NatWest Hampshire Venus Awards 2017 Finalists Announced

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At a superb afternoon tea hosted at New Place Hotel in Southampton on 15th September 2017 attended by over 100 guests, the Hampshire Venus Awards 2017 in association with Peter Cooper Motor Group and Wightlink celebrated the success of the Semi-Finalists progressing to the next stage of the Awards.

Now celebrating its 10th award ceremony in Hampshire, competition has been fierce with 1400 nominations and 400 applications received in one or more of the 15 categories. Launched in April, participants have been whittled down to the Finalists stage through a combination of sponsor, panel and public judging.

The Venus Awards – dubbed by Channel 4 as “The Working Women’s Oscars” – celebrate the vital contribution that women in business make to the local, regional, and national economy, and are unique in that anyone can nominate a friend, client or family member.

Michelle Leggatt, previous winner and Director of MindWorks Marketing - this year’s Sponsor of the Director of the Year award , says of their support of the Venus Awards, “We really are proud sponsors of this award. It’s been really interesting being on the other side of things this year as a sponsor. And I’ve got to say it’s an absolute privilege!”

This year’s Charity Sponsor is Countess Mountbatten Hospice whose aim is to provide those little extras to help make someone’s remaining days as tailored to their wishes as they can be.

The Hampshire Venus Awards 2017 in association with Peter Cooper Motor Group and Wightlink will culminate in a glamorous Ceremony and Gala on 11th November 2017 at The Spark.

The Finalists are:
Business Mother of the Year sponsored by Southern Daily Echo:

  • Claudia Beard of Mint Signs and Graphics Limited
  • Samantha Cleal of Croma Locksmiths & Security Solutions Ltd
  • Verity Evans of Southampton Pamper Parties and The Pink Room

Company of the Year sponsored by Silver Lining Convergence Limited:

  • Becky Taylor of BAE Systems
  • Karen Clarkson of Warner Goodman
  • Nicole Churchill of Netpay

Customer Service sponsored by Wightlink:

  • Gillian Tully of Film Expo South
  • Melissa Hewison of Elite School of Swimming
  • Samantha Cleal of Croma Locksmiths & Security Solutions Ltd

Director of the Year sponsored by MindWorks Marketing:

  • Helen Bonser-Wilton of Mary Rose Trust
  • Lynzi Harrison of Old Mutual Wealth
  • Nikki Rees of Rees Leisure

Employer of the Year sponsored by HTEC Ltd:

  • Freya Rees of Freya Rose Ltd
  • Lisa D’Arcy-Burt of SMT Precision Engineering
  • Victoria Coles of Wight FIT

Executive PA sponsored by Sander Training:

  • Angela Brand of B&Q
  • Carla Willis of Clarke Willmott
  • Helen Moon of Innovation Group
  • Kerry Lanning of Carnival UK Group

HR Manager of the Year sponsored by Bond Dickinson LLP:

  • Helena Feltham of B&Q
  • Jennifer Mead of Gattaca PLC
  • Lyn Nicholls of Ageas

Influential Woman of the Year sponsored by Peter Cooper Motor Group:

  • Emma Hebdige of Support Buddies
  • Jennifer Hudson of Hudson Blake Training
  • Tanya Brookfield of Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

Inspirational Woman sponsored by Southampton Solent University:

  • Claire Cook of Hannahs Holiday Home Appeal
  • Heidi Rehman of Breast Cancer Haven Wessex
  • Susan Hayward of Susan Hayward Mental Health Frist Aid Training

Lifetime Achievement sponsored by Silkbow Group:

  • Dawn Atkins of Talking Heads
  • Janet Marmot of Waterside School of Dance (Club)
  • Shelley Jory-Leigh of Brides of Southampton

Marketing & PR sponsored by bandv:

  • Emily Plummer of Benefex Plc
  • Hannah Powell of Meachers Global Logistics
  • Kerry Smith of Raymond Brown

Musical Talent sponsored by Miss S Business Support Ltd:

  • Debbie Packer of Cordelectra Electric String Trio
  • Dielle Hannah of DiElle Music UK
  • Ruth Morgan of Melody Tots

New Business sponsored by Hewson & Nash:

  • Emily Walden of Happy Hounds Dog Care Ltd
  • Liz Raffles of The Mantique
  • Sue Leach of The Natural Health

Small Business sponsored by Kate Underwood HR and Training:

  • Danielle Rolfe of Penton Park
  • Emily Walden of Happy Hounds Dog Care Ltd
  • Laura Skilton of Baby Paddlers

Professional of the Year sponsored by Shirlaws:

  • Alison McClure of Blake Morgan
  • Caroline Coleman of SimplyHealth Ltd
  • Rita Gupta of LG Family Lawyers

Partnership brings in national support for Portsmouth schools

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pep-with-strapline webThe city is to benefit from £200,000 following a successful bid via the Portsmouth Education Partnership from the national Strategic School Improvement Fund. The money will fund a project to support pupils from low income families and help improve educational outcomes.

The project will allow 18 schools (primary, secondary and special) in the city to work on a range of interventions that will improve the outcomes for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds using the successful 'Challenge the Gap' model which improved outcomes for pupils in Portsmouth over the past two years.

Challenge the Gap draws on the latest research, proven best practice and emerging innovation, training and supporting school leaders, teachers and other professionals to identify and implement interventions that work best for them.

There was stiff competition for the funding with 197 applications - Portsmouth's bid was the only successful one for the Solent and Hampshire sub region: which demonstrates the strength of the collaboration within the Portsmouth Education Partnership.

Cllr Hannah Hockaday Cabinet Member for Education said: "'I am delighted that additional school improvement funding has been secured for Portsmouth. The funding will help the Portsmouth Education Partnership to continue to raise standards in our schools and ensure that those pupils who are from low income families can achieve and fulfil their potential."


D-Day Museum Trust launches £300,000 fundraising bid at House of Lords

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d-day launch webSir Winston Churchill's granddaughter Celia Sandys, one of the patrons of the D-Day Museum Trust, joined Normandy veterans at the House of Lords for the London launch of the trust last week.

The trust aims to raise funds to help tell the stories of those who took part in the Normandy landings through a £5m transformation of the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth.
Celia Sandys said “D-Day was a turning point in the Second World War which changed the course of history and must continue to be remembered. I support the D-Day Museum’s plans and the work of the Portsmouth D-Day Museum Trust, and encourage others to lend their support too.”

The project has already secured financial backing from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Portsmouth City Council and other donors and benefactors, and the Trust has a £300,000 fundraising target to raise additional funds for the project and support the museum’s long-term educational projects.
The launch was hosted by Lord Stoneham, a trustee of the D-Day Museum Trust, and showcased a sponsor scheme for individuals and businesses to get involved and help raise the important funding.

Roger Ching, chairman of the D-Day Museum Trust, said “The D-Day museum will retell the story of D-Day using the personal stories of those involved to inspire future generations. The Trust is proud to be working with the museum to create a fitting legacy for the veterans and a museum which will inform and inspire for generations to come."

For more information on the D-Day Museum and the trust go to


Royal visit to HMS Warrior 1860 catches up on restoration progress

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HRH Princess Alexandra webHRH Princess Alexandra with project team onboard HMS Warrior 1860. Photo © NMRN

The 30th anniversary of Victorian battleship HMS Warrior 1860’s return to Portsmouth was the focus for a visit by royal patron HRH Princess Alexandra to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

After being updated on progress on the restoration project she formally launched two years ago, Her Royal Highness met with staff, volunteers and trustees and marked the 30th anniversary with tea and cake.

She last visited in 2015 to formally launch a Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project to conserve and repair the bulwarks and water bar on the deck. The 18-month, £2.6 million project is expected to be complete by Easter 2018.

HMS Warrior 1860 is the newest addition to The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s fleet, and made a triumphant return to Portsmouth in 1987 following her restoration in Hartlepool.

Princess Alexandra is Patron of HMS Warrior Preservation Trust.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The National Museum of the Royal Navy said: “We are very lucky that HRH Princess Alexandra is very supportive of our work onboard and that we were able to show that the project is really progressing. Our visitors are fascinated to see the expert shipwrights at work.”

Royal connections with the ship have been longstanding. In March 1863, Warrior escorted the royal yacht that bought Her Royal Highness’ great grandmother, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, to Britain to marry the Prince of Wales. Princess Alexandra of Denmark requested that the Admiral Sir Michael Seymour convey that “she was much pleased” with the conduct of the ship’s crew. The message was engraved on a brass plate fitted to the ships wheel and can still be seen there today.


Gemma Morrison: Community Champion at Tesco Fratton Park [Interview]

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Shaping Director Stef Nienaltowski met Gemma Morrison from Tesco at Fratton Park during the National Citizen Service programme run by the Pompey In The Community team, and he was very interested in what she did with and for the city’s community as Community Champion.

He met with Gemma again recently to could discuss her role in more depth as part of this interview, along with some of the wonderful things she gets up to in support of the community. 

Stef Nienaltowski: Good afternoon, I'm sitting here talking to Gemma Morrison, the Community Champion from Tesco Fratton Park. Good afternoon Gemma.

Gemma Morrison: Good afternoon Stef.

SN: Welcome! We met recently at the NCS awards Dragon's Den event for Pompey in the Community, fascinating event that was. So, tell me a bit about yourself, and about your background and association with Portsmouth.

GM: I was born in St Mary's hospital, so I'm a Pompey Girl. I live just on the outskirts of the City, I studied at the University of Portsmouth, I did a Sports Development degree here for three years, so I'm Pompey through and through. I even got my season ticket as well for Fratton Park, so very Pompey.

SN: Very good, indeed, and tell me so, Community Champion, Tesco Fratton Park, can you tell us what that programme entails, and what are the key highlights?

GM: The Community Champion is a designated colleague that's in the store, and I'm responsible for liaising with our local community, so giving support where we can. What we do at Tesco is we look at our aims and our objectives, because we're quite a resourceful company, we've got a great customer base, we're one of the biggest supermarket chains in England, even in the World, and we understand that when we come into a community, we can have a negative effect, but we can have such a positive effect as well; job opportunities, it's a closer place for you to shop, you can get all your branded goods under one roof if you like. But as a community champion, I'm here to work shoulder to shoulder with our local community, and supporting them in any which way I can. We have three aims. The first one is to support local causes; our second aim is to improve health; and our third aim is to curtail food poverty in our local community.

SN: Wow! So, if I think about the Shaping Portsmouth programmes, one of them we're kicking off in September is the Health & Wellbeing programme, and that would be interesting to see how our programme and yours might have some sort of correlation. So, what do you do under that programme for the local community?

GM: So, improving health, what we've done is we've reduced sugar contents in some of our own branded products, we've introduced the free fruit for children in 800 or our large format stores, so every time you come in with your children you can give them a piece of fruit to eat around the store. It keeps them quiet and you can try to enjoy your shopping experience. I know nobody loves going shopping, but you don't have to spend that little bit of extra money to buy that chocolate bar to keep them quiet so to speak. We have our 'farm to fork' which is where we work with local schools, Cubs, Scouts, Brownies, what we do is we get children in for free, and we teach them about where their food comes from. So, we explore the store, we go to the fish counter, they learn about different types of fish, we take them to the cheese, they learn that one litre of milk to make a kilogram worth of cheese, they learn little bits and pieces like that. They go to our bakery, we put them in the chiller, in the freezers, so they get to see how we operate as a store. It's a fun and engaging environment, and our head office guys have worked very closely with teachers around this. It's to do with the national curriculum as well.

SN: Indeed, and interesting, so is that organised by the local school, or is it organised by the children themselves and their parents?

GM: It's organised by us, so you can go online to the [Tesco] Eat Happy Project", you look for your local store, you'll fill in the form and say how many children you want to bring, if you want to explore the store, or if you want to do about healthy eating, and then it'll send an email to the store, and the Farm to Fork guide would contact the school directly to arrange a time and date for that particular school or group to come in. We also pay up to £75 for their minibus hire as well, so we're trying to keep it free. It's fantastic, at Fratton we've had over a thousand children already since May.

SN: Since MAY? That's amazing! So, is it the school that goes online, or could the student or their parents go online to register?

GM: It's normally the school, because the school works alongside their learning aims for the year of the term, so it's normally the school. Sometimes we do special trails throughout the summer holiday or Easter, we get Easter eggs down from head office, they can decorate them, and learn the history about Easter, so it's very engaging.

SN: And what interests me, because I have my view of Tesco as a very large corporation, it sounds like you've got a lot of local delegation to run the programme in your own community, and you're not hamstrung by corporate rules?

GM: No, my job is basically to bring that benefit to the local community, and that's what's so unique about my role within the company, because not every community is the same, so the community in Portsmouth is different to the community in Havant, in Whitely, in Gosport, we have such flexibility. The community champion has to be self-motivated, they have to go out and find where the problems lie and how we can help as a company. The amount of charities and community groups I've met since the store opened back in November 2015, it's been phenomenal, but it's a great eye-opener for me, and the charities do support Portsmouth a hell of a lot, and if I can help them, even if it's a small thing like donating tea or coffee to support a support group, you find that it's the smallest things that are the things they're absolutely thrilled with.

SN: I know, and my own job teaches me that as well. So, we've got 64 schools on the Island, the state schools, some have now become Academies, but some are still in the state section. Do you cover the whole Island, or only a territory of it with this programme?

GM: With the Farm to Fork, it's normally a couple of miles of the store. So we have Creswell and North Harbour [stores], so they have their own sections as well, so it's like a puzzle if you like. And if one store can't fit them in, another will pick it up, so there is flexibility, but at the same time if we can keep it as close to us as possible, because it's easier for the school to come in. There's a lot of schools around Fratton Park that are within walking distance so it's good for the environment, great for the kids to get out and stretch their legs to come into the store. So if we can keep it as close, we can, if not we can get them in further afield.

SN: My last question, I think you also do a Christmas food collection for your company, your store, what's the Christmas food collection?

GM: It's called the neighbourhood food collection, basically it coincides with our partnership with Trussell Trust and FareShare, so they're the two main charities that fight food poverty in the UK. Our customers are amazing, and we know that, they are very very generous, and once a year we dedicate a weekend at Christmas to encourage our customers to donate long life food to the local food banks. So for us, we support Trussell Trust, and that's King's Church in Portsmouth. So, they will come in, they'll send in a couple of volunteers, and the store would pledge a couple of hours to get customers to donate their long life products. It then gets packed, sent to the King's Church, and then the King's Church weigh it, and we top it up by 20% worth of money. It's not just us giving them the food, or our customers giving them the food, they're getting some money to help sustain their programmes, and try to build better programmes to support people that are in that situation. It's ok just donating some food, it's brilliant, but you need to find out why they're there in the first place, and you can't do that with a tin of baked beans, so you have to use the money, so that's what we do.

SN: Indeed, Gemma, the time has run by very quickly, I'm fascinated with your story, I'm fascinated with what you do, and just by looking at you I know how happy you are in your job. Thank you, and hopefully we'll come back and see you in a few months’ time and see how you’re going on.

GM: Yeah, no worries, take care.

SN: And you.

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