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East Midlands Chamber News

Members news round-up

Matthew Hancock factory visit

MP in college visit

Matthew Hancock, Under Secretary of State for Skills, visited Central College Nottingham's Ruddington centre last month to give his backing to the College's Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes.

Mr Hancock saw the College's purpose built facilities for KIA UK, which runs its national training programmes from the College's site. In 2012, the College and Kia signed a ten-year deal to create 700 apprenticeships.

He also met College Principal Malcolm Cowgill to get an update on the College following his decision to allow the College to rename from South Nottingham College last November.

Banner Jones in the Legal 500

Banner Jones, the Chesterfield and Sheffield-based solicitors, have received recognition for their expertise in Family Law by becoming a leading firm in the 2013 Legal 500 rankings.

Simon Wright, Director, said: “This is the first time Banner Jones have submitted an entry into the regional private client rankings and we are delighted to have been recognised for the specialised work that we do in Family Law.

“Being a Legal 500 firm is very important to our business as we are now one of only two firms in Chesterfield to feature in the East Midlands rankings for Family Law”.

Helena Downing who heads up the Family Law department has received recognition for leading such an experienced team and has been given the accolade of ‘Recommended Lawyer’ in the rankings.

Helena said: “I am very proud of my team for achieving this ranking and it is wonderful thing to have been given this recommendation.”

DEGF helps firms grow

A market leader in the design and manufacture of cutting-edge advanced composites is forging ahead with its plans to expand and create new jobs thanks to support from the Derby Enterprise Growth Fund (DEGF).

epm: technology, which employs 75 at its site in Draycott, has been awarded a £4.75m loan through the DEGF which secured funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

It was the first major project to be announced through the DEGF, which is a £20m fund, run by Derby City Council, to support the growth and job creation at small, medium and large size businesses through a mix of loans and grants.

The support from DEGF will enable the business to drive forward ambitious plans to develop a £6m manufacturing, research and development centre in Raynesway, Derby, and invest in new manufacturing equipment which will ultimately result in the creation of at least 84 new jobs.

When complete, the new centre, which is earmarked for completion by the end of the year, will span more than 50,000sq ft - more than doubling the size of the company’s existing Victoria Road site.

epm: technology is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of complex and engineered composite components to the highly competitive motorsport arena including Formula One.

Managing Director Graham Mulholland, who set up the £5.5m turnover company 15 years ago, explained that by helping to fund his development, the DEGF support now enables his company to develop into new customer markets, including aerospace, and spearhead further activities within the automotive industry.

He said: “Derby is a city that is going places and a centre of excellence for high performance engineering and I am delighted that the next chapter in this business’s story will be at the heart of that success.”

Derby City Council Leader, Councillor Paul Bayliss said: “epm: technology is a perfect example of what we set out to do with this programme – to enable innovative businesses to grow and create a wide range of jobs particularly in the planes, trains and automotives sector for which Derby is famous around the world for.”

Marketing Derby, the agency responsible for attracting inward investment into the city, has been working with epm: technology to secure the company’s relocation to Derby.

Director John Forkin said: “epm: technology is exactly the sort of company which we believe can both thrive in Derby and also contribute to the city’s high-tech economy.

“The use of the Derby Enterprise Growth Fund to secure these types of jobs is absolutely essential and the City Council’s plans to further develop our technology-based workforce through this and other initiatives can only help to make Derby even more attractive to these types of businesses.”

In addition to the loan to epm: technology, two businesses in South Derbyshire are forging ahead with expansion and job creation plans thanks to support from the DEGF.

General Trailer Engineering, in Church Gresley, has received a £47,500 loan towards extending its workshops – safeguarding the existing five jobs and paving the way for four more jobs to be created in the future.

Health and safety consultancy GS Musson and Associates has received a £7,000 grant – enabling the business to renovate its business premises in Midway as a base for future expansion.

Positive ID Labelling, in Castle Donington, has received a £128,700 grant towards expansion which will create at least six jobs.

Ripley-based Cooper Research Technology has received a £72,000 grant towards a research and development project creating four new jobs.

And ID Computing, based at the Railway Technical Centre, on London Road, has received a £14,000 loan for research and development leading to future job creation.

Notts firm showcases in Bangkok

With plans progressing for a new factory in India, Eastwod-based Damper Technology Ltd (DTL) exhibited for the first time at Power-Gen Asia last month.

The move was intended to boost business in Asian markets.

Colleagues from their Indian subsidiary DTL India Pvt Ltd joined them at the exhibition at the Impact Exhibition and Convention Centre, Bangkok, Thailand.

Managing Director Mark Hancock said: “Having had productive exhibitions with Power-Gen India and Europe earlier in the year, we took this exhibition as a chance to showcase the specialist expertise and global presence we possess in the damper industry to a region where we have seen an increased level of interest from.

“The exhibition itself attracted thousands of delegates from over 60 countries and is dedicated to power generation which is where 70 per cent of our business comes from, so with a view to attracting more business for us and DTL India it made good business sense that we had a presence at this show.’

Power-Gen Asia is the leading force in delivering a platform for the power industry to meet, share information on the challenges facing the power industry and discuss solutions for advancing Asia’s energy future.

DTL booked to attend the next Power-Gen Asia exhibition, which takes place next year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 10-12 September.

Accountant tots up four decades

A chartered accountant has reached a career milestone.

James Green, 58, has totted up 40 years of service at Duncan and Toplis.

He joined in 1973 as an articled clerk, went on to open the firm’s Melton Mowbray office in 1985 and was made a partner three years later.

Leaving school aged 18, James entered a profession quite different from today’s. Instead of computers and calculators, he recalls staff using analysis machines and manual ledgers.

“Technology was far less advanced: we had no computers, no internet, no fax machines. Everything was done on paper or with old devices like mechanical adding machines,” said James.

“Some of the early accounts I prepared were still in pounds, shillings and pence. This was before the introduction of VAT and some of the practice bills were raised to clients in guineas.”

James, who enjoys charitable work as a member of the Melton Mowbray Rotary Club, said job satisfaction was what he enjoyed most about working at Duncan and Toplis.

“Dealing with the clients at our Melton office is a pleasure,” he said. “Advising and guiding, in particular, can be especially rewarding.”

To mark his 40th anniversary, James was joined by Duncan and Toplis partners and directors at Langar Hall, near Nottingham, for a celebratory lunch where he was presented with an award by Managing Partner Adrian Reynolds.

“The firm prides itself on maintaining employee satisfaction and the fact that James has spent such a long period of his life working at Duncan and Toplis is testament to our success in this area,” he said.

“We congratulate James on completing 40 years and wish him many more happy years with the firm.”

Red Lette day for autism charity

A leading local autism charity has brought an award-winning author to Nottingham.

Kathy Lette is most famous for novels such as Mad Cows, How to Kill Your Husband and Other Handy Household Hints and To Love, Honour and Betray but her latest bestseller, The Boy Who Fell to Earth, is very much based on her own experience of bringing up a son with Asperger’s syndrome – a form of autism.

Autism charity NORSACA hosted an invitation only evening with Kathy Lette on 8 November at the Galleries of Justice, in Nottingham’s Lace Market.

NORSACA is the largest specialist autism charity in the East Midlands and was originally founded by a group of parents in 1968.

From small beginnings, the charity now runs its own specialist school, residential and day centres and an extensive range of services for children, adults and families affected by autism.

Lette’s The Boy Who Fell To Earth gives a humorous account of Lucy and her son Merlin and includes their struggle to get appropriate support and specialist schooling.

The book also addresses the everyday challenges of helping a child with Asperger’s syndrome find their place in the world.

Kathy Lette said: “As a mum of a child on the spectrum, I want to help de-stigmatise autism. There is no such thing as ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal', just ordinary and extraordinary. Imagine if we were all the same? It would be a case of the bland leading the bland.”

Autism is a life-long condition and affects around one pre cent of the population.

NORSACA provides a specialist day school for up to 94 children with autism between the ages of 3 and 19, all of whom are provided with their own individual learning pathway.

Jane Howson, NORSACA’s CEO said: “We are delighted to have the support of such a well respected and entertaining author and Kathy’s personal experience of autism makes her ideally suited to helping NORSACA promote our work with local people affected by autism.”

NORSACA offers a wide range of services designed to support people affected by autism, including family services, a specialist school, and outreach and supported living services, as well as residential and day services for young people and adults with autism.

It also provides telephone advice and counselling and runs specialist training for parents and professionals.


Donation to hospice

Ashgate Hospice, at Chesterfield, has received a donation of stainless steel cabinets, shelving, a space-saving janitorial sink and bathroom storage solutions from local catering and washroom equipment manufacturer Franke Sissons.

Franke Sissons, also known as Franke Washroom Systems, has supported Ashgate Hospice over many years, donating a range of equipment for sanitary, kitchen, janitorial and bathroom use as well as hosting charity events and other fundraising activities.

Managing Director, Andy Dukelow said: “We are always delighted to be able to support Ashgate Hospice with projects like the latest improvements.

“These products are made right here in Chesterfield and will serve the hospice, staff and patrons for decades to come.”

Barry drives a hat-trick

Nottingham City Transport has been shortlisted for a hat-trick of national bus awards.

It's the 12th successive year the firm has been shortlisted and three this year is one more than last year.

In 2012 NCT was crowned overall winner at the UK Bus Awards, scooping the ultimate accolade UK Bus Operator of the Year.

This year, NCT Driver of the Year, Barry Polkey leads the way, having been shortlisted for the Chris Moyes Memorial Award for Top National Bus Driver. Commended for outstanding customer service and impeccable driving, Barry was named NCT Driver of the Year just two years after joining NCT – his first bus driving job.

“I was amazed to win NCT’s Driver of the Year award, so to be shortlisted for Top National Bus Driver is truly overwhelming,” said a typically humble Barry.

NCT are also in the running for The Bus and the Community Award for their Clifton Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and the Making Buses a Better Choice, The Peter Huntley Memorial Award for the Go2 Yellow Line – one of the operator’s most popular corridors, which has benefited from investment in new double deck buses and increased frequencies to attract new customers to the bus.

Having also recently won 2013's ‘Large Bus Operator of the Year’ at the Route One Excellence Awards, NCT were particularly pleased to be shortlisted for these additional awards.

“We’re very proud of Barry, who is a friendly and familiar face on our Clifton services, especially Local Link L53.

“In his short time with us as a driver, he has received many compliments from customers and has gone above and beyond the call of duty on a number of occasions for his customers,” said NCT Marketing Manager, Anthony Carver-Smith.

“To gain national recognition by being shortlisted in all three of these UK Bus Award categories tops off a great year for us here at NCT”, he continued.

UK Bus Awards chairman John Owen said: “Despite the difficult economic times, this year’s entries demonstrated clearly that creativity within the industry is still alive and well. The bar is constantly being raised, meaning that the innovation of a few years ago is now the everyday standard in many places. Our judges have been genuinely impressed with the commitment to higher standards in all areas of the business.”

Winners will be announced at the 2013 UK Bus Awards Ceremony on 19 November at the London Hilton, Park Lane.

New estate agency

New estate agency launched

A Derbyshire property expert has launched an independent estate agents in Allestree – ten years after opening its first.

Michelle Lerner has been an estate agent for nearly 30 years and opened an estate agents in Allestree Lane on behalf of Long and Partners a decade ago.

But now Michelle has launched her own independent estate agents, called Lewis Adam, with support from the Nottingham branch of Baldwins accountants.

Lewis Adam Estate Agents – named after Michelle’s father and late son – will take over the Allestree Lane base and use the vast experience of her team, which has managed the current office on a franchise basis for the past five years, to advise and assist people in the immediate area and beyond.

Michelle said: “While we are obviously a new name, all our staff have been in the industry locally for a long time and we have a wealth of experience to offer clients.

“Baldwins have been wonderful throughout the process. They have given me advice on the transition from being a franchisee to launching an independent estate agency business, together with providing the support and assistance to the enable the business to grow.”

Steve Harcourt, a partner in the Nottingham office of Baldwins Accountants, one of ten across the Midlands, has been working with Michelle for more than five years.

He said: “We are delighted to see that Michelle is now in a position to launch the new business after seeing all the work she has put in over the years.

“The process of transferring from a franchisee to an independent business owner can often be quite complex. But with our experience and knowledge of such matters we were able to see the transition through so that Michelle could concentrate on setting up her business.”