Category: Northampton & Earls Barton

Scuba Diving comes to Northampton

A scuba diving duo have set up in Northampton bringing expert training from first breath to fully qualified thanks to £10,000 in funding from Enterprise Loans East Midlands.

Ivan Stanton and Chris Lambert officially launched Scuba Diving Training earlier this year. The Northants-based pair have been friends for more than 18 years and decided to set up the business after Ivan – a PADI IDC Staff Instructor who has taught scuba diving across the world – came back to the UK and spotted a gap in the market.

Ivan said: “Scuba diving was originally a hobby of mine but it turned into a career nine years ago. I’ve since been around the world training people so when I came back to Northampton, I noticed a real gap for high quality teaching and student experience.

Chris Lambert and Ivan Stanton, Scuba Diving Training Ltd

Chris Lambert and Ivan Stanton, Scuba Diving Training Ltd

“We set up Scuba Diving Training in order to meet this higher standard – we want students to feel confident and ready for when they dive in open water and not just tick the required boxes. Our aim is to cater to all people and abilities and produce good, safe divers.”

Chris – who looks after the management of the business and marketing – added: “We approached Enterprise Loans as we struggled to get funding from traditional banks due to Ivan working abroad for so many years. The process was definitely worth the effort as we’d been working on our business plan but our advisor Stefan really helped us get it into shape.”

Scuba Diving Training received a £10,000 loan via Start Up Loans and the funding went towards start-up costs including scuba equipment, a new website and marketing.

Stefan Nycz, business advisor at Enterprise Loans, said: “Chris and Ivan have developed a really fantastic company that is based on putting the customer first. Not only do they offer an expert service, teaching everyone from beginner to expert with the same level of dedication, but they’ve also teamed up with a number of independent travel companies so that people looking for a different type of holiday get the best possible training.

“They are incredibly passionate about the business, which splits training between the pool and Stoney Cove, so it’s been great to help these guys – nothing could ‘dampen’ their enthusiasm for the business!”

For more information on Enterprise Loans visit www.first-enterprise.co.uk or follow @1st_Enterprise on Twitter.

Poor Families Missing Out on Free Food Vouchers

Thousands of families have missed out on a healthy food scheme in 2018 according to a campaign led by Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. It is estimated that families in the East Midlands alone missed out on an estimated £2.2m worth of free fresh fruit, vegetables and milk. The coalition of charities and health bodies have warned the government that more than £28m of healthy food has been missed out on nationally by families in need.

Charities and health groups have warned Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock MP that low-income women and children in over 130,000 households are missing out on £28.6m of free fruit, vegetables and milk due to poor promotion of the Healthy Start voucher scheme.

end hunger uk april 2019

End Hunger UK

Northamptonshire Food Poverty Network is supporting the call on the government to boost promotion of the Healthy Start scheme for low income families.

Rachel McGrath of Northamptonshire Food Poverty Network said: “We will campaign locally on behalf of our national partners to make sure that struggling families have access to fresh food. Given the alarming rates of children and families in poverty local government has a responsibility to ensure that the vouchers are fully utilised. We will be writing to local MPs to urge them to take up this issue.”

The coalition of 26 charities and healthy bodies includes Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming2, the Royal Society for Public Health, Royal College of Midwives and the Trussell Trust. They are calling on the Government to boost promotion of the Healthy Start voucher scheme, which can be worth up to £900 per child over the first four years of life3.

The vouchers add at least £3.10 to a family shop per child each week, which could buy two litres of semi-skimmed milk, 1kg carrots, 900g frozen peas and 4 apples at a typical discount supermarket. Over the first four years of a child’s life this is equivalent to 1,090 pints of milk, 1,100 apples, 218kg of carrots and 143kg of peas.

Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive, Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming, said “The government is missing a trick. This money has been set aside to support low income and young families, but the Healthy Start voucher scheme for fruit, vegetables and milk is not being properly managed or promoted. Over 4 million children are living in households who sometimes run out of money for essentials such as food – these vouchers can help keep good food on the table.”

The open letter calls on the Government to fund a programme to ensure that midwives, health visitors, GPs and other relevant staff in health, social care and early years settings actively help all eligible pregnant women and new parents claim their Heathy Start vouchers. The charities and health groups suggest that this programme could be funded from the estimated £28.6 million of Healthy Start vouchers that went unclaimed last year.

The letter also asks the Government to confirm the date for a consultation on Healthy Start, which was committed to by the Department of Health and Social Care last June in Chapter 2 of Childhood Obesity: a plan for action.

Average take-up of the vouchers in England and Wales was only 64% in 2018, or approximately 135,000 households missing out, with no government funds dedicated to supporting local health service providers to promote the scheme. A map of current take-up rates in England and Wales is publicly available and updated monthly by the Department of Health.

Government says Yes to Two Unitary Councils for Northamptonshire

Two brand new unitary councils will be established in Northamptonshire on 1st April or 2021 (Vesting Day), the Government confirmed today. The North Northamptonshire unitary will cover Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough and the West Northamptonshire unitary will cover Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire.  The existing district and borough councils and Northamptonshire County Council will all be abolished.

The Secretary of State James Brokenshire has reviewed all the evidence and representations received, and has now decided that replacing the eight councils with two unitary authorities is in the best interests of the residents of Northamptonshire.


Parliamentary Orders will follow later this year and there will be elections to the Shadow Authorities in May 2020.  Shadow Executives for the two unitaries will be selected from those elected and will determine the structure, budget and service delivery models for the new councils.


Services which complement one another but are currently divided between the district, borough and county councils, such as bin collections, waste disposal, planning and roads, will be brought together under each of the two unitary councils.


Leaders of the current authorities said that, now that a decision has been made, the preparations to build a better future for Northamptonshire’s residents and businesses, providing more responsive, innovative services, could continue with certainty.


In a joint comment, the council leaders of Corby Borough Council (Tom Beattie), Daventry District Council (Chris Millar), East Northamptonshire Council (Steven North), Kettering Borough Council (Russell Roberts), Northampton Borough Council (Jonathan Nunn), Northamptonshire County Council (Matt Golby), South Northamptonshire Council (Cllr Ian McCord) and Borough Council of Wellingborough (Martin Griffiths), said:


“We have been working hard towards an anticipated 2020 Vesting Day but that was always going to be a tight timetable to meet if we were going to transform services as well as ensuring that they were safe and legal on that date.


“We therefore welcome the announcement that Vesting Day will be 1st April 2021.  That gives us more time to plan carefully and confidently for the future to ensure that we create two sustainable unitary councils that, while being very different in nature, will be exemplars of how to provide excellent services for our residents.”


There will be elections to the Shadow Authorities in May 2020, so those newly-elected councillors will be able to work with officers to design and implement the new councils for several months ahead of Vesting Day.

Local Business Experts come Together to Provide Advice for Start-ups

A group of Northamptonshire business owners are joining forces to host an event that supports start-ups in the county.

Activate Your Business

Activate Your Business founders

Entitled ‘Activate Your Business’, the business surgery event will see a panel of 11 experts offer advice to those just starting a business or who are in their first year of trading. The experts work in various areas vital to businesses in those crucial first few weeks and months including sales, social media, business strategy, PR, tax, legal contracts and more.


The surgery takes place on Wednesday 8th May at Moulton Community Centre from 10am to 1pm and costs £10 per person to attend. It aims to help those in the early stages of a business venture move forward by asking the panel of experts for advice on any challenges they may be facing or to pick their brains on their subject specialism. Everyone who attends the event will get to speak to each expert.


The expert panel includes:

  • Marie Baker of Poppy Design Studio, a WordPress expert and website developer
  • Kathryn Slack of Graydon Ventures, a trainer in public speaking and presentation skills that help grow your business
  • Emma Speirs of Ballyhoo PR, an award-winning PR consultant and content creator
  • Trudie Avery of Avery Creative, a branding specialist and graphic designer
  • Clare Elsby of Elsby & Co, founder and director of an accountancy practice that works with businesses of all sizes to keep them on the right side of the Tax Man
  • Elizabeth Wright of Admin & More, an award-winning virtual assistant who can advise on effective organisation and administration systems
  • Simon White, a provider of sales and telemarketing training who works with businesses to maximise their sales results
  • Samantha Cameron of 2Motiv8, a social media expert who works with clients to help them increase their social media presence
  • Lisa Sheppard, a business management specialist and coach who can work with business owners to plan for the future
  • Lorna Dodwell, a marketing expert who works with companies to help them attract their ideal customer
  • Kerry Gibbs, a contract law expert who offers personalised legal compliance and support to businesses


For more information, like the Facebook page at @ActivateYourBusinessExperts