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Archive for: December 2011

New modern health centre in time for New Year

New health centre1 New modern health centre in time for New Year

People can start registering now for St Georges Health Centre in Pastures Avenue near the North Worle Magistrates’ Courthouse and Priory Community School.

The centre has 21st century facilities, a new team and same day consultations for residents of North Worle, St Georges, West Wick and all new estates built in recent years.

The health centre will offer extended opening hours – to 6.30pm on Mondays and Fridays, and to 7.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesdays. It will also be open from 9am till 12noon on Saturdays.

The new Health Centre has been commissioned by NHS North Somerset and the surgery will be run by Malling Health limited, in response to one of the fastest growing populations in Europe.

Demand from patients for surgery facilities has seen some local surgeries busting at the seams and this new surgery has been designed to accommodate between six and ten thousand patients.

Practice Manager Steve Edwards said: “This is an exciting time for thousands of residents and families. The facilities are cutting-edge, modern, technological and bright, and our staff are very well trained, friendly, and helpful.

“The surgery aim to will provide modern facilities, longer opening hours including Saturdays and same day consultations.

“We also plan innovative, unique ways of working and partnering with the community which we will be unveiling in future weeks.”

Resident Adam Maxwell who moved into The Grange, West Wick this week and was one of the first to register at the health centre, said: “This is so much needed. I loved the idea of new extended opening times and Saturdays will suit me for appointments with my busy working life during the weekdays.”

The health centre accommodates four new GP consulting rooms, a number of treatment areas and a new GP training facility at the two-floor building.

The new surgery can be contacted on 01934 527681.

Local firm’s big Christmas gift to charity

Acorn Local firms big Christmas gift to charityKind hearted Somerset Solicitors are giving a Christmas gift of over £5000 to charity.

Acorn Solicitors has now given more than £15000 to charity since starting in 2009 from their Taunton office.

The latest amount raised is from when Acorn took part in Wills for Will Aid last month. It also donated £100 to Age UK Somerset instead of sending clients Christmas Cards this Christmas.

In September the firm donated £2500 to St Margaret’s hospice through their wills week.

The community minded firm are now planning to give 10 per cent of all their ‘Living Wills’ done in January to Age UK Somerset and continue their pledge to support local good causes in the new year.

Managing Partner David Sinclair said: “We believe in the community and are part of it also, so want to invest in it.

“These are tough economic days and I believe that firms have a responsibility to help good local charities and the spin off is affordable wills for local people which has encouraged them to make a will.”

David was on a shortlist of five for young lawyer of the year in the UK in 2009.

He is also a national director for Solicitors for the Elderly and helps out with Somerset’s Age Concern.

For more information see www.acornsolicitors.com

 

Life in the fast lane for college apprentice

Noel Flynn and Paul Varcoe Life in the fast lane for college apprentice

Noel Flynn (left) & Paul Varcoe (right)

The thrills and spills of being at Grand Prix track-sides are second nature to a Worle man who has been studying for an Apprenticeship as the high-powered cars roar by.

Noel Flynn works as a front-of-house Operations Manager for Weston-based Freeman’s Hospitality, which provides catering and other services for a range of motorsport clients including the Virgin Formula One team.

But when Noel is not looking after exhausted drivers and feeding celebrity guests, he has been studying for an NVQ Level 3 Apprenticeship in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership.

When Noel joined Freeman’s after some years out of the hospitality business he felt he needed a refresher, and contacted Weston College to see what it could offer him.

He was put in touch with assessor Paul Varcoe, who guided him through the Apprenticeship programme and was on hand at Silverstone this summer to watch Noel in action and monitor his progress.

Noel, 43, is now back in Weston after a long F1 season which took in 19 events and many thousands of miles travelling.

He said: “It’s a very busy job that often sees you working from 5am to 11pm but it’s very varied and you’re often called on to help out with things like pushing the cars off the grid.

“You get used to seeing celebrities around. Richard Branson came out five times last season and he’s a very nice guy but to be honest you switch off to all that and just get on with your job.

“After working in catering for a long time I came out and didn’t return for eight years. When I did, I realised there might be gaps in my knowledge after that length of time so I wanted to bring my skills up to date.

“The Apprenticeship qualification is job-related and that was the easiest way of doing it. In my spare time I was able to study, and had various meetings with Paul to make sure I was on course.”

Paul Varcoe said: “Noel already had some qualifications but wanted to extend those into a managerial role and so we were able to offer him a suitable NVQ Level 3 apprenticeship.

“It’s a great example of ‘earn and learn’, and it proves that Apprenticeships aren’t just for younger people. Someone like Noel has a lot of experience in his field but there is always something new to learn and this has been very beneficial for his career development.”

Latest article from Burton Sweet’s Rachel Finch

burton sweet21 Latest article from Burton Sweets Rachel FinchChanges to the tax system in April next year will affect owners of Furnished Holiday Let properties in the UK and the European Economic Area.

The new rules, which will come into effect on 6 April 2012, will make it harder to qualify for the tax advantages furnished holiday lettings currently enjoy.

There have been two significant changes announced so far:

1. If you make a loss in the year on a qualifying property it can be offset against your other income, potentially giving rise to a tax refund. New legislation will mean that losses may only be used against profits made by other furnished holiday let properties.

This changes means that if only have 1 qualifying property, or if you make a bigger overall loss than you make a profit then the balance of the loss is just carried forward, you do not get relief against your other Income Tax.

2. A furnished holiday let property is any property in the UK or elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) which is commercially let and meets certain letting criteria, which are also set to change.

From 6 April, the number days in a tax year for which the property must be available for letting to third parties to qualify as a furnished holiday let will increase from 140 days to 210 days. Secondly, the number of days for which the property must actually be let will increase from 70 days to 105 days.

These changes mean that properties in areas with short seasons which had previously qualified for furnished holiday let treatment may no longer qualify for beneficial tax treatment.

At the moment there is no word on whether the favourable Capital Gains Tax treatment of Furnished Holiday Lettings will also change in April, these include:

1. Provided that you have held the property for over 12 months, that you own over 5% of it, and that it meets the Furnished Holiday Letting criteria, then the property may qualify for Capital Gains Tax Entrepreneur’s Relief. This means that if the property is sold the rate of Capital Gains Tax payable could be reduced from 28% down to just 10%.

2. Currently, Furnished Holiday Lets qualify for certain Capital Gains Tax Reliefs, such as ‘Business Asset Roll-Over Relief’, this means that if you sale a qualifying property and reinvest the sale proceeds within 3 years in certain other business assets, you may be able to defer payment of Capital Gains Tax until you dispose of those new assets.

Further details of the changes are expected in the March 2012 Budget.

If you have a furnished holiday let property and are unsure how the changes may affect you, please contact Rachel Finch, Tax Advisory Partner at Burton Sweet, on 01452 305651 or Rachel@burton-sweet.co.uk

Xmas supply chains to supermarkets aided by Portishead company

Amethyst Systems and White Arrow ft. Lee Dowson and Stephen Creek 16Dec11 Xmas supply chains to supermarkets aided by Portishead company

Amethyst Systems’ Lee Dowson with Stephen Creek of White Arrow Logistics

With consumer demand for well stocked supermarket shelves more important than ever as Christmas fast approaches, Portishead-based software developer Amethyst Systems has played a key part helping a leading supermarket chain in the UK to keep up supply levels.

Amethyst Systems has provided warehouse and distribution specialist White Arrow Logistics with an IT system for their supermarket customers to use across multiple regional distribution centres (RDC’s). The overall aim of the new systems, of which the IT aspect is a crucial component, is the efficient movement of goods from RDC’s to supermarkets and stores.

Ultimately consumers will benefit from the new electronic systems as stock will be ‘picked’ from warehouses automatically according to best before dates and a greater variety of goods will be available on the supermarket shelves for the consumer. Wider environmental benefits also include lower greenhouse gas emissions as orders can be consolidated into full truck loads ready for onwards movement to supermarkets.

“We were impressed by Amethyst Systems ability to fulfil our IT requirements in an amazingly short time frame,” said Stephen Creek, Operations Manager for White Arrow Logistics. “The support we have had during the implementation of the system and on an ongoing basis has been invaluable in helping us to meet our customer commitments.”

The Amethyst team has years of software development experience in the logistics arena and help transport companies including Wincanton and Zenith Logistics with IT solutions, although this is just one area of their business.

Lee Dowson of Amethyst said: “We are fast becoming recognised as a key provider of IT solutions within the transport industry and we’re delighted to be able to be involved in such a large-scale supermarket operation throughout the UK. However, we’ll always stay true to our roots in offering local companies, affordable software solutions that help smaller businesses to improve and grow by getting the most from data and IT systems.”

More information including case studies of how Amethyst have delivered successful solutions for businesses is available on the Amethyst website: www.amethystsystems.net

 

Former apprentice moves up the food chain to become head chef

Neil Wrigley Former apprentice moves up the food chain to become head chef

Neil Wrigley

Local man Neil Wrigley has successfully worked his way up the ranks to become head chef at the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill at DoubleTree by Hilton, Cadbury House in Congresbury.

Neil has worked at the four-star hotel in North Somerset for the past six years, starting as an apprentice in the kitchen before being made a chef within the events department.

He soon became head chef in events and has now been appointed as the head chef at the exclusive Marco Pierre White eatery.

Neil, who lives in Weston-super-Mare, trained at Weston College, studying Pro Cooking and undertaking an NVQ course in Hospitality Management.

He said: “Working in the kitchens at DoubleTree by Hilton, Cadbury House has taught me a lot about catering at a very high standard. It is a four-star boutique hotel so the food always has to reflect that and I love creating dishes that people expect to find in venues like ours.

“My passion has always been for food and cooking so it’s a huge honour for me to now be head chef at such a fantastic restaurant and to be working under a culinary legend like Marco Pierre White.

“The thing I love most about my job is creating the interesting and delicious seasonal dishes for our specials menus. It gives me the chance to be creative and play around with flavours. I am very lucky that at Marco Pierre White’s I am able to use the best fresh local produce.”

Food and beverage manager Sarah Warren said: “It is fantastic that Neil has worked his way up from an apprentice to the head chef position. His flair and creativity as well as his skill in the kitchen is proving a massive hit with customers already and we are looking forward to seeing what he’s going to do next!”

For menus and further information on the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill Bristol visit www.mpwsteakhousebristol.co.uk or call 01934 839 019.

Students enjoy hands-on experience at Weston’s new TV station

Rachel Philip and Lauren Hendy Students enjoy hands on experience at Westons new TV station

Rachel Phillip and Lauren Hendy

A group of Weston College students have been experiencing their first taste of a busy media career during work experience at Weston’s new TV station.

The students have been working with producers and editors at WestonSuperTelevision, an internet-only station operating from studios in Oldmixon Crescent estate.

While there, the students have been developing their skills operating cameras, and vision-mixing and generally assisting in the production of shows which cover local sport, politics, music and community issues.

Rachel Philip and Lauren Hendy, both 17, are studying for a BTEC National Diploma in Media Practice. They have both been on work experience at the station and say it has been very rewarding.

Rachel, of Hutton, said: “We worked on the prime time show, which is edited as live so it’s a real challenge to know how to operate all the equipment and keep calm at the same time.

“It’s been really good and I feel I’ve learned a lot about TV production and the media generally.”

Richard Browne, WestonSuperTelevision’s Creative Director, said: “We’ve enjoyed having Weston College students here and I think that as an introduction to the media, it has been an eye-opening experience.

“There are many different roles involved in the production of a TV show and this has given students the chance to focus on what they feel confident with. We hope we can repeat the experience with Weston College in the future, possibly on a bigger scale.”

Wendy Chadwick, Weston College Course Coordinator, said: “This has allowed the students to apply the skills they are learning on the course in a real working environment and also gives them chance to participate in their local community. One of my previous students is employed at WestonsuperTV and it has been quite an inspiration for my current students to meet her too.”

Student wins Christmas competition judged by Weston MP

Priory School logo 300x210 Student wins Christmas competition judged by Weston MPA student at Priory Community School is dreaming of a career as an artist after creating the winning design in a Christmas card art competition – her third success in Christmas card competitions in recent years.

Kayleigh Phillips, aged 14, beat off 750 primary and secondary school students across Weston and Worle to win a Christmas Card competition judged by local MP John Penrose.

In the latest competition she won a competition to visit the House of Commons.

It is the third competition to design a Christmas card that she has won in recent years.

She said: “I love art and I am drawing regularly at home, anything from animals to landscapes.

“I would love to become a famous artist or a graphic designer. In school I’m doing Computer Aided Design and learning these skills. I was so excited to discover I had won the competition.”

John Penrose offered schoolchildren the chance to showcase their talents by crafting a festive card for him to send to contacts.

This year’s cards were designed around the theme of Weston’s ‘super’ new seafront.

To find our more about Priory Community School please visit: http://www.priory.n-somerset.sch.uk/index.shtml

Empty homes campaign backed by property specialists

James Edwards 235x300 Empty homes campaign backed by property specialists

James Edwards of Colliers International

More than five thousand homes across the West are standing empty while pressure mounts on local authorities to locate suitable sites for new development.

Now property specialists Colliers International has welcomed moves by councils, including North Somerset, across the region to ensure redundant sites including empty homes are fully utilised before further green field sites are swallowed up for development.

James Edwards, a planning specialist with Colliers International’s Bristol office welcomed the West of England Property Initiative – run jointly between North Somerset, Bristol City South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset Councils.

He said: “The initiative aims to get more empty private housing back into general supply on the open market by providing a base for advertising empty properties to prospective sellers, purchasers and tenants whilst also providing advice on buying, selling and renting out such properties.”

Across the country as a whole there are one million empty homes set against a perceived housing requirement of 100,000 new homes required per year. Locally, there are 5,000 empty homes across the initiative area with 1,500 in Bristol alone.

The initiative also serves commercial premises and land.

James said: “There is an ever increasing demand for housing and local authorities are being challenged to find suitable land to provide thousands of new houses.

“Although the level of empty houses in any one area may not fully meet a perceived housing shortfall for the area it will go some way to addressing it – which will help relieve pressure on previously undeveloped land on the edges of our cities, towns and villages.”

He said it was madness to leave properties empty only to have to build a new one somewhere else – consuming valuable open space and further raw materials.

He said: “A fundamental problem historically has been the lack of collaborative thinking, which has meant that there has not been a centralised service for identifying and promoting empty homes.

“The West of England Property Initiative and its associated website: www.no-use-emptywest.co.uk, provides this essential facility and gives all interested parties all the information required to reintegrate these properties into the main supply chain,” concludes James.

 

Good news for businesses as Weston Package gets green light

Transport Good news for businesses as Weston Package gets green lightThe transport infrastructure in Weston-super-Mare is set for an overhaul after the Department for Transport (DfT) agreed to help fund major improvements in the town.

Called ‘Weston Package’ the investment will see the DfT provide £11 million to fund some significant transport improvement schemes for both car and motorcycle drivers, bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.

North Somerset Council’s deputy leader and executive member for strategic planning, Cllr Elfan Ap Rees said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I know Weston residents have been frustrated in recent years over the apparent lack of progress but we have been quietly working behind the scenes for the past five years to get to where we are today.

“Weston Package has also received a huge amount of support from local businesses and now we will be able to get going on the improvements next year. Weston is definitely open for business.”

The Weston Package will see an increased capacity at Junction 21, new bus link from Queens Way to the station, new car park and bus interchange at Worle railway station and the widening of Marchfields Way to complete the dual carriage-way into town and provide new bus and cycle routes, with construction set to start in autumn 2012.