30th anniversary environment awards 2019

The County Durham Environment Awards 2019 are now open for entries.

The objective of the award scheme is to reward great design, environmental guardianship and community spirit in County Durham.

2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the Awards and an extremely successful year is anticipated. More information about the twelve categories can be found online.

The closing date for entries is 19 July 2019. Enter here.

Remondis invests for the future

Picture: L to R: Steve Patterson Managing Director, Remondis Waste Solutions Ltd, Andrea McGuigan, Business Durham, Cllr Simon Henig, Leader, Durham County Council, Werner Hols, REMONDIS International, Managing Director and Dr Dave Hodgson Dr David Hodgson, Department for International Trade.

Remondis have opened their state-of-the-art C&D recycling plant in Chester-le-Street, County Durham.

The site was acquired in November 2016 through the acquisition of JBT Waste Services Limited and the redevelopment of the site has taken 18 months from the initial design stages.

The site will utilise the latest sorting technology to process construction, demolition and commercial waste streams.

The construction work was conducted by locally based NCS who were involved from the initial demolition of the original site buildings right through the project and, despite some testing technical challenges, managed to bring the project in to the tight timescales demanded.

NCS, Operations Manager, Peter Galbraith said: “the brief was to demolish and rebuild the site with minimal impact on the existing operations and to a tight timescale. As always at NCS we love a challenge and working to meet our customer expectations”.

After a competitive selection process the recycling plant was supplied by Northern Ireland based Kiverco who have a strong track record in the construction of these facilities.

Kiverco’s Area Sales Manager, JP Devlin said: “this plant has been developed to maximise recycling and recovery and operate to the highest levels of efficiency and reliability. Key to this project has been a relentless demand from Remondis for the highest levels of quality. Kiverco are proud to have been selected to design and supply this fantastic new facility to one of the leading operators in the sector”.

The plant will utilise a variety of sorting technologies to extract the maximum recycled material from the mixed wastes it is designed to handle. Mechanical screens will size the material appropriately, magnets will remove ferrous metals, density separators will be used to separate light and heavy waste stream and the plant will utilise near-infra-red sorting technology to ensure maximum quality of outputs.

Commenting at the opening of the site Councillor Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council said: “It’s great to see a business investing for the future in our region and in such an essential industry. This investment will support improvement in our local environment and our local economy”.

Regional Director for Remondis, Dave Hughes added: “this project is a testament to the team that have worked on it. The quality in the execution is obvious to see and this plant will ensure we can deliver the very best levels of service and environmental performance to our customers for years to come.”

Get saving


The Durham Savers Project works closely with County Durham businesses to help improve the financial wellbeing of staff.

The aim of the project is to help businesses implement savings schemes in the workplace where staff can save directly from their wages.

Thirty County Durham businesses have already signed up to Durham Savers, including the local NHS Trust and South Durham Enterprise Agency, while more than 50 schools in the county are also involved.

Cllr Jane Brown, Cabinet member for social inclusion, said: “We know that half of the population have less than £100 in savings and that 70 per cent of families in County Durham are worried about their finances, so putting a little bit away each month can make a real difference.”

This also fits into the much wider Public Health agenda that is looking at the physical and mental wellbeing of workers called the “Better Health at Work Award”.

The award helps business formalise the work they are often already doing around staff wellbeing but includes financial resilience.

The project’s credit union partner has developed systems that make it easy for businesses to setup and offer their employees a simple method of saving directly from their pay. They take care of membership recruitment and all administration.

Paul Atkinson, Durham Savers project lead, said: “We know the introduction of this scheme can stop people turning to high-cost lenders.”

Research shows that being more in control of finances, leads to less sickness due to stress, more motivated staff and better health generally.

The scheme is funded by Great Aycliffe and Middridge Partnership, Spennymoor AAP and East Durham Rural Corridor AAP.

Contact them to find out more and arrange for someone to visit your business and show you how you and your staff could benefit from Durham Savers.

ITPS to expand team

Managed IT solutions and services experts ITPS is further strengthening its team by recruiting a 1st Line Helpdesk Engineer.

The Drum Estate company, which recently completed an expansion project to add 3,000 square foot of data hall space to its high specification data centre, has released details of the job role.
Their 1st Line engineers are the first point of contact for customers and are responsible for providing remote support via telephone, email and remote support applications.

ITPS are looking to test applicant’s knowledge and encourage anyone who would like to resolve a call or an incident with a first-time fix to apply.

Read the full specification and details here.

Fishermen tackle riverside rubbish in Chester-le-Street

Fifteen members of Chester-le-Street and District Angling Club (CDAC) teamed together to tidy 40 bags of litter from long stretches of the banks of the River Wear in Chester-le-Street.

They were inspired by the County Durham and Darlington Big Spring Clean campaign, which calls on local residents, community groups, schools and businesses to organise litter picks to help tidy up their local areas.

David Lockey, bankside maintenance officer at the club, said: “We, at CDAC, care about the environment and littering is such anti-social behaviour. A lot of what we collected consists of recyclable materials and everyone must now be well aware of the potential dangers these can present to wildlife both on land and in waterways. Litter is everyone’s responsibility so be responsible and please put it in a bin or take it home.”

Pauline Walker, Durham County Council senior civic pride officer, said: “It’s fantastic to see people taking part in community clean ups like this one. Big Spring Clean isn’t just an annual event, it’s all about encouraging people to take pride in their area throughout the year and continuing the litter-picks in all seasons.

“The hard work volunteers put in makes a massive difference to our local areas and we’re very grateful to groups such as the Chester-le-Street and District Angling Club for all their help.”

The Big Spring Clean will return in Spring 2020.

Chester-le-Street charity receives much-needed financial boost

Waldridge Millennium Green Trust, based in Chester-le-Street, is one of six North-East charities that has received a financial boost following nominations from the public.

Funded from the Movement For Good awards, which was set up by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, each nominated charity received £1,000.

The chosen charities join more than 500 other charities across the country, who have benefitted from Ecclesiastical’s scheme.

Joining Waldridge Millennium Green Trust in winning the cash is: The Breast Cancer Survival Trust in Seaham, Cleveland Independent Theatre Company in Darlington, Real Care Limited in Durham city, Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group and the Teesside Vineyard Church based in Stockton.

They were given the cash-boost following what the body called ‘overwhelming public support’.

Money to brighten up the Drum Estate

Public art funding that has remained in council coffers for a decade could now be used to brighten up the Drum Industrial Estate.

Chester-le-Street District Council allocated £6,000 in 2008, but Durham County Council took over the following year, when the smaller authority was abolished, and the money has remained untouched.

Councillor Craig Martin, who represents the area on the county council, has investigated and says the money is available for the community to use and is now he is looking for suggestions on how to use it.

He said: “I’ll be working with the businesses within the industrial estate, parish council, and residents to get ideas. We’ll be calling on everyone to come forward with ideas and offers of support, after all £6,000 doesn’t go very far these days.”

Stipulations put on the funding by the former Chester-le-Street District Council must be followed and the money must be used for public art in the industrial estate area.

Plans for major waste recycling plant win approval

Plans for a major waste recycling plant based on the Drum Industrial Estate have been approved.

The new plant, owned by H.W Martin Waste Ltd and Premier Waste Recycling Ltd, will manage waste and recyclable materials for households and businesses and is expected to secure up to 64 full-time jobs.

The site was previously occupied by Simpson Bros as a haulage depot and includes a purpose-built building and parking.

The ‘change of use’ bid will give a new lease of life to the site by relocating staff to a state-of-the-art waste plant.

The northern part of the site is dedicated as a parking area with three planned demountable buildings aiming to provide a driver’s canteen, training room, washroom and lockers.

The plant will be used for the shredding and sorting of confidential waste, general waste and recyclable materials.

The facility will not accept soils and waste demolition material and won’t be open to the public.

At the planning meeting at Durham County Hall, planning officers said the plans represented a good use of an existing building and they raised no concerns about the site in planning terms.

Businesses urged to tap into money saving energy scheme

Businesses in County Durham could save thousands of pounds on their energy bills each year by taking advantage of an energy saving advice scheme.

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the county have until the beginning of September this year to apply for fully-funded, impartial guidance on making savings to their energy use via the Business Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP).

So far, since BEEP was launched two years ago, the project has supported 200 businesses, sharing personalised advice and funding support, helping SMEs to make real financial savings on their utility bills.

As a result of the project, some SMEs have received grant funding towards the cost of installing more efficient equipment and lighting into their businesses.

Calum Baker, Business Energy Efficiency Manager for BEEP, urged SMEs to get in touch to arrange a visit before September this year, promising they would find the process quick and easy to manage.

“Since BEEP was launched in 2016, we have helped 200 SMEs improve their energy efficiency, which has not only saved them thousands of pounds but has actually improved working conditions in many instances,” said Calum.

“For example, many employees, such as those at A-Tech Industries in Newton Aycliffe, have said their working environment has vastly improved because of new lighting.

“We believe we can make improvements for everyone, and for those companies that invest financially themselves in new energy efficient technology, they will likely recoup any investment within a relatively short period. We urge businesses to get in touch with us. They have nothing to lose.”

The deadline for applications is 1 September 2019.

Durham businesses urged to tap into manufacturing growth programme


Growing businesses from County Durham’s manufacturing and engineering sectors are being urged not to miss out on tapping into support from a unique exhibition programme.

The Incubator Zone is a support strand of Business Durham’s Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP), created to help new and growing micro and SMEs within the engineering and manufacturing sectors to exhibit at EMCON.

The project was added to the EMCON line-up in 2017 and has so far supported 39 firms to participate in the annual networking event, held at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe.

This year’s event in on Thursday 10 October.

Eligible companies are being sought for what could be the final year the Incubator Zone will be held, and by doing so tap into the 12-hours of support provided and the discounted exhibitor package which comes with it.

Ben Gilhespy is operations director at the Engineering and Manufacturing Network (EMN) which organises EMCON. He said: “Over the last couple of years since it was introduced, the Incubator Zone programme has helped dozens of businesses to win work, or to put themselves on the radars of some of the biggest companies in the region and beyond with a view to winning contracts further down the line.”

Apprentices wanted at Durham County Council


The region’s largest council is looking to recruit 66 apprentices to a wide range of posts, from entry to degree level.

Durham County Council is advertising the vacancies to coincide with the launch of its Apprenticeship Strategy for 2019 to 2022.

Representatives from the council and the GMB and Unison trade unions were joined by current apprentices as they signed their commitment to the strategy, which outlines what the council wants to achieve as an employer and the positive action it will take over the next three years to increase the number and range of apprenticeships within the council.

Leader of Durham County Council, Cllr Simon Henig, said: “Our apprenticeship programme is an integral part of our approach to address current and future skills needs. Apprenticeships help us to attract and retain the very best talent and to benefit from a skilled, motivated and flexible workforce.

“We are committed to investing in the continued expansion and development of our apprenticeship programme. Through increasing the range and extent of apprenticeship opportunities, we can help to improve the skills base of our own workforce and across the county.”

Vacancies for 66 apprenticeships, from entry to degree level, are currently being advertised at www.northeastjobs.org.uk. Posts are available in a range of occupations including business administration, ICT, financial management, civil engineering, highways, electrical, bricklaying and horticulture.

Finance Durham Fund celebrates two-year anniversary


Finance Durham, managed by Maven Capital Partners, one of the UK’s most active finance providers, has, since its launch, invested £3.4 million in 10 dynamic growth businesses across County Durham, driving economic prosperity and supporting the creation and safeguarding of over 250 jobs.

Appointed by Durham County Council in May 2017, Maven manages the £20 million Finance Durham Fund.

The Fund was established by DCC and is overseen by Business Durham, DCC’s economic development organisation. Working with the local business support infrastructure, Maven provides investment capital to support the growth of innovative and ambitious businesses across a wide range of sectors and in a variety of funding scenarios. Maven has completed investments ranging from £40,000 to £2.7 million and has successfully leveraged an additional £5.2 million in private sector debt finance for local businesses.

In line with Durham County Council’s economic growth strategy to encourage entrepreneurship in County Durham and help businesses grow and compete more effectively, Maven has established a comprehensive ‘Access to Finance’ programme. Through a series of business clinics and workshops, the programmes assists entrepreneurs in developing an appropriate business structure and strategy to enable them to secure growth funding and has supported over 150 of the County’s best and brightest businesses in just two years.

Working with over 20 local support partners to deliver these investor ready training workshops to companies raising finance across a range of sectors, Maven ensures the widest range of businesses can access, use and benefit from the clinics to improve their financial awareness and confidence, meaning more businesses across County Durham are investor ready.

Michael Vassallo, Investment Director at Maven, said, “We are delighted that the Fund has reached such a significant milestone and that we have been able to support so many jobs across the County. Many of our transactions are fantastic examples of investors in the North East working together to provide local businesses with substantial funding packages to enable them to grow globally.

“At Maven, we understand the importance of proactively providing local support, our investment team has considerable in-depth knowledge of the local SME market, allied to our national resource, we are well-equipped to deliver comprehensive investor readiness training tailored to the individual growth needs of businesses based in County Durham.”

Sarah Slaven, Business Development Director, said: “‘It is great to look back on the range of companies and projects that have benefited from the Finance Durham fund over the last two years and are already creating jobs and investing further in the County.

“The Fund is a key part of the wider package that Business Durham has available to make County Durham an attractive place to do business. We look forward to continuing to work with these companies and those who receive funding from the fund in the future.”

Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Durham County Council, said: “We are committed to supporting businesses across the county to grow and achieve their ambitions. The Finance Durham Fund is a major part of this and we are delighted to be able to share such positive news as we mark two years since its inception.

“Durham has an international reputation as a home for dynamic businesses. By encouraging entrepreneurship, investing in infrastructure and helping companies to access the growth funding they need, we can build on this reputation and create even more jobs and opportunities.”

Entrepreneurs celebrate success with Durham City Incubator support


A business incubator is looking for its next cohort of ambitious entrepreneurs after helping its first eight small businesses achieve national recognition and investment funding.

Durham City Incubator, which is based at Salvus House, at Aykley Heads, Durham, offers intensive support for businesses which have been trading under 12 months as they go for the next stage of growth. The entrepreneurs receive training and advice on issues ranging from financing and marketing to legal issues and business strategy.

The incubator, which has been designed to keep talent in the region, is a unique collaboration between Durham University, New College Durham and Business Durham, the economic development organisation, which works on behalf of Durham County Council. It is now appealing for the second wave of entrepreneurs to step forward and apply for the programme.

Sarah Slaven, operations director at Business Durham, said: “It’s fantastic to see that the nurture and support these entrepreneurs are receiving is already working. The aim is to help them have businesses with real longevity and these entrepreneurs keep their talent in the region. There’s nothing like this in County Durham and we look forward to seeing the next businesses joining us.”

The Incubator was developed as part of a wider drive to grow the Durham City economy and to offer Durham University graduates and New College Durham student’s high quality facilities and business support to grow their ventures in Durham City.

Dr Tim Hammond, director of commercialisation and economic development at Durham University, said: “Creating a new business is an exciting career choice for an increasing number of our students. The Durham City Incubator builds upon the enterprise support provided within the university.”

Durham City Incubator is part of Durham Internships and Collaborative Enterprise (DICE), which is part funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

To apply for the Durham City Incubator, log onto www.dcincubator.co.uk.

Engineering network appoints new support manager


The region’s largest engineering and manufacturing network has appointed a network support manager to work with the team on its continued growth.

Kaye Collins has joined the Engineering and Manufacturing Network (EMN) to enhance the support currently offered to companies across County Durham and the North East.

The network, led by a board of industry professionals, now engages with more than 300 organisations including some of the largest businesses within the sectors.

Kaye brings more than 12 years’ experience to the role, including time spent supporting engineering companies to grow their supply chain, improve their customer offering and think more strategically to reach their full potential.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted to join the team at this exciting time for the Engineering and Manufacturing Network. The network has grown rapidly and now works with in excess of 300 organisations being regarded as the leading support organisation for businesses within these key sectors.

“My priority is to engage with all of our of members to see what additional support we can offer, whilst also attracting new companies who can benefit from our offering.”

Biffa boosts investment in new North East recycling centre to £27.5m


Waste management firm Biffa has announced it is almost doubling its investment at its planned County Durham recycling centre.

The firm was given the green light in February for a £15 million plastics recycling plant at Foxcover Distribution Park, in Dawdon, Seaham, a move which would create around 70 jobs.

Biffa said was making use of a 130,000 square foot unit at the park to create a polymer processing plant capable of recycling more than one billion plastics drinks bottles a year.

Construction is expected to start this summer, with the first commissioning trials scheduled for December. Once up and running the 24-hour facility will process three million bottles a day into new food and drink packaging.

Now the company’s chief executive Michael Topham said it is expanding the plant and will be increasing its investment in the site to £27.5 million.

He said: “We are proud of our leading plastics recycling capabilities and are excited at the role we are playing in this area. Biffa Polymers has delivered another strong year of progress and through our industry leading HDPE food grade production plant, 85% of milk bottles in the UK now contain Biffa recycled material.”

£4.9m growth fund launched for County Durham businesses


Over 300 new jobs could be created with the launch of a £4.9 million fund to help County Durham’s small and medium-sized businesses to expand and grow.

The three-year County Durham Growth Fund has been launched by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, to help stimulate and enable businesses to grow by providing funding towards capital investment projects.

Sarah Slaven, Business Durham’s operations director, said: “We’re delighted to see the launch of this new fund which is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses which are planning to expand.

“The fund is based on a previously successful model, Let’s Grow, and will help create more, and better quality, jobs in the region.”

The funding has been secured from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 to 2020.

To qualify, small and medium-sized businesses need to be planning a capital investment of at least £100,000 to expand existing operations or establish new operations in County Durham.

The fund is being delivered in partnership with BE Group, which has a dedicated team of advisors ready to help with initial eligibility checks and funding applications.

Karen Jones, senior project manager at BE Group, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Business Durham to support SMEs in County Durham. This joint approach will allow us all to provide the most effective support and provide grants that will have a real impact on the economy in County Durham.”

For further details contact BE Group on 0191 716 1006.

Jo Farrell confirmed as Durham Constabulary’s new Chief Constable


The appointment of Jo Farrell as Durham Constabulary’s new Chief Constable has been confirmed.

The announcement follows a Confirmation Hearing, a statutory process where members of the independent Police and Crime Panel have the opportunity to question the preferred candidate, and to endorse the appointment.

Jo first became a police officer in 1991 and joined Durham Constabulary in November 2016 as Deputy Chief Constable.

She said: “I am both delighted and privileged to be appointed as Chief Constable of Durham. I very much look forward to leading this outstanding force from strength to strength”.

Jo Farrell was the preferred candidate of Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for Durham and Darlington.

Pollinating business parks in the North


A project to support the survival of struggling pollinating insect populations, such as butterflies and bees, has been launched by County Durham-based Climate Action North.

Pollinator Parks, brings volunteers together to plant British native ‘pollinator-friendly’ wildflowers on business land that may otherwise go unused. The first site is a meadow lawn area and in two flowerbeds behind the BIC’s Jupiter Centre in Sunderland.

A raft of scientific evidence has shown that insect numbers around the world are undergoing alarming rates of decline, with bees, ants and beetles disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles.

Climate North East Action Managing Director, Sharon Lashley, said: “Bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects are vital contributors to the beauty of our landscapes, our economy and our £100 billion food industry. The functions performed by pollinating insects is believed to be worth £690 million each year to the UK’s economy alone.

“The implications of losing this variety of pollinating insects will disrupt the web of life that supports us so it’s vital that we take action now and rewild outdoor areas to introduce safe havens for them.”
The Pollinator Park project introduces ‘pollinator-friendly’ wildflowers including Red Campion, Moth Mullien, Primrose, Oxeye Daisy, Basil, and Dandelion to create a sustainable environment for the struggling insect populations.

Volunteer groups are led by project delivery partner Phil Macari of Wildcraft, and the planting session last just a few hours with after-care instructions provided.

Managing Director, Sharon Lashley, said: “Pollinator Parks is a superb example of small-scale rewilding and demonstrates how we can practically support and care for our wildlife, and repair the broken ecosystems. We’re proud to help communities, schools and businesses by delivering a wide range of activities around rewilding, climate change, sustainability, outdoor education, and learning. Our team are passionate experts in their field and completely driven to achieve our objectives.”

Climate Action North East aim to work with 20 business parks across the North East of England during 2019 and will be establishing pollinator gardens across the region in the coming year. To register your interest with the Pollinator Park Project please email Sharon.

Going for Gold!


As the region’s leading provider of services and support for children, young people and adults with autism or other examples of neurodiversity, part of The North East Autism Society’s role is shaping the narrative on how people view and understand autism.

Rather than the language of deficits or disability, the Society wants autism and neurodiversity to be celebrated and accepted; to be seen and understood in a positive light. They also want our region to lead the way in being autism-friendly through its Going for Gold campaign.

It’s the colour associated with success and achievement. It’s the hallmark of great things. But more than that, Going for Gold is a new take on how autism is viewed and celebrated within our region, and in our nation.

UK Autism campaigners began this quest and the Society is backing their drive as several controversial charities, particularly in the Unites States, use ‘light it up blue’ as their theme. Still advocating ‘cures’ and outdated, harmful therapies, it’s important to distance ourselves from such initiatives and set a new standard – a gold standard – for autism and neurodiversity and have our region’s best loved landmarks to be a part of it.

Find out more.

Is a change to the disclosure of criminal convictions in job applications coming to Durham?

Minor historic offences can blight entire careers and inhibit rehabilitation. In January, the Supreme Court ruled that the criminal records disclosure scheme was, in places, disproportionate.

Changing attitudes towards certain historic convictions could benefit Durham businesses by providing a wider talent pool.

As things stand, anyone with more than one conviction to their name can automatically have their criminal record disclosed during the recruitment process. This is regardless of how minor, or how long ago, the crimes were committed. It can hold a person back for their whole life.

Campaigners have highlighted the injustices that this blanket rule can create and called for reform. And now, the idea is gaining traction in the corridors of power. The home secretary has hinted that a law change to make the rules less absolute could follow January’s Supreme Court judgement.

It found that the rules are not in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. Alison Schreiber from The HR Dept Durham looks at the impact on local employers.

Alison begins: “How useful is it really to ask a job applicant in black and white on a form whether they have a criminal record, before you’ve met them? Chances are, regardless of the circumstances a ‘yes’ will prejudice their application. They suffer a default rejection, and you might miss out on an excellent hire. That said for some roles, it is necessary for applicants to declare any previous convictions, like teachers.”

Recent research suggests that, on average, after seven to ten years, the risk of someone re-offending is no greater than someone who has a clean record committing a crime. Of course, some roles are so sensitive, and some crimes will be so severe or recent that they’re bound to have a material effect on a job application. Disclosure rules for these circumstances are not likely to be changed.

“Some employers are seeing benefits in waiting for the interview stage to ask about criminal convictions. This still leaves them free to reject the applicant if a criminal record makes them unsuitable.

But, by humanising the process, they also have the opportunity to find out more, and assess for certain whether a criminal record is relevant. In doing this, they may gain a competitive advantage by recruiting from a wider talent pool.

Why Durham businesses need to be vigilant against age discrimination


An 88-year-old NHS secretary has become the oldest ever person to win an age discrimination case.
With no default retirement age in the UK and more of the population working into their later years, the risk of Durham businesses facing an age discrimination case is on the rise.

Alison Schreiber from The HR Dept Durham explores the issue.

Age discrimination is not just relevant to older staff: younger workers can be discriminated against too. Discrimination could happen at any time, but there are some occasions when it’s more likely. These include during recruitment, when making training and promotion decisions, managing performance and at retirement.

It’s vital not to make age-based assumptions which distort decisions. This often leads to poor outcomes all round: such as hiring the wrong people, demotivating existing employees who see through the prejudice and, of course, discrimination tribunal claims.

It’s about mindset and practical measures: don’t let age come into your assessment of staff or candidates. Try forming teams with people of different age groups who are working to common goals – this brings people together. Facilitate different age groups exchanging skills, knowledge and ideas. It could be a real benefit to your business.

The Equality Act does allow for some lawful exceptions to age discrimination. The different age-based pay rates prescribed by the National Minimum and Living Wages; and when there’s legal necessity for age to be a factor (known as an occupational requirement) being just two examples.

An age discrimination tribunal claim could be brought by someone who doesn’t even work for you – based on a job which specified a number of years’ experience. Or as a result of some so-called ‘banter’ from a colleague. Or because of some shoddy treatment around a forced retirement. It’s worth reading up on and seeking professional advice if you think you may have an issue.

In the spotlight with World of Rides

Drum roll please for… David Robinson, Founder of World Of Rides

World of Rides was started by David (pictured above) in 1969 as the manufacturing arm to supply his retail, operating and promotion businesses. He operated from a rented unit on the then new Stella Gill Industrial Estate in Chester-le-Street until 1990, when they needed to expand. The direct road links from the motorway to Drum Industrial Estate was perfect for their needs and, along with having a national customer base, the local staff would not be too inconvenienced by the move. So, David bought the premises and 50 years on are still here!

How would you describe your business in one word. And why?
Our business is based purely upon FUN, as we provide “Family FUN for Everyone!” to the commercial sectors of the amusement and leisure industries.

Tell us about your customers.
Our customer base ranges from holiday parks, farm parks, holiday resorts and shopping centres to the very wealthy sporting and celebrity domestic sector.

What are your plans for the future?
We will always retain our base on Drum Industrial Estate, but we now outsource a great deal of our manufacturing and service sectors from across the UK and the continent. We’ll also continue to invest heavily in our research and development side in order to continue bringing out exciting new attractions for our customer each year.

Why is the Drum Estate your place of business?
All our experienced family and staff live within the boundaries of Chester-le-Street, so we could never replace their dedication and knowledge if we ever tried to relocate elsewhere!

What motivates you?
We are driven to provide the very best ideas, equipment and service to our customers, and constantly aspire to increase our market share and to become our customer’s first choice for quality, safety and value.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
The best piece of advice I ever received was: “early to bed, early to rise, work like hell…and advertise!”

And what’s the best advice you’ve given?
The best advice that I always give to everyone starting in business is: “early to bed, early to rise, work like hell…and advertise!’

Tell us about your most difficult challenge so far.
Having worked through a number of financial recessions has always been very challenging, but the current Brexit Crisis has definitely hit our customer base and ourselves the hardest.

And finally, what’s your favourite quote?
My own favourite quote is still has to be ‘…early to bed, early to rise, work like hell… and advertise!’, and it’s the one that I still live by myself!

I still get people making contact to thank me for the advice, years after I gave them it, and telling me on a regular basis that it certainly helped them to get established!

However, I suspect that many of them didn’t stick to the ‘…early to bed, early to rise’ bit for very long!

The business of rewilding

Durham-based Climate Action North East has secured Doug Allan (pictured) to speak at its upcoming rewilding conference.

The BBC cameraman and award-winning photographer has worked alongside David Attenborough on high-profile programmes like Blue Planet.

The topics of rewilding and climate change will be discussed and ways to take action, at a conference on 5 June, which is hosted by Climate Action North East and sponsored by Resilient Business Systems.

The natural world can help save us from climate catastrophe. Let nature do the hard work in the fight against climate change by rewilding and restoring habitats such as forests and wetlands. Rewilding is defined as the mass restoration of ecosystems and to achieve this goal on the scale that’s needed, rewilding must be on the agenda and minds of everyone in a position to take action.

Managing director at Climate Action North East, Sharon Lashley, said: “There’s growing interest in rewilding in Britain, and it’s important that we work to find understanding and take action to create ways of living that not only restores the natural world but also our prospects for a sustainable, safe and prosperous world.

“To achieve this goal on the scale that’s needed, rewilding in all its forms must be on the agenda and minds of everyone, not least those in the business world, conservation, farming and community sectors. This conference gives us the opportunity to bring everyone together and explore the opportunities and benefits that large and small-scale rewilding can offer.”

Doug Alan first visited the polar regions in 1976, and during the 43-years since has witnessed the effects of climate change, including the impacts that global tourism and human lifestyles continue to have on the planet. He said: “I’ll be covering successes and setbacks in my presentation at the Rewilding Conference during my own personal experiences exploring the challenges of climate change. I’ve learned to balance climate reality with climate optimism and most importantly, to realise that everyone has to be working together to inspire a change of direction.”

The conference will also welcome speakers Prof Alastair Driver – Rewilding Britain specialist advisor, Isabella Tree – co-owner Knepp Estate and author of Wilding, David Hetherington – author of The Lynx And Us, Sacha Dench – conservationist, adventurer and motivational speaker, Professor Chris Stokes – glacier specialist and researcher, and will be chaired by Mike Pratt – CEO of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

Climate Action North East’s previous climate change conference featured Chris Packham, who is currently hosting BBC One’s Blue Planet Live.

It will take place at the Newcastle Gateshead Marriott Hotel on June 5. Tickets are available here.