Woking Business

WOKING-based event production company Peachy Productions is moving to bigger premises in Guildford at the start of this month.

The company has been based in a warehouse on the Goldsworth Park Trading Estate since 2013.

Over the past four years, it has grown both its business and staff while being the official in-house event production company for Chelsea Football Club.

Its new warehouse, at 3A Cathedral Hill, Guildford, will enable the company to organise even more events, including weddings.

“Peachy Productions would like to thank the Woking community for their custom and hope that they will continue to utilise ours services,” said a spokesman.

GOLDSWORTH Park’s pub has re-opened following a £350,000 investment which will create up to 10 new jobs.

The major facelift at the Fox and Flowerpot in Bampton Way has been carried out by national pub operator Ei Group PLC, formerly Enterprise Inns.

The interior has been updated with new toilets, flooring, fixtures, lighting and soft furnishings.

Outside, the pub has a new patio, improved lighting, new signs, new garden furniture, landscaping and planters.

Local father and son team Ian and Darren Cox have taken on running the pub on a five-year tenancy, after being in charge on a temporary basis. Both know the area well and have strong experience in managing pubs and clubs.

Ian Cox said: “The Fox and Flowerpot has been crying out for a refurbishment and we are glad that Ei Group saw the potential in our business plans and came up with the significant investment required to transform the place.

“The pub had a poor reputation in recent years but we now have a great core of customers who make it welcoming for all ages. We currently stock three real ales, one of which is locally-sourced, and are committed to growing our relationships with local brewers and produce suppliers.”

Mick Bell, chairman of Surrey Hants Borders branch of CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale – and Woking MP Jonathan Lord visited the pub on relaunch day.

Mick said: “I cannot help but sing praises of what Ian and Darren have done here. It is good to see a public house doing well. Ian and Darren have given the Fox and Flowerpot a new lease of life.”

“I can testify that the real ale served here is in tip top condition, and good reasonably priced food is available. The pub provides a great community atmosphere and is a great family friendly place to visit. This is just the sort of story we at CAMRA love to tell.”

The Fox and Flowerpot, which was built in the 1980s, was named from a suggestion put forward in a competition run for residents.

ONE of Woking’s largest employers, Harvey Water Softeners, has donated a new spectrometer device worth £40,000 to a pioneering research study which could revolutionise our understanding of childhood eczema.

The handheld Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer was gifted to the Unit for Population-Based Dermatology Research at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, led by Dr Carsten Flohr, Consultant Dermatologist and senior National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Fellow.

It will be used as part of a clinical trial to investigate the effect of hard water and skin care practices on the skin barrier of newborn babies, looking at how this links in with the development of eczema which affects an estimated 20 per cent of children and seven per cent of adults in the UK.

Dr Flohr said the device will improve the speed and accuracy of future research, adding “The data it gives our teams access to could lead to clearer insights into what drives the breakdown of the skin barrier in eczema.”

(l-r) Dr Carsten Flohr, Harvey Bowden

Harvey Bowden, who founded the family-owned Old Woking company in 1978, said: “It’s exciting to be doing our bit to help with this potentially life-changing work.”

A WOKING man is among a team of cyclists from a Surrey firm who have been inspired to ride 100 miles to raise £10,000 after a colleague’s son was hit by a muscle-wasting disease.

Chris Homewood, 31, who works at the cabling and data company Siemon in Chertsey, will take part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 in support of Harrison’s Fund on 30 July.

He signed up for the event after colleague Steve Foster’s son Austin, now three, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2015.

Harrison’s Fund is named after ten-year-old Harrison Smith from Surrey who was diagnosed with the rare genetic condition. It affects all the muscles in the body, causing them to waste away. Harrison’s Fund’s goal is to get as much money as possible for research to find a cure for the disease.

After Austin’s diagnosis, Steve, 42, a keen cyclist from Sussex, challenged himself to ride 600 miles, including RideLondon-Surrey, to raise money.

Chris said: “I’ve known Steve for more than five years now and when Austin’s diagnosis came through we were all shocked and saddened and wanted to do something to contribute.

“I was so inspired by his effort and determination to accomplish the many rides and distances last year that when he mentioned he was planning to get a team together for this year I jumped at the chance.

“I am looking forward to raising much needed funds and awareness and being part of such an iconic activity.”

One in 3,500 boys in the UK is born with Duchenne each year. Their average lifespan is just 20 years and the disease is 100% fatal.

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 is a 100-mile bike ride on closed roads, starting in the Olympic Park, taking in the Surrey Hills, and then finishing on the Mall. More than 20,000 cyclists will be taking part.

Joining Chris and Steve will be Dan Vout, 39, plus colleagues from other parts of the world.

To support the team please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/steven-foster11.

WOKING-BASED lingerie giant HanesBrands has donated £10,000 to the breast cancer charity Walk the Walk in the run-up to the 20th fundraising MoonWalk.

Some 15,000 walkers are expected to gather at Clapham Common on Saturday for the annual event, wearing decorated bras to raise money and awareness to fight breast cancer.

Loredana Sole and Mellissa Coulter with the cake made by Laura Robinson. Loredana and Mellissa are wearing the decorated bras of the type that all pariticants in the Monwalk and Half-Moonwalk will be wearing.

Nina Barough, CBE, the charity’s founder and chief executive, was on hand to accept the cheque from the HanesBrands office in Church Street West. The company bought Playtex, whose lingerie includes Wonderbra and sports bras.

Sixteen HanesBrands employees will take part in the London MoonWalk this year.

The charity, whose headquarters are in the Genesis Business Park in Albert Drive, Woking, has raised £116 million and makes grants to a variety of cancer organisations. It also funds hospitals across the country to by Scalp Cooling systems, which help people undergoing chemotherapy to retain their hair.

WILL Forster, the Liberal Democrat leader on Woking Borough Council, will fight Jonathan Lord for the parliamentary seat in the general election on 8 June. UKIP is also fielding a candidate, local businessman Troy de Leon.

The Lib Dems announced that Mr Forster was their candidate this week, with Mr Lord reselected last weekend at a special general meeting of the Woking Conservative Association. UKIP named Mr de Leon on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, the Labour Party announced its candidate as Fiona Colley, the Southwark Council cabinet member for Finance. Ms Colley is a former pension fund manager with a Masters in Economics from the University of Cambridge. A Labour Party spokesperson said that her parents live in Woking.

Mr Forster said: “I am delighted to have been selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Woking.  I have lived in Woking for more than two decades and been a councillor for the last eight years. I know Woking so well and see the problems residents face on a daily basis.  I love this town and this borough, and I want to be its voice in Westminster.”

Europe is likely to feature heavily in the Woking campaign with Mr Forster saying: “I know so many people, including lifelong Conservatives, are very unhappy with the current MP who backed Leave in the recent referendum and is backing the Government’s Hard Brexit agenda, despite Woking voted overwhelming to Remain.

“As Woking’s MP, I will always back local residents and represent their views in Parliament.”

Mr Lord said: “It has been a great privilege to have represented the residents of the Woking  constituency since 2010 and I am honoured that our local Conservative Association has re-selected me as their candidate for the election.

“Under Conservative leadership both locally and nationally, I think that Woking has gone from strength to strength. There has been a real transformation of our town centre over the past few years and our villages and communities continue to be wonderful places to live and to raise a family.

“Business is good, local employment is at an all-time high, and our young people are doing outstandingly well at our schools and colleges.

“But we must never be complacent. I believe that it is only Theresa May and a Conservative Government, supported by our excellent local Conservative councils, who can help deliver the continued growth and prosperity we need to flourish into the future.”

Mr de Leon has had connections in Woking for about 25 years and has lived in the town for around ten years. He is standing in the county council elections today for the Knaphill and Goldsworth West seat, where his chief opponent is also a Conservative, Cllr Saj Hussain.

Mr Lord had a 20,810 majority over second-placed Labour in 2015. The Lib Dems put up a strong fight in the 2010 general election coming second with a gap of less than 7,000 votes. But in the  nationally disastrous election five years ago, the party finished third in Woking, 174 votes ahead of UKIP.

A CHOBHAM  children’s nursery has just been voted an “extradordinary” place to work by its staff for the sixth year running.

Pennypot Day Nursery is part of the Childbase Partnership, which was rated 25th in the prestigious Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For listing, just published. The list is compiled from the views of workers themselves.

The company is one of only 160 UK organisations to achieve three-star, “Extraordinary” accreditation – for the sixth time in a row.

Carol McDonough, deputy manager at the staff-owned company in Pennypot Lane, said: “It is a very personal achievement because we are all employee owners and what we say really does make a difference.

Pictured: (L-R) Team leaders, Cathy Burrows, Aprille Goubert, Anna Jackman, and Pennypot deputy manager, Carol McDonough.

“When you are committed to giving young children the very best start in life, a happy supported staff team, who love their work and workplace, is vital.”

She added: “Ofsted inspectors have told us repeatedly that a happy and engaged staff team equals happy children. Our pride in our nursery and our company is reflected in our happy and confident children and there is nothing more rewarding or satisfying than that.”

For children aged six weeks to five years, Pennypot Day Nursery offers innovative learning through play programmes in imaginative, age-appropriate rooms which all have ‘free-flow’ access to a large garden with all-year-round secure and separate play and learning areas.

Childbase Partnership was the Employee Ownership Association’s Employee Owned Business of the Year 2016 and UK National Champion in the European Business Awards.

Woking News & Mail reader survey goes live

THE Woking News and Mail launched its first survey this week, confident that demand for a local newspaper is stronger than ever.

Woking’s only designated newspaper is offering readers the chance to “have your say”, with automatic entry to win a whole year’s free subscription to the Woking News and Mail as well as £100 worth of Debenham’s vouchers in a prize draw. The survey is also reaching out to retailers and advertisers as key stakeholders.

The survey was compiled by local research consultancy The Halo Works and aims to build the publication’s growing readership with a two-way conversation with residents and businesses in the area. Launched on Monday, the survey takes no morer than five minutes to complete and remains live online until 31st May at http://feedback.thehaloworks.com/survey/selfserve/174e/170311.

Local businessman, Philip Davies who with his brother Jon also owns Knaphill Print, bought the title in 2011 after it was closed by Trinity Mirror in 2010. Since then the small sales and editorial teams, with support from community news contributors, has seen a gradual increase in the publication’s circulation.

News and Mail Managing Director Terry Tidbury says: “We want to know what our readers, retailers and advertisers have to say because we believe that interest in local news is stronger than ever.

“The increased appetite for community news owes a lot to citizen participation in news, but this tends to be rooted in the work of volunteers which can leave titles vulnerable for a variety of reasons. As a local newspaper business we are accountable for our content and its delivery on a number of levels. We see a real future for local news and we’re confident that the results of this survey will help us to enhance our offer.”

“The launch of our Chobham edition has been very popular,” says Editor Stuart Flitton. “It illustrates the fact that people are welcoming the newspaper back as an important source of local news and more importantly a way of linking up to community life. Its why we’ve found that readers really value the work of contributors such Ann Tilbury, who focuses mainly on Horsell community news.”

THE Princess Royal officially opened a £24 million world-leading vaccine development facility at The Pirbright Institute near Woking.

The Jenner Building is home to the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) National Vaccinology Centre. It accommodates 100 scientists working on cutting-edge research to generate new vaccines for a variety of livestock diseases, including those that can spread to humans. Scientists mainly focus on poultry diseases such as bird flu and Marek’s disease, but they also develop vaccines for other animal viruses such as the devastating African horse sickness virus.

The building is 14.6m tall and has 3,700sqm of floor space across two floors, which is equivalent to 19 tennis courts.

It has shared, open-plan laboratories that can each house between six to 30 scientists. Specialised labs include a bio-imaging, cell culture suite and a Home Office incubation laboratory

Recent breakthroughs at Pirbright include using new technologies that facilitate the development of a new-generation of genetically modified vaccines.

Dr Bryan Charleston, interim director and CEO of The Pirbright Institute, said the organisation was very honoured to have Princess Anne officially open the centre.

“Our innovative new facilities will enable scientists to develop a greater understanding of virus-host interactions and how best to combat diseases using the latest technologies including the genetic modification of vaccines and viruses,” Dr Charleston said.

[red blob] THE Jenner Building was designed by the architects NBBJ, who were appointed in 2012. It consumes 20% less energy than the buildings it replaced. This was achieved by including features such as automated façade vents for night-time cooling, rainwater harvesting, extensive use of LED lights, and 283 photovoltaic panels on the roof with a brief to design for adaptability in the context of an evolving campus and changing research programmes and to ensure the design reflected the rural campus while setting new standards for sustainability and quality of experience for occupants.

Landscape designers Robert Myers Associates created a wildflower meadow to the south, part of which was awarded to the Institute for winning the CIRIA biodiversity BIG Challenge Awards. The rest of the wildflower planting was donated by construction company John Sisk & Sons, and is haven for wildlife and insects.

WOKING shoppers and businesses could to join a groundbreaking worldwide loyalty card scheme that combines cash-back with bonus points.

The planned scheme would involve shoppers signing up for a Lyoness card with shops and other businesses in the town centre.

The card, run by the Austrian-based Lyoness Management GmbH, is available in Britain but Woking Borough Council would be the first local authority in the country to take part in a mass sign-up of the programme.

It would be free to shoppers who would get cashback up to 5% that would go into their bank accounts, while businesses in the scheme would get 0.5% on all transactions, not only in Woking but in any of the 47 countries around the world where the card is accepted.

Woking Borough Council would receive 0.5% of all transactions, all of which would benefit good causes through the Woking Community Foundation.

 Jubilee Square, Woking, Surrey.
Pictures by: Jake Darling

The plan is to be put forward tonight (23 March) to the council executive, which will be asked to recommend that the full council appoints Lyoness to run the programme at its next meeting on 6 April.

Businesses will have to buy the electronic devise to process card transactions and pay a small monthly fee, but will benefit, not only directly from the money back on transactions, but by increased custom and marketing generated by the card.

They would offer products or services to the Lyoness bonus points system at discounts of between 5% and 15%.

It is believed that other loyalty schemes in neighbouring boroughs have been considered but dismissed on cost grounds, whereas the Lyoness version, which will be known as the Woking Loyalty Card Programme if it receives the backing of the full council, is seen as costing the authority very little, while offering widespread benefits. It would be managed by the council’s Business Liaison team as part of its business engagement duties and would add very little administration cost.

The draft plan involves the scheme being introduced to the town centre, and then to other parts of the borough with the hope that surrounding local authorities will see the advantages and join in.

It is believed that some local authorities in London are watching the planned Woking scheme closely.

Business Liaison portfolio holder Cllr Saj Hussain said: “This would be great – it would put Woking on the map as the card will be available globally – Australia, Dubai and elswhere. With the benefits to businesses, shoppers and good causes, it is a win-win situation.

“I hope the executive and council agrees and look forward to this coming to the town.”