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Fully-funded innovation workshops: could your business benefit?

Small to medium sized businesses across North and West Yorkshire are encouraged to apply for places on the upcoming round of fully-funded two-day workshops designed to help them innovate.

Delivered by the University of York and building on the success of previous rounds, these workshops will provide stimulating, thought-provoking seminars tailored to the needs of each participating business.  Delivered by highly experienced practitioners offering practical, real-world expertise and tools, each business works on the development of an innovation plan that can be applied directly to their business.

Gary Thompson from Smartflow Couplings completed his Innovation Plan following a previous workshop and commented:

“Fantastic 2-day workshop that I took real value from. Not only some great strategic business tips but a lot of contacts from the University that I will make use of.”

The topics covered include: strategies for growth; dynamics of change – looking at social, technological, economic and environmental factors; creating a competitive advantage; process efficiency and effectiveness; innovation tools and techniques; marketing strategies and risk, reward and financial planning.

James Buffoni from the Ryedale Group said:

“The programme was highly valuable to our business. The course was tailored to our requirements with tools that were used in the business the following morning.”

The next round of workshops will take place in Leeds on 23rd October and Huddersfield on 8th November.  Both workshops will conclude on the 27th November 2019.

For a business to be eligible to attend they must employ fewer than 250 people, have turnover of less than €50m, and be able to send participants who have significant responsibility for innovation.

Karen Drum, Project Development Manager and organiser of the workshops, said:

“We want as many companies as possible to take advantage of this workshop offer.  Innovation is vital to business growth and the knowledge and techniques gained at these workshops will help companies to develop new products or expand their current range.”

The workshop programme is delivered by the University of York as part of the Product and Process Innovation (PAPI) project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.  PAPI provides grants for equipment that enables innovation through new product development.

To register your interest click here or call the PAPI Project on 01904 328076.

11th October 2019

A ‘Purple Tuesday’ lunch and learn

What is “Purple Tuesday” you may ask?  It is a day when every customer- facing business is asked to consider the disabled person’s consumer experience. This year it falls on November the 12th.

Going shopping, visiting a restaurant or hotel or looking for advice on consumer goods, is so much more challenging when you are visually impaired and as a result businesses may miss out on the purchasing power of people who just decide that it’s too difficult to even try.

The Wilberforce Trust offers sensory awareness training for businesses who want to improve how they help visually impaired customers and on the 25th October we are offering a taster session over lunch at our offices in Huntington.

There is no charge to attend and anyone coming will have a chance to experience shopping, eating out or just trying to find what you want, from a visually impaired person’s point of view. With this new awareness you can think about how your business could benefit from offering a more accessible environment for blind or partially sighted customers.

Lunch is on us so just let us know if you are able to come.  Reply to j.carter@wilberforcetrust.org.uk and we will add you to the list.

11th October 2019

Writing their own script

Information technology in the modern world is ubiquitous. From social media, banking on the go, to the shop in your pocket, everything just seems to be effortless. Every time you pinch a photo, swipe a story or scroll through the infinitely expanding digital universe, there is a little bit of code running to make your experience seamless.

Behind the user experience there is an array of talented technical and creative individuals who have to imagine, think and write the software that the world is now dependent on. Every app, website, and business that relies on technology is written in code, often combining several technologies that are continuously changing and evolving.

One of the biggest challenges facing tech businesses is finding the right talent to actually deliver this software and one of the innovators in this field can be found right here in West Yorkshire. Northcoders, known as ‘the coding bootcamp of the North’ and based at Platform in Leeds city centre, is training the software developers and coders of tomorrow.

Northcoders was established in 2015 in Manchester and opened its doors in Yorkshire earlier this year. Since its inaugural course four years ago, the business has helped over 400 people switch career into tech on average starting salaries of £25,000.

The diverse backgrounds of its graduates – who range from 18 to 56 – span everyone from people who have worked in retail, driving forklift trucks in warehouses, to engineers, accountants, lawyers, and sales people as well as stay at home parents, football coaches and refugees.

One of the first things that Amul Batra, Chief Partnerships Officer at Northcoders, was keen to tell me as soon as we sat down was the company’s passion for promoting community. “The cornerstone of Northcoders is building a community that is based on our core values of inclusion and quality. Whilst northern spirit, hard work, grit and determination along with humour and fun all play their part.”Northcoders was established by Chris Hill who, at the time, was working for Sky in Leeds. Amul explains: “Chris felt there was an obvious disconnect between the skills that computer studies graduates were coming out of universities with, and the skills that employers actually needed. He started to think about how to bridge that and researched the subject, using the proven success of coding camps on the US West Coast as his inspiration.”

Eventually Chris staged the first course and Amul, whose background was in the music industry, and who had become interested in tech opportunities, was on it. Fate played its part and Amul invested in the business. He said: “They took us on that journey, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.”

He claims he knew the company “was onto something” when the first Northcoder graduate got hired within just a few days. Nine of the first cohort of students went on to get jobs in software development, while Amul began to market and develop the business.According to Amul the two biggest challenges were, particularly at the time before Northcoders was established, to get people to commit 12 weeks of their life and to ensure that Northcoders had the ear of every company that had already realised (or was yet to realise) the need to embrace digital transformation.

Northcoders now works with over a 100 different companies across the North, including some of the region’s biggest employers like Jaguar Land Rover, BAE, Barclays and First Direct as well as with major brands like On The Beach, Moonpig, Moneysupermarket, various start-ups, consultancies, agencies and tech businesses such as Thoughtworks, InfinityWorks and Apadmi.

Using the latest technology and best working practices, a world class curriculum is being constantly developed. On this Amul said: “After a while we decided to make the bootcamps more modular and manageable, splitting them into four, three week blocks, graduating students every three weeks, and allowing them to move between the blocks if they hadn’t quite done what they needed to do.”

That ability to evolve and be nimble is what seems to set Northcoders apart along with its unwavering commitment to its three guiding principles: to build a community of brilliant, well trained developers that understand technology and can learn technology as quickly as we can teach it; to make this community as diverse, inclusive and representative of the population as possible; and to never compromise on quality.

Northcoders’ move to Leeds, initially with a 1,000 square foot campus, was – according to Amul – “always our plan but the timing had to be right as Leeds and the wider Yorkshire region has a dynamic and exciting tech community so we wanted to add to that mix. It’s important to us to build collaboration across the Pennines.”Amul is keen to revisit and expand on Northcoders’ commitment to promoting diversity in tech. He explained: “Traditionally, coding and software development has attracted a narrow slice of society which has tended to be white men who have learned software at university, but that’s not a true reflection of the UK. Brands have realised that developers need to be engaged with their business so they have the ability to create the very best code and technology that will actually resonate with the end user.”

Currently women make up around 32% of Northcoders students, compared to an industry average of 17%. Over the last few months it has launched scholarship schemes and a deferred payment programme aimed at women and gender minorities, as well as those who identify as BAME or LGBTQ+, have a disability or have had limited access to education, to help address diversity in tech.

Whilst Northcoders welcomes anyone to become part of the coding community, Amul realises that coding isn’t for everyone, and that is a demanding challenge. He said: “We have a rigorous selection process, which is about our potential students finding out if they really want it and if they’re prepared to put the effort in to get the rewards. We start by providing them with some coding materials to work through in their own time, which takes about 20-30 hours.We then challenge them to assess how well they have learned those materials, and if they are successful, they receive another 50 hours of pre-course materials that will bring them up to ‘course ready standard’. About one in four people who apply for our course get a start date.”

This means that everyone on the course is at the same level, has gained enough knowledge to be able to begin their studies which is where the real hard work begins. Our selection is tough because we don’t want to take people on this journey if it’s not right for them. But if it is then the opportunities are there.”

A coding bootcamp is full-time, fast-paced and intensive. Over the 12 weeks, students cover full stack web development that includes fundamentals so they can pick up any programming language, as well as back end development, the structure and logic parts that you don’t see when using an app, and also the front end which are the things you interact with as a user. They are also taught workplace practices, such as Agile Principles, so they can go work in modern tech teams. The final element is a two week self-driven project where students are expected to learn a new language or technology.

Northcoders’ unique approach to teaching is something that Amul is most proud of: “When teaching a new language, framework or technology, our approach is to say if you learn it in this way, when it comes to learning a second language, you will know how to pick that up quickly. This is a very different approach to a traditional university or school environment.”

He went on: “It’s the way we teach technology that is so appealing to companies, because these people can really pick up new technologies quickly. What is seen as really hard on the course is really just training the mind to learn very fast. We don’t teach people to code, we teach people to teach themselves to code.”

Northcoders also liaises closely with the 100+ companies that it works with who are always keen to advise on and feed into the curriculum. This is a massive advantage according to Amul: “We are not a university that might have to wait a few years; we can do it quickly, to make sure we are delivering what business actually needs.”

Technology, of course, moves at a real pace. The average shelf life of a new technology is two and half years, so the ability to pick up new languages quickly is really valuable asset for them and their employers as Amul explained: “Our students are taught to reinvent themselves continuously, so they stay up to date and can pick up what is new.”

After being selected as one of the country’s brightest tech stars in the hugely respected Creative England’s CE50 list and being named Business of the Year at the 15th Annual Chamber Business Awards, it certainly seems the future is bright for this tech innovator.

11th October 2019

Andrew Jackson solicitors advises British Garden Centers on series of acquisitions from...

Regional law firm Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP is delighted to announce that it has advised British Garden Centres on its acquisition of a significant number of garden centres from Wyevale Garden Centres (Wyevale), for an undisclosed sum.

 

Andrew Funnell, partner and head of corporate at Andrew Jackson, led the legal team that advised British Garden Centres.  Following these substantial acquisitions, the independent, family-run group will own garden centres all the way from East Durham in the North, down to Ramsgate in the south, and across to Wales.

 

Andrew said: – “It has been a pleasure to assist our clients with this exciting period of growth for their business, which saw our team undertaking corporate finance and property work to very tight timescales.

 

“Building on the strong organic growth which Charles, Robert and Phillippa have delivered, a year ago Charles saw an opportunity for a period of rapid growth by acquiring a significant number of new centres from Wyevale. ”

 

Andrew Funnell, Nick Scott and Daniel Hammond provided corporate advice, working alongside property partner, Adrian West.  The Andrew Jackson team worked closely with Steve Czornyj and Lee Bradbury from Forrester Boyd Chartered Accountants’ Louth office.

 

Charles Stubbs, managing director of British Garden Centres, said: – “We are proud to have completed the purchase of these new centres and to bring them into our British Garden Centres family.  Myself, Robert and Phillippa, and all of the team, are looking forward to maximising the great potential that each of the new centres brings.

 

“We are delighted with the successful outcome of these acquisitions and we are very grateful to all involved. The teams at Andrew Jackson and Forrester Boyd have provided us with valuable, commercial advice at every stage of the process.”

10th October 2019

Watson Buckle calls on entrepreneurs to empower their businesses with management accounts

Innovative Bradford accountants Watson Buckle, is calling on business owners not to overlook the benefits of management accounts.

 

The leading firm has warned that businesses that overlook management accounts could miss out on important opportunities for growth or fail to spot the warning signs of financial distress.

 

Andrew Padgett, Associate Director at Watson Buckle said: “Management accounts are an essential monthly ‘health check’ for businesses, providing information that is crucial for keeping on top of cash flow and getting the most out of a business’s growth”.

 

“A robust set of management accounts should include information such as profit and loss reporting, balance sheet and cash flow statements”.  Andrew emphasised that any business that fails to keep on top of key financial reporting is likely to be unprepared for any unforeseen challenges which might arise”.

 

“Without a sufficient overview of cash inflow and outflow, the business could be at risk of missing the warning signs of financial distress until it is too late.”

 

Andrew said “Management accounts could be beneficial in a wide range of circumstances, including where business owners are looking to restructure by selling, merging, acquiring, growing or diversifying.  Management accounts provide up-to-date figures to base key decisions on”.

 

“Up to date management accounts can also be offered to finance providers when applying for business loans or other finance products, often increasing the chance of finance approval”.

 

“At first glance, many businesses that are unaware of the importance of management accounts will dismiss them a non-essential. But, in reality, being confident in your decision-making capability at all times is the key to running a successful business.”

 

To find out more about Watson Buckle’s specialist services, please visit www.watsonbuckle.co.uk or call 01274 516700.

 

 

10th October 2019

Julia Holter to score the passion of Joan of arc for Opera...

Opera North has commissioned the Los Angeles singer-songwriter, composer and producer Julia Holter to create an ambitious new soundtrack for the revelatory 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc.

Joined by the Leeds-based company’s 36-strong Chorus and her own three-piece band, Holter will premiere her new score at Leeds Town Hall on 24 June 2020, with a further performance at the Barbican, London on 27 June.

Over the course of five studio albums Holter has pushed her experiments with vocals, songwriting and musical structures into astonishing and beautiful new territories. In scoring Carl Theodor Dreyer’s visionary telling of the martyrdom of the French saint, she finds an immense sonic tapestry at her fingertips, and an opportunity to dig deeper into her longstanding fascination with the art, history and music of the medieval era.

The outer reaches of cinema have also exerted a strong pull on her, and she has acknowledged the influence of the films of Alain Resnais, Andrei Tarkovsky, Lars von Trier and even the Technicolor MGM confections of Vincente Minelli on her atmospheric, enigmatic writing.

The new score for Joan of Arc grows out of a 2017 live soundtrack that Holter performed with the film in LA, increased exponentially in scale, palette and possibilities. It promises to bring together the breathtaking, emotionally-charged soundworld of one of today’s most remarkable musical artists with the intense, expressionistic universe of a landmark of early cinema.

Driven to the brink of collapse by Dreyer’s uncompromising direction, Renée Jeanne Falconetti gives a transcendent performance in the lead role, sometimes framed by the strange angles of the specially constructed set, but more often with her gaunt face shown in lingering close-up. The critic Pauline Kael wrote that Falconetti’s portrayal “may be the finest performance ever recorded on film”. It has influenced everyone from Jean-Luc Godard to Miami Vice and Heat director Michael Mann, who called it “Human experience conveyed purely from the visualisation of the human face: no one else has composed and realised human beings quite like Dreyer in The Passion of Joan of Arc.”

Julia Holter comments:
“I’m honoured to be working with the Chorus of Opera North to perform my score to Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. I’ll be adapting a couple of relevant medieval chants for the ensemble, to take the melodies to a wild place that reflects the rapture and trauma of Falconetti’s Joan, with the help of bells, organ, and other instruments.”

Tickets go on sale for Howard Assembly Room bookers and Opera North supporters, and Barbican Friends, at 10am on Wednesday 18 September, and on general sale on Friday 20 September. For more details and to book, visit operanorth.co.uk

Commissioned and produced by Opera North Projects. Co-produced by the Barbican and the Brudenell Social Club.

 

Opera North: FILMusic

The Passion of Joan of Arc is the latest in Opera North’s series of soundtrack commissions, the most recent of which was a widely-acclaimed new score by Circuit des Yeux’s Haley Fohr for a more profane icon of the Roaring Twenties, Alla Nazimova’s Salomé. Other commissions include new scores for the Louise Brooks classic Pandora’s Box by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, Hildur Gudnadóttir and Philip Jeck, Carl Dreyer’s pioneering horror Vampyr and Maya Deren’s surrealist reverie Meshes of the Afternoon by German pianist Hauschka, and a gamelan soundtrack for Lotte Reiniger’s fantasy animation The Adventures of Prince Achmed.

On Saturday 23 November 2019 another of the company’s soundtrack commissions, the re-scoring of the seminal Soviet film Battleship Potemkin by Norwegian musician Jan Bang and Matt Calvert of Three Trapped Tigers, will be reprised at Kings Place, London for EFG London Jazz Festival.

 

 

 LISTINGS

Wednesday 24 June 2020, 7.30pm
Julia Holter: The Passion of Joan of Arc
+ support
dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer. France 1928, 88 mins. Cert PG.

World premiere of the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, composer and producer’s new soundtrack for Carl Theodor Dreyer’s visionary 1928 silent film, scored for the 36-strong Chorus of Opera North with Holter and her band.
The breathtaking, emotionally-charged soundworld of one of today’s most remarkable artists meets the intensely expressionistic universe of a landmark of early cinema.

Commissioned and produced by Opera North Projects. Co-produced by the Barbican and the Brudenell Social Club.

Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AD

Tickets: £20.00, concessions available
Box Office: 0113 2233600
Online: operanorth.co.uk

 

 

Saturday 27 June 2020, 7.30pm
Julia Holter: The Passion of Joan of Arc
dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer. France 1928, 88 mins. Cert PG.

The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, composer and producer’s new soundtrack for Carl Theodor Dreyer’s visionary 1928 silent film, scored for the 36-strong Chorus of Opera North with Holter and her band.
The breathtaking, emotionally-charged soundworld of one of today’s most remarkable artists meets the intensely expressionistic universe of a landmark of early cinema.

Commissioned and produced by Opera North Projects. Co-produced by the Barbican and the Brudenell Social Club.

Barbican Hall, The Barbican Silk St, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DS

Tickets: £17.50 – £25.00
Box Office: 020 7638 8891
Online: barbican.org.uk

10th October 2019

Progress at Halifax development hailed

A stone laying ceremony was held at a Yorkshire Housing development in Halifax that is breathing new life into a former ironworks.

Councillors and representatives from Homes England took part in the event at Titan Works on Claremount Road on Tuesday.

The £7.1m project of 46 new homes is taking shape and will be a 100 per cent affordable scheme providing both rent and shared ownership.

Calderdale councillors Stephen Baines MBE and Peter Caffrey (both ward councillors for Northowram and Shelf) were joined by the authority’s housing enabling and projects manager Richard Armitage.

Richard Panter, Shelia Rush and Dilys Jones from Homes England completed the guest list.

The guests then laid stones to form part of the front exterior of a property facing onto Claremount Road.

Yorkshire Housing director of development Andy Gamble said: “I am delighted that Yorkshire Housing is once again building new homes in Calderdale with the support of the local authority and Homes England.

“Titan Works will provide quality and affordable homes to the local area and this event gave us an opportunity to highlight our latest development and how this will make a positive impact in the area.”

It is now more than 10 years since the industrial works on the site in Boothtown near Halifax town centre closed down.

Yorkshire Housing is working with regeneration specialist ENGIE to deliver Titan Works. The scheme will be a mix of 14 two-bedroom and 32 three-bedroom homes on the plot.

Twenty-eight properties, including all the two-bedroom dwellings, will be for affordable rent.

 

A further 18 homes will be made available for shared ownership, which is a flexible and lower cost way for people to get onto the housing ladder.

Shared Ownership allows a buyer to purchase between 35 and 75 per cent of a property and pay rent on the rest.

The site is conveniently located for Halifax town centre plus road and other transport links to destinations including Leeds, Bradford and Manchester.

Coun Jane Scullion, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and resources, said: “We are really pleased to be supporting this new housing development.

“Increasing the number of affordable homes in Calderdale is a priority for the council.

“The scheme will bring more choice for local families and help towards our target of building 193 new affordable homes per year.

“The transformation of the unused site is another example of the fantastic regeneration that’s happening across the borough, helping to make it a place where people want to live and invest.”

Mr Gamble added: “Titan Works is one of several Yorkshire Housing developments that will contribute to our growth strategy to build a total of 6,120 new homes across Yorkshire by 2026.

“It’s no secret that the region is desperate need of new social and affordable rented homes as well as affordable home ownership options.

 

“We’re building high quality homes across Yorkshire and will continue to keep our customers at the forefront of everything we do.”

 

For further information please contact communications officer David Miller on 0113 825 1213 or email David.Miller@yorkshirehousing.co.uk

10th October 2019

New appointments boost for Yorkshire housing association

Manningham Housing Association (MHA) has announced the appointment of two senior managers and two apprentices.

 

After five years at the National Lottery Community Fund and with previous experience in housing and business development, Nas Hussain takes up post as Community Partnerships and Investment Manager

 

He will work with MHA partners and stakeholders to deliver neighbourhood improvements schemes in Bradford and Keighley.

 

Matthew Hayes joins as IT Manager and is tasked with co-ordinating the association’s revamped digital technology infrastructure.

 

He arrives after almost a decade and a half of at one of the UK’s leading independent IT companies.

 

MHA has also recruited two new apprentices.

 

Aanish Rehman will be part of the finance team, working four days per week at the association’s Bradford head office as well as spending a day at college completing an Association of Accounting Technicians professional qualification.

 

Avtar Dhesi will work with the MHA health & safety and compliance unit for four days each week, and study for a Business Administration NVQ Level 2 through City Training Services on day five.

 

MHA Chief Executive Lee Bloomfield explained that both senior recruits had been brought onboard to implement newly agreed Board strategies.

 

And he said he was equally thrilled to welcome two new apprentices to the association’s ranks.

 

Mr Bloomfield commented:

 

“Nas will help us deliver our new Community Investment Strategy which provides a framework for us to work with stakeholders to help local residents and build more resilient communities.  It is designed to make best use of internal resources and attract external funding.

 

“Our ICT Strategy, which Matthew will oversee, serves as a guide to ensure our use of the best available technology is aligned to our corporate objectives whilst being secure, efficient and cost effective.

 

“We also wanted to recruit two young apprentices and give them an opportunity to gain experience and knowledge in highly-skilled and technical areas of the organisation.

 

“Aanish and Avtar have already fitted in extremely well at MHA.  I have no doubt that their time with us will open doors to amazing careers.”

 

Barrington Billings, MHA Chair, said:

 

“My Board colleagues and I are proud of both new strategies and delighted to have Nas and Matthew with us to help deliver them.

 

“Aanish and Avtar also come highly-recommended and are making positive impressions.

 

“We have first-rate standards at Manningham Housing Association.  I know that our new staff members will enable us to reach even greater heights.”

 

Nas Hussain, MHA Community Partnerships and Investment Manager, said:

 

“The Community Investment Strategy is an exciting piece of work.  I am very much looking forward to working with partners from the public, voluntary and private sectors to improve the lives of Bradford and Keighley residents.”

 

Matthew Hayes, MHA IT Manager, said:

 

“A robust and forward-thinking ICT strategy is vitally important for organisations that wish to be successful in the modern world.  Manningham Housing Association is clearly going places.  I am excited to be on that journey.”

7th October 2019

The Grand, York – the best city hotel in England

York’s most luxurious hotel has seen off competition from across the UK to be named the best city hotel in England.

 

The Five AA star The Grand, York, scooped the accolade at the 2019 Luxury Lifestyle Magazine Readers’ Travel Awards, based on the views of almost 75,000 readers.

 

And it is a double celebration for the city, as York beat both Edinburgh and London to be voted Best UK City.

 

Built in 1906 as the headquarters for the all-powerful North Eastern Railway, The Grand, York is a testament to Edwardian opulence, overlooking the city walls and historic York Minster.

 

A £15m expansion and refurbishment in 2018 increased its rooms to 207 and earlier this year the hotel opened The Cookery School at the Grand, York.

 

This state-of-the-art Masterchef-style kitchen, runs workshops, classes and demonstrations throughout the year and has also hosted masterclasses by renowned professional chefs.

 

In the Best City Hotel category, The Grand, York, was up against stiff competition from top London hotels, including Fleming’s, Corinthia, The Beaumont and Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London.

 

The top award in the Best UK City Hotel category was given to Belfast’s Grand Central Hotel.

Philip Bolson, general manager at The Grand, York, said the accolade is particularly significant as “it was awarded by the people who matter most – the general public.

 

“Industry awards are great, too,” he said, “but the hotel industry is first and foremost about customer satisfaction, so awards like this are always very special.”

 

For more information about The Grand, York, or to make a reservation, call 01904 380038, email events@thegrandyork.co.uk or visit www.thegrandyork.co.uk.

7th October 2019

‘Dive in and Win’ as a giant ball pool returns to the...

• The famous student ball pool returns for this year’s Freshers Week to welcome new and returning students to the city 


• The giant 50,000 deep ball pool will be in the Merrion Centre from Monday 23rd September- Friday 27th September 12pm-6pm


• Find a ‘golden ball’ with the chance to win amazing prizes from the Merrion’s dynamic tenant portfolio!


On Monday 23rd September the famous adult ball pool returns to the Merrion Centre as part of the shopping centre’s ‘We love Students’ campaign, with new and old students to the city being invited to jump into the 50,000 ball-deep pool and search for ‘golden spheres’ which could see them grab one of the fantastic prizes, collectively worth over £1000!


The adult sized ball pool will be in the centre on the main mall until Friday 28th September with the chance to win every day between 12-6pm.


This totally free activity is available to all adults +18 years old and will allow each participant 3 minutes to scramble their way through the giant pit to find the coveted ‘golden ball’ which will then be entered into a free prize draw.


The fantastic prizes up for grabs include a £200 bar tab plus 8 VIP entries at PRYZM, all you can eat at Blue Sakura and 9-month membership at Pure Gym (amongst many others!).


James Broughton Head of Marketi
ng and PR for Town Centre Securities (owners of the Merrion Centre) said: “With over 4,000 existing student apartments in the Arena Quarter and an additional 5,500+ set to be delivered in the immediate pipeline, we look forward to welcoming thousands more students to the area.


Our ‘We Love Students’ activity is getting bigger every year, and we are confident our famous giant ball pit will once again be filled with new and returning students eager to ‘Dive in and Win’ as part of Fresher’s Week 2019!”

7th October 2019

Energy saving the Thorite way

For any company, reducing energy costs makes total sense; to not do so is similar to shredding banknotes. Over the past few years Thorite has been able to show customers how they can reduce their energy wastage, save considerable expenditure and improve their processes.

One of the latest customers to benefit from Thorite’s expertise was a concrete products manufacturer in Yorkshire who is saving almost £3,000 per year having replaced two ageing, energy consumptive compressors with two new HPC compressors.

Thorite’s Key Account Manager, Steve Bradbury offered to data-log the two ageing compressors over a period of seven working days to assess their overall condition.  It was calculated through this data-logging exercise that the company could save almost £3,000 in energy costs per annum by upgrading.

The two existing compressors were rated at 30kw and 22kw respectively.  The 30kw compressor was changed to a new HPC 22kw alternative, and by doing so is projected to save the company almost £1,900 per year.  In the meantime, the smaller of the two compressors was changed for an HPC 11kw compressor for savings of almost £1,100 per year.

In addition to data-logging, another service offered by Thorite is Compressed Air Auditing. It is reckoned that a single 3mm diameter leak could cost up to £600.00 each year. Thorite engineers regularly carry out compressed air leak detection surveys using the very latest ultrasonic survey handguns known as ULDs (Ultrasonic Leak Detectors). These very sensitive pieces of equipment that pinpoint high frequency sound waves produced by leaks from compressed air pipe work and components. A report is then produced and, working closely with the customer, a plan of action is agreed.

For more information on Data-Logging and Compressed Air Auditing please contact Thorite on 0800 034 5850 or visit www.thorite.co.uk

7th October 2019

Manufacturing apprenticeships the routes to top jobs, students told at skills event

More than 1,000 Leeds students from 40 schools joined online with an audience of young people at specialist engineering and manufacturing college UTC Leeds last week to receive first-hand advice on working in the city’s diverse manufacturing sector.

Taking place as part of the Leeds Manufacturing Festival, the event saw a nine-strong panel of employers and apprentices from some of the city’s 1,800 manufacturing firms give candid answers to students’ questions on careers in the industry. It was chaired by Craig Burton, managing director of manufacturing recruitment business The Works.

Students heard how apprenticeships could be a shrewd route into a sector, enabling many young people progress to management and directorship roles. “The great thing about manufacturing as a career is the huge range of opportunities it opens up once you are in it,” said Graeme Hall, executive chairman of Brandon Medical, which manufactures operating theatre lighting and control systems.

“I’ve always worked in manufacturing and have had many different roles during my career, from design, to sales, to travelling the world as part of my job. Its huge scope guarantees that lots of opportunities will come up for you if you work in manufacturing.”

David Noble, production manager at ESG, which manufactures lights and sirens for emergency vehicles, said: “Like most manufacturers we see people as our biggest asset, so when someone joins us, as an apprentice or at any level, they are important to us and are immediately part of the team.

“We want to see young people flourish and develop, and you really can go right to the top. Career progression is rewarding and it’s all down to commitment and hard work.”

Brandon Medical, ESG, jukebox firm Sound Leisure, fibreglass composites manufacturer MPM, and high-tech printing products manufacturer Agfa Graphics were all represented on the panel, answering a range of questions put by the audience at UTC and via Twitter.

Festival organiser, and Agfa Graphics director Graham Cooper said: “The Leeds Manufacturing Festival is all about raising the awareness among young people, and their parents, that there are loads of brilliant opportunities out there in the city’s vibrant manufacturing sector.

“As we’ve heard so convincingly today from the people at the coal face, manufacturing isn’t just about working on the shop floor but involves a really diverse range of different jobs and apprenticeships are a great way to enter the industry. There are 26,000 people working in manufacturing in Leeds alone so that gives you some idea of the scale of the career opportunities on offer.”

Alex Burnham, principal of UTC Leeds, said: “Enabling our students to engage with employers and find out more about industry opportunities is fundamental to our approach. Leeds Manufacturing Festival Live was a great showcase for the diversity of career opportunities available in the city’s manufacturing sector.”

Now in its second year, the Leeds Manufacturing Festival is sponsored by RSM, Womble Bond Dickinson, The Works Recruitment and Leeds City College. It is organised by Leeds Manufacturing Alliance, with the support of Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Leeds City Council and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The initiative is complemented by Bradford Manufacturing Weeks, which take place in October.

7th October 2019

Yorkshire Housing win grant from South Yorkshire police commissioner

Dr Alan Billing visiting the sheffield office in 2015 and Layla Walton (second left)

Vulnerable adults are to benefit from crime prevention measures thanks to a project involving Yorkshire Housing.

The housing association’s Sheffield-based Home Improvement Agency (HIA) won a £5,000 grant from the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner recently.

It will pay for security measures inside and outside people’s homes – including window alarms, window locks and additional security locks for doors.

The scheme is aimed at vulnerable adults in areas of disadvantage in Rotherham, Barnsley and Sheffield affected by crimes such as burglary.

People aged 60-plus are a focus, but HIA staff will also work with police to identify vulnerable people based on circumstances rather than age, illness or disability.

The HIA’s team of Needs, Advice and Support workers and handypersons will deliver the project.

And the motivation for it came from their work on the ground in communities across the region.

Layla Walton, South HIA and internal adaptations manager, said: “Our client group encompasses elderly people and those who disabled or vulnerable.

“As a result, the HIA team come across clients on a daily basis that live in fear of, and may be at risk of burglary, all due to a lack of security measures in their homes.”

The HIA has worked on similar schemes through police and crime commissioner funding on three previous occasions.

Dr Alan Billings even visited the HIA in 2015 to see their work and also present a grant cheque in person.

The latest project began this summer and is set to continue until April next year.

Recipients will be identified by police and other partner agencies plus HIA staff during customer visits.

Crime prevention advice and further reassurance involving police will offer them extra peace of mind.

Layla added: “The project will address the number of vulnerable people who are targeted by criminals for theft, burglaries, distraction burglaries and bogus callers through the supply and installation of the required security measures.”

The project will be assessed through a customer satisfaction survey, with outcomes and further feedback passed on to the police and crime commissioner.

It fits into the HIA’s overall mission – which is to help ensure everyone can remain independent, secure and have a safe place fit to call home.

Other current schemes include promoting smart meter use among the over-65s and a domestic violence project.

The HIA is also involved in home adaptations, gas safety, electrical checks, adaptations for discharge of patients from hospital and the delivery of core local authority contracts.

Layla added: The impact that our services have on people’s lives are invaluable to both the individual and also the families of that individual.

“We’re devoted to helping people live independently and comfortably in their own homes and in a way that keeps their dignity.”

4th October 2019

Pots of gold for top York hotel

York’s only five-star hotel is buzzing after its newest residents presented staff with a very special gift.

 

The Grand, York, has been a hive of activity since taking the decision earlier this year to house thousands of bees on its spacious, flat rooftop.

 

And now they have paid for their keep by producing their first yield of golden honey.

 

The Grand – an opulent testament to the wealth of Edwardian England’s all-powerful North Eastern Railway, whose headquarters it was – occupies a prime position overlooking the city walls.

 

But the honeybees – who might easily have numbered up to 90,000 at the height of the summer – will have scoured a three-mile radius for the tree and flower nectar they needed.

 

The hives house three colonies which have been tended by beekeeper Paul Appleton, who manages apiaries in Pocklington across the York area.

 

So far, he has harvested around 18 kilos of medium gold-coloured honey, “which is quite remarkable,” he said, “as very often you don’t get much honey at all the first year.

 

“There are several factors which can go against you, such as the weather and the variety and quantity of plants from which the bees can collect nectar, and, of course, the rooftop of The Grand is very high up indeed.

 

“But we’ve certainly got off to a marvellous start.”

 

The Grand, York, is adjacent to the city’s extensive Museum gardens and overlooks the treelined banks of the River Ouse and Paul said, “the bees would have visited  both, along with other parks and gardens, taking nectar from spring flowers such as croci and snowdrops, along with trees, such as cherry and willow.”

 

And Paul, who will now start preparing the bees for winter, said “they seem to have visited lime trees, because you can taste it in the honey they have produced – it’s lovely.”

 

Chefs at the five-star hotel are now experimenting with recipes which will best showcase the hotel’s honey with a view to adding them to the menu in the coming weeks.

 

For further information about The Grand, York, visit www.thegrandyork.co.uk.

4th October 2019

Rollits recruits Senior Lawyer to Private Client team

Yorkshire law firm Rollits has appointed a new associate to its York-based private client team.

Suzgo Kaluluma has 10 years’ experience specialising in private client work and joins the practice from Hartlaw LLP in Wetherby.  He is an Associate member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), and a member of the Private Client Section of the Law Society and the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates.

A law graduate from Trevelyan College, University of Durham, Suzgo advises clients in relation to the full spectrum of private client work including Wills and Probate, Capital Taxation and Estate Planning, Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection Applications.

John Lane, Rollits’ partner and head of the firm’s Private Client team, said: “Suzgo brings a whole wealth of experience to the firm having worked in the Yorkshire area for a number of years and I am confident that he will use his expertise and knowledge to great effect as part of the Private Capital department.”

Suzgo added: “Joining Rollits is a fantastic opportunity for me. The firm has an outstanding reputation and a genuine commitment to providing the highest quality of service to clients and I am looking forward to developing that further.”

4th October 2019

York City Football Club has agreed a new back of shirt sponsorship...

The partnership will see York’s brand-new purpose-built self storage facility adorn the back of the Minstermen’s first team shirts and become a primary sponsor of the club, with the deal lasting a minimum of two years.

Go Store will open for business in Monks Cross in the next few weeks. You can find the self storage facility on Monks Cross Drive between McDonalds and Taco Bell, by the Monks Cross Shopping Park.

Providing clean, dry, safe and secure storage with round-the-clock CCTV and monitored alarms, Go Store offers private storage rooms from the size of a telephone box to a tennis court.

If you are looking for Personal or Business Storage please send them an E-Mail at york@gostore.co.uk or call 01904 215 990 to register your interest or pre-book space.

4th October 2019

Rossington hall secures multi-million pound refinance package to realise its growth ambitions

Rossington Hall, one of Yorkshire’s leading hotels and wedding venues, has secured a multi-million pound refinance package from Shawbrook Bank, confirming its position at the top of the region’s hospitality sector and which will assist the future growth of the business.

The Hall, which stands in 250 acres of the estate once let to the Earl of Northumberland during Henry VI’s reign, is owned by Gary Gee of Migar Homes Ltd, who was guided through the entire process by a multi-disciplinary team led by Azher Quyoom, a partner with regional law firm Andrew Jackson Solicitors, which also included Helen Mellors (Real Estate), Mark Davies (Banking), Sam Peake (Real Estate) and Fiona Phillips (Tax). The refinance facilities for Rossington Hall were provided by Shawbrook Bank.

Azher Quyoom said: – “Unoccupied for several years, Rossington Hall had fallen into disrepair. In 2011 it was purchased by our client, Migar Homes, who meticulously undertook the huge task of sympathetically restoring the property to its former Victorian glory whilst carefully adapting the Grade II listed property to modern use. The property now operates as a stunning top tier hotel and wedding venue, attracting  guests from across the region and beyond.

“The bespoke refinancing package and support from Shawbrook Bank is perfectly suited to the needs of the business and will allow refurbishment work to continue on the Hall and the Estate, preserving this iconic property for future generations.

“Andrew Jackson Solicitors is pleased to have worked with the team of advisors who have played a small part in that continuing journey.”

Nick Salmons, relationship director at Shawbrook Bank, added: – “We spent a good amount of time with the owner of Rossington Hall, Gary Gee, to really understand what he was trying to achieve and I’m pleased we were able to help fund this wonderful historical site. Our funding package will allow him to continue to develop the hotel to support the growth of the business.”

 

Gary Gee, of Migar Homes, owner of Rossington Hall, said: – ““It was fantastic to get the refinance deal over the line thanks to the tremendous support and work from Nick Salmons at Shawbrook Bank and all concerned at Andrew Jackson.  It felt a real team effort from start to finish. We look forward to continuing the restoration of the estate to bring it back to its full former glory.”

4th October 2019

Chamber members collaborate to help children create their own history

Mightier than the sword

Next year the Royal Armouries is looking to launch ‘Mightier than the sword’, a project inspired by a rare manuscript in the museum’s collection. I.33 is a fourteenth century illustrated sword-fighting manual. Remarkably the illustrations feature a young female fighter named as Walpurgis, whose story is unknown. The project is to create this woman’s story with the assistance of schools and students from around Leeds.

Projects like this at the Royal Armouries encourage hands-on, experiential-based learning and creative storytelling can make a significant contribution to the emotional and literacy development of students,

Sometimes there isn’t the curriculum space in schools to engage rich cultural stories, this Chamber member partnership maximises all of the fantastic spaces in our city, creating opportunities for diverse children from across the city to work together.

Tristan Langlois said: “This project is about placing children at the centre of the Royal Armouries experience and encouraging them to engage with and be inspired by our collection. We encourage the kids to handle objects, to wear the clothes, to wield the weapons because we know that will make the stories – and their learning – come alive.”

The Royal Armouries is working with Story Makers Company to develop and deliver engaging learning sessions, where students are encouraged to create their narrative, become part of the story and explore creativity with other students.

Lisa Stephenson said: “We’re excited about being part of this project, Story Makers Company is a social enterprise at Leeds Beckett University that was formed by artists, educators, teachers and researchers from the School of Education. This opportunity allows us to share our research and practice skills. We are looking forward to working collaboratively with the Royal Armouries to develop a relevant literacy framework for children.”

Creative community

Research by Tom Dobson and Lisa Stephenson at Leeds Beckett with schools, shows that active storytelling through drama can support more invested writing opportunities and emotional literacy

This collaboration provides an opportunity for children to see things in different ways, develop tolerance and build community, which is a real benefit.

Lisa Stephenson said: “We know from NSPCC research that there’s a rise in children’s mental health issues and we know that many children from around the city don’t have access to arts experience. This project allows children to feel confident in their own imagination and in their ability to think in different ways. Children might be working on a fictional problem, but actually it is a real-life problem as well.

Tristan Langlois said: “A lot of work has been done over the last 10 years about emotional intelligence, creative writing, empathy and the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. There’s evidence to suggest that a key factor of success within business is the social development of young people. We need to invest in young people now for better employees in future.”

Investing in the future

Cultural organisations are investing in young people and increasing links with universities, this ensures that a well-rounded group of young people enter the job market in the years ahead.

The collaboration between these Chamber members increases the educational opportunities for young people and connects them to the rich cultural heritage that makes Leeds and a more diverse and inclusive city.

Make your contribution

To discuss the programme further, as well as information on how you can become involved in supporting the programme, please email Zoe Bray, Corporate Partnerships Manager at the Royal Armouries on: zoe.bray@armouries.org.uk

L-R Lisa Stephenson, Senior Lecturer at the Carnegie School of Education Leeds Beckett University and Director of Story Makers Company and Tristan Langlois, Head of Education and Events at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

Watch the full video here:

4th October 2019