Download the August 2013 edition of the Chamber magazine

Download the August 2013 edition of the Chamber magazine


August 2013


Of Commerce & Industry Ltd


Somerset Excels in Business

Lead Story

High–Speed Broadband


See page 3

Town Chamber

“The Connecting Devon and

Somerset programme, combined

with BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre

broadband, will lead to the delivery

of high-speed fibre broadband to

around 90% of premises by the end

of 2016”

- Full story page 3

Taunton Chamber


See page 7


International Trade On

the Up

See page 13


Chamber Magazine to

Spread its Wings

See page 14

Next Event

Scan this code with

your smartphone to

visit the Chamber


Meet John Penrose


See page 19 & 20

You can find the Somerset Chamber of Commerce

on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Rupert’s Review

Business is business,

wherever you are in the


In my review of September

2012, following a trip to the

Caribbean, I discussed how business is the same the

world over, and now I can reiterate that message with

more tales of overseas travel – but this time from

Australian visitors to the UK.

Some of our regular readers may know that I am a

Rotarian. Rotary members can be found in over 150

countries around the world. They are professional men

and women who recognise the need to use their skills

and connections to improve the lives of less fortunate

individuals and communities at home and abroad. They

also enjoy the fellowship of each other’s company and

share interests, which in this case was cricket!

During July I organised the Somerset leg of a

month-long cricket tour of the UK by a touring party of

24 Australian cricketing Rotarians and their partners.

Between us we home-hosted the group and I was

delighted to welcome a couple into my home. As our

‘getting to know you’ unfolded, I was staggered to find

out that they do a very similar role for BP in Adelaide,

South Australia, as the Somerset Chamber does with

EDF Energy. Their project is about building and floating

off-shore oil rigs, while ours of course is about building

a new nuclear power station.

Renee’s role was very similar to our good friend David

Eccles’ role with EDF. Her role with BP is about working

with local communities and politicians to mitigate any

potential negative consequences associated with their

project. Sean’s role is for the South Australia

Development Agency in developing programmes of

activity to make sure local firms are well placed to

tender for work on the project. Sound familiar?

It was quite extraordinary how many similarities we

encountered as we talked about our work in creating a

robust supply chain solution. Relationships with Tier 1s,

supplier events and tendering procedures were all

discussed, with all of us being able to learn from each

other’s experiences, over 10,000 miles apart.

Other similarities in professions were echoed across the

touring party – law, banking, accountancy, agriculture,

forestry, sport, construction, teaching and insurance

were all there. So who was up against this travelling

band in our last cricket match of their stay? Chamber

members Handelsbanken (Peter Kirby), Higos Insurance

Services (Neil Wyatt) and Old Mill Accountancy (Alan

Stone) were joined by builders, cheese makers and

sports therapists in being defeated by our Aussie

friends at the same time England were beating the

Aussies in The Ashes. Yep – we lost! I should mention

another Chamber member, Somerset Activity & Sports

Partnership (Colin Johnson), who kindly donated

Taunton Vale Sports Club’s cricket pitch for our use.

While we might think that we work in a small bubble

here in Somerset, there is no doubt that there are great

opportunities for us to promote what we do overseas

and to work through the Somerset Chamber and UK

Trade & Investment (UKTI) in exporting not just product

but expertise from our service sector. The world is much

smaller than we think and, most critically, while there

may some cultural differences, business is business

wherever you are.

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


High-Speed Broadband Update

First rural communities to benefit from

£94million superfast broadband partnership

Seven rural towns and villages, including four in

Somerset, have been named as the first communities to

benefit from the major £94million Connecting Devon

and Somerset superfast broadband partnership.

High-speed fibre optic broadband will start to become

available in Bradford on Tone, Bishops Lydeard, Creech

St Michael and Monkton Heathfield by the end of this

year. Construction work for Bradford on Tone has started

three months early.

By early 2014, this first phase of the programme is due

to have made high-speed technology available to at least

15,000 homes and businesses in rural communities in

Somerset and Devon.

Since the partnership was announced earlier this year,

engineers have been busy surveying the network in

order to ensure that the roll-out of the new technology is

carried out in the most cost effective and efficient

manner. It is estimated that about 400,000 kilometres

of optical fibre will need to be laid.

Connecting Devon and

Somerset builds on

BT’s commercial

roll-out of fibre

broadband, which has

already made the

technology available to

about 185,000

premises in Somerset and about 189,000 in Devon. As

well as the seven towns and villages, the first phase of

the programme will also include extending fibre

broadband in Taunton and Bridgwater, most of which

have already been upgraded.

Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County

Council, said, “The fact that we are able to announce

some areas are being built well before the programme

originally anticipated is tremendous news for the project

and for the people of Devon and Somerset. High speed

fibre broadband is a key driver of economic growth and

development. It has the potential to transform our rural

businesses and communities, improve productivity, and

enable business to access new markets while breaking

down the digital divide within our communities. It will

also improve and transform the delivery of public

information and services.”

The Connecting Devon and Somerset programme,

combined with BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre

broadband, will lead to the delivery of high-speed fibre

broadband to around 90% of premises by the end of

2016. It also plans to ensure a minimum of 2 megabits

per second (Mbps) for all premises within the

programme and is actively seeking more funding to

further extend the availability of superfast broadband

across the whole area.

As the largest project of its kind in England, the project

has attracted £32million of funding from the

government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)

programme. Further financial contributions include

£10million each from Devon and Somerset County

Councils and £41million from BT, as well as funding

from other public sector partners.

Most of the programme will be Fibre to the Cabinet

(FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the

telephone exchange to a fibre optic street cabinet. It can

deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload

speeds of up to 20Mbps. According to regulator Ofcom,

the average download speed in Devon is 9.2Mbps and in

Somerset 8Mbps.

Rupert Cox, CEO of the Somerset Chamber, said, “This is

good news for Somerset’s rural businesses. We have

been lobbying for high speed broadband for Somerset

for several years so it is encouraging to see further

progress and to know that more of Somerset’s rural

businesses will be benefiting from this before the end of

the year.

“Strong broadband connectivity is vital for businesses to

be able to trade effectively, enabling them to grow,

which in turn has the potential to create more jobs in

Somerset. This high-speed technology will help

Somerset’s businesses to become even more

competitive, as well as helping to attract inward

investors, all of which will further strengthen the

Somerset economy.”

The Somerset Chamber has been at the forefront of

lobbying for better broadband connectivity for Somerset

since 2005. The Chamber is represented on the

Connecting Devon and Somerset group, which is

managing the BDUK Superfast Broadband project for

this part of the country.

For more information, visit


Chamber Benchmarking Survey

Somerset excels in Chamber

Benchmarking Survey

We are delighted to report that the Somerset Chamber

of Commerce came out shining in the recently released

results of the British Chambers of Commerce’s

National Benchmarking Survey for the year to 31 st

December 2012, which analyses the performance of

the 53 Accredited Chambers.

While the majority of regions experienced a decline in

membership during 2012, with the South West being

one of the areas with the largest losses, the Somerset

Chamber well and truly bucked this trend with a 35%

increase in membership over the year, growing from

303 members to 409.

“Being part of the Chamber

provides unparalleled opportunities

for networking and ‘feeling the

pulse’ of businesses.”

This rapid pace of growth is continuing in 2013, with a

significant number of new member registrations during

the first six months of this year. As a Chamber, this

increasing membership base is important as it allows

us to have a stronger voice from a lobbying point of

view, both locally and regionally, plus it opens more

doors for members in terms of opportunities for

networking and collaboration.

Networking opportunities are by far the most popular

motive for joining, according to the report, with 70% of

members nationwide stating it as their primary reason

for becoming a

Chamber member.

This is certainly

reflected in the

conversations we

have with members,

which is why we aim

to put on such a

wide range of

networking events.

Creative content and copywriting specialist Richenda

Oldham, who joined the Somerset Chamber in 2011,

says, “Being a member of the Somerset Chamber of

Commerce has enabled me to meet a wide range of

other Somerset business owners and has helped me

establish my fledgling business. I particularly enjoy the

Ladies Chamber networking events, which have also

proved highly educational with some

excellent speakers.”

Francis Clark has been a member since 2008 and

partner Martin Lock explains, “As chartered

accountants and business advisers, it is essential we

keep in tune with the attitudes and aspirations of the

business community in which we work. Being part of

the Chamber provides unparalleled opportunities for

networking and ‘feeling the pulse’ of

businesses. Francis Clark advises businesses of all

sizes, and the Chamber is a major way of connecting

with a wide variety of organisations with a view to

pooling ideas and sharing new initiatives.”

In the Benchmarking Survey, access to services is

stated the next most important reason for joining a

Chamber of Commerce, closely followed by access to

international trade support, which together comprise

17% of the reason for firms joining.

From an international perspective, the South West had

the highest average business involvement for both

outward and inward trade missions in 2012. The

Somerset Chamber has been actively involved in such

missions and is currently looking into opportunities for

members to take part in a potential China trade

mission organised by the UKTI later this year, as well as

a food and drink industry visit to the ANUGA food

festival in Cologne.

The Somerset Chamber is proud to be leading the way

when it comes to equality too. Across the Accredited

Chamber network, women now account for 20.5% of

the people serving on a Chamber board of directors, up

from 18.7%. In Somerset, this rises to 25%, with three

of the 12 Somerset Chamber board members being

female, including Chair of the Somerset Chamber,

Sandra Wilson, who has held the position since 2007.



British Chamber of Commerce

Sandra said, “The growing

success of the last few years is a

delight to see and a firm

foundation on which we can

continue to build in the coming

years. With the professional team

we have in place, I am confident

we can support the ever growing

expectations of members into the


Although one of the smallest Chambers in the network,

the Somerset Chamber is proud to be doing so well and

as a Chamber member, you are very much part of this

success. So here’s to all of us and let’s continue

working together to make the Chamber bigger and

stronger in the future!

Picture 1: Sandra Wilson, Chair of the Somerset Chamber of


Nora Senior appointed President of the

British Chambers of Commerce

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has

announced the appointment of Nora Senior as its new

President, succeeding Martyn Pellew who stands down

after two years in post. Nora, who will be the business

group’s first female President for ten years, was

officially appointed at the BCC’s Annual General

Meeting, having served as Vice President since June


Nora is the Executive Chair for UK Regions of global PR

agency Weber Shandwick and has more than 20 years’

experience in the public relations and government

affairs sector. She is part of the Regional Advisory

Group to the London Stock Exchange, and holds

non-executive roles with organisations such as the

Scottish Council for Development and Industry, and

previously with the National Trust.

Nora has been recognised with a number of business

achievement awards including Scottish

Businesswoman of the Year. More recently, she was

presented with the UK First Woman of Media Award on

12 June.

Commenting on her appointment as BCC President,

Nora Senior said:

“The British Chambers of Commerce is a leading voice

on all issues relating to business and I look forward to

championing its crucial work, which benefits

businesses of all sizes and sectors across the UK.

There are many issues that still need government

attention – particularly around the much-needed

support for international trade and helping young

people to join the workforce, both of which are so

important if we are to see a sustainable economic


“Together with the support of Chambers of Commerce

across the UK, I will be working hard to ensure that the

views of the business community are heard at both a

local and national level, and will continue to campaign

for an enterprise-friendly environment so that existing

and new businesses can thrive.

Outgoing President, Martyn Pellew, said:

“During my tenure as President, I have worked

alongside BCC Director General John Longworth to

campaign on behalf of British business. My job has

allowed me the privilege of visiting some truly inspiring

companies over the last two years, many of whom are

finding innovative ways to grow their businesses and

increase their workforces.”


Bank of England

Bank of England Agents' Summary of

Business Conditions, July 2013

Each month the Bank of England's Agents publish a

summary of their monthly reports following discussions

with around 700 businesses throughout the country.

This provides information on the state of business

conditions, from firms across all sectors of the


The findings from this month’s report are summarised


Annual growth in the value of retail sales and

consumer services had risen slightly over the first six

months of the year, but remained modest.

Activity in the housing market had continued to


Investment intentions continued to be largely aimed

at raising efficiency, with very little large scale

capacity expansion under way.

Manufacturing exports continued to grow at a

moderate rate.

Growth in manufacturing output for the domestic

market had increased a little in recent months.

Modest growth in business services turnover had


The annual rate of decline in construction output had

eased as house building had increased. Output in the

sector overall was little changed on a year earlier.

Corporate credit conditions had continued to improve

very gradually, but many companies reported a desire

to rely on internal or non-bank funding.

Employment intentions had edged higher in recent

months, but were flat for consumer services.

Capacity utilisation had remained slightly below

normal both in manufacturing and services.

Labour costs per employee had grown at modest but

stable rates over recent months.

Inflation in materials costs had fallen to low levels

and had remained stable for imported finished goods


The rate of increase in manufacturers’ and business

services prices had remained subdued, though

profitability had edged higher as output had risen.

The rate of consumer price inflation had been


We are always interested in hearing from member

businesses that have a view on the Bank of England's

outlook on the economy. Email

with your views.

View the full report at



Affiliate Town Chambers

Axbridge Chamber of Commerce

01934 733078

Mike Sartain,

Burnham-on-Sea Chamber of Commerce

01278 238959

Deryk Monaghan,

Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce

Steve Leahy,

Crewkerne Chamber of Commerce

01460 200115

Jonathan Edgington

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,

Wells Chamber of Commerce

01749 670000

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

Taunton Chamber of Commerce

The voice of local business in Taunton eane

Taunton Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary

organisation, run by the members, for the members. It

is led by an Executive Committee, chaired by the

President, who in turn is supported by a Vice President,

Treasurer, administrator and an Executive Committee,

which has recently welcomed two new members.

The Chamber

has very strong

links with


providers in

Taunton and the

surrounding area

and is always

very keen to


the up-andcoming


men and

women of

the future,

supporting the secondary schools and colleges with

Business Studies Bursary Awards.

The Chamber of Commerce also supports the

international education charity, Young Enterprise South

West, in support of their work in linking business and

education. Taunton Chamber members recently worked

in partnership to host and support one of the largest

local entrepreneurship Masterclasses in Somerset as

part of an annual inter-school challenge.

In recognition of the

support of Taunton

Chamber, Chamber

Administrator, Jane

Burden, a business

volunteer with Young

Enterprise was the

recipient of this year’s

Young Enterprise Gold Award for “making an

outstanding contribution to the work of Young

Enterprise”, the only recipient of the Award in the South

West Region.

Regular meetings with Taunton Deane Borough Council

and our local Member of Parliament allow the Chamber

the opportunity to voice members’ opinions and ensure

that the business voice of Taunton is heard and

understood. The Chamber has recently been actively

involved in lobbying our Council for better signage to

parking in the town in an effort to bring more customers

in for our businesses and Chamber President, Colin

Barrell, recently met with our M.P. Jeremy Browne to

increase his awareness of how the non-domestic rates

increases are adversely affecting businesses.

Taunton Chamber has a full programme of quality

networking events for the remainder of the year

(excluding August due to holidays), which includes

lunch with the new Avon and Somerset Police and


Commissioner, Sue

Mountstevens, at

Taunton School on

Wednesday 18 th


followed by a

business breakfast

in October with

Porter Dodson. Members and non-members are always

very welcome to join our events and for further details

or to book a place, visit our website

or email

Taunton Chamber of Commerce is now taking up the

opportunities and challenges of social media, and you

can now follow us on Twitter, @tauntonchamber, and

join us on LinkedIn.

Picture 1 – 2013 Bursary Awards Presentation to Business

Studies Students from Secondary Schools

Picture 2 – Richard Huish College Bursary Award Winner

Picture 3 – Somerset Masterclass

Picture 4 – Jane Burden awarded Gold Award

Picture 5 – Recent lunch event at Castle Hotel


New Members

View Membership Directory

July’s new members

Amber Translation

Translators & Interpreters

Liene Penny

0845 9000 048

Cricketers Farm

West Country


Greg Parsons

01278 732084

Hurds HIll

Residential Meeting


David Holmes

01458 259708

IVC Media

Unified Communications Integrators

Ray Harding

01935 432121

Keen & Green

Waste & Environmental Consultancy

Emma Keen

07775 877014


Print Fulfilment Postage

Nevil Horne

01278 433633

Pendragon Sports Ltd

Sports Marketing & Events

Nicholas Bourne

01963 34125

Portakabin Ltd

Quality Accommodation


Philippa Banwell

01278 512307

Purely Probate

Wills and Probate

Judith Derbyshire

01458 50146

Pendragon Sports Ltd

Pendragon Sports is a sports marketing

and events company specialising in the

creation and execution of high quality,

commercially successful annual

sporting and sports travel events.

The company owns and

runs the Tour of Wessex,

which is based in

Somerton, Somerset and

is the world’s largest

multi stage Cyclosportive,

a mass participation

cycling event for

amateurs. The Tour of

Wessex was included in

the 2013 Harper &

Collins publication

‘World’s Ultimate Cycle Races.’

Founded eight years ago by Nick Bourne, Pendragon Sports offers

specialist collaborative

QualitySolicitors Gould

& Swayne

Solicitors, Legal Advice

Gian Floris

01458 442433


The Young Clinic t/a

Christopher Young


Christopher Young

01749 345259

Speciality Textiles / Sirus Microtech Ltd

Disposable Protective


Carol Waterman-Smith

01823 660665

Taunton Racecourse

Racing & Conferencing


Martin Higgs

01823 337172

Timbersource Ltd

Ashley Kemp

01373 469905

divisions across

Sponsorship Consultancy,

Digital, Events, PR & Media,

Experiential, and Print

Management & Creative


Clients include Circle

(Healthcare Partnership),

Audi, Continental, Pacific

Health Labs, Compex,

High5, Windwave.

Membership Benefits

Somerset Chamber

membership offers a range

of benefits.

For further details see page

16 or visit the Chamber




Hinkley Point C - Metal Fabrications Workshop

Hinkley Point C metal fabrications workshop

with Bouygues TP and Laing O'Rourke

(BYLOR) joint venture

Opportunities in metal fabrication and

installation were unveiled by BYLOR

to 19 Somerset engineering

businesses to galvanise them into

becoming ‘Hinkley ready’.

With the aid of over 100 technical

drawings, Paul Dickinson,

Procurement Leader for BYLOR,

identified a range of metal fabrication

requirements from the Hinkley Point C Main Civils

contract, including: anchor plates, monorails, ladders,

safety cages, walkways, platforms, handrails, staircases

and fire cladding structures.

The objective of the workshop, held at Bridgwater's

Junction 24 Auction Centre on 17th July, was for

suppliers to assess the detail

of the work packages, and to

identify what steps they

could take (including

collaboration and joint

working) to be best

positioned for an invitation to

tender. It also provided a

valuable opportunity for

BYLOR (the preferred bidder

for the Hinkley Point C Main

Civils contract) to meet local

firms and to hear feedback on how a local supply

solution can work.

Chris Langdon who leads the Hinkley Supply Chain

Project for the Somerset Chamber said, “This was a

great first workshop where BYLOR identified and

explained, in real detail, the key metalwork categories

that represent huge opportunities for steel fabricators.

The on-going local supply chain engagement, supported

by the Manufacturing Advisory Service, will give

suppliers the information and the opportunity to


Paul Dickinson from BYLOR commented, “Somerset has

a strong mix of very capable steel fabrication

companies that could supply a range of requirements at

Hinkley C. Suppliers have been asking for more details

on the scope and scale of these requirements together

with the relevant standards. This first workshop is a

good start to the procurement process and provides a

solid foundation to move forward.”

Delegates also heard the

latest Hinkley Point C

project update from EDF

Energy’s Jamie Driver and

from the Manufacturing Advisory Service’s Nick Golding,

who outlined some of the business support available to

local companies.

The metal fabrications workshop spearheaded a

comprehensive business support programme to

encourage local businesses to become ‘Hinkley ready’.

The programme is funded by EDF Energy and is being

supported by Sedgemoor District Council and delivered

by the Chamber’s Hinkley Supply Chain team.

To register on the Hinkley Supply Chain Portal visit:

Contact the Chamber Call 01823 444924, email or visit


Members’ News

CIOB Award for Somerset based business

At the recent

Chartered Institute

of Building (CIOB)

South West Built

Environment Awards, architectural metalwork

specialists, Taunton Fabrications, was named as winner

of the SME Award.

Uniquely, the company was nominated independently

by two of their clients – namely Britannia Construction

(Castle Green redevelopment, Taunton) and Interserve

Construction (Frome Medical Centre). The judges stated

that the company had demonstrated a commitment to

achieving best value within their specialist area of

expertise, as well as supporting the project team

through outstanding leadership, community

engagement and their own staff training and

development programme.

Somerset Community Foundation grows in


Somerset Community

Foundation has announced

the appointment of three new

team members. Mary

Hancock joined the

organisation as Deputy Chief

Executive, Magdalena

Kobylinska supports the team

in the role of Marketing and Communications Executive

and Lizzie Little is the Foundation’s new Executive


Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community

Foundation, says, “We are thrilled to welcome Mary,

Magdalena and Lizzie to the team and I am confident

that their expertise and enthusiasm will help us drive

the organisation forward. Our current project and grants

team has been doing a fantastic job supporting the

local community and we all look forward to working

together to achieve positive social change.”

Managing Director, Jason Rigby said, “We were

especially pleased that two of our clients took the

trouble to nominate us for such a prestigious award

within the construction industry. We always aim to build

a close working relationship with our clients and this

really reinforces that approach.”

The South West Built Environment Awards 2013

celebrate the very best in the construction industry,

recognising best practice as well as quality of service

and product.

Somerset Community Foundation’s main goal is to

direct grants to local charities and voluntary

organisations. It was set up in 2002 to provide a new

independent funding body to tackle poverty and

disadvantage throughout Somerset.

Picture 1: Illuminated glass / stainless steel walkway at Castle Green,


Picture 2: Mary Hancock, Lizzie Little and Magdalena Kobylinska

Picture 3: Tim Nightingale – CEO of 1610 with Paralympian silver

medallist Paul Blake

Picture 4: Three skippers, Alan Haynes, Jon Andrewes (CEO of St

Margaret’s Hospice) and Tim Law with Ann Lee.


Members’ News

1610 makes the top 250 for UK’s fastest growing companies

St Margaret’s Hospice Maritime Adventure

Following a successful launch of their new maritime adventure, 10 people have

confirmed their intention to take part and fundraise for St Margaret’s Hospice

whilst taking on this new challenge of a lifetime.

The Atlantic Challenge is well known in sailing circles but few are able to undertake it. You need a boat that can

take the weather and seas, that is safe and robust and well equipped for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

“We wanted to bring something really new to the table that would reach out to different people and give them

the opportunity to

experience a

‘Challenge of a

Lifetime’. These

‘Challenges’ are not

holidays - they are

real opportunities

which add depth and

experience to the

lives of those taking

part. We really hope that this challenge will inspire

people to join us” said Jon Andrewes, St Margaret’s

CEO and one of the skippers undertaking the


One of the South West’s leading leisure companies 1610, based in Taunton, has been

nationally recognised as one of the UK’s 250 fastest growing companies.

The Accelerate 250 list has been selected by the UK’s top business leaders and

represents Britain’s ‘vital 6%’ – the businesses that create more than half of the

nation’s new jobs by galvanising industries and creating new markets.

Somerset Leisure was created as a trust in 2009 to take

over 12 Somerset County Council run leisure centres on

school sites. It rebranded as 1610 in 2011 and now

manages 20 leisure centres in the South West with

around 500 staff. Turnover has jumped from £3million in

2009 to £6.5million in 2012.

1610 CEO, Tim Nightingale, says that the rapid growth is

due to a strong team ethic. “Our success is due to staff

commitment and a strong team spirit as well as excellent

training. The rapid pace of growth has at times been

overwhelming for everyone but there is an energy and

vibrancy about 1610. I still feel excited about the work we

do and we are hungry for further growth and development.”

Local businesses need support, talented

local graduates need meaningful employment;

Grads for Growth achieves both goals.


Business Success for 2012 Award Winner

Blackdown Shepherd Huts enjoys great business success thanks to Somerset Business


Taunton based bespoke hut manufacturer, Blackdown Shepherd Huts, has

experienced fantastic success since its Somerset Business Award win last

year. Having developed the business further, made new connections and

maximised previous relationships, the business is now in its second year

and thriving.

Since its win, Blackdown Shepherd Huts has unveiled its brand refresh, as well as

innovating and launching new product ranges, undergoing

professional sales and customer service training and winning

new licensing agreements in Australia.

Enter the Awards

George Bannister, co-founder of Blackdown Shepherd Huts,

comments, “Winning the New to Somerset Award last year

has propelled our business into what seems like another

world! The Award win has given us so many new opportunities

for work and partnerships, which has had a hugely positive

impact on our sales figures. We have been able to work with

some incredibly inspirational people and we are extremely

excited for our future.

“I’d encourage anyone unsure about entering to do it! We

have learnt so much about our business during the process

and the recognition we have received since winning has been


For more information, Somerset Business Awards entry

details and to apply online, please visit

The official closing date for award applications is 17.00 on

30th August 2013


Picture: Blackdown Shepherd Huts with award sponsors, Glyder

International Trade On the Up

South West firms leading the way in export

Export activity is at its highest level since 2007, with

the South West leading the way, according to the

latest DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index report.

Export figures have increased by 6.01% in the South

West compared with the first quarter of 2013, and by

10.96% compared with a year ago, representing the

highest annual increase in the country.

One Somerset firm reaping the rewards is Hilton Herbs,

based in North Perrott near Crewkerne, which

manufactures herbal and natural healthcare products

for animals. Hilton Herbs recognised that the UK

market for animal supplements was saturated, so over

the last five years the company has concentrated on

finding new overseas customers for its products.

Hilton Herbs Production and Export Manager, Martin

Brooks, says, “Exports continue to be a very positive

area of our business. Despite tough trading conditions

in Q1 where overall sales were down 5%, the exports

were still showing slight growth at 3%. However Q2 has

been a different story: company-wide sales are up

22.5% which have been assisted by an influx of strong

export orders from countries including the USA,

Scandinavia and Japan boosting our Q2 export figures

by 34%.

“Made in Britain still carries a great deal of prowess

overseas and we are proud to be a UK company who

has taken on, with the help of UKTI, the challenges of

exporting. More companies need to have the

confidence in their products to look for overseas

customers. Once they find that confidence, they will

start to realise their full export potential.”

Another company experiencing significant export

growth in recent months is Timbersource Ltd, based

near Frome, which has been supplying premium quality

hardwoods and softwoods to customers in the UK and

overseas since January 2001.

Director Ashley Kemp says, “Timbersource has

experienced a noticeable increase in overseas

demand since January 2013, with export orders

increasing 100% in that time. We’ve experienced

particular interest from the Middle-East in our

bespoke, semi-manufactured timber products and are

now recruiting extra staff, meaning we are well placed

to grow with the demand.”

Rupert Cox, CEO of the Somerset Chamber, says, “It’s

encouraging to see that businesses across Somerset

and the wider South West are making the most of the

lucrative opportunities available through export. As

highlighted at the Somerset in Business Conference

earlier this year, export activity is one of the

fundamental ways in which we will re-balance the

economy and there are handsome rewards available

for those willing to expand into overseas markets.”

The Somerset Chamber works closely with the UKTI to

identify and facilitate export opportunities for

Somerset businesses through projects such as the

forthcoming trade mission in October to the

Guangdong Province in China and a proposed food and

drink industry visit to the ANUGA food festival in

Cologne. Businesses wanting to find out more about

these or other export opportunities should contact the

Somerset Chamber.

The DHL/BCC Trade Confidence Index report measures

UK exporting activity and business confidence.

Responses from more than 1,700 businesses show

that export orders and sales have increased, with

confidence levels in both future turnover and future

profitability also remaining high.

The key findings from the report include:

Export orders for service sector businesses increased

for 50% of firms to the highest figure on record. 44% of

manufacturing firms increased their export orders

resulting in the highest figure since Q1 2012.

Nearly half of exporters (48%) said their export sales

increased in Q2 2013, compared to 10% who said that

they decreased.

42% of manufacturing firms reported an increase in

export sales – up from 36% of firms in Q1. In the

services sector, 52% saw export sales increase – up

from 44% of firms in Q1.

More than half of exporters (51%) believe that their

profitability will increase this year, and 60% believe they

will see an increase in turnover.

Nearly a third of firms (31%) said that they expected to

increase staff this year, up from 28% in Q1 2013.

The number of businesses claiming that raw material

costs were adding to price pressures fell from 42% to

33% in Q2 2013. However, when broken down by size, it

appears that micro firms within the service sector are

still experiencing price pressures, with 46% citing this as

an issue compared with only 25% in the previous



Somerset Chamber Magazine to Spread its Wings

Giving Chamber members a greater voice in Somerset

As part of the 2012-2015 business plan that was presented to Somerset Chamber

members last November, the following objectives were set out:

To recruit 700 members by November 2015

To communicate with 25% of the Somerset business community by November


To help meet these objectives, from November 2013 the Somerset

Chamber magazine will be issued once a quarter to the wider business

community, reaching over 3,000 Somerset businesses with the aim of

increasing this number to 5,000 by 2015.

Somerset Chamber members will continue to receive monthly magazines

but the extended quarterly magazine, which includes the directory of

member businesses, will benefit from increased distribution around the


How can members benefit from this distribution increase?

As of November 2013, the Somerset Chamber magazine will be distributed

quarterly to over 3,000 business

people, meaning that not only will

Chamber members see your good

news stories, adverts, flyers and

directory listings, but the wider

business community will see these


Chamber magazine to be

distributed to over 3,000

Somerset businesses with

the aim of increasing this

number to 5,000 by 2015.

As a Chamber, we are here to support

members’ businesses and their views, and this is a great opportunity to

showcase your business and its achievements to others within the county.

We include coverage of members’ news every month, free of charge, and

would encourage members to send in their good news stories and industry

updates for inclusion, subject to space and content – editorial only please!

Interested in advertising?

Chamber members are entitled to advertise within the magazine, whether

monthly, bi-monthly or even just once a year to promote specific events

and functions.

If you are interested in raising your profile and advertising in the monthly

or the new extended-reach quarterly magazine, please contact Jenn on for details.


Employment Law Legislation

Businesses in south west still not aware of

changes to employment legislation

Monahans Chartered

Accountants, dedicated HR

Solutions team has just

completed a survey of

businesses in the south west

to gauge their awareness of changes in employment

law, the impact these have had on their business and

how they can comment on planned changes.

Changes to employment law take place on a regular

basis and the Monahans survey clearly shows that the

majority of firms are unaware of some recent examples

such as unpaid parental leave increasing from 13 to 18

weeks, changes to the employment tribunal systems

and DSB checks now being portable between

employers. There is however a higher degree of

knowledge around the introduction of employee

shareholder contracts and the new right to request

flexible working being extended to all employees.

The Government is keen for businesses to have the

opportunity to comment on

employment legislation as part of

its campaign to reduce red tape,

however over 90% of respondents

are unaware of how to input into

the debate surrounding changes in

employment legislation, either

through the Red Tape Challenge or

through any other forum.

difficulty in recruiting, motivating and retaining quality

employees, along with the increasing costs of being an


Guide to employers’ liability insurance


A guide to help small and medium-sized business

owners understand their responsibilities when

obtaining employers' liability cover has been published

by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The guide covers the difference between employers'

liability and public liability insurance, the Health and

Safety at Work Act 1974, and includes a table of

common concerns about health and safety guidelines.

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said the guide

would help reduce confusion surrounding health and

safety requirements, minimising the burden on smaller

firms and barriers to growth.

Details can be found on the Chamber website

Peta Fry, HR Director at Monahans,

comments that “The majority of

businesses want to see a

simplification of employment

procedures and a reduction in red

tape. It is surprising though that the

huge majority do not know how to

comment on changes to legislation.

However it is encouraging that the

majority have not seen any real

impact of recent changes on their

business and expect this to

continue in the next year.

“There are though some real issues

of running a business in relation to

employment, in particular the


Making the Most of your Membership

Does YOUR business maximise its Chamber membership?

The Somerset Chamber of Commerce has over 430 Chamber members. All of these businesses AND their

employees are part of one of the largest business

organisations in the world: the Chamber movement.

Membership of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce delivers

opportunities to promote your business to the local and wider

business community. Inclusion in the online members'

directory can provide both sales opportunities and SEO

benefit by including a hyperlink to your website from your

company profile. There is also the opportunity to publicise

your events free of charge on the Chamber website.

The checklist below will help ensure you’re taking full advantage

of the benefits included in your Chamber membership:

Have you updated your online directory profile to include a 250

word description of your business and a company logo, plus an

inter-member discount should you wish to offer one?

Do you send us information on your own events so they can be advertised on the Chamber website?

Do you send us your ‘Good News’ stories for inclusion in the Chamber Magazine? This is a great opportunity

to let others know that business is going well.

Publication of topical company/industry press releases – is the Chamber on your media and press release

mailing list?

When asked, do you maximise local and national PR opportunities?

Would you be interested in doing so?

Have you included the Somerset Chamber logo on your website,

marketing material and stationery?

To request your copy of the Chamber logo, contact Jenn or Vikki on


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 Chamber

Members from across Somerset and

throughout the South West.

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



Hinkley Community Benefit

Economic development should be the focus

for Hinkley community benefit

Communities around Hinkley Point C could be in line

for around £128million worth of community benefit

over the next 40 years, according to a recent

announcement from the Department of Energy &

Climate Change (DECC).

Speaking on BBC Somerset following the

announcement, Somerset Chamber CEO Rupert Cox

said, “Every bit of mitigation and support is welcomed

but from the business community’s perspective it is

important that the funding is spent on genuine

economic development and that Hinkley C is used as a

catalyst for further economic development, not just in

that particular part of the county but right across


Ministers announced that communities around eight

sites in England and Wales are in line to receive

benefits worth up to £1,000 per Megawatt over 40

years from when the nuclear power stations begin


Business and Energy Minister, Michael Fallon, said,

“New nuclear will have a central role to play in our

energy strategy, providing heat and light to homes

across the country.

It is absolutely

essential that we

recognise the

contributions of

those communities

that host major new

energy projects.

“This package is in

the interests of

local people, who

will manage it to ensure long-term meaningful benefit

to the community. It’s proportionate to the scale and

lifespan of new nuclear power stations and it builds on

the major economic benefits they will bring in terms of

jobs, investment and use of local services.”

Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, Cllr Duncan

McGinty, said, “We are naturally extremely pleased with

this news as Sedgemoor has been championing

Community Benefit Contributions from nationally

significant infrastructure projects for years. We believe

it is an important mechanism that will mean those

living and working around Hinkley Point who may not

benefit directly from the development receive fair and

reasonable recognition for hosting it. We have yet to

see the details of the package but we believe that

some of this money should be used to ensure our

communities and our businesses enjoy sustainable

futures long after the construction work finishes.”

“We need to see more jobs and we need to see more

training to get the right staff in the right jobs. We need

to protect those businesses that may well lose their

staff to activity at Hinkley, not just during construction

but during the lifetime of the development, so there’s

an awful lot of activity that needs to be done around

economic development.

“The local authorities need to have a plan of what

they’re going to do with the money and from the

business community’s perspective, we’d like to be part

of that discussion. We have a very good relationship

with all three local authorities – West Somerset,

Sedgemoor and Somerset County Council – and we

hope that they will use us as a sounding board for how

to use this money wisely to bring long-term investment

into the community, not just for the villages that

surround the area but the wider community and the

businesses that those people work for.”

The Somerset

Chamber manages

the Hinkley Supply

Chain Portal and is

working closely with

EDF Energy to

ensure that the

county’s businesses

are in a strong position to benefit from the proposed

new nuclear development at Hinkley Point C, which

offers vast opportunities for economic growth and job


Over the coming weeks and months, the Somerset

Chamber will be working with members to establish a

range of working groups in order to turn supply chain

aspirations into reality. Not only will these working

groups help local businesses to understand how they

can contribute to the project, they will also ensure that

the Somerset business community is well-placed for

other large infrastructure projects in the future.


Avon and Somerset Business Crime Forum 2013

Police and Crime

Commissioner Sue

Mountstevens and Chief

Constable Nick Gargan

Would like to invite you to

Avon and Somerset Business Crime Forum 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 18.00-19.30 at Leigh Court, Abbots Leigh, BS8 3RA

If you or members of your organisation would like to attend the Business Crime Forum please email Mark

Simmonds at

The meeting will include:

1. Introduction from the Commissioner and the Chief Constable

2. Briefing items to be discussed are: Cyber-crime "Get Safe Online"; CCTV best practice; and a discussion about a

Business Forum members section on the PCC and/or Constabulary website.

3. Issues raised by attendees. To facilitate this, you are invited to submit your top 3 suggestions for Business

Crime issues to be discussed at the Forum. The most prevalent issues/themes from your responses will be

covered on the evening with experts from the Constabulary.

Please send your suggestions to

You can also follow the PCC on Twitter @AandSPCC or @SuMountstevens and on Facebook by liking AandSPCC or

Sue Mountstevens.

The Avon and Somerset Business Crime Forum will help combat crime against business to enable our businesses

to thrive and grow their success and in turn grow the region’s prosperity.

Social Media in the Workplace — An Essential Guide

Date: Thursday 12th September

Time: 07.45

Venue: Clarke Willmott, Taunton

Cost: Members £17.50 Non-Members £22.00 (inc VAT)

Food Provided: Bacon Bap, Tea & Coffee

Kate Gardner & Paula Squire of Clarke Willmott LLP, will guide you through all recent legal developments,


Cyber bullying, harassment and discrimination;

Facebook posting and employee misconduct and dismissals;

Linked In and Twitter - misuse of confidential information;

Damage to the employer’s reputation; and

Social Media policies

Book Event


Contact the Chamber Call 01823 444924, email or visit

Next Events

Breakfast with John Penrose MP - Your local Small Business


Date: Thursday 22nd August

Time: 07.45 - 09.30

Venue: TBC Taunton/ Bridgwater Venue

Cost: Members £17.50 Non-Members £22.50 (inc VAT)

We invite you to join us for a business breakfast, where we are delighted to be joined by our

special guest John Penrose MP - your local man in Westminster.

John was elected as MP for Weston, Worle and the Villages in

2005 and again in 2010. He has also recently been appointed

Small Business Ambassador by the Prime Minister.

He is keen to speak with a number of local companies so that he

can understand current business needs in order to assist him

with his new role and to become most effective when lobbying


The event will begin with refreshments and networking, followed

by a Full English Breakfast before we hear from John.

There will also be opportunities to network after breakfast before the working day commences.

John Penrose

After University, John had an extensive and successful business career before he entered Parliament. He worked

for a variety of large, blue chip companies starting with J P Morgan (risk management on a bank trading floor);

then McKinsey (strategic management consultancy); Thompson (academic book publishing) culminating at

Pearson PLC (Managing Director of Longman’s schoolbook publishing operations) before striking out on his own in

a Management Buy-Out (MBO) of Logotron (educational software for schools), later adding Widgit (special needs

software for children with dyslexia). He also helped found Credit Market Analysis (publishing credit data for

financial firms) which was sold to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and is now part of Standard & Poors.

Book Event

Bank of England Update - The Outlook for the Economy

Date: Thursday 18th September

Time: 07.45

Venue: Taunton Racecourse

Stephen Collins, the Bank’s Agent for South West England, will present all the latest news and observations from

the Bank of England at a time of significant change under a new Governor and just six months since the Bank

once again became a banking regulator.

Book Event

Cost: Members £17.50 Non-Members £22.50 (inc


Food Provided: Full English Breakfast

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 except where detailed)

Breakfast with John Penrose - Thursday 22nd August

We invite you to join us for a business breakfast, where we are delighted to be joined by our special

guest John Penrose MP - your local man in Westminster.

Time: 07.45 Venue: TBC Taunton/ Bridgwater

Cost: Members Discounted Cost £17.50 Non Members £22.50

Social Media in the Workplace - An Essential Guide - Thursday 12th September

The breakfast will go over recent legal developments in the work place relating to the use of social

media including: Cyber bullying, discrimination, misuse of confident information, employers reputation

and much more.

Time: 07.45 Venue: Clarke Willmott office, Taunton

Cost: Members Discounted Cost £17.50 Non Members £22.00

International Trade Forum - Tuesday 17th September

Are you a Somerset business thinking or currently trading internationally?

Time: 16.00 Venue: TBC

Cost: Members Discounted Cost £20.00 Non Members £25.00

Bank of England Update - Wednesday 18th September

Join us for breakfast and hear all the latest news and observations from the Bank of England

Time: 07.45 Venue: Taunton Racecourse

Cost: Members Discounted Cost £17.50 Non Members £22.50





Business to Business Dinner - Wells

The Somerset Chamber likes to offer its members a variety of events – and our latest Business to Business

Dinner on the 25 th June was certainly something a little bit different.

Welcoming guests for drinks within the magnificent Wells Cathedral were Rupert Cox, CEO of the Somerset

Chamber, and event sponsor, Arnold Wills from Pilgrim Financial Planning Ltd. Guests were treated to some

locally sourced cider and apple juice from Hecks Cider and were then served a delicious three course dinner in

The Vicars Hall adjoining the Cathedral.

Arnold Wills, said, “We were very pleased to sponsor the networking dinner, especially as we were able to support

local businesses by using local produce. We were delighted to see everybody enjoying each other’s company,

making new contacts and renewing old ones.

“The Dean of Wells made us all feel very welcome and we were privileged to be allowed to have our dinner in

such historic and unique surroundings. The Cathedral is a very special part of the Somerset business community

and we were encouraged to use the facilities they offer.”

The event attracted over 50 business people from across Mendip and beyond, and it was pleasing to see so many

new faces attending their first Somerset Chamber event. There was a good buzz of conversation around the

tables, and plenty of business card swapping taking place, which can only mean that a lot of business

relationships were starting to emerge.

Images from the Business to Business Dinner Wells - Photos By David Tetchener

Call 01823 444924


View the Event Gallery

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines