S Nicholson & Sons

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by S Nicholson & Sons's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from S Nicholson & Sons is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.snicholsonandsons.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | S NICHOLSON & SONS
Managing Director Stephen
Nicholson with his three sons
We work passionately on
local projects of all sizes
In the beginning, Stephen Nicholson had nothing. He left
school at the age of 12 without being able to read or write
and with no formal qualifications. At 16, he enrolled on a
decorating course at the local college and was subsequently
taken on as an apprentice by a nearby firm. Following
completion of the apprenticeship, he used a £1,000 Prince’s
Trust grant to put a deposit down on a van and buy a few
ladders. In 2008, Stephen incorporated S Nicholson Decorators
– known now as S Nicholson & Sons – and the business has
gone from strength to strength in the 11 years that have
followed. He tells
The Parliamentary Review
more.
As the youngest of four children, I was always taught the value of family and
enjoyed an excellent relationship with both my mother and father. It was with
this philosophy in mind that I renamed the business S Nicholson & Sons after the
birth of my second son – I want to keep the business in the family for generations
tocome.
Following completion of my apprenticeship, I built upon the skills I learnt at
college in a working environment. Soon enough, members of the community
asked me to undertake a number of small decorating projects over weekends.
I had always wanted to own my own business, however, and after a good few
of these side projects, commenced operations with a partner under the name of
Premier Decor.
FACTS ABOUT
S NICHOLSON & SONS
»Managing Director:
StephenNicholson
»Established in 2008
»Based in Bishop Auckland,
County Durham
»Services: Bespoke decorating
»No. of employees: 15
»Turnover: £520,000 in
2017/18
»Stephen received £1,000 from
The Prince’s Trust in 2008
when he started the business
– he used the money to buy
ladders and put a deposit
down on the van
S Nicholson & Sons
43S NICHOLSON & SONS |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Standing strong – from 2008
to the present day
I set up S Nicholson Decorators in
2008 – right in the middle of the
financial crisis, when construction and
many other trades were experiencing
a serious decline – after Premier Decor
dissolved. Working alone from the
outset with no other members of staff
was a gamble, but I continued to win
jobs around the local area.
The business has since grown to
currently employ 15 staff, operate
seven vehicles and generated
an operating turnover of just
under £500,000 in the 2017/18
financialyear.
Getting the right jobs
I pride myself in the fact that S
Nicholson & Sons have never taken
the easy route in terms of gaining
contracts. We have been offered
contracts from national housebuilding
companies and local authorities to
decorate both new-build properties
and renovate existing assets. My
vision for the business, however, has
always been to offer a bespoke service
working directly with clients in order
to satisfy their individual requirements.
Although it may sound clichéd, we
really do believe that no two jobs are
the same.
I feel that this approach has helped
position us as one of the leading
decorating firms in the North East. Of
course, the business wouldn’t be in
the position that it currently is without
our excellent team. Everyone has been
trained to the highest standards and
all have consequently developed their
skillsets by working on the bespoke
projects we undertake.
I have never forgotten my roots;
having started out on the journey
as an apprentice before becoming a
fully qualified decorator, I now liaise
with local colleges to recruit new
apprentices and help them in their
future careers. I am proud to state
We believe no two jobs
are the same
Although it
may sound
clichéd, we
really do
believe that
no two jobs
are the same
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
42 | S NICHOLSON & SONS
Managing Director Stephen
Nicholson with his three sons
We work passionately on
local projects of all sizes
In the beginning, Stephen Nicholson had nothing. He left
school at the age of 12 without being able to read or write
and with no formal qualifications. At 16, he enrolled on a
decorating course at the local college and was subsequently
taken on as an apprentice by a nearby firm. Following
completion of the apprenticeship, he used a £1,000 Prince’s
Trust grant to put a deposit down on a van and buy a few
ladders. In 2008, Stephen incorporated S Nicholson Decorators
– known now as S Nicholson & Sons – and the business has
gone from strength to strength in the 11 years that have
followed. He tells
The Parliamentary Review
more.
As the youngest of four children, I was always taught the value of family and
enjoyed an excellent relationship with both my mother and father. It was with
this philosophy in mind that I renamed the business S Nicholson & Sons after the
birth of my second son – I want to keep the business in the family for generations
tocome.
Following completion of my apprenticeship, I built upon the skills I learnt at
college in a working environment. Soon enough, members of the community
asked me to undertake a number of small decorating projects over weekends.
I had always wanted to own my own business, however, and after a good few
of these side projects, commenced operations with a partner under the name of
Premier Decor.
FACTS ABOUT
S NICHOLSON & SONS
»Managing Director:
StephenNicholson
»Established in 2008
»Based in Bishop Auckland,
County Durham
»Services: Bespoke decorating
»No. of employees: 15
»Turnover: £520,000 in
2017/18
»Stephen received £1,000 from
The Prince’s Trust in 2008
when he started the business
– he used the money to buy
ladders and put a deposit
down on the van
S Nicholson & Sons
43S NICHOLSON & SONS |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Standing strong – from 2008
to the present day
I set up S Nicholson Decorators in
2008 – right in the middle of the
financial crisis, when construction and
many other trades were experiencing
a serious decline – after Premier Decor
dissolved. Working alone from the
outset with no other members of staff
was a gamble, but I continued to win
jobs around the local area.
The business has since grown to
currently employ 15 staff, operate
seven vehicles and generated
an operating turnover of just
under £500,000 in the 2017/18
financialyear.
Getting the right jobs
I pride myself in the fact that S
Nicholson & Sons have never taken
the easy route in terms of gaining
contracts. We have been offered
contracts from national housebuilding
companies and local authorities to
decorate both new-build properties
and renovate existing assets. My
vision for the business, however, has
always been to offer a bespoke service
working directly with clients in order
to satisfy their individual requirements.
Although it may sound clichéd, we
really do believe that no two jobs are
the same.
I feel that this approach has helped
position us as one of the leading
decorating firms in the North East. Of
course, the business wouldn’t be in
the position that it currently is without
our excellent team. Everyone has been
trained to the highest standards and
all have consequently developed their
skillsets by working on the bespoke
projects we undertake.
I have never forgotten my roots;
having started out on the journey
as an apprentice before becoming a
fully qualified decorator, I now liaise
with local colleges to recruit new
apprentices and help them in their
future careers. I am proud to state
We believe no two jobs
are the same
Although it
may sound
clichéd, we
really do
believe that
no two jobs
are the same
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
44 | S NICHOLSON & SONS
that many of them have now started
their own small businesses in the
local area and I stay in touch with all
of them to offer advice and support
whenrequired.
Raby Estates
One of our earliest successes was
winning a contract with Raby Estates,
where we undertook a variety of
interior and exterior projects on small
homes and outbuildings across the
Teesdale area.
We soon won a contract decorating
the magnificent 14th-century Raby
Castle – home of Lord Barnard and
the jewel in the estate’s crown.
Some of the properties within the
Raby portfolio are listed buildings,
and therefore any renovations must
match the specifications of the
initialconstruction.
The Raby Estates project exposed us to
a variety of “new traditional” working
practices using materials which are not
only unique but also environmentally
friendly. This is where I first gained
experience working with lime and
clay-based paints alongside other
decorating materials and techniques
with the aim of preserving the existing
features of each building.
This project only allowed the business
to develop further; since completing
it, we have won a variety of similar
heritage contracts for the restoration
of various churches within the Diocese
of Durham. These have ranged from
small interior refurbishments through
to larger-scale property overhauls.
Keeping the business in the
family
Of course, these projects do not simply
come around on a daily basis and as
such, our current project portfolio
includes hotels, local and national
businesses and individual homeowners.
No job is too big or small for us and
this continues to be a central part of
our ethos.
Going forward, we would like to
train more of our own staff and bring
employees through that way. There is
a skills shortage in our sector – as there
is across British industry as a whole
– and educating more leaders and
skilled workers is something I feel very
passionately about. This does not solely
cover external apprentices – I want my
own children to learn, develop and join
the business in due time.
The name of the business is S
Nicholson & Sons – being a father,
my goal has developed and shifted to
ensure that my children have the best
start in life that they possibly can. I am
grateful for the childhood I had and
would not change a thing. One day,
this business will be theirs, but only if
they work for it in a way that suits our
vision – I want them to ensure that the
values and ethics that underpin our
work only continue to do so.
The business
wouldn’t be in
the position
that it
currently is
without our
excellent
team
We work with everyone
from private individuals
to national housebuilding
companies and local
authorities, and provide
the same outstanding
level of service every time
45SKIDMORES |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Director Brian Skidmore
Skidmores in 2019
Based in Worle in Weston-super-Mare, Skidmores
have become an integral part of the local community.
Established in 1919 by Edward James Skidmore, they
have expanded and adapted as their local area has changed.
Originally focusing on household wares and workers’ tools, they
have expanded their range to include carpeting and flooring. As
a small company, they pride themselves on the service they are
able to offer and have attracted and retained customers across
multiple generations. Director Brian Skidmore is the fourth
generation of his family to work in the business and explains
how the business has evolved over its 100-year history.
Our business was established by my great-grandfather, Edward James Skidmore, in
1919 as a small retail shop. Edward’s youngest son Stanley Hugh had been shot in
WW1 and was sent to Weston-super-Mare to convalesce. Liking the location and
seeing an opportunity there, Edward bought the premises and established a shop
selling household wares, workers’ tools and trade equipment for the construction
industry. The business became ingrained into the local community. Stanley took
over from his father in 1928, with his twin sons, Bill and Bert, taking over when he
died in 1947.
In the 1950s, as the construction industry was booming, they saw an opportunity
to begin to provide furniture, carpeting and flooring. In the 1960s, the business
began to work with Schreiber, stocking kitchen units and expanding their range. In
1965, we acquired a piece of land behind the shop and constructed a warehouse to
hold our carpet stocks. As Weston-super-Mare was one the fastest-growing areas in
FACTS ABOUT
SKIDMORES
»Director: Brian Skidmore
»Established in 1919
»Based in Weston-super-Mare ,
Somerset
»Services: Flooring and
furniture provision
»No. of employees: 9
»www.skidmoresltd.co.uk
Skidmores

www.snicholsonandsons.co.uk

This article was sponsored by S Nicholson & Sons. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster