business news

Businesses in our region continue to benefit from funded skills training provision.

Businesses in Chesterfield and the wider Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire region are urged to take advantage of funded training to upskill their workforce.

The training is delivered as part of the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) programme, which Serco is managing across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.  Eligible businesses can benefit from:

  • A training needs analysis for your business, identifying the skills you need to support your business ambitions
  • Flexible training – pick full qualifications or mix and match individual units to suit your business
  • On-the-job vocational training to meet individual and business needs including taught learning, workplace assessment, distance learning and online learning
  • Learning pathways for your employees enabling them to progress within your organisation onto higher level qualifications or apprenticeships
  • Recognised accredited qualifications and training courses to enhance your employees’ skills

SSW is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), which means you can access a wide range of training at no cost to your business.   SSW has a network of expert training providers who can deliver a range of fully funded training courses and accredited qualifications. The courses on offer include:

  • Leadership/Management/HR/Team Leading/People
  • IT & Digital Skills
  • Business & Office Skills
  • Digital Marketing
  • Health & Social Care
  • Hospitality & Catering
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Business Admin
  • Customer Service
  • Warehousing/Storage/Logistics
  • Construction

In Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, SSW has supported more than 9,200 learners since April 2019 with over £16.8m invested to date in training and skills support.

A beneficiary of the support working within the manufacturing sector commented: “Everything was well organised from the start and we had a mixture of on and off site training, so we could upskill our key staff with minimal disruption to production.

“Two staff members have been promoted since the training to more senior positions. Attending this bespoke management course gave them confidence to move forward in their careers.”

If you would like to find out if your business is eligible for the funded training programme, simply go to https://www.serco-ese.com/skills-support-for-the-workforce/ or contact Howard Cordingley, Partnership Coordinator, at skillssupport@serco.com.

Chesterfield businesses can find out more about the range of business support available to them in the area by going to: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/business/business-support/

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Custom Solar begins innovative project at Portsmouth International Port

Chesterfield-based Custom Solar has announced its latest major sustainable project at Portsmouth International Port.

The team has started to develop the installation of a ground-breaking solar and battery system at the port, managed by Portsmouth City Council’s in-house energy services team. The project began in February 2022 and will incorporate roof-mounted solar panels across a number of buildings, a large battery, and solar canopies.

When completed, the power produced by the 2,660 solar panels will contribute around 35% of the site’s power; a significant step in Portsmouth International Port’s ambition to be the UK’s first net-zero carbon port. The installation is due to complete in summer 2022.

Portsmouth is the first UK port to have solar canopies and a mega-watt sized battery installed as part of a renewable installation. When completed, the 1.2 megawatt peak system, will be the largest solar and battery installation to date across the council’s portfolio of renewable generation.

As well as generating carbon-free power, the solar canopies will provide shade for cars waiting to board ferries; allowing them to stay cooler for longer, without having to run their engines.

Image by Portsmouth International Port

The battery, with a capacity of 1.5 megawatt hours (enough to run a typical home for 4 months), will capture green power that would otherwise be exported from the site and using it in the port’s buildings when it is needed.

The new battery will work in tandem with an upcoming battery storage pilot announced in the summer; supplying balancing services to the national grid and storing power during lower pricing periods. When complete, it is estimated that 98% of the electricity consumed by the port will come from the solar and battery, combined.

Gary Sucharewycz, CEO of Custom Solar, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Portsmouth City Council in the delivery of this special project, utilising our experience in developing and delivering solar at another established British port.

“We have already broken ground and we are excited to showcase a solar rooftop, solar carport canopy, and battery storage system. We are proud to have been selected to work towards the environmental ambitions of Portsmouth International Port and look forward to delivering another major on-site project in a busy operational environment that will aid in carbon reduction goals.”

Jerry Clarke, pilot and senior project manager at Portsmouth International Port added: “The port is owned by the people of Portsmouth, so we have a duty to control and reduce the impact of port operations on the local environment.

“We’re delighted to work with the wider council and Custom Solar on this exciting project. It will significantly expand our solar generating capability, and is part of an integrated approach that will help us to offer shore power for smaller ships, without having to take extra power from the local electricity grid.

“Combined with other sustainability initiatives, it will help us achieve our ambition of becoming one of the UK’s first zero emission ports by 2050”.

Custom Solar Ltd. supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

From L-R: Gary Sucharewycz, CEO of Custom Solar: Tony Denney, Site Manager for Custom Solar; Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Green Recovery, Cllr Kimberly Barrett; Owen Hughes, Project Manager at Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services Team; Andrew Waggott; Energy Services Team Manager at Portsmouth City Council.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Celebrate Chesterfield, Development, Home, Love Chesterfield, Property and Construction, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , ,

ActionCOACH Chesterfield team takes on 10km charity walk around Chatsworth

The team at ActionCOACH Chesterfield is taking on a charity effort today (Tuesday, 15th March) to raise funds for a hospice close to their heart.

They are embarking on a 10 kilometer ‘memory walk’ around Chatsworth, with up to 10 people expected to take part in the hike.

Any funds donated to the charity challenge will be given to the Nottinghamshire Hospice. The charity is dear to the team, with many team members sadly losing loved ones to terminal illnesses.

Donna Aplin, Business Development Manager at ActionCOACH Chesterfield said: “As a team, part of our growth journey is about helping others. We all saw the amazing work the charity has been doing and wanted to support. Being out together is also about team building and supporting the community. The charity is very close to our hearts and we wanted to recognise the work they do and what an invaluable service they provide.

“My sister has worked as a volunteer for several years in the local hospice. The support is amazing what they offer and it has stuck with me to help anyway I can. We have all appreciated the support and assistance provided by organisations like Nottinghamshire Hospice and we at ActionCOACH Chesterfield want to show our appreciation for the work of the charity.

“In times of need the Chesterfield community has always shown a big heart and no matter how small a donation in these difficult times would be greatly appreciated.”

To find out more about the challenge and to donate, go to: https://actioncoach.tributepage.org/

ActionCOACH Chesterfield supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Collaboration leads to eye-catching display for SDL Minorfern

A collaborative project between two local businesses has led to an eye-catching display being produced and displayed at SDL Minorfern.

The motor parts company has worked with creative experts FWD motion to produce graphics on a Perspex display highlighting the company’s values and achievements. The display is now proudly showcased in the company’s reception area to welcome customers and visitors to the business.

Julie Havenhand, Human Resources Director at SDL Minorfern said: “We are extremely pleased with the result of both the reception wall and the values branding that FWD did, they are a pleasure to work with and very supportive of our vision.

“With the wall being at head office in Clay Cross where the business originally started 42 years ago, it has even more importance to display the history and the growth of the business, from then until now. When visitors and candidates arrive they have the opportunity to see our journey and it’s a great talking point.

“SDL is really proactive in using local business where possible and we value it as vitally important, giving back to the community and also supporting small businesses where possible. Having 12 branches we therefore have the opportunity to support local businesses in all of those areas.”

Emma Cole, Head of Marketing at FWD Motion commented: “FWD were delighted to work with SDL developing their company core value graphics.  Working not only on design, but also installation means we get to see a project delivered and in use. Seeing it on display in the Head Office makes a real difference as you can visualise the impact it will have in the workplace.

“As a fully integrated creative agency we can work with clients on design, print, installation, development and marketing projects.  We love working with local companies and helping make a positive branding impact.  If anyone has a project they’d like to discuss, we’d love to help.

SDL Minorfern and FWD Motion support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Celebrate Chesterfield, Destination Chesterfield, Home, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , ,

Figures show East Midlands businesses favour hybrid working approach

Three-quarters of East Midlands businesses don’t anticipate a wholesale return to pre-pandemic ways of working, according to new research by East Midlands Chamber and Air IT.

Greater flexibility is among the top reasons for a new hybrid working approach – where employees spend part of their week working from home and part of it in the office – as eight in 10 businesses say they have so far decided against a full-time resumption of office and other on-premise working.

The findings were revealed as part of the Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey, in which Air IT – a Managed Service Provider based in Nottinghamshire – commissioned a set of questions posed to business leaders regarding their views on the future of work, and whether it will revolve around the office or the home.

The research was conducted before the Government mandate to work from home where possible was reinstated.

East Midlands Chamber director of resources and HR lead Lucy Robinson said: “This research confirms what many Chamber members have been telling us in recent months, which is that they expect to embrace a hybrid structure of office and remote working in the future.

“It’s obviously not feasible for every organisation to take this approach and there’s still lots of jobs that can’t be done remotely, while it’s clear that the office will remain an important hub for collaboration between teams and developing the skills of younger employees.

“However, the disruption of Covid-19 has paved the way forward for a new mindset among some businesses that have witnessed a number of benefits from greater flexibility – including making it easier to attract and retain employees, as well as lower operating costs – and we expect to see a hybrid approach become significantly more popular in the long term.”

Main findings of the survey

Fewer than 20% of the 400 Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire businesses that responded to the Q3 2021 survey, undertaken in August and September this year, said they had “totally” returned to pre-pandemic working patterns.

Meanwhile, 27% planned to do so in the future – with 66% maintaining they would only “mostly” or “partially” do so, and 7% that said “not at all”.

The findings suggest strong support for the hybrid working model, which has proven popular this year as businesses have sought to ease employees back into the workplace while retaining the benefits of working remotely.

But the report shows that, for many organisations, it is no longer a temporary solution – it is here to stay.

Focusing on flexibility, technology and wellbeing

For those planning to continue most, some or all their pandemic-induced working habits, one of the primary reasons was to do with travel, which many businesses are deeming less necessary after experiencing the benefits of video calls, online events and cloud computing.

When asked what has changed for their business, 78% of respondents cited greater flexibility in location of work, and more than half had reduced in-person events as well as local and international travel.

When asked about the implications of changes to working habits, the most popular answer was “increased investment in new technologies”, selected by 61% of respondents.

Another big change was that business leaders want to see increased investment in staff engagement and wellbeing, an option selected by 59% respondents.

Lee Johnson, chief technology officer at Air IT, said: “A lot of our work at Air IT recently has revolved around hybrid working and how we can support SMEs as they adjust to this new era. Technology has been arguably the biggest factor in keeping businesses going since the pandemic hit, so many business leaders are looking to update their IT infrastructure in order to stay ahead.

“Remote and hybrid working are here to stay so it’s important that businesses invest in supporting their employees through this transition, making it as easy as possible for them to do their job.”

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D2N2 LEP launches new Low Carbon Growth Fund

Small and medium-sized businesses, public sector organisations, and community groups developing low carbon projects across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire are being urged to apply for investment through the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership’s new Low Carbon Growth Fund.

The ground-breaking fund will invest £6.5 million in low carbon capital projects. They will create a pipeline of investable propositions that can be match funded to help our region meet high carbon dioxide output challenges and unclean industrial practices.

Through the funding, the D2N2 LEP aims to support a wide range of innovative low carbon projects from across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. Successful projects must identify new and innovative ideas, and must be able to clearly demonstrate current or future carbon reduction, including carbon sequestration.

Projects awarded funding will be encouraged to support local supply chains, helping to create new jobs and must be able to start delivery in the 2022/23 financial year. Funding will be capped at £1.5 million of D2N2 funding per project to enable the pot to invest in numerous key strategic investments.

The fund will support national and regional policy, including HM Government’s “Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener” and the “The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.” Both set out ambitious targets for carbon reduction and incentivise investment in the public and private sector into green and carbon saving projects.

Elizabeth Fagan CBE, Chair of the D2N2 LEP, said: “The recent COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow highlighted the urgent need to take action now. The launch of our Low Carbon Growth Fund signals our region’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and support the growth of our green economy.

“Investing in low carbon capital projects will support the delivery of our Recovery and Growth Strategy and our strategic aim of delivering the UK’s largest carbon turnaround.”

Timelines

  • Expression of interest documentation publicised, and consultation process opened – 1st December 2021
  • Consultation for project sponsors to be closed – 12th January 2022
  • Submission deadline for all bids – 28th January 2022
  • Scoring process finalised – 11th February 2022
  • Projects informed of outcomes – 14th February 2022

An overview of the funding can be found here: Low Carbon Growth Fund | D2N2 (d2n2lep.org)

Should any potential project sponsor have a query about the call or any details relevant to this funding round then please contact Tom Goshawk at Tom.goshawk@d2n2lep.org or 07528398317. All questions and queries regarding this funding round must be made before the 12th of January 2022.

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Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter launches to promote sector and boost recruitment

A new hospitality charter, designed to raise the profile of the hospitality industry and promote the sector as a career of choice, has been launched by business leaders in the Peak District & Derbyshire with support from the area’s official destination management organisation.

The Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter has been created to help dispel beliefs that those working in hospitality suffer ‘long hours for little pay’ and instead highlight the benefits of being part of such a vibrant industry.

Over 30 businesses in the Peak District & Derbyshire have already pledged their support for the initiative, with businesses of all sizes across the county urged to sign up and form a collective voice for the sector.

The charter has been founded by two local hospitality leaders – Richard Palmer, Managing Director of the Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group, and Neil Fischer, owner of the Fischer’s Group – to promote best practice in the industry, with pledges to offer employees opportunity, respect, quality training, a good-work life balance and the chance to grow and develop their career.

Inspired by similar industry initiatives such as the People 1st Hospitality Commitment and the 2020 Hoteliers’ Charter, the Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter forms the basis of a long-term strategy to combat the hospitality recruitment crisis whilst also paving the way for better education and training across the industry.

Signing up to the Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter means businesses will make a series of commitments to their employees, which include providing a positive work environment, supporting training and development, offering competitive salaries and safeguarding employees’ mental health and wellbeing.

Collaboration is at the heart of the initiative and the charter also aims to improve training and apprenticeship opportunities in the sector by strengthening links between hospitality businesses and education providers.

Signatories will pledge to work with local universities, colleges, schools and careers advisors to create refreshed qualification pathways that better meet the needs of the sector – whilst also lobbying Government to improve and attract more funding to support education and training across the industry.

Businesses can find out more and sign up to the Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter using the following link: visitpeakdistrict.com/industry/hospitality-charter

Jo Dilley, Managing Director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, says: “The Peak District & Derbyshire Hospitality Charter aims to combat the misconceptions surrounding working in hospitality and instead promote this diverse sector as a rewarding career choice.

“By strengthening links between the hospitality industry and education providers, the charter will not only help to build better training and education pathways, but it will also help businesses to reach young adults at the point when they choose their careers, highlighting the many benefits of working within the sector.

“This is by no means a quick fix, but the launch of this charter marks the start of a long-term strategy to support the hospitality industry, to ease recruitment problems and to ensure local businesses can offer fulfilling careers now – and in the future.”

Neil Fischer, owner of the Fischer’s Group, says: “Hospitality is one of those unique sectors where you get to both learn life skills and pull upon your educational background, while continuing to develop. Whether it’s a passion for food and drink, or purely a business and marketing acumen you are looking to develop, the hospitality industry has it all.

“Notably there has been a stigma associated with the UK hospitality sector for many years. What’s frustrating is that this stems from only 20% of the industry. The other 80% of operations are viable, vibrant and successful businesses, where individuals can succeed.

“While hospitality in many respects is about delivering great experiences, this charter is about so much more; from food education in schools, so individuals grow up healthier and fitter, to delivering great opportunities to those that want to learn, whether as a stepping stone to something else or as a long-term career.”

Richard Palmer, Managing Director of Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants Group, says: “There has never been a better time to join the hospitality industry, learn new skills and to seek more fulfilment from our working lives. Roles in hospitality are an invitation to gain invaluable life skills which open up a wealth of opportunities for those who are looking to develop, whether in the hospitality industry or beyond.

“I relate to this with personal experience, having started my own career as a bar attendant at The Devonshire Brasserie, before travelling to learn from other parts of the world. By age 21, I was managing a £1m turnover business and 25 staff, and by my mid 30’s I became the Group’s MD.

“We’re working hard to challenge the perception of the industry as having long hours, low pay and limited career progression. We began with the introduction of a four-day week for chefs, partnering with local colleges and creating our in-house training program, The Devonshire Hospitality Academy. Now, working with our partners at Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire has allowed us to pull together this charter to showcase all of the great opportunities the sector offers, to give others the benefit of our experience and share our passion.”

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Surprise marriage proposal takes centre stage at 2021 Love Chesterfield Awards

Love really was in the air at last night’s 2021 Love Chesterfield Awards. Taking centre stage at the sell-out award ceremony was a marriage proposal by Giuseppe Barone, co-owner of Sicily Restaurant which won Best New Hospitality Business.

Walking up on stage to collect the award, Giuseppe dropped to one knee and proposed to his business partner Monica Sardisco in front of a shocked and delighted crowd.

Giuseppe explained: “The proposal was all planned for if we won but if we didn’t win it wasn’t going to happen. I am very happy – for the award and for Monica saying ‘yes’.”

Sicily Restaurant was just one of 16 businesses and individuals celebrated at the Love Chesterfield Awards – the first in-person event held in 19 months by Destination Chesterfield.

Almost 50 businesses, individuals and projects were shortlisted across 16 categories, but it was Adorn Jewellers, Chesters Restaurant & Takeaway and CarMats.co.uk that clinched the three headline awards – Retailer of the Year, Restaurant of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year respectively.

Recent Strictly star and breakfast TV presenter Mike Bushell announced the winners of the awards at a sell-out black tie event held at the Winding Wheel on Wednesday 20 October.

More than 250 people attended the celebration. Dom Stevens, Destination Chesterfield Manager said: “This year the awards were a celebration on so many levels – recognising entrepreneurial and community spirit, achievement, survival and a marriage proposal – the first in our awards history. I am delighted that the business community was once again able to come together in person, connect with each other and share in each other’s success. It was a brilliant event.”

New business CarMats.co.uk, owned by Ash Young, is the first ever recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year award. The Chesterfield-based ecommerce business, which sells car mats, was founded during the first lockdown in 2020 and achieved £1 million in revenue in just nine months. Capitalising on his success, he has since established a second digital business selling car seat covers this year.

Delighted to win the award, Ash said: “During lockdown I wanted to set up a business to support local jobs. Car mats is a bit of a strange business, but everyone uses car mats and they wear out. We are now looking to expand across Europe going into Ireland first and then onto France and all from Chesterfield.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve done with Carmats.co.uk and it’s really nice to get the recognition locally.”

CarMats.co.uk was just one of 761 new businesses registered in Chesterfield during 2020 – an increase of 20% compared to the previous year.

Long established businesses, town centre-based Adorn Jewellers, and Chesters based on Sheffield Road are previous multiple award winners in the Chesterfield High Street and Food and Drink awards.

Chesters is investing £1 million opening a second restaurant at Markham Vale. Chris Ioanides, Owner of Chesters, which next year celebrates its 10th anniversary, said: “It means so much to us to be recognised locally. Even though we’ve been in the top 10 in the UK this award means more to us because it’s Chesterfield people that have got us where we are today. It fills our hearts to know that we are up there with the top restaurants in the town.”

Capitalising on the success of Adorn, which opened in The Shambles in 2010, owners Laura-Jo and Adam Owen opened a second shop, Acorn Jewellers, in Bakewell in 2017. An emotional Laura Jo said: “We’re thrilled to win this award. Our success is our customers – 100%. We have a wonderful community of customers and this award is for them.”

The Love Chesterfield Awards replace and combine the town’s popular Food and Drink and High Street Awards. Three new categories have also been added to the Love Chesterfield awards line-up – Sustainability, Community Contribution and Entrepreneur of the Year.

Organised by Destination Chesterfield and sponsored by EntireFM, categories in the new Love Chesterfield Awards reflect the challenges which local businesses, people and projects have faced over the last 18 months as well as the business landscape post pandemic.

Speaking at the awards, Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council and Vice Chair of Destination Chesterfield said: “The last 19 months have been a turbulent time for all of us. But our local businesses have shown such resilience; adapting and supporting each other to keep moving forward. They have all achieved so much and inspired others to follow in their footsteps. It is an honour to be able to recognise so many at the Love Chesterfield Awards.”

Love Chesterfield Awards

Winners of the 16 2021 Love Chesterfield Awards categories include:

Restaurant of the Year – Sponsored by Entire FM

Chesters

“It means so much to us to be recognised locally. Even though we’ve been in the top 10 in the UK this award means more to us because it’s Chesterfield people that have got us where we are today. It fills our hearts to know that we are up there with the top restaurants in the town.” Chris Ioanides, owner, Chesters

Café of the Year – sponsored by CMP Legal

The Café at Libby’s

“We’re absolutely thrilled to bits to win. We make what people want to eat and our customers keep coming back. It’s a pleasure to come to work and keep serving them.” Ann Truscott and Julie Legdon, The Café at Libbys

Pub/Bar of the Year – sponsored by Addooco IT

The Tickled Trout

“It’s been a really difficult 18 months at The Tickled Trout and the team have been brilliant. Pulling together throughout the pandemic and adapting the business and supporting the community.” Rachel Cutting, The Tickled Trout

Best New Hospitality Business – sponsored by Shorts Chartered Accountants

Sicily Restaurant

“Sicily Restaurant is a family business and when people visit us, we want them to feel welcome and like they are in our home. We are not standing still; there is still room for improvement. We now plan to do fresh pasta to add to all our home made, authentic Sicilian menu.” Giuseppe Barone, Sicily Restaurant

Accessibility Award – sponsored by Spirecross Ltd

Monkey Park Café

“It feels amazing to win the award. It’s important to us to ensure people are connected and that involved delivering new services during the pandemic, like providing take away services from the café and supplying tablets and mobile phones to members of the community to help them get online and develop new skills. It means such a lot to us that Monkey Park and our services are accessible to everybody and this award is recognition of that.” Sarah Clarke, Monkey Park Community Hub

Retailer of the Year – sponsored by East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire)

Adorn Jewellers of Chesterfield

“We’re thrilled to win this award. Our success is our customers – 100%. We have a wonderful community of customers and this award is for them.” – Laura Jo Owen, owner of Adorn Jewellers

Best New High Street Business – sponsored by Chesterfield College Group

Lottie’s Sandwich Bar

“We weren’t expecting to win the award. We came to the Love Chesterfield Awards thinking that it would be an amazing experience so to win is absolutely amazing. Without our customers and community, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We work so hard for them so to get something back is just amazing. We’ll keep listening to our customers and do our best for them.”

Independent High Street Business – sponsored by Evoluted

Fred’s Haberdashery

“It feels fantastic to win the award. Fred’s is an institution in Chesterfield and we feel proud to have developed the business further using technology.  We have really enjoyed being on Twitter during The Great British Sewing Bee. It’s really made a difference to the business as more people are getting into dressmaking and coming into the shop for fabric and patterns.” Emily Lord, Fred’s Haberdashery

Sustainability Award – sponsored by Chesterfield Borough Council

Superior Wellness

“We are absolutely delighted to have won this inaugural award. Sustainability is high on the agenda at Superior Wellness and it became even more important when we moved into our new 130,000 square foot warehouse and office in March.

“Within the last few months, we have reviewed our waste strategy, purchased electric forklift trucks, installed solar panels and have electric charging points.

“This is just the start as we seek to become more sustainable as a business.  Our ten-year vision is to become carbon neutral.” Mark Needham, Head of Operations, Superior Wellness

Community Contribution – sponsored by Van Dyk by Wildes

Peak Pharmacy

“It’s really exciting to win the award. It’s been great to help Chesterfield get back to normal by delivering 30,000 vaccinations. It’s been a real team and family effort and we’re all so proud.” Tara Brown, Peak Pharmacy

Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Banner Jones Solicitors

CarMats.co.uk

“During lockdown I wanted to set up a business to support local jobs. Car mats is a bit of a strange business, but everyone uses car mats and they wear out. We are now looking to expand across Europe going into Ireland first and then onto France, and all from Chesterfield.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve done with Carmats.co.uk and it’s really nice to get the recognition locally.” Ash Young, CarMats.co.uk

Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by DBC Training

Ellie Gibson – Heathcotes Group

“I am so shocked to win the award. I love working at Heathcotes and loved doing my apprenticeship. I would say to anyone who wants to do an apprenticeship just do it. I’ve really enjoyed it.” Ellie Gibson

Food Producer of the Year (within 10 miles) – sponsored by MSE Hiller

Crooked Pickle Co

Excellence in Customer Service – sponsored by Peak Pharmacy

The Therapy Lounge

Market Trader of the Year – sponsored by Chesterfield Borough Council

Ibbotson’s Fresh Quality Produce

Regeneration Award – sponsored by BHP Accountants

The Glass Yard

The 2021 Love Chesterfield Awards were supported and made possible by a number of sponsors and partners, including: Addooco IT, Banner Jones Solicitors, BHP Accountants, CMP Legal, Chesterfield Borough CouncilChesterfield Digital High StreetThe Chesterfield College GroupDBC TrainingDerbyshire TimesEast Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire)EntireFM – Complete Facilities Management, Evoluted, Greatest Hits Radio South Yorkshire and North DerbyshireJP Fire Safety SolutionsMSE Hiller, Peak Pharmacy, Shorts Chartered Accountants, Spirecross Ltd and Van Dyk by Wildes.

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

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

Posted in Business, Home, UncategorisedTagged in , , , ,

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.”

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

Collaborative working from Chesterfield firms leads to landmark deal… and regional recognition

The success of the recent landmark buyout of Heathcotes Group by partners Civitas and Envivo Group has led to new opportunities, and awards, for the financial brains behind the deal.

The buyout, presented and managed in a unique collaboration between Chesterfield Champions Milestone Financial Planning Services and Mitchells Chartered Accountants, has led the two businesses to team up formally.

This brand-new partnership, Mitchells Corporate Agents, is already in line for their first award, being shortlisted in Sheffield City Region’s Dealmaker Awards later this week. And in the words of Milestone Financial Planning’s MD Michael Heath, this is just the beginning.

Michael said: “It’s great to be shortlisted for this award, but more than that, we’re so pleased to be taking our collaboration with Mitchells to the next level. Together, we take the time to get to know our clients so we can protect them from the complex nature of a business sale, it’s what makes Mitchells Corporate Agents so different from our large-scale competitors.“

Instruction for the sale of healthcare group Heathcotes, which has 72 healthcare facilities located across the UK, including here in Chesterfield, 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 Regional Dealmaker Awards are being held this Thursday, 7 October at Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Hotel and celebrate the top dealmakers in the region, recognising expertise, leadership and innovation in banking, funding, legal and accountancy.

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

Left: Tony Hornsby, Right: Michael Heath

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

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