Business

Derbyshire Voluntary Action celebrates opening of new community hub

Friends of Derbyshire Voluntary Action (DVA) gathered at a new community hub recently to celebrate ‘Feeling Connected Week’.

The Hub @ Low Pavement is DVA’s new pop-up community venue in Chesterfield’s town centre and will serve to promote better social connectedness and improved mental health and wellbeing for people in the local area.

The Hub will host activities, exhibitions and social get-togethers, as well as providing information about the local voluntary and community sector.

Chief Executive of DVA, Jacqui Willis, explains: “We’ve wanted to create an inclusive, welcoming and friendly place for members of the public and for volunteer-led community groups to come together and forge new connections for some time.  To have the opportunity to do this at accessible premises in the heart of Chesterfield is fantastic.”

The Hub will also be an important asset for DVA’s Feeling Connected project, which supports local people and groups to combat loneliness. During ‘Feeling Connected Week’ the project shone a spotlight on some of the great volunteer-led initiatives that bring people together week-in week-out in North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield.

The aim of Feeling Connected Week was to inspire people to talk about what they have done to make themselves or others feel more connected, as well as encouraging people to come together and reconnect as group, whether it be with colleagues, friends or a social or special interest group.

Derbyshire Voluntary Action (DVA) is an innovative independent charity, which strategically represents and champions the work of the health and wellbeing related voluntary and community sector in Derbyshire. It provides vital support to a diverse range of local charities and community groups, and connects people and resources to projects and ideas.

For more information about The Hub @ Low Pavement and the Feeling Connected project, contact Derbyshire Voluntary Action: info@dva.org.uk / 01246 555908.

Derbyshire Voluntary Action supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Kids Planet raises money for Prader Willie Syndrome in sponsored walk

Staff at Kids Planet North Wingfield took part in a 10-mile sponsored walk on Thursday 14th October to raise money for Prader Willi Syndrome.

The group of 11 members of staff were representing Jaxson, to help raise money for his expensive Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS) treatment.

Sophie Hoyland, Nursery Manager, said: “Jaxon is a close family friend of one of our parents at the nursery, and the cause is very close to their family. They reached out to us to help, and we were pleased to not only get involved but generate positive support. Lots of families sponsored and cheered the group on at the roadside and over £200 has been raised so far. It was a fantastic event to be a part of and great to give back.”

Jaxson was born early and was diagnosed with PWS when he was just three days old. The rare disorder can affect muscle tone, motor skills, sleep, and speech. Due to this condition, Jaxson has to live a very healthy and active lifestyle to stay in shape. He is currently receiving support from Physiotherapy and is doing extremely well and has recently started crawling and standing.

The walk started from the Nursery in North Wingfield on the corner of Chesterfield Road and The Green, through the surrounding villages in Chesterfield. One of Jaxon’s parents is also doing a sponsored 103-mile bike ride for the cause, from Manchester to Wales.

Kids Planet North Wingfield is a purpose-built nursery and opened in 2017. Split over two levels, the nursery has three large spacious rooms and two secure outdoor play areas. The company runs five centres across North Derbyshire – including Sheepbridge, Newbold, Brampton and Chesterfield.

Kids Planet supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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NLT strengthens team with new appointment

Increased course demand has promoted the latest appointment at NLT Training Services.

Emily Marriot joins the training provider to support with course booking and delivery across NLT’s Chesterfield and Scunthorpe sites.

She brings training and development experience to NLT, having completed a Business Administration apprenticeship with NLT’s training delivery partner Impulse Training Ltd. Emily is also currently undertaking a Level 4 Assessor Coach Apprenticeship which, once complete, will enable Emily to deliver a number of NLT’s courses.

Emily will also help deliver NLT’s Step into Employment programme which is funded by the charitable arm of the training provider. The free six-week Step into Employment programme delivers practical support and advice to people facing unemployment, helping them create their own personal roadmap back to the workplace.

Emily commented: “I love the variety of the role and the people I get to meet at NLT. I am working with experienced industry professionals, young people, later life career changers and refugee families. It’s a fantastic opportunity for both career and personal development.”

Outside work Emily is kept occupied with her two dogs and four horses which she rides five.

NLT Training Services, based in Chesterfield, has been delivering workplace training to individuals and companies since 1968. NLT is also registered as a charity with the Charity Commission.

NLT’s courses, whether bespoke or an industry requirement, are designed to ensure compliance with regulatory authorities and the due diligence requirements of business.

To find out more about the range of Health and Safety, Mechanical Engineering and Leadership and Management courses available at NLT, call 0333 880 3540 or browse the course catalogue on the NLT website at www.nlt-training.co.uk

Find out more about the vast range of training opportunities in Chesterfield here.

NLT Training supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Multiple accolades for Brampton Brewery at prestigious regional awards

Chesterfield’s Brampton Brewery took home three Silver medals and one Bronze award at the annual SIBA Midlands Independent Beer Awards, which took place at the Trent Bridge Inn, Nottingham last week.

Their award-winning beers are listed as follows :

  • Terminus is a 4.2% session pale ale and won the Bronze medal in the Session IPA category.
  • Brampton Best is a 4.2% Best Bitter and won Silver medal in the British Bitters category.
  • Wasp Nest is a 5.0% Premium Bitter and won Silver medal in the Premium Bitters category.
  • Speciale is a 5.8% IPA and won Silver medal in the Cask IPA (5.5% – 6.4%) category.

Roy Allkin, SIBA Chairman commented: “Judges had a tough job separating the pack as the standard was extremely high once again. Lucky beer festival attendees at Nottingham CAMRA Beer Festival were able to try these and other award-winning beers immediately after the competition, something which is great for brewers too as they get to put their beers into the hands of real beer-lovers. The winners from the SIBA competition are officially the best independent craft beers in the Midlands region, something brewers should be extremely proud of.”

The SIBA Midlands Independent Beer Awards judge a huge range of beers across a number of styles in separate cask and small pack (bottle and can) competitions. As the awards are judged mostly by brewers, industry experts and beer journalists the SIBA Independent Beer Awards are very much seen as the prestigious ‘Brewers’ choice Awards’ by the industry.

Chris Radford from Brampton Brewery had this to say on their win: “It’s fair to say we’re all blown away by the success we’ve had at this year’s competition. It’s been a pretty miserable last 18 months for everyone, but none more so than in the Brewing industry and hospitality trade. We’re such a small team down at the brewery, but we’re just passionate about what we do and dedicated as to how we go about it.”

Brampton Brewery was re-formed in 2007 resurrecting a once-proud brewery name that traded successfully in Chesterfield and the North Midlands for well over 100 years until 1955.

The brewery now operates 3 pubs – The Rose & Crown, Brampton; The Tramway Tavern, Brampton and The Glassworks, Sheffield Road as well as licensed premises at the Brewery on Chatsworth Road itself. The Brewery produces a range of award-winning beers in Cask and Keg, as well as small-pack bottles and mini-kegs.

To find out more about SIBA’s Independent Beer Awards visit www.siba.co.uk/awards/

Brampton Brewery supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Mitchells Corporate Agents takes top prize in its first year

New Chesterfield business Mitchells Corporate Agents capped its first year with a big win in the region’s foremost corporate finance awards last week.

The brand-new partnership, a collaboration between Chesterfield-based businesses Milestone Financial Planning and Mitchells Chartered Accountants, took top prize in the prestigious Insider Dealmaker Awards for its work in securing the sale of healthcare giant Heathcotes Group to partners Civitas and Envivo Group.

Michael Heath, Managing Director of Milestone Financial Planning, said of the win; “We’re incredibly proud to be taking home this award; it’s a testament to the hard work of our team over the last 18 months. We’re not new to the world of corporate finance, but our formal partnership with Mitchells is, so to gain this sort of prestige so early is a clear sign what we offer is innovative and works! “

Instruction for the sale of healthcare group Heathcotes, which has 72 healthcare facilities across the UK, was first received in March 2020 as COVID-19 reached its height, with the buyout agreed by the end of 2020.

On the sale, Tony Hornsby of Mitchells Chartered Accountants said; It has been a privilege to work with Heathcotes Group from initial incorporation, through to working alongside Milestone Financial Planning on the business sale. We are very excited regarding our collaboration with Milestone as Mitchells Corporate Agents and believe this will offer tailored solutions and guidance to owners looking for similar business exits.”

The Insider Sheffield City Region Dealmaker Awards were held on 7th October at Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel to celebrate expertise, leadership and innovation from across the corporate finance community.

Milestone Financial Planning and Mitchells Chartered Accountants support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Enterprising Women Awards 2021: Winners announced at East Midlands Chamber gala

Apprentices, entrepreneurs and STEM ambassadors were among those recognised at East Midlands Chamber’s Enterprising Women Awards.

Eight women in business took home honours at the gala dinner on Friday (8 October), which was held at Nottingham Belfry in partnership with headline sponsor Futures Housing Group.

The evening was topped off by the Business Woman of the Year title, which was awarded to Colleague Box managing director Natalie Bamford.

She founded the Derby-based personalised gift box service alongside husband Adam during the first Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020. At the time, she was on furlough as a technology company’s expedite services assistant and came up with the idea of posting the boxes to home-based colleagues in order to “spread a bit of happiness and positivity” while the country was engulfed by “doom and gloom”.

The couple have already grown it into a £1m turnover business as corporations have identified the benefits of being able to send low-cost, high-quality gift boxes – which can be personalised or themed to feature everything from prosecco and coffee to chocolate and candles – that can be sent to staff en masse.

Asked what she liked best about the business after picking up the award, Natalie said: “We get to spread positivity and happiness, so that initial aim of when we first started Colleague Box is what still excites us today.”

Enterprising Women Awards gala dinner returns after 18 months

This was the first time the Enterprising Women Awards had been held since early March 2020, just before lockdown.

It is the biggest event in the calendar for East Midlands Chamber’s Enterprising Women network, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.

Chamber president Eileen Richards MBE, who co-chairs the network with Jean Mountain, said: “It was wonderful to be able to celebrate the Enterprising Women Awards in person and welcome back all our members and supporters. You could physically feel the enthusiasm and emotion within the room, which demonstrates just how much these awards mean to individuals.

“We have so many unbelievable women working at all levels of businesses across the East Midlands – from CEOs to managers to apprentices – and it is incredible to see them recognised.”

Jean, a past president of the Chamber, added: “Our Enterprising Women network has gone from strength to strength, and this evening is always the crowning event in our calendar so it was brilliant to see everyone again.

“Congratulations to all our winners and finalists, who thoroughly deserve the opportunity to have their stories told to the region. We can’t wait to be back next year and have some exciting plans to mark our 25th anniversary.”

The 300 guests collectively donated £1,270 to the Chamber’s three chosen charities this year – Chesterfield Samaritans, Help the Homeless Leicester and Nottinghamshire Hospice.

ITV weather presenter Emma Jesson hosted the black-tie event, with entertainment provided by Michael Bublé tribute act Mike All Bublé.

Enterprising Women Awards 2021 winners

Business Woman of the Year (sponsored by Futures Housing Group)

Winner

Natalie Bamford, Colleague Box (Derby)

Finalists

Rowan Bradley, Children’s Therapy Solutions

Sandra Wiggins, DPI UK

Jillian Thomas, Future Life Wealth Management

Claire Twells, Smith Partnership

Helen Wathall, Wathall’s Funeral Directors

Female Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by Midlands Engine Investment Fund)

Winner

Rachel Hayward, Ask the Chameleon (Derby)

Finalists

Janice Holmes, Janice Rose Lingerie

Iwona Lebiedowicz, PAB Languages

Nicky Botham, Shed Grounds Maintenance

Jaz Kaur, Fraser Stretton Estate Agents

Social Commitment Award (sponsored by PPL PRS)

Winner

CR Civil Engineering (Loughborough)

Finalists

Bodie Hodges Foundation

Cross Productions

Halo Recruit

Hot House Music

Small Business of the Year (sponsored by Unique Window Systems)

Winner

Shed Grounds Maintenance (Chesterfield)

Finalists

Access Training

Balls2 Marketing

Breedon Consulting

We Love Surveys

Female Employee of the Year (sponsored by Smallman & Son)

Winner

Matilda Swanson, Loates HR Consultancy (Derby)

Finalists

Vicky Evans, Air Ambulance Service

Ana-Andreea Covaliu, Design Studio Architects

Hollie Newton, EMA Training

Rosie McLaughlin, Embark Federation

Team of the Year (sponsored by She Inspires Global)

Winner

RideWise (Nottingham)

Finalists

Astute Recruitment

Cross Productions

DPI UK

Futures Housing Group

Outstanding Contribution to Work in STEM (sponsored by Pick Everard)

Winner

Rail Forum

Finalists

DPI UK

Emh group

JB Engineering

Midland Lead

Apprentice of the Year (sponsored by EMA Training)

Winner

Evie Smith, Reckitt Benckiser (UK) (Derbyshire)

Finalists

Brooke Dennis, Recruit 2 You

Courtney Bower, Recruit 2 You

Hannah Ward, Wytech

Bethany Less, Xbite

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College to support employers following extension to the apprenticeship incentive scheme

Principal and Chief Executive of The Chesterfield College Group, Julie Richards, has welcomed the news that the Government plans to extend the apprenticeship incentive and Kickstart schemes.

Following Rishi Sunak’s announcement last week, she has pledged to continue to help and support employers in the area who wish to take advantage of the incentives available before they end in 2022.

Since the incentive schemes were announced last year, as part of the Government’s Covid recovery plans, the college has supported over 300 employers to access bonus payments of up to £4,000 to recruit almost 400 apprentices.

Speaking about how the college was best placed to help more local employers take advantage of the incentives, Julie Richards said:

“Apprenticeships have always offered a fantastic opportunity to fill skills gaps and develop people. The bonus payment is designed to help employers feel more secure in their ability to cover the cost of recruiting an apprentice. Apprenticeships provide our young people with specific opportunities to develop their skills and secure meaningful employment which supports their financial independence and prepares them for adult life and a successful career.”

“As a local college we are committed to matching the needs of employers with the skills and talents of young people. I urge employers to contact the college to understand how the scheme may work for them. Our team are experts in supporting employers to develop a programme of skills development which will have long lasting benefits both for them and the local economy.”

The experienced team are helping organisations, large and small across Derbyshire and the East Midlands, to find the best candidates for their apprenticeship vacancies. They have a talent pool of students and applicants ready to find their next step in the world of work and are supporting businesses to navigate the recruitment process to secure their new apprentice.

Matt Cryans, Director at Crytec Ltd, a company based in Clay Cross, which sells machinery for construction, forestry and manual handling, told us about his experience of recruiting his first apprentice and making the most of the incentive scheme with the support of the college.

He said: “The scheme covers a decent proportion of an apprentice’s wages so it gives you confidence to recruit. The extra funding certainly helps you to make the move to grow the team when things feel a bit uncertain. The team at college made it easy to apply for the funding and supported me through the steps of taking on an apprentice.”

Find out more about the apprenticeship bonus scheme and the support available for Kickstart here https://www.chesterfield.ac.uk/extension-to-4000-apprenticeship-incentive-and-kickstart-scheme/

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Chesterfield-based Avant Homes Central appoints new land director

Chesterfield-based housebuilder Avant Homes has promoted its senior land manager, Lorna Rider, to the role of land director for its Central region.

With more than a decade of experience after starting her career at Avant Homes as a graduate land assistant in 2011, Lorna will be responsible for overseeing land acquisitions and new opportunities within the region in line with Avant Homes’ ambitious, long-term growth plans.

Commenting on her promotion, Lorna said: “I’m very proud to have been given the opportunity to not only take another step in my career at Avant Homes, but also bring my experience and knowledge of the housebuilding industry and land in the area to build upon the region’s portfolio of site acquisitions.

“I’m incredibly passionate about the industry and I look forward to working collaboratively with other members of the land team to drive and exceed the land targets for the region.”

Avant Homes Central currently has 10 developments under construction. Central managing director, Stuart Rowlands, said: “Lorna has been a vital part of the land team for more than a decade across Avant Homes Yorkshire and Central operations, and her well-deserved promotion is attributed to her hard work and dedication to delivering new land opportunities year on year.

“There is plenty of opportunity for Avant Homes Central and I’m sure with Lorna’s experience she can focus the land team to achieve our growth plans for the region and the Group.”

Avant Homes is one of the UK’s leading private residential property developers. The company currently has 54 live developments being delivered by five regional operating companies.

In addition to its Central region, Avant Homes has four other operating companies located within Scotland, the North East, Yorkshire and the Midlands. The Avant Homes Group builds approximately 2,000 homes each year, has a turnover of circa £500m and employs around 780 people in total.

Find out more about the homes being built by Avant at Chesterfield Waterside, one of the landmark regeneration projects taking place in the town: Chesterfield Waterside – Destination Chesterfield | Destination Chesterfield

Avant Homes supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield community and voluntary groups reminded to take advantage of local funding

Community and voluntary sector groups and organisations in Chesterfield are being encouraged to take advantage of funding, enabling them to play a key role in improving the health and wellbeing of Derbyshire residents during the ongoing pandemic.

The Covid-19 Community Response Fund allows formally constituted organisations to apply for a maximum of £2,000, while non-constituted organisations can apply for up to £250.

An extra £50,000 was allocated to groups in Derbyshire through the fund back in June 2021, with a total of more than £185,000 awarded to a diverse range of Derbyshire organisations including parents’ associations, ethnic minority groups, older people’s charities and churches so far.

Cllr Carol Hart, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for health and communities said: “The response to the pandemic has seen many organisations across Derbyshire working tirelessly to ensure the basic needs of the most vulnerable residents are met.

“The COVID-19 fund was set up to ensure that community and voluntary organisations had enough resource to carry on with their vital work.

“This additional funding will enable more groups to carry out work within their local communities. We’ve already seen some amazing work being carried out including food parcels for vulnerable people, a community café being set up and support for students.”

The closing date for groups to bid for funding is 31st March 2022, however local authorities in our area are urging them to get their applications in as soon as possible in order to avoid missing out.

Applications must be linked to an existing Public Health programme, for example to support mental health and emotional wellbeing or to tackle social isolation.

Find out more about the Covid-19 Community Response Fund here.

There are currently plenty of other ongoing support schemes for local business and organisations across Chesterfield, including the Chesterfield Digital High Street initiative, along with the Vision Derbyshire Business start-up support scheme.

Find out more about all the different types of grants, advice and other business support available in Chesterfield here: Business Support | Destination Chesterfield

Support the Community

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Ashgate Hospicecare staff reunite with relatives of patients they’ve cared for

Ashgate Hospicecare has released three ‘emotionally charged’ videos reuniting its staff with the relatives of patients they cared for in their final days.

The videos, released during Hospice Care Week (4th – 8th October) and filmed in the hospice gardens, reveal the crucial support patients and their families received from Ashgate and how its staff care not just for its patients but for their families and loved ones too.

One of those people is 38-year-old Simon Birley from Clowne, who in October 2020, married his wife Lindsay in a special ceremony at the hospice where Lindsay was being cared for in Ashgate’s Inpatient Unit. Tragically, Lindsay died just one month later.

Simon said: “Throughout her short illness, she never once complained; it’s just awful that one minute we’d just welcomed our son Isaac into the world and were so happy, the next thing life comes crashing to pieces. All we ever wanted was our own family, and then cancer took it away from us.

“I’m just so grateful that Ashgate was able to be there for us all. Lindsay was so comfortable here and they did everything they could to offer the best care possible.

“She loved all the people that came around and supported her. She truly loved Ashgate and was so thankful that a place like the hospice existed.”

Simon breaks down in tears when he is reunited with Ashgate’s Ward Manager, Karen Walker, who supported the couple on their special day.

He adds: “Karen is just an amazing person. It’s hard to put into words the difference that somebody has made. When my life had been shattered and I was seeing my loved one changing due to the disease, Karen was there to support us all.

“On the wedding day, Karen was there to support Lindsay and having her there made us much more relaxed, she helped make our wedding day go as well as it possibly could have. Without her and everyone else at Ashgate, we wouldn’t have been able to get married.
“I look up to Karen as someone who made a positive impact on my life, and I’ll be forever thankful for that.”

In another video, 61-year-old Sheryle Scott, from Sheffield, pays tribute to Helen Harrison, an Ashgate Community Nurse Specialist who cared for her brother Mark Coley at home after he was diagnosed with MND.

Sheryle said: “Without Helen, I don’t know what we would’ve done. We felt like we’d known her all our lives.

“With Helen, her patients must all feel the same way, we felt that we were the only patients she had.

“She just pulled everything together for us in a matter of days. I could phone her whenever I liked, even during the lockdown it was never a problem.

“Helen became such a big part of our life and I’m so grateful for everything she did for Mark and our family. She just never stopped caring.”

In the final video, Graham Matthews, from Killamarsh, returns to Ashgate to reunite with Lucy, the physiotherapist who “helped to extend the life” of his wife Diane, who was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy, a rare degenerative neurological condition similar to Motor Neurone Disease.

Graham said: “We were so worried about how life would end for Diane, but fortunately, thanks to the support of everyone at Ashgate, it was very peaceful for her.

“Lucy was a big part of Diane’s life towards the end. She helped make a terrible situation much brighter and more cheerful.

“I remember when she couldn’t even stand up or get her head up, but through Lucy’s hard work Diane managed to get her head back up and even stood up a couple of times.”

The charity, which provides specialist end-of-life care to patients with complex palliative care needs across North Derbyshire, hopes the videos will provide an insight into the care and support they offer and raise awareness of their services.

Hayley Wardle, Director of Quality and Patient Care at Ashgate, said: “Hospice Care Week is all about raising awareness and challenging perceptions of hospice care. These videos help to do just that by highlighting the lasting impact that good quality hospice care can have.
“The stories shared in these videos are incredibly emotional and I feel a deep sense of pride that Ashgate was able to support those families when they needed us most.

“Our hope is these videos will help explain in a bit more detail the support we provide not just to our patients but to their families and loved ones too by bringing the reality of what we are all about straight into people’s homes.”

To watch the videos, go to: www.youtube.com/user/ashgatehospice or to donate visit www.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk/donation

Ashgate Hospicecare supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Mixed picture for East Midlands economy as growth continues amid skills and supply chain concerns

The East Midlands economy is continuing to grow in response to lockdown restrictions being eased – but there are warning signs ahead, according to the latest research by East Midlands Chamber.

The Quarterly Economic Survey for Q3 2021 by the region’s leading business representation group shows improvements across most indicators, including sales, cashflow, employment and investment intentions.

But East Midlands firms also reported issues with price pressures and access to required skills to fill job vacancies.

More than 400 businesses across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire took part in the survey between 23 August and 14 September.

East Midlands Chamber QES Q3 2021 data

Key findings from the survey for the East Midlands* included:

  • UK sales increased for a net 37% of businesses, while advanced orders were up for a net 36%
  • Overseas business activity lagged behind domestic but remained positive, with overseas sales rising for a net 8% of businesses and advanced orders rising 6% – although the projection is down by 5% compared to the Q2 forecast
  • A net 25% of organisations increased their labour force in the previous three months, while a net 38% expect to grow it over the next three months
  • After five consecutive quarters in which cashflow had been down for the majority of firms, it has now been positive in the past two quarters, with a net 15% of businesses reporting they had more access to cash in Q3
  • Investment intentions are positive, with a net 26% expecting to spend on training people, and a net 16% on machinery and equipment
  • A net 63% of businesses are confident their turnover will improve over the coming quarter, while a net 37% believe profitability will increase
  • A net 46% of businesses said they were concerned about future price increases
  • Two-thirds (67%) of companies attempted recruitment in the previous quarter and, of these, 71% said they faced problems with hiring the right people

East Midlands Chamber director of policy and external affairs Chris Hobson said: “The top-level results show a mixed picture that hides a number of variables at play in the East Midlands economy.

“Cashflow continues to improve for more businesses than not, training investment intentions are positive and overall confidence in future turnover continues its upward trajectory.

“As the economy continues its reopening after a successful vaccine rollout, the pent-up demand that characterised much of the summer remains a positive factor.

“But there are also a few of areas of concern. Price pressures continue to come from increased raw material costs, pay settlements and, increasingly, energy costs.

“This has knock-on effects, with investment in machinery and equipment growth – an important ingredient in fuelling a recovery – falling back slightly on the previous quarter.

“Performance in overseas markets remains volatile and, while turnover confidence has grown from Q2, confidence in increased profitability has fallen back, a result of squeezed margins.

“Recruitment is also a growing problem, with over seven in 10 struggling to fill vacancies across all skills levels.”

‘There’s still much that we don’t yet fully understand’

The State of the Economy Index – a measure of the region’s economic health compiled by aggregating various indicators – reached its highest level since Q3 2018 in the previous quarter.

It again rose in Q3 2021, albeit only slightly, as other issues have arose in recent months related to supply chain issues, skills challenges and additional taxation in the form of a health and social care levy that increases the burden for both employers and employees.

“There’s still much that we don’t yet fully understand,” added Chris. “There are many factors at play in shaping current challenges for businesses – the impact of policy responses to the pandemic on the recovery, changes in individual approaches to work expectations, structural changes to supply chain operations and immigration rules as a result of Brexit, and global shortages as the whole world looks to bounce back, to name but a few.

“The balance of influence of these different factors, some which are temporary and others that may be longer term, is still being unpicked. As we learn more over the coming months, we’ll have a better idea of whether they are flies in the ointment or something more fundamental.

“There is also trepidation ahead of the 27 October Autumn Statement, where we’ll find out more about how Government plans to tackle supporting the economy over the next period and the balance between tax and spend.

“Regardless, the coming months will be instructive as to what shape the recovery will take. As we learn more about which challenges are going to be longer term, it’s important that policy responds to this appropriately and doesn’t get distracted with temporary issues the market can take care of itself.”

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