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Saints confirm 2018/19 preseason schedule

Posted: 18/05/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Northampton Saints can today confirm the preseason fixtures for the 2018/19 season.

Chris Boyd’s new era gets underway with a trio of fixtures to set-up Saints’ upcoming Gallagher Premiership season, with the men in Black, Green and Gold getting their preseason underway with a trip to the Liberty Stadium to face Ospreys (11 August).

The following Friday (17 August) night sees Saints head back to Wales, this time to take on Dragons at Rodney Parade, before returning home to Franklin’s Gardens the following week (24 August) as Glasgow Warriors come to town. Kick-off time for Saints’ clash with Dragons will be announced nearer the game.

The Early Bird window for this fixture is open now, with prices set at just £12 (adults), £10 (concessions) and £1 (juniors). But be quick - prices will rise to the General Sale price on 29 July.

The home game against Glasgow is included in the 2018/19 Season Ticket package. Renew or purchase your 2018/19 Season Ticket before 24 August and this game will be automatically added. CLICK HERE for more information about Season Tickets.

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Trade with Egypt workshop

Posted: 18/05/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

The Egyptian British Chamber of Commerce wants to advise businesses about an upcoming workshop called Trade with Egypt; Export Documentation, Trade Finance & Customs Routines.

Egypt is one of the largest markets in the MENA region, with a population of 95 million and growing. Its free trade agreement with the EU means that the country will have continued preferential access to the EU Single Market even after Brexit, and that it remains an important regional trade hub.

The UK trade volume with Egypt valued at close to £2 billion per year in the last few years. Following the implementation of much needed economic reforms Egypt’s external sector is stabilizing. New documentation requirements were introduced by the Egyptian government in 2015/16 to support these reforms.

The objective of this workshop is to examine the various aspects of international trade documentation, and specific requirements for export to the Egyptian market. The workshop consists of three sessions; in the sessions, we will discuss how to prepare the content of your trade documents, payment methods & documentation, and finally customs routines.

The sessions are supported by Rooks Rider Solicitors LLP, Intertek, the Surrey Chambers of Commerce, and UK Export Finance.

It will take place on Tuesday 29 May 2018 from 9am to 1pm at Rooks Rider Solicitors LLP, Challoner House, 19 Clerkenwell Close, London EC1R 0RR. This is followed by a networking lunch from 1pm to 2pm.

DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAMME

Register now for this event

For more information, please contact Javed Hasan at the EBCC. javed@theebcc.com / T. 020 7499 3100.

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Trade with Egypt workshop

Posted: 18/05/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

The Egyptian British Chamber of Commerce wants to advise businesses about an upcoming workshop called Trade with Egypt; Export Documentation, Trade Finance & Customs Routines.

Egypt is one of the largest markets in the MENA region, with a population of 95 million and growing. Its free trade agreement with the EU means that the country will have continued preferential access to the EU Single Market even after Brexit, and that it remains an important regional trade hub.

The UK trade volume with Egypt valued at close to £2 billion per year in the last few years. Following the implementation of much needed economic reforms Egypt’s external sector is stabilizing. New documentation requirements were introduced by the Egyptian government in 2015/16 to support these reforms.

The objective of this workshop is to examine the various aspects of international trade documentation, and specific requirements for export to the Egyptian market. The workshop consists of three sessions; in the sessions, we will discuss how to prepare the content of your trade documents, payment methods & documentation, and finally customs routines.

The sessions are supported by Rooks Rider Solicitors LLP, Intertek, the Surrey Chambers of Commerce, and UK Export Finance.

It will take place on Tuesday 29 May 2018 from 9am to 1pm at Rooks Rider Solicitors LLP, Challoner House, 19 Clerkenwell Close, London EC1R 0RR. This is followed by a networking lunch from 1pm to 2pm.

DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAMME

Register now for this event

For more information, please contact Javed Hasan at the EBCC. javed@theebcc.com / T. 020 7499 3100.

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Free seminar for business leaders & managers

Posted: 18/05/18 by Beyond Theory

Beyond Theory is running a free seminar to help firms learn how to attract the best, retain the best and learn how to motivate and inspire your people to be the best.

The seminar will take place from 9am to midday on 6 June at Holiday Inn, Corby NN18 8ET.

Top, top guest speakers:

  • David MacLeod, co-founder of Engage for Success. David will be taking us through the 4 enablers that will help you plan and implement your employee engagement strategy.
  • Duncan Geddes, managing director of Technical Foam Services. He’ll be generously sharing the progress he’s been making and the success he’s enjoyed by engaging his team. Practical advice and top tips will be on offer.

Only a few places left: https://beyondtheory.co.uk/employee-engagement-seminar



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Briggs & Forrester secure University of Warwick Student Accommodation project with Kier

Posted: 18/05/18 by Briggs & Forrester Group Ltd

A successful start to the year for the Briggs & Forrester Engineering Services team who have secured their latest project at the University of Warwick with Kier. Cryfields is a new student accommodation development at the Coventry campus with a services value of £15.5m.

The new residences at Cryfields Village will be a series of townhouse-style apartments and studios surrounding a central hub.

Briggs & Forrester Engineering Services will provide full design & build of all mechanical and electrical services to 14 apartments ranging between 3 and 7 storeys, which include student accommodation, Student Hub, launderette, office space and meeting rooms.

Services include ventilation, heating, domestic services, utility power and data, internal and external lighting, security systems with CCTV and intruder alarm, fire alarm and voice and data systems, Photovoltaic Systems.

Engineering Services commenced on site in March with completion due December 2020.

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Marval’s latest service management software is PinkVERIFY re-certified for 16 ITIL processes

Posted: 18/05/18 by Marval Software Ltd

Marval is delighted to announce that its latest enterprise service management software solution, Marval MSM, has successfully passed the criteria for PinkVERIFY Toolsets, demonstrating 100% of the required functionality and documentation sets for all 16 Pink-defined ITIL processes:

Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Asset Management, Knowledge Management, Request Fulfilment, Release & Deployment Management, Availability Management, Capacity Management, Event Management, Financial Management, IT Service Continuity Management, Service Asset & Configuration Management, Service Catalogue Management, Service Level Management,Service Portfolio Management

“Marval has once again proven its commitment to providing best practice compatible solutions for its customers,” said David Ratcliffe, President, Pink Elephant.

“This enhanced PinkVERIFY certification for Marval MSM demonstrates how Marval understands the importance and value of working to best practices for IT Service Management. Well done!”

Greg Pritchett, Managing Director of Marval says, “Since we last successfully completed PinkVERIFY for our solution, there has been considerable innovation and development of our products to ensure not only that customers’ changing technological and operational needs continue to be met, but also, that our product fully aligns with ITIL to ensure its processes can be easily adopted. It is important for Marval that we have this independent assessment to confirm our adherence to ITIL.”

Customers wanting to introduce ITIL best practice processes in their organisations have a head start with Marval MSM. Designed and built from the ground up to be fully compatible and aligned with the ITIL framework, Marval MSM, an on-premise or cloud-based service management software, fully underpins an organisation’s service management approach. Support for all ITIL processes is included in the software as standard. Timing for the adoption and deployment of each process is determined by the customer to match their needs and maturity.

Marval MSM is relied on by organisations worldwide for reducing costs, increasing productivity and improving their support services not only for IT but other areas of the business such as HR, Facilities, Transport and Logistics. Marval MSM has been implemented across diverse sectors including ICT, Local and Central Government, Finance, Construction and Engineering, Education, Emergency Services, Healthcare, Housing Associations, Publishing, Telecommunications, Automotive and Utilities.

Marval has been providing service management software solutions, consultancy and education since 1989. It is accredited against the worldwide standard for ITSM - ISO/IEC 20000 and recently successfully passed its ISO/IEC 27001 audit – the international quality standard for information and data security.

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1 in 4 SMEs admit to gender pay gap

Posted: 18/05/18 by Close Brothers Asset Finance

· 1 in 4 SMEs admit to a gender pay gap at their firm

· 75% have a policy of equal pay for the same job, regardless of gender

· Less than half feel progress is being made to address the gender pay gap in the UK

Following recent government figures that confirmed almost eight in 10 companies and public-sector bodies pay men more than women, research from Close Brothers Asset Finance reveals that a quarter of SMEs admit to a gender pay gap at their firm.

The ‘gender pay gap’ is a measure of the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across an organisation.

The figure is consistent across all regions of the UK, except in London where 36% of respondents answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘is there a gender pay gap at your firm?’, while in the Republic of Ireland this drops to 17%.

“The results of the survey demonstrate that there is still some way to go before there is true pay equality,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance. “On a positive note, businesses are being more transparent about their pay structures, with the UK a world-leader in tackling this issue.

“Our research has revealed that action is being taken, with 75% of SMEs confirming that they have a policy of equal pay for the same job, regardless of gender.”

This applies to traditionally male dominated sectors, including construction (69%), engineering (74%), manufacturing (77%), transport & haulage (76%) and print (90%) all having equal pay policies in place.

Even companies employing less than 10 people are advocating for equal pay, with 76% having policies.

Progress?

While action is being taken, less than half of those surveyed think real and obvious progress is being made to address the gender pay gap in the UK, with smaller firms being least convinced.

“SMEs are often on the frontline of policy change and while they may agree that more needs to be done, it’s not always easy to notice progress, particularly if it’s slow,” said Neil.

“Regionally, the only area of the UK that is strongly ahead of the UK national sentiment of 48% is Scotland where 58% of SMEs are noting significant change.”

UK law

Three in every four SMEs know that equal pay is enshrined in UK law, indicating a relatively good knowledge of the Equality Act 2010; it means that men and women in the same employment performing equal work must receive equal pay.

“The Equal Pay Act has been in place since 1970 and prohibits any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment,” said Neil. “There is nothing to suggest that companies are deliberately discriminating on gender lines, but what is pleasing is that there appears to be consensus that the gap should not only be narrowed, but disappear altogether.”

For a more detailed breakdown or discussion about the results, contact Anton Nebbe, Head of PR and Communications, 07736 286 144, anton.nebbe@closebrothers.com

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

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Companies recognise benefits of diversity but could do more to promote inclusivity

Posted: 18/05/18 by RSM

Nine in ten large employers (92 per cent) across the South recognise the benefits of a diverse workforce but they could do more to encourage inclusivity according to a recent survey.

The YouGov survey commissioned by RSM found that the top reasons cited by the region’s middle market businesses were that encouraging diversity was simply the right thing to do (58 per cent), that it was important for staff attraction, retention and general well-being (43 per cent) and that it helped improve understanding of customers (42 per cent).

The survey revealed that 65 per cent of respondents in the region felt their workforce was diverse in terms of gender, 61 per cent in terms of sexual orientation and 60 per cent in terms of ethnic diversity.

However, only 57 per cent of respondents said they offered mandatory training to employees to enhance knowledge and awareness around diversity.

Hannah Gibson-Patel, senior HR consultant at RSM Employer Services said: ‘The positive relationship between diversity and business commerciality is clearer than ever before. Put simply, organisations that embed inclusive cultures are more likely to make better decisions, achieve higher returns and enjoy a more successful recruitment process.

‘The issue of diversity is right at the forefront of the minds of millennials and the incoming generation Z in particular. Address the issue well, and companies will gain a significant competitive edge.’

The survey supports RSM’s wider research, entitled ‘Beyond the balance sheet – helping you bring governance into focus’ which illustrates how financial metrics no longer form the only yardstick of success and covers a range of areas including equality and diversity, anti-money laundering and bribery act compliance.

Carolyn Brown, head of client legal services at RSM said: ‘The past decade has seen a major shift in our understanding of what constitutes a well-run business. Performance measurement goes far beyond the company balance sheet. Good business ethics, and the ability to demonstrate those credentials through accountability and transparency are more important than ever before. In a tightening regulatory environment, outmoded thinking around non-financial reporting, or governance, will leave you and your organisation exposed.’

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Northamptonshire businesses continue to prosper in uncertain market, says new report

Posted: 18/05/18 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

Northamptonshire businesses have enjoyed another overall strong year of growth with increases in turnover, profitability and employment, despite uncertainty in the wider market, according to a new report published yesterday.

The annual Northamptonshire Limited study, conducted by financial and business advisers Grant Thornton, analyses the performance of the 100 largest, privately owned companies in the county to provide a recognised benchmark of the overall health of the local economy.

Headline results

The 2018 report findings, unveiled to more than 100 local businesses at a special breakfast event hosted by Grant Thornton, revealed that combined turnover of the top 100 companies increased by healthy 5.6%, up from £5.6bn last year to £5.9bn.

Profits in total rose by an impressive 17.3% from £352 million to £414 million, although there was a greater spread in performance than in previous years with some companies performing exceptionally well, whilst others found trading more challenging.

Employment in the county is also on the up with the top 100 businesses growing their combined workforce by 9.7% to 34,026 people. However, following last year’s rise, average salaries fell slightly, down 1.6% to £28,710.

Mike Hughes of Grant Thornton’s Northampton office who presented the findings said: “It’s been an interesting 12 months since our 2017 report. Whilst Brexit uncertainties remain, overall, the UK economy has performed fairly well with GDP rising and unemployment continuing to fall.

“In addition to Brexit, local businesses have had to deal with a raft of new challenges including the introduction of the ‘sugar tax’, a spate of high profile retail failures and the new GDPR rules around data protection.

“Against this backdrop, it’s not surprising that the performance is a little more mixed than we’ve seen previously with 39 of the 100 companies actually reducing profit. However, there have been some real standout performances and overall we should celebrate the tremendous achievement of Northamptonshire companies in delivering another excellent set of results.”

Sector performance

The Northamptonshire Limited report also analyses the performance of the top 100 companies by sector.

Impressively, all eight sectors reported an increase in profits, highlighting a strong and consistent picture across the board. The standout sector was Business Support Services which saw the biggest profit rise of 47%. New technology from artificial intelligence to ‘big data’ is radically changing the skills a modern workforce needs to thrive, requiring industry to adapt to survive.

The Automotive and Motor Retail sector saw the smallest profit growth of 2.8% which can partly be attributed to weak consumer confidence and a rapidly evolving market with the shift away from diesel cars and trucks to electric vehicles continuing at a pace.

Mike Hughes concluded: “With all sectors turning in a positive set of results alongside some real standout performances, this year’s report demonstrates the overall robustness of the Northamptonshire economy.

“Whilst a number of challenges lie ahead, particularly in relation to the final arrangements over the customs union and ongoing skills shortages, businesses have shown they are able to adapt, identify and seize new opportunities for growth.”

The findings were presented at Northampton Saints Rugby Club and this year’s event included a panel discussion with Kieron Salter from KW Special Projects, Chris McDermott from Cambridge Weight Plan and Hilary Chipping, Acting CEO of SEMLEP.

For a full copy of the Northamptonshire Limited report, please contact lucy.c.evans@uk.gt.com.

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Partnership donates cricket helmets to raise awareness of head safety

Posted: 17/05/18 by The Richardson Partnership For Care

To raise awareness of the importance of protecting your head and as part of Action for Brain Injury Week, The Richardson Partnership for Care has donated 12 cricket helmets to The Juniors at Pitsford School.

The helmets are fully adjustable so suitable for children of all ages. The Partnership, which runs five specialist residential homes for adults with acquired brain injuries and learning disabilities in Northampton knows only too well the devastating effects that brain injuries can cause.

Greg Richardson-Cheater, Managing Partner said: “Headway’s Action for Brain Injury Week is an excellent campaign that raises awareness of brain injuries and the importance of prevention. Our sons attend the school and play cricket, and I was aware that the kit was being reviewed. This seemed to be the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of protecting your head to avoid the risk of brain injury. If we can encourage good safety habits in our children, they will hopefully continue them as they grow older.”

Mrs Julia Willmott, Head of the Junior School, said: “‘I am delighted with this kind and generous donation to The Junior School, and it gives us an ideal opportunity to highlight the importance of protecting your head to the children.”

For more information about the campaign go to: www.headway.org.uk and for information about The Richardson Partnership for Care go to: www.careresidential.co.uk

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Debra Charles, Novacroft CEO & Founder, is panel speaker at IoD East Midlands - Women as Leaders Convention

Posted: 17/05/18 by Novacroft

Local business founder to join key female leaders to champion women in business

Novacroft’s Debra Charles, CEO & Founder, will join the Institute of Directors (IoD) East Midlands - Women as Leaders Convention 2018 as a panel speaker at the Crowne Plaza Nottingham on Friday 18 May.

At the event, Debra, who is active in promoting the value every person has to make a difference, will reflect on her leadership journey and her own personal battles in overcoming dyslexia, alongside the other challenges she has faced as a woman in a technology business.

The IoD event, celebrating successful female leaders in the East Midlands, will focus on the importance of what leadership is and how to be an effective leader, resulting in better directors, better business, better services and better economy.

As a panel guest, Debra will join other female leaders including Carolyn Radford, CEO of Mansfield Town Football Club, Sarah Walker-Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Browne Jacobson, Lisa Wainwright, CEO of British Basketball, and Sue Smith, former Chief Executive of Cherwell District Council and South Northamptonshire Council.

Debra is passionate to support and encourage men and women alike to embrace the positive impact they can make on society by realising their own potential. As a technology business leader herself, Debra feels a strong responsibility to inspire the next generation to get involved in careers based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. She speaks in local schools, has spoken at Northamptonshire Community Foundation events on women in business, and in 2018 was nominated for Northampton Borough Council’s Inspirational Woman Award, to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The IoD is committed to increasing the diversity of boards in the private, public and third sectors; and to supporting those aspiring to senior leadership positions. Debra is delighted to support this aim as part of the IoD East Midlands - Women as Leaders Convention 2018.

Tickets for this convention are available to book online. For further information on the IoD East Midlands, visit the website.

For further information on this news item please get in touch with Louise Wilce or Tracey Cunnington on 0333 103 3330 or louise.wilce@novacroft.com / tracey.cunnington@novacroft.com

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Ashridge Group strengthens presence in critical national infrastructure sector

Posted: 17/05/18 by Ashridge Group Ltd

Ashridge Group, one of the UK’s leading security specialists, is managing the security for a major energy provider as it re-commissions two compressor stations located in Cambridgeshire.

The sites are being upgraded as part of a £113 million National Gride contract, with Ashridge providing on-site security services for an initial period of five years.

The effective management and application of the energy provider’s security operations is crucial to maintaining these critical national infrastructure services.

Working in partnership with VPS, a specialist provider of vacant, occupied and site security solutions, Ashridge is providing around the clock, high level resilience cover on both sites.

With the security teams already in place, an additional patrol is due to be added to one of the sites in due course, dedicated to maintaining strict access controls as the construction works progress and new entrance and exit points open up.

Acknowledging the need to combine physical and technical solutions in the overall security matrix, Wayne Webster, Key Account Manager at VPS, commented on how its advanced mobile CCTV solutions support Ashridge’s teams on the ground in delivering technical security at the perimeter.

Emma Walker, Managing Director of Ashridge Group, said

“The key to success lies in achieving a ‘defence-in-depth’ strategy and we’re confident that in partnership with VPS, and through the layered measures we have in place, we are well positioned to deliver the high-level security requirements needed to protect these assets.”

VPS’s award-winning JCB Smart Tower® delivers effective CCTV monitoring and recording on a 24/7 basis. Proven for use in other high risk application areas, this rapidly deployable solution, which is equipped with a vandal-proof camera, infra-red illuminators, movement detectors and public address system, can also see in the dark and detect heat as well as light.

With extensive experience in corporate security and managing large, temporary and remote sites, Ashridge is rapidly gaining recognition as a key provider in this sector.

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BCC: Evidence of need for Apprenticeship reform mounting

Posted: 17/05/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the Apprenticeship statistics released today by the Department of Education, Jane Gratton, Head of Skills at the British Chambers of Commerce said: “Since the introduction of the apprenticeship reforms, the statistics have shown a marked decline in the number of apprenticeship starts and, sadly, the latest numbers are no different.

“Businesses are crying out for skilled workers to fill job vacancies and apprenticeships should be very much part of the solution, but the system just isn’t working. For SMEs in particular, the new rules have added to the barriers, complexity and cost of recruiting and training staff. For larger firms, the inflexibility of the system has made it difficult to spend their levy funds as they see best, making it feel more like a tax, and leaving less money available to pay for the training people need. Businesses want to invest more in upskilling their
workforce, and to offer great career opportunities for young people, but this system is holding everyone back.

“There is consensus across the UK business community that the Levy needs reform, yet our calls continue to go unanswered. We are not asking for a complete overhaul - everyone wants this system to work better. Each month the number of apprenticeships is falling, so now has to be the time for government to work with business and training providers to sort things out.”

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BCC: Evidence of need for Apprenticeship reform mounting

Posted: 17/05/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the Apprenticeship statistics released today by the Department of Education, Jane Gratton, Head of Skills at the British Chambers of Commerce said: “Since the introduction of the apprenticeship reforms, the statistics have shown a marked decline in the number of apprenticeship starts and, sadly, the latest numbers are no different.

“Businesses are crying out for skilled workers to fill job vacancies and apprenticeships should be very much part of the solution, but the system just isn’t working. For SMEs in particular, the new rules have added to the barriers, complexity and cost of recruiting and training staff. For larger firms, the inflexibility of the system has made it difficult to spend their levy funds as they see best, making it feel more like a tax, and leaving less money available to pay for the training people need. Businesses want to invest more in upskilling their
workforce, and to offer great career opportunities for young people, but this system is holding everyone back.

“There is consensus across the UK business community that the Levy needs reform, yet our calls continue to go unanswered. We are not asking for a complete overhaul - everyone wants this system to work better. Each month the number of apprenticeships is falling, so now has to be the time for government to work with business and training providers to sort things out.”

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Acas half-day conference for anyone who handles employee records

Posted: 17/05/18 by Acas East Midlands

Acas is hosting a half-day conference for anyone who handles employee records called The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR): an employment perspective.

The new Government Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) come into effect on 25 May 2018 and include increased financial penalties for organisations who fail to properly look after any personal data they hold.

Join Acas East of England and Acas East Midlands for a half-day conference followed by lunch with experts in the field of data protection. Find out what steps you need to take as an employer once the new general data protection regulation (GDPR) comes into effect.

Topics will include:

  • The General Data Protection Regulations - myths, risks and what it really means for employee records
  • The lawful handling of employee data - the lifecycle of an HR file
  • Preparing for GDPR a round table discussion to share good practice

The event will take place on June 5 at Kettering Conference Centre.

For further details and booking information Click Here

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Crushing Cancer at Northants Flooring ltd

Posted: 16/05/18 by Northants Flooring Ltd

A team from Northants Flooring are preparing to embark on a four day 1,800 mile trip in £500 cars to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

The Crush Cancer Not Cars trip will take the team from the UK to France, Belgium and Germany, including a lap of the Nürburgring http://www.nuerburgring.de/, down into Italy, up through Switzerland and back up through France.

Business development manager Luke Emery said: “Each team has £500 to spend on modifications - not a penny more - in the hope we all make the trip. All the cars are kept secret until the day we leave where every team will find out what cars we all have.

“We have set up an Instagram page, https://www.instagram.com/crush.cancer.not.cars/ and would love to hear from anyone who wants their name on the cars or even just wants to sponsor us! Over 80,000 people could be watching!

“We would love to hear from people who can help us raise awareness and give us a hand to raise more money for the charity.”

To find out more about the fundraiser visit https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/once-in-a-lifetime

Below are the associated drivers and Instagram accounts :-

Car 1, Team Tight. Luke Emery & Mike Hodder (Northampton)

https://www.instagram.com/northantsflooringltd/

https://www.instagram.com/tyreguy555/

https://www.instagram.com/motechperformanceuk/?hl=en

Car 2, Team Turbo Sheds. Mark Webber & Paul Sheridan (Folkstone)

https://www.instagram.com/tyremarkltd/

https://www.instagram.com/paulsheridan1_/

https://www.instagram.com/wownutrition24/

Car 3, Team Enhancement. Martin Pepin & Mark Watkins (Northampton)

https://www.instagram.com/prorightltd/

https://www.instagram.com/croft_house_clinic/

Car 4, Team Batman’s Beer holders. Paul Wood & Thomas Parkinson (Up North)

https://www.instagram.com/racer__66/

https://www.instagram.com/parki14/

Car 5, Team Gingernuts. Tom Clarke & Russell Dack (Milton Keynes)

https://www.instagram.com/prepnlay/

https://www.instagram.com/meguiarsuk/

https://www.instagram.com/tommyteapot/

Car 6, Team Ohdeere, Julian Pearcey (Crediton in Exeter)

https://www.instagram.com/oh_deere81/

https://www.instagram.com/rotawheels/

https://www.instagram.com/fifteen52_uk/

To find out more about Northants Flooring Ltd call 01604 552801 or visit www.northantsflooring.co.uk

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Industries need to work together to solve the gender pay gap

Posted: 16/05/18 by PwC LLP

New PwC research shows that the sector a company operates in has a significant influence on their likely gender pay gap, suggesting that more industry-wide approaches to improving opportunities for women in the workplace are needed to really shift the dial.

PwC analysed the mean data submitted to the UK government by the 10,000 companies that have disclosed their gender pay gap data so far, and found that the sector a company operates in is a far better indicator of their pay gap than the number of people it employs.

Financial services, construction and mining have the highest pay gaps as a sector, while accommodation and food, transportation and health organisations have much smaller pay gaps. This will make it more challenging for certain companies to address their gender pay gap in the short-term unless they also tackle broader industry-wide challenges, such as a lack of women in the sector, the pipeline of women coming through to the profession and a poor reputation on opportunities for women.

The reasons driving higher pay gaps differ between sectors. In retail organisations, the larger proportion of women in the lowest pay quartile is a key driver of the gap. Whereas, in financial services organisations the gap is primarily driven by the number of men in senior positions.

Matthew Hammond, PwC Midlands Region Chairman, said: “Our research shows that a company’s gender pay gap is often symptomatic of wider issues within their industry about attracting and promoting women. This is a real challenge for companies to break as high industry-wide gender pay gaps may already be putting talented women off from joining and prospering within their organisation.

“As well as having clear and robust action plans about what they’re doing in their own organisation, there is a real need for industries to come together and show they are serious about creating the right environmentand culture for women to prosper. There are some great examples of this alreadyhappening, such as the Women in Finance Charter, Diversity in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure Charter and Tech She Can Charter.”

Other interesting trends that PwC’s research found, include:

· Over 85% of companies which have disclosed have a pay gap in favour of men;

· Around 40% of companies which have disclosed have a mean pay gap above the ONS national average of 17.4%

· 75% of companies which have disclosed have a bonus gap above 10% in favour of men.

Scale of the bonus gap challenge

PwC’s analysis found that gender bonus gaps are generally twice as high as gender pay gaps and more than 10% of companies which have disclosed have a bonus gap above 70%. As bonus decisions are often based on more subjective decision making than pay, and linked more closely to performance, this highlights the importance of companies having robust pay infrastructure and governance in place. The more transparency that companies can put in place around their pay and bonus decision making, the lower the risks of bias creeping into decision making.

Matthew Hammond comments further: “Fairness lies right at the heart of the issue of the gender pay gap. Gender pay gap reporting is far more than just a compliance exercise, this is the chance for companies to reconnect with their people, customers and society and show that they are serious about taking action by having robust and measurable plans in place. Having a clear sense of what fair pay means in your organisation, stating these principles clearly and supporting them with transparent action plans and pay governance could help win back trust and bring about change.”

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Students given an extra special incentive to succeed in a recent assignment

Posted: 16/05/18 by The University of Northampton

If University courses offered student prizes…

Students at the University of Northampton were given an extra special incentive to succeed in a recent assignment, courtesy of Carlsberg.

Thomas Shanley, Finance Business Partner for Carlsberg UK, who have its UK headquarters in Northampton, gave a talk to MSc students in both Finance & Accounting and Corporate
Governance about its global business strategy, SAIL’22.

Students were then tasked with writing a critical analysis of how Carlsberg’s business strategy has been successfully implemented in the UK, based on the models covered in the course. The highest graded assessments were then submitted to Carlsberg to choose a winning project.

The winning student, Gemma Towns, achieved an A* for her assessment and was awarded two hospitality tickets to a Northampton Saints home match of her choosing, courtesy of the
brewer.

Karen Mustard, Module leader for Financial and Business Strategy, hailed the success of the competition, saying: “Having a senior member of the finance team from Carlsberg UK come and give insights into the strategy was invaluable. The students really engaged with this project and the results of this assessment reflect that.

“Tom discussed some of the strategic tools which Carlsberg use and our group discussed how that fits with the theoretical models which we have discussed. The visit from Carlsberg showed the students that the models which we had covered are adapted and used by organisations when planning and implementing strategy – and crucially it illustrated the relevance and importance of the Masters module to gaining senior management roles in business.”

Thomas Shanley posted on Linkedin following the talk: “Many thanks to Karen and her amazing MSC students at the University of Northampton for the opportunity to speak about Carlsberg’s Sail 22 Strategy and how we distil that down in to a local strategy. Thanks for making me so welcome!”

For more information on these courses, please visit the MSc course pages of Account and Finance and Corporate Governance.

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Royal icing on the cake!

Posted: 16/05/18 by The Mallows Company Limited

In an array of baking creations of which Prue and Paul would have been proud, two of the county’s finest cake-makers are now celebrating after being named joint winners of the ‘Royal Showstopper of the Year’ category in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards!

Jeyes of Earls Barton and Workbridge Coffee Shop beat off competition from four other finalists to share the title, following the judging at last weekend’s Althorp Food Festival.

The category, which had been made possible thanks to the generous additional support of sponsor Whitworth Bros Ltd Flour Millers in Wellingborough, was introduced not only to mark the Awards’ tenth year but also to celebrate Northamptonshire’s links with the royal family ahead of this weekend’s big wedding!

Among the themes introduced by the finalists were flavours inspired by HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s diverse backgrounds, decorations using the Spencer family coat of arms, and even icing carefully depicting the late Princess Diana’s wedding dress!

But it was Jeyes’ colourful creation of a royal wedding street party scene, complete with smiling figurines of the bride and groom – and some corgis! – and Workbridge’s three-flavoured, three-tiered spectacular which won over the judges.

The panel charged with the enjoyable but difficult task of tucking into all six cakes were Kim Little from category sponsor Whitworth Bros Ltd, Gavin Austin, who is consultant chef to the England Football Association, former Great British Bake Off contestant Deborah Manger and Countdown presenter Nick Hewer, who recently appeared in the Great British Bake Off – Stand Up 2 Cancer series.

Speaking just before announcing the results, Nick commended all the bakers for their amazing efforts, cleverly using nine-letter adjectives for which his daytime show is famed: “On behalf of all the judges I want to say well done to all the finalists because all of the cakes were beautiful, fantastic and delicious!” enthused Nick.

“I know it’s a cliché but the judging was a tough challenge and so my particular plaudits go to the two winners, who should feel very proud of their achievement!” he added.

Having been on display on the Awards’ stand at the show for much of the day, causing gasps of delight from many who saw the showstopping creations, the remainder of the cakes were then sliced up and offered to show visitors in return for donations to The Earl Spencer’s chosen Festival charity, DACT – Daventry Area Community Transport.

The Awards is therefore very grateful to Jeyes, Workbridge and the four other finalists – Bills Edible Art and Nutty and Nice Cakes, both from Northampton, Little White Cakery from Rushden and Silverstone Circuit - for donating their cakes, helping to raise just over £130.

To view the winning cakes or for more details on the competition, please visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk Meanwhile to recommend your favourite pub, restaurant or café, please contact awards director Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email rachel@themallowscompany.com

You can also follow the Awards on twitter at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards

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New venue for hire at Bay Tree Cottage

Posted: 16/05/18 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

Bay Tree Cottage in Farthingstone, NN12, now has a versatile purpose-built function room for hire. Based in an idyllic location, it is perfect for many different types of events, from private parties and events to business meetings, training, demonstrations, corporate entertaining, team building, away days and networking.

The venue can accommodate up to 25 people and has a fully equipped kitchen, free WiFi, large flat screen television, an outside patio and seating area to take in the fantastic views of the surrounding countryside, ample free parking and disabled access. For larger groups, there is also space for a gazebo or marquee adjacent to the building.

Catering can be provided on request from the Bay Tree Cottage kitchen and a range of B&B and self-catering accommodation is available on site.

For further information or to make a booking please call 01327 361720.

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Calling all employers, businesses or colleges

Posted: 16/05/18 by Proactive Education

YOUR FUTURE EMPLOYEES NEED YOU!

We would like you to come along and hold a stand at our schools events throughout the county, where we will have all Year 12 and 13 students visiting you to ask questions about your business and talk to you about their best options. We would like you to bring any information you use for recruiting and help us support our students for their next steps. Tea, Coffee and Biscuits will be available. We moved offices to Upton Lodge in Northampton. WIth the support of local businesses we have been successful in setting out our Victorian Walled Garden. This is where students from many schools where they learn to grow produce, work together in teams and generally have fun. Please take a look at our events and if you have anytime at all to support any of these days we would really welcome your help.

Samantha Fitzgerald-Business Engagement Manager M:07702048618 E: samantha@proactiveeducation.co.uk

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MacIntyre Summer Fete -  2 June

Posted: 16/05/18 by MacIntyre

In aid of Support Plus, MacIntyre are holding a Summer Fete at Moot Hall, 54 Haddons, Great Holm, Milton Keynes on Saturday 2 June from 10am to 3pm,

With FREE entry, there will be stalls offering handmade gifts, jewellery, crafts and foods. Come and join us for a bit of retail therapy, a coffee and a chance to buy a ticket to win a prize in our raffle, whilst helping MacIntyre raise money for their amazing Support Plus team.

If you need any further info, give them a call in Fundraising on 01908 230100 or drop them an email on fund@macintyrecharity.org

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Matt Ferguson to join Northampton Saints Coaching Team

Posted: 16/05/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Northampton Saints are delighted to announce that Matt Ferguson will be joining the Club from the 2018/19 season as assistant coach.

The 39-year-old has spent the last 12 months working as a scrum consultant with London Irish where he linked up with new Saints tighthead Ben Franks.

He has also for the last three years headed up the forwards division for the England Women’s team, in which time the side topped the world rankings, reached last year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup final as well as beating New Zealand on their own soil in Rotorua.

After initially working with the Red Roses’ as a forwards coach from 2009 to 2011, Ferguson moved on to stints in the men’s game at Cardiff Blues, Bristol Rugby and London Welsh before returning to Twickenham in 2015 to sculpt a dominant set piece and driving maul for England’s women.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at London Irish this season and with England Women over the past three years. While I will be sad to leave such great groups of players and management, this is a really exciting opportunity for me to work for one of the biggest clubs in English rugby and learn from one of the most well-respected coaches in the world in Chris Boyd,” said Ferguson.

“I’m honoured to be given the chance here, and I’m really looking forward to teaming up with such a talented group of players already at Saints.”

Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd added: “Matt showed himself to be the standout candidate during our search. I was not only impressed by his experience but also his superb attitude and meticulous level of preparation – I am sure he will be a great fit here.”

Ferguson’s focus as assistant coach will be on Saints’ scrum, and he will arrive at Franklin’s Gardens in June – in time for the start of Northampton’s preseason training.

It’s not too late to pick up your Northampton Saints season ticket! CLICK HERE to renew now and take advantage of our early bird rates before May 31, as well as getting the chance to win free tickets to an exclusive event with Saints’ new Director of Rugby Chris Boyd.

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GSA Conference 2018 preview: Life in Brexit Britain and the effect of ‘Neo-liberalism’ on divorce

Posted: 16/05/18 by The University of Northampton

The rapid rise in divorce rates and a decline in human well-being since the early 1980s will be two of the big talking points at this year’s Global Studies Association (GSA) Conference.

Academics from the University of Northampton will be joined by peers from institutions around the world for the annual conference, hosted this year on May 31- June 1 at Park Campus.

Keynote speakers at the two-day conference include UK authority on globalisation – Leslie Sklair from LSE, and original founder of the GSA – Paul Kennedy from Manchester Metropolitan University. Lecturers from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan and Loyola University of Chicago will also give talks.

Key topics set to be covered at the conference include Cultural Cosmopolitanism; how globalisation will affect world culture, the impact of neo-liberalism; the environmental future of the planet, and whether universal human rights really exist.

Many talks will focus on post-brexit Britain – with one paper analysing what life will be like for European movers in the UK after the country leaves the EU, as well as a study on the lived experiences of skilled migration in the UK.

The GSA Conference has ran for three years, and this will be the first year it will be hosted at the University.

Alison Hulme, Lecturer in International Development and Chair of the GSA, said: “We are excited to host the GSA Conference 2018 at the University of Northampton. We hope attendees will enjoy the interdisciplinary nature of it and be enabled to think about issues they may have previously engaged with in new ways and from new disciplinary angles.

“There are traditional panels, stand-alone papers, as well as less conventional sessions including a video essay and a roundtable. We want this to challenge and push intellectual boundaries for those who participate and enliven debate on both classic and topical issues of our times.”

Tickets to the GSA Conference 2018 are available to purchase here.

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Company Car Tax and Road Fund Licence will never be the same again

Posted: 16/05/18 by BMW - Wollaston Motors

Since the early 1980s up until present, all cars have been tested for CO2 emissions using the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), but have today become outdated due to several evolutions in technology and driving conditions. The European Union has therefore prepared the new test (WLTP) for new models introduced to the market, which became law in September 2017. However, the law will change again in September 2018 when WLTP will apply to ALL new registrations which in turn will mean higher emissions and therefore higher taxation on vehicles due to the stringent new tests.

How will it affect my company car tax (BIK)?

Any new registration from September 2018 will depend on certain aspects of the vehicle such as model variation e.g. a standard vehicle with no options will have the CO2 value already applied. However, start adding options such as leather seats, larger wheels, panoramic roof, etc and the vehicle starts to become much heavier which in turn will, under the new rules increase the CO2 and increase the tax quite significantly.

If you are soon to be changing your company car and would like further information please contact ricky.byrne@wollastonbmw.co.uk

Why not visit our website for more company car info; http://www.wollastonbmw.co.uk/business/top-10-company-cars/

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Creative students chosen to design homeware range for top heritage attraction

Posted: 16/05/18 by The University of Northampton

A multi award-winning visitor attraction in Northampton has enlisted the help of talented creatives from the town’s university to design its new range of merchandise.

78 Derngate is famed for being the only house in England designed by acclaimed Scottish architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world, every year.

Given the attraction’s rich design heritage, the 78 Derngate trust decided it would be fitting to invite students on the University of Northampton’s Graphic Communication course to devise designs for a range of homeware items to be sold in the venue’s shop and online.

The students gathered research and inspiration during several visits to the house, before presenting their concepts to a panel from the 78 Derngate team.

Designs from a quartet of final-year students were chosen for the Contemporary Classics @ 78 homeware range, which includes a tea towel, a tote bag, an apron, oven gloves and two poster prints.

Les Patterson, secretary of the Trust said: “Each group offered such a lot of wonderfully imaginative ideas that it was very difficult to make decisions on the final range – but it had to be done. The students have brought a fresh, young element to the existing retail range.”

Third year student, Sebastian Wrobel, was delighted when he found out his poster designs based on the house’s rooms had been chosen by the panel.

He said: “I feel honoured to have my designs being sold at the shop. I had to compete with my peers, who are also very talented designers. This pushed us all to work very hard and deliver our best.

“I hope that my work will help 78 Derngate gain more visitors and show that the house is a great work of art.”

Sebastian will graduate this summer and has nothing but praise for the Graphic Communication course.

He said: “Being a talented designer is one thing, however knowing how to use that talent is another.

“The Graphic Communication course helps students to release their inner designer, broaden their visual and theoretical knowledge and inspires to come up with new designs which are the future of the creative industries.

“The projects run by the University also allow the students to meet new people from the industry and gain connections, such as 78 Derngate. Tutors support the students in many areas, they help their pupils to test their skills, overcome the barriers and have fun while doing it.”

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Make some noise to support International Day Against Homophobia

Posted: 16/05/18 by Northampton Borough Council

Residents are being invited to come together at the Guildhall on Thursday, 17 May to join activities in support of International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO).

To open the activities, people are welcome to join the Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Gareth Eales, for a short ceremony at 9.30am, as he raises the LGBTQ flag in front of the Guildhall.

Residents are then encouraged to dress brightly, raise their voices and play whistles, horns and other musical instruments on the Guildhall steps at 12.30pm, as Mayor Elect, Cllr Tony Ansell, and Northampton Borough Council’s LGBTQ Forum lead a minute of noise.

Refreshments and information about local support groups, will be available in the One Stop Shop, following the minute of noise.

Cllr Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “International Day Against Homophobia is a really important date that we are proud to mark in the town with the raising of the LGBTQ flag and the minute of noise.

“No one should feel discriminated against so we encourage residents to join us as we raise awareness of the importance of tolerance and respect, and to celebrate sexual and gender diversities.”

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Six Tips to plan for HMRC’s Making Tax Digital

Posted: 16/05/18 by Elsby & Co.

By April 2019 HMRC’s plans for “Making Tax Digital” will transform the way VAT registered businesses, including landlords, process their taxes. Here we answer the six most frequently asked questions received on what MTD means for your future.

What does Making Tax Digital mean for a VAT registered business?

Look at how you currently keep accounting records and decide how you are going to comply with HMRC’s requirement for your information to be digitally submitted from your first VAT return after 1st April 2019. You are already used to doing quarterly VAT returns and that part remains the same, the only change is how the information gets to HMRC.

If all my paperwork goes to an accountant to prepare a VAT return do I need to do anything?

Your accountant will need to make changes so they can file data online on your behalf. It is likely this cost will have to be passed on to your business. If you only use an accountant for year-end accounts, you may need to take on an additional service for them to be able to report quarterly to HMRC.

Can I use a spreadsheet to calculate VAT?

Yes, but data still needs to get to HMRC electronically, so you’ll need appropriate accounting software to submit a VAT return. The best solution is to get set up on a cloud accounting system and move away from just using a spreadsheet.

I already use cloud accounting software, so am I ready?

All cloud accounting systems that you access by subscription will be ready for Making Tax Digital by April 2019. In fact, most will be ready before this date so businesses can volunteer for the testing phase that HMRC are in the process of rolling out.

I’m not VAT registered so I don’t need to do anything, right?

Yes, for now. But the next phase of Making Tax Digital is likely to come into effect from April 2020, which will mean quarterly returns of all income and expenditure during the financial year and then a fifth and final return for the year once your accounts have been finalised.

How are landlords affected?

VAT registered landlords are included in Making Tax Digital and will also need to follow the new rules from April 2019.

To find out more register today for one of Elsby & Co’s Cloud Accounting Workshops at http:www.elsbyandco.co.uk/MTD

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3aaa Northampton delivering Advanced IT and Digital Marketing courses to local employers

Posted: 15/05/18 by Aspire Achieve Advance Ltd

Northampton academy 3aaa is to deliver IT and Digital Marketing advanced apprenticeships in Northamptonshire.

3aaa specialises in the recruitment and training of young people, and works closely with young people to offer them life changing opportunities and support so they can start a prosperous career. Their apprentices benefit from highly interesting and motivational training in superb educational environments, equipped with industry standards and networks.

The Northampton Academy, situated on Derngate, is focusing on delivering apprenticeships in technology and has a local training facility.

Technology is an industry which is constantly evolving and demanding young, passionate people to help bring new ideas into the workplace.

3aaa’s dedicated recruitment executives then work closely with our partnering employers to understand the requirements of their business and help them to select the best possible candidate to suit their needs.

3aaa has been awarded Grade 1 ’Outstanding’ across all areas during an inspection by Ofsted, making it the only single independent provider to achieve such an accolade. It received particular praise for the quality work it carries out with employers and young people.

If you are an employer seeking a Digital Marketing or IT apprentice, call Northampton Academy on 01604 633780 / 07967595703 or email jolantastonkute@3aaa.co.uk.

Visit: www.3aaa.co.uk

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Chamber members invited to hotel launch

Posted: 15/05/18 by Woughton House - MGallery by Sofitel

The Woughton House-MGallery by Sofitel Milton Keynes is inviting 20 lucky Chamber members to join them for their official launch on Friday the 1st June 2018.

The newly refurbished hotel, in Woughton-on-the-Green, is offering 10 companies in Chamber membership two complimentary tickets each to the event on a first come, first served basis.

The theatrical mystery night will be based on the history of the venue and the medieval village it is situated in.

Woughton-on the green is one of the few remaining medieval villages still surviving and one of the oldest settlements in Milton Keynes.

V.I.P. Guests will enjoy an evening of culture and history brought imaginatively off the page, stepping back in time to meet famous ghostly characters who visited Woughton House.

The famous Dick Turpin, the highway man, King George the V. Oswald Blunt ACD to the king and a successful stockbroker. William Levi who’s death was caused by being thrown from his pony and trap in the nearby village of Finny Stratford.

The audience will witness swashbuckling sword fights, poetry & prose, medieval mysteries, dancing & fine dining.

For tickets call Amali Diaz on 07988767347 or email amali.diaz@accor.com

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War for Taleny intensifies

Posted: 15/05/18 by People Tower Ltd

Three in five employers with vacancies finding them difficult to fill, discovers CIPD.

Heightened demand for labour could leave many employers struggling to recruit talent in an increasingly competitive environment, research published today has warned.

The latest edition of the quarterly CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook (LMO), carried out in partnership with Adecco, revealed that net employment balance – which measures the difference between the proportion of employers that expect to increase staff levels over the next year and those who expect to decrease them – went from +16 to +25 in the second quarter of 2018, putting demand at its highest level since the CIPD began tracking it in 2013.

Does this worry you? It doesn’t need to, if you are struggling to fill a vacancy, give People Tower a call so they can help you: 07765 369396

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BCC comments on labour market figures

Posted: 15/05/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

BCC: Productivity decline sign that wage growth can’t be taken for granted

Commenting on the labour market figures for May 2018, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“With unemployment declining and employment levels continuing to rise, the latest data confirms that the labour market remains a bright spot for the UK economy. However, while the latest figures are likely to reinforce the MPC’s hawkish rhetoric, labour market data tends to lag behind the wider economy, so any broader weakening in economic conditions wouldn’t be expected to appear in the figures for some time.

“While regular earnings growth continues to marginally outpace inflation, the decline in UK productivity in the first quarter is a clear warning sign that positive real wage growth should not be taken for granted. While businesses are reporting some upward pressure on pay, sluggish productivity and high upfront business costs are restricting the extent to which wages are able to rise.

“More needs to be done to support firms looking to recruit and grow their business, including tackling the high input costs faced by businesses and addressing the chronic labour shortages that continue to undermine the UK growth prospects.”

Commenting on the labour productivity statistics, Suren added:

“The fall in the first quarter is disappointing and shows that the recent pick-up in productivity was relatively short lived. The decline in the quarter was driven by weaker than expected GDP growth outturn in Q1 and the recent pick-up in hours worked.

“The persistent weakness in UK productivity reflects the longstanding structural problems in our economy from a chronic skills shortage, to our creaking infrastructure and the escalating cost of doing business in the UK. Delivering solutions to these key business concerns would help boost investment and drive the productivity gains we need to boost the UK’s long-term growth potential.”

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BCC comments on labour market figures

Posted: 15/05/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

BCC: Productivity decline sign that wage growth can’t be taken for granted

Commenting on the labour market figures for May 2018, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“With unemployment declining and employment levels continuing to rise, the latest data confirms that the labour market remains a bright spot for the UK economy. However, while the latest figures are likely to reinforce the MPC’s hawkish rhetoric, labour market data tends to lag behind the wider economy, so any broader weakening in economic conditions wouldn’t be expected to appear in the figures for some time.

“While regular earnings growth continues to marginally outpace inflation, the decline in UK productivity in the first quarter is a clear warning sign that positive real wage growth should not be taken for granted. While businesses are reporting some upward pressure on pay, sluggish productivity and high upfront business costs are restricting the extent to which wages are able to rise.

“More needs to be done to support firms looking to recruit and grow their business, including tackling the high input costs faced by businesses and addressing the chronic labour shortages that continue to undermine the UK growth prospects.”

Commenting on the labour productivity statistics, Suren added:

“The fall in the first quarter is disappointing and shows that the recent pick-up in productivity was relatively short lived. The decline in the quarter was driven by weaker than expected GDP growth outturn in Q1 and the recent pick-up in hours worked.

“The persistent weakness in UK productivity reflects the longstanding structural problems in our economy from a chronic skills shortage, to our creaking infrastructure and the escalating cost of doing business in the UK. Delivering solutions to these key business concerns would help boost investment and drive the productivity gains we need to boost the UK’s long-term growth potential.”

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MSO Workspace for Wine Lovers!

Posted: 15/05/18 by MSO Workspace - Serviced Offices

​You’ve tried the gin - now get ready for the wine!

MSO Workspace - Lakeside House are happy to annouce that they are working with local wine distributor R & M Wines and DBFB to host a great event in aid of local KidsAid who are a local charity providing therapeutic support for children and young people who have suffered any form of trauma. They do this by providing Play Therapy, Art Therapy and Drama Therapy, as well as Protective Behaviours work and Child/Adult Relationship Counselling.

MSO Workspace are committed to networking, but with a difference. At MSO, they believe that networking shouldn’t be boring and should be original which is why they are doing wine tasting, and have done gin tasting in the past.

Make space in your diary for this free-to-attend Wine Tasting Networking Event on the 1st June 18:00-20:30, where you shall be testing beautiful wine, and eating some great nibbles.

There will be a business card raffle, with prizes ranging from a paintballing experience day, to a full-day Althorp Suite meeting room use at Lakeside House, and many more super prizes.

Book by heading to: http://tinyurl.com/msowinetasting or contact centre manager James Crick on mailto:james.crick@msoworkspace.com or by calling 07557 364715.
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Football app creators score at local business awards

Posted: 15/05/18 by Cranfield University

Creators of an app for football fans have been named as Most Enterprising Business of the Year at the 2018 SME Business Awards in Buckinghamshire.

Dan Bedi, Omar Abdel-Rahman and James Owen co-founded JAFA (Just A Fan’s Analysis), an app for football fans to get the latest news and views, during their MBA at Cranfield University. The trio built on Dan’s initial idea and developed it into a functioning business.

The free app, which aims to ‘put football back in the hands of the fans,’ enables users to personalise their experience based on how they engage with it. Dan believes this addresses the downsides of other alternatives currently available.

He said: “It was frustrating that users had to switch between several apps to obtain sports news, and had nowhere to discuss debate and engage digitally.

“With JAFA, we connect fans with fans, fans with content and fans with business. Using our algorithms, machine learning and some psychology, we provide a personalised and engaging experience for users.”

The Most Enterprising Business of the Year category looks for business owners to demonstrate a willingness to undertake new projects by showing initiative by constantly moving forward in the world of business.

Dan added: “We took a six-month tenancy at Cranfield University Incubation Centre (CUBIC), after completing our studies, to get our heads down and begin our business journey. We have now taken JAFA to the next level and have been accepted into a competitive accelerator programme in London. We are recruiting new talent to drive towards our next goals.”

Dr Stephanie Hussels, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Cranfield, mentored the budding businessmen during their studies. She said: “I am very proud of the team behind JAFA. They developed their idea as a result of a frustration they faced themselves, identified how they could build it to be something that wasn’t available on the market and turned it into a viable business – and all within 12 months!”

You can see more about JAFA and their story at www.jafaapp.com

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Local businesses get messy to support Cynthia Spencer Hospice

Posted: 15/05/18 by Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity

Several local businesses took the opportunity to get messy recently by sponsoring or taking part in Cynthia Spencer Hospice’s fourth annual Colour Run event held at Overstone Park.

Technocopy Solutions took the headline sponsor slot and a team from the business ran the 5K course along with around 600 other participants.

Brad Piercewright, managing director of Technocopy Solutions said: “We have supported Cynthia Spencer Hospice for many years now and sponsored the event last year so it was a natural choice for us to continue that support. A great number of my team took part in the run from the sales, service and admin departments, and my wife and children ran too. It’s a truly fantastic day and I hope everyone enjoyed it. We look forward to continuing to support the charity going forward”.

In fact, Brad has signed up to run the Northampton Half Marathon in September to raise money for the Hospice in memory of his mum and nan who both passed away at the Hospice. Anyone wishing to sponsor him can do so on his online fundraising page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brad-piercewright

The six coloured paint stations around the course were also sponsored by local businesses, Bluefish Office Supplies, dbfb, Ensafe, Lineham and Co Accountants, IWA, and Tower Leasing.

Jon Clements, commercial director of Ensafe Consultants which sponsored the yellow paint station, said: “We were delighted and proud to be a sponsor and also take part in this fantastic fundraiser. It was great so many of the team at Ensafe took part and we were thrilled to have collectively raised £1,500! The Colour Run is an amazing event in aid of a very worthwhile charity. Our sponsorship and participation is one of the many ways the business supports charities and good causes locally and nationwide.”

John Helm, fundraising manager at Cynthia Spencer Hospice said: “We’re enormously grateful to businesses like Technocopy Solutions for supporting our events through sponsorship. Their generosity, and that of our other sponsors, means that we can keep our costs low and ensure that our events generate as much money as possible for patient care at the Hospice. Having our sponsors and their families taking part adds to the fun of events like the Colour Run and helps create a wonderful community feeling as everyone is joining together to have fun while supporting their local Hospice”.

If any businesses are looking to partner with Cynthia Spencer Hospice either as sponsors or by adopting the Hospice as its Charity of the Year please contact John on 01604 973342 or by emailing mailto:john@cynthiaspencer.co.uk

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Fueling Success through Innovation - Google Digital Garage

Posted: 15/05/18 by Northamptonshire Growth Hub

The Growth Hub is joining forces with Google Digital Garage and Innovate UK to provide Northamptonshire businesses with an exciting opportunity to develop their digital and innovation skills.

One of the keys to any successful business, regardless of its size, is innovation. Developing new ideas is the fuel that will keep your business up to date and keep operations, products, and services fresh. Adding this fuel will strengthen your business and give that competitive advantage. And in this digital age who can afford to not keep up with the latest technologies.

At this half day event you will hear how to generate new ideas, create a culture of innovation and why collaboration works. You will be provided with insights and inspiration to become a successful innovative business.

Date and time: Wednesday, 27th June 2018 9am- 2pm

Location: iCon Innovation Centre Daventry

Link for bookings: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fueling-success-through-innovation-google-digital-garage-tickets-45977945272

There will also be the opportunity to meet like-minded entrepreneurs and create links that could help your business develop and grow.

This is event is FREE to attend and is open to Northamptonshire SMEs as part of the Growth Hub’s Innovate Northamptonshire Project which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund

Guest speakers include:

  • Google Digital Garage - Google Analytics: Know your Business with Data
  • Julian Bowrey – Regional Manager, South East and East Midlands at Innovate UK
  • Lou Palfreyman of Lou Palfreyman Consulting
  • Kamran Hussein – Regional Knowledge Transfer Partnership Adviser

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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MCN Festival of Motorcycling

Posted: 15/05/18 by Big Bear Outdoor

Big Bear Outdoor is delighted to be attending the MCN Festival of Motorcycling next weekend, 19 - 20 May.

Their stand is in the indoor atrium of East of England Arena and will have a Debon C300 box trailer and a Brenderup MC2 open trailer on display!

Please pop by to enter their free prize draw to win a Maypole heavy duty hitch lock and a Coupling Safe Hitchlock!

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Let’s Build a School

Posted: 15/05/18 by PGS Gifts Ltd

Let’s build a school…

Personalised Gifts Shop are teaming up with Jane, Richard, and Mick from Northampton to help them complete the building of a new four-classroom school, in Brufut, The Gambia. The school is run by volunteers and provides education, healthcare, nutritional supplements and hygiene instruction to over 200 boys and girls.

This project will bring life-changing hope to them all.

Personalised Gifts Shop would like to invite you to join them and enjoy a lovely fundraising BBQ & Disco on the 26th of May 2018, 4pm, at the Windmill Pub in Northampton.

You would be able to see most of their products on sale just for a £1 at the event, as they support such a noble cause.

Tickets are only £6 each and all funds raised will go directly to the school. You can purchase tickets on arrival.

Go on, let’s build a school together.

#letsbuildaschool #dogood #fundraising #charity #strongertogether #personalisedgiftsshop

Event details: https://bit.ly/2rAnpwN

Gambia School Support (UK registered charity 1176136)

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ISO 9001:2015 Awareness Training for the special rate of £200

Posted: 15/05/18 by Intertek

Intertek Academy is pleased to invite Chamber members to attend a one-day training course providing an overview of the changes and requirements of ISO 9001:2015, for the special rate of £200.

Date: May 24th 2017

Location: Intertek, 12 Davy Avenue, Milton Keynes MK5 8NL

Description:

This one-day interactive ISO 9001:2015 Introduction Training Course will give you an overview on the changes from ISO 9001:2008. Through discussion and workshops, we will discuss what the differences between ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015 Standards are, provide an overview of the ISO 9001:2015 requirements, the impacts of the changes on your organisation and audits.

The following topics will be covered in this course:

  • Agenda Overview of the ISO 9001:2015 Standard
  • Reasons for the changes
  • Overview of the significant changes
  • Impact of the changes on your organisation and audits

Who Should Attend:

This course is valuable for delegates involved in the planning and implementation of ISO 9001:2015 quality management systems.

Prerequisites:

A basic understanding of the ISO 9001 standard.

Places are strictly limited and will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

To book your place, please contact Gary Beales.

Email: mailto:gary.beales@intertek.com

Tel: +44 1908 857768

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Nurses out in force at Kettering for Nursing Day celebration

Posted: 15/05/18 by The University of Northampton

University of Northampton staff and students were out in force at one of the University’s key health partners to help celebrate nursing.

Although 12th May is the official International Nurses Day, there have been events throughout the week. As part of the global activities, Kettering General Hospital (KGH) hosted a day where nurses and student nurses spoke about their achievements over the past year.

Staff members from the University of Northampton’s Adult and Child nursing courses joined them to talk about their academic and professional progress and talking about what University of Northampton has to offer students.

After an introduction from KGH’s new chief executive Simon Weldon, the hospital officially launched its new Nursing and Midwifery Framework of Excellence.

University of Northampton’s students were among those talking about their nursing journey over the past 12 months.

Cindy O’Dell, subject lead for adult nursing at University of Northampton, was one of the staff members in attendance: “International Nursing Day is all about celebrating the uniqueness of nursing and promoting the privilege, science, compassion and support nurses give and receive from their relationship with patients and their families.

“We were more than happy to take part in KGH’s part in the world-wide celebrations as their support of our students and the learning experiences they offer them throughout Kettering are hugely beneficial to future nurses.”

For more about Adult Nursing at University of Northampton, click here.

For more about Child Nursing at University of Northampton, click here.

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Auto firms must use working capital to accelerate self-financing, says PwC

Posted: 15/05/18 by PwC LLP

· Working capital performance across original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sector deteriorated by 11% year on year

· In contrast, non-OEM working capital performance improved by 2% year on year, resulting in a five-year uplift of 8%

· UK automotive companies are generally outperforming their European counterparts, mainly driven by lower stock levels and higher levels of days payable outstanding

The rapidly changing automotive sector is failing to unlock as much as €215bn in much needed funds from its balance sheets due to inefficient working capital management (WCM) according to a new report from PwC - Cash for Change: working capital trends in the automotive sector.

This is despite facing an unprecedented and comprehensive need for reorganisation in response to the fourth industrial revolution and the rapid evolution electrified, autonomous, shared and connected vehicles.

While across the UK and Europe around €92bn is waiting to be unleashed, the report authors have recognised that during 2017, key UK automotive sector companies have been generally outperforming their European counterparts, mainly driven by lower stock inventory levels and higher days payables outstanding levels.

Cara Haffey, UK automotive and industrial manufacturing leader at PwC, based in the Midlands said: “Last year, UK vehicle engine production reached record levels, up almost 7% on the previous 12 months, and car exports were at a historic high with 1.33m - or c.80% of those produced - leaving our shores for other markets.

“We’ve also seen an increasing focus on technology, with the UK Government’s industrial strategy, new safety features and connectivity gadgets being developed, autonomous vehicle trials underway and sales of electric vehicles growing by almost 10% on the previous year. Responding to this rapid gear shift in activity takes not just strategic acumen but an agile cash flow.

“If we are to be at the forefront of this technological race, it’s vital that UK automotive companies stop regarding their working capital simply as an overdraft and, instead, consider it as their first port of call for funding investment in their business.

“This approach could be especially useful at a time when auto companies are looking to invest in fleet electrification and developments around connected mobility. For many automotive organisations, the cash to fund these investments is already sitting in their business as working capital. It’s time to release it.”

According to the report, significant gaps are also emerging between the OEM and Non-OEM sector. This has partly been driven by different business models and customer base - but there are also fundamental differences in their approach to working capital and management of cash.

The report analysis also shows that:

· OEMs have as much as €84bn tied up with non-OEM businesses holding on to €131bn.

· Working capital performance across original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sector deteriorated by 11% year on year. This is mainly driven by increasing number of days sales outstanding (DSO) and a 9% rise - and five year high - in days inventories on-hand (DIO), which is how long it takes a company to convert inventory to sales.

· Non-OEM working capital performance improved by 2% year on year, resulting in a five year uplift of 8%.

· Consolidation, supply chain streamlining and global sourcing programmes alongside a stronger focus on procurement helped to deliver a 18% uplift in days payables outstanding (DPO) across the non-OEM sector.

· Across non-OEM firms, body and interior suppliers managed to achieve the best DSO levels.

According to Rob Kortman, working capital management partner, PwC UK, success comes to those businesses with an embedded cash culture and clear key performance indicators. He said: “During our analysis, we found that only a quarter (24%) of finance time is spent on insight-generating activities - time that could be spent helping business functions better understand the cash impacts of their commercial and operational decisions.

“As our report found, taking steps to further improve working capital practices and implement the necessary disciplines throughout the business could release a cash prize of up to €92bn across the European automotive industry.

“In a highly competitive and rapidly evolving market, it’s critical for all companies to recognise the importance of enhancing their performance in this arena.”

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The Rockingham International Horse Trials

Posted: 15/05/18 by Lamb & Holmes Solicitors

Lamb & Holmes Solicitors are one of the main sponsors of the Rockingham International Horse Trials, an exciting event which takes place from Friday 18th May until Sunday 20th May 2018 on Rockingham’s great park with beautiful views over the Welland Valley.

Having sponsored the trials during previous years, this is an excellent opportunity for Lamb & Holmes to support such a well-regarded local event, which appeals to horse enthusiasts both from the local area and further afield.

Over the three days there will be a variety of cross country, dressage and show jumping classes and alongside the eventing, there is also a wide range of arena events, to include the Durbarry Burghley Young Event Horse 4 year old and 5 year old qualifying classes, the Pony Club Team Show Jumping and Riding Club Team Show Jumping.

There will also be many trade stands selling everything from high quality equestrian products, country wear, gifts and fashion accessories. To include a range of information and charitable stands supporting countryside charities and local organisations.

As a local firm, Lamb & Holmes are proud to be a part of this outstanding event which seems to grow in popularity each year, with this year set to be the best yet.

For further information on the legal services that Lamb & Holmes can provide please visit http://www.lambandholmes.com or alternatively please contact our Kettering office on 01536 513 195 or our Corby office on 01536 745 168 dependent on your location.

For further information on the Rockingham International Horse Trials, the website address is http://www.rockinghamcastlehorsetrials.com/.

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Mascots unite for Hospice Scooterthon

Posted: 14/05/18 by Willen Hospice

MK’s fluffiest fundraisers are gearing up for the Willen Hospice Mini Moo Scooterthon, taking place this Sunday, 20 May.

Mascots Gully Mouse from Gulliver’s Land, Charlie Monkey from Safari MK, Pucky from MK Lightening and Donny from MK Dons will join the Hospice’s own Florence the Cow at the event to show their support to over a hundred local children who will be taking a sponsored spin around Willen Lake North.

The event starts at 10.30am from just outside the Hospice on Willen Lake North and is open to children aged between three and 11 years old. Online registration is open until this Thursday, or families can register in person on the day.

Events Fundraiser, Gemma Cantwell, said: “Scooterthon is such a fun event, and a really great way for children to get involved and do something to support their local hospice.

“We love being able to bring these events to a younger audience. We hope lots of local families will come down and join us on Sunday.”

The scoot follows a one mile circular route around the lake. Children can do one or two laps but must be accompanied by an adult throughout.

There will be medals and goodies for everyone who takes part, as well as a celebration party at Safari MK for children who raise more than £100 for the Hospice.

The charity needs to raise £4.7 million from the local community every year to ensure they can continue to offer end of life care to patients in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. Events like Scooterthon are a great way for the public to support the Hospice.

To sign up visit www.willen-hospice.org.uk/scooterthon

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Howes Percival expands corporate law team with Milton Keynes appointment

Posted: 14/05/18 by Howes Percival

Leading regional law firm Howes Percival has expanded its Milton Keynes office with the appointment of Rachel McCullough as an associate in its corporate and commercial team.

Rachelwas previously at Henmans Solicitors. Rachel advises on a full range of corporate and commercial issues including commercial contracts (supply of goods and services, manufacturing, franchise, agency and distribution), governance and structure, commercial risk management, due diligence, commercial structure arrangements with third parties, partnership, collaboration and joint venture arrangements, business purchases and bespoke and transactional arrangements.

Howes Percival’s corporate team has reported a significant increase in new instructions of late. Earlier this year, the team played a key role in the sale of cider maker Aspall to American brewing giant, Molson Coors and advised Mazars Financial Planning on the acquisition of chartered financial planning firm, RCL Consultancy Limited. The firm also completed a series of transactions in the refinancing sector with a total deal value in excess of £200 million.

Commenting on the appointment, Edward Lee, a partner in Howes Percival’s corporate and commercial team said, “I’m delighted to welcome Rachel to Howes Percival, she is extremely experienced at advising on all aspects of corporate and commercial work and her expertise will be invaluable to our growing list of clients.”

“The corporate and commercial team is flying at the moment and has had a tremendous couple of years with a notable increase in the volume and quality of new instructions. We’re still seeing significant deal flow from both UK and international intermediaries and clients. The increase in the quality of work is an endorsement of the investment we’ve made in our corporate team and our ability to work across offices to deliver the best service for clients.”

Howes Percival’s Milton Keynes office provides a full-service legal offering. In addition to corporate and commercial, the office specialises in IP/IT work, employment law, commercial property, property litigation and high net worth family and private client work.

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Charity looks for sponsors for its first awards ceremony

Posted: 14/05/18 by Daddys with Angels

An international charity is looking for sponsors for its first awards ceremony.

Daddys with Angels was launched by Paul Scully-Sloan after the sudden death of his one-year-old son Travers James Scully-Sloan from an infection.

Initially the group was set up to provide a safe place for male family members to open up following the loss of a child or children and whilst this still remains the organisation’s primary aim it also offers support to anyone suffering emotional distress as a result of a bereavement.

Next year it will host its first ever Angel Community Awards to recognise parents and professionals who have gone above and beyond to provide support to families.

Paul said: “We’re hosting these awards to raise awareness of child loss and to get people talking about the subject.

“We found that many similar awards tend to focus on families who have lost babies so we wanted to set up an awards that recognise families that have lost children of all ages. Every loss matters and we want to show families there is support available to them.”

The awards will take place at the Park Inn Northampton on 4 May 2019.

The categories include Inspirational Male Family Member, Inspirational Female Family Member, Individual Overcoming Diversity, Dedicated Nurse, Best Hospital Bereavement Support, Best Pastoral Care, Best UK Bereavement Organisation, Outstanding Angel Community Crafter, Most Supportive Funeral Director, Outstanding Child Loss Community Volunteer and Organiser’s Award.

Paul added: “We have a range of sponsorship opportunities available to enable businesses to share their organisation or brand with others whilst supporting this very special event.”

Call: 075136 55134

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James Haskell signs for Northampton Saints

Posted: 14/05/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Northampton Saints are delighted to today confirm the signing of England international and British & Irish Lion James Haskell from Wasps.

The back-row forward has put pen to paper on a one-year deal at Franklin’s Gardens, becoming Saints’ seventh signing ahead of the 2018/19 season.

Haskell made over 200 appearances in a 12-year career at Northampton’s Aviva Premiership rivals Wasps, splitting two spells at the club with stints across the globe at Stade Français, Ricoh Black Rams, and the Highlanders – playing on almost every stage world rugby has to offer.

But Haskell has also excelled at international level for over a decade, earning 77 caps to date for England and getting called up to the 2017 British & Irish Lions squad that toured New Zealand – playing against a Hurricanes side led by Saints’ new director of rugby Chris Boyd.

“I’m really excited and humbled to be joining a giant of English rugby in Northampton Saints,” said Haskell.

“Having had the opportunity to play against them for many years now, I know this is a Club with a proud history and a set of passionate and loyal supporters who always make their presence felt.

“It’s no secret that I want to continue my international career for as long as possible; the only way I can do that is by putting my best foot forward in club rugby and helping Saints fight their way back into contention for silverware.

“There’s a real buzz around Franklin’s Gardens at the moment with the arrival of Chris Boyd, a new coaching team being put in place and a number of top-quality players also joining the squad. I can’t wait to get started in Black, Green and Gold.”

Standing at 6ft 4in and 118kgs, Haskell can play in any of the three positions across the back-row and brings a wealth of experience to Saints’ squad having won both the Premiership and Heineken Cup titles at Wasps.

With England, Haskell has been selected for two Rugby World Cups and won three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam in 2016 – the same year he was named ‘Man of the Series’ in the Red Rose’s whitewash of the Wallabies in Australia.

“We’re thrilled to have captured James’ signature for next season, as he’s a player that can bring so much to Saints,” said Northampton’s new director of rugby Boyd.

“Not only is he a superb leader with bags of experience at the very highest level, but James is clearly still extremely hungry to win trophies in club and international rugby.

“His record speaks for itself and I have no doubt that he will be an excellent fit for Northampton, both in the side and within the Club.”

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Central Foods extends its savoury vegan and gluten-free range

Posted: 14/05/18 by Central Foods Ltd

Frozen food distributor Central Foods has boosted its free-from range with the addition of two new savoury items.

Both products are gluten-free and suitable for vegans – helping food service operators to satisfy the increasing demand from diners with specific dietary requirements.

The announcement of the launch comes during National Vegetarian Week and Coeliac Awareness Week, which both run from 14th to 20th May.

“Demand for both vegan and gluten-free options has grown significantly in recent times, and the latest additions to the Central Foods range have been selected carefully to appeal to diners who are looking for either option, or both, as well as being attractive to diners generally,” said Gordon Lauder, MD of frozen food distributor Central Foods.

“Having pre-prepared frozen items to hand that are suitable for those looking for free-from options is extremely useful for caterers. It will ensure outlets avoid being caught out by unexpected demand and that they can fulfil customers’ expectations.”

The Menuserve Cauliflower and Lentil Dhal Bundt® with Spiced Mango Chutney and the Menuserve Cajun Spiced Sweet Potato Roulade with Vegan Cream Cheese, Red Pepper and Black Bean Salsa, are both centre-of-the-plate items, which give good plate coverage and height.

“They are really tasty and suitable for anyone looking for something a bit different when eating out, not just vegans and free-from diners,” said Gordon.

The products come in frozen individual portions, so are a consistent size and shape every time, but both have an attractive artisan appearance. Cook the Menuserve Cauliflower and Lentil Dhal Bundt® with Spiced Mango Chutney in just 3.5 minutes in a combi microwave/oven, or the Menuserve Cajun Spiced Sweet Potato Roulade with Vegan Cream Cheese, Red Pepper and Black Bean Salsa in just 2.5 minutes.

“The statistics show that increasing numbers of people are opting for gluten-free and vegan diets and lifestyles, whether for health or other reasons, and we also know that flexitarianism is becoming more popular, with people cutting down on meat,” added Gordon.

“Market research company Kantar Worldpanel found that more than a quarter and almost a third of the evening meals consumed in the UK during January 2018 were vegetarian or vegan. It makes good sense for foodservice operators to serve items that will appeal to a wide range of diners, which is why we have launched these two new versatile products.”

Based in Northamptonshire, 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, desserts and puddings.

For more information about Central Foods, visit www.centralfoods.co.uk

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Stress management

Posted: 14/05/18 by Stephen Limbert Wealth Management

How can employers play a greater role in supporting the mental health of their employees?

The focus for Mental Health Awareness Week (14–20 May) is stress. The campaign aims to understand how many of us are living with high levels of stress and what the triggers are.

Research by the Mental Health Foundation has shown that two thirds of adults experience a mental health problem in their lifetimes.1 Work is a big part of most adults’ lives – and therefore the workplace is a key setting for understanding and addressing the problem.

Work-related stress, and mental health in general, is a growing concern for employers. Indeed, two fifths of businesses have reported an increase in mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, among staff.2 Yet despite growing awareness of the importance of good workplace mental health and wellbeing, many employees are reluctant to talk about mental health issues. For instance, 45% of employees who take time off work due to their mental health give another reason for their absence.3 There may, therefore, be a greater need for employers to appreciate how to manage mental ill health sensitively. This requires taking a different approach than they might with other forms of illness.

Getting more sleep, improving our diet and taking more exercise can all help us protect and improve our mental health. But where employers can support and incentivise these activities with employee benefits, it is likely that workplace mental health will improve.

As part of their cover, many ‘employee assistance programmes’ (EAPs) offer cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling to support psychological wellbeing. These programmes can provide invaluable support to those with one or several issues, whether those relate to work, legal matters, relationships, money or health. Moreover, proactive and preventative services provided through EAPs have been shown to be highly effective. Employee benefits provider Unum says that counselling provided through its programme improves mental health for 92% of its users.4
Offering this kind of support should be combined with providing managers, and employees themselves, with the skills and autonomy to deal with the causes of stress within their teams, so as to improve employees’ health, job satisfaction and productivity. But perhaps the most important insight for employers to recognise when it comes to the management of work-related stress is that there is no single solution to the problem. No two employees – or indeed organisations – are the same, and therefore responses need to be tailored to the specific risks and needs of a workforce.

Deloitte calculates that the return on investment in workplace mental health intervention averages £4.20 for every £1 spent.5

There are several steps employers can take to address the causes and symptoms of stress in the workplace:

Culture
Working practices
Communication
Managers
Internal support

  • Develop a mental health policy – having a concrete policy reassures employees that their company cares about employee wellbeing.
  • Create a culture of openness and awareness by encouraging people to talk about mental health.
  • Encourage staff to take regular breaks away from their desks and get out of the office to reduce stress.
  • Review job descriptions to make sure these set out clear and realistic expectations of staff. If not, this gap might contribute to, or even cause, distress amongst employees.
  • Where possible, allow flexible working, and accommodations for all staff to work from home – during a period of stress or worry, coming in to the office could aggravate illness. Give employees the option to work from home if they need to be in more relaxed surroundings.
  • Use staff newsletters, posters in communal areas, and other internal communications to raise awareness of mental health.
  • Conduct regular staff surveys to take a temperature check on wellbeing and feed back the results and any progress to staff.
  • Make sure staff know what support is available through your intranet, noticeboard or employee handbook and find opportunities throughout the year to remind people what is available and how to access it.
  • Provide training and resources for managers or a member of your team to empower them to spot the signs of mental ill health. If employees know someone is knowledgeable about mental health matters, they may feel more comfortable in coming forward to discuss any problems they have at work, or even at home.
  • Make sure managers spend time with staff and get to know them – this makes it easier to spot when they’re struggling or behaving uncharacteristically at work.
  • Provide accessible guidance on how to manage stress.
  • Create a peer-to-peer support system so people can talk with colleagues about their concerns.
  • Consider providing an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) for additional support for staff if they’re having difficulties, whether inside or outside the workplace. EAPs can offer a range of services, often including face-to-face counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.

For more help and information on mental health support in the workplace, take a look at Unum’s mental health hub.


1 Mental Health Foundation, The state of the UK’s mental health, 2017
2 CIPD, Absence Management, 2016
3 Mental Health Foundation, Unum and Oxford Economics, Added Value: Mental health as a workplace asset, November 2016
4 www.unum.co.uk/media/counselling-provided-by-unums-eap-improves-mental-health-for-92-percent-of-users, March 2018
5 www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/public-sector/deloitte-uk-mental-health-employers-monitor-deloitte-oct-2017.pdf, October 2017

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From here to Shangri-La: the study trip of a lifetime

Posted: 11/05/18 by The University of Northampton

Students at the University of Northampton immersed themselves in ancient Chinese culture on a study trip to China’s Yunnan province.

Eight International Development students stayed in the picturesque town of Lijiang, situated next to Shangri-La City – famously named after the mythical paradise.

The aim of the trip was to discover more about the politics of heritage tourism in other cultures.

A UNESCO world heritage site, Lijiang is home to the Naxi community, a local minority culture that is protected and promoted to international and domestic tourists.

While in Lijiang, students were accompanied by three students from the Communication University of China (CUC) and two local Naxi guides. This exclusive entourage granted the students’ access to local ceremonies and activities that tourists would normally not have the opportunity to experience.

The students witnessed a Naxi wedding ceremony, studied ancient Dongba script and visited the homes of famous Naxi artists and musicians. They travelled to the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to watch the iconic ‘Lijiang impressions show’ which is choreographed by Chinese film director, Zhang Yimou, and shows local minority historical roles and lifestyles
with the help of 500 performers.

This trip comes as the University continues to build strong links with China, and a planned visit to the University by the CUC students later this year will complete the cultural exchange.

Alison Hulme, Lecturer in International Development, said: “This was a truly inspirational trip. We feel so privileged to be shown a glimpse of the Naxi people’s way of life – and it has completely opened our students’ eyes to other cultures and traditions.

“Our fabulous guides and students who met us in Lijiang, brought crucial local knowledge to the trip and provided important help in translating. This will further develop the University’s relations with China and has also built strong bonds between our students and the Chinese students, and we look forward to welcoming them when they visit Northampton in July.”

Second year International Development student, Mima Moyo, said: “I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity by the University, it was honestly the trip of a lifetime. The highlight of the trip was being able to immerse myself in the culture of the Naxi and explore the beautiful Old Town.”

Jake, third year student, said: “I loved seeing the Lijiang impressions show and visiting the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. I felt we had formed a bond with our guides that went beyond them being translators and tour guides. I’ve done lots of things that I would never imagine myself doing, but even more so, it’s made me want to go back to Lijiang and other parts of
China in the future.”

For more information on our International Development course, visit the course page.

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Colours of the World - singing competition to celebrate Northampton’s diversity

Posted: 11/05/18 by Northampton Borough Council

A ‘pitch perfect’ styled singing competition is to be held at The Deco Theatre this summer to celebrate the town’s talent and diversity.

Organised by Northampton Borough Council and The Deco Theatre, the Colours of the World competition aims to bring communities together in song on Wednesday, 20 June.

The competition, which is open to all school, community and charity singing groups, quartets, trios and duos, will see singers from all backgrounds battle it out in front of a live audience from 6.30pm.

With entries for the competition now open, choirs and singing groups are being encouraged to put themselves forward for the chance to perform.

The winning act will not only be presented with the Colours of the World perennial shield but they will also win tickets to see The Deco’s 2018 pantomime, Cinderella, on Thursday, 13 December and meet the cast after the show.

Cllr Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “We are really excited to be working in partnership with The Deco Theatre to introduce this brand new event in Northampton.

“We know that Northampton has a lot of talented singing groups, from all different backgrounds, and we look forward to bringing everyone together, to celebrate the town’s diversity with this annual event.”

Let us hear what you can do! Groups can find out more information and enter the free competition at https://www.thedeco.co.uk/cotw/

Entries close on Friday, 18 May. Tickets to watch the competition are also available for £5 each, with under 5’s entering for free. To book please call 01604 491005.

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A weekend of firsts at Rockingham

Posted: 11/05/18 by Rockingham Motor Speedway Ltd

IT’S a series of firsts at Rockingham this weekend (May 12/13) when the Northamptonshire circuit hosts its inaugural 24-hour race meeting.

Dominating the two-day British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) programme is the Trade Team Citroen C1 Challenge 24hr endurance race, which gets underway at 17:00 on Saturday (May 12) and continues non-stop until the following day.

The event not only marks the organisations’ maiden visit to the circuit but it is also a historic milestone for Rockingham as it is the first 24hr race to be held at the venue since it opened its doors 17-years ago.

To celebrate the landmark Rockingham has entered its own race team, which is another first for the circuit. Chief Executive and former historic racing driver, Peter Hardman, heads up Team Rockingham, which has five members, all of whom either work or have connections to the venue.

This is the first time C1 Racing Club has held a 24hr race in the UK for more than a decade, and when launched earlier this year, proved so popular places were snapped up fast attracting some top names across the world of motorsport.

Due to its huge popularity, a three-hour Citroen C1 Challenge race will be held prior to the main event on Saturday to accommodate all the teams which missed out on a place in the 24hr event. Both races will be held on the International Super Sports Car Circuit.

Also on the BARC bill is the awesome Pickup Truck Championship, which will not only be making its first visit to Rockingham this season but also holding its debut race on the International Super Sports Car Circuit!

More at home on Europe’s fastest racing circuit and the UK’s only banked-oval, the Pickup Trucks will be following in the slip stream of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship drivers for the first time in 15 years of racing at the venue.

The Pickup Trucks will be out first on Saturday morning to qualify before two 18-lap races in the afternoon. With a grid of 23, which includes eight rookie drivers, and only four who have raced on the Rockingham infield, this is going to be one you will not want to miss!

For more information about the Pickup Truck Racing visit www.pickuptruckracing.com or follow the race series on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pickuptruckracing) or Twitter (@PickupRacing).

Advance tickets can be booked online at www.rockingham.co.uk or via the hotline on 01536 500500, option 1, until midday tomorrow (Friday, May 11). Adult tickets cost just £12, while children and 15 and under get in FREE. Tickets will also be available on the gate priced £16 per day.

Gates open at 08:00 and track action starts from 09:00. As always at Rockingham all tickets include access to a grandstand seat offering panoramic views of the entire circuit, the pit garage roof and race paddock, which means there are no hidden costs.

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CML employees honoured for their long service

Posted: 11/05/18 by CML Ltd

End to end logistics expert, Core Management Logistics (CML), is proud to announce that it has recently praised six employees who have served the company for over 10 years.

As part of this annual tradition which began in 2007, the six employees were invited to a celebratory lunch with the directors held at its headquarters in Lutterworth as a thank you for their years of service and dedication to the company. Each of the employees received £125 worth of vouchers and a certificate presented by Managing Director, Mark Webb.

A spokesman said: “Our employees are our greatest asset and with CML’s continued investment in training and development, it benefits from an empowered and customer centric team that continually drives the business forward. Holding such an event is just one way of rewarding our employees and demonstrating that we are living our core values.”

Since the tradition was established 77 employees at CML have been part of these awards which CML is very proud of. The lunch also gives the employees the opportunity to discuss with the directors what they enjoy most about their role, what keeps them motivated to achieve the 10 years’ service award and if they were MD for a day what they would change which definitely kept the conversation flowing!

The employees who were recognised were: John Brown, Tarak Mormech, Darren Allton, Roberto Serrano, Shaun Pierce and Devon Wilson.

For more information about CML or to find out more about its services, please visit, http://www.cmlplc.com or call 01455 200 700.

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Prosper’s 1st Anniversary - A year in review

Posted: 10/05/18 by Prosper

Formed in May 2017, Prosper fused two businesses from different disciplines and locations - an architectural practice in Milton Keynes with a design studio in Harpenden. The aim was to combine the creative retail expertise of Studio Tait with the practical delivery skills of 3d Architects, providing an end-to-end service under one roof.

2017’s Retail Expo was a poignant moment as the new Prosper team stepped out into the design world for the first time, officially launching the studio’s brand and creative solutions for the retail sector. We were met with curiosity, enthusiasm and positivity from consumers and traders alike.

With the merging of expertise, it made sense to invest in a shared workspace that would allow everyone at Prosper to contribute their ideas and strengths to projects. And so began the office renovation and extension.

With building work going on around employees, the team had to overcome the complex planning issues that often confront architectural projects involving historic buildings.

By September, staff finally moved in to Water End Barns marking the occasion with a summer BBQ in the newly renovated courtyard. The result is an inspiring and collaborative new studio that has been shaped by employees, and which facilitates the sharing of skills, creative processes and rationale between teams.

September also marked the completion of The Lexicon Shopping Centre in Bracknell, a project that Prosper’s retail delivery team had been working on since October 2016. A £240m development, the Lexicon has revitalised over 60% of the town centre, making way for 70 new shops and restaurants. An exemplar scheme, it will prove significant in inspiring future ideas on revitalising other town centres in a desolate state.

October brought with it a double celebration. The news that Architectural Assistant Ben Mason had successfully graduated to a fully chartered architect, a qualification that isn’t handed out lightly. His achievement reaffirmed Prosper’s principle to invest in the talent that will drive the future of the company.

This was shortly followed by Prosper obtaining its first accolade at the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, winning the Best Casual Dining category for Nelson’s Diner, an American drive-thru themed restaurant. The awards are recognised as the foremost competition dedicated to the design of food and beverage spaces and is attended by over 7600 of the UK and world’s best designers.

A great moment for the team, this brought the Autumn to a close along with the completed architectural works for fast-fashion client Primark and premium French opticians Acuitis at their stores within the newly opened Oxford Newgate Shopping Centre.

Fast forward to January/February 2018 and Prosper once again attended the Retail Summit, meeting businesses in the retail, hospitality and sports sectors. The team also helped project management and construction firm Lendlease on the International Quarter (IQL) project in Stratford, a new destination to live, work learn and play. The team completed the design and installation of the visitor centre within IQL’s ‘Pavilion’, the main public hub for the development, comprising a café, retail units, pop-up food and drink units and a roof garden.

This led to a busy March working for international client Maisons du Monde, implementing their shop-in-shop concept in Debenhams’ three flagship UK stores. A big project to be delivered within a short time frame, but all achieved within three months.

At the same time, the team entered an 8-week charity competition raising valuable funds for Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes. The studio was taken over by flower arranging, car washing and pizza eating, all of which raised over £3900 for the charity.

April soon arrived and the team worked on its latest project for fast-fashion brand Quiz, implementing their store in Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, another flagship for the brand.

A spokesman said: “As we approach our first birthday we have much to reflect on and look forward to, continuing to build our relationships, grow and evolve – but remembering always to keep our creations relevant, brave and unexpected.”

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Prepare, cook & eat a Goan curry banquet at Bay Tree Cottage

Posted: 10/05/18 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

At June’s Curry Club Rashmita will be showing you how to create a Goan Curry, a mild Indian-style dish that is spicy rather than hot, served together with Goan Potatoes, rice and kachumber, plus the traditional Rotli (Indian Flatbread) which you will have to bake yourself!

With audience participation definitely encouraged, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get involved with this hands-on cookery tutorial! You’ll leave with comprehensive recipes and cooking instructions so you can recreate the dishes at home to wow your friends and family!

The event will take place on Friday 1 June from 7-9pm and costs £24.50pp.

Visit: http://www.btcworkshops.co.uk/curry-club-1-june-2018.html

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BCC comments on Bank of England’s Super Thursday

Posted: 10/05/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the Bank of England inflation report and interest rate decision published on ‘Super Thursday’, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The decision to keep interest rates on hold, while unsurprising, was the right decision given the loss of momentum suffered by the UK economy in the first quarter and the downgrade to their 2018 GDP growth forecast. That said, the limited lowering of its GDP growth and inflation forecasts over 2019 and 2020, and the hawkish tone of the minutes from the latest MPC meeting, suggest that the prospect of an interest rate rise this year looks to have been delayed, rather than discarded.

“In our view the Bank of England remains too bullish about the UK’s growth prospects over the next few years despite their downgrade to the 2018 forecast, which is now in line with our own outlook. Similarly, business investment is likely to be more sluggish than the Bank of England is currently forecasting, with the cost of doing business in the UK likely to weigh on investment decisions. Similarly, the contribution of net trade to UK GDP growth is likely to be more limited than suggested by the central bank’s latest forecast. While UK export growth is likely to remain strong, imports are likely to grow at a faster rate than the bank expects with little evidence of significant import substitution. We currently expect that UK interest rates will rise to 0.75% this year, possibly as early as August.

“With UK economic conditions subdued and inflation weakening however, the case for a rate hike continues to look limited at best. The preferred option would be for the MPC to opt for a sustained period of monetary stability. While interest rates will need to be normalised at some point, it should be done slowly so as not to weaken the UK’s growth prospects.

“Instead there should be a greater focus on lifting the UK out of its current low growth trajectory, including incentivising greater business investment and addressing the escalating burden of upfront costs facing UK firms.”

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BCC comments on Bank of England’s Super Thursday

Posted: 10/05/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the Bank of England inflation report and interest rate decision published on ‘Super Thursday’, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The decision to keep interest rates on hold, while unsurprising, was the right decision given the loss of momentum suffered by the UK economy in the first quarter and the downgrade to their 2018 GDP growth forecast. That said, the limited lowering of its GDP growth and inflation forecasts over 2019 and 2020, and the hawkish tone of the minutes from the latest MPC meeting, suggest that the prospect of an interest rate rise this year looks to have been delayed, rather than discarded.

“In our view the Bank of England remains too bullish about the UK’s growth prospects over the next few years despite their downgrade to the 2018 forecast, which is now in line with our own outlook. Similarly, business investment is likely to be more sluggish than the Bank of England is currently forecasting, with the cost of doing business in the UK likely to weigh on investment decisions. Similarly, the contribution of net trade to UK GDP growth is likely to be more limited than suggested by the central bank’s latest forecast. While UK export growth is likely to remain strong, imports are likely to grow at a faster rate than the bank expects with little evidence of significant import substitution. We currently expect that UK interest rates will rise to 0.75% this year, possibly as early as August.

“With UK economic conditions subdued and inflation weakening however, the case for a rate hike continues to look limited at best. The preferred option would be for the MPC to opt for a sustained period of monetary stability. While interest rates will need to be normalised at some point, it should be done slowly so as not to weaken the UK’s growth prospects.

“Instead there should be a greater focus on lifting the UK out of its current low growth trajectory, including incentivising greater business investment and addressing the escalating burden of upfront costs facing UK firms.”

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BCC comments on trade statistics

Posted: 10/05/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the trade statistics for March 2018, released today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The narrowing in the UK’s trade deficit in the quarter is a welcome improvement from the weaker performance in the previous quarter, and mainly reflects a fall in goods imports from non-EU countries. However, short term trade data is often subject to significant revisions and should be treated with caution.

“Despite the narrowing in the UK’s trade deficit in the first quarter, with the construction sector in recession and manufacturing output slowing, this is further confirmation that the UK’s economic performance in the opening months of 2018 has been underwhelming.

“While export activity remains strong amid improving global trading conditions, the UK’s net trade position is likely to remain under pressure from strong import growth, with little sign that businesses or consumers are switching away from imports towards domestic alternatives, despite their higher cost.

“As a consequence, the lack of import substitution is likely to limit trade’s contribution to UK economic growth over the near term and means that a sustained rebalancing of the UK economy remains a long way off.

“More needs to be done to help firms compete on the global stage by addressing the longstanding issues, from the UK’s skills gap to our creaking digital and physical infrastructure, that continue to undermine the UK’s trade potential.”

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BCC comments on trade statistics

Posted: 10/05/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the trade statistics for March 2018, released today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The narrowing in the UK’s trade deficit in the quarter is a welcome improvement from the weaker performance in the previous quarter, and mainly reflects a fall in goods imports from non-EU countries. However, short term trade data is often subject to significant revisions and should be treated with caution.

“Despite the narrowing in the UK’s trade deficit in the first quarter, with the construction sector in recession and manufacturing output slowing, this is further confirmation that the UK’s economic performance in the opening months of 2018 has been underwhelming.

“While export activity remains strong amid improving global trading conditions, the UK’s net trade position is likely to remain under pressure from strong import growth, with little sign that businesses or consumers are switching away from imports towards domestic alternatives, despite their higher cost.

“As a consequence, the lack of import substitution is likely to limit trade’s contribution to UK economic growth over the near term and means that a sustained rebalancing of the UK economy remains a long way off.

“More needs to be done to help firms compete on the global stage by addressing the longstanding issues, from the UK’s skills gap to our creaking digital and physical infrastructure, that continue to undermine the UK’s trade potential.”

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Expanding logistics firm takes on new Operations Manager with military background

Posted: 10/05/18 by The NX Group

A former member of the Armed Forces with decades of logistics experience has been taken on by a national warehousing, logistics and courier firm based in Northamptonshire to oversee the company’s supply chain.

Karl Passey has been taken on as operations manager by The NX Group, which has warehouses in Crick and Northampton, plus a fleet of lorries and vans which deliver bespoke services across the country.

After providing military logistics in locations around the world, including the Arctic Circle and the Baltics, Karl returned to the UK after living in Europe for 16 years to work in commercial logistics and has now opted to join the privately owned firm because of its potential to be a major name in the industry.

Karl, 50, said: “I’ve worked in some pretty extreme locations with the Forces, but on returning to ‘civvy’ street I quickly realised that the commercial logistics sector had its own unique challenges, which I’ve had to adapt to.

“After more than 30 years working in warehousing, transport, supply chain and logistics, I recognised that The NX Group is an ambitious business with an upward trajectory. For me especially, the fact that the firm offers whole supply chain solutions, from start to end, gives it a personal touch which makes it very appealing.”

Neil Powell, managing director of The NX Group, said: “Karl brings with him a wealth of working knowledge from within the industry, and his military background provides him with further experience and disciplines that will also prove invaluable in this vital role, which will see him overseeing our complex and varied supply chain.”

The NX Group is a comprehensive suite of supply chain solutions for businesses that require an extra level of quality and care for their products. Based in the golden triangle of logistics in Northamptonshire, its distribution, warehousing and courier divisions have grown year on year, thanks to its emphasis on quality, security and personal approach.

For more information about The NX Group, visit www.thenxgroup.com. You can also follow the company on LinkedIn and on Twitter via @theNXGroup.

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National Doughnut Week 2018

Posted: 10/05/18 by Central Foods Ltd

Always a popular fund-raising week on the calendar, National Doughnut Week returns from 12th to 19th May – and Central Foods is delighted to be adding its support to the event.

Doughnuts are one of the nation’s favourite sweet treats and they come in lots of shapes and sizes….to cater for all tastes.

Here at Central Foods, we supply a wide range of doughnuts including our new KaterBake mini doughnut balls, available filled with jam or chocolate or plain (sugared), the KaterBake midi-sized gluten-free ring doughnut which is suitable for those who avoid gluten in their diets, as well as being vegetarian friendly, and the KaterBake baked jam doughnut, which contains
approximately 28% less fat than a standard foodservice 48g jam doughnut.

“Doughnuts have always been big favourites and National Doughnut Week is a great opportunity for cafés, food outlets and other companies to raise money for The Children’s Trust,” said
Gordon Lauder, managing director of frozen food distributor Central Foods. “We’re delighted to be making a donation to such a great cause.”

For more information about National Doughnut Week and how to donate to The Children’s Trust, visit https://www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk/national-doughnut-week

Please get in touch if you’d like more details about the Central Foods frozen doughnut range for foodservice.

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Creating new learning spaces and opportunities at Birmingham City University

Posted: 10/05/18 by Briggs & Forrester Group Ltd

Briggs & Forrester Engineering Services have recently completed works on Birmingham City University’s ‘City South’ Campus.

The project included an extension to the City South Phase 3 Campus, partial refurbishment of the existing Seacole Building, and external landscaping works.

The City South Campus houses a number of faculties; the School of Education and the new School of Health Sciences, as well as new facilities for teacher training, nutrition sciences labs, therapy clinics and other general teaching spaces.

The services provided by Engineering Services include low pressure heating, displacement ventilation, BMS, CHP, comfort cooling, electrical distribution, small power, fire alarm, data, security, ISC smart building, photovoltaic, lighting and audio visual installation.

Phil Green, Regional Design Manager said: “The effective design and installation of highly efficient building services systems, including the provision of low and zero carbon technologies, has resulted in BCU City South achieving a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions against the Building Regulations Part L2A target.

In conjunction with a highly efficient building envelope, this has resulted in an overall EPC A rating and has made a significant contribution to the building achieving an overall BREEAM 2011 ‘Excellent’ Rating.”

Engineering Services worked closely with BAM Construct UK, Couch Perry Wilkes and Sheppard Robson to deliver this project.

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Students taught tricks of the trade by best in the business

Posted: 10/05/18 by The University of Northampton

Final year students at the University of Northampton have been taken under the wing of industry experts from some of the world’s leading brands.

The University’s Faculty of Business and Law Mentoring Programme works with a diverse range of industry sectors. The programme partners with major brands including Barclaycard, DHL and Avon, as well as local SMEs, to help shape the futures of its students.

The programme, which began four years ago, has now signed up over 50 mentors from leading global and regional brands and has mentored more than 160 students over its duration.

As part of the programme, mentors may invite students to visit their workplace and meet and network with decision-makers within the business. Mentors offer students practical tips on the modern world of work and offer advice on what employers are looking for from students’ post-graduation. This may include effective writing for CVs and cover letters, using social
media platforms for business, interview competency and general career guidance and next steps.

The 2017/18 mentoring programme has already seen positive results; with one student offered an HR Graduate position with DHL and several other students invited for interviews and close to securing internships.

Claire Corkram, Associate Lecturer in Human Resource Management at the University organised an event at the University to congratulate the students who have successfully completed this year’s programme.

Claire said: “We are so proud of this mentoring programme. The feedback from both students and mentors has been overwhelming. Students have told us that they have gained a huge amount of confidence from the programme, being introduced to the mentor’s colleagues and gained insights on business perspectives from those at senior levels.

“There was a consensus that discussing career paths and journeys with others in a similar profession and identifying what they had to offer the market place when they graduate was hugely beneficial.”

She added: “It’s a mutually beneficial programme, as many of the Mentors said the programme had added value to them personally and their company through the development of their own coaching skills.

“Overall, there was a sense that the Mentors found the experience very rewarding and gained a sense of pride in seeing their students’ progress after university.”

More information on the Mentoring Programme for 2018/2019 will be circulated at the start of the next academic year. For more information on our Human Resource Management course, please visit the course page.

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KRAVE, pioneering flavours in the meat snacks category launched

Posted: 10/05/18 by Meatsnacks Group Ltd

Meatsnacks Group is launching KRAVE to challenge the perceptions of jerky and biltong, by bringing this exciting category to a new consumer.

Today’s consumer is looking for a social foodie offering and a snack that will deliver more in terms of flavour and is dynamic in its branding. They’re looking for healthier, but tastier options, especially when it comes to protein. KRAVE by Meatsnacks Group is a contemporary new brand targeting the fitness, health and nutritional conscious consumer and appealing to a wider consumer audience.

Working with brand design agency, Pearlfisher to enhance the design to create a vibrant pallet across this new range, KRAVE shows the fresh ingredients and the quality of the finished products.

The design has been developed further to highlight key messages on the pack: how many calories per pack, grass fed beef, high in omega 3, % of protein, handcrafted and key ingredients.

The overall design has increased shelf stand out and highlights the finished product and the key ingredients in the pack, whilst creating a dynamic and fresh look.

KRAVE is launching with three flavours:

· KRAVE Szechuan Pepper and Ginger Salt Beef Jerky

· KRAVE Warm Chimichurri Beef Biltong

· KRAVE Zesty Lemon & Dill Salmon Jerky

· KRAVE Cherry Tomatoes & Fennel Chicken Jerky

James Newitt, managing director, Meatsnacks Group comments: “Consumer and market research output concluded there was space for a new category brand to increase category penetration. Working with branding agency, Pearlfisher, we are confident that we have created a brand that will significantly increase the appeal of jerky and biltong to a wider audience.”

Jerky and biltong are benefiting from evenings in with pack sales up 22% (MAT 28/1/18)*. Consumers are continuing to enjoy the benefits of high protein, gluten free snacks that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

For more information visit http://www.meatsnacksgroup.com

*Source: IRI data to 28/01/18

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Preparations under way for new environmental services contract

Posted: 10/05/18 by Northampton Borough Council

Plans are well under way for the launch of the new environmental services contract, which leading company Veolia takes over on Monday, 4 June.

During the initial few months of the new contract, residents are reassured that their collections won’t change, as Veolia will continue the same rounds as currently received.

A change in service, however will be implemented in September, when Veolia introduces the ‘all-in-one’ recycling wheelie bins.

In preparation for this change, orders for the current recycling boxes, from residents on wheelie bin rounds, will cease on Friday, 25 May. These residents should be aware that any orders for recycling boxes that have not been delivered by 1 June, will not be fulfilled.

Instead, residents on bin collection rounds, will receive their new ‘all-in-one’ recycling wheelie bin during August, ready for use in September.

Recyclables will still be collected between June and September. Residents with boxes, can use any box to put their dry mixed recyclables, and anyone without a box, will be encouraged to present their recycling in clear or white plastic bags instead.

People on sack collections rounds will continue to receive recycling boxes when replacements are needed. However due to the move to an ‘all-in-one’ service, any colour box may be issued as a replacement, as residents will be able to put all their recycling in any box.

For residents who live in flats, containers will be re-labelled for commingled collection. Residents will be advised of any change by further communications.

Cllr Mike Hallam, Cabinet member for environment, said: “We understand that there will be a lot of anticipation ahead of the new environmental services contract beginning in June, which is why Veolia will be spending time getting to know the area and routes first.

“The change to a new ‘all-in-one’ recycling service, with residents in wheelie bin areas receiving an extra lidded bin, will be introduced later in the year, addressing issues residents voiced during the consultation period about recyclables being blown out of boxes and littering the streets.”

Keith McGurk, Regional Director for Veolia said: “Veolia look forward to working with Northampton Borough Council in the years to come to help make Northampton a borough that its residents can be proud of. Veolia is committed to enabling residents to recycle more of their waste, more easily. We are working hard to ensure that the changes happening are communicated to residents.”

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Royal Wedding celebration will raise funds for local charity

Posted: 10/05/18 by The Rose Gallery

As Royal Wedding fever sweeps the country, staff at The Rose Gallery in Northampton are preparing to host a fundraising afternoon tea which is set to be the ‘go to’ event for those without an invite to St George’s Chapel.

Taking place on Friday 18 May between 1pm and 3pm, managers of The Rose Gallery, located inside the lifestyle store Bell of Northampton in Kingsthorpe, are inviting people to attend a fabulous afternoon of tea, cake and prosecco.

As well as enjoying the Royal Wedding Afternoon Tea, visitors to The Rose Gallery will have the opportunity to be some of the first to view new work by artists Tom Butler and Sherree Valentine Daines, a favourite of the Royal family. There will also be a silent auction, a raffle and those who purchase the first 30 tickets will receive a free goody bag including a Sam Toft boxed mug and cupcake.

Tickets cost £12 and all proceeds will be donated to The Lighthouse Centre, a nurse-led Northamptonshire charity that offers holistic therapies to people with long term conditions and cancers in their own home.

Deborah Davey from The Rose Gallery added: “We are really looking forward to the event and are so pleased that a number of local businesses have pledged promises for our silent auction and donated raffle prizes. We are delighted to have this opportunity to support the amazing work of the Lighthouse Centre.”

Graham Jackson, Managing Director of Bell of Northampton, said: “Deborah has done a fabulous job of arranging this event and we are more than happy to play the role of joint host and supply the mini afternoon teas through the Bell of Northampton coffee shop. It should be great fun and all of the money is going to a very worthy cause.”

For more information and to book your ticket, visit Eventbrite. Tickets are also available via the gallery.

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Digital success for Bambino Mio

Posted: 10/05/18 by Bambino Mio Ltd

Bambino Mio, The UK’s most widely used reusable nappy brand* has been named as ‘Best Digital Business’ in the national FSB Awards. As one of eleven regional finalists across the UK, this is a landmark achievement for Bambino Mio, with the company’s global digital success being recognised by prestigious organisations such as FSB (Federation of Small Businesses).

Over the past three years, Bambino Mio has experienced significant growth in the UK and in other export markets around the world such as Germany, France, Australia and the United States among others. The company is reaching more parents than ever before and are working closely with retail partners worldwide; through a range of national and independent retailers such as Aldi (United Kingdom, United States, Australia), ASDA (United Kingdom), dm-drogerie markt (Germany), REWE (Germany), Carrefour (Spain) and many more.

Sales continue to grow and this growth has been in no small part to the company’s digital success.

With the recent expansion of their eCommerce website, the company’s digital strategy has gone from strength to strength. Bambino Mio’s branding and digital marketing vision has a key role to play in overall business objectives. By replicating their proven social, data-led digital marketing strategy across key markets around the world, it has allowed them to recruit new customers in these markets to this niche product category.

Such an increase in digital performance has created new jobs throughout the business, Bambino Mio have employed nationals from their key international markets in their offices in Northamptonshire to ensure the Brand is engaging with international customers at the right time with relevant content. The company’s digital marketing strategy continues to flourish having reached impressive metrics year on year – eCommerce sales have tripled in the last year and the Brand’s global social reach now exceeds 100,000 followers.

Marketing Manager at Bambino Mio, Joreen Singh commented, “We’re delighted to be awarded Digital Business of the Year. Our digital strategy plays a vital role in overall business success and has been crucial to our rapid growth during the past three years.”

As well as continuing to develop products that are innovative, ethical and successful, Bambino Mio see the importance of digital growth for its retailers too. Bambino Mio work directly with its current partners to provide proactive digital support to ensure digital success around the world.

As millennial parents begin to avoid single-use plastic products and look for more environmentally friendly alternatives, Bambino Mio’s product range offers parents significant financial savings while using products with less chemicals.

For over 20 years, Bambino Mio have been working hard to promote the benefits and use of reusable nappies and associated products.

Growing from humble beginnings in 1997 to become the world’s most accessible reusable nappy brand, Bambino Mio products are available in over 50 markets worldwide. At the heart of the business and its success are the same family values: to provide parents with alternatives that are better for baby, better for parents and better for the environment. Bambino
Mio’s multi award-winning range includes reusable nappies, baby accessories, swim nappies and potty training essentials. To find out more information visit www.bambinomio.com/en.

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Milton Keynes Marathon 2018

Posted: 10/05/18 by The Harrys Rainbow Charitable Trust

Wow, what an amazing couple of days Harry’s Rainbow has had at the MK Marathon weekend.

With the very ‘unBritish’ like weather all the runners did an amazing job. There were over 50 people taking part in various races from the Super Hero Fun run right the way through to the full marathon, they all did this wearing their Harry’s Rainbow vest.

Collectively, they raised over £6,000, with money still coming in! This money will go towards supporting the bereaved children and families of Milton Keynes. Thank you!

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Apprentices shine in finals of low carbon challenge

Posted: 10/05/18 by Northampton College

An all-female team of apprentices harnessed ‘Girl Power’ to design and install a hot water system capable of running a shower and emerge as the winners of The Big Rig – a low carbon challenge organised by Northampton College.

The girls narrowly beat a team of students studying science, technology, engineering and maths-related subjects in the final of the competition which has formed part of the College’s Igniting The Spark initiative.

The challenge saw teams compete to install a solar powered water system on a large scaffolding platform at the college’s Booth Lane campus.

It consisted of a mixture of practical and theoretical sessions linked to the curriculum, with a strong focus on health and safety. Teams were judged on a range of set criteria including how well they understand and plan the project, economical use of materials, design of a rain water collection system, waste management process and how effective they were as a team.

Paul Nelson, from sponsors Kier, said: “There is a major skills gap in the construction industry and events such as The Big Rig are vital in inspiring the next generation, giving students an opportunity to get hands-on and gain invaluable experience of a replicated workplace environment.

“It’s been fantastic to see the students working as a team to solve problems to the challenges they were presented with. Their work was extremely impressive and it’s great to see the future is in such good shape.”

Hands-on activities enhanced pupils’ problem solving skills and improved communication, team-working and leadership skills.

Amy Ball, a business apprentice who formed a part of the winning team, said: “It was brilliant to take part in The Big Rig, which is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It made me think about things in a completely different way and has improved my teamwork, communication and leadership skills. I’ve learnt a lot and made new friends along the way.”

Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal of Northampton College, said: “The Big Rig was an opportunity for young people to showcase their own ideas and ways of working. We want to create a future workforce capable of thinking for themselves, solving problems quickly and efficiently and using technology to create innovative new ways of doing business.”

The Big Rig follows on from two previous ‘Igniting The Spark’ workshops held in conjunction with the UK Space academy, which has seen students from seven Northamptonshire schools take a voyage of discovery to unearth the secrets of the solar system and find out more about the science of space.

Northampton College has recently revealed its proposal for a £4.75million Advanced Construction Engineering (ACE) Centre at Booth Lane, which will help train the next generation of construction industry professionals including builders, plumbers, carpenters and decorators and teach pioneering new techniques aimed at equipping future workers with the very latest skills.

Alongside courses which focus on craft skills there will also be courses at Level 3 for those looking for supervisory, technician or management careers in the sector, such as in Civil Engineering, Building Services Engineering, or Project Management.

Building work on the centre, which will include a revolutionary ‘Digital Lab’ featuring a Virtual Reality classroom, 3D printing facilities and industry-standard workshop equipment, is scheduled to get underway next summer.

For more information about courses available in STEM subjects at Northampton College visit www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk.

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OASIS Group again strengthens UK market foothold

Posted: 10/05/18 by OASIS Group

OASIS Group, the fastest growing records and information management (RIM) company across Europe, has confirmed the completion of yet another acquisition within the UK.

In a deal finalised on April 30th, the company acquired the RIM business of CSM Storage and Archives, Ltd. located in Dagenham.

Validating their proclaimed growth strategy, OASIS operates 34 records centres within the UK alone. However, expanding their footprint is only one part of the overall plan. Their statement to position OASIS as a single source partner for every element of information management is prevalent. From rolling out their GDPR Readiness solution to clients well over a year in advance of the May 2018 deadline to heavily investing in the digital side with OmniDox, OASIS is certainly instigating their leadership position within the industry.

“We are an ambitious company,” stated Brian Connolly, Chief Executive Officer of OASIS Group. “Evidenced via our acquisitions and continuous enhancements to our offerings, we will always strive to expand on both areas in order to deliver a top-of-the-class service to our clients.”

With the integration of CSM Storage and Archive now underway, this transaction marks the 35th successful acquisition for OASIS Group.

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Travel industry sees increase in demand for real advice from real people

Posted: 10/05/18 by Dragonfly Traveller Ltd

According to new research published by Censuswide, holiday seekers are so overwhelmed by the information available online, they don’t know who to trust, and over half of the people surveyed value advice from experts when planning a holiday.

The survey showed that 79% of respondents feel overwhelmed by the volume of search results when they start their holiday planning and 49% strongly agree that travel planning has become more of a headache than an enjoyable part of the holiday. It also revealed that 59% of those who took part prefer real advice from trusted experts when booking a holiday and 52% are unsure which online sites, reviews and data to trust when booking a holiday.

This is good news for Dragonfly Traveller in Northampton as the company specialises in taking the pain of planning away. It works with customers to create bespoke trips that meet their needs, wants and budgets to the smallest detail as part of a travel PA service.

Rob Gower, Director of Dragonfly Traveller, said: “This latest research comes as no surprise to me as it echoes the trends we have been seeing in our business. This is why we decided to launch our travel PA service.

“In today’s modern world everyone is busy and time is precious. People want a break away from it all but don’t have the time to explore all of the options online – or do they want to. This research also showed an increase in the number customers taking part in web chats and face to face consultations in the last year, showing that holiday makers value real, bespoke advice and suggestions from experts.

“Luckily holiday planning is no headache for us – we actually enjoy it!”

Dragonfly Traveller is a member of the award-winning The Global Travel Group and holidays are fully ATOL protected. For more information, call 01604 661100, email enquiries@dragonflytraveller.co.uk or visit www.dragonflytraveller.co.uk.

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Kettering HR firm achieves ISO 27001

Posted: 10/05/18 by HR Solutions UK

HR Solutions, a provider of outsourced HR services to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has achieved ISO 27001 certification for its information security management system (ISMS), at its first attempt.

An ISMS is a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information about people, processes and IT systems so that it remains secure. This is done by applying a risk management process.

Greg Guilford, Chief Executive Officer of HR Solutions, said: “We decided last year that with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) bec enforced in May 2018, we needed to take some proactive steps to not only ensure we were GDPR compliant ourselves as a company, but to also provide our clients with the support and guidance they needed to ensure that their data meets the requirements.

“We embarked on a journey that saw us perform a detailed review of our data security at every stage in the provision of HR services to our customers, including all functions based at and operating from our offices in Kettering, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and London.

“We already had robust systems and procedures in place to protect client data and this ISO 27001 accreditation hasn’t simply been a case of putting new policies and procedures in place. We have actively enhanced our IT infrastructure, trained staff and ensured that our suppliers take information security seriously. We also achieved Cyber Essentials certification in July 2017.”

In addition to all of this, HR Solutions has implemented an ongoing programme to continually educate its staff through a series of online training and workshops on topics including phishing, malware, social engineering, physical security and the processing of personal data.

The company has also run a series of workshops to help its clients prepare for the GDPR.

Greg added: “I was delighted that HR Solutions’ commitment to information security and data protection was recognised. Achieving ISO 27001 is a valid accreditation to help demonstrate compliance to clients in relation to GDPR, as well as provide clients with confidence that we will handle their information in a secure manner.”

To find out more about HR Solutions, go to www.hrsolutions-uk.com.

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Megan’s bright idea raises money for Hospice

Posted: 09/05/18 by Willen Hospice

A caring schoolgirl’s creative flair and business mind has helped her net more than £400 for Willen Hospice.

Ten year old Megan Brightman from Towcester raised the money by selling more than 100 pairs of earrings that she handcrafted and sold to family, friends, and even through Leighton Buzzard gift shop Me Me Me. She was inspired to help the charity after the loss of her uncle, Vic Bass from Furzton, who was cared for by the Hospice.

Megan’s mum, Natalie said: “Megan came up with the idea to make and sell the earrings after she heard about the wonderful service that the Hospice at Home team provided for my Uncle Vic. They were true angels and treated him with the love and respect he deserved. I’m so proud of what she has done; she has such a big heart.”

Megan said: “First of all I made some earrings for my mum and my aunty to cheer them up, then when I heard about the Hospice and how they’d been there for my family, I thought I could make some more and sell to raise money. I loved making them and knowing they would help charity inspired me to make as many as I could. I’m so happy so many people wanted to buy them.”

Megan was officially thanked by Willen Hospice when she presented the fundraising team with a cheque for the amount she has raised. Amy Shaw from the Hospice Fundraising team said: “We are hugely inspired and touched by the dedication and love she has shown. Thank you Megan!”

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Novacroft team on course to add thousands to company’s £30,000 lifetime fundraising total in 2018

Posted: 09/05/18 by Novacroft

Novacroft’s Charity & Events Team has set a target of surpassing the company’s 2017 fundraising total of £3,437 (for Northampton Hope Centre) and increasing the number of days spent volunteering.

The team aims to raise over £3,500 in 2018, with £900 raised so far.

For more than 20 years, Novacroft has supported charities in the local area and raised more than £30,000.

The Novacrofters making up Novacroft’s Charity & Events Team are passionate about making fun, social and charity things happen for the team and have already led a Couch to 5K programme and an indoor climbing experience, which together have made great contributions to the 2018 total so far.

The team that makes it happen comprises nine people from across the business.

Everyone that’s a part of this team feels passionate about planning a series of events throughout the year, to give everyone the chance to get involved and help raise funds for Novacroft’s Charity of the Year, RSPCA (Northamptonshire Branch).

Since January 2018, Dave Gaskell from Novacroft’s IT Team has been busy leading our Couch to 5K programme, which has raised over £600 for the charity. Here’s what he had to say as Couch to 5K ended: “Running a Couch to 5K at Novacroft, I have given back what others and all the running clubs have given me – safe, fun and organised runs. Being able to lead a Couch to 5K myself was brilliant and a change to what I do with my running club. I’m so chuffed to see everyone on the programme continue running afterwards, because it is so easy to let it slip – keep up the good work everyone.”

There was a real buzz between everyone that was part of the Couch to 5K. “The positive outcomes have been huge,” says Claire from finance, and “I have the bug now!” says Karen, from governance & business improvement.

Sport Relief happened during March, and Vicki from HR set up a Novacroft Steppers League. Together, the Novacroft Steppers contributed 700,000 steps towards the nation’s Billion Steps Challenge.

Novacroft’s indoor climbing experience, organised by Jonathan, part of the software delivery team, at a local climbing centre, saw profits go to the RSPCA. Great fun was had by all!

There are plenty more things in the pipeline. The team’s plans include a themed movie night and a family walk.

At Novacroft, every team member has four paid days a year to volunteer. People are encouraged to volunteer for the company’s Charity of the Year or any other charitable cause they feel passionate about.

In her spare time, Lou in marketing has taken part in volunteering for Parkrun, and the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham. Here’s what she has to say: “It’s no secret that I live and breathe running (did I tell you I’ve run a marathon?), but I am also a serial volunteer! What I love the most about my experiences at Parkrun and the WIC Championships is that it gives you the opportunity to be part of a community, inspire and socialise with other runners. I’ve made so many friends through volunteering, and think it sets a great example to my little boy, who also comes along to Parkrun and helps out. What can I say, we both look good in a high viz!”

For more than twenty years, Novacroft has supported charities in the local area and raised more than £30,000. The team looks forward to a successful and inspiring 2018!

#LoveNovacroft #Novacroft20

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Get Boosted celebrates 2 years of business

Posted: 09/05/18 by Get Boosted

Get Boosted is celebrating two years of trading and another year of steady growth in terms of revenue, clients and completed projects.

Christian Jeyes, owner of Get Boosted, said: “Starting up your own business can be a pretty turbulent journey so to come through another year still steadily growing is a great feeling.

“But more important than celebrating what’s been achieved to date is to reflect and learn from the past year so you can better prepare for the next and refine your business offering.

“The plans I have in place for the coming year will be of great benefit to new and existing clients and will also help cement Get Boosted’s place as a provider of high quality, affordable website services for small businesses.

“It’s also a time to acknowledge everyone that’s made this possible so a huge thanks goes to everyone that’s been a part of the journey and helped me establish Get Boosted as a reputable business.”

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Desborough agency offers 60 Minute Makeovers

Posted: 09/05/18 by Poppy Design Studio

A web design agency in Desborough has launched a 60 Minute Makeover service to help businesses refresh their websites and zoom up the Google rankings.

Inspired by the well-known property makeover TV series, Poppy Design Studio launched the service after speaking to many small to medium-sized business owners who were aware their websites were out of date but could not afford to have them re-done.

With 25% of the world’s websites now being created on the WordPress content management system (CMS), Poppy Design Studio owners Nigel and Marie Baker hit upon the idea of offering a cost-effective makeover service to those using the platform which will see the team optimise all images, adjust coding and tidy up the ‘back-end’ so that the site runs faster and gets a green Google PageSpeed insights score.

Marie said: “We run a small, growing business ourselves and recognise that budgets can be tight. At the same time, to have a website there that is not working as it should could actually be costing businesses money. By offering the new 60 Minute Makeover service, we can help business owners to give their existing – or sometimes even recently launched -WordPress websites a new lease of life, leading to more sales and better Google rankings.”

Nigel added: “We get some people coming to us who have had a website launched less than a month ago and it is doing terribly in Google - often taking over six seconds to load. Our makeover is a quick, cost effective way to fix the website and help it perform better.”

“We are over the moon to be able offer a service like this. To be able to help people on the smallest budgets to improve their website is something we are hugely passionate about and this new service reinforces that.”

A 60 Minute Makeover of a WordPress website costs £299 and Poppy Design Studio is offering a ‘we get you to green in Google or your money back’ guarantee.
For more information visit www.60minutemakeover.com or email hello@60minutemakeover.com.

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Celebrating Love Your Local Market Fortnight in Northampton

Posted: 09/05/18 by Northampton Borough Council

A day of creativity and street entertainment is planned for Saturday, 19 May as part of plans to celebrate Love Your Local Market Fortnight in Northampton.

Families are invited to get involved in the celebrations and enjoy the activities and entertainment, which aim to highlight everything Northampton Market has to offer.

A free ‘Design your own Market Stall’ workshop will help keep little shoppers busy. Running between 11am and 3pm, the drop-in workshop will give children the chance to find out more about Northampton Market during a quick tour of the stalls, before they set to work, designing and painting their own stall.

Continuing the celebrations on the day is Northampton BID’s popular Street Circus. Acts including Elton Wrong, Team BeeGee and Musical Ruth will be performing between 11am and 4pm, on the Market Square, Abington Street and All Saints Plaza.

Cllr Phil Larratt, the Deputy Leader of the Borough Council, said: “Northampton Market is a great asset to the town and we are looking forward to celebrating what it has to offer during Love Your Local Market fortnight.

“We hope that lots of people will come along to enjoy the activities and shop for excellent, fresh produce and products that are available from stalls.”

Rob Purdie, BID executive director said: “Our Street Circus last year created masses of fun, excitement and energy and pulled hundreds of families into the town centre so we are very excited about doing it all again. This year it is all about the Royals, our chance to celebrate the Royal Wedding. So, join us for this celebration event, with the town centre set to be packed with outdoor acts and entertainment on the day Harry and Meghan say ‘I do’.”

Updates about the Love Your Local Market Fortnight are available on Twitter @LoveNNMarket and Facebook @LoveNorthamptonMarket

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University’s chamber choir chosen for Northampton Music Festival curtain raiser

Posted: 09/05/18 by The University of Northampton

Students from the University of Northampton have the honour of opening the town’s biggest annual live music event.

The University of Northampton Chamber Choir will grace the main stage at the 2018 Northampton Music Festival at 9pm on Saturday 16 June. The performance, which takes place in the Market Square, will be the official curtain raiser for the event, whetting festival goers’ appetites for the main programme of music the following day.

Choir member Nicole Drury said: “It’s really exciting to be opening Northampton Music Festival with our unique version of Mozart’s Requiem.

“It may well be the biggest chamber choir performance we have ever done and everybody is looking forward to stepping onto the main stage.”

The choir will warm up for their festival appearance when they perform at the Unversity’s Degree Show, on Friday 8 June.

Northampton Music Festival is organised by Northampton Music 365 – a not for profit, community group, in partnership with a range of local organisations.

Now in its 11th year, the festival will see 500 musicians put on 50 performances across five stages in the town.

The Students’ Union’s new town centre nightclub, The Platform, will be one of the venues taking part in Northampton Music Festival. Details of The Platform line-up will be confirmed at a later date.

Visit the festival website for the latest updates.

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MSO Workspace Wine Tasting Networking Event - More FREE Tickets!

Posted: 09/05/18 by MSO Workspace - Serviced Offices

Tickets are selling so fast, we are having to make more available.

This event is going to be great, but we would recommend that you book right now to make sure you get a ticket. With wine from R and M wines, and talks from MSO and DBFB you are sure to have a great time. You can book yourself a complimentary ticket on us by going to https://tinyurl.com/msowinetasting.

It shall be held in the beautiful Althorp meeting room. For those who have visited before, you will agree that this room sets Northampton is a stunning light.

MSO shall be offering tours of the site, as well as lovey catering.

Don’t forget to book!

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NatWest Boost Your Business - FREE GDPR and Making Tax Digital event

Posted: 09/05/18 by NatWest

Join us at our Boost Your Business, GDPR and Making Tax Digital event on Wednesday 30th May, 9.30am to 11.30am.

Please accept this FREE invitation to attend our upcoming event on General Data Protection Regulation.

How this event will benefit your business. You’ll:

  • Learn about forthcoming GDPR legislation which comes into effect as of the 25th May 2018
  • Gain insight into how data protection law is changing
  • Understand support available and next steps you can take to compliantly handle your employee and customer data.

You will also learn what ‘Making Tax Digital’ means for your business and what tools are available to help you tackle the daily admin.

Agenda:

9:30 - 10:00 - Registration, networking and welcome

10:00 - 10:30 - GDPR presentation from Thomas Ridgley from Mentor

10:30 - 11:00 - MTD presentation from Tim Woodgates from Moore Stephens

11:00 - 11:30 Q&A and further networking.

Venue: Corby Enterprise Centre, London Road, Priors Hall, Corby, NN17 5EU

For more information: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/boost-your-business-gdpr-and-mtd-tickets-45481585647

Our NatWest Bank Boost programme provides support for your business that goes beyond just finance. As your local Business Growth Enabler we can connect you with the right people and the right knowledge to boost your business and help it grow. The programme has a team of over 70 Business Growth Enablers in the UK who have supported more than 250,000 customers through free events, individual consultations and networking.

All information used in this presentation which you register for relating to GDPR and MTD is produced by NatWest for information purposes only and is for the sole use of the attendees at the presentation.

Whilst NatWest feel this topic is beneficial to business owners, the views expressed are not intended to be and should not be viewed as individual advice or as a recommendation. You should seek independent advice in respect of issues that are of concern to you.

To the maximum extent permitted by law NatWest expressly disclaim all representations, warranties, or assurance of any kind, expressed or implied, that are made to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this presentation and no member of NatWest accepts any obligation to update or correct any information contained herein.

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CML drives employees to safety with DriveTech course

Posted: 09/05/18 by CML Ltd

To help ensure risk is minimised when driving for work, leading warehouse and logistics expert, CML, has announced that it is sending employees that drive a company car on a DriveTech course, to help improve driver behaviour and reduce running costs.

DriveTech, part of the AA, is one of the UK’s leaders in road risk management and driver training. Its training courses have been designed to ensure that a business’s fleet is driven safely, sustainably and efficiently to help reduce accidents, CO2 emissions and fuel usage. This is achieved by guiding delegates to consider their approach to driving and help keep them as safe as possible when travelling for work.

With more than 90% of road traffic accidents caused by human error, according to DriveTech, CML is committed to ensuring that it provides its employees with all the resources necessary to keep them as safe as possible when travelling for work as managing director, Mark Webb, confirms: “Driving for work involves risk, so minimising it means that we are able to drive a better business. The work that we carry out goes beyond that of logistics, and implementing a comprehensive training solution, tailored to the driver and the vehicles used, is not only an example of this but it highlights how important employee safety is to us. In addition to this, by promoting safer driving and improving driver behaviour, we are helping to reduce operating costs including insurance, fuel and service repairs.”

Chris Thornton, sales director at DriveTech, commented: “We are delighted that CML as an organisation embraces their duty of care and places a high degree of emphasis on the safety of both their own drivers and that of other public road users. Driving safely and efficiently is a skill for life and we feel sure that the DriveTech training will provide them with a positive and improved safety performance.”

For more information about CML or to find out more about its services, please visit, http://www.cmlplc.com or call 01455 200 700.

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Gluten Free Cakes & Biscuits Baking Course

Posted: 08/05/18 by Bay Tree Cottage Accommodation & Country Living Workshops

If you want to get to grips with baking gluten free family favourites from Victoria sandwich, chocolate brownies and carrot cake to roulade, oak or buckwheat sables and amaretti biscuits, join gluten free cookery expert Adriana Rabinovich here at Bay Tree Cottage on Friday 18 May for a wonderful day of baking!

Adriana trained at Leiths School of Food & Wine and was inspired by her daughter, who was diagnosed with coeliac disease at an early age, to specialise in teaching people how to bake gluten free so anyone following a gluten free diet needn’t miss out on delicious home-baked goodies.

Details: Friday 18 May, 9.30am-3pm; £75pp

Full information on this fantastic day can be found by clicking here http://www.btcworkshops.co.uk/gluten-free-biscuits-cakes-18-may-2018.html

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Marrow Group wins big at annual SU awards ceremony

Posted: 08/05/18 by The University of Northampton

A committee of students’ fundraising and charity profile raising activities have been rewarded with a brace of awards at the annual University of Northampton’s Student Union Societies and Volunteering awards.

The ‘Marrow Group’ won the awards for Individual Volunteer and Enterprise Leader of the Year for the Marrow Group’s Committee Chair, MPhil student and Newcastle-upon-Tyne native Amanda Ash, as well as the ‘Volunteer or Social Enterprise Activity of the Year’, for the group’s efforts in bone marrow donor recruitment, in particular Jonny’s campaign.

Committee members Jack Whitehouse (Donor recruitment co-ordinator), Rosie Sare (Social media co-ordinator) and Jonathan Vobb (Treasurer) also won an outstanding contribution gong.

The group’s work has included not only re-organising the constitution of the Marrow Group after it was handed over from previous students, but also launching a series of recruitment drives to screen staff, students and local residents for donor registration suitability.

Jack also appeared on local radio to promote this to the wider Northamptonshire community and some of the group took part in gruelling charity run the ‘Tough Mudder’, raising just over £500.

Commenting on the win Jack, who hails from Shrewsbury, said: “It’s been quite a year, but certainly worth it. The Marrow Group has been one of the best things I’ve done since starting at University of Northampton.

“There’ll be much more from the Marrow Group coming up, but thanks to everyone who has supported us so far.”

For more information about the Marrow Group, please email: northampton@ukmarrow.org

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Delapre Abbey project takes regional conservation award

Posted: 08/05/18 by Northampton Borough Council

The £6.1m ‏ ‏Delapre Abbey restoration‏ ‏ project has won the regional Building Conservation Awards from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) last night in Nottingham.‏

‏The project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Northampton Borough Council, was designed to bring the Abbey back into public use for the first time in 900 years.‏

‏The complex project, designed by architects, Purcell, saw original rooms brought back to life as a public resource – with people able to hold community events, use it as a wedding venue and visit as a member of the public. The project was supported along the way by the Delapre Preservation Trust.

The project took home the Building Conservation title at the RICS Awards this week.‏

‏Delapre Abbey is a project that has evidently been developed, thought through and considered with various uses and end users being established to warrant this investment in the area’s heritage.‏

‏The research into the history of the property and surrounding area, plus the subsequent work undertaken at Delapre, is of an exacting standard that both reflects the 1860’s key date but also a modern requirement, that is rejuvenating this site and securing the future of Delapre Abbey for generations to come Woodhead’s highly skilled site team began the project with the excavation of the basement area, from which they removed 200 tonnes of earth and rubble infill by hand, carefully exposing rooms that hadn’t been seen for hundreds of
years.‏

‏The project also involved the creation of an orangery, housing a cafe to serve the visitors to the Abbey.‏

‏During the restoration Woodhead discovered a medieval cellar, which has now been preserved beneath the new kitchen, and one of the more obscure finds – a plunge pool!‏

‏Paul Haythorne, Heritage Manager, said: “Working on historic buildings such as Delapre Abbey, is such a privilege. As we sensitively peel back the building’s history and restore it for the local community and visitors to the Abbey. It’s fantastic news to have been named in the RICS shortlist, but to have won our category is truly an honour.”‏

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Whittlebury Hall shortlisted as a finalist at the national Conference Awards

Posted: 08/05/18 by Whittlebury Hall & Spa Ltd

Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Best Conference Venue (500 to 1,300 theatre) category at the Conference Awards 2018.

Set centrally in the heart of the Midlands and surrounded by 700 acres of beautiful countryside, the popular venue offers guests one of the UK’s largest spas, an impressive 36-hole championship golf course as well as events facilities catering for up to 3,000 visitors.

Around 600 conference professionals are due to attend the awards ceremony which will take place at City Central at the HAC in London on Friday 29 June. Guests can look forward to an afternoon of celebration as they are treated to a drinks reception, lunch and entertainment, followed by the awards presentation.

Whittlebury Hall has encountered strong competition this year, as countless highly-respected venues based all over the UK entered the prestigious national awards.

Marc Webster, commercial director at Whittlebury Hall, said: “We are thrilled that Whittlebury Hall has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Best Conference Venue (500 to 1,300 theatre) category at the Conference Awards 2018. We are very proud of all the team, who continuously work hard to maintain our notable high level of customer service. We would also like to congratulate all the other finalists that have been shortlisted for the awards.”

For more information about Whittlebury Hall, visit www.whittleburyhall.co.uk.

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Photobombing pooch puts owner in the running for prestigious award

Posted: 08/05/18 by The University of Northampton

A curious pet dog called Coco has unwittingly put her owner in the running for a top photography award – after gatecrashing a photo shoot.

University of Northampton photographic student, Aurélie Walder, was snapping images of a water-filled jug for a still life assignment, when her inquisitive chihuahua decided to get in
on the act.

Giving in to Coco’s desire to investigate, Aurélie, popped the pup on the table and decided to carry on shooting.

“Coco kept on looking at me and wanted to be involved,” said Aurélie. “She was so persistent that I gave in and through ‘I’ll do something with you’.

“She loves dog biscuits, so I thought I drop one in the water and see what happens – and I got the most amazing result with my very first shot. I expected Coco would close her eyes as
she put her head in the water, but she kept them open, which really makes the shot something special. I also love the way the water and glass distorts her body. Coco’s something special, and I just love this photograph.”

The image, below, caught the attention of the University’s Head of Photography, Richard Whitehead, who urged Aurélie to enter it into the Association of Photographers (AOP) Student Awards. AOP judges have also been taken by the photo, shortlisting it for the Things category.

Richard said: “The AOPs are the most prestigious student photography awards going and draws thousands of entries from hundreds of universities and colleges.

“The competition is incredibly tough, so to get through to the final shortlist for an award is a huge achievement.”

Aurélie said: “I knew it was a good shot, but I couldn’t believe it when I was contacted by AOP to let me know I was a finalist.

“I was actually in a shop with some friends and I think I screamed – and it’s still not sunk in, because it’s such a big deal.”

Aurélie, who is originally from Switzerland, will find out if she has won the award at a glittering ceremony in London, in June, shortly before she graduates.

She said: “I want to be a wildlife photographer, and this nomination has added so much to my portfolio. After graduation I’m hoping to stay in the UK and pursue my career – and I plan to be reunited with Coco by flying her over, because she’s currently living overseas with my mum.”

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Partnership looks to nurture fresh growth in agritech

Posted: 08/05/18 by Cranfield University

Cranfield University and Johnson Matthey have announced the first cohort of companies to join the Johnson Matthey Agritech Partnership Programme (JMAPP). The announcement follows a five-week global search for companies and individuals who want to develop their innovative agritech solutions.

The companies will be given an opportunity to develop their product or idea within an intense programme of collaboration and scientific and management support.

In an innovative new partnership programme, created by Cranfield and Johnson Matthey, more than 35 businesses entered a competitive pitch process to receive a package of advice, support and funding within a new three-month programme. The overall support for the companies will be worth in excess of £50,000 each.

From a strong field, three emerging companies were chosen by experts from Cranfield University and Johnson Matthey, a leader in science that makes the world cleaner and healthier.

The first companies in the pilot programme are:

· Azotic Technologies, whose R&D Laboratories are based in Nottingham, is developing a unique natural nitrogen-fixing technology based on a symbiotic endophyte that could allow any crop variety to fix nitrogen directly from the air.

· Bionema, a company based out of Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science, is working on chemical-free pest management solutions and has devised a non-toxic bio-based microencapsulation technology.

  • Water&Soil, based in Budapest, Hungary, has developed an organic soil enhancement product, which aims to improve water efficiency, whether saving on irrigation costs or enabling cropping in areas of marginal cultivation where water is scarce.

This cohort will enjoy the use of the world-class research facilities located at Cranfield, including those of the UK Government’s Agritech Centres, Agri-EPI and CHAP. The Agritech Centres’ facilities at Cranfield have recently received £10million of investment. A broad package of support – ranging from seminars, masterclasses and networking opportunities through to one-on-one mentoring – will also be on offer.

Along with access to Cranfield and its acclaimed team, Johnson Matthey’s scientists and business experts will now work with the companies to develop their ideas within a Proof of Concept framework. Johnson Matthey has a wealth of commercial and scientific expertise on offer, from research and prototyping support to scaling lab work into full commercial propositions, managing supply chains or help with navigating complex regulatory environments.

The pilot programme reflects Johnson Matthey’s continued commitment to collaboration with organisations throughout the innovation ecosystem to develop breakthrough ideas, drawing upon their knowledge and networks to utilise their core science expertise in new opportunities for growth.

“We’re really looking forward to the next few months at Cranfield,” said Kristin Rickert, Innovation Director at Johnson Matthey. “Johnson Matthey is committed to collaboration as part of our open innovation approach. Our ultimate goal is to help develop fresh ideas into sustainable new products and technologies. This new programme supports that perfectly and these are great ideas to work on together.”

Professor Leon A. Terry, Director of Environment and Agrifood at Cranfield University, added: “This is an exciting time for innovation in agritech, as demonstrated by the volume, global
breadth and strength of the applicants to the programme. One of the greatest challenges for the sector is creating an environment where ideas and innovations can become reality.

“By combining the scientific and business expertise of Cranfield and Johnson Matthey, we are giving our first cohort the best possible chance to succeed by bringing forward their innovations to market.”

For more information about the programme visit www.cranfield.ac.uk/jmapp

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BIM Capable Conservation Architect specialising in Sustainable architecture in Historic Contexts and Bespoke Homes

Posted: 08/05/18 by KR.eativ: architects

​KR.eativ: Architect Ltd, is one of the few RIBA Chartered Architects based in the county and even fewer with Building Information Modelling capability.

To celebrate seven years as a limited company, we are offering a free Project Planning Pack to owners of historic buildings in the county who would like they property to be better suited to the twenty-first century in the of space and energy use. Government ‘listing’ of a property does not prevent work being carried out, just that it needs expert handling.

So contact us at: https://kreativarchitectsblog.wordpress.com/

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Cranfield University to host a series of events for SME businesses

Posted: 08/05/18 by Cranfield University

Cranfield University is hosting a series of events for SME businesses in the SEMLEP region as part of the IMAGE programme. (Innovation in Manufacturing, Aerospace and Green Economy). IMAGE is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Through IMAGE grants of up to £8,750 are available to help SME businesses in the SEMLEP area to grow and innovate. Over the next few months, Cranfield University will be hosting a series of event which will allow businesses in the region to explore what the University can offer.

Events:

Title: Showcasing Cranfield’s Manufacturing Capability to SMEs

Date: 16 May 2018

This event is to showcase the facilities and expertise of Cranfield University and in particular how SMEs can get involved with the University and benefit from a meaningful collaboration to help them grow their business. There will be plenty of opportunity for Networking with manufacturing colleagues from across the region. There will be a series of short presentations (10mins or less) where academics from manufacturing facilities across the University can ‘show’ their wares, talk about possible collaboration opportunities and provide examples of previous successes with SMEs.

To register and for further details visit: https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/events/events-2018/showcasing-cranfields-manufacturing-capability-to-smes

Title: Food Waste Innovations for SMEs

Date: 30 May 2018

‘Food Waste Innovations’ is a key strand of the IMAGE (Innovation in Manufacturing, Aerospace and the Green Economy) project, led by Cranfield University. SMEs in the food manufacturing, retail, hospitality and service sector from the SEMLEP area will have the opportunity to access a grant covering 50% of the costs involved in assessing the current state of their food waste and identifying sustainable, cost-effective solutions for reducing waste. This event will allow you to understand more about food waste audits and how they can strengthen your business.

To register and for further details: https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/events/events-2018/food-waste-innovations-for-smes

Title: Funding for SME innovation

Date: 20 June 2018

The IMAGE project, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, has been established as a gateway for regional SMEs to link with the capabilities and facilities available within local universities through a number of routes:

• Research and development

• Bespoke training

• Consultancy

• Specialised events and workshops

The aim of IMAGE is to help small and medium businesses, in the SEMLEP area, grow through research and innovation. Businesses accessing the programme will be able to get advice from leading academics on how to turn ideas into new products and services and receive access to world-leading research facilities, enabling them to test and develop new products. This event will introduce you to Cranfield University, the IMAGE project and the types of funding available for SMEs in the region.

To register and for further details visit: https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/events/events-2018/funding-for-sme-innovation

Title: Growth through Green

Date: 27 September 2018

Developing a scale up business is challenging. Market dynamics continue to change, customers demand professionalism, teams need to grow and additional funding needed to innovate and move to the next stage. Cranfield University can support you and help you grow. This brief event, over tea and scones, will present the latest thinking on why and how thinking about the ‘green agenda’ is an opportunity for scaling your business. The event will both provide an opportunity for fresh thinking and to learn about a new programme that can help you to jump to the next level.

To register and for further details visit: https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/events/events-2018/growth-through-green

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Introducing a new Acas Advisor to the Northants region

Posted: 08/05/18 by Acas East Midlands

Introducing Graeme Young.

Graeme has been with Acas since 2009 and is senior advisor and collective conciliator, now with responsibility for Northamptonshire.

He has great experience across Acas including extensive time in managerial positions, a thorough comprehension of Acas’ conciliation work as well as being an experienced and proficient mediator.

Graeme has broad experience of successfully delivering Acas training to internal and external clients. Prior to being with Acas, Graeme ran his own successful business in the hospitality industry which gives him invaluable experience to share with those he meets and empathy with the issues faced by Acas’ customers.

If you would like Graeme to visit your business and talk you through how Acas can help, then please contact our customer services team on 0300 123 1150 or complete our customer contact form and he’ll be in touch: https://obs.acas.org.uk/Forms/Contact.aspx

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Older people asked to take part in further research aimed at preventing falls

Posted: 08/05/18 by The University of Northampton

Researchers looking at what exercises can make older people stronger and help prevent falls are asking Northamptonshire people to sign up for a further study into leg strength.

Professor Tony Kay, Professor of Biomechanics at the University of Northampton and who is leading on the study, made the call during an appearance on local radio last week.

As we get older, we generally have more difficulty walking and consequently take less exercise which can reduce muscle strength and balance, increasing the risk of falling.

Last year, Professor Kay and his research team worked with local people aged 60 or over to help establish if chair-based exercises could improve muscle quality and strength in their legs.

The results showed that although there were definite increases in muscle strength from the exercises participants undertook, there was no overall change in their balance.

Now, Professor Kay and his team are looking at specific exercises aimed at strengthening participants’ muscles at the hip, knee and importantly at the ankle and their effect on people’s
balance.

Volunteers are required to start from 14th May and need to be over 60 and have no current lower limb muscle injuries.

They will need to visit our Park Campus twice a week for no longer than 30 minutes from walking in to the laboratory and out again and take part in the exercises for the full duration
of the study, which will last for eight weeks.

Tony Kay, Professor of Biomechanics at the University of Northampton and who is leading on the study, said: “Firstly, many thanks to all of the participants who took part in our study last year. The results were surprising, with a 60% increase in overall strength and a 10% increase in muscle mass. Considering how we lose muscle each year as we get older, this was like taking someone back a decade.”

“Our new study will look at an identical exercise programme to last year with the addition of performing these exercises also at the ankle to see if we can improve not only muscle strength, mass, and mobility but also balance in older people.”

“Again, we look forward to welcoming people to help us build a clearer picture of which exercises can help improve lower limb function and perhaps, prevent falls in older people.”

For more information, email Tony.Kay@northamptonshire.ac.uk or call 01604 892577.

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TV star student proves it’s good to talk with stroke recovery public speaking

Posted: 08/05/18 by The University of Northampton

A student who starred in a TV programme about the disabled returning to work has spoken about how his future job prospects have been helped by giving motivational public speeches.

Andy Ibbott, from Northampton, featured in BBC2’s Employable Me last year and is a Foundation Year Sport and Exercise Science student at the University of Northampton.

He suffered a near fatal stroke in 2011 that left him needing to re-learn how to walk and talk. As a consequence, Andy has aphasia which makes it difficult for him to understand or produce speech.

Employable Me followed Andy giving motivational talks to businesses about his stroke recovery process, which has given him an extra therapeutic boost by helping with his confidence
and improving his spoken communication skills.

On the back of this, Andy has been approached by organisations around the UK and Europe about his recovery.

These include talking to students at UK schools and universities, the Ministry of Defence in Lynam and travelling to Stockholm to talk to the Swedish Motorcyclists organisation (SMC).

Andy, a motorcycling buff himself, enrolled on the University of Northampton course to gain expertise to help other motorcycling enthusiasts return to racing after suffering a disability.

The Foundation programme allows students without traditional university entry criteria to ease themselves into a degree. Andy hopes to focus on nutrition during the next three years.

Andy said: “It’s been a busy and full-on year, but the great thing about the Foundation course is I have been able to get used to being a student as well as start on the nitty-gritty of Sport Science. I’ve had great support from the ASSIST team here who help disabled students, as well as the lecture team in getting to grips with how university study works.

“My recovery has involved marathons at home and across the Sahara, but there’s nothing more challenging than getting up in front of a group of strangers to talk about having difficulty
talking.

“But it’s not that scary and I recommend public speaking to any student to help push their future employability, especially during the many in-course opportunities that are offered at the University. If I can do it, anyone can!”

Saul Cuttell, Lecturer in Sports and Exercise Science, said: “Andy is a credit to the subject and we can see him making great strides already.

“Communication skills such as addressing your fellow peers during presentations, getting your point of view across and forming an argument are vital keystones in any future career,
something we instill in our students right from the start.”

For more about Sport and Exercise Science at University of Northampton, see our website.

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BCC: Pragmatism, not ideology, needed in customs debate

Posted: 08/05/18 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Reacting to comments made by Business Secretary Greg Clark MP and other political interviewees on the Andrew Marr programme regarding future customs arrangements, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Whatever the final customs deal, the UK government must ensure that trading businesses face only one set of changes, not two, as they move goods across borders whether by land, sea or air.

“An agreement to maintain something close to the status quo until new rules, technology, infrastructure and staff are in place is a no-brainer. The alternative is greater uncertainty, disrupted supply chains, and one costly adjustment after another.

“Every trading business I speak to wants practical considerations, not ideology, to drive Cabinet decision-making and negotiations with the EU. The customs question is no different. If the government’s position is that the UK will not be in a customs union with the EU, it has an obligation to make this shift happen with the least possible disruption to business, consumers and the wider economy.

“A clear sunset clause would ensure that a pragmatic customs transition is completed without a cliff-edge for business or endless can-kicking by ministers.”

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BCC: Pragmatism, not ideology, needed in customs debate

Posted: 08/05/18 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Reacting to comments made by Business Secretary Greg Clark MP and other political interviewees on the Andrew Marr programme regarding future customs arrangements, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Whatever the final customs deal, the UK government must ensure that trading businesses face only one set of changes, not two, as they move goods across borders whether by land, sea or air.

“An agreement to maintain something close to the status quo until new rules, technology, infrastructure and staff are in place is a no-brainer. The alternative is greater uncertainty, disrupted supply chains, and one costly adjustment after another.

“Every trading business I speak to wants practical considerations, not ideology, to drive Cabinet decision-making and negotiations with the EU. The customs question is no different. If the government’s position is that the UK will not be in a customs union with the EU, it has an obligation to make this shift happen with the least possible disruption to business, consumers and the wider economy.

“A clear sunset clause would ensure that a pragmatic customs transition is completed without a cliff-edge for business or endless can-kicking by ministers.”

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Novacroft makes timely transition to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015

Posted: 08/05/18 by Novacroft

Novacroft has made the transition to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 a year ahead of the end of the September 2018 deadline.

Novacroft’s Governance & Business Improvement Team, working alongside the wider business, has successfully adapted the company’s quality and environmental management systems to meet the requirements set out in the 2015 revisions of the existing ISO 9001 quality management and ISO 14001 environmental management standards.

With a target of September 2018 for transition being complete, Novacroft is proud to be months ahead of the curve in achieving certification to the latest revisions of standards at the cornerstone of its business operations. For Novacroft, business compliance has long been business critical, and the company also gained re-certification to ISO 14001 in February 2018.

Karen Waldock, head of governance & business improvement at Novacroft, pictured here, said: “This is great news for us and for our clients. Generally, transition takes at least 12 months, but thanks to the team we were able to complete all work and bring this forward by six months. Many thanks to all involved. The structured, systematic business approach that standards require, gives us the rigour, resilience and security to provide excellence within our team and in all that we do for our clients. The ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 standards we now hold mean clients can remain assured of the consistency and quality of the standards we set ourselves across all our activities.”

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Haulage and logistics company is shortlisted for prestigious award

Posted: 08/05/18 by Stephen Sanderson Transport Ltd

A family-owned haulage and logistics company has been shortlisted for a prestigious industry award.

Stephen Sanderson Transport Limited, based in Market Harborough, is a finalist in the Haulier of the Year category at the Motor Transport Awards 2018.

Known as the most coveted award in the road transport industry, it celebrates the outstanding road haulage or 3PL company of the past year.

Winners need to show a tremendous all-round commitment to legal compliance, business success, high operational standards, staff development, safety, health, environment and quality.

The winners will be announced at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 4 July.

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Imad Malhas wins CEO Europe Award

Posted: 08/05/18 by IrisGuard UK Ltd

Imad Malhas, founder and CEO of IrisGuard UK Ltd, has been selected as one of the Top 50 European CEOs by CEO Today Magazine.

Featured in a 4-page interview in the special winners edition of the magazine, Imad talks about:

  • IrisGuard’s leadership role in the biometric technology sector
  • The human element to iris recognition technology and providing financial inclusion for the unbanked
  • Challenges and opportunities, especially with mobile phones and tablets
  • The future of secure financial delivery platforms

To read Imad’s interview in full please visit https://europeawards.ceotodaymagazine.com/winners-edition

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Huge growth helps PALLITE land logistics award

Posted: 08/05/18 by The Alternative Pallet Company Ltd

A company specialising in alternative, environmentally-friendly packaging solutions has been named the Growth Business of the Year at a leading logistics awards ceremony.

PALLITE – The Alternative Packaging Company landed the honour at the 2018 Northamptonshire Logistics Awards, held to celebrate groundbreaking industries at the heart of the UK’s logistics hub.

PALLITE offers a genuine alternative to wood through its innovative range of lightweight, strong, clean and recyclable paper transit packaging, designed to reduce the total cost of delivery.

Born from an idea to address the frustrations and limitations of other pallet types –the company is changing the way goods are transported through its ultra-lightweight, yet extremely strong paper transit packaging.

The business has grown significantly in the past 12 months, moving from a team of 14 to over 30 and plans are in place to double that by the end of 2018. Gross revenues also doubled through 2017 and current projections based on Q1 performance indicate a further 200 per cent growth in the business in 2018.

Patrick Mulhall, managing director of the Wellingborough-based company, said: “The past 12 months has seen unprecedented growth for the business and this award is recognition for the hard work the whole team has put in to make this possible.

“Our aim is to get into the consciousness and allow logistics decision makers to make informed decisions around how they chose to move their product and this award helps us do exactly that.

“We pride ourselves on providing solutions that ultimately lead to a cash saving for all our customers.

“We are passionate about what we do and how it can impact positively upon both the community of Northamptonshire and the logistics sector in general. We look forward to this award being the catalyst for further growth in the months and years ahead.”

The company manufactures its entire range at a factory in Northamptonshire and supplies a range of sectors, including automotive, pharmaceutical and food industries, as well as exporting, where PALLITE is able to significantly reduce air freight cost savings through weight reduction.

A major investment programme has seen the installation of a new £100k CNC cutting machine and new printing capacity has also been introduced in recent weeks. Current plans are for a second site within the region over the next 12 months.

For more information, visit: www.pallite.co.uk.

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Ben Foden to lead out Saints for 250th and final appearance

Posted: 04/05/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Northampton Saints legend Ben Foden will lead out the side on his 250th and final appearance for the Club on Saturday afternoon.

The 32-year-old is one of a host of Saints stalwarts that will be pulling on the Black, Green and Gold jersey for the final time as Northampton host Worcester Warriors at Franklin’s Gardens.

Final league positions will be on the line so Saints – who have beaten Warriors on three of the previous four meetings between the sides – have plenty of pride at stake in front of what will be a bumper Gardens crowd.

Interim head coach Alan Dickens and technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney have made four changes from the side that ran Aviva Premiership semi-finalists Wasps so close last time out.

Foden skippers the team at fullback after shifting from the wing, with Tom Collins brought into the Saints’ starting XV for the first time since January to make his 50th appearance for the Club.

George North remains on the other wing, but there are two further changes to Northampton’s back line as Nafi Tuitavake and James Grayson both start at outside centre and fly-half respectively.

But in the pack there is only one change; Kieran Brookes makes his final appearance for the Club at tighthead prop, packing down with Alex Waller and Mikey Haywood in the front row.

Stephen Myler, Campese Ma’afu and Charlie Clare will all also run out at Franklin’s Gardens for the final time in a Saints jersey, and will look to make an impact off the bench alongside the likes of Ahsee Tuala, Alex Mitchell, and David Ribbans – who returns from injury to join the replacements.

“I’ve seen these players as both a teammate and a coach and they’ve served Saints brilliantly in what is probably the most successful period in the history of the Club,” said Dickens.

“The motivation to send the guys out on a high note has to come from within the players and we’ve spoken about that this week – hopefully we put on a performance to match the occasion.”

Tickets for Saints’ final clash of the season against Worcester Warriors are still available from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000. Prices start at £36 for adults and £16 for juniors.

After the game players will be honoured with a lap around the stadium before supporters are welcomed onto the pitch for the annual presentation of shirts to our departing players.

SAINTS v WORCESTER

Aviva Premiership Rugby, Round 22

Saturday 5th May, 2018

Franklin’s Gardens

Kick-off: 4pm

15 Ben Foden (capt)

14 Tom Collins

13 Nafi Tuitavake

12 Piers Francis

11 George North

10 James Grayson

9 Cobus Reinach

1 Alex Waller

2 Mikey Haywood

3 Kieran Brookes

4 Api Ratuniyarawa

5 James Craig

6 Jamie Gibson

7 Teimana Harrison

8 Mitch Eadie

Replacements:

16 Charlie Clare

17 Campese Ma’afu

18 Paul Hill

19 David Ribbans

20 Lewis Ludlam

21 Alex Mitchell

22 Stephen Myler

23 Ahsee Tuala

Injury update:

Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes, Dylan Hartley, Harry Mallinder, Christian Day, Reece Marshall, Heinrich Brüssow and Luther Burrell are all unavailable for selection.

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Elliott and Paterson to leave Saints

Posted: 04/05/18 by Northampton Rugby Football Club

Northampton Saints can today confirm that Jamie Elliott and Michael Paterson will both leave the Club at the end of the season.

In eight seasons at Franklin’s Gardens, Bedford-born Elliott racked up 115 appearances in total after making his Saints debut as an 18-year-old.

The Saints Academy product then announced himself in style on his first Aviva Premiership start with a try away at Sale Sharks, making himself a regular on the wing for Northampton over the next few seasons.

The 25-year-old scored 34 tries for the Club in total and helped Saints to a sensational Premiership and European Challenge Cup double in 2014, but injuries have restricted his playing opportunities since midway through last season.

“The game is all about making memories, and I’ve made a lot of them over my eight seasons at the club – not just on the pitch but also off it,” said Elliott.

“It’s been an honour to step onto that pitch alongside so many teammates that have become friends, and I wish the Club every success in the future.”

Paterson meanwhile joined Saints for the start of the 2015/16 campaign from Sale, with the Kiwi-born lock bringing a raft of experience to Northampton’s second row.

He notched up a half-century of appearances in Black, Green and Gold earlier this season against Ospreys, and ends his time at Franklin’s Gardens with 60 appearances to his name.

“Having the privilege of playing with this group of guys is something I will always look back on fondly,” Paterson said.

“To be able to run out in front of the crowd at Franklin’s Gardens is always an incredible experience and I’m immensely proud to have played for Saints more than 50 times.”

Tickets for Saints’ final clash of the season against Worcester Warriors are still available from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000. Prices start at £36 for adults and £16 for juniors.

After the game players will be honoured with a lap around the stadium before supporters are welcomed onto the pitch for the annual presentation of shirts to our departing players.

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