Published: October 6, 2020 | Updated: October 6, 2020

Biz News round-up: Hall & Woodhouse, Wessex Cancer Trust & Accounting Services for Business

Mark Woodhouse and Lucinda Gray of Hall & Woodhouse.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Community chest awards more than £50,000 to good causes

Hall & Woodhouse has awarded more than £50,000 to 35 local causes through its Community Chest Awards.

The annual awards are an initiative created by the independent family-owned Dorset brewer.

The aims are to improve both the facilities and the lives of people in the community by providing grants to local voluntary groups and causes that require financial support.

Lucinda Gray, Company Relationship Manager & Next Generation Family Director, said: “In a year of such challenge, we’re proud to be helping others make a difference to their communities.

“We understand, and have heard first-hand from the charities, how necessary the grants are for the survival of these local causes.

“The donations are going to a real mix of charities across the south; from youth services to mental health support, to those that specialise in facilities for people with disabilities, to free computer access for those who need it most.”

The annual awards ceremony took place virtually this year and included an online beer and cheese tasting session led by Mark Woodhouse.

All winners and judges received a ‘Dorset Dozen’ beer box, a selection of characterful and crafted Badger ales, along with the recommended selection of accompanying cheeses, so that guests could participate in the event online.

This year’s awards included:

  • Bridport & District Citizens Advice was granted £1,000 while East Dorset Citizens Advice received a grant of £1,000 to train and recruit advisers.
  • HomeStart South East Dorset received £1,500 to train new volunteers and HomeStart North Dorset received a donation of £1,500.
  • The Lantern Trust, which was established in 1983 to benefit vulnerable and marginalised people in the Weymouth and Portland area, received a donation of £1,500.

As part of the Community Chest Awards, an emergency fund of £9,500 was allocated to help local causes earlier in the year during the nationwide lockdown.

Applications will be open for the 2021 Community Chest awards in March

Voluntary groups can request funding ranging from £300 to £5,000, to help achieve their aims.

Grants can be awarded for new equipment, training, transport or running costs, and made towards youth services, the elderly, or any other projects that enhance the local community.

More details can be found here.


New Chair of Trustees at cancer charity

Wessex Cancer Trust has appointed Diane Cutler as its new Chair of Trustees.

She has 40 years’ senior management experience in the financial services industry, most recently in regulatory risk and compliance roles.

Diane, pictured left, has been a committee member of the Insurance Institute of Southampton for the past 15 years and was President in 2010/11.

She currently holds the role of Charity Awareness & Fundraising Officer for the Institute.

Diane is passionate about training and development and now runs her own business as a development coach and mindfulness teacher.

She said: “Joining Wessex Cancer Trust is an opportunity for me to give back to the charity that supported me through my own cancer journey.

“I think that many people assume that once you’ve had surgery and completed chemotherapy everything is going to be fine, but it was actually at this point that I reached out to Wessex Cancer Trust’s support centre in Chandlers Ford.

“Attending the centre for yoga and therapeutic sessions gave me valuable ‘time out’ to focus on my recovery and overall wellbeing.

“The care that Wessex Cancer Trust offers clients and their families through diagnosis, treatment and recovery is truly amazing.”

Rachel Billsberry-Grass, who became Wessex Cancer Trust’s CEO in July, said: “Diane’s experience in business, wellbeing and development, and as a past Wessex Cancer Trust client, will be hugely important in helping us to get through the challenges of Covid-19, and in building the charity so we can be here for as many people as possible into the future.”

Diane is married with two children and two grandchildren.

To access cancer support visit

Wessex Cancer Trust supports 11,000 people every year through its four cancer support centres which provide a drop-in service, professional counselling, complementary therapies, activities, support groups and courses.

It also runs outreach services, popular Sing for Life choirs and transport on its Daisy Buses to help patients to get to their hospital appointments.

The charity relies on voluntary donations to fund its vital services.

To make a donation please visit


Trainee Ebony dives into a new job at ASfB

Accounting Services for Business (ASfB) has expanded its team with the appointment of a new trainee accountant.

Ebony Benfield, 23, joins the team with a recently completed AAT Level 2 qualification.

She now continues her studies at Bournemouth and Poole College to achieve AAT Level 3, eventually becoming a chartered accountant.

Ebony, pictured right, will be working with a number of software applications for bookkeeping, accounts analysis and payroll, gaining hands-on experience with the support of ASfB’s expert accountants.

Bonita Wood, Managing Director, said “We are delighted to welcome Ebony to the team.

“She brings that great combination of positivity, enthusiasm and commitment.

“We look forward to supporting her progression”.

Born and bred in Bournemouth, Ebony has always enjoyed working with numbers and was always keen on gaining accounting experience.

During her studies, she served as the Treasurer 2017/18 of Keele Student Scout and Guide Organisation.

Outside work, Ebony volunteers as a leader of a local scout group where she assists with the running of weekly meetings and scout camps.

She also uses her free time to learn scuba diving and to complete her PADI Open Water and Drysuit Courses.

Based in Westbourne, ASfB has been providing businesses of all sizes, both in the UK and abroad, with outsourced accountancy services for nearly 20 years.