Yeovil Chamber News Articles Copyright 25th May 2019 - 10:09 by Yeovil Chamber <![CDATA[Accountants take to the slopes to strike up new connections]]> Accountants from the award-winning firm, Milsted Langdon, have taken a trip to the beautiful snow-filled slopes of Morzine in France to strengthen their relationships with their local business connections.

For the second year in a row, Partners Rachael Verinder, Rachel Hotham and Simon Rowe organised a trip to the continent as a way of breaking the usual pattern of networking events. The four-day excursion saw skiers of varying ability from local firms take on the French slopes alongside the team of Partners from Milsted Langdon. As well as the skiing, the guests also enjoyed dinners together, which was a great opportunity to network in an informal environment and make new connections. 

Commenting on the trip, one guest said: “It was a great group of people, superbly organised and an absolute giggle from start to finish! I do have the benefit of having generated some great memories over the last four days, having caught up with some existing business contacts and connected with some extremely likeable and interesting new ones. It couldn’t have been a better trip - the weather, food and company were all outstanding.”

Speaking about the success of the trip, Rachel said: “It was an excellent experience to really get to know some of our business contacts on a more personal level and cement the relationships that we’ve built up over a number of years. Last year’s event was really successful and this year just confirmed what a winning approach this is. By thinking outside the box, we have managed to strengthen our connections and enjoy a hobby that we are all passionate about.”

Milsted Langdon is no stranger to hosting quirky events, having hosted several odd and exciting outings for clients and its network of professional contacts to enjoy in recent years, including organising a ladies’ clay shooting and archery day in Somerset this week, which was extremely popular and well attended.  

<![CDATA[Battens Charitable Trust Makes an “Egg-cellent” Donation]]> The Battens Charitable Trust have been making their way around the South West, delivering Easter eggs to five food banks in Somerset and Dorset and also contributing towards Wessex FM’s Easter Egg Appeal for local charities and good causes. Over 250 chocolate eggs were donated in time for the spring holiday, meaning some of those who are less fortunate receive a small Easter treat.

The work of the local food banks is very prominent in the community. Volunteer Liz Murray explains; “Sherborne food bank, a registered charity, is crucial to the town and provides more than 1000 food deliveries each year to individuals and families in need. The food bank has seen an increase in demand of some 30% in the past twelve months, so the support of donors and local businesses such as Battens is invaluable. We provide basic food supplies, baby food, nappies and toiletries but families are often excluded from the seasonal treats the rest of us take for granted. This is why the donation of Easter Eggs will mean such a lot to local families, and especially children, who are managing on so little.”

Lynn Crabb from the Wareham food bank added, “The food bank supports local families and those living alone. We work with health care and social professionals as well as the Citizens Advice Centre, this ensures the food goes to those in need. We are very fortunate to be supported by the local community and I would like to thank the Battens Charitable Trust for their continued support of Wareham food bank.”

Naomi Dyer, a Trustee of The Battens Charitable Trust said: “We are delighted to be able to make a contribution again this year. It’s great to see that the generosity of people’s donations to the trust help with the important work the food banks carry out in the community.” Battens Charitable Trust, which was established by Battens Solicitors, has donated more than £500,000 to charities and causes in and around Somerset and Dorset since it was first founded in 1985. Groups to have benefitted from its funding include schools, hospitals, children and youth sports groups, disability groups and hospices.

If you would like to make a donation or leave a legacy to Battens Charitable Trust, please contact the Trust team by emailing or by calling 01935 811304.

<![CDATA[Somerset Entrepreneur Bootcamp]]> Got an innovative business - or an ingenious idea for one?

Your journey to business success could begin now!

Join us at Yeovil Innovation Centre on Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th June 2019 for a FREE two day event for budding entrepreneurs and be inspired to be the best that you can be.


About the Bootcamp

Somerset Entrepreneur Bootcamps are open to anyone with an early stage business - or an ingenious idea for one. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business before or not. All you need is enthusiasm, ambition, energy and an innovative idea for a business.

At these exciting, highly interactive days, you’ll work with experts well used to turning high potential business concepts into commercial successes on the world stage. You’ll receive coaching and practical tips on key aspects of growing a business including:

  • Making a compelling business case, worthy of investment.
  • Effective communications – presenting, pitching ideas and negotiating.
  • Team building for growth and success.
  • Creating value through supply chains, networks and open innovation.
  • Following this, you’ll have access to a full range of support to help you move forward.
<![CDATA[Battens Welcomes Conveyancing Executive Bill Osborn to its Residential Team]]> Battens Solicitors are pleased to announce the appointment of Bill Osborn to the Residential Property Team.

Bill began his legal career with a degree in law from the University of Southampton before joining a local firm of conveyancing solicitors in 2005, training as a Residential Conveyancer. Bill worked with the same firm for fourteen years across several offices, including a long spell as the office manager of the company’s Bristol based office before returning to the Yeovil and Sherborne area.

He joins Battens as a Conveyancing Executive and is looking forward to supporting new clients with his broad property expertise. Bill brings a wealth of knowledge to Battens and has extensive experience in sales, purchases, re-mortgaging, transfers of equity and right to buy matters. “I am very excited to be joining Battens and putting the skills I have developed as a Residential Conveyancer into a traditional firm with a progressive approach to Conveyancing.” said Bill.

Jill Cochrane, Head of Residential Property said: We are very pleased to welcome Bill to the Residential Property Department, bringing his experience and local knowledge which will add strength to the team.

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat – w/c 7th April]]> President's Heartbeat – 7th April 2019

“Our young people are our most precious resource. . .we must not fail them”

4th April at the Manor Hotel Yeovil, was a watershed moment for Yeovil Chamber, and marked the end of the beginning of our work to see the Yeovil business community and secondary academies working together for the benefit of all.  Nearly fifty people attended our Education Special Breakfast.  Significantly; the attendees included the heads of The Park School, Westfield and Stanchester Academies, and senior figures from Bucklers Mead, and Preston Academies, along with key figures from Fiveways SEN School, and Yeovil College.  Also in attendance were business leaders from Bradfords, Jones Building Group and Leonardo Helicopters, Albert Goodman Accountants, and many other Yeovil employers and entrepreneurs.

In my address, I described the work Chamber has been doing to bring education and industry together in Yeovil, and said: “Our young people are our most precious resource; we must not fail them.” The speakers were Jo Skeel (HOTSW Careers Hub), Andrew Hanson (Somerset Education Business Partnership (SEBP)), and Julie Young (South Somerset 14-19 Careers Partnership).  Andrew Hanson and SEBP will take up the initial work of Yeovil Chamber, to bring business people into schools, and from here onwards, Yeovil Chamber will ‘signpost’ business people and employers into schools as required, with the assistance of SEBP and the other agencies.

The speakers outlined how their agencies working in unison have addressed the challenges and will deliver opportunities.  Jo Skeel talked through the statutory requirements for careers advice, including the new GATSBY requirements, and why schools need to work with business.  Andrew Hanson detailed the role of SEBP in developing a talent pipeline unique to each school with the assistance of the Yeovil business sector, and Julie Young outlined the good practice which sees South Somerset leading the way, and the opportunities this is creating.  Yeovil Chamber will act as a ‘portal’ for both parties in conjunction with SEBP, to influence the School and College curriculum, and to network key figures and stakeholders across the business, local government and education sectors.

High employment and the huge diversity of skillsets across South Somerset brings challenges to both the education and employment sectors.  Employers also cite concerns about young people’s readiness for work.  These are challenges which Yeovil Chamber, and its’ work since 2015 with Yeovil College have already met, and are securing opportunity for employers and education in the Yeovil area.  Today’s breakfast saw the completion of the first phase of Yeovil Chamber efforts to put employers and entrepreneurs into Yeovil’s Secondary schools, to deliver life skills, ideas and careers options’ enhancing and influencing the curriculum towards South Somerset employment requirements, and allow our children to hit the ground running when they enter the world of work and careers.

Get involved at or email me directly 

<![CDATA[CareerCheck have moved!]]> CareerCheck have moved! Our present office in Prestleigh house is scheduled to become part of a block of flats.

We are pleased to announce that as from Friday March 29th 2019 we will have moved to our new offices. Please note that our new registered address will be: Unit 4 Lufton Heights Commerce Park Boundary Road YEOVIL BA22 8UY.  Before that date we will progressively move our equipment and hopefully our staff will be able to resume work on “April Fool's Day” as if nothing has happened. We will be making every effort to ensure that our service to you is not disrupted.

Progressive change to our Management Structure. We are pleased to announce that Paul Swaine has been promoted to CEO. Paul has worked with CareerCheck as Operations Director and has been responsible for all the administrative operations for several years. Nobody understands your requirements better than Paul does. He will ensure that along with the office move, this change will provide uninterupted service.

Alex Smith who founded Career Check back in 2000 and who has worked tirelessly for its development will be taking a less stressful back seat but will continue to have a significant business interest. Although planning to work on a part time basis, she will still be available to provide marketing advice and sales support.

<![CDATA[Clarke Willmott sponsored St Margaret’s Hospice 2019 Great Somerset Cycle]]> The St Margaret’s Hospice Great Somerset Cycle 2019, proudly sponsored by law firm Clarke Willmott and retailer The Bicycle Chain, raises over £12,000

This was the second time the event was held and saw 90 cyclists taking part on Sunday, March 24, to raise funds for St Margaret’s which runs In-Patient Units in Taunton and Yeovil as well as five community based teams who care for patients in their own homes.

The riders set off from both the Taunton and Yeovil hospices and completed either a 40-mile ride from hospice to hospice, or an 80-mile round trip challenge, the latter also tackled and completed by a Clarke Willmott team. 

Kate Gardner, Partner and Head of Clarke Willmott’s Taunton office, herself a keen cyclist, said: “We are extremely pleased to be supporting St Margaret’s Hospice and the Great Somerset Cycle.

“Members of our staff took part in the last event and enjoyed it so much we decided to be main sponsor this year!

“The charity does a great deal of work for the people within our local community and their families and we want to show our support for how grateful we are to both their workers and volunteers.”

She added: “The amount raised so far is absolutely brilliant.”

Sadie Ellison, Corporate fundraiser at St Margaret’s Hospice, said: “A massive thank you to our Great Somerset Cycle sponsors Clarke Willmott Solicitors and The Bicycle Chain for supporting this event. 

“The money raised will go directly to ensuring St Margaret’s Hospice continues to make each day count for patients and their families across Somerset.

“For example, this money could go towards 50 counselling sessions for a child who has lost a parent, it could pay for 20 home visits, keeping patients in the comfort of their own home, or it could ensure there is someone to call even in the middle of the night by funding 80 calls to our advice line.

“It really will make a difference to so many people in our local community.”

Sadie also commented: “The beautiful weather and the companionship and encouragement of fellow cyclists along the route made for an excellent day, and so far the event has helped to raise over £12,000 with sponsorship and donations still coming in.”

<![CDATA[YEOVIL COLLEGE CO-WORKING WITH COUNCIL TO BRING BENEFITS TO LOCAL BUSINESSES ]]> Sixteen students have embarked on an exciting new opportunity that South Somerset District Council has offered in partnership with Yeovil College.

Yeovil College and South Somerset District Council have joined forces to offer sixteen lucky people the opportunity to enrol upon a free Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business, which usually costs in excess of £4000. Out of the students participating on the course, nine are from a mix of local small companies to large engineering and retail businesses. There are two from South Somerset District Council, two from Yeovil College, two from other public sector organisations and one from a local charity.

The course allows people to develop business and management skills alongside areas of specialism, from Marketing and Communication to Customer Care and People Management. This opportunity is perfect for those that have commitments to their jobs but wish to pursue a higher level of education. The course offers two options for students whereby after the first two years there is a stepping off point which will allow learners to graduate with the HNC qualification or continue into the third year to achieve the full HND. This then can be ‘topped up’ with a final year to achieve the full degree.

Sara Reeves, Curriculum Area Manager for Business at Yeovil College, said: “We are delighted to launch this exciting initiative in partnership with South Somerset District Council, where together we will fund sixteen free places within our HND Business qualification, with an option to progress to the full degree. We are committed to upskilling the people of South Somerset, and retaining talent within the local area, and this is a perfect example of how working as part of a strong partnership can achieve this.”

Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, portfolio holder for economy at South Somerset District Council, said: “This partnership with Yeovil College will give students the business skills they need to enhance their contribution to the local economy. Building our skills base is very important for the future and SSDC’s sponsorship of these college places will benefit individuals, businesses and the wider economy of South Somerset. Providing this training opportunity aligns with one of the Council's corporate values which is - to support people and communities to enable them to help themselves.”

Katie Whitty, Apprenticeship Coordinator at Yeovil College, joins the team of sixteen and is excited about her future: Katie said: “I am really excited to be starting my SSDC sponsored Business HND with Yeovil College! In my role as an Apprenticeship Coordinator, I am hoping that it will enhance the provision currently given to employers by having a better understanding and appreciation for the way in which their businesses work. I believe this course will equip me with the tools I need to deliver a first-class service to our employers, as well as the learners and potential Apprentices I work with. By learning more about strategy and decision making, I should be in a better position to advise employers on how to shape their businesses by educating their workforce through Yeovil College.”

Maxine Wilson, an employee at South Somerset District Council who has enrolled on the course, said: “I'm really thrilled to have been given the opportunity to take part in the HNC/D Business course. For me personally and professionally, this came at the right time as it coincides with my move into the newly formed Strategy and Commissioning team. The course units will correlate with the new varied areas of work I will be involved in and I will be able to use my practical experience in my assignments. The course will help me to develop new skills which I can utilise at SSDC now and in the future.”

<![CDATA[BRAND NEW SPANISH A LEVEL SET TO LAUNCH AT YEOVIL COLLEGE.]]> Yeovil College are excited to announce the launch of their brand new Spanish A Level, launching in September 2019.

The new A Level will be taught and delivered by Noemi Garcia, direct from Barcelona. This course is a fantastic opportunity for students interested in modern foreign languages to continue their studies in the language, at a higher level. Yeovil College have deliberately employed a Spanish native to lead on this programme, allowing true authentic Spanish to flow through the classroom. Noemi will guide the students through the Hispanic language, looking at its culture and history, whilst touching upon personal experiences Noemi has encountered whilst living in Spain. Teaching and Learning will be delivered in Spanish, enabling students to become truly fluent and confident in the language.

Students will be able to study the brand new course alongside two other A Levels of their choice at Yeovil College’s Kingston Sixth Form Centre, located on their centrally based campus in Yeovil. Spanish complements many A Levels, including English, humanities, business and the Science based subjects, depending upon end goals. John Evans, Principal of Yeovil College, said: “Being able to offer Spanish A Level to our learners on the back of our successful Spanish Night School classes, means we are now able to offer another strand to our A Level provision and increase the language skills of those within the local area. We introduce this A Level on the back of impressive results – 100% A Level pass rate for three successive years and the highest attaining College in the county, in fact top five in the country, for full A Level value added attainment. More-over we are delighted to be able to do so via a native Spanish teacher – we believe that this truly differentiates us.” Noemi Garcia, Spanish A Level Lecturer, said “The launch of the brand new Spanish A Level is very exciting for me as I will get to see the students develop in confidence as they learn such a special language. This really is a fantastic opportunity for anyone wishing to study Spanish A Level in the Yeovil area, and I cannot wait to meet all the new students in September.”

For more information about the course you can visit Yeovil College’s next Information Evening on Monday 10 June, 5-7:30pm or visit

<![CDATA[Clarke Willmott in Taunton up for a brace at DASLS Legal Awards]]> The Taunton office of national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP has been shortlisted in two categories at the 2019 Devon and Somerset Law Society (DASLS) Legal Awards.  The office, which has eight teams listed as top tiers in the Legal 500 and Chambers directories, is shortlisted for the Law Firm of the Year Award (11+ partners).

In addition, Kayleigh Linford, Commercial Team Supervisor in Clarke Willmott’s Debt Recovery team, has been shortlisted in the Rising Star category.

Kate Gardner, partner and head of the Taunton office, said: “DASLS is an important organisation for the legal profession and we are delighted to have been shortlisted for Law Firm of the Year and this is a credit to all who work in the Taunton office.”

Kayleigh, who joined in 2014, has risen swiftly through the ranks and now has direct accountability for more than 80 clients and a team of case workers.

Phil Roberts, Partner and joint Head of the Debt Recovery team said: “Kayleigh has worked incredibly hard. She is a valued and popular member of the team who always has a smile on her face and is loved by her clients. Her short-listing for this prestigious award is the perfect recognition of her all-round professionalism and drive to be the very best she can be.”

Kayleigh, a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), said: “Clarke Willmott has provided great support to me and my efforts to progress my legal career and I enjoy working with my colleagues every day to deliver the best possible service to our clients.”

The awards, designed to showcase the most talented legal professionals across the two counties, will culminate in a glittering ceremony on April 4 in the beautiful and historic setting of Exeter Cathedral.

The Taunton office previously won the DASLS Law Firm of the Year award in 2017 which followed a win at the Somerset Business Awards in 2012 for Business of the Year.

<![CDATA[Hire Train Motivate Retain]]> The candidates just aren’t out there’, ‘there isn’t anyone with the right skills’, ‘just as they get good, they leave’.

Does this sound familiar? If recruitment and retention of staff is a problem for your business too, we are putting on a seminar you can’t afford to miss.

7th February 2019 at Porter Dodson, Yeovil.

Full details of this event and booking link are to be found in the Porter Dodson listing under Member's Events.


Yeovil College is offering an exciting opportunity to experience a taste of what it is like to be a teacher within the top performing College in Somerset. They will be offering multiple spaces on their Level 3 teaching qualifications completely free for successful candidates.

They will host an event on February 12, 5-7pm, as part of the recruitment process. Full details of this event are to be found in their listing under Member's Events.

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat – w/c 18th January]]> ‘Brexit’ – A Statement From Yeovil Chamber

“It is now two and half years since the referendum and we appear to be no further forward.  Whatever your political persuasion, the 15th January vote signified a fundamental lack of leadership on the part of all the mainstream political parties.  Uncertainty is bad and costly for business.  There was uncertainty going into the vote and there is even more uncertainty now.  The damage to business and the wider economy is therefore only likely to increase.  Yeovil is blessed with industry of all types.  It is a very important regional manufacturing and exporting hub on which very many jobs rely.  What those businesses – big and small - now require is a comprehensive plan which will avoid the complications associated with a no-deal Brexit.

Yeovil Chamber of Commerce calls upon all members of Parliament, and our local parliamentary representatives in particular, to ensure that this is achieved as a matter of utmost urgency.  Whatever their personal views, the obligation of our elected representatives must now be to put the national interest first.  This cannot be achieved by continued in-fighting, playing party politics or ignoring the voice of business on which the future prosperity of us all relies.”

The Yeovil Chamber statement echoes the national feeling:  Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “There are no more words to describe the frustration, impatience, and growing anger amongst business after two and a half years on a high-stakes political rollercoaster ride that shows no sign of stopping.  Basic questions on real-world operational issues remain unanswered, and firms now find themselves facing the unwelcome prospect of a messy and disorderly exit from the EU on March 29th.  The overriding priority for both government and Parliament must now be to avoid the clear danger that a ‘no deal’ exit on the 29th of March would pose to businesses and communities across the UK. Every second that ticks by sees more businesses spending money on unwanted changes, activating contingency plans or battening down the hatches and halting investment, as they try to anticipate a future that is no clearer now than it was at the time of the referendum result.  Businesses will take a dim view of more shuttle diplomacy and last-minute bargaining, which have so far done nothing to end the political impasse. The government must now urgently set out in concrete terms what it will do to avoid the damage that a messy and disorderly exit on March 29th would cause to businesses, communities, and the UK economy.”

If you have any views on Brexit, please email and your concerns will be forwarded directly to our representative for Yeovil at Westminster, Marcus Fysh MP.

If you would like more information on the benefits of Yeovil Chamber membership, which ensures you have a voice, and keeps you up to speed with Brexit and other business related issues, go to or email

Interested in raising your profile via sponsorship of Yeovil Chamber? email

<![CDATA[Blueloop’s ‘Jolly Jumper Day and Cake Sale’ for St Margaret’s Hospice Xmas Day]]> Blueloop staff all contributed and took part in the ‘Jolly Jumper Day and Cake Sale’ the last week before Xmas.

Staff baked and sold a range of cakes including Dorset Apple Cake and Coffee & Walnut Cake which were either sold and the proceeds donated to the Hospice and any unsold were taken for the staff to enjoy that afternoon.   The staff also changed their normal corporate wear and brighten the office with festive colours for the ‘Jolly Jumper Day’.  The proceeds from both events during the week totalled £35.50 and were donated to the Hospice for the benefit of the patients and their family during xmas day.

Pay for Christmas Day 2018 was organised to help continue provide high quality care to patients and their families facing a life limiting illness during Christmas.  More can be found at:-

‘We were delighted to be supporting St Margarets Hospice again this year and always a pleasure to help such a worth while cause.  The Directors and Staff at Blueloop are really great at supporting our fund raising events for which we really appreciate’ commented Julie Grant, Sales and Marketing Manager at Blueloop. 

St Margaret’s Hospice purpose is to provide “High Quality responsive care to patients and their families facing a life shortening illness” and their vision is “a community in which all dying people and those close to them have access to appropriate care and support, when they need it, wherever they need it and whoever they are”.

Blueloop Limited, formed in 2000, are an IT and Cyber Security company based in Yeovil who provide services to companies both in the South West and UK with 23 staff.  

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat – w/c 3rd December]]> Weston MercuryThe November 2017 arrival in Yeovil of a new Chief Inspector for Avon & Somerset Police is another pivotal appointment, contributing to the positive change occurring in Yeovil.  As usual, this is about the personality as much as it is the organisation they represent, a key factor in the recent success stories coming out of Yeovil.  CI Sharon Baker (pictured) is personable and passionate and wants to make a difference.  We have quickly established a dialogue, and Sharon’s presence on the Love Yeovil team has introduced her to the steadily growing number of shop owners and managers driving and embracing change, and attracting new businesses, investment, and footfall to the town centre.

Sharon already pro-actively works with Yeovil Chamber, Love Yeovil, town centre business groups, and the local authority.  In little more than twelve months, Sharon and her team has achieved much.  Prior to her promotion, Sharon helped secure the UK-recognised Purple Flag night time economy accreditation for Weston Super Mare in 2015, and on 20th November, Sharon chaired a stakeholder meeting, which I attended, to kick-off the Purple Flag application process for Yeovil, a move which can only bring positive benefits to the night time economy.


Evidence of Sharon and her team’s work has already materialised.  In the wake of recent County Lines drug-related knife incidents, arrests and convictions resulted in a total of twenty-one years’ jail time; some for offenders from Yeovil.  Also; look out for officers popping up at random locations on the street and in coffee shops, armed with iPads, creating a visible presence, and able to respond; their iPads allowing them to keep up with their paperwork, without the need to return to the station…which after much speculation is confirmed as staying, and will be refurbished to align the facility with 21st century policing methods, and show ‘where the police live’ in Yeovil.  Sharon and her team are on Twitter @ASPYeovil and at  PC Dan Crawford is already working on a regular newsletter for the retail and night time town centre community, and Sergeant Andy Whelpton will visit shops in the town to encourage businesses to link with social media and the police website, issue a paper copy of the police contact details and discuss how to interact with the police team.

If you are the manager/owner of a Yeovil business wanting to take part in what is happening in Yeovil, please email me at

Picture credit: Weston Mercury


Interested in raising your profile via sponsorship of Yeovil Chamber? email