Seafox Management Consultants Ltd
Office F6
The Enterprise Village
Prince Albert Gardens
N.E. Lincs
DN31 3AT

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Our Blog

Posted By: Brent Newton, HR Superheroes




I was at an HR conference a few years ago where the legendary (neutron) Jack Welch – former Chairman and CEO of General Electric and voted Business person of the century, was the keynote speaker.

He stood up and the first words he spoke after the greeting went something like this ‘‘Every great company I know, has a great HR department, so there must be something in this’’. Vindication at last …. HR is needed by the great (and not so great) companies!

What Jack Welch was highlighting is that a company will find it difficult to achieve its full potential if the HR department is not ‘’pulling its weight’’. This means that HR must have a positive impact and add value to a company – if this is the case, then are we superheroes or villains? Are we doing what we are supposed to be doing? There has long been a yearning for HR to be regarded as strategic partners i.e. to be invited to sit at the Boardroom table and give meaningful input to the strategy.

It is absolutely vital that HR is able and capable of influencing the strategy of a company, whether it is G E or an SME with 30 staff, because ultimately, it is people (human resources) who will deliver on the strategy. This can be achieved if HR really understands the company, in other words, where does our profit come from, what is our gross margin, what is our return on investment and where are we vulnerable regarding our people – this doesn’t mean that HR have to become financial directors, but what it does mean is that HR need to be business oriented and HR oriented. Allied to this point, we also need to use language that the ‘business’ understands and can align with. How can HR help a company if they do not know how it functions and where its growth areas and vulnerabilities are situated!

If it is not feasible for your company to have a dedicated HR person, the principles above still apply. They will need to understand your company – what is your culture, where you are now, where do you want to go in the future, how are you going to get there and what type of people will you need at various stages of the journey. This is where HR really makes a difference regarding the strategy of the company.

Thought for the day:

‘’What can I do today to get to know the business better’’?


For further emphasis on this topic, please press control and click on to this recent research by Professor Edward Lawler III for Forbes (2012) – stating the time is right for HR to play a key role in business strategy development and implementation.

Posted By: Leanda Ashley



By popular demand and with Good Friday and the Easter holidays fast approaching, Seafox would like to excite your appetite with another delicious recipe using traditional smoked fish…….

Traditional Smoked Haddock Tartlets with Watercress and Lemon

Ingredients required:

  • Traditional smoked haddock
  • 4 eggs
  • 150ml double cream
  • Salt & black pepper (for seasoning)
  • Lemon
  • Filo pastry
  • Gruyere Cheese
  • Chives

Please see link below for video recipe:

For further recipes and information on where to purchase traditionally smoked fish, please take a look at their project website:-

Enjoy! and have a great Easter weekend.

Posted By: Leanda Ashley



Seafox are working with the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association to deliver an initiative to raise awareness of traditional fish smoking in the UK, particularly the great tastes and amazing health benefits of the products. This project is funded by the Seafish industry Authority and the European Fisheries Fund.

In this weeks blog, we would like to whet your appetite with a delicious recipe using traditional smoked fish.

Smoked Haddock and Cherry Tomato Rarebit

Serves 4-6


For the rarebit sauce
50g reduced fat margarine
50g plain flour
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
600ml semi skimmed milk
Pepper to taste
100g grated Lincolnshire Poacher cheese
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

For the Fish
50g margarine
1 clove of garlic, peeled & crushed
550g cherry tomatoes, halved
350g spinach, washed & trimmed
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
550g undyed smoked haddock, skinned & de boned
50g Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, grated


Method—Preheat the oven to Fan 170˚C, 190˚c, Gas mark 5
1. To make the sauce—melt the margarine in a saucepan. Stir in the flour & Worcestershire Sauce.
1. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat & slowly whisk in the milk until combined.
2. Return the saucepan to the heat & bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Simmer for 2 minutes, then stir in the pepper, grated cheese & mustard..
3. The sauce to one side.
4. For the fish— Melt one third of the margarine in a large frying pan, add the garlic & cook until just coloured.
5. Add the tomatoes & toss them in the garlic margarine, just enough to heat through. Tip the mixture into the base of a shallow ovenproof dish & spread in an even layer.
6. Add the remaining margarine to the frying pan & add the spinach, cook until wilted.
7. Tip into a colander, drain any excess liquid, season with salt, pepper & the grated nutmeg
8. Arrange the spinach over the tomato layer in the dish, then cover with the fish fillets.
9. Heat the rarebit sauce & spoon evenly over the fish to coat the fish fillets. Then sprinkle over the grated cheese.
11. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden & bubbling & the fish is cooked through.
12. Check by inserting the point of a knife into the fish. The flesh should flake easily. You can finish the rarebit off under the grill to brown the top more.


For further recipes and information on where to purchase traditionally smoked fish, please take a look at their project website:-



Posted By: Chris Wilson, Freeman Street Business & Digital Hub




The official opening of the Business & Digital Hub on January 31st 2014 was the culmination of four years of hard work – formulating the business plan, ploughing through extensive ERDF documentation, and the construction process to produce one of the most high-spec office spaces in the Grimsby area. We could not have got to this point without the help of numerous individuals and organisations, including Seafox’s Liz Baghurst for guiding us through the grant application stages, and the Department of Local Communities and Government for match-funding the project.

Located in the north-east quarter of Freeman Street Market, the 985m² Hub has already proven since opening what our research indicated when the Hub was conceived: there is great demand for high-quality offices and meeting rooms in the East Marsh; particularly as the East Marsh is undergoing a renaissance of sorts.

The Enrolled Freemen of Grimsby, and its wholly-owned subsidiary: Pastures Development Company Ltd, are at the forefront of Freeman Street regeneration scheme. In Freeman Street Market itself, courtesy of over £1 million in investment, footfall has increased 20% since 2009. The renovation of the Market stalls, lighting, and flooring to modern standards – while also creating the unique ‘Courtyard’ area that houses retail space and a café – has created a comfortable environment for customers to shop and relax.

Now with the £1.4 million Hub open, we are turning our attention to attracting a wide-range of businesses into the area – from the community sector, to those in the digital and renewables industries.

The Hub’s role in the area’s regeneration is twofold. First, our space facilitates job creation by providing cutting edge space for businesses to let on a flexible basis; while our meeting rooms are perfect for the type of training and seminars that can help increase employability. Then, by housing the area’s best and brightest companies (who may not even consider basing themselves in East Marsh otherwise), the economic benefits will be substantial as individuals begin to use Freeman Street’s eclectic range of shops and services. This will give the area as a whole a massive uplift.

That is why this is such an exciting time for Freeman Street and East Marsh as a whole, and the perfect reason to bring your business to the Business & Digital Hub. Please visit our website, or call us on 01472 426450 for more information about our office spaces and meeting rooms.

We hope to see you in the near future in the Hub!

Posted By: Roy Palmer



I had the opportunity to go to North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) for the first time and overall had an excellent time in Bergen. My congratulations to Jorgen Lund and his team at NASF.

There were certainly lots of excellent high level executives in attendance and that augers well for the event and the on-going activities of the exciting seafood industry that we belong. To hold the event in Bergen where the high street is a harbour of fishing and aquaculture vessels coming and going is marvelous.

I am certainly not being critical but it made me think that having that level of participation could be actually creating some great outcomes for the industry overall. An event that people want to go to as it’s not just a talk fest but it’s a place where problems are solved, where people see the value-add, where problems are shared and solved.

Whilst at the events Whitefish Forum discussions it struck me that we are producing delicious, nutritious wild harvested whitefish and the main aim seems to be to turn them into a commodity. Fishermen are losing their lives (something Mike Berthet from M&J Foods pointed out in his presentation) in the last ‘hunter-gatherer’ protein that we are putting on consumers plates and the main thought is turning the product into blocks and creating crumbed/breaded products which need to be fried (thus possibly losing all the nutrition) and fighting to the bottom of the chain in selling to the likes of famous burger chains, etc.

If creating the Fish Finger or Fish Burger is all we are aiming to aspire to then I am thinking that we might be wasting our time and, more importantly, some fishermen’s lives!

Surely we can do better? Surely we have more innovation than this? Or are we stuck in the mold that we have these processing plants and equipment so we will continue to follow the road we have been travelling since Captain Birdseye, or whoever (actually the word is the fish finger was developed in an old Birds Eye factory in Great Yarmouth by Mr H A J Scott in the 1950s*), invented the famous ‘finger’.

Apparently Birds Eye* launched the fish finger in the autumn of 1955 at the Brighton Sales conference and the selling price at the time was 1s 8d. I wonder what that equates to in today’s terms? Have we really got our value from this?

Can anyone really tell me that we are maximizing the phenomenal white fish resources that we have by taking this commodity route? 

Perhaps every year the NASF should have a contest for the best innovative product for utilisation of white fish – maybe one for wild harvest and another for aquaculture. This might drive change and we might start moving into a new paradigm.

Every time I am back in the northern climate in winter I marvel at the courage of the fisher folk that risk their lives every day searching the freezing oceans in all types of weather for their sustainable quotas, meeting all the laws that bureaucrats throw at them. I wonder very seriously about whether I could be that brave. I wonder why many of them do it when they see what comes out as a finished product – would a fish finger inspire me to risk my life?

We learnt at NASF that the German consumers are the most concerned about seafood sustainability and therefore create the need for others to follow their requirements with various costly certification issues.

Should we, therefore, continue to pamper to that market or should we start looking further afield to where the majority of middle classes with money in their pockets and a stronger desire for seafood with a less demanding approach? These maybe markets that appreciate a whole fish, or who like raw fish, or who enjoy their fish steamed. The world today is full of potential.

Is it time to give our ‘finger’ to the ‘finger’?

I look forward to hearing from you and sharing your ideas.

You can email me at




Posted By: Allen Young



Harbour Place Day Centre in Grimsby was formed in 1996 to address the needs of the homeless in the town.  I am informed by our longest serving volunteer that three people turned up on the opening day. Each person had something different to eat: beans on toast, sandwiches, and soup. Oh how things have changed!  In 2012 our team of volunteers served up almost 8,000 two-course mid-day meals and 2,000 breakfasts, with an average of 40 meals being served every day.  The average number of people coming through the doors is now 50 people per day. You can imagine it gets very busy in the Centre around mid-day.

Our services have developed and expanded over the years to address the needs of our client group and changes brought about by welfare reforms but underpinning our work are the same values and principles Sister Hilda held when she turned the key of the door to those first three people.  It is so pleasing when people visit the day centre and comment on how friendly and relaxed the atmosphere inside the day centre is. “It’s not what I was expecting, everybody is so polite” and “I can’t believe how many people there are in here and it’s so calm” are some of the frequent comments we hear.  Our philosophy, as we say to our visitors, is treat people with respect and they will show it back to you – it seems to work.

Clients that come into Harbour Place are some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised members of our community.  If we are to believe statistics Harbour Place is situated in a socially deprived area. The majority of clients are living in the East Marsh, identified in the top 1% most deprived wards in the country. Most of our clients are unemployed, claiming state benefits and living on or below the poverty line. Many are living in sub-standard housing; hostel accommodation; or are homeless, sleeping rough or ‘sofa surfing’ at friends houses. Consequently, this ‘hard to reach’ group lead chaotic lifestyles and many have complex needs. Harbour Place helps to tackle these issues in a holistic manner by supporting the client to make changes to improve their lives. As we said in our successful Big Lottery application, “Harbour Place is the glue that helps to stick it all together.”

Recently Harbour Place has made some really positive steps to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping, through our outreach service.  The outreach project supported over 100 rough sleepers and homeless people in 2012 and successfully assisted many of them into accommodation. This work has developed further with the introduction of Harbour Place’s Housing Project. Harbour Place is now co-working with a private landlord to provide shared housing accommodation. Although in its infancy 18 people have been accommodated and are being supported by Harbour Place Outreach.  We are really pleased with the way that the project is going at the moment.

Funding is a continual challenge for all charities, particularly charities which are not sustainable. Our association with Liz Baghurst at Seafox was instrumental in supporting us with the application process for the Big Lottery fund which also necessitated a detailed independent evaluation of the centres work.

We are predicting an exciting year in 2014.  Our successful Big Lottery application will without doubt have a positive impact on many people in this coming year and the years that follow.  The real shame is, that there is a real need for places like Harbour Place in this day and age.

Posted By: Liz Baghurst


Anyone that has experienced applying for funding before will tell you that it can be perplexing, overly time-consuming, complicated and sometimes downright frustrating!

Government bodies for all the talk about cutting red tape, deregulation and private sector approaches are notoriously bad at communicating. Never mind the age of the hashtag and ‘text speak’ we are also in an era of excessive use of anagrams and jargon by Government Bodies which frankly exclude and baffle the majority of us. The European Commission is one of the worst offenders with its use of anagrams…ESF, ERDF, EMFF, FP7, JESSICA .

Is it any wonder why many companies and organisations put funding and grants in the ‘Too Hard Drawer’? 

We often meet companies that report feeling cheated by the system when they have applied for funding only to find that their projects do not fit the criteria or are not able to provide funds in the right timeframe to meet their aspirations.

Well it’s time that we stopped allowing these practises to alienate people from participating and benefiting from funding and grants and make it easier for people to get involved. There will always be anagrams and criteria and processes to adhere to but let’s get the support in place to make these systems work for the business.

Most businesses have regular contact with their Chambers, Business Advisors, Accountants, Bankers, Local Councils. These relationships are the starting point for a discussion about any plans for development and funding and grants should always be on the agenda. 

Our approach in Seafox is to work very closely with each client so that we understand what they are trying to achieve and how their plans may benefit from Government Funding. We have a simple motto which says it all “Don’t spend anything until you have spoken to us”. 

Posted By: Esther Damary-Thompson



“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion” – Georg Hegel

When I first moved to the area The Humber was just a river to me, there was a bridge that crossed it and a man once walked across it.

That was the beginning and the end.

Oh how wrong was I? The Humber is the UK’s Energy Estuary; powering the UK.  Being the UK’s busiest port, it brings everything fuel, food, people and cars. What is even incredible is what comes from the Humber, from the businesses based on the banks.

In my old role I looked at the products that come from the region the medicine from Reckitts, the steel from Tata, traditional Grimsby smoked fish from Grimsby Traditional Smokers Group and even fashion from Stella & Alf. There is no country in the world that has not done business with this region somehow or another…. now is it just me, or is that pretty incredible.

The scale of activity and assets here is like none other, but there is something else that is even bigger… the passion.

Last year I was lucky enough to deliver a series of events whilst in my role at Bondholders with NE Lincs Council. The hunger for innovative thinking, and creative inspiration is clear … with drive like that it is not only The Humber that can create powerful energy and become a key asset for our country but also the businesses here.

Now when I look at the Humber and the see the bridge as I come in, I see the drive, I see the success. It is no longer an Estuary, a port complex… it is my home.

It is a place I am passionate about… and anyone who knows me knows that I am not particularly quiet but when I connect with my passion I cannot stay silent.

So what is my passion – My passion is not the estuary, its not about the boats coming into the ports… it is about some of the incredible people I’ve met here.

These incredible people have done some amazing things and will continue to…



Posted By: Steve Norton




I’m delighted to have been recently appointed Chairman of the Northern Chapter of the British Icelandic Chamber of Commerce (BICC), with effect from 1st January 2014. My appointment follows a period of dormancy in the BICC's activity but I intend to seize this opportunity to re-establish and promote trade opportunities for the mutual benefit of both nations. 

I have great memories and valuable experience of working with the BICC and I’ve been involved with British / Icelandic commercial and cultural links for over 20 years, visiting Iceland many times during that period. It's now my intention to the work with the BICC and its members to grow and enhance important trade links not just for seafood but other tradable commodities. Already we have several events planned over the coming months to promote Anglo/Icelandic initiatives to forge new commercial ties especially bilateral trade between the two Nations.

The first of these events will take place in Leeds in late March or early April and will showcase the export opportunities for businesses in the Humber & Yorkshire region to export their products, services and knowledge to the Icelandic market. The second event will be attendance at the Icelandic Fishery Exhibition, Sept. 25-27, whereby, the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association's 'Seafood Grimsby & Humber' team will join forces together to meet our many Icelandic seafood friends to discuss the importance of their seafood export into our processing cluster. It's initiatives like these that I'm pleased to say have the overwhelming support of both the Icelandic and British Ambassadors - their passion for our bi-lateral trade links makes our trading relationships that more important and unique in many ways. Support also comes from UKTI and BICC Icelandic representatives.

We always recognise that Grimsby and the Humber have well established trade links for the supply of seafood from all over the world. These are longstanding and hugely important trade relations within our area. However, when it comes to fresh fish particularly, Cod and Haddock, Iceland plays an essential role week in and week out, in supplying the seafood primarily to our wonderful Fish Market and has a major impact on our local economy, generating millions of pounds in trade and sustaining thousands of jobs.

I'm very much looking forward to serving the BICC and its northern Chapter to sustain existing trading relations and open up new doors for opportunities that can benefit our local economies and regions.

Steve Norton

Chairman, BICC Northern Chapter

CEO Grimsby Fish Merchants Association.

Posted By: Leanda Ashley



I joined Seafox Management Consultants as their Commercial Executive in November 2013, with very little knowledge about Grants and Funding. In the last three months however, I have had plenty of exposure and in this week’s blog, I would like to share with you my thoughts and first impressions on my personal experience of the very interesting and exciting ‘World of Funding!’

The first surprise to me was the variety and the amount of Investors and Grant Giving Bodies that are available….there’s lots! and also how they provide assistance to such a variety of sectors from Charities to Tourism to Education to Seafood Processing & more besides! It is so vast.

I feel it is so positive and encouraging of exactly how much is on offer and how Seafox and our Director of Funding & Grants, Liz Baghurst, can assist to support organisations in achieving their growth and in some cases, survival plans.

Here at Seafox, we receive calls from potential clients requiring our expert advice on a daily basis. Clients find us through referrals, our webpage and social media activity (see below) or through reading about us in the local business journals. We also find organisations to match the funds we have. An important part of my role is the weekly scanning and researching of new grants that are available or about to become available, that will benefit certain sectors. I quickly produce a marketing 'flyer' and share this with our immediate network including Banks, Accountants, Public & Private Sector bodies and the sectors concerned are also informed of new funding available that we feel could assist them and make a difference.

I particularly think it is great how much funding and grants have helped some of the charities in our area. We have past success stories and are constantly working on bids with charitable organisations too. It is wonderful to see what a difference the funding makes in order to enable them to provide services that make a real difference (and are often vital) to local people’s lives.

I have also found the Research and Development Grants quite interesting as the end result is that they stimulate innovation which is very positive for the future and our future generations.

I’ve accompanied Liz Baghurst to various meetings with our clients. I have found it so exciting to hear their plans and it is very motivational in wanting to assist them to create and achieve their plans and the knowing that if successful, it will improve areas, potentially create jobs and overall provide a better future for our local area and make it more sustainable.

Depending on which Funding clients are going for, the application process can be lengthy but if successful, the end result is worth it.

I love my job at Seafox Management Consultants and I am looking forward to being involved in helping our clients in 2014.

Leanda Ashley


Twitter:                @LeandaAshley1