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Safari MK soft play and party venue wins national award

Safari MK, based in Kiln Farm, Milton Keynes has won a UK national award for excellence in food and beverage. The awards were run by BALPPA, (The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers & Attractions)*

The judges were looking for well-presented innovative menus supported by exceptional food and service. They wanted to see consideration for special dietary needs, leisure industry trends, healthy eating options along with the organisation’s approach to training and development of the food and beverage team. They were also looking for venues with consistently high standards of health and safety, hygiene and cleanliness.

“The vision from when we started designing Safari MK 4 years ago was to create something unique both in Milton Keynes and within the indoor play industry. We wanted families to want to come and eat together as well as play. The whole team work so hard every day to keep this dream alive and they fully deserve this recognition” Gordon Forster, Managing Director and Owner.

Material Matters and their food and beverage partner, Regency Purchasing Group are delighted to have been working with Safari MK soft play, in the supply of good quality food products, since they opened their doors in 2014.

Safari MK opened in October 2014 and is a family owned and run venue. They have a large 3 tier play frame including separate sections for babies, under 4s and 4 – 12 year olds, a football pitch, didicar track, 4 role play rooms and an interactive floor room. They also specialise in themed parties including Princess, Pirate, Football, Glow in the Dark, Superhero and ‘Make your own Buddy Bear’ parties. You can also have an after hours party to play laser tag in the play frame with exclusive use.

Contact for further information on the supply of food and beverages to your business – Rachel Mould of Material Matters Ltd, email: or tel: 01252 621114.

* BALPPA have been supporting the UK Leisure Industry for over 80 years, this leisure association recognised by the leisure industry worldwide and recognised by the British Government prides itself on being a driving force for safety and overall practices of excellence within the leisure industry.

Courgettes – How Much?

As you may already be aware, heavy rainfall and unseasonably cold temperatures across Europe and particularly in Spain has had a severe impact on the availability and quality of a number of products.

The aim of this letter is to provide more information on the produce affected and serve as a warning that the situation may not improve for some time.

What can you do? Well it could be timely to review your menu options and consider short term changes. In addition, it could be a good time to review your suppliers and ensure that they are supporting you with information and managing prices on your behalf.

Working together has its benefits. We have been working closely with suppliers to ensure that the impact on business is minimised and that prices remain as competitive as possible. I the last few months we have not only managed to delay these increases, but have also significantly reduced the overall impact of price increases. In some instances, we have even managed to agree fixed annual pricing allowing our members to accurately budget for 2017.

What’s effected?

Perhaps the worst produce affected. Supply is almost non-existent and we may not be able to fulfil orders as a result. Stock that is available now is extremely expensive and we would recommend that you avoid buying it if possible. Unfortunately, the situation will not improve until new Spring crops become available.
Very limited availability; to meet demand growers are picking crops early resulting in smaller sized aubergines.
Quality and availability is limited and the situation is not set to improve any time soon. This is due to potentially sub-zero temperatures forecast for the main growing region of Lorca in Spain.
The latest crop looked tired and had a shorter shelf life than usual. The price is also increasing.
Standard, vine, beef and plum varieties have all been affected by the cold weather and until it warms up, growers will be struggling to meet demand and keep quality high.
Quality has been affected with soft ends on recent stock being reported. With more cold weather due, the already inflated price is set to rise even further.

Iceberg, Cos and Little Gem Lettuce:
Still in short supply. Growers are desperate for warmer weather but none is forecast in the near future. Both quality and shelf life have been affected. Iceberg is already costing some suppliers over £12 a box!
Availability is a real issue with the British Leafy Salad Association reporting “Rainfall left some fields reduced to 30% capacity after receiving between 150 to 250 litres of water per square metre. Spinach is like gold dust in the UK.”
Both availability and quality remain good but the price is increasing slowly due to reduced production being possible for the second half of the season. Other citrus crops, including satsumas and clementines, have also been affected.

Contact to discuss further.

What is P272 legislation? The electricity update that could effect you!

Changes to Electricity Meters

There are significant legislative changes that are due to take place on a huge number of meters by April 2017.

The Government has imposed mandatory changes to all meters with a Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) beginning 05-08 (this can be found on your invoice) under the “P272 Legislation”. What this means is that all of these meters will now be changed to provide data to your energy supplier every half an hour giving an exact indication of what and when you use the most electricity. This enables the National Grid to assess consumption requirements.

Unfortunately there are additional charges levied to obtain this information.

  • Meter Operator Agreement (MOP) – a charge for the maintenance and upkeep of the new meters.
  • Data Collector and Data Agreement –  a charge for the collation and aggregation of the half hourly usage
  • Production of a Half Hourly Report.

At present the Government has not given the suppliers a clear format of exactly what these charges are going to be nor a timescale for when they will be available. We do however know that different charges will apply to different types of Half Hourly Meters.

Charges may be subject to third party intervention as and when the Government confirm the format.  We are therefore trying to ensure that any quotes are clear and concise to enable you to make the most informed decision.

Suppliers have already started updating meters and many will be done without warning. If you do receive communication check your MPAN. If this has changed it is likely to indicate that your meter has been updated.

Please don’t panic however as many of our existing Clubs are receiving calls from Energy Brokers trying to provoke concern and capturing your meter information so they can quote at the point your meter renews. Be careful who you talk to and what information you share so you are not inundated with calls you don’t want.

If you are worried about your Energy costs we can also provide Electrical Contractors who will undertake Energy Efficiency surveys, free of charge, and highlight savings that can be made.  Their assessments focus on the sensible use of lighting, advice on Energy Saving Products which can reduce your bill by up to 40%, along with producing a DIALux report to check the light intensity of the building offering tailored advice on recommended levels.

For professional service and advice please feel free to speak to Material Matters on 01252 621114 or email us on



Water Deregulation – April 2017. Time to review.

From April 2017, over 1.2 million eligible businesses and non-household customers will have the option of choosing their water and waste water supplier for the first time. Suppliers have just begun to share information and you may find that you receive correspondence regarding the pricing and supply of your water or waste water.

At this time there could be savings available to you, depending upon the location and water usage at your club. There will be additional administrative benefits for those of you with multi-sites as invoicing will be simplified.

Material Matters has the opportunity to work with the 12 licensed retailers who would be eligible to offer pricing options. We are currently collating current water invoices to ensure that we can capture any savings that will be available as soon as the fixed pricing options are available.

If you’re interested in a water pricing review then please let us know so we can ensure you are up to date as soon as options are available and any switch over will be straight forward.

Contact or telephone 01252 621114.

Business Rates Review update Oct 2016

Update on Business Rates Revaluation

New rateable values from 1st April 2017 – available online now.  Take the right advice.

The Valuation Office Agency published the first draft of their proposed 2017 Rating List Rateable Values on Friday 30th September. This is the first national revaluation for 7 years. For most the relevant information can be found on the following link and entering your golf venue’s postcode

At the time not all golf property rateable values were published however should be imminently. For those venues where information is now available, the general trend appears to be that around 66% have the same draft value as their current 2010 listing and therefore rate bills next year will be similar to the current bill.

The remaining venues will have seen values of plus or minus 7% with some significant increases across a few. For those with the largest increases then a considered strategy will be required and advice is essential.

Many of you will have had approaches from firms wanting to act on your behalf claiming it’s imperative to act quickly. This is potentially misleading however as for 95% of clubs there is no panic or rush to do anything.

Our expert, Mark Smith of Smith Leisure states “I am convinced that the best way to maximise the much needed reductions in the business rates burden on the UK golf industry is to take a carefully considered and measured approach – especially with the new statutory process for challenging rate bills called “check, challenge, appeal”. A very robust case will be required, focusing on the principle issue of golf venue rental values and what affects them on the relevant valuation date of 1st April 2015. If we don’t do this, we will almost certainly fail. Strong knowledge of the quirks of the UK golf property rental market will be absolutely essential to put a convincing case to the Valuation Office and ultimately to the independent Valuation Tribunal for England. Many firms purporting to be ‘experts’ in this important area will never had negotiated a golf club rent review/lease renewal or let a golf venue in the past.”

If you would like to discuss this matter further or require any further information, please get in touch and ensure you have the right advice.

Contact us now by emailing or call 01252 621114.


Business Rates Review 2017

Chartered Surveyor and specialist golf property adviser, Mark Smith of Smith Leisure, explains to Material Matters clients why they should get ready for an October Business Rates revaluation.

You will most likely be familiar with paying business rates – the government’s tax on occupiers of non-domestic UK properties. You will also be aware that business rates are a big fixed overhead. After salaries and wages, they might be your biggest annual overhead. Indeed, you probably pay much more in tax through business rates than you do through Corporation Tax. Business rates cost UK property occupiers around £27 billion a year and are higher than the equivalent property taxes in all of the European Union countries.
Almost certainly, you will have taken steps to minimise your current business rates liability. This would have involved looking your golf venue’s current 2010 Rating List Rateable Value. If it was too high, then it could be appealed, either directly by you as the occupier or more likely, you will have appointed a specialist firm to do it for you. Decent money can be saved. From my own results in acting for my golf clients, many venues have saved around £30,000 to £60,000 or considerably more over the life of the current statutory 2010 Rating List. For one client the saving was £500,000.
As from 1st April next year the national business rates revaluations for England, Scotland and Wales will take effect. This means that the Valuation Office Agency, an executive agency of HMRC, will be giving all relevant non-domestic UK properties a new Rateable Value. These new Rateable Values will be published in the statutory 2017 Rating List (‘Valuation Roll’ in Scotland). The new Rateable Values are to be published online in draft this October.
In simplified terms, and ignoring the effects of some rate relief schemes, a golf venue’s annual business rates liability is its Rateable Value times the ‘Multiplier’. The latter is set by government. This year’s Multiplier for the current 2010 Rating List (which ends on 31st March 2017) is near on 50 pence in the £. Thus, a golf venue with a current Rateable Value of £80,000 will be paying a tax of about £40,000 in business rates this year.
A golf venue’s Rateable Value is meant to reflect its hypothetical annual rental value at a certain point in time, on the assumption that the hypothetical tenant is responsible for keeping the property in reasonable repair. This principle applies even if you own your golf venue on a freehold basis and thus no rent is payable.
For the 2010 Rating List the relevant valuation date was 1st April 2008 – which was just before the global banking crisis and resulting deep recession (Lehman Brothers went bust in the autumn of 2008 and shortly afterwards the Royal Bank of Scotland had to be bailed out). Whilst property rental values fell significantly after 2008, the full negative impact of the recession could not be taken into account in setting Rateable Values because this was after the 1st April 2008 valuation date.
For the 2017 Rating List the relevant valuation date is 1st April 2015, which being some time before the recent EU Referendum, means (frustratingly) that any potentially adverse impact on property values as a result of the Brexit ‘out vote’ cannot be taken into full consideration – as this vote happened near on 15 months after the relevant valuation date.
To minimise your business rates liability from 1st April 2017 onwards you simply have to minimise your new 2017 Rateable Value. To do this you will need to consider whether your new 2017 List Rateable Value is fair and reasonable some time after its publication this October. If you think it is too high, you can challenge it and ultimately lodge a formal appeal, but fundamentally the onus will be on you to provide robust evidence that your Rateable Value is too high at the time of challenging the Valuation Office’s assessment.
There has long been criticism of the current business rates appeals system (operational for over 25 years) that it takes too long for appeals to get settled and too many appeals are lodged speculatively by occupiers and their professional representatives, with many being withdrawn with no change to the originally set Rateable Value.
In an effort to make the appeal system simpler, faster and fairer the government has totally reformed the appeal process as from 1st April 2017. The detail was contained in the Enterprise Bill, published in September 2015, followed by a consultation paper published by the Department for Communities and Local Government entitled ‘Check, challenge, appeal – reforming business rates appeals’.
The main thrust of the changes is to fundamentally alter the appeal process from the current one – of providing little evidence upfront to back up your case; to the new rules from 1st April 2017 – of having to state all your key evidence upfront when you challenge the assessment. Critically, the new rules are suggesting that there is limited scope to introduce further key evidence at a later date to advance your case. This means that if you are not really thorough upfront when challenging your Rateable Value, you will severely diminish your chances of a successful challenge/appeal.
Some cynics in the property profession are suggesting that the new appeal process has been designed to put occupiers (and their professional advisers) off appealing their business rates tax in an attempt to reduce the workload of the Valuation Office, a public body which is currently stretched to the limit in terms of resources.
Also, a fundamental criticism of the new system is that when the Valuation Office publishes your new Rateable Value, they will not provide the supporting evidence they used to reach their conclusions. This means they will not make available the data of rents paid at golf venues in the UK at the time of the relevant valuation date.
If you don’t have access to this information, then how can you be expected to make a good case at the outset if you are not aware of the key evidence needed to support your case? This is another reason why some are suggesting that the new rules are designed to put off ratepayers and their professional advisers in lodging challenges and appeals on their Rateable Values.
Indeed, only a handful of professional property advisers in the UK have a detailed knowledge of the rental market for golf venues. If you have used a professional firm in the past to appeal your rates, then given the new rules and you are planning to use them again, you need to have assurances from them of their true golf market credentials. Ask them to name the golf venues where they have conducted rent review negotiations and let golf venues afresh in the market. If they can’t name them, then they will be in a weak position to argue a good case for you upfront, even if they handle lot of business rates appeals in other sectors of the property market such as shops, offices and industrial buildings.
Rightly or wrongly, I chose to focus my professional career on specialising solely in the UK golf property market, and have done so for 25 years. A great deal of my work focuses around understanding the UK’s golf rental market, directly handling rent reviews and letting golf venues on behalf of clients. It is my strong belief that I can build robust cases and can quote the relevant evidence upfront in accordance with the new rules to help golf venues minimise their Rateable Values for the forthcoming 2017 business rates revaluation. I am confident that there is scope for me to help my clients save many thousands of pounds in business rates. Collectively, I have saved my golf clients many millions of £’s on business rates over the years.
If you would like me to consider your golf venue’s new Rateable Value after it is published in October this year, then please contact Material Matters on 01252 621114 who will let me know to provide you  a no obligation proposal.

make buying easy – what our clients say

As manager at Leamington & County Golf Club and former manager at Handsworth Golf Club I have switched drinks supplier to Molson Coors through Regency Purchasing Group and their association with Material Matters at both clubs. On each occasion my contact at Regency Purchasing Group was Martin Renwick and at Molson Coors Dave Hancock both of whom proved to be excellent in all aspects of the switchover. The bar install went very smoothly and the brands that we have introduced have sold significantly better than those they replaced. The support both on switching and also since changing has been excellent, not only from Martin and David but also from the new business team at Molson Coors. It is clearly evident that the tri association of Molson Coors/Regency Purchasing Group/Material Matters works and I would have no hesitation in recommending them to any golf club looking for a more professional offering for their members.

Bryan Frazer
Club Manager
Leamington & County Golf Club
Established in 1908


Fantastic opportunity to take advantage of a one-off SPECIAL discount on Liquid NPK

12-0-10 + 2% Fe

1000ltr IBC – £825 – usually £1000

200ltr barrel – £220 – usually £280

6 x 20ltr cans – £165 – usually £205

Prices include delivery

Why Liquid NPK?

  • Green up due to Fe and N
  • Growth because of N
  • Good for all area greens, tees and fairways
  • The K helps with water regulation and strengthens the plant
  • Fast acting/quick response
  • Low scorch potential
  • Consistent colour
  • Ideal for main growing periods
  • Compatible with many other products (jam jar test recommended)
  • Application Rate 50-100 L/Ha

To order please contact Caroline Skinner on 01252 621114 or email

Savings on First Aid supplies – make buying easy

We have been able to secure massive discounts on First Aid supplies along with providing easy purchasing via our Online Ordering portal.

Working in association with Compliance First Aid supplies, you can see for yourself if you wish to compare the top 6 suppliers on Google, just how significant the savings can be. Up to 50% discounts available on popular brands such as Wallace Cameron and Steroplast plasters.

Les Limbrick, of Compliance First Aid states ‘I want to sell First Aid in a much easier way’. It’s a perfect synergy for Material Matters who always want to ‘make buying easy’ for you.

We have therefore added the First Aid supplies to our popular Online Ordering tool which enables you to purchase food, drinks and consumables online already.

In addition we can provide you with a comprehensive First Aid checklist and ensure that you remain compliant in this area.

If you would like to access these great savings, receive the checklist or explore the range of benefits of Online Ordering please email us now on or telephone us on 01252 621114.

my-training – Management Training Programme

The first Management Training session was held last month for Carl Rutherford and his team at Bearwood Lakes Golf Club.

This is what Carl had to say ‘We were very happy with our first Management Training session, and the team all really enjoyed it.

I thought Clifford (Ferguson) and Eddie (Bullock) were on excellent form, and I consider us very lucky to have such knowledgeable, experienced and interesting mentors taking us forward.

We are looking forward to more……..’

If you have a training need or thoughts about development of your team then please let us know and we would be happy to discuss solutions.

Changes to your Electric Meter

The 5th of November was an important date regarding the modification of P272.

From this point onwards electricity suppliers will be obliged to upgrade 05-08 profile class meters to read half hourly within 45 days of the contract start. Under P272 all meters have to be changed by April 2017, regardless of contract renewal date.

P272 states that affected businesses must use automated meters, which send regular half hourly usage data to energy suppliers. This will make your metering more accurate and depending on the existing pattern of usage, sometimes may mean a fall in costs, while others will see a rise. For example, if you use less energy at expensive times, like the 5pm winter demand peak, you should save money.

You will need to pay for a Meter Operator (MOP), who installs, updates and maintains your electricity meter, and checks it communicates properly with your energy supplier. In addition you will also require a Data Collector (DC) and Data Aggregator (DA), who collects your energy usage data from the meter, verifies it, and sends it to your supplier so they can invoice you.

We can help you with all of this by offering support on installing ?a MOP, DA, DC. In addition we can also help you with advice on the best supplier to utilise for pricing, fixed rates and assurances of meter upgrades without inconvenience to you. Please contact us if you have any queries.

BTME & GolfBIC Show 19-21 January 2016

GolfBIC is being introduced as part of the much bigger BTME show this year and we are delighted to be a part of this as last year it brought together nearly 9,000 turf managers, golf club owners, manager and industry decision makers in Harrogate.  GolfBIC will be held in Hall Q of the Harrogate International Centre and Material Matters is delighted to be exhibiting at stand Q60.

We will be joined by a number of our strategic partners, and will be providing a wide range of activities including:

  • Drinks reception
  • Hot and cold refreshments
  • First Aid masterclass
  • Exclusive show products
  • my-golf benefits demonstration

Please join us – we look forward to seeing you there!

Register Here




Contracts Matter at Worplesdon Golf Club

Page 10 GMé February 2015

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