Are you benefitting from asset finance?

finance 2Businesses are increasingly turning to asset finance to meet their goals, according to latest industry figures show.

New data shows that more British firms are using their existing assets to help cash flow or increase working capital at competitive rates than ever before; a trend that is partly supported by the growing number of small and medium-sized businesses.

This news not only signals that business confidence hasn’t been significantly impacted by recent Brexit-related economic turbulence it also suggests that we are witnessing a sustained shift away from traditional high street lenders.

Read more advice from Anglo Scottish Finance.

World of Rides strike deal with Dinosaur Park

Leading UK manufacturer of children’s leisure rides has secured a deal to supply a dinosaur theme park in Wales.

World of Rides, based on the Drum Industrial Estate in Chester-le-Street, is supplying the Dinosaur Park Tenby with coin-operated child-only cars.

Andrew Robinson, Managing Director at World of Rides, said: “We originally met Amanda Meyrick from the Dinosaur Park when she visited our stand at an exhibition in Orlando last year.

“She then contacted me in April to ask if we had a 12v Ride just for children aged between three and eight years old. The timing was brilliant as we had just brought out our 12v Coin operated ‘Child Only’ Crazy Beetle.

“Kids can drive around a track and when they turn the steering wheel the car spins around 360 degrees, which is great fun as when it stops the child doesn’t know which direction it will shoot off again!”

This attraction is proving to be a huge success for Dinosaur Park Tenby who have already confirmed that they will be ordering another attraction from World of Rides next year.

Data centre expansion for Drum Estate ITPS

itps data centreManaged IT solutions and services experts ITPS have completed an expansion project to add 3,000 square foot of data hall space to its high specification data centre on the Drum Estate in County Durham.
The move has been driven by increased demand for ITPS’s services, after it received the seal of approval from NHS Digital to deliver services for the new UK-wide Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) and was selected by Microsoft as one of the early adopters of the new Azure Stack cloud solution.
The data centre acts as the flagship hub of ITPS’s network operations, which span three data centres across the UK.
Managing director Garry Sheriff said: “Since we established the data centre in 2014 we have seen substantial growth, and thanks to a series of new client wins, we’re expanding our capacity much sooner than expected.
“Society is in the midst of a period of unprecedented change, with experts estimating that 20bn ‘internet of things’ devices will need to be connected by 2020. That means a massive amount of data will need to be stored, processed, backed up and managed in a safe and secure environment.
“Our decision to create a high specification data centre here in the North East was based on predicting the growth in cloud services and a shift towards effectively renting, rather than buying, ICT infrastructure and services.
“We already have clients housed in our new data hall two, which reinforces our ability to offer all sizes and types of organisation high performance, expert data centre services and solutions right on their doorstep.”

Rising sun scramble

Sun Scramble

Join North East Autism Society’s new fun-filled 5k obstacle run, Rising Sun Scramble on Sunday, 15 July, at Rising Sun Country Park.

Not only do kids go free but there are also relaxed waves making it the only challenge event in the North East to be autism friendly!

Registration is £25 with a pledge to raise a minimum sponsorship of £40. There are also team rates available for four or more adults wishing to enter.

All money raised will be contributed to continuing the Society’s free toddler groups running across the North East. This service offers vital support to parents of children aged between 0 and five who either have a diagnosis of Autism or are currently undergoing the assessment process.

Corporate team offer

Every year the Society’s challenge events are supported by some amazing North East businesses and organisations, through volunteering and sponsorship.

In response to feedback, for 2018 and beyond the Society has developed a unique, corporate events package – designed to put the fun back into fundraising for those in the corporate world.

For £200 you can:

  • – enter a team of four to six people into the event
    – receive t-shirts in advance to add your own logo to the back
    – have no additional fundraising commitment
    – be featured and thanked in our event publicity
    – be featured on social media platforms
    – receive a ‘we’ve helped the North East Autism Society’ digital banner
  • – be invoiced for the ‘active sponsorship’ fee

Get in touch by calling 0191 4109974 or emailing

Dyslexia in the workplace

dyslexic blogWith dyslexia affecting around 10% of the population, it’s likely that at some point you’ll encounter it within your workforce. But while most people have heard of dyslexia, if it doesn’t affect you or someone you know, you may not understand exactly what it means – or how to talk about it. Alison Schreiber, Director at The HR Dept, Durham, looks at how businesses can tackle the issue.

Without fully understanding the condition, it can be difficult to address dyslexia in the workplace. How will you spot the signs or know how best to support a dyslexic employee?

The good news is, with the right knowledge and understanding, you can work with your dyslexic employees, helping them reach their full potential – growing both your business and their personal development at the same time.

What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that affects an individual’s ability to process and remember information. It may be classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010. Although linked to learning, dyslexia is not related to intelligence.

Dyslexia can often go undeclared in the workplace, due to fear of discrimination. So as an employer, it’s useful to be able to recognise some of the signs and symptoms.

Common signs of dyslexia can include:

  • – Confusion of verbal or written instructions
    – Difficulty with spelling and/or lengthy words
    – Remembering meeting times and dates
    – Short term memory
    – Self-doubt or low self esteem

    What should you do if an employee tells you they are dyslexic?

  • If your employee believes they are dyslexic and the evidence supports this, it is good practice to offer support and recommend they get an official diagnosis.
  • With official diagnosis it is your duty as an employer to make reasonable adjustments to support your employee.
    How can you support a dyslexic employee?
  • Unsupported dyslexia can be both stressful for the individual and disruptive to a business. Luckily there are simple adjustments that can be made, often at no cost to your business.
  • Some areas you can investigate to support dyslexia in the workplace include:
  • – Advice with planning
    – Providing written and verbal instructions
    – Providing access to technical solutions
    – Allowing more time for specific tasks
  • Did you know?
    Many dyslexic people are visually creative or great problem solvers and can go on to achieve great things. For example, Richard Branson the well-known business magnate is dyslexic and describes it as a ‘different and brilliant way of thinking’. He certainly didn’t let the condition hold him back.
  • So, in addition to supporting your dyslexic employee, it’s worth discussing new ideas or projects with them. You might be able to nurture hidden talent or undeveloped skills.

Growth capital and small loan funds open for business

Durham-based businesses are invited to apply for investments from two new funds worth a total of £27m that could help expand their operations and create new jobs.
NEL Fund Managers is the only fund management firm to be awarded two of the five funds that make up the new £120m North East Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund. It’s now actively looking for potential investees from County Durham, as well as Tyne and Wear and Northumberland to put applications forward.
The £18m North East Growth Capital Fund has been designed to create over 800 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the next five years and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.
Aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses in the same areas and is designed to assist with the creation of over 500 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the same period.
Dr Yvonne Gale, chief executive at NEL Fund Managers, said: “Our investment mission is to start utilising these funds as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to get them to management teams with robust growth plans that will take their businesses forward.
“Being given responsibility for managing two elements of the North East Fund is recognition of our strong track record of investing successfully in hundreds of North East firms that have gone to scale up their operations, create new regional jobs and achieve significant commercial success. Both the Growth Capital Fund and Small Loan Fund have been tailored to meet the investment needs of specific businesses, and are available to firms trading across most industry sectors for a wide range of purposes.
“Our investments make a tangible long-term impact on the sustainable success of the North East economy, and we’re excited at the opportunities to help even more regional firms achieve their goals over the next five years.”
The overarching North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

Access finance and funding event

finance twitter
County Durham-based businesses are being urged to attend a free event to access funding and finance packages they need to grow.
Business Durham and Drum Business Park Group are hosting the morning event on Thursday 24 May, which will bring together key funding and business support organisations including RTC North, Digital Drive County Durham, BEEP, NEL Fund Managers, Durham Employment and Skills, NBSL and Maven Capital.
As well as showcasing the range of the grants and loans available, tailored business consultancy on innovation and growth, staff recruitment and energy efficiency will also be on hand.
Andrea McGuigan, Business Development Area Manager (North) at
Business Durham, said: “This is a great opportunity to explore the different sources of funding and finance support that is available. Businesses who attend will get a comprehensive idea of the options available to them and help make it quicker and easier to raise the finances they need.”
The event takes place as the Co-op Depo on the Drum Industrial Estate from 8.30am to 10.30am. Businesses of all sizes based in County Durham are welcome to attend.

Tackling mental ill health in the workplace

wellbeing leaflet
Every organisation has an opportunity to support and develop a mentally healthy workforce and it doesn’t need to be complicated thanks to a new toolkit designed to help employers –understand and act, step by step.
Business in the Community has partnered with Public Health England to produce the free, online toolkit to help every organisation support the mental health and wellbeing of its employees. It will help employers take positive actions to build a culture that champions good mental health and provides a greater understanding of how to help those who need more support.
The toolkit will help employers pick out the most valuable resources and help to develop an approach that works. For larger organisations, the toolkit is also a useful resource to share with businesses in their supply chain and across their network. Access the toolkit. Download the toolkit.

Women in the workplace still getting a raw deal

female worker
As a huge spotlight continues to shine on sexual harassment in the workplace, Alison Schreiber from The HR Dept Durham, urges companies to take action to tackle inequality.

Despite the Equal Pay Act in 1970 and the Equality Act 2010, women still earn less than men in Britain today. Equal pay is the right for men and women to be paid the same when doing the same, or equivalent, work. The current pay inequality means that women effectively stop earning relative to men on a day in November, known as Equal Pay Day.

There are several high profile equal pay claims taking place currently mostly in large supermarket chains, if successful there will no doubt be a trickledown effect to claims in SMEs.

Alison Schreiber of The HR Dept Durham said: “Business owners must get their house in order when it comes to equal pay. Not only is it morally wrong in 2018, it is illegal and there will be consequences if your employee’s lodge a claim.

The pay gap is not closing, it has remained the same for the last three years. Employers can conduct an equal pay review or audit to see if there is a pay gap in their business. These reviews involve comparing the pay of men and women doing the same work, identifying any pay gaps, and eliminating gaps that cannot be explained on grounds other than gender.”

Following the high-profile cases of sexual harassment in the workplace, businesses and organisations are seeing a spike in sexual harassment complaints. SMEs are not immune to this and local businesses need to prevent and tackle this behaviour head on.
Alison said, “Business owners must take sexual harassment very seriously. Your company will have a policy for handling grievances, and you should follow this. It is a fundamental employment right that no-one should suffer sexual harassment. If it occurs, and you do not handle it appropriately, your company will be exposed to the risk of financial and reputational damage, alongside the suffering of the victim.”

On maternity discrimination at work, Alison added, “It is shocking that 54,000 women are dismissed or selected for redundancy annually because of being pregnant or on maternity leave. And not only is it shocking, it is also illegal to discriminate on these grounds. The maximum award granted in 2016/17 for sex discrimination was £127,230. This is something to be avoided!

There are huge benefits of being a family-friendly and flexible employer that embraces equality, so think about creative ways you can resource your business which may allow you to attract and retain the best staff.”

Why opt for business equipment leasing?

Truck lease
Anglo Scottish Asset Finance look at why companies turn to business equipment leasing and share their top tips.
Business equipment leasing can help in business expansion, fulfil a major new contract or business opportunity or simply to replace existing equipment that has become obsolete or inefficient.
This method of business equipment financing has grown because of its simplicity and flexibility for capital or commercial equipment and a whole range of other asset types.
But what are the main reasons for making this decision in the first place and why opt to lease rather than buy business equipment?
Here are 10 reasons for choosing business equipment leasing:
Straightforward and flexible. The simplicity and flexibility of new business equipment leasing means that it’s suitable for all types of business. Start-ups or existing businesses needing new equipment and major companies investing in major new plant and machinery can all benefit.
No major drain on cashflow. As the business doesn’t have to pay the full cost of the asset up front, it doesn’t have to use up vital working capital or borrow the money in the form of an expensive bank loan.
It’s sustainable. New business equipment financing can provide a regular payment plan that minimises impact on working capital and cash flow.
Budgeting is easy. The business pays for the asset over the fixed period of time that it uses it, which helps budget accurately over its projected life. As interest rates on monthly rental costs are usually fixed, it is also easier to forecast cashflow.
Capital allowance benefit. Although the capital allowances that the equipment attracts usually remain with the finance provider, on ‘long funding leases’ – finance leases over seven years and sometimes over five years –  and some long operating leases, the business itself can claim capital allowances on the cost of the assets.
Tax advantages. With equipment leasing, the business can usually deduct the full cost of lease rentals from its taxable income, helping reduce profits for tax purposes.  Also, as VAT-registered businesses, most firms are able to reclaim the VAT they pay on their lease rentals over the life of the asset.
Better equipment. By opting for leasing rather than outright purchase of the business equipment and spreading the payments, you can possibly afford to buy better equipment than you thought.
Greater security. As the equipment itself can be used as security for the loan, equipment financing is a very accessible form of funding. Businesses are able to borrow the required sum to acquire the asset more readily, as the lender knows that the asset provides them with security.
Talk to the experts
As with any form of finance lending, it is always advisable that businesses seek expert advice. Contact Anglo Scottish Asset Finance today.

New look for Natural Nutrients

Natural nutients brand

Drum Industrial Estate-based nutrition brand Natural Nutrients has been given a fresh new look.

Managing director, Liam Sheriff, said: “The business has grown significantly during 2017 and that success told us it was time to really push on with the development of our brand and products.”

Brand and design company, Wonderstuff, was tasked with rebadging the company and creating the new packaging.

“We wanted the brand and packaging to stand out from the crowd,” said Liam. “The feedback from buyers has been amazing so far, with most appreciating the strength and quality of the redesigned packaging as well as the integrity of the product itself.”
The new designs and packaging, which have been rolled out across the company’s website and social media channels, represented a £30,000 investment for the company.
Natural Nutrients is currently raising £100,000 investment on to support launches with new customers and invest into its team as it grows.
Business development director, Craig Newbigin, believes the new branding has been key to getting well over 50% of their target achieved in the first week alone. He said: “Your brand is the first thing customers see, and we’d knew for a while that we were due a modernisation and a fresh new look to take us forward in this highly competitive market. Combining modern design with premium packaging has definitely captured the investors interest and helped us get over £50,000 on Crowdcube so quickly.”

GDPR advice

GDPR helpWe were pleased to Welcome Lorraine McGill (pictured) to a recent Drum Estate meeting to explain about the impending GDPR European regulation which comes in to force on 25 May 2018.
Despite our intention to leave the EU, this regulation will be adopted into UK law and will continue to be in force after we leave.
GDPR affects every organisation regardless of size and type; any organisation storing personal data (even just an email address, telephone number or name) whether in a paper filing system or electronically, is required to comply.
If you’re bewildered by the vast amount of information content and at a loss as to what you can do to comply. Indeed, a recent study has shown that less than 12% of UK business managers or directors say they fully understand what GDPR involves.
Get advice on GDPR and speak to Lorraine on 01207 234637.

Drum neighbourhood watch

Tom Walton neighbourhood watch

Neighbourhood wardens work to improve the quality of life for Drum Industrial Estate tenants by reducing the level of anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime.

Wardens have the powers to issue fixed penalty notices for environmental crimes, where appropriate, for a range of issues including: litter; flytipping and failing to clear waste dumped on privately-owned land; dog fouling; abandoned vehicles; graffiti; and flyposting.

Tom Walton (pictured) covers the Drum Industrial Estate area. If you have any matters to report please call 03000261000 and select option 4.

Jobs success for ITPS apprentices

ITPS apprentices
Two young apprentices have secured full time jobs with Drum Estate-based ITPS, as Sam Laws and Luke Garbutt (pictured) celebrate their recent new appointments as Junior Data Centre Service Engineers.
The company’s longstanding commitment to training young people goes back to the day ITPS was founded in 2000. Since then its in-house scheme has helped almost 40 young people start their careers in IT.
Luke has been on the ITPS apprenticeship programme for two years. He first completed his Level 3 in Microsoft Certified Systems Administration (MCSA) back in 2016-2017 and is currently working through his Level 4 IT Professional stage, an 18-month programme that he is due to complete in August.
Sam also completed his Level 3 MCSA at the end of March and entered straight into full time employment as a Junior Data Centre Services Engineer.
The apprentices join ITPS’ technical services and field engineer teams, gaining practical skills by working alongside engineers both at the offices and on client sites.

This is backed up by formal training sessions which see the apprentices qualify with NVQs in a range of ICT disciplines, and a large proportion of them go on to be offered permanent jobs.

Rondean locates to Drum Estate

Rondean 3One of the UK’s leading suppliers of high quality used machinery for sheet metal fabrication, engineering and woodworking has relocated to the Drum Industrial Estate.

Rondean Ltd, who are committed to the refurbishment, re-cycle, and re-supply of a wide and varied range of the best quality, British-made machine tools, has moved to the Drum Industrial Estate following 33 years in business and 16 years based in nearby Tanfield Lea.

The company has forged an unequalled reputation for quality since its launch in 1984 and sales are expected to soar in their new location as more and more customers switch on to the benefits of owning longer-lasting British-made products.

Owner, Ron Lewis, said: “Rondean Ltd has continued to go from strength to strength, from humble beginnings located in a run-down 300 square feet building and moving locations several times over the years until settling into the 12,000 square feet of factory space in Birtley at the beginning of the year.”

63-year-old Ron currently employs four staff and is now looking to expand the team and recruit service engineers and sales staff to meet demand and doesn’t have any plans to retire.

Ron said: “I’ve had customers come to me to buy British-made well-built reconditioned reliable products after the equipment they recently bought brand-new had failed and I still have machines out there that I placed with companies back in the 80s.  We seem to fair better than most due to the fact we only seek-out and refurbish the finest-quality machines, we’ll travel anywhere in the UK to find something special and restore it to its former glory. Whilst we have to travel much further afield to seek out the best examples we do so because the demand still remains impressively high.”

Ron puts his company’s 33 years success story down to their unique personal approach. “Firstly we sit down with prospective customers to ask and listen we then conduct a free materials-versus-machine needs-analysis; once a proposed solution is found acceptable, we spend time with the customer to carry out a trial-run in our workshops to ensure the machine is exactly right for their job following which we conduct a comprehensive multi-point pre-despatch inspection to ensure complete customer satisfaction.

“Making sales has never been our first priority, finding only the most cost-effective quality-based machining-solutions for our customers has and always will be our main goal!”

Get pest controlled

Are you worried pests could damage your business operations or reputation?
If so, you can access a free survey to protect and safeguard your business from possible pest issues.
The Durham County Council Pest Control team can identify how to stop pests, such as rats, mice, wasps, flies, cockroaches, getting into your premises and will advise you on the most appropriate monitoring and control measures to help you protect your premises, staff and customers.
Their annual pest control contracts and individual treatments help prevent/control pest problems in businesses, schools and community buildings.
Meet the pest control team on Thursday 19 April from 8am to 4pm at the Drum Industrial Estate.
Call 03000 262550 to make your appointment.

Steelcraft celebrate milestones with key staff

steelcraft win
An impressive 45 years of combined service is being celebrated by Drum Estate-based Steelcraft as it honours two of its long-serving employees.

Steelcraft, which was established in 1989, is a family-run company specialising in architectural metalwork, has recognised the unique contribution that two of its staff have brought to the company.

Martin Armstrong, Operations Director, has been with the business for 25 years and Keith Pattinson, Installation Craftsman, has been with Steelcraft for 20 years.

Matthew Rodgers, managing director, said: “Their hard work and dedication is much appreciated and they’ll both bel presented with a keepsake trophy and a cash bonus, which I hope they’ll use towards a well-deserved treat for them and their families!”

One third of all of the staff at Steelcraft have served 10 years or more and the business is making preparations to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. The company has also enjoyed a record year with 28% growth and three new jobs created.

The Steelcraft portfolio also includes stainless steel, stairs and ramps, balconies, and secondary steelwork.

Steelcraft has built its reputation on providing quality products at the right prices offering full design, manufacture and installation services.

Do you want to progress or develop a member of your team?

progress training
You can complete a work based development programme with HIT Training and use this to improve your own career prospects, motivate your team, and develop new skills and increase efficiency and profits for your business! HIT Training understand the positive impact of work-based apprenticeships for employers, employees and the wider economy.

This investment in your people and their skills makes your business more efficient and profitable, and ensures your people improve their career prospects.

Courses are 90% funded and free for 16 to 18-year-olds working for an employer with less than 50 staff.

Please contact Natasha Snowdon for more information on 07890567796.

Calling all County Durham based Community Enterprises

durham sparks
Durham Sparks is a new initiative, backed and funded by Durham County Council, to connect Community Enterprises with business coaches.

It is influenced by top business leaders but driven by the enterprise itself to develop its skills, talent and access expertise, a range of support services and access to a dynamic network of business support and like-minded community enterprises to help fine-tune their journey to provide bigger, better and more effective service to their community. Get more details.

Whittle Jones celebrate 25 years

  1. silver
  2. Congratulations to Whittle Jones who are celebrating their silver anniversary in business!

    Whittle Jones perform an asset management function for commercial portfolios totalling around 8 million square feet, consisting of industrial/trade and office accommodation in over 4,000 units. Unit sizes range from as little as 285 square feet to 50,000 square feet and office suites from as little as one person upwards.

    Their North East portfolio extends to over 2.7 million square foot with assets located throughout Durham, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Cleveland.

Trade and commercial waste collection for Drum Estate businesses

REMONDIS JBT, operate a modern large fleet of specialised waste collection vehicles to businesses of all sizes throughout the North East of England, and are offering businesses located on the Drum Industrial Estate a free audit and preferential service rates for containers to suit their individual requirements.

The company’s service is built on the understanding that most businesses and organisations require a solution to reflect their unique waste disposal requirements. This is why their commercial and general waste bin range is designed to accommodate waste streams and volumes to meet all requirements.

Steven Shaw, head of sales, (pictured above with sales executive Megan Burge) said: “We collect and recycle a range of waste including paper to cardboard, metals, plastics and food. We encourage on-site segregation as best practice, but are equally comfortable in providing mixed general waste service where we collect and segregate the waste at our sites at Birtley and Bedlington.”

“We also offer fully compliant and reliable collection service for all types of electrical waste (WEEE). Typically, non-hazardous collected free of charge from our customers and carefully segregated to ensure 100% of the WEEE collected is reprocessed.”

Call 08000 665550 or email to discuss how REMONDIS JBT can help your business maximize recycling best practice and minimise disposal costs.

Drum Business Park Group Meeting

Drum Business Park Meeting on 24th May 2018

The next meeting will take place on 24th May as follows:

08.30am – Breakfast refreshments and Networking opportunity

09.00 – News and Updates

09.30 – General Discussion

10.30 – Close

If you would like to know more about why you should become involved please contact Andrea McGuigan at Business Durham on 03000 261255.

All businesses and employees based on Drum Industrial Estate/Business Park are welcome to attend.


Please note: You must be a business resident on Drum Industrial Estates/Business Park in order to attend this event.

By registering for this event you agree to your contact details being stored on a database to receive information on forthcoming events and updates from the Drum Business Park Group.  You also agree to your email address being shared with our nominated PR company for them to contact you for news and case studies to be included in our newsletter. If you do not wish for your details to be held or shared please send an email to stating that you wish to be excluded from such databases.

Grand support required for the MRI Scanners Appeal

The County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has launched its Grand Partner scheme to appeal to businesses across the county to pledge £1000 for the MRI Scanner Appeal.

By pledging to be a ‘Grand Partner’ to the charity you will be supporting the fundraising efforts to purchase two new scanners for Darlington Memorial Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospital. This advanced technology will help consultants with earlier diagnosis of many life-threatening and life-limiting conditions for patients.

Fundraising activities could include anything from cake bakes, coffee mornings or fun runs to marathons and in return you’ll receive PR, social media recognition and a certificate of appreciation.  Call Pat Chambers on 07770455651 or email for more information.