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Coronavirus: Mental Health and Financial resources

We understand the strain the Coronavirus outbreak is having on people’s mental health and financial situations, especially those who are continuing to go into work to ensure the country makes it through this unprecedented time.

We’ve put together a selection of useful support resources should you need them during this time.

Mental Health

Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care offers support to cope with bereavement and grieving, including support for those who are grieving throughout this difficult time.

Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm)

Website: www.cruse.org.uk

Family Lives

Family Lives offers advice on all aspects of parenting, including coping practically and emotionally during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Phone: 0808 800 2222 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 9 pm and Saturday to Sunday, 10 am to 3 pm)

Website: www.familylives.org.uk

Men’s Health Forum

24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.

Website: www.menshealthforum.org.uk

Mind – Fitness to drive

Explains the rights that you have to drive and what information you need to tell the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Website: www.mind.org.uk

Mind – Coping as a key worker

Mind gives tips for taking care of your mental health and wellbeing, help with understanding difficult feelings, and ways to find support.

Website: www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coping-as-a-key-worker/

NHS mood self-assessment

The NHS mood self-assessment quiz has been designed to help you understand how you’ve been feeling recently.

Website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mood-self-assessment/

Samaritans

Samaritans offer onfidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Website: www.samaritans.org.uk 

Financial Support

Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service Coronavirus guide covers your rights to sick pay, what benefits you can claim if you’re self-employed or not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

Website: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk

Money Saving Expert – Coronavirus finance and bills help

Money Saving Expert has a regularly updated guide which includes advice for renters and homeowners, and advice on bills including utilities, loans, car finance and broadband/TV.

Website: www.moneysavingexpert.com

Don’t forget, the Bluestones Supply Chain team is still available and here if you want to discuss anything or would like to talk to anyone.

Contact us:

Chester: 01928 444 051

Derby: 01332 913 171

Glasgow: 0141 442 0060

North East: 0191 814 9960

Driving law changes 2020

Drivers, watch out! Here are just some of the latest potential changes to the law that will affect everyone that gets behind the wheel in the United Kingdom in 2020.

While it’s uncertain at what point in 2020 some of these laws will come into effect, it is still good to be aware of any changes before they happen.

Low emission rules

Low emission rules have already been in place in the capital since April 2019, but now more cities across the country will be added to the list.

Currently in central London, if a vehicle doesn’t meet ULEZ emission standards, the driver has to pay a charge to drive in the defined area. The ban affects older diesel cars more heavily. Now in 2020, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Newcastle, Derby and Edinburgh will be added to the list of cities charging cars producing high emissions.

Driving permits and green cards

If, on the 31st of January, we leave the EU without a deal government guidance explains that current British driving licences will be useless.

If you’re planning to drive in the EU as a visitor, you will have to spend £5.50 on an international permit – that’s only if we leave without a deal though.

You will also need to carry a motor insurance green card when driving your own car in the EU and EEA.

Parking surcharges and new legislation

Since 1974, there has been a pavement parking ban in London but the rest of the UK could soon follow suit. However, this legislation is facing some opposition, so it could be some time before we are no longer allowed to park on the pavement.

In positive news, the RAC has been backing changes to implement a new code of practice which will protect drivers from rogue parking companies by banning certain practices and create a single, independent appeals process throughout England.

New MOT rules

There are new categories for defects with cars which drivers will have to understand, which are:

Dangerous – Direct risk to road safety or the environment. Results in a fail.

Major – Could affect safety or the environment. Results in a fail.

Minor – No effect on safety, but should be repaired as soon as possible.

Advisory – Could have an effect in future.

Pass – Meets the current legal standards.

A variety of new requirements are also being included in the MOT for the first time.

These include checks for:

Under-inflated tyres

Contaminated brake fluid

Brake pad warning lights and missing brake pads or discs

Reversing lights (for vehicles newer than September 2009)

Daytime running lights (for vehicles newer than March 2018).

Smart Motorways

It is already an offence to drive in a lane closed by a red X sign on a smart motorway and if caught, you could receive a fixed penalty of up to £100 and three points. However, legislation is now being worked on to enforce even stronger penalties.

Highways England is also planning to build more emergency refuge areas across the smart motorway network, with work on the M25 having already begun.

Car tax

Another change which will affect users of high emission cars. High emission cars will be charged up to an additional £15, and diesel car owners whose vehicles fail to meet the new mandatory RDE2 emissions standard will continue to pay higher tax rates.

New car buyers could also face an extra £65 on their first year’s car tax.

At Bluestones Supply Chain, we always keep up to date with changing laws which could affect our drivers and companies we work with. If you want to find out more about how we can support your business, please get in touch with our dedicated team.

Women in the Supply Chain

Women in the Supply Chain

Where they’re working, what they’re doing and the current numbers.

The Supply Chain in the UK

The Supply Chain in the UK has endless employment opportunities, employing around two million people in the country (roughly one in 12 people). The careers available are vast and wide, from warehouse and production operatives, professional drivers and engineers to managers and directors across production, manufacturing and logistics.

But where do the women of the United Kingdom fit into the supply chain?

Where do women fit in?

Over the past 40 years, the UK has seen an almost continual rise in the proportion of women in employment. The employment rate among women of ‘prime working age’ (aged 25-54) is up from 57% in 1975 to a record high of 78% in 2017. How does this match up in the supply chain though? Currently, the total number of women working in the supply chain across all careers is almost 500,000.

What careers are women working in?

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have explored what careers females are currently working in in the supply chain. What jobs are the most women working? And what roles have a lack of females? Download our Women in the Supply Chain report 2019 now.

Download the report

Download the report

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Top 10 craziest dash cam videos

Where would we be without dash cams? Some of the footage they capture is mental, from the hilarious to the downright dangerous. Unsurprisingly, dash cam ownership has gone from 1% to 15% in just 4 years – most insurance companies now accept dash cam footage as evidence of a car incident, it helps people relive near misses and humours happenings, prevents taxi, bus and coach drivers from facing potentially hazardous situations and assists the police in prosecuting dangerous drivers.

Without further ado, here are our top 10 craziest, stupidest and most dangerous dashcam videos.

  1. In this clip from Germany, an impatient driver tries their best to get in front of a lorry – just watch what happens.

2. Some vehicles just want to be birds and something like a roundabout isn’t going to stop them from spreading their wings.

3. Do you ever watch police chase footage and think “Just give up already!”? You’ll be thinking that again and again while watching this one.

4. There are people out who just have a need for speed, it doesn’t matter who is in their way as the people driving down this English country road found out.

5. When a lorry and a Ford came into contact on a sharp bend you can guess who came out worst.

6. This is why you should check your mirrors and check them again…..and then again one more time for luck.

7. You just wouldn’t believe the nerve of some people – dash cams don’t always capture real “accidents”.

8. It’s not always front facing dash cams that capture footage. Having a rear facing dash cam is just as beneficial in capturing dangerous driving.

9. Not quite dash cam footage, but this crazy. We call this one “When you remember you left the oven on”.

10. Road rage is real, and people aren’t afraid to use their car as a weapon.

And, a Brucie bonus – there is a light at the end of the dangerous driving tunnel.

If you have dash cam footage you’d like to submit to your local police for review, you can via the National Dash Cam Safety Portal. It’s worth noting that by using this service you will be filling out an official police report, so you should treat it as such.

If after all of that you’d like to look for a new driving job, why not check out our latest logistics and industrial vacancies now.

HGV Driving: The facts

You’ve seen them on the road, but what are the facts behind HGV driving? Explore our infographic to find out the interesting, weird and serious HGV facts.

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Self-doubt – How to combat it

The start of a new year can cause many people to doubt themselves and the current personal or professional routes they are taking – it’s not unusual, in 2018 a study found that over 62% of adults in the UK experienced “imposter syndrome”. Imposter Syndrome is “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.”

But, why do people suffer from chronic self-doubt in the workplace and what can be done to combat it?

The main reasons people experience imposter syndrome are their own self-doubt, receiving criticism, having to ask for help and comparing themselves to high achieving colleagues. There are lots of methods and tips you can use to silence your inner critic and regain your confidence though. It is important to remember though, you can’t completely get rid of self-doubt – its role is to keep you safe, but it is essential to recognise that this safety net can turn into negative messages and wreak havoc on your life.

Say stop

Negative thoughts and doubts beginning to bubble up again? It can be easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole and allow self-doubt to take over your brain, but don’t allow it to happen.

Tell yourself “Stop” or “No” if you must. Just recognise it for what it was – an unhelpful thought – and move forward.

Don’t connect it to negative past events

If you attribute self-doubt and blame to past failures it can lead to even more destructive thoughts and back down that rabbit hole you go.

When this happens, you need to take affirmative action with your goals and go easy on yourself! You’re not all those horrible things you think about yourself – it is your responsibility to remind yourself how great you are.

Do focus on past successes

Is self-doubt creeping in again? Forget about those negative events and remember positive ones. It can be simple to reach a hurdle and buckle under the weight of your internal monologue, but just think back to a time when you did combat a challenge successfully or things went well despite having doubts. It will remind you that you can do whatever you put your mind to.

Talk to someone about it

When you keep your thoughts to yourself, they can snowball turning that original snowflake of a thought into a huge distorted avalanche that doesn’t resemble reality. Just by saying your doubts out loud can help you see how exaggerated and far from reality they are, and by talking about them with a trusted friend or colleague can help you put things into perspective.

Use it to your advantage

Self-doubt can spur you to take action, keeps you humble and encourages you to have honest conversations with your peers and colleagues.

Doubting yourself occasionally makes you want to continue to better yourself, without it your skills and knowledge would stagnate. This same self-doubt reminds you that you’re only human (a human who is self-aware!).

Stop comparing yourself to your peers and colleagues

Nobody is on the same journey as you, so stop comparing where they are at in their life to where you are in yours. And don’t forget, on social media people rarely share their failures or troubles, only their successes and good times creating an imbalanced picture of what their life is really like.

The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself – look back at how much you’ve grown and challenges you’ve overcome.

It is ok to have self-doubt – you’re a continuous work in progress. Just don’t let your self-doubt and negative thoughts spiral out of control and effect you long time.

Top interview questions for professional drivers

Job interviews – something everyone has experienced at least once in their lives. It’s no different for professional drivers, especially those working contract roles who might end up attending several interviews a year.

If you’re yet to have your first interview as a professional driver, it can be daunting to know what to expect and if it will be dramatically different to any interview you’ve attended before. Many companies require their prospective employees to undergo a practical assessment to ensure they are technically capable, but what about the formal interview?

Here are some of the most common questions you can expect at an interview as a professional driver – whether that’s tramping up and down the country, making deliveries in a 7.5 tonne or nipping around the city in a van.

Tell us about your experience as a professional driver?

This is a standard question that most companies will ask. It is your opportunity to tell them about your past roles in more detail and give them more information you couldn’t cover in your CV.

What do you think the primary roles of a professional driver are?

The employer wants to make sure you understand that the role of a driver isn’t just driving. There are so many things a driver is also responsible for, like providing outstanding customer service, ensuring they are sticking to health and safety rules, maintaining the vehicle and keeping paperwork up to date.

What do you know about the company?

With this question, the company is checking to see if you’ve done your research and are passionate about the role you are pursuing.
What would you do if you were running out of driving hours but hadn’t finished a job?

The company want to see how well you are able to assess a situation – whether you’re running out of driving hours because of a traffic jam, slow-moving vehicles or hold-ups at a distribution centre – while ensuring you’re staying within the law and taking breaks when you need them.

Do you think teamwork is important in this industry?

While traditionally seen as a bit of a lonely job, employers want to see that as a driver you understand you are part of something much bigger and will be interacting with a wide range people from distribution centre managers, operations staff, other drivers and the public.

How do you handle unexpected instances? Like mechanical breakdowns or receiving the wrong load?

The company want to see how quickly you can think on your feet while remaining calm and finding a suitable solution to a problem.

How familiar are you with drivers’ hours and the European working time directive?

The company wants to make sure you know the laws that affect professional drivers throughout the UK and Europe and understand the importance of following them.

If you’re looking for a new driving role, check out our latest jobs or get in contact with the team.

Why it’s important to keep your CV up to date

Keeping your CV up to date on a regular basis, is it worth it? It can be tempting to forget about your CV once you’ve secured a new position or have been happily in your job for a couple of years – allowing it to accumulate virtual dust in the depths of your PC’s files or very real dust in the back of your drawer – but even if you’re not searching for a new position there are some very good reasons why you should keep your CV up to date.

Read more

How to prepare for your Driver CPC training

It’s an inevitable part of being a professional driver – as of 2015, all commercial drivers on the road are expected to have a valid Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC), which has to be kept up-to-date with periodic training every 5 years.

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Women behind the wheel

When you picture a lorry driver, what comes to mind? The stereotype of a trucker is a middle-aged man, which isn’t far from fact – the average lorry driver is a 51-year-old male, but in recent years we’re seeing a growing number of women behind the wheel.

Read more

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