Yeovil Chamber News Articles Copyright 20th Sep 2019 - 02:27 by Yeovil Chamber <![CDATA[Leading law firm cycles 200km to raise funds for RNLI]]> When finance partner, Nicholas Clegg, first suggested a cycle ride taking in all eight of Porter Dodson’s offices over two days, the idea was met with considerable enthusiasm and a small working committee was formed. The RNLI was identified as a charity the firm wanted to strengthen their relationship with and with the support of their fundraising team, the Porter Dodson Great British Bike Off was born.

Being lawyers, the committee studied insurance implications and risk assessments, deemed the ride achievable and set a date. There was just a minor change to the original plan – the ride would take place in one day, not two! With a core group of ten cyclists agreeing to take part, training sessions began, starting with a relatively short 20 mile ride climbing nearly 2,000ft and testing everyone’s fitness and endurance levels. The cyclists hail from Devon, Somerset and Dorset, so planning training rides that suited everyone was challenging to say the least. With one main ride including all but one of the team to practise riding as a peloton, most weekends (and some evenings after work) a smaller number of the team can be seen training around the Somerset and Dorset countryside in their distinctive yellow jerseys. Dave Hooper of Synergy Sport and Remedial Massage Therapy has helped the team prepare for the ride, hosting a maintenance evening and showing them how to protect themselves from injuries.

Sunday 18th August saw Robyn Greenway, Laura Roper, Anusheh Burcher and Scott Bowley join Stephen Wray in the Porter Dodson 100 mile club, climbing a gruelling 2,461 feet. With this accomplishment under their belts, 121 miles seems less daunting and infinitely achievable.

The Porter Dodson Great British Bike Off takes place on Thursday 5th September, leaving the Wellington office at 6:30am. The first stop is at Porter Dodson’s Bridport office at 10:15am. All being well, the tryhard ten will arrive at Taunton at 8:30pm where staff at that office will be waiting to celebrate their success. Scott Bowley, head of the firm’s Bridport office, said: “I’ve only recently caught the cycling bug, having bought my bike in April after some “encouragement” from colleagues, so this has been an extraordinary challenge for me. After our 100 mile training ride, we think we are all now prepared for the big bike ride”

Steve Law, Philanthropy Manager at the RNLI, works closely with Porter Dodson and commented “We at the RNLI can only continue to save lives with the generous support of the public. My thanks and best wishes to those undertaking the cycle to support our crews and to all those sponsoring them. Behind every life saved on our coasts are those giving their time, energy, and money to enable the RNLI to continue and the team at Porter Dodson are a vital part of this.”


<![CDATA[Battens family law solicitor receives prestigious Children’s Panel accreditation]]> Battens Solicitors Family Law team member Emily Davies, has been awarded a place on the Law Society’s prestigious Children’s Panel. The accreditation is a nationally recognised hallmark of quality that Guardians and other professionals can seek out when specialist representation is needed for children in difficult private disputes or care proceedings.

Gaining the accreditation takes dedication and hard work. Emily, who has been practicing family law for almost 3 years, trained intensively before undergoing a demanding assessment and interview process at Chancery Lane’s renowned Law Society. “I am really pleased to have achieved the accreditation. It is a reflection of all of my hard work and means that I can now represent children through their Guardian in Court proceedings. I can also represent competent children in Court proceedings. This area of law can leave parents and children feeling confused, upset and anxious and I endeavour to advise and assist in an empathetic but professional manner whilst providing realistic and appropriate advice”.

Emily becomes the seventh member of the Battens Family Law team to gain the accreditation making Battens one of the leading family law firms in the South West.

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat – w/c 10th August]]> President's Heartbeat 10th August 2019

Work has now commenced at the south-west corner of Leonardo airfield, Yeovil, on iAero, a £10m research & development and innovation centre; delivering 2,400sqm of purpose-built space, supporting rotary-wing aerospace, associated design and engineering technologies, and supply chains. This significant (and very visible) project, will sit at the Western gateway to Yeovil at the end of the Cartgate link road, and when
completed, will represent yet more investment into the economic growth and future of Yeovil. The build stage of the project is expected to complete by Q4 2020, and will feature high-quality office, light industrial and collaboration space as well as innovation support services, and allow the tenant aerospace contractors to "live-test" their work on helicopters and rotary-wing craft, operating out of a working airfield.

Developed by Somerset County Council, in partnership with the region's aerospace industry; primarily Leonardo Helicopters, Tods Aerospace and the West of England Aerospace Forum, and funded by ERDF, HOTSW Growth Deal, Somerset County Council, and Leonardo Helicopters. iAero will form part of the South West Regional Aerospace Hub, and is intended as a rotary-wing specialist facility. £3m of the funding is from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme, helping local areas stimulate their
economic development by investing in projects which support innovation and businesses create jobs and local community regenerations.

I am proud to say that Yeovil Chamber has been involved in the project from the start, in consultation with Somerset County Council, WEAF, Leonardo Helicopters and potential tenants. iAero will be a very visible sign of the confidence being placed in Yeovil to deliver economic development and employment opportunities. Yeovil Chamber is now working with the project stakeholders to identify and create tenancy and work opportunities for local sector-specific and other contractors.

email me directly at for further information on tenancy and tendering for build/fit-out work at iAero. 

CLICK HERE to discover membership benefits and to join Yeovil Chamber

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat – w/c 1st August]]> President's Heartbeat 1st August 2019

Yeovil is now capable of confidently punching above its weight.

The expanding suite of Chamber member benefits and business support took a significant step forward today. Following a recent request from Neil Discombe, MD of Chamber member business Garador, I met with representatives from Garador, Chamber, SSDC Economic Development and Leonardo Helicopters at Garador today to discuss the concept for a manufacturer's best practice network. Our brief, but productive meeting agreed the way forward for a working party under the Chamber umbrella, to establish and deliver a sector-wide network for engineering and manufacturing businesses located in and around Yeovil.

The proposed network is envisaged as sharing generic and specific best practices, providing mutual support and identifying potential supply chain and other business opportunities. Despite Yeovil enjoying a long history as a manufacturing town, Chamber membership from the engineering and manufacturing sector is currently very low. The new network will also serve to encourage Chamber membership for manufacturers, delivering member benefits, big-picture insight and reasons to stay and flourish in Yeovil, feeling they are part of the growing Yeovil success story. I said at the meeting, Yeovil is now capable of confidently punching above its weight; especially from within the manufacturing and engineering sector, which would assist with the town centre regeneration and release yet more of the massive potential of the town.

Talking of which; as I arrived at Garador, I spotted the diggers, commencing groundwork on the new £13m iAero facility, located opposite Garador at the south-east corner of Leonardo airfield. More good news, and a very visible sign of economic development at the western gateway to Yeovil.

CLICK HERE to find out more and join Yeovil Chamber or email me directly at

<![CDATA[Pardoes are excited to announce that Charlotte Dullaway has joined their growing Dispute Resolution ]]> Charlotte is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, specialising in probate disputes and related litigation. She deals with situations where people are unhappy with wills, such as when they have been disinherited or not left what they thought they were going to get, as well as where relatives and dependants feel they have not been properly provided for.

Charlotte, based in our Taunton office, trained locally and was keen to remain practicing in the local area. She says “I chose to specialise in contentious probate because of the people. Generally, when a probate dispute occurs people have just suffered the loss of a loved one and the emotional strain of litigation can be traumatic for them. I find it incredibly satisfying to be able to use my knowledge and understanding to help them reach a sensible outcome, obtain closure and move on with their lives.” 

There has been an enormous increase in the number of probate disputes in the Courts and covered in the media over the last few years. Family arrangements are becoming more complicated, people are living longer and accumulating more wealth. This, combined with the rise of DIY Wills, has resulted in more families than ever before going through the emotional turmoil of litigation to try and finalise the estates of lost loved ones.

The two most common types of probate dispute are challenges to the validity of a Will and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Challenges to Wills are on the increase in part due to the more widespread awareness of illnesses affecting mental capacity, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Where there have been signs of mental decline those closest to the person who passed away may wonder whether they really knew what they were doing, especially if they have been disinherited as a result. Other reasons why a Will may be challenged include if it is a result of coercion or undue influence, where there has been a mistake or where certain required formalities have not been fulfilled.

Claims under the Inheritance Act are often the result of the more complicated family structures in today’s society. Where there are new spouses or civil partners, children from multiple partners and, in some situations secret second families, it is difficult to balance the needs and expectations of those closest to you along with your freedom to leave your estate as you wish. If certain people do not feel they have been reasonably provided for, they can bring claims against the estate for a share, or greater share, of the assets.

Probate disputes are stressful. Grief and financial uncertainty can make it difficult to think straight and this is why it is so important to instruct a specialist lawyer to guide you through this complex area of law.

Bhavani Hogarty, Partner and Head of Pardoes busy Dispute Resolution team says; “Pardoes offer specialist probate dispute services to the local community. Charlotte’s focus on providing this specialist legal advice in a compassionate way makes her very popular with clients and we are delighted to have such a highly skilled and caring professional join our team.”

If you would like further information or require assistance with a contentious probate matter contact Charlotte on 01823 446230 or via email to

<![CDATA[Battens expands their Residential Property Team ]]> Battens Solicitors are pleased to announce the appointment of Mo Byers to their Residential Property Team.

Mo joins Battens as a Conveyancing Executive based in the Wareham office and is looking forward to supporting new and existing clients in the area. “I have experience in dealing with a wide range of residential conveyancing transactions and pride myself on being thorough. I am down to earth and able to convey matters to clients clearly and concisely but without the need for complicated legal jargon. Understanding that being patient, listening to client’s needs and keeping clients well informed throughout the transaction is key in trying to ensure a less stressful experience in what undoubtedly can be a very stressful life event for a lot of clients” explains Mo.

Mo’s legal career began as a Legal Secretary for a local firm of solicitors straight from school. From there, Mo studied and completed a Paralegal Diploma in Law Studies then progressed to Conveyancing Executive. “I enjoy the challenge of what each day will bring...every property and chain is different and has its own issues to be investigated and resolved. Conveyancing is such a fast paced and varied area of law and there's never a dull moment.” "It's a great feeling when a particularly complicated or stressful transaction is finally completed; knowing that I was able to achieve a happy outcome for my clients is extremely satisfying" said Mo.

Mo’s extensive experience in residential conveyancing transactions includes sales, purchases, buy to let, help to buy, probate and matrimonial sales, leasehold and new build properties, re-mortgages and voluntary first registration. Jill Cochrane, Head of Residential Property said: “Mo will be a great asset to Battens with her experience and knowledge. We are very much looking forward to Mo expanding our Wareham residential property team.”

<![CDATA[New Staff at Blueloop]]> We have three new Blueloopers:- 

Natalie Peters has joined Blueloop as a Consultant.  Natalie brings a wealth of experience from her career within State Education, providing IT Network management and support to both staff and students. Before joining Blueloop, Natalie took a short break from working within IT as a Driving Instructor

Steven Talling has also joined the team as a Consultant specialising in Security and Compliance.  Steven previously worked for 12 years in the Army/Signals as an IS Engineer being deployed around the world to set up and maintain military IT Systems.  He is looking forward to offering both new and existing customers support and guidance around data management, security and compliance. In his downtime Steven enjoys Scuba diving, reading, hockey and rugby. 

Emma  Amor will be working within the Admin team supporting Kirsty in her role as Financial Controller.  Emma brings a wealth of customer interface and accounting experience from her previous role at Screwfix.  Emma is a keen sport enthusiast including hockey and regularly attends the local gym.

We wish Natalie, Steven and Emma well in their new roles and look forward to introducing them to our customers and business partners.

Further details can be obtained from:  Julie Grant, Blueloop Limited,

Sales and Marketing Manager, Blueloop – Tel 01460 271055

<![CDATA[Battens Welcomes Immigration Adviser, Lee Campbell]]> Battens Solicitors are pleased to welcome Immigration Adviser Lee Campbell to its immigration department. Lee is based in Battens’ Bath office, but will travel or connect with clients wherever they are based, advising on all private immigration queries for both the employer and the individual.

Lee’s background uniquely qualifies him in immigration matters due to his previous role and experience as a Caseworker in the Home Office. “I was previously working in the Home Office as an Immigration Caseworker” explains Lee.” During this role I would provide decisions on most in-country applications; covering such visa applications as points based applications, spouse/partner applications and long-term residency applications.”

Having worked in the Private Sector for the last three years, Lee brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience and is now skilled in further aspects of immigration law including: family and private life applications, travel documents, EEA applications, visit visa applications and naturalisation. “Immigration law is often a daunting and complex area. Ever changing rules can often add to the stress and anxiety people and business experience in their everyday life. Let us take that stress from you. Providing up to date and qualified advice every time - we’re here to help!”

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat – w/c 27th May]]> President's Heartbeat – 25th May 2019

Reports of the death of Yeovil town centre are greatly exaggerated.

On my weekly travels and meetings with key stakeholders around town, I was aware that things were changing; and yet I was still getting earache about empty shops, so I felt it was time to take a step back and see what has changed during my four-year tenure as President of Yeovil Chamber. Earlier this month, I ran a head-count across the retail, leisure, hospitality, food & drink, and accommodation sectors trading in Yeovil town centre, and the results were a revelation. I found that since 2015, no less than twenty new independent operators have arrived, and all are still trading in Yeovil town centre.  Add the arrival of five national brands in the same period, and that makes a total of twenty-five new operators in four years! When I factored in an estimated ten operators across the same sectors which closed down over the same period; the maths showed that for every business closing down, 2.5 new businesses arrived in their place.

Even if my stats are slightly out, more than one shop arriving for each one lost is remarkable, given the relentless negative media coverage of the UK 'high street', and is clear evidence that Yeovil town centre is on the up. The remaining balance of the sectors in my focus consists of established nationals and independents, who have largely weathered the storm which swept UK town centres.  They are now leaner, fitter, and like our ‘new kids on the block’, embrace and harness the internet and social media as a vital part of their business model.  Indeed; some traders in the new model town centre would struggle without an online presence. The curtain has fallen on the previous retail model of the town centre, and there is a similar tale across the service and professional sectors in Yeovil town centre.

Retail will continue to be a good reason to visit Yeovil but is no longer the reason to visit.  Town centres, and Yeovil is a good example, are now about 'experience':  Diversity, events, and of course, retail.  The remaining empty shops in Yeovil are now the target for private and local authority development projects; tapping into demand, which will likely see them converted to a mix of residential, commercial and retail space.  A good example of this is Glovers Walk, our dilapidated 1970s retail centre, now under new ownership. The family-run developers are working with the local authority, to ensure their plans for Glovers Walk dovetail into the town-wide development plans of the District Council.  A key factor in the turnaround of Yeovil town centre is the ambitious and supportive local authority.  Working closely with the business sector, South Somerset District Council is investing heavily in the infrastructure, at a time when many local authorities are cutting back, and this seed investment has already attracted private commercial investment and redevelopment.

Ironically, most of the earache I receive about empty shops is from change-averse people who have lived in the town all their lives, who you think would know better than to bad-mouth their home town. Almost without exception, everyone else talks the town up. Flexible leasing, rent deals, and recent retail business rates discounts, are turning heads to Yeovil. New people with new business ideas and models continue to join in; this month saw the arrival of national retailer Dunelm, choosing Yeovil as only their second town centre outlet, plus an independent coffee house Hot Shots; both eager to get a piece of the action, and to create the new chapter as the evolution continues in Yeovil town centre.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Yeovil evolution, please message me.  Get involved at or email me directly

<![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.