Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

South West animal firms join forces for growth

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Becky Godfrey-Faussett and Marilyn Harford of Snuggy HoodsA Wiltshire manufacturer of horse clothing has joined a new government-backed initiative to boost overseas sales.

Holt-based Snuggy Hoods – which supplies horse clothing to The Queen and sponsors Olympic horsewoman Mary King – has joined the new South West Animal Cluster, which brings together firms working in the same sector, but with different products, to share knowledge, contacts and expertise when exporting.

The cluster has been formed by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and is targeting markets in Eastern Europe with help from a £3,000 grant from the European Regional Development Fund.

Initial work has included production of a series of information sheets about the companies involved which will be translated and distributed to potential customers in the area.

Other cluster members include Hilton Herbs from North Perrott near Crewkerne – twi-times winner of the Somerset Exporter of the Year Award – Verm-X from Taunton, Pro-Motion Equine from Theale near Wedmore, Totally Smart, from Culmstock, and Griffin Nuumed from Ashcott, near Street.

Snuggy Hoods operates with an in-house team of six people in the UK and a factory with 22 employees in Sri Lanka. 

The company specialises in the manufacture of equestrian clothing for horses and ponies including hoods and rugs with a range of coordinating accessories for the rider, dog and tack room.

Snuggy Hoods has been family run in the UK for almost 30 years, and was awarded the prestigious Warrant of Royal Appointment by Her Majesty the Queen in January 2012.

Rebecca Godfrey-Faussett, of Snuggy Hoods, said: “Having had an increase of sales worldwide, we realised the need to get a more permanent arrangement overseas – resulting in the launch of a US website in June 2013.

“We are working with the UKTI in the hopes we can discover and expand into other countries we have not encountered before, such as Eastern Europe, South Africa and China.”

UKTI International trade adviser, Hilary Charman, who brought the South West Animal Cluster together, said: “Joining together as a group of companies to work towards a goal such as increased exports, is an energising experience. 

“It brings a range of benefits including cost savings and increased efficiency but companies most often comment that they most benefit from interchanging ideas and improved business practice.”

New members for the Animal Cluster are welcome and should contact Hilary Charman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sponsors sought for Emergency Services Show

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Emergency Services ShowSponsors are being sought for this year’s Emergency Services Show, which is being held at Hullavington airfield near Chippenham on Sunday, September 8.

The event, which is in its eighth year, is run by a volunteer committee drawn from Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service, Wiltshire Police, South Western Ambulance Service and the Highways Agency.

There was no Show in 2012 because of the Olympics, but the last event in 2011 attracted thousands of people.

Committee chairman Chris Harvey said: “The aims of the show are simple: to promote the work of the emergency services in Wiltshire and beyond, to get important community safety messages to as wide an audience as possible, to raise funds for organisations with links to the emergency services, and to offer a great day out for everyone.

"We would welcome financial or in-kind support from local businesses, and in return we can offer them a fantastic showcase for their goods or services.”

Amongst the attractions already planned for this year’s show are fire engine and police car rides, the attendance of two air ambulances, a wide range of new and vintage vehicles from all three ‘blue light’ services, the South West regional police dog trials, specialist equipment from other services and much more.

All profits are ploughed into charitable donations and future running costs, with over £18,000 being shared between local groups and charities following the 2011 event.

This year, for the first time, tickets can be bought in advance, with the on-line cost less than paying on the gate.

To find out more about the 2013 Emergency Services Show, including registering as an exhibitor and buying tickets to attend, visit www.emergencyservicesshow.com

Swindon University Technical College appoints first principal

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Angela Barker-DenchSwindon's new engineering academy has confirmed the appointment of its first principal.

Angela Barker-Dench will take on the role from September and lead the Swindon University Technical College during its set-up year and as it welcomes its first intake of students in September 2014.

Angela has experience of technical and vocational education having served as vice-principal at both Berkshire College of Agriculture and Capel Manor College in Enfield, where she currently works.

She also brings to the post expertise in liaison between vocational education, industry and higher education and started her career in engineering. 

She is also familiar with Swindon, having worked in a senior post at Swindon College.

UTC Swindon is a new concept in education which sees 14 to 19 year old students study engineering alongside a core academic curriculum.

The curriculum will be fully employer designed, integrating and transferring skills for work-readiness.

When she takes up her post, Angela will immediately start work on managing the opening of the college and ensuring that plans are fully in place for the first students who walk through the doors at the start of term in September 2014.

Work on enrolment of students is now beginning, with the first of a series of open meetings scheduled for 6.30pm on Thursday 11 July at Swindon’s STEAM Museum.

One of Angela’s key tasks next year will be to support students through their applications.

“It is a tremendous honour to be announced as the first principal of UTC Swindon,” said Angela.

“I am excited about the prospect of helping students to gain a high-quality education within a distinctive learning environment.

“UTC Swindon promises to be an exciting new concept in education which will provide 14 to 19 year olds with the skills and knowledge to progress on to university, apprenticeships and successful careers. I can’t wait to get started.”

Paul Inman, pro-vice chancellor for Oxford Brookes University and UTC Swindon director, said: “Having seen a particularly strong field of candidates, it was clear to the UTC Trust that Angela Barker-Dench was the right person for the job.

“The partners involved in the development of UTC Swindon have made significant progress to date and this latest announcement is an important step as we move closer to opening in September 2014.

“We look forward to Angela joining us for what is an exciting new educational facility which will produce the next generation of engineers.”

Paul Holmes, automation and mechanical design manager for Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and UTC Swindon director: “We are delighted to be offering Angela the position of Principal, as she has tremendous experience and expertise within education and engineering.

“UTC Swindon will create fantastic opportunities for young people, employers and industry and it is important that such an innovative development has strong and inspirational leadership.

“We are confident that Angela will take on the challenge of creating an exciting new educational facility for Swindon, Wiltshire and the wider region to be proud of.”

Businesses to go round in Circles during Hangout

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Marcus Lilley of FutrSocialThe concepts of Circles and Hangouts will be explored during a workshop looking at the social network Google+.

Google – More Than a Search Engine is the second in a series of three informal courses led by social media entrepreneur Marcus Lilley, whose Marlborough-based firm, FutrSocial, helps people across the UK get to grips with an ever-changing array of communications technology.

Attendees will be creating a hangout of the session, to demonstrate how the tool can be used to create a virtual networking event.

Marcus said: “Marlborough Social Media Sessions will be a collaborative experience; a chance for people to come together, learn about new technology, and share ideas.”

The session will be held at The Food Gallery, High Street, Marlborough from 6pm to 7pm on Tuesday, June 25.

The sessions are free, although attendees will be encouraged to purchase a hot or cold drink or cake from the host venue. Attendees will need to bring a laptop, tablet or smartphone to participate in the practical sessions.

The last session in the series – Your Mobile: A Studio in Your Hands – will be held on Tuesday, July 30.  

For more information, or to book a place on either session, log on to http://marlboroughsocialmediasession.eventbrite.co.uk

HSBC cyclists say 'CRUK Cancer'

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HSBC Cyclists Dave Barry, Adrian Spinks and Dom KeelA team of cyclists from HSBC Learning will say 'CRUK Cancer' as the pass through Wiltshire during a 300-mile ride from Swansea to the London Eye.

Dave Barry, Adrian Sprinks and Dom Keel aim to raise £2,000 for Cancer Research UK, which HSBC will double.

Setting off from the HSBC Contact Centre this Saturday (June 22), the team will arrive in Chippenham on Sunday, June 23 and set off from the town the following morning, passing through Calne and Marlborough to arrive in the capital on Tuesday, June 25. 

CRUK Cancer is the edgy new campaign from Cancer Research UK, in which people who have experienced cancer directly and indirectly pledge to 'CRUK Cancer'.

To donate, log on to http://www.justgiving.com/cancer-crukthat

Land agent appoints youngest associate partner for 25 years

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Stuart MilsomA Cotswold and North Wiltshire land and estate agent has appointed its youngest associate partner for 25 years.

Rural surveyor Stuart Milsom (30) of Cirencester, has been appointed to the position of associate partner at Moore Allen & Innocent, the one of the largest providers of rural expertise in the region.

Stuart – the first addition to the partnership in over four years – grew up on a farm in Sherston, near Malmesbury, but swapped his wellies for a suit and tie during his Business Management degree at Oxford Brooks University, which he completed in 2004.

He was soon back in a tweed jacket, however, when he landed his first job at Moore Allen in 2005, assisting partner Chris Graham with the business side of farm management – helping farmers in the Cotswolds, North Wiltshire and West Oxfordshire to understand and implement legislation from the UK and EU.

And when senior partner and chairman Robert Young retired from the partnership last year, Stuart picked up the management reins of several large estates.

With City money pouring into the Cotswold countryside, Stuart reckons his business management degree helps him understand the needs of investors buying into the rural idyll, whose estates require careful management.

“I feel that I am well placed to advise new entrants into the countryside,” said Stuart, “ as well as meeting the needs of our traditional long standing agricultural client base.”

Senior partner Mark Hill said Stuart's appointment would strengthen the agricultural team, and provide stability for the future.

Stuart joins residential estate agent Mark Halliwell – appointed in 2009 – as one of the next generation of partners.

“This is a great plaudit for Stuart, who has been rewarded for all the hard work he has put in,” said Mark.

“I was delighted to be offered the opportunity by the partners,” said Stuart, “and I'm grateful for the support they've given me since I joined the firm.

Chance to catch up on Chippenham's BID initiative

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Mo Aswat of Mosaic PartnershipChippenham's aspirations to become a Business Improvement District will be explained at a business breakfast run by accountants Monahans on Wednesday, June 26.

Melody Thompson and Mo Aswat of the Mosaic Partnership will update 90 networkers on the current status of the Chippenham BID initiative, which is moving into the development phase.

There are already over 180 BIDs in the UK, and the guest speakers will explain what a BID is and how it could benefit businesses in and around Chippenham.

The event will be held at Chippenham Sports Club, starting at 7.30am and costs £10 per head to attend.

For an invitation, or more information, log on to www.monahans.co.uk/events-seminars.asp