As we adapt to another lockdown and the closure of so many workplaces, millions of workers across the country are furloughed.

Your organisation, like many VCSE groups, may have been forced to furlough some of your staff, and despite recent calls on Government for a sector-specific Job Retention Scheme, employees aren’t able to volunteer for the organisation they are furloughed from.

So now, on behalf of the #StokeonTrentTogether COVID-19 Support Network, VAST’s community-giving project Totally Stoked are asking you to encourage your staff use their furlough for good.

Whether it’s to deliver food parcels in the local community, helping someone to get to a hospital appointment or having a friendly chat over the phone to someone who is lonely, your staff could change someone’s life.

Just a small amount of time could make all the difference!

Joining the amazing army of volunteers working in communities across the city and help to ease the pressures COVID has forced us all.

All you need to do is email hello@totallystoked.org.uk to get started.

Key facts about the UK/ EU Trade Deal

The UK and EU secured a Trade & Co-operation Deal on 24 December which endeavours to maintain tariff-free trade now that the Transition Period has ended.

Although the protracted negotiations didn’t reach a conclusion on key areas such as financial services, the deal marks the end of a turbulent period in UK-EU relations.

The Agreement is the largest bi-lateral pact in history worth an estimated value of £670 Billion. The document comprises some 1,246 pages available here or the Government has produced a Summary Explainer available here which is a more manageable 46 pages.

It is very difficult to summarise all this information but below are ten of the more important/ relevant points for our businesses:

1. No tariffs (but see Point 2)

Agreeing a tariff- and quota-free trade deal had been the primary objective of the negotiations.

The agreement achieves this goal, allowing traders to move goods between the UK and EU without paying duties, so long as they comply with ‘Rules of Origin’ included in the deal.

2. Rules of Origin

Rules of Origin determine the economic nationality of a good and are often a key component of FTAs signed between countries.

Under the agreement, companies will be able to self-certify the origin of their goods and where the processing takes place will also count towards this.

For example, an electric car made in the UK can be traded tariff-free even if a significant proportion of it was built using components imported from around the world.

3. New customs procedures will apply

New customs and VAT rules will apply for UK and EU trade – including the requirement for companies to complete customs declarations. However, the agreement includes a protocol for UK-EU cooperation when it comes to combatting VAT, customs and excise fraud. The UK can instruct the EU to recover unpaid UK tax from EU companies on its behalf and the EU may make the same request.

4. Independent Sanitary & Phytosanitary (SPS) rules

In a chapter on human, animal and plant life and health, the agreement states that the UK and EU may set and implement their own independent sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules and controls.

This will require companies trading affected goods – agri-food producers and grocery retailers in particular – to attain new certification and comply with border checks.

5. Uncertainty remains for services

While the agreement gives clarity for most goods traders in the UK, it doesn’t shed as much light on the future of UK-EU services trade, particularly financial services.

The UK’s access to European financial markets was not finalised in the deal, with the UK still seeking ‘equivalence’ status from the EU. The EU has not yet decided whether the UK’s financial regulatory framework and implementation is as rigorous as its own.

The UK and EU have stated that they will codify a framework for regulatory cooperation in a Memorandum of Understanding.

For legal services, the agreement gives UK solicitors and barristers the right to advise clients across the EU on UK and public international law using their own titles and qualifications.

6. UK can set its own standards

The UK can now set its own rules in areas such as environmental standards or labour law.

However, if either the UK or EU strays too far from each other’s standards, there is a “rebalancing mechanism” whereby one party can impose tariffs should it deem that its own businesses are put at an unfair disadvantage by the divergence.

This mechanism will be governed by international law rather than UK or EU law.

7. Independence on state-aid

The UK government can also set its own subsidies for its domestic industries and businesses.

According to the government’s own summary of the agreement: “each Party will have in place its own independent system of subsidy control and that neither Party is bound to follow the rules of the other.”

However, companies in the EU can challenge government state-aid in the UK’s courts and UK companies can do the same in the EU.

8. Mutual recognition for Authorised Economic Operator status

The UK and EU will recognise each other’s AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) schemes, allowing for AEO-approved firms to move goods more easily between the UK and EU. The principles of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and the Revised Kyoto Convention will also apply in the deal, meaning both parties will cooperate on expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including those that are in transit.

9. Continuity for hauliers

Road haulage operators moving goods between the UK and EU will continue to do so without new permit requirements.

UK hauliers will be subject to similar standards they already comply with when operating internationally, including restrictions on driver hours, requirement for professional qualifications as well as vehicle weight and dimension limits.

However, British truckers will be limited to a single drop-off and a single pick-up when in Europe – a downgrade on the three pick-ups they could do within EU countries before.

10. Short term visits allowed

Short-term business visits to the EU will be allowed for up to 90 days in any 180-day month period.

Staffordshire-based Legionnaires’ Disease experts SAS Water Ltd is advising hotels, holiday parks and spas to ensure water safety is a priority as the new Covid-19 lockdown and the start of winter causes closures.

Working with a luxury lodge park in East Anglia, SAS Water’s legionella consultants have doubled flushing regimes for the park’s lodges, along with strict  testing and chlorination routines for the 100 hot tubs on site.

Lizzie Ward, Manging Director of SAS Water, said: “Problems occurred across the UK during the first lockdown as water was left to stagnate in pipes. There’s been cases involving offices, schools and hospitals discovered following the lifting of lockdown this summer.

“Now we are entering “lockdown 2” and the onus is on building facility managers to guard against legionella growth. The  Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering states that legionella bacteria  can incubate in as little as 2-10 days, meaning that those who let their maintenance and disinfection regime slip, could soon be at risk.

“One simple solution is repeated flushing and this should be combined with regular testing and treatment.

“Before reopening, site managers should ensure a legionella risk assessment takes place on all water systems.”

SAS Water’s legionella control specialists are working closely with the Norfolk luxury lodge park. In all lodges, the hot and cold water taps are being opened twice a week, flushing water through the system for five minutes at a time. Temperatures are then checked, with cold water needing to be below 20 Degrees Centigrade and hot above 50 Degrees Centigrade. Showers are also run for five-minutes, washing machines and dishwashers are run through a washing cycle.

Staff working on the water systems must wear PPE and face-coverings at all time. Special care is also taken to clean, test and chlorinate all hot tubs on the park.

On hot tubs, Lizzie commented: “Britain is a nation of hot tub lovers and they are a great way to relax, but they are one of the most regular sources of Legionnaires’ Disease according to public health statistics.

Legionella grows naturally in the environment, especially warm freshwater lakes and streams that can be a source for drinking water. It generally only becomes a risk to human health when it enters and multiplies within human-made water and plumbing systems, and then that contaminated water becomes aerosolised.

SAS Water Ltd has an experienced team of legionella control experts and commercial plumbers. They work across England and Wales and have clients across a range of industry sectors, including offices, care homes, quarries and associated industries with wheel-wash facilities, brickworks, councils, fire and rescue services and hotel, spas and leisure centres.

To find out more about SAS Water, please go online to www.saswater.co.uk.

Residents in Weston Coyney are the first to get connected to Gigabit Full Fibre Broadband
LilaConnect announced today, that more than 2,000 homes across Weston Coyney can now access some of the fastest, most reliable broadband anywhere in the UK. This is part of a wider plan to provide full fibre broadband for tens of thousands of homes and businesses across Stoke-on-Trent over the next few years.

Construction works across the city has continued at pace throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, building the new network that uses Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband technology – a dedicated future-proof connection where the fibre optic cables are laid all the way into resident’s properties. This differs from Fibre-to-the Cabinet (FTTC) which is a blend of copper and fibre optic cables whereby the fibre only goes to the street cabinet and then an outdated copper line, connects the cabinet to the premises.

The new technology is ‘live’ in Weston Coyney and will be closely followed by Burslem and Bentilee towards the end of the year.

LilaConnect provides the capability for customers to connect directly to the fibre network and also gain access to all the services they require. Its open access platform means that independent Service Provider partners are able to offer their services, giving customers access to a marketplace of essential and innovative services. If customers want to switch to another Service Provider, they can do so by clicking on their chosen Service Provider and service package. The chosen service is then available immediately, depending on what contract they have signed with their chosen Service Provider (i.e. month-to-month or fixed term).

Launching with the following Service Provider partners:

• Residential ISPs: Air Broadband, Breeze Fibre, Pure Broadband;
• Business ISPs: Air Broadband, Breeze Fibre, Bridge Fibre, Pure Broadband;
• Voice/Telephone: Vonage (Business only), Air Broadband, Breeze Fibre, Pure Broadband;
• TV: Netgem TV;
• IT Services:
• PSX Digital;

there is a pipeline of potential partners for onboarding in the coming months.

LilaConnect is committed to long-term investment in Stoke-on-Trent, putting community interest at the forefront of its operations. From a construction perspective, it has been an absolute priority to ensure that work is carried out as efficiently as possible. Whilst work of this nature does create dust and debris, a dedicated cleaning team has been employed to thoroughly sweep and jet wash once reinstated tarmac has settled. Litter pickers have been deployed as a gesture of goodwill and “thank you for your patience”. Community Experience and Sales teams are on-hand in fibre deployment areas to meet with residents over a coffee, to answer any questions about the project. Working with national charity Change Please for the LilaConnect Coffee Vans, 100% of profits are donated to local charity Number 11 – supporting people out of homelessness across the city.

During October half-term, the Community Experience team delivered 150 meals to St Michaels Church Chell and Fegg Hayes Residents Association, to contribute to wider efforts being undertaken to help struggling families and ensure children didn’t go hungry over half- term.

It is estimated that gigabit connections will create a £625M boost to the local economy over the next 15 years bringing clear socio-economic benefits to communities across the region.
Connectivity and access have shifted from being nice-to-haves, to being more of an everyday utility. COVID-19 has certainly fast-tracked this. The introduction of a full fibre network has the capacity to transform a whole community – with full fibre connectivity providing the economic incentive to encourage people and businesses to move into the areas it serves. The transformation will be incredible, with a change in demographics and commercial landscape. Residents will be more content to work from home, with people moving into the area for the excellent connectivity.
It important to recognise that the switch to full fibre has been taking place on a global scale for over a decade. The UK in general has improved its full fibre coverage from 1% in 2012 to 12% of homes having access to full fibre broadband at the end of 2019. Although the UK is playing a long game of catchup with the rest of the world, what is encouraging to note is that full fibre deployment across the UK is ramping up significantly. Stoke-on-Trent will be one of the first gigabit city trailblazers in the UK – and it all starts in Weston Coyney.

Mikael Sandberg, Chairman of VX Fiber, said:
“We’re thrilled to announce LilaConnect going live in Weston Coyney. Construction works on the ground across Stoke-on-Trent is progressing extremely well, and the early signs of interest has exceeded our expectations.

Access to gigabit connectivity is an integral part of 21st century living. But it’s much more than just streaming video and music or online shopping, it’s also about transforming communities with improvements such as better access to employment, education and healthcare.

I’d encourage everyone who can, to switch to the new technology and take advantage of the many benefits that full fibre brings. ‘Full fibre’ is more reliable and more resilient meaning fewer faults and more predictable, consistent speeds. It is also ‘future-proof’ to easily meet the growing data demands of future technologies. Our ‘open access’ approach also enables customers to enjoy exceptional services, freedom of choice, at competitive prices.”

Ten full fibre facts:

1. It is estimated that gigabit connections will create a £625M boost to the local economy over the next 15 years, by unlocking smarter ways of working, better public services, making firms more competitive, attracting inward investment and jobs, improving homes and more.
2. Fibre optics are strands of glass around one tenth the thickness of a human hair. They transmit data using light signals.
3. LilaConnect’s full fibre connection, is a point-to-point dedicated symmetrical connection i.e. no sharing and the same gigabit speeds whether you’re uploading or downloading (compared to the UK average upload speed being roughly an eighth of the average download speed).
4. Pure fibre optic broadband can run at speeds of 1 Gigabit per second (1,000 mbps) – that’s more than 15 times faster than today’s UK average broadband speed for downloads and a staggering 70 times faster than the average upload speed. You can download a two-hour HD film in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea, and upload 100 photos in 2 seconds. And video gamers could download a 5-gigabit virtual reality (VR) game in 1.7 minutes, instead of waiting half-an-hour.
5. More people getting online at the same time is easier too – a family of four can all stream ultra HD or 4K quality video simultaneously, without waiting or buffering.
6. Full fibre is more reliable than traditional copper connections. A full fibre broadband signal isn’t affected by external interference whereas copper can be impacted by outside electrical signals – including electric fences and even bad weather. One recent report by FTTH Council Europe stated ‘that full fibre is 70%-80% more reliable than copper resulting in lower fault rates.’
7. A fibre optic cable can send a signal over 200 kilometres without any loss of quality. Traditional copper cables can lose signal at around 2 kilometres.

8. Full fibre is better for the environment – the amount of electricity used to power fibre is significantly less than needed for copper cables resulting in 40-60% energy savings due to lower power consumption of fibre. Better connectivity also enables more people to work from home – which cuts down on commuting.
9. Full fibre can boost business productivity. It enables cheaper broadband powered phone services, and better access to cloud-based computing services. For example, full fibre connectivity combined with cloud computing means businesses can upload, store, access and download vast amounts of data in minutes instead of hours. Data is backed-up and securely archived off-site so not relying on costly, ageing servers taking up expensive office space.
10. Full fibre broadband will be crucial in supporting the NHS Long Term Plan, to give every patient the right to choose a “digital first” approach to primary healthcare. This means that patient consultations with GPs would be offered online through video consultation as well as through face-to-face appointment. Hospital outpatient clinics will be redesigned with more ‘virtual clinics’ where patients who don’t physically need to come to hospital, can get a video consultation with their doctor. Moving patient records to the cloud will also help clinicians access crucial information including high resolution images from anywhere in the country which will improve patient safety and speed-up appointments. By allowing hospitals to share HD quality graphics of medical scans in seconds to improve diagnosis speeds – for example – medical staff can download a 2 gigabit CT scan in 40 seconds, instead of 14 minutes.

Interested parties are encouraged to place orders or register interest at www.lilaconnect.co.uk to keep up-to-date on developments in their area. This may also have an impact on the scheduling of rollout across the region i.e. if there is enough demand in a particular area, that area will be prioritised over other lower-interest areas.

Here we go again, back to lockdown!

Business confidence has already been hit so hard by the stop-start approach to lockdown taken by the government since March. The new restrictions are a real blow to businesses and particularly frustrating for the retail and hospitality sector who have already done everything in their power to adapt and operate safely.

Whilst there is no substitute to a fully functioning economy, the temporary extension to the furlough scheme and revised support for the self-employed will bring short-term relief to many and echoes the Chambers’ call for business support to be commensurate with the scale of lockdown restrictions.

It falls to us all to help our local retailers and hospitality outlets as much as we can. Many retailers are providing online shops and cafes, pubs and restaurants are moving to a takeaway service for food and drinks.

Two great local initiatives are the City Centre Business Improvement District’s Mi Rewards card with fantastic discounts, prizes and offers: https://mi-rewards.com/stokeontrentcitycentre and Leek’s brand new ‘high street online’ website: https://leek.totallylocally.shop/

I am getting very excited about the 2020 Staffordshire Chambers Business Awards gala presentation evening on 19th November which will be live online from the New Vic Theatre with myself and our special guest presenter, Ed James from Heart FM.

I have been heartened by the number of people who have signed up for the event, over 250 so far, and by the people who have said how much they are looking forward to a positive celebration amidst so much bad news.

It is a chance to dress up, have a glass of your favourite drink and join in on a celebration of all that is good about our fantastic local businesses. You can join the fun by booking your place here: https://bit.ly/32hy15P

Finally, the Chambers is proud to commemorate Remembrance Day on the 11th November. Paying respect to all those in the armed forces from Britain and the Commonwealth who gave their lives to defend our democratic freedoms and way of life, as well as highlighting support for the current serving forces and veterans.

Staffordshire is steeped in military and we have our very own Honorary Colonel of the British Army, in ex-Chamber President Mike Frewer, who represents the Armed Forces on the Chambers’ Council. We are also extremely proud to have Midland Reserve Forces & Cadet Association as patrons.

We will certainly be wearing our poppies with pride.

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email info@staffordshirechambers.co.uk.

The Government has announced another lockdown for England commencing on Thursday 5th November 2020. During the previous lockdown industries across the board were affected by the national restrictions and garages closed across the country, in great part due to a near 5-month suspension of MOTs. So, how will the new restrictions affect the aftermarket this time?

Garages are not required to close during lockdown. The aftermarket has been assigned ‘key worker’ status as it keeps vehicles on the road. This was not made clear in April, with many garages closing due to a lack of work and the Government announcing the postponement of MOTs.

As a result of the delay in MOTs, repair garages are expected to be very busy throughout quarter 4 of 2020. A record 18 million MOTs are legally required to take place in this time, as opposed to the usual 12 million. Additionally, the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation reports that 70% of repair work comes from annual MOT vehicle safety inspections.

Miles driven overall will most likely decline further, however the drop is not expected to be as sharp as in April. This is due to many businesses and institutions remaining open, for example schools and takeaways. It is anticipated that the online sales boom will continue and that supermarkets will be busier than ever. As a result of this, critical supply chain and delivery vehicles will be on the road in greater numbers as even more capacity is added to these channels.

Garages and Auto-Factors will need ongoing support and service as our industry remains open. Klarius is prepared to meet the demands of the aftermarket and provide essential support to the industry, as with the last lockdown we will remain open. Mark Brickhill, CEO at Klarius, comments “Our product availability is excellent, we continue to have the widest range in the UK and have launched new products throughout the pandemic.”

Klarius offers a range of 11,000+ emissions control parts and components that match OEM performance levels. They are designed to fit vehicles of almost any type and age. Mark continues “Every component features a 2-year warranty and Fit First Time guarantee. We make this possible by fitting new parts to real cars during our development and testing process. Given the record spike in MOT testing this means less time on the ramp for our garage customers. None of our UK exhaust competitors independently test and certify their parts on vehicles with the Department for Transport’s Vehicle Certification Agency.” 90% of all orders received by 5:30pm will be delivered before 12pm the next morning, 60% of which may be delivered by 9am.

Thousands of small business owners have no income protection insurance and would see their income drop off a cliff if they fell ill.

The problem is particularly stark among the self-employed sector with only around 9% of sole traders  taking out insurance against falling ill and being unable to work.

“The figures are concerning and are particularly relevant in the current Covid-19 pandemic,” said wealth management professional Emily Small, a Director at Richard Jacobs Pension and Trustee Services. ”In common with other companies in the sector, we always inform small business owners about income protection, but the take up is low.

“It is vital that the finance sector raises the profile of this little known sector, especially now. Many small business owners will have seen their incomes fall due to the economic consequences of the pandemic and illness would make matters worse. We are now hearing medical professionals detailing how some people don’t recover easily from Covid-19. People of working age, who may not have needed hospital treatment. are now reporting longer-term effects such as lung scarring, excessive tiredness and heart problems and some are not returning fully to work for several months.

“Income protection insurance means people will continue to get paid a salary  for an agreed period of time, depending on the conditions of the policy taken out. Self-employment is on the rise, with more than 5 million UK workers in 2019 compared to 3,2 million in 2000, yet  many set up a business with little regard to the fact they won’t enjoy sick pay as they did in their previous job.”

Emily highlighted the fact that the 9% take up by those who could buy income protection insurance contrasts starkly with the 70% who routinely purchase home contents insurance. She added: “Of course, every policy has terms and conditions and it is important to check whether there are exemptions for certain illnesses and medical conditions within a policy.”

According to the Department of Health and Social Care’s 2019 workplace report, more than 100,000 Britons leave work following a spell of long-term sickness absence each year. In any economic environment, that is a high figure, but in a pandemic, with the recognised additional stresses of job loss, anxiety, mental ill health and risk to health, this should serve as an alarm bell to advisers to make sure their clients have appropriate protection in place.

To find out more about Richard Jacobs Pensions & Trustees Services Ltd please go online to www.jacobs-pensions.co.uk.

Rapidly growing IT provider 848 Group has appointed a new Business Development Manager to aid in its continual expansion.

With 31 years of experience, Mike Spink has a wealth of knowledge and expertise when it comes to providing business solutions that he knows will suit the needs of his customers.

He will be a great asset to the 848 Group which is renowned for its “client-first” approach. He has worked with Microsoft Dynamics since its inception which makes him the best person to grow that arm of the group. Mike began working with Microsoft Dynamics first version release back in 2004, so he has witnessed every iteration and has successfully streamlined Microsoft’s Dynamics applications for  several hundred corporations from SMEs to large blue chip companies. Prior to providing business application solutions, Mike sold financial services and has worked with an array of large corporate organisations.

Confident in his skills, Mike takes a more “human” approach to sales. He said: “In the past 30 years my attitude has changed drastically. I have become more and more involved in understanding the requirements of a customer and prefer to work with them on more of a partnership basis. I look at how we make Microsoft applications work for best for business using out of the box capabilities, rather than taking a ‘one size fits all, let’s re-engineer the wheel because we can’ approach.

“Because of my experience, I often understand what will work and I appreciate the amount of effort it will take, so I can have up-front conversations early on so businesses can make decisions quickly. Microsoft Dynamics is such a great application that I believe it could be 848’s biggest department in the future.”

He added: “I was excited to join 848 Group, I liked Kerry’s attitude and the business’s ethics, they fit well with my own. It’s genuine and honest.”

Kerry Burn, CEO at 848 Group said: “We are delighted to have Mike on the team. He’s completely in sync with our culture, he’s a very credible business development manager and knows the software we work with like the back of his hand. He’s going to be a valuable member of the team and will support our upward trajectory of growth well.”

If you’re interested in working in partnership with an IT provider, contact 848 Group on 0344 9848 848 or info@848.co

For more information visit 848.co

Local lifesaving organisation, Midlands Air Ambulance Charity is ensuring Christmas shoppers get their stocking-filler needs fulfilled with its brand-new range of festive merchandise, and in turn is encouraging supporters to help make Christmas missions possible.

Last year, local communities helped fund 18 vitally important missions through sales of festive merchandise and the charity is therefore expanding its range of reasonably priced merchandise to appeal to a broad range of shoppers.

To help those struggling to get out due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions across the UK, Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has extended its festive product range for 2020, meaning a larger range of gifts are available on the charity’s website: www.midlandsairambulance.com/shop

The new extended range includes:

  • Charity branded face coverings
  • Limited edition mugs
  • Pet bandanas
  • Christmas cards
  • 30th anniversary Air30 pin badge
  • Commemorative diary and pen
  • Commemorative calendar and pen
  • Christmas bauble
  • Beanie hats
  • Teddy bear
  • Kids’ Crew Membership – this year also sees the introduction of the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity official kids’ club – the fun pack includes a welcome letter, official certificate, invitations to meet the aircrew and to next year’s Young Heroes Christmas Party, plus, a selection of charity merchandise, all found within a handy goodie bag. (Suitable for ages five to 11).

Emma Gray, fundraising and marketing director for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity says: “We are delighted to announce that our usual list of festive merchandise has been expanded this year to include more bespoke and limited-edition products.

“We hope that this will make it easier for our supporters to get some of their Christmas shopping completed without having to face the high street, especially with the current restrictions in place.”

The charity has also partnered with two regional companies to bring imaginative products to the festive marketplace that will aid fundraising income. The first is a virtual escape room created by Midlands-based gaming firm, Escape Live, and the other is a low-alcoholic beverage brewed in partnership with local Birmingham Brewing Company.

Supporters can also get involved in aiding the charity’s Christmas missions by getting involved in the #MissionXmas campaign, details of which are below:

  • Text ‘MISSIONXMAS’ to 70085 to donate £3 to the lifesaving service and help make future missions possible.

To browse the new festive range of Midlands Air Ambulance Charity merchandise, visit: www.midlandsairambulance.com/shop – you can find out more about the charity by following the organisation on social media.

A Stoke on Trent art gallery has collaborated with a Potteries born artist to showcase art in a new dimension.

Barewall Art Gallery – which specialises in British fine art and ceramics connected with Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire – has launched a series of jigsaws displaying work by watercolour artist Geoffrey Wynne RI.

Various designs on the 1,000 piece jigsaws focus on landmarks in and around Stoke-on-Trent including Stoke Railway Station, a canal with bottle kiln, Price and Kensington Pottery Factory and Saggar Boys.

Amanda Bromley, owner of Barewall Art Gallery, said: “We are delighted to  launch this series of jigsaws  by Geoffrey Wynne.

“During the pandemic jigsaws have grown in popularity and therefore we wanted to offer something different to the people of Stoke-on-Trent and surrounding areas so we asked Geoffrey if we could do something together.

“We are really excited to offer his wonderful paintings of the Potteries in this new fun format – perfect for all of the family whilst providing a great topic of conversation especially during the Festive period.”

Geoffrey Wynne is an elected member of the Royal Institute of Watercolourists and went to the Burslem School of Art. His work is regularly seen at Barewall Art Gallery and in exhibitions across Europe.

“Geoffrey is known for his work across the globe and he still loves to paint Stoke-on-Trent,” says Amanda.

“He has been painting his roots for many years and these jigsaws are a brilliant way to showcase his work to a wider audience.”

Barewall Art Gallery has been working with art lovers and collectors since 2010 helping them to find art which fits their budget.

During the pandemic the gallery was forced to temporarily close its doors to the public. Now over 4000 items can be viewed online at www.barewall.co.uk. The Geoffrey Wynne jigsaw series, priced at £20 each, are available to order online with more stock arriving in November.