Greenaway Scott Group appoints new Swansea head to mark ‘hugely successful’ year

By Raspberry Jim,

Multi-disciplinary business advisory firm Greenaway Scott Group has appointed a new head of its Swansea office, topping off a year of “unprecedented” growth.

Leanne Thomas, who is an associate director within the firm, has been appointed to oversee the office, lead the expanding team and continue to drive growth going forwards.

Miss Thomas has been integral to the success of the firm’s Swansea office since she joined in 2017. She is the lead advisor for many of the office’s West Wales based clients, including internationally renowned medical advisory company The Bevan Commission, and has completed numerous lucrative investment rounds and high value corporate transactions.

Since opening its Swansea office at the start of 2017, the Group, which offers bespoke corporate, commercial, employment and intellectual property advice together with corporate finance expertise provided by Group member Verde Corporate Finance has grown both its client base and team significantly.

In recent months, the Swansea team has welcomed five new recruits, taking the Group’s headcount up to over 40, and the Group has represented some of West Wales’ most innovative and growing companies.

This includes marine energy company Bombora Wave Power supporting the development of its revolutionary mWave technology, using its expertise to advise cutting-edge medical technology company Magstim, and continuing to be retained by Trade Centre Wales for the purposes of facilitating dealer/broker agreements and servicing all HR requirements.

On the office’s continued growth and her promotion, Miss Thomas said she was “delighted” to have been appointed and looks forward to leading her team on to even greater success this year.

She said: “I am extremely proud to be heading up the Swansea office and I am keen to continue to drive our strategic plan of growing and strengthening the Greenaway Scott Group.

“The West Wales office that we are building has gone from strength to strength over the past year, and relationships with our clients and businesses in the region continue to grow. The reputation of the Greenaway Scott Group is second to none and has been instrumental in our success, both in terms of acquiring new clients and recruiting talented staff.

“We have welcomed some exceptional clients from the West Wales area and numbers continue to grow.

“Thanks to the unprecedented success we’ve enjoyed this year, Greenaway Scott Group is actively considering other locations for further expansion, so watch this space. Our clients have enjoyed the synergies we can offer by working alongside Verde on a Group-wide basis and, as the only law firm in Wales which can operate as an Alternative Business Structure, we are assessing other business sectors for further diversification of our offering.

“It’s certainly a very exciting time to be part of the Greenaway Scott Group.”

Mumpreneur celebrates tripling headcount in just 12 months

By Raspberry Jim,

A mumpreneur who set up a virtual assistance business to enhance her work-life balance has appointed six new recruits in less than a year.

Claire Farren, founder of Farrens Executive Assistance, has more than tripled her head count since setting up the innovative business in 2016.

The Bridgend-based company has enjoyed success thanks to its bespoke executive assistance service, which supports a range of businesses from self-employed to multi-million pound co-operations.

Thanks to its unique offering, Farrens Executive Assistance has seen its client base increase by more than 60% in the last year.

The fast growth of the business has been a significant achievement for Miss Farren, who founded the company just before welcoming her son Seth two years ago.

In order to become a mother, she realised she required greater flexibility in her professional role and felt that becoming a virtual assistant was the ideal solution.

Her innovative approach has also proved to be beneficial for her clients, allowing them greater flexibility when it comes to dictating the support required.

She said: “After becoming a mum I decided that I needed to make a change professionally, to enable my personal and professional life to coexist more effectively.

“I realised that after working as a Personal Assistant for over 15 years I had the skills and knowledge to set up on my own and create a truly bespoke service – and as a result Farrens was born.

“Since then I have been thrilled with its progress and the business has gone from strength to strength. Not only has our flexible approach been a great success for me as a mum, but also for my clients as I can be available whenever they need me.

“I never imagined that Farrens would have multiple virtual assistants so early and have an opportunity to expand, bringing more experience and expertise to our company.

“I’m thrilled with how far we’ve come in such a short space of time, and I look forward to seeing what’s to come!”

The 35-year-old mumpreneur is now preparing to share her knowledge as part of a new partnership with Educ8 Training.

Miss Farren will be launching a PA mentoring programme alongside Educ8 Training, which will enable her to educate businesses, and directors, on how they can maximise their results with Personal and Executive Assistants.  As well as mentoring Personal and Executive Assistants on developing their role further.

She said: “The PA role is often isolated and underutilised within a business, as many directors are unsure about how to get the best results from this invaluable support function.

“I believe that a Personal or Executive Assistant can be incredibly important within a firm, when given adequate support to enable them to thrive.

“As such I am delighted to be working with Educ8 to truly support directors and businesses to maximise the role of PAs in their companies.”

For more information visit http://farrens.co.uk/

Expert helps businesses spot modern slavery ‘hiding in plain sight’

By Raspberry Jim,

With the number of potential modern slavery victims soaring to over 5,000 last year, a legal expert has urged businesses to recognise the warning signs “hiding in plain sight”.

Phillip Williams, of leading defence solicitors Blackfords LLP, has urged managers and business owners to become more vigilant when dealing with third-party contractors or suppliers.

He warns that companies could be inadvertently enabling the exploitation of victims by failing to recognise the clear warning signs.

Mr Williams, who has extensive experience in defending companies and individuals charged with modern slavery offences, has spoken out after the Crown Prosecution Service revealed it had seen modern slavery prosecutions rise by a quarter between 2017 and 2018.

He warned that this number could continue to increase if businesses were missing vital opportunities to identify exploitation in the workplace.

He said: “Modern slavery is not an isolated issue in big cities, it affects all people at all levels of society. Slavery victims could be your hotel chef, your cleaner, your delivery person, or a contracted worker – so it is an offence which is very much hiding in plain sight.

“Unfortunately, many business owners and managers become embroiled in prosecutions because they are unaware that their suppliers and third-party contractors are enabling the exploitation of workers.

“By recognising the warning signs at an earlier stage, businesses can help put a stop to this alarmingly widespread and detrimental offence once and for all.”

Here Mr Williams offers his expert advice to businesses on the five ways to spot modern slavery hiding in plain sight.

Lack of documentation

Managers who frequently rely on the use of third-party contractors, labourers, or agency workers to complete a project may require documentation.

It is at this stage that the first opportunity to identify a potential victim may arise.

Mr Williams said: “Many modern slavery victims are unlikely to have any personal identification, such as a passport or a driving licence, which in this day and age is particularly unusual.

“Identification is frequently confiscated by those seeking to exploit the victim, in a bid to assert further control over them and prevent them from escaping.

“Managers who are unable to obtain identification from a worker without explanation, or who suspect the provided information is falsified, should investigate their concerns further.”

Unusual travel times

Those who oversee smaller operations and offices will often become familiar with the daily travel routines of their staff.

While it is common for workers to arrive at different times, those who frequently get dropped off extremely early or are picked up late could be under the control of a manipulator.

Mr Williams said: “Obviously not everyone who works late or arrives early should fall under suspicion, but if you already have concerns this could be another factor to consider.

“Often slavery victims are entirely reliant on someone else for their daily needs, such as travel, with an aggressor using this to control the victim.

“As a manager if you have concerns, it may be worth keeping a log, or checking the start times for the individual, to try and establish a pattern.”

Financial details

As mentioned previously, modern slavery victims are unlikely to have any control over their personal identification. This also extends to bank accounts.

Many managers may require a worker to provide them with bank details if they have hired them directly to complete a project.

“Failure to provide bank details, without providing a legitimate reason, is a significant warning sign,” Mr Williams said.

“If the worker seems concerned, stressed, or even fearful about their inability to receive payment in cash, it would be wise to try and ascertain the reasoning behind this. While it could be innocent, equally there could be an underlying and more sinister reason.”

Appearance

Signs of physical abuse, malnourishment, and unusual anxiety are all clear signs that a worker is being exploited.

However a large company, which employs thousands of workers across numerous sites, could easily overlook this.

To prevent this, Mr Williams urged companies to implement a policy of screening every new worker for potential warning signs of modern slavery.

He said: “Directors and CEOs are unlikely to meet every new employee, but in losing that personal approach, we could also miss vital warning signs when using agency or contracted workers.

“Businesses should safeguard themselves against becoming complicit by having at least one designated person to recognise the signs. In doing so they will protect the business, but more importantly the individual, from further exploitation.

“A designated department or member of staff is well positioned to identify signs including poor hygiene, malnourishment, anxious behaviour, or signs of physical abuse, which could end victimisation.”

Lack of interaction

Colleagues frequently form friendships inside and outside of the office. However, a worker who is being victimised is more likely to avoid personal interaction of any kind.

Mr Williams said: “Modern slavery is very much perpetuated by secrecy, and the victim’s inability to ask for help.

“As such they will have been encouraged not to interact with co-workers or reveal any personal details for fear of retribution.

“In a smaller work environment this could become immediately apparent, especially if the worker repeatedly avoids interaction or attempts to speak with colleagues. While you could put this down to shyness, a modern slavery victim will often adamantly isolate themselves at all costs for fear of repercussion.”

Royal Wedding singer on the line up for Cowbridge Music Festival

By Raspberry Jim,

A Welsh soprano who is set to serenade guests at this month’s highly anticipated Royal Wedding will soon be taking to the stage in Cowbridge.

Hot on the heels of being chosen to perform at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Elin Manahan Thomas has been announced as one of the headline artists on the Cowbridge Music Festival line-up for 2018.

One of Wales’ top classical singing stars, the Gorseinon-born singer, who performed at the 2012 Paralympics opening ceremony in London, has performed at concert halls around the world.

In her ‘The Cloths of Heaven’ concert planned for the festival in September, Elin will celebrate the anniversaries of Morfydd Owen and Dilys Elwyn Edwards, both hugely influential composers of Welsh song, with a special centenary programme, accompanied by Welsh pianist Jocelyn Freeman.

Now in its 9th year, the Cowbridge Music Festival will take place 7th-22nd September with a vibrant programme consisting of more than twenty events.

This year’s artists include one of the world’s most exciting classical guitarists, Miloš Karadaglić, and one of the UK’s most highly regarded jazz vocalists Jacqui Dankworth, as well as many established names and rising stars of the classical, jazz and folk worlds.

As well as the main evening concerts, the festival includes an annual Chamber Music Seminar, the celebrated Family Concert, several concerts in local care homes and five full days of workshops and concerts in schools.

On this year’s lineup, Artistic Director Mary said: “We’re really excited about this year’s lineup. We’ve got some of Europe’s most celebrated musicians, festival favourites and rising stars from the classical, jazz and folk worlds in our programme.”

“Elin will be joining us following her performance at the Royal Wedding so we can’t wait to hear all about it. She’s a great supporter of the festival and this will be her second time performing.”

“And we are very proud to present our very own trustee Eluned Pierce, Principal Harpist of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, who will be performing at the festival for the first time.”

“We’re looking forward to welcoming music fans in September for what is shaping up to be our biggest programme yet.”

Tickets for this year’s festival go on sale July 2nd. For more information visit: https://cowbridgemusicfestival.co.uk/

Barry Island to get fired up with new summer season of events

By Raspberry Jim,

With scorching fire shows, street dance, DJ showcases and an open-air cinema, the Barry Island Weekenders are set to make a huge comeback this summer, following record success last year.

After attracting 43,000 visitors last summer, a line-up of exciting entertainment is preparing to take place over at Barry Island, beginning with the Isle of Fire Weekender on July 21-22.

The Isle of Fire will once again see Barry Island transformed into a blazing spectacle, where the Lantern Parade, Viking Ship and live music will take over the gardens, along with live fire dance shows.

This year’s Isle of Fire will also feature the mesmerising Mechanical Heart, a beating heart with light and music created by blacksmith Felicity Jones.

The following weekend, it will welcome the Cinemor Weekender, a new event in collaboration with BAFTA Cymru.

Joining other film fanatics in this limited capacity event, guests will enjoy the best of Welsh film and television with workshops and screenings of celebrated films such as Tiger Bay, The Edge of Love and Very Annie Mary.

In the weeks following, people will be able to get moving with the Sports Weekender (August 4-5), be spellbound by the Magic and Street Theatre Weekender (August 11-12) and dance it out with Breakout Barry Weekender (August 18-19).

On the final weekend of August, the Cinema by the Sea will be making a return to the gardens with open-air screenings of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982) on August 25, and The Greatest Showman (2017) on August 26 taking place. During the screenings, visitors are free to bring along their own picnics and wind down their summer holiday before the new school term begins.

For those keen to get a head start on their summer activities, the tourist hotspot will also play host to the Barry Island Sprint Triathlon (June 3), Barry Island Transport Festival (June 10), and Welsh language music festival Gwyl Fach y Fro (June 16).

The final weekend in June will be a foodie favourite, with Beats, Eats and Treats (June 30-July 1) taking over the island, which will boast a prosecco bar, farmer’s market and artisan foods.

Nia Hollins, Principle Marketing and Tourism Officer at Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “After record success last year, Barry Island is all set for a bumper summer, and the Weekenders really gives our visitors something extra to look forward to.

“While our visitors will still be able to make the most of the beautiful coastal surroundings, and enjoy the beach huts and activities, this will add a little bit of excitement to their visit!

“We can’t wait to see people share their photos and videos with us on Twitter and Facebook during the Weekenders, it’s great to see people enjoying themselves.”

For more information on the Barry Island Weekenders and other events over the summer, please visit visitthevale.com

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