Yeovil Chamber News Articles Copyright 22nd Mar 2018 - 15:26 by Yeovil Chamber <![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

<![CDATA[Ceres 40th Birthday Celebrations]]> It's our 40th birthday!

To celebrate we have goodies and tasters all throughout our birthday week which starts on Monday 19th Feb running through until Saturday 24th Feb. Come on in and try new foods, enter our hamper raffles and talk to our reps.

There are an amazing 14 hampers to give away - 6 of these are online only through facebook - 8 hampers to win in our raffle instore. Free entry with any purchase!
Also a further 6 goodies to giveaway online - simply like our Facebook page, share the post and comment to have a chance of winning!

For full information go to our website and social media –

<![CDATA[Battens to Open New Office in Castle Cary]]>

Battens Solicitors, one of the most respected law firms in the South West, has announced the opening of a new office in Castle Cary.

The firm, which has been running weekly legal clinics in the market town since 2015, says demand has prompted them to establish a permanent base. Sally Manning, Chartered Legal Executive at Battens, said: “We have been running legal clinics one morning a week in Castle Cary for more than three years and they have always been well attended, but our limited availability has been difficult for some of our clients and as time’s gone, we’ve realised there is a need for something more permanent.” Jason Carr, Solicitor at Battens, added: “In particular, we have seen an increasingly high demand for advice in conveyancing, family law, civil litigation, property dispute and private client matters, and we're looking forward to being able to provide local clients with the legal expertise they need in these, and all other areas, of the law, every day of the working week.” The new office, which is ideally located on the high street, will officially open its doors on Monday 19th February and, to celebrate, Battens is inviting local people to join them for light refreshments from 9am-11am every morning during their first week.

The firm is also hosting an open evening for local businesses on Thursday 22nd February from 4pm-7pm. “I live in Castle Cary myself," explained Sally, "so I know the area very well. The office space we are occupying has seen several different retail businesses come and go over the years which is disappointing for the townspeople. I hope our new office will reassure people of our commitment to them and to the town.”

For more information, please contact Battens on 01963 834477 or email

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 5th February]]> President’s Heartbeat - w/c 5th February 2018

On 1st February, I attended yet another landmark moment at Yeovil College, for the opening of the new Motor Vehicle Workshop facility, part-funded by the HOTSW LEP, and in association with Screwfix and SSDC.  The new facility augments the Construction Skills Centre, built in collaboration with the Bradfords Group, and an Aerospace Training Facility, complete with a Lynx helicopter, refurbished by a team of apprentices at Leonardo Helicopters, which has a long and successful history of investing in apprenticeships through Yeovil College.  The 2014 arrival of Principal John Evans (pictured) has revolutionised Yeovil College from just another educational facility into an integral part of the business sector, working closely with local employers and Yeovil Chamber to impart life skills to students, and to align the curriculum with the regional skillset.  John Evans said: “Yeovil College has an excellent reputation for delivering outstanding vocational and apprenticeship training with industry standard resources which makes it an inspiring place for young people to learn.”  If you would like to know more about how you can make a difference, to the prosperity and success of Yeovil and the surrounding region, visit the Yeovil College website – or arrange a visit.

<![CDATA[100 % Pass Rate for Albert Goodman trainees]]>

Leading South West accountancy firm, Albert Goodman, announces nine of its current trainees have passed their ACA Advanced Accountancy Exams this month, starting the new year in style!

Covering a range of topics including, Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management, the ACA-accredited Advanced Exams form the final part of the employees’ professional qualifications in accountancy. In order to pass these exams, the students had to complete this certificate and many professional level exams over the past three years.

Head of HR at Albert Goodman, Simon Irvin, comments, “We are immensely proud of our trainees and would like to congratulate each and every one of them. These exams are notoriously tough, and it is a credit to their dedication, expanding knowledge and desire to succeed that they have achieved a 100% pass rate. Historically, we have seen that this same exam performance is then replicated in the workplace as they progress rapidly through the firm, so we are excited for what the future will hold for all of them.”

With more than 20 exams being taken in the last month, the 100 per cent pass rate highlights Albert Goodman’s commitment to its trainees and the impressive success of its training programme, with 60 members of staff currently undertaking a formal training qualification

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 22nd January]]> President’s Heartbeat - w/c 21nd January 2017

This week I met with Gregg Morrison, Head at Preston Academy.  We discussed at length, the future of Yeovil and how schools and industry must stand side by side to ensure the skillset of our students fulfils the needs of our local business sector.  As former chair of a local school governing body, I know that the UK curriculum does not deliver life skills, preferring to go down the somewhat divisive route which is all about A-C grades, and league tables.  This ethos is damaging to our future skills supply and ignores the real-life requirements for our most valuable resource - our children.  To counter this, since 2015, Yeovil Chamber has worked closely and successfully with Yeovil College to support students and help employers align the curriculum with the local skills requirements.  To expand and develop this concept, and bring local education and industry seamlessly together, Yeovil Chamber is now offering a bespoke mentoring service to the Yeovil Academies.  I have delivered mentoring sessions, and found them to be some of the most rewarding experiences in my business career.  Simply register your interest and potential availability with me, at  When an Academy contacts Yeovil Chamber with a mentoring requirement, we may contact you, to arrange a pro-bono visit.  All you have to do is turn up and be yourself, to support and empower our children as they prepare to take their first steps into the world of employment.

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 15th January]]> President’s Heartbeat - w/c 15th January 2017

One of our member businesses hit the jackpot this week.  Yeovil Town Football Club found themselves, once again, drawn to play Manchester United at Huish Park, in the FA Cup.  The FA Cup fourth round game will be transmitted live on BBC1 on the evening of Friday 26th January, and the football club will benefit from a massive pay-check that will come with the media attention created by the arrival in town of the global brand that is Manchester United.  Also; several thousand people from elsewhere will descend upon the town to attend the game.  Due to the time of year and the timing of the game, most will arrive and depart in the hours of darkness, but some may stay overnight, and maybe sample our hospitality.  The talking heads on the TV can talk until they run out of words, but when that whistle blows to start the game, anything can happen.  Dave Mills, Commercial Manager at the club, is hoping for a draw, with the lucrative win or lose replay at Old Trafford.  Me? I would love to see Yeovil prevail at Huish Park.  Victory drives the folklore and long-term legacy.  Yeovil Town FC and the town, dined out for decades following their 1948 slaying of (then) first division giants Sunderland.  A victory over Manchester United, though unlikely, would re-ignite the Yeovil Town giant-killing legacy; but whatever happens, our football club is once again putting Yeovil on the map.  Come on you Greens!

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 8th January]]> President’s Heartbeat - w/c 8th January 2017

I hope you all managed to grab at least a few days R&R over the festive season to recharge your batteries; to spend quality time with your family and friends, and to reflect on the previous twelve months.  How was 2017 for you?  Despite the continued buffoonery of Mr Trump, the seemingly unending chaos of 'Brexit', and all the other (largely media-promoted?) grief occurring in the wider world, 2017 was another year of progress in the Yeovil business community.  Business rates and leasing contracts, will always be there for most.  Roadworks are temporary, but the end result will be worth it.  Despite these challenges, the feedback I collected on my meetings with local business people paints a story of a town that is getting on with putting itself on the map.  Chamber continues to fly the flag for our members and the town, offering support wherever we can.  Keep a positive mindset, face the challenges, seize the opportunities and you just never know what may turn up in 2018.