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The 2018 sailing season was The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s busiest season yet, supporting more young people in recovery from cancer than ever before. It was their first season using the new Spinlock Deckvest lifejackets funded by The British Allied Trades Federation (BATF).

This year was the Trust’s 15th anniversary, during which, 646 young people in recovery from cancer sailed – the highest number to date. More than 280 of those were on a first-time trip from the Trust’s bases in Cowes on the Isle of Wight or Largs on Scotland’s West Coast.

The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust is a national charity that rebuilds confidence after cancer, using sailing to support, empower and inspire young people between the ages of 8-24 in embracing their future with optimism following treatment.


Frank Fletcher, CEO, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust., said: “More young people sailed with us than ever before this year Because the new lifejackets further improved their safety and were comfortable to wear, the young people were free to push their physical limits in a way many won’t have done since treatment, while enjoying all the other emotional and mental benefits of being on a trip with others who have gone through similar experiences. Being confident in the lifejackets helped breed confidence in themselves.”

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The Trust’s vision is that every young person who has experienced cancer has the chance to reengage with life and reimagine their futures through their involvement with the Trust. The BATF awarded the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust a grant of £19,500 over three years to purchase 162 lifejackets. This enabled the Trust to replace their full stock of lifejackets with redesigned versions, which allow greater freedom of movement and comfort whilst providing a higher safety standard by making it easier to retrieve someone from the water.

18-year old-Kaleb Ells from Hall Green, Birmingham, sailed for the first time with the Trust this summer, having being diagnosed with a brain tumour three years ago. He commented:

“It’s nice to be able to talk to others who get the fragility of life. I was sat at the front of the boat with people talking about their experiences with their diagnosis, treatment and relationships with friends and family, and everyone’s defences dropped. People were saying what they found hard and that was refreshing to hear. I got a confidence boost from knowing it is actually fine to find it hard and that other people find it hard too.”

“It was nice doing something physical too, focusing on your body, what you’re doing with your hands and your balance. I think that gives you the opportunity for a breather to process things. I loved it and want to go back.”

The BATF are delighted to be able to provide practical and enduring support to the Trust, to enable them to continue to play such a vital part in young people’s cancer recovery.

The British Allied Trades Federation (BATF) is a trade association with over 3000 members  across the jewellery, giftware, surface engineering, travelgoods and accessories industries. The BATF have been supporting these industries since 1887.

Four weeks left to enter Gift of the Year

GOTY Social Post

Gift of the Year 2019 closes on Friday, the 30th of November, meaning there are only four weeks left to enter the gift industry’s most prestigious award.

There are twenty categories this year, spanning from fashion and beauty products, gift stationery, food, and even gifts for pets and their owners. And of course, any product that wins its category might also win the coveted Judges’ Choice, the winner among winners.

The awards will be given at a free event at Spring Fair on Sunday the 3rd of February.

To find out more about the competition, and to enter, visit the Gift of the Year website.

Judge Profile: Louise Welsby


Louise runs a creative marketing and communication agency with a specific focus on supporting artisan creative and food and drink businesses. They work with producers of all sizes to establish a foothold in retail, whether that be through their branding, packaging, digital marketing, website or pricing.

Buy-From has been working with the Giftware Association for two years now, and collaborated with them at the Spring Fair 2018 to provide a showcase for 11 first-time businesses to the trade show. This collaboration was a huge success and has led to some of our micro businesses gaining worldwide licensee agreements, which has changed their whole business outlook.

Louise’s expertise is in branding, marketing and communication and this will be her second year as a judge for the Gift of the Year.

If you are a retailer or a member of the trade press, and would like to join the judging panel for Gift of the Year 2019, please get in touch with the project manager at



The Giftware Association CEO Sarah Ward recently attended a recent Genesis Initiative meeting at Westminster, to discuss new proposals for making tax digital. The HMRC’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ programme will compel all but the smallest businesses to self-manage their tax affairs in a real time online environment. These plans will affect the everyday running of our members’ businesses but hopefully with advantages in terms of efficiency and reduced stress that will see an increase in productivity. Sarah Ward was in attendance representing the home and giftware industry.

Under the new initiative, from April 2019, businesses registered for VAT that have a turnover above the VAT registrations threshold of £85k will be required to keep digital tax records for VAT purposes and submit VAT tax returns through suitable software. The initiative has been delayed from July 2017 but will come into force next April in stages.

The Genesis Initiative has had concerns about the digital skills gap in SMEs, for the MTD programme to be successful there needs to be a considerable amount of upskilling on specific systems. The Genesis survey and focus group process suggest:

  • That at least 40% of SMEs are not adequately aware of MTD and the advantages it offers
  • Leaders respond, the digital tail tends not to. This means that the proportion of SMEs unaware of MTD could be higher than the stated 40%
  • At least 25% of SMEs still use primarily manual systems, without the assistance of accounting software, particularly at the smaller and self-employed end of the business spectrum
  • Less than 15% of those with awareness of MTD have become so via government sources. Trade bodies and online sources appear to have greater reach
  • Over 90% of SMEs would point to advice from their accountant or a software provider as the best way to become more digitally resilient, but 7-% think HMRC should provide specific MTD training
  • The potential advantages of MTD is as yet unclear among many small businesses, with equal proportions seeing negatives as those who see positives.
  • Genesis focus groups suggest trade association members have real concerns about the potential complexity of complying with MTD even with compatible software, but in contrast the same groups pointed towards some positive individual experiences. This may reflect fear of change as a factor in the run-up to implementation.

Sarah Ward said “It’s amazing to be a part of these talks and these meetings as we really want to represent the industry that we serve and having stronger ties to government. We feel really privileged to be a part of this historic decision and how it will affect our industry and our members.”

Sarah will next be attending Westminster on Friday, again with the Genesis Initiative to discuss businesses access to finance. If you have any questions regarding our government trips or if you have anything that you would like to raise, then please get in touch with a member of the team.

To find out more about making tax digital, check out the official government site here –



Created by The Ridleys, the brand to go to for Scottish themed personalised handmade gifts have added an impressive new customer to their list of stockists – Harris Tweed and Knitwear Ltd. The company, which is owned by the Campbell family are the most dominant Harris Tweed presence on the Isle of Harris and also where Tracy from Created By The Ridleys buys the tweed from “so for them to buy from me is probably the biggest compliment I could receive.” Say Tracy.


Harris Tweed and Knitwear Ltd was started by Marion Campbell, BEM who was born in 1909, the same year that gave birth to the Harris Tweed Association.  She oversaw and conducted the entire process herself, from raising the sheep that provided the wool, spinning and dyeing the yarn for her loom right through to the finished tweed length.

Marion was a one-woman marketing campaign for the Islands, a fact that was recognised not only locally but nationally too. Her decades as an ambassador for Harris Tweed and the Western Isles earned her a British Empire Medal in the 1985 Queen’s New Year Honours List. The honour was to mark her lifelong service to the Harris Tweed industry.
The company is now ran by Marion’s great niece Catherine Campbell and it is Catherine herself who visited Tracy in January.  Since receiving their first order they have extended the range that they buy from Created By The Ridley’s and order on a monthly basis. Tracy Continues “When I asked them why they were buying from me as there are cheaper versions of my products on the market, there answer was simply one word “Quality””

All of the products from ‘Created by the Ridleys’ are hand-made by a small team in their own workshops therefore they can tweak any of their products to suit their customers needs.