All posts by Peter Bright

Small Businesses Can Take on an Apprentice and get £1000.00 #devonbusiness #ndevon

Apprenticeships and Small Businesses (49 Employees or less)

South Molton Business Association is aware that there is a need with in North Devon for a small business to expand and grow. This growth is sometimes held back by the lack of appropriate prospective employees or enough cash to employ another member of staff.

Apprenticeships are a cost effective method of gaining an extra pair of hands and enables the business to ‘mould’ an individual and train them to work within an existing working practice.


The value of an apprentice to your small business is to be able to train a young person (16-18 years old) to fit your exact business needs while at the same time not having to incur significant costs during this training period.

How Much Do You Pay To Hire An Apprentice?

Small businesses will NOT be required to pay for the cost of the apprentice’s training.

AND the government will pay you £1000 to employ and train an apprentice.


Small businesses can chose from a list of approved frameworks. These frameworks are job descriptions of workplace environments, one of which should match most small businesses’ job requirements.

The small business works with an advisor from a College or other local training provider to select the framework that best fits their work place.

Small businesses will continue to work with the local training provider, usually their local College, who will manage the ongoing training, assessments and end point assessment requirements as well as provide additional English and Maths training if deemed necessary.

The apprentice will normally complete their training within 12 months, though this can be longer depending on the framework chosen (the requirements of the job training).

Commitment Required of the Small Businesses

The business must employ the apprentice on a contract of employment and pay them at least £3.70 an hour (from April 2018).

The business must provide the apprentice with the on-the-job training required for their apprenticeship.

The business is expected to employ the apprentice permanently once they have successfully completed their training, unless there is a reasonable reason why this is not possible.

Next Step

The SMBA propose to host a meeting between our members, colleges and other local apprenticeship trainers, so you can get more information on how an apprentice would add to the success of your business.

If you are interested in learning more about apprenticeships please contact the SMBA –

Adapted from an original document  by Michael O’Brien

Do we have a choice for our Business Banking?

With the pending disappearance of another bank from our high street, legitimate banking options for cash based companies is dwindling. It is fair to say that the need for cash and cheques is disappearing, we can pay with our credit / debit cards or via an app on our phone in the majority of shops in South Molton. However, what about the small company or the sole trader? The cost of some electronic card payment plans are prohibitive and receiving ‘micro payments’ are not an option.

Let’s create our own bank or create an alternative currency. Local Businesses need to get control back someway…

The loss of another high street bank not only causes inconvenience for smaller businesses, it removes the choice from business banking options.

The options outlined below by Nat West for alternative methods of making transactions and gaining advise or questioning day to day banking issues falls short in reality. We have all spent hours trying to contact our bank via phone to resolve simple issues – speaking to a  person in a local branch can not only prove to be time saving but it encourages a two way respect between a business and a bank.

Will the Post Office be our last option or is that going to be Custer’s Last Stand?

Below is part of a statement from Nat West:

“Our world is changing rapidly, with people relying more and more on technology in all aspects of their life. Shopping, booking a holiday online has become the norm for many. Banking is no different and many of our customers are looking for and using more convenient ways to bank. Between 2010 and 2015, mobile and online transactions have increased by over 400% and mobile transactions alone have increased by 1,350%. As a result of this change, we have seen the number of transactions in these branches declining by between 13% and 40% since 2011 and between 49% and 88% of the branch customers are actively choosing to use our digital banking options. We are following the Access to Banking standards and we have made the decision after careful consideration of a wide range of factors, including regular branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us. We provide a range of alternative ways to bank, tailored to the needs of our communities and reflective of the way our customers live their lives. These include:

Online and mobile: we are committed to educating customers on how to how them securely and simply.

Telephony: our customers can contact us over the phone, via web-chat and social media. Our contact centres are open 24/7 and teams are trained to answer almost every query at first point of contact.

Post Office: We have a national agreement with the Post Office, the closest is between 0.3 and 0.88 miles away from the branches so that our customers can pay money in, take money out, check balances and business customers can get coinage.

ATMs: There are a number free to use ATMs within 3 miles of each branch.

Mobile branch: We are introducing a mobile branch service to communities and we will be engaging with our customers and the local community to understand the best day and time for the mobile branch to visit.

Community Banker: based in the community and surrounding areas, to provide our customers with personal assistance in accessing the right banking options for their needs.

TechXperts: based in the branch until it closes, our experts will offer training and support with digital skills, as well as fraud and scams education and protection.”

Branch and Closure Dates for Nat West customers in Devon

Axminster               30/05/2018

Bideford                29/05/2018

Crediton                06/06/2018

Dartmouth               11/06/2018

Exeter University       14/06/2018

Ilfracombe              18/06/2018

Okehampton             31/05/2018

Sidmouth               27/06/2018

South Molton            25/06/2018

Teignmouth              28/06/2018

Totnes                  21/05/2018

Lattern Parade – South Molton Winter Wonderland

South Molton Business Association is proud to sponsor our local schools and we are highly delighted that the Lantern Parade tomorrow evening is going to be a mass of colour and light.

South Molton and its surrounding parishes definitely have a good supply of creative children, if the sample below is anything to go by…

We would like to thank all the pupils and teachers who are taking part in tomorrows parade – your effort is appreciated.

Winter Wonderland 2017

Friday 1st December South Molton Pannier Market

This year there will be traditional rides, live music and children’s entertainment in the Square to compliment the late night shopping in the Pannier Market and around the town. The Fatstock Show will run independently on Sunday. St Mary Magdalene Church are hosting the Christmas Tree Festival for 5 days, including the weekend.

This Friday is Winter Wonderland in South Molton – #westbuckland #northmolton #southmolton #filleigh #ndevon #christmasshopping

Winter Wonderland 2017

Friday 1st December South Molton Pannier Market

This year’s event is organised by South Molton Business Association with sponsorship from Mole Valley Farmers and Geoffrey Clapp Associates.

The event starts at 4.30pm and includes a Christmas Market, Santa’s Grotto, a Children’s Lantern Parade and many more other attractions. There is also late night shopping in South Molton’s independent shops and plenty of places for you to go for a drink or have something to eat.

sm winter flyer 2017

This year there will be entertainment in the Square to compliment the late night shopping in the Pannier Market and around the town.

The Fatstock Show will run independently on Sunday and St Mary Magdalene Church are hosting the Christmas Tree Festival.



Fancy becoming a Town Councillor?

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South Molton Town Council have a vacancy due to the resignation of Cllr Tracy Lewis

This is a wonderful opportunity for someone who has the drive, determination and energy to make a difference, helping to make South Molton a better place  to live and do business…

Forms of nomination for the Town Election may be obtained from the Clerk to South Molton Town Council. They can also be downloaded via the link below:

Nomination papers must be delivered to the Returning Officer, Lynton House, Commercial Road, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 1DG on any day after the date of this notice but no later than 4pm on Tuesday, 12th December 2017.

If any election is contested the poll will take place on Thursday, 11th January 2018.

Applications, amendments or cancellations of postal votes and amendments or cancellations of proxy votes must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Lynton House, Commercial Road, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 1DG by 5 pm on Friday, 22nd December 2017.

New applications to vote by proxy at this election must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Lynton House, Commercial Road, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 1DG by 5 pm on Wednesday, 3rd January 2018.