Of Commerce & Industry Ltd

August 2016


The Somerset Business


Hinkley Update

Hinkley go-ahead

celebrations on hold

See pages 4 & 5

EU Referendum

EDF’s long-awaited final

“We thoroughly enjoyed our day

investment out supporting a decision

well worthy

charity, it was superbly

organised and we look forward to

attending other events in



and national

demonstrates a significant vote

of confidence in the local,

supply chain.

- Andrew Jeanes

Full story page page 16 4

Somerset MPs share

their views post-Brexit

See pages 6 & 7

British Chambers

QES reveals sub-par

UK economic growth

See page 13


Zero university fees for

Yeovil College centre

See page 17


Upcoming events

See pages 19 & 20

Find us on LinkedIn

Follow us @chambersomerset


3 CEO’s Update

4 Hinkley Point C Update

6 MPs’ Views Post-Brexit

8 New Members

9 New Somerset

Chamber Patron

10 Members’ News

12 Business News

13 British Chambers of


14 Town Chamber News

15 Member Focus:

Fisher & Company

16 Apprenticeships Day

17 Yeovil College

University Centre

18 Somerset Business


19 Upcoming Events

20 Somerset Chamber

Events Calendar

About Us...

Magazine Editor

Scarlett Scott-Collins


Somerset Chamber of Commerce

& Industry Ltd

Equity House

Blackbrook Park Avenue

Blackbrook Business Park




T: 01823 444924



Working in conjunction with the

following Somerset Chamber members

to produce and distribute this edition:

Character Graphics

Dome Marketing Ltd

Mailadoc Ltd

With Thanks to our Patrons



Bradfords Group

Bridgwater College


EDF Energy


Laing O’Rourke

Somerset County Council

Somerset County

Cricket Club


Wessex Reserve Forces’ &

Cadets’ Association

Yeovil College

Front cover image courtesy of EDF Energy

CEO’s Update

Dale Edwards reflects on the UK’s position

post-Brexit and looks to the future of


It is now just over a month since the country awoke to

the news that the electorate had decided Britain

would be better off outside the EU. This resulted in a

significant amount of political chaos and short term

financial turmoil as the world waited to see what

would happen next.

There were predictions from some that the country

would suffer an economic Armageddon by deciding to

leave the EU – there were similar fears with the Y2K

millennium bug for those who can remember, which

never came to pass. A few weeks on, the initial shock

of the news is subsiding and Armageddon has not


Clearly we face uncertain times and many business

people are understandably concerned about what the

future will bring, particularly those exporting,

importing and with strong European connections.

However, with change comes opportunity, so now is

the time for the business community to remain calm

and focused on business growth.

While the Somerset Chamber and the British

Chambers of Commerce are politically neutral, I am

pleased that the Conservative Party has chosen its

new leader in a timely and organised manner, and

that it did not take until September which would have

generated a further two months of uncertainty. It is

great that we have local MP Dr Liam Fox in the

cabinet as Secretary of State for International Trade.

I am pleased that a new department of Business,

Energy and Industrial Strategy has been created and

that comments from senior cabinet ministers seem

supportive of the proposed plans to build Hinkley

Point C, which would certainly provide a boost for our

local economy.

Over the last few months, the Hinkley Supply Chain

Team, led by the Somerset Chamber of Commerce,

has been working exceptionally hard and in

partnership with EDF Energy and Tier 1 contractors,

identifying more work packages and requirements

and matching these to South West businesses

registered on the supply chain portal. These are being

identified and released on a regular basis, so I would

strongly recommend that all 3,200 businesses on the

portal revisit their submissions to ensure the

information is


including contact


experience and


The Hinkley

Supply Chain

Team has also

been busy

creating a


Services Group,

which aims to provide a support network to those

looking to bid, win and manage contracts going

forward. More news to follow on this in a future


As a Chamber, we are preparing for the future and

I am delighted that Carla Tier has joined us as our new

Marketing and Communications Manager. Somerset

born and bred, Carla brings a wealth of experience to

the team having worked with high profile Somerset

businesses in the past. Over the coming weeks new

team members will join, and we have said farewell to

Jenn Chidley-Sanders for a while as she goes off on

maternity leave. All at the Chamber wish her well and

look forward to seeing her new-born soon, but she is

planning to remain heavily involved in the Somerset

Business Awards after the birth, such is her dedication

to the Somerset Chamber and the business

community of Somerset.

I finish this month with a quick reminder about the

Somerset Business Awards. Entries close on 22 nd

August and I would encourage all Somerset

businesses to enter. This is an excellent opportunity to

showcase business success and celebrate our thriving

business community. See page 18 of this issue for

more details.

I hope you’re having a great summer!

Dale Edwards

CEO of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce


Hinkley Point C Update

FID celebrations on hold due to further

delay for Hinkley Point C

The long-awaited

announcement that EDF has

made a Final Investment

Decision (FID) to proceed with

the £18billion construction of

Hinkley Point C finally came at

the end of last month.

On 28th July, EDF’s Board of

Directors voted in favour of the final investment

decision, giving the go-ahead to build the two nuclear

reactors at Hinkley Point C.

The news was warmly welcomed by the Somerset

Chamber of Commerce and local businesses on the

Hinkley supply chain, with the project expected to

provide a great boost for the Somerset and South

West economy.

Speaking following the FID announcement, Chris

Langdon, Project Lead for the Somerset Chamber’s

Hinkley Supply Chain Team, said, “This is very positive

news for local businesses registered on the

supply chain portal as it means that

contracts with a number of Tier 1 preferred

bidders can now be signed, leading to full

mobilisation of teams and works on site, with

real opportunities arising for the local supply


further progress on the project will be delayed until the


Mr Clark said that ministers would examine the project,

stating, “The UK needs a reliable and secure energy

supply and the government believes that nuclear

energy is an important part of the mix. The government

will now consider carefully all the component parts of

this project and make its decision in the early


While the announcement of a government review came

as a surprise to the vast majority of people, sources

within the Conservative Party have suggested that this

should not have been entirely unexpected, given new

Prime Minister Theresa May’s reputation for focusing

on the detail.

On a more positive note, recent comments from

Britain’s new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip

Hammond, have shown support for the project.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier in

the month, the Chancellor said that he was “confident

that we will be able to get the Hinkley Point project

going ahead”.


“The Hinkley Supply Chain Team will

continue to engage with EDF Energy and

Tier 1 teams to identify opportunities early

and drive the engagement process, sourcing

and promoting the most capable suppliers

against identified requirements. We will also

continue to capture supplier capability for

Somerset and the South West, as well as

stimulating and facilitating collaboration where


“We encourage all suppliers already on the supply

chain portal to review their registration and ensure

all details are fully up-to-date. Other businesses

interested in the opportunity that Hinkley Point C

presents should register immediately – registration is

free of charge and there are still many opportunities for

businesses on the portal to be part of the project over

the coming months and years.”

But despite the green light from EDF, an unexpected

announcement later that evening from the Business

and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, has meant that any

Summing up the importance of Hinkley Point C, he

said, “Being able to deliver a reliable power supply is

an absolute prerequisite for a modern, dynamic,

functioning economy and we have to make sure that

we continue to generate the power that is needed for

the UK grid. Hinkley Point will make a huge

contribution – 6% of our total power generation

capacity – and we have to make sure that that project

goes ahead.”

While the delay is frustrating, the Somerset Chamber

has reiterated its confidence in the development,

adding that this may give more local businesses an

opportunity to get involved.

Chief Executive Dale Edwards said, “The

unexpected announcement regarding a

government review will no doubt be very

frustrating for the many businesses that

have been awaiting the green light from


“However, we were very much

encouraged by the fact that EDF’s

long-awaited final investment decision

demonstrates a significant vote of

confidence in the local, regional and

national supply chain being ready, willing

and able to deliver this major

infrastructure project. We remain positive

that the project will go ahead.

“This is a huge opportunity – it is likely to

be the biggest construction project in Europe – and

having a little more time for suppliers to ensure they

are fully prepared is no bad thing, as well as potentially

giving more local firms an opportunity to get involved

in the supply chain activity.

“Already we have five local supplier groups announced

as preferred bidders for contracts with a value of

around £225million, involving over 20 local and

regional businesses. Contracts to the value of

£50million have already been awarded and are being

delivered by almost 200 suppliers in Somerset, with

another £58million worth of contracts currently with

suppliers across the South West, so the economic

benefits for the region are already being realised.

“We understand that Theresa May and the new

cabinet want to go over the details of the contract,

but it is important that we get a decision quickly to

avoid any long term uncertainty, not only for the

economic resilience of the region but also for the

country’s long term energy security. A strong message

that the UK and particularly the South West is open

for business needs to be communicated, to instil the

confidence that will have been dented following the

government’s decision to delay.

“In the meantime, the Somerset Chamber’s Hinkley

Supply Chain Team will continue to work with EDF, its

Tier 1 contractors and the businesses registered on

the portal to ensure that as many local businesses

benefit from the project as possible.”

On a national level, the British Chambers of Commerce

urged the government to make the necessary

investments in infrastructure in order to support the

UK’s businesses and economy.

Dr Adam Marshall, Acting Director General of the

British Chambers of Commerce, said, “Delays in

making decisions on key infrastructure investments is

becoming a depressing theme of successive

governments. Action is needed now to ensure that the

energy, transport and communications needs of the

country are met now and in the future. Our ageing

infrastructure is already having detrimental effects on

businesses, and any decisions taken today will still

take many years to become operational.

“While it is important for the government to properly

assess the full details of the deal on offer before

making its final decision, the UK simply cannot afford

to prevaricate on issues that are of vital importance to

our economy. The additional re-invigoration to local

economies that large road, rail, airport, digital and

energy infrastructure projects would create through

supply chain contracts, would also be a welcome boon

to UK businesses at this time of transition.”

Hinkley Point C is expected to boost the South West

regional economy by £100million per year during the

peak of the construction period, boosting business

capability and productivity, improving skills levels in

the workforce, and attracting high quality firms to the


The Somerset Chamber of Commerce manages the

Hinkley supply chain portal and is the first point of

contact for Somerset and South West businesses

wishing to engage in the construction of the proposed

nuclear new build project.

For information on registration, work packages and

more, visit

Images courtesy of EDF Energy


MPs’ Views Post-Brexit

Somerset MPs address local businesses following the EU referendum

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union following the recent referendum has caused widespread upheaval

across the political parties. David Cameron’s resignation and the subsequent leadership contest within the

Conservative Party have resulted in a new Prime Minister and Cabinet, while the question of party leadership

remains a priority within both the Labour Party and UKIP.

While the political turmoil and speed of change following the referendum raised further uncertainty for many in

business, the swift progress that has been made in recent weeks is reassuring, with an increased focus on

stabilising the UK economy and communicating that Britain is ‘open for business’.

We contacted all of the Members of Parliament within Somerset, asking them what they wanted to say to

businesses in their constituencies following the ‘Brexit’ vote. Due to their schedules, not all of the MPs were able

to respond by the time we went to print but from the comments we did receive, their outlooks for the future are

generally positive.

Ian Liddell-Grainger MP

Member of Parliament for Bridgwater and West Somerset

“During the fractious Referendum campaign I met several Somerset business leaders

who wished it would all go away. Political uncertainty never helps trade. Customers

go coy, caution takes hold, and the old Ostrich survival instinct kicks in.

“Burying heads in the sand, however, was never going to be an effective answer. Yes,

there are still more questions than answers about the precise layout of life when the

UK leaves the EU. There will be challenges and pitfalls – some of them unwelcome.

“We do not know how negotiations on trade with our former partners will fare. But

I am convinced that the outcome will be less of a shock to the system than some

doom-laden voices have predicted. What is encouraging is the speed with which the

stock market has settled. The exodus of global companies is no longer being talked

about. The threat of economic Armageddon has receded. We have to thank the

resilience of our home grown entrepreneurs for this.

“Brexit was not what the new Prime Minister wanted, but she promises to deliver.

I am putting my trust in her and in the ingenuity of Somerset’s business community. Like the poster says –

‘Keep calm and carry on!’”

Rebecca Pow MP

Member of Parliament for Taunton Deane

“Having been in contact with businesses across Taunton Deane, I understand

current uncertainties are causing some to pause investment decisions as we take

stock of our relationship with Europe.

“Government is fully aware that what business needs is stability and I am pleased

that a prolonged leadership campaign has been avoided and that we have our new

Prime Minister, Theresa May. An experienced, respected and determined leader,

she has moved with speed to put her new government in place to start work

immediately so that signals of reassurance can be given to business and to

international investors that the UK is open for trade.

“We have a sound base from which to build, where 2.5million jobs have been

created in the last six years. The deficit has been reduced by two thirds and some of

the major banks have been recapitalised.

“In the light of our new Brexit status, the economy will change and will require a

different set of parameters, but I am optimistic this government with its raft of new appointments will ensure a

swift transition, enabling business to invest and grow.

“Developing a workforce with the right skills is key to a successful future and the apprenticeship scheme, fuelled

by the business levy, must deliver on this.”


James Heappey MP

Member of Parliament for Wells

“I came to the conclusion that we should remain in the EU because I thought the

economic consequences of Brexit were too uncertain. The referendum gave us a

different result so, as bizarre as it feels, I now genuinely hope to be proven wrong.

“The new Prime Minister has got off to a great start. I like that the Foreign &

Commonwealth Office will be able to develop our relationships with the rest of the

world unfettered by the minutiae of Brexit because that will be negotiated by a

department devoted to the cause. The creation of a Department for International

Trade is hugely exciting and we already have countries seeking a deal with us. In

the longer term there is plenty to be optimistic about.

“However none of that should mask the reality of the challenges over the next year

or two. No matter how well our negotiations go, in the interim there will be doubt

over our access to the single market and that may deter customers or suppliers from trading with us until our

longer term trading arrangement with the EU is better understood. There is no consolation for that other than to

batten down the hatches, weather the storm and look forward to the deals that lie ahead.”

Marcus Fysh MP

Member of Parliament for Yeovil

“Many small businesses will stop paying business

rates altogether from April, something I have

campaigned passionately for, and we are looking to

increase and accelerate infrastructure investment,

reduce and simplify other taxes, and boost skills in

our area.

“We are also looking to integrate the above in a

joined up industrial strategy in which we listen to

business needs and capitalise on opportunities

coming from the Hinkley and A303 investments.

“Free town centre car parking periods would also

boost high streets and smaller retailers and I will

continue to encourage local authorities in that


“I firmly believe the referendum result has created an opportunity for business.

Being able to access the single market whilst being able to trade with non-EU

nations on our own terms should bring new benefits, and less regulation should

mean small business can thrive.

“Whilst some uncertainty during the negotiation is inevitable, I think most people

understand we have a vibrant economy and are in a strong position to keep trade

free and reach deals

quickly. Moreover we are

redoubling efforts to

improve competitiveness,

with radical national and

local policies that should

underpin the future of

local business.

What do you think? We are keen to hear your

views, so please join the conversation online by

visiting our LinkedIn Group discussion.


New Members

Broadoak Financial Consulting Ltd

Chartered Accountancy Practice

Ashley Pocock

07949 941518

Chadwick Holdings

Commercial Property Investors

Richard Douglas

01275 795395

Cornelsen Ltd

Industrial Water Filtration

Quentin Hulm

01275 856700

Dub'l-lif Taunton Ltd

Cleaning Product Manufacturers

Mark Petrich

01823 333568

Shetland Facilities Management

Facilities & Security Management

Simon Orchard

01275 398865

X-Press Legal Services

Conveyancing Search Providers

John Watt

0330 159 5311

Richard Douglas, Managing Director, introduces Chadwick Holdings Ltd

The Chadwick Group of Companies is a family owned commercial

property business based in Clevedon, North Somerset, and is

active across the South West and Wales.

Our main activities centre on direct property investment, with a

special interest in multi-let office buildings with active asset

management potential. We have also been developing a business

centre network over the last two years, and provide seed capital for property-related new starts.

We purchased the 32,000 sq ft Exchange Building

at Express Park, Bridgwater, in May 2016 with a

view to reinvigorating the building with our ‘hands

on’ approach to marketing, being flexible in our

negotiations with tenants and making sure we

provide a first class working environment.

To ensure we deliver

what our occupiers need,

we go the extra mile by

providing ultra-high

speed internet services

so that our occupiers can

move in quickly. If

required, we’ll also

provide furniture and

fit-out under a turn-key

solution where

everything is taken care

of by our projects team.

Our first investment into Somerset has been such

a positive experience, with lettings agreed within

the first two months to companies including

Skanska and Parent Pay, besides the many other

positive things occurring in Bridgwater and the

county in general.


New Somerset Chamber Patron

Welcome to new Somerset Chamber Patron,

Wessex Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’


Wessex Reserve

Forces’ & Cadets’

Association (RFCA)

has become a

Patron of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce.

From the organisation’s headquarters in Taunton,

Wessex RFCA is responsible for the wellbeing of the

region's Reserve Forces and Cadets, promoting the

interests of the Armed Forces and building relationships

with the local community and employers. It is an

independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to

supporting and promoting the 3,000 tri-service

Reservists and 14,000 Cadets across the South West

of England.

Jon Beake, Senior Employer Engagement Director, said,

“Very proudly Wessex RFCA has been a member

organisation of Somerset Chamber for around 11 years,

and has taken the step to become a Patron in order to

allow us the great opportunity to support and contribute

to the success of Somerset businesses.

“In addition to seeking to

represent its members’

interests at a county and

national level, the Somerset

Chamber offers great

opportunities to engage with

the business community

across the county in very

well hosted and facilitated

networking events,

discussing a range of key

issues from skills gaps and

employability to business

development and growth.

“At Wessex RFCA, our remit is to engage with all sectors

of society to increase awareness and understanding of

the Armed Forces community. A large part of what we do

involves communicating with businesses to ensure that

they receive tangible benefits through partnering with


“We all want to create a vibrant and sustainable

economic environment and we believe we can help

Somerset and South West businesses do just that.

“A range of links can be made between businesses and

the Armed Forces community, from recruiting ex-Service

personnel; supporting Reservists, Cadets or Service

spouses; to advertising to the Armed Forces community.

We can also assist with providing personnel for the

Hinkley C contracts too!

“Our core business is supporting Reserves and Cadets,

but in so doing we have to talk to the businesses they

work in, or aspire to work in. Why then would we not talk

to businesses about how else members of the Armed

Forces can bring benefit to them?

“I am delighted that the Somerset Chamber, as well as

some of the Chamber’s Partners, are in the process of

adopting an Armed Forces Covenant to demonstrate that

they are Armed Forces friendly. We look forward to

helping Dale and the Board define and communicate the

detail of this.”

Somerset Chamber CEO, Dale Edwards, added, “I am

delighted that the Wessex Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’

Association has become the Somerset Chamber’s latest

Patron. Prior to this, Wessex RFCA and the Somerset

Chamber were already working together, with Wessex

RFCA sponsoring a number of Chamber events. I was

immediately impressed with their aims of supporting the

wellbeing of the region’s Reserve Forces and Cadets,

and we at the Somerset Chamber will be supporting

them at their events too.

“One particular focus of Wessex RFCA is to encourage

businesses to employ a Reservist and I am pleased to

announce that the Chamber has recruited Carla Tier,

who is a Reservist for 39 Signal Regiment, as our new

Marketing and Communications Manager. As a Chamber

we are committed to signing up to the Armed Services

Covenant, with more news on this later in the year.”


Wessex RFCA is offering members a cost free, no

obligation consultation on how partnering with Defence

might benefit their business.

For more information, contact Jon Beake on 01823

250110 or email

The Life Online project aims to contribute to

Europe 2020 Strategy, Rethinking Education &

Youth Guarantee by helping to address the high

rates of youth unemployment and skills gaps. This

is a three year project that runs from

1 st September 2015 to 31 st August 2018.

To find out more, visit


Members’ News


Stand Against Violence charity ball raises

over £7,000

A great night was had by all at

the Stand Against Violence

charity ball on Friday 8 th July.

The Taunton Rugby Club

provided a top quality three course meal and the

evening was filled with fun and entertainment,

including live music by the talented Nightshift. Guests

reported that this was one of the best years yet and

look forward to attending again.

The evening raised over £7,000 for Stand Against

Violence to help in the charity’s continued work to

reduce violence in our communities.

Adam Fouracre, founder

of Stand Against

Violence, said, “It has

been a terrific night.

There were a lot of new

faces in the room, which

is great to see, and I

hope everyone had a

great time. The money

raised is extremely

valuable in helping us continue to meet our aims and

we are grateful to everyone who supported the night.”

Stand Against Violence thanked sponsors Claims

Consortium Group, Red Berry Recruitment, Santander,

Eden, Party On Warehouse and Food 4 You, as well as

all who donated items to the auction.

Monks Yard launches new charity project

Monks Yard near

Ilminster launched

its latest community

project in July, having already raised over £8,000 for

charitable causes in the past two years.

In 2014, the Monks Yard team decided to give

something back to the community by hosting MY

Community days – one day a month where it gives

away a large proportion of its café takings to nominated


On July’s community day, Monks Yard launched its new

project, Baby Basics South Somerset. This provides the

essential items needed for life with a new baby to

vulnerable families, through midwives and other

healthcare professionals. £369 was raised on the day,

plus Monks Yard’s customers made numerous

donations including new and second-hand clothing,

nappies and toiletries.

Lisa Osborne, Centre

Manager of Baby Basics

South Somerset, said, “We

have been overwhelmed

with the positive response

to Baby Basics. It is such a

simple and practical project

that everyone can

understand and be a part

of. It was amazing to raise

so much at our launch and

this will enable us to make

a huge difference to

vulnerable women and their new babies in our


Wetroom manufacturer achieves

recertification for ISO 9001 and ISO 14001

Impey Wetrooms, based in

Ilton, has received

recertification to the

international ISO standards – ISO 9001 and ISO


Established over 20 years ago, Impey is the leading

UK-based designer and manufacturer of wetroom

components. Employing 60 people locally, the firm

showcases its glass shower screens, waterproofing

equipment and unique and exclusive floor formers,

which are used in both domestic and healthcare

settings, at internationally attended bathroom

exhibitions across the country.

Impey’s ISO 9001 is

evidence of the

implementation of a quality

management system for all

areas of the business

including facilities, people,

training, services and

equipment. The ISO 14001

certification confirms

Impey’s commitment to

running an environmentally

aware business, helping to

reduce waste, carbon

footprint and lowering environmental liability.

Continuous Improvement Manager, Nigel Lusby, said,

“We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved.

These important certifications demonstrate that we

take all aspects of our business very seriously. They

are a good reflection of the quality and effort that goes

into the running of the business; making it a fabulous

place to work and a great company to do business


Charity festival is a record breaker

once again

Home Farm Fest,

the biggest annual

fundraiser for the

charity School in a Bag, has once again smashed its

previous year’s fundraising total, raising just over

£60,000 in 2016. It has now raised over a quarter of

a million pounds in its 11 year history.

This year the festival organisers made some changes

to the layout, including introducing a fifth stage. There

were 96 performances over the three days – almost a

25% rise on the amount of music and other acts on

offer compared with last year. Festival numbers have

risen by nearly 1,000 people in the past two years.

Luke Simon, Founder

and CEO of School in

a Bag and Home

Farm Fest organiser,

said, “This year took

us by surprise once

again! Our ticket

sales far exceeded

any previous year in

the lead-up to the festival and we couldn’t believe just

how far some people are travelling for it now.

“With the festival getting bigger, it means relying on

more volunteers, and we are so lucky to have such a

brilliant team who help from setting everything up,

being here over the festival weekend and then helping

tidy up afterwards. We’re only a small team who run

the charity and organise the festival, so we are truly

grateful for all the help we receive.”

Harry’s Cider awards success goes global

Somerset craft cider company

Harry’s Cider has won a sweep of

recent awards, with medals from the

Taste of the West Awards, the British

Cider Championships and now the

International Cider Challenge.

Harry’s Original and Harry’s Dabinett sparkling ciders

have both been awarded Bronze medals at the

International Cider Challenge, which is organised by

leading trade publication Off Licence News. The

standard of this year’s competition was extremely

high according to the organisers, and the judging

panel – comprised of buyers, award-winning

independent retailers, cider experts, journalists and

cider makers – were very impressed overall.

This is a great achievement for

the young family-run business

in only its first year of entering

the International Cider

Challenge, which attracts

submissions from across the


Owner Harry Fry says, “We are

all delighted with the awards

we’ve received this year. The

framework of the business

has been set by our standards

and success so far, but there is still a lot of work to be

done. We intend to expand the Harry’s Cider range and

are continually striving to improve the quality of the

ciders we make.”

Poolbridge Accountancy apprentices

celebrate success

Two apprentices at


Accountancy are

celebrating after completing their apprenticeships,

with both keen to continue their accountancy careers

at the growing practice.

Lucy Kitching completed an Administration

apprenticeship in May and is keen to enrol on an AAT

Accountancy course from September.

Sam Vining, one of the practice’s bookkeepers, has

completed AAT Level 3 and is already looking at

courses that will enable her to specialise in VAT.

Alongside studying AAT, she has also completed Sage

Accounts and Payroll courses.

Caroline Phillimore,

Managing Director of

Poolbridge Accountancy,

said, “We’re really proud of

Lucy and Sam, who have

both completed their

courses and have grown

into really valued members

of the team. It is important

to us at Poolbridge

Accountancy to make sure all of our employees are

well supported and continually developed, so they can

reach their full potential, as well as delivering the best

possible service for our clients.”

Based near Burnham-on-Sea and Cheddar, Poolbridge

Accountancy offers a wide range of accountancy,

bookkeeping and payroll services to businesses and



Business News

Reform to business rates appeals process

The Department for Communities and Local

Government (DCLG) has outlined its plans to reform

the business rates appeals process. Under the plans,

a new online service will enable business owners to

quickly and efficiently check and challenge their

business rates bills, while a new three-stage ‘check,

challenge, appeal’ process will help prevent

speculative appeals and ensure genuine disputes are

resolved more quickly.

Business owners will be charged a £300 fee to lodge

an appeal, which is refunded if the appeal is

successful. However, small business owners may be

eligible for a reduced fee rate when making an

appeal, as part of a package to support small firms

which will provide guidance to help them navigate the

system without the need for professional support.

The plans follow a DCLG consultation on the appeals

process launched in October 2015, where the

majority of respondents said that the current system

was overly complex and in need of reform.

For further information:

CMA seeks views on legal services market


The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has

published an interim report on legal services provision

for small firms and consumers in England and Wales.

This is part of an overall market study into legal

services, and the CMA is seeking views on the report's

findings. According to the report, the legal services

market is not working as well as it might and lack of

information is identified as a key problem.

For example, just 17% of legal service providers

publish their fees online and there are few tools

available to help compare service providers. The

CMA's Rachel Merelie explained that, for many small

firms and consumers, legal services are infrequently

purchased and "a lack of experience or prior

knowledge makes it very challenging to assess what

represents good value". Comments about the report

can be submitted by e-mail or post until 19 th August


For further information:

Advice for employers about vaping in the


Public Health England has published an advice

framework to help firms develop evidence-based

e-cigarette policies for the workplace. The framework

identifies five objectives to be considered when

drafting an e-cigarette policy, which include making a

clear distinction between vaping and smoking and

ensuring the policy is based on evidence of harm to


Each objective is accompanied by considerations. For

example, although the framework makes it clear that

there is insufficient evidence to ban workers from

vaping to protect their non-vaping colleagues, it also

advises employers to take into consideration the

interests of people with asthma and other respiratory


For further information:

Lack of business finance knowledge main

challenge for start ups

One in five owners of small and medium-sized

businesses consider not having knowledge about

business finance as the biggest challenge they faced

when first starting up, according to a survey by the

Association of Accounting Technicians. The survey

found that 12% of business owners struggled from of a

lack of marketing knowledge when starting up and

11% struggled with legal knowledge. While more

business owners said they were hindered by a lack of

knowledge about business finance, only 11% said they

wished they had spent more time on finance when

starting out, in comparison to 19% of respondents who

said they would have spent more time on marketing to

generate leads and customers.

The survey also reveals that 26% of business owners

launched their firm after less than a month of

researching their business idea, while 29% spent more

than six months doing research.

For further information:


Source: BAD News (Business Advisers’ News)


British Chambers of Commerce

Quarterly Economic Survey:

Sub-par UK economic growth even prior to

EU Referendum

The latest British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)

Quarterly Economic Survey, published on 12 th July,

suggests that UK economic growth was uninspiring in

the run-up to the EU Referendum.

The survey is Britain’s largest and most authoritative

private sector business survey, based on over 8,200

responses from firms in Q2 2016. The biggest

snapshot of how the UK economy was performing just

before the referendum, it shows that several key

indicators remained static, or at a low ebb.

Our services sector – the UK’s main driver of economic

growth – saw domestic and overseas sales fall ahead

of the referendum, and manufacturing sales remained

at a historically low ebb. On the basis of this data, the

BCC said that it did not expect official data to record an

improvement in UK GDP for Q2.

The survey results suggest that even before the

uncertainty caused by the EU referendum result,

uninspiring growth rates would have required future

action to shore up business confidence and promote

investment. The BCC is calling on the government to

get on with the big domestic decisions that underpin

investment and business confidence, such as direct

investment in the transport, energy, housing and

digital schemes that can have a major impact on

communities, supply chains, jobs and productivity.

“Yet it is not too early for us to say what business wants

to see: stability in markets, clarity in politics, and action

on the issues that matter for growth. At a time of

transition, all the businesses I speak to want

Westminster to lead by example – by making bold

decisions to progress key infrastructure and

construction projects, by guaranteeing that EU workers

can stay in British firms, and by seeking the best

possible future terms of trade for the UK. Business

confidence would be buoyed by strong and clear

leadership, both on the timeline for EU negotiations

and on the big decisions unrelated to our future

relationship with the EU.”

The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey is the first

economic indicator of the quarter, published in

advance of official figures and other private surveys,

and it consistently mirrors trends in official data. For

this reason the survey is closely watched by

policymakers such as the Treasury, the Bank of

England, the Office of Budget Responsibility, the EU

Commission and the IMF.

To view the key findings from the QES Q2 2016 survey,

visit the Newsroom section of the Somerset Chamber


Commenting on the findings, Dr Adam Marshall, Acting

Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce,

said, “Even before the EU referendum, both business

confidence and economic growth were softening in

many parts of the UK. Our latest survey results,

captured just before the vote, suggest that many

businesses have been operating in something of a

holding pattern for some time.

“It is categorically too early to say what impact the

referendum decision has had on most firms across the

UK, as we have as yet had only anecdotal evidence

from those facing challenges, those holding steady,

and those seizing new opportunities. The impact of the

referendum will require many businesses to take

decisions whose impacts will take time to show up on

the bottom line.


Town Chamber News

Yeovil Chamber of Commerce

Under President David Woan

(pictured, right), Yeovil Chamber

is the one-stop shop for all things

business in the Yeovil area.

Having undergone a renaissance

over the last two years, winning

‘Best Networking Group’ at the

2015 Western Gazette Business Awards, Yeovil

Chamber is well positioned and now part of the local

government decision-making process.

Critical to the success of Yeovil Chamber is a

fourteen-strong Executive Team, each of whom takes

responsibility for a facet of Chamber activities. As well

as running a busy annual programme of diverse, high

quality, informative networking events, the outreach

and influence continues to flourish. One regular

attendee of Yeovil Chamber’s Speed Networking

breakfasts said, “I get more business leads from this

single event than all my other networking groups put


2016 has already delivered:

Patronage from Yeovil College, in recognition of joint

work on Employer Ambassadors, encouraging local

business to help deliver a curriculum aligned to the

local jobs market.

Board membership of Yeovil Vision, which now allows

the Yeovil business community a say on how the

District Council economic regeneration budget is


BA20 Forum, a regular informal gathering, bringing

town centre retailers into the same room as

Chamber and local government officials. Already

enjoying the support of South Somerset District

Council, BA20 Forum is creating dialogue and will

deliver long-term benefit to the town centre.

Many Yeovil

Chamber members

also enjoy

membership of the

Somerset Chamber.

The benefit of dual

membership allows

Somerset to provide

a regional picture,

linked to the national

remit of the BCC

(British Chambers of Commerce), whilst Yeovil Chamber

has its finger on the daily local pulse. Somerset and

Yeovil enjoy a good relationship, with a number of

events taking place in the area, including the recent and

very successful Business to Business Dinner.

Affiliate Town Chambers and Business Associations

Axbridge Chamber of Commerce

01934 733078

Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce

01278 228004

Burnham-on-Sea Chamber of Commerce

01278 238959


Crewkerne Area Business Chamber

07935 737001

Exmoor Business Group

01643 851895

Frome Chamber of Commerce

01749 342255

Ilminster Chamber of Commerce

01460 240554

Levels’ Best Community Interest Company

01935 851280

Shepton Mallet & District Chamber

01749 681413

Somer Valley Chamber of Commerce

07530 042627

To find out more about the benefits of affiliating to the Somerset Chamber,

call: 01823 444924 or email:

Taunton Chamber of Commerce

01823 230898

Wells Chamber of Commerce

01749 685236

Wellington Business Association

01823 673245

Wincanton Businesses Together

01963 34327

Wiveliscombe & 10 Parish Business Group

01984 684777

Yeovil Chamber of Commerce

01935 804999



Member Focus: Fisher & Company

An introduction to Somerset Chamber

member, Fisher & Company

Fisher & Company was first established in Erith, Kent

in 1982 by Colin Fisher, primarily as a Tool Making

company, supported by his wife Jean. A logistical move

to Somerset in 1990 saw the company become a real

family concern when son Neil joined the company. In

2000, the company increased its portfolio of street

lighting furniture and traffic control products adding

high quality Belisha beacons and electrically insulated

digging tools to their ranges of feeder pillars (external

electrical cabinets) and bracketry, all manufactured in

their Somerton factory.

The new ranges were so successful that the range was

expanded and following two years of investment,

research and development, the company now offer

solar powered Belisha & Refuge beacons in addition

to the mains powered range. Managing Director Neil

Fisher says, “We are extremely proud of our new solar

Belisha beacon and since its release date in February

this year we have secured orders from Land Rover and

Amazon and we’re talking to all the major

supermarkets. Everyone who has seen it is very

impressed with the product, and we’re looking forward

to the future.”

Colin and Jean retired in 2014 and with Neil as

Managing Director, supported by his wife Hannah, the

firm continues to be a family concern today, with 10

staff manufacturing and supplying across the UK and


Neil says of the Chamber, “We originally became a

member to take part in the meetings surrounding the

Hinkley ‘C’ presentations. Since then I have attended a

number of networking lunches, breakfast events and

CEO suppers. These have been very beneficial to my

company and I have employed the services of a couple

of other members as a result. Rebecca Bevins HR now

handle all of our employment matters and we now

have three fully qualified First Aiders thanks to Jalee.

I’ve gained same very useful tips at the MD & CEO

round-table forums and acted upon these, which have

proved extremely helpful in the running of my


Neil said he would highly recommend membership of

Somerset Chamber to other businesses in the area.

“I would like to say that I feel being a member of the

Somerset Chamber of Commerce & Industry is very

good value for money for obtaining advice and

networking with local companies with a similar ethos.

Businesses are about people, not just balance sheets

and profit & loss accounts!”

This is a sponsored page by Somerset Chamber

member, Fisher & Company.


Apprenticeships Day

Local school holds dedicated

apprenticeships day for students

Learning staff at Heathfield Community School in

Taunton recently organised a day for Year 10

students to focus on apprenticeship pathways. Held

on 19 th July at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre in

Monkton Heathfield, a total of 250 14-15 year olds

attended the day, entitled Activate Apprenticeships –

Understanding the Alternatives.

apprenticeship; to be

honest I didn’t really

know what it was.

I think there are

misconceptions about

them, because before today I thought that they were

only for engineering or manufacturing jobs.”

Fellow student, Holly Eccles, agreed. She said, “It’s

been really nice to hear about some different options

today, and it’s given me some ideas about what I want

in the long-term, and the routes available to help me

get there.”

Heathfield drama teacher Stephanie Foster was one of

the members of staff responsible for facilitating the

day. She said, “The students often have to deal with a

lot of external opinions, telling them what they should

be doing with their futures. But it’s vital for them to

decide for themselves who they are and where they

want to go.”

The aim of the event was to ‘understand the

alternatives’ to further education and work, to promote

character traits of resilience and entrepreneurial skills

in the students, and to help them discover more about

pathways and setting goals.

A series of sessions were held to highlight the

importance of understanding career options and

personal skills. In the morning, the students listened

to a talk by South West Apprenticeship Company,

followed by a presentation by Activate, an organisation

that specialises in all levels of education,

apprenticeships and workforce training. The year

group were split into two, with one half heading

outside to take part in interactive team building

challenges with Activate, while the other half set to

work on activities laid out by Somerset Chamber

member, Young Enterprise.

Sanchia Jones, Manager of Young Enterprise, hosted

two back-to-back interactive sessions that were

designed to promote further education,

apprenticeships and work as equally weighted routes

to take, post-16. She said, “The interactive activities

we put on are designed to make the students

understand their own personalities, and how their

traits would match up with certain job types. It’s up

to them as young adults to take a degree of ownership

and to understand the skills they may have or want

to develop on so that they may achieve their goals.”

Megan Palmer, a student at Heathfield Community

School, commented, “I’d never considered an

When asked why it was important to have input from

local business representatives, Stephanie said, “When

the students see input from different professions, I

think it makes them realise the importance of the

decisions they will be making in the coming months

and years. There are endless options for these young

people – so many different paths to explore, and it

sometimes just takes a bit of professional interaction

for them to realise that.”

Scarlett Scott-

Collins from

the Somerset

Chamber of


who started

her career as



attended the

event as a



volunteers on

the day

(L-R) Maisie Beaton (Thales),

Scarlett Scott-Collins (Somerset Chamber), and

Emma Hughes (Holiday Inn Taunton)

included representatives from Chamber members

Thales, Holiday Inn Taunton and One Step


The day was concluded with a mini-fayre at The SPACE

performing arts complex, which parents were invited to

attend with their children. College providers and other

businesses set up exhibition stands with a main focus

on apprenticeships.


Yeovil College University Centre

Free places on offer at Yeovil College

University Centre with new ‘zero fees’


Yeovil College and

South Somerset District

Council are launching

an exciting initiative to

offer free Higher

Education places to

young people to

improve their prospects and earning potential.

With net migration in Somerset showing

that more young people are leaving the

county than moving in, the ‘brain drain’

continues with bright students and

qualified young professionals leaving the

region. Many people choose to move to

Somerset from the rest of the UK, but with

the net flow of 16-24 year olds out of the

county, the implications for the future for

economic development in Somerset start

to look bleak. It is these people, leaving

for ‘traditional’ university cities like Bristol,

Cardiff and Bournemouth, that could

generate income for the county in the

future. Overall figures mask the problem

among the crucial 16-24 age group.

Bristol, Bath, Bournemouth and Plymouth have an

inflow of this young age group, driven primarily by the

access to university provision, with many not realising

they could study a degree or Higher Education in Yeovil,

or not understanding that by taking a Higher

Apprenticeship they could reach the same degree

outcome but earn a wage while they learn. By studying

for free on one of these places, students could save

themselves nearly £30,000 in tuition fees alone.

There is a similar pattern in neighbouring rural

counties, and Yeovil College and SSDC are keen to

find a radical and compelling solution to encourage

students to reconsider, or for those in more urban

parts of the UK who might not be considering

university for financial reasons, a chance to settle in

this beautiful county and get their education here.

There will be in the region of 120 places available and

Yeovil College will be promoting the zero fees initiative

at UCAS events from the new term, with a view to the

first students starting in September 2018. Yeovil

College is exploring the options for halls of residence

as part of their strategic plan, specifically looking at

those coming from further afield who might be

relocating. Opportunities will be available in business

and management at degree level, at HNC/D level and

even as Higher Apprenticeships for those who prefer

that route to university.

Local business partners supporting the project

include Yeovil District Hospital, Leonardo Helicopters

and BAE Systems, among others.

It is hoped that those taking up the offer of a free

place will make a life for themselves in Somerset and

start to reverse the migration figures for the crucial

16-24 age group.

For more information, please visit:

Images courtesy of Yeovil College


Somerset Business Awards

Celebrity host announced for Somerset Business Awards

As a familiar face across the nation’s TV screens, Alex will host this

year’s Awards evening with an anticipated audience of 400 VIP guests,

announcing the winners of the 14 Award categories.

Commenting on her involvement, Alex said, “I’m really delighted to have

been asked to host the Somerset Business Awards. It’s really important

to recognise best practice, innovation and ambition in new and

established businesses. Who doesn’t love positive feedback and

recognition? It’s a joy to be part of such a celebratory event.”

Jenn Chidley-Sanders, Awards organiser and Member Services

Manager at the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, added, “Alex is a

well-known presenter and the perfect host to ensure this year’s

Somerset Business Awards are the best yet. The Awards evening is a

time of celebration and success, and we are confident Alex will share

our passion throughout the event. The Somerset Business Awards are

open for entries until the 22 nd August, so we look forward to another

record-breaking year.”

National television personality, Alex Lovell, has been announced as

the celebrity host of this year’s Somerset Business Awards.

With many years’ experience across a wide variety of television

programmes, from BBC Points West to The Bill, Alex brings knowledge,

charisma and kudos to the Somerset Business Awards for 2016.

Now in its 12 th year, the Somerset Business Awards attract a wide

variety of entrants from all sectors within the Somerset business

community. This year the Awards ceremony will be held on Friday 21 st October at Wellsprings Leisure Centre in

Taunton, which has the capacity for over 400 guests to celebrate the outstanding businesses in Somerset.

Entries close at midday on Monday 22 nd August 2016. For entry details and to apply online, please visit

Follow @SomBizAwards and #SBA2016 on Twitter for all the latest news and updates.

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


Access to 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 the South West.

Informative seminars to share knowledge

and best practice including

Meet-the-Buyer events.

FREE publicity opportunities for

members in the Chamber’s Somerset

Business Magazine and on the website

For more details please

Call: 01823 444924



Contact the Chamber: Call 01823 444924 or visit


Upcoming Events

Annual Bank of England


Date: Thursday 1 st September

Time: 07.30

Venue: Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton

Cost: Members £20.00 Non-members £40.00

Food Provided: Light breakfast

Join us for our Annual Update from the

Bank of England.

This year Donna Kehoe, the Bank of England's Agent

for the South West, will discuss the current economic

situation and summarise the Bank's views on the

prospects for the British economy over the next two

to three years.

Guests will also have the opportunity to network over

breakfast, provided by our hosts and Chamber

Patron, the Somerset County Cricket Club.

Previous events of this nature have seen over 60

business people from across the county attend so

please book early to avoid disappointment.

NEW FOR 2016/17



This year sees the launch of a series of

business support and training workshops.

These six half-day seminars will take place

annually, and will look into the following key

areas of business:

Building your Business Plan

Dealing with HR

Enhancing your Marketing Plan

Excel Training

Getting to Grips with PR

For event queries contact

or call 01823 444924

With thanks to event sponsor

Understanding Accounts

Cost per workshop:

Members: £45.00

Non-members: £90.00

Places on each of these workshops are

limited, so book early to avoid


**Special Offer**

20% discount available with advance

package booking on 2017 business

development workshops

For more information or to make your

booking, please email


Somerset Chamber Events Calendar

For more information on our events, including sponsorship opportunities, please email or call 01823 444924

(All costs inclusive of VAT except where detailed)

Annual Bank of England Update - Thursday 1 st September

Join us for our Annual Update from the Bank of England. This year we will hear from Donna

Kehoe, South West Agent, on the Bank’s forecasted views for the British economy. This

informative event is very popular so early booking is advised.


Time: 07.30 Venue: Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton

Cost: Members £20.00 Non-members £40.00

Somerset Young Professionals Event: The Future of Business - Thursday 8 th September

Business professionals in your 20s and 30s - join us at our next SYP event, in association with

Cosmic. Guest speaker Kate Doodson will discuss how to remain competitive by staying ahead of

the technological curve. There will also be plenty of networking with other young professionals.




Time: 18.30 Venue: TBC

Cost: Members £20.00 Non-members £40.00

Raising the Bar #4: Cyber Security Essentials - Tuesday 13 th September

Following a successful event in January with Thales on the subject of cyber security, Secure Arm

will present the government IT security standard, Cyber Security Essentials. It will also provide

practical advice from the police and examples of how today’s cyber threats occur and may affect



Time: 07.30 Venue: The Canalside, Bridgwater

Cost: Members £20.00

Please note, this event is exclusively for Somerset Chamber members and limited spaces are


Cost Effective Marketing Workshop - Thursday 15 th September

This half-day workshop, in association with Gill Ainge Marketing, will combine traditional

marketing expertise with current methods, allowing you to make your marketing more effective

without blowing your budget.


Time: 09.00 Venue: Somerset Chamber offices, Taunton

Cost: Members £45.00 Non-members £90.00

Ladies Afternoon Tea & Networking - Tuesday 20 th September

The Somerset Chamber ladies events are an ideal way to raise the profile of your business. Join

us for tea, cake and plenty of networking at Hestercombe Gardens. Guest speaker Jackie Eades

of Briers Ltd will discuss how Briers became a market leading company, and attendees will also

be given a free pass around the beautiful gardens following this event.


Time 14.00 Venue: Hestercombe Gardens, Taunton

Cost: Members £20.00 Non-members £40.00

Entries close for the Somerset Business Awards 2016 at midday on Monday 22 nd August

To keep up to date with all of our events, please visit

Call 01823 444924


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