A new office move and a new Chair of Trustees mark a new era for Staffordshire based music charity Make Some Noise.  Make Some Noise who recently moved to new offices in Eastgate Street, Stafford with thanks to on-going and vital infrastructure support from Staffordshire County Council, are delighted to welcome Nigel Senior as the charity’s new Chair of Trustees.

Nigel, a familiar face to Make Some Noise first became involved with the charity as a dedicated Trustee back in 2005 and since 2015 has been a key member of the Make Some Noise Board of Trustees.  Make Some Noise provide a wide range of innovative and engaging music making opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.  Make Some Noise has found that participation in its activities has positive impacts on the most disengaged or isolated young people in its communities, improving wellbeing and self-esteem as well as a variety of transferable skills to enable them to develop further both socially and educationally. Nigel is Place Funding Manager for Staffordshire County Council, leading a team of bidding experts whose role is to apply for EU and UK funding to support projects and activities that contribute to the economic and social growth of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. This involves working with key government departments such as The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and other national funding providers including The Big Lottery.

Nigel said: “I’m really pleased and excited about my role as Chair of Trustees for Make Some Noise. My predecessor Merelyn, the trustees and the Make Some Noise team made me feel so welcome when I joined the Board over 3 years ago and, very soon, I was able to learn about and see the great work the team were doing and how this was making a real difference to people’s lives, no matter the age and dealing with very challenging circumstances.

I hope to use some of my experience from the funding world to support the growth of Make Some Noise and help to forge collaborative relationships with other charities and local organisations committed to helping vulnerable people reach their potential.”

Outside of work Nigel has previously been a youth worker and a volunteer with a number of local voluntary organisations and is currently a volunteer ranger for the National Trust at the Shugborough Estate.

Having a son with an ASD condition, Nigel fully appreciates the challenges of young people to make their way in life including getting close to the job market!

Nigel joins Make Some Noise as it approaches some major milestones.  The charity is nearly 20 years old, has helped over 50,000 beneficiaries cope with adverse childhood experiences and poverty-based issues, invested £6million in the most vulnerable wards of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, awarded 2000 qualifications to children and trained over 1000 musicians in inclusive community music-making practice.

Make Some Noise will continue to ensure that as many people as possible facing social injustice, adversity and trauma are able to realise the benefits which music has on improving wellbeing by providing access to more innovative and engaging music opportunities.

Make Some Noise would love to hear from you!  If your company is interested in collaborating with this small but effective local charity to make an even bigger impact together, why not get in touch or visit the team in their new offices in Eastgate House on Eastgate Street in Stafford. Get in touch at info@make-some-noise.com or 01785 278454 or visit www.make-some-noise.com

We would like to invite you to a seminar hosted by First Hosted Limited (FHL), part of RSM UK.
Venue: Infinity House, Mallard Way, Crewe, CW1 6ZQ
Date: Tuesday 12th November 2019
Time: 2:00pm – 4:30pm
– Registration
– Welcome – Andrew Peddie, Managing Director, FHL
– NetSuite Product Preview – Mark Mansfield, Product Consulting Manager, FHL
– The Appellations Story – Tom Mann, Sales Director, Appellations (existing FHL client)
– Q&A – All
– Wine Tasting and Networking – Tom Mann, Sales Director, Appellations
For more information please contact Emma Shackley at Emma.Shackley@fhl.co.uk

We’re excited to share that Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce has been shortlisted for an award in the category of Enterprise Support Organisation of the Year at the National Enterprise Network Awards.


The nomination is for the success of the Chamber programmes Boosting Women in Business, Back Her Business and Start-Up Membership. These all aim to support individuals, from any background or circumstance, to start a business through a tailored programme of workshops and one-to-one advice.


Established in 2007, the National Enterprise Network Awards recognise excellence in the delivery of enterprise support, encouraging the exchange of good practice and the development of improved services and organisations.


“We are delighted that the success of our projects has been recognised by such a prestigious institution,” said Sara Williams, CEO of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. “Through the delivery of these projects we have helped over 300 individuals with start-up business support over the last 12 months which has led to the creation of 141 new businesses”.


Alex Till, Chairman, National Enterprise Network said: “The organisations featured on the 2019 National Enterprise Network Awards shortlist have all clearly demonstrated excellence in the delivery of enterprise support or work taking place in educational settings which are focused on embedding entrepreneurial spirt and enterprise into this environment. We’ve always been proud of the work of our members and wider network and congratulate everyone who has been shortlisted”.

We’ll find out if we’ve won when the winners are announced at an award ceremony on Friday 22nd November at Canary Wharf, London.

We want to say a big thank you to everyone who came along and was a part of this year’s Staffordshire Business Festival. Six hundred people joined us this week at Keele University for a range of talks, seminars and workshops.

Day one launched with a keynote speech by Georg Ell, CEO of the digital company Smoothwall and the former Western Europe Director at Tesla, sharing his experience in working for digital and sustainable businesses. The day then saw sessions ranging from what businesses can do to reduce their environmental impact to sustainable marketing.

The second day opened with an inspiring keynote from Kate Beardmore of Synectics Solutions, followed by interactive workshops and seminars including speed networking for social good, wellbeing within the workplace, and a mental health workshop. The day was rounded off with good food, drinks and entertainment at our gala dinner at the impressive Keele Hall.

We hope you enjoyed the festival and found it a valuable experience. The Chamber runs a programme of events throughout the year – take a look at our events calendar to see what’s coming up. https://staffordshirechambers.co.uk/events-cal/

A Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce member is hoping his invention will help Strictly Come Dancing contender Kelvin Fletcher get all the way to the final of the Saturday night TV programme after providing him with a unique training device which helps dancers maintain their ballroom ‘frame’.

Nick Gallagher-Hughes, who founded TopLine Dance Products in 2010, met the soap star and his professional dance partner Oti Mabuse during their training schedule at Manchester’s Media City last week. Nick contacted Oti via social media and offered to fit the actor with a new frame for his size and stature.

Kelvin was recently seen using the TopLine Dance Frame on Strictly’s spin-off programme, It Takes Two. Oti has used it with her previous celebrity partners including actor Danny Mac and sportsperson Jonnie Peacock. Nick invented the frame to help dancers maintain their posture. Using it regularly in practice helps create ‘muscle memory’ which improves deportment.

“It was great to meet Oti and Kelvin,” said Nick. “Having achieved such great results in the Latin she is keen to bring out the ballroom dancer in him and ensure that includes good fundamentals as well as crowd-pleasing elements.

“Kelvin has a natural ability and is really enjoying his time on Strictly. It is clear to see that he has developed a real passion for dance, and we hope that the TopLine Dance Frame will help him all the way to the final and ultimately winning the coveted Glitterball.”

The New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme has been awarded £353,225 by Arts Council England to help upgrade its famous theatre-in-the-round.
The funding award will enable the theatre to start a major fundraising and project plan that will see the most significant investment in the theatre’s main auditorium for over 30 years. The work is set to transform the much-loved venue, improving customer experience, increasing accessibility and enabling more people to engage with the theatre’s shows, education and community work. The improvements will allow the theatre to make the most of its building – Europe’s first purpose-built theatre-in-the-round – and maximise seating in the auditorium.
Plans for the project include replacing the theatre’s 600 seats, improving the theatre balcony, building a new stage and improving access for theatregoers. The work will complement investment in the theatre’s other public areas completed in 2015.
“Our unique in-the-round auditorium is the meeting place for our art and audiences,” said Fiona Wallace, Managing Director of the New Vic. “33 years after the theatre was built, after welcoming over three million theatregoers, the auditorium urgently needs investment. We are very grateful to Arts Council England for this vital funding and support of our project. This investment is over and above everything we have done so far to maintain and repair the auditorium and seating, and will offer a step-change in terms of audience experience. We are looking forward to engaging theatregoers in the process now that we have the green light to go ahead.”
Peter Knott, Area Director of Arts Council England, said: “Our Capital: Small Grants programme provides organisations with vital funding to ensure that buildings and equipment are appropriate to support and host exciting work for the public. We’re pleased to be supporting the New Vic as they continue to make their iconic theatre a more accessible and enjoyable place to experience live theatre.”
The timescale for the project will see the theatre take an extended break from producing shows in Summer 2020, with the closure of the main auditorium during the works. All other areas of the theatre building will remain open throughout the project.
The investment is part of the Arts Council’s National Lottery funded Small Capital programme, which will see a total of £2,427,380 supporting organisations in the Midlands. The New Vic is one of 46 organisations across the country who will receive investment from the Capital: Small Grants programme in the latest round of funding. The programme supports organisations to develop resilience and become more sustainable, ensuring they have the right buildings and equipment to be able to produce and present great work, benefiting audiences, artists and communities across the country.
The New Vic will run a fundraising campaign to meet the overall target for the project of £600,000. Further details of the redevelopment project and accompanying fundraising campaign will be available on the theatre’s website at newvictheatre.org.uk soon.

Staffordshire Men’s Matchplay Championship 2019.
Congratulations to Mark Gayes (Westwood GC) on becoming the 2019 Staffs Men’s Matchplay Champion. The final was played over 36 holes and saw 2019 Staffs Amateur Champion Jake McGoldrick (Enville GC) take a lead of 6 up at his home course. The return leg at Westwood GC saw Mark stage a magnificent comeback, standing 4 down with 4 holes to play he proceeded to birdie each of those holes to force a playoff, which he won on the 1st hole with a par 4.

Staffs Seniors Matchplay Championship 2019
Congratulations to Andy Guy (Westwood GC) and Bob Aston (Trentham Park GC) on winning through to contest the final of this year’s County Seniors Matchplay on the usual home and away basis. After the first round at Westwood GC Bob was 1 Up, but in his first final Andy came through at Trentham Park GC to win by 3 & 2.

By Karen Staley, Director, Geens Chartered Accountants.

Statistics from HMRC show that more companies than ever before are claiming tax relief for Research and Development.

Newly released data shows the Government is estimating total claims of close to £5 billion for 2017/18 compared to just over £3.8 billion two years ago.

However, only one per cent of active companies are claiming the relief, meaning many companies may be missing out on a valuable tax credit, and with 61% of the money being claimed by companies in London, the South East and East of England regions, firms in Stoke-on-Trent and across the West Midlands may not be claiming their fair share.

R&D tax relief is designed to encourage greater R&D spending, leading in turn to greater investment in innovation. A successful claim will work by either reducing a company’s liability to corporation tax or by HMRC making a payment to the company

The biggest concentration of claims remains in manufacturing, IT and professional, scientific and technical sectors as with previous years. The construction industry saw a rise in claims along with the health and social work industry and the food industry.

Karen Staley, of Geens Chartered Accountants, said: “The good news is that more companies than ever before are aware that they can qualify for this valuable tax relief and this is contributing to innovation across UK industry, However, it is clear that many companies are missing out and may not be aware of the tax relief at all.

To qualify the company must be carrying out research and development work in the field of science or technology. The relief is not just for ‘white coat’ scientific research but also for ‘brown coat’ development work in design and engineering that involves overcoming difficult technological problems. This can include creating new processes, products or services, making appreciable improvements to existing ones and even using science and technology to duplicate existing processes, products and services in a new way. But pure product development, in itself, does not qualify.

Some examples of qualifying activities include software development, engineering design, new construction techniques, bio-energy, cleantech, agri-food and life and health sciences.

Judging which projects and activities will qualify for R&D tax relief is usually the area where most people seek help.

Who can claim?
You can claim R&D tax relief if you are a SME with:
• less than 500 staff
• a turnover of under €100m or a balance sheet total under €86m

There are additional considerations if your company has external investors.
You cannot claim SME R&D relief if the project is already getting notifiable state aid or you’ve been subcontracted by another company. However, you may be able to claim R&D expenditure credit (RDEC).

How do R&D credits affect your tax bill?

Small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) R&D tax relief allows companies to:
• deduct an extra 130% of their qualifying costs from their yearly profit, as well as the normal 100% deduction, to make a total 230% deduction
• claim a tax credit if the company is loss making, worth up to 14.5% of a trading loss.

What can be claimed for?

Companies can claim certain costs on the project from the date you start working on it until you develop or discover the advance, or the project is stopped.

To find out more, contact Karen Staley by email at karen.staley@geens.co.uk or by telephone, 01782 847952