Mar 102017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Businesses that need to shape up and shed pounds in response to the north east’s challenging economic landscape can learn how to get lean at a major two-day exhibition being held in Aberdeen later this month.

Langstane Press Ltd is bringing together its leading partners across the office supplies, print, healthcare, interiors and promotional product sectors to share top tips on how to make money-saving changes.

Langstane – Scotland’s largest independent office supplies company – will host Lean and Mean in 17 at the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen on March 22 and 23.

The firm has been staging its biennial business show for 25 years, but the impact of the economic downturn has led to the format being overhauled.

The emphasis for this year’s event will be to give delegates information to help get their business into shape, whether that is through outsourcing paper shredding or reviewing janitorial hygiene supplies to reduce staff sick days.

There will be presentations from Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce on the benefits of buying local, chartered accountants Anderson Anderson & Brown LLP will give a talk on why cash is king, and global IT firm HP will explain how investment in new technology can reduce print costs.

Langstane managing director Colin Campbell (pictured) says the exhibition will show how businesses can more effectively use ever-decreasing budgets.

“The north east is facing some very challenging times, and the impact of the North Sea downturn has reverberated across many industries in the region and beyond,” he says.

“Businesses are asking suppliers to be more and more competitive with their prices, but there comes a point where the prices simply cannot be trimmed back any further. What we hope Lean and Mean in 17 will do is show companies of all shapes and sizes there are other ways to identify and implement efficiencies.

“For example, we recently helped one company to make savings with their paper shredding requirements. They have now outsourced that service to Langstane, freeing up the valuable time of one employee who was spending hours of their working week performing this task.

“Saving money and getting lean is not just about how much you pay for products and services – it’s about changing the way you approach efficiencies and streamline operations. Cost saving has been such a strong theme for our customers over the past 18 months, so I believe there will be a real appetite within the business community of the north east to attend this event and learn more.”

Lean and Mean in 17 will feature 32 different suppliers, including a range of household names such as Bic, Pukka Pads and 3M, as well Langstane’s own divisions in office supplies, office interiors, promotional products and print.

The show runs from 10am until 4pm on March 22, with John Black, head of audit at Anderson Anderson & Brown LLP, and Jason Llewellyn of HP both delivering presentations. The session on March 23 runs from 10am until 3.30pm, when Mr Llewellyn will once again be taking to the stage along with Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce.

Lean and Mean in 17 is free to attend, and delegates should register in advance at www.langstane.co.uk. There will be opportunities for networking throughout the two days, and many suppliers can offer allotted appointments.  

Family-run firm Langstane celebrates 70 years of trading in 2017, and has a product range in excess of 30,000 items, from printer paper to toilet paper and from tubs of coffee to packs of lightbulbs. As well as traditional office supplies, the firm has diversified its product range to provide office furniture and patient care furniture.

Langstane is Scotland’s largest independent office products company and is one of the largest in the UK. Langstane, established in 1947 in Aberdeen remains a family business and has further branches in Dundee and Livingston. Langstane employs over 120 staff and has a turnover of £15m. More about the company can be found at www.langstane.co.uk.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

 

Feb 242017
 

With thanks to Martin Ford.

Aberdeenshire Council should not hand public money to billionaire Donald Trump to reduce his tax bill.

That is the view of Aberdeenshire Green candidate Richard Openshaw (pictured), who is standing in the West Garioch ward at the Council election on 4 May.

Mr Openshaw is concerned because, following rates revaluation, Aberdeenshire Council has set aside up to £3 million for a business rates transitional relief scheme, and the ‘hospitality sector’ has been identified as particularly in need of assistance.

Although he no longer administers it, President Trump, self-proclaimed billionaire, has retained ownership of Trump International Golf Links and the associated hotel at Menie, a business that could potentially receive some of this relief .

“I strongly support the proposal for a business rates transitional relief scheme for Aberdeenshire,” said Mr Openshaw.

“There is certainly a need for a scheme of this kind. But the Council must target its help towards those genuinely in need, the cases where the revaluation is resulting in hardship.

“It would surely be completely inappropriate for Aberdeenshire Council to distribute public money to Mr Trump, who certainly doesn’t need or deserve it,” said Mr Openshaw.

No details of Aberdeenshire’s rates relief scheme are yet available so it is not known what criteria will be used to decide the distribution of funds, nor which Aberdeenshire businesses might benefit. Council officers are working up proposals to put before the full council meeting on 9 March.

“Whatever scheme Aberdeenshire comes up with, the Council should not be helping out Mr Trump with his tax bill,” Mr Openshaw said.

“I do not believe public money should be used to subsidise a billionaire, especially given that paying business rates is one of the very few economic benefits the UK has ever got from Mr Trump.”

Mr Trump’s dislike of paying taxes is well known. During a presidential campaign debate with his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton in September 2016, he claimed that not paying federal taxes “makes me smart”. Indeed, Mr Trump does not pay corporation tax on his businesses in Scotland.

“Very few people would see Mr Trump as a deserving recipient of public money from Aberdeenshire Council,” said Aberdeenshire Green councillor Martin Ford.

The Sunday Herald newspaper reported its view that Mr Trump is unlikely to benefit from the rates relief scheme which it says Aberdeenshire Council is designing to target assistance to small businesses.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Feb 102017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

As cybercrime continues to be a real and growing menace to business, data backup must become a greater part of continuity planning, according to a Scottish IT business leader.

Data backup is one of the most important areas of IT and yet is also one of the most ignored, Austen Clark of Clark Integrated Technologies has warned ahead of World Backup Day on March 31.

A study last year found that while 36% backup their business data entirely there are 36% who back nothing up at all.

“It is the time put a clear focus on data backup, with man-made cybercrime threats adding another dimension to the risk of data being destroyed or deleted” says Mr Clark.

“We are living in a data-driven society and data is crucial to the smooth running of any business.

“As such backing up data is an essential security measure in today’s computing world. The rise in ransomware attacks which effectively take data hostage from business is just one example of how data loss can happen.  An attack can has financial implications and can cost hundreds or thousands of pounds to businesses.

“Data has gained intrinsic value, either in the staff time needed to generate it or in its relevance to your clients. Data loss, both accidental and due to theft, costs millions of pounds to businesses every year.”

Mr Clark answers some of the most commonly posed questions around the subject.

What is backing up?

Quite simply, backing up is making a copy of your most important files which can be used if the original copy is lost, with the second copy ideally held at different location to the original and be kept in a secure environment.

It is usual for data to be saved to just one place, like ‘My Documents’ on a PC’s hard drive but if this data were accidentally changed or deleted it would take considerable time and expense to restore, with the possibility it may never to be recovered.

Growing numbers of computer viruses have become a risk to business information, and once they have infected your machine they may delete or corrupt your data.

Other common causes of date loss are physical failure of a PC or Server, accidental error, theft or disasters like fire, flood or even simply a dropped glass of water.

Data backup should be specifically tailored for your business.

What data should I backup?

When choosing what data to back up think about what you would need to continue working if your network was damaged.

Clients address, telephone details, your account information, important documents. How long has it taken you to collate all this information and what would happen if you couldn’t get it back once lost? These are the key questions to think about around backing up.

What types of backup are there?

There are various types of backup available and the one you choose will generally depend on time, security and budget. There are a number of frequently used backup solutions to suit business needs.

Memory stick devices tend to be used for smaller backups or mobile users. These are usually removable hard drives and are very popular. The disadvantages of these cheaper devices are that they are at times unreliable and easy to lose or damage due to their small size. The data which is held on them is usually unsecured, meaning if customer details or financial information is held on them this is a greater risk if they were to be lost or used by unauthorised personnel.

When a backup is done the previous backup is overwritten, meaning that only one version of the backup can be stored.

Tape backup is an old industry standard backup medium for businesses with a reasonable amount of data to backup. Daily, weekly and monthly backups can be carried out and as long as you have a managed tape rotation and store the tapes offsite it is a possibility to use this backup solution.

The disadvantages of tape are that it is slow, both to backup and to restore. As it is a manual process it can be subject to error and unless you remember to take the tapes offsite on a daily basis it is subject to the same threats as the original backup.

Online data backup is an efficient choice for small and medium businesses. There is no need to purchase hardware or software, just  a monthly service. Select the data you want to backup and it is transferred in an encrypted format to a high security data centre.

Backups are fully automated, meaning no user intervention is required and you can restore single files or full backups at the click of a mouse. Full protection and availability make this an attractive option. Different versions of backups are available, covering accidental changes made or deletions.

What other considerations are there?

Always test your recovery data – a backup is useless if it cannot restore correctly. Backup regularly, you don’t want to find out the last copy you made is several months old. Keep your backups off site, that way if you do lose data to a fire, flood or theft you know you can retrieve your information.

What about personal devices?

Research shows that 30% of people have never backed up but with 113 phones lost or stolen every two minutes and one in 10 computers infected with a virus each month it is just as important to back up data here too which means it can be saved in the event of a disaster or accident.

 

 

 

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jan 192017
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

An Aberdeen financial services company is celebrating after winning two finance industry
awards.
Phil Anderson Financial Services, which has offices in Aberdeen, Ellon and Caithness, retained its title as Best Financial Advisory Firm – Northern Scotland at the Wealth & Finance 2016 Finance Awards for the second year in a row.

The firm, which specialises in mortgages, investments and pensions, was also awarded with the Excellence in Client Service – Northern Scotland accolade at the same awards, finishing off an extremely successful year for the business.

Now in its third year, the Wealth & Finance Finance Awards is a prestigious programme that is dedicated to recognising and supporting talented firms, individuals and departments within the finance industry.

Laura Hunter, awards coordinator at Wealth and Finance International, said:

“We would like to congratulate Phil and his team on both award wins at the Wealth & Finance 2016 Finance Awards.

“Our winners are comprised of some of the most influential names in the financial market, so to win an award two years in a row demonstrates that Phil Anderson Financial Services is consistent in providing a high quality service.

“I would like to wish everyone at the firm the very best of fortunes going forward.”

Phil Anderson (pictured), managing director of Phil Anderson Financial Services, said:

“2016 was a great year for us, as the business has grown from strength to strength, so to be recognised for our achievements was a fantastic feeling.

“My team and I are all absolutely delighted, as we work incredibly hard through the year to provide our clients with the best service possible, by ensuring that they get the right financial advice for their situation.

“We’ve definitely started the New Year on a high and we’re all looking forward to what the business can achieve in the year ahead.”

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Dec 232016
 

With thanks to Martin Ford.

Aberdeenshire’s Democratic Independent and Green Group (DIGG) councillors – Paul Johnston and Martin Ford – have made clear their belief that Aberdeenshire Council needs to do all it can to protect vital public services.
That includes raising additional income by putting up the Council Tax next year by three per cent.

The decision on Aberdeenshire Council’s 2017/18 revenue budget will be made against a background of rising demand for key Council services, in particular adult social care and an increasing school pupil population – with the inevitable attendant budget pressures.

The Council Tax rate has not increased since 2007, a freeze now lasting nine years.

A very preliminary analysis of the Scottish Government’s budget statement last Thursday (15 December) suggests the cut in Government funding to Aberdeenshire Council next year is in line with expectations or possibly slightly more than anticipated. A full analysis of the overall effect on Aberdeenshire Council of the various measures announced by the Scottish Government will be available early in January.

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“In the context of a cut in Aberdeenshire Council’s grant funding from the Scottish Government, rising demand for Council services and a nine-year freeze in the Council Tax, a Council Tax increase is necessary next year.”

The DIGG draft budget proposals for Aberdeenshire Council (published in November) included a three per cent rise in the Council Tax as one measure to help close the forecast funding gap in 2017/18.

Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“Given inflation, the freeze in the Council Tax was a real-terms tax cut. And it’s lasted now for nine years. Clearly services have to be paid for, so the freeze can’t just go on.

“For the DIGG, protecting essential services is the priority. For every one per cent increase in the Council Tax, the Council can avoid cutting a million pounds from its spending on services.”

For the benchmark Band D property, the current Council Tax in Aberdeenshire is £1,141.00. So a one per cent increase is an additional £11.41 on the annual Council Tax bill (or just under 22p per week, just over 3p per day).

A three per cent rise next year is just 66p extra per week for a Band D property.

Even if that increase is made, spread over the ten years 2008 to 2017, the Council Tax will have risen by only £3.42 per year in that decade.

“After many years of cuts, the priority has to be protecting the services people need,” said Cllr Martin Ford.

“The Council must do everything in its power to maintain the range of essential services it provides for residents.”

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Nov 222016
 

marischalpicBy Suzanne Kelly.

While pondering whether to offer Aberdeen Press & Journal and the Evening Express a free base for one year in the controversial Marischal College office building, Aberdeen City Council has certainly been helping the paper financially as it spends £200,000 per annum on advertisements in the papers. 

A recent Freedom of Information request shows that the city council has advertised in Aberdeen Journals Ltd’s local papers to the tune of £626,500 over the last three years. 

This is a mean of £205,500 per year. 

The breakdown is as follows:

2016 – £199,818.78 (up to 25 October 2016)

2015 – £219,123.87

2014 – £197,513.68

The City explained:

“Unfortunately, we are unable to provide a breakdown of each expense. The types of expense that ACC would use Aberdeen Journals for would be, for example, Public Notices and Job Advertisements.”

The city also claims it would be too expensive to get a breakdown of what these ads are.

Aberdeenshire Council on the other hand spend a grand total of £6,998 on advertising with the two newspapers over the same three year period. When asked to check the figures, the Shire spokesperson confirmed this figure was all-inclusive.

The city declined to give a breakdown, stating there were a staggering 3,000 invoices for the time period, and the cost to them of collating the information was over £3,000.

There IS such a thing as free rent.

The City Council declines to answer whether it is planning to give free rent to the P&J or other future Marischal Square residents.

The City does advise:

“The discussions in relation to the proposals for the AJL terms have involved the advice of external property agents, the Council’s development partner and a number of Council officers.  The Council officers involved  were Head of Finance, Head of Land and Property Assets, and Asset Management Manager.” 

The P&J editor Damian Bates seems unsurprisingly keen to move to the building his papers previously called ‘controversial’. 

He commented in a recent article:

“It’s in no-one’s interests for it to sit empty and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to head back home; back into the city centre where we belong and where The Press and Journal started its amazing journey more than 270 years ago.

“We are now a multi-media business and this prospective move will provide a bright future for the Evening Express, P&J, Energy Voice and all our other products and sites. The council has been our landlord since approximately 1970 so nothing is going to change.”  

Some Free Advice on Free Rent, Expensive Advertising and Ethics.

Some notices must be published in newspapers for legal requirements. Job advertisements appear on the City Council’s website, which is free to access by anyone with a computer, and anyone with a library card can access computers for free. There is no excuse for cutting services while spending this kind of money on advertising.

Considering that jobs can be easily, freely posted on the city council’s website, and citizens are told that services and that citizens were told budget cuts have to be made, cutting down on advertising should have been a priority. In January Finance Committee Convener, Cllr Willie Young told the council’s advertising vehicle the Evening Express:

“It’s possible third sector organisations could see funding cut…We have to look at everything.”

Perhaps before any other services are cut, Aberdeen City Council might want to think twice about its advertising spend and giving new office space away for free, with the taxpayer picking up the tab.

According to the P&J, office space in Aberdeen commands a high price – or at least should do:

“…Aberdeen continues to lead the way for prime office rents, with Ryden reporting a current price of £32 per sq ft – higher than Glasgow’s £30 figure, with sites in Edinburgh and Dundee generating £28 and £15 respectively.” 

If the city could and should be making money out of the massive eyesore which could have been that civic square everyone in a position of power once Jonesed for (oh Sir Ian, where art thou? Why didn’t you want the civic square there? And I note that ‘Opportunity North East Limited’ has extended its accounting period so it won’t have to report at the end of this month now and has until the end of March 2017 – your comment welcome Sir Ian), and if the city has to ‘look at everything’ to find money – why should Aberdeen Journals Ltd. enjoy this largess?

Then again there is a small moral issue. For most of the rest of the UK, a newspaper has a duty to investigate with impartiality, serving as a check on government and a check on the powerful. As it stands, the P&J’s alliance to the editor’s wife’s boss Donald Trump is a dark stain.

Can the P&J really morally afford to be indebted to the city council it should be investigating, or has any pretence of journalism now left the building. We should be told.

Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

Nov 222016
 

martinford-kintore-crossing-tallWith thanks to Martin Ford.

Aberdeenshire’sDemocratic Independent and Green Group of councillors (DIGG) is arguing the consultation on alternative service delivery models for sport and cultural services agreed at their council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee should form part of the expected wider consultation on budget options due to start later this year.

Aberdeenshire Council has agreed to follow a revised budget setting process for its 2017/18 budget in line with the decision taken at the Council’s budget meeting last February and in accordance with the provisions of the confidence and supply agreement between the DIGG and the Council’s coalition administration.

Draft budget proposals are to be published in November giving time for public consultation and to allow discussion on proposals between the various political groups on the Council ahead of formal budget decision making in February.

Cllr Martin Ford (pictured) said:

“I’m really not keen on the charitable trust proposal for future delivery of sport and cultural services. If it was not for the potential financial benefits – possibly betterment in excess of £1 million per annum – I don’t think the option would be under consideration. As it is, given the financial pressures on the Council and anticipated need for future savings, using a Council-owned charitable trust to deliver sport and cultural services has to be given serious consideration.”

Aberdeenshire Council is expected to have to make significant savings in its revenue budget for 2017/18 and in subsequent years. At this stage, before the Scottish Government grant settlement is known, there is considerable uncertainty about the amount the Council will have to save to balance its budget for next year.

However, based on reasonable assumptions, additional spending cuts or other savingstotalling over £10 million are expected to be required, over and above thesavings already identified in the draft 2017/18 revenue budget published last February.

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“In setting its revenue budget for 2017/18, Aberdeenshire Council is going to have to take a range of decisions driven by the need to save money. Moving to a Council-owned charitable trust to deliver sport and cultural services is one option that could be adopted.

“Deciding what to do to balance the revenue budget means comparing all the potential savings options and trying to identify the least damaging and disruptive way of achieving the spending reductions required. Public consultation on those savings options that would affect the Council’s public services should also allow simultaneous consideration of the different proposals, so their relative acceptability can be gauged.

“Including alternative models for the delivery of sport and cultural services in the Council’s budget consultation process is the logical way to proceed,”

Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“As part of consideration of alternative delivery models for sport and cultural services, I would want the Council to look at options for local control, not just a single Aberdeenshire-wide charitable trust.

“As a group, the DIGG aim to have a range of draft budget proposals ready for the November full council meeting, and will welcome the opportunity to get feedback and comment on these before the Council sets its revenue budget for 2017/18 next February.”

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Nov 102016
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Photos by: Grant Anderson - www.grantanderson.me

Tesco Bank’s online hacking attack  has prompted the  boss of a North-east IT firm to issue a stark warning that cybercrime must be taken very seriously – and not just by national and international brands and corporations.

Small and medium enterprises are just as vulnerable and this latest attack is simply another indication of the damage that can be wreaked by hackers, according to Austen Clark, managing director of Clark Integrated Technologies.

Tesco Bank has more than 7 million customers accounts and confirmed “fraudulent criminal activity” was first identified late on Saturday with about 20,000 customers have had money taken from their accounts, with “suspicious activity” identified in another 20,000.

Mr Clark (pictured), a leading voice in the campaign to ensure owners of SMES defend against cyber criminals, has urged businesses to wake up to the realities, saying that the fast-paced and ever changing nature of information technology meaning new potential online risks are arising all the time.

Mr Clark states:

“Many firms may not realise the risk they face from cybercrime. Governments and multinational corporations are large targets but their increase in awareness and investment in defence against cyberattacks are leading to SMEs producing a more viable focus for hackers.

“There is a serious and important message for companies of all sizes that store and handle personal data. People’s personal information must be securely protected at all times.

“While under-reporting is massive, Federation of Small Business statistics show that two thirds of small businesses have been the victim to cybercrime in the past two years, while over a third of small businesses do not report crimes against their business. It’s time for small businesses to sit up, appreciate the potential severity of cyber-attacks and implement good risk management.”

Cloud computing has resulted in work no longer being a place but a task as flexible and home working options increase in the work place. With reliance on multiple internet connected devices only set to rise as well, cybercrime is something that everyone needs to guard against.

“We’ve observed that attackers are exploiting the new opportunities that these new ways of working creates,” Mr Clark continues.

“Attackers are now aware of your weakest locations, such as off-network devices and remote offices, furthermore they now target specific systems and users

“Attackers have the patience to acquire multiple footholds so then can launch an attack at the proper time – and are more motivated and sophisticated than ever to target company’s data. Data has been the driving force behind the latest attacks and is viewed as the world’s newest currency.”

Thankfully, businesses can increase their security online by securing their IT, having up to date malware protection, managing user privileges and working towards educating workers and raising awareness to of good practice.

Some of the most basic measures include:

  • Allow your software and applications to be updated as soon as possible.  These updates often contain vital security updates to protect your devices from new threats.
  • Never use obvious passwords like ‘password’. Add symbols and numbers and a mix of upper and lower case letters to ensure a strong password.
  • Delete and block suspicious e-mails and never open attachments or follow links contained within.
  • Don’t forget smartphones and tablets are at just as much risk from viruses and other forms of malware as computers.  Install anti-virus protection, keep it up to date and use it regularly.
  • Educate your staff on the dangers of cybercrime, both to the business and them as an individual and encourage them to use best practice

Mr Clark concludes:

“The internet brings huge business opportunities but it also brings risks and every single day businesses face cyber-attacks, with attempts to steal information and money, or disrupt business. It is increasingly important to manage these risks to take advantage of the internet whilst protecting your business.

“Focus on protecting data and standardisation and use independent advisers to manage your interests.

“If your business does become the victim of hacking, it’s important to dissect a breach after it has occurred as this can help understand how to prevent it from happening again. However, like most things, prevention is so much better than cure.

“There’s really no such thing as a silver bullet – all systems have weaknesses and vulnerabilities – but there is help and guidance available to help prevent against becoming the next victim of cybercrime.”

Clark IT is based near Turriff in Aberdeenshire and is one Scotland’s leading independent providers of managed ICT solutions with a broad range of corporate and commercial clients across Scotland and beyond.

Clark IT clients benefit from the specialist knowledge of the firm’s 22-strong team to support their systems and through managed IT services. Clients also benefit from Pro-active IT Support, 24/7 Monitoring, A virtual IT Manager, predictive IT costs and a strategic IT plan tailor-made for their business.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

 

Nov 042016
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

phil-anderson-and-scott-baxter2An Aberdeen financial services company has been recognised for its continuous support of non-profit-making organisations in the North-east.

Phil Anderson Financial Services, which has offices in Aberdeen, Ellon and Caithness, was awarded as the regional winner of the Small Business Big Heart Award for Aberdeen.

The accolade, which recognises small businesses across the UK that go to great efforts to support their local communities, was presented to Phil Anderson, managing director of Phil Anderson Financial Services, by Scott Baxter, deputy chief executive of Aberdeen Cyrenians, for the company’s dedication to helping local causes.

The financial services company, which specialises in mortgages, investments and pensions, donates £10 to Aberdeen Cyrenians every time one of its clients sets up a mortgage. The initiative has raised a total of £1710 for the charity so far this year, which helps to support homeless and vulnerable people in the area.

As well as this, Phil Anderson Financial Services supports numerous sports and social clubs in Aberdeen, Ellon and Oldmeldrum and regularly donates raffle prizes to nearby schools and charities. Through its sponsorship of the Oldmeldrum Charity Golf Open Day, the firm was able to select Diabetes UK as a beneficiary.

Rufus Bazley, marketing director at BusinessesForSale.com, the organiser of the Small Business Big Heart campaign, said:

“We were very impressed with the charitable efforts of Phil Anderson Financial Services, as it’s evident that the entire team are committed to creating a positive impact for the area through donations and participating in fundraising activities.

“It’s very inspiring to see a small business so involved with its local community and we can only hope that it encourages other SMEs across the UK to regularly support causes in their area.”

Phil Anderson, managing director of Phil Anderson Financial Services Ltd, said:

“It is an honour to receive the Small Business Big Heart award, as supporting local, worthwhile causes means a lot to me and the team.

“My staff often participate in fundraising events and I support this by giving them the time off work. I also like to take part and raise money for charity, this year was the third year that I’ve swam 22-miles to raise money for Diabetes UK and Aspire.

“Not all companies are in the position to hand out big cheques all the time, but it doesn’t need to be about large gestures. We’re able to do our bit through a number of small activities that will help those local to us.”

Scott Baxter, deputy chief executive of Aberdeen Cyrenians, said:

“We are very appreciative of Phil’s ongoing support, as all the money raised by the company goes towards our frontline services, which have experienced a significant increase in demand over the last 12 months.

“As well as this, we are all well aware of his amazing efforts for other causes across the North-east, so the award is extremely well deserved.”

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Oct 152016
 

With thanks to Kenneth Hutchison, Parliamentary Assistant to Dr. Eilidh Whiteford.

ew-with-ethel-risi-l-and-olive-sharpe-r

Dr Whiteford with Ethel Risi and Olive Sharpe of Banff & Buchan WASPI.

Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaigners in the North east have welcomed support from Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford, following a recent meeting at her constituency office in Peterhead.

Dr Whiteford met with local women Olive Sharp and Ethel Risi of WASPI’s Banff & Buchan Branch, to receive a petition with 500 signatures in support of WASPI’s objectives.

The UK Government has accelerated the process of equalisation of pension ages for men and women, which means that women born in the 1950s have lost thousands in pensions payments without having sufficient time to plan for the changes.

Hundreds of women in the local area are affected by the most recent changes, on top of the pension age increase of 1995.

SNP MPs have repeatedly raised the issue in Parliament, and have met with WASPI campaigners at Westminster to demonstrate support.

Ms. Sharp said:

“We have no problem with equalisation of the state pension age, but we do feel we should have been informed in 1995 when that momentous change came in.

“Anybody affected should get in touch. We have a local group which people can contact for information.”

Dr Whiteford added:

“The women of WASPI have my full, unequivocal support, and the UK Government really should reconsider this ill-thought out policy.

“Nobody doubts that there are challenges associated with an ageing population. For women born in the 1950s, however, the fact that the pension age has now risen twice is deeply unfair.

“The UK Government should have phased these changes in gradually, without punishing one particular age cohort. That’s why I am pleased to support WASPI’s calls for fair, equitable treatment.

“There are far fairer ways to address the challenges of an ageing population.”

Anyone affected by the changes can get in touch with Olive on 07735575127 or by e-mail on olivesharpe1955@gmail.com

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.