Cullimore Dutton renews its support for KidsBank and their Christmas One More Gift Appeal

We are delighted to have renewed our support for Cheshire charity KidsBank making it our nominated charity for the next six months.

Colleagues at the firm will be holding a series of fundraising events over the coming months to raise money for the charity. They will also be collecting donations of toys, clothes and toiletries from now until November 30th to help children living in poverty in Cheshire this Christmas.

One in three children in the UK are living in poverty and 7.2 million families in the UK are going without essentials.

Staff, friends, partners and clients are being invited to donate a gift to the charity’s One More Gift Appeal, to donate to their Crowdfunding page, or to volunteer some time to help Cullimore Dutton and the charity to process and distribute presents from the charity’s Christmas Hub in Ellesmere Port to children facing hardship.

Andrew Wright, Managing Director of Cullimore Dutton, said: “This is our second year supporting KidsBank, an inspiring charity that does so much to help families in Cheshire.

“We are encouraging everyone in the business to get involved to do their bit to help, whether that’s donating a gift, giving their spare time to fundraise or helping to distribute the gifts we collect to families in need.

“We’ll also be giving staff time during their working hours to support the appeal so they can help to process and distribute all the gifts. Together, we can make a difference and help to change lives.”

KidsBank Chester was set up in 2019 by Cathy Pettingale based on the idea of food banks, but supplying pre-loved and new toys, clothes and equipment to children aged between 0-12 years within the Cheshire West and Chester area. To date almost 111,000 items have been gifted to KidsBank families. Each year the number of children referred at Christmas has doubled.

Cathy Pettingale, Founder and Director of Operations for KidsBank, said: “We’re delighted that Cullimore Dutton has nominated KidsBank as their chosen charity for the second year.

“Each year we help to provide gifts to children who would otherwise not receive a present at Christmas. In 2022, with the help of our supporters, we ensured 790 children were provided with gifts. We anticipate up to 1,500 children will need our support this year.

“We try to give as many children as we can a bundle of gifts and sometimes this is all they have. By helping to provide gifts to all children referred to us, we can help provide hope and joy to those families and help improve mental health and well-being.”

Cullimore Dutton will be accepting donations of gifts, marked for the ‘KidsBank Appeal’, at our office on 27 Newgate Street, Chester CH1 1DE between Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, between now and November 30.

We will then be helping the charity to distribute the gifts during the first week of December.

If you’d like to find out more please contact us. 

The KidsBank Christmas Wish List has lots of ideas for boys and girls of different age groups.


Andrew Wright

Taking steps to establish Chester as the go-to city for professionals

We were delighted to host our first get together of local business leaders on Tuesday, to discuss how to establish Chester as the go-to city for professionals.

We were joined at the dinner by senior business leaders from many sectors across Chester including Architecture, Banking, Town Planning, Financial Services, Insurance Services, Legal Services, Marketing, Property sales and lettings and Recruitment.

The event was hosted at Bollicini, Chester and I would like to thank Bollicini for their fine food and great service which contributed greatly to the success of the event.

Following arrival drinks, and a short scene setting introduction from myself the group sat down for discussions over dinner with the key topics being:

  • What outcomes would we like to achieve as a group to support Chester to become the go-to city for people to work in? and
  • How do we facilitate a job shadowing scheme amongst Chester Professionals to promote a more collaborative business community?

From the discussions there were several comments shared, key questions raised, and a series of proposals were captured and presented back to the group.

Comments included:

  •  “Are there any other models out there of cities who have gone through a similar process?”
  •  “Could Chester become a leader in ‘Green technology?”
  • “Do we understand the barriers that make doing business in the city more difficult, can we identify them and start to do something about them?”

Key Questions we need to answer:

  • What does Chester need for a successful and sustainable future?
  • How do we create ‘one voice’ for Chester?
  • How do we establish Chester as the go-to city for professionals
  • What is brand Chester?


  • Set up a professional services shadowing scheme where we learn from each other
  • Host a Chester careers event
  • Create a masterplan and a vision fit for a 21st century Chester

Next Steps

I truly believe we are at the start of an exciting new period for this fantastic City as we all emerge from the challenges of the previous two years. We want this group to be ambassadors for positive change across the city and plan to ensure we have a vision for Chester as a vibrant, 21st century city.

We have now begun the process of consulting further with members of the group on their priorities for the project and we will be meeting again on 24 May to begin the process of turning these aims into actions.

If you are a Chester Business professional and would like to register your interest in the scheme, email

Andrew Wright

Finding your why

LinkedIn – the world of so-called business experts, the fake it ‘till you make it specialists and the wannabe millionaires. That said some of the content on LinkedIn is very good and it is where I came across Simon Sinek and the concept of Finding your Why and setting audacious goals.

At around the same time we had just established our new board of Directors (what do you do in a pandemic, set up a new board and management structure – because there wasn’t enough change going on during that period!)

On establishing our new board, we undertook the usual analysis of where are we at, what we needed to do blah blah blah. All of which was needed and positive steps to take but we had an over whelming feeling that there had to be more to running a business than this. Being blunt, what we had done was good from a business management and governance perspective, but it was not very inspiring. This was when I remembered the concept of Finding your Why by Simon Sinek (, in other words, why do you do what you do?

Finding your why
Pondering on that question, we found that we had no good answer. Making money yes but that certainly is not our why or very inspiring – making money is what every business must do to survive. Our desire was to build a business that we are all proud of, which meant it could not be just about making money.

We mulled over this question for some time. We spoke with colleagues, with business contacts, and with friends about Cullimore Dutton to understand what impact our business has on our clients and colleagues. What did we do that they valued?

We also spoke with clients and took the time to review our client feedback in detail. One client had commented on how the work we had undertaken on their behalf had made a positive change in their life. It that moment the idea of Changing Lives for our Clients, Colleagues and Community was born.

We wanted to build a business that we could all be proud of, and what better way of achieving this than by changing the lives of our colleagues, clients, and community in a positive way.

Why is this important?
This belief in changing lives is like the source of a river from which everything flows; the values of our business, the culture we wish to establish, the continuous improvements we can make which support the development of our colleagues. This in turn leads to a better service for our clients and ultimately through doing this we can support our community by offering our time, or our financial resource to help those who may need it.

So, from our experience why has finding your ‘why’ been so important

  1. It has given our business a vision that all colleagues can help work towards.
  2. It has helped shape the values and culture we wish to have as a business.
  3. Our goal setting has become easier and our ambitions bigger, as we work towards achieving this vision.
  4. In summary we have one vision that we are all working towards.

Finding our why is not only helping to shape our business, but also helping us to change lives.

If you would like to arrange free half hour consultation with one of our expert team, please contact us on 01244 356 789 or email

Andrew Wright

Establishing Chester as the go to city for professionals

How can the businesses of Chester work together to help each other attract, retain, and develop colleagues, not only for the benefit of their own business, but also for the benefit of the entire Chester business community, establishing Chester as the go to city for professionals?

Watch my presentation to members of the Chester BiD on collaboration across the city.

Chester is a fantastic place to work and to own and run a business. As the owner of a Chester based business, I believe it has the potential to be one of the most vibrant business communities in the UK, however I also believe there are several key challenges we all face:

Like many businesses across the county, Cullimore Dutton has several unfilled vacancies, some of which have been open for some time and recruitment has been a huge challenge. Over the longer term if this trend continues and the City looses talent to larger cities, it will have a significant negative impact on the economy and on all of our businesses.

Hybrid Working
The pandemic changed how we work, and hybrid working is here to stay, this I believe is a good thing. However, it presents our city’s business leaders with a challenge; why should colleagues choose to work in Chester when they can work for Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, or even London based businesses where they may only required to attend the office once a week, once a fortnight or even once a month? This level of flexibility combined with potentially larger salaries in the bigger cities presents Chester with a huge challenge.

Learning & Development
Most if not all businesses will have some sort of learning and development plan for their team; but if you do not, how do you plan to retain them – investment in learning and development is essential to retain colleagues. All too often though, these programmes end up as webinars or Zoom calls or worse still get shelved while we get on with the day job.

No silver bullet
So, what can we do to attract, retain, and develop colleagues as a collective? Can we create a business community in which colleagues feel valued, are proud to be part of and ultimately want to progress their careers in? After all we want the best people working within our business community.

As with any challenge, there is no silver bullet, however, I believe there is a way that the Chester business community can collaborate and help each other in this quest…

Go dating…
Yes, go dating; in fact, we all need to go on several dates!

On a good date the following will happen:
• You ask and will be asked questions, creating the basis for a conversation which builds a rapport with the other person
• You learn about the other person; what they like, don’t like and what interests them, and fingers crossed
• You have an enjoyable time.

So, what if we applied this dating approach to our professional business community. What if our colleagues go on dates (but let’s call these business dates), where colleagues from different sectors, job shadow each other maybe for a day, a morning or maybe for just an hour or two?

What benefits would this bring for our colleagues?

What if a local estate agent spent the day with our Residential Conveyancing team, would it make them a Conveyancing solicitor? No, but would it give them a better understanding of the legal process, and in turn help them to become a more rounded businessperson, probably.

Or what if we held a Chester City Professionals training day, where we learn from each other and agree plans for building a successful working environment for our colleagues.

If this collaborative approach was embraced across the city, without agenda, with the shared goal of ensuring that all Chester Professionals feel supported to become the best businessperson they can be. Would this generate a sense of belonging, community and feeling of value, helping us to attract, retain and develop our colleagues and in turn, help Chester to become the city of choice for professionals?

So how can you get involved?
Interested? If so, Chester BID and Cullimore Dutton are inviting businesses to nominate one representative to join us for a free dinner to discuss how we implement this idea of professionals sharing knowledge across the city.

This event will be on Tuesday 26 April, at 5pm in Chez-Jules.
To register your interest please email