Yeovil Chamber News Articles Copyright 23rd May 2018 - 07:46 by Yeovil Chamber <![CDATA[National Technology Awards]]>

Invirt Reality has been shortlisted for the Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Project of the Year award at the Computing Digital Technology Leaders Awards 2018.

Invirt Reality were tasked with providing their client, MTR Crossrail, with a fully immersive virtual reality customer service training package and it is this project that has been recognised for this prestigious industry award.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 4th July at The May Fair Hotel in London.

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 12th May]]> President’s Heartbeat - 12th May 2018

Some of you may be aware there is a presence flying the flag for all things happening in Yeovil.  Formed in 2013, Love Yeovil harnesses the ideas and skillsets of business people; mainly town centre retailers, augmented by assistance of other business sectors and key stakeholders, such as The Quedam and the District Council.  This is local authority and business sector cooperation at its very best.  The aim of Love Yeovil is simple – to promote Yeovil as a go-to destination, and give people reasons to visit Yeovil.  Local authority representation on the team is via two officers from SSDC and the Clerk (Manager) of the Town Council.  Local authority presence is crucial to the success of Love Yeovil, delivering ideas, logistic advice; authorising and facilitating road closures, policing, and sorting all the ‘small print’, allowing a seamless turnaround from discussion to delivery.  Love Yeovil is building a successful track record of bring visitors into Yeovil.  Growing interest from retailers and other town centre business sectors, sees engagement with the group steadily increasing. 

Currently, Love Yeovil delivers three ‘flagship’ events: The Half Marathon, Super Saturday and the Christmas Lantern Parade (pictured*), with more events on the way.  Love Yeovil also assists with promotion of other events such as the Literary Festival, and Yeovil Show, and just about anything which comes to our notice.  A website,, is ready to launch later this year, with the aim of being the go-to guide for everything happening in Yeovil.

Get on board!  If you want to deliver an event in Yeovil, take part in Love Yeovil, or would like to sponsor an event, please email me at
*2018 Half Marathon picture credit Len Copland

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 25th April]]> President’s Heartbeat - 25th April 2018

Thursday 19th April saw the first outing for our new Business Leaders’ Breakfast on a beautiful clear spring morning at Yeovil Golf Club.  Business Leaders Breakfast (BLB) is devised to attract those of our members who want the big picture overview, and want input and to influence key figures from stakeholders in the business community.  I was especially grateful to Gregg Morrison and Amy Joynes; respectively, heads of Preston and Stanchester Academies, who gave of their time during the busiest part of the school day to attend, such was the draw of our inaugural speaker, the visionary John Evans, principal of Yeovil College.  John did not disappoint.

John has, since his arrival in January 2014, transformed Yeovil College from what he described as a ‘coasting’ College, and just another education establishment, into a vital part of the fabric of the Yeovil business community hub, and John spoke about how industry & education are working as one; shaping the curriculum to meet the demands of local & regional employment, and equipping students with life skills.

I took the opportunity to speak during the Q&A session, and told the attendees: Industry and education working together is critical to the success of Yeovil.  I urged those in attendance to drop me a line to register support for our new school mentoring scheme, allowing schools to call up classroom support from amongst our 110 Chamber member businesses.

The calibre of our future BLB speakers and their desire to speak, is clear evidence of Chamber contacts, outreach and influence.  So far confirmed for 2018 BLB are Alex Parmley (CEO SSDC, 21st June), and Paddy Ashdown (19th October), with other regional/national figures being lined up to come in and talk to us about how what they do links directly into, and supports the Yeovil Business community.

Thank you for your continued support for Yeovil Chamber.  If you have any issues, questions, or ideas, please contact me on 07900-491211 or

<![CDATA[Stokes Partners Sponsor Crewkerne Road Race]]> For a number of years, Stokes Partners LLP have sponsored the annual Crewkerne road race, organised by Crewkerne Running Club. The main race is 10k. There is also a 5k fun run and junior race on traffic free roads.

This year’s event takes place on Sunday 3 June at 10am.

We are inviting teams of three (men, ladies or mixed) from local businesses to take part in the 5k fun run and to compete for the “Business Challenge Trophy”.  Businesses can raise their profile by competing in corporate T shirts.

All proceeds will go to School in a Bag.

Please click the links below to access the 10K Entry Form 2018 and the Business Challenge Entry Form




<![CDATA[Windrush Inspired Immigration Expert, Tamara Rundle, Joins Battens Solicitors ]]> Immigration specialist, Tamara Rundle, is joining Battens Solicitors as a consultant to help with a growing demand for advice on visa, ancestry and EEA applications.

Ms Rundle, who has set up immigration departments in several law firms and has a 100 per cent success rate in entrepreneur and partner visas, was inspired to specialise in immigration law after meeting Bristol-based anti-racism campaigner, Hilary Brown. “I was working as a teacher on the adolescent unit of Bristol Priory when I met Hilary Brown,” explains Tamara. “I had already done my CPE to change my communications degree to law, but was so inspired by her work with Bristol’s Jamaican community - the Windrush Generation - that I decided to focus on criminal and immigration law.” Tamara completed her legal studies at Bristol UWE and Cardiff before qualifying, and then worked across a number of fields including litigation and employment, before specialising solely on immigration. “Immigration is a tremendously positive area of law. It is all about growth, new ventures, opportunity, excellence and people starting new chapters in their lives.”

Tamara, who is based in Battens’ Bath office and will travel or connect with clients wherever they are based, will advise on a range of issues including work visas, visit visas, and EEA and ancestry applications. She will also work with graduate entrepreneurs in Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Bournemouth, and with large service-based sectors such as Telecoms, Equine, and HM Forces. Keith Fullman, CEO of Battens, said: “There are few immigration specialists, particularly in this part of the country, so we are very pleased to be able to offer this as a service to our clients. We look forward to working with her.

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 9th April]]> President’s Heartbeat - 9th April 2018

A membership survey is about to hit your screens, and Chamber is seeking your valued input.  Yeovil Chamber is seeking to develop a manageable budget to enhance member services and experience; to become the leading representative body for the business sector in the expanding sphere of influence in and around Yeovil.  We are focused on maximising opportunities and maintaining value for your money, with long-term, sound reasons for membership.

Bold words?  Wind the clock back five years.  All we had was a (large) wish-list, and a town beating itself up.  Now, fast forward to today; joined-up thinking, openness and cooperation is prevailing.  Public and private-sector investment, and the promise of a bright future beckons.  Strong local and regional strategic connections and cooperation between the private and public sector requires Chamber to deliver greater support for our members.

Yeovil Chamber currently runs on a tiny annual budget of around £11,500.  Sponsorship and patronage campaigns are beginning to bring additional revenue, but we are (for the first time since 2013) having to review our membership fees.  During 2017 we invested heavily in website upgrades, adding new features, such mobile-friendly format, a self-load news and events facility, and online Member 2 Member discount scheme, plus more communications to keep members informed.  We also want to start promoting Yeovil, to attract more out-of-town businesses and commercial investment into Yeovil.

To enable Chamber to deliver more for you, your business and Yeovil, a membership fee increase is inevitable, but Chamber needs your input and support before we make any change.  I want to ensure Chamber continues to deliver maximum value for your money; that you have sound reasons to belong, and keep Yeovil Chamber at the leading edge of trade & commerce for Yeovil and its expanding sphere of influence.

Thank you for your continued support for Yeovil Chamber.  If you have any issues, questions, or ideas, please contact me on 07900-491211 or

<![CDATA[Rebecca Bevins HR Consultancy has ‘teamed up’ with another local business i2i Development Solutions ]]> Rebecca Bevins started her Somerset based business in 2005 and has grown the business by listening to the needs of the local business community to adapt and develop services and support that align with business need. The team went on to achieve a Somerset Business Award in 2012 for Business of the Year, 2-5 Employees, a proud moment and a marker of strong sustained growth in those early years. Following the trend of employers investing more into training and development to address both difficulties recruiting and skill gaps, the RBHR team have seen greater demand for accredited training programmes from businesses of all sizes.

Over the past 18 months RBHR has teamed up with both Bridgwater & Taunton College and Yeovil College to offer accredited HR qualifications and Apprenticeships which are now growing in popularity. The decision to add an accreditation to and develop the existing Management Development Programme was born out of listening to feedback from both existing clients and the business community and what they needed from Management training and development solutions.

The RBHR team set off on an accreditation journey that started many months back and had achieved very limited progress, but in more recent times a chance meeting at a Chamber networking event brought the two businesses together, and we went off in a different direction covering ground quickly. Several meetings later, the two teams have worked closely together to map the existing RBHR Management Development Programme against the ILM structure to provide a gap analysis where the RBHR team could develop additional materials and devise a combination of practical and written assessment methods to provide practical management and leadership skills, underpinned by theory, good and best practice.

The first cohort of the ILM accredited programme starts on 19th April 2018 and will offer a host of benefits to both delegates and the businesses they work for. The Institute of Leadership and Management is a world-renowned professional body, and so the programme offers delegates the opportunity to gain professional membership and be part of more than 30,000 leaders, managers and coaches who are all passionate about the transformational power of great leadership. Professional membership of the Institute means that learning and development doesn’t just stop when the taught programme is completed, through ongoing support and continuous professional development, hosted events, webinars, news and updates through the Institutes quarterly magazine, skills are kept up to date as managers are continually exposed to new ideas and concepts. Course completion also enables delegates to gain professional recognition with the Institute of Leadership and Management’s prestigious post-nominal letters as a mark and demonstration of professional management experience and competence.

Once the first cohort is up and running, there are more developments in the pipeline from this collaboration with i2i Development Solutions, which will include an Apprenticeship option to allow employers to take advantage of Levy funding, accredited Awards for short courses and stand-alone units and a top up option for those who have previously completed the RBHR non-accredited MDP. RBHR have the Chamber team to thank for introducing our businesses to each other – the power of Chamber networking in action!

<![CDATA[Prize Draw - Hospitality Suite at Yeovil Town FC]]> Chamber member business Invirt Reality is offering a fabulous football prize as part of the launch of their Predict10 project.

Predict10 is sponsoring the match-day programme for the Saturday 7th April 2018 home game for Yeovil Town FC against table-topping Luton Town, and up for grabs is a Huish Park Stadium hospitality match-day box for up to ten guests at that game.  The prize also includes: 2-course meal, reserved car parking, and seats for the game.

All you have to do to be in with a chance to win this fabulous prize, is visit, complete the Contact from Website form at the bottom of the website, and in the 'message' section, enter your predicted score for Yeovil Town FC's 30th March home game against Forest Green Rovers (e.g. YT 4-3 FGR).

The winner will be chosen from whoever correctly predicted (or closest to) the Yeovil Town v Forest Green Rovers match score.

Only one entry per person, multiple entries will be disqualified.

<![CDATA[Invirt Reality contract with MTR Crossrail]]> Invirt Reality has recently delivered Stage 2 of a Virtual Reality (VR) training Simulator to MTR Crossrail. The simulator allows platform staff to train for various HOT, KPI and safety scenarios.

MTR Corporation based in Hong Kong, is one of the world's leading railway operators. MTR Crossrail is a fully owned subsidiary of MTR Corporation and has the concession for operating the Elizabeth Line across London.

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 18th March]]>

President’s Heartbeat - w/c 18th March 2018

Monday 12th March, marked my third AGM as President.  2017 saw increased value for our members; Yeovil Chamber is bringing business people together and delivering prosperity; not just for individual members, but for the whole of Yeovil and South Somerset.  Solid, mutually beneficial relationships with other key stakeholders and local/regional government, also delivers insight and knowledge, to further empower members.

A web-hub and SM pages drives our proposition and communicates, with regular press releases, and NEW features, such as your DIY news & events pages, now seen by over 2k other business people across the South Somerset region.  Our new Patronage upgrade (ASK ME!) allows you to design your membership package, and Chamber assistance with delivery of your campaigns and projects.  Love Yeovil, bringing local government and town centre businesses together, is now the town centre brand for Yeovil Chamber, delivering & promoting activities and events, bringing more visitors into town; with a regular Love Yeovil town centre retail forum about to launch.  Our regular Speed-Networking breakfasts (pictured) continue to create inter-member opportunities.  To kick-off a new bi-monthly Business Leaders Breakfast; on 19th April, guest speaker Alex Parmley, visionary CEO of South Somerset District Council, will brief members on his role within the business community.

I am now confident that whatever the size or sector of your business; if you have any issues, Yeovil Chamber has the capability to deliver direct advice, or bring a solution to you, usually within the cost of your membership.

Additional activity & investment enhances value for members, but increases costs, requiring a review of membership fees, to allow Yeovil Chamber to maintain current service levels, and help take the Yeovil business community to the next level.  A survey will shortly hit your screens, asking for your input over issues such as value and services and your input, to drive greater value in your member experience.

Thank you for your continued faith in Yeovil Chamber.  If you have any issues, questions, or ideas, please contact me on 07900 491211 or

<![CDATA[Top Promotions Awarded at Battens Solicitors]]>

Battens Solicitors has applauded the work of Sally Manning and Hollie Knapman ‎by awarding them key promotions.

Sally Manning, who has worked in the Private Client department of Battens for more than 15 years and has been heavily involved in building the firm’s presence in and around Castle Cary, has been promoted to Associate. "I started my career here with an English degree and have studied hard to get where I am today,” said Sally. “Battens has been incredibly supportive throughout my time here and my promotion officially recognises my diligent approach and my long standing commitment to the firm. “Being invited to become Associate just as we open our permanent branch in Castle Cary is a fitting recognition of that work.”

Hollie Knapman has been with Battens’ Family team since 2008; her promotion to Senior Associate Solicitor will see her work more closely with the department head, and become more intrinsically involved in the team’s management. Hollie said: "I have worked for Battens for almost 10 years now and the culture is very much one where hard work is rewarded. I am delighted that my commitment has been recognised and acknowledged through my promotion.”

<![CDATA[Scan Film or Store - our 5th Birthday]]>

We’re feeling a bit nostalgic this month, and all because we’re celebrating a very important anniversary: it’s been five years since we moved in to our beloved HQ. Now that might not seem all that exciting to you; an office is an office, right? Well, not as far as we’re concerned. This is our home and we love it.

So here are some things you might not know about Scan Film or Store HQ. It’s in Bridgwater -  Bridgwater may not quite have the prestige of Bristol or Exeter, but it is very well located just off J23 of the M5 in easy reach of both. If you’ve not been to these parts before, Bridgwater is a market town on the edge of the Somerset Levels, and is probably most famous for it’s annual Guy Fawkes Carnival, of which Scan Film or Store are a very proud sponsor.

Our HQ is really pretty big with 2,000 square feet of office space and 9,000 square feet of racking. So our little base is actually not so little, which is a good thing given that one of the reasons we’re here is to provide storage space for our many clients. It was purpose built to our specifications. Oh yes, none of this off-the-shelf nonsense for us. We went bespoke when we commissioned our building. Not because we were trying to be flash - it’s just that a dedicated storage unit like ours has particular needs – like down beams that are linked to piles driven into the ground, to support the weight of all the documents we store. The whole floor actually had to be especially designed to take the weight of the paper, and the eaves are 8m high to accommodate the racking.

We’ve got a smashing local.  Just over the other side of the motorway is The Puriton Inn, which is where we head if one of the team has a birthday, if we sign a good contract, or if we just can’t face eating soggy ham salad sandwiches again. It does huge portions of homemade food and has one of the best dessert selections in the South West. It has a great view of Hinkley Point.  Being within a stone’s throw of the new power point may or may not strike you as a good thing, but it’s certainly been interesting to watch the infamous project progress. Sadly, we don’t get a discount on our energy bill just because we’re neighbours. We can watch the elver fishermen at work.  For a three month period between mid-February and mid-May, the local river becomes a prime spot for elver fishing. Personally we’re not big fans of baby eels as a food source, but it’s fun to see the fishermen at work in their waders and nets.

If you’d like to see our offices for yourself, why not call us to arrange to drop in and say hello? We’ll give you the tour, a nice cup of tea and maybe even a biscuit if you’re lucky. Phone us on 01278 450500

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 5th March]]>

President’s Heartbeat - w/c 5th March 2018

The lingering (and damaging) perception of Yeovil as somehow stuck in the 1980s, down-at-heel and dominated by engineering jobs, is being swept aside.  The perception of Yeovil is changing; heads are turning and investment is arriving.  Rapid growth in a Yeovil high-tech/aerospace ‘hub’, is attracting a different skillset and driving much-needed change in our visitor attractions, and employment opportunity.

Our town centre is now the place for people to meet, socialise, and to live and work, and Yeovil’s retailers are being joined by the ‘new kids on the block’, offering leisure, hospitality, food & drink, and other social and commercial attractions.  Town & District Council and Chamber have joined forces, and out of this has arisen the Love Yeovil brand, delivering attractions and drawing more visitors into town.  The Yeovil Refresh plans driven by the District Council, and shaped by key stakeholders and Chamber, will create and enhance the town centre space, light and ambience, to see Yeovil as: ”Your Somerset town centre of choice.” 

To see how far we’ve come along the road to making all this a reality, wind the clock back just five years.  All we had then was a bad hangover from the 80s, and a wish list.  Joined-up thinking, a visionary local authority, investment from central government and the private sector, and a hungry, motivated business community, are creating prosperity and employment.  All of this is set to put Yeovil once again on the map as the go-to South-West regional destination town of choice to live and work.  To anyone thinking about coming to Yeovil to set up shop, one of Chamber’s town centre member businesses told me this week: “If what you have to offer isn’t here yet, come to Yeovil, and make it happen!”

If you have any issues, questions, or ideas, please contact me on 07900-491211 or

<![CDATA[Limited M2M Offer - Wincanton Races]]> Wincanton Races have a special offer for Chamber Members for the following fixtures only - 8 March, 28 March, 3 April and 10 May.

Go to the M2M Scheme tab/ View Existing M2M Member Scheme for full details.

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 19th February]]> President’s Heartbeat - w/c 19th February 2018

During 2016 and 2017 Chamber invested much of the budget on website development, communications and networking events, and that investment is starting to bear fruit.  Although I see 2018 as a year of financial consolidation, we will not be standing still.  Chamber will continue with it’s strategic role in partnership with Yeovil College, South Somerset District Council and other key local, regional and national stakeholders.  We will roll out our new suite of membership levels later this year, and I will be spreading the word about our new patronage package.  We are working with Yeovil Town FC to devise ways of getting the word across the UK.  I am also working closely with senior management at Leonardo (Westland to you and me) on high-tech/aerospace supply chain opportunities, and making more of our rich helicopter/aerospace heritage to attract tourism and employment.  We are also one of the key stakeholders with SSDC for their Yeovil Refresh project, and employer engagement work with our patron Yeovil College, continues.  Whilst influencing the strategic picture, Chamber is always seeking constant improvement to the member experience.  Whether you are a SME, a town centre retail/leisure/food & drink business, in the professional sector, or a medium-large employer; whatever your sector, we want you to obtain maximum value for your money from your membership of Yeovil Chamber.  Whether you want to be connected to other business people, raise your profile, or have your say in the big-picture plans which are gathering momentum across the Yeovil area, Yeovil Chamber will support your aims.

If you have any issues, questions, or ideas, please contact me on 07900-491211 or