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Business

Work starts on Marlborough’s new filling station

Getting to work – group operations manager Mark Wilson, mayor’s consort Cllr Nick Fogg, mayor Edwina Fogg and shops development manager Nick Fraser cut the first turf at the development siteGetting to work – group operations manager Mark Wilson, mayor’s consort Cllr Nick Fogg, mayor Edwina Fogg and shops development manager Nick Fraser cut the first turf at the development siteWork started this week on Marlborough’s new filling station and convenience store, with the town’s mayor cutting the first turf to kick-off the £2 million construction.

Contractors are expected to be on site for 12 weeks, after which the town will have a filling station to service eight cars at a time, Budgens convenience store, Subway food outlet, and car washes.

At a turf cutting ceremony, Marlborough’s first citizen, Edwina Fogg, said: “As mayor, I would like to say how thrilled I am about the new Fraser’s Budgens of Marlborough development coming to the town.

“It’s fantastic because 50 new jobs will be created. It’s really good news for everyone.”

For group operations manager Mark Wilson, the sight of diggers moving onto the Marlborough Business Park site was the culmination of a decade-long dream.

“We’ve been trying to get into Marlborough for some time; probably ten years, and we’ve finally made it,” he said.

“I hope we can do the town of Marlborough proud with this development, and that the people of the town will enjoy using us.”

Shops development manager Nick Fraser explained exactly what customers would find when the business opens its doors on Thursday, October 4.

“There will be a large BP forecourt, a Budgens convenience store and a Subway food outlet. There will also be a rollover car wash and two jet washes.

“We will be working with local producers and suppliers, and we are involving ourselves massively in the local community,” he said.

The company recently launched a £6,000 Community Giveaway, and invited organisations and good causes in the Marlborough area to compete for grants of up to £1,000.

The winners will be decided by public vote on Thursday, September 27 at an event at Theatre on the Hill, St John’s School, Marlborough.

Organisations can apply for a grant, and their members can support their bid, at www.facebook.com/BudgensMarlborough

The Fraser Group is a third-generation business with a string of awards to its name, including Best Forecourt Independent Retailer, a national title which it has won three times. The Marlborough filling station will be Frasers’ sixth site.

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One business, two Marlboroughs, 12,000 miles – how hard could it be?

Debbie PeplerDebbie PeplerA businesswoman who runs companies in two Marlboroughs – 12,000 miles apart – will tell the story of the challenges she faces at a networking event next week.

Debbie Pepler runs business consultancy Peptalk in Marlborough, Wiltshire (population 8,000) and Marlborough New Zealand (population 46,000), a wine-growing region of 12,500 square kilometers.

Married to a Wiltshireman, the Kiwi splits her time between the UK and New Zealand, chasing the sunshine and enjoying two six-month summers – although she admits that hasn't worked out too well for her this year.

And next Tuesday she will tell members of 4Networking how she manages to run two businesses on opposite sides of the world in a talk entitled Juggling the Rose and the Kiwi – one business plan, two countries, 12,000 miles, how hard can it be?

The meeting takes place at Ogbourne Downs Golf Club on Tuesday, July 10 from 8am to 10am.  Attendance costs £12, which includes breakfast.

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Magazine wins national award

 

Monique Hayes, group communications officer, with TV presenter Fiona PhillipsMonique Hayes, group communications officer, with TV presenter Fiona PhillipsA company magazine published by The Hills Group has been named one of the best in the country.
intouch was identified by the Institute of Internal Communications as the best news magazine with up to four issues per year at a glittering awards ceremony in London on June 15.
 
Nearly 40 awards were handed out by TV presenter Fiona Phillips in front of a crowd of 400 internal communications industry professionals.
 
Monique Hayes, group communications officer, said: “This award means so much to our small, in-house team who put a lot of effort in to keeping Hills’ employees, pensioners, shareholders and friends up to date with what is happening within the company.
 
"We were thrilled when we found out that we had been shortlisted and are extremely proud to have been judged as the overall winner in our category.”
 
The magazine, described by judges as “a really nice reader-friendly magazine with a focus on the business and its people – a publication to be proud of”, was shortlisted alongside similar publications produced by three national companies – Network Rail, TNT Express and Tarmac UK.
 

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Marlborough’s jubilee celebrations get off to a colourful start

jphoto Collins of solicitors Withy King (top left) and friends enjoy the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Olympic Jubilee Balljphoto Collins of solicitors Withy King (top left) and friends enjoy the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Olympic Jubilee BallMarlborough's jubilee celebrations got off to a colourful start with a red, white and blue themed ball on Saturday. The Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Olympic Jubilee Ball was timed to celebrate not only the diamond jubilee, but also the arrival of the Olympic flame, which will pass along Marlborough High Street on Wednesday.

Around 100 members of the business community donned black ties and ball gowns to enjoy a slap-up meal and music by Echo.

The event was also an opportunity to raise awareness of, and money for, Swift Medics, a charity of volunteer doctors from hospital and general practice who provide what is known as ‘pre-hospital emergency care’.

The Medics provide emergency care at the scene of serious road traffic accidents and other life threatening medical emergencies including falls from a height, serious burns and incidents where casualties are unconscious or trapped.

A charity auction made over £1,200, while a raffle – with a top prize of £250 of John Lewis vouchers - raised a further £850.

Auctioneer Marc Anderson of Kidson Trigg coaxed bids out party-goers during the auction, including over £300 for a tour of the iconic Lloyds of London building and meal for four in the city, courtesy of the High Sheriff of Wiltshire Robert Hiscox.

Effie Robins, co-organiser of the Olympic Jubilee Ball, looks resplendent in a red ball gownEffie Robins, co-organiser of the Olympic Jubilee Ball, looks resplendent in a red ball gownWembley tickets and a golf day were also among the top lots, while a year's advertising in Marlborough News Online achieved a hammer price of £160.

After the event, Marlborough Chamber president Paul Shimell, who co-organised the event with committee member Effie Robins, of Joules, and presented a toast to the Queen after the meal, said: “Everybody said what a great night it was. There were loads of people and I've never seen a crowd jump to the dance floor so quickly when the band came on – everybody was dancing.”

The next big events in the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce calendar are a summer golf day, where seasoned golfers will play 18 holes while beginners spend time with a professional learning how to chip and putt, and the Autumn Fashion Show, which attracted a capacity audience when it was staged for the first time last yea

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Wake up and smell the coffee.......

As coffee shops in Marlborough battle for customers, Myles Palmer, the Brewin Dolphin divisional director based at their Marlborough branch, has written this article on inflation which he headlines…

Wake up and smell the coffee........

There is nothing like the aroma of a decent cup of coffee to prise open your bleary eyes on a wet chilly spring morning. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come cheap given the cost of coffee has risen by 13.7 per cent over the past 12 months.

Inflation is hanging around like a bad smell. After dropping in February to its lowest level since November 2010, it nudged its way back to 3.5 per cent in March leaving the Government’s 2 per cent target a long way off.

It is not just coffee prices that are rising far higher than the headline rate of inflation. Heating your home is 13.2 per cent more expensive today than it was a year ago - that comes despite recent price cuts made by energy providers.

Continued inflation is also having a detrimental impact on people with savings It is three years and counting, of Base Rate being stuck at a record low of 0.5 per cent. With inflation running at seven times that level it is easy to see the difficulty savers have in trying to get a real return on their money.

Inflation causes havoc for our personal finances because it erodes the real value of our money over time.

If inflation ran at the Bank of England’s intended target of 2 per cent the sum of £100,000 would be worth £66,671 in real terms 20 years later. At 4 per cent the real value would drop to £44,200, while at 5 per cent the original sum of £100,000 would be worth just £35,849 in 20 years time.

It illustrates the level of return needed to get on your hard earned cash just to keep pace with inflation.

In order for savers to get a real return on their money a basic-rate taxpayer needs to ensure their money is in an account paying at least 4.38 per cent a year, while a higher-rate taxpayer paying the 40 per cent rate needs to be earning interest of at least 5.83 per cent.

Yet many banks and building societies continue to offer dismal rates on interest on accounts. Indeed, the latest Bank of England figure shows that the average instant access rate is a measly 0.23 per cent, the lowest on record.

In inflationary times, when the value of fixed income payments is eroded over a few years, it is important to find increasing sources of investment income.

This is a big dilemma. Savers, not unreasonably, do not want to lose a penny of their hard-earned cash. But they may need their money to work harder to get an income that keeps inflation at bay.

The question is where to start?

Investment-grade corporate bonds suffer at times of inflation (the fixed interest rate means that the real value of the income is eroded over time), while non-investment-grade bonds, which pay a higher yield, tend to struggle during a recession (more companies default).

It is why the bond fund of choice at present is the “strategic” corporate bond fund, where the manager has the flexibility to invest in both grades of bond, depending on their view on the economy.

One way to beat inflation is to invest in the stock market because companies can use pricing power to keep up with inflation. The reinvestment of dividends – annual payments made to shareholders by companies – also plays its part.

According to research by Brewin Dolphin an outlay of £100,000 in March 1993 in a balanced portfolio would be worth a staggering £379,606 had dividends been reinvested. What’s more, an investor who had chosen to spend the income would have seen their portfolio grow to £196,615. Importantly, the value of the income will have risen too, from £4,100 to £7,400.

If those statistics don’t whet the appetite, try this snippet of news. Despite the stock market uncertainty, dividends paid by British companies have increased to a record level. Inflation and uncertainty go hand in hand, yet the future is far from certain – even more so in light of the recent elections in France and Greece.

Investors are going to have to wake up and smell the coffee if they want to make the most from their savings and investments – and it may mean taking on a little more risk and getting good advice.

The value of investments can fall and you may get back less than you invested.

No investment is suitable in all cases and if you have any doubts as to an investment's suitability then you should contact us. The opinions expressed in this document are not necessarily the views held throughout Brewin Dolphin Ltd. No Director, representative or employee of Brewin Dolphin Ltd accepts liability for any direct or consequential loss arising from the use of this document or its contents.

The information contained in this document is believed to be reliable and accurate, but without further investigation cannot be warranted as to accuracy or completeness.

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Hills gives half a million to wildlife projects

Wildlife projects and areas of biodiversity in Wiltshire have received a £500,000 grant from Marlborough-based Hills Group Limited.

The money has been granted to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust by Hills from funds available through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF).

Mike Hill, chief executive of Hills Group, said: “We are long-term supporters of the Trust and have made this contribution to mark the occasion of their 50th anniversary. The funding will ensure that wildlife habitats are created and protected for future generations to enjoy.
 
“As a company we care about the locations that give us our living and do our best to give something back. It is a strong principle of ours and one which has benefited all communities in Wiltshire for a number of years.”
 
Gary Mantle, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Director explained: “We have set ourselves a target of raising £1m in our 50th Anniversary year so we can keep protecting Wiltshire’s precious wildlife and help communities enjoy their local reserves. We have challenged our members and supporters to raise £500,000 and we are absolutely thrilled that Hills have agreed to match this with their £500,000.
 
“We will spend the Hills money at our reserves across the county, which include some of the best wildlife habitats in Wiltshire. For example, at Blakehill Farm we will reseed the meadows with green hay to increase the number of wildflowers and at Ravensroost Wood we can now install dormouse boxes.

"In the wood at Cloately Meadows we will start coppicing to provide the right conditions for butterflies to thrive and at Markham Banks a new bridge means we can use ponies and sheep to graze our meadows.
 
“And it’s not just wildlife that will benefit. At our Lower Moor and Langford Lakes Nature Reserves we will be improving our visitor facilities to make sure local people can easily access and explore their local reserves.
 
“Hills generosity inspires us to achieve more and more for Wiltshire’s wildlife and communities and we are extremely grateful for their continued support and encouragement” said Gary.
 
Since 1996 the Hills Group has contributed more than £5.3m to the Trust through LCF to support the conservation of biodiversity and the provision of public amenities in the region.

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Lots of interest at charity auction

A family pass to Charlie´s Farm in Colderton, trout fishing at Wilton House, tickets to Barbury Horse Trials and meals at local restaurants are among the prizes at a charity auction, as Pewsey businesses join forces to raise money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Pewsey accountants Farrant Frost and chartered financial planners Aisa Professional are hosting the charity auction at the Bouverie Hall, Pewsey on Friday, 18 May from 7pm to 10pm.

A fully licensed bar will be provided by the French Horn and a light buffet comes courtesy of Chequers Bistro. David Harrison from the Jubilee Auction Rooms will wield the gavel, and many Pewsey businesses have donated lots for the auction.

"We wanted to arrange a community event to raise money for a great charity, as well as trying to promote and support local businesses," explained event organiser Jenni Frost, of Farrant Frost.

"We´ve had some incredible donations from local businesses and attractions, as well as national organisations, including signed merchandise from Manchester United, Arsenal and EastEnders,” said co-organiser Colette Sowerby, from Aisa Professional.

"We are so excited about hosting a real community event. It´s great to bring local businesses and local residents together for such a good cause, and to have an enjoyable evening out."

Ticket, priced £5, and are on sale at pubs and shops in Pewsey or from the website, where a full list of auction lots can be found. www.pewseycharityauction.org.uk

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Chance to win Lloyds tour at business ball

A tour of the iconic Lloyds of London building and meal for four in the city is just one of the prizes being offered at a charity auction for businesspeople in Marlborough this month.

The money-can't-buy opportunity will be offered at the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Olympic Jubilee Ball on Saturday, May 19.

Other prizes include:

  • Golf for four followed by lunch
  • Tickets to the Marlborough College gala performances and £160 towards a course at the summer school
  • Two tickets to Wembley to watch the England autumn international
  • John Lewis vouchers worth £250
  • Marlborough Jazz Festival Stroller Tickets
  • A year's free advertising on Marlborough News Online, worth £100
  • A portrait by the artist Yvonne Cannane
  • A photography voucher for £149 from Peter Davies Photography


The black tie event is being held to mark passing of the Olympic torch through Marlborough on May 23 and the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations in June.

Ticket holders will enjoy a champagne reception, three course dinner, live music and a charity auction in aid of Marlborough-based Swift Medics.

Proceeds from the auction will be donated to Swift Medics, a charity of volunteer doctors from hospital and general practice who provide what is known as ‘pre-hospital emergency care’.

The Medics provide emergency care at the scene of serious road traffic accidents and other life threatening medical emergencies including falls from a height, serious burns and incidents where casualties are unconscious or trapped.

The event will be held on Saturday, May 19 from 7pm to 1am. Tickets are £40, available from Chamber president Paul Shimell at Specsavers or from committee member Effie Robins of Joules. Both shops are on High Street, near the town hall.  

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Simon's green business dream

A Marlborough man who lost his job with computer giant IBM has set up his own business, recycling unwanted PCs.
 
Simon Crisp (34), the founder of Green Machine Computers, collects old PCs and electronic equipment for free and refurbishes them be used by families on  low incomes, students, or anyone in need of a computer for around £100.
 
And for each machine put back on the market, the company donates a percentage to charity – Marlborough-based Afrikaya and Helen & Douglas House are among the recent beneficiaries.
 
Simon said: “Being made redundant was a complete shock and almost broke me.  To make it worse I was a long term temp, so got less than a month’s pay redundancy.
 
“It was tough at first as we had no income at all, two young children and an older one at senior school. After a week of stress and worry about looking for a new job I decided I never wanted to work for one of the big IT companies again and decided to start my own.”
 
Simon decided to start  Green Machine Computers after spotting a gap in the market, and because he was annoyed that “the machines that often got destroyed at work at the end of their lives were often better than the ones I had at home, yet company policy seemed to be remove these from circulation to be dismantled."
 
“If you're on benefits and your washing machine blows up you’re pointed to a company like Refurbiz in Devizes, which offers second hand nearly new white goods for a low cost, but there is not a company, that offers this for computers,” said Simon. 
 
“That’s when Green Machine Computers was born.”
 
The firm, which is now six months old, has collected and refurbished computers from around 30 companies, schools and charities across the area. 
 
Recently,  Green Machine Computers – which operates from a workshop at Membury Business Park, near Lambourn  - was able to offer a laptop and mobile phones to a community in the Gambia. 
 
The laptop was donated to Abdoulie Joku, a member of the Parent Teacher Association at a nursery school in the Gambia with which Afrkiaya is working. 
 
Geoff Miles from Afrikaya explained: "Abdoulie is trainer in the Gambian Army and has recently started an IT course to improve his career prospects when he leaves the army. 
 
"He asked us if Afrikaya could provide him with an old laptop to enable him to take best advantage of the course, otherwise they had to share 1 between 6 of them, and Simo kindly donated one."
 
To donate or buy a computer, log on to www.green-machine.org or call Green Machine Computers on 01488 670350.

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Thurs 10th May: Viyella fashion show at Town Hall

Clothes shops Viyella and CC will be showing off their spring and summer collections in a fashion show at Marlborough Town Hall on Thursday, May 10 from 7pm.

The event, which will be held in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, will also feature makeup tips from Clarins.

Tickets, priced at £5, are available from Viyalla and CC at 8/9 High Street, Marlborough or on 01672 514855.

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Marlborough’s Waitrose pioneers the way ahead for 80,000 John Lewis partners

Andy Davies, ebullient manager of Marlborough’s Waitrose, will be missing today (Tuesday) from the supermarket he has made the magnet for shoppers over almost five years and one of the chain’s most successful.

Instead he will be on a train heading for London and the Victoria headquarters of the John Lewis Partnership on a mission to enhance the careers of the 80,000 partners, who are all part of Britain’s biggest department store group.

His talents have been recognised with a boost in his career with a six months secondment to roll out across the business a pioneering system he has developed in Marlborough to give them the flexibility to change and expand their careers.

“It’s Marlborough in the forefront again – absolutely,” he told Marlborough News Online. “We piloted the project with 25 members of my team here, from senior partners right through to non-management members.”

“What is exciting about it for me is that it keeps alive, on a day to day basis, that spirit of partnership that our founder Spedan Lewis created for the group, which is only set to grow as we get bigger and bigger -- and better -- at what we do.”

It is exciting moment too for Richard Clare as he takes over from Andy (pictured right), who presented Richard with his first manager’s badge in the Marlborough Waitrose store before departing on the eve of the Easter weekend.

Richard only left the Army – he was an infantry staff officer in The Rifles looking after finances – in March last year and became a partner at the Marlborough Waitrose last July.

It was for family reasons that he decided to leave and discovered that Waitrose was looking for store managers at an officers’ association symposium.

“It seemed to me a fabulous opportunity,” said 35-year-old Richard, who lives at Kintbury. “Yes, it’s obviously very different from bullets and bombs.  It’s baked beans now but it’s still about the managing process.”

“In the Army life is about drills.  And we save lives too.  Here in Marlborough it’s about drills too that us efficient and leading the partners through that process.  That’s where there really is a synergy between the two.”

It will be an extremely busy six months standing in Andy Davies’ shoes – he is due back in October – since this summer will see major events in the town to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee and the launch of the Olympic Games.

“So there is a great opportunity for me to get behind the activities that will be going on and help the town celebrate those occasions in style,” said Richard.

Looking back, Andy recalls that it was only a year ago that he organised the revamp of the Waitrose store with the introduction of new energy-saving refrigeration and new products too, as well the store’s new cafe.

He has also seen changes in shopping patterns as a result of the recession, customers now shopping more frequently for fewer goods – there have been fewer of those overflowing trolleys at the checkout – but no reduction in overall takings.

“We now have a much more dynamic store which has done extremely well,” said Andy. “It has been a more positive year and this week the 220 partners will celebrate with their own AGM here in Marlborough, look back on the year and toast the success of the branch.”

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