Business owners urged to review training policies following landmark judgment

Chesterfield’s Banner Jones Solicitors are urging business owners and employers from across the region to review their equality training policies and practices, after a landmark judgment found that one company had failed to take ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent the racial harassment of a member of staff.

The ruling in the case of Allay (UK) Ltd v Gehlen found that while the brokerage firm had delivered training on staff equality, it had become stale in the 20 months that followed.

The business had also failed to respond appropriately to claims of harassment from an employee and had therefore failed in its duty under the Equality Act 2010. Allay was ordered to pay compensation in the amount of £5,036.63.

In response to the Judgment, law firm Banner Jones has launched a comprehensive range of Employment Law training packages.

Katie Ash, Head of Employment Law at the firm, said: “In our experience, the vast majority of businesses take their duty under the Equality Act very seriously, and they want to do all that is necessary to prevent the harassment and bullying of staff. Rightly so.

“What’s different in this case, however, is that while Allay (UK) Ltd had policies and training in place, they had failed to ensure that they had regular refresher sessions in place and that they actively followed up with staff to make sure that they were acting in an appropriate way.”

Katie explains that employers can defend claims that they are vicariously liable for the discriminatory actions of their workers where they have taken ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent them from acting in such a way, and had the employer in this case delivered more regular training they may not have lost the case.

The Employment Tribunal also made some interesting observations on how training should be provided and they said that ‘brief and superficial’ training is unlikely to have a substantial effect in preventing harassment or have long lasting consequences.

By contrast, ‘thoughtful and forcefully presented’ training is more likely to be effective, and last longer.

The Judgment also found that with regards to how regularly training should be refreshed that if it becomes clear that harassment is still occurring and/or that staff didn’t understand the training, the employer needs to take further steps i.e. to improve and refresh the training.

Katie adds: “As the Judgment says, if training involves no more than gathering employees together and saying, ‘here is your harassment training, don’t do it’, before sending everyone back to work, it is unlikely to be effective or long lasting.

“Instead, the reasonable steps that employers should take include having well-drafted equal opportunities and anti-harassment and bullying policies in place, ensuring that all workers are made aware of those policies and understand them, that appropriate training is given, regularly, and that complaints are dealt with in the right way.

“Where this happens – where the training is regular and of a good standard, and the employer was unaware of the continuing harassment – then the reasonable steps defence might still succeed.

“The fundamental learning point for employers is to make sure that equality policies and training are of a high quality and updated regularly. “

The Judgment has prompted Banner Jones to develop a number of new training packages for clients which covers all of the necessary areas of Employment Law right through the employment lifecycle, from how to deal with recruitment through to how to deal with termination of employment, including redundancies.

Katie added: “Our clients who have already undertaken the training have said how much better it is that their line managers are able to deal with situations and that just giving them enough knowledge to deal with situations lawfully has been a real benefit to their business.”

Full details and costs can be found here

Banner Jones supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Chesterfield FC launches new cancer support group

A cancer support group is being launched by Chesterfield FC Community Trust.

The group will bring people together who have been affected by the disease, with the first coffee morning taking place in the HUB at the Technique Stadium today (26th November).

Hosted by former Spireites striker Tony Lormor, who has faced his own battles with cancer, the event is free for anyone to attend.

Tony says there are plans to offer further help and support as the group grows. He said: “We’re going to start by just having a chat so that everybody can get to know each other and eventually we want to develop a cancer recovery programme, offering exercise and wellbeing sessions.

“You can’t describe what it feels like when you have been diagnosed with cancer, so to speak to someone who has gone through that and can share experiences is invaluable.

“It’s not clinical so it’ll be a more relaxed atmosphere than being in a hospital. The football club is the hub of the community, so it is a great place to be based.”

For more information, please email

The Spireites have launched a number of initiatives in the community recently, including a weight management programme, known as ‘Winning Goals.’

Donations of toys have also been flooding in at the Technique Stadium recently for the club’s annual Chester’s Christmas Toy Appeal, which helps to ensure less fortunate children still have gifts to open on the big day.

Chesterfield Football Club supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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‘Experts by Experience’ wanted by Community Chesterfield

Community Chesterfield, which links up the skills, knowledge and experience at the University of Derby with those of the local voluntary and community sector, is looking for ‘Experts by Experience’ from within the local community.

The project’s Experts by Experience scheme sees members of the community working within the voluntary and community sector contribute to lectures at the University of Derby.  It’s a great chance to help widen the horizons of future health professionals by sharing real life experiences on health and social care related topics.

Whether you are a community group wishing to enlighten our future health care professionals or a University Lecturer wanting to enrich your student’s learning, Experts by Experience can be of huge benefit to all.

Past speakers from the community sector have been experienced in subjects such as:

  • Hearing/sight loss
  • Being a family carer
  • Medications management
  • Mental health issues
  • Fibromyalgia

However, Community Chesterfield is currently looking for a range of expertise in all areas of health and social care and would love to hear from you!

If you have a lived experience that you’d like to share, why not contact Community Chesterfield via to discuss becoming an ‘Expert by Experience’.  A small financial contribution is paid to your charity of choice by way of thanks.

If you are a University lecturer and would like an ‘Expert by Experience’ to deliver a session to your students about a particular topic, you are also being invited to contact Community Chesterfield in order to arrange this.

Community Chesterfield is a Lottery funded project between Derbyshire Voluntary Action (DVA) and University of Derby. For more information about Community Chesterfield, visit

Community Chesterfield supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital Trusts Carers Project

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Management Restructure for Chesterfield’s Custom Solar

Green energy company Custom Solar has announced that the company has been restructured, with a new senior leadership formation taking the helm.

10 years from the company’s inception, Custom Solar has seen exponential growth from completing major solar projects such as the UK’s largest in the Port of Hull to securing large-scale commercial contracts with UK-leading businesses.

Growth and success have resulted in an increase in Custom Solar personnel working nationwide as well as in the firm’s new head office located in Chesterfield. The new invigorated management structure will seek to take the company forward into the future and continue to deliver further success.

Company founder Matthew Brailsford stated his pride in the progression since founding the Company: “The last 10 years at the helm of Custom Solar have been more exciting and challenging than I could ever have imagined, as a team we have achieved amazing things and have pioneered new and exciting projects across the UK.

“The business and sector show unrivaled potential in the coming years and as such Custom Solar is preparing for the mammoth challenge of decarbonising the UK’s electricity supply.

“As we continue to grow, I recognised the need to bolster the senior leadership team with a mix of industry seasoned professionals and outside expertise. Gary Sucharewycz (CEO), Victoria Brown (CFO), and Kristian Clark (COO) all have proven track records of success and add another level of professionalism and dedication to the business.

“I very much look forward to the leadership taking the reins of the day-to-day operation of the business as I know they will expand our reach, impact, and ongoing financial stability.”

“I personally now move to the role of Group Chairman to focus on strategic growth, acquisition, and investment. This is an incredibly bright and exciting time for Custom Solar, and I hope everyone will join me in wishing the senior leadership team all the very best as they continue to drive the business forwards.”

Gary Sucharewycz CEO, has been with the business for the last 6 years in the role of Director of Development and Strategy and has been in senior roles within the solar sector for the last 11 years with over 20 years of experience in the Energy industry. He has been pivotal in driving Custom Solar’s growth, developing a commercial pipeline and development process that has achieved an incredible success rate of contracted projects that has reflected in year-on-year growth with many major contracts secured across the UK.

Gary has expressed his delight to have taken on the new position: “I am really proud to have been asked to take on this role at this point in our journey having been heavily involved in the company’s growth since joining the business.

“The new position requires me to take on additional responsibility in driving us forward through an incredible growth period and I am delighted to be supported in this by Victoria and Kristian whom I have been working with over the last 8 months transitioning into our new roles.

“Through this time we have already seen an exciting period of growth in terms of recruiting new members of the team, contracts secured and projects delivered. We are supported by an experienced and successful management team and a very talented wider team internally, who is based at our new head office location and site-based through our engineering teams.

Victoria Brown CFO, who joined the business earlier in the year is a qualified accountant and Award-winning Chartered Director with over 20 years post qualified experience in various businesses. Knowledgeable in change management, risk management & mitigation, funding, and phases of high growth, Victoria brings a wealth of financial expertise to the company.

Victoria is also NED for Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, sits on the Risk and Audit Committee at Sheffield Hallam University, is Chairman of the Institute of Directors for South Yorkshire, and is a Member of the Company of Cutlers.

Kristian Clark COO, has been Operations Director at Custom Solar for the last 2 years and has been intricately involved in the businesses’ continued scaling up of its delivery model. His knowledge and approach have helped the business focus on its core deliverables, whilst seeing a controlled strategy of growth.

Kristian is highly experienced in Solar PV delivery with a history of developing businesses operations functions to manage growth efficiently and safely, he is an experienced people manager which will allow us to progress on to the next phase of our evolution.

Custom Solar supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Kids Planet North Wingfield exceeds target for Operation Christmas Child appeal

Kids Planet North Wingfield has exceeded its target of filling 100 boxes for the ‘Operation Christmas Child’ appeal.

The nursery has been busy filling 108 boxes for children in need. Not only that, the group has raised £600, which covers the cost of sending each shoebox around the world. Each gift has a unique barcode meaning the senders are able to track where they have travelled too from over 100 countries.

The children at nursery have written letters and drawn pictures to go into the shoeboxes, and staff have been teaching the nursery children about children in need around the world and about the importance of kindness and giving.

Sophie Hoyland, Nursery Manager at Kids Planet North Wingfield, said: “Personally, I have always done these shoeboxes every year from being a child.  Myself and the whole team have been very passionate about this and decided to register as a collection point to try and collect as many boxes as possible.

“The team has worked so hard to collect the shoeboxes and raise money. We reached out to our local community and have had lots of members of the public dropping off completed shoeboxes or items to go into them, for which we have been very grateful.

“Our parents have been amazing and have donated so many boxes. Not only that, they have donated money, bought raffle tickets, and taken part in fundraising games, which has all contributed to making this possible. We have been overwhelmed with all of the support.”

The company also runs several other nurseries across North Derbyshire, including in Chesterfield, Sheepbridge, Brampton and Newbold. The group aims to provide the very best education and care for each child, catering for babies through to preschool by following the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage).

Kids Planet supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Christmas, Home, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , ,

Redbrik named one of the best estate agents in the country at Best Estate Agent Guide

Redbrik has been named one of the top estate agents in the country, receiving the Gold Award for both Sales and Lettings in the Best Estate Agent Guide.

Over 15,000 estate agencies are included in the assessment conducted by the Property Academy and supported by the property portal, Rightmove. Very few agents receive the gold award for both Sales and Lettings services, and Redbrik is one of the only agents in our region to achieve this accolade.

The Best Estate Agent Guide is judged by an independent research team, creating and analysing over three billion data points, making it the biggest assessment of any industry.

Each branch of every agent in the UK is scored against a unique set of criteria looking at property marketing, customer service and results – which consumers consider to be among the most important criteria when selecting which agent to sell or let their property.

These are determined following a survey of 30,000 buyers, sellers, landlords and renters. The assessment uses a combination of data analysis, mystery shopping and a website review to identify the best agencies in the country.

Redbrik Managing Director, Mark Ross, said: “These awards follow a rigorous and independent assessment, and we are thrilled to have been recognised as among the best in the country.

“This is our fifth consecutive year being featured in the Best Estate Agent Guide. The guide has accredited us every year since it began, and we could not be prouder of how hard we have worked to receive the Gold Award in both categories this year.”

This year’s Best Estate Agent Guide results were announced on Wednesday 3rd November when 1,500 of the leading estate and letting agents and suppliers from across the UK gathered for the country’s most significant estate agency event, the EA Masters.

Peter Knight, Founder of the Property Academy, added: “We set out to provide the home mover with a reliable resource to help identify the best estate agent in each area, whether someone is looking to sell or let a property. Only the best branches make it into the Best Estate Agent Guide, and only the very best agencies have been recognised with an award.”

Home movers and landlords can search for the estate and letting agents that made the grade in their area by visiting

Redbrik supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Mark Ross, Redbrik Estate Agents

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Development, Home, UncategorisedTagged in , , ,

Workpays to deliver employability apprenticeship to get more people into work

Skills provider Workpays is looking to boost the employability market by offering a new Level 4 Employability Practitioner Apprenticeship.

The apprenticeship, lasting 18-24 months, can be delivered online and face-to-face. Depending on turnover, businesses can receive funding from the government to
cover 95% or 100% of associated costs.

The broad purpose of the apprenticeship is to provide staff with the skills to work with individuals who are distanced furthest from the labour market. Supporting
them to address and overcome obstacles in securing suitable and sustainable employment.

Occupations linked to it include Key Workers, Careers Advisors, Job Coaches, Student Support Workers, Training Advisors and many more.

Alex Glasner, Managing Director at Workpays, said: “We see the new Level 4 Employability Practitioner Apprenticeship as an exciting addition to our already award-winning lineup of apprenticeship programmes.

“Now, more than ever, Workpays is committed to helping people get back into work and this apprenticeship will ensure that employers are equipped with the
right skills to make it happen.”

This apprenticeship will benefit small, medium and large organisations, including local authorities, government bodies, recruitment agencies, training providers,
universities, schools and many more.

Any employer or individual wanting more information on the Employability Practitioner Apprenticeship, or apprenticeships in general, is to contact the Workpays Work-based learning team on

Find out more about apprenticeships in Chesterfield by visiting our Apprentice Town page.

Workpays helps people to access the skills & training needed to gain employment. The firm also provides Apprenticeship Support & Knowledge to parents, teachers & students and assists employers to develop their workforce through work-based learning and apprenticeships.

The company operates nationally, including an office here in Chesterfield. Workpays also helps to provide skills support from their other offices in Derby, Coventry, Chesterfield, Kettering, Leicester, Wolverhampton, Hinckley, Corby & Market Harborough.

Workpays supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Home, Love Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , ,

DBCP makes apprenticeship appointment in technical support team

Former Tibshelf Secondary School pupil, Christian Peat (17) is the latest addition to DBCP’s technical support team.

Christian joins the leading supplier of building control services in Derbyshire and Staffordshire Moorlands, as a Level 3 Business Administration Apprentice.

Having studied Construction and the Built Environment at school, Christian was familiar with building regulations and health and safety which sparked his interest in joining the sector.

Based at DBCP’s Chesterfield office, Christian is now working alongside the technical support team managing inspection requests for the company’s 26-strong team of building control surveyors.

He said: “It’s a really varied role with DBCP which is great. My dad is a quantity surveyor and my mum also used to work in planning, so I have experience through them of those fields. Working in building control is adding to my skillset and helping help me identify what I would like to follow as a career once I finish my apprenticeship.”

Welcoming Christian to the company David Pratt, DBCP’s Building Control Manager said: “I am delighted that Christian has chosen to begin his career journey with DBCP. It is important that companies in the building control sector invest in the training and skills of young people to avoid a future skills shortage.

“Looking ahead to the future, we have started our recruitment process now for two Building Control degree apprentices. It’s vitally important we have trained and qualified building control surveyors for current and future construction and renovation projects across Derbyshire and Staffordshire.”

If you are considering a degree apprenticeship in Building Control ahead of leaving school next year and would like to know more, get in touch with DBCP’s Building Control Manager David Pratt, on 0333 880 2000 or email

Find out more about apprenticeships in Chesterfield by visiting our Apprentice Town page.

DBCP supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Business, Development, Home, Love Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , ,

Mortgage 1st goes back to school to teach pupils about finance

Throughout October members of the Mortgage 1st team have delivered ‘Future Financial Planning’ lessons to 6 classes of year 9 students at Shirebrook Academy.

These students are beginning to think about their future careers and the lesson on mortgages and financial implications sits perfectly alongside the other financial and personal development lessons they are having this term about wages, credit, budgeting and savings.

The Mortgage 1st Future Financial Planning lesson was written by Operations Director Lisa Stones and was delivered for the first time last year to over 150 year 9 students.

Lisa said: “When I as at secondary school, I remember a bank visiting and talking to us about opening a bank account, but that was it, there were no lessons about ‘real life’ finances or managing money. Its something I’m very passionate about so during the lockdowns last year I set about writing a lesson.

“With the involvement of our local secondary school we are now in our second year of delivering these lessons after being invited back. Even if just 1 student remembers something I’ve said and it helps them in the future financially then its all been worthwhile!”

The lesson involves discussions around what is a mortgage and average house prices across the UK. It then goes onto calculating the cost of a mortgage using different salaries and deposits. What really brings all the discussions to life is when the classes look at a real house that is for sale currently just down the road from the school.

Mortgage 1st has since been recommended to a number of other local schools and colleges and are excited by the opportunity to be able to deliver the lessons to even more students over the coming years.

If you work within a secondary school, academy or college and are interested in these future financial planning lessons, contact for more information.

Mortgage 1st supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Development, Home, UncategorisedTagged in , , , ,

Funding boost for Chesterfield venues

Chesterfield Theatres and Chesterfield Museum have received a further funding boost to help support them to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

This funding, received through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, is worth £153,000 which will be shared between Chesterfield Borough Council’s museum and theatres. In total the venues have received £720,000 through this fund over the last 18 months.

Councillor Kate Sarvent, cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “It’s been a challenging time for our venues through the pandemic, and it’s been fantastic to welcome our audiences back as national restrictions eased over the summer.

“Our theatres and museum are such a wonderful facility for our residents to enjoy, and to welcome visitors into the borough and we’re committed to doing all we can to keep them thriving for all to enjoy.

“We’re really pleased that we have been awarded a further grant of £153,000 from the Culture Recovery Fund, which provides a welcome contribution to the running costs of our venues and will support us to continue to deliver our excellent cultural programmes and attractions.”

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Culture is for everyone and should therefore be accessible to everyone, no matter who they are and where they’re from.

“Through unprecedented government financial support, the Culture Recovery Fund is supporting arts and cultural organisations so they can continue to bring culture to communities the length and breadth of the country, supporting jobs, boosting local economies and inspiring people.”

Over £1.2 billion has already been awarded from the unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund, supporting around 5000 individual organisations and sites across the country ranging from local museums to West End theatres, grassroots music venues to festivals, and organisations in the cultural and heritage supply-chains.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “This continued investment from the Government on an unprecedented scale means our theatres, galleries, music venues, museums and arts centres can carry on playing their part in bringing visitors back to our high streets, helping to drive economic growth, boosting community pride and promoting good health. It’s a massive vote of confidence in the role our cultural organisations play in helping us all to lead happier lives.”

The Grade II-listed theatres, Pomegranate Theatre and Winding Wheel Theatre, offer a broad range of events, which includes drama, musicals, dance, comedy, concerts, talks and cinema.

Chesterfield Museum tells the story of Chesterfield, from its beginnings as a Roman fort, the expansion of the Market and the Industrial Revolution, which brought ‘Father of the Railways’, George Stephenson, to town.

The Museum regularly holds a wide range of events for the whole family to enjoy. It also holds regular special exhibitions that explore different areas of history.

The Culture Recovery Fund is administered by Arts Council England.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Featured, Home, Leisure, Love Chesterfield, Uncategorised, VisitingTagged in , , , ,

“A truly inclusive Christmas awaits everyone in Chesterfield this year.”

Destination Chesterfield Chair, Peter Swallow has provided his thoughts ahead of a busy and exciting festive period ahead in Chesterfield 

Christmas this year will look and feel a bit different for us all now that Covid restrictions have been fully lifted.

Once again, we can enjoy and experience the Christmas atmosphere in Chesterfield’s plethora of shops, market stalls, pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants.

While times are testing for the hospitality sector nationally, with many businesses reporting staff shortages it is extremely pleasing to see the fresh shoots of new restaurants in and around the town centre.

Three new restaurants have already opened in time for Christmas – Blaze in Stephenson’s Place, Gingerz on Chatsworth Road and Vegged on Sheffield Road, and more eateries are in the pipeline for 2022.

As well as new places to eat and drink, we’ve also seen new names join Chesterfield’s high street this year, including The Bee Orchid, The Lucky Magpie Salvage and Chesterfield Escape Rooms. I expect more new names to join Chesterfield’s plethora of independents soon following Vicar Lane Shopping Centre’s plans for a brand-new initiative to support start-up and small independent retailers with the ‘Vicar Lane Pop Up Shop’.

We really will be spoilt for choice in the nomination stage at next year’s Love Chesterfield Awards.

The lifting of restrictions has also meant the return of in-person events to the town centre, like the Christmas Light Switch On, the Crooked Spire’s Festival of Christmas Trees, the Santa cruise on the canal and the pantomime, to name but a few. They have all been missed.

While 2020 was challenging it also provided us with a valuable opportunity to do things differently and sometimes better. Like the Amazing Magical Chesterfield Santa House which offers children the unique opportunity to talk to the Big Man himself via the ‘Santa Zoomer’.

The concept was conceived during the pandemic and was such a hit that it is returning this year. To ensure as many young people as possible can enjoy the experience it is particularly pleasing to see that ‘relaxed sessions’ have been added to the Amazing Magical Chesterfield Santa House for children with learning disabilities and other sensory disorders.

A truly inclusive Christmas awaits everyone in Chesterfield this year.

2021, like 2020, has been a year of change and adaptation. As we continue to navigate through one of the most testing periods in recent history we have shown, once again that Chesterfield is resilient, forward thinking and the place to be. It’s my kind of town… and not just for Christmas!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Blog, Business, Christmas, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Leisure, Love Chesterfield, Uncategorised, VisitingTagged in , , , , , ,

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