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Friday 12 December

Change is better than chocolate!

This year we’re offering our own low fat low cal alternative Christmas gift! For a limited time we’re offering up to 30% off  personal development bookings  -see side bar.  This means you can book a personal workshop for £99, down from £135 or a block of 4 hours coaching/ self development  £199, down from £275. This is an amazing opportunity to get quality 1:1 time with a professional coach and start achieving success. How much do you really want to change? If you really care about getting unstuck and getting the best out of life then invest in yourself and make 2015 a new start!

Saturday 30 August

Keep learning, keep growing

Growing plantBoth Phil and I come from a background in education and September 1st always feels like the new year for us. It’s a time to review how far we’ve come and make plans for the year ahead, especially thinking about new training needs for the people we work with, and of course for us personally!  This year I’ll be studying for a Diploma in Small Business Coaching from the Coaching Academy, aiming to build on my long interest in helping entrepreneurs (and would-be entrepreneurs!) with a more coaching approach.

There’s plenty of evidence that learning and exercising your brain keeps you young! What will be your new learning? What will be your new goals for the year ahead?

PS If you work in education check out our special offer on personal workshops and coaching: a small appreciation for all the hard work that’s about to start for you again!

Monday 21 April

Government Consultation Supports Safer Recruitment Training

Will Safer Recruitment Training continue to be an essential part of the best practise in keeping children safe in schools and other child care settings?  The government’s consultation on this question produced these comments.

“The majority of respondents (69%) were against the proposal to remove the requirement for at least one member of a recruitment panel to have undertaken safer recruitment training approved by the Secretary of State.”

The arguments put forward for maintaining the current requirement were that retaining the regulation would help:

  • maintain consistency;
  • avoid complacency;
  • maintain high quality training;
  • heighten awareness of safeguarding issues when recruiting;
  • ensure that safer recruitment training takes place; and
  • ensure greater attention is paid to the recruitment process generally

Safer recruitment training is valued and the majority of responses said that safer recruitment training is essential.

Respondents noted that face-to-face training is often seen as better quality than the online training but there is room for both (e.g. responses from school governors suggest they find it easier to do the online training) and both methods need to be kept up to date.”

Keep up to date with Safer Recruitment Training By Teleos Training!

Our next session for  Voluntary Action Waltham Forest takes place on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 – 09:30 – 4.30  see link below  for details or get in touch!


Tuesday 15 April

DBS – How much do you know? Half Day Briefing 30th April

On 1st December 2012, Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged to form the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) under the Freedoms Act 2012. As a result CRB Checks are now called DBS Checks.  This was much more than a change of names. Organisations working with children and young people and adults who may be  vulnerable will need to be clear on changing arrangements and obligations.

Did you know that…

* it is illegal to apply for a DBS Check unless the role is eligible for one.

* you have a duty to report volunteers to the DBS who are dismissed or removed from Regulated Activity (or would have been if the person had not already left) because they harmed or posed a risk to an individual.

* DBS checks are now portable (you can take them from job to job) for the first time.

A Half day Briefing could help you feel you are up to date on all the changes. Are you in Waltham Forest? Sign up for the session on 1pm   in Waltham Forest. Check details at or ring us directly.

Friday 14 March

Safeguarding – ready to help?

Phil in Walthamstow this week running a Safeguarding briefing for the local Citizens Advice bureau.

CAB have been giving free confidential and impartial advice for nearly 75 years, they are a vital first stop for people wanting help and not knowing where to turn. Issues like debt have always been high on the agenda but safeguarding issues have a growing profile in the minds of the public, people concerned about bullying, online grooming, people trafficking, FGM (female genital mutilation) and abuse.

Would you know what to do if a colleague or employee or member of the public raised one of these issues? What is your organisation doing to help raise awareness and ensure people know where to turn for help when they need it? If you’d like help to think through some of the issues and implications of current Safeguarding practice get in touch with Phil on 07902929874.

Saturday 8 March

International Women’s Day – Working women 1916

My grandmother Annie-Rosa and her friend Nellie at the Gas Works, part of a 1916 style photo-shoot aimed at promoting trousers as safer work wear for women. Apparently no one else would volunteer to be photographed in them till my grandmother and her friend egged each other on! The women had to change back into skirts before leaving work, lest they shock the delicate sensibilities of the Peckham public. Thanks ladies, you did your bit.

Thursday 2 May

Safeguarding Training

Congratulations to the volunteers from Noah’s Ark in Loughton who completed their basic Safeguarding Awareness training this weekend! Noah’s Ark is a toddler group  on the Oakwood Hill Estate in Debden run by volunteers from Restore Doxa Deo and other local churches. It regularly has over 30 toddlers and families attending. This was the first in our new series of Introduction to Safeguarding courses and we were delighted to work with such a fantastic group.

During the day  we explored situations which were familiar in a pre-school setting like:
– what type of risks in good practice can you take when parents and children are your friends?
– how do you build a culture where people are not fearful but still alert to possible concerns for children’s safety?

Basic Safeguarding Awareness training gives volunteers and staff the confidence that they are using best practice and about what to do in different situations, and    if you would like to attend one of our local workshops  please get in touch .  We can also bring customised training brought to your setting or

Monday 29 April

A day out in Spitalfields: Huguenots, history and home-made cake

sp 1Less than five minutes from the gleaming skyscrapers around Liverpool Street you walk straight into an 18th century time warp.

That Fournier St and Princelet St still exist is nothing short of miraculous.  The ancient closebuilt houses with their improbable wooden shutters, cobbled yards and weavers lofts are finally safe from the developers, having endured long enough to be fashionable again, though they are being prettied up at an alarming rate and risk losing their character yet.

Phil and I were there with a guide from the Huguenots of Spitalfields  festival to learn more about the Huguenot silkweavers who found refuge here after fleeing religious persecution in France. Up to 50,000 settled in London and the Spitalfields silk trade was a vital part of the East End economy for nearly 150 years. My own ancestors were among them and my great great grandfather was one of the last of the silk weavers. I remember my grandmother talking about ‘yoogenos’ and ‘Spitalfilled weavers’ long before I had a clue what the words meant.

The guide was excellent, explaining why the  silk weavers had settled there, how the trade had grown and the work organised and also how Londoners had reacted to the immigrants: on the one hand complaining that they were ‘stealing our jobs and houses’ but on the other hand eager to profit from the skills and business expertise that they brought. Anything sound familiar?? Also familiar was the story of economic shifts, new technology and the challenge of constantly changing legislation, with pay disputes, strikes and riots thrown in for good measure. London really has seen it all before!

We ended up with home made cakes and coffee in the basement kitchen of The Townhouse  a fascinating gallery /art and craft/ antiques/ tea shop definitely worth a visit!  Only open occasionally but again totally recommended is the unique museum house at 19 Princelet St  celebrating the many refugees and immigrants who have made the East End home over the centuries.

For many years my Huguenot ancestors were just an interesting fact of family history but as I get older and being in business myself I think about them in a different way.  What was it like to start out all over in a new country? You’ve left all the tools of your trade behind, maybe everything but the clothes on your back.  Your only assets are what you carry inside – your knowledge, your skills, a willingness to work hard and adapt, maybe an ability to see change as opportunity rather than disaster, a kind of can-do attitude and a hope for tomorrow. In today’s world of increasing change, and fewer economic certainties,  those assets are as valuable as ever.

Friday 12 April

Goodbye Barnabas Workshops

Very sad to hear of the closure of Barnabas Workshops in Ilford, after 17 years of helping over 3000 people into employment.  Sad at a great loss to local services and on a personal level too: our very first contract as a company in 2001 was to redesign the office space at Barnabas and run basic IT training for doctors new to the UK and we’ve been glad to stay in touch over the years. Their closure highlights the funding pressure many voluntary groups are under these days, at a time when we need them more than ever.

You did a great job guys, sorry to see you go.

Friday 5 April

5 New Financial Year Resolutions for Small Business Starters

accounts6th April and a new financial year – time to make some new year’s resolutions for your business?

If you run your business alone or part-time (alongside umpteen other responsibilities!) it’s horribly easy to lose track of your finances. Believe me – I’ve had my share of year end panic: turning out drawers to find lost receipts, racking my brains over mysterious entries on statements and unreadable cheque stubs!

So here are 5 financial resolutions I wish I’d kept better…

1. I will keep and organise ALL my receipts

Minimum solution: find a biscuit tin, label it 13-14 and throw them in there- at least they’ll all be in one place! If you aspire to a slightly more professional approach, log them at least once a month (see 4!), tick with a highlighter to remind you they’re logged, clip them in order and file.

2. I will log ALL my mileage

At 45p a car mile (or 20p if like Phil you cycle everywhere!) you’ll be amazed how it adds up! These days you can even get a mileage app to make your life easier.

3. I will send out my invoices promptly

It sounds ridiculous but starting out you can get so busy thinking about the next job (and maybe so excited about actually having customers at all!) that you don’t get around to sending your invoice for the last one. Make sure your invoice includes payment dates and methods – bank transfer if possible- and keep track of outstanding payments.

4. I will do my books at least once a month

Get an accounts package, download a free app, set up a simple spreadsheet – or do it the old fashioned way in a book, but set a time and do it.

5 I will schedule reminders for essential payment dates NOW

Companies House, HMRC, credit cards, banks: late payment = automatic fine, costly AND annoying! You’ve worked hard for your profit, don’t give it away through plain forgetfulness!

Are you running a small business? With the 2013-14 Tax Year starting this week, what new year resolutions would YOU add?