Thursday, 25 January 2018

Corinium Radio Business as Usual Jan 18

The 2017 Christmas Party!
Business as Usual (BaS)
Corinium Radio January 2018
The big news for January was the launch of the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2018 held at the Corinium Museum. We were treated to a comedy duo comprised of President Les Stephens and Vice President David Fowles presenting an entertaining Question & Answer session about the Awards, for the benefit of would-be entrants or sponsors. David will give more details about this later in this programme.
Mark Tawn of Davey Law gave a very compelling argument in favour of sponsoring the Business Awards categories, which was so inspiring that almost all the categories had found sponsors by the end of the evening!
Amanda Hart of the Corinium Museum spoke to us of the benefits of entering the competition, and how winning could prove a huge boost to a company or organisation. She should know – last year the Corinium Museum won not one, but TWO Awards!
The entry forms are now up on our website, ready to download and fill out. Use this as an opportunity to look at your business, see what’s working and what isn’t. Please make sure you get the entries in to us in good time, before the end of March.
After the business of the evening was done, the attendees moved back into the atrium where a large spread had been provided by New Brewery Arts, and plenty of bubbly and fruit juices were available to wash it down. The Chamber makes a point of supporting local businesses wherever possible when promoting its events.
Please get involved. It’s a real boost to your business to get an award!
Design tenders are opening for the proposed Waterloo Car Park decking, though at this moment we don’t know when it will reach the Consultation stage. In anticipation of this work, alternative car parking is being sought for use while construction is underway, given that we will lose a further 200 spaces at that point. 
The latest news is that Cirencester Rugby Club has just confirmed they will provide 150 spaces for Monday-Friday use, which will probably be allocated as long stay parking. A very good start!
In the meantime the popular ‘Free after Three’ parking continues in the Brewery and Forum car parks.  It is guaranteed till the end of March, but is hoped to continue as it’s proving a great asset for the retailers.
Another well established business has closed down - Jack’s cafe in Black Jack Street. So many cafes, usually part of chains such as Caffe Nero and Coffee#1, have opened in Cirencester over the last ten years that they have proved a threat to independent shops like these. Even more eateries will come with the proposed cinema complex, which now seems inevitable, since Wildmoor demolished the old Jungle shop in December, as a token gesture to prevent their planning permission from expiring. We still have no clear idea of when this might happen, and are currently left with an unattractive abandoned building site to greet the town’s visitors when they park in the Brewery.
The regenerated Market Place is continuing to thrive, and is a very attractive asset to the town, bringing in visitors, and shoppers. However, few of  the market traders themselves are local businesses, so it is still to be ascertained if  the shoppers spend locally too.
There is still a major problem with traffic flow. A large majority feel that having tested the alternative in Castle Street, and found it unsuccessful; the council should be open to changing the flow so it goes out of the town as before. The Review Our Market Place (ROMP) pressure group continues to push for this.
The new Chesterton Development has been approved despite great controversy and opposition to the huge numbers proposed. ‘Say no to 2350’ has been the cry of the Save Our Cirencester group which has campaigned tirelessly since it was put forward. They feel 1200-1500 houses would be a more sustainable number.
After a cracking start, with a huge celebration in the church with a huge turnout of 500 businesses and community supporters, the Bathurst Friendship initiative has stalled a little. Hopefully, only temporarily. There is definitely the need for a central coordinator to answer all the queries and give guidance.
A lot of businesses and also the Chamber of Commerce will be supporting the World War 1 celebrations this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.
Our Mayor, Councillor Nigel Robbins, is leading this project and increasing awareness amongst both businesses and community alike.

If you have an item of local business news you think may be of interest to us, please email them to me, Jan Sparrow, at    

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Signing a New Contract? Advice from Citizens Advice Cotswold District

How many of us have ‘signed on the dotted line’ or consented to the Terms and Conditions without really knowing what we have agreed to? Contracts can carry a great deal of risk for consumers, especially as they are often formed at a distance (i.e. when ordering a product online). This method of contract denies you - the consumer - an opportunity to ask the supplier questions or have the ‘Terms and Conditions’ fully explained to you.
Many companies offer attractive sign-up deals, including generous discounts or a free gift; however this can disguise the true nature of the contract. For example, you might find that you have now consented to pay a monthly subscription fee to their website or signed up to a lengthy contract without understanding the cancellation terms. It is therefore very important to read the ‘Terms and Conditions’, and if you do not understand, do not sign-up. A client recently had major difficulties with a company over its terms and conditions and she stated that the “situation made me extremely stressed”.
Face-to-face consumer contracts also carry risks. Being present gives the supplier the advantage of persistence, and owing to politeness, it can often be difficult to say no. Therefore, if you feel that you are being pressured and you do not fully understand, ask for more time. Take their details, seek help if necessary, and contact them again if you still wish to proceed.

You can get further advice from Citizens Advice Cotswold District which is open Monday-Thursday, 10am-3pm for drop-in sessions, and 10am-4pm for phone calls. To contact Citizens Advice Cotswold District, call: 0808 800 0511. Alternatively, visit our website for information or to find your local office:     The Citizens Advice Consumer Service is also available to give advice on: 03454 04 05 06 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm). 

Winter Warmers-Work Place Temperature with Alison Fieden & Co Jan 18

With the winter season back again it’s time for employers to make sure that the workplace is winter-ready and for employees to make sure they know their rights.
Whilst most employers endeavour to make sure that the workplace is a reasonable temperature and that access to hot drinks and heaters are usual practice, what exactly does the law say about what the temperature should be? Well, here we have answered the most common questions about winter in the workplace.

1.    What is the minimum temperature allowed in the workplace?

The answer to this question greatly depends upon what work is carried out and in what type of workplace the job is carried in, but the starting point is what the law actually states. The rules are contained in the Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations (WHSWR). They do not however give a specified minimum temperature (and maximum temperature for that matter), but simply says that the temperature should be “reasonable” and they suggest a minimum temperature of 16C or 13C if the job is a manual one.

Of course, because the law only suggests this minimum temperature, an employer does not have to meet it, however they should carry out a full risk assessment to be able to determine what a reasonable minimum for the individual circumstances is, for example what is reasonable for an office worker will be very different than what is reasonable to a builder working outdoors on site.

2.    I work in an office and the heating is broken, can I go home?

Your employer is entitled to attempt to use another safe method of heating the workplace prior to allowing staff to leave. Any heat supply used must not cause fumes, vapours or gas to be emitted if they are likely to cause harm or injury. Employers should take temperature readings to assess the situation and the reading should be taken at working height, next to workstations and away from windows. If your employer is unable to heat the workplace to a reasonable temperature then you are allowed to leave without losing pay.

3.    I work outside, what minimum temperature applies to me?

If the work you carry out involves rigorous physical effort, the minimum temperature suggested by the WHSWR is 13 Celsius. Again, your employer must assess the situation and make a reasonable decision based on the circumstances.

In addition to the above your employer should provide you with heaters where appropriate, adequate protective clothing for cold environments and sufficient breaks and access to warm drinks/warm food. Your employer could also consider job rotation if some employees are in a warmer environment.

4.    I work in a kitchen and regularly work next to a cold store. What protection do I have?
Again your employer should consider job rotation, or regular breaks in order that you can regularly get warm. If you regularly enter a cold store you should be provided with adequate protective clothing and gloves.

5.    I am an employer, what should I be doing
In addition to the above points, all employers should regularly review their current policies to control any potential risks. Employers should always remember that in addition to policies regarding employees as a whole, they should also take into account policies for employees who require additional requirements such as pregnant employees or those with medical conditions which may be affected by significant/extreme temperature fluctuations.

Your policies and procedures should be adequate to be able to monitor the temperature changes, the needs of staff and to swiftly deal with a change in the circumstances of the workplace due to temperature issues. Always record your assessments of the workplace, any changes, what implementations you have made and any employees with specific needs. Remember, if your employees have to go home because you cannot increase the temperature to a reasonable level, you must pay them.


Saturday, 20 January 2018

Misconceptions About Children on Separation: Alison Fielden & Co December 17

Children come in all shapes and sizes and they all have different levels of acceptance and coping mechanisms. It is therefore very difficult to predict how any particular child will react to news that their parents are about to/or have separated. With this in mind it is essential that when dealing with this delicate issue the best interests and welfare of children should be carefully considered and planned.
The following are some statements which are commonly made by parents who have separated:
Children are not affected by their parents’ separation
The majority of children are affected when they are exposed to parental conflict. Children love both parents and look to them to make decisions for them. Parents should put aside their differences for the sake of their children. This enables parents to co-parent and jointly make important decisions in respect of all areas of their children’s lives whilst ensuring their children are protected from emotional harm.
Child maintenance and arrangements for child contact go hand-in-hand
Parents often believe that if they are paying child maintenance this means that they should automatically be seeing their children. Payment of child maintenance is a statutory liability. Having suitable arrangements in place to spend time with your children is a completely different and unrelated matter. Sadly, if agreement with regards to child arrangements cannot be reached, an application to court may be necessary regardless of child maintenance being paid.
Children always remain with the mother
At Alison Fielden & Co we have acted for both mothers and fathers in cases with very different circumstances. We have seen children live with their mother, with their father or indeed with both parents on a shared care basis. On separation parents should try to come to an agreement about the care of their children to include where they will live/how much time they will spend with each parent. If agreement cannot be reached the court may be required to decide making a Child Arrangements Order.
Agreements reached directly between parents are legally binding
Agreements reached between parents are simply that: an agreement. They are not legally binding. Only a Child Arrangements Order made by the court, setting out the arrangements for children, whether agreed or imposed by the court, is legally binding.
There are set precedents for child arrangements which the court must adhere to
When dealing with a children application, the court’s paramount consideration is the welfare of the individual child. The court will consider the welfare checklist (set out in the Children Act 1989) taking account of all relevant circumstances. Each case is different and this coupled with the wide discretion of the court means that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
The court will follow what the children want
In some cases the court will decide that a report from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service’ (CAFCASS) is needed. When preparing a report, CAFCASS will consider the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the children concerned and the court will decide what weight to attach to this taking into account their age and understanding.
Involving children in decision making is helpful
Whilst parents may feel that it is important to involve children in decisions made about them, this is more often than not, not the best approach. Children are not adults and should not be made to participate in the decision making process. Children, depending on their age and understanding, are not usually properly equipped to fully consider and then make decisions. Children rely on the adults in their lives to make decisions for them. Children should be left to be children.
All fathers have parental responsibility
This is a very common misconception. Fathers can obtain parental responsibility in the following ways:
·         by being married to the mother at the time the child is born
·         by being named on the child’s birth certificate after 1 December 2003
·         by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother, and
·         by order of the court.

So, as you can see, some of the most common pieces of information people receive may not actually be correct and as such when dealing with children issues arising out of separation it is essential that legal advice is sought at an early stage. For further information and advice contact Heather Weavill or Steven Barratt at Alison Fielden & Co on 01285 653261.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

LINC: Anyone Can be Affected by Leukaemia

Marie who spent months as LINC patient.
LINC Supports You in Your Illness. By Dr Gill Rouse

The Leukaemia and Intensive Chemotherapy Fund is a local charity that gives total support to leukaemia, lymphoma and other cancer patients who are treated within Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The treatment of leukaemia differs from that of other cancers in that it involves a long stay in hospital receiving intensive chemotherapy, followed by either a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. Overall, the patient could be in hospital anything up to 6 months.

During that time, the patient is likely to be in one of the 8 ensuite isolation units – a very small area which will be home for the next few months.

LINC starts its care by providing welcome toiletry packs – leukaemia patients often come into hospital without prior warning so we provide simple things like toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, tissues until they have sorted themselves out.

We have also been instrumental in providing a broadband facility, televisions, sky TV, DVD players, individual fridges , reclining chairs – anything that helps to make the long stay in hospital more bearable.

The charity also provides financial care – being ill is always expensive especially if you are self-employed. Whilst the patient may be in hospital, life goes on and there are bills to be paid. LINC has helped with housing rents, mortgages, child care, travel expenses, dog walking and on one occasion, new pyjamas. Two LINC funded clinical psychologists give emotional support to patients, families and staff.

Marie (pictured top left) spent many months as a LINC patient in isolation receiving intensive chemotherapy before her successful stem cell transplant. As a nurse herself, Marie had to become a patient overnight following her diagnosis but remained a positive inspiration throughout her treatment.

Anyone can be affected by leukaemia-we need your support to continue the care we can give to local blood cancer patients and their families. For more information or to make a donation please visit

Country Matters by The Hodge Jan 18

Country Matters

By The Hodge

“The pig, if I am not mistaken,
Supplies us sausage, ham and bacon,
Let others say his heart is big--
I call it stupid of the pig.”

Ogden Nash, ‘The Pig’ 1935

With all the representations of the birth of Christ in churches and schools up and down the country, you will see all the main characters; Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus in a crib, the three wise man and the shepherds. As it all takes place in a manger, then there will be cattle, sheep and goats too and maybe even a donkey. But what of the other major farm animal, indeed the world’s most important one?

I refer, of course, to the pig, the hog, the swine, old grunter. But why should I consider him to be the most important one? Well, quite simply because in the world today more protein derived from pigs is eaten than any other meat. Pigs account for 36.3% of all meat consumed. Chicken is a close second (35.2%) but both are streets ahead of other types such as beef or lamb. This is truly remarkable bearing in mind that many countries with majority religions that forbid the eating of the porker are excluded whereas, to the best of my knowledge, nobody forbids the eating of chickens and they are consumed in every country. And that is where we came in; why there are no pink pigs nuzzling around the crib or rooting in the straw in front of the wise men. Political correctness.

Even though it is a recent phenomenon, political correctness has dictated over many decades that pigs shouldn’t appear in a recreation of the Nativity scene in Bethlehem since Judaism proscribes against the eating of the flesh of the swine, so they just wouldn’t be there, would they? Well, actually, they would. Archaeological excavations in Tell Halif indicate that both wild and tame hogs were commonly consumed in this area of the Near East even though they were prohibited under the terms in the Old Testament still taken as actual by certain religions.

But why should meat from the pig be forbidden? There are many theories, too many to detail here but in times of primitive medicine pigs were blamed for spreading diseases such as leprosy and trichinosis. The real cause though is likely to be a combination of various factors. Firstly, the pig is unsuited to a nomadic existence and many tribes at the time of the Old Testament were not settled farmers but peoples who roamed with their sheep and goats and cattle, looking for water and fresh grazing. They would despise any settled farmers – perhaps epitomised by those keeping pigs – because their land would be prohibited to the travellers.

The Near East was always arid and pigs demand more water than other farm stock although they do not require good grazing in the way that their cohorts do. Whilst the water issue was a real disadvantage, it was more than compensated for by their ability to give birth throughout the year, with multiple offspring at each occasion, and grow faster than other farm stock. But the book of Leviticus called the pig ‘unclean’ and forbade its consumption, (as it does also for rabbits and shellfish).

So the pig was not popular but nor was he banned entirely so that the manger in Bethlehem could quite easily have been home to a few pigs enjoying the company of all the visitors. Now, if your little Johnnie or Jenny was upset that they had been cast as a pig in their nativity play, please don’t rail against their teacher but celebrate the fact that the most important provider of meat to mankind has overcome so many PC obstacles to be given his rightful spot among the other creatures in that holy scene.

Again, a happy New Year to one and all.

Country Matters by The Hodge, Dec 17

Country Matters Dec 17 by The Hodge
“What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?”

Bertholt Brecht (1898-1956)

No doubt we’ll all be going daft buying in food for the Christmas feast… turkey/goose/rib of beef/nut roast and then all the trimmings; the Brussels, the parsnips, the stuffing, the chipolatas and then the puds and the crackers and the booze But don’t forget in all this retail exhaustion, the cheese!

I glanced at a survey recently asking who would rather give up cheese or chocolate and the answers were pretty equal but I thought it was a daft question. My only comment would be that if you’re setting a mouse trap, mice actually seem to prefer chocolate, so keep all the cheese for yourself! Cheese in its many forms and guises can be robust or subtle, creamy or rocky, smelly or sublime. Did you know that there are more varieties of cheese produced now in the UK than in France? Amazing! Yet with all these artisan cheeses, we still tend to stick to the tried and tested Cheddar and if you think that the gorge in Somerset must be pretty impressive to produce all this, be aware that there is no protection on the name ‘Cheddar’ and something in the region of 150,000 tons of it is imported every year so eating Cheddar is unlikely to be helping our beleaguered dairy farmers.

Of course, the staple at Christmas is Stilton cheese, the blue-veined variety from around Leicestershire, Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire which does have European protected status. This seems a little odd as it originated around Peterborough in Cambridgeshire but we mustn’t try to fathom the European bureaucrat’s mind-set. Sacrilege it might be but to my taste it’s a little too creamy and I prefer my blue cheese to have a bit more bite so I won’t be competing with you for the last one in the shop – that’ll be someone else.

But Christmas is a great excuse to try a few different cheeses and expand your repertoire. So be bold and go out and try something different and build up a cheese board that will surprise and delight your family and guests.

Cheese making goes back thousands of years but how on earth did someone sit down and decide it would be a good thing to curdle milk with rennet, (the lining of a cow’s stomach), and then let it mature for weeks or months or years. The most likely scenario is that somehow it all happened by accident and the end result was so good that early man decided to replicate the process.

One explanation may be that before rennet, they used woodlice to curdle the milk instead and it may be that our forebears observed the effect of some woodlice falling in a vat of milk and causing it to curdle. An early name for the woodlouse was ‘cheeslip’, acknowledging his important work in the dairy.

And if on Boxing Day or beyond you tire of all the feasting and yearn for a simple cheese on toast, make sure you have plenty of Wensleydale handy. The British Cheese Board did exhaustive work on the subject with scientists and food testers and declared that Wensleydale made the best cheese on toast. Who runs the British Cheese Board? I don’t know but it sounds as if it might be Wallace and Grommit but whoever, you now know their recommendation.

And if you’re still debating what the subject of your main course is going to be, spare a grateful thought that you hail from the Cotswolds and not from the Outer Hebrides. There they wouldn’t give a walnut or a tangerine for your turkey or your goose. There they demand instead a ‘guga’, or baby gannet. Caught on the cliffs in early summer, they are stored outside until Christmas in salt. Around 2,000 are eaten this way every year. The skin, the best part apparently, oozes a sticky, black oil and the flesh is said to taste like a cross between a duck and mackerel. The islanders don’t like anything fancy to detract from their prized ‘guga’ so eat it accompanied only by boiled potatoes.

If I’ve whetted your appetite, go away and bother your preferred supermarket.

Whatever you feast upon, have a very happy Christmas and prosperous and healthy New Year!