Horizons Coaching have recently been contracted to work with Steelite International to offer training with a real difference.

Louise Griffin, HR Group Director at Steelite International had explored the courses that Helen offered and sat down with production managers, to recognise the importance of getting their buy-in to training that was going to be ‘out of the norm’ from the outset. The Positive Vibes training was chosen and was a natural fit with the company.

Louise said, “I wanted to provide our people managers with the opportunity to explore their own communication style and to recognise their own levels of emotional intelligence and resilience, understanding that it really isn’t a black art, just an identification of recognising our own identity and how this works in our personal and professional life.

“Running the Positive Vibes workshop was a real eye-opener for many attendees, something very different than the ‘normal’ classroom training environment, Helen really took people outside of their comfort zones, pushing the boundaries. I would say that vast majority of people who attended the workshop took away something new, recognising traits in themselves and others, and learning more about how, as humans, our actions and reactions directly affects our resilience and communication style. In fact, I was surprised at how many people positively reacted to the workshop and still today talk about the benefits it has had in the way they communicate with their people.”

One of the attendees at the Positive Vibes workshops was Martin Youds, UK & Ireland Regional Sales Director. He decided to have Helen run the same workshop for all his sales staff and afterwards said:

“Quite often high performance teams focus on what needs to be achieved; sales targets; new product introductions; pricing negotiations; tenders etc. All too often little attention is paid to the mental health and wellbeing of the team. During stressful and uncertain times the benefits of re-focussing on your own wellbeing can take a back seat to all other business priorities. That’s where Helen stepped in to help us evaluate how we respond to these situations, and the importance of the individual.

Helen delivered a “Positive Vibes” workshop to my sales team as the last session of a jam packed day. The team really enjoyed exploring their communication styles in a fun way and Helen’s interaction with the team put them at ease immediately. The relaxation techniques were a revelation and everyone found the session of real benefit. Delivered with illustrative stories and interactive sessions I am certain the Positive Vibes session helped many in the team sense check their stress levels, and realise the value in “taking some time for yourself” during their very busy lives”

Helen Dos Santos at Horizons Coaching said; “in our busy lives today, going at a 100 miles an hour and being switched on 24/7 to our mobile devices, it is important that people have coping strategies and a positive mindset to help them through times when the going gets tough, whether that be at home or at work.

“It has been an amazing experience to work with such dedicated and passionate staff at Steelite International. Seeing the staffs’ realisation of how our language and communication can affect us, not just when we talk to each other, but also when we talk to ourselves. Being able to manage or to switch off that negative voice in our heads can have an empowering, lasting and powerful impact on our lives.”

For further information about supporting the mental and emotional resilience of your workforce, contact Helen Dos Santos at Horizons Coaching on 07730 920010 or helen@horizonscoaching.co.uk

BusinessLodge, Staffordshire’s newest flexible office space provider, is offering a unique opportunity to Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Members to take a FREE stand at an exclusive Business Fair, held in the newly refurbished Trent House.

The market-leading flex space provider has expanded in to Staffordshire with the development of contemporary serviced offices, virtual offices, meeting rooms and conference facilities at Trent House, Victoria Road, formerly the Npower building.

The Business Fair is part of a prestigious opening event at Trent House to be held on Wednesday 10th July at 4pm until 7pm.

40 Staffordshire businesses will be exhibiting at the fair with many more delegates attending the event, including VIPs, the media and senior members of the local business community.

BusinessLodge is offering 20 FREE spaces exclusively to Chamber of Commerce members on a first come first served basis. It will be an opportunity for local businesses to take a stand and promote their services and network with valuable contacts. The event with be supported with marketing activity including PR and social media.

Kate Holt, Managing Director of Business Lodge said:

“BusinessLodge is hugely successful in Lancashire and we want to celebrate our expansion in to Staffordshire. We’ve already been made to feel extremely welcome by the local business community and this free event, as part of our wider open day is our opportunity to showcase our new building and say thank you.”

The limited places are expected to be quickly filled and so to secure your slot, please call Kate Holt at kate@businesslodge.co.uk or please call on 01782 390100.



Local business, Pawprint Badges, have been crowned People’s Choice winner for the Midlands at The National Family Business of the Year Awards 2019.

Pawprint Badges, a first-generation family-run business, came out on top in an online public vote against 13 other finalists in the category, which included long-standing family businesses with over 30 years’ experience.

Picking up the coveted award at a glitzy awards ceremony at The May Fair Hotel, London, last Thursday (6th June), Charlotte Russell, Director of Pawprint Badges, said: We are over the moon to have bagged an award! Having only been going for 3 years we didn’t think we were in with a chance at all but to have been voted for by our customers and followers, is humbling.”

“We aim to help others and provide a quality service that we would like to receive. Winning this award makes you realise that someone, somewhere (or rather lots of people) appreciate what we do and that makes it all worthwhile!”

Pawprint Badges create free activity packs and resources to support leaders, teachers and parents. The packs are accompanied by collectible, embroidered badges which sell for £1.25-£2.00.

The Lichfield based company also donates a percentage of profits in to The Pawprint Trust; providing grants to young members of The Scout Association and Girlguiding nationally, along with fundraising for other charities through the sale of their badges. Founded in 2016 by Charlotte and her husband Jamie, both Guide and Scout leaders respectively, they have grown Pawprint Badges year on year and given more than £3000 in grants to young members of their organisations.

Charlotte added: We are committed to upholding our promises made within Scouts and Girlguiding. We promise to do our best and help other people but, on this occasion, it is others that have helped us. We would like to thank everyone who voted for us, along with our family, who have supported and championed us tirelessly over the last 3 years, it really means the world to us.”

The People’s Choice Awards are organised by Family Business United, the award-winning magazine and resource centre that champions and celebrates the family business sector. Now in their seventh year, the awards recognise the diversity, strength and depth of family firms across the UK and seek to highlight the contribution that family firms make to the UK economy.

As Paul Andrews, Founder and Managing Director of Family Business United explains, “We created these awards to celebrate the enormous contribution that family businesses make across the UK. Winning one of the People’s Choice awards is truly special as it reflects the view of the public and is determined solely by an online vote. It is always great to receive recognition for your endeavours too. Family firms are the engine room of the UK economy and deserve all the recognition that they can get.”

A North Staffordshire based business coach is on a mission to create 1,000 jobs in the next five-years by helping companies to grow.

Former international sales and marketing director Doug Flynn is using his vast experience both on the corporate world and as a business owner to support business growth. Doug has joined the international ActionCoach network, returning to North Staffordshire and his home in Tittensor after a life of globe-trotting.

He said: “I have worked all over the world for multinationals and I’m now applying my 30-plus years of experience to help smaller businesses to grow. I offer different programmes from 90 day planning for the smaller businesses, group coaching events and full on executive 1:1 coaching for larger businesses with Teams.

“It’s really about transformational coaching, your business will not grow unless you do. Coaching is a process of learning but above all accountability, which business owners don’t have. The result is they shy away from key tasks of planning running KPIs testing and measuring, lead generation… the list goes on. Most business owners spend all their time working in the business not on the business.

“My aim is to help business owners to grow, create more profit and improve the work life balance. Ultimately, we are looking to build a commercial profitable enterprise that can operate without you in it. Going on to create wealth and financial freedom.”

Among current clients is BPA Safety of Stoke. Owners Darren Bedson and Vicky Milward have achieved a significant upturn in business having initially attended a business growth workshop, organised by Doug. BPA are a successful business, but progress had stalled a little due to loss of experienced staff. Now, the Leek Road based company has begun to grow again and plans to more than double its team to up to 12 staff.

“We were at a crossroads and had considered continuing running the business with a small core team,” said Vicky, “but Doug’s talk sparked a lightbulb moment as we realised that we didn’t have a long-term strategy and were constantly reacting to the latest sales trends. 

BPA now engage in bi-weekly one to one coaching. Strategies are defined along with action plans which are in turn implemented and then monitored for the impact. As a result, we are now seeing over-proportional growth in both sales and profitability.”

Darren said: “We have Key Performance Indicators and incentives and it is the focus of the Directors to work on the business rather than in the business. Doug ensures we are accountable for our actions and for our business plan. The first focus was on staff retention and we decided to move forward with new appointments and to refine our recruitment and interview process. This has led to the recruitment of one new full-time safety consultant, one part time consultant and we are now advertising for another full-time post. We’ve also implemented new business systems in our office and brought in a new administrator and this has helped free up Vicky to work more strategically.”

Further outcomes include weekly staff meetings and Vicky and Darren attend the Action Coach 90-Day Business Planning Growth Club, where they meet with a range of companies which Doug also coaches.

Vicky commented: “I had always felt an aversion to business coaching and assumed it wasn’t for me, but I’m now a total convert. We have a plan and we feel empowered to push forward with it.

“We started this process with four in the BPA team and are now advertising for our seventh and we have a clear vision to have a team of 10 to 12 in the business providing bespoke advice to our extended range of customers.” 


A regional partnership led by Keele University has been awarded £750,000 from the Office for Students (OfS) to develop an integrated community approach to mental health and wellbeing for students in further and higher education, in collaboration with Staffordshire University, as part of a £2.2 million project.

The universities will be working in partnership with local colleges and authorities, police and NHS providers, to effectively support students’ transition into, through and out of higher education, especially those with circumstances that may contribute to them being more vulnerable to mental health issues. It is hoped this will lead to new and innovative approaches that can be applied nationally in order to positively impact on student mental health, and as such a toolkit will be produced and shared across the further and higher education sectors.

Keele University’s community approach to mental healthcare is one of only ten projects to be awarded funding by the OfS, an independent public body sponsored by the Department for Education. The OfS funding will be supplemented by match funding from Keele and Staffordshire, together with financial support from all partners, with the project totalling £2.2million in total.

The funding is part of OfS’ major new programme to find innovative ways to combat a sharp rise in student mental health issues and spark a step-change in student support across the country. Key priorities for the project include a connected training framework, interventions for at-risk groups, a regional mental health campaign, and new multi-agency approaches to student support. The universities will introduce new activities and opportunities for engagement for both on- and off-campus students, increasing social cohesion and the opportunity for early intervention, and reducing the risk of isolation.

Through partnership working with the NHS, Keele and Staffordshire University will develop new and innovative approaches to assessing and referring students, allowing a more streamlined and sensitive approach to supporting students effectively in both emergency and planned situations. Both universities are already engaged with the Stoke-on-Trent Suicide Prevention Partnership and will develop a regional student-focused Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

Keele University Vice-Chancellor Professor Trevor McMillan said: “Student mental health is a strong institutional priority for us at Keele, and a frequent topic on the agenda of both the executive team and the University Council as we develop a new institutional strategic plan, in which health and wellbeing is a key strand. It is extremely exciting for Keele to be leading this project with the support of the OfS and to be working in partnership with a regional network of university, college and NHS partners. We believe this project could have a transformative effect on the wellbeing and success of our own students and those of our locality and beyond.”

Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor Professor Liz Barnes said: “Supporting the mental wellbeing of our students, many of whom come from the local area and are important parts of local communities, is fundamental to ensuring they are successful in their studies and take advantage of the many opportunities that come with a university education. This successful bid follows on from the Student Minds Mental Health Charter event we held in March and will see us, together with Keele University and our wider partners, take a nationally-leading role in what is one of the most important issues for students and many others.”

The project will be working with regional partners including Stoke-on-Trent City Council; Staffordshire County Council; Staffordshire Police; North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust; Midlands Partnership Foundation NHS Trust; University Hospitals of North Midlands Foundation Trust; Stoke-on-Trent College; Stoke Sixth Form College; Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, and Sport Across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

The Managing Director of Newcastle based recruitment company Recruitment Robin Ltd has been voted in as Publicity Secretary of Trentham Rugby Club.

Selina Rudzik, has been actively involved with the club since her son Matty began to play in 2017. She is proud and excited to have the opportunity to give something back: “The benefits that being a part of Trentham Rugby Club have brought to Matty’s life have been amazing. He has grown not just as a rugby player but as a person. The club is set to grow this year and are currently looking to recruit both players and coaches. They already hold a lot of family orientated events that everyone can get involved in. There is such a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. It is a pleasure to be a part of it”

Trentham Rugby Club, which was established in 1948, are just as delighted with the recent addition to their committee: ‘We are really looking forward to welcoming Selina onto the committee’ states President of the club, Michael Bezus, ‘her experience of running her own business and her network of contacts will be a real asset. Anyone who knows Selina will have witnessed the energy and enthusiasm she puts into everything. This, coupled with her fresh ideas and business knowledge, will be invaluable’.

Recruitment Robin Ltd have built up strong connections within the business community both locally and throughout the county. Selina’s organised, positive and “can-do” attitude will be a welcome addition to Trentham RUFC as it develops and grows within the local community over the upcoming months.


Beeston Shenton Solicitors will be throwing open the doors of their Sandbach branch on Saturday 22nd June.

The team will be offering FREE 15 minute consultations giving customers the opportunity to get advice on a range of legal services and to get information on the latest discounts and offers available.

The open day will run from 10am – 3pm.

To find out more, call the Sandbach office on 01270 750 057.

Beeston Shenton Open Day

Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) has officially unveiled plans for a brand new £23M Skills and Innovation Hub.

The news comes following the successful application by the Group to Stafford Borough Council for permission to demolish mothballed buildings on the Earl Street and Broad Street corner of the existing campus, to make way for the new scheme which has a targeted completion date of 2022.

The ambitious plans include a 7,500 sq foot, 3 storey Skills and Innovation Hub equipped with leading edge equipment and state-of-the-art skills, construction, engineering and motor vehicle facilities, along with a 4 court sports hall, gym and 300-seat auditorium.

This latest announcement relating to the Stafford College campus comes almost two years after the College opened a brand new Science and Technology Centre which is home to state-of-the-art science laboratories, IT suites and a LEGO® Education Innovation Studio. Since the merger between Newcastle College and Stafford College in November 2016, a total of £13.5M has been invested to improve facilities and student experience at the town centre campus. Other recent enhancements include; a fully revamped Learning Resources Centre, new dining areas and a new Mac Suite, alongside substantial investment into innovative hybrid motor vehicle equipment and significant improvements to the IT infrastructure.

If approved, the plans will see the College exit its current leased skills and construction facility, located on Palmbourne Industrial Estate, with staff and course delivery transferred to the new facility on the main campus in 2022.

Principal and Chief Executive of NSCG, Karen Dobson confirmed that enhancing the learning experience for students whilst providing staff with an inspiring workplace to be proud of, were key drivers behind the plans. Said Karen: “When Newcastle and Stafford College merged to form NSCG we had a very clear vision of the journey ahead. Our latest plans serve to reinforce our commitment to investing in our estate to provide the students of Staffordshire inspirational learning environments that will help to optimise their talent and expand their horizons.”

“Early on in the merger process it was clear that we should consolidate our provision in Stafford on to one site and, once these works are completed it will mean all of our Stafford-based courses will be delivered from one, centrally located campus, with the best facilities in the region.”

In addition to College funds, NSCG is working with the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and other partners to secure a funding package which will enable a prompt start to the development.

Contractors will be appointed following a tender process in early 2020 and full planning permission will be submitted in June 2019.

Continued Karen: “We hope to commence work in early 2020 be open in time for the 2022/3 academic year, but of course this is subject to us securing the necessary planning approval and funding. Approval will be fantastic news for the town as a whole and will bring positive benefits to the local economy and the thousands of future students and families who will become part of our college community.”

“We are excited about the proposals and the initial stakeholder feedback has been extremely positive, we will continue in dialogue with staff, students and external stakeholders as we move the project forward.”

If approved, the Skills and Innovation Hub will attract a diverse student body across a wide range of predominantly skills based subjects, which will help to address future skills gaps in the region whilst also supporting Government priorities around sport and increasing the number of young people studying on apprenticeship programmes. Already a significant provider of apprenticeships, NSCG currently has over 2,200 apprentice learners, working with over 800 regional employers, a substantial percentage of whom are in the skills and construction trades. The building will accommodate up to 1000 learners and up to 200 staff.

Stafford College is hosting an open event on Saturday 15 June between 10am and 12 noon, where there will be the opportunity to find out more about the proposed plans for the Skills and Innovation Hub. Alternatively visit www.nscg.ac.uk/consultation for more information.


Employees at a health organisation in Wolverhampton will now be able to further support causes close to their hearts thanks to financial backing from their employer.

Paycare, a not-for-profit Health Cash Plan provider in Wolverhampton has launched its newest initiative, ‘My Giving’, which provides each and every member of staff with a direct donation of £250 towards a charity of their choice. The scheme complements the firm’s existing initiative which provides employees with two additional and fully-paid days of annual leave each year, used for the purpose of giving back – whether it be fundraising, donating their time, or volunteering to support an event.

Kevin Rogers, CEO of Paycare, explained: “In 2017 we launched our scheme to provide two extra days off to staff so that they could support a cause they care about, and this has been a huge success. As a not-for-profit we’re committed to our Employees, our Communities and our Policyholders, and we’re constantly thinking about how else we can make a positive difference to all of these groups.

“The creation of our new ‘My Giving’ scheme means that staff can receive £250 in a direct donation to a charity or cause close to their hearts, making our not-for-profit status even more personal to them and providing greater emphasis on our mission to help others.

“It also benefits our Policyholders by showcasing how, by choosing Paycare, they are indirectly enhancing local communities, and it helps the charities and causes themselves, who rely so much on volunteers, donations, and support. It’s a win situation all-round and I’m thrilled with its uptake already.”

“Emily, our Marketing & Partnerships Manager has used some towards her Amazon Trek for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, and Jodie, our Policy Administration Assistant is planning to use the money to kick-start her half-marathon in aid of Cancer Research UK later this year. I look forward to reflecting on the combined impact we’ve been able to make as a team thanks to this initiative.”

Cure Leukaemia’s Head of Corporate Partnerships, Jackie Kelly, said: “We would like to thank Cheryl for organising the quiz and raising such a fantastic amount in memory of her Dad. This is a great initiative from Paycare to encourage their employees to grow an initial donation into a more substantial figure.

“Every penny raised will help fund our network of research to connect patients with the latest treatments for blood cancer as we continue towards our long-term aim of eradicating all forms of blood cancer within 15 years.

“We received great support from Paycare in recent years and they were among the key drivers of the fundraising to support former Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, and we look forward to hopefully working together again in the future.”



Chamber Patron JCB has secured a historic deal with Morris Leslie Plant Hire for their biggest ever telehandler order worth £36 million.

The deal for 555 Loadalls, ranging from the compact six metre 525-60 up to the 20 metre 540-200, has been placed through dealer Scot JCB. The machines, which all feature JCB Livelink and offer unrivalled fuel consumption and emissions, will be built at JCB World Headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire.
Morris Leslie Plant Hire Managing Director, Graham Ogilvie said: “As the construction market continues to develop, Morris Leslie is experiencing excellent company growth.

These JCB Loadalls ensure our customers get the best of all worlds – high performing machines with excellent telematic reporting and a great nationwide dealer support network. The sales, service and advice from Scot JCB has also been second to none.”

Group Managing Director Global Key Accounts, Yvette Henshall-Bell, said: “Morris Leslie is one of the fastest and largest growing companies in the plant hire industry and we are delighted that they have chosen the JCB Loadall, the world’s number one telehandler, to further expand their fleet.”

Morris Leslie Plant Hire is part of the Morris Leslie Group which was established 45 years ago in Perthshire, Scotland.  The business has now grown to more than 5,000 machines, with an average age of under two-years-old.

The company’s founder and Executive Chairman Morris Leslie said: “We are delighted to have placed an order of this magnitude with JCB as our relationship continues to grow in line with the expansion of our business.”