December - Somerset Chamber of Commerce

December - Somerset Chamber of Commerce




December 2012

Somerset - An Award

Winning County

“As the Hinkley Point C project hots

up in the spring of 2013, the

Somerset Chamber will continue to

be at the forefront of supply chain

development and business support”

- Rupert Cox

See page 2

Lead Story

New Business Plan for

2012 –2015

See page 3


Somerset Flooding

See page 5

Town Chamber

Wellington Business

Association News

See page 7

College News

Somerset Education

See page 12

Scan this code with

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Rupert’s Review

You can find the Somerset Chamber of Commerce

on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Great things are around the corner for the Somerset

Chamber in 2013 and we want our members to benefit

from such opportunities.

A committed client base is

something that every

business yearns for and

the Somerset Chamber is

no different. This is why at

the AGM at the end of

November we were

delighted to recognise the

thirteen companies that

have been Somerset

Chamber members for 10 years – and this follows

another twelve companies that we recognised for a

achieving a similar landmark last year.

From manufacturing to waste management, from sport

to leisure, from healthcare to charities and from

exporting to education, each have seen the benefit of

Somerset Chamber membership in helping their

organisations to grow and achieve great things here in


The role of honour includes:-

Express by Holiday Inn Ltd

GerberEmig Group Limited

Kings College

Nat. Blind Childrens Society

Old Mill Accountants

Seepex UK Ltd

Somerset Care Group

Somerset County Cricket Club

Somerdale International Ltd

St John Ambulance

St Margaret Somerset Hospice

Strode College

Viridor Waste (Somerset) Ltd

Working closely with UKTi there will be a greater

emphasis on international trade with the 2013

Somerset in Business Conference, the new

International Trade Forum and an overseas trade

mission for food & drink businesses all pushing the

advantages of international trade.

In partnership with Plymouth University and Somerset

County Council we hope to develop the Open Innovation

project further to help businesses consider the merits of

collaborative working and utilising innovative business

techniques to help their businesses to grow.

As the Hinkley Point C project hots up in the spring of

2013, the Somerset Chamber will continue to be at the

forefront of supply chain development and business

support. With over 1100 Somerset firms expressing an

interest in the project we need to make sure that these

companies are well place to get business from the

project. To achieve this we will work with local

authorities and other specialist agencies so that we get

best value for the financial investment that is being

made in this area of activity.

So in closing my final review of 2012, I would like to

thank my dedicated staff who work tirelessly on behalf

of members. I would also like to thank ALL our

members for their support of the work of the Somerset

Chamber in the last year - and for several members

over many years, and I hope that we can continue to put

the Somerset Chamber at the heart of business

influence in the county and beyond, and in-so-doing to

continually support the growth of the Somerset

economy which is our ultimate objective.

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.


Supporting the Growth of the Somerset Economy

For the Somerset Chamber to continue its

growth, the Somerset economy needs to grow

which is why the 2012-2015 business plan is

entitled “Supporting the Somerset Economy to

Grow” and to support this strategic objective for

the county, the Somerset Chamber will focus of

5 priority areas being:


Lobbying & Representation

Business Growth

Communication & Profile

Project Management

Below is set out a little more detail on each of these



Target –700 members by 31st October 2015 being

representative of the Somerset business community

For the Somerset Chamber to remain an influential force

within the Somerset business community it needs to

continue to grow its membership. The membership needs

to be as representative of the Somerset economy as

possible with balance of size, sector & geography.

Relationships also need to be maintained with the Town

Chamber network as well as other business organisations.

The long term aspiration to have 1,000 members by 2020


Target – To maintain our status as being at the hub of

business influence in Somerset.

Chambers of Commerce across the UK have become the

respected voice of the real economy. The BCC network of

accredited Chambers is heard at the heart of Government

and recognised as a valued contributor to policy making

with such bodies as the Bank of England. The BCC is in

regular dialogue with senior Ministers and Civil Servants

making sure that they understand the issues facing the

business community and endeavoring to influence

government policy for the betterment of business.

For the Somerset Chamber to be fully representative of the

Somerset business community this national level of

influence needs to be replicated in Somerset.


Target – To deliver activities that support the Somerset

economy to grow

The Somerset Chamber is serious about supporting the

growth of the county’s economy, so it will deliver a range of

programmes and activities that it hopes will deliver growth.

The Chamber recognises that its influence over such

growth could be very proactive by delivering projects, or

light touch by being a sign-posting information channel.

The growing expertise that the Chamber is gaining makes it

perfectly placed to drive inward investment and to bring

real economic benefits out of the Hinkley C development by

supporting supply chain development and job creation.

Furthermore, the Chamber will use the experience gained

from the Hinkley Supply Chain project to develop a more

comprehensive supply chain programme.


Target – To communicate with 25% of Somerset

businesses by 31 st October 2015

It is recognised by the Board of the Somerset Chamber that

its communications with members and other stakeholders

needs to continue to improve at a faster rate than its

increase in membership.

This is why that for the first time a key objective of the

business plan is dedicated to communication at all levels.

This is already being achieved to some extent by the

investment of dedicated personnel to take this work


To be fully representative of the Somerset business

community it is imperative that the Chamber

communicates with as many businesses as possible, most

will hopefully be Chamber members at either a county or

town level, but it is also important to recognise the

Chamber’s responsibility to all businesses in the county.


Target – To maintain at least two external project contracts,

and to seek additional revenue generation

Chambers of Commerce do not survive and grow on

Chamber membership alone, and the Somerset Chamber is

no exception.

It is vitally important therefore to seek out and deliver

economic development projects that support members,

increase membership potential, and more importantly,

provide additional revenue to help build capacity within the

organisation in order to deliver value-added benefits to


To read the full Business Plan visit:


British Chamber of Commerce

BCC: Borrowing will exceed OBR forecast by

around £15bn

BC: Unlocking house building will boost

growth, but government must go further

Public sector net borrowing in October 2012 was

£8.6bn, compared with £5.9bn in October 2011

Commenting on the speech by the Deputy Prime minster

on housing, Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the

British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

Commenting on the public sector finances for October

2012, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British

Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The public sector borrowing figures were much worse

than expected in October. Excluding special factors, total

borrowing so far this financial year was more than £7bn

higher than in the same period of 2011. Unless there

are distinct improvements over the next few months,

borrowing for the entire financial year could exceed the

OBR’s budget forecast by around £15bn. This

unwelcome news will only put more pressure on the

Chancellor as he prepares for his Autumn Statement in

early December.

“Despite the announcement that interest payments for

the gilts purchased under the QE scheme would be

transferred from the Bank of England to the Treasury,

the deficit will still take a few years longer than expected

to reduce.

“To maintain credibility, the government must persevere

with a realistic plan to reduce the deficit over the

medium term. But there is also a risk that if weak growth

continues, borrowing could overshoot even further,

which could in turn threaten the UK’s credit rating. The

government should look to make cuts in areas such as

welfare reform, pensions and the size of the civil service

to ensure that the structural deficit is gradually reduced.

We will also be looking to the Chancellor to announce

measures in his Autumn Statement that will boost

growth and enhance the productive capacity of the UK.”

“In our submission to the Chancellor ahead of the

Autumn Statement next month, the BCC called for a new

fund to unblock stalled developments, so the

government’s pledge to provide £225m is a welcome

step in the right direction. Addressing this shortfall is

essential for growth, with the slump in construction

output a major factor behind the negative growth that

we saw in 2011 and early 2012. Not only will this

investment boost the economy by creating thousands of

jobs in the house building sector, it will also benefit a

large number of UK-based firms and suppliers.

“But unblocking stalled sites alone is not enough. We

would challenge the government to be more ambitious

and increase the Homes and Communities Agency’s

(HCA) target by a further 100,000 homes by 2015,

which would provide a substantial return in economic

growth. Research* shows that investing in house

building has a multiplier effect, with each pound

invested creating £2.09 of economic output. The

government must seize this opportunity and build the

homes needed for a sustainable future, and a lasting

economic recovery.”


The Energy Bill

The Energy Bill – What might it mean for

Somerset businesses?

The recently published Energy Bill puts in place

measures to attract the £110 billion investment which

is needed to replace current generating capacity and

upgrade the national grid by 2020, and to cope with a

rising demand for electricity.

The Bill, which has been developed by the Department

of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), includes

provisions for:

Contracts for Difference – long-term instruments

to provide stable and predictable incentives for

companies to invest in low-carbon generation;

Investment Instruments – long-term instruments

to enable early investment in advance of the CfD

regime coming into force;

Capacity Market – to ensure the security of

electricity supply;

Conflicts of Interest and Contingency

Arrangements – to ensure the institution which

will deliver these schemes is fit for purpose;

Renewables Transitional – transition

arrangements for investments under the

renewables obligation scheme, and

Emissions Performance Standard – to limit

carbon dioxide emissions from new fossil fuel

power stations.

Furthermore the Bill looks at an alternative payment

model for contracts through what is now known as

Electricity Market Reform (EMR). In addition to EMR,

the Energy Bill will also improve regulatory certainty by

ensuring that Government policy and Ofgem are


Chief Executive of the Somerset Chamber, Rupert Cox


“While this is quite a complicated Bill for businesses to

comprehend, it does address some of our concerns

about energy security, consistent supply and

assurances on cost. In the short term costs look likely

to rise as the Bill allows generating companies to

garner an additional £7.6b from customers by 2020 to

be ring fenced for investment in low carbon energy


For those in Somerset keeping an eye on the Hinkley

Point C development, Government now appear to have

given comfort to EDF Energy (and other energy

investors and suppliers) on what can be charged for

electricity in the future through the EMR which will help

them make their final investment decisions on whether

or not to build Hinkley C.

EDF Energy’s Chief Executive, Vincent de Rivaz

commenting: "The introduction of the Energy Bill is a

very positive

step," but


that they

needed to

see the

detail of the





EDF Energy’s Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz


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



Somerset Flooding

As the November flooding in Somerset subsides businesses across the county are not

just counting the cost of the disaster, but are raising concerns about how they might get

their premises insured in the future.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has suggested that talks with Government about flood related insurance

are at "crisis point" and could leave 200,000 homes and businesses across the UK without cover. The proposal

put by Government to the industry is being considered, but at the time of going to press “Chamber News” can

report an impasse that could lead to rising insurance premiums or even no cover being offered to the worst

locations in Somerset.

An existing agreement between the ABI and Government, reached in 2008, obliges insurers to provide cover for

high-risk properties while the government continues to improve flood defences. The ABI wants the government to

share the risk for the areas with the most homes at significant flood risk - defined as a greater than one in 75

chance of flooding in any given year.

Nick Starling, director of general insurance at the ABI, said that the government had turned down its "elegant"


"Our members are out there looking after people who have been affected by these tragic floods and this means

that we want a solution even more now after the difficult events of the weekend," he said.

Trudy Brown, Personal Lines Manager at Higos Insurance Services Ltd, Somerset Chamber members, commented

“We are hopeful the ABI and Government will reach an agreement, allowing households and businesses at

high-risk from flooding to continue to access insurance beyond the current deal, which ends in June 2013.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is actively involved in trying to secure a long term solution and

there are live options still on the table - such as ‘Project Noah - aimed at ensuring home insurance in flood-prone

areas remains widely available and fairly priced.

Higos has close relationships with our panel of insurers,

ensuring each property within a flood risk area is treated

on its individual merits, allowing us to provide cover

wherever possible”

Contact Higos Insurance



Wellington Business Association

Wellington has a new organisation focused on promoting business and commercial

development in the town and surrounding area. The Wellington Business Association

[WBA] has emerged from the former chamber of trade and commerce.

“I believe that Wellington needs and deserves an organisation

that offers support, information and advice, and networking

opportunities for businesses throughout the whole Wellington

area,” said Ian Stock, newly-elected chair of the WBA.

“Unfortunately the old chamber was struggling to maintain

membership and had perhaps become perceived as rather old

fashioned. The WBA aims to include all businesses from our

major manufacturers to one-person start-ups, as well as

business services and retailers.

“We’ll be offering businesses a number of opportunities to

network, learn and socialise. Networking events are one of the

best ways that businesses make new contacts, exchange

experiences and ideas, and do business together, thereby

maintaining money within the local economy,” Ian added

Other officers of the new WBA, elected at the final AGM of the

Wellington Chamber of Trade and Commerce are Keith

Wheatley ( as Vice-Chair, Mike Crew

Ian Stock (Chair of WBA from 3Spheres UK) and Mike

Crew (Treasurer of WBA from MJC Financial) with new

WBA member Jane Osborne from The Old Sale Room.

(MJC Financial) as Treasurer. Sue White, retiring Chair of the Chamber, becomes President, and Jane Burden

remains as Secretary.

The WBA’s events programme will mix networking events with more formal meetings. The networking events will

be held in various locations around the Wellington area, to encourage different businesses and organisations to

meet, and join the Association.

For more information about the Wellington Business Association got to

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,

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

Alternatively visit


New Members

November’s new members

Archant Life

Tim Randell

01803 860761

Ardenham Energy Ltd

John Westerman

01823 747052

Avalon Telecom & Technologies

Nigel Lewis

01458 448226

Brewin Dolphin

Investment Management

Christopher Rew

01823 445785

Compass Disability Service

Disability Equality Charity

Richard Pitman

01823 282823

Cornwall Glass & Glazing Ltd

Paul Garrard

01278 781500

Dome Marketing Ltd

PR & Marketing

Kirsty Mode

01460 30785

Etavoni Ltd

Engineering Solutions

Alan Forster

01761 420774

Jon PG Ltd

Sound Hire Equipment

Jon Wood

01458 210326

Lexus Bristol

David Bowden

0117 916 5555

Live Action Media

Corporate Video Production

Ron Tanner

01278 684720

‘Innovative Corporate Video Production’

We offer a full video production service

from initial programme concept to

finished article. To guarantee a quality

product, we shoot edit and master on

our own equipment to the latest high

definition broadcast standards.

We believe we have the right technology in the hands of the right


Our mission is to be innovative. We want to make programmes that

are refreshingly different: meaningful programmes, programmes that


Our experience is extensive in all areas of video production including:


Architectural Stone

Varyl Chamberlain

01460 52277

ProCo IT

Business IT Services

Richard Daw

01823 663535

SJM Training Consultants Ltd

IT Training & Consultancy

Sally Williams

01823 433431

The Wilkins Safety Group

Jon Wilkins

01458 253682


Foreign Exchange Provider

Mark Falber

07825 837549

Trig Engineering Ltd

Plastics Precision Machines

Jamie Williams

01278 440007

corporate image, sales and

promotion, practical training,

awareness and internal

communications and the list

of our clients includes Rolls

Royce, Boots

and Clarks International.

Contact the team

Vikki Waterman

(Contact Rupert via Vikki)

Sue Higgins

Jenn Chidley

Hugh Graham

Kim McDonald

Chris Langdon

Gerard Tucker


Project News

Somerset Chamber and EDF Energy

congratulates 1,000th Somerset firm

More than 1,000 Somerset businesses have now

registered on a dedicated website as potential

suppliers to the multi-billion pound power station

project planned at Hinkley Point.

To mark the occasion, EDF Energy and the Somerset

Chamber of Commerce called in to congratulate the

1,000 th local firm to complete its registration. Sterling

Services Ltd, based near Taunton, specialises in

architectural precast concrete and is hoping to secure a

contract to supply material to the Hinkley Point C project.

Kevin Lazenby, Director of Sterling Services, said “Sterling

Services Ltd registered to be part of the Hinkley Supply

Chain having learnt about it from a Construction Industry

breakfast. We are delighted to be the 1,000 th company to

register and having traded from our premises in Hatch

Beauchamp, Somerset for the past 15 years, we feel that

we are ideally placed to supply the Hinkley C projects.

“We employ over 30 staff within our manufacturing facility,

together with a separate design office and installation

teams we have successfully completed many major

projects all over the U.K and Channel Islands and hope this

is just the first step in providing our quality products to the

Hinkley site.”

EDF Energy has already awarded £61 million worth of

contracts across the south west, with £25 million of this

total going direct to firms in Somerset.

Local contracts include a wide range of goods and services,

such as plant hire, training, catering, carpenters, building

firms, tree-planting and scaffolding. Companies in

Bridgwater, Taunton, Burnham-On-Sea, Cannington,

Glastonbury, Highbridge, Minehead, Watchet, Yeovil,

Weston Super Mare, Bath and Bristol are among the 200

south west firms to have already been awarded contracts.

The high number of local registrations is the result of a

partnership between EDF Energy and Somerset Chamber

of Commerce to capture the capability of local suppliers

and to ensure that this capability is promoted to EDF

Energy and its main contractors.

The website has also been used

to keep local suppliers informed about the project and

work package timetables and Somerset Chamber manage

a number of supply chain events to inform and promote

effective engagement for local suppliers. EDF Energy has

also established a local supply chain team to offer advice

and support to Somerset firms.

Rupert Cox, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of

Commerce, said: “It’s really positive to be working so

closely with EDF Energy to secure opportunities and

benefits for local firms. The online registration process is

straight forward and is attracting a wide range of

businesses who we can then communicate with. We’re

continuing to work directly with local firms to explain the

varied opportunities and give them some guidance on the

likely requirements and procurement process.”

Chris Squires, Lead Supply Chain Engagement Manager for

EDF Energy, commented: “This is a great milestone to have

reached. Local firms could benefit both in the construction

phase, as well as the 60 year operational life of the

proposed station. I’d encourage other local companies to

register their interest as there will be many millions of

pounds worth of work on offer.”

Richard Soper, Sterling Services, Chris Squires, Lead Supply

Chain Engagement Manager, EDF Energy, Rupert Cox, Chief

Executive, Somerset Chamber of Commerce and Kevin

Lazenby, Sterling Services celebrate the 1000 th sign-up

Jamie Driver, local supply chain manager for EDF Energy,

added: "Companies may tend to think that as it's a nuclear

power station, the work is all very complex and somehow

won't be for them. However, we're looking for companies

that can supply all the trades, goods and services that a

construction project involves, just on an Olympic scale.

Then there are all the things that the workforce will be

spending their wages on locally. My message to local

companies is to register your interest now, because there

is help available to position your business to benefit. But

we can't use you if we don't know about you."

The proposed Hinkley Point C power station will provide

around 25,000 jobs over the construction period, as well

as 900 permanent jobs once operational. The project will

also create around 400 apprenticeships. £7.1 million has

been invested or committed to by the energy company to

improve local skills and training at West Somerset

Community College and Bridgwater College to increase

employment opportunities for local residents.

Companies interested in finding out more about the

Hinkley Point C supply chain can visit;

Hinkley Point C is subject to planning consent and a final

investment decision by the end of the year.

Contact the Chamber Call 01823 444924, email or visit


Member’s News

Top Industry Award for South West

Recruitment Specialists

South West recruitment specialist, Meridian Business

Support, has been awarded the coveted title

‘Best Company to Work For (more than 250 employees)’

by the Institute of Recruitment Professionals Awards at

a glittering ceremony.

Creating an Impact! …Regional design and

marketing agency bucks economic trend!

Taunton-based Impact Design & Marketing has

welcomed the arrival of three new recruits this

autumn. The appointment of a new Sales & Marketing

Director, a Client Services

Manager and an Office

Administrator not only

underlines the agency’s

ambition to further expand

their impressive client base,

but to keep current

customer service and

engagement levels at the

very top of their agenda.

The new recruits are as follows:

Meridian’s exceptional work environment and

Innovative company structure was recognised by the

judges, with the prestigious accolade celebrating its

professional excellence and the inspirational work it

carries out within the recruitment industry.

The win comes during an incredibly successful year for

Meridian, with the company given the ‘Candidate

Service Award’ at the Onrec 2012 Industry Awards,

before being named ‘Best Credit Control Team’ by the

North West Finance Awards and ‘Best Embedded

Recruitment Team’ at the highly regarded Recruiter’s

Awards for Excellence.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)

chief executive, Kevin Green, said: “The 2012 winners

join an elite group of ambassadors for the industry who

set world class standards to which all recruiters can

aspire. The high volume and calibre of entries this year

demonstrates how the REC’s commitment to raise

professional standards is having an impact across the


Helen Harvey, Meridian’s Regional Manager in the

South West says “It’s a superb achievement and serves

as a recognition of the success we’ve had in creating a

supportive company environment, where we strive to

recognise the hard work and commitment of the

wonderful staff across our 80-branch network.”

Pete Lloyd, the new Sales & Marketing Director

Theresa Wyrwoll is the new Client Services Manager

Chloe Lingard-Hards Office Administrator

Prestigious quality mark benefits clients

and staff, says Somerset law firm boss

The chairman of Somerset

law firm Battens Solicitors

has said its latest legal

industry stamp of approval

provides an assurance of

‘best practice’ for clients

and staff.

Battens Solicitors has secured the Law Society’s law

management quality mark, Lexcel, for the sixth year


The Yeovil-based firm underwent a rigorous assessment

including onsite inspections and background checks.

Lexcel is an optional accreditation scheme for law firms

and in-house legal departments designed to show that

a practice meets high client care

and business management



Member’s News

New office for Yeovil accountants Old Mill

Yeovil accountants and financial

planners Old Mill have moved to the

newly refurbished town centre property

Maltravers House after outgrowing their

Goldcroft office.

Old Mill has been in Yeovil since 1998, but in that time, staff numbers

have grown from around 40 to 85, and the current office is bursting at

the seams. Although the move was needed for practical reasons, Old

Mill is looking forward to the positive impact that a modern working

environment will have on staff.

“The new Yeovil office will be such a massive step forward in terms of

providing a place for our people to work creatively, efficiently and

flexibly,” said Stuart Grimster, Head of the Yeovil Office. “The buzz that

the move has created amongst our staff is amazing and it is clear

people are genuinely excited at the thought of our bright, airy and

colourful new offices being their new place of work.”

“It is vital that successful companies like Old Mill continue to support

the local economy in this way. Fantastic working environments including

the latest technology are a key component in being able to employ and

retain the best people in the region; our aim is to continue to grow Old

Mill and offer great career opportunities for local people so this move is

an essential part of our plan.”


College News

Nearly 40 top apprentices and their employers have been celebrated at the second

annual Yeovil College and North Dorset Technical College

Apprenticeship Awards.

Apprentices from across Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Devon received awards in

24 categories, nearly double the number presented in 2011. Highlighting the range

of Apprenticeships available at the College, the awards included those for

Intermediate and Advanced courses in Carpentry, Plumbing, Business Administration,

Contact Centres, Customer Service, Health & Social Care, Childcare, Hairdressing, Professional Cookery,

Engineering, ICT and Print.

Guest speaker Rupert Cox, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber

of Commerce, spoke of the key relationship between training

providers, employers and apprentices which makes

Apprenticeships work and the importance of having a good

attitude in the workplace and seizing progression opportunities.

He said “Thank you the employers for investing in young people.

We know you need the right staff to do the roles required to make

your business more profitable. We are very lucky that some of the

best colleges in England are here in Somerset and that Yeovil

College is part of a great network of training providers.”

Great Success for Somerset Training Providers

This month has seen the completion of the latest 100 Day

Apprentice Campaign across the county, and what a success it

has been! In 100 days the teams have recruited 702 new

apprentices in the important 16-24 age bracket, far exceeding

any expectation. They have also exceeded the record breaking 515 apprentices recruited in the first campaign.

The training providers include Richard Huish College, Somerset College, Bridgwater College, Yeovil College, Strode

College, Somerset Skills and Learning and Acacia Training, all helped and supported by the Employment and

Skills Board, the National Apprentice Service and the Somerset Chamber and FSB.

The group has been led by Graham Knight from Strode College and Vice Chair of the Somerset Chamber. Graham

says “This has been a fantastic result and I am very proud of the way we have really opened opportunity and

changed lives. But although the campaign ends now the apprentice drive does not! Any local training provider will

be glad to still hear from businesses wanting to get involved, or they can contact me direct to help them along the


Yeovil College Director of Employer Engagement and fellow Somerset board member Tim Hunt said “When we

took part in the first 100 day long Apprenticeship campaign three years ago, we could never have imagined the

impact it and its successors would have. Grow Somerset Talent has met and greatly exceeded in its aim of

creating 100 new Apprenticeship opportunities, while its reach in terms of how many more people have learned

about this sort of training is immeasurable. We hope that both students and members of the Somerset Chamber

feel much better informed about the range and benefits of apprenticeship training.”

Contact Graham: Call 01458 844476 or email


An Educated Somerset

£400 million will be spent at a number of

English colleges to upgrade facilities and

resources, with £110 million coming from

the Government.

Projects at 56 English colleges

range from the launch of a

state-of-the-art civil engineering

academy, to transforming

classrooms into vocational


Making the announcement at the

Association of Colleges (AoC)

Conference, Business Secretary

Vince Cable (pictured left) said:

"These projects will transform the learning

environment for thousands of students across the

country, providing them with state-of-the-art facilities

and modern resources that will help them fulfil their


"Addressing gaps in skills is an important part of our

industrial strategy. This initiative is another example of

how Government is working in long-term partnership

with industry to give them more confidence to invest,

hire and grow."

Examples of successful bids include:

South Essex College of Further and Higher

Education raising almost £40 million which will be

combined with nearly £3 million grant support to

build a new town centre site. It will have facilities

ranging from mechanical engineering workshops to

student training kitchens.

A new £4 million agriculture

building at Bridgwater

College in Somerset which will

address the growing demand for

specialist rural skills and develop

closer links with the agriculture

industry in the region.

Government is investing £110 million, through the

Skills Funding Agency, which is matched with £302

million investment from colleges.

In May this year all colleges were invited to apply

for up to £3 million for individual projects, with an

expectation that the facilities will be ready to use

by September 2014. The resources are aimed at

colleges that have not received significant funding

in the recent past.


World of work Day

240 year 10 students from Heathfield School worked

alongside members from the business community to

explore themes relating to the world of work.

With its extensive network of Business Partners and

their expertise students explored interview techniques,

lifelong and transferable skills and how best to present

themselves to potential employers.

The workshop provided a realistic, nuts and bolts

experience that helped demystify life after school, and

deepen students’ understanding and appreciation of

what is involved in striving for a successful and

fulfilling career.

Enterprise Coordinator Wil Lowndes comments “At a

time when so much of the wider curriculum is under

threat the school’s commitment to delivering cross

curricular projects that provide such invaluable

learning experiences has never been stronger.”

A new £7.7 million creative industries building at

Kingston College.

£8.1 million on refurbishing the campus and

building new arts facilities at Burton and South

Derbyshire College.

Business people and students from the Heathfield School world

of work day.


Business News

Business Records Checks re-launched

Business Records Checks are being re-launched by HM Revenue &

Customs (HMRC) following a review and extensive stakeholder


The substantially redesigned Business Records Checks programme now involves a new step-by-step approach,

with a much greater emphasis on education and support.

Businesses need to keep records which can clearly demonstrate they are meeting their tax responsibilities. From

this month, HMRC will send letters to businesses it believes may be at risk of keeping inadequate records,

advising the business that HMRC will be phoning them to discuss their business records. This call will then take

the customer through a set of questions to assess the customer’s record-keeping affairs. Depending on the

outcome of this conversation, HMRC will then determine whether the customer could benefit from tailored

educational support and whether a Business Records Checks visit is necessary.

Where a visit reveals the customer is keeping inadequate records, HMRC will provide guidance on what the

customer needs to do to improve their record keeping. HMRC will then arrange a follow up visit, normally three

months later, giving the business a reasonable time to make the necessary improvements to their record-keeping

processes. If, on the second visit, the records have not improved to an adequate standard, then HMRC may

charge a penalty.

The Business Records Checks programme will be rolled-out, region by region, over a 14-week period. The planned

timetable for visits to re-commence is as follows:

London & Anglia – 26 November 2012

South East England – 14 January 2013

Scotland – 14 January 2013

Northern Ireland – 14 January 2013

Central England – 21 January 2013

East of England – 28 January 2013

North Wales & the North West of England – 28 January 2013

South Wales & the South West of England – 4 February 2013

HMRC’s Director of Local Compliance, Richard Summersgill, said:

“We’ve listened to businesses and agents, and revamped our Business Records Checks programme to make it

more streamlined, targeted and better focused on education.


“The visits offer benefits for

businesses at risk of keeping

inadequate records. Adequate records

help businesses pay the right amount

of tax at the right time, thereby

avoiding interest and penalties for

errors and late payment, whilst also

giving HMRC greater assurance when

a business submits its tax returns.”

For more information

Tel: 07860 359 544


Somerset Business Awards

Top Somerset businesses celebrate

success at the Somerset Business Awards

New to Somerset Award

Sponsored by inward investment body,

Into Somerset.

Somerset Businesses are recognised at the Somerset

Business Awards 2012.

Over 280 people from the county’s leading businesses

attended the sell-out event at the Somerset County

Cricket Ground to find out who had won this year’s

hotly contested awards. The event organisers

commented that the standard of the entries this year

had been exceptional, whilst the number of

companies entering was up by 20 per cent, proving

that the popularity and prestige of the Somerset

Business Awards continues to increase year on year.

Main sponsors, Albert Goodman, which has offices

throughout Somerset, opened the annual Somerset

Business Awards. Managing Partner of Albert

Goodman, David Griffin, commented, “It is so

important for us to be involved with the Somerset

Business Awards. We want to celebrate the

entrepreneurial skill, enthusiasm and commitment

that is so prevalent in Somerset’s businesses. We are

very proud to acknowledge this and applaud it.”

This year’s winners are:

New Business of the Year Award

Sponsored by design and print

company, Glyder Ltd

The winner was Blackdown

Shepherds Huts and George

Bannister and Will Vickery

accepted the award and

commented, “This is great.

We want to thank all the

small companies that have

helped supply parts for our

business and to our friends, family and customers,

who have supported us throughout. We feel very

privileged and honoured to win.”



The award went to Prolift Access

Ltd. Andrew Pearson and Andrew

Martin accepted the award and

commented, “This is brilliant and

we want to say a massive thank

you to everyone that believed in

us. Our aim was to bring the

heart back to our business and

bring employment back into the

area. We look forward to a bright future here in

Somerset. From here we will get bigger and better but

we can’t be any prouder than we are now.”



Service Excellence Award

Sponsored by Blueloop, IT services

The award went to leading

mortgage and insurance company,

Cooper Associates Ltd. Samantha

Cooper, Managing Director,

accepted the award and said, “It is

a huge privilege to be accepting this

award, from an organisation that is

so prestigious and well recognised

as the Somerset Business Awards.

Since starting, Cooper Associates has had the aim of

offering an unparalleled-level of service in the

financial services sector. Without the support and

hard work of our great team, this award would not be

possible. So thank you!”



Best Exporter Award

Sponsored by

Foot Anstey LLP

The award was presented to Hilton

Herbs and Martin Brooks, Production

and Export Manager, collected the

award and said, “Thank you so

much for this. I am honoured, it has been an



Somerset Business Awards

extremely difficult year for us and this means the world

to me and the 17 guys back at work.”



The Albert Goodman Family Business


Sponsored by the Somerset Business Awards main

sponsor Albert Goodman.

The winner of the award was Monkton Elm

Garden & Pet Centre and David Bellman

collected the award. He comments, “This is

wonderful and after a

life-long dedication to

Somerset and our garden

centre, I am now handing over

to my son in law, Mike.” Mike

Lind said, “It is absolutely

wonderful to be involved with

this business. It is a well

established business, which

has been running for 30 years

and employs more than 100

people. We are proud to be a

Somerset business, there is no where better to be




recognise that BAM Construction is actively involved in




Charity of the Year Award

Sponsored by Clarke Willmott LLP.

The winner was Stand Against

Violence and Adam Fouracre said,

“I am really pleased to accept this

award and want to thank everyone

within the charity, including the

volunteers and charity trustees, We

started as small campaign six years

ago and have been on a fantastic

journey, working in collaboration

with great businesses, locally and

nationally. Our work has reached thousands and our

educational work has improved behaviour and reduced

violence and offending. It has been an exhilarating

experience and we have all worked very hard to get

here. We have great aims for the future and are excited

for the expansion of the charity and being able to

deliver new community projects. This award means we

have credibility and will increase our awareness.”



Skills for Growth Award

Sponsored by Somerset Employment

& Skills Board.

The award was presented to BAM

Construction Ltd. Lorna Lewis

accepted the award and said, “We

are delighted to win this award. The

timing is perfect as we, today,

launched our Skills Academy,

which came about from working

with fantastic Bridgwater schools. It

will provide work experience for

young people, support schools with

curriculum activities and ensure jobs are advertised

locally. We want to be a part of up-skilling the vast

supply chain in Somerset. Winning this award helps


Collaborative Innovation Award

Sponsored by the Open

Innovation Initiative.

The award was presented

to Gary Gabriel

Associates. Duncan

Clayton and Daniel

Kennard accepted the

award and commented,

“We really didn’t expect to

win this award, but we are

honoured to win and it means an awful lot to us.

Collaboration is something that is at the heart of the

business and it has really helped us grow through

these very difficult times. If you collaborate properly,

with the great companies around you, the innovation

comes naturally.”

Somerset Business Awards



Marketing and Promotion Award

Sponsored by public relations agency,


The award went to leading insurance broker, Higos


Services Ltd. Neil

Wyatt, accepted

the award and

said, “It means a

lot to be able to

receive this

award, especially

as the insurance

sector is a very competitive market. Through our

marketing, we try to differentiate ourselves from others

and put across the benefits of using an insurance

broker. The TV advertising was a risk, thankfully it paid




Business of the Year 6-50 Employees Award

Sponsored by EDF Energy.

The winner was Taunton

Fabrications Ltd and

Jason Rigby accepted the

award. He commented, “I am

completely blown away. I can’t

believe that we have won and I want

to thank our brilliant team for their

continued hard work. It is truly




Energy Efficiency Award

Sponsored by Somerset County Council

against all the other

‘bigger boys’. When

visitors come to our site,

we get them to realise

how enthusiastic we are

about energy efficiency

and recycling at our site.

Thank you very much.”



Business of the Year 0-1 Employees Award

Sponsored by the Somerset

Chamber of Commerce.

The award was presented to The

Langport Leveller and Somerton

Sentinel and Andrew Lee

accepted the award. He said,

“Thank you very much. For such a

small company it is a

tremendous piece of recognition.

We only launched two years ago

and it grows every month. It is a

reader-driven business and I couldn’t do it without the

readers and of course, my wonderful partner.”



Business of the Year 2-5 Employees Award

Sponsored by Lentells Accountants.

The winner was Pardoes Bevins Human

Resources Limited

and Becky Bevins and Claire

Rowswell, collected the award,

commenting, “This award is

truly fantastic, it shows the

reason we are here and I must

thank our great team. It means

a great deal to us and shows

that our hard work is well

recognised. Our heart is

definitely in it.”

The award went to Thorney Lakes Caravan and

Camping Park of Langport, Richard England and

Sally Gilliam accepted the award who

commented, “I really wasn’t expecting to win, especially





Somerset Business Awards

Business of the Year 51+ Employees Award

Sponsored by Higos Insurance

Services Ltd Co-operative Society

The award was presented to Clarke Willmott LLP and

Philip Allen and Kate Gardner

collected the award. Philip

commented, “Life is an amazing

adventure and our business

started with its humble roots in

Somerset. Since 1898, we have

now grown to six offices,

employing more than 500 staff. I

want to say a huge thank you to

everyone, including our private,

individual clients and the larger



Presenter - Matt Faulkner BBC Somerset

Photographer - Charles Glover Photography

Media Sponsor - Somerset County Gazette

PR Support - ADPR Ltd

Trophies & Marketing material - Glyder Design & Print

Film production - Bridgwater College

Staging, lighting & AV equipment - Bright Productions

Musical Entertainment - Giles Adams, Character


Flowers - Dotty Daisy’s Florists

Cheese Boards - Somerdale International

For the kindly donated raffle prizes;

Somerset County Cricket Ground

Mount Somerset Hotel




Contact the Chamber Call 01823 444924, email or visit

Next Events

Christmas Nibbles

Date: Wednesday 19th


Time: 16.00 –18.00

Venue: Equity House, Taunton

Cost: F.O.C

The Somerset Chamber of Commerce and

Clerksroom invite you to Christmas nibbles

at Equity House

Christmas is fast approaching and as a thank you for

your support over the past year and in a bid to spread a

little Christmas cheer, Somerset Chamber and

Clerksroom are inviting members and non-members of

the Chamber to join us for a glass of bubbly and some

Christmas nibbles.

Pop in for a quick glass of bubbly or stay for the

afternoon, we look forward to seeing you.

If you wish to come along let us know, email, tweet or

give us a call;

Email us:

Tweet us @ChamberSomerset


Tel: 01823 444924

Business to Business Dinner

Date: Tuesday 22nd January 2013

Time: 19.00

Venue: The Battleborough Grange Hotel

Cost: Members £28.00 Non-Members £38.00 (inc VAT)

Food Provided: 3 course meal + coffee

What better way to start the New Year, then

with our popular networking dinner!

The first Business to Business Dinner of 2013 will take

place in the North of the county at The Battleborough

Grange at Brent Knoll. Held in conjunction with

neighbouring Town Chambers of Axbridge, Highbridge

and Burnham on Sea we can expect to see around 50

people attend.

Guests will be treated to a 3 course dinner, and enjoy

the usual table moving format of the event that will

ensure that you get to meet as many people as possible

during the evening. There will also be adequate

networking time before and after dinner.

Past dinners regularly attract around 50 people to each

event, and we anticipate this event to be as popular. An

ideal way to begin the New Year!

Kindly sponsored by Positive Wealth Creation Ltd

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)

Ladies Christmas Afternoon Tea - Tuesday 4th December

Don’t Miss our last ladies networking event of 2012.

Time: 14.00 Venue: Mount Somerset Hotel Cost: Members £15.00 Non Members £20.00


Business to Business Dinner - Tuesday 22nd January 2013

Join us for our first business dinner of the 2013. Start the year as you mean to carry on!

Time: 19.00 Venue: The Battleborough Grange: Members £28.00 Non Members £38.00

Pension Auto Enrolment Breakfast - Thursday 31st January

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



Bank of England Update - Thursday 28th February


Join us for breakfast and an update from a member of the Monetary Policy Committee

Time: 07.45 Venue: Yeovil Town Football Club Cost: Members £15.00 Non Members £15.00

Meet the Chamber

More than 40 people joined the Somerset Chamber on the 25 th October in Somerton, for an opportunity to meet

the Chamber team and to have an update on all the services and benefits that the Somerset Chamber can offer

its members. Due to busy schedules, the Chamber team are not often together all at once, so this event really

was useful for those people who wanted to talk to each individual staff member about topics directly related to

their business, and staff offered assistance in return.

Representatives from Westfield Health and Axa PPP presented their companys and how the accreditation through

the British Chambers of Commerce can help save Chamber members money and create a useful recruiting tool by

way of private insurance.

As you are all aware, membership of the Somerset Chamber is an excellent way to stay up to date with all the

business developments within the county, as well as promoting and raising the profile of your company. If you

know of a company who you think would also benefit from membership of the Chamber please email

Images from the Meet the Chamber breakfast, Somerton

Call 01823 444924

For queries please email

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