Positive news stories

During these unprecedented times we think it is important to share positive member news stories with you as well! It is fantastic to see how businesses who are able to, have adapted the way they work to support the needs of front line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judges praise local HR company’s morale-boosting strategy


A Suffolk HR company is in the running for a nationwide award for the second time in two years – being praised by judges for boosting client morale by up to 80 per cent, leading to an increase in revenue.

Nacton-based PS Human Resources is one of six companies up for the title of Best HR company for learning and development by industry body the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Judges said: “PS Human Resources Limited pulled its client around after a period of stagnation. Significant changes in sick leave and morale was very positive boosting productivity and revenue with morale improving by 40 per cent to 80 per cent.”

Emma Sheppard MCIPD, who started the company with Paula Phelan FCIPD in 2013, said: “During the current Covid-19 crisis we have been working incredibly hard to meet the HR requirements of our clients. We are thrilled to be recognised for everything we have done.”

The pair, which has more than 35 years’ HR experience between them, started the company to meet small to medium-sized enterprises’ need to outsource HR in a cost-effective way.

Ms Sheppard continued: “Our entry detailed how we were able to change the culture for the better for one of our clients. While the award was based on one case study, we have the same strategy for all our clients.”

Other companies taking part in the People Management Awards include Sainsbury’s, Bupa UK and the London Stock Exchange.

In 2019 PS Human Resources was shortlisted for the ‘Consultancy of the Year’ awarded by Personnel Today.

While boasting a number of nationwide clients, PSHR is well known in Suffolk and Essex counting the Felixstowe haulier Goldstar Transport, UK Customs Solutions and Saxmundham-based Christies Care among its clients. 

Following a Zoom presentation, the results will be announced at the CIPD’s first digital awards ceremony on September 28-29, for which PSHR has already been asked to record an acceptance speech.

Pentahotels are welcoming back business and leisure guests after national COVID-19 lockdowns

Introducing new standards, the operational measures of ‘Between Us’ and interview with the Chief of Operations, Andrew Munt Frankfurt, 10th June 2020 – As business and leisure guests are steadily returning to Pentahotels, the team at Penta has implemented new 'distance proof' operational measures, guaranteeing guests a safe stay while still providing their relaxed neighbourhood lifestyle vibe.

The brand used the lockdown period to prepare for a safe return of its guests, deconstructing and reassembling its entire scope of products and services to provide maximum safety. The result is an enhanced experience with many added benefits for the guests of Pentahotels. Rogier Braakman, Managing Director of Penta Hotels Worldwide, joined the company in February and has been leading Penta through these challenging times. “Knowing that you are safe while travelling is the most important factor when making a journey,” he states. “This is why our most important message to our guests is: we did not rest; we worked hard in all areas of our hotels to remain your choice for a safe and worry-free stay.”

You can read the full article here. 

Hairdresser launching national campaign to ‘We are back, but not in black’ 


An award-winning hairdresser in Suffolk is today launching a national crusade to ask fellow colleagues in the profession and beyond to join in with a ‘We are back, but not in black” campaign as the beauty and hairdressing industry prepares to re-open their doors this July.

Janene Bush, who owns Heavenly Hair in Saxmundham, Suffolk, came up with the idea while she was redecorating her own salon, deciding to change the colour scheme to reflect the positivity she feels as she looks forward to resuming hair and beauty services.

Janene explains: “Many salons up and down the country have a dress code or uniform policy that requires staff to wear black, however, with salons looking to reopen in July, I believe the hairdressing industry should celebrate with a show of colour across the UK.

“It has been an incredibly difficult few weeks for our industry, we have been stopped from doing the job we love, and that has had a huge effect on us, and our clientele.

“It has been proven that colour can have a huge psychological impact in lifting mood, stress levels and mindset, and we hope that by displaying this show of positivity, we will all come together and feel uplifted.”

Pam Davis, CEO of Fashion Candy Style and a regular model on ITV's This Morning, is also supporting the campaign and said, “Nothing appeals more to people’s emotions than wearing a colour that creates a positive experience. In my line of work, I am regularly advising clients to wear bright colours to enhance their style.  I fully support this campaign and look forward to working with Janene to change the image of hairdressers across the country”.

Janene and her team will be adhering to the strict new guidelines issued by the government when opening her salons in July “We have everything in place, and we can’t wait to get back to work.  We hope our initiative takes off and hairdressers across the country join us as we shout from the rooftops; ‘We are back, but not in black’.

A little announcement from Spider HQ

Message from Michelle Pollard, Managing Director of Spider:

I am so pleased to share with you that Spider has purchased the assets of polkadotfrog Ltd. We’ve also been lucky enough to secure the services of the fantastic Emma Cotton as the Recruitment Manager who will be running this division from today.

To delay moving this forward would have been a missed opportunity. Many local companies in the Suffolk area will know that the polkadotfrog brand is a powerful one and is a credible, well-liked recruitment business that has been synonymous with brilliant recruitment & we’re open for business.

polkadotfrog is now a division that sits under the Spider umbrella & will offer a complimentary service to our already successful Online Job Advertising & Specialist Recruitment teams. Headed up by Emma the polkadotfrog division will be recruiting within Office Administration, Finance, HR, Legal, Sales, Marketing & the Shipping & Logistic sectors & will offer Temporary & Permanent support in these markets. Emma welcome! So excited!

You can find out more about Spider here.


UK-based Inawisdom, a leading expert in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), announced today that is has achieved Premier Consulting Partner status in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN). Inawisdom joins the select group of APN Partners who have been awarded Premier Consulting Status.

The highest tier within the APN for Consulting Partners, achieving APN Premier Consulting Partner status differentiates Inawisdom as an APN Partner who demonstrated expertise and notable success in helping customers design, architect, build, migrate, and manage their workloads on AWS.

You can read the full article online here.

Home is where the dance is

The Jerwood DanceHouse might be temporarily closed, but we haven’t stopped dancing, and you don’t have to either! We’re releasing digital classes for you to take part in at home every day from 10am (BST) – you can access them through our YouTube channel.

Take a look at our timetable here and you’ll see that Home Is Where The Dance Is includes classes for different age groups, as well as chair-based sessions – so everyone can take part, wherever you are!

You can find out more here.

Garry's 100 Mile Challenge for Inspire Suffolk

On the 26th of June, I will be cycling from our HQ in Ipswich (Lindbergh Rd) to our Lowestoft HQ (Colville House) and back again, which is just shy of a leg-burning 100 Miles. I am hoping to raise over £1,000 to give young people in Suffolk the tools they need to build a brighter future – something that is so important, now more than ever during the Covid-19 lockdown!

I wanted to do a challenge that would not only raise money for my charity during these challenging times but show just how much our team believes in changing the lives of young people for the better.

I’d really appreciate your support as I have just 6 weeks to get prepared and so have already started training; please share this email to help me raise needed funds, all of the money raised will go towards supporting young people in Suffolk.

People can donate to my JustGiving page by CLICKING HERE.


Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to Inspire Suffolk, so it's the most efficient way to give - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

Thank you, Garry Mills


New key appointment at Ashtons

Undaunted by COVID19, regional law firm Ashtons Legal has continued with a strategic pre-planned change and appointed a new Chief Operating Officer (COO). Ben Hallatt, who initially joined the firm in 2017 as a Business Manager for the firm’s Business Law Group, steps up to take on the role with immediate effect.

He is relishing his new role in spite of the challenges presented by the current difficult trading positions and says: “Like almost all businesses, Ashtons has been forced to do things differently over the past couple of months. The challenge ahead is ensuring that we don’t go back to ‘business as usual’ as some sort of normality returns, but instead capitalise on the benefits that we are seeing from enhanced use of technology and agile working with a vastly reduced carbon footprint. I’m very much looking forward to working with all at Ashtons to make this happen.”

Ed O’Rourke, Ashtons’ CEO, says: “Ben has done a sterling job as a Business Manager for our Corporate and Commercial teams but what we now need is a firm-wide approach to continued change and Ben has the right skill set to help us deliver that. I am very much looking forward to working with him to help steer the Ashtons ship into its next phase of development.”

Chartered financial planner and Director Susie Laws is shortlisted for two categories in the national Professional Adviser Women in Finance Awards

Essex-based Chartered Financial Planning firm, Fiducia Wealth Management, is very proud to announce that Chartered Financial Planner and Director Susie Laws has been shortlisted in two categories in the prestigious Professional Adviser Women in Finance Awards: Financial Adviser of the Year (Midlands and East Anglia) and Woman of the Year (retirement planning). The Women in Financial Advice Awards are open to those working within both the financial advice community and among the broader financial services sector in the UK.

At a time when trusted advisers are more important than ever, this recognition from a highly talented selection of entries from across the country is a huge tribute to Susie and indeed to the community of Fiducia Wealth Management Limited.

The Financial Adviser of the Year category is open to women whose achievements and work within financial advice in the UK have helped enhance the sector or raise its profile as a career for women - whether through education, training, leadership, mentoring or acting as a role model. The nominee must be able to demonstrate their influence in attracting and/or retaining women into financial advice.

Woman of the Year for retirement planning is open to women whose achievements and work specifically within pensions advice and retirement planning in the UK have helped enhance this area of financial advice or raise its profile as a career for women - whether through education, training, leadership, mentoring or acting as a role model.

The application process is onerous, taking account of an adviser or planner’s capability to conduct business, while also assessing standards of service, financial expertise and role model qualities of mentoring, leadership and trust. The panel also consider the candidate’s ability to contribute to the community and workplace culture.

“I was very honoured to have been nominated and now I am absolutely astounded to have been shortlisted in two categories!  A big thank you to the judges and to everyone at Professional Adviser. I love this profession and feel this is a testament to the shared expertise at Fiducia,” says Laws.

During an especially volatile climate, when trust and financial integrity are at a premium, recognition of an individual at an independent Essex business at this level confirms why Fiducia holds the much-coveted Corporate Chartered status, one of only 900 firms nationwide.

Fiducia Wealth Management provides financial advice to individuals and companies across the UK, with a specific focus on Essex, London, Suffolk and Norfolk.

Specialisms within the firm include pensions, final salary transfers and later life planning. As a Chartered Financial Planning firm, Fiducia Wealth Management adheres to extremely high standards of professionalism and is committed to delivering better advice and outcomes for clients. 

You can find out more here.

Big C Launches “We’re Still Here for You” Coronavirus Broadcast Campaign

Charity information campaign voiced by Stephen Fry and Martin Shaw

Two of Norfolk’s most famous residents; actor, comedian and writer, Stephen Fry and actor, Martin Shaw, have joined forces to help Norfolk and Waveney cancer charity, Big C, create a new television and radio campaign to ensure those affected by cancer during the Coronavirus pandemic are aware of, and can access, vital support.

Anyone affected by cancer in Norfolk and Waveney can access the following support by calling Big C free on 0800 092 7640

Like many other charities, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Big C has experienced a significant drop in income, with shops closed and spring and summer fundraising events postponed.

If you can support Big C, donations are gratefully welcomed at fundraise.big-c.co.uk


College offers safety courses for gas engineers to enable them to work

After recent government announcements that have eased the lockdown in England - allowing people to gradually return to their jobs - a college in Ipswich has responded to these changes and taken the first tentative steps to normality by helping gas engineers gain a crucial qualification that enables them to work.

Suffolk New College will be offering CCN1 courses from next week (Monday 18 May 2020).

All gas engineers need to have a valid CCN1 (safety certificate) in order to do their jobs. (Without it, they are unable to practice their craft).

Jayne Sheehan helps oversee these courses at Suffolk New College, The director of construction, automotive, engineering and electrical, said, “We have responded to the government’s new guidelines in relation to returning to work by re-introducing this course that will take place at our Ipswich campus.

“Gas engineers are unable to practice without either getting or renewing this certificate therefore we want to support their efforts in continuing to work by offering these qualifications.

“Naturally, the safety of everyone is our main priority so we will be limiting the amount of people who are able to study on this course at the same time. And we will ensure that those who study with us adhere to strict social distancing throughout.”

To find out more please click here.

Suffolk Chamber patron RSM: Emerging from Uncertainty, what support is there for Suffolk agricultural businesses?

The last seven weeks have been difficult for most people. Everyone has been affected by the awful COVID-19 pandemic. For some, lockdown has meant furloughing, and the mental strain of missing family, friends, and normal day to day life. For others, lockdown has piled pressure on working hours and the strain of looking after the mental and physical wellbeing of others – our brave NHS workers leading this charge with distinction.

Jack Deal, Associate Director, RSM

You can read the full article here.

We are Together with Business University of Suffolk launches programme of support for the business community

The University of Suffolk is today (11 May 2020) launching the ‘We are Together with Business’ programme- a suite of resources for local and regional businesses to help the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The University is a rich source of talent and as a community impact university, it wants to support businesses to respond, recover and to build their resilience through a knowledge exchange offer.

You can read the full article here.

Anglian Water honoured with Queen's Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development for the second time

Anglian Water is today celebrating receiving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development – the UK’s highest accolade to celebrate business success – for a second time.

The award, which is announced on the Queen’s birthday, was awarded to the water company for demonstrating excellent positive impacts across a number of initiatives such as reducing carbon and improving water quality, as well as continuing to put social and environmental prosperity for local communities at the heart of all it does.

You can read the full article here.

Cogent Technology Supports Response to UK Governments Urgent Request for Ventilators for COVID-19 Patients

On the 14th March, with the UK about to be placed in lockdown, Cogent Technology was approached by UK Government, as an ISO13485 Medical Device manufacturer, to support the UK Ventilator Challenge.

With a prediction of 30,000 ventilators required, Cogent Technology was contracted to rapidly manufacture over 13,500 units within a 12 week window.

The Eva Ventilator was designed and developed by the leading Medical Device designers at Team Consulting, working closely with Engineering, Planning, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Specialists at Cogent Technology.

You can read the full article here.

JAYNIC appointed as development manager for Gateway 14

Gateway 14 Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mid Suffolk District Council, has appointed JAYNIC as the development manager for a major new development, adjacent to junction 50 on the A14 at Stowmarket, Suffolk. The development will provide up to 2.3 million sq ft of business, logistics and commercial accommodation over the next 10-15 years, with the first buildings being available in 2021/2.

JAYNIC has signed a 15-year development agreement with Gateway 14 Ltd. A planning application will be submitted by the end of 2020, to enable a phased development on the 156-acre site.

You can read the full article here.

Muntons leads the way in sustainability

Muntons is proud to be the first maltster to commit to the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap coordinated in the UK by WRAP, a not for profit organisation and IGD research and training charity. Muntons, the malt and malted ingredient manufacturer based in Stowmarket, Suffolk, have long been recognised as the leader in sustainability within the malting industry and with this initiative are expanding their leadership further by also helping to champion sustainability in the food industry.

You can read the full article here.

The PCE GROUP of companies are honoured to have been awarded a prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise 2020 for International Trade

In what are globally challenging times, it is good to share positive achievements and the news of our success; recognising the tremendous strides we have taken as individual companies and as members of the PCE GROUP of Companies.

As one of the largest manufacturers of automation solutions in the UK, The PCE GROUP of Companies operate across a vast spectrum of sectors from FMCG (such as tube packaging solutions for cosmetic packaging) and Industrial Manufacturing, to the Ocular (Contact Lens Fulfilment Systems) and Medical sectors. Our team in Suffolk and the Midlands, combine seamlessly in creating automation excellence, for our diverse range of customers.

You can read the full article here.

VTM: Small business remains open with government support

You can read the full news article here.

If you have any positive news stories you would like to share with us please contact rachel@suffolkchamber.co.uk