Kidwells Blog

The Big Tea event in support of St Michael's Hospice

We were very pleased to attend a Big Tea event in support of St Michael's Hospice at Kidwells House

During the days before, with recipe books at the ready, ingredients bought, staff from Kidwells got cooking. A call was put out for donations of raffle prizes and bunting to help decorate the garden

The bunting arrived was very kindly borrowed from wiggly wigglers and St Martin's Church, Ross Road followed by various raffle prizes. 

The bunting was put up, the tables were laid out with a large selection of cakes, the sun shone and the guests arrived.

Everyone had a great time and the tea and cakes went down a treat. The teapots,  used as collection points for money donations, were full.

 

My Work Experience at Kidwells

I chose to do work experience at Kidwells because I’m interested in law, although I’m not quite sure what aspects yet.

I started my first day of work experience at 9:00 am where Julie Ferguson showed me the building and all of the health and safety precautions.

After completing the ever important confidentiality agreement I was set up with Holly and Lauren from the legal secretaries’ team. My first task was to transcript a dictation a solicitor had made, this is when they record all their interactions with clients. I had to type up what they had said and record how many units this was (1 unit = 6 minutes). I did three different transcripts but none of these were longer than 1 unit. Units are a way of accurately recording costs, depending on how much time the team spend on a file.

My second task was from Lauren, I had to put some chronologically ordered documents into files. My third task was more of a lesson, this was when Denis taught me all about Salesforce and how it had helped Kidwells increase their sales. I have learned that this tool can be used for many different purposes, one of these is managing all of their websites effectively.  

On my second day of work experience at Kidwells I started the day learning how to make a campaign on Salesforce with Denis, this is the best way to advertise events between businesses and leads.

My second task was with Rebecca and this was all about the legal system, I learned how many different courts there were and what cases they dealt with. There are six main types of courts; County Courts, Magistrates Courts, Crown Courts, Royal Courts of Justice, Youth Courts and The Supreme Courts.

My third task was also with Rebecca. I learned the sentence guidelines that judges use to sentence criminals for different crimes, and I also learned about the aggravating factors that affect the sentence length. I felt it was very useful learning about this as it gave me more of an insight to criminal law. 

Overall my work experience at Kidwells has been very interesting, I learned a lot about the way the business operates and how much they value their clients. I feel this was a good opportunity for me to gain insights into the business environment.


Corey Bastable

Tour De France Bikeathon in support of Phoenix Bereavement

Kidwells held a sponsored bikeathon on static bikes in the Lifestyles gym in support of Phoenix Bereavement this weekend to coincide with the first day of the Tour de France.

The route, being Leeds to Harrogate, is 191kms which was to be broken down between the staff to 11.2km each. Training has been going on in earnest during the last few weeks but some members of staff are definitely more competitive than others.

 

 

On a beautiful Saturday morning  we made a start on what we thought was a major task with the bikes placed so we could watch the Tour de France while it was happening which helped spur everyone on and provided a wonderful atmosphere. The thought of a BBQ during the course of the event helped keep cyclists going. Although some bikers split their distance up and had a rest the overall distance was reached in 5 hours. We even had a last minute volunteer - Claire from Minimal Risk joined Michael on his part of the ride and stayed around to enjoy some of the BBQ.

The food had been very kindly donated by Tupsley butchers and Bookers in Hereford who were very happy to support this good cause. There was also a steady supply of water and fresh orange juice on hand and towels to mop the riders brows. 

To entertain those waiting their turn and some of the children who came to support, Becky Gore our Lifestyles Manager took a Bokwa class which was good fun and the first time some of us had done any of this style of exercise.

 

 

 

 

The times and distances were clocked up very quickly and the overall winner was Toby Everton who did a most impressive time of 28.10 minutes just pipping Michael at the post. In true Tour de France style Toby was presented with the yellow jersey,  

To see all the pictures please go to our gallery page

Hereford in Bloom 2014 Update

Monthly update on my garden

Well what a difference a month makes in the garden, the flowers are positively blooming, the hanging baskets have taken a while to get going mind, but hopefully you can see the results and I still have another month before the closing date of Hereford in Bloom.

All thanks to the beautiful weather and the rain we have had over the last couple of days, which has brought me a little light relief from me having to water the garden, my husband has also been on hand to help me with the watering and dead heading.

Well I hope you have enjoyed an insight into my efforts in the garden, over the past weeks, I will update you just before the closing date on the 31st July and then it’s with green fingers and trowels crossed for judging day.

You still have until the 31st July to enter. Just email Trevor Swindells or visit the Hereford in Bloom website.

Diane Rogers

 

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Our second business networking event

On arrival at our popular monthly networking event attendees were given a raffle ticket but not told what it was for, much to the amusement of Michael and myself.

We were then given a really fantastic insight from Alan Ramsden of Tiger Helicopters. The audience were enthralled to hear about Alan and what he had achieved. When he had finished his presentation we asked Alan to pull out a raffle ticket and the prize was then announced. 

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An evening at Hereford College of Arts

An evening at Hereford College of Arts

On the 17th June Hereford College of Arts held a Summer Show and networking event for the college students and local businesses. The students were showing off their art projects and art pieces to everyone who attended.

Denis and Diane from the marketing department both attended and were truly impressed with the standard of creativity, enthusiasm and skill that these young people have attained.

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BBQ and Cocktails

Last night the Kidwells team joined the Nexus Creative team from Worcestershire for a BBQ, cocktails and a lesson on making cocktails at Munstone House under their new pergola.

Chris Lane, chef at The Pinnacle Lounge at Munstone House, provided us with a wonderful BBQ while Dave from Cardiff made us various alcoholic and non alcoholic cocktails and performed the art of cocktail flairing - which he has been mastering for 10 years. For those of you not in the know according to Wikepedia this is also called Flair bartending - as per Tom Cruise - and is the practice of bartenders entertaining clients with the manipulation of bar tools; for example cocktail shakers and alcohol bottles.

Four of those enjoying the demonstration last night gave it a go and thank you to Amy, Nigel, Denis and Nigel H for their entertainment. See Nigel and Denis in action on facebook

For a few more pictures go to our gallery page


At-Court mediation pilot project

On Friday of last week our trainee family solicitor Nicola Haines went along to the National Family Mediation pilot project launched by Jesse Norman MP at The Left Bank. This project is available in three pilot areas being Berkshire, Herefordshire and West Yorkshire.

The project will run until March 2015 and is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions and can help anyone who has a dispute as long as they are willing to try it. It is aimed at parents who have been separate for two years or more and as well as the help of a professional mediator it offers one-to-one assistance and a unique programme to you.

If you feel you would benefit from mediation contact Philippa Frost by email, telephone 0300 4000 636 or go to the National Family Mediation website.


Hereford In Bloom 2014

Where have the last 12 months gone?

After my experiences last year in the Hereford in Bloom competition I have been put forward again for the residential front garden part of the competition and my garden now needs my attention.

 

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Last year I was nominated without my knowledge for the competition; I only discovered my entry when Trevor Swindells of Hereford in Bloom came to take photos. At this point I pulled out all the stops and went for it and am very proud to say I came second.  A wonderful reception and lunch was held for all the entries being awarded a prize and I met up with many other local gardeners who either entered privately or as a business. The awards were donated by the sponsors of Hereford in Bloom,  Radway Bridge Garden Centre. 

So here we are again, Hereford in Bloom is calling and I am going to enter the competition again. My love for the garden has grown over the years. Gardening can be exhausting but at the same time very relaxing and I have been known to make mistakes by planting something that’s not suitable, but that’s the joy of the garden.  May I also just point out that my husband is not allowed to touch a plant or weed! However he is very helpful when it comes to picking up the bags of compost for me. 

This is what the judges will be looking for:

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  • Does the frontage make a positive impact
  • They are looking for good use of colour and choice of plants
  • Is there a WOW factor
  • Is the garden likely to attract wildlife and support water conservation? 

Not too much to worry about then!

I have taken these photos for you to see the start of the journey, and then I will keep you updated over the weeks until the closing date on the 31st July. I just hope as I write this that the weather brightens up.

For private individuals or local businesses who would like to enter the competition, you have until 31st July to email Trevor Swindells but get planting now!

Our first business networking event

Our first business to promote themselves in a 10 to 15 minute slot, which will be a regular for this networking group, was Barrie Lane from Taylor Lane, who gave a very informative insight into how timber frame buildings and the company evolved. The interaction that Barrie received from his chat to the other attendees was impressive.

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He was then asked to pull out of the pot a business card for the next business who will be promoting themselves on the 26th June. We are pleased to be welcoming Alan Ramsden from Tiger Helicopters, which was met with a lot of enthusiam from the audience. So watch this space for a further update.

To see the rest of the pictures please go to our gallery page

Diane Rogers

And the training continues

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We are very proud to have been able to offer Nicola Haines, who joined us as a legal assistant, a trainee solicitor contract. She has taken a roundabout route to get to this point and also made the decision on a career change in her thirties.

She told us her story which we thought would be encouraging for others who want to make this move.

"I decided to become a solicitor in 2006.  I was 33 years old and had worked predominantly in public services.  I was working as a detention officer within Worcester Police Station when I decided to re-train and research studying law.

With the financial responsibilities that come with being a home owner, I could not afford to go to University full time, therefore I chose to complete a qualifying law degree with The Open University.  Having done the research and enrolling for the course, I had an anxious wait until February 2007 to begin my studies.

With being a mature student, the first thought is that how will I manage studying so long after my school experience?  The Open University is geared towards mature students and learners from all walks of life.  I found this a very positive experience and felt proud to tell people that I was studying law.

There were times when the ups and downs of life did not track well with studying, writing assignments and revising for exams but despite two family bereavements and my partner being in hospital for a three month period during my degree I did not miss a deadline.  I felt this was possibly due to being a mature student and approaching my studies with organisational skills and motivation that I personally may not have had as a 19 year old.

I was immensely proud to be at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester for my graduation in October 2012 receiving an upper second class honours degree in law.  There were hundreds of graduates from all walks of life and it was a day I will never forget.

The next stage was to complete the Legal Practice Course, another requirement on the route to qualification as a Solicitor.  I had an automatic place with the College of Law, as an Open University Graduate.  Therefore I enrolled at the Birmingham College of Law and began my course in September 2012.  I was the oldest by far in my class of 18 students and yet this did not have any bearing on my studies. 

I completed my Legal Practice Course in May 2013 and received a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice with a Commendation. 

The next stage was to secure a training contract in order to qualify as a solicitor.  I was fully aware that training contracts were very difficult to come by especially as the legal student media was reporting that the number of students completing the LPC each year far outweighed the number of training contracts available.

During my search I was fortunate enough to attend a two day work experience placement at Kidwells in July 2013.  This was hugely valuable to me as I had no previous legal experience other than police procedure and evidential matters.  The two days experience was another indicator that I had made a good career move.

By August 2013 I had been offered a position within Kidwells as a Legal Assistant and was working within the family department.  This was a very steep learning curve and I was finally immersed in the legal world for real.

I was extremely fortunate to be offered a training contract in April 2014 and look forward to continuing my journey to qualification.  I can still remember hovering over the enter button on my computer at home wondering whether I should start a law degree at 33 years of age."

Nicola Haines

Trainee Solicitor 

Kidwells extend a welcome to Amy Ballantyne

We welcome back our new legal secretary Amy Ballantyne. 

Amy has just joined the team after completeing her final exams on the LLB course at UWE (in Commercial, Intellectual Property, Advanced EU and Equity & Trusts) and will graduate in July.

Amy is no stranger to Kidwells as she did her work experience here in 2012 and we now hope she will enjoy working with us on a permanent basis.

Successful Will writing day in support of Phoenix Bereavement

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We are proud to say our Will writing day on Wednesday 15th May in support of Phoenix Bereavement  has been a resounding success and a well supported event.

Zoe Smith of the Wills and Probate department was kept very busy.

This event was held during Dying Matters Awareness Week. Phoenix Bereavement offer support for parents and carers with children up to the age of 21. Their aim is to increase understanding and recognition of the impact bereavement has on children,young people and their families. They work alongside many families where death is sudden through suicide, road traffic accidents or suden illness and with organisations where death is anticipated.

We look forward to supporting Phoenix further in the year.

Lifestyle's Rebecca Gore runs Hereford Half Marathon

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Last Sunday, May 11th, Kidwells Lifestyle Manager, Rebecca Gore, competed in the St Michaels Hospice half marathon which is 13.1 miles through Herefordshire countryside. 

Although the conditions on the day were quite windy this year’s race was the largest to date with 850 people running the half marathon, 350 running the 10k and 100 in the fun run.

The first St Michael’s Hospice Marathon was held in 1983 and since then thousands of people have taken part raising hundreds of thousands of pounds, which has played a vital part in funding all of the services St Michael’s Hospice provides to the local community. The increase in numbers and addition of a 10K event is helping St Michael’s to fund the running costs of a brand new state-of-the-art Hospice, which is due to open later this year. So far £10million has been raised to fund the new building and just another £1million is needed to complete both stages of the redevelopment.

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The event did not disappoint as the sense of community was felt throughout Herefordshire with over 100 volunteers helping out and spectators along the route cheering and supporting the runners on!

A fantastic outcome for St Michaels Hospice especially as this year they are celebrating 30 years of care.

Rebecca said it was a huge pleasure to part of such a fantastic and heartfelt community event! 

Put your money where your mouth is came to Kidwells

Yesterday we were lucky enough to have another visit from Kate Bliss but this time with a camera crew in tow. ‘Put your money where your mouth is’ is a BBC television series that was first shown on the BBC in March 2008.

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For over 10 years Kate has also been a regular antiques expert on ‘Bargain Hunt’, ‘Flog I’t, ‘The Antiques Road Trip’ and ‘Secret Dealer’s. Kate’s projects are diverse ranging from presenting short corporate marketing films to public speaking and in 2012 she narrated ‘Peter and the Wolf’ for the Three Choirs Festival.

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The format of the programme is that Kate is pitted against another antiques expert to buy various antiques at specified locations, and then try and sell them to make the most profit for charity. Kate brought in some signed watercolour sketches she had bought  by a Scottish artist called Sidney Horne Shepherd (1909 - 1993). He was noted as an exceptional draughtsman and exhibited extensively. His work is in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the McManus Galleries, Dundee.  

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Did Michael buy? We will have to wait until the programme is aired in the autumn. Nevertheless it was lovely to see Kate in the office again and interesting to watch the camera crew work.

Kate was very happy to pose with Wayne for a picture for his Nan and as she is such a big fan of Kate’s, she is also going to send her a signed photograph.

To see more pictures of the day go to our gallery

Kidwells Promotions

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Kidwells are very proud to announce that two more members of staff have been promoted to directors of their respective departments.

Kidwells became an alternative business structure (ABS) in November last year. The ABS have been operating for over a year now  In short, an ABS is a law firm that allows for both lawyers and non-lawyers to share the management and control of the business, as well as allowing for external investment.This means that new types of law firm can be created, and businesses that couldn't previously offer reserved legal services will now be able to invest in law firms, and offer legal services in new, flexible ways.

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Rebecca Hardy (left) is now director of the Client and HR department and Helen Mandeville (right) is director of the Company and Commercial Department.