Yeovil Chamber News Articles Copyright 25th Sep 2018 - 18:04 by Yeovil Chamber <![CDATA[New local radio station for Yeovil and South Somerset soon to launch]]> Radio Ninesprings - a new local radio station for Yeovil and South Somerset – has begun test transmissions on 104.5 fm and will launch full-time 10 am, 30th Sept.

Radio Ninesprings will be heard on 104.5 fm across Yeovil and South Somerset, parts of West Dorset, Sedgemoor, Mendip and towards Taunton with an available audience of 180,000. Playing music to suit all tastes, Radio Ninesprings will have at its heart local news and local information and discussion about local issues.

Advertising packages on Radio Ninesprings start from as little as £10 per week? To discuss, please call: Steve Haigh 01935 319000 or 07836246678. website (temporary): twitter: @radio9springs facebook: @radioninesprings studio address:: Top floor Waterloo House Waterloo Lane Yeovil BA20 1TF

Radio Ninesprings is a company limited by guarantee: 8488902 and registered charity: 1168243 “The charitable purposes of Radio Ninesprings are to advance the educational and training of the inhabitants of Yeovil and district of South Somerset in radio production, broadcasting and media skills techniques”

<![CDATA[YEOVIL COLLEGE AMBASSADOR COMPLETES 94 MARATHONS]]> Yeovil College Ambassador, Brendan Rendall, has completed an epic challenge over the past two months, running 94 marathons in less than 100 days from Namibia to Mozambique. The feat of running the width of Africa ‘4000km or 2474 miles’ was taken on by Brendan to support a charity close to his heart.

The aim was to raise £75,000 to build vital accommodation for vulnerable orphans at the 'Friends of Mulanje Orphans' (FOMO) secondary school in Malawi. The Yeovil College Ambassadors’ latest adventure was the most challenging, inspiring and mind boggling to date. Brendan set out on his journey with a true hero’s send-off back in May from Yeovil College and has since been running on average 25 miles a day; yes that’s almost a marathon a day! Some days he achieved a mammoth 33 miles per day. Shortly after landing on the coast of Africa Brendan and his trusty Yeovil College mascot Benny Bear (pictured) wasted no time at all and began the run. Brendan only finished a few days behind schedule, despite being ill with parasite infections, combating sandstorms, battling with extreme temperatures and even having to deal with a few wild animals! Contrary to popular belief Brendan wasn’t always a running machine.

Brendan was born and raised in Somerset, attending Yeovil College, studying Leisure and Tourism and King Arthur’s Community College in Wincanton. He recognises that his very own journey started here in Yeovil and he is determined to give something back and to inspire the next generation. Delivering motivational speeches to students and most recently being selected to stand alongside Paula Radcliffe at The National Running Show, January 2019, he is determined to spread his message across the UK and beyond. Over the years, Brendan has transformed his life beyond recognition, giving up his job and selling his possessions and home to support his life-long ambition to improve the well-being of others and make an international life changing difference. He has undergone many charity challenges to raise money for Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) which supports 3,500 orphans in South Malawi and now has completed the most impressive challenge yet. John Evans, Principal of Yeovil College, said “Brendan is everything we try to instil within our students – determination, hardworking, motivation and caring - which is why I am overwhelmed to have him as a Yeovil College Ambassador! Brendan has the upmost respect from both me and the College community for what he has achieved; he is a true inspiration to many of our students. This is a perfect start to the new academic year for us all.

Over the past couple of months, Yeovil College has achieved some incredible successes; 100% A Level pass rate, ‘Top Performing College’ in Somerset and students securing spaces at Oxford University, the University of St Andrews and the Royal Veterinary College, to name but a few. We are less than two weeks into the new academic year and have already achieved record enrolment figures, meaning we have more students than ever before resulting in additional classes being timetables, and now Brendan has achieved beyond all expectation and imagination. Huge congratulations to Brendan. Everyone from the College is extremely proud of you.” Brendan Rendall, said: “It was my first time visiting many of these countries and the stunning landscapes took my breath away, but the most remarkable part of the journey was definitely the kindness and generosity of the people I met along the way – this was extremely overwhelming. Strangers invited me to stay in their homes, fixed my equipment and welcomed me to their family dinner tables – I own these people a debt of gratitude that I will never be able to repay.” Brendan will be delivering a motivational talk to current Yeovil College students in the coming months about his incredible journey so far and will be announcing his next challenge

<![CDATA[YEOVIL COLLEGE ACHIEVE 100% A LEVEL PASS RATE FOR THE THIRD SUCCESSIVE YEAR ]]> Yeovil College’s Kingston Sixth Form Centre is celebrating after achieving outstanding A Level results
with a pass rate of 100%, marking its third successive year of a 100% pass rate.
Students and staff have a lot to celebrate after 100% of learners passed their A Level examinations with
flying colours. 100% pass rate has been achieved in all 18 subjects.

Yeovil College has secured A*-C grades in all Science and maths subjects, with 75% of maths students
achieving an A* or A grade, making it the best year yet.
Two Yeovil College students have realised their dreams of becoming Oxford University students. Jordan
Welsh and Luke Miles have been offered places at Oxford University to study Chemistry and Computer
Engineering, respectively.

For further details from Yeovil College, please click HERE

For more information on Yeovil College and Kingston Sixth Form Centre courses, please visit



<![CDATA[Double Promotion Awarded at Battens]]> Battens Solicitors is celebrating the achievements of its staff by awarding them top promotions.

Cate Barnes, who runs the Conveyancing Team in Dorchester, has been promoted from an Associate to a Senior Associate; and Yeovil-based Michelle Green, a Personal Injury and Industrial Disease Claim specialist, has been promoted from a Chartered Legal Executive to an Associate. Keith Fullman, CEO and Financial Director at Battens said: “Hard work deserves to be praised and the promotions highlight just how highly we regard the consistently strong performances of both Cate and Michelle.” Cate joined Battens 13 years ago as a temporary Junior Assistant, but was supported by the firm in progressing her career as a permanent member of staff. “Battens works rather like a partnership,” says Cate, “supporting those that support it. The firm kindly sponsored my training to become a qualified Chartered Legal Executive and has helped me move forward to achieve what I have today”.

Michelle was a trainee at Battens more than 15 years ago, but left to gain experience elsewhere in the country. She returned to Battens in 2015 as a personal injury specialist in industrial disease, catastrophic injury, and high end multi-track cases, and attributes her promotion to the firm’s ethic of rewarding its staff. “I came back because I knew what a supportive and flexible firm Battens is,” explains Michelle. “It is fantastic at taking into account the hard work staff put in and I feel very valued in my team and in the firm that my work has been recognised through this promotion.” Congratulations to both Cate and Michelle.

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 13th August]]> President's Heartbeat – 13th August 2018

On 9th August, as part of my mission to bring education and industry together, I met with Amy Norris, 6th Form Teacher at Fiveways Special School in Yeovil.  Amy is seeking employment opportunities for physically and mentally disadvantaged children who normally would not have the chance to shine.  I was briefed on the patient, supportive work at Fiveways, how they deliver life and learning, and their aims for the children (and their carers), which has recently brought Fiveways a £7,500 grant.  I have already put Amy in touch with the Quedam and SSDC for opportunities for the children to show what they can do (watch out for their Candy Shack in town), and I am awaiting a date for a meeting at Yeovil College.

Chamber is already working with, and supporting Yeovil College, and Stanchester and Preston secondary schools, to bring industry and education together.  Fiveways will now colour my story about Chamber support work with Yeovil education facilities, aligning the output of the curriculum at every opportunity, to match local and area employment requirements, and enable our children to ‘hit the ground running’ when they enter the world of work and careers.  As part of this support work, I will meet again in September with Jonathan Higman, CEO Yeovil Hospital, to discuss ways of home-growing healthcare professionals.

I fully endorse any initiatives which positively alter people’s perceptions, and empower young people such as those coming through Fiveways, with opportunity to make a difference to themselves, and ultimately, our future prosperity.  Our children are our most precious resource; they are our future, and our future leaders, and empowering our children with life skills is something the UK education system falls spectacularly short on.  Academic skills are fine, and A-C grades can open doors, but vocational skills are equally as valuable.  Still relevant from my time in the 20th century as an aircraft electrician at Westland Helicopters, they said to me as a young apprentice: “Knowing the square root of a can of beans is all well and good, but no use at all if you don’t know how to use the tin opener.”

Interested in supporting Yeovil Schools and education facilities? email me at

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

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 21st July]]> This week brought the announcement that the owners of the Quedam Shopping Centre have acquired the long-derelict Reckleford Cattle Market for redevelopment.  Quedam also owns the ex-Vincents Yard properties located between the Quedam and the Cattle Market, and their plans for a mix of parking, retail and residential will now be put to South Somerset District Council.  Yeovil is already way ahead of the game in embracing the requirements of the 21st-century town centre; this acquisition is another step forward in the ambitious economic regeneration plans announced by South Somerset District Council earlier this year.

Quedam General Manager, James Tovey said: “We’re really excited about the opportunity to bring the Cattle Market and Vincent’s Yard into the active heart of the town centre…shopping, leisure, business and community operators want to better serve the people of Yeovil…this amazing site gives us the opportunity to plan for the long-term, and deliver social, economic and community wins which will set Yeovil town centre apart.”  This news brings an opportunity to make positive change to an under-exploited area of Yeovil; delivering economic and community vitality.  A key development site in the District Council’s ‘Refresh’ plans, the Cattle Market, combined with Vincent’s Yard, under ownership of the Quedam, can potentially deliver several key aims.  Consultation with key stakeholders already suggests town centre convenience retail, with parking and residential, acting as a new town centre ‘anchor’.

Quedam will now be seeking dialogue with the community to understand what people want.  Yeovil Chamber works closely with the Quedam management team, and the South Somerset District Council economic regeneration board, and Chamber member businesses are encouraged to have their say at

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

<![CDATA[Battens presents £5000 to the Dorset Wildlife Trust]]> A cheque for £5,000 has been presented to Dorset Wildlife Trust to support their efforts protecting the wildlife and engaging people with nature in the area.

Simon Cripps, CEO of Dorset Wildlife Trust said: “Dorset Wildlife Trust is very grateful for the generous support of the Battens Charitable Trust. This donation will support our work at the Kingcombe Centre in West Dorset, helping people to re-connect with the natural world through a programme of nature-inspired learning. The Battens Charitable Trust has been working with Dorset Wildlife Trust for more than a decade to support and engage local communities across Dorset. Their considerable support has enabled us to reach out to a wide range of schools, disadvantaged groups, and local communities to provide invaluable experiences in Dorset’s fabulous nature.” James Owen, a Solicitor at Battens Solicitors and a Trustee of its Charitable Trust said: “We are delighted to have been able to make the donation to Dorset Wildlife Trust. This is a charity we’ve worked closely with over a long time. We were delighted to present the cheque at the Kingcombe centre and afterwards to have a guided walk through the meadows.

Our thanks goes out to everyone who has supported our Charitable Trust. It has become greatly respected for its community focus over the years, but without the generosity of the people who donate to it, we would not be able to help fantastic charities like this one.” Battens’ Charitable Trust was set up in 1985 for individuals who wished to leave legacies or give donations to local causes but were unsure of whom they should donate to. The Trust is administered free of charge by Battens Solicitors and has donated more than £500,000 to good causes in just over 20 years.

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 846000.

For more information on the Dorset Wildlife Trust Kingcombe centre, please visit

<![CDATA[Awarded Best Employer at Business Awards]]>

We are delighted to announce that Milsted Langdon has been named 'Best Employer' at this year's Taunton Deane Business Awards on 28th June!

In our entry, we highlighted the large number of trainees that we help on an annual basis and looked at the success of our staff and how their achievements were recognised across the wider practice.

We also highlighted the fact that our staff achieved a pass rate of more than 90 per cent on their Association of Chartered Certified Accountant exams and the various charity events that our team get involved in through their employment at Milsted Langdon

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

Attendance continues to increase for the regular Yeovil Chamber Business Leaders Breakfasts. On 21st June, Alex Parmley, CEO of South Somerset District Council (SSDC) briefed more than thirty Chamber members and other guest business leaders on his plans to transform SSDC into a commercially-minded organisation, and how his plans for investment and income are being delivered. Alex also told how when many local authorities are pegging back on services, SSDC is pushing forward.

Yeovil Chamber is regularly consulted by SSDC over economic regeneration plans which are about to come to fruition. Alex's ambitious modernisation and inward investment programme is paying dividends, and SSDC is already considered a leading, forward-thinking UK local authority, working in tandem with the business community to create opportunity and prosperity.

If you missed this opportunity for the big-picture insight, Paddy Ashdown will be in town for another Business Leaders Breakfast on Thursday 19th October. Paddy's passion for #Yeovil continues unabated; currently championing Yeovil from the House of Lords. Paddy specifically asked to address the Yeovil business community, and if you would like to book a place, please email me at

Yeovil Chamber Business Leaders Breakfasts are currently sponsored by Albert Goodman Accountants.

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

<![CDATA[President's Heartbeat - w/c 4th June]]> President’s Heartbeat – 4th June 2018

These are exciting times for Yeovil and the surrounding region.  The indicators are positive, and the business environment continues to expand and develop.  Yeovil Chamber is at the heart of this; widely considered by business people, key stakeholders and local government as the representative body for the business community in and around the Yeovil area; maintaining strong strategic connections and cooperation between education, commerce and government.

On 9th April, my Heartbeat Message announced that we will need to increase your membership fees. Chamber is a not-for-profit body, run entirely by business leaders giving freely of their time and expertise, on a tiny annual budget of around £11,000, consisting mainly of modestly-priced membership fees, with a small amount of sponsorship and patronage.  The Chamber Executive works hard on your behalf and delivers a huge amount from a tiny budget, and the fees have not been increased for nearly a decade.

During 2017 we invested heavily in the website, but we need to make further upgrades to the website to further automate our operation and enhance the member experience. We also want to start promoting Yeovil, to attract out-of-town businesses and more commercial investment into Yeovil.  To enable Chamber to deliver more for you, your business and Yeovil, a membership fee increase is required, to ensure Chamber continues to deliver maximum value for your money; that you have sound reasons to belong, and keep Yeovil Chamber at the leading edge of trade & commerce for Yeovil and its expanding sphere of influence.

Before we increase any fees, you were asked what you thought of us in April via a satisfaction survey, and I thank all those members who took the time to respond.  The results overwhelmingly showed Yeovil Chamber members are increasingly satisfied with the services, and that they would recommend what we do to a friend or colleague.  You also said the main reasons for belonging to Chamber are for making connections and being informed about wider business issues which influence how we do business in Yeovil.  You spoke and we are delivering:  Our new Business Leaders Breakfast began in April, is an instant success, and we have some big-hitting speakers lined up over the next twelve months.  Our bi-monthly Speed Networking continues to flourish and has sold out on the previous two occasions.  Sponsors are beginning to ask Chamber to raise their profile, and we have a patron in Yeovil College, and, we have just taken over the running of the Love Yeovil brand.

I want to ensure that our business community continues to have a big voice, is able to influence key decision-makers, and receives targeted support when and where it is needed.  I want to ensure the conditions in which we do business are as good as they can be; to continue fighting for change when needed, and to promote success.  We are completely focused on maximising opportunities and maintaining value, with long-term, sound reasons for membership.  To deliver on this promise, we need to develop a manageable budget.

The planned increases are due to be communicated in June, with the aim of implementing the increases before the end of 2018. 

Thank you for your continued support.  If you have any questions, please contact me directly at or 07900-491211

David Woan

President, Yeovil Chamber of Trade & Commerce


Leading South West chartered accountant, tax consultant and financial planning firm Albert Goodman, has announced the success of graduate trainee Claire Machin, who recently achieved joint first in the world, for the March ICAEW tax compliance exam.

Claire joined Albert Goodman in 2016 as a graduate trainee and became a member of the Audit team in the Taunton office. Claire has had consistently high grades in all of her exams and well represents the hardworking members of staff employed at Albert Goodman. Albert Goodman is very proud of Claire’s achievements and is sure she will continue to be a great asset to the workforce. 607 people sat the most recent tax compliance exam globally, with 466 people passing it; out of those 607 people Claire achieved the joint highest grade and due to this has been awarded the prestigious ‘Knox prize’.

Claire comments, “I was very happy to learn that I earned the top grade in the world for the tax compliance exam, it definitely makes all of the hard work worthwhile! Throughout my studies I have been provided with great support from both Albert Goodman and the tutors at First Intuition. I really enjoy working within the Audit team and I look forward to becoming an ACA fully qualified chartered accountant soon.” Sophie Parkhouse, the Technical and Training director at Albert Goodman had this to say about Clair’s success; “The ICAEW examinations are extremely challenging. To gain a pass in any paper is a fantastic result, but to achieve the highest score in the world is absolutely remarkable. The level of dedication and effort that Claire has applied to her studies is truly commendable. She is a real credit to the firm!”

With offices across the region, including Taunton, Chard, Yeovil, Bridgwater, Weston-super-Mare and Weymouth, Albert Goodman prides itself in providing high quality accountancy, tax and financial planning advice to private individuals and small to medium sized enterprises, offering a comprehensive service to local and national clients.

For further information, please visit:, and follow Albert Goodman on social media: Twitter: @AG_LLP Facebook: LinkedIn:

<![CDATA[Team Berry Help Somerset Sparkle]]> The team from Red Berry Recruitment was out in force at the St Margaret's Hospice Glitter Run on Sunday 20th May.

The run was organised by St Margaret’s Hospice, raising funds for the work they do across Somerset. A team of Berries took part in the 5km course with more involved on the gold Glitter Station, which Red Berry Recruitment sponsored. In scorching hot conditions, the racecourse was packed with runners for charity event. The five kilometre course took runners around the racetrack two times. There was four different colour Glitter Stations dotted around the course – meaning runners passed through eight in total. This left every one very sparkly and very colourful! Seven members of Team Berry took part in the run. Sam was the first to cross the line – third overall – soon followed by Lily. The rest finished a short while later. Hennie, Natalie and Vici were all on the station, covering runners with gold glitter as they passed through!

The event was to raise money for the amazing work that St Margaret’s Hospice do. They deliver high quality, responsive and compassionate care to patients and their families facing a life-limiting illness.

There is still time to donate to the cause, which you can do by visiting

<![CDATA[National Technology Awards]]>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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