Blog – Severn Valley Business Group
As I’ve been a member here for some time and you all know what I get up to in my business life I thought I would do a bit about what else I get up to.
Different folks have many different reasons for becoming a trustee. For me, from 1974 I have been in sales positions in industry, initially for some of the big boys – Grand Met (Sodexho now?), Autobar, Initial group etc, supplying the likes of British Airways, BT, and THF. and for the past 21 years by myself, for myself and after a health scare a couple of years back felt it was time to try to put something back into society.
I first thought of doing something for Lingen Davies Cancer fund in Shropshire, but was persuaded that being a Trustee may be a better use of my skills than making tea or rattling a tin.
I was introduced to a small charity based in Shrewsbury. Taking Part. There’s a team of just 8 staff plus a squadron of volunteers, funded in the main by Central and Local government, trying to assist people with a wide range of health and social difficulties, with whatevers troubling them.  
Trouble is of course that source of income has been progressively turned off over the last 10 years whilst demand, for various reasons, has gone up…
Traditionally a lot of small “unsexy” charities have had trustee’s boards made up of incredibly dedicated people overseeing (for want of a better expression) people of extraordinary passion for their cause. Unfortunately what is often missing is a business brain, able to take a helicopter view and contribute to the future viability of the organisation.
Taking my own example – 3 hugely dedicated trustees who have been with the charity since its inception 15 years ago  – a retired police dog handler, a nurse and a librarian. 8 staff widely experienced in social and advocacy concerns and one overworked but again hugely loyal manager. The prospect of having someone on hand with wider business acumen came as a huge relief and revitalised the whole undertaking. You could do that.
What exactly is a Trustee? A Trustee is a person who serves on the board of a charity. They may be known as Trustees, Directors, Board members, Governors or Committee members.Responsible for the general control and management of the ADMINISTRATION of their charity. Importantly they never have any involvement in the day to day delivery of the charity’s services.
For further information on the specific duties of a Trustee take a look at the Charity Commission  various PDFs on the subject
Commitment time wise varies greatly from charity to charity but personally it takes up around 30 hours a year in meetings etc plus perhaps a further 10 hours reading reports, so not too onerous.

So to Summarise 

There are quite a few charities out there in need of a bit of advice guidance and business acumen

We as business people Can add that extra dimension

I can guarantee you will derive a lot of satisfaction whatevey charity you coose (or chooses you!)

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Improve Your Marketing in Less Than 60 Seconds

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  1. Respond to a comment, post, or tweet.

Social media marketing is about engaging with your fans, followers, and customers and not just pushing your message.

  1. Add a call-to-action.

Adding a call-to-action to your offers is important in effective lead generation. You should include a call-to-action in every blog post, email message, as well as some other, less obvious places.

  1. Include a hyperlink to another page on your website.

Internal links direct your page visitors to other parts of your website. Important, because it helps your readers find more of your content that they might enjoy and find useful.

  1. Share your content.

Use social media to share your content. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the most effective marketing tools out there. Sharing your content only takes a minute.

  1. Bold or italicise important text on your landing page.

This is another quick way to improve your visitors’ experience when they view your pages. Effective landing pages should pass the “blink test”. Can your visitors understand your proposition or the value of your offer in less than 5 seconds?

  1. Re-word your blog post or email title.

Your email or blog post title will determine whether the recipient will ‘open’ or ‘delete’. It’s the first thing that your viewers see. If it’s not captivating, they won’t even bother clicking through to read your article.

  1. Change your ‘Submit’ button text.

The final feature of your landing page forms or call-to-action is the button your audience must click to complete a form. The default text for this button is usually ‘Submit’. Studies show that buttons labelled ‘Submit’ generate lower conversion rates than those that use other wording. Compared to ‘Submit’, ‘Click Here’ and ‘Go’ feel much more inviting and imply a lesser investment of time and effort. You could make your buttons more engaging and relevant to your offer, for example, ‘Reserve Your Webinar Seat Today!’ or ‘Download Your FREE Information Now!’


Test Your Horticultural Knowledge

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Well we had a general knowledge quiz at the SVBG meeting on the 9th March so I thought it apt to put in a few horticultural questions for everyone to ponder over – just five!

Our brains in the general quiz were David Chill and Chris Milne, see how you get on with these guys and gals.

1) Lads Love, Artemisia abrotanum has several common names which of these is one?

  1. Northernwood
  2. Westernwood
  3. Southernwood

2) Potentilla is a well known shrub but to which family does it belong?

  1. Rosaceae
  2. Compositae
  3. Leguminosae

3)What soil warms up most quickly in the Springtime?

  1. Clay
  2. Peat
  3. Sandy

4) To simulate natural conditions for germination of seeds is called?

  1. Ratification
  2. Stratification
  3. Gratification

5) What is the purpose of root hairs?

  1. Water collection
  2. Anchor the plant to the ground
  3. Act as insulation for the root

That’s it folks no catch questions.


Working with an Investment Manager

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My recent presentation that I gave in February was undertaken with the aim of providing some advice to members of Severn Valley Business Group in regard to the markets and to investing in stocks and shares in general.  Whilst markets have moved on, possibly for the worse, the advice still remains as relevant as ever.

Most people in the UK will be affected by the ups and downs of stock markets to a lesser or greater degree primarily through their pensions or the companies that they work for.  It is more important than ever that we all understand how markets might react to events such as Brexit and more recently to the horrendous nerve agent poisoning as well as the developing trade war between China and USA.  Simply put the value of an individual share of a company could fail as we have seen with Carillion or more recently with Facebook or benefited hugely like Fevertree (the tonic maker).

My presentation as seen by opening the link below goes some way to providing some information about who I work for and what I do.  Regardless of whether anyone is interested in using me as their investment manager it should be obvious that taking financial advice given the current climate is as important as ever.

Please feel free to call me on my mobile 07711 710 628 or send an email to me at if you or someone you know would like to talk about investments or the markets.

Let’s hope that ‘the Beast from the East III’ is mild over the weekend?  Happy Easter.

Working with an Investment Manager – SVBG – 16 February 2018

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Relationship breakdown – when should I take legal advice?

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Going to see a family solicitor about a relationship breakdown can seem to some to be a very serious step. On the one hand, you may feel that you need to know ‘where I stand’, and on the other, you may worry about taking advice too early or too late in the day.

There is no right or wrong answer as to when is the right time for you to take legal advice. Every case is different. Every relationship is different. Much of this will focus on when the time feels right for you, and once you have decided to take advice, we can usually arrange for you to come in and see one of our specialist family law solicitors, within a few days.

Louise Martin, Head of Family, appreciates that a relationship breakdown can be a confusing and worrying time for some people. She has put together a brief guide on when seeing a solicitor would be a sensible thing to consider, and what the client might expect from the process.

  • Do either of you consider that the relationship is salvageable?

It is often sadly the case that, when a relationship breaks down, one party has come to the decision to end things before the other may have even realised that something was gravely amiss.

A relationship breakdown is akin to a bereavement and sometimes a person’s ability to deal with matters will depend on where they are on the ‘grief cycle’ compared to the other, and whether they have or have not accepted that the relationship has broken down irretrievably.

It can therefore be a tough exercise to take legal advice when it may be relationship advice that you feel you need. The question therefore to ask yourself before you make an appointment is ‘is there any prospect of reconciliation?’ If the answer is yes, then it might be best for you to consider getting advice and support from a counsellor as the first step.

If it appears that there is no or only a limited chance of reconciliation – you may have been the one to end things, or maybe the other party has already taken legal advice, or moved out of the property, or they may even be pursuing a relationship with a third party – then taking legal advice is recommended at this stage.

You may then wish to talk to an expert family solicitor about what happens next, both in the short-term and the long-term, and gain reassurance about the path forward. At our initial consultation with you, we will provide you with advice about your particular situation and put together a plan of action to achieve a fair resolution.

Following an initial consultation, the pace of the matter is up to the parties, and we can progress the case as quickly or as slowly as is required. There is also no obligation to return for further advice and assistance, after the initial appointment.

Further details about accessing information and support can be found at

  • Are there children involved?

Sometimes it can be issues surrounding where the children shall live, and with which parent they should spend time, that causes anxiety and worry in the early days. Both parties may want the children to stay with them, or there may be difficulties in agreeing contact arrangements for one parent, particularly if there is a degree of parental hostility.

It is recommended that legal advice be sought as soon as possible, so that a family solicitor can advise on where the emphasis should lie, and to ensure that any safeguarding issues are addressed.

Just taking this initial advice may well reassure parents and give them the confidence to seek to resolve the issues directly with the other parent, or perhaps even seek assistance with doing so in a family mediation setting. We can refer you to family mediation if this is of interest.

At Onions & Davies, we pride ourselves on taking a conciliatory approach to children matters, and looking at the case from both a legal and pragmatic perspective, to ensure that the best and earliest resolution can be reached in the interests of the children involved.

  • Are their domestic abuse issues?

It is widely recognised today, due to awareness and changes in legislation, that domestic abuse comes in many forms. It may be physical and/or sexual abuse, but it may also be a product of controlling and coercive behaviour, and manifest as emotional and/or financial abuse.

Many victims of abuse understandably find it difficult to seek help as a result of the fear and control exerted over them by their partners. It is recommended, however, that help should be sought at the first opportunity and we can ensure that the advice we provide is entirely confidential. We can provide legal advice as to the remedies available from the family court to protect against such behaviour.

  • Are there money issues?

We appreciate that not all of our clients have savings and cash in excess of their monthly expenditure. Indeed, it is more common to be dealing with a family of modest means, in which case, the prospect of splitting one household into two households can be daunting.

Clients may need initial advice to discuss these more immediate issues: who is going to pay the mortgage; who will be responsible for the household bills; what about the financial needs of the children; should I contact the Child Maintenance Service; etc. These matters can be addressed at an initial appointment, and clients who need help sorting through these issues, ought not to delay in taking legal advice.

  • Does only one of you own the family home?

The non-owning party may feel at a disadvantage when a relationship ends, if the house is registered in the sole name of the other person and, in this situation, a family solicitor can advise as to the implications for both parties.

If you are married, then there is immediate action that we can take on your behalf to protect your Marital Home Rights, which should reassure the non-owning party that the other cannot dispose of the asset without recognising their interest.

If you are not married, then we can provide advice as to any action the non-owning party might seek to bring to recognise an interest they claim to have in the property.

  • Are there court proceedings in place or on the horizon?

Do not delay in seeking legal advice if you have been served, or consider that you are about to be served, with court papers.

If these are divorce papers, then there may be a prospect of reaching agreement as to certain matters with your spouse or their solicitors before the papers are sent to court, if early advice is received. The court will also require a response from you as the “Respondent”, and we can assist with this.

If these are financial remedy papers or issues to do with the children, then there may be the prospect of negotiating out of court, or maybe at family mediation. The court will also list the matter for a hearing, if papers have been issued, which means early legal advice, and an assurance that your interests will be represented at that hearing, should be sought.

Louise Martin and David Lago are both members of Resolution: First for Family Law, which follows a code of practice that promotes a constructive approach to family issues. For further details, see

Call our Family Legal Secretary, Sharon Moore, to arrange an appointment with David Lago, on 01630 652405. Our initial consultations are fixed-fee, no obligation and completely confidential.


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