The secret of success

The winner of the Public Sector Achievement Award at last year’s Isle of Man Newspapers Awards for Excellence was the Department for the Environment Food and Agriculture for creating and running the popular Isle of Man Food and Drink Festival. The DEFA’s marketing manager, Audrey Fowler. accepted the award on behalf of the team and she explained this week what makes a successful entry. ‘This was our second time of being nominated so I would want to encourage people and tell them, just because they didn’t win the first time, do try a second or even a third time. It’s definitely worth putting that form in again!’ said Audrey. Public Sector Achievement has always been a notably strong category at the awards, with a high standard of entries, and Audrey said that it was a category she was pleased to come out on top in. One of the things the awards judges always look for in a winning entry is a success that is measurable and Audrey said: ‘With the Food and Drink Festival that was quite easy to do because in 2009 we had 32 exhibitors and last year we had more than 50, which is one measure of success. ‘An event like the Food and Drink Festival leaves a footprint of statistics, as well as a growth that is obvious to anyone who attends. Everything is provable and the feedback we’re getting is so positive every year. ‘When you think about it, having more than 100 independent food producers on a small island is an achievement in itself and giving them a framework of support, which includes the Food and Drink Festival where they can showcase their wares, has been a great encouragement to many of them. ‘ Another thing the judges look for, in all of the awards categories, is how the submission reflects the Freedom to Flourish values. Quite clearly, the Isle of Man Food and Drink Festival fits very nicely with this, as a key element in the government’s Food Matters strategy, and a way of supporting so many growers, producers and restaurants on the island, as Audrey explains: ‘Every year we get smiling faces from the exhibitors at the end of the two days, all really complimentary of the event. They’ve made new contacts, they’ve made lots of money by being there – it’s all networking – and that’s all helping to grow the economy. ‘The Food and Drink Festival also helps to introduce people to the idea of buying locally grown and produced food and we’re getting more and more organisations, like the local media, buying in to that idea. ‘It’s important to us to involve the restaurants too, through the Chef of the Year contest, with the finals being part of the Food and Drink Festival programme. They are really big buyers of local meat and produce, and we want to see more Manx on the menu and more people asking for it.’ Since the event was first held in 2009 it has continued to grow with financial support from government but last year it broke even for the first time. This year Magnet Kitchens will be sponsoring the event, giving it a further financial boost. The team at the the DEFA is assisted by an enthusiastic committee. Audrey said: ‘Over the years, our committee has continued to grow, which is very encouraging. We now have 20 people on it, predominantly producers but also people who have been to the Festival and want to be a strong part of it and they are brilliant at bringing new ideas forward.’ When it comes to the benefits of winning, as a marketing person Audrey appreciates the way it can raise the profile of an event or organisation. ‘We now put the award winners’ logo on all our emails, including the chief executive’s,’ she said. ‘I think that, in particular, is a really lovely thing to have and I think it certainly helps when we are looking for sponsors for the festival – it’s a very good marketing tool.’ And then, of course, there’s the awards night itself. Audrey said: ‘When they announced the winners, I was so shocked but really pleased for the Food and Drink Festival to get it. ‘It’s a fantastic night and something I’ll always remember – just total glitz and glamour!’ Entries are now being invited for this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. There are 16 award categories, for companies, individuals public sector teams and charitable organisations. 

Read more at: http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/the-secret-of-success-1-8059077

Celebrate volunteers at annual Awards for Excellence ceremony

Live Well Stay Well volunteers, Fiona Baxter and Nigel Latham, were winners of the Volunteer of the Year Award at last year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. This is their story… When you are diagnosed with a chronic, life-changing illness, do you simply stay at home and feel sorry for yourself, or do you go out and try to help others in the same situation to get the very best out of their lives despite their conditions? Fiona Baxter and Nigel Latham took the latter course and became leaders on the Live Well Stay Well courses which are offered free to anyone over the age of 18 with a long term health condition. This might be any one of a wide variety of conditions including diabetes, heart failure, stroke, asthma, epilepsy, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s. The idea for Live Well Stay Well began at Stamford University in California in the late 1970s. It was in acknowledgement of the fact that people with a long term health condition benefit from support which is not just purely medical. ‘The health service is great, it goes so far, but people have to take responsibility for themselves as well,’ said Nigel. ‘They developed the course originally for people with arthritis but it soon became obvious that it doesn’t really matter what a person’s health condition is, everyone has similar issues that they have to deal with.’ Fiona added: ‘We all have different conditions but we’ve all got the same basic problems.’ The key element of the Live Well Stay Well idea is that these courses are better run by people who have long term health conditions themselves, rather than by clinical staff. ‘It works better because you’re experiencing what they are,’ said Nigel. It was when the idea came to the Isle of Man that it was given the name ‘Live Well Stay Well’ and Fiona was one of the first to complete the course, both on her own account and with a view to becoming a leader and helping others. Fiona was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (which is not just an older person’s illness) 16 years ago. ‘At first I just gave into it,’ she said. But things changed when she became a Live Well Stay Well leader. She took the first course that was offered on the island, along with Norman Kneen who also had health issues. Both of them had extra training with a view to becoming course leaders themselves. Fiona said: ‘I wish the course had been around when I was first diagnosed. It gave me a purpose in life, to help someone else – it’s a nice feeling at the end of the course to see them all smiling and happy.’ Nigel’s condition took a long time to be diagnosed, this is often the case and adds to people’s worry and uncertainty: when he began falling over and having problems with his hearing and sight, it was initially thought to be MS, then ME, but was finally decided to be a ‘functional neurological disorder’. He said: ‘When you are diagnosed with a long term illness you know you’re either going to go down or up. There comes a point when you think: “I’m either going to jump off a bridge or I’m going to do something about it”.’ He also trained as an instructor in the Live Well Stay Well methods and he says: ‘As a leader, by actually running the course, you’re helping yourself too.’ Around 80 people have completed the course on the island and the results are impressive with 100 per cent of participants feeling more positive about living with a long term condition, and more than 85 per cent feeling more confident about their everyday activities, talking to health care professionals and their ability to participate in social events. Surprisingly, one of the issues than many people on the courses have to deal with is guilt. Nigel said: ‘A lot of people feel guilty because they have an illness that affects their family. They’re kind of blaming themselves. ‘You may be the main breadwinner, or the person who drives the kids around, and suddenly you can’t do that anymore so you feel like a complete failure.’ Sometimes people will need help in talking to their doctor, dealing with depression, fatigue and pain, or financial problems, and just talking can help a lot. Fiona said people were often quite quiet at the start of the course. ‘But by the end of the six weeks you can’t shut them up and they can’t wait for our next get together in three months’ time.’ Fiona said that winning Volunteer of the Year Award at the Awards for Excellence made them both feel that their work was appreciated, especially as they were up against other very worthy causes. And the benefit for Live Well Stay Well is the way it helps to raise the profile. Nigel said: ‘All the doctors on the island are aware of us but we still get people who say they haven’t heard of us – something like this really puts the name out.’ Do you know someone who works tirelessly for their chosen charity? Why not nominate them for the Volunteer of the Year Award at this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence? You will find full details of all the award categories and entry forms to download at www.excellence-awards.im

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Show how you make a difference

The winner of Company of the Year at last year’s Awards for Excellence is one of the island’s best-loved institutions, Tynwald Mills. At a time when many retailers are struggling, from small independent stores to well-known high street names, Tynwald Mills last year managed to buck the trend through innovation, investment and a lot of hard work. ‘Last year retail was down overall and the way we managed to change that was to continue to invest in the business and some of its added attractions, like the cafes, to make Tynwald Mills a place where people want to come to shop,’ said marketing and project manager Matthew McSevney. ‘At the end of the day, we recognise that people have a choice: they can shop online, or they can shop in Strand Street, or they can come to Tynwald Mills, and the whole thing about coming to Tynwald Mills is that it’s not just about the shopping – we try and offer lots of extra things for people to enjoy. ‘We’ve just established the community marquee which now holds lots of events through the year, including the ice skating over Christmas. We have two cafes and a weekly farmers’ market, and the combination of those extra things and continuing to innovate, with lots of new brands and expanding the menswear department, keeps things fresh for customers.’ One of the biggest innovations for Tynwald Mills last year was the introduction of its reward card scheme. This has cost implications for the business. Matthew said: ‘The reward card has been huge for us. We have now signed up more than 9,000 people and it is a way of saying thank you to them for shopping locally and shopping with us. ‘I think the award was in recognition of all these things we’d done over the year, both in the business and community-based – really, changing the face of retail on the island.’ And, as Matthew went on to explain, the award means a lot. He said: ‘What it means to us is recognising the investment and the innovation and the effort that comes from the team at Tynwald Mills, to make a profitable retail business and one that people want to come and visit. ‘The awards night also gave us an opportunity to thank the team for their hard work through the year and to enjoy a night out to celebrate their effort and their achievement.’ What the judges said: ‘At a time when the retail share on the island contracted by 21 per cent, this was an exceptional year from Tynwald Mills with growth of 15 per cent. ‘Tynwald Mills is part of the Associated Independent Stores buying group. All the stores in the group are graded on their performance and, this year, Tynwald Mills moved up from a grade six rating to grade one, alongside other flagship department stores in the UK. ‘Over the last year, Tynwald Mills has invested in a refurbishment of several of its departments and a major expansion of its menswear department. They have continued to innovate with new brands and their new reward card scheme.’ Could your business be a winner this year? Matthew said: ‘I think it’s important for an Isle of Man company to enter the awards. ‘There are a lot of companies out there who are trying to make a difference on the Isle of Man, and follow the Freedom to Flourish values, and it gives them the opportunity to be recognised for their hard work.’ If you think your company is one of them, why not enter this year’s Awards for Excellence? There are 16 award categories and you full find full details of all of them, plus entry forms to download, at www.iomtoday.co.im shortly.

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Mylchreests sponsor award

This year we welcome the Mylchreests Group as new sponsors for Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence. The name Mylchreest has long been synonymous with motoring and motor sport on the island and the Mylchreests Group, encompassing new and used car sales, servicing, repairs and daily car rental remains very much a family business. ‘It’s our name over the door and family values are part of what we are. Manx motoring is in our DNA and has been since we first became pioneers in this business nearly a century ago,’ said managing director David Mylchreest. ‘Our customers can talk directly to a member of the family, and we welcome that, and of course our team share our family values.’ David’s two sons are also both directors of the business. James runs the after sales side of the dealership and is also assistant to the managing director, while his younger brother, Charles, is a non-executive director. Mylchreests has long been associated with premium brands such as Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover and these remain popular with their customers but they are also represent several other names, including Vauxhall, Mitsubishi and MG, which offer customers a wider choice of cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles in all price ranges. The Mylchreests Group has recently purchased the property next door to its premises at Millmount in Douglas and work has started on a conversion to create additional car repair facilities, due to much increased demand. They service all makes of cars and light commercial vehicles, and are fully manufacturer approved by Jaguar, Land Rover, Vauxhall, Mitsubishi and MG Rover ‘Since we have been appointed the island’s Vauxhall retailer we’re becoming busier and we will be recruiting additional technicians in the near future,’ said David. They are also passionate about classic cars and are proud to carry out maintenance and repairs on a number of their customers’ treasured classic cars, including such names as Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Morgan and MG. Another important aspect of the business is daily car rental, with nearly 100 cars based at the airport. Mylchreests are also agents for Avis and Budget Rent a Car and can arrange car rental for customers travelling off the island. They also offer an increasingly popular car parking and valet service for locals travelling away. At this year’s Awards for Excellence, the Mylchreests Group is sponsoring the award for Volunteer of the Year, a category that David is very pleased to be associated with. He said: ‘As a local family business we have always tried to put something back into the community, supporting events such as the TT, Manx Grand Prix, Southern 100, The Manx Classic (car racing) and the Royal Manx Show to name a few, all of which rely on the unstinting support and work by volunteers. “We are delighted to be sponsoring an award which recognises the enormous contribution that unpaid volunteers also make to our community and the valuable work they do.’ Do you know a volunteer who should be recognised for their work? Why not nominate them for this year’s Awards for Excellence? For more details on how to enter call 695695 or visit www.iomtoday.co.im

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Awards for Excellence to celebrate island’s success stories

This year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence launched with a sponsors’ lunch at the Claremont Hotel. Isle of Man Newspapers’ deputy chairman Trudi Williamson said: ‘The Awards for Excellence is now in its 11th year and we are delighted to welcome three new award category sponsors: Equiom, Old Mutual, Manx Telecom and Mylchreest’s. ‘We have recognised more than 300 local companies since the awards started and we so enjoy this unique opportunity to recognise success for companies, individuals, the public sector and the charitable sector. ‘The Awards for Excellence is a community event and we are delighted that everybody can take part and can come along and enjoy the event on the night. ‘We have been working very closely with the Department of Economic Development following its very successful ISLEXPO event promoting the island. ‘At their suggestion we have introduced a brand new award category this year: New Business/Innovation and Digital Champion. ‘The Digital Champion Award is aimed at celebrating companies and individuals who are developing the technologies of the future. ‘These may be the so-called disruptive technologies which will change the way we live and do business in quite radical ways but will, ultimately, offer benefits to us all. ‘We hope that we will get lots of entries in this new category and all the other award categories – we are aiming for a record year of celebrating the island’s success.’ The 16 award categories offer opportunities to enter for companies, individuals, the public sector and charitable organisations. The full list of award categories and sponsors is as follows: The Claremont Award for Business Person 2016 The AXA Wealth International Award for Charity, Cultural & Social Enterprise 2016 The Baker Tilly Isle of Man Award for Company 2016 The Domicilium (IoM) Award for Corporate Social Responsibility 2016 The Old Mutual International Award for Customer Service 2016 The PokerStars Award for Digital Champions 2016 The Isle of Man Government Award for Freedom to Flourish 2016 The Derivco Isle of Man Award for Innovation and Independent Thinking 2016 The Thomas Miller Investment (IoM) Ltd Award for International Business 2016 The Manx Telecom Award for New Business/Innovation 2016 The Sure Award for Public Sector Achievement 2016 The Tynwald Mills Award for SME 2016 The RBS International Award for Teamwork 2016 The Microgaming Award for Technology 2016 The Mylchreest’s Award for Volunteer of the Year 2016 The Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited Award for Young Achiever 2016 The closing date for entering this year’s Awards for Excellence is Monday, September 26.

Read more at: http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/business/awards-for-excellence-to-celebrate-island-s-success-stories-1-8021661

Awards for Excellence offer an endorsement of our business

Purple Accounts were finalists at last year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence in the Excellence in the Use of Technology category. The managing director, David Parker, tells us why successful businesses like his should enter the awards. ‘It’s a really good way of raising your profile,’ he said. ‘You can do all the advertising as far as your budget stretches but nothing can replace an independent endorsement of the business, whether that’s through testimonials or awards like the Awards for Excellence. ‘The awards night is also a good morale booster for our team and an opportunity to wine and dine them – they love it. It’s a chance to get dressed up and go for a nice meal, and it’s the excitement of it and the anticipation.’ Purple Accounts was entered into the Excellence in the Use of Technology category. There are 16 award categories but David had chosen this one because, when he started the business in 2007, it was the first on the island to offer online accountancy services, as he explains: ‘Nobody else was doing it then, certainly not for small businesses, so that’s how we broke into the market. ‘There’s a big growth in online accounting: people like the convenience of it but they also like to be able to speak to somebody as well – it’ll never replace the face to face element but we hope to strike a nice balance all round.’ David grew up in a small business, living over a corner shop in Warrington that his parents ran, so he understands the pressures and needs of others who run small businesses: ‘We offer fixed fees, provide free advice, and basically we’re there on the same level as the clients. We deal with small businesses and start-ups and that’s all. We try to keep it low key and on a friendly, informal basis so clients don’t have to make appointments they can simply call in. A lot of our new clients have done that and we have seen them straight away. ‘I think that’s what sets us apart: we’re down to earth.’ What impressed the judges: ‘…Purple Accounts has focussed on looking at ways they could use leading-edge technology to improve efficiency, reduce overheads and significantly enhance customer experience. ‘The result has been the rollout of an online accounting solution, Xero, which provides 24/7 access to clients via a PC, ipad, tablet or smartphone. This has helped their clients to stay on top of their finances and plan their businesses, in partnership with the company. ‘Purple Accounts is also launching Xero Touch which allows clients to invoice their customers via their iphone as soon as a job is completed and be paid much faster.’ Why not enter your business in this year’s Isle of Man Newspapers’ Awards for Excellence? There are 16 award categories for companies, individuals, public sector teams and charitable organisations. 

 

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