Monthly Archives: February 2015


Cygnet Everest 1 e-mail

Cygnet Law staff are scaling the equivalent of Mount Everest by climbing the stairs at work.

Thirty employees at the Redcar-based firm are embarking on the challenge as part of an initiative to promote better health in the workplace.

Staff will be collectively climbing the height of Everest in a month by walking up 52,047 steps.

That is comparable to the 8,448m height of Everest and is also equivalent to climbing the tower at Durham Cathedral 160 times or to the top of Newcastle’s Grey’s Monument 317 times.

To complete the challenge, each member taking part must climb the reception stairs six times every weekday during the month.

As climbing stairs burns around a fifth of a calorie per step, that means the employees will burn around 10,000 calories between them, without having to cope with any altitude sickness or below-freezing temperatures.

It is part of Cygnet’s bid to achieve a bronze award in the North East Better Health at Work Award scheme.

The initiative, which is supported by the NHS, recognises and celebrates the hard work and commitment of organisations that are improving the health of their employees.

Staff at Cygnet are also using the challenge to raise money for the British Heart Foundation as part of National Heart Month.

Peter Medd, a director of Cygnet Law, which specialises in family law, mental health, conveyancing and wills and probate, is one of the staff members taking part in the Everest climb challenge.

He said: “We were researching ideas for office-based exercises and came across an article about climbing Everest at work.

“The staff have really taken to the challenge, with some office-based members taking to the stairs more often to make up for the staff who are out at court all day or on annual leave.

“It’s a fun way of encouraging staff to get out of their seats and moving around the office, to boost morale and improve fitness.

“We know our staff are Cygnet’s biggest asset and working towards the Better Health Bronze Award is just one of the ways we strive to improve the wellbeing of our employees.”

Pic caption: Some of the Cygnet Law staff who have taken up the Everest challenge: l-r Amy Drinkhall, Kira Reece, Alistair Nixon, Rebecca Fox, Stacey Turnbull, and Kirsty Jackson


Peter Medd 4

Tees Society Forum’s spotlight has turned on to the General Election with members outlining what they would like to see on the political agenda that would improve society.

The Forum, which is chaired by Peter Medd, a director of Redcar-based Cygnet Law, provides leading community figures with a platform to examine key social issues affecting the Tees Valley.

This month’s question was: ‘Putting political parties and allegiances aside, what would be your one General Election wish that would help improve society and why? ‘

Peter Medd said: “The wide-ranging membership of the Forum is demonstrated by the spectrum of opinions on what should be top of the political agenda for the fast-approaching election.

“It will be interesting to see what stance the parties take on issues such as housing, welfare benefits, education and the economy, as the manifestos take shape, and whether they tally with any of our Forum members’ wishes.”

Lawrence McAnelly, Chief Executive of the Junction Foundation, a charity which helps vulnerable children, young people and their families, said: “At The Junction we are privileged to work with so many children and young people, who are brimming with potential, but more often than not they can be held back.

“Young people can face significant challenges depending on their personal circumstances, eg being a young carer and carrying the responsibility for caring for a family member, having poor mental health, the social environment, the confidence and self-belief to identify, seize and make the most of opportunities.

These and other issues present significant barriers to young people being able to make their way in the world.  We believe, and feedback from young people informs this, that by investing time and effort and working with young people we can empower them to achieve.”

Councillor David Walsh, of Redcar and Cleveland Council, said: “By focusing on the deficit as against looking to Keynesian growth, mainstream parties simply carry on viewing the economy through the wrong end of the telescope. 

“The plain fact is that the deficit is a function of the health of the economy (its share falls when the economy is expanding and rises when the economy is failing). Because it is a function of the expanding or contracting ‘cake’ that is the economy, government is not able to control its size – as George Osborne has found to his cost. Why would we want to repeat this catalogue of errors and failures?”

Iain Sim, Chief Executive of Coast & Country, one of the largest regeneration and housing companies in the region, said:“The housing crisis is affecting people from all walks of life and all parts of the country; we must unite and commit to end the housing crisis within a generation to help stimulate development and growth in our communities. Investing in housing generates growth in the economy, creates new jobs and ultimately provides people with a place they can call home.

“At Coast & Country, we believe everyone has the right to a decent affordable home, a home they can call their own.

Martin Shutt, Managing Director of estate agents Parker Stag, said: “I would say that the General Election needs to focus on what I perceive to be the real “divide” in this Country i.e. not North v South but those in society that are prepared to work hard and contribute to the country and those few that are happy to sit back and choose a lifestyle of simply taking from the country and not giving anything back. A radical overhaul of the long term benefits culture would be my wish.”

Richinda Taylor, Chief Executive of domestic violence charity Eva, said: “To choose just one election ‘wish’ is not easy! As someone who works in the voluntary sector, I would hope that whoever leads the next Government would recognise the value that the sector can bring to a community.  By working in partnership with statutory agencies, EVA is able to attract a large amount of additional funding from the private sector to support members of our community that would otherwise not be available.  This enables EVA to help improve the lives of those in the Redcar and Cleveland area.  Importantly, this has also allowed me to publicise recent projects and, therefore, attract national interest to projects being undertaken in the North East.  I would, therefore, hope that the new Government would acknowledge the North East as being a vibrant, progressive and productive region that contributes a great deal to the UK.”

Rev Rachel Harrison, Vicar at St Peter’s Church, in Redcar, said: “Society benefits from good education that should be a right for all your children. I would hope that one of the political parties would declare that education policies should be above party politics; that there should be a shared policy that all parties adhere to for the good of our children and young people.

“With our schools we have wonderfully talented teachers, who work enthusiastically, but who are often thwarted by an ever-changing landscape of ideas and new initiatives from politicians. Society would be strengthened by a secure education system where children reach their full potential and head teachers and teachers receive the recognition they deserve.”



Amy Drinkhall, of Cygnet Law

Cygnet Law staff are being set a ‘featherweight’ challenge as the Redcar firm launches an initiative to promote better health at work.

The firm is working towards a Better Health Bronze Award, a scheme supported by the NHS, which recognises and celebrates the hard work and commitment of organisations that are improving the health of their employees.

This will include Cygnet staff raising money for the British Heart Foundation as   part of National Health Month.  Their fundraising efforts will include running a competition, where people have to guess how many feathers there are in a four feet boa in exchange for a donation.  The winner will receive a prize of a Breville Smoothie maker, a gym bag with some accessories and a fruit voucher.

On “Wear it, Beat It Day” on February 6, staff will be encouraged to wear a red item of clothing in exchange for a donation to the Foundation.

Cygnet will be launching a series of initiatives to promote health in the work place as it works towards the award.

Peter Medd, a director of Cygnet Law, which specialises in specialises in family law, mental health, conveyancing and wills and probate, said: “It is important to look after staff as they are a firm’s biggest asset.

“Caring about our workers’ wellbeing is embedded within the company and we are now seeking to secure independent validation for this.

“As well as having an impact on staff morale and sickness levels, the initiatives we are planning to put in place also will benefit our employees’ general welfare and quality of life outside work.”