva Premiership level at Franklin’s Gardens.

Davis was part of the Ealing side that won promotion after topping the National One table back in 2014/15, and has since gone from strength to strength as the Trailfinders transformed into Championship title contenders.

Now one of the most powerful props in the division, Davis also has experience representing the South West and Gloucestershire having come through the Academy system at hometown club, Bristol Rugby.

And with Saints welcoming a new director of rugby in Chris Boyd in the summer, Davis believes the sky’s the limit for next season for those wearing Black, Green and Gold.

“It’s an honour for me to be joining a Club with so much history at the very highest level like Northampton Saints,” he said.

“I’m fully focused on ending my season strongly with Ealing, but at the same time I’m really excited to join up with my new teammates in the summer and to test myself at the pinnacle of English rugby.

“This is a Club that has aspirations to become one of the very best in Europe, and with the likes of Chris Boyd as director of rugby and internationals like Dan Biggar joining the squad, I am relishing the prospect of being part of it.

“I can’t wait to contribute towards that effort and push for silverware in a Saints jersey.”

Tickets are still available for Saints’ Aviva Premiership Rugby clash with Sale Sharks on Saturday 3 March from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000.

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ILM Qualifications via Levy

Posted: 20/02/18 by Free 2 Learn

F2L Solutions provide apprenticeship levy consultancy to organisations hoping to successfully navigate the levy.

Their flagship qualification is the ILM Leadership and Management level 3 and 5 – the ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) being the most demanded management qualification across all industries. F2L also offer a range of qualifications that complement the ILM (Business Administration, Customer Services etc.), accessible through the levy.

Do you have ‘Accidental Managers’ in your business? By Accidental Manager, it means someone who is experienced in their role, has excelled and is rewarded with being promoted to a management position without any guidance. F2L can utilise your levy spend to formally qualify your management and team leading team to perform even more effectively.

The CBI estimates that poor working relationships costs UK business a staggering £33 billion per year, clearly illustrating the size of the challenge to get people to work better together. The Management Level 3 Qualification is suitable for all Team Leaders, Supervisors and Aspiring Managers. Fully accredited and can be drawn down against your Apprenticeship Levy Pot. Achievers also receive an ILM Level 3 Diploma. The course covers:

• Knowledge – formal learning and applied according to the business environment

• Skills – acquired and demonstrated through continuous professional development

For further information and to book your place contact Tracy Beesley on 07738 494742 or mailto:tracy.beesley@free2learn.org.uk

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Milton Keynes (Stony Stratford) Lions Club makes 22nd international loan

Posted: 20/02/18 by Milton Keynes Lions Club

Kiva is an international non-profit organisation founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realise their potential. For some, it’s a matter of survival, for others it’s the fuel for a life-long ambition.

100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes to funding loans. Kiva covers costs primarily through optional donations, as well as through support from grants and sponsors.

Here is an example of how the money lent has helped:

Hien is 43 years old and she is married with three children. She has worked in agriculture raising poultry for more than 10 years. Hien lives in Quang Xuong district, a rural town in Thanh Loa province. Her family is a low-income household in the village. Moreover, this job is unstable.

One of the most critical difficulties that concerns her is that the latrine is not hygienic but her income is not enough to get a new one. She is requesting a loan of $1325 to purchase sand, cement, bricks and equipment to build a toilet.

In 2012, Hien joined Thanh Hoa microfinance institution to improve her business. Hien has successfully repaid six loans.

With her business profit, Hien hopes for her family to be healthy and happy, for her children to find a good job and to build a new house.

Visit the link for more information and how you can help: http://www.stonylions.org.uk/

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Dog Sitting and Boarding

Posted: 20/02/18 by 4Unoworries Ltd

​To complement your worry free lifestyle, 4U noworries are now offering Dog Sitting and Boarding for Dogs

Is your Dog in need of creature comforts while you are away either for a day or during your holiday? Then why not come and stay with resident dog Cookie; she would love to welcome some doggie friends to keep them company

Book now and get 10% off your first booking.

Phone: 0800 2889 108 or email: info@4unoworries.com

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Enterprise Kettering launch new website and free workshops to support local business

Posted: 20/02/18 by Enterprise Kettering

Kettering Borough Council has introduced a new website for local people looking for new opportunities to enhance their business or individual skills, through their Enterprise Kettering support service.

The new Enterprise Kettering website provides a ‘one stop shop’ for enterprise, skills, training and business opportunities from grant funding to workshops and local authority services, in one central, easy-to-use location. The website is designed to provide essential business and skills support for the local economy, signposting to the latest opportunities available.

The Council’s Enterprise Kettering service has also recently held a number of popular free workshops for local businesses, including twitter training and window dressing. Upcoming free workshops, held at The Yards and run by Kerching Retail, include:

· Digital Marketing for Retail (6th March, 10am-Noon & 12th March, 6-8pm)

· Retail Selling Skills (27th March, 10am-Noon)

To register for these courses, please email enterprise@kettering.gov.uk

Enterprise Kettering is also delighted to announce that The Teenage Market will be returning to Kettering on 14th July and 1st December 2018. It’s a great opportunity for youngsters to learn first-hand business related skills, with free stalls and insurance to those aged 13-21.

You can also get the latest updates from Enterprise Kettering on Twitter by following @ENTKettering

Rob Harbour, Head of Development Services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “Enterprise Kettering is a new economic development project to highlight the local business and enterprise support available in the Borough of Kettering. The revamped and reinvigorated service has the potential to offer so much to businesses and the local economy. If you’re looking for new opportunities to enhance your business or skills then head to EnterpriseKettering.co.uk.”

Cllr Mark Dearing, Kettering Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, said: “There are a number of support services offered by Kettering Borough Council, partner agencies and growth hubs that can make a real difference to local businesses and retailers. Finding out what help is available could be the difference between a business struggling, or progressing and thriving in what are difficult times for many companies. The launch of Enterprise Kettering will make our offering clearer, easier and more accessible for the local community.”

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Woodford United Under 16’s

Posted: 20/02/18 by Phoenix County Metals Ltd

Phoenix County Metals is proud to sponsor the Woodford United Under 16’s Football Team.

The team play in the Northampton & District Youth League and are currently 4th in their league!

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Falafels boost free-from range at Central Foods

Posted: 20/02/18 by Central Foods Ltd

Frozen food distributor Central Foods has added to its free-from range with the introduction of three flavours of falafel.

The falafel bites are suitable for vegans, vegetarians and those avoiding gluten – and perfect for a range of current trends in the foodservice sector, including demand for healthy options.

Available in authentic Moroccan, beetroot, and sweet potato, the falafels are crammed with chunky chickpeas and other tasty ingredients, and are also halal and kosher approved.

“The demand for gluten-free and vegan options on foodservice menus continues to increase and the prediction is that plant-based foods are going to be one of the biggest trends for 2018,” said Gordon Lauder, MD of Central Foods.

“These falafels from Great Food tick so many boxes because they are ideal for a wide range of diners, being gluten-free and vegan, as well as fitting in with many of the tastes that are currently popular in foodservice, such as increased demand for healthier foods, and a big interest in street food. High end grocer Whole Foods predicts that 2018 is the year that Middle Eastern fare hits the mainstream.

“Falafels are also versatile, and can be used in wraps or salads, with pasta or couscous, or on skewers – ideal for both sit-down or take-out options.”

Northamptonshire-based Central Foods, which is one of the UK’s leading frozen food distributors, has been working with Coeliac UK since 2009 as part of its commitment to sourcing and supplying free-from foods, and has a comprehensive range of gluten-free items that the company supplies to wholesalers and foodservice caterers.

Recent new additions to its gluten-free range include the KaterBake midi-sized gluten-free ring doughnut and the Menuserve unbaked, unglazed gluten-free puff pastry sausage roll, along with a free-from tortilla wrap.

The company also supplies an extensive range of vegan options and is the exclusive distributor to foodservice of the Linda McCartney’s range of vegetarian and vegan items.

The three new falafel bites fall into a number of free-from categories and are supplied baked (approximately 22g each falafel). Simply defrost and serve, or for best results serve warm. They have a defrosted shelf-life of three days (chilled) and are available in two x 700g packs.

Offering a one-stop shop to the foodservice sector, Central Foods sources products from around the world and the UK, supplying more than 400 different lines, ranging from meat, bakery items and canapés through to buffet products, desserts and puddings. It has been supplying the foodservice sector, including pubs, bars, restaurants, cafés, schools, universities, leisure facilities and hotels, for more than 21 years.

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Starting Off sponsors Apprentice of the Year award

Posted: 20/02/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

The area’s leading independent apprenticeship provider is sponsoring the Apprentice of the Year award at the inaugural Northamptonshire Business Awards.

Starting Off has been successfully recruiting and training office based apprentices and graduates throughout Northamptonshire for more than 25 years.

The firm was keen to support the awards which are open to all businesses in the county.

Director Dan Harding said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring this award, we are passionate about recruiting and training apprentices throughout the county.

“We can’t wait to hear all the great success stories from the local business community who have been utilising the apprenticeship scheme, plus celebrating the achievements of the apprentices.”

The other award categories are: Employer of the Year; High Growth Business of the Year; Digital Communications Campaign of the Year; Best Use of Technology; Customer Commitment Award; Education and Business Partnership; Export Business of the Year and Small Business of the Year.

The winners will be put forward for the overall Business of the Year title and may be eligible for the regional and national finals of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Chamber Business Awards.

The Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards ceremony will take place at the Park Inn Northampton on September 13.

The awards will open to entries on Thursday, March 1.

For further information visit www.northants-chamber.co.uk/awards

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Spring Job Fair

Posted: 20/02/18 by Job Centre Plus

Bringing our local employers together with the community to promote their vacancies to customers is the Spring Jobs Fair.

The event is completely free of charge and is being held on 14th March 2018 from 10am to 12.30pm at:

Wellingborough Jobcentre,

Lothersdale House, West Villa Road,

Wellingborough, Northants,

NN8 4NE

There are limited spaces available.


If you would like to attend please respond by email to Beccy.vissian@dwp.gsi.gov.uk or Michelle.wass@dwp.gsi.gov.uk or contact us on 01933 221258 / 01933 221931

@JCPinLeics


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Master Abrasives installs first Micromatic grinding machine at Earlsdon Technology Ltd

Posted: 20/02/18 by Master Abrasives Ltd

Master Abrasives has sold and installed its first Micromatic grinding machine in the UK, the ECO-200 high accuracy universal grinder, at Coventry-based Earlsdon Technology Ltd.

Since being made the sole UK distributor for Micromatic Grinding Technologies, Master Abrasives’ has been visited by numerous UK engineering companies to its showroom based in Daventry to see a demonstration of the ECO-200 grinding machine. This included Earlsdon Technology Ltd. based in Coventry, a company that has been designing and building special–purpose machine tools and allied automation since 1993. They specialise in machines for manufacturers of engine valves and producers of fasteners for aerospace, automotive and industrial applications.

Brian Little, Toolroom Supervisor at Earlsdon, recognised the importance of choosing a cost-effective machine, with the necessary precision and versatile enough to meet the company’s wide-ranging requirements.

“This machine was purchased on the basis that it will in the long term provide cost savings in producing customised tooling for customers’ specific bespoke requirements and will reduce the risk of causing delays in machine manufacture and approval. Currently we send this work out to subcontract and cannot rely on a speedy reaction time or the geometrical accuracy required. The ECO-200 will provide an in-house service which can be easily controlled to suit the demands and timeframe of our own machine production and meets the accuracies required.”

Earlsdon’s new machine has a 400mm grinding capacity between centres and an additional internal grinding spindle. The wheel head nitride hardened steel spindle runs in high precision multipoint hydrodynamic bearings which gives very high rigidity and excellent damping.

Master Abrasives Applications Engineer, Martin Stevens, commented “we encourage those who are interested to get in touch and arrange a visit to our grinding and finishing showroom. We can show you Micromatic grinding machines’ capabilities in action as well as other items we offer including our demonstration tape finisher, measuring equipment and abrasives.” Master Abrasives continues to offer its customer base a complete solution to their grinding and polishing requirements.

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Employers warned not to ask about pregnancy or children during recruitment

Posted: 20/02/18 by Howes Percival

· Employment law expert comments on The Equality and Human Rights Commission report on senior managers’ attitudes around pregnancy and maternity discrimination;

· Howes Percival outlines questions employers should never ask during the recruitment process.

Leading regional law firm, Howes Percival is warning employers that it is unlawful to discriminate against a prospective employee on the grounds of sex or pregnancy and that asking questions about whether or not a prospective employee is pregnant or whether they plan to have children is likely to amount to discrimination or give rise to an inference of discrimination if they are then treated unfavourably as a result.

The warning comes as a new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reveals that a significant number of employers think that it is okay to ask female candidates about pregnancy and their plans to have children.

According to the EHRC’s report* 59% of private-sector employers wrongly believe that during the recruitment process a woman should have to disclose whether she is pregnant. Over a third (36%) of the senior decision makers interviewed thought it acceptable to ask women about their plans to have children before deciding whether to give them a job, while 46% agreed that it is reasonable to ask female candidates if they have children.

Commenting on the report’s findings, employment law expert and partner at Howes Percival, Paula Bailey, said, “In the UK, it’s unlawful to discriminate against a job candidate on the basis of sex or pregnancy. However, I think it is correct to say that some employers still have the misconception that if a woman is pregnant, she has to disclose that to the employer during the recruitment process and that if they do not, this can enable them to take steps to terminate their employment.

“Obviously, a woman is under no obligation to tell a prospective employer that she’s pregnant during the recruitment stage, and the employer shouldn’t ask whether she is at interview. It’s also unacceptable to ask a woman about her plans to have children. If a female candidate doesn’t get a job because she says she is planning to have a family, the inference is that the employer has committed an act of sex discrimination. Similarly, any dismissal of a pregnant employee because of their pregnancy would be automatically unfair and amount to discrimination.”

Paula Bailey concluded, “In many sectors there’s a shortage of talent and women of childbearing age have significant skills to offer. It’s extremely short sighted for employers to take a negative view of pregnancy or employing women who may have plans to have children.”

Questions employers must not ask during the recruitment process:

1. Marital status: Employers should not ask applicants about ‘protected characteristics’, this includes details of whether they are married, single or in a civil partnership.

2. Age: Employers can only ask for a candidates’ date of birth on an application form if they must be a certain age to do the job, e.g. selling alcohol, or it is otherwise objectively justified.

3. Children: It is unlawful to discriminate against someone if they are pregnant or to discriminate against women because you believe that they may become pregnant in the future.
Therefore, employers should not ask female candidates whether they are pregnant or plan to have children.

4. Questions about race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or any other protected characteristic, as if the prospective candidate doesn’t then get the role, it
could give rise to an inference of discrimination.

5. Health or disability: Employers can only ask about health or disability prior to making an offer if it is necessary to establish whether there is a duty to make reasonable adjustments to enable them to undergo an assessment in relation to the role, to establish whether they are able to carry out a function that is intrinsic to the role or for the purposes of monitoring diversity;

6. Spent criminal convictions: Applicants are not required to tell a prospective employer about spent criminal convictions unless they are in roles that are exempt from this rule e.g.
schools.

7. Trade union membership: Employers must not use membership of a trade union as a factor in deciding whether to employ someone.

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Rockingham announces 2018 race calendar

Posted: 20/02/18 by Rockingham Motor Speedway Ltd

ANOTHER great year of motor racing beckons at Rockingham this season following the announcement of the Northamptonshire circuit provisional race calendar for 2018.

Motorsport fans have a total of 18 events to look forward to at the venue between March and December, including the first 24-hour races and evening meetings to be held at Rockingham since opening its doors in 2001.

The British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) will be holding not one, but two, C1 Racing Club 24-hour endurance races at Rockingham this year.

It’s not only the maiden visit of the championship to the circuit but also the first time the organisation has staged such events in the UK.

The sound of the awesome Pickup Truck Championship will again be reverberating around the famous Rockingham Oval this season. The American-style racers will be running for the first time in the evening, as part of the BARC programme.

There will be two races of the Rockingham Championship on June 16 and August 4. This will culminate in a Grand Final on September 22/23, which also sees the return of Truxx Factor Show, running alongside it. In total the Pickup Trucks will feature at four of the six BARC race meetings scheduled at Rockingham.

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship leads the action on four wheels and will again be the headline the race calendar when it returns in the summer. The popular tin-top series visits Rockingham over the weekend of August 11/12.

In April (28/29), the high-performance teams from the British GT Championship return with the support of the rising stars of the BRDC F3 Championship. This meeting always brings more than a touch of glamour to the track showcasing some of the world’s exotic supercars.

BARC opens the circuit’s club racing action on April 14/15, while the British Racing and Sports Car Club (BRSCC) is pencilled in for two visits on June 23/24 and September 15/16. Completing the club line-up are 750 Motor Club Car Racing (June 9/10) and MotorSport Vision Racing (September 29/30).

For those who prefer their sporting action on two wheels, the NORASPORT British Supermoto & Superlite Championship will be back at Rockingham over the weekend of October 27/28. The Rockingham Stages Rally will again bring down the curtain on another season on December 1/2.

Rockingham 2018 Race Calendar

March 25 BARC Midland Sprint

April 14/15 BARC Saloon & Sports Car Racing

April 28/29 British GT Championship & BRDC F3 Championships

May 12/13 BARC & C1 Championship 24Hr Race

May 19 Caterham Academy Sprint

June 09/10 750 Motor Club Car Racing

June 16 BARC Feat Pickup Truck Championship Evening Races

June 23/24 BRSCC Saloon & Sports Car Racing

August 4 BARC Feat Pickup Truck Championship Evening Races

Aug 11/12 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship

August 19 Midlands Automobile Club Sprint

Sept 01/02 BARC & C1 Championship 24Hr Race

Sept 15/16 BRSCC Saloon & Sports Car Racing

Sept 22/23 BARC Feat Pickup Truck Grand Final & Truxx Show

Sept 29/30 MotorSport Vision Racing Saloon & Sports Car

Oct 20 BARC Midland Sprint

Oct 27/28 British Supermoto Championship

Dec 01/02 Rockingham Stages Rally

Rockingham prides itself on providing access to all motorsport fans, and aults who are registered disabled can apply for a complimentary* admission ticket for their carer, while children aged 15 and under get in FREE.

Advance tickets can be purchased either online at www.rockingham.co.uk 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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Top Accountancy Firm launches the Tax Challenge

Posted: 19/02/18 by Cottons Accountants LLP

A top 100 accountancy firm have announced that they are offering clients the opportunity to take part in their tax challenge.

Cottons Chartered Accountants are small business accounting and tax specialists, and provide their clients with expert guidance through a friendly and personal service. With 50 members of staff across four offices, the firm have plenty of knowledge and give their clients accurate advice in all areas of business.

In an interview with Northampton Life Magazine, Will Smart, Partner at Cottons, discussed the importance of small businesses building a good relationship with an accountant. During this interview he commented: “If you’re starting out in business, it’s vital to develop a relationship with a professional accountancy practice from day one, as it’ll save you problems in the long run.

“Our team understand that taxation can be a tricky area and have assisted businesses of all sizes to ensure the process is made easier. Small businesses who manage their bookkeeping and accounting throughout the year will always be organised and prepared when it comes to tax time, making them more likely to save money.”

He then added that the firm will be offering a deal called ‘The Tax Challenge’,

“Just as important is our skill in advising on tax efficiencies that can ultimately save you money. Why not take advantage of the Cottons Tax Challenge? Challenge us to minimise your tax bill and we’ll offer a free no-obligation consultation to see if we can. Then if you choose to change accountants, simply inform your current firm that you’re leaving their service and we’ll take care of the rest.”

To read the full article and find out more about The Tax Challenge please visit - https://www.cottonsaccountants.co.uk/taxadvice/the-tax-challenge/

About Cottons Chartered Accountants: Cottons are small business accounting and tax specialists and provide their clients with expert guidance through a friendly and personal
service. With 50 members of staff across four offices, the firm have plenty of knowledge and give their clients accurate advice in all areas of business.

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Bell Northampton announces major extension plans

Posted: 19/02/18 by A Bell & Co Ltd

Planning permission has been granted to extend Northampton home and lifestyle store Bell by 7000 sq ft.

The £250,000 extension, which will give the store a total space of more than 20,000 sq ft, will see the creation of a 110-seat day restaurant, expansion of the Rose Gallery currently situated in store, introduction of a large Christmas and gifting department, and 90 spaces added to the car park.

A major outdoor and barbeque space, three times the size of the current outdoor department, will also be created and will hopefully include a deli selling fresh meats and dairy produce. The extended store will also house several concessions that are yet to be finalised but could include an area specialising in intelligent homes and another selling internal and external
windows and doors.

The project will take around 12 months to complete and create 10 new jobs, which will be a combination of full time, part time and weekend roles. The first phase of construction is estimated to be finished by September 2018.

Graham Jackson, Managing Director of Bell, said: “We have been a permanent fixture in Northampton for more than 100 years – in fact this year it will be 120 years since we opened our doors. Over the years, we have grown and added to our core offering of fires, kitchens and bathrooms to introduce lighting, interior design and a cook shop.

“Now, we are growing further to offer even more. Our vision is to become known as ‘The Home Lifestyle store’, offering high quality and unique products that have been sourced from the best designers and manufacturers from all over the world.

“We want to get across that we will truly be a ‘one-stop shop’ for the home and aim to attract customers from all over the country to Northampton.”

Bell of Northampton is located on Kingsthorpe Road, Northampton. To find out more, go to www.abell.co.uk.

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Kettering HR firm eyes up Birmingham expansion

Posted: 19/02/18 by HR Solutions UK

HR Solutions of Kettering, which provides outsourced HR services to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK, has expanded with the opening of an office in Birmingham.

The move to Broad Street in the city is part of a wider expansion plan which, in recent months, has seen the team grow at Kettering, the opening of a new office in Milton Keynes, and the company acquire HR Services (UK) Limited.

Greg Guilford, Chief Executive Officer of HR Solutions, added: “Our rate of growth over the last 12 months has been phenomenal and shows no signs of slowing in 2018. We have been providing excellent customer service to our clients since 2001, which has been a large factor in our growth as we continue to win contracts through referrals and repeat customers.

“Now our growth journey has taken us to Birmingham where we look forward to meeting and working with businesses in the region and continuing to provide the best in HR services to all of our customers new and old.”

HR Solutions supplies outsourced HR support to clients from small care agencies to multi-national technology firms and boasts more than 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 www.hrsolutions-uk.com.

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Latest Quarterly Economic Survey goes live

Posted: 19/02/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Businesses across Milton Keynes are invited to take part in Milton Keynes Chamber’s latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES).

To gain an up-to-date picture of the local economy the Chamber asks businesses for feedback on their experiences of trading and is now calling for detail of activities for Q1 of 2018.

As well as informing the Chamber’s work with local and national political representatives, the Quarterly Economic Survey is collated at a national level by the British Chambers of Commerce to deliver the largest and longest running private sector survey, regularly combining over 7,500 responses with which to inform decision makers.

To take part please click visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/9WLDHYJ

The survey will remain open until Monday 12th March.

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Latest Quarterly Economic Survey goes live

Posted: 19/02/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

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

To gain an up-to-date picture of the local economy the Chamber asks businesses for feedback on their experiences of trading and is now calling for detail of activities for Q1 of 2018.

As well as informing the Chamber’s work with local and national political representatives, the Quarterly Economic Survey is collated at a national level by the British Chambers of Commerce to deliver the largest and longest running private sector survey, regularly combining over 7,500 responses with which to inform decision makers.

To take part please click visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/97PK3DK

The survey will remain open until Monday 12th March.

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Using data to create the Business Advisers of the Future

Posted: 15/02/18 by Develin Consulting Ltd

Develin announces the launch of an exciting and unique collaboration that is set to change the face of accountancy in Milton Keynes and beyond.

MK Chamber member Develin, Business Intelligence and data analysts have joined with another local firm Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers Keens Shay Keens MK in a new initiative to address the enormous challenges and opportunities being posed by digital technologies.

Paul Clarke, of Develin, said: “New technology is threatening to take away some of traditional accountants’ main activities. It won’t be long before small companies that are simply interested in getting their returns done on time will be able to do that by using apps.

“Skilled accountants are much more than form-fillers and we believe that the use of data to help customers hone their business activities provides a way in which the entire accountancy profession will be moving in the future.”

Liz Newell, Keens Shay Keens MK’s Partner, Auditing & Taxing, said: “Great accountants already provide much more than a once-a-year contact with their clients. We love spreadsheets and analysing data. We spot financial trends and can often see issues and opportunities for our clients.

“Our role as business advisers can only be enhanced by the use of targeted data. We are looking forward to working more closely with Develin to provide an enhanced service for our clients.

“I am not aware of any other accountants using data in this way to enhance their clients’ businesses. It is an exciting, future-focused and ground-breaking collaboration for us.”

For more information about Develin contact Paul Clarke; 0333 8000 825 or visit www.skills.develin.co.uk or www.develin.co.uk

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Nominations open for 2018 UK Private Business Awards

Posted: 15/02/18 by PwC LLP

Nominations are now open for the 2018 UK Private Business Awards (PBAs), which celebrate the best of UK private businesses and their contribution to communities and the UK economy.

Now in their eighth year, the UK Private Business Awards recognise the achievements of entrepreneurs and the impact of family-owned and owner-managed undertakings on the job-creation and prosperity of the UK and its regions.

Midlands firms have a strong track history of success in the PBAs. Over the years of the competition, 45 local organisations and individuals have been finalists.

In 2017, Midlands based Goodwill Solutions CIC, a unique specialist logistics solution to retailers and manufacturers, won the Social Enterprise of the Year Award and Josh Rathour/ UNiDAYS Ltd, the world’s leading Student Affinity Network, was named Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.

Last year’s shortlist also saw Midlands based Carmen Watson, Chair of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership Ltd, nominated in the Private Business Woman of the Year category.

Midlands entrepreneurs and private businesses are eligible to enter in one or more of the 10 categories:

· Technology Innovation of the Year

· Social Enterprise of the Year

· High Growth Business of the Year

· Rising Star Award

· International Business of the Year

· Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year

· Private Business Woman of the Year

· CEO of the Year

· Family Business of the Year

· Private Business of the Year Award

Neil Philpott, PwC Midlands Private Business Leader urged local companies and entrepreneurs to celebrate their success by entering the 2018 awards: “We’re looking for the UK’s brightest entrepreneurs and private businesses to tell us why they deserve to be recognised.

“This competition showcases the very best of the UK’s companies and individuals and our past track record demonstrates that the Midlands can compete with the very best of the UK’s entrepreneurs, businesses and their management teams.

“The Awards categories allow a broad range of companies and individuals to participate and reflect the ever increasing diversity in the private business landscape - this offers great
opportunities for the Midlands to showcase its best companies, social enterprises and people.”

The nomination period runs from 5th February 2017 to 23rd March 2018 and the deadline for submitting a full entry form is 3 May 2018.

The 2018 Private Business Awards will be judged by a panel of business leaders and entrepreneurs on 4 June 2018 and a shortlist for each category will be announced on 6 June 2017.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 13 September 2018 at The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London EC1. To find out more about the awards or to nominate a business, visit www.ukpba-awards.co.uk

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Age UK Milton Keynes Spring Easter Quiz on Tuesday, 27th March @ 7pm

Posted: 15/02/18 by Age UK Milton Keynes

Age UK Milton Keynes is a local independent charity that works with and for older people to make a real and positive difference to their wellbeing and quality of life.

The charity is hosting a Spring Easter Quiz on Tuesday, 27 March 2018 from 7pm to 10pm and you can book a team of up to six people or come alone and meet new people.

Your ticket price of £12 includes a hot home cooked meal and Easter treats. There will be a cash bar and raffle and the winning team will receive a hamper to share.

The event will be held at The Peartree Centre, 1 Chadds Lane, Peartree Bridge, MK6 3EB. Plenty of parking in front and behind the building.

One quiz ticket at £12 can provide one hour’s advice and support from an experienced, fully trained adviser on the telephone or in an office.

For more information call 01908 557891 or email events@ageukmiltonkeynes.org.uk

Registered charity 1079773

www.ageukmiltonkeynes.org.uk

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Howes Percival Advises Mazars Financial Planning on Acquisition

Posted: 15/02/18 by Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival has advised Mazars Financial Planning (MFP) on the acquisition of chartered financial planning firm RCL Consultancy Limited from The Embark Group.

The acquisition strengthens MFP’s offering to its private clients and sees the transfer of a portfolio of high net worth and affluent clients with assets of approximately £300m, taking Mazars over £1billion of assets under management.

MFP provides impartial, tailored financial planning advice and wealth management to individuals, business owner-managers and trustees (private and charitable). It has a range of financial planning services from financial health checks to advice about investments, pensions, tax planning and employee benefits, as well as managing client funds on a discretionary basis.

Howes Percival also acted for Mazars in relation to a joint venture partnership with The Embark Group which included the sale of 51% of its shares in Vested Employee Benefits (formerely Mazars Employee Benefits Limited) to The Embark Group.

Phil Verity, Senior Partner at Mazars UK LLP, commented: “The combination of these transactions continues our rapid growth in the UK Financial Planning market, a core sector for Mazars in the UK and through Vested we will retain our engagement in the EBC market in a collaboration that greatly increases our chance of material success. Embark and Mazars are a natural fit. We both have a strong focus on our clients, our people, and on delivering innovative, high value solutions to the market.”

Howes Percival partner, Edward Lee provided the lead corporate advice on the transaction supported by Ben Mabbott (solicitor). Intellectual property advice was provided by James Howarth (partner); commercial property advice was provided by Lisa Mantle (partner).

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Taking Profits Tax-Efficiently

Posted: 14/02/18 by Elsby & Co.

Following on from last week’s article, this is the second in our series of tax saving suggestions ahead of the 5th April year end and looks at Taking Profits Tax Efficiently.

You work hard to ensure your business remains successful and will want to enjoy the rewards that success brings in the most tax-efficient manner possible.

You may wish to extract profits by incorporating the business, which could provide more scope for deferring or saving tax than operating as self-employed or as a partner. Alternatively, you might want to claim tax-free allowances, such as mileage payments, which apply when your own car or van is driven on business journeys. As separate legal entities, companies can generally offer more flexibility with tax planning, as well as providing other non-tax-related benefits, such as risk mitigation.

Furthermore, and an example of such planning opportunities, employer pension contributions can prove to be a tax-efficient way of extracting profit from your company, and this is something you may wish to take into account.

The age-old question of whether it is more beneficial to take dividends over a salary or bonus is one that can be answered by reviewing your personal financial circumstances. Nonetheless, the decision requires careful consideration before you take any action.

Dividends are paid free of national insurance contributions (NIC’s), whereas a salary or bonus may carry up to 25.8% in combined employer and employee NIC’s. A salary or bonus is, however, tax deductible for the company, whereas dividends are not; also a salary/bonus counts as “relevant earnings” for pension purposes, whereas dividends do not, which may affect pension planning.

In April 2016, the dividend tax credit was abolished and was replaced by a new Dividend Allowance (DA). The DA charges £5,000 of dividend income at 0% tax, known as the dividend nil rate. The DA exists in addition to a taxpayer’s PA and savings allowances. For basic rate taxpayers, the rate of tax on dividend income above the allowance is 7.5 %, whilst for higher rate taxpayers the rate is 32.5%, and for additional rate taxpayers is 38.1%.

TAKE NOTE:

The DA is set to be reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 in April 2018. It could therefore prove to be beneficial to take dividends before the end of the 2017/18 tax year.

Meanwhile, if you are a saver and expect to be affected by the cut in the DA, you might want to transfer to your spouse or civil partner to utilise each person’s DA. It may also be worth considering investing in an Equity ISA, but do speak to an expert before taking action.

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Protecting Business Interests: What to do when an employee has committed a crime

Posted: 14/02/18 by EMW

If an employee is convicted of a crime, an employer still needs to follow a fair process to dismiss the employee.

In connection with treating the conviction as reason to dismiss, the ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance states that: “Consideration needs to be given to what effect the charge or conviction has on the employee’s suitability to do their job and their relationship with their employer, work colleagues and customers.”

It is common practice for employers’ disciplinary policies to include, as a disciplinary allegation, being charged or convicted of a criminal offence as misconduct or gross misconduct within the standard terms of all their employee’s contracts of employment.

Whilst it is understandable that employers would want to immediately dismiss an employee once they have been charged with a criminal offence, employers should still follow a fair process in most circumstances.

For a dismissal to be fair, it has to be for one of the statutory fair reasons; capability, conduct, redundancy, statutory (ie. a driver who loses their driving licence) or some other substantial reason. The criminal offence would fall into the conduct category.

Procedure

In the majority of cases, if an employee has been charged with a criminal offence, the employer will have grounds to dismiss due to the conduct of the employee.

At the outset, it is important to consider the length of service of the employee in question. If the employee does not have over two years service then they will not legally be able to bring an unfair dismissal claim at the Employment Tribunal. In instances where this situation applies, an employer may choose to dismiss the employee without demonstrating that a full fair process had been followed.

So what is a fair process?

The key principles in assessing procedural fairness in misconduct cases are that:

  • The employee should know the case against them.
  • The employee should know that they are at risk of dismissal.
  • The employee should be allowed to make representations (usually at a disciplinary hearing).
  • The employee should be allowed a right of appeal.

The Investigation: A cautionary tale

Whilst carrying out a fair process is important, in certain circumstances an employer should ensure that any investigation does not result in the employer themselves becoming involved in any police investigation that may already be taking place. Employers could find themselves liable for ‘tipping off’ an employee who is the subject of a police investigation if they include sensitive information within their own internal investigations which the employee becomes aware of. It may be appropriate to suspend the employee whilst an investigation is carried out by police, in this instance, to avoid complications and the employer becoming too involved with the police process.

Once it has been established that an investigation can be carried out, it is important that the employer carries out a fair investigation into the conduct of the employee. As well as investigating the situation, a fair process should include consulting with the employee and giving the employee an opportunity to state their case.

So what do we need to show?

Above all, the employer must be able to demonstrate that they believed the employee was guilty of misconduct at the time of dismissal and that this was the principle reason for the dismissal.

Conclusion

The deterrent effect of taking effective measures to deal with a wrongdoer is important in preventing fraud and other criminal activity within the workplace. Additionally, acting reasonably and not rashly when faced with a situation where an employee may be under arrest is crucial to protect an employer’s legal position going forward.

What practical steps should employers take?

To avoid being exposed to any unfair dismissal claims employers should:

  • provide detailed disciplinary guidelines and procedure and regular training so that employees are made aware of the procedure and their rights;
  • in the event that an employee is involved with criminal proceedings, conduct a through internal investigation, ensuring that the internal investigation won’t affect any police investigation; and
  • carry out a fair process.

For more information, please contact Louise Holder on 0345 074 2373.

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Would you like beer with your work of art? Luke has designs on the craft ale revolution

Posted: 14/02/18 by The University of Northampton

Luke Knight (pictured here) is brewing a bright future for himself after combining his love of illustration and beer.

The University of Northampton Illustration graduate is forging a name for himself as the go-to guy for small breweries who want to make their beer stand out from the crowd.

A collaboration with Burton Latimer’s Boot Town Brewery has seen the 23-year-old design a stunning series of bottle labels and can designs.

Luke’s work with Boot Town follows a previous link up with Coventry’s Twisted Barrel brewery, which saw him design posters, bottle labels and a T-shirt, for a student project.

“You can have the best craft beer in the world, but you have to get people’s attention, or nobody’s going to buy it,” said Luke, whose day job, conveniently, is assistant manager of Beer Guerrilla craft ale shop in Wellingborough Road, Northampton.

“You just need to look at all the label and can designs in the shop to see that artwork and branding is seenby the industry as equally important as the actual product.

“You could say that when you buy a can of craft beer, you’re also buying a work of art.”

Luke is now looking to work with other small breweries, helping them to develop their brand.

He said: “Over the last 20 years there’s been something of a craft beer revolution, with more and more start-up breweries popping up, and brands like Brew Dog breaking into the mainstream.

“It’s sparked something of a revolution in design too, because each brewery places so much importance on how they market and present their product. It’s an industry which welcomes creative people with open arms – it’s an exciting time to be an illustrator.”

You can find out more about the Illustration degree on the course page.

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Local Plans Update

Posted: 14/02/18 by Robinson & Hall LLP

Local Planning Authorities across the country have been progressing Local Plan preparations to ensure that they meet the Government’s end of March deadline for submission of Local Plans to the Secretary of State and thereby retain control of their housing figures.

In this region, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Councils have recently published their Submission Draft Local Plans for the final consultation exercise.

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC)

CBC has issued the submission draft of the Local Plan following the executive meeting on 9th March 2018. This plans for 39,350 new homes across the district (including Luton’s unmet need of 7,350). The proposal has planned for 24,000 new jobs across the district focusing on building upon the existing and emerging economic strengths in key sectors.

The report outlines the proposed strategic site allocations where a large proportion of the new development will be focused. Each strategic site will deliver a mixture of housing types and tenures, as well as providing a range of new services and facilities. The proposed strategic allocations are set out below:

New Villages

  • Marston Vale (up to 5,000 homes)
  • East of Biggleswade (around 1,500 homes)

Town Extensions

  • North of Luton (around 4,000 homes)
  • East of Arlesey (around 2,000 homes)

52 small and medium sites for residential development were allocated as non-strategic allocations within the Plan.

The final public consultation period is underway and will close on 22nd February. Representations made during this consultation will be submitted to the Planning Inspector to review before assessing the Local Plan.

Bedford Borough Council (BBC)

BBC’s Local Plan was presented to the Executive Council on 10th January. The report for the executive committee has been published and outlines the key points raised within the Plan, including housing allocation requirements in order to meet the need of the Council.

Bedford Borough’s housing need has been assessed as 19,000 dwellings. So far, 11,183 dwellings have been completed or have current planning consent. The Council therefore has allocated the remaining 7,817 of the required need.

The focus for growth remains the urban areas, suitable edge of urban sites and the larger villages where community facilities are available or can be provided or improved to serve new housing areas:

  • Urban Areas: 2,420
  • Brownfield Sites: 1,000
  • Colworth Garden Village: 2,500
  • Group 1 Villages: 1,500
  • Group 2 Villages: 150 - 300

The allocations within villages have been amended to reflect recent growth. The villages of Shortstown, Wilstead, Wixams and Wootton which have undergone significant development recently have not been allocated new developments.

Bromham, Clapham and Great Barford will allocate development sites within their Neighbourhood Plan to meet the level of growth required. Group 2 villages of Carlton, Harrold, Milton Ernest, Oakley and Turvey are in the process of developing their Neighbourhood Plans and they will allocate land for their requirements. A policy has been included to ensure these Neighbourhood Plans are submitted to the Council by December 2019 or twelve months after the adoption of the Local Plan 2035, whichever is the later.

The public consultation commenced on 22nd January and will close on 5th March.

Should you wish to know more about any of the above Local Plans or any other local planning authority, please get in touch with Nicola Wheatcroft, Senior Planner at Robinson & Hall on 01234 362891 or at mailto:nlw@robinsonandhall.co.uk.

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Join us for our Employment law seminar on 6 March 2018

Posted: 14/02/18 by EMW

We’re delighted to invite you to our Back to Basics: Getting Disciplinary Processes Right seminar, at our Milton Keynes office.

With the abolition of the fees regime, the number of tribunal claims has started to increase, so this month we go back to basics and discuss:

  • How to investigate a misconduct allegation
  • Best practice on handling a disciplinary process
  • Practical examples of how to get it right (and how to avoid getting it wrong!)

Come along to hear our thoughts and let us answer any questions you may have.

When & where

  • Tuesday 6 March 2018
  • At EMW, Seebeck House, 1 Seebeck Place, Knowlhill, Milton Keynes, MK5 8FR
  • Arrival at 8:30am for bacon rolls, pastries & refreshments
  • Presentation at 9:00am
  • Close at 10:00am
  • No charge

Who should attend?

If you work in a HR related role, you may find this seminar is for you.

Please let us know if you’re able to join us by emailing events.emw@emwllp.com

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Workshops to Attend by Velocity

Posted: 14/02/18 by Velocity Growth Hub

Velocity introduces a variety of workshops to improve your business or yourself. From workshops such as Digital Strategy – Social Media and Email, to Investment Masterclass, and Sales B2B, there will be something to suit what you are looking for.

In particular make sure you check out the GDPR & Cyber Essentials workshop, running in conjunction with Northamptonshire Chamber members PCS Business Systems on 21st March 2018, 9.30am-12.30pm at Holiday Inn Express Kettering.

Delegates will leave with a practical overview of the GDPR, what it means for them and their business and what processes and policies they need to put in place to bring them in line with the new regulations. Then taking a look at why Cyber Essentials is a great first IT step with Encryption and Disaster recovery being a crucial part on your GDPR journey.

Who should attend: Business owners or managers concerned about how Cyber Security and GDPR will affect their business

What you will learn:

- What GDPR means for your business

- How Cyber Essentials can help protect your business

- How a couple of simple IT steps can take your business along way under GDPR

Please note that eligibility criteria applies to attend this workshop and only one delegate per business can attend

Booking link - https://eventpilot.evolutive.co.uk/eventDetails.aspx?siteId=278&eventNo=601688

For more information on other workshops run by Velocity, check out this link: https://www.velocitygrowthhub.com/events/

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Posted: 14/02/18 by Atlas Translations Ltd

Hatches, Matches and Dispatches – Life’s rich translation tapestry.

Atlas’ favourite assignments are helping the course of true love; whether it’s helping sort out visas and official documents, or translating romantic letters. They’ve helped a groom impress his new Polish father-in-law having been coached by them to include a section of Polish in his wedding day speech. And they’ve provided interpreters at many a wedding, who remain professional at all times, even if they have to quickly wipe a tear from their eyes!

And here is one of Atlas’ most romantic translations ever; worthy of a Hollywood movie.

Joanne was set to marry her fiancé, Eduardo, on a Saturday in Bolivia. Joanne came to the office to have the official documents she needed for the wedding to go ahead translated into Latin American Spanish so they could be notarised: all very straight-forward and easy. No problems for our project manager, Francesca.

However, the Bolivian Embassy had other ideas. This was not going to be as simple as had been assumed and soon turned into a real test for the team. Time was running short and the Bolivian Embassy was asking Joanne to have yet more documents translated and notarised. There were several trips to and from the embassy; Francesca and the team worked at top speed that Friday, the eve of Joanne and Eduardo’s wedding day, making frantic dashes to the public notary. There was no way they were going to let this couple down: the possibility never crossed our minds.

Atlas prioritised the job and made sure that Joanne and Eduardo were free to marry the next day in a beautiful ceremony thousands of miles away in Bolivia. Soon afterwards they were thrilled to receive wonderful wedding photos and felt that they had really contributed to their happy day by managing to field every curveball that came Joanne’s – and Francesca’s – way.

Atlas prides themselves on delivering every translation and notarisation – no matter how big or how small. Some agencies do not take on this kind of work, preferring to concentrate on more substantial assignments. But Atlas feels that in many ways this was one of their biggest achievements with the customer satisfaction immeasurable.

Joanne said: “There were continued adventures with solicitors and visas right up to 9pm the night before the wedding – but we eventually got there! It really is quite a story from start to finish…. we spent the entire week before the wedding in the British embassy, the solicitors’ offices and various Bolivian government offices… and even now Eduardo has to go back to Bolivia again to apply for a different visa… it really has been incredible.

“But, we are married and very happy – thanks to you! I’d love to be able to say thank you by letting you share our story – you were amazing beyond words and I’m very happy to shout about that.”

Atlas have their wedding photograph on their pin-board to remind them of this couple’s magical day – and to remind themselves that every job, whether for a multinational company or a couple planning their future together, deserves the same commitment and dedication.

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Prospect of artificial Intelligence of limited concern for UK SMEs

Posted: 14/02/18 by Close Brothers Asset Finance

The majority of the UK’s SMEs are largely unconcerned about the prospect of artificial intelligence (AI), with the potential of improved productivity seen as a potential major benefit, according to research from Close Brothers Asset Finance.

The results were obtained from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that questions over close to 1,000 UK and RoI SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions.

“The potential impact of the rise of artificial intelligence and the so-called fourth industrial revolution have been discussed and debated for some time now,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance (pictured here). “What our survey tells is that 65% of firms feel that AI is either going to improve productivity or that it’s too far in the future to be worried about.

“The remaining 35% are more apprehensive, citing ethical concerns and the threat to jobs as their reasons for not being advocates of AI.”

Technology and its role in improving productivity

When asked the question ‘do you think better technology leads to more productivity?’, over half (51%) of SMEs believe better technology will result in more productivity with only 25% saying no; the rest are undecided.

Regionally, Northern Ireland (64%), London (63%) and Wales (62%) were particularly positive, while in businesses with a turnover greater than £10m, this rises even further to 70%.

Technology spend

Most SMEs (61%) are comfortable that their technology is up-to-date, with 22% admitting that it is not, while the remaining 17% are ‘unsure’.

“With cashlow a constant concern for businesses, investing in technology is a key decision,” said Neil. “Firm owners understand that employee expectations are rising and that technology can provide competitive advantage; however, this comes at a cost.

“28% of SMEs update their technology every two years, while 23% do this annually. 6% of companies never invest.”

Laptops and desktop computers – combined – account for nearly half of companies’ technology spend, with software third at 18%.

For more news from

Close Brothers Asset Finance please click here

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The Spring Charity, Recent Developments

Posted: 14/02/18 by The Spring Charity

The Spring Charity is now successfully running a Stay and Play session every Tuesday and Thursday 9.00 - 11.00 a.m. for parents and young children at our Annex Community Centre in Spring Lane. We are fortunate also to have visits from Health Visitors who provide advice and support to new parents. We have ‘New To English’ adult classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

We are proud to be in partnership with Spring Lane Primary School Academy who are delivering Early Years Education for children aged 2+ in our Nursery Room.

Thank you to a representative from Qdos for recent support and advice.

Does anyone know of sources of funding to support this valuable work in one of our most ethnically diverse and economically challenged area of Northampton town? Speak to Brian Burnett on 01604 458280 or leave a message.

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Incident & Accident Reporting Workflow

Posted: 14/02/18 by DGRC

​DGRC is now consulting with Zinc Digital Business Solutions based in Little Houghton.

This application platform has been developed with business partners over the last few years. It will streamline incident/accident reporting, whilst analysing data that can be viewed via a dashboard. It gathers intelligence from different internal/external sources, working in realtime enhancing communication to people and assets.

The system consists of two key elements enabling resources and actions to be deployed in a streamline and efficient manner:

• A mobile app for the self-reporting of incidents/accidents from customer locations, staff and vehicles

• A central intelligence database for collating the reported data and analysing intelligence

By watching a six minute video (password: z1nc - all lower caps) you will see how this application can be adapted to support any organisation.

http://bit.ly/2fAJNA5

Feel free to give me a call.

Danny

Mob: 07848178739

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New farm manager promises renewed support for Moulton College’s Agricultural students

Posted: 14/02/18 by Moulton College

Moulton College has appointed a new farm manager to inspire its next generation of young agriculture and countryside management students.

Malcolm Pate, who will take up his role later this month, is a perfect example of how potential land-based students can achieve their aims through hard work and study.

“I didn’t come from a farming family,” he said. “I grew up surrounded by the Scottish countryside with farming all around me and just fell in love with everything that was going on.

“My first actual farming job was when I was about 10 or 11, at weekends, on a dairy farm.”

Now, aged 33, his credentials are impeccable. Malcolm studied Agriculture at the former Scottish Agricultural College, Auchincruive, Ayr (now part of Scotland’s Rural University College), starting with a NC (Level 3 equivalent) and working through HNC and HND qualifications to finish with a BSc. Since leaving college he has become BASIS (certificate in crop protection) and FACTS (fertiliser adviser) qualified and is looking forward to gaining more industry qualifications.

Over the past 10 years Malcolm has moved around the UK gaining invaluable work experience, first with agricultural contractors and in the beef and sheep industries in Scotland, then with a specialist salad grower in Warwickshire, culminating in five years in management positions in Buckinghamshire (1000 acres, mixed arable) and Cambridgeshire (1000 hectares,
arable) before coming to Moulton.

He’s looking forward to his new role and is keeping an open mind about what the future will bring.

“I really enjoy teaching people, with all the knowledge and experience I have gained so far in my career – I like the thought of educating the next generation of farmers. I’d like to create a great learning environment for our students because farming really needs young people coming in,” he said.

“Also, I’d like to set Moulton College Farm up for the future. We need to be seen as industry leaders, both locally and nationally.

“Brexit will bring change, but we don’t yet know what so it’s an exciting time to be taking over the reins.”

What advice would Malcolm give to young people considering studying farming and countryside management?

“I’d say study and learn as much as you can, for sure,” he said. “For a sound career reaching into the future, students need a degree education. There’s a lack of that, but it can be done: I’m the proof!

“It might seem like a long journey at the start but it’s really not that far. So go for it.”

For more information about studying agriculture and countryside management at Moulton College, visit www.moulton.ac.uk or call 01604 491131.

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IrisGuard signs agreement with IFC to improve financial inclusion for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Posted: 14/02/18 by IrisGuard UK Ltd

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement with Milton Keynes-based IrisGuard, to help boost financial inclusion and improve the lives of Syrian refugees in Jordan and the region.

IFC will help IrisGuard expand the reach of its iris-based e-payment solutions, designed to help refugees and vulnerable displaced populations access cash or goods quickly and easily. With IFC support, IrisGuard will develop and roll out new iris recognition point-of-sale devices throughout Jordan and the region. More than 2.3 million Syrian refugees in Jordan and the region are registered in the system so far, allowing them to simply use their eyes to withdraw cash at selected ATMs or pay for goods at participating stores.

“Many people in the MENA region do not have access to a traditional bank account to access benefits, save money, or make payments, which is why IFC has been supporting new and innovative payment systems like IrisGuard. Our technology has the potential to help lift vulnerable beneficiaries out of poverty and contribute to accelerating economic development throughout the region,” said Imad Malhas, managing director and co-founder of IrisGuard (pictured right here).

Traditional methods of assistance, where refugees often wait in line for cash, paper vouchers or food, can result in losses of up to 20 percent, as well as issues such as identity theft and corruption. Iris-recognition, which is 10 times more accurate than fingerprints and impossible to replicate, can help reduce this loss.

“MENA is fast becoming a tech hub for innovative companies like IrisGuard,” said Dalia Wahba, IFC country manager for the Levant (pictured left here). “Initiatives like this show that technology and innovation can play a critical role in addressing humanitarian and developmental challenges like the current refugee crisis, a key priority for our work in the region.”

Since the onset of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, millions of displaced people have pursued sanctuary in other countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR), an estimated 13.5 million people require humanitarian aid, including over 5 million registered Syrian refugees. UNHCR has already registered over 650,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan using IrisGuard’s biometrics technology, and the company has been awarded contracts by UNCHR and the World Food Programme to distribute aid in Jordan and soon in neighbouring countries in the region as well.

IFC’s work with IrisGuard is part of a wider strategy to promote private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve lives.

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Boxing clever - graduate plotting start-up scheme for Northampton’s old bus station site

Posted: 14/02/18 by The University of Northampton

A University of Northampton graduate is behind an ambitious drive to build a ‘boxpark’ business centre made out of shipping containers on the site of the town’s former bus station.

Graduate Jacob Austin-Lavelle and his colleague Phil Cridge will explain their idea for the old Greyfriars Bus Station site, which has stood empty since the building was demolished in 2015, when they appear on NLIVE Radio this Wednesday.

The entrepreneurs, who founded the Co-work Engine start-up space in Abington Avenue, say they have the backing and funding routes to make it happen if the borough council is interested.

The Greyfriars site has planning permission for new homes and leisure services, but the borough council’s plans for the site are currently on hold.

“There’s a bit of a drive from local people at the moment to try and convince the council to build a box park at the old bus station site,” said Phil.

“It would allow very cheap rent for independent creative and ambitious local people to get their first leg up and put themselves out there collectively.”

Boxparks have been a success in towns up and down the UK. They are shops or offices created out of shipping containers stacked on top of each other.

Sites like Boxpark Shoreditch and District 10 in Dundee have been a great success, housing local retailers, pop-up shops and small offices, as well as restaurants and craft beer bars.

Jacob said: “Northampton is a big town and there is a lot we can do. It is fertile ground now with the internet allowing us to do so much because, logistically, this town is at the heart of this country.

“If we build Boxpark then people won’t feel the need to leave Northampton to develop their ideas. Instead of people leaving the town like a brain drain, other creative people from Leicester and Birmingham will also want to come here and set up their businesses.”

You can hear more about Jake and Phil’s ideas for growing business in Northampton on NLIVE 196.9fm or online on Wednesday from 7pm, when they are guests on Adrian Pryce’s Open 4 Business show.

James and Phil are pictured with Adrian, recording the interview.

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Discover Northampton’s independent businesses at Guildhall Food Fair

Posted: 14/02/18 by Northampton Borough Council

Shoppers and visitors to Northampton can discover the best of the town’s businesses and producers under one roof at the Love Northampton Food Fair on Saturday, 24 February.

Taking place in The Guildhall, the Food Fair will provide a mouth-watering showcase of stalls from local businesses, producers and makers offering dozens of delectable delights such as bread, spices, chutneys, cakes, wine and cider.

In addition, the Fair will also host a number of demonstrations and tastings from local food and drink enthusiasts including Carmela Sereno Hayes, Elsie’s Café and Phipps Brewery.

On the day visitors will get to watch Carmela as she shares her ‘Passion for Pasta’ at 10.30am. Following that Elsie’s Café will demonstrate how to make the perfect sandwich filling and the best ways to use up left over or stale bread at 12pm.

Phipps Brewery will then be on hand at 2pm, to provide tastings of their new gin, which can be purchased, along with a selection of their beers, from their stall in the Great Hall.

Cllr Jonathan Nunn, leader of the Council, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming businesses and customers alike to the beautiful surrounding of The Guildhall for the Love Northampton Food Fair.

“Entrance to the fair is free and will provide visitors with a great opportunity to get a flavour of the wide range of independent businesses, and the services and produce they have to offer, that are available in and around town.”

The Love Northampton Food Fair will take place at the Guildhall on Saturday, 24 February from 10am to 3pm. Entry is free.

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Saints sign wallaby winger Taqele Naiyaravoro

Posted: 14/02/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Northampton Saints has confirmed the signing of wing Taqele Naiyaravoro from the NSW Waratahs.

The 26-year-old Fijian-born Australia international will join the Club for the 2018-19 season and beyond.

125kg Naiyaravoro is widely known in the Southern Hemisphere for his immense ball-carrying ability – but Scottish rugby fans will remember his turn north of the border when he scored nine tries in 22 appearances for Glasgow Warriors during the 2015-16 season.

And while he will not arrive at Franklin’s Gardens until later this year, Naiyaravoro is already relishing the thought of a new challenge in the Aviva Premiership.

“I’m thrilled to be able to return to the UK and join a massive Club in Northampton Saints,” he said.

“The squad is already filled with talent and I can’t wait to arrive and try to develop further as a player.

“The Club is heading in a really exciting direction with the likes of Chris Boyd and Dan Biggar arriving next year, and I hope I can be a part of a push for more silverware at Franklin’s Gardens.”

Naiyaravoro made his Australia debut back in 2015 against the USA in Chicago, replacing his then-teammate at the Waratahs, Rob Horne – who he will now join at Franklin’s Gardens.

He will also be well known to new Saints teammates Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Teimana Harrison and Paul Hill, who were all involved when Naiyaravoro scored for the Wallabies against England during their 2016 summer tour Down Under.

After a stint in rugby league with the Balmain Tigers, Naiyaravoro began his senior union career with the Sydney-based Parramatta Two Blues in the Shute Shield, moving to the Waratahs in 2014.

From there a switch to Glasgow beckoned and a spectacular Champions Cup hat-trick against the Scarlets was the highlight of an impressive season in the Pro12, while he has also featured for Japanese side Panasonic Wild Knights in the Top League.

He will not arrive at Franklin’s Gardens until the conclusion of his commitments in Australia, but in the meantime Saints supporters can enjoy a YouTube highlight reel packed with destructive hits and rampaging running.

And having witnessed Naiyaravoro’s talents in Super Rugby, Saints technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney is eager to see the same explosive player next season when he dons Black, Green and Gold.

“Taqele Naiyaravoro is an immense talent and we feel that he can really fulfil his sizeable potential at Saints,” he commented.

“He clearly boasts the physical attributes to cause teams a lot of problems in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe – and he showed that during his time with Glasgow.

“Taqele already has a relationship with Rob Horne having played with him at the Waratahs and I’m sure he will make a massive impact when he slots into the back-line next year.”

Tickets are still available for Saints’ Aviva Premiership Rugby clash with London Irish on Saturday 17 February from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000.

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How much time do you lose due to broken mobile devices?

Posted: 14/02/18 by Global Mobile Communications Ltd

​It has only been 10 years since the launch of the smartphone and it has travelled some way as businesses incorporate them into the daily work life. We are now all far more productive due to phones and tablets. Most businesses now rely on their mobile devices and if they were taken away from them then they would struggle to complete their daily tasks. Mobile devices are used to make us more efficient and productive, and when they go wrong or break it can prevent the end user being able to complete their work day or tasks.

GMC are a manufacturer of rugged mobile devices based in Daventry and they produce devices under two brands. One Defender http://www.thetoughphone.com and the other Dewalt http://www.dewaltphones.com The devices are made to last and make the end user more efficient by less faults and down time.

The products are all made to military standard and can be dropped onto a concrete surface from 1.2m without any damage. The new Defender Tab 2 has a massive 10,000mAh battery, so will last days with normal usage. A super tough glass is used on the screens to make sure that if dropped it will survive.

It has been shown that if you damage your mobile phone, it can cost up to £600 in a combination of repair cost, downtime plus admin to replace the broken device. This is why RUGGED mobile devices are expected to grow 20% in the business sector over the next 12 months as more and more businesses change over to sim only deals to save money.

We are offering all Chamber members the chance to test our range of devices to see how they could save your business money. To obtain a sample for testing please call Ben on 01327301667.

Pictured: Defender Tab 2

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CJS (UK Management) Limited sponsors Education and Business Partnership Award

Posted: 14/02/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

A team of event design and management experts are sponsoring the Education and Business Partnership Award at the inaugural Northamptonshire Business Awards.

Operating throughout the UK, Kettering based CJS (UK Management) Limited provide their clients with a complete event management service or can provide specific elements for events. In addition, CJS provide marketing and communication consultancy and support to the hospitality industry.

The firm is backing the awards because they recognise excellence in business and are open to organisations of all sizes and from all sectors based in Northamptonshire.

Managing director Kevin Shapland said: “With skills shortages now at a critical level in the UK, it is imperative that the business and education sectors work closely to ensure that our future workforce is best prepared and equipped to meet the challenges ahead.

“Regardless of size, all businesses have a responsibility to help ensure that in conjunction with the educational sector we develop a balance of academic and technical training which will be crucial to future economic success.

“This award category will provide an ideal platform on which to showcase some of the many examples of innovative collaborative approaches to these issues that are already taking place in the county and hopefully serve to encourage other businesses to get involved.”

The other award categories are: Employer of the Year; High Growth Business of the Year; Digital Communications Campaign of the Year; Best Use of Technology; Customer Commitment Award; Apprentice of the Year, Export Business of the Year and Small Business of the Year.

The winners will be put forward for the overall Business of the Year title and may be eligible for the regional final of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Chamber Business Awards.

The Northamptonshire Business Awards ceremony will take place at the Park Inn Northampton on September 13.

The awards will open to entries on Thursday, March 1.

For further information visit www.northants-chamber.co.uk/awards

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Tick Box Divorce to be Trialled

Posted: 13/02/18 by Wilson Browne Solicitors

Newly formed “Financial Remedies Courts” will soon start trialling a “tick box” system for dealing with the financial aspect of divorce.

Under the plans these newly established Financial Remedies Courts (FRCs) will review a 10 page “Form A” that allows spouses to tick boxes asking for maintenance payments, a lump sum or a share of the property. The forms will be capable of being downloaded under sweeping plans to streamline the system of divorce in England and Wales.

Legal formalities for ending a marriage would, for now, be left as they are and dealt with by the Family Courts, but the financial element of divorce could be settled elsewhere, leaving the divorce as a simple matter of approval.

The plans for this radical change in the approach to dealing with finances on divorce have been drawn up by a number of senior judges and led by Sir James Munby, President of the High Court’s Family Division.

As a pilot scheme is proposed, the eventual plan would see 10 “hubs” across the country handle major cases with 47 local courts. Sir James Munby has made it clear in the past that he wants divorce to stop being a legal matter and instead for divorces to be recorded at local Register Offices.

The initial pilot is planned to roll out in London, the West Midlands and South-East Wales, with a rolling programme for pilots in other areas.

Once the new Financial Remedies Courts have the technology, the plan is to move the forms online.

Lawyers have warned that the scheme expects divorcing couples to know at the outset what assets are involved and what sort of order will be best for them, details that many spouses do not have at the start of divorce proceedings.

Lawyers who represent divorcing couples will be concerned at the risk of ill-informed spouses being taken advantage of if they are not properly represented. The Financial Remedies Courts will be overseen by a national lead judge and will initially deal only with ancillary relief applications, although the plan is for all financial remedy claims currently dealt with in the Family Court or Family Division to be dealt with at these FRCs in time.

Partner Sally Robinson who heads the Family Law Team at Wilson Browne Solicitors said: “We often see clients who simply have no idea about the finances in the relationship and do not understand what remedies are available to them. We can explain the range of Orders a Court can make, from lump sums to pension sharing orders. Spouses filling in a form online are likely to tick all the boxes just to be sure they have covered all options and that does not necessarily speed the process up. Clients will always benefit from experienced legal advice”.

Sir James Munby has suggested the pilot could roll out as early as 1 February 2018, but a spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service has confirmed that they are working with the judiciary on a pilot scheme for the creation of Courts to deal simply with the financial aspect of divorce and separation and that plans are at an early stage.

For any advice on Divorce or Relationship Breakdown, call our Specialist Team on 0800 088 6004.

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Candle Making at Bay Tree Cottage

Posted: 13/02/18 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

Bay Tree Cottage is running a candle making workshop on Wednesday 28 February from 9.30am-3pm where attendees can learn how to make beautiful candles to bring a warm glow to their own home or to give away to friends and family as unique handmade presents.

During the hands-on workshop, which costs £95pp, attendees will learn how to use a variety of pure eco waxes to make their candles, be shown all the materials and equipment they need to get started and understand the different wicks to use for the different candles they make. They will also add fragrance to their candles using essential and fragrance oils, learn how to colour their candles using pure mineral micas and natural colourants, look at the wide array of different containers that can be used, and learn packaging and decoration techniques to give their candles a unique and beautiful finishing touch.

For further information and to book visit: www.btcworkshops.co.uk

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New Staff

Posted: 13/02/18 by Daventry Area Community Transport

DACT continues to stride ahead as we arrive in the middle of February 2018 and we continue to be excited about the year ahead. We are currently planning for our 25th Anniversary which is due to take place later this year and the new Mobility Shop extension is due to start next month with a grand opening later in the Summer.

We have also had a new addition to our team in Matt Bowman and Matt writes: “My name is Matt, I am 23 years old and I am married to my lovely wife Lauren. For the entirety of my life, I have been involved in the local Church. The most attractive part of church has always been the people – being able to encounter so many individuals.

“Until joining DACT, I have felt that this was one of the main elements of my job that I missed – being able to meet and help so many wonderful people – and I have found this at DACT. I joined in November 2017. I was excited to work at DACT because of their heart for people, and reputation in the Daventry District. Whilst my knowledge of DACT was little to begin with, the more I learned about them, the more I knew that they would be a real joy to work with, and since starting, I have discovered how fulfilling the role is. The help and assistance that all of our incredible volunteers offer is unrivalled, and working with these amazing people is one of the greatest aspects of the role.”

Matt has come on board just at the right time as his main role is to support our Car Scheme passengers getting to vital medical appointments and coordinating the volunteer drivers who take them, and January 2018 saw the biggest number of requests since March 2015!

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BCC: Inflationary pressures beginning to ease

Posted: 13/02/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the inflation statistics for January 2018, published today by the Office for National Statistics, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Inflation was unchanged in January, as a smaller rise in motor fuel prices helped to a keep a lid on overall UK price growth. The slowing growth in producer prices points to an easing of inflationary pressures further down the supply chain, which suggests that inflation is likely to drift downwards over the coming months.

“The path of inflation over the next year is likely to be determined by the extent to which more subdued UK economic growth is offset by inflationary pressure from rising global commodity prices. Against this backdrop, it remains probable that while inflation will to continue to drift downwards, it’s likely to remain above the Bank of England’s 2% inflation target for some time to come.

“Nonetheless, with inflation now on a downward trajectory, this should give the Bank of England enough wriggle room to keep interest rates on hold for longer than implied by the hawkish tone of their latest inflation report, particularly if economic conditions weaken as we expect.

“We would urge the MPC to proceed with caution on raising rates, to avoid dampening business activity and wider economic growth. More must also be done to kickstart business investment, including addressing the upfront cost of doing business in the UK.”

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BCC: Inflationary pressures beginning to ease

Posted: 13/02/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the inflation statistics for January 2018, published today by the Office for National Statistics, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Inflation was unchanged in January, as a smaller rise in motor fuel prices helped to a keep a lid on overall UK price growth. The slowing growth in producer prices points to an easing of inflationary pressures further down the supply chain, which suggests that inflation is likely to drift downwards over the coming months.

“The path of inflation over the next year is likely to be determined by the extent to which more subdued UK economic growth is offset by inflationary pressure from rising global commodity prices. Against this backdrop, it remains probable that while inflation will to continue to drift downwards, it’s likely to remain above the Bank of England’s 2% inflation target for some time to come.

“Nonetheless, with inflation now on a downward trajectory, this should give the Bank of England enough wriggle room to keep interest rates on hold for longer than implied by the hawkish tone of their latest inflation report, particularly if economic conditions weaken as we expect.

“We would urge the MPC to proceed with caution on raising rates, to avoid dampening business activity and wider economic growth. More must also be done to kickstart business investment, including addressing the upfront cost of doing business in the UK.”

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Talented wildlife artist Aaminah Snowdon to visit Northampton art gallery

Posted: 13/02/18 by The Rose Gallery

On Saturday 24 March, the highly popular, young English artist Aaminah Snowdon will be visiting The Rose Gallery (within Bell Showroom in Kingsthorpe, Northampton).

The event is free to attend and anyone interested in Aaminah’s work and in meeting Aaminah, is welcome.

Aaminah Snowdon is a British contemporary artist, born in 1990, in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. Her work exclusively depicts British wildlife, farm animals and pets in a unique and original style with a hint of humour.

Totally self-taught, Aaminah has developed her own signature style: bold, spontaneous brush strokes, with loud, vibrant colours, focusing on the innate humour and eccentricity of the British animal. The end result is energy, expression and quirkiness. She uses acrylic paint on watercolour paper, and completes each painting with a witty title, such as ‘Cheeky Cow’!

Aaminah has always been an animal lover. When she’s not painting, she spends her time with rescue animals. Hedgehogs are a particularly favourite for Aaminah and have recently been in the headlines due to their decline in numbers. Aaminah donates a percentage of her profits from painting to animal charities, notably The Wildlife Haven in Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

On the painting process, Aaminah said: “I strive to produce paintings that create smiles and laughter, and that the viewer can relate to.”

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

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

In 2018, we have launched an interest free finance scheme for customers making owning art more affordable for all.

“I always love meeting the artists who produce the fantastic work we supply here at The Rose Gallery,” says Deborah Davey, the Gallery’s owner. “To hear an artist explain how they
conceive and produce art which captures the imagination and brings a smile to the face, never ceases to inspire me.”

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

For further information, contact Deborah Davey on 01604 713743 or info@therosegallery.co.uk

The Rose Gallery, (within Bell) Kingsthorpe Road, Northampton NN2 6LT

Tickets are available free of charge via our Eventbrite booking

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/myevent?eid=42981312262

https://www.facebook.com/RoseGalleryUK/

www.therosegallery.co.uk

Images remain the copyright of The Rose Gallery and should not be reproduced without permission.

Picture: Aaminah Snowdon’s Little Scamp

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Drop-in Sessions at University of Northampton Innovation Center

Posted: 13/02/18 by Northamptonshire Growth Hub

Are you looking for funding for new ideas?

Grants are now available from Northamptonshire Growth Hub to support businesses to explore new ideas.

Do you have an idea to develop and grow your business?

Do you need help to take it off the ground?

Then come and speak to one of our experienced business advisers on:

Thursday,15th February 10:00 – 15:00, University of Northampton Innovation Centre, Green Street, Northampton, NN1 1SY.

Grants are available from £2,000 to £20,000 to support activities that lead to the development of new products, processes or services. Applications must be submitted by noon on Monday, February 26, 2018.

The grant scheme is part of a wider package of support offered under the Innovate Northamptonshire project which includes 121 business advice, a variety of workshops and access to expert knowledge. Talk to our advisers to find out more.

Call 01604 212696, or email IN@northamptonshiregrowthhub.co.uk for details on eligibility and how to apply.

Innovate Northamptonshire is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Northamptonshire Growth Hub – a partnership between The University of Northampton and Northamptonshire County Council, providing comprehensive and unbiased support for your new or growing business.

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Live Music and Entertainment every Friday and Saturday at The Cock Hotel, Stony Stratford

Posted: 13/02/18 by The Cock Hotel, Stony Stratford

In January 2018 we launched an exciting diary.

  • Live Bands, Tributes - Fridays
  • Karaoke Club - Saturdays

We are encouraging the local community to support our free to attend events, there will be additional dates added including fun days for all the family.

These free events lend themself nicely to the local and leisure markets.

Make a night of it!

Book a table in the restaurant and then sit back and enjoy the entertainment.

Book one of our Meeting Rooms and add this free night of entertainment to the end of your meeting.

Book a private room for dinner and then enjoy a night of free entertainment.

For more information contact: events.cockhotel@oldenglishinns.co.uk

Or tel: 01908 578393 / 07812 257032

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Awards for people at the Heart of the Community

Posted: 12/02/18 by Northampton Borough Council

Who’s at the heart of your community? Who really makes a difference to your area or group or your life in Northampton?

Help recognise the people who work hard to make this town a better place to live by nominating them for a Heart of the Community Awards 2018.

Nominations are now open until Friday, 23 March and residents are being invited to nominate friends, family, neighbours and colleagues who make a difference in their community.

The Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Gareth Eales, said: “The Heart of the Community Award provide a great opportunity for us all to say thank you and well done to incredible people who use their spare time to help their local community.

“There are so many individuals and groups that make a real difference in the town and I hope that people will spare a few minutes of their day to complete a nomination form,
telling us about someone they know.”

Nominations can be submitted online at www.northampton.gov.uk/heartofthecommunity or by emailing the Mayor’s office at mayor@northampton.gov.uk

All nominations will be considered by a panel of independent judges and the winners will be invited to a celebration event at The Guildhall in April.

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Northamptonshire landlord’s comms team up for national award

Posted: 12/02/18 by Futures Housing Group

A Northamptonshire landlord’s communications team will go head-to-head with PR giants after being shortlisted for two national awards.

The five-strong team at Daventry’s Futures Housing Group has been shortlisted for Best Use of Creativity and Best Use of Content in the PR Moment Awards.

The team was shortlisted for its approach to raising awareness of new data protection laws to its 280 staff members. They used a film noir-inspired, multi-media campaign, “The Hunt for the Infomaniac – cracking the case on GDPR”, to inject life into a potentially dry subject.

Mike Underwood, Head of Communications at Futures, said: “I’m really proud to work as part of such a creative team. We developed the concept, wrote the screenplays, acted, sourced props and engaged our entire company to make sure we sent a clear message and told a clear story about the importance of keeping data safe for our customers, staff and stakeholders.”

Running for four months, the film-led campaign was designed to inform staff about changes to data protection laws in advance of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into force in May 2018.

Using video, social media, events and emails the campaign followed the tale of a fictional detective as he worked to thwart a data thief from accessing personal and sensitive information from inside Futures.

Written by and starring Futures employees, the Hunt for the Infomaniac series was shot by filmographer Richard Bailey, of Reel Twenty Five.

After screening eight films which highlighted steps staff can take to reduce the risk of data breaches, along with clues to help individuals to unmask the villain, Futures saw a 68% increase in staff awareness of GDPR penalties.

The campaign also resulted in 82% of staff feeling confident in what to do if they suspect a data breach.

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Social media campaign lands students £500 of Amazon vouchers

Posted: 12/02/18 by Northampton College

A carefully crafted social media campaign to promote a classic sandwich has landed a group of Northampton College students £500 in Amazon vouchers.

Level Three business students Hannah Ferrin, Callum Buck, Verity Rust and Millicent Wincott teamed up to produce a fresh, low fat, take on the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, which saw them reach the regional finals of a competition to create a new product for High Street fast food giant Subway.

Their campaign to ‘bring back the BLT’ and see their healthy handcrafted sandwich sold in Subway stores across the region was an overall runner-up but they were named winners of the award for ‘Best Social Media Campaign’.

The students were given a fictional budget to advertise their brainchild and devised a strategic marketing plan containing online, print and broadcast advertising as well as targeting their specific audience using a mix of social media channels including Instagram and Snapchat.

Verity Rust, aged 17, said: “We wanted to create a sub for people who want to eat healthily and are aware of the dangers of too much fat in their diet. With obesity slowing rising in the UK, we have tried to get low fat options trending again for a healthier lifestyle.”

The sub went head-to-head with five other flavours created by students from across East Anglia, fending off competition from more than 100 rivals to reach the regional final.

Business lecturer Karin Keir-Bucknall said: “The team have worked really hard to create their sub and it has been a great opportunity for them to put their business skills to the test.”

For more information on courses available at Northampton College please visit www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk

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‘Award-winning’ Charity of the Year

Posted: 12/02/18 by MacIntyre

MacIntyre had been on a roll last year, scooping various different awards for staff teams, two based in Milton Keynes.

Great British Care Awards - North West, Friday 3 November 2017

Winner - Tina Dutton, Warrington – Dementia Carer

Winner - Will Black, Wirral – Frontline Leader

The judges said: “Tina is an inspirational and passionate person who has gone more than the extra mile to deliver high quality person-centred care. Tina’s courage, commitment and selfless acts of kindness continue to make a difference to place people at the centre of all she says and does. Tina is the difference.”

“Will has led his team to great success over the past year through support and innovative care. Will is always looking at the individual’s needs, be it the service user or carer.”

They now go through to the National Finals in Birmingham in Spring 2018.

Duke of Edinburgh Gold, 6 November 2017

The ‘Gold’ Duke of Edinburgh Group from Warrington were given their ‘gold’ badges in time for the award ceremony at St James Palace.

UK Dementia Congress, 7 to 9 November 2017

Under Secretary of State for Health Jackie Doyle-Price MP visited our stand. MacIntyre’s was one of only 3 stands she asked to visit.

At the Congress, MacIntyre were the chosen partner for the Learning Disability stream, which comprised three different sessions, with three different speakers at each session. Two particular case studies - Moira and Alison - were featured in these sessions; they can be found here: https://www.macintyrecharity.org/our-work/supporting-people-with-dementia/macintyre-dementia-project/

Trustees may also be interested to see this series of films made with Sarah Lancaster: https://www.macintyrecharity.org/our-work/supporting-people-with-dementia/macintyre-dementia-project/registered-managers-perspective/

Dementia Care Awards Winner - Dementia Project Team – Innovation Finalist - Emma Killick – Dementia Care Personality

Many great comments on social media, including this from Beth Britton, freelance campaigner and blogger who works on the project with MacIntyre: “About time this is recognised! I’ve been saying it for years that from my work with you, you’re streets ahead - being #personcentred and #relationshipcentred is just what you do, not an ‘add-on’. You support people, not disable them!”

Great British Care Awards – South East, Saturday 11 November

Winner – Staff team at The Haddons, Great Holm, Milton Keynes - End of Life / Palliative Care

The judges said: “Hearing Sarah (Lancaster) share Alison’s story is one which makes you feel inspired and grateful for people like her in the world. The determination, passion and commitment to keeping Alison at home was truly inspirational.”

The Haddons team now go through to the National Finals in Birmingham in Spring 2018, joining Will and Tina.

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Mothers Day Menu from £14.99

Posted: 12/02/18 by The Saracens Head Hotel

Why not treat Mum to lunch out.

Mothers Day is on 11 March 2018 and The Saracens Head Hotel has launched its special Mothers Day Menu, with 2 courses from £14.99 and 3 courses from £17.99. Representing excellent value for money it allows you to treat someone special.

Included on the menu are: Stilton & Peppercorn Mushrooms, Crayfish and Pawn Cocktail, Steaks, Grilled Halloumi with Roasted Vegetables and for dessert why not opt for a favorite of Prosecco Royale Sorbet.

The full menu can be found at https://www.oldenglishinns.co.uk/files/8215/1678/8872/OEI_MothersDay_MEF_PB3.pdf

Please call the hotel to make your reservation on 01327 350414.

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Primary Authority partnership for Central Foods

Posted: 12/02/18 by Central Foods Ltd

Central Foods has established a Primary Authority partnership with Northamptonshire County Council.

It means that Central Foods has been recognised for its robust compliance arrangements, amongst other things.

Central Foods managing director Gordon Lauder said: “We are very pleased to have formed a Primary Authority partnership with Northamptonshire County Council. This gives added
reassurance to our customers and partners about our very stringent and professional procedures and processes.”

By becoming a Primary Authority partner, Central Foods will have access to relevant, authoritative tailored advice, can draw on an established and effective means of meeting business regulations, and can be more confident of protecting the business and its customers.

Primary Authority enables businesses to form a legal partnership with one local authority, which then provides assured and tailored advice on complying with regulations that other local regulators must respect.

As one of the UK’s leading frozen food distributors, Central Foods has been supplying frozen food to the foodservice sector for more than 21 years. It currently supplies more than 220 independent wholesalers, as well as larger national and regional wholesalers, and foodservice caterers across the entire foodservice industry.

Offering a one-stop shop to the foodservice sector, Central Foods sources products from around the world and the UK, supplying more than 400 different lines, ranging from meat, bakery items and canapés through to buffet products, ndesserts and puddings.

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5 ways SME’s can turn Brexit into a growth opportunity

Posted: 12/02/18 by Fuseovate Limited

At Fuseovate we believe Brexit is an opportunity for SME’s to grow their top and/or bottom line and we have published a comprehensive ebook on this subject.

Discover ‘5 ways SME’s can turn Brexit into a growth opportunity’ in our FREE ebook now.

In this FREE ebook, we reveal the 5 levers to drive growth, the big 4 Brexit barriers that may impede your business growth and the key mitigating actions for SME’s.

We also provide a tool to help you assess the potential effects of Brexit on your business.

Click our FREE ebook now.

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Packaging firm director raises £1,130 for homeless charity

Posted: 12/02/18 by The Alternative Pallet Company Ltd

The “camaraderie” of fundraisers helped the director of a Wellingborough transit packaging company brave freezing temperatures for an all-night sleep out to raise awareness of homelessness.

Patrick Mulhall, Managing Director of PALLITE, based in Sinclair Drive, Park Farm North, successfully raised £1,130 for the Northampton Hope Centre by taking part in their Big Sleep Out on Friday, January 26.

He was sponsored to swap the comfort of a warm bed for a night with just cardboard to sleep on, a sleeping bag for warmth, and a plastic sheet for shelter from the winter elements.

He said: “I can thoroughly recommend the Big Sleep Out to everyone. It’s a great way to raise money and gain empathy of the conditions homeless people face, particularly at this time of year. There was a lovely atmosphere, the camaraderie amongst those taking part really helped people get set for the night. I want to thank everyone for their support.

“It makes you appreciate how tough it must be for those having to deal with living on the streets on a daily basis. We all need to do our bit to halt this.”

Patrick joined more than 165 other people at a specially designated area at Sixfields Stadium, home of Northampton Town Football Club, for the 12-hour stint from 7.30pm to 7.30am the next day. Early indications show this year’s participants have collectively raised approximately £50,000.

He hopes more people will join in next year and has plans to create a PALLITE community shelter to encourage people to take part.

Hope Centre CEO, Robin Burgess, said: “The Big Sleep Out night felt much colder than the temperature suggested so we are extremely grateful to everyone who stayed with us and braved the cold and damp.

“We really hope that, although we pushed a lot of people out of their comfort zone, it really made them appreciate what it is like to be homeless.

“If you know someone who took part but haven’t sponsored them yet, please do. They really did earn it.”

The Big Sleep Out helps to raise awareness of homelessness and the work of the Northampton Hope Centre. Last year £60,000 was raised and went towards supporting the work of the shelter, which provides showers and a warm place for people to visit and enjoy a hot drink. Other work includes helping people find volunteer roles and employment.

People are still able to sponsor Patrick by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-mulhall2

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BFS Seminar - The Building Blocks for Business Success - Speaker Spotlight ‘UK BUSINESS ANGELS ASSOCIATION’

Posted: 09/02/18 by Business Finance Services Ltd

THE BUILDING BLOCKS FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS - THURSDAY 8TH MARCH 2018 (3.30pm to 6.30pm)

There are now only four weeks until our next BFS Seminar ‘The Building Blocks for Business Success’ which will focus on business lending, investment, and efficiency with operating your business. We have three highly experienced experts joining us and today our ‘Speaker Spotlight’ is:

Rod Beer, Strategic Relations Director - UK BUSINESS ANGELS ASSOCIATION

The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) is the national trade association for angel and early-stage investment, representing over 160 member organisations and around 18,000 investors. Business Angels in the UK collectively invest an estimated £1.5 billion per annum and are therefore the UK’s largest source of investment for startups and early-stage businesses seeking to grow.

UKBAA’s members include angel networks, syndicates, individual investors, early-stage VCs, equity crowdfunding platforms, accelerators, professional advisers and intermediaries. UKBAA acts as the voice of the angel investment community and strives to build and connect the angel investment ecosystem so as to ensure a coherent landscape for financing high-potential entrepreneurs.

UKBAA

Key Activities Include:

Acting as the Voice of the Angel Investment Community.

UKBAA represents the views and interests of the angel investment community to government, opinion formers and business leaders at national, European and international level, with a view to raising awareness about the asset class and ensuring a supportive fiscal and technical environment that enables investors to continue to back great businesses.

Building and Connecting the Angel Ecosystem

UKBAA enables opportunities for all members of the angel and early-stage community to meet and share knowledge and experiences. Our programme of flagship events includes large thought leadership summits, an annual angel investment awards, plus sector-specific and regional events, offering the opportunity for interaction among all players in the community.

Information Provision and Analysis

UKBAA provides market intelligence on key trends and new developments in the angel investment landscape. We provide access to information and advice for investors and entrepreneurs, as well as an online directory of investors, via our website. We disseminate regular market updates via our regular e-newsletter and social media.

Providing access to Quality Investment Opportunities

UKBAA facilitates and supports investors’ access to opportunities for investment. This includes the DealShare platform, an exclusive UKBAA members-only onlinemarketplace for the sharing and referral of deals. We also provide support for third party investment events and connecting entrepreneurs to investors.

Promoting Good Practice and Quality Standards

UKBAA offers access to skills and training for new angels to enable them to become competent and effective investors. This includes a new nationally accredited angel investing qualification and e-learning programme. We also promote angel syndication and encourage those with capacity to become lead angels.

Other speakers at the seminar include:

Lewis Stringer - The British Business Bank

Lewis will explain the origin and distribution of their funds which are specifically aimed at supporting SMEs.

Alan Price - Harp Consulting and BFS

Alan will be talking about the importance of Business Planning and Mentoring to ensure efficient operation of a business.

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

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-building-blocks-for-business-success-tickets-41884502675

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Blooming great news for Northampton

Posted: 09/02/18 by Northampton Borough Council

Northampton has just been officially announced as one of the finalists in this year’s national Britain in Bloom competition.

Now in its 54th year, the nationwide contest pits villages, towns and cities against similar sized places across a range of criteria including horticultural know-how, community engagement, efforts to bolster biodiversity, and climate change adaptation.

National finalists are chosen based on their performance in the local division of the competition – which for Northampton is East Midlands in Bloom – and Northampton will be up
against Norwich, Reading, Aberdeen and Belfast in this year’s competition.

Northampton Borough Council co-ordinates the borough’s bloom efforts but hundreds of community groups, schools and individuals make it possible.

Cllr Mike Hallam, Cabinet member for environment, said: “Our entry into this year’s national competition is a credit to all the hard work of those who took part in last year’s Northampton in Bloom and East Midlands in Bloom.

“We have some very talented, dedicated and inventive gardeners across our town and I’m so proud of their achievement.

“Work is already under way on this year’s entry and I’m really looking forward to seeing what people come up with for this year.”

Judges will visit during the first two weeks of August. Darren Share, chair of the Britain in Bloom judging panel, said: “The Britain in Bloom campaign galvanises communities and provides the driving force for thousands of gardening enthusiasts across the country.

“Britain in Bloom groups work tirelessly throughout the year to tackle local issues and improve the place they call home.

“Everyone benefits from the work these groups carry out and I have seen first-hand the positive impact Britain in Bloom has had in bringing communities together.”

Anyone wishing to take part in this year’s competition should contact Sue Ousley at sousley@northampton.gov.uk or on 01604 837357.

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Kemps sponsors Digital Communications Campaign of the Year award

Posted: 09/02/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

A long established publisher for the business-to-business sector is sponsoring the Digital Communications Campaign of the Year award at the inaugural Northamptonshire Business Awards.

Kemps Publishing has been trading for more than 120 years and its extensive portfolio of products includes Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce’s inbusiness magazine.

Director Lee Markham said: “We are sponsoring this award because having been involved ourselves in marketing campaigns over many years we recognise the challenges of putting together a successful and innovative campaign. We, therefore, look forward to hearing about how creative the Northamptonshire business community has been and helping choose an overall winner for this category.

“We also would like to raise awareness through our sponsorship of the role Kemps performs as a long-standing partner to Northamptonshire Chamber on the hugely successful inbusiness publication.”

The other award categories are: Employer of the Year; High Growth Business of the Year; Education & Business Partnership; Best Use of Technology; Customer Commitment Award; Apprentice of the Year; Export Business of the Year and Small Business of the Year.

The winners will be put forward for the overall Business of the Year title and may be eligible for the regional final of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Chamber Business Awards.

The Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce Business Awards ceremony will take place at the Park Inn Northampton on 13 September 2018.

For further information visit www.northants-chamber.co.uk/awards

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Giving back to the Community - Looking for worthy causes

Posted: 08/02/18 by EasyWeb Group

​Each year EasyWeb Group raises funds for different charities although largely this has been by doing various fundraising activities in the office. However in 2018 it wants to get out and about in the Northamptonshire community helping local causes.

Its first event will be next month when eight members of the team will be spending a day with Animals in Need Northamptonshire. The day will involve walking some of the dogs and also supporting with odd jobs on the site. Following this the firm is exploring volunteering opportunities with Northampton Hope Centre.

If you have links with worthy causes or have done something similar which really added value to contact sean@easywebgroup.co.uk to share your ideas / feedback.

Sean Maher

www.EasyWebGroup.co.uk

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Bella Berserk returns to The Saracens Head Hotel

Posted: 08/02/18 by The Saracens Head Hotel

​Our Bella is back by popular demand at The Saracens Head Hotel.

Bella has another show that she is bringing to the venue on Friday, 16 March 2018, from 8pm.

Tickets are on sale now at the hotel or from 01327 357782. Tickets are priced at £15 and include a glass of prosecco on arrival.

This is a show not to be missed and will make for a great works evening out.

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The Saracens Head Business Showcase

Posted: 08/02/18 by The Saracens Head Hotel

You are invited to join The Saracens Head Hotel for its latest Business Showcase, on Wednesday 21 February 2018 from 5pm until 7.30pm.

The Saracens will be showcasing their facilities, including the meeting room, function room and a selection of bedrooms.

There will be an opportunity to meet with our experienced staff, assist with any booking requirements that you may have along with providing a great opportunity for you to informally network and meet new contacts, in a warm and friendly surrounding.

It will be providing complimentary tea and coffee and a light buffet from 5pm to 7.30pm.

We do hope that you will be able to pop in and visit our venue on this occasion.

This is a free entry event.

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Prosper takes on the £50 challenge for Willen Hospice

Posted: 08/02/18 by Prosper

The Prosper office is buzzing with creativity this week as the design, interior and architecture firm ignite’s its entrepreneurial spark to grow £50 cash in aid of the Milton Keynes-based Charity Willen Hospice.

During the next eight weeks Prosper will be in a race with 10 other local businesses taking part in the Franklins £50 Challenge to raise as much as possible by investing and re-investing the cash.

Sponsored by Franklins Solicitors, the challenge culminates in an awards ceremony in April for the team that has raised the most.

Willen Hospice supports people with life limiting illnesses, providing specialist end-of-life care to adults living in and around Milton Keynes. All their services are provided completely free of charge.

The Prosper team is putting its creative brains together to come up with innovative and exciting ways to raise as much money as possible for this amazing local charity.

A Just Giving page has been set up for those who wish to contribute to the fundraising efforts of the Prosper team: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/prosper-team. All money raised on this page is in aid of and will go directly to Willen Hospice (Registered Charity Number 270194).

www.willen-hospice.org.uk

Photo caption: The Prosper team receiving their £50 from Willen Hospice to commence the challenge

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Ever Dreamt Of An Inbox Zero?

Posted: 08/02/18 by Power2Progress LTD

Power up your productivity with a workshop that will have you more organised and leave you feeling on top of things.

Clear your mind at work.Find headspace to do more, instead of feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Overcome procrastination, avoid interruptions and make it happen with a workshop that will change the way you spend your time at work.

Feel on top of things, all the time.

Reach the ultimate in work Zen – Inbox ZERO!

Discover the process to empty your email inbox and how to prioritise.

Create the ‘to do’ list of your dreams, organise your daily life and make space for what you really want to achieve.

A One-Day Workshop

9.30am – 4.30pm

13th March 2018

Highgate House

Grooms Lane

Creaton, Northampton

NN6 8NN

Book NOW for an Early Bird Discount!

Regular price £299

Only £219 – Expires 28th Feb 18

Don’t waste anymore time! BOOK NOW!

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In memory of baby Aahran

Posted: 08/02/18 by The SK Group

The at SK Energy in Wellingborough are supporting a fundraising campaign after seeing close friends suffer the heartbreak of losing their baby boy.

Aahran Raja Patel died in December aged just 26 days after being born with multiple abnormalities. He was cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Kettering General Hospital.

In Aahran’s memory, his parents, Malini and Rahul Patel, have launched a fundraising campaign to raise as much as they can for the NICU at Kettering General, with all funds raised going towards purchasing a new Giraffe incubator at a cost of £35,000.

On their fundraising page, Malini and Rahul say: “When we look back at Aahran’s life and the memories we were able to build in the short time we had together, there’s one group of people that made it all happen - the doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants in NICU at Kettering General Hospital.

“An incubator is home for so many poorly newborns and premature babies in their early lives. They are there to create a safe environment whilst they receive treatment and grow. Another incubator would allow the team in NICU to treat one more baby at a time, especially when things get busy.”

Reemesh Patel from SK Energy, said: “We are supporting the fundraising efforts to try to help other parents and babies in the same situation by providing another vital piece of equipment that could help the hospital team save another baby’s life.

“We want to reach out to our friends in the local business community to ask them to help, too.”

Donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/aahran

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KierWSP recognised as a Disability Confident Employer

Posted: 08/02/18 by KierMG Ltd

In 2016 KierWSP enrolled for the Government’s Disability Confident Scheme and quickly achieved Level 1.

Then in 2017 as they breathed new life into the Equality Diversity and Inclusion forum within KierWSP, they pushed forward and embraced Level 2. KierWSP are now a Disability Confident Employer.

2017 has been the year for embracing the ethos of Quality Diversity and Inclusion, and as a company KierWSP have taken this to a new level. Part of their qualification to Level 2 of the Disability Confident Scheme means that they have enhanced their workforce by encouraging three Supported Learning Students from Northampton College to join their offices in Angel Square and Brixworth for internships for an academic year.

Linda Pratt, KierWSP office manager said: “These young adults are not making the tea, but learning new skills and work based proficiencies. Their new abilities will broaden their employment influence in the future”.

KierWSP’s action plan for 2018 includes the compilation of several disability packs, which will detail the support that KierWSP/Northamptonshire Highways can offer to new applicants or current disabled employees. This information can range from a larger keyboard for a visually impaired person to the inclusion of regular stretch breaks for an employee with Cerebral Palsy.

As we move towards our Level 3 qualification, we are finalising the appointments of Disability Confident Champions. This will enable KierWSP’s able bodied and disabled colleagues to ask for help or gain knowledge from a trained assistant. Recently four members of staff attended a two-day Mental Health First Aid course to enhance the company’s expertise for all co-workers.

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All-new Bucks Business Expo

Posted: 08/02/18 by Chicheley Hall

​Chicheley Hall are very excited to be hosting the all-new Bucks Business Expo!

Held on 4th July, 10am - 4pm.

If you would like to exhibit please do contact us at mailto:lauren.willingham@chicheleymiltonkeynes.co.uk or call the office on 01234 868650 for more details

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Seminar for Chamber of Commerce Members: See how SuperOffice CRM Software can support you in becoming GDPR compliant

Posted: 08/02/18 by SuperOffice Software Limited

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation by which the European Parliament will strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). Many companies have already started preparations to be compliant with GDPR before the 25th May 2018 deadline, which is the date of introduction.

The GDPR contains many requirements about collecting, storing and using personal information, including how companies:

  • Manage consents
  • Store and handle personal data
  • Categorise and administer control of privacy data
  • Detect and report personal data breaches.

By way of introduction to the member network, SuperOffice would like to invite fellow Chamber of Commerce members to an exclusive breakfast seminar on Thursday 12th April at 8am at Cranfield Innovation Centre.

Here you’ll be able to learn more about the latest GDPR developments ‘hot off the press’ from our expert legal speaker (EMW Law), as well as explore how SuperOffice CRM software can support your business to become GDPR compliant.

Agenda

8:00am – Networking

8:30am - Presentation

  • Overview of GDPR
  • Legal Update from EMW Law
  • GDPR compliance in SuperOffice CRM
  • Member Testimony from ICR Leasing
  • Questions

9:30am - End

To book your place on the free for members seminar, sign up here.

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Managed Encryption services from PCS Business Systems

Posted: 08/02/18 by PCS Business Systems

Encryption is mentioned as an important part of GDPR. (see Article 32)

With this PCS have launched a managed encryption service which will allow your business to demonstrate that data is secure - especially in the event of a loss or theft of a device such as a Laptop, Tablet or other mobile device.

For more information on this service visit the PCS website here - www.pcs-systems.com/encryption or email cybersecurity@pcs-systems.com

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Free Networking Event!

Posted: 08/02/18 by Aspire Achieve Advance

You are welcome to book now to attend a free networking event to discuss how apprenticeships work!

So join our How Apprenticeships Work Networking event.

Venue:

3aaa, 1st Floor Elder House

512-524 Elder Gate

Milton Keynes MK9 1LR

Date & Time:

Friday 9th March

7am – 10am

For more information or to book a space, please call: 01908 662 293 or mailto:applymiltonkeynes@3aaa.co.uk

#NAW2018

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Howes Percival launches dedicated Growth Corridor website hub

Posted: 08/02/18 by Howes Percival

Leading regional law firm Howes Percival has launched a new, dedicated information hub for individuals and organisations impacted by or interested in the East-West Growth Corridor.

In November 2017, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) published its final report on how to maximise the economic potential of the Cambridge - Milton Keynes - Oxford corridor. The report outlined the opportunities to create new communities, including plans to deliver one million new homes and with them 1.1 million new jobs in the area by 2050. The vision also includes the completion of the new East-West Rail line connecting Oxford and Cambridge by 2030 and the construction of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.

Howes Percival, which has offices in Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Northampton and Norwich, has set up the new website to act as a central hub for businesses and individuals interested in the Growth Corridor. The firm aims to collate a wide range of available resources and also comment on developments across the Corridor, as they happen.

In addition to the new site, there is also a dedicated Twitter feed, LinkedIn discussion group and an email sign-up option to ensure all interested parties can keep in touch with the
latest East-West news:

New East-West Corridor website - http://www.eastwestcorridor.co.uk

Twitter feed - @hpeastwest

LinkedIn discussion group - https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8612462

Email sign-up - http://www.eastwestcorridor.co.uk/default.asp?contentID=614

Howes Percival Partner Lisa Mantle commented; “Year on year, Cambridge, Oxford and Milton Keynes top the league table rankings as the fastest growing cities in the UK. But
Government believes they could do even better if there was the right infrastructure in place connecting the region. The proposal set out by the NIC for the East-West Corridor is a “once in a lifetime” bold and exciting vision and we think everyone impacted by it should be engaged and able to follow the developments and the debates. This new site aims to fill a
gap in that provision and we hope it can become a really useful resource for everyone concerned.

“Implementing the NIC vision is not going to be without opposition. A Green Party councillor in Oxford has already called for the plans to be ditched for fear it will make hitting climate change targets harder to achieve. The NIC solution envisages the use of cutting edge design and high level engagement to produce housing and accommodation growth in ways that improves quality of life whilst respecting the environment and existing residents. To achieve this, they need high levels of engagement with the commercial sector, designers, planners and all businesses to tap in to the corridor ‘hive mind’ for ideas. The plans will affect landowners, employers, and all businesses located or operating in the area. Plus there are millions of people who want to know what the plans mean for them, their homes and their jobs.

“As the process begins to collect momentum we want to ensure the systems are in place to collate and collect all commentary, thought leadership and progress reports in an easy to
find place.”

The All Parties Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Oxford - Milton Keynes - Cambridge corridor held its launch event in Westminster on Wednesday 31 January where the growing
enthusiasm and excitement was apparent. The Corridor champion and APPG chair Iain Stewart MP encouraged engagement from all ports in a collective effort to make the dream of the region becoming England’s Silicon Valley, a reality.

After the event, Iain Stewart MP commented: “The launch event for the APPG for the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge corridor was a great success. I was delighted by the number of
attendees from across the corridor. As well as Parliamentary colleagues, we had a great range of representatives from businesses, local authorities, LEPs, universities and other organisations from across the corridor.

“There was a great buzz of excitement and a willingness to co-operate to realise the potential of the project. In my role as the Government’s official champion for the corridor, I shall now be setting up meetings with stakeholders over the next couple of months to allow me to map out their priorities for the Government.

“I have met with Sajid Javid and the Government sees enormous potential for this new ‘Silicon Valley’ to drive the nation’s economic growth.

“While there are many challenges, and to be successful we shall have to innovate new ways for Central Government departments and Local Authorities to co-operate. I strongly believe
that the enthusiasm on display today bodes well for making this vision a reality.”

Lisa Mantle, Howes Percival’s corridor lead was at the APPG and commented, “There is clearly a huge synergy for us in terms of location (Howes Percival offices straddle the length and breadth of the corridor) and our sector specialisms - which means it makes sense for us to be a facilitator in this way. Our clients own and run businesses that are key to the Corridor’s continued economic success and continued growth and we act for thousands of organisations whose commercial future will be closely interlinked with these plans.

“There is a large amount of information out there already but it is all in different places - local authorities, government and LEPs, project specific sites e.g. East-West Rail as well as the key agents and other professionals. The idea was to create an aggregator site for all things related to the Corridor - to bring all of the information together and make it more accessible for businesses and individuals affected or just interested in what is going on. The launch site is a starting point and we are excited to see how it grows in tandem with the Corridor.”

Howes Percival has specialist teams in a wide range of sectors impacted by the Corridor including Agriculture, Automotive, Development and Construction, Education, Energy, Food and Drink, Health, Leisure and Tourism, Manufacturing, Minerals and Waste, Public Sector, Retail, Science and Technology and Social Housing.

Lisa Mantle concluded; “The NIC has acknowledged that this is an incredibly ambitious and groundbreaking proposal and that to make it work: there needs to be a shared vision which gets translated into statutory plans. There needs to be collaboration between Government and the local areas and local stakeholders need to be working in the national interest. This collaboration and engagement must have a notice board, a hub or space for discussion and Howes Percival are very happy to facilitate the conversation.”

Howes Percival is encouraging other businesses that want to get involved in the initiative to contact the team via the email: east-west@howespercival.com; or Tel: 01908 672682.

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Howes Pervical launches dedicated Growth Corridor website hub

Posted: 08/02/18 by Howes Percival

Leading regional law firm Howes Percival has launched a new, dedicated information hub for individuals and organisations impacted by or interested in the East-West Growth Corridor.

In November 2017, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) published its final report on how to maximise the economic potential of the Cambridge - Milton Keynes - Oxford corridor. The report outlined the opportunities to create new communities, including plans to deliver one million new homes and with them 1.1 million new jobs in the area by 2050. The vision also includes the completion of the new East-West Rail line connecting Oxford and Cambridge by 2030 and the construction of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.

Howes Percival, which has offices in Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Northampton and Norwich, has set up the new website to act as a central hub for businesses and individuals interested in the Growth Corridor. The firm aims to collate a wide range of available resources and also comment on developments across the Corridor, as they happen.

In addition to the new site, there is also a dedicated Twitter feed, LinkedIn discussion group and an email sign-up option to ensure all interested parties can keep in touch with the
latest East-West news:

New East-West Corridor website - http://www.eastwestcorridor.co.uk

Twitter feed - @hpeastwest

LinkedIn discussion group - https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8612462

Email sign-up - http://www.eastwestcorridor.co.uk/default.asp?contentID=614

Howes Percival Partner Lisa Mantle commented; “Year on year, Cambridge, Oxford and Milton Keynes top the league table rankings as the fastest growing cities in the UK. But
Government believes they could do even better if there was the right infrastructure in place connecting the region. The proposal set out by the NIC for the East-West Corridor is a “once in a lifetime” bold and exciting vision and we think everyone impacted by it should be engaged and able to follow the developments and the debates. This new site aims to fill a
gap in that provision and we hope it can become a really useful resource for everyone concerned.

“Implementing the NIC vision is not going to be without opposition. A Green Party councillor in Oxford has already called for the plans to be ditched for fear it will make hitting climate change targets harder to achieve. The NIC solution envisages the use of cutting edge design and high level engagement to produce housing and accommodation growth in ways that improves quality of life whilst respecting the environment and existing residents. To achieve this, they need high levels of engagement with the commercial sector, designers, planners and all businesses to tap in to the corridor ‘hive mind’ for ideas. The plans will affect landowners, employers, and all businesses located or operating in the area. Plus there are millions of people who want to know what the plans mean for them, their homes and their jobs.

“As the process begins to collect momentum we want to ensure the systems are in place to collate and collect all commentary, thought leadership and progress reports in an easy to
find place.”

The All Parties Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Oxford - Milton Keynes - Cambridge corridor held its launch event in Westminster on Wednesday 31 January where the growing
enthusiasm and excitement was apparent. The Corridor champion and APPG chair Iain Stewart MP encouraged engagement from all ports in a collective effort to make the dream of the region becoming England’s Silicon Valley, a reality.

After the event, Iain Stewart MP commented: “The launch event for the APPG for the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge corridor was a great success. I was delighted by the number of
attendees from across the corridor. As well as Parliamentary colleagues, we had a great range of representatives from businesses, local authorities, LEPs, universities and other organisations from across the corridor.

“There was a great buzz of excitement and a willingness to co-operate to realise the potential of the project. In my role as the Government’s official champion for the corridor, I shall now be setting up meetings with stakeholders over the next couple of months to allow me to map out their priorities for the Government.

“I have met with Sajid Javid and the Government sees enormous potential for this new ‘Silicon Valley’ to drive the nation’s economic growth.

“While there are many challenges, and to be successful we shall have to innovate new ways for Central Government departments and Local Authorities to co-operate. I strongly believe
that the enthusiasm on display today bodes well for making this vision a reality.”

Lisa Mantle, Howes Percival’s corridor lead was at the APPG and commented, “There is clearly a huge synergy for us in terms of location (Howes Percival offices straddle the length and breadth of the corridor) and our sector specialisms - which means it makes sense for us to be a facilitator in this way. Our clients own and run businesses that are key to the Corridor’s continued economic success and continued growth and we act for thousands of organisations whose commercial future will be closely interlinked with these plans.

“There is a large amount of information out there already but it is all in different places - local authorities, government and LEPs, project specific sites e.g. East-West Rail as well as the key agents and other professionals. The idea was to create an aggregator site for all things related to the Corridor - to bring all of the information together and make it more accessible for businesses and individuals affected or just interested in what is going on. The launch site is a starting point and we are excited to see how it grows in tandem with the Corridor.”

Howes Percival has specialist teams in a wide range of sectors impacted by the Corridor including Agriculture, Automotive, Development and Construction, Education, Energy, Food and Drink, Health, Leisure and Tourism, Manufacturing, Minerals and Waste, Public Sector, Retail, Science and Technology and Social Housing.

Lisa Mantle concluded; “The NIC has acknowledged that this is an incredibly ambitious and groundbreaking proposal and that to make it work: there needs to be a shared vision which gets translated into statutory plans. There needs to be collaboration between Government and the local areas and local stakeholders need to be working in the national interest. This collaboration and engagement must have a notice board, a hub or space for discussion and Howes Percival are very happy to facilitate the conversation.”

Howes Percival is encouraging other businesses that want to get involved in the initiative to contact the team via the email: east-west@howespercival.com; or Tel: 01908 672682.

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Night shelter celebrates first anniversary

Posted: 08/02/18 by Northampton Borough Council

It is now 12 months since Northampton Borough Council opened the nightshelter in Northampton.

During its first year, the nightshelter was used every night and provided emergency shelter for more 160 men who had been sleeping rough or were at imminent risk of having to sleep rough in Northampton. By working with local housing providers, it has helped 100 of these men to move on successfully into settled accommodation.

Without the support of the hundreds of volunteers who have decorated, equipped and staffed the building, none of the nightshelter’s life-changing work would have been possible. During its first year, 92 volunteers donated a total of more than 7,000 hours of their time, covering the evening, overnight and morning shifts.

Building on the success of its first year, the nightshelter is now working with Goodwill Solutions (a community interest company, based in Moulton Park) to provide everyone who stays at the nightshelter with the help, encouragement and support they need in order to access training and employment opportunities.

Cllr Stephen Hibbert, Cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: “We’ve always said that the nightshelter will provide people with a lot more than just somewhere to sleep for the night.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported the nightshelter during the past year, and I am really excited about the training and employment partnership that is being developed between the nightshelter and Goodwill Solutions. It will provide homeless people with even more opportunities to rebuild their lives.”

Visit www.northampton.gov.uk/northamptonnightshelter for more information on how you can get involved or support the shelter.

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Milton Keynes Chamber searches for Charity of the Year 2018/19

Posted: 08/02/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Each year the Chamber offers its charity members the chance to submit a tender to become its Charity of the Year.

The selected charity is given exclusive membership into the Chamber’s Business Alliance Group, which sees them get free passes and places at certain events and receive other profile-raising benefits and opportunities.

The chosen charity will also be the beneficiary of any fundraising activities undertaken by the Chamber staff throughout the 2018/19 financial year. The 2017/18 Charity of the Year is MacIntyre.

Responses to this tender should include, but not be limited to, details of:

· How the charity will utilise the opportunity of being the Chamber’s chosen Charity of the Year, and

· Explain how they will guarantee that any funds generated will be used for the benefit of Milton Keynes

Only registered charities that are members of Milton Keynes Chamber need respond to this tender opportunity.

The chosen charity, as well as being the only Chamber-supported charity for that term, will have their logo included on our letterheads and other literature during the course of that year, including our eBulletin newsletters, website homepage and Inbusiness magazine.

Submissions for this tender opportunity need to be with Tracey Branson by Tuesday 6 March 2018 to be considered and a shortlist of charities will be invited to present to the Chamber staff on Monday 19 March 2018.

Submissions can be sent by email to tracey.branson@chambermk.co.uk or by post to:

Tracey Branson

Head of Operations

Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce

500 Avebury Boulevard

Milton Keynes MK9 2BE

For more information call us on 01908 547820.

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Northamptonshire Chamber searches for Charity of the Year 2018/19

Posted: 08/02/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Each year the Chamber offers its charity members the chance to submit a tender to become its Charity of the Year.

The selected charity is given exclusive membership into the Chamber’s Business Alliance Group, which sees them get free passes and places at certain events and receive other profile-raising benefits and opportunities.

The chosen charity will also be the beneficiary of any fundraising activities undertaken by the Chamber staff throughout the 2018/19 financial year. The 2017/18 Charity of the Year is Cynthia Spencer.

Responses to this tender should include, but not be limited to, details of:

· How the charity will utilise the opportunity of being the Chamber’s chosen Charity of the Year, and

· Explain how they will guarantee that any funds generated will be used for the benefit of Northamptonshire

Only registered charities that are members of Northamptonshire Chamber need respond to this tender opportunity.

The chosen charity, as well as being the only Chamber-supported charity for that term, will have their logo included on our letterheads and other literature during the course of that year, including our eBulletin newsletters, website homepage and Inbusiness magazine.

Submissions for this tender opportunity need to be with Tracey Branson by Tuesday 6 March 2018 to be considered and a shortlist of charities will be invited to present to the Chamber staff on Thursday 22 March.

Submissions can be sent by email to tracey.branson@northants-chamber.co.uk or by post to:

Tracey Branson

Head of Operations

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce

Waterside House,

Waterside Way,

Northampton,

NN4 7XD

For more information call us on 01604 490490

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Afternoon Tea at Chicheley Hall

Posted: 08/02/18 by Chicheley Hall

​Unwind with a walk around Chicheley Hall’s stunning lake and then enjoy Afternoon Tea in February or March for a special price of just £14 per person.

For an extra special Mother’s Day treat, we are hosting a Mad Hatter’s themed Afternoon Tea - priced at just £25.00 per person and Mum eats free!

To enquire please contact us on mailto:lauren.willingham@chicheleymiltonkeynes.co.uk or call 01234 868650.

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Planning Disputes at High Court

Posted: 07/02/18 by EMW

The number of planning disputes being fought all the way to the High Court reached 215 in the last year, the highest level in a decade and up 42% in the last five years.

This rise is driven in part by pressure to build new developments in areas which already have large populations. Government planning laws encourage building on brownfield sites, and as these are often in densely populated locations, local residents – and sometimes councils – are more likely to raise objections. Opposition groups are increasingly using social media to organise and communicate effectively to object to planning permission.

For example:

  • Local residents in Norfolk have used Facebook to organise a concerted campaign against a proposed new 300-home development.

  • A WhatsApp group including local residents, dog walkers and park users in Bath has been created to prevent a caravan park extending into a nearby park.

  • A social media campaign has been set up to stop a residential development in Nottingham as it threatens the Rock City music venue in Nottingham. The venue’s future has been threatened by potential noise complaints from the new residents.

  • A Twitter account against a third runway at Heathrow has over 1,000 followers and has been used to organise protests and campaigns against the development.

More planning disputes could be likely in the future as the government plans to build 300,000 more homes in the next year, mostly on brownfield sites. Some of the most high profile disputes have arisen in affluent urban areas where home owners look to build basements to gain more space. Neighbours often object due to the disturbance likely to be caused by the excavations. For example famous music stars Jimmy Page and Robbie Williams were locked in a feud over Williams’ plan to build a two story basement in Holland Park.

Marco Mauro, Associate in our Real Estate team says: “The record number of disputes reaching the High Court shows just how controversial building plans can be. Whether it is building on disused industrial land or digging basements underground, people are prepared to stop developments that they think will negatively impact their quality of life. It is now far easier for people online to organise concerted campaigns against developments as well as crowdfund legal action, all the way to the High Court if necessary. Whilst legitimate concerns should be heard, it is important that housing and infrastructure developments are allowed to help address the housing crisis.”

High profile objections to planning permission being granted include:

  • A new 400-house development at Newmarket - Lord Derby’s proposed development at the historic horse training centre in Newmarket was opposed and protested by many prominent horse racing trainers and racing groups. The High Court overruled the Government, and said that the development should be reconsidered for approval.

  • A 75-house development in Cornwall is being disputed by two residents after the local council approved the plan, citing the need for affordable housing. The residents are concerned about the project’s proximity to the Grade-II listed Nansloe Manor.

  • Colchester council had their appeal against a £70m out of town shopping centre dismissed, paving the way for building to begin. The council felt that the development would be bad for for local businesses in Colchester town centre.

  • A third runway at Heathrow - A coalition of local councils and campaign groups came together to challenge the Government’s decision to build a new runway at Heathrow. The High Court rejected their claim.

If you would like further information on this topic, please contact Marco Mauro, or you can call 0345 070 6000.

To read this article on our website, please click here: https://www.emwllp.com/latest/planning-disputes/

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Could you save tax ahead of 5th April tax year end?

Posted: 07/02/18 by Elsby & Co.

This is the first of 5 articles focusing on planning tips you can be doing now in order to minimise your tax bill as we head towards the new financial year. The series of articles consider ways in which both your business and personal finances can be structured so that they are tax-efficient as possible, and also takes into account tax changes set to come into effect from 2018-19 and beyond.

Make use of your personal allowance

Each individual is entitled to their own personal allowance (PA) which is set at £11,500 for 2017/18. You potentially stand to benefit if your partner or spouse has little or no income, as you could opt to spread your own income more evenly to take advantage of each person’s PA. In order to achieve this, you may wish to transfer income or income-producing assets. However, you do need to be wary of the legislation governing “income shifting”: any transfer must be an outright gift, given with “no strings attached”.

Additionally, some married couples are able to transfer 10% of their PA to their spouse under the Marriage Allowance. This is available to married couples and civil partners where one earns no more than £11,500 and neither pays tax at the higher or additional rate. In 2017/18 £1,150 can be transferred, reducing a couple’s tax liability by up to £230 in the current tax year.

Children are also entitled to their own PA. Income generated via parental gifts, however, is subject to a limit of £100 (gross) per parent, assuming the child is under the age of 18 and has not married. Beyond this limit parents of minors are subject to tax on this income.

Take note:

An increase in the PA was announced in the 2017 Autumn Budget. From April 2018, the PA will rise from £11,500 to £11,850. The higher rate threshold, excluding the PA will rise to £34,500.

To learn how the rise in the PA may affect you and your finances, or how your PA can best be utilised, please get in touch with us.

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Let’s all have a slice of National Pizza Day, says Central Foods

Posted: 07/02/18 by Central Foods Ltd

This week features National Pizza Day and frozen food distributor Central Foods is reminding foodservice operators of easy ways to be inclusive of dietary requirements.

Offering gluten-free pizzas ensures that those who are coeliac or who opt for a gluten-free diet are well catered for. Happily, the free-from pizza bases supplied by Central Foods are also suitable for vegans and vegetarians…meaning that most people can have a slice of National Pizza Day on Friday 9th February 2018.

“Demand for gluten-free pizza bases has shot up in recent times,” said Gordon Lauder, MD of frozen food distributor Central Foods. “In 2017, Central Foods sold 30% more gluten-free pizza bases than in the previous year. If all the 12-inch gluten-free pizza bases we sold last year were laid end to end, they would stretch nine times around the perimeter of the Colosseum in Rome.”

The frozen gluten-free pizza bases supplied by Central Foods are free from wheat, gluten, dairy, egg and soya, and are ideal for vegans, vegetarians and those who avoid gluten. Available in 10in and 12in sizes, the pizza bases are made in a dedicated wheat and gluten-free bakery.

“Ensuring that there are gluten-free and vegan pizza options available on the menu will cater for the increasing number of customers who have specific dietary requirements,” advises Gordon. “Pizza remains a very popular menu item – it’s tasty, versatile and quick to prepare, especially if chefs use frozen pizza bases. Of course, it’s also ideal for both the food-to-go and the quick service restaurant market, as well as other outlets like bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants.”

Contact us if you’d like further information about pizza bases supplied by Central Foods – or any other products.

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Collaboration Of Security & Risk Services

Posted: 07/02/18 by DGRC

Working in partnership with a long term friend of Redwatch Security, Danny Gent, Security & Risk Consultant from DGRC based in Northamptonshire, can now deliver a more specific and specialist Security & Risk service.

Redwatch Security proudly announces a new Specialist Security and Risk Service, and are a new way forward for DGRC as a company to help protect the assets and cash of Redwatch’s clients.

The services provided by DGRC include -

  • Security and Risk assessments
  • Security Investigations
  • Internal Compliance Audits
  • Brand Protection and Counterfeit Investigations
  • Technical and Physical Solutions
  • Security Project Management

Danny said: “Having spent over 30 years providing confidential independent advise to all business sectors, I have a proven track record in delivering technical and physical security solutions from SME’s to Corporate clients.

“Working in partnership with Redwatch Specialist Security & Risk division enables all our customers to have a one stop solution to Security & Risk.”

Call Danny on 07848178739 for more information.

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Floristry Workshops at Bay Tree Cottage

Posted: 07/02/18 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

There are plenty of opportunities for floral fun at Bay Tree Cottage this year, with a diary of workshops run by local florist and qualified tutor Linda Seabrook that cater for all levels, making them perfect for hobby florists, recreation and fun.

The new Floristry for Beginners full day workshop on Thursday 1 March is perfect for people who would like to be able to design flowers for their own home, friends or family. They will learn how to condition flowers for a longer vase life and discover all the basic skills and techniques needed to create a range of contemporary and traditional floral arrangements and displays.

Saturday 17 March sees the first Wedding Flowers workshop of the year where attendees will learn how to create a range of bouquets, posies, buttonholes and corsages in a variety of styles, and leave with inspirational ideas for pew ends, chair backs and table decorations.

Working with the flowers of the season including tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and irises, attendees on the Easter and Spring Flowers workshop on Tuesday 27 March will create some beautiful displays, perfect for Easter and Mother’s Day.

Flowers for Parties and Events is taking place on Saturday 12 May where participants will discover how to create beautiful arrangements for any occasion, and the first Floristry for Beginners evening workshop is scheduled for Wednesday 23 May from 7-9.30pm.

For further information and to book visit: www.btcworkshops.co.uk

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Export MK: Global MK for a Global Britain

Posted: 07/02/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

A brand new Export Fair is being launched in Milton Keynes to bring expert knowledge to small businesses in the city.

One big opportunity for SMEs is to consider exporting their product or service around the globe.

Only 5 to 10 per cent of UK SMEs are currently engaged in export, that must be increased. Milton Keynes is well placed to lead the way with a large number of SMEs based in the city.

With that in mind Milton Keynes MPs Mark Lancaster and Iain Stewart are hosting Export MK at Stadium MK on Friday, 23rd March 2018.

The event aims to give SMEs the confidence, contacts and knowledge to start exporting and for those already engaged with export, show them what opportunities are currently available.

The Department of International Trade, Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce and UK Export Finance are just a few names out of up to 30 organisations who will attend as stall holders.

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Choosing the Right Warehouse is Essential to Business Success

Posted: 07/02/18 by Walkerpack Ltd

With more than 50 years’ experience in the supply chain sector, Walkerpack are an ideal partner for secure, managed warehousing solutions. They are accredited to ISO 9001 and 14001 and have long standing relationships with several blue-chip clients.

Centrally located at Brackmills Industrial Estate in Northampton, they work with a wide range of business who need to store and move goods quickly including manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers and retailers.

Businesses need to consider a wide range of factors when choosing a provider to handle the physical side of their business such as cost,location, staff capability, layout and available space. Walkerpacks business model is focused on ensuring that it can meet those needs as well as improving efficiencies to drive business growth.

Walkerpack Sales Manager, Steve Tiley said: “We recognise that providing the right solution to our customers is essential to their success and our own too. As a privately-owned group, we can react very quickly and through employing mainly permanent staff we are able to handle the most complex supply chain activities. This is pivotal to the on-going and long term success of our business.”

Walkerpack provide competitive racked, floor standing or bespoke storage solutions all of which are managed through their in-house warehouse management system (WMS) giving customers real-time access to view their stock via a web based portal.

As well as traditional warehouse services, we provide a full range of additional value added functions such as hand packing, reworking, inspection, kitting, testing, material supply, export packing and third party logistics services which gives our clients a complete one-stop-shop solution.

To talk in confidence about your companies needs call Steve Tiley on 01604 760529 or email: sales@walkerpack.co.uk or see the website at http://www.walkerpack.co.uk

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Event at Cranfield University: Graphene and the future of Composites

Posted: 07/02/18 by Cranfield University

On 28 February, Cranfield University is hosting an exclusive event for SME’s in the SEMLEP region which will give those attending an opportunity to learn about the latest developments in Graphene and composites.

Attendees will learn about how the very latest in technology can be utilised in their business and opportunities for future funded research collaboration.

With its advanced design and manufacturing capability, the pioneering Enhanced Composites and Structures Centre at Cranfield University is an established partner to manufacturers and the members of their supply chains through short courses, consultancy and research.

The Centre investigates and develops materials and processing technology for lightweight and efficient structures and combines an expertise in low cost manufacturing with modelling, simulation and structural health monitoring technologies.

This event is being run as part of the IMAGE (Innovation in Manufacturing, Aerospace and Green Economy) programme. IMAGE is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund for the next two years and will see hundreds of businesses across the region given access to the research, know-how and resource based at Cranfield University, the University of Bedfordshire and other universities in the South East Midlands region.

Venue: Cranfield University

Date: 28 February 2018

Time: 09:15 - 12:00

To register for a free place please visit: https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/events/events-2018/graphene-and-the-future-of-composites

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BCC open letter to PM: Businesses need clarity on Brexit

Posted: 07/02/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

As Cabinet ministers gather today (Wednesday) to discuss the government’s negotiating stance ahead of critical talks on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union, Francis Martin, President of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Adam Marshall, the BCC’s Director General, write an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, making an urgent appeal for clarity on the government’s objectives.

In the letter, the BCC’s leaders urge the government to make key choices and deliver a clear statement of intent – so that businesses of all sizes and sectors can make decisions for the future.

The full letter is below:

Dear Prime Minister,

As President and Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, we write today to make an urgent appeal for clarity on Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives at a critical moment in the UK’s negotiations with the European Union.

In Chamber business communities all across the United Kingdom, there are a range of views on the depth and breadth of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

As a consequence, the BCC has refrained from entering into the noisy political debate on the shape of the final settlement in recent weeks. We have instead emphasised the need for answers to the many practical questions businesses now face. Our aim has always been to maximise, not constrain, the government’s chances of success as ministers and the civil service work to secure the best possible deal for the UK.

Yet businesses need those elected to govern our country to make choices — and to deliver a clear, unequivocal statement of intent.

The perception amongst businesses on the ground, large and small alike, is one of continued division. Even amongst the many optimistic, future-oriented firms — those who see opportunity in change — patience is wearing thin. Directly-affected companies are poised to activate contingency plans. Many others, worryingly, have simply disengaged.

Clear UK negotiating objectives are crucial to both business and public confidence.

While the BCC has campaigned strongly in favour of a status-quo transition period, to give businesses time to plan for change, this transition must lead to a clear endpoint. There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions. The government must set out its plans.

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BCC open letter to PM: Businesses need clarity on Brexit

Posted: 07/02/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

As Cabinet ministers gather today (Wednesday) to discuss the government’s negotiating stance ahead of critical talks on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union, Francis Martin, President of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Adam Marshall, the BCC’s Director General, write an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, making an urgent appeal for clarity on the government’s objectives.

In the letter, the BCC’s leaders urge the government to make key choices and deliver a clear statement of intent – so that businesses of all sizes and sectors can make decisions for the future.

The full letter is below:


Dear Prime Minister,

As President and Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, we write today to make an urgent appeal for clarity on Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives at a critical moment in the UK’s negotiations with the European Union.

In Chamber business communities all across the United Kingdom, there are a range of views on the depth and breadth of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

As a consequence, the BCC has refrained from entering into the noisy political debate on the shape of the final settlement in recent weeks. We have instead emphasised the need for answers to the many practical questions businesses now face. Our aim has always been to maximise, not constrain, the government’s chances of success as ministers and the civil service work to secure the best possible deal for the UK.

Yet businesses need those elected to govern our country to make choices — and to deliver a clear, unequivocal statement of intent.

The perception amongst businesses on the ground, large and small alike, is one of continued division. Even amongst the many optimistic, future-oriented firms — those who see opportunity in change — patience is wearing thin. Directly-affected companies are poised to activate contingency plans. Many others, worryingly, have simply disengaged.

Clear UK negotiating objectives are crucial to both business and public confidence.

While the BCC has campaigned strongly in favour of a status-quo transition period, to give businesses time to plan for change, this transition must lead to a clear endpoint. There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions. The government must set out its plans.

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Chamber members partner up to deliver GDPR solutions for businesses

Posted: 06/02/18 by LMD Design

Two design and marketing agencies have joined forces to offer marketing strategies to local businesses ahead of the GDPR. Liam Mitchell-Dolby from LMD Design and Rachel Allen from Rachel Allen Marketing are delivering a series on talks to help educate businesses on the GDPR and how it will affect marketing practices.

The GDPR is a hot topic at the moment and many businesses are facing the task of having to changes their practices to fall in line with the new legislation. Any business that gathers personal data for direct marketing are going to be affected by the GDPR, and with the legislation coming into affect in May there is a lot of pressure to get sorted.

To help local businesses Liam and Rachel are offering free one hour seminars on the GDPR, offering advice on how the GDPR is going to impact your businesses marketing. In addition to the free seminars they are also offering one to one consultancies, where they will meet with your organisation and review your marketing strategy and offering assistance on how to improve your marketing to comply to the GDPR.

If you are beginning to look into the GDPR and how it will affect your business, these talks are a great opportunity for you to get started. To find out more about these talks and services visit http://www.gdprmk.co.uk for more information, or book a space on their talks at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/gdpr-mk-16673575704

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Gin Lovers Networking Event 2018

Posted: 06/02/18 by MSO Workspace - Serviced Offices

Come and join a networking event for avid gin lovers in the company of Tom Warner himself, co-founder of the Warner Edwards Gin Distillery.

Learn how Warner built his business and laid the foundations for national success, before networking with other ambitious people and making new business contacts.

Experience the prized portfolio of botanical blends that helped set Warner Edwards apart as one of the UK’s favourite gin brands.

Food will be provided by Managed Serviced Offices, whose workspace will be hosting the event on the day. Learn more about how MSO Workspace can help small to medium businesses grow, and enjoy food over the tranquil lakeside view.

Bring your business cards to enter a draw to win a training session with business advisor Emerson Patton.

We will be holding a raffle to raise money for our local charity Kidsaid who work with children and young people to help them overcome traumatic events. Raffle prizes will include the use of our fantastic lakeside house meeting room facilities, a training session with business coach Emerson Patton worth £750 and a bottle of fantastic gin from Warner Edwards.

The event will be held on Tuesday 13 February 2018, from 5:30pm till 7:30pm

Held at: Managed Serviced Offices, Lakeside House, Bedford Road, Northamptonshire, NN4 7HD

Please book now to avoid disapointment! Book by going to: http://tinyurl.com/ginloversnetworking

Or contact James Crick at mailto:james.crick@msoworkspace.com for more information.

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London 2 Brighton Cycle Challenge - 16th September 2018

Posted: 06/02/18 by Milton Keynes Hospital Charity

Do you need a new challenge?

Then why not dust off your bike and join team Milton Keynes Hospital Charity on a 54 mile cycle from south London to Brighton sea front?

Check out the link to find out more details about the event http://bit.ly/2nxqpI2

Places are limited so please drop me a line if you would like to reserve your spot – 01908 997316 / fundraising@mkuh.nhs.uk.

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Stanair delivers for customers rain or shine

Posted: 06/02/18 by Stanair Industrial Door Services Ltd

January is now over and the first month in 2018 has certainly been very busy for us here at Stanair. Over the past few weeks, the UK has received some truly astonishing weather, with strong winds and rain causing problems for homes and businesses in certain parts of the country.

The bad weather brought a lot of emergency call outs for assistance with doors that had been damaged with the wind – a grand total of 229! As part of the Stanair gold-standard service, we always aim to have Engineers on site within two hours following receipt of the call, and are often there sooner. The industry standard for response times is 4 hours on receipt of call. We’re always keen to make sure that we are still delivering on our word, which is why we regularly analyse our response times to make sure this is still the case.

We’re delighted to share that of the rapid response requests, our engineers arrived on site to assist customers within an average of 1 hour and 26 minutes. Better yet, 23% of the emergencies were responded to in under an hour.

“The bad weather has brought plenty of challenges for many businesses across the country,” says Martin Wall, director at Stanair. “It’s great to see that we’re still delivering fantastic response times to our customers, meaning that they can get their sites secured and back to running their businesses with minimum disruption.”

Want to find out more about our other products and services? You can see them all here.

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Big Christmas Give Appeal raises £10,000 for hospital wards

Posted: 06/02/18 by Milton Keynes Hospital Charity

The Big Christmas Give Appeal, launched by Milton Keynes Hospital Charity in December 2017, has smashed its £10,000 target.

The target was met in January following several generous donations, including agift of £3,146 from local company Green Star Energy.

The charity launched the Big Christmas Give in December 2017, asking kind people to make monetary donations rather than give Christmas presents and funding specific items on a wish list.

The three areas benefitting from the appeal were the children’s wards; cancer services and dementia services.

Head of fundraising Vanessa Holmes said: “We’re humbled by the generosity of the local individuals and companies who supported our appeal this Christmas. Reaching our target is totally down to them and we couldn’t be more grateful.

“What’s special about the Big Christmas Give is that it will create a lasting impact on patient experience. It means we can buy items that will benefit patients all year round – whether that’s funding a special chair to make a chemotherapy patient more comfortable, funding a yellow-faced clock so patients with dementia can tell the time more easily; or using sensory items to distract a child having a blood test. Thank you to everyone for your incredible kindness.”

Milton Keynes Hospital Charity raises funds to enhance the experience of thousands of patients at Milton Keynes University Hospital. Fundraisers can support any ward or department they wish.

Photo: Staff at Green Star Energy with corporate fundraiser Michaela Clark

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The TSC’s next Transport Cafe takes place 28th February

Posted: 06/02/18 by Transport Systems Catapult Ltd

The Transport Systems Catapults (TSC) would like to invite you to their Transport Café: SME Support and Networking taking place on 28th February, this time focussing on International Trade.

The TSC’s Transport Cafe explores exciting developments in the Intelligent Mobility and Transport Innovation sector, and will also offer support and guidance. You will also have the chance to network with the TSC team and other businesses from within the industry.

To register for the event, simply click here

If you have any queries, please contact us at mailto:events@ts.catapult.org.uk.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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East Midlands landlord welcomes research findings to ease the housing crisis

Posted: 06/02/18 by Futures Housing Group

A leading East Midlands landlord has welcomed university research recommending more government support for housing associations and councils to help ease the housing crisis.

In a recently published report, researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) concluded that “light-handed” government regulation and a supportive approach will help the social landlords and councils to expand and improve the private rented sector to support low income families.

The report, Private Renting: Can social landlords help? was partially funded by East Midlands-based Futures Housing Group and includes evidence from 20 social landlords, councils, housing charities and private landlords.

Lindsey Williams, Group Chief Executive at Futures, said: “There is no one approach that will end the UK’s housing crisis so it is important for the private and social sector to work together and learn lessons from each other.

“We welcome the findings and look forward to seeing the recommendations implemented. Solving the housing crisis will take new approaches and I am confident that sharing the experiences of social landlords will help to drive up standards for private renters and ensure even more people have access to a safe and affordable home.”

The research project was led by Professor Anne Power, of LSE’s Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion.

Findings from the 12-month study include:

• Private renting is weakly regulated, offers little security and is increasingly relied on by low income families with children and homeless families via local authorities, and vulnerable people desperate for housing.

• Social landlords have shown that they can break even, or produce a small surplus if they let property at sub-market rents. Peabody, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Wolverhampton Council (via a Tenant Management Organisation) have all demonstrated this.

• With limited grant funding many social landlords are developing intermediate market rentals to house key workers and people on a limited income.

• Social landlords, as major institutional investors, have the potential to make the private rented sector more stable, more secure, more affordable and of better quality. They also have a duty to provide decent quality and secure homes to people who need them and private renting is one way they can do this. They have an ethical purpose and core mission to house people, so they should not seek to maximise profits as their main purpose.

Nearly 20% of all households, including many low income families with children, rely on the private rented sector.

Professor Power said: “Our core conclusion is that long term, slow, stable investment in low cost, secure renting allows social landlords to use their management experience, their existing assets and their capacity to borrow, to expand private renting.

“This would lead to more socially responsible, more stable and therefore more useful private renting. Social landlords can do much more to house lower income households in receipt of Housing Benefit, but able to pay rent reliably with this help. This is an urgent task and a real opportunity for the sector.”

The research was sponsored by Futures Housing Group, Clarion Housing Group, the Wheatley Group, Poplar Harca, South Yorkshire Housing Association and Crisis.
It was also supported by the International Inequalities Institute, based at the LSE.

The report is available here: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cr/casereport113.pdf.

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The kids are online: under-11s take lead in designing cyber safety web app

Posted: 06/02/18 by The University of Northampton

An internet safety app being developed not just for, but by, children will be showcased by the University of Northampton today.

A beta version of the online tool will be demonstrated by its designers – 30 nine and ten year olds from Preston Hedge’s Primary School, Northampton and a team of academics from four European countries – as part of a special one-day conference to mark Safer Internet Day.

The web app will be available to children across Europe next year following testing and further development within partner schools in Belgium, Denmark and Greece.

Speaking on behalf of the team behind it, the University of Northampton’s Dr Michelle Pyer, said she was very excited about the children’s design ideas, which are being bought to life by the project’s programming experts.

“The pupils’ ideas, experiences, drawing and design work have inspired us to think creatively about how to produce an online app that will inspire other children to go online safely.

“So many children are now using the internet. It’s really easy for them to access the web or social media, but they don’t necessarily understand all the dangers. We are really hopeful this app will engage them and help them to learn to surf safely.”

The online app features cartoon characters - designed by the children - and these guide the user through a set of commonly encountered online scenarios.

These include dangers such as phishing scams, or address the pitfalls of social networking, and will develop children’s skills within the digital world.

A series of multiple choice questions then tests the users’ understanding of the dangers. In addition to making children aware of the threats, the project is also about highlighting the positive benefits of the internet, said Dr Pyer.

“In developing the app, the children shared their experiences of being online, including the social opportunities it offered and how they managed those safely.

“They also interviewed their teachers and parents about their ideas, so that these views were also included in the design.”

Digital Lives, Children’s Perspectives, is the first conference to be held by the Erasmus+ co-funded CyGen (Cyber Safe Generation: Digital education by design) project.

During the event the children, along with their teachers and the rest of the team, will deliver workshops about the project.

Some will also act as journalists for the day, with their news items and videos about the conference eventually available on the project website www.cygen.eu

Academics from the University of Northampton and the University of Huddersfield are working with partners in Denmark, Belgium and Greece on the project, which will enlist the help of over 120 eight to fourteen year olds from four schools across the partner countries.

This unique, three-year collaboration involves the children and researchers working together with teachers and parents to understand the challenges and opportunities that the internet
presents - and to co-design educational resources to support safe online participation.

During today’s conference, parents, teachers, policy makers and academics from across the world will hear from members of the CyGen team and keynote speakers Dr Hayley Davies, Dr Marion Oswald, and Detective Inspector Ed McBryde-Wilding - who was formerly with the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command.

The afternoon workshops will offer further insight to the research - and provide key take home messages on both cyber safety and co-design.

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