Yeovil Chamber News Articles Copyright 20th Mar 2019 - 23:40 by Yeovil Chamber <![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

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 26th November]]> President's Heartbeat – 26th November 2018

Following on from our work with Somerset County Council Highways, I have now added public transport to my to-do list.  Since the mid-20th century, successive UK Governments have pandered to our love affair with our cars, and continue to kick the can down the road on a ticking time-bomb.  Road traffic systems require upgrading to cope with today’s demands; but ironically, and by the mid-21st Century, our transport needs and means will have changed beyond all recognition.  The advent of driverless, airborne and other technologies, along with a trend towards living and working in town centres will likely witness a decline in the use of roads, just as surely as the railways put the canals out of business in the late 19th century.

If this possible future arrives without prior investment in rural public transport, towns like Yeovil, with out-of-town-centre rail stations and declining bus services into/from surrounding areas, are at risk of becoming isolated, just as surely as the small villages which rely upon larger towns like Yeovil.  Public transport in rural areas is just as critical as urban demand, but for very different reasons.

HM Government focus and funding needs to change; from supporting demand, to cost-effective access – for all - to ensure urban and rural areas are adequately connected.  I have already had informal discussion with one of our local bus operators, which I intend to follow up with SSDC, and have begun a dialogue with South Western Railways, which in 2017, took on the seven-year franchise for the rail services through Yeovil and between Exeter and Waterloo.  Away from London and the Solent, SWR runs a predominantly rural network, and seeks funding to improve services and infrastructure, but currently needs to demonstrate demand to bid successfully for money.

If you feel you are being let down by public transport, don’t knock our rural operators – they are just trying to deliver a service and running a business, with funding based on demand, and which currently comes a poor third to urban public transport and private road travel.  If your business is affected by rising public transport costs and the decline in services, contact me at

<![CDATA[Eco Friendly Ceres continues]]> As demand has grown we have now added more refills lines. Our customers can now refill shampoo, conditioner and body wash.

We are committed to reducing the amount of plastic in-store and will continue to add more eco friendly lines.

<![CDATA[Battens Expands its Property Team with New Appointment]]>

Battens has announced the appointment of conveyancer, Katie Hannigan, to its Property Team.

Katie, who came to Somerset from Lincolnshire after short stints working in the equine and superbike industry, officially entered Law seven years ago and has worked in conveyancing ever since. “The race team brought me to Somerset originally and I completely fell in love with the area so decided to stay and focus on my career in law." “I work well under pressure and thrive in the fast-paced environment of conveyancing. I also really enjoy the history behind properties and the relationships that develop between solicitor and client. Moving house can be an extremely stressful time and many of my clients become like friends, so it’s always a great feeling to be able to tell them that contracts have been exchanged on their new home and they have a fixed date for getting their keys.”

Katie is working full time whilst studying for her CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) qualification. She then hopes to become more involved in equestrian and agricultural property so she can combine her previous equine business management experience with property law. Katie is also looking forward to contributing to the achievements of the firm’s growing property team. “Securing that final part of my qualification is incredibly important to me as, although I have plenty of experience, I am keen to finalise my qualification at Battens, become a Fellow of The Institute of Legal Executives, and to contribute towards the firm’s already extremely effective Property Team.”

Jill Cochrane, Head of Residential Property at Battens, said: "We are very glad to welcome Katie on board; her enthusiasm and experience will add another layer to our growing Property Team and we look forward to developing her talent and experience even further."

<![CDATA[Pardoes Solicitors has been recommended in the prestigious 2018-19 Legal 500 guide]]> Pardoes Solicitors has been recommended in the prestigious Legal 500 guide for 2018-19, the leading guide to law firms in the UK.

In this independent annual review Pardoes are recommended at regional and national level for their work in Human Resources/Employment, Real Estate/Property Litigation and Private Client/Family. Four Partners are also highlighted in The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2018-19 editorial: Maeve Vickery, Partner & Head of Commercial & Employment, “provides advice to employers and employees on contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including TUPE transfers, restructures, reorganisations, redundancies and high level exits… with good, clear and responsive communications”; Bhavani Hogarty, Partner & Head of Property Litigation, “has handled professional negligence claims against architects and conveyancing professionals... and right of way and right to park disputes involving commercial and residential properties in London” demonstrating “exceptional client-care skills”; Amanda Shaw, Partner & Joint Head of Family “is noted for her expertise in child care law” and described as “very reliable and effective”; Moira Reynolds, Partner & Joint Head of Family “focuses on divorce and financial cases”. In addition Nigel Kinder is recommended for his work in Property Litigation with particular note for his expertise in agricultural land disputes.

Guy Adams, Pardoes’ Managing Partner, commented “We are delighted to be recognised nationally by the Legal 500 once again. We are a local firm looking after the communities in which we live and work and the Legal500 rankings acknowledge the strength, care and commitment of our team, which is why our clients choose us to help them, their families and their business.

The Legal 500 Series is widely acknowledged as the world’s largest legal referral guide. Carried out by a team of researchers who have unrivaled experience in the legal market and based on feedback from 300,000 clients worldwide, submissions from law firms, and interviews with private practice lawyers, they state; "The rankings are based on a series of criteria but, simply put, we highlight the practice area teams who are providing the most cutting edge and innovative advice."

<![CDATA[Eco Friendly Ceres]]> Eco-friendly Products.  As a healthfoods shop we try to be aware of the world we live in and recognise that we should all play our part in being environmentally friendly. We do this by selling products that are recyclable, natural, against animal testing, vegan and plastic free. This is especially the case in our Household cleaning section, in fact, all of the cleaning products we sell are eco-friendly products and contain natural ingredients. We stock products from Bio-D, Eco-over, Greenscents, Bio-nature and many more.

Bio-degradable plastic. Our own label product packaging is bio-degradable plastic, this helps us take an extra step to being eco-friendly. Bio-degradable plastics are plastics that should be compostable rather than landfill, as micro-organisms metabolise the plastic and break it down into water, carbon dioxide (CO²) and bio-material. The process requires a good temperature, humidity and naturally occurring bacteria which is not found in landfill. Bio-degradable plastics are plastics that can be broken down into water, carbon dioxide and bio-material. Bio-plastics are far more eco-friendly than the alternative plastics as they do not contain carbon, methane and other pollutants, so when broken down, they won’t release harmful gases into our atmosphere. There is some debate about the traces of metal that are found in some bio-plastics that when broken down can cause harm to the environment, however, there is little evidence to support this or show any significant impact to the environment.

Solar-panels.  We have a number of solar panels on our roof that helps generate our own electric. Our solar panel monitor which can be found in our right window display shows us how much electric we are producing, not only promoting renewable energy but reducing consumption from the national grid.

Bio-D refillable station.  At the back of our shop we have 4 Bio-D refill stations;•Laundry Liquid •Toilet Cleaner •Washing-up Liquid •Fabric softener This helps our customers be more environmentally friendly by reusing their plastic bottles.

Recycling.  Here at Ceres we try to recycle as much as we can. Most of our plastic bubble wrap gets reused or donated to charities. We recycle our paper and cardboard. We also accept our glass supplement bottles for recycling and give 25p per Viridian bottle given back to us. We also store and give back our Styrofoam chips and Protective foam nets. Tinkers Bubble and our local honey suppliers also take back any glass bottles to reuse.

<![CDATA[Battens Welcomes Property Dispute Resolution Specialist]]>

Battens Solicitors, one of the region’s largest law firms, has announced the appointment of Property Dispute Resolution specialist, Edward Thompson.

Edward, who completed his legal training at Battens in 2012 before relocating to London, has returned to the South West following a five year stint working in commercial and residential property dispute resolution at [two of the capital’s most respected law firms].

Although his expertise lies in property dispute resolution, his experience extends into other areas of dispute resolution, making him a valuable asset to Battens and its clients. "I specialise in property disputes, and regularly act for large scale developers, but I can also act for parents to resolve disputes relating to Special Educational Needs, Education Health and Care Plans, and school places,” explained Edward. "My job can be quite varied, but it always feels good to be able to help clients achieve their desired outcome and make an usually unhappy situation into a slightly more palatable one." "I am glad to come back to Battens and am looking forward to getting to know new clients whilst helping the firm expand further both geographically and in terms of their property law offering."

Ceri Stephens, Head of Property and Dispute Resolution at Battens Solicitors, said: "Edward will be a valuable member of staff who will be able to assist in Battens’ specialist property offering in an expanding and developing team."

<![CDATA[Local Businesses Raise £1,000 for West Dorset Motor Neurone Disease Association in Beach Volleyball ]]>

More than 200 professionals from businesses across the South West took to the beach to smash their way to victory in the annual fundraising beach volleyball tournament organised by Battens Solicitors. In what was a tightly contested competition, it was Parkers Estate Agents that finally won the crown‎, with Stratton Saxons as runners up.

Funds from entry fees and contributions from Battens Charitable Trust raised £1,000 for a local charity nominated by those that entered and chosen at random on the day. "We asked each team to nominate a charity of their choice ahead of the tournament and placed the names in a hat," explained Sarah Ford, from Battens Solicitors. "West Dorset Motor Neurone Disease Association‎, which was nominated by Team Spirare, was the charity drawn and it’s a great pleasure to be able to give them the £1,000 cheque.”‎

Louise Tattershall, director at Spirare said: "We didn’t win all of our games, but we had a very enjoyable evening, as we always do at Battens’ events, but what made it even better was that our chosen charity became the event’s beneficiary this year. “ “West Dorset Motor Neurone Disease Association‎ is a charity close to my heart; my mum was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in April 2014, and suffered terribly. It was heartbreaking for our family to watch and to not be able to do anything to help. It is fantastic that, through Spirare Ltd and Battens volleyball event, the West Dorset Motor Neurone Disease Association‎ will receive more funds. We hope there will be a breakthrough for the disease sometime very soon.”

MND is a progressive neurological disease which leads to increasing weakness and, ultimately, death within three to five years of diagnosis. West Dorset MND Association provides support and advice to patients and their families and is one of 90 branches of the MND Association throughout the UK. Richard Sloan, from West Dorset Motor Neurone Disease Association, said: “We are delighted to be the beneficiary of the tournament’s £1,000 donation and will use the funds to help pay for the free advice from our trained volunteers and to fund specialist support for MND sufferers including computerised communication devices, grants for home alterations and holidays."

To make a donation to MND visit For more information on Battens Charitable Trust or to make a donation please visit