Merton Chamber of Commerce E-newsletter December 2016
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December Edition.

With a new year fast approaching, it is always important to reflect on achievements during the year. And what a year for Merton Chamber of Commerce! We launched a new membership campaign, as well as our Merton Chamber Business Service, held another successful Merton Best Business Awards as well as 54 events during the course of the year, welcoming 1400 guests, This included 34 workshops, providing business support for over 300 attendees and connecting over 1100 guests at our 20 networking events.

Our last event of this year is the ever popular Christmas Lunch at San Lorenzo on December 15th.  This provides you with a great opportunity to network with existing and new contacts. Tickets are selling fast, so if you'd like to come along, book now!
Looking ahead to 2017, we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary! Watch this space for more information on how we will be marking such a momentous occasion.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and prosperous New Year.


Business News
Mayor announces London Living Wage increase as thousands more benefit
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced an increase in the London Living Wage, which has increased from £9.40 to £9.75 per hour. He also revealed that another 309 employers signed up to pay their staff the capital’s hourly rate over the last 12 months. That brings the total number of accredited businesses in London to 1,033 and means that London accounts for over one third of businesses paying the Living Wage in the United Kingdom. As a London Living Wage employer ourselves, we urge other businesses to follow suit and join the 309 businesses already signed up this year! For the full story click here
New Apprenticeship Levy
In Spring 2017 the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing. Some employers will be required to contribute to a new Apprenticeship levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers.

The Apprenticeship levy will be introduced on 6 April 2017. The levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to invest in Apprenticeships. Click here for a guide which provides information on how the Apprenticeship levy will work.

The guide also explains the principles that apprenticeship funding will operate on from 1 May 2017, whether you pay the levy or not.
Business Rate Valuation
You may be aware that the Valuation Office Agency, an arm of government, recently completed a revaluation of business rateable values across England & Wales, based on estimated rental values of business premises in 2015.

These will be effective in your next business rates demand in April 2017.

Happy New Year? Well it is a happier New Year for Merton Businesses than for many across London who have seen their rateable value soar considerably far more than here.

Click here for 10 things you may not know about business rates.
Upcoming Events
Our 2017 Programme of Events will be announced shortly, with networking events and training workshops designed to help you develop and grow your business.  Our events and workshops take place weekly throughout the year and you can find details and dates of all of these on our website, with discounts available to our Standard and Premier members.
Merton Chamber Christmas Lunch - 15th December
The Merton Chamber Christmas lunch is a ‘must attend’ in the local business calendar.  This popular event is always a sell-out, and only a few places remain for this year's event.  The chosen charity for our Raffle is the Paul Strank Charitable Trust.  The Paul Strank Charitable Trust is a newly formed Merton-based charity which carries on the tradition of over 3 decades of fundraising by Paul and Irene Strank. Their focus has always been on the most disadvantaged in our community with a particular emphasis on helping children in need and their families.

Irene Strank told us that “The charitable trust is a grant making charity which will continue this ethos, and the trustees will aim to provide vital funding and support to fantastic causes including some long term chosen charities as well as new initiatives or grass roots projects. In doing so, we hope to bring some measure of relief, happiness and joy to those in our community desperately in need of compassion and support.
We wish to thank everyone who has supported our fundraising over the years from the bottom of our hearts and look forward to this exciting new stage of bringing our community together and sharing the love.”

To find out more and to book your place at our Christmas lunch click here.

Emergency First Aid at Work - 19th January
Equip your staff with vital life saving skills, and workplace health and safety regulations.

Fire Warden Marshall Training- 23rd February
This Fire Warden Marshal Training workshop is aimed at those employees within the organisation who have a key role to play within the management of Fire Safety in the Workplace.
A Year in Review
The Changing Face of Membership 2016
2016 saw a relaunch of our membership packages.  Following a survey of our membership and clients, we felt that our membership package should be one that is reflective of the business world in which we work.  So rather than paying for membership based on the employee size of your business, our new Standard and Premier packages have been designed to reflect the level of personalised service your business requires.  Both packages will support your business growth, giving you an action plan to achieve your business goals, and ongoing expertise and guidance to help you navigate all stages of your business journey. Read more...
Merton Chamber Business Service
Following the official launch of the Merton Chamber Business Service in October at Wimbledon Brewery, we have completed 24 FREE comprehensive diagnostic business reviews with 17 businesses engaged with one or more of our list of 18 specialist associates to support them with their specific growth plans following their review. From a recording studio and a design agency to a luxury food company and a travel planner – the interest in the service has been a reflection of the diversity of growing businesses based in the borough. 

“I got much more out of the meeting than I expected. I came away very focused and fully aware of what is needed to help the business through to the next stage of growth.” Trish Smith, Southside Office Supplies

 Fab Business Services meeting with Kevan from @MertonChamber - thoroughly recommended.” Tweet from John Merriman, Crown Lane Studios 19.11.16

Next year we aim to complete at least 100 free reviews so why not call us and book your free diagnostic? Call or email 020 8944 5501
Merton Business Support Service
During the past year, the team at the Merton Business Support Service, funded by the London Borough of Merton, has helped launch 90 new businesses with 130 new jobs created, established a local business helpdesk supporting more than 500 businesses, provided growth subsidies to 11 businesses, delivered more than 1000 hours of business advice and helped start-up businesses to raise nearly £300,000 in finance. It is now an established business support programme helping local businesses to begin trading, expand and increase employment.

“A huge amount of work goes into getting a completely new business going and I found lots of very valuable support at MCC since I launched in the summer this year. Not only did I get some training through two workshops, which I attended, but was also introduced to useful local partners. It hasn't even been one year since I started my business and there is still lots for me to work on, but it's wonderful to know I can count on the support from Kevan, Raymond, Nicola and others at the Chamber." Anna Desogus Health Coaching, November 2016

Merton Means Business
Fundraiser on the Roof - By Raymond Kinsella
It’s been another hugely successful year for Merton Means Business - a partnership between Merton Chamber of Commerce and Merton Voluntary Service Council that champions the support for local charities by local businesses. This year over £40,000 worth of support has been provided by local business to local charities.

It’s great to see Paul Strank Roofing set up a
trust to support children and young people across Merton and the UK. Paul and Irene Strank have, over many years, not only dipped into their own pockets but have used their long established presence in Merton (and beyond!) to encourage other businesses to support the causes that they are so passionate about. My conversations with Paul and Irene have never been about roofing and always about fundraising! Click to read more...
If you would like to give to a good cause this Christmas take a look at our
Christmas Causes link and if you would like to develop a relationship with a local charity and help raise their and your local profile I am always available for a chat!

Healthy Workplace Service
2016 has been a fantastic year for our Healthy Workplace Service, partaking in a number of opportunities to connect with local businesses through our digital channels, workshops, events and award ceremonies!

So far there have been more than 80 tweets, retweets and mentions of @Merton_Council and council-backed initiatives and organisations via our popular @HealthyMerton twitter account and eleven healthy workplaces blog posts on the Merton Chamber website, all promoting the Merton Council-backed healthy workplace service. Click to read more...

Take One
The Take One service continues to go from strength to strength, having championed over 300 businesses to source Apprenticeships, work experience and jobs and successfully placing 150 people in apprenticeships and other work experience and work based opportunities. We have worked with the job centre to support 60 unemployed Merton residents to progress towards employment and secured £40,000 from London Borough of Merton and £50,000 from Job Centre plus to support Take One.

Local business Ear Candy, who develop live musical entertainment for events, took on an Apprentice after hearing of our Take One Service.
Click to

The Generator Business Centre
2016 has been a record year for The Generator Business Centre, with full occupancy, all offices continue to be let within two months of them being vacated. We are now home to a plethora of businesses, showing just how diverse Merton is! Tenants range from landscape gardeners, fish processors, accountants, solicitors, care providers, charities, cartographers plus many many more.  Since locating themselves at the Generator, many of our tenants have been able to expand and employ new staff members. In particular Ancoa, who have grown enormously in the last year, taking over two large offices in the centre, employing new people monthly and taking on interns.

With assistance from Merton Chamber and the Merton Business Support Service, Saggiomo has seen rapid expansion and new contracts agreed with larger organisations to supply them with their produce. Other achievements at the Generator include receiving Healthy Workplace Accreditation from the London Healthy Workplace Charter, taking on five fantastic work experience students through work placements, a new bespoke virtual office service and a new direct debit payment system.
By joining Merton Chamber of Commerce we can help you achieve your business goals.  With a choice between Standard and Premier membership, and with prices starting from just £180 pa, and with easy monthly payments, you will find the perfect option to suit your business.

Click the image or link below to see how Merton Chamber membership has benefited businesses in our 'Boosting Your Business' video. Featuring Samuel Estates, Rhodium Consulting, Lu Ma Café and Wimbledon Brewery Ltd.

Six Merton businesses win Mayor of London praise for commitment to healthy working practices

  • Turners estate agent
  • Peldon Rose workplace consultants
  • Merco Medical Recruitment
  • The Wimbledon Guild
  • Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust
  • Merton Chamber of Commerce

The London Healthy Workplace Charter is a framework that supports businesses in developing staff wellbeing across areas including support for mental health issues, reducing sedentary practices, promoting healthy eating habits, encouraging smoking cessation, dealing with alcohol and substance misuse, and supporting them to address wellness at work issues that are specific to their culture and environment.

Merton Chamber's Clair Attwater and Nicola Davenport with Barry Francis.

Research shows that healthier staff are happier, more productive, less likely to leave or take sickness absence, easier to recruit and better advocates for their employer.
Official recognition of efforts in this field also brings PR and marketing benefits, as well as entry to a select ‘club’ of organisations that have access to Merton health and wellbeing support services including regular workshops, offers and wellbeing opportunities.

Follow us on Twitter @HealthyMerton and get in touch with our Healthy Workplace Consultant Nicola Davenport to find out more

Christmas Causes
At Merton Chamber of Commerce we appreciate how important it is to do our bit for the community and local causes.  Below you will find other local businesses and organisations that are doing something for charity or a good cause during the festive season. Visit our  Christmas Causes page to find out more

Reed’s Christmas Charity Voucher Collection for Jigsaw4u

100s of children and young people have nothing to open Christmas day, with the help of various wonderful charities, presents are donated, wrapped and given to these deserving kids.
What about the teenagers? They have already lost a great deal, let's not let them lose faith.
Reed Wimbledon would like to ask for your help, they are collecting Vouchers for the teenagers, £5.00, £10, £15 or £20, whatever you can, this way, those teenagers that are ALWAYS left out, are looked after.
Reed Wimbledon are also Donating ALL the Christmas Wrappings necessary to make the presents donated for the Small Children Festive and Magical….
Reed will come and collect ALL vouchers donated, with a great big smile, an enormous amount of thanks and up-dates on what has been achieved.
Please call 0208 944 2862, their Office Elves will fly over and pick up your generous  donation on behalf of Mr Claus of course.

Last day to donate is 15th December

The Metropolitan Police Service’s Christmas Tree Project 2016 
Now online for those who would like to buy a present for a local child who may otherwise receive nothing this Christmas. (e.g. they’re in foster care, a residential care home, or are victims of crime).
Click the link here and they will – at random – give you the gender and age of a child (under 17) to buy for. You then drop off the gift (max value £20) at Wimbledon or Mitcham police stations by the deadline given.
You can also contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods team if you cannot get to the stations and they can assist. Enter your postcode in the link here – to find your team.


Help stem4 charity this Christmas with Easyfunding!

stem4 is a charity that supports teenage mental health by targeting early identification of commonly occurring mental health issues in teenagers; raising awareness and enhancing detection, education, and motivation. stem4 provides comprehensive, evidence-based online information via their website; runs conferences for students, parents, teachers and health professionals; and has produced the award-winning Calm Harm app to help people manage the urge to self harm.

Join easyfundraising and you can collect free donations for us every time you buy something online. It won't cost you a penny extra so please help us to raise funds.

Copyright © *2016* *Merton Chamber of Commerce*, All rights reserved.

*Merton Chamber of Commerce is affiliated to the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), an accredited member of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

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