Download Februarys Magazine here - Somerset Chamber of ...

Download Februarys Magazine here - Somerset Chamber of ...




February 2013

Funding Opportunities for

Somerset Businesses

Lead Story

New opportunities to

raise funds

See page 3

“As the High Street banks battle it

out for market share and in some

cases the moral high ground there

now seems to be a stream of funding

support filtering down from

Government into the South West”

Town Chamber

Frome Chamber news

See page 7

Insurance News

See page 2

Industry Update

See page 12


Funding Opportunities

See page 16 & 17

Next Event

Scan this code with

your smartphone to

visit the Chamber


Upcoming Events

See page 19 & 20

Rupert’s Review

You can find the Somerset Chamber of Commerce

on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

It’s your Chamber and it

needs your help to grow

and thrive.

The team at the Chamber

office have been focussing

on two areas of work,

recruitment & retention

and communications,

which we hope will add

greater value to members and assist us with growing

our membership toward the target of 700 members by

the end of 2015.

Over the coming months Chamber members will have

communication with our dedicated staff to make sure

that we are providing what members want; explore what

members might want us to be delivering, and

encourage more active participation in Chamber

activities. Some members we engage with on a regular

basis at our events as delegates or sponsors, or

through our social media activity, or Hinkley Supply

Chain work but some we do not have as much contact

with, and if that is you, we need to understand more

about your requirements from Chamber membership.

While emails and e-newsletters help to drip feed

information, there is no better substitute for a good

old-fashioned “chin-wag”, so don’t be surprised if we

give you a call.

To help us increase our membership we would also

appreciate your help. Do you know of any business

within your network who you think would benefit from

being a member of the Somerset Chamber? Just give a

thought to how many Somerset companies that you are

linked with in some shape or form – suppliers, clients or

just friends, and consider how the Somerset Chamber

might be able to support their business needs and how

they might become an influential force within the

Chamber network.

If you could refer such contacts to us, please let us

know and we will follow-up your recommendation and

give a prize each month to the most productive


This leads me to the final element of our immediate

priority and that is to communicate with 25% of the

Somerset business community by the end of 2015.

There are between 22,000 and 25,000 businesses in

Somerset (depending on your definition) so we aspire to

have meaningful dialogue with at least 6,000 of them.

“How are you doing so far?” I suspect you are thinking.

At the moment we have regular contact with about

3,000 Somerset business people, so we have a lot

more to do. For the Somerset Chamber to be fully

representative of the Somerset business community,

we need to be able to communicate with a significant

number of them either directly, or through existing

communication channels.

Chamber members and our non-member supporters

can help us with this activity. Piggy-backing on each

others’ communications is an easy way to raise the

profile of the Chamber through social media and

in-house publications as well as Chamber

representatives attending external events.

If you are one of the 7% of members that has been with

us for 10 years or more, or one of the 20% of members

that has joined in the last 18 months, we value your

support and welcome any advice and guidance you can

give as we strive to be even more effective in

“Supporting the growth of the Somerset economy”

Our Patrons

A big thank you to the Patrons of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce whose continued

support is vital to the growth of the Chamber.


New Opportunities to Raise Funds

As the High Street banks battle it out for

market share and in some cases the moral

high ground there now seems to be a stream

of funding support filtering down from

Government into the South West via the

Heart of South West Local Enterprise

Partnership (LEP).

While most businesses continue to soldier on with their

existing banking arrangements – that in many cases

have been in place for many years, others are now

exploring alternative methods to access finance through

grants and loans that have been made available by the

coalition in the last few months. These new pots of cash

cannot be seen as the “golden egg”, but ways of

supplementing existing finance facilities.

Growing Places Fund (GFP), Regional Growth Fund

(RGF), Rural Growth Network Fund (RGN) and Plymouth

University & Western Morning News Growth Fund 2

(PWGF2) are all phrases and acronyms that trip of the

tongue of those closest to the action, but what do they

mean to the businesses of Somerset? Couple this with

the various Government schemes such as “Funding for

Lending” that is delivered through the banking sector

and it is clear that while funding opportunities are

becoming available, the landscape for funding is

increasingly complicated and foggy.

The High Street banks are also finding themselves under

pressure by new entrants to the market such as

Santander and the Swedish bank Handelsbanken who

now has a presence in Taunton and Yeovil as well as a

rising number of private investors seeking opportunities

to invest their cash for greater returns than are available

on the money markets.

The Somerset Chamber of Commerce together with

other business groups in the county are keen to promote

new funding opportunities to businesses and to help

them digest the criteria that each sets out.

Chief Executive Rupert Cox says:

“We welcome the increasing number of funding pots

now available to Somerset businesses looking to grow,

but we are concerned that the maze of opportunities

might actually turn some businesses away from applying,

especially to those funds with challenging eligibility


My team and I will do all we can to sign-post businesses

to the most appropriate source of funding for their needs

and more than likely this will not be from just one


While more detail on the respective funds can be found

on-line, a snap-shot summary is that the Growing Places

Fund is a loan-fund for larger infrastructure or building

projects that are nearly ready to go, but seeking a final

tranche of funding to bring them forward and the

Regional Growth Fund is for bids of over the £1 million to

support projects and programmes to create economic

growth and sustainable employment that must be match

-funded by private sector investment. The Plymouth

University & Western Morning News Growth Fund 2

(PWGF2) is more applicable to the smaller business as it

welcomes bids from £25,000 of funding up to £150,000

for businesses looking to grow employment levels with

the Rural Growth Network (RGN) grant scheme aimed at

the smaller rurally-based business.

Tim Jones, Chair of HotSW LEP said of the RGN grant


“Micro-enterprises are a

vital component of the

Somerset rural economy,


approximately 90% of the

businesses across the two

counties. “This grant will

develop, expand and

stimulate economic

growth, innovation and

employment opportunities

and help ensure that our

rural communities remain

active and vibrant places

in which to live and work.”

Pictured: Tim Jones

Chair of the HotSW

For more information on funding please see page 16

and 17

Alternatively visit:


British Chamber of Commerce

SMEs continue to feel the pinch as lending

contracts, says BCC

Business lending fell by £2.8bn in November 2012.

Net lending to small business contracted by £6.4bn over the past


Commenting on the Trends in Lending report, published

by the Bank of England, John Longworth, Director

General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)


"The figures paint a challenging picture for UK firms, as

business lending continues to weaken. These numbers

reflect the uncertainty of the UK economic outlook and

the difficulties in the financial sector, as banks continue

the process of deleveraging. The report also confirms

that some of our youngest and fastest growing

businesses are still struggling to secure the credit they

need to grow, stymieing growth across the country. Also,

businesses that have weathered the recession and are

now looking to fund growth and exports are having the

same difficulties.

“A fully fledged Business Bank is needed to bring about

fundamental change in business finance, and to provide

the necessary support to help viable and fast-growing

companies get access to finance to grow and drive the

recovery out of stagnation."

Government’s deficit cutting plan remains

under pressure, says BCC

Public sector net borrowing was £15.4bn in December 2012, £0.6bn

higher than in December 2011

Commenting on the public sector finances for

December 2012, published by the ONS, David Kern,

Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce

(BCC), said:

“On a comparable basis, public sector net borrowing for

the period April-December 2012 was £7.2bn higher

than in the same period of the previous year. While this

highlights the continued pressures facing the

government’s finances, at a time when the economy is

stagnant and tax receipts are weak, it is important to

emphasise that the cumulative excess in the nine

months to December was slightly on November’s


“Clearly, Britain’s structural deficit remains

unacceptably high. But the weakness of the economy

reinforces the case for adhering to the deficit cutting

programme alongside new growth enhancing policies.

The Chancellor is obviously facing serious challenges.

To maintain confidence, he must persevere with real

cuts in current spending and continue to prioritise

capital investment.

“The Chancellor’s March budget must intensify

measures that increase the supply potential of the

economy. This means supporting exports, construction,

and house building in the short term, and supplementing

this with effective medium-term initiatives, that will

encourage private sector investment in infrastructure

projects. Additional steps to increase the availability of

credit to viable businesses willing to invest, are also

urgently needed.”


Business News

David Laws MP unveils opportunities for

region’s construction industry

David Laws MP

Local MP and Minister of State for

Schools and the Cabinet Office,

David Laws, recently hosted a

business breakfast for 50 key

business leaders within the

construction industry. The focus

was to explore whether

Government policies would offer

better fortunes for the industry for

2013 and to discuss the future of

the £100billion industry.

The breakfast, held at Yeovil Court Hotel, was run by

leading South West accountants, Albert Goodman, in

conjunction with Humphries Kirk Solicitors and YHC

Hire Solutions.

David Laws MP discussed last year’s financial situation

for the construction industry, commenting,

“Undoubtedly, it has been a challenging 12 months,

with the Government spending more rebuilding the

economy, instead of focusing on key areas such as

construction. Banks were encouraged to lend last year,

which has resulted in a reduction in lending this year

and as a result, some SMEs have downsized their

business or folded, specifically in the construction


On a more positive note, David Laws MP commented,

“For the economy as a whole, a surprising but incredibly

important uplift has been creation of more than

1,000,000 new jobs in the private sector market,

nationally, since May 2010, which has brought down

the unemployment rate.

“A great example of that in the South West is

AgustaWestland. Last year, having secured a significant

grant from the Government, the company was able to

secure more than 4,000 jobs within the region.”

Moving forward, David Laws’ predictions for 2013

opened with the view that the new Governor of the

Bank of England, Mark Carney, who joins from Ottawa,

Canada, could be an important step forward in

regenerating the economy. He is known for introducing

innovative monetary policies and is receptive to new

ideas. In recent speeches he has focused on how

central banks should help during times of economic


Looking specifically at the opportunities he sees for the

construction industry, drawing reference to the Autumn

Statement, David Laws added, “The Government has

transferred £10million from current spending to capital

spending and this is being used on improving transport

and infrastructure – something that is not only a

necessity, but will help stimulate economic activity in

itself. The Autumn Statement also announced an extra

£1billion for schools, on top of current budgets, which

will be used to create classrooms and school buildings

for the ever-increasing primary school population – a

great boon for regional construction companies. The

need for more housing is also important and this will be

a main focus for the Government moving forward.”

The Government is actively supporting the economy

and has seen great success already with its ‘Funding

for Lending’ scheme. The Government initiative, set up

with the aim to boost lending to businesses and

households, allows banks and building societies to

borrow from the Bank of England for up to four years,

when they lend money to businesses or individuals.

Join the Somerset Chamber of Commerce

Membership offers support and

advice to help you increase your

profits and also helps the Chamber

increase its influence.

Membership includes:

Effective business lobbying and

representation at local, regional and

national levels through accreditation to

the British Chambers of Commerce and

membership of the South West

Chambers of Commerce.

A range of FREE services provided

through the British Chambers of

Commerce. Access to nine exclusive

Chamber offers from national and

local Premier Providers.

Business Networking events with the

opportunity to network with up to 2,000

Chamber Members from across

Somerset and throughout the South


Informative seminars to share knowledge

and best practice including

Meet-the-Buyer events.

Initial FREE publicity for new Members in

Chamber News and on the website

For more details please call

01823 444924, email or



Business Advice Service

Taunton firm champions free Business

Advice Service

Award winning chartered

accountants Francis Clark

is calling upon the

Somerset business community to take up the offer of

free professional advice under a scheme being

promoted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in

England (ICAEW).

The new ICAEW Business Advice Service (BAS) is

designed to overcome challenges facing SMEs across

the country including how to grow a business, securing

loans, capital and finance, keeping staff and creating

new jobs, meeting tax and regulatory requirements,

accounting records and software and performance


Martin Lock, a partner at the Taunton office said: “BAS

is playing a vital role in the business support

landscape, offering free advice to SMEs in thousands of

locations across the UK.

“We can’t just rely on the Government to kick start the

economy. With professional help there are plenty of

steps that small businesses can take to improve their

performance and get on the path to growth and


For more information call 01823 275925 or visit

An arresting proposition - 50 Shades of

Finance will guide you through the maze of

financial management and boost your

business to high growth.

Our full day

workshops are

designed to fuel your

desire for everything

you need to know

about alternative finance options.

Aimed at aspirational businesses with a minimum

turnover of £500k, the day will be facilitated by

Business West High Growth Finance coaches and

feature independent finance specialists.

Included is a fully subsidised follow up 1-2-1 session

with a finance coach to help you grow your business

and make effective financial decisions.

We’ve got the key to unlock your finance potential to

take your business to the next level.

This is not your average finance workshop.

This event has limited places and therefore eligibility

criteria applies.

To book your place, or for more information, contact

Amie Vaughan on: 01275 373 850or email


Affiliate Town Chambers

Axbridge Chamber of Commerce

01934 733078

Mike Sartain,

Burnham-on-Sea Chamber of Commerce

Mark Newman

Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce

Steve Leahy,

Frome Chamber of Commerce

07887 641469

Neil Howlett

Ilminster Chamber of Commerce

01460 54364

Sarah Calhaem,

Langport Area Business Group

07763 955390

Lynne Charlick

Shepton Mallet & District Chamber

01749 344995

Ian Jarmaine,

Taunton Chamber of Commerce

01823 322288

Colin Barrell,

Watchet Chamber of Commerce

01984 634 565

John Richards,

Wellington Chamber of Commerce

01823 661982

Ian Stock,

Yeovil Chamber of Commerce

01935 804999

Gina Farnborough,



Find out more about the benefits of

affiliating to the Somerset Chamber.

Call 01823 444924

or email Vikki Waterman on

Alternatively visit

Frome Town Chamber News

The Discuss and Do creative business festival in 2011/12 was

a success in supporting creative business, explaining creative

business to a wider business audience and putting Frome on

the map as a centre for entrepreneurs.

This year there are 6 months of events building on that success.

We will be kicking off on January with “Women in Business” when we will be hosting an informal lunch with

Margaret Heffernan at The Archangel on Friday 25 January at 12noon.

Margaret Heffernan is a successful entrepreneur, and award winning writer who

now lives in Somerset. Her career demonstrates innovation; as a producer for

the BBC on Timewatch, Arena and News night and a CEO in several media and IT


She has written in Women on Top about how women succeed in business, and

may be better suited to entrepreneurship than men. Her last book, ‘Willful

Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril’ was shortlisted for a

Financial Times award. In this book she explores why, in an information rich age, Margaret Heffernan

the humans fail to understand or act on the risks that in retrospect, were so

glaringly obvious and warnings about them. Her blogs feature plenty of thought provoking proposals such as why

we should employ autistic people, why conflict is good, staff should be forced to go on holiday, why true leaders

peel vegetables and why interviews are a waste of time (and McDonalds).

Discuss and Do is run jointly by Frome & District Chamber of Commerce and Forward space with support from

Somerset County Council CIDF Fund and Burton Sweet Accountants.

The full programme is available at the website or join the LinkedIn Group or Facebook page.

For more information please;

Contact Neil Howlett President of Frome & District Chamber of Commerce

c/o HARRIS & HARRIS 11 Stony Street Frome Somerset BA11 1BU

t 01373 463366 or 07967 197005

Rebecca Krzyzosiak Head Girl at The Old Church School

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm

Forward Space Limited

The Old Church School Butts Hill Frome BA11 1HR

t 0845 838 08 05


New Members


January’s new members

Allerton Video Production

Website Video Production

Sam Finlay

01934 886499

Careers South West Ltd

Information, Advice, Skills

Debra Scarratt

01555 777672

Cross Lane House

Hotel, Restaurant & Afternoon Tea

Max Lawrence

01643 863276

Hilton Herbs

Supplements for Animals

Martin Brooks

01460 270720

Leaning Towers Ltd

IT Consultancy Services

Jaine Leaning

07834 542871

Monkton Elm Garden & Pet Centre

Family Garden Centre

Mike Lind

01823 412381

Oerton Simm

Family Law Specialists

Graham Simm

07741 271302

Once Step Recruitment Ltd

Innovative Recruitment


Chris Kimmins FIRP

01823 250025

Watering Can Works

Business Growth Support

Anthony O’Shaughnessy

01643 863334

Cross Lane House located in the historic Exmoor

village of Allerford has recently been the focus of a

major renovation project to restore the late

medieval farmhouse to offer luxury

accommodation and dining. Each bedroom has a

fabulous blend of period style, designer fabrics

and contemporary chic. Modern bathrooms offer power showers,

pampering toiletries and bathrobes. The dining room is relaxed,

friendly and informal with a small changing menu showcases the very

best of Exmoor & Somerset’s outstanding seasonal, sustainable

produce, with an interesting

handpicked wine list. Al

fresco dining is available

during the summer months

in the historic linhay.

Experience hospitality

professionals Max

Lawrence & Andrew Stinson

have been looking for a

suitable project in the

Somerset area for five years since selling their restaurant in

Stratford-upon-Avon. Max said “We are delighted to be part of this

wonderful county and are committed to offering training opportunities

for young people and working with local businesses to promote the

region and its produce”

New family law specialists arrive in Taunton

Oerton Simm is a new niche Family Law firm offering services in respect

of all family law issues. Solicitors, Victoria Oerton and Graham Simm

opened their doors this month, providing specialist legal advice in

respect of divorce, finances and children. The pair have particular

expertise in dealing with complex cases, both finance and children.

Their combined experience, totalling 30 years, means that they are well

placed to meet the varying needs of their clients.

Graham is also qualified as a Collaborative Practitioner, meaning that

he can offer clients an alternative option to the traditional Court route.

Managing Partner, Victoria says, ‘Our ethos ‘Making Sense of Family

Law’ is an important one. We are very aware that Family Law can be a

confusing and complex area often compounded by the fact that people

are also dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of relationship

breakdown. We want to clearly set out the options to our clients so that

they can make the right choice for them. Every case brings a new set of

circumstances and a ‘one-size-fits all’

approach just isn’t good enough.’

Partner, Graham said, ‘We are delighted to

have arrived in Taunton and we are looking

forward to working with the business and

local community.’

Project News

Somerset starts 2013 positively by promoting

nuclear supply chain credentials at home and


Rupert Cox CEO of the Somerset chamber will be

travelling to Paris as a guest of EDF Energy and AREVA

to engage with French businesses at the Franco-British

UK Nuclear New Build Supplier Days February 11th and


This is the second such nuclear conference organised by

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the Government

Department that helps UK-based companies succeed in

the global economy. EDF Energy and AREVA are keen to

consolidate/stream line their supply chains and as such

the main focus for this event will be to encourage

dialogue and eventual partnerships between French and

British companies.

Rupert says “Through its projects, Into Somerset and

The Hinkley C Supply Chain (HSCP), the Chamber is

taking every opportunity to encourage growth for

Somerset through international trade, foreign

direct investment and the creation of lucrative

partnerships wherever they exist. Through HSCP

discussions we have already engaged with 6 French

companies seeking partnerships and have promoted

Somerset‘s capabilities to the Cherbourg Chamber and

the UBI France organisation. It is more important than

ever for Somerset firms to do their homework and get

prepared to do business internationally”

Cllr. David Hall speaks at the NIA Nuclear New Build

Conference and Exhibition 19th-20th

March 2013, QE II Centre

Westminster, London

Cllr David Hall, Deputy Leader of

Somerset County Council and Cabinet

Member for Economic Development,

Infrastructure & Innovation has been

invited to speak at the above

conference on ‘Building the Supply Chain: Local Impacts

and Initiatives’.

This conference is run by the Nuclear Industry

Association (NIA), the Nuclear Institute (NI) and the

Institute of the Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). It is a

large conference (around 500 delegates) and will be the

third in a very successful and popular series of Nuclear

New Build (NNB) Conferences run by these


So what have YOU been doing to make sure you get

the opportunity to bid for contracts at Hinkley C?

This is a multi-billion-pound development, so what do you

have to do to get a slice of the investment that will have

truly significantly positive repercussions for your business?

Is your business "Hinkley Ready" and registered on the

supply chain?

Make sure your keywords are concise and easy to

search for. Single words or very short phrases

separated by a comma are required for keywords.

Does your website reflect your strengths, will it handle

overseas enquiries?

What ISO/ accreditations will you need to prove your

safety and quality culture is in place.

Identify the type of work you want and then which

contractors you need to engage with

Consider whether you need additional business advice

and support from those within the industry and act on it

Keep up-to-date visit

Hinkley C Work Package Update

Progress is continuing to be made by EDF Energy on the

tendering and letting of the various work packages in

preparation for a start on the construction of the two power

units at Hinkley C. A summary of the current position is

outlined below:

Nuclear Steam Supply System – AREVA

Civil contracts:

Temporary Jetty – Preferred Bidder is Dean and Dyball

Earthworks – Placed with Kier Bam JV

Main Civils Works – Preferred bidder is Bouygues Laing

O’Rourke JV

Marine Works – Tenders review in progress

(Phase 1) Ancillary Buildings (Two phases) – ITT to be


Associated Developments and other Contracts:

Cannington Bypass , Campus, Park & ride sites —Tender

review in progress

Construction Electrical Supplies – UK Power Networks to

start 2013

Main Electrical Erection – Tenders out 2013

Small Power and Lighting – Tenders out 2013

Mechanical Installation Stage 1 – Tenders review in


Various Electrical Equipment – Tenders out 2013

Main Turbines – Tenders review in progress

Contact the Chamber Call 01823 444924, email or visit


Members’ News

South Somerset Sports Performer of the


Wiebke Rietz of Alchemilla Architects recently won the

"South Somerset Senior Sports Performer of the Year"

award, which was awarded as part of the South

Somerset Gold Star awards. Wiebke is a keen cyclist

who took up road racing

three years ago and has

reached "Elite"status this

year, which means she

ranks amongst Olympic

Gold Medal winners Sarah

Storey, Lizzie Armitstead,

Laura Trott, etc. She is the

only Elite rider in the

South-West and one of only

two Elites over 40. She fits

her training around running her busy architects office

which concentrates on energy efficient buildings and

Passivhaus technology and views cycling as an

essential part of sustainable living"

Local accountants welcome new Associate


In the last week

we have heard

from the

Chancellor just

how hard things are going to be over the next few years.

Local accountants BJ DixonWalsh, already conscious of

the difficulties many of

their clients have been

having for the last 12

months have chosen now

to appoint a new

Associate Director of

Corporate Finance.

“Raising money has been

a major problem for many

of our clients as banks have tightened their criteria for

lending,” said Rory O’Donnell, senior partner of the

company. “So we have taken a decision to invest in this

area. Too many companies are struggling when growth

is a real possibility just because they cannot finance


that growth, we are determined to turn that around for

our clients”, he added.

This is a bold and confident move for the company who

have been established since in 1921.

Rob Cadwallader, will lead the firm's corporate finance

offering and work with the directors to grow the

business. Rob joins BJ DixonWalsh from Grant

Thornton where he headed up their Special Projects

team. He provided both pre and post-deal support to

companies making acquisitions, disposals or

restructuring as well as assisting businesses to raise


A Fantastic year for Somerset Safety Ltd

2012 has been a

fantastic year for

the Taunton based consultancy, which provides health,

safety and environmental support to clients throughout

the South West and Nationally. The company has been

active on a number of Major Infrastructure projects

including London’s Crossrail Project.

Crossrail is the biggest engineering project in Europe.

When it opens in 2018, Crossrail will connect 37

stations, including Heathrow airport and Maidenhead in

the west with Canary Wharf, Abbey Wood and Shenfield

in the east.

The business is providing corporate support to the

Dragados Sisk Joint Venture (DSJV) C305 Eastern

Running Tunnels the largest tunnelling contract on


Recognition of the Projects H&S achievements has

been celebrated by Crossrail in 2012 by the

presentation of a

number of awards for

establishing a project

occupational health

programme, which is

making a real

difference to the

health and wellbeing

of the workforce.

Steve Cole Managing

Director of Somerset Safety says ‘‘we have embedded

the occupational health service within the construction

process and hope to leave a lasting legacy for future

Infrastructure and tunnelling projects of this size.’’

Members’ News

Framptons Mendip Distribution Centre

Framptons Transport Services Ltd based

in Shepton Mallet has now completed the

construction of a new 85,000 ft²

Distribution Centre on the eastern

outskirts of the town, a project supported in part by HM Government’s Regional

Growth Fund.

The £5M investment will increase the company’s total storage capacity to over

175,000 ft² and, in preparation for the opening of the Distribution Centre, the

collaboration between Framptons and leading pet food supplier Crown Pet

Foods of Castle Cary has generated over 50 additional jobs since June

2012. Moreover, the new facility has boosted other employment in the area,

having been designed by Shepton Mallet architects Della Valle and built by local

contractors Ken Biggs with fittings, equipment and racking sourced from mainly

local, and built in Britain suppliers.

Francesco Della Valle of Della

Valle Architects Ltd said ‘We

are delighted to have been

involved in this exciting

project in Shepton Mallet.

From our initial instruction as

project architect in July 2011,

the scheme has been carried

out efficiently and swiftly

handing over the facility in December 2012. We are on time, on budget, and the

facility is due to open in early 2013.

This is due largely to the assembled team of professional designers and

consultants who have been involved from the outset, as well as Ken Biggs

Contractors Ltd, who have built the warehouse in difficult weather conditions

and to a tight time scale.

Covering a large footprint and with a height to the eaves of 10m, the

warehouse nestles very neatly into its location. It is bold enough in colour,

scale and position to be noticed from certain approaches into the town, but

does not dominate the landscape.’

The Distribution Centre will incorporate 14,000 racked pallet spaces, and use

state of the art mechanical handling equipment and intensive narrow aisle

racking to ensure that space is managed to maximum benefit. Utilising radio

frequency technology, stock movements are monitored in real time via a

computerised Warehouse Management System which electronically reports

movements in tailored formats back to customers’ own IT systems.

Framptons Transport Services Ltd now employs over 200 people and

provides high quality, warehousing and distribution services for a wide range

of local companies via its own 65 vehicle fleet and through the Palletline and

Hazchem networks. Accredited with ISO9001:2008, the business specialises

in bespoke storage and distribution solutions for manufacturers in the South



Insurance Update

New report highlights the value of brokers’

in claims process

New research has revealed that insurers are becoming

stricter on paying claims in the economic downturn.

In the research from the British Insurance Brokers’

Association (BIBA), 90% of insurance brokers believe

that insurers are becoming stricter on paying claims,

mainly because of the economic climate and fraud.

Nearly two thirds of brokers said that they have had to

fight harder to get claims paid and nearly three

quarters of brokers have overturned a claim rejection

by an insurer in the last year.

Ian Gosden, Managing Director at Higos Insurance

Services, commented on the research saying “The

value of an insurance policy is only tested at the time a

claim is made. An insurance broker will help ensure

you purchase appropriate cover, making relevant

disclosures to minimise the risk of claims being

rejected. Higos has a dedicated claims department of

ten staff, here to support our clients throughout the

claims process, ensuring claims are settled promptly

and fairly.”

Nearly 70% have secured an increased claim payment

for a client, with 43% of brokers saying that the

average percentage uplift on claims that they regularly

negotiate on behalf of clients is between 11% and


Eric Galbraith, BIBA Chief Executive, said: “The

economic climate has led to stricter policy

interpretation and anti-fraud systems by insurers

meaning that customers are having claims reviewed in

more detail. The research demonstrates the

importance of having a broker to fight your corner and

represent you at claim time.”

Gosden continued “We encourage all business

managers to ask their broker how they will assist in the

event of a claim. Do they have dedicated claims

staff? Or do they simply pass on the phone number of

the insurer? At Higos we believe a broker should be

there for their client, assisting throughout the claims



Bridging the Gap for Employers

Huish Careers Academy– can you help?

Huish Career Academy aims to raise young people’s aspirations

and bridge the gap between education and employment by

providing access to real experience of the world of work.

The Academy provides a structured programme of internships,

mentoring, motivational lectures and workshops to give students the work

experience and skills they need to be able to perform more effectively in the wider


This highly successful programme has been running at Richard Huish College for 4

years and a major benefit for the students who take part is increased confidence

and motivation and the opportunity to start building that important network of


The Academy experience also appears to have a positive impact in helping

students get the best University offers, whilst those seeking to go straight into work

are able to explore alternative and realistic options to start a successful career.

Local employers play a significant role in the Academy and get involved because

they find it rewarding to support young people with the first steps on their chosen


We welcome expressions of interest from other employers in the area who would

like to be involved, either to provide a ‘talk’ to the group or to mentor a student or

offer work experience.

Contact: Lesley Jarrett on 01823 320927 or Email: Twitter: @HuishCareers

A new type of recruitment centre

When Somerset College introduced its Work Academy in September 2012, its goal was to

create a new breed of employment agency. Rather than putting

candidates forward for interview and hope that they are suitable, instead

it assesses every candidate’s readiness for work, provides training in the

specific skills that the Academy’s employer partners require and only

then puts candidates forward for suitable roles. It knows all candidates

well, as most have been students at the college.

The Academy’s first 100 days of operation have seen a great response from employers.

More than 110 appropriately upskilled candidates have been placed into employment and

the Academy’s modus operandi has been appreciated by Somerset employers. Ian Holloway of HomeSense

explains: “Recruitment is more straightforward when we use the Work Academy. The candidates who walk

through the door have the skills and attitude we require and are ready to make an immediate

contribution - they are work-ready. We use the Work Academy because it saves us time and is cost-effective.”

A good example is Ricky Edwards-Tubbs who gained a catering position at Oake Manor Golf Club near Taunton,

having received additional training in interview skills from the Academy. He explains: “I knew that I wanted to

work in catering but there were always reasons why I didn’t get the jobs that I applied for. The Work Academy

helped me to fill in some gaps that meant I got this job. It’s going really well here and I couldn’t be happier.”

For more information concerning the Work Academy, call the Work Academy Manager Sarah Smith (pictured

above) on 01823 366585 or email


Coming to a town near you very soon…


Sponsorship opportunities available.

Email Kim for further details:

Equity House Christmas Donation

Taunton businesses deliver Secret Santa gift to School in a Bag charity

In the spirit of giving, six Taunton businesses delivered an extra special Secret Santa gift for

Christmas by donating the money they would have spent on gifts to School in a Bag, a

charity initiative run by the Somerset-based Piers Simon Appeal.

Staff from the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, AB Heritage, Clerksroom, Handlesbanken,

Mediatopia and Andika Partnership – all based at Equity House at the Blackbrook Business

Park – together raised £200 for the charity. The

funds will provide SchoolBags of stationery and

resources for poor, orphan, vulnerable and disaster affected children.

Jenn Chidley, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the

Somerset Chamber of Commerce, says, “Each year the Somerset

Chamber of Commerce selects one of its Chamber charity members to

donate its secret Santa money to instead of giving gifts, and this year

we approached neighbouring businesses in Equity House to join us in

our pledge. Due to the time of the year, the Piers Simon Appeal and

the charity’s School in a Bag initiative were at the forefront of our

thoughts and we are delighted to say we have raised £200 between


Luke Simon, School in a Bag Charity Liaison Officer, says, “We are

delighted to have been the beneficiary of such Secret Santa

generosity courtesy of the businesses at Equity House. Their

contribution will fund 13

SchoolBags for poor children around

the world giving them the gift of

hope for a brighter future. Next year,

one of our School in a Bag aims is to

expand our corporate network and

outreach, so to have six Somerset

businesses supporting us this

Christmas has provided the perfect

kick start for 2013.”

The Piers Simon Appeal was set up

in memory of tsunami victim Piers

Simon from Chilthorne Domer,

Yeovil, following his death on the

Thai island of Koh Phi Phi on Boxing

Day 2004. It is a disaster relief

charity that delivers aid worldwide

through donations and via the

School in a Bag initiative, which has

helped over 35,000 vulnerable

children across the globe. More

information about the Piers Simon

Appeal and its fundraising activities

can be found at

Picture: (Left to right) Andika Partnership - Penny

Farrar, Clerksroom - Hazel Altria, Handlesbanken -

Martin Williams, Mediatopia -Duncan Maund, AB

Heritage Ltd - Andy Buckley , Somerset Chamber of

Commerce - Rupert Cox and


Funding for Somerset Businesses

£1 million grant fund to transform rural

micro-businesses in Somerset

Plymouth University & Western Morning

News Growth Fund (PWGF2)

Entrepreneurs from Somerset are being given new

opportunities to boost profits and create jobs with game

-changing grants of over £10,000 each says the Heart

of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership


The £1 million grant fund is in addition to the

Government’s £2.9 million investment in HotSW’s Rural

Growth Network (RGN). Last year, Defra selected just

five regions to receive funding for an RGN Pilot to help

overcome the challenges of running a rural business,

such as shortage of work premises and poor internet


Rural enterprises with ten employees or less are eligible

to apply to Heart of the South West Rural Growth

Network for the business grants. There is no upper limit

for grant funding, though applicants will need to meet

60% of project costs, with the grant covering a

maximum of 40%.

Plymouth University and the Western Morning News

have secured £3.9M of funding for regional businesses

from the Government's Regional Growth Fund.

This fund is about creating jobs and is open to Somerset

SMEs who can credibly demonstrate rapid job creation.

Grants between the range £25,000 to £150,000 will be

awarded for example, for the purchase of capital

equipment or specialist software, improvements to

business premises or the recruitment of skilled

employees. Matched funding from recipient business to

be what can reasonably be afforded.

Inaugural grants will be awarded in April 2013 with final

awards being made in April 2014. Expressions of

Interest should be made at the following link:


The £1 million grant scheme is part of Defra’s

Rural Development Programme for England that

has already transformed the prospects of

thousands of rural businesses across the country.

LEP Board Member and Somerset County Cllr

David Hall said: “This is a great piece of news for

rural Somerset and I’m really pleased that Defra

has recognised the case for supporting rural areas.

“This scheme is the first such bid to be approved

by Defra in an RGN pilot area. As the timescales

associated with this project are tight, we are

encouraging micro businesses to make an early

‘expression of interest’ application through the HotSW

LEP website.”

Rural Affairs Minister, Richard Benyon said: “This extra

funding will give aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to

turn their most ambitious business plans into reality.

We are in a global race and the South West can play a

big part in getting the country’s finances back on track.“

Interested applicants are asked to visit the website for

further details

Image courtesy of

Further funding to enable business growth

in Somerset.

The next round of Regional Growth Funding has been

announced. This current round of funding totals £350

million and is now open with applications being

accepted up to 12 noon on 20th March 2013.

Interested businesses can attend an Expression of

Interest workshop to be held in Bristol on 11th February

2013. The exact time and venue will be released on the

Dept. for Business, Innovation & Skills website

Further detail including application instructions can be

found here:


Somerset companies urged not to miss out

on business growth funding

Event Details:

Date: Tuesday 19th February Time: 08.00—09.30am

Venue: Yeovil Innovation Centre

Call: Alistair Powell on 01935 315006 for more

information or visit

Business owners in Somerset are being encouraged to

sign up for a new government-backed service intended

to promote business growth through coaching and

management training.

A free breakfast seminar will be held where ambitious

small and medium sized businesses can find out more

about the benefits and support available to them

through the national GrowthAccelerator service.

Jointly hosted by GrowthAccelerator, Yeovil Innovation

Centre and Sandler Training, Wessex, the event

speakers will explain the initial assessment process, the

training areas covered and the match funding available.

There will also be an opportunity to hear from

companies already benefitting from the service about

the difference it has made to them, as well as time to

network with fellow business leaders.

GrowthAccelerator is run by some of the country’s top

business growth specialists, who provide the know-how

and ability to help SMEs achieve rapid, sustainable

growth. It is open to registered UK businesses with less

than 250 full-time employees and an annual turnover of

under £40million.

Following an initial assessment, each business is

matched with a suitable expert who helps them to

understand their true potential for growth, set

achievable business development goals and overcome

any barriers holding them back. The growth specialist

will assist in formulating a business growth plan for the

company, providing access to one-to-one coaching and

leadership and management training.

Rhona Hope, the programme’s Leadership Specialist for

the South West, said, “We have a vast array of excellent

coaches who have experienced the pain of growing a

business. The leadership matched funding is the ‘icing

on the cake’, offering up to £2,000 of matched funding

to each and every senior manager within the business

with no upper limit.”

5 Practical tips for growth in a low growth


By Rob Cadwallader from BJ DixonWalsh

Businesses need to adjust to the “new normal” of a low

growth economy. If the market is not growing then

growth will have to come from taking market share from

your competitors or finding new markets.

Make a virtue of your size; an owner-managed business

is much more agile than a larger company and can

adapt more quickly to change; target customers who

appreciate the value of this.

Talk to your customers; ask them what they want from

their suppliers. Many businesses are quoting for work at

or below cost price. By not competing directly on price,

you can avoid this race to the bottom.

Look for improvements; do things differently to gain a

competitive advantage. Can you do something more

quickly, more cheaply or tailor it to fit customer needs?

Doing 100 things 1% better will lead to big improvements.

Embrace flexible ways of working. Offering contracts

which are flexible in terms of the number of hours,

location or timing of work can help you attract top


Make a plan. Involve your staff and share your broad

objectives with your customers and suppliers. Tell your

bank and discuss your plan with your accountant or

trusted advisor to get independent viewpoints.

BJ DixonWalsh believes that there will be opportunities

for those businesses that are willing to adapt to this

new reality.

For more information on Access to Finance visit:



Charity Ball in Aid of Somerset Business Award Winner

Invitation to the Somerset charity ball of the year

Somerset award-winning charity Stand Against Violence (SAV) is

proud to announce that their second Spring Ball will take place

at 7pm on Saturday 23 rd March at the premier Oake Manor Golf

Club near Taunton, located close to junction 26 of the M5.

sourced from the best West Country produce.

Building on the success of last year’s event it is even bigger,

offering plenty of entertainment featuring a casino and charity

auction as well as a disco, magician and a three course meal

Strictly a black tie affair, it is the perfect opportunity for businesses to reward their employees and enjoy a social

evening together or even invite some clients along. Perhaps you just fancy a night out with a group of friends.

Whatever the reason the occasion will be fun while raising funds for

SAV to continue their important work. SAV is a charity which works to

prevent violence through education primarily by running workshops in

schools, colleges and youth offending institutions.

The charity has already secured some superb auction prizes from

paragliding, a meal for two at Claveshay Barn restaurant in Bridgwater

to a full week in Kefalonia. With many more fantastic prizes lined up there will be some intensive competitive

bidding on the night! If gambling is your vice, there is the very latest iPad Mini to give away to the person who

makes the most at the casino table.

Tickets cost £29.95 each or a table of 10 is £280 and they are available to purchase from Oake Manor Golf Club

directly. Call 01823 461993 to purchase your ticket.

The Somerset Business Awards 2013 will be open for

entry from the 1st June 2013

SAV Collecting their 2013 Charity of the Year

Somerset Business Awards

Contact the Chamber Call 01823 444924, email or visit


Next Events

Pension AUTO-Enrolment and

Business Update Seminar

Date: Thursday 7th February

Time: 07.45—09.30

Venue: The Monks Yard, Ilminster

Cost: Members: £12.50 Non-Members £17.50 (inc VAT)

Members of the Pardoes Bevin Human

Resources employment and HR team will be

discussing the latest on employment law

changes including key information on

Pensions Auto-Enrolment.

Pardoes Bevins Human Resources and Pardoes

Solicitors are delighted to be working with the Somerset

Chamber of Commerce and invite you to attend a

business breakfast with Employment, HR and Pensions

experts who will be on hand throughout the morning to

answer your questions.

Members of the employment and HR team will be

discussing the latest on employment law changes

including key information on Pensions Auto-Enrolment.

Pensions Auto-Enrolment will affect every business, with

employers having to auto enrol all workers into a

pension scheme that meets a government set minimum

criteria. The seminar will include practical tips and

information on how Auto-Enrolment will affect your

business, what action you need to take and how you can

manage the process.

In association with:

Somerset International Trade


Date: Thursday 28th February 2013

Time: 15.30—17.30

Venue: Junction 24 Ltd, North Petherton

Cost: Members £20.00 Non-Members £20.00 (inc VAT)

Food Provided: Finger Buffett

Come along and find out more about

International Trade

This is the third Somerset International Trade Forum,

set up to assist Somerset businesses who are looking

to, or who are already trading overseas.

Working in association with UK Trade and Investment,

advisers will be on hand to answer any questions you

have and to discuss options available to support your

business internationally.

You will also be updated on the latest projects that UKTI

are currently delivering to companies across the county.

A full event programme will follow very soon.

44% of businesses reported a

link between exporting and

increased turnover*

59% of businesses found that

overseas trading led to fresh

ideas and innovation*

*Event cancelled*

*Source UKTi/Open to Export

For more information on any of our events, including sponsorship opportunities,

please email or call 01823 444924


Somerset Chamber Events Calendar

For more information on our events, including sponsorship opportunities, please email Sue

at or call 01823 444924

(All costs inclusive of VAT)

Pensions Auto-Enrolment and Business Update Seminar - Thursday 7th February

Hear the latest on employment law changes including key information on Pensions Auto-enrolment.

Time: 07.45 Venue: Monks Yard, Ilminster Cost: Members £12.50 Non Members £17.50


Supersonic Business Breakfast! - Tuesday 19th February


An opportunity to view and hear all about the famous supersonic Bloodhound Car

Time: 07.00 Venue: Bridgwater College Cost: Members £10.00 Non Members £12.50

Somerset International Trade Forum - Thursday 28th February


Join us to discuss international trade opportunities

Time: 15.30 Venue: Junction 24 Ltd Cost: Members £20.00 Non Members £20.00

Meet the Neighbours Business Lunch - Thursday 7th March

Join us for lunch with Exeter and East Devon Chambers

Time: 12.00 Venue: Sandy Park Conference Centre Cost: Members £25.00 Non Members £35.00


SAVE THE DATE - Somerset In Business Conference - Friday 17th May

Business to Business Dinner—Battleborough Grange

Our first Business Dinner of 2013 was off to a challenging start with a downpour of

snow to contend with, of the 56 that were booked it was great to see that over 37 battled the elements to make

the dinner a great success.

The event welcomed familiar faces, plus a lot of new companies who came along for the first time in order to

raise the profile of their company and meet a range of like-minded business people from across the county.

It is evident that despite the challenges arising from the current economic climate, businesses are still positive

about promoting their company with a view of encouraging supplier and customer relations. Networking is

proving to be one of the most cost effective forms of marketing, and this was clear with the atmosphere at the

event on the 22 nd January.

Working in connection with Burnham on Sea and Axbridge Chambers, we welcomed some of their Chamber

members who were keen to introduce their companies to others outside of their town area and experience one of

Somerset Chambers popular networking events.

We would like to extend our thanks to Positive Wealth Creation Ltd who have sponsored this particular

Sedgemoor event for the past two years.

Images from the Business to Business Dinner—Battleborough Grange Hotel

Call 01823 444924

For queries please email

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