Aspire Housing has joined a national lobby, calling on the government to use £2bn in unclaimed financial assets to create a Community Wealth Fund.

The Newcastle-based housing association is among the first 100 organisations to join the Community Wealth Fund Alliance, campaigning for strategic, long-term funding to support the communities who need it the most.

The alliance is made up of public, private and voluntary sector organisations and initiatives that are campaigning for the creation of a new multi-billion pound Community Wealth Fund to support deprived communities.

Sinéad Butters, Group Chief Executive of Aspire Housing, said: “We’re delighted to sign up and support the lobby to create a Community Wealth Fund, targeting millions back into our communities from dormant assets.

“Supporting deprived communities is a fantastic idea, and for us a critical step in helping to ensure our country shares equally in wealth created. After all, we all helped create it, so let’s all benefit from it.”

The alliance proposes that the fund should provide long-term investment for communities, with local people in control of the spend to ensure it reflects their aspirations and creates a legacy of positive change in their areas.

The fund would be financed by £2bn of unclaimed and dormant assets – from bonds, shares, insurance and pension funds and charitable trusts – which could grow to £5bn with corporate investment.

Two growing Staffordshire Moorlands companies are working in partnership to ensure companies can benefit from professional office cleaning and water safety services.
Lizzie Ward, Managing Director of SAS Water Ltd met with Suzanne Davy, a Director at Moorland Contract Cleaning, as part of a strategy to become more involved with the Moorlands business community.
“Not only is Suzanne a partner in a very successful locally-based commercial cleaning business, but she is also President of the Staffordshire Moorlands Chamber of Commerce, playing a pivotal role in supporting companies across the Moorlands,” explained Lizzie. “I was delighted to join the Chamber this Summer and become the 100th firm to take up membership.”
Lizzie met Suzanne for the first time in Spring 2019 and the duo discussed business synergies.
“We have many contracts around the country with large organisations, but are perhaps not so well known on our own turf here in the Staffordshire Moorlands,” added Lizzie. “Moorland Contract Cleaning provide high quality contract cleaning services in the area and are trusted by many companies in the Moorlands and the wider North Staffordshire and South Cheshire area. Our services are complimentary and it makes sense to work together to ensure that a clean office is also a safe office, in terms of their water systems.”
Based in East Street, Leek, SAS Water has a bold vision to become the UK’s leading Legionnaires’ disease and water treatment specialist. It works with almost 100 companies and organisations including housing associations, building companies, factories and councils.
SAS Water also offers specialist support to the hotel and leisure spa sector, providing services including regular water sampling, testing, risk management, education and crisis control services.
Suzanne Davy said: “On meeting Lizzie for the first time, I could see immediate synergies and opportunities to work together. We make our staff aware of water safety and the need to ensure all water outlets, such as sinks and showers are run regularly, but many companies will further benefit from specialist legionella consultants.
“Having a proactive relationship with SAS Water gives me peace of mind that we can offer our customers access to expert advice where they are worried about the safety of the water in their premises.
“I’m also delighted to welcome SAS Water to the Moorlands Chamber which I have championed since its launch three years ago and see as a growing force to promote local business.”
Suzanne said that one issue that needed to be highlighted was the growing, positive trend of companies offering showers for staff who cycle or run to work. She explained: “Such facilities should be encouraged, but companies need to be aware that, if not used regularly, the shower needs to be flushed through regularly to guard against Legionella in stagnant water.
All companies with five or more staff have a duty to understand and minimise Legionella risk. Public Health England statistics show there have been here has been 110 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease reported in the UK between January and May 2019.
Moorland Contract Cleaning has offices at Daisy Bank House, Cheadle, and is run by husband and wife Tim and Suzanne Davy. The company has over three decades experience working in the office, industrial and education sectors.
For further information on Moorland Cleaning, please see http://www.contract-cleaning.com and for SAS Water, see http://www.saswater.co.uk.

The SEL Group IEMA approved Plastic Thinking one day course will be run at The Globe Foundation Uttoxeter on 4th September 2019. This course covers all things plastic from the new compliance changes to waste minimisation. We will be offering all Chamber members a 10% discount on the usual price of £150. If you would like to know more please contact our team on info@selgroup.co.uk or contact the presenter Dr Dawn Pope Dawn@selgroup.co.uk. Further details and useful Plastic Thinking guidance notes are available on our website http://www.selgroup.co.uk.

100% Match Funding Scheme

Transition Law, a Law firm based in Cannock have announced a system of 100% Match Funding to assist businesses afford the costs of their GDPR compliance.

GDPR Compliance is a statutory requirement for all businesses regardless of size. However, in some small businesses, cashflow difficulties leaves them prioritising other matters, which exposes them to high levels of fines, Criminal Prosecution and adverse publicity by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), who publish the names and offence details of every organisation who is subject to their Enforcement Action.

In addition to the Match Funding assistance, once compliant every business is entitled to free access to the SHIELD program which confirms their status as a compliant business and allows them to use the accreditation to promote their business in their Marketing activity and when Tendering for work.

Robert Linford, Head of Practice at Transition Law said “GDPR compliance should be the first job for all small businesses, even starting a business which is not compliant is a Criminal Offence. The fines being issued are enough to close a small business down. Only last month a local firm was fined £90,000.

Our new Match Funding package means everyone can access Free Legal advice, receive professional assistance and once they are compliant, they can use the SHIELD programme make everybody aware of their compliant status.”

Full details of our End to End GDPR services, including Free Legal advice and the new Match Funding Scheme are available at www.transitionlaw.com/gdpr where any business owner can check their eligibility for the funding free of charge.

Award-winning Professional Services

Finest members are continuing to be recognised for the outstanding quality of their services.

 

Long-standing member Freeths solicitors scooped the prestigious Employer of the Year Award at this year’s Staffordshire Chambers Awards ceremony. Peter Gavin, Managing Partner, of Freeths’ Stoke Office said “At Freeths we strive to be the best employer we can with constant engagement with our staff and adapting strategies which genuinely assist with best working practices and a good work life balance.”

 

At the same event, three more Finest members also received awards. Steve Timmis, from Sempar Accounting & Tax, was recognised as the Entrepreneur of the Year whilst Infinity IT Solutions and Prosurv Consult jointly won the Professional Services of the Year category.

 

Nationally, Synectics Solutions, who provide predictive analytics and data services, has been honoured with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation. The award, which is in recognition of the company’s outstanding successes in innovation, is the highest official UK accolade for British businesses.

 

And across Europe, IP specialists Swindell & Pearson have been featured in a Financial Times special report on ‘Europe’s Leading Patent Law Firms 2019’. This report was compiled by FT researcher partner Statista and is based on recommendations made by both clients and peers.

 

These are just a few examples of the award-winning Finest Member professional services organisations here in Staffordshire providing top class services to their clients locally, nationally and around the world.

A young, experienced sales professional has been appointed by Adept Vehicle Management as part of a major growth programme.

Kyle Willis, 26, has joined the Chesterton-based fleet specialists as Fleet Sales Manager.

Adept Vehicle Management recently unveiled growth plans after gaining acceptance onto the Crown Commercial Services framework. The successful tender gives Adept access to around 2,500 public sector car and commercial fleets across the UK.

Kyle has worked in the vehicle sales arena for more than four years and was a branch manager for a large commercial car rental company before joining Adept Vehicle Management.

A former pupil of Haywood High School, Burslem, Kyle achieved a BA Hons) Degree in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Manchester Metropolitan University before joining a management graduate programme in the car sales sector.

Kyle said: “I have learned a great deal about car rental and sales in the last four years and joining Adept means I can build my career with a specialist company which focuses on working closely with the companies it leases vehicles too, providing the highest levels of customer service.”

Adept Vehicle Management Director Carl Cumbo said: “It is a very busy time at Adept and we are in a position to grow our team. It is good to be able to support local, young talented sales professionals such as  Kyle and we welcome him to the team. He will be working primarily with the Staffordshire business community, forging links through organisations such as Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and BNI Staffordshire.”

Promotional hub BabaBaboon has joined forces with a Staffordshire Radio Station to help share positive news from the area.

BabaBaboon has been actively sharing good news and promoting businesses and events in North Staffordshire since May 2018, and Creative Director Sonya Farrall was invited by owners of FM station – the Hitmix to present a live weekly show – which was launched on July 7. The Sunday “Local and Live” show sees Sonya presenting and co-producing, and will include interviews with public figures as well as welcoming studio guests to the Newcastle-under-Lyme station.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to work with an established radio station and I was delighted to be invited to do my own show,” says Sonya.

“The show is a great platform to extend BabaBaboon’s reach and speak to a different audience. We are very passionate at BabaBaboon about spreading good news as well as helping to promote local businesses and events we liaise with the public on a daily basis, and now with the radio show we will also be interacting with an even wider audience – it’s great!”

Hitmix Station Manager, Robbie Benson said:  “Hitmix Radio is all about sharing great music and local news with our community.  We also recognise local talent and hard work, and Sonya deserves the platform of FM radio to enable her to spread the good news to even more people – we are delighted to welcome Sonya to the Hitmix team!”

BabaBaboon help to promote businesses, events and news via their own unique PR platform – www.babababoon.co.uk  and are also very active on social media reaching thousands daily via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Listeners can tune in to Sonya’s radio show on the Hitmix 107.5FM, or online, every Sunday from 2pm.

Staffordshire based professional business consultancy the Strategi Solutions Group has made a number of recent appointments, to support the growing demands of the business and strengthen their successful HR team.

Lisa Smith has joined the Strategi Solutions Group as HR Advisor. Lisa will be responsible for heading up the HR team under the direction of Rob Fisher, Director of HR Services and will provide direct HR support to clients as well as championing Strategi Solutions own HR needs. With over 20 years’ experience working within HR for the transport industry, Lisa is excited to be transferring her skills and knowledge across a wider range of clients from different industries.

Whilst Van Chavda joins the growing business consultancy in the role of HR consultant. Her primary remit will be to support one of Strategi Solutions key accounts – Palletforce – the fastest growing and most successful pallet distribution network in the UK, whilst supporting the team with HR solutions for the growing client base. With a BA and master’s degree in human resources with a full qualification in CIPD, along with over 10 years of experience working in various industries ranging from warehousing, retail, manufacturing, hospitality, leisure and professional services, she brings a wealth of experience to the team.

The final addition is Laura Bithell in the role of HR Coordinator. Prior to joining Strategi Solutions Group Laura was HR Coordinator at Caudwell Children after graduating with a master’s degree in in Human Resource Management at Keele University in 2017. Laura will be hands on supporting the HR Team and their clients delivering a range HR solution.

“I am pleased to welcome Lisa, Van and Laura to the Strategi family” says Rob Fisher Director of HR Services “The new structure strengthens our breadth of professional knowledge allowing for a bigger impact on our HR clients and gives us a stronger platform to continue to grow.

In addition to HR services Strategi Solutions Group offer a wide range of services including Culture Change Programmes, Learning and Development, Coaching and Mentoring, Talent Management, Recruitment, Health and Safety, ISO implementation and auditing, Marketing and Design.

Keele University Business Gateway is delighted to announce the launch of the very first Breaking the Mould awards. The awards celebrate the diverse community of innovative entrepreneurs, businesses, social enterprises, employers and research partners who have worked with us over the last two years.

If that includes you, we want to share your story and reward your talents and hard work.

Breaking the Mould’s awards evening takes place on Thursday 17 October. Hosted by journalist and broadcaster Naga Munchetty in the brand new Smart Innovation Hub*, it promises to be an awards evening like no other, with surprises in store. Winners will go away with our coveted artisan trophies which are just as innovative as the businesses we work with.

Nominations are now being accepted in the following categories:

• Health and Wellbeing – sponsored by Cobra Biologics
• Sustainability – sponsored by Cadent
• Social Inclusion – sponsored by Synectics solutions
• Bringing Learning to Life – sponsored by Dains Accountants
• Cultivating Talent – sponsored by We are aspire
• Leadership – sponsored by Caja
• Future Enterprise – sponsored by Staffordshire County Council
• Collaboration of the Year – sponsored by Siemens UK

Nominations can be submitted online here. The deadline for submissions is midnight on 31 July 2019.

Speaking about the awards, Stephen Roberts, Keele University’s Business Gateway Manager, said: “Breaking the Mould provides a great opportunity to put a spotlight on the innovative companies that call Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire home, and to recognise the impact that they are having on the local economy, environment, health and wellbeing.”

“Keele is working with over 500 businesses, who are gaining unparalleled access to world-leading research, expertise and talent. Breaking the Mould gives us a chance to recognise those organisations who have used their collaboration with Keele as a catalyst to go on to develop truly great things.”

“Breaking the Mould promises to be a great event in the local business calendar, and we’re looking forward to celebrating the abundance of amazing enterprising talent that is based in the local area.”

Keele University Business Gateway would like to thank Siemens UK who are headline sponsor for Breaking the Mould 2019, as well as the other local and national organisations who are sponsoring the awards.

To find out more about Breaking the Mould, please visit www.keele.ac.uk/breakingthemould.

A loan fund set up to support West Midlands businesses has reached a new milestone.

The MEIF Small Business Loan Fund, which is delivered by BCRS Business Loans, has now invested and loaned £2 million to over 60 West Midlands businesses that have been unable to access finance from traditional lenders.

The fund is part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), which was set up to transform the finance landscape for small and medium-sized businesses. The MEIF is delivered by six appointed fund managers, including BCRS Business Loans.

BCRS Business Loans provide loans from £10,000 to £150,000 to viable West Midlands based businesses that are looking to grow.

Commenting on this milestone, the chief executive of BCRS Business Loans, Paul Kalinauckas, said:

“We are incredibly proud to be a delivery partner for MEIF, which is an important initiative for small and medium sized businesses that are looking to grow and prosper.

“Delivering over £2million from our MEIF fund is an excellent achievement and is crucial to the prosperity of our region by boosting economic activity and providing jobs for local people.

“As the region’s biggest Responsible Finance Provider, we believe that no viable business should go unsupported and ensure that a fast, relationship-based approach to lending is at the heart of our loan process.”.

Ryan Cartwright, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said:

“Following the recent announcement that the MEIF has now reached the £50million investment milestone, this additional achievement by BCRS Business Loans is testament to the hard work of our fund manager.

“BCRS has now supported over 60 businesses, unlocking finance to help them expand and supporting the growth of the local economy. The funding provided so far has supported international expansion projects, the purchase of new equipment and creating jobs.”

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

 

To discover more about BCRS Business Loans visit our ‘About Us’ page or submit an application form by clicking here.