Our last Business Meeting of 2013 was held on Wednesday 18th December at the Centre and representatives from local businesses and organisations heard from speakers on some very topical issues.
Leader for Slough Borough Council, Rob Anderson and Finance and Audit Assistant Director Joseph Holmes, presented to the delegates the current Council budget and constraints for 2014/15. Rob said that the annual grant that the Council receives from Central Government is projected to decrease considerably over the coming years and that this will impact on businesses and local residents. He went on to say that there is an opportunity to support the town and initiatives through Business Rates as Local Authorities will, in future, be responsible not only for the collection of these rates but also for the distribution of them. Although there is an incentive for the Council to increase Business Rates this will only help to offset the overall budget reduction due to the decrease in Central Government funding.
The Council will be continuing their consultation on their budget over the first quarter of 2014 and would like business input to help identify their top priorities for Slough and where they think SBC should invest its resources.
For further information or to contribute to the consultation, please contact Shabnam Ali, Economic Policy Development Officer on Shabnam.firstname.lastname@example.org
An informative presentation on Workplace Pensions and Auto Enrolment was delivered by Nick Kidby of Chiltern Consultancy. He explained that Auto-enrolment onto pension schemes will be implemented from October 2012 to 2017 and that the staging date was dependent on the number of people employed within a business. He informed delegates of costs, impacts and the different options available to businesses / organisations and highlighted the need to ensure that correct systems are in place in time for the staging date.
We then heard from Rob Gray about a campaign called ‘Back Heathrow’ which is a group of people, businesses and organisations who are campaigning for a secure future for Heathrow Airport and the jobs that depend on it. He talked to delegates about the current Heathrow debate over expansion vs shut down and explained how local business could get themselves and their networks involved in the campaign to ‘Back Heathrow’.
The final speaker was Gary Drake from GDT Slough Tennis – a local initiative that is encouraging more people and businesses to visit Salt Hill Park to see and use the impressive facilities. He asked delegates to promote tennis as a healthy sport that staff can access locally.
If you would like any further information on any of the speakers of presentations please contact us.
Another very informative Business to Community Skills event was held on the 05th December. This was a chance for business representatives to come to present to delegates from local voluntary and community groups and impart their knowledge and experience in key business development areas
We heard from Georgina Clarke of New Approaches CIC who gave some key Project Management tips while Justin Govier gave attendees an insight into current law surrounding volunteer and casual worker contracts including information on types of contract and employment status’. Sid Pednekar from McDonald’s gave a motivational talk on Leadership skills, reminding managers of the importance of coaching and supporting employees to reach their potential.
We would like to thank our speakers for their time and support and also thank the attendees for taking part in another great event.
The SBCP Annual Conference entitled ‘People can make a difference’ was held at Hilton Hotel, Heathrow Terminal 5 on 28th November and was attended by over 100 delegates.
Rafiq Chohan, SBCP’s Chairman, said “Conveying our improved performance from last year the Conference demonstrably showed the difference people working for local business had made to our local community. With over 3,350 hours of volunteering, valued at £175,000 and benefiting over 40,500 members of our community in the last year, Slough is already doing great work.
We had 3 World class speakers all confirming the value of employee engagement being a win – win for community and volunteer alike. We should all be very proud of our Business Community in Slough and the contribution they continue to make. We look forward to welcoming more activity and more volunteering from business as we approach the New Year with increased optimism and hope.”
SBCP’s ‘People can make a difference’ theme was taken up by a number of distinguished speakers.
Francis Goss – Head of Employee Engagement at Grass Roots UK, spoke about ‘investing in people’ and providing employees with motivational forces beyond money which in turn has shown an evidenced increase in company savings and productivity.
Mark Francis from Star Commercial Academy gave a thought provoking talk on how to lead change in a workplace by encouraging a greater collective involvement. He highlighted the three R’s in this process – Role Modelling, Rallying for troops and Recognising effort and progress during times of change.
Lastly we heard from Katie Hyson form Telefónica UK – O2 who enthusiastically took delegates through research conducted by O2 which showed positive statistics and highlighted the benefits derived from employees getting involved in community matters.
The prestigious SBCP Awards were a particular highlight of the evening. There were two Company Awards that were received by David Carey of LeasePlan and Roisin O’Sullivan from Amazon.co.uk in recognition of the contribution that both companies have made to the local community through employee volunteering.
Six awards were made to employees from BlackBerry and Mars Chocolate who through the Business Mentoring programme had provided excellent support to key leaders of voluntary organisations in Slough.
The Chairman’s Award went to Sue Sibany-King from Slough Foodbank who is making a considerable difference to the lives of vulnerable people in Slough. She has established a well-run warehouse and three outlets in the town that are staffed with the help of local volunteers. Sue is always looking at innovative ways to attract more donations for this valuable service in Slough.
Left to right: Mark Francis (Star Academy), Katie Hyson (Think Big – O2), Rafiq Chohan (SBCP’s Chairman) and Francis Goss (Grass Roots)