Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

TBG Learning Swindon joins forces with Swindon Foodbank

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Rob Doig and Amy Poole from TBG Learning with the collection for Swindon FoodbankA leading youth and adult learning organisation has joined forces with Swindon Foodbank to provide support for people living on the poverty line. 

The team at TBG Learning Swindon’s centre at Minton Place has been busy collecting donations for the charity, which is linked to the Foodbank Network run by The Trussell Trust.

With an estimated 30,500 income deprived people living in Swindon and one in six adults in the area struggling to feed their families, Swindon Foodbank, which launched in 2005, provides support and help in times of crisis.

TBG Learning’s centre in Swindon delivers the Government’s Work Programme on behalf of JobFit, which helps the long-term unemployed into work through a package of support and assistance. 

Amy Poole, team leader at TBG Learning, organised the Swindon team’s collection. 

She said: “The work that TBG Learning does, goes hand in hand with Swindon Foodbank as we know lots of people we have provided career support to have also been helped by the team at the Foodbank, or have friends and family that have been.

“Due to the current financial climate, many people are living on jobseekers allowance and are struggling to afford necessities such as food, which is something often taken for granted. 

“We’re delighted to be able to help out and support a vital local service which is doing great things in our community.”

Swindon Foodbank is linked to The Trussell Trust which works to empower local communities to combat poverty and exclusion in the UK.

David Hartridge, Swindon Foodbank Project Manager said: “We collect food donations from the local community, businesses, churches and supermarkets which are then stored by ourselves and distributed to people who have hit a crisis point in their life.

“This could involve people who have been made redundant, who have been hit with an unexpected bill such as a funeral or people who have been caught in a social crisis; such as a mother who has had to flee the family home because of domestic violence.

“We are now appealing for three things – food donations, people to support us and volunteer at the Foodbank and people or businesses that can raise funds.

“Swindon Foodbank survives on generous donations and grants from local sources, as without them we would not be able to operate.

“With the grants we have received, we have been able to buy the organisation’s van, which enables us to pick up donations and distribute them across the area.

“All the donations we receive are crucial for us to be able to continue to support the local community, so we thank TBG Learning for the team’s generous donation.” 

For more information about Swindon Foodbank visit www.swindonfoodbank.co.uk or call David on 07932 108 732.

To find out more about how TBG Learning Swindon and the Work Programme contact 01793 684 444 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Growing pains? Not for expanding physio practice

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James and Amanda HattA popular firm of physiotherapists is celebrating its 10th anniversary by increasing the capacity at its Marlborough practice by 50 percent.

The addition of a third treatment room at James Hatt & Associates means even more patients can have their aches and pains treated by its top class clinicians.

The firm – which launched in Devizes in 2003 – opened a Marlborough treatment room at the town's leisure centre seven years ago.

But before long it wasn't just sportsmen's muscles that were feeling cramped, and the growing firm moved to new premises at Hughenden Yard. 

Clinical director James Hatt puts the success of the firm down to the rapid, significant and long-lasting treatment results enjoyed by patients.

“We aim to see new patients within 48 hours of referral,” said James. “After diagnosis, we recommend a programme of treatment in which our highly experienced team works together to sort out problems ranging from sports-, accident- or work-related injuries to arthritis, mobility issues and postural problems.”

The experts – all of whom have at least five years' post-graduate experience – include nine physiotherapists, two of whom are also pilates instructors, two podiatrists, two massage practitioners and a sports medicine specialist – Bath Rugby Club's Dr Julian Widowson.

As well as seeing patients at its three practices – the firm also has practices at Devizes and Frome – the practitioners can often be found out and about in the community, whether visiting workplaces to advise staff on anything from sitting properly at a desk to manual handling.

And as part of the expansion, the firm is about to launch a Med-Ped new service for Marlborough patients. “There's a real need here for podiatry – the care of feet and treatment of nails, calluses and corns,” says business development manager Amanda Hatt.

“Our podiatrist, Emma Ansell, will be offering a new combined service including treatment, a foot massage and bath, and a pedicure service. It means our patients will leave having great-looking, as well as great-feeling, feet!”

For more information about the services offered by James Hatt & Associates, log on to www.jameshattphysio.co.uk


Forum is just the job for HR professionals

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Nicola York and Heather MitchellEffective recruitment, attracting the right staff, and crafting the perfect CV are all on the agenda at a Swindon forum of HR professionals.

The Swindon Chamber of Commerce event is aimed at staff with an HR portfolio, those with an interest in HR, or businesses wishing to share best practice, and will be addressed by a panel of speakers including Nicola York, business director of Hays recruitment, and Heather Mitchell, CEO of health and social care provider Seqol.

The event will be held at the headquarters of relocation specialists Serva from 10am until noon on Monday, October 28. Attendance is free for Chamber members. To book a place, log on to www.thamesvalleychamber.co.uk/events


Business leaders cross the wire for site visit

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Wessex Chambers visit MOD CorshamThe public face of Corsham's top secret underground city was explored by local members of Wessex Chambers recently.

Quarries were converted into the world's largest ammunition facility during World War Two, and at the height of the Cold War a massive underground complex was built to house up to 4,000 government personnel in the event of a nuclear strike. 

The overground facility – formerly Basil Hill – is now the headquarters of MOD Information Systems.

Delivered as part of a 25-year Private Finance Initiative, MOD Corsham incorporates a new global communications control centre, over 1800 work spaces, new living accomodation for 180 service personnel, new conference and sports facilities, as well housing medical, dental and welfare facilities for service personnel.

Stefan Barbaruk manager from Wessex said: “The investment in the MOD Corsham site and the number of people it employs can only help the long term sustainability of the Corsham area.”

Small but important changes in debt recovery

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Anthony ReevesImportant changes occurred during the year which which are significant to small businesses faced with recovering unpaid debts.

On April 1, the small claims limit in the county court increased to £10,000 from £5,000. This is important to small firms chasing debts, because claims that proceed in the small claims track are normally subject to the rule that legal costs are not recoverable.

A debt of £9,000, for example, is to many small businesses hardly 'small', but in legal terms claims of this size take on a different significance in that less formal rules of court apply to the small claims track.

However, if you are chasing a commercial debt that arose after 16 March 2013, there is the chance of recovering reasonable collection costs in addition to late payment interest and compensation.

On 16 March, the Late Payment of Commercial Debt Regulations 2013 implemented the European Directive 2011/7/EU and made amendments to the Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Interest) Act 1998.  

The significant amendment is that from 16 March 2013, there a right to compensation for the reasonable costs to the supplier of recovering a debt incurred if that amount exceeds the fixed charge sum.

So for example, if your costs involved in collecting a debt of £9,000 is greater than the £70 fixed compensation, then the creditor can claim reasonable collection costs.

It is argued that these “reasonable collection costs” can include the costs of instructing a lawyer because the EU Directive 2011/7/EU states at Article 6, “The creditor shall, in additional to the fixed sums…be entitled to obtain reasonable compensation from the debtor for any recovery costs exceeding that fixed sum and incurred due to the debtor’s late payment. This could include expenses incurred inter alia, instructing a lawyer or employing a debt collection agency”.

So there is the prospect of recovering some legal costs when pursuing a commercial debt that is within the small claims limit. This is potentially in conflict with the civil procedure rules which state that in small claims, legal costs are usually only awarded if there has been unreasonable conduct by the parties.

It will be interesting to see how the county courts deal with this issue. Many businesses that are put off instructing a lawyer to act in a small debt claim, may want to consider the above.

The county courts are clogged up with small claims, many of them badly prepared and so waste valuable court time.

To assist small businesses I, at The Merriman Partnership, will take on small claims for a fixed fee.

  • Anthony Reeves is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and an author of law books. His main areas of interest include debt recovery (both claimant and defendant), contractual disputes, employment law (unfair dismissal cases), claims against large institutions (such as banks/utility companies) for harassment of debtors, professional negligence claims, judicial review, and consumer law. He is a consultant at The Merriman Partnership in Marlborough. www.anthonyreeves.co.uk

Banks throws series of networking breakfasts for businesses

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Richard Mathews of Banks

A popular series of free networking events is being re-launched this month by Swindon accountants.

Banks, Chartered Accountants began running the events when it moved to its larger, more prestigious premises in April last year.

Since then hundreds of business people have attended the free events, whose themes have included property, finance, marketing and IT.

In the run-up until Christmas, there will be three seminars. The first, on Wednesday October 30, will be a breakfast from 7.30-8.45am aimed at professionals.

The second on November 20 and again a breakfast, is an open event for business people from any type of sector – from sole traders or partners, up to large limited companies.

The third will be an early evening event, provisionally for Thursday December 5 - the day after the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, which is due to take place on December 4.

It will comprise a panel of experts giving their insight into George Osborne’s announcements and what they mean for Swindon businesses.

“We had a break for the summer but are really looking forward to getting back into the seminar programme,” said Banks’ director Richard Mathews. “They are always well-attended, and give people a chance to network and meet other businesses.”

All the events are held at Banks’ offices in Vicarage Court, Ermin Street, Stratton. For more details, or to book, visit www.banksca.co.uk or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


St Stephen’s Place Trowbridge development 'almost complete'

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St Stephens Place TrowbridgeTrowbridge's new town centre leisure complex is now entering its final phase, the developers have announced.

Legal & General Property (LGP) said this week they hoped the hoardings would come down in the next few days, giving townsfolk their first view of the St Stephen’s Place Leisure Park. 

The largest restaurant unit - 4,384 sq ft - was handed over to Prezzo on Monday, and the Odeon cinema is due to open its doors on October 25 – just in time for the school half term break.

The 3,020 sq ft Nando’s unit was also recently handed over for fit out and is due to launch in early November, while the 80-bed Premier Inn is reaching the final stages of fit out and will open a couple of weeks later.

The car parking and paving works are also substantially complete and landscaping is due to follow, whilst the main highways works have been finalised and the road has been re opened.

Tim Russell, senior asset manager at Legal & General Property, said:  “In line with our vision, having entered into the final exciting stages of development, St Stephen’s Place Leisure Park is now beginning to be revealed in its full glory.  

"We are excited about Odeon opening its doors on 25 October and we look forward to launching the other key elements over the following weeks.”

Bristol based construction company, Leadbitter Group, is the lead contractor for the development.  Savills and Alder King act as joint letting agents for the scheme.

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