Colors: Purple Color

Severn Trent is encouraging its customers to look back to the Swinging Sixties, after it was revealed that people now use more than 50 litres of water each day, compared to 60 years ago. That’s the equivalent of an extra 200 cups of tea or coffee every day for everyone in the UK, as the average person uses around 130 litres each day now.

The recent ‘Great British Rain Paradox’ report supported by the Environment Agency suggests the UK could face water scarcity in just 25 years, if behaviours towards water don’t change.   Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said on the report:

“People might wonder how a country with such a reputation for rain like the UK could reach a tipping point where demand for water outstrips supply in just 25 years. But this may become a reality if we don’t take action to save water now.  The fact is a convergence of factors underpinned by climate change has led us to this frightening prospect. But if we all take concerted action now we can ensure that there will be enough water to go around for generations to come.”

So the fact is that in the future we may have less water available, and yet we’re using more and more.  So looking back to the Sixties may well help us when we’re looking ahead.

Severn Trent says we’re using water in different ways these days compared to the Sixties - most of us will now have water hungry devices like jet washers, sprinklers and huge paddling pools which all contribute to the increases in consumption. So in this unique Summer with more people at home than ever before, its encouraging its customers to think about their water use and get into good water saving habits now for the future.

Doug Clarke, Severn Trent’s Water Resource Lead, said: “While the world has certainly changed over the last 60 years, one thing’s for sure, we can all still learn a thing or two about saving water from those in the Sixties.

“Today we’re likely to bath or shower more, be watering our garden more often with sprinklers, have bigger paddling pools and while no one wants to stop people washing their hands, having showers or even having fun with water, we really want to encourage people to maybe be a bit more Sixties, and a little less 2020s in how they think about their water use.

“There are loads of really simple ways to save water – you can use a water butt to harvest rainwater which you can then use to water your plants and garden, turn the tap off while your clean your teeth, reuse your washing up water on your plants or use a bucket and sponge to clean your car” said Doug.

“And super soakers might not have been around in the Sixties but they’re great fun for kids and grown-ups, and use a heck of a lot less water than giant paddling pools!”

Some of the top ways you can save water include:

Putting the garden hose or sprinkler away; a brown lawn quickly bounces back to green when it rains again;
If you’ve filled your paddling pool up, keep the water for the next day by simply covering it. This will also help keep any creepy crawlies out!
If you’ve got a traditional toilet without the two button flush, order a free Buffaloo from Severn Trent that’ll reduce how much water you use each flush.

You can also get your hands on some free water saving devices, visit stwater.co.uk/savewater

 

Dorsett Wanchai and Dorsett Mongkok Win 2020 Travellers’ Choice Award By TripAdvisor for Exceptional Hospitality

The Covid-19 has definitely affected many people in one way or another, but it hasn't stopped the two sister hotels - Dorsett Wanchai and Dorsett Mongkok, Hong Kong from achieving more. Last week, both hotels saw their hard work being paid off when they were announced the award-winners of the 2020 Travellers' Choice Award by TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel platform.

The annual award recognizes the top 10% of hotels that perform exceptionally well in the hospitality businesses based on a large volume of positive travellers' reviews received globally and verified by TripAdvisor in the past year.

Ms Anita Chan, General Manager of Dorsett Wanchai and Dorsett Mongkok said: "Despite tourism industry being heavily impacted by Covid-19, our commitment to serving our guests with genuine hostility has never once been shaken by the pandemic. Winning this award has a special meaning for us this year. Not only does it assures our guests that we are still a trusted place to stay, it also proves that nothing is impossible with a passionate heart.

“Therefore, I want to take this moment to thank all our guests for their support and to the hotel staff for doing a marvelous job in keeping guests safe and well during these extremely challenging times. We wouldn't have achieved this without the trust of our guests and the full support from our people".

At Dorsett, the safety and well-being of the guests and staff has always been the top priority.

In the past few months, they have been taking cautious steps to upgrade our safety measures.

They have partnered with Ecolab and use their medical grade disinfectant; we also incorporate technology to increase cleaning and disinfecting efficiency, such as the AI vacuum cleaner and AI thermal scanner.

They have also launched a new foodpanda menu to enhance our in-room dining experience, and a vending machine fully-stocked with sanitizing amenities and daily necessities to provide convenience for in-house guests.

"We are better prepared than ever in face of the pandemic in Hong Kong. When you are ready to travel again, we are ready to serve you at Dorsett," said Ms Chan.

 

There are now only a few more days left for businesses to submit their applications to host an event in the 2020 Black Country Business Festival.

The Festival closes its doors to new event applications at 5pm on Friday 14 August. Anyone can run an event and it can be about anything so long as it helps other businesses or employees to learn, share or grow. Events can be digital, physical or a mix of the two, where a minimal amount of delegates will be able to attend while the event is live-streamed. A Business Festival digital platform has been created on ‘Zoom’ [digital live streaming platform] to allow event organisers to run their events online.

Already there are nearly 80 events in the Business Festival which is taking place from 5 to 15 October. There is a good mix of physical and digital events which shows that businesses have really adapted to new ways of working. Tickets to events will start to go live on the Business Festival website (www.blackcountrybusinessfestival.com) from 17 August. Events are split into sectors to make it easy to browse and sort and there are so many different topics there is bound to be something for everyone.

Sandwell Council in conjunction with construction company, Balfour Beatty is running a virtual ‘meet the buyer’ event on 8 October, where they will be sharing tips with local supply chains on how to win business on the landmark £267m MMUH healthcare project as well as some of Balfour Beatty’s other regional projects such as the redevelopment of the Black Country Living Museum. In Walsall, the council’s Works, Skills & Jobs Expo on 5 October is an all-day event for businesses and training providers, where there will be details about jobs, apprenticeships and courses for local residents.

Business Festival partner, the University of Wolverhampton is once again holding several excellent events which range from examining the advantages and disadvantages of developing brown field land right through to Intellectual property protection on innovations and the business of cyber protection.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, which initiated the BCBF three years ago, said, “There is such great engagement from the business community that the Festival is proving to be a showcase in itself of the positivity and resilience of the Black Country. But there are only a few more days left before the portal closes so any business wishing to be part of this brilliant fortnight needs to get their application in now.

“This is the third year of the Black Country Business Festival and this year is possibly more important to our businesses than ever before, because of the solid platform on which to re-energise and re-engage that it provides.”

The BCBF relies on sponsorship from organisations in the Black Country. The 2020 Festival Partners are: University of Wolverhampton, Talbots Law, Dudley Business First, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and the Black Country Growth Hub; sponsors are: Wolverhampton Racecourse, Thomas Dudley, Casino36 and M6toll.

The Festival is also supported by Gecko Programmes, Sandwell Council and Walsall Council with media partners, Elonex, Signal 107 and Metro and app partner, Infonote.

 

The latest research by leading property recruitment specialists, Rayner Personnel, has revealed which areas of the UK offer the greatest potential earnings for estate agents operating in that particular market.  

Rayner Personnel looked at the average monthly earning potential on offer across each of the UK’s regions and major cities, based on the average fee and the average number of monthly property transactions. The research shows that across Britain, there is some £274.4m up for grabs in estate agency commission every month.

In England, the current average fee of 1.5% means that potential earnings hit £248,667,842 per month, based on the average earning potential of £3,774 per property completion, multiplied by the 65,895 transactions that take place on average every month.  

Regionally, London tops the table as the most lucrative region for estate agents based on monthly earning potential. With an average fee of £8,501 and an average of 6,867 sales each month over the last year, there is a potential £58.37m to be earnt each month in the capital.

The South East isn’t far behind (£56.29m), followed by the East of England (£34.18m), the South West (£32m) and the North West (£21.13m).

Outside of London, Edinburgh is the second most lucrative city. On average, 953 transactions completed every month over the last year, generating a potential £3.26m in estate agency income on a monthly basis.

Birmingham (£2.99m), Leeds (£2.71m), Bristol (£2.31m), Bournemouth (£2.3m), Sheffield (£1.61m), Glasgow (£1.56m), Cardiff (£1.47m) and Manchester (£1.27m) also rank as some of the most potentially lucrative major cities for estate agents on a monthly basis.

Founder and CEO of Rayner Personnel, Josh Rayner, said:  “London is always going to drive the market in terms of volume and estate agent earning potential due to the generally higher fees. However, it’s important to remember that while these potential earnings differ by region and city, so too does the number of agents battling it out for this business.  

“The threat of the online and hybrid model hasn’t escalated to the levels previously expected, but they still pose a threat in terms of acquiring transactions across the UK which will also reduce available income.  

“While we appreciate that not every agent charges the average fee for their services, we wanted to highlight that the UK property market is alive and well despite wider uncertainties and estate agents can still make a very good living.  

“Of course, one way to ensure you acquire as much potential business as possible is to have the very best team, delivering the very best service in your given area. This comes down to hiring the right people, with the right attitude and this can be the difference when it comes to staying ahead of the competition.”

Survey shows shoppers in the West Midlands expected to shop second-hand to save money and support those in need, following pandemic

Charity shops could be vital to the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by helping people save money, shop sustainably and fund charitable services, according to a new survey. 

The survey commissioned* by the British Heart Foundation showed that over a quarter of adults in the West Midlands (28%) feel that charity shops are more important to society following Covid-19, while just under four in ten (38%) agree that being sustainable and thinking about the environment when they shop is more important than before.

Of those who think charity shops will be more important for society in the West Midlands: 

Over three in five (64%) say it’s because charity shops provide affordable items to those with financial concerns.
Over three in five (62%) say it’s because they raise funds for charitable causes at a time many of these causes are in high demand. 
More than half (52%) say charity shops are vital because they prevent items from being thrown away.
Four in ten (40%) respondents say they provide jobs and volunteering opportunities in community at a time the UK is facing recession. 

Last year alone, thanks to the generosity of donations to our shops the BHF helped re-use an incredible 71,000 tonnes of items and prevented 135,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from being released into the atmosphere. The BHF say the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the benefits charity shops bring to the economy and consumers, from saving people money, to preventing items going to waste and funding causes that have given vital support to people during this time. The charity hopes its shops will be a first stop for those wanting to declutter and donate as people are more conscious of these benefits than ever.

Allison Swaine-Hughes, Retail Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This pandemic has been devastating for so many of us and the reopening of charity shops is going to be vital for millions as we look to recover. Charity shops provide high quality items at affordable prices, power charitable services that have never been more in demand, re-use thousands of tonnes of items and provide a community space for so many volunteers and customers.”

 “Every pound raised in our shops helps us to support the 660,000 people in the West Midlands living with heart and circulatory diseases, many of whom are at increased risk from Covid-19. Shopping at the BHF will help us, help them.”

At the end of March, the BHF temporarily closed its 750 nationwide shops in order to protect staff, volunteers and customers. The charity has since revealed that its funding budget to support research into heart and circulatory diseases may be reduced by £50 million this year and needs the public support more than ever to maintain progress.

Just £16 worth of your donations can support an early career scientist in carrying out an hour’s research and £25 gives a researcher an hour’s access to equipment. If your donations raised £100, this would fund a DNA extraction kit to identify genes linked to heart and circulatory diseases. 

 

Flour Mills of Nigeria release positive audited financial performance report, finishes strong with a record 184% growth in after tax profit

 

FMN (Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC) the largest Agro-Allied and food group on the Continent of Africa, recently announced its audited financial performance for the 2019/2020. The report released on the 3rd August to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, highlights a number of remarkable achievements despite the prevailing economic headwinds and difficult operating terrain in Apapa, Lagos. 

 

In line with the group’s management focus of developing Nigeria’s self-sufficiency within the agricultural value chain, FMN has invested heavily (over 150 billion Naira) in recent years to ensure Nigeria has the infrastructure and capabilities to create its own raw materials to support the food sector.

 

This is now clearly paying off as the Agro-allied segments saw strong profit growth in Oils and Fats and Proteins, with a Gross profit doubling both segments on an annual basis. 

 

The Group realized a revenue growth of 9% (YoY) to N574 billion naira, Profit Before Tax also increased by 72% (YoY) to N17.5 billion Naira and a whopping 184% (YoY) Profit After Tax increase to 11.4 billion Naira.

 

Commenting on the result, Paul Gbededo, the Group Managing Director said: “The 2019/20 financial year was a remarkable year for our Group and I am really pleased with the result.

Our Profit Before Tax saw a remarkable increase of 72% to 17.5 billion Naira, while our Profit After Tax nearly tripled from 4.0 billion Naira last year to 11.4 billion Naira in the current year. This is partly attributable to the improved performance of our Agro Allied Businesses and in line with our strategy to continue to grow the wealth of our shareholders.”

 

He further stated: “We will remain focused on increasing operational efficiency within the group as we continue to implement our accelerated cost optimization plans across all businesses to ensure profitability in the new operating environment.”

Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc was incorporated in September 1960 as a private limited liability company and commenced operations in 1962 with an installed flour milling capacity of 500 metric tonnes per day. In 1978, Flour Mills of Nigeria was converted to a public limited liability company and its shares were subsequently listed on The Nigerian Stock Exchange. Today,

Flour Mills of Nigeria is the largest flour milling company in Nigeria, with an installed flour milling capacity of approximately 12,000 metric tonnes per day. The Company continuously strives in its purpose to “Feed the Nation, Everday” through its five core food value chains: Grains, Sweeteners, Oils and Fats, Proteins and Starches. The Company is increasing local content in a substantive and sustainable way with its “farm-to-table” model in order to further mitigate reliance on imports and exposure to external volatility in the food business.

Flour Mills of Nigeria remains Nigeria’s largest and oldest food and agro allied company, with a broad product portfolio and a robust pan-Nigerian distribution network. The Company’s three major business segments are constantly evolving to meet the diverse needs of all stakeholders.