Tuesday, 24 September 2013


The Athena Network, West Berkshire, has just announced its line-up of speakers for October.
On Wednesday, 9th October, the Newbury north group at the Donnington Valley Hotel will hear a talk on ‘effective ways of reducing stress and creating coping strategies so you are more productive in your business’ given by Amanda-Jane Sopp of Mindset & Solutions.

On Friday, 11th October, the Hungerford group will meet at the new Blandy’s Restaurant at Audley Inglewood in Kintbury. Peronel Barnes, from Create & Consult will be running a session on how to be more creative and to use this way of thinking to influence the shape of your business.

Meanwhile, the Thatcham group will meet on Tuesday, 15th October at the Regency Park Hotel, where Jo Cooke from Tapioca will offer "Ten tips to stop procrastinating” and how to be more productive and energetic.

Lastly, the Newbury south group will meet at La Tasca on Wednesday, 16th October where Lis Allen of ‘the Vagina Dialogues’ will offer tips on public speaking.

Debbie Miles, regional director of the West Berkshire Athena Network said: “It’s always inspirational to see the wonderful connections that are made during our meetings. If you are a businesswoman who would like to join us and benefit from the energetic and supportive meetings, then do please come and try out a session. This month, our speakers offer a wealth of information from dealing with stress to improving your public speaking ability.”

All meetings take place from 12pm to 2pm. For more details, email Debbie.miles@theathenanetwork.com

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Mitchells celebrates award win for excellent customer service

Mitchells in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth are celebrating yet more recognition of their outstanding customer service after receiving a regional award for their work with the Motability Car Scheme.

The Renault and Dacia dealership with branches on Long Road, Lowestoft and Suffolk Road, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, is one of the first winners in the new Dealer Awards programme which is designed to ensure all Motability customers receive exemplary customer service across the dealer network.

The awards are judged on how the customer service that users receive based on customer feedback and reviews of their Motability performance. All winners of the quarterly awards are automatically entered into the new national, annual awards which will be held for the first time in January 2014.

pictured from left: Justin Brown, Mitchells Motability Specialist, Paul Kelly from Motability, Matthew Huke-Jenner, dealer principal at Mitchells and Andrew Bunting, Mitchells After Sales Manager.

Celebrating their Motability Dealer Award win, Matthew Huke-Jenner, owner and dealer principal, said: “We are proud to win this Motability Dealer Award. Motability is renowned for its high standards and Mitchells is thrilled to be recognised for our dedication to working in partnership with Motability. We look forward to continuing our award-winning approach to business and customer service and hope to do well in the forthcoming annual awards.

“Renault and Dacia offer a wide range of cars suited to Motability thanks to their driveability. Here at Mitchells, we’re currently offering, before the end of September, the eye-catching new Clio Dynamique Media Nav 1.2 16V 75 with zero advance payment which is an outstanding deal.”

Anyone who receives the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment or the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement can exchange the weekly payment to lease a new car through Motability. Insurance, servicing, RAC breakdown assistance and replacement tyres are included in the cost of the lease. 

For more information about the Motability Scheme and to find your local dealer, visit www.motability.co.uk or call 0800 093 1000.
For more information on Mitchells, please call 0844 249 5802 (Lowestoft) or 0844 249 5793 (Great Yarmouth) or visit www.mitchellsrenault.co.uk or www.mitchellsdacia.co.uk


Information for editors:
• Motability is the UK’s leading car scheme for disabled people. It provides affordable, convenient, worry-free motoring to over 620,000 disabled customers and their families. Scooters and powered wheelchairs can also be leased through Motability.
• The Scheme is available to anyone who receives the Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment or the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement. Customers transfer their mobility allowance to Motability to lease a car, scooter or powered wheelchair.
• When leasing a Motability car, insurance for two named drivers, servicing and maintenance, full RAC breakdown assistance, tyre and windscreen replacement and 60,000 mileage allowance over three years are all included in the cost of the lease. A range of popular car adaptations are also available at no additional cost.
• When leasing a scooter or powered wheelchair, insurance, breakdown assistance, servicing, maintenance and repairs and tyre and battery replacement are all included in the cost of the lease. Pricing is standard nationwide.

A wide range of ‘green’ vehicles with emissions of 120 grams of CO2 per km or less are available through Motability.
• Motability is the national charity that directs and oversees the Motability Scheme. Registered Charity in England and Wales No 299745. Motability also provides financial assistance to customers, who would otherwise be unable to afford the mobility solution they need.
• Motability Operations is the not-for profit public company, that operates the Motability Car Scheme and the Motability Powered Wheelchair and Scooter Scheme, under contract to Motability.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Newbury entrepreneurs are invited to walk over hot coals with Bigger Brighter Bolder

Newbury coaching firm Bigger Brighter Bolder is holding its annual Empowerment Firewalk event on Thursday, 31st October at the Regency Park Hotel.

The event takes place from 4pm to 9pm and involves a five-hour workshop from George Swift from BBB on the power of self-belief. Participants are then invited to walk across smouldering hot coals of temperatures of 2,000 degrees and in some cases it’s been a life changing experience for them.”
George said: “The event is for anyone who feels they are held back by fear and self-doubt, but particularly local businesspeople. We’ve run these events in the past and participants have reported feeling incredibly motivated and empowered.

picture from last's year event

“Everyone is welcome – previous attendees have included entrepreneurs, speakers and sports people, including the whole staff and team at Newbury Rugby Club whose performance improved substantially that season”

Places are £197 or £147 if booked before the 30th September at www.biggerbrighterbolder.co.uk


Friday, 6 September 2013

Griffins Financial Solutions Ltd: How to avoid a £10,000 a day fine from The Pensions Regulator.

Every employer in the UK now has a legal responsibility to help its employees save for their pensions. By the end of 2014 all businesses with 59 or more employees and by October 2018 all employers will have had to enrol eligible staff into a qualifying pension scheme and this change will come at significant cost– above and beyond just the increase in employer pension contributions.

For the larger firms, managing such a pension auto-enrolment scheme will draw on the valuable time, budget and expertise of their established pensions, payroll, IT and HR departments. However, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have neither the administrative infrastructure nor the resources to oversee such a resource intensive over-arching project.

To meet this need, the team at Griffins Financial Solutions, the Chartered Financial Planners and IFA, is now offering a new service which co-ordinates the whole process under one roof by one specialised team.

As an employee benefits and pensions consultant, Griffins Financial Solutions understands the needs of a business and its employees. It knows that, to meet these needs, it is first essential to put in place the right qualifying pension scheme and processes. To achieve this, Griffins will review a business’s current pension arrangements, inform the business of the financial impact that different pension schemes may have and research the market for the right pension plan and provider. Once chosen, Griffins will set up any new scheme and take care of the required employee communications.

To ensure full compliance with current pension legislation, Griffins will also review and, if necessary, suggest amendments to the contracts of employment. Furthermore, Griffins will review present payroll arrangements to ensure that they can handle the auto-enrolment process and liaise effectively with the pension provider or provide its own integrated payroll solution.

Griffins Financial Solutions’ new single source fully integrated pension auto-enrolment service provides a web-based solution that works with both the payroll system and pension provider and will administer online reporting whilst ensuring ongoing compliance. It also keeps records for at least six years to comply with legislation.

Dion Prideaux-Reynolds

Dion Prideaux-Reynolds from Griffins is a benefits specialist who has put together the unique package. He said: “Pension auto-enrolment can be a headache for small and medium-sized businesses.

“Griffins Financial Solutions can set up and help you administer your chosen pension scheme, with full compliance to the new pension legislation, leaving you to concentrate on running your business and helping to avoid the substantial fines of up to £10,000 per day for non-compliance.”


Picture caption: Dion Prideaux-Reynolds, Employee Benefits Manager from Griffins Financial Solutions

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Mitchells to display latest models at Lowestoft Town Show and Henham Rally

Fresh from delivering its first cars with the new “63” registration, Mitchells Lowestoft is taking to the road twice in September to display its latest range.
First stop is the Lowestoft Town Show from Friday, 13th to Saturday, 14th September. The dealership will be displaying its latest Renault Clio, Captur and Zoe models as well as the “shockingly affordable” Dacia Stepway, Duster and Logan estate.

The following weekend, diesel and petrol will meet steam as Mitchells takes its selection to the annual Henham Steam Rally.

Alongside the attraction of steam engines of yesteryear, staff will be on hand to answer questions on the latest range.

Logan MCV

Mitchells Dealer Principal Matthew Huke-Jenner said: “It’s always a pleasure to take our cars to events like these so that people can browse them in relaxing surroundings. We’re particularly excited about the brand new Dacia Logan which is priced from £6,995 making it the UK’s lowest priced vehicle of its type.

“A modern and functional estate, the Logan MCV is the fourth vehicle in the Dacia range and offers a choice of three engines. The entry-level Access offers 15-inch steel wheels, ABS, traction control, ABS and airbags, making it an affordable, practical solution for families.

“If you’re in the area attending one of these popular events, please come by and say hello! We’ll be giving away Renault goodies such as colouring sets, sunglasses, watches, Frisbees and sunshades.”