FFIT Cymru: five lives changed forever, with a staggering 13 stone total weight loss

By Raspberry Jim,

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Delighted leaders of S4C series FFIT Cymru are celebrating after losing a “life-changing” 13 stone between them in just eight weeks.

Staggering results were revealed about the five leaders’ improved health and fitness levels as they took to the scales for the last time in the S4C series finale, which is now available to watch along with the rest of the series online at s4c.cymru and other platforms.

Over the past two months viewers have tuned in as leaders Nic Davies, from Penygroes, Carmarthenshire; Mathew Thomas from Gaerwen; Catherine Lewis, from Caernarfon; Judith Owen, from Llanwnda; and Leon Welsby from Bridgend, have overhauled their health and fitness routines in a bid to transform their lives.

During that time, the leaders have received expert support from fitness trainer Rae Carpenter, psychologist Dr Ioan Rees, and nutritionist Sioned Quirke; with detailed plans shared online for everyone to follow.

Nic, Penygroes, Carmarthenshire

Nic, who works at Glangwili Hospital, has seen his weight plummet from 18 stone 4lbs to 15 stone 0.5lbs. His cholesterol levels have halved since the beginning of the series, and the fantastic news is he no longer needs to take tablets to combat high blood pressure. After enjoying the 5k parkrun challenge in week 7 of the challenge, he has now started training for this year’s Cardiff Half Marathon.

Leon, Bridgend

Meanwhile, Urdd youth worker Leon, from Bridgend, has lost a phenomenal 48% of his fat mass: a result which saw his weight plummet 3 stone 11.5lbs. Now weighing 17 stone 10.5 pounds, he has a much lower risk of having a heart attack, a very real threat due to family history. And he has completed what he set out to achieve, and will now be able to ride on the rollercoaster which he was previously turned away from because of his size.

Judith, Llanwnda, near Caernarfon

After years of health problems, former head teacher Judith was determined not to let Crohn’s disease hold her back any longer; it was time to get in shape. Not only has she shed the pounds – shrinking from 13 stone 1lb to 11 stone 8.5lbs – she also no longer needs to undergo an operation for a hernia. She has joined a weekly running club and her fitness age is now 10 years younger that at the beginning of the series… and is actually younger that her current age!

Catherine, Caernarfon

Young mother, and bride-to-be, Catherine had a crippling lack of self-confidence caused by her weight. She has lost a total of 2 stones and 2.5lbs, and over 12 inches from her hips, which has seen her grow in confidence, becoming more outgoing and active, which has seen massive benefits for her and her young daughter. This is a journey she vows to continue; with a wedding to plan, nothing will hold her back now!

Mathew, Gaerwen, Anglesey

The series saw proud dad-of-three Mathew return to the rugby field and training with boxing legend Joe Calzaghe! That certainly did the trick, and Mathew has caught the fitness bug once again. His fitness age is now 20 years younger than at the beginning of the series, with a total loss of 2 stones and 10 pounds and an impressive 10 inches off his waist. He’s also quit smoking, and the fresh air has reduced the age of his lungs by 10 years too!

FFIT Cymru presenter Lisa Gwilym, who also vowed to get active as part of the series, said: “I’d like to congratulate our fantastic five on their amazing weight loss results which are very well deserved.

“Their dedication and hard work has been absolutely inspirational to witness during the show’s run, and they’ve really thrown themselves into every aspect of the FFIT Cymru journey.

“We are thrilled to have spurred them on in their life changing weight loss transformation and we wish them every success for the future as they embark on happier, healthier lifestyles.”

The benefits to their health have been assessed during a series of tests at Bangor University’s School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences, which were undertaken by the leaders at the start and at the end of the eight weeks.

Tomos Jones, PhD Researcher in Cardiovascular Physiology, who conducted the tests with the five leaders, said: “It is clear to see that the leaders have worked extremely hard over the last eight weeks. As well as completing a 5k run, the tests that they have undergone here at the School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences, Bangor University, show an improved standard of fitness and an improvement in the state of their health.

“The leaders deserve a lot of credit for the success that they have achieved in their transformation and for inspiring others to do it for themselves.”

The entire FFIT Cymru series can be watched again as a box set, on demand, at s4c.cymru and other platforms.

FFIT Cymru will return for a second series in 2019, and if you’re interested in taking part, follow @ffitcymru on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep in touch.

To follow FFIT Cymru’s nutrition and exercise plans, visit s4c.cymru/ffitcymru

Before and after weight and inches loss for each leader

 Nic

Start End
Weight 18st 4lb 15st 0.5lb

(-3st 3.5lb)

Waist 49″ 39”
Chest 54″ 42”
Right Arm 17.5” 14.5”
Left Arm 18” 14”
Right leg 27.5” 24”
Left leg 28” 25”
Hips 47” 39”

 

Leon

Start End
Weight 21st 8lb 17st 10.5lb

(-3st 11.5lb)

Waist 51 “ 40
Chest 51.5″ 43
Right Arm 16″ 14
Left Arm 15.5″ 13
Right leg 30″ 26.5
Left leg 30″ 26
Hips 49.5 41

 

Judith

Start End
Weight 13st 1lb 11st 8.5lb

(-1st 6.5lb)

Waist 41” 33.5”
Chest 44” 42”
Right Arm 14” 12.5”
Left Arm 14” 12”
Right leg 24.5” 22”
Left leg 24” 21.5”
Hips 43.5” 35”

 

Catherine

Start End
Weight 17st 5lb 15st 2.5lb

(-2st 2.5lb)

Waist 43.5″ 36”
Chest 47.5” 43”
Right Arm 16.5” 14.5”
Left Arm 16” 14”
Right leg 32” 27”
Left leg 34” 27.5”
Hips 53.6” 41”

 

Mathew

Start End
Weight 21st 2lb 18st 6lb
(-3st 8lb)
Waist 51.5” 42”
Chest 52.5” 47”
Right Arm 19.5” 17”
Left Arm 19.5” 17”
Right leg 31” 27”
Left leg 31” 28”
Hips 14.5” 41”

Greenaway Scott celebrates double associate director promotions

By Raspberry Jim,

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Leading business advisory firm Greenaway Scott has made two senior promotions as it celebrates its continued fast paced business growth in 2018.

The award-winning firm has promoted both Lorna Bolton and Leanne Thomas to the role of Associate Director this month.

Ms Bolton and Ms Thomas will assist the directors of the firm in managing and expanding Greenaway Scott’s Commercial and Intellectual Property and Corporate clients across the offices in Swansea, Cardiff, Oxford and London.

Miss Bolton joined Greenaway Scott in 2016 after obtaining extensive in-house commercial legal experience within the aviation and engineering industry.

With her practical skillset and experience she has already made a significant impact on the firm’s commercial contract portfolio.

Ms Thomas has been integral to the success of the firm’s landmark Swansea office since she joined in 2017.

During her time at the Swansea University-based office, she has completed many investment rounds and high value corporate transactions.

On their promotions, Commercial Director Rhian Osborne said the achievement was “extremely well deserved” after both women showed “fantastic dedication”.

She said: “We are thrilled to promote both Lorna and Leanne to the senior positions of Associate Director and we are sure they will continue to be hugely beneficial to Greenaway Scott going forwards.

“Both are highly valued members of staff who have shown the utmost passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to their roles here, so we look forward to seeing them develop and grow even further in the future.”

Their promotions come after the firm added eight new talents to the team earlier this year taking its headcount up to 36 from its standing start five years ago.

The firm, which specialises in offering tailored legal advice to business clients, has welcomed new starters across its Corporate Finance, Commercial Contracts, Employment and Commercial Property Teams.

Cardiff Bus supports 6th national Catch the Bus Week

By Raspberry Jim,

Untitled design-6People across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan are being urged to swap their car for the bus to celebrate the 6th annual Catch the Bus Week.

The bus operator is taking part in the UK-wide initiative, which aims to promote the ease, comfort and environmental benefits of choosing sustainable bus travel.

The week, which runs from July 2nd to July 8th, will see operators across the country hosting public information sessions and events to help promote bus travel to non-bus users.

During the initiative Cardiff Bus will be taking part in the Your Bus Matters event, at Barry King Square, on Tuesday 3rd July from 10am to 2pm.The event, hosted by Bus Users Cymru, provides the chance to discuss timetables and services.

Then on Wednesday 4th July from 10am to 4pm the bus operator will be hosting a Cardiff Bus Roadshow, on Queen Street, to enable people to learn about the benefits of bus travel and receive a free goodie bag.

Commercial manager at Cardiff Bus Gareth Stevens said the initiative was a “fantastic way” to highlight the various benefits of bus travel.

He said: “We at Cardiff Bus are pleased to be supporting the 6th annual Catch the Bus Week.

“This event is vital in highlighting the numerous benefits of bus travel, so we would encourage people to come along and find out more.

“We look forward to getting out and speaking with our valued customers and getting feedback on our services.

“Come along, say hello and take a look at our latest vehicles which are modern, comfortable and WiFi enabled, helping you get the most out of your journey with us.”

The bus operator will also be giving away daily prizes via its Twitter and Facebook channels, including weekly and monthly bus tickets.

To find out more information about Catch the Bus Week and Cardiff Bus visit its website https://www.cardiffbus.com/

Management Buyout at Paramount Interiors

By Raspberry Jim,

Untitled design-19Paramount Office Interiors Ltd, one of the UK’s leading workplace design, fit out and furniture specialists has today announced that the business has been acquired by its Management Team in a deal orchestrated by lead advisors Verde Corporate Finance and Greenaway Scott.

The transaction was backed with funding from ABN AMRO Commercial Finance and also follow-in investment from GS Ventures.

Award-winning Paramount Interiors, whose client list includes the Office for National Statistics, ITV, GoCompare, S4C, KPMG, The Royal Mint and the Welsh Rugby Union amongst others, is now aiming to build on the company’s success and explore future expansion plans and new markets.

Managing Director Richard Jones led the management team on the buy-out, having been appointed as MD at the end of 2017 with a vision of ensuring Paramount Interiors fulfils its potential by continuing to achieve year on year growth.

Previous owner Nigel Roberts will remain involved as the non-executive Chairman of Paramount Interiors in addition to his role as Director of Cardiff Parkway Developments Ltd, which earlier this year received the green-light from the Department of Transport for the development of a new business park and railway station at St Mellons in Cardiff.

Dealmakers

The deal was put together by Verde Corporate Finance (finance) and Greenaway Scott (legal). Both advisory businesses are part of the multi-discipline Greenaway Scott Group which also includes GS Ventures who provided follow-in equity investment for the management buyout.

Greenaway Scott Group is the only multi-discipline professional services group in Wales that operates with a law firm and corporate finance lead advisory business within the same office and acting as one team. This multi-discipline approach enables it to provide a full service on transactions covering both the financial and legal elements as a combined and consistent approach.

Managing Director Mr Jones said: “I am very excited about what the future will hold for Paramount, myself and the Management Team as a result of the MBO. We have an exceptional team of people, strengthened by our recent investment in new young talent within our Sales and Design teams, who take a huge amount of pride in working together with our clients to ensure we achieve the highest possible standards.
“The MBO allows us to invest further in our people, our facilities and the service that we provide to our clients to ensure that we continue to be one of the best in our field.

“The support and advice that both Verde Corporate Finance and Greenway Scott have provided throughout the MBO process has been outstanding and I would personally like to thank all involved.”

On the successful MBO of the industry-leading interiors firm, Verde Corporate Finance director Craig Blackmore said it was a “privilege” to assist Richard and his team.

He said: “Paramount Interiors has developed a UK-wide reputation for creating innovative workspaces that transform businesses, so we were delighted to be able to support them as they embark on the next phase of their journey.
“Just like Paramount’s interiors projects, the MBO was well-planned and executed smoothly and efficiently, and will no doubt enable Richard and his team to build on the fantastic work that Paramount Interiors is renowned for. It was a privilege to work
alongside them and we wish them every success.”

He went on to say: “We would also like to put on record our huge thanks to ABN Amro, who have worked swiftly, flexibly and with huge desire to make the project a success. ABN Amro are a great example of what we look for in a funding partner on this type of project.”

Kelvin Thomas, Director, Wales & West Deal Team at ABN AMRO said: “It was a pleasure to work with such a committed management team with a clear strategic vision for moving the business forward. Equally, we were pleased to play our part in such a collaborative team of experts – all of whom put Paramount’s needs at the heart of our delivery.”

Nigel Greenaway, director of Greenaway Scott, echoed  Mr Blackmore’s sentiments.

He said: “We were delighted to assist Richard and the Management Team at Paramount, and also have shown our belief in the exciting future of the business by making a follow-in equity investment via GS Ventures into Paramount as part of the management buyout process.”

Welsh UN criminal expert ‘honoured’ to be made CBE in Queen’s Honours

By Raspberry Jim,

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A Cardiff investigator who has fought international war crimes, genocide and digital piracy for over 45 years has been made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s list.

Alun Howard Tucker received the honour thanks to his lengthy career investing high-profile crimes both in the UK and overseas for the police service and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (UN ICTY).

The specialist consultant for CJCH Solicitors in Cardiff said he was “incredibly honoured” to be named among the five Welsh CBE recipients, with a total of 1,350 people across the UK being recognised for the Queen’s 92nd birthday.

CEO of CJCH Solicitors Stephen Clark said the firm was delighted that Mr Tucker’s illustrious career has received recognition.

He said: “We are incredibly proud of Howard’s CBE recognition which we feel is strongly deserved after his 45 years’ of dedication to the criminal justice system both here and overseas.

“For him to have been awarded alongside some of the most courageous, dedicated, and inspirational people in the UK, is testament to his hard work.

“Over the decades Howard and his colleagues, both in the police service and UN ICTY, have worked tirelessly to enhance the justice and policing systems, and to challenge human rights abuses internationally.

“This honour recognises not just his role in fighting injustices, but the collaborative effort of the teams he has worked with during his career.”

Mr Tucker, who now acts as a specialist anti-piracy consultant to the Cardiff-based firm, was recognised after starting his career as a policeman with South Wales Police, and gaining extensive experience across the South of Wales including 24 years as a Criminal Detective.

 He then moved to the UN ICTY where he used his expertise to investigate allegations of war crimes and genocide.

This progressed into several roles within the UN investigations team to represent the UN prosecution, with Mr Tucker eventually being appointed as head of mission for the UN ICTY overseeing the Bosnia and Herzegovina offices.

After being named as the prosecutor of the ICTY he provided specialist training on all aspects of the international investigative process and supported EU and UK training initiatives of local police agencies.

In recent years he has shifted his focus to fighting international anti-piracy through his consultant role at CJCH Consulting, a leading firm working to tackle international theft of intellectual property and software infringement.

He said: “Criminal undertakings have changed dramatically during my career, with crime having migrated online in the past decade to pose new and sophisticated threats.

“This new era of digital criminals puts businesses and individuals at a greater risk than ever before of falling victim to a crime.

“Online theft and digital piracy has emerged as one of the greatest online threats, whether this is identity theft, intellectual property theft or fraud.

“With this new era of online criminals only increasing, it is essential that we concentrate our efforts in trying to eradicate this highly sophisticated and growing network of digital crime.”

Cowbridge communications agency named amongst the best in the UK

By Raspberry Jim,

 

Jamjar inside

Creative communications agency jamjar has been crowned a ‘stand-out winner’ in the PR industry’s most prestigious awards.

The only Welsh representative in the national awards, jamjar won the ‘Best Use of Digital’ category at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)’s annual Excellence Awards.

Beating off strong competition from big name brands, including Facebook, jamjar’s #JoinCwmTaf campaign for Cwm Taf University Health Board was deemed the best in UK.

With recruitment of NHS staff a UK-wide problem with health boards competing to attract a limited workforce, jamjar developed an innovative digital campaign to attract doctors to work in the Valleys.

The campaign used Cwm Taf’s greatest ambassadors, its staff, to feature in a series of videos, as well as a 360-degree video to give potential new recruits the chance to get a glimpse of what the health board has to offer.

Judges praised the campaign for its research and outcomes, deeming it ‘best practice’, a ‘textbook example’ and a ‘stand-out winner’.

Jason MacKenzie, CIPR President, said: “Public Relations makes a remarkable contribution to UK plc. The Excellence Awards are a celebration of the outstanding work delivered across the country. Winning one of these puts you amongst the UK’s very best. Nothing evidences your credentials to future clients like an Excellence Award.”

Cowbridge-based jamjar was established in 2012 by Lyndsey Jenkins. The agency provides PR, digital, social, marketing and design support to a range of organisations including Techniquest, British Council Wales, Mrs Bucket, Sony UK Technology Centre and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council. It has won over 20 awards for its work in the last six years from the CIPR, Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Welsh Business Awards.

On its latest win, managing director of jamjar Lyndsey Jenkins, said: “This is a campaign that we’re particularly proud of at jamjar so to get national recognition from our industry peers is all the more pleasing. We’re really proud to be flying the flag for Wales amongst some of the biggest brands and best agencies in the UK and we’re delighted to be putting the great work of Cwm Taf University Health Board on the map.”

Joanna Davies, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Cwm Taf University Health Board, said: “Our staff are at the forefront of our campaigns and, as always they have been wonderful ambassadors for Cwm Taf University Health Board and NHS Wales. They show every day that ‘Cwm Taf Cares’ and we hope that our latest recruitment initiative #JoinCwmTaf will encourage others to come and work with us. We are absolutely delighted to win this award.”

 

Bus diversions planned as march marks 100 years’ of women’s suffrage

By Raspberry Jim,

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Buses across Cardiff are set to be diverted on Sunday as thousands of women march through the capital to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage.

Cardiff Bus is alerting passengers to service alterations as the women’s Procession event takes place across the city centre.

During the day thousands of women and girls will march from Leckwith to Bute Park, via the city centre, to celebrate 100 years since women achieved voting equality.

The Cardiff event, organised by art producers NOW and Artichoke, is one of four taking place across the UK on Sunday.

During the event, roads in Leckwith will be closed to traffic from midday, while city centre roads will be closed from 2pm, with all routes set to reopen at 4.30pm.

Cardiff Bus passengers are also being alerted to a number of service diversions during the day. These include the 13, 17, 18, and 96A, which will start and end at Home Bargains, Canton and will not serve any city centre stops.  The 1.40pm (18) and 1.50pm (17) buses from Ely, will run their normal route to The Pendine, then will divert to the city centre along Cowbridge Road West, A4232 Ely Link Road, Hadfield Road, Penarth Road and Clare Road, not serving any stops from The Pendine, through Canton to the city centre.

The 61 will not run across the city centre, but instead will split with buses to Pentrebane departing from Canton Home Bargains; and buses to Pengam Green leaving Churchill Way.

The 28B, 30, 35, 54 (to Cyncoed), 21, 23, 24 and 27 services will leave from Greyfriars Road, the Baycar 6 service will depart from Customhouse Street and rear of Central Station Buses 8, 9A, and X45 to Cardiff Bay & Sports Village will leave from Station Terrace (outside Queen Street Station), Philharmonic (Lower St Mary Street) and Tudor Street.

The 44, 45, 49, and 50, and the 52, 57 and 58 will all leave from the Royal Hotel, while the 25, 63, and 64 services will depart from Sophia Gardens Coach Station.

The 95 service will divert via Clare Road, Penarth Road and Hadfield Road to Leckwith, in both directions.

Finally, services 8 & 9A (towards Heath Hospital) X45 (towards St. Mellons) and 92 & 94 will run as normal and are not affected by the road closures.

Cardiff Bus commercial manager Gareth Stevens said: “With women across Cardiff set to march through the capital on Sunday, we would like to remind all travellers of the planned road closures coming into effect.

“We have put a number of diversions in place to ensure our passengers are not adversely affected by this, with many of our services also running from alternative terminals.

“We hope everyone taking part in this historic celebration has an enjoyable day and we would like to remind them that all Cardiff Bus travel information can be found at our website  www.cardiffbus.com or via our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.”

Expert advice on fighting corporate manslaughter in the construction sector

By Raspberry Jim,

 

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Corporate manslaughter has become a nationwide talking point once again ahead of the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

One year on from the devastating incident on June 14, 2017, an official inquiry is now underway to determine who was responsible for the harrowing events which claimed the lives of 72 people.

Following the fire last year many were quick to attribute blame to the local council and the tenant management organisation. The Metropolitan Police investigated both the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which owned the tower, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenancy Management Organisation which managed it, on suspicion of corporate manslaughter.

A BBC Panorama investigation claimed that the insulation used in renovations of the tower, from manufacturer Celotex, never actually passed required safety tests. But with the official inquiry into the incident still underway, culpability for the tragedy has yet to be established.

Recent media coverage has generated renewed discussion around corporate manslaughter in the construction industry.

With everyone from housing associations, to electricians involved, the duty of care in this sector is vast – and a failure to follow correct procedures could quickly prove fatal.

But when it comes to construction, when are companies culpable of corporate manslaughter? And what should they do if accused?

Here, director at leading defence firm Blackfords LLP Phillip Williams offers his advice on this divisive matter.

What is corporate manslaughter?

Corporate manslaughter is a criminal offence through which a company or corporation is found to be responsible for a person’s death.

The offence came into law in 2008 when the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into being.

Companies can be found guilty of this offence if their serious management failures led to a gross breach of duty of care.

If found guilty companies could face an unlimited fine of up to £20 million, depending on the severity of the offence, or the court could order them to overhaul their health and safety procedures.

When is a construction company accountable?

As part of the 2007 Act there are specific ways to determine if an incident falls under the offence of corporate manslaughter.

Following a fatality, the business’s internal processes which led up to the death will be examined, including any health and safety procedures, to determine if there were systematic failures which led to negligence.

In the construction industry, the implementation of health and safety procedures is even more vital due to the highly hazardous working conditions and proximity to heavy machinery. As such it is crucial that any safety measures are not just sent out to staff, but followed strictly.

Mr Williams said that in order for a company to be accused of corporate manslaughter, it must be proved that there was a gross breach of procedure, which left workers or members of the public at a significant risk.

“This breach must be major, and be identified as a significant departure from expected standards,” the legal expert added.

In 2015, Master Construction Products became the 26th company to be convicted of corporate manslaughter after a worker was crushed to death by a machine used to sort waste materials.

The company was fined £255,000 and a subsequent HSE investigation uncovered that there was no safe system of work outlined for the machinery.

A significant part of the failure must also have occurred at a senior level, among those with decision-making powers, Mr Williams added. He said: “Construction managers are under extreme pressure to ensure their firm follows procedure and adheres to regulations to prevent any serious incidents on-site.

“And while every care is undoubtedly taken, sometimes things can go wrong. Anyone with concerns that they may be liable under this Act should seek legal representation immediately.”

Not only should site managers safeguard the wellbeing of their workers, but they are also responsible for preventing injury to the public, Mr Williams said.

Monavon Construction Ltd became the first company to be sentenced under the Act, and received a fine of £550,000 after pleading guilty to two counts of corporate manslaughter, when two men suffered fatal injuries after falling into a well in 2013.

As we have witnessed through the official Grenfell Tower Inquiry, this public responsibility also extends to the safety of building materials used in a construction project. A BBC investigation has recently raised questions around whether Celotex had misled buyers about the safety of its product before the installation at Grenfell Tower.

Mr Williams said: “This underlines the importance of obtaining up to date records and documents relating to the safety testing of any product used in a construction build. As managers it is not just vital that you ensure your workers follow procedures, but that your third-party suppliers do too.”

What next if you’re facing a corporate manslaughter charge?

It is likely that an investigation will be undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)  to ascertain blame for the fatality and could also include a criminal prosecution for health and safety offences.

Mr Williams said: “Managers or companies accused of corporate manslaughter could easily become overwhelmed due to the scope of the investigation.

“Once the fatality occurs, there are likely to be investigations into company health and safety procedures, police visits to the site, and interviews with HSE among many other steps. It is imperative that you speak with a fully trained solicitor who is well versed in dealing with corporate manslaughter cases to guide you through this process.

“At Blackfords LLP we have extensive experience of defending clients in some of the most complex corporate manslaughter cases in the UK.”

Mr Williams advises that construction companies and managers could also receive publicity orders, requesting the business to provide details of previous convictions and fines. He said they could also receive a remedial act instructing them to overhaul procedures which resulted in the death.

First-time buyer’s guide to the highs and lows of property purchase

By Raspberry Jim,

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Buying a new home is frequently listed as one of the most stressful experiences you can go through.

In fact, a recent survey of 2,000 people revealed that the majority felt purchasing a house was even more stressful than having a baby.

While that may shock some prospective house hunters, for many others this revelation won’t be a surprise.

One such person is CJCH Solicitors’ paralegal Amy Palin.

Having bought her first home in Penarth in October 2017, Ms Palin is familiar with the highs and lows of purchasing a property.

However, thanks to her experience in conveyancing at the Cardiff-based legal firm, the 23-year-old had a unique perspective as a first-time buyer.

To mark New Homes Week, running from May 14 to the 18, she discusses her personal, and professional, experience when it comes to buying a home.

She said: “It was quite interesting to be looking into buying my own home after seeing so many of our clients go through this process with our help.

“As a new buyer your main concern is keeping the costs low, because purchasing a home can be expensive, so your aim is to keep the spending to a minimum.

“You also want to complete as quickly as possible because you want everything to be sorted so you can start getting excited about moving in.

“While I know the process thoroughly thanks to my day job, it is entirely different when you are the buyer.”

Ms Palin’s conveyancing period took around two and a half months to complete, but like many buyers, she was not immune from issues which threatened to cause unwanted delays.

Funding hurdles, paperwork problems, mortgage valuations and surveys, and disputes with a seller, are just some of the common concerns which could crop up and cause inevitable delays to the purchase.

On average the conveyancing process can take up to two months to complete, however that can stretch to up to four months or longer depending on the situation, Miss Palin said.

She added: “I was aware of the potential for delays and problems and how common this is. But when it is your own home, and you are making the purchase, it can be quite stressful.

“In our scenario, there was a tenant living in the property previously, who was due to vacate the house two days before we moved in. Unfortunately, they had not moved out as expected which we thought could delay our completion date and moving in date.

“Thankfully, it didn’t, but issues such as this are frequent when you are buying a home and there is a chain involved.”

As a paralegal at CJCH Solicitors, which has over 35 years’ experience in handling property matters and conveyancing, Miss Palin said it was important for buyers to have realistic expectations and expect the unexpected.

She said: “Having gone through this myself, and supporting clients at work, we would advise prospective buyers not to have overly ambitious expectations. While every purchaser, and conveyancer acting for them, will work to ensure the process will run as efficiently as possible, unexpected things can occur.

“It is important to be prepared for that, so there is not too much disappointment if intended timescales are significantly altered.”

She also warned that costs can mount up quickly thanks to the various experts involved in supporting the purchase.

She said: “Many people don’t necessarily realise the cost which is attached to buying a home, especially if it is your first time. There may be many costs that you haven’t even considered.

“For example, contact with the conveyancer for constant updates on your transaction can mount up cost-wise. Quite often it may simply be the solicitor is waiting, for example, for searches to return and there isn’t anything yet to report, but a query will still be charged to the buyer.

“As well as this, it is important that home buyers, who are also selling, are aware early on of all the documents that will be required. This will help to keep costs to a minimum by, first of all, avoiding any delays which could cause costs to increase or, worse, the need to pay for indemnity insurance for their prospective buyer for the missing documents.”

But if there is an issue, particularly a legal problem, what can buyers do?

“It would depend on the problem,” said Miss Palin.

“If there is an issue which cannot be easily resolved, buyers might need to explore whether they are willing to take the time and accept the extra cost to deal with this, or whether they do not want to continue with the purchase.

“Whatever happens being prepared and flexible when it comes to this process really is key. Things can, and sometimes will go wrong, but most things can be resolved by a legal expert.

“Most commonly delays tend to be caused by waiting for answers to queries, this could be due to solicitors on the other side not responding promptly, or that they are not receiving the information needed from their clients to respond.

“In these cases, it is essential that buyers can speak openly and effectively with their solicitor or conveyancer to help ascertain what is causing the delay and resolve it quickly.

“In spite of all our efforts this type of delay is often unpredictable, as it will depend on what arises throughout searches, the reliability of all those involved, and other factors. But we always keep our clients up to date on what is happening.

“At CJCH Solicitors we are always on hand to help and have an expert conveyancing and property team who will help you unlock the door to your new home, minus the stress!”

Leading medical technology firm appoints Greenaway Scott

By Raspberry Jim,

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A Whitland-based cutting-edge medical technology company, which develops nerve stimulation and monitoring equipment, has appointed business advisory firm Greenaway Scott as it sets its sights on success in America.

Magstim, a world leader in developing neurostimulation equipment, has instructed the award-winning firm’s Swansea office to provide legal support as it looks to expand sales overseas.

Greenaway Scott, which specialises in the life science and healthcare industries, will support Magstim by providing commercial contract advice as the company expands its operations and enters into new business partnerships to continue to develop its technology.

Gareth Davies, Group CFO, said they were delighted to be working with Greenaway Scott.

He said: “Greenway Scott was a natural choice – as a global business we needed a firm that is responsive, knowledgeable and that understands the healthcare sector. The team at Greenaway Scott deliver on all three.

“They take time to understand your business and work flexibly to ensure your needs are met.”

When the company was founded in 1990, its devices were primarily used as a research tool by neuroscientists seeking to understand how the brain’s pathways are connected. Their work has yielded important insights into the diagnosis and treatment of conditions including multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and spinal injury. Now, the company has its devices cleared by the FDA for treatment of major depressive disorder and is seeing significant demand in the US healthcare market.

Commercial director at Greenaway Scott, Rhian Osborne, said it was a privilege to be working with a company which has the potential to make such a significant impact on the lives of people globally.

She said: “Magstim are recognised as leaders in the medical technology industry and we are thrilled to be able to assist them as they develop their revolutionary TMS device.

“Their technology has the potential to change the lives of millions of people suffering with disorders including Depression, Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neurone Disease.

“As such it is our privilege to work with Magstim to help achieve its commercial aims and expand its sales across the UK and America.”

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