BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing

 
BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing
BOROUGH

BUSINESS
The voice of Kingston’s business community                                    Issue 18: Autumn 2020

  Kingston is open and
  ready for business! p17

Inside
• Welcome to New Members p4 • Patron News p8 • Skills p12 •
• The future of flexible working? p14 • The Big Interview with Jane Knight,
  Coombe Hill Manor p24 • Top Tips p29 •
BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing
Professional training and
development programmes to
meet your business needs.
At Kingston College we are committed to working
in partnership to support your organisation’s skills,
employment, Apprenticeship and training strategies.

For a FREE skills assessment or for more
information please contact: 020 8546 2151.

kingston-college.ac.uk
BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing
contents
Welcome to New Members                             4                                              WELCOME TO
                                                                                                  BOROUGH BUSINESS
Economy                                            7
Patron News                                     8-10
Skills                                            12
Flexible Working                             14-15
Cover Feature - Kingston Open               for
Business                                     17-19                                                The Kingston Chamber of Commerce
Chamber Events                               22-23
The Big Interview                            24-25                                                magazine for all Businesses in Kingston
Health and Wellbeing                              27
Top Tips                                          29        At the time of writing this foreword,           The new Kickstart campaign has been          wine and gin tasting and our unique
Ask the Expert                                    31        there is a sense of a collective                announced and the Chamber is putting         and amusing quiz nights. Thank you to
Membership                                        33        holding of breath. September has                ourselves forward to be a representative.    all our members for making these events
Starting up                                       34        loomed large as a critical month in so          There are still a number of areas that we    vibrant, encouraging and enjoyable. I
                                                            many different ways.                            need clarifying but please get in contact    have tremendous respect for so many
Editorial and General Enquiries                                                                             with us as we want to provide support        Kingston businesses. They have shown
Guildhall, High Street                                      The education sector has worked hard            here. For more information, please read      grit and determination in what is proving
Kingston upon Thames. KT1 1EU.                              to ensure that the opening of schools,          the article on p7.                           to be a long marathon. We need to keep
020 8541 4441                                               universities and colleges can be safe                                                        strengthening our sense of connection
Email: office@kingstonchamber.co.uk                         and ready to provide vital education            The Chamber provided it’s first, exciting    with each other, to keep that sense of
Web: www.kingstonchamber.co.uk                              again. After long months of juggling            online Kingston Business Expo in July. It    collective spirit and not become isolated.
Chief Executive: Forbes Low                                 home education, cajoling and allowing           was a mixture of roundtables, webinars,
Publisher: Ian Fletcher                                     all screen time rules to be broken,             exhibitors, an economic specialist from      There have been hardships, not just in
Benham Publishing Limited                                   households have been hoping this period         HSBC and speed networking. The day           the workplace, but at home. The loss of
Aintree Building, Aintree Way,                              will signal the biggest step forward back       was a technical challenge but I think a      a parent or friend, or not being able to
Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ                     to normality. With the recent restrictions      great success. There were lessons learnt     see a parent in a care home, can be a
Tel: 0151 236 4141                                          tightening again, keeping the education         so we are delighted to look forward to       judder at any point; at the moment, this
Fax: 0151 236 0440                                          doors open is so important to students          the Chessington Business Expo                grief feels greater. I know many of you
Email: admin@benhampublishing.com                           and many employees.                             on October 23rd. I encourage you all to      have been coping with these painful
Web: www.benhampublishing.com
                                                                                                            sign up and be involved in the day.          days so our thoughts are with you.
Published                                                   September also signals the winding
Autumn 2020 © Benham Publishing                             down of the furlough scheme which will          On October 1st/2nd, the Chamber              We will continue to support you the best
and Kingston Chamber of Commerce                            finish in October. Everyone is aware that       hosted a Digital Unlocked                    that we can and act as your business
Advertising and Features                                    this scheme has supported all kinds of          programme. Many businesses have              advocates. Take care and please look
Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141                               businesses and employees so it is inevitable    needed to adjust quickly to online           after each other.
Email: karen@benhampublishing.com                           that there are concerns as to what will         demands so the programme provided
Production Manager                                          happen next. Although the new Job               bite sized workshops and discussion
Peter Wilkinson Tel: 0151 236 4141                          Support Scheme will open on 1 November          groups to offer practical advice from
Email: peter@benhampublishing.com                           2020, and run for 6 months, this is unlikely    websites, SEO, online strategies to social
Media No. 1763                                              to have the same financial impact as the        media and content creation. Our thanks
Disclaimer                                                  furlough scheme. Regrettably, job losses        go to IQinIT who sponsored this event.
Borough Business is published for Kingston                  have happened and will continue to do so
Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without              but to what extent is hard to predict at this   The Chamber has continued to provide                          Forbes Low CEO
charge to Chamber members. All correspondence               point but providing new skills, training and    engaging bi-weekly online networking             Kingston Chamber of Commerce
should be addressed to Kingston Chamber of
Commerce. Views expressed in Borough Business
                                                            hope is essential.                              sessions, online social events such as          forbes@kingstonchamber.co.uk
are not necessarily those of Kingston Chamber of
Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden
except by permission. © 2020. Please note that
submitting an article does not guarantee publication.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and
reliability of material published in this journal, Benham
Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility
for the veracity of claims made by contributions in
advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing

                                                                                      07                                   1417                                       24
cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in
web or email links supplied to us.

    Patron Members

                 The Royal Borough of
                 Kingston                                                       BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community                                           3
                 Chamber of Commerce
BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing
join us
                                                          Welcome
                The Royal Borough of
                                                          to our new members
                Kingston                                  AdJuice SEO
                                                          Services Ltd
                                                                                         Orr Litchfield
                                                                                         Solicitors Limited
                Chamber of Commerce
                                                          Ewan Kennedy                   Patrick Orr
                                                          www.adjuice.co.uk/seo-surrey   www.orrlitchfield.com

                                                          Boxed Local                    Parita Shah
      Peter was thrilled                                  Richard Hards
  he could get his business                               www.boxedlocal.co
                                                                                         Consulting
                                                                                         Parita Shah
   noticed online through                                 Citizen Zoo                    www.paritashahconsulting.co.uk
        the Chamber                                       Lucas Ruzo
          networks                                        www.citizenzoo.org             Resonate
                                                                                         Interiors Ltd
                                                          Donna Winning Events           Pernille Stafford
                                                          Donna Winning
                                                          www.donnawinningevents.com     www.resonateinteriors.com

                                                          Guy Spence                     Silly Billie
                                                          Consulting Ltd                 Creative
                                                          Guy Spence                     Olivia Kursar
                                                                                         www.sillybilliecreative.com
                                                          Nyki Clark Coaching
                                                          Nyki Clark            The PiPP
                                                          Oakhouse Software Ltd Consultancy
                                                          Lawrence Liao                  Pippa Dunford
                                                          www.oakhousesoftware.com       www.thepippconsultancy.uk

                                                          Reasons to join...
                                                          Membership of Kingston Chamber of Commerce brings
“ As a small business owner, networking                   a wealth of immediate benefits to your business.
  with others through the Chamber is a
  key way for me to build business                        1    Welcoming, professional and supportive environment

  relationships and get mutual support.                   2    Two successful business Expos; Kingston and
                                                               Chessington
  In these turbulent times it’s even more
  critical to interact with others who are                3    Regular online networking events and business webinars

  experiencing similar issues.”
  Amanda Cullen
                                                          4    Local supply chain opportunities and excellent links to
                                                               the wider local community

                                                          5
  Business Made Simpler
  Coaching and Workshops for Small Business Owners             Advocacy for businesses to Kingston Council, strategic
                                                               partners and MPs in the borough
For more information or to discuss how we can help you,
please contact us at:                                     6    Learning opportunities and affordable training on all
                                                               business-related matters

                                                          7
Kingston Chamber of Commerce
T: 020 8541 4441 E: info@kingstonchamber.co.uk                 Creative online social events and meet ups
W: www.kingstonchamber.co.uk

Connect with us on   @KingstonCOC         Kingston CoC    Find out how to join and learn how others are benefiting from
                                                          their membership. www.kingstonchamber.co.uk

  4      BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing
hr dept
Porter                                                                                 My First message
the Sorter                                                                             as Chamber
Ask our resident HR
expert, Sandra Porter of                                                               President.
The HR Dept for advice on
                                                                                       At the time of writing, the UK is starting to emerge
your workplace worries.                                                                from national lockdown. I was elected Chamber
                                                                                       President at the AGM in July, which due to lockdown
‘Can you help me dismiss my Mum?’
                                                                                       took place online for the first time in the Chamber’s
When SME owners start a business we often need to access all of the resources          115-year history! I am incredibly proud to be the
available to us to get the business off the ground. We seek support from those
around us that we trust, have the skills we need and are keen to see the business      first virtually elected President and grateful for the
succeed. Often this can involve family members or personal friends. But how            technology that made it possible in lockdown. I would
do you run a business and maintain healthy relationships?                              like to thank Dr. Martha Mador, outgoing President,
Business is business, right? But it’s not as easy as that. It can be a minefield       for her passion and support for the Chamber, its
where you have personal relationships that extend between the business owner           Members, Patrons, Partners, Directors, and staff team
to different team members across the business. We have a Client who has his
Mum, Wife, Step Dad, Brother, Cousin, Aunt and Uncle all as members of the
                                                                                       in the most unprecedented of times.
team! It’s more like a family tree than organisation chart. They manage the                                                  now have an opportunity to work
family dynamic really well but there are definitely things to be aware of to prevent                                         better locally, supporting our
there being issues. Over time it is challenging to be able to address any issues                                             local businesses and community
of underperformance or misconduct between family members. So what can you                                                    whilst improving our carbon
do to navigate the minefield?:                                                                                               footprint at the same time.

• Be clear with all family members the reasons why being consistent about                                                    I have been really encouraged by
  expectations across the whole team is important.                                                                           the early signs of recovery in the
                                                                                                                             business sector. There is no doubt
• Create job descriptions to give clarity on every role in the business to help                                              there are tough times ahead, but
  manage performance.                                                                                                        there is much to look forward to
                                                                                                                             and be optimistic about.
• Be wary of discussing family issues when at work. Create separation by
  agreeing to keep all family conversations outside of the workplace to prevent        I wanted to become President to       As Chamber President, I am asked
  anyone from feeling alienated.                                                       help the Chamber which works          to choose a local charitable or
                                                                                       tirelessly for the local business     community organisation to support
• Be transparent with other team members that it may feel unusual but they             community I am proud to be a part     for my presidential year. I am thrilled
  have your permission to raise any issues and disregard any relationships,            of. I never imagined I would be       to confirm we will be supporting
  where appropriate.                                                                   President in the middle of a global   Citizen Zoo, a local social enterprise
                                                                                       pandemic when businesses are          dedicated to rewilding nature and
• Use an impartial third party / outsourced HR service to investigate or take          facing such big challenges and        local conservation projects. Wildlife
  corrective actions where required.                                                   economic uncertainty. The work that   and nature are very close to my
                                                                                       the Chamber does to represent and     heart and I hope you will join me in
                                                                                       campaign for local businesses has     supporting them in some way. You can
If you have questions for Porter the Sorter,                                           never been more vital.                read more about them on page 6.
email hrhelp@hrdept.co.uk for consideration for
future editions.                                                                       The COVID19 health pandemic           Like other organisations, the
                                                                                       has brought massive challenges        Chamber has had to find new
The HR Dept are an outsourced HR services provider                                     and changes in our work and
supporting local SMEs with their people issues and                                                                           ways of doing business. While we
                                                                                       personal lives. As we wait and        all await further guidance on face
strategy. For advice on managing relationships in the                                  watch for restrictions to be          to face events, networking will be
workplace and anything else people related                                             lifted, we have an opportunity        online for now, but there are lots
call 0345 208 1290.                                                                    to innovate and improve the           of opportunities to choose from,
                                                                                       way we do business. We have           so join in and engage. Your local
Always seek employment law advice regarding                                            already seen a massive change
management of your people issues to ensure that you                                                                          businesses need you.
                                                                                       in attitude to flexible working
and your business are well protected from potential                                    which was long overdue. We            Katerina Damcova
litigation risks.

          The Royal Borough of
          Kingston                                            BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community                               5
          Chamber of Commerce
BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing
news
President chooses to
support Citizen Zoo
in 2020/21

The president of Kingston Chamber of Commerce has
pledged her support for a wildlife and conservation
social enterprise.
Katerina Damcova has nominated            Lucas Ruzo at Citizen Zoo added:
Citizen Zoo as her chosen                 “We are thrilled that Kat has decided
organisation for 2020/2021. The           to offer her support. It will help us to
organisation is a community interest      raise our profile and build our network
company (CIC) committed to                of contacts at a time when we are
rewilding and conservation, and works     working on some exciting projects.
on several projects that encourage
people to explore the great outdoors.     “We’ve just launched a major
                                          fundraising campaign to raise money
Each year, the Chamber’s president        for our community-led water vole
choses to support a local organisation
                                          reintroduction project. We’re aiming to
by providing opportunities to
                                          raise £12,000 over a six-week period in
network with its members and raising
                                          partnership with the Aviva Foundation
awareness of the sterling work it does
                                          and it will be fantastic to get this
within the local community.
                                          message out to the Chamber’s growing
Katerina said: “I am delighted to         membership base. We’re even looking
support Citizen Zoo. Here at the          for any partners or potential sponsors
Chamber we’re well placed to help         who may want to align with our mission
them connect with the local business      and this project.”
community and promote their projects,
which do so much to rebuild habitats      For more information visit
and reinvigorate the natural landscape.   https://www.citizenzoo.org/

“We also identify fundraising
opportunities through a variety of
events, even though many of these
are still conducted online due to the
COVID-19. Hopefully, next year we’ll
be able to host some events along
with our president’s evening, and
we’ll look to support Citizen Zoo’s
fundraising campaigns by promoting
them to our membership.”

      6      BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing
Economy
Kickstart scheme
                                                                                                                               you do this, as you are not eligible
                                                                                                                               to to apply directly. We are bringing
                                                                                                                               together businesses who want to
                                                                                                                               create fewer than 30 placements in

GOES LIVE
                                                                                                                               order to make a collective application
                                                                                                                               to the scheme on their behalf.

                                                                                                                               To register your interest, contact the
                                                                                                                               Chamber and we will get back to you
                                                                                                                               with further information.

                                                                                                                               If your organisation is creating more
                                                                                                                               than 30 job placements as part of
If you are hiring or considering hiring extra                                         will be working to bring companies
                                                                                      and young people together to create
                                                                                                                               the Kickstart Scheme, you can submit
                                                                                                                               your application directly at https://
staff Kingston Chamber of Commerce can                                                new jobs.”
                                                                                                                               www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-
                                                                                                                               for-a-grant-through-the-
help you make the most of government                                                  If your organisation is creating fewer
                                                                                      than 30 job placements, we can help      kickstart-scheme.
funding to ease your wage bill.
In September ministers announced            Each application should include
the £2 billion Kickstart scheme, an         how you will help the participants to
incentive for businesses to help at-risk    develop their skills and experience,
young people get back into work. The        including:
scheme will begin in November and
run initially until the end of next year.   • Support to look for long-term
                                              work, including career advice and
Kickstart is an attempt to create             setting goals
hundreds of thousands of high-quality,
six-month work placements for young         • Support with CV and interview
people aged between 16 and 24.                preparations
Under the scheme, the government
                                            • Supporting the participant with
will fund some of the wage costs of
                                              basic skills, such as attendance,
16 to 24-year-olds who are claiming           timekeeping and teamwork
universal credit and at risk of long-
term unemployment who are hired by          Once a job placement is created, it
employers. It will cover 100% of the        can be taken up by a second person
minimum wage, national insurance            once the first successful applicant has
and pension contributions for a             completed their six-month term.
maximum of 25 hours a week — with
firms able to top up wages.                 Businesses looking to offer fewer
                                            than 30 Kickstart roles have to
The job placements should support           apply through a representative
the participants to develop the skills      organisation, such as a local
and experience they need to find            Chamber of Commerce. Funding
work after completing the scheme.           is available following a successful
                                            application process. Simply contact
As an incentive, the government is          the Chamber to apply.
offering businesses up to £1,500
towards set-up support, training and        Jane Gratton, head of people policy
the cost of uniforms. Any business,         at British Chambers of Commerce
regardless of size, can apply for           (BCC), says: “At a time when
funding. The job placements created         cashflow is tight, this fully funded
with Kickstart funding must be new          scheme will help employers bring
jobs. They must not replace existing        young people into the workplace and
or planned vacancies or cause               develop new talent for the future.
existing employees or contractors to
                                            “To be successful, Kickstart needs to
lose or reduce their employment. The
                                            create long-term, quality employment
roles must be made available for a
                                            opportunities and ensure that
minimum of 25 hours per week for            businesses and employees are fully
six months, paid at least the national      supported throughout the placement.”
minimum wage for their age group,
and should not require people to            “Rooted in local business communities,
undertake extensive training before         Chambers of Commerce understand
they begin the job placement.               employers’ growth aspirations, and

          The Royal Borough of
          Kingston                                             BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community                                7
          Chamber of Commerce
BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing
patron news

It’s been an incredibly challenging summer, both personally and professionally,
for everyone in Kingston (and the rest of the World!).
Thankfully, with                           purchased wide beam narrowboat            David Attenboroughs boat naming            Records and IYAF among others. We
                                           which will be used as a flexible space    competition, Boaty McBoatface, will        hope the Creative Arts in Kingston can
considerable hard work,                    for the Kingston community. Creatively,   not be accepted this time either) so       get back to what they do best soon.
the last few months have                   this can provide an eclectic range of     keep an eye out on our social media
seen a gradual resumption                  events from the roof, such as hosting     pages for updates and start getting        Finally, we would like to say a big thank
                                           live music, drama, comedy and spoken      your creative spirit inspired.             you to all residents and businesses
to an environment that is                  word. We are considering a range of                                                  who have helped support us through
resembling some degree                     uses for the inside of the boat, from a   Our aim is to continually invest in        the lockdown. We are really looking
of normality.                              pop-up coffee shop, to ice cream bar      Kingston and to constantly improve         forward to delivering these exciting new
                                           or a Yoga/Pilates studio for example.     the experiences on offer. With that        projects and to help reinforce what a
                                                                                     ambition, we hope to announce
We always strive to make the visitor                                                                                            great town we live in.
                                           The intention is to fit out the boat      shortly an onsite, public realm art
experience to Riverside Walk as
                                           over the winter months so it will be      installation from a world renowned
welcoming, safe and entertaining                                                                                                Instagram: Riverside_walk
                                           ready for use next summer. As with        contemporary artist.
as possible. We are very pleased
                                           any new boat launch, we will be                                                      Facebook: Riverside Walk
to announce the next stage of
                                           running a competition for the chance      This period has made us realise even
improvements planned for our site,                                                                                              Website: https://www.
                                           to come up with a name for the boat,      more how much we desperately miss
one of the highlights is the recently                                                                                           riversidewalkkingston.co.uk/
                                           (am afraid the wonderful entry for        our friends at the Rose, Banquet

May you live in interesting times
The old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times” seems very apt                                         for others and we are seeing clients looking to
                                                                                                                  auctions and elsewhere for investment prospects.
for the strange world in which we now live. With rules and restrictions                                           As these situations crop up, seek advice at an early
                                                                                                                  stage to avoid problems becoming more complex
constantly changing, it’s hard to find firm ground on which to plan.                                              later. Partners David Hards and Donald Morrison
                                                                                                                  are able to assist across a wide range of issues.
Pearson Hards has not been immune to the trials          and tenant matters to reduce the workload in courts      Being prepared for the future
and tribulations. We went through a period where         and also to protect tenants from possible eviction       The loss of a loved one is distressing and
most of the staff were on furlough or working from       when the opportunities for rehousing were limited.       challenging at the best of times and we have seen
home but we are back operating on full speed,            A hold was also placed on commercial forfeiture          an increase in the number of probate cases. We
albeit with fewer visitors to the office, so social      and rent recovery actions. The moratorium has
                                                                                                                  have an experienced and sympathetic team able
distancing can be observed.                              just been extended to 20 September. This area of
                                                                                                                  to guide and advise people through this difficult
                                                         law is technically complex so please contact Partner
So what then does the legal world look like at the                                                                period. Please contact partner Ian Lipscombe if you
                                                         Claire Darby to help you navigate through any
moment?                                                                                                           would like to discuss any issues that you may have.
                                                         residential and commercial issues.
Making technology work for you                                                                                    Sadly, a majority of adults in this country still do
                                                         Housing and commercial sector update
Lawyers are not best known for being at the fore                                                                  not have wills. There really is no excuse not to
                                                         Surprisingly the local housing market is very
front of technological advance. Much Court work                                                                   have a will when one considers the difficulties and
                                                         buoyant. This is partly a catch up for the months
is now being dealt with digitally and hearings are                                                                unhappiness that can arise if someone dies without
                                                         in lockdown, but also a lot of new activity. The
taking place by telephone or video call. Some                                                                     having made one. If you are considering making a
                                                         concessions on Stamp Duty Land Tax is an obvious
cases do need a physical hearing to be deal              factor. Until 31 March 2021, the threshold for SDLT      will please contact Serena Welch who can meet with
with sensitive matters and these are still possible.     is raised to £500,000, with tax being paid on the        clients by video call, face to face at the office or at
Family law partner, Emma Rothstein and colleague         balance of price above that figure on a sliding scale.   clients’ homes, for those who are less restricted.
Claudene Howell, and our civil litigation partner,       Savings can be significant and so it is a good time      For Pearson Hards, these interesting times continue
Claire Darby are all able to meet with clients either    to buy. Please contact conveyancing partners Hatice      to throw up new challenges but we are adopting
face to face or digitally, so please get in touch if     Mustafa and Jonathan Throp to discuss your plans.        new processes to be able to serve the people of
you need advice or assistance.                                                                                    New Malden going forward. Please call us if you
                                                         The commercial property sector is also showing
There has been a slowdown in civil litigation during     some signs of life. Some businesses are being            need help or advice on any legal issue on
lockdown but this may well change. The courts            forced to sell or move to smaller accommodation.         020 8949 9500 or visit our website at
imposed a moratorium on all residential landlord         Difficulties for some do create opportunities            www.pearsonhards.co.uk.

      8       BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing
patron news                                                                                                                   Patron member,
Assistant Principal - Higher Education                                                                                        Holland Hahn &
and Business Development appointed at                                                                                         Wills, are proud
South Thames Colleges Group                                                                                                   to celebrate their
                                    South Thames Colleges Group are             I have finally found my niche and ideal
                                                                                                                              30th anniversary
                                    delighted to welcome Stella Raphael-
                                    Reeves as Assistant Principal - HE and
                                                                                role. A culmination of all my experiences
                                                                                and a perfect fit for my charismatic
                                                                                                                              this year, and
                                    Business Development. Stella joins
                                    with a wealth of experience in the
                                                                                nature and passion for FE and Education.
                                                                                These unprecedented times allow me
                                                                                                                              are pleased that
                                    HE in FE sector working previously at
                                    Croydon College as Dean of HE and
                                                                                to do what I feel I do best, to facilitate,
                                                                                motivate and drive cultural change,
                                                                                                                              business continues
                                    Creative Industries. She says:              to engage with employers, to drive
                                                                                employability and to offer a portfolio
                                                                                                                              to grow despite the
                                    “I am very excited about starting
                                    a new job at a wonderful College
                                                                                of educational courses to reskill, upskill
                                                                                and support all to progress into new
                                                                                                                              current pandemic
                                    group, where I can bring my skills to
                                    bear in these challenging times, by
                                                                                employment or Higher Education thus
                                                                                supporting to boost the economy.
                                                                                                                              restrictions.
                                    listening and supporting businesses                                                       The work to refurbish No. 4 High
                                    and individuals so that we offer correct    “As with most FE managers, I am               St continues to make excellent
                                    training for your specific requirements.    used to working under tight budgets           progress, and HHW hope to be able
                                    We work closely with SMEs, large            and ever changing conditions of               to celebrate their 30th anniversary
                                    employers, local authorities, and the       funding and guidance by awarding              in the new office in due course,
                                    public and charity sectors.                 bodies and used to having to adapt            guidelines permitting. During
                                                                                in a fast and responsive manner,              lockdown, HHW held a couple of
                                    “As an experienced senior manager           cascade information and new visions           educational webinars on financial
                                    working in the Further Education (FE) and   to my teams, motivate, enthuse and            planning and investments, with more
                                    Higher Education (HE) in the FE sector      continue to push forward.”                    in the series planned for the autumn.

                                                                                                                              The financial planning firm has also
                                                                                                                              recently published a whitepaper on the

IQ in IT introduces                                         IQ in IT Technical Director, Luke Whitlock says:                  psychology of retirement and a guide
                                                            “The new APP is a game changer for businesses operating           to organising your financial affairs.
                                                            in the new work environment. It is a flexible solution, that      For more information on downloading
innovative phone                                            is both secure and affordable for our clients. Companies
                                                            can use mobile, website, home and office lines all through
                                                                                                                              these guides, plus details on future
                                                                                                                              events, visit www.hhw-uk.com/contact.
APP for flexible                                            the APP but are only charged for the one extension. It
                                                            has click to call functionality, plus great features like         HHW will also be taking part in the
communications                                              calendar and availability synchronisation to help automate
                                                            processes even when working remotely. Great technology
                                                                                                                              CISI’s financial planning week from
                                                                                                                              5-11th October, an annual event to

for a blended work                                          doesn’t have to cost the earth.”
                                                            •    If you’d like to find out how to integrate your
                                                                                                                              promote financial awareness.

environment                                                      work phone systems, please get in touch with our
                                                                 communication specialist Blake Edwards, blake.
At the start of lockdown, we were focused on getting             edwards@iqinit.uk
our clients’ businesses set up to work securely and         Lockdown Exit IT and HR Package Launch
seamlessly from home. As lockdown starts to ease,           IQ in IT have launched a new package for post lockdown
some companies are returning to offices, so the             continuity planning, aimed at companies wanting practical
needs of our clients are changing quickly. Businesses       help with an effective and secure return to work. This
are moving to a blended working environment;                new offering combines IT and HR to help get you out of
some employees in the office, some at home, or a            lockdown and back in business.
combination of both.
                                                            The IT options offers everything from a review of work
Company phone systems now need to cope with all             from home security and set up, communication tools
possible blended work set ups and be able to adapt to       for remote, office and blended working, phone systems
last-minute changes that might need to happen if an         and disaster recovery management. HR support can
employee must quarantine, for example, or in the event      include risk assessments, social distancing measures,
of a further lockdown. Phone systems need to be robust      flexible working arrangements and contractual
enough to cope with different scenarios at the touch of     issues. There are different package options available
a button to make sure businesses can stay in touch with
                                                            depending on need and budget.
their customers, partners and colleagues, wherever and
however they are working.                                   HR support is offered in partnership with Harley HR
                                                            with the aim to make one affordable package at a                                   Chris Hirsch, HH&W
We have been busy changing phone systems to allow
                                                            discounted rate.                                                                    Managing Partner,
unlimited extensions and provide APP support mobile
phones as well as using headsets with computers. This       • To find out more about this please contact:                                  inspects the progress of
helps our clients to save on hardware costs for each            katerina.damcova@iqinit.uk or visit:                                            the refurbishment.
employee to have both desk and home-based phones.               https://iqinit.uk/hr_it_exit_strategy/

         The Royal Borough of
         Kingston                                             BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community                                 9
         Chamber of Commerce
BOROUGH BUSINESS - Benham Publishing
patron news
News from SUMMERS INMAN
Procure Partnerships Framework                             number of projects, focusing on the improvement          Due to Covid-19, many fundraising events cancelled
Summers Inman are delighted to finally announce            of the student’s experience whilst at university.        so when ‘Children’s Hospice Week’ came around, we
that as of September 2020, we have been                    The latest project has involved the extension and        wanted to do our bit to contribute. Director Alex Lodge
appointed to form part of a major public-sector            refurbishment of the Faith and Spirituality space at     and Business Development Coordinator Hannah Grue
supplier agreement, known as the Procure                   the universities’ Kingston Hill campus.                  completed ‘socially distanced’ challenges. Alex cycled
Partnerships Framework. This means that our                                                                         100KM on his bike, while Hannah took 100K steps –
7 offices across the UK will be able to provide            We provided a team of Project Managers and               both within a working week. Collectively, they raised just
Quantity Surveying, Building Surveying, Project            Quantity surveyors to lead the refurbishment facility,   shy of £700.
Management and Principal Designer (Health &                which will contain spaces for prayer, worship,
Safety) services to a growing number of businesses         meditation, reflection, meetings and discussion, as      We hope that soon we can return to safely run
via this framework.                                        well as religious washing rooms and office space.        some of the events planned, and will be sure to
                                                                                                                    advertise and invite the Borough to join in support!
Summers Inman were assessed against several                Together for Short Lives charity
selection criteria. Social impact was a significant        We are proud to launch a fantastic new charity
factor in the process, which we value greatly. “We         partnership with Together for Short Lives, which
are absolutely delighted at this result in what is a       commenced earlier on in 2020. The charity offers
great step forward for the company. It is a fantastic      hospice and community care to families who are
result across all geographic regions for which             facing the heartbreaking experience of caring for a
we submitted our proposals, which illustrates the          seriously ill child.
national capability and capacity of Summers-Inman
in the construction and property consultancy sector.”      Ian Griffiths, Director, said, “Summers-Inman
                                                           are proud to be supporting Together for Short Lives
Kingston University                                        in our Centenary year. We take our responsibility
Despite Covid-19 causing major disruption to the           to help local and national causes very seriously
education sector, Summers Inman and Kingston               and are excited to help support families and young
University have continued to work together on a            people giving them precious quality time together.”

Kingston University experts play leading role in project
to develop 5G drone system to establish vital
communications in disaster zones
Drones equipped with cutting-edge                          areas. “We wanted to test whether we could harness       With the globe currently battling the outbreak of
                                                           5G to create mobile networks that could be deployed      Covid-19, the potential for technologies such as these
5G technology could be used to                             in places like Malaysia after the tsunami,” he said.     to make a difference during similar public health
provide emergency teams with                               “Wherever there is a disaster or contamination of an     emergencies in the future could also be explored.
                                                           area that makes human access difficult, the system
reliable communications networks                           could potentially be deployed.”
in disaster zones as part of a new
system being co-developed by
Kingston University experts.
The Distributed Autonomous and Resilient Emergency
Management System (DARE) project involves
researchers from Kingston working in collaboration
with teams from the University of Surrey, the University
of Glasgow and the University of Malaya.

The director of Kingston University’s Digital
Information Research Centre, Professor Christos
Politis, said the idea for the project came about
when he was looking into whether an emergency
system could use smart technology to establish
reliable connectivity using 5G networks in affected

    10        BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
How are tenants responding
to the lockdown and adjusting
to the new normal?
The impact of the Covid-19
pandemic has cut deep for                                                                                                              Roger Ford
                                                                                                                                       real estate partner

many businesses.
                                                                                           We’re increasingly seeing tenants          These have been used for some time
                                                                                           inserting a lockdown rent suspension       in the retail and leisure sectors so
                                                                                           clause into their leases. This will        they are tried and tested.
                                                                                           provide that the rent will either be
Although the lockdown                         Varying terms                                suspended (or at least reduced) in the     The financial pressures tenants are
has been gradually lifted                     For some years there has been a              event that Covid-19 prevents the tenant    facing have increasingly seen them
                                              growing trend to shorten the length of       from trading at their premises. Some       look to move away from a fixed
and most businesses                           commercial leases. The lockdown is           clauses go even further, and apply         base rent. Instead, many are trying
that had to close have                        speeding up this process.                    to any future pandemics; they do not       to negotiate a reduced base rent
                                                                                                                                      topped-up with a turnover rent (or in
now been allowed to                                                                        just cover rent suspension, but also a
                                              The age of the 15 to 20 year lease           relaxation of any covenants in the lease   some situations, no base rent and the
re-open, many are still                       term with upwards only rent reviews          a tenant may not be able to comply         rent entirely dependent on turnover).
hurting. Ongoing travel                       every five years seems to be over -          with in such circumstance, such as
                                                                                                                                      Turnover agreements are becoming
restrictions limiting the                     these are increasingly rare.                 complying with repairing obligations.
                                                                                                                                      more common in the current market
flow of customers and                         Most tenants just won’t make such            Landlords are understandably reluctant     to allow the rent due under a lease to
                                                                                                                                      reflect the success (or failure) of the
having a serious dent                         a long-term commitment. As a                 to agree to such clauses, especially
                                              tenant you should be negotiating             where the rent suspension will not         tenant’s business.
on tourist numbers,                           for shorter lease terms, more flexible       be covered by their insurance policy
and many workers still                        and frequent tenant break options,           (which is rarely the case in the current
                                                                                                                                      The downsides for landlords are the
                                                                                                                                      uncertain rental income flow and
working from home are                         monthly rather than quarterly payment        insurance market). It is therefore a       the increased work in monitoring
                                              dates and even upwards/downwards             point for commercial negotiation
affecting sales. Sectors                      rent reviews. These are becoming the         between the parties whether these
                                                                                                                                      the tenant’s turnover and agreeing
                                                                                                                                      the calculations. Somewhat
such as retail, leisure and                   standard requirement for tenants when        clauses can be agreed.
                                                                                                                                      encouragingly, we see many landlords
hospitality continue to                       negotiating terms for a new lease.
                                                                                                                                      coming to terms with these requests
                                                                                           Turnover rents
face severe pressure.                         Lockdown clauses                                                                        and looking at ways to help tenants
                                                                                           A more practical solution is the           ride out this crisis, and keep properties
                                              It seemed extremely tough on many            introduction of turnover rents. A
Not surprisingly the result is that many                                                                                              tenanted and income producing.
                                              tenants that they had to shut down their     turnover lease is a lease where the
tenants are finding it difficult to pay the
                                              businesses and cut off their income,         rent payable is calculated either          So the future for commercial tenants
rent. During the peak of the lockdown,
                                              but continue to pay the rent. An initial     wholly or partly on the actual             may be still be very uncertain, but
tenants struggling with cashflow and
                                              thought for many was whether there           turnover achieved by the tenant’s          there are options available to help
unable to pay their March and June
                                              was anything in their leases providing       business operated at the premises.         ease the pain.
quarter rents were able to negotiate
                                              for either a unilateral termination or
temporary deals with their landlords.
                                              a rent suspension in such extreme
Rent suspensions, reductions and
deferrals were common as many                 circumstances. This was a question we
landlords made a pragmatic decision           were asked by a number of clients, and
to help their tenants manage cashflow         the answer was always no.
so they could keep trading.
                                              As a tenant you generally have a very
These temporary concessions are               weak argument to claim that your
increasingly rare, but as businesses          lease has been frustrated as a result of
continue to face cashflow pressure,           the lockdown. Rent suspension clauses
what can tenants do to help                   in virtually all leases apply only where      For answers to health and safety queries about your employees’
themselves adjust to the “new norm”?          there has been physical damage to                   return to work please contact the author Roger Ford
                                              the premises. Leases just had not been
There is hope. We have seen a number
of options taken by our tenant clients
                                              drafted to take into account the recent
                                              crisis. The result was tenants left liable
                                                                                                       +44 (0)20 8541 2030 or
when they negotiate new leases (or vary       to pay rents for commercial premises             email roger.ford@russell-cooke.co.uk
existing leases) in the current climate.      they could not use.

           The Royal Borough of
           Kingston                                                                                                                                                   11
           Chamber of Commerce
skills

FOUNDATION DEGREES
the route to a degree and improved
career prospects at any time in life

 12   BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
Is it too late? A question posed by many people as their career progresses who
in earlier life did not either have, or take, the opportunity to study for higher
qualifications after school or college. Sometimes this question is also asked by an
employer who sees an employee with real potential, whose personal and professional
development would benefit themselves and the organisation, and wonders how
they can help the employee maximise that potential. Lockdown and the challenges
of COVID-19 may also have raised this question in the minds of many as working
patterns changed and industry sectors either thrived or declined.
Studying for a Foundation Degree at Kingston              For many potential students pondering the question         in the evening, and in some cases on Saturday
College, or one of our sister Colleges, could             “is it too late to gain a degree?” they will tentatively   (perhaps on average 5 hours per week), students
be the answer to the question. Launched as a              consider their up-skilling journey. Knowing where          need to work independently for about 15-20 hours
new qualification in 2001 to give people the              to start is the first challenge – full-time or part-time   per week. Some of this can be completed in their
opportunity at different stages in life to gain higher-   study; sponsored or self-funded; navigating Student        workplace by applying what they have learned in
level qualifications. Foundation Degrees recognise        Finance; and then of course choosing the right             the classroom in a practical way. Students report
the value of vocationally relevant and driven work        course and the right place to study.                       that being able to join in conversations at work, and
experience over traditional academic qualifications.                                                                 with their seniors, by using appropriate terminology
Foundation Degrees are something of the hidden            The Foundation Degree in Business, which is                opens many doors. So, it is never too late!
gems in the higher education jewel box.                   Kingston College’s longest delivered Foundation
                                                          Degree, provides a cost effective opportunity              The Foundation Degree in Business, and the other
Foundation degrees can help improve skills and better     to improve educational qualifications whilst still         Foundation Degrees in the table below, recognise
career prospects. They have many benefits whether         working full-time in a very wide range of business         past work experience (a minimum of 2 years is
a person is already working or looking for a job. A       and employment settings. It is tough, of course to         essential) as part of the entry qualification. Along
Foundation Degree may be suitable if a person:            come into College after a long day at work but at          with ongoing employment for the duration of the
                                                          Kingston and its sister Colleges, many more than a         course (minimum 16 hours per week) they allow
•   is working and wants to improve their skills and      thousand students have shown that it is manageable,        those with aspirations to take this potentially
    prospects in a current job, through part-time         fulfilling and even enjoyable. Business students tell      life changing journey to help them add the
    higher level study                                    us that they feel inspired, unleashed, challenged and      much needed qualification to their CV – and as
                                                          motivated. For our staff here at the College these         importantly, give them the confidence to achieve.
•   has left school and wants a higher education          courses are very rewarding to teach on because you
    qualification that’s relevant to their job            see how life-changing this opportunity can be with          Foundation Degree
    aspirations                                           growth in confidence, ability and career progression.
                                                          Some of the College’s own, and our partner Kingston         Subject Business
•   wants to reskill in a new occupation or                                                                           College Kingston
                                                          University’s, non-teaching staff have also kick started
    profession, or wishes to return to work after a
                                                          their careers with the study of the Foundation Degree
    break                                                                                                             Subject Early Years Education
                                                          in Business, which many have later “topped up” to
                                                                                                                      College Kingston, Carshalton and South
                                                          the BA (Hons) Business Management Practice with
•   Foundation degrees are also taught in local                                                                       		      Thames College
                                                          one further year of part-time study at the University.
    colleges and can be studied full-time over two
    years or on a part-time basis, offering students                                                                  Subject Leadership and Management in Early
                                                          Many students join Foundation Degrees because of
    with work or family commitments more                                                                              		      Years (Sector Endorsed)
                                                          a personal recommendation from friends, relatives
    flexibility. Studying closer to home or work also                                                                 College Kingston
                                                          and work colleagues. Over the past ten years the
    means reduced travel time and costs.
                                                          Foundation Degree in Business has seen sons,
                                                                                                                      Subject Education and Learning
Locally many employers, support and fund their            daughters, aunts and uncles join the course as they
                                                                                                                      College Carshalton
employees to study part-time for a Foundation             have realised the opportunity available to them.
Degree alongside work as part of their training           Work colleagues who are line managers, mentors              Other Foundation Degrees taught full time
and development. At Kingston College, the suite of        or friends and peers to those with aspirations have         at College and without a direct employer
Foundation Degrees in Early Years Education is a          provided a pipeline of new and eager students.              component
particular example of such a study opportunity pursued    Having joined, students often cannot believe that
by many childcare and early education providers to        there is not more demand from people just like              Art and Design - Kingston
support their staff to achieve the sector-endorsed, and   themselves searching for that later-in-life degree          Fashion and Textiles - Kingston
required qualification, to provide career progression.    opportunity. With formal face-to-face teaching time

                                          For more information and details of how to apply to the courses featured in
                                        this article and all of the other courses mentioned please see the links below;
                                                                 https://kingston-college.ac.uk/subject/business/foundation-degree-fda-in-business
                                       https://kingston-college.ac.uk/subject/care-childcare/foundation-degree-fda-in-early-years-sector-endorsed
                                                                                                      https://kingston-college.ac.uk/undergraduate
                                                                                                            https://carshalton.ac.uk/undergraduate/

          The Royal Borough of
          Kingston                                             BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community                                     13
          Chamber of Commerce
flexible working
The future of
flexible
working?

14   BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
flexible working
Almost twenty years ago,                              Sandra Porter of HR Dept, says: “Over the longer
                                                      term there will be much wider adoption of remote
                                                                                                              deadline. We meet in the office for team and client
                                                                                                              meetings, for project work and on-the-job training
comedian, actor and                                   working and a greater sense of flexibility regarding
                                                      where and when the work gets done. There are
                                                                                                              where face-to-face collaboration is more effective.
                                                                                                              Otherwise, there’s no obligation to work there.
writer Ricky Gervais rose                             many factors for business owners to consider.
                                                      Where can employees work effectively and meet
                                                                                                              This blended approach requires a shift away from
                                                                                                              the misguided view that people are only working if
to fame in the BBC’s hit                              the needs of the individual and the business? Does
                                                      there need to be options for increased flexibility
                                                                                                              the employer can see them working. The benefits
                                                                                                              are that employees who feel trusted deliver more
mockumentary sitcom, The                              of working hours and a greater focus on optimal
                                                      output rather than hours clocked?”
                                                                                                              and less time spent commuting means they have
                                                                                                              more time and energy to devote to their work and
Office. It followed the lives                         “How successfully businesses maximise these
                                                                                                              personal lives.

of ordinary workers in a                              opportunities depends on many factors including
                                                      the perspective of the business owner, the trust they
                                                                                                              “There are also benefits for employers. Without
                                                                                                              the restrictions of needing to employ people who
branch of a large paper                               have in their team, the adoption of technology and
                                                      enhanced communication channels.”
                                                                                                              can get to a specific location for a specific time,
                                                                                                              there’s an opportunity to recruit from a far wider
company, Wernham Hogg,                                The key challenge for employers is to turn the new
                                                                                                              talent pool. Office space is often a significant cost
                                                                                                              to a business and employers are now considering
                                                      normal into a positive future for good work habits
in the Slough Trading Estate                          and a decent work/life balance for staff.
                                                                                                              whether a permanent office is needed or whether
                                                                                                              they can downsize or use flexible office space as
in Berkshire.                                                                                                 and when they need it.”

Now, however, the viability of the physical office                                                            It’s clear that a new way of working will bring new
has been called into question by the coronavirus                                                              challenges – both operational and legal.
pandemic, which has seen thousands of workers
from across the borough work from the confines of                                                             Sandra says: “Working from home does not
their own home.                                                                                               free the employer from their health and safety
                                                                                                              obligations. Helping employees to work efficiently
In truth, remote and flexible working had become                                                              from home requires an honest conversation
more common by the time COVID-19 hit UK                                                                       about how the employee will be able to create
shores, with technology allowing more people                                                                  an appropriate safe space – both physically and
to work from home or on the move. COVID-19                                                                    mentally – while working from home. The need for
has merely reinforced the message that, in many                                                               boundaries around working hours to prevent an
cases, it’s possible for people to carry out their                                                            “always on” culture needs to be communicated
day jobs remotely.                                                                                            explicitly to prevent bad habits or unfair
                                                                                                              expectations. Encouragement of increased formal
However, this is not necessarily a good thing;                                                                and informal communication should be considered
several reports have highlighted workers’ increased                                                           to replace the chat in the kitchen or around the
anxiety and isolation due to being away from the                                                              water cooler, so that employees don’t become
office environment. Other studies have reported an                                                            disengaged or isolated when away from the office.
erosion in the divide between work and home life,
with some workers feeling unable to switch off from                                                           Nicolle adds: “Employers need to be careful not
                                                      Nicolle Anderson, business development director
work to enjoy time with their families.                                                                       to lose the sense of belonging which is easy to
                                                      at Business Clan, says: “We need to look at the
                                                      reasons for asking people to work in an office          cultivate if you work side-by-side all day, but can
So, what does the future of work/office life look                                                             easily be lost when your team is working from
like now?                                             rather than from home. The circumstances for
                                                      getting the team together should be positive and        home. Home workers need the same level of
                                                      purposeful. People would look forward to going into     engagement and interaction with colleagues as they
                                                      the office for these reasons rather than it being a     had in the office to safeguard the psychological
                                                      daily drudge.                                           connection between worker and employer. This will
                                                                                                              become increasingly important as team structures
                                                      “At Business Clan, even pre-COVID, our policy was       evolve over time due to staff turnover and pre-
                                                      that you can work when and where you want to as         existing social connections from office life are no
                                                      long as work is completed to high standards and to      longer in place.”

          The Royal Borough of
          Kingston                                         BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community                                    15
          Chamber of Commerce
BUSINESSES PLAYING
THEIR PART IN
COMBATING
COVID-19
Over the past few months, businesses across Kingston have                                                      are now legally required to create, download and
                                                                                                               display a poster containing a unique QR code on
worked incredibly hard to make themselves COVID-secure,                                                        their premises.

to protect their customers and staff.                                                                          You can create your QR code at www.gov.uk/
                                                                                                               create-coronavirus-qr-poster
We want to say thank you for all you have done.                                                                Venues not displaying a QR code may be fined £1,000.
                                                                                                               The NHS App enables your customers and visitors
                                                                                                               to register their details and log that they have visited
                                                                                                               a specific venue. For those customers who do not
                                                                                                               have smartphones or who do not wish to use the QR
                                                                                                               code, a written record of their personal details must
                                                                                                               still be retained by the business or venue.

                                                                                                               The more people who use the NHS Test and Trace
                                                                                                               App, the more the NHS will be able to track the
                                                                                                               virus and send alerts to businesses and customers
                                                                                                               who may have been in contact with someone who
                                                                                                               has tested positive for COVID.
                                                                                                               There is more information about the NHS App at
                                                                                                               www.covid19.nhs.uk

                                                                                                               If you have any questions about your
                                                                                                               responsibilities under the COVID legislation, please
                                                                                                               contact licensing@kingston.gov.uk

Despite these efforts, rates of coronavirus
have risen across the country. In response, the
                                                      Businesses and event holders will now be breaking
                                                      the law if they do not comply with the regulations
                                                                                                               Thank you for your
Government has implemented new regulations and
guidance for businesses to reduce the spread of
                                                      and could face prosecution and a fine or a fixed
                                                      penalty notice of £1,000.
                                                                                                               continuing support to
the virus.
                                                      NHS Test and Trace App                                   keep Kingston safe.
Rule of Six                                           Many businesses and venues are now legally
The Rule of Six limits the number of people who       required to collect contact information from their
can meet together in and out of their homes, or in    customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace.
hospitality settings, to six.                         The new law covers venues where people are
                                                      likely to congregate for more than 15 minutes at a
This may have implications for your business as       distance of less than 2 metres - including hospitality
you will not be able to take bookings for groups of   venues, close contact services, community centres
more than six people or allow groups of more than     and libraries.
six to sit or mingle together.
                                                      Businesses and venues must ensure these details are
There are some exceptions to the rule, such as        collected, stored securely and retained for 21 days.
where the household is larger than six people in
total or where it is a support bubble, but it will    To support the collection of this data, the
not be possible to book events such as Christmas      Government has launched the NHS Test and Trace
lunches for groups larger than six people.            App. Businesses and venues in England and Wales

   16        BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
cover feature - Kingston open for business

                        Kingston is open
                         and ready for
                              business!
                              Back in March, time seemed to stop as COVID-19
                           was declared a global pandemic by the World Health
                              Organisation. Many non-essential businesses such
                            as shops, restaurants, theatres and bars temporarily
                               closed their doors as the UK went into lockdown.

The Royal Borough of
Kingston               BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community   17
Chamber of Commerce
cover feature - Kingston open for business
A few months later, there were signs of optimism
on the horizon as large swathes of the business
community opened up again and we saw much-
needed activity on the high streets. Recently, the UK
has seen a swift rise in new COVID-19 cases – a
development that has forced the government to
impose new restrictions to stop a potentially deadly
second wave of the virus. However, a return to
a full-scale national lockdown seems unlikely as
ministers try to balance the need to keep people
safe with the need to keep the economy going.

Locally, companies in Kingston are doing everything
they can to adapt to the current, evolving situation.
They are, however, keen to promote the message that
they are very much open and ready for business.

Sam Berry runs a small neighbourhood restaurant,
No.97, which is located in the heart of leafy
Maple Road in Surbiton. The concept of the
business is simple: contemporary dining in a
relaxed environment, serving food inspired by
fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients,
paired with an eclectic selection of wines, gin and
innovative cocktails.

Sam has spent the last few months adapting his
business to comply with coronavirus restrictions while
trying to provide a top-class service to customers.

He says: “COVID-19 has affected us all, especially
after restaurants were forced to close. We wanted to
push and keep going so we turned our restaurant into
a takeaway operation offering a five-course tasting
menu takeaway side and pre-batched cocktails to go
alongside it, delivered locally every Friday.

“Once restrictions began to ease, we started building
up slowly, only opening a few days a week. We
are now almost back to normal reopening hours
and have been pretty busy considering the current
circumstances. We have also decided to put some
positivity into the business and have been crazy
enough to open a new restaurant located in Thames
Dittion Marina overlooking the River Thames.

“We have put in place various safety measures,
such as sanitising stations, reduced tables and
reduced covers, and we’ve followed government
guidelines on track and trace by obtaining details of
customers who walk through our doors. That said,
we’ve also wanted to create as much of a normal
environment as possible to make people feel
relaxed and less on edge.”

Sam has been willing to adapt in the current
pandemic to keep his business going. He moved
his gin company – www.thegoodlifemerch.co.uk –
online and offered a takeaway operation until he
was allowed to reopen. He remains positive about
the future, while being realistic enough to realise
that there may be some difficult challenges ahead.

“I don’t want to be arrogant or negative,” he says.
“I’ve built up this business over the last four years

    18        BOROUGH BUSINESS - The voice of Kingston’s business community
You can also read