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As rising youth unemployment is described as a ‘disaster’at Davos and politicians lament a ‘lost generation, one 20-year-old from Ottery St Mary has defied the trend by launching his own successful business.
Recent figures show youth unemployment has risen to a fresh record high, with more than one in five 16 to 24-year-olds out of work. The youth unemployment rate is 22% in the UK, compared with a general unemployment rate of 8.3%.

Determined not to become part of that depressing statistic, forward looking Robin Latcham launched an Autosheen valeting business in the Exeter area last year, providing a range of premium services to local motorists.

Since he joined the UK’s leading network of valeting franchisees, Robin’s business has gone from strength to strength. The young entrepreneur reports that customers are queuing up for specialist services such as paintwork and glass protection, damage correction and a detailing service that removes every speck of dirt from a vehicle (even under the bonnet!) restoring it to showroom condition.

“Very few valeting companies can provide the range or the quality of services I can,” says Robin. “I think if you’re prepared to work hard and are focused on doing a great job for people, investing in your own business is a brilliant way forward. I’ve certainly no regrets and I’m looking forward to building my business further as word spreads about my services!”

Autosheen has recently introduced new marine and leisure vehicle valeting services, which means Robin can also clean and maintain boats and caravans, using specialist techniques and industry leading purpose designed products.

Autosheen is uniquely accredited by the Institute of the Motoring Industry (IMI) Awards.
For further information please contact Robin on 07592 544 061 or email or visit



Chartered Accountants Clement Keys has called on the government to stimulate the SME sector and support growth in this year’s budget due on 21 March 2012.

Clement Keys partner Ian Yorke believes that despite previous promises the government has not really put small business at the heart of its business growth strategy.

“Time and time again we have seen promises that have not been fulfilled. Take Project Merlin for example. Last months figures from The Bank of England illustrated that Project Merlin had not achieved its targets.

“Total net lending from the five main UK banks fell in every quarter of 2011, with a 3% drop in net lending in the final quarter of 2011. The figures also confirmed that the five banks had missed their lending target to small businesses.

“Without access to funding businesses are having to turn to family members to fund their business. A survey from the FSB found that in new businesses between 1-2 years old 70 per cent used savings and inheritance to fund their business, 34 per cent got money from friends and family and only 25 per cent used a bank overdraft.

“The government must listen to business and the organisations that represent them such as FSB and find ways to help small businesses access the finance they need.
“Whilst I am hoping to see measure in the budget that will create more competition in the high street banking and better promotion of the alternative finance sources there is a bigger issue that lies with the banks rather then the government.

“The banks are not lending because they holding onto their capital in order to re-build their balance sheets and will continue to do so whatever measures are introduced because of the way the system works.

“So whilst we wait for the system to change we must hope that what we have available can be improved. Initiatives such as peer to peer lending, asset backed finance in the Business Finance Partnership fund and better community development finance are all on my wish list.”



Women & Theatre will be joining forces with Birmingham’s oldest charity, The Birmingham Settlement on 29th February to perform a unique piece of community theatre full of fantastic stories and tips, all designed to help people make their money go further.

As a charity, debt management is something at the very core of The Birmingham Settlement, so the 29th is planned as an Open Day, featuring money surgeries and advice, as well as a chance for potential volunteers to visit and find out more about the charity’s work. It will then culminate in the performance, entitled ‘Make, Do & Mend.’

Make, Do & Mend is a project Women & Theatre have been developing across Birmingham over the last 5 months. The company has been researching with a variety of community groups to understand the issues people face, and collect advice and information to resolve any problems.

They have had informal sessions and conversations, as well as running a series of intergenerational workshops to develop the project. The performances have been designed so that community members can join the company in the morning to be ‘rehearsed into’ the performance to share with audiences in the afternoon. This will create an exciting mix of professional and community performers – a participation technique Women & Theatre have delivered successfully a number of times.

Terina Talbot, Women & Theatre’s Associate Director said; “We’ve been working for several months with community members, and it’s looking very exciting. With stories and songs, and contributions from all generations, ultimately, it’s a feel-good piece of theatre that everyone can enjoy. So if anybody wants to get involved, or needs debt advice, or simply a good afternoon out – we’d encourage them to get in touch.”

All activities will be happening from 11am at the Centre for the Aston Family, 359-361Witton Road, B6 6NS. For more information on The Birmingham Settlement, or to book free tickets to the performance (which starts at 1.15pm) call 0121 250 0777 or email

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