The restaurant, pub and indeed hospitality industry in the UK is due a rebound. After an extremely challenging year with so much uncertainty and three lockdowns which meant restaurants and pubs couldn’t open their doors to customers, the light must be at the end of the tunnel. The great news is that restaurants, pubs and cafes will reopen for outdoor dining from April 12, 2021. This is really exciting news on the road to recovery.
No doubt, the coronavirus pandemic had a massive impact on the hospitality sector. While some businesses became more innovative and adapted their business model to deliver takeout meals, for some other hospitality businesses it has not been scalable. The result has been the accumulation of ongoing fixed costs and debt in many cases.
The Government’s intervention schemes like the Eat Out to Help Out offered temporary relief for some in an industry that has been challenged on all fronts. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has partly offset unemployment by covering payroll costs but more needs to be done for accumulated rents and business rates. The industry plays a key role in our communities, the high street and our way of life.
Official research and data shows that the hospitality industry is a major driver of the UK economy. Out of habit and culture, we love to eat out, socialize with friends and family and celebrate milestones in our lives. Imagine all the events from work functions to birthdays and anniversaries that were scrapped last year and the impact on the industry especially over the busy Christmas period.
From publicly available data, in 2019, the hospitality sector:
The scale of the hospitality industry in the UK is massive. The impact it has on our way of life is hard to quantify. Speaking with Andy Sexton, the Business Development Manager of Certa Service, a leading catering equipment supplier and maintenance business, we got more insight into the challenges in the industry and how Certa Service is supporting other hospitality businesses through this new and exciting phase.
Certa Service specialises in catering equipment servicing and maintenance for restaurants, pubs, schools, golf clubs, hotels and care homes. They cover all major equipment brands and offer re-active breakdown support to full preventive maintenance packages. This means your business should never have downtime and loss of revenue due to broken equipment as a Certa Engineer will be dispatched to deal with your problem promptly.
With a portfolio of leading high-end restaurants in Mayfair, Carnaby Street, Soho and Fitzrovia as clients, Certa Service is optimistic about the future and is looking to extend its service and footprint across London and the Home Counties. “We are renowned for our service. You can always get our assistance in an emergency at the drop of the hat. We supply, service and repair all types of catering equipment from all the major brands and manufacturers. From your oven to refrigeration units to extractors units to gas and electrical appliances, you are covered with us. We stock spares as well. This means we can react faster to any situation than the other providers”.
After a turbulent last 12 months, Certa Service is bullish and counting on a rebound in the industry. Remarks Andy “There are a few sporting events this summer; the delayed Euro 2020 men's football championship that will take place this summer, the Olympic Games, Copa America Championships, Wimbledon, Tour de France and many others. This should drive footfall to restaurants, pubs and other hospitality units. We also anticipate all the postponed social events like birthdays, anniversaries will be celebrated. We believe it will be a busy period for the hospitality industry.
The Managing Director of Certa Service, Dan Loria has a positive outlook of the industry and has been working with his management team to support a lot of businesses as they resume trading. Certa has recently expanded its sales and marketing team as a way to broaden its client base and make the business more robust. By targeting more high profile West End restaurants with its services, he is confident of adding more clients to the books.
Certa is also the leading UK distributor for induction cooking equipment. They operate a 24-hour call-out service meaning a fault is diagnosed and repaired in minutes by their technicians. Spares are despatched promptly to the technician from their Warehouse in Hemel Hempstead. All staff use PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and disinfect surfaces between visits.
“We understand the challenges within the industry. Some restaurants may have not operated their oven or refrigeration units in months. They may have no idea if their equipment is still functioning as usual. Besides, with the loss of income, there is the temptation by restaurant owners and head chefs to look differently about their budgets. This is where we can assist with our regular servicing plans and kitchen leasing equipment option to save costs, reduce downtime and lost revenue. There is also an introductory discount on your first health check”.
There is no doubt the food sector has been hit so hard by the coronavirus pandemic over the last year. Restrictions on trading have impacted business turnover. The confidence of the industry has been shaken. However, with the Government's mass vaccination programme rollout and the staggered return to business from April 12 with outside dining and from May 17 with indoor eaters, a turnaround is around the corner. Certa Service will play a major role with a superior and better service offering.
Supporting businesses and the community is in Certa Service's DNA. They are the proud sponsors of the Hemel Storm Basketball team, the semi-professional basketball club from Hemel Hempstead competing in the second tier of the British basketball system. It is part of the great strides of a company that has been around for just under a decade.
The UK hospitality industry needs our support to thrive. We are seeing more innovation and creativity by key players in the industry to weather this storm and emerge stronger. Makeshift eateries, yurts, pods and even food vans are common nowadays. As we get through the most challenging phase in recent time, we all have a role to play by dining out while keeping safe.
For enquiries about catering equipment services, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
St Albans & Herts Plumbing
St Albans & Herts Plumbing are truly the local plumbers of St Albans. They are well known for their prompt responsive service to emergency call-outs in St Albans. The team covers all aspects of plumbing, central heating and gas services. From leaking or burst pipes to leaking boilers or clogged toilets, St Albans & Herts Plumbing covers it all.
They are the team you can trust. With same-day service or within 24 hours service, you are guaranteed to get any unwanted plumbing condition under control. Their emergency services are known to respond to enquiries within 30 minutes from when the call was placed.
As the leading plumber in St Albans, you get a highly experienced team, expertise and dedication to all jobs both big or small. Whether you are embarking on a home improvement project, need repairs or upgrades of your heating and plumbing systems or want to add a new bathroom or kitchen, you can always rely on St Albans & Herts for that top-notch but friendly service.
Over the last 15 years, they have covered projects across Wheathampstead, Redbourn, Harpenden, St Albans London Colney and surrounding areas of St Albans in Hertfordshire. With a fully insured team, all work is guaranteed for 12 months. Some boiler installations are guaranteed for 10 years.
Whether you have a burst pipe, leaking tank, radiators that are faulty or your boiler needs servicing or replacement, get in touch with the Emergency Plumbers in St Albans for that guaranteed exceptional service. Call the team today on 01727 638 211
Priority Plumbers are specialist boiler and central heating engineers in St Albans. With excellent ratings from Which? they offer boiler breakdown and repair services, central heating repairs as well as plumbing services.
The company has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of plumbing, boilers and heating repairs and installations. Selected boiler installations are guaranteed for 10 years while other plumbing services have a 12-month guarantee
As specialists in boiler services, they undertake repairs, installation and servicing for a wide range of boilers by noted manufacturers. Priority Plumbers are also accredited Worcester Bosch Group installers.
The friendly team at Priority Plumbers have developed an excellent reputation across St Albans and surrounding areas. They are known for their customer service and leaving a tidy work area.
Call Priority Plumbers today on 01727 894 815
Emergency Plumbers St Albans
Emergency Plumbers St Albans have been serving the St Albans community for over 15 years with their dedicated professional plumbing services. The company employs 4 full time fully qualified professional plumbers to deal with all plumbing situations promptly.
Their services cover blocked sinks, broken boilers, burst pipe, central heating repairs, gas leaks, bathroom installations and boiler installation. No job is too small or too big. With Emergency Plumbers St Albans you get professionalism, customer satisfaction and value for money.
From St Albans to Hertfordshire to London, Emergency Plumbers St Albans have handled several projects for big and small domestic and residential clients. They offer plumbing maintenance services to lettings agents and landlords in the local area.
With 24 7 call-outs and prompt, efficient service from the dedicated and insured team, you are guaranteed an excellent service.
Call the team today on 01727 789 445.
St Albans Plumber
As a highly rated plumbing services company, St Albans Plumber offers emergency plumbing for leaks, boiler issues, heating problems, sinks, baths and toilets. They operate a 24/7 fast service and have built a solid reputation over the years.
St Albans Plumber is fully insured and have a qualified team of plumbing experts offering a range of plumbing, heating and gas services. All work is guaranteed and rates are very competitive.
According to their customers, St Albans Plumber offers very good quality workmanship and value for money. They are responsive, offer fair pricing and come highly recommended.
The team cover St Albans, Sandridge, London, Harpenden, Wheathampstead and Colney Heath.
For any enquiries call St Albans Plumber on 01727 260 211.
Harpers Plumbers are the local plumbing, heating and bathroom specialists in St Albans. This family business was established over 40 years ago and has continued to grow from strength to strength. They are the bathroom specialists that do an excellent job from start to finish. For bathroom installation for home improvement projects, disabled bathrooms and new build house projects speak to the friendly team at Harpers Plumbers.
The team also offer central heating, bathroom installations and plumbing services across Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire Bedfordshire. You can visit their showroom on Hatfield Road in St Albans for bathroom options and ideas. They also have excellent relationships with leading bathroom suppliers so you get the best prices.
With a fully insured team of qualified engineers, you are guaranteed peace of mind. All works come with a one year guarantee.
Contact Harpers Plumbers on 01727 865 339.
Louise Pond is no stranger to travel or business. A keen travel enthusiast, she and her partner love taking regular holiday breaks exploring and seeing other parts of the world. After leaving a wonderful career in retail fashion to start a family, Louise transformed her passion for travel into a business and is now an independent travel agent. She is the proud Founder/Owner of Louise Pond Travel. Recently, the team at Herts Review got chatting with Louise about her business and the travel industry.
Louise Pond Travel is a Hertfordshire based independent travel agency that can source some of the best holiday packages thereby saving you time, stress and money. Many UK adults are time-poor juggling work, home schooling and other activities. As a mum and entrepreneur, wearing many hats and juggling many tasks, Louise believes there is a gap in the market to help other busy people like her find the best travel solutions for their budget.
“I am passionate about travel. When I signed up to be an independent travel agent, my initial goal was to take advantage of discounts I could get for myself. It was about saving money from my travels and getting rewarded as well. Eventually, I extended this service to family and close friends. It worked out very well and I thought why not help as many people as I possibly can.”
“Before I had my son, most of my time was focused on work. I was an Area Manager with a big team and lots of responsibilities. So, I have been there and completely understand that a lot of people are busy every day. With our busy lives, who wants to spend hours online searching for the best packaged holiday that is a good fit for their budget? Well, I am saying that you don’t have to. Leave it with me and I’ll do all the work for you.”
Whether you are after a short break, luxury break, group bookings, packaged holidays, cruise, ski break or a UK staycation, Louise Pond Travel can find the perfect deal for you within your budget. While the current travel restrictions to limit the spread of covid-19 had led to limited travel, it is expected that once we get through this phase, there will be a surge in demand for holidays and travel. Now is the time to get that holiday and have something to look forward to.
There are a lot of holiday deals and travel packages available right now. Many airlines, tour operators and hotels are extending their booking dates. For some airlines, you could book 18 or 24 months ahead. Some cruise operators are also taking bookings for 2024. Louise is advising that you get your dates arranged and your trip booked as soon as possible. With a lot of flexibility with bookings, you can cancel and get your money back if your situation changes. It is even better when you book through her agency.
Now a full-time mum after leaving a 12-year career in fashion retail, Louise was looking for an opportunity that offered freedom and flexibility. “Although I loved my job, it would have been very difficult to carry on with all that responsibility while also giving my young son the care he needs. I was an Area Manager looking after 45 stores. The travel alone would take me away from home. I just couldn’t do it. So while on maternity leave I had to decide on what I was going to do next. Something I am passionate about but gives me that flexibility. For me travel is it.”
Louise came across an opportunity to build a business as an independent travel agent, got through the training and certifications and launched her agency. She is an affiliate of InteleTravel, the US-based global travel management company that partners leading hotel and resort operators and key players in the hospitality industry. When you book a holiday or travel package through Louise Pond Travel, it is processed on the InteleTravel system and they offer 24-7 support and great customer service.
Louise Pond Travel is also ABTA certified. ABTA is the trade association for UK travel agents and tour operators. It offers protection over customer payments to travel agents. Therefore, more safety and security to clients dealing with travel agents.
“I love the flexibility that I can work from anywhere at any time of the day without compromising my service to my clients. Over the last few years, I have observed that people are spending more time on experiences than on physical items. So I see a lot of opportunity for growth for my agency.”
“We are all going through a tough time right now but we will get through this. I am positive about the future. In the next 12 months, I would like to have provided more clients with hassle-free holidays and help more families travel smarter while taking advantage of some great travel offers I have access to. I also run a special deal of the day or week on my social media platforms”
“Don’t be frightened to travel! There are better days ahead. Get something booked today”
Contact Louise Pond Travel via email email@example.com or on Instagram @theponderingsofme.
The series of lockdowns in the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic may be taking a toll on you, getting away from it all might be one of the things on your mind.
Where do you want to go? Tried booking a flight online? Are the options overwhelming? Can’t find the right deal that works for you and your family? Well, LevarTravel may have a solution for you.
LevarTravel is an independent travel agency offering personalised travel options across all budgets. As travel experts, they search for the best deals that match your budget thereby saving you money and time. Whether you are considering a holiday or a short break in the UK or abroad, LevarTravel can find the best holiday packages meaning you enjoy a fun-filled and relaxing break.
The founder of LevarTravel, Jamie McKay spoke briefly with Herts Review outlining why he started the travel agency and the plans for the next year.
Jamie has worked in the hospitality industry for some years. He is part of commercial sales team responsible for hospitality and sponsorship at Watford Football Club at Vicarage road. For Jamie, working for a football club is what he always wanted to do. “It was always my dream to work for a football club. When the opportunity came up I jumped at it. I sell matchday packages, hospitality tables, 5-star lounge and sponsorship packages [front of shirt or LED boards]. I make sure our guests have a great experience when they visit the stadium for events or on match days.”
“Working for Watford Football Club has been a great introduction into the hospitality industry and I have always wanted to add travel to the package. With my job, I travelled for sales and promotions projects around the world. Obviously, with the current restrictions on movement, the club’s hospitality programme has slowed down for now.”
“Offering travel packages to footballers and my clients in hospitality is an option I working on now. I offer travel and holiday packages to anyone and everyone irrespective of their budget. As an independent travel adviser, I can contact hotels and short-lets to discuss deals for my clients. So my focus isn't only high net worth individuals. “
LevarTravel is affiliated to InteleTravel, the US-based, global international travel management company serving all 7 continents. InteleTravel has over 49 partners and access to some of the best holiday and travel deals around the world. They also run a secure platform for all bookings and transactions. Therefore, when you book any holiday or travel package through LevarTravel, all payments are processed on the InteleTravel system with 24-7 support if there are any issues. It is a safe and completely seamless process.
LevarTravel is also ABTA certified. ABTA is the trade association for tour operators and travel agents in the UK and protects monies paid to travel agents. So your luxury breaks, package holidays, ski breaks, excursions, hotels, family or group bookings can safely be booked with LevarTravel.
With the uncertainty around global travel due to the pandemic and restrictions on movement, it is expected that a lot of holidays will be UK Staycations. There are predictions that there will be more visits to the Lake District, Cotswolds, Cornwall and other tourist hot spots around the UK this year. It may take a few months before we get clear guidance on what is required for international travel.
Let LevarTravel search for the best offers for your holiday. At least, you get a personalised service with a face and a name. The team are also happy to address any questions or concerns so that you enjoy a well-deserved break.
If you are thinking of booking a holiday contact Jamie by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainability Focused Partnership between JPA Workspaces and Rothamsted Enterprises on the Newly Refurbished Russell Building
The Russell Building at Rothamsted Enterprises, in Harpenden, has been newly refurbished to provide much-needed business office and hotdesking space for high-growth agri-tech SMEs across agriculture, innovation and technology.
The historic red-brick building, which had lain empty since 2014, has been transformed with the support of the Lawes Agricultural Trust and Rothamsted Enterprises, and the help of a £1.7m Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Herts Innovation Quarter (Herts IQ), focused on boosting agri-tech growth in the county.
The increase in workspace capacity will enable a greater number of companies to take advantage of the tax breaks, free business support and collaboration opportunities offered by Herts IQ with innovation partners Lawes Agricultural Trust and Rothamsted Enterprises.
The investment has breathed new life into the building, bringing forward modern, multi-use spaces, including 22 offices of various sizes, from 200ft2 to over 1,200ft2, a hot-desk hub for flexible working, and an open plan innovation space where entrepreneurs can meet and collaborate before prototyping their ideas and testing on-site.
JPA Workspaces, based a few miles down the road in nearby St Albans, has assisted with the design and furnishing of the impressive expansive hot-desking hub and reception areas. Additionally, they have worked closely with Rothamsted Enterprises to furnish a show office so that prospective tenants can get a real flavour for the spaces, with contemporary, height-adjustable desks, wireless charging and plenty of desktop power, to help attract and inspire prospective tenants.
Sustainability is central to the project and is reflected right through to the furnishings. Timber-based products supplied by JPA are from sustainable sources, recyclable at end of life, and accompanied by lengthy warranties. JPA’s furniture installation was zero waste and carbon neutral, contributing to Hertfordshire’s drive for sustainable growth.
With a heavy emphasis on design for wellbeing across the entire refurbishment, the scheme provides a working illustration of versatile, future-proofed office and collaboration spaces designed to enhance the user experience, mental health and engagement.
Furniture packages are also available to rent, lease or purchase outright from JPA, tailored to budget, design and individual tenant requirements. JPA maintain and support all furniture items installed inclusively within their service package so that all areas can be kept operational 24/7 or as required, ensuring the best long-term return on investment and value over the total cost of life.
“We are delighted to have been able to showcase the benefits of working with local partners for this project which has delivered measurable local impact and value for all parties,” says Graham Pulsford, the Managing Director of JPA, “and we look forward to building our working relationship with the team at Rothamsted Enterprises, it has been a pleasure”.
“We’re delighted that this iconic building is now back in use as a hub for agri-tech businesses and it has been great to work with local business, JPA, who have delivered a carbon-neutral, zero-waste furniture installation for us,” said Nicole Sadd, CEO, Rothamsted Enterprises. “We very much look forward to welcoming lots of innovative businesses to the Rothamsted ecosystem.”
Cherie Norris, Herts IQ Enterprise Zone Manager at Hertfordshire LEP said: “As the original birthplace of agricultural science in the UK, we’re pleased that the Russell Building will once again be home to the next generation of agri-tech and food-tech innovators. Our investment will support more businesses to join Herts IQ and take advantage of the world-class expertise available at Rothamsted Research, and we’re delighted to support their future success in Hertfordshire.”
Businesses in agri-tech, agri-food, climate change, farming, agricultural science and research looking for new office premises in Hertfordshire should contact Claire Wolstencroft on 01582 938500 or email email@example.com.
Businesses looking to partner with a sustainable furniture/workspace supplier should contact JPA Workspaces on or 01727 840800 email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Press Release 03.02.2021
For families that own their homes or individuals that want to start a family soon and are looking for their first home, you have another option. Applicant Mortgage Brokers is offering affordable mortgage and protection solutions that meet the specific needs of each family. Even for people with adverse credit, multiple sources of income, or do not fit the profile of the typical high street lender, Applicant Mortgage Brokers may have a solution for you.
Families should not need to change their lifestyle because they have a mortgage. Clients are at different stages of their journey and have different needs. Therefore mortgage and protection solutions should be suitable for the family throughout their journey. It is also prudent for families to be protected for any possible financial risk that may result from the loss of income.
Daniel Baskerville founded Applicant Mortgage Brokers in the autumn of 2020. The Buckinghamshire based independent mortgage and protection adviser offers whole of market mortgage advice. With their long-standing experience and expertise in the market, they seek to find the right solutions for you even if you do not fit the typical high street lending criteria. Applicant Mortgage Brokers are dedicated and passionate about meeting the family’s needs and making sure they are fully protected from unforeseen circumstances.
“We are really passionate about our services to families. We want them to have the right mortgage solution and protection as well. Our range of protection products - Life cover, Critical Illness, Family Income Benefit and Income Protection are options that minimize the financial burden if there is a death in the family or major changes to the family’s circumstances that affect their income.”
“There have been situations where families only have life cover. When a breadwinner dies, the mortgage is paid off. That is great but what of the loss of income? Will the family stop having holidays or stop the kids music lessons? Will they have to substantially change their lifestyle as there are no longer two incomes instead of one? Assuming one parent worked part-time to help with the kids at their early stage, would their work arrangements change? There are so many different scenarios.”
“Our clients are at the centre of everything we do. Whether a first-time buyer or a homeowner, we offer the right information. As professionals, we get to know them and understand their circumstances to propose the right solutions. It could be adverse credit, they could be struggling to find the right mortgage product or they have existing protection and their circumstances have changed. We do our best to get the right solution for them.”
"Applicant Mortgage Brokers offers a dedicated and professional service that helps people. The mortgage and protection industry can seem complex. There is always new information and it can be challenging to keep up. Our clients must have a smooth journey from that initial contact, through completion and throughout the period they are paying off the loan."
Dan took a different path to a career as a mortgage broker. “I was working in customers homes on behalf of the Flooring department of a well-known retail brand. Engaging customers and helping them make the right decision is what I enjoy. In some cases, the customers had limited knowledge of the products they wanted to purchase. Helping them make the right decision for items they will have for a long period can be rewarding.”
“When I considered a career change, it was always going to be about helping people make the right decisions in otherwise complex situations. I decided to become a qualified mortgage broker. Since becoming qualified, I have also worked for a Specialist Master Broker. I also knew that I wanted the flexibility of working for myself. With the changes in market and industry, I thought what better time to strike off on my own.”
“Our office is in the business park in High Wycombe. We are getting more recognition and enquiries in the local area but can assist clients throughout the UK. The team will expand over the coming months as we add more clients. With all the uncertainty and movement restrictions, we are still getting our message out there through videos, social media and our website. At the moment, we do short videos addressing a particular topic as a way of educating and informing the public.”
“Our product range also caters for a wider demographic. For example, we can also advise on lifetime mortgages for over 55’s. Through our networks and other relationships, we enjoy working with families and those thinking of starting families. We want to help them get the best possible start. Finding the right house and an affordable mortgage are important. We are here to help.”
Contact Applicant Mortgage Brokers for independent mortgage and protection solutions.
Urben Technologies Ltd (Urben Tech) offers seamless efficient solutions that enable virtual collaboration in businesses and organizations. With a suite of well-designed practical video conferencing solutions, making key business decisions is easier, faster, cost-saving with minimal disruption. These solutions are flexible and easy to install making them perfect for businesses, the education, and healthcare sectors. Herts Review had a demo session with Mike Entwistle, the founder of Urben Tech.
Mike is passionate about technology and its use to make life simpler and tasks more efficient. He has successfully undertaken several key projects including designing and building meeting rooms and ideation rooms for Ford Motors in Basildon. The rooms facilitate group collaboration, sharing of ideas, and quick decision making. Ideas can be shared on screens easily, people are connected, there is more interaction and communication is simpler.
Some of the available tech hardware are extremely complex. It is not unusual to visit offices and see ideal video walls and audio-visual equipment abandoned either because end-users do not know how to operate them or troubleshoot when there are issues. It means that organization is not realising the real benefits of that investment. At Urben Tech, the objective is to design simple tech solutions for end-users to improve efficiency and productivity. Orders are fulfilled within 24 hours with excellent customer service and after-sales support.
Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdowns has accelerated hybrid working (working from home and the office). It is the new normal. Workspaces, meeting rooms, and collaboration areas are being redesigned in line with social distancing requirements. Fortunately, Urben Tech had anticipated these changes and has launched a range of solutions for reception areas, huddle zones, operation centres, e-learning, and meeting areas. These solutions are flexible and can be adapted for multiple purposes. For corporates, Urben is a brand with a different proposition.
The Urben Lite model is a perfect and affordable fit for the needs of SMEs. They help a business adapt while working effectively without any interruption to their operations. Within this package are 4 options namely:
Urben Tech also offers after-sales support for enquiries or troubleshooting. There are also training videos, helpdesk support, and a 24-7 helpline. The versatility and the ability to use any screen are additional benefits of the solution.
Urben lite solutions work well for flexible shared workspaces, virtual co-working spaces, start-ups with a tight budget, universities, other tertiary institutions, and the healthcare sector. They can also be used for virtual training programmes (for gyms, yoga instructors, training centres, schools). Networking groups will also benefit from these solutions with many physical networking events called off due to lockdown.
Unlike some other virtual conferencing solutions, with Urban Lite, more people can interact and see each other in real-time. To solve the affordability challenges to smaller businesses or organizations with tighter budgets, flexible financial payments are available to reduce the impact on cash flow.
Presently, there is a real buzz and excitement in the video conferencing and collaborative solutions industry as there will be more demand to create flexible workspaces and meeting rooms. Board rooms and larger rooms will be divided into smaller rooms as more offices adapt to the new normal. Huddle rooms will be ideal for local businesses.
A key challenge for the industry is explaining to customers that the service is not complicated and expensive. For most CIOs/CTOs, monitoring, measuring, and reporting on how successful the implementation of these solutions are to their organization has not been easy. It is about understanding the way tech is used and if colleagues are making most of it. The savings on travel, carbon, time, and the ability to make quick decisions are not easy to quantify.
Urben’s unique solutions improve the productivity of any business or organization. The user experience is excellent. Personalised solutions are also available for businesses or organizations that have specific needs. For enquiries, contact Urben Tech.
JPA Workspaces – Functional, Forward-Thinking Workspace Solutions for thriving Businesses and Organisations
JPA Workspaces is an award-winning furniture solutions provider offering creative and excellent workspaces for commercial buildings, the education, and healthcare sectors. Established as a contract furniture supplier for over 40 years, JPA continues to adapt to the changing needs of its clients by delivering flexible, functional, and sustainable workspaces. The family-owned company has a track record of excellent customer service and great after-care support to a long list of satisfied customers.
These days, JPA is in its second generation of ownership and is one of the largest contract furniture suppliers in the South East of England. Recently, Herts Review sat down with Fiona Edwards, Sustainability Director of JPA to discuss how the business is evolving and laying down the foundation for the next phase of its growth.
Founded in 1974 by John Pulsford as John Pulsford Associates, the company has been providing quality furniture solutions to customers in Hertfordshire, London, and surrounding areas. He aimed to be different and do things better. That meant offering better quality products, paying decent wages to staff, and doing good in the community. This legacy has continued to date.
Over time, the name of the business also evolved from John Pulsford Associates to JPA Furniture and now JPA Workspaces to better reflect its services, objectives, and the market it serves. The business is now owned and operated by John's children namely Graham Pulsford as Managing Director, Fiona Edwards, and Ian Pulsford as Directors.
As one of the largest contract furniture suppliers, JPA has extensive experience in the public and private sectors. It is known for its friendly, professional, and customer-focused services. The company sources its products from trusted suppliers offering a great mix of products that meets the needs of their customers. JPAs services cover furniture installation, repair, refreshing, reupholstering, and reconfiguration. Their objective is to make your workspace great while keeping your furniture lasting longer.
The company has successfully delivered projects at University College, London, Enfield Civic Centre, Macmillan Centre, Local NHS Trusts, and the recently completed Rothamsted’s iconic Russell Building amongst others.
In addition to providing great workspace solutions, having a positive impact on the community and environment is a priority for the company. JPA is committed to health and safety, sustainability, and waste reduction. Over the last decade, the company has been recognised at local and national levels for its excellent credentials in recycling, reduction in carbon use, rehoming furniture items in the community, and promoting zero waste. For JPA, sustainability is a big part of its customer proposition and influences all aspects of its service.
For this reason, the company is redefining how it works with clients by getting involved at the early stage of projects. That way, the team gets a better understanding of client requirements, audit existing furniture, work out what is reusable or what can be reconfigured. The objective is to always deliver long-term value by creating great environments to work in, where people flourish, build relationships, share ideas, and help the organization achieve its goals. You know the saying that ‘Furniture finishes off a house’. It is never only about the furniture although it is an important part.
JPA’s service also includes advising and consulting on workspace design, designing and optimising space, project management, maximizing existing resources, assisting with moves and relocations. According to Fiona, to deliver this great service you need the right people. For JPA, its people are its biggest asset. With a team of 20, the company rewards loyalty, hard work, and champions fair treatment. The average length of service is 11 years in the company. It is key to keep the expertise and experience of the team to consistently deliver that high standard of service.
With the covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown, the company is working on innovative solutions to create better spaces for the safe return of workers in offices, commercial workspaces, education, and healthcare institutions as well as the hospitality sector. It is common knowledge that a hybrid working model (working from home and the office) has come to stay. Therefore, JPA are offering great solutions for home working as well.
“We are exploring options of reviving the high street by converting empty shops, unused or underused space into flexible working environments. Parents with kids, start-ups, community groups can use these spaces while abiding by social distancing measures."
"This may be a good strategy for increasing footfall to local shops and gradually bring us back to normality. There has to be more flexibility from employers and employees. Reorganising how and where we work is key. We must think of the future and start laying the groundwork. We have to seize this opportunity to do better by society and community”.
“In 2021, we will be taking the sustainability message further. As an organisation, we will use technology to get slicker and efficient. This means updating our CRM systems, going paperless, and using automated devices within our supply process. It also means sourcing better ranges of furniture and going carbon neutral."
"Imagine if we had a school furniture swap in Hertfordshire. Furniture can be moved around based on demand as school admissions fluctuate from year to year. Hertfordshire has the potential for great things, and we will be playing our role in ushering that beckon of change.”
There is no better way of describing the heart and culture of JPA as the events over Christmas Eve last month. At 2.15pm when the company had closed for Christmas, an urgent call came through from one of their NHS Trust clients urgently requesting they get to London to help move furniture and create space for additional beds to accommodate covid-19 patients. The JPA team got to site at 6pm and completed the furniture move as needed. The client informed JPA that their prompt response had helped save the lives of 20 patients which left everyone teary-eyed and was the best Christmas present ever. JPA also had an NHS hotline open and in place over the Christmas break for new furniture enquiries, end of year spend and emergency work.
As JPA Workspaces approaches its 50th anniversary in the next 4 years, the leadership are working on several plans to usher in the next phase of growth. Investment in tech, more marketing, and networking will be the engine to drive growth and profitability. The covid-19 pandemic has simply highlighted that any organization that is not efficient and fully utilizing tech will be left behind.
JPA Workspaces commitment to sustainability, unique after-care support, experience, and expertise means they are the preferred contract furniture solutions provider. For enquiries follow this link.
Egnite-IT Ltd is an information technology company set up to provide enterprise-level IT business solutions to SMEs at affordable prices. The founder Raza Khan, with over 24 years’ experience in the IT industry had a long career working for global companies in the UK and Europe. With that experience, Egnite-IT can build and develop the infrastructure to keep its IT solutions affordable. Raza took out time to speak to Herts Review about the operations of the business and his aspirations.
Established in 2014, Egnite-IT Ltd provides managed IT services, consulting, and professional services to a wide range of clients. Its outsourced managed IT solutions include helpdesk support, co-managed IT services, computer support, network security, disaster recovery, business continuity, and cloud computing to name a few. For small businesses, Egnite-IT can take away the stress of having an in-house IT team while benefiting from high-quality support and reducing any incidents of downtime. As a business, you can focus on income-generating activities with the knowledge that your systems are secure and your data is accessible and always backed up.
The Hertfordshire-based company also offers IT consulting services for organizations that need immediate IT solutions but do not have the in-house capacity or have special projects that need additional resources. With access to a pool of highly skilled IT experts, they place IT Contractors in other companies where there are skills gaps. Egnite-IT offers a comprehensive suite of IT solutions to move any business forward so they can focus on growth and expansion.
“We adopt a practical approach to resolving IT issues. The first step is to identify and understand the problem. There is no one solution fits all. Businesses are structured in different ways, have different needs, and have their way of working. Each situation is different, so we spend some time diagnosing the problem before we come up with a solution or range of solutions. The solution must align with the customer's processes. Our objective is to become strategic partners and develop a long-term relationship.”
“Some businesses may not have the insurance of a strategic IT partner like us. They reach out when there is a problem. Maybe a cyberattack or data breach or they cannot access their data. Without realising, they may pay a higher price and the loss to the business due to downtime will affect their revenue targets. We are doing a lot to educate businesses to see IT support services not as a cost but as an investment that will help their business achieve their goals”
“We also look at a company’s IT spend and recommend efficiencies or cost reduction ideas. For instance, we help businesses save on telecom, security, and data back-ups. I have spoken to businesses that were ordering new expensive hardware (e.g., laptops). I have recommended refurbished or rebuilt systems at almost half the price which means they save money. People should not buy for the sake of it. They need to think about sustainability as well."
The family-owned business is targeting small businesses that have at least 10 staff for its managed IT services. There is the option of an IT expert on-site during business hours and a 24-7 support system in place. The team has successfully delivered many IT transformation and process optimization projects. The dedicated IT managed solution is for businesses located within an hour drive from its main office.
Egnite-IT Ltd has come a long way in the last 7 years. Starting as an IT contracting company, it evolved into IT consulting and now to offering a comprehensive suite of IT solutions for any business. Some well-known clients include DVSA, Cambridge University, Openreach, Morrison Utility Services, and Plymouth University. The team have also worked with global IT services companies like Accenture and Infosys.
The company is on a journey to get back to the same operational capacity it had in 2019. The covid-19 pandemic impacted a lot of businesses and has led to a cutback in IT spend across the board. “From a headcount of 15, we now have a team of 5. We expect to get back to 10 staff within the next 12 months. We are hiring people that are good at what they do, help them upskill, and offer them a competitive pay package. I am confident business will pick up and we will get back to 100% capacity and look at further expansion.”
An imminent move to new tech centre in Hatfield as the company’s new operational base will help with its growth plans. All 3 main divisions of the company are focused on attracting more clients to the business.
Whatever stage of growth your business may be in, you may need the support of the Egnite-IT team to get your business moving and growing. Send an email to email@example.com.
Running a small business can be challenging. Keeping all aspects of the business running smoothly like sales & marketing, bookkeeping, customer quotes and admin tasks while fulfilling customer orders keeps a lot of business owners working round the clock. A solution to take care of all your admin tasks will free up more time to focus on income-generating activities to grow your business.
Platinum PA Ltd is that solution! Platinum PA Ltd is an outsourced personal assistant service that manages all your admin tasks leaving you more time to focus on building your business. Its services include small business support (e.g. invoicing and expenses) vehicle administration (servicing, MOT, taxing), business and holiday travel services (visa application, booking flights and taxis) lifestyle management (special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, theatre tickets) and more.
Founded in January 2020 by Tanya Dickinson, Platinum PA is a service designed to reduce the stress of busy business people and give them their life back. Tanya has over 17 years’ experience as a Personal Assistant in the corporate world working across various sectors. She is super organised, efficient and brings her wealth of experience as an office manager. It is always great when you have a trusted and reliable business partner supporting your business behind the scenes.
Based in Buckinghamshire, Platinum PA offers virtual PA services to a wide range of clients in various sectors including construction, building services, tradesmen, events management, high flying executives, busy working parents and start-ups. Tanya brings professionalism, attention to detail and personalised service tailored to your specific needs. While working remotely from her base she also attends meetings if required.
There are a lot of virtual assistant (VA) service providers. As working arrangements are evolving, with more redundancies and more people out of work, there has been an increase in the number of VAs available. There are more options although the quality is diluted. Handing over your tasks and sensitive information should be to a trusted and reliable company with a track record.
“Some people feel providing a virtual PA service is easy. With a phone, laptop and internet connection you are good to go. The reality is that this is not true. I have heard of some bad experiences. Without some experience working as a Personal Assistant or Office Manager, it can be quite challenging. You need certifications, liability insurance and knowledge of GDPR at least. A wide range of skillset and understanding of CRM systems is essential to work on tasks efficiently.”
“I started this business because I always wanted to do something for myself. I wanted to work to my own time and enjoy having that flexibility. I was thinking of work-life balance as I have a young son. With close to 20 years’ experience working in Consultancy, Retail, Finance and IT sectors, I bring a lot of experience, expertise and skillset to any business. I have worked in busy environments and delivered within tight deadlines. You are getting a great service delivered to a very high standard.”
The covid-19 pandemic slowed down business in the first half of the year. “A lot of business owners were impacted by the first lockdown. There was uncertainty with the restrictions in movement and some businesses could not trade. A few of our clients asked us to put a hold on their services which was understandable. Business picked up in the second half of the year with a few new clients added to our books.”
“For us, it was challenging. From March to June this year there were very few enquiries. I used that opportunity to upskill by going through various online training courses and getting more knowledge on CRM systems. So I am better equipped to provide a more efficient service to my clients.”
Tanya has big plans for Platinum PA Ltd. With the challenging year most businesses have had the objective has been survival first. Get through this year and plan for the future. Through a combination of networking, recommendations from existing clients, an active LinkedIn profile and improved online marketing, Platinum PA is expanding its client base. There are more service packages to attract more retainer clients.
“I am optimistic that a lot of businesses will pick up in 2021. The events and hospitality businesses will gradually come back. It’s an area I would love to have more clients. I am just glad that despite the tough conditions we have come this far. There is no restriction due to location. We can work with anyone anywhere in the UK. I am confident in our growth plans.”
For professional virtual PA service, contact Platinum PA Ltd.