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Commercial Property Team continues to grow

Posted: 27/07/17 by Wilson Browne Solicitors

Wilson Browne’s Commercial Team goes from strength to strength with the recent addition of two new commercial property team members. Solicitor Chloe Hamling (pictured here), joined from a London firm and Judy MacGregor joined the firm in January from a local firm as a paralegal.

The team now comprises Partners Tom Warrender, Ika Castka, and Nina Wilson, solicitors Emma Oliver and Chloe Hamling, with further support from paralegal Judy MacGregor.

With team members permanently based at the Kettering and Northampton Office and regularly working from any of the firm’s five offices across Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, it means local knowledge is invaluable.

As to the current climate, things certainly do appear to be getting busier with more and more new enquiries and a variety of instructions from short term through to longer term leases, freehold transactions, bank financing, land acquisitions and developments, together with agricultural land and property pension scheme transactions.

Tom Warrender added: “As a team we pride ourselves on working with our clients, not just on a transaction-by-transaction basis, but in fully understanding their business needs and future plans. The start to the year has been very busy and it is excellent to welcome Chloe and Judy on board to ensure that we continue to deliver excellent service levels to our clients.”

The Legal 500 recognised Commercial Property Team acts for private and corporate landowners, developers, pension funds, charities, lenders and housing associations. The firm has a wealth of experience in dealing successfully with all types of commercial property matters offering practical advice with speed and efficiency.

For further information about commercial property matters and how Wilson Browne can help you and your business contact Tom Warrender on 01536 410014, email twarrender@wilsonbrowne.co.uk or visit www.wilsonbrowne.co.uk

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Rockingham Road Pleasure Park awarded prestigious Green Flag!

Posted: 27/07/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Kettering’s Rockingham Road Pleasure Park has been officially recognised as one of the best in the UK after receiving a Green Flag award from Keep Britain Tidy.

The park is among 1,797 parks and green spaces that have received the prestigious award this year. The award, handed out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.

In recent years the park, which has an active Friends of the Park group, has received a major overhaul with the addition of an all new outdoor gym and new play equipment.

Shirley Plenderleith, Head of Public Services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “In recent years we’ve worked with the local community through the Friends of the Park group and local schools to undertake several park improvement schemes including a new free-to-use outdoor gym and enhanced play area. We feel the award clearly recognises this. We have also painted the bandstand in the colours of the Park schools to recognise their historic association with the park.”

Councillor Lloyd Bunday, Kettering Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Community & Leisure, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag Award from Keep Britain Tidy. This Award recognises and highlights that people in Kettering are benefitting from a green space of the very highest quality.”

Matthew Campbell, Chair of the Friends of Rockingham Road Pleasure Park Group, said: “The Green Flag Award is a reflection of the importance this park holds for so many local people, whom the Friends group seek to represent. We have worked with the Borough Council to get this award and will continue to do so to secure future awards”.

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton, said: “Research shows that parks are a vital and valued resource in communities across the UK and we are delighted that so many of them are meeting the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.

“But we cannot be complacent. We know that budgets are being squeezed in local authorities across the country and we must be vigilant to ensure that everyone, where ever they live, has access to the very best parks and green spaces.”

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Amaray shortlisted for community award

Posted: 27/07/17 by Amaray

Amaray is delighted to announce that they have been successful in reaching the final of the SME Northamptonshire Business Awards in the ‘Community Business Of The Year’ category.

The winner of the category will live and breathe the adage about giving something back to their local community. The team from Corby were selected as a finalist due to their commitment to local palliative care organisation Lakelands Hospice.

You can learn about the teams Summer House Project from last year where they converted an outhouse into a comfortable retreat for patients and their families on their website http://www.amaray.com/news/105.

The winner will be announced on the 25th October 2017 during the SME Awards evening.

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Masonic Charitable Foundation Vote - 5 days left!

Posted: 27/07/17 by Daventry Area Community Transport

If you haven’t had a chance already, please vote for DACT as there are only 5 days of voting left!

DACT needs your votes to receive £25,000 from Northamptonshire & Huntingdonshire Freemasons.

DACT is appealing to all its friends, supporters and service users to vote online to help them receive a £25,000 Community Award from the Freemasons.

As part of Freemasonry’s 300th anniversary celebrations, the Masonic Charitable Foundation is distributing £3 million pounds to 300 charities across the country, and DACT is one of those selected.

Each of the nominated charities will receive a grant, but the public vote will determine how much they receive, ranging from £4,000 to £25,000.

Those who want to vote should visit the MCF website mcf.org.uk/vote, select the Northamptonshire & Huntingdonshire page and vote for the charity of their choice. The voting period is from Monday, 12 June until Monday, 31 July.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation obtains all of its funding from Freemasons and their families. It is estimated that half of Freemasonry’s total charitable expenditure of over £33m goes to charities that help people in communities across the country.

To vote for DACT to win up to £25,000, visit www.mcf.org.uk/vote

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Check it once, check it twice, why not a third time!

Posted: 27/07/17 by Wilson Browne Solicitors

When making an employment claim it is very important that you as the claimant, check and then double check that you have identified the correct opponent (respondent). In most employment claims there is a mandatory initial stage that has to be carried out known as Early Conciliation (EC). In a recent case, Giny v SNA Transport Ltd, the claimant mistakenly named the respondent’s company’s sole director as the respondent when carrying out EC. The claimant later correctly recognised and named the limited company as the respondent when completing his formal claim form. By this time, he was too late to start the process against the correct respondent from scratch. The Employment Tribunal decided that this amounted to more than a “minor error” in accordance with the Employment Tribunal Rules; which in turn resulted in the rejection of the claimant’s claim.

The claimant’s solicitors appealed this decision and argued that the language used, in particular, “minor error”, should be looked at broadly and argued that it was quite clear who the claimant had intended their claim to be against. In this case the claimant had provided the correct address of the limited company but had named the respondent as Mr Ahmed, who was the sole director of the company. The solicitors for the claimant also argued that technical arguments should be avoided, particularly in light of the fact that many claimants are unrepresented and there is a real possibility for ignorance and misunderstanding by an employee as to the correct legal name of his/her employer.

These arguments were met with resistance from the respondent. It argued that there is a fundamental legal distinction between a natural person and a legal entity.

Whilst the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) had a lot of sympathy for the claimant, it was not persuaded that there was any error of law in the Employment Judge’s decision to reject the claim.

The above case comes as a significant warning to claimants and their legal representatives to be extremely vigilant when providing the name for the prospective respondent. Time limits in employment claims are extremely tight, and if it comes to light that an error has been made it would be sensible to start a fresh EC process within the relevant time limit, if possible.

Expert advice helps our commercial clients to get it right from the beginning, which avoids costly mistakes later. If you have any questions or require assistance with any of your employment needs please do not hesitate to contact Jennie Jahina, Head of Employment Law on 0800 088 6004.

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Local councils working together to house people faster

Posted: 27/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Applicants on Northampton’s Housing Register could be set to benefit from a new scheme which will give them access to new affordable rented housing in two neighbouring districts.

Northampton Borough Council has been working with Daventry District Council and South Northamptonshire Council on a scheme to meet the housing needs of Northampton.

Under the scheme, applicants on Northampton’s Housing Register will be prioritised for up to 1,770 new housing association homes that are being built, over the next 12 years, in a series of urban extensions planned for the outskirts of Northampton.

To enable this to happen, Northampton Borough Council agreed for a number of changes to be made to its Housing Allocations Scheme at a Cabinet meeting last night, Wednesday 19 July. The changes will ensure that people who have a local connection with the urban extensions in Daventry and South Northamptonshire are able to join Northampton’s Housing Register and be considered for the new homes.

Cllr Stephen Hibbert, the Cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: “We’re really pleased that Cabinet approved the changes to the Housing Allocations Scheme. Once the changes are in place, applicants on Northampton’s Housing Register will be prioritised for affordable rented homes being built in the urban extensions.”

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Comms365 win Market Maker/Best IoT/M2M Provider Award!

Posted: 27/07/17 by Comms365 Limited

Winning the Market Maker Best IoT/ M2M Provider at the Comms Business Awards has made us very proud. The Awards are the ICT Channel’s most prestigious and sought after and were held this year at the Lancaster Hotel in London. We joined fellow nominees and industry peers in networking and celebrating success in the Channel over the past 12 months and we were delighted to sponsor the Market Maker Award – Wholesale Provider.

IoT has been high on our agenda, as we fully immerse ourselves in designing and delivering real IoT; representing the LoRaAlliance, supporting partners, meeting and greeting visitors and demonstrating our end-to-end IoT solutions. We exhibited with the LoRa Alliance on their stand at the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) 2017 event in London, introducing the concept of Low Power WAN (LPWAN) technology and applications to the visitor audience.

At LPWA 2017 in London, we jointly exhibited with our LoRaWAN partner Everynet and showcased our ‘Real World IoT’ applications suite – Smart Parking, Pest Control and Waste Management, which excited the visitors and has resulted in generating new business opportunities for us and our partners.

Supporting KCOM Business on their stand at The Business Day at Bridlington Spa, we were able to demonstrate how LPWAN-powered IoT applications can make a tangible difference to any business, regardless of size. There was massive interest and business enquiries received, from the entrepreneur delegates, for our IoT platform and applications.

Call us on 01234 865 880 or email sales@comms365.com

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Employment Tribunal Fees - Are you due a refund?

Posted: 26/07/17 by Wilson Browne Solicitors

Back in 2013, fees became payable to Tribunals in order to start a claim and then bring it to a hearing.

The government had hoped that the introduction of fees would help reduce claims which were started on the basis that an employer would settle because it was easier to settle than to defend (the ‘man in the street’ would blame a no win – no fee culture for an excess of claims).

Additionally, the government wanted to help fund the system through the application of fees.

In reality, many employment claims are for relatively low sums – for example, if your employer hasn’t paid you all your holiday pay. These sorts of claims became effectively unenforceable as no employee would bring a claim for a day’s pay, if the fee to bring that claim cost two or three times as much.

As a result claims to the Employment Tribunal dropped by 79%.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the fees were unlawful for a number of reasons but most importantly because they effectively prevented access to justice, the rationale being that laws were worthless if they could not be enforced.

When considering these proposals in the first place the government assessed that access to justice was only important for the two parties to the case. The Supreme Court disagreed and stated that access to justice was important for everyone, because without a belief that rights could be protected by going to court, people may not act in accordance with the law, especially if they believed they would never be forced to.

The Supreme Court also held that the fees were indirectly discriminatory as they affected woman more than men, with no justifiable reason for that discrimination. The fees were also held to be in breach of EU law.

The government had provided no evidence as to why fees had been set at the level they had and had acted under the mistaken belief that the higher the fee, the more money would be raised when of course, like everything else, demand is affected by price. The fees generated therefore had been nothing like as high as anticipated.

Fees ranged between £390 and £1,200 with Discrimination cases costing more (for claimants) due to the complexity and time hearings took.

From today fees do not need to be paid and previous claimants can also apply for a refund….in real terms, this is a huge change in employment law.

To find out more about this or any other employment law issue, call us today on 0800 088 6004.

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Grant Thornton invests in Thames Valley team

Posted: 26/07/17 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

Grant Thornton has announced the promotion of Mark Bishop to Partner in the Thames Valley and Southampton markets and the appointment of Alistair Wardell as Head of Restructuring across the South, as business activity strengthens.

After a successful 14-year career at the firm, and having most recently held the position of Director, Mark Bishop’s new role of partner will see him lead the Thames Valley’s technology audit team.

Working with both large listed clients and smaller firms, he has experience in supporting clients through the IPO process, both in the UK and the US, and in raising funds from private equity and venture capital trusts. He has worked with technology businesses across the UK and internationally, including Rockley Photonics and DNAe.

In addition, bringing more than 20 years’ experience, most recently as Practice Leader in Grant Thornton’s Cardiff office, Alistair Wardell’s appointment as Head of Restructuring across the South will see him cover the geography across Reading, Oxford, Southampton, Cornwall, Bristol and Wales.

Specialising in Recovery and Reorganisation, Alistair helps businesses in distressed situations to identify the potential barriers to their success and key factors that will make their business more profitable. He then works to build and execute a plan that optimises the performance of their business.

On the appointments, Jim Rogers, Practice Leader at Grant Thornton Thames Valley commented: “This investment in talent comes as a result of strong business growth in the region, with a continued demand for our services.

“I’ve been delighted to see Mark Bishop rise through the ranks at Grant Thornton and his leadership skills have been firmly recognised with his promotion to Partner.

“We work with some of the region’s most dynamic, fast growing businesses, and I’m confident that Alistair and Mark bring with them the strong market experience that we need to continue our success in supporting our clients on their growth journeys.”

Pictured: Mark Bishop

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Bollards planned for more Northampton parks

Posted: 26/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Northampton Borough Council will be installing bollards to restrict vehicle access to four more of the town’s green spaces this summer.

Bollards are already in place at many parks around Northampton to help prevent people from driving or parking on the open spaces, and more are now planned as part of the borough council’s ongoing work to protect and maintain its parks.

Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Recreation Ground, Thornton Park, and Abington Park will all benefit from the installation of bollards over the coming months. Work to install new bollards at the Racecourse will be completed this week.

Councillor Mike Hallam, cabinet member for environment, said: “The bollards are designed to prevent any unauthorised access to our parks as all motorised vehicles have the potential to damage green spaces, and more importantly, could put the people who use our parks at risk.

“This work is part of an ongoing plan to manage and protect our green spaces, many parks around the borough already have bollards in place and we will continue to install bollards where it is practical to do so.

“While most people respect the by laws and signage we have in place, installing bollards is one of the ways we can make sure that our parks can be maintained to a high standard for
everyone to enjoy.”

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Read up on the BCC comments on GDP figures

Posted: 26/07/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the first estimate of GDP for Q2 2017, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “While GDP growth in Q2 was a slight improvement on the previous quarter, it was still less than half the pace of growth recorded at the end of 2016, and provides further evidence that the UK economy is treading water.

“UK economic growth remains unbalanced, with the service sector accounting for all of the growth recorded in Q2, while the industrial production and construction sectors were a drag on growth in the quarter.

“The pick-up in growth in Q2 could prove to be a high point for the UK economy this year. Inflation is likely to resume its upward trajectory in the coming months and this could trigger a sharper economic slowdown by increasing the squeeze on consumer spending - a major driver of UK economic growth. Rising inflation together with continued uncertainty over the longer-term impacts of Brexit is also likely to stifle investment intentions.

“The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey confirms that domestic business activity remains subdued with firms facing significant cost pressures. Overall, the UK economy remains on track to grow by 1.5% this year, which if realised would be the weakest rate of growth since 2012.

“With UK economic conditions becoming more challenging it is vital that as well as reaching a comprehensive agreement with the EU, longstanding domestic issues, including the multitude of upfront business costs that continue to undermine the UK’s long-term growth prospects, are addressed.”

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BCC comments on GDP figures

Posted: 26/07/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the first estimate of GDP for Q2 2017, published today by the ONS, Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “While GDP growth in Q2 was a slight improvement on the previous quarter, it was still less than half the pace of growth recorded at the end of 2016, and provides further evidence that the UK economy is treading water.

“UK economic growth remains unbalanced, with the service sector accounting for all of the growth recorded in Q2, while the industrial production and construction sectors were a drag on growth in the quarter.

“The pick-up in growth in Q2 could prove to be a high point for the UK economy this year. Inflation is likely to resume its upward trajectory in the coming months and this could trigger a sharper economic slowdown by increasing the squeeze on consumer spending - a major driver of UK economic growth. Rising inflation together with continued uncertainty over the longer-term impacts of Brexit is also likely to stifle investment intentions.

“The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey confirms that domestic business activity remains subdued with firms facing significant cost pressures. Overall, the UK economy remains on track to grow by 1.5% this year, which if realised would be the weakest rate of growth since 2012.

“With UK economic conditions becoming more challenging it is vital that as well as reaching a comprehensive agreement with the EU, longstanding domestic issues, including the multitude of upfront business costs that continue to undermine the UK’s long-term growth prospects, are addressed.”

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Team Towcester Nominated For Venue Team Of The Year Award For 2017

Posted: 26/07/17 by Towcester Racecourse Ltd

People are at the heart of the meetings and events industry; in fact, more than 530,000 of them are employed in the sector which is more than double that of the UK telecoms industry. Amongst these there are the good, the very good and the absolutely fantastic. It’s because our team are among those that are ‘absolutely fantastic’ individuals that we have been shortlisted in the Venue Team of the year award for 2017.

In the autumn of 2014, Towcester Racecourse made the decision to bring all catering in-house. We set out to develop a food and service offering that surpassed other sporting venues. Service was to be seamless with the team to exceed guest expectation at every level. Knowing we required a team of 50 hospitality staff, we recruited the team based on attitude, excellent communication skills and a natural empathy to people needs.

• Attitude to work is difficult to teach, and we want our team to be happy at work and enjoy the experience.

• Communication is key to giving excellent service, the team need to be able to interact with our guests in a confident manner. We are fortunate enough to encounter celebrities as well as, and just as importantly, local residents.

• Empathy to people is essential so the team can assess our guests needs and react accordingly, exceeding guest expectation at every level.

The executive decision to build a team with little or no hospitality experience meant our team was predominately made up of local 16 – 20 year olds. For many this was their first part-time job. Each received 3 weeks of intensive training, covering all aspects of our proposed operation.

On the 6th December we opened the greyhound track and all hospitality was sold out.

The last 27 months has not been without its challenges and the first 12 months was a long hard journey, as we had to teach our brand new team everything.

Within 18 months, 5 of our younger team joined us full time in a variety of positions, from Event Co-Ordinators through to Restaurant and Assistant Catering Manager.

We continue to recruit with the same ethos and our training has been adjusted to the new demands of our guests as we continue to grow.

Our team manage their work exceptionally well together, from initial point of contact through to service delivery and the final goodbye at the end of the event. Our team remains diligent in their roles, consistently providing a professional, polite and bespoke service to each of our guests. We now employ 177 staff with approx. 30 on a full time basis of which 11 are on the full time hospitality team.

So if we’ve surpassed your expectations when you visited us, please vote for Team Towcester on the link here: http://www.mia-uk.org/event_group/recognising-excellence/mialist-team-award/

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A celebration of Northampton’s inspiring individuals

Posted: 26/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

On the 100th anniversary of the fall of local hero Edgar Mobbs, Northampton Borough Council is hosting a celebration of prominent individuals from the town’s past.

On Monday, 31 July, visitors to the town centre are invited to an official viewing of the new statues at the Guildhall and the launch of an extended augmented reality heritage trail.

A wreath-laying and tribute led by the Western Front Association will commemorate Lieutenant Colonel Mobbs, who died during the battle of Passchendaele on 31 July 1917. Guests will also be able to enjoy a reading from the John Clare Society and a musical performance of a composition written by Malcolm Arnold, as well as a
demonstration of the Ghosts of Northampton Past trail.

This first launched in December and featured six interesting characters from the town’s past. Now, there’s a total of 17 individuals dotted throughout the town ready to be discovered by ghost-hunters with smart phones. All of the figures standing in the Courtyard at the guildhall have a digital ghost waiting to tell their stories.

Anyone with an internet-enabled device can download the free Aurasma app and start learning more about Northampton’s heritage.

Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “It’s incredibly fitting that on the centenary of Edgar Mobbs’s death, we celebrate the town that he fought to protect. I’m grateful for the support of everyone who is contributing to this celebration of the great talent that has shaped our town.”

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “Northampton has been home to lots of interesting people over the years and the trail is a great way to bring their stories to life. I’d like to thank everyone who helped give a voice to these inspirational individuals.

“The summer holidays are the perfect time to get out and about with the kids and learn more about people who once walked the same streets.”

Join the celebration from 11.30am – 1pm on Monday, 31 July in the Courtyard at the Guildhall.

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What to look for when choosing a letting agent

Posted: 26/07/17 by Robinson & Hall LLP

Whether you are a first time landlord or have a portfolio of property, Robinson & Hall, Land and Property Professionals thought it would be helpful to list key considerations when choosing your letting agent.

1. Choose a local letting agent – it makes sense to choose an agent in the same location as the property as they should have plenty of tenants registered looking for a property just like yours.

2. Let only Vs property management? – look through the agent’s offering and ensure it matches your expectations. We offer a tailor made service to suit our landlords’ requirements.

3. Understand the fees – make sure you are aware of all charges and that there are no hidden fees. Our fees are listed on our website in the lettings section under ‘Fees and Charges’.

4. Make sure they are regulated – this ensures that they are reputable and fair as they have to work to a certain standard. We are regulated by Propertymark and RICS.

5. Do they offer a good marketing package? It is important that they advertise on the major property portals, such as Rightmove and have an eye-catching website which will show your property in its best light. We do!

6. Ask around. It is worth asking family and friends for recommendations. At Robinson & Hall 80% of work comes from repeat business and referrals.

7. If they are managing your property, will they deal with ALL issues at any time? Make sure their property management package is clear and that your tenants will have a dedicated Property Manager who they can call 24/7. We do.

8. Book a free market appraisal, meet them and determine whether they are the right agent for you.

If you would like further advice and information about our residential lettings services then please call Kellie Marsh, Residential Lettings Manager on 01234 362937 or email: kam@robinsonandhall.co.uk

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Corporate Sponsorship at the heart of the action

Posted: 26/07/17 by MK Lightning

The MK Lightning Match Night Sponsorship Package ensures that your company name is heard and seen by all our Lightning Supporters at our main event “Hockey Night in Milton Keynes”.

This match night sponsorship package will feature your company during in game announcements throughout the evening as well as your corporate branding taking price of place in our match night programme, our website and social media.

Additionally, you and your guests will be treated to the best view in the house in our exclusive Lightning Sky Bar area. In this area you will have the luxury of your own private bar facility.

Your company will receive between 10-30 match tickets depending on the tailored package. Exclusive access to our Lightning Sky Bar and our professionally designed match night programmes on whose cover your corporate branding will feature.

A company representative will be invited on to the ice prior to the game to perform the “Ceremonial Puck Drop” of which a photo will be taken with both captains.

PA Announcements through-out the entire game, ensuring that everyone in the area knows your name.

Your corporate branding will be visible on our website and social media service.

A choice of food packages can be tailored to your specific needs

For more information or to discuss bespoke corporate sponsorship packages, contact Commercial Manager, Sarah-Jayne Smyth at sarah-jane@mk-lightning.co.uk or visit the website.

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Small grants help to bring communities together in Becket’s Park

Posted: 25/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Communities will be coming together for Northampton’s first Mela celebrations thanks to the support of the Borough Council’s small grant fund.

The Mela, a family orientated community gathering, will take place in Becket’s Park on Sunday 30 July after the local park group, Buddies of Becket’s was awarded £3000 from the
small grant fund. The event also has support from Northamptonshire Police, the University of Northampton and Northamptonshire Community Foundation.

To encourage people to visit Becket’s Park and enjoy an afternoon of free entertainment, the Council is also offering free parking in nearby car parks, such as St John’s multi-story car park and Midsummer Meadows car park.

Sikh drummers and Bhangra Blaze, a keep fit craze set to Bhangra music, will open the free entertainment at midday. The live and diverse show will continue until 4pm and will include singer Ajitpal Pali, gymnastic displays, Irish dancing, fashion shows and stalls offering crafts, food and drink and information about local organisations.

Cllr Anna King, the Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to support Buddies of Becket’s Mela project from this year’s
small grants pot.

“Community events like the Mela are a great way of bringing the public together to celebrate diversity and we encourage people to head to Becket’s Park and enjoy the wide
range of free entertainment taking place this Sunday.”

Nick Stephens, Chairman of Buddies of Becket’s, said: “After feedback from park users and local residents we decided to organise a community event this summer.

“Although Mela@Beckets has an Asian theme, performers from all different communities will be on stage. We have Bhangra and Bollywood style dancers, classical Indian
dancers and a singer along with Irish dancers, African and Russian performers.

“There will be an opportunity for people to participate in some sporting activities and many food, craft and information stalls will also be in the park. There will be lots of other entertainment taking place and it is all free to the public.”

Visit @bobnorthampton for updates about the Mela at Becket’s Park.

Apply to the small grant fund at www.northampton.gov.uk/info/200260/community-funding/1937/small-grants-fund

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Students go back to school to inspire Northamptonshire pupils to shine

Posted: 25/07/17 by The University of Northampton

Secondary school pupils in Northamptonshire have been tutored by some of the best student brains in the county thanks to a partnership with the University of Northampton.

A group of PhD students spent six weeks working with 13 and 14-year-olds at two county schools with the aim of inspiring them to work at a higher level.

The UNI Club initiative saw a series of student-led workshops held at Northampton Academy and Kettering Buccleuch Academy during June and July, and now the pupils must write a
1,000-word assignment over the summer holidays based on what they’ve learnt.

Director of Aspiration at Buccleuch, Jo Massey, said: “The project has enabled students to research a topic in depth and explore a different way of learning. It has developed
their essay writing skills and their team-working skills and it has given them an insight into the methods of study used at university.”

The sessions aren’t just beneficial for the Year 7 children, the University’s PhD students also get a lot out of the partnership, as Cynthia Atufu confirms. The Environmental
Science PhD student said: “Before the UNI Club, I had ambitions to teach, but wasn’t 100 per cent sure about my ability to do it. But working with the young people at Buccleuch has been really fulfilling and boosted my confidence – now I know that teaching is for me.

Cynthia added: “I’ve been very impressed with the group of pupils I have been working with. We’ve been exploring the issues around environmental sustainability and how they can help to change their attitudes and everyday behaviours, with the aim of having a positive impact on the planet.

“I was surprised by how much the young people already knew, and they’ve really enjoyed building on that knowledge and studying in a deeper way over the six weeks.

“Hopefully I have helped to inspire them to consider taking their education to the next level when they leave school.”

The UNI Club is led by the Aspire Schools Engagement team. The Aspire Network, which is based at the University, and counts county colleges and schools amongst its members, sees partners work together in a coordinated way to raise the aspirations of Northamptonshire’s young people.

Pictured: Cynthia Atufu at Kettering Buccleuch Academy

In summer 2016, the University welcomed around 1,700 primary and secondary school pupils onto campus.

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Northampton parks named as two of the best in Britain

Posted: 25/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Delapré Park and Abington Park have been named as two of the best green spaces in the UK and Ireland.

The two parks have retained their Green Flag Award status for another successive year, following the Council’s commitment of meeting standards for providing local communities with accessible, clean and safe green spaces.

Both parks will proudly continue to display the prestigious Green Flag Award, with this year marking an impressive five years in a row for Deplaré Park and four years for Abington Park.

Cabinet member for environment, Cllr Mike Hallam, said: “Receiving the Green Flag Award for both Abington Park and Delapre Park is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the hard work, care and attention given by our Grounds Maintenance Contractor, Park Rangers, the ‘Friends of Abington Park’ and ‘Friends of Delapre Abbey’ groups, and the many other volunteers that help to keep the parks at their best.

“The public also have a huge part to play in the upkeep and cleanliness of the parks and I’d like to remind people to continue to respect these spaces by clearing up after themselves when visiting the parks.

“We are delighted to be able to fly the flags for yet another year and will do so with pride and a great sense of satisfaction.”

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Why auction?

Posted: 25/07/17 by Robinson & Hall LLP

As auctioneers we are often asked ‘why auction?’ and it is easy to list the quick answers to both prospective sellers and buyers, namely speed, certainty of sale, best price, transparency and commitment, without really considering the full implications. To help you make your decision we have gone into detail about why auction may be the best route for you:

1. Are you the right seller for auction?

Firstly we need to mention that the auction route doesn’t work for everyone. Whether you are suitable is very dependent on your situation. We therefore recommend that you call us to book a no obligation auction appraisal and we would be happy to discuss this with you.

2. Speed

You could sell your land or property in as little as 4 weeks from instruction to exchange. For a buyer, as little as a week from viewing to exchange!

3. Certainty of Sale

As auctioneers our results are published and can be viewed on our auction results page on our website. On average we sell over 80% of what we offer.

4. Best Price

Many sellers consider auction as the last resort, however a typical buyer’s reaction is to try and purchase before the auction “because if it goes to the room it will go for silly money”. The reality is auction reaches a similar sum to a private treaty sale. However, because we list a starting price only, sale prices are not capped and often exceed expectations.

5. Transparency

Quite simply buyers want to know if there are any warts plus what others are prepared to pay and they only want to pay just enough to win. With upfront paperwork and being able to see other bidders, auction encourages buyers to pay that bit more, as opposed to bidding blind.

6. Commitment

Just as a seller wants a committed buyer, a buyer wants a committed seller. As a buyer I can assume the auction seller is committed. As long as I bid the most, the property will be mine. Likewise for the seller, the offer the auctioneer accepts on a seller’s behalf simultaneously exchanges contracts (on the fall of the gavel) whereas acceptance of a private treaty offer can result in agreed sums being renegotiated.

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Children takeover MK Gallery this summer

Posted: 25/07/17 by MK Gallery

This August, MK Gallery’s Project Space plays host to A Game Played in the Gallery Over Two Days, an exhibition made by children using objects gathered by adults.

The exhibition will explore children’s play and the way that we all interact with objects and space through an improvised ‘game’ played by three children. The final exhibition will be constructed through a process which is expected to be flowing, fraught and funny, absorbing the children completely as they arrange the objects given to them.

The three children who will construct the exhibition are part of Townley and Bradby, a collaborative family arts practice that explores the emotional intensity of family life. Townley and Bradby do this in amongst the domestic routine: games, dances, sayings and arrangements of objects are recorded as they happen within the family.

They have created this exhibition in collaboration with artists Georgie Manly and Sarah Wright, and on display will be films made with artist Miles Umney. Townley and Bradby have been commissioned by MK Gallery as part of City Club for a two-year project, Playing Out, to explore Conniburrow and Central Milton Keynes. With Georgie Manly they have begun to consider ways to occupy Conniburrow’s outdoor spaces, offering for example ‘Child-led Tours’ and the repurposing of objects through planting.

Speaking of the exhibition, Tara Page, MK Gallery Learning Manager said: “This exhibition highlights the incredible value of children’s ideas and the important role that adults play in listening and trusting in them. Children are creative beings who have a right to play and we’re delighted to be able to create a space for Townley and Bradby to explore this collaboratively. We’re also very excited about the children’s involvement in creating events for other families to enjoy; we hope that these events created by children, for children, will inspire families to play together and celebrate the idiosyncrasies of family life.”

Alongside the exhibition there will be a full month of family-friendly creative activities to get involved in. On Wednesday 2 August from 11am-4pm, Townley and Bradby lead a DIY Dress Up session at MK Playday in Campbell Park. Using a selection of clothing and fabrics families are invited to adapt, combine and play with the materials on offer in order to create wildly new and inventive costumes. The Townley and Bradby children takeover the Gallery’s weekly Saturday Studio sessions this month with intriguing artist-led activity from 1-3pm through which you are invited to join in, explore, question and create whilst working together as a family. And on Friday 18 August from 12noon-3pm, there will be a special summer holiday workshop Playtime exploring the themes in the Project Space exhibition in playful and unusual ways.

A Game Played in the Gallery Over Two Days, runs from 3 – 26 August. Admission is free. There will be an exhibition preview on Wednesday 2 August from 3-5pm to which all are welcome. For further details please visit www.cityclubmk.org and www.playingout.co.uk.

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RS supports local charity in efforts to encourage tomorrow’s engineers

Posted: 25/07/17 by RS Components Limited

RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE:ECM), is supporting a Northamptonshire-based charity in its mission to encourage youngsters into engineering. Northamptonshire Industrial Training Association Ltd (NITAL), a provider of training and apprenticeships for young people looking to enter the industry, is being given product donations by RS for use in NITAL’s Training Academy, based in Kettering.

Founded in 1969, NITAL is a charitable organisation which encourages students to go into engineering and take on one of their apprenticeships. It provides first class, accredited training working in conjunction with Sector Skills Councils, the Education and Skills Funding Agency and various awarding bodies, and delivers a wide range of Level 2, 3 & 4 Apprenticeships.

Tracey Taylor, community manager for RS in the UK, said: “I visited NITAL’s facility and was amazed by the programmes and remit. Not only is there a great workshop and training equipment for all types of engineering, but NITAL also customises the training according to the prospective employer’s industry – providing robust training and making the apprentices truly job-ready. RS is delighted to be supporting this initiative which is aligned with our efforts to raising awareness of a career in engineering and encouraging uptake of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.”

Alan Smith NITAL CEO said: “The product donations from RS are greatly received. At our new purpose built Training Academy, we offer day release provision, full time off the job training for employers with Apprentices and full time programmes for those looking to secure an engineering Apprenticeship. We design and develop bespoke training for employers to retrain and up skill existing staff. We cover everything from Computer Aided Design (CAD), engineering and manufacturing to welding training – so with such a full schedule, we’re always very appreciative of support from industry.”

NITAL also holds annual awards to recognise apprentice and industrial organisation efforts and inspire those in the industry, or those looking to enter it.

Pictured: Apprentices Jack, Bailey and Karl receiving accolades at the recent Nital awards.

For further information about NITAL’s services and apprenticeship vacancies, visit www.nital.co.uk.

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Motorcycle Racing Heads to Rockingham

Posted: 25/07/17 by Rockingham Motor Speedway Ltd

The motor racing action switches to two wheels at Rockingham this weekend (July 29/30) when the Northamptonshire circuit hosts one of the UK’s largest bike race series.

Now an annual date on the Rockingham race calendar, ThundersportGB is the most exciting and varied series in British motorcycle racing with nine different classes being contested over 34 races.

Tickets are £12 in advance with free entry for children aged 15 and under – so a family of four can enjoy a day’s racing for just £24! With qualifying plus 16 races on Saturday and a further 18 on Sunday, either day offers great value for money.

The action takes place on the International Motorcycle Circuit, and the packed timetable guarantees fans will have the opportunity to enjoy a magnificent array of two-wheel machines thundering around the track over both days.

The Superbike specification Michelin/Monex Europe Thundersport GP1, headlines and is definitely the one to watch if you like your bike racing with no holds barred on engine and chassis tuning. While some of the closest racing will be seen in the Dunlop Thundersport Superteens by the very best up and coming riders of their generation.

The Superteens series is renowned for producing some of the top household names including Double MotoGP winner Casey Stoner, ex-British Superbike Champion Alex Lowes, his brother Sam and fellow former Supersport World Champion Cal Crutchlow (both now MotoGP stars), to mention just a few.

However for those who prefer the classics, the Avon Golden Era Superbike, Alto Digital GP1 Classics & Sparklight Racing Golden Era Supersport grids will bring back fond memories with their pre-2000 race bikes adding some truly exotic machinery to the grids.

Also on the bill, the Avon Supertwins & Stocktwins, GB Racing 600 Sportsman Elite, A&RR/Continental Pre-National Axe Murderers (600’s) and the totally frantic HMT Racing Thundersport500.

ThundersportGB produces a fantastic race day programme to read free of charge (while stocks last), with all the detail you’ll need to keep ‘up to speed’ with what’s going on. More detail about the series, along with timetables for the weekend can be found at www.thundersportgb.com

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.

The circuit prides itself on providing access to all motorsport fans, and those who are registered disabled can apply for a complimentary** admission ticket for their carer.

Advance tickets can be booked online at www.rockingham.co.uk or via the hotline on 01536 500500, option 1, until midday Friday (July 28). Adult tickets will be available on the gate priced £16. Gates open at 08:00 and track activity starts from 09:00.

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Northampton events commemorating Edgar Mobbs and his ‘Sportsman Army’

Posted: 25/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Centenary celebrations will be taking place in Northampton next week to commemorate the life of Edgar Mobbs, who is well known for raising his own ‘sportsman’ company after being turned down for being too old to join the Army in World War I.

A short service at Abington Square memorial gardens will launch the commemorations on Sunday 30 July. The service will begin at 11am, with the Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Gareth Eales, and David Parish from the Western Front Association laying wreaths, reading out the names of fallen soldiers and leading a two-minute silence.

Following the service, a series of talks will be given at Abington Park Museum in collaboration with the Western Front Association. The ticket only event, which starts at 2pm, will see local historians give five talks about Edgar and the Northamptonshire Regiment at the Battle of Ypres. These will include a key note speech titled ‘1917 and the Third Battle of Ypres’ from Dr Jim Beach, the Senior Lecturer in Twentieth Century History at the University of Northampton.

In addition, on 31 July, the anniversary of Edgar’s death, a commemorative ghost to accompany his statue in the Guildhall Courtyard, will be unveiled during a special event. The
ghost will be available via the aurasma phone app, when the Ghosts of Northampton Past trail launches during the event.

Cllr Anna King, Cabinet member for the community engagement and safety, said: “Edgar Mobbs is a prominent figure in Northampton’s history and so it is only fitting that we are bringing communities together on the centenary anniversary of his death.

“We hope that people will join us on 30 July at the events we’ve organised with the Western Front Association as we commemorate Edgar’s life.”

Tickets for the In Memory of Edgar Mobbs: 100 Year Tribute to a Northampton Hero talks cost £6.50 per person and can be bought online or by calling 01604 838110.

Visit Northampton.gov.uk for more information about the Ghosts of Northampton Past trail.

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Waterside hoarding artwork recognised in national competition

Posted: 25/07/17 by The University of Northampton

Local schoolchildren, who created artwork to be displayed on the hoardings at the construction site of the University of Northampton’s new Waterside campus, have been recognised in a national competition.

The University, along with main building contractor Bowmer and Kirkland, called on schoolchildren around the county to create and submit pieces of eye catching artwork based around
Northamptonshire’s culture and heritage to brighten up the building site. The entries were then judged and the best artists were invited down to paint the final designs onto the hoardings.

The winners were 112 pupils from Delapre Primary School and 11 children belonging to the Bowmer and Kirkland site team and other sub-contractors.

The design created was the Waterside Express – a train with carriages depicting the highlights of Northampton. The outline of the design was drawn by Marvin Hagglar of Lemon Pop Workshops, a graduate from the University of Northampton, who has worked closely with the University’s Changemaker Hub. He used the ideas from the children’s artwork to create the design in the carriages.

The Waterside Express was one of 70 entries submitted to the national Considerate Constructors Scheme for the Ivor Goodsite Hoarding Competition and was recently declared as one of the winners.

Tim Dobson Head of Schools Engagement at the University of Northampton, said: “We are very pleased with the entries from schools across the county - Delapre Primary School’s designs really reflect Northamptonshire’s culture and history. We decided to use the Waterside Express to enable children to think of a variety of different cultural and historic influences and identify them to a different carriage of the train. The children have certainly achieved this and the results are fantastic!”

Nick McQuaid, Contracts Manager at Bowmer and Kirkland, said: “Well done to all those involved in creating this superb artwork. It is fantastic to be able to engage with the local community and schoolchildren during the construction of the University of Northampton’s Waterside Campus and make long lasting positive impressions, and hopefully inspire some of these children to become the next generation of entrants into the construction industry.”

Harry Portrey, Headteacher of Delapre Primary School, commented: “When our school was invited to provide art work and designs for the building work taking place for the new University campus, our Arts Leaders jumped at the opportunity. Over 200 children across seven classes were asked to contribute work and from these, 100 children were selected to take part in the decoration of the hoarding. It was a great project and the children loved every minute of it!”

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County’s finest chefs do battle!

Posted: 25/07/17 by The Mallows Company Limited

To the soundtrack of sizzling frying pans, bubbling pans and knives a-chopping, some of the county’s finest chefs have been battling it out to win two of the prestigious titles in this year’s Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.

The competition, now in its ninth year, is again aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

The accolades being vied for were those of ‘Booker Young Chef of the Year’ (sponsored by Booker), for budding culinary stars aged 18-25, and ‘Chef of the Year’ (sponsored by Dawn Farms and Cordant People) for those over 25.

The finalists competing for the senior title were (in alphabetical order):

  • Joe Buckley from the Tollemache Arms, Harrington
  • Michael Palmiero from The Palmichael, Burton Latimer
  • James Peck from The Carriage House, Higham Ferrers
  • Richard Walker from Fawsley Hall, Fawsley

The four, shortlisted from a record number of entries, were invited to the impressive kitchens of Northampton College to take part in a ‘Ready Steady Cook’ style challenge to prepare two courses, each being provided with a selection of store cupboard products from Awards sponsors Booker as well as their key Northamptonshire ingredients of locally-shot partridge, rapeseed oil from Farrington Oils at Hargrave, rhubarb gin from Warner Edwards in Harrington and beer from Towcester Mill Brewery and Nobby’s Brewing Company in Thrapston.

In contrast to previous years the quartet were asked to put a Northamptonshire twist on two classic dishes – Pigeons en Estouffade and Gateau St Honoré – while they also took part in a ‘Masterchef’ style technical challenge, being asked to create three egg dishes in 15 minutes to test their planning flavouring and organisational skills.

They were watched throughout the entire three-hour process by an expert panel of judges including Innovation Manager at category co-sponsor Dawn Farms, Aaron Melly, the chef-owner of the Paris House at Woburn, Phil Fanning, and former cookery school owner Mary Laing. Each observed, quizzed and scored the chefs before tucking into their various takes on the assigned dishes.

The second cook-off, also at Northampton College, saw nine of the county’s finest up and coming chefs battle it out in the semi-final of the ‘Booker Young Chef of the Year’. Like their senior counterparts, they too were provided with a basket of kitchen ingredients by category sponsors Booker as well as their local ingredients of Farrington’s rapeseed oil and Northamptonshire Blue cheese from Hamm Tun Fine Foods in Hannington (who featured on BBC1’s Countryfile earlier this month), from which, in a modern twist, they were asked to create a dish of ‘street food’ for two people.

Drawing upon their wide variety of cooking talents, they turned the key ingredient of neck of lamb into a wonderful array of dishes for the judges – everything from burnt lamb flatbread with a marinated onion salad and orange yoghurt, lamb tacos with blue cheese bon bons and chorizo, coriander and chilli dumplings served with an onion velouté.

Those contending with the tricky but enjoyable task of choosing the finalists were Peter Saunders, who is Catering Development Manager with category sponsor Booker, and chef-owner of Shires Cookery School, James Claydon, for whom the cook-off was a real display of rising talent: “I was really impressed by the all of the nine young chefs and amazed at how they coped with the challenge thrown at them, planning their dishes carefully and executing them with real attention to detail” explained James.

“Street food is really in fashion and so it was also great to see them be so innovative, which meant that, even though they all had the same ingredients, the resulting nine dishes were all so varied.

“I thought they did a great job and the shortlisting session was really tough - and really tasty!” he added.

The five finalists, who now go forward to compete for the ‘Booker Young Chef of the Year’ title in the final cook-off in September are (in alphabetical order):

  • Victoria Austin from The Narrowboat at Weedon, Weedon
  • Arturs Dzerins from The Hopping Hare, Northampton
  • Stephen Kellett from the Tollemache Arms, Harrington
  • Jake McQueen from Franks Hamburger House, Northampton
  • Kirsty Rattray from The Plough @ Shutlanger, Shutlanger

All finalists now have until Thursday 15th November to discover their fate when the winners and runners-up in all the categories of this year’s Awards will be announced at the Awards Dinner.

For more details, please call Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email rachel@themallowscompany.com or visit the Awards’ website at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk

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

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New Season Sponsor Signings Continue With Your Local Flyer

Posted: 25/07/17 by MK Lightning

With the Smith Recycling Milton Keynes Lightning looking forward to their first Elite League season the club has announced another new sponsor.

Your Local Flyer is a widely read, monthly advertising magazine for Milton Keynes and Bletchley. With a circulation of 55,000 copies each month it is split between five magazines: Milton Keynes North, South, East, West & Bletchley/Villages, giving advertisers the opportunity to target specific areas.

Owner Stuart Oliphant said the similarities between Your Local Flyer and Milton Keynes Lightning made it a perfect fit: “MK Lightning is a growing brand in Milton Keynes and Your Local Flyer is a growing local business, so the fit was perfect, that and we’ve really enjoyed attending the fast paced games. Here’s to the next 12 months!”

Lightning’s Commercial Manager, Sarah Jane Smyth, commented: “We’re delighted that Your Local Flyer have joined us at such an exciting point in our history. We’re enjoying a huge amount of support having won both the EPL League Cup and the PlayOff Championship. That cements our record as the most successful team ever to play in the English Premier League with nine trophies in 15 seasons.

“And now we’re planning for a smooth transition to the Elite League in September, with all the possibilities that presents. Everyone at the club is extremely excited about playing in the sport’s top tier – and we’re looking forward to announcing even more sponsors over the close season to join us in that challenge!”

Find out more about Your Local Flyer at their website: www.yourlocalflyer.co.uk

For information on working with Milton Keynes Lightning and enjoying the increased exposure offered by the Club’s move to the Elite League from September, come along to the next MK Lightning Business Club on Wednesday 3 May from 9.30am-11.30am – contact Sarah Jane Smyth to book your place by emailing Sarah-Jane.smyth@mk-Lightning.co.uk

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Northamptonshire Chamber seeks Non-Executive Board Directors

Posted: 25/07/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce is a dynamic membership organisation that has been supporting local businesses for 100 years.

The Chamber represents all types of business (big and small) from every sector. We provide our members with a huge range of networking opportunities, training and essential business services and benefits. Our Vision is to build and nurture a respected, influential business community and share knowledge, advice and opportunities

We are accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the largest and most powerful voice for business in the UK and the Chamber is proud to have won BCC’s National Chamber Award for “Excellence in Membership Services” for an unprecedented 3 years in a row (2014, 2015, and 2016) and also the coveted “Chamber of the Year” award in 2015.

The company also holds the Investor in People Silver standard, reflecting our continued commitment to developing the staff who are at the heart of the services we provide to businesses.

The Chamber Board is made up of senior managers from the Chamber’s membership organisations and we are looking to enhance the range of experience and knowledge within this group by gaining interest from like minded individuals who are committed to the Chamber network and what it has to offer the business community.

As a director you will be responsible for ensuring the highest standards of governance are applied to managing the performance of the Chamber’s activities and for representing the interest of the Members. As an ambassador you will promote the Chambers aims and objectives as appropriate across the business community.

The Chamber Board looks to be representative of its Members’ activities, our current mix is diverse, however we are keen to attract individuals who have the following knowledge and experience; Financial Management, Logistics Sector, International Trade, Education, and IT/Creative Industry, although this is not an exclusive list and we would welcome interest from any individual who meets the essential criteria as detailed in the Person Specification document.

If you feel that you could fulfil the role of Board Director and can commit to the time requirements as highlighted in the Job Description then please submit a CV, along with a covering letter, to myself paul.griffiths@northants-chamber.co.uk expressing why you feel you are suitable for the role.

Closing date for Applications: Friday 18th August 2017

Informal Interviews: 29th - 31st August 2017

To see the Job Description click here

To see the Person Specification click here

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Unidentified flying pedallers! 

Posted: 25/07/17 by Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity

Wimbledon had flying ants and the Tour de France had flying parasols, but thankfully the only thing that might fly past you at the county’s favourite bike ride are cyclists dressed as a superhero, a bunch of daffodils or even a slice of pizza!

Those are just some of the fancy dress outfits worn in the last 13 years by those taking part in Cycle4Cynthia, the vital fundraiser which raises tens of thousand of pounds annually for Northampton’s Cynthia Spencer Hospice.

And with this year’s ride is taking place on Sunday 24th September at Lamport Hall, the Hospice’s fundraising manager, John Helm, reckons there’s plenty of time for businesses who might want to enter a team to come up with some inventive creations: “Most riders don their usual lycra or shorts and t-shirts, and of course we’re pleased to see everyone, whatever they’re wearing, but it really does put a smile on everybody’s faces when a bevvy of cats turn up or you see Harry Potter and Hagrid on a tandem, which we had last year!” explained John.

“So while the day has its serious side in supporting the Hospice and the amazing care it offers to its patients and their families, dressing up is a great way to have some fun and create the kind of team spirit that epitomises the day,” he added.

As an added incentive, the team with the best fancy dress is awarded a trophy for their efforts, while there are also prizes for the biggest team, the most money raised by an individual and the Chairman’s Cup which goes to a rider, or group of riders, going one step further in their efforts to support the event.

However, if dressing up is not your thing, the 2017 Cycle4Cythia jersey is now on sale priced at £25, with every penny going to the Hospice.

Cycle4Cynthia, which last year saw more than 1100 riders take part in the 5, 25 and 50 miles routes and bring in £76,000 in entry fees and sponsorship, has raised almost half a million pounds since its inception. Entry is £15 for adults, £7.50 for children and £35 for families (rising after 1st September) and again offers the choice of 5, 25 and 50 mile routes.

For more information, including registering for the ride, details of corporate sponsorship opportunities, or to order your C4C jersey, please visit www.cycle4cynthia.co.uk or call the Hospice on 01604 678082 or email info@cycle4cynthia.co.uk

Meanwhile, to keep up to date with the latest news on the event, please visit and ‘like’ the ride’s and Hospice’s page on Facebook.

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3 Peaks Challenge to Honour Volunteers

Posted: 25/07/17 by Daventry Area Community Transport

Rob Kinning Chief Executive of Daventry Area Community Transport (DACT) (age 63) and Martyn Wood, Transport Booking Officer (age 37 the young pup!) are taking on the daunting 3 Peaks Challenge.

DACT have just been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (the MBE for voluntary groups) in honour of all our magnificent volunteers and it now wants to purchase shirts sporting the DACT logo together with the Queen’s Award logo to celebrate its achievements.

As a charity it needs to raise funds to pay for these shirts outside of its normal income.

Would you please consider sponsorship or a donation to achieve its target of £5,000 (it has 170 volunteers and would like to provide each of them with two shirts). This challenge is walking the national 3 peaks which are Ben Nevis (1345m - Scotland), Scafell Pike (978m – England) and Snowdon (1085m – Wales) and completing it all in a 24 hour period.

None of DACT’s services are possible without its incredible volunteers - last year they completed 59,719 hours!

If you would like to contribute in any way, please click the following link to donate:

https://mydonate.bt.com/events/dactnational3peaks2017/444815#.WW4QYnPBYlc.facebook

Many thanks for your consideration of its appeal.

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Vision 29 helps CMI Workplace

Posted: 24/07/17 by Vision 29 Ltd

The opportunity

CMI Workplace (CMIW), an office space design company approached Vision 29 to create a marketing strategy and plan as well as deliver elements within the plan that they did not have the in-house skills, resource or time to.

The brief

Develop a clear and realistic marketing strategy that can be delivered by a combination of in-house and external resources.

We kicked off the process with a 3 stage Discovery process. This comprised of a brainstorm with CMIW’s management team, interviews with colleagues and with customers, prospects and lost prospects.

The solution

The Discovery sessions formed the basis for a detailed 3 year marketing strategy. This strategy identified clear and measurable short and long term marketing objectives and key activities required to achieve the objectives. The strategy focused on four key areas: market positioning and messaging, online presence, thought leadership, and lead generation.

Once the marketing strategy and budget were agreed, a detailed plan outlining how each objective would be achieved along with timescales was created.

The results

  • New Website

A new CMIW website was created and launched with on-going search engine optimisation and content creation via the blog.

  • Thought leadership

The company now has a clear and define voice through regular thought leadership content creation, which is shared via social media channels and is improving SEO.

  • Email and Telemarketing

Regular email campaigns combined with telemarketing calls ensure new and existing contacts are engaged and leads generated.

“Jo has brought new energy and vision to our team, focusing our marketing effort where we need it most and on activities that will deliver effective results. Now, our website truly reflects our brand, our online presence is improving, we are talking to more clients and this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Steven Crabbe Managing Director, CMI Workplace.

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Parm Bhangal reaches the finals of the SME Northamptonshire Awards!

Posted: 24/07/17 by Bhangals Construction Consultants

Parm Bhangal, Managing Director of Bhangals Construction Consultants Ltd has been shortlisted for the “Young Business Person of the Year” category in the SME Northamptonshire Awards.

Parm, aged 29, is a young, ambitious entrepreneur who owns and manages multiple businesses in the Construction and Property sector, with a specialism in Quantity Surveying and Estimating.

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on 25th October, at the Mercure Hotel in Daventry.

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Recruitment company returns to sponsor MK Lightning

Posted: 24/07/17 by MK Lightning

The Lightning’s roster of sponsors is one of the most complete we’ve ever had – we asked Rachel Keay, MD of returning sponsor, Kubo Recruitment, what drove their decision to back the team.

You have sponsored MK Lightning for a couple of years now in various ways, why are you keen to extend your sponsorship to the junior teams?

“We believe that it is important for youngsters to feel part of a team and wearing a kit promotes a sense of equality, team spirit and pride amongst players. By providing the training shirts, we can play our part in helping the youngsters to feel that they are playing for a professional club.”

Why did you choose to sponsor Ice Hockey?

“As a recruitment company who deal mainly in the Life Sciences sector and resourcing for local SME business needs, we are keen to encourage sport as part of a healthy lifestyle. A sport such as Ice Hockey is a physical one and requires a lot of equipment so we wanted to help with this.

“We are keen to show the youngsters in our local sports communities that we support them and we already have a rink side board; sponsor the home shirt of Ed Knaggs; the away shirt of Jordan Hedley and the MK storm girls’ under 16 shirts, so are delighted to be able to sponsor the training shirts for the junior MK Storm teams. I understand the shirts are currently at the printers and we look forward to seeing them!”

Why do you think Ice Hockey is a good game for youngsters to take up?

“Being a very physical sport which requires a lot of dedication and discipline, it is a great way for children to stay fit. Having looked at the website this can also provide opportunities for international travel. I read recently that a few of the girls have travelled to Finland to train with the England team, which must have been very exciting for them. It is great to see the youngsters grow and develop from grass roots through to the ranks with the possibility of playing for the national team.”

As you are a local based company do you get the opportunity to see a game or two?

Yes, we try to watch as many of the games as we can and keep a regular eye on the website and twitter for the teams’ progress.

Website: http://kuborecruitment.com

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Art for everyone - Made in Corby

Posted: 24/07/17 by Premier Galvanizing Limited

The residents of Oakley Vale, in Corby have just unveiled new works of art by sculptor Richard Janes, as part of a ‘Made in Corby’ scheme to bring art to the masses. Premier Galvanizing Corby was proud to play a part by galvanizing the steel.

‘Made in Corby’ is an exciting organisation that recognises and draws inspiration from the identity and reputation of Corby. As part of a national Creative People and Places network, funded by the Arts Council of England, its aim is to inspire local people from Corby to take the lead in experiencing, creating and taking part in high quality arts and cultural activities. With this in mind, ‘Made in Corby’ created an ambitious and exciting three-year programme, involving local residents, to install sculptural works of art at Oakley Vale, a 436-acre housing development situated in the South West of Corby.

‘Made in Corby’ encouraged local people from Oakley Vale to get involved, right from the start, in commissioning the works of art. An enthusiastic panel of residents from Oakley Vale Community Association volunteered and went through a process of deciding what would be right for the community. They took part in workshops, they ran design workshops for local children to take part in the process, and they even went on a road trip to London to see various pieces of sculptural art as part of an inspirational exercise.

The next step was to choose the artist. Under the ‘Made in Corby’ banner, it had to be someone local and gifted, and sculptor Richard Janes, was chosen.

Richard Janes is an artist who specialises in designing and fabricating sculpture and applied sculptural artworks which are created and sited across the UK and internationally. Richard’s work includes commissions from public, corporate and private clients. He was happy to take part in the ‘Made in Corby’ project and he set to work designing three pieces of sculpture, taking inspiration from the local surroundings, the oak forest that was originally on the site of the new housing development, as well as the existing wildlife and the industry that is still alive in the town:

Richard Janes explains his rationale for the designs in this video produced by ‘Made in Corby’ and HD Media CIC.

The children at the local community centre also had a hand in the design which reflects the local wildlife of the area.

Richard Janes and Premier Galvanizing Corby

The sculptures designed and fabricated by Richard Janes are primarily made from steel. As steel corrodes and rusts over time, it needs to be protected with a galvanized coating. Premier Galvanizing Corby – a division of Joseph Ash Galvanizing – was chosen to provide this service.

The steel was delivered to the Corby plant and representatives from ‘Made in Corby’, alongside Richard Janes, were invited to the galvanizing plant to see the metal treatment in action, and so that they could film the processes as part of their video diaries.

Richard Janes describes the galvanising process in the video: “The galvanising is [necessary] to make the sculpture last much longer. The galvanising is 130 microns thick, which will provide more than 60-70 years before the sculptures need treating again. The galvanizing is also important as it reflects Corby’s industry, an industry that is still alive in the town.

“Step one is the pickling process which removes the mill scale and any deposits that are on the steel, so that the zinc can adhere to the sculpture. After pickling, step two happens, where the steel is put into a flux bath which allows the zinc to run all over the steel very quickly, creating an even coating. Then – step three – the steel is dipped into the zinc bath at 450 degrees, and it emerges looking all silver and magical. Finally, it is dipped into a cleaning bath which puts a film on the surface which gives the surface greater longevity.

“Seeing it rise out of the zinc tank is magical. It brings the creative idea into a reality.”

You can watch the full video here.

The culmination of the project

The ‘Made in Corby’ project was a great success and everyone was happy to play their part, from the local community, to the sculptor, to Premier Galvanizing, the Arts Council of England, and of course the people behind ‘Made in Corby’.

The three sculptures have been erected at Oakley Vale and the grand unveiling took place on Saturday 15 July. You can see some pictures on the ‘Made in Corby’ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MadeInCorby/. (The photo shows elements of the sculptures being galvanized at Premier Galvanizing. Richard Janes apears in the photos in the blue shirt. Justin Deegan from Premier Galvanizing is in the brown jumper.) You can also watch a video of the unveiling here.

Helen Wilmott from ‘Made in Corby’ said it is a great way to give “local people a say about how public money is spent on art”.

Justin Deegan from Premier Galvanizing Corby said: “We were honoured to be chosen as the galvanizers for this wonderful project. We attended the unveiling on Saturday and the finished products look beautiful and amazing against the backdrop of Oakley Vale. Well done to everyone involved!”

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Smith Recycling Wastes No Time Signing New Spnsorhip Deal With MK Lightning

Posted: 22/07/17 by MK Lightning

With preparations for their switch to ice hockey’s top tier now well underway, the Milton Keynes Lightning are delighted to announce that their principal sponsor – Smith Recycling MK – will remain the club’s title sponsor for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.

The company joined Lightning for the 2015-16 season, extending their agreement into the season just ended – a campaign which saw MKL scoop both the EPL Cup and the Play Off Championship titles.

Smith Recycling (MK) Ltd – known locally as Smith Skips – provide affordable skip hire and waste management solutions for domestic and commercial clients throughout Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. They maintain a range of long-term hire contracts with national construction companies, local authorities and commercial companies. The company does everything from advising on road permits and recycling solutions to customer requirements, to providing a next day service if needed – and their vehicles have a very visible presence on the roads of Milton Keynes.

And now, with Lightning leaving the English Premier League as its most successful team ever, with no fewer than nine trophies, MKL are delighted that the agreement has been extended again – meaning the now familiar Smith name, logo and colours will remain with them as they compete in the Elite League from September. The increased geographical spread of teams in the Elite League means the Smith logo will be seen as far away as Belfast, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff, giving the company’s brand even wider exposure.

John Banks, Commercial Director for Smith Recycling, said: “Smith Recycling is delighted to be partnering with Milton Keynes Lightning for another two seasons. After their success in winning two major trophies last season we had no hesitation in extending our backing of one of MK’s most successful sporting clubs.

“Involvement in the local community is very important to both Smith MK as well as to the Lightning – and that common ground was a very important factor in this decision. We are thrilled to remain the MK Lightning’s title sponsor as they take this landmark step up into the Elite League and excited about the club’s future in the top tier of the sport.”

Commercial Manager, Sarah Jane Smyth said: “We couldn’t be happier that our players will continue to wear the Smith Recycling colours and name as we head into the Elite League. Their backing contributed directly to our success on the ice and the increased publicity that our success generated has given the Smith name even wider exposure.

“We’re absolutely delighted that they’ve given us their vote of confidence for our first season in the Elite League by extending their backing, and we look forward to working with them, on and off the ice.”

Having just met with the owners of Smiths, Graham commented: “It was great to meet with the Theresa and John from Smiths we thank them for their continued support and look forward to building a lasting relationship”.

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The revolution in Client Management and Work Delivery is here!

Posted: 21/07/17 by PROJEXIS LTD

Here at PROJEXIS we are keen to exploit new opportunities and become trend setters in a stagnant operating area. This is why we are launching our unique and market leading Client Management System for Small Business. We’ve looked at how SME businesses operate within their organisations and noticed that whilst there are a number of CRM solutions out there, there are none that cover all elements of Client Relationship, Work (Project) Delivery and relevant financial/expense tracking. In other words, the complete Client Journey.

We’ve created a packaged CMS solution for the SME Market, which enables your business to select the most important features of service – and leave out the rest. It’s completely bespoke to YOU and gives you all the information and tools at your fingertips to create something magical in your Business Operations.

Our Small Business Edition Client Management System costs from just £99 per monthand includes 5 users, unlimited clients, unlimited projects/works and is provided with all features as standard. No need to pay to unlock extra services.

You can choose to enhance the system by selecting your own Dedicated Cloud Server (from just £20 per month), make configuration changes, increase storage and take advantage of our coaching services.

You can also add on our PRODIO Delivery Methodology which provides you with a complete end-to-end process for delivering works and projects successfully into your clients.

To set up a personal demonstration, or to discuss pricing and setup - please click here to contact us, or give us a call on 0845 862 1630

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Howes Percival targets national insolvency growth following acquisition

Posted: 21/07/17 by Howes Percival

Leading regional law firm Howes Percival is targeting further national expansion of its insolvency team following the acquisition of Northampton-based Summers Nigh Law, and the recruitment of Michael Green, Weightman’s former National Head of Restructuring/Insolvency.

Summers Nigh Law is a niche insolvency firm with a significant number of local and national clients in the development & construction, manufacturing, technology, automotive, food & drink, agriculture and education sectors. Summers Nigh Law’s two partners, Katie Summers and Deborah Nigh, together with their five support staff have transferred to Howes Percival’s nationally recognised insolvency team. Katie and Deborah have joined Howes Percival as partners.

Read more about our team and this story here - http://www.howespercival.com/resources-and-events/news/howes-percival-targets-national-insolvency-growth-following-acquisition

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Transport Systems Catapult appoints Paul Campion as new CEO

Posted: 21/07/17 by Transport Systems Catapult Ltd

The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) would like to announce that Paul Campion has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer, and took up his position on 7th July 2017.

Paul joins the TSC from his position leading IBM’s Global Financing in the UK and Ireland. IBM Global Financing is the largest IT financing house in the industry and helps IBM’s clients and partners to optimise the financial cases for their IT transformations.

Paul has previously worked in a wide variety of technical, marketing and sales operational leadership roles for IBM both UK and Internationally. As a leader of IBM’s Travel and Transport industry business, he was invited to join the board of the Transport Systems Catapult and has served as a Non-Executive director since February 2015.

Terry Hill CBE, Chair of Transport Systems Catapult, said: “I am delighted that Paul will be joining us as Chief Executive of the Transport Systems Catapult.

During his time at IBM, Paul has demonstrated success in business growth, creating and leading both large and small teams in several different functions, and in a variety of business areas. He is renowned for his strategic vision, knowledge of the transport sector and grasp of detail.

In addition to being a Non-Executive Director on the TSC Board, Paul was a member of the Industry Advisory Group, which helped build the case for the Catapult network, giving him a strong grasp of the vision and mission of the organisation.

With Paul’s experience and knowledge at the head of our organisation, we look forward to accelerating transport innovation in the years ahead.”

Paul Campion said: “I am very proud to be taking up the position of Chief Executive at the Transport Systems Catapult. It is a huge privilege to be invited to lead this world-beating team encouraging innovation in the UK Transport industry.

“I look forward to working with the team to build on the strong foundations they have made in our mission to advance Intelligent Mobility, to grow UK companies, and ultimately, to make transport better for everyone.”

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Businesses invited to attend the Wilson Browne golf day in aid of The Hope Centre, Northampton

Posted: 20/07/17 by Wilson Browne Solicitors

Wilson Browne have changed the way they run their golf day this year – they are going to donate the entire cost of a typical golf day to charity… and then some!

They are now looking for teams of four to participate in this fantastic event raising money for the Hope Centre, a Northampton based charity tackling poverty and the causes of homelessness. All they ask is that you make a fixed contribution of £180 for 4, just like any other golf day.

The golf club is doing its bit by only covering essential costs - all remaining funds go to the Hope Centre.

Taking place on 14th September 2017 at the Collingtree Park Golf Club, teams of four are now invited to register with all abilities welcome. The day will culminate in an Awards evening with two course meal at Greens restaurant, auction prizes and a raffle.

Get practising in advance and if you sink a hole in one on the right hole you could win £4,000!

Bring your wallets as there will be other fundraising competitions throughout the day.

Wilson Browne and the Hope Centre are also looking for local businesses to sponsor the 18 holes to raise even more money for the Charity. Prices start from £100 per hole and will include your company logo, web and social media coverage before and after the event.

If you would like to participate you can download the booking form on our website at www.wilsonbrowne.co.uk/golf where you will also find further information regarding sponsoring a hole or call Naomi Edwards on 01536 410014.

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Walnuts School Student celebrates a Young Enterprise award

Posted: 20/07/17 by Young Enterprise

A city student is celebrating being crowned the winner of a coveted award at the South Central Young Enterprise Regional Final. Sam Brinklow-Evans, a student at The Walnuts School, was given the Sir John Moores Award for Outstanding Achievement during a ceremony held at The University of Reading. This award recognises the student who has most noticeably improved, while contributing to the successful establishment and running of a company as part of the Young Enterprise Company Programme.

Sam’s teacher, Eleanor Attridge, said: “Sam has made significant progress over the course of our Young Enterprise business. He has gone from being reluctant to participate in any new activities due to his lack of confidence, to being a mainstay of the business, not only being involved in everything but also supporting others.” She added: “When we discussed the John Moores Award with the team, several students said that they would have nominated Sam too, which I think probably says more about his contribution than I can!”

Read more at: http://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/enterprise-award-for-sam-1-8059402

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TSC Transport Cafe: Support and Networking Event

Posted: 20/07/17 by Transport Systems Catapult Ltd

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

This Transport Cafe will touch upon how data can aid transport innovation.

You will also hear about exciting developments in the Intelligent Mobility (IM) sector, and have the opportunity to meet the TSC team and other exciting businesses from within the IM industry.

The event will be held on 13th September between 09:30am and 12pm at Transport Systems Catapult, with a networking opportunity afterwards.

Register to attend here

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Collection Connections returns to Alfred East Art Gallery

Posted: 19/07/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Due to popular demand the Collections Connections exhibition returns to the Alfred East Art Gallery from 29th July – 26th August 2017.

It comes after the exhibition was shortlisted for a National Heritage Award and winning ‘Best Exhibition’ in the County Heritage Awards.

Collection Connections celebrates Kettering’s local artist history by showing the connections among the artists within their collection. The exhibition will link artists according to their interesting lives, art education and exhibitions they were involved in. Visitors to the exhibition will be asked to add to the findings with their own stories and see if other links can be found.

This time round, the exhibition will feature the newly acquired ‘Overgrown Garden’ by Sir Alfred East a new addition to the permanent collection. It will be the first-time that visitors are able to view this piece of work which was purchased for the Gallery with help from the V&A, Art Fund, KDAS and the Friends of Kettering Art Gallery & Museum.

Guy Holloway, Head of Corporate & Cultural Services at Kettering Borough Council, said: “The popular Collection Connections exhibition truly celebrates Kettering’s impressive art history and many local artists. This exhibition is just one example of a full programme of exciting and varied events provided by Kettering Museum and Gallery all year round”.

Cllr Lloyd Bunday, Kettering Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Community & Leisure, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming back the award-winning Collection Connections exhibition to Kettering Art Gallery. If you missed it the first time make sure you visit now and take the opportunity to see the brand new addition to the Gallery’s permanent collection – ‘Overgrown Garden’ by Sir Alfred East”.

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Off-site Construction – The future of Cleanrooms

Posted: 19/07/17 by Connect 2 Cleanrooms Ltd

Once you have established the need for a cleanroom it is important to consider which type of cleanroom you require. Traditional, modular, on-site or containerised systems are commonly adopted construction methods within the cleanroom industry.

Modular cleanrooms are typically freestanding, solid and robust structures that are suitable for use within an existing cleanroom, laboratory, manufacturing area or warehouse. No longer seen as a temporary, low budget option, the modular cleanroom offers a reliable and robust alternative to traditional build cleanrooms.

Using off the shelf proprietary components to build a facility that meets the customers’ exact requirements such as size, wall option including softwall, hardwall or monobloc panel systems, the bespoke modular cleanroom offers great flexibility to future relocation or expansion, allowing you to manage your investment in stages to ensure cost effective ROI at all times.

The on-site method of construction offers flexibility, so it can sometimes be difficult to control lead times and control costs due to changes to the specification that can occur mid contract.

The reactive containerised or portable solution is ideal for disaster sites where a quick fix is required e.g. the Ebola outbreak or fire damage etc. The versatile design allows for convenient and rapid transport and installation just about anywhere.

The introduction of the off-site cleanroom construction option is just one of the latest innovations to be introduced to the cleanroom industry by leading cleanroom manufacturer, Connect 2 Cleanrooms in-line with other industries/sectors, who are adopting this modern method of construction, seen by key players and the government as crucial to improving efficiency, cost, quality and sustainability.

The Growth of Off-site Construction

The use of off-site construction methods is growing internationally due to improved customer perceptions and its value in the UK is £1.5bn, which is projected to grow to £6bn (UKCES, 2013). This equates to 7% share of the construction industries £90bn annual contribution to the UK economy (HM Government 2013).

Internationally there is momentum to build more off-site and it has been identified by the UK government as a vehicle for the delivery of a more sustainable built environment. Building offsite is a change in construction culture towards a process of continuous improvement with enhanced productivity and as a result it requires being underpinned with research, innovation and training.

There are a range of terms which have been used for off-site construction but fundamentally it is the manufacture and pre-assembly of construction components, elements or modules in a factory environment before installation into their final location of which four main categories are considered:

Panelised Systems or non-volumetric preassembly relates to items which are preassembled in factory-controlled conditions, are non-volumetric and do not enclose usable space e.g. a door set.

Modular or Volumetric is the term used to describe units prefabricated in a factory that enclose usable space that are typically fully finished internally e.g. plant rooms which are then installed within or onto a building or structure.

Sub-Assemblies & Components refers to simplified components such as windows, wash stations and transfer hatches which are manufactured in factories.

Hybrid Systems are a combination of more than one system or approach and are normally a combination of volumetric and panelised systems, interlocked door systems or control monitoring systems.

Also known as off-site prefabrication (OSP), off-site manufacture (OSM) and as a modern method of construction (MMC), off-site construction has been used in mass production of housing since the early twentieth century.

The end of World War II adopted this new approach for the construction of new dwellings as temporary housing for thousands of urban families ‘bombed out’ during the World War II. A white Paper, published by the Government in 1945 outlined the objectives to complete the slum clearance with the emphasis to supplement traditional building operations using industry capacity outside the building industry. Immediately after the war there was a surplus of steel and aluminium production from industries geared to war output. These factors drove the industry towards prefabrication and resulted in varieties of concrete, timber, steel and hybrid framed systems.

The quality of prefabricated units has increased to the point where they may not be distinguished from those traditionally built.

Off-site construction provides a safer working environment, as the accident rates in manufacturing are some 29% less for major injuries and 52% less for fatalities than traditional build construction sites. Therefore, moving construction activities to a factory environment should correspond to a significant reduction in the number of major injuries and fatalities which are recorded each year within the construction industry. (Krug, et al, 2013).

Pioneering off-site construction methods in the Cleanroom Industry

As the leading manufacturer in modular cleanrooms, Connect 2 Cleanrooms remain forward thinking, focussing on new solutions to ensure product quality and customer choice. With over 15 years’ experience they are pioneering new technologies in off-site construction, in-line with other industries. A first in the modular cleanroom manufacturing sector!

  • Improved safety
  • Low cost
  • Low risk
  • Improved timescales

The off-site construction method can be used for a variety of cleanroom purposes including large open spaces with no internal supports. Using pre-fabricated panels in preference to the frame system, the apertures and fixtures will be prepared off-site to minimise time, reduce safety risks and minimise the need for the specialist trades on site, e.g. electricians. Door systems will be delivered as hybrid systems with frame handles, glazing and interlocking systems in place.

As a more cost effective solution for clients the off-site method allows you to stay within your allocated budget and control lead times, as decisions are made well before the installation date. More time is allocated to the complex and critical design stage, which ensures accuracy and reduces the installation time on site, minimising business disruption, as well as offering a cleaner, safer and less congested site.

Off-site construction offers a more accurate and timely installation with less chance of failure, with all elements being tested prior to delivery to site ensuring these cleanroom projects are completed on-time.

McDonald’s restaurants use off-site constructed structures for their restaurants, and set a record of constructing a building and opening for business within 13 hours. Currently McDonalds build 30 new restaurants per year in the UK using this method.

More suited to major construction where areas are clear of equipment, the off-site construction method can be offered where a strong preference to GMP sectors is required, as the structure allows for a fully flush finish. This is achieved due to there being no ledges, using floor to wall, wall to wall and ceiling to wall coving and a fully bonded floor.

Due to being classed as a building and construction and subject to size, location and the local authority, consultation regarding building regulations or planning permission may be required. This can allow for longer depreciation of the asset creating lower monthly costs to your business. Depreciation time scales could be from 10 to 50 years.

Why choose off-site construction for your cleanroom?

The biggest advantage to off-site construction is thought to be the decreased construction time on site, together with increased quality, a more consistent product and reduced snagging and defects. Combined, this construction method can offer you significant financial benefits through increased value, efficiency and sustainability.

The reduction in installation time means less business disruption reducing or eliminating business process downtime. Along with increased quality, less snagging and defects, and reduced waste, this sustainable approach to offsite construction of cleanrooms is the future. Offsite systems correspond to a reduction in waste of between 20% and 40% (WRAP, 2008)

Connect 2 Cleanrooms have demonstrated their experience within off-site cleanroom construction, following the successful installation of a large scale monobloc cleanroom, spanning 951m². With a requirement to achieve ISO class 8, the cleanroom includes a separate change area suitable for up to 60 operators and a material transfer area. The main cleanroom area, which was designed and installed for a global medical and technologies company to house their stitch bonding processes, has a footfall of 870m² and is designed to achieve 21 air changes per hour. Monitored via an ECO loop control system with temperature and humidity control, the cleanroom has 60 variable speed controlled HEPA ceiling fan filters, which are all accessible externally via the walkable ceiling for non-disruptive maintenance. The offsite construction method adopted for this installation ensured that the clients’ cleanroom was brought in on time, on budget, resulting in a happy client.

  • Simultaneous design engineering & off-site construction reduces timescales from 30%-50%
  • Prevents project creep
  • Protects your budget

More information on Connect 2 Cleanrooms’ off-site constructed cleanrooms can be found at www.connect2cleanrooms.com.


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Milton Keynes businesses help Grant Thornton shape proposals to create a vibrant economy

Posted: 19/07/17 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

Businesses across Milton Keynes have contributed to a new set of recommendations launched to government by business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP which centre on collaboration and trust to create a more productive and progressive economy at all levels.

Over the past 18 months, Grant Thornton has brought together leaders from public, private and not for profit sectors, people and communities across Milton Keynes and the rest of the UK, to share ideas on what will shape a more vibrant economy.

From these conversations, the firm has developed a number of recommendations which have been put to government with the aim of building a positive future that creates opportunities for all.

Fiona Baldwin, at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office, said: “The UK is at a pivotal point in history and our conversations with businesses clearly underline that collaboration is key to the future of our economy.

“Everyone can see the growing trust deficit in society and the sense that many feel left without a voice. Thrown into the mix is the task of negotiating our future relationship with the European Union and trading relationships across the world.

“We welcome Theresa May’s commitment to cross party working on key issues such as Brexit and the future of work and at a local level, this should be led by initiatives and models that encourage region-wide collaboration. We also fully support greater devolution to deliver targeted, localised decision making.

“Our Shaping a Vibrant Economy: a blueprint for the UK, describes what we, in collaboration with others, are doing to create a more vibrant economy, and sets out what we think government can do to help fulfil this vision.”

Grant Thornton’s recommendations to government are based around four key themes:

  • Build purpose into business and financial markets. With trust in business declining - down 13% to 33% from 2016 figures (source: Endelman Trust Barometer) - ‘profits for purpose’ should become the new normal with businesses delivering wider social and environmental outcomes as well as profits.
  • Place collaboration at the heart of industrial strategy. Government should incentivise collaboration to boost exports, develop a healthy pool of skills and talent for employers to drawn from, and unlock innovation.
  • Equip towns, cities and rural areas to create vibrant local economies. Government should continue to devolve powers to local areas and provide frameworks that support collaboration on strategic issues and raise finance for investment in infrastructure requirements.
  • Measuring success on more than GDP. Instead use a ‘Vibrant Economy Index’ which looks at a number of indicators including prosperity, opportunity, inclusion, wellbeing, sustainability and community.

Fiona concludes: “Government cannot, and should not, work to achieve this alone.Businesses and other organisations both locally and nationally have a big role to play and together, we can all help to build a positive future and a society that benefits all.”

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OASIS Group Expand Operations in the Netherlands

Posted: 19/07/17 by OASIS Group

OASIS Group, the fastest growing records and information management (RIM) company across Europe, confirmed the completion of yet another acquisition within a month. In a deal finalised on July 12th, the company acquired the RIM business of Hulshoff Opslag – en Archiveringsmaatschappij B.V. located in Amsterdam.

“This is an important milestone in the company’s growth within the Netherlands,” states Dennis Barnedt, Executive Chairman of OASIS Group. “We have known the Hulshoff family for several years and have respected their company values and innovation. We first entered the Dutch market in 2014 with a promise to build on our infrastructure and services. This acquisition greatly complements and expands our existing offerings, while providing an even wider reach for our clients”.

Adding to their already solid presence across the Netherlands, Brian Connolly, Chief Executive Officer of OASIS Group, also confirmed an additional acquisition took place in December 2016, whereby the tape storage and rotation business of Schipper Safestore BV was obtained by OASIS. Together with their increasing suite of information management services and unique tape recovery and discovery solutions, these acquisitions greatly validate their promise of growth and superior services.

These transactions mark a total of 29 successful acquisitions for OASIS Group.

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Northamptonshire businesses help Grant Thornton shape proposals to create a vibrant economy

Posted: 19/07/17 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

Businesses across Northamptonshire have contributed to a new set of recommendations launched to government by business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP which centre on collaboration and trust to create a more productive and progressive economy at all levels.

Over the past 18 months, Grant Thornton has brought together leaders from public, private and not for profit sectors, people and communities across Northamptonshire and the rest of the UK, to share ideas on what will shape a more vibrant economy.

From these conversations, the firm has developed a number of recommendations which have been put to government with the aim of building a positive future that creates opportunities for all.

Mike Hughes, at Grant Thornton’s Northampton office, said: “The UK is at a pivotal point in history and our conversations with businesses clearly underline that collaboration is key to the future of our economy.

“Everyone can see the growing trust deficit in society and the sense that many feel left without a voice. Thrown into the mix is the task of negotiating our future relationship with the European Union and trading relationships across the world.

“We welcome Theresa May’s commitment to cross party working on key issues such as Brexit and the future of work and at a local level, this should be led by initiatives and models that encourage region-wide collaboration. We also fully support greater devolution to deliver targeted, localised decision making.

“Our Shaping a Vibrant Economy: a blueprint for the UK, describes what we, in collaboration with others, are doing to create a more vibrant economy, and sets out what we think government can do to help fulfil this vision.”

Grant Thornton’s recommendations to government are based around four key themes:

  • Build purpose into business and financial markets. With trust in business declining - down 13% to 33% from 2016 figures (source: Endelman Trust Barometer) - ‘profits for purpose’ should become the new normal with businesses delivering wider social and environmental outcomes as well as profits.
  • Place collaboration at the heart of industrial strategy. Government should incentivise collaboration to boost exports, develop a healthy pool of skills and talent for employers to drawn from, and unlock innovation.
  • Equip towns, cities and rural areas to create vibrant local economies. Government should continue to devolve powers to local areas and provide frameworks that support collaboration on strategic issues and raise finance for investment in infrastructure requirements.
  • Measuring success on more than GDP. Instead use a ‘Vibrant Economy Index’ which looks at a number of indicators including prosperity, opportunity, inclusion, wellbeing, sustainability and community.

Mike concludes: “Government cannot, and should not, work to achieve this alone. Businesses and other organisations both locally and nationally have a big role to play and together, we can all help to build a positive future and a society that benefits all.”

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Kettering by the sea returns!

Posted: 19/07/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Does the thought of the British seaside put a smile on your face? Then join us at Kettering by the Sea at the Market Place.

Kettering by the Sea is making a splash again this year, bringing you a taste of the traditional British seaside combined with a host of free activities!

The giant sand pit will be open from 21st July – 19th August every day (except Sundays) from 10am – 4pm at the Market Place, Kettering.

There will be FREE parking in the Kettering Borough Council car parks at: Municipal Offices; London Road; Queen Street; School Lane; School Lane Pop & Shop; Wadcroft and Commercial Road on:

  • Friday 4th August
  • Friday 11th August
  • Friday 18th August

Come along and join us to celebrate National Playday on 2nd August with our fun packed programme, Monkeys in the Manor. Find us in the museum and gallery gardens from 1pm till 3:30pm, where free face painting, craft activities, balloon modelling and a jungle fancy dress competition will be taking place!

New to Kettering by the Sea this year, the Summer Trail will be in full swing throughout the month! Grab your passports and explore the map to find clues and be entered in our prize draw to be in with a chance to win some fantastic prizes this summer. What’s more? It’s completely free to take part.

Summer playschemes around the Borough are free this year from 24th July to 5th August in Geddington, Broughton, Wilbarston, Burton Latimer, Rothwell, Desborough and Mawsley,
showcasing The Railway Children show and Steve the Magician.

So, grab your buckets and spades and make your way to Kettering Market Place to enjoy magic, theatre, arts and crafts, animals and lots, lots more.

Things to do include:

Week 1:

  • Mini beast roadshow
  • Connect FM – Summer Fun

Week 2:

  • Punch & Judy
  • Hoop Dance
  • Starlight Dance and Musical Theatre School Summer Showcase

Week 3:

  • Jungle Craft Activities
  • Steve the Magician
  • Monkeys in the Manor Family Fun Day
  • Urban Beach Volleyball Tournament

Week 4:

  • Under the Sea Craft Activities
  • Lego Workshops
  • West Lodge Farm Animals

Week 5:

  • Primary Workshop: African Drumming & Science Shows
  • Carnival Craft Activities
  • Fun & Games with Play Leaders

You’ll find a full timetable of summer fun including FREE playschemes around the Borough, find out more at: www.ThisisKettering.com/ByTheSea

Guy Holloway, Head of Corporate & Cultural Services at Kettering Borough Council, said: Kettering by the Sea is a great, free family event and we hope that the sun will shine so that everyone can have a great time at Kettering by the Sea this year. The wide range of free activities taking place ensures that there’s something for everyone, so we look forward to seeing you on the Market Place this summer.”

Councillor Lloyd Bunday, Kettering Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Community and Leisure, said: “There are so many free activities during Kettering by the Sea and it’s fantastic that we are able to offer such a full programme for all ages every summer. I hope that people will also make the most of the award winning Museum and Art Gallery and enjoy Kettering by the Sea in the sun this year!”

You can also keep up to date by liking ‘This is Kettering’ on Facebook or Twitter by following @KetteringBC and @MarketPlaceKett

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Heavy metal legend drops into the University of Northampton with a very special task

Posted: 18/07/17 by The University of Northampton

A chance meeting between a senior music lecturer and industry bigwigs at an international heavy metal conference led to music legend and guitarist Tony Iommi visiting the University of Northampton to undertake a very special task.

The Black Sabbath member is to be honoured with the Courage Award at this year’s Loudwire Music Awards, which recognises both his musical output and his bravery in his battle with cancer.

It was decided that the trophy would feature Black Sabbath’s iconic ‘sign of the horns’ and going forward will be presented to future generations of courageous artists.

Due to heavy metal fan Dr Jasmine Shadrack’s networking and having made the right contacts at the conference, it was arranged that the original moulding for the cast of Tony’s hand would be undertaken by members of the Fine Art department at the University of Northampton.

During his visit, Tony also took the time to meet other fans – students from the Popular Music course and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology – John Sinclair.

Jasmine Shadrack said: “It was quite a remarkable experience and I’m so glad our students got to meet and chat with Tony. I’m ecstatic that I was able to chat about guitars with one of my heroes and that our University has been part of such an exciting project.”

John Sinclair commented: “It was a tremendous honour to welcome Tony Iommi – officially one of the greatest guitarists of all time and an idol to millions – to the University, so that we
could use our expertise to cast his now iconic ‘sign of the horns’ that is so synonymous with Black Sabbath.

“Tony was an absolute pleasure to work with throughout his visit and wanted to know all about the University’s world leading work in social enterprise and innovation. He also took the time to speak with our Popular Music students and give them advice on how to take the first steps on the road to becoming a music legend.”

Third year Popular Music student Alicia Jilks said: “I found it to be a very exciting opportunity to get to chat to one of the biggest names in the music industry. He was very inspiring and
has given me more ideas about what I can do with my future career.”

In an interview with Loudwire, Tony said: “Of all the funny things that I have done in my life, this was another one. I was asked to put my arm into a big bucket full of coloured gel. All was going fine until it set and then I couldn’t get my arm back out! After a considerable amount of pulling and twisting, it eventually came out and the cast looked amazing.”

Find out more about Tony’s hand cast and watch the video of how it all happened.

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Briar Hill week of action

Posted: 18/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

People living in the Briar Hill area of Northampton are invited to take part in a week of action organised by the Northampton Community Safety Partnership. With activities planned throughout the week, events kick off with an afternoon of outdoor activities at the Briar Hill playing fields on Monday, 24 July.

A dog agility competition and a variety of sports will be taking place between 12pm and 4pm, while Northamptonshire Fire Service talks about water safety advice. The RSPCA will also be offering reduced-price dog microchipping.

The week-long community focus will bring a whole host of events to the area including a family fun event on Thursday, 27 July at Briar Hill Community Centre and a community litter-pick with free hot dogs for everyone who helps out on Friday, 28 July. There will be a chance to talk to a range of local agencies throughout the week.

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement at Northampton Borough Council, said: “The focus for the week is helping people to stay safe, so there
are loads of different activities where people can come along to get advice about personal safety or safety at home advice as well as have some fun.

“This is happening in the first week of the school holidays and we’ve got some great activities to keep kids of different ages entertained. I hope that everyone who lives in the Briar Hill area will get involved.”

Find out more about what’s happening during the week of action at www.facebook.com/NorthamptonBC

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Challenge Walk aims to help MK’s homeless

Posted: 18/07/17 by Milton Keynes College

A trek along a 25.48 mile walking route, established by The Parks Trust Milton Keynes, will take place this September in order to raise awareness and funds for the increasingly pertinent issue of homelessness in our city.

The event was the brainchild of Nicholas Mann, from full service marketing agency, Interdirect, and was supported by Simon Demaid of Howes Percival. Both were present at a talk by Chief Executive of The Parks Trust, David Foster at Milton Keynes’ monthly networking event, Midsummer Breakfast, where David gave a presentation about the fantastic work of The Parks Trust Milton Keynes.

The challenge walk, organised by Interdirect, Howes Percival and Milton Keynes College, hopes to raise a target of £5,000. Working with MK Community Foundation all money raised will go towards a brand new ‘City Fund’, designed exclusively to support homeless charities and projects. These charities urgently need our help to provide care and support services to get people back on their feet and into suitable accommodation.

In 2016, there was a 16% increase of rough sleepers in England from the previous year, and Milton Keynes reportedly has the third highest homeless population in the South East. Open Door MK currently sees between 40 and 50 visitors at its drop-in services each week and these figures are estimated to rise.

Jake Hall, New Business Development Manager at Interdirect, explains: “Unfortunately homelessness is becoming an increasing issue in Milton Keynes and it is important that Interdirect and our partner organisations help MK Community Foundation to support the most vulnerable people in our city.

“We hope that the walk will raise the profile of the new ‘City Fund’, give it an initial boost of money, and be an enjoyable challenge through the beautiful parks, woodlands and fields of Milton Keynes.”

We would love your support in helping us to reach our target and make the sore and blistered feet worthwhile. To sponsor us, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/25milewalkchallenge.

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Council Leader opens new affordable homes in Kettering

Posted: 18/07/17 by Kettering Borough Council

Nine brand new affordable homes in the centre of Kettering have been unveiled by Councillor Russell Roberts, Leader of the Council.

Chan Kataria, Chief Executive of emh group, and Councillor Roberts were on hand to welcome the new residents to their homes.

Developed by Leicestershire-based emh group, one of the largest providers of affordable homes and care and support services in the East Midlands, in partnership with Seagrave Developments, the nine three-bedroom family homes have been built on a previously unused car park near the town centre.

New resident Emma Walpole is delighted with her new home. “It’s a lovely house,” she said. “We all love it here and it’s great being so near to the school and the town centre.”

The £1.4 million scheme was funded by emh group with contributions from the Homes and Communities Agency. Kettering Borough Council were keen to support the project as a large number of households on the housing waiting list require a three-bedroom home, and as such it met local housing demand and contributed to the regeneration of the town centre.

Chan Kataria, emh group Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that through solid partnership working with the Council and Seagrave we are contributing towards meeting the housing needs of the people of Kettering. We hope that this is the first of many successful projects for the partnership.”

Councillor Mark Rowley, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Kettering BC, explains: “We are keen to see development of new homes in our town centres and there is an acute need for good quality affordable homes. Supporting partnerships such as this between emh group and Seagrave Developments assists the Council in helping to meet some of the housing need that exists in the Borough, whilst also visually improving a run-down area.”

John Conway, Head of Housing, added: “Our work with housing association partners is a vital part of our strategic approach to increasing housing supply. We currently have around a fifth of households registered on Keyways seeking larger family accommodation so opportunities to attract government funding to deliver affordable rented accommodation on sites that would otherwise have been delivered as market housing are welcomed.”

PHOTO: Leader of Kettering BC Councillor Russell Roberts, emh group Chief Executive Chan Kataria, and new resident Emma Walpole.

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Chicheley Hall selects Willen Hospice as its charity of the year

Posted: 18/07/17 by Chicheley Hall

Chicheley Hall has officially chosen a hospice which provides complex and individual care to adults with life limiting illnesses as its charity of the year.

Staff at Chicheley Hall overwhelmingly voted for Willen Hospice as their charity of the year and are already working on lots of exciting fundraising projects.

Chicheley Hall Sales Executive Lauren Willingham said: “Willen Hospice is a really good cause and we are delighted to be supporting them, particularly as they are a fellow Chamber member.

“We will be organising a Ball for them and are putting together a team of staff who will take part in a sponsored run for the charity in October.

“We also have charity boxes around the venue and will be involved in their Time for Tea campaign.”

The historic hotel will set up a sponsorship page shortly for anyone who wants to sponsor their runners.

For further information about Chicheley Hall visit www.chicheleymiltonkeynes.co.uk/partner/chicheley-hall/

To learn more about the work of Willen Hospice visit www.willen-hospice.org.uk

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New Business Rates on Commercial Properties

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

April this year saw the arrival of new business rates. So what does this mean?

Richard Sheppard, Commercial Property Surveyor at Robinson & Hall, Land and Property Professionals explains: “Well in simple terms business rates are a tax that commercial occupiers have to pay based on the rental value of their commercial property, which were last reviewed in 2010.

“Your rateable value is based on similar properties and their average rental values. It is worth noting that you only have to pay business rates if your rateable value is from £12,000 per annum, and if you pay £12,000 to £15,000 per annum you will benefit from small business rates relief. This is when your payment is ‘phased’ over a period of time.

“The local authority is cracking down on finding commercial properties that have slipped through the net. The majority of these ‘missing’ properties are likely to fall within the rural community. For example, many farms have diversified in more recent years and are now using both modern and old farm buildings for uses other than agricultural purposes.”

If a property owner disagrees with the rateable value set by the Government, they may appeal via the new business rates appeals system known as ‘check challenge appeal’:

  • Check - the first and arguable the most important part of the process is to check the information held by the Valuation office is correct and if not this needs correcting as a matter of importance.
  • Challenge - is the rentable figure which is used as the basis for your rates correct and if not this will need to be amended.
  • Appeal - and finally if you still feel your rating assessment is incorrect you can attend a rating tribunal at which point you can present your case of evidence to the Valuation office and an independent panel will make the decision. If you lose you will be charged a cost.

How can Robinson & Hall help you?

Collectively the commercial department has over 100 years’ property experience and we are able to offer help and advice in all commercial areas, no matter how large or small your premises or whether it is located in the centre of town or in the middle of a field! We are actively involved in helping a number of clients with their business rates.

Thinking about bringing your commercial property to the market?

Our wealth of experience and excellent offering ensures we achieve the best results. Our in-house marketing department help us maximise the coverage of your property – we advertise on major property portals such as Rightmove.

To find out how Robinson & Hall can help you or your business or to book a free market appraisal, please contact Richard on 01234 362933 or email: rds@robinsonandhall.co.uk

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Have no fear, and abseil for a worthy cause

Posted: 17/07/17 by MacIntyre

Are you ready for an exciting challenge all for a worthy cause?

Then join MacIntyre on 10th September to abseil off the iconic MK Dons Stadium with heights of 40 feet.

Bring friends and family along to cheer you and others on. The atmosphere will be fantastic and one you won’t want to miss.

Event details

10 September 2017 – Sunday

10am – 3pm (You will be given a time slot when you register)

MK Dons Stadium, Grafton St, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK1 1ST

Registration Fee: £25

Minimum Sponsorship: £100

Once registered a member of the fundraising team will contact you to send you your fundraising pack, time slot, and more details of the day.

For more information, please contact us on: fund@macintyrecharity.org or call us on: 01908 230100.

You can find out more on: http://www.macintyrecharity.org/get-involved/events/mk-dons-stadium-abseil/

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Skyline charges ahead with electric taxis plan

Posted: 17/07/17 by Skyline Taxis

Skyline Taxis, a taxi firm with bases in Milton Keynes and Northampton, has invested in a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) that are now in operation across Milton Keynes.

The growing fleet, which includes one Nissan Leaf and three Tesla cars, has been part-funded by the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant for low emission vehicles.

The move follows consultations with Milton Keynes Council and a pilot scheme in 2015, which saw Skyline trial a 24KW Nissan Leaf for a four-week period. Following the pilot, which was well-received by customers, it was decided to delay investing in a fleet until the 30KW model was released.

Gav Sokhi, Managing Director of Skyline Taxis, said: “Skyline has been at the forefront of the EV taxi market in Milton Keynes for the last few years and was the first taxi company to register an electric vehicle with Milton Keynes Council back in 2011. We have also consulted with the council on licensing policies and worked with Chargemaster on establishing charging point locations and advised where best to place them.

“Despite our 2015 pilot being well-received by customers and drivers, we took the decision to wait for the release of the 30 KW Leaf as less charges and a longer range would significantly improve the drivers experience and earnings. Customers will also notice how much quieter the taxis are, and we are looking to enhance the customer experience further by offering Wi-Fi in the taxis and payment by chip and PIN.

“We are excited to see our hard work and plans finally come to fruition.”

To find out more or enquire about booking an electric Skyline taxi, call 01908 222111 or visit www.skylinetaxis.co.uk.

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Grant Thornton boost Milton Keynes team with senior promotion

Posted: 14/07/17 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

Financial and business adviser Grant Thornton has further committed to its long term investment in Milton Keynes with a senior promotion to support business growth in the region.

Fiona Baldwin takes on the role of practice leader as Grant Thornton continues to strengthen its presence in Milton Keynes ahead of its move to a new office in Victoria House in Avebury Boulevard later this year.

Having joined Grant Thornton as an audit manager at the firm’s Manchester office in 2007, Fiona quickly rose through the ranks to the position of director a year later, followed by equity partner in 2014, before relocating to the firm’s Milton Keynes office.

Fiona previously spent six years working at manager level for a multinational accountancy firm in the UK, followed by a two year stint with the same firm based in Canada.

During her career, Fiona has amassed more than 20 years’ audit experience specialising in corporates (particularly retail and distribution businesses), social housing, professional practices and managing large company pension schemes.

In her new role with Grant Thornton, Fiona will be responsible for leading Grant Thornton’s growth strategy across Milton Keynes, Northampton and St Albans and will use her extensive knowledge of the region to bring businesses and organisations together to help shape a vibrant economy.

She will also seek to enhance and develop the range of services the firm offers to local businesses by further investing in and expanding the 200 strong Grant Thornton team.

Commenting on her promotion, Fiona Baldwin said: “I am extremely proud to be taking on this role at what is a very exciting time for Grant Thornton, particularly here in Milton Keynes as we prepare to move into our new office in September.”

“Key areas of focus for me will be enhancing our specialist services, such as debt advisory and tax advisory, and bringing in more of the very best talent in the industry so we can continue to offer an unrivalled service to local businesses.”

Fiona will also be leading Grant Thornton’s MK50 Driving Growth in Milton Keynes campaign which aims to stimulate discussions amongst local businesses and organisations to identify key areas of focus for the city to develop a strategy for growth.

Fiona added: “With Milton Keynes celebrating MK50 this year, we want to look ahead to the next 50 years and how we can build on the city’s existing strengths. A major focus will be how businesses of all sizes can work together with the community to develop a vibrant, thriving local economy underpinned by fast growing, dynamic businesses.

“The city has gone from strength to strength in recent years and this demonstrates what a fantastic place it is to do business. Local businesses, along with all UK companies are facing a period of uncertainty as Britain negotiates its exit from the EU and there are more local issues to contend with, particularly the skills shortage which is exacerbated by competition from London in this highly competitive marketplace.

“However, time and time again businesses here in Milton Keynes have demonstrated their resilience and ability to adapt to change so we have every reason to remain confident about the future.”

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Grant Thornton boosts Northampton team with senior promotion

Posted: 14/07/17 by Grant Thornton UK LLP

Financial and business adviser Grant Thornton has further committed to its long term investment in Northampton with a senior promotion.

Fiona Baldwin takes on the role of practice leader as Grant Thornton continues to strengthen its presence across the region.

Having joined Grant Thornton as an audit manager at the firm’s Manchester office in 2007, Fiona quickly rose through the ranks to the position of director a year later, followed by equity partner in 2014, before relocating to the firm’s Milton Keynes office.

Fiona previously spent six years working at manager level for a multinational accountancy firm in the UK, followed by a two year stint with the same firm based in Canada.

During her career, Fiona has amassed more than 20 years’ audit experience specialising in corporates (particularly retail and distribution businesses), social housing, professional practices and managing large company pension schemes.

In her new role with Grant Thornton, Fiona will be responsible for leading Grant Thornton’s growth strategy across Northampton, Milton Keynes and St Albans and will use her extensive knowledge of the region to bring businesses and organisations together to help shape a vibrant economy.

She will also seek to enhance and develop the range of services the firm offers to local businesses by further investing in and expanding the strong Grant Thornton team.

Commenting on her promotion, Fiona Baldwin said: “I am extremely proud to be taking on this role at what is a very exciting time for Grant Thornton. Key areas of focus for me will be enhancing our specialist services, such as debt advisory and tax advisory, and bringing in more of the very best talent in the industry so we can continue to offer an unrivalled service to local businesses.

“Local businesses, along with all UK companies, are facing a period of uncertainty as Britain negotiates its exit from the EU and there are more local issues to contend with, particularly the skills shortage, in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

“However, time and time again businesses here in Northampton have demonstrated their resilience and ability to adapt to change so we have every reason to remain confident about the future.”

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Stannah organises fantastic raffle for Spurgeons

Posted: 14/07/17 by Stannah Lifts Service Ltd

Stannah Lift Services Ltd in Brackley has organised a fantastic raffle in aid of children’s charity Spurgeons.

For every £1 raised from the raffle Stannah will give 150% on top to Spurgeons which has been supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged children and their families for 150 years.

The prizes include stays at Malmaison Manchester, Double Tree Hotel Milton Keynes and Holiday Inn Express Luton + 7 days parking, Kindle Fire, a spa day for two at Whittlebury Hall, free entry for four to Tigers Indoor Play, a meal for two at Flight Café Turweston Aerodrome, tickets to a Northamptonshire cricket match, a £50 Days Out voucher, a £25 Love To Travel
voucher, champagne and sparkling wine, beer and wine hampers, a triple target shooting voucher, goodies from the Disney Store and Baylis and Harding, a NTFC signed football and many more.

The draw will be held during an open event featuring a big barbecue at Stannah’s Brackley branch on August 18 at Unit 4 Boundary Road, Brackley, Northamptonshire, NN13 7ES.

Tickets cost £1 each or £4 for a strip.

Tickets are available from Cheryl Dilley at cheryl.dilley@stannah.co.uk whereby paypal payments can be made and tickets sent if necessary.

Alternatively please call Cheryl on 07484038783 and she will arrange this for you.

For further information about Stannah visit www.stannahlifts.co.uk/branches/south-midlands-and-home-counties

To learn more about Spurgeons visit www.spurgeons.org

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Howes Percival comments on new proposals for Wills in the hashtag age

Posted: 14/07/17 by Howes Percival

Leading regional law firm, Howes Percival has cautiously welcomed the consultation announced by The Law Commission for England and Wales into the laws around Wills so as to bring them into the digital age.

Describing the current legal system as ‘outdated’ and ‘unclear’, the Law Commission is calling for the law to be relaxed to permit notes, emails and even voice messages to be used as an alternative to a written Will. Under the proposals, new powers would be granted to County and High Court judges to decide ‘on the balance of probabilities’ whether a recording or note accurately reflects the wishes of a testator (the person making the Will).

Commenting on the consultation Tom Lawrence, Partner in the Estates Team at Howes Percival said, “Making a Will and passing on your Estate to loved ones should be an easily accessible process for people. I think the current law relating to Wills has not kept pace with modern living for a large section of the general public.

“Currently, it is estimated 40% of people die without making a Will. While we broadly welcome advances in the law which would reduce the number of people dying intestate, clearly any changes to the current system would need to be very carefully tested to ensure testators and their loved ones are properly protected and can plan their affairs with certainty.”

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Business confidence remains robust in Milton Keynes, according to the latest QES

Posted: 13/07/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Business confidence remains robust in Milton Keynes, according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey report from Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce.

A total of 28 businesses, employing 1,207 people from across Milton Keynes, took part in the review for the second quarter of the year.

At home, 45% of services sector businesses saw an overall increase in their UK sales – up 13% on the previous quarter. A further 27% said their UK sales had remained consistent with the last quarter of 2016. They also reported positive figures for UK orders.

In contrast the manufacturing sector reported an overall drop in UK sales, although 75% said their UK sales had remained consistent with the previous quarter. Manufacturers also reported a drop in UK orders.

There was some good news for manufacturers who reported slight increases in export sales activity and export orders. However, export sales activity for manufacturers remains in contraction territory. The services sector reported declines in both export sales and export orders.

Manufacturers reported that their headcount had increased for the latest quarter whereas the services sector revealed there had been a slight decrease in their numbers. Both sectors said they expect their headcounts to increase during the next quarter.

All the manufacturers who responded said they had tried to recruit staff during the quarter and more than 40% of service sector companies also attempted to recruit staff.

There was a mixed picture when it came to firms’ investment in plant/machinery over the quarter. Whilst manufacturers reported a significant increase in investment the services sector saw its investment activity decrease. Meanwhile, both sectors reported increases in investment in training during the period.

Business confidence as determined by turnover and profitability across Milton Keynes remains robust despite the services sector reporting a decrease in turnover.

Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “We are very pleased to see that business confidence across the borough continues to remain robust.

“It is also encouraging to see that the majority of service sector businesses have seen their UK sales either increase or remain consistent with the previous quarter.”

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Northants services sector and manufacturers see rise in UK orders and investment in training in the latest QES

Posted: 13/07/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

The county’s services sector and manufacturers reveal a rise in UK orders and investment in training in the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce.

The survey for Q2 2017 was conducted between May 22 and June 12 this year and contains responses from 80 businesses employing 3,031 people from across the county.

UK orders for both the manufacturing and services sectors rose during the quarter with the services sector seeing the greatest increase up from 16% in Q1 to 32% in Q2. There was also further good news for the services sector which reported an increase in their UK sales activity for the second consecutive quarter.

Encouragingly the manufacturing sector reported a sharp increase in their export sales – up from 14% in the previous quarter to 40%. This is the highest figure reported by the sector for three years.

The services sector revealed its headcount grew during the quarter and although headcount figures for the manufacturing sector decreased slightly they still remain at a high level. Manufacturers also indicated their hiring intentions would rise during the next quarter.

Just over half of businesses within both sectors reported they had attempted to recruit staff during the quarter. Of those businesses, 100% of manufacturers and 61% of service sector firms reported they had experienced difficulties recruiting staff.

During the second quarter manufacturers reported a slight improvement in their cashflow and the services sector reported a rise in investment in plant/machinery. Both sectors also revealed increases in investment for training during the period.

When questioned 95% of service sector firms and 86% of manufacturers reported their turnover had either increased or remained consistent with the first quarter.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “It is pleasing to see that the services sector has experienced increases in UK sales activity and UK orders and that manufacturers have seen a sharp rise in export sales.

“It is also encouraging to see firms trying to grow their businesses although the reports that some organisations have experienced difficulties in recruiting staff is a concern. To help address this Northamptonshire Chamber has been running a series of careers fairs this year to enable businesses to promote their sectors to young people across the county.”

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RSM advises on management buyout at Northants guitar amp maker

Posted: 13/07/17 by RSM

RSM has advised the management of Northampton-based Blackstar Amplification on its successful buyout from Foresight Group, the independent infrastructure, private equity and investment manager.

Blackstar was founded in 2004 by four friends and bandmates who collaborated on the design and manufacture of new and innovative guitar amplifiers and pedals. The group spent two and a half years performing intensive technical research in a garden shed in Northampton before the first Blackstar products were launched in March 2007.

Blackstar today is an award winning leading global brand with revenues in excess of £10m. It has over 45 products sold in 52 countries worldwide, its products being used by artists including Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne/Firewind), Neal Schon (Journey), Silenoz (Dimmu Borgir) and James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers). All research, financial, sales and marketing functions are based in Northampton with manufacturing in the Far East.

Foresight originally invested £3.5m in 2012 to provide growth capital and to partially restructure the shareholder base. The secondary management buyout, backed by Shawbrook Bank, will allow the company to regain its independence and gives the founding management team (now owning a majority share in the business) the opportunity to take the business into a new phase in its development.

Stephen Orriss who led the advisory team from RSM said: “Blackstar is a world renowned brand and this transaction enables the business to continue to grow as it enters the next chapter of its development. We were delighted to support the management team in this transaction and we wish them every success in the future.”

Gary Smith, corporate partner at Freeths, Milton Keynes handled the legal aspects. Gary Smith said: “Having acted for Blackstar for over eight years it was a real pleasure to see the management team bring this deal together to deliver what is a truly transformative deal for the future of Blackstar, its management team and employees and its customers. The transaction was also a perfect example of the great teams at RSM and Freeths working together to deliver the result desired by the Blackstar management team.’

Ian Robinson, co-Founder and Managing Director said: “This marks an exciting new chapter in Blackstar’s history, which will allow us to retain our independence and gives us the opportunity to take our business to the next level. We are looking forward to forging a strong relationship with Shawbrook, who have shown a real interest in our business and future growth strategy, and many years of working with our distributors, dealers and, most of all, our customers to continue to deliver ‘The Sound In Your Head’.”

Paul Hayhoe, co-Founder and Sales & Marketing Director said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with professionals like Stephen Orriss at RSM and Gary at Freeths, their deep knowledge and experience has been fundamental to us delivering this transaction.”

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Repeal Bill must deliver continuity, certainty for business and trade says BCC

Posted: 13/07/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting ahead of the First Reading of the Repeal Bill, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Business communities across the UK tell us very clearly that they want day-one certainty and stability on the rules and regulations they will face when the UK leaves the EU.

“Continuity and equivalence are needed to prevent any disruption to British business, particularly in terms of our trade with partners and markets in Europe and beyond.

“A legislative transition of this scope has never before been undertaken. We will be keeping a watchful eye for the possibility of unintended consequences that lead to new burdens or compliance costs, whether particular firms, sectors or the economy as a whole. Our clear message to Westminster politicians is that this bill must not be amended in a way that makes the UK a more expensive or complex place to do business, which would risk undermining our future competitiveness.

“In the fullness of time, after 2019 and after a permanent Brexit deal is secured, government and business must work together to determine where it is beneficial to maintain regulatory equivalence with the EU for the long term, and where the UK needs to set its own path in the interests of competitiveness and growth. For now, though, continuity is key to business investment and confidence.”

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BCC: Repeal Bill must deliver continuity, certainty for business and trade

Posted: 13/07/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting ahead of the First Reading of the Repeal Bill, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Business communities across the UK tell us very clearly that they want day-one certainty and stability on the rules and regulations they will face when the UK leaves the EU.

“Continuity and equivalence are needed to prevent any disruption to British business, particularly in terms of our trade with partners and markets in Europe and beyond.

“A legislative transition of this scope has never before been undertaken. We will be keeping a watchful eye for the possibility of unintended consequences that lead to new burdens or compliance costs, whether particular firms, sectors or the economy as a whole. Our clear message to Westminster politicians is that this bill must not be amended in a way that makes the UK a more expensive or complex place to do business, which would risk undermining our future competitiveness.

“In the fullness of time, after 2019 and after a permanent Brexit deal is secured, government and business must work together to determine where it is beneficial to maintain regulatory equivalence with the EU for the long term, and where the UK needs to set its own path in the interests of competitiveness and growth. For now, though, continuity is key to business investment and confidence.”

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Novacroft cyclists join Ride for Hope in support of company’s charity of the year

Posted: 13/07/17 by Novacroft

Two Novacroft team members joined the Northampton Hope Centre’s Ride for Hope, in aid of Novacroft’s Charity of the Year, the Northampton Hope Centre from 6th - 9th July, raising £1150 between them to date - a huge contribution to the £30,000 (and counting) raised by all the Ride for Hope cyclists to date.

Novacroft’s Duncan Smith, 2nd/3rd Line IT Analyst, and Daryl Hurst, Head of Research and Development, took on the epic cycling challenge to complete personal goals and to raise money and awareness for the centre.

The cycle took the Novacroft pair 70 – 80 miles per day over a total of 230 miles, through country, city and coastal terrain to the finish line. Daryl and Duncan joined the Ride for Hope as part of a group of 46 cyclists of all abilities, who have already achieved their aim to improve on the amazing £25,000 total raised by twenty-eight cyclists who took on the challenge in
2016. With over £30,000 raised to date, the cyclists hope to reach £40,000 by the time all donations are in.

Duncan has been with Novacroft since 2011. He regularly cycles to work, has completed many medium distance rides and has wanted to take on a long-distance cycle challenge for some time.

Daryl, who’s been with us for 15 years, began cycling in earnest last year, when he ran out of places to run. Daryl regularly rides to the office, as well as cycling many miles outside of work – a fifty mile afternoon jaunt is not unusual!

Speaking after the ride, Daryl said: “What an amazing experience. Three days full of laughs, emotion and great memories, with a few uphill struggles, literally! And we only got lost a few times! Would I do it again? Yes!”

For both Daryl and Duncan, a road bike has been a new challenge, but the Ride for Hope training rides provided a real team spirit and support that saw them through. Duncan said, after completing the ride: “I got such a massive sense of achievement. It was brilliant. I’m already thinking about my next challenge - I’d love to be able to do a hundred mile ride in a day.”

Duncan and Daryl’s fundraising pages are still open. If you’d like to add your support, you can access Daryl’s JustGiving page here and Duncan’s JustGiving page here.

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Agriculture concerns answered in successful rural event

Posted: 13/07/17 by Robinson & Hall LLP

Agriculture and forestry organisations joined forces last week (6th July) to host an event that answered questions surrounding the future of agriculture in the face of Brexit and a newly formed government.

The ‘Summer Rural Event’ was hosted by Lockhart Garratt Ltd - an environmental planning and forestry consultancy, Robinson & Hall LLP - land and property professionals and The Agricultural Mortgage Company Plc. Each of the industry specialists gave an update on forestry, rural property finances and opportunities.

30 farmers and landowners attended the free event that was held at the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes East in Newport Pagnell. Topics covered in the presentations included current and potential issues on finance, making the most effective use of money in your business, current timber opportunities and managing woodlands in the light of climate change.

“Ensuring that farmers and landowners are fully prepared for the future is key to the success of their businesses,” explains Andrew Jenkinson of Robinson & Hall LLP. “By providing these events, we are making sure that business owners are informed of upcoming changes and can make the most out of the potential opportunities, enabling their businesses to continue to thrive, despite the uncertain changes in the industry”.

The talks also covered a range of topical subjects that were useful and relevant to all farmers and landowners: The Basic Payment Scheme, Countryside Stewardship Scheme, abstraction licences, mobile phone masts, business rates, succession and infrastructure.

One attendee commented: “Well done to all. Very topical and useful. Thank you for your hospitality, it was very much appreciated”. The evening concluded with a buffet dinner and drinks.

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Celebrating Northampton’s green spaces this Love Parks Week

Posted: 13/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

People are being encouraged to get out and enjoy Northampton’s green spaces during Love Parks Week, 14 to 23 July.

To help celebrate the town’s beautiful parks a range of free events and activities are taking place in different locations, for families to enjoy.

Visitors are reminded to respect our parks whilst taking part in the activities, by picking up their rubbish and either disposing of it in a nearby bin or taking it home at the end of their visit.

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “Love Parks Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the town’s green spaces and raise awareness of how together, we can protect them for future generations to enjoy.

“We urge people to have pride in our parks and show them a little love by keeping them clean and to report any instances of littering, graffiti or other unsightly mess.

“If we work together to do this, our parks can continue to be one of Northampton’s best assets and offer pleasant surroundings for people to get out and enjoy their leisure and sporting activities.”

Instances of littering and other mess can be reported quickly and easily online using MyCouncil - http://selfserve.northampton.gov.uk/mycouncil/reportIt.html

Visit loveparks.org for more information on Love Parks Week nationally.

Local scheduled events include:

Saturday 15 July

Battle of Northampton event - 11am to 5pm - Delapré Park

Festival of Archaeology - 12pm to 4pm - Abington Park Museum


Sunday 16 July

Battle of Northampton even - 11am to 4pm - Delapré Park

Children’s Observation Trails - 11am to 4pm - Abington Park

Bands in the Park - 2pm to 4pm - Abington Park

Tidy Up and Tea event - 2pm to 4pm - Becket’s Park


Tuesday 18 July

Kite Flying - 3.30pm to 5.30pm - Eastfield Park


Saturday 22 July

Summer Food Festival - 11am to 5pm - Abington Park Museum

Girls’ Football Open Day - 12pm to 4pm - The Racecourse


Sunday 23 July

Bands in the Park - 2pm to 4pm - Abington Park

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The Melrose Directory celebrate MK50 with 50 mile charity bike ride around Milton Keynes

Posted: 13/07/17 by The Melrose Directory

Cyclists celebrated MK’s 50th birthday with a gruelling bike ride of 50 miles across the city and beyond. Hundreds of riders put their heart - and a lot of legwork - into the challenge, which saw cyclists of all ages and abilities travel 50 miles or 50km on both on and off-road routes on Saturday, all in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

Keen amateur cyclist Nick Southworth rode on behalf of The Melrose Directory to raise money to fight against the UK’s biggest killer. Nick Southworth, 26, said: “It was both easier and tougher than I expected. The distance wasn’t the issue but the initial climb to the top of Woburn woods nearly killed me!

“Once past the nasty first climb the ride was mostly quite enjoyable, the scenery in the area is lovely and the section past the safari park was very picturesque.

“The weather turned out to be far hotter then expected, sun cream was a must even if I managed to miss a few spots!

“It was a really good event with lots of people of all abilities turning up to ride to raise money for the British Heart Foundation at the same time as celebrating MK’s big birthday.

“It was amazing to see how many people where happy to torture themselves for such a good cause!”

Nick’s 50-mile journey with friend James Bryan took him on the Redway around Milton Keynes before venturing onto quiet countryside roads through picturesque villages in both Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, from Rushmere Country Park to Woburn Safari Park, before heading back to the finish line at Willen Lake.

Since launching last year, The Melrose Directory has been determined to use their family-run holiday property rental business to help raise cash for local charities.

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Mazars tea party raises money for children’s charity

Posted: 12/07/17 by Mazars LLP

The Milton Keynes office of Mazars, the international accountancy and advisory firm, has raised over £1,000 for Northampton charity, Children are Butterflies. The sum was generated as part of this year’s latest Charity Ladies’ Afternoon Tea event.

Nominated by Jessica Sharpe who works in the Mazars Milton Keynes’ Outsourcing Department, the charity provides assistance to bereaved families who have lost a child.

Support includes practical and financial support when arranging a funeral and an established network of parents and families suffering similar losses.

The event took place at The Woburn Hotel and saw 50 professional ladies from across Milton Keynes, come together for an afternoon of networking, baked treats and raffle prizes.

Ann Hollowell, Founder and Trustee of Children are Butterflies, said: “We owe a massive thank you to the Mazars Milton Keynes team for making the event such a success.

“Due to the nature of our work, it’s not always easy to have local public fundraising events, so the fact that Mazars chose to hold this event to support the work we do was terrific.

“We not only help those families who are currently facing a family tragedy, but as a non-profit organisation, if there are surplus funds at the end of each year, we donate those to organisations that directly help to save children’s lives of any age or that are yet to be born and that’s why events such as these are so important to us.”

Stephen Eames, Milton Keynes Office Managing Partner at Mazars, said: “The work that Children are Butterflies do is fantastic. They offer support to so many families that have suffered such unimaginable tragedy and heartache and we’re so pleased that through the money we raised, we can help assist even more families across the country.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that attended the afternoon.”

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University’s close relationship with sports agency pays off for James

Posted: 12/07/17 by The University of Northampton

A sport-mad student is the latest to benefit from the University of Northampton’s close relationship with a leading PR and digital sports agency group.

Final Third Sports Media, and its younger sister organisation the other half, are based at the University’s Avenue Campus, and boast a number of high-profile clients, including the English Football League and Professional Referee Organization in the USA.

The companies have enjoyed a close working relationship with the University, having taken on a number of students to carry out work placements and paid project work.

The latest undergraduate to benefit is second-year Multimedia Journalism student, James Anstee, who is completing a work experience placement over the summer with the other half, allowing him to be involved in a series of different PR-driven projects.

“The placement’s been a great opportunity for me,” said the 20-year-old from Northampton. “I’ve been working on a project for an international football academy which we’ve led a recent rebrand for.

“It was interesting looking into the various ways it could achieve its objectives with a new identity, by researching how other organisations in the sports industry have branded themselves.

“One day I would love to set up my own PR agency, so the experience I am picking up here with the other half is invaluable. I am getting to work within an agency that is still in its infancy and receiving an overview of how it’s being built up, and how the organisation works.

“Plus, the actual project work is really interesting, as the sports industry is something I am passionate about.”

James’s experiences on the Multimedia Journalism course have stood him in good stead for a career in sports PR.

He explained: “We have a news day each week on our course, and it’s all geared towards digital. We get to learn what makes a great story, and to take that journalistic know-how into the PR world should give me a competitive edge when I embark on my career.”

James isn’t the only University representative working at the sister agencies – the new Students’ Union president, Rafael Garcia-Krailing, was a marketing intern at Final Third.

Sports Marketing graduate, Ben Warren, spent more than two years with Final Third, initially as an intern, then staying on beyond his studies for a summer placement. The experience he picked up there, along with the skills developed on his degree course, helped him to land his dream job as Somerset County Cricket Club’s digital marketing executive in 2015.

Chris Rivett, managing director of both Final Third and the other half, said: “We’ve enjoyed an increasingly fruitful relationship with the University over the seven years we’ve been in its Portfolio Centre.

“In the last five years we’ve had several marketing and journalism students working closely with us on a regular basis and it has always been an enjoyable experience. It is satisfying seeing them progress their careers after University and put into practice some of the learnings from the lecture room and skills we’ve worked with them to develop in a working environment.”

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Financial penalties to be imposed on rogue landlords in Northampton

Posted: 12/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Northampton Borough Council is planning to introduce tough new measures to tackle criminal, rogue and irresponsible landlords.

Following the introduction of new powers for local authorities in April, as an alternative to prosecution the borough council can now impose civil penalties of up to £30,000 per offence on landlords and letting agents who flout the law.

Until this year, prosecution was the only option available to the Council when dealing with serious housing offences committed by landlords. However, the Government has now given councils more powers to deal with rogue landlords and improve housing standards in the private rented sector.

Northampton Borough Council is one of the first councils to adopt the changes and has developed a clear policy on how its new approach to enforcement will work.

Civil penalties can now be used to deal with a wide range of serious housing offences where the accommodation is unlicensed, substandard, overcrowded, badly managed or unsafe. Penalties will be paid directly to the borough council and will be ring-fenced to help fund further housing enforcement activity.

Tenants of landlords who have civil penalties imposed on them are able to apply for a rent repayment order to reclaim up to 12 months’ rent and, where the rent has been met with the assistance of housing benefit, the borough council can seek to recover all or part of the housing benefit that was paid during that period.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, said: “Northampton has some excellent landlords and letting agents, but there are people who knowingly rent out accommodation that is unlicensed, substandard or unsafe and this is wholly unacceptable.

“Of course, the maximum civil penalties will be reserved for the worst offences and the size of each penalty will be determined on a case by case basis. The important thing for us to consider, however, is whether the penalty is sufficient to remove any financial advantage that the offender may have gained by committing the offence – landlords and letting agents must never profit from putting their tenants at risk.

“What makes civil penalties a better option than prosecution is the fact that the borough council is able to use the income it receives from these penalties – and, indeed, the income it receives from rent repayment orders – to invest in our housing services, take action against more landlords, and improve the standard of private rented housing in Northampton.”

Civil penalty enforcement will be discussed at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 19 July and if approved will be introduced in Northampton from 1 August.

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Close Brothers comments on Taylor review of modern employment practices

Posted: 12/07/17 by Close Brothers Asset Finance

Commenting on the Taylor review of modern employment practices, Jeanette Makings, Head of Financial Education at Close Brothers, said:

“We are seeing more and more changes to the UK Labour market in the last few years with longer working careers, the emergence of the gig economy, as well as the increasing prevalence of self-employed, flexible, part-time and remote working to name a few.

“But these all provide a challenge to employers who want to provide the right support to their workers, but who may find it difficult given the different working statuses and financial circumstances. Some workers, for example self-employed workers, may need additional support and guidance to navigate what financial choices are available to them in the workplace and how to plan and make good decisions as they plan their financial futures.

“Companies have a responsibility to make sure that their workers have the right level of financial education, whatever their station or circumstances. While the Taylor review has some interesting suggestions such as those around portable benefits, tech, and default auto-enrolment, there still seems to be some way to go when it comes to helping these newly labelled ‘dependent contractors’ to plan for their financial future and save for retirement.”

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Central Foods celebrates its 21st birthday by being named in top 100

Posted: 12/07/17 by Central Foods Ltd

Frozen food distributor Central Foods has been named as one of the top 100 performing businesses in Northamptonshire for the first time.

The firm, which this year is celebrating its 21st anniversary, has been awarded a place in the Grant Thornton Northamptonshire Ltd Top 100 Companies for 2017 report.

“Central Foods has previously been named in the top 200 companies in Northamptonshire on a number of occasions, but this is the first year that we have been included in the top 100 – reflecting our continued growth and development as a business,” said managing director Gordon Lauder, who runs Central Foods with wife Alison.

“Now in its fifth year, the Grant Thornton report has become a key event in the county’s business calendar and the team at Central Foods is delighted that we have now, for the first time, progressed into the top 100.

“Our company was founded in Northamptonshire 21 years ago and began its life, as many do, in a very small-scale way from our home. We are very pleased and proud to have steadily grown the business to become the significant contributor to the local economy that it is today.

“Our committed, hard-working staff ensure they go over and above what is required to service customers’ requirements and this has undoubtedly been a factor in our growth and success, and I’d like to thank them for their support.”

Central Foods, based at Collingtree near Northampton, is one of the UK’s leading frozen food distributors, supplying more than 220 independent wholesalers, as well as larger national and regional wholesalers. It also supplies to foodservice caterers across the entire foodservice industry, including pubs, hotels, restaurants, staff canteens, schools, hospitals, coffee shops, football grounds and universities.

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

Grant Thornton director Mike Hughes said: “We are pleased to announce that Central Foods Limited is featured in the Northamptonshire Ltd Top 100 Companies for 2017.

“According to the Northamptonshire Ltd Report, businesses in the county are performing strongly in terms of growth compared to the rest of the UK and this is set to continue. The report, conducted by Grant Thornton, analyses the financial performance of the county’s leading privately owned companies in the county.”

Mike, along with Grant Thornton associate director David Stone, recently presented an award to Central Foods to mark the company’s achievement.

Northamptonshire Ltd is compiled using the most recent publicly available accounts (as at April 2017) of the county’s 100 largest privately owned companies based on turnover and with their principal trading address in Northamptonshire. It encompasses companies with revenues of around £12 million to more than £600 million.

The report identifies the three top sectors in the county by turnover as food, drink and leisure, automotive and motor retail, and industrial and manufacturing.

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

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Onefoursix flies the nest to larger premises

Posted: 11/07/17 by Onefoursix Ltd

A thriving Northampton marketing agency has expanded by moving to larger offices in the town.

Onefoursix, which provides digital marketing and web and graphic design services, has moved from the Portfolio Innovation Centre in St Georges Avenue to Christchurch Road.

The company’s new home is approximately 2,500 sq ft and situated in ‘The Loft’ at the Mobbs Miller House complex – a space that will be shared with other locally grown creative companies Gnu Films, a film and animation company, and LionSorbet, a design consultancy for the jewellery and fashion industry.

“This move will allow us to expand as a team and put down firm roots as a company,” said Dave Williams, managing director of Onefoursix. “It also signifies the start of a new chapter for us.

“We have known for some time that the Portfolio Innovation Centre will be closing as the University moves to the new Waterside Campus, and we have struggled to find suitable premises to move to. This has taken up a considerable chunk of our time of late with a few set-backs along the way, but we are more than happy with how things have worked out in the long run.

“We look forward to welcoming our clients to the new office and showing them around. This move to bigger and better premises, but still remaining part of a creative hub, will only benefit them as we continue in our commitment to helping businesses get themselves noticed.

“We’ll also be hosting a moving-in drop-in party soon, so watch this space!”

For more information about Onefoursix, call 01604 779035 or visit www.onefoursix.co.uk.

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Northampton to sign Charter to support people diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease

Posted: 11/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Northampton Borough Council has voted to sign the Motor Neurone Disease Charter to help ensure that people living with the disease, as well as the people who care for them, can access the support they need.

The charter was created by the Motor Neurone Disease Association to raise awareness of the terminal condition that kills almost a third of people within 12 months of diagnosis. The charity places emphasis on the right to be treated as an individual, the right to maximise quality of life and the right to be respected and well-supported and has approached councils across the UK for their backing.

Scott Maloney at the Motor Neurone Disease Association, said: “I’m delighted that Northampton Borough Council has adopted the MND Charter. The MND Association was established in Northamptonshire in 1979 by a group of volunteers who wanted to support people affected by this devastating disease, and volunteers still play a crucial role in our work today. It’s great to see our hometown adopt the Charter and commit to playing its part in raising awareness and delivering services for people living with MND and their carers locally.”

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community safety and engagement, said: “We want everyone who calls Northampton home to have access to quality services that allow them to make the most of life. Motor Neurone Disease progresses incredibly quickly so it’s important that the right support is available to people when they are diagnosed.

“While the borough council doesn’t commission care and support services, we can help in other ways by raising awareness of the disease and educating our staff. Our first step will be to host an awareness event later in the year which we’ll promote the details of closer to the time.”

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Taylor Review - BCC comments

Posted: 11/07/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

Commenting on the publication of the Taylor Review, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The world of work is changing, and it is only right that employment law and practice change with it. Matthew Taylor has rightly recognised that the UK’s flexible labour market is a great source of strength and competitive advantage, but has also recommended some common-sense changes where grey areas have emerged in recent years. We are pleased that he has acknowledged that UK firms already face high costs in addition to wages, and has sought to avoid adding to these burdens at a time of uncertainty and change.

“Civic-minded business leaders across the UK have expressed concerns about the consequences of insecure employment in their local communities in recent years, and recognise there is a two-way bargain that needs to be struck that gives flexibility and security to both employers and employees. Civic businesses will also agree with Taylor on the importance of good-quality work, and opportunities for growth, development and workplace health.

“While the notion of a wage premium in exchange for uncertain working hours is superficially attractive, it could have unforeseen consequences, and push wage costs up elsewhere. Further expert consideration of the potential impact of such a measure on jobs will be needed.

“If the new category of ‘dependent contractors’ proposed by the review is implemented, it must have a clear legal definition to prevent any ambiguity or unintended knock-on effects.

“The government should consult widely with business and employees over the coming months to ensure any response to the Taylor Review is proportionate, fair and above all unbureaucratic.”

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BCC’s Dr Adam Marshall comments on the Taylor Review

Posted: 11/07/17 by catherine.bontoft@northants-chamber.co.uk

Commenting on the publication of the Taylor Review, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The world of work is changing, and it is only right that employment law and practice change with it. Matthew Taylor has rightly recognised that the UK’s flexible labour market is a great source of strength and competitive advantage, but has also recommended some common-sense changes where grey areas have emerged in recent years. We are pleased that he has acknowledged that UK firms already face high costs in addition to wages, and has sought to avoid adding to these burdens at a time of uncertainty and change.

“Civic-minded business leaders across the UK have expressed concerns about the consequences of insecure employment in their local communities in recent years, and recognise there is a two-way bargain that needs to be struck that gives flexibility and security to both employers and employees. Civic businesses will also agree with Taylor on the importance of good-quality work, and opportunities for growth, development and workplace health.

“While the notion of a wage premium in exchange for uncertain working hours is superficially attractive, it could have unforeseen consequences, and push wage costs up elsewhere. Further expert consideration of the potential impact of such a measure on jobs will be needed.

“If the new category of ‘dependent contractors’ proposed by the review is implemented, it must have a clear legal definition to prevent any ambiguity or unintended knock-on effects.

“The government should consult widely with business and employees over the coming months to ensure any response to the Taylor Review is proportionate, fair and above all unbureaucratic.”

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Dr Adam Marshall of the BCC comments on the Taylor Review

Posted: 11/07/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

Commenting on the publication of the Taylor Review, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The world of work is changing, and it is only right that employment law and practice change with it. Matthew Taylor has rightly recognised that the UK’s flexible labour market is a great source of strength and competitive advantage, but has also recommended some common-sense changes where grey areas have emerged in recent years. We are pleased that he has acknowledged that UK firms already face high costs in addition to wages, and has sought to avoid adding to these burdens at a time of uncertainty and change.

“Civic-minded business leaders across the UK have expressed concerns about the consequences of insecure employment in their local communities in recent years, and recognise there is a two-way bargain that needs to be struck that gives flexibility and security to both employers and employees. Civic businesses will also agree with Taylor on the importance of good-quality work, and opportunities for growth, development and workplace health.

“While the notion of a wage premium in exchange for uncertain working hours is superficially attractive, it could have unforeseen consequences, and push wage costs up elsewhere. Further expert consideration of the potential impact of such a measure on jobs will be needed.

“If the new category of ‘dependent contractors’ proposed by the review is implemented, it must have a clear legal definition to prevent any ambiguity or unintended knock-on effects.

“The government should consult widely with business and employees over the coming months to ensure any response to the Taylor Review is proportionate, fair and above all unbureaucratic.”

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OASIS Group Acquires Federal Archive Ltd

Posted: 11/07/17 by OASIS Group

OASIS Group, the fastest growing records and information management (RIM) company across Europe, have confirmed the completion of an additional vital acquisition. In a deal finalised on June 30th, the company acquired Federal Archive, Ltd., located in Cork, Ireland.

This transaction reinforces OASIS Group’s leadership in the Irish market. Offering a suite of information management services, including GDPR dedicated tools and Business Continuity solutions, they continue to confirm their dedication to their clients.

“This region was always a key area of interest for OASIS and Cork has provided us with a prime location”, states Brian Connolly, Chief Executive Officer of OASIS Group.

“Increasing our footprint domestically and expanding our reach locally, provides us with an opportunity to build on our offerings and existing relationships. With a commitment to transform and elevate the RIM industry, this is a promise we take seriously”.

With the integration of Federal Archives, Ltd. now underway, the newly attained clients will quickly benefit from the exceptional infrastructure and client care services OASIS provides.

This transaction marks the 28th successful acquisition for OASIS Group.

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‘No deal’ not an option for business communities - BCC

Posted: 11/07/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

One month on from the General Election, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) yesterday (Monday) published a post-election survey of over 2,400 companies, which shows that while businesses have a range of views on their preferred objectives for the UK in Brexit negotiations, there is almost no support to conclude UK-EU talks without a trade deal.

Asked to consider which option came closest to their view about what the UK’s Brexit negotiation objectives should be, the survey - carried out just after the election - showed:

  • 2% said leave the Single Market and Customs Union, and rely on WTO rules for trade (leave without a trade deal with the EU)
  • 34% said remain in the Single Market and Customs Union
  • 13% said remain in Customs Union only (no hard borders or tariffs, but limited scope to negotiate trade agreements with third countries)
  • 11% said remain in the Single Market only (accept EU regulations and rules in return for full access to market)
  • 28% said a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and a customs agreement (the government’s pre-election objectives, set at the Prime Minister’s Lancaster House speech)

Respondents were also asked about a transition period, and which of the following options they believe is best for their business:

  • 46% said ‘a transition period of three years
  • 22% said ‘a transition period of longer than three years’
  • 17% said ‘no transition period’

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “Our results make it clear that there are a range of business views on what the UK should be seeking in a final deal with the EU, but there is near-universal consensus that a deep and comprehensive agreement is needed. ‘No deal’ isn’t seen as a viable option. Businesses want a pragmatic settlement on the practical, real-world issues that affect their operations, not arbitrary political red lines.

“By more than three to one, businesses want a transition period on the way to a final agreement with the EU. This is critical to prevent firms facing the prospect of repeated, costly adjustments to new trading conditions. If companies have to change their business model once in 2019 and again several years thereafter, the competitiveness and investment potential of our firms will be undermined.

“Getting transition arrangements on the negotiations agenda as quickly as possible would give businesses - many of whom are considering big investment decisions now - the confidence to press ahead.”

Attached here is a PDF of the Post-Election Snap Poll.

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BCC: ‘No deal’ not an option for business communities

Posted: 11/07/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

One month on from the General Election, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) yesterday (Monday) published a post-election survey of over 2,400 companies, which shows that while businesses have a range of views on their preferred objectives for the UK in Brexit negotiations, there is almost no support to conclude UK-EU talks without a trade deal.

Asked to consider which option came closest to their view about what the UK’s Brexit negotiation objectives should be, the survey - carried out just after the election - showed:

  • 2% said leave the Single Market and Customs Union, and rely on WTO rules for trade (leave without a trade deal with the EU)
  • 34% said remain in the Single Market and Customs Union
  • 13% said remain in Customs Union only (no hard borders or tariffs, but limited scope to negotiate trade agreements with third countries)
  • 11% said remain in the Single Market only (accept EU regulations and rules in return for full access to market)
  • 28% said a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and a customs agreement (the government’s pre-election objectives, set at the Prime Minister’s Lancaster House speech)

Respondents were also asked about a transition period, and which of the following options they believe is best for their business:

  • 46% said ‘a transition period of three years’
  • 22% said ‘a transition period of longer than three years’
  • 17% said ‘no transition period’

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: “Our results make it clear that there are a range of business views on what the UK should be seeking in a final deal with the EU, but there is near-universal consensus that a deep and comprehensive agreement is needed. ‘No deal’ isn’t seen as a viable option. Businesses want a pragmatic settlement on the practical, real-world issues that affect their operations, not arbitrary political red lines.

“By more than three to one, businesses want a transition period on the way to a final agreement with the EU. This is critical to prevent firms facing the prospect of repeated, costly adjustments to new trading conditions. If companies have to change their business model once in 2019 and again several years thereafter, the competitiveness and investment potential of our firms will be undermined.

“Getting transition arrangements on the negotiations agenda as quickly as possible would give businesses - many of whom are considering big investment decisions now - the confidence to press ahead.”

Attached here is a PDF of the Post-Election Snap Poll.

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Supported Internships Transform the Lives of SEND Students

Posted: 11/07/17 by Milton Keynes College

Milton Keynes College is working with students with disabilities, including autism, ADHD, cerebal palsy, global delay and moderate learning difficulties, to help them obtain and remain in employment.

The Supported Internships programme, which was set up by the Department of Education and first trialled at Milton Keynes College in 2015/16, is expected to obtain a 100% success rate this year, with many of the college’s 2016/17 learners gaining permanent employment, or voluntary jobs and skills progression that could lead to their future careers.

Big brands, including Tesco, Bosch, Holiday Inn and Currys PC World are among those supporting Milton Keynes College to create life-changing opportunities for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Pippa Bruckland, Personal Tutor and Lead Job Coach for Supported Internships at the College, explains: “So far this year we have placed four of our students in permanent employment and are expecting the remaining contracts to be signed any day now. We have been overwhelmed by the success of the programme and have had fantastic feedback from learners and employers alike.”

One student, called Michael (pictured), has just been offered permanent employment with Holiday Inn Milton Keynes. The well-known hotel brand is delighted and has requested more Supported Interns for September.

Darren Hayward, General Manager of Holiday Inn Milton Keynes says: “We are delighted to be associated with MK College and the Supported Internships programme. Finding team members who have a passion for what they do can be a challenge and the Supported Internships, through the guidance of Pippa Bruckland, has introduced us to young adults who have the passion and drive but simply need a leg up at the start.

“We are very excited as a hotel, a management company and an industry about the potential the Supported Internships brings to us for employing team members with a natural passion and enthusiasm for hospitality. The dedication and commitment from professional Personal Tutors like Pippa offers the students the assistance needed to get it right at the start of the employment process and cross the hurdles that may otherwise prevent success. Well done to all involved in this initiative. We are delighted.”

Supported Internships essentially offer a stepping stone, with a safety net, to a young person’s future, while at the same time educating and familiarising employers with the benefits of employing people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

“The College is working closely with employers to support future generations of SEND students into work, and close the gap between disabled and non-disabled people in permanent employment. With positive results for the programme so far, I hope that more employers will embrace the Supported Internships scheme, so that more SEND children and their parents/carers can rely on a system that will provide increased opportunities to a fulfilling future career,” concludes Pippa.

For further information about Supported Internships at Milton Keynes College visit http://www.mkcollege.ac.uk/subjects-we-offer/inclusive-learning, email Inclusive.learning@mkcollege.ac.uk or call 01908 684141.

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New Member of the Team – Bid and Project Coordinator

Posted: 11/07/17 by Bid & Tender Support Ltd

Due to our continued growth and success, Bid and Tender Support are delighted to announce we have a new member of the Team. Clara-Jane has joined our Team as Bid & Project Coordinator to manage our internal workflow, client liaison, document management and research. Clara’s background in process driven roles and customer services, will ensure she proves to be a very useful and valuable member of our Team.

Clara-Jane brings a multitude of skills to the business including a high level of attention to detail and organisational skills; both are essential to our work. As a highly efficient worker, Clara-Jane will allow us to continue to offer the very best customer service and standards of work as we grow.

Welcome to the Team!

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Article 50: uncertainty the order of the day for UK SMEs

Posted: 11/07/17 by Close Brothers Asset Finance

Only 1 in 4 SME owners in the UK feel that they have a clear understanding of what Article 50 is and what it means for their business, according to results obtained from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that questions over 900 UK SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions.

“Among smaller companies (those with a turnover less than £500k) the lack of understanding is even more acute,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance and Leasing. “In that category of respondents the figure falls to only 19%, which is indicative of how little people really know about Article 50 and its potential impact.”

Business impact

Over half (52%) of businesses were ‘unsure’ whether the triggering of Article 50 would have any measurable effect on their business; 21% felt it would while the remaining 27% said ‘no’.

“In the absence of any certainty, business owners are left with no choice but to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach,” said Neil. “In common with a year ago when the Brexit outcome was announced, companies are getting on with their day-to-day activities and hoping for the best outcome.”

Break-up of the UK

A large minority of business owners – 40% are of the opinion that the triggering of Article 50 will lead to the break-up of the UK, with Scotland (53%) and the Republic of Ireland (61%) being the most convinced.

“While these results are speculation only, it speaks to the uncertainty about the future of the UK in its current form,” said Neil. “This brings with it concerns about impact to their business, which in turn can lead to caution when making investment and growth decisions, with many deferring until there is more certainty in the market. For now, though, it is something we are all going to have to live with.”

Clarity over Europe?

Businesses were split down the middle when asked ‘do you think triggering Article 50 will bring more or less clarity to our relationship with the EU?’, with 49% answering ‘more’ and 51% saying ‘yes’.

“For many UK businesses, Europe is a key market, and will continue to be so regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations,” continued Neil. “Triggering Article 50 on its own does not seem to have brought the clarity many were hoping for.”

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

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Commitment to apprenticeships is a signal of intent from rail engineering giants

Posted: 11/07/17 by Northampton College

Global engineering giant Siemens has revealed it is ‘vital’ to keep feeding its talent pipeline with the best problem solvers from Northampton College as bosses look to plug the skills gap hitting the industry.

The commitment to apprenticeship schemes comes on the back of two Northampton College students winning the chance to spend time on work experience at Siemens base at the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) in Kings Heath, Northampton.

Level 3 Mechanical Engineering students Lewis Henry, aged 19, and 17-year-old William Dunkley will have the opportunity to impress managers at the pioneering facility and get fast-tracked to the apprenticeship assessment centre – where they can secure a permanent role working on the latest technology being rolled out across the railways.

Dan Walker from Siemens said: “We have seen a lot of older employees leave the industry through retirement and take their experience with them. It’s difficult to find young people to replace them and that has created a huge skills gap.

“By teaming up with Northampton College and identifying their star students at a young age we can begin to feed that talent pipeline with the type of people we need, good problem solvers with a commitment and determination to work hard. It’s vital we find those people to keep pushing forward.”

Having completed his two-year course at Northampton College, Lewis is now set to progress to the University of Nottingham where he will study civil engineering. William is returning to Booth Lane for the second year of his course and will undergo a work placement with Siemens.

He said: “It’s a fascinating industry and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to see the latest technology which is being used right here in Northampton to revolutionise the railways.”

Among the projects William will have the chance to work on is the European Rail Transport Management System – a new form of signalling being rolled out across the UK’s rail network.

He will also make use of state-of-the-art virtual reality headsets to gain a greater understanding of the component parts which go into the engineering of train carriages.

Tutor Neil Tobin said: “Having this facility on our doorstep here in Northampton can only be a good thing for our students and we look forward to building a long-lasting relationship with Siemens.”

Pictured (L-R): Dan Walker from Siemens, William Dunkley, Lewis Henry and Neil Tobin of Northampton College.

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

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Denfield Park Primary School bag a Ruby Changemaker Award

Posted: 10/07/17 by The University of Northampton

Pupils from Denfield Park Primary School in Rushden have proved they are real Changemakers by raising funds to improve their playground equipment and creating a ‘buddy stop’ to make sure that their classmates always have someone to play with.

The 25 children, ranging from age five to 11, visited the University of N​orthampton on Monday 3 July, along with their teacher Alice Freeman, and were presented with the Ruby Changemaker Award by the Vice Chancellor Professor Nick Petford.

The Changemaker Student Awards form part of the University’s commitment as an Askoka U Changemaker Campus to work with, celebrate and actively engage local schoolchildren in social change.

After identifying the issue of there not being enough play equipment to go around, the Changemaker team came up with ideas to raise money for new toys, such as present-making, raffles, discos and even starting up a yo-yo club.

With over £1,700 in funds, they have so far bought a giant Connect4, giant Jenga, a basketball net and toys for indoor play too.

The ‘buddy stop’ was also established, after it was noted that not all children were joining in at playtime. The idea is that the Changemaker team gather at a particular point during playtime so there is always someone available to talk to or play with.

Janice Watkins, Project Lead for the Changemaker Hub at the University of Northampton, said: “I’m very proud of the way these young Changemakers have identified a situation that they wanted to change for the better. Their fundraising skills have been amazing, as well as the empathy they have shown to their fellow pupils with the creation of a ‘buddy stop’.

“This award demonstrates all the hard work that the pupils have put in to make playtimes at their school more fun, as well as the experience they gained in working together as a team.”

The Changemaker Student Awards aim to recognise, celebrate and build children’s skills as Changemakers through innovative self-designed projects in their schools and the wider community.

The programme consists of three progressive levels; Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, which lead to a Changemaker Student Award.

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Team BRIT supports young driver, Billy Monger

Posted: 10/07/17 by Stanair Industrial Door Services Ltd

Stanair are absolutely delighted to support Team BRIT who got Billy Monger back on track this week at Brands Hatch.

Billy, a teenage racing driver, suffered extreme injuries in a recent Formula 4 race at Donnington Park, which resulted in him having both legs amputated from the knees. Determined to get back behind the wheel, Billy did just that a short ten weeks after the crash, on a specially arranged track day at Brands Hatch with Team BRIT.

A truly inspiring young man, you can find out more about his story in this short video here.

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FREE Introduction to Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace Workshop

Posted: 10/07/17 by Velocity Growth Hub

1 in 4 working age adults suffer with mental health issues ever year. Last year alone cost the economy £105.2 billion and 80% of managers want to help staff but don’t know how.

This workshop delivered in conjunction with Blue Lobster Therapy will show you how to spot the early signs of mental health and stress issues in your employees and equip your business with tools to deal with mental ill health in the workplace.

Who should attend:

Owners, Line Mangers and HR Managers who are looking for strategies for managing and coping with mental health in the workplace.

What you will learn:

  • Understanding different types of illnesses
  • Knowing how to assess and signpost staff
  • Spot the signs early of mental health & stress issues.
  • Provide yourself, HR Managers & Line Managers with the tools to deal with mental ill health
  • Early intervention to prevent problems from impacting the business.
  • Reducing Absenteeism & Sickness costs.
  • Reducing the stigma around mental health
  • Promote a positive & productive working environment

Venue:Cranfield University Technology Park

Address: University Way Cranfield Bedfordshire MK43 0BT

Date & Time: Tuesday, 18th July 2017; 09:30 – 11:30

Contact Email: enquiries@velocitygrowthub.com

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We’d really like to hear your views on social media and what it means for you and your business

Posted: 10/07/17 by Howes Percival

Take part in our Social Media Impact Survey, aimed at understanding how business owners/senior management of UK owned businesses and professional advisors use social media.

We’d really like to hear your views on social media and what it means for you and your business.

This survey has 10 main questions over 2 pages and takes 2 minutes or less to complete.

This is an anonymous survey and NO NAMES, EMAIL OR COMPANY NAMES will be published, they remain STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

Click here to take part in our survey here - http://www.howespercival.com/resources-and-events/news/social-media-impact-survey

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Why you need to check your existing Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) today

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

Robinson & Hall, Land and Property Professionals, urge you to check any current EPCs as soon as possible.

New regulations coming into force will soon make it unlawful to renew or grant a new lease for properties with an energy rating below an E from 1st April 2018.

The clock is now ticking towards the deadline next year and you do not want to get caught out. The legislation will also apply to all existing leases from April 2023 so it is essential you properly plan to ensure you can continue to let your property.

To put things in to perspective, recent information published by the Government highlights that 10% of all registered EPCs for non-domestic properties in Bedfordshire are either F or G rated. Assuming no changes are made to legislation and that the property does not fit the exemption definitions then landlords for these properties will not be able to renew or grant a new lease after 1st April 2018. This could leave buildings unlettable until improvement works take place leading to vacant buildings and loss of rental income. It will also have an effect on tenants, who may have to find alternative premises.

It is important to be cautious when reviewing historic EPCs as some have been found to contain inaccurate information which have contributed to properties having a poor energy rating. In the past, EPCs were seen by many as a ‘tick box’ exercise just to advertise the property on the open market and enable a lease to be signed. Many were obtained as economically as possible with little attention to detail and based upon wrong assumptions. This has left many properties vulnerable and dropped them unnecessarily into the danger zone.

Another consideration is how many landlords know if existing tenants have made any changes since the last EPC? Changes to service installations, including air conditioning or electric heaters, can dramatically reduce the rating. We strongly urge landlords to review their current documents and if necessary commission new EPCs to ensure they accurately reflect the present day property.

While the new regulations do not come into force until April 2018, action now can help prepare for the changes and help mitigate the impact of the changes. Please contact Robinson & Hall for an initial free appraisal of your existing EPC.

Robinson & Hall can help identify any buildings at risk, assess your property, implement a strategy to ensure your buildings comply with the regulations and advise upon the most
cost effective options.

For further information about how Robinson & Hall can help you improve your EPC, please call Robert Franklin, Head of Architecture & Building Surveying at Robinson & Hall on 01234 362917 or email rjf@robinsonandhall.co.uk

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PROMOTION HELPS TAKE CML’S ACCOUNT TEAM TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Posted: 07/07/17 by CML Ltd

End to end logistics expert, CML, is pleased to announce the promotion of Michael Smith from Customer Account Manager to the role of M&S Customer Relationship Manager.

Having worked at the company for 11 years, Michael has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience to ensure the service he provides Marks and Spencer is to the highest standard.

In his new position, Michael will work alongside the account management and customer service teams at CML, along with the clothing and home logistics team at the leading high street retailer. Michael will ensure that high-quality service levels continue to be achieved and its network strategy is supported by CML in the best way possible. As well as this, Michael will work with the team at Marks and Spencer to conduct operational and performance reviews to ensure that CML is able to effectively support its credible logistics network.

Commenting on his promotion, Michael said: “I am delighted to have been promoted to M&S Customer Relationship Manager and to have the opportunity to be involved with Marks and Spencer at a senior level. The experience I’ve gained working at CML over the years will enable me to provide them with exceptional levels of customer service, demonstrate my ability to work with them closely to develop new opportunities, focus on further continuous improvement alongside the clothing and home logistics team, and ‘put the customer at the heart of everything we do.’”

Commenting on Michael’s promotion, CML’s Managing Director, Mark Webb said “Michael has been a valued member of CML for a number of years now and was an obvious choice for this newly developed role. His promotion emphasizes our commitment to providing outstanding levels of service, not only to Marks and Spencer, but to all of our clients.”

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Motorsport Medics European Road Trip for Charity

Posted: 06/07/17 by Rockingham Motor Speedway Ltd

A team of medics is swapping their ambulance for a rally car this summer to help raise money for charity.

The colleagues from Meditech Global based at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, have formed the Medrock Allstars and will be competing in the annual Two Ball Banger Rally, which sees teams competing against each other over four-days.

Following the original route, the event starts in France on Friday, August 18 and takes in nine different countries in just four days! Passing through Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Monte Carlo before finishing in Nice.

Operations Director Gary Watts will be joined by Rockingham’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Mark Tyler (both pictured here), and paramedic Adrian Hanson on the 1200-mile European road trip to raise money for Northamptonshire-based Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Gary, from Rushden in Northamptonshire, said: This is a great opportunity for us three middle aged guys to have some fun driving around Europe in an old banger. It’s not quite Top Gear, more like we’ve lost a gear! But hopefully the Megane will see us across the finish line in Nice.

“We decided to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease Association as it is a charity close to our hearts. Sadly one of our friends’ partner has this condition and at present there is no cure. By taking part in this event, we are hoping to raise at least £1000 for MND, which provides support, care and research.”

Although the Two Ball Banger Rally is not a race, it is a serious competition, with competitors completing outrageous daily challenges which will test their mental state of mind, teamwork, driving and navigational skills!

However along the way, the route will pass through the Black Forest of Germany, the famous Stelvio Mountain Pass, Italy’s breath-taking Lake Como and the Mediterranean principality of the rich and famous, Monaco.

To take part in the event, each team had to purchase a car for less than £567 and the Medrock Allstars will be travelling in style! Their chosen wheels is a grey 56-plate Renault Megane. The trip is completely self-funded with competitors raising much needed funds for their own chosen charity.

The motorsport medics have so far secured sponsorship from Rockingham Motor Speedway, Whilton Mill, NGR Spark Plugs, British Touring Car teams – BMR and Triple8 – and drift racer Michelle Westby. However the team has room on their car for more names!

Anyone interested in adding their name to the Medrock Allstars car can contact Gary on 01536 206010. Or to make a donation visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-tyler8.

You can follow the team’s progress via Facebook - Medrock Allstars - Two Ball Rally 2017 & twitter - @MedrockAllstars.

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New University of Northampton course focuses on international special events management

Posted: 06/07/17 by The University of Northampton

Professionals who want to gain a competitive edge in the special events industry can sign up for a brand new course at the University of Northampton.

The MSc in International Special Events Management will equip students with the skills and knowledge to create events with the wow factor consumers demand. The course has been designed to reflect the diversity of events that fall into this category, such as celebrations, ceremonies and spectacles such as weddings, award ceremonies, fundraising events, galas, product launches, conferences, art shows and music festivals.

The course is not only aimed at recent graduates, but also those already working in the events industry who are looking for accelerated career progression , and can be studied on a full or part-time basis, which offers those in work the flexibility to learn alongside their job.

MSc Programme Leader, Angela Anthonisz said: “Special events live or die by the skills of the organiser – not just in terms of planning, but also in terms of creativity and design.

“Our programme focuses on many of the key planning skills required for managing special events, but places particular emphasis on innovation, excellence, creativity and design. We are looking for applicants that are passionate about the events industry and want to enhance their professional skill set.”

For more details about the course, visit the website: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/study/courses/international-special-events-management/

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Northampton to compete in East Midlands in Bloom

Posted: 05/07/17 by Northampton Borough Council

Northampton is taking part in the East Midlands in Bloom regional competition for the sixteenth time this year and judgement day is set for next week.

Horticultural judges will visit on Tuesday, 11 July to take in the efforts of schools, community groups and individuals from around the town.

In 2016, Northampton secured a Sliver Gilt award along with a special commendation from the judging panel for making the whole town bloom. This year, Northampton Borough Council are going for gold with an Edgar Mobbs commemorative display on St Giles Street and the addition a new statue of Lady Wantage in Abington Park.

Abington Vale Primary School is one of the community entrants who will meet the judges to showcase their green-fingered displays on the day. Fiona Hull, Deputy Head Teacher at Abington Vale Primary School, said: “The school looks beautiful and we’re really looking forward to showing it off. All of the children have been involved in the planting in some way and we’ve had parents,grandparents, governors and staff helping too.

“We’ve incorporated our Bloom projects into the curriculum by making it part of our science lessons on growth. So each class has worked on their own mini-project, which means that not only is the whole school covered in flowers but we’ve also got a vegetable patch, a sensory garden, and areas of planting that encourage wildlife.”

Local growers Cramden Nursery have come on board as official sponsors of Northampton in Bloom 2017 and will also be meeting the judges. Their home-grown pelargoniums are
currently filling the shoe planter in the Courtyard at the Guildhall.

Emily Mitchell from Cramden Nursery, said: “It’s our first time getting involved and we’re very proud to grow and provide plants for Northampton in Bloom. We’re a family business and all of our plants are grown here in Northampton so I’m really pleased we’re able to give something back to the community.

“I’m excited to meet the judges, it’s not the first time that our plants have been judged though so I’m feeling quietly confident and am really happy to let the plants do the talking.”

Councillor Mike Hallam, cabinet member for the environment at Northampton Borough Council, said: “We’re incredibly proud of how much improvement we’ve shown since we first started taking part in Bloom and last year was our best yet, but I think we’ve got what it takes to push for gold.

“Whether we get there this year is entirely down to the judges now but I’m confident that we’ve shown we’re looking for new ways to encourage people to enjoy our town and green spaces.

“What’s really important is the community effort that goes into this and I’d like to thank everyone who has got stuck in again this year.”

The results of the East Midlands in Bloom competition will be announced in the autumn.

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Apply for the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: The UK’s most prestigious business awards

Posted: 05/07/17 by Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce Ltd

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are recognised as the most prestigious business awards in the UK. The awards were first established in 1966 and since then 6,876 companies have been awarded a Queen’s Award.

Winning an Award offers multiple benefits including global recognition for your company, boosting staff morale and increasing growth.

In 2016 there were 83 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise winners across London and the South East.

Background information on the Awards

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise recognise and encourage the outstanding achievements of UK businesses in the fields of:

  • International Trade;
  • Sustainable Development; and,
  • Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility).

The UK is full of exciting and innovative businesses and the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are a great way of celebrating their success.

Whether a small business with a great innovative product or service, or a larger company running an impressive social mobility programme, these awards are a prestigious way to recognise your contribution to enterprise.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are open to applications from almost all businesses of all sizes throughout the UK in every sector.

Benefits of winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise

  • The use of a recognised emblem that will get your business noticed, above and beyond the competition.
  • Global recognition that your company is outstanding in its field.
  • Increase in sales and growth
  • Boost staff morale
  • Invitation to attend a Buckingham Palace reception

How to apply

  • Almost all UK businesses (including non profit) can apply and the application process is free.
  • All applications must be made online and you may apply for more than one category.
  • The application process for the 2018 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise closes at midday on Friday 1st September 2017.
  • All entry forms, eligibility criteria and information on how to apply is available at https://goo.gl/gWTXG9

For more information, please contact:

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise Office

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

4th Floor – Spur 2

1 Victoria Street

London

SW1H 0ET

Email: queensawards@beis.gov.uk

Telephone: 020 7215 6880

Website: https://www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise

Twitter: @TheQueensAwards

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Apply for the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise - The UK’s most prestigious business awards

Posted: 05/07/17 by Northamptonshire Chamber

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are recognised as the most prestigious business awards in the UK. The awards were first established in 1966 and since then 6,876 companies have been awarded a Queen’s Award.

Winning an Award offers multiple benefits including global recognition for your company, boosting staff morale and increasing growth.

In 2016 there were 83 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise winners across London and the South East.

Background information on the Awards

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise recognise and encourage the outstanding achievements of UK businesses in the fields of:

  • International Trade;
  • Sustainable Development; and,
  • Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility).

The UK is full of exciting and innovative businesses and the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are a great way of celebrating their success.

Whether a small business with a great innovative product or service, or a larger company running an impressive social mobility programme, these awards are a prestigious way to recognise your contribution to enterprise.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are open to applications from almost all businesses of all sizes throughout the UK in every sector.

Benefits of winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise

  • The use of a recognised emblem that will get your business noticed, above and beyond the competition.
  • Global recognition that your company is outstanding in its field.
  • Increase in sales and growth
  • Boost staff morale
  • Invitation to attend a Buckingham Palace reception

How to apply

  • Almost all UK businesses (including non profit) can apply and the application process is free.
  • All applications must be made online and you may apply for more than one category.
  • The application process for the 2018 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise closes at midday on Friday 1st September 2017.
  • All entry forms, eligibility criteria and information on how to apply is available at https://goo.gl/gWTXG9

For more information, please contact:

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise Office

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

4th Floor – Spur 2

1 Victoria Street

London

SW1H 0ET

Email: queensawards@beis.gov.uk

Telephone: 020 7215 6880

Website: https://www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise

Twitter: @TheQueensAwards

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IN A SPIN

Posted: 05/07/17 by The Extra Step Ltd

Were you aware that fidgeting is more than just an annoying habit; it’s a way of channeling energy into the workplace?

Fidgeting is a common daily activity in the office, school, or workplace which cannot be prevented – the more people try to stop you, the more fidgety you become.

By occupying the part of the brain that’s bored, fidgeting enables the other parts to focus and consume the information that the person is receiving.

Spin away your stress, fear or boredom with this fidget spinner.

We have now extended our range of promotional products for fidgets to include a smart spinner and the fidget cube; as well as our range of printed stress balls. All three of these products have been purposely chosen to help improve concentration.

It’s so simple! Just place the spinner on a flat surface and hold your finger on the middle part to turn this spinner. This also be used held between your fingers in moments you need to focus to improve your productivity.

It’s hard to explain the product’s sudden popularity. Some educators claim the fidget spinner is a useful tool for children who have ADHD, giving them something to do with their hands to help them concentrate.

Because it is classed as a toy it must have CE label signaling that it has been approved for use by children. However many of the items coming in to the UK do not have this mark on, choose carefully whenh buying one if these are foe use with children.

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Spirit Hyundai announces pices and specifications for the New Generation i30 Tourer

Posted: 05/07/17 by Spirit Hyundai

Spirit Hyundai has announced the new generation i30 Tourer will cost from £17,495, when it goes on sale this weekend.

All models come with an exceptional level of standard equipment, including a suite of safety tech, such as: Lane Departure Warning System, Forward Collision Warning System, Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking and Park Assist.

Alloy wheels, Bluetooth and DAB are all included on base “S” models, while the “SE” trim gains front fog lamps, a five inch LCD touchscreen and park assist.

“SE Nav” models cost from £20,305 and are likely to appeal to Business customers as they feature a Sat Nav system with an eight-inch TFT screen.

Top of the range “Premium” and Premium SE versions are spec’d with leather heated seats, larger alloy wheels front parking sensors and the blind spot protection warning system.

As an estate, luggage space is a key credential and the i30 Tourer can accommodate 602 litres with the rears seats in place and 1650 litres with the rear seats lowered.

The engine line up consists of a 1.0 or 1.4-litre Turbo petrol and a punchy 1.6-litre diesel. The latter is available in two outputs: 110ps or 136ps. The 110ps is the most efficient with CO2 emissions of 99gms/km. Emissions for petrol models range from 115gms/km to 129gms.

All New Generation i30 models come with Hyundai’s industry leading 5 Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty, 5 Year Roadside Assistance package, 5 Year annual Health Check and 12 Year Anti Corrosion Warranty.

The countries leading contract hire companies clearly like this new addition to the Hyundai family. With Personal & Business contract hire rates starting at £186.00 +VAT per month.

This New Generation i30 Tourer looks set to be another example of Hyundai setting their sites on the more established markets of the North European Brands.

Both Spirit Hyundai sites in Corby (01536-268223) and Spirit Northampton (01604-417850)will have i30 Tourer available to view from this weekend. Well worth a visit!!

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Former nurses asked to walk the wards again with the University of Northampton

Posted: 05/07/17 by The University of Northampton

Experienced nurses are being encouraged to walk the wards again and sign up for a retraining course with the University of Northampton.

Return to Professional Practice (RtP) lets qualified nurses who have had a break from practice enhance and hone their existing knowledge and skills so that they can confidently return.

Although there has been a national decrease in nurses registered to work in the UK, the University of Northampton and local NHS healthcare providers are collaborating on a first of its kind recruitment drive to address this and attract nurses and doctors to relocate to live and work in Northamptonshire.

Called the ‘Best of Both Worlds’, Northampton General Hospital, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Kettering General Hospital and St Andrew’s Healthcare are working with us to position the county as a top destination for nurses who want to pursue and develop successful careers.

Steve O’Brien, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Society at the University of Northampton said: “Nursing offers a fantastic career opportunity and across Northamptonshire there are many opportunities for nurses to work in diverse areas, either within hospitals or the wider community.

“Our Return to Practice course is funded by Health Education England so study costs should not deter Northamptonshire nurses from contacting us to help them return to what I feel is the most rewarding job of all.”

Sharon Gray took time out from her nursing career after an operation, but hasn’t looked back since starting her RtP course at University of Northampton. She said: “I would definitely recommend the Return to Professional Practice course as all the skills you learn during your training come flooding back and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“My advice to former nurses who want to get back into the profession is that the opportunity is there so go for it! You have absolutely nothing to lose and everyone is so supportive.”

Ruth Wheatley originally qualified in 1982 but overcame her doubts about going back into practice: Ruth said: “At the back of my mind, I always knew I was a nurse and wanted to return to practice. With support from the University of Northampton, I completed my application.

“I immediately bonded with the other RtP nurses as we were all in the same boat. It felt right when I stepped back onto the ward; I wondered why I hadn’t it before.”

Find out more about the Best of Both Worlds campaign.

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