Insurer’s key appointments

Suffolk-based insurance broker Alan Boswell has announced key staff appointments as the business celebrates a year of recession-busting business growth with a major new contract.

The group, which has offices in Bury St Edmunds, Norwich and Attleborough is planning to expand its geographical footprint and has announced two new key appointments at the group.

Chris Greaves joins as business development manager and Sharon Coombs-Hoar as team as customer care manager.

One of the top 25 independent insurance brokers in the country, Alan Boswell beat off stiff competition to win a deal to provide a healthcare scheme for the 2,500-member Anglia Farmers co-operative.

The contract will turnover �1.3m in premiums and represents the largest single piece of business the group has won since chairman Mr Alan Boswell started the business 26 years ago.

Mr Greaves said: “I have always had a huge admiration and respect for the way this group has operated and when the opportunity came along to join, it was too good to turn down.

“The insurance industry is currently going through the ‘soft’ part of a periodic cycle and in these circumstances most brokers retrench and just try to hold on to what they have. Alan Boswell is bucking the trend by growing and adding new clients.

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“When the market becomes more favourable we will be in a position to expand even more rapidly.

“The company is going from strength to strength. We are in a healthy position and can only get stronger,” he added.

Sharon Coombs-Hoar brings a wealth of experience as a loss adjuster to her new post at Alan Boswell.

The Alan Boswell Group, named as one of the top 25 independent insurance brokers in the UK in the Insurance Age Top 100, has not ruled out the possibility of opening further offices across East Anglia in the near future.

Mr Boswell said: “The group remains acquisitive. We are taking on staff and we plan to expand the geographical footprint of the business.”

The group currently employs 160 staff and Mr Boswell is confident that more employees will be recruited to complement the existing team.

“We regularly take on more people as and when we need them and we plan to continue growing steadily over the coming months, very much as we have done for the last quarter of a century,” he said.

ABBEYCROFT Leisure has appointed brand manager Selina Austin and health improvement specialist Sally Hogg as trustees to its board.

As a leisure trust, Abbeycroft Leisure is governed by an independent board of trustees made up of skilled volunteers each with their own areas of expertise and interest.

Selina Austin, is partner of creative agency The Design Office in Steeple Bumpstead, near Haverhill, and a brand manager with more than 10 years’ marketing and design experience.

“As a regular user of Haverhill Leisure Centre, I have a real interest in the local facilities and activities being offered by Abbeycroft,” she said.

“I hope that I can bring my experience as a user and my expertise in brand management to help raise the profile of this very important organisation in our community.”

Sally Hogg, head of health improvement partnerships with NHS Suffolk, has been one of the driving forces behind Healthy Ambitions Suffolk, an initiative to make Suffolk the UK’s healthiest county by 2028. Its aim is to inspire everyone in Suffolk to make small changes which will have a big impact on their health and wellbeing, in turn halting the rise in preventable illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

She said: “As a passionate advocate of getting people moving in Suffolk I am excited to be invited to sit on the board of trustees and to have a say in how Abbeycroft provides facilities and activities to encourage people in St Edmundsbury to be more active.”

Warren Smyth, chief executive of Abbeycroft Leisure, said: “I am delighted that Selina and Sally have joined the board. They both bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be vital in taking forward Abbeycroft’s facilities and activities in the future.”

Abbeycroft’s vision is to deliver excellence through innovation and quality in all areas from excellent customer service for visitors to the Leisure Centre and excellent training and development opportunities for our staff to discovering and supporting Britain’s sports stars of the future.

A CARE home manager from Saxmundham is celebrating after scooping a regional award.

Kath Sheldrake, who works at Chantry House on Chantry Road, scooped the Outstanding Achievement Award in the Anchor Smile Awards.

She was nominated by area manager Pam Brown for her hard work in transforming the home into a wonderful place to live.

Ms Brown said: “Kath was appointed as the Business Manager of Chantry House two years ago when the home was in crisis. Since then she has motivated and promoted her team to deliver true person-centred care. Six of her staff have achieved NHS Dignity Champion status and they have created a beautiful sensory garden. Kath has worked tremendously hard to raise the standards at Chantry House and ensure the residents have the optimum quality of life possible, regardless of ability.”

The Anchor Smile Awards, which are an occasion for employees and older people to nominate staff who provide high quality care and services, received more than 1,000 nominations.

Ms Sheldrake was thrilled to win and plans on celebrating with the rest of the team back at Chantry House.

“The wellbeing and happiness of everyone at Chantry House is my top priority so it’s fantastic to have all the hard work of myself and the team valued with this award. I’m honoured to have won,” she said.

She was presented with �500 and a certificate and will now go forward to the finals in London.

There she will compete with three other regional winners from across the country for the Grand Prize trophy and �1,000 prize money.

HOPKINS Homes has made another new appointment to support its expansion as it continues to consolidate its position as the leading East Anglian independent new homes builder, moving further into Essex and Cambridgeshire.

Daphne Abraham has been appointed as a design assistant to the design, planning and technical team with particular emphasis on future planning applications.

Ms Abraham, whose father had his own private architectural practice, brings with her over 20 years’ experience in a wide variety of high quality and demanding projects in the residential sector combined with the versatility of working with traditional and contemporary designs for new build and refurbishment work.

This is the eighth new appointment the company has made in just six months and underlines the commitment, investment and determination of the team to continue to build on the foundations which James Hopkins, executive chairman, has established.

COLCHESTER’S contemporary visual arts organisation, firstsite, has welcomed Kate Hawkins as its first head of marketing and communications.

Ms Hawkins joins firstsite from the London office of the national housing and homeless charity, Shelter, where she developed commercial links with many household company names. Prior to that, she was a senior writer and editor for the consumer magazine, Which? and worked on the organisation’s creative strategies.

Her appointment further expands the arts organisation’s professional strengths.

She will be working closely with firstsite’s regional partners to support the proposed opening of the new firstsite venue in September 2011.

Ms Hawkins, 38, who lives in Colchester, joins the firstsite team in their new temporary home on Short Wyre Street, Colchester, while work on the visual arts and conference venue nears completion.