Prepare for wintry weather now through business continuity plans,
small firms urged
A business support organisation
is urging small firms to ensure they prepare for weather-related
disruptions this winter by drawing up continuity plans.
Following the coldest winter for three decades last year, which
caused widespread disruption to businesses, forecasters are
predicting another harsh, snow-filled winter in the coming months.
Positive Weather Solutions this week said that the winter of 2010/11
was likely to see similarly icy temperatures to last year and more
of the ‘disruptive snowfall’ which hampered deliveries, triggered
heating and power failures and left many employees unable to get
According to a YouGov poll, 58% of senior decision-makers at small
businesses said their companies suffered as a result of the snow
last winter, despite 78% believing their firms were sufficiently
And nationally, three quarters (74%) of employees were affected by
the snow, with more than a quarter (26%) failing to get in to work
at all. Crucially, 21% of those surveyed found key suppliers and
contacts were unavailable and 26% had to postpone or cancel
As a result, the Forum of Private Business is urging smaller
companies to prepare for any potential adverse weather now by
putting in place business continuity plans.
Spokesman Phil McCabe said:- “I think it’s fair to say that
last winter’s extreme weather conditions caught out many small
business owners. A lot of small firms struggled to continue
trading as employees failed to make it into work, deliveries were
cancelled and freezing temperatures caused heating equipment to
fail, leaving their premises unusable. We estimated that last
winter’s snowfalls were costing smaller businesses across the UK
around £230 million each day at one point. Obviously, in the current
climate, small firms can ill afford a similar expenditure this year
so we’re urging business owners to think about their contingency
plans now to ensure they aren’t put out of action by another icy
The Forum is also arguing that smaller firms should consider
investing in expert support services to ensure they can continue
trading when their premises are hit by extreme weather conditions.
The Forum, which is a not-for-profit organisation, has launched a
new business continuity service for its members in an effort to
protect them against business ‘disasters’ such as
snow-related problems or floods, burglaries, fires and power cuts.
While small businesses will usually get an insurance payout to cover
damage to their property after such an event, they are highly
vulnerable to the steep drop in turnover which often follows as
customer records are lost, phone calls and emails go unanswered and
clients take their custom elsewhere.
However, the Forum’s new service will ensure its members can
continue trading through such potentially crippling problems. The
AssistPoint service, which is designed especially for small and
medium-sized companies, starts at just £240 (+VAT) per year.
In the event of a disaster, AssistPoint would give a smaller
► The ability to answer phones and make calls, providing reassurance
to customers and suppliers;
► A ready-made workplace with computers, print, email and fax
► Systems and processes in place in order to continue to trade
► Access to 5GB of data backed up on a PC.
AssistPoint is being provided through a deal between the Forum and
partner organisation Smartways Technology – a leading IT managed
services provider. Thanks to preferential rates, Forum members can
access discounts of up to £450 on Smartways’ services.
In the event of a major problem, all AssistPoint services are
guaranteed to be delivered within one working day and can be
activated with a single phone call.
Mr McCabe added:- “While lots of conflicting statistics on the
issue are banded about, it’s fair to say that a high percentage of
businesses affected by a major incident like a fire or flood either
never re-open or go bust soon after the event. This is often not due
to the immediate loss of goods and premises, which is usually
covered by insurance payouts. It’s because the company’s inability
to resume trading within a short space of time means clients and
customers go elsewhere, leading to unsustainable losses and
potentially undoing years of hard work spent building the business
up. Our new service is designed to protect against this risk and
make sure that our members can continue trading through virtually
anything that’s thrown at them.”
A Populus poll recently commissioned by the British Insurance
Brokers’ Association found around half of SMEs believed it would
take less than a day for a serious disruption or disaster to have a
significant impact on their business.
According to Environment Agency figures, around 185,000 commercial
properties are at risk of flooding in England and Wales. The average
loss to a business from a flood is thought to be around £25,000,
compared to £1,000 for a burglary. The floods in the summer of 2007
affected more than 9,000 businesses, with the costs to each business
ranging from around £75,000 to £112,000.
Hardware issues also put countless smaller businesses out of action
each year, along with fires, communications failures, power cuts,
computer viruses and denial of access to buildings.
AssistPoint is one of a number of new services being provided
through the Forum’s ‘Purchasing Director’ solution – a
collection of specially-discounted products and services designed to
save small businesses money across all purchasing decisions.
Southport Girl Get's Gold At 2010 Commonwealth Games
ENGLAND'S first gold medal gold
at Commonwealth Games in Delhi was won by Southport's Fran Halsall.
The 20 year old gave a stunning performance in the women’s 50m
butterfly final at the Dr SP Mukherjee Aquatics Complex. It was in
the very last 15 metres that she managed to get ahead of the world
champion Marieke Guehrer, touching the wall with just 26.24secs
between them. It is her yet another medal to her collection after
many other wins at world and European level, including the
Commonwealth Games in Melbourne four years ago where she won two
relay silver medals. Well done Fran!
A Healthy Service
LIVERPOOL’S Civic Service is set
to be bigger than ever. Not only will there be a record number of
people attending the event, but five 20ft tall puppets will be
taking centre stage to celebrate the city’s Year of Health and
Each puppet represents the five themes of the year – Connect, Be
Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.
More than 1,000 people of all ages are expected to take part in the
annual Civic Service held at the Anglican Cathedral on Thursday, 7
The event will feature actors, dancers and musicians in a range of
performances including a moving rendition of ‘You Raise Me up’
sung by young people from across the city.
Liverpool’s Lord Mayor Councillor Hazel
Williams will lead a civic delegation which includes council leader
Joe Anderson and representatives of Liverpool’s different faith
communities. Hundreds of schoolchildren will also attend.
Councillor Williams said:- “I’m delighted the theme of this
year’s service is Health and Wellbeing – it’s such an important
issue and we want to do as much as we can to improve the health of
every single resident in this city. It’s a year in which everyone
can easily get involved, either by connecting with their community,
being active, learning something new or even donating some money to
one of my very worthy charities. This service is one of many
highlights of my mayoral year and I’m particularly looking forward
to seeing the performances by the city’s young people who I know
have been practising hard for several weeks.”
Youngsters from Notre Dame Catholic College for the Arts will
perform throughout the ceremony – from drumming and singing right
through to showcasing their work with 127 primary school children
who have created their very own brass band.
The service begins at 12.45pm when all the children who are taking
part in the ceremony will be welcomed by the Lord Mayor and faith
Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Joe Anderson, said:-
“This is a wonderful event which welcomes people of all faiths
and ages to celebrate the city. It is set to be bigger and better
than ever before and it’s a great opportunity to spread the health
and wellbeing message and do everything we can to stamp out health
inequalities across the city.”
Young People Build
Bridges at Community Film Premiere
YOUNG people from Aigburth are
the stars of a film premiere as they celebrated their achievements
at Woolton Picture House on Tuesday, 5 October 2010.
The group, who live on the Kelton Park/Hillview estate decided to
take action against the negative perceptions of young people which
they felt were affecting their relationship with other members of
With the assistance of Mossley Hill Detached Project in partnership
with Contour Housing, the group began to create a film documenting
The young people arranged to meet with older residents from their
estate, where they filmed interviews and discussions with the
intention of challenging their own perceptions as well as those of
the older residents. Through the discussions, barriers were broken
down, common ground was found and both generations came to a better
understanding of each other.
Mossley Hill Detached Project, part of Liverpool Integrated Youth &
Play Service, is just one of several detached projects which engage
with young people wherever they meet to provide them with
opportunities, advice and support.
The film premiere, being held today at Woolton Picture House,
provided the group with an opportunity to showcase their achievement
to members of the community.
Councillor Ann O’Byrne, cabinet
member for the youth service, said:- “This is a great project
and it is extremely rewarding to see young people taking the
initiative to connect with their communities. Through
providing positive projects like this young people are given the
opportunity to learn more about building relationships and their
potential to have an impact in their community.”
For more information about opportunities and activities for young
people across the city visit:-
WITNESS APPEAL - BURGLARY,
COLEBROOKE ROAD, ST MICHAELS, LIVERPOOL
MERSEYSIDE Police Detectives are
appealing for information after burglars broke into the home of a
foster carer in South Liverpool and stole children's toys and the
Officers were called to the house in
Colebrooke Road in the St Michaels area of Aigburth on Monday, 27
September 2010, following the burglary in the early hours. It
is believed that an offender or offenders forced open the front door
of the house sometime overnight and searched the ground floor of the
house while the occupants slept upstairs. They stole the
female homeowner's car keys and drove off in her black 08-reg
Vauxhall Astra, which contained specialist car seats for her
disabled twins, and also toys and electrical goods from the address.
Detective Constable Colin Blackmore from Admiral Street CID, said:-
"This was a despicable burglary committed against a woman
whose life revolves around caring for her foster children, two of
whom are 1 year old twins who are disabled. Not only has the
offender or offenders stolen many of the family's treasured
possessions, but also the car that the homeowner uses to take the
children to Alder Hey Children's Hospital and other specialist care.
It is bad enough to be burgled in this way let alone have your means
of transport taken away from you when so many young people in your
care depend on it. The police are doing all we can to catch
those responsible for this shameful act and I would urge anyone in
the community who is offered any items to contact the police if the
seller is doing so in suspicious or unusual circumstances. I would
also call on anyone who remembers seeing a black Astra being driven
out of Colebrooke Road in the early hours of Monday morning to also
Information from the public is often crucial in officers tracking
down criminals and we will always act on information we receive.
Residents can also make life tough for burglars by always ensuring
they keep their doors and windows locked, activate their burglar
alarm at night or when they go out, and keep all valuables,
including car keys, out of sight and out of reach of anyone who may
peer through your letter box or window."
Call Admiral Street CID on:- 0151 777 5364 or Crimestoppers
anonymously on:- 0800 555 111.