Literacy Charity ‘ @CWBeanstalk ‘ Thanks Volunteers With Tour of #Coventry


Last Friday, to celebrate Volunteers’ Week, Beanstalk Coventry & Warwickshire thanked its volunteers with a Literary Tour of Coventry city centre. The fascinating walk was guided by Dr Eleanor Nesbitt of Warwick University who explained the links with local landmark buildings and their associations to famous writers and poets. It was attended by existing volunteer s and people interested in learning more about the charity.

Beanstalk is a children’s literacy charity whose dedicated volunteers go into local schools for two 90 minute sessions per week and volunteer for at least one year. Sessions are fun and aim to ignite a love of reading.

There are existing vacancies across Coventry primary schools.Beanstalk are looking for people to volunteer as ‘Trained Reading Helpers’ to support children in Coventry.

All of our volunteers receive training prior to being placed with a school and receive on-going support including a school tour, regular visits, additional training and also the opportunity to attend other social events such as book exchanges and coffee mornings.

If you are interested then you can complete an application form at or for any enquiries,  can email or call on 0121 771 2922

Twinings Tea Advertise their New Flavour in a Solavia Fine Glassware mug.

Solavia Fine Glassware are thrilled that Twinings Tea chose their mugs to advertise their new flavour, Strawberry and Raspberry. Their mugs are in the latest advertisement as well as being used in recent promotional content. The Angelo mugs are very popular due to their simple and classic design. They come in a set of 2 and cost £6. Solavia Fine Glassware is a Midlands-based glassware company, that specialises in exclusive handmade glassware and luxury crystal.

For more information check out Solavia Fine Glassware’s website,

#Nuneaton woman invests last few pounds to get business off the ground

Unable to find a job, local businesswoman decided to take the plunge herself.


A Nuneaton businesswoman who used her last few pounds to launch a marketing service is now working with clients across the country.

Hashtag Marketing Consultancy was founded by Ruth Warwick after she was made redundant while on maternity leave.

Unable to find a part time role at a senior level, she decided to take the plunge and used the last of her funds to set-up her new venture.

One year on, Ruth, aged 33, has developed a strong client-base and provides marketing solutions to companies from a range of industries based in the Midlands and across England.

The company offers services including marketing strategy and planning, website design and management, social media, PR, events, design and print, advertising and customer experience guidance.

Ruth said: “With a few pounds in one pocket – literally – and enthusiasm in the other, Hashtag Marketing was born.

“I was initially concerned about being able to sustain a regular income and how I would cope with the demands of a new business whilst keeping things running smoothly at home.

“I’ve found ways to manage my time effectively. You really do need to be motivated to run your own business, no one is going to do it for you. You need to set yourself goals and give yourself a reason to get out of bed in the mornings.

“People ask me what it’s like to have my own business and question if I find it lonely working for myself. The honest answer is yes, it can be lonely at times but there’s plenty of opportunity to engage with people whether that be clients, associates or other small business owners.

“The benefits of being my own boss, managing my own time and having the flexibility to work when and how I want to work far outweigh the remoteness that I sometimes experience.”

Ruth was helped to set-up the business by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce which provides free guidance to start-ups through workshops and one-to-one mentoring as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Ruth added: “The Chamber provided me with invaluable support when setting up the business and helped make it a success.

“They provided support with everything from sourcing new clients to looking after finances and filing accounts.”

Margaret Bull, a business advisor at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce who supported Ruth, said: “Ruth’s passion for her business along with our start-up support has helped Hashtag Marketing Consultancy go from strength to strength.

“Ruth now has built up a strong client-base, working with companies across the country, which will continue to grow in the long-term.”


Contact Ruth Warwick at 07525 068 843 or


Business Rates will change on 1st April 2017

The Valuation Office published draft business rates valuations on all commercial property last Friday, 30 September. All occupiers of commercial premises should be aware of the implications of the revaluation and consider the effect of the tax on business plans and cash flow.

It has been seven years since all non-domestic properties in England and Wales were nationally valued. The 2017 revaluation is based upon shop, office, workshop, warehouse and other sector rental levels, established 1 April 2015. These rateable values will sustain for the next five years.


Between 2010 and 2014 most commercial rental values decreased and have only recovered ground in the last two years. No matter though, if assessments have increased, stayed the same or decreased, rate payers will need to check the new rateable value facts are correct and establish if in its breakdown, the valuation accords with 2015 rents, for the particular location. It is crucial business occupiers make themselves familiar with the new ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ process.

This new system may prove confusing in terms of valuation, the challenge process, timing and the cost of an appeal. At Drake Howard Property we have expert valuers to give advice on all aspects of business rates and reliefs which may be available to minimise your liability over the next 5 years. Contact Martyn Howard on 02476 450045 or


Families are invited to meet ‘Father Christmas and Friends’ at EGO Arts Venue this Christmas!

Our family favourite Santa visit, Father Christmas and Friends is set to return to EGO Arts Venue in Cook Street on Saturday 17th December for one week only! A winter trail through a magical Christmas wonderland awaits families in Coventry this Yuletide.

Families are invited to join Ivy Pixie Fairy on an adventure through the Christmas trail for a very special visit to see Father Christmas. Along the way they will meet Widow Winterberry the dormouse in her cosy home, Figgy Fancypants champion Christmas Cracker maker, Poinsettia the singing snowman, Frosty Jack the Ice Prince and Eggnog the Chief Elf !


Co-Artistic Director of EGO Performance Company, Georgina Egan, commented “We wanted to create something truly magical this Christmas for children in Coventry and the local area so we are pleased to bring back Father Christmas and Friends after it’s huge success in 2014. It’s a 40 minute long, interactive experience for children of all ages, joining Ivy Pixie on a magical winter trail to meet Santa. Along the way the children meet all of Santa’s friends, they dance with the Snowman, throw Snowballs at Frosty Jack and much more. Upon finding the Grotto, each child individually meets Santa, where you can take your own photo and listen as Santa gives your child a personal message from the nice list and each child receives a gift if they’ve been good this year!”

 Santa and his friends will be at EGO Arts Venue every day from the 17th to 23rd December 2016.

Trail Times are 10am, 10.45am, 11.30am, 12.15pm, 1.45pm, 2.30pm, 3.15pm, 4pm, 5pm & 5.45pm.

Tickets are available now priced at £15 per child, £5 for an accompanying adult and £10 for additional adults. Or a Family Ticket is £45 (2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 3 children).Price includes a trip with Ivy on the Christmas Trail, a personalised chat Father Christmas and a photo opportunity for you, plus a gift.

Children under 2s go free with a full paying child.

To book call 024 7622 6060 or call in to EGO Arts Venue, Cook Street Coventry, CV1 1JN, right behind the Transport Museum.

All profits go to the EGO Charity supporting community arts projects.

“This is so fabulous. We went this morning and it’s far from your usual quick sit with Santa and go.  It’s a magical journey from the heart. I smiled the whole way round and the kids loved that Santa knew so much about them. A really lovely journey!” : A Mumsnet review.

For further information, images and to request interviews with EGO’s Artistic Directors Georgina Egan and Corinne Emerson,please contact Kiri Norris on 024 7622 6060 or email:


Welcome to Drains Are Us – Your Local Friendly Firm!










Welcome to Drains Are Us – Your Local Friendly Firm!
Drains Are Us is a local independent family company offering quality drainage services with a fair deal pricing structure. Established since 1998, Drains Are Us has proven itself to be a firm whose customers can trust to be treated with honesty & integrity at all times.

Clients Include:

  • University of Warwick
  • Coventry City Football Club – Rioch Arena
  • Contracts undertaken for the Ministry Of Defence
  • Walkers Snack Foods
  • The National Health Trust
  • The Local Health Authurity
  • Sol West Midlands
  • Warwick Districk Council & Environmental Health


Blocked drains are potentially messy, disruptive, upsetting and at worst a health hazard. Attempting to free a well-blocked drain is no task for the DIY ‘expert’. The good news is that help from Drains Are Us is only a telephone call away!

Qualified and experienced staff assess the situation, provide a full quotation and when given the authority to proceed, work cleanly, quickly and efficiently to restore your services to you. We will solve any drainage problem, large or small.

Our camera surveys often save the need for expensive excavation and the subsequent upheaval it can bring. We are one of a few companies able to provide this service, and our expertise in this area has gained us a lot of customers in both the public and private sectors.

Products & Services

  • Emergency Blockage Service
  • Hidden Drains Traced
  • C.C.T.V survey
  • High Pressure Water Jetting
  • Rootcutting and Descaling
  • Pipework Replacement and Relining
  • O.A.P. Discounts

Contact us on 01926 853111

The Gift of Time


Time is something most of us feel we need more of. A Coventry-based babysitting agency, EvaSitters, has solved the problem for many of us. Babysitting gift vouchers are now available to buy for your friends and family, allowing parents to have time for other activities without worrying about childcare. The vouchers offer at least three hours of pre-paid evening babysitting to the recipient, so you no longer have to feel guilty about being unable to babysit for your family or friends! The ‘gift of time’ is a thoughtful present parents will appreciate on special occasions and all year round.

Most people will agree that childcare is a big cause of concern in today’s society, especially where both parents work. Evasitters’ staff are all interviewed face-to-face, screened thoroughly and paid by EvaSitters, so parents do not have to worry about all that. All good parents will agree that their children are their most valuable possessions, so they cannot afford to be careless about childcare. EvaSitters provides police-checked, experienced and caring babysitters to homes in Coventry, Warwickshire, Birmingham, Leicester and surrounding areas, even at short notice, with no membership, booking or registration fees.

Everyone knows that good, reliable childcare is priceless. Having a babysitter or nanny that really gets your children and ensures that they are safe and happy allows you to get on with life without guilt or worry. Although, parents will be willing to pay anything for such a reliable and necessary service, EvaSitters charges the same affordable hourly rate for any day of the week, and parents can get a discount with multiple bookings. For parents on the go, there is also an Evasitters phone app, available for free download from .

The founder of EvaSitters, Dr Afiniki Akanet, a medical doctor, explains why she set up the company: “I wanted to provide an easy-to-book online babysitting service which allows parents, like me, to have time away from home when required, while also providing flexible well-paid work for eligible UK residents. Having no membership, booking or registration fees, allows parents to use our service regularly or occasionally without penalty. Because of the large amount of daytime childcare providers, such as nurseries and childminders, EvaSitters specialises in providing childcare after 6pm and at weekends.”

The tricky issue of holiday pay!!!




Holiday and holiday pay is a very emotive issue for employees and employers alike. For employees it’s a well earned break from their hard work for employers, it’s a cost and an operational issue. There have been many recent changes in the law, which have changed the holiday pay landscape – so here are the things that as an employer you need to know.

Holiday entitlement is rooted in the Working Time Directive and the subsequent Regulations, which gives employees/workers 5.6 paid weeks holiday per year (which includes Statutory Bank Holidays) based on full time hours, for part time workers this is pro rata’d. Paid holiday applies to both employees and workers.

However, there is a difference between the two, which says the first 20 days holiday must be paid with all the additions but the rest doesn’t have to. It then becomes even more complicated when you try to work out what the employee is due by way pay. What is their regular pay? Is it calculated to include overtime – guaranteed or non-guaranteed? What about commission? What happens if the employee is on long term sick that crosses over holiday years? These are not easy questions!


A few years ago a decision in the Employment Appeal Tribunal changed things and led to back pay for incorrectly calculated holiday pay only being claimed for up to 2 years (it was 6 years).  The case also said that as well as guaranteed overtime, non-guaranteed overtime pay should be included in the holiday pay calculation where it is part of “normal pay” but that a gap of more than 3 months breaks a series of holiday pay underpayments. What is non-guaranteed overtime is still undefined but in essence this is where the Employer is not obliged to offer overtime, but if they do, the employee/worker is obliged to do it. There is then a further complication because the Working Time Directive, which gave all UK employees and workers the right to paid holiday, only gives the right for 20 days paid holiday. The Regulations that followed increased paid holiday to 5.6 weeks. However….  we have a gap between the two –the right to overtime, guaranteed and non-guaranteed applies to the first 20 days holiday not the full 5.6 weeks !


Then came a more recent case, which established that regular commission payments and allowances, which are “intrinsically linked” to performing the role (such as flying time for pilots), should be included when calculating holiday pay. So, holiday pay should include allowances and commission. Again, this decision applies to the first 20 days holiday under the Working Time Directive not the full 5.6 weeks under the later Regulations. This could change however so watch this space.

Travel Time

The earlier case also decided that travel time, that is not part of the workers usual commute to work should also be considered when calculating holiday pay, but again only applies to the first 20 days not the full 5.6 weeks. So what does that mean. If Fred lives in Bicester but works in Oxford – his normal commute to and from work is not covered. However, if he is then working at a client’s everyday for 12 weeks in London and is paid by the hour, which includes travel time to and from clients, this extra time will need to be included if in week 13 he has some holiday. For example, it may add an extra 11/2 hours pay a day to the calculation.


Rolled up holiday pay.

This is deemed unlawful. The premise is that holiday is a health and safety provision so the emphasis is on employees/workers having a break not on them getting paid holiday pay per se.


Long term sickness

If an employee/worker is on long term sick then their holiday continues to accrue until they return to work or choose to take it. This then carries over year on year (subject to the 2 year rule above to claim unpaid accrued holiday – although it may also possibly be claimed as a disability discrimination reasonable adjustment but that’s a whole other story!).


So how is holiday pay to be calculated?

  • Statutory holiday pay is based on a week’s pay. If there is no set weeks’ pay then:
  • The calculation for annual leave is the average pay earned over a 12-week reference period. This applies to non-regular working patterns and shift patterns. This is over 12 paid weeks so if the person only works two weeks a month you go back for 12 paid weeks, in effect over 24 weeks in this example. If the person has only worked less than 12 weeks, for example 4 weeks, then its calculated based on those 4 weeks. This includes “allowances, overtime, travel time and commission now too!

Many contracts may refer to the employee/worker just getting basic pay for any holiday taken. This can only apply to any holiday over the first 20 days but that may well change. So…. If you give your employees/workers 5.6 weeks pay plus bank holidays you must pay the first 20 days as holiday with overtime (guaranteed and non guaranteed and commission and any travel time etc.) then the rest after the first 20 days can then be based on their contractual terms. However beware  – contract terms can be changed by custom and practice, so if you have always calculated it all on the higher basis you can’t just change it now!

If you have any questions on this or any other areas of HR or employment law please do not hesitate to contact our Natalie Roach on 01869 277692 or



It’s time to get sharing again !

Borroclub logo

As young children we are always encouraged to share our things but now us grown ups can be sharers too! Matt Dredger has developed an innovative way to connect people and get them sharing.

Borroclub is an online platform that allows the public to load up items they are willing to let others to borrow.  They can earn money from this and in turn borrowers can save money.  Matt came up with the idea for Borroclub as he was trying to clear out his garage one day, but couldn’t move for the ladders, tools, roof box and other costly items that were blocking his path.  When he thought about how many times he had actually used each thing he could count it up on just the one hand.

“I was reluctant to get rid of my things as they had cost so much in the first place and might be needed again in the future but I also thought it was quite wasteful.  I was sure that I wasn’t alone in doing this.

The beauty of sharing is that people can try out a product before deciding to invest in it themselves.  Camping is a classic example, where a lot of kit is needed but could be an expensive outlay if your first trip ends up as your last trip.  Or avoid costly purchases altogether by just borrowing an item for the short time that you need it, be it for a DIY job, holiday or even a party,” enthuses Matt.

People have recently borrowed a candy floss machine (great for kids parties or PTA events!) car trailers, and bicycle.

It’s a really simple process you can post your items at no cost and you simply state how much you want per day for your item and a reasonable security deposit value and that’s it.  When somebody wants to borrow the item the borrower pays your fees and small fee to Borroclub and Borroclub holds onto those funds until the item has been returned, only once the owner confirms safe return Borroclub then pays the owner of the item their money and refunds the security deposit.

And best of all it’s tax free due to a recent announcement in the latest budget.

So if you have something sitting around in your home, don’t delay get it on Borroclub and you could be earning some extra cash.  Alternatively if you want something and don’t have it, then take a look at and borro it…don’t buy it!

It’s a great idea and importantly it helps our planet by reducing waste by reducing the need to manufacture a new item.

Contact:        Matt Dredger
Position:       Owner
Tel No:          0800 689 0695
Twitter:           @borroclub